Father’s Day

June 21st, 2021 Comments off

A couple of weeks ago K reached out to me about coming over for Father’s Day. I thought it was a great idea, and we decided I would handle the food and she could make a dessert for Joe. She and E arrived around 1 (side note: I LOVED that she texted me when they left the house and also when they were five minutes away) and stayed until just after 6.

We ordered pizza, boneless, wings, and stuffed mushrooms and I made some toasted ravioli (side note: why did Aldi stop selling toasted ravioli? It was so much better than the stuff we got from Walmart). The kids brought some alcoholic drinks for Joe (Crown Royal Washington Apple Whisky Cocktail & Not Your Father’s Root Beer) and we made a new mixed drink that K and I had – Simply Limeade mixed with whipped cream vodka which tastes like key lime pie.

Key Lime Pie Drink

So good I had two drinks yesterday and a small glass of it this morning… don’t judge!

We had cupcakes K made – yellow cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles – all of Joe’s favorite things.

After eating we played 5 games of Aggravation before moving on to video games where we played Mario Kart and Bomberman. I wanted to play Penguin Wars too but the game wouldn’t load. It’s a digitally downloaded one so I’m not sure how to fix that.

The kids were so generous – not only did they get Joe a $50 Starbucks gift card, but they bought Wookie two toys.

Wookies Gifts

E surprised me with a picture disc of Faith by The Cure from Record Store Day and a magazine with Robert Smith on the cover and a bonus CD cover version of Why Can’t I Be You. I was so touched!

Cure Gifts

I don’t actually own Faith on vinyl so it’s a great addition to my collection (and such a great album).

The evening ended with us attempting to go to bed early but the weather had other ideas. A little after 11 pm it started storming. The rain was coming down so hard it was deafening and unsettling. Then I heard an eerie whistling noise which scared the crap out of me because I couldn’t identify what it was. I later figured out it was a tornado siren a town over which is why it was so faint. Luckily we weren’t hit by any tornados but other towns in the area weren’t so fortunate.

Categories: Family, Fun & Games, Holidays Tags:

May Wrap-Up

May 31st, 2021 Comments off

Happy Memorial Day? I dunno, does that sound weird considering what it represents?

Abandoned Golf Course

In any case, we started our day with a bike ride at an abandoned golf course and I once again was reminded that I’m not in that great of shape even though I walk on my treadmill multiple times a week (more days than not lately). I always think biking is going to be fun until I hit that first incline and then I’m guessing whose bright idea that was. Needless to say, we made it around one lap (approximately 15 minutes) and came back home. Definitely need to stick to flatter terrain like the park we sometimes take Wookie to for walks.

Memorial Day Lunch

I wish it was just a little warmer out today. It’s overcast (but not rainy) and in the 60’s which would be fine if we had some sunshine. But it wasn’t meant to be. We made some hot dogs for lunch and watched Sofi Tukker on their last scheduled live DJ set. They won’t be able to commit to a schedule now that they’re vaccinated and doing shows in real life. I’m sad that I won’t be able to count on seeing them weekly, or in person since they play either clubs (too loud indoors for my ears) or festivals (very expensive and unappealing). Oh well. I am looking forward to their new album which I suspect is being released very soon. Plus I’ve discovered a lot of other DJs on Twitch to listen to, some of which seem to have similar tastes to SF.

Oh, speaking of DJs, Moby did a live set right after Sofi Tukker the other night and I was so excited, but then let down. It was rather boring. Plus I’ve read some not so nice things about Moby so while I like some of his music he isn’t as appealing as he used to be.

In other music news, I don’t think I wrote about the Cure t-shirt I bought (online) back in March!

New Cure T-Shirt

A fan made it to commemorate the weekly Cure watch parties we’ve gathered to watch on Twitch. It’s my official 2020 concert t-shirt and not only is the design awesome (anything Wish-inspired always is), but it’s very soft and fits nicely, unlike pretty much all of my Cure shirts. Most of them were made with thick stiff cotton shirts that do not fit well (either too small or too large). I’m wearing the shirt today, in fact, since the colors seem fitting. I painted my nails red, white, blue (with a glitter overlay) too. I’m so fashionable!

