Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving: The Pre-Heat

I'm working half a day at Day Job before coming home to start the pre-Thanksgiving feast preparations. I would have preferred not to have to work at all today, but, duty calls.

Chores for this evening will include stuffing prep, cranberry sauce making, and pie baking. With any luck, the turkey will be completely thawed by the time I get home from work and I will be able to extract the neck and giblets from it's cavity (damn thing has been thawing in the fridge for a week, how much longer could this possibly take?) so that I can get them on the stove to simmer; if not, the stuffing and gravy are going to be a lot less flavorful.

In addition to the meal prep, I plan to hit the gym for my daily constitutional on the treadmill; yesterday, Co-Workers and I were able to take our usual walk, but, today, I will be solo at the workplace, so, I'll need to catch up on my steps.

I should also clean the house a bit, with company coming and all. And, I want to set the table tonight so that I don't have to do it tomorrow.

In short, lots to do today. It seems ridiculous to some people, I suppose, but, if you look at Thanksgiving as a marathon (which, I do), you have to look at today as the training period. Can't run a marathon without conditioning!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

T-Minus Two Days to Thanksgiving

Mom gets here today!

There is a 25 lb. turkey thawing in the fridge and a container of homemade pumpkin puree chillin' next to it.

My 1930's Noritake china is prepped and ready to hit the table and Hugh's carving knife is at the ready.

I think we are prepared for the most important food holiday of the year.

Time to bust out the stretchy pants!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Recent Proof of Life Photos

The Man-Cub texted me yesterday, letting me know that his Thanksgiving care package had made it to Hawaii safe and sound.

A little while later he Snapchatted me a couple of pictures which would seem to indicate that he was already enjoying the treats.

The second picture left me both sad and confused: confused because,  has his friend really never tasted pumpkin pie before? And sad, because, if that was going to be her first experience with pumpkin pie, it's a crying shame that it couldn't be my homemade version (which, incidentally, I baked the pumpkins for just this morning).

On a less confusing, and happier, note, the Cub also Snapchatted me this totally adorable picture of him and Miss Madi... may remember that Miss Madi is the girl from Denver, whose mother and I connected through one of my high school friends prior to the kids leaving for Hawaii. It tickles me that the kids have bonded and continue to hang out together.

I also credit Miss Madi with the Cub's recent willingness to try out some of the less masculine Snapchat filters.

He's doing so well with this daily check-in! I could not be more pleased.

On an entirely unrelated note, he's totally getting a shave and a haircut (two bits!) when he gets home.

Only three weeks to go!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Favorites: Products I Actually Love

If you read many blogs, you've probably seen a lot of bloggers sharing products, and, in a lot of cases, they've probably been products that they are getting paid to promote. I tend to give the side-eye to those posts. For one thing, they always show pristine packages and clearly unused products; who in their right mind would believe that a product you profess to loooove would look so untouched?

Not this girl.

When I talk about products I love, it's because I truly love-and use-them. Like, a lot. Case in point: today's favorites:

Urban Decay Naked pallets. Truly, these are the most flattering and versatile eye shadow pallets I have ever owned. They were pricey, but, they last for ages, so they end up being an economical investment in the long run. I currently own all five of the line; Naked, Naked 2, Naked 3, Smokey Eye, and Naked Heat, but I've owned 1 and 2 the longest, so they show the most use.

Too Faced Bronzer in Chocolate Soleil. This bronzer was also on the pricey side, but, like the Urban Decay, it has lasted for ages. The chocolate line is made with actual cocoa powder and it still smells like a cup of hot cocoa every time I use it.

Nars blush in Orgasm. Who doesn't love a good Orgasm (sorry Mom)? This blush is a cult favorite because it is almost universally flattering. It's also $$$, but, again, lasts forever (are you sensing a theme here?).

Nutragena Healthy Skin Enhancer. I'm not a huge fan of foundation, so this tinted enhancer is perfect for me. It provides enough coverage to even out my skin tone on bad days and it contains both SPF and retinol, so it's really like three products in one.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. Possibly the best mascara that I have ever owned. Other than Benefit's Yes, They're Real; that's also a great mascara.

Buxom  Full Bodies Lipstick in Nudist. Oh my, gawd, y'all; this is my favorite lipstick of all time, which, of course means that it has been discontinued. This always happens to me! I was down to the bare nubs of both the tube I keep in my vanity and the one I keep in my purse and was starting to panic when I miraculously found two more tubes on Amazon. You can bet I will be hoarding those bad boys for special occasions.

