Archive for the 'Relaxing with Friends' Category

An Unexpected Gift

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold, meaning it happens long after the fact. What do they say about gifts that appear long after the gifting? There must be some equally apt phrase. Maybe it’s “good things come to those who wait”.

fricker1I have finally decided to upgrade my blog from a free account to a paid account. I have no good reason. Or rather, I suspect the final straw is NOT something that will be handled by a paid account. The last week or so I’ve been getting trackbacks from spam sites. It was annoying. I’ve also used over 75% of my media storage. I thought I’d investigate and see what I’d learn.

I had a wonderful, informative, upbeat chat with the online chat support. Do you know that they are called “Happiness Engineers”? I think that is a GREAT title. The person with whom I was chatting was a fantastic representative of that concept. She gave me a discount code to give me 2 months free. I noticed something odd when I went to pay. The screen was showing me a $15 credit, bringing the bill to $33. When I put in the discount code, the amount was just over $39. ???? I asked my happiness engineer where the $15 credit originated. She said “The $15 credit is applying the value you have left in your current plan to the upgraded one.” Well that was odd. fricker 3My current plan was a FREE plan, I had never paid any money to WordPress. The HE agreed my plan was a free one and she investigated further. “I show $15 in gift credit from a user named “Fricker Fraker” back in 2009. Dear reader, I kid you not – tears came to my eyes.

Fricker – I don’t know where you are, or how you are, but thank you, thank you, thank you. What a sweet, generous gesture on your part. Which is exactly how I remember you.

Ahuva ❤ Fricker

Beauty and Function

My husband will say it’s Function and Beauty. Every time he does something in the kitchen (cooks, cleans, preps) he comes over to me and says “As beautiful as it is, it’s even more functional than it is beautiful.” I always reply “it’s equally beautiful and functional.” It really is. IMG_9479 We are both amazed and delighted each and every time we are in the kitchen. I’m not sure but I think the sink might actually be the best single improvement in the room.

Our contractor did not think we had sufficient cabinets and counters. We kept assuring him that we thought we were okay with the new plan and that for us it was so much more than we’d ever had. He (and most everyone else) told us to think ahead, that just because it was better didn’t mean we’d achieved best. We think we achieved best. I cannot believe how simple it has become to prepare a meal. It’s so easy, and such a pleasure, that I’m cooking again, not just baking. *laughing* Sometimes we both say “I thought I’d make this for dinner tonight” and one of us will give way and let the other have the fun. I love how I can have my measures right at hand along with the compost bin, and my knives within reach if I need a new one. IMG_9474When I work there at the counter the stove is just to my right, easy reach to go from cutting board to pot.

Today we passed the last of the official township inspections: electrical, building (fire), and plumbing (note the Oxford comma). (By the way, every inspector commented on how beautiful they found the new kitchen.) That does NOT mean, however, that we have actually finished this renovation. We still have a final payment reckoning. There were MANY add-ons, and those costs need to be tallied. In addition, the floor is still not right. They are coming on Thursday to try to fix it. I’ve been promised deck lights and we’ve actually agreed on what kind and how many and where. And the kitchen ceiling still needs to be sanded and painted after the plumbing leak. We’re close, but we are NOT there yet.

I WAS going to throw a party in November, a “come see my beautiful new kitchen” party. That is not going to happen, at least not in November. It will happen on New Year’s day. Now that we moved our New Year’s Eve party to New Year’s Day, we’ll invite the world to THAT party to see the gorgeous kitchen. In the meantime we have cooked meals for a few people already. I had the ladies over for Sukkot, we had another friend over for Sukkot, and friends over last weekend for a soup-to-nuts dinner – cocktails through to dessert. IMG_9520My husband and I were able to do that dinner without any bumping into each other, or needing to time counter space or any other “right of way” issues. It was great. I made bread (from scratch, no bread machine), Turkish coffee brownies, salad, yogurt pie, and roasted broccoli & cauliflower. My husband did his wonderful hand-made pasta, and a tagine chicken dish that is sensational. I also had time to make all the accoutrements for the cocktails: allspice dram and a cranberry syrup. It was all so much fun!!!!! The leftovers are pretty yummy also. 🙂

