Tuesday, December 27

Post Christmas

How have your holidays been?

Thankfully, ours was pretty carefree and relaxing. What a nice change of pace, lol.

I ended my chest cold with a head-sinus cold thing so that has been lovely. To make me feel worse, the SO caught the latter of my two diseases and it was the cruddier one. :( Luckily, it's only lasts a few days.

FMIL did a ton of baking and made white chocolate dipped pretzels, peanut butter blossoms (pb cookies with a hershey's kiss in the middle), chocolate fudge with walnuts, sweet spiced mixed nuts (walnuts and pecans), wreath cookies (cornflakes mixed with marshmallows and sprinkled with red hot cinnamon candies), and Russian tea cakes/ Mexican wedding cakes. There was plenty for this household and more to give as gifts to friends and neighbors. I decided to try to make homemade salsa again and let it marinate overnight in the fridge.

The tree was decorated and the stockings were hung just in time for the big day and on top of all that baking, FMIL whipped up a mini feast for the three of us for Christmas Eve dinner. Beef roast with green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and fresh salad with some of my tomatoes. Oh yes, we ate like kings this past weekend.

The next morning, the rest of the boys were here and we had Christmas Day brunch. Something new to try to make many of our lives easier. We've learned our lesson again after Thanksgiving. : ) After we finished munching, we went to gather around to open presents. The SO's family has a tradition of opening one gift at a time (while you have some) and the youngest going first. The pets got some gifts so at the very last moment, we decided to let them go first (they are the youngest after all!).

Oh boy. The cats. If I had been more awake, I should have gotten video footage of them. Their grandma, FMIL, got them these big catnip filled mice with animal print and fuzzy yarn tails and a bell attached. Normally, our kitty is not impressed by catnip but they were both absolutely enamored by these toys! While his kitty cousin did his best to kill his mouse and then roll around on his high, ours was torn between killing it and loving on it and, being normally very reserved in crowds of people, was flopping around and very brave. They were hilarious fun to watch while the people took turns opening gifts.

They also got treats and the doggie got a giant meat-filled bone as well as a bag of smaller ones. That big one was her best friend for the rest of the day. She was torn between eating it, carrying it around, and attempting to hide it but unable to find a suitable spot that no one knew about.

Another half tradition is to ball up your tissue and wrapping paper and chuck it at someone. Needless to say with two kitties rolling around in euphoria, most of the paper was tossed into the middle of the living room at them. They couldn't have cared less. XD

I got some orange-flavored TicTacs that I finished by the end of the day (the same thing happened last year XD), a Native American crafted necklace made with coral, a pretty silver hair pin that also doubles as a sweater clasp (FMIL and I picked out yarn today because she wanted to make be a turtleback sweater as a gift), Phineas & Ferb fruit chews (I've been dying to get my hands on them! We love that show here), and pajama pants that have penguins in winter hats and scarves. So comfy.

I've already planned out an entire workshop to host a month from now and that was kind of stunning. Thank goodness for having someone around to bounce ideas off of. Been slowly but surely getting back into the swing of reorganizing my life again and it feels very satisfying. I think that shall be one of my goals for this coming year- to take most of that time I waste worrying and fretting during mental planning and just use that energy to get something done. Even if it's something small. The steps add up and then the next weight can be put onto my shoulders. Strength and stamina training towards becoming a well-functioning adult. Lol.

After opening gifts, we munched on the treats and played video games together for a little while. The rest of the day and the days since have been pretty uneventful besides running quite a bit of random little errands all over town. I'm very grateful for this chance (however long it will last) to recharge and relax.

Hopefully, I'll have fun stuff to share soon! See you then. <3

Friday, December 23

Eyes Of A Predator

I will not procrastinate on this post any longer. No matter how cruddy I feel.

That chest cold I thought I was finally getting over? It is not letting go without a fight. My sinuses. To quote one of my favorite artists, Meghan Murphy: "I was so sick, I was more mucus than human. Ugh." Just stick an "am" where the "was" is located.

This past Tuesday, we had the somewhat unexpected happen in our household. It's a little graphic and you've been warned. You can skip until past the italics. The sixteen year old calico cat that belonged to FMIL has been battling with breast cancer tumors and had decided to... well, not deal with that particular tumor anymore. She ripped it out of her belly and, despite having a large gaping wound, then decided to carry on about her business- jumping up on top of a tall armoire and playing with a ball that had been batted underneath the door to her bedroom.

