Sunday, January 22, 2012

At least I'm consistent at being inconsistent

Well here it is, January again. The start of a new year. A time when gajillions of people push the "reset" button on their lives in an attempt to get back on the right path - whatever that path may be to them.

I'm one of those gajillions of people. Not that my life has ever been even close to being on the "wrong path". It's just that I'm a goal oriented person and a planner so that's why I look forward to the start of a new year with excitement and anticipation. Every New Year's Eve of my entire life has been spent not getting drunk and screaming at the television as the ball drops but instead contemplating my achievements and failures of the past year and my goals for the next. Probably sounds a little bit crazy and a whole lot boring to most people, but it works for me.

I read quite a few times that when you want to accomplish something, it helps to make your goals public. When people know about what you want to accomplish, you're supposedly less likely sit around on your arse. So, with that in mind I thought I would make my 2012 resolutions "public" right here on Captain Crazy. I say "public" because to say that anything I write on this blog will be read by lots of other people is pretty laughable.

But I digress so let's get back to my resolutions. There's just a few of them and they're pretty simple, really. Here they are in no particular order:
Resolution #1 - I'm going to focus of being HEALTHY. This means paying less attention to the number on the scale and more on just being healthy - being physically fit and keeping my blood pressure low and my arteries sparkling clean. I resolve to continue to make healthy decisions about the food my family eats and to exercise more and stress less. I resolve to be a savvier consumer, more "reduce, reuse, and recycle". I will include more "me time" in my schedule - after all, a happy mommy makes for a happy family! etc.

Resolution #2 - I'm going to learn something every month about a person or a thing I know nothing or little about. This resolution came to be simply because I've realized that I'm basically pretty damn stupid. Really. I can't tell you how many times I can't answer a question from one of my kids because I either don't know enough about the particular topic or worse yet -I'm completely clueless. And my boys are 4 and 7 for God's sake! How I manage a multi-million $$ Federal grant as my full time job astonishes me when I think about how stupid I am!! I took quick and decisive action on this resolution and am already reading Steve Jobs' autobiography. Boring right now, but I have learned a lot about a man and a company I knew nothing about. For instance, i Have learned that it really pisses me off that a multi-billion dollar company was basically started with $1,300.00 - the amount we pay for daycare every month!

Resolution #3. I'm going to embrace my inconsistency and stop fighting against it. I'm going to look at this core trait of my being as a positive thing rather than a negative. At least I can deal with change well - right? Seriously though, being inconsistent is something I have fought against for sooooo long and it's futile, really. I do have things I can do faithfully, like going to work every day and showering and picking my kids up from school, and drinking coffee - important stuff like that. But when it comes to stuff like journaling, blogging, exercising, finishing projects, forget it. Let's take this blog for instance. No one reads this blog anymore and that's my own fault. My blogging is too inconsistent and has been for a long time to attract any faithful readers. When I first started blogging I worked in an office, all alone, with a workload that took me approximately 1 hour to blow through. The rest of my time was spent surfing the web and getting into all kinds of trouble - can we say EBay? Now I spend my entire workday in front of a computer, working with lots of people, and putting out lots on mini-fires. I'm mentally fried when I get home at the end of the day. I barely have enough functioning brain cells to read my boys their Skippy Jon Jones bedtime books, let alone put the effort into a blog post. All I want to do is curl up on the couch and check out watching episodes of Hoarders or some other type of program that makes me feel awesome about myself. So I dropped off the face of the blogosphere and I felt bad about it for a long time. I actually posted a couple of "come back" posts - I felt like Michael Jordan or Brett Farve. They came back, I didn't. But no more feeling bad about my inconsistent blogging. I started my blog as a way to improve my writing and as a way to pass the time during an incredibly boring workday. It was meant for me and that's it. So, i will continue to write when I can and be content with what I do. After all, the only person I have to make happy is me. The same goes for finishing projects, exercising, journaling etc.

So there they are - my three little resolutions that I plan to integrate into my daily existence.

I think I hear Steve calling. Better go for now.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

That time of Year Again

I LOVE Fall. Love it, love it! I swear the crisp air tinged with apple rot invigorates my very soul, and my stomach does a little flip when I see the piles of pumpkins appear in front of grocery stores.

Yep, the arrival of Fall brings with it many of my favorite things - adventures to pumpkin patches, piles of crunchy leaves in the streets, beautiful colors in the countryside, apple cider donuts, honey crisp apples, Harvest Festivals, Halloween, and Pumpkin Spiced Lattes - just to name a few. Hell, I don't even mind that the craziness of the holidays is just around the corner.

What I do mind, however, is that it doesn't last long enough. At least around here. It always seems that to me that the leaves turn and fall too quickly and after maybe 2 months, if we're lucky, it's over.

Then it's really Wintertime. With the constant rain. And that sucks. A lot.

