Friday, April 16, 2021

New Week, New Joys

Wow another week has passed so quickly that is seems like just yesterday I was recounting all the joys of the week, and now here I am with the 15th week of the year completed, compiling a whole new weeks worth of joys. 

My sister and I worked at Mom's house for the brunt of the week, so most of the joys are related to getting tasks completed which is not necessarily joyous, unless you realize they are things that have to be done, like it or not, and worth celebrating when they are finished.

Friday: We had scheduled a final pick up for the remainder of random things left at Mom's house. For a while we had been putting anything we found on the main level of her house in the living room so everything would be together to easily put on the porch when the donation truck came. We were surprised at how many things were left to be donated.
While we were there we also got the refrigerator scrubbed out and the kitchen totally shiny sparkling clean.

Saturday: Our cleaning at Mom's took a different turn on Saturday. My dad was a music nut and had a special cabinet built in the den when they built their home. It housed all of his stereo equipment  and his huge collection of LP's and CD's. We went through each and every album to pick out those that we wanted to keep vs. those we would donate. For the LP's Dad had a specific organization system. They were color coded in genres (i.e.all Christmas music was tabbed with blue stickers) then each album was assigned a number and were kept in numerical order under their designated color.
We actually had fun talking about specific songs on specific albums and the memories we associated with them. I figure Dad might be rolling over in his grave though, because the albums we kept are in no particular order.

Sunday: We began our day watching our streaming church service, followed by our Webex Sunday School class.   Afterward, I met My Beloved Sister at Mom's so we could do some hardwood floor polishing, then clean the pollen off her porch so we could move all the donation items there to be picked up Monday morning. By the time we got everything out, the porch was more than half filled.
Meanwhile Son2 came by and finished dismantling Dad's workbench. Dad built the bench in "68 when they built the house. I am not sure what Son2 is going to do with all the wood, but he wanted it and we were happy for him to take it.

Monday: More tidying happened including  steam cleaning Mom's kitchen floor. My sister owns the Bissell Powerfresh steam mop. It is no doubt the most wonderful cleaning invention ever. I was so amazed at the job it did, that I as soon as I got home from Mom's house I ordered one for myself. 

Tuesday: We left the task we wanted to do the least for the absolute last. In the train room they had a small kitchenette. It has a combo sink, 2 burner gas stove top and small refrigerator with an even smaller freezer compartment. Neither of us had any idea the last time it had been cleaned, but when we opened it to clean it, it was just about a solid block of ice, so we went armed with dual hairdryers, bowls and pans to catch drips and a load of towels. Nearly 3 hours later it was thawed and we had icebergs  we tossed in the sink that could have sunk the Titanic.

Wednesday: We had decided that Wednesday would be a day  we did not go to Mom's house at all. I was enjoying my freedom when I got a phone call. Though we have not yet listed the house on Zillow and only have it as "coming soon" on the Marketplace site, we do have a FSBO sign in the front yard.  A guy noticed the sign and called me from Mom's driveway to find out the particulars . Since I only live 2 minutes away I ran down and showed him the house. So much for the totally free day!

Thursday:  When I showed the house Wednesday I paid pretty good attention to any remarks made about the house. After he left I called my sister to tell her what he said and we agreed to have the deck stained again. Structurally is it in great shape, but like any lady, it would look a little better with a fresh coat of lipstick. When I called Eduardo (my favorite painter) I asked him if he could do a rush job (for a little extra cash). I was thrilled when he said he could  get to it Friday afternoon!

So go find your joy, however big or small! They are always out there, even if it is something as mundane as taming an iced over basement fridge!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Tuesday 4

On Tuesdays, when I remember it is Tuesday I follow Annie at Tuesday 4. She always asks questions which make me think. Today's questions made me think about our seasons. I know most of you are coming out of winter. Here, we are heading into summer. And as soon as the pollen (Ok the huge pollen dump) is finished I will get everything ready for our long summer season.

1. Spring is here. What do you like or dislike about it weather wise? 
Spring officially begins tornado season here, and I am just not a big fan of those storms. It is a gorgeous  time of then year though. I live where everyone has dogwood trees, and a lot of azaleas. During the spring it looks like a fairy land here. We are at the end of the gorgeous spring here now. The dogwoods are fully leafed out and all but the last few blossoms on the azaleas are gone. The new mass blooming wen will have in the neighborhood will be the crepe myrtles and the hydrangeas. Just about every house has multiples of those also, but that will be in the summer (which is only about 4 weeks away here)

2. How do you fare in humidity? Do you fade or come alive ? 
I live in a high humidity state. It does not really bother me until about mid July -  early September.  Even then, though it is hot and humid,  I think you just accept it, wear only cotton clothes, keep your hair pulled back, (humidity is not kind to hair) and just go about your business. 
I am not fond of leaving a store, opening my car and getting into it because my sunglasses fog up immediately. Again, you know it is going to happen so you either keep lens cleaners or Kleenex in your car. 