Excursions & Food Stuff

Earlier this month we went to Lilacia Park in Lombard to check out the lilacs and tulips. I’m not going to bother posting any photos from that little trip because we missed peak bloom thanks to the rainy weather the week before so nothing was looking it’s best. It was nice walking around outside, however. Plus afterwards we stopped at the new The Original Rainbow Cone location for a treat.

Rainbow Cone

(This is what was left of my cone by the time I realized I should get a picture)

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about five flavors (orange sherbet, pistachio, palmer house, strawberry, and chocolate) of ice cream in one cone but I was pleasantly surprised – it was delicious! One thing I would change, though, is the size of the cone I got. I tried the baby one but for just $1.12 more you get a lot more ice cream in the small size. I’d definitely skip the baby size and go straight to the small. Or even better, I’d be tempted to buy a quart (currently priced at $12.49) and get some cones from the grocery store.

After earning TWO free drink coupons from Dunkin, I decided to try their new peach lemonade refresher yesterday and I won’t be getting that again.

DD Peach Lemonade

It smelled weird, like a tomato plant. I later realized that was the green tea which I forgot was in it. I’m bummed; I wanted to find a more affordable replacement for Starbucks’ shaken tea lemonade but unfortunately that was not it. So far other than the regular iced coffee, I do not like Dunkin’s drinks. Probably for the best since there is 320 calories in the large lemonade (32 oz). Interestingly enough, Starbuck’s trenta (large) is only 170 calories. I might have to treat myself to one at least once this summer. I have yet to try the peach.

Since Culver’s was across the street from Dunkin I snagged an order of their pretzel bites (a now permanent addition to their menu) and then we headed to the food truck near Walmart to snag a couple of corn dogs. We brought everything home and ate out on the patio. Those pretzel bites are sooo good! I’m glad they are $4.19 because otherwise I’d be ordering them far more often than I should.

I’m back up to 138 lbs btw. Shocking with all the eating I’ve been doing, right? I think I tend to top off at 140 lbs, or at least I hope so! I’ve actually been cutting back a bit. For instance, after all that food at lunch I had a very light dinner several hours later.

Retail Therapy & Shopping

We recently went to At Home to look for new folding patio chairs but didn’t have any luck. We also stopped at Bath & Body Works since I have a $5 gift card to spend but I didn’t see anything I wanted. Then a few days ago we went to Target for a few groceries and I had zero desire to even look at their Bullseye Playground section. I think this pandemic has soured me on shopping for the fun of it. It’s completely lost it’s appeal. I’ve moved into get what you need and get out territory.

That being said, we did go to Savers last Monday so I could look for a plain black t-shirt. I didn’t find one, but I did find two tank tops that cost under $4 total. Luckily they fit perfectly since the dressing rooms are still closed and they don’t offer refunds, only exchanges. The next day at Walmart I found a pair of capri leggings that would go perfectly with a grey tank top I had gotten at Savers a year or two ago. I love when that happens! I also snagged a vibrant pair of bike shorts that will be perfect for when I walk on the treadmill.

New Clothes

As I was photographing my new finds I realized the bike shorts have a pocket in them that is actually large enough for my iPhone. Not that I need it, but I’m sure it would come in handy for a lot of people. Oh, and when I was trying on my Savers tank tops at home Joe pointed out the black one still had the original Old Navy tag on it. Sweet! I got a brand new tank for $2.25.

So I guess you could say while I’m not about shopping much, I am not going to pass up getting a few new clothing pieces occasionally.

Misc Stuff

The other day my computer started installing updates and then stopped because I had ran out of space. You see, my computer has a solid state drive with a small capacity (250 GB). I have all my actual files on a regular hard drive, but unfortunately Apple is a bitch about installing iTunes anywhere but the main drive. While the actual MP3s are on that secondary drive, when iTunes backs up my phone it puts the backup on the main drive. My phone has a 256 GB capacity, and while it’s not full, it’s just a little under half full. You see where this is going, right? If I could just easily direct the backup elsewhere I would be ok, but it doesn’t seem to be that easy. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it requires messing with settings I’m not comfortable with. Plus these days my brain just doesn’t seem to be at the level it was pre-2019 sickness. Seriously, I have trouble with words sometimes and in general I feel like my processor is slow. Oh well. So Joe installed a new SSD today with twice the amount of space. All is right again with the world.

