Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Overwhelming Feeling of Being Overwhelmed

No, that's not the Jeep. That's a rental car, a Hyundai Elantra. I was headed west last week, out to Rock Island to finish up this inspection project. I got just past Dekalb on Interstate 88 and the Jeep shuddered. The motor sounded like it skipped and there was a palpable shudder as I was driving down the road. I thought it was perhaps a wind buffet as I was being passed by semis going 75, but it happened a few miles later when it was just me. It scared me so I pulled off at a truck stop in Rochelle and made the decision that not breaking down was in my best interests. That was Thursday.

It's now Tuesday afternoon and I have no idea what's up with the Jeep. I have the rental car for one more day. I'm trying to keep my spirits up, but I have to say it's been terribly, terribly hard to not burst into tears.

Back in March, I did a budget for the rest of the year. I figured out how to save money to try to go to BlizzCon in November, as well as pad my savings account for unexpected expenses. When the washer died, I was so proud of myself for having saved and to have built in some minor wiggle room to afford a new washer. It wouldn't impact BlizzCon. Getting sick last month did, but not too terribly much. I just didn't cook so I ate a lot of prepared foods. An unexpected bonus funded the Target run that got me foods I could fix with minimal effort since I had next to no energy. I made it through August. I came through with my budget intact and even a bit more to set aside for souvenirs from Disneyland.

Now this.

I need a hair cut. Nope. I need groceries. Nope. I need to buy air fare to California. I've watched them creep up from $280 to currently $320. I will have to pay quite a bit more when I can afford to buy them. I need to have money for the hotel room. And I so wanted to go to Disneyland while I was out there. That ipad idea. Nope. Disney is not a "must see". I can scrap that to save money. I'll need to eat but I don't need to buy souvenirs.

I tell myself to be grateful that I have the funds to fix the Jeep. I would be well beyond stressed if there wasn't any kind of cushion to fall back on. I'm used to living on scraps and the bare minimum. Still, there is the nagging voice that says, "You didn't NEED to go to BlizzCon, you know." It's too late to change the name on the ticket, though, so I've purchased it even if I wind up not going due to finances.

The Jeep needs to be replaced. Even when it gets up and running again, I need to continue to stick money into my replacement fund. This Elantra is fun and I've very much enjoyed driving it. The "racer" styling to the roof has taken some getting used to. I can't always see out the rear window when backing up or when I look over my right shoulder when changing lanes. It would take getting used to. Plus, I would have to shovel the drive now when snow accumulates more than 3 inches. Now, it takes a 6+ inch snow for me to consider shoveling. 4-wheel drive and I go. Still, that's not an insurmountable problem.

I looked into used Elantras. I can't buy new. The new car smell is toxic to me and it causes my allergies to go into overdrive. I get physically ill. Good used Elantras are selling for $11,000. I can't, right now, afford that. I don't want to jettison the rest of my budget. I'm on track for paying off some debt the first of next year. I want to stay in that track. It's important to stay focused after all I've been through.

Beverage:  Water


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Morning Friend

The rains, when they come this summer, tend to be of the "bucket dump" variety. There haven't been many of the gentle rains which lull you to sleep. These are the "pound the flowers to the pavement" type. They leave puddles, which, for a period of two weeks, attracted a youngster to my yard.

He (she?) is so little and cute. Well, they are cute regardless, but when they are juveniles, they seem to amp up the cuteness. I'd seen him in the drive every morning and had shoo'ed him off so I didn't hit him. This time, I aimed my camera and waited.

He spotted me leaning against the Jeep and started hopping towards me.

Slightly startled, I snapped a couple quick photos.

He was so nonchalant about coming up towards me. When my purse, on my shoulder, slipped down my arm, he bolted past me into the back yard and disappeared.

What a grand way to start my day.

Beverage:  English Breakfast Tea


The Next Project

Having finished Carole's butterfly cross-stitch and left it with her to decide how she wants to frame it, it's time to look ahead to the next project. I'm going to a convention in November; BlizzCon 2015; in Anaheim, California. It's a celebration of all the games Blizzard Entertainment does, but it's kind of akin to mecca for those of us who play World of Warcraft. It's everyone's hope they can go to BlizzCon. I skrimped and saved and, thanks to a friend with impossibly good luck, I got a ticket to go.

