Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Half Done!

More of Ollie's handiwork. It was a bit of a surprise to me that this happened yesterday and I had thought it would have happened earlier in his stay.  He fooled me into a false sense of security.  Just like Teddy used to do.  I just wish we'd been using cheap toilet paper as about a half a roll fell victim to his  naughtiness.
For those who might think this is typical puppy behavior, Ollie is ten and a half.  His older brother is 16 and he behaved well.  It was actually no trouble at all to have a senior in the house -- although I feel bad for him because I knew him when he was a total knucklehead and I wish he still had a bit of trouble left in him.

By the time 10AM rolled around today and their parents came to get them, I think they were happy to be rid of our house.  Since one of the boys has a lot of food allergies, I didn't dole out any treats to him.  That was Ollie -- and he suffered no ill effects from eating my chamois cloth.  If anything, it helped his stools firm up.  And boy did I have a lot of poop to pick up this week!
 I left the boys alone briefly to get to Amvets when it first opened.  On holidays like today, everything is 50% off and I wanted to snag more tights.  I normally pay $3 each and then use a $4 off $15 coupon.  But at $1.50 a pair (they retail for $16), I wanted to get more for my stash.  I have quite a few already.  The two tops were $2.50 each and brand new.  The new Anne Klein shoes were $2.50 also and the Easy Spirits were $2.  They look to be new or barely worn.  Both have comfort rubber soles and that will help if I get the chance to keep my bank job -- the position I am now being considered for is down town which means more walking.  These will fit the bill for "to-from" bus/subway/parking lot shoes.

This awesome cigar-box guitar was a gift for watching the boys.  My friend is very generous.  He is a guitar head and if he's bought something and it doesn't work out and he doesn't feel like re-selling it, he gives it to me.  How lucky am I?  Two of the amps the guitar is resting on were hand-me downs from Bill.

I was very thrilled to get the cigar box guitar because that's what many old time blues/country players who had no money often resorted to making their guitars from.  Carl Perkin's first guitar was made from a cigar box and broom handle -- constructed by his dad.  You can buy kits for these too.  I am just thrilled to have this neat little thing in my collection. Woo hoo!
I started cleaning up after three dogs and two lazy adults by mopping the kitchen floor.  There's no blame on the dogs.  We hadn't mopped it in weeks. OK, months... I think.  There just hasn't been any time and with construction going on out back, it was a lost cause.
I had to take the couch apart and wash all of the covers.  Three dogs -- one of whom was wet most days, had our house smelling like dog.  I vacuumed and vacuumed and am washing the covers in two loads.  I still have a lot of vacuuming to do upstairs but the worst of it was on the first floor.

After I am done with this labor, I plan to relax!  At least I took advantage of a sale and got some good deals.  The labor part of the day sucks, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do if she doesn't want to live in total filth.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cheapskatery

While I try to eat healthy, it can be so costly.  That's why I make impulse purchases when I see a good deal.  These were on clearance at Tops.  The soy milk was .69 per box and the flax milk was .89.  I picked up four boxes of each.  No, I don't have room to store them but I plan for us to use them immediately.  They were cheaper than low fat milk!  That means smoothies and mixing with cereal for the next month.  Not everyone likes these things plain but over cereal and mixed with regular milk, they are fine.  It is even better that they have no sugar added -- which negates the half of the health benefits.
The Teddie peanut butter (or any all natural no sugar added version) is a staple in our house and I found it at The Christmas Tree shop for $3.29 a jar (and grabbed these two).  They do sell food there.  The store on the whole did not impress me and I doubt I'll go back, but the peanut butter was a good buy and where I'd found it mildly amused my husband.  The Sunbutter was on sale today and I wanted to try it out.  It's more expensive than peanut butter but less than almond.  The only thing is that this has cane sugar in it.  So I mixed one jar in with all of the other butters and then added chopped almonds, pecans, pumpkin & sunflower seeds.  Having all different kinds of nuts and seeds provides an even better nutritional profile that if I just stuck with straight peanut butter.

Mr. Bun needed surgery again!  He has lost so much stuffing that a transplant was required.  A pair of stockings with a run in them are now inside and he's been stitched up.  This should do for another few weeks.  Yes, this is cheap... but the dog also loves her familiar toys.  It is always exciting for her to get a new one, but she develops an attachments for the ones she has mauled and it's funny to see her try to carry them all around at once.

Being this cheap takes time so it's a good thing there's an extra day this weekend! I miss the pay for days I don't work, but it's nice to have more hours to get things done.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Getting Rid of Some Scrungy Stuff...

