November 25, 2022

An Announcement or Two...

 But first - how was everyone's Thanksgiving (or Thursday, if you aren't American)?  I've read all your posts (sorry for the lack of comments; things have been haywire for the past couple of days) and it seems that those who celebrate had a wonderful time and those that don't had a nice day as well.

Ours was lovely as The Girlfriend's parents went all out and put out an amazing spread.  And, can you believe, I don't think one picture was taken...either of the feast or the attendees.  So much for all of us having a "camera" (phone) in our pockets to document such things.

At any rate, as to why I called you all here this evening - on Tuesday evening Man-Child popped The Question and it seems we have a wedding in our future!

Which, to be fair, we've known this was coming but just weren't quite sure when (and kind of figured that's why we were invited to her family Thanksgiving in the first place).

I do have to say that Man-Child knocked it out of the park in selecting a ring.  Apparently, he has been paying very close attention to what she might like.  This bodes well for his future as a husband, I think.

In addition, Man-Child and The Girlfriend (both of which, will need new names now that they are doing grown up things, like getting engaged) are closing on a house in early December.  So in addition, to wedding planning, Christmas shopping/decorating, etc., we are now on tap to help them move.  December is shaping up to be a VERY busy one indeed.

I was honored to be asked to join The Girlfriend and her mother on an impromptu dress shopping expedition today, but I declined because for one, The Husband did not sleep at all last night (who knows why?) and would want to get home and two, because I felt that was more of a mother/daughter/sister experience and didn't want to intrude.

Despite the Bride To Be's insistence that she had no plans to actually find a dress today; she just texted me photos of the dress that she found and, I assume, procured.  Trust me when I tell you that it is STUNNING.

So, I guess with the dress purchased there is no chance that they'll elope?

November 19, 2022

Meet the Parents Update

 As mentioned, a couple of posts ago, we were set to meet The Girlfriend's parents last Saturday.  Before I go any further, let me just say to those who are very young and very much in lovedo not plan to have the parents meet on a family laden holiday, like Thanksgiving.  That is way too much pressure for everyone involved; particularly if there is an introvert in the mix.

At any rate, it was fine.  They seem to be lovely people that I look forward to getting to know better over time.  My very extroverted friend from two doors down was here, as were a couple other neighbors and it was fine.  Oh sure, I was an anxious ball of nerves before everyone arrived but it was fine.

Am I looking forward to the Thanksgiving gathering?  Well...let's just say I'm not over here ready to throw up at the prospect.  So that's progress, I guess. Right?!

The funniest thing about the whole party happened the day after.  The Husband was watching whatever he was watching (probably flipping back and forth between football and old cowboy shows) and I was in my office stitching away on my latest project* while listening to the Dateline podcast when the doorbell rang.  I figured it was my friend from two doors down.  As usual, they can never leave this house without leaving something behind, so I figured she came to get her stainless tumbler and sunglasses.  

Instead it was some neighbors that we had invited to the party but they never showed.  Turns out, they thought the party was on Sunday!  We asked them in - shared a glass of wine and some chili that was leftover from the party.  They felt terrible about the mistake but we told them it was fine (and it was) that we were just glad they showed up after all.

They are a sweet, older couple and it was nice to sit and visit with them for a bit without all the hoopla that was last Saturday.

*In the post where I mentioned we would be meeting The Girlfriend's parents, I also mentioned my latest project and how I was getting concerned that it wouldn't be a usable Christmas stocking.  I am happy to report, that despite my growing anxiety at how close the stitching was getting to the edge of the fabric, I think we just might make it by the skin of the teeth.

It was getting scary - I was afraid I'd have to scrap
the whole thing!

Also, just so you know - those damned trees are going to be the death of me.  I can't tell you how many times, I've had to rip them out and start over.  Half stitches (which are the trees and the sky) are hard for me to keep the correct count for some odd reason.

But the question remains...will it be ready by Christmas?  The Magic 8 Ball says, "Doubtful."

November 10, 2022

The Cartographers - A Book Review

 Remember way back in July, when I discovered that a library card can actually expire?  Well, way back then, somewhere online I had stumbled across a VERY positive review of The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd.  

Although, I did question whether or not I would actually be interested in a book about making maps but the review was SO enthusiastic about it that I immediately put the book on hold with the library and then kind of forgot about it as other holds started coming in.

Well, last week (four months later) it was finally my turn to check out this particular tome. I couldn't quite remember the synopsis of the story but figured, if it wasn't of any interest, I would just return it.

