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Hitting Reset

It’s been a few weeks, hasn’t it? Things have been a bit crazy, to put it mildly. A quick run-down, for anyone who doesn’t follow me on social media:

– Got my second covid shot and immediately got a norovirus the same day, so that was super-fun. I was sick for a week, couldn’t eat for a good 24 hours, and couldn’t eat anything substantial for the next five days after. Good times. Bonus: I have no idea if I had side-effects from the shot or not.

– My dishwasher broke, and is still broken. I finally got an appointment to have someone look at it…Tuesday. Have I mentioned I hate, hate, hate doing dishes by hand?

– I broke my 100 daily words for 100 days streak when I was sick, and with the dishwasher being broke, I haven’t picked it back up because my writing time is late at night after the kitchen is clean, and the kitchen takes me twice as long as it used to now.

– I got my hair cut for the first time in a year, and that was a far better experience than I’d hoped for. I like the new stylist, she was very thoughtful and careful with how she cut my hair given my grow-out goals, and I can let it grow for the next six months now and it should grow out very nicely.

So. Lots going on. Ironically, I feel a lot better overall since the norovirus/full-body-purge…some other health issues I was having seem to have magically gone away/fixed themselves since, which is actually pretty awesome. So much so that I’m considering doing a planned 24 hour fast every so often, just to sort of “reset” my physical systems. Gotta do a little reading up first, but it seems like it might be a good idea. Anything that keeps my body running smoother as I get older is on the table, as far as I’m concerned.

I am getting somewhat faster at doing the dishes (and eating out an extra night or two per week), and my writing issue is more of a “pouting” issue, so there’s really no reason I can’t sit down and whip out 100 words and still get to bed on time, other than attitude. So, I need to give myself a stern talking-to, and get my butt back to writing. I have a very nifty new planner that’s basically just habit tracking for writers, and it actually makes me want to write so I have something to record daily. Whatever works, right?

As for my hair…I’ve got some new routines forming due to both the longer length and the silver growing out. I watch YouTubers who are growing out their gray hair too (judge all you want – everyone likes company when embarking on a new adventure), and one of them mentioned that something she wished she knew before growing her gray out was that makeup will get in your white hair, and you can *see* it (because…white), and you can’t get it out. So you have to put your hair back when you’re doing your makeup, which is something that never crossed my mind, but makes total sense to me. So I’m changing up my routine since I do already have a lot of white right up near my face. I used to shower, then do my hair, then do my makeup (and my hair would often get in the way, because it’s “poofy” when I blow it out). I’m switching it up, and after a shower, wrapping my hair in a hair towel (women and long-haired men, have you discovered hair towels yet? If not, do!), go do my makeup and get dressed, and then do my hair last. Voila! No makeup in my white hair. It’s the little things…

Also, the new cut has taken away the worst of the “flips” at the end of my layers that forced me to take a shower and wash my hair daily for work, so I could tame those silly flips with the blow dryer. Now, I find that my hair just flattens out a bit on the second day after a shower, so I can skip the shower and hair wash every other day, which is far better for my scalp, my hair *and* my skin! Huzzah! I celebrated by ordering a flat iron and a heat-resistant mat for the bathroom counter, so on days I don’t need to shower, I can either straighten or curl my hair (or leave it alone) as I feel like it. It’s a new era, which is awesome, and exactly what I was hoping for. So yay!

In other news, we’re back to yardwork again, and I tell you what – nothing gets those muscles screaming again like shoveling a bunch of wheelbarrows and buckets of dirt to fill garden beds and pots. I am *sore* today, I tell you what. But we got a bunch of tomatoes planted this past Saturday, and I moved my hardy geranium into the brick planter in the front of our house. It’s a start.

In any case, things are slowly getting back on track *again* (though the to-do list is longer than ever), and with any luck, they’ll stay that way for awhile this time. One can only hope, eh?


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Springy Spring

Daytime view of the yard – can’t wait until it grows in!

The front yard landscaping is done! Huzzah! We’ll spend the next several years paying for it, but it looks great, and is very low maintenance, which was the main goal. The neighbors have had favorable comments so far. But we haven’t put our pink metal flamingos out yet. Who doesn’t love pink flamingos, right?

Yes, we are going to be “those” neighbors – the ones with the beautiful landscaping broken up by all manner of kitschy lawn art. Pretty *and* fun, all in one spot.

Nighttime view – skeleton tree!