The SO, FMIL, and I brought her into the vet to confirm our suspicions and upon hearing so, the decision was made to put her down. She was her stubborn self to the very end. I have teased that she's been death incarnate and was, at this rate, going to out-live us all, and this was just her merely opening a portal to the underworld. We can all still hear her distinct and loud yowl-meow and feel her piercing stare even now.

After it was all done (we were glad to have the opportunity to stay with her through the process so that she, nor FMIL, would have to face death alone), we talked in the car on the way home about how she was probably going to reincarnate into a predatory bird (if she hasn't been several already) and we'd probably feel that glare of hers and be screeched at any day now.

With those thoughts, rest in peace, Clown.

I'll see you soon. <3

Monday, December 19

Seasonal Stupor

We really did it, we really survived.

Three parties in three days and now we don't have any formal plans for the rest of the holiday season. As weird as that is for someone like me who is used to being booked solid, I don't mind it nearly as much this year.

Well, I went from being a bit brain-dead to a whirlwind of activity with heading into work on Friday, which was the last day for the kids. We made latkas and ornaments with the kids for them to take home to celebrate the holidays. Got home, changed for the staff party and whipped up another batch of cake pops to bring to the home of the hosting coworkers.

I friggin' love their remodeled home. It is so cozy, quirky, and perfect for entertaining. I want my own dream home to feel like that one day. It's inspirational. The catered food was from a Mexican restaurant that I really like and with the dessert selection, I was in heaven and the rough day in class was very much worth the reward. Good food makes for one happy girl.

The next day, the SO and I crammed in some more holiday errands before heading to a family friend's home for a graduation party for their daughter. This also had good catered Mexican food and yummy cake. She has two ferrets, so I did a little research and found out about crocheting a cover over plastic Easter eggs filled with different dried pastas. You can put other things to jingle and rattle in there, but with the very likely chance that they will have way too much fun with the toys and annihilate them, pasta is pretty safe for them to accidentally ingest. So... that's what I did, lol. I used different amounts and shapes to alter the sound and provide a little extra stimulation because those creatures are so cunning, clever, and curious like that.

Yesterday, it was pretty much get up, get ready, pack the car, and go. Our last party for the weekend/ season was up in the Phoenix-Metro area and that could sometimes be a 2.5 hour drive is the traffic is crazy, but it was the usual 1.5 hours to get there. This dinner was very different in that it was a family friend who had helped sponsored my mother and aunt to come to the States from a refugee camp back in the eighties. She's a wonderful lady with an eclectic collection of people in her life that we got to meet and chat it up with. Many people knew of my mother and aunt there and it was pretty cool for me and them to see/ for me to be my mother's twenty-something years old daughter. Man, what can happen in a few years time or over a lifetime.

That's been really interesting about this holiday season. The SO and I have been increasingly reclusive (although we can be pretty darn sociable) but we decided to break away from the monotony that this rough time in our lives has brought on and tackle these very social events and chat it up with all sorts of people. That's something that we really enjoy doing in our own quirky ways and it was very cool to get back in touch with that part of our personalities and indulge in a bit of grown-up holiday mayhem again. It was really fun, in a chaotic way, to get all dressed up together. With this practice, by the time that becomes normal for us, we'll have it down to a second-nature science. I can't wait to be that couple going through that part of our lives. You know, before we start a family and it all goes out the window. XD

Now, for some hardcore recovering. I've already gotten started on making a gift stash to help save my sanity and here are some pictures from the past few days:

 Snow-capped mountains as of late.
 One of the trees the coworkers have around their beautiful home. This one is white because we put all of our White Elephant gifts underneath.
 The Oreo Truffle Cake Pops I made for the staff at school. With grateful hand-stamped and Cricut-cut tags. Not the cutest, but being in baggies made it so very festive.
The final batch of the holiday-party season. I've gotten much better at it! I tend to use different candy coating colors or sprinkles for chocolate verses vanilla flavors.

Hm. I think my beloved bed beckons me now. I'll see you soon. <3

Wednesday, December 14

Foodie Fiona

What year is it?

