Melting Pot

Ugh…

Dear anyone with loads of money who enjoys telling people “Money can’t buy happiness”: Please, give me your money and allow me to prove you wrong. Call it scientific research.

I am currently nursing a stress induced migraine. Why? Because modern plumbing is simultaneously a blessing and a curse, that is why. I don’t know what is going on with my house but the plumbing issues just keep on getting worse with time. Started out harmlessly enough very shortly after I moved in: a slow drain here and there, minor backup there – a dose of drano each time and it seemed to fix it. More recently a backed up kitchen sink that required a different method of clearing but still DIY thanks to J. Now, nothing in my house involving plumbing is usable because EVERYTHING gurgles, backs up, and/or leaks. EVERYTHING. I’m at J’ s to do laundry while I give my sinks etc time to drain out as much as possible before attempting once more to clear them out and get things functional again. He is out of town so I am on my own to deal with it. Which I hate. Having a man to deal with stuff is just… better. 

Between the plumbing issues, the incessant stank that the previous tenants left behind that NOTHING gets rid of (thought I had it recently when I cleaned the A.C. filters. Nope. Stench came back. Took a couple days, but it came back.), the probably perpetually unfinished state of things, the frustration of not being able to find work, and the neighborhood… oh lord, the neighborhood. Sunday I had been at J’s and left for home an hour or so earlier than I had planned to. Turned out to be a good thing as about the time I would have been coming home had I left when I planned to, I was instead home and inside already when roughly 20 guys were out in the street yelling and fighting. Had I only then been arriving home, they would have been blocking my ability to get to my driveway, regardless of which route I could have taken. Their mannerisms showed pride in their actions, and they seemed to genuinely enjoy it all. Disgusting, truly. I had spent the weekend binge watching a crime drama then come home to be reminded people ARE that fucked up in the real world and I live where I am smack in the middle of that kind of nonsense… I. Can’t. Take. It. 

Until next time. xoxo 

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Art, Melting Pot, Whatever Wednesday

Whatever Wednesday

My kitchen sink is functional again! J came over yesterday. It took two rounds of a sulfuric acid drain opener he got, but it did what drano could not. Thank goodness. I never thought I’d be happy to wash dishes. But I sure am, now!

The weather is cooling down now and the leaves have started changing and falling from the trees. The squirrels are busier than ever, which makes outings with the dogs a challenge as they both want to go after the squirrels especially Princess. Rascal mostly behaves herself, she’ll pull on her leash a bit and maybe make some small noises but she tends to remain reasonably calm though she’s internally very excited. Princess on the other hand starts pulling very hard on her leash, jumping and barking like crazy. And the insane squirrels around here, for the most part, do NOT run and hide but sit and taunt which just riles her up even more.

I wanted to do a cute, cartoony Halloween picture. I thought over all the options and knew just what I wanted to do. I will need to redo it as I struggled a lot with the facial features for some reason, particularly the mouth, and all the erasing made that area look a bit wonky in the final picture. So I will be tracing over it to redo it so that area will look better. I’ll put more effort into the coloring on the new one once I get to it as well. But even with the issues I had with it I’m pretty pleased. I think it definitely fits the bill for being a cute, cartoony Halloween picture. Even if it’s not quite how I had pictured it in my head. I never can get drawings translated properly from my head to paper…

I have been playing around with my brownie recipe, as I no longer care for the original version. I think I’ve about perfected it for my brownie preferences now but I need to give it another go to be sure. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can share. It’s been a LONG time since I have done any food posts or shared one of my own recipes here vs linking to someone else’s recipe. I just don’t really bake all that much anymore and the bulk of my cooking is nothing that needs a recipe either (I mean, pasta and garlic bread… kinda simple…) and I’ve been eating cereal or sandwiches as meals more often than actually cooking anyway. I only have myself to cook for and I generally don’t like leftovers, and even the leftovers I do like I tire of after a day or two, so it’s easier to just have cereal or something than to put effort into cooking a proper meal. And all that adds up to when it comes to the blog, I just don’t have the content to do food posts these days. Maybe that’ll change at some point. But for now, food/recipe posts will be a rarity. 

