December 30, 2019

Sifting through the pieces...

Both of my guys each bought me a new puzzle for Christmas; I was delighted.  But then the nagging thought came through - they bought me these puzzles to keep me out of their hair; as they both know that I can spend hours working on a puzzle.  I'm assuming they thought, if they could keep me preoccupied, I couldn't harass them about the things they needed to take care of - amateurs.

What they didn't realize is this - as I am intently sifting through the random pieces looking for a perfect match - my mind is free to wander - although my eyes are searching for the exact piece that I need; my mind is active and ruminating on things that need to be done, the best way to organize the garage with the least amount of effort, what I need to remind them that they need to get done, thoughts regarding goals for the coming year.

So yes, while I am tucked away - out of their hair - I am thinking; a thought that I'm sure sends shudders down both of their spines...as I plot out what needs to be done - and when - during the next month or so.  It's days like this that I know Man-Child is glad he has his own place that he can retreat to...and The Husband, well...I'm sure he wishes he could hide somewhere.

As my vacation dwindles to an end - and as I continue to recuperate (see puzzles); I continue to think about what the next year may bring to us.  And you.  Happy, happy new year to you and yours.  2020 is going to be amazing...at least, that's what my ruminations tell me...as I sift through the pieces.

Much love.

December 28, 2019

Notes from my sick bed, recuperation and back

Considering I've been on vacation for practically two weeks, you would have thought I would have had the time and inclination to post more than once.  Oh sure, I've thought (often) I should post about this that or the other.

But the truth is, with Christmas coming up so quickly behind Thanksgiving, being sick, bouncing back, getting sick again, etc. there just hasn't been time.

When I last left you, I was finally (I thought) ready for Christmas...until the day before Christmas Eve when I decided that was THE perfect day to work on organizing the garage.  This effort has been an on again off again effort between The Husband and I since we moved in almost four (!) years ago.  A couple of weeks ago, I had The Husband move a couple of heavy pieces for me in the garage and let it sit.  And while it sat, I ruminated.  And on the day before Christmas Eve, my organization plan crystallized - and since I was feeling better, I got to work.  Needless to say, The Husband was shocked when he got home and saw the transformation.

It's not completely done - but it's about ninety percent organized.  I would say I wish I had a before picture; but that would be a lie - there is no way in God's green earth that I would post a picture of what it looked like before.

It's almost ready for my car!!!

All that remains is finding a home for the tractor and for me to sort through and organize a few things out of the picture and (hopefully) re-home some of the stuff on the shelves to new shelves that The Husband needs to build for me - also located out of the picture.

And then it was Christmas Eve.  We were hosting our friends two doors down and her mother and step-father - for a total of seven people not counting us three; when it occurred to me that desserts needed to be made.  And that they HAD to be made before The Husband came home early around two (thank goodness he hadn't thought ahead to take Christmas Eve off!) and took over the kitchen; plus the oragami napkins had to be done.

Needless to say, I was non-stop busy until our guests arrived.  A fun time was had by all.  Until they went home...and I began to realize, I wasn't feeling so well.

Apparently, spending two days straight of doing things instead of resting when I should have been recuperating set me back and I was back in the land of being sick.  Not sick; sick.  No fever, etc.  But feeling fairly wretched.

For those keeping count - it's been a total of three weeks that I've been sick.  And, yes, those three weeks have been a crazy busy three weeks; what with Christmas prep, etc.  Since Christmas, I have barely left the house and have tried very hard to rest and not do anything too strenuous - although I did take down the majority of the decorations today (I HAD to - but truly, there wasn't much!  This needed to be done because I will not want to do it after I go back to work); so our tree is naked but for the lights - waiting for The Husband to dismantle it and put it away...this may take some time as he hates that I pack Christmas away so early.

Today I am feeling better - The Husband even commented that I am looking better - but I'm still planning to take it easy for the remaining five days of time off that I have; even though that garage is calling my name...because God only knows, I do NOT want to go back to work sick.

December 21, 2019

Ready - finally!

Yes, I know I mentioned almost TWO weeks ago that I was feeling better...it was a filthy lie.  Not one that I told on purpose though - it's just whatever this nasty crud might be I don't know; but I do know it's a liar.

One day, I felt like I was dying; only to feel like I was on the mend the next and then back to feeling like I was dying.  Currently, *knock wood* I think I'm finally on the upswing.  We shall see.  A friend's daughter contracted the same thing before Thanksgiving and is only just now beginning to feel human; unfortunately, it appears the friend has now contracted this dreaded bug.

In the meantime, on the days that I've felt pretty good, I have been busy; particularly today.

As of today, I can claim that ALL the presents have been purchased - minus the three last minute gifts; but those are easy gifts - it just requires one trip to the liquor store. Whew.  Because honestly?  Every other gift has been come by with far too much effort.  Next year, those guys of mine better be more forthcoming with ideas.

All the presents - minus the three last minute ones - have been wrapped and bedecked with ribbon.

Another batch of almond bark - made exclusively for Man-Child has been made.  Spritz (butter) cookies have been made - this is truly a labor of love, since the cookie press and I don't always see eye to eye - as evidenced, AGAIN, this year.  But again, made mainly for Man-Child.

Christmas cards were mailed last week; plus I helped another friend create a printed canvas gift for her son and daughter in law - I am so happy we were able to get that done since the picture of her grandchildren was so adorable it NEEDED to be done.

So now, hopefully, I can sit back and prepare for the holiday; with nothing more to think about than a dessert for Christmas Eve.  Any ideas?

How about you?  Are you ready?  Or still in the thick of it all?

December 8, 2019

...and just like *that* things can change...maybe not radically, but they can change

So yesterday, I wrote a post while I was sure I was on my deathbed.  I'm not even kidding...I felt like I was going to die.  And The Husband had the funeral home on speed-dial...I kid, kind of.

Around 3:30 this morning, The Husband leapt from our bed convinced that I was gasping my last as I hacked, hacked, hacked away.  He went into the other room to escape the germs or the possibility of witnessing me expire...one or the other. 

After I had quieted down and drifted off into a quasi-sleep he crept back into the bed.  Soon after, I could feel the coughing coming on again, so I made my way to the couch so that he could sleep.  Eventually, I made my way back to bed where I quasi-slept until about 7:00 am.

And when I woke up?  I felt...ok.  Not a hundred percent for sure...but felt that I might be making a turn.  After having some coffee - and more medicine - I thought I might be able to tackle the tree.  So I asked The Husband to bring in three specific boxes and began to throw the tree together.  It's not finished by any stretch, but if this is as far as it gets that's fine by me.

Of course, I did discover - again - while decorating the tree that the angel that tops our tree died last year.  The second angel that has graced this decades long marriage.  Let me tell you, that first angel lasted far longer (and is the source of how The Husband and I met) and I scoured the earth to find a clone to replace her. *sigh* I had meant to look for another angel last year and time got away from me - which left me with an angel-less tree today.

After sitting, assessing how I felt and some more medicine, I decided I had enough energy to make a double batch of almond bark and a batch of peanut butter fudge for the ingrates I work with - why do I continue to reward them?!

To be completely honest, both of those treats are so easy to make there is little to no effort actually involved.  I'm sure I've shared the recipes before if you wish to scour the archives - I'm far too lazy to look for them right now.

After some more sitting, assessing and more medicine, I determined that I had enough energy to shower and head into town in search of one angel, one gift, a few baking supplies and a quick drop by the office to pick up some boxes I had forgotten to bring home on Friday.

