Saying Good-Bye

House Sitting…Again

I have been staying at my friend Kathy’s who you might remember from the Boney James concert or from my House Sitting page.  I was house sitting when I first got here Wednesday, her  family was in South Carolina visiting their families.  They have a little chihuahua, a black cat, and…a pool.

What time I was not spending going to the doctors to get some last-minute checkups since I still have my health insurance until the end of the month I was spending sleeping, sunning, and writing.  Good news though, I already have Hepatitis B shot in my blood so I do not need any shots!  Just had my tetanus shot a year or two ago so that is good.

Well, I was also trying to keep peace between the cat and the dog.  The cat would go over to the sleeping dog and jump attack and would chase him around when he came in from a walk.  Then at night the cat would come and try to chase the dog out of the bed and then try to sit on my face.  When no one would pay attention to him, he would start tearing at the blinds.  It was interesting.

Saying Good-Bye

The day before Kathy and her family came home I went to the store looking for a birthday gift for Kathy’s oldest daughter Helen.  We have been best buds for five years.  I was her first sleep over that was not family.  I took her to Disney to get her Princess Makeover.  From birthdays to Christmases and Thanksgivings we were all a family.  Her mom has been like an older sister to me and she is like my niece.  Her mom’s last presents were tickets to see Boney James and Chris Botti but I had not found something for Helen.  Normally, I like to give her presents that are something we can do together.

As I walked around the store, an entire flashback montage came back to me starting five years ago when I moved to Winter Haven for my first job after I graduated from college.  From buying my first curtains and my nice living room and patio furniture and plants for my garden where I threw many dinners.  I used to sit out on my patio on my swing that converted to a fixed, flat bed with a fire pit and watch the stars and listen to the crickets.  I would cook with my fresh herbs on the grill.  Jack would dig up every pineapple I tried to grow and ate my cinnamon basil if I left him outside.  I met Kathy and her family, who lived one building down in my apartment complex, and then every night Jack and I would walk to Kathy’s house.  Almost every night.

There was the time Jack got out from the patio when I was at work and Kathy’s husband found him sitting outside of the gate barking at people who went by.  Or the Halloween when the stray kitten I tried to adopt ate my bird, Sunny and Kathy and her husband came and cleaned the entire mess up. Including the mess the dog left behind because he shaking in the corner scare. The bird was friend.

Or maybe the only Thanksgiving I spent living in Winter Haven when I went down to Kathy’s house and used her girl’s wagon to haul a load of beer and liquor from my apartment to her’s, with the then two-year old girl in the wagon (there is a picture somewhere).  Hours of sitting and talking gibberish with said two-year old.  Experimenting with so many recipes.

So many memories.

So, I was walking through Wal-Mart trying to find a fitting present and trying not to cry.  I thought about a scrapbook but I already bought her one of those.  Then it hit me.  I should get her something we can interact with while I am gone.  So I bought her a picture album with pages you can organize pictures in any way possible (not just 4×6 slots) in a binder.  I also bought some stickers and matting pages.  The premise is that everywhere on my trip I can send her postcards, currency, map pages, paper momentos etc. Hopefully along with Google Chat and Google Voice we can stay in touch.

Then on Monday the family came back.  We have been just hanging out all week.  Cooking great food with the now seven-year old and trying to entertain the teething 18-month old with Disney Jr. games on the computer has been fun.  I still cannot get the baby to say my name but she calls my computer Kicky (Micky) because we watch Micky on my computer.

For dinner two days ago we had corn on the cob, asparagus, beef and chicken kabobs with my renowned (thanks to Alton Brown) marinade, picked cucumber and onion salad, and milkshakes.  It was amazing.  Tonight we had bow tie pasta with pancetta, peas, corn, mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese, herb and cheese stuffed mushrooms, garlic crostini with some of the stuffed mushroom filling on top, and grill pineapple and bananas with white chocolate sauce (which I did not partake in) and pineapple syrup over vanilla ice cream.  I have never made either sauces or grilled fruit but they turned out pretty good.  The kid was a great sous chef.  She husked the corn, mixed ingredients, stuffed the mushrooms, and in general was a great kid.

