Saturday, October 25, 2014

Doughnut Head

We are really struggling with hot spots.  Teddy got her cone off on Tuesday and it was evident on Wednesday that she managed to start another hot spot.  The one on her face has healed and the cone had a lot to do with that.  The problem was that when I put it back on her, she became noticeably depressed. We felt really bad for her.

Petsmart has these inflatable collars that are about 15 bucks more than the plastic E-collar most people use.  This was almost 40 bucks but there was a 20% off sticker because someone had previously tried it on.  She seems to be doing better with it but as you can see, she is not thrilled.  At least this has a more "pillow" type feel to it and it's not as clunky.  We had a fine walk in it this afternoon.

This is one of her new hot spots.  We are cleaning it with a vet-prescribed wash and letting that dry before applying Gold Bond powder.  In between, I am using a hot spot spray by Burt's Bees.  We are lucky that it was caught early and that while it is big, it is not a violent red oozing scab.

While I know this is not a "dog" blog and this topic probably bores a lot of people, it's a big deal for us.  Treating these kinds of skin conditions can get very costly.  I am hoping that we can avoid the vet as we did with the last one.

The bottom line is that we need to get to the root of the problem.  This may be a seasonal allergy or it might be an environmental irritant.  It doesn't seem to be food but I am keeping her on the novel fish based diet for another few weeks.

Tomorrow we are rinsing the upstairs hall rug she hangs out on.  I've used a lot of spot cleaners on it and maybe those are irritating her skin.  We just don't know!  We'll also wash the cover on the big bed that she sleeps on.  Maybe there's a fungus or bacteria on that.  Who knows?

We're just doing all we can to avoid another round of antibiotics --  but we are on the oral cortisone/anti itch prescription -- which I also hate to use.  I may also resort to letting her hair grow completely out and not take her swimming.  Maybe having a longer coat will shield her skin from irritation.  At this point, I am willing to try almost anything!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dinner Soup

One way I can get five veggies a day into our diet, is to throw everything into a bowl of soup.  This was made with chicken, carrots and potatoes roasted on Sunday.  Then I used the stock I made, along with some from a box.  The stock and broth were pureed with three tomatoes and simmered on the stove while I cooked up some barley.  It all got tossed together with some baby spinach and shredded cheese.  And what bowl of soup would be complete without a hunk of crusty bread and a glass of wine?

I managed to make this quick dinner after a chat with a recruiter over a job that pays a lot more than what I am making now, but is certainly not a sure thing and a subsequent three mile walk and a romp in a field with the pup.  Being honest with the recruiter, I told her I was very close to getting an offer for full time from the bank I am with now (the prospective position is also with a bank), but I still don't know for sure.  Meanwhile, I am working along in the *new* department and establishing ties with the people there.   One of my most favorite people in the department I was in is retiring at the end of the year.

A month ago, my cubicle neighbor's contract ended and it killed me. I formed a great working relationship with the guy and I liked him so much that it was hard to see him go.  Now this other guy is retiring, which means I am ready to move on.  It will be nice to have a new set of colleagues to slip into if the position I have been primed for comes through.  It's funny how after many years of working in a small company and being a bit intimidated about starting over again in a larger environment, that I've managed to make so many great work buddies.  It's only been a short while here but I've seen people go already that I miss a lot. Environment and relationships at work are just as important to me as pay.  I am hoping it all works out for the best!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another Strange Meal

I make strange meals, and I know it!  This is a dish that had it's first odd start by me cooking the eggplant in advance by peeling it and stuffing it inside a chicken while I baked it.

Then I had a spinach salad (vinaigrette and all) that I didn't get to eat at lunch. I dumped it in the food processor with a bit of stock and wine and that was the basis for the topping the pasta.  I had sauteed mushroom and onion and then dumped in the pureed salad and heated it up. 

I had thought to give the salad to the pup then I thought that it made more sense for us to still find a way to eat it.

