Ring in the New Year

frozen moment of the fireworks “raining” down in front of the hotel (do watch the live version below!)

And oh PLEASE let 2022 be MUCH better than the last 2 years!

You know by now that I fall into the “extrovert” category. As annoying as people can be, I neeeeeeeed them. 🙂 I love the excitement and energy of New York City. I love parties. I love meeting new people and talking to them. Okay – that last might need a few parameters but it’s essentially true. Covid has cramped my style greatly. Don’t misunderstand – I am EXTREMELY grateful that to date that is ALL it has done to me personally. My family and I are vaccinated, booster’d and wear masks when in public locations. We’ve been eating out at restaurants, going to the theater, being in the NYC holiday excitement. But even I am cautious about throwing a party at my home.

I got brave and decided to have a small dinner party to start the new year. I invited 8 others to join us for dinner on January 2, outside, with propane heaters, and canopies to shield us from the possible rain. (Okay – originally Jan 1 but the weather looked so bad that I moved it to Jan 2.) But if we are outside, we’ll be wearing coats and warm clothes. *I* wanted to GLITTER and SPARKLE. I decided my husband and I would go out for dinner on NYE so I could have someone else do the meal prep & serving & cleanup and *I* could SPARKLE. We made plans for an “earlyish” seating – 8:45pm (earliest I could get by the time I decided to do this) – even though *I* thought we should go for a much later seating so we’d still be in town when they set off the fireworks outside the restaurant at midnight. My husband nixed that but promised he’d stay awake to get in the car and drive to some point where we could see those fireworks. 🙂 I know he thought we’d both be asleep so it was a safe promise. So we were booked for dinner at 8:45pm at Catherine Lombardi in New Brunswick.

gotta glitter everywhere even if i haven’t had a mani/pedi in forever

Well. The best laid plans, right? In this case, however, the plan for fun was EXCEEDED. I dressed up – spent a good hour trying to put together the correct pants and footwear and necklace for my new glitter – oops – GLITTER – top. I felt pretty confident I’d nailed it. 🙂 I even wore makeup (no, the image below is NOT how I did my makeup). 🙂 We got to the restaurant and were seated, right on time. The tables were spaced very well, the wait-staff wore masks. We were at a table for 2 with only one table to our right (no tables directly to the other sides). We ordered cocktails (oh what a GREAT cocktail I had!!!) and as we were doing that the table to our right was seated – a family of 4. Two men in the chairs facing my wall, 2 women on my wall also. We all glanced at each other but kept on with our lives.

No, I don’t know why I don’t publish my RL face in this blog.

A few minutes later, after our cocktails had arrived, the man closest to my husband leaned over and tapped my husband’s shoulder. I, despite my hearing aids, could not hear what they were saying over all the ambient noise. I should have known. *I* am the one who is still living in the same town where she was born and bred decades ago. My husband is the one who knows people anywhere we go. 🙂 The gentleman and my husband had worked together on a construction job. My husband is a structural engineer, Paul is the owner of a construction company specializing in concrete structures, my husband’s personal favorite material. Those of you who know us both will not be at all surprised that from that point on the 2 of them exchanged a few comments, I ended up exchanging compliments and small talk with the women. Just before our dinners arrived, a table to our other side finished their meal and stood up to go. I was astounded when 2 of them came over to us. OMG!!! It was our neighbor Suzanne and her son Michael, who grew up with our son!!! It was great to see them, and hear what was happening. I took a photo to send to my son. Even funnier in the “isn’t it a small world” sense is that Michael lives outside of Knoxville, TN, which is where a good part of my husband’s family lives now as well. It was so lovely and wonderful to see the 2 of them! And I’ve made a resolution to get together with Suzanne one day soon.

We sat back down for our dinner, noticed that Paul’s table had been served as well. We ate our dinners and enjoyed the festive atmosphere and good food and service. Then we were all done with our main courses. In another day and age, the men would have repaired for cigars and brandy and the women off to to their chitchat elsewhere. In this day and age, my husband and the other man started talking construction, totally oblivious to the rest of us. 🙂 It was now around 10:30pm, and they were having a wonderful time chatting. I started plotting.

I excused myself ostensibly to use the rest room. I found one of the managers and asked if the table next to us had been drinking alcoholic beverages. Upon learning that they had, I ordered a round of champagne for the 6 of us. 🙂 I went back and sat down, but slid over the bench (the women’s side of the setup was one long upholstered bench) to join the women and 3rd man in conversation. 🙂 Our champagne arrived and we had to forcibly interrupt my husband and Paul to participate in the toast. 🙂 I learned that Paul had apparently also paid for a round of OUR drinks. Great minds think alike! As you might have guessed by now, we were all still there talking and enjoying when the management gave everyone the 20 minute warning for getting drinks and heading outside for the fireworks. 🙂 I took my champagne glass and we all headed outside to the street. As long as we stayed within the little fences we could bring our drinks with us.

oh just watch the video. 🙂

The weather was cooperating, it was warm, not raining. We had a countdown to midnight, and then the fireworks began! They were a lot of fun and not what I’d expected. They were shot off from the hotel roof across the street. There was music playing through a sound system. Loads of people cheering and laughing. Even so – we were not crowded into anyone else. When the fireworks were done we were still fairly near the other family. We walked over and hugged happy new year. Paul’s wife suggested that we should get together for dinner together some time (they live in the next county). I said that I would LOVE that! I’d just been remarking to someone recently about how does one make new friends at this age if you are not going in to work??? I guess go out to dinner!!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy new year to come, filled with peace and joy. And food and friends and fun and fireworks!

