I Have Plans For The New Year

I Have Plans For The New Year!

 

 

I have plans for the new year

I don’t have resolutions, but I definitely have plans, and maybe a few goals too. Resolutions are for people who don’t really want to expend too much effort, because they know that resolutions made for new year are not normally expected to be kept beyond February, March latest. Nobody will hold it against you if you give up 3 months in to the year! My plans are for the whole year, and even beyond if they work out the way I am hoping they will!

I have set my mind on the Octopus method of contributing to my awesome family: multiple streams of varying levels of income, which adds up to something viable and useful. Yes, it will be hard work – all of it will. Everything I am choosing to shove my finger into will require a great deal of time and effort, but in the end, it will be worth it. Pieces of the pie will add up to deliciousness.

A lot of my ventures will depend on some small steps and things to occur before I can continue, but they aren’t deal breakers, just conveniences.

In no particular order, my plans for the new year include:

  1. Writing for a science fiction anthology that I was invited to pitch a story for.
  2. Setting up my vintage inspired apparel shop again and getting to work on some clothes for clients!
  3. Keep on trucking with my jewelry line via my online boutique – even if it’s a small passive income, that’s absolutely fine with me!
  4. Keep adding my photography to stock image sites and Twenty20 (via Instagram) and work on my social media marketing (for my jewelry and vintage clothing as well)
  5. Begin a dog walking service on the post! Once we get our fencing up, I will be able to take my dogs for a set 3 walks a day, instead of 6 or 7, as they won’t require bathroom breaks to be included as we will have a little back yard for them for that! Once my dogs are set in a good routine (I would never neglect them for anything, especially money, or other dogs!) I will offer my services to the neighbourhood. I’ve already been approached by a few people, asking if all three were mine and if I walked for other people, so I know there’s a market for my skills. I will also brush up on my first aid skills, and get my CPR/BLS certificate for dogs (I have the course ready to roll, just need to make the time to complete it) so that I can set people’s minds at ease about that. I will have a few stipulations of course, for the dogs I will walk, but I really think it will work. Even if it’s just a few dogs a day, Monday to Friday. Will have to rethink things when summer rolls around, as the humidity is killer here in Georgia.
  6. Work on my website – on my own and also with my awesome friend Vanessa of VMCA.

There’s so much to do, I’m pretty excited! I will be busy, and tired, but I will finally make some sort of contribution to our family and feel good about myself and my worth. I feel good though, knowing that I definitely have plans for the new year!

Teeny Tiny teeny TEENY tiny capsule wardrobe

For the last few months (even before we left Germany) I’ve been pondering the idea of a capsule wardrobe. I had a lot of clothes, mostly given to me by awesome people when I had nothing – but only a few items that I actually chose for myself and brought with me from back home in South Africa. 90% of what I had was not really my “style” and as I have been pondering and thinking and formulating and percolating the idea of what my style actually is I have come to the realisation that I can live with a lot less, but still have a sense of classic style. That’s what my style is – old school, not vintage per say (but I DO love vintage 30’s 40’s and 50’s obviously, however I’m not really built for them) but the old classics and pieces that never really go out of fashion. I like comfortable, simple and clean lines, and now that I’ve lost weight I can wear pretty much all the things I like. Thing is, I don’t own a lot of the things I like – I have things that other people liked, but they gave to me. I’m not ungrateful – that’s totally not what I mean – I’m simply stating how things turned out.

When our HHG arrived, I made my first task a “layout” of everything. Absolutely EVERYTHING I owned. That included shoes (most of them I had never worn, as they were just a TINY bit too big for me or I’d never had an occasion to wear them… or they were just NOT my style and I took them anyway because who doesn’t like free stuff, right?) and underwear and scarves and everything else. I got rid of at least 70% of the things I had. I learned in my research on capsule wardrobes, that your “exercise” stuff, and your “fancy” stuff and your “sleep” stuff are not included in the capsule count – this made me happy, as I have a lot of exercise clothes, thanks to my previous horse riding and dog walking “jobs” and my current 3 dog circus daily walking.

I also decided, 1 week after our HHG arrived, to go through everything one more time and get rid of more jerseys, sweatshirts and jackets. My mother in law was visiting at the time and she took a few tops and things that were her style, or her sister’s and even a piece for her mother (that just tells you that the items I had really were NOT “me” hey?) so that helped me too. The rest all went into a donate box which is CHOCKA BLOCK full of stuff now. I’m quite proud of myself, actually. If I force myself, I think might even be able to cut it down some more – but if I do that, I need to know that I can buy the pieces I WANT at that time, so I’m holding off on that until I’ve made some money with my Chloe and Isabel boutique. I want to be able to do these things on my terms, with my own money. I feel so guilty using my husband’s money! I know he says “what’s mine is yours!” but it still irks me. I used to earn my own way. It’s hard to rely on someone else COMPLETELY for things. Just really hoping my jewelry sales take off, because that would be totally awesome. Word of mouth works way better than trying to market yourself to a new audience all the time. I know this well from my photography days. I never even put out a flyer. I had business cards, for a while, but mostly it was just word of mouth from happy riders that got my name out there. I don’t know ANYONE here, and not being on Facebook is (and I admit this very grudgingly) somewhat of a road bump in all this. But I’m not going back to it. Nuh uh.

