Wednesday, November 29, 2023

What's Up Wednesday, November 2023 Edition


Holy crap, this month went by fast! I blinked and it was past time to thaw out a turkey (spoiler: it managed to thaw out in time...barely). I honestly don't know how time managed to get away from me like that, but I suspect it has to do with my advancing age; I did turn 55 yesterday.

Anyhoodle, I'm not yet so senile as to forget the monthly What's Up Wednesday post, so here we are! Thank you to Sheaffer and Shay for continuing to host this link-up; it's going to serve as a memory-jogger for me on down the road. Apparently, I'm going to need it.

What I've Been Eating

Mom and I went back to the Thai restaurant in Hooterville and I decided to try something new; Thai vegetables with chicken. 

It was really tasty, and, healthy enough that I felt like I was budgeting some extra calories for November's Main Event: THANKSGIVING DINNER!

I've been polishing off the leftovers since Thursday. Zero regrets.

What I'm Reminiscing About

I'm not really reminiscing about anything, currently.

What I'm Loving

You know the Man-Cub's girlfriend? The one I adoringly refer to as the Daughter-in-Love? Well, the Man-Cub decided to make it official by putting a ring on it. So, pretty soon, she'll be our Daughter-in-Law. I'll still be referring to her as my Daughter-in-Love, however, because while it's great to make a legal transaction, it's far better to have a commitment of the heart. And we have that.

I already added her to this year's family Christmas tree ornament and everything.

What I've Been Up To

Hugh and I took the Boomer Dog to see Santa Paws at the pet supply store in Hooterville. It was his second year to go and he approached it like a pro. He was such a good boy, he got a giant cookie.

And the pictures turned out great.

What I'm Working On

I've been slowly weeding out items of clothing that I no longer wear and donating them. Our local Salvation Army store only accepts two bags of clothing per person per day, and the store in Pixler accepts three per person per day, so I have been alternating between the two, as well as taking the best items to Not So New Job. My goal is to have my closet completely pared down by the New Year.

What I'm Dreading

I presented my final budget draft to the Treasurer of my Board last week and we are scheduled to sit down to go over it next week. I hate this process for a number of reasons, not the very least of which is the fact that I hate numbers. And math. And budgeting.

What I'm Excited About

I'll answer this question more completely when I talk about what I'm doing this weekend!

What I'm Watching

I have season tickets to the local community theater; this month, Mom and I went to their production of Deathtrap. It was really well done and we enjoyed it. I was reminded of the 1982 movie production of the play, starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeves. Damn. I am old.

What I'm Listening To

It's that time of year again! I tuned my Sirius XM into the Hallmark Music channel the minute it aired and it's been there ever since. The Christmas music calms my road rage, so it's really a win for everyone.

What I'm Reading

I'm currently working through The Guest Book. It was in a box of books that were donated to Not So New Job and was not exactly suitable for our clients, so I took it. I'm not very far into it, so no judgement yet.

This month, I finally made it all the way through The Wish. You know what I wish? I wish Nicholas Sparks could write a novel that actually has a happy ending and in which no one dies. That's what I wish (sorry if I just spoiled that for you. Oh, who are we kidding? It's virtually impossible to spoil the ending of a Sparks tragedy)

I started reading Christmas at Silver Falls but quickly realized that I had already read it, so I deleted it from my Kindle like I should have done when I finished it originally. See above: Old Age.

What I'm Wearing

The weather turned bitterly cold over the past few days, so I am wearing coats again. I miss summer, already.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

I'm going to Texas to see my baby! I leave tomorrow and won't be back until Tuesday. This is the trip that my staff gave me for my birthday and I plan to make the absolute best of it. We are going on a carriage ride to look at Christmas lights, attending a German Christmas market, doing a Sip'n'Paint, getting pedicures, decorating her Christmas tree, and watching Hallmark movies in our Christmas jammies while we drink wine. It's going to be epic! I can't wait!

