Thursday, September 25, 2014

How to Do a Google Interview - Foreman Style

First, wow oh WOW! Just to get a phone call from a head hunter this fast was one of the best feelings EVER. Google was sort of put into this waaaaaay up in the "It would rock to work there but chances are they don't want an older-fresh out of college-noob" box on the shelf of life. Being a disabled Vet, with a service dog, with a cane has this look of "I'm so not supposed to be a part of that culture."
Wrong.  That's exactly what they want.
Having talked to his job mentor at Parsons, as well as his new Voc Rehab Councilor here in Seattle, lots of interview practice between Charlie and Steve, it was decided that yeah, he needed to take this shot even if it is a hard-core high turn around-high burn out position.  Yeah, he won't been there but awhile, but it sure would look good on his resume! So, he dressed for the job he wanted and went for the tie even though it's not the norm for that culture.  Because it's been raining the past few days used the umbrella as his cane, just because, and he groomed out Charlie until he was a cream colored puff ball. And 5 minuets later the humidity got to the dogs fur and he just frizzed right back out!
After a 30-minuet delay, Steve discovered it was a group interview of sorts.  The Google-Bothell campus is a smaller version of what we've all come to expect form the Google campuses with all the bells and whistles.  In this case not a single employee even batted an eye about Charlie! Charlie on the other hand was the calmest he's been in months. Lots of ping-pongs, food, foosball, massage chairs, you name it; the distractions were all around them and he just rocked the area, 100% totally on Steve. Not one person tried to pet, touch, or even acknowledge Charlie! It was...blissfuly normal!
After the group info session, they took each person aside for a semi informal one-on-one session. Steve met all of their GIS qualifications in spades. He was personable and respectful...a little too respectful apparently. He was told that he would find out next week if he makes it to the next level of managerial interviews. He he makes it through that, he's hired and he would start work late October.
Oh and if he does make it to the Managerial Interviews, he needs to be more...Google-ly.
We are thinking Deely Boppers for Charlie and jeans, a button down and his bright flaming blue cane for Steve!

Sunday, September 14, 2014


This weekend was spent creating a bit of mayhem and using extreme prejudice against the front yard hedges. We're not just talking "a little hedge." We are talking about 60 feet of 4-8 feet high laurel, juniper, English Ivy and raspberry bushes all bundled up together in a mash of of sticky, sappy, thorny, prickly, spider infested fun.
The previous tenants left their yard clippings off to a corner that then over took the side and outside of the fence line creeping and crawling over 6 feet of open area and the corner stop sign. Nice going there dummy.  You could have caused a wreck at that corner. Steve discovered a way to whack it down enough to start the killing off process and open up the area enough for drivers to see and not wonder what monster truck was barreling up the hill at them as they took a right turn. All I can think is dumb ass. Anyway, I'd say a good 75% of the yard is done thanks in part to a kick butt team of Valkyrie, SchnoodleFish, and Foreman.

The Boys are settling nicely into the area.  Charlie has become a lot more peppy and even more playful and vocal. I think the Washington sea air has made a difference and agrees more with him than the dryer mountain air. His ear is gumming up fast though so Steve has to keep on it daily. Under vest in the area, people really sit up and take notice at how big, fluffy and kind he is. He's not the normal service dog and trust me, this boy know it.  He's really working Steve too. They are out and about more daily, walking and playing and hopefully this next week, pounding the pavement for interviews.
Bentley is also thriving better in the Washington air. The consistent squeaking and hyperawareness has all but dissipated. He's really turning into a mellow mushroom! Don't let that fool you with the energy levels though!  We are taking these guys out 3-4 times a day to hard core run around and chase and play ball in the front yard (I'm really not worried about them leaping over a 6' wide by 8' high laurel fence) which has both given them a ton of freedom.  Bentley fly's across the yard and turns on a dime! It's a blast to watch and he has so much fun.  It's a night and day difference with him these days and when he's under vest, he just glows. I'm still working on getting over my fear of the grocery store, so I'm hoping once things settle down for us this week, I can be brave enough for just B and I to head out on a breakfast run.
This weeks plan is to catch up on all the older orders and get them out of my hair. I'm also hoping to spend some good hard training time with Bentley. Steve and Charlie are daily sending out resumes and even though people are telling him he's "unemployable" it's not an answer he's willing to accept and he WILL find his dream job soon.

That's it for this evening. I'm off to enjoy the PNW sunset and the freshly shorn hedges.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Round 2: Ding!

