05 January 2017

Behind the Curtain with 2016

I cannot believe that 2016 has come and gone but at the same time, I feel like it took its sweet time getting out of dodge. Seriously so many changes in the past year, I feel some for better (personal life) and some for worse (overall national/international climate).

Perhaps a recap is in order?

  • My butt was kicked into gear last year, not nicely but I needed that impetus. I finally cut the chains that bound me to research, namely my pride. Hubris, a nasty affair. I achieved a job that I am enjoying much more and that allows me to carry on extracurricular activities. It has been one of the best decisions of my life, it finally makes me feel like a grown-up.
  • What are those extra-curricular activities? Mainly more time with family, not even including friends on that list. Yes, my parents moved to town and now my weekends and evenings are filled with feeling like a teenager again whose parents are just so lame. Ugh, no one gets me! I kid, I kid, although I do feel like I need to limit their pull because they are now hinting that I sell my house and move in with them. As an unmarried and single daughter, I am still their oldest baby who needs to be taken care of at home. Mostly nice but sometimes a little cloying for this 37-year-old independent lady :)
  • Before the end of the year, I also faced a few financial demons. I know at my age you would think that I was a little more savvy but let's face it fear makes us do stupid things. I am fearful still but I can't ostrich my way through life. Yeah, I'm starting that - ostriching.
  • I did obtain therapy last year and I think I will continue with it this year. Although I do not anticipate 2017 will be as brutal as 2016, you never know and it won't hurt to deal with leftover issues from the previous 37 years; after all, it will be 38 years in March.
  • Small goals or le'ts call them living goals were also met last year. You know maintaining a garden, doing crafts, better habits (cleaning), and miscellaneous that I cannot recall were achieved. Living goals, I like that. Starting that too.
  • "Other" is the recap of a brutal year. Still single, still meh about the idea of needing a spouse. Greatly disappointed in the country after the elections, and no I will not call that person my president. If you are one of the ones that refused to call Obama your president don't you dare open your mouth now. If you don't like those last 2 sentences then bye boy, you don't have to read my blog or like me. OK, I'll admit it I'm still hurt by those events. Moving on. Loss of family members, loss of respect for some people (this is on a personal level), gained a greater appreciation for other people at the same time. 
I have gone through a lot of changes in the past year and I don't feel any of them were easy; quite the contrary a lot of them were difficult and painful. The bitter really accentuated the sweet, my family and friends were the sweetest part of my life. I reallocated resources to increase my happiness and productivity (i.e. new job) and so far the data proves that I made the right choices. At times last year, I felt there was so much bitterness in my life that it was overwhelming but I guess in the end it was not so bad. I mean did I die? No. I along with everyone else who is still breathing survived 2016.

I have definitely set goals for this year but I think I'm concentrating on preparation for the future. I'm not getting younger (sadly) and there are things that I want for the future that I need to lay groundwork for now. There is always time and I don't want to live just for the now but also for the future. I do not anticipate retiring early, nor comfortably but if I work really hard I may be able to achieve survival mode. No, I probably will retire comfortably but it's just one of those things about which I am very fearful. I've also decided to truly embrace my fears. I feel like I say each year I will overcome it, I will beat fear, I will abandon fear, me thinks perhaps that was the wrong approach. I am no longer going to fight my fears, I'm simply going to say, "Yes, I am very afraid of X. Now lets go X, I got shit to do."

So here's to getting things done. Hi 2017, I'm looking forward to getting to know you.

13 December 2016


These were
inexpensive and they
look really nice. 
Still chugging along and creating a nicer aesthetic around myself.

Still need to
add a frame
to that mirror.
Well as promised here is the final product - the bathroom! The shower stall walls are a basic kit that I got at Home Depot, the quality is OK and installation rather easy but it's not the prettiest. Then again at $75 it was a steal. If I had had the money I would have tiled the walls but maybe in a few years if I decide to stay in this house longer. The color is nice but I forget what it was called, all I know is that I got it at Ace Hardware from a color I chose at Lowes. The showerhead and faucet are a Moen piece that I got at Lowe's when they had a clearance event for about $25. The paint was a total of $35 but that doesn't include all expenses.

Wal-Mart cabinet my
sister no longer wanted.
Yay me :)
  • Paint $35
  • Shower Wall Kit $75
  • Showerhead Kit $25
  • Primer $20
  • Compound $16
  • Tape $2
  • Paint Supplies (misc.) $20
  • Shower Supplies (misc.) $40
  • Lighting $20
  • Towel Hooks $10
  • Drywall $20
  • Misc. Items $100
  • Total:  $383

I love these hooks!
I found them
for $4 at Ross.

I guess final cost it was more likely more, including all the time I dedicated to this project. Things I learned, I don't mind the hard work and my father really wishes his daughters were more feminine. I don't think he completely dislikes our DIY abilities but I sometimes get the feeling he questions his choice of activities with young daughters back in the day. I think he's regretting not taking tea now, even if most of the time he just thinks it's cool we can do these type of projects. Although without his help that bathroom would have been a week long or 2-week long project for me alone. Likely more expensive too because I would have gone through quite a bit of trial and error.