3. Do rainy days bother you or are you happy for an occasional break from the sunshine?  It depends on what I have to do. In the winter we get snow about every ten years, so our precipation is wet, cold rain. It is not a lot of fun if you have to be out and about in it. In the spring I welcome it because it beats down some of the pollen. In the summer unless it foils some outdoor plan the rain is nice, unless it is just a short rain and then it makes everything turn into a gigantic steam bath. Often on rainy summer nights (especially during thunderstorms) TheHub and I sit on our back porch and enjoy the temperature drop and cool rainy breeze. If it is lightning the show is magnificent. I do not like rain at all in the fall. We generally get a break from the humidity during the fall and I don't like anything to mess with that.

4. In your opinion, what is the best thing about each season?
Winter is so tolerable here. We rarely have snow (about once every ten or so years) and most of the days are warm enough that you only have to wear a sweater. We do have some really cold days, but never more than 3 or 4 in a row and then the temp bumps back up to just chilly and a sweater works fine again.

Spring is just drop dead gorgeous here. It does not last long, but it is beautiful while it is here.

Summer is hot and starts way way before the calendar declares it is summer. It is warm enough to swim for about 6 months of the year, and our night sounds are incredible. Between the frogs, crickets, katydids, and cicadas our nighttime is musical. (After a nighttime rain, the frogs in my backyard sound like a Budweiser commercial)

Fall is the reward we get forgiving through the heat and humidity of the summer. It is usually warm with an occasional brisk day and we get very few fall rains. Our leaves do not start falling until late fall so you get a few weeks where you don't have to mow the lawn or rake leaves. It is b y far my favorite season.

Thanks for joining in and making this so much fun for everyone!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Life Interfering

I have been working along side my beloved sister since last Wednesday all day long getting Mom's house in pristine show shape. Walls have been washed and painted, Cabinets have been lined. Ceramic tile floors have been scoured. The unfinished part of the basement has been swabbed. Every single surface is clean and shiny
The nicest thing about an empty house is that her rooms look huge. The worst thing is that every speck of dust shows.  
Today was the steam clean the kitchen floor day, and now the main floor is perfect. The only thing left in the basement room is to defrost the freezer in the little kitchenette fridge. I am saving that task for tomorrow when I will go armed with a hair dryer.
We are tired of taking care of the house and working there.  Ou hope is for a quick sale to someone who will love it as much as Mom did. 

Since I have been working virtually non-stop there, I quit cooking. I should feel embarrassed, but I just don't, because every evening I am tired, dirty, paint encrusted, achy__just name your fatigue poison, it would apply I am sure.

This was planned and followed for 2 whole days:
1. Salvage meal, Sausage, sautéed cabbage, augratin potatoes, rosemary garlic biscuits
2. Salvage meal, Philly cheesesteak casserole,  brussels sprouts,salad
3. Salvage meal, taco salad
4. Grilled burgers, fixings, caulitato salad
5. Salvage dinner, peas, okra, mac and cheese, coleslaw
6. Moroccan chicken, rice or caulirice, broccoli, salad, 
7. Takeout

I managed to salvage a couple of the freezer thaws this week before the work fest started. Then it was take out. (I tossed the remaining salvaged food. I just did not care enough to try to save it.)
This is what really happened:
Smoked sausage, sautéed cabbage, new potatoes, mixed greens (salvaged)
Lady peas, air fried okra, Mac and cheese, cornbread (salvaged)
 Beef and pork bulgogi from Pho Pho
Chicken, green beans, coleslaw from Jacks
Chicken kubidah, rice, grilled tomato, pickles from Taboon Noon O Kabob
Steak, mixed greens, sautéed mushrooms (TheHub grilled)
 Cuban rice bowl or Chicken burrito bowl (Both TJ's frozen entrees, both equally unappealing )

I don't even know or care what we are going to have this week.
1. something
2. something different
3. something edible
4. takeout
5. anything
6. takeout again
7. something else

This is one plan I might actually be able to follow!
Have a great week on plan, going off plan, or with no plan at all!

Friday, April 9, 2021

The Week in the Mirror

Wow, can any of you believe we have just completed the 14th week of 2021? For me, this entire year so far has been pretty much a repeat performance of 2020. Well, at least from March of 2020 onward. It has been like coming home with a new born when the days feel long but the weeks slip by. The difference in this year though is the hope that things will get better after vaccinations are available for everyone.  Hope in itself is a reason for joy!

