Saturday, September 30, 2023


After work yesterday I went to see my allergist for patch testing. Here's what my back currently looks like.

I have to wear these all weekend. I go back Monday afternoon to have the tape and patches removed so that the sites can be evaluated for allergic reactions. This means that I can't shower until then, only take small "bird baths", and if I want to wash my hair I have to do it with my head over the sink. I'm not supposed to let this area get wet.

So it's going to be a long, grubby weekend for me. Thank goodness I didn't make any plans for the first few days of my break! I'm a shower girl all the way, and I usually wash my hair every day. Oh well!

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Plans for intersession

Good Tuesday afternoon, friends. How's your week going?

Mine is going sloooooow. I have next week off (it's our fall break/intersession) and the days are starting to drag just as they always do when time off is on the horizon.

I have a few plans for the week, but nothing major. I certainly can't afford to go anywhere right now (worse luck!) but I'm going to try to enjoy myself in small ways. My plans are:

  • Write several blog posts that have been rattling around in my head lately, one of which will be short book reviews of stuff I've read recently.
  • Attempt to make pomegranate jelly! Yes, my pomegranate tree is loaded with ripe fruit for the first time this year, and I don't want it to go to waste. I've counted 15 large poms on the tree ready to be picked, so I should have enough for a few jars. The recipe looks simple enough...we shall see.
  • After a years' (multiple) long hiatus, I'm going to pick up my knitting needles again and work on a project. The lovely young couple across the street are having a baby girl next month, and I'd like to knit a blanket for her. They're planning to name her Georgia. Isn't that pretty? It will be an exceedingly simple blanket, knit on large needles, since I'm so out of practice, but I think it will be a good project to begin again with. 
  • Invite Martina over with her dog, Harker, for a playdate with Poppy one afternoon. Those two dogs are close in age and love each other! They both still have lots of "puppy" in them.
  • Gregg wants to put a second coat of paint on the bathroom walls. I really don't feel like doing any more painting, but he's not going to be satified until we have a second coat on there. 
I'm sure there will also be plenty of reading, watching tv shows I don't normally have time for, etc. Also plenty of walks with the dogs. The weather is finally cooler and better for exercise, although my allergies are bad (the way they always are this time of year)  and I haven't been outdoors as much as I'd like lately. We'll see how that goes. I've been resolving to get more exercise. Maybe I'll even get my bike road-worthy again and ride it some. 

I'm grateful to have made it to fall intersession with my new job. I kept telling myself last spring (when I first found out I'd landed the job) that by October I should be fairly comfortable with everything. And it's true! I've learned a lot, and it's such a good environment that I haven't had a single bit of work stress since starting there. None. Zero. What a wonderful change from last year! 

What would you do with a week off at home?

Saturday, September 23, 2023


Wednesday night I hosted my book club's September meeting. There was a large turnout: eleven guests in all. I don't think we've ever had so many people in our house at one time! I was really nervous about it and worked really hard to prepare, giving the house a major cleaning over the course of a couple of weeks and then spending a lot of time planning and shopping. (I spent a fair amount of money, too). But in the end, it was all worth it. Everything went off without a hitch, I was proud of how the house looked, and most importantly, everyone seemed to have a good time. 

Preparing the food is my favorite part of any party, and I really had fun with it this time. I made my first ever charcuterie board! 

What I enjoyed most about this was how easy it was to make something that looks really fancy. The only cooking involved was toasting the pecans with butter and salt. I got lots of compliments on it.

Speaking of easy, I also served the classic grape jelly + Heinz chili sauce crockpot meatballs. All you have to do is throw frozen pre-cooked meatballs in a crock pot with a small jar of grape jelly and a couple of jars of chili sauce, then just stir them around a time or two as they heat up. It may sound weird, but they're delicious, and people always devour them. I also bought pre-boiled eggs at the grocery store and made a double batch of deviled eggs. Deviled eggs are another crowd-pleaser, and when you eliminate the step where you have to boil (and worse, peel) the eggs, they're quick and easy too.

I bought six bottles of wine for the party: three reds, two whites, and a rose. I wanted a good selection for people to choose from. Of course, I had plenty of bottled water and soda on hand, too. There's a lot of the wine left over. 

Karen (from The Internet's Best Karen) was the first to arrive. Since she works in the Chemistry department of our local university, she really enjoyed this month's book!

Check out George photobombing this next shot. He knew there was food nearby! :)

Once everyone arrived, Poppy was wide eyed and nervous and decidedly not having fun, so I gave her an early supper on the back porch and let her stay out there. George has been around long enough to know that company can be fun (and the source of treats) so he was a Very Good Boy. He went to each guest in turn to get petted and admired, then settled down on the rug in the middle of it all while we had our discussion. He was a perfect gentleman.

"What about Marco?" I hear you all wondering...well, he was THRILLED with all the noise and company. He stayed on my shoulder most of the time, to the delight of all the guests. He was a little clown, laughing and making little comments and generally hamming it up. Before leaving, a couple of people wanted to take pictures with him, and he was happy to oblige. 