15 November 2016

Grateful in Texas

What an eventful year this has been, so many changes for good and bad. The last time I wrote something I had been thinking about myself mostly, focusing on my future and my needs. A lot of "my" and "I" thinking but not very much of anything else. Mind you I feel that we are all entitled to a little bit of that thinking from time to time but sometimes it is difficult to not let it take over. However, today I will not share anything related to politics, groups affected by recent politics, or anything that can lead to negative thoughts. I need a break from the world and its very confusing environment, I will concentrate instead on the positive!

Well, the best news I can possibly share is this:

I HAVE A JOB!!!!!!!!

Wait it gets better! I have a job doing something I actually wanted to do! I know, I told you it only got better. Yes, I am working as a Research Administrator and although it is a steep learning curve - I LOVE IT! It is not the most exciting or glamorous job in the world but it is a change that I wanted and needed in my life. You could call me a glorified paper pusher but after years of dealing with bio-hazardous waste (literally & metaphorically), I'm enjoying wearing something other than bleach-stained jeans. I'm sure that not everyone is nice and that I am bound to have some run-ins with a few "characters" but on the whole I am happy of having an 8-to-5 job. Believe me it is not a small thing to have this type of job because let me tell you that the life of laboratory people is hard work and long hours. The work can be rewarding but the sacrifice made in the lab is no small feat and for me it was no longer one I wanted to continue. I think as great as all of that is, the best is that it is no longer grant funded. You have no idea the stability and comfort I now feel and how absolutely grateful I am for those two things.

As of my last post I had promised a post on the finished product in my bathroom but honestly I feel quite superficial writing about a silly bathroom when so much has happened. I still need to take the pictures, maybe I'll do that tonight being as I have free evenings and I leave work early.

16 September 2016

Re-Building Identities

Well hello, today I want to write something a little more positive and something that brings me great joy. I have spoken about this before - I process sadness or grief through hard manual labor. I always have, probably always will. I hadn't realized that I needed to mourn the loss of my job, the loss of love I felt for research, especially the loss of identity that came with the first loss. How did I work it out? Well first I focused on my garden and made several changes to my yard and second I focused on my guest bathroom. The garden I have kept everyone up-to-date on and you all know the bad luck pictures brought but the bathroom that was another thing!

Here we go with the bathroom. What you need to know is that my bathrooms had the most horrible wallpaper in the world! First of all it was an ugly pastel rendition of a southwestern pattern from the 80's that was then painted over with an uglier beige color. What it made it absolutely horrible was the fact that it wasn't installed correctly and you could see every single panel individually, where it either wasn't matched correctly or it overlapped panels. Yeah. Blah.

Okay so again I thought that I had before pictures but once more I have remembered half way through that I wanted pictures. Well to the left there you can see the old wallpaper but you can't see the raised texture or the old pattern, I only discovered that when we removed the bathroom mirror. The whole reason I decided to get this done was because that particular faucet started leaking and I was loosing a lot of water. A previous hack job on the faucet caused that leak and they had superglued that tile square around the faucets together and I actually had to break it apart with a hammer for the tile to come off. You'll see what I mean in a bit.

Below is the back wall of the shower, behind the faucets and you can see the water damage caused by the previous hack job and probably old leak, I also tore that out. On this wall you can also see all of the glue on the walls, that was so difficult to remove! I used a 50/50 mixture of water and Downy Softener, notice I was specific of the brand because towards the end I ran out of Downy and I figured dollar store brand would work the same. It didn't. I had to use a lot more of the dollar store brand for it to remove the glue from the walls versus Downy. Don't use the special scents, just the regular old type in the original blue bottle is what you need. The Downy mixture, a scraper, and a sponge to wipe of remaining residue/mixture is all you need, plus some elbow grease. I was able to remove that in a day.

Now after all this I had to tear out walls and put up sheet rock plus primer, compound on corners and edges, plus texturing of the walls, and then paint over the texture. Yes an extremely long process, or so it sounds it took me about 4 days total including prep time. I chose a white with a blue undertone that changes a lot with lighting. I still have to paint the cabinet, replace the sink faucet, and maybe replace the counter top but I'm not sure about the last one yet. Within the shower stall I ended up removing all of the brown area because it was ripped off by the tile. Once I added texturing to the new walls I also had to prime but I suggest using an oil based primer because it will seal any glue you may have missed. If you don't use an oil based primer the glue will absorb moisture from the air and start lifting the paint and anything else you put on the walls. My preferred primer is Zinsser primers, I have to say that they are the best, the oil based primer even works on laminate surfaces.

Next come the after images and although it's not completely done, you'll see why I say that the paint changes colors with the lighting. I don't mind it, I really like it but it might not be everyone's cup of tea. However, that will be for the next post because this has gotten out of hand!