Now that I have unfettered access to Joann’s and Hobby Lobby and every other fabric and sewing store imaginable, I can also start buying the proper things to MAKE what I want! Vintage or otherwise – I have patterns for just about everything I need. I just need to get going. In the immortal words of Shia LaBeouf – JUST DO IT!

No more pansy ass procrastination! No more excuses! No more “tomorrow I will” putting it off. TODAY! TODAY! TODAY!

 

Adventures in Americaland: Part Bee

And in this adventure story, there will be hurricanes, DNA results, surgeries, Lyme disease, new old cars, a road trip to the rural South of Georgia, new opportunities, broken things, fixed things and lots and lots of boxes.

Adventures in Georgia - Tip of the Hurricane

First – the hurricane. If you are even vaguely aware of the weather around the world, you would have seen in the news the swath of destruction left behind by Hurricane Joaquim. Luckily for us, it focused its rage on South Carolina, and we only got the tail/tip – but it was pretty heavy even then. Pouring, driving rain for 5 days straight, windy and ranging from very cold and wet to very warm and wet. Strange times. The dogs and I got soaked, generally (I went through a lot of socks) as I wasn’t keeping them indoors anymore, because we were in the middle of discovering/mentally mapping our neighbourhood and checking out all the walk routes we had on offer. Note: there are LOADS of different routes, some nicer than others, some to be avoided in the mornings (too many kiddies on the way to school “OOH PUPPIESCANIPATTHEMCANICANIOMGTHEYBARKED *cue the screaming* and also the forest paths are lovely but best avoided in the early morning and early evening as that’s when the deer come out… and thus.. the hunters. Seriously.) and others to be avoided around lunch time as that’s when people come home during their lunch hour and feel it’s fine to just kick the dog out and “let them be” outside. No lead. No tether. No watchful eye. Nada. Odin does NOT like this idea and we’ve had a few frothing snarling snapping sessions while I drag him down the road, accompanied by barking (excited) Azzie and growling and barking (protective) Gina. Tim (from BH) was right: there was a great deal of “regression” for Odin in his behaviour, but he seems to be coming right now. It’s much easier to remove him from a situation than it was when we first got here – he was a monster. *Deep breath* I don’t even want to think about that first week.

 

Speaking of Odin! His DNA test results (thank you Wisdom Panel) came back today! And we were TOTALLY WRONG about the breeds he has in him! No Greyhound whatsoever (of any type) or Border Collie for that matter. Guess what he is? German Shepherd…. and… Irish Red and White Setter… AND… wait for it… Keeshond! Yes, you heard me… Keeshond! We were NOT expecting that one! Not sure where that falls in with his traits and behaviours and looks… but there you have it. He’s truly a mix and match, our gentle boy. I was on the right track with his training though – they are all tracking/hunting/search dogs, and of course GSH love agility too, so we’ve got him right there. Now we just need to find a local area to practice/socialise him again. And the girls.

Adventure Dog Odin - German Shepherd Dog, Red and White Setter, Keeshond
German Shepherd, Red and White Setter, Keeshond. Who knew?

I finally bit the bullet and bought the training collars… tone and vibrate only. We’re going to test it on ourselves first anyway, and then decide HOW and WHEN we will use them. Azzie will get one as well (I bought the 2 pack) to help curb her various naughty habits. We’ve tried everything else and she just ignores it and does what she wants, so I think this will work. I’ve been consistent. I’ve been patient – but over 2 years and she’s still doing her own thing, despite my best efforts? Yeah. Time for a new angle, right? I would never hurt my dogs – let me just state that right up front – but for distance training (for Odin) and catching Azzie in the exact moment of her bad habit (various ones!) will be much easier with this option. I’m still reading every bit of literature I can find on training using the collars, and we will only begin when we feel totally sure of what we are doing. My dogs are too precious to me to mess it up by just wading in and learning as we “go along” kind of thing. Nuh uh.

Precious dogs being Bernese, we keep a watchful eye out for lumps and bumps… and we found two (and now THREE) on Azzie, of various sizes. So on Friday morning last week she went in for surgery to have them removed. She didn’t go under – she was heavily sedated though, because she’s wriggly – but there was a heavy local anesthetic in the affected areas. She came through fine, none the worse for wear. The incision on her back is quite large, and for some reason the vet missed a stitch.. so there’s a little gap between two of them (6 stitches altogether) which we are keeping a close eye on for infection. She’s handling it well – I trimmed the excess hair around the edges of the shaved part, as it was tickling her and making her lick/scratch the area – and has been 80% good about not messing with the surgery areas. The one on her front leg is healing very quickly (only 1 stitch) and she has totally stopped licking that one now. She goes back to have the stitches removed in just under 2 weeks time. We MIGHT have to go in earlier if it gets infected, despite our best efforts. Here’s hoping they hold out until then.