That sounds like a lot, but really it wasn't.  I walked into Michael's and immediately found a replacement angel that isn't quite the clone to the first but close enough and was able to waltz out within ten minutes.  I walked into one store, picked up the gift card I needed and walked out within five minutes.  Ditto for the office.

Keeping up with my medicine regimen the entire time was key, I think - and the fact that it appears I was on the mend.

I was very mindful not to overdo - but I also knew I wanted to throw together another batch of almond bark and peanut butter fudge to welcome the new neighbors - so I did and that will probably be delivered next weekend.  And when that was done, I was also done.

So here I sit, cozy in my PJs, content that some things were done - including laundry - because God knows how antsy The Husband gets when his sock and underwear drawers get low! - tired but still feeling that I may live after all.

Thank you all for your kind words.  Despite all that I've laid out here, I HAVE taken it easy and haven't rushed or pushed myself much...if I had I would be elbow deep in cookie dough right about now.

I also know that I only have to face a four day work week before calling it quits until the New Year!

December 7, 2019

Facing down the Christmas Rush...and failing, so far.

After looking at the calendar before Thanksgiving, I knew that we would be in full on Christmas mode immediately after Thanksgiving...as it was so late this year.

I also knew that I was already woefully behind - a fact that I keep vowing to rectify every year - and fail to do because, holy cow, just HOW does the year go by SO fast?!  It seems it goes faster and faster every year.

So, I made a "game plan."  Which immediately went haywire, of course.  Man-Child - the one I counted on to help The Husband get the Christmas stuff down and move the 100 pound chair out of the way to make room for the tree - called the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to tell me he threw out his back and asked me to meet him at the orthopedic doctor.  Luckily, this wasn't as bad as last time, but still...they did promise to send him for an MRI; which has still yet to happen.  This is good only because if we can figure out whatever is going on and get it fixed while he's still on my insurance that will be considered a win.

Needless to say, we couldn't very well ask him to help with these chores while he was in pain.  So we improvised...which had The Husband and I getting the Christmas stuff down.  Thanks to the great Christmas stuff purge last year the majority of the boxes were light enough for him to hand down to me.  The tree on the other hand...it was something he had to handle on his own and, at one point, I was convinced it was going to slide down the ladder and land on his head!

Luckily, it did not.

He was then able to wrangle the friend two doors down's husband to come and move the heavy chair.  And then put up the tree for me.  And that it is were we are now.  With a light, but naked tree.

My game plan called for this to be a VERY busy weekend for me.  One filled with decorating, shopping and baking...in addition to my usual weekend chores - cleaning, laundry, etc.

Well, then LAST week occurred.

What happened last week you might ask.  I was struck down with something that if I didn't know better, I'd swear was the flu - despite the fact that I DID get a flu shot.  Usually, I don't let a cold side-line me.  I go to work (using copious amounts of hand sanitizer, hand washing, etc.) and get stuff done.

For the most part, I DID go to work but finally had to wave the white flag and stay home one day where I tried fruitlessly to nap (I simply cannot sleep if it is light outside) and be kind to myself.  I did discover if I stayed on a steady diet of DayQuil / NyQuil (as appropriate), I could "kind of" function.

This morning dawned and I felt marginally better, so I was ready to seize the day and follow the game plan to the letter - up to and including writing a detailed list of all that I planned to accomplish...only to be blindsided when I forgot to throw the medicine into my bag as I headed out to do ALL the things...and found myself back home, in my pajamas with utterly no energy.

To illustrate just how bad this illness has been; The Husband, who usually shrugs off any ailment I have, has been looking at me with real concern and acting as if I am going to die in the next instant.  And, declared QUITE LOUDLY, when I met him for lunch today that I looked ABSOLUTELY AWFUL and should go home IMMEDIATELY!  Thank you, husband, for pointing this out to every single person in the establishment...it's a real confidence booster.  But, to be fair, when I caught sight of myself in the mirror, I had to agree...I DID look like death warmed over.

So, basically, we are back at the beginning with a naked, but for the lights, tree.  I thought MAYBE I could muster up the energy to put the candles in the windows...but for the life of me, I can't figure out where the candles are - and the energy to actually figure out WHERE they might be has been expended.

The fact that I was able to cobble together this post is an actual miracle...truly.  Now, whether or not this post makes any actual sense is another story.  But here's hoping that tomorrow will find me ready to actually start doing Christmas stuff...and all the other stuff that needs doing.

Meanwhile, The Husband is headed out to a neighbor's  holiday party - despite his belief that I am about to expire - (I've told him he HAS to go) while I plan on taking more medicine and heading to bed.

November 20, 2019

Faked out...twice in one day

Has it really been about a month since I last posted?!  That certainly appears to be the case.

At any rate, the only reason I'm even posting today is because The Husband was sedated this morning for dental work and, apparently, they had to give him enough to take down a rhinoceros since he's been in bed sleeping since we got home.  At 9:45 am. *consults watch*  It is now 4:47 pm.

Needless to say I was a little alarmed because when I brought him home from his colonoscopy a while back he was lucid, could walk without assistance and was ready to eat.  You should have seen the comedy scene that ensued as I tried to get him into the house, out of his clothes and into bed.  Well, it's funny now.  At the time, I was so afraid he was going to fall and there is absolutely no way I could have held him up.

But since he was still sleeping, I fired off a text to my friend two doors down (who happens to be a nurse) around 12:30 pm asking whether I should let him keep sleeping or wake him up. 

Comfortingly (?), she said, that as long as he's breathing I should let him sleep.  I checked, he was breathing. 

Around 3:00, I texted her again.  She again, said it was fine.  And then he woke up for about five minutes and went back to bed.

So here we are - I in a very quiet house and you, on the other end, reading a very long post.  Had I known he was going to sleep the day away, I might have gotten more done around here today.  But I had one eye on his breathing and one eye on work email and the day slipped away...as days tend to do when you aren't paying attention - which seems to have become a thing with me lately - I need to work on that.

But then again, I need to work on a lot of things - like remembering to blog more than once a month.  And getting to the point of the whole reason why I jumped on here this evening...

Friends, I thought I had found the holy grail of jeans last week.  (I know I said in my jeans report two years ago that I had found them - but although I still love those jeans, and any I may have purchased since, they must have changed something because those jeans now regularly sag.)  So I was excited when I saw that the label on these swore that these jeans would not stretch and sag ever.  The fit was perfect so I happily parted with my cash and took them with me.

Then I stopped at Ulta to get some hair product and, as always, I browsed around and found myself at the nail polish.  I pursued the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel line for any new colors, as you do.  I found a color, headed to counter to pay.

On the way out the door, I tossed the receipt in the trash - because I knew I wouldn't need it.

I'm sure by now you all know where this is going...

That receipt did, in fact, need keeping.  Why?  Because when I got home and went to put away my new polish what do you think I found?

If you guessed the exact same shade of polish, you would be correct.  And, how much do you want to bet that the first bottle was bought the last time I was in Ulta?  The odds are pretty good.

So, I've resigned myself to the fact that I am going to be wearing this color a LOT.  Or maybe, I'll just give it to my friend two doors down as a thank you for reminding me to worry about The Husband's breathing.

And now you must be wondering how else I was faked out twice in one day.  You've figured out the polish was the first fake out.  But the second one?  That one wasn't discovered until a couple of days later...

When I pulled on my new jeans and went to slip my keys in my front pocket - only to discover they were fake pockets!

