Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Cold and dark

It's cold here on the East Coast this week.

Last night the temperature dropped to 27 degrees (-2.7 for all you Celsius folk out there) after a day of rain and high winds. The wind chill was in the teens when I woke up this morning. Today the high was only about 10 degrees above freezing, and tonight is going to be just as frigid as last night. This kind of cold is highly unusual this early in the year.

I don't mind the cold; in fact, I kind of like it. I run on the warmer side naturally anyway, and with plenty of extra weight padding my body, too, freezing weather just isn't that big of a deal. I lit the fireplace this morning for the first time this year, reviving last winter's habit of drinking my morning coffee by the fire. That was kind of nice. I just hope the weather is this cold the week before Christmas, when I'm hosting my book club's holiday meeting/party. I'd like to be able to turn on the fireplace for picturesque effect, and serve pretty mulled wine to drink.

Last year's mulled wine.

What I'm not liking right now are these short days. I can't wait to pass the solstice so that the days will slowly start to lengthen again. This is the part of winter I dread each year.

Speaking of dark, I'm reading The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. The first 50 pages or so are very disturbing, but I couldn't put it down. I'm about a quarter of the way through now and it's fascinating, but still very dark.

What's the weather like where you are?  Are you reading anything good to pass the time on these long, dark, cold nights?

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A low-key birthday weekend

Yesterday was Gregg's birthday, and to my surprise he took the day off work. He almost never does that, but the manager of the pet store found out it was his birthday and told him he should--so he did. I was so glad. He never gets much time off. We spent the day at home, which is what he wanted to do. I grilled a couple of nice bacon wrapped steaks with onions and mushrooms for our dinner. Since we had leftover apple pie last night, I waited until today to bake his birthday cake. It's pineapple-upside down.

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I'm also baking some chocolate chip pumpkin muffins since the oven is hot. Those will be for snacks this week.

The painting I'm having framed for him won't be ready for almost three weeks! I didn't realize it would take so long, but he's happy to wait. We're both pretty excited about it.



I couldn't figure out how to rotate the photo so you'll have to look at it sideways to get a better idea of it. I think the mat and frame I chose for it will look good....I hope so.

I was disappointed in our families yesterday. No one called or texted Gregg for his birthday. No one on either side makes much of an effort, as much as it pains me to say so. Oh well. We have each other, right? I love that man to bits, and I told him so several times.


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

November....meh.

Is it just me, or is the latest time change a real downer? I wish we'd just leave the time alone, one way or another, because I always have trouble adjusting when DST begins and ends. Monday I came home from work, decided to take a "quick nap" at about 6:45 (I was feeling wiped out from a stressful day and the early darkness) and ended up sleeping 11 hours! I didn't feel particularly well rested the next day, either. I'm not sure if it's the time change or the flu shot I got late last week, but I've been feeling really.....meh.....since the November began.

I've got to try to perk up before the weekend, though. Saturday is Gregg's birthday and I want things to be festive for him. I'm planning to take a piece of art that's dear to him to be matted and framed for his gift. It was painted by a sweet elderly lady he had a long friendship with before she passed away several years ago. Her name was Margaret and she gave him three or four of her paintings when he admired her work. We're slowly getting them all nicely framed and displayed in our home. It makes Gregg happy when he sees them, because they remind him of Margaret. She was a sweet, sweet lady.

This is one of her paintings hanging in our kitchen. I discovered that it's
 not possible to get a good snapshot of it thanks to the reflection of the lights. 


As per usual when Gregg's birthday rolls around, I'll cook a nice meal and special dessert, and we'll stay home. He's the kind of man who never, ever wants to go out. He's a true introvert, yet his job(s) require him to be out in the public and dealing with strangers and semi strangers every day. When he's off, he wants to be at home; and so of course on his birthday we do whatever he's happiest with.

Speaking of this weekend, it's supposed to be really cold--down to freezing--for the first time this year. I don't mind that part of winter. Maybe some of the huge flying "Palmetto Bugs" (aka, Monster Roaches) will go away. They're really bad out here because we're very close to a creek, and one of the first things we did when we bought this place was get a contract with a pest control service for quarterly preventative treatments. I can't stand a roach. Our guy keeps the fire ants at bay, too. (That's another evil that's best avoided altogether.)

