Monday, November 19, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Days Eighteen and Nineteen

Today I am grateful for having had some downtime over the weekend, because, with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, I needed to stockpile some rest. That said, I did manage to completely purge and reorganize my laundry room, which, hadn’t happened in…oh…half a decade or thereabouts, so, that was an accomplishment for which I am still celebrating.

As an aside, when did my life get so boring that an organized laundry room actually warrants a celebration? Adulthood sucks, y’all. Although, on the bright side…I am legally allowed to partake of wine and other alcoholic beverages, so…tradeoff.

Anyhoodle, today, I am back at Day Job, where I will juggle my numerous work responsibilities while mentally preparing for my Thanksgiving feast, the elements of which I still have to shop for, prep, and, in the case of the vegetable side dish, actually decide upon (green bean casserole? Broccoli cheese rice? Creamed corn? Maple glazed carrots?*). Thankfully, I have Wednesday off, and, will utilize at least part of the day to accomplish those chores while awaiting the arrival of Mom, my niece, and her new husband, who will be spending the holiday with us.

Oscar and Emily will also be joining us for dinner, which, brings our party to eight. Generally, I would have purchased a 20-22 pound bird to serve that many guests, but, since we already had two turkeys in the freezer (Hugh received them from the police department last year, one at Thanksgiving and another at Christmas), I have been spared that expense.

While each bird is on the smaller side, when combined, they make up the weight of the larger bird that I would have purchased, and, rather than roasting both birds, I have instead entrusted the smaller one to Oscar for smoking.

By that I mean; Oscar is going to smoke the bird in his smoker. He’s not going to smoke the bird like a cigarette; in case you were concerned. Although, since I do reside in Colorado, you may have been more concerned that I meant he was smoking it like marijuana.

Go ahead, make that joke; I’ll wait. We’re used to the pot jokes, and, before you ask; no, I won’t bake you a brownie.

And, as is often the case, I totally digress.

In addition to the turkey double-feature and sides, I will also be serving a selection of Champagne Bellinis as a taste-testing for the signature drink at Queen B’s upcoming graduation celebration. I know I can count on the girls in my family to help us decide which will be the best: Peach, mango, pomegranate, strawberry, or cranberry. Hell, maybe we will create our very own combination; the sky’s the limit! See above: Alcohol: Perk of being an adult.

**While composing this post, I conducted an informal text survey of the family and it looks like creamed corn is this year’s preferred veggie side dish by a landslide. Dilemma solved.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Day Seventeen

Thank you, Lord for patience; I have no idea how I would have gotten through today's photo session without it.

Photographing five kids under the age of ten, one of whom was overdue for a nap, was quite the challenge, and, I was hard-pressed to capture  more than a handful of decent shots, despite begging and pleading (Grandmother), threats of bodily harm (Mom), and bribery (me).

On the bright side, that handful of photos beats none at all, so, we'll consider it a win.

Friday, November 16, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Day Sixteen, Plus Bonus Friday Favorites

Isn't that a ridiculously misleading title? A bonus would imply that you will get something extra from this post, and, full disclosure, here: you're not getting anything at all, let alone a bonus. That's really not the way this blogging thing works around here. I mean, if I could give you something, trust me; I would out-Oprah Oprah (YOU get a car, and YOU get a car!), but, alas, all you're likely to get is eyestrain from reading small type.

I apologize in advance.

But, I'm super grateful for the fact that you do risk eyestrain in order to read here everyday (Hi, Mom!). This little blog of mine (I'm gonna let it shine! Ha! Ear worm!), is my personal place of reflection and historical documentation (I don't know how I would remember what the hell I was doing this time last year if I didn't have it to look back on), and, to have other people interested enough to read it has been a blessing in my life, so; I'll try not to bore you.

And, on to the favorites!

After work today, I agreed to drop a utility payment at the electric company for our finance director at Day Job; the electric company is just slightly out of my way on my journey home, but, a far sight closer than it would be for her to deliver payments, so, I don't mind taking on the chore for her, on occasion.

After I dropped the payment off, I swung into a consignment shop that is located next door. I visit the store once or twice a year and hadn't been there in some time, so, since I was in the neighborhood, I figured, why not take a peek?

I am so glad I did! One entire wall of the store was dedicated to a Dept. 56 Dickens Village display, and, each piece was marked to sell. I picked up three pieces that caught my eye, and, with the 35% discount that I got when I spun the store's awesome discount wheel...

...I ended up paying just $37. For all three items! That's...crazy inexpensive, considering the cost of similar pieces on eBay.

I'm not actually planning to put my village up this year, but, will certainly enjoy these pieces when I do next year.

Another recent favorite is this candle that I picked up at the new Marshall's in Hooterville...

...I purchased it because its' scent reminds me of the pipe tobacco that my Grandpa Nick used to smoke. I tend to remember my Grandpa Nick and Grandma Molly more frequently this time of year, and, that scent certainly took me back to my childhood, when we would spend holidays gathered around their table.

Speaking of the holidays, I picked up some really cute things at the Target Dollar Spot (always a favorite, that ol' Dollar Spot)...

