April 14, 2024

"Peanut Grigio"

 We held our Spring cul-de-sac party last night.  And, although, no moonshine mysteriously appeared on my kitchen counter this time; I heard a good time was had by all.

I say "heard" because I had to sit this one out because I had some kind of bug and didn't want to contaminate anyone.

The third one since January.  Considering I haven't been sick since December 2019, you can imagine this makes me a little salty...or more truthfully, a LOT salty - since people seem to think that it is perfectly okay to come to work sick on the "required" in office days (gives certain co-workers the side eye).  Hmmmph, have we learned nothing over the past few years?!  Some of us have apparently not.

When The Husband departed for said party, I told him he had ONE mission - to find out just who the Mominski's were (they popped up in the pre-party group texts and none of us knew who they were; so there was much speculation).

At any rate, at one point during the festivities, The Husband hauled himself up our very steep driveway to use the facilities.  Right around that time I wandered into the kitchen looking for the Nyquil and found him pouring some wine into a freshly washed peanut butter jar waiting to be recycled.

I looked at him and asked what he was doing. I mean, who WOULDN'T be curious at this sight?

Apparently, he'd forgotten his cup when he came up the driveway and needed a refill and didn't want to go back down to get it and come back up (I don't blame him - but I think I would have just found another cup/glass - I guess he gets points for ingenuity?).  I laughed and told him to enjoy his "peanut grigio" and the party.

We were still laughing about it this morning as he recounted the goings on from last night.  Oh, and it turns out the Mominski's are an across the cul-de-sac neighbor - we'd just never known their last name.  Seems like we learn a little more about each other at every party...whether one attends or not.

March 10, 2024

Sunday Meanderings

Well, it's been a minute hasn't it?  Which means a long, meandering ramble...

As I type this, The Husband started what he called an "easy" task; installing an updated outlet with USB ports (because, oh my God!  EVERYTHING has a USB cord these days).  As you might surmise, it's not going as easily as he thought it would.

As an example, I literally heard him just say "And THAT's why I'm not a fucking electrician!"

But what really made me laugh earlier is what he said to himself as I walked by while he was Googling something to confirm he was on the right track.

"Wow, that's a nice stripper!  I need to get me one of those."

When I pointed out that wasn't something a wife wanted to hear, he re-played what he said in his head and laughed out loud, clarified, and agreed that wasn't something a wife would want to hear.

He, of course, was talking about a wire stripper - not a stripper stripper.  Or so he says... ;-)

Other than this little domestic vignette; not much else is going on around here.

***

I have been window shopping a lot lately; as I cleaned out my closet last month and I now have more empty hangers than I do actual clothes.

Does it still count as "window shopping" if you are browsing online?  I suppose it does as your computer screen can be considered a "window" of sorts.

Are any of you following @stylethieffashion on Instagram?  She did a deep dive last week on jeans.  Sizing, silhouettes, styling, etc.  It led me on a hunt for jeans with a 25 inch inseam.  In all my years of walking this earth, the shortest inseam I've ever found is a 28 inch.  And at this point in my life figured that was the best I was ever going to get without having them tailored.  And as I generally wear super skinny jeans, at least the hem would bunch up around my ankles and not drag the floor.

But, I sourced a pair of "skinny" jeans from Loft that has a 25 inch inseam and they are winging their way to me as I type.  We shall see how this pans out.

Other than Loft, I have yet to find a brand that actually has clothing with 25 inch inseams.  You wouldn't think those three inches are such a big deal; but they kind of are.

So if you have any intel on brands that have shorter inseams - feel free to share!

***

In other news, we have moved into our new office.  I don't hate it but I don't love it either.  If given my druthers, I'd rather have my old space back.

This new space is clean and modern - but despite the space, it has the majority of us piled on top of each other resulting in a lot of wasted space.  And it's LOUD.  In my old space, I had plenty of room, quiet and anonymity.  But now?  Not so much.

And, from what I gather from other departments, it lacks storage.  Somehow, by some miracle, in our small department, we have a tiny bit of storage.  I think that is because whenever I was asked what our department NEEDED in the new space, I insisted that we needed room for our files (most of which are gone now), so we ended up with many more cabinets than other departments.  In fact, I heard that we ended up having to lease extra space on another floor specifically for storage for other departments.