I was outraged, I tell you, absolutely OUTRAGED!  What exactly is the deal with women's clothing and pockets?!  Either you have fake pockets, no pockets or extremely short pockets.  Yes, yes, I have read several articles as to why women's clothing historically didn't have pockets.  But this is 2019!  On the cusp of 2020, for crying out loud!  Put useful, normal sized pockets in women's jeans already!  Is that really too much to ask of clothing manufacturers?  Do they NOT wonder why women excitedly exclaim to another woman about how this dress/pants/jeans has pockets?!  Do they not wonder why women complain on Twitter, Facebook etc. about a lack of pockets - or why they share photos of an outfit with actual working pockets - this last bit only happens because it's so rare.

And then to make matters worse - damned if those jeans didn't start to sag toward the end of the day.  I'll give them this much they held up longer than most of my jeans - as they usually start to sag within hours of being worn.  But still...

Well, I guess this post has MORE than made up for me not posting for long.  I hope.  I'll try to be better.

*consults watch*  It's now 5:43 pm - I need to go see if The Husband is still breathing.

October 21, 2019

ATM frustration...it really shouldn't be this difficult

Today my calendar reminded me that I needed to get cash for the office lottery pool - can you call just two people playing a pool?  It's a question for the ages.  We used to have a great big group of us but one by one they all started retiring and when it was down to just five of us, the other three decided to cash in and call it quits.  Those other three will be sorry when we win it!

At any rate, I made a note to myself to remember to get cash when I stopped in at Target on my lunch break.  Needless to say, I forgot.  Telling myself it was no big deal, I planned to stop at my bank's ATM, which was on the way back to the office.  Which is a good thing because the only reason I remembered to stop was because I saw the building.

It must be said, I rarely visit the bank's ATM.  Ninety-nine percent of the time when I need cash, I just get cash back from an in-store transaction.  So, it had been maybe a year ago that I had last visited this particular ATM.

I pulled into the ATM drive through lane and immediately noticed that they had a new machine - which, honestly, seemed weird as this particular bank has recently been bought out...by their next door neighbor.  What can I say?  That particular corner is home to at least five banks.

But other than thinking that their timing was off, I went ahead and inserted my card.  When it asked for my PIN number, I keyed it in and hit enter.  And this was where it all went to hell in a hand basket.

The way it used to work is it would ask me if I wanted to withdraw money, make a deposit, etc.  This time it asked me if I wanted to check my bank balance, transfer money, make a deposit, or more services.

Do you see what I see?

That's correct, there was no option for withdrawing cash.  So I clicked on more services.  Again, no option for withdrawing cash BUT from this screen I could set up my ATM preferences - umm, I didn't know I needed ATM preferences.

At first I thought I had missed something from the get go.  So I canceled the entire transaction and started again.  Turns out I didn't miss anything that I could see, there was no option for actually withdrawing cash.  I mean, I'm sure it's there SOMEWHERE as there was the slot for dispensing said cash, but what the trick is to getting it to give me the cash eluded me.  And I really didn't have the time to spend trying to figure out what it was...given my lunch hour was more than over at this point.

Needless to say, I'm sure there will be a video of me cursing the machine and calling it names circulating within the branches in the coming days.  Let's just hope it doesn't find it's way to YouTube where it would certainly become a viral sensation.   And then the local news would pick up the story and the tag line would be, "Tonight at six, a local woman flummoxed by an ATM machine, can you believe it?  Haha."

At any rate, since my own actual bank is refusing to give me money; now I have to try and remember tomorrow to get the cash from my usual source...Target.  *sigh*

October 13, 2019

So much to share; so little time

I am failing woefully at posting consistently...hence the title.

Last weekend we took the kids (Man-Child and Bonus-Girl {The Husband's daughter}) to Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia for their birthdays.  At this point, it is just easier to give memories rather than actual "gifts."

Originally, this was The Husband's trip but, at that last minute, I decided to join them.  I had a doctor's appointment early that Friday morning - knowing this, I now know I should have packed the night before....

In my defense, we couldn't get into the VRBO until 2:00 pm, so I figured I'd have plenty of time after the appointment.  And I *did* have enough time, but I also neglected to make a list and to take the weather forecast seriously.

Usually, I pack according to a list so nothing gets forgotten.

Turns out, I forgot my pajamas, robe and slippers.  Fortunately, I remembered that BEFORE we actually got to the house.  If you know anything about Smith Mountain Lake it is in the middle of nowhere.  We ended up stopping at the only option in town - the Dollar General - to cobble together some pajamas and socks.  It was reminiscent of the last time we visited my mother-in-law - same scenario, middle of nowhere PA - and The Husband had forgotten to pack HIS pajamas - Dollar General to the rescue.  

Also before making it to the house we stopped at Food Lion and picked up a few supplies to get us through the weekend, including some baking supplies as I planned on making Man-Child's and Bonus-Girl's favorites - Praline Cake and Key Lime Pie.

I did have the presence of mind while packing to include ingredients I had on hand, so that meant I only had to buy a handful of ingredients when we got there.

As usual, I snagged VERY few pictures of the house or the people *sigh*.  But I fell in love with kitchen island - which isn't "staged" you'll notice - as all of our stuff is all over it.


The owners have renovated extensively, and are apparently still "in progress" with the kitchen as they haven't changed the white cabinets yet.  And yes, that island is as long and wide as it appears; I absolutely adore everything about it.

I was apprehensive about baking in someone else's kitchen with their equipment which didn't include a stand mixer...and I will admit, it was a little stressful, but I pulled it off somehow.  And the kids were both very happy with the results.



The Husband was happy as he was able to do lots of fishing on the dock in the back of the house.  This house overlooks the lake - kind of - there were a LOT of trees between the house and the lake.


I was happy to spend a lot of time out on the back/side porch all weekend.  But remember how I mentioned that I neglected to take the forecast seriously?  When we arrived Friday afternoon, the temperature was hovering in the 90's and was super humid.  But when Saturday dawned, the temperatures had plunged dramatically.


And guess what else I forgot to pack?  If you guessed a jacket or, at the very least, a shirt with long sleeves, you get a gold star.  Luckily, the Boy Scout The Husband had packed a couple of jackets, so I confiscated one and looked like a poor, little urchin for the remainder of the trip.

There was one hiccup to the trip, on Saturday afternoon we stopped at this boutique that was holding some kind of - I don't even know what to call it - there were other vendors set up outside, there was a band (that left before we got there), a catering truck, etc. in this giant field in front of the store.  After Bonus-Girl and I crawled all over the store we met up with the guys who had wandered outside while we shopped.  We decided it was time to head back to the house and as we were walking back to the car, Bonus-Girl tripped over a half of a cinder block that was randomly sitting at the edge of the field and went down HARD onto the gravel drive.  Needless to say, we had to pick gravel out of her palms and her legs will be host to some pretty large and colorful bruises for a while.  Turns out, that lone piece of cinder block had been placed there by the band to hold down their extension cords - and they neglected to remove it.

But, for the most part, the birthday trip was a big success.

Oh, and about that door that I was so hopeful about?  We are back to square one.  I nearly had a seizure when I saw the estimate.  I had one number in my head that I think is a very reasonable number.  The number the company had in their head - that I think is COMPLETELY unreasonable - which was easily triple (or more) of the number in my head.  

Yes, I was disappointed.  But I will forge on.  Eventually, I'll get that darn door...hopefully before I die.

October 1, 2019

A play and the door saga continues...

This past Sunday, my friend two doors down and I attended a play that the local community theater staged.  As you know, I ADORE our local community theater.  We went to see Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee.

Based on the theater's description, I was expecting a funny play - apparently, I missed the last line in the description...

