August 20, 2023

Wedding Chatter - The Dress Edition

So, here we are at the tail end of August (HOW?!) already -- which means The Event is in about three months.

When I looked up and realized it was mid-August, I had a small panic attack as I had not done anything yet.  Absolutely nothing.

The panic set into motion the search for the elusive "mother of the groom dress."  You know, the one that fits well, flatters you in all the right places and, preferably, is on sale. 

I just knew that this was going to be long, drawn out process.  One that would have me scouring the internet.  Ordering dress after dress after dress; only to return them all when it was discovered they weren't "The One."

After scouring SO.MANY.sites with no luck - I finally landed on Belk.  I figured they had to have something.  Even if it wasn't The One; maybe I'd luck into something that would do in a pinch.  So, I took a deep breath and ordered one.

Friends - I found The Dress on the first try - who would have thunk it?  Certainly not I.

Not only does it fit; it also seems to flatter AND it was about fifty percent off - the Holy Grail, as it were.  Yes, it's a little longer than I would have liked (but this is perennial problem for me) but not enough to have it altered.  And yes, the "bling" is a little more "bling-y" than I was expecting.

I even already own the perfect pair of nude high heel sandals to match!  But am currently on the hunt for the perfect pair of nude flats for the reception - it's either that or go barefoot - and that is NOT happening.

And as that "bling" kept floating in my field of vision every time I wandered into my dressing room; I began to have doubts.  Is it TOO "bling-y," I wondered.  Particularly, since the ceremony will be around 4:00 pm, I think.

The Husband says it's not; that this is a wedding and I should be "bling-y" - but what does he know?  He's a guy.  All he has to do is put on a suit and show up.

Dress - it's navy; not black!

Close up of said bling

But I have determined to put all thoughts of bling out of my mind - I have a dress and shoes (or, at least one pair of shoes) - now I can turn my mind to other pressing hair and makeup.

August 13, 2023

House Projects - The Lighting Edition

 I know I've mentioned the dismal lighting situation in the kitchen before.  It has been rectified, thanks to The Husband.

Without my knowledge, he ordered a new light fixture - mainly because I couldn't find anything that I liked enough to purchase.  What was in the kitchen was a woefully inadequate track lighting fixture - which looked ridiculous, had four tiny lights that required expensive, specialty bulbs that burned out with alarming frequency, threw shadows all over the place and would heat the kitchen if left on for too long.  There was also a pendant fixture - the kind you would find over a table...except our kitchen can barely be described as an "eat in" kitchen - especially since the dining room is right there (waving my hand to the right).

That pendant also sported an Edison bulb - you know, those bulbs that look old fashioned and give out zero useful light.  And since it wasn't hanging over a table or island, many people just slightly taller than me have conked their noggins on it...repeatedly.

So I guess he was fed up and just ordered an 8 foot track lighting fixture.  Now track lighting is not my jam - at all.  But, I do have to give him credit - the one he ordered is white and unobtrusive and just kind of blends in with the ceiling when it's not on.  I don't hate it is what I am saying.  And it looks much better than a fluorescent light fixture or what was there before.

When the fixture arrived last weekend, he enlisted me to help him hang the track.  Until he got frustrated that I wasn't tall enough (even on a ladder) to be of any use to him.  I was then relegated to handing him tools.  Until he got frustrated that I wasn't clear on what he needed.  At that point, I told him I was sorry but I don't work in construction.  Then I removed myself from the situation and hid out in my office.

How he finally got that thing up there by himself is anyone's guess; but he did.  He started around 9:30 am last Saturday and didn't finish until around 4:00 pm.  It was a long day is what I am saying.

Last Sunday he put up the actual lights - which, luckily did not require any assistance from me.  

Friends...when I say the light this thing puts out is bright; that is an understatement.  We could preform surgeries in the kitchen now.  This doesn't concern me that much because since I am practically blind I prefer as much light as I can get. But I figured we would need to tone down the lighting in most instances; so he installed a dimmer.

Installing that dimmer also had it's own frustrations but it was done without my assistance and only minimal cursing from him.

Then, after looking at the fixture and the pendant (remember the head conking fixture); I determined that we didn't need that pendant anymore.  And he promised to take it down.

Yesterday was the day that the pendant came down.  This was supposed to be an easy, peasy project - just a zip zip with the drill - it was not - because of course it wasn't.  Apparently, one of the screws was stripped and this necessitated all kinds of work arounds while I stood there holding the pendant above my head and out of the way as he worked on it.

