December 30, 2022

2022 Christmas and Surprise Party Recap

 Christmas 2022 has been put to bed *dusts hands* and now I am in recovery mode.

As much as I love Christmas, this year I'm kind of glad it's behind me.  This year, for some reason, I was frazzled, disorganized and felt frantic every single day since Thanksgiving; which is not the way I want to feel for the entire run up to the big event.

But, that's just how it was this year.  What are you gonna do?  Learn from it, I suppose.

Despite my panic, it all turned out fine and was lovely.  As it usually does.

So, now that you know that; let's turn to the few things that worked for me this year.

Freezing cookie dough.  This was a HUGE time-saver for me and something that I will definitely be doing again next year.  In fact, I will probably freeze even more dough next year.  Although, I don't think the spritz cookies would do that well.  So, I'm thinking I will make a batch soon, freeze it and see what happens.  Either it won't work or it will.  We'll see.

Amazon.  I know.  But here's the deal, buying most of the gifts from Amazon meant that they all showed up on time.  Even better?  The few things that I had to return?  So easy.  And only one (non-existent) line to stand in.  That kind of convenience makes it worth it for me.  I HATE returning things on a normal day.  Returning things after Christmas?  I don't even want to think about it.  On Wednesday, I popped into The UPS Store with the items (unboxed), showed them the UPC code and walked out the door in under five minutes.  Again, convenience - worth it.

The other thing that I think I knocked out of the park was this gift...

Not their names, obviously.
But maybe future blog names?

I was so happy with how this gift turned out.  Not an plug/ad in any way, shape or form.  If I remember correctly, I bought this from Wedding Tree Guestbook on Etsy.  They had many beautiful items and the shipping was free and quick.

Turning from Christmas and onto the surprise party for my friend two doors down.  In a nutshell, we missed it completely.  

I was gutted.  Around 8:30 pm on Wednesday evening, I got a text from her husband; while I was sitting on the couch, in my pajamas, watching a movie with The Husband.

The text said, "We are upstairs."  And instantly, I knew.  For whatever reason, I had thought the party was on Thursday; which I thought was odd since her birthday was on the 28th.  I was SO convinced that I had even sent him a text on Monday night to confirm what time we should be there on Thursday.  He responded with 7:00 pm.  No mention of Wednesday (not that we are blaming him - this is all on me).   I was so upset and when The Husband absolutely refused to entertain the idea of getting dressed and heading over to at least make an appearance, I immediately (and unfairly) transferred my irritation with myself to him.  It was not a happy evening in this house, let me tell you.

Although, she tells me it's okay and that it's fine.  It is NOT fine by me and I'm still mad at myself for this mistake.

But now it is time to face the New Year.  I look at all your posts and you are already there; but much as with Christmas this year, I'm already running behind on facing the New Year; well, I still have tomorrow to do that, I suppose.

December 22, 2022

A Christmas Snafu Avoided...narrowly

The last of the Christmas gifts landed on the porch yesterday, much to my relief.  I set the boxes aside and went about my day, wrapping up the last of the baking so that treats could be delivered to the intended recipients today.

Late last night, I sat down to open the boxes and wrap a few gifts.  I had ordered a few things intended for the stockings.  Of those things ordered were novelty Christmas socks for Man-Child and The Fiancée.  The one pair I ordered for Man-Child was fine.  Blue with Santa's all over them.  Cute, right?

Then I pulled The Fiancée's socks out of the box - the ones with a very cute pattern and what I thought was prancing reindeer.

Friends.  Those reindeer are NOT prancing.

What I am saying is that these are not socks that are Rated G.  

My husband about fell over when I showed him the socks.  And wondered HOW I mistakenly ordered X-Rated socks.  This is what happens when you are in panic-buying mode, people.  I looked at the tiny pictures of the novelty socks (without reading the titles because...they are Christmas SOCKS, for crying out loud!) and just assumed that this particular pair was another cute pair of socks.

So, I guess I am now the proud owner of Reindeer Getting Frisky socks, since I obviously can't put them in her stocking.

And now, I am picturing a day, far in the future, the children will be cleaning out my things after I am gone and coming across these socks....

December 18, 2022

Even more Christmas chatter...

It was with great satisfaction when I proclaimed to my husband late this afternoon that I was officially done with gift buying (minus the stocking stuffers).  And immediately after making such a bold statement, it dawned on me that, no, I WAS not done.  Somehow, I had forgotten that I still needed two gifts for my friend two doors down.  One for Christmas and one for her birthday!

And then it was back to the computer to search for inspiration.

She and my mother-in-law are usually the first people I focus on when I begin shopping.  Usually, I know exactly what I am getting each of these two women who are so very dear to me.  But this year, for some reason I was having trouble finding the just right gifts for my friend.  And so, I kept putting it off.

Luckily, I found something for both the holiday and the birthday.  I'm positive the holiday gift will arrive on time but I'm a little apprehensive about the birthday gift.  On the plus side, I've ordered from this particular Etsy store before and she's always been very reliable about getting things shipped quickly.

Speaking of my mother-in-law, she called me today to thank me for her Christmas gifts.  As usual, she told me that she was calling me first because she knew that I did all the work (just one of the many reasons I love her so; she GETS it!).  After we hang up, she turns around and calls The Husband.

The gifts I buy her always feel (to me) like I am cheating.  I think I spent maybe a total of about $40 but she was delighted and told me that I'm the only one who knows exactly what she wants.  And she loves the fact that I wrap each and every item up.  In fact, I think that's what she loves the most.  

