Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Keep Going Until You Get it Right, Then Keep Going Until You Can't Get it Wrong

That's a Monica Aldama quote from the first season of Cheer and  it's playing on repeat in my head because it's the only thing keeping me from walking away from New Job and never looking back (well, that and the fact that I have no other options for employment at the moment; yay, Covid economy).

To make a long story (700 pages, front and back long, to be exact) short...

Actual application, no shit organization failed to pass the accreditation process that I have been working on since I started the job back in February, which, coincidentally, was the first time I heard the above-mentioned quote. 

We failed by one element of one standard. 

I do have a short grace period in which to remedy the one element before we are no longer eligible for funding, and of course I already have a plan to do so, but, fuck. I am so over this.

On the bright side (remember the days when I started with the bright side?), my team presented me with these flowers earlier this week, in honor of Boss's Day. Having never been a boss, I had no idea such as thing existed. I was duly humbled.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Knives Out

For it being her first time to carve a pumpkin, I have to say; the Rodeo Princess wielded the knife with the precision of a pro! But, we'll get to that part of the story later. First, allow me to set the scene:

Despite having a perfectly good kitchen table, Hugh insisted on setting up our old folding table in the mudroom. He surrounded the table with our ancient folding chairs, dragged the large trash barrel in from the garage, and covered the table with sheets of yellowing newspaper from a stack that we have been slowly working through since we had an actual subscription to the local daily. The setting was straight out of every picture that I have of every year that we carved pumpkins when the kids were small. History repeating. Tradition. Call it what you will; it felt good and right.

So, of course I did my part by roasting the pumpkin seeds salvaged from the cavities of each of the four pumpkins. And, may I say; this year's seeds were the best I have ever made. They puffed up suitably, have an excellently crispy bite to them, and, are seasoned perfectly. It's the pumpkin seed trifecta. 

Hugh and the girls loved them so much, I had to secretly smuggle a small baggie-full for the Man-Cub's Halloween care package (details on that coming soon! Hot damn, more blog content! She's on a roll, folks!). That's a sign of a successful seed roast, me thinks.

While the seeds were roasting and the pumpkins were being carved, we listened to my friend Cyn's most recent true crime podcast; she was featuring the true story behind The Amityville Horror, which, was the perfect choice for this time of year and for the carving of jack-o-lanterns.

Once the pumpkins were done, we lit them, set them on the porch, and then stood back to watch the girls delight in their creations (we know they were delighting because social media doesn't lie).

As I said earlier, the Rodeo Princess did a kick-ass job on her pumpkin and I think she had fun doing it. So, not only did I get to spend an amazing day with my girls, but I got to give one of them a chance to do something she was totally gyped out of as a child (her mother and I will be discussing this at Thanksgiving)

It would appear that the Rodeo Princess was also deprived of the experience of dipping caramel apples, so, guess what we're doing this weekend?

Go ahead, guess.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

I Could Use More Days Like This

Yesterday, Queen B and the Rodeo Princess (Previously unheard of monarchy? Country Western band? Nah, just my girls! ) came over for a full day of autumn fun. We started with lunch at a little Mexican place in Hooterville, followed by an hour of thrift store shopping that netted a dress for the Rodeo Princess to repurpose for Halloween. Then, it was off to meet Hugh for a sojourn through Petticoat Junction's corn maze and pumpkin patch.

Believe it or not, the Rodeo Princess had never been through a corn maze. And, while she had been to a pumpkin patch (waaaay back when she was a child and we dressed her, her brother, Queen B, and the Man-Cub up as the characters from The Wizard of Oz for Halloween and took them to a pumpkin patch while they were here visiting), she claimed to have never carved a pumpkin in her life.

Well, that bullshit can't stand, so, we each picked out a pumpkin to carve later in the evening.

But, not before circling the maze for an hour or so, of course.

Thanks to Hugh's stellar map navigating skills (earned during his illustrious career in the Boy Scouts), we didn't get lost even once, although, he did choose to take us on the longer of the two paths through the maze, which, while fun and all, was also a wee bit challenging for the girls, who were both wearing shoes that weren't exactly the wisest choice for a hike through the stalks.

Or, for a stroll through the pumpkin field, either, for that matter, but, they managed.

The Rodeo Princess did a great job of picking out a pumpkin and she was really excited to get to carving, but, before I let her do that, I insisted on more pictures, because, it's been ages since I got to take my kids to the pumpkin patch and I'll be damned if I was going to miss an opportunity to make a thing of it. I'm not an awesome empty nester, y'all.

Plus, the day was so lovely, I wanted to stretch it out for as long as humanly possible; I was not about to waste a minute of Fresh air, comfortable weather, and good company.

