Wednesday, February 21, 2018

February Funk

Remember that item on my Winter Bucket List about trying to hate winter less this year? People, I did so well! For, like, all of December and January, I did a great job of not bitching, moaning, or generally shaking my fist at the sky and cursing Mother Nature for the long, dreary, dark days and endless stretches of gloom. Instead, I kept to my exercise routine, continued to eat well, got out in the fresh air as often as possible, and genuinely embraced the season.

Then came February.

February is my winter Kryptonite; it drains my super powers like nobody's business, and, this year has been no exception. February brought the first snow storms of the year to Petticoat Junction, and, because Mother Nature and Father Winter are assholes, it looks like there will be another blizzard tomorrow, just as I'm preparing to drive over high mountain passes to reach The Girls and our first Girl's Weekend in two years.

I am less than pleased.

Not surprised, oh, hell, no. As I said, February.

(The only good thing to come out of February was Queen B's birth back in 1996; celebrating her birthday is always the highlight of the month. )

Damn you, February.

Damn you.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Recipes From the Porch: Ginger Carrot Soup

The week before last, after attending a meeting for Day Job, some co-workers and I went to a lunch at a little restaurant in a community just over the hill from Hooterville. Three-out-of-four of us had the soup-of-the-day, which was the tastiest carrot soup that I had ever had. If memory serves, it was also the only carrot soup I've ever had, but that is neither here nor there.

Once I got home, I started searching the Google for carrot soup recipes, and, after a bit of trial and error, landed upon one that, with a little tweaking of my own, most closely resembles that of the soup that I had in that restaurant.

This is the recipe.

Ingredients:


6-8 large carrots, sliced
1 large onion, diced
2 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
4 tbsp butter
2-3 strips of orange zest
1/4 tsp ground ginger
salt to taste

Melt butter in a dutch oven or large pot. Add carrots and onion, cooking over medium heat until soft.


Add water, vegetable stock, minced ginger, and orange zest.




Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until carrots are soft.

Remove and discard orange zest.

Blend, using an immersion blender, or, by transferring small batches of the mixture to a standing blender; process until smooth.



Return to heat, add ground ginger and salt to taste.

Serve with a small sprinkle of thyme, if you like thyme, which, I do.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Favorites, Part Deux: The Trainer Answers!

My session with the personal trainer went really well! My arms are now so fatigued, I fear I may never raise a wineglass, again. This is especially unfortunate considering the fact that the trainer has no beef with wine consumption. As for the answers to my other questions:

1.  She assured me that she falls far, far to the right of the Profanity Tolerance Scale, in fact, she warned me that she has no filter, is completely uncensored, and, may offend me on occassion, which? Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha! She has soooo much to learn.

2.  When I asked about the crying, she clucked her tongue at me and said, "Oh, come on, now; you're better than that".

3.  As I said, wine, check! She does insist that I eat a good deal of protein following heavy workouts, but, wine is totally allowed as a chaser.

4.  For the record, she is fine with clients who puke and/or pass out. As far as urinary incontinence goes, she actually said "You know there are exercises for that, right?"

I am in such good hands.

Friday Favorites: Questions to Ask the Personal Trainer

I have my first session with the personal trainer today, and, have developed a list of standard questions that I feel all potential trainers should be required to answer prior to entering into a contract with a new client. Or, with this particular client, anyway.

1.  On a scale from "Oh, gee, goodness, oh, my!" to "ShitMutherfuckerDamn!", where do you fall on the Profanity Tolerance Scale? (The answer, I'm sure we can all agree, should fall farther to the right of the scale than the left).

2.  What is your typical response when a client cries? (I'm A-Ok with the answer including any form of the phrase "Are you crying?! There's no crying in personal training!")

3.  Do you have a policy limiting the amount of wine that a client can consume? (Y'all know the answer to this one better be a big, loud "NO, ma'am", right?)

4.  Will you sign a confidentiality agreement that prevents you from disclosing the number of times a client throws up, passes out, or pees his/probably her pants while under the supreme duress of working out following years of leading a mostly sedentary life? (This had best be a no-brainer, folks).

Now, I am off to change into my workout clothes (which, may or may not include some form of adult diaper) and to print off a copy of that confidentiality form.

Because, I like to be prepared in advance.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sweethearts

Happy Valentines Day, you Hallmark holiday, you! Hugh is on the road to Denver for the state wrestling tournament, so, we are not reveling in the romance. He did, however, have a lovely bouquet of roses sent to me at Day Job, so, he covered his floral-purchasing obligation for the year.


And, last night, we celebrated Emily's birthday at her favorite restaurant, so, that sufficed as our romantic dinner for this year.

