Monday, November 27, 2023

Good Things

This past week was a week of getting ready for Thanksgiving, and plans for moving forward to the Christmas season. Thankfully I had a little down time to ponder on so many things I take for granted that I am so grateful for,  including those of you who visit this silly little blog of mine.

Sunday: After going to church we made a bee line to the theater to see "To Kill A Mockingbird". I thoroughly enjoyed the play and thought the actor who played Tom Robinson was exceptional. The biggest joy was being able to see a quality production locally. I know being on a road tour is difficult for the actors, but I do appreciate their craft tremendously.

Monday: Went to Aldi with my beloved sister. We shopped a couple of other places before heading to my house for a late lunch.  Love being with her so we can laugh at everything. The ability to laugh is one of the purest joys I know of.

Tuesday: This was the Thanksgiving feast  day the participants of Independence Place hold for those who volunteer. My Beloved Sister and I went together (I got her hooked on volunteering there too. The happiness I found  was contagious and it has become her happy place as well.) After getting home from the feast, I headed out to the grocery store to buy whatever I was going to need for the long Thanksgiving weekend. I absolutely refuse to go to the grocery store Wednesday and never intend to grocery shop the day before a holiday.

Wednesday: TheHub came home early and we finally bought the gigantic tv. Thanks to Best Buy for online ordering and curbside pickup, so I could maintain my vow of going into zero stores the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
The biggest joy of the day was recruiting our neighbor ( a strapping college sophomore) to help us get it in the house. If nothing else I realize I have limits now.
His entire family is  wonderful, and we are so thankful to have them living across the street. Great neighbors are a gift!

Thursday: Thanksgiving day was spent at my cousins house surrounded by cousins, their kids and grandkids. It was a lovely day, with countertops groaning with the weight of all the food that had been prepared and brought to share. We left overstuffed and happy to have spent time with family, which grows yearly including 2 babies added to the bunch.

Friday: Before Son3 and DIL 3 arrived from Nashville, I watched out my window as my neighbors got their Christmas outdoor decorations done  I will admit I was a little jealous and would have loved to get mine out. But we were still in Thanksgiving mode and I did have the entire downstairs all” falled “out. Instead of touches of Christmas, we enjoyed an abundance of food, hours of conversation and laughs, followed by a little football watching! 

Saturday: I woke and immediately began cooking because Saturday was the biggest football game of the year if you live in Alabama. It was the annual "Iron Bowl", the in state rivalry game between Alabama and Auburn.The game was in Auburn this year so TheHub did not have tickets for it. Instead we watched it on the new big ass tv with DIL3, DIL2, Son2 and Son3.  A tv game with extra folks means lots of snacking instead of a meal. We had a minor feast of finger foods., 
I have always made it very clear that I am an Alabama football fan, but I am still unsure how Bama managed to pull off that win.  Suffice it to say there was a lot of yelling going on in the last 45 seconds of the game. Blood pressures returned to normal about 15 minutes after game time.

Look for your joys, however small, they are always out there.

May all your weeds be wildflowers.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Joys and Meals

Some weeks are a lot of fun and some weeks are mainly about preparing. This was one of those weeks to get my ducks in a row for the beginning of the holiday season. It always feels like from Thanksgiving forward, life moves at supersonic speed, and I hope to stay a little ahead of it. So this past week was my week to get ready, before the mad rush.

Sunday: TheHub and I had some running around to do and even though the day was overcast, the leaves were gorgeous. Fall finally happened (except for fall like temperatures which seem to be nonexistent.


Tuesday: My Beloved sister and I did a little shopping, laughing and lunching.

Wednesday: I went to class, then did a few errands, none of which were very exciting or interesting, but had to be done anyway. I suppose the joy was getting things done.

Thursday: TheHub and I went shopping for the unwanted big ass TV__again. 
The biggest joy shopping  was finding the gift I had decided to get my bookclub friends for Christmas marked down 3 bucks each. There was an upside to the Costco visit.
And once again we bought no TV. No one can ever accuse TheHub for lack of due diligence when making a purchase, but at some point and time his diligence becomes pedantic.

Friday: The movers I hired came to help with the furniture "fruit basket turnover" the new TV accommodations created (assuming we EVER buy the new TV instead of this relentless looking and researching). It was amazing how one supposedly simple purchase could create shifts in 3 different rooms, but it did.
A harsh lesson was accepting that TheHub and I no longer had any business trying to jockey a 5 1/2 foot long, heavy as lead, media cabinet down a flight of stairs. If we did not hurt ourselves in the process, one of us would probably have killed the other before it was over. We could have handled the other two pieces, but we had already hired movers for the super heavy piece, so why not let them shuffle the rest?

