Monday, March 20, 2023

It's the First Day of Spring!

So, why the fuck is there snow in the forecast?

Nevermind that, let's focus on more pleasant things, including the fact that Queen B got to check one off her Texas bucket list recently; a trip to the Texas Tulip Farm. Tulips are Queen B's favorite flower and she was super excited about seeing an entire pick-your-own field of them. I don't know which is prettier; the flowers or the girl. I'm kind of partial to the girl.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I have been baking away my winter blues. Speaking of blues; check out these gorgeous ceramic mixing bowls that I bought at the culinary store in Hooterville. Did I need another set of mixing bowls?  I most certainly did not. Do I regret the purchase? I most certainly do not.

While I've been out shopping, I've been picking up items for Queen B's spring care package, which has also brightened my mood. Full description of the box once it is in Queen B's hands, but here is a teaser.

I  busted out my Easter decorations clear back the end of February, and, at some point I will get around to posting pictures of them all (spoiler: my husband seems to think I have too many bunnies...I fear he is correct). In the meantime, here is a picture of one of my favorites.

Lastly, it wouldn't be spring without a St. Patrick's Day celebration, which we accomplished in the usual way; with a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner, accompanied by a fresh loaf of Irish soda bread (totally gratuitous photo of one of those gorgeous mixing bowls in action!).

Now, I'm off to work, where I will probably have to shovel snow at some point in the day. Or, not. It is Colorado after all; anything could happen.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Life Lately

Not a lot going on in these here parts, as evidenced by the paltry number of posts on the blog so far this month. I've basically been hibernating since this never ending winter refuses to give way to spring, and hibernation does not exactly produce great blogging content. Shocker, I know.

On the rare occasion that I leave the house for something other than work, you can bet that it has involved food, because; even bears leave the cave for sustenance (I think. I mean, I'm no wildlife expert or anything).

Recently, one of the breweries in Hooterville started serving house-made salads. I was intrigued by The Zeus, which is basically a Mediterranean-styled salad, complete with olives and feta. It was quite good. I washed it down with a non-fat Italian soda made with sugar free coconut and vanilla syrups, which, might just be my go-to drink for the summer.

The salad was the first decently green meal that I had eaten in a while; I tend to crave less healthy fare in cold weather (again, I'm pretty sure that's what bears do) so I've been remiss in the vegetable department. Once I realized that, I started making more of an effort to include more roughage into my diet, including sprouts, which I like tucked into sandwiches and sprinkled over salads.

Sprouts have gotten expensive in the markets around here, so I'm glad I invested in sprouting jars a while back. Sprouting seeds are also expensive, but you get a hell of a lot more sprouts out of them and can have a fresh crop grown in less than a week. Currently, I am using broccoli and mung bean seeds for my sprouts.

When I'm not being mindful of what I'm shoving into my gaping maw, I tend to gravitate towards the least healthy carbs available, which, right now, consist of breads. Cinnamon loaf is one of my favorite comfort breads, so I baked two large loaves of it last weekend. I also made lemon scones to take to work for one of our partners who happens to love lemon scones and who is British. The fact that he said my scones were the best he'd ever eaten is most certainly a lie; Brits are polite like that. 

During hibernation, I also seem to be more interested in planning my summer garden; I suppose that is true for a lot of people. I've been ordering seed catalogs, seeds, and other gardening items and I cannot wait for the weather to get nice enough to clean out my raised beds. I am also determined to clear the space for a greenhouse this spring, and, want to have one installed before the end of summer so that I can start seeds during the winter next year, rather than sitting in my house wishing I could.

Since I am naturally inclined to look on the bright side of things, I can report that being forced to spend weekends inside the house has opened up plenty of opportunity for me to organize my spaces. I finally got around to clearing out my office, including the massive amount of scrapbooking paraphernalia that I collected over the course of my children's lifetimes.

I weeded out the items that I know I no longer need and organized the items that I still want to use. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Past Me had done a remarkably good job of organizing photos by date/event/milestone, etc. This includes the paper, stickers, die cuts, etc., that I had planned layouts around. 

Since everything was together, I decided to jump back in and get caught up. Queen B's scrapbooks ended at the beginning of her sophomore year of high school, while the Man-Cub's were stuck in the middle of eighth grade, so I have my work cut out for me (ha! Scrapbooking humor!). I spent most of the day this past Saturday, working on Queen B's book and managed to complete about ten pages, despite being constantly interrupted by the fur babies, who demanded constant attention.

