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March 31, 2010

1st Quarter 2010 Round Up

Since I don't have any new squirrel pics to go along with the blog theme, I'll have to post a pic of the dogs at puppy school in March to illustrate my periodic review. ;o)

So here's what's been going on....

-Saw a great many movies in January, when my union card gets me in for free. The season for this begins roughly in October and ends after the DGA awards ceremony at the end of January. Outside of this, I see movies only when they're shown at the guild, where they run one night only, so if I miss a screening, I miss out.

-Did get to reactivate my Netflix account, thanks to a Christmas gift from my sister. It'll last six months. I'm on the one-at-a-time plan, instead of the three-at-a-time I used to have, but it's better than nothing since I suspended my subscription some time ago.

-Claire had a doggy root canal to start the year, at a cost of $1800.00. They were able to fix the slab fracture, saving her tooth. Nylabones are in fact too hard for dogs--at least the ones marked "durable." Am now searching for something to replace chew toys, before she gets bored and begins chewing on the contents of my closet. Taught me to make sure dental procedures are covered in my pet insurance--they were not. And I can't switch insurance now because of what would then be termed pre-existing conditions. So I've now researched who to go with for the next pet, but it won't help for the present.

-Cleaned Chance's teeth in Feb. First time I'd put him under since he was fixed at six months of age. Helped his doggy breath only temporarily. He had trouble with anesthesia and barfed while intubated. I did have fluoride sealants applied to two of his teeth, so hopefully that will help with future issues.

-Completed 10 week skating lesson course. I think I made about six classes, so I basically doubled my cost per class. Ugh! Enjoyed it when I went though, and it got me moving. Started taking a hula hoop class in the park once a week on Sundays. Fun, new friends, and outdoors! Can't go wrong with that--will stick with it.

-Registered with the Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry. Continued making and delivering dinner once monthly for a friend with cancer.

-Paid off my initiation fees to the union. Been paying this off sporadically since I joined (they didn't charge interest) but now paid in full. This amounts to a used car--several weeks pay.

-Got a new, bigger capacity, smaller size portable external hard drive (a xmas gift) and am getting more disciplined about backing up the computer. Getting rid of the not-portable external drive I'd been using all too infrequently. Updated the computer's operating software to the most current version, Snow Leopard.

-Been experimenting with teas: a small way to treat myself at home. Had a Starbucks card from Christmas, but when that ran out, could not justify except on rare occasions. Have to admit I've gone a bit overboard. My usual standard is Good Earth Tea, which is caffeinated or non. I like fruity teas, without any added sweetener. My favorite for a while has been Tazo Passion, which is a combination of hibiscus, lemongrass, rose hips, mango, and passion fruit. New of late is Celestial Seasonings Country Peach Passion; when my grandma died, I inherited some peach tea that I'd sent to her, and it lasted for a good two years in my house. So this new peach was in her memory. I love it in the evenings. I got some Dragon Fountain brand Jasmine tea at the dollar store, thinking how much I enjoy Jasmine tea at Chinese restaurants. It's pretty yummy and calming. I also picked up Celestial Seasonings Echinacea Complete Care Wellness Tea during a round of sinus suffering--tastes awful but is edible with the juice of a whole lemon and a lot of honey. At a German town one day picked up an imported Teekanne Rosehip & Hibiscus Flowers tea; didn't realize how similar this may be to my favorite Tazo Passion. Then went a little wild in Target, coming home with three boxes. First, Tazo Cucumber White tea, which would be wonderfully refreshing as an iced tea with added cucumber or lemon slices. Celestial Seasonings Chai Tea, a Decaf Sweet Coconut Thai--I love chai lattes so can't wait to see how this compares. And Stash Decaf Chocolate Hazelnut Tea, which has a wonderfully chocolatey scent, but needs a bit of honey added to make it palatable. So while all my friends on The Compact Yahoo Group have been doing a tea hoarding challenge, I've acquired eight new kinds in my pantry. Guess I'm losing on that front. But I'm trying to drink less sodas and up my water intake, so I'm hoping to encourage myself.

-Trying to use a humidifier in my bedroom to counteract the drying effect of my only home heat source, a wall mounted gas unit. Instead of buying yet another plastic appliance at a cost of $50 (yes, I did price them) my dad was kind enough to send me one they had but weren't using. This necessitated researching replacement filters, and how to clean it up properly. As many allergy/breathing problems as I have, and as old and crappily constructed as my house is, the worst possible scenario would be to cause more problems from a moldy humidifier, or from a humid area promoting mold in my walls or house. So I have to do this right.

-Next economizing in the grocery/pet sectors: No more dog cookies (Ugh! They heard me say that!). My dogs have allergies, and their diets have been ever more restricted as vet visits have mounted. They're getting older too. And then there are the dental issues (see above). So I'm resolving to fill their treat jars with the kibble I feed them for dinner. The special cookies I buy (that are the same brand name as their special food) are supposedly the same formula anyway, just a different shape, and maybe crispier. I can give them a single kibble as a treat rather than a whole cookie. And if they get enough in a day, that amount should be deducted from their meal anyway. No more $5 per bag for just a small amount of dog treats. Kibble food bought in bulk is much cheaper, and it's one less item in my budget.

-1st Assistant Director on a DGA low budget feature film titled "Q For Death." Jumped in midstream as a replacement so had the challenge of coming up to speed with prep while shooting. Production ceased when producers ran out of money, so will probably not be distributed, but I'm proud of the challenges I handled and work that was completed in a timely manner.

-Been getting out and meeting some new people: game nights, a murder mystery party, work parties....I've been doing well at being more outgoing, and intend to keep it up.

-Found a new dentist for myself in SoCal. I'd been seeing my old family dentist when home at holidays and summer, but this year he couldn't fit me in over xmas. It was time, I guess.

-Reawakening my garden after traumas of vermin infestation and arguments with landlord over water use. So much maintenance to do on my own! But the yard was the main reason I wanted to live in a house, so it's time I enjoy it.

-Contributed $2000.00 towards my IRA for 2010. Re-upped doggie vet insurance at a cost of about $700 for both dogs. Set aside money for a new mattress, now just have to find the one I want within my budgeted price range. Saving as much money as possible.

-Bought an airplane ticket for my mom to come see me for her birthday at the beginning of May! Planning to take her to a spa. Can't wait for her visit, and am glad I can bring her out.

-I haven't done all my xmas craft preparations as early in the year as I'd planned. I've started projects though, and learned a couple new gift skills, like making flavored olive oils. April will be a big month to complete projects and get the craft table out of the living room for a while.

That's pretty much it. And I'm not setting defined goals for the spring other than to clean out my office, enjoy the garden and backyard, and do more stained glass! Also want to make more time for reading and cross stitching again.

Do you find that the beginning of the year is a dormant period for you, or full of changes? What are your goals for spring? Please leave me a comment on the blog.

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