Saturday: Game day! TheHub and Son2 left for the game mid morning and I was at home to rearrange all the things we had sitting in boxes from the old media set. I got everything organized and back into the heavy as lead cabinet, and sorted an amazing number of items we will say goodbye to, forever. 
Bama won, Roll Tide, the den and upstairs room were put back in order, and nothing else except for a little personal pampering happened.

Meals? Yep they happened in spite of my prior weeks plan, and there is no way I am going to plan for this week. 

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday should be snatch and grab whatever is easy and on hand. Thursday we will have an extended family gathering at my cousins. 
Friday is Thanksgiving part 2, when Son3 and DIL3 are coming from Nashville. They specifically asked if we could have our family Thanksgiving meal then. I decided to make life easier and ordered the turkey and sides. Lame? Yes! Money well spent? Absolutely!
Saturday is the Auburn/Alabama game. Rivalry foods abound!

Monday, November 13, 2023

Almost No Cooking

The past week was an odd week. TheHub was out a couple of nights and we had our traditional eat out or take out planned for the week, plus I had some cooked and frozen things in the freezer. As a result there was virtually no cooking done, unless you count throwing steaks and burgers on an iron skillet cooking. (I don't) Everything else was either nuked, stuck in the air fryer, or eaten cold. It was an all around weird meal prep week.

I could not think of a song that reflected a weird week, so I went with my favorite song with a weird time signature. "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck written and played in 5/4 time.

Original plans for the week:
Copycat Chik_fil_A sandwiches, green vegetable of some sort
TheHub has a dinner meeting, so who knows? Leftovers or cracker and cheese maybe 
TheHub has a second dinner meeting so who knows again? Cereal or popcorn maybe
Grilled tuna steaks, tossed salad, baked potatoes
Hamburger patty, coleslaw, rice, green beans
Chicken (grilled or roasted, not sure yet) ,salad, asparagus
Soup and sandwich meal TBD

What really happened with the above plans:
Monday: If any of you can find the Red Bag Chicken at Aldi, then you know what I mean about Chik-fil-A knockoffs.
Copycat chicken pimento sandwiches, coleslaw

TheHub's dinner meeting turned out to be just a drink and hors d' oeuvres. He called on his way home and wanted to know what was available for dinner?  If it was planned that I was not going to cook, he had to take what he could get.
Fried bologna sandwich

I was looking through the freezer for tuna steaks when I found this beef alternative.
Strip steak, tossed salad

TheHub's dinner meeting began at 5, and he was on his way home before I had eaten anything. He brought his doggie bag to me.
"Nothing like your mother ever made" gussied up meatloaf, I would never have called it meatloaf, but it was delicious, haricot vert (You know it is a tonier joint when they don't call them green beans. I guess the addition of shallots and duck fat was the difference)

Friday: Instead of going out to eat, we did takeout but neither of us wanted fast food. We drove to Fried Green Tomatoes to get something a little tastier.
Pork chop, steamed cabbage, green beans (me) chicken dumplings, steamed okra, field peas (TheHub)

Saturday: We spent the bulk of the day watching ball games and relocating things from our former media center. Neither of us wanted anything specific, so I started digging through the freezer. Everything but the coleslaw was there.
Leftover shredded pork, corn on the cob, coleslaw

Sunday: While I was looking for the pulled pork for dinner Saturday I happened on a couple of frozen Wahlburgers that could easily be cooked for Sunday's dinner
Burger with all the fixings 

Plans for the week, as always, subject to change:
Spaghetti with meat sauce, tossed salad, garlic bread (?)
Chili, coleslaw, cornbread
Out to eat
TheHub has a dinner meeting so no plans
TheHub has another possible dinner meeting, no plans or if he cancels just a bowl of soup
Grilled tuna steak, baked potato, tossed salad
Vegetable soup, sandwich optional

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

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Small Joys Are Also Joyous

After a busy weekend with guests, fun and frivolity, our lives returned to normal. I enjoy the visitors and am usually a little bummed once they are gone.

Sunday: By noon there was no one left at the house except for TheHub and me. Luckily, Son3 brought the towels and sheets to the laundry room so I could begin the wash and get the rooms ready for whatever/whomever comes next. Not having to go upstairs to gather the. was a huge joy (and a big help).

Monday: I was tired after the weekend houseguests, so I just hung out around the house and got things back in order for the week. (Translation: I stayed home and mostly read)

Tuesday: My Beloved Sister and I went out and about. We did not do anything spectacular, but it was wonderful having someone doing it with me instead of riding around solo. Plus we are serious laughers when we are together!