While I was working on the scrapbooks, and, since I've been reading more for pleasure (book reviews coming soon! Maybe!); I have noticed that my eyesight bueno. I mean, I've known that for awhile now, but, the past few weeks have been even worse than usual. Luckily, I scheduled an eye appointment with a new clinic a while back and this was the week that I finally saw the doctor.

I liked him, very much. I especially liked the part where he said that my astigmatism isn't as bad as it used to be, according to his tests vs. my records from the old practice that I used to patronize (and which I tried to get into for an appointment but was immediately put off by the attitude of the receptionist who took my call; life is too short to deal with rudeness, so I moved along). So, either my eyes have gotten better with age (unlikely), or, the old practice had my prescription wrong.

 Anyhoodle, the exam went well; my eyes are healthy and I have a prescription for new glasses. I'm planning to use my old frames, in which they will install new lenses, saving me a boatload of money. This is another reason that I love this new practice and am happy I made the switch; the old practice went in hard on the upsell.

One last thing before I call it a day; a new Thai food truck opened in Hooterville and I was super excited to try the drunken noodles. They were not as good as the Thai truck that used to be in Hooterville, but I'm not going to complain because they were still delicious. Plus, the day I tried them just happened to be the first day in ages and ages that we had sunshine, mild temperatures, and no precipitation, which meant that I got to walk from Not So New Job to the Hooterville Town Square for lunch alfresco.

Of course, it snowed later that night, but I'm taking my wins where I can get them.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

It's All in a Day's Work

 Over the past few days, the staff at Not So New Job has been working on the promotional video for the virtual 5k that we will be hosting in April, as part of our Child Abuse Prevention Month activities.

The video will be our third and will once again feature the incredible acting ability of our friend Kristi. Our previous videos went viral on social media and I'm fairly confident that this one will be the best, yet.

In addition to some location shots at Not So New Job, we filmed a series of shots in a makeshift studio in my garage.

Hugh provided both props handling and set design, while one of my amazing team members manned the camera. I mainly provided clean-up and resetting in between takes, which is the best I could manage because I was laughing too hard to provide much else.

The theme of the video is the unpredictable weather during a typical spring in Colorado, where we can experience basically all of the seasons in one week (maybe not fall, but pretty near it). Kristi was the absolute embodiment of each, as evidenced by her wardrobe... 

I cannot wait to share the final edit of the video, but you'll have to wait until April. I'm sure you'll be on the edge of your seats.

Monday, March 13, 2023

What Fresh Hell Is This?

Y'all this is the winter that will not end. We've had more snow in the past month than in all of the previous three months, combined and I am over it. I'm also over the mud that my dog keeps tracking through the house, thanks to the snow/melt/rain cycle that is playing on a loop in Petticoat Junction.

In short: the weather vexes me.

You know what else vexes me? 

This morning, I got notified by Blogger that a post I wrote in June of 2016 had been reported for community violations and is now tucked away behind a security wall. The post was from our trip to Las Vegas for Anthony and Bethany's wedding weekend, during which we took her to see the Thunder Down Under as part of her bachelorette party. Apparently, a photo showing three half-naked hineys (hinnies? How does one spell the plural of hiney?) was enough to cause some poor innocent person to clutch their pearls in horror.

I could dispute the infraction, but, I'm not really all that interested in spending time defending something I posted almost seven years ago. For fucks sake; Anthony and Bethany have had two children since then. Anyway, if naked buttocks offend thee, please refrain from visiting the archives of this here blog.

Anyhoodle, back to the weather.

The one saving grace for this never-ending cycle of precipitation is the fact that it allowed me to get in one last senior picture shoot for Phoebe's daughter. She had envisioned having pictures from every season of her Senior year, and we nailed it. 

I also managed to catch the exact moment that a glob of wet, slushy snow fell from a tree overhead and landed on top of Phoebe. I'm sure she appreciated the timing.

We had a fantastic visit and are looking forward to finding a time when we can get all of The Girls together for our annual trip (semi-annual, since we miss a year here and there, thanks to all these kids we've been raising for the past 28 years, or so). 

Speaking of trips, I haven't mentioned that Hugh is currently in Puerto Rico (I haven't mentioned anything this month, actually). He's been there for a week, "working" at the National wrestling tournament. If he thinks for one minute that I won't be utilizing this as leverage for either the purchase of a greenhouse or an extended trip with The Girls (probably both, actually); he is crazy.

