December 30, 2019

My Christmas cards are still sitting here......

Even though I find this hilarious, I would NEVER send a card like this one.
But it did make me laugh....

Here I am, sitting at my desk (which is super messy as always) and to my right are two boxes of cards.  When I hauled out the Christmas decor I discovered them in the box with all the wrapping paper and gift bags.  I set them on my desk as a reminder to send out cards this year, but they are still sitting there as a reminder of my procrastination.  I didn't send out a single card.  

But I know I am not alone ~ we received two cards this year.  One was mailed from my husband's brother and his wife, and the other was given to me by one of my racquetball friends (who hand makes cards every year, they are beautiful and amazing cards that take her months to plan and make).  So, the tradition of sending out cards has ~ from my experience ~ died a slow death.  

First of all, postage is very expensive.  55 cents for each and every card, not including extra if it is heavy or over-sized.  Cards are fairly cheap unless you want a specific message, or want to impress the recipients with a fancy card.  I also tried send E-cards (you can do it through Hallmark), but no one seemed very happy with them.  I thought they were great, because you could add your message and some were even animated, sang songs, etc. 

Secondly, it takes time.  Generally we like to write something in the card, like "I wish we were together for the holidays", or something personal that you want to say.  The really time crunched write a letter and print out however many they need and stuff it inside the card, which isn't very personal at all......

So, as I sit here, wondering how old these cards are, I wonder if I should just throw them out, and admit to myself that it's not something I will do.  Being honest with oneself is sometimes hard.  We don't want to admit we are unorganized, procrastinating shit-bags, do we?  And yet.  I suppose that is exactly what I am, lol.  

Love, 365

December 28, 2019

Calling it out......or "you go, Peg!"

Calling people out on their B.S.....

Brought to you by (go here)......

And then there's this........ a very interesting article where Michael decided to call out the BS when he encountered it for a week.  

Peg's story was a little bit more satisfying.  I mean, who hasn't wanted to, or did, tell someone in the nicest way they could think of that they're a jerk?  Worse yet, a racist jerk.   Oh, you didn't go to the link yet?  Go ahead, I'll wait........

 I recall calling out the BS was a few years ago when I went to buy tires.  Maybe more than a few years ago, because this was when Bush (the second one) was president.  Remember when we all had a nice little tax bonus?  We had to wait quite a long time for our refund due to the last four numbers of Romeo's ss#.  We decided I would buy new tires for the Rodeo, I did my due diligence on deciding what type of tires I wanted, and went down to the Discount Tire down the road.  I pointed out the tires I'd chosen, and the sales guy went to the back to make sure they had enough.  He returns a few minutes later, said they only have one and they will need to go to the bigger warehouse to pick up the other three.  The charge was "only" $40 for them to go right out to get them.  

I looked at him for a half a minute, my mind spinning out all sorts of scenarios.  Then I explained that I had waited months for this tax refund, and I can certainly wait another few days or a week or whatever, for the tires.  Just call me when you have them and I'll be back, I said.  I pick up my purse and turn to walk out, when he calls me back, and said "let me talk to the manager", returns a few minutes later to say they will wave the fee.  

And inside my head, is a little girl jumping up and down, raising her fist in the air, yelling "YES!", while I pulled out my book and started calmly reading while I got my new tires.  

Love, 365

December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wow, it's been sooooo long since I've posted anything!  Here is the handy list of excuses....

~I've been busy with shopping for the holidays and baking too many cookies...
~When I sit down to write, something comes up and I end up not finishing....
~I've been working too are taking off time they can't carry-over......
~I fell and I can't get up.....

The past week has been crazy and hectic, but I suppose many of you have experienced the same.  We had such a nice Christmas ~ not in the way of gifts, but just the way the day went, you know?  We didn't irritate each other, the small gifts were thoughtful, the Louisiana gumbo was great.  I also had a banner day in bread baking.  Even though the ugly loaves taste just as good as the great looking loaves, it's really great when they turn out pretty.

Merry Christmas!
Love, 365

December 13, 2019

Ahhhh, a wee bit of alone time.....

Tiny humans......

I don't really know why, but Romeo has been substitute teaching more the past 4 weeks.  In the past he would let a week or two go by before accepting a job, then take one or two days and repeat.  Perhaps his recent trips to urgent care has spurred it on, or the holidays.  

Whatever, I have a rare day at home alone.  Something I really missed when he retired a year ago!  I love my time alone, where no one is hanging around, asking if I need help, or what I want for lunch.  Oh, I have the hour or two on the weekend when he is working on a project outside or is making his rounds of the hardware store (sort of like me going to the department store, haha).  Sometimes I just need a day where I can regroup and recharge.  Like today.

Last week he had a couple of jobs with kindergartners.  Not long after he arrived, he texted me with "they are so tiny!!".  It's one thing to see a little kid with their mom at the store, and quite another to have a class room full of them.  It really made me smile to imagine him in that class.   

My co-worker brought in some cookies she baked, and they were so delicious I got the recipe, and a batch is in my freezer right now.  After I get home from racquetball I'm going to bake them.  They're a shortbread cookie with fresh rosemary.  I really need to plant a few bushes in my yard, it's so expensive to buy at the store.  

