December 22, 2017

Christmas Dessert - help me out here

Usually, at this point in the Christmas season, I would have had at least one request for a particular dessert for Christmas dinner.  This year, no requests and I'm at a loss as to what to make.  And, I need to make whatever it is fairly soon because I know that The Husband will have commandeered the kitchen by Sunday afternoon.

So today I asked my family if they had any particular desire for one treat or another.  Even Man-Child, the one with a major sweet tooth, the one that loves to be home when I'm baking so he can lick the batter bowl clean, had nothing.  So I asked my friend, whose family will be joining us, she couldn't think of anything - but then again, she's got a lot going on in her life right now.  Too much to be thinking of desserts.  I do know that her middle son would be over the moon if I made a coconut cake - but to my mind that is more of a spring/summer kind of treat.

So here's where you come in.  Tell me what dessert makes you think of Christmas.  Perhaps it's something that is always on your table for Christmas.  Or maybe a childhood favorite.  Or something your mother or grandmother always made.

If you guys can't help me out or give me something overly complicated, I'll probably fall back on the Lemon Pound cake - but that also strikes me as a "summer" dessert.

December 18, 2017

Jeans report...

I have been on the hunt for new jeans now for about six months; basically ever since our company announced that we could wear jeans to work on Fridays.  Yes, this very old-fashioned company is slowly, but surely, being dragged into the 21st century.  The guys are still rejoicing that they don't have to wear ties everyday.

So for the past six months or so, whenever I was out and about, I'd look at the jeans.  And, inevitably, they'd all be far too long for my short, little legs.  I just knew the solution would be to head to the Levis outlet because I recall the last time I was there, many moons ago, I saw that they did offer jeans in various inseams.  Something that isn't offered at Kohl's or wherever, apparently.

Today was the day.  I had The Husband wake me up before dawn as he was leaving for work.  My plan was to be out the door by 8:30, as the outlet stores open at 9:00 am.  I had to revise my plan after my day started and I got a little distracted.  Instead I was out the door by 9:00.  Semi-success.  Now, why was I so determined to get such an early start?  Because the outlet stores are about an hour away AND it is Christmas time.  I figured, if I got there early it wouldn't be too crowded.  Plus, I was banking on the fact that most people aren't off work yet.

My plan worked until I walked into the Levis store.  That's kind of where everything fell apart.  Yes, they did have some of the style of jeans (high waist, skinny jeans, if you must know - with these short legs bootcut; just doesn't work!) I wanted with the shorter inseam...but the saleswoman told me, after questioning why I couldn't find my size with the shorter inseam, that they only offer the shorter inseam on the "smaller" sizes. Seriously?!

What's up with that Levis?  Not ALL short women are toothpick thin, thank you very much!  You might want to re-think that whole strategy.

Needless to say, I walked out of the Levis store empty-handed but undeterred.

I found myself at The Gap - same problem.  Nothing in my size with the shorter inseam.  Although, they did have a pair of khaki-type pants that worked perfectly - so at least they got a sale out of me.

I continued my quest and eventually landed in the J. Crew outlet.  And lo and behold!  THEY had the skinny jeans I was after IN my size and with a short inseam!!  I was beside myself...until I looked at the price tag.  I had seen a sign that some jeans were on sale - these were not under that sign.  But I took a chance, before trying them on I asked the saleswoman if these happened to be on sale.  She replied that everything in the store was 50% off.  Given that assurance, I headed toward the fitting room.  Not only did they fit perfectly, the length was excellent AND there were real pockets - not full size front pockets, but pockets nonetheless!  Yes, this is huge because I have been tricked into buying jeans in the past that did not have real pockets which has led to me having trust issues when it comes to jeans.

Considering that they were on sale, I snapped up two pairs.  As I was checking out, I mentioned to the saleswoman that they apparently were the only store that carried shorter inseams in my size.  She commiserated with me and then mentioned that these jeans are great in that they hold their shape and don't sag as the day wears on.  I was stunned - every single pair of jeans I have bought in recent years always, always sag by the end of the day.

Upon arriving home, I immediately put on one of the new pairs of jeans and have been wearing them all day.  Not only have they not sagged, they are extremely comfortable.  Now, to be clear, I love these jeans - but I would not have bought them at full price.  The price point is just a little too dear - but at half off?  In the style I wanted?  Yes.

This is not a sponsored post - but if you are in the need for jeans with a short inseam - head to J. Crew outlet - they can hook you up since Levis, the iconic brand for jeans, cannot if you aren't a toothpick.

December 16, 2017

From our home to yours...Merry Christmas.

My friend, DJan, shared a sweet card with her followers and is the inspiration behind this post.  Thanks, DJan!

I've sent out a ridiculous number of Christmas cards for years - until The Husband was laid off several years ago.  That put an end to that practice fairly quickly.  Having just one income makes you re-think your priorities.  Once he found another job after a couple of years and I felt a little more stable, I was ready to start sending cards again - but this time I culled that list down; WAY down.

Also, back in the day, I would make a point of having a picture taken of us or just Man-Child to either include in the card or to be the card.  Then, all of a sudden, one day Man-Child grew up and never seemed to be around anymore for picture taking.  So I would spend hours (or so it seemed) trying to find the perfect card to send to those nearest and dearest.

This year, inspiration struck after an extra early snowfall.  And after creating the card, having CVS print them, stuffing envelopes, etc.  I went back and made one especially for you.

Yes, this is our house.  On the back reads like this post's title.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday - I wish you nothing but peace, joy and love in this season.

December 13, 2017

The Husband and his "date" and other random bits of information

Tonight is The Husband's Christmas party - and I'm going to be honest, I was dreading it.  He, of course, was looking forward to it.  About 3 or 4 hours prior, I kind of mentioned that I really didn't want to go.  Strangers, small talk, etc.  Not one thing about it appealed to me.  I take that back, the venue appealed to me, but not enough to overcome everything else.

The Husband, knowing how I am, told me I didn't need to go.  But I felt torn because I knew I should go and didn't want him to go alone.  So I floated the idea that he take Man-Child with him and he loved the idea.  Now, Man-Child wasn't home when we had this conversation so we had no way of knowing if he would even want to go.  But I figured, he's been having a tough time of it lately and that it wouldn't hurt for him to get out and have some fun - because yes, I realize that socializing should be fun but for me it's hard unless it is people I know.

Luckily, Man-Child readily agreed to go in my stead (which tells me he really needed to get out!)  So, I dressed them up, took a picture and sent them on their way.

Sorry for the weird cropping - the table is COVERED in stuff,
but I liked the Christmas tree reflection on the left side...

Now on to the other random bits...

Back at the end of October, we upgraded to U-verse (and, for the record, no, I still haven't dealt with the modem/box thing) and since then my phone has constantly dropped the Wi-Fi connection.  I've gone back and forth with AT&T over Twitter and they finally told me it had to be a problem with Verizon.  So I tweeted back and forth with Verizon and they told me it had to be a problem with AT&T since the phone will stay on Wi-Fi with other connections.  While not a serious issue, it was making me crazy.  But, I do have to say, tweeting with customer service at both companies was an awesome experience.  Yes, I said it.  Usually, when dealing with customer service over the phone they make me crazy.  Either the customer service is getting better overall or the tweeting customer service reps are just better.  Who knows.  I'm hoping the former.

While at the Verizon store the other day to upgrade Man-Child's ancient phone, I casually mentioned to the lady helping us my problem.  Her first response?  This an AT&T problem.  But then she thought for a minute and said, "Have you tried removing the battery or re-starting the phone?"  I had re-started it and "forgot" the connection and re-entered the password several times, to no avail.  I held off removing the battery because removing the phone from the Otterbox is an ordeal.  So after the guys left tonight, I sat down and went to work removing the phone from it's case.  I had forgotten how pretty and slim my phone really is!  But, I know me, it needs to live in the Otterbox or it wouldn't last a day.  I freed the phone, removed the battery, waited a few minutes, put it back in and turned the phone on.  Hot damn, if that phone hasn't stayed connected to the Wi-Fi for the last 30 minutes.  So hopefully, that is the fix. 

