Monday, October 25, 2021

Plans Foiled By Everyday Living

Plans that are easily changed seems to be my forte. I make one, I change it, or ignore it. This is my life, I guess. Meanwhile the freezer stock seems to remain about the same. Curses, foiled again!

This was planned for the week:
1.Vegetable beef soup, cornbread
2.Grilled fish, tossed salad, something else
3.Stuffed bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, brown rice
4.Crack chicken, tossed salad, green beans
5.Hamburgers and fixings or Sloppy Joe's and coleslaw
7.Whatever happens with whatever I thaw. No inspiration here

Monday: I guess this was the number 7 meal plan. It was later in the evening and I had taken nothing out of the freezer. Oops! TheHub called to tell me he was going recreational shopping at Publix, and asked if I needed anything. Yes! Something for dinner!
Rotisserie chicken, (Thanks, Publix!) mashed potatoes (yes I used instant) coleslaw (I keep grated cabbage in the fridge nearly all the time and have it almost everyday at lunch) 

Tuesday: The night was finally cool enough to have soup, which used all the bits and pieces of frozen leftovers along with the almost wilted beyond resurrection celery.  The only thing left to rescue was an apple.
Vegetable beef soup, Waldorf salad, toast or keto zucchini muffin 

Wednesday: I knew I would be out for a part of the day so I loaded up the crock pot early in the morning.
Crack chicken, broccoli

Thursday: TheHub had a business reception he needed to attend, so no cooking here. Instead I had leftovers. Turns out the reception only had heavy hors d'oeuvres 
Vegetable soup, 2 pods of pickled okra, keto popsicle.

Friday: New order date night meant we rode to the bluff to watch the sun go down before running by a restaurant for some take out.
Grilled flounder, coleslaw, turnip greens or new potatoes from The Shrimp Basket (decent but not great)

Saturday: TheHub and Son2 went to Alabama game while DIL2 came to our house to watch it and eat with me. I think I got the better deal!
Sloppy Joes, chips or none, coleslaw

Sunday: We ran around a little after streaming church, and wound up having a late lunch on the patio of a restaurant. We were not very hungry by dinner  time so. . . punt.
Tossed salad

What's up for the week:
1. Butternut squash soup, cabbage, roll
2. Chili, cornbread, roasted Brussels sprouts
3. Creamed collards with sausage (Jury is out on this but I am trying it anyway)
4. Anniversary dinner out
5. Grilled swordfish, salad, asparagus, and something else
6. Hub has a dinner meeting so leftovers for me
7. Chicken, rice (orcaulirice), green beans, tomato slices 

None of this sounds really good, but it does not sound bad either. I imagine things will change__or not!

Used from the freezer:
bag of assorted veggies from summer veggie meals
pack broth
half pack browned ground chuck
1/2 bag mixed vegetables
2 zucchini muffins ("forgotten find"one dinner, one lunch)
1 "banana" pecan chaffle ("forgotten find"lunch)
1/2 bag frozen broccoli
pack ground chuck (plus the other half of the frozen ground chuck)

Put into the freezer:
Keto pops 
bag of broccoli florets 

Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan, or with no plan at all.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Records Of Happy Moments

Can you believe we have just ended the 42nd week of the year. Now we are in the final countdown of 2021. T minus 10 begins today. Wow, this has been a short year!

As usual I keep up with things each day that bring me joy. There is something about recording them daily that always reminds me how many good things are in each day.  

I love Corrine Bailey Rae's voice. It is joy deliverered! .

Friday: Even though we went out to a real restaurant for TheHub's birthday on Thursday, we had our regular "date night" Friday.  This was the weekend of the annual Greek Food Festival downtown  where we go every year. They have a well organized drive through lane where you can order than pick up all without ever leaving your car. To be honest the food was not as good as it has been in the past, but it was still tasty, plus we got to watch some kids doing Greek dances while we waited.

Saturday: This is going to sound horrible because the day started out with a funeral for one of my favorite cousins. I knew he was sick but the end came unexpectedly and quickly. It took us about an hour and a half to get there so we left right before noon so we could get there in time for the visitation prior to the service. 
TheHub drove and my beloved sister went with us. She is known affectionately as "One Way Jane" (though her name is not Jane) because she knows only one way to get anywhere and would never use anything as treacherous as GPS to help her find her way. Since she had never been to this particular town before she did not even have "one way" etched in her brain. on the way up we had a pretty somber ride, because it was a funeral ride.