Three of my last favorites are:

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, which I use to stretch out the time I need between hair washings. It smells amazing and doesn't gunk up, flake, or dry out my hair like some other dry shampoos I have tried.

Kenra Blow Dry Spray, the best product for helping to create a salon blow-out at home.

Enjoy Protect and Shine. This spray smells like heaven. It protects against uv rays and makes my hair shine like glass. It's also expensive as hell, so, it's a good thing that (say it with me!) it lasts a long time.

And, that wraps it up for this week's favorites. If makeup and hair products aren't your jam, this was probably a pretty boring post for you to read, but, hey! I didn't try to sell you anything!

And, it wasn't about birds, walking, or the pain in my ass! So, there's that at least.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

November Care Package

We mailed the Man-Cub's latest care package earlier this week, and, with any luck, he should be picking it up from his post office some time today. The package has a Thanksgiving theme, or, as
Thanksgiving-y as I could think to make it, anyway.

In the box:

- Ramen Noodle Bowls
- Harvest Trail Mix
- Wheat Thins
- Spray Cheese
- Cookie Butter
- Nutella
- Pop Secret Popcorn
- Smores Flavor Carmel Corn
- Velveeta Shells and Cheese
- Turkey Jerky
- Turkey Snack Sticks
- Little Debbie Snack Cakes
- Stance socks
- Steam gift card
- Charlie Brown Thanksgiving DVD
- Mini Pumpkin Pie

I wanted to include the entire menu from Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving, but, I didn't know how to get buttered toast to stay fresh during a trip over the Pacific Ocean. Plus, the Man-Cub isn't really a fan of jelly beans, so, my only nod to the movie was the popcorn.

I think he'll forgive me.

I did dress the box up a bit, you know, to add to the festive nature of the occasion.

I'm sure the effort will not be lost on the Cub.

And, that's it for care packages for this year; next month, he'll be home (happy dance! Happy dance!), and, he won't return to Hawaii until after the new year. So, time to start thinking about his February package.

Although, why rush it? Right?


The Theme of the Week is Baby's First Car Accident

Not my baby, thank God. But, twice in the span of a week, I have found myself in the position of comforting a youth who was involved in their first car accident.

The first was a minor fender-bender last Thursday, when a sixteen year old boy accidentally put his dad's car in drive instead of reverse, resulting in the car jumping the curb and taking out a brick retaining wall in the parking lot across the street from Day Job. The poor kid was in total shock and I stayed with him until his dad arrived, talking calmly with him and reassuring him that he had done everything exactly right; he stayed at the scene, he reported it to police, he had his license and insurance card in hand, and he had called his parents. I also told him about Queen B's first accident (remember that time when the kid jumped out in front of her car and she broke his leg? Yeah, good times). He appreciated the story, I think.

Last night's accident was more serious, and, truly, could have been a complete tragedy had God not had his hand on the situation.

I was driving home from Denver, where I had spent the day at a retreat for Day Job. It was dark and the traffic was moving pretty fast on the interstate. I was about two and a half hours from home when I came up behind an accident that had just happened; a young girl had hit a deer and her car was completely disabled in the right hand lane. She had no working lights, so the car-a small, dark colored sports car-was virtually invisible until you were right on top of it. Luckily, a man had stopped at just the time I did and he had a reflective vest in his truck, so he was somewhat visible to oncoming traffic. I turned on my flashers and we did the best we could to keep an additional accident from happening until another gentleman arrived with flares and was able to assist. Once the traffic was slowed down, I spent the rest of my time comforting the poor kid- a twenty year old college student, in her brand-new car (insert sad face here), who was on her way to Neighboring City to spend fall break with her family.

She was a wreck, as anyone would be. So, I took her first into my arms and then into my car. She just needed a soft place to cry and to be comforted and I was glad I could be there to give her that. I stayed with her until State Patrol arrived, some time later, and then I continued on my way. Since I had loaned her my phone to call her phone (it was lost in the accident and we located it by calling it), I had her number, so I texted with her later in the night to make sure she got home ok.

I hate accidents. I hate that kids have accidents. But, man, I hope I threw some good karma out into the universe this week, because, if either of my kids ever needs a mom to help them and I'm not there, I hope it will return to us in the form of a good Samaritan.

Monday, November 13, 2017

DIY: Farmhouse Table Make-Over

Two years ago, after Hugh finished converting our downstairs guest room into my scrapbooking room, we purchased a farmhouse table at a local discount furniture store. The table was not exactly what I wanted, but, it was functional and it was cheap-about $75 cheaper than the table closest to exactly what I was looking for. So, we went with functional and affordable over pricey and perfect.