As for non strange stuff... Teddy got the cone off today and she was ballistically happy about it. I made up a word in that sentence but it described her bouts of bouncing and cuddling and bouncing some more when I freed her.  Even though it was drizzling, we took a nice long walk on the bike path.

I had a phone interview for the position I am now under consideration for.  It lasted six minutes.  The manager who I had already interviewed for had called the recruiter in advance.  The next step will be another call from them in the next few days.  So I should know if/what I am being offered.  There is work being lined up for me next week which should mean something as my contract is up on the 31st. I signed up to enter a chili cook-off in November, so I hope to be around to have a shot at that.  For me, it always comes back to food!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Winning Small Battles

I think we are winning the battle of the hotspot this time around.  With the cone on and religious cleaning and powdering, the spot has shrunk.  Teddy is under-stimulated as there is no rigorous exercise to be had when you are a dog wearing "The Cone of Shame."  I am feeding her a novel fish-based diet which she is loving and the small flax/chia seed/coconut oil chews I made for her are a new favorite thing.  I hope the cone can come off tomorrow -- we'll wait until the evening to see how the spot goes over night.  If she scratches it again, the cone will go back on until the sore is more than completely  healed.  That might sound a bit cruel but if we treat it, it doesn't seem to bother her too much and we're almost through a sore without having used a course of antibiotics.

I'm on to another phase of finding a new job tomorrow.  I had a phone interviewed scheduled with the bank this morning but their recruiters are overwhelmed and it had to be rescheduled until tomorrow.  Meanwhile, I've already met with and interviewed with the actual department manager -- we did it that way for expediency.  While this is nothing I'm going to count on (so many other promising situations have fallen through), I think it's a sound prospect.  This would be a new and slightly different career path that I had not anticipated but that is OK. IMO, you will server yourself best if you are open to the opportunities that come our way and if you welcome the chances that you might not have originally envisioned for yourself.  I think that is the best way to grow professionally. I'm not one for having a grand plan/career path charted for the future.  I'm one for grabbing an opportunity and running with it.  That's a swell way to get ahead as far as I'm concerned.

I think I've given myself a small challenge to no longer feel I have to cook and clean and cram everything that needs to be done into my spare time. I got tons of stuff done on Sunday, but I was miserable and tired when I was done.  I didn't enjoy much of the day at all.  The cooking was swell to start, but it was too much work.  My goal, other than finding another gig, is to learn to relax more.

Well readers, do you think I can do it?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Work Day!

Today I set about to cook the two chickens I got on sale yesterday. I wasn't sure if it made sense to get these two smaller ones or a larger one but I knew I needed bones for broth.  Here they are, about 2/3 of the way done. I crammed their cavities with eggplant, added four potatoes and four carrots. I figured I'd cook them as long as the oven was on.  I pushed a lot of garlic under  the skin and also put it in the cavities.  At less than three bucks a piece, I thought these birds were a good buy.

At the point when I took this picture, I also pulled the veggies and potatoes out and set them aside to cool.  Two of the potatoes were set aside for lunch. I pulled two thighs off the birds and pulled the meat off the bones and then put a potato (cut in quarters) with the meat of one thigh into each container and TBG will have them for lunch.  I asked him to make himself a spinach salad for a side on those days.  He has at least one, if not two, days where he can't get home for lunch and I'd rather make something up for him than have him order a sub or spend money on lunch.  It's a money saving thing plus a home-prepared lunch is healthier.

I baked a pie too.  Another task I had to accomplish was making veggie slop for the dog and she got the cores and skin from the apples, along with ends from the big brussell sprout stalk that I cut up while the chicken was in the oven.  I also cut the stems from the broccoli to add to her slop.

We had quiche for dinner.  There were mushrooms to use up along with a third of a bag of baby spinach.  The fifty cent stalk of leek that I got was the reason I wanted to make a quiche. The green ends made it into the crock pot for stock.  It also made sense to make a quiche since I was already making dough for the pie.  My goal was to make dinner, get a few meal components ready for next week and also make slop for the dog.  It was a very busy afternoon!