I'm going with Faience and Lethia, from my guild. We got a fantastic deal on a hotel room and, while I'm out there, I'll be going to Disneyland. It's just down the street from the convention center so why should I not go? I need to buy airfare and pay for tickets to Disneyland as well as my portion of the hotel. I'm considering a used ipad so I can update my blog and the guild web site with photos. Doing all that on a smartphone drives me nuts so I only check email.

When I decided I could afford a BlizzCon ticket and Lethia decided she could to, I promised, if we got tickets, the three of us, I'd make custom shirts for the convention. On August 1st, Pam and I went to JoAnn Fabrics, to make this plan a reality. I love having her along. We looked through all the patterns. I knew what I wanted but we needed to find the exact pattern. I told her my vision and we dived into the fabric stacks to find the perfect fabric. I need to have her along. So...many...wonderful...fabrics...oh look! "No, that's not what you came here for," she'd say. She is, of course, right. I have boxes and boxes of fabric in the office closet not being used for anything. I need to be reminded of that. I shouldn't say not being used for anything. The girls love to climb on top of the stack and sit there. It's like a hidey hole to them.

Along the way to the perfect fabric, I stumbled upon these gems.

That's a silver metallic in between kelly green stripes. It was quite distinctive but as the basis for a shirt, not so much.

It comes in black and red. As I was looking through the patterns, I chanced upon what I think is a "Game of Thrones" inspired dress that was made with the black version of this. I did seriously consider making us vests, since that would be kind of WOW character like. In the game, your character can wear leather clothing. As appealing as this was, it wasn't what I wanted.

No no and no, but it so reminded me of the curtains in the porch/dining room of the farmhouse where I grew up. The nostalgia washed over me and I thought about my mother making those curtains. They hung in the porch until we moved to town. I know I have some of them in a box somewhere, the fabric useful for quilt pieces.

By now, I'm sure you're detecting a theme here. I stumbled across this.

I just...I have no idea how I would work with this even if it was even remotely attractive. I know retro is in. This certainly bears some resemblance to 1960's fashion and in light seafoam green no less.

Finally, I found it.

It's an Indonesian batik-inspired print. It looks gorgeous in sunlight. I want us to be distinctive but a tee shirt just wasn't going to cut it. I think this will work up beautifully and it's cotton, so it will wash and dry nicely. I came home all excited and then got sick.

I looked at the material sitting on the table and felt so badly that I had no energy. I spent all this money and made this promise. Now that I'm feeling better, my goal has been to clear off the living room table so I can start sewing. I could just move everything there to another space, but that kind of defeats the purpose of cleaning. Baby steps. Baby steps.

Watch this space. I'm excited to execute my idea.

Beverage:  Water


Prairie Garden

At the end of last month, I had monarchs in the prairie plants at the end of the driveway. I promised a view of those plants.

This looks south.

It's really just goat's beard, black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, Rattlesnake master and common milkweed. There used to be white daisies in this, but they don't seem to have survived.

I would love to add to this, increasing the size of the planting area by at least 2 feet. There are so many other plants which would go well in this location, as well as being an attraction for monarchs or other butterflies.

Of course the issue is my ability to do the actual physical work of digging up the yard and these plants and adding top soil and peat to the area to make it a good location for plants. I have grand plans but reality can give you a swift kick to the shins.

Supposedly, monarchs have laid eggs on milkweed now and the caterpillars should be happily eating their way through their chosen food. I have not seen any eggs and, thanks to this thing called "the Internet", I know what I'm supposed to look for. I've not seen caterpillars either. Maybe I won't see anything until a chrysalis forms. That would be extremely exciting. There would be daily blog photos as the butterfly develops.

It's been a good year for the yard. I've seen hummingbirds and a very noisy blue jay for the first time in many, many years and I don't have, really, anything dedicated to them. The monarchs using the yard fill me with hope that, in spite of my shaggy garden, I'm doing something right. Here's to nature in her summer glory.

Beverage:  Water