February Just Got Creepier

February in central NJ is without a doubt the absolute WORST month. Although the days are beginning to get longer, the residual emotion is darkness all day long. We rarely get snow, but if we do, it’s usually a wet heavy mess that turns dirty and lasts forever causing inconvenience – no winter wonderlands here. This particular winter season we have not had any snow. It’s been gray, dreary, with rain and damp the entire season. Not warm enough usually to feel warm, but not cold enough to feel like winter. Almost no sun, just occasional breaks in the clouds. Not especially uplifting. Which is February in NJ. It’s not been a great month for me personally, even ignoring the weather. So imagine how I felt this morning when I heard a noise outside. BC had her face up to the window at the stair landing, staring outside. Birds. Birds all over all the trees around my house. I opened the door to get the paper (which thankfully was on my porch, not on the walk) and the din from the scores of birds grew even louder. Who knew I was living in Bodega Bay?

So Glad It’s Friday

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Shhh. I’m sleeping. And I’m adorable.

It has not been a good week. Let me be clear – my problems are mostly what we laughingly call “first world problems”. But they are MY problems and they are dispiriting and draining. None of them are insoluble, just very very annoying and frustrating. I know it will all get better. But for today, I’m so glad that I can at least shove all the work-week issues aside and concentrate on more fun problems: my son coming home for the weekend, throwing a Super Bowl party for 30-40 people, seeing my niece and grand-niece, seeing all my friends, going to hear some fantastic live music, and taking Monday as a vacation day.

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Can you NOT see that you are interrupting me???

But it’s gray and dismal again this morning, my back is hurting, I’m tired, and I still have meetings to attend. At times like this, it helps to remember what is truly important. WC will tell you that HER life is always very difficult, no matter the day of the week. You can see that for yourself.

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The new beds are too small. I need an entire chair.

GC will tell you that as long as there is food, there is no problem. BC will tell you “SHE had a bad week??? What about ME??? She took me to the VET!!!!” A beautiful thing about BC is that she does NOT hold grudges. She needed a LOT of cuddling yesterday to recover from the vet trauma. (She is healthy and perfect – it was her yearly checkup.)

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I love you, Mommy. Thank you for my bed!

A Family of Food

Oreo Cheesecake Bar

Oreo Cheesecake Bar pre-cutting

My husband loves to cook. He loves watching cooking shows, reading cookbooks, and creating marvelous yummy entrees. I like to cook MUCH more now than I did prior to renovating the kitchen (it’s so EASY and fun to cook in the new kitchen) but I consider myself more of a baker than a cook. Naturally our son both cooks and bakes. He will often send me photos of his meal or of some treat he’s baked. His specialty seems to be baking for his coworkers. I think it began innocently enough. A good friend there had a birthday. This friend apparently loved the movie (Mean Girls) from whence we get “On Wednesday we wear pink!”. My son baked a birthday sheet cake and frosted it with pink icing. His coworkers devoured it. I think the next birthday was someone who likes bread, so my son baked a gorgeous challah. Also devoured. His office has pot luck meals at holiday times so my son has brought in potato latkes (devoured) and challah (devoured). I know he’s brought cookies and biscuits as well. Hope they all have memberships at a gym. This week’s office birthday treat was Oreo Cheesecake bars. They were apparently a big hit – devoured. 🙂 Now if I can only teach my son to take food photos as great as his baking!

oreo cheesecake

Yes it IS blurry but it still looks yummy!

My Early Valentine’s Day Present

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I WAS going to title this something like “My Husband Loves Me” or “My Husband Knows Me Well”, but after the HORRIBLE experience I had when I first started blogging, and innocently titled a post “Seducing My Sister”, which was about how I got her to join Second Life, I decided to play it safe. There are such … different … people out there. Anyway, my husband DOES love me and DOES know me well. A package came the other day, addressed to him. He brought it to me and told me that it was really for me, an early Valentine’s Day prezzie. Of course I had no intention of waiting until February 14th – he DID say EARLY present. 🙂 He has done this for me in the past – bought me designer chocolate. Apparently he has no problem spending crazy amounts of $$$ on chocolate for me. This time he bought me Amedei, two Toscano Black bars. Oh. Em. Gee. They are superlative. (Of course they are. I don’t think I’ve ever had ANYTHING from Tuscany that wasn’t fantastic.) Texture and taste are out of this world. I don’t know what else is in this, despite reading the ingredients, because there is a divine after-taste. That lingering after-taste makes me want to wolf down the entire bar right then and there. But you’ll be impressed to learn that I am very, very controlled about my Toscano Black chocolates. Only 2 squares at a time, and no more than 4 squares in a day, and ONLY if it was a very very very bad day that NEEDS 4 squares. 🙂 I am savoring this early Valentine’s Day present!

Flatbread for Dinner

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fresh homemade flatbread with homemade topping – YUM!