Perseverance eventually won the day and my aching arms rejoiced.

But he wasn't done.  

No, not even close.  

Because that stupid pendant put out what he likes to call "ambient lighting" (i.e., lighting that inhibits my ability to SEE) in the evening; he ordered lights for our glass fronted cabinet in the corner of the kitchen.  This is where we store extra wine glasses, vases, and other glass/crystal pieces (which, quite honestly, rarely get used).

Today was the day he planned to install those lights.  And the only help that was required from me was to help remove and replace all the pieces.  Which we did in short order.

Apparently, the installation was a snap.  (FINALLY!)

The issue that caused me to threaten a punch in the nose for him?  Putting everything back where it belonged...including the cabinet itself (which had to be moved to plug in the lights).  At every step, he argued with me about what went where.  Finally, I looked at him and stated very clearly, "I KNOW how this house is set up because *I* set it up in the first place." 

At any rate, we are still married.  I haven't punched him in the nose.  And we finally have decent light in the kitchen.  And the "ambient light" that he apparently adores SO much has been installed.

Next up?  The pendants over the bar.  He thinks they either need to be replaced or somehow raised.

Pray for him.


August 5, 2023

84, Charing Cross Road - A Book Review

 I  have absolutely NO idea where I stumbled across this little gem, 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff - was it Suzanne, Nicole or just some obscure corner of the Internet?  I guess we will never know.  But I did and I loved it.

Sometimes, I will come across a title that just sounds intriguing and I will place a hold at the library with barest of information about what the book might be about.  This was one of those titles.

When this book finally made it's way to me, I discovered it was a novel comprised of business letters between a free-lance writer living in New York and a used book dealer located in London beginning in 1945.  Which, at first blush, had me wondering if this would be of any interest at all to me.

What I discovered in between the pages was so sweet and utterly charming - as the relationship between the two letter writers blossomed into a friendship over the years that eventually led to a friendship between the family of the businessman in London and the writer and then grew again to include others in the businessman's orbit as the letters crossed the ocean - including business correspondence along with the sharing of personal, happy news and also of sad news.

It's a very short - and satisfying read (most of you know, I generally prefer longer novels); clocking in at about 100 pages; I read it in one sitting and loved every single page and all of the characters.

July 21, 2023

Office News

 I don't think I've mentioned it here on the blog; but the company has sold our building and we will be moving - most likely, sometime this fall.

As you might imagine, this has caused quite a bit of angst among the rank and file employees.  Wondering how much our commute might change (not much, we are moving two buildings down), the thought of moving to another building that we (as a company) don't own, learning that we will only have two floors instead of the four we currently enjoy, so how will we all fit?, parking (this lot is going to be a challenge for sure) etc.  Not to mention, the mere thought of having to deal with all the stuff (not to mention all the paper files) that has accumulated throughout this building in the last twenty-six years.  And it's a LOT, and I'm just speaking about our tiny department.  I know the amount of stuff that has accumulated at my desk alone in the past twenty-one years I've been with the company is hefty.

The news came down that once we are out the new owners plan to demolish the building.  This was kind of shocking to me.  I never really admired our building's architecture but, this building has been here since we moved to North Carolina (fun fact, this building was finished and the company moved into it the exact same year that we moved here), so it will be sad to see it reduced to rubble.

But I understand, the property is valuable and the cost of renovating a twenty-six year old building would be outrageous.

At any rate, I have been boxing up files (SO.MANY.FILES!) to be sent to retention; as I have been informed, that we will not have the same storage capacity in the new space (my poor arms are covered in bruises from assembling the boxes and carrying loads of files).  Lucky for our department, because of the merger/buyout/transaction (whatever you want to call it) back in 2015 most of our files, not counting contract files, were already gone.  And even though we have a group that has come in to assist with this arduous chore, I asked that they let me deal with the contract files; simply because I want to know exactly what the box numbers are for each of the files; in the event I need to have something brought out of storage...and I know that having that in my back pocket will come in handy someday in the not too distant future.

Earlier this week, the powers that be, sent out a couple of short videos giving us a sneak peek into our new space.  And while it looks very nice and modern, it is also very open.  And, if that rendering was true to life, it seems we may be sitting right on top of each other; I am already hearing concerns about privacy and confidentiality.  But, as management rushes to say, every time these concerns are brought up, there will be "phone booths" and meeting rooms.  I have a feeling those "phone booths" and meeting rooms will always be booked, and then poor Debbie, who needs to have a private conversation with her doctor, is out of luck.

