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Thursday, January 31, 2019

The other bingeing



We've activated our Netflix card for the next two months which means there's a longer blood supply shared with the couch these days.   Here are the shows we've consumed instead of doing stuff that actually needs to be done.  😂

You- (Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Daniel Cosgrove- 10 episodes)- You would think a show about a stalker would be creepy and disturbing...it is.  However, they have managed to make the character of Joe Goldberg funny and likable.  His narration is clever, and his relationship with his neighbor kid is endearing.  The Mr and I agree the object of his obsession is very hard to like because she's so extra about everything and everyone in her life.  Several times we both found ourselves saying "why is he so attracted to this spaz?  She's ridiculous!?"  Obviously, I'm not saying anyone deserves to be stalked ever, but she made it hard to be empathetic at times.  By about 3/4 of the way through, it became a little exhausting, but I think that was more because we binged it in two days.  Based on the way it ended, I really don't see how they can have an interesting season two but season one is definitely worth watching.

The Ted Bundy Files- 4 episodes- This is the one recently released show that Netflix said: "don't watch it alone."  Don't buy into that.  You will literally see worse on the evening news, but it's the devil in the details that are upsetting.  The Mr and I were tots when this all happened so we have no recollection of any of it.  The crimes were heinous for sure but sadly with crime shows, as a society, we've become desensitized to it which makes me really sad.  Matter of fact, he is basically the reason there is even a BAU like on Criminal Minds which blew our minds!  What shocked us almost as much as the crimes committed was just how he could charm anyone including the seemingly tough as nails judge who finally convicted him.  I can't count how many times our jaws dropped watching people fall under his spell with the flash of a smile or the wink of an eye.  We wanted to watch it before the new Zac Efron movie with the horrible name Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile comes out so we could see how true it stayed to the court footage.

The Open House- (Dylan Minnette, Piercey Dalton- movie)-  The trailer was suspenseful, and it had that cutie from 13 Reasons Why in it, so I put it on the list.   Don't do it.  Just don't.  When I tell you there is literally zero payoff in the end and you will want to flip over a table when it's done, I'm not exaggerating.

The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man- (documentary)- We are big Bill Murray fans so this was a no brainer.  People who were part of the unicorn in the wild stories of Bill doing their dishes, crashing a dodge ball game, engagement photos are interviewed. Pictures and videos are shared, and it reminds us that life is here to be lived.  It almost makes you want to join in a dodge ball game uninvited or happily "memory bomb" someones engagement photos, but then you remember you're not Bill Murray and only he can get away with that stuff.  You'd get throat punched.  So live it in the way that makes you happiest and don't just settle for the everyday.

Grace and Frankie- (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen- season 5- 13 episodes)-  Sigh, what was once my favorite show seasons one and two now just feels directionless.  I think the problem with most shows these days is they cater to the binge watchers, pour out what could've been two seasons into one, or sometimes half the season and then it gets boring.  Frankie used to be an endearing hippie, and now she's just over the top flakey in a way that's off-putting to both of us.  Actually, most of the characters are off-putting any more.  I really hope the next season is their last if they're not going to step up the writing game.  😞

To All The Boys I've Loved Before (Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, John Corbett- movie)  This teen comedy is so adorable.  High school junior Lara Jean has written letters for herself to the five boys she's had crushes on in her life, including her sister's boyfriend.  (He was her friend before he was her sister's boyfriend.)  When the letters are sent to the objects of her affection, a plan is hatched that changes everything.  Super cute and a nice lighthearted movie despite dealing with a few pitfalls of social media and general bitchiness of high school.

What shows have you been binging lately?

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Hump Day Poll: What a dish!




It's midweek y'all, and that means it's time for a random Hump Day poll!  As I mentioned yesterday, our appliances are going on 10 years old, and while I think they should last another 10 years, my dishwasher seems to disagree.  We've had problems with it for probably half of its lifespan so I know we're very unlikely to go with another GE Profile.  I'm not saying they're bad, that's what all of our other appliances are and we're pretty happy with most of them, but that particular dishwasher did not last.

We've had Bosch dishwashers in several rentals, and we're pretty sure that is what we're going with when someone has a President's Sale in a few weeks.  The 44-decibel model is the one we're basically sold on because we literally didn't think it was running at the last house.  There's even a red light that pops onto the floor to prove its working.  In addition to cleaning well, we want something whisper quiet.

(via GIPHY.com)

Our current one is quieter than the model we had before but once it really kicks on, it vibrates the walls, and it's annoying.  On "in the field" dishwasher tests, The Mr put crudded up dishes in the last rental house, and it cleaned like a champ.  It is very frustrating to have to clean dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.   Rinsing is one thing, actually having to use a dish brush, yeah...mama's done with that.

So here's my question.

