Just stuff

It was a long week, rife with work stress and a small backtrack, health-wise, but Friday morning brought relief from both challenges, as I felt great and had the day off. I brought Mogo in for  an 8am “30 day courtesy check-up”, during which they checked all his diagnostics, topped off his fluids, and gave him a complimentary car wash, all before checking in with me to see if I had any questions or concerns about how he drives and operates. (I had none. I love driving Mogo!) On my way out, another customer waiting in the lounge complemented my DC superhero mask. (I get complimented on it, and my Spo-made marvel mask, quite often.)

Super cool mask, eh?

Once home, I took advantage of my well-being and finished setting up the patio and cleaning off the outdoor furniture, in anticipation of nice weather this weekend.

This is where I will spend the bulk of my summer.

My energy levels are still low, so that took a lot out of me, and I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the day, reading digital comics on my iPad and lounging with the dogs.

Saturday was errand day, and I was still feeling pretty darn good, so Jeffrey and I headed out early. First stop: pick up my new contacts and glasses.

New glasses.
New contacts (ha ha)

My prescription changed a bit and what a difference wearing the new contacts and glasses. (especially at the same time*smirk*)

Then it was on to Lowe’s for some grass seed, flower feed and a hand cultivator, and finally, a stop at Fresh Food Market for some fresh fish for dinner. We were please to find bacon wrapped scallops, swordfish steak and vegetable skewers, and tuna steaks.

This was my biggest excursion out and about since March 2020. We are both fully vaccinated (two shots + well beyond 15 days from second shot) but still double masked, got in and out of all stores as quickly as possible, and used hand-sanitizer once we were back in the car. No wavering on our vigilance, friends.

Back home, I enjoyed a small lunch of 6 delicious broiled bacon wrapped scallops with garlic and butter. I also leaned how to use (and not use – it’s possible one of the wood skewers aught fire) my oven broiler (and where it actually is, incidentally. Not in the bottom, as I erroneously assumed, but along the top, which is quite obvious when you take a peek inside.)

The, begrudgingly, we spent some time in the yard raking up soil along the retaining wall, around a couple rock beds, and in a few other select spots, where we then planted scads of wild-flower seeds, covered with soil and flower food , and watered. This is probably not the best (or right) way to plant flowers (I am so not investing the time to grow them in small pots and transplant them,) and we don’t know if this will yield anything, but I am by no means a “gardening” type person, so it was the best I was going to do and the most effort I was willing to make to try to get a little more color and plant variety in our backyard. While I enjoy being outside, I don’t like working outside. I hate the dirt and sweat and heat and bugs, and prefer to sit under shade, sipping a beverage and enjoying the fresh air and sun from afar. Aside from keeping the lawn mowed and relatively free of debris, this is the most effort we’ve made to do yard work, to date.

After planting the flower seeds, we covered our yard with grass seed. We need to bring our lawn back after it was torn up last summer during various projects (new fence installation and septic repair.) It is supposed to rain today, so we really wanted to get the seeding done before it rained, to take advantage of it.

Enjoying a moment of relaxation in our rocking lounger after all our seeding. The black hump is Harvey, who supervised the whole operation..

I finished up the day doing a few odd tasks about the house, then we prepped the grill for dinner, which turned out to be a huge disappointment. Upon opening our seafood purchases, I discovered I did not actually get two of the non-marinated swordfish/veggie skewers which we had ordered and had been looking forward to. Instead, we got two tuna steak/veggie skewers in some kind of marinade, which I could not eat, since I didn’t know what the marinade was, and could not risk getting glutened. Huge bummer, and lesson learned – always verify I am actually getting what I ordered. Sigh. Jeffrey grilled and ate the skewers (which were too spicy for is taste) and I grilled a small tuna steak. Good, but not what I was looking forward to. The side of delicious grilled asparagus helped a little. It was great to be outside enjoying our patio and grill, and the fabulous weather, none the less.

We ended the evening with cocktails and some TV, and a little emotional breakdown (see yesterday’s post.) It is not uncommon for me to get emotional upon exiting a “bad health spell.” There is always a huge sense of relief and gratefulness upon a return to normal, and after such a great day following a bad 3 months, it was no wonder a it took so little to get the waterworks flowing. But it was a good emotional purge and I slept soundly last night, husband and dogs at my side, relieved that all was well in my/our world, once again, at least for now.

Tears

I’ve spent the better part of the last hour sobbing.

