Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August Already!

A lot has happened since I last updated my blog. I've started using Facebook as my blogger... it kind of works. But a real blog is always better.

I took the summer off from school. It's given me lots of time to - float the river with friends, - canoe, - rearrange my home office/craft room, - teach my cousin how to draw CIS Alignment sheets (this is a true blessing. I do not have time to work on these jobs anymore, but they still need the work done. Turns out my cousin really needed the work himself.), -get back into yoga (www.joyyogacenter.com), - read my book club books, - craft day!, - lunches on Fridays, -more play time with my puppies, - vet and doctor visits, - tattoo work (slowly but surely finishing it), - announce more roller derby bouts, - movie dates with Chris, -spend extra time playing with my hair and makeup (it's fun!), - adding flower arrangements to the dinning table - help Annie with wedding details, - bachelorette party, - skating (finally dusting off the old skates), - playing the Viola again, - Facebook (I really do enjoy it), - just hanging out without any major deadlines or exams!

I am promising myself that even when school does start I will continue to try and stay relaxed. Not take on too much stuff, and remember that exercise is important too. Making time for yoga has made me feel wonderful.

And I still love my job. I am very blessed to work for an amazing group of men, and with a very nice woman. I get to do what I do, get paid well for it, and they support my school goal 100%. And Chris and I are very happy... we've had some bumpy spots along the road of life, but I can honestly say I feel like I've found the love of my life. *Insert sappy music*

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gigapan of Inauguration

That picture is awesome. The diversity. The importance. I feel very good about this Presidency!!

Also the White House has a Blog now. I feel more informed already.

My nieces birthday was fun. Lots of kids running around Chucky Cheese like little maniacs. I'll post pictures soon. School has officially started and I will always have homework that needs to be done. Plus the next week I'll be working on construction drawings for the container house. I wish I had more time in the day to devote to that, but I only have a few hours each night.

Bella is doing better every day. Tonight I'm going to remove her stitches.

That's all. Go Obama!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hump Day Update

It's been a week since Bella's surgery, and she is back to normal. Her stitches are healing up nicely, and she's back to running circles and barking and wanting to play a lot. Thank God I was able to pay for it, and get it done quickly. I would have stressed out until it was done... but now it's done and all is good. She's on a new prescription dog food that she loves. Not sure how much it will cost to feed her now, but this food should prevent any reoccurring stones from forming.

My car window has been fixed. The motor broke and a friend of Chris' came out to my work and fixed it last week. He accidentally switched some wires though, and now I push up to roll my window down, and down to roll it up. Ha. Not very funny. He's supposed to fix it soon. At least it's up when the weather is cold.

I got to help Annie pick out a wedding dress. Annie, Rachael, me, and her mom when to a bridal store and she tried on about twelve dresses. This was her third trip out to a dress store. When she put the one on, she started crying and knew it was the one. She tried on the rest, but kept that one out. It's perfect and beautiful. I'm glad I was there to help... it was fun too.

On Saturday I took my nephew Derion (9), his two friends (8 & 6), and my niece Marta (12) to the Monster Jam at Reliant. It was awesome. The kids loved it. They didn't like the ear plugs until I let them pull one out a little bit, then they all understood that it's freaking loud!! and they need those to protect their ears! Haha. The guy sitting next to me hit on me and asked me out for drinks after the show... I let him down easy :) I thought I was doing good on time, and got the kids out of the building right before the end to beat the rush... then I lost the car and we walked all the way around the Reliant looking for the car and took an hour to find it! The poor kids were exhausted. They all passed out when we got in the car. I dropped them off, then I didn't get home until midnight. I was going to go to the Derbyoke, but was worn out. I will know better than to plan two big events on top of each other.

Marta, Derion, Indiglo, and Matthew by you.

Marta, Derion, Indiglo, and Matthew.

Video: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ellemcfierce/3215892026/in/set-72157612782875701/

Video: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ellemcfierce/3215892054/in/set-72157612782875701/

Derion and Mel by you.
Me and Derion.

P1010769 by you.
The Reliant was PACKED! Sold out and all seats were filled.

Grave Digger! by you.

And this is Grave Digger! He's always the best.

My niece Drew is turning 4 and her birthday is at Chucky Cheese this Saturday! I'll be making her a big beautiful cake. Unfortunately her brother has a basketball game on Saturday, so I might have to leave early to take him to that. No worries though. It'll all work out.