What kind of dishwasher do you have and would you recommend it?  Any Bosch owners out there that can testify as to whether they last or not?

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Quick fix for cosmetic dings

Our appliances are going on 10 years old this year.  The dishwasher is about to be outta here if a good Presidents Day sale rears its head, but the fridge has a few cosmetic things that have been irritating me the past two years.


The paint on the shelves has been scratching and dinging for some reason.  My Lord, you'd think we were animals throwing stuff in there.


But there's an easy fix for that!  I have washi tape that sits there waiting for projects that never come...until now.  I had some black and white buffalo check tape that I got in a package deal with red and black and thought I'd give it a go over the scratched edges.


I will say this, if you have scratched or chipped paint, you need to commit to the washi tape because when I tried to peel it off and reposition it, it took the rest of the paint with it!  LOL  But thankfully, I thought this was kinda quaint.


You can change the tape out as often as you want too, but I will probably keep this for a while.  It took so little time that the light didn't even time out while I did it!



I will probably change it out for Christmas since I have some fun ones for that.  I know, it's nothing Earth-shattering, but just in case you're cleaning and came across some washi and were wondering what to do with it.  It's been up for over a week, and the Mr hasn't said a word...I don't know if he even noticed!  😂

What quick fix cosmetic upgrades have you made?

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Quick Weekend Recap

Happy Monday all!

It was a pretty good weekend  Friday I had a lot of work to do, and I was getting stir crazy.  I woke up with a clenched jaw and knew it was imperative to get out of the house.  I needed a finishing touch to style the living room for winter because I refuse to jump into Spring decorating.  I was looking for lamb's ear and found it at Hobby Lobby.  We also thought perhaps their distributors should get better quality control.



I had a few stores on my list because I didn't anticipate finding it so quickly, but I still wanted to shop even if it was of the window variety.  We got in a lot of steps lollygagging around.   It was a little embarrassing because I got horny in the second store.




The funny thing is someone took that gazelle head and would randomly hide them all over the store.  It almost became a game to see if we could find them. 

I didn't get nearly as much done in the basement as I planned.  I know, you're shocked.  Part of the reason was I needed more bins and I couldn't dig into several spaces until I got them.  I didn't get down there until Sunday afternoon, but I did get another bin half filled with donated items and finished the three biggest shelves on the back wall.  I never thought I would have three completely empty shelves in that spot, but there they are!  I'm moving onto the next set of shelves with liners and have the first one done.  Baby steps.

I've got a lot of work to get done today but still want to get down there for at least an hour because tomorrow is trash day and want to get another bag outta there.

The Mr and I did our first HIIT workout last night and were still recovering from a deadlift/squat workout from Fitness Blender on Friday.  I'm going to continue listening to my body because I'm still getting pretty sore for extended periods as we work to rebuild our previous stamina and strength.  I absolutely need to work on my water intake this week. 

What did you do this weekend?

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Friday, January 25, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #4

Good Friday morning all!  Y'all ready for the last weekend of the month?  That's right, basically one month into the new year.  Time waits for no one so we should jump right into...


I'm a Trainer, and These Are My 15 Favorite Dumbbell Exercises For Building Muscle  (She's gonna pump (clap) you up!)

An 86-year-old woman lost 120 pounds by walking back and forth in her one-bedroom apartment every day  (Seriously, no one has an excuse after watching this!)

Combat Dry Winter Air with 15 Tips and Tricks  (It is DRY in here, yo!  Not as dry as baseboard heat in Vermont but still.)

The Small But Urgent Signs You Need To Drink More Water  (Pick up that water bottle!)

15 Simple Ways to Make 2019 the Year of Self-Care   (Get on it)

Eating Eggs Often Can Have A Huge Impact On Your Body And Mind  (Grab your skillet!)

The Lazy Ways I Get in 10,000 Steps a Day  (Good suggestions to up your step game!)

This Is How Many Days a Week You Need to Do HIIT to Lose Weight   (Word)

Kevin Smith Shares His Shocking 10-Year Weight Loss Transformation -- Pics  (Snoochie boochies!)

The Devil and Steve Guttenberg: Love, Sex, Fame And The Rollercoaster From ‘Police Academy’ To ‘Ballers’  (Wow, this should be called the prophecy of Guttenberg.  Seriously, he needs to teach a master class not just to other actors but all of us!)

12 Of The Funniest Reactions To Netflix’s Unfortunate Mistake With Marie Kondo’s Pic   (OMG, crying!)

Hilarious footage shows two teenagers completely baffled by a rotary telephone when given four minutes to make one call  (*facepalm*)

We've been lucky enough to have snow to play in the past two weekends.  (Yes, we were the people out in zero degrees where you could only see our eyes.)  I don't know if we'll get that lucky this weekend but if not, I certainly have enough purging to keep me busy into the next few months.  So that is going to be my focus with a few breaks to get out of the house too because otherwise I go absolutely stir crazy.  Well, that's my plan.  We'll see how I did come Monday. 