I hope you all enjoy your Friday!  
Love, 365

December 10, 2019

Mailing packages.....

Although Romeo now has a gift under the tree (the robe I wrote about in my last post) I still had some small things to mail out.  I picked up some of the flat rate boxes from work and looked up how much it would cost me to mail them.  After being sufficiently shocked, I decided to mail them anyway.  There is a UPS store not far from my house, and they accept USPS stuff too.  So I took them in and after the woman who was helping me (wow, was she grumpy) told me how much it was, I told her I'm sorry I wasted her time and took them to the post office to mail.  It would have cost me $34 dollars.  They would charge me 14 dollars more than the post office would.  I was shocked.  I'll never go there again unless I have a UPS package from Amazon to return.  I think that's highway robbery ~ does anyone say that anymore? haha.

Most of my shopping is done.  The last thing I really needed, for the office "white elephant gift exchange" is coming tomorrow.  I am so glad that part is over, because it's just so stressful, and I am struggling to get through the first part of the month to my next paycheck.  Unfortunately you really can't order from Amazon in October and have them hold it for you until the second week in December!  So I had to wait ~ most everything was picked out in October and November.  I'm tempted to send gift cards to the grandkids (not for them to spend, but the parents to use for what they might like).  Buying a gift for my grandson with autism is especially hard.  Even his Dad (my son) would tell me when I ask for a hint or suggestion that he just doesn't know. 

My co-worker and I baked on Sunday ~ wow, the kitchen looked like a bakery.  The oven was on for 3 hours, and the downstairs was actually too warm.  We had fun though, and she is truly a nice girl.  She's probably in her mid to late 20s. It was nice to have someone to bake with that enjoys it.  We're planning on getting together again sometime to make pumpkin rolls, but I'm wondering if we'll get to it before the holidays. 

I hope your shopping is done, and you're simply enjoying the parties! 
Love, 365

December 7, 2019

The average Saturday........

Looking good!  

Oh, it's just a typical Saturday morning.  I usually watch Lucky Dog while having breakfast and coffee.  I wish I could get a dog from Brandon, he trains them so well!  After finishing this post, I'll shower and get going. 

Since most of the family lives in Texas, I have packages to mail out.  I received the name of the person from the family gift exchange, and Romeo picked up a very nice robe from Costco.  It was $19.  To ship said robe?  Probably $15.  Now I'm thinking I will send a gift card to the recipient and let Romeo keep the robe.  Next year I'm putting "GET GIFT CARDS" in my calendar starting in mid-November so that I don't make this mistake again.  I had forgotten how expensive it is to mail stuff since I rarely mail packages...most of the time I let Amazon mail them for me, probably just like most of you.....

And wow, have I been taking advantage of Amazon.  It's just so convenient!  I would love to shop more locally, but then I'm stuck with the same issue I mentioned already.  Shipping.  :-(

I had a lovely 8 days off ~ I had a few extra days to use up before the end of the year....we can only carry over 2 days to the next one.  I baked, I decorated, I volunteered.  Went back to work on Thursday and somehow :-) got through those two days to the weekend.  What I really need is a three day work "week".  Which may happen as my boss transitions to retirement.  We speculate that he will cut Friday's out of his schedule sometime this next year.  But I'm not ready for retirement yet.  I need to pay off my "new" car.....
Sioux getting into the spirit.....

I know it looks like it's leaning, but it's just my poor camera skills...haha

Ok!  I finally posted something, and it doesn't matter that it might or might not be lame.  But for now I have to shower and get enjoy the weekend wonderful readers!

Love, 365

November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week I read a post with ~ what I assume is a 20-30 year old woman ~ ranting over how we've all been fed (haha) a bunch of baloney about Thanksgiving.  That the history in the books is wrong.  And I had to agree that the history books of my childhood were not based on fact, but a not-so-subtle twisting of how it really was so that all of us immigrants can feel good about ourselves.  However, I did bristle when she highly criticized basically all Americans for celebrating this holiday which is, as she explained it, based on lies.  Then the shit storm hit facebook.  Some agreed with her but the overwhelming majority supported Thanksgiving as more than just a continuation of a historical fabrication.  In fact I would feel confident in saying that it's something different to all of us.

For my family, who had very few "traditions", it meant we had turkey, dressing, gravy, vegetables of some kind, bread and then a selection of pies.  Pumpkin.  Pecan.  Apple.  We sat down after Mom cooked all day and ate that beautiful meal in what ~ 15 to 20 minutes?  If we had company then there might have been conversation, jokes, laughter that might have been lacking when it was just Mom, Dad and us two girls.  It all depended on how well Mom & Dad were getting along on that day. 

Mom would then dutifully put up the Christmas decor the day after.  Of course my sister and I helped with all that stuff.  Cooking, putting up the tree, making cookies before Christmas.  But my Mom wasn't a happy woman.  And her unhappiness showered down on the rest of us.  So, although my sister and I weren't depressed or sad all the time, we certainly were not as happy as we might have been if our parents didn't despise each other. 