 After the service we hooked up with another cousin and her significant other and all went out to eat and talk. And laugh. We laughed a lot, and nothing feels better than laughing following tears.
We got home just in time to watch the Alabama/Mississippi State game. Alabama won, Roll Tide!

Sunday: What a wonderful day. We streamed our church's 8:30 service before doing a few chores then it was time to get ready for the kick off of our local Broadway series. This was the last play for the 2020 season. It had been rescheduled a couple of times, but now it was full steam ahead. I will admit I was a little apprehensive about going. They are not requiring masks and are not spacing seating. So we wore ours, tried not touching anything, and used sanitizer like it was going out of style. "Waitress" was a very enjoyable play, but I am thrilled there will not be another until January. Hopefully I will fill more comfortable going then
Later that night we celebrated TheHubs birthday with DIL2 and Son2.

Monday: The best part of Monday was a long conversation with one of my favorite neighbors. We caught up on everything, laughed, and solved most of the world's problems! Also late that night TheHub and I laughed at the workers next door painting the bedroom ceiling for the 5th time. I am wondering what all this paint might be hiding.

Tuesday: The day was gorgeous and work is still going on at the WM behind me, so I had a nice show outside my kitchen table window. 
I had long phone calls with 2 of my cousins. I always love talking with them.
And it is finally cool enough to have soup for dinner. I love it and can eat it year round, but TheHub only likes it when the weather is cooler.

Wednesday: I finally went back to the class I was going to pre-Covid. I was not thrilled to be going but I know I have to return to life as safely as I can. Another gorgeous day was just the icing on the cake, Afterward I ran a couple of errands then came home to do some research for our upcoming cross country trip. I am so excited to be thinking of seeing Pip live and in person instead of on FaceTime! 
There was a very poignant moment Wednesday when I read a blog that moved me to tears. I do not cry often or easily but this post touched every part of me. 

Thursday: My Beloved Sister and I had planned on going to look for some new duds to brighten our very dreary and ancient wardrobes. Mother Nature seemed to have other ideas since it started storming at about 5 am. There was no way we were going shopping in the rain.(The rain quit by mid morning and we could have gone anyway) I guess the biggest joy of the day was firming up travel plans for the Portland trip. TheHub had a great idea to rent a car and drive to Chicago, then take the train to Portland. Instead of driving 10 hours a day then stopping overnight to repeat the process for 4 days, we will leave here Friday afternoon and drive more than halfway. The next day we will hoof it to Union Station then spend the next 48 hours rocking and reeling on the train. 

So these are the highlights of my week. Some days the joys might seem bigger than others but joy is joy and can you actually measure the validity of anything that brings you joy? Have a great week finding your joys!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021


  The trolls and bots are winning. Sorry but I am now going to have to moderate comments. I really dislike this but spent about 45 minutes deleting a computer generated comment that appeared on every single post from March 1 through yesterday.  I am growling, but, if moderating will keep it from happening it is just the way I am going to have to do things right now.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Dinnertime Time Warp

This past week began like every other week with good intentions, knowing we would go out to celebrate TheHub's birthday. Of course I had forgotten the Greek Food Festival which we always either attend or do take out.  Then we had an unplanned and unexpected Saturday occurrence which altered our day, so all aims to use a lot from the freezer went out the window along with most cooking. And all of a sudden the week had passed and time flew out the window.

Monday: Since I had taken the duck breasts out to thaw, I was committed to cooking them Monday. The bonus came serendipitously when I was deciding what side dishes to have.
Duck with orange ginger sauce, cauliflower slices sautéed in duck fat,  tomato slices

Tuesday: I had planned to really cook but when I was looking through the fridge I decided to go ahead and have the leftover cheeseburger casserole. TheHub did not want it but I remembered I had frozen some leftovers from a couple of weeks ago
Leftover cheeseburger casserole with salad or leftover frozen ziti with salad.

Wednesday: We try to have a vegetable meal at least once a week. This was that day. (Except that TheHub added something left from one of his lunches)
Squash casserole, okra, corn on the cob or none, leftover chicken or none

Thursday: We have always gone out to eat for our birthdays . Thursday we celebrated TheHub at Jubilee Joe's  
Soft shell crab and fixings or grilled grouper salad

Friday: Each year during the fall The Greek  Food Festival is held downtown. We go and either eat there or drive through.. This was one of those drive through years.  I was bummed out because I did not have room in the freezer to get the pans of frozen pastichio or the  koularakias I usually buy.
Greek chicken, rice pilaf, tossed salad.

