Thursday, February 29, 2024

Mid-Winter Break Adventure-Part 2

After Hubby and I flew into San Jose airport on Thursday we picked up a rental car to visit Son Tony and family, who live in Modesto in the Central Valley. Tony had reserved a standard vehicle but when we had a chance for a free upgrade we jumped on it. Our ride for the weekend was a sporty black Mustang:

The trip east across the Altamont Pass was during evening rush hour. The traffic added almost an extra hour to our trip and made me glad I don’t have to do it on a regular basis.

We had learned a week before our visit that DIL Ie would be leaving for a long-planned girl’s weekend. Hubby Tony and I got to see her in the evening when we arrived and again before she left in the morning; then we got to help Son Tony with taking care of Grands Gee, Evee, and Ian.

Next time Ian will be part of the pack, too.
In addition to hanging out, there were trips to a children’s museum and the park, and lots of baby and toddler cuddling by Grandma and Grandpa. All too soon it was Sunday morning and time to pack up the car and head back over the mountains for the next part of our trip.

Sunday’s westward trip over the mountains was much smoother than Thursday’s. We returned the car to the San Jose airport and walked over to the waiting area to get a ride from Son Brian. Back at Brian’s house we had lunch, then I left with DIL Nicole for some pampering time at a nail salon. 


When we arrived back home Hubby Tony was in the middle of a board game with Grandsons Jay, Dee, and Ell. The rest of the afternoon and evening was uneventful. Everyone went to bed early because we had to get up early to start our joint adventure.

To be continued (again)……..

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Mid-Winter Break Adventure 2024

Way back in October Son Brian and DIL Nicole approached Hubby Tony and me with a plan. Their boys would be out of school on their Mid-Winter break the third week of February. Would we like to join their family for a trip?

Of course we said yes!

Plans were finalized just before Tony tripped and broke his ankle, but the surgeon told Tony that if everything went according to plan he would be free to travel by then. Things did go smoothly, and two days after Tony was released we boarded a plane for San Jose. Adventures awaited!

To be continued……

Five years ago today: How Much Is Enough?

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Be Back Soon!

I'm taking a blogging break for a couple of weeks. See you on the flip side!

Five years ago today: A Great Grate

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

ValenGras? MardiTine?

The calendar says that today is Fat Tuesday (also known as Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday and the last hurrah before Lent.

It also says that tomorrow is Valentine's Day, a day to express affection with greetings and gifts.

Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, is one of two days of fasting during the season (Good Friday is the other). In the Catholic church that translates one primary meal, two lesser meals, and abstinence from meat.  Not exactly conducive to a romantic Valentine's meal or anything decadently chocolate.

Hubby Tony and I decided to celebrate both Mardi Gras and Valentine's today. For lunch we went to a Shake Shack that recently opened near our house for sandwiches, fries, and shakes. Later, for dinner we had some darn good leftovers and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.

Five years ago today: Cover An Owie In Style

Monday, February 12, 2024

Nowhere To Be Found

Blogger has two basic types of commenting:

  • Embedded-allows users to reply directly on the post.
  • Full page and Popup window-opens a new comment page.

I've chosen the Embedded style, because I think the option to comment on other people's responses allows for more give and take. Usually.

Tonight I opened up my blog to reply to a few new comments. The responding option was MIA because the hyperlink (blue text) was gone.

I wonder if a harried developer was updating the code and forgot a space or didn't close some parentheses. I hope the issue is fixed soon.

Five years ago: No Good Deed Goes Unrewarded

Friday, February 9, 2024

It Was Time

For the first time in more than 21 years our house doesn't have any animals. Today Jackson the Cat crossed the Rainbow Bridge

The average cat lives for 12-14 years. Jackson was 21, so he certainly had a long life. However, for the past month his advanced age was really starting to show. It was becoming harder for him to get around and get comfortable when he laid down. Yesterday he stopped eating (although I saw him drinking water several times) and his right leg stuck out at an unnatural angle when he walked.

Hubby Tony called the vet and made an appointment to take him in this afternoon. Today we made sure that Jackson knew he was loved. He got as much extra attention as he wanted, and got to sleep when he had enough 'peopling'. When it was time to leave for the vet Jackson perked up and actually made a stink about going into his carrier. On the drive to the vet's office I opened the car sun roof so the fresh air could come in.

The vet and technicians were professional and compassionate, but it was a tough time. After the we left the office Tony and I went to a nearby park and walked around. Back at home, it was very strange to not have our orange and white friend greet us.

In better days....
Five years ago: Bring On The Light!

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Take Out Text

I was sitting on the couch with my laptop tonight, lazily clicking from website to website, when I came across Just the Punctuation. The simple site had a plain white box that included instructions to paste text in it.  Hitting the Submit button at the bottom removed everything but the punctuation.