The First of Many

I realized this week how many good-byes I am going to have to give this weekend.  And I do not know when I will be back to Florida.  So, I set up dinner and dancing and yoga and trail dates with friends throughout Central Florida.  I also set up a massage appointment with the guy at Ananda Kula who helped me get into yoga seriously and taught me how I needed to heal my body from over use injuries and

Yoga

On Friday I found a yoga studio in Downtown Winter Haven called Groundwork Yoga.  I went to the 6 PM flow class with Jody so I went back Wednesday.  If you want the full story (including headstand prep with chairs) please read my post about the yoga in Winter Haven coming up shortly!

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Blog Updates and New Purchases!

Hey everyone! I am house/dog sitting for my friend S again! I have been staying on and off with my friend’s C and J and their cute baby who smiles whenever he sees me, I think I am in love! It is great catching up with friends and blogs and traveling information and in general doing inside stuff because it has rain ever single day, all day since I have been back!

Blog Updates

New Purchases

I have been a busy busy bee.

New Computer
Acer Aspire One AO722-0473 11.6-Inch HD Netbook (Espresso Black)

I bought my new computer.  After months of agonizing over what to buy (ultrabook, tablet, Macbook, netbook, laptop…) and then physically agonizing over carrying my huge laptop and accessories bag around the Minneapolis Airport, I finally bought my new computer.  It is an Acer Aspire One.  I decided my budget was cheap and I needed something I would not cry about if I lost it, broke it, or someone stole it. However, it still had to be functional.  I need to be able to bulk edit photos, browse multiple websites to blog and keep in touch, video chat, use Google Voice/Chat/Talk, and watch Hulu Plus.  This is a good one so far. It is light, keyboard is large, it’s not so tiny it is difficult to use, it works with Google Talk/Voice/Chat really well, and Hulu is even better than my old computer (hello Daria and Bones).  I still need to check out photo editing.  To boost the computer a bit I also bought…

4 GB Memory
PNY 4 GB DDR3 1333MHz (PC3-10666) 204-Pin Notebook SO-DIMM, Single (MN4096SD3-1333)

I opted for the upgrade to 4 GB of memory on my own.  I bought it and installed it easily by myself.  You just need to:

  • Slide battery release at top with screwdriver
  • Remove battery
  • Remove tiny screw on opposite side of battery
  • Slide bottom casing towards the side of the screw
  • Lift casing
  • Push to pins on edges of memory to pop out old memory
  • Slide old memory out (take note of which way the metal end goes – down towards screw end of casing)
  • Slide new memory in paper side down metal into slot
  • Push down to lock pins
  • Replace cover by putting four corners into the correct slots and sliding up towards battery
  • Replace screw

Literally took 3 minutes and it only took that long because I did not notice the slots used to put the cover back on.  Another option is to watch this guy do it in 60 seconds or this guy has a clearer picture but sometimes moves the laptop off-screen.

The package came with a free movie download, have not tried to get that yet.

Amazon Kindle Touch
Kindle Touch, Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers

I actually bought this one a while ago when I got rid of all of my stuff, including my books.  I realized I needed books!  I chose the touch WiFi with advertising because of price, 3G only goes to Amazon’s store and Wikipedia, and because it has amazing battery life.  It can last for weeks of usage without a charge, I have tested this and found it accurate, but remember this is not using it all day.  It can connect to WiFi to get to Amazon store and to its experimental browser which is not really fancy but works better than my crappy old phone to check Facebook.  It has a lot of little games for free or cheap and some other apps.  It is not like the fire or Nook Tablet.  But I really enjoy it.

I was even able to replace almost my entire Paulo Coelho collection for 12 dollars because Paulo Coelho put his entire collection except Aleph and The Alchemist on sale for $0.99 each.  The sale is over now and everything is back up to apx. $10.00 each.  I told you guys to get on it!