 I broke down and went to Home Goods today and picked up things to replace some fairly shabby items in the house.   I'd already replaced worn pot holders but forgot that the mitts needed to be lefty/righty universal -- so the two I had gotten weren't good for TBG.  The only universal style I could find for cheap was orange.  We'll survive.  He also got a masculine body gel/shampoo pump which will make him happy.  Sunscreen was an end of season .50 cents.  I'll use it before the fall.  We also needed a paper towel holder and a few mats.
This ragged little piece in the back entry way has been a mess ever since we moved in.  It's really embarrassing and it was time to replace it.  This is a high traffic area and with all the construction that had gone on, the guys really dragged a lot of dirt back here.
The new mat looks better -- although the floor is still a mess.  There is no use in cleaning until the boys are gone.  They make quite a mess.  Especially little Ollie.  He drags in a lot of stuff and has turned out to be quite the trouble-maker.  Last night he ate an entire chamois cloth.  Well I caught him when he was down to the last four inch square of it.  That caused a bit of an upset but he seems to be fine because he's eating and pooping (nice and firm for a change) and acting like a jerk so things must be back to normal.  TBG reported back from camp that Teddy was a total jerk today too.  You separate them and they still manage to cause trouble.  Go figure!

We had a black mat with little rubber nubs that I kept facing the floor.  The nubs have been falling off and there has been a never ending supply of small rubber black bits messing up the kitchen. The mat was a mistake but that was something discovered after I started using it.  I have not found a mat to replace it but want something in that uber high traffic area.  For now, that will be a clear bath mat.  It will protect the floor and can be wiped clean.  It's not a good look but for now it's there as a purely functional solution.
My wallet was getting too beat up.  I have yet to find a small "fold" type that I like but did get something to use for now at the Bass store at the Waterloo outlets.  I've had it for about a  month but just got to switching it over today.  The new wallet isn't really very well configured. It wasn't apparent to me at the time that it did not have a larger section for bills. For now it will have to do.  It's hard to be a woman who wants a smaller wallet.  Actually, it's hard to be a woman who wants good stuff but doesn't want to pay a lot and who waits until she has no choice but to find something.  I am going to really apply myself to finding the right wallet and a suitable mat for the front of the stove!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Busy Week

It has been a busy week and that's why I've missed posting.  Having the two extra dogs in the house has added on to what goes on daily.  This is what I came home to today.  One of the boys likes to pillage trash and even though this was firmly slid under a table, he got to it anyway.  It has been hard having no wastebaskets around the house so we kept one and thought it would not be readily accessible.  These two bark a lot and are prone to accidents too which means extra vigilance has been required.  One of them is a serious food bandit too so we have had to change our dining habits.  TBG took off to camp for the long weekend with Teddy and I am home with the boys.  Teddy has had another hotspot eruption which means she is out of the water and daddy will have to watch her carefully.  What a summer!

I had a couple of jewelry experiences that just re-enforce the power of bling.  Today I met someone for coffee because I've been suggested for another position in the bank.  We hit it off and one of the first things mentioned was my unusual ring.  Things just got better from there.  I have another meeting next week.  I may land on my feet after all.

On Wednesday I worked at a huge and important meeting and had a lot of visibility.  The highest ranking executive was there and I had not been introduced.  She was wearing a great belt and necklace combo and walked by me.  I stopped her to tell her how fabulous her accessories were.  The people I was with were just floored that I had the guts to do that.  But you know, it was totally not a schmooze thing. It was a genuine compliment and a "girl thing."  She looked fabulous.

I did dress "appropriately" and got a lot of ribbing from my colleagues later because they wanted me there in my glactic tights and flashy jewelry.  Now I wish I had worn that stuff!

My apologies for not posting but after having a few big days and a eight extra legs in the house, I was just tuckered out.  This weekend will be spent cleaning because the house really needs it.  Things will be back to normal on Tuesday... I hope!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More Crab!

Tonight's dinner was crab and asparagus lasagna and a side of seafood (shrimp) bisque.  I just did not feel like making pizza and with fresh lasagna noodles (from the refrigerator case), this was not too hard to pull together. Rather than overstuffed multi-layer, sky-high lasagna with gobs of meat and red sauce, I'm getting to where I really like thin, three layers of subtle flavors for my version of this dish.  The soup was very thick, so we have lots of left-overs.

As for the bisque, I'd gotten a bag of "salad shrimp" and it was dismal.  Then I figured that canned bisque probably doesn't start with prime crustaceans.  So I whizzed it up with other stuff and created a fine bisque.  Barley was used to thicken it up and for some of the stock, I used part of a box from the dollar store.