Ugh, I've been fighting that cold-sinus-thing pretty hard the past few days. Let's see, the garage door has been fixed, the cards and gifts have not only gone out but some arrived by Saturday(!), and the cake pops have been made and delivered. I decided to start a new batch of herbs indoors in individual pots because the ones outside in the planter are overwhelming each other, lol.

The SO and I have been on the weirdest errand runs ever lately. (Sidenote: He knows of the best sandwich shops! They are all family-owned little shops with the most delicious of foods! He knows how to spoil me with good food, lol.) These are unexpectedly dragging us all over town but somehow it's been a bit of a relief to get out of the house, even for a little while. One of those included me getting a new food processor. My little cheap-o one burnt out after I tried to make a few mini batches of cake pops. Now, thanks to my ineptitude for cutting food items and a 20% off coupon paired with a $10 rebate, I have this gorgeous 7-cup food processor that I have named Fiona:

That is her full of the makings of a homemade salsa. It wasn't the best but we liked trying using new things like Anaheim chili peppers, tomatillos, and my cherry tomatoes. The results weren't necessarily bad, it just wasn't the fantastic combination that we were hoping for, but I guess that's what you get when you experiment without any plan.

I've neglected to take pictures of everything that I've made recently thanks to my ill-induced stupor and I'm realizing-regretting it now. Sigh.

Well, hope to have fun stuff to share soon! See you then. <3

Thursday, December 8

Bright Fruits Of Labor

We have been covering the plants for the past few nights and have had minimum frost damage. In the desert. Go figure.

I did manage to get out into the garden Saturday evening. The SO did help me harvest all of the cherry tomatoes and Bird's Eye Chilies. The catch was that it was dark, really cold, and raining so I've been a little sick this week because of it.

Here's a glimpse of the results:
The haul before separating...
... and the haul after separating so they may finish ripening better.
The scantily-clad chillies huddle close together- ready to be covered for the night.
The cherry tomato plants. I have trimmed many dead branches off and have spied more blossoms and baby tomatoes that I did not have the heart to harvest.

This was oh so satisfying and now comes the fun part of figuring out how to get rid of all of this fruit! XD I am so proud of my first garden harvest and have already started planning for next year. It sounds far away but I'm going to try to start (a bit more) properly in terms of time-frame. That means starting off my new babies indoors in the next month or two so they'll be healthy and strong sprouts that are ready for a ton more sunlight come early spring. The idea gets me a little giddy and that's a really nice feeling to have again. 

To update on what I wrote about last: I have finished all of the cards and had so many extra, I wrote cards to people I hadn't initially planned for and the gifts have all been made (and then some!). I finished addressing everything last night and the SO and I shall be making a crazy trip to the postal store later. We're currently getting our garage door fixed (Hooray! If just for the overhead lighting in there while we dig around for Christmas decorations, lol!).
I finally got the tree set up yesterday, ornaments and little knick knacks will be going up this evening a la FMIL and then I can get ready to make a whole boat-ton of cake pops. I'm crossing my fingers that they will turn out presentable and go over well. All of the parties happen next weekend and we still have a special birthday dinner to make this weekend. I almost hear my mother's voice in my head about how I need all of the help I can get to be presentable myself. I should start primping hardcore asap. Sigh. If you can't tell, I'm the hot mess of my family. Lol.

I think two of my goals for next year are to figure out how to properly prepare packages for mailing because I seem to send out the strangest-shaped items and to have a little stockpile of already made gifts so I'm not doing this at the last moment. I hadn't planned to do many gifts this year because of our finances, but I know I can put my crafting skills to some use and give something to those that we love. 

I keep being told that I give plenty but even when I'm frustrated as all get-out, I instinctively choose to keeping giving more somehow. There may be tons of grumbling to myself and close friends, but somehow I'll still manage to do something positive. It must be some combination of my upbringing and personality or whatnot. This is probably coming off as lamenting, but dang it if it's not draining when you haven't found a balance. I'm getting there each year and I love the joy it can generate. It's just that... holy cow, I still want to gouge my own eyes out with a rusty spoon because of all of the nonsense around me. *Deep breath* This is only temporary. This is only temporary. I have some wonderful people in my life that I will choose to keep a part of it when I finally achieve better circumstances. Right now, I am very grateful for all of the blessings and good fortune in my life. Whew. 