With that in mind I have a non-food idea I would like to work on. Thinking of a simple knit project for the past couple days and I’m wondering if, unlike translating my drawing ideas to paper, I can translate it to yarn with success. So I’m off to poke through my stitch dictionaries and see if I can come up with something. 

Until next time. xoxo

Art, Melting Pot, Saturday Somethings

Saturday Somethings

I have a mountain of dirty dishes I need to hand wash but I really don’t want to. My kitchen sink is clogged up, so my dishwasher is out of commission, and I have to hand wash things in the bathroom. Which is cumbersome and annoying. I’ve tried my best to fix the problem on my own – aka I dumped a bottle of drano and let it do its thing, but it didn’t help. I watched a video on youtube that made me think I MIGHT stand a chance of doing a little something under the sink to possibly fix it. Then I realized what I have is different than dude in the video and what I have I am not about to touch. I was feeling desparate for a functional kitchen sink this morning so did the only other thing I could think of: I got the plunger out. All that resulted in was me somehow injuring my shoulder, but the sink is still just as clogged as it was before. This is why when something needs fixing/done around the house I ask a man to do it. If I try to do it myself I either hurt myself, make the problem worse, or both. 

Now as I sit with generic icy hot cream on my shoulder  (and not helping much, but I can’t find my heating pad so it’s the best I can do for now) and as usual listening to music that is coming from across the street, I can’t help but think how much I just want to go back to bed. But my sleep schedule is already out of whack thanks to insomnia (currently running on about 3 hours of sleep), so I best stay awake. 

Princess decided to roll in something stinky this morning, then she ate whatever it was before I had a chance to get her away from it. Dogs are awesome but they sure can be gross sometimes. I immediately gave her a bath once back inside. Then Rascal got one too. They were both overdue anyway so I figured if I had to bathe one of them, may as well tackle getting both of them bathed so it’d be done.

I finished a new drawing last night that I am fairly pleased with. I should have waited till today to finish it as when coloring it in my wrists did get tired and maybe it’s just me but I can absolutely tell which part was colored first and what waa colored with a tired wrist. But I lack patience and really wanted to see it done. 

The quote is from one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite 90’s bands, Sugar Ray. I considered this one for the next Tuesday Tunes, but I’ll throw it in this post instead as there’s another song I want to share on Tuesday. 

I hope y’all are having a better weekend than I am so far. 

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

10 Random Thoughts

As I sit here waiting for some brownies to bake, I have a lot of random thoughts bouncing off the walls of my mind. While this is far from unusual, I thought maybe I could find a way to coax a blog post out of the nonsense floating around my head at the moment. Thus I present you with ten completely random thoughts I am thinking right now.

1. I am clearly not loyal to any one brand when it comes to major appliances. I’m an appliance slut. But it’s not my fault. I have standards. I went with items that met my minimum requirements while not being ludicrously expensive. So my dish washer is GE, range is Whirlpool, microwave is Danby, fridge is Frigidaire, and washing machine is Roper (which is owned by Whirlpool so I guess Whirlpool has a slight overall lead over the others). 

2. Then there’s my KitchenAid stand mixer. My pretty pretty mixer. I love my mixer. Everyone scoffed at me when I spent my money on it but it has been SO worth it. My wrists hurt so easily these days, and that mixer has helped so much. I wouldn’t be baking brownies right now if I didn’t have my mixer!

3. Those yellow jackets in the yard really are a nuissance. I need to get them dealt with. I wish I could just talk to them and be like “Hey, the dogs and I will not bother you if you don’t bother us” and that be that. 

4. I need a man. There is “man stuff” around a house that needs done regularly. I don’t want to have to do that stuff myself. So much nicer to have a man around to do those things. Sigh. 

5. I should get my paper and pencils out and draw a picture. But what to draw? 

6. I really need to pull the filters out of the rest of the wall units for the ac and get them cleaned up. 

7. I wish my windows had screens so I could let some fresh air in from time to time without inviting all manner of creepy crawly inside. 

8. So much yarn. I need to knit and crochet more.

9. I should read another chapter of that book.

10. I’ve got to get some screws so I can put that organizer together. Maybe I should paint it first. I do have spray paint left, but do I have enough to paint that whole thing? I’d hate to start painting it and not be able to finish it. 