And, the table has been exactly what I paid for-functional; it's seen a lot of crafting, scrapping, present wrapping, and, more often than I care to admit, time spent as a storage platform for whatever the next project was that I was planning.

This weekend, I finally got around to making it into what I had originally envisioned-functional, affordable, and stylish. Gone is the forest green and brown color pallet, circa late 1998, and, in it's place, vintage shabby chic, distressed, and fabulous. And, it only took a little bit of chalk paint, some sandpaper, and a coat of wax.

Oh, and time and elbow grease, both of which were free, and, of which I have plenty, recently.

I love it, and, could not be more pleased with the result; it finally matches the rest of the furniture in the room. My only regret is that I didn't do it two years ago.

Live and learn!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Because I'm Not One of THOSE People

You know, those people. The ones who skip right over Thanksgiving and start decorating for Christmas the second their Halloween decorations are stored away. Yeah, those people.

Those people are missing out.

They are missing out on the warm, rich colors of fall. They are missing out on fall-scented candles and the feeling of bounty and blessing evoked by the sight of a cornucopia, resting on a table. They are missing out on the meaning of this particular season while rushing toward the next.

Not this girl.

Nuh-uh. This girl was born on Thanksgiving and this girl celebrates it in style. The decor in my house right now is testament to that.

There will be plenty of time to deck the halls with boughs of holly after the turkey has been eaten and the last balloon in the Macy's parade has been deflated, my friends, so, slow your roll and enjoy the downtime, friends, family, and food.

Hell, I don't know, maybe take some time to count your blessings and to express gratitude for the wonders in your life.

It is called Thanksgiving, after all.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

No Wonder My Feet Hurt

According to my Fitbit, I have walked almost 22,000 steps today.


I guess that's what happens when one ends up running instead of walking during one's daily trek around the park. And, why does one end up running? Because there was a disk golf tournament being held at the park and the threat of decapitation proved to be a very good motivation for speed.

In addition to the "walk", I also did my weekly grocery shopping, put together a care package for the Man-Cub, painted the table in my scrapbooking room, paid bills and counted money at the store, refilled the bird feeders, cleaned the house, and ran a few more errands in Hooterville.

I guess I earned every one of those steps. I just wish they hadn't come with a side dish of pain.

Getting old sucks, y'all.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Favorites: Pumpkin Smoothie

I'm still on a smoothie kick; I have one every weekday morning. I've been switching it up between four favorite flavors and pumpkin rates right up there.

The recipe is simple, but, will probably require a change once the Chobani pumpkin spice Greek yogurt that I'm currently using goes out of season. I'll deal with that when it happens.

In the meantime, the ingredients are:

1 container Chobani Pumpkin Spice Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 frozen banana
1 scoop Vega Protein and Greens, vanilla flavor
Handful of ice

Give it all a whirl in your blender, Magic Bullet, Nutri Ninja-whatever floats your boat.

It's super yummy and packed with protein.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Because This Is All I Do: Walk, and Talk About Birds

You guys, what has my life become? I used to have a purpose! Now, the highlight of my day is the buzzing of my Fitbit as it alerts me to the completion of my 10,000 steps. I am so boring, I can hardly stand myself.


I've lost some weight (I'm whispering because I don't want to jinx myself; I still have a long way to go), and, I've rediscovered a couple of muscles that I thought were gone forever.

I've also bonded with a couple of my co-workers whom I hadn't known well, previously. A couple of days ago, those co-workers and I discovered a new walking path that will probably be our best bet for wintertime walking because it is a bike path that the city maintains year-round. It also has the added benefit of running alongside a canal that is home to a flock of semi-wild ducks. I say "semi-wild" because they have been somewhat tamed by the residents of the neighborhoods adjacent to the canal.

Yesterday, we started toting Ziploc baggies full of rolled oats on our walks so that we can feed the ducks as we make our way along their portion of our path. And, let me tell you, there are few things more humorous than watching a duck waddle, full-throttle, toward you in the quest for a handful of oatmeal.

The ducks are also beautiful; they vary quite a bit in coloring and size. We each have our favorites among them, but, between you and me, my favorite is clearly the prettiest; he (she? Fuck if I know!) is black, with iridescent blue and green undertones, like a peacock, and, I could watch him glide on the surface of the water for hours. It's very therapeutic; like counseling offered through our EAP, only at no cost to my employers.

Huh. Maybe I should suggest it as an option on our next employee satisfaction survey.