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month

We are planning to have a full house for Christmas and I am very excited about that. Queen B will be coming home, the Rodeo Princess is coming down, the Rebel Without a Cause and my Great-Niece are coming, and we will be celebrating the Man-Cub and Daughter-in-Love's engagement. We are also hosting the 3rd Annual Christmas Cocktail Contest, as well as watching the Petticoat Junction Parade of Lights, and baking like there is going to be a sugar shortage.

I'm very much looking forward to all of it.

Favorite Amazon Find

Hugh and I got a new Christmas tree this year; it has the option of both colored and clear lights. We haven't had a tree with colored lights in decades and I am embracing it. I busted out all my vintage Shiny Brite ornaments and bought several new reproduction Shiny Brite glass bead garlands. Then, I saw these bubble lights and knew they would fit in, perfectly. I love them and am actually thinking about buying a couple more sets. Vintage is my vibe this year.

Monday, November 27, 2023

In Which We Give Thanks

This year's Thanksgiving celebration was one of the least chaotic that we have had in years and, I'm not going to lie; I rather missed the chaos. That's ok, though; Christmas is just around the corner and it's going to be a crazy one, I just know it.

Anyhoodle, the lack of chaos this year was a direct result of the lack of the children in our home. Queen B was celebrating in Texas, where she, the Rodeo Princess, and our cousin were hosted by some friends. They FaceTimed with us throughout the day and seemed to be having a very good time. Queen B did secretly share with me that she was disappointed in the stuffing and can't wait to eat mine at Christmas. I raised her right.

My stuffing came together quite well, as did the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce (which we forgot in the fridge yet again this year. I swear, it's making it to the table for Christmas. In the meantime, it's been great with the leftovers). I credit my sous chefs with helping to get the meal on the table in record time this year.

Oscar and Emily were scheduled to join us, but Oscar was feeling poorly, so just Emily made it to the house. I am hopeful that Oscar will feel much better soon. In fact, we toasted to his improved health.

We were just finishing up dinner when Shanti and the Man-Cub arrived; they had eaten at Shanti's aunt's house earlier in the day and were joining us for dessert. Then, we cleaned up the dishes, said our goodbyes to the Grandmothers, and got busy on the pictures for this year's Christmas cards. I can't reveal the theme just yet, but it's entirely possible that it will be my favorite of all time. And, yes, I do realize that I say that every year.

Creativity is one of the many blessings for which I gave thanks on Thursday.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Friday Favorites, World on Fire Edition

The title of this post is not meant to be a reflection of the dumpster fire that is our world right now, but, if the shoe fits...


No, the title of the post is meant to refer to the amazing color that we have been experiencing this fall season, despite the fact that the color was late in arriving. That tardiness has been excused, thanks to the vibrance of the color and the lengthy period in which the leaves have graced the trees. There is still plenty of foliage on the branches, despite the carpet of fallen leaves, covering lawns and walkways.

One of my favorite things to do is to take walks in the fall; the sound of crunching leaves is soothing to my soul, as is the unique smell of the dry leaf dust, as they slowly disintegrate into compost for the spring grass.

The weather has also been glorious this season, providing many opportunities to enjoy lunch on the porch at Not So New Job. 

The late color also means that the window for autumn photography has been open for an extended period of time, which is why we were able to accommodate a family photo session for Anthony and Bethany, despite being rained out the first weekend that we were scheduled.

Speaking of windows of opportunity, this weekend, Hugh will be hauling the blow molds out of the crawlspace and getting the outside of the house ready for Christmas; this is the only time that his schedule will allow for this between now and the actual holiday.

Meanwhile, inside; Thanksgiving decor will reign supreme until the last crumb of pumpkin pie is eaten on Thanksgiving day.

I used a ton of jewel tones in my decor this year and I absolutely love it. And, you can't have jewels without gold, so I added a set of pheasants that I picked up at Hobby Lobby. I am planning to use fresh flowers on the table for Thanksgiving dinner, and these pheasants will round out the table scape; nicely.