...I am now set on Christmas tags, I have enough place card holders to service twelve guests (I bought several last year, when they were also featured in the Dollar Spot), I can stamp to my hearts content, and it all cost under fifteen bucks.

The suckers were not part of the Dollar Spot deals, but, I'm planning to use them as bribes tomorrow, when I photograph a group of five children for their grandmother, so, they were worth the price ($1.99 each).

Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Days Fourteen and Fifteen

Earlier today, I had the following text message exchange with Queen B.

She got me good.

And, I'm so thankful for it. Last month, she would have been hard-pressed to see the humor in any joke, much less have the energy and enthusiasm to pull one off; so, to see her delight in this particular stunt gives me allll the feels.

I could not be more grateful.

Also, I'm really glad she was joking; I was seriously starting to question my parenting.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Days Twelve and Thirteen

Today, I am thinking about how grateful I am for reliable transportation. I know I am fortunate to have had the ability to purchase a new car, as well as having access to the funds to keep it running; there are far too many families who can’t say the same, and my heart goes out to them.

With that said, I am now going to admit to some minor annoyance with the new Tahoe. Specifically, with the fact that she seems to be of the opinion that I am an idiot.

I get it, she’s a smart car; she’s got all the technological bells and whistles, all of which are meant to keep me safe. She knows when there is a car in my blind spot, when I am in danger of rear-ending the vehicle in front of me, when I drift perilously close to side-swiping a mailbox on the side of the road, and when I am in danger of being rear-ended by a jackass following too closely behind me (none of which I have come even remotely close to experiencing, by the way), but, dear lord in heaven; I grow weary of her alerting me to EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE ITEM IN OUR VICINITY THAT COULD EVEN REMOTELY PRESENT A HAZARD. I am aware, Lola! I see the dangers in front of me! And, behind me! And, to the side of me! I am not blind! I am also a very good driver! I always have been.

In fact, I have been known to simultaneously shift gears while rolling down a window-with my bare hands-while Guns and Roses blared through the speakers and a gaggle of girlfriends screamed over the wailing of the electric guitars. I was probably also downing a Diet Pepsi and a handful of Funyuns. Barefoot. In a snowstorm!

And, without a single accident.

I got this, Lola. Please stop sending abrupt, ass-shaking vibrations through my seat every time a bird flies three feet in front of you; it succeeds only in making me a nervous wreck, not a more vigilant driver.

Other than that, yes. Very blessed to have reliable transportation.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Days Ten and Eleven

Yesterday, I got up early to drive to Neighboring City, where I picked up Queen B for a trip into the country. We were specifically looking for a barn sale that I had seen advertised on Facebook, and, I was hoping for either a cool purchase, or, inspiration for re-purposing items I already have on hand. You know, like every other sale we visit.

It was a gorgeous day, the drive was beautiful, and the company was wonderful, but, the sale, eh...a tad bit disappointing. While there were several really awesome vintage finds-Shiny Brite ornaments, a four-foot blow-mold Santa, etc.-they were significantly overpriced. I did, however, come away with some good ideas for staging props for photo shoots, which dulled the disappointment, somewhat.

And, as I mentioned, I was with my girl, on a beautiful fall day.

After leaving the sale, we made several additional stops, including the mall, where I knocked off the first of my Christmas gift shopping, and Michaels and Hobby Lobby. We ended back at Queen B's, and, spent the next couple of hours finishing her online financial aid exit counseling (graduation is just a month away!) and watching Mama Mia with Katie. It was a nice way to spend my day, and I think the girls shared that sentiment.

I'm so thankful for those two; their friendship has been a joy to behold, and, I cannot wait to see where it takes them in the future.

And, speaking of friendships, when I arrived at the house early in the morning, I was greeted by a driveway full of cars; cars belonging to a couple of Queen B's other childhood friends, who had been in town the night before for a visit. I got big hugs from the kids, and, a quick chance to catch up. This is the beauty of raising children in a small town; the friendships they make are forged on pre-school playgrounds, and, when they are nurtured appropriately, they last a lifetime.

That's something to be grateful for, no question.

Friday, November 09, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Days Eight and Nine

This morning, I left the house with one leg that was longer than the other; this afternoon, I returned with two equally lengthed legs.



Point is, I am now symmetrical again, and, I am grateful to two people for making that happen.First of all, my co-worker,Shelley,who not only drew my attention to the difference in length of my legs, but, also to the crooked nature of my hips. This happened yesterday, when she stumbled upon me sprawled on the floor of my office, trying in vain to stretch my hip flexors in the hopes that doing so would provide me some relief from the sciatic pain I have been suffering from for the past....I don't know...year or so.

She could have just left it at gently pointing out my issues, but, being a domestic violence advocate, she's far too compassionate to do so, and, instead, she hooked me up with her chiropractor. Oh, she made a lot of jokes about me being crooked, and, suggested that I may be at risk of developing a hump, but, you know, otherwise she was very compassionate.

Anyway, I visited said doctor today, and, following a series of unexpectedly pain-free adjustments and a hell of a lot of cracking and loud popping noises, I am far less off-kilter than I have been in ages. My balance is restored, I'm almost completely without pain (minor soreness; nothing worse than I have experienced following an aggressive massage), and, I feel taller.

