Sunday, August 30, 2020

Yes, I DO Realize That it Isn't Even September Yet

 I decorated the porch for fall yesterday, which, is the earliest that I have busted out the fall foliage since the kids were in elementary school and I wanted their first day pictures to appear as though they were happening in the fall rather than late summer (still bitter about school going into session before Labor Day, even after all these years).

I think I'm rushing the season a bit because I am over the summer heat (this, from a girl who dreads shoveling snow and would rather eat chalk than scrape frost from a windshield). Or, because I am already over this wretched year. Toss up!

Speaking of both the first day of school and this wretched year; the local kids went back to school late last week. The district gave parents the option of in-person learning or on-line instruction, but, the in-person learning is hybridized with several days of at-home instruction, which, seems like a contradiction to me. Obviously, nothing about this school year will be ideal, but at the very least, say what you mean and mean what you say, school district.

Anyhoodle, the kids are back in school, Starbucks has released the pumpkin spice from its' mythical coffee vault, and the porch is ready to entertain my friends in a fall-themed ambiance.

Can Halloween decorations be far behind?

This year? Not, bloody likely. The skeletons will be out of the closet by Labor Day.



Thursday, August 27, 2020

I'm So Hot and I WISH I Was Bragging

There is a very good reason that God chose women to bear the cross of menopause; if man were faced with hot flashes the likes of which I am enduring, there would be a whole lot more of them climbing ladders into bell towers.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

What's Up Wednesday, August 2020 Edition


Here again, already? August certainly has gone by a lot faster than the first seven months of this wretched year, and, I am definitely not mad about it. So, what's been up around these here parts? Let's do the linky-link with Sheaffer and Shay and find out! 

What We're Eating

Someday, I am going to start cooking again. On the regular. Really, I am. In the meantime, thank goodness for take-out, greasy-spoon diners, the Starbucks drive-through, and fine dining establishments, since the only things I have produced out of my own kitchen recently have been a charcuterri board and some nibbles.

What I'm Reminiscing About

The Man-Cub started classes yesterday. His college has taken all the necessary precautions to keep the students safe, including moving a majority of the classes to outdoor classrooms (it's Hawaii, so, that was a total no-brainer). A lot of his work will be done online, and, he will be required to use an app that tracks his temperature before every class, but, otherwise, it's business as usual. And, speaking of business as usual, the Cub sent me his official first day of school picture..

..he's a college Senior, which means that my track record for having my children's first day of school documented on film (or, digitally) is intact. Like, pristinely intact.

This is a picture of the Cub on his first day of his Senior year of high school, holding a picture of himself taken on the first day of Kindergarten. 

I'm not crying, you're crying.

Anyway...moving on.

What I'm Loving

This month, I got to spend time with two-out-of-four of The Girls. Reese was in Mayberry to visit her dad, so I drove down and we rendezvoused with Phoebe for a day hike. I love these friends of mine and it was so good to be able to hug them again.

Oh, and we had drinks. Because, of course we did.

What We've Been Up To

Queen B and I spent the weekend together in Neighboring City, along with Erin and Kristi. We celebrated their engagement and impending nuptials with an impromptu bachelorette party in the vineyard, where they learned how to taste wine. It was a ton of fun.

What I'm Working On

I am currently coordinating a virtual 5K fundraiser for New Job. I've never done anything remotely similar, which, simply makes it another in a long list of tasks that I have taken on with no experience or knowledge since starting this job. If nothing else, at least I nailed to logo.

What I'm Dreading

Oh, you know, whatever the hell 2020 decides to throw at us next. At this point, I've learned not to say "How much worse can it get?"

What I'm Excited About

Can I skip this question for the remainder of 2020, please?

What I'm Watching

I often say that I am always late to the party when it comes to jumping on trends, and, my recent love affair with Schitt$ Creek is further evidence  of that. Mom had been encouraging me to watch the show for quite some time, and now I can say that I am completely caught up on all five seasons. Netflix marathon for the win.

I showed Prime Video a little attention this month and it rewarded me with this little gem of a movie...

Based on the novel by Tim Winton, Dirt Music tells the love story of Georgie and Lu; two broken souls in search of a sense of belonging. Set amidst the gorgeous scenery of the Australian outback, with a music score that is truly haunting; this movie captured my attention and kept it, which, is not an easy feat these days.

What I'm Reading

I actually finished two books this month! Two! That's twice as many as last month! Progress!

The first book was On Mystic Lake, by Kristin Hannah. And, the second was Hello Summer, by Mary Kay Andrews.

What I'm Listening To

After watching Dirt Music, I went hunting for the soundtrack and I have been listening to it on repeat ever since. The best description I can give to the type of music it features is Australian Folk. I have no idea if that's an actual thing, but, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Can't Find My Way Home, I'm Here, and Stolen Car are my favorite tracks.