Until next time. xoxo

Art, Melting Pot

Friday Post 2

I didn’t get much sleep last night. What sleep I did get was very fitful, not restful. I don’t even know what time I went to bed or what time I got up this morning. I just know when I did get up I was exhausted, cranky, and had a horrible headache. Said headache continued to plague me as I got dressed and took the dogs out to potty.

I treated the back yard with more Biefen IT, for mosquitos. They were becoming relentless. Even when I sprayed myself down with deet before going out, they’d bite me. I could see dozens of them going for each dog, too. I knew I needed to re-treat the yard but either the weather would not cooperate (needs to be dry) or I just didn’t feel like dealing with it. This morning I decided, headache or no, it needed to be done. I didn’t do the whole yard but focused on the perimeter, where they seemed most problematic. This stuff is supposed to last “up to 6 months”, and it had been maybe 2 or so since I first treated the yard. However I do need to mention that I think it would be more effective and longer-lasting if I had an actual lawn. What I do have is bare dirt, pine needles, dead leaves, and ivy. All of which leave loads od hiding places the spray won’t reach. If there were actually grass covering the yard, like most folks have, I feel like I’d see better results. Maybe some day I’ll get to live somewhere with a proper lawn and find out. But anyway it was indeed a battle for the yard – I had generously covered myself in deet before going out and as I sprayed the yard, I acquired numerous new mosquito bites. They attacked me as I attacked them. I think I won the battle but I won’t know for sure till I head out later once the product has dried.

After cleaning up from that adventure my head was still pounding away. With the added bonus of a bit of a stomach ache and some dizziness, not to mention the sunlight getting a rather vampiric reaction from me. I know all too well what that combination spells. Thankfully a couple weeks ago I had spotted some migraine formula meds at the grocery store when I was there for something else. I hadn’t had a migraine for roughly a year or so, and before that one I’d been blessed to have several years without one. So I didn’t  NEED the stuff. But I thought I should get it, just in case. So I opened that up and took a dose, which seems to be helping. I still feel a bit nauseous and my head is still throbbing, and light is still far, FAR from being acceptable… but it’s less intense than before. Thank goodness. I’ll still likely be out of commission for the day but as long as it runs its course and I feel good tomorrow, all will be well. Migraines are miserable enough when they knock you on your ass for one day, but their tendency to park themselves firmly in your life for multiple days is REALLY sucky. If you have never had a migraine, you have NO idea how lucky you are.

Moving on. If you follow me on Twitter (where I post like what, once or twice a month at most? 😂) you might have seen that I mentioned a new drawing yesterday. Well, one drawing turned into three. Why? I didn’t want to ink or color a penciled portion that looked pretty good and risk ruining it. So I tested on scrap paper then couldn’t decide if I liked colored pencil or marker better, and I still really liked the penciled original. So I did what any (in)sane person would do: made two copies and colored them, for a grand total of three finished drawings. 

I used a clear plastic Rubbermaid bin and the flashlight feature on my cell phone to create a light box to trace the original drawing to make the two copies. For the record this works perfectly. Granted you may want to use a piece of plexiglass or something for a smooth work surface if necessary but the little bit of texture to mine was not a problem. I used the container upright and put the lid on, due to size (tapered to be a bit smaller on the bottom than the top) but you could alternately just flip the container over. 

I still can’t quite decide which of the three is my favorite. 

Top to bottom: original pencil, colored pencil (which is more orange in person but my phone liked the yellow in it), and marker

What do you think?

Since I am sure most do not know, this is inspired by one of my very favorite movies: What About Bob? If you have never seen it I highly recommend it. 😁

Ok, I suppose that’s all for now. I need to lie down a while, and then will have to find some sun glasses to take the dogs out again, and find out if I won the mosquito battle or not. 

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

Whatever Wednesday

I think I previously mentioned that my newest little nephew decided to show up a bit more than a month early. Both he and his mommy are doing well. She got to go home after just a couple days, but little guy needs to stay at Children’s a tad longer. I’ve only seen a couple pictures, and I seriously doubt whether I will ever get to actually meet him now that I live so far away (paired with the fact my relationship with my brother is pretty strained) but I absolutely adore him. He and his big brothers mean more to me than they will ever know.