Picture 024 by you.

Drew is getting to be such a big girl!

I registered and paid for two classes this semester. Geography 1303 online, and Physics I 2325 that starts Feb 14, and I have to go to that class at the Central Campus Tues and Thurs nights. I'm excited and nervous about both. I'm having to remind myself that I am smart and I can do these and make 'A''s. My main concern is that I'm over booking myself and won't be able to get everything done... but I am using my Google Calendar and staying on top of projects so I will be fine.

I'm still working on contract jobs in my 'spare' time. All the money made is going straight into savings for my house. There are no huge deadlines right now, thank goodness.

TED Talks is where really smart people give short talks to other really smart people. Al Gore has given really great talks (you can search for his talks on there). This one really spoke to me yesterday. I want to learn more about green construction, and possibly become a green engineer, if there is such a thing.


And this is after I met this lady who co-owns a development company here in Houston. I met her at a birthday party, she told me what she did, and I mentioned that I would love to get involved, and that I do AutoCAD and drafting, and to call me if they ever need anything and I'd be willing to even donate my time. Her partner called me last week and I met with him, saw their second home they've built, and have already drafted up his house, which will be their third.

It's a green development company. Here is their site, and some associated with them:



Here is what some other people are doing with containers:


This is more than coincidence. It's a beginning for me, I hope.

I am still very interested in crafting and design and decorating, and it feels like this type of construction is close to that type of creativity.

Always a busy girl I am. Oh, and I have done yoga at least once in the past week. Better than nothing!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sick Puppy.

I took Bella to the vet on Friday because I could tell she's been having trouble peeing. I noticed it back in October, and shouldn't have waited this long to get it diagnosed, but I did. She has three kidney stones in her bladder. They are each larger than quarters. She's such a small dog I can't even imagine how painful that is for her.

Bella striking a pose:

So she's going in for surgery on Wednesday morning. It's a very common and safe procedure. I hope my puppy comes back healthy and in less pain. I'm sure it'll take some time for her incision to heal but it'll be better than those stones.

Bella keeping watch at the front door:

The surgery is going to cost a lot. She's very much worth it, but I still was hoping it wouldn't cost so damn much. It'll set back my house down payment fund a little bit.

Bella looking pretty in pink:

I got a flat tire on Sunday. I took it to Firestone where they were able to fix it instead of replacing the tire. Cost $20 instead of the $160. Yeah on at least this savings!

My home computer had a virus last week. Chris was able to clean it off, and lots of other adware stuff, but there is still obviously something on there, slowing it down and making it incredibly hard to work on. I have to get it fixed soon. School is fixing to start, plus I still have contract work to do. I've asked a friend of ours if he'd be interested in helping me get it clean. I'd rather pay him than take it to a big company where they'd lose my pc or something.

My Grand Prix's driver's side window motor broke last week. I've taped up the window with packing tape so it doesn't slide down (very ghetto). Someone is supposed to come fix it tonight ($160... wait, I thought I just saved that much at the tire store!!!).

Just when I start saving up money 'life happens' and it all gets taken away. Oh well. My goal is still there and I will keep moving towards it until I have the money to put down on a house.

In other good news I went with Annie to the Bridal Exchange. What an incredibly 'bridal' place. I loved the cakes, and all the dresses, and so much pretty stuff to look at. It was kind of fun.

And Derion had his first basketball game. I got to watch him steal the ball from the other team, run down court and score! It was awesome. My niece and nephew are blessing in my life.

I also got to spend time with my adopted niece Marta on Sunday also. She came over, and I didn't know what we could do... so I pulled out a canvas and helped her get started on her very own masterpiece. She finished it and was so proud of herself. She really loved the way it turned out, and so do I. She was able to look at a piece of art for inspiration then start painting on her own. I know how to keep her entertained at my house now!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Years Resolution... What?

I'm a lister. I love to make lists and check off items and get pleasure from seeing all my To Do list Done. So this year I don't think I need a New Year's Resolution. I have Resolutions everyday. So my list of things that I'm constantly working on, from last year to this year...

Exercise more... ride the bike, walk the dogs, get out and throw the frisbee around. Have fun and enjoy my youth while I can.