The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown

It’s getting exciting around my house these days. The mushrooms are very persistent. My neighbor is as determined to NOT have huge mushrooms in her yard. I went out the other day to assert my dominance over my yard. It was close but I believe I won. My neighbor was out, dealing with HER yard. All this rain. It’s a shame we can’t share it with California. Our grass is growing 5 inches a night, I’m sure. 🙂 The rain encouraged the mushrooms to mount a foray. Overnight – 3 large mushrooms. I have my neighbor so well ‘trained’! I pointed out the mushrooms and she said she hadn’t pulled them yet because she wasn’t sure if I’d taken pictures!!!!! Love it! I ran and got my camera, took the picture and thanked her. I told her that her yard was getting lots of exposure on my blog. 🙂 By the way – the mushrooms are gone again. We are expecting rain the day after tomorrow. We shall see what happens. Ball is in their court! Stay tuned!

Balancing Act

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I have a dead tree behind my garage. It sits right on the property line, between my garage and the garage behind us. I got an estimate for taking it down. In my town I need a permit to have someone take down a dead tree (even one that is a hazard to property). It turns out that because it is on the property line, I need the permission of the other landowner. I left a note saying the tree was dead, I’d contracted to have it removed, I wasn’t asking for money. I got a voice mail asking me to please NOT remove the tree until after July 31. She was selling the house and closing was July 31 and please contact the new owners after that date. She didn’t want to risk something going “wrong”. I said fine, let’s hope the tree cooperates with that timing. So I’ve been watching the tree for over a month, picking up branches after rain storms.
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It seems that I’ve been watching the wrong tree. I looked out my window the other day and notice that my next-door neighbor’s tree had a cracked branch, and it was resting on my garage and was still partially attached to the tree. We’ve had a LOT of summer rain storms, with wind and driving rain. Between the weather and the squirrels running all over creation, the branch cracked completely. It has begun to shift. The dead leaves end used to rest on my garage roof facing my house. Somewhere in the last few days, when the branch cracked through, it is now balanced on the point of my garage roof. 🙂 I’m watching it. I moved my car out of my driveway. We approach the garage through the side door. You see – until I can get the NEW neighbors to move in and agree to let me pay for taking down a dead tree that threatens their NEW property, there is NO point in my contacting my tree service to say “Oh by the way, I have MORE deadness to remove”.
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You have NO idea how tempted I am to try to knock that branch down. 🙂 I think it would be so satisfying. In the meantime… I wait to meet the new neighbors.
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A Little Ray of Sunshine

Yesterday was, in the words of a famous children’s book, a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was extremely frustrating and infuriating. There were a few moments of respite (such as falling asleep on the chiropractor’s table) but for the most part it was a day filled with chest pain, headache and fury. I arrived home still seething, unsure what I could possibly do to relax.

As I got out of my car, I heard my name being called. I looked up to see my 2 young neighbors running up the sidewalk, calling to me. They were very excited because they were having dinner DELIVERED but also a bit frustrated because they’d “CALLED AN HOUR AGO”. *smile* I commiserated with them and mentioned I was going to go inside and have leftovers. G, the little girl, looked up at me and asked “Can I have a hug?”

Well. Cue the sunshine, the flowers, the hearts, the rainbows, and all things warm and wonderful.

“Of COURSE you can have a hug”, I replied. I started to bend down to deliver the hug and stopped and said “let me put down all this stuff and give you a proper hug”. I dropped my bag, my laptop, my other bag and picked up this adorable, wonderful ray of sunshine and gave her a very big, long hug. I put her down and we smiled and she ran back to her house.

I needed that.

Summer in October

It’s October. It’s time to celebrate autumn. Build my harvest booth, more commonly known as a sukkah. I’ve been doing that, battling mosquitos and time and heat. It’s 85 degrees F out there. Many years we sit bundled in jackets and gloves outside. Not this year, apparently. So Bamboo and I came in to cool down and visit the ducks.

Wow. Did Bill, Drake and Mallory have a major complaint. Seems our neighbors have started having some sort of racing (honestly, there was so much quacking going on I’m really not sure WHAT they are racing). But I DID see the HUGE Finish line with checkered flags. Sigh. Hey Rodvik – WHEN are you going to implement the feature that lets me NOT SEE my neighbors????????

So I put up a hedge to make sure that the ducks had some privacy. Then the five of us settled in to enjoy the soothing sounds of waves and seagulls. Ahhh.

If it’s not AnnMarie’s cars crashing off the road into my front yard, it’s the neighbors incompetent guests creating huge wake for resting ducks. 🙂 /me scribbles indignant letter to the editor

Obnoxious Neighbors

This is one of the reasons why people hate the mainland. This is one of the reasons I dislike my next-door neighbors. This is one of the truly annoying issues of SL. I am up in the sky – WAY up in the sky. For months, nearly a year, it has been me and my skybox. In the last few weeks, 2 of my neighbors felt obliged to build sky boxes right at the same level as mine. Isn’t that thoughtful? I can almost ignore the skynet looking globe-thing. But a plywood box???? Oh for heaven’s sake. It’s UGLY. Do you hear me????? Not only did you place it right next to my personal space, but it’s UGLY. You put a landing field in the sky above your house so all your friends and flying machines are buzzing overhead. You put HUGE ugly artwork right up near the border, forcing me to build a wall for a time to block it out. You don’t have a single tree or flower in your entire parcel. And now you stuck a plywood box right next to my quiet personal retreat. You have no class. The sky is a BIG place, folks. You had SOOOOOOO much sky, so many meters, where you could have rezzed your totally ugly box. But no – you had to intrude. Yep, you are a real class act. Not.

So Rodvik – I want walls that neighbors cannot cam through. I want to enclose my retreat in impenetrable walls so I can relax in peace and quiet. ALONE!!!!!!!!

Yeah, I’m a bit annoyed at the moment.