Christmas Nails 2018


This year I needed to have Christmas themed nails for several weeks. Being an assistant to the Jolly Man In The Red Velvet Suit comes with a special set of expectations, even if they are only in my mind and not enforced by anyone specific. I got matching toes but my toes are never seen at work, so that was just for me. ;)

Christmas Earrings, Christmas T-shirts, a good Christmas “stocking cap”, and Christmas Nails have been my work uniform recently. This sequinned version from Spotlight was not the one I chose but it was up there in the top three options.

My first set of Christmas Nails were done on November the 21st. This is exactly what I saw in my mind though the gold line might have been more solid gold. I asked her to exaggerate the tips, make them larger/taller than usual because I knew it would be 3 weeks before I could go back. My second set I’m thinking will have 5 different shades of glitter – green, gold, red, silver, and sparkly white like snow.

If these nails could talk, the stories they would tell you of the past few weeks! The checklists of “things that must be done before Santa sits in the chair”. The time I missed one of the vital steps and thus set off the fire alarm as a surprise to everyone. You can bet I’ll not make that mistake a second time.

The screaming children. The happy children. The screaming parents. The happy parents. The levels of skill of our photographer who is able with just a few words to get children to sit up straight and smile. You can visibly see them follow his instructions, and every single time it amazes me.

The outfits worn by families to see Santa are generally of a sparkly, sequin covered and often tulle-skirted nature. I wanted a tulle skirt for me. I did nearly buy this tutu, also from Spotlight, but decided it would be a step too far. Three weeks in, I actually think I was wrong on this particular call. It would have fit right in. Anything you can do to get smiles out of the folks or divert the attention of a crying child is worth ten times the $$$ you pay for it. Next year, especially if I can snag it on clearance prices after Christmas.

That is why this toy was an incredible godsend. I am not hip to the latest in toys, it has been a few years since I needed to buy any, but the how to survive Santa info pack was clear – get a toy that makes noise so the photographer can get the attention of the younger ones and they will look towards the camera. When you squeeze the head of this toy, it makes a loud funny noise that never fails to get *me* to laugh, and it always works with the kids.

One young gentleman appeared wearing this t-shirt. I LOVE THIS. I love everything about it, especially the silver foil text and the font they used. I loved it so much I had to ask where they got it. You too can purchase Gangster Wrapper at Target. Sadly it is not available in my size but you can bet if it were, I would have ordered it on the spot for next weeks Christmas T-shirts.

This one I found quite hilarious and it appeared in my queue of people at the exact moment I needed that laugh to get me back to the happy jolly frame of mind required. This one is just $8 at Kmart.

Just over three weeks later, my ready to be replaced Christmas nails were super long but still almost perfect. I’ve been having the Dip Nails AKA SNS done since March now and I am a believer. These babies never let me down, and I am constantly surprised at how strong they are. Some of the tasks I have to do are not particularly nail friendly but it has been months since I had so much as a crack appear, let alone any kind of breakage.

I think a mix of things = why these nails work better for me now. The nail artists have just got better and better at the SNS procedure, I started having them done right when they started learning how to do it and I believe that is what led to the occasional problem. I have also learned what tasks are likely to spell trouble – eg opening a box – and I am a lot more careful when doing those tasks.

Manicures, Nail Art

Sorry All..

At the moment I’m pretty amazed if I can remember my own name and where I live, I certainly have no spare thoughts to put together comments for your blogs or a decent post for this one. I do manage the occasional comment, sorry there are not more of them.

My offsider has mostly flaked out on me, I can’t rely on them to do any of the essential tasks that need to get done at this time of year, so it is all me all the time. It is a lot more work than I was expecting, but it is 100% work I am capable of and suited to. The levels of organization.. alphabetization.. I’m feeling pretty happy about it, while at the same time completely exhausted.

Today is my first full day off where I have no intentions whatsoever of dropping into work to make sure things get done, and I have some plans – hairdressing, Christmas Shopping, a nice lunch in Berry, then a stroll around a late night Christmas Shopping event. I might see if I can park the car somewhere it can be washed, too. Hopefully this might be fodder for a post next week.

Tomorrow I have another day off and I am going to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING all day. I need a day like that, before heading back into another 5 day stint of insanity. I might see if I can manage my November wrap up post, though.

Chooks are good if perhaps inundated with treats, kitties are good. We seem to have a rodent problem. They started chewing on the coop/run as they are locked out of it at night, and that is where the food now resides.

We’ve had to put some metal capping on. We may shout ourselves an electric chair for Christmas.