Seems to me, that some of these decisions were not thought through and/or the point person in our department really advocated for what I said we needed.

***

And this is where the conversation devolves into chatting about the weather.

I think we have skated through the winter season for good now (thank God!).  Yes, some days it's still chilly but the daffodils are blooming and the tulips aren't far behind (which reminds me I forgot to plant the tulips I bought last fall...oh well...maybe this year?)! And that means Peony Watch 2024 will begin soon.  Well, I should say, I hope so.  Our yard guy cut the peonies back last year; which shocked me because he didn't cut them back the year before.  And I've never cut them back, so I will begin monitoring them for signs of renewal *fingers crossed* shortly.  In the meantime, we are just going to assume he knew what he was doing...right?

OH!  And one of my many (never re-blooming) orchids is blooming AND another has four buds on it!!!! Apparently, it takes many years of patience for any orchids to re-bloom in this house; hence the multiple exclamation points in the previous sentence.

Although, I recently saw a post somewhere about taking them out of the pot and putting them into a vase/jar of water.   I may try that with the puniest of the bunch to see what happens.  I'll report back if it is a success.

***

That's all the news that is fit to post from here.  Anything exciting on your end?

February 11, 2024

A Day of Nonsense and Nuisances

 I had three things on the agenda today that I wanted to accomplish - and every single one was met with some kind of nonsense or nuisance.  

Well, technically, there were five or six on the list; but since our morning started a little later and slower than I would have liked, I slashed the list and moved a few things to tomorrow's list.

First up was to change the sheets on our bed.  I stripped the bed and went to get a fresh set of sheets only to discover that the fitted sheet was missing.  I searched the entire closet looking for that damned sheet; it was nowhere to be found.

What is so odd about this is the fact that I store my sheets together - as a set - like a normal human.  It's not like I just throw the fitted sheet on some random shelf by itself.

I usually keep two sets of sheets per bed so while one set is in the wash the other can be used to make the bed.  So now, I had a naked, un-made bed to look at all morning while the sheets were in the wash.

The only thing I can think of is that I accidently threw the sheet into the donation box during my recent decluttering/cleaning session.  Even though I don't see how that could have happened since I took great care in keeping the old (white) sheets separate from the new (white) sheets.  

Considering this morning was 1) cold, gray, rainy and 2) a random sheet had just gone rogue I was a little irritated.

At any rate, I've ordered another fitted sheet - how much do you want to bet the other fitted sheet shows up after the new one arrives?  

The next thing on my agenda was to get a bunch of pictures off my One Drive and onto an external hard drive because every time I logged on to my email, I received a very ominous message telling me that I was perilously close to my limit and that if I went over, I wouldn't be able to send or receive emails.

After a very similar situation with my work "cloud" (which I still haven't bothered to call IT about), I knew I needed to take action.

So, I logged on - and my work laptop was like "Nope - unless you encrypt this drive you can't save anything to it."  Which necessitated me using the old house laptop.  Which is when I discovered, I couldn't just copy and paste what I wanted moved.  No, instead I had to download each and every single file; which downloaded in a zip file; which then needed to be extracted onto the laptop and then, and only then, could I move the files over to the hard drive.  It was insane and took me far longer than the few minutes I had allotted to this task.

Then I had an appointment to get the shingles vaccine; thanks to Engie's very scary post about her colleague's bout with shingles.

When I arrived at CVS, the tech asked me if I had checked in online - I hadn't.  Mainly because I'd never received the check in text that I normally get.  She began to go through her computer looking for my appointment.  She found it and frowned.  Then she asked if my insurance had changed; it hadn't.  She tapped a few more keys and asked another tech a question.  Frowned some more and then asked if I had my insurance card handy.  I handed it over and she tapped some more.  Frowned and went to talk to the pharmacist.