And, it's not.  The phone just now started randomly giving me notifications that the network disconnected again - of course AFTER I put it back in its case. *sigh*  Any tech gurus out there with an idea?  I'm so tired of these little, nitpicky things irritating me.

As for my car...OMG.  My car.  We really do have the worst luck with cars, it seems.  Triple A picked up the car and took it to the dealership.  We were told that if the first garage's diagnoses was correct the job should only take a couple of hours.  We never heard from them.  Finally, I asked The Husband to call so we would at least know where we were in terms of getting it back.

When The Husband finally was connected to the service manager he was told, "They couldn't find it."  Horrified, I said, "They can't find my car?!"  But no, they couldn't find the problem.  Are you flipping kidding me?  So where did all my antifreeze or whatever it is that keeps a car from overheating go?  They were supposed to call back when they found the problem.  But seeing as it's after 6:30 pm, I don't think we are going to hear back tonight.

So, in all probability, I will be car-less tomorrow too.  The only good thing?  I don't have to go to work.  But I'm behind on Christmas list buying and am beginning to fill the pinch; so I need that car to be fixed soon.  And?  I'm kinda tired of being house-bound and dependent on others to drive me around. 

Fascinating blog material, wouldn't you say? #yawn

December 12, 2017

Really, nationwide garage chain people? Did you think I was dumb enough not to look at other options?

So my car dinged at me today.  It took me a little while, but I finally figured out why - the car was overheating.  I pulled over immediately to mull my options.  I knew I didn't feel confident to drive the car any length of time, so I pulled into a nearby large, nationwide garage. 

They told me that they could look at the car, but that it would be a couple of hours.  I called The Husband to come pick me up.

Several hours later, I got a call from the shop.  They told me it would be over $700 to fix the car.  AND they suggested that the tires be rotated and aligned.  Oh really?  Why were they even looking at the tires?  That had absolutely nothing to do with why I brought the car in.

We informed them that we wanted to see if our warranty covered this repair and to not do anything until we determined that.  Then we called our friend who is car guy to get his opinion.  He determined that the car part was only $80.  So basically, this company was going to charge me $620 for labor.  I realize that car mechanics are experts and deserve to be paid for their labor but $620 dollars worth for two hours?  Really?  Who were they going to have working on my car?

We then called the dealership.  They couldn't tell us if the repair was under warranty; we'd need to call the warranty people but they told The Husband that if the repair wasn't covered it would only cost...wait for it...$200.  Which makes me wonder what the nationwide garage people would have quoted The Husband had he brought the car in?

After talking to the warranty people, it appears the repair is covered - thank goodness because, hello, Christmas time! 

Generally, I like to think the best of people but this has just left a really nasty taste in my mouth.  If I didn't have these options to turn to, I would have been taken advantage of; basically I would have been royally screwed over.  How can these people live with themselves?  I am utterly disgusted.

December 9, 2017

First snow of the season!

Here in North Carolina we are experiencing our first snow of the's definitely early for around here.

After the harrowing ride home yesterday - no; not due to slippery conditions but more to do with overly cautious drivers (which isn't a bad thing, really) - which took me well over an hour and a half, I was pretty much done with matter how pretty it is...and it IS pretty, I'll give you that...

My yard this morning

Then I saw on the news that it was snowing in Houston (what?!)  I immediately texted my oldest and dearest friend.  She confirmed, they had snow.  She even sent pictorial proof...

Seriously?!  This is a LOT of snow for Texas!

I assume hell must have frozen over. And dusted the palm trees.

Then we chatted about the improbability of us both having snow at the same time.

I remember the first time I actually saw it snowing after we moved here.  I was SO very excited.  Having come from Texas, this was a dream come true.  Dragging my New York born husband from the shower, I exclaimed over how pretty it was - he, soaking wet, wasn't as enthusiastic as I.

But today, as the snow continued to come down, I grumbled a little, "I've got far to much to do for this inconvenience..." but deep down inside, I marveled at how the world looked like a snow globe.  And realized, I have reached that point where I can still revel in the beauty and at the same time carp about the inconvenience.

But's awfully pretty.

And, with any luck, the sun will come out tomorrow and the streets will be clear.

December 6, 2017

I'm almost ready to give it all up and go live off the grid...almost.

Earlier this week, The Husband asked me about a charge on our bank statement.  I had absolutely no idea what that charge could be and told him so.

It appears the company is legit and is some kind of magazine/subscription service - the catch is, we don't receive any magazines or subscriptions.  Apparently, we've been dinged for $30 every month since February...obviously, we need to keep a closer eye on our account.  The bank has promised to reimburse us - we've yet to see any evidence of this.

But they've cut off my debit card - because OF COURSE it was my card that was compromised.  So while I wait for the new card I can't access cash.  Cash which would be nice to have access to at this time of year if for nothing else than to drop into the Salvation Army buckets.

In a funny twist of fate, my co-worker friend that I mentioned all this to told me that all of a sudden she started receiving a magazine that she hadn't ordered or paid for - which has me wondering if somehow the cosmos are messing with us and I'm paying for the magazine she's receiving and doesn't want.  Somehow that would be my luck.

Then today - The Husband informs me when I get home that somehow Office Depot/Max (just what is the official name these days?) was paid.  But that he didn't have any paperwork suggesting that he needed to pay it.  And he didn't remember paying it.  He wanted to know if I paid it.  Here's the thing, I don't pay the bills.  I reminded him of this and threw in the fact that he thought I wasn't up to the task - he denied that part. But more vehemently denied that he physically pushed the button to pay Office Depot/Max.

Then he dragged me into the obstacle course of trying to log in to our Office Depot/Max account.  Despite the fact that we have that information written down, we were unable to do so.  Which then necessitated me having an online chat with an Office Depot representative - a representative who could not even find evidence of us having an account - all the while The Husband was nattering on about how he COULDN'T have paid that bill.

To the Office Depot/Max representative - I'm sorry I hung up in mid-chat (do you call it "hanging up" when you close out of a window mid-conversation?) but he was driving me crazy.  Basically, it was a him, not you, situation.

Finally, I told The Husband that it's obvious he paid it.  And then walked away.

And that's why I'm almost ready to close my bank account and close all my online accounts and live off the grid.  The only reason I won't?  Because I know that even though those frustrations will go away there will be other ones - harder ones - to take their place.

December 3, 2017

It's the most busiest time of the year...

I swear this is the first time that I've actually sat down today - not that I'm complaining...much.  I DO love Christmas.

But I love it even more once I'm on vacation; or as The Husband calls it, my sabbatical.  As most of you know, I hoard most of my vacation time to take at the end of the year.  It all started when Man-Child was tiny - I hoarded it mainly for random snow days back then.  Now, I squirrel those precious vacation days away and take a huge chunk of December off.

This year, I have been extra miserly with my vacation time, because it appears my last "official" day at the office will be this coming Friday.  And I can't wait.

This weekend has been an extra busy one.  I had two main goals this weekend.  To get a tree and to make a bunch of treats as we are having Holiday Treats at work tomorrow - which if the turn out is as great as last year it will morph into Holiday Treats week.

When making treats, I always make far too much - but this time it's not my fault.  I kept getting requests.  "Oh, can you make that cheese spread again?  I LOVED it." "I would die happy if you could make those Oreo truffles again." "You will be making that peanut butter fudge, won't you?" "Almond bark, please?"

And, I obliged.  And spent all day Saturday making candy.  I refrained from making spritz cookies, only because I had made them the week before when I was testing my new cookie press.  These people I work with are spoiled, spoiled, spoiled.  I hope they appreciate me.

