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Saturday was my birthday! I was kind of worried it would suck because, you know, the state of the world, but it was really lovely.

I woke up early to do a class on my Peloton. Back in November or so, I set a goal of getting to 500 rides by my birthday. When I made the goal, I was about 120 rides short of that. So it was very ambitious of me, but I made it!

Why did I care about this arbitrary goal? Because during live rides, you can get shout outs if it’s your birthday and/or if you hit a milestone. So I figured if I hit a milestone ON my birthday, my chances were good. But the class I was in had over 4000 participants. What were the chances the coach would call me out?

Quite good, as it happened! Yay!

I was in the shower after my ride when I heard Ziggy freaking out. George said someone he didn’t know was on the porch. It was my bread-baking frenemy Jimmy! He and his wife Julie were there dropping off a gift (also from Ren.) Very thoughtful of them. In a kind of passive-aggressive way.

The boys gave me cards (homemade cards is all I care about from them) which I can’t share because they’d kill me, but the general theme of them was this:

And George gave me some skincare that I wanted from a local company.

After all that, I went to run some errands (which is really just an excuse to talk to Kiki on the phone while I drive.) I had to pick up this framed print from a local artist:

And some other boring errands you don’t need to hear about.

Here are some presents Kiki gave me…are you sensing a theme? (The other ones are also Schitt’s Creek themed.)

After I put together dinner (lamb skewers that Kiki also sent and some sides I picked up from a restaurant), I went to Jenn’s house where we sat around her fire pit. (Safely of course.)

And they got me a cake! A tres leches king cake! Sooooo good. And beautiful!

Terry gave me this, continuing with the theme:

And then I went home, way too late and slept til 10 the next day, which was glorious.

2020, don’t let the door hit you on the way out

This is going to be a weird year-end recap. Let’s see.

January

I got to go to Lisbon! Thank god we planned our meetup for January, or my only trip (outside of Louisiana, anyway) in 2020 never would have happened. Also I turned 45 there. (My third birthday meetup since I started at Automattic.)

The boys finished up their season playing soccer for the school team, which ended in winning the championship! I adore this picture of Linus.

February

Kiki came to visit! Thank god. I’m so glad I got to see her this year at least once. We ate a lot and took a road trip to Alexandria and Natchitoches for Linus’s archery tournament.

Later in the month was Mardi Gras! Where we were probably all spreading COVID like crazy! I made a fun Mardi Gras dress. Maybe I’ll get to wear it again in 2022.

Also I got a new wardrobe from IKEA. I love it.

March

Well it started out okay. I had raised over $2000 for St. Baldrick’s and I was so ready for my hair chop scheduled for the end of the month. Yeah, that still hasn’t happened. I did get a haircut, but nothing too drastic. (You can still donate, you know!)

Friendship day at the beginning of March. Probably we were all spreading COVID like crazy here too.

I took two days off to spend with Linus and Miles, just like I’d done the year before. We ate lunch and escaped from rooms.

Two days before Oliver and I were supposed to have our day off, I was sitting at soccer practice waiting for the boys when I got a message from the school. It was going to be closed for the next two days because there was a possible connection to a COVID case. You know what happened next.

The rest of March was a lot of sewing, cooking, and watching movies.

Click here for the fun part of 2020

Christmas 2020

Pre-Christmas:

Our tradition of me taking each of the boys shopping and out to eat individually looked a little different this year. We weren’t going to leisurely peruse stores for gifts, and we weren’t going to be eating inside any restaurants. But we still had fun.

Miles and I hit Target and then Five Guys. Is there anything more depressing than eating burgers on a gray, cold day at an outdoor table next to the parking lot and a busy commercial thoroughfare? I guess there is but I don’t want to hear about it. At least the burgers were delicious and Miles wasn’t complaining.

Oliver and I had a similar journey, but his requested meal was Popeye’s, so we had no choice but to bring our chicken sandwiches home. I was not sad about that. There are no photos of this jaunt.