I'm sorry!  This is supposed to be about Thankfulness ~ and I am so very thankful of all we have.  We had a great dinner today. The turkey was good (ok, it was just a tad dry on the legs).  The dressing was excellent.  The focaccia bread ~ which I thought was good ~ Romeo didn't really care for.  But we have a nice home, that's warm and homey, our health ~ when others are struggling.  Life is good.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Love to you all!

November 22, 2019

Sort of just another Friday........

Today was a regular Friday ~ work until 2pm, come home all cranky because I haven't had any lunch yet, because we work straight through w/no lunch break.  Which is ok because I'd rather get off an hour early.  It's Romeo's Friday off from putting my lunch together, which he does the other work days. 

Remember Ms. Loud?  (how can one forget, ha ha) The week before this one she came into work sounding sick.  Coughing, and stuff.  Well, she came over to my desk, leaned in REAL close to do something on my computer, and bingo ~ I end up with strep too.  She did apologize, but that doesn't give me back the time off I had to take on Tuesday.  And I had all my vacation days planned to the minute, with a carry over of 2 days for next year, which will now be one.  Wah wah wah, I am just a whiner, but it still ticks me off.  If you don't feel good at work please don't make certain your coworkers will end up with whatever plague you might have, will ya?

This week it seems like I suddenly realized that Thanksgiving is next week, so I scrambled to find my teeny tiny turkey ~ and found a 7.3 pound one.  Perfect for two of us.  Since our family doesn't travel much, and Thanksgiving is basically a long weekend, it's always just us two.  I don't want a 12 - 16 pound turkey where we end up with way too much in left over turkey.  A few days of leftovers is great, but 8 more meals is too much.  So, I scratched that off my list, but it isn't making much of a dent ~ this is the start of the silly season after all.

Well, enough bellyaching for now.  Enjoy your weekend!
Love, 365

November 15, 2019

Happy Friday & more about the end.....

Believe it or not, this is a burial ground.....

Yeah, I apologize to all of you that really, really don't want to discuss our inevitable end.  All of us will die someday.  That doesn't mean we want to think about it much less talk to our families about it.  It's an uncomfortable subject.  Maybe we just don't want to be overwhelmed ~ & believe me, it is overwhelming.  I had to change my final wishes due to religious reasons.  But the idea of being "preserved" with embalming frankly grossed me out.  In my research for a natural burial, I discovered that New Mexico has a burial ground just south of Albuquerque.  No embalming.  No fancy caskets.  Much more affordable than the traditional funeral home service ~ after adding everything up, it is more than $5,000 less (because the plan I had discussed last week didn't include a place to actually bury in).  There may have been something I failed to add in, but it came to just a tad over $3,000. The only sticky wicket is that you are buried within 24 hours or so.  Obviously.  So if you have family out of town, they will likely miss it, but since they include GPS coordinates, they can always go out if they want to.  I know this sounds very depressing to some.  But I will feel so relieved that Romeo won't have to make these plans if I die before he does.  I'm doing it for him and the rest of the family. 

This type of burial is sometimes called "green", and for good reason.  No poisonous embalming fluid seeping into the ground.  No toxic fumes released into the air with cremation.  Even though that's not my main concern, it's good to know.  Ok, so there.  Now you know!


I am so glad for this 4 day weekend coming up.  I don't have a lot on the calendar, which is why!  Although I do need to find a turkey.......and edible turkey, haha.  Last year I was so lucky to find a small one, I think it was around 8 lbs, which is perfect for the two of us.  Basically it's just a large chicken :-)

The weeks after this one become increasingly busy.  Cookie baking.  Decorating.  Parties (although there are only a few).  Church services of course.  Somehow I manage to dread and feel excited about it all.  Of course included in all this is buying a few gifts ~ mostly for the kids.  Our family draws names at Thanksgiving, so there's only one item to purchase.  Takes a little pressure off.  The pressure is to make sure I get it sent off on time ~ I have cut it very close a few times.  

Enjoy your weekend!

Love, 365

November 10, 2019

The silly season is nearly upon us......

I know you've seen this too....
Oh, boy, here we go.  The Christmas decor is up everywhere.  I noticed it at Costco before Halloween, but I suppose that has been true for a number of years.....the time they put it out is earlier and earlier.  In fact, some people on FB have announced that they've already put up their tree.  Not sure if they did outdoor decorations, but the tree is up!!  
Well, I may have started my Christmas shopping, but I am not putting up any trees until after Thanksgiving.  I love fall decor.  And the tree & other decorations gets old.  Why put it up so early?  ARGHHHHHHH.  My sister said it's because there's not as much time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that sounds a little lame to me.
My co-worker was out all week last week with the flu.  I am glad she didn't come in because I didn't get my flu shot until last Saturday.  I've had the flu before, and it wasn't any fun at all.  At the same time, it was rough doing both of our jobs.  The other two co-workers only helped me out after they got their coffee :-( The 7:45-8:30 period is one of the busiest!  I did say something to our OM, and she said I should ask.  Well, the problem with that is, I was so busy I had no time to ask.  Sheesh.  One thing I did do when my moral was at the bottom was look at the want ads.  But as I've said before, I really hate losing all my vacation time.  And I have the maximum amount now that I've been there for nearly 5 years.  Wah wah wah.  I'm really being a cry baby, huh?
Speaking of crying, I met with a funeral home rep this weekend to put together a pre-paid funeral.  Although I see the need for it, it is not a fun conversation.  What kind of flowers? (I don't know). What type of casket?  (Uh, that one). What about the limousine service?  (I guess so).  On and on.  Way more details than I ever thought possible.  And, wow, is it expensive.  My original plan was cremation, but for religious reasons, I now need a standard funeral.  What a racket, eh?  It is expensive to live AND die.  

