Friday, December 30, 2011

For my Mum!

For my Mum, who requested a cardinal after seeing the blue jay painting I did earlier! :)


First Day of Work and Other Goings On....

Just thought I'd start off with the blue jay speed painting I did earlier today in around an hour. I was wanting to play with some of the other tools on Paint Tool SAI, and I like blue jays. LOL. Besides, best to start off with something pretty as there's a giant slew of text next up!


Anyhoo, yesterday was my first day of work. It started terribly, and ended pretty good!

Why did it start terribly? Let me explain something. I don't like driving to unfamiliar locations. I also don't like driving in unfamiliar areas. It was a bit of a double whammy yesterday, as I had to drive myself down to the Downtown Oklahoma City Library, where the HR department for the Metro Library Services is. In case you haven't bee to downtown OKC, it is GOD. AWFUL.

First off, downtown is all fairly small and congested streets, with parallel parking down both sides of the streets. So it's a bit tight to begin with. On top of this are the one way streets, which alternate on which direction some of them are going, making navigation even more tricky. And what's worse, is the construction! It's everywhere! It's like, they can't manage to get one project done, so they start a two more!

I thought Matt would be able to drive me there, but he couldn't manage to get off for it, so I was on my own. I left an hour and a half early so I'd have PLENTY of time, and even then... we looked up a parking lot I could pay to stay in, as those and parking garages are your only bet. I sued my phone to navigate me there, which worked great until I couldn't find the lot. In heavy traffic, trying to dodge parallely parked cars with people furious I'm driving slowly cause I have no idea where I'm at, I pull into what I think is the parking lot. Turns out it's a tiny hole-in-the-wall Arvest Bank location, with a private parking lot attached that doesn't even belong to them??? AND I'm going the wrong way down it, even though there isn't another entrance to even get into it???  You can understand my confusion.

By the time I found a spot to park and frantically text Matt while freaking out, my hands were shaking so badly from terror I could hardly type. I decided to tell my phone to navigate me to the library so I could make circles around it while I tried to find a parking garage. Well, no such luck there as every other side street it tried to turn me down was closed and torn apart with construction, and every parking garage I passed said it was full. Having no idea where I am, and now fully panicking cause I NEED to get parked and get to the library, I finally see a parking lot that's nearly empty, no gates, no nothing- I park and pull up the map, and it's FIVE. BLOCKS. from the library. It's the parking lot for the bombing memorial! -_-;;

FINE. I walked over to the hut to pay for the spot (And then realized I had to know the number of my spot and so walked all the way back across the lot, then back to the hut to put the money in the appropriate slot in the box), and set off toward the library. When I finally get there and find out where I' to go, it was literally ten minutes of paperwork, taking a photo, getting n intro packet and badge, then I was off to walk back to my car, five blocks away, uphill.

Honestly, I don't understand why they can't just let you do all that at the library your going to work in. I completely understand the fact that their Human Resources Department is in the Downtown Library. That's fine. But surely they must realize that it is a massive ordeal to have to travel all the way into downtown, through traffic, highways, one way streets, construction, potholes, and then pay for parking hopefully near the building, just to show up for a twenty minute interview or a couple seconds of paperwork. There's just no reason for all that. They even offered me parking vouchers in the past, but it's only for a specific garage, and it's always full anyway. I would love to go and spend some time at the Downtown Library, because it's huge and very nice- but I never will because it's so inconvenient. I honestly wouldn't ever go to any business in the downtown area unless I lived there. It's just that god awful.

Anyway, once I was done there, it was off to Belle Isle, where I actually work. The walk back to the car was terrible, not so much because it was uphill, but I was wearing my dressy shoes as I was told I had to be business casual, and they systematically wore holes in the backs of my heels for the entire eight hours I was out and about in them. (It also turns out that Pages don't have to be business casual anyway, and I purchased some nice black sneakers to wear today!)

Once I got there it was smooth sailing- I watched about an hour and a half of powerpoints and read through some stuff. Signed my oath to follow constitutional laws and such (It's a library thing, since we protect freedom of speech!). Got my schedule, sorted and shelved some books. It's pretty laid back, and I know I'll enjoy it.

I'm hoping to get back into school at least by next year (2013, not 2012), and I really think this job will work with my schedule for that, especially these evening shifts! It may be the lowest rank in the library totem pole, but it's a step in the right direction! Masters Degree, here I comes!