In addition to the short video renderings, a link to an article about adapting to an open office floor plan was included.  And I have to say, whoever thought that linking that particular article was a good idea, obviously didn't read it.

The first half of the article discussed how much employees (the rank and file that don't merit offices, of course) hate it and how much productivity was lost; the second half of the article discussed ways to work around the obstacles that come with an open office concept; all of which were ridiculous.  So, yeah - that was soothing (not).

We shall see how this all works out, I suppose.  In the meantime, I'll be over here boxing up files and sifting through years of stuff.

July 8, 2023

Book Review: The Girl on the Porch by Richard Chizmar

 The basic premise of this novel intrigued me - a doorbell rings insistently in the middle of the night.  By the time the homeowner gets to the door; whoever rang the bell is gone.  Meanwhile next door, the Tucker's, sleep blissfully and unaware of the events unfolding.  

Until the next morning, when they learn about what happened next door and decide to look at the security camera they had installed a while back.  It seems a terrified young woman with a shackle hanging from her wrist had also been at their door that night...but their doorbell has been broken for months.

I really enjoyed this book, and I think you might too.  The writing is well done, the plot is solid, etc.  My only nit?  It clocks in at only 150 pages.  I read this book in just under two hours.  I am adding it to my Books I Love Enough to Tell You About list is because I wanted to love it - and would have if  had the story been drawn out just a little bit more; which I think could have been easily done as it left a few questions unanswered - which would have been perfect for fleshing out the story.

That being said, if you are looking for a quick and easy suspense novel, this one is solid.  I just wish it were a bit longer.

July 2, 2023

I Love My Husband But...

Why do we live in the same house as our spouse?  Whoever thought THAT was a good idea?

Oh sure, at first it's an ideal arrangement but after 30 plus years?  Not such a good idea.

I will admit upfront that I've been crabby this weekend before he even started to get on my very last nerve.  I am blaming the heat; that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

As with most incidents between spouses it all started in the kitchen.  Or, more specifically, in the kitchen regarding the dishwasher.

Yesterday, as I was loading the dishwasher after lunch The Husband piped up that he would put the food away and I happily (well, not really - remember I was already crabby) agreed that he should.  And then left for a quick errand.

My plan upon returning home was to mop the living and dining room while he was out; so that the floor would be dry before he came home from his errand.

Now, I don't know about you - but I mistakenly assumed that by offering to put away the food (silly me, I should know better by now) he would also put the said pots/pans/etc. INTO the perfectly near empty dishwasher - which conveniently resides right next to the sink.

Can you guess what I found when I came home ready to mop the floor?  A sink full of dishes - again the sink is RIGHT NEXT to the dishwasher.  Cue crabbiness escalating to pure, white hot rage.  (Why no, I don't think that was extreme - after thirty years of marriage this is completely warranted as he should know by now that however poorly he may load the dishwasher, I still expect that dirty dishes need to be put into the dishwasher when it isn't in use).

So I tidied the kitchen, started the dishwasher and then channeled that rage into mopping the floor.  Then I took a deep breath and told myself that we would have this discussion AGAIN when I wasn't in a crabby mood.

Later that evening, I emptied the dishwasher.  He actually watched me do it and thanked me for doing so (because this is a chore that he despises).  And then I watched him place his empty salad bowl into the sink that sits RIGHT NEXT TO THE DAMN DISHWASHER.

In all honesty?  He's lucky to be alive right about now.

June 11, 2023

A Cautionary Tale of Amazon Hacking

The Husband was looking over our bank statement last week and noticed a bunch of small-ish Amazon purchases.  Each line item mentioned Movie as the purchase.

He first went to Man-Child; which is understandable because back when MC was in college he would occasionally rent a movie.  But he hasn't done this in AGES; mainly because he has his own account now.  The Husband then came to me and showed me the charges.

I certainly hadn't rented any movies.

I searched my previous orders and did not see any movie rentals; which I figured would be the case because whenever I order anything, whether a physical item to be delivered or a video, I always get a confirmation email.  I had no confirmation emails for any of the dates on the bank statement.

First step was to change my password.  The next step was to hit the bank to cancel my debit card and dispute the charges.

Then I sgot a random email from Amazon asking me to update my payment information for such and such subscription service.  I assumed it was spam and ignored it.

In the meantime, we received notification from the bank denying the dispute; saying they found no evidence of fraud.  Irritating?  Yes.  But luckily, it wasn't that much that we were forced to eat.