What are you up to this weekend?

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Virtual Visit: Tate's Bakeshop- Southampton NY

You've undoubtedly seen the iconic little green bag in grocery store cookie aisles with Tate's Bake Shop stamped on it.  Tate's is a real bake shop, and if you find yourself vacationing in Long Island, NY, you can visit in person!


It kinda gives you the warm fuzzies seeing that logo up close.


I was surprised to see such lovely flowers available in the shop from potted hydrangeas to bouquets of roses.  I mean, who wouldn't want flowers and goodies!?


Obviously, you can get their world famous cookies and in more expansive flavors than you can probably get at your local grocery store.  But they also have a plethora of other treats like pound cake.  (Regular, chocolate, and lemon pictured.)


They have a huge selection of cakes too!  If you are staying in the area, you can call 48 hours ahead and build your own cake.  I can only imagine how delicious they are!  (They'd better be for the price!  😏)


In addition to cakes, they also have some pretty beautiful cupcakes.  (Be aware it's whipped frosting though.  I didn't know that and was not a happy camper after getting the one on the left.)  They also have beautiful petit fours with some of them being adorable little hats!  Can you imagine bringing those to an afternoon tea?


Is ice cream your thing?  They've got ice cream sandwiches available to munch on while you stroll around town or sit on the patio.


They also have a nice selection of coffee and tea available.


Behind the counter are all kinds of pastries like muffins, cinnamon rolls, biscotti, brownies, and bars.


You know I couldn't resist one of those petit fours.


I think this one was vanilla frosting with white cake.


It seems like it'd be easy to recreate at home with a shortbread cookie for the rim of the hat and maybe a  1 1/2" cookie cutter to make the hat portion.  (affiliate link) 

It was really funny because the employees were nice enough but honestly, the clientele was super friendly.  We talked to several people while there and had a lot of laughs and smiles.  So if you have any preconceived notions about how people in the Hamptons might be, we can vouch at least in the offseason people are in good moods and quite friendly.

Tate's Bake Shop
43 North Sea Rd.
Southampton NY 11968
631-283-9830

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Hump Day Poll: Goal Check In

(via PopSugar)


We're three full weeks into the new year, and if you're old school where it takes three weeks to make a new habit or new school where it apparently takes 66 days, then you're either hitting your stride, or you're only 1/3 of the way into your new habit.  Sorry.  :-\

Whether you call them resolutions, goals, hopes for the new year or building upon what you already did, a lot of us at least tried to get mentally pointed in the right direction.  Initially, mine was to walk daily again and to adjust my mental attitude in uncontrollable situations like I did on vacation.

We did the walking daily our first week and those counted as our workouts that week.  My thought on that was that we were already inflamed from coming off of sugar, sodium and general crap and exercise also inflame the body, so I wanted to give a week for the food inflammation to come down before introducing even more.  It made sense in my head.  The second week, while I intended to walk daily, I decided to listen to my body first after reintroducing "formal" strength and cardio back into the picture.  In the past, I try to jump back in with both feet even though I know that's not smart, but you know, I'm different, that doesn't apply to me.  🙄  So, I backed off the idea of walking on the regular until February to allow my body time to adjust back to being as active as we were before.

Even the mental part has been quite difficult.  I don't know if it's post-vacation blues or being overwhelmed with the purging I started doing knowing that every inch of this house needs it done, but my mental health has taken a plummet.  I just feel like I can't focus on one task, complete it and get it on to the next thing.  Multitasking is a fool's activity, yet I try to do it all the time and fail miserably.  So I'll need to find some way to make all of this work.

I feel like I'm tanking on my "goals" for this year so far.

How are you doing with your goals for the new year?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

We Tried It: Engine 2 Black Bean Plant Burger

I know y'all are like, "for God's sake woman, stop trying to find delicious plant-based burgers!"  What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment, and I like to drag the Mr along for the weigh way.  We are suckers for poblano peppers and have had some yummy dishes made with them.  I don't think I've ever had a black bean burger, so I thought why not?  Plus this brand is made by firefighters, and since I'm from a family of firefighters, I thought I'd throw my support their way.


Here's their schpiel.  I'd never heard of him or the book before so it was interesting.


Here's a peek at their nutritional information.  I was surprised to see so little sodium in it so that was a big plus for me.


I'm not going to lie, this was the first burger I ever pulled out and audibly gasped at because for some reason I wasn't expecting the concrete color.  (Again...never had a bean burger before.)


There are three burgers in the package and I wish there were four.  I don't think we've ever bought a package that didn't have even numbers whether it was two or four.


I'd show you what they look like fully cooked but they are exactly the same.