A Day at the Beach

IMG_8581Literally. There’s been a lot happening with renovation and personal issues. I’ve started several blogs but have been too crazed to finish and post. The short summary is that I had some minor surgery on Friday – part of the being crazed and then being totally exhausted. My niece, operating from her own POV and life (do other people REALLY have lives that do not center on ME???? 🙂 ) contacted me and her mom (my sister) and suggested a beach day. The Jersey shore is my idea of heaven on earth so I “let” them “twist my arm”. We piled into the convertible and headed down the shore. *grin* Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” blasting from the speakers, passengers singing along loudly:
“Woah, we’re half way there
Woah, livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear
Woah, livin’ on a prayer”

I said to my sister: We’re being filmed right now. We must be in a movie or a commercial. 🙂

We are spoiled Jersey Girls – we NEVER go down the shore on the weekend – we always take off during the week. view of NY and shipsSo we were astounded at the backup to get into Sandy Hook. It must have been over 30 minutes to go those 2 miles. Of course I did NOT wait there. 🙂 And NO, I did NOT line cut right at the end. I headed south past the exit, found a place to turn around and come back from that direction. Much faster. We found a great parking spot, a great blanket spot. The weather was perfect, the neighbors were orderly, quiet, no cigarettes, no music, no screaming. It was all perfect beach sounds of wind, surf, seagulls, and happy people. Only 2 sounds marred the perfection. The first was a drone but mercifully it only went by twice. NOT a beach sound. The 2nd was the sound of the group next to us with their battery-operated blender (against park rules, btw). But everytime they crushed that ice, omg, I wanted to go over and make friends. 🙂 I’d consider getting one but I don’t want to have to shlepp the ice.

Anyway – I’m sharing my day of healing and escape with you. I don’t have a premium account so I can’t upload the video I made just for you.

Renovation recording will resume.

view from my blanket

A Last Hurrah

kitchen stove dining room doorLast night we threw our last party with our old kitchen. It was Memorial Day weekend, always a great time to throw a BBQ. We had several reasons, however, to throw a party. Our wonderful next-door neighbors are moving down (back) to Florida. They will be gone by mid-June. All of us in the neighborhood are heart-broken that they are leaving. We love them, we’ve had such good times together, it was a wonderful, wonderful relationship. I decided that we needed to do a good, fun send-off to remind them how much they like us all and that they would need to come back and visit. (I already have a promise of a return for our Passover seder. 🙂 ) When I first proposed the Bye-bye BBQ I thought that we’d have already lost our kitchen – that we’d be doing this kitchen-free. I’m very happy that we still had a kitchen to do food preparation.

Kitchen sink door to basementThat was the second “last hurrah” – bye-bye to the kitchen. For 34 years we’ve been entertaining, throwing parties, feeding people all from this kitchen and breakfast room. Okay – I’m exaggerating. The breakfast room and deck are only 28 years old. Putting that addition on the house was a true life changer. When we do BBQs, drinks and appetizers are out on the deck and the dinner selections are in the breakfast room. I probably should have taken some pictures of that last night – we had a MOUNTAIN of ribs. 🙂 And LOTS of non-meat sides because we have a fair number of vegetarians in our gathering.

view from breakfast room to front hallYet another reason for the BBQ was my brother-in-law’s birthday. He, like our guests of honor neighbors, is carnivorous so we decided on beef ribs. My sister has a membership in a fantastic warehouse called “Restaurant Depot”. It has every and anything a restaurant/food vendor would want/need. My brother-in-law and I went there on Friday to get the ribs. It’s probably not a good idea to let the 2 of us do this sort of adventure without a chaperone because we both believe that more food is better. No – more than more. We came home with about 30 pounds of beef ribs. But that’s fine, because in 3 days, we’re not going to have a kitchen, no stove, and we’re going to still need to eat. Leftovers!!!! I know some people HATE leftovers but I love them. Leftovers mean I don’t have to cook or prepare something. My husband is the real chef in the family (I bake) and he did a great dry rub on the ribs. For good measure we tossed in some chicken dogs and veggie burgers. view from breakfast room doorwayWe had sugar free cheesecake and sugar free pound cake with fresh fruit and whipped cream for those needing SF, and we had sugar full cheesecake and sugar full ice cream cake for those wanting that good old sugar hit. The appetizers were delicious also. I’ll also give a little mention to the fact that I nearly lost my husband last night. As in permanently. One of my guests brought a home-made keto dessert (she’s very big on all sorts of healthy diets) and I’m not really sure what these things were, but they were sugar free. So she gave 2 to my husband who, of course, ate them. I only found out after the fact when I heard her describing the ingredients which included macadamia nuts. I said – don’t give any to him because he is highly allergic to macadamia nuts. Which is when I heard he’d already eaten them. Everyone joked about it and teased him and her, but the truth is – he was somewhat sick from them last night. 2 little tiny doses but enough for him to have a reaction. :/