And so, given the "downer" nature of my post, here's something to chuckle at:

Have a great week y'all!
Love, 365

November 1, 2019

This and that......

My daughter-in-law sent this pic of my Grandson in Halloween costume....
The funny part is his name is Frank :-)
Frank-furter?  Lol

The last time I enjoyed Halloween was 25 years ago.  Seriously! I enjoyed it when my kids were young but now it's just a giant pain and too much candy laying around.  I didn't want to wear a costume for work, but I remembered my graduation cap and gown, so I wore it.  Still, I would have preferred to wear my regular work clothes ~ that cap wrecked my hair, haha.  Even though I "participated" in the costume thing at work, my coworkers didn't include me in the photo's they took.  Why?  I have no idea.  I know I am too sensitive, but it kinda made me feel like an outsider.  

Which got me to thinking about how few friends I have.  Maybe Romeo's loner mentality is rubbing off.  Then I saw this:
Loners generally have a small circle of close friends and have higher standards for their friendship and trust. They enjoy spending time with their friends but do not depend on and attach to them like others, though they are highly loyal. ... Funny enough, both introverts and extroverts can be loners.

Yeah, so I'm good.  That's the thing about work.  It's like your in-laws ~ you didn't really choose them, they're just there and it's up to you (or me) to find a way to work with everyone.  Mostly when they are getting together to gossip (by which I mean any conversation that doesn't have anything to do with work and not necessarily talking about someone) and it's not a conversation I have any interest in, I just go to my desk and you  Lol.

It's my Friday off.  Unfortunately I don't have Monday off next week like I normally would, because the Doc took (his words) too much time off and wants to make up one of those days.  :-(  Bummer.

Have a great weekend!

Love, 365

October 26, 2019

When stuff breaks.....

It startled me to find a pic of a water heater that looks just like ours....

A month or so ago, I reminded Romeo that he had talked about replacing the water heater a year ago.  I figured now that he is retired, this is a job that he would have plenty of time for.  But what I didn't count on is the fact that he never ever asks for help.  I am the designated helper, which is really no fun at all because on a big job like this, something always comes up.  It's the hose that needs replacing too, or a new piece of plywood he didn't count on replacing.  He becomes frustrated, and although he isn't directing it at me, I become the unwitting recipient.  I do my best to talk him down a bit.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.  

Romeo ~ in case you've never read between the lines here ~ is a bit of a loner.  He doesn't make friends easily.  And it would take quite a bit for him to ask for help from someone ~ other than me of course.  He will do the bulk of the work.  I will help only with a few things.  But gee, I wish he would have called a buddy to help him.  

Right before we left for our trip, Romeo finished off the microwave...
It's really tragically funny.  It had a digital timer on it, and you would spin a small dial to choose how much time to cook something.  Lately, that digital time was wonky.  You turn it a little bit and it would show 13 minutes instead of 30 seconds (or whatever time you wanted).  So we knew it was on it's way out.  I guess we have had it for 10 years or so.  Our dog really enjoys sweet potatoes.  So on a shopping trip he picked up a bag (an entire bag for Pete's sake) and proceeded to cook them a few at a time until he had cooked all of them, which he would then slice and freeze.  He had cooked nearly all of them when suddenly it decided enough was enough, and gave up.  But we didn't want to look into getting a new one until we returned.  I found the one I wanted and ordered it ~ unfortunately not available in the store (trust me, this is what I ALWAYS do) and it's not due to be delivered until Monday.  

You really don't realize how often you use something until it's broken.  Like when you get a nasty paper cut on a finger you figure you never use, until every time you do something you use the injured finger.  

My sister called me a few minutes ago and we commiserated together about our men not asking for help ~ apparently she has the same issue.  All we can do is laugh and pray.  Perhaps not in that order.

Love, 365

P.S.  Thanks to Romeo's awesome preparations, including building a simple ramp, we successfully placed the water heater on the platform!!  The part I was most worried about it over.  Whew!

October 22, 2019

A cold and windy fall........

This weekend I splurged on a two night bed and breakfast (sans breakfast, lol ~ more on that later) in Jemez Springs.  Of course I chose it because they allow dogs ~ Romeo doesn't think our dog would do well in a kennel, and maybe she wouldn't.  We'll never know... :-)  The fall colors were beautiful.

We visited the Valles Caldera National Preserve.....
It was so windy and cold we didn't stay very long.

The view outside of the beautiful!

Battleship Rock National Park in Jemez...they have great facilities for cooking out, camping, hiking.