I slapped some spinach and a little BBQ sauce on the bun because I wasn't hopefully with little to no change on the burger.


We did split the third burger and ate it plain so we could get an unaltered taste.

(Good Lord, sorry for the crappy pics.  Our house is a cave.)
So how did it taste?

Like beans.  The first bite had a good amount of poblano taste to it but after that, I didn't really taste it anymore which bummed me out.  The lack of sodium wasn't boosted by much spice wise.  There are a lot of great spices listed but I didn't taste much of them.  The Mr actually really liked them and said he'd eat them again but agreed they were dry.  I think if I got them again, it wouldn't be for burger purposes...maybe something Mexican related.    Maybe as the "meat" with Spanish rice/quinoa and topped with salsa would be good.  Hmm, actually as I say that, I might just give that a whirl!


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Monday, January 21, 2019

It Only Took 23 years

I know everyone is heavy into getting organized right now.  A new year will give you that itch but so will hearing about Netflix's show "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo."  She's the author of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  (I was actually using her method to fold my shirts without realizing it was her when her book took off initially.)

For years, I've wanted to tackle the entire house.  I can't tell you how many times I've uttered the phrase "I just want to shake the house out and start over."  Since I saw so many other people talking about the show, it gave me the push to just get to the dreaded task of getting under our basement stairs without ever watching it.  It's an area that I stare at every day we workout which is 6x a week.  It was depressing and sure didn't take away stress after a workout.  We live in a shoebox, and that should force you to purge on a regular basis.  When you don't, you get to the stage we're at which is bursting at the seams.  We had two HUGE bins, one pretty big one and I think four small ones, one small cloth one, and my childhood toy box.  You read that right, there is a forty-year-old toy box that's been living under our stairs for our entire marriage because he was just too cute to get rid of.  I still loved him, and yes, my Barbies were still in it, but if I made room in other bins, they could go in those, and some other child of hipsters could enjoy my seventies, buddy.  He was selling for over $100 on eBay, and while that would be nice, the box to ship him alone would be over $50 plus the shipping plus the hassle of packing him up and I just wasn't up for it.  I started just with the idea of seeing what I could do with him and 9 hours later (in starts and stops due to dust kicking up) I had condensed down to one huge, one medium, and two small bins.  I got rid of one big honking one and three small ones.  I had an entire set of dishes I thought I already donated in there and some big platters for a massive Hawaiian feast I apparently thought I was going to throw.  (I actually did have every intention of doing that, but then I boxed them up, and you know, out of sight, out of mind.)

Here are some of the things I found in my journey.

I used to be obsessed with Wizard of Oz and Elvis respectively.  Like...O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D.  While I still love both, there are things I was keeping hold of that were never going to be displayed again.  When we first moved into our house, the guest room was all Wizard of Oz, and I had a series of plates my mom bought me from Bradford Exchange (remember them!?) that came every few months.  They cranked out a ton of them, and now you're lucky to sell them on eBay for $10 per plate when she paid like $30 for them at the time.  I did not have the energy to try to sell them as a lot and the plates don't have a very classic look to them (very 90's) so I just decided to donate them and a few Elvis items I came across.


I used to be one of those chicks with jean jackets covered in buttons.  I couldn't get rid of them, but they don't take up much room.

(whoops, double watermark.  Too lazy to fix it.)

The Mr came down to see my progress and let's just say we were at the "worse before it gets better" stage.


He had about 1 1/2 bins with his stuff in it, and he came across his old buddy from 1981.  His Darth Vader mask that I pretty much assumed he'd be buried in.  I never once suggested he get rid of it because I knew how much it meant to him.  He said all he did was put it on every 5 years or so when we'd go through the basement and do nothing with it.  He looked online, and it wasn't selling for much even in good condition, but Darth had his lenses glued back in so it was really only worth something to him.


He said it took up a lot of room and I told him he didn't have to get rid of it several times, and he said he wasn't even very sad about it, so that told him it was okay to get rid of it.  He took pics at every angle of it and put it on one last time.


That also lead him to another decision.  He's had this big wooden box in a bin for as long as I've known him.  His dad painted the mallard, and even though he isn't an outdoorsman, he felt obligated to keep it especially after his dad died almost 15 years ago.  He said he was ready to let it go and I took pics of it from every angle including in a way that he could have it printed as a picture if he ever wanted to.  I think because his mom is purging a bunch of stuff and tried pawning stuff off on us that he felt like it was okay to not hold onto it.


I think what might've planted the seed subconsciously for him with his stuff is when he came down and saw me with this stuff.  I had an entire bin of stuffed animals that I never parted with because I used to have a chain in my bedroom with stuffed animals hanging on it.  (This is actually a great idea for any of you mamas or grandmamas to tell mamas.  Attach a swag hook to the ceiling and white chain from ceiling to floor, then put curtain hooks in the back of the animal and hang them vertically on the chain.  It's a great way to display them without taking up precious real estate on the bed or floor.)


