Friday, September 16, 2016

A Quick Note

Hi! How are you?
It's been quiet for a long while, yes? Yes.
And, uh, let's be honest. It will continue to be quiet.
This name no longer works, this shtick no longer works. And, well, it's just...that phase of life has moved.

No, the concept behind it hasn't changed, but the way things were going with it has.

That's a lot of words to say that the decision to quit writing here was correct.

However, giving up "writing" entirely was the wrong decision.
So, after a full week of thinking about it (after it originating as a shower though, of course, because that's how things go), and after having it be "live" for a week...I have an announcement.
If you want to follow along, please head over to Havok Gets Healthy and read about that nonsense. Same lady, different place. Same kind of words. Well, almost. But better.

It's complicated.
Either way, follow along if you want. If you don't, I entirely understand.

Thank you so much for your love over the past two years here, it is very much appreciated and I love your faces and your hearts.

~ Havok

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

das Ende

Burn it and bury it in the ground*.
That's the best way I can explain it.

And, really, there's no reason to explain. So I'm not going to.
I tried explaining it to myself, and it's just cyclical. As most things tend to be. A starting point, a large meaty explanation-y middle section, that gets to the end bits that make perfect sense. But, being sure to cover all bases, a "what if/about/why not" and then it goes back to the starting point and it could continue from there. But, it won't. Because we already did that.

So, it's either get off in the middle, or get off at the end.
Getting off in the middle is the best choice in this instance.
There's no point in continuing the circle. It's been done enough times, the same reasons for getting off at the beginning.

I have a feeling, though, that if you keep making that same choice again and again and it keeps getting worse and worse, there's no sense in getting off at the start any more.
It's not worth it. There's literally no point.
It would be a wonderful display of ridiculousness to continue that.

To avoid being ridiculous, any more than is necessary,
The necessary amount has, really, been met. It's been long enough. Time to call it in.

So, for now, it's called in.
Shuttered up and cancelled, as it should have been a while ago.

Maybe, things will continue later. For now, though, it's not. Plain and simple.
#SorryNotSorry

* Which is actually from Jim Gaffigan, but the clip is not on YouTube. However, it is from his Mr. Universe DVD, which you should all just watch anyway.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Eternal Debate [or, just do what you wanna do already!]

I am fully aware of how much entertainment I have at my fingertips, in regards to how much I have, both physically and digitally. It amounts to quite a lot more than it should, to be honest.
This should mean that I don't need anything else. 


The Eternal Debate [or, just do what you wanna do already!] | When the question of "what to do" gets to be too much | Anxiously Being Havok


However, I mistakenly took to Goodreads the other day and added a few books to my to-read list, and to my Amazon wishlist (and almost bought one even, with some Amazon credits that I have, so it wouldn't have been an out of pocket expense - but I halted that crazy train and made no such purchase).

And the new Pokemon series/installment, Sun and Moon, comes out in November, and I'm already, in my mind, buying it when it comes out. Except I'm not, because I don't need it and I don't know anything about it yet hardly. But I know I want it!
Yet, I hardly play the ones that I have (and I have a ton of Pokemon games).
It's hard to tell yourself you can't have those kinds of things any more because you just won't get to them, because it feels limiting. I'm sure you're all familiar with the quotes about a man who reads has lived a thousand lives, etc. Well, technically, the same can be said for RPG video games and the like (I can be the Dragonborn, I can be a Pokemon Master, and I can be a Minecrafter (what even would that be?!), all at the touch of a button or mouse).

Except, it's not saying I can't "live those lives" - it's saying live the lives I already have in my possession.
Actually become the Pokemon Master, instead of just a trainer in many (many) regions. Become the Dragonborn, versus just getting a shout or two. And, well, Minecraft the shit out of Minecraft.
Either way. I have enough at my fingertips, it's just a matter of convincing myself as such - versus wishing for all of the cool, shiny, and new toys that come out.

Plus, eventually, if I don't get anything new, I'll hopefully end up beating all the games, or reading all the books. Then it'll only make sense to get more/replace them/etc.