So yesterday was a complete wash out. I did attempt to get started on the items, but nothing happened. I got them to the house out of storage but then I crawled back into bed and hid after that. As much as I love Seattle, and this area, it’s nothing but a huge, massive PTSD trigger for me. I try to think of the good things, but I see a corner or a store or a tree or something and BLAM! I’m back in the past and freaking out, I mean on the floor boards of the car bawling and screaming. I had no idea when we made this decision that it would be like this, but I'm going to have to learn to work through the fog and smoke and keep pushing forward and make new thoughts about that store or that tree.

Then, Judy and Steve started talked yesterday afternoon.
And talked and talked, and Judy being a mental health councilor started pointing Steve to various state programs, including one called Apple (Washington Apple Health Program) for low to no income. We were immediately approved! I get to go back on my blood pressure pills, my heart meds, have access to a neurologist for the TBI as well as a mental health councilor for the anger and stress.

Oh thank you to the almighty! I can’t even begin to tell you just how amazing this feels to know in a few days I can call and make an appointment. Judy did point out it’s still a crap shoot as far as seeing a PA or a MD or even just meeting with a nurse practitioner, but one way or another I can start getting help and if I can work with the stupid VA teams, I can work with the civilians.

So with that high note, I leave you with the plan of attack: Work on Maureen's pillows and bag; finish up Joane’s bag, find that dumb box with Annetta’s shabby chic quilt fabric because I just can’t find it anywhere.

Oh, and it’s been suggested that instead of emailing, I’m going to be brave and start making these posts on WinterSpring. I’ll back date to some of the fist entries so there is a little bit of a backstory.
Because. I can. And there is now a following of 6. Whoo.

And I just found Annetta's box of fabric!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Accountability Day, Oh Goodie.

I did manage to get three orders out yesterday. I’m going to work on my, “Oh holy hell I’ve had these for how many months and they are not out yet?” special requests so that is no longer looming over my head and making my mind not shut off.

  • 2-22” pillows with appliqué
  • 2-bags

Something else, I just can’t remember what it is at the moment, I have it written down somewhere.
We’ve been here officially 1 full week. It feels like 1 full year. As much as I adore Judy and Dave, this isn’t my home and I’m not able to just settle and get it together. My TBI is off the charts and I’ve managed to sew 4 projects incorrectly and it’s so frustrating. Steve is loosing faith every day. We’ve contacted several veteran’s services. All of them have turned into the “We’ll call in a few days” and they never have. Ranging from emergency housing to work services. There’s only so much more of that I can take, I can only imagine what it must be like for him. He’s told me on numerous occasions that he wished he’s just remained a stupid video game tester and not gotten the degree. That breaks my heart.

We’ve also hit the end of the line financially. Again. And Again. At 42, I really just don’t think my body or brain has the capability to take it much more. I don’t think we will be getting our deposit back from MSU Housing (and honestly I’m too chicken to call and ask). The VA releases the last of the his stipend money’s. It should get us through October if I’m VERY careful. After that, hands in the air.

I’m going to stop being a Debbie Downer and go get this day started. Have a good one. Oh, and here's proof that I *have* been working on the SchnoodleFish collars.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

3 Packet Roast and Gravy for the Crock Pot

Can one technically have a gravy orgasm? If so, yes Ma'am, you are welcome!
I've just died and gone into a food coma.  Why didn't I find this recipe BEFORE. I've now fed two Army vets this roast and it's like Oliver Twist in my kitchen, "Please Ma'am! May I have more????" The best part is, it's dead simple to make!
Next time, I'm going to need a bigger roast.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1 beef roast, any kind, sized to fit your crockpot
  • 1 package Ranch Dressing mix
  • 1 package brown gravy mix
  • 1 package Italian dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup very warm water

Haul out that crock pot baby! It's going to be a good day!


  • Line your crock pot with a liner. (One less damn thing you have to clean up.)
  • Place roast in crockpot.

  • In a bowl combine the envelopes of mixes together.

  • Sprinkle on top of the roast. Or just dump it in, either way, make sure you hit the meat.

  • Pour in 1/2 cup warm water.

  • Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5.

Don't forget to take the meat out for a few minuets before you cut it and let it rest.  Makes it just that much juicer!

For the Gravy:

  • Pour the liquid from your crockpot liner into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  • Thicken with a cornsatrch slurry (1 Tablespoon cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons of COLD water)
  • Make sure the drippings are boiling before you add the cold water mix.
  • Makes a delicious gravy.