The babies were in attendance. Well, two out of four of them, anyway.  But! Coincidentally, Miss Shelley was at the restaurant with her new beau, so we chatted about Mikey, and, we texted with the Man-Cub throughout dinner, so, it was almost like they were there.

All said, it made for an especially nice celebration.




Emily was intrigued by my experience with DNA testing, so, we gifted her with a test of her own. I'm looking forward to hearing her results, since she passed some of her DNA on to my children. I also keep trying to convince Hugh to do a test, but, so far, he isn't terribly interested; I'm betting I'll eventually wear him down.

And, speaking of wearing down, I am still not 100% over the sinus issues that plagued me on Monday, so I think I will call it an early night. I hope your Hallmark celebration was at least as exciting as my own.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

An Audience With the Queen

Sunday's early-birthday bonding time with Queen B included all of her requested activities:

1.  Pedicures

2.  Treasure hunting for her class project.

3.  Watching a scary movie on the dish network while indulging in our favorite cheeses (Muenster for her, smokey cheddar for me).



4.  A trip to the Ross in Hooterville (because the Ross in Neighboring City could best be described at ghetto, and, that's being really, really generous).

5.  Corned beef, cabbage, and all the trimmings.

6.  Cream cheese swirled red velvet cake with cream cheese icing.


7.  A sleepover in her old room.

It was a great day.

The following day, she got the most adorable haircut, and, now she is less than two weeks away from turning 22.


Photo shamelessly stolen from Queen B's Facebook, because I'm her mother and I can.

It's crazy how fast time goes by.


Monday, February 12, 2018

A Weekend in Pictures

Queen B and I spent a lot of quality time together yesterday and I enjoyed every minute of it. Unfortunately, today, I am feeling under the weather, so, I'm not going to write a play-by-play post about our time together; I'll save that for another day.

Instead, here are a bunch of pictures of how I spent the first two days of the weekend, including breakfast with Kortni and Kristi on Friday, some awesome shots of the cabinet-organizing spree that I went on on Saturday (my life is soooo exciting!), and, a few of the latest bird to visit the feeders in the backyard (although, he wasn't there for the seeds, he was there to eat the birds who eat the seeds; nature is a war zone, folks).











Friday, February 09, 2018

Friday Favorites

I have been looking forward to this weekend for a while, because, I get to spend part of it with Queen B! We have quite the Mother/Daughter bonding planned and I can't wait; that, alone, makes the arrival of this particular Friday a favorite.

Other favorites include the compliments that I got today; two on my hair, and, one on my ability to hold a yoga Tree Pose without swaying or falling on my face. The last was especially impressive given that I had just came off the treadmill after having run for an hour. Ok, I only ran for twenty minutes of that hour, but, still.

These moisturizers that I discovered at Sephora have become favorite weapons in my arsenal against winter dryness. I especially love the eye bomb; it plumps up the fine lines around my eyes without irritating them, like other eye creams I have tried.


I have this Yankee candle, in my current favorite scent, burning almost every waking moment that I am home. It is light, fresh, and yummy, without making me hungry, like some food-scented candles tend to do.



I continue to love, love, love my Soda Stream. I suck down at least three bottles of homemade fizzy water a day, and I am saving a boatload of money, considering how much I was spending on bottled water. The fact that I feel better about not creating so much plastic waste is a bonus.


I've had some time to read, lately and these have been my two favorite books.


From Amazon: “Evoking Emmy limited-series winner Big Little Lies, Whalen’s novel is about a Georgia town ripped apart when an outcast boy kills three cheerleaders in a car accident, bringing secrets and simmering tensions to the surface.” —The Hollywood Reporter


Also from Amazon: A contemporary romance for anyone who's ever believed that true love never leaves our hearts. . . People say you can't ever go back. That some of the things that happen to us simply cannot be redoneBut the paths of a life journey are rarely straight. They twist and turn and wind back across those once visited and long thought to have faded from existence.

I loved both books, reading through each in record time and then regretting the speed once I reached the end. Now, I'm on the hunt for my next great read.

And, that's about it for favorites this week. I'm off now, to bake a cream cheese swirled red velvet bundt cake with cream cheese frosting, because, that's what Queen B wants for her early birthday celebration this weekend. I'm still not eating sugar, but, I'm still totally excited about baking this cake.

I like to think of that as personal growth.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

February Care Package

With any luck, the Cub will pick up his latest care package at the student center later this evening (that's afternoon to the Cub), so, I think I am relatively safe in posting this, now.

The theme of the box was, not surprisingly, Valentines Day. But, with a definite college twist in that, there were equal parts Valentines sweets and standard dorm room fare. That's how I roll.