One-or both- of those things is just what the doctor would order to cure this cabin fever, I'm sure of it.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Wrap-up of a Surprisingly Great Weekend

Queen B flew in at 2:00 on Friday afternoon and it was my job to keep her entertained and away from the house until 6:30 that evening so that Katie and the crew could pull off a surprise birthday party; this was not as easy as it sounds.

I took the whole day off from Not So New Job so that I could get the house tidied up and pick up the balloons that would be the only decorations at the party. Then I ran home to pull the red velvet cake out of the freezer to thaw while I was engaged in Mission: Keep the Kid Away. Queen B is pretty intuitive and I felt like I was walking a thin line all afternoon, but, I managed.

Queen B's flight landed right on time and, since she hadn't checked any luggage, we pulled out of the airport by 2:15. Our first stop was Starbucks, for vanilla bean frappuccinos and tomato and mozzarella paninis because the Queen was starving (and I will never pass up a tomato and mozzarella panini).

We then headed to Mom's to kill some time with a visit. Mom was in on the surprise, of course, and she suggested that we go out and do a little shopping, which we did.

Then, I dropped Mom off back at her house so that Oscar and Emily could pick her up for the party, while I took Queen B for pedicures that I had scheduled earlier in the week.

Luckily, the salon was running behind, so we were able to kill the exact right amount of time before heading home, where we managed to completely surprise Queen B. It was a mission accomplished!

After cake and pizza, the kids carried on with the party, traveling to Neighboring City to dance at a bar that Queen B and Katie used to frequent during college. Hugh and I crashed, because we are no spring chickens anymore.

The celebrations had just begun, however! The next day, we traveled to a town a few hours north, to attend another birthday celebration; this time for Queen B's Goddaughter, who was turning 2. The party was at the local bowling alley, followed by cake and ice cream at the guest of honor's grandparent's house. We have been acquainted with this family for several years now and consider them friends, so it was nice for all of us to get to see each other again. I love how that happens!

Sunday afternoon, Hugh, the Man-Cub, Shanti, Mom, and I went to the theater to see the new Ant Man movie (Queen B isn't a fan) before coming back to the house for cheese fondue. I love, love, love having all of my people home and around the same table, so it was a great night for me.

Today, I am off work again; I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Queen B while she is home. I do have a presentation to give at the Petticoat Junction town council meeting later tonight, but, otherwise, I plan on enjoying her and just being in the moment.

I'm so glad I have the opportunity.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Birthday Flashback

 Today is Queen B's birthday! I've written birthday tributes over the years, and today will be no different, but, before I get to how amazing she is, I thought I would re-share this post that I wrote a number of years back.

I had an incredibly vivid and life-like dream last night. Actually, I'm not certain that it was a dream, but, more a memory. In the dream, The Teenager shuffled into our bedroom, clutching her pink blanket (bobock) and favorite teddy bear. She wasn't a teenager, of course, but, a little girl of about three, and, she was wearing her favorite footie-pajamas; the pink ones with the ruffles across the butt.

Her sleeves were pushed up over her elbows and her plump little arms were clutching that teddy bear to her chest with all her might. Her hair was curling in random directions and felt damp from the light night sweat, which, was a normal occurrence for her.

In the dream/memory, she climbed into bed next to me, curling into my body, where, she sighed deeply and relaxed into sleep. Then, as often happened when she was sleeping, her leg twitched, and; that sudden twitching awoke me from the dream/memory.

The dream was so vivid, I could still smell a mixture of baby lotion, Johnson & Johnson No-Tear shampoo and toddler sweat. So vivid, in fact, that I actually had to get out of bed and look into The Teenager's room just to convince myself that she had not somehow transformed into the little girl that she used to be.

Spoiler: she hadn't.

Instead of chubby toddler legs encased in footie-pajamas, a long, lean, bare leg hung limply from the edge of the bed; definitely not the leg of a three-year-old.

I bent down to kiss her on the forehead, breathing deeply the scent of apple-scented shampoo, Hollister perfume, and teenager sweat before retreating downstairs to make coffee.

Today I am thankful for vivid memories.

I am thankful for having had nights spent with a toddler tucked into the curve of my body.

I'm thankful for the young woman whom that toddler has grown to be.

And, I suppose it goes without saying that I am grateful for coffee.