In all seriousness, though, this all stems from a matter of having too much to choose from. I don't know what game to play, because I know I have neglected them all (because there's too many to choose from, so I choose none of them and do something else). I don't know what to read, because I have neglected all the books, and there's at least one half started book that has sat for far too long and if I went back to it I would have no idea what was going on, so I'd have to start over or pick another book and it's just too many so I'll just look for something else to read...and that's overwhelming so I won't read at all. Or, I'll find one, read a chapter or two, put it down, and not touch it again (again, because too much to choose from so I choose nothing).
It's a vicious, vicious cycle that leads to watching a lot of YouTube, reading a lot of Twitter and Facebook, maybe finding something (for free!) on Hulu (lately I've been watching Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon, even though I've watched both in chunks before), and a whole lot of thinking about what to do.
Which is a horrible waste of time and I don't recommend it to anyone.

My theory is this.
You buy all the things because you like them.
You get them home and then you think wow, this is great.
So you use it or play the game or read the book or whatever. Then you set it down.
Then you do the whole thing again. And again. And again. Until you've got at least one game from the past 4 or 5 Pokemon game releases (I mean, uh, no, I don't have that many...yes I do).
And you realize you have saved games in 4 or 5 Pokemon regions, 4 or 5 uncompleted Pokedexes, and 4 or 5 saves with maybe 1 or 2 badges a piece on them. Which is exactly not how you go about becoming a Pokemon Master, just in case you were wondering.
But you like them all, right? That's why you bought them?
So play one. Or use one. Or read one. Pick it up and just do it. Don't think about it, do it.
And, if going along, you decide that, ya know, you don't really like it after all? Then get rid of it.
Making it one less thing you have to "choose" from, and one less thing taking up space in your house (or on your hard drive).
If you want to read the book you've read 5 times before, do that. Even if you have a book series that you started and got halfway through the first book and left to sit and would have to restart it. That's okay. Read what you want.
If you want to make the same recipe from the same cookbook, even though you know that other cookbook probably has more than enough good recipes in it, cook what you want to cook.
If you want to play Minecraft when you probably should be playing something on the WiiU, because you're sure the WiiU needs an update since you haven't played it in a while and then it would get updated and hey, there's those Skylanders you begged for, but Minecraft sounds better? Play Minecraft.
You got the things to enjoy them, so enjoy them. And if you end up not enjoying something after all? Get rid of it and get that clutter and the decision to spent time and energy on it out of your head.

Because if you don't just do what you actually want to do, you'll find something else - something that will make the decision go away (like trolloping around on YouTube, watching random videos you might be interested in, or scouring Pinterest for a new recipe for Spaghetti, even though it's still just Spaghetti that you're going to be eating).
The decision went away, sure, but you're not actually doing the things you want to be doing. You're avoiding it all because you'll feel bad for neglecting the things you ought to be doing.
It's like procrastination, but of fun. And how the in the hell does that make sense. 
Oh wait, it doesn't. 
If you need me, I'll be playing Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. I've got some leveling up before I can get my 3rd trainer badge. While trying to forget about Sun and Moon (while also remembering that I technically don't have to decide about it until November).

~ Havok

If you liked this post, be sure and check out these other posts! 

Friday, June 3, 2016

What We've Eaten - A Meal Plan in Reverse [No. 5}

Technically, this is number 4, however we skipped April, so I'm calling it number 5. And we skipped April because the Mister was on vacation for two weeks and there were far too many days that we had chips for dinner.
May, however, was a good cooking month. We ate out one night with family that we drove up to see, ordered pizza once, and got fast food once. And, for us, that's pretty darn good. I'm hoping, though, that in June those numbers will all be at a big fat zero. Not that I necessarily enjoy cooking every.single.day but I'd rather do that than the alternative.

What We've Eaten - A Meal Plan in Reverse [No. 5] | What we ate for the month of May | Anxiously Being Havok

So, onto the eats. As normal, it's nothing super exciting, but May did lend itself to learning quite a few new tricks in the kitchen!
From the beginning, with meals being grouped by week (Mondays-Sundays)

Macaroni and cheese - I have something to admit here. I buy the boxed stuff. Not Kraft, though, but the Kroger brand. I bought it a while ago, in the hopes it would be comparable because it was much cheaper, and it tastes pretty much the same. The noodles have much more starch to them, but once it's all cooked ready to eat, the taste is the same. I've tried generic mac and cheese before and never liked it, so to even try this was an adventure for me!