I called every florist in town over the past few days, hoping at least one of them would be hiring. None of them are. Figures. Thought I was onto something with that one – I like flowers a hell of a lot more than I like people so a job where I could potentially spend more time with flowers than dealing with people would have been awesome. But back to just following up with places I have already applied to and searching out any new places I have not already tried. This is becoming incredibly discouraging. 

Not much else to say at the moment, so I’m off. 

Until next time. xoxo 

Melting Pot, Saturday Somethings

Saturday Somethings

If hurricane Irma does indeed take the currently projected path I am looking at on my weather app, we will not see much from it here. I’m not stupid though – they may be “educated guesses” but weather forecasts/storm path projections etc are all still guesses. In the end mother nature is going to do what she wants, when she wants, and where she wants. As such I am as prepared as I can be should the storm decide to take a path that could lead to problems here. Granted I am not as prepared as I SHOULD be, but I’ve got limited resources, so I have done the best I can with what I have.

I’ve just been informed that my brother’s wife just went into labor, a bit more than a month early. Regardless of the relationship (or lack thereof) I have with them and regardless of the fact I don’t really get to be part of my nephew’s lives, those little boys mean the world to me. I hope that she and my newest nephew will be ok. 

It figures that now that I have left the Pittsburgh area, some cool new stuff is going to be happening there. My hometown has added a “haunted tour” of one of the cemeteries to the list of Halloween activities. My sister’s SO just sent me a link on facebook today that apparently Rascal Flatts, yes my beloved Rascal Flatts, is going to be opening a restaurant in Pittsburgh. There is also a new restaurant in my home town my dad told me about (and sent a picture of his lunch there today) that has, basically, their own version/twist on the famous sandwiches from Primanti’s. Sigh. Not new by any means but I seriously miss all the various little locally owned soft serve ice cream shops in that area too. No such places where I am now. There is a snowcone place down the road, but I’m not really a fan of snowcones. I want some good soft serve ice cream… 

But then I want a lot of things, and I’ll not likely ever have them. Life’s like that, you know? 

I saw an interesting new hair dye. It is thermochromic – that is, it is one color when under a certain temperature, and it changes to a different color when over that temperature. From what I saw it is currently only available in 4 colors (also, they are all “funky” colors, not natural hair hues) and it is quite pricey. It’s only temporary and washes out with a few shampoos. Needless to say, I WANT! Again, that whole want a lot of things but life usually says “nope” comes into play…

It certainly is not for everyone and would be more of a special occasion/event thing rather than everyday but I would *love* to try that hair dye out. Not sure how well it would take to my red hair though and I’d not be willing to bleach my hair for temporary color like that. But still definitely something I would love to try and see how it turns out over my natural color. 

Until next time. xoxo 

Favorite Apps

Favorite Apps, Volume 3

Today’s featured app is all about the menstrual cycle so if this makes you uncomfortable or you think any degree of discussing this subject is TMI or whatever, this is your warning to navigate away from this page now. 

For those of you who don’t have a problem with this sort of thing, let’s continue. 

Flo is a great little app from the developer OWHEALTH INC. It is completely free to use and, surprisingly, does NOT include ads. There are no “premium” features that must be paid for. This is truly a FREE app. 

So what exactly is Flo? It is essentially a general women’s health app with primary functions of logging and tracking menstrual cycles/symptoms, as well as ovulation/fertility. It can also be linked up with FitBit devices if you use them (not sure if other fitness trackers are compatible at this time but I don’t think so) to be used to track daily steps and sleep, and you can track your weight etc as well if you wish.

At this point I will say I personally only use this app for logging/tracking my menstrual cycle/symptoms so I can not speak to the other aspects of the app. Based on what I do use it for I am going to say the other features are probably well done. 

The app works best when you log symptoms daily. The app will pick up on any trends to improve the cycle predictions. I am still trying to get myself into the habit of logging symptoms daily but even so it tends to be pretty accurate.

Because it can be used to log and track fertility/ovulation as well, the symptom log includes some things you may be interested in logging if you’re trying to conceive – and the app even has a special pregnancy mode if you are/become pregnant. 