I'm scheduled for two more visits, and then the doctor says he feels I'll be "good to go", and, that in the meantime, I am free to continue running on the treadmill, which, should be easier now and far less uncomfortable on my lower body.

I could not be more thankful for the doctor, for my co-worker, and, for feeling as good as I do right now.

This is all very surprising to me, given my previous reluctance to engage in chiropractic services (I thought it was quack medicine, not gonna lie).

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Day Seven

I know I've mentioned it a time or two on this blog, but, I am so very grateful for the modern technology that enables me to keep in touch with my children. If it weren't for text messaging, I wouldn't have had this awesome gem of a video from the Man-Cub last night...

And, if I had missed that video, I would have also missed the awesome conversation that followed...

And, missing that  conversation would have been quite the shame.

Quite the shame.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Days Five and Six

Yesterday, I dropped my ballot off at our poling place, so, today I get to say that I voted. It goes without saying that I am grateful to live in a nation that guarantees me the right to do so. Or, maybe it doesn't. Maybe it needs to be said, and, said again. So many other people in the world don't have a right to cast a vote, nor the right to steer their destiny without fear of impunity, so; maybe it's not only important to express gratitude for the right, but, imperative that we do so.

So, I'll say it again: I'm grateful for the ability to vote.

Tomorrow, I'll be grateful that the election is over and that I will no longer be subjected to all of the hateful ads and political rhetoric, but, that's a topic for another day.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Day Four

Today I'm thankful that, after twenty-five years of marriage, I can still blow my husband's mind. Granted, said blowing occurred in the grocery store, and, was a result of his excitement over the olive bar, but, still; my work here is done.

Why were we in the grocery store on a lazy Sunday afternoon? We were in town to grab a few things and figured that we would hit the Starbucks in that particular market, killing two birds with one stone (I was in need of another Medicine Ball). Hugh had not been to what I refer to as the "super-fancy market" since it was remodeled a couple of years ago, hence his surprise at the existence of the olive bar. And, the cheese counter. And, the sushi bar. And, the Starbucks, come to think of it.

It's safe to say that Hugh's mind was blown several times today.

Anyway, his delight made the trip enjoyable, and, I don't even like to grocery shop. That right there is a blessing, if you ask me.

I don't know, Hugh, I mean, it's just a grocery store...

Saturday, November 03, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Day Three

I started feeling a cold coming on earlier this week, and I've been taking steps to prevent it from becoming the full-on plague. So, one of the things that I have been most grateful for this week is Starbucks Medicine Ball, otherwise known as the Cold Buster, otherwise known as the Citrus Defender.

I've been sucking them down like they are going out of style, and, I really do notice an improvement in the way that I'm feeling.

Today, I introduced Queen B to their magic; she's visiting for the weekend and was also feeling a little under the weather, so, we made a Starbucks run together. As a side note, it feels like the holiday cups make their debut earlier and earlier, but, since I am actually anticipating the holidays this year, I am totally willing to give Starbucks a pass.

Just keep the Medicine Balls coming.

Friday, November 02, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Day Two

Today, I am grateful for having a job that provides flexibility in my schedule. Thanks to that flexibility, I was able to take today off, which enabled me to have the morning hours to both get a massage and to put away all of my Halloween decorations.

Then, in the afternoon, I managed to get my Thanksgiving decorating done, and, I organized the attic in the garage for good measure.

Once that was finished, I broke out the big vacuum, and I vacuumed the house, which, led to dusting, which, naturally reminded me that I needed to clean the toilets.

It was a very productive day, is my point, and; I wouldn't have been able to accomplish it all had it not been for the time away from Day Job.

Now, my house is clean and seasonally appropriate, and, I have time to sit on my ass with a glass of wine and The Hallmark Channel, because, in case you haven't heard, Hallmark's countdown to Christmas is underway.

Huh. I wonder if I should have just skipped to the tinsel and greenery.


Thursday, November 01, 2018

30 Days of Gratitude, Day One

It's November, the time for remembering our blessings and for expressing our gratitude for the things for which we are most thankful. A number of years ago, I challenged myself to spend the entire month writing about the things that I was grateful for on this blog; it was a great exercise and one that I feel the need to attempt again this year.

So, for today, Day One, I am thankful simply for the fact that it is November. October was hard on me and mine, and, I'm not sad to see it go. I'm looking forward to a fresh start to what I am hoping is a much better month (Please don't smite me for my hubris, Universe).

Since October is officially over, I spent the last hour dismantling our Halloween display, and, since we live on a fairly busy road; I attracted quite a bit of attention as I was stripping the pirate garb from the skeletons, which, I mean, come on, people! Nothing to see here, just a girl, standing in her yard, molesting a skeleton. Move along.

Anyhoodle, the skeletons are now neatly folded on the front porch, awaiting their return trip to the attic, sometime tomorrow. Which, means that it's time to bust out the Thanksgiving decorations and to decorate the porch in all her autumn glory.

And, I'm totally grateful for having the opportunity to do it.