Saturday: After a late lunch following a funeral, we were not very hungry. 
Dip with chips or pork skins, peanut butter and jelly sandwich (or none)

Sunday: Son2 and Dil2 came over to have another birthday celebration dinner for TheHub.
Grilled lamb chops, new potatoes, green beans, tossed salad, rolls (no birthday cake because we are not doing sugar)

Used from the freezer: 
2 duck breast
rack of lamb
2 packs green beans

Put in the freezer: 

Planned for the week:
1.Vegetable beef soup, cornbread
2.Grilled fish, tossed salad, something else
3.Stuffed bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, brown rice
4.Crack chicken, tossed salad, green beans
5.Hamburgers and fixings or Sloppy Joe's and coleslaw
7.Whatever happens with whatever I thaw. No inspiration here

Maybe this will happen and maybe not. Who knows?
Have a great week staying on plan, going off plan, or with no plan at all!

Oops, forgot to post this morning!

Friday, October 15, 2021

A Dose of Sunshine Is Good For The Soul

As is my usual weekly habit, I try to record the joyful thing or things that happened each day.
After a summer of rain, rain and more rain, this week has been gorgeous. The temperatures have been mostly in the mid 80's, but the nights are cooler, which makes the week all the more joyful.


This is the list of this week's highlights!

 Friday: We had our new normal date night, meaning we ran a couple of quick errands then ended up buying take out food to bring home for our dinner.  It was not an exciting date but we were out together and that is all that really matters.

Saturday: We ran our usual Saturday morning errands first to the produce stand, followed by a quick trip to ThePig to buy some sale items. After putting up the groceries we had 3 more quick stops before heading home to a day of ball games starting at 11 and lasting through the night. What I like best about a ball game day is being able to read with just occasional glances at the tv. 
Alabama lost to A&M but it was a fun game to watch. Roll Tide!

Sunday: We streamed our church service, but decided the day was entirely too beautiful to stay at home. There is a u-pick farm about an hour away that I have been wanting to go to for a couple of years. We drove there, had great conversations on the way, and explored an area neither of us had seen before. The farm is a beautiful well run farm, but I did find one thing wrong. I had worn flip flops, which was not the proper footwear for tromping through fields. Instead of picking we opted to just buy a few things from the farms store.  I will go back, but will be wearing tennis shoes!
Afterward we found locally owned restaurant  that was still serving lunch at 2:30 (Small towns in Alabama are mostly closed on Sundays so this was a true find!) We had a wonderful "country cooking" lunch before driving the rest of the way home.
Later Sunday night we firmed up our plans for our trip to Portland and bought our return flight tickets. (We are acting like nuts and actually renting a car to drive out and take Son1's family several things they are getting from Mom's house that I refuse to ship.)

Monday: After a difficult morning I was finally out of the closet, literally . We have a large walk in closet and the space is divided unequally as most shared closets are. However in our case I get bout 1/3 of the closet and TheHub gets the rest. I am not a clothes horse, plus I got rid of stuff regularly. TheHub never tosses anything, and instead of packing it away, if he has some deep emotional connection to one of about 50 Polo type shirts, he hangs every single item in our shared space. (  Or hangs his out of season clothes in one of the other 2 closets he occupies) It stayed this way until about once a year, when I take every single item out of the closets, put it on our bed and force some weeding out. 
I can't totally blame the hub though,  I did find several things I will never wear again including a pair of loafers I do not even remember ever buying. I got my donations sorted and boxed up for my next trip to Goodwill or the Exchange Club truck, whichever happens first.
Tuesday possibly the coat closet?

Tuesday: Well I did not make it to the coat closet but I did have  a conversation with two of my cousins, read a lot, and caught up on some neglected laundry. Even though we are not having fall temps yet, a beautiful day, some iced tea, shorts, flip flops, and the porch ceiling fan makes for a really good reading location and day.

Wednesday:  My beloved sister and I had some great laughs. I think there is something fabulous about a life of shared memories. Things that made us howl when we were kids still make us laugh   in the present. And the funny thing about shared memories is that it only takes one of us saying one word to get the laughs started.

Thursday: This was TheHub's birthday and being the extremely nice wife that I am I bought him nothing (but we no longer do birthday gifts because we don't need/want anything),  took him out to dinner (he drove) then let him pay. Anyone else want me to plan their birthday celebration?

So go have a great week finding your joys wherever you can. They are always there if we just look for them.