And speaking of joy, these are the highlights of 2021's 14th week

Friday: Another gorgeous, yet chilly day! You have to understand chilly is relative and for my Southern blood, any day with an overnight low below freezing is chilly, even if the highs are near 55.  By this time of year , I am wearing capris or shorts and flip flops. A drop in the temperature and having to wear a sweater is a serious disruption in the force!  Luckily I have learned to leave out one sweater and one sweatshirt when I change over my winter to summer duds. (I live in Alabama where there is no such animal as spring and fall clothing. I do however, keep a single pair of jeans out year round which sit in a drawer, untouched mid-May through late September.) 
Friday night I bundled up to brave the cold (OK I wore a sweater, jeans and socks) and TheHub and I went to Aldi and Costco, because we are lame people looking to do anything but still limiting our exposure to Covid, even though we are both fully vaccinated know how to have a good time. 

Saturday: More gorgeous weather was the name of the game. It was still a tad on the chilly side but the flora and fauna declare it was  full on spring. Since it was so beautiful we  decided to take a little business road trip. 
When we sold the lake place the new owners bought the pontoon but did not want the bass boat. We had taken it to a boat dealership near the lake to have it tuned up. Meanwhile I listed it on a local FB boat site, and had it sold just as the tune up was done, I was thrilled to find out it was a dad with his 13 year old son who bought it. We met them there and the deal was done. The kid was grinning from ear to ear and when I asked him to send me a picture of the first fish he caught from the boat, he told me I could expect it after his first cast on his first fishing trip Sunday afternoon. I am beyond happy, both to be rid of the boat and mainly that it goes with a kid!

Sunday: It was Easter and a bit different than our normal Easter. Instead of going to services, we streamed them, and instead of going to Sunday School we had our Webex class meeting, but both were a great alternative to having nothing. Afterward TheHub helped me move a couple of things that I needed some help with ( When did I get so old that I had to have help moving a king size bed? I used to be able to use my pack mule body to maneuver almost anything.) and then we settled soon to do our own thing until we had our big Easter salvage dinner__spaghetti and salad, If nothing else it was a weirdly memorable holiday!

Monday:  It was another boring day in paradise and I just hung out around the house doing generic house cleaning (I have still made little inroads with the lake mess in the basement, but it is out of sight and I am pretending it does not exist) 
TheHub called on his way home from work and asked if I would like to ride to the bluff and watch the sun set.  We got there a little late and parking was a bit of an issue, but we finally found a place to sit and talk while we watched the sky change from blue to orange to violet. Once the pollen settles a little we will grab dinner from the restaurant across the street, sit at the picnic tables right on the bluff and have a sun set dinner.

Tuesday: Road Trip!  Any other year I would have just called it going to the store, but this was a "we are fully vaccinated so let's go to Trader Joe's and explore the store" trip. I have been to TJ's only one other time since the pandemic began and I was in and out in less than 10 minutes. My Beloved Sister and I went together  and really did enjoy the outing. Then we ran by a take out place, grabbed lunch, came to my house to eat, then ran to Mom's. While we were there we decided to officially put the house on the market, and begin showing it after the last donation truck comes on Monday.

Wednesday: I listed the house on a community Facebook site and got a good bit of reactions to the coming showing. We are going to try to sell it by owner first and if that doesn't work we have chosen an agent to list it. 
Later TheHub called to see if I would go out to eat at one of the local restaurants with outdoor dining options. I agreed with the condition that the patio dining was not over crowded. We drove around for almost an hour and struck out at every place. There are many places with dining set up, but they were all filled to capacity and that was a deal killer for me. Instead we went to a little pho place and grabbed something to take home. It was delicious and I got to sit at my own table without others breathing in my space. (Yes, I am still being overly cautious and probably will be for a while until there is more data.)

Thursday: My Beloved Sister and I went to Mom's to start the knocking off the final to-do's before we begin showing the house. I will admit it looks really good and even though it has not been lived in for almost a year, we are in and out of it daily so other than being empty and having that echo sound that empty rooms have, the house does not feel or smell like it has been sitting unoccupied this long. 
We got a lot done and plan to go back each day through Monday to do a little more sprucing up, put some flowers in pots, hang a fern or two and fill the hummingbird feeder to make it look like a happy home. I hope it will sell (quickly) to someone who loves it as much as Mom did.

