Fun with Flora and Photos

We ran some errands today, then came home to plant some trees in the front yard that we had ordered last week and received yesterday. We now have five Sky Pencil Holly Trees spaced along the front of the house and two Magnolia tress planted on opposite sides of the yard. I hope they take root and survive the winter.

Here are some photos I took throughout the day.

Today’s purchase from Hallmark. LOVE!
Today’s mail delivery. Had fun singing through some of these.

Phoney

We upgraded to a new phone this week. We used to upgrade every 2 years, but we waited 4 years his time. My favorite new feature is text recognition with the camera. It recognizes texts in images and allows you to copy and paste it into other documents and programs. This is hugely helpful for me, because I collect recipes from all over the interwebs, often by screen shot, since many apps and sites won’t let you copy and paste, and I had to retype them manually into my recipe section of my Notes app. What a time saver this new feature is.

Here are some photos taken with the new and improved camera. I am not a photographer, and probably don’t use my phone cam features properly to get the best shots, but I do play around with settings to see what they do.

I don’t even know what color my beard is any more.
My unwilling model.
Maybe more willing than I thought?
Girl is giving me mad-profile.
A little seasonal decor for the mantle.
Ooooh…spooky!
My new bedside wireless charging station – charges my iPhone, earbuds and Apple watch. (I think I like the new charger more than the new phone.)

Pickle Me This

I’ve always loved pickles and pickle juice, but lately, in particular, I’ve been craving (and consuming) copious amounts of dill pickles and dill pickle Juice. It occurred to me that I do not have a favorite brand of dill pickle, so I decided to find out if I have one. To that end, I bought every brand available at my local grocery store and did a taste test.

6 Brands. See one you like?

I did a sampling of a spear of each pickle, with a water cleanse between. To my surprise, I factually did like one above all others. I found my favorite of this selection was Vlasic Kosher Dill.

One of thee things is not like the other.

I will note a few caveats:

* I do love other flavors of pickles, too, but this test was all about dill pickles.

*I ordered almost all pickle spears, but I prefer whole pickles. They keep their stiffness and crunch better.

*I did the taste test while they were all still room temperature. I much prefer them refrigerated.

*Some flavors were so starkly different, it was like comparing pickled apples and pickled oranges.

I also ordered 4 brands of dill pickle juice. Of the three I’ve tried so far tried:

Try not to late the iridescent color scare you. It was good.

…the Picklesplash is the only one that tastes exactly like pickle juice from a pickle jar. I have a gallon of another brand I have not tried yet.

Finally, I tried a dirty (Tanqueray gin) martini with pickle juice instead of olive juice. Honestly, it wasn’t bad.

One thing I discovered about pickle juice I never knew before: it relieves muscle cramps almost immediately. Athletes have known this for some time, apparently. I am prone to cramping in my feet and calves when I am suffering from dehydration and malnutrition (which I have been a lot this year.) When I recently got a case of foot cramps, I tried some pickle juice. Within seconds after sipping pickle juice, the cramping stopped. The more you know…..

I am going to continue to try other brands as I come across them.

Do you like pickles? Do you have a favorite brand? Do you ever drink pickle juice from the jar? Have you ever made home made pickles? Do you like other pickled vegetables? Do you ever use pickles in recipes for other things (like macaroni salad or tuna fish)?

Work Attired

As I continue to enjoy the luxury, convenience, and safety of working from home full time, I have eschewed ties, dress shorts, and slacks for more comfortable attire. Sometimes it’s boxers and a tee, but some times I step it up a notch, like so:

Sassy Sponge Bob

True, a brightly colored Sponge Bob shirt, in and of itself, does not convey an elevated level of dress, but when you wear the whole ensemble, that’s a different story.

The carpet matches the drapes.

Who says I don’t make an effort anymore?

Stank-cation

My weekend visit in CT with the BFJ ended abruptly and painfully, thanks to another kink in the bowels. Jeffrey had to come pick me up in CT in the wee hours Sunday morning because I was in too much pain to drive.

Fortunately, my GI was able to get me in last Monday for the same procedure that helped me just 2 weeks ago, which worked again (thankfully) and I have spent the week slowly recovering.

Deja Vu!
Maybe I should get one of these permanently installed.

Recovery takes longer and longer after these episodes, but as long as I am improving, I guess that’s all that matters.

My emotional support and comfort companions hard at work.

I have a consult with my surgeon this Monday to discuss options for preventing this recurring mechanical failure, if any exist. If he has no ideas, my GI will refer me to specialist at either the Mayo or Cleveland Clinic.

Not the most restful time away from work, I’m afraid. Bummer, that.

Gifted

I made a new friend this weekend.

Bosom Buddies!

A friend of mine in CT (Karen – a good one – co-worker of the BFJ’s husband) saw my post on Facebook the other day of the crocheted rainbow giraffe my cousin-in-law gifted me, so Karen wanted to add to my giraffe crochet family and whipped me up this little guy in two days!

I love him!

