Sunday, September 23, 2012


This year the autumn equinox snuck past me and I failed to notice. I guess I've had a lot going on and was distracted. Last night I was sitting in my office, messing around on the Internet, and I looked outside and thought, "Good God! It's completely dark already, and it's only 7:45!" Then I realized that, of course it would be dark already, being September 22....and then I knew that the equinox had passed without me taking note of it.

So Happy Autumn Equinox, dear readers!

Here are some fall pictures from around my neighborhood. These were taken last year.

Just a bit of color.

Spider lilies, that are already blooming again this year in our backyard.
 A true sign of autumn.

The street in front of our house.
See Ginger sniffing around at the bottom?


Friday, September 21, 2012

Party plans!

It's only a week away: my second annual Mid Autumn Moon party! I am so excited, but I still have a lot to do to prepare. I'm also getting a bit nervous about it. There will be a couple of new faces this year, and I want my backyard to look magical (where the party is taking place) but I also need for the house to be in excellent shape. Right now my house is a pigsty! I've held off on several chores that would only get undone if I did them too early, and lots of the food will have to be purchased at the last minute. Today is my last day off work until the day before the party, so I will need to be super productive. And there will be lots to do each day both before and after work in the coming week.

Despite having a lot to do today, I would like to kick off a week of looking forward to the party here on my blog.  I'll try to post something each day about my plans/preparations so you can share in the fun! To start, here is a lovely little drink recipe I found that I am thinking of serving as the main alcoholic beverage (and it should pair well with the wines some of the guests are bringing):

Cranberry Pomegranate Sangria

This holiday punch, courtesy of  Deep South Dish   looks delicious and just right for autumn, with the pomegranate seeds and apple slices and cranberries. I've asked a couple of invited guests what they thought, and they all agree that it sounds delicious! What do you think?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cozy Day

Today has been one of those cool, rainy, overcast fall days when you just want to stay at home and nest. That's pretty much what I did today. I woke up to rain pouring down outside, and after seeing the husband off to work I got back in bed with a book and read until I fell asleep. I didn't wake up until almost noon, which is something I never do. It felt wonderful.

All afternoon I've been cooking for the rest of the week. A pot roast with baby carrots and mushrooms, simmering slowly for hours. Baked potatoes and green beans. A large casserole dish of homemade baked macaroni and cheese. Brownies. Our house smells really good!

Tonight's agenda: dinner, a movie, more reading, and an early bedtime. It's been a perfect, cozy fall day.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Making plans

September is here, and along with cooler temperature and shorter days, there is a feeling of change in the air. Everyone in the blogosphere (or so it seems) has mentioned how September always feels like time for a fresh start, and I guess I've caught that vibe too. Lately I've been feeling the need to begin making some changes in my life. By next September I hope to be in a better place personally than I am right now.

My work life is unsatisfactory. In the beginning, I was just sick of working in retail. I could go on about all the ways that retail management jobs stink--the lousy hours, the nasty internal conflicts between people jockeying for position, the sheer amount of work that's expected for the (somewhat) living wage you earn--but let's just say that it's not right for me anymore. I want to do something new, although I have yet to figure out what that might be just now. Still, I want to take some steps to help move things along. I've started checking local job listings on the Internet and in newspapers to get an idea of what's out there. I'm also paying close attention when people talk about their jobs and the companies they work for, to see what environments might suit me and where there might be openings later on.

This winter, while I'm figuring out what direction to go in, I'm seriously considering learning Spanish. It's something I've wanted to do for years now anyway, and it's a major marketability booster in this area. Several people who work in local government, tax offices, the hospital, etc.. have told me that they would get raises immediately if they learned it. Some companies and businesses will pay for classes for their employees. Everyone seems to agree that bilingual job candidates have a huge advantage in the hiring process. I'm thinking about an intense self-study course this winter with the Rosetta stone (or one of it's offshoot) software packages. It would cost about the same as taking classes, but I could go at my own pace, and of course I'd have the software to refer back to if I needed refreshers.

Another thing I plan to do this winter is to slowly build up my work wardrobe. I am in serious need of some new things to wear. This past year has been a challenge financially with GB not working at all the first half of the year, and working less hours the second half while he continues to recover. My decent work clothes are getting threadbare from constant washing and wearing, and I need new things. This is something else I can do slowly throughout the winter to move towards my goal of a better job.

I have a few other personal goals for the autumn and winter, mostly involving health and fitness. Although I go for long walks every day, I would like to find some additional (enjoyable) ways to exercise. I still have a long way to go to meet my health and fitness goals, and being less sedentary is the major one I've been slowly working towards for the past year. Now that the weather is cooling down and the days are beautiful and cool, I am considering getting our bikes tuned up and beginning to ride. The poor things have been languishing in our storage shed for two years, unused. I think it's time to polish them up and start using them again! And I want to continue to eat better, making more food from scratch, trying new vegetables and fruits, and drinking more water.

By next September, I hope to be somewhat fitter physically and to have a new, better job. For now, I'm making plans and taking baby steps to move towards those goals. As another blogger said recently, "A year from now you'll wish you had started today!"

Friday, September 7, 2012

The sweetest word I know.... BENIGN!!!

My husband, who already beat lung cancer earlier this year, had to go for a colonoscopy on Wednesday. We were terribly worried about it, as his father died of colon cancer. Then, when the procedure was over, the doctor told us he had removed three polyps, two of which were quite large. He was concerned that the size made them more likely to be cancerous, and we had no option but to wait on the pathology report.

While waiting, my poor guy ended up getting admitted to the hospital. He started throwing up after he got home from the colonoscopy, and when I took him to the ER they found that not only was he really dehydrated, but his white blood cell count was very high. They were concerned that the procedure might have resulted in a perforated colon, which is rare, but deadly serious. So they had to run lots of tests to make sure that that had not happened. Thank goodness, it hadn't. They are not sure what caused his spike in white cells, but everything is back to normal now and they think he is ok.

And this morning, the doctor came to the hospital room to let us know that the pathology report is in, and the polyps were all benign! I can't begin to tell you how relieved we were. Nothing is worse than waiting for test results like that. We were so very afraid of the worst.

Later tonight, GB will get to come home, with a fresh clean bill of health. Now that the colonoscopy is done, we are certain that he is absolutely cancer free all over. I am beyond thrilled!

Benign: the sweetest word I know.