I had no real attachment to the ones above, especially ALF.  I don't remember who got that for me, but I HATED ALF.  (It might've been a grandparent I didn't want to offend by not keeping it or something, I can't imagine my mom getting it for me.)  But I was ready to pass them on.

I only kept the dolls that meant the most to me.


My Cabbage Patch Kids that my mom and Grandma got me back when they first came out (their original clothes are LONG gone).   My monchhichi (did anyone else sing the theme or am I the only one?) and my cookie monster from when I was a baby who is lookin' rough but can't let him go because he's not donate worthy.  Finally, a mouse my 4th grade teacher gave me in private when my parents were divorcing, but she's not pictured.

I also decided while these were pretty awesome and probably the only living relic of jams left in the world, I'll let some hipster have it from the "vintage" store for Halloween.


You know a blanket is old when it disintegrates in the washer.


I did finally watch that Marie Kondo show on Netflix and can I say how adorable she is!?  But she did give me a good blueprint on what to do when I get to clothes and the closet (which makes me twitch).  I know some people make fun of it but the whole "sparking joy" thing really does work when your mind is in the proper place.  I was already thanking things as I donated them especially if they were a little harder to let go of but practically, wouldn't make sense to keep.  (I think a big part of that is thinking of the money wasted but I have to move past that.)

My aunt gave me $50 in Target gift cards, and I've been hoarding them so when I decided to go clear like Marie suggests for bins, I was happy to get 4 big bins and 3 small bins for $.88 (well, $.43 after my cash back from Ebates.  Woot!) after using the gift cards.  I got the bins to replace these.


I used to think that having solid color bins were the jam because then if someone came into your space, they couldn't see your crap.  Well, no one visits period, and they certainly aren't going into my basement.  I can't count how many times I asked the Mr to get this or that from a bin, and he had to rifle through these bins because even though the outside was labeled years ago, it never got put back in the same spots year after year.  With clear ones, we can easily identify everything which makes life WAY easier.

I am nowhere near done and I get overwhelmed and panicky just thinking about how much more I have to do because let's face it, it's all on me.  The Mr can want to help but there's one person in the house that knows where EVERYTHING is, and it's typically that person that has to go through everything to purge.  He can go through some of his crap in and on the desk (that was a hint, hope he picked up on it) but everything else is on me.  So I will get to that when I can.

In the meantime, I will bask in what feels like a major victory of being able to finally get the Christmas tree box to be stored under the stairs instead of taking up a lot of space in front of shelves.



It only took 23 years.  😁

Have you started donating/cleaning your house this year?  Have you watched the Marie Kondo Netflix show/read her book?  

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Friday, January 18, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #3

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you had a delightful week and are ready to slip into your weekend mode.  I know I am!

Let's get right to...



14 Tricks to Drop Up to 5 Pounds in a Week  (Pretty common sense stuff but still)

Is Aerobic Exercise the Key to Successful Aging?  (I hope so!)

50 Everyday Habits That Reduce Your Risk of Dementia  (Get on 'em!)

8 'Harmless'Habits That Could Be Giving You Osteoporosis  (Good to know)

How To Get Rid Of The Thoughts That Are Clogging Your Brain  (Nyquil?)

The Best Tips For Anyone Who Struggles To Light Their Fireplace    (I love wood burning fireplaces but they scare me too.  This will help!)

Why You Should Keep the Receipts From Every Automotive Repair  (Makes sense!)

The one thing married women should do to protect their finances before they retire   (Not something you want to think about but should- God forbid)

Puberty for the Middle-Aged  (Oh God.  Is this what people keep saying when you ask about aging, and they say "you'll see!!!"  You'll see WHAT!?!?!)

Couple Returns to Home Lost in California's Camp Fire to Find Their Dog Waiting for Them   (Aww, nugget!)

This Rescue Dog And Cat Duo Are The Most Adorable Adventure Buddies  (Ahh, so cute!!)

Looking forward to the weekend even if we don't have anything in particular planned. 

Whatchu got planned?

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Mental Shifts

Grab some caffeine folks, this one's long!

The few weeks before heading to Vermont, I'd watched the snow falling there on a webcam, and I was sure we'd have a white Christmas.  Then a few days before we left, El Nino reared its head, and a melt was forecasted.  I was irritated and felt like "of course it's going to melt the day we get there because that's just how it goes for us."  My friends can tell you from stories, I don't necessarily share here, that sometimes we do have the worst luck with crap like that.  Kind of like how our last night at a hotel this trip was spent at what I think is the last smoking hotel in the country with 50 families of screaming, entitled children (and parents) for a sports competition,  One of the little forms of birth control, angels pulled the fire alarm at night and we had to evacuate.  We only stayed there to get sleep from a nine-hour drive, and we just looked at each other as we headed down the stairs and noted that "extreme purgatory" had begun.  This happens after very long vacations where a deity decides we need to be smacked hard back into reality.  Sorry, I got off track.