Quesadillas - in the oven! With cooked ground turkey inside! This was one of those "ZOMG HOW DID I NOT KNOW" meals. I'm still trying to figure out a good dip or sauce for these, because they are a tad plain, but I'm not sure what that would be.
Chili/Cheese/Tator Tot Bake - easy peasy kind of meal.
Mexican Rice Burritos - we love this recipe. I don't love buying Rotel for it each time we eat it, though, because it's 1$ a can, so I think I will switch to tomato something-or-other instead and continue with enchilada sauce (because that goes farther than one meal).
Corn Dogs - picked these up on sale in April and they're just good to keep around.
Nachos - the almighty nacho dinner. Ah. Remind me sometime to tell you about the vat of nacho sauce we used to buy (read: used to buy).
Chinese Food with the in-laws - we went up to see the Mister's parents for Mother's day, spent the better part of the afternoon assembling patio furniture, and then we all went out to a Chinese food restaurant for dinner. Totally worth the hours of sweat and heat put into the furniture!
Leftover Chinese - has anyone ever not had leftovers from Chinese food?

Hashbrown/Bacon/Scrambled Egg Bowls - bacon was on sale, I had half a bag of potatoes left, and I had eggs. I figured it'd be worth a shot. And let's just say it was a good one. Hashbrowns, however, take forever to cook, but I did know to cut the bacon into pieces and then cook it, so I'm calling it a draw.
Grilled Cheese - in the oven! So much better this way.
Corn Dogs - the good part of only having two people in yoru house is that a 16 pack of corn dogs lasts for many meals!
Spaghetti - what I consider to be spaghetti is not very concise. It's pasta, ground meat, and red sauce. Any kind of noodle, ground beef, turkey, or sausage, and sauce. Oh, and cheese. I'm not sure if that's a food-naming travesty or not, but that's how things work in my kitchen.
Corn Dogs - and, that was the last of them.
Dominos - our one pizza order of the month.
Burritos - the boring ground beef and refried beans variety.

Hashbrown/Bacon/Scrambled Egg Bowls - hashbrowns still took forever to cook. But, it went much better the second time!
Enchamac - no meat in this one, just boxed mac and cheese with the addition of enchilada sauce.
Quesadillas & Frozen Pizza - plain cheese quesadillas, and those 4/5$ Totinos frozen pizzas that should be called personal pizzas.
Mexican Rice Burritos - again, I'm thinking of changing how I make these to cut down on costs. But still delicious.
Nachos - I wanted to make nacho soup, except I didn't have Rotel (because I used it for burritos!), so regular nachos it was.
Carls Jr - the one fast food of the month. Though, sadly, a week after our last non-cooked meal. But, they have new hamburgers like the Whiskey River BBQ burger from Red Robin, and it was delicious.
Quesadillas - plain with cheese, again, but in larger quantities!

Grilled Cheese - I say, learning to do this in the oven has been life changing. Plus, with my oven pan, I am able to make 3 sandwiches at a time, so we each can have 1.5 sandwiches, which means happier bellies and less wanting to snack later in the evening.
Mac and Cheese with Bacon - I had a few slices of bacon left and asked the Mister if it would taste good together. He said yes. He was right.
Chili/Cheese/Tator Tot Bake - it's simple, and I love it. Also, the addition of ketchup and/or BBQ sauce makes it even better.
Spaghetti - enough for leftovers, even!
Leftover Spaghetti & Grilled Cheese - but not quite right, ha!
Frozen Pizza - mmm, cheap pizza (they may cost 4/5$ but I only buy them when there's a buy 4, get 1$ off coupon).
Nacho Soup - we still love this stuff. We normally eat it with tortilla chips, but we didn't have any. Instead, I ovened (baked?) some tortillas at the end and, oh man, was that the way to go. I need to perfect my tortilla ovening (baking? That sounds weird, though) timing, but all in good time.