She doesn't want anything.  She doesn't want a new sweater (if she does, she buys it).  She doesn't want personalized note cards.  She doesn't want jewelry.  She doesn't want a candle.  All she wants are little treats.  And every year that is what I buy her.  The Jelly Bellies that she enjoys so much.  Flavored coffee.  Nail polish.  Hand lotion. My almond bark.  Perfume. Nuts. Chocolate.  Just little things that she uses and enjoys.  Things she doesn't have to store or clean.

Some times I wonder if I am the only that listens when she says doesn't want "stuff."  Occasionally, instead of little treats, I used to send her an elaborate gift basket - which I know she appreciated.  But once, a couple of gift giving events ago, she mentioned that she loved the gift baskets but she loved my treat boxes more (luckily, for that event I had given her the treat box).  And from that moment on and until the end of time, that is what she will get; even if it feels like I'm cheating.

There is still baking to be done.  Gifts to be wrapped.  Stocking stuffers to be sourced.  

I vow that next year will be different.  That I will jump on the early bandwagon with Nicole and get things done earlier.  

It was made quite clear to me that next year, I won't have a choice really but to jump on that early bandwagon, as the kids have set a tentative date for the wedding, November 18.  So literally, we will have a wedding one weekend, Thanksgiving the next, and then be thrown head first into the Christmas rush.

Oh my God, it's a wonder I'm not breaking out in hives just thinking about how chaotic that will be!  

And on that note, I will close (because really, I should be wrapping gifts instead of posting nonsense).  I may or may not (no surprise there) post again before Christmas.  And, in the (very likely) event that I don't, have a very Merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and know that I consider each and every one of you in this little community we have built to be a gift in my life that I treasure.


December 10, 2022

Christmas progress

But first, guess what landed on our front porch the other morning?

If you guessed that vacuum cleaner, you would be right.  After The Husband took it to Mailboxes & More (which refused to take it), we have set it aside as we ponder what to do about it now.

Finally, finally, I am gearing up and getting things ready - I was getting worried because I had been procrastinating in a way that would make a professional procrastinator proud.  My fingers have been flying over the keyboard and packages keep landing on the porch (and, other than that wayward vacuum cleaner, they have all reached their intended destination).

The tree has been up for a couple of days, but half the lights weren't working (of course they weren't).  In order to spur myself into getting it decorated, I ordered a string of lights (as well as another space heater, so I can quit dragging the one around as I go from room to room) for curbside pick up this morning.

When I saw the notification that the order was ready this morning, I headed out.  Only to come home to discover that the one strand of lights wasn't going to cut it.  Determined to get that tree done TODAY, I headed back out.  And now, thank goodness, the tree is done.

My vacation starts on Tuesday, and I am expecting to finish up the shopping, baking, wrapping, shipping, etc. without the pesky invasion of work.  Oh sure, work will pop up that needs doing; but I won't be tied to the computer as I am trying to complete these tasks.  I will get to it when I get to it.

Speaking of baking, this year, I did have the fore-thought to make up two batches of cookie dough and froze it right before Thanksgiving.  I have never frozen cookie dough before - so we shall see the results are acceptable.  If successful, I am going to plan to do this again next year for even more batches, as that would be a huge time-saver.  

In addition to usual Christmas prep time crunch, the male half of our friends two doors down, is planning a surprise birthday party for his wife.  As luck would have it that falls three days AFTER Christmas.  He quickly realized that he was in over his head and reached out for help after he sent texts to family and friends asking them if they could come.  And they all said yes.  Of course they did.  Everyone loves her.

So in addition to crafting this post, thinking through the remaining gifts to be purchased and all the household chores that need doing, I am currently participating in group chat with him and his mother-in-law regarding the menu.  I was just beginning to suspect that he bowed out of the chat since she and I have been discussing the options and he hadn't piped up at all.  That is, until just before I wrote that last that sentence.

I do know that he doesn't text much; so I imagine he is hiding somewhere in the house two doors down trying not to let her see him texting and make her wonder what is going on.  And just as I typed THAT last sentence, he texted that she keeps asking who he is texting!   So I imagine, for tonight, our planning is on hold.  Maybe I should tell him to set his phone to mute when participating in future clandestine group chat planning sessions?

December 2, 2022

It's Moments Like This That Tells Me Blogging (in some form or another) Will Always Be With Us

 So, if anyone is counting (and I am), we have been in this house seven years in February.  Remember this detail because it is key to what's been going on around here.

As I am sure we all know, when you purchase - or rent - a home that had previous owners/tenants for a while there you will still receive their mail for a time.  But, generally, it all gets sorted out eventually and the only things you will continue to receive for them is junk mail.  

And that's not a big deal - we can all spot junk mail a mile away and it just lands in the recycling.  Odds are they aren't going to miss it...because it is JUNK mail.

So imagine our surprise when we discovered that a vacuum had been delivered to our front door.  At first, I thought, "Oh, The Husband must have lost his freaking mind and ordered a vacuum cleaner for me as a Christmas present."  But even he knows the rules, unless I specifically ask for an appliance of any kind, they are not Christmas gifts.  Although, I'm not going to lie, I HAVE been wanting a new vacuum cleaner - but I have not uttered this desire to him.  And, this particular vacuum would not have been on my radar anyway.

So when I questioned him about the said appliance he noted that it was addressed to one of the previous owners.  

