Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 27, 2014

I really have not done much this month at all.  It has been mainly a month of volunteer work for the Forest Preserve District of Will County.

The constant rains continued for much of the month of July and I spent a great deal of time emptying the flooded garage of water.  The garden was underwater for a good bit of July on and off.  Where most of the garden seemed to tolerate it pretty good, the tomatoes and some of the vegetable garden are showing yellowing leaves and a general lack of growth.  The one thing I can say that has been great this past month was the temperatures.  Where I am sure that the tomatoes and warm season vegetables would disagree, I personally have enjoyed the fact that the weather this month has been very mild.  Some days in recent weeks it struggled to get to above 70 degrees.  Yesterday and today have been pretty warm and muggy, but another front is coming through tonight and most of this week will again be pretty mild.

I really have had a busy month with volunteering.  I have made it out to Hickory Creek Barrens to spray several times.  Sometimes alone, and sometimes with Linda, Richard and Paul.  The amount of work that needs to be done out there is mind numbing for sure.  We also had our semi-annual FPDWC Resource Management meeting last Saturday and it was a doozy.  The next day was another public workday at Hickory Creek Junction and I also butterfly monitored.  We started a new project at HCJ of trying to control the phragmites.  That project is going to be difficult and will probably take a few years.

I also was asked to present a program for the Master Naturalists at Isle A La Cache Museum.  I worked long and hard on a PowerPoint presentation and had only 9 people at the program.  Those that did attend seemed to enjoy it and get something out of it. 

I am leading a walk at Hickory Creek Barrens coming up next month for the Will County Wild Ones so I have more preparation ahead for that venture.

I have really done very little on my Star Wars costuming hobby this entire year.  I have just lost a lot of the passion for it while I watch endless arguments and other nonsense.  I find that I just don't have the desire to do as many events anymore.

One thing that I did accomplish was to finally get around to making a new Jedi costume.  I had some natural colored Osnaberg around for quite some time and always intended to re-make my original Jedi costume.  The costume went together pretty quickly as I had made some alterations to my original pattern the last time I used it.  This time I cut the pattern pieces out and the tunic went together without issue. 

While I was at it, I also added a little "bling" to my one pair of very plain Jedi boots.  I really liked the plain boots that I bought used a couple years ago because of how comfortable they are.  I walked the 3+ miles of the Racine Parade in them and they were as comfortable at the end as they were at the beginning.  I put some straps on the boots at the ankle.  I used an old mens belt and took some buckles off of a couple cheap belts I had bought awhile back.  I really like how the boots came out and love the fact that I have a great looking pair of really comfortable Jedi boots.

I also finally got around to replacing my old refrigerator.  The old fridge was constantly puking water out on the kitchen floor and was starting to raise up the tiles on the floor.  My kitchen floor is enough of a mess and I would like to take up that sub floor and see what is underneath but didn't want to do that until I got a new fridge.  The new fridge looks almost exactly like the old one but I don't think it has as much room inside.

I got notice at work that my paycheck should look a little better starting next week.  The owner used to pay half of my healthcare but cut that benefit when the economy started to tank.  Paying for my own health insurance for the last 5 years has been tough.  It has really been tough to make ends meet and I really could not save any money anymore.  With retirement (hopefully) approaching, it was really difficult to continually be in a downward spiral.  The good news is that the owner has decided to re-institute paying 1/2 of my health insurance premiums.  That is HUGE for me.  I don't know how long it will last, but I will take it.   I can finally loosen the purse strings a bit.  Maybe I can afford to go places once in awhile and also get caught up on so many of the things that need replacing around the house. 

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