Monday, May 28, 2012


We've been in somewhat of a stage of shock this week.  Matt received a phone call last Friday saying that the company he'd interviewed with several weeks ago was interested in him for another position.  They set up a time for him to interview Monday.  On Monday they informed him they were going to have their secretary call him the next day and set up a flight for him to come out an do a face-to-face interview.  They also told him they needed him immediately if they give him a job offer, like two weeks after the interview immediately.  We had a bit of a scare because the secretary didn't call until Wednesday so we had all of Tuesday wondering if they'd changed their mind.  Needless to say our heads were spinning a bit trying to wrap our heads around how fast this could go down.  We're hoping that since they're dropping a considerable amount of money to fly him out there that they're serious and he'll receive a job offer.  We've been shopping for a new shirt and tie and everything is ready - all he needs to do is pack at this point.  He'll be up about 4:30 tomorrow morning to make his early flight.  We're hoping for a job offer tomorrow.

The first thing we dealt with this morning was an extremely invasive Trojan virus that infected my computer.  Matt used a program called Trojan Killer, about $39, to strip it out of my system.  It appears to have done a great job.  The Trojan virus shows up initially as what appears to be a Windows popup saying you've been infected and you need to download something - DON'T!  You're already infected but it will just dig itself into your system more if you open the file.  It's not Windows even though the filed is called Windows Defense Council. 

It's in the 90's already today.  Jamestown, North Dakota is 57.  Need I state which state I wish I was in!  The last thing I want to do today is heat up the house any more then it already is.  I've had to turn the air on already.  For supper I put some chicken in the crockpot with some root beer bbq sauce and that's simmering away to make pulled chicken sandwiches for supper.  I'll probably make potato salad since I've got a craving for it.  Matt is helping my youngest son pick up his new bed and set it up.  My two youngest bought a double wide mobile home together and are sharing expenses.

I swept the living room yesterday but the dogs and cats are blowing their coats and the floor was covered again so I reswept the living room, hallway, and our bedroom.  I have all the laundry done and folded/put away.  I also managed to make some lemongrass goat milk soap this afternoon.  I'm so excited to finally get some of this made.  I love the scent of lemongrass to wake me up in the morning especially in the summer - it's such a nice clean invigerating scent.  Matt enjoys it too in the morning.  It just wakes up your scenses.  Unfortunately it won't be ready for at a month to use.  I'm also in the process of setting up an Etsy shop to sell my soaps in.  I've had a lot of people ask me about getting some so I figure an Etsy store will be the easiest method of selling for now. 

Have a thoughtful Memorial Day!

Monday, May 14, 2012


I posted about the spindle that Matt's sister gifted me with a couple posts back.  Last Tuesday I went to my second spinning class, except this time I used the spindle instead of the wheel.  I found it was surprisingly easy to use.  I also found that I had better control of my drafting with the spindle and therefore was able to get my thread much thinner. 

The one thing they had me do was use my leftover roving from my first spinning lesson with the wheel.  Unfortunately the yarn she sent was compacted as she'd apparently had it a while and it's going to take some work to make it usable.  The brown roving is a dream to work with.  I'm definitely addicted to spinning.  It's so soothing.  I read recently that it's great for lowering blood pressure.  We'll see if I can get off of some of my blood pressure meds!


I FINALLY finished this celtic aran earflap hat I started in late December.  For some reason it was one of those projects that just wasn't meant to get done when it was supposed to and that drives me crazy especially when it's for somebody else. 

This particular project had many problems with it.  I've knitted cables before but for some reason this particular pattern kicked my butt.  I had to rip it out five times and restart.  At that point I remembered reading something in a book about lifelines.  Lifelines are a thread that's pulled through a row so if you made a mistake you only have to rip it back to the last lifeline instead of the whole project.  They came in very handy and saved me at least twice.  If you've never done cables it's easy to make mistakes and the problem is you don't see them sometimes for several rows. 

Second problem I had was that I got sick with bronchitis & pneumonia back in January and wasn't able to work on it for nearly three months.  The cable pattern was complicated enough that I couldn't follow it for any length of time without it giving me headaches.  The picture on the pattern was done in a solid color and the cable pattern didn't stand out in the cap so I thought it was just knitted straight without cables - wrong - the whole thing was done in cables.  Cables are time consuming.

Third problem was at the very end.  I've done I-cords before but never the way they wanted it knitted as an edging.  The directions were a bit confusing.  I finally got to the point where I said enough was enough and it was getting done.  I ended up going in to the yarn store this past Saturday and spending the day there while I finished it.  The woman that worked with me, Lois, even had to play with it a bit to figure out what they were doing and then modified it once she figured it out.  She'd done this type of edging before so she had at least an idea of where they were going with the directions.  It required picking up stitches around the edge on a circular needles then using two double pointed needles to work the I-cord.  Thankfully I'm coordinated enough to work with three needles.

It was finally finished Saturday night when I attached the tassles.  The colors are dark gray and lavender.  The woman I made it for was very happy with it when I gifted her with it today.  She's waited a long time to receive it.  It's a beautiful pattern.  I'll probably do a solid color the next time.  She wanted a two tone hat with these colors.  If anybody is interested in the pattern it's a Knit Pick pattern that you can download.  There's a small fee for it.