Wednesday: I should have gone to my Wednesday class, and had every intention of doing so. I woke very early and needed to read before went. Unfortunately after I read what we were going to discuss, I decided to read for about 30 minutes of another book I had been reading. To say I lost track of time is an understatement. My 30 minutes of planned reading turned into about an hour and a half without me realizing how much time had passed. By then I did not have time to get showered, dressed and drive there. Next time I plan on reading beforehand, I won't start until I am completely dressed for the day. And I will have Alexa give me a time reminder.

Thursday: As I mentioned before TheHub is jonesing for a larger TV. While I was upstairs I measured a media console we currently have there and found it will work well for a larger television. Woo hoo! I really did not want to buy another one. I went ahead and listed the tv armoire we had in the den in the "buy nothing" local facebook group and on our neighborhood group as well. I found a taker pretty quickly! So step one of getting the den ready for TheHub's viewing pleasure had begun.
I also found a Youtube channel, Metatron, I like listening to.  I don't need to watch it, but can run it though bluetooth speaker and hear it while I do my thing around the house.

Friday: I woke to overcast skies and was excited at the prospect of rain. We have been in a protracted drought situation with occasional wildfires breaking out. It never actually rained at my house, but the air felt heavy and damp which at least gave me hope of rain to come.
TheHub came home early and we had a final meeting with the landscaper before having the first stage of work done. I am glad of two things. Firstly he cannot get started until the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is perfect because we will have houseguests then. And secondly the first stage should only take about a week to finish. Ah, the advantages of having heavy equipment at your disposal. 

Saturday: I woke to rain, blissful rain. It rained (ok, mostly drizzled) all day here and was a wonderful, even though temporary, respite from the drought. I sincerely hope we have cloud cover and rain for the next week.
We hopped up and got everything out of the media cabinets, which were to be picked up shortly after the Alabama football game ended (There was no way we were going to let something like giving away our furniture interfere with game day) Bama won, Roll Tide!
It turned out one of my neighbors has a daughter getting married in the winter, and they have just bought a house. They were thrilled with the pieces and we were thrilled to get them out of the house. 
We moved our coffee table where the unit had been and put our set on it temporarily, because there were more games to watch  
We have to find someone else to move the existing piece downstairs. It is a heavy two person job and neither TheHub nor I need to be the ones navigating the stairs with it.  One of the advantages of age is a little wisdom!

Look for your joys, no matter how small. They are always out there!

May all your weeds be wildflowers.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

She's Back At It

 My beautiful DIL3's newest video release just dropped. Love the woman, love the voice!

Monday, November 6, 2023

Veni Vidi Voravi

I have been terribly apathetic about cooking lately and I am not sure why. But now that the dreaded time change has occurred and we are in the land of eternal darkness, maybe I will start enjoying cooking again just to have something to do when the nights seem to last forever. 

What was planned:
Leftover pizza, tossed salad
Hotdogs and coleslaw
Black bean soup, cornbread 
Stuffed bell peppers, coleslaw, cornbread
Out to eat
Veggie meal TBD Soup and sandwich meal TBD

Monday: A few weeks ago I bought an uncooked pizza, that was entirely too large for us to eat in one sitting.  Instead I cut it in half prior to cooking ,so I could freeze it for another day.  It was nice to have on a night I just did not feel like cooking.
Pizza, tossed salad

Tuesday: We have eaten this meal every single Halloween night since our adult sons were very young. No sense breaking traditions
Hot dogs, coleslaw, chili cheese Fritos (TheHub's request)

Wednesday: I had cooked dried black beans on Tuesday specifically to make Wednesday's dinner.
Cuban black bean soup, coleslaw

Thursday: Leftovers from Sunday's lunch (rotisserie chicken from Publix) became dinner.
Chicken divan,  tossed salad

Friday: DIL3 and Son3 requested we go to Styx. She had never been to a restaurant like this before and we were happy to oblige.
Japanese steak house offerings

Saturday: The guys all went to the ballgame and I had a girls night with the DIL's. I can't ever express how much I love having them here with me. We decided to just order delivery for dinner.
Baker's Pizza

What's next???? (I have to rearrange the pantry and freezer today so this might change drastically)
1. Copycat Chik_fil_a sandwiches, green vegetable of some sort
2. TheHub has a dinner meeting, so who knows? Leftovers or cracker and cheese maybe
3. TheHub has a second dinner meeting so who knows again? Cereal or popcorn maybe
4. Grilled tuna steaks, tossed salad, baked potatoes
5. Hamburger patty, coleslaw, rice, green beans
6. Chicken (grilled or roasted, not sure yet) ,salad, asparagus
7. Soup and sandwich meal TBD

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

Sunday, November 5, 2023

This Week's Fun

In my brain, the holiday season began Monday night. Once it is Halloween it seems like the holidays are upon us, and it is time to switch gears, get ready for Thanksgiving, then head full force into Christmas. 