I'm glad things went well, but I'm also glad that it's all over! The house is still pretty much spotless, which is a bonus. I plan to spend the weekend relaxing and enjoying some downtime after such a busy week!

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Weekend preparations

Today I woke up to an absolutely beautiful early fall morning. The temperature got down into the 50s last night and the cool air from my open bedroom window felt fantastic. It was the first time in months we've been able to sleep with the windows up. I'm looking forward to lower power bills now that summer is really over.

This weekend will be spent doing lots of cleaning. Next Wednesday I'm hosting my book club, and I want everything to be as nice as possible. I'm expecting nine people for sure, and there's another two or three who haven't RSVP'd yet. Entertaining stresses me out for months ahead of time (it's silly but I can't help it) which is why I only volunteer to host about once a year. 

Between two dogs, a parrot, and my almost nonexistent housekeeping skills, there's always a lot to do to make the house company-worthy. Hell, one of the reasons we painted the bathroom last week was to cover up the area by one end of the shower curtain rod where Marco had chewed a patch of paint off! The hardwood floors in the dining room need a good cleaning, too. George regularly stands by the table when we're eating and drools and drools onto the wood. Even when you wipe it up, it leaves smudges and smears behind. And Poppy is the worst shedder we've ever had. The whole house needs to be vacuumed almost daily to keep up with the volume of fur coming off of her. 

But I can't blame it all on the animals. I'm not a great housekeeper, and I don't mind admitting it, and I tend to be lazy and would rather do other things, like read. Then when company's coming, I lose my mind for two or three days and go on an absolute tear, even cleaning things that my guests will most likely not even see. I'm going to try to do better this time. Today and tomorrow I'm going to slowly work my way through the living room, dining room, and kitchen, cleaning, dusting, and mopping as I go. I'm going wipe down Marco's cage and change the plastic sheeting underneath it, and also give both the dogs baths. At some point I'll gird my loins and go shopping for the food and wine I plan to serve (I dread the shopping trip more than the cleaning!) and that should be it. I'll wait until the night before to clean the bathroom, of course.

So that's going to be my weekend. I'm actually looking forward to seeing my book club friends and having them over, it's just the preparations that I hate. The book we read this month was Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I'd heard good things about this book, and was looking forward to it, but it was (in my opinion) a piece of crap. I didn't like it at all. Next week, when I have more time, I'll do a brief review of it here. But not today. Today, I have a house to clean and a shopping list to complete.

Have a good one, friends!

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Tomorrow's Coral

This past Sunday Gregg and I completed our latest home improvement project: we painted our main bathroom! We had trouble picking out a color because the tile on the walls and shower as well as the tile on the floor are kind of odd colors if you look closely.

Here's a before picture. 

It's hard to see in the photo but the floor has some orange tints in after lots of samples and lots of discussion, we decided on a  paint color called "Tomorrow's Coral".

I wasn't sure about it at first, but it's starting to grow on me. It's certainly cheerful!

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 6, 2023


Gregg finally got a call back from the oncologist. Everything appears to be okay. There's an area that they're going to continue to monitor closely, but as of right now it doesn't appear to be problematic. Thank goodness. 

The delay in hearing anything was because Dr. Smith wanted to show the results to our friend Vinod. Dr. Vinod Jona is a long-time personal friend of Gregg's, and as luck would have it, he's the top pulmonary specialist in this area. There's no doubt in my mind that he saved Gregg's life back in 2012. He oversaw all of the tests and treatments, personally picked out the surgeon and oncologist he thought best, and made sure Gregg got the very best treatment available with no delays. In fact, he was already on standby to do a biopsy immediately if this latest PET scan showed anything. Dr. Smith is used to partnering with him on Gregg's care, and I'm so glad he went over everything with him first even if it did mean a delay in getting results. I'm not religious, but Vinod has been a real blessing in our lives. I'm so grateful to him.

We can finally rest a little easier tonight. I'm so thankful.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

First taste of fall

So this happened yesterday.

Hurricane Idalia was much diminished by the time it came over our area, and while we got a lot of rain (over 6 inches) there was very little harm done. What it did seem to do was blow out the hot, stagnant summer air and herald the arrival of our first taste of fall. Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous, with cool temperatures, low humidity, and bright blue skies. It seemed like a good afternoon to clean up the garden bed, which had gone to utter ruin in the last part of August. My husband was kind enough to lend a hand, so it didn't take long at all.  

One last gleaning of peppers and cherry tomatoes: goodbye to my summer 2023 garden.

Another harvest is just beginning, though. The pomegranate is loaded with ripening fruit for the first time ever right now. I'm truly excited for these.

One of the banana plants finally has a bloom! Although these won't produce any fruit, the flowers are pretty enough to make growing them worthwhile just for their sake. 

It's Labor Day weekend and the forecast is for beautiful weather. It's very welcome after the long, hot summer, and a nice way to kick off September. The extra day off on Monday is very welcome, too.