Donation list for the week:
 19 scarves, 1 pr boots, 1 pr crocs, 2 sweaters, 1 knit top, 1 pr loafers, 2 pr. black pumps, 2 pr never worn flip flops, 1 purse

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The House on the Hill

I wrote about the big white monolith that sits behind my house and thought I would expand on it just a bit. 

This was a google earth photo that was taken when my neighbor still lived in the house.  You will notice some shrubs in front of the house and it would have been when her lawn was mostly grass. 
With just a couple of inexpensive changes they could have altered the appearance of the front of the house that would have cost much less than the 3 coats of paint it took to cover it.
Imagine what a difference putting siding in the front gable, down to the weird roof line (you would still have to trim the porthole window which is in the bonus room) and painting it a color found in the brick, replacing the wrought iron banister with a wooden one and adding thin shutters to just the outside of the two windows under the gable would look. Easy, inexpensive big change, and the house would look welcoming.

This is the house today, You can see the ruts in the ground cover, which has very little grass, but a lot of weeds.
Also compare the roof from the before picture to the now photo. Those are not shadows on the left side of the roof
To me the house looks like a jail or a fortress

First let me explain that I live in a pretty desirable neighborhood. It is not one of the fancy streets with gates and HOA's. It is not a neighborhood with the biggest or newest houses. In fact part of the 'hood was built in the 60's then the newer section opened up in the late 80's. 

My house is in the newer section, though our previous home was just a few blocks away in the older one, so I am very, very familiar with the area.  Mom's house was just 2 minutes away, and I was tromping through here when I was a kid, blazing trails through "the woods" which is where my current home is now located,

What makes this neighborhood specifically desired is that it is located on the edge of two suburban cities, located directly off an artery road between the two. It has all the benefits of a bedroom community, while being close to excellent shopping, restaurants and entertainment, and access to the interstate.  

Our burb does not offer school buses as an option, but this neighborhood is an easy drive to all the schools. (I am not going to lie, though. Traffic is a beast every morning and afternoon at drop off and pick up time) This neighborhood is filled with kids and thankfully there are always carpools for parents to hook up with.

Additionally we have a neighborhood "events coordinator ". She is a young mom who organizes get- togethers for the entire neighborhood that are held in one of the cul de sacs on the newer end of the subdivision. (The newer area has only one entrance and the side streets are all a series of cul de sac's so there is no worry about cars and safety) It is wonderful because it affords everyone of all ages the opportunity to get to know each other. Word has gotten out that this is a fun and friendly neighborhood.

Now that you know the generalities of the area let me talk specifics. My house is the first house (the only house) on the right as you turn into our section. I live on a corner lot and my house faces the road as you turn in. When you go beyond my house you have to take either a right or left and if you turn right the next house is the one I am talking about. The entire back of my house faces the side of the white monolith (which swill be referred to as the WM from here on out). I am not actively watching the flip, but if I am in my kitchen or den (where I spent the most time) or in any bedroom upstairs, I can't help but see what is going on.

We knew the house would be bought and flipped eventually. Over 2 years ago the previous owner, a  very kind woman in her mid 70's, developed some issues that resulted in a need for an immediate relocation. I will not go into any specifics about her, but non of the neighbors were surprised. After she left and it was obvious she would not be returning, we thought one of her adult children might occupy the home. As time went on and nothing happened, the house sat unoccupied, with no heat on in the winter and no air on in the summer.  Not good for an extremely humid climate. I can only imagine the mold and mildew that was in the house.

When the grass grew taller and taller then the weeds took over and grew taller still, at first a few of the neighbors would attack it, just to keep the overgrowth down. Finally her son in Chicago arranged to have it at least mowed every other week, which was wonderful. Meanwhile the siblings were at odds with each other about what to do with the house to secure their mother's future.

I had not been inside the house in a few years but my wonderful neighbor on the other side of her was in regularly for whatever emergency of the day she was having. She noticed the hoarding tendencies had worsened. So things were deteriorating before she left and did not improve over the next couple of years.

Fast forward to 2 1/2 years later the totally neglected houses sold to some flippers, who have been working from 9 each morning until 10 at night. Every. Single. Day since August.  I am not sure what all has been done but I do know they are on their 5th construction debris container, which is a metal container the width of a semi and is about 20 feet long.  I assume they had to tear our all the sheetrock and I know they tore out all the bathroom fixtures because for a couple of days  every time I walked by the den window I would see toilets and vanities sitting in the driveway. 

