Sunday, January 13, 2019

The weekend

It was a nice weekend, but it went by too darn fast (as usual). Marla and Martina came over for a while on Saturday night, and Marla brought the baby.

Just like other babies that have visited us over the years, Carsen is fascinated by the aquariums.

This afternoon I went to the movies with three of my book club friends. We saw On the Basis of Sex, which is about the early life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She's a personal hero of mine. (And I couldn't help but wonder if her husband Marty was as handsome when he was young as the actor who played him....Armie Hammer!) It wasn't a great film, but was definitely entertaining enough for a cold, gray, rainy Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Limping into the New Year

This week has been all about trying to get back into the swing of work after all the holiday excitement and almost three weeks off. Oh, and hurting myself:

This was the back and side of my knee (I fell on the front of it) two days after my tumble on the nature trail. It's continued to darken since then and is now turning all sorts of lovely shades of yellowish green. The school nurse thinks the blood pooled in the bottom of my leg while the swelling was going down. Although the front of my knee is pretty bruised and scraped up, too. And it's been really uncomfortable to the touch. The other night George accidently banged it hard with his tail (he was wagging) and when I shrieked in pain, he licked it, which made me wince again, and poor George looked like this:

Only much more sheepish. Poor boy. He was only trying to help.

We had a good visit with Gregg's sister. Her lovely daughter, our niece Melissa, recently graduated magna cum laude from college, and her mother gave us the news that Melissa is newly engaged! Karen is thrilled about it and already loves the young man like a son, so it's all happy news on her end these days. Gregg was so happy to see Karen. Although he loves his brother, his sister is special to him and the sibling he loves best. He tried to talk her into staying an extra day or two (after clearing it with me first, of course) but she had obligations she had to get back to. And I had to go back to work the next day.

Work has been fine. I like my job, so going back after a long break isn't a big deal. It's been nice to see everyone. The bookkeeper told us all (first thing Monday morning!) that "We have 15 weeks until spring break!" which was kind of a downer! Haha. The upside of that is since Easter is so late, once we come back after spring break we'll only have 5 weeks of school left.

I had fun showing the school nurses my dramatic looking bruises! I had texted one of the them the night I fell and asked for advice. She told me she thought it was only badly bruised, but that I should get it checked out. She also advised me to ice it, elevate it, and to start taking Motrin immediately. She was right; it's only badly bruised, but it's been tender and I have to walk slowly and carefully.

Not the ideal way to start a brand new year....limping! But at least we also had a nice houseguest (and time with family) at the start of it, too.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Friday morning

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post with encouragement and advice. I'm pretty sure that I didn't break any bones, at least, so that's something. My knee is badly bruised but seems to be working just fine, although it's very stiff and sore. The real issue (much to my surprise) is all the other muscles I pulled during my fall falls. My left arm and shoulder and my right lower back area all hurt more than the knee at this point. I feel like I got hit by a truck! Last night I remembered some leftover muscle relaxers my doctor had given me for a pulled muscle, so I took one before bed. I had a pretty decent night's sleep after that and I feel a little better than I did yesterday.

My sister in law Karen is arriving this afternoon and will be staying until Sunday morning. Despite the busted knee and pulled muscles I managed to get a couple of things done around the house last night, most notably giving stinky George a bath. Gregg had to do the lion's share of lifting his 85 pound bulk into the tub, though. After a good shampooing Mr. Georgie smells nice for once and shouldn't be too offensive. I'm sure he'll be smelly again by the time Sunday rolls around, but at least he'll make a good first impression!

*Side note: why do some dogs smell and others don't? Our dog Ginger has the most wonderful, thick, luxurious fur and she never, ever smells bad. She rarely needs a bath. George was a real shock to us; a couple of days after a bath he'll smell like a dog again. He also has noticeable doggy breath and often farts, and his farts will clear the room. We never notice Ginger doing that! I don't understand how two dogs with the same diet can be so utterly different. Why is that?

He's a sweet boy. Smelly sometimes, but sweet!

I need to get off the computer and go get some things done. I still need to make up the guest bed with fresh sheets, tidy up and mop the kitchen, and clean the main bathroom. I've also got to go out back and clean up the big piles of dog poop around the back porch (George again. Ginger always goes to the furthest corner of the yard to do her business). I wish this visit had happened a little closer to Christmas. I feel like I've spent the whole break preparing the house for company, and I'm tired. It will be good to see my sister in law, though, and I'm glad Gregg will get to spend some time with her. They haven't seen each other since their mom's memorial service last year. Karen is due to arrive in about 4 hours so I need to finish up the last of my coffee and get to work.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

What the f*%k is wrong with me?!

