December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Sunday, February 1, 2015

FREE AT LAST!

Hola darlings!  How are you on this wonderful weekend day?  I'm GREAT!  You see, my last day at work was Friday, January 30th.  I am now officially RETIRED, woo woo!

I cannot tell you how HAPPY I am, but I sure don't look it in this picture that my work buddy Barb snapped of me Friday morning -- the other ones she took must have turned out even worse (ouch!) since she chose this one as the best of the lot (?):

Hello!  That's me. Maybe I need to
save for a face lift after all...
Hmmm, I look tired, eyes are puffy, that sweater is NOT flattering (honestly, I'm not as heavy as I look in this pic, but I really need to work on that next 10 pounds, yikes), and I definitely need to invest in a good support bra, OY!  But despite the pic, I was VERY HAPPY -- I just don't take good pics (well, that's what I keep telling myself - nah, you don't REALLY look that bad).

So, that's a glimpse of my former office -- as clean as it's ever been.  It was even cleaner by the end of the day, because I moved piles of work that must be tackled on Monday into the office of my successor, who had the day off (he's not moving into the office I'm vacating, which doesn't make sense because it holds all the files of my now former boss and he's going to be constantly walking back and forth between offices to access them.  Perhaps eventually common sense will prevail and he will - NAH.  He's a nob.)

Now officially retired, and I am GLAD because we are being zonked with blizzard-like conditions here. It's a true nor'easter blowing in over Lake Michigan from Canada. It started snowing last evening and it is going to snow all day today and into tomorrow.  In this area we may get between 6 to 9 inches, but with lake effect snow in play, it's anybody's guess, really.  We could get over a foot.  Here's what my backyard looked like about 10 this morning:


It's snowing hard -- you can actually see it falling in contrast against the red fencing, and you can see the snow blowing off the roof of my neighbor's garages!  Don't want to get a face-full of this stuff!  It's fine tiny flakes, gritty almost, and the wind is gusting upwards of 30 mph.  The temperatures are plunging downward and areas to the southeast of Milwaukee County are under full blizzard warnings until noon tomorrow! I have some tall drifts here and there and bare spots here and there and it's getting worse even as I sit and type this -- wow, just saw a white-out in my backyard!

About 9:15 this morning I opened up my front door to get a look at the street view and got the crap scared out of me - here was this big young guy standing on my front stoop about to pound on the storm door. Fortunately, he looked as taken aback as I did.  He called me ma'am.  Now I know I must look like a blowsy old broad.  Sigh.

Turns out he and a buddy run a business in the area and they were going around the neighborhood offering to snow blow out driveways and sidewalks.  They did my front porch, front walk and sidewalk for $15 (I passed on the driveway, not needing it to be fully cleared), and it looked good.  Forty-five minutes later those guys are way down the block now, getting plenty of work (good for them - very enterprising and SMART to be going around on such a day), and my sidewalk is already drifting over and looks like it was hardly touched!

This was cleared 45 minutes ago, believe it or not!  My front sidewalk, walk from the public sidewalk up to my porch.
I hope those guys come back tomorrow when the storm is finally over :)  Look at that mess -- there's deep snow in the streets, plows have been through but you wouldn't know it by looking at it.  Oh my, not even going to attempt to shovel my way out of here until this is ALL OVER!

As I'm sitting here typing, the winds are whipping up even more.  SO glad I won't be attempting the half mile walk to the bus stop tomorrow morning to get to work!  I won't ever have to do that walk again, against my will!  AAAAHHHHHHHHH, THIS IS FABULOUS!

The alarm part of my clock radio was turned OFF when I got home from my celebration with friends on Friday night.  Yesterday I got up around my same time (5:40 a.m.) without alarm -- I just woke up like I'm on a computer program or something, as I had to go for a blood draw and I like to get that done as early as possible in the day because it takes forever to go back and forth by bus. I left the house yesterday at 7:08 a.m. and was back home about 9:54 a.m., supplies in hand.  When I caught the 76th Street bus going south heading home, I jumped off at my Pick 'n Save and did my grocery shopping, along with about 500 other people!  Stocked up on supplies to sit out the storm -- wine being my number one priority, as I have plenty of food stashed already, and a new box of hazelnuts for my squirrels already in stock (I buy in bulk, 25 pounds at a time). That was it for me for the day.  Other than tossing lots of nuts out to the squirrels yesterday -- they were visiting more than usual, probably sensing as they do that a storm was coming and they would have to "bulk up" for the next few days until they can easily get out of their nests to navigate once again -- I did not do much of anything.  It was heavenly! Today I slept in -- I did not get up until 7:04 a.m.!

View to the southeast from my patio door.
So today's agenda is my usual reading of the Sunday newspaper (already had my one cup of coffee for the day and my morning cookies), taking down the tree and packing away the remaining decorations until next Christmas, and then catching up on visiting my favorite blogs to see what peeps have been up to.


Later on I'm going to make some kind of chicken breast dish.  I picked up a sweet onion and a green pepper yesterday at the Pick 'n Save and defrosted a chicken breast from my stash (you would be amazed at how much food my tall but skinny counter-depth euro-style fridge/freezer at the bottom holds - WAY more than the larger "standard" size with freezer on top I used to have at the former Maison Newton).  I have no idea what it's going to turn out to be yet, I'm just going to experiment and hope I don't poison myself.

Goodbye, 2014 Christmas:


I always take the tree down on Super Bowl Sunday.  It's sad this year because WE WERE SO FRICKING CLOSE, DAMN IT ALL!  At least Aaron Rodgers won his second Most Valuable Player award -- well deserved!  Playing on one leg and taking the team on his BACK (and one leg) ALL THE WAY TO THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP - writers in Hollywood can't even come up with real life stuff like this (which doesn't say much for their imaginations, does it???)  GREEN BAY PACKERS ARE THE GREATEST TEAM THAT EVER WAS OR EVER WILL BE.  I mean - first we had that traitor Farve whom I will hate until the day I die for what he did, going to play for the Vikings - but he was great until it went to his head - he won two MVP awards, and now Rodgers!  THE LEGEND OF GREEN BY LIVES ON.... (imagine echo sound in that voice of the dude who does the NFL Films voice-overs...)  Let us all fervently pray that Rodgers wins a THIRD MVP award.  Ha, Farve, take that, you filthy traitor.

Before I wrap this post up, squirrels were here at the crack of dawn, and they were waiting impatiently for me on the steps leading to the patio as I was "late" this morning.  There they were, pacing back and forth, leaving paw prints in the snow.  When I opened up the blinds they looked up (four of them) and motioned in squirrel sign language WELL, ABOUT TIME!

I immediately tossed out some hazelnuts but the squirrels couldn't find them in the snow.  So I pulled out the broom and while the squirrels watched from their perches on top of the fence and garage roof I swept off the steps and carefully tossed more nuts down.  They were gone in a flash.

It didn't take long for the blowing snow to begin covering up the nuts that I kept supplementing for the intrepid squirrels who managed to make the trip to my backyard:


The squirrels disappeared about 8:30 a.m.  Given the present conditions, I don't expect to see them until later tomorrow morning, after the worst of this is over.  Which means I'll have to get out and shovel the steps off and make a couple of paths for the squirrels to come from the fence lines and the arborvitae to the patio steps.  LOL!  I'm such a "mommy!"

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