Adventure Dog Azzie - Bernese Mountain Dog
Azzie ponders things in the back of the minivan

My other precious Bernese, Gina, got a faint positive for Lyme disease before we left Germany, so the vet there suggested (strongly) that we get her tested again when we settle in here. So we did. Took over a week for the results (they do off site testing, unlike Germany) and it came back with another faint positive – so she either HAD Lyme disease (which is totally likely with the HORRIBLE ticks we had in Baumholder, who were seemingly impervious to anti-tick stuff!) at one point recently, or currently has it. Either way, she is being treated now and hopefully no damage has been done to her (already delicate) kidneys. Also hoping it will clear up the random lameness issue she has. It should, if it’s Lyme related.

Adventure Dog Gina - Bernese Mountain Dog
My sweet girl

In our urgent quest for a reliable and suitable second hand car (before our rental had to be returned) we have traveled far and wide around Georgia. One of our trips was far out into the country to view a comfy and well loved and used 4Runner. We headed down toward a place called Lincolnton and a road called Lincoln. This was the real South, people. The one you see in the movies and on TV shows about farmers and small towns. White fences, huge acres of grass, big drooping Willow trees, horses, cows, beloved old trucks kept in mint condition, combine harvesters, rolls of wheat resting in cropped down pastures, men and women sitting with their dogs on the porch and enjoying the afternoon light and the sweet smells from the Sweetpea flowers. Idyllic. Breathtaking. Peaceful. The light was absolutely gorgeous and I wished I had brought Bertha along. Little Ziggy (my purple point and shoot) did just fine though and I got some lovely shots as we drove through back roads and tree lined avenues that went on for miles and miles in one direction. It was a serene trip, there and back, and we had comfortable silences and many interesting and amusing conversations. We didn’t bring the dogs on this one, as there wasn’t much space in the back of the small rental car (we swapped it out a few days before – got rid of the minivan, as we didn’t need it anymore) for them to relax on a long trip like that. We checked out the 4runner, but it was a little TOO worn for our liking (knobs and things missing, bits falling off, and an unsettling smell that we couldn’t quite narrow down) and we thanked the VERY nice people and headed back home. Dogs were thrilled to see us of course. A few days later we went to check out an SUV (also an older one) and that was even more “well worn” – but luckily the man who was sorting the sale out for his elderly neighbour said “well I have this car here that we’ve done up and we’re selling” and we walked across the road to have a look at an older Honda Accord Station Wagon. We liked her, the moment we saw her… but we still had others to check out, so we drove her a bit, had a think and said we would get back to him. We then checked out a whole bunch of other cars and it all came down to a choice between a younger Honda Civic and this older station wagon. It was a difficult choice, but in the end a vast array of Pros in favour of the station wagon won out and we purchased her two days later. The Georgia DMV – Augusta one, anyway – is rather nice 🙂 We had no issues and soon we had plates, and license, and registration and then we had to think of a name. It took a few days, but we settled on Daisy. As in… driving Miss Daisy. She’s adorable and the dogs are LOVING all the space in the back! We’ve been giving her lots of TLC (new tyres, new sparks, etc etc) and she’s giving us back a smooth easy ride. Match made. Happy us.

Adventure car - Miss Daisy Adventure car - Miss Daisy

Before we even left Germany we were on the look out for a washer and dryer (they don’t come with the house furnishings, unfortunately) and we found a set for a good price. We asked the reason for the good price and we were told that the dryer “just needed a starter button” and it was good to go. Lies. LIES! We’ve changed the starter button, changed the thermal fuse, tested all the wiring with a (newly purchased) volt meter and WE STILL CANNOT GET THE DAMN DRYER TO WORK! So it’s been “hang it outside on sunny days” old school laundry for us. The Sears serviceman was meant to come and check it out this morning, but they called and changed the date so we’re without a dryer for ANOTHER week. Meh. Hopefully it stays sunny for the next few days so we can get some laundry dry.

At least the washer works well.

My DIY husband handyman has fixed a few things in the house on his own, and when our shelves arrived with our HHG, he also (with a tiny bit of help.. seriously, hardly any help from me – I just held things and handed them to him) put them up and anchored them like a pro. Very proud of his handiwork!