There are a handful of settings that can be adjusted for your cycle. If you don’t know how long your cycle tends to last you don’t have to bother with these settings – given a little time and consistent use, the app will adjust those things for you as it learns your cycle. There are also a couple settings for the app itself, including a passcode which is basically password protection for the app – it won’t open without the code being entered first. There is also a contraceptive reminder,  if that is something that may be useful for you.

There is a section within the app with articles on various women’s health issues, as well. Sometimes when you log certain symptoms, they’ll show you an article relating to that symptom specifically. Sometimes this section will also include polls or quizzes, and there are sometimes comment sections available where, if you want, you can chat with other Flo users.

The app also includes a homescreen widget so you can see what days you’ve logged symptoms and upcoming periods at a glance, though you will have to actually open the app for more details or of you want to review what symptoms you’ve logged, and to log new/current symptoms.  

Overall this is a very well done, easy to use, incredibly useful app, and I’d absolutely recommend it to any ladies looking for an easy way to keep track of their cycle and symptoms. I’ve tried a couple other similar apps but this is by far the best! 

Until next time. xoxo

Crafts, Melting Pot, Saturday Somethings

Saturday Somethings

I finished my project that I recently bought more paint for. But first, a brief back-story: several years ago my dad got me a “paint your own piggy bank” kit. We had gotten one for my oldest niece for Christmas and she had wanted me to paint it with her. I had so much fun with it my dad got one just for me shortly after. Fast forward to current times, because I had neglected to seal the paint on in any way my piggy bank had seen better days. It was time to repaint. I removed all the old paint and then left it alone till I figured out how I wanted to paint it this time around. My inspiration finally came, and now it’s complete, other than wating it out a bit longer to be sure the polyurethane is completely cured, since this time I did seal it up for longevity. 

It is a bit stormy here, since yesterday afternoon. On one hand I don’t mind storms, provided they are not too severe. I’ve always liked rain and thunder. At this point in time they offer added benefits of drowning out the noisy neighbors far better than any method I have tried, and often they just chase the neighbors indoors and make them quiet. It’s nice to get a little peace for a while. On the other hand, the rain has been more severe – enough that my roof decided to leak yesterday. Thankfully nothing major but still something that will need to be addressed. 

But it still meant that beyond the “natural noise” I had a nice stretch of peace and quiet yesterday. The noise in this neighborhood is near constant, with very limited breaks. It does not matter that my windows are all closed, does not matter what room I am in or what I am doing, I still hear the noise the neighbors make. Sometimes if I am in the shower that will give me some reprieve. But only sometimes. Some people are not bothered by such noise levels. Obviously I am not among those people. To put it in perspective for you, with the above description of the noise in mind… I hate fans because they’re too loud/noisy. Ceiling fans are fine, they’re typically quiet. But floor fans or little tabletop fans etc? Nope. I can not stand the noise they make. Now with that comparison in mind… it’s no wonder I have a constant headache and have turned into a perpetully cranky bitch since moving here. The noise is only one part of it too. There is so much more to it. Some of which is probably better left unsaid. In my less emotional moments if I look at the whole picture like this, honestly I am more surprised by how long I kept it together before I started to really crumble in the last couple of weeks. Truth: I’m miserable. I’m doing all I can but getting nowhere. For numerous reasons though I always divert back to old habits: if anyone asks (though they almost never do) smile and say I’m fine, wear a mask to hide all the pain and chaos inside. Shrug. Just what I do. But we’re not gonna open that can of worms today. 

I’ve still not found a new set of cookware. I have a couple sets in mind, but I can’t decide which one is most worth the risk of trusting the information when it says it is dishwasher safe. Reading reviews is of little help in this regard, since some folks just hand wash their cookware by default for whatever reason and of those who do trust the info and use the dishwasher, some say everything comes out fine while others say not so. It is going to be a gamble no matter what set I end up deciding to get. I just can not seem to convince myself that any of them are worth that gamble right now. 

And when I put it all that way… my search for cookware sounds like my search for a special man friend: been burned already, now trust none of them, much as I want one I just can’t seem to convince myself any of them are worth the risk of getting burned again. Heh.

