Nov 24

Fish Tales

Fish, Life 0

Looks like work is picking up again (no more weeks of two days on call), so my blogging time has been a bit short. Also went to see family a few hours away for Thanksgiving. Driving there and back in a day always makes me feel so tired! But it was great to see everyone.

However, ask any of my friends (and probably coworkers) and the fish tank is what has been occupying most of my free brain cells this week.

The water finally cleared up!

I couldn’t find pure ammonia to cycle the tank with, so decided after much reading and browsing online forums that cycling with fish would be alright so long as I kept a close watch on the water parameters. I’ve been testing morning and evening since they arrived.

Red wag platys.

They are tiny, just a little longer than my first knuckle. But you can definitely tell a difference in them, one is very reticent and spooks easily – the hidey-fish. The other, which flopped around and around in the net when we moved them, swims right up and stares at whatever disturbs her, and she has dark mustache-like markings under her mouth that make her look very displeased. They are both (supposedly) females. I made the poor salesgirl at Petsmart inspect them (and one other that I wanted to take home but that would never unclamp its anal fin enough) for a long time to make sure. I don’t want baby fish, though from what I have read livebearers that have been kept in multi-sex tanks ever are probably already pregnant. Heh. We’ll see.


“Bite me.”

I am not very happy with the light I have right now. It looks very harsh and I’m not sure how good it will be for the plants that are in there. They are water wisteria and java fern (which I know is not supposed to be planted in rocks…it is just barely held in there with a few pebbles holding it down in hopes that it will wrap roots around the pebbles and grow along the bed), which are both supposed to be okay in low light. Still, I don’t think the fish like it either. I might brave the crowds today and try to go to Petco and see what other lights are available. I want to eventually go for a very nice, natural (don’t talk to me about the castle, haha) aquascaped look.


Nov 11

Don’t Burst My Bubble

Life, Musings 0

Photo found here.

Sometimes I think that if I could just wear earplugs to work, everything would work out so much better. If I could just block out all the negativity, whether it be from someone who is just unhappy that they won’t get to attend the parent-teacher night, or someone for whom the weather is just always wrong, my workplace (all workplaces?) is just full of negative people that wear me down.

I like my job. I love helping people, I love having a job that I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, makes a difference in the quality of people’s lives. Even if I don’t personally see those people, it does make a difference. I work crazy hours. Long hours. In conditions that most people in my profession never have to deal with. I don’t mind.

Enter upper management. Management who doesn’t give a flying *bleep* about helping people, but only cares about keeping the cash flow running and not losing money. Okay. I understand that, helping people or not, we have to make money to live on. No, duh. However, when every. single. thing. wrong with the company is due to the average Joe Employee’s laziness and stupidity as opposed to management being on occasion lazy assholes who haven’t done the job for 15 years or more…and Joe Employee is consistently exhausted, away from home, and working in difficult circumstances…um, hello?

About two weeks I attended a meeting for all our company supervisors, in which we were basically told all of the above. All the problems? Our fault. Because we weren’t up to snuff, we didn’t want the company to succeed, we obviously weren’t doing our jobs well enough and so we needed to get “on the bus.” Or “we have 14 too many employees. If you’re not on the bus…well.” Get thrown under the bus.

Ever since that meeting I’ve felt down, disheartened, and just utterly, utterly exhausted. I know I do my best. And, not to play my own horn, but my best is pretty good, in my field. Yet there’s still no support from management, no positive reinforcement, no personal responsibility. Everything is pass the buck. You never hear from management unless you’ve done something wrong. When I interviewed for supervisor 4 months ago, our department manager didn’t even know who I was. Not because I’d never done well, but because I’d never done badly enough to be brought to her attention.

Is it just me, or is something wrong with that picture?

I feel like my bubble’s been popped. I realize I can’t change everyone’s outlook. I certainly can’t re-educate my managers and department heads about POSITIVE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES (grrrrr). But before the meeting, I did a pretty good job of keeping myself insulated from the negativity. People have commented frequently that “You’re such a happy person…you actually seem to like your job.” Well, I do. I just don’t deal well with bullshit, and now it’s sucked all the joy and fun right out of me. Work feels like…well, work. Before it felt like an adventure.

I need my bubble back. Not so I can pretend problems aren’t there, but so I don’t suffocate on the toxic air.



Oct 17

Still Lonely

Dogs, Life 1

Always missing him. I found one of his bright blue rubber balls in the moving process the other day, and I put it away with his collar and leash, and the last rope toy he didn’t quite chew all the way through. I think about him all the time.

People keep asking if I’m going to get another dog. Listen, folks…getting another dog will not fix the pain. Another dog is just that, another dog. Yes, I adore canines in general, but each one should be appreciated for who they are and not brought into a family just to try to fill the shoes of a dearly loved but absent pet. It’s not fair for us to have those kind of expectations of them. They don’t understand, and if they did I think they would be terribly hurt and put out.

One very sweet lady I met the other day, with a pawprint and flower intertwined tattooed on her forearm, told me quite bluntly that I’ll always miss him, and that part of my heart is gone forever. “But,” she said, “One day another dog will find you. And they’ll give you a piece of their heart. It won’t be the same, but it will be good. And then you’ll be able to remember all the good times and smile.”

Maybe one day.



Oct 16


Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life 2

The move has really upset my equilibrium. Which – duh – is what a move usually does, I’m just finding it uncomfortable. Since work is continuing on regardless, I don’t have as much time as I would want to put everything into place in the new rooms, which is leading to more time in limbo. I’ve found stressing myself out for the few hours before or after work aren’t worth it though, so I’m still trying to take some time to relax, read, drink my morning coffee.