This weekend my husband announced on Saturday that he would be making flatbread for dinner on Sunday. I wasn’t really sure what that meant but I’ve learned over the years that if my husband is cooking, I’m enjoying (okay, there was that one time over 30 years ago when he made fried rice and none of us could feel the inside of our mouths for the next 2 weeks). I was given instructions to pick up fresh yeast (not dried yeast) and some more mushrooms. We had, according to the chef, sufficient plum tomatoes and onions and tahini and parmesan cheese. He likes to talk to me to tell me what he is going to concoct. I don’t always listen in detail because these conversations often occur when I am in the middle of doing something else. 🙂 I listen for the “do we have any” and the “can you pick up” phrases. I went about doing a zillion errands and chores on Sunday – dusted his office (no wonder why he is always coughing up there), cleaned the bathroom, did the laundry, grocery shopping, got books from the library, and emptied garbage cans. I figured after that day I was entitled to sit back and let someone else make dinner. It was, of course, totally delicious. Other than what I mentioned above, I have no idea how he made it or what was in it. But now it’s in us and our tummies are oh so very happy!

Cinnamon Scones Make Rainy Days Sunny

beating a rainy day with coffee and scones

beating a rainy day with coffee and scones

Yesterday was hard, very hard. I was soooo tired physically, afraid that I might be relapsing with this dratted PND syndrome. I wasn’t handling work stress well either, I’m sure because of the fatigue and fear. The day ended well, however, with my friend/coworker giving me a much desired and needed 90-minute coaching session while he drove home (a 5.5 hour trip for him). My husband heated up the leftover game hens for dinner, and I had a glass of wine. We watched the next Mrs. Maisel episode (we’re in Season 3, but we only watch one or two episodes a week). I was in bed by 10:30 pm and had no trouble falling asleep.

cinnamon scones before shaping

i love how easy it is to shape scones – just pat a circle and cut

This morning the cats gave me a present and let me sleep until 9:00 am. Not a single meow or mrrrrp or head butt. It was delightful not to be nudged. 🙂 I had great plans for today. Well, great is a matter of interpretation. I PLANNED to get a lot of cleaning done. Next week is our big Super Bowl party and I have GOT to get started on cleaning that has been ignored for far too long.

cinnamon scones with raw sugar sprinkled on top

you can see the raw sugar sprinkled on top – a little sweet for us, so I’ll probably leave off the topping next time

Unfortunately I seem to be a child of the weather. It was pouring rain. It was gray. It was VERY difficult to motivate myself to start cleaning. At moments like these, playing cards on the computer seems to be the best way to spend my time. As I lost game after game of solitaire (my way of both zoning out and waking up) I thought about what I might want to eat for breakfast or brunch. I decided I was in the mood for a scone. I thought at first cranberry scones, but when I read the recipe I decided it required too much effort. I’m not sure what about it was too much effort, but I guess it just didn’t sound good enough today for any effort. 🙂

baked cinnamon scones

baked cinnamon scones ended up being brunch – very filling!

I have a very simple cheese scone recipe and I make it often, without the cheese, just throwing in cinnamon. I decided to look for an actual cinnamon scone recipe and found one that seemed perfect: Cinnamon Scones (with cinnamon chips) on the JoyFoodSunshine.com website. I mean – the website name alone was cheerful. They were easy, quick and totally scrumptious when they were done. I brought one to my husband as he was reading the paper. When I wandered through the kitchen a short while after that, I noticed that another scone seemed to have vanished. *grin* He confirmed that they were fantastic scones and he’d gotten himself another. 🙂 Now THAT’S the way to wake up and get motivated!

bc under the snack tables

sweet BC allowed me to sleep in this morning so she gets her picture on the post

The Price of Laziness

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A bit hard to see out this windshield

I really hate having to deal with a snow-covered car in the winter. It’s bad enough having to get up on a schedule (instead of sleeping until whenever I wake up), bad enough having to pack everything that I will need for my too hot/cold, no coffee, no decent snacks, no decent cafeteria day in the office, but to then spend time cleaning the car off makes me long for a different life. I have yet to clear a snow-covered car without wearing half of the snow myself or knocking it onto the driver’s seat when I open the door. Removing snow is NOT my super power. So that’s why I insist on being able to garage my car during the winter months. I keep one half of my ostensible 2-car garage cleared for a car. I pay attention to the weather reports and will make sure the car IS in the garage when precipitation is expected. It’s not that easy to get the car into the garage, however. If I pull the car in front first, I can’t get out of the car – the driver’s door is up against the wall. I back the car in, tucking it as far to the left and rear as possible, so that there is plenty of room to open my door and the back door on the driver’s side to remove any packages. Last night when I got home from yoga I was soooo tired. Although I do seem to be back to full health, I don’t have much yet in the way of reserves. I considered backing the car down the LONG driveway and into the garage and decided against it. No snow or rain in the forecast for today. Even though I knew I’d be heading into the office in the morning I figured there wouldn’t be any problem. As you can see by the photos, I was wrong. 😦 The good news is that most of that frost came right off – it wasn’t really ice. The other news is that I am backing that car into the garage tonight!!!!!

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At least it came right off without much effort


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