I need more coffee. This is going to be a long day/ holiday season. I'll see you soon. <3

Thursday, December 1



has been one of the few things that have given me strength and comfort lately and at this very moment too. Other include four close friends, the SO, our beloved sweet kitty and making sure he's as comfortable as possible, making gifts, and planning for some semblance of a decent holiday season.

I can't believe I somehow turned on the date feature in the corner. That was a handy feature back in the day, but since uploading the pictures to a computer records the exact time and date, it's kind of an eye sore, lol. 

I've been wanting to blog so badly but had no idea what to talk about. Being here is like being all warm and comfortable in bed. It's just a familiar and often safe place. 

I'm still at a loss. Maybe that's mostly because I'm in the middle of a lot. Items have been woven, knitted, and crocheted. I still need to make those cake pops for the school and may start that project a week earlier than originally planned because morale has hit an all-time low from what I've seen.

This past month has been a whirlwind of negativity and a huge example of that would be the fact that the SO, FMIL, and I spent nearly $100 and 6.5 hours changing all of the locks on the house last night in order to protect ourselves. It drains my energy just thinking about all of the details and events that have led up to this latest development.

It's flabbergasting how self-serving and destructive people can be these days. There is a massive lack of accountability in the air. It reminds me of how grateful I am for the tough lessons I was taught growing up because I'm that much more responsible. Or my moral compass is stronger than most that I've observed, at the very least.

I'm nearly done with all of the gifts that I need to send out, then I can work on preparing the gifts closer to home. I actually have one wrapped as of today! So weird. XD Still haven't started writing the cards but that should go much more quickly this year with the stamped sentiments. 

Tomorrow I go into school to balance my time between two classrooms, then go home and prepare for a meeting on the phone to determine my education future (Fingers crossed that all my concerns will be taken care of in as little as possible!), and I might be able to meet up with good company for ladies' night out. I may not drink, but I am all about finger foods and fun conversation.

I will finish all of the cards that need to be sent out this weekend. I will finish and prepare the gifts that need to be sent out. The SO and I have planned to harvest all of my tomatoes and Bird's Eye Chilies this Saturday with the impending very cold weather coming soon. Even if they are still green, we've gathered paper bags and newsprint to wrap them individually until the ripen on their own indoors. We have so many cherry tomatoes that we've been scrambling to find recipes to use them in or just eating them like candy. I think I'm okay with letting the trees die off (They are already getting so yellow! >_<) this winter and using some of the seeds from the fruits that I have grown for next year's crop. I'll just try for one main tomato plant and think we'll start one off indoors at the end of this month or the middle of next. Hm.

Dear Universe, please let this new month bring better experiences for the loved ones in my life as well as myself. Thank you and sincerely, Me.

I'll see you soon. <3

P.S. I hope you have been able to do a little something to help raise awareness and fight today in honor of World AIDS Day. Every bit counts against this epidemic!

Sunday, November 27

Brooding & Brewing

I'm a tiny bundle of strong emotions right now, so I'll get to the general updates before going off on my rant/vent.

With the holidays upon us and the weather being consistently cooler, I have not made it out into the garden nearly as often. We have at least a dozen of cherry tomatoes ripening weekly and the SO has ended up being their harvester. Some of the Bird's Eye chilies have been used to give a quick strong kick to dishes, but I have to dry any batches. Trying to hold out for them to become ruby red. Right now they get to be bright red and then just hover in that state. There pictures were taken almost two weeks ago.


The experiment has ended with the Jalapeños. The ones that remained in my makeshift garden area that faced East and received healthy doses of morning sun did the best. I think being near the house also helped protect them from gusty winds. On average, they are twice as big as the plants anywhere else.

The one that sat on a bucket in the middle of the yard to the North had quite a bit of sun burnt spots, but it's leaves were the darkest green. The plant that was in partial shade underneath the Mesquite tree in the West did poorly. It's the second smallest and was super droopy a few days before we decided to end the tests. We tried moving it out of the shade and then javelinas came and knocked it down as they tried to eat it. The one that was not shaded but also in the West fared much better and was often growing sideways. For fun, we kept one in the western window inside and not only did it the worst, but two days before we decided that we would bring all of the peppers together outside, one of the cats/dog chewed off all but one leaf! Didn't even eat them, just chewed them off the stems. Sigh. Surprisingly, each plant did begin to flower around the same time no matter where they were.