Chickens, Home

Lawns & Order

This may be one of the funniest things I have seen on the interweb – not so much the photo but the text. If you haven’t seen an episode of Law & Order, SVU, it starts with –

In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous.

In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories.

Somewhat oddly, back in September I started recording Law & Order SVU on the Foxtel Box after I flicked past during an episode and got interested in an ongoing storyline of one of the main characters. I’d watched a few episodes over the years but I was more a fan of the original Law & Order. I’ve seen all the Law & Order episodes many times now, though I always find them still great even if I have seen them before.

I hit record on the regular Law & Order as well, and now I have 30 episodes of each all ready to watch, when I get a spare minute. If. If I get a spare minute. :)

television shows

Hammer To Fall

On my last free day before the Christmas Nightmare began, I chose a day of pampering for myself. I had a mani pedi. I got an eyebrow & leg wax. I had lunch in a cafe. I went home and got into warmer clothes because airconditioning can be cold, and drove myself to the movie theatre, where I enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody one more time.

Oddly, the song that got stuck in my head for the next 24 hours was Hammer To Fall. Queen played that at Live Aid. In the last 20 minutes of the movie, they actually recreate the Queen set at the Live Aid concert, and by recreate I mean eerily, spookily. There is a viral video where they show just how closely they recreated it. There is also a longer version on youtube but not sure whether that will stay up long term.

Why is that odd? There are a lot of songs in the movie and some of them are more well known to me. Some of them are less well known but are quite haunting in their own way and since seeing the movie the first time they have been added to my playlist, most notably Who Wants To Live Forever and The Show Must Go On.

I grew up listening to Queen. Music was a big thing in our household. Every Saturday morning we would turn the stereo up loud and do our household chores as a family. Out of all the songs Radio Gaga was probably my favourite back in those days. These days I would have a lot of trouble picking one favourite. I pretty much love them all.

On the same day I went to see the movie for a second time, my parents were at a conference in Melbourne and Mother was considering doing exactly the same thing as I was. She did not go because it was a Gold Class cinema and she thought she would fall asleep in the comfortable chairs, given their lack of rest time recently. But she does want to see it again, and my Aunt is taking her Adelaide people to see it this weekend.

I was not the only person in my session seeing it again. From the conversations around me, several people were watching it for a second time. If you have not seen it yet, you might still have time. Get thee to the cinema!

What Queen song do you enjoy the most?

music

Wiped Out

A failure to plan is to plan to fail.

I’m struggling a bit at the moment, working with people who cannot plan anything. If I don’t take things into my own hands and make it happen, absolutely nothing happens. In a lot of cases that is fine – I don’t ask, I just do it. But in some cases, there are things I cannot do, such as hire seasonal staff.

We’re meant to have two extra staff in my area from this weekend onwards. Know how many we got? None. Zero. It is just me, and my colleague, and we are “borrowing” one of the other staff who already works there.

We will likely all be expected to put in extra time on top of our planned shifts. Ha, I say planned, like that is an actual thing. This past week I worked 14 hours I was not rostered on for.

When I do a job, I want to do it well. I like to plan. I like to plan WELL ahead of time, as far as possible in advance. The people “in charge” are more fly by the seat of their pants, it will work out, if you just cross your fingers and hope. In general I have not found that concept to be a strategy for success.

So I’m not sure what the next 5-6 weeks will bring. I am pretty sure that I won’t have a lot of time for writing posts. The posting schedule will go out the window – you may only see a Friday post once a week. It may go completely dark here. We’ll see. :)

blog housekeeping

Chook Time

This past weekend was the last one I will have to myself until after Christmas. Rather than clog it up with plans and going places, we spent almost all of the weekend at home, sleeping in, resting, reading, watching teevee, and watching the chickens.

Sometime on Saturday afternoon I noticed a lot of wrigglers in the pond, so we tipped all the water out. The chooks thought this was a great plan, and deeply enjoyed digging up the ground underneath, looking for bug treats.

Here is Finn, dustbathing until the white turns grey.

On Sunday afternoon, after plenty of lazing about, we suddenly decided it was time to do some jobs we’d been meaning to do for a while. I did clean out the chicken coop. For over 7 years now, the floor of the chicken coop has been covered with lino.

The lino has been deteriorating slowly, today part of it kinda gave up. It is ok, the floor is painted with many levels of undercoat and then Taubmans Endure. But I’d rather there be something between the sand and chicken poop, so next coop clean out we might have to figure out a new plan for this.

While I did that job, The Other Half did the clean out the gutters job. The chickens were gifted with the leaves and gleefully picked through them looking for bugs to eat.