Come to the party, but don’t play the drinking games. The lights are on late at George and Martha’s, as two couples in a quiet college town turn a nightcap into an all-out, all-night fight. Peek through their windows and uncover the devastating truth behind the illusions.

Truly, I knew absolutely NOTHING about this play going in and it was funny and, unexpectedly, also INTENSE.  We enjoyed it immensely but both agreed it was INTENSE.

Here's a link that gives a bit more info about the play - but be warned, if you read the entire article there are spoilers, as in it basically tells you the entire play including the ending, so skip it if this sounds like a show you might like to see.  You can comfortably read the overview though.

And yes, even though it was INTENSE, I would recommend that you see it if your local theater group is planning to stage it.  Especially if your theater group is as good as ours.

A bonus - looking ahead into the season, there are at least two more plays that we would love to see - including It's a Wonderful Life.  Sadly, those tickets are mostly gone even though it starts a good two months from now...apparently, the Christmas shows get snapped up at the beginning of the season.

***

The door saga continues - (the beginning and part two) BUT we may be coming to an end on that particular year and a half old drama.

The Husband mentioned that he had heard about a company that would do the door.  Needless to say, I was skeptical because all of the inquiries we have made have been pretty much ignored.  I get it.  A door is not a big money maker for most general contractors.  I sent the company a message and they actually called the same day.

Of course, I did not answer the call because I don't answer numbers I don't know.  I had meant to enter The Husband's cell phone but, of course, entered mine by mistake.  Once I retrieved the voicemail, I handed the number over to The Husband.  And here is where the miracle occurred.

He called them yesterday morning.  And they actually showed up at my house yesterday afternoon (THE SAME DAY!) to discuss the door!  I was FLOORED when The Husband shared this with me.  They left a book of doors they offer - that happens to have the door I want - and told him that we need to fill out a form online and they will give us an estimate ASAP.

So, fingers crossed that I may have a new door before the two year mark of this ridiculousness comes to pass.

September 14, 2019

A weepy, hot mess...

The title sums up my day yesterday perfectly.

I knew going in that it was going to be a weepy day as one of my friends (a "legacy" employee from the company prior [and, I've just realized that post never really explained the whole story - which may never be told here to anyone's satisfaction] through to the transition) was retiring yesterday.  That in itself wouldn't be too bad (I thought) but yesterday was also my other friend's birthday...you know, the one that isn't here on this earth anymore.

What never occurred to me was that these two events culminating on the same day would turn me into someone who found herself sobbing in the bathroom several times in one day.  And yet - here we are.

Although my friend died almost a year and a half ago, there is not one day that goes by that I don't think of her.  My sweet friend two doors down is the same and this morning texted me because she knew I would be hurting today, just as she was.

I know that the ache in my heart will possibly fade with time; but will never go away entirely.  I miss her so very much.

The other night, the "legacy" employee's wife threw a retirement party for him.  Which looked like a family reunion to us other "legacy" employees as people from the old company - current and retired, mixed with a few of the new company employees, all came together.  At one point, my friend was prompted to make a speech.  He said many things, including how much he loved (most) of us and how much he would miss the people and then he said (forgive me as I quote him), "The one thing I won't miss is FUCKING xxxxx!"  This was proclaimed as his new boss (not a legacy employee) stood in front of him.  Not that there was anything he could do about it at this point.

Here's the thing, the new company isn't so bad - it's just different.  But I think the problem most legacy employees have is that everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - about the old company is verboten.  Even things that worked - but that is a post for another day, perhaps.  It also appears that the parent company can't just leave us to get the job done - they want to micro-manage everything to death, which is one of the many reasons my friend decided to retire early.

I think what was so hard about losing this particular employee - besides the fact that he is a friend - is that is just another little piece of our "family" fading away.  And that's what the new company and the new co-workers just don't get; and probably never will.

We were a family, of sorts.  That legacy employee that retired?  He'd been with the company for over thirty years, I've worked; and socialized, with him for eighteen years.  He literally watched Man-Child grow up since first grade.

On our floor, we only have a handful of the "legacy newbies" (those of us with fifteen to twenty years under our belts) left - and, I suppose, it's safe to say - we aren't the newbies anymore.

September 6, 2019

I Know Everything ...a book review

Are you looking for a fast-paced, intense read?  If so, I Know Everything by Matthew Farrell is the book for you!

A small excerpt from Amazon's description...

"A psychiatrist grapples with his own sanity as murder evidence mounts against him."

A renowned psychiatrist's wife dies in what appears to be a car accident.  But after a series of findings it turns out, it wasn't an accident.  It was murder.  The question remains, who did it?

This is a page turner.  The twists are many and unexpected.

At 329 pages, it shouldn't be considered a "short" read but I enjoyed it so much, I finished it in two days.

A few blurbs about the book:

"I Know Everything takes off like a shot, with a shot, and the pulse-pounding pace never lets up.  Fans of John Sandford and Lawrence Block will flock to Matthew Farrell!? - Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times best selling author.

"Dark and constantly surprising, this is a must-read for fans of twisted, intelligent thrillers." - Mark Edwards, best selling author of The Magpies.

"A page-turner from beginning to end.  Take a deep breath, and hang on - this relentless thriller will keep you guessing until the very last masterful twist." - Jennifer Hillier, author of Jar of Hearts.

None of these blurbs are wrong.  I don't think I've ever read anything by Matthew Farrell before (I really should start keeping a list of what I've already read!) and I will definitely be on the lookout for more books by him.

August 31, 2019

The "I'm Just Winging It" Gardener's Use of Cardboard.

I have to admit, I was kind of surprised about the questions raised from my last post.  But then I realized, to the uninitiated it could be confusing.

You need to realize that any knowledge I might have is through trial and error over the years, thus the "I'm Just Winging It" in the title.  And throughout those years, I've learned that I despise weeds/weeding and invasive plants - both of which are trying to take over my yard and flower beds.  And that I have many flower beds; including a GIANT one in the back of the house.

So slowly, but surely, I am using cardboard to help cut down on the weeds and prevent the invasive plants from returning after I have tried to eradicate them (this method does NOT help when the invasive plants just pop up in the middle of the yard, which The Husband deals with by running them over with the lawn mower).  Not all of the beds have been done - mainly because I'm still in the process of removing/thinning plants and trying to get the beds exactly the way I want them.

A lot of people use landscape fabric/paper in their beds - I used to do it all the time.  If you choose to use it, I am not vilifying you, but earthworms aerate the soil and the landscape fabric/paper prevents that from happening.  Also, cardboard (plain brown; not printed or shiny, minus packing tape) will eventually break down.  See this article for more information.  In my experience it seems like the landscape fabric just hangs around forever (a slight exaggeration on my part) just getting rattier and rattier.  From what I understand, you can also use thick sections of newspaper - but it seems to me that this method would break down far quicker than cardboard meaning you would have to re-do it more often.  No, I do not know if that is factually accurate - but it makes sense to me.

Generally, I will cut the cardboard boxes flat and then lay the cardboard around the existing plants, covering all bare areas and then cover the whole thing with dark mulch (my preference - you could also use pine needles/straw or a different colored mulch, why you would want to do that is beyond me though, but it's your yard).  This will deter any weeds, etc. from growing.  Eventually, you will need to re-apply the cardboard and cover with mulch, etc.

This really does help cut down on your weeding time.  Especially, if you also utilize Preen, which prevents weeds from germinating in the first place, which they will when birds or whatever drops the seeds on top of the mulch and cardboard.

So there you go...start hoarding those Amazon boxes.