And then another email came in for a different subscription service; and then another; and then another, etc.

I went back to my account and started looking around and discovered that Amazon DOES offer these various subscription services for Cinemax and other movie streaming sites.  Well, color me shocked.  I had NO idea that these services existed from Amazon.  When I clicked over to see what subscription services were linked to my account, I found that *I* had subscribed to all these channels.  Friends, I can assure you, I did NOT subscribe to anything other than Prime.  I immediately canceled all the subscriptions; except Prime.

I surmised that was the reason I hadn't received any confirmation emails and why there was no history in my previous purchases and why the bank refused to fund any of the money; because it LOOKED like I had subscribed to these services.

So, I figure someone, somehow, got a hold of my email address, did some basic online research and was able to guess the old password to get into my account.

Luckily, whoever got into the account never actually bought anything...but I feel sure that would have been the next step had we not noticed those initial charges fairly quickly.

I have set calendar reminders to change that password (and others) more frequently and will be checking on the subscription page often also.

Since I had never heard of this particular scam (nor of any of those subscription services) before now; I figured I'd sound the alarm so that you, hopefully, won't fall victim to the latest scam.

June 4, 2023

Three Game Changers for Me

Hair dryers, lighting and shower caddies - these are the game changers that are up for discussion today.

First up, hair dryers - for the longest time since I quit straightening my hair, I would simply let it air dry (mainly because I was lazy...why do you think I quit straightening my hair in the first place?).  This wasn't as uncomfortable as you would think since my hair is quite fine and generally dries pretty quickly.  But recently, somewhere along the way, I heard that using a hair dryer would give me more volume; particularly on top of my head.  Well, okay then.  So, I pulled out my old hair dryer and started experimenting.  And then the darn thing up and died.

I recalled seeing something on Instagram (I think?) about the Dyson Supersonic and people were raving about it. So I opened a new browser tab, ran a search, and promptly said "Nope!"

Friends, even if I had a gazillion dollars in the bank, there is NO way I will EVER spend nearly $600 dollars for a hair dryer!  I don't care how wonderful it is. There is no justification at all to spend that much.

So I looked at other options that offered the same type of "benefits" as the Dyson and ended up with this one; at a significantly better price point.  And for a brand that I've never heard of, the reviews were all pretty positive.  Although, I do recall seeing one review, which while still very positive, did note that hers caught fire.  If a review like that doesn't catch your attention, I don't know what will.

But since no one else mentioned their dryer catching fire, I figured she must have just gotten a defective one - so I crossed my fingers and hit the buy button.

Y'all.  I love this hair dryer as much as one can love a hair dryer.  I will say that the high speed/heat is extraordinarily HIGH heat.  So I don't use that setting.  But it does have a high speed, cool setting which is perfect for my needs.  It also has a medium heat/speed setting and a cool shot button.
I do have to admit, the more I played around with technique, heat settings, etc. it  really does seem to help with volume and because of the high speed it does seem to dry the hair much faster than my old one ever did.  And, overall, I'm pretty happy with the results...although, can anyone explain to me why my hair is consistently not at it's best when I'm at the office? Seriously, those days are usually my bad hair days for some reason.

At any rate, if you are in the market for a hair dryer, I would definitely recommend this one.

Have I ever told you just how bad the lighting is in our kitchen?  No?  Well, it is seriously the worst lighting situation I've ever seen.  Not long after we moved in, The Husband added under the cabinet lighting that used batteries and it helped.  A little.  But the batteries never lasted long and the light, while it helped to see what you were doing still wasn't as bright as I would have liked.

Then I saw a post on Instagram (I think it was @TheFoldingLady) about these rechargeable lights.  I clicked on that link so fast and I am really glad I did.  

Y'all - I love these things - but The Husband loves them even more since the kitchen is his domain.  These lights are bright, the charge holds for a long time, the time it takes to re-charge them is minimal.  They are magnetic, so easy to remove to recharge. 

They are excellent and worth every penny (which, honestly, they aren't that expensive).  

Although I may have never mentioned the awful lighting situation in the kitchen, I'm almost positive I have mentioned how much I despise our narrow, upright, coffin-like structure shower situation a time or two.

Immediately upon moving in, I added a shower caddy that is suspended from the shower head.  Y'all, this was not ideal for many reasons.  The top shelf was too high for me, so all my shower products were relegated to the bottom shelf...where they simply didn't fit.  Particularly, if it was a large bottle of conditioner or if there was a product with a pump.  Not to mention the fact that the hand held shower want wouldn't fit in its notch on the shower head so it was relegated to being shoved into the bottom shelf.  It was a mess.