Then they both came over and told me that my insurance doesn't cover vaccines in the pharmacy and that I had to go to either my doctor's office or the Minute Clinic.  To say I was confused was a major understatement because 1) I've received ALL my COVID vaccines at the pharmacy without any issue and 2) isn't CVS the Minute Clinic?

When I questioned her about it, she pointed to my left and told me she thought the Minute Clinic was open and to just touch the screen.

WHAT?!  

But I walked the six steps to the left - finally found the right screen to touch (there were many - I couldn't even begin to fathom out what the purpose of most of them were - much less how to open them) and tried to log in for my appointment.  And couldn't because I had made the appointment with the pharmacy, apparently.

I tried to create a new appointment for right then and couldn't because "nothing was available today." Which didn't make any sense as I was the only person in the "Minute Clinic" - which apparently, should NOT be confused with the "pharmacy."

By this time I was so frustrated I just left the store - forgetting that I had intended on picking up a prescription while I was there - which just increased my frustration to another level once I'd realized it.

What is the difference if the pharmacist gives me the shot or if I walk six steps to the left and have a nurse practitioner (I guess) or whoever give me the shot?  It was utterly ridiculous.

I stopped at one store, on my way home, and when the friendly, bubbly clerk asked me how my day was going - I grumbled.  And then felt immediately bad about it and told her that I had just had an interaction that was frustrating.  She flashed a beautiful smile and told me to not let it get me down and I assured her she had single handedly uplifted my mood - because her beautiful, cheerful, bubbly self actually did.

And she reminded me that despite the cold, the rain and all the nonsense and nuisances; things in my little world aren't so bad after all.

Oh, and when I got home and went to make an appointment at the Minute Clinic for tomorrow?  I had to laugh - it was the EXACT same process as making an appointment with the pharmacist.  So will I actually receive the shot tomorrow?  Who knows?  

January 28, 2024

January - Clean Slate Month

 Has it been nearly a month since I've made an appearance?!  

Well, I'm still alive.  Even if I haven't been around in a bit.

Things have been very busy, both at home and at work.

That work project, I told you about here continues - and, as I expected, the number of emails that need to be sent out, continues to ratchet up, up, up.  Two weeks ago, I was hit with 244!  

As you can imagine, that spun me out.  So, I've been on the hunt for a way to make this task more manageable.  Luckily, I have found a work around, last week - but it was still onerous.  But now that I know it works, I can make a few tweaks and it should be fairly less onerous when I get hit later this week.

And I'll just leave it at that - because, despite the fact that I am over the moon to have found a way to make my life a bit easier; I also know that no one wants the details.  As evidenced by my husband's eyes glazing over every time I broached the topic with him as I was trying to figure out how to make it work for me.

But I will say, if you ever find yourself in a spot where you need to do a specific email merge to different individuals, different carbon copies, blind copies and specific-to-each-person attachments - hit me up...I now know the secret.

The home front has been equally busy.  

As in the entire month of January's mantra has been clean and declutter.  Which all commenced when I rearranged our bedroom in order to determine once and for all if we could fit a bigger bed into that room.  We can and did.

The dust bunnies the size of dinosaurs hiding behind the bed is what kicked off the whole cleaning and decluttering spree.  I was horrified.  I mean, rationally, I knew there would be dust - but you never really picture it until you see it.

Currently, my "dressing room" (aka the extra bedroom) has actually become a room and not a catchall - because I finally forced myself to look at all the stuff that had been dropped in there when we moved in (however many years ago now) to be dealt with later.  Even if I still liked the whatever (and I liked most of it) - I figured if it wasn't being used, didn't have a specific home, or I didn't want to dust it anymore, it needed to go.  Now, it's an absolute delight to walk into the room and actually "see" what I have; since it's not crowded with things.

Same for the spare room/office.  All that's left to do in there is get S to come and get a few things OUT.  I don't mind storing some of his things (that are all tucked away in the upper reaches of the closet); but all the Giant paraphernalia needs to go and now he has a garage where he can keep it; as I'm sure his wife (I can't even believe I just typed that) won't want it hanging in their house.

The only room that hasn't been given a thorough going over yet is the kitchen - but it's in my sights.  Hopefully, soon.