In the box:

- Velveeta Shells and Cheese
- Maruchan Noodle Bowls
- GoGo Squeeze Yogurt, banana flavor
- Cookie Butter
- Limited Edition Valentine Ding Dongs
- Small heart-shaped tin of assorted chocolates
- Chocolate Shark (Get it? Because they are the HPU Sharks!)
- Terriyaki Flavored beef jerky
- Caramel M&Ms
- 1/2 lb. homemade banana chips
- Stance socks
- SD card reader
- A trio of photos for the Cub's bulletin board

Not included in the box:

- The cat. I mean, duh.








  

 Only three more packages to go before the Cub comes home for the summer break! I can hardly wait!

PS. Did I ever mention that Mikey is living with Katie and Queen B? No? My bad.

Hey! Mikey is living with Katie and Queen B! Seems only natural that my Second Son and my Second Daughter have both found themselves living under my roof one way or another, doesn't it?

Monday, February 05, 2018

Weekend Update: Met My Goal!


(Apparently, my honor student can neither spell, nor, correctly punctuate a sentence. Head. Desk)

Y'all, I didn't leave the house at all on Saturday, except to go to the gym, which, if you'll recall, was exactly how I wanted Saturday to go down.

Instead of gallivanting all over town, I actually accomplished several things on my mental : "To Do List", including organizing my scrapbooking room...


...finally stowing my lenses and other camera gear in the awesome case that Queen B got me for Christmas (this thing holds a ton!)...


...making a little something for Mama Jill's birthday next month (I even tracked Kenz down for his autograph)...


...packing up the Man-Cub's February care package; details to follow once the Cub has the package in hand (so as not to spoil the surprises in the event that he actually takes time out of his busy hiking/surfing/swimming/school schedule to read his old mother's blog)...


...and cleaning out my vast purse and costume jewelry collection, bagging items for a yard sale later this summer (don't I say that, like, every year?).

I also cleaned a little and made my favorite mock Caprese pasta salad, which I enjoyed with a cool glass of Pinot Grigio once I got back from the gym, where I finished off my steps for the day.

Speaking of the gym, on Friday, I finally had my first consultation with the personal trainer; we are now scheduled to meet once a week for a month, starting on the 16th. She's a little scary. But, in a good way. She was hella-complimentary about my (now 30 pound!) weight loss, and seems to think that she can get me into bikini shape in no time. We shall see.

Although, I went to Mama Jill's LulaRo pop-up shop on Sunday and I purchased a dress in size XS, which I never thought could happen, so... you never know.


And, that's how I spent my weekend.

I should totally make an effort to schedule at least one home bound day into my week, every week.

Highly, highly recommended.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Goal for the Day: Not To Leave the House

Lately, I feel like I have been running almost as non-stop as I did when I had kids in the house; this is not what the twilight of my life was supposed to entail.

And, yes, I realize that I am not exactly in the twilight of my life, but, certainly I am in the twilight of my youth.

And, I digress.

Anyhoodle, my goal for today is to catch up on the items on my hobby list that-with the exception of hitting the gym- do not require me to leave the house. I don't even plan to go to the hardware store; there will be plenty of time to deal with new payroll scales and unpaid bills, tomorrow.

Instead, I'm going to try to get back into a scrapbooking groove, starting with the most recent events and working backwards, since, if I even contemplate picking up where I last left off, I will probably quit in despair before I even get started.

And, speaking of recent events, these two gorgeous kids got engaged yesterday!


So, now I get to decoupage the version of the family portrait that includes him. Ha!

Joking aside, I am very happy for my niece. Also, I am incredibly excited for them to eventually start a family, because, her new fiance hails from a large and established family who, much like our family, reliably passes its' genetic makeup along to each new generation. And, by that, I mean; they all look alike. In the valley where I grew up, you can pick them out of a crowd and know that they belong to the clan, even if you don't know exactly how. It will be quite interesting to see if their genes can overcome the genes from my Grandma Molly's side of our tree, which, for generations, have dominated the appearances of the offspring.

Oooh! Speaking of ancestors and genetics; since I got back my DNA results, I have really gotten into the whole family tree thing on Ancestors.com . It's been both interesting and frustrating; interesting because I have discovered that, not only did my Great Grandpa Sam spin a yarn about that whole "being Cherokee" thing, but, he also spent three years in Huntsville prison for bootlegging. Frustrating because, I'm thinking Grandpa Sam may have had a teensy problem with honesty. Also, I have encountered roadblocks at every turn when attempting to trace his parentage, which, leads me to question whether or not the last name he used (and, gave to all of us) was even his real last name. Obviously, this proves problematic when trying to trace one's roots.

I'll soldier on.

Now, I'm off to evaluate my scrapbooking supplies and to start organizing my "work" for the day. I really hope I have everything I need; it would suck to miss my goal of not leaving the house just because I ran out of glitter paper.