Linus and I went to have brunch at Tartine, which has a lovely outside patio. One could say he lucked out. They have the most delicious baked eggs in brioche, which I can never not get. Yum.

Christmas Eve was pretty quiet. We had some incredibly delicious steaks that Kristina and Mike sent us. I was terrified of overcooking them, so maybe I went in the opposite direction (well, not for me – there’s no such thing as undercooking a steak to me) but no one complained.

Drool.

Steak is our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, and we were able to partake in most of our other Christmas Eve traditions as well. Like…making the boys put on their Christmas stockings to show how much they’ve grown.

(I made them sit in front of the fire. Hee hee)

The first time I made them do this, they were much smaller.)

And we read The Night Before Christmas…

No one got a very good night’s sleep that night. The smoke detector right outside the bedrooms started chirping at 4am. Delightful! It took me forever to get back to sleep. At least the boys let me sleep until 7. Zzzz.

Presents!

The boys got a gaming PC, or rather, all of the parts to build one. George put it together with their help later that day. They were surprised and thrilled with that gift. I got a giant Ziggy blanket (among other things) so I can’t complain. (Also a big pack of my very favorite socks from Kiki, which may sound lame was is absolutely not.)

Our oven broke sometime earlier this month, I can’t even remember when, so I decided I’d get a ham and cook it in my instant pot. That plan didn’t go well, so I gave the ham away and decided to do a charcuterie board instead on this gorgeous board that Steph MADE me! She MADE this! Isn’t it gorgeous?!?!

I was able to heat up the bread on the grill, which I might always do now. It was so good.

And that was about it for Christmas. It was quiet, but it was good.

Sewing project: Seamwork Camden

Apparently I’m really into sewing outerwear this year.

See, when I was planning to make a coat, I wanted to make it out of teal wool. But I couldn’t find any teal wool that wouldn’t have cost an absolute fortune. So I went ahead and made it out of a cotton flannel, and I love it! BUT THEN. I was perusing the Blackbird Fabrics website in September and LO AND BEHOLD they had teal wool coating fabric! It was even reasonably priced! (Thank you Canadian dollar.) So I ordered three meters and waited for it to arrive. I waited, and waited, and waited, and finally in mid-November, after an investigation from Canada post, the fabric store sent me a new bundle of wool. (They have amazing customer service and beautiful fabrics, I highly recommend shopping from them.)

(And then the other fabric showed up after two months! And I got to keep it!)

I still didn’t know what to do with it. I debated between making a lined Pona jacket and a cape. Why a cape? Who knows. Why not? I found the Seamwork Camden pattern and ultimately chose that. Then I had to wait to get it printed on large format paper because I was not about to stick together 60 sheets of letter size paper together.

Meanwhile, I went to Chateau Sew & Sew (my favorite local fabric store) and picked out the lining. I wanted something colorful and fun, and ultimately went with a geometric pattern.

And then…I sewed it up. I mean, it was pretty simple, really. No major roadblocks (shockingly). I did debate for a little while on doing bound buttonholes vs sewn buttonholes, but in the end, I went with the sewn. I used my grandmother’s buttonholer, which made really lovely buttonholes and how many times can I say “buttonhole”? BUTTONHOLE.

And here’s the finished project! (I noticed after I took the pictures that the top wasn’t laying flat, so then I took some more on the other side of the yard so you could see that it’s really fine.)

Five years of Ziggy!

Five years ago, a coworker dropped off this dog at our house and our family became complete.

Some pics from just the last few months of our sweet Zig Zig, who is loving quarantine.

Teenagers.

They were very excited to get their gifts this morning. I promised not to post the whole video, but what we did (this was my friend Stephanie’s suggestion) was fill a box with boring things like socks and underwear and Axe deodorant (I couldn’t bring myself to get the body spray) and call it their “Teenager Survival Kit” or something, but hidden at the bottom was an iPhone.

Here’s a gif of Oliver’s reaction (LOM):

Obviously I’m sad we can’t celebrate like we normally would, but let’s face it, they just want to be on their new phones anyway.