So yeah, I felt like our Christmas was "ruined," especially when the tree farm didn't have any trees we could cut in our size...only big ones across the field.  It did not compute as his English transformed to Swahili when it reached my ears.  Apparently, the Mr couldn't even look at me as the guy repeatedly explained to me why they were keeping people out of the fields because all he saw was this...

(via GIPHY)

I guess he thought repeating himself would make me comprehend it more.  All I could think was Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty screaming "smite me, Almighty smiter!!!"  We got an adequate precut tree, and as we went in to pay for it and I was stewing, I told myself.  "Do NOT be the reason this trip sucks!!  You found a tree in the size you want (the others would've been way too small), there is still snow on the ground, so maybe you can sled tonight before it's all gone.  The weather isn't just happening to you, millions of other people who adore white Christmases will have theirs "ruined" as well.  You know by past experience YOU will make or break this trip for the both of you so snap out of it."

I decorated the tree and house, and it took way longer than anticipated, so there was no time for sledding since it gets dark there at 4pm that time of year.  When I was done and exhausted, I suggested we go out for dinner.  It was free for us because between the kindness of two friends and my mom between birthdays and Christmas, I got almost $200 in gift cards that could be used all over the city.  The meal was good, but the service was awful.  I just focused on the fact we were by the fireplace all snuggly and enjoyed our meal.  The rain hit by the time we left and when we got back to the cabin, I said farewell to the snow I didn't get to play in.  The next morning, there was actually some snow left!  It had melted to a patchy mess over most of the city, but we were tucked on a spot that actually retained the most snow, at least on the hills that counted.  Because of the warmth, it was quite foggy all day and night to the point visibility was low so we stayed in that evening and watched Home Alone 2 after grabbing bbq chicken pizza for dinner.  As I was commenting on how ugly the curtains were and looking at them, I saw it move.  I said, "why did the curtain move in a way it would when there is an animal there?"  The Mr checked it out, and sure enough, a creature was stirring, and it was a mouse.  We knew there was an old mouse trap from the last time we were there and I baited the trap while the Mr set it and told Jerry to enjoy his last meal.  Normally, I would've been freaking out and bitching about why is this happening and generally making things more irritating than they already were but we baited the trap, it's all we could do...off to bed.  The Mr said he heard the trap an hour later but checked in the morning and our issue was solved.  We found the spot it might've gotten in behind the cabin and closed it up with bricks and never had another visit from his brethren.  We got our white Christmas and do you know that when we went outside on the porch at midnight, the only snow cloud in sight was over our cabin.  I smiled at the heavens, and Grandma smiled back.

Christmas Day was a hard one because I had this idea of relaxation ensuing now that we didn't need to be anywhere and thought maybe we'd read a book or sled or something.  On a whim, we bought a 1000 piece puzzle of the town.  Don't do that.  It was maddening and given the Mr is very problem solving oriented, I knew he wouldn't want to stop even if I tried throwing in the towel a few times.  It's not until I got up and started making Christmas linner that he realized it was almost 1:30pm and when we were finished it was almost 2:30pm, and there were only 90 minutes of light left.  Totally could've gone sledding but instead, we both griped about how much time that puzzle sucked away from Christmas Day.  Later, I had a mini meltdown that was a long time coming about how Christmas honestly hasn't been the same since Grandma got sick and I'm chasing something I'll never have again and not sure how to establish a new normal.  It was good to get off my chest and to make up for me being a poop, I told the Mr to run to Redbox and rent The Predator.  Trust me, it was penance.  It was awful.

New Year's Eve was another test of my patience.  I felt the Mr. getting antsy in a crowded store, so I cut the visit short.  We headed to the grocery store because we had no formal plans for NYE other than watch the ball drop.  We had bad luck with appetizers in recent months, and the small grocery store was full of annoying people who were only making our moods more sour.  As I felt myself snapping, I knew I needed a bigger store to peruse, so we went a few miles up the road.  While I didn't feel like cooking that night, the only pizza shop in the area was closing at 5pm (WTH?) so baked rigatoni and garlic bread it was going to be.  I decided to light a fire in the wood burning fireplace in the kitchen, and that certainly lifted my mood.  I told the Mr. to go play video games because when he hovers, I get anxious.  I opened a bottle of spiced cherry wine I brought with us from Traverse City and the night seemed on track.  Then the ice storm hit.  We were fine because we were in for the night but the last 20 minutes of 2018 were spent scrambling to find a way to watch the ball drop because ice knocked out Dish Network.  YouTube streaming claimed it was live but it wasn't, we missed it by 10 seconds then gave a feigned "happy new year," blew our horns and marveled at the fact that 2018 couldn't resist one more kick to the teeth.  It was comical.