Save money... Save up $30,000 for a down payment on a house. I could make this my New Year's Resolution, but I don't want to feel bad if I don't reach that goal by December, which would take a miracle and a long lost family member passing away and leaving me with a lot of money. Not likely. But what is likely is that I will save up a huge chunk of this down payment this year, and that's going to happen resolution or not.

Do more Arts, Crafts, Sewing, Building, and generally be Creative! I've definitely been doing that!

School... I'm still working towards an engineering degree.

Cooking... Last year Chris and I made one resolution: To not eat out the entire month of January. We did it (with only tiny exceptions when we were out of town), and at the same time we started cooking more. Now we don't need another resolution like that one because we do cook a lot now.

So... no resolutions, but lots of projects! And I don't feel stressed out or overwhelmed by them any more. I used to get stressed out when I got home and saw how much work needed to be done... but not anymore. I've proven to myself if I just concentrate and devote time and energy to a project I can do it, and well. My office is going to be a constant reminder of that.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Money Goals!

Savings Goal by you.

I'm a huge fan of Dave Ramsey's. He's changed the way I think about money. I still make a lot of poor decisions when it comes to money and spending, but I still try to follow a budget and save.

I have no debt and my lifestyle is such that I can save a lot each month. I want to buy a house in the next year. I'm looking at spending between $120,000 and $150,000. So 20% of the high end is $30,000, which is what I want to put down on the house. This will give me a better interest rate (I hope... I haven't bought a home before so I'm only going by what I've read.)

I used my awesome Illustrator skills to create this personalized Goal Thermometer. Seeing it everyday on the fridge will help keep my goal in the front of my mind. I'm going to use a marker to fill it up and once money is designated House Fund Money, it will not be touched!

Sure, it's going to take a long time, but the hardest part is over. I have begun!

Home Office/ Craft Room/ Guest Bedroom

I am so proud of myself. I've been saying I'm going to do something with my office for months. But with school, contract jobs, getting sick, and other projects I just haven't had time. Well the holidays gave me plenty of time and I took full advantage.

Here are some before pictures of my office:

Office 2008 02 by you.
Too much stuff!!

Office 2008 05 by you.
The ironing board has to go!

Office 2008 01 by you.
It was hard to find anything when I needed it.

Office 2008 03 by you.

Office 2008 04 by you.

Two of my favorite TV shows are Clean Sweep on TLC (http://tlc.discovery.com/fansites/cleansweep/cleansweep.html), and Clean House on MyStyle (http://www.mystyle.com/mystyle/shows/cleanhouse/index.jsp).
I took tips from both shows and completely purged out this room. I sorted everything into tubs by category and pushed them all into the kitchen.

Mess in Kitchen 2009 by you.

Lots of stuff.

Desk 01 by you.

Desk 02 by you.

Desk 03 by you.

I'm selling my desks on Craigslist. I made them when we moved in about three years ago. They are real wood and the legs are from Ikea. I cut the pattern with a jigsaw then sanded everything out. After eleven coats of polyurethane they are nice and shiny and easy to clean.

Office 2009 01 by you.

With the desks gone I now have room for a futon. Which I bought from Baybrook Furniture (http://baybrookfurniture.com/). On Tuesday, New Years Eve Day, I called them about this futon on their website. I paid with my card over the phone, and they delivered it a few hours later. Great service. We also bought our dining room table from them.

Office 2009 02 by you.

And a bookshelf from Ikea.

Office 2009 03 by you.

And my new workstation is perfect. I picked up the desk from Ikea. It holds both computers, and the TV location is great for the desk and futon.

Oh, and I also took the opportunity to get the carpet's cleaned (the dogs have had a few 'accidents' on the carpet). I called Houston Carpet Cleaning (http://www.houston-carpet-cleaner.com/) on Tuesday, New Years Eve Day, and they came out within a few hours and cleaned the carpets. Very quick and very clean.

Office 2009 04 by you.

The wire shelves look nice clean and empty... but they won't stay that way. Everything is coming back from the kitchen today.

I'll post more as I fill it all back up. I am very proud of how far it's come.

Mel Home Office by you.

And I have to give some credit to High Fashion Home. They have a Room Planner program on their website: http://www.highfashionhome.com/. It helped me find the best layout before I ever got started. The online version is b&w only, I colored this one in myself.