Today found us up and out early.  We headed out to Garden Ridge At Home (whatever, I still maintain that is a stupid name for a store) as we had decided to go with a pre-lit artificial tree this year.  Years ago, we had an artificial tree when an ice storm ruined all the real trees and loved it.  We tossed that tree when we moved into the condo a few years ago because the lights  had quit working and it was looking quite ratty.  Since then, we've gone back to real trees.  Until now.  Artificial trees are just so much easier.  And the older I get, the easier I want my life to be.

The tree  is up - kind of.  It's standing the foyer but it's not fluffed or decorated or even lit.  The chair needs to be moved first so the tree can move into it's proper position and other things took precedence.

Like decorating the front porch.  And driving the majority of those treats to work so I won't have to schlep them all at once tomorrow. And wrapping the gifts I have bought so far.  Which led to this tweet earlier...

And it's true.  As I did last year, the majority of presents will be wrapped in white paper with colorful ribbons.  Except for those that must be shipped.  I usually don't put ribbon on those presents because they just get crushed in shipping.  So for those presents, I use colorful paper.  So I grabbed some paper from my stash and set to wrapping - all the while thinking, "Gee, I remember using this paper when Man-Child was small."  And right about the time I was cutting the paper, I realized.  This was cheap, poorly made paper that ripped without provocation - which explained why this paper had been around so long.  I promptly trashed all of it.  Wasteful? Yes.  But it will save me headaches next year.

All this to say - I've been a tad busy.  In between treat making, tree buying, porch decorating, gift wrapping, paper trashing, treat delivery I've also had to deal with the laundry - because oh my God, laundry never stops.  Speaking of laundry, I bought myself this sign.

When The Husband saw it he laughed.  And then said, "Actually, you have a laundry closet, not a room.  And who's going to see it?"  ME.  I will see it.  And it will make me smile.  And eventually, I'll get around to making it hang straight.

And since it appears, I've never posted either the cheese spread recipe or the almond bark recipe, here you go.  I have absolutely no idea where they originated from - but it certainly wasn't my ideas - I do know they were pre-Internet days though - so apparently, they've stood the test of time.

Almond Bark

6 squares (1 pkg) semi-sweet chocolate
6 squares (1 pkg) white chocolate
1 cup toasted almonds

Microwave chocolates in separate bowls on high for 2 minutes or until almost melted, be sure to check often - you don't want to burn the chocolate!  Be sure to keep checking and stirring until completely melted. Stir half the almonds into the semi-sweet and half into the white.  Alternately spoons melted chocolates onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet.  Swirl chocolates together with a knife to marbelize.  Refrigerate one hour or until firm.  Break into pieces.  Share.  Everyone will think you are a genius...I promise.

Vermont Chedder Spread

1 (3 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups coarsely grated sharp white cheddar
3 tsbs chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp dried mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix cream cheese and butter till blended.  Add everything else and beat till fluffy.  Refrigerate.  Use to spread on bread, crackers, etc.

The perfect savory treat to counter-act the sweet.  Generally, I will also stuff some Pillsbury french bread rolls into some old Pampered Chef bread tubes to go along with the cheese spread.

So with all that done, and a post posted, I imagine that darn tree will stand in the foyer until next weekend.  Maybe then, I'll have the energy to decorate it.

November 25, 2017

Thanksgiving dinner recap...

So as we discussed a few posts ago, this year we went off script and had dinner out.

I am sorry to report, it was not well received by any of us.  To be honest, I was surprised - because this particular restaurant is a very good one with fabulous food, usually.

Man-Child and I both ordered the Thanksgiving dinner and The Husband ordered off the regular menu.  The Husband's meal was up to par - Man-Child and I were disappointed.  It appeared that they slapped some deli turkey on a plate and covered it with watery gravy.  The look Man-Child made when he tasted the collards (seriously?  Collards for Thanksgiving?  Is that a thing?  It isn't for this family.) warned me off even trying them.  About the only thing we enjoyed were our carbs - the bread was perfection as were my mashed potatoes and his sweet potatoes.

Even the dessert was a bit of a disappointment.  Some sort of cranberry/apple cake, which although it was moist was extraordinarily dense.  They would have been better off serving a Mrs. Smith's pie.

I don't want to come across as ungrateful - I'm not.  This place was open and serving nomads like us, it was a holiday for them too, yet there they were.  And The Husband was stress-free this year - which is why Man-Child and I didn't complain. 

So, if we do this experiment ever again, we will choose another restaurant - although normally, I would heartily recommend this restaurant.  But I would suggest that places that offer Thanksgiving dinner might want to look at what they are serving and compare it to their usual menu.  If the Thanksgiving menu is of such inferior quality to what they would normally serve - then give the staff the day off and let them enjoy the holiday with their family and friends and let people like us find other accommodations.

It's a good thing we had the pie waiting for us at home - that part felt right.  And, as an FYI, using the single pie recipe (and doubling it - because I couldn't decide between chocolate or cherry) works MUCH better than trying to make a three pie recipe into a single.

Despite our lack of complaints, The Husband must have felt sorry for us as he is currently in the kitchen making a small turkey dinner.  Man-Child whispered in my ear that is was a "guilt" turkey - I had to stifle a giggle.

November 20, 2017

Cream Cheese Pie

Since it was requested from my last post (okay, it wasn't actually requested, but Suburban Correspondent was curious...) today I will tell you how to make a cream cheese pie.

This pie (or more specifically three of these pies) has been a staple for Thanksgiving since I was a child.  And you should realize this does not technically fall under the term "Baking."  Instead it falls under the term "Mixing Up a Few Things and it Works."

You should also realize, my mom was not a baker - so it's no wonder this was a Thanksgiving and Christmas staple.  Generally, we had chocolate, cherry and blueberry.  Occasionally, a lemon one would sneak in.

I have found this recipe which claims to make one pie.  The directions I have make enough for three and I figured I would spare you the drama of trying to make only one from that - of which I have consistently failed.  I'll probably use that recipe this year instead.

Without further ado - you will need:

1 9-in graham cracker crust
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp of vanilla
1/3 cup of lemon juice
filling of choice (as stated earlier, usually chocolate pudding, cherry or blueberry pie filling)

Beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth.  Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.  Pour into piecrust; top with filling.  Chill until set (I usually make these a day ahead and that seems to be okay).

As I said, "baking" it's not - but it IS easy, quick and delicious.  And obviously, a favorite of Man-Child's.

November 18, 2017

A different Thanksgiving this year.

Long time readers will know that generally, every year we host Thanksgiving for dear friends that are also far from family.

This year, those friends - who are close enough to be considered family - are going "home" for the holiday to celebrate and deal with family issues.

This news wrought much havoc in this household.  Not that we begrudge them for not being here - we are so happy that they will be going home and dealing with the issues that must be dealt with - but...this leaves just the three of us.  And while The Husband loves to cook, a full-on Thanksgiving meal for three is just too much to ask of him and, honestly?  Cleaning up a full-on Thanksgiving dinner for just three is too much to ask of me.

So I threw a wild and crazy idea out there figuring it would wither on the vine.  I suggested that we go out for Thanksgiving dinner.  The Husband was on board, surprisingly.  We figured the sticking point would be Man-Child.  This boy man is ALL about tradition...and food.  He agreed, albeit reluctantly but he warmed to the idea.

Last weekend, I began casting around for local restaurants that would be serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and found quite a few.  What I wasn't expecting?  That most of those would already be full of reservations.  Who knew?  Going out for Thanksgiving is a "thing" here.  Luckily, I was able to secure one of the last available reservations in town.

After making the reservation, *I* began to have reservations.  So I texted Man-Child asking if he wanted me to make a dessert - you know, just to hold onto a piece of tradition.  His response?

So, it's nice to know that at least ONE tradition will stand this happens every year - no matter what complicated math I use to divide the recipe, I will end up with enough filling for three; never fails.

What's your Thanksgiving looking like this year?

November 10, 2017

Quiet house...