So as usual, I am really trying to enjoy every single day of this season by squeezing as much out of it as I can. We're going to another pumpkin patch this weekend and I will lug 10-15 pumpkins home and they will grace my yard until after Thanksgiving. I will bake my favorite fall pumpkin recipes, I will make jam, I will get the garden ready for it's long rest and I will take a lot of pictures - at least those will be around forever. Their promise of better times to come something to cling to in the dead of Winter.

This was taken in 2009 at a pumpkin patch at one of my favorite country stores. I had just been laid off and this was the first time I had ever been to a pumpkin patch with the boys during the week. I think we went to a different pumpkin patch every week that fall!!
This was taken in my backyard.
This was also taken in 2009. It's the boys with our next door neighbors - who obviously really dig Halloween. Brad was a Mad Scientist and he made a "lab" complete with boiling "stuff" in test tubes and eerie green lights and smoke. He set it up in their front window and it looked awesome. They had a crowd of people watching his "work" all night long. But I still think Cookie Monster steals the show.
Another backyard pic. The pile was a lot bigger than it looks in the picture and the boys were having so much fun - one of the rare times during that age when they weren't bugging the crap out of each other!
This was taken at a Walmart. This tree was flaming red and had tons of black birds hanging out it in. I actually drove home and returned with my camera. Luckily some of the birds were still there.
Another pic of Little D at a Pumpkin Patch - this time as a guest with Captain Crazy's class.
The view of my street as I turn onto it. This wasn't even taken at the height of the color because a couple of the bigger trees still hadn't turned completely yet.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Easy DIY Home and Garden Water Conservation Tips

Everybody knows that it is important to try to consume less water. It is especially important for North Americans though. Clean drinking water is becoming scarcer all over the world and the average North American uses 105 gallons of water every day for drinking, washing, and cooking. The average person in the developing world uses only 3 gallons of water a day.

Practicing saving water at home not only helps preserve an irreplaceable natural resource, but also reduces costs associated with urban wastewater systems and your own utility bill!

Here are some easy things you can do around your home to save 1,000’s of gallons of water per month!

Check for Leaks and Fix ‘em too!

Leaking faucets, toilets, and sprinklers can really add up. One leaking bathroom faucet can drip about 140 gallons of water per week! Use your utility bill and water meter to help you discover leaks. If you notice an unusual amount of water usage then it’s time start your investigation.

The Faucet

Walk around your house and tighten all your faucets firmly. If any still drip, grab your wrench. You will probably have to replace the watertight seal (a little washer) that is holding back the water when the tap is in the ‘off’ position.

Watch this video for easy step by step instructions. Basically just turn off the water to the sink, pop off the handle cap, unscrew the handle, unscrew the big nut and pull out the valve stem. Then replace the washer and put the handle back together again. Easy!

Tip: Remember to teach the kids to make sure the faucet is always shut off completely and also to turn the water off while they brush their teeth to save an additional 25 gallons of water per month.

The Toilet

To check for a leaking toilet, choose your favorite color of food coloring and add some to your toilet tank. Now sit and watch or come back in an hour or two. If you see some of the color seeping into the toilet bowl without flushing then you definitely have a leak which can be wasting up to 1,000 gallons of water per month!

The fix is really easy, you don’t need any tools just a new flapper valve. Basically all you have to do is turn off the water to your toilet, flush and let the tank drain, remove the old flapper, clean surrounding parts for a good seal, and clip on the new flapper. Check out this video as a guide.

Tip: Make any old toilet water efficient by displacing water in the tank. A plastic juice/milk container is ideal. Remove the label, fill it partially with sand or rocks, top it off with water and add it to the toilet tank. Displacing half a gallon per flush can add up to saving 350 gallons of water per month!

Extra Everyday Water Saving Tips

Start saving more water by incorporating these tips into your everyday living:
  • Only run your washing machine and dishwasher when there is a full load to wash. If you have to do a small load to match the water level to the size of the load and save up to 1,000 gallons a month!
  • Cut back your shower by 5 minutes a day and you’ll save over 4500 gallons of water a year.
  • Replace your shower head with an energy efficient model.
  • Save a minimum of 584 gallons of water per year per person by peeing in the shower!
  • Don’t wait for water to get to temperature, put in the plug in your tub or sink right away and adjust the temperature accordingly.
  • Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge so you are never running the tap waiting for the water to get cold.
  • Save the water you use for cooking and washing fruits and veggies and use it to water houseplants.
  • When you have a bunch of ice left in your cup from take-out give it to your houseplants for a cool drink.

Building a Water Cautious Lawn and Garden

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that lawn care accounts for 30 to 60 percent of water consumption during the summer months. Just like in the house there are lots of easy things you can do to minimize the amount of water being used on your yard.

