Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

Here it is, New Year's Eve and I have yet to pick out my fabric. Oh well, I refused to be stressed about my favorite annual quilting event. I might look through my stash a bit tonight, or it all is just going to have to happen tomorrow.

We are in such a freeze right now. I need to fill my feeders tomorrow.

In other news I got along with my sewing machine today and finished binding this quilt. Generally when I have issues with this machine it is around the bobbin.

I really like this quilt, but I am frustrated with my free motion stitches. I have still not quite perfected it yet, so I am still getting some skips and gathers. It is exceptionally noticeable on this quilt because you can tell I did sewing on it at vastly different times - like months apart.

Still, it is a fun color combination. It immediately went into the wash since Leela kept using it as a cave when ever she could get around my barriers.

Nim looks annoyed to be posed in his cute turtle jacket doesn't he? :) He wanted to run around the yard and I am sure the ground was cold on his behind.

It is almost 2015 for my east coast friends. Have a great night!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ready for a New Year?!

I had an entirely different post planned for today, but the week has been weird and things change and I found myself reflecting a lot on this past year and what I want to wish for next year. So I decided to write about the upcoming new year instead (and a little about sewing).

I have been playing a game for the past several days to try and trick myself into studying. It is sort of working. Basically every set of 20 questions I get 5 - 15 minutes of whatever I need to do. And once I get an 80% in a section I am allowed to lay out fabric and bind my quilt.

It took me 2 days to get an 80% : | (Actually, I got an 80% one night but it was like 10pm and I wasn't sewing at that point).

Anyway, I thought this post would be about about my latest finished quilt however my machine and I are having issues. I will be dealing with them tonight or tomorrow because January 1 = 2015 New Year's Day Mystery Quilt.

I washed some fabric I got for Christmas, but have not yet picked out the ones for the mystery quilt. Let's hope I get some good studying in so I can earn fabric planning time.

What can I say about 2014? I survived it. I have continued to push myself to some type of a career which is WAY outside of my comfort zone. I know it is wildly unpopular to say, but I am not career driven. Never have been.

In 2014 I didn't sew enough and I didn't hike enough. However, the pets stayed healthy and what little hiking and sewing I did, I cherished. Nim and I managed to get our UKC Rally 1 title and we even got a nice certificate from the UKC for it which makes me like that organization all the more. Nim and I started traditional obedience classes and got one leg of Beginner Novice. I regret not starting traditional obedience sooner. I am enjoying it far more than I thought I would.

I also got my Enrolled Agent which for me was a massive accomplishment. I also failed REG...a massive non-accomplishment. :) I failed, I cried, I considered giving up, I got some perspective, and life went on.

I grew one large sunflower in 2014. Probably my favorite gardening achievement.

(Nim on the electric blanket. I really should just buy one for Emile and him since I never get to use this one. I did cover him with the red blanket, then he was out cold.)

For 2015 I would like to pass all 4 sections of the CPA exam. I am actually facing the reality that it may truly not happen. If nothing else, the studying pace is just terrible. As we speak, I am considering moving REG which was scheduled for January 19th to a later date.

In 2015 I would like to do a little camping trip in the fall like I did a few years ago. I would like to sew and hike more and I would like to keep entering dog trials where I can.

I am not where I belong career-wise, so I hope 2015 brings me some clarity in that department.

For 2015 I would like Nim, Leela, Emile, and Pascal to stay healthy and happy. I want a little time to garden because Nim and I both love it so much.

(Nim and his slobber ball. This was a Christmas gift. He loves that darn thing!)

Tomorrow I make my lucky black-eyed peas and collards. I will be thinking of all my 2015 wishes. I hope you all do too.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Depot and McCormick Parks - Duvall

Today I finally got us out for a walk. My mom had mentioned this park entrance in the Duvall area. I didn't spend much time around the Depot park and I suspect I walked right past McCormick park, but we had a nice long walk on the actual railroad grade that runs through the area.

As you can see, it was reasonably nice out, but cold. Right when you hit the railroad grade there was a decorated tree. I don't know why Nim is standing so weird.

Both side of the railroad grade is generally swamp. It is actually really pretty and there was a ton of ducks in there.

Nim eventually heard them. And he had a lot to talk about on this walk. Unfortunately this was a high traffic day and I am sure a lot of people will not soon forget the Nim experience. As usual he had fun and we were long overdue for a walk.

We took some side trails and he was even playing in the swamp?! I was wearing shoes I try and keep more clean for work so we didn't go far on any of the side trails.

Definitely a walk I would do again.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mice and Unicorn - Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

There used to be 5 toy mice for the cats Christmas. Nim has already eaten one! He never has eaten a cat toy before. No more mice for kitties. I think they were even horrified he ate it. I expect a colorful poo in the near future.

You will note I got my lucky unicorn for Christmas. It is smaller than the mice. Ha!

After Nim's toy mouse snack I returned the unicorn to its box until I hang it up in the car. I will be annoyed if he eats it.

By the way, this photo is of Nim, watching me photograph the mice and the unicorn. Yup. He totally wants them all back.