Photobucket Pro

As a way to back up photos and track where people are linking to my photos from I bought a subscription.  So far I am slightly upset because my new computer does not read the stats and half the referring pages are unknown.  I have yet to upload my full size photos so we will see how that goes this weekend.  I plan on uploading all my photos into private albums full size so that the photos I already have backed up are accessible on the road.

New Shoes

Sadly my plantar fasciitis has flared up and the Merrell shoes I bought are not going to be able to hold up good enough for my arches.  I bought a new pair of Orthaheel flip flops and slides from Fleet Feet Sports in Altamonte. This is a great all around running store with clothes, shoe fittings, shoes, supplies, gear, and hydration products for running and cycling.  The flip flops, which do not look that dark in real life, are great.  It took a while to get used to the thong in between my toes again (I do not wear flip flops often). The slides have given me blisters the one time I wore them but I think my old pair (which I wore down until there is no more arch) did at first too, I just need to put something over the back seam.  I will only bring one pair with me.  Probably the flip flops.

Officially Unemployed…Let the Traveling Begin

Unemployed

So as of Thursday I was told I will no longer be working for my company.  It was not a huge surprise, but still somewhat unsettling.  I do not quite have the amount of money I would like to have to be able to travel without worrying about money and my student loans.

Things to Think About

Tomorrow I am heading for Michigan to see my family and visit my grandmother who is sick.  While I am there I will think about what my next step is.  I am thinking in July or August I will head to  south America.  July would be preferable time wise because that gives me a July and August and part of September to get through Colombia and Ecuador and then I can be in Peru at Machu Picchu at the end of September for my birthday.  However, August would give me more time to save up money (if I can find a source of income, I guess there is always unemployment but that is not a lot of money).  Plus flights are dirt cheap to Cartagena in August, $240 one way from Detroit and $115 one way from Miami from Spirit.

Also, I need to grieve the ending of one passage and celebrate the beginning of another.  I forgot how the much power grieving can give to the celebration of new.  I was not previously celebrating the end of where I was in life so I was not being reborn into my new life. That is why I felt I was not moving on i think.

So I have things to think about.

Maps

In order to visualizing my thinking process, I am putting together a Google Map of places I want to visit.  I just started so it only has a few pages, but you can add suggestions to it!  This map is open to suggestions.  Places I want to go or I am thinking of going are in green.  If you could add in suggested sites, transportation, hostels, etc in colors OTHER than green, that would be great!  I will make another map of my final destinations and projected path once I get going!

I added a few pages to the website for Maps.  On the top Menu under Travel you can access my Maps page and under the Maps page is my South America Suggestions Map Page.  Also, I am looking for help trying to figure out how to embed the Google Map to my blog page.  Google’s instructions are here, however, when I try to follow them WordPress does not accept the HTML and just changes it to a click-able URL link.  Am I just not allowed to do that on WordPress?

Loose Ends

One of the things I am doing now is tying up all those loose ends I should have taken care of long ago. This includes getting shots and doctors visits in before my insurance ends, visiting friends, cleaning out my car and doing one last downgrade of all my “stuff” that i have left, getting rid of my cell phone and getting a cheaper pay as you go plan (anyone have suggestions on where to find an unlocked gsm phone?), deciding what to do about a computer (mine is so heavy), and setting up my house sitting profiles.

I have not joined a site yet.  An article written by Nora Dunn, the Professional Hobo, has a discount to Trusted House Sitter. I did, however, put up the recommendations I got a long time ago from friends and family I have house sat for in the past (well I have two of them).

House Sitting Profile

So, if you need someone to stay in your house while you travel and watch your puppy or kitty, here are:

My house sitting profile

Sarah H. Recommendation

Kathy M. Recommendation

You can also find a link to those pages at the top menu on the right hand side!

So Many Changes

I hope you can all keep up with all the changes to the blog and my life, because I am having trouble with it!