I picked up these bento boxes for cheap on clearance at the super market. They were 75% off and since we like to bring lunch, I figured it was as good a way as any to package it up.  These were two bucks each and I got a set for me and a set for TBG as well as a third set to give to my sister for Christmas.  This week I'm having chicken salad wraps or sandwiches for lunch and we'll be making salads, bringing nuts, etc.  When you buy things on sale, you get gas points and based on the money I saved today, I can now get 20 cents off per gallon on my next tank.  What a deal!

I did spend more time unclogging the drain that I would have liked. I cooked so much and had so many things to put through the disposer, that I clogged it.  I had planned to make pizza dough  but that never happened.

TBG was at the Bills game and he had to spend too much time standing.  We both have sore feet from being on them all day.  At least we had quiche and wine for dinner and are about to enjoy some pie.  Who said Sunday was the day of rest???

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Savings

My day started at the farmer's market where I dropped about eleven bucks on veggies.  TBG loves brussell sprouts more than any other vegetable. I like to feed the stem to the dog, so  this $2.50 stalk was right in my wheel house!  The two bunches of broccoli were two bucks and those stems will go to the pup too.

Tomatoes and red peppers are at the end of their season so they aren't prime specimens, but I can't pass up another week to enjoy them locally grown.  The leek will be used both for quiche and for soup.

I stopped in the  Tops near the market and I think that when I shop the market on Saturday, that is the Tops I will go to. It's a lot less crowded than the one near the house and it's on the way home from the market anyway.

I picked up a few half off, end of season goodies.  The plastic ladles were thirty cents a piece and the thermal carrier was six bucks.  I also grabbed two "use today" chickens at sixty cents a pound.  It was a good food gathering morning!
I have needed more pumps to replace those that have lost their heel taps due to the parking lot at work.  The grey and black pair on the right will probably stay at my desk and I'll just wear flats in from the car.  The patten leather pair on the right were a real score.  These are Bruno Maglis that set me back all of four bucks.  They are  marked as a European size three and a half, which is why many women probably just passed them by.  I plan to take good care of these babies and am now doing the happy thrift store dance!

My next task is to cook up a batch of dog food.  Teddy's hotspot is healing well with the cone on.  She loves the little flax/chia treats I made.  I am feeding her white fish with white potatoes and yams plus a bit of carrot, celery etc.  It's my take on an elimination diet and she'll get it for close to six weeks.  Then I'll put her back on chicken and see if the skin issues come back.

I have also read that it is a record year for bacteria in Lake Erie and that is what feeds the river she swims in.  It could be the water that is at the root of the problem.  Once the weather cools down, the algae should die and that might help too.  But for now, she's in the cone of shame and staying dry.

I hope others had a money saving Saturday too. I really scored!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Working at Working!

I'm still plugging away at getting another job while I am in the bank.  The smiley face lollipop to the manager I am hoping I can do permanent work for was a good morning conversation opener and it may have helped lead to the interview we were able to set up in the afternoon.   The boss whose staff I am officially on liked her pop too and came to thank me.  The spare pop went to my across-the-aisle neighbor who was having a crappy day.

As for the interview... perhaps one of my flaws is that I am too honest because I was pretty up front about the skill sets I lack but was confident in saying I was certain I could pick those up with training.  I have continued to work on assignments for the team and am turning the tasks around quickly.  I am hoping that is getting me traction as I've liked the assignments I've had so far.

I really feel the hardware I need to come up to speed on will not be hard to master.  Hopefully my strong skills in other areas will complement the high level of technical abilities the existing staff have. 

My feeling at this point is one of optimism.  Of course, I'm not counting on anything because I've had too many false starts in the past year.  However, I was asked if I'd be willing to extend my contract if it took more time than the end of the month to make this move work.  Higher powers would have to OK that and the manager who is hiring has to determine that I am the one for the position.  I hate contracting but would accept an extension and stop looking for other work if this was considered a sure thing and we just had to wait for the paperwork to go through.

This has been a real roller coaster and I am hoping one of these days things will reach an even keel.  Until then, I'll just keep plugging away and doing my best.