I chose New Years Day to do our session at the falconry because I 1) wanted to start off the new year doing something cool and 2) I wanted it to symbolize freedom and sending off 2018 which, to date, was the worst year of my life perhaps tying with the year my parents divorced.  The birds at the falconry are not captive, they choose to stay there.  When they fly from perch to perch or onto a power pole or the top of the barn, they can fly away and never be seen again.  They have free will.  The incentive of a fairly easy free meal and getting fawned over in bird speak after their session keeps them coming back.  It was windy that day to the point I checked to make sure our session was still on.  One thing the Mr and I always love is watching birds ride the thermals and winds with their wings outstretched and floating without a care in the world.  A few times, as the winds shifted mid-flight, so would she.  She did it with grace and ease.  As this bird looked me in the eyes and tilted her head, we made a connection. 



To her, maybe it meant "gimme more meat, wench," but to me, it was a lesson in learning to change with the winds.  It's a lesson I hope to keep in practice going forward because I can feel myself slipping back into old frustrations and I need to remember that feeling.

On our final night before we had to leave that home, which had an amazing few sled hills we couldn't use, we were forecast snow.  You know, that we couldn't enjoy.  I had us pack up to the point we only needed to throw our toiletries in the suitcase and throw on clothes.  I didn't want a stressful departure.  I seemed to wake on the hour from 2am on when I saw big fluffy flakes out of my window.  I wanted to cry.  By 6am, I surrendered the idea of sleep and turned on the floodlight outside to watch the snow until 7am and sulk.  I regretted not taking a hot soak in that big bathtub off the bedroom, and now I was going to miss it.  Why?  It's 6am, I'm up, the Mr is in another bedroom sleeping (he had hellacious bloody noses on the trip and didn't want to wake me if he had to get up in the night) so just do it.  And I did.  I sat in that just hotter than lukewarm bath since it went no hotter (don't even get me started), massaged my tight, crampy calves and watched the snow fall for 30 minutes.  The only thing that would've made it better was the lavender bath salts I bought, but they were in his room, and I wasn't going to wake him for that.  I got my stuff together and thought "well, now we can have a banana and watch the snow fall for a few hours.  Sucks that the Mr has the car packed up, I wish we could've gone sledding."

Eff that.

I told the Mr. I wasn't going to look back and say "I wish."  GG (God and Grandma) gave me snow, I'm playin' in it.  I got together the last of our food in the house (prosciutto, a little cheese and crackers, a banana and hot tea.)  I told the Mr we were sledding and a look of panic set in.  I said we had 2 hours until we needed to go, we were granted an extra hour checkout and we're using it to sled.  He got our space bags of sledding gear, and I told him to grab the heavy duty trash bags from the cans in the garage because even though we had floats, they were packed and trash bags go way faster.  I told him to set an alarm for an hour and off we went.  We forged a path and laughed like kids.  Snow sprayed up as we slid faster with each newly worn path and that was on the small hill.  The big hill was risky.  There was a "platform" of land at the bottom, but if you didn't jump off in time, you'd end up in the trees.  Our inner seven-year-olds didn't care.  The first run was a little wonky because you'd get flipped backward and couldn't see to jump off.  The second time, we had a worn path, and it went much faster with us laughing and screaming the whole time.  With the glaze of ice under the new snow, we knew a third run would be pushing it, so we hit the smaller hill four more times before calling it quits after 45 minutes.  I will never forget sledding those hills while the snow gently fell around us with white tipped pines and silence except for our gleeful squeals.  I would've missed that if I was busy with a pity party over why did this happen when we had to leave?  Who cares when it happened?  If it happened at all and you can take advantage of it, do it.

That's not how we've lived up to that point.  We were always thinking about the time, effort or hassle something might take and would talk ourselves out of it.  When we returned home, I was made aware of a Christmas day incident we missed (darn) that could be an excellent advert for HomeAway's holiday campaign this year.  They said they laughed thinking of what I would've said if I were there.  My response was empathetic to all involved, I was sorry their holiday was ruined, but as far as how I would react, we would've likely stood up, hugged everyone goodbye and left.  I am 99% certain that is not the response they anticipated because I received no response from that.  I know that 20 years ago, I would've screamed and yelled at the person for being an idiot then we all would've talked about them for an hour after they left.  I know that is still what my family expects from me even though I haven't acted that way in well over 10 years.  Maybe that response, which I know has been shared with others will allow people to see me in a different light.  Maybe it will make them look at how they react to people and that feeding the drama llamas gets you nowhere except more tangled in the web.

