Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Free downloads: I made art!

"What is art? 
Are WE art?
Is ART art?"
    ~ Lisa Turtle, "Saved By the Bell"

I figured out how to use photoshop brushes in GIMP (the free version of Photoshop). They are seriously SUPER-EASY. 

This is the most pedantic form of art I could possibly make, IMHO. To call it art is insulting to artists. I just wanted something pretty to hang on my walls that had some semblance of purpose, sooo... pretty colors, fancy shapes, and a nice quote! DONE. I made them 11"x14", but they could be resized as needed, obviously. Click on them to see them full-size.

Feel free to steal! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer "Job": The Plan, Stan

So as I mentioned before, my plan to not make the summer a complete waste was to create a part-time "job" feeling of getting stuff done around the house. Today's the first day of doing so! The Hubs is completely in favor of my doing this, as it'll keep me productive and eventually benefit him, too (as I'll be taking care of basic stuff around the house, which saves him housework duties - he LOOOOVES that, haha). His biggest complaint about when I'm unemployed/ on break from school, aside from lack of money and jealousy that I have my days free while he works, is that I tend to squander all this time I have to get stuff accomplished, and it's a valid complaint. So I don't want to waste another summer break not getting stuff done!

Yes, I've scheduled time to read "Harry Potter", don't be jealous.
So, I made a schedule of sorts to follow every day, including "Free time". I downloaded the basic template for Excel from the Microsoft Office website (I suck at Excel), modified it to meet my needs, and I'm planning on printing it out and putting it in a clear paper protector so I can write on it when I have an appointment (e.g., a job interview), as that will supersede my daily schedule. 

Today's my first day trying it out, and if you notice the time of posting this, you'll notice I'm supposed to be job hunting right now. Well, I already did. There's not much posted to apply for, heh. I'm giving myself any "early finish" time as time to goof off to placate my lazy side; as long as stuff gets done, I'll feel productive.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I start things off with the best of intentions, but quickly falter. (The Non-Processed Project, anyone? In my slight defense, I do still casually seek out non-processed alternatives, but not as often as I should.) But I'm going to try my darnedest to maintain this, dammit. I'm motivated, and I've set it up to accommodate my tendencies towards laziness by GIVING ME TIME TO BE LAZY! Plus it's really not THAT much to do, tbh, so I need to remind myself of that. For example, my chore from the big to-do list today is to clean the toilet. It needs it pretty desperately, truth be told, but even if it takes me half an hour... that's it. A whole half hour. I can deal with that. Oh, and the laundry - but, again, a load a day as opposed to several loads all day? No big. I'll be fine.

I'll keep you posted, obviously, but I have a good feeling about this schedule; it feels REALLY doable. Of course, I'm only "working" 3 times this week (except for job hunting, job hunting is EVERY WEEKDAY as agreed upon by The Hubs and myself) because I have stuff planned already for Tues./Thurs., so it seems pretty easy with THAT in mind!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Packin' a Picnic

Yay, it's summer! I'm officially out of work (as in, the school year is done and my job has ended), and my first week off has been FAN-FLIPPIN'-TASTIC. Oh man. I know I should be stressed being unemployed and all, but, um, I'm not. I'm too bitter about the teaching market right now to be upset (plus we have $ to get through the summer, which also helps with the stress). So instead I'm going to enjoy my summer (while job-hunting, naturally), and take advantage of the time to just enjoy my life and improve it where needed.

Of course, while we're financially secure through the summer, that doesn't mean we can go crazy when it comes to entertainment. So The Hubs and I are trying to find as much free/cheap entertainment as possible. LUCKILY, we live in the suburbs of a decently-sized city, so there are some decent options that we can do on the cheap.

This week, I checked the local park districts websites to see if there were any good free options coming up. Turns out, a nearby park was putting on a free concert, so I thought it'd be fun to pack a picnic and watch the show! The Hubs agreed once I figured out a tasty menu. ;D

The fun part for me was dining al fresco and packing my first ever picnic! (Not going on my first picnic, my first time MAKING the picnic.) The concert ended up being ok; we only stayed about 1.5 hours because sitting on the ground made our backs hurt. We'll need to invest in some folding lawn chairs.

Food all packed and ready to go! (The basket: Free! A student used it and never picked it up, haha - I gave him the whole school year!)

The menu (of DELICIOUSNESS): Roast Beef wraps, Pasta Salad (recipe below), Strawberries, Blondies. I also pulled a total "college"-style move to sneak in booze by drinking part of a bottle of cranberry juice and filling it back up with vodka. Hehe. (Turns out there was no need to hide it, there were people drinking wine and beer all over the park!)

The band, called "Lucky Dogs". They played mainly classic rock covers, which was nice.

Kids dancing and enjoying the show

It was a really nice night, and a great park! I'm going to keep my eye on the park's website in hopes they'll be putting on more evening events!

Oh, and the pasta salad was homemade, here's the super-easy recipe: Boil 12 oz. of spiral pasta, drain and rinse until cool. Chop up some salami (the stick, not the slices) and mozzarella stick cheese into bite-size pieces (I used two sticks and about 4 oz of the salami). Add whatever veggies float your boat (I used canned artichoke hearts, quartered, and sliced black olives - drained both before adding). Mix in 1 cup of Italian dressing (I used store-brand "Zesty Italian", and it was DELISH). Let it chill in fridge for at least 4 hours! It was REALLY tasty.


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