I think I need help, the places my mind goes sometimes. 

J invited me to hang out this weekend if I want. I’m undecided at the moment. I want to – I’m lonely. But the way my emotions have been I can’t trust myself to not lose it at some point – it’s one thing for me to fall apart when it’s just me and the dogs but another to let that happen when someone else is around. The weather looks questionable as well, and I don’t particularly like driving much even on a good weather day. I don’t like driving in the rain.

Either way this has been one of my more random, rambly posts so I should probably shut up and try to do something at least somewhat productive. And by that I mean maybe I will finally get around to getting out some hanks of yarn and set up my swift and winder and get them wound into cakes/balls/whatever you want to call them. I always just call them balls of yarn but apparently the specific way in which they are wound they are called cakes. Which is ok. But it makes me want cake. 😜

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

The End

I just deleted my beauty blog. Maybe because I have already been incredibly stressed out, it was more difficult to do than I anticipated. I had “retired” it over two years ago when between no longer having home internet and deciding that being a beauty blogger was costing way too much money I just didn’t want to write it anymore. I left it up and accessible as a reference for past readers or anyone who might stumble onto what they needed there, and because some part of me did maybe want to start writing it again some day.

Last week, however, I got an email from one of the companies I had done a write-up for (not long before “retiring” the blog) requesting I either remove or “nofollow” the links in that post. I had no idea what that even meant. 

Apparently Google has various rules for linking things. These rules are always changing. As far as what is specifically on Google’s  own “Webmaster Guidelines” page right this moment, there is NOTHING wrong with any of my old blog posts. But there are other pages with Google videos and such with information about additional rules that are in place. Which by the way… how can you enforce those ones if you don’t list them on the aforementioned guidelines page? First off in all my years of blogging I never knew that page existed, secondly if I did and were using it for my reference as to what is or is not ok on my blog… well, if you don’t put the damn rules there how am I to know about them huh Google? I only know about this stuff now, after well over a decade of blogging, because apparently someone reported my blog for breaking rules that 1. I had no clue existed 2. I don’t think even existed yet when my posts were made anyway 3. I don’t understand at all because I don’t come from an SEO background and don’t give a hoot about that stuff, I blog to connect with others not for page rank or whatever and 4. are written for people who DO have SEO knowledge thus uses the lingo they know which I obviously do not know so trying to understand these rules is impossible,  because I feel like I am reading a foreign language. 

The things Google frowns upon in linking is kind of ridiculous and goes against what many bloggers do as it is part of how we connect with one another – participating in link exchanges or blogging networks, using widgets on your blog, sitewide links such as a link at the footer to link back to the person who designed your blog layout or giving attribution to those who contributed to your blog in any way etc. Apparently even linking one of your own blog posts – which I do sometimes as a courtesy for the convenience of my readers when I reference something in a previous post so you don’t have to search for it cause boom the link is right there for you – is a no no because as far as Google is concerned that link is meant to artifically boost your page rank. And those are just a couple of the long list of rules Google has in place about linking.

I’ve never seen mention of just what the penalties are for breaking the rules. I only know they can penalize you as well as whoever you linked to. It seems to be a retroactive thing too from what I can tell. Because that is totally fair right? It’s like if your parents now decide orange juice is bad for you so they make a “no orange juice” rule, find out you drank orange juice when at a friend’s house when you were ten, but they are still going to punish you, a grown adult, because well hey it is a rule and you broke it, regardless of when

I mulled it over and decided if one post was problematic then I know I have hundreds of old posts with links that don’t follow the rules, and it is just not worth it to keep the blog up anymore. Worrying about these stupid linking rules and what the potential penalties could be is just one more layer of stress that I can not handle right now.

So, my beauty blog is officially gone. I wrote that blog for more than a decade. I put SO much into it. And now… poof. With one simple click… it might sound weird or stupid but it is like my blog died and it took a chunk of me with it. 

As for this blog, I’ll maybe delete a few old posts, try to “fix” links in most of them (soon as I learn just how the hell to do that) and hope for the best.

And now I will forever be paranoid about linking to anything. Ever. Thanks for that Google. 😒

Until next time. xoxo