Anyhoo, we got some good news the other day- Matt has been promoted! He's now the Operations Manager of the second shift! He'll be getting a work phone soon, which will be annoying as he could be called in to do work at any time. This may be the last of his promotions, at least for a time. The next rank up is already taken, so his manager would have to move elsewhere before he could into that job. We'll see what happens, and what this means in the long run!

As for myself I'm just enjoying this day off. I'm  bit sore from my walks yesterday.  Also, you know I've been reading this:

Yeah... I think I'm going to put it on the shelf for a while and come back to it later. It's good, yes, there's no denying that. But it's slow... it just doesn't seem to be getting anywhere fast. I'm over halfway through and it's just not doing it for me. I really feel like this books was all hype, and not so much on the delivery. The prose and writing is excellent, and the story would be wonderful... if they'd ever get to it. So much is left up to the reader, it's often just a series of vignettes, with little explanation or reason to them. It becomes frustrating for me to have to invent what's going on in the background of things just to fill in the story.

I've got lots of books to choose from really, already purchased and waiting to be read. No real reason to waste time on reading something I'm not really enjoying!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ham and Eggs!

If you haven't realized by now, I LOVE to cook! And I'm always hunting for new recipes. I even have an account on All, a place where everyday cooks can post their recipes, and people can comment, rate and offer alterations to them. Matt and I have found some fantastic recipes on there, like Herb Roasted Pork or Salsa Chicken Rice Casserole. Even companies such as Prego and Campbell's have recipes posted to it, and the recipes along with how-to articles and videos make it a fantastic resource. If you like to cook, cvheck it out!

On the front page, All Recipes always links a video, often one from The Food Wishes Blog. I LOVE this blog as well, the videos are informative and easy to follow, and there's always a recipe posted along with it. It's so nice to be able to read the recipe then watch how it's done!

A few days ago this was the posted video:

Now doesn't that just look scrumptious? And so easy too! I watched that just after having had a delicious Christmas ham dinner at a friends house, and after the double whammy of video and noms, I bought a ham the next day to cook! Well, we had a ham dinner last night, so guess what we made for breakfast?

It was just as easy to make as it looks in the video! In fact, the hardest part was cutting the ham into even slices that weren't too thick... Some of them were a little thinner on one side then the other, so the eggs kept trying to escape off one side!

As you can see the egg stays stuck on the ham, and it's all perky and delicious! The egg doesn't get all gummy and overcooked at all! (Actually we let them run a tad long for my liking, I prefer the yolks to be super runny!) This recipe is definitely a keeper, and is way easier and less hassle then cooking everything separately. Mmm-mmm good!

In other news, I start my new job as a page at the library today. I'm really nervous, more for having to travel to the downtown library by myself then the actual job. I thought Matt was going to be able to run me over there for the paperwork, but that fell through. Now I have to drive all the way into downtown, find a parking garage and pay for it, walk to the library just for 15 minutes of darn new hire paperwork, then walk back to the car, and drive to Belle Isle to start work... I don't understand why they don't realize that it's a huge inconvenience to do anything in downtown if you aren't already down there. No parking, and construction and one way streets EVERYWHERE. Oh well, it's only for one day. Just hate the idea of walking around out there by myself.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dragon Grins!

The turtle has been found! I walked into the bedroom last night and there it was, being rubbed all over Taco's face. I have no idea where she hid it, as I'd torn the room apart looking for it. Cats!

Drew this fellow last night!

I was intending to do a full background and shading on him- but what I wanted as a background just wasn't going to happen at my current digital art skill level, and I thought the flats looked so nice, crisp, and clean I opted to upload him as is. I may update him later and add in those things, but I love the smooth, clear colors of it.

Here's a little puzzle update as well!

Edge is all finished and I'm starting to work in the grey colors in it, which is mostly the path and the sky above. Going to start on the red brickwork and the pots for the plants today, then probably the foliage. I try to start around the edges and work my way in, while also putting together really obvious things like signs or structures when I find the pieces. I dunno if that's cheating or not, but it's what I do!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Puzzle Conundrum and a Missing Turtle

Taco's Turtle has vanished! I looked all over for that thing this morning to stuff more catnip in it, and it's simply disappeared! Last I saw it was tossing it into the bedroom, but it's not there now, nor under of around anything in the bedroom. Matt and I searched the house, but couldn't locate it- We have a missing turtle on our hands!!