I originally planned to do this party today, but as I write this post, rain is thundering down outside, and our phones periodically beep with emergency alert notices about flash flooding. The weather forecasters got all of that right because that was the forecast they were giving a week ago, which is when I said better move the party to Saturday night.

breakfast room table pots and pans closetEighteen of us on the deck – chairs and space enough for everyone, although I will admit there was a tight squeeze in one corner. I had the chance to show everyone the plans for the renovation, and got to show off the now-famous upstairs hall door (you remember – an essential piece for The Great Incarceration). We’ve decided on the faucet for the kitchen sink (somewhat steampunky) and I got to show pictures of that as well. Plus the really amazing steampunk faucet we are NOT getting. 🙂 It’s going to be a huge change.

I’m going to miss my kitchen. I know that many people look at my kitchen and go “ugh”. It’s small, old, kitschy, loud. But I do love it. I love the pink and yellow and bright and the art work and the decorations. I no longer love the floor (28 years ago) or the stove (15 years ago) and I hate that the cabinets and drawers don’t work properly. I’m not loving the current ant invasion, either. Despite all its flaws, when it’s clean and bright, it makes me smile. It makes me happy. I’ve been worried about getting a new, modern, soulless kitchen. I think we’ve made some good choices so that although we will have a new modern kitchen, it shouldn’t be soulless. Time will tell.

breakfast room cat treeToday, however, is designated as “pack up the kitchen and breakfast room day”. Tomorrow is probably the same thing. We are working out a plan for how/when to move cat paraphernalia upstairs in preparation for The Great Incarceration. We are trying to determine in advance where we will put all the boxed up kitchen ‘stuff’. We have a lot of stuff. Where did all this stuff come from? Do we NEED all this stuff????

Tick tock, tick tock….. Less than 48 hours til the wrecking crew arrives…..

The Spirit of SL

dancing at the FogboundI have been determined to get inworld and visit some of the great seasonal sites as well as catch up – again – with friends. My day had been somewhat up and down. A VERY good up was news from my surgeon about my foot. *smile* His words were music to my ears: Push it Ahuva – USE that foot, wear shoes. At this point you’ll do more harm by NOT using than by OVER using it. Yes! Since I’d already managed to get into a pair of boots with 2.5 inch heels, that was both reward and incentive. *laughing* Those 2.5 inch heeled boots are my “flats”, btw.

fogbound at ChristmasLogging in I got more UP day. Hunter was on and we chatted for a bit. I don’t remember the last time we both were on with a few moments to relax and catch up. While we were saying “bon apetit” in parting, Patricia Anne logged in. Oh my, I don’t think PA and I have talked since perhaps the summer. Maybe even the spring. It seems like years. We had a great time chatting and catching up on both RL and SL. I’d been listening to Taunter while I chatted. She was singing at a formal attire venue so I had a chance to take one of my gowns out of inventory. 🙂 The risque brown one that would never ever work for me in the material world. Was lovely, as always, to listen to Taunter sing. When she was done, I headed to Fogbound, my home away from home when it’s NOT Friday night. (Then home away from home is Tribeca, of course.)

Once there, I saw more friends – Mae and Yanik. *smile* Bob was playing great Blues and the mood was perfect. Y joined me shortly after I arrived, so I got up to dance! We also had a LOT of catching up to do. I guess that’s true for me for all my friends. Since the last time I managed to get in was nearly 2 weeks ago, there’s a lot to cover.

Alessandra with the red boots onAs we danced I did the usual cam-around-the-room. I noticed a great looking pair of red boots. So nice, I thought I might like to find a pair for myself. I clicked on a boot and checked the object profile and took a screen shot for future reference. For the record: N&N City boots by candice OHare! I IM’d Alessandra, she of the lovely red boots, and told her I thought her boots were great! She said thank you and I said you’re welcome. I smiled, thought no more on it, and continued chatting with Y. Well. I saw an incoming box and checked. Alessandra had gifted me with a pair of the boots!!!!!! So generous! A simple compliment generating such a thoughtful gesture.