And we don't have her forwarding address.

So the vacuum cleaner sat there as we pondered how to handle this issue.

And then ANOTHER box landed on our porch - again addressed to one of the former owners.  We looked at these two things and pondered on how to handle both of these boxes.  We finally decided that The Husband should take these boxes back to the Post Office and explain what happened and let them figure it out.  Which he did.  And as he left the house he said, "How much do you want to bet that these come back to us?"  And we laughed and joked about how the vacuum cleaner would be ours then.

My question in this whole saga is HOW in the hell did these boxes land on our front porch in the first place?  As I mentioned, we've been here almost SEVEN years and, as if any of us could forget, there was a VERY LONG lockdown in place during some of those years.  A lockdown which had everyone buying just about everything online.  And yet, during that lockdown we never received not one, much less two, packages for this previous owner.

And now here we are.

It's baffling.  The one box was from a popular department store.  I know that this owner has children, who were very small seven years ago.  And I also know, from experience, that very small children grow very quickly.  And that, back in the day, I spent quite a bit of money at this department store acquiring larger sizes for my once small, but quickly growing, child.  So, I would imagine, that this owner acquired quite a bit of children's clothing from this particular department store during the lockdown.  I know I would have.

So, if that's the case, one would think they would have changed the delivery and billing addresses of their account back then.

And I am also imagining, that this person is looking at the tracking info - which is surely telling them that the items have been delivered - and wondering what in the hell is going on - pretty much like we were when these items landed on our porch.


I kid you not, as I was in the process of editing this post, guess what showed up on our front porch?  The box.  (Not the one with the vacuum, unfortunately .  I'm guessing that will show up tomorrow.  At this point, it wouldn't surprise me) *sigh*  The Husband just carted it back to the Post Office where, hopefully, this time it will either land at the previous owner's new address or back to the place whence it came.

And that is how I know blogging will never completely go away.  Because life keeps throwing up these random, baffling things which practically BEG to be blogged about.

November 25, 2022

An Announcement or Two...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 19, 2022

Meet the Parents Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 10, 2022

The Cartographers - A Book Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 6, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 16, 2022

A Post About Nothing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 7, 2022

Navigation Nightmares

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 9, 2022

Friday night ruminations...

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

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

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

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

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

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

God, I hate COVID so very much.

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

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

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

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

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

August 22, 2022

The Pajama Drawer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 10, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moving on...

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

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

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

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

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

August 7, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

August 5, 2022

Day Two - and What's Up With Blogger Now?!

 Nothing new to report except the contracted company called and set up an appointment for Monday morning.

Frankly, I was shocked.  I had assumed we wouldn't be able to garner an appointment so soon; particularly since the whole issue arose so late in the afternoon yesterday.

With all the fans/borrowed AC units, the house isn't completely unbearable, so there's that.  We can't decide if we are hoping for the unit NOT to be dead dead or is officially dead and we are just waiting for the death certificate to be signed.  Either way, we know that the unit is either dead or at death's door and we'll have to deal with the hassle of laying it to rest sooner or later.  Currently, I'm leaning toward the diagnosis being dead dead and just getting it over with.

On to Blogger.  All of a sudden, for no apparent reason, ALL of the comments you are so kindly leaving are being put into quarantine - despite the fact that I do NOT have the "Moderate Comments" option on. Fellow Blogger users, is this something you are also experiencing?  Curious minds would like to know.

It's a puzzle, that's for sure.  And although, it wasn't an obvious fix, I finally figured out how to release the comments from quarantine.  So, that's TWO good things for today - we have an appointment to diagnose the AC and your comments are no longer quarantined (for now, anyway - who knows if this is going to be a regular thing or just a glitch).

So, I will end on that note - despite everything else, good things are there...sometimes we just have to actively look for them.  

August 4, 2022

Day One

Friends.  We knew it was coming.  Especially as we watched the same scenario play out two doors down (on both sides) in the past couple of months.

Our AC died this August, no less.  Of COURSE this couldn't haven't had happened in, I don't know, June! (let's bow our heads and pray that the warranty company comes through...since this is the only damn reason we have that warranty anyway).

But honestly, after the whole hot water saga of 2020 and the no stove for Christmas (also 2020); I am not hopeful.

Especially after discovering our neighbor has the exact SAME home warranty company and was told that it would be WEEKS after their AC died a few weeks ago before it could be replaced.  They ended up buying a new unit and are now fighting with the company for some kind of reimbursement.

Therefore, since my memory is like a sieve, I figure I better document every single detail - especially since I've recently learned that this company has come under fire lately.  I want to be ready to unleash all the gory details, if necessary.

Actually what I am hoping happens is that since they ARE under fire this will be a smooth and not a long drawn out process.

Luckily, we have good friends two doors down (on either side of us now!).  One brought over a heavy duty fan and the other (the one with the same home warranty people) brought over a free standing air conditioner AND a window unit (they bought both when they figured out that the warranty people were weasels).  Plus, we have ceiling fans, a standing fan and a box fan.  

As the evening goes on, it's not terrible in the house; but we shall see what the heat of the day feels like tomorrow.  According to my weather app, it's not supposed to get above 90 degrees for the next four days - that itself is a blessing, I suppose.

So, I guess I'll wrap this up with - let's see how this plays out.

July 31, 2022

A Satisfying Little Project

 After bringing home a new tinted sunscreen to try, I realized it was WAY past time to jump into cleaning out my make up drawer.