Gain Sprinkler Efficiency

  • Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can better make its way into the ground and to the roots of your grass.
  • Adjust your sprinklers or get ones that shoot out big drops of water close to the ground. The smaller the drop of water and the longer it’s in the air the more easily it can be evaporated before it hits the ground.
  • Set sprinklers to come on in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
  • Do not turn your sprinklers on during windy days as there will be an increased rate of evaporation and the water drops will blow away.
  • Play with the placement of your sprinklers to make sure they are not wasting water onto streets, sidewalks, driveways, or against the house.
  • Instead of watering the lawn every week, check how moist the soil is two to three inches down. If you had a little rain or it wasn’t too sunny or hot you may not even need to water.
  • Let your grass get a little longer during to help the lawn hold in moisture.
  • Ever year spread a layer of organic mulch such as bark mulch over flower beds and around trees. The mulch will help retain moisture in the ground around the plants.

Collecting Water Runoff

When a big rain is coming bring out your big plastic barrels and collect the water that comes shooting out of your gutters. Use this water the next few days to water your gardens. Also anytime you wash your car or pet make sure to do it on the lawn to water the grass at the same time!

Choose When and What to Plant

Choose to plant new plants outside around your home in the spring and fall when rainfall is more plentiful and when temperatures are more forgiving. When you are considering a new flower or shrub choose one that doesn’t require a lot of water.

Water efficient plants can save about 550 gallons each year. Also try to group plants with similar watering needs to avoid overwatering of some and the underwatering of others.

Place plants that love water in places that get a lot of shade in the afternoon. Even sun loving plants will do fine if they receive morning and early afternoon sunlight. For post plants the afternoon sun is a little harsh anyways. Check out this list of drought tolerant plants and a few highlighted below.

The Coreopsis is a yellow flowering Native American plant. There are over 100 species available which are all low maintenance and drought tolerant.

Achillea are also hardy North American natives and bloom multiple times throughout the year. They come in many different colors and do well in dry and hot conditions.

The Gaura lindheimeri or 'Siskiyou Pink' blooms pinks and whites from mid-summer to fall. They strive in full sun with partial shade.

Water conservation is a global issue that North Americans can truly address without drastically changing lifestyles. A little bit of effort, mindfulness, and knowledge about water conservation and we can really make a big difference.

Challenge yourself to cut back on your water usage by trying these easy water conservation tips. You’ll notice the difference in your utility bill and the environment will notice savings of up to 3,000 gallons of water per month and 36,000 gallons per year!

This guest post was brought to you by, retailer of Dishwasher Parts with over 30,000 sets of installation instructions, a growing library of how-to videos.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I don't know about you, but it seems like some of the funniest and wittiest sayings I have either heard in a bar or read from a bumper sticker while tailgating someone down main street. These saying are usually lightheartedly sarcastic comments about the opposite sex and also include the word "beer-goggles".

But the last two sayings I've come across haven't been like that at all and instead seem to speak towards the overall sense of hopelessness that seems to have slowly been tightening it's grip on our nation.

I need to throw in an aside right here and say that I do not frequent bars that often. I was trying to round up some grub for dinner the other night because we were just too tuckered out from our weekend "let's lay flooring in the attic so we can store our crap up there and finally fit the fishing boat in the garage" project. Our usual go-to teriyaki place was closed which left a Mexican restaurant and a sports tavern as the two remaining choices that were still close to home. Remembering that my husband had brought home some really tasty burgers and stuff from the tavern, I cast aside all our earlier efforts towards healthier eating and ventured in.

Written in neat block letters on the column that divided the bar in half was this saying:

"Due to recent cutbacks, the light at the end of the tunnel has been shut off"


But a bit sad, right? I mean, this is how some - actually probably a lot - of Americans really feel right now.

Then this morning on my way to work I saw this saying on a bumper sticker:

"It's called the 'American Dream' because you have to be asleep to believe it"

Again, clever but sad.

I started thinking about how, as a kid, the sentiment was quite the opposite. America was the big, fat cherry on top of the triple-decker ice cream cone of the world! Everyone wanted to be like us. America was lthe promised land where anything could happen if you just worked hard enough.

But things have changed a lot since I was kid. This good -ol country of ours has been taking a hammering for quite some time. Morale is in the toilet. Russia called us a "parasite" that lives off of other countries because we live beyond our means. China practically owns us because we are so indebted to them. We've been steadily falling behind in education for years. Our health care system is a hot mess. Oh, and let's not forget the War. And how about the Recession (that's still not over) that kicked our asses two ways to Sunday. That's been fun, hasn't it? The rising rate of childhood obesity has to say something and I'm sure it's nothing good. And the latest and greatest -Standard and Poor down-graded our credit rating - not because we are a credit risk per se, but 'because the squabbling in Washington is not indicative of a country with a Triple A' rating. Basically, our Government just isn't working very well.

Our cherry has popped.

