Are we still in Oregon? The weather report says that it is -8 degrees! We have 10-11 inches of snow that is becoming hard packed ice. I know to some states it doesn't sound like much but I don't know that we even have snow plows in the Willamette valley! Brrrrrr!
The heat pump is having difficulty keeping up, but the house is still reasonably comfortable. So far nothing important seems to be frozen. I really do not want to see the electric bill this month!
This picture is from Friday, and we got quite a bit more snow after it was taken, but I haven't left the house since I got home from work at 2:00ish on Friday.
I've been decorating instead:
I hope you all are safe and warm!
- Current Location:US, Oregon, Junction City, Lane
Candy can be tricky to make. I grew up making these recipes with my grandmother and mother so I know the visual cues, which can be pretty important. Marian made the first batch and we took it off the stove too soon so it ended up being kind of like pralines.
It had great flavor but not that dark toasted flavor you expect from almond roca. While Marian was working on that Trudi put together the double batch of fudge. Through a miscommunication, we mixed up the order of ingredients, which, it turns out, makes a difference. Our fudge ended up cooking after all the ingredients were added and the pink from the starlight mints melted into the fudge. This made a rather pink fudge instead of a white fudge with starlight chunks. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the flavor though. The batch made two of these baking pans of fudge.
I made the second batch of almond roca and, remembering the visual cues (okay, it's dark enough now and any darker will taste burnt), pulled it off at the exact right time. Confidence boosted, Marian suggested that we try making hazelnut roca and pulled a cube of margarine out of the freezer for the experiment. It, perhaps, wasn't the right choice because from the beginning it didn't look right. We ended up with some sort of completely tasteless hazelnut sludge with a skim of oil on top.
We think there was something off with that cube of margarine but we didn't test that theory by trying another batch with hazelnuts.
At that point, we each found our place in the kitchen. It wasn't the usual order of things, and probably anyone could have taken any spot but the way it worked out, I did the cooking, Trudi did the prep work, and Marian did the dishes. Usually, Marian is the cook and we all take turns with stirring, prep work, and dishes. However, Marian has only made candy once before so she didn't have her usual level of experience to pull upon.
We made two more batches of almond roca which turned out nicely. I usually burn at least one batch but I think I've figured out Marian's pan and stove in relation to this recipe and had good timing. (The pictures are blurry though)
We didn't get to the peanut brittle, so next week we will do it and cranberry sauce. Wheee....I love these evenings together!
First there were a few more things that went wrong. The most major was that, after the hard drive crashed, I had a catastrophic drive failure on my external hard drive which WAS where I'd been saving everything. Unfortunately, try as they might, our tech support was unable to recover anything off the drive. It would not even allow it to be initialized, no matter what operating system that was used- and they tried every one they had access to on campus. So...I lost everything from the last two years and all my email backups from forever on. iTunes was also supposed to be saving to that drive. Fortunately, over the weekend I realized there was a slim hope it hadn't been saving there but rather to the hard drive, which we were able to recover. So this morning I went hunting and, joy of joys, I found all my music! I have now backed it up to my terabyte drive as well as leaving the copy on my hard drive.
The plumbing saga also had a happy ending...Tuesday morning I got into the shower and after splashing around for a bit, I looked down and discovered that the tub was draining perfectly! Yeay! No plumber was required, this time.
I also decided to go ahead and spend the money to get contacts. The doctor warned me that users with such a minor correction as I have report that they don't see much benefit in the contacts. I took a few days to think about my decision because of that more than the money. However, since our insurance renews in January, if I do it now, then, if they don't work for me, I can get a new set of glasses in January. It means that I'd have to wait to get new glasses, if needed after my next check up until the following January. However, my current prescription hasn't changed this year at all so that's a calculated risk I'm willing to take. I'm looking forward to trying it out and hoping it works for me so I can be out of glasses during the rainy cold winter months.
We took my cousin Andrea shopping on Friday. I'm a little sore from pushing the wheel chair and from lifting for the transfers but it was totally worth it! We had a great time, even though we didn't buy much of anything. We ran into our cousin Tara while we were there too so that was a nice happen chance as well.
I got my deal of the season on Sunday when I went with my Mom to Joann Fabrics. I found two ultra suede fabrics for 60% off (of $14.99 and $16.99/yard) and a brushed cotton, also for 60% off ($9.99/yard). I also bought the other notions I needed to make three skirts. Then I had coupons and my educator discount. In the end I walked out of the store with $111.79 worth of materials for $39.58. I was feeling mighty pleased with myself. I forgot the bias tape but that's a minor thing. I also figured out my Mom's Christmas gift- she asked me to sew up some place mats out of a fabric that she purchased.
Christmas is sorting itself out...sort of. My Dad and my brother are predictably impossible to shop for. I don't think I'll be buying gifts outside of my bio family, even though I'd like to. The Godkids will probably be the exception but I'm going to try to make gifts there too. I'll see how the money sorts out and make final decisions. I may have 12th night gifts for some of my friends. (You know...another payday between and more time to be creative.) We did get coverage for our office for Christmas eve, so I have requested the week of Christmas off to go to CA with the family. I'm looking forward to....picking lemons, I hope. I'm still struggling with dealing with the family baggage that makes me impossible to get along with during these extended visits. I'm not sure I have a great coping plan but I'm going to try to be vigilant against the crankypants experience.