So when I settled in to start reading, I had no real idea what lie ahead.  And let me tell you, just a few pages in and I was hooked.  Now I know why the waiting list was four months long!

This book that centers around an old, seemingly worthless, gas station map and where certain maps can lead you.

I'm not going to re-type the synopsis - you can read that in the link above.  But I am going to suggest that you will really enjoy this read; whether you are into map making or not.

This story includes a family rift, intrigue, and an ending that I didn't initially expect.  I will say this; toward the end I kind of thought that I knew; but still...

I feel like all my book reviews basically boil down to "Go read this book!"  And they are, as I only review books I really enjoy.  

So, all that to say - Go read this book.

November 6, 2022

Sunday Evening Tidbits (otherwise known as the "We Shall See" edition)

Nothing of note to report from the home front, so I figured I'd just see where this goes...

Urspo, the dear, offered to do tarot readings on Halloween for any that wanted one.  I took him up on his offer in the spirit of spooky season and received my reading today which was as follows:

"Here is your tarot card reading, done on All Hallow’s Eve. I used a three-card spread. This is somewhat ‘past present future’ oriented, however it is also a collection of three concepts to read as one - like The Fates. I will read them one at a time and then a summary.

Mind! These are not predictive so much as descriptive. If they seem to warn, then this means to be mindful to make it different. 

1- Ace of Wands
2- Queen of Cups
3- 8 of wands

Wands are about work/activity.  Aces are about beginnings and 8's are about busyness. 
In between is the queen of cups, an emotional feeling woman, at ease/enthroned - a good thing. 
as she is between two busy cards, one 'starting' and one 'doing', the cards suggest your feeling should be followed in the next 12 months, as you have the intuition to start and do things, especially at 'work' whatever that may be."

Considering all that is going on at work of late, it seems I will need to be on my toes and follow my intuition for the next twelve months (what else is new?).  As he points out, this is more descriptive rather than predictive; but based on recent events it seems a little predictive as well.  We shall see. 

Today, Suzanne described her ideal weekend afternoon as she continues on her quest to meet the NaBloPoMo challenge (go cheer her on; she's off to a great start!).  And while, her ideal weekend afternoon sounds right up my alley (minus the football) it is not mine, at least not these days.  Generally, these days, my reading is done before bed - as that's the only quiet time in this house when The Husband is here (by the way, Suzanne, I will probably, most definitely do a review on what I'm currently reading that I really think you might like).  Wherever he is, as I've noted before, there is bound to be some kind of noise.

But, I did have an ideal weekend afternoon today.  After the infernal laundry was done, the bathrooms cleaned and the kitchen attended to I retreated to my office where I turned on the Dateline podcast (which I recently discovered and am now OBSESSED) and spent the afternoon listening to several episodes while working on a cross stitch project that I hope will become a Christmas stocking...but the further I get on this project the more I think this project, although quite pretty, will not be a viable, usable stocking.  We shall see.

In other news, we are meeting The Girlfriend's family this coming weekend!  It appears things are getting pretty serious.  Technically, we were supposed to first meet them at Thanksgiving.  But in nod to my hyperventilating at the thought of spending the holiday meeting new people, we settled on having them over to celebrate The Husband's birthday (we are Partying with a Purpose - everyone brings non-perishable food that we will donate to a local food bank) so our first meeting will be in our home with other people to act as a buffer (yes, I'm weird.  I know).  The thought is that this will relieve my anxiety.  I'm sure they are as lovely as their daughter and that it will all be delightful.  (Send me your prayers, good vibes, etc. I know I will be a bundle of nerves until this initial meeting is over).  We shall see.

Speaking of having people over, that means my mind turns to getting the house in order.  Oh, it's "generally" in order most of the time.  But having people over, particularly "new" people over, sends my mind into overdrive.  Thanks, Elisabeth, for the perfect analogy - I have too many windows open in my brain.  I need to sit and focus on what really needs to be done and what can fall into the "if I have time to get to it, that would be nice list."  Otherwise, I will make myself crazy (and, if the truth be told, probably still will).  We shall see.

October 16, 2022

A Post About Nothing

 Well, it's been a minute, hasn't it?  How does the time fly by so quickly?  It seems like I just posted yesterday...

The Husband left for Asheville on Friday and I have had a deliciously, quiet weekend.  Which was just what the doctor ordered because work these past few weeks have left me completely and utterly frazzled.