And of course the stuff mentioned above is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on but honestly I'm too tired. I'm tired of worrying and caring so much. I don't really know why I do, but for some reason I really do and now more than ever.

I'm guessing I care now because I have kids - which I know is a lame reason. But I think you know what I mean -kids open our eyes to more things then we care to think about like our own mortality or the drought in Africa. And once my eyes have been opened and I care about something, I just can't not do something about it. So the question that lies ahead for me is not the "when" but the "what".

Once I figure that out, maybe the light at the end of the tunnel will shine a little brighter for me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bounce Back #2

You might say I got a wild hair tonight and decided to stop by my blog - you know, just to see how the neighborhood has been holding up since I packed up and moved out in the middle of the night last year. My poor little blog - if it had been one of those electronic pets - what are they called? Tamagotchi? It would have died of digital neglect a looooong time ago.

And I was supposed to have "bounced back" - which is just too funny. More like an epic flop since my "return" only lasted four months. I feel like Lance Armstrong or Michael Jordan or even worse, Brett Farve saying they're done only to reappear again (and again in some of their cases) except I never said I was done. I just stopped showing up. Which isn't like me. When I start something I stick with it - no matter how bad it sucks. That's why I stayed in the Army Reserves for 8 years when I only really had to do 6 - I gave it my all and then some.

Now to be clear I'm not saying that blogging sucks. It's more like I think MY blogging sucks...... or something along those lines. Whatever it is, writing is difficult for me and I want to get better at it. And what better way then to blog? Just put everything out there for everyone to see?

And by everything I mean everything! Soooo much has happened since my last post "four score and seven years ago" that I can't even begin to list all the stuff I could talk about. There's been my kids' birthdays, our family adventures and of course mis-adventures, my DIY projects, and I can't forget our three new little girls -Chloe, Maggie and Alice. They lay some super tasty eggs! Oh and then there's my latest weight loss effort - starting P90X. I would do a fist pump if I could but it seriously hurts too much.

So once again I'm going to hitch up my britches and give it another whirl. Slow and steady wins the race, right? At least that Tony Horton says. See you soon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tight Rope

Today is November 17th. I should probably get around to putting away the Halloween decorations. The wind is blowing like crazy and it feels like snow in the air. I should probably fetch the baby pool from the back yard and put it in the garage before it blows half way across the neighborhood.

All these things I should do. All these things I planned on doing a while ago but just haven't gotten around to it.

This exact time last year I was unemployed, but I was on top of my to do list mainly because I didn't have too much else to do. Seasonal decorations were put out and packed back up in a timely manner, summer toys were rounded up from the back yard and stowed neatly in the garage, the air conditioning unit was covered with a nice new tarp to keep out the winter rain and leaves. Jesus, all of my spring bulbs were planted by the end of September.

It's definitely a different story this year. Not that I am not thankful for my job. I am. It's just that the delicate balancing act I have been trying to perfect since I went back to work at the beginning of the year just seems much more difficult right now.

I feel scattered. Maybe it's the holiday season breathing down my neck. Or maybe it's because my kid is sick and I haven't slept well in days. Or maybe it's because work is flipping crazy right now. Or maybe it's ALL OF THE ABOVE.

I know a large part of my problem stems from expecting too much out of myself. Oh, and it would be helpful if I knew when to apply the brakes - when to say "enough is enough" Just this morning as I was driving into work I caught myself thinking of Christmas presents to MAKE, (really?!) for my sons teachers at their school. Forget about the gazillion family members I need to buy for, let's see where I can fit in homemade Christmas presents for 15 teachers! Maybe in between planting the rest of my Hyacinth bulbs and the two birthday parties the kids are going to this weekend.

Seriously, what is wrong with me?! Enough is enough!

In all fairness to myself I know I can't be the only person on earth who feels like they are constantly walking a tightrope while juggling a million things. So, if you are one of those folks and you have any secrets for staying balanced I would love to hear them.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Hood

Here's a little video my best friend showed me today. It's about our hometown - Raton, New Mexico. Raton is a tiny little town and growing up there was a mixed bag so to say. I couldn't get away with practically anything because everyone either knew me or my parents and my friends and enemies alike knew my business before I even did.

My friend and I like to reminisce about the "good 'ol days" growing up there - when the town was a lot more vibrant and seeing better times. Back then we had a racetrack and we even had a very small, but thriving mining industry. But all of that shut down a long time ago.

I've been back to visit only a couple of times in the many, many years since I've been gone, and I each time I leave I can't help but wonder how long it's going to be before the whole place shrivels up and blows off the map.

I have no idea who these people are who made this video but we got a few good giggles out of the whole thing so take a gander for yourself. But before you do I need to make one thing very clear- I NEVER wore Wranglers or western shirts and I wouldn't be caught dead in a pair of "mockies". Mother huggas.