This and That

It’s been a long week so far. I’ve had some gut issues…not severe enough to be alarmed, but enough to make me uncomfortable sitting up all day and tire me out by the end of my work day. At times like this, I am so extra grateful I get to just go upstairs (my office is in the basement) and collapse onto the sofa or bed and not have to drive for an hour to get home.

So, what’s new here? Notta lotta.

I got this complete collection of Super Friends figure sets in one fell swoop on eBay. Each box includes a Super Friend and one of their adversaries from the Legion of Doom. Very excited. I wish they hadn’t discontinued making them, as there are many characters missing from both sides (hero and villain) but at least I now have all the ones that were produced.

I can practically hear the theme song playing.

I also purchased this Ninja IQ personal mini blender. We love our Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Grill so much, I decided to stick with the same brand for this item. Blended smoothies and juices can be a good friend to IBD sufferers, and I’m tired of pulling out my full size blender to blend individual servings. I’ve done a few trial runs and it works great, just like the grill. I’m very happy with it.

Very sleek and shiny!
A blended Blueberry Tom Collins (with extra blueberries)

We had some more water seepage in our basement this week. This is the second time this summer. After a heavy rain, a small puddle collects on the floor, so far in the same spot both times. Our basement has been bone dry (no evidence of any water damage, leakage, or seepage) for 9 years, but now that we’ve had it refinished, it’s decided to start acting up. We suspect it’s a combination of the massive amount of rainfall we’ve gotten this summer, over-saturating the ground, and the removal of the two huge bushes from in front of the wall where the seepage is occurring, leaving a void where water absorbing plants used to be. We have already ordered smaller water sucking bushes to plant in the same spot, but will likely have to have the area of the wall where the seepage has occurred removed, examined, waterproofed, and replaced, to prevent mold. It’s a small amount (at least what we see on the inside) but it’s still a major pain in in the arse and quite disappointing.

We FINALLY located a lawn guy to mow our lawn. We’ve called multiple people/businesses over the last year or so and not a single person called us back. He’s someone who lives in our neighborhood and advertised on the local neighborhood page on Facebook. He seems very nice and happy to have the job so here’s hoping he works out.

Last but not least, I set up a “permanent rehearsal spot” in my basement comic book room to leave my Trombone and stand out, in the hopes it will encourage me to start playing more. While I have not felt up to playing it this week (thanks stupid guts,) I am excited to crack open my music books and start playing again soon. You just haven’t heard “Row Row Row Your Boat” until you’ve heard it played on a trombone!

I’ll have a captive audience of super-pets to cheer me on.

Question: Do any of my readers play a musical instrument (now or in the past?) Are there any that would like (or plan) to learn?

Membership has its privileges

As a member of the immunosuppressed community, I recently became eligible for a third “booster” shot of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine. So I called my local pharmacy this morning to confirm they were accepting walk-ins and off I went.

I am now also a member of the Booster Club.

I’m very grateful to have access to this third shot. While it won’t absolve me of all the other precautions (masks, sanitization, proper distancing, limited contact with others) it does give me some comfort that I’ve utilized every tool available to me to protect myself and others.

Speaking of tools, I used my dehydrator setting on my Ninja Foodi today for the first time. I dehydrated apples plucked from my own backyard apple tree. I think they came out great.

These tasted great!

Happy Sunday, all.

76 Trombone(s)

Today is my Mom’s 76th birthday. To celebrate it, we invited her to our house for breakfast. My cousin came to town for the weekend, so we invited her to join us. Although we are all fully vaccinated, out of precaution with the current spread of the Delta variant, we kept masks on while inside the house (where we congregated for only a few minutes) then headed outside where we enjoyed a mask-less breakfast under the pavilion, furniture distanced more than 6 feet apart.

In honor of Mom turning 76, Jeffrey suggested I play her “Happy Birthday” on my trombone (Get it? “76 Trombones” from “The Music Man.”) It was a great idea. However, I am ashamed to admit I have not played anything in well over a year and had to spend a little time practicing my positions, embouchure, and music reading to make sure I hadn’t lost what basic skill I have. It all came back quickly. Upon her arrival, I had Mom sit and I serenaded her with Happy Birthday, which she loved. (On a side note, I really enjoyed playing again, and plan to start playing more.)

Next, we moved onto breakfast outside, which consisted of coffee, mimosas, egg cups (eggs, bacon, and cheese baked in muffin tins,) homemade banana muffins and cinnamon bread, and mixed fruit salad. After giving her her gifts, we had a nice long visit and all enjoyed being out in the yard, noshing, chatting, watching the wildlife (we were “visited” by birds, chipmunks, and squirrels during our visit) and listening to a plethora of fine tunes on my iPad. I think she really enjoyed it.

They left just after one o’clock, and we are done in from getting up early to prep, sipping mimosas, and spending so much time outside in the humidity (only made bearable by the 2 ceiling fans and a standing oscillating fan we had place on the patio for air circulation.) We have returned to comfy clothes, gathered the dogs, and retired to the living room where we will watch “The Wizard of Oz” and attempt to nap before dinner.

Stay safe, all.

Colors around Casa Del Sassy

Hanging plants that are thriving with all the rain we’re getting.
Our first crop of apples from our apple tree.
A couple roses blossoming on the rose bushes we planted this summer.
Roses from the bushes we planted when we first moved in 9 years ago.
Wild flowers from the seeds we planted this year.
Our new matching green hassocks.
Our first batch of bacon made in our new Ninja Foodi Air Fryer.
Day Lillies in our front yard.
Our modern pride flag.
Yesterday’s lunch – French Onion Soup.