Vaccinated

May 21st, 2021 Comments off

As of yesterday we are both considered fully vaccinated! Guess we can go back to licking doorknobs now. ;)

We both got the two shot Pfizer vaccines – Joe got his first shot 8 days ahead of mine and I got my last one on May 6th so we are officially as vaccinated as you can get. We feel lucky that our side effects were mild. We both had sore arms at the injection point, and Joe had a little muscle/joint pain after the first shot, but for the most part that was it. We both had some Body Armor waters (like Gatorade) after our shots and I made a point to work out and keep my arm moving too which I think helped. I was worried it might make my tinnitus worse since I stumbled upon a site where many people claimed theirs worsened shortly after their shot, or tinnitus started when they never had it to begin with, but luckily I haven’t noticed a difference.

I’ve read that many people aren’t going back for their second shots which I think is a mistake. I believe it’s because they had concerning side effects after the first shot. Everything I’ve gathered indicates that people who’ve had COVID in the past have worse side effects after the first shot and those who haven’t have worse ones after the second. It checks out with E, at least, because he had COVID last year and felt really crappy after his first shot.

The CDC recently announced new rules around wearing masks, particularly for those who have been vaccinated, but seeing as how no one is requiring proof of vaccination, this is just open season for the anti-mask anti-vax morons to do whatever they please. Many stores, including Costco, Target, and Menards have already changed their policies giving people the option of whether to wear a mask. Luckily so far everyone in our area is still wearing them, and I personally think the CDC is making a big mistake. Unless of course they WANT the liars to catch COVID and possibly die.

I don’t know why they had to make these changes now. We haven’t even reached a 50% vaccination rate in this country yet. Are we ever going to achieve heard immunity? Not at this rate with so many people acting completely stupid about this virus. I never realized how many idiots were in this country until this past year. I honestly thought people were smarter, and less selfish, than they’ve proven themselves to be. It’s really disheartening.

Categories: Family, Health Tags:

RIP Uncle Jimmy

May 14th, 2021 Comments off

My Uncle Jimmy, or Uncle Jimmy Claus as we called him growing up, passed away on May 6th from COVID.

I don’t really have many details, but from what my father told me (which is what he was told by his siblings), my uncle didn’t answer the phone so my Aunt Carol & Uncle Larry went to check on him and had to break into the house only to find him unresponsive. He was taken to the hospital and passed away a few days later. I don’t believe he had been vaccinated. I’m not sure of his reasoning, or his stance on any of what has been going on this year. I was told he didn’t go out much, and was retired, so they are unsure where he caught it, although there was some speculation it could have been at a baseball card store. Imagine that being the reason you end up dying? So sad.

So now the only two siblings on my dad’s side (he has eight) that I kept in touch with are gone. It’s always the good ones. :(

My Uncle Jimmy was the one who bought us the original Nintendo and our very first computer (a Tandy). When we’d visit my grandparents, we’d spend much of our time in his bedroom playing Atari games. He was the fun uncle, and a kid at heart. After my grandparents passed away he remained in their home by himself, so I guess it will be sold now.

I’m really glad I took the time a few years ago to write him a letter expressing how grateful I was for how generous he was to us, and for staying in touch over the years. While we weren’t extremely close, he will be missed.

Categories: Family, Health Tags:

Food Stuff

May 1st, 2021 Comments off

Dunkin Butter Pecan
I like to try the new flavor swirls Dunkin comes out with periodically, and the most recent was butter pecan.

