Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Labor Day

September 6th, 2022 Comments off

Not sure what most people did for the holiday weekend, but we didn’t do much – got some pizza, finished a few series, watched a couple of movies, listened to some music, and visited a nearby park.

I was bummed that I decided to leave my camera at home because I spotted some juvenile wood ducks! They were too far to capture with my phone’s camera, and if I hadn’t viewed them with binoculars, I would have assumed they were mallards. Joe didn’t believe that they were wood ducks but I’m 99% sure they were based on the extra feathers on the back of their heads, the white markings on their cheeks, and their distinctive red eyes.

They looked a lot like this (NOT my photo):

We had hot dogs, pasta salad, and corn on the cob yesterday.

We didn’t feel like firing up the grill or boiling anything, so we used the microwave for the corn and the air fryer for the hot dogs; everything came out great.

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4th of July Weekend

July 5th, 2022 Comments off

We didn’t really celebrate the holiday. I didn’t even decorate for it. Not feeling great about this country at all.

Roe v Wade was overturned and now dead women have more rights than alive ones. It’s sad and disgusting. No one should be able to tell another person what to do with their own body. Women are going to die, babies & children are going to suffer, and crime is going to increase (in 18-20 years when all the unwanted children grow up). It doesn’t just end there, either. This is just the first step toward controlling the population. This country is seriously regressing.

Last night there was a mass shooting at a parade in one of the suburbs north of us. Six people died and many more were injured. The shooter was at large for hours so other towns cancelled their celebrations and stupid idiots online were making ignorant comments like “so I guess we just crawl into a hole forever then?” I guess watching some firesticks go boom is more important than other people possibly dying. Give me a break.

And don’t get me started on how fed up I am with fireworks in general. They are illegal here, but that hasn’t stopped neighbors from setting them off every night for the past two weeks. My favorite is when they wait until 2 am when everyone is trying to sleep. Between that and the storms last night Wookie was an anxious mess. I really wish we’d do away with the whole fireworks tradition. They do more harm than good considering how many pets and people with PTSD are negatively impacted by them, and they’re terrible for the environment. We need to do better.

I don’t know what else to say without going on a long(er) tirade, so instead I’ll just focus on the superficial day to day happenings since it’s the only thing keeping me sane right now.

Saturday (07/02) I got my hair cut. I usually go to Great Clips and see Zoe but when I called a few weeks ago I found out she no longer works there. What a bummer; I really liked her! In addition, they aren’t requiring/wearing masks anymore and I really don’t want someone right in my face mask-less. Luckily my friend’s cousin does hair in her basement and only lives twenty minutes away, so I got my hair cut by her. Now my hair is right at shoulder length and feels so much better. The cut was $35 plus tip since I didn’t do the shampoo or blow dry. I checked my tracking app and it had been exactly a year and 2 days since my last cut. I should probably get it cut more often because even though there’s not a lot split ends or damage, I get soooo annoyed with it once it’s more than three inches past my shoulders. I hate the feeling of it grazing my arms in the summer too.

On the way home from my haircut, we spotted a park we’ve never noticed before, so we stopped to check it out. It has two bogs, a pond, and tons of wildflowers.

It was too hot to do more than a cursory walk around, but we decided we’d be back soon with my camera in tow.

Saturday evening we were walking Wookie when I tripped over something and felt a pain on the lower half of my right leg. Apparently I got a nasty scratch from a rusty piece of wire. I grabbed the offending item and immediately went home to call our 24 hour nurse line to see what I should do. She walked me through cleaning it (I didn’t realize you’re supposed to run cool water over it for five minutes). After many questions, she determined it would be best if I went to Immediate/Urgent Care to have it checked out since even though the skin hadn’t been broken, the scratch was longer than the length of my palm.

Luckily this happened around 6:15 and UC is open until 7:30 daily. When we got there around 7 pm I was told there was an hour and a half wait. It ended up being closer to an hour ultimately, but I did need to get a tetanus shot just in case (since we weren’t absolutely sure how long it had been since my last one) and my arm has been pretty sore since Sunday (and it was swollen yesterday but that has since gone away). The funny part was after I was given the shot the tech/nurse guy told me I was so brave, lol! I don’t think he was being condescending either.

So that was a fun ending to our Saturday. Luckily we got back before sunset so we could sit out on the patio like we originally planned.

Sunday (07/03) we went back to the newly discovered park and had fun walking around for an hour taking photos. There were a lot of birds, butterflies, insects, and rabbits. We also saw a couple of American bullfrogs.

Did you know there’s snails in Illinois? I didn’t, but we spotted a few. This is an amebersnail.

I really enjoyed our visit and since it’s less than ten minutes from home I am sure we’ll end up there often, particularly because our favorite park is really busy lately with softball games. It will serve as a backup when the other parks are too crowded, although I love it so much I’d happily visit it daily.

The aforementioned park was not busy on Monday (07/04) at 7 am when we paid a visit. What a great one it was, too! We saw so much wildlife, including animals we’ve never seen there before like a raccoon. We also spotted this creature.

At first I thought it might be a river otter or small beaver, but once I zoomed in and saw its claws, I was able to determine it was a muskrat. The photo quality is horrible because it was small and far away. My zoom lens was no match.

We also saw a deceased American mink which was sad. I hope to see a live one someday.