I need gnomes now. Ones that scream when you pick them up. There has to be a way, right?

Needless to say, with the front yard done (or as done as it can be until the last frost date, which here is May 15th), we’ve turned our attention to the back yard. We have much to do and very little time to do it in – our spring motivation wears off very quickly once temperatures are above 80 or so for any length of time. We’ve started refinishing the old patio swing with a new coat of paint (we ran out – need to get more soon), and I have new cushions/covers for it that I bought two years ago just hanging in the basement waiting to be put on.

We have a new gazebo in boxes in our driveway to be assembled on the patio, which will give us some much-needed shade back there when the sun is frying everything for hours on end. Before we can put that up, we need to disassemble and remove a shed we have sitting on the patio at the moment.

I started a project to raise the two rose beds just off the patio a couple years ago. I need to finish that project, replace some roses, and spread out the plants with better spacing.

We ordered some new veggie bed kits with compost towers in the center to help with feeding. They’re also sitting in the driveway, and we need to assemble them and get those filled (before May, hopefully!).

And we need to rake and overseed the backyard again, to continue our weed abatement/grass revitalization project. Eventually we’ll probably have all that just ripped out and redone, but for now, we’ll just take care of it as well as possible. And maybe this year I’ll finally get the hang of using the hose-based liquid fertilizer spreader for using the organic fertilizer I get from the company that picks up our compose each week. It doesn’t seem like rocket science, but apparently it kind of is.

By mid-June (at the latest), I’ll be sick of yardwork and outdoor projects (I’m not really a “play outside” kinda girl). So it’s important to get as much done early as possible.

Crate training…with treats!

Inside, we’ve been rearranging furniture to accommodate a couple of wire dog crates for our little four-legged hoodlums. Because sometimes it’s just too hard to be good. Especially for younger pups who are still very impulse-driven and eat everything. Including things that might harm them. And things that cost a fair chunk of change to replace. *sigh* I’m not sure if we’ll be able to crate them while we’re gone or not yet – they’re still getting the hang of the whole “sit quietly in the crate” thing. But we’ll see. It’s good training, no matter what happens.

Last but not least, I’ve instituted a writing goal for myself, to hopefully get that habit ingrained again. One hundred words a day for one hundred days. That’s the goal. Ironically, I had five days down, and then missed Sunday so I could get this blog done and posted. So, I’m starting over (again) at zero. I’ve ordered some word count stickers and black certificate covers to post them in, so that each day I’ll have a record of whether I hit 100, or went higher. It’ll be fun, as long as I don’t start over too often. There’s really no reason to – 100 words takes very little time (five minutes or less when I’m on a roll).

So, busy busy around here. At least until it gets hot, and staying inside to write is the only thing I actually *want* to do. 😉


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Spring, Renewal, & Moving On

Let the digging commence!

The sun is shining, the weather is beautiful (at least for now), there’s a bobcat in our front yard because the landscapers we hired last fall are finally starting work today, and…there’s a puppy in the house.

Meet Apollo!

No, not a tiny puppy, thank goodness. But a ten-month old whirlwind now named Apollo who has more energy than hubby, Athena and myself put together. Athena loves him, he loves Athena, and that is what matters most. Also, he’s adorable, which is going to come in very handy for him while he’s learning things like “stay out of the roses” and “don’t eat that”.

Not to mention “Off” – which he’s learning quickly as my internal organs try to heal from where he punched them in his jumpy eagerness his first few days here (he’s much better about not jumping now, and will be much more polite about that posthaste).

We can’t both look at the camera at the same time…

It’s been a long time since we had a puppy in the house, and that wasn’t originally what I was looking for. But, he needed a new home, Athena needed a new bestie, and it all just sort of worked out.

Apollo is an American Staffordshire Terrier, a breed that is part of the unofficial “pitbull” group of dog breeds. He’s a bit bigger than Murphy, who was an American Pit Bull Terrier – same group, wider size-range, slightly different features, very similar personalities. His previous owner did a bang-up job of raising him, and took fabulous care of him, so Apollo doesn’t have any of the baggage a lot of rescues tend to bring with them, which is nice for us. He’s a nearly blank slate, and a very quick learner who is going to just be a stellar companion all around. We’re incredibly lucky to have been in the right place at the right time to have him join our family.

Though I will be glad when he’s old enough to let me sleep in on the weekends again. I miss that already.