Because I watched a stupid 30 minute sitcom, during which a girlfriend chastised her boyfriend for always putting her needs first.

And it hit close to home, because my husband, Jeffrey, is the epitome of selflessness. He has given up so much for me. Lost out on so much for me. My health has ruined holidays, birthdays, vacations, you name it, so many times. And he has never once laid an ounce of guilt on me…never once complained…never once shown a moment of anger, regret, or disappointment.

For 23+ years, he has stood by my side, supported me, comforted me, spent endless days and nights in hospitals at my bedside, dealt with so many health issues not his own, said yes to every desire I’ve ever had, and treated me like royalty, waiting on me hand and foot, even when I didn’t need him to.

For over 23 years.

Without the slightest hint of regret.

I don’t deserve him. And I will never do enough to repay him or show him my gratitude. And that’s why I’m sobbing. Because he deserves so much better and more than me.

But he doesn’t agree.

And I can’t imagine a life without him.

And I am SO fucking lucky.

And I know it.

Easter Parade (of Images)

Now THIS is an Easter Bunny I could…ahem…get behind.

An Easter present from the BF.

The bunny I crocheted as a gift for my Mom.

Fun deviled egg Easter idea on the left…my Mom’s attempt to make them on the right…NAILED IT!

Favorite Easter post on Facebook today!

April Fooled

Yup, they got us. We thought it was spring. We thought we could put out the patio furniture, dust off the grill, and start washing our Bermuda shorts.

But nope…

APRIL FOOLS!

…this happened!

And because THAT happened, THIS happened…

Yup, if you can’t beat ‘em (the evil winter-won’t-go-away snow gods) then join ‘em!

And this lovely batch of strawberry Daiquiris by the fire accompanied a fantastic meal of Egg Roll appetizers (with Duck Sauce and Hot Mustard)

and a Hawaiian Luau Sweet and Sour Chicken and Rice with Pineapple that cooked all day in the crock pot.

This picture does NOT do it justice! The chicken was pull-apart tender!

All gluten free.

All delicious.

So suck it, April snowstorm! It’ll take more than that to knock the sass out of this Sassybear!

P.S. The snow didn’t seem to bother the pups or disrupt their routine at all.

Umm…someone got rear ended!

International Transgender Day of Visibility

To visitors of my blog who are, or know someone who is, a part of the transgender community, in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, I want to say:

I see you.
I acknowledge your struggle.
I support your right to safety, equality, respect, and dignity.
I am your ally and, in some lucky cases, your friend.

My blog is a safe and welcoming space for you.

Nuggets and Cocktails and Nice Guys, oh my!

It was a lovely Friday evening and a great start to my 3 day weekend. I finished up cleaning house (a bit depleted energy-wise but quite pleased to have it done,) then showered and shaved, and relaxed with Jeffrey and the dogs until Jim arrived. Upon his arrival, we had dinner ready to go in the oven, a favorite meal the three of us love to have when Jim visits: Chicken Nuggets and Tater Tots (Don’t judge. And please don’t ever tell Jim’s husband, Ken. Ken is a near-chef-level cook and would be horrified at such a processed, pedestrian meal.) I was quite careful to limit my portions. The last few times I had solid food meals, I awoke feeling bloated and sluggish, a feeling that eventually passed throughout the day.

Of course, we also had cocktails. We started with a Mandarin Orange Martini, then finished with a Pear Martini. Two is currently my limit, which I drink carefully, in conjunction with a bottle of water. My system is still adjusting to consuming solid food and booze again, so I don’t want to overtax it.

The best chuckle of the evening came when Jim asked us if we thought he was a nice guy. Apparently, he recently made an off hand comment to his husband that he was a nice guy, to which Ken immediately responded “no, you’re not.” This bothered Jim, so he was asking us last night to confirm that he is, in fact, a nice guy. Of course, being the smart ass I am, I responded “Wellllllllll…...” At that same moment, Rita Mae moved from my lap to Jim’s.* Jim looked Rita in the eye and asked her, “Am I a nice person, Rita Mae?” to which Rita Mae responded by barking and growling. We all took that as a resounding “No!” and had a good laugh.

*Side note: Jim and Rita have not had the warmest or friendliest of relationships, which is all Jim’s fault. Rita has always shown great affection towards him, but he is less welcome to her boisterous ways, so would often shoo her off. However, he has slowly grown more fond (read: tolerant) of her over time, and she will now, occasionally, be allowed to sit on his lap or be shown some affection from him. Inspired, at least in part I’m sure, by my ultimatum that he either learn to love her or leave this house, never to return.

