It’s cool and rainy and sticky

and that’s a good description of my mood of late. But that’s another story, or not, or just SOP – whatevs.

If it weren’t for the sticky part, it would be a good day to burrow under the covers and wait for sunshine – of every kind.

It is always amusing that the cats, more often than not, will adopt the same position –

Stressing a bit about the possibility of a complete kitchen renovation. I haven’t gotten the estimate yet but it is going to be a boatload of money and I am so paranoid about spending money,  and being old and poor and winding up living in a discarded refrigerator box on the street and also there is that little part of me that thinks I don’t deserve to have anything nice. And then there is the reality of living in an apartment while a kitchen is being renovated – and that is a big “there’s that”.

And then there is the weather…

It was a dark and stormy

20 minutes. Thunder, lightening (sing with me), far from frightening, with just one blip of power loss, long enough to shut my computer down, and just long enough for me to get some quick pics…

Whee-oo but the wind was whipping –

And the rain was pelting down in torrents –

It went as fast as it came, didn’t do a thing to relieve the heat and the humidity, but who doesn’t enjoy a thunder storm?

Dusting off some of the cobwebs

around here. And as I was typing that headline it occurred to me that ‘cobweb’ is an odd word for a spider web, so of course I had to stop and look that up. If you are wondering, now that I mentioned it,  explanation is HERE.

Now, what was I saying…

I know I always say I hate to cook, and I do, but sometimes I do enjoy the meals I throw together, like last night. Trader Joe’s chicken sausage with sun-dried tomatoes and basil and…the most tasty mish-mash of vegetables. Last week I was sautéing onions to go with my roasted eggplant and I had a boatload of caramelized onion, more than I wanted to use, a Google search turned up the idea that you can freeze them! Sweet!

Last night I steamed some zucchini, while that was working I sautéed some mushrooms, added the (steamed) zucchini to them, popped in my frozen caramelized onions, added a healthy chunk of garlic, a little salt & pepper and let that whole thing sit on a very low flame, flavors mixing and blending, while the sausages cooked. Whee-oo – was that ever good.

Tonight, a  salad with shrimp. But you know there is no such thing as just plain food in my world. I marinate everything. Shrimp are now luxuriating in a bath of olive oil, white wine and 21-Seasoning Salute. Later on, I will drain those puppies and throw them in a hot frying pan, and when done, top our salads with them. It will be delicious. Trust me!

Just as an aside – the shrimp is frozen, from Argentina, $9.99 a pound from Trader Joe’s. The shrimpies look and taste like – shrimpies. I love shrimpies and living in Virginia, you just don’t get fresh shrimpies. Also, if you were wondering, 21-Seasoning Salute is also from Trader Joe’s. If you don’t live near one, you need to move.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we have a meeting with the kitchen renovation guy. Stay tuned for further details.

Along with the missing homemaker gene

I am missing the shopping gene. I’ve never liked shopping, ever, in my life, ever. So with the advent of on-line shopping I was in heaven and I’ve been at it for nigh on 20 years now. I’ve only gotten burned a couple of times, like the recent fiasco with the super expensive luxury sheets I thought I would treat myself to – – avoid them at all costs, because it WILL cost you and they are crap. And yes, they finally published my negative review after I submitted another negative review stating that they wouldn’t publish my first one! Shame works I guess.

Anyway, I’m gonna share my successes, and No, this isn’t a sponsored post, and No, I do not profit in any way if you decide you need any of these things. As a matter of fact I won’t even post links, just names, most of the stuff I bought via Amazon and you can find them there, or, who knows, you may find it elsewhere for less because Amazon is not the only game in town!

Keeping with the bed theme – I was exploring buying a new mattress on-line and after much research decided that wasn’t going to be a good fit for me. (I’m going with believing the negative reviews for Saatva.) But I did buy a mattress pad which helped a lot – “Linenspa Plush Microfiber Mattress Pad with Deep Pocket Stretch Skirt, King” for $34.99. Oh this is wonderful. It doesn’t bunch up, the ‘stretch skirt’ stays nicely tucked around and under the mattress, I can even yank the fitted sheet off the mattress and the pad stays firmly in place. So – $1300 for a mattress I can’t try first versus $34.99 for a mattress pad that performs as it should. Easy choice here. Oh yes, and it won’t make you all hot and sweaty the way some do.

Then there are the pillows. Years ago I fell for the ‘My Pillow” hype. Pricey little buggers, and they seemed really good but over time I came to hate them. I just replaced them with “Mellanni Plush Gel-Fiber Filled Pillows – BEST QUALITY 100% Cotton Cases, 3D Hollow Siliconized Material Retains Shape for Cooling Comfort, NO FLATTENING! (2-Pack King Size)” for $34.97 – yup, that price for 2 king-size pillows and they are grand! My husband periodically suffers from major night sweats, particularly his head, I was looking for a pillow that sleeps cool and these seem to do the trick. Along with the ‘sleeps cool’ mattress pad and my husband is sleeping more comfortably for the sum total of $70. (And if he sleeps more comfortably, then I have a fighting chance to sleep better too!)

Also on the pillow front – again, my husband. He has COPD, a slight case of sleep apnea and he snores like a 747. Over the years I have come thisclose to just suffocating him in the night because I couldn’t take it anymore. Then last year I developed a mild case of acid reflux due to medication I was taking – desperate for a solution, research uncovered the fact that wedge pillows can be useful in alleviating these problems to a great degree, and that research is spot on! I bought two 8-inch wedge pillows for $70 each, and my husband uses his with his regular pillow and it is PERFECT. It elevates the whole upper body – head and shoulders.  I guess an adjustable bed would have the same effect but even with the high price of wedge pillows they are still cheaper than an adjustable bed!