 The eastern group with a ghost chili, the original parsley, and another ghost pepper.
From the second to last.

The herb planter is still recovering. Oregano died off and Sage never made it. The lettuce has had a big growth spurt lately and the bell peppers have slowed down significantly. The SO is helping me determine a game plan for the winter. There's not much room in my original garden corner inside, we do have spare blankets for covering my bigger plants. The most difficult is trying to figure out whether or not to try to save any tomato plants if they begin to die off and which young plants should be kept inside until they get stronger (and how).

Alright, that helped calm me down considerably, but I'm still ticked. Have been trying to keep myself busy with holiday-related things but it hasn't lifted my spirits as it has done in past years. While I continue to keep my fingers crossed about getting any work that I can, I'm doing my best to heed my my mother's advice and keep myself busy at home and doing good things. Idle hands really are the Devil's playground, lol.

Such projects have included trying to knit my first baby afghan blanket to donate, but I am terribly slow! I thought I chose a simple pattern, but it's turning out to be more tedious than expected. I should have started it much earlier. That has taken the back burner to crocheting various clothing accessories with food-themes and sweet faces to give as gifts. Doing my best to think of thoughtful gifts to hunt for within our means for the people that matter the most. There are not enough hours in the day for me to make it all! I am forever grossly overestimating my crafting speed. I'm trying really hard to finish making everything that needs to be sent out in a package by the end of this week to avoid too much delay.

My other big hope is to make a significant dent in writing and addressing the handmade cards I made a little while ago. FMIL and I still need to set two days aside to work on hers. Another big endeavor that I'm very excited about is making a little gift in the form of treats for all of the staff members at school. There are just so many genuinely good people there that I have felt very compelled to give even more back to them. I'm learning how to make cake pops but out of Oreo truffles and I think I have all of the supplies for that project this weekend. I hope that it turns out better than our original test batch, lol.

This does not include getting ready for a particular weekend in the middle of December in which there's the school office party Friday night, a graduation party Saturday afternoon for a family friend, and then the SO and I will be driving up to the Phoenix Metro for a holiday dinner the next day. I also plan to make another batch of cake pops for that occassion too. We haven't even brought out the Christmas decorations yet. FMIL has a tradition of getting together with her girlfriends to bake various holiday cookies. At the end, everyone takes a bit of everything and the results are delicious. We still need to figure out how the big days are going to work out between the two households and with more people to take into account.

Okay, here's when I unleash some of my rage. I treat people with the courtesy that I was raised to give to another human. Do not dare to mistake my kindness for weakness. Respect is to be earned and not given. When someone does you a favor and lets you borrow something of theirs, you give it back within a reasonable amount of time in equal or better condition than it was given to you. There is always something you can do, within your own reasonable means, to pay it forward and pay it back. I am only holding back in my confrontations because people I actually care about and have a lot of respect for have asked me not to- I am not lacking in courage or maturity. What I am lacking in is patience - The patience I need to tolerate the utter disregard for the feelings of others, common courtesy/ morals/ rules/ order. During these rougher than typical times, I understand how tensions can run high and stress can break one down to their core, but that does not excuse the behaviors and actions that continue to happen around me.

That is as level-headed as I can be and I'm sure you can imagine what extras I thought and/or said aloud. My heart is also aching for the slew of misfortunes that many of my friends are experiencing lately too... Sigh, I need to get back to crocheting. I'll see you soon. <3

Thursday, November 24

Turkey Butt

I have updates on the garden but those will have to wait because there is still quite a bit to do today and this weekend now that the holiday season is in full swing.

Wanted to stop by and express my gratitude for the many blessings in my life that may be hard to fully appreciate during these rough around the edges era. I'm working very hard to take a breath and remember/ find the silver lining in everything.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we had carefully calculated how long it would take to cook a the 22-lb. turkey we snatched up and figured that we needed to have it stuffed and in the oven by 6:30 in order to have it ready by 3pm. FMIL decided to have it a little early because most of her boys had double/tripled booked themselves for the occassion at the last moment.