The Roanoke River Greenway runs right behind our new building, and we’ve already been making use of it. It’s quite a lovely thing, I’ve already taken lots of pictures but for now will just leave you with these of a sculpture we discovered along the way, which I think is beautiful and amazing.


Sep 18

Bookish Things

Books/Writing, Reviews 0

Maybe it’s the change in weather. Maybe it’s a release from some work-related stress. Maybe it’s a little more time after losing Timmy. Regardless, I’ve developed an interest in reading again. Right after deciding I didn’t have to force myself to finish Jane Eyre. Hm.

First of all, WTF is with the vampires? I knew there was a big rush of vampire books thanks to the Twilight books and the TV show “True Blood,” but good gods alive. Do people never, ever get tired of them? Supernatural is fine, when done well. But variety is the spice of death. Er, something like that. Please, how about something else? Also…WHY all the YA novels? Why? I don’t need to be reminded of just how whiny 16 and 18 year olds are, or just how drama-filled their lives tend to be. Nor do I want to read about the reject-Hermione-type exception to those generalities. And I most definitely do not (I’m 24) want to feel like a cougar for being attracted to the main male character. Alright, rant over.

So how about the werewolves in Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series? Excellent alternative to vampires, in my opinion. I just finished the first one, Soulless. Apparently I’m a bit late on this bandwagon, but better late than never and all that rot. In the interest of full disclosure I’ve always had something of an interest in shapeshifter mythology, so as soon as I figured out there was more werewolf than vampire in this particular story it moved up my to-be-read list. Then it was offered as a B&N Free Friday book, so…

Two words: Hot. Damn. I was expecting a crime/mystery of the noir sort. What I got was a racy little number that while maybe a little short on the intricacy of a mystery plot, delivered a lot in terms of humor and style. I can’t remember the last time I finished a book so fast. Not that it would have anything to do with the sexual tension between awesomely snarky, intelligent Alexia or the cursed, given to profanity and frequent roaring but ever-so-sexy Lord Maccon (with a Scottish accent to boot). Highly recommend and I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series.

Also this kind of changed my mind entirely about Goodreads. Previously I had sort of written it off as not being nearly as good as LibraryThing. It’s not, as far as library cataloging goes, but when it comes to book recommendations it was right on the money. 🙂

It’s been while since I updated my reading list here, so, for the 75 Books in 2012 Challenge:

35.  The Serpent’s Shadow, by Mercedes Lackey
36.  Chocolate Cookie Murder, by Joanne Fluke
37.  Parker Pyne Investigates, by Agatha Christie
38.  Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: a Beginner’s Guide, by Rosemary Gladstar
39. Walkin’ on the Happy Side of Misery: a Slice of Life on the Appalachian Trail, by Junius R. Tate
40.  Round Robin, by Jennifer Chiaverini
41.  Still Life, by Louise Penny
42.  Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker, by Elizabeth Hartman
43.  The Other End of the Lease: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs, by Patricia B. McConnell
44. Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts, by Jacquie Gering
45.  Soulless, by Gail Carriger


Sep 12

Autumn is Almost Here…

Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life 1

I love feeling the change of the seasons, regardless of what season it is. We’ve been sleeping with our windows open for the past couple of nights, and I woke up this morning to a distinct chill in the air and a new, crisp scent outside. I pulled out my knitted sweater work-in-progress and knit like a possessed woman for about half an hour (because I want to *wear* that sweater, darn it!). Lady Autumn is approaching with soft, slow footsteps. Daily we feel her presence growing and welcome the changing of the seasons with open arms. Living in Texas, where there are basically 2 seasons (broiling for 10 months and meh cold for about 2) taught me to never again take the seasons for granted.

Getting the itch to get back into the woods for some hiking. I really wanted to have my first overnight trip this year but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen. 🙁 Regardless, I want to get out and capture the changes on camera if I can – and in art. The season always inspire me to make something or start a new project.

Virginia’s Travel Blog has some lovely autumnal fun ideas. The one that most captured my attention – no, not hangliding this time – was the Golden Eagle Treehouse. One day I hope to live in a secluded enough place with big enough trees to have my own, but until then can I please have a night in this place? I’ve been through the Meadows of Dan area once for work and I really just wanted to tell them to leave me there, it was so beautiful. Not to mention the lovely Chateau Morrisette Winery is right there. Mmm.



Sep 06

One Month of Lonely

Crafting, Dogs, Life 0

I keep coming back to this “tired face” picture to remind myself that I did the right thing. His expression is so far from his normal happy self, and this is even better than he looked for most of the last couple days. He was just worn out.

One month ago today I said goodbye. It’s still a struggle coming home to emptiness every day, and I still feel guilty, like I should have done something else. But I’m trying, and my husband and friends have been very kind and sweet.

Timmy’s quilt is growing.

I’ve been picking this up a lot, when I think of him and it hurts. Something about putting a visual to his life helps me feel a little better. I’ve finished the first 16 tiny blocks and need to cut more fabric before I can proceed.

I still can’t get over how tiny these are.


Sep 05

Pets Add Life

Dogs 0

If you need or would like a smile and a giggle, watch this quick video. Wait for the dog. 🙂 (HT to To Dog With Love)

And after that, check out their FB page and Pledge. They’ve also got a nice website and a cute blog. If and when I get another dog, I know rescues and shelters are the first places I will look. I’m thinking of a way to make the “take a picture” part of the pledge workable too…not sure I can visit a local shelter yet though.