Such a rarity, but here it is.  The Husband and Man-Child left for a weekend of male bonding.

Yes, you read that correctly.  The Husband, of the Refuses to Relax and Unwind-kind, actually took his son on a weekend trip.  I know!  I'm as amazed as you are!

Well, if the truth be told, I booked the trip.  Because, of course, I did.  BUT, The Husband mentioned that it would be nice if he and Man-Child headed up to Smith Mountain Lake for his birthday - so like any sane and rational wife I took that to mean that I should just start scouting out a location to stay.

I found four possibilities right off the bat and forwarded them on - thinking, this is NEVER gonna happen.

And then?  The Husband said he really liked the one and asked if I would book it.  Between you, me and the wall, I about fell out of my chair.  And then, when I didn't immediately reserve the place THAT VERY MOMENT, he told me I should book it before someone else did.  (What alien life form had taken the place of my husband?  In conversations since, we have determined, if the action involves spending, I am the one to pull the trigger because it is in his DNA to not spend it - unless it's on unnecessary groceries.)

Little did he realize, no one - and I mean NO ONE - is headed up to Smith Mountain Lake in the middle of November.  Eventually, I booked the place and he was pleased.  He even said, "I'm glad you did because I was having second thoughts...particularly about the cost."  No surprise there.

And immediately after I booked the reservation the forecast changed.  Until recently, our weather has been rather warm.  As of today, the low tomorrow here will be 25 degrees, and we are significantly south of where the lake is located.  Seriously, who goes to a summer destination in the winter?  But, this is my husband - the man who is famous for going to a place known for their chicken and ordering the fish (and being extremely disappointed, I might add - when will he learn?!  Chicken place - order the chicken!).  He goes against the flow.

Now I sit in a house that is so quiet I can actually hear when the refrigerator kicks on and contemplating how I will spend my quiet time.  No television blaring.  No football.  No loud conversations about football.  Popcorn and wine for dinner.  Pure bliss.

Without a doubt, by Sunday I will be ready for them to be home - but until then?  Quiet - sweet, sweet quiet.

November 6, 2017

I get it...there are only seven more weeks until Christmas, but seriously?

Don't shoot the messenger!  I heard it on the radio the other morning.  I didn't believe them so I had to check for myself...and it's true.

Then and there, I resolved that I'd be AHEAD of the game this year - but honestly?  If I was going to be ahead of the game, I would have started before now.  But again, honestly?  Not having very many little people to buy for means that Christmas presents aren't nearly as much fun to buy as they used to be when Man-Child was small and you could FEEL the excitement ratchet up as the big day got closer and closer.

I especially noticed the change this year when we celebrated Man-Child's birthday.  There wasn't anything that he HAD to have, so I was at a loss when it came to buying his gift, therefore I left it in The Husband's hands because otherwise, he would have received cash - which, in retrospect, may have been a better choice.  Oh, he enjoyed and appreciated what he did get...but the excitement just wasn't there; on either end.

So I have started prodding people for ideas, much to their horror.  Didn't I realize that Thanksgiving was still on the horizon, they wondered; but what they don't realize is that in order to try and restore "the magic," and as the one who "does" the majority of Christmas, I need to start early.

Also, it will be easier on the pocketbook if I spread out the buying - so there you have it, if you need it, the practical reason to bring up the "C" word.

But today?  Today is where I drew a line.  Yes, I'll be starting my Christmas prep this weekend (although truthfully, I should have started a few weeks ago...) but Christmas carols? No.

We need to celebrate Thanksgiving before we start up with the Christmas carols.  Why, you may be asking yourself, is she bringing up Christmas carols?  Is she insane?  Maybe.  But maybe not.

At lunch today, I found myself in a local eatery and I heard the air conditioning kick on (because it's unseasonably warm right now) and then the music in the background finally was Elvis Presley singing I'll Be Home for Christmas and I was floored.  I hoped it was just a fluke but no, the next song was a carol, as was the one after that and so on.

So there I sat eating my salad and hearing Christmas carols - while the air conditioner was blowing - before Thanksgiving.  And that's just ridiculous.  And I, for one, applaud Target for taking a stand, of sorts.  They do have their Christmas area - usually toward the back of the store - but are keeping Christmas out of your face at the front of the store until after Thanksgiving.

So yes, I AM gearing up for Christmas as it's only prudent for me, but I'm not advocating Christmas Creep.  And having Christmas music playing on the 6th of November is far too early.  Far, far, far too early.

October 26, 2017

Lesson learned: Don't leave The Husband in charge and actually listen to what he says before agreeing to it

I made a huge, tactical mistake.  If you've been anywhere near Twitter recently, you have seen me ranting about our internet service.  A few recent highlights...

As you can surmise, the internet has been HORRIBLE around here.  Well, during a conversation with a service tech (which was probably the BEST interaction I have EVER had with this company!  They must have seen my tweets about my previous contacts with their service techs, and fixed the issue.  That's MY theory anyway), he mentioned that we should move from the DSL line to fiber - that it would probably solve all of our problems.  And, even better, it would cost about what we are currently paying.

So, after those last two tweets, we bit the bullet and set up a service call for today.  It was determined that since The Husband was taking today off anyway that he would arrange to be home when they arrived to hook us up to what is, hopefully, some kind of magical cure for our internet woes.

So I swanned off to work (and, I must admit, resenting it just a touch that he was still in bed) and thought nothing more about it.  Until, I received a call from The Husband telling me that the guy was going to set up the new fangled system where the old one was.  He also said something about drilling a hole in the floor - but I was distracted because work and said fine.  This is part of the huge, tactical mistake I mentioned earlier.  

The Husband and the tech looked at the area and neither one thought, "This might be an issue..." because, they don't think like I do.  And this is what I came home to...

"What?" I can hear you asking.  "Other than that mess of wires
from the old router, it looks fine!"

What you can't see is that this is THE first thing I see when I walk into the closet/dressing room/whatever.  Had I known that THIS was what the finished product was going to look like, I would have suggested that they place it behind the chair in the room.  Now, I'm sure once I clean up all the old routers and wires it won't be as big of an eyesore but it will still be a prominent feature in the room.  And I have no one to blame but myself.  On the plus side, if I rearrange the entire room, I may be able to minimize it's prominence.

So far, two hours later, the internet speed and connectivity is amazing - so if that continues, obviously the placement will not be an issue at all.  But since I'm currently the only one online, the true test will come when we are all home and all connected.  *fingers crossed*

October 22, 2017


The boys left about 4:30 pm to go watch the Giants play.  I am over the moon about this because I got SO MUCH accomplished!

I have realized that I prefer to do chores in the quiet, maybe with a little music in the background; but that's rare.  I like to be all alone with my chores.  When football is blaring on the television, or really anything, it does not inspire me to take care of chores.  It inspires me to play on the computer or to hide in my dressing room/closet (what ARE we going to name that room?!) and read.

I will do the chores that are necessary if they are here, with the television blaring, but those little, nagging chores?  The ones that aren't do or die necessary?  Like that shirt that's needed ironing since spring?  Those get left undone until I find myself a chunk of free time that hasn't already been designated to a different project.

Since they've been out, I've ironed that shirt finally even though it required pulling out the ironing board and setting it up in the dining room.  Because of this, if there is only one item that requires pressing, it will usually be put on the back burner...for months, apparently.  I also completed a few sewing repairs, washed the towels, cleaned the bathrooms, tidied up a bit, set the dressing room/closet back to rights and then?  Washed and dried my hair straight.  It's been a long while since THAT has happened...let's see if any of my family or coworkers recognize me tomorrow.

Oh - and I composed this post. 

It becomes more and more apparent to me that in order for me to be productive, I need to have some alone time. 

October 13, 2017

A little bit of fun...

Due to random events, I was recently reminded that I have a FaceBook page tied to this blog (come find me - but I can't promise I'll remember to check it...) ...yes, I had forgotten.  Hey, if I ignore my personal FaceBook it stands to reason that I've ignored the blog FaceBook; right?!