We have had actually some pretty nice weather the past couple of days. There has been rain, but also some nice stints of sun.

Yesterday Nim and I spent time in the yard and I finally got my garden boxes weeded and covered.

Only a few weeks (months?) late but that is the way it goes.

I leave you with a cat photo. They were actually spooning! I had no idea cats would even do that. Leela as usual is thrilled I got a photo of her in a compromised situation.

Have a great evening!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Kitty City Tower and Wind Clean-up

Experienced cat owners know that the more you spend on your cat, the less they will appreciate it. Your time is better spent securing a "chicken of the sea" box at Costco.

 Left to right: Sherman, Odin, and Chloe, February, 2005

This is one of my favorite photos and it has made an appearance on the blog before. When Chloe was alive I would make sure that every Costco trip involved a new box for her. It always made her happy.

Every once in awhile I do fall victim to a cat purchase. Today I got sucked into Kitty City. This is a modular system. What I really want is those systems that drill into your walls, but probably not on this house. My house is very small so I can't really grow this city out, but I am intrigued by the idea.

Emile watched me build from the distance. Totally wary.

Wouldn't you know? Leela ran to investigate first.

The full tower. Emile in the distance. And why yes, that is a traffic cone in my kitchen.

Emile, my little paper eater, of course only wanted the box. Sigh. True to cat form. They always want the darn box.

He is getting braver though. So my current assessment is cautiously optimistic. Not sure if I will add more sections or not, but I love the idea. Kitty City goes together very easy (and presumably dismantles easy) and is light to move around. That is a win in a tiny house.

After building my Kitty City Tower, Nim and I dealt with some wind damage. It is amazing how many wind storms we have had in the past couple of weeks. Ironically it was last night's storm that finally caused me the most problems.

We got a big reprieve from the rain today. It actually felt far more like fall, except it was dark at like 3pm. Which reminds me, didn't we just pass the solstice? I just looked it up, it is today. Although readers might remember from prior years I seem to always mess up exactly when the solstice is. Regardless, shortest day of the year hopefully has just happened.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Holiday Pet Photos

Hi all! I have a special treat for you today. A little collection of pet holiday photos.

First things first. Check out this ornament I got from a friend today! Makes me so happy. Lately I have found myself myself planing quilts in my head for the future when I pass my CPA exams...or give up. :)

This photo is from last Saturday. Nim and Emile were sharing a meaty bone. These two have such a strange social relationship around food.

Now for the Pet holiday photos you have been waiting for. :)

At the Doberman Specialty at Argus Ranch last week Nim had his photo done with Santa (this is a picture I took of the print). The Santa was actually really good with him so it is too bad they look so disconnected in this photo together. I should have moved Nim a bit closer.

Nim in his bow tie.

Then on Sunday mom and I attempted once again to get Nim and Maggie in a photo together at Petsmart. They need a larger backdrop. This photo does sum up their relationship quite well.

Maggie alone.

Nim alone.

And finally...drum roll...Gypsy.

It is hard to say what she is more mad about: Nim's presence, the bells around her neck, or having her soul sucked in public.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Failed REG

Hello all - time to get this lame post over with . I failed REG. Yup. I found out late Monday night (I am not sure I will ever check score on release like that again when I have to get up early for work the next morning) and spent all Tuesday with a big lump in my chest trying not to cry. So frustrating.

But in the end it is "just a test" and there is far worse things in the world than failing it. I feel rotten but I have to move on.

The only one happy I failed is Emile. He thinks this means more time for him to make a heating blanket nest next to the laptop.

So I am in recovery mode. I took some personal inventory, and decided to try again. And if you are asking yourself "she would actually give up?" - why yes I would. The trade-off right now is not worth it. But I have to look to the future instead and hope that in the end this will be.

I got a 72. Passing is a 75. Now it isn't a percent or exact points, but as you can see, I was close. Close enough that a different day and a different test might have gone differently. I generally know the material. I need to beef it up though.

I sucked it up. Paid for another test. Registered today for January 19th and set-up my two months of calendars.

Key dates:

January 1 - Mystery Quilt day...I really REALLY still want to do this.
January 3 - Show N' Go at Argus Ranch. This is an obedience/rally thing. Mom is going with me.
January 12 - Western WA dog cluster in Puyallup. Originally I was going to enter Nim all three days. Thanks for my failure I will do Monday only. I am making mom do it too.
January 19 - REG do over.

I am in a mood right now folks. And this blog post is going to wander because seriously, who wants to keep talking about REG or reading about it?

It is well into December. Check out my advent!

During the snow I hung up my bird house. They won't touch it. They sit on my sill next to it. I am hoping they will figure it out.

Earth Balance has come out with vegan boxed mac and cheese. This is a game changer and better is not gluten free. I have already bought two more boxes...white "cheddar."

This photos cracks me up. Do you think Nim wishes he could be on the pellet stove with them?

And finally. My sister is knitting tiny unicorns. I told her I need one to pass REG (and those 3 other sections after it).

We are in a weird storm right now. I am pretty sure everywhere except for Florida is having bad weather right now.

Have a safe night!