And that is the not nearly complete list of joys that happened during the week, but it is at least some of them. The others are just the routine things that make me happy, like seeing rabbits hopping through the yard, or beautiful birds, or hearing my new neighbors toddlers playing outside. Life is filled with joys as long as I look for them.

Have a great week 15 and find you joys!

Monday, April 5, 2021

The Plan That Went Awry

I make a meal plan weekly, generally based on what I have in the freezer. Last week was no exception and I pretty much followed the plan until Wednesday when the freezer started misbehaving. After that I was in salvage mode and had to use foods that had thawed. This week I will still be using a lot of the food that had thawed (which has been cooked and waiting  their turns to become dinner) Does it matter if it is what we want to eat or not? Not really. I am just using inventory.
I had run out of fresh produce and did have to make a run to the store to restock the crisper, but other than that everything is coming from storage, and hopefully by Wednesday everything   thawed that was salvageable will be gone.

This was planned:
1. Fajita chicken casserole, rice or caulirice, mixed greens or coleslaw, keto cornbread
2. Soup and salad (no idea yet what kind__depends on what I find lingering)
3. Grilled tuna or steak, asparagus, mashed potatoes or caulimash, rolls or keto rolls
4. Spinach, artichoke chicken over mashed potatoes or caulimash, green beans
5. Rack of lamb, basmati rice (or caulirice), asparagus, rolls or keto rolls, some lame keto dessert.
6. Moroccan chicken over couscous (or more of that damned caulirice) tossed salad
7. Take out

And this happened: 
Monday: Chicken fajita casserole, green beans
Tuesday : Grilled porterhouse, smashed potatoes or caulimash, asparagus spears
Wednesday: Hamburger, fries, chocolate milk shake. (If I post it in tiny font did it even really happen)
Thursday: Salvage meal #1. Tuna steaks with red chili sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes, Waldorf salad.
Friday: We had some running around to do and we were out a bit later than expected. We both decided it was too late to come home and cook so we phoned in a take out order , ran by the house to put up the groceries, the ran back to La Fiesta to grab our dinner.
Chili Poblano
Saturday Salvage meal #2 Spring greens with tomato, olives, cucumbers and grilled chicken breast
Sunday: Salvage meal #3 Spaghetti with meat sauce, mixed greens and cucumbers

Used: from storage
From the freezer:
1 pack chicken
2 packs green beans
1 porterhouse steak
3 tuna steaks (one became tuna salad for lunch)
1 pack mashed potatoes
1 pack grilled Italian seasoned chicken breasts
1 pack spaghetti sauce
1 pack chopped ham (Easter Sunday omelet)
1 pack carnitas (lunches)
1 pack pepper jack cheese
10 or so packs of mixed berries (they became 3 pints of mixed berry jam)

From the fridge:
red pepper
yellow pepper
bell pepper
cream cheese
heavy cream

From the pantry
herbs and spices
new potatoes
mixed nuts
coconut flour
1 bag keto "cheese puffs"

And the new plan:
1. Salvage meal, Sausage, sautéed cabbage, augratin potatoes, rosemary garlic biscuits
2. Salvage meal, Philly cheesesteak casserole,  brussels sprouts,salad
3. Salvage meal, taco salad
4. Grilled burgers, fixings, caulitato salad
5. Salvage dinner, peas, okra, mac and cheese, coleslaw
6. Moroccan chicken, rice or caulirice, broccoli, salad, 
7. Takeout

Since I am still salvaging foods that were thawed or near thawed this week is going to have some pretty uninteresting meals and most of them are not what I want to eat. But__it is food and eating things that do not sound interesting is a first world problem that I am very grateful to have. I am just guessing but I think I lost less than 10 percent of what I had in the freezer and most of the loss was frozen meals or entrees that were on the top shelf. I only had to throw out one pack of ground beef. The rest of the chicken, meats or seafood were still ice cold or icy (they became the salvage meals) or frozen solid (they are still at my sister's) I feel so lucky that I lost so little.

You will mostly notice that keto and I are not married to each other until I get through the salvaging process. 

Friday, April 2, 2021


Oops! I forgot to post this earlier.  Better late than never
The 13th week of 2021 began with full blown spring. My neighborhood is filled with dogwoods, pear trees, azaleas, and iris in full bloom. When it is like this our entire neighborhood looks like an enchanted fairy land. It does not last a long time so you have to enjoy it before it is gone and replaced by high humidity and heat__lots of heat.