Monday: I finally got my Halloween decorations out. I am one of those who has a kind of creepy front porch with chains and tattered cloth and a big "bloody" BEWARE sign on the door, with skulls, skeletons, bats and rats  decoratively placed around the small porch.  There is more going on there than I like to dodge for more than one day.
My biggest joy? I took a "grabber" from Mom's house when we were cleaning it out to sell. By using it, I did not have to lug the ladder out to hang the lights and chains (styrofoam but they look like rusted metal). Instead of taking me about an hour, climbing up and down, I was able to do all the decorating standing flat on my feet, and was totally finished in less than 30 minutes! Score!

Tuesday: I loved seeing all the kiddos who came trick or treating. We had 84 by 7:15 then I ran out of candy and had to shut it down early. This obviously ticked off some "spooks" who decided if I was not handing out candy when they came around, they should take my potted mums instead. I hope they enjoyed them.
Oh well!*
By 8 pm I had removed all signs of Halloween from the house, packed it up and had it on the bottom step waiting for my next trip upstairs to put it back until next year.

Wednesday: I was able to volunteer at Independence Place, otherwise known as my happy place. I can't begin to find the words to say how much joy I get from being with them. I alternate between teaching them to make savory and sweet dishes. This was the sweet cooking day and they were extra excited to taste what they made.

Thursday: There was not a lot going on other than getting ready for our weekend guests. I suppose the joy was having everything finished and ready for them, so there was no real last minute tidying. 
I did go ahead and begin my Christmas gift wrapping. I had a couple of shipped items and the boxes were really bothering TheHub. "What's in that box?" Rather than have him wondering or even snooping I decided to go ahead and wrap every single thing I had bought so far.  They are not tree ready because I do not bow or tag them until the Christmas tree is up and they are about to go under it. Instead I have a double secret coding method (Sharpie drawn symbols on the back of each package) which correlates to my also double secret gift list.

Friday: Before anyone got here, I went upstairs for one last check to make sure things were guest ready. While up there I got out my fall/Thanksgiving items and readied the house for Turkey Day. (Who am I kidding? I only put minimal stuff out, and only in the foyer and dining room). Some of the Halloween things get to do a double duty which is also nice. The small white pumpkins and small green pumpkin shaped gourds go into the cornucopia along with pomegranates and apples. The apples will be replaced as need be (as we eat them) and the pomegranates will turn into pomegranate syrup once Thanksgiving is over.  Hopefully the gourds will dry easily and I can use them again next fall. If not they will probably end up in the compost pile
Son3 and DIL3 arrived in the afternoon and TheHub came home a bit early also. We had dinner at a restaurant, then Son3 and DIL3 left to pick up one of their friends from the airport. Toney was one of Son3's roommates while he was in school. We had met him once or twice before and were happy to have him come for a visit. He had never been to a college game, so he was in for a little baptism by fire, because the game was going to be the biggest one of the season (thus far). 
We stayed up much too late talking and laughing.

Saturday: Game day! We woke and had a communal breakfast. I am not a breakfast person but it was great to sit with everyone and have more conversations before we started watching the morning games. Alabama did not play until the evening game, so there was lots of flipping channels back and forth between 4 different games before the crew going to the game left. DIL3 and I were here for a while then DIL2 came over and joined us to watch Alabama vs. LSU.  I love spending time with them!
It was a fun game to watch and the LSU quarterback is worth seeing even if you do not like football.
Thankfully Alabama won, and everyone at our house was happy.
BTW, the young man pictured above is the former roommate and guest that was here. If you happen to watch Billions you will recognize the character, Phillip, who never smiles. Quite contrary to the personality of the off camera Toney. Imagine his character saying this line from the show, which is the actual line he said. "For the record, I bleed Crimson Tide". It was not referring to football but to a submarine movie, however we are taking exception to that since we seemed to truly make a Tide fan of him. I actually found a gif of the scene from the show, but because of my technical skills (or lack thereof) it did not make it to the blog. Oh well, I tried!

Have a wonderful week and look for your joys, no matter how small. They are always out there.

May all your weeds be wildflowers.

*We discovered the mums were not taken but just knocked off the porch. They look kind of bad but are salvageable