My Portfolio is now available and mundane meanderings

Life has been a whirlwind in many directions as of late. I’m glad I’m a fairly grounded person, because if not, I can’t imagine I wouldn’t fall off this roller-coaster. I can’t say I have many major complaints, however.

I decided to work on my portfolio yesterday, which you can view in its full glory. There are a few other sites I want to add that were fairly complex design, but am thinking through whether that would be a detriment.

I’ve really wanted to get into some mobile development on the side, just learn the ins and outs of it across various platforms and maybe even look into app development at some point.

I’d also like to get to a point of taking classes of some sort to get more involved with programming javascript/jQuery, php, and possibly AJAX. I think they would be extremely beneficial, so I’m at least research avenues to make this possible right now.

I’m making a massive to-do list of stuff I want to knock out and just haven’t had the motivation to do yet and just tackling one at a time until it’s gone. Hoping to stir up a bees nest there.

I decided on a whim to go on a hay ride today in Orrtanna to clear my head and do some soul searching. I think I have a game plan moving forward, and while it’s going to take an insane amount of work and dedication on my part, that’s what I’m best at right?

My view today:

Hay Ride

I also have not done a “5-year” goal post in a few years, so I think it’s about time to check up on my old ones and make some new ones. Sorta dust off the apathy and pour some motivation onto it.

I have an amazing support system though, some of these people are the foundation in which I bask.

What else is new…dad and I are trying to fill up our wood racks for the winter. We started the woodstove for the first time the other day and I absolutely love the feeling of wood heat seeping into my bones.

As mentioned before, our kitchen oven has gone up and is not fixable (according to our repair dude). I had worked to figure out a plan on how I was going to pay for it by dipping into my christmas fund, but then I got an amazing offer to have one bought for me as a gift for dad and I for the holidays. It arrives Tuesday and is black and swank. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed baking this last month I’ve been without a stove.

Still, I am always looking for freelance work, so if you know of anyone that needs some HTML mastery done, hit me up.

A Return to Blogging

I have not blogged in quite a while. Social networking with Facebook and Twitter has all but taken care of immediate reduced quips of information that have made blogging lazy. However I am going to try to get back into the swing of blogging, as it allows me to create more of an archive of things going on in my life, rather than a hidden history on facebook statuses (where most of my information is stored).

A couple big events as of late, some of which will be broken down into individual and/or private posts due to their sensitivity in nature that cannot be shared with everyone. Some involving my mother, some involving romance, some involving my health.

But as far as general stuff goes, things are going pretty well.

The house is well, though having its growing pains. My dryer just recently went up. It’s the same dryer my ex-husband and I bought bran new from Sears in 1999, and then it sat in storage for probably 5 years or so. It was a beautiful black dryer. My ex-husbands mother had bought the matching washer, which died several years ago. Still, I am sad to see it go.

The repairmen had tried to replace some parts on it, which cost me about $240, but still could not fix it. Instead they were receiving a fairly new dryer from another client who was upgrading, that they were willing to sell us for the $240 I had already paid into their service, plus an additional $85. I had already spent the $240 with them, so for them to offer to apply that to the cost of the new dryer was a great gesture on their part. The new dryer is nice (and white, bleh), and comes with a 2 year warranty.

However now my cooking oven is broken. They looked at it briefly (no charge), and even tried to replace a part on it (again, no charge) and said it was likely not fixable. So I will be on the look-out for a new cooking stove soon.

In addition to that, the mid-atlantic has been hit with some crucial rain the last couple weeks. See video for one of our latest “floods”:

Unfortunately the roof on one of my upstairs rooms has started leaking, and apparently isn’t even shingled, just tarred. So we’ll be putting new tar on that to hold it over until I eventually replace the entire roof of the house.

Growing pains of home ownership, I know 🙂

Lets see, dads health is doing well. They have him on a new medication they are trying out to curb his appetite to help him loose weight, and it is working well. The odd part is it is administrated via needle like a Type 1 diabetic. He’s gotten used to that though. The fact that he’s eating healthier because of the meals I’ve been cooking I’m sure helps as well.

Speaking of meals, I made some amazing healthy apple caramel pancakes the other day. Recipe to follow:

Apple Caramel Pancakes

Note: I doubled this recipe to feed me and my father and it was about a pancake too much for us to eat, which Bastian was VERY happy about. This recipe is mainly for one normal person.

Double Note: I use sugar-free stuff because my father is diabetic, you can adjust as needed.

1/2 cup Cottage Cheese (I used 2% cottage cheese)
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour (I use Nature’s Path Multi-Grain pancake mix with Flax, which is at my local grocery store)
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Butterscotch Pudding Mix, dry (this gives it the caramel flavor)
1/2 Small Apple, sliced very thin
Sugar Free Maple Syrup

Whiz in mini food processor or blender or something. Spray pan with non-stick spray (trust me, this stuff is sticky). Cook on low till bubbles appear, press very thin slices of apple into each pancake, flip. Cook till done. Serve each pancake with a drizzle of Sugar-free Maple Syrup (we use Cary’s) Makes 4 small pancakes or 8 silver dollar size.