Generally, when he is gone for the weekend I try to be as productive as possible - knocking off as many of those "to do" items off the list (you know, the ones that I could do when he's here but prefer to do when he's not - as he might "undo" all my hard work immediately after - and let's be honest, if I do them when he's not here at least I get to enjoy the results for a few days).

And that was the plan for this weekend - until I woke up late (for me) on Saturday and said no.  Sure, I tidied up the bits and bobs that he leaves around but that was about it.

For some reason, the company decided to implement major changes to two different processes simultaneously a few months ago.  Which is fine - but they neglected to give any one any real training on said processes and then turned around and practically eliminated an entire department.  The only department that had ONE person who knew how to do the processes; which left the rest of us in a state of panic and learning on the fly.  

I'm not gonna lie - it's been stressful; to say the least.  Particularly, since one of those processes is how our vendors get paid.  It's been a hot mess.  It's also stressful to see an entire department decimated and people that you've worked with for years just being gone.

So after waking up late on Saturday it dawned on me that I needed some legit down time.  And that's what I have done this weekend.  The bare minimum was done (before mentioned tidying, laundry...the never ending laundry, etc.) and after that, I only did things that I *wanted* to do - paint my nails, dye my hair, just sit and read, or watch Dahmer on Netflix (not my brightest idea to do when all alone, I'll admit.  After I watched it, I had to stay up late reading to get my mind off it; hence the late wake up on Saturday).  All in a silent house.  

I keep touching on the "silent" or "quiet" because when The Husband is home this house is anything BUT silent or quiet...unless he's sleeping.  And even then, he either fell asleep with the television on or is snoring.

I think between the visit with the family a few weeks ago and the stresses of work, I needed this quiet time to re-charge.  

And I do feel calmer and more prepared to face another week of challenges...ones that are, hopefully not as daunting as they were a couple of weeks ago, now that I'm feeling a little more confident about the new processes.

But, I am ready for him to come home tomorrow.  Silence is nice but having your loved one home is even nicer still...

October 7, 2022

Navigation Nightmares

 So, last week we landed home safely after our recent road trip to see my mother-in-law.  I will not do a recap post, as nothing notable happened other than eating copious amounts of food (my God, these people and their food!  Every time I turned around someone was offering me something to eat, never mind the fact I was still swallowing something that someone else had just insisted I eat) and catching up (it was truly a wonderful visit and I am glad we went).  But I want to discuss the one issue that kept cropping up over and over again during this trip in an annoyingly, random manner.

What you should know is that we had our old route down pat.  We didn't need navigation.  Usually, the trip went like this - we would drive up to Mom's house in PA and we would either stay there the entire time OR we would stay for the night and take her with us up to CT to see my brother-in-law and his family.  Since she has moved to CT our trip would entail a completely different and new route for our trip.

So, since are completely in touch with technology and hip to the ways of the world these days, we turned to Google Maps.  Failing that, we also had options to use Waze and whatever random navigation aid that my car provides.  We were set is what I'm trying to convey.  Or so we thought.

Early on, the first bit of the trip was part of our usual route so no navigation was necessary.  But once navigation was necessary we discovered that The Husband's Google Maps had decided it didn't to talk to us after the initial instruction, oh sure it would show the route on the phone but wouldn't say a word.  So we turned to the weird navigation system in my car which, somehow, works through an app on my phone.

We quickly discovered that this particular navigation system would lag - it would tell us to turn well after we had already made the turn, etc.  So basically, it was completely useless.

We then went to Waze on my phone...which also stopped talking after telling us to drive safely  

OMG!  We were losing our minds.  FINALLY, The Husband's Google Maps decided it wasn't mad at us anymore and directed us to the hotel we had planned to stop for the night.

This scenario repeated itself over and over again throughout the entire trip; it's an actual miracle that we even made it there...much less home.  Then, as we were navigating ourselves to the last hotel for the trip home, my Google Maps thought it would be a great idea to send us to the hotel via a 2.5 mile trip through a college town (luckily she was on speaking terms with us at the time); without informing us that had we just gone to the next exit, we would have been on the very doorstep of the hotel we were trying to find.  I think, at this point, she was just being mean.

So today, I tested it again in my own backyard.  I needed to return some books to the library.  Now, I KNOW where the library is but wanted to see if it would work.  I put in the address for the library into Google Maps and hit start.  It told me to get on the main road.  And then stopped.  Then about halfway down the main road, it piped up and told me again to get on the main road.  And then remained silent and frozen for the remainder of the trip - not even bothering to show me the directions on the screen.

