Flu Shot Blues

This Is Important

Because herd immunity is important, Husband and I took flu shots last weekend. Unfortunately, they always make me react – nothing major, just an inconvenient whole-body ache, sore throat and sniffles.

Sick in Munchkin Terms

This year, however, the vaccine seems to have been more potent than previously. Whoa. On the other hand, if that’s what a weakened virus does, I’d hate to be hit by a full force one. Yay for modern medicine!

December 2018 Recap

After Hours, Newsletters

Now that I’m back to blogging, here’s the December 2018 recap.

Honeycomb Candle

Unusually, the first snow of the winter fell before Thanksgiving. It didn’t quite melt by the end of November, but for the most part the ground was bare and the weather warm for December.

We put my Christmas ornament projects to use. This year we decided on a rainbow-colored tree.

2018 Rainbow Tree Collage

During our break we cooked, ate well and rested, of course…

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

…not forgetting to go outside either.

January Sunset

I really scored at my local public library this Christmas: ALL of the Downton Abbey seasons and ALL of the (so-far released) seasons of Call the Midwife were on the shelf!

Xmas Binge Watching DVDs

Woot! 🙂 And we had a lovely, lovely period-drama-filled break.

Unfortunately, 2018 was a complicated year in terms of health. I won’t go into detail, but the situation is serious enough to have changed doctors, made my first visit to the ER and been introduced to the CT, EEG and MRI procedures. In addition, due to some baffling complications I haven’t been fully perky and/or upright for nine months. (Gosh, such a long time!)

I had hoped that continuing my treatment regimen AND enjoying a thoroughly guilt-free, restful Christmas would enable me to show these complications the door and wish them good riddance, but sadly that hasn’t yet happened. So, I’m going to have to continue with a lighter creative work load while taking care of myself.

What are you wishing most from 2019?

Experimental Cooking: Popcorn Nachos

DIY, Food & Drink

Due to various dietary restrictions (some old, some new), we’re trying out different versions of old favorites and recipes completely new to us. This means food experiments! Here’s Husband’s latest: popcorn nachos.

Experimental Cooking Popcorn Nachos

It works surprisingly well, even if the result is a bit crumbly. As long as you’re using a fork, it’s fine.

You don’t need a recipe as such, but here’s the how-to:

  • Pop a batch of corn and pick out the unpopped kernels. Spread in the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Top with a light layer of salsa, chopped peppers, olives, mozzarella, etc. – whatever you’d put on regular nachos.
  • Bake in the oven at 350 Fahrenheit / 175 Celcius until the cheese melts.

Did you try it? What did you think?

“Take Care of Yourself Today”

After Hours, Thumbs Up

This weekend, I’m going to live by the words of a wise young woman:

Tumblr Chibird Take Care Today Future You Appreciates

Jackie a.k.a. Chibird on Tumblr.

“Take care of yourself today. Future you appreciates it.” Illustration by Jackie a.k.a. Chibird on Tumblr.

This spring has been tough on my allergies. This week started rainy for some welcome respite, but yesterday and today it’s been sunny and hot, with temperatures in the 80s to low 90s / 28-33 degrees Celcius. Predictably, the resulting pollen explosion has knocked me almost out of commission despite immunotherapy and medications. I’ve had to switch from sewing to paperwork only because the added load from textile dust was just too much.

Hope you’ll have a relaxing weekend!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Today I Just Want to…

After Hours

I’ve been sick for a week and I’m out of pre-prepared blog posts, so please have a bunny thankyou.

Cannot Human Today I Want to Bunny

Via Rabbit Rescue Inc.

I’m going to try and adult like a proper human first, but if the cough-fireball in my chest keeps up, I’ll take a leaf out of this rabbit’s book and and just bunny for the rest of today.

(Thank goodness for flu shots; I don’t even want to think how bad this would be without one.)

Enjoy your weekend!

Running a Business: When Everything Happens at Once

Behind the Scenes, My Spaces

This is one of those days that I wish did not happen in my business life very often – there’s so many balls in the air I’m afraid I’ll lose track!

A more experienced business person would probably advise me not to mention anything with a possible negative bent. I prefer to keep things real, however, because as a customer, I appreciate it when small business owners (including authors and other creators) present proof of their humanity. (I use the phrase for the lack of a better term). You know: that I’m dealing with an actual person who is capable of handling unexpected situations without forgetting their own plans, dreams, likes and dislikes or strengths and weaknesses. So here goes.

I’m usually able to clear my work table at the end of the day, or at least keep it in control, but these past two weeks it’s been in a constant state of, well, this:

Researching Taxes

You’ll have to imagine another two feet of the same to the right of the picture, and a stack on the floor, the armchair and the sofa. There’s even a stack behind the laptop. And this is just the paperwork I’m currently working on; I have supplies lying around on the rest of the horizontal surfaces and on the floor. I feel overwhelmed.

