Wednesday, March 30, 2022

What's Up Wednesday, March 2022 edition


It's that time again; What's Up Wednesday with Sheaffer and Shay. Or, as I like to call it: One of Maybe Three Posts That I Will Write This Month. The spirit is willing, but the life is dull. 


What I'm Eating

I haven't eaten anything particularly memorable recently. I'm still trying to avoid sugar, but, failing more often than I succeed. It's a character flaw; I'm working on it.

What I'm Reminiscing About

Facebook keeps reminding me that I was in Paris around this time seven years ago. My Dad had died the previous October and my sisters, Mom, and I took the trip because he never had the chance to. He had worked hard his entire life, and never got to see Europe. While his ideal destination was his ancestral home of Scotland, my sisters and I thought it might be too soon for Mom to go there without him, so, we picked Paris. It was a good choice, and a trip that I would like to repeat, but, first I really do want to make it to Scotland.

Posts about the trip can be found here,  here, here, here, and here, if you happen to be interested.

What I'm Loving

I recently coughed up a partial lung in payment for a camera bag that I have lusted over for years. Then, since I was already in pain, I bought an organizer to match. I have no regrets; lungs regenerate and the bags are awesome.

I am also loving the Man-Cub's new kitten. He had been looking for a cat to adopt, and, this long-haired tuxie was just waiting to be loved by him. Her name is Leia and she is already quite spoiled.

What I've Been Up To

I've been making it a point to spend more time with friends. To that end, I have enjoyed Sunday brunch with The Newlyweds and a wine date with Jana. I also Zoomed with The Girls, which is something that we need to do more of; at least until we can get a Girl's Weekend planned.

What I'm Working On

Hugh finally purchased the lumber for my new raised garden beds, so I have been getting my garden plot ready for construction. This entailed demolishing and hauling off of an old Rubbermaid storage locker and a Rubbermaid potting station; both of which were falling apart and will not be missed.

I also raked up the branches and leaves that had accumulated in the space, and threw away some other debris that had magically appeared in the three years since I last planted.

What I'm Dreading

I don't have anything that I am actively dreading, yet I have an underlying inexplicable feeling of dread that I am experiencing frequently. It's could be hormonal, or, it could have something to do with the state of our world. If it's hormonal, a slight tweaking of my prescription will do the trick. If it's the other thing, well, I guess I'm screwed. Maybe the world leaders all need their hormones tweaked.

What I'm Excited About

I am making plans to visit Queen B in Texas in May! When Hugh and I visited last year, we took a drive to Waco to visit the Magnolia Silos. This time, we may road trip to Austin or San Antonio. I don't really know for sure yet what we'll be doing, but I'll be doing it with my daughter and that's all that matters.

What I'm Watching

My office manager told me that I would love Ghosts, and, as with most things; she was right. I binged the first season and am now sad that I didn't make it last longer. It's funny, light, and totally enjoyable. I can't wait for Season 2.

Along with the rest of America, I also watched The Adam Project. It was great! The kid who plays the younger Ryan Reynolds was ah-may-zing!! He had Reynolds' quirky mannerisms down pat.

Welcome to Flatch is another cute series; it's a mockumentary, which is one of my favorite genres. The Office set the bar, obviously.

This past weekend, I binged the second season of Bridgerton. It wasn't quite as good as the first season, but it was still pretty darn entertaining. It was a departure from the book, which isn't exactly surprising since that seems to be the trend that the series is following. Also, the series makes me feel slightly less dumb after watching it than the books did after I read them. Salvaged IQ points for the win!

What I'm Reading

People! I actually have something to report on in this regard! It's a literary miracle! Not only have I read two books on gardening, but, I'm deep into a novel! I'm reading for education and for entertainment! Who am I?!

I have a long history of gardening, but, this year I am going to be planting in raised beds, which is something that I have not done in the past; I'm relatively certain I will be successful, but, it never hurts to do a little research.

I've also never given a lot of thought to what I plant together, but, since I will need to make the most of the limited space that I will have; I am going to be very thoughtful about companion planting this year.