As luck would have it, I woke up this morning feeling absolutely fine (meaning all systems are functioning properly and I feel no bloat -’nuff said) so I am ready to take on the day.

Jim brought me some of his smaller sized clothes to try on and borrow for a while, as I am currently too thin to wear any of my dress pants, dress shirts, and most of my jeans, so if I were called back to in-office work any time soon, I’m in trouble. (And I hate to but new clothes at this size in case I rapidly put the weight back on…not that I won’t try to keep it off, last nights meal aside.) The shirts fit fine, but the pants, which fit me perfectly in every other way, are too snug in the abdomen. (I have a freakishly deformed abdomen from multiple surgeries, which have resulted in an annoying spare tire I can’t get rid of no matter how emaciated I get.) So, I may just have to break down and buy a few pairs of “this size” slacks to get me by. If I surprise myself by keeping the weight off after a few months, I’ll buy more.

I will be taking Jim for his first drive in Mogo to show off all the bells and whistles, and we may allow ourselves one stop in a nearby country store we love to patronize. Jim has one vaccine shot under his belt; I have two and will be at the “2 week + 1 day” mark of maximum effect as of Monday. We’re not throwing caution to the wind at this point, but perhaps one stop in a never-crowded country shop (with masks, of course) is a reasonable risk. We shall see. However, what I hoped would be a nice, sunny day (temps in the 50s) for a leisure drive may not come to pass – it is currently chilly and quite blustery out, as it has been for days, so we may eschew the drive plans for staying in and working on puzzles or crochet projects.

Either way, I’m starting my day with a delicious Moonstruck breakfast once again.

Cleaning Up My Act

Hello, all, and welcome back to the lair of the Sassybear. I am pleased to report that I got a full nights sleep the last 2 nights in a row, so the returning incident of insomnia 3 nights ago was hopefully a one-off.

Today was my Pass Day from work (I work extended days 9 days in a row, then get every other Friday off) so we slept in a little, had a light breakfast and then, as soon as Jeffrey headed upstairs to work, I started cleaning house. I JUST finished – 6 hours later….sigh. Not the most fun way to spend a day off, but:

a.) it feels good to feel good enough to do normal housework again; and

b.) this house NEEDED cleaning in the worst way; and

c.) the BF, Jim, is visiting for the weekend and, well, gays don’t let gays walk into an unkempt house.

I’ve also been on another reorganizing binge this week. I returned to the closet, where we had just recently sorted and reorganized all of our outerwear (pants, shirts, shorts, shoes, sweaters, etc.) This time, however, the undergarment drawers got reorganized into fabric boxes with dividers, to keep everything nice, neat, and visible. (One must keep one’s panties pleasantly packed, no?) After the undies were unscrambled, the sock drawer got the same treatment, and now my socks are nicely separated, sorted, and stuffed, as well.

Socks ‘n Undies, sorted.

To no surprise, hubby declined my offer to get more boxes and do the same to his drawers. I did however, require he help me reorganize his “junk shelf” where he keeps boxes of change, receipts, his wallet, keys, and various doodads. Once it all got weeded out and sorted, I ordered him a nice, small organizer with drawers and shelves to help keep everything properly sorted. I finished up in the closet sorting and organizing ties (neck and bow alike.)

Twisted ties

I am quite pleased with the finished project.

Next, I moved onto my Jewelry box. I have 3 piercing in each ear, and there was a time when I wore them full of earrings every day. I was a bit more carefree and flamboyant in my younger days, and enjoyed a variety of dangling, studded, colorful, and fun shaped earrings. I’ve since grown a bit more reserved in my taste and stick primarily to silver studs and small hoops these days. And I rarely put more than one set of earrings in most days, unless I’m “dressing up” and going out. So I weeded and discarded some of my larger and more colorful items. Then I sorted everything by pairs, and re-attached them to the various earring boards I purchased. (You know the kind: cheaply purchased earrings in sets of 3 and 4 at places called “The Earring Hut” or “Plug Your Holes Here” or some such.) I made sure all the “pearls” were together; then all the “diamonds”; then the silver studs; then the silver hoops; I did keep a few special shaped earrings (3 sets of small giraffe studs; a set of claddagh rings; a set of bear paws; and a few colorful studs (red, green, and purple) for holidays; I tossed out all sorts of rings, bracelets and necklaces (man, was I in gay pride jewelry once!) Nothing of real value – I never spent much on jewelry since it was all costume and for fun. The only valuable earrings I own is a pair of diamond studs Jeffrey got me for my birthday one year. I wear those on our Anniversary and special occasions.