This is because:

  1. I was sick for two weeks earlier this month. Why did it take so long?! I am so behind with my plans!
  2. I’ve been researching my very first tax return as a business owner. It’s a massive undertaking, and there’s no possible way on this earth I can do it!
  3. The state threw additional paperwork my way, due in less than a month now. (Yikes!) The instructions are, shall we say, highly lacking. (Graah!) I’ve searched high and low, but there are no definitions or instructions that are detailed enough to answer my concerns. I’m a degreed librarian, for crying out loud, and my Google-fu failed me! (Uuuuurrgg raroo aarghh!)
  4. I need to finish inventorying my supplies, merchandise and work in progress for, among other things, said tax return and additional paperwork. However, I cannot do that until I find the specific requirements that said taxes and additional paperwork demand in the instructions that are not there! (Frack!)
  5. My office needs rearranging badly. For one, I need adequate storage for my tax and other business files (which until now have been minimal). And it’s like a hurricane struck!
  6. There are a few personal life tasks I need to schedule and handle, but no time ever seems convenient!
  7. I got a business proposition from an unexpected quarter. It’s intriguing, but I know nothing about the potential business partner in question. Now I have to research the details of the proposition, the potential partner and the costs and work involved – on top of all of the above!
  8. Everything Else that’s been on the back burner is never gonna get done at this rate!


Yes, all of that comes with a dose of hand-waving and exclamation points. Especially exclamation points!!! 🙂

The good thing is, the feeling has forced me to get in gear, fetch my serious-person-analytical-brain and find solutions. That’s what the pragmatics of business life are, after all: solving problems and finding solutions. It has actually helped enormously to think of my task list as problems in the academic sense instead of this mass of seething, monstrous important-business-stuff&things-that-I’m-not-qualified-to-do-omg. I’m an academic, so I’m used to problems. The only thing is that the problems I’m facing now are of a different kind than what I’ve dealt with before. It’s natural that it’ll take me a while to adjust.

Solutions, in the same order as the problems above:

  1. Stop beating myself over taking the time to get well. Two friends from my area were sick earlier this month, too, and now they’re sick again. If the viruses going around are that persistent, I was right to take care of myself. >> Life will adjust.
  2. Break the tax return into smaller steps. Research one at a time. If a step turns out to big, break it into smaller steps. Read the pertinent IRS brochures, making copious notes. Learn the vocabulary and definitions. Reward myself in between each step. Rinse & repeat. Then, find help to make sure I’ve got it right. >> I’ve started.
  3. Find help. Maybe my Google-fu is not deficient, but the instructions given to the public. >> Started this one, too.
  4. The inventory is mostly done. What needs doing is making sure the tax return and paperwork requirements are met – see 3, above. >> It will take work, but that’s doable.
  5. Remember that this part is actually fun for me! >> Started tackling this last night. And, by Jove, it will get done, even if it’s in 5-minute increments! 🙂
  6. Not. A. Problem. Srsly. >> Just pick the least convenient time and roll with it.
  7. Cooperation along these lines is actually in my future plans; it just arrived a little sooner than I thought. Again, break the research into steps. Do the math; make the prototype; estimate production schedules. Besides, I saw nothing in the preliminary details that’s time-sensitive, which means I can probably negotiate the timing if I decide to go for the deal. >> And I’ve started this, as well, I’m proud to say.
  8. Such is life. >> Whittle the list down one item a day, if that’s what it takes. It will get better.


Sometimes it just takes a breather and a step back so that you can put things into perspective. No doubt there will be very full days, but I dare say I will make it through the spring. And even in the middle of all the hullabaloo, I am able to laugh at myself. If I couldn’t, I’d go nuts. 🙂

Edit: Last paragraph edited for clarity.

Shop Open Again

Ahem Ahem!

Playfully Grownup Home on Etsy is open again after a longish winter break.

I had a fantastic time. We were even able to visit my family across the sea. Unfortunately, I’ve been sick ever since we got back. I’m sick of being sick, but still unable to function normally. I’m slowly getting back to my feet and will resume regular posting here and on Flickr. Also, due to a technological hiccup, my Tumblr posting is a week off, but it seems to be back on track now.

Sick Day with Movie

After Hours, Movies & TV

I had to take a few unforeseen sick days last week. At least I had the chance to re-watch one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptations:

Sick Day w Movie

The best thing about my being self-employed and sick, though, is that I’ll only be inconveniencing myself. (My last job drew from a very small pool of people, and I felt bad taking days off because others would have to bear the load.)

Now I’m running behind, but that’s life. 🙂