As for the novel; you can't go wrong with Kerry Lonsdale. I've read Lonsdale's previous trilogy, so I was excited to start No More Words, which is the first in another trilogy. From Amazon:

Forced to choose between abortion or adoption, Olivia Carson’s younger sister, Lily, runs away from home. Sixteen and pregnant, she never returns. But she writes. Once a year, Lily mails a picture of her son, Josh, to Olivia until his thirteenth year. Then it’s Josh himself who arrives at Olivia’s house, alone, terrified, and in possession of a notarized declaration from Lily. It begins, “In the event I go missing…”

Josh has difficulty talking. He can’t read or write, but he’s a prolific artist, exhibiting skill beyond his age. His drawings are as detailed as they are horrific. Olivia soon realizes Josh’s artwork tells a story. There’s more to his arrival and to Lily’s untimely disappearance than it seems. Using the drawings as a road map, Olivia traces Josh’s path back to his mom. Each drawing sheds light on Lily’s past and reveals a darkness that forces Olivia to question everything she thought she knew about her family.


I am enjoying it so far, which means I will download the second book as soon as I am finished. Then, it looks like there will be a bit of a wait for the third book, but, considering my recent literary track record; I'm sure being patient will be no hardship.

What I'm Listening To

As I type this, I am listening to the cooing of the mourning doves that reside in the gables of the roof at Not So New Job; it's lunchtime but I have a therapist in the building conducting trauma assessments, so I am eating at my desk. Might as well blog while I chew.

What I'm Wearing

I feel like I have been wearing the same outfits on repeat; probably because I have been. I can't wait until the weather gets a bit more predictable so that I can bust out my dresses and capri pants.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

I am attending a baby shower for Mama Jill's newest grandbaby. I haven't seen Mama Jill or her daughter in ages so I am very much looking forward to the event.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

April is going to be a very busy month at Not So New Job. It's both Child Abuse Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and, since my organization works with survivors of both, I will be attending a number of events outside of normal working hours, including an event that we are hosting. So, I guess what I'm most looking forward to is the month being over. How sad is that?

On the positive side, Easter is also next month and, as a lover of the holiday, I am looking forward to it. I've already decorated the house in anticipation.

Favorite Amazon Find This Month

Hugh and I hosted a Mexican fiesta night recently; Hugh's nephew from Illinois was visiting my in-laws over his college spring break and we wanted a theme that we thought he might enjoy. The menu for the dinner included a taco bar, so, when I saw these plates on Amazon, I thought they would be a handy way to serve the tacos. Not only were they handy; they got rave reviews from the Man-Cub and Shanti, who will no doubt be getting a set for their apartment.

What Else Is New

Speaking of the Man-Cub, Shanti, and their apartment; the kids have moved into the apartment over the hardware store. The Cub is helping Hugh with a major remodel of the space in exchange for rent, which, means he will be able to save his earnings for the traveling that he and Shanti are planning to do in the next couple of years. It's a win-win for all of us.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Life Lately

I haven't done a post about my offspring in quite some time; mainly because they are adults and it would be weird for me to exhaustively post about their bidness.


Today, I'm going to be weird.

Update The First: Since graduating from HPU, the Man-Cub has secured a job, a place to live, and a new fur-baby. The job is in construction, which has not one thing to do with his degree, but, makes him some good cashola. Since his plan is to work for a year and then to travel; the cashola is the primary motivation.

The place to live is the apartment above the hardware store. Late last year, our renter up and left without notice, leaving behind half of her possessions as well as a thoroughly trashed apartment. In her defense, the three renters prior to her had not exactly maintained the property, either, but, still; it was disappointing.

Hugh is completely over the whole landlord gig, and has decided, instead; to remodel the apartment and then to lease it to the Forest Service or to a company that employs traveling nurses. Either of these will be far preferable to renting to random tenants and will result in a steady income stream, regardless of whether or not there is a tenant in the apartment.

The Man-Cub is assisting Hugh in the remodel, while living rent-free in the apartment. This will help him reach his goal of saving enough money to travel in record time, as well as helping Hugh out. The fact that the apartment is mere blocks away is a huge bonus for me, since I kind of like to see the kid every once in a while.

Also, I kind of want to see the new kitten that he adopted from the shelter. Her name is Leia and she's adorable.

She's also completely spoiled, which comes as a surprise to absolutely no one. I visit the Cub frequently, just to get in my kitty snuggles, which clearly presents an issue to my own furry feline when I arrive home smelling of interloper.

That's some bullshit.

Boomer Dog doesn't appear to care how I smell, one way or another. He just loves having the Cub right upstairs when we go to work at the store. When he hears the Cub's voice filter down through the vents (the apartment has high ceilings and wood floors, which make for very bad acoustics, at the moment; sound won't travel as far once we get carpet laid and more furniture moved in to absorb the noise), he gets quite excited.

Update The Second: Queen B continues to rock the Texan vibe. She is still employed by the "bar" that she started at when she and the Rodeo Princess first moved to Texas. She has been promoted to the merchandise boutique and is currently the social media guru for the business. Several of the TikTok videos she produced have gone viral and she is quite understandably proud. As am I.