I don't know why or what the mental shifts were for me on this trip.  Whether it's guidance from a new angel up there or my age or a combination of both, but I hope it continues.

Have you made any mental shifts lately?

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Hump Day Poll: Runnin' on Empty?




For as long as we've been doing this whole exercise thing consistently, there is one thing I know I can't do before a workout...eat.  I mean not even within about two hours.  When we were taking my mother in law out for her birthday, we did an early workout, and I ate about 45 minutes before, but it was just a banana and yogurt.  Oh my Lord, I almost yakked 4x during that 30-minute workout and had to stop a few times! 

95% of the time we workout on an empty stomach (or at least 3 hours after lunch.)  The most I can ever have is something minimal like a pecan stuffed date seems to be our perfect pre-workout snack if we've got a severe case of drop hunger going on before our session. 

What about you?

Do you prefer to workout on an empty stomach, a little something or can you workout even within 30 minutes of a meal?

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

We Tried It: Oikos Triple Zero Peanut Butter Banana Yogurt

We're big fans of peanut butter and banana, just like The King.  If you've followed along, you know I'm not a yogurt fan, but I've found a very few select flavors I like.  Since I like peanut butter and banana and this was only a buck, we thought we'd give it a go.


Here's a peek at the nutritional info.


It's got that peanut butter look to it.  Check.  No real bananas obviously so the banana is all flavoring.


But how did it taste?


I'll have to defer to the Mr on that one because the second I opened it and gave it stir, I almost retched.  (How's that for an endorsement?)  I'm very sensitive to the smell of yogurt and the combo of peanut butter with it almost put me over the edge so I passed it over.  He smelled it and said it smelled fine to him and took a bite.

Then he walked to the trash and threw it out.  He said "tastes fake.  All I taste is fake sugar."  It's sweetened with stevia and unfortunately, we haven't had many products with it that doesn't taste fake.  He said there wasn't even much peanut butter taste to it all.  So a thumbs down for us but if you're used to the taste of stevia, it probably wouldn't bother you.  Oh well, only out a buck but you never know what yogurt flavors will be a hit or miss.

Would you try peanut butter yogurt?

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Home From the Holidays

I know it's been a week since our return, but I took advantage of the posts I had scheduled to not jump right back into the frantic "what am I going to write about!?" mindset.  We enjoyed a few weeks in Vermont with a solid finish in Maine for a little relaxation because I don't know how to do that on the main portion of our trips.  We had zero guilt about our excursion, and from what I heard from two people when we got back, we should thank our lucky stars we missed some fireworks.  So time to start looking for our next Christmas getaway...we're going nautical, I think but before we jump ahead, let's recap this trip.

Our tree was the perfect height and I had fun decorating it all "Vermonty."


Of course, Vermont isn't Vermont without covered bridges.


 We were able to build a snowman despite all weather reports being against us.  He was little and ready for a fight.

On our 27th dating anniversary, we went snowshoeing when we saw the trails were open.


Vermont is known for its maple "creamees," and the goats are fans as well.


Christmas Eve night and we're settling in with some Christmas cookies.


Taking in the Christmas magic.


We went to the Jericho Historical Society to see the old red mill but actually got quite the schooling on "Snowflake" Bentley which is fascinating!  He's the reason you know that no two snowflakes are alike!


Obviously, when snow is on the ground, and a sledding hill is available, we're going down it.  (Well, I am and telling him to put on his booties.)


Then it was on to the next house for New Years week.  Holy crapballs.  The cabin we just stayed in was the size of the garage.  We easily got our steps in just walking that place.  I made sure to utilize the awesome kitchen while we were there and pretend it was mine.


We weren't far from the town of Woodstock, VT which is consistently named the most Christmasy town year after year.


One of our favorite stops was the Billings Farm/national park.  If you're ever in the area, make sure you go!


Obviously, a trip (or three) was in order to the Vermont Country Store.


It was a quiet (ish) NYE at home.  I baked, and we tested my new angel bells from childhood.  You'll hear more about how 2018 ended in another post.


This was the view from our house.  Breathtaking.


I surprised the Mr with a trip to the local falconry where we got to have a hawk land on us from close and great distances.  It was pretty amazing.


This was the game room in our house.  Can you believe we didn't even play pool, ping pong or air hockey until our last full day there!?


The morning we left we had snow, and I wasn't missing it.


We made a stop at Funstop in NH where they filmed the documentary King of Kong.  The Mr was quite a happy boy.


Then on to Kennebunkport Maine to round things out.  I love their buoy tree with a lobster toppah.


Our visit back to Ogunquit Beach was quite different from when we were there in May, so I took advantage. 


75% of the town was closed, but it's still beautiful.


We rounded things out at an afternoon tea in New York on our way home.  We had a wonderful time and not without its challenges here and there, but that's life. 

I know it's late but...how were your holidays?

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