Monday, May 7, 2012


I'm finally starting to feel better today.  Still really fatigued but better then I was yesterday.  I napped out for about an hour after I got home from work.  I did manage to go out Sunday for some groceries.  My goal has been to spend about $50 a week on food for us and I've been failing miserably.  Now that I'm having to pay the Jeep payments it's no longer an option, I have to get our food budget under better control.  Yesterday was a great start.  I went to Kroger and spent about $36 and then spent $16 at Target on food.  I ended up getting more at Kroger then I planned due to finding really good unadvertised deals that I had coupons to match - so I basically stocked for future meals.  I can live with $52 for the week.

2 limes 80c
broccoli $1.67 sale price
turnip $1.01
cauliflower $1.67 sale price
2 cucumbers 10/$10 sale price - $2.00
bag of red onions $3.49
Hormel Bacon Natural Uncured - regular price $6.59 - unadvertised special sale price $3.99 - .50 coupon +.50 double coupon = $2.99
2 packages of Tyson chicken breast $3.37 + $3.59 sale price
Angus Ground Beef $3.94 sale price
Johnsonville Sausage - New Orleans Smoked - $2.99 sale price - .75 coupon = $2.24
2 Ball Park Hot Dogs 2/$3 sale price - .50 coupon - .50 double coupon = $1 per package/$2.00
Eggland Eggs $2.69 - .35 coupon - .35 double coupon = $1.99
Horizon Organic Milk $3.98

2 PF Chang Meals $6.99 ea sale price = $15.90

I realized I forgot to get some lettuce so I will probably go back and get some Romaine but I'll check the garden first as I know I saw some starting to grow out there.  The price for the PF Chang meals was a super deal.  We use these meals for nights when we're just too tired to cook.  $6.99 for a meal is the price of one value meal at a fast food joint so even though it seems expensive, it actually does save money.  I also occasionally will take 1/2 of a package for my lunch.  Johnsonville sausage will be combined with a Zantara's Jambalaya Rice Mix we already have in the cabinet.  I'm not a big hot dog eater but I couldn't pass the Ball Park deal up especially with the coupon for another easy meal option.  We'd bought a huge double package of bacon at Costco last week but when I saw the deal for the Hormel's bacon I had to grab it.  Bacon can be frozen so I can keep it for future meals.

I don't count my medications in with my grocery budget for various reasons.  I have horrible allergies and this year is proving to be a bad one already so when I saw this deal for Zrtec D at Target I had to grab it.  Target sent out a booklet of coupons a couple weeks ago and there was a $2 off Zyrtec coupon.  I clipped a coupon for $7 of a 24 pack that had to be used by yesterday so total coupons stacked were $9 off.  Cost was $22.59 - $9 = $13.59 plus tax for the 24 pack which was about the same price as the 12 pack which was on sale.

Lunch: Peanut butter & strawberry homemade freezer jam on the homemade potato bread, mandarin oranges and Anne's chocolate graham bunnies
Supper:  Stuffed peppers - used the Angus ground beef for this

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Last night I was excited to be invited to a pinning ceremony for one of the soldiers that I work with.  He has been with our Company since shortly after I started six years ago.  I always wished I could have set him up with one of my daughters, he'd have been the perfect son-in-law.  At times I've felt like a proud mother watching his career.  Several of us left the party and went to a bowling alley.  After we got there and the other women realizing it was karaoke night our bowling plans got sidelined and we spent the night playing pool and darts.  It was a nice being able to hang out with people I work with.  I don't get to do it very often.

Today I started off with the best of intentions in getting the house cleaned so I could spend time tomorrow doing something like reading a book or spend the day knitting.  Unfortunately today was one of those days where I've felt off all day and haven't been able to accomplish what I'd planned in my head.  I ended up taking some meds and taking a nap while they kicked in.  As Matt pointed out when I whined about it, I have accomplished quite a bit:

* 2 loads of laundry washed
* made potato bread in the bread machine using leftover mashed potatoes that would have been tossed
* made hard boiled eggs - had planned to use them for potato salad but we ended up using them for egg salad sandwiches
* crocheted 2 double sided dish scrubbies - netting on one side and cotton on the other
* I did manage to get most of the living room cleaned, just need to do the floor tomorrow

Since Matt had a guys jam session planned last night I knew I'd be on my own for supper.   I took a container of venison barley soup out of the freezer and planned to fix it for myself which I didn't end up making since I went to the pinning.  I used it instead for our lunch today.  I also had a package of naan bread that was going to go bad soon if I didn't use it so I topped it with some leftover pizza cheese and a good quantity of ground Italian herbs (Aldi grinder).  It was a nice variation of grilled cheese.  It was a very tasty lunch.

We had planned to make grilled venison steaks and potato salad for supper.  As you can see my plans aren't working out well but I try to make the most of what we have on hand.  The venison steaks have been put on hold for tomorrow.  Instead we took the eggs I'd prepared and made egg salad sandwiches using the potato bread.  Matt prepared a salad to go with it.  It was an easy supper since neither of us really wanted to cook.