A long time ago I had a chat with a friend about ways to make money while being a stay at home wife and fur mother, herbalist, photographer and seamstress but also contribute to my awesome family in more ways (especially financial) I have found many things and done many things. Where we were living before (Germany) made it quite difficult to get green things going and maintain them (and we had no garden and anything I grew in pots had to remain behind when we left… which we did, just over 2 weeks ago. It was hard saying goodbye to Persephone, Bob, George, Terence & Phillip, and the little Bamboos, but we found them a good home with a lovely German lady who will take good care of them all) and my other hobbies and potential income avenues (vintage inspired clothing and photography) were not allowed on the military post. Long story. But NOW… now we are back in the Land of the Free, and I can once again pick up the reins of these various projects and I’m very excited. I’ve also added two more ways to add to the family income. One is a virtual assistant site that I am a proud member of (Fancy Hands, if anyone is interested) and the other… wow… the other is even more exciting. I’ve been accepted as a Merchandiser for the rather cool, clever and fashion forward company chloe + isabel.

Adventures in Jewelry - Chloe and Isabel

Now those who have known me since I was younger might be a little surprised at this (for a few reasons) and why I am so keen and excited about this opportunity. They perhaps thought I was too much of a tomboy to be “fashionable”, but I was always interested in fashion (even tried my hand at fashion design, much to my mother’s horror) but could never afford anything that I wanted and never had the tools to make anything properly. Or the patience, I will admit. I’ve always had very expensive taste (something I share with my mother and now my husband as well) and my idea of style was classic and elegant. (I’m an Isabel, according to the Friendship Philosophy of Chloe and Isabel) A complete opposite to what I wore (wear still…) when I was not in school uniform. Audrey Hepburn type of style: effortless, simple, classy and never going out of fashion. I secretly (and not so secretly) collected Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and any other fashion magazine I could get my hands on. Didn’t matter if it was 10 years old or 10 minutes. I’m not sure what happened after that (don’t remember – thanks head injury) that made me stop dreaming, but there were many years of quiet introspection where I “made do” with what I had and never really looked beyond my comfortable, useful and simple daily clothes. Work or weekend, I wore the same kind of thing. To be fair, I rode horses, walked dogs and stood around at events taking photos for 8 or 9 hours at a time, so comfortable was pretty key in what I wore.

The last few years, after marrying my gorgeous and awesome husband, I’ve started trying to develop my “style” – in between walking dogs of course. I’ve looked at starting a capsule wardrobe (after I learned that you don’t include “exercise” clothing or pajamas in the count! WOO!) and was looking at Stitch Fix as an option as well, but have since had a look at my wardrobe contents and I think I can make something out of what I already own, PLUS I will have all these GORGEOUS accessories from chloe and isabel!

jewelry adventures and why I love my branch necklace

Now to the point of this: moving to the States, settling into our little home and not having to move for a few years has made me realise that NOW is the time to start this: fresh clean slate, new me, new style, new attitude. I think that Chloe + Isabel is that kick in the bottom I need. I’m very excited about this!

When our household goods arrived two days ago (and with it, my clothes and shoes) I have been brutally honest and begun the process of paring it down to a few classic and timeless items that I can mix and match. The rest will go to charity/thrift shop. My mum is also going to send me what’s left of my stuff back home. It’s not a lot, but there are clothes there as well (I had to fit my life into two suitcases when I left home and moved to Germany to join my husband) and some shoes too (boots mostly, and riding things) and lots of books and music! I’m being positive about this all. I’m taking it all as a major opportunity to be the ME I’ve always wanted to be. I’m lucky enough to have an incredibly supportive husband as well. He makes all the difference. He said, “You have to spend money to make money, Andrea, so just do it.” I don’t want to let him down so I will be dedicated and try my UTMOST to make a success of this. I already have ideas, I have to admit, for things to do to get my name out there and start selling these beautiful pieces. Just have to get it all together. We’re still unpacking boxes from HHG, but we’re getting there and our house is beginning to look like a home already 🙂

I think that’s a good place to end Part Bee of the Adventure stories.

I’ll update more as it happens, of course.

Until then, thanks for reading!

 

just some waffle, no cream

Odin and I went for our third run together last night. It was great. A little warm, but not too bad for him (or me) and he kept up nicely even after racing around in circles on the grass while I chased him earlier that evening. He had to stop and piddle a couple of times, and a little girl wanted to pat him as she’d “read all about him” apparently… not sure where, as I am not on Facebook and I don’t really post about my life anywhere but here… *shrug* but he was too “in the zone” by that point and he wasn’t interested in being petted by anyone (except me of course, because I have the treats in my pocket)

But otherwise, a really nice run. I felt good. Knee hurt like a bugger when we stopped though, and walking up the stairs was a killer. But I’ll push on through.

He keeps me going, and keeps me steady in my pace. I feel like I can for longer, and farther when he’s trotting along beside me. It’s a nice feeling. I do feel bad leaving the girls behind, but they just aren’t up for it, and Azzie gets WAY too distracted.

 

Had a bit of a silly incident yesterday morning – Odin lost his marbles for a few minutes (cat, small dogs, cars racing by on the road, barking Azzie, growling Gina… just general chaos) but it’s all good now. Was a bit heartsore afterward, as it showed me that we still have very far to go with Odin’s behaviour – thought we’d come quite a way, but progress is subtle I guess.