For the journey back to the house, I used Waze.  Again, I was told to get on the main road and drive safely.  And then she clammed up and froze, in the very same way Google Maps did on the trip to the library.

Every single person we have described this issue to thinks we are crazy; because they have NEVER had these issues.

What the actual hell is going on here?  We are not stupid people.  We are not luddites.  I've tried using these apps with the Bluetooth on and off in the car - it doesn't matter.  The apps will only work when they want to work, it seems.

Have any of you had these issues with a navigation app?  Are we crazy?  Or are we missing some vital piece to navigating?  Do you know WHY this is happening and what we can do to fix it (of course, I have Googled it to death and still haven't figured out what is wrong).  Or should we be using a different application altogether since, obviously, these three don't work well.

September 9, 2022

Friday night ruminations...

 Y'all.  This so-called "short" work week has been one really long, drawn out and stressful week that even now, at *glances at the clock* 7:10 pm still hasn't ended.  And will, I'm afraid, be spilling over into this weekend and possibly Monday .  Gosh, I hope not.

Honestly - who needs this kind of stress?  Not me, that's for sure.  But after this is over I need to sit back and reflect on how I could have handled these stressors better.  I know that I am usually pretty quick and efficient with my work; but I also know that when I am stressed AND in a rush that turns into a total mess; which equals even more stress...and insomnia.  So I think the next time I have a week like this one, I need to slllllllooooowwwww way down and focus, somehow.

Anyhow, we are planning our first actual "vacation" since COVID began - which is just one more stressor for me, honestly.  We are going up to Connecticut to visit my mother-in-law; which is long past due.  But she turns 91 in a few weeks and we just can't wait for the rest of the country to fall in line with masking, vaccinations, boosters, etc.

Between you and me, I think we should have probably taken this trip back in the Spring but here we are in September and this is a trip we need to make.  So send all your good thoughts to the East Coast in the next couple of weeks that keeps us safe and healthy.

I know there are some who think I am being silly - but honestly, in the past couple of weeks, I have seen/heard about some of the most cautious people I know coming down with COVID.  And yes, for the most part (so far) they are fine.  One of my concerns is that you just don't know how it will affect you even despite being vaccinated and boosted.  And, of course, there is long COVID to consider...

But despite all my trepidations, I AM excited to see the family - that will be nice; especially if we somehow miraculously make it up there and back without actually coming face to face with COVID.

God, I hate COVID so very much.

Ah.  Well, it seems I have created a pretty sad post, haven't I?  Sorry about that.

In other news, I wandered out into the big bed out back this evening and relieved some of this weeks stress by yanking out some Morning Glories - which, guess where they like to pop up the most?  If you guessed under the roses, you would be correct.  Now I am covered in scratches.  But that's ok (I guess?) because (for now) they are gone and while I was yanking out the vines I had an eye out for any errant blackberry bits that might be trying to make a come back and didn't' see one shoot at all.  *Says in a whisper, so the blackberry bush can't hear* I think I might be winning that particular war; knock on wood. 

(We won't even talk about the grass that continually seems to invade every flower bed in this yard but stubbornly refuses to grow in the actual yard.  No, we won't - because we are focusing on a positive ending here to usher us into the weekend.)

So there, I found a way to round up this post with a modicum of (possible) good news (unless, of course, the blackberry bush hears about this and begins to spit forth a bunch of new shoots tomorrow to be yanked out).  

My plans for this weekend are to relax and do as little thinking about hard, stressful stuff as I can.  How about you?

August 22, 2022

The Pajama Drawer

 Ok, this is going to sound utterly ridiculous...but here it goes.

This weekend was a slow, quiet weekend.  The weather, while not rainy for the most part, just had that sense of a storm coming any minute now.  So, I spent a fair amount of time indoors, scrolling Instagram (no judgment; I had already completed all my "chores").

And then I fell down the rabbit hole that is The Folding Lady's Instagram feed.  If you haven't spent any time watching someone fold various items, you probably have no idea just how soothing - and instructive - it can be.  I'm ashamed (no, I'm not) at just how much time I spent on this pursuit.

Another rabbit hole that I sometimes frequent is the GoCleanCo's Instagram feed, in the event you need a rabbit hole or two to fall into.  Actually, there are a LOT of rabbit holes on Instagram - these two are my latest Insta-obsessions.

Some of you that have been around here for a while, may remember that after I read Marie Kondo's book, I completely re-vamped the way I had been folding (most) of the clothes in this house.  Shockingly enough, I still fold the majority of the clothes in this manner - it seems to work for us.