In other news, I'm having an issue with my new table. No, no- it's nothing wrong with the table. It's a problem with what I want to do ON the table! See I have this puzzle...

This is Contentment by Sunsout, a 1000+ jigsaw puzzle. The art's by Nicky Boehme- you should google her, her artwork is simply gorgeous. I'd love to have some prints framed and hung up. (Thankfully, she's done art for lots of puzzles!!) See, I love jigsaw puzzles, and I'd fallen in love with this image. When I came across it in the store, I just HAD to have it! I've had this puzzle for nearly a year now, sitting in the closet. Why? Because it is gianormous.

This thing is 27x35 inches, and was way too big for our card table. I found that out the hard and thoroughly disappointing way after I'd gotten much of the edges put together! It's one of the reasons I've been foaming at the mouth for nice new dining room table, and why it had to be bigger then the card table. I've desperately been wanting to do this puzzle for months and now is my chance!

I broke that sucker out yesterday and in between cooking dinner, I sorted out most of the edge pieces (I always miss a few and have to go find them later) and started putting it together. Now seeing as this is our dining room table, I opted to put it together on one of my puzzle mats, that way I'd be able to roll it up and stow it away at dinner time! It would be perfect! Well I didn't get very far on it last night and when I sat down to work on it a bit this morning, this is what I discovered-

There is no way on earth it's going to fit on that puzzle mat! In fact, it'll be nearly as big as our brand new table! So now I'm faced with a conundrum- it's going to take me a while to put this puppy together. It is over a thousand pieces after all! But I'll have to do it on the table itself, as it's the only way it'll fit. But then my table will be out of commission for things like eating on... and we just got it! But I've been waiting so long to put this puzzle together and it's the main reason I wanted a table so badly!


Screw it, I'm doing my puzzle!!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Merries!

Had tons of fun and food at my families on Christmas Day. Even snagged some sweet loot! As I said before, my parents came down and bought us a dining room table! They even through in a bed frame for us, since our mattress has lain on the floor since we got it.

We'd called the delivery-time-estimate phone number last night to get a two hour estimate on when they'd be appearing with our stuff. We knew the Half Price Books stores down here were having a sale today, so we were hoping they'd come early. We were pretty pleased when it told us between ten thirty and twelve thirty for delivery- that'd get it over with quickly and we wouldn't have to waste the day waiting around the house. Half Price Books even opens at 9AM, so we got up and went right over there... But about 9:45 the delivery peeps called to tell us they were running fast and would be there at ten Oh noes! We rushed home to let them in to set it all up!

Taco approved of the table as well, and hopped up to join us while we ate breakfast at our new table! And now I have someplace I can use my hand me down tea coasters at, woo! After a quick meal, we ran off to the other Half Price Book places nearby....

And of course I bought books!

Quite the haul for me, and pretty darn cheap too, since they're ALL used! Yay! I was stoked to find The Map of Time, it was just released earlier this year, and isn't even out in paperback yet. I got it cheaper then what a trade paperback would have cost in hardcover! And I absolutely ADORE the cover art on that one. The Cashier even jokingly scolded me that she was intending to buy it LOL!

On the way home we picked up this for Taco: 

The turtle is hollow inside but for some fluff, with a velcro closing on it. You can STUFF the thing full of catnip. Taco immediately flopped over over on the floor and proceeded to rub it all over her face for five minutes. Cats are weird.

Anyhoo, I got some wonderful gifts for Christmas from the rest of my family. A new puzzle, an Oklahoma State art piece for our apartment, an ornament for our tree, lots of money and... this....

Yes. That is, in fact, my new football helmet. A gift from my Uncle. It's kind of cool I guess? I mean, I've never seen a real football helmet before. It was supposedly used in a game. It even has warning stickers in it about bashing people in the face with it. I'm really not into football at all... I don't even know who the people who've signed it are! It's still neat, and I set it on top of the printer in the computer room where everyone can see it when the come over... but beyond that I'm not real sure what to do with it. It's the thought that counts! Guess I'll keep it for a few years and then ebay it? O.o

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rave at 3 AM...