What I'm Wearing

Well, this is a mixed bag, for sure. See, a few weeks ago, our 28 year old dryer bit the dust, and, the brand-spanking new washer/dryer set that we ordered is on a slow boat from China, or whatever foreign country those things are made in these days. So, I haven't done laundry at all. Lucky for me, I have more than enough clothing to prevent me from having to repeat an outfit for ages, so, I'm not exactly desperate. That being said, there's a reason I don't wear some of these clothes. Realllly hoping that dryer gets here before I have to resort to my back-up back-up wardrobe because ain't nobody want to see that.

What We're Doing This Weekend

Hugh is driving to Salt Lake City to pick up a trailer that he bought so that he can haul around the second four-wheeler that he also recently purchased. I'm on call at the job that allows him to purchase said toys, so I will be staying at home, where I hope to drum up enough energy and initiative to bust out my fall decorations.

Who am I kidding? I'll be in a prone position on the couch watching a marathon of Farscape, which I just recently discovered is available on Prime Video.

Looking Forward to Next Month

Is there anyone who isn't looking forward to the start of the fall season? Autumn is my jam, and I'm really hoping that a change in the scenery will brighten my mood and reignite my spark.

What Else Is New

I got bangs. Regretted it, immediately. That is all.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Baby's First Day of School

 Ok, so the baby is over six feet tall, sports a full beard, and is of legal drinking age; he'll always be a baby to me.

And, that baby is officially a college Senior! He celebrated that fact by sending me my final first day of school picture. 


Like, forever. 

How did that happen so quickly? Just yesterday, he was a Senior in High School, and, the day before that, he was starting Kindergarten...

...if I wasn't so ready to be done with tuition and school fees and books, I might feel more sad about this. 

As an aside, the second this kid graduates, I'm starting a savings fund for a European World Tour. I wonder if I can get a scholarship for that?

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Eating My Way Through the Weekend

 Saturday morning, I loaded up the Tahoe and moved on down the road to Neighboring City, where, I met Queen B, Erin, and Kristi for a day of relaxation and fun. It was something that I desperately needed and I had been looking forward to it.

We started the day with a stop at Hobby Lobby, and, despite the shelves full of autumn decorations, I left pretty much empty-handed. This is becoming a trend (three times out of three, since the end of the lock-down) that makes me sad. If, when they finally stock the Halloween merchandise, I still fail to find something that blows my skirt up, I'm going to be very, very troubled.

Our first stop after Hobby Lobby was the nail salon, for pedicures, so, while I didn't score at the store, at least I was able to quell my disappointment with pretty toes and a foot and leg massage that went on for ages.

After pedis, we grabbed lunch at the first of what would become a deliciously long list of amazing restaurants. I had the spicy chicken quesadilla and it was really tasty; the restaurant grills their tortillas in butter, which both flavors the tortilla and creates a satisfying crunch that holds up to the melted cheese.

We did have one minor hiccup at the restaurant; Queen B's steak quesadilla had a hair in it. And, yes, that IS terrible and completely unacceptable and totally avoidable, etc., etc. But, they made good on our refund, and, honestly, in this day and age, I just think we have to allow a little room for grace in the face of error.

We actually talked a lot about error at our next stop; The Candle Kitchen, where we each made our own custom candle. Erin was of the opinion that Kristi's signature candle was a complete error because it smelled like old lady. You know, in her opinion. Kristi thought that her candle smelled just fine, in fact, I think she claimed it smelled "young and hip", which, between you and me, is practically impossible to do when the top note is lavender, but, Queen B and I wisely chose to stay out of that fight.

My own signature candle features a heady mix of lemongrass, morning dew, and old books, which, when combined, smells like spending a sunny morning on the porch, with my dog-eared copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. You'll have to take my word for it.

Once they are mixed and poured, the candles need to set for several hours to solidify, so, we went down the street to check into our hotel (yes, we stayed at a hotel, less than an hour from home. Even less, in Queen B's case; her house is only eight blocks away. They call it a Staycation for a reason). The hotel is at one end of the historic downtown area of Neighboring City. It is a great area for shopping, antique hunting, dining, drinking, and culture-seeking. Everything is within walking distance and car traffic is pretty light, so it feels safe and unhurried. There are also a number of really cool statues and art installations sprinkled throughout the neighborhood, including several that have fountains and water features incorporated into the design.

After we got our stuff stowed, we made a short drive to the winery where Queen B did her college internship. They still love her there, and we were treated to complimentary macrons following our wine tasting and charcutteri board noshing.

Relaxing in the vineyard was a great way to spend time until our candles were ready for pick-up, and, introducing Erin and Kristi to the concept of a wine flight was a lot of fun. Both of them enjoy sweeter wines, but, they were up for a new experience, and they really branched out from their beloved Muscato. I was proud.

They totally regressed at dinner, but, baby steps.

Speaking of dinner, we ate at an amazing little Italian place mere blocks from the hotel later in the evening. I had a ridiculously rich dish called The Rosetta. It was handmade pasta, rosemary ham, and cheese, rolled into pinwheels and smothered in a spicy tomato-cream sauce. It. Was. Delicious. It was also incredibly filling; I could eat less than half of the serving and ended up taking the rest back to the hotel for a late-night snack.