Then they were given some corn on the cob, and the last bit of cabbage. Plus some blueberries. Earlier in the day they got watermelon, and the day before, egg and cucumber.

Every night since the fox attack, the chickens have been literally boarded into the enclosure each night with a piece of marine plywood. This was partially for our own comfort levels, but also because we needed to figure out a new door solution which we could rely on.. We believe we have worked it out, we have installed tracks for this door.

The trouble with this solution is they do need an adult to come and let them out in the morning. They are most unimpressed with this plan. The early bird has to sit inside and watch the worms from a distance, they cannot catch them.

Two weeks have passed, in which time the fox has not returned. We have a motion activated camera and we had a trap set up – we took the trap back today and have now moved into defense mode, with motion activated sensor lights. The only thing seen on the camera has been rats, and a one very stealthy cat.

Chickens

Year Of Buying Nothing Update #10

No Spend Days

16 out of 31 days in the month were spend days. For the most part these were preparing for November & December expenses. In the lead up to Christmas we will both likely be working 5 days a week – and I might even have to do 6-7. The good thing is the shifts are relatively short – 5-6 hours – but the bad news is I will be working every single weekend while The Other Half will be working all the weekdays.

I took some surprise opportunities both to save money buying in bulk (Petbarn, Nowra Fresh, one of the Aldi trips was 9 punnets of large mushrooms) and to save future time by food prepping and freezing. I also did some Christmas shopping while I had the chance. More about these things later in the post.

My spending saboteur has now returned to Adelaide and I will be busy working, but I do have a couple more Christmas shopping things to do yet.

No Spend Goals For November

I would like to get back to 2 grocery shops maximum each month, and 2 other spend days. As we are already halfway through November, spoiler alert, I have failed the November goal before I even set it. :)

But now, for the great news –

Grocery Spending

Coles – 13.50
Aldi – 477.53
Woolworths – $3
Total grocery spend – $494.03
Grocery cost of $15.93/day.
Bulk food spend – $72.04

The grocery budget for October was $620 and we came in well below that – $125.97 below. I counted the mushroom bulk buy in with the normal Aldi shopping because that is where I got them from. Part of this was using two $10 off my shops at Coles, part of this was eating out of the freezer more, part of this was a couple of meals out which we did not pay for ourselves, and I was at a conference overnight where all my food was included.

Why did I spend $3 at Woolworths? We needed pizza bases, and neither Coles or Aldi had them.

Grocery Spending Goals For November

November has 30 days = $600
Bulk food budget $100

October Thoughts

The big field mushrooms were on special for $2.99 at Aldi when I dropped in there with my Aunt to get something she needed – I had not intended to do any shopping but when I saw that, I thought maybe I could stock up, cook up, freeze up, and be set for a while. That is $1 off per punnet, so I went a bit crazy and bought 9 of them. We had a couple of hours to kill before our nails appointment that day, we went home, rinsed, chopped, cooked and drained all 9 punnets in the space of an hour.

I put them into a very large bowl and into the fridge till I could return. Later that day, The Other Half and I measured out equal amounts and put them into foodsaver bags. I now have 12 vacuum sealed bags of mushrooms which will give me mushroomy Pizza Fridays until mid-January.

We’d bought two bags of kitty litter as we were about to run out on the 20th and a few days later I got this email –

This is a super great deal for us. We’re never going to NOT need kitty litter, we have room to store it in the shed, and $70 off is nearly three of the very large bags for free. I believe we got a deal like this late last year or early this year and this is why running out came to us as a surprise because we are so used to a new bag just being there when we need it. We bought every single bag they had in stock, which was 9 if I recall correctly, and we also got a bag of chicken food to take us over $250 and get the $70 off.

We bought chicken breast in bulk and made up some more kievs, and also chicken pieces as we were running out. I may have to do pieces again this month but if so I will like to buy enough so we don’t have to do it again in 2018.

Realising that Christmas is nearly here when I saw a gift for Mother that would work, I grabbed it. I know what I am going to get for Dad, and I will also pick up some spare things in case we have some extra folks arrive on Christmas Day. I had to buy Christmas themed things for myself for work, as Christmas is a bit of a deal where I am now.

I finally ran out of hair conditioner, so I had to get some more from “The Warehouse” and they had a special deal where if I bought shampoo I got the conditioner for free.

But in good news, I got reimbursed over $150 for some former work clothes purchasing, and I won a $50 visa gift voucher at the work conference.

I had to fill up the car again. This time I had to get the more expensive fuel because the other option was not available, and I was low enough on the gauge that I didn’t want to drive anywhere else. Still, I think filling up twice in a year is pretty awesome – if I need to do it a third time that is ok, and I may need to depending on how much I can carpool to work on the upcoming days.