Now we’re cooking

My health has remained stable for almost two weeks and I’m beginning to think I’m actually, finally, “ok.” I want to take advantage of my good health and enjoy as much variety in food as I can, while I can. To that end, I’ve been trying to make new foods/meals every night:

Blue Cheese and Bacon Salad wedges

Tuna Steak with Orange and Soy Sauce

Hawaiian Luau Sweet & Sour Chicken

Paella w/Pork, Chicken, Sausage, and Shrimp

Steamed Clams and Mussels in White Wine sauce

Shepherds Pie

Onion Rings

Fried Pickles

Duck Fillet with Plum Sauce

I am constantly perusing cookbooks and on-line recipes for the next exciting meal to prepare. Tomorrow, however, we’ll take a small break from more exciting meals and have chicken burgers and tater tots. I need the extra time I’d otherwise use to prepare a meal, to pack and get ready for a visit this weekend to CT to visit the BFJ. His husband will be in their condo in P-town for the long holiday weekend, and my husband will be home enjoying time alone, away from my “what should we do now” energy, so who knows what trouble we’ll get into, left to our own devices. (Translation: we will crochet, assemble jigsaw puzzles, have cocktails, watch “Moonstruck” (again), and maybe squeeze in a walk or two at the reservoir if the weather cooperates.) It will be nice to be away for a couple days, just to get out of the house, where I spend 99.5% of my time these days. Both Jeffrey and I are on vacation next week, so I will return home to enjoy the rest of our “staycation”, doing nothing more than day trips, drives, dog walks, and hopefully some new, adventurous meals. (Any suggestions?) Not the most exciting of plans, admittedly, but I’m looking forward to it none-the-less.

A day to remember

It was a perfect weekend. Our Anniversary could not have been better (other than COVID being eliminated and the ability to actually go away, safely.)

I woke up Saturday feeling great (i.e. no gut issues) so we started the day with a favorite breakfast: Toad-in-a-Hole, sausage, bacon, hash-browns, coffee, and OJ. We would have had mimosas but we are too old to drink in the morning AND have a productive day, after.

A lovely Anniversary breakfast. The two mini plates are for the spoiled fur-kids.

We swapped cards and, as a sign of just how freakin’ compatible we are, we had gotten each other the same card (not for the first time.)

Two peas, One pod.

After breakfast, we hopped in Mogo and took a ride to our favorite Christmas store in Arlington, VT, about 70 minutes away. We plugged in the address for the store, and Mogo’s navigation persona (“Aya” – as in “A.I.”) took us a different way than we were used to, which resulted in the discovery of an antique and second hand shop of which we we were previously unaware. We stopped, and perused the cluttered aisles (masked the whole time, of course; there were only 3 other people in the whole place,)where we happened upon a couple gems we couldn’t resist purchasing:

A Christmas moose addition for our Mooseknuckle Junction corner at Christmas.

A new Peanuts display to add to our Peanuts Christmas collection.
These super cool rainbow Wonder Woman emblem seat covers for Mogo.

After that, we continued on our way to the Christmas store. Once there, we were pleased to discover a couple items we wanted – one is a Christmas gift, so I can’t share it here, just in case. The other is a new piece for my Rankin-Basin collection, from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special:

Bumble and Yukon and Hermey oh my!

When we got home, my Mom had left us a delivery of red roses at our front door. How sweet of her.

A lovely display.

After a little rest and relaxation, we got gussied up and treated ourselves to a special Anniversary-exception dinner out (we haven’t been out to dinner since my 50th birthday in Provincetown in May) at a place we’d only heard about never been to, the Century House. All the wait staff were fully masked at all times, tables were spread well over 6 feet apart and, because we had such an early dinner (5:00pm), there was only one other party in the whole dining room while we were there, so we felt as safe as possible for an indoor dining experience.

Empty but pleasant dining room. Great for us, not so much for the restaurant, I’m sure.
Mandatory dinner selfie. I was feeling pretty in pink.

When I booked the reservation on the Open Table app, I selected “Anniversary” as the reason for our reservation. I have selected Anniversary and Birthday in the past, when booking reservations, but nothing ever came of it. This time, however, we were pleasantly surprised when, after we’d finished our dinner (I had GF Lobster Bisque, with a Pear martini, followed by an entree of Lobster tail, asparagus, and rice with a glass of Chardonay; Jeffrey had the french onion soup with a gin martini, followed by an entree of the house burger and fries, with a glass of Malbec) they brought over a chocolate mousse (which was comped) and wished us a Happy Anniversary.

Both a figurative and literal sweet gesture.

It was a wonderful dining experience and it was great to be having dinner out again. In fact, we may make this our one “exception locale”, and go out every two weeks for an early dinner.

Once we returned home, we mixed up some nightcaps – A Cosmo for me (of course) and a Tanqueray martini for Jeffrey (of course) – and had a zoom cocktail chat with some friends from CT that we would have seen this weekend, had we gone to CT as originally planned to dog-sit for the BFJ and his hubby. (We cancelled because my health has been unreliable and they had tickets to see a show in NYC they didn’t want to miss out on, so they booked a Kennel stay to be safe.)

It was a fantastically perfect day and Anniversary celebration and I am so grateful my health was good enough to allow us such a day to celebrate.

You gotta enjoy it while you can, folks.

Stay safe, all.