My favorite, favorite thing, though? I purchased a set of vintage Gurley Thanksgiving candles on Macari and am displaying them with the Gurley turkey candle that I picked up at Pickin' at the Pea this year. I am in love. These candles remind me of my childhood and I was pumped to find them in such good condition.

That wraps up this edition! 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Time Flies, Turkeys Don't

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is just a little over a week away; it snuck up on me this year and I am left feeling slightly unprepared. 

Yesterday, Mom picked up our turkey, so at least I know that is done. 

Then, I ran to two different stores to pick up the bread cubes that I use in my stuffing and neither store had any. I picked up a couple of loaves of French bread and I am letting it dry out on my counter top; it's the way that I used to do it before the grocery stores started offering the pre-cut cubes, so it's really no big deal.

I am planning a pretty chill celebration for the most part, anyway. Shanti and the Man-Cub are dining at her parents' house this year and then joining us for dessert later in the day. Queen B is making the short drive to the Rodeo Princess's place, where they will be joined by my cousin's daughter (which makes her the girls' third cousin? I think? When you have an extended family as large as mine, it gets confusing); the three of them are cooking their own feast and I can't wait for the SOS calls to roll in.

Oscar and Emily will be joining Hugh, Mom, and I for dinner, and, with it just being the five of us; I'm not planning to cook in the large quantities that I normally do. It will be a great meal, regardless. I'm just thankful that they are all going to be with us for another year and that we will get to share our excitement over the kid's engagement and all the fun that is to come.

Every Thanksgiving turkey of my childhood was served on this platter; I rescued it from the Donate pile when we moved Mom to Hooterville last year. It will now, and forever, grace my kitchen counter on Thanksgiving day.

Monday, November 13, 2023

In Which The Cub Takes a Knee

No, that's not a political statement, nor was there any sort of protest being made. Instead, the Cub took a knee for the best possible reason; one his family and friends were behind 100%.

He proposed, y'all!

And she said yes, which is, of course, the answer we were hoping for. How did we know to hope for that? Simple; the Man-Cub made us aware of his intention to propose clear back in MAY. He knew he wanted to wait until they were in the Dominican on vacation to actually ask, but also knew that he needed to get her father's blessing (because we raised him right), and that he wanted to have all of the money saved up for the ring, prior to purchasing it.

Speaking of the ring; oh, my heart! Did he do a fantastic job designing it? Yes, yes, he did! He knew that Shanti loves opals, and so he incorporated them into the band, which made for a lovely ring, of which I have a terrible photo, but, I was blinded by the glare from the diamond when I was snapping it.

Here is a slightly better photo of it, taken approximately seven seconds after she said "I will".

I am so happy for them and so excited for the wedding that is to come (don't ask when; we aren't quite there yet). I am also so, so very grateful that the good Lord saw fit to send this lovely creature to my son. They are so very well suited to one another and I know that they will make each other very happy.

They are also a lot of fun to be around and I can't wait to start making new memories with them.

This month is shaping up to be one of my favorites so far this year!

Friday, November 10, 2023

Speaking of Time...

In my last post, I wrote about being grateful for time away from my job. Today, I am going to write about being grateful for time again; time spent with my Mom, specifically.

I've always been close to my mom, and over the years, we've spent quite a bit of time together, including the amazing trip that we took to Paris in 2015.

Since she moved to Hooterville, we've spent even more time together and I am incredibly grateful for every opportunity that we have to do so.

When my Dad passed away unexpectedly in 2014, it was devastating for all of us, but; I always felt a sense of peace in knowing that I had never wasted an opportunity to spend time with him while he was alive. He and my Mom visited us in Petticoat Junction quite frequently and I was always so happy to have them. I also went to Mayberry to spend time with them every opportunity I had. To this day, I am thankful for those memories and I am so very grateful for all of the new memories that I have been able to make with Mom.

It's the time we don't spend with our loved ones that we'll regret in the end. How lucky am I to live in a way that will leave no regrets.