In other yard news - we lost three ornamental plum trees to Black Knot fungus.  It is such a shame because they were so pretty in the Spring.  By the time we noticed the fungus, it was too late.  I think our wet winter contributed to the problem.  Yesterday, the tree guys came by and cut them down.  It was actually kind of amazing because of the technology they utilized.  They were in and out in about 30 minutes - and that included chipping the trees and clean up.

Today, the stump grinding guy showed up.  And that was really amazing because he had this very large machine that he directed via remote control.  And again, he was in and out in about 30 minutes, including clean up.

After some discussion, The Husband and I have decided not to replace the trees for a couple of reasons.  Two of the trees obscured the front of the house and hid most of the front landscaping, including the Japanese maple.  The other one, on the other side of the driveway never even registered with us that it was ours.  Also, The Husband pointed out that their removal would make his job of mowing that much easier.

August 25, 2019

A Place at the Table; a book review (and, today was the day!)

I have literally just finished A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White and ran to the computer to tell you about it.

I absolutely inhaled this book.  Well, to be honest, I sat on it for a bit.  I picked it up when Man-Child and I were at the beach a few weeks ago, but was busy with two other books.  I finally started reading this one a few days ago and have enjoyed every minute of it.

Author of The Help (which I also love), Katherine Stockett's blurb had this to say "Susan Rebecca White is a wonderful writer."  And she's not wrong.

The basic premise of this book is that "three outcasts longing for home come together at Manhattan's Cafe Audrex, a chic gathering place for New York's cultural illuminati."

From the back of the book, "In her most accomplished novel yet, Susan Rebecca White braids together the stories of these three unforgettable characters who must learn that when you embrace the thing that makes you different, you become whole."

I'm actually kind of surprised that I haven't stumbled over this author before now.  But now that I have, I know I will be reading more of her work.

In other news, before I sat down determined to finish this book today; I noticed that The Husband's voodoo seemed to be wearing off.  Hoping to strike before the rain came back, we headed outside bright and early and tackled the area near the front porch.  Of course, we had to stop in the middle to make a trip to the garden center, where I was vindicated when the helpful lady there informed my husband that she also uses cardboard to help cut down on the weeds (he's been telling me that I am crazy).  She also informed him that it was good for the worms.  Now, I don't know about that - but there you go.  And also, of course, I had to make another trip back since we didn't buy enough pine needles.  You will be pleased to note that I refrained from telling The Husband, "I told you so" in regards to the pine needles.  I did, however, tell him that in regards to the cardboard.

Currently, I have yet another batch of bread (hopefully) baking as I type.  I used bread flour and a different brand of yeast, this time around.  It seemed less sticky this time but I expected more of a rise, so we shall see.  Fingers crossed....

August 24, 2019

Maybe tomorrow?

Earlier this week, I was over the moon to see that our temperatures were supposed to drop into the high 70's this weekend.  I announced that this weekend would be a "work" weekend - which The Husband correctly deduced that I meant to rope him in and make him help me with a few projects that would definitely be easier to do in cooler temperatures.  Projects that he knew I couldn't do alone.  These are the times when he misses renting...because a homeowner's work is never done.

The options were endless...

We could clear out the unsightly area near the front porch.  We have a beautiful Japanese Maple that should be the star of that particular show; but, of course, someone (the last owners, perhaps) couldn't bear the sight of any empty space around it - so they threw in a couple of rose bushes, another random plant and some more morning glory. (sigh)

We could work on building the border around the side bed.  I've been itching to do this project ever since my last visit home where my friend's husband was working on a beautiful border wall; that has since been completed and is perfect!

Or we could, once again, tackle the garage.  We only made it so far since our last attempt.  Since then, while we haven't added to the mess, we certainly haven't made any forward motion.

Or, we could tackle those trees in the back...as I said, the list is endless.

This morning dawned nice and cool.  And full of rain.  It has rained practically non-stop all day.  Although he denied it, I'm absolutely convinced The Husband pulled some kind of voodoo to conjure up this rain.

I am holding out hope for tomorrow but not much.

Since my plans were rained out, I decided to take another swipe at making bread.  Yes, I had attempted to make some last week.  While the cake and the crumble were both an all around success; the bread failed horribly.  I could only surmise that I had too much going on and must have missed something.

Today I was completely focused.  And I still failed.  And I have no idea why.  I did everything exactly the way I did it the first time I successfully made it.  It vexes me to no end.

I am determined to master this deceptively simple recipe.  It's obvious that it can be done as evidenced here.  Maybe I'll try again tomorrow, if The Husband's voodoo continues to bring on the rain.

August 18, 2019

Bake and learn...

We are having some of my favorite people over for dinner tonight.  So, of course, yesterday morning found me mulling over what dessert to make - because we all know that's why they are coming...not for whatever scraps The Husband will manage to pull together.... ;-)

Eventually, I had it narrowed down to either a coconut cake (one of the children consistently asks if I have made this every time they come over, so it's safe to say it's his favorite) or a peach cobbler.

The coconut cake I have made before, obviously.  The peach cobbler?  Never.  I have not attempted a cobbler in any shape or form before at all.

Then, me being me, I decided that both desserts would not be too over the top because I can send some of each home with our friends and some home with Man-Child, should he decide to grace us with his presence today.  And whatever is left over The Husband and I can take to work to be devoured.  Plus, I've been trying to break out of my comfort zones when it comes to baking, thus the cobbler.

This time around, I decided to make the coconut cake as a sheet cake rather than a layered one.  I prefer the layered type but it can get messy.  I figured the sheet cake would contain the mess.

Here's the modified recipe I use for the coconut cake (original recipe found here).

Ingredients (Printable recipe here)

White cake (either homemade or boxed is fine)
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk*
1 14 oz can of cream of coconut*
1 16 oz package whipped topping, thawed*
1 8 oz package of flaked coconut

Prepare and bake white cake according to recipe/boxed mix directions.  Remove cake from the oven.  While still hot, use a long fork to poke holes all over the top.

Mix cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk; pour over the still hot cake.  Let cake cool completely, frost with whipped topping and garnish with the flaked coconut.

*If you decide to go with a sheet cake instead of layers, you can probably half all of these ingredients.  Of course, this did not occur to me until I had used a majority of the cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk mixture.  So I fully expect this cake to be tooth-achingly sweet.  Something, I am sure, that won't bother the children!



For the peach cobbler, I went with a recipe that I'd found in the paper years and years ago - based on how yellowed the page was...it was simple and straightforward.  So, of course, I completely botched the first batch up!  This is also why I should really focus on one recipe at a time, particularly when making something new; oh well, live and learn.  Or in this case, bake and learn.

Fruit Cobbler (Printable Recipe)

Ingredients

1 stick of butter
1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
3/4 cup of milk
2 cups of fruit - fresh, canned or frozen (sweetened to taste)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in a medium or large Pyrex baking dish.

Stir sugar and flour together in a bowl.  Stir in milk.  Pour over melted butter.  Do not stir.  Pour the fruit on top.  Bake for one hour.

Seems almost too easy, doesn't it?  First tip - when given the option of a medium or large Pyrex dish; opt for the medium.  Trust me.  Second tip - wear your reading glasses and pay actual attention to the fact that it says pour over melted butter.  How do I have the knowledge to offer this second tip?  Because in hindsight, I only put a 1/4 cup of milk into the flour and sugar mixture as I ended up spooning the mixture over the butter.  But I pressed on.  And utterly failed.

The baking dish was too large so the result was an ultra thin, semi-burned mixture.  So while it tasted okay, it was completely unacceptable.  The entire dish was tossed into the trash and the baking dish is still soaking in hopes that I can salvage it.