Work continues apace. I had a good conversation with the Dean last week about the new supervisor and my trust issues with her. He was supportive (if non-committal) and indicated that sometimes when one person is working on something, it brings out the issues other people have. We'll see. For now, it's time to join a Web-ex to take this new assessment system live.
Friday morning I decided to rinse one of my wool dresses in the tub. I flipped the lever and put a little water in with some Woolite to soak. The tub drained to quickly for a good soak and so I spot cleaned, rinsed and hung it to dry.
Saturday morning I went to shower and the tub wouldn't drain. Dad suggested that maybe the plunger unit needed to be adjusted so I took the lever plate off and gently pulled the mechanism up to discover the bottom half missing. That would explain the plugged tub, of course, but try as I might I could not get a hold of the other half that was still in the pipe. I had appointments so dad came over in the evening and went fishing he was very successful and the other piece came out on his first try.
We decided to replace the old assembly with a new one and had it all affixed to the lever plate when we discovered that the pipe and the assembly were not of the same vintage standard and, hence, the new assembly would not fit in the old pipe. So we went back to the old pieces and put it all back together. We ran so water and... It still wouldn't drain. We pulled the drain plug back out and the water didn't drain... Apparently the two were not related. I ran a full bottle of drain cleaner through it- it slowly leaked out but water still stood in the tub.
I took my shower this morning and ended up standing in ankle deep water which still hadn't drained an hour and a half later.
Dad tried to use a snake but the pipe angles wouldn't allow it. We ran about two boxes of baking soda and a full bottle of vinegar into the drain. It was fun chemistry but didn't fix the problem.
So now, all that's left is to call a plumber, or plan on bailing water after every shower. Of course I don't have any money for the plumber. I am incredibly frustrated to the point of wanting to scream and throw things.
- Current Location:US, Oregon, Junction City, Lane
I know the blessings and challenges exercise is designed to help with that, but I just didn't have what it took to do it. So I wallowed for a few days but then I just realized that we have to keep on keeping on, even when it doesn't seem worth it. I still don't feel happy but I'm just plugging away at things, because what else can I do?
You know that saying..."I try to take one day at a time...but lately several days have attacked me at once." That's what it feels like right now. It's nothing major but just all these little things piling up. Money worries stress me out, even though I know I'm luckier than many people. My surger started misbehaving and even with a time out and a car ride it didn't stop (sometimes that is all it takes when it is just being tempermental), so I had the repair man take a look at it and it is going to cost a little over $200 to repair it. One of the tension units is shot and it needs a new needle plate. The good news is that it still retails at $1000 which is what I paid for it several years ago (more than 5 years ago, less than 15). There aren't very many piece of equipment that retain their value that way. I know, this is a luxury but I make most of my clothes and they last better when I can surge all the seams.
There are several repairs that I need to make on my house but I just don't have the money to do it.
- I need gutters put on the back porch so it stops creating a bog and doesn't blow water onto the wood quite as much ($100-200?).
- The porch planking needs to be replaced because it is rotting out (I haven't even tried to figure out the cost- the wood itself would be about $650)
- The house needs new windows and this only feels urgent because there is a lot of condensation and cold air and many of them don't lock. Obviously, I can't afford to do this. It's probably cheeper to do it all at once but I suspect I will be doing one or two windows a year when I get my tax returns ($400-600/window not including the large picture window and the patio door).
- The garage has footer that are rotting away because they weren't properly protected, this needs to be repaired but since it requires the partial removal and rebuilding of a wall, that's going to have to wait until better weather returns (and I'm going to have to have someone other than my dad do it, I suspect) ($?).
- I need to have the univited guests chased out of the crawl space, a vapor barrier put down, the access points secured, and the pipes wrapped ($600+).
- I need an electrictian to wire the attic fan and install a light ($?)
- I would like a new dishwasher as this one is a bit tempermental ($300-600?)
That's my off the cuff list and I know many homeowners have the same kind of lists. There are other issues I'm forgetting and there are a number of cosmetic things that would be nice to repair but aren't necessary. It just starts to get overwhelming and I can't even plan because I don't know when I might have the funds.
Add into the money concerns the desire to have Christmas gifts to give to my family and close friends. I haven't managed to save money for this during the year with the other expenses. I prefer to hand make things, but really, I have just a little over a month and nothing made, at least nothing specific to an individual. I dont' know yet whether I will be able to be with my family at Christmas. When Christmas falls on a Wednesday, it makes a mess of the university schedule. We haven't been able to figure out office coverage for that week yet and because the family is going to CA, I need to have the week off in order to be there on Christmas. I've asked the Dean for help with this because the perception is that Paula and I are responsible for the office coverage- even though it's not in either job description.