Well, this sucker not only overflowed the tray with it's greasy juices, but it was actually completely finished by 11:45am. Oh, good gravy. Pun seasonally intended. Needless to say, there was a bit of panic on how to not overcook and/or dry out. Never thought that we'd run into this issue. Ever. XD

Our next dilemma was trying to figure out how to bide our time with the rest of the fix-in's. Oye, lol. It was the least of our problems but we were still flabbergasted nonetheless.

I hope you and all of your loved ones have a wonderful, safe, and fulfilling long holiday weekend. I'll see you soon! <3

Friday, November 11


I took that word from a recent episode of Big Bang Theory. There are great amounts of other emotions swirling around inside of me right now, but that's the kindest one of the bunch.

I am astounded by the sheer lack of tact and lacking senses of responsibility and duty that seems to plague the modern generations. How people disregard the fact that you can't take back words one has uttered or typed in the heat of the moment. How people can have so much gall and disrespect on a multitude of dimensions the hands that have fed them. How people can metaphorically crap on the faces of those that have reminded them of the dangers of life and society, who took a step back to watch realities shatter, and then were still there to help the reattach the tarnished and scarred pieces together as best as anyone could.

It is mind blowing.

I have to go now. There is much to do now because of moderately unforeseen circumstances and I am absolutely livid.

Wish me luck, I'll see you soon. <3

Sunday, November 6

Autumn Warmth

Finally. This was our first week of having cold weather. Well, Southwestern desert cold.

We celebrated by planning a meal that would require the oven being on for an extended period of time to warm up the house, lol. It was a decent new recipe: Beef Burgundy Stew. Not on our favorite's list like the "Stir-Fried Shrimp with Snow Peas and Red Bell Peppers in a Hot and Sour Sauce" from last week , but it was nice enough and smelled great.
And I've determined that I need to cut down on the gardening pictures! O_o I just don't want to deal with setting up some account to host more pictures right now. I did want to share that there are fruits ripening on the Bird's Eye Chillies and the Cherry Tomatoes! There colors are more and more beautiful each day and we've picked a few tomatoes for sweet side salads.

The jalapeños in the garden are really taking off, are nearly a foot tall now, and have even begun to bud! Actually the Bird's Eyes have started putting out more buds again too. I have no idea how they are going to mature and fruit before winter hits, but each plant is being stubborn in its own way.

Maybe the brisk and crisp air has jump-started my motivation, but I suddenly want to tackle a ton of projects. When I start planning a few of them out, I'm overwhelmed by trying to figure out how to balance my time out for it all. My mind is a ridiculous thing that is apparently a million times more ambitious than my body. My priority is definitely reconnecting with people, partially through my Christmas cards and gifts to make.

We have a pot of spaghetti sauce using the SO's maternal grandmother's recipe on the stove right now and it smells really good. Sigh, why do I constantly sound like a starving student? I need to get back to some knitting! I'll see you soon. <3

Monday, October 31

Thorns, Trunks, and Tusks

One of the first thoughts that come to my head once I open up the page to write a new post is: Wow. Tumblr really does take up most of your life once you start.

I joined up on my birthday after freeing up quite a bit of my online time by walking away from many FB games. *Rolls eyes* Way to nullify my attempt at being more productive. It's been addicting, fun, and frustrating when the servers or my browser crash. Sigh.

Anyways, what I really wanted to chat about was my attitude lately. I have been going through some very tough times emotionally but I'm on the mend now and my dreary demeanor should steadily improve.

On that note (?) Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you guys have a fun and safe time celebrating (even if it's on a Monday this year... ugh, next year's going to be even weirder >_<). I really miss dressing up and walking around the brisk autumn air with my brother and friends around our neighborhood. It was sort of a happening place to be, especially my street, because there were a couple houses in a row that would put some effort into decorating and then a group of the families at the end of the block would work together to create a free haunted house.

It's heartbreaking to watch as neighborhood kids grow up, families move away, and fun community traditions fall to the wayside.