Of course, I was undeterred and tried again.  I have a feeling that this time I've nailed it.


The plan is to warm it and serve it with vanilla ice cream - yum!

This morning found me up extra early and what happens when I have too much time on my hands?  Well, I created this post and currently there are two loaves of no-knead bread rising, if that tells you anything...

August 10, 2019

I'm a multi-tasking genius...until I'm not.

As today dawned overcast and not too hot (yet), I decided this would be the perfect morning to attack the two, neglected beds that run along the back of the house.  And considering they are both in the shade in the morning, I determined that this absolutely needed to be done.  Particularly, since the last two weekends were spent out of town and nothing had been done.

I informed The Husband of my plan as he was walking out the door - why he hates for me to work in the yard is beyond me; possibly because he's afraid he may come home to find me laid out in yard with heat stroke.  At any rate, when he tried to talk me out of it I explained that I only meant to spend a couple of hours on it and call it a day.

Famous last words.

So he left, shaking his head and muttering under his breath, while I started the Roomba so at least the vacuuming would be done while I busy out in the yard.  Look at me...a multi-tasking genius!

As it often happens when I'm working in the yard, I lose all track of time and the task that I thought would take only a small amount of time turns out to be bigger task than I had first anticipated.

All in all, a good majority of the beds weren't too terribly bad considering I haven't looked at them or touched them since we moved in.  Until...

I do NOT have a pointy head - that's the
phone's shadow - it took me far too long
to figure that out!

I reached the end of this bed, where whatever these bushes are vexed me to no end.  Why?  Because, apparently, if these bushes aren't kept pruned it sends out runners.  Runners with very large and very deep roots.  And I wonder why my elbow is throbbing - possibly removing said runners?

In the midst of removing runners, I heard something in the house and assumed it was The Husband.  But when I looked around the corner, his car was not in the driveway.  I shrugged it off and went back to yanking and pruning.

Eventually, I needed a break.  I grabbed some water and headed for the back porch.  As I was sitting there, I heard movement in the house again.  I stood up and looked in the window - nothing.  And then I heard it again.  I couldn't figure out how someone had gotten into the house because I closed the garage door knowing I would not have it in full view while working.

I grabbed my phone, ready to hit 911 and opened the back door with my heart in my throat, fully prepared to run if I saw someone and what did I see?  The stupid Roomba STILL doing its business a full three and half hours after I started it.  I had completely forgot about my multi-tasking genius.  Why the thing was still going actually offended me, the floors weren't THAT dirty.

After about four hours - two more than I had intended - The Husband came home (probably because he had called and I didn't hear the phone) to make sure I was still alive.

There is still more to be done - but not weeding.  The mondo (?) grass needs dividing, the day lilies not only need dividing, but I need to find something to replace them as I am so over them.  They start out okay and I don't hate them but around this time of the summer they start looking so ratty that I loathe them.  There is still mulch to be purchased and applied.

On the plus side?  Not many blackberry shoots were out today (knock wood).  But I did find some lamb's ear popping up on the farthest point in the yard from where I removed the original ones. *sigh*

If it's not blackberry shoots, it's lamb's ear, or runners, or morning glories.  In other words, yard work is never done.  Kinda like housework and laundry.


July 19, 2019

The newest scam on the block...

Here's the deal...if my phone rings and I don't recognize the number (well actually, it's more of a scenario of, if I don't see a name I know) I won't answer it.  Shocking, I know.  This actually used to drive Man-Child utterly insane.  He insisted that I *should* answer it because, "What if it was an emergency?!"  I informed him that if it was an emergency they would leave a message.

And guess what?  Nine times out of ten, they never left a message.

He now understands why I won't answer the phone after he was inundated with over twenty or more calls in one day.  Listen to your mother, children, she may actually be on to something after all, despite the fact that you think she doesn't know a darn thing and is living in the dark ages.

So today when the phone rang - as usual, I hit Ignore and went about my business.  Only to be alerted a few seconds later that I had a voicemail.  Considering this isn't usually how this goes down, I listened to the voicemail.

Now, to be honest, I don't think I would have fallen for it - but just the day before I had heard about the latest scam on the radio - because, seriously?  The Social Security Administration is going to CANCEL my number because of suspicious activity - I don't think so.  And I certainly don't think they would call me to tell me about; mainly because how would they even know where to call me?  It's not like the SSA and I are in constant contact.  Heck, we don't even follow each other on Twitter!

At any rate, they called me again and left another voicemail, from a different phone number - of course.

When I mentioned this to The Husband, his eyebrows shot up in alarm.  I told him that it was a scam and how I knew it was one.  I then told him that he needed to tell his mother - although my mother-in-law is pretty savvy, this one might unnerve her considering she's living on Social Security. 

So here's your mission - we all have at least one or more people in our lives who might/could fall victim to this scam - or others - so pass on this information to those people in your life.


July 14, 2019

*wipes the construction dust off the computer*

Since I last called you all here together, you may have noticed a few changes.

I have just spent an inordinate amount of time trying to update/clean things up around here.  I should warn you - there may be a few more changes in the works as I'm not completely satisfied with this update...for the most part I like it, but it still needs a few tweaks here and there.  And since I am in this on my own (i.e., I'm figuring it out as I go) there may be a few hiccups.  Hiccups, which I hope, you will alert me to - broken links, etc.

On the back end, it looks pretty much the same to me.  But on the front end - your end - I think the changes are a bit more pronounced.

I have changed the template to a more simple, streamlined look.  I'm in the process of updating all labels so that you should be able to click on a link over there to the right under "the for now" working title of All the Categories Right at Your Fingertips and find all relevant posts in one spot.

After being a true empty-nester for how long now (?!) - I have finally updated the profile info - and you can see that one does not just regain ones sanity once the baby bird leaves the nest...apparently.  Eventually, I hope to get around to changing the profile picture...hopefully.

I opted for black text with a white background because, at least for me, that is easier on the eyes.  (At least, to me it appears black - but when I preview the post, it appears gray.  Hmmm.  What say you?)  I've also opted for a larger font - which will, hopefully, make it easier for everyone. 

Surprisingly, the hardest thing to accomplish was changing the favicon way up there at the top...despite the fact that I did a whole post on how to accomplish this task.  Feel free to follow that post if you like, if you are attempting to create one - but for me it did not work this go round for whatever unknown reason.  This time I created the icon in Powerpoint, saved it as a jpg file, uploaded it to Pixlr.com and was able to edit it to 16 x 16 and was finally able to upload the icon.  It took me days people, days, to get that to work...so frustrating.  The kicker?  I know (fingers crossed) that it shows on your end but on the back end?  Not working.  I'm trying to ignore that fact.

So, poke around, see what's working and what isn't and report back any and all findings and opinions, please.  In the meantime, I'll be over here playing behind the scenes.

July 9, 2019

If you don't have 16 hours to spare...but maybe 5-ish hours?

When we last left off, I had just finished binge reading book while mindlessly dropping pistachio shells into my drink...

I also forgot to mention that I took today and tomorrow off just because.  Occasionally, one just needs a four day weekend for no real reason at all; so I did.

Yesterday found me ready to wander out into the big bed in the back yard for just an hour.  Yeah, right.  That easily morphed into two and a half hours, thanks to (say it with me now!) "that damn blackberry bush" and a new-to-me weed that seems to be immune to Preen.  And I'm still not done.  But the rest will have to wait until next weekend, I'm afraid.

At any rate, today - the last day before I head back to work - I decided to make it a more relaxing kind of day...so I decided to tackle making bread...again.  Although, in retrospect, today the weather would have been kinder for outdoor work.