2018yobn

Whipper.. what?

Something is not quite right there.. :) That is not the photo I was expecting for whippersnapper! That is a photo of what is commonly known in Australia as a “whippersnipper”

A whippersnapper = a young and inexperienced person considered to be presumptuous or overconfident.

It has been busy here this week, I have been trying to write the #yobn end of month post from October but still have not managed to finish it. So here is your Friday post on a Wednesday, and I should have a chance to finish it before Friday.

Fail Whale

The Return

Keeping a chicken in isolation is not quite as easy as one might think. We’ve done this twice before now, with the help of our sick tent and setting up a large cardboard box in the nirvana. When Kitty returned home from the vet on Sunday afternoon, we tried setting her up out in the nirvana but all she tried to do was fly out of the box. Rest was what she needed, flying was not on the rest menu, so the small chicken tent was set up for her. She can’t fly out of that.

The photo you see above was sent to me by Sephyroth, all the way over in America. We have the technology, we will use it. This camera allows us to check in remotely and make sure everything is ok, without going into the room and disturbing her.

However unlike the previous chickens, Kitty was mainly bruised and just needed some painkillers, antibiotics to be on the safe side as there were a couple of tiny breaks in the skin, and time to heal. We soon discovered any noise that we made in the house disturbed from her rest. That was ok during the day, but we really wanted her to sleep at night, so efforts were made to be as quiet as possible.

In the day time, if you would walk past the door you could hear her making her little chicken noises in there – enter the room and she would chicken talk up a storm. For the most part we left her to rest with medication sessions in the morning and afternoon, and a couple of other checkins to remove any mess she’d made, and to collect her daily eggs. Yes, she kept on laying! However those eggs cannot be eaten by us or the other girls due to the medications. I can feed them back to her, though.

How do you medicate a chicken? Depends on the chicken. With our previous sick tent chickens, syringes were the order of the day. But with Kitty that meant a little too much handling her and we wanted to avoid that as much as possible – not because she would mind being handled, but because due to her bruising handling would be painful for her. We had to get creative.

We would measure out her painkiller, which is almost like a gel, and add it to tuna. Chickens love tuna, Kitty is a huge fan of it, and there would never be anything left on the plate. So that worked quite well.

At first I tried adding her antibiotic tablet to cucumber and I was surprised to find she went right for the little pieces of tablet I’d put into small knife holes in the cucumber. She did that for three or four doses and then suddenly decided she did not like the tablets, so would pick them up and drop them, then go back to eating the cucumber. Not so optimal.

But give Kitty a blueberry, regardless of the size, she is going to make very short work of it. Chickens do not have teeth, they usually pierce a blueberry with their beak and then swallow it whole. Kitty does not even bother with the piercing, I can’t quite explain what happens but one minute the blueberry is there, whole, and the next minute it is GONE. A small knife cut, pop the piece of tablet inside, and she is none the wiser about the tablet being there. The white thing you see in the middle of the blueberry is the tablet.

She seemed to be doing quite well, and by Thursday when she decided to leave the sick tent for a stroll around the spare room, we both felt like the weekend would be a good time to reintroduce her to the flock. Friday morning was her last dose of painkiller, so we would only have to worry about giving her the antibiotic – which is difficult when there are other chickens nearby who loooooove the blueberries too.

When we got home from work on Friday I gave her the afternoon antibiotics, and then we carried the sick tent out into the yard. I will not lie, we were both a bit unsure what would happen. Sometimes girls are not accepted back into the flock, or they have to put up a fight to regain their position. We let Kitty out into the free ranging yard first and the other girls were so excited to see her.. there was a lot of noisy chicken talk..

Then we let the girls out to join Kitty, and it was like she’d never been away. She took up her normal place in the flock, second on the pecking order right underneath her sister Lizzy. They all went into the garden bed to madly dustbathe, and we humans had a nice hug to celebrate this moment. There may have been salt water in our eyes, too.

She has been out living the chicken life all weekend, we have not been very far away so they’ve been allowed to free range and have had a great time eating all the bugs they can find. We did 4 doses of antibiotic hidden in the blueberries, and I distract the other girls with a different treat while The Other Half gives her the blueberries.

Lizzy is asking what kind of treats do you have for us, human? I think the better question would be.. what treats haven’t they had? They have been terribly spoiled this past week. Tomatoes, fresh corn on the cob, cucumber, cabbage, blueberries, watermelon rinds, mango, tuna, egg..

Chickens