The cabin was just spectacular.  It had a full kitchen, nice beds, full bath and was stocked with everything!  Apparently they quit providing breakfast some time ago, but we were just fine with our own bacon and eggs.  The only thing that would have improved our experience would have been the wind.  My word, it was very windy.  Oh, and the few convenience items we forgot.  And from here on, Romeo is not allowed to pack the food.  We had not one single vegetable or piece of fruit. :-)

Have a great week, everyone!  Mine will feel short since I took today off ~ another bonus!

Love, 365

October 19, 2019

Beeing busy.......

It has been a very busy day.  I made sourdough bread this morning ~ seems like I am always tweaking the recipe, but it continues to improve.  This afternoon I made peach cobbler from some of the Palisade peaches I bought this summer.  The cobbler is a gift for our parish priest and his family.  As I'm anxiously watching it bake, I realize that nearly every time I bake something for someone (like a birthday or thank you) it's a recipe I've never made before.  Perhaps I just love skirting the edge of disaster?  Who knows.

Romeo was watching a documentary "Figure it out on the Hayduke Trail".  Toward the end, he was waxing philosophical about what this type of hike does for him and others that are so inclined...much of it has to do with a "wilderness experience".  It caught my attention (while I was doing laundry, baking, and putting other stuff away) and I thought of how few people would have an opportunity to go on such a hike.  Jobs?  I don't know if this guy was just out of college and doing this before looking for work or what.  Not something I could have ever done when I look back on my early years ~ I didn't have the money or lack of obligations to take that sort of adventure.  It is over 800 miles.  Because I wasn't giving it my full attention, I have no idea how long it took to complete.  Months, I'm sure.

But anyway.....what I wanted to suggest is that we don't need to take months to hike over 800 miles to achieve the same wilderness experience.  I'm lucky that it's basically in my back yard.  All I have to do is walk out the door and go right and I'm hiking the foothills of the Sandia Mountains.  I bet most of you could do the same.  I think all of us benefit from getting out the open spaces and wilderness that is right outside our door, or at the very least an hour or less drive.  And this is a great time of year to go do it.

Love, 365

October 10, 2019

Taking Friday off.....

You've got to see the photos I stole off of Facebook this week...
Amazing stuff from talented people here in New Mexico!

Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness  

Drat, I forget where this one was taken.  Outside of Las Cruces maybe?

Yes, it's the International Balloon Fiesta.....this was taken in Corrales.

Believe me, the Rio Grande looks much more "grand" from the air than it does on the banks, haha.

On Tuesday morning as I was getting ready for work, I thought about taking Friday off.  I was happy to discover that my boss decided on Monday to take Friday off too ~ he has family coming in for the Balloon Fiesta.  So I was able to take it off too.  But I'm not interested in getting up at 3:30 am to be at the park by 4:30.  I have plenty of photos ~ most not as great as the two you see here, but I have many.  I will play racquetball tomorrow and then do laundry and whatever else strikes my fancy.  

The cold I caught on the plane is gone ~ or is it?  I think it has, but my allergies have kicked up, so it's a bit hard to tell.  Flu season has started here too, had a patient who cancelled today because she said she has had the flu for three days.  So, why not call at least two days ago (or even yesterday??) to let us know instead of telling me when I called at 5 minutes after she was due?  People make me crazy.

In about 10 days Romeo and I ~ and the dog of course ~ will be spending a couple of nights in the Jemez mountains.  Hopefully I will get some great photos!  I would have preferred to have taken the digital camera class before this trip, but the lady who teaches the class had surgery and is just now back to teaching.  The nice thing about digital is you can play around and just delete if it doesn't look how you hoped.  But I do want to learn how to take long exposure night photos ~ something I never quite got the hang of back in my film days.

One of my best friends is a flake.  I love her anyway, and I've written about her before ~ the constant canceller (I should nickname her CC for short, haha).  We had a get together scheduled for 2 weeks ago, rescheduled for today, and now rescheduled for next week.  It's OK though.  She's so guilty now there's no way she'll cancel next week........or will she?  Lol.  She has a lot on her plate, so I understand.  It's taken me 15 years to get used to "letting it go" when she cancels.  She really is a lovely person, just flaky.  When we do schedule something I usually put together a plan B just in case.  

I hope you enjoy the photos and your weekend!
Love, 365

October 4, 2019

Family time....

Being with this little guy was the best part of the trip!

I spent the first few days meeting, holding, and gushing over this little cutie.  He is just as "easy" as my son said.  He really only fusses when he's wet or hungry.  Truly a joy!  My daughter in law offered me to stay with them, but originally my sister was coming with me and so I had booked a motel.  Which was rather a shady place.  Motel 6 in Santa Fe is a hell of a lot different from one in Round Rock, Texas.  I don't mind the plain decor, the scratchy sheets as long as it's clean (which it was with the exception of the huge roach in the bathroom).  There were a few interesting characters in the parking lot.  So I thought about flushing the $$ I spent to stay with family....except that there are so many people living in that house that I didn't see room for one more.  Maybe next time I will do it though.  