At any rate, I found myself over there today and came across a status update from a blogger that I love (unfortunately, she hasn't blogged in a while *sad face* but I am hopeful she will return eventually; in fact I'm positive she will return one day, she is too talented not to.) that said, "Just for fun, ask Siri what you should be for Halloween."

As we all know, I shun all things Apple, so I turned to the android version, and asked my phone, "Okay Google...what should I be for Halloween?"

I especially love how she interrupts our conversation
to answer the door to some trick-or-treaters....

I also love that she (of course Google is a she; why do you ask?  She has ALL the answers) wants to continue the conversation!  So I played along...but, of course, a bit later after I realized this could be blog material and had to ask her again...

I replied yes, and then she asked about obtaining a
brain for a demanding boss and wondered if I'd comply or
find another job...yes I failed to screen shot that portion...sue me

Umm, I think I need a different costume...but what about you?  How does Siri or Google respond when you ask you should be for Halloween?

October 8, 2017

Caroline: Little House, Revisited (book review)

I first learned about this book's existence because June mentioned it on her blog.  I loved Little House on the Prairie when I was a child - both the books and the television show...although, to be honest I remember more about the television show than the books - so I was intrigued enough to buy it.

Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller arrived on Wednesday.  I tried to pick it up and read Wednesday night but found that I was just too tired.  The same could be said for the remainder of the work week.  I was disappointed because I really was excited about it.  Eventually, I found myself ensconced in my chair with the book for all of Saturday afternoon and again this afternoon, until now as I finished it.

A blurb on the jacket states:

"Sarah Miller vividly re-creates the beauty, hardship, and joy of
the frontier in this dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story
that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never
before - Caroline Ingalls, "Ma" in Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved Little House books."

This book was authorized by The Little House Heritage Trust and I can see why - I loved it.  I don't need to explain the plot of this story, as I imagine most of you reading, either saw the television show or read the books.  If you loved it when you were young then I think you would most definitely like this book.  The Little House books were told from Laura's point of view and this book tells it from Caroline's; and tells it very well.

I will say the ending kind of shocked me but that's because I am mainly remembering the television show, but it made perfect sense that it ended the way it did.

I can also honestly say, that I could not have done it.  ANY of it.  I seriously would have died before we even got to where we were going.  The trip to Kansas was dangerous and harrowing.

No, I am very happy to have been born in an age where there are cars, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, etc.  And especially the internet.

September 30, 2017

I swear, I think he is on the cusp of becoming a hoarder...

Man-Child's birthday is tomorrow so I set about to make his requested cake - lemon pound cake.  Yes, it's not a traditional birthday cake, but it's what he wanted.  As a side note - HOW did he get to 23 already?!!

When I opened the pantry, I had to restrain from cursing.  The Husband's habit of over buying food was most definitely on display.  He is of the opinion that we always need to be "prepared."  Prepared for what, I don't know.  But I do know that no one needs to be THAT prepared.  He also loves to get a deal - so tends to buy stuff on sale; whether we need it or not.  I am convinced he is on the cusp of becoming a food hoarder.

After rummaging through the mess of cans, bags of beans, bags of rice (why do we even HAVE bags of rice?  Every time I've seen him make rice he uses the microwave type), beans and a million other things, I was finally able to unearth the things I needed to make the cake.

After whipping up the cake and popping it in the oven, I turned back to the pantry.  I knew I needed to wrestle it into some semblance of order somehow.  With our last house, we had a huge walk-in pantry and I think that's where The Husband's problem started - God forbid should we have had an empty spot in there.  But in this house, we have a small, reach-in pantry.  That was haphazardly stuffed so full that I couldn't even find the light switch!

Sometime during the process, I sent the following text to my friend.

Truly, this isn't even accurate.  By the time I was done, I found TWELVE cans
of bread crumbs and TWENTY-FIVE cans of soup. 

And that soup?  Hand to heart, I have NEVER EVER have seen him eat canned soup, generally he makes his own!

After that, I quit counting items because it was just too crazy.  The bags upon bags upon bags of rice and beans were beyond overwhelming.  It was about this time that The Husband and Man-Child walked in.  I looked at The Husband and informed him that he had a problem.  Of course, he denied it and asked why I was doing this now.  I told him I was doing it now because I had such a hard time getting to and finding the few ingredients I needed.  I then told him that his bags of beans and rice will now reside in the garage until we can free up some space in the pantry.  He acceded to that small concession and went out to mow the yard - where I'm sure he was fuming about me telling him he had a problem.

By the time he came in, I had finally finished what I'd started - two hours later.  He looked at the bags of beans and rice sitting in the garage and asked, "Are they going to just sit out like this?" 

Yes, Husband...they ARE just going to sit out here like this.

Yes, I had just dumped the rice and beans on the first available surface.  I told him we would find a better spot for them when we finally get the garage in order (another place that The Husband tends to hoard things).

As I finished, I walked into the kitchen and The Husband announced he was headed to the grocery store because he heard there was a sale on rice.  Very funny, Husband.  Very funny.  I informed him that if he brought anything home that needed to reside in the pantry that I would have him committed.

It's becoming abundantly clear...he has a problem.

Discussions with The Husband...sometimes an exercise in futility.

The Husband announced that he planned to have an inpatient procedure done next January.  He then asked what day was better for me.  I responded that Mondays or Fridays are usually my preference.

He came back with those are usually the busiest days.  I said yes, they usually are.  And he responded with, "So maybe the middle of the week?" 

Me: .....?

Him: ...?

Me:  No, a Monday or a Friday is better.  Preferably Friday.

Him:  But those are the busiest days of the week...

Me:  Yes, I know.  But make the appointment and it will be fine.

Him: the medical offices those are probably the busiest days of the week!

Me: ... (head in my hands)

I finally had to walk away for a minute because I was so frustrated.  I needed to step back and figure out exactly where the disconnect was coming from.

When I came back I said, "Here is what I'm trying to tell you.  Most people do not make their appointments four or five months in advance.  So if you make your appointment NOW you will most likely get the time/date you want for January."

Him: *light bulb moment*...Oh, I see! 

Sometimes I wonder how we ever get anything accomplished.

September 22, 2017

I do believe my "new" hairstylist has dumped me...

If you've hung around here for any length of time, you will realize, the subject of my hair always seems to pop up from time to is one of those days.

Over  two years ago, my very favorite hairstylist of all time moved to Florida.  It was a very dark period in my life.  Before he abandoned me, he was kind enough to recommend another stylist in the shop.  I've used her a few times and was very happy with her work.  Was she him?  No, but she knew her stuff.

As you might remember (if not, see the previous link), I'm not the very best about making regular appointments.  So maybe I've seen her about three or four times since he left - so yes, I'm not THE best or most regular customer - but in my defense, I tip VERY well to compensate for my erratic habits.

And then, earlier this year, I kind of gave up regarding the taming of my curls.  Then came the "Summer Hours" at work and I abandoned any and all thought to occasionally taming those curls; because who had that kind of time in the morning?

The inevitable happened - my hair grew.  And then grew some more.  I vaguely recall sending her a text and then a voicemail way back before Summer Hours was even a thing and never receiving a response.  After Summer Hours began, I forgot about it completely - because 1) time was valuable and 2) with curls you don't quite realize how long your hair is getting because it's generally an inch or two shorter when in curls than straight.

Oh, you do know it's growing as every time you go to take a bite of food the hair falls into your face and you end up getting some of it in your mouth.  And you notice more hair floating around on the bathroom floor - but it's not enough to actually make you want to DO anything about it.

Until you are faced with a family wedding.

Then you realize just how out of control your hair has become - and how slothful you've become in trying to tame the curls.  So you call your "new" hairstylist...nothing.  You call again...nothing.  You call the salon, discover she is still working there and leave a voicemail...nothing.