The take away from this process is the following:

  1. Wallpaper glue removal involves a 50/50 Downy Softener and water mixture because it does a great job!
  2. Prime your walls with an oil based primer for the best results. My personal preference is Zinsser Primer, I do not receive any money or product for this endorsement. This is based on personal use and my personal opinion.
  3. I might suggest clean as you go. At the end of each day I would pick up items and sweep the floors and the day we put up the compound texturing I also mopped. This helped keep the mess localized and helped me feel more at ease with the whole process.

07 September 2016

Honey Dew Cantaloupe

Over a month and nothing much to report here.  I am still unemployed and starting to freak out in a bad way because lets be honest I'm a control freak. I like to set goals and reach them asap, checking off items on lists is a high that is unequaled by anything else I know. And no I have never done any drugs that have not been prescribed to me, there really isn't any comparison. Thus not being able to check off "New Job" off my list is annoying to say the least. Control issues, we've discussed this before.

Otherwise life has been okay, moving along a little slow but very quickly, especially when you don't work. You never know what day it is! If it weren't for my phone I would never know if it was Monday or Saturday, never realized how tied my concept of time was to work. Although it has been nice to have vacation time, it is also nice to have that humdrum existence of 8 to 5. I am looking forward to returning to a more structured existence. The only thing that has kept me semi-sane has been my garden and the fruits of my labor can be seen to the right. It weighed in at a little over 30 lbs! It's not as sweet as I thought it would be but the heart is very sweet, as you move towards the rind its not that great. However there are about 5 more of that variety above and a different variety which I planted last year but have no idea what it is because it spontaneously popped up. Yeah I didn't collect it all last year and those that decomposed in the yard came back. I also have cantaloupe that came up the same way as my surprise watermelon. That was weird because it should have been orange on the inside but instead it was green but super sweet, like honey dew melon! Looks like regular cantaloupe but its honey dew on the inside. Still scratching my head on that one, although it feels like my life at the moment. I planted a life I thought I wanted, then ended up with something completely different and next thing I know I have to start the garden all over again. Life and real garden. If I find a job elsewhere I'm going to have to give up gardening probably or just focus on pots.

I think I will bid everyone adieu because if I keep on focusing on the similarities between my garden and my life I am going to have another quarterlife crisis. How do you break those down if you've had more than one? Hope everyone has a good week!

05 August 2016

Feelin' Good

Well hello everyone! How is everyone out there? Me well I'm OK, sort of I guess. I am still unemployed but not unhappy or even completely freaked out. I am well, actually pretty happy. Is that strange? I know had started to freak out because I have officially been unemployed for 2 months but it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. Let me describe it a little.

#1 - I have enjoyed the time off, I have worked every month of the past 22 years of my life and this "break" has been a godsend. I really needed to just clear my head and truly find some peace, which I think I achieved for the most part. I'm still sort of freaking out but I've tried to not focus too much on that. Something that helped was that I had an interview 2 weeks ago and it seemed promising. It would be an amazing opportunity for me and has a lot more room for growth in the future, besides the great salary! The best part of it involves a lot of admin work but it is still in my field! I finished the interview and they did say it would take them 2 to 3 weeks to reach a decision and I'm assuming that's because they had others to interview. They may have gone in order of how the applications were received, if that was the case I may have been the first interviewee. I literally submitted my application the same day that job was posted. Yeah I was that excited.
~2 days old.

#2 - I now have a new nephew and let me tell you that those cute bundles are a great stress reliever, especially if you are not it's main source of nourishment. I feel for my sister, that is a difficult thing to do. He is a cutie pie and I love him to bits! I have not forgotten the oldest cutie pie either, I have actually made a greater effort to do things with him on a daily basis. This past weekend and most of this week I spent it helping out my sister and doing lots of babysitting. My mother had been here for the past month or so but she took a break too. I mean come on, a new baby plus a spoiled grandson? Abuelitas can only take so much. Yeah I got my fill of poopy diapers and hungry crying but I loved it too.

#3 - This is pretty important, at least I think so. I realized how sad and unhappy I was at my last job. Perhaps the situation wasn't the worst but I have to admit that it wasn't that okay either. Not even going to say close to best, because it only managed to make the OK list. It was partly the situation and partly the work itself. I think that's why #1 is still alright with me. I was decent at my work but honestly when it came down to it I just didn't see myself pipetting bacteria for the rest of my life. Not just that but I didn't have the desire or drive to continue that work. Some people are happy doing that day-in and day-out but not this Mexican. I needed something that I'm good at and that at the end of the day it ends. Yup, I really want an 8 to 5 scenario, never thought I would say that but there you go :)

Oh yeah and the garden is well, although I've stopped instagraming my photos because they were bad luck! Every single watermelon that I took a picture of or other plant for that matter - DIED!!!!! Yeah I stopped doing that and I now have 2 surviving cantaloupe plants, plus 3 large watermelons that will be ready in a few days. I hope. The front yard needs to be harvested for flower seeds and the grass is good. My "new" bathroom is also almost ready :) Oh yeah I redid the guest bath 2 weeks ago with my Dad! Pictures coming eventually.

Have a good weekend everyone!