Oh well...too late now!

Long time readers may recall that many, many, many years ago I somehow was able to successfully create a perfect bread on my very first attempt.  Any and all subsequent attempts have been utter failures.

Today I searched out a quick and easy no-knead bread (because I didn't have or want to spend 16 hours or more on it) and came across an adaptation of the original recipe, which that link takes you back to my original blog post; as the original is now behind a paywall, I believe.

The recipe I used today can be found here...for how long, who knows?

Now to be fair, I did not watch the video, so I didn't use any of the "tricks" that were mentioned in the Cooking Notes/Comments section.  But I did do a couple of things that weren't mentioned in the recipe, I'll share them below. These couple of things were key I think to this bread turning out perfectly!

So perfectly that The Bread Snob (aka The Husband) has been raving about this bread...which came out of the oven right before he walked in after work.


Printable Recipe

Ingredients

3 cups bread flour (I used regular because that's what I had in the pantry)
1 packet (1/4 ounce) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt (I thought that was too much so I used maybe half a teaspoon?)
1 1/2 cup of water
Oil as needed

Before anything I started the oven just to get it warm; this isn't mentioned in the original recipe, but based on other sites I read, I thought it might be helpful.  In my opinion, it was very helpful!  Particularly, since it's summertime in the South and the air conditioning means the house is cool.

Combine flour, yeast in a large bowl.  Add the (warm!) water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Here's where I turned the oven off - and let the dough rest for about four hours in the warm oven.

Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap (I oiled the wrap that would touch the dough, this was key, as it kept the wrap from sticking to the dough) and let rest for thirty minutes.  (Notice, this recipe does not require you to add flour to the working surface...that was the downfall on my last couple of attempts - it made the bread too flour-y.  Using a canola oil spray was genius!)

As soon as the dough was resting for the second time,  I put my dutch oven into the oven and let it heat to 450 degrees while the dough rested.

When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven.  Slide your hand under the dough and put it into the dutch oven; seam side up (I didn't have a seam for some reason?  Also, that oiled surface?  Made picking the sticky dough up so easy!).  Shake pan once or twice to distribute uneven dough.

Cover with the lid and bake for thirty minutes, remove lid and bake another 15-30 minutes; until the loaf is browned.  Cool on a wire rack.

SOOOOO good!

Enjoy!

If you try it, let me know what you think.  Also?  This success completely absolves me of the abject failure of the cake I made (and didn't blog about) on Saturday...

July 7, 2019

All the Missing Girls...a book review

It's been a while, a long while, since we've had one of these...almost a year; how did that happen?  As much as it saddens me to say, I really haven't been reading actual books lately - a fact I am trying to remedy.  I think the main reason for this is because I keep getting stuck in books that I don't really care for and in an effort to slog through, I find something else to do instead of just setting that book aside and finding another one.

I received this book as a Mother's Day present and was only able to finally get to it after putting off finishing another book that I didn't enjoy that much.

All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda.

This has been the book that I've been looking to pull me out of my reading slump.  I started it a few days ago and have spent the majority of this afternoon finishing it.  At one point, I was so engrossed in the story that instead of tossing the shells from the pistachios I had been snacking on into the trash can on my left, I dumped them in my drink!

According to the author's bio; this is her first novel for adults.

From the synopsis on the back of the book:

"It's been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left Cooley Ridge.  Ten years since she broke up with Tyler, the man she thought she'd marry.  Ten years since her best friend Corinne disappeared, never to  be heard from again.

When the call comes that her father is ailing.  Nic is living in Philadelphia-light years away from her younger self.  She drops everything to care for her dad, but within days of her return another girl goes missing and Nic experiences a terrifying sense of deja-vu.

As Nic works to unravel what happened to the missing girl, shocking truths emerge about her neighbors, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago."

What I did not initially realize was that the story was being told backwards.  Yes, if I'd initially paid attention to the chapter titles, this would have been clear from the start; but all my life I generally ignore the chapter titles in a rush to get on with the story.  Lesson learned?  Knowing me; probably not.

As mentioned above, this book was riveting the further I went (particularly after I figured out that the timeline was going backwards!).  Only one point seemed to be left unanswered to me, but it was a point that could be answered many different ways by the reader; maybe that's what the author intended.  Or perhaps I just missed the answer in all the details.

This could have been one of those stories where you could see the culprit from the start; it is not one of those types of stories.  You are constantly questioning each of the characters and pondering possible motives.

This one deserves to be included in the list of Books I Love Enough to Tell You About (PSST, you can find all my book reviews there at the third link on my header).  If you read it, let me know what you think.  I will definitely be looking for other titles from this author.

July 4, 2019

Living with other people - part two...

So you remember the notebook that I posted about only two days ago?

The notebook that I use to keep score when Man-Child and I play cards or Scrabble.  The notebook I use for various games (Boggle, mainly) from the newspaper (yes, I still get a paper - don't look at me like that!  I'm personally trying to keep the industry from dying).  The notebook I use for various lists, reminders, etc. (I know I could use my phone for lists, etc. but I have found, for me, I prefer a handwritten list, don't ask me why, I don't know.).

I went looking for it this morning only to discover it was GONE.

Notebook - MIA

The Husband wasn't home for me to give him the third degree, unfortunately.  As I stewed over the lost notebook it dawned on me what must have happened. 

The Husband is a facilities person for several buildings and about every three months or so, he either gets up extra early or stays up extra late to run "light checks" to make sure all the outdoor lights are working at the various buildings and makes a note on the ones that need attention.

He ran a light check the day after I brought that notebook home; so it appears he absconded with the notebook without even noticing the strongly worded note on the front!  How?!  And, it's a new record.  A new notebook gone in under twenty-four hours.

When I asked him about it this evening, he admitted he took it.  And looked puzzled when I asked if he had noticed the note - he had not.  *sigh*

Why he took this notebook is a mystery - especially as we shared a car for the majority of  last week while mine was in the shop - I noticed that he had the last notebook I had brought home was in his car!

So my plan is reclaim my notebook and hide the darn thing.  Apparently, that's the only way I'll be able to keep one on hand.

July 2, 2019

Living with other people...

Living with other people means I find myself writing things like this on a random notepad...

The blog is the reason that I have to take such random pictures. 
In the event you can't read it, the text reads "This notepad is not to leave this
house under any circumstance. Love, Mom"

The names have been blocked out to protect the guilty.  The guilty, you may wonder, are both The Husband and Man-Child.  Why they are guilty, you may wonder, is because EVERY. SINGLE. notepad that I have brought home has disappeared; due to one or the other needing a sheet of paper - yes, you read that right; A SINGLE SHEET OF PAPER - so they decided that the entire notebook was needed, so they would take it and run.  Leaving me to scramble whenever *I* might need a single sheet of paper.

In sum, they seem to think that it is perfectly acceptable to abscond with household notebooks.  At this point, I'm ready to raid both of their cars and rescue the "hostages" that I've witnessed languishing in their automotive prisons.  The prisons where they have been ignored; once their initial usefulness expired.

June 27, 2019

Dead Car and Key Lime Pie - it all ties together, I promise.

Before we begin, fair warning.  It's a long one.  Go to the bathroom, grab a drink and a snack, take a nap, etc.

So yesterday was the day my car decided to leave me stranded in the grocery store parking lot.

It had been fine.  Haven't had any issues.  It drove from work to the store without a hiccup - until I got back into the car and it wouldn't start.  I figured my key fob battery had died.  Since I live in fear of that fob dying and me being stranded, I always keep extras with me so I was able to change the battery fairly quickly.  It didn't work.