I have plans to visit her in May and I am very much looking forward to catching up, despite the fact that nary a day goes by without us texting, calling, or FaceTiming each other.

Update the Third: Jana, Jana Bobana and Chris have changed companies and, as a result, will be trucking only three or four days out of the week, rather than the seven days out of the week that they were trucking before.

This means more time for us to boat this summer! Also, Chris has Hugh convinced that we need to invest in inflatable rafts so that we can raft the local rivers. I don't care if we blow up garbage bags and float them down a ditch if it means me getting to spend more time with Jana.

Yesterday, she came over for a glass of wine. A bottle and a half (and five hours) later, we were feeling no pain. I could get used to that.

Thus endeth the updates.

Monday, March 21, 2022

How To Spend the First Weekend of Spring

I don't know how other people celebrated the first official day of Spring but, I started prepping for my garden. I consider it a celebration because, up until Hugh sketched the design for my raised beds, I wasn't convinced that there would be a garden. It is a long-running joke in our household that the key to any Hugh Project is the official napkin sketch.

The design includes three 12' x 4' sections, connected to form a U shape. Hugh intends to build them with an internal irrigation system that will rely on gravity to soak each section, which should cut down on the time that I spend watering. The raised beds should also cut down on the time I spend weeding as well as producing higher yields in my harvest.

I have already started the planting plan; I am going to do companion planting so that I can make the best use of the space. In all my years of planting a vegetable garden, I  never really delved into companion planting, which probably explains why I had good years and bad years and lots of super buggy years. Fingers crossed that doing it right this year will actually lead to fewer squash bugs.

The first thing that needed to be done prior to the planting of anything, companions or not, was the clearing of my garden space, and, with nice weather on Saturday, I figured I might as well get to it. This entailed getting rid of an old potting station and a large equipment storage locker; each of which had seen better days. 

I also needed to haul off a lot of branches that Hugh had cut from the tree above the garden last summer, as well as raking the leaves that had accumulated along the fence and among the branches. Some of the leaves will find their way into the large blue trashcan in the garden, to be used in my compost barrel throughout the summer. The rest will either get hauled off or burned; we haven't decided which.

I am going to have Hugh move the large pavers into place next to the shed, and, I hope to find a cute wicker or wrought iron loveseat to fill the space. 

This chore took the better part of the day, and, by Sunday I was ready for something less dirty, so, I cleaned myself up and joined The Newlyweds for bottomlesss mimosas and brunch at one of the nicest restaurants in Hooterville.

It was a great way to spend the first weekend of Spring. It was also my attempt to start to live by a quote that I read recently: Use your weekends to create the life you wish to live, not to escape the life you are living.

That's some great advice there.

On a side note: my Mom is in the hospital back home. She's ok; she had a reaction to an antibiotic that she started taking recently, but, prayers are always appreciated. Also, I can't wait until we get her moved over here so that we can be better caregivers as well as having her here to enjoy things like this garden. She deserves that.

Secondary side note: Queen B and the Rodeo Princess are smack dab in between the fires that are raging in Texas. They have an evacuation plan and they are taking it seriously, so I am maintaining my calm. If you are the praying type and haven't already said one for Texas, please think about doing so. My mama heart would be grateful.



Tuesday, March 15, 2022

A Sign of the Times

In case you didn't know it; Spring is upon us! I know because, yesterday; I saw the first Robin of the season pulling a scrawny, dried-out looking worm out of the sad, dry grass in the yard at Not So New Job and Robins are always the first sign of Spring in our neck of the woods.

Another sure sign of the season is the sudden urge to clean and organize my house. Anyone else? Please don't let me be alone in this affliction.

The urge reared its head this past weekend and resulted in a cleaning spree of my office, which, in all fairness, probably managed to escape a thorough going-over last year, so, was more than overdue. When I started the project, it looked like this:

That's many, many months of generalized clutter, with a thick layer of dust for good measure. My mother would be ashamed.

Anyhoodle, after several hours of hard work, it now looks like this:

I can find things again! And they're where they belong! Let's pause a moment to enjoy it while it lasts.

As I close this, I should also mention the final two obvious signs that Spring has, indeed, sprung itself on me: allergies and generalized exhaustion thanks to the Devil Time Change. 

I have antihistamines for the allergies but only time will repair the trauma of losing an entire hour of sleep. I should stop being bitter about it in, oh, about six weeks or so.

Just in time to start Jonesing for summer. Who's with me?