Pretty shiny things.

Finally, I reorganized our kitchen food cabinets. Things got a bit chaotic as we had bought a bunch of specialty low residue, soft, and liquid foods and drinks for my recent bad gut run, and then started bringing in”normal food.”

As you can tell, I like things neat, orderly and organized. I’ve always been that way, even as a child (thank you very much Miss “My 15 minutes of fame” Marie Kondo and your “does it give you bliss” techniques.) (Kidding – I love her!) I think it’s a reaction to my lack of control over so many other things in my life (job, health, family, etc. and, when I was younger, an abusive father that left a wake of chaos everywhere he went.) When things get stressful, bad, or difficult, I start controlling the things I can – my room, my comics, my home, my clothes, my food, my belongings, yada yada yada. But whether its a coping mechanism, I’m just compulsive neat freak, or a little of both – it’s who I am and it works for me.

As dear miss Stockard once bellowed “There are worse things I could do.”

Eyes wide shut

The insomnia’s back. I don’t know why, I’ve slept well the last week, and fully expected to do so again last night, but no such luck.

The worst part about being awake all night, for me, besides the frustration of being tired but unable to sleep, is that I can’t do anything productive. There is nowhere I can go in our house and nothing I can do that won’t wake one of the other three occupants (Jeffrey, Harvey, or Rita Mae.) Going upstairs or down to the basement creaks the stairs. Shuffling about or trying to do anything is sure to wake the dogs. So I’m kind of trapped. I can watch TV silently using my wireless ear buds, or read on my iPad, but that’s about it. Hell, I’d even prefer to log into my work computer and get some work done rather than waste and kill 8 or 9 hours until the rest of the household wakens. But that requires going into the basement on creaky stairs.

I’ll have to plan for these sleepless nights better by making sure I have other things I can do quietly already on the main floor.

It’s going to be a long, tiring day at work today.

Sigh.

Eggstruck

I have watched and enjoyed the movie “Moonstruck” since I was a Sophomore in Junior High in 1987. I went on a platonic movie date with a friend, but the movie we went to see was rated R and we couldn’t get a ticket. I honestly don’t remember what movie we wanted to see, but I know we had no idea it was rated R or that we wouldn’t be able to get in to see it. Because I loathe public humiliation, and could not just walk away in shame in front of all the people in line behind us, ticketless, I picked the first PG rated movie I saw on the movie list and bought those tickets instead…the movie? “Moonstruck”, of course. And I LOVED it and have watched it dozens of times since. Then, when I met my BF 9 years ago, I discovered he loved the movie as well, and we watch it probably every other time we are together. It’s a thing now.

Every time I watch the movie, and it gets to the scene where Rose Castorini (Olympia Dukakis) is making breakfast for her daughter, Loretta (Cher), I always comment that the dish she is making looks so delicious…some kind of egg in bread dish. I finally looked it up this year, Googling “Moonstruck Breakfast Recipe” and found out it was called, among other things, “Egg in a Hole,” made with roasted red peppers, eggs, bread, and butter. As a person who loves both Moonstruck and sunny side up/over-easy, yolky eggs, I knew I had to have the dish as soon as I could eat solid foods again. In preparation of the event, Jeffrey got us a jar of roasted red peppers and some gluten free Rye(ish) Bread.

Well, this weekend, after my first superdose of Remicade on Friday, I began re-introducing solid foods. The first couple of days I felt a little sluggish and bloated as my body readjusted to the non-liquid food but, by this morning, I was feeling completely normal and decided I could wait no longer. So, we made the dish. It was so simple.

First, we rinsed off the roasted red peppers, patted them dry, and diced them up.

Then, we added some butter to the frying pan and heated until it was just beginning to brown around the edges.

Next, we put the peppers in the heated butter, seasoned with salt & pepper, and sautéed them for about 3 minutes.

Then, we used a 2 oz shot glass to cut a hole in the center of each piece of bread.

We scooted the peppers to the far edge of the pan, added more butter, and fried the bread for about 3 minutes.

Next, we flipped the bread and carefully poured an egg into the open center of each slice. (And cooked the two cut-out round pieces, too, because we don’t waste food!)

