Monday, July 31, 2023

A Weekend In the Life

In honor of my first "three-day weekend", I thought I would do a Day in the Life format for this post. I tried really, really hard to document my days in photos, but, at the end of the day; I may have failed to adequately capture the full extent of my time. I'm ok with that, and I doubt very seriously that anyone else gives a flying fuck, so, here we go.

Friday morning, I managed to sleep in for about an hour before getting up to feed the pets. I ran to the hardware store to get the daily receipts done before heading back home to finish my coffee on the porch. I intended to relax with a couple of magazines, but the call of the garden was too much to resist, so I cut my magazine browsing short. 

As I was gloving up to deal with squash bugs, Hugh arrived home with my most recent online shopping purchase, so I set aside my gardening long enough to open the package so that we could make sure my purchase had arrived undamaged.

It's a horse skeleton, people! Can you tell how excited Hugh was about this purchase? Ha! More on this in about a month or so, when it makes its debut on the front lawn.

Interestingly, this is the last picture I took on Friday. I went into Hooterville for a reflexology massage and the rest of the day is kind of a blur. I believe a nap was involved. Anyway, it was a great way to spend my first Friday off, even if it was a little odd (I kept waiting for the phone to ring as well as fighting a nagging feeling that I should be working. I'm sure I'll get better at this as time goes on).

Saturday morning, I started the day with coffee and an episode of The Pioneer Woman, as one does.

Then I headed out to the garden, where I harvested a number of tomatoes, a few jalapenos, and a lone cucumber. As an aside, my cucumber plants are gorgeous; they just aren't producing.

I have a ton of green tomatoes, which will make for an interesting harvest, should they all ripen at once. Boomer dog wouldn't mind that, actually. He loves him some tomato.

After I washed the garden haul, I started on the rest of my Saturday To Do list, which included wrapping the gift for Kaley's baby shower...

..testing the champagne fountain that I'll be using for Mia's shower...

...washing some old jars to repurpose as dog treat containers (the "treats" in this case being the glucosamine supplements and allergy meds that Boomer dog takes)...

...and doing a deep-clean of the downstairs, which included steaming the wood floors, which is one of my least favorite chores.

Once the house was pristine, I pulled out the garden tomatoes and made a quick Burata salad while Hugh popped some frozen broccoli stuffed chicken breasts into the air fryer. It made for a quick and tasty dinner on the porch (also, Burrata completely confused Hugh; is it ricotta? Cottage cheese? "What the hell, Chelle? It looks like mozzarella, but it's... runny!" He still ate it).

Sunday morning, I spent some time in the garden, just enjoying the cooler temperatures and the hummingbirds flitting around the feeders. 

While I was in there, I harvested a few more tomatoes (the Asian Pink Egg variety has been a pleasant surprise; extra tasty!), some beets, and a few more jalapenos, which I used in the Korean pork street tacos that I made in the crockpot for dinner later.

Then, I went to the hardware store to run payroll before returning home to address the invitations to Erin and Kristi's upcoming Bon Voyage party.

Once that was done, I mixed up the cabbage slaw that goes on top of the street tacos. The recipe calls for brown sugar in both the sauce that the pork cooks in and the slaw. I recently purchased a set of containers that included this one for brown sugar and, I have to say, I am impressed. The terra cotta disk and the airtight seal of the container keep the brown sugar soft. I wish I'd had this years ago because I have thrown out more than my fair share of rock-hard brown sugar.

Mom, the Man-Cub, and Shanti all came over for dinner, so we loaded up plates with tacos and enjoyed them on the porch.


Once everyone left, I downloaded the pictures I had taken of the hummingbirds and I called it a night. In hindsight, it doesn't seem like that busy of a weekend, but, I felt like I accomplished quite a bit, so I'll take it.

The next few weekends are going to be jam-packed with social events, so I might not get another chance to just chill out for any length of time, and, while I am definitely looking forward to all of the fun we are going to have; I'll miss the chance to recharge.

Thankful that I had that opportunity this weekend.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Friday Favorites

It's been a while since I did a Friday Favorites post, and since these posts are so easy to write; you'd think I's do it more often. Anyway, here are the things that are tickling my fancy recently.

#1: Maui Jim reader sunglasses. 

I talked about them in my latest What's Up Wednesday post, but they deserve another shout-out since I wear them daily. Being able to shield my eyes from bright sunlight while also being able to read the fine print on my phone while stopped at a red light has been a game changer for me. Isn't old age fun?!