Six days out of seven there is little to no snoring! YES! For me there is a problem with the height of the wedge, six inches would have probably been better for me. Also I am a side sleeper and I found myself sliding down the pillow and waking with a crick in my neck. If I add a regular pillow, it’s just much too high. BUT – the wedge is great if I want to read in bed. And it does help with the acid reflux which I don’t have any more because I stopped that particular medication. I won’t recommend a brand of wedge pillow – you’re gonna have to research that one yourself, they are not cheap and ladies, I do recommend you go for a lower wedge height than 8-inches. I think most men will do well with the 8-inch wedge especially if they use a regular pillow on top of it.

My last recommendation – just as an aside and an afterthought – paying through the nose for those brand name printer ink cartridges? Try these folks, Inkojet. I’ve been buying from them for about 2 years now, never had a problem or a complaint. You owe it to your pocketbook to try them.

I know photos belong

on the photo blog but no one sees them there – so poopsie -do they will go here. My advice is – if you right click on a photo and choose “open in a new tab” you get to see them bigger and better (or biggified).

This morning, round about 7:15-ish, I looked up from my coffee and newspaper and saw this…
My beautiful girl..

Let’s back that up a bit and

“Sleep that knits

up the raveled sleave of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.” (Wm. Shakespeare – MacBeth: Act 2, Scene 2)

I’m not good at sleeping. Even as a baby I was not good at sleeping (so I was told) tho I was good at staying very, very quiet.

Sometimes I don’t sleep because my mind is racing a mile a minute, obsessing over past, present and future occurrences and events.  Re-hashing conversations/confrontations past and present and anticipating future ones.

And sometimes I can’t sleep because I think what a waste of time sleeping is, and I could be doing something, or I’m missing out on something. 

Last night I woke around 12:30am – and thought “I can be up doing something useful” and went promptly back to sleep only to wake again around 4am because Frankie (the cat) was trying to wake my husband up – 4am is getting on to be breakfast time in their world. I then fell asleep and slept like the dead until a little past 7am. 

I felt well rested, my usual goofy morning self, yet – so lazy. I spent the morning procrastinating – 

I am a self-described night owl but I wonder if that is just my natural rhythm or one acquired as a baby. Several months ago I decided I would go to bed when my husband did – 10pm, sleepy or not. And now that is my habit, and mostly, just barely, I am asleep by 11pm or so.  I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night,  slept more than an hour or two at time, waking, being aware that I was awake, and then falling back to sleep, sometimes sooner, sometimes later. And sometimes not at all. 

“The sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care” is not the sleep I know much of, but when I manage it I appreciate it, I cherish it. 

Can one love sleep? Yes, like the inconstant lover that it is.

Miscellaneous Mishegoss

1. One of the themes running through my life has been wings – and winged things. And while I have no extensive knowledge of birds, I’ve always been drawn to crows. I have a folder with crow tattoos because if I ever get a tattoo it will be of a crow. Anyway…3 times in the last 2 days I have read blog posts devoted to crows, and they really weren’t all that complimentary. I don’t mind so much that these folks do not share my love of crows but the incidence of 3 random people, who are on my regular blog reading list, who are not naturalists or ornithologists, writing about crows in such a short span of time – well, that must mean something. Or nothing – I don’t know, it just struck me as interesting. Or odd.

2. Remember when I was talking about an on-line purchase I made and the product was just dreadful and I was exchanging emails with their customer service department? Well they never answered my last email, and honestly, not answering was the only proper answer BUT the first negative review I posted on their web site was never published. So I posted another review, which was not exactly glowing, and guess what, that one hasn’t been posted either. So there you go as far as reading product reviews – probably can’t believe the good ones and the bad ones are only selectively published – you know, to keep up some semblance of honesty. Ha!

3. A discussion this morning with my husband left me in tears of frustration. If I want to be kind, I could say my husband is very laid back. If I want to be honest, I could say he just doesn’t give a shit about anything. The discussion ended with this exchange:

Me: You know your life hasn’t been all that bad that you should have run out of ‘give-a-shits’.
Husband: You’re right, my life hasn’t been bad at all, I’ve just drifted through it, and I really don’t care.

So I guess I shall take that as carte blanche to do whatever the hell I want – and I will. 

4. The New York Times Crossword Puzzles. I’ve been doing them since I was 12. Obviously at age 12 I wasn’t getting very far with them. Nowadays the puzzles, starting with Monday, progress from super easy, ‘do it in my head’, ‘to ball it up in frustration and toss it in the trash’. I’ve always found the Thursday and Saturday puzzles to be the most challenging – doesn’t make sense with the supposedly Monday to Sunday, easy to hard, paradigm. But there you go. Anyway, this week I have sailed through the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday crossword. I found them insultingly easy. What’s up with that New York Times? I’m just not all that smart, so it must be you not me.

5. Y’all know how much I hate to cook. I will take any short cut I can find EXCEPT when it comes to whipped cream and anything to do with avocados. The only time I eat whipped cream is when I have lovely sweet juicy berries. One does not desecrate beautiful berries by topping them off with canned whipped cream. Plus – fresh whipped cream is so damn easy to whip up (see what I did there?) that anyone using canned whipped cream on fresh berries is a Philistine! I will take your berries away; you are undeserving.

And avocados – I mean how many ways are there to prepare avocados – mostly you just mash them up, add some olive oil, garlic and any other little oddments that please you – How hard is that? People actually BUY guacamole – can you believe that? Me either. Talk about lazy.

I guess this is rather a long post – at least I’ve given you a respite from the philosophical musings I’ve been dishing up the last few days. Enjoy!