By now it's too late - you are headed out for the family wedding with wild hair.  You decide to wear it up and hope for the best.  And decide that when you get home it is time to find a new hairstylist. *sigh*

Last night I dried my hair straight for the first time in - oh jeez, WHO KNOWS - how many months.  I definitely need it cut but...the very thought of finding another great hairstylist who will also put up with my erratic ways is exhausting...but it's that or continuing the chew on the ends my hair every time I eat.  Or maybe I'll change my ways and not get ghosted by the new hairstylist...oh who am I kidding?

September 10, 2017

If you live with a slob then it probably wasn't a break in.

It's no secret, I like my things "just so" - they may not be perfect, but I WILL know when they've been tampered with - yes, I realize I get this from my mother.  In my opinion, that is one of the better qualities that I share with her.

The other day I came home to an empty house.  I immediately headed to my "closet"/"dressing room" to change.  Yes, I am VERY predictable - this is the first thing I do every day.  Upon entering the closet/dressing room - whatever; I noticed that the some drawers were open and others were half open.  I noticed that the footstool was pushed halfway across the room.

I panicked.  But not TOO much.  I realized that I left before anyone else that morning.  I also realized that some of The Husband's stuff is still stored in there because, even though we've been here for a year and a half, I haven't bothered to move it to his closet/dressing room yet.  So I quelled my panic for minute and texted both guys - all the while thinking, "Is someone hiding in the house?!"  Because all immediate evidence pointed to the fact that I'd interrupted a robbery in progress.

Then The Husband responded first with a "No. Why?!"  At that point, I was ready to flee.  I responded with, "drawers open; footstool moved.  Nothing seems to be missing."  My first instinct upon learning this was not The Husband's doing was to leave the house immediately.

And then it became apparent to me.  Man-Child.  That boy and his sloppiness clued me in immediately.

He had received a pair of khakis - along with other paraphernalia for his stipend paid "job"/"volunteer work".  Those khakis needed to be hemmed.  A task which he has put off for over two weeks.  One day last week, I noticed those khakis sitting on the living room table - WHY?!  What purpose did those khakis have on the living room table?!

Those khakis were not on the living room table anymore.

The drawer which was most prominently open held my miniature sewing kit.  And then it clicked.

In response to my query earlier that week about getting those pants hemmed, he informed me that he would just pin those un-altered pants up for the first game and that it would be fine.  HE had ransacked my closet/dressing room looking for safety pins.  He'd found them and left everything in disarray - as usual.

And three minutes after I reached the conclusion, he responded saying that yes, he was responsible.

September 4, 2017

How do you eat an elephant? Apparently, one bite at a time...

This afternoon found me in the garage - despite everything else I need/want to do around here.

Our garage is/was an out and out travesty.  The truth be told, the garage hasn't been properly unpacked from two moves ago.  It still isn't.

But, it HAD become a dumping ground.  Because when you have a place that is a total pigsty why not "just leave this right here for a minute?" which, of course, leads to that item times infinity living there forever.  So my mission today became whipping this area into a "semblance" of order.

Notice, I didn't say "into" order.  No.  Today my mission was to get rid of the garbage, donations, those damn plastic bags that The Hoarder (aka The Husband) hoards for some reason. and whatever other detritus I could rid ourselves of in a two hour frame.

In hindsight, it might have made more sense to weed the yard.  Although, the temperatures only reached 80 degrees today, it was easily twenty degrees hotter in the garage.

At any rate, the garage looks one hundred percent better.  All the boxes that were cluttering up the place were cut down and stored (for use in the garden before we order the truckload of mulch).  Goodwill received a large box of donations and those stupid plastic bags were FINALLY returned to the store.  It even got swept out!

Now, I can look at the garage  - and all that still needs to be done - and not shudder.

Afterwards, as I was talking to The Husband, I mentioned that every weekend should be a long one - if only to get things done around the house because, let's be honest, on a two day weekend, you seriously don't want to spend ALL of it getting things done.

But then, as I sat on the back porch and surveyed the backyard, I realized just HOW far that particular project has come since we've moved in a mere year and a half later...

Ignore the bare spots - we've put out grass seed; it's yet to grow.  Of course.

Although this project is FAR from done - the fence is down.  The ugly birdhouse is down.  The majority of the blackberry bush is gone (although it continues to pop up in random spots and will for the rest of my life I fear - unless that saved cardboard does the trick...everyone send up prayers for success here).  The backyard is slowly coming into focus; and already looks SO much better than it did...and it all happened one bite-sized bit at a time.

Then the realization dawned...ALL the projects will never get done in one fell swoop...unless we win the lottery (fingers crossed).  It's always going to be a bite-sized bit at a time.  And although that frustrates me, I'm kinda okay with it.  Because looking back and seeing what HAS been accomplished is an awesome feeling.

August 30, 2017

My love-hate relationship with FaceBook...

Yes, Ernie...I DO hate FaceBook...for MANY reasons (for whatever reason, I can't respond to you directly via email).

But right now?  FaceBook is my friend.

As you all know, thanks to Hurricane Harvey, Houston has been on mind a LOT lately...(and when I went to grab that link I noticed that all my page views have been reduced to zero - no matter how many/few comments were made - WTH Blogger?)

And thank you, by the way, Suburban Correspondent, DJan (and here and here), and Ernie for publicly responding to my plea for help - in whatever way you felt compelled - that means more to me than you will ever know.  The same goes for anyone else who felt compelled to help - you have no idea what your assistance will do for those in dire straits.

Now about FaceBook.  Yes, I despise it but...during this stressful time FaceBook has given me an insight into what is going on without having to inundate family and friends with texts while they are busy dealing with flooded streets, homes, etc.

FaceBook has also shown me how extremely HUMAN and HUMANE people can be when it comes to disaster.

I have witnessed people offering up their homes (I have room for x amount of people - DM me!), people offering up their land/resources (I have room for x amount of horses/cattle/pets - DM me!), and the "Cajun Navy" (and THIS is why I love Texas and Louisiana - both of which are so intertwined it's sometimes hard to tell them apart).  On FaceBook I have witnessed SO much love and support...which lately, we can all agree is lacking.

I have also witnessed the looting and the ugliness.  And the inane - because we ARE talking about FaceBook.  You have a major disaster happening right in front of you and yet some people are SO clueless that they continue to post about their personal problems, political issues or cat videos - yes, I get it...if it's not personal to them it's not as important.  So here I am scrolling through inane posts to get to the whole reason I bothered to log on to the site in the first place.

Inane posts aside, the love and caring stories have FAR outweighed the ugliness and inanity.  So, maybe there is hope for civilization after all.  We can only hope.

August 28, 2017

Texas - my heart.

Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time knows that long before I became a Carolina girl, I was a Texas child - born and raised in Houston, Texas.  And those same people know that I still consider Texas "home" twenty years later (here is where I would normally post a link but I'm too tired and emotionally exhausted to look for the one I'm thinking of - just type the word Texas in the search button and you'll see ALL the posts that mention the great state of Texas on this blog).

So as you might imagine, this past weekend has been pure hell for me as I frantically scrolled the despised FaceBook to find information on family and friends, while simultaneously sending a multitude of texts.

Luckily, all are safe...for now.  The weather forecast is not promising.

I've lived through a few hurricanes and it's never pretty.  But this?  This is freaking unbelievable.  It's practically biblical proportions of rain and devastation.

So here's where I need to ask...if you are a person who prays, pray.  And donate.

Donate money, blood, time, clothes, food.  Whatever you have the ability to give; give.  The people in Houston and surrounding areas are good people for the most part.  Every single person I know in Texas would help anyone in a heartbeat; stranger or friend.  Know that if this were happening to you, these people would respond in droves.

You can donate to the Red Cross, Samaritan's Purse or many other fine organizations.  Just Google How to Help Houston and you will find a plethora of ways you may be able to help.

Now excuse me as I go off to cry and scroll through FaceBook and send some more texts.