After a few days with them I reluctantly said my goodbyes and drove to my Mom's in San Antonio.  On the way I stopped at the outlet mall, but I didn't stay long and didn't buy much.  At one store I asked if that was the price and she stated they give a whopping (ok, she didn't say whopping, haha) 10% discount over regular retail stores.  I think the day of outlet malls is over.  The only place I enjoyed was the Williams-Sonoma/Pottery Barn outlet.  But as I was looking around, they really don't mark down much in there.  And it was HOT.  Too hot to walk around for more than an hour.  So I continued on...
 Mom's vinca's...

My Mom is doing about the same.  Very little mobility.  Suffering from the effects of Parkinson's.  These include depression, loss of sense of smell (which has been true for her for years), dementia, and now a new swallowing problem.  She doesn't have the tremors one usually expects to see, but there's plenty of other symptoms.  But as I said, she's hanging in there.  Her day basically revolves around her tv shows.  Some of which I really dislike, like Dr Phil.  What a charlatan.  But we did some re-decorating and threw out a few things.  It felt good to contribute to her care even if for a few hours.  

My Mom's caregiver is not doing so well.  He has prostrate cancer that invaded his colon.  He had treatment for that, but now he has cancer in his lymph nodes, so he's having more treatments.  Sort of like a genetic form of chemo.  My sister and I discussed what to do when he passes.  Which is basically placing Mom in a nursing home, cleaning out and selling the house.  That will be a really sad day for all of us.  I wondered if we should find a facility nearer my sister, but that would put her too far away from all the doctors she sees.  But it's in the back of my mind all the time.
I spent two days with Mom, driving back to Comfort in the evening ~ which is it's own adventure.  I10 has been under construction since before I moved, over 20 years ago.  Between 5 and 6:30, it's crazy now that so many people who work in SA live outside of it's boundaries.  My sister used to do the hour drive there and back every day until she gave that up to work from home. 
My time on the ranch ~ my brother-in-law's place ~ is normally so peaceful.  Now that he is recuperating from breaking his tibia and fibula (the surgeon said he very nearly lost his leg due to the damage to those bones) my sister has become the sole care giver, keeper of the cattle, donkeys, goat and chickens that they have.  Romeo voiced the thought that living in the country, far from other family members has it's downside.  The accident happened Aug 17th, and she's been doing all of this since then, and he won't be able to put pressure on that leg until December.  I wish I could have stayed longer to help everyone out.  And shamefully, I was grateful to get back to my normal life.

So it was a bittersweet trip.  Fun at times, tragic at times.  

I didn't mention that Southwest gave me a voucher for the price of my trip, so I will be using that to return next year.  But I'm not going in Aug/Sept again, I will try for March or April.  By that time my brother in law will be getting around on his own, and we may know more of the future of my Mother's caregiver.  And I'll get to see that lovely little boy again!  

Love, 365

October 1, 2019

I'm baaaaaack...........

At my sister & brother-in-law's ranch.....
It was so hot and humid.
93-96 everyday, while back in NM, the high was in the 70s.

This was supposed to be a vacation, but I think I mentioned before that visiting family is not necessarily relaxing, or sometimes not even fun.  I haven't flown on Southwest for quite awhile, I've been traveling through Allegiant which flies directly to Austin.  I picked SW because Allegiant didn't have any open flights when I looked, which I thought was weird, but SW had a sale, so I was able to purchase tickets for the same price as I would on Allegiant, so happy day, right?  Not so much.  

It all started when I boarded the plane that - of course - flies to Dallas first.  The standing joke in Texas is that you can't even die without having to go through Dallas/Ft Worth or Houston before you go to heaven or hell, haha.  Everyone had been seated when we received the news that our flight, which was supposed to leave at 11:50 am,  is delayed an hour.  Which actually turned out to be 75 minutes.  As we landed in Dallas I realized that I would probably miss ~ and did miss ~ my connecting flight to San Antonio, which left without me at 4:25.  We landed at 4:15.  So, they re-booked me on a flight that was slated to leave at 8:30.  You do the was a long lay-over.  I ate dinner.  I walked around.  I read my book, and generally tried to keep calm.  But you guessed it, the flight that was supposed to leave at 8:30 was delayed until after 10 pm, getting me into SA at just before midnight.  I hurriedly grabbed my luggage and the rental car and arrived in Comfort at 1 am.   

These delays were apparently caused by Houston's airport shutting down due to rain & flooding, so everything was re-routed through Dallas.  

These are the stories we hear all the time from fellow travelers, and seems to be the norm these days.  I wish that we had train travel available.  I wouldn't even care that it takes longer.  It would be more scenic, and maybe more relaxing.

If only that were the end of my story.  The return trip was much the same.  My departing flight was originally scheduled to leave at 12:40 was delayed and they re-booked me ~ without even asking me ~ to a flight that leaves at 3:40.  So, hang out, walk around, drink some coffee, read my nauseam.  Same ol, same ol.  Not only that, but now I have to go to Las Vegas instead of Phoenix, and spend another couple of hours waiting for the next flight.  And I didn't get home until 10 pm.    

The cherry on all of this was the cold I caught on the first flight, which didn't rear it's ugly head until Wednesday.  Sore throat, coughing, sneezing, mucous.  Oh, goody.  I'm almost over it now.  I take some meds at bedtime which holds everything off until about 5 am, when the coughing wakes me up and it's nearly impossible to get back to sleep.  

