See you in the spring when the mattress falls through

The first couple months of 2012 have been quite the ride… long story short I am single after almost eight years, resulting in being mostly homeless, haven’t felt too great and accidentally lost a bunch of weight during the anxiety of work and relationship woes, and now I’ve come out the other side. To get there I consumed a lot of drinks at bars and met up with some interesting people along the way, my work project was completed successfully, I bought a new wardrobe, and I found myself living with my best friend and also dating someone new and really enjoying myself. No idea how long the latter will last but it’s pretty fun for now! It’s looking good at least. Oh and I started drinking coffee.

I have had the rehab house for nearly two months now and so far it’s been gutted down to studs and now is being rebuilt. The new electric is nearly done, but everything else is pending… plumbing, HVAC, insulation, walls, floors, appliances, furnishings… all those things that make the house more than a shell. I’m glad I have a great place to stay in the interim because it’ll be awhile until it’s time to move in!

The animals are in flux. I hope to have Arliss and Clover move with me this week. The fosters are being scattered about to other homes. I see the dogs when I go feed the buns, but it’s hard not to sleep with a greyhound or Mr. Sensitive Walter-pup hogging the bed.

Today I’m relatively happy and I have hope. Most days have been trying but always still hopeful. A lot of friends, family, and coworkers have really come to my aid (seriously… even my boss offered to have me move in with her!) and I think that has made all the difference.

Here’s to a new house, coffee, first dates, and Manhattans!

On my mind

A lot… but a lot can’t be said here.

I’m in South Bend for my great uncle’s funeral. It’s sad of course, but also nice to be with family. I am glad my family is close and I hope my great aunt feels the love of family during this time. My brother and I have nice memories of staying with them when we were kids. He claims Uncle Firm rescued him from being stuck between the wall and the bed when he fell out one night. We remember going to the pool and their dog and eating a lot of ice cream with them!

I am supposed to close on a house tomorrow in Indy. It’s in a really cool neighborhood and I’m partly excited about it… it needs work and there are other considerations about the future use/habitation of this property, but overall I know it’s a good deal and I’ve always wanted to have a home in a place like this. I hope the surrounding crime-y neighborhood doesn’t infiltrate! Watch this space for my exasperated experiences in remodeling a century old home.

Work is kicking my rear and has been for quite some time. I was able to offload some routine work to be able to work on a project that is due around my birthday. I will need many stiff drinks to celebrate when it is done. So far we are moving along and I’m trying to balance the need for management feedback on the work in progress with the need not to waste their time or slam their calendars if I don’t have everything done that I need to get done.

That’s all I can say for now about the compartmentalizing of my thoughts and energy these days. I must get back to editing some slides! I love data but I’m not as big a fan of trending it some nights.

Arliss the Disapproving turns 12

Welcome to 2012!

First, Arliss let us live to see another year.

And now it’s her 12th birthday!


I had another request for my vegetarian crock pot chili recipe, so I thought I’d post it here:

2 small to medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 pkg Boca “ground beef” soy crumbles (14 oz)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can chopped green chiles OR 4 tsp diced chiles in adobo sauce OR 3/4 cup finely diced green peppers
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
28+ oz canned black, kidney, great northern, or whatever beans
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1+ tbsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Worcestershire and paprika… I just kind of throw it in, never really measured it!

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker on high for 4 hrs or low for 8 hrs. (The crock pot is forgiving so feel free to cook longer.) You can also pre-saute the onions, garlic, and spices and then put them in the crock pot. I think the recipe is great without the Boca crumbles too, but might call for more beans that way.

I like to serve with cornbread!

Holiday spirit as experienced by the frugal introvert

The pups are lined up head-to-butt on the couch twitching in their sleep. I heard a report at work this week from David that speedy Emmy finally caught that squirrel in the back yard… with bad results for the squirrel. Her face is a little scratched up too. Walter and David were rather disturbed by the scene!