Leftover Nacho Soup - again, with tortillas! It seemed weird to be having soup in almost-June, but it's crockpot soup so it doesn't warm up the house.
Pepperjack Alfredo - I dunno what to call this one, really. It's an Alfredo recipe but I used pepperjack cheese instead of parmesan. It was kind of plain, though, and definitely could have used some chicken, but considering I haven't made any alfredo of any kind in years, it was a decent enough.

I would like to be able to report to you in one month that we haven't had any fast food for the month.
I would also like to have some new recipes to report back on. So far, I've got a recipe for homemade biscuits and gravy (which I also haven't done in years), a plan to make bean & cheese burritos, as well as more baking.

Now that it's getting to actually be summer, what are your favorite summer foods? And what can I "bake" that won't require the oven being on for an hour at a time? If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

~ Havok

If you liked this post, be sure and check out these other posts!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Introduction to Permaculture Course - in review

At the beginning of May, I shared that I was going to be taking an Introduction to Permaculture course. And now that the course is over, it's time to share what in the world I know about Permaculture now.

Which, sadly, isn't as much as I thought it would be. 
However, that has nothing to do with the course, and entirely to do with my expectations.

Introduction to Permaculture Course - in review | What is Permaculture? And what can a one-month course on the subject teach you? | Anxiously Being Havok

You see, it was an introduction to Permaculture design course - which means, essentially, giving you the basic information you need to then, well, design your "site" to do the most it can do. Not the actual ways that you go about it.

The course had information for a temperate climate, a desert climate, and a tropical one. Which means that there was even less information on specifics.
But, as a free course available to anyone who decided to show up, that means they can't just say "well, we're in Oregon, we're going to talk about Oregon." Well, they could, sure, but it wouldn't let the hundreds of people in other countries learn much. Though, it would have been helpful to me, because I'm in Oregon.
Which is actually a part of why I was interested in the course. It was from Oregon State University, which is South of where I live, though not by much, and has basically the same things to think about - and I was hopeful there would be some, well, examples.
There were, though. Kind of. From the person teaching the course and what they did in their backyard. For all of 1 minute throughout the course. And that was about it. They showed other places around the world, in large communities, that seemed to be doing a fabulous job from the small amounts of information we got about them - pictures and overlays of things, how they made their waterways and that's about it.
However, it was all bits and pieces. Nothing, well, specific.
Which, sadly, specific is my learning style.

At the end of the course, I was left with a "you know, I think Google would have been better for me."
It was interesting, sure. But I could have learned the same things from a few searches, with a lot less video watching.
There were plenty of links provided, but far too many to get through, and from what I saw, a lot of them were "what do we think" in regards to Permaculture and not "this is how we did it."

At the same time, the idea of Permaculture is, well, "what do we think" and "this is what you should think about" and it doesn't actually involve a lot of steps or necessary pieces, and there is definitely no list of things to have. 

You, essentially, take the land you have, look at it, figure out how it works as it is, figure out what you can do with it to get the largest rate of return, and just do that.
And really, that's it.
You want to use the benefits of an area to your advantage. You want to make sure that you take any disadvantages and spin them (if possible) to be in your favor, even if a little bit. You want to be sure that whatever you are doing isn't going to hurt yourself in the long run (there's a lot of long-term planning involved!) and that you're planning for all seasons and weather possibilities.
Thinking of water, in both rain and storage and where it will run to and from. Thinking of warm and cold, where your house needs to be to be warm in the Winter and cool in the Summer. Thinking of the best place to keep the things you're growing that you'll eat most (and keeping them closer to your home for easy maintenance). Planting fruit tress that will grow and grow, giving you more fruit each year, versus something you plant each year and only get that one harvest (when possible, of course).

It's long term planning, being aware of the environment, and using it to your advantage. 
So, no, a month-long course is not going to teach you everything you need to know about it. If it's something you're interested in, something you want to apply to your property, then you will have to look at what it's actually like there, what can grow there, what to build, what kind of energy you can harvest from the area (though I did learn that there is such a thing as biomass energy - and it is exactly what you think it is) - essentially, what all your land can do for you, as well as what you can do for it.