Now I'm off to pick out a suitable slack-based outfit for tomorrow. There is a big corporate event and I will be in front of hundreds of people (in a supporting role), and need to look professional yet casual but also have mobility.  Tomorrow is a very big day and I'll have a chance to make a good impression on a few key executives. Whether it will help my long-term prospects or not remains to be seen, but it's a good thing to be able to say I did!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Crowded House

Every night for the next week will be a three dog night.  We are dog sitting!  Our friends are on a week-long cruise.  Last summer, they drove to our camp and retrieved Teddy and kept her while TBG was hospitalized after his heart attack. We owed them big time.

Three years ago, we kept Phineas the Border Collie for a week. He was 13 at the time and Teddy was three.  The wrestled all day, every day.  This time, not at all.  Phin approached her and put his paws on her back and just stopped.  She looked at him for a sign, but at 16 he is just too old to play.  But he wants to.  As the alpha of the group, he patrols the yard but mostly just stands and looks.  He is as deaf as a door nail.

Phineas is the "end of the line" for Border Collies in our "dog circle."  He is a year and a half older than our Woody would have been and he is the only BC left out of a group of almost a half dozen.  We all met on a Flyball team.  It is truly the end of a dog era.  Our friends who own him have four dogs and three of them are smaller -- two cockers and a bichon.  The girls are being boarded and the boys are staying with us.  You get to be a certain age and rambunctious big dogs no longer make sense!

I had wanted to go to the Elmwood Festival of the Arts this weekend but laundry and housework took up all day Saturday and we had to welcome our guests.  On Sunday I did a short jog.  No, I'm not supposed to run anymore but I find I can do a very slow jog for about three miles twice a week and be OK.  After that, I swam.  I thought that would be healthier than going to a street festival and it allowed me to do two more loads of laundry and change all of the beds. Besides after a hot day of work and exercise, a dip in the big river not only gives you a workout, it is both relaxing and cathartic.  Just perfect!
I was out walking Ollie the Cocker Spaniel this morning when I sited this three step run about four or five houses away, which I schlepped home. It was unbearably heavy and really too much for me to carry. It was filthy too.  My vision was to make it into a shelf or a wine rack.  If not, I can put a pallet on it and stack wood too keep it dry.  If that fails and it's not pressure treated, it will make for a good fire.  TBG said I should have waited for him to get it but I suspect he would have refused and I'm still cautious over his hernia healing.  He is going back to Spinning instruction next week and has his bike in the shop for expensive repairs. He can finally start riding again and I did not want to mess it up by my garbage picking habits!

I did make crab pasta tonight.  It turned out fairly well. There's capicolla, asparagus, mushrooms, onion, some of the crab meat, pecorino romano & parmesan cheeses in it.  We had "scallops in an ashtray" as an appie -- baked stuff scallops.  I have a busy week and it will make the evenings tough but tomorrow is supposed to be hot.  Teddy and I had a great swim tonight and we met up with "Swim Jim" -- we plan on the same for tomorrow plus TBG wants to join us. Summer is slipping away -- we must make the most of it!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to the Fence!


 Here are is a sample of one of the six trays I picked up yesterday for a buck a piece.  I went into Home Depot (I buy there because I own stock) and got a can of clear Rustoleum and a packages of shower curtain hooks. The hooks might have been a cheaper find elsewhere but I am pressed for time these day!  Since I wasn't sure if the trays would rust outside or not, the goal was to coat them with the spray to prolong their life.
I love this tray which used to belong to my grandmother.  The thing is, we don't really have an area to display it and we never use it.  While it is a hand painted beauty and I love it, we never get to enjoy it.  So, I'm doing something I know my siblings will abhor but will serve the purpose of increasing my enjoyment of it.  It got a coat of the same Rustoleum as my cheap thrift store trays and it is going into the garden.
The shower curtains are going to be hooks on the outdoor buffet.  The reason for choosing them was their dark color and because they are rust resistant -- after all, they were designed to be hung in a wet place!  I had enough extra to use a few in the kitchen too.  We'll hang grilling implements here when we cook outside and I wanted a hook I could leave outside (but will bring in during the winter).  I still can't wait to have the fence stained.  We are also waiting on Jimmy Jam to do a little more finish work but he has been MIA this weekend.







This is how I'm going to arrange the trays.  I will bring up the big tray once the fence is stained but did not want to mount it until then.  I'm not entirely sure how I'll decide to mount it.  I figured I'd have a different theme for each panel and this one would be the flower tray area.  I have a big metal star and was going to put that on the bottom of another panel and may do other stars or hang a flag in the panel over that.  I also have my eyes open for more carved wood serving pieces.  They are generally teak and handle water well. I want to mount those where I can too.

I don't want to go crazy decorating the fence but I do want to add some visual interest. It was nice to find those bargain trays for sure!