I'm the type of person who dreams of not letting that happen, of traditions only getting stronger, of trying new decorating ideas each season and year, of spreading the knowledge and joy with loved ones that comes with putting in even a little bit of effort into celebrating life and community. I try my best now by learning about how others celebrate, quietly appreciating holiday atmosphere when I find it, and doing little things like trying a new themed recipe, putting up a few decorations, and saving clippings of ideas to try in my own home (once/if that ever happens).

On top of today being Halloween, it was also inspection day for our Fall Bulk Trash Pick-Up Day. Fun fun. That meant that the SO and I worked all day yesterday to clear dead plant matter and trim dead limbs in both the back and front yards. We did have a few small household items to put out but within barely 15 minutes of placing them on the side of the road, scavengers had driven by and snatched them up. It's been amusing and baffling to watch them over the past few days scouring through piles of discarded waste for hidden treasures.

After all of our hard work, we have been rewarded with a much more open yard (expect you can hardly tell what we did/ how much we did without knowing how much was there before/ looking at the pile we made) and sore muscles. I actually have two scratched down my cheek from a dead ocotillo branch that fell on me despite my efforts to have to fall away from me. Again, it reaffirms my belief that nearly everything in the desert wants to kill you. It only bled a little bit but for some reason really stings, lol. I forgot about it when I took a shower last night and scrubbed my dirt-covered face hard. Needless to say, it stung really badly all over again. We're all glad that it missed my eyes. That really would have sucked.

Of course, we have our battle wounds from all of the mesquite we trimmed back or removed as well. There's one large tree right outside of the front door that is somewhat non-native and actually doesn't have thorns. I've shown plenty of pictures of it here already when it's little green leaves come in and that fact just makes me love it even more.

I think we're finally due for some autumn weather again this week. I feel a bit guilty about looking forward to cooler temperatures when there was "Snowtober" over in the New England area. I can't believe how sudden it all happened. All of the pictures of foliage that had barely changed colors being buried alive. I hope everyone has their power restored asap.

I actually have yet to overload myself on candy. Yet. We only had one group of trick-or-treaters come to the house this year and they were actually probably high school aged. We do have some kids in the neighborhood but I guess I don't blame them, it's not the most trek-friendly of areas. Shortly after that, we heard strange noises outside of our metal security door. Wondering why it was taking so long for the next group to come to the door, we got up and looked out. Guess who we saw throughly enjoying the jack-o'- lanterns that FMIL brought home today from school after the students had carved them?

Halloween Javelina. A herd of at least six of them and two babies. They friggin' love jack-o'-lanterns, apparently. I had forgotten that. They were polite enough to leave behind the electric tea lights as they fought over and scarfed down the pumpkins. These were taken by unlocking the metal screen door, cautiously sticking one hand out, snapping a few pictures, yanking my hand back in, and firmly shutting the door before repeating the process. They're like... grizzly bears. Somewhat harmless enough at a distance, but they can decide to charge at you at a moments notice and... well,  be very aggressive once they get to you. This is especially so when babies are involved and understandably so. Dogs and people fear them more than coyotes. They tore those pumpkins up. FMIL fences in the plants that they tend to favor like the yucca. One even took a few bites from the poinsettia that she had placed up a tower of bricks before it decided it didn't taste all that great. Oh, did I mention their unique smell? They are called "musk hogs" for a reason. >_<

Well, on that lovely note, I'm off to start dreaming of sugar plums dancing in my head. What? Too soon? :P

See you soon. <3

Tuesday, October 25

Don't Understand

Another week has gone by and although it's just the beginning of this one, life has gone downhill at light speed. While I won't get into details, I will say I can see rock bottom from where I'm sitting right now. As honest as I've been with myself for a while now, I did not see this coming so suddenly and deeply. Quite frankly, it sucks. I'm so terrified of what is to come but I know that life waits for no one. We'll just have to see. :(

I haven't been able to figure out how to easily shrink all of the pictures I've stored on Picasa without letting the downloadable program track way too much information about my life or without going through the several hundred pictures one by one. That's fine with me for now because I don't think I have anything new to share.

One of the things that have perplexed me the most lately are my Bird's Eye Chilies and Hybrid Cherry Tomatoes. I have very few red fruits on some of my plants but they're from newer smaller growths and not the fruits that have been around for weeks. Why are they ripening sooner? It's mind-blowing and I have resigned myself to never understanding a single thing about plants and gardening. My job is to just go with it now, lol.