I got a really good photo of a Great Egret.

These birds are plentiful in the area but are usually beyond the reach of my camera lens.

We spent the rest of the day indoors since it was so hot & humid outside. We had hot dogs for lunch and cheeseburgers for dinner but I still maintain it was not in celebration of this country – we just like to eat.


April 18th, 2022 Comments off

We didn’t do anything for Easter this year. No gathering with family, no special meal, no baskets, nothing. I almost didn’t bother decorating but did about two weeks beforehand.

Easter day I was pretty tired and took a nap and later in the day my stomach started giving me trouble. Good times.

Holidays seem more and more meh as I get older. It probably doesn’t help that the weather has been so damn cold lately. It was in the forties yesterday, and we have snow today. Someone make it stop! I want to go outside already.

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Christmas 2021

December 29th, 2021 Comments off

I am so glad Christmas is over! Why does everyone obsess over Christmas to the point where it begins in October now? By the time the actual day arrives I’m just over it.

I took all the decorations down yesterday and spent hours photographing and documenting it in hopes it will be much less stressful in future years. I have a decent pile of things to donate/sell too.

This year was extremely low-key with just Joe, me, and Wookie. Joe and I exchanged a few gifts, mostly off our wish lists, except for a tray for the Crosstrek console that he found. I haven’t driven my car in awhile so I haven’t tried installing it yet. He also got me a plastic divided tray to store all the pieces for my letterboard, and a Blu-Ray set that has Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End.

My favorite gift were these drink coasters of some of The Cure’s more colorful albums:

Aren’t they awesome? Strangely enough the Esty account he purchased them from has since disappeared which is unfortunate since they are so nice I wouldn’t mind ordering more. Not that I would actually use them. I have them displayed on the shelf over my computer desk.

I got Joe some hunting knives, bar soap (hey, he asked for it!), coffee beans, and lotion from Bath & Body Works. It seems lame, but he was happy. We’re just getting to the point where we don’t want/need many things so we haven’t been going all out on gifts.


On Christmas Eve we went to K’s house to exchange gifts (she gave me my birthday ones as well). We usually have lunch when we visit but thanks to Omicron we decided to stay masked and only visited for about an hour so that we could get home and have lunch (which ended up being White Castle because Joe had a craving). That evening we had leftover chinese food from the night before.

On Christmas Day we opened our presents before a big breakfast consisting of my three cheese grits casserole, bacon, toast, and eggs. For dinner we had ham (warmed up in the crockpot), buns, corn, and garlic mashed potatoes. Personally, I could do without the ham but Joe likes it. We also watched a few Christmas movies like Home Alone & National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

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November & December Food Stuff

December 26th, 2021 Comments off

Coffee & Tea

After one too many shitty iced coffees at Dunkin, we are officially broken up. Once fall hit they started being really cheap with their flavored swirls by not adding the standard amount (I watched them being prepared and the baristas would not push the pump down fully) while simultaneously charging extra for additional swirls (even though you wouldn’t need them if they gave you the correct amount to begin with)!

I gave Starbucks a go, but their coffee was lackluster as well. Is it so hard to get a decent peppermint mocha iced coffee? Apparently so!

Fed up, I bought some ingredients to make my own drinks at home.

I could do without Starbuck’s peppermint mocha coffee because it’s just meh. The peppermint tea is better, and it’s actually good with the creamer added, which I typically do not do with teas. The peppermint mocha creamer is ok too, but honestly, it turns out a regular vanilla creamer just tastes better overall. I found one at Jewel that is lactose free:

What I love so much about it is that I don’t need to add any sugar to my drink because the creamer makes it sweet enough.


Did you know that Skittles recently announced that they are going back to their standard flavor for the green Skittle? It’s about time! Green apple just never made sense with the other flavors, but lime certainly did. I spent a lot of time trying to find a store that was carrying the new/old flavor and finally found them at Menards of all places!


I don’t know what they were thinking, or why it took them seven years to wise up, but I’m happy that now there’s only one flavor of Skittles I hate – grape.

I was excited to find this peppermint bark at Costco, but seeing as how I’m the only one who eats it, there’s just way too much and I won’t be getting it again.

Kirkland peppermint bark

Cakes & Cookies

I love Pepperidge Farm milano’s but damn, their peppermint slices are not it. Maybe I just don’t like peppermint as much as I thought I do, hmmm.

Their amaretto hot cocoa flavor rocks, however.

Pepperidge Farm Milanos

I was lucky enough to snag the very last bag at Target.

We also snagged a cookie tray from Costco for a pending Christmas celebration that never happened and I am not loving the flavors, which are powdered brownie walnut, lemon shortbread, iced ginger molasses, coconut almond chocolate, and holiday candy cookie.

Costco holiday cookies

We will not be getting those again.

I decided to try the infamous Little Debbie Christmas cakes and oh boy, they are good! Even better if you freeze them.

Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes


The single greatest food item we found, however, is this cranberry jalapeno dip we came across at Costco.

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

The flavor combo didn’t sound good, but it only took one bite for us to realize how wrong we were. Wow, it is so good we easily ate through the entire tub in less than a month. Sadly, it’s not being stocked anymore, so it must be a seasonal item. I checked the manufacturer’s website and they have a lot of dip flavors but this one in particular is only available at Costco, so I guess I will be dreaming about it until next November.

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