We did eventually make it home for pumpkin carving, but, not until after we went out for dinner (two meals I didn't have to cook! It really was a perfect day!), and, this post is already pretty photo-heavy, so I'll post about the carving tomorrow.

Wow, I actually have blog content. 

It's been so long, I hardly know what to do with it all.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020


 Not much! What's up with you? Enjoying the weather? In my neck of the woods, it finally got the message that it is fall, which, translates to cooler nights, crisp mornings, warm afternoons, and mild evenings, so, layers, jackets, and comfy blankets are in rotation for the duration.

The only blight on the otherwise perfect weather we've been enjoying was the freak wind storm that blew through Petticoat Junction on Sunday, taking several items from my Halloween skeleton display with it. Luckily, Hugh and I were able to save the majority of the display before it got too trashed and we will be repairing and reconstructing this weekend. I would blame 2020 for the damage, but, honestly, the display suffers at least one weather-related calamity every year, so, it would be unfair to give 2020 the credit (I would hate for it to go to 2020's head; already such a friggin' primadonna).

I'll be taking pictures of the display once we get it repaired and will eventually get around to posting them here, along with pictures of the indoor decorations because tradition (middle finger to you, 2020).

In other news, I met Anthony and Bethany at the park last week for a quick family session. Cooper was in full-on toddler mode and was having none of it. I had to get pretty creative in my cajoling, but we ended up with some pretty stellar shots.

I love my side hustle.

As for the job that keeps the lights on; October is kicking my ass (as predicted). I am, however, getting better at setting and defending my personal boundaries, so, I am not bringing work home with me.

File that little gem under Minor Victories.

Anyway, that's wa 'sup.

'Sup wit you?

Saturday, October 10, 2020

And, Now For the Other 50%

I don't want to leave that downer of a post up for even one more day (it's been up this long because October at New Job is kicking my ass, as predicted). So, in keeping with my 50/50 policy, here is something happier.

Every year, the Methodist church in Hooterville lines their steps with pumpkins. It's one of their biggest fundraisers for the year, and, generally, they do quite well. In years past, I was able to walk across the street to see the pumpkins, as the church is located across the street from Old Day Job.

This year, the visit to the church required a bit more of a walk- a block and a half, to be exact. I didn't mind; it was a beautiful day and I needed a little break from grant writing, reports, fire extinguishing, etc. 

The weather was perfect, the trees were gorgeous, and, I made a quick stop at the Little Free Library along the way. I didn't find anything I wanted to read, but it did remind me that I have a number of books that I can donate to the cause; I'll have to remember them next week.

Anyway, it was a nice little break, and, a good reminder that I used to take helpful little mental health breaks during the day. I really need to get better about doing that regularly at New Job. Hopefully, this autumn will stretch on and on and on, giving me the motivation to do just that.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Speaking of Dumpster Fires...

October! A brand new month, which, means that I get to reset the counter on my 50/50 whining/complaining/bitching/moaning count for blog posts. Good thing, too! Because, friends, I now have personal reason to compare 2020 to a dumpster fire. 

This was the view from Hugh's office window at midnight on Friday...

...that would be the storage units a block and a half down the road from our house.

Those storage units housed all of the back-up inventory for the local homeless shelter; blankets, towels, personal hygiene items, canned food, and other basic needs items.

All gone. Devoured by flames that the local fire department fought bravely for hours.

To the left of those units is a house owned by a family that we have known as long as we have lived in Petticoat Junction. The firefighters battled the flames with a vengeance on that side of the inferno, and, thanks to their efforts, our neighbors still have a home.

At first, the Fire Marshal suspected that the fire was started by a couple of transients who have been trying to sleep in a small alcove between units, but, video captured on our Ring camera on the front porch seems to show an explosion in one of the units, so there is now speculation that it may have been an amateur meth lab. It really doesn't matter, either way; the end result will not change.

The good news is that no one was hurt, neither vagrant, nor junkie, nor neighbor, nor firefighter.

According to a Facebook post, the Pastor who runs the shelter has already started to receive replacement donations, and, a fund was set up for people who lost items in the fire. That's the beauty of Dumpster Fire Times; people come together to help each other out.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that we really are all in this together. And, if resiliency is the middle finger that we give 2020, more the better. But, seriously 2020?

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

What's Up Wednesday, September 2020 Edition


It's officially fall, y'all! My favorite season of the year, chock-full of festivals, tailgating parties, antique sales, pop-up craft fairs, pumpkin patches, and fun get-togethers...oh,'s 2020. Well, at least we still have What's Up Wednesday with Sheaffer and Shay. 2020 can't take that from us, right? If I'm wrong, please don't tell me; rafting down the Denial is the only trip I'm taking this year and I would kind of like to enjoy the scenery.