The SO and I went to the first scrimmage of the college basketball season at the local state university this past Saturday. It's his favorite sports team and we went ahead and bought team shirts for the occassion. It was nice to be amidst the excitement and community support for these young guys who have been giving it their all. They also honored former members during the event and it was pretty cool so see people that I've gotten so used to watching on the television live.

Oh, I also finished this year's Christmas cards. Hey, at least I didn't finish them as soon as I did last year (mid-August). I also cut down the number of cards to roughly fifty and instead of postcards, made full cards. Tried a few techniques that are personally new to me and had a lot of fun. I won't post pictures of these until they're sent out in early December, so maybe I shouldn't have mentioned them. :P The two things that they share with last year's card are a snowflake theme (mostly unintentional) and a "Season's Greetings" sentiment (also mostly unintentional). As much as I have been collecting ideas and trying to design them since mid-August, until I got all of the supplies I wanted in front of me... Well, I had to change up quite a bit of my vision for them at the last moment. Despite all of that, I am very pleased with how they have turned out. I learned my lesson very well last year and stamped a nice message inside each card instead of trying to find several dozen ways to express the same nice things I wanted to say. This way, I can get away with just addressing and signing the cards or adding a quick note if I want to next month.

I think I'm going to do something personally productive and work out or something. See you soon. <3

Tuesday, October 18

The Fruits Of Labor

Nearly a week since my last post. Good job, me. :P

I had gotten dehydrated from the walk I took that day and it only got worse that night. Kitty's health seems to have evened out in a positive manner.

This past weekend, FMIL and I attended the long-awaited wedding of a co-working friend. This kind couple had been together for over 23 years and had finally decided to tie the knot. It was a fun day with an easy-going atmosphere outdoors.

I may have gone a little crazy in deciding what color to finally paint my nails. I also bought two new colors for myself this week as a little treat for surviving the beginning of the holiday party season. Here's my collection, thanks to my mom, so far. There had been a little spill a little while ago, but I didn't have time to do my nails and clean it up that day.

I also treated myself to an ice cream sundae or two with some leftover fruit (we made some fruit salad to bring to the pot luck reception). It was sooo good and pretty!

We made our quota this month for trying a new recipe from my favorite cookbook: Beef and Broccoli for the SO because he was a trooper in helping me run errands last week. He added plenty of chili sauce to his because FMIL and I can't handle that kind of heat.

The temperatures have gotten warmer again, into the 90's, and I really want the fall weather back. Mosquitoes have nestled into our household and eaten us alive. We've gone through the plants to clean out any still water and they are still driving us nuts.

I realize that I haven't updated about my garden lately despite the fact that I go out there everyday to tend to it in one way or another. There is so much fruit now! Just none of it is ripe enough to harvest yet. >_< I'm becoming increasingly impatient for that time, lol.

I moved the peppers last night to see if they benefit from getting more sun. Many of the oversize leaves have died off but I've noticed that the remaining larger leaves have started to yellow around the edges. Last week, I added more tomato food stakes again to help the fruit be extra-nourished.
Gryffindor's fruits.
 My mom said it was a very good sign in terms of heat and flavor that they were stout in stature.
Even Slytherin's newer branches have fruit.
 Ravenclaw's leaves yellow the most. :(
Proportionally, Hufflepuff is the fullest leaf-wise.
 The tomatoes need so much water nowadays. At least they've slowed down growing taller. Each plant has at least twenty easily spotted tomatoes now. Those are some bell peppers I'm trying to start between them.
So many!
 Ferb is the fullest and biggest.
I cannot imagine what they will look like if they do indeed get to one hundred.
Perry is often invaded by Ferb, but it doesn't seem to mind.
 The four jalapeños that are not a part of the sun exposure experiment, some Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Chili) peppers sprouting, and my initial batch of Parsley.
Jalapeño #1.
 Jalapeño #2.
 Jalapeño #3.
Jalapeño #4.
 Italian Parsley recovering after a rough day.
The lettuce is on the move again.
 My herb planter flipped around and thinned for the third time.
No sign of Sage, only one Oregano, and only two Chives. :(

Sigh, I need to go figure out how not to run out of storage space in my Picasa web albums now. Eek! I'll see you soon. <3
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