More about my family visit next time!  At least that part had some sunshine.....

Love, 365


September 17, 2019

Getting out of town soon....

In a few short days, I will be heading off to Texas ~ meet the new grandson, visit with my ailing Mother, staying mostly with my sister and her husband (whom I mentioned had a terrible fall off a ladder and is recuperating from the complicated surgery to repair his broken fibula and tibia). 

I am spending more $$ than I originally hoped, due to the fact that I will be renting a car.  The plan was for my sis to pick me up and then I would borrow her car....but now she is home bound with her husband.  She has become quite the nurse.  Now I can be more relaxed about the time schedule.  I've added a few side stops along the way.  A church I want to visit, and the outlet mall outside of San Marcos...which I will have to limit myself to an hour or two.  To put it mildly, it is ginormous! 

So, my friends, this will probably be the last post until the end of Sept.  I am really ready to put some distance between myself and work.  I wish Romeo could go too, but truthfully, I think he's looking forward to some quiet time to work on our night stands and a small table he wants to build. 

Vacay, here I come!!

Love, 365

September 13, 2019

Preparation & alarming texts......

Only one more week before I meet this little lovey....

I am entering the home stretch before my trip.  My brother-in-law was finally released from the hospital yesterday ~ he had been there for a week.  It seemed like something came up from one day to the next, so it's a big relief for all that he's home.  The drive to the hospital was an hour, so my sister might be able to get some rest.  Unfortunately she won't be able to go to Austin with me to meet the little guy, it's just too soon.  Truthfully, it will be nice to have time to myself in the late evening and hopefully I will sleep like a log.  

Son #1 ~ father of the above cutie ~ texted me, asking if he could leave little Frank with me while he takes his wife out for an anniversary dinner, but after lots of consideration I asked if they could wait to do that on Sunday so I could have a day to get to know him (the baby, you fool).  He texted me back that if I wasn't comfortable it was OK, and that Roxanne didn't think I would want to do it.  So if he's baiting me, I'm just going to ignore that.  It's MY vacation.  And as I pointed out to him when he first asked, it's been a very long time since I've been around a 2 month old.  Like over 30 years.  And I don't live nearby, which if I did, I would have been around him as much as they would let me.  I won't bore everyone with the conundrum of moving back to Texas ~ the biggest pro on that idea is spending time with my grandsons, and to be brutally honest I'm not sure that's enough to give up all of the pros of living in New Mexico.  The love is there.  The desire to endure seemingly endless hot and humid days, with little difference between the seasons doesn't appeal to me.  If that makes me a bad Grandma, well then so be it.

I have two boys, with two different Dads.  Two different personalities.  Son #2 and I are close.  He knows he can call me anytime.  Son #1 and I not so much.  He calls his Dad ~ which makes sense, he lives about 2 hours away.  Whereas I live 13 (or more, depending on traffic)  hours away.  We've all done those one day, one way drives to visit family far away, right?  And on that long and boring drive home, the one where all you want to do it snack to break the monotony, you vow never to do this again.  When I retire, well, doing that drive over two days sound doable, but I don't want to waste my vacation time driving driving driving.  I simply don't have enough of it (vacation time).  So, I feel sort of guilty that I didn't reply with "Yeah!  I want to meet him for 30 minutes, and then let you crazy kids go to a nice restaurant for 3 hours while the baby ~ who you swear is the easiest baby ever ~ screams and cries the entire time you're gone and when they get back they have two sweaty, tear stained and stressed out humans.  Just the tiniest bit of guilt. 

Love, 365

September 9, 2019

Adventures in baking........

Freshly baked this morning.....roasted garlic & rosemary sourdough.

We waited the obligatory hour to slice the bread ~ something Romeo finds irritatingly difficult. :-)
It was really delicious when your bite had a bit of the roasted garlic in it, but I was a tad disappointed to not get much flavor out of the rosemary.  Which I love.  Maybe I need to put in more next time.  

This recipe was from the cookbook I ordered ~ Artisan Sourdough Made Simple, by Emilie Raffa.  And I just discovered that if any of you readers are interested, you can download it by pdf here...
I am not sorry that I bought the cookbook though.  The pictures inside help with techniques (obviously I need more practice scoring).  It could be that the pdf contains photos and everything.  I didn't download it because I don't need too.  Haha

The next recipe I want to try is the chocolate chip loaf.  Which the author loves.  

If you do want to try this type of baking ~ which is ultra easy, I must say ~ there are a few things you don't need for your first attempt.  You don't need a banneton, (also called a proofing basket).  You just need a bowl and a towel that you don't mind getting flour all over it.  A sharp knife will work instead of the lame (a razor blade in a holder, and there are plenty of cheap alternatives).  

What you absolutely need is a good size cast iron dutch oven.  Parchment paper.  Sourdough starter which is easily purchased from King Arthur flour (unless you want to make it yourself, which I never had any luck with), and a good quality bread flour.  There ya go.  