Still on my weight plateau. But I’m feeling in control, especially now that I am running again. Tried on some clothes that I got from a friend a while ago – when I was larger – and they all fit me so much better now. It’s great looking in the mirror and seeing the changes I’ve worked so hard to make. Started up my yoga too – I do it in the other room, while the dogs snooze after their long morning walk, usually. Taking it easy on the knee-intensive positions, as my knee really does take strain when I do certain moves, but otherwise, all good. I can do 10 push ups, too, and hold plank for 1 minute. Working on that.

What else did I want to waffle about?

I forget right now.

 

Oh yes! Our dates are set, tickets are booked, kennels are bought… Just have to collect them today – will be a tight squeeze, as it’s a GIANT sized kennel for Azzie! Now we just have some other arrangements to make, some things to cancel closer to the time we leave, and begin deciding what will go with us on the plane and what will be shipped (and be unavailable for 3 months) to our new duty station. I really want to get out of here (many reasons) and I know my husband can’t wait to get away from this awful unit. He’s got some friends, but even they know that it’s better to get out than stay here and wither away. Going to the States is a double edged blade, really. Conveniences, a proper address, I can work, but there’s the whole “it’s filled with Americans and on the verge of either collapse or civil war” thing… *shrug*

Where we’re moving is VERY hot and excessively humid pretty much all year round, so we’ll be shaving the dogs down – not to the skin, because I know that’s bad for double coated dogs, but just shorter, so it’s easier to manage, and easier for them to cool down. Thankfully, there will be air conditioning in the houses.

 

What else? Oh! I got to bust out my dusty sewing machine and skillz, to make a Peter Pan collar to attach to her store bought dress, for a photo shoot she did with her husband. That was cool. I felt useful. It came out very well and I was pretty pleased with myself.

 

 

Step Away

So. I did it.

2 Days ago I finally pressed the “delete account” button for Facebook.

Day 3 of Life Without Facebook and I have to say, I still have the habit of sitting down in front of my laptop in the morning and think of clicking the link to check my FB, but it’s waning very quickly. This morning I didn’t even open up my “daily” folder.

I opened email, checked Ello, and then had a chat with some friends on slack (new school IRC, basically – same good old friends and channel though) and continued with my day.

Sunday means dog park play date, and I also made breakfast for my husband who is on 24/7 duty for a week. Fun stuff.

We headed off, breakfast warm and cup of fresh coffee in hand for him too. Dogs said hi, we hung around for a little bit and then met our buddies at the dog park for an hour and a half of running around in the mud and rain. It was great. Dogs were great.

So I am _slowly_ getting used to Life Without Facebook, and I am starting to slip into a _new_ life routine. It’s pretty cool actually. I have moments though, I will admit, where I think about it… but it passes and I move on.

I was on Facebook for 10 years… seems both shorter and longer. I was a beta tester, so I got to iron out the bugs and see it change. Not all changes were for the better. The recent influx of complete idiots (this new generation is just unbelievably stupid… seriously) has also soured it for me. And the privacy issues and copyright issues and the whole limiting access to your network unless you pay them… just nicked my “mafioso” nerve and I’ve just had enough I think.

I had a lot of excuses/reasons for staying on, but I was brutally honest with myself and realised that the people on Facebook would do fine without me – my rescue organisations would be taken care of by my good friend Nicole (Even more so, as she’s a volunteer at many of them too) and my Berner groups are so large now they would barely notice the absence. Besides, my husband is still on it and he’s still in the groups, so he will let me know if I miss anything.

I haven’t posted photos in a long time, and I removed all my information a long time ago.  So it was no big jump. Just a few moments of heart fuzz and then it was all over.

I still have about 11 days left to “change my mind” until they actually delete all the information etc… but quite honestly – I don’t miss it.

I’m getting back in touch with the “old school” – even writing letters by hand (just to my mom for now, but I’m happy to write to anyone who wants me to) and living my life for ME.

Hoping my inspiration will blossom again – for my photography, my sewing, my running, my yoga.

It does feel like a weight off my shoulders. I don’t know why, as I was not really very involved anymore (only checked it once a day for 5 minutes) but it does feel like I’ve let go of something that I didn’t need. Which is a nice feeling. If a little scary for me (if you ever have time to listen, I can try and explain my “unable to sever” dreams/daydreams/thoughts) generally.

Life goes on, and so do we.

 

Stay frosty.

 

 

Dame Mix-a-Lot

Nothing to do with big butts, promise. Mine is being carefully kept in check by energetic walking and playing with my dogs, 3 times a day, and a run every second day. I’m also going to get back into my yoga… might have to do it in a separate room, of course, because according to Berners: if you are on the ground, you are on their turf and they pile on top of you in a big happy furry love flop. Not so nice when you’re trying to go from Downward Dog into Plank etc.