I am just guessing but having a crew there full time for 2 months with the amount of debris they removed from the house, they have to be in for well over 100k.  I figure the push is on to get this show ready because as I type this before 8 a.m. they are at it already.   I hear trash being thrown in the container and hear very loud music. It will be better once I close the house up and turn on the a/c for the day.

I imagine  the flippers originally thought they could get this done in a month, sold, and walk away with the cash. Now that we are past two months, there has been some yelling in the afternoons when they come to check on the house. I think they see profits dwindling as the carrying cost each month is money out of their pockets. 

Other than noise and vehicles pulling in and out of the driveway (lots and lots of vehicles) and the fact that this put an end to my daily lap swimming, it has not bothered me.  I am amazed at everything they ripped out and painted over and how often they have changed the paint color in the interior. I was also kind of amazed that they bought new garage doors in this really nice espresso color, then painted them white to match the rest of WM. The contrast actually looked much nicer. But I guess they wanted them to match the now painted white light fixtures on either side of the garage doors. Which also matches the dryer vent and the oven exhaust. I hope whoever buys this home likes to paint, because this sucker is going to require a lot of it. 

I am pretty sure once I get to see the inside (and when they have an open house I will go see it) I will find it is all gray and white. I am guessing there will be subway tiles somewhere, quartz or marble countertops, a farmhouse sink and hardwood floors. (I hope they just sanded and refinished the originals. Because of allergies, the entire house minus the kitchen and baths were hardwood, but with their penchant for tearing things out the floors may have been ripped out and tossed.)
The house was already an open concept but did have a separate dining room. They may or may not have ripped out that wall. It will be fun to see.

Hopefully they still have a little bit of money left in the budget for some landscaping because the WM currently has none. They tied a rope around everything in front of the house to their truck and ripped it out. They were very lucky. We had a friend whose yard man did the same and it broke the natural gas line, then was ignited by a spark from his tractor and the entire house pretty much exploded. 

I hope WM  sells quickly and hope we will have some good neighbors, because the rest of mine are great! The house has 4 bedrooms and would make a really nice family home, especially for teens, because the property is not great for young kids. The front yard is a steep downhill slope  and the back yard is just about as steep going uphill. There is a small space in the back of the house when the yard was graded for the house build where some sort of small patio could be built, or a swing set could be set up, but that is about it for any potential play area. 

I also hope someone will tell whoever buys it that the privacy windows in the sunroom that are supposed to keep anyone from seeing in don't, and never have worked, especially at night if the lights are on. 

Addendum: We have lived in this house for over 20 years and WM's roof is the same one that has been on as long as we have been here. I hope the potential owners check that out closely. I would not want to move in and have to immediately replace a roof.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Tuesday 4

When I actually remember it is Tuesday, I follow Annie @Tuesday 4 . She poses 4 questions following a particular theme. Come on and join in this week's theme about blogging.

1.  How often do you blog?  
I generally blog a few times a week
What helps you blog.. what hinders you?
I have 3 days per week that I have a set blog theme. Mondays are my meal plan (or no meal plan as the case may be), Tuesdays are for Tuesday 4 (if I remember it is Tuesday ), and Friday for 2021 is set aside for my weekly joy list. I use that post as a virtual diary to keep up with the specifics of each day's joys. Then on New Year's Eve I reread each day of the year's particular joy. It keeps me looking at the positive instead of dwelling on the negative.
Time hinders my posting more than anything.
2.  What benefits do you get from blogging? Are there any? 
I have no idea if I get anything personally from just the act of posting, but I feel very fortunate to have "met" some lovely people from all over the world I would never have known otherwise. How cool is it that some old gal from Alabama has virtual friends who allow me to share snippets of their lives with them. 
I also have met one online friend in real life and have spoken with a couple of others, and that is one of the biggest payoffs yet!
3.  Have you ever changed your blog theme? 
Yes, it began just to share recipes with a few friends. Now it is not recipe focused, but still somewhat food related with some music I share on nearly every single post. I love music as much (or more) as I love cooking.

4. Where do you get your ideas for blog posts?  
I don't really have grand ideas for my blog posts. I have always lived a fairly typical life and covid has brought with it a whole new level of simplicity to my days. So now, I guess I could post about watching the house behind mine being flipped and how the flipper has changed it from a lovely brick home to a gigantic white monolith, but who really wants to hear about that?

Update of the great white monolith. The photo makes it look gray but it is white, and the lawn looks really nice. Photo shop I am guessing because there is very little lawn and what is there is patchy and bare. It also does not look like it is at the top of a very steep driveway. The miracles of photography