Well, that makes it sound like I have a regular sized drawer chock full of make up products, doesn't it?  That is the farthest thing from the truth.  The drawers in our vanity are ridiculously narrow - almost to the point of being practically useless; but I digress - back to cleaning out said drawer.

This afternoon, while I had a few blissfully quiet hours (i.e., I was home ALONE!  A feat which is rare these days.  At most, I usually get about 30 minutes), I went in and pulled out everything that was crammed into that woefully narrow drawer.  I discovered cracked, un-used cream eye shadows (gone), old mascaras (three - gone), shimmery eye shadows that were so old I don't even remember buying them (gone - besides the days for shimmery eye shadows for me is long gone), "long wear" lipsticks/stains that I bought on a whim to see if they could outlast my CoverGirl Outlast (they didn't - gone), powder (gone), and a BB cream that I swear once you put it on it would stay there till the end of time (nothing could get it off - not even cold cream - gone).

Most of the above wasn't really a huge surprise.  Not in the least.  What DID surprise me is that I have, apparently, somehow been inadvertently acquiring a ridiculously HUGE number of make up brushes.  

Twenty-one, to be exact.

Now, do I actually use ANY of these brushes on a regular basis?

Two on a daily basis - maybe four for a "dress up" event.  So the question remains, where and how did all these brushes come to be stuffed into my make up drawer?  Who knows; it's a mystery for the ages.

At any rate, I cleaned them all and the extra brushes are all set for the next Goodwill drop off - hopefully, they will go to someone who will actually use them.

The only things that went back into that drawer were one eye shadow (used on a daily basis as "eye liner" - much less harsh than actual eye liner, FYI.), two eye shadow palettes that I would use for a "dress up" event (but who are we kidding here?  What dress up events are anywhere on my calendar these days?).  Two mascaras (I'm trying to decide which I like the best).  Blush.  Foundation (also only used for the non-existent "dress up" events).  Concealer.  My two favorite shades of CoverGirl Outlast lipstick (Brazen Raisin and Unique Burgundy), the four brushes that I decided to keep, my eyebrow pencil, cold cream and, of course, the new tinted sunscreen all made the cut.

With this little project out of the way, I was inspired to clean out two of the other drawers and found even more stuff to get tossed or donated.  So now, all of the drawers in the bathroom (minus that last one - it holds my curling irons/flat irons, etc. that I'm not quite ready to give up despite the fact I cannot remember the last time I used any of them and don't expect to use any of them in the near - or far - future) are clean and tidy.

A satisfying little project that will make me smile when I open those drawers tomorrow to get ready for the day.

July 22, 2022

The library

 Well.  I have to say it IS soothing to know that I am not the only one actually pulling weeds.  Who the heck knows what my neighbors are doing since I never see any of them out there doing the hard work.

At any rate, we are here to talk about the library and my, by now, very obvious aversion of talking on the phone.

For however long this damn pandemic has been going on, I have been trying to access our local library to place books on hold online.  And let me tell you - that website needs some serious work because navigating it (particularly when you can't get access) is a nightmare.

So for the past 100 years (or so), my reading options have been pretty slim.  I've pretty much re-read everything in this house at least once.  And have met any new books that have come in via gifts or from an online order with rapturous delight; as you might imagine.

Recently, I had had enough, so I used the "contact us" feature on the website.  I was absolutely DELIGHTED to receive an immediate response (I can honestly say that while the website was lacking; the customer service was exceptional).

After a few emails back and forth, the person on the other end simply could not find me anywhere in their system - although I've had a library card since we moved here in 1997 (I think.  Who knows anymore?  Time has always seemed to slip through my fingers quickly - the pandemic has exacerbated this to an alarming degree).  This person suggested that I call the library.  Oh, the pain and agony!

As it seems for most of us, I despise making phone calls.  What good is the internet if we can't handle all of our business online, I ask you?  But, as I mentioned, I was fed up, so I placed the call.  The person on the other end was perfectly competent and sweet - but she couldn't find me either.  Then she asked if it had been a while since I used my card.

Well, yeah.  Haven't used it in the past 100 years (or so), plus some prior to the pandemic when I had a plethora of fresh, new books at my fingertips on a daily basis.  She then informed me that most likely my card had expired.  (WHAT?!  Since WHEN do library cards expire?!)  She went on to tell me that I would have to come in to get a new one (see above re: the internet) as they couldn't give me a card without verifying my identity.  

Ok.  I GET why SOME places (banks, DMV, etc.) need to verify my identity - but who in the Sam Hill is stealing people's identity to get a library card? *sigh*

(I KNOW they want to ensure that you are a resident of that particular county; but honestly - just who is driving from one county to another to "scam" libraries out of lending books?)

I thanked the woman and told her I'd see her soon.

This was a lie.

I sat with this information for a few days (ok.  Maybe a few weeks - you know how I can be) before I masked up and walked into a local branch.

The woman I spoke to also couldn't find me in the system and she agreed that it looked like my card had expired and quickly set me up with another one and told me to keep my old one as "keepsake."  Which I promptly tucked back into my wallet - where it will be totally forgotten about in no time and reside for eons.

So. To re-cap it's only taken me 100 years - give or take a few years - but now I can place holds online for books I'd like to read.  And I'm over the moon about it.  Until today, when I went to pick up one of  the "books" that was ready for me - and just in time too, because I'd just finished the last "new" book.  Upon arrival, I discovered I'd put the audio version on hold.  *sigh*  So, despite all that progress, I don't have anything new to read this evening.