Our Dog Food Adventure unfortunately came to a painful end, after Gina developed a horribly inflamed stomach and colon and was pooping blood and had almost permanent diarrhoea for 2 days. She was so stoic and polite about it, that I don’t really know when the problem started, and only saw that something was wrong when it got that bad. I felt terrible for my poor, gentle girl. But she’s all fixed up now, after 2 weeks of various medications to soothe her stomach and colon lining, to put back the good bacteria in her tummy and some antibiotics to kill any nasties that decided to take root while she was under the weather. I switched her to “sensitive stomach” prescription diet and she is doing impressively well on it. Stomach is settled, good poops, she seems more energetic and full of vim and vigour – but that’s also because the weather is finally turning to Berner weather: icy cold, lots of rain, lots of puddles, mounds of fallen leaves under every tree! Azzie also had tummy issues with the diet I had them on – but nothing as severe. She had ups and downs and it was highly unpredictable which way her tummy would go each day. She also developed an itchy problem. So I switched her over to “sensitive skin” prescription diet and she is doing remarkably well too 🙂 Besides the occasional “dietary indiscretion” which causes some tummy woes, she is in excellent health. The itching subsides during the day, but I think there is something else she is allergic too (besides GRASS, which she LOVES to roll around in when it’s wet!) in the other food or treats that they get, so I’m in the process of elimination now to see when the itching stops – until then, she gets a Loratadine 10mg tablet every evening to help her relax enough to sleep. (Vet approved, don’t worry, and the absolute mildest dose I can give)

So unfortunately, the Dog Food Adventure is over – some dogs do very well on raw diets, some do very well on “human food” diets, but my girls just need to stick to something tried and tested. They are now very healthy, and very happy, and this makes me a happy furry mommy.

What else…. hmmm *thinks*

I’ve put all my items up in my shop again, but haven’t had any clients ordering vintage clothing so far…

I am strangely both happy and sad about that. The perfectionist in me grimaces at the idea that I will get an order and I would not get it PERFECT first time, in time, so I don’t WANT any orders! But the vintage lover and creative side of me says PLEASE! Bring it!

I tried making stuff for myself (I have a fabric stash… *hangs head*) but I just seem to lack the inclination. I did finish a nice wiggle skirt, done in black micro suede, but as usual, I did it “my way” and it came out nothing like the way it was meant to. It’s like when I make for myself, my perfectionist self wanders off to a back room and ignores me until it’s “all over” and she can come out and say “told you so!”

I do want to make some casual tops and some yoga pants, just for fun. I have some GREAT patterns. Some are not “vintage” inspired – they just looked simple and useful.

 

I was pondering trying NaNoWriMo this year. I just wish my brain could stick to one idea. I have so many “snippets” but I just can’t seem to “see” further than the scene that I initially write.

My husband is away, again. I miss him terribly. Very little contact, so it’s very quiet in the evenings for me and the girls.

I read. I watch my tv series. I watch movies.

He might be going away again, quite soon after he gets back from this one.

Not sure how I feel about that yet.

I just take it day by day. Try and fill the hours after sundown.

 

I’ve also, after much thought, decided to go back to being vegetarian. (lacto-ovo, for now, in case anyone cares about the technical stuff) after many years “break” from it.

I initially decided I wanted to be vegetarian at the age of 16. It lasted 10 years, and then due to various things, my diet was NOT up to par, and I became anaemic and under weight and very weak and had terribly low blood pressure (even more so than I normally do) and I finally saw the doctor and she said I _have_ to either fix up my vegetarian diet (which I did not see happening, due to the circumstances at the time, which I won’t go in to now) or start eating meat. I chose meat. Now I will admit that I like the taste of meat – I am a meat eater, no doubt – and that’s not why I chose to go veg last time, nor this time. I simply couldn’t handle the inner mental/emotional battle that I seem to have with myself about eating animals whenever I think about it too much.

I’m not going to evangelise to my husband and force him to come over to the “Veg Side” – we have tofu – this is not an activist thing, or a soap box thing. It’s a personal thing and has nothing to do with him. I will continue making him DELICIOUS food, with meat, and I will also make myself delicious food, without meat. Simple as that. More work, but that’s totally OK. I’ve been eating meat-less for about a week or so now, and I must admit, I feel great. I’ve lost 2 or 3 pounds (the bathroom scale is set to pounds, to help me learn the silly American way 🙂 and the stove is set to Fahrenheit) and I feel lighter. Of course it could be my imagination, the weather, and the exercise 🙂 I’ll take whatever I get, really!

 

I’ve also tried to start incorporating meditation in my day. Just 10 or 15 minutes to start. Some days I forget, or I just don’t “feel like it” – but the days I do make a plan, I feel calmer and more patient (especially with the dogs, and annoying people)

It will take time to reach a proper meditation level to feel any REAL benefits (like yoga) but I know it works, as I used to do it a lot when I was on my own. It would take the form of a silent ride, sometimes, or a walk with the dogs in the rain, with not another soul around, or a longer than usual run with music in my ears and the wind blowing me forward.