Yes, there may be griefing. Yes, there are trolls who announce unpleasant things in the local chat. Yes, SL has its share of not so pleasant beings. But SL also has the beautiful lovely people who reach out and make the world a happier place to be. Thank you SO much, Alessandra! You are a star!

Yahrtzeit

The Jewish calendar has many twists and turns. Our dear friend Lalo Telling passed away on the 1st of Tevet on the Hebrew calendar in the year 2012 of the Gregorian calendar. Lalo TellingThat means that his yahrtzeit (the anniversary of his death) occurs during Rosh Chodesh. Some Hebrew months always have TWO days for Rosh Chodesh. Some Hebrew months always have ONE day for Rosh Chodesh. Some months, well, it varies. You probably guessed that for Tevet it varies. This month Tevet has one day, apparently. I believe that means that starting at sundown on December 3, 2013 through sundown December 4, 2013 is the first day of Tevet and is Rosh Chodesh and is indeed Lalo’s yahrtzeit. If I’m wrong – I think Lalo will forgive me.

It’s been a year. I miss him still, very much. Passover came and went without him skyping in to our celebration. Lighting the Edloe ChanukiahAfter only 2 years he was a regular and the other regulars all asked after him and missed his presence. The high holidays came and went in the fall and there was no Lalo to discuss d’vrei Torah and sermons and meaning and customs. Now it’s Chanukah. Last year I flew out to be with him. We lit the Chanukiah, we sang the prayers, we sang other songs and blessings. Despite the sad reason for my presence, we had a very very good time. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be with him then.

Lalo and I didn’t know each other all that long in SL. We met in the late winter of 2011, inworld. We happened to be at the same musical event. I’d been following his blog and IM’d him to introduce myself. As it happens so often in SL, we clicked. We cared about many of the same things, laughed at the same things, enjoyed playing in SL. Lalo,_Bamboo_and_Ahuva_set_out[1]I still have not written up half the adventures that Lalo, Bamboo and I took together in SL. The one in the truck with Bamboo, when we were run off the road by a tank – that was a true SL/Lalo/Ahuva/Bamboo classic. Shortly after I met him he was blessed with a FL friend and companion, Emspar. He and I had less time to play inworld because his outworld was so full of joy with Emspar and with work. We still had Friday nights at Tribeca with the rest of the gang, and Fridays at The Listening Room with those wonderful folks, and dancing at Fogbound and with Noma and Taunter and Komuso. We visited SL amusements, learned to ride horses at Carriage Trade, did the big SL celebrations. When I look back, by the Gregorian calendar it wasn’t very long. But in SL terms it was. SL has never been quite the same for me since he died. I feel the loss so keenly there. A part of me still checks the friends list to see if he’s logged in yet.

Lalo teaches Bamboo to flyI love to think of Lalo. I love to remember our conversations on Judaism, on engineering, music, books, life. He was intelligent, witty, funny, and so full of interesting information. I miss you, dear friend, more than I could have ever realized. Thank you for enriching my life. Your memory is a blessing to me.

On a Streak

Winston Calli and SolI’m on a roll. I’ve made it inworld 2 nights in a row. I can’t remember the last time I did that. It was wonderful to see friends again! I got to Tribeca on Friday night just in time for the final wrap up – Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Calli played “Jersey Girl” for me – her theme song for me. *smile* I requested Leonard Cohen’s “Closing Time” in memory of Lalo. It was one of his favorite tunes for our Friday night music fest. There were other friends there as well.

Saturday night I was still awake after we’d had a Big Bang Theory marathon. Krysss relaxingEveryone else headed to sleep but I wasn’t quite ready. I logged in and joined the folks at Calli’s Eclectica. Winston was there!!!! Haven’t seen him in months and months. It was great to catch up. 🙂 I made him get up and dance because as I told him – SL is pretty much the only place where I CAN dance these days. We’ve upped the PT exercises and my foot hurts. That’s GOOD. Hurt is good in this case, but I’m not quite ready to dance.

4th nightI guess that’s the upside of long holiday weekends. I get to sleep late or nap (because kittens don’t LIKE me to sleep LATE) and so I have energy late at night when “the gang” all start rezzing inworld. It’s also Chanukah so I try to log in each day to light my Chanukiah. Lalo made it and it is beautiful. Bamboo and I have been lighting the candles, but it’s not quite the same. 2 years ago the 3 of us lit them together. Last year I was at Lalo’s to light the Chanukiah and say the prayers together. Bamboo and I miss him very much and appreciate having his graceful elegant Chanukiah.


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