I was up till 3:30 in the morning last night...

Doing this:

Okay, I wish I had been attending a rave with my cat and fish! That would have been much cooler then what I was actually doing, which was this:

Or drawing this, rather. Matt got me a paint program for my computer, and since we already have tablets, I've been working on drawing again. I used to be quite the artists, even considered going to college. Glad I didn't though, I would have DESPISED the art classes there I learned later. Anyhoo, I went through a  rather serious bout of depression the last few years in college, and between that and my new found World of Warcraft addiction, I did very little drawing. I've been having fun with it again though! It's nice to be getting back to drawing even if it is extremely frustrating for me sometimes. I think I'll pick up an anatomy book soon and really try and get back into it- it's been so long since I've seriously drawn I'm pretty rusty.

I went to the grocery store yesterday to pick up some stuff we needed. I love having a Walmart Neighborhood Market nearby. I still get the fairly inexpensive groceries, without having to go to the massive overcrowded Walmart. While I was there I picked this up for Taco.

She was disappointingly unimpressed. She batted the mouse around for a bit, more because it has a short string tail then anything else. And she snuffled at the catnip bag for a few minutes, but wasn't very interested. The catnip inside must be super weak, as Taco LOVES catnip. We'd found an old bag full of catnip in the pet cabinet at home that I took home with us; she climbed up onto the bookshelf to get it down by herself! This stuff must be ancient and she could still smell it. But that catnip toy... not so much...

Ah well. It's the thought that counts I suppose!

In other news my parents are coming down tomorrow! I'm very excited. Dad's able to make it down this time, and they're going to buy us a proper dining room table and chairs for Christmas! SO EXCITED! I was thrilled at the idea of being able to eat in the dining room, or have little dinner parties, but the table and chairs we have... They're a cheap black card table set with four foldout chairs. Super uncomfortable, and it shakes wildly at the smallest bump, meaning you can't set drinks down and cut your food up, or anything. It's also JUST small enough that I can't fit some of my puzzles on it :(

I'll snap some pictures of it when we get it here and all set up! It's gonna be so awesome!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chaos Part Two: Tacocat is a Palindrome...

I figured I'd start off this post with the good news I received yesterday- I have a job! I received a call yesterday that I'd finally been chosen for one of the positions I'd been interviewing for. I'm soon to be a Page at the Belle Isle Library in Oklahoma City. The hours are a bit wonky, shifts like 3PM-9PM, but the pay will $9.41. Figuring that out I'll be making the same rate of pay doing a job I will actually enjoy, and twelve less hours of work a week then what I was making at the Wal-Mart in Stillwater. Not too shabby!

It is just an intro position, nothing too important, and I'm sure I'll be the first job to be cut if there's a budget issue, but it'll be actual in library experience. And the late afternoon to night shifts will work well for when I return to college for my MLIS degree! I'm pretty stoked.

I mentioned a new friend in my last post- here she is!

This is my cat, Taco! We were able to bring here down to live with us here at our apartment this last Thursday when I was back in Stillwater for an eye doctors appointment. She did very well on the nearly two hour drive, and kept her meowing to a minimum. She's taken very well to the house, and  though she spent the first few hours of her first night here taking slow, giant, sneaky cat steps everywhere, she hasn't been bothered by being here at all.

In fact the only alarm she displayed was when I showed her that kitty bed I put on the box next to my desk. It sits just below Mage's tank (which she is looking at in the photo), which I had thought Taco would enjoy. But when I first set her in there she looked at Mage in absolute HORROR, and backed up as far as she could before turning around and running away. I guess if you haven't seen a fish before they're terrifying..? She has since made amends with the fish- She tried desperately to kill him for about five minutes the next day but was thwarted by his invisible force field of protection (the tank walls LOL), and is now content to watch him swim about. Silly cat!

Taco is a bed cat, she LOVES cat beds. Some do, and some don't. She's also a big masher, and will sit on nearly anything soft and mash it with her claws. She still has all her claws, and I don't believe in declawing cats, regardless of how obnoxious they can occasionally be. It's neither safe, nor fair!

Matt has had some trouble though. He's been around cats plenty of times, but here recently he's quit smoking. Now, he's suddenly developed an allergy to cats! He's been quite the sport about it though, and has been taking lots of allergy tablets. He insists we'll be keeping her, and I can't say I'm not relieved! A house just isn't right without a cat!