Then I began a barrage of phone calls to The Husband.  I called both cell phones multiple times all while cursing a blue streak.  Just last week, he had testily informed me that *I* never answer the phone when he calls; so you can imagine the thoughts I was having as the phone just rang and rang and rang; always going to voicemail.  They weren't pretty.

Then I tried another new battery in the fob - while still dialing one number and another and cursing.  That didn't work.  But, hallelujah, I was somehow able to get the windows down in the car which gave me some relief on the 90 degree day, but not much.

Eventually, he finally heard one of his phones ringing and answered.  I'd like to say that I greeted him warmly and was full of grace.

Sadly, I did not.

At any rate, he got the message loud and clear that I was stranded and that he needed to come help me immediately.  As I was sitting there trying vainly to talk the car into fixing itself, The Husband called to tell me that he had to stop to get jumper cables.  This bit of info did NOT need to be relayed to me at that very moment.  Especially since I was pretty sure he had stashed some cables somewhere in my car already.  Turns out, I was right about that.

He finally arrived and tried to jump the car; to no avail.  One guy drifted over to help.  And then another.  And then another, who walked up and said, "Are any of you guys mechanics?"  To which, they all replied no.  He, however, was a mechanic who works on airplanes.  I thought he would be my savior in this whole mess.  Actually, they all were; including The Husband, despite the fact that I called him fifteen million times before he answered.  It's nice to realize that there are still kind people in this world that are willing to help.

Eventually, the mechanic somehow got the car to start.  He warned us not to turn the car off for at least thirty minutes and all the men began to wander away as we called out our heartfelt thanks to those angels.  The Husband gave me the keys to his car to drive home and said he would follow in mine, just in case.

Not even ten minutes down the road my phone began to ring.  That darn car had died before he could even get it out of the parking lot.  *sigh*  So I turned around to pick him up.  My car guy was put on notice and said he'd check it out this morning.

So this became a "work from home" day for me today.  And, let me tell you, I am extremely grateful for the flexibility my boss gives me for occasions like this one.  Luckily, I knew it would be fairly slow as he, and several others, are out of the office this week.  As predicted, it was.  So I was able to get a few things done around the house and then I had a thought... more on that in a minute...

***

A week or so ago, my friend's husband (the ones that live two doors down) had helped The Husband with tuning up our lawn mower and then putting in a microwave.  To thank him for his help and her for loaning him to us for several hours, we had them over for dinner.  I knew from past conversations that he really likes key lime pie so I went in search of a recipe and found the world's easiest and best key lime pie recipe ever.  Well, to be fair, prior to that key lime pie I had only made one other before and it was okay.  But this recipe?  To die for.  And super easy.

***

So, back to that thought I had - I realized I had the majority of the ingredients on hand and asked The Husband to pick up one item for me and I decided to re-create the recipe (while keeping an eye on work email) WITH pictures (look at me thinking ahead like all the "real" bloggers do!) for you!

Well, I mean, unless you come knocking on my door you won't get to taste it, but you too will have this fabulous, easy recipe in your back pocket next time you need a dessert.

I found the recipe here.  If you are a foodie, a baker, or just someone who needs an idea of what to make for dinner, check out her site - it's chock full of recipes, desserts, etc.

I think one of the things that makes this pie so ridiculously good is the crust.  As she notes in her post, a homemade graham cracker crust is MUCH better than a store bought one.  I can not master a pie crust to save my life, so I was a little apprehensive.  Had I known just how easy a homemade graham cracker crust was, I would have been making them all the darn time.

Without further ado, here you go.

Graham cracker crust:

1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (I eyeballed it and figured a sleeve of crackers would do it. It did)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons of butter melted

Filling:

28 oz of sweetened condensed milk (basically, two 14 oz cans)
1/2 cup light sour cream (I used regular and it was fine, I'll try it with light next time.  And there will be a next time!)
3/4 cup key lime juice (Found in the alcohol aisle with all the other mixers.  If it matters, I used Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice)
Zest from 2 regular limes or 4 key limes

You will notice here that I did not include the recipe for the Whipped Cream topping.  That's because I was obsessing over the crust the first time I made it.  And I didn't bother this time either.  Mainly, because I can live without whipped cream and, honestly - this pie can stand on its own and doesn't need it, in my humble opinion.

Before anything, preheat the oven to 375.  Then we turn to the graham cracker crust.  First you need to create some crumbs.  You can use a food processor or just do what I did - drop the crackers into a ziplock bag and beat the hell out them with a meat tenderizer; or as I like to call it, a meat hammer.  You can really create some fine crumbs when you are taking your car frustrations out on those crackers.

Of course, I neglected to take a picture of the crumbs in the bag,
so you get a shot of the meat hammer instead.

Next, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter together

Right before I added the melted butter

After thoroughly mixing up the crumbs, sugar and butter press the mixture into a pie pan and bake for 7 minutes.  Let it cool for 30 minutes.

On to the delicious filling...now we need to lower the oven temperature to 350.  Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice, and lime zest in a medium bowl.

Yum!

Pour over prepared crust


And bake for 10 minutes.  Let it cool and then refrigerate for at least three hours. And you end up with this deliciousness.

Can't wait to cut into this!

And guess who decided to stay for dinner?  Once he realized what was hanging out in the refrigerator?

Yes, the elusive Man-Child

The Husband was also pretty pleased - especially since he had SO anticipated that last sliver from the previous pie; only to be foiled by me.  It's actually kind of funny - he isn't a dessert eater and I am not one to partake often...but we both wanted that last piece of pie; I just beat him to it then.  Now, he has a chance to redeem himself.

As for the stupid car?  We think it may be the alternator.  *sigh*  I think we will have it towed to my car guy's place tomorrow.  It's a good thing we have some pie to ease the sting of this unexpected blow to our budget.

June 20, 2019

A Father's Day gift for the win...for all of us

Right before Father's Day I heard on the radio that several health organizations want to ban wire grill brushes because the bristles can break off, get stuck to the grill surface and get embedded in your food.

The case they mentioned on the radio had a woman suffering from awful neck pain - for months before they figured out what was going on!

Scary, right?  What's even more scary?  That this has been an issue for quite a while and that I have just now heard of it...most likely because I really don't pay attention to articles about food, etc. unless its a baking recipe that I might be interested in making.

So, considering the fact that The Husband really goes to town on his grill with a wire grill brush, this was at the top of my mind when considering Father's Day gifts for him.

After doing research, I decided to buy him a grill stone and a wooden scraper; so that he could decide which he liked best.  Along with a gallon of olive oil...because, obviously, this is something that needs to be purchased for every occasion, as he refuses to buy it for himself - and will nickel and dime us to death buying tiny bottles; despite the fact that he uses olive oil at least once - if not three or four times a day. *sigh*

This evening was the first night that he's grilled something since Father's Day.  He decided to try out the grill stone first.  His opinion?  He LOVED it.  He claims that it really cleaned the grates back to their original finish, although he noted it left an ashy residue.  According to the packaging, it is chemical free and non-toxic.  But he made a point of removing the ashy residue before cooking anything.   He also asked about the price point because the more you use the stone, the more it wears away.  The price point is such that this is a sustainable way to maintain the grill and avoid wire bristles stuck in our throats.  So the grill stone is considered a "keeper."

So we shall sit back and wait to see what he thinks of the wooden scraper - all while not having to worry about wire bristles being stuck in our throats.

As usual, all products were purchased by me and all opinions are mine - or, in this case, The Husband's and relayed by me.