Thanksgiving has come and gone (and it was tasty). Now we’re solidly in the holiday season. I feel like purchasing zero gifts and I don’t want anything, which is generally a good thing when it comes to saving money and not indulging in consumerism. I suppose there’s some element of economic crash if we all stopped shopping, but I think it would be a good move in this country at least. I didn’t share in the outrage many people online expressed about Black Friday shopping starting early or even about holiday decor going up too early in stores. I really don’t care if there are decorations before Thanksgiving. If you feel retail is pushing you, don’t open your wallet. Big deal.

I think I’d like to put up a tree this year, especially since I collected so many ornaments while I was abroad last year, but I’m not sure we have room. There’s a foster rabbit in the usual tree spot and clutter tries to take over any leftover real estate around here.

Just heard the unemployment rate is down to 8.6%, the lowest in 2.5 years. Seems somewhat positive.

Bit of a PSA: here’s where you can opt out of receiving telephone books. My bunnies eat them but they can’t keep up with the supply.

Cute link of “grammar” gifts like air quote mittens and punctuation mark lamps. (But don’t buy me anything. :)

I made a tortilla soup last week that was yummy, based on two other recipes. My version:

Tortilla Soup

vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1-2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
14 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can black beans, undrained
2 quarts vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 can whole kernel corn
2 avocados, peeled/pitted/cut into chunks or slices

Tortilla chips
Shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese

Saute the onion in oil in a large soup pot. Stir in garlic, chili powder and cumin, and chili peppers, cooking until onions are tender and spices are fragrant. Mix in the tomatoes, pour in broth and black beans, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes.
Mix corn and avocado chunks into the soup, and continue cooking 5-10 minutes. Serve in bowls over tortilla chips, topping with cheese.

Sacked out

Ms. Arliss knows how to sleep without regard to her prey status. Either she figures Clover will protect her, or she’s too deaf and blind to know what’s going on around her, or more likely, she just doesn’t give a shit anymore. (That’s her approach to litterbox use now, too, though I’ve been scolded for not Photoshopping out her poops!)

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what happens when you Google “shitty mood”

I am in a mood for which I don’t really have a good source. Probably just working too much and dealing with too many @ssholes. (Note my mood is cranky enough that I tolerate incomplete sentences.) Anyway, this picture is the truth and I’m glad it came up in my search. I haven’t seen it in awhile. Isn’t today supposed to be lucky or something? Should I buy 11 lottery tickets? I’m more likely to clean 11 litterboxes.

From NatalieDee.com.

Also: Emmy is still wearing her voting sticker from Tuesday.

Perry Ellis

This frosty morning deserves a cute lil foster bunny to give us warm fuzzy feelings. Meet Perry Ellis, a wobbly little guy who has come a long way after being saved from an animal cruelty case a few months ago! He was named for his smart accessorizing.

Granada: Albaicín

As long as I’m looking for stuff to write about in November, let’s look back to last November during the same project when I finished all but one post about my trip to Spain that May! November is always a good time to think of sunnier places.

The last post from that trip is from the Albaicín area of Granada, which is a very old Moorish part of town that is also a little sketchy. One of my companions was searching for an experience with the gypsies or something so we walked a lot without a firm destination. On the way up the narrow hilly streets past the hookah bars we (we being the Glaswegian couple who were actually from Poland and Algeria who I met during the bike trip in Málaga) could see the Alhambra from earlier in the day. We wandered forever and began to argue about finding our way back to the car since we still had a long drive back to Málaga, but one member of our party was insistent on continuing to search. So we got lost in the maze of cobbled streets, and then found ourselves at a mirador (viewpoint) along with a lot of teenagers drinking interesting things from two liter bottles.

We walked some more and were really unsure of where we were, when suddenly we stumbled into a big party in a square with lots of music and singing and dancing, apparently part of the May Crosses celebration. I guess it was worth being tired and lost after all…

After enough dancing we somehow found our way back to the car and I helped the driver stay awake for a late trip back to Málaga, only for me to discover (after a good night of sleep in a better hotel than the first couple of nights) the volcanic ash cloud came back and my flight the next day was canceled. I almost had time for a bonus trip to Gibraltar, but was able to reschedule my flight through a different country and got home late instead.

That last picture is from the airport, displaying the grotesque local pig-leg delicacy.

I miss being able to take a long weekend in Spain or anywhere else exciting within a three hour plane ride!