I have rediscovered Debussy (not just Claire de Lune) and the dogs and I spent an afternoon relaxing (they were snoring, happily) while we enjoyed his music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

another hodgepodge

I’ve been doing all these “things” to try to (almost) force myself to blog more… I added myself to a website “circle” all about sewing, I added an author link on G+ and I linked my blog to some other web groups as well…

I’m also still trying to keep the “blogging tribe” experiment going… I did warn them that I am a sporadic blogger, but I really want to be a more consistent one. Not necessarily daily/scheduled but at least more than once a month!

Thing is, I don’t really have that much to blog about – my daily life is routine: get up, take dogs down, come back, make breakfast for dogs, me, husband, get dressed to go, walk dogs, come back, clean house, feed dogs, do laundry, walk dogs again, do more household Domestic Goddess stuff, feed dogs again, chill for a bit, walk dogs, make dinner, chill, take dogs down before bed, then off to bed… and the next day I do it all again.

Right now, husband is away for a few weeks, so I have even less to do, but I am trying to keep up the schedule, for the dogs and to stop myself from vegging out.

So I have set myself a few goals for these 3 weeks of “alone time” and I will do my best to both blog about it and also complete said goals. Or just blog about not completing them. Failure is always an option. I’m a starter, not a finisher.

This hodgepodge post is to “catch you up” to where I am right now: sitting at my awesome (and quite neat at this time) desk, with dogs lolling around in their spots, licking ice cream from their sweet white furry lips. All the fans are going, as it’s heating up already. Going to be pretty warm today (29C) despite the fact that it’s already August and it should be cooling down rapidly. *shrug* Germany has not exactly been “normal” as far as the weather goes, this year. We had snow and negative temperatures, in May, so I’m not really counting on this “summer” to end too soon. The whole week is going to be a scorcher. So husband left one of our air conditioners (the big one) up in the apartment for me, and of course there’s the kiddie pool downstairs and the bath upstairs, to keep the pooches cool. I really need to invest in those cooling mats. I think the dogs would like them. Or a cooling vest. They did well this morning on our walk, though – we stuck to the shade, took lots of little breathers under trees, and I gave them lots of water. Azzie is on the bed – it’s her new favourite place. I worry when it gets quiet though – she really is like a toddler… you’d rather there was noise… or you know they are up to something!  I’m going to go check on her in a second, when I am done with this post.

The Dog Food Adventure is going well. I’m going to bake some eggshells today, and grind them up – a major source of calcium and other nutrients – I’ve gathered quite a large amount. The girls LOVE their “meats” in their meals now. Gina loves the ground beef (93% lean) and Azzie loves her chicken. Azzie eats anything I put in her bowl, but I have to be sneaky with Gina. She has, however, been eating her veggies (carrots and green beans and a small amount of potato) in the stews I’ve made for them. I’ve also ordered something called “Longevity” by Springtime Inc. It’s a powder that you put on their food, once a day, which apparently is so good for them that there are now 19 year old herding dogs running around like 4 year old pooches, amongst other success stories. The Bernese Mountain Dog group that I am on swears by it – especially for big dogs like ours, so I am looking forward to that arriving. It helps to heal previous damage as well – so I am hoping it will help Gina’s back left leg to heal properly. I want to start running with both of them.

Bahrbach Pfad - 3

As for my running – I ran a proper race! Only 5km, but it was my first actual race (for myself, not for my school) in over 20 years. I was pretty proud of myself. I ran 95% of the way – only walked (briskly!) up the very long, steep hills, and only for a minute each time. I finished in a time of 33 or 34 minutes (not too sure, as I was so excited about actually doing it that I forgot to start my stopwatch until I was at the end of the first street!) which was a pace of around 6:25 or 6:35… either way, I was pleased as punch for actually DOING IT!  My husband was proud of me too – but he laughed at my time 🙂 That’s ok. My goal was to just FINISH it and finish strong. I sprinted to beat another runner, at the end. Unfortunately my husband didn’t see my epic finish, as he was standing off to the side with the dogs, because they were worried about me “running off” without them. Silly girls. Next time, I will take them with me! So we all need to get fit again. Apparently you can win a prize too, if you are the first to cross the line with your dog!

Rule #1 Cardio - 1 (1)

My sewing has had a pause again – I did complete 95% of a black micro suede wiggle skirt, but I made a miscalculation on the amount of fabric I needed, so it was shorter than planned, and I have to still do the kick split at the back. I will post photos when that’s done. One of my goals in this “alone time” session is to make something new. So I’m looking at my patterns, and my fabric and trying to decide what. I might make a nice comfortable top, or maybe some yoga pants.

I haven’t done yoga in weeks and weeks. Makes me sad. It’s almost impossible to get down on the floor to do anything, without the dogs getting all excited and literally climbing all over me. Gina crawls under my Downward Dog, and Azzie thinks my Bridge pose is so she can sit on my chest. So it’s been complicated. I really do want to get back into it – and that’s another goal for these 3 weeks.