Anyway, I'd said I'd been in Stillwater last Thursday? That was to run more tests to check for Glaucoma. Turns out I most likely have it. I'm at the weird point where I don't actually have any damage to my vision, but the pressure in my eyes is high enough, and there's enough thinning in my nerves at the back of my eyes that my doctor was surprised I didn't! Though he can't actually say that I have Glaucoma until  it starts causing damage, we opted to head it off and start taking the eye drops anyway. He gave me a trial bottle (Itty bitty little thing!) which I take every night before bed, and I'll be returning to Stillwater on January 6th for another appointment. Blargh!

Though I got some excellent news yesterday about my library job, I also received some of the worst. The results for Sheba's biopsy on her thyroid finally came back, and confirmed that the cancer is malignant. Theres no real way to know what's going to happen from here on it. The Vet said she thought she got it all out when she removed the enlarged thryoid, which is good. But there's about a 50/50 chance it'll end up coming back, most likely in the other thyroid, or the lungs. They're looking into radiation therapy, but there's no telling what the cost will be or whether she could stand it. The Vet said she could live either another few months or another few years. She'll be going back for more frequent check ups, and we'll go from there.

And since I'm detailing all my other 'pet news' here's a nice shot I managed to get of Mage, who's recovering nicely from the fin rot he had a while back.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chaos Part One: Return of the Freezinator....

Long absence from posting, and my apologies. I have sooo much to post about!

The very night we set up the Christmas tree (Back at the end of November, mind you!), I began to come down with an ear infection and Strep Throat, which is very, very uncomfortable if you've never had it. I had to go to the doctor that Tuesday, an especially annoying development as I'm currently uninsured and it cost a small fortune just to go and get one round of antibiotics. I didn't even need the doctor to tell me I had Strep... The searing pain when I swallowed (When I could swallow) and the white spots on the back of my throat were clear!

Virus uses Strep- It's super effective!

All in all, it had me layed out for about a week. The antibiotics worked quickly, but it still took time for everything to heal, and for the ear infection to clear up. Only costed $150 we don't have. @-@;;; Get insurance kiddies!

After that it's been kind of a whirlwind of activity. I'm now engaged to be married- not really any big deal actually! I promise! Matt and I have been living as 'man and wife' for 3 years now essentially, we're really just making it official for legal reasons (Especially the aforementioned insurance problem!). No fancy ceremony or anything, we're just going to go down to the courthouse, save everyone time and money. I hate being the center of attention anyway!

My dog Sheba, had surgery two weeks back to remove an enlarged thryoid. She's doing well, and her stitches came out this last Friday. I'm so glad she's feeling better; it's very upsetting to away from a sick pet- I always worry I'll get a phone call that something's happened!

Over the last three weeks, I've continued having hell from my refrigerator. To describe this in greater detail, let me give you a little geology lesson. In nature, water can trickle down into cracks in rocks and such. If it freezes, the water expands as it turns into ice, and this can wrench the rocks apart.

This is called 'frost wedging'. It does a lot to shape our landscapes. Sometimes it's even really annoying- ever notice the sudden appearance of cracks and potholes in streets during after a rain or snow in winter? Frost wedging is why.

This is my celery.

It has been frost wedged.

The Freezinator DESTROYED an entire head of celery, made some very weird mushrooms, frostified a bag of shredded lettuce, froze and broke open several eggs, turned a whole bag of baby carrots into little orange ice cubes, and consistently turned my leftovers into leftover bricks. No bueno.

I went to the office and let them know about our fridge being way to good. They sent someone around, who left a note on the counter stating simply that they'd "Adjusted the Thermostat". Way to make me sound like an idiot! We'd already tried that of course, and had set the fridge to the warmest setting we could- it seemed to be stuck at a higher setting.

In any case, it seems to have been fixed. I'm crossing my fingers that it stays this way. It was kind of a cute, silly little problem when it was freezing our beverages. But we haven't got a ton of money extra, and I'd rather not lose any more food to an errant fridge.

Anyhoo, that's all for tonight! I have more I'll be posting in the next day or two! A new friend has come to visit the apartment, and I wanna post all about it soon!