Do any of you put off annoying, "little" things for eons?  And then once the ordeal is done think, "that wasn't so bad after all."  Or is that just me?

July 15, 2022

Bathroom Talk

 Hi!  Yes, I'm still here; you can quit wondering if I've fallen off the face of the earth...for now anyway.

Life - both work and personal -has quieted down quite a bit since my last couple of posts; thank goodness!  And this week has been extra quiet as I gifted myself a week off as a birthday present.  Although, this week has been pretty quiet it HAS been a busy one.  There was weeding to be done on Monday - and you know what I was thinking as I was out there cursing every single weed as I yanked them out?  Am I the only person in this whole wide world that actually weeds?  I never see anyone else out in their flower beds yanking weeds.  What is their secret to keeping the flower beds weed-free?  Anyone have any idea?  If so, spill it in the comments please.

On Tuesday, The Husband decided he was done with my procrastinating ways (I mean come ON.  It took four years to get the damned thing built so what if it's been two months and it's still not painted?) and informed me that we would be painting the built in shelves for the guest bath.  And, apparently, he meant business as he prepped everything and even (despite his loathing for painting) actually helped paint.  So that is done, I'm just giving it a few days to cure before I actually place anything on said shelves.

And in true, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" fashion, things kind of snowballed from there.  While at The Home Depot to look at options for around the mailbox to help keep the damned grass from encroaching into the flower bed that surrounds the mailbox (a project that will be held off until fall due to the fact that neither of us want to work outside in stifling heat); The Husband suggested that we look at bathroom light fixtures for the guest bath.  He has hated that light fixture since the day we moved in.

This is pretty much what we had in there...

Except ours had clear bulbs and a little bit of rust.  Explain to me WHY light manufacturers would create a light; designed for a bathroom, I might add; that would rust? 

At any rate, we found a light that we both didn't hate and today The Husband pulled the offending fixture down, spackled the wall and plans to sand, paint, and possibly hang the light tomorrow.

As an aside - have you looked that the bathroom light fixtures at your local big box store lately?  Holy cow - yes, I get that taste is subjective - but next time you are in the store take a walk over to that section and have a gander.  I was fascinated - in a I'd give anything to personally see some of the options on offer in someone's bathroom way.  

While we were discussing the whole fixture situation; I mentioned that I really hated the builder grade, standard gigantic mirror in there and wondered if we should remove it; along with random, ugly curtain rod (this house was built in the 90's - so you just KNOW there was some kind of balloon valance in there at some point).  He balked at the idea (of course, because that will require more spackling and painting - plus getting someone to remove it).

My argument was that if we do those two things, in addition to my painting the vanity many moons ago, finally getting the shelving done and the fixture - we would pretty much have a complete makeover in that room on the cheap.  He agreed but is still hesitant.  But I am pretty firmly in the mirror must go camp.  So we shall see how this turns out (the mirror will go...eventually)

So basically, this stay-cation, to date, has been a week of household projects/chores that I've been putting off.   

June 16, 2022

I posted about burnout...and then, ironically enough, things got even crazier...because of course it did; that's how life works.

 Thank you all for the sweet comments on the last post.  I have really tried hard to cut back - particularly on the weekends and after-hours.

And then, ironically enough, I got far too busy to even respond to any of your comments (or visit many blogs - so sorry).  And then this week hit.

I don't know that I've mentioned it here - I don't think I have.  Or maybe I did.  Who the hell knows at this point and I'm too tired to look into the archives.  

Some of us were in "mandatory" workshops this week and I was one of those "lucky, lucky" people (it is my understanding that ALL employees will undergo this torture exercise eventually - those that haven't had it yet have my deepest sympathy).  These workshops were from 1-5 Monday through Thursday.  Yes, friends.  That is twenty hours of my work week - spread out over four VERY long days.  Who knew that sitting on a Teams call for that long was SO exhausting?  For your information, it IS exhausting.  So much so, that I found myself in bed and fast asleep at 8:30 last night.  And after this, the final day of the workshop, I have a feeling that will happen again tonight.

Now, have I received some good information so far from said workshops?  To a degree - but not enough to warrant this much time out of my work week.  The majority of information does not apply to my job AT ALL.  But upper management seems to think that it does.  Pffft, whatever.  I will say this, some pieces of the workshop made me stop and ponder a few things.  So I guess that means it worked?  At any rate, the very best part was interacting with people across the company.  Some that I knew kind of; others that I never even knew existed and one or two that I actually know and work with.  And as today's session wound down, it seems that for the majority of us, that was the best part.  Now, will we take those new relationships forward as we move on?  We shall see.

And then, as I am desperately trying to keep my head above water on the actual JOB piece of the equation, I notice what is coming next week (major meeting - all hands on deck...whether you need to actually be in the office or not) and I want to cry - BUT bonus, I also get to meet one of my co-workers that I didn't know existed before in person - so that will be nice.

And while ALL of this is going on, there are some other shenanigans going on that I have been battling it out with in another department.

Finally, I had to call on my boss to apprise him of the situation.  I hated to do it - particularly since he is on a much needed vacation - but needs must.  Luckily, right before I came here, he agreed with me and told me to tell them to back off on his orders.  Which I will do, happily...but it will be done tomorrow.

Because right now?  Right now, I *need* a glass of wine (or four) and to take a breath before putting my exhausted self to bed. 