They are doing construction outside our buildings right now and since yesterday we’ve had to move our cars to parking places across the road and quite far down. Annoying, but hopefully it won’t be for long. Thankfully the buildings where I am parked are not full, so there are free spaces still. I left a note on my car windshield so that anyone whose bay I am in can come find me if they need me to move one of the cars. I’m polite like that. Can’t say the same for the rest of the people around here. There is a serious lack of respect for others, sometimes. And, as you know, don’t even get me started on the dogs stuck inside all day. *deep breath* *counts to ten*

So that’s a catch up, for now.

Mohawks, robots, suits, hairy dogs and country roads.

Thought I’d do an update post as I’ve done lots in the last few weeks.

Firstly – I shaved myself a Mohawk  Why? Because I can. It’s hair, it grows back – and mine grows like a weed 🙂 Plus I thought it would look cool with the blond ends and dark roots…

Here’s the process: Did it all myself with no mirror, so it was a little hectic. At one point I asked my husband for help (as he is the one who kept suggesting the hair cut!) but when he started clipping and then stopped and said “I have no idea what I just did…” I said thanks, but I’ll take it from here 🙂

 

7087_10152910027705085_554785654_n 7839_10152910032545085_1577869984_n 600319_10152910048195085_1035828474_n 943475_10152910030300085_1131768445_n 970874_10152910020485085_1703874126_n 998745_10152910035610085_1909896726_n 1003771_10152910023830085_1132498493_n

 

Secondly: I completed TWO sewing projects successfully!

I finished the entire 1940’s suit (jacket, pants, skirt and blouse) and sent it off to the client – she LOVES it and is very happy with it! I was so relieved as it was my first major project for someone!

 

970133_10152884362755085_1870891562_n 969421_10152884367820085_687174095_n 941961_10152884355255085_1547438925_n 424611_10152884372035085_1883178379_n 389265_10152884349685085_2048117075_n

 

 

I also finished the skirt for another client – 1950’s style soft pleated skirt. Buttery soft linen, which she chose, from a pattern that she also sent me.

It took me only 3 days – and that’s because of various interruptions. I could probably complete one of those in 2 days if I worked flat out.

2013 - 3 2013 - 2 2013 - 1

I was pretty proud of myself – and pleased with my work.  I would have worn any of the pieces, so I think that’s a sign that they are well made, as I am very critical of my own stuff.

Waiting on word from the lady who ordered the skirt… but she has been very busy recently, so I am sure she will let me know when it arrives!

 

Thirdly, we got a Roomba! We’ve waited a long time and did lots of research on which one to get, and finally Ronald arrived last week.

He has been put to work and is diligently dealing with dog hair and bird seed – he gets cleaned every time he is used and, as they state in their guidelines, kept on power when not in use.

He’s awesome 🙂

1003824_10152927393905085_1012441761_n

 

Fourthly – Spring/Summer has finally arrived in Germany (in our area, anyway – floods everywhere else :/)

It went from 3C/12C to 23C/35C in a matter of days. The dogs are shedding like mad to cope, so we are grooming almost daily and the fur just keeps coming…

Also trying to find a combination of tick collar/tick spray/drops to counter the rather nasty ticks they have here in our area. We have lots of forest and natural undergrowth, plus lots of deer and other wild animals… so the ticks are rampant, no matter where you go.

Even sticking to the roads and just letting the dogs sniff the edges, I still find ticks on them – despite having tick collars and (natural) spot drops on them. So now I am going to try the tick collar combined with a tick spray that will hopefully sit in their fur and stop the ticks from staying on.

We tried a tick/flea shampoo as well – didn’t work. I don’t WANT to use the nasty chemical ones, but clearly that’s all that works on these mean little suckers!

We did discover two gorgeous new and interesting walks in our attempts to avoid the long grass etc – so that’s a bonus. We also sorted their kiddie pool out – although Gina managed to make a hole or two in the sides, so the water doesn’t really stay in for long!

Morning Walks - 3 Morning Walks - 2 Morning Walks - 1

Procrastination, my old friend.

It’s amazing how many things you can find to do, to avoid doing something that needs to be done.

I even do laundry, clean the kitchen, and plan out dinner or bake something.

What am I avoiding?

Crepe de Chine.

It’s a magnificent fabric – soft to the touch, smooth and silky. And that’s the problem. It’s slippery and slinky and it HATES needles.

Luckily I ordered extra, just in case – as I have had to re-cut the sleeves. Their shape was completely off when I had finished.

I’ve never had to sew a silk fabric before. This is all a learning curve of massive proportions. I’ve done loads of research on tips and tricks when dealing with silk and other slippery fabrics – another way to put off actually DOING the sewing of it!

I now feel more ready… but of course, we are MOVING tomorrow. Of course. The wonderful military life.

Will take me another couple of days to set myself up again. At least I have a couple of weeks to do this. I want to do it RIGHT, first time around.

 

I’m such a damn perfectionist that I am driving myself nuts here.