August 13, 2017

After all this time he still manages to surprise me occasionally

The Husband and I have been spending A LOT of time together for the past two weekends.  This is the result of having one of the cars in the shop. Man-Child's car (my old one - what can I say, it has been a summer of car issues) had a defective paint job and when we took it in for a different issue earlier this year, we mentioned the paint and it turned out that Honda would re-paint it for free. But had we not brought it up, I suspect that they wouldn't have said a word.  So last weekend, we dropped the car off with the expectation that we'd have it back by Friday.  As you can surmise from the first sentence, we are still one car short.

All of that to say, The Husband and I have generally been in the same car as Man-Child is up to his ears in coaching (volunteer, basically) as high school football season is quickly approaching.  So last weekend, as we were out and about we decided to stop for a treat - something we rarely do.  As we were headed to the frozen yogurt shop, we lamented the closing of the local Carvel.  We loved that place when Man-Child was young.  Although, ice cream isn't my weakness, I loved their vanilla soft serve with hot caramel.  The Husband would usually get a chocolate vanilla swirl.  Which is what made this trip to the frozen yogurt shop so mind blowing.

Upon arriving, I went with (no surprise) vanilla and hot caramel and waited while The Husband got his chocolate vanilla swirl and I turned to head for the cash register; and The Husband headed to the toppings bar.  I stood there in shock as he piled a plethora of various toppings onto his yogurt - toppings that I would have never considered as complementing each other up to and including a crushed candy of some sort,blueberries and on and on.

When I made the comment that I would have never guessed that he was a multi-toppings kind of guy, he just shrugged and said it sounded good.  And then proceeded to eat this wild concoction with gusto.

So yes, although I sometimes hear the same stories over and over, he still has the ability to surprise me every once in a while.

July 27, 2017

Outfit of the Day....well...after the fact, of course, because we are talking about ME here.

So, I read something today about how it's a good idea to take a picture if you want to see what something looks like because, apparently, your eye tends to edit things out that you don't want to see in real life but that same eye finds ALL the flaws when you look at a picture.  It sounds like flawed logic to me but I figured I'd try it.

Remember a few posts ago when I complained about not being able to find anything at all in the stores and I felt like I was walking around dressed like a ragamuffin?  Well, the weekend after the Charleston trip, I hit the jackpot.  Probably because I wasn't looking for something too specific and I was willing to compromise on a couple of purchases.

At any rate, that weekend I scored two shirts, two skirts, two pairs of shoes and a pair of shorts.  Jackpot!  Those seven items made me feel like I had a whole new wardrobe!  Now granted, one of the skirts is just a plain, tan skirt and one of the shirts is a plain white shirt - nothing to get overly excited about.  But this shirt, I love.  I love the neckline.  I was concerned that the piece around my neck would aggravate me; it didn't.

Not only that, this outfit made me feel confident and pulled together.  It helps that I received a few compliments about it.  So this one is a keeper.

Also you should know, I rarely wear white pants.  I feel the need to have a pair in my closet for some reason, but I rarely wear them.  Mainly, because I know as soon as I do, I will spill.  Has that ever happened?  Not to my recollection, but still...the fear is real.  I have since made the determination that I will wear white pants in the summer a bit more often; spills be damned.

With the sweater.  Ignore the wrinkles, this was taken AFTER a long day at work

Without the sweater.

And can we talk about the shoes for a minute?

You know how much I love my shoes!

These shoes, along with the other pair, are the compromises I was talking about.  I have been looking for shoes with the ankle strap, chunky heel and a zipper in the back all summer - okay, it might have been my summer obsession.  When I found this pair sans the zipper, I snapped them up - I figured I could live without the zipper - although that feature WOULD make getting them on easier.  Then I sourced out another pair in black.  And I LOVE both pairs even though they are different brands.  These heels are ridiculously comfortable.

In fact, I have a wedding to attend this fall and I think I could wear the black pair for the entire wedding and reception without issue because they are THAT comfortable.  I'm not sure why these shoes are more comfortable than my lower heeled shoes but I think it has something to do with the chunky heel; surely there is some scientific explanation for this phenomenon.

So there you go - my outfit of the day - granted full of wrinkles and rumpled after a very LONG day (the alarm went off EXTRA early today - don't ask) but very pleased with this outfit.

And regarding that first paragraph, it's true.  I'm seeing plenty that the naked eye didn't see before.  Mainly, I need to thoroughly clean this room.

July 26, 2017

Saying yes instead of the expected no...

The other night, around 6:00 pm, my friend texted wondering if I wanted to go with her to get a pedicure.  Totally out of character, I agreed.

After my friend picked me up, she expressed total shock that I'd agreed.  In fact, her husband told her to jump at my yes - because he knows me all too well and figured if she didn't come to claim me quickly I might change my mind.

Now, I'll be honest, generally by 6:00, I am already in my pj's and winding down, yes...I know, I should be ashamed of myself.  That night, I was actually still dressed...only because Man-Child's girlfriend was here.  I DO have some standards, doncha know?  One is to actually be dressed when Man-Child's friends or girlfriend are least until it's an acceptable time for someone who goes to bed and wakes up ridiculously early to don pj's, because these darn kids seem to be nocturnal.

I will also admit that depending on how I'm feeling, lately there is only a small group of people that I am willing to spend time with - most of the time, I'm fine with being on my own.  Sometimes I shock myself and am willing to spend time with random people - but the older I get the rarer that seems to that a sign that I'm getting old and crotchety?  Or is it a sign that my true nature as an introvert is taking over?  Who knows.

My friend is one of those people that I'm usually willing to spend time with - I adore her and am usually willing to spend lots of time with her - provided it's before 6:00 pm on a weekday, what can I say?  4:45 am dawns bright and early Monday through Friday around here.

To be honest, I shocked myself when I said yes.  Which tells me that I really needed this night out.

And I did.  We laughed and laughed.  We chatted and chatted.  It was worth keeping my bra on past 7:00 pm - that's HOW nice it was; also pretty toes and a pedicure!  It's been a long while since I've had an actual pedicure - what a treat!

Although the woman doing my toes sniffed (inaudibly) when she saw my handiwork on my toes - apparently, I don't meet her expectations as a nail artist.  But, I must admit, she was right - my toes looked so nice once she got done with them.

This event ended with this text message exchange...

The first message is from case you weren't sure.

I hadn't heard of the book she references - but I looked it up.  I think that my choice in phrasing along with her mentioning the book is a sign.  Which probably means this is probably something I need to read and practice.  Again, the older I get the more I find myself finding reasons not to do things; things that I would probably enjoy.  Things that are outside of my routine.

This, obviously, isn't a good way to live life - particularly when it is brought to your attention that your habits are SO well known that even your friend's husband is aware of them.

And yes, this meant that bedtime that night was pushed back to *gasp* 11:00 pm!!  It also meant that I was a tad tired the next day - but it was totally worth it.

Plus?  Cute toes.

July 21, 2017

My husband, the comedian

Apparently, it is going to take some time for Man-Child to live down yesterday's incident.  I say that because this is what I found on top of the dishwasher this afternoon...

I had to laugh.  I also knew that as The Husband was writing this note he was cackling maniacally; he does tend to crack himself.  Since the note and the gel pack was still in place, I knew Man-Child had not yet seen it.  You may wonder WHY he hadn't wandered into the kitchen at any point before I got home - there were two reasons for this, the first being he didn't work today so he slept in and the second was because no one was home to magically make food appear in there.

This meant I had the unbridled joy of getting to see his face when I called him into the kitchen to see what his father had left for him.  I wish I had thought to get a picture, but being that I am notorious for never remembering to take a picture, I didn't (hell, as it is, I had to re-create the picture above because I didn't think to snap a picture before calling MC into the room!) but the expression on his face was priceless.

We met The Husband for lunch and I can confirm that he was still cackling maniacally over his note then too.