The batter for me was very thick, so my first pancake I tried to make too large and it was a mess. I made the rest smaller and was very patient letting them cook all the way through. I may consider adding a little Torani Caramel Syrup to the recipe to thin it out a little next time, but these really did turn out yummy once I got the hang of cooking this batter. I had to use two spatulas to turn them over.

These are sugar-free, high protein due to the cottage cheese, low fat and lower carb pancakes (though still a higher carb breakfast than most)

In other dad news, I planned a huge surprise birthday party for him this month and it went over very well. I secretly invited old friends he grew up with and family, we decorated the house in a 50’s sock-hop type theme with blue and teal as the primary colors, and I hired an Elvis Impersonator to do an hour long concert.

Here is the invitation I made and the birthday banner I did:

Dad's Birthday Invitation
Dad's Birthday Banner

There will be many pictures, but I have not gotten them back from the photographer yet. Dad got up and did the twist and was dancing with most of the ladies and everything 🙂 I even got up and danced with him. The Elvis Impersonator was really good too, he would put scarves around the neck of some of the women and give them a kiss on the cheek (I got a scarf :D). His name is Brad Crum and he does a very good job, even sounds like Elvis most of the time.

I’ve been doing some freelance work lately to bring in some extra cash. I’ve also launched my new site “The Money Drain” which is full of user-submitted stories on financial failures and successes. It’s doing pretty decent, but I haven’t had the time to market like I want. Still, it gives me an outlet to sorta bitch about peoples financial mistakes and provide my own tips and ideas on money management. Eventually I hope this site will bring in a decent income through advertisements, if I can develop enough of a readership to warrant people wanting to advertise on it. If you have a story you could add, please do so 🙂

I am still mourning the death of a co-worker over the July 4th weekend. It is not the same in the office without him, and he was a dear friend. It’s hard to think that you can go in for dental surgery on a Thursday and be dead the Sunday after.

Anyway, that’s all for this particular update. More updates will be forthcoming.

Getting Used to the New Homestead

Dad’s sugar was really low (34) on Sunday from all of the moving. Fortunately I had 2 beat-up jolly ranchers in my purse for just such an occasion. I’ve bought him some organic hard candy to keep in the house while I’m not there.

I’ve noticed I’m more disoriented in the mornings now because my usual routine is different. I have a bad short-term memory, so morning habitual routines help me to remember to do everything I have to do each day. Now that everything is different and separated, I have a hard time making sure everything is done until I get a new routine situated.

I also need to invest in some lamps. There’s no lighting at all in the office, and I have one light in my bedroom with a switch in the hallway. I’ve already started picking out lamps from Target and making a “housewarming wishlist” at the request of friends and family, which I will post soon.

Otherwise I am getting quite familiar with the house and settling in. I love the living room, and we’ve started hanging up a lot of our old west decor in it (pics will be forthcoming once I’ve fixed my USB issue).

My dad was able to meet one of the neighbors yesterday who came over to meet and greet. It was actually someone he already knew from the country restaurant, so that was a pleasant surprise. Apparently everyone else around is rather old, one woman down the street is 100! I like the idea of living in an older neighborhood because I think they will be more tolerant of our animals and things will be more quiet.

I’ve yet to go explore the woods or the abandoned house next door. I went to the organic market yesterday and didn’t get home till dark, and now that it’s getting darker earlier, my excursions will most likely have to be on weekends.

A woman I spoke to yesterday with the trash company says there is no recycling in the area, which I find hard to believe since I spoke to someone a few weeks ago that said there was. If there isn’t, I suppose that is something I can start being vocal about in the township.

I’m not sure what our next big project will be now that this round of painting is done. I do want to get some white paint to do trim and ceilings around the place, and I do want to start looking into the crown moulding/barn plank moulding I watn to do. Perhaps I will start looking into finishing my bedroom floor, which I will most likely sand by hand (glutton for punishment, that is).

I also plan to start figuring out how to do a lot of these things on the cheap. Painting was fairly cheap for me because I borrowed equipment (roller handles, paint pans etc) from my Aunt and we did everything ourselves. The supplies I did have to buy were rollers, paint, tape, and drop-clothes (which I probably could have done without and used an old blanket or something, but everything was packed). So for under $100 I was able to paint two rooms and have excess for touch-up or additional rooms and/or furniture as needed. I think the dark paint I may use on furniture in the guest room since I plan to eventually paint that more of a sage green.

Maybe I’ll start keeping a tally of these totals so I have a running list of how much I’ve saved updating this house.