Which is the whole point of Permaculture. You're playing the long game. You'll learn as you go. There is no wrong or right way. You do you.
And that's a thing I can get behind.

Also, if you're interested, OSU is having the course again starting October 31st.
Or, if that's not your speed, Wikipedia is a good start.

~ Havok

If you liked this post, be sure and check out these other posts! 

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Little Grocery Budget That Could - Or So I Hope

Saving money is hard, y'all. You think you're doing well, everything is going great, and then all of a sudden it's time for all the bills to be paid and you get a case of the worries.
Luckily, we've had everything work out in the end, but there have been a few times where we've had to look at all our accounts and figure out what order to pay which in, and what can wait another week.
That's certainly not a fun place to be.

The Little Grocery Budget That Could - Or So I Hope | When cutting expenses is necessary | Anxiously Being Havok

And guess who gets to be there even more! Err, more like, guess who gets to fall farther into that hole.
Yeah.
Our rent is going up. Our apartment lease is up, and we have to stay here for another 2 or 3 months. Because we're moving, yay! Well, we're 80% sure that we're moving in 2 or 3 months. More on that later. But, our lease is up and they won't let us sign a 3 month lease, so we get to pay not only the normal increase in rent, but also the no-lease premium (which is 100$).
So, we'll be paying just shy of an extra 200$ a month. For no extra benefit. Woo. We're thrilled. Can you see my sarcastic face? I hope so.

This means we're in the process of battening down the hatches and hunkering down (and doing nothing whatsoever, essentially). 
Luckily, I've had a head start.

A few years ago, I had no grocery budget. We were a two income household and had plenty of extra funds. So, groceries were whatever I wanted to buy. Sure, I tried to save money, but there was no hard and fast number to live by (though paying anything more than 60$ was ridiculous, and I tried to avoid that).
Then, I was no longer working. So, I set a budget of "well, about 50$."
Then, it got to a strict 50$.

For a while, that worked for us. We had wiggle room, and I certainly wasn't spending that much every time.
Then rents went up (as they do - thanks, everyone, for moving to the Portland area!), we acquired another vehicle (motorcycles are ridiculously expensive for being a cheaper vehicle, by the way), and we were in a much tighter situation.
So, I went down to 40$ a week. It was better.

Things have gotten tighter. The money wiggling has gotten worse. And now this?
For the past few weeks, and from here on out, I'm down to 35$. At most. And that's it.
That's all the money there is. That's all I can spend.
I'm very thankful that the Mister has decided to try and give up his Mountain Dew habit, which has certainly helped cut spending. I'm also thankful that my coupon using practice has helped get us to a point where we could eat for a week without needing a full grocery shop if push came to shove (from stocking up on sale prices and planning farther ahead than just for the current week).

At the same time, we've still not given it all up (which we'll discuss later this week, with May's reverse meal plan) and it's easy to get caught up in the idea of "deserving." 
"We've done so good, we deserve hamburgers...we've been smelling BBQ for the past week when we walk the dogs each night, we deserve to have some, too." And that's how we ended up having Carl's Jr for dinner last weekend. It was so good. But, hot damn, is it expensive.

But, we have the food in the house to cook. I went and bought it. And brought it home and lovingly put it away (because a well stocked kitchen brings me joy) and I know what can be made, and I always try and have at least a few things that can just be thrown in the oven as options to eat.
I may deserve to have something that somebody else cooked. But we can't afford to have something that somebody else cooked.

Which is why I'm instilling a no-spend. No, I haven't told the Mister. But I know that if I keep my mouth shut about fast food, that will be half the battle of not eating it (because the majority of the time we end up getting something because I say I don't want to cook, then he says he doesn't wan to cook, and then we spend about 20$ on dinner - which is insane).
Groceries are the only thing I am allowed to buy. And that's only 35$ a week. That's it. No fast food. No trickery of convincing myself that if the Mister pays for it, I didn't buy it (I'm good at that particular sort of mental gymnastics).
We have to. There's an extra 200$ a month we have to find somewhere, and I know it won't be found in a hamburger or a pizza - though, wouldn't that be great?