Since it was still fairly early when we got back to the hotel, we attempted to swim in the pool. Unfortunately, it was not heated and, at least one of us was too wimpy to get in the water (Me. It was me.). Queen B certainly didn't let the frigid temperature stop her; she even made a hilarious Tik Tok video, wherein she performed an aquatic rescue, utilizing the pool's safety flotation device and the theme from Baywatch.

We finished off the night with a bottle of wine in our room before bidding Erin and Kristi goodnight. Then, this morning, we met up for our last meal together; breakfast at a cute little diner. I had Eggs Benedict, which is my very favorite breakfast meal. I also ordered a ginormous cinnamon roll that came slathered in cream cheese frosting, maple syrup, and a dollop of whipped cinnamon butter. It was more than enough to split between the four of us and just about the sweetest way to finish off an amazing weekend.

I probably gained five pounds in twenty-four hours, but, that's a small price to pay for the improvement it brought to my mental and emotional well-being. Besides, I can always exercise.

(We all know that isn't happening)

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

You Can Knock Your Shit Off Anytime Now, 2020

 Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning.

I'm no sailor, but, when the red sky at dawn is caused by smoke from the numerous wild fires completely consuming my beloved state; I heed the warning. 

WARNING: Never, never, never ask "What else could possibly go wrong?" Because 2020 will reply "Hold my beer".

In the soon-to-be-immortal words of Avenue Beat: Low Key FUCK 2020.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Weekend Report: Featuring a Trip to the Market, No Mask Required

 Yesterday, Kristi, Erin, and I went to the Hooterville Farmers Market. It was the first time that I have gone to the market this summer, and, I'm kind of sorry that I hadn't made the effort, sooner. With temperatures approaching triple-digits, it was really nice to be able to peruse fruits and vegetable without wearing a mask (on a hot day like that, not even the siren call of air conditioning can entice me into a store while wearing the damn thing). The Market did a great job of spacing the vendor booths out, and, our fellow market enthusiasts were great about maintaining six feet of distance, so I didn't feel at all endangered while I shopped.

I purchased a couple of bunches of beets, which I am planning to either roast, or, to have Hugh grill. I haven't had beets since I grew them in my garden the year before last, and, I'm looking forward to their sweet earthiness.

Erin and Kristi purchased some local lettuce and then spent a good deal of time chatting up their fellow chicken-owners (their own chickens just started laying, finally) and chasing down-and petting- every blessed dog at the market (and, folks, there were a lot of dogs at the market).

Before we left the market, I introduced the girls to one of Petticoat Junction's finest farmers, who, happens to be a friend of ours; he, in turn, introduced us to garbanzo beans, fresh off the vine, in their pods (I had no idea that was how garbanzo beans grew! Learn something new every day!).

After the market, we grabbed a quick lunch at a family-owned Italian place before parting ways so that The Lesbians could make it to an appointment to test-drive new cars. 

They ended up buying the perfect car for themselves, and, now they are saddled with another car payment, just like 99.999% of all red-blooded Americans. I feel like I've had a front-row seat to watching them both become adults and that's really pretty cool.

When I got home, I decided to beat the heat by reading on the porch. Boomer Dog spent the majority of the afternoon by my side, except for the part where he very sneakily left the porch and raided my tomato plants, eating the two largest tomatoes off the vine. I had been waiting for ages for those tomatoes to get red, and I am very disappointed in my canine.

His punishment may include wearing a mask to his next grooming. I haven't decided yet.

I spent the evening in the bathtub, trying to soak away the gnawing, nagging aches and pains that seem to be part and parcel of growing older (that, or they exist because I have taken zero care of myself recently. Probably that).

This morning, I was awakened at 7:00 by a phone call from a detective in need of the services that we provide at New Job, so I got to spend several hours organizing and providing that. Then, when that crisis was firmly in hand, I got to spend another several hours at the Hardware store, catching up on my bookkeeping duties (what can I say? I am living the dream over here). 

Now, I should be doing laundry, but, that would require a functioning washer and dryer, and, as I mentioned in a post several days ago; I am currently awaiting the delivery of such a beast (latest update: Could be mid-September. Could be mid 2021. Who knows? Adulting is fun!). On the bright side, I have enough clothing to tide me over for a good long while, and, when I am finally desperate, I can always throw myself on the mercy of The Lesbians, Queen B, or Emily, all of whom have functioning appliances.

So, in lieu of laundering my unmentionables, the rest of the day (and, of the weekend) will be spent making spaghetti and meatballs, catching up on Yellowstone and Big Brother, possibly soaking in a hot bath (still aching like it's my job over here), and wracking my brain for ideas for the Man-Cub's first care package of the year (I'm thinking Jailbreak; for when he finally gets out of quarantine).

Tomorrow begins another super-stressful week at New Job (although, I guess technically, that started today). I am really looking forward to the day when I don't have to mentally and emotionally prepare myself for a daily battle (could be mid-November, could be mid 2021! Again, adulting is fun!).

On the bright side, after tomorrow, there are only four more days to the weekend!