For the sake of my own sanity, I am ignoring the fact that we have a bonus room upstairs.  It needs attention to be sure.  But it also needs a plan, a lot of sweat equity and money.  So, for now, it doesn't exist as I don't have a plan or time.

Because, going back to the office, in addition to all the cleaning and decluttering at home; the same has been going on at the office as we prepare to move next month.

An edict came down about two weeks ago that we needed to start clearing up our workspace.  And we were informed that we would receive ONE box (a very small box it turns out) to pack up what is to go.  And tucked away in that little memo was a glimpse of what was to come. The words "clean desk policy."  *shudder*

It's been whispered that we will only be allowed one personal photo.  Somehow, I don't think that will be the case; I think it will be more likely there will be no room for "extras."  I've seen a prototype of what our work areas are going to look like and they look tiny.  I guess I will see for myself when I head over to the new space for "technology training" for the conference rooms on Wednesday.

So even though I didn't plan for the month of January to be a clean slate; it does feel good knowing that we are starting off a clean and decluttered year.

December 28, 2023

Dishwashing Habits

Living without a dishwasher has opened my eyes to the most trivial bits of our dishwashing habits.

In the normal course of life with a functioning dishwasher - a drying mat (this is new to us as we used to use a tea towel; but this works better) was placed to the right of the sink on a tiny slice of counterspace  about sixteen inches - and it worked fine.  Which was great because I usually hand wash dishes from the left (washing) to right (rinsing/drying).

In the normal course of life without a dishwasher, that tiny slice of counterspace wasn't cutting it.  So I had to switch up and go from right to left so the dishes ended up on the larger bit of counterspace to the left of the sink - do you know just how hard it is to make a switch like that after a lifetime of doing it one way?!

At first, I thought maybe I washed dishes from left to right because I am left handed.  But then, the more I thought about it (see what happens when I'm left to my own devices?  I overthink the most trivial things); I remember growing up we always washed from left to right...and my parents were right handed.  Although, recalling that kitchen set up, perhaps that's why we did it that way.

And that got me to wondering; does EVERYONE generally wash from left to right?  

And since Elisabeth and I are both on the same left/right page today, I'll also ask - are you right or left handed and do you think that has anything to do with the way you hand wash dishes?

December 26, 2023

Post Christmas 2023


Well, we did it.  We crossed the finish line.  Oh sure, some of us are a bit bedraggled and still have that crazy glint in our eyes - but we made it.  Now, it's time to rest and prepare to take on a new year. 

The run up to the holiday was a hectic one with much to be done - baking; cleaning; wrapping.  You all know the drill; as I assume most of you were doing the same.

But starting on Thursday, a couple of wrenches were thrown into the mix.

Despite the fact that I am on VACATION, there is a project going on at work that I must attend to weekly.  And up until last week, this has been fairly manageable on my end.  This project involves a government entity and tight deadlines.  So, when I get the news that I need to act on my part of the project, I need to act right then.  On Thursday, I got notice that I needed to send out over 100 emails.  Now, this can't be an email blast; it needed to be over 100 INDIVIDUAL emails that needed to go out with multiple, various people copied on each email.  Honestly, I thought my head was going to explode.  But, by some miracle, I got it done.

And on Friday, the Appliance Gods decided that the dishwasher needed to stop working.  Because, apparently in this house, it is illegal to have ALL the appliances working during any given holiday.  But, as I repeatedly reminded The Husband, at least we still had hot water (honestly three years later and I still have not recovered from THAT nightmare!) and I announced it would be All Hands on Deck for kitchen clean up for the holiday. 

From there everything else went wonderfully.  The Happy Couple came over early afternoon on Christmas Eve; we played Catch Phrase (I had forgotten just how much fun that game is), and had a lovely dinner.  They stayed the night and we opened our gifts on Christmas morning.  After a leisurely breakfast, they headed out for her parent's house.

We spent Christmas day putting the house back together (ish) and in the evening headed two doors down to have Christmas dinner and our gift exchange with our friends.

And Gerard ended up coming home with us...