And so, here's where I ask a silly question. What can we eat for 2 months that won't leave the Mister hating me? Because, the way I see it, we'll be eating lots of mac and cheese and spaghetti - which will definitely not make him a happy camper. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

~ Havok

P.S. Grocery budget, in this case, means anything bought from the grocery store. So toiletries count, dog food counts, cleaning supplies count, etc. So, this week when I'm buying dog food (I may even be at the store *right now* while you're reading this!), that will have to come out of that 35$. I know some people count groceries as only what they eat, and we are not that kind of household.

If you liked this post, be sure and check out these other posts!

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Best Way to Read for Free

I enjoy reading, but I don't necessarily stick with it as much as I should. Oh, I can buy books, that's the easy part. It's reading them that I have a hard time with. I have good intentions, but as with everything else I enjoy doing, there's just too many other things to choose from (and there's always something that looks or sounds like a "better" use of time, no matter what activity I am doing).
And so, because I'm not reading, I'm not buying books. I can't justify it - I have plenty of other books that I should be reading if I wanted to read something.

But when books are free? 
I can't say no.

The Best Way to Read for Free | Free e-books without any hassle! | Anxiously Being Havok

And no, I'm not meaning the free books on Amazon that have romantic stories and are a part of a series and are, essentially, the new Harlequin romance novels, without being published by Harlequin (which, if that's your thing, awesome. It's just not mine).
I mean real books. Real books you would normally have to pay for, that would cost more than 99 cents, even when on sale.

No, it's not cheating the system; and, no, it doesn't involve torrents.
It involves an app. And not a sketchy one, either!

It's the Google Rewards app, to be precise. 
You see, Google is crazy. In so many ways, really, but this one especially.

And while it is a survey app (I can hear your groaning - knock it off), it's of the most basic variety.
A lot of the questions are to get your opinion on things. Lately I've had questions about traveling ("what are your opinions on travel", "how often do you go", "what is your ideal vacation"). It's all simple questions, of the checkbox variety (nothing open-ended), and I don't think I've had one that was more than 5 questions long. Easy peasy.
There are also questions that, I'm guessing, help with Google Maps. Now, the app (like Google Now and Google Maps) will know where you've been if you let it, and it will then give you surveys based on that information. For example, the last time we went to Fry's, it asked me within the next day if I went to Fry's (which I said yes to) and then asked what day and then that was it - and I got credit for it. Sometimes it asks if I've been to places I've never even heard of, but I just say "no" to the places it is asking about. I got credit for those questions and answers, too.

And that's about it. Each survey takes less than a minute to answer. 
And the credit system is the easiest thing in the world. Because it actually just gives you money straight out (no point system to worry about). Each survey isn't necessarily worth a lot (some are as low as 10 cents, some are closer to 1$). But, they're fairly frequent, and would probably be even more frequent if you left the house more than I do, which is very rarely.

I started using the app at the end of November last year, and currently have been rewarded a total of $27.86. Just because I answered a few questions from Google every so often.
However, you're not getting actual cash, you're getting credits to the Google Play store. Which means you can buy apps, you can buy books, you can buy movies or music - anything they sell, you can buy it.

And that, my friends, is the secret to free books. Let Google know where you've been, or that you haven't been on a "real" vacation in about two years, and they'll just give you money. It doesn't get much easier than that!

What about you? Would you tell Google where you've been in exchange for free books? Or do you feel that Google knows too much already?

~ Havok

P.S. This is not a sponsored post in anyway, I just want to share this information with you. Google is an awesome company, in my eyes, and I publish this blog through Blogger, so I am even more grateful to Google, but I am not getting anything out of telling you about this program.

If you liked this post, be sure and check out these other posts! 
Groceries - Because We Need To Eat

[Edit 5/27/2016: Added to Best of the Weekend link party]
[Edit 5/29/2016: Added to The Creative Gallery link party, Motivational Monday link up and Create and Crave link party]
[Edit 5/31/2016: Added to The Alder Collective link party]