#2: Culvers opened in Hooterville a couple of years ago and, until just recently, I had never been there. That changed the day before the golf tournament for Not So New Job, when the frustration caused by golf course staff drove me to grab something cold and sweet in order to calm my nerves. Enter Culvers flavor of the day: Blackberry Cobbler on a waffle cone. It. Was. Amazing.

#3: I also talked about K18 on Wednesday, but it also deserves a few more words. If you have dry, damaged hair, K18 might be for you. I'm really happy with the improvement in the look and feel of my hair, and it seems to be breaking less easily. Time will tell if the reversal is permanent, but I am optimistic.

#4: This new shade of OPI is a recent Marshalls find and I am enjoying it on my toes. It's sort of a cross between lavender and orchid and it makes the tan on my feet really stand out.

#5: A couple of weeks ago, I attended a permanent jewelry party that Mama Jill hosted. I chose this chain and charm and I am loving the way it looks together. The bracelet is guaranteed for a year, so it should be worth the expense, which, honestly, wasn't that high.

#5: Fridays off! Today is the first Friday of the new schedule at Not So New Job, and, barring any emergency calls, my staff and I will be enjoying some much-deserved downtime. I'm piloting this plan for six months, and, am hopeful that it will work. For today, I am going to take my time getting some household chores done before heading into town for a reflexology massage, which, will be number 6 on this list 😊

Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

What's Up Wednesday, July 2023 Edition


Another month of summer come and gone; I won't bore you with yet another iteration of "time goes by so fast" because you know it does. Instead, onward to this month's What's Up Wednesday, brought to you by the fine folks at Mix and Match Mama and Sheaffer Told Me To. Be sure to tip your server on the way out.

What I've Been Eating

I've sort of been having a love affair with street tacos. I tried a smoked pork variety at a local festival this month and, they were almost as good as the Korean pork street tacos that I make at home. Almost. 

Then, while making the drive to the lake for Girls Weekend, Jules and I stopped at a roadside diner and I ordered their brisket street tacos, which were also really, really good. The portion size was more than I could comfortably eat, including the massive amount of fries that came on the side, but I made a stellar effort. The meat of the tacos was wrapped inside a "tortilla" unlike any I have had on a street taco before; it was more of a homemade pancake than a tortilla, and it was delicious. Roadside diners for the win.

Just to shake things up a bit, while attending Hugh's 35th High School reunion this past Friday, I ordered an Asian peanut stir-fry with chicken. It was a nice departure from street tacos and a recipe that I would like to try to recreate at home.

What I'm Reminiscing About

I'm already reminiscing about this month's Girls Weekend. Our time on the lake was way too short, and the time between now and when I see them again will be way too long.

What I'm Loving

You know how you know you're getting old? Your new favorite thing in the world is a pair of designer bi-focal sunglasses. I make no apologies; these Maui Jim sunglasses are the freaking bomb-diggity. I purchased them online and they arrived really quickly. I didn't have to use my prescription because, believe it or not, at the appointment I had with my new eye doctor, he informed me that I didn't truly need prescription glasses when I drive, which means; either my old eye doctor was wrong or my eyesight improved in the last ten years, which I find sus.

Anyway, sunglass readers for the win!

What I've Been Up To

July is cherry season here in this neck of the woods, which means Cherry Days; a festival in a neighboring town, just outside of Pixler. Hugh, the Man-Cub, Shanti and I attended the festival for a few hours, just for the food and people-watching.

We also visited the cherry orchard, where we managed to pick over fifty pounds of fruit, which we shared among friends and family, while still having more than enough to snack on at home.

July is also the month for Not So New Job's annual golf fundraiser, which we managed to pull off quite successfully, despite some unforeseen challenges. Some things are simply out of our control and we must roll with the punches; luckily, I have an excellent staff which with to roll. 

Also, Hugh and the Man-Cub participated in the tournament, which made for a fun day for all of us.

I also hosted a rose wine tasting at which a most unexpected winner emerged. 19 Crimes, featuring Snoop Dogg on the label. Who would have thought?

What I'm Working On

With the golf tournament behind us, we are looking towards the next fundraiser, which is our annual Barn Dance. This year, the staff will be in costume, so I am working on what, exactly, that will look like for me. Should be interesting.