July 20, 2017

Man-Child will be 23 this year and the life lessons keep on coming...also - men and women; two TOTALLY different species

Our schedules are all varied lately.  I leave extra early, The Husband is next to leave and Man-Child is the last to leave the house in the morning.

After I left this morning The Husband left a note asking Man-Child to start the dishwasher; he complied.

When I came home this afternoon, I opened the dishwasher to discover bubbles; I knew immediately what had happened.  I asked Man-Child (whose current schedule not only has him leaving the house last but also has him coming home first - I find this extremely unfair...but there you go, life IS unfair) exactly WHAT he had put into the dishwasher.

He pulled THIS out from under the sink...

Oh yes, he did.  I was actually surprised to note that the bubbles seemed to be contained IN the dishwasher.  We've all seen the stories and pictures that abound on the internet of what could happen if you mistakenly use this instead of dish detergent.

Man-Child claimed that the bottle said "Dishwashing Liquid."  And he's right, it does.  But the difference between Dishwashing Liquid and Dishwasher Detergent is huge.  Also, to his credit, he hadn't realized that we had switched from liquid detergent to the pod-type detergent, so he figured this liquid under the sink was THE liquid to use.

If you've never encountered this kind of mess, here is what Google tells you to do...wipe out as many bubbles as you can, pour some vinegar over the rest and run a cycle or two.  Then re-wash your dishes using detergent.

When The Husband came home and was questioning why there were soapy towels in the kitchen, I explained what happened and he said, "Oh, so THAT'S what the foamy stuff was on the floor."  I looked at him completely flummoxed.  HOW does one walk into the kitchen, notice bubbles on the floor under the dishwasher and NOT investigate?!  

Apparently, he just wiped them up, picked up whatever it was he'd forgotten and walked out.  And that, my friends, is the difference between men and women.

July 16, 2017

A relaxing, fun AND productive vacation...

As you may remember, I mentioned a few posts ago that I was headed to Charleston...again.  This was actually my third trip to this fabulous city.

That is not a complaint, I LOVE Charleston and firmly believe that every time you go, you will discover something new.

A pleasant bonus was that I made it to Charleston without getting lost once; thanks to Google Maps.  Yes, it meant my phone was dead by the time I got there but I didn't get lost.

My friend flew in to Charleston and the plan was for me to pick her up.  Little did I know what a challenge this was going to be.  I'm used to our teeny, tiny airport - where there is metered parking just steps from Baggage Claim.  Turns out Charleston's airport is also fairly small but lacks the metered parking.  Also, interestingly enough, Arrivals and Departures are in the same place.  So basically, unless you were dropping off or the person you are picking up is standing right there you can't stop.  Do you know how hard it is to find one person in a sea of people?  Next to impossible.  But after circling the airport about five times, I finally found her and we headed off to the hotel.

Now, while I didn't encounter any issues on my drive, my friend did have an incident at the airport.  Last time I was in Houston, I bought some spices at a grocery store that we don't have to bring home for The Husband.  Turns out those spices were a great hit and he'd asked her to bring some with her and we'd pay her back.  Bless her, she did.  Little did she know what kind of havoc that would wreak.  Apparently, she'd decided against checking her bag and after she'd gone through security, a TSA agent asked her to come with him; talk about unnerving.  They took her to a tiny room and began going through her bag.  Once they uncovered the spices, they proceeded to test them one by one.  After they had been declared "safe" the TSA agent told her that had she checked her bag it wouldn't have been a problem and that those spices better make some darn good hamburgers (they do, FYI).

Since this was my friend's first trip to Charleston, finding a decent hotel in historic downtown was my charge.  After the last trip, where we ended up nowhere NEAR downtown and public parking is a nightmare, I did my due diligence.  And, if I do say so myself, I am very pleased with where we ended up.  Although, at first I was a tad disappointed, because it wasn't as close to everything as I would have liked BUT it turns out that right across the street was the main stop for every free bus, so it turned out perfect.  The hotel itself was great - they even offer a breakfast every morning that is not the typical hotel breakfast.  Considering what they were able to do in their kitchen, I'm kind of surprised they didn't serve any other meal or even a cocktail hour.  I would keep this gem a secret, but since I'm sure this information will stay just between us - if you find yourself headed to Charleston check out the Hampton Inn Charleston - Historic District, you won't be disappointed.

Now, I will say this, we had SO much fun BUT...Charleston in July is HOT.  And not only is is HOT it is HUMID.  Now, is it more hot or humid than either Houston or Somewhere in NC?  Probably not usually, but generally we aren't walking around in it all day either.  I took this screenshot on Tuesday and I think on that day the humidity was off the charts.

Just LOOK at the RealFeel temp!!

As you can imagine, we were hot and sticky and tired.  But not tired enough to shower and head out to the hotel's courtyard with a glass of wine to chat; something we did every night.  We loved the courtyard; the mosquitoes not so much.

I didn't take as many photos as I have in the past, mainly because I already have a bunch of photos from Charleston - but my friend was constantly snapping away.  So basically, all I've got is what you see above.

Except for this...after eating fabulous seafood a couple of days in a row (my friend, despite living on the Gulf rarely gets seafood as her other half doesn't eat it and I rarely get any good seafood because we are landlocked) we decided to "go local."  We didn't need a full meal but knew we needed some kind of fuel to get us through the afternoon.  So we decided to try this place.

Yes, we found the name to be hilarious - but...seriously the BEST nachos outside of Texas.  Juanita Greenberg definitely knows their way around some nachos.

The trip went by way too fast but we had a great time and, of course, loved spending time together.  Who woulda thunk that we'd get to see each other twice in less than six months?  Usually, it's a few years between visits.  Something we have agreed to rectify; even if it means meeting somewhere in the middle.

Although Google Maps got me to Charleston without issue, we will not discuss how Google Maps lead me astray on my trip home, directing me through the town I ALWAYS get lost in and sending me through a very sketchy neighborhood where the police were stopping all the vehicles...looking for what, I can only imagine.  But eventually, I made it home safe and sound.

The "productive" part of this vacation started after I got home.  I had decided to take Thursday and Friday off as well, since I didn't see any sense to going to work for only two days.  Besides, I wanted to get a few things done around here.  Mainly, in my flower beds.

The one giant bed took me two days and over seven hours.  Unfortunately, it's not completely finished yet, but it is SOOOO close that I figure I'll just need a couple of hours next weekend finishing it off.  I would have gone ahead and finished it, but I knew I had reached my limit.  I weeded and removed the overgrown lamb's ear.  The Husband questioned why I was getting rid of the "good" stuff.  I had my reasons.  Mainly, because it was overgrown, plus it's not a favorite of mine and lastly, because I figured it was a haven for snakes as it was so overgrown.

The back yard is so close to being where I'd envisioned it when we bought this place.  Not enough to take pictures but still, when I look at the back yard I am pleased.  I can see progress.

Funnily enough, as I was pulling weeds a car drove up to the yard and a woman yelled out the window, "We used to live here!  Just reminiscing."  I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking her if she was the one responsible for the damn blackberry bush!

Speaking of which, while weeding, I hunted down every burgeoning sprig and either dug it out or snipped it and spritzed it with a brush killer.  It may take out a few plants as the blackberry bush is a sneaky one and likes to pop up in the middle of plants.  At this point, I don't care.  I will replace a few plants, if necessary.

After spending far too much time in the sun and pushing myself to the very limit, I have determined that I need to spend a little bit of time in the yard every weekend rather than spending that much time every month or so in the yard.

Someone remind me of this next weekend when I will invariably find a reason not to go out in the heat!

The Husband was involved in his own yard project but he was in the shade and worried over me the whole time.  He kept reminding me to take breaks and then chastised me as he knew I was overdoing it.  He was right - but let's not tell him that bit, shall we?

I have to say, the reward of overdoing it in the yard was well worth it.  But, as great as it feels to have accomplished so much, at this point I'm looking forward to work tomorrow, so I can relax!!