We lidded the pan and cooked until a white film formed over the egg yolk, then quickly and carefully moved the egg toast to the plate and topped with peppers. We served with bacon, coffee, and OJ. (It would’ve been Mimosas, but we had stuff to do today, and Mimosas in the morning = napping on the couch by Noon for me.)

Verdict: This was absolutely DELICIOUS and I can’t believe we waited so long to try it. Next time, I will sauté the peppers and toast a little less, and maybe add some garlic because, well, GARLIC! But this dish will definitely be a staple in our house on weekends, going forward.

Have you ever had this dish? Did/do you like it? If so, do you make it any differently?

What do you know it as?

If you haven’t tried it, and like the ingredients, will you try it?

Let me know in the comments.

Stay safe, everyone.

Can’t you feel a brand new day?

What an amazing day!

I got 7 solid hours of sleep last night and, although I woke up with a little bloat (my body is adjusting to digesting solid food again…all part of the process) I was feeling energetic and ready to have a productive day. The weather was fantabulous, so I opened every blind, window and door, and let the sunshine and cool spring air fill every nook and cranny of the house. I skipped breakfast (aside from coffee) to allow my guts to work on digesting last night’s dinner (fish and green beans) and, after throwing a load of laundry on, I got right to work on my first project in months: reorganizing my closet. We share a walk in closet, off the master bedroom bathroom, which we divide relatively evenly (although I may take up a bit more space than Jeffery.) My plan was to just reorganize my half, as I try to respect Jeffrey’s space in the house, but it’s hard to organize half a closet, so it became a closet-wide reorganization.

This is how it started this morning. No, I do not keep my closet like this – this was after I started making piles of different size clothes

This is how it ended.

The great news is that, although most of my clothes don’t currently fit due to my considerable Crohn’s induced weight loss (56 pounds,) I found several shirts and jeans of smaller size buried among the larger stuff that I can get by with, for now. I hate to buy a bunch of new clothes for my current size until I see how successful I am at keeping the bulk of it off for awhile.

The closet took the bulk of the day but, when I was done, we took Mogo for a drive to the nearest Lowe’s so we could get some plastic shelving units for the storage area of our basement. A family friend came by yesterday and picked up all the office furniture I recently replaced, as well as some other odds and ends furniture we had taking up space in the basement, so we needed some cheap shelves to store the items we had sitting all over the furniture we just gave away. I’m quite happy with our selection, and I think they look great…neat and organized:

So happy with these. (And, yes, that is a giant disco ball you see to the left on top of my green luggage. That will go out to our covered back patio pavilion soon.)

After that was complete, I “decorated” for Easter. While we don’t actually celebrate the holiday (we’re devout atheists) I do have a few Easter themed Peanuts items, so when in Rome…

A cute fabric Snoopy easter basket, filled with two bags of gluten free Jelly Beans, the once a year treat I allow myself on the holiday.
My two easter themed Jim Shore Snoopy figurines.

Next, I set up the back porch and wiped down the furniture in anticipation of being able to start using this space again with the warmer spring weather. Yay!

I can’t wait to have my morning coffee out here again!

That about finished me off, energy-wise, so I called it quits on projects for the day. As the air began to chill, I was running around closing up the doors and windows, when I noticed the beautiful dusk sky out our front door, and couldn’t resist capturing a picture of it for tonight’s blog post.

So beautiful, don’t you agree?

For dinner tonight, I pan seared some fresh cod in olive oil, onions, garlic, and white wine with a small side of green beans. I made myself a very weak cosmo, heavy on the cranberry, light on the vodka, to celebrate my road to recovery and a productive day.

I know this picture does not make the cod look as scrumptious as it actually was (remember, it’s covered in a sautéed onion, garlic and wine sauce) it was actually scrumptious, as was the accompanying cosmo.

We enjoyed dinner and cocktails on the freshly cleaned back porch before the temps plummeted and we had to head inside.

It was so wonderful to be/feel well enough be productive and get so much done today, for the first time in a long time. I am finally starting to feel like areal boy again. Hooray! Unfortunately, I’m not a 100% yet, and still struggling with regaining my strength, coordination, and balance, and inadvertently broke two cherished household decor items as I was moving them to clean. Sigh. Still, it was a great day over all. Hope yours was good, as well.

Stay safe, everyone. The pandemic isn’t over, just because you’re over it.