Friday, May 4, 2012


More on going drama with my current job contract has caused me to get serious about looking for another full time position.  I've been attempting to find a part time position to supplement my current position which was reduced from full time to part time about a year ago.  The 4 year contract we were under was completed 8 months ago.  Since that time we haven't known what was going on with the contract and still don't.  We are currently on the 3rd extension of the contract after they'd announced twice that another company was taking over the contract, made us jump through that company's hoops in an attempt to keep our jobs, and then announced at the last minute that they were extending us under our current contract.  I've literally left work on the last day of a contract not knowing if I'd be reporting to work the next day.  I love my job BUT I'm tired of being left dangling and not knowing.  I have responsibilities and bills to pay.

Working for the Army and being fully aware of the drastic budget cuts they've been forced to make does not make me comfortable with my job's longevity either.  I can totally foresee with the continuing downsizing planned and possible further budget cuts that my job will most likely be totally eliminated.  At this point I think it's a matter of when, not if, although some disagree with me on that.  I tend to live in reality and I prepare for the inevitable when possible and I think the continued 2 month extensions are a sign I'm probably correct.

I'm finding the current job market difficult and somewhat confusing to navigate in.  The constant contradictions in recommendations leaves me wondering what I'm really supposed to do.  Contradictions regarding resumes alone are enough to make me want to beat my head against a wall.  I don't know how many rewrites I've done of my resume.  How to format, what info to put on, what info not to put on, how much info to include, which jobs to include, length of resume, put volunteer information, don't put volunteer information and it goes on and on.  Some say keep it short and simple BUT my job is anything but short and simple. 

Keywords - if you don't have the right ones you don't get through the electronic scanners so your resume gets to a live person.  They say not to use overused, clique, and vague words but how do you know which ones to avoid?  Lists given contradict each other.

Write a Resume That Makes You Stand Out - With so many people looking for jobs, particularly in the Metro Detroit area, how do you write a resume that's truthful and yet makes you stand out?  They want you to come across as a team player yet contradict this by telling you to point out what "you" did for the last company you worked for. 

Clothes - Most say to dress like you'd be required to at the job or better.  Suits are typically recommended although if the office is very casual they say to dress in office casual attire for the interview.  Typically that wouldn't be an issue.  Unfortunately with the reduced salary for the past year replacing items in my closet that I've had to toss has not been in the budget.  I searched thrift stores and consignment stores but of course because there was an immediate need I couldn't find anything.  I was able to make do with a single purchase of a black blazer from JCPenny for $37.  I combined it with the black slacks I got at the Avenue on clearance a couple weeks ago and a blouse I've had forever.  The blacks didn't match but the fashionistas say that's okay.  If you have friends that are the same size you could always ask to borrow an item or suit.  Most friends would be more then happy to help out.  Unfortunately none of my friends are the same size so this wasn't an option.

My suggestions for anybody in a similar situation is to create several resumes in different formats and with varying amounts of information then post to multiple sites to see which one starts getting viewed the most.  From there you can tweak that resume and put it on the other sites to see if that increases hits.  It's sort of like fishing and figuring out which bait the fish want.

I had an interview Tuesday and I have another one tonight with a different company, so hopefully I'll be reporting a change of job soon.  I know I will cry when I leave my current position because even thinking about saying goodbye brings tears to my eyes.  I started working here when I was going through my divorce six years ago.  It provided me with a feeling of security, not only because I'd be working full time and could finally support myself but the physical feeling of safety after leaving a marriage that had become abusive.  There's nothing like being surrounded by military to feel safe.  I've had friends who bought houses and moved off base complain afterwards about how they miss the feeling of safety and security.  Being prior military myself I'm very comfortable with being around military.  Leaving will be very bittersweet for me but hopefully fates will find me another wonderful place to land.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I arrived home yesterday to find a package in between the doors.  Thinking it was a birthday present for Matt I sat it down and didn't really look at it closely.  When I went back to grab the mail to sort it I glanced down at the box to discover my name on the box.  When I opened it I discovered this beautiful spindle and wool.  Matt's sister sent it to me.  The spindle was her first one and the one she learned to spin with and she has passed it on to me to learn with.  She also sent me some roving to get started with.  What an awesome unexpected gift.  I played with it a little bit last night but think I'll go into the knit shop and get at least one lesson to get it down better and make sure I'm working it right. 

Matt's birthday was yesterday.  I took him out to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Grand Azteca.  we go to the one on Groesbeck for those that know the area.  They have Grand Azteca in quite a few locations but they're not all the same quality.  We skipped the dessert this time since I had bought a cheesecake, per his request, so we came home and enjoyed a slice of that.  It was an enjoyable evening and he was happy with it.  We don't tend to do anything super fancy for our birthdays.

Lunch:  Salad in a jar - just romaine and pita chips with some of the fattouch dressing
Supper:  Tuna salad sandwiches and leftover chicken noodle with a slice of cheesecake for dessert

I wasn't feeling well and with the weather in the 80's today it was just too hot to eat so we ate light.