Work is still stressful and I'm not any more confident even though the first follow up was positive. Anytime anyone expresses a concern, I panic. I'm also irritated with the new supervisor who seems to be preferencing any conversation regarding staff supervision with "well because of Kristin's problem...." That's a serious breach of confidence and against every HR regulation in the book and she's doing it with the staff I used to supervise. But that's all heresay so I have no recourse. Also, because of the reprimand, I am not eligible for either of the two raises scheduled for this year...a total of possibly a 6% increase. AND because of the new structured system for professional faculty, I'm listed as being at the high end of my scale and will not be eligible for additional raises (other than COLA if they do that) for several years. So I'm stuck at a salary that isn't quite making ends meet in a comfortable way for several years with expenses rising annually ($400 increase in my property taxes this year!)
I wanted to get contacts because I really hate wearing glasses, especially during the rainy season (erm... this is Oregon is there anything but?). I called and made an appointment, at which point the told me that there are fitting fees for contacts that are not covered by the insurance. The insurance will cover a portion of the first fitting fee but not the second or third or any more that are necessary. Since I have an astigmatism, I will require turic contacts, which are weighted and require careful fitting. This office requires a minimum of two fittings and they are the only office covered in Eugene, that I am aware of. So... if I get contacts it's going to cost $100+ but if I select my glasses carefully it won't cost anything. Glasses are affordable but damn it! I want contacts.
On a minor note, the hard drive on my work computer crashed and I'm working on a laptop without my normal access. It's a small thing and I didn't lose any data because I don't save to my hard-drive but it's not very conducive to work being completed.
I think my depression is because everything is just out of my control and not in a happy way. I'm trying to let go but it's really stressful and frustrating to have nothing overwhich I feel I have control.
I missed yesterday and I'm not going to try to go back
Tomorrow is Friday and scrapbooking night.
We passed the fire inspection today- the fire inspector said it was nearly sterile.
Rebekah - she's driving everyone crazy not just me. I managed a pleasant conversation with her reassuring her it will be ok even while I was really annoyed. Sueann took some issues to the Dean and he appeared to listen because he mentioned it to me later.
- Current Location:US, Oregon, Junction City, Lane,
Holding my tongue when I really want to lash out at someone. I did it and I maintained professionalism. It was a bit of a challenge and I may have said something to someone else about it but I didn't say anything to the offender.
Understanding why my cat is misbehaving, even if I don't know how to fix it.
Getting to talk to someone about our building and what makes it so inviting.
Friends who know exactly what I need, help lift me out of my pity party and take me to a happier place
Thrift store shopping and good deals.
Looking forward to scrapbooking with my mom and other friends from church on Friday
Someone has decided that December 9th is too soon to move and she hasn't had time to pack even though she's known for over a year that this was coming. At least I know that I can talk to the Dean when he returns today and I haven't said anything (I don't think) that is inappropriate to her before the Dean and I have a chance to discuss our strategy.
Knowing that I'm not eligible to receive a raise in January or July, after two years of wage freezes and increasing costs. I'm having a hard time seeing the blessing in this one- I guess, I'm learning to economize and I'm working on improving myself.
Surplus picked up the furniture that made us non-compliant with fire code BEFORE the fire Marshall's inspection!
I got the furniture all moved where I wanted it in the forth floor
Had a nice lunch with Karla.
It sounds like both Karla and Amy may have jobs elsewhere shortly- since I'm the only one who knows how to do their jobs I expect I'll be asked to fill in for at least scheduling and licensure request. This has me anxious in the extreme. It should just be for a short time and in kind of an off season as it were.
I'm feeling really tired still and it's a struggle to go to work. But I'm employed and can go to work.
- Current Location:US, Oregon, Junction City, Lane, W 6th Ave, 1119
Sunday lunches with friends
Time with my parents
Funny cats that love to make clean laundry cat approved
Knitting for two hours and discovering that I started on the wrong pattern row and having to tear it all out and spend too much time figuring out how to fix a dropped stitch. Luckily, it was only a couple of rows and not more.
Sat near someone in gospel meeting that was wearing a fragrance that set off my asthma. Fortunately, I figured out the cause and was able to move to a seat in the back and in very short order had the asthma under control.
- Current Location:US, Oregon, Junction City, Lane, W 6th Ave, 1119
Ah the wonder of a hot tub on a cool fall morning.
I finished another skirt
I spent the afternoon with my mom looking at scrapbook stores we hadn't been to before. I love that I can spend time with my mom and feel like I'm with a best friend!
I had a cuddle bug kitty today that wouldn't leave me alone but he was so stinking cute I couldn't even get irritated at the interruptions
I think I have adequate food to get me through next week without buying additional groceries.
Money is a bit tight but it makes me careful of my spending and I consider carefully before making a purchase.
My adventures in stamping on my handmade cards are not going so great- but I'm learning to be patient.
In sewing my skirt, I may have inadvertently turn one if the pieces wrong side up but since it was all together with hand finished seems before I noticed, I'm not going to do anything about it. It isn't noticeable from any reasonable distance and I'm not even 100% sure that's what happened; it could just be the lighting. I'm working on letting go of minor imperfections.
- Current Location:US, Oregon, Junction City, Lane, E 9th Ave