Dunkin Butter Pecan

It was ok, but my favorite is still french vanilla. An interesting thing I noticed, however, is that the ratio of coffee to swirls seems off for the small and medium sizes. Unless I know for certain I like the flavor, I prefer to get the smallest size possible in case I don’t like the drink, but they make that impossible. I got a small once when trying the irish creme and it didn’t taste like anything at all! I complained to corporate and they threw enough points on my account to get a free drink, so I got a large and it was great! I got a medium yesterday to try the butter pecan, and while I could taste the flavor, it was pretty weak. Now, maybe the flavor itself is just weaker than the french vanilla, but I’m starting to think there’s no point in getting the smaller sizes unless you request an extra pump of the swirl to compensate for this discrepancy. I never have to do that for the large size because the flavor is perfect with the standard number of flavor swirls.

Rao’s Marinara
Everyone and their brother raves about this marinara sauce but we never bought it because it’s $8 per jar. We found a sauce we liked at our local grocery store, Caputo’s, but lately it’s been completely out of stock (it’s their house brand so my guess is they’re not producing it lately).

Raos

We were at Costco last month and they had a double-pack of the Rao’s on sale ($11 for two) so we said screw it, let’s give it a shot. Tried it the other day, and while it’s good, it’s not $5.50 good. I wouldn’t want to use it on spaghetti in the future anyway because it seems to be missing something, but I could see it being really nice for lasagna.

We also picked up a jar of Meijer brand marinara (less than $1 after coupon) that we’re excited to try. I hope we like it since I’m not sure whether Caputo’s is ever going to restock their sauce or not and we don’t care for Classico, Prago, or Ragu. Maybe I should start making my own sauce…

DoubleTree Cookies
Another everyone likes it but to us it’s just MEH is DoubleTree’s signature cookies. They revealed the recipe a year ago so people could make them at home during the pandemic. I was going through my old Food Network magazines and found it in there. I happened to be craving cookies so I decided to give them a shot. I mean, they aren’t bad by any means; they just aren’t as good as my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. My cookies don’t require walnuts, which you cannot really taste anyway, either. So I think I’ll stick to my cookies. The only thing they have over mine is you can freeze the cookie dough balls and make just a handful at a time. I don’t think that would turn out as well with all the oatmeal in my cookies, but admittedly I haven’t tried it. I did refrigerate them once to bake the following day and didn’t like how they came out, though, so that’s what makes me think the freezer option would be a no go.

Lay’s Chips
Back in March I snagged a bag of Lay’s Crispy Taco chips out of pure curiosity.

Lay's Crispy Taco Chips
This is what I had to say about them on Facebook:

These are some of the strangest chips I’ve ever tried. They really do taste like tacos, down to the individual flavors of ground beef, lettuce, and sour cream specifically. They remind me of the hard-shell tacos your parents made growing up. So on one hand they’re kinda blah, yet for some reason I couldn’t stop shoveling them in my mouth anyway even though I’d never buy them again. I think they’re laced with crack or something.

I just so happened to open the bag the last day of the contest they were running, and won a free bag!

Winner

I got my coupon the other day and got the biggest bag I could find of the Salt & Vinegar flavor from Walmart.

Key Lime Pie
Speaking of Facebook, someone in a local group asked where the best place to get key lime pie was, and someone else suggested making it from scratch using Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice, so I decided to give it a shot. Not only was it easy, but it was definitely better than some of the key lime pie we’ve had at restaurants.

I’m putting a screenshot of the recipe here for safe keeping.

Key Lime Pie Recipe

Taco Bell
When Taco Bell took potatoes off their menu I was done with them. The only thing, besides nachos, that I ever ordered there was the spicy potato soft taco. As many people know, they recently brought back the potatoes so I was quick to go there for my fix. And then we found ourselves there three days later so I could try the beefy potato-rito (which was awesome).

Taco Bell Beefy Potato-Rito

We took a break from TB for a bit, but we were back there a few weeks later so I could try a chalupa with potatoes. Yum! Now I actually LIKE Taco Bell whereas before I just tolerated it. We’ve eaten there more in the past two months than all of last year and the year before that. I still can’t wrap my head around people eating there multiple times a week, though. I am, after all, trying not to blow up too quickly. It’s not working, but I have to make a little effort…

Categories: Food Tags: