Saturday, July 28, 2012

Did You Like Being A Kid?

My husband asked me this tonight.  I had to think about my answer for a while.  Sure, there were things I liked about being a kid.  My parents spent a lot of time with us, I didn’t have to make hard decisions, and I thought the world would be a fair place when I grew up.

There were also a lot of things I didn’t like about being a kid.  I didn’t like being told what to do all of the time, having most decisions made for me, the pressure of having to be the golden child, or the feeling that most of my life was mapped out for me.

Overall, I have to say I’m happier as an adult than I was as a kid.  I like the fact that I can’t be forced to go somewhere, or told who I can or cannot be friends with.  I like knowing that my life is my own.  I don’t have to live up to anyone’s ideal. 

Of course there are things that aren’t quite like I thought they’d be. Going to work every day isn’t exciting, a mortgage can be very stressful, and driving really isn’t all that fun.  But the trade-off is worth it.  Sure, there are stresses and problems, but there’s freedom.  I value the freedom more than the ability to be care free. 

So, yes, I liked being a kid, but I’m very glad childhood lasts only a small portion of our lifespan.   I wouldn’t want to repeat it. 

So what about you, did you like being a kid?  Are you happier as an adult, or do you miss childhood?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

With Or Without Your Approval?

In the course of visiting other blogs and returning comments I have noticed that quite a few blogs seem to have commenting set so that comments must be approved by the author before they will display.  I don’t remember having the option to choose when I set my blog up.  I must have, but I really can’t remember all the way back to March.  

I don’t have any sort of screening process set up.  For me it would probably turn into one more thing for me to fall behind on or mess up.  I’m not the most technologically savvy person.  

I also think I’ve been fortunate in the comments I’ve received for the most part.  You’re all very nice people!  I can honestly say that most of the comments I’ve received have been kind, helpful, or just pleasant in some form.  There have also been very, very few comments that I thought were probably spam since I turned off the word verification, so that hasn’t been an issue either.  I really hope I’m not jinxing myself here (she says as the mean spammers take over)! 

From my blogging travels there doesn’t seem to be any particular style of blog that requires comment approval or any particular style that doesn’t.  It also seems that people aren’t necessarily using the approval process to eliminate negative comments, which I think would be very tempting for me.  So now I’m curious.

Do you have to approve comments before they’ll show on your blog?  Did you change from one way to the other?  Are you considering changing?  Have you noticed any sort of pattern to blogs that require comment approval or not?  Like I said, I’m curious, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Put My Big Girl Panties On And Dealt With It!

This is one of my mom’s favorite expressions; “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it.”  She even has it on a magnet on their refrigerator.  It’s good advice sometimes.  Today was one of those times for me.

I kept my blood donation appointment today.  It wasn’t my first time giving blood, but it was my first time going by myself.  My husband usually goes with me (I HATE needles and the sight of blood makes me woozy, so I feel like I need the moral support, and the hand holding), but he had to work today.  There was a blood drive during my lunch hour, right across the street from my office building.  We’ve been getting a lot of mail, email, and calls about making a donation appointment because apparently there’s a real shortage right now.  I’m O Positive, so I feel really guilty about not donating when I’m able to.

So today I decided to put my big girl panties on and deal with it.  I went across the street, all by myself, during lunch and gave blood.  Everything went very well.  My hemoglobin was more than high enough to donate.  This has been an issue for me in the past, so I was very happy with the number.  Apparently taking the vitamins my acupuncturist recommended is paying off!

The group of Red Cross employees turned out to be the group that has always been my favorite.  This particular group is always really nice and always manages to keep everyone laughing.  I consider it a major accomplishment to make someone laugh while you have a needle in their arm.  They realized it was my first time coming without my husband today, so were extra nice and reassuring.  

During the actual donation I ended up between two other donors who were good company and very entertaining.  One was a retired hockey player and first time donor, so I was actually reassuring him that the lady drawing his blood does a really good job.  I remember the first time I went the long time donors were all really nice to me, and kept telling me everything would be fine.  I was a nervous wreck that day, and really appreciated them being so nice, so now I try to do the same for anyone who says it’s their first time. On my other side was a veteran and long-time blood donor, so he had some pretty interesting stories to share with us.

I would definitely rather go with my husband to give blood, but it’s nice to know that I can go by myself when I need to.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken

Some recipes are born of desperation; this is what’s in the house, we need dinner, how can I make it work?  Some are born of creativity; hey I bet this would be really good!  Still others come from trying to use up certain ingredients; why did I buy SO MUCH cheese?!?   This is one of those recipes.

Recently most of the local grocery stores have been putting pasta and pasta sauce on sale; really, really good sales.   I’m a sale and coupon shopper, so I’ve stocked up on the pasta and sauce.  It’s quick and easy, it has a long shelf life, it was a really great deal, and we like it.  That being said, I thought it might be a good idea to try something a little different with it before we get tired of it.

Boneless, skinless chicken breast has also been on sale, so there’s quite a bit of that in the freezer right now.  We also have A LOT of cheese right now because I shouldn’t be allowed in the cheese section at Sam’s Club without adult supervision.  I really like cheese, and I like buying in bulk.  I went to buy cheese for lasagna when my in-laws were coming for dinner and somehow I ended up leaving with enough cheese to make lasagna for about 147 people.  I don’t have that many in-laws, so we had a lot of cheese left over, hence the need for a recipe involving cheese, chicken, pasta, and sauce.  So here it is (it’s quite delicious, if I may say so myself):

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 thick slices fresh Mozzarella Cheese

1 onion, thinly sliced (I used half a red onion, and half a yellow onion, because that’s what was in the refrigerator needing to be used up)

½ orange or red bell pepper, thinly sliced

Garlic Powder

Italian Seasoning

¼ cup butter, melted

1/3 cup dry white wine (I imagine you can use chicken broth instead, but it’s really good with the wine)

1 box of pasta 

2 small jars pasta sauce

Trim fat from chicken breasts and pound them out flat.  Roll one slice of the Mozzarella cheese, ¼ of the onion and pepper, and a sprinkle of garlic powder and Italian Seasoning in each chicken breast.  Place them in a baking dish, open side up.  Pour the wine and melted butter over them, then sprinkle with garlic powder and Italian Seasoning.  Cover, and bake at 350° for about an hour and 15 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Serve over pasta cooked according to package directions, with warm sauce.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Enough Wallowing

Lately I have found myself sort of wallowing.  There have been some things happening that have made me unhappy:

My grandparents were evaluated for home health care and we learned they are in much worse shape than any of us realized.  They think it’s 2010.  They also think it’s late September.  The fact that it’s 100 degrees and they’ve been watching tryouts for the 2012 Summer Olympics just doesn’t compute with them.   There are others things, too, but mostly along the same lines.

We are being told by their healthcare providers not to correct them because it can scare, upset, or somehow agitate them.  Home health care has been started, and my aunt is coming in from out of town.  Hard decisions are going to be made in the next few weeks.

I realize there is nothing I can do to change my grandparents’ dementia.   I don’t have a magic wand.  We can’t turn back time and we’re told it’s not going to get any better at this point.  I am resigned to the fact that there will likely come a time when they don’t know who I am. 

That being said, I am in a position to help the Alzheimer’s Association.  The semi-local Walk to End Alzheimer’s is being held on October 20 this year.  It’s between where I live and where my parents live.  I talked to my mom about it yesterday, and we are going to walk.  I also asked my friend Lorie about joining us and she said yes.  I was feeling optimistic and ambitious, so I created a friends/family team for us.  Right now we’re a team of three and they suggest at least ten for a team, but my mom and I are both planning to ask other friends to join us.

I chose Making Memories as our team name.  I think we’ll have a good time and make some lasting memories during the walk, and I’m hopeful that it will contribute toward making memories last for people who benefit from the Alzheimer’s Association’s work.  I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m nervous and excited at the same time. 

It hit me (again) recently how devastating cancer is.  This has come from a few different directions.  There are some people on my husband’s job battling cancer and there have been some fund-raising efforts to assist them with the expenses insurance doesn’t cover.  We’re not especially close to any of these people, but it’s terrible to hear about, and it has brought back some bad memories. 

One of my husband’s co-workers, a man he very much respected and admired died of cancer a few years ago.  I think the fact that other people on his job are now dealing with cancer has brought that loss back to their minds.

My best friend’s mom also died of cancer almost six years ago.  She was young, only 47.  I think about the things she has missed and will miss in Crystal and her brothers’ lives, and it seems so unfair.  I also realized recently that it seems to have made Crystal very afraid of losing other family members.  One of her brothers is in the military and he’s currently on a base on the other side of the country.  Crystal worries so much about him that it makes me really sad for her.   I think it’s compounded by the fact that after her mom, this brother is the closest family member to her.

Once again, I don’t have a cure.  I can’t make cancer and its devastating effect on people’s lives go away.  I can, however, do what I can to support the American Cancer Society, and I can give blood.  Many of the donor stories on theRed Cross website involve donating blood because the donor has a family member who is alive due to donated blood, or was given extra time because a family member was able to be treated with donated blood.  The stories are very touching. 

I’m O Positive, so I’m told I should give blood as often as I’m able.  I’m sorry to say it has been a while since I’ve given blood.  There’s apparently a real shortage right now, so I’ve made an appointment.  There’s a blood drive right across the street from my office building on Monday, so I have an appointment to give blood during lunch.  My hemoglobin isn’t always high enough to donate, so I’m trying to eat iron rich foods now so I won’t get deferred on Monday.  There’s also a local blood drive on Wednesday, so that’s my back-up plan if my hemoglobin isn’t high enough on Monday.

It seems that animal rescue efforts have been failing lately.  Lennox was euthanized and there have been some dogs and cats networked lately that weren’t able to be saved.  There have also been some that were in really bad shape and just didn’t make it.  It felt like we’ve failed them.

But then there was an email from Gino’s foster mom.  He has been re-named Journey, which seems very appropriate.  He is doing very well; the sores on his body have healed, he’s no longer covered in fleas and ticks, and he gets along extremely well with children and other dogs.  She said he’s very affectionate, and extremely well-behaved.  She also says there are multiple qualified adopters applying to adopt him, so he will be in his forever home soon. 

As transport drivers we very rarely hear much about the dogs we drive after the transport ends.  We just make sure to work with reputable rescues and coordinators.  And the efforts are very quickly moved on to the next one, so it was doubly wonderful to hear how Journey’s journey is going.

I also received a belated birthday check for the local no-kill shelter from a friend.  I had asked for donations for them for my 30th birthday.  This friend wasn’t able to attend the cookout we had, but still wanted to donate to the shelter.  That donation brought the total to over $300.00. 

So, while not all of the adoptable animals are being saved, many are.  I can’t save them all, but I can keep transporting, donating, and anything else that may come along that I’m able to do. 

As I said, enough wallowing.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012


This post is a bit unusual for me as I typically try to stay away from controversial topics.  I don’t care to start arguments.  But today I’m making an exception; with the potentially controversial topic that is, I still don’t want to start arguments.  I would have posted this last night, but I was at book club, not on Facebook, and so didn’t find out until today.

Any of you who’ve read my blog have probably figured out that I’m a pet person.  A major pet person.  We don’t have human children, and aren’t planning to.  We call the pets our fur kids.  We donate to various animal rescue organizations and volunteer our time as well.  I don’t consider myself to be much of an activist, or a very passionate person, but if I qualify in any area, it would be the way I feel about cats and dogs.  So it probably comes as no surprise that I’ve been following the story of Lennox, the pit bull type dog in Belfast.  You can read more about it here if you’re not familiar.

I was holding out a lot of hope that Cesar Milan’s offer to take Lennox to the U.S. and work with him would be accepted.  I love his show and books, and he has done amazing things with dogs that have been dealt a very bad hand in life.  It seemed like a good solution, but it wasn’t allowed.  Lennox was euthanized yesterday.

From what I’ve read, Lennox’s human family wasn’t permitted to see him to say goodbye.  For any of you who are not pet people this may not seem like a big deal, but as a fur kid mom I can tell you it matters very much.  When you love and care for an animal you form a bond with them.  You need to be able to tell them goodbye whenever and however their end comes.  I cannot imagine being denied this simple human kindness.   I’ll be honest, I’ve spent most of my lunch break crying and hugging Emma just thinking about how those people must be feeling right now.

Breed Specific Legislation is a very sore subject with me, as it is with most people involved in animal rescue.   Outlawing a specific breed isn’t the solution to dog fights, dogs biting humans, or any other dog related issue.  Guess what?  If you do away with pit bulls, people who want to fight dogs will simply begin to use another breed.  Changing people’s behavior is the only solution. 

Any loss of life, be it human or animal, as the direct result of ignorance, bigotry, or fear simply makes me angry.  It’s needless and wasteful. 

My husband and I have long said that our next dog will be a pit bull, rescued of course.  We feel very strongly about that.  They’re typically much harder for shelters to adopt, so we feel that we can do the most good by adopting one whenever we’re in a position to have another dog.  Today, I stand by that even more. 

I’ll end this post with thanking you for “listening” to my little rant (if you’re still here, that is) and applauding you if you’re one of the people working in any way to prevent more stories like this from happening.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

Peaches Ledwidge at Conceive Writing has graciously presented me with the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thank you Peaches!  Peaches has written a novel that is on the verge of publication.  Her blog is also excellent, so be sure to check it out.

The rules for the Versatile Blogger Award are:
Create a post for the Versatile Blogger Award.
Add the Versatile Blogger Award.
In the same post, thank the blogger who gave you the award and put a link back to their blog.
Nominate 5 fellow bloggers the Versatile Blogger Award and inform each nominated blogger by posting a comment on each blog.
In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
In the same post, include this set of rules.

So here are seven random things about me:

1.   I’m fascinated by sharks.  While I never want to meet one personally, I love watching any special about them.  One of the best gifts my husband has ever given me was a boxed set of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week episodes.  I love it!
2.   I can’t stand for someone else to wash my clothes.  I have very specific methods for how I like them washed and the thought of them possibly not being washed the way I wanted makes my skin crawl.  Even if we win the lottery and become billionaires one day I will do my own laundry.
3.   I can touch my nose with my tongue.  Sounds attractive, huh?  I’ve been able to do it since I was four.  The only other person I know who can do it is my dad. 
4.   I love going to the dentist.  I look forward to my cleaning every six months.  My mouth feels great when I leave.  Plus, the dentist is the one doctor who doesn’t weigh you, doesn’t require the removal of any clothing, never wants to draw blood, and still gives you a goodie bag when you leave.
5.   I’m pretty much a homebody.  I would much rather stay home and have friends over for dinner/movies/games than go out most of the time.
6.   Loud noises drive me insane.  There are a few restaurants that I will only get take-out from because I can’t stand the noise long enough to eat in the restaurant.  I rarely play the radio on the way to or from work.  I just enjoy the silence.
7.   I have huge feet.  I wear a size 11, and I’m not even especially tall.  My feet are also narrow, and flat, so I have a very hard time finding shoes.  

Now to pass this award on to 5 other bloggers:

1.  Just Eat Your Cupcake
2.  Left-Handed KnitterNavigating The World
3.  This andThat
5.  Klahanie

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another Scorcher

This weekend was another scorcher here, with temperatures near 100 degrees.  It seems that it was unbearably hot in quite a few places though.  Once again the air conditioner just wasn’t able to keep up, so it stayed around 79 degrees in the house for most of the weekend.  The humidity was up as well, which seems to be what makes it truly horrible.  Even the dehumidifier wasn’t able to keep up.

It seems a little unfair that the weekends seem to be the scorchers, with temperatures dropping back down to bearable levels during the week, only to increase to miserable levels again by the weekend.  At least that seems to have been the pattern for the past couple of weeks here.  It feels a bit like being cheated on the weekend.  I’m not sure how it is for most of you, but the air conditioning at work seems to do a much better job of keeping up with the higher temperatures than the air conditioning at home.  I guess I should just be thankful that I work in an air conditioned building.

Because it was so hot we spent most of the weekend watching movies, we just didn’t have the energy for much else in the heat.  We watched Big Miracle, which was great (I’m a huge Drew Barrymore fan), though it did make my husband start talking (again) about wanting to move to Alaska.  If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth checking out, just make sure your significant other knows if you aren’t willing to relocate to Alaska.

Here’s another summer crock-pot recipe as well.  It’s very tasty, and doesn’t heat the house up to make.  You can change it up some by using different dressings and wraps if you want something a little different.

Italian Turkey Wraps

1 split turkey breast (also works with a whole turkey breast, just double your seasoning and water)

1 package of Italian Dressing Mix

1 ½ cups water

Whole Wheat Tortillas

Shredded Romaine Lettuce

Chopped Bell Pepper

Chopped Red Onion

Italian Dressing

Place  turkey in slow cooker and sprinkle with dressing mix, pour in water, cover and cook on Low for 4 – 5 hours.

Remove turkey from slow cooker, and shred with a fork.

Place turkey, lettuce, onion, and bell pepper in tortillas, and drizzle lightly with Italian salad dressing.  Enjoy!  

The good news is that it’s beginning to cool down some today, and we’re expecting temperatures in the high 70s during the middle of the week.  I can’t wait!  We’re expected to have thunderstorms for most of the next week, but at the moment that seems like a small price to pay for more reasonable temperatures.

So what about you?  Is there any relief in sight or are you due for another scorcher?  I hope you’re keeping cool.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Sock Gremlin

As I’ve mentioned I’ve been making a real effort this week to get things organized and tidy.  This endeavor has involved catching up on laundry, which has included a mission to match up all of the stray socks that have been floating around.  

Unmatched, stray, or lonely socks seem to be a common household problem, and seem to have various names attached to them.  When I was a kid we kept them in one of the big popcorn tins, known as the Lonely Sock Bin.  Periodically (I think largely when my parents needed us quiet and safely occupied), my sister and I would be parked somewhere with the Lonely Sock Bin, on a mission to create pairs.  It seemed that regardless of how full the Lonely Sock Bin was or how long we worked on it we rarely matched up more than a few pairs of socks.  The socks stayed lonely.

I’ve heard many theories as to the cause of the lonely/mismatched/stray sock problem.  To name a few:

They get sucked into the drain of the washing machine and are gone forever.  I don’t think I believe this one.  First, I’m pretty sure that many socks being sucked into the drain of the washing machine would eventually clog it.  Second, similarly sized items don’t seem to disappear at the same rate socks do. Third, my dad worked in water and wastewater for most of my life.  We saw a lot of weird things floating around in some of the tanks and ponds, but never socks.

One of the more interesting theories I recently read (on someone's blog, I can't for the life of me remember which one) is that dryer lint is in fact the cremated remains of your missing socks.  This theory has some potential, though it’s a little hard to explain the dryer lint from the loads that didn’t have socks.

Then there’s my dad’s pet theory; that your missing socks have actually been thrown behind the dryer by your spouse or children when they’re frustrated, angry, bored, annoyed, etc.  My dad has some definite conspiracy theory leanings.  We really didn’t throw his socks behind the dryer.  As far as I know, my mom still doesn’t, though we like to joke that she has to work triple time tossing them behind the dryer since my sister and I moved out.  Oddly enough, there has never been a stash of socks found behind the dryer any time it has been moved, though this isn’t enough to make my dad abandon his theory.  

I think, though, that I have discovered the real reason why socks disappear, or at least the real reason they disappear at our house.  We have a sock gremlin.  He runs around when we’re not home, feasting on socks, thereby gaining power to run around faster and feast on more socks.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I suspect our sock gremlin is invisible; there has never been a sighting and he hasn’t been hunted down and killed by the quirky quartet of cats.  I think it’s because he’s invisible, which it makes it impossible for them to catch him. 

Our sock gremlin seems to like variety in his diet; he very rarely eats an entire pair of socks.  No, he much prefers one sock from several different pairs, especially if they’re totally different and the survivors can’t possibly be passed off as matching pair in a pinch.  

So what about you?  Do you have a sock gremlin?  Do you believe any of these theories?  Do you have another theory?  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Day of Freedom

I did get my day of freedom yesterday.  I didn’t go anywhere.  I didn’t even talk to or see anyone other than my husband.  I didn’t go on Facebook, and I completely ignored the phone.  It was wonderful.  I may have to do it more often.  I was able to get quite a bit accomplished too; not as much as I would have liked, but definitely enough to call it a good day.

I cleaned out and organized the refrigerator.  This always makes me happy and makes me feel like a success in the kitchen, so that was excellent.  

I caught up most of the laundry, including putting it away (that’s always the really hard part for me for some reason), and some of the ironing.  I am beginning to think that the cats pull clean clothes from the closets and dressers and toss them in the hamper while we’re gone.  I think it’s possible; our cats can behave very badly sometimes, and we seem to generate an exorbitant amount of laundry for just two people.  

I submitted a poem to an online publication.  I had been meaning to do this for about two months, but between procrastination and a fear of rejection I just hadn’t gotten around to it.  It’s submitted now.  It will be about three months before I hear anything back from them, so now that it’s done I’m trying not to think much about it.  Yes, I am aware of the fact that if I’d submitted it when I first decided to I’d only have about another month to wait before hearing from them.  Live and learn.

Continuing on the writing front, I organized my partially written posts into folders within my folder on the desk top, and named them appropriately.  I will be happier because I can find things now, and my husband will be happier because they’re organized and not all over the desktop.  (He has this theory that you shouldn’t save everything to the desktop and that that’s what folders are for.)  I also worked on a few posts for later on, though not quite as many as I had hoped.  

I also scrubbed the kitchen floor; the on your hands and knees with a bucket of soapy water kind of scrubbing, instead of using a mop or Swiffer.  I haven’t done this in a while, and let me just say that almost every inch of my body is screaming “WHY???  WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?” today.  But the floor looks really, really good.  

The floor scrubbing was good too because, being a mindless activity that kept my hands busy, it gave me time to think about some things.  As I mentioned Tuesday, I’ve been edgy and snappish lately, so I spent the time trying to figure out some solutions.  I concluded that at least part of the trouble is that I’ve lapsed into a very disorganized state.  I am happiest when I know what I’m making for dinner every (or at least most) night for the week, when my work clothes are laid out the night before, and when things are just generally well-organized and planned.  This hasn’t been happening lately.  I’m not entirely sure why, but I suspect it’s due to a combination of poor time management and a general lack of organization.

I found some great articles on organization with some tips and ideas that I plan to try, and I’m working on a plan for getting some things organized.  I’ll probably be writing more about that later.  

The time management part is harder.  I seem to have a pattern of saying yes to everything I’m asked to do or participate in, getting burned out that way, and then saying no to everything.  I’m still working on a solution for this one.  Most of the things I commit to seem important at the time, so I’m having a hard time figuring out what to say no to.  How do you prioritize?  Do you have a daily/weekly/monthly limit for things you’ll commit to?  Do you have any suggestions at all for better time management?

I also came to the realization that I spend (okay, waste) a lot of time every week on Facebook and talking on the phone.  I realize that not all phone conversations are a waste of time, and there are definitely people that I need and want to talk to.  I need to stop answering my phone any and every time it rings and staying on the phone until the other person needs to go.  I plan to start utilizing voicemail and prioritizing whether or not a call needs to be returned immediately, based on the voicemail and what I’m currently trying to accomplish.  And I think I’m going to start setting serious limits for my time on Facebook.  I’m also considering whittling down my friends list.  Have any of you tried this, or had success in limiting phone and Facbook time?

I hope you all had a safe, wonderful, and happy Fourth of July.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Enjoying Freedom

No, I’m not talking about the kind being celebrated tomorrow.  I’m talking about the kind that comes from  having no commitments for a day.  I, like a lot of people, have the day off of work tomorrow.  Unlike a lot of people I’ve spoken to I have no plans for the day.

My husband is currently working nights, so he’ll be sleeping during the day, which means we’ve made no plans.  I’m pretty sure I could have a rock concert in the living room and he would sleep through it, so I’m not really limited on what I can do at home.  Not that I want a rock concert.  I’m actually not a fan of loud noise; it’s just nice for me (and for him since I’m a klutz) that I don’t have to tiptoe around quietly while he’s sleeping. 

I have rescheduled the one commitment I had for tomorrow and have blatantly refused to make any others.  I need the freedom of an unstructured day.  I need to clean the house.  I need to iron.  I need to work on some blog posts that have been swirling around in my head.  I need to regain control of myself.

I need 24 hours in which I don’t have to meet anyone’s demands, solve anyone’s problems, or deal with anything outside the walls of our little house.  I have felt myself becoming increasingly snappish and edgy for the past week.  I’m not entirely sure what is causing it, but I am sure I don’t like who I am at the moment. 

I think I will be a much better person after my day of freedom.  I plan to use the time to come up with a plan for making myself less edgy and snappish.  I suspect this will involve coming up with a plan to get some things organized and set some time management priorities, and of course beginning to implement said plan.

 So what about you?  How do you plan to spend your day of freedom?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Surviving the Heat Wave

Has it been unusually and unbearably hot where you are this weekend?  It definitely has here.  The air conditioner stopped keeping up on Friday afternoon.  It was set at 71 and stayed at 79 through most of the night.  We thought that was probably at least due in part to me turning on the stove to make dinner; according to the thermometer on the refrigerator it was 85 degrees in the kitchen.

After that I decided I wouldn’t be turning the stove on for the rest of the weekend.   It’s very tempting just to go out for dinner, especially if that means an hour or two in a place where the air conditioning works better than ours, but that’s just not in the budget, especially in thinking what the power bill will be like after the air conditioner’s struggle to keep up.  Instead I’ve been using some of my summer slow cooker recipes.  Here’s one for a wonderful chicken salad:

Summer Chicken Salad

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley for cooking)

½ cup seedless green grapes

½ cup seedless red grapes

1 medium apple, chopped

¼ cup honey mustard

2/3 cup Miracle Whip

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker with spices and cover with water.  Cover and cook on Low for 3 – 5 hours.  When chicken is fully cooked remove from water and shred with a fork.  Allow chicken to cool to room temperature. Combine chicken with remaining ingredients, mixing well. 

We had this on croissant rolls, along with salad and fruit last night.  It was a nice light dinner in the heat.  Despite not using the stove the house stayed at 81 degrees for most of last night.  We told ourselves it would have been worse if I had turned on the stove and/or oven.

I also made sure to hang up all of the laundry outside to dry yesterday instead of running the dryer.  I’ve been making more of an effort to do that this summer.  It just makes sense; it’s more earth friendly, it saves money, and we’re hoping that by not heating up the house as much with the dryer we can help our air conditioning unit (which our Realtor joked was probably brought over on the Mayflower) hobble along for another couple of years. 

The only problem in hanging up the laundry outside is that we don’t actually have a clothesline yet, so it involves some creativity in hanging the clothes on the porch and a little accordion clotheslines meant for drying delicates inside.  I am proud to say, though, that I managed to dry four loads of laundry outside this weekend.   

We’re pretty sure we need to go with an umbrella clothesline (my husband calls them collapsible clotheslines; we think possibly umbrella might be the common southern term and collapsible the common Yankee term) due to the size of our backyard, the location of the trees, and where the sunny parts are.  I’ve looked at some online, and most of them aren’t reviewed very well.  The consensus seems to be that they’re fine if you only hang one load of relatively light-weight laundry on them, but most seem to bend or break if you hang towels, comforters, or jeans on them.  So I’m still on a mission to find an umbrella clothesline that’s reviewed well, or at least not terribly.  Does anyone have one they’re happy with and would recommend?  Or a suggestion for finding a good one?

It also looks like the temperatures will be going back down to the high 80s here starting Tuesday.  They’ll be in the low 90s tomorrow, instead of the high 90s or 100, so that’s definitely an improvement.  The air conditioner seems to be able to keep up as long as stays below about 94 degrees, so we’re pretty excited about the drop.

So what about you, how have you been faring in the heat?  What tricks have you been using to keep cool?