I still vividly recall both those toddler and teenager years and I still cherish the memories of each. These days, however, I am also cherishing the experience of knowing my daughter as an adult. She's funny, sassy, a little bit crazy, kind, serious on occasion, and a genuinely good person. That's really all a mother can hope for in a child and I am grateful.

Happy birthday, Queen B! We love you and are so thankful to be on this life journey with you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

What's Up Wednesday, February 2023 Edition


I just blinked and February is practically over; I have no idea how that happened. February used to be my least favorite month because, although it is technically the shortest month, it always felt like it lasted the longest. Now, I just look at it as the Hump Day of the winter season; it's all downhill to Spring at this point. As always, I'm rounding out the month with a new What's Up Wednesday; linkup courtesy of Sheaffer and Shay.

What I'm Eating

You know, they say that bread is the staff of life, and, if my recent diet is any indication; they are correct. Not only have I been eating bread, but I've actually been baking it rather than buying it. And, while I would dearly love to say that I have mastered the art of pretty sourdough; I would be lying. My bread is most definitely not pretty but it tastes amazing.

In addition to sourdough, I've added regular old farmhouse white bread to the rotation and I've been slathering it with creamed honey, which, I also made, myself. How I managed to make it to this ripe old age without knowing how easy that was to do is a complete and pathetic mystery. Anyhoodle, it's delicious.

What I'm Reminiscing About

Queen B turns another year older tomorrow and, as always around this time; I am reminiscing about when she was a baby. And, a toddler. And, a get the point. She is, hands down, the best thing about February.

What I'm Loving

I don't want to come across as some Debbie Downer or anything, but, I'm honestly not loving anything right now. I'm not hating anything, I'm just not loving anything, Perhaps you can relate.

What I've Been Up To

At the moment, I feel like all I do is work. Between Not So New Job and the hardware store, most of my time is taken up. My weekends  one day off each weekend is taken up with household chores, and the weather has not exactly encouraged outdoor pursuits. I'm hopeful that this will change with the changing of the seasons, but I'm not counting on it.

What I'm Working On

We are in the midst of the planning portion of the spring fundraiser that we do at Not So New Job. It's a virtual 5K and we are working on gathering sponsors. It's hard going and I'm getting anxious.

What I'm Dreading

Allergy season. If the itching and burning in my eyes currently is any indication; it's going to be a bad one.

What I'm Excited About

This is by far the geekiest thing that I will ever admit to on this blog, but, I recently tracked down the entire Dana Fuller Ross Wagons West series on Mercari and I cannot wait for them to arrive. When I say that this series was a staple in my adolescent library, I am not kidding. Were they a bit mature for a teenager? Probably yes. Am I looking forward to revisiting them as an adult of the proper age to enjoy them? Also, yes.

What I'm Watching

I've watched a couple of cute movies recently. They were entertaining and not heavy, which has been welcome considering what I've been watching on the news (our world, people, it's in need of prayers...lots and lots of prayers).

I've also been completely hooked on 1923. I understand that there will be a second season, which thrills me. The acting is really good (Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren are phenomenal) and the story is so compelling.

What I'm Reading/Listening To

I started this book by a well-known psychic medium. I am fascinated by people's stories of communications from lost loved ones and each story in the book brings me to tears, but in a good way.

What I'm Wearing

For the first time in a long time, I am wearing snow boots on repeat. I couldn't tell you the last time Petticoat Junction got this much snow or when it was last so cold that it actually stayed on the ground. It's been crazy. Luckily, I have several pairs of really cute boots.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

I am going to be hanging out with Queen B! She arrives on Friday and we have plans for pedicures and a Starbucks run the second she gets off the plane. On Saturday, we are driving to a town a couple of hours to the north to spend the day with her college bestie and her family, where we will celebrate the 2nd birthday of their daughter, who is Queen B's God Daughter. I believe we will be bowling, which I have not done in ages and at which I generally suck. Do I care? I do not! Bring on the tacky rented shoes and let's roll!

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month

I am looking forward to it being one month closer to planting season. I already ordered quite a few seeds from my favorite catalog and I am actively researching greenhouses. If we can manage to sell the triple kennels that currently occupy the cement pad next to my garden, I hope to have a greenhouse installed before the end of the summer. So, I may not get to use it this season, but will hopefully be fully operational by next.

Favorite Amazon Find

I recently started making my own mustard and these are the mustard seeds that I used. Why am I making my own mustard? Why am I creaming my own honey and growing my own vegetables and baking my own bread; TikTok made me do it. Anyhoodle, ten out of ten, highly recommend.