The roof is completed!  Romeo and I scrambled up the spanish tiles that are part of the roof to look at it this morning.  I was unimpressed, but Romeo was happy.  I was also surprised at how many of my neighbors haven't taken the plunge.  These homes are about 25 years old.  The tar paper and stone the original roof are made of have come to the end of their lifespans.  I was kind of surprised that roofing companies don't do those types of roofs anymore.  But, hey, what do I know of roofing?  

In a little less than 2 weeks I take of for Texas to visit family and this little guy:

Cute as a button!  He has grown so much! 

Love, 365

September 7, 2019

And so it goes.........on and on

An old photo...but it is corn season!

As I sit here ~ waiting for the oven to heat up for my bread today ~ there are foot falls, thumps and bumps going on above me.  The roof was not finished yesterday.  I don't know exactly why, but I suspect that they quit before the heat became to intense.  So, mostly yesterday was spreading the adhesive for the material they are currently putting down.  

I finally posted the photo of the bread from last week.  For some reason the photo didn't immediately show up in my photos on the computer.  It turned out fantastic, exactly as I hoped!  So I ordered the cookbook....although I try to avoid buying more, cook books are one of my weaknesses.  Some I use often, others sit there for awhile before I pull them out again.  Some are completely out of print, and I feel so grateful to have them, even if I don't refer to them very often.  

Someone posted this photo on FB, but I had to funny :-)

And this one......

Apparently this is a rare atmospheric occurrence.  I wish I could remember what they called it....all I recall is it is partially the result of ice crystals.  Whatever it is, it's beautiful!

I just took the lid off of the dutch oven, and the bread looks fabulous.  I can't wait to taste it!

Love, 365

September 6, 2019

Adventures in roofing........

Third day of roof replacement.  It sounds like we're about to have a thunderstorm with all the stomping and other weird noises coming from above.  The dog is going crazy ~ which is making both of us a little crazy too. 

The first day they worked on the parapets.  We have a flat roof like the house pictured below:

The parapets are the raised edges along the roof.  Basically they stuccoed them on Monday.  The next step was the preparation for the new roof.  They had to remove all the tiny stones and power wash the roof, which they did yesterday.  It was quite a process, which Romeo sent me pictures of the equipment and the huge pile of those stones, which was surprising.  Then we hit a snag.  The roofers wanted to remove the evaporative cooler before they apply the roof material.  Whereupon Romeo became very stressed and grumpy, because he installed it and knows how it is attached to the roof.  They would have to take the whole thing apart in order to remove it.  I had to listen to his frustration and irritation that the roofers have no idea what they are getting into, but they agreed to leave it after he explained what would be involved.  His biggest concern was that we wouldn't have any a/c (wow, that's really become a thing around here) for two days.  But since they aren't removing it, we are ok and won't have to spend another night without it (oh, that's a whole 'nuther story).  Love the man, but sometimes he drives me absolutely bat shit crazy.  Ladies, does that happen to you too?  Where you have to patiently listen, knowing that all you have to do is let them work it out.  No input is involved.  But if you do, get ready to hear much, much more.  :-)

Supposedly they will finish installing the roof today, with tomorrow involving only an inspection, after the material has "cured".  I will be glad, just to give me a little peace and quiet from my man.  Perhaps by noon tomorrow, we can return to our regularly scheduled program.

Love, 365

September 2, 2019

If at first.....

I am trying a new artisan sourdough recipe today ~ I noticed the you tube video and thought, wow, that looks really easy!  So, it is in it's final rise today.  I will add the pic after it comes out of the oven, and give a taste review.  One of the things I liked about this recipe is that it's for one loaf, so I don't waste a lot of rather expensive bread flour to make it.  And 2 loaves is just a bit too much to make weekly, which became obvious after the second of two loaves I made recently ended up growing some mold.

It is still high summer here, although to be fair, we had a very long and cool spring.  I am looking forward to my favorite ~ and our shortest ~ season: fall.  Where the temp's are in the 70s and 80s and it's really just so perfect outside that you only go in when you have to.  Or, you're working.  I have a little bonus today, since this is our normal workday.  Since next weekend is my 4-day-weekend, I will enjoy a short work week this week.  I have a very odd schedule.  Tuesday - Friday, then Monday - Thursday.   Repeat.  So I have 4 days off every other weekend.  Although I love love love the 4 days off, I'm not sure if it would be better to have a 3 day weekend each time, or do this crazy every other thing.  When I first started working at this office we were off every Friday, but because we have quite a few patients who work at Sandia Nat'l Labs who are off every other Friday, it was decided to accommodate them.  So there ya go.

Otherwise, all is going along.  I have just shy of 3 weeks before my trip to Texas....which seems like a very long time considering I was originally supposed to be there right now.  At the end of October we'll be spending a few days at a cabin in Jemez.  I am really excited about this trip for the reasons below:

I foresee long dog walks, barbecue, beer, and reading on the agenda. Because Romeo doesn't want to board the dog, I had to find a place where dogs are welcomed.  And at a mere $10 extra for the dog, it's a bargain.

Well, I better go preheat the oven!

Love, 365

I am tired.......

  See all that tsoureki?  We made the dough, waited awhile for it to rise, braided it, egg washed it, put sesame seeds on it, baked them, pu...