I joined two friends for a walk this afternoon through a wooded nature trail and managed to fall down....twice. The first time I tripped over a tree root, scraped up my palms pretty good, and got dirty...but was otherwise unscathed. You'd think I would have been more careful after that. But no.

We kept on walking, up and onto a paved path for about mile, and then somehow my left foot slipped off the side of the paved path. I fell down, hard, on my right knee. I was too stunned at first to do anything, then I started to tremble and cry. I managed to get to my feet and hobble the mile or so back to my car, sniveling the whole way with my knee swelling rapidly under my jeans. Bending my leg to get in the car hurt like hell, as did using the gas and brake. Now I'm back at home, with the knee elevated and a pack of frozen peas on it, wondering if I need to go to Urgent Care and get it looked at. It's swollen up to the size of a softball and feels tight and hot to the touch. The size of it is starting to alarm me.

Ms. Graceful strikes again! I need to find a way to work on my balance and flexibility when my knee gets well. This is ridiculous.

Welcome 2019!

Welcome to 2019! We saw the New Year in quietly at home on Monday night. I made homemade pizza for a late dinner and then opened a bottle of champagne to sip afterwards. We spent most of the evening watching NYE parties and fireworks all around the world on YouTube, and occasionally checking out CNN's coverage of the party at Times Square. I adore Anderson Cooper and he's become essential viewing on NYE around here. 

Yesterday was low key for the most part. My crazy Southern family have instilled the superstition about not washing clothes (or you'll "wash away" a family member in the next 12 months) in me and so all of our laundry was done and put away. I had also cleaned out the refrigerator--all those leftover scraps of Christmas food--and taken out the garbage, swept the floors, and wiped down the bathrooms. So we started out the year with a clean house, which is a nice way to begin, all superstition aside.

Oddly enough, Gregg and I did go up to the school where I work first thing yesterday morning. He maintains a 90 gallon planted aquarium in the library and needed to check on it since we've been on break so long. I have my ID to scan at the door so I was able to let us in, and just as we suspected, the water level of the tank was very low. If it had dropped much lower, the filters would have run dry and that will do them in, so going was a good idea. The hot water wasn't on (I supposed they cut it off during the break to save energy) so we had to stay for longer than we meant to, to give Gregg time to heat water with a submersible heater he carries with him for just such emergencies. We still finished up in about 30 minutes and came back home, and Gregg's mind was at ease about how the tank was faring in the absence of staff for nearly three weeks!

After we got home, I cooked the obligatory Southern New Year's Day meal that's supposed to bring us luck and money:

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Black eyed peas (made with the leftover Christmas ham and bone), rice, collard greens, and fried cornmeal cakes. My mom had brought me several Ziplock plastic bags of cooked collards at Christmas to freeze, so I only had to heat those up. She knows how much I like greens, but rarely cook them because they're so much trouble to make for one person. Gregg won't touch greens. Which is fine, because I ate a double portion to cover his share! We can use all the money we can get this year, and greens are supposed to be about money. The ham cooked into the peas is for luck, and the cornbread represents gold. I used Gregg's mom's recipe for hot water fried cornbread cakes, and although they were okay, they weren't nearly as light and crispy as hers. I did my best, though.

Today I'm working on doing some extra house sister in law is coming on Friday to stay over the weekend. Gregg is excited to see her and to have her see the new house, and I'm really happy for him to have some of his family come for a visit. So far over the holiday season he's not seen any of them, and so it will be very good for him to have his sister here. She will be our first visitor in the new year!

Speaking of visitors, I noted yesterday that I have three new followers--hooray! Welcome! Please feel free to jump right in and tell us more about yourself and the place where you live. I look forward to checking out some new blogs in the new year as well!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Last day of the year

Since today is New Year's Eve, I spent some time mentally reviewing the past year while drinking my morning coffee. 2018 has been all about big life changes around here. It will definitely go down as a most memorable year!

January kicked off with us mourning my dear mother in law, Edythe, who passed away in early December of 2017. I believe she was ready to go...she was very, very tired and had been unwell for several years. She had always been so active and bubbly and fun loving that I truly think she lost her will to go on as she became more and more disabled. Although Gregg misses his mom a great deal, nothing about his love for her has changed since her death. And now we can remember her in happier times when she was always laughing and up for any adventure. She was a dear, good woman and a fantastic mother in law. 