Reading by the tree light

Back in May, I gifted my friend a gnome doing yoga for Mothers Day; which she loved so very much.  So much, according to her husband that she immediately fell down a gnome rabbit hole on the Internet.  Her husband opined that he figured he'd eventually have a whole army of gnomes in his front yard.  He's probably not wrong on that count as I feel that a gift giving tradition between the two of us has been sparked.  One that I will happily accept.

I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and look forward to stepping into 2024 with you all!

xo





December 21, 2023

A Christmas (Cookie) Miracle...

On Tuesday, I took five batches of defrosted dough and made cookies.  But that is not the miracle.

No, yesterday I was determined to wrestle with the cookie press and make spritz cookies.  Why, you may ask, do I continue with that damned cookie press every year?  Because S (aka Man-Child) loves those cookies beyond reason.  In fact, he once wrote a story (a very well written, dark, and grim Christmas story - which is also a very un-Christmassy story) around those very cookies.

So, once again, I gritted my teeth and pulled out the cranky cookie press and re-visited the recipe.

Those that have been around here for any length of time know that I am not a very free spirited cook.  Hell, I don't cook at all.  But I like to bake.  But to me, baking usually means if I follow the "rules" (the recipe), I will be happy with the results.  Until it comes to this recipe.

But yesterday, when I looked at the recipe, I said to myself, "Oh hell no.  That is far too much flour and not enough butter!"  And I became a rebel for the first time in my baking life.  I cut down on the amount of flour (to be honest, I could have probably cut another half cup - but the "rule" follower in me pushed back a little) and added some melted butter to the finished product before inserting the dough into the press.

And finally!  The cookie press worked as it was intended (for the most part).  There were no tears.  No cursing.  And we ended up with more than one shape of cookie!  Were they perfect?  By no means.  But prior years we've ended up with one shape.  Anything else was a blob.

And even better?  These cookies are SO much better than the original.

Was it still a hot mess?  Yes.  Yes, it was.  You are still going to be covered in dough and greasy from head to toe; but the results are worth it for the pleasure these cookies bring S.  I think the only way around it (marginally) is to have three or four different presses loaded with different disks so you don't have to keep changing them out (if you want different shapes); but that seems extra ridiculous (not to mention, more to clean and store).  So I will press on (if you will) and continue to use the modified recipe that works so much better than the original.

December 12, 2023

Christmas Progress

I don't know how it is in your house; but in this house the wheels of time regarding Christmas seems to move at warp speed!*

The tree went up on the weekend of the second.  Well, I should say, the new tree.  The old tree went up on the first - only to discover that NONE of the lights were working.  I debated whether or not I should just throw some lights on it; but decided NOPE.  I bought a pre-lit tree and this tree was no longer pre-lit so away it went and a new pre-lit came in (I sincerely hope this tree lasts longer than the last one; we spent a bit more money on it so fingers crossed).

After decorating the tree, I turned my attention to ornament boxes.  We currently have four and most of the ornaments are never used.  I was (hopefully, we'll see after I undecorate the tree) able to get it down to two...fingers crossed.  But, even if we just get it down to three this year...that's better than nothing.

Despite me putting a reminder on my calendar to start shopping for Christmas back in October; I neglected to make any real progress.  Oh sure, I bought that one gift.  Luckily, I did have the foresight to take the week off AFTER Thanksgiving and the wedding (and let me tell you, this is THE best week to take off to make a serious dent in Christmas decorating/shopping; I will be doing this from now on).  It was then that I was able to make headway on my list.

My mother-in-law's gifts have all been purchased, wrapped and packaged.  Tomorrow it will land at the post office to be shipped off.  I think I have most of The Happy Couple's list done (administrative note: going forward they will most likely be known as S and A; at least when mentioned separately).

I want to give you a sneak peek at one of the gifts for S this year...


This was almost two years in the making, people.  I was a quarter of the way through The Shining when S casually mentioned that maybe The Shining wasn't his favorite Stephen King book after all; that maybe Doctor Sleep was (are you kidding me, son?!).  Then I *think* he accidently saw the work in progress a few months later; so despite finishing it in time for last Christmas, I just put it away thinking maybe he'd get it this Christmas.  And then toyed with the idea of making another one.  Quite honestly, knowing how much work went into the first one, I put it off.  But eventually caved.  These aren't quite finished as I still need to cut them out; baste (or Stitch Witchery it - most likely I will go this route) the edges and frame them.  