I had to try it out, so I copied and pasted the United States Declaration of Independence and submitted it. The results were heavy on commas, with a few apostrophes, dashes, and semicolons, and one ampersand thrown in:

 Five years ago: The Dress Was Only The Beginning

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Keep Moving Forward

This morning I did a yoga class at the gym. The instructor always begins with an inspirational quote. When she said that today's was from Sylvester Stallone the entire class snickered, but after hearing the quote I had to agree that the words were thought provoking:

"You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward."
(I came home and searched for the source of the quote. The internet told me it was from Rocky Balboa, the sixth film in the Rocky series.)

Monday, February 5, 2024

Chicken In Charge

This afternoon the temperature was in the mid-50s, nice enough to be outside, but on Monday afternoon I prepare dinner for the clergy so I stopped at the grocery store for ingredients and headed to the parish office to cook.

Tonight's meal was tacos (with lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, and salsa) and refried beans. After preparing the meat I turned to the lettuce, cutting the ribs out of a head of leaf lettuce before slicing it into shreds. Instead of discarding the ribs decided to walk them over to the chickens. I hadn't been to see them for months and wondered how they were doing.

Per the pastor's request last week's Sloppy Joe meal included frozen corn. When I was buying the ingredients I found out that, thanks to shrinkflation, frozen corn had been downsized to 12-ounce bags (four servings, according to the nutritional label). I was feeding six people, and hate to run out of food, so I bought two bags. That turned out to be way too much. I put the leftovers in the refrigerator, and no one had touched it. so I dumped half the kernels into the bowl with the lettuce scraps.

When I neared the coop I could see that all three of the hens were out enjoying the day. I greeted them, then opened the gate and tossed the contents of the bowl in.

The chickens went crazy over the corn kernels. I had heard that flocks have a pecking order, but before today had never seen it in action. However, one of the hens was definitely the Alpha. Although I tried to spread the goodies in a wide area she gobbled up much of the corn, and chased the other two hens away when they tried to move in.

Five years ago today: Has It Been Ten Years Already?

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Long Distance Grandparenting

The first Saturday of February is Ice Cream For Breakfast Day. I can't remember if I heard about local celebrations of this year's event in print, on the local news, or social media, but last week there was a list of ice cream parlors and how they were celebrating.

Since I first learned about the day in 2010 I have celebrated sporadically (based on our last attempt in 2020 the lines were too long), but this year I came up with a fun way to involve the whole family.

All of the grands live halfway across the country in California. Hubby Tony and I rarely get a chance to spoil them, so I sent a text to the family group with an explanation of the day and asked if anyone was interested in a FaceTime ice cream breakfast. They were. Because of the time difference we decided on 9:30 am our time/7:30 am theirs.

Yesterday Tony and I went to the store and picked out our 'breakfast'. We decided on chocolate covered Greek yogurt bites and frozen cookie dough pieces.

There was no way I could wait until mid-morning for breakfast, so before my trip to the gym I had a bowl of oatmeal. We I got home I got out bowls for the ice cream and set up the tablet for the video call.

Son Brian was there first. We watched his boys (ages 7 and 4) get servings of ice cream and eat it with big smiles on their faces. I tried to engage them in conversation, but after finishing their treat they were more interested in tossing their stuffed animals around and filling the iPad screen with emojis and stickers. After they left the table I could hear them playing in the background. About then Son Tony came onto the call. His little ones (the oldest is 3) were too young to understand what we were doing but seemed to be enjoying their popsicles and showing off some of their artwork.

After all of the adults caught up we ended the call, because both young families had full Saturdays.

Five years ago today: Peppery And Pungent

Friday, February 2, 2024

Use Up Every Cent

Back in August I purchased a new laptop at Costco. I also got the Microsoft Office suite there; that part of the purchase generated a $25 eGift card. I left the store with a Microsoft cardboard voucher with directions on the back. To receive the actual gift card information I had to scratch off the voucher coating to see a QR code and PIN, then scan the code with my phone and enter the PIN.

Eventually I had a gift card number, expiration date, and CVV (Card Verification Value), which should have made it easy to use. However, I found the process cumbersome. Even though the card website said it would work at online merchants that accepted that brand of debit cards, it seemed like every online store I tried declined the card.

At some point I figured out that I could add the card to my Wallet app and use it with the phone's mobile payment service. (Which was a new experience for me. Because of security concerns I am not a fan of e-payment.) However, once the money there I used it for small purchases at the grocery store and Target. Eventually the balance on the card was down to 59 cents.

It would have been easier to forget about that pittance, but I figured I would try to capture the full value of the card. I kept a scrap of paper in my wallet to remind me the money was there.

The other day I was at an Aldi that had self-service check outs. After I scanned my items I noticed that one of the options on the screen was to split the payment, and I wondered if the machine would accept my pittance. It did. On the first screen I entered the card balance, used the Wallet app to deduct the money, then paid for the balance with my regular charge card.

Five years ago today: What Is Prayer?