A few weeks ago, I finally had enough and went in search of a better solution.  My initial thought was there might be a shower caddy out there that had more space in between the shelves.  This shower caddy does not seem to exist - or if it does, I never found it.

And then, I stumbled over these shelves.  Complete and total game changer for my showering experience, let me tell you.  According to The Husband, no caddy has a perfect spot in this particular shower - but let's keep in mind he is quite taller and broader than me.  So his experience does not count.  Although, he does agree this is way better than what we had.

My initial thought was to place them on the wall underneath the shower head - but then I decided they would work best on the back wall.  And not stacked but instead sit along side of each other.

They are perfect.  We haven't had them long - but that tiny, coffin-like structure seemed to have just a few more blissful inches when I showered this morning - and that is saying something.

If you are in need of a game changer in any of these three areas of your life; maybe these will help.  I know they've made my life a little better.

*as always, not a paid advertisement/sponsorship - these links are for your convenience only.

May 14, 2023


The greatest gift the pandemic gave me (other than a hybrid work schedule) was the ability to watch my garden come to life right before my eyes when Spring rolls around.

Oh sure, I'd come home and maybe be surprised that something had bloomed because I wasn't here to notice when the buds started appearing.

But during lockdown, I was able to look up from my work to notice that buds were forming on the rose bushes.  Or that the iris was getting ready to push out their beautiful blooms.  Or that the peonies were on the cusp of sharing their beauty.

Quick aside - how do you pronounce peony?  I (and Merriam Webster) pronounce it pee-UH-nee; but others in my circle insist on pee-OH-nee.  Just curious.  You can say it however you want; but I maintain that mine (and Merriam's) pronouncement is the correct one

Last week, I vented my frustration to my husband at the fact I needed to go into the office at all that week because my favorite peony was THIS close to blooming.  Geez, you would think that alone would be a valid excuse to stay home.  Not according to HR, sadly.

Though one bloom did open before I got home on Thursday, it wasn't fully open.  But I clipped it and brought it in for me to admire every time I walked by the kitchen counter.

I then kept an eye out the back window until this morning; when I noticed several very LARGE blooms were laying in grass.  Apparently, the bloom were too heavy to be held up by the stalks.  I raced outside with clippers in hand and found this...

It literally takes my breath away.

I am pleased to report there are even more blooms just waiting to burst out and share their beauty with me.  And it's official, I AM OBSESSED with this plant.

On another note, Happy Mother's Day!

April 23, 2023

Block Party Shenanigans

 You know it's been a successful cul-de-sac block party when you wake up and find a half-full jar of moonshine and a random, but very pretty, serving bowl on your kitchen counter.  The bowl wasn't quite as mysterious as the moonshine.  I think we all ended up with random serving bowls, utensils, etc. finding their way into our homes last night.  Apparently, a good majority of our kitchenware ended up at the neighbor's house three doors down.

How and why moonshine ended up on my kitchen counter is a complete mystery.  Although, I know for a fact that I did not partake; I stuck to wine all night.  In fact, I don't remember anyone drinking said moonshine or even discussing it.

To be clear, it was not a wild night of debauchery; although, I must admit, that the random, and unexplained, appearance of moonshine seems to refute that fact.

The same neighbor that ended up with our kitchenware started this "tradition" (it's not yet a tradition, but seeing as this was our third such get together in the past year, it's well on it's way to becoming one.) and it is nice to get to know the people behind those front doors.  

For the most part, on this street people keep to themselves.  So much so, that I never even laid eyes on the lady next door for YEARS.  In fact, I didn't even know she existed until the first time we had one of these parties.  I only knew that her husband lived there because I would see him mowing the grass.

So, last night my friend from two doors asked me what the "invisible" lady's name was - I said, "I'm not quite sure but I think it's Jennifer...but I'm bad at remembering names of people I rarely see."  My very extroverted friend called out, "Hi Jennifer!"  

Friends...her name is NOT Jennifer.  It's something else that does not even remotely sound like Jennifer.  My friend turned to me and said, "You ARE really bad at this."  Hey, I warned her; she's the one that decided to jump in with both feet.  Now let's see if I can remember this lady's name the next time I see her...

The owner of the moonshine has just been revealed via a group text...although, we still don't know how it ended up here. I believe that will be an eternal mystery.