May 30, 2022

Rest or Burnout

Y'all.  Life has been dragging me down lately, coupled with a particularly bad work week last week.  So I REALLY needed this long weekend.  And even though there were things that I "needed" (i.e. wanted) to accomplish, I did nothing.

Not completely true, as the infernal laundry always needs to be done, it seems.  And those houseplants won't keep themselves alive if they aren't watered.  And I made a dessert for last Friday's night dinner - as Man-Child and The Girlfriend came over.  We haven't seen them since right after Christmas as after Man-Child's minor back surgery (as if any surgery involving your back is "minor") he couldn't drive or sit in the car comfortably for a while.  Then they both got COVID (thankfully mild) over Easter and then both got the flu (over Mother's Day weekend).  

But other than that - I only did what I wanted to do.  And I even ignored the work email completely (almost...I did check in a couple of times but only to delete the unnecessary and ignored everything else until tomorrow).

Since this whole pandemic nightmare began I have been "working" pretty much non-stop.  After hours? Yup, still working. Vacation? Yup, still working.  Weekends?  Yup, still's easy to do because the work computer is sitting RIGHT THERE next to my personal computer.  But after the horrendous last week, I knew I NEEDED a break.  So I took a well deserved one.  And recognize the urgent need to prioritize my down time going forward.

I know that I (and probably a lot of you) feel the need to be "productive" all the time - whether at work tasks or household tasks.  And productivity is great and leads to many accomplishments.  But rest and relaxation is important as well; for your body, spirit and mind.

So yes, I still need to paint those built ins and should probably look at weeding the beds and it would probably be a good idea to set the garage back to rights before it becomes a lost cause...again; plus whatever work tasks that await me; and...and...and.. (the list is endless really).

Funnily enough, Nicole's (HI NICOLE!) post today mentioned a certain book; one that it seems I need to read, like tomorrow.

Currently, I am rested, content and ready to face what next week throws at me (I hope.  Fingers crossed that this week isn't nearly as fraught as last week!).

May 13, 2022

Left to my own devices

 The Husband left yesterday around 10 am for a long weekend visit with his daughter.  And I could not be more delighted.  The only "voices" or noise that I have heard since then is the one podcast I listen to daily and the two work calls that I had this morning.

It has been heavenly.

I'm sure his feelings were a little hurt after I responded with a no when asked if I would miss him.  I'm sorry - but since 2019 I'm very used to sitting in a quiet house and getting things done without having someone underfoot 24/7.  I will be more than ready to have him home after a couple of days but for now?  I'm reveling in the peace and quiet.  

Yes, I now have my home office and I appreciate that I can go in there when I have meetings/Teams calls or need to concentrate on a particular issue/task but...I don't like being stuck in their for the majority of the day.

So yesterday and today found me back at the dining room table for most of the day.

Which was nice since I had a hankering for an oatmeal raisin cookie (original recipe here) and it was a slow morning so I set about baking.  And God only knows what I did wrong but these were the flattest and most sad looking cookies I have ever made - maybe those two unexpected calls in the middle of the process led me to forget baking powder?  

BUT they are still, hands down, the BEST oatmeal raisin cookie,
even if they aren't pretty this time around.

I also happened to notice that my "baby" peony (I don't think I ever mentioned it; but sometime around the beginning of the pandemic I planted a new peony) finally had one bloom with two other buds getting ready to blossom.  Don't tell my other peony - which I do love - but this one might be my favorite.  I had to bring at least one bloom in to enjoy while I can.

A photographer I am not. 
Ignore the broom hanging out in the corner. *sigh*

It's a shame these blooms are so short lived.  It would be heavenly if these blooms just kept coming all spring/summer long.  But I guess I wouldn't appreciate them as much then.

As the forecast for the weekend looks to be a rainy one, I expect that I shall spend tomorrow and Sunday on indoor tasks - of which there are many - and will get the most necessary ones done and, hopefully, a few extras that have been hanging out on my To Do list for far too long.

Other than that, I am expecting it to be a slow and quiet weekend.  What does the weekend have in store for you?  Are you like me and need a little solitude now and then?

May 7, 2022

What?! It's ONLY been four years.

No, I have not actually fallen off the face of the earth; although based on my lackluster posting habits I wouldn't blame you if you assumed I had.

Does anyone remember WAY back in 2018 when I painted the guest bath vanity me mentioning that I wanted to rip out the other, unnecessary vanity and put in built in shelving for some much needed storage?

There are a myriad of reasons as to why those built ins were not done at the time - far too onerous (and boring for you) to get into here.

To be fair, we weren't COMPLETE slackers.  Immediately after painting the one vanity we did have someone come to remove the un-needed vanity and cap the water pipe.  Then, and only then, did the project come to a full stop.

It just kind of fell off the radar - one because The Husband wasn't quite sure this project was completely in his skill set.  He also (at the time) didn't have the tools he would need.  A friend offered to help - but he has small children, an intense job and his own house/projects.  And, I kind of just put the project on the back burner and let it simmer.

And usually, I didn't really think about it, for the most part, until we had people over (which honestly, in the past couple of years that has been few and far between) and it would pop into my head (as I was opening the front door to let them in) that the bathroom - although clean - was undone.  Seeing as the only people over were dear friends or family, I just dealt with the initial angst and let it go.

You might be wondering HOW I kept forgetting about it.  Honestly, the only time I'm in that room is to clean it.  So it wasn't an "in my face" issue.