The only areas that this method didn't seem to work was my jeans drawer (yes, always and forever to my jeans living in a drawer rather than a hanger - The Husband's jeans do go on a hanger however) and my pajama drawer.

In the jeans drawer, they are folded in such a way so that I can quickly identify if that is a preferred pair, a work in the yard pair, or if they are a "I don't like them because they stretch out after an hour of wearing them" pair.  Upon reflection, it seems I need to clean out that drawer since there are several that are deemed unsatisfactory 99% of the time.

The pajama drawer though?  A nightmare.  I can't tell you how many times, I've pulled out all the pajamas, re-folded them and put them back in.  The pajamas for some reason (I guess it's the material) wouldn't "stand up" in the drawer (also probably because I need some kind of bin/organizer in there) but, it never failed that this drawer would end up in a jumbled mess.

And then I fell down The Folding Lady rabbit hole.  And noticed, that she folded her kids pajamas as a set.  Whereas I had been folding each item separately - a lightbulb went off in my head and I immediately went to the problematic drawer, pulled everything out, weeded out what could be donated or trashed and re-folded everything as a set.  They still won't "stand up" (I'll probably add some drawer dividers in the near future) but it's not the hot mess it was before.  And now, when I pull out a fresh pair of pajamas, I am not rummaging around for the whole ensemble.  Sometimes, it's only after the fact when you realize, um yeah - this IS a better way...despite doing it a different way for your entire life.

What about you - were you smart enough, to sigh and say "Of COURSE, you should always fold your pajamas as a set!" or are you like I was...clueless?

August 10, 2022

Day 5 Update (however many days later) and The Orphan Collector - a book review

 Raise your hand if you are surprised I actually remembered to come back and tell you how this story played out?  AND that I've got another book review?

I don't blame you, I'm kind of surprised too, if the truth be told.

Turns out the AC was not dead dead (yet).  The service technicians said they would be out between 8-11 am this past Monday (of course).  They showed up around 8:20 am and were in and out of here in less than five minutes.  Turns out the capacitor (look at me acting like I know what that is!) needed to be replaced.  They had the part on the truck, took the old one off, plugged the new one in and here we are - fully air conditioned.

Although, thanks to our sweet neighbor's willingness to share their fans/stand alone and window units; we were never in any actual discomfort.

But still, the demise of the AC is a cloud on the horizon - but we won't worry about it for now.  

Moving on...

The Orphan Collector: A Heroic Tale of Survival During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic by Ellen Marie Wiseman.

Stellar reading...if you are into reading about a previous pandemic all while living through an actual, current day pandemic (or two - if you count monkeypox; which honestly, just HOW much do we have to deal with at one time?).

I'm not even going to post the whole description (which you can find in that link up there).  Just remember how terrifying the beginning of our current day pandemic was.  We had no idea - should we be washing our groceries?  Should we touch the mail?  Every person we came across could be harboring disease.  That is exactly how this story unfolds - they are afraid and with good reason.

The story centers around a thirteen year old girl and a bitter, grief stricken woman and how their lives tragically intersect over and over through the years.

I found and read this book through Prime Reading (which, if you aren't familiar, if you have a Prime account there are books that you can read for free on a device with a Kindle or Kindle app - or you can actually buy a copy.  Or check with your local library) and read this on a device - which I normally don't prefer but it comes in handy every once in a while.  And I tore through this "book" (can I call it a book if I didn't physically hold it?) and was so invested in the story that I regaled The Husband with the plot over lunch one day - and the kicker?  He actually listened and found it fascinating.

August 7, 2022

The Chain - a book review (Days Three and Four)

 Well, it HAS been a minute since I've done one of these hasn't it?

The Chain by Adrian McKinty is a page turner that's for sure.

Stephen King's blurb alone would have been enough to make me buy the book.

When a mother is targeted by a dangerous group of masterminds, she must commit a crime to save her kidnapped daughter—or risk losing her forever—in this "propulsive and original" award-winning thriller (Stephen King).

"You are not the first. And you will certainly not be the last."  Imagine dropping your child off at the school bus stop and then these are among the first words you hear when you answer the phone.

As a parent, reading this book you realize very quickly that, yes, you WOULD do whatever it takes to bring your child home safely.

If you are looking for a story that pulls you in and keeps you reading way past your bedtime, this might be a book for you.


Days Three and Four update:  Nothing new, of course.  Crossing our fingers that tomorrow we get a definitive answer/resolution.