These are the joys for week 13:

Friday: When we moved everything from the lake place  I had kept our outdoor table and chairs separate from the furniture donations I made. My sister first said she wanted them, and I was more than happy to give them to her. Later she decided she could not use them because the table did not have a hole for her umbrella, so they stayed in the side driveway next to the house. One of our neighbors asked if they could buy them and we told them no__they could have them.  Friday I walked outside and noticed 4 tomato plants and a beautiful potted plant from them. It was totally unnecessary since I was just going to donate the table and chairs anyway, but certainly appreciated. The joy is not really getting the plants, but the joy is having wonderful neighbors.

Saturday: Saturday morning I had arranged to meet some people in front of a local piano dealership to give away some items that were left in Mom's house. My sister, unbeknownst to me, met me at Mom's to help load the things I had listed in our local "Buy Nothing Facebook Group" in my car.  We were thrilled to re-home Dad's stereo speakers, his tux, and my wedding dress. Plus we had fun just watching the people who were happy to get the items.
Later TheHub and I got out around mid afternoon and took a drive. All the dogwoods and azaleas are in bloom and the neighborhoods are just gorgeous.  There is a particular joy in just seeing how incredibly gorgeous spring can be. But achoo! The beauty comes with a yellow coating on everything!

Sunday: We had some overnight rain which was much needed to wash the first round of pollen away. We were even able to open the windows and doors for a bit. More pollen is sure to come, but most of the trees have already set their beginning leaves so much of the tree pollen has fallen. Next up is the grass pollen!
We were able to stream our church services and then have a Webex Sunday School class. I enjoy having "face to face" interaction with our friends.
Later Son2 and DIL2 came over to eat and watch the Alabama/UCLA basketball game. UCLA won. Roll Tide!

Monday: I woke to a drop dead postcard kind of day. The air was crisp, the skies a gorgeous blue, fresh spring green on all the trees___and a fresh coat of pollen. Other than the sky and trees everything else was yellow.
TheHub came in from work (late) and asked if I wanted to ride up to the bluff to see the sunset. The overlook we always choose is over a valley and now that the leaves are out, all you see is a golf course and trees. It's the perfect spot to watch the sun go down. And as usual it was beautiful, but we know to get a good spot you have to get there early. We go to a small bluff side restaurant that closed at 3. It has very limited parking and every pretty day the "watchers" outnumber the available parking spots. So we head out about 30 minutes ahead of time, and talk until the sun is gone and the brilliant red sky following sunset fades to purple. Talk about a cheap date!

Tuesday: Some days the isolation caused by this pandemic overwhelms me. That coupled with the amount of excess stuff I have here becomes suffocating. Tuesday was one of those days that almost got the best of me. I figured I might as well give in to it and at least be productive, so I spent the day in the laundry room cleaning, sorting, and creating yet another Goodwill box. Letting go of things that no longer serve my purposes feels very freeing.

Wednesday: I had intended to wake early and hit the ground running. I had made my grocery lists to do a round robin type of shopping and hit 4 stores in reverse geographical order to take advantage of each stores loss leaders. 
But sometimes the universe has other plans. The day was beyond gloomy. It was pouring down rain, I mean a true gully washer. I will do foolish things sometimes, but I am never stupid enough to go shopping in the pouring rain if it is not absolutely necessary. Besides a bad weather day is always a perfect day for reading, right? Unless the universe decides you need to do something else.
I went into the laundry room to take something out of the freezer to thaw for dinner when I noticed water, lots of water all over the floor. The freezer had screwed up and was thawing. Instead of spending the day reading, I quickly put all my meats, fowl, and fish in insulated bags, ran them to my sister's house to stick them in her freezer, the came home ( soaking wet, I might add) to deal with the mess. About 5 hours later, lots of work, clean up, thawing and monkeying with the freezer, it was totally defrosted, up and running, and restocked. I did lose a small amount of foods but fortunately only the top shelf and stuff on the freezer door had thawed completely. Frozen fruits were on the top shelf so I had to cook a huge pot of mixed berries. Looks like I will be making jam in a couple of days.
Additionally I had to revamp the menu plans to salvage some partially thawed meats.  Oh well, spaghetti and tacos for Easter maybe?

Thursday: The day was as beautiful as Wednesday had been gloomy.  The rain and winds moved some of the pollen along, so everything looked even more gorgeous, though it was a little too cool to be outside enjoying the beauty. 
Normally I would have begun the day by going grocery shopping, but I had a refrigerator filled with formerly frozen things that had to be incorporated into the immediate meal plans, so there was no reason to go shopping until some of the foods were eaten.  I guess the joy was being able to delay shopping for at least another day, but we are going to have to eat some very disjointed meals for a bit.

So go and find your joy for the 14th week. It is always there, even if it is well hidden!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Sounds of Wednesday