Again, you are WELCOME!
And a big old thank you to Keeper Worth Recipes for this amazing find! You are a rockstar!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lead Dog From Behind

Disclaimer (and before my trainer hollers at me):
No this is not where I normally allow Bentley to work from.  He is usually at my side; very close by my side. We were out walking and taking photos of his new MOLLE patches and I put him on a "long lead" so he could have a bit of time off.

July has been officially labeled as "Challenging." Ok, who am I kidding, it sucked weasels backwards thorough a knothole. While the beginning start out with grand possibilities it took a serious downturn right after the 4th when both dogs came down with a nasty virus that caused colitis. As the virus ebbed it totally unbalanced the boy's intestinal bacteria and they became overloaded with the wrong stuff.  So. for almost 3 weeks we've enjoyed the use of the Bissell SpotBot and nightly emergency potty breaks.  That's not to say we blame or are angry with the dogs at all. We've both been very worried and upset we couldn't make them feel better.  If they could have talked, I know they would have been apologizing for the accidents, we both have very polite canines. Needless to say, our whole way of living changed around keeping the dogs comfortable and recovering as quickly as possible without breaking the bank. Between vet visits, massive amounts of chicken and rice and medicines, Steve and I were on a lot of mac and cheese and hot dogs.  It was worth it.  This week took a turn up, and with new meds onboard, probiotics and a really good, easily digestible kibble suggested by my trainer, Ron, these two immediately snapped back to their old selves and for the first time since the 4th, I got a full night's sleep last night.

One of the things we discovered while the boys were officially "off duty" is that they still must have their manners.  Just because they didn't have their vest on doesn't mean they get to be knot-heads and forget their training.  We were accused by a few people of being to harsh on sick dogs by telling then no, they couldn't counter surf their noses or they couldn't run around bumping into and moving the furniture. "But they're sick! Give them a break!" If I let Bentley counter serf now, and he snags a piece of meat that could potentially upset his stomach even more, it's another trip to the vet and more sleepless nights as we run outside for emergency poos.  If they rough house now, they will get the idea that it's ok to do it in the future and that's just not acceptable. I'd rather get them outside in the fresh air and run around where they can stretch their legs and really run. I'm not mean, my Bentley is my life and Charlie is Steve's, but there must be rules, boundaries, and limitations no matter what - sick or 100%.

So yesterday when it became obvious the Boys were back (you could all but hear, "Dad, I'm board. Mom I'm board let go do something," the vests went on, and we took a small trip to the mall to walk around, get our feet under us again in the cool air, and see what we needed to focus on this week. I can report, we didn't lose any training ground and in many cases we all bonded even more tightly as our teams and were able to really communicate our needs with each other. It just rocked.  Sometimes the Alpha needs to let the others take point every now and then.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

MOLLE Bag Challenge Week 5 "Qué Será, Será "

OK so it's been weeks since I've been even able to consider changing out Bentley's bag, and even though I really want to do more of Tula Pink's City Sampler, I'm just flat exhausted from all Life Drama. Not because I can't do them, but because using just the solid fabrics doesn't make those blocks pop. I don't know, maybe if I could sit down and talk to her for 30 minuets....Anyway, my mother's favorite saying to me was qué será, será.  Every little struggle is a step forward, and what’s meant to be will eventually, BE.

Block Pattern:

This pattern is from Blossom Heart Quilts Free Feather Block Pattern. The pattern is very well written, super easy to follow and oh my gosh I could make these blocks all day and just have a blast doing so! I shrank the original size down to my needed 6" and yes, it made for an interesting few feather pieces, but I love the way it turned out!


These are from my "stash" of Moda Bella Solids I've been using for my Canoe Ridge Fresh Mini Quilt Club patterns.  I found these at Main Street Quilting Company here in Bozeman, and I'm pretty sure I jut need to go buy the bolts. These are my "go to" colors and I love the way they make Bentley's vest pop with color!

Moda Bella Solids: Kansas Red
Moda Bella Solids: Prussian Blue
Moda Bella Solids: Feather
Moda Bella Solids: Cheddar
Moda Bella Solids: Longhorn
Moda Bella Solids: Chocolate
Moda Bella Solids: Pesto
Moda Bella Solids: Dark Teal
Moda Bella Solids: Merlot
Moda Bella Solids: Charcoal


This blocks threads is my tried and true Aurifil 40wt Cream (2021). I angles the quilting to echo the feather angle and again, did it right over the top of the Velcro hook tape on the back.