What We're Eating

I'm maintaining a steady diet of sugar, fat, and empty carbs, thank you very much, 2020. On the bright side, those three food groups meld nicely into Mexican and Italian dishes, with ice cream for dessert. I'm not sorry. I do, however, apologize to the waistbands in alllll my pants).

What I'm Reminiscing About

In a normal year, Petticoat Junction High would be celebrating Homecoming right about now. This year, not so much. I am extremely grateful for getting to experience all of the activities that Homecoming had to offer back when Queen B and the Man-Cub were in school and I feel really badly for the kids who are missing out on it all this year.

What I'm Loving

The Man-Cub turned 22 this month. I love seeing the young man that he is becoming. I also love these photos that he took; he's getting quite talented behind the lens and, I could not be more proud.

What We've Been Up To

Hugh and I attended an event at the local orchard this past weekend. Hugh had been asked to judge the apple pie contest, and, there was no way he would have missed out on that honor. We got some great cider out of the deal so it was a win-win.

What I'm Working On

It's that time of the year when families start to think about Christmas cards, which means photos, which means my schedule is starting to fill up with appointments for photo sessions. This past Friday, I started with this beautiful family...

...sadly, theirs will be one of only five sessions that I will be able to accommodate. I just don't have as much time to work on my side hustle as I would like, thanks to New Job. 

Speaking of which, I am still plugging along. This month, I organized my first virtual 5K. It was a first for the organization as well, so, the fact that we netted over $7,000 feels like a pretty big accomplishment.

On the home front, I accomplished the task of getting my indoor Halloween decorations put up. I kind of jumped the gun a little, but, with as crappy as this year has been; I figured I would enjoy the decorations for as long as possible, just to bring myself a little joy. I don't feel the least bit sorry about that, considering that the big box stores already have freaking Christmas merchandise on display.

What I'm Dreading

October at New Job is going to be incredibly stressful (yes, even more stressful than usual!). I have several grant applications that are due, as well as several reports for existing grants that are due. In addition, I have a virtual site review with the national chapter that will determine whether or not my center will still be accredited. If we aren't accredited, we aren't funded. The stakes are high and I am anxious. Worrying about how I'll juggle everything that needs to be done keeps me awake at night, not gonna lie.

What I'm Excited About

I am dreading October for all of the reasons mentioned above, but, I am also excited for it because of Halloween. I've already said that I have the house decorated, but, I didn't mention that Hugh and I have already started working on the skeleton display for our yard as well, and, folks? It's going to be epic! I can't wait for the neighborhood kids to see it.

What I'm Watching 

I'm really into mindless entertainment recently. I don't think I'm alone in that, honestly. So, hopefully, you will judge me less harshly when I tell you that I have not missed a single episode of Love Island

I'm also watching season 2 of The Boys, which, is gory AF, but, entertaining, nonetheless.

I'm trying to hang in there to the end of this season of  Big Brother, but, I gotta admit, that's been a struggle. At this point, I am having a hard time rooting for anyone. I definitely don't want Memphis or Dani to win, so at least I know where I stand on that.

I watched and enjoyed Enola Holmes on Netflix, and, not just because it stars the uber talented and totally not hard to look at actor Henry Cavill. It also stars the adorable and quirky Millie Bobby Brown, who many of you may remember from another Netflix show that I love, Stranger Things.

What I'm Reading

Sadly, I find myself with too little free time for pleasure reading again these days. I continue to hold out hope that this season of my life will eventually give way to a season in which I can focus on a good book for any length of time.

What I'm Listening To

At the moment, I am listening to Boomer Dog, snoring at my feet.

What I'm Wearing

Lately, it's been cool enough to wear layers, so; cardigans, t-shirts, and jeans have been in heavy rotation. I also busted out my supply of leggings and have been pairing them with, you guessed it, t-shirts and cardigans. I've noticed that this relaxed wardrobe is generally being worn by the majority of the professional women with whom I interact. I don't think any of us miss more formal business attire, and, I doubt we ever return to overly restrictive, uncomfortable clothing again. That may be the one decent gift that 2020 has seen fit to bestow upon us.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

Assuming the stars and planets align accordingly, Hugh and I will be completing the Halloween yard display.Fingers crossed.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

I am looking forward to finally being done with Looming Project at work, visiting the pumpkin patch and corn maze, seeing the look of delight on the faces of our Trick-or-Treaters, and to scratching one more month of this horrible, terrible, no good year off the calendar.

What Else Is New

I got nuthin.