Fast forward to the last couple of weeks.  The Husband, in all his free time, had been pondering about this project (dear reader, this means he has been bored).  Plus, he is in that room far more than I am - so it was becoming an "in his face" issue.

He began talking through his "design" idea (plus, by now he had acquired the necessary tools & time) describing building a box, etc.  I told him he was over thinking the entire project.

In my estimation (you know, the person who has never actually built anything), this was a fairly simple project.  And I gave him my "design" idea - slap some shelves that fit between the two walls, attach some trim, slap some paint on it all and call it a day.

Shockingly enough, he agreed that my plan had merit.

So here we are, FOUR years later...

Is my house THAT crooked?
Or am I THAT bad at taking pictures?
You decide.

Now all he has to do is un-assemble it (at this point nothing is fixed in place except for the the shelf cleats) so I can slap some paint on it and we can call it done.

Based on past behavior (see the post you just read) it might take a while for that paint to get slapped on.  But, it actually looks like what I was envisioning all those years ago.

April 14, 2022

And the debate rages on...

Yesterday, as I was scrolling Twitter and came across this Tweet from @BrightonMum. To which I replied... This whole Twitter exchange reminded me of this old post - back in the good old days. (I wandered over to see if I could find the post that started it all - it's here.  As I scrolled, I laughed and cried from the memories that were stirred up sifting through those old posts.)

Since many of you weren't here back then, I thought I'd revive the question.  What is the correct way in your house?  Over or under?  

Psst...over IS the correct answer. 

And if you answer under, know that I am not above switching it if I were to come for a visit. ;-)

April 9, 2022

"COVID Connection" coming soon to a building near me

 Well, so much for the "choose your own days" for our hybrid work model.

Last week we received a missive from the "communications department" - which basically means "the powers that be" dictated the communication and directed that department to spread the word.

Basically, it boiled down to the fact that a scheduled in-person day is being introduced to encourage "connectivity and collaboration" (and possibly COVID - of course, this bit was added by me).  So the two-day in office now mandates one of those days for EVERYONE to be in the office on a certain day.  And that we should plan to utilize in-person meetings and discussions. Masks optional, of course.

(Seems to me, someone has been counting noses and noticed that some people haven't been following the rules.  So, in the time honored tradition of corporations everywhere - rather than punishing the rule breakers they punish the entire company.)

Oh, that sound you hear?  That's just me screaming into the void.

As you might assume, I have MANY thoughts on this issue (especially as I am keeping a VERY careful eye on the latest data for our county) but I will keep them to myself as I continue to remind myself that all in all I am very lucky.  Very lucky.  They could have just said, "You know what?  Plan to come in five days a week from now on."  But that doesn't mean I have to like it - no matter how lucky I am.

Never mind the fact that my job doesn't usually involve collaboration or the fact that I would much rather walk across burning coals than "connect" with some of these people.

Then, to add insult to injury, it was announced that a "team building" exercise is coming next month.  The leadership team has already participated in this exercise and thinks it is "wonderful" and will do much to foster "connectivity and collaboration" among us peons.  Someone shoot me now.

I think in my next life, I am going to have a career as a consultant.  God knows these corporations spend boatloads of money on hiring people to tell them how to foster "connectivity and collaboration" with their employees.  Then I can sit back and laugh while I count my millions of dollars while the peons at the corporation waste valuable time on the ridiculous "team building" exercise that I have recommended

Yes.  That's my solid plan for my next life.

March 20, 2022

Latest loves

 I don't know about you but I do love a good post about someone's favorite (insert product here) or why that product didn't appeal to them; along with all the comments that results in possibly finding another product to love.

And I'm not talking about sponsored "product."  No, I want ALL the deets from someone who has no reason to lie; not that all sponsored posts are based on lie, but a normal, everyday person who doesn't have an agenda, either way.

Anyway...recently, a few new products have found their way into my home that I thought I'd share along with my thoughts about each.

The Girlfriend curated a sweet basket of luxuries for me at Christmas that I've been savoring these past few months.  I recently pulled this scrub out and I am in love!  

I AM a sucker for a good scrub - sugar or salt.  But, I'm VERY particular about scented products and generally veer away from most which I find to be over-powering, cloying, sickly sweet or medicinal - I KNOW, I'm a trial to live with...  

A coconut scent - when done right - is generally pleasing to me.  This one is perfect.  Not only that, the scrub works really well.  And this really amps up the "spa vibe" in the shower.  Once this jar is done, I will definitely buy another one; maybe in a different scent (the pineapple one sounds blissful)?  Based on a quick internet search, it appears to be available at all the usual places (Target, etc.).

Also, in the past few months I have taken to deep conditioning my hair once a week.  This product is one that I can find consistently at my local CVS and I love it.

The smell is divine and, I think, it is really helping my hair live its best life.  Between this and the sugar scrub, the shower definitely has that "spa" vibe going on.  Have I tried any other deep conditioners?  No.  But, knowing me, I will eventually - but for now, this is my go to.  Are any of you deep conditioning your hair?  What's your current favorite?

The last love affair with a product that I am having is pretty specific.

I love CeraVe products in general.  But this one really seems to get the jump on new outbreaks.  I'm not so sure how well it would work in the event of a major outbreak - but it seems to work very well for small areas.  And is unscented.  The only negative I've found is that many stores claim to have it on the shelves...but they don't.  My local CVS website consistently tells me it is in stock - but it never is.  So, my only option seems to be Amazon.

My latest and most prized love?  Drum roll please....