What I'm Dreading

Mom's house in Mayberry has still not sold. It had a contract on it that fell through, so we are back to the drawing board. I'm encouraging Mom to find a new realtor who can hopefully do a more successful job of marketing the property. I dread having it sit vacant for another winter, considering last year's squatter scare. 

What I'm Excited About

I made an executive decision to institute a four-day work week at Not So New Job. When I presented the plan to my Board, they were enthusiastically supportive, which means that, starting this week, my staff and I are "off"" on Fridays. We'll still be on call for emergencies, but won't have to head into the office unless we have an appointment that can't be scheduled for another day. This new work schedule is a nice benefit for the staff as well as a cost-saving measure for the organization when one factors in burnout, staff turn-over, and the costs associated with recruitment of replacements. For myself, I am looking forward to reclaiming some personal work/life balance.

What I'm Watching

I don't go to the theater very much anymore; a movie has to be really intriguing to lure me off my couch. Sound of Freedom intrigued me for a variety of reasons, not excluding the controversy surrounding its release. 

Unlike the majority of the people in the completely sold-out theater; I wasn't shocked by the movie's content. I work in the field of child sexual abuse and would love to tell you that the movie was not just sensationalized, but, completely fictional. I can't. Was it dramatized to make Jim Ballard look unnecessarily heroic? Yes, it probably was. Does that change the fact that child sex trafficking is epidemic and entrenched in every single country in the world and that these children need-and deserve-rescue? No. No, it does not.

I hope the movie woke up the people who wish to live in a world where they can turn a blind eye to these facts. I hope it will make a difference. I also wish that it had at least touched on the very real fact that, while there have been survivors rescued from trafficking, there are very few effective programs and resources in place to actually help them heal from the trauma caused by their abuse. There is so much work to be done.

But at least more people have been exposed to reality; the pervasiveness of the abuse is stunning. Millions of children, folks. In every country, every city, and, statistically speaking: probably in your community. If you live in a jurisdiction that has a Child Advocacy Center dedicated to providing services to child victims, I urge you to support that organization.

I'll get off my soapbox now. And, I may have lied when I said that a movie had to be really intriguing in order to get me off my couch because I am planning to see Barbie tonight with Erin and Kristi. Although, from what I've heard from folks so far, it actually is intriguing, so, maybe I'm not a liar after all.

What I'm Listening To

One of my staff recommended The Girlfriends Podcast, so I am working my way through it. I'm not a huge podcast listener, so it might take me some time. I'll get back to you on that.

What I'm Reading

It's been a decent month for reading! I finished two books, including Bad Summer People, which was ok...

...and The Southern Book Club's Guide To Slaying Vampires, which was really good.

What I'm Wearing

Honestly, as little as possible. The temperatures here in Petticoat Junction have been in the high 90's and low 100's for the past several days (I'm not complaining, thanks to the PTSD caused by the Neverending Winter of 22/23), so I have been wearing a lot of simple tank dresses which allow for a slight breeze to circulate around my legs. I have them in three colors and a black and white striped number that actually gives the illusion of thinness. Plus, they have pockets!

What I'm Doing This Weekend

This will be the first weekend this month that I don't have any social activity to attend, so I will be utilizing the time to clean my house, organize my life, and prepare for August, when I have an event planned for every single weekend.

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month

There is so much to look forward to! We kick off the month (August 5) with a Collin Raye concert party (people listening to the concert from our porch since the park being used as the concert venue is literally less than a block from our house). The concert is the finale of the Sweetcorn Festival, which will also be fun. That same day, I will be attending Kaley's baby shower, so that's going to be a very busy day.

The following weekend, Queen B arrives and we host Mia's shower!

The weekend after that, we are hosting a wine tasting and appetizer party with Mama Jill and her gang. Everyone is bringing their favorite bottle and we are all hoping to discover a new favorite. Or, two.

The weekend after that, I am hosting the Bon Voyage party for Erin and Kristi.

Like I said; it's going to be a busy month.

Favorite Amazon Find This Month

My poor hair has been yet another casualty of this damned Season of Life; it's dry, dry, dry. It also has a weird new texture going on, with waves where waves never existed before, breakage at the hairline, and new cowlicks that appeared seemingly overnight. I researched treatments and K18 sounded like a good bet, despite the ridiculous price. Spoiler: it is worth the price. I've used the treatment three times, and my hair has improved by about 75%. I'm hopeful that it will eventually get to 100%, because, if I'm going to rock natural gray, it damn well needs to look healthy.