As of Wednesday I'm technically off for the rest of the year (oh sure, I'll still be checking email for my own sanity and making myself available "as necessary" - what can I say, business still needs to be dealt with even in my absence) and am prepared to Shop Like I Mean It to wrap up the rest of the list; much to The Husband's (and my bank account's) dismay.


* I started this post on Sunday; it's now Tuesday night.  The only thing that held up this post was taking the picture but, of course, in the run up to vacation work was so bonkers I only just now got around to taking the picture.

November 28, 2023

Wedding Recap

 Whew!  What a whirlwind weekend; what with Thanksgiving AND the wedding.

So, our Thanksgiving was....

Oh, I know you aren't here for that.  You want to know about the wedding, don't you?  Read on.

It was perfect.  Well, except for the fact that my sister-in-law came down with food poisoning from something she ate on the way to get here and she ended up missing the wedding. 

But, other than that it was perfect.

Yes, I was in tears all day - but happy tears.  Seeing my husband in his suit and tie; teared up.  Seeing the broad, excited grin on my son's face just before the ceremony; teared up.  Watching as he walked up the aisle preceded by his best friends; teared up.  Seeing his face when he saw his bride for the first time; teared up.  Watching his bride walk up the aisle; teared up.  Seeing him wiping happy tears from his face; nearly lost it completely.

I'm telling you, there wasn't one moment when I didn't have tears leaking out of my eyes.

But this was another moment when I almost burst into sobs.

Her dress was absolutely stunning.

Look at how happy he looks.  A mother wants nothing more than to see her child this ridiculously happy.

Here's another that gives you a better look at the dress.

Stunning, I tell you.

Although, he did get a bit distracted from his beautiful bride for a minute...I caught him and most of his crew catching the final minutes of some silly football game.  Fortunately for him, his bride knew what she was getting into with this guy and football.

Seriously, guys?


This isn't the best picture of us - nor does it particularly show off my dress.  While I was okay with my (practically non-existent at this point) make up, I am not pleased with how my hair turned out.  But, you know what, I don't even care; because scroll back up to that first picture to see how happy he is. 




Other than the wedding, it was great to catch up with family.  Fun fact, we haven't been in the same room at the same time with both my husband's brother and sister's families since 2017!  And then, we were all staying in different places and didn't have many opportunities to catch up.

This time, as we were all staying in the same hotel; after the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, we all gathered in the lobby of the hotel and proceeded to catch up.  And then we were SHUSHED!  Now, in our defense it was only 9:00 pm on a Friday night (there were still young children in the lobby, for crying out loud) and it's not like we were rowdy; we were just laughing.  And is it our fault, that they decided to put the first floor guest rooms right next door to the lobby?  I mean, with a little forethought they could have made those rooms closest to the lobby store rooms instead of guest rooms.  Honestly, do I have to do all the thinking around here?

It was amazing; SO AMAZING...but I'm glad it is over (only because of how anxious it was making me; SO anxious).

And now we turn our attention to Christmas...

November 20, 2023

Duke Power - Doing What They Do Best; Mutilating Trees

Every year, about this time, Duke Power sends out their tree "experts" to mutilate "trim" the trees across the state.

And every year, about this time, I am reminded how much it infuriates me to see what they've done - all in the name of "trying to keep the power on if we get snow or, more likely, ice."

I'm also very thankful that the power lines in our neighborhood are under ground; because if they did this to my trees (minus the pines, after this happened TWICE; they can take down all the damn pines in my yard that they'd like) I would be raising such a fuss that I'm sure the cops would be called to take me away.


And they call themselves "experts"

They've ruined this tree and many, many others along this road and across the state.  

I mean I realize the "why" behind their reasoning, but honestly doing this to a tree should be illegal.  Seems to me that the money they spend mutilating trees would be better spent by putting the power lines underground; which coincidently would most likely stop this tree from toppling over into the road.