It’s unfortunate that he’s only been with us a week, and I can’t really take any time off right now to make sure he’s okay with all the workers and equipment that will be in the front yard for the next month. We’ll cross our fingers and hope for the best. He’s pretty resilient and smart, so hopefully he’ll roll with it fairly easily. The week after, I have some time off to finish my back tattoo, and he’ll be getting neutered on the day I get that done, so we can spend the next few days after healing up together.

The hubby and I have also started cleaning up the backyard, getting ready to put a gazebo cover on the patio, and spiff things up a bit out there so it’s potentially usable in the summer heat. Since the new front yard should take care of itself, we can take more care with the backyard, and make that a great space to hang out and play with the dogs. Maybe I’ll even be able to grill out there, with the covered space to keep it cooler. We’ll see!

The maple tree out back is budding out, and the roses will be doing the same by the end of the month. Things are coming back to life, and I’m optimistic that it’s gonna be a good summer.


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Recalibration, Spring, and Dreaming

I don’t know if this works the same way for everyone, but every time I make a plan, I end up being surprised at how much longer things take than I expect them to. Occasionally I’m surprised the other way, but for the most part, I think I’ll be able to fit more in than I actually am. Which is why I’m constantly recalibrating.

It’s kind of annoying, honestly.

Of course there are always those tasks that take longer initially, and then I get more efficient the more I do them, so I can shave the time down some. And I hate to say it (because I hate sounding like a whiner), but a lot of the time my “allotted time” gets encroached on either by my own laziness, or the dogs, or other humans/plans going on around me that I have to be flexible for. That annoys me too – mostly when I have a nice routine going and finally have all the things in a time slot perfected to fit there, and then…the routine has to change. And that just blows my fragile little mind for some reason. I don’t know why I can’t just adjust and recalibrate to keep moving forward “on the fly” so to speak, but I can’t. My mind needs time to process the new order of things, and re-do my routines, and then settle in again and then…usually something happens to change it again.

I wish magnesium (or any of the other supplements I take or could take) would fix that too, but unfortunately, it’s more a personality trait than a physical thing. There isn’t any “fix” for personality quirks.

So then I try to “proof” my routines by building in extra time, and that never really works either, so…I just muddle through knowing that I could be so much more productive than I actually am if only I could get into a daily routine and not have anyone change it on me for a good solid six months or more.

Yes, I know. That sounds horribly boring to most of you, but it’s heaven to me (and others like me).

In any case, I don’t have a “meal budget” this week due to routines being thrown out of whack this past weekend, I let my workouts get sidelined for most of last week, and I had to spend “business hours” (ie, 10:45pm – 11:45pm) working on the new book cover/uploading instead of the tasks I wanted to, because time is finite and that had to be done on deadline. I’m trying to just roll with it. I got a quick workout in last night, I’ll try to do a menu plan tonight and I started getting back on track with the business plan last night since the book is all done/uploaded/ready to go, but it still niggles in my head that I lost all that time.

In other news, the garden is waking up, and I love going around and checking out which plants have buds on them, what made it, what didn’t, and seeing all the potential for the beauty that is to come. Both of our maple trees have buds (thought we lost the little one!), all of my rose bushes have green on the lower canes and buds on the stems, and a couple rhubarb plants that I thought for sure were goners because I left them in a big pot on the patio last year are coming up as if winter never happened, which is pretty amazing for our climate (things don’t tend to overwinter well…or at all, in pots here). I’m getting the itch to go out with a rake and clean things up, and then get started on all the “beautification plans” we have for this year. Even if we only get a fraction done, it’s going to look so much better and be so much nicer than it is now…I can’t wait to see what it looks like by the end of summer.

We went out looking for a mailbox last Saturday, but not just any mailbox. We wanted a large, nice-looking, sturdy metal mailbox, with some decorative elements to it (ie, not a big box store “box”, so to speak), so we drove out to a specialty shop on the frontage road. Unfortunately, said shop has closed up business and is waiting for liquidation auction scheduled for early May. We decided to wait and we might go out to the auction and see if we can get a nice mailbox and a patio set, if there are any up for grabs. It’s really too bad we didn’t go sooner. But who knew they’d go out of business? It happens so fast, and always makes me wonder what happened.

The other thing that made me wonder recently was running over two things as I was pulling into my parking spot for work yesterday morning: a nail brush attached to a lid, and a polish bottle. The lid/brush actually fared far better than the bottle, so I can tell you the polish was black.

Things that make you go “hmmm….”