Cooking with (out) gas

After a day of errands and chores yesterday, we came home for lunch and I used the broiler setting (for the first time) in our new Ninja Foodi to broil bacon wrapped scallops. They came out perfect and I enjoyed them with lemon butter, while Jeffrey, no fan of scallops, had a Caesar salad and chicken salad wrap.

After lunch, I hung out in my basement comic lounge reading comics while Jeffrey stayed upstairs watching TV with the dogs (and, I suspect, napping.)

Then we had a really nice evening last night. We steamed crab legs which we ate with melted butter, then made gluten free breaded fish fries in the Ninja using the air fryer setting, which we served with homemade tartar sauce and a side of grilled Asparagus (which we grilled on the Ninja using the grill setting.) After dinner, we mixed cocktails and enjoyed them on the back screen porch, listening to big band music, taking advantage of the first cool-enough-to-be-bearable evening in weeks. Jeffrey had his usual – Gin martini, straight up, neat; I had a new cocktail: a Tanqueray Flor De Sevilla Spritz

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Tanqueray Sevilla Orange
  • 1 oz. soda water
  • 3 oz. Prosecco, chilled
  • Orange slice for garnish

Directions:

Add ice to a wine glass.

Add Tanqueray Sevilla Orange, then soda water, then Prosecco.

Stir and garnish with an orange slice.

Love this stuff!

I chose to squeeze a little juice from the Orange in it, too, to give it a little more Orange flavor and sweetness, but I loved it and had 3 before the evening was over. It will now be a regular in my cocktail rotation.

Today we went for a short drive, then came home and relaxed with the pups while watching episodes of “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix. I made buttermilk biscuits on the Ninja using the bake setting (for the first time) and they came out great. We will enjoy the biscuits with a dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans.

We have now tried almost all the settings on the Ninja Foodi – Grill, Baked, Broil, and Air Fry – and everything has come out great. The last setting to try is the dehydrator. We will try dehydrating some of the apples from our apple tree in the backyard and see how that goes. We absolutely love the Ninja and are so thrilled we purchased it.

Go us!

Neither here nor there!

Our sofa ain’t big enough for Harvey Milk and the rest of the family, so we’ve all moved.

(It’s good to be king!)

“I need room to spread my paws, Pop!“

BUT….apparently, it’s lonely at the top!

“Sorry, Dad, you were too far away!“

Passed Over

For the better part of 8 years, I have worked an “Individualized Work Schedule” or IWS. This has allowed me to work extended hours for 9 out of 10 days in a 2 week work cycle, and have the 10th day off as a “Pass Day.” I work the same amount of full time hours as I always did, I just work them in 9 days instead of 10. This has allowed me a dedicated day to schedule what ongoing infusions, medical appointments, and procedures I could to limit the amount of time I had to charge, depleting my time accruals. This has been a huge asset, and I am grateful my workplace has been willing to accommodate in me in such a way.

But that’s all coming to an end now. Today is my last Pass Day before returning to a normal 10 day work schedule. I requested to terminate my IWS for 3 reasons:

  1. With the new med, I am moving from in-lab IV infusions to at home injections, and will no longer need to sit for 3-4 hours hooked up to an IV, which was the primary reason I requested an IWS.
  2. My agency has approved a permanent telecommuting program – 2 days a week – which I am not eligible for while I work an IWS. After weighing the pros and cons, I decided working from home 2 days a week was more valuable to me than having a day off every other week.
  3. I’m tired of working extended hours, and look forward to returning to a normal 8 hour work day every day.

I think it was the right decision and I have no regrets.

So what am I doing to celebrate my last Pass Day? I started the day by collecting bodily fluids, packaging them up for travel, heading to my Primary Care Physician’s office to have blood drawn, then headed over to my Gastroenterologist’s office to drop off my “specimens”.

After returning home, I placed a delivery order for groceries from a nearby grocery store to be delivered later today, loaded the dishwasher with breakfast dishes, cleared the dining room table of the week’s mail and package detritus that had gathered there, stored away all the bulk food items we had received this week from various sources, and took out the garbage and recyclables.

Then I sat down and made the calls I’ve been dreading – one to my insurance company and one to my GI’s office – to figure out why I was being billed $12,000 (ZOIKS!) for an infusion which was pre-approved, and should have been covered, by my Insurance Company. Fortunately, it was all resolved (allegedly) and I am now off the hook for the bill. WHEW!

I do not have to prep anything for dinner tonight, because we have plenty of left over Ziti from last night. For those who asked, the ZenB Penne pasta (made from yellow peas) was fantastic and we will definitely order more. The pasta smelled a little funky after I cooked it (to be fair, I’ve never liked the smell of peas, so it’s no surprise that I didn’t find this odor appealing) but that odor faded quickly and the taste was wonderful. It was my first time making Baked Ziti (can you believe it?) and I think it came out rather well, considering it was a makeshift recipe cobbled together from various recipes I found on line. I did not have quite all the ingredients for a proper Ziti, according to all the recipes I found, but I was able to cobble together a close proximity from what we did have: gluten free Penne pasta, marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, ground turkey, diced onions and peppers, shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, Parmesan, and plenty of seasoning. Along with the Ziti, we enjoyed a bottle of wine (Pinot Noir) and some gluten free bread sticks. A lovely dinner indeed, and we look forward to repeating it tonight.

Now that all the adulting is done for the day, I get to do more entertaining activities: read comics, crochet, watch episodes of my favorite superhero animated series’ on TV, nap with the dogs, and maybe bake something in our new multi-purpose Ninja Foodi grill/baker/broiler/hot air fryer.

Until Jeffrey gets home, my buddy Baymax is my TV watching companion.

All in all, not too bad a day, (bodily fluid collecting and needle poking aside,) and I am looking forward to Jeffrey returning home so we can enjoy the rest of the weekend together.

Stay safe, everyone.