My grandmother also passed away this year, at the good old age of 92. She also seemed to lose her will to go on after a health scare prompted my aunt to insist that she sell her house and move in with her and her husband. I understand that my aunt was trying to look out for her, but grandma seemed depressed and sad about it. A year later, she was gone. 

There were gains this year to balance out the losses. My dear friend Marla gave birth to baby Carsen at the end of May, and that has been a wonderful thing. More so since Marla and her husband lost a newborn baby girl (their first child) a couple of years ago. Little Carsen is a healthy, happy, curious baby girl and a total joy to be around. She may not be my niece by blood, but I'm still one of her "aunties". 

I spent the middle part of this year working hard on getting in better shape and losing weight. I strictly counted calories for several months through the summer and into the first part of the fall, and then got a little less conscious of it when we started working on buying the house. I lost just over 35 pounds (and have kept it off) and intend to resume my calorie counting in January.  I still want to lose another 30 pounds. Just yesterday I saw someone I used to work with and she said, "Wow! You look like you've lost a lot of weight!" It made me feel good, especially since I haven't dared step on the scale for the last couple of weeks! I'm sure I've put back on a few pounds over the holidays, but I intend to blast that back off right away in January....and to continue the hard work.

Of course, the highlight of this year was buying the house and moving in over Thanksgiving weekend. We're so pleased with it--the house itself, and the neighborhood. It manages to be very convenient to downtown, but also nestled away adjacent to a nature/walking trail and a small creek. We see all sorts of birds here, mostly a huge flock of cardinals but also woodpeckers (this morning we saw a Yellow Flicker for the first time ever), finches, wrens, doves, blue jays, and we've heard owls at night. And one night we saw deer tracks in the sandy dirt at the edge of our front yard. It's so quiet and peaceful here, and with the one exception all of the neighbors we've met have been friendly and welcoming.

So it's been a stellar year for us, overall. I hope that 2019 continues to bring us more good than bad, and that any life changes are only pleasant ones. 

I wish all my blog friends and visitors a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year! Thank you for visiting my humble little blog, and thank you for being a big and important part of my life 365 days a year! 

Happy New Year!!!

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My amaryllis and poinsettia are both still looking good!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A home for Fred

Now that we're almost done settling in, we're working on hanging pictures and art in the new house. We've been lucky in that we've been gifted several original art pieces by talented friends over the years. Everything we put up is deeply personal to us.

That includes this print of a fox painting done by our very own Yorkshire Pudding! He sent me the print some time ago but we had no good place to hang it at the old house. But now Fred has finally been framed and is hanging proudly in our new den!

Thank you, Neil. I think it looks great in the spot we found for it!

Saturday, December 29, 2018


Somehow I've managed to catch a cold despite the fact that for four whole days I never even left the house. At work, surrounded by nearly a thousand students and over 100 staff members (not to mention all the parents and outside people who make their way through the main office) I felt just fine. Then after a week sequestered at home I get sick. Figures.

It's certainly not a heavy cold by any means. I've had some sniffles, mild body aches, and chills. Mostly I've just felt very tired and run down. I'm glad I haven't had to do much but stay at home and vegetate on the sofa. I'm lucky to be off work. I'd hate to use sick days on a mild cold.

I'd like to take down the Christmas tree today if I can muster up the energy for it. There's a superstition in this area that the tree needs to be down before New Year's Day or it's bad luck. I'm going to miss it's sparkle and light and the living room is going to look very dull without it. When do you remove holiday decorations? I know that in lots of places it's customary to leave the tree up until Epiphany, January 6th. Most of my book club friends are from the Northeast, and grew up going to Catholic schools, and that's what they do. People down South decorate ridiculously early (often before Thanksgiving) and I guess they're tired of looking at it all by December 26.  I like to split the difference---decorating the first week of December, and then taking it all down just prior to New Years Eve as opposed to the day after Christmas. I'll probably try to get started today but I still have two days to get most of it done.

On top of my being slightly under the weather, the actual weather outside has been awful. We've had rain, rain, rain, and more rain. The sky is gray, everything is dripping, and the yard is a muddy mess. George has opted to stay inside day and night. Ginger usually refuses to come inside, preferring the screened porch, but last night it rained so hard that even she willingly came in. I wish the sun would come out, but the forecast is for yet another week of rain. Yuck.

So we'll see how the day progresses. I'm sipping hot coffee and getting ready to settle in on the sofa for a while to watch a few more episodes of  "Big Dreams, Small Spaces" with England's Monty Don on Netflix. I'm trying to plan out my dream garden now that we're in our own home. I sure wish Mr. Don could come help me plot it out!

Have a good weekend, everyone.