How's the start of the month (and the time change) been for you? I'd love to hear about it, particularly if you're like me and the onset of winter makes you want to eat yourself into a semi-coma, eschew most humans contact, and hibernate in the house with Netflix and a warm, comfortable bed. And maybe a book, of course.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween night and we're all prepared with candy. 


Although we've only had one single trick or treater all night. And she's too little for candy....


She's so cute, though, that I don't mind that she's the only one! Mom and dad are dressed as Ghostbusters.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Shocking

There's an 8th grader at the school where I work named *Jack. He's a handsome boy, an honors student, and comes from a "good" family. Jack plays on the school's football team, and his mom has always been considered the "team mom". She brings food and drinks to all the practices and games, carpools, fundraises, and supports the team whenever possible. I always thought she seemed kind of snooty, if I'm being honest, but all of Jack's friends and teammates really seemed to love her.

I saw her at the homecoming game last Wednesday night, sitting in the stands taking pictures. Our team won, and since they've had a great season they're going to the playoffs. On Thursday, the team had to report to practice right after school as usual. Jack's mom was supposed to pick up him and one of his friends afterwards, but she never showed up. Finally the boys got a ride from another parent who dropped them off at Jack's  house.

They noticed Jack's mom's car was in the driveway, and the friend said, "I think I see your mom sitting in the car." So they walked over to see what was going on.

And found Jack's mom dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

I cannot for the life of me imagine what the woman was thinking. I'm generally a person who never says a word against someone who's in enough pain to commit suicide, but to do it in such a graphic way, in a place where your 13 year old child will be the one to find you...…..it's beyond horrible. The whole community is shocked.

We had extra counselors at the school on Thursday because word got out quickly about what had happened. The football team, the cheerleaders, and all of Jack's friends were nearly hysterical. I feel so bad for them, but most of all for Jack. How on Earth will that boy ever get over something like this? What could his mother have been thinking? I imagine that it must have been a very impulsive decision. If she had done any planning at all, surely she would found a better place to do it than in her own driveway.

*His name isn't Jack, obviously.


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Jack and some of his teammates the night before. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Me and little P.

Me and my 6 year old buddy, as drawn by him. I have inexplicably long eyelashes,
 no hair, and my favorite color shirt on. He's wearing a cape.

The real thing!
I sat with him and his mom at the school's football game last Wednesday night. 
We had to get a selfie while cheering on our team together!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Rainy Sunday afternoon

It's such a nice day here today. I say that knowing it wouldn't be to everyone's taste, as it's chilly and cloudy and damp. Rain showers come and go, the remnants of that oddly named tropical storm, Nestor. After the long hot summer with very little rain, a chilly autumnal day feels great to me. Last night I was forced to turn on the heat for a little while, something I'd sworn I wouldn't do within days of using the a/c for the last time, but the damp was making me shiver.

This weather is perfect for a stay at home kind of Sunday afternoon. I'm going to attempt a crockpot potato soup recipe I found online. Here it is if anyone is interested:

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Ingredients:
1 30oz. bag of frozen diced hash browns
1 32 oz box of chicken broth
1 can of cream of chicken soup (10 oz)
1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz, not fat free)
3 oz bacon bits
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
Put the hash browns in the crockpot. Add in the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and half of the bacon bits. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until potatoes are tender.
An hour before serving, cut the cream cheese into small cubes. Place the cubes in the crock pot. Mix a few times throughout the hour before serving.
Once the cream cheese is completely mixed in, it's ready to serve.
Top with cheddar cheese and some additional bacon bits.
Enjoy!

While my soup cooks Martina is coming over for a while. We've been planning to do a craft project together for Halloween/All Souls/Days of the Dead. The original idea came from this link from a long abandoned craft website:  http://theanticraft.com/archive/samhain08/altar.htm We're going to make our own ancestor altars this year, although ours won't be nearly as detailed as the one in the link. The supply list for it is as long as my arm and neither of us have that much time or money to blow! We're just using it as a starting point for inspiration. I will, of course, eventually share pictures of our completed ofrendas here on the blog. I'm looking forward to spending some time with Martina making them, too. It should be fun.

Have a happy Sunday, everyone!