Of ALL the orchids in residence (six currently), this ONE has actually bloomed again!  I KNOW!  I'm ridiculously happy about it.  In all the years that these plants have been in my home only ONE attempted to re-bloom prior to this...only to, literally, wither on the vine before blooming and then?  To add insult to injury succumbed to an ant invasion and had to be put out of its misery.  I am seriously contemplating moving this particular lovely to my office where I can enjoy her - but am afraid of messing up whatever "magic" is making her bloom.

Now to figure out how to make the others bloom again...the angst of an orchid owner.

So what about you?  Any new products you love or hate?  Other than Suz (who has the "orchid touch"), have any of you successfully had your orchids re-bloom and were as over the moon as I am about it?  Dish in the comments.

March 12, 2022

Saturday Chit-Chat

I'm sure a good majority of you are sometimes honestly as surprised as I am when I pop up here.  I mean, at times, I actually post on a pretty regular basis...and then I fade away for a time (some times are shorter than others).  And then I pop back up.

I know.  I wonder about that too.  At any rate, here I am again today.  Let's just go with that.

While things have been relatively quiet around the Gigi household - many behind the scenes things are taking place.  Nothing new (really) or exciting.  Just things.

The back to work order commenced on Monday with BIG fanfare (aka...Super Spreader Events - welcome back reception in the lobby (masks optional), complimentary food from popular local food trucks in the courtyard for lunch (again, masks optional), etc.

Thankfully, those events were mainly restricted to the first three days of last week - at least they were thinking of us that aren't quite ready to jump back into "normal" life...I guess?

In reality, I DO appreciate the effort that went in to welcoming (most) of us back to the office.  AND I appreciate they also recognized that some of us would prefer coming in without so much fanfare.  Which meant that I showed up on Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday, I encountered a sweet co-worker I haven't seen since we walked out nearly three years ago...unmasked; naturally.  I pleasantly declined riding up in the elevator.  When I eventually arrived on the fourth floor, I found that only seven of us were in attendance...and I was the only one who masked in the common areas *sigh*

Friday was even better - there were only three of us on the whole floor (again, with me being the lone masked individual).


We shan't go into the very worrying things I keep reading about the latest strain; as I don't want to bring anyone angst.  Just...keep your masks at the ready and stay home as much as you can, okay?  I care for you too much for anything to happen to you.  Just sayin'... (and yes, I realize several friends, co-workers, etc. think I'm overreacting...but, I'd rather be safe than sorry, ya know?)


As usual, in the Gigi household something weird is ALWAYS happening.  I can't decide if it's just our luck, the natural order of things or if a poltergeist might somehow be involved.

About two weeks (ish) ago, The Husband was outraged when he claimed our relatively new (ish) television just died.  He informed me of this as I was reaching into the fridge; where I noted the light was out.  When I gave him this particular bit of data; the hunt was on.  The television and the fridge are not on the same circuit breaker - so that was our initial riddle.  Eventually, we discovered that the master bath electricity wasn't working, the fridge in the garage wasn't working and a few other areas.  None of which were connected to each other in any way, shape or form.

The Husband checked the breaker box while I texted a couple of neighbors to see if this was only happening here.  It was.  And the breakers were fine; despite the random outages.  The Husband then called his electrician while I consulted with Google.  Both the electrician and Google agreed that we had a bad "leg."  (What does that even mean?!).  The electrician advised that we call the power company because if this was the issue it would be something they would have to fix.

The Husband called the power company and we prepared for bed figuring nothing would happen before morning when all of a sudden - everything was working again!  We decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth and considered it a fluke.

Until the next morning, when The Husband wandered outside and noticed a weird contraption that looked like something out of a Sci-Fi sixties movie connected to our house.  Eventually, we decided that the power company must have snuck out in the middle of the night to deliver this contraption that was surely gathering data as to what might be wrong with our house.  We were curious as to why we hadn't heard from them...but since it was coming up on the weekend, we figured we'd hear something on Monday.  We didn't.

The next week, I happened to be in the garage when I heard several truck doors slamming and I went to the windows to investigate (Gladys Kravitz, I surely am).  The Husband was out; so it looked like no one was home since my car resides in the garage.  When I saw that TWO power company trucks were parked in front of the house, I opened the front they would know that someone was home.

Eventually, they did - and they sent one of the guys to speak to me.  Apparently, a "leg" WAS out and the contraption attached to our house was giving us supplemental power until they could come out and fix it.  Which, I guess, was that day.  Would they have even bothered to try the bell to see if anyone was home before attempting to fix the problem?  That is anyone's guess.

At any rate, after a couple hours of work they informed us that the cable company (not ours) had placed their equipment right on top of theirs and they would have to come back.  So they hooked up the contraption again and left.

Two days later, we lost power again.  Except this time it was an all out power outage.  The guy came back (same day - shocker, I KNOW!)  Showed The Husband how to reset the contraption but stressed that we should call it in - even if we successfully reset the contraption.

And on Thursday, the power went out AGAIN - this time without anyone being home at the time.  The Husband discovered it upon returning home.  And once again, he reset the contraption and called.

Sometime, late Thursday evening, the power guys showed up again and this time (I guess because they'd figured out a way to work around the cable company's stuff) and supposedly fixed it.  Fingers crossed.  Unless a poltergeist IS involved, then who knows what kind of ride we are in for.


I've probably got about three or four more things to chit-chat about - but I am tired and I'm sure you are bored.  But I there's that.  xo