The back half of November

My sweet boys at the bus stop.

An exquisite loaf of sourdough bread that I made for Thanksgiving. Recipe here.

Grandee and Larry came for Thanksgiving. We had zero vegetables.

Ziggy has been cute, as usual. We got our Christmas tree up!

Random leftover photos. Finally got the fabric for my cape! I was going to make it over Thanksgiving break, but I didn’t have the pattern yet. But it’s coming soon! Also the delicious beet salad I made. I like making things that are yummy.

Now it’s December 2 and the boys will be 13 in two days and I cannot believe it.

It’s a good day

First, it’s our 15th anniversary. That’s a big deal, yeah? Multiple of 5?

George got me a new Apple Watch, which is very exciting since my last one broke in January. And he got Apple Care on it so if it happens again I can get it fixed! 😀

Look how pretty! The only problem is now my steps are being counted again. I mean, there wasn’t any point in doing them if they weren’t being counted, right?

I can’t tell you what I got George but I will tell you tomorrow. And I can guarantee he will like it. Maybe.

The other good thing about today is that the boys went back to school. Of course it’s also a little bit anxiety inducing, but I just hope everyone stays healthy. At least they’ll get to see some friends for a little bit. That’s good for them.

And of course they didn’t even try on their uniforms until yesterday (even though I’ve been asking them to for weeks) and I now have a pile of about 12 pairs of shorts and 12 shirts that no longer fit, some of which I bought in February. Sigh. So I will now be doing laundry every night until the uniforms I ordered last night get here.

PS The Zyia activewear party I’m hosting is still active! You can order here or join it on FB.

Schitt’s Creek and stretchy clothes

For the past few months, my friend Mary Catherine has been selling these workout clothes as a little side gig. I like to support my friends (and I like new leggings for riding my Peloton) so I agreed to host a Zyia party over on Facebook. But my condition was that of course it had to be Schitt’s Creek themed.

There are actually a lot of gifs that work for this, it was fun finding them.

Alexis running…
David doing squats…
Patrick and Stevie dancing…
And some hiking!

So if you’re interested in checking it out, join us over on Facebook!

And if you just want to peruse the catalog and skip all the fun gifs (and Facebook), you can go straight to the source and just shop from the Zyia website.

P.S. I have a pair of the leggings and they really are very soft and high waisted (which I like) and comfy.

Yet another butternut squash recipe

I don’t post a lot of recipes, but you can bet if I do, it’s going to involve butternut squash. (See here, here, and here.)

A few years ago, I went to Meril for lunch with some work people, and I had this amazing salad. I think they called it a salad. I don’t know if I would call it a salad. But I’m not going to get into some weird argument about what makes a salad. Let’s just call it a bowl, okay?

Anyway, it was so delicious that I recreated it at home the very next day, posted about it on Instagram, and them promptly forgot about it.

A couple of days ago I suddenly remembered it, and I decided yesterday it was the perfect comfort food for a distressing, anxiety-filled day. And I wasn’t wrong.

Roasted Veggie and Other Stuff Salad or Bowl

There. That’s a descriptive name. Also catchy.

Ingredients:

  • Butternut squash (like, say, a medium one. The one I got was GINORMOUS and I only used about 2/3 of it.)
  • Brussels sprouts (like, a pound, maybe? Or more? I wish I’d had more.)
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper for roasting
  • Chopped walnuts (maybe half a cup?)
  • Blue cheese (just get a small chunk. a little goes a long way.)
  • Green grapes (probably a cup or so would do. get those really nice firm seedless ones.)
  • Steen’s Cane Vinaigrette (recipe here)

I recognize that if you don’t live in Louisiana, perhaps Steen’s Cane Vinegar isn’t as easy to procure as it was for me. I’ll bet if you used balsamic vinegar instead you’d be fine. The recipe makes two cups. I used about half in the salad, so you can make this delicious meal again next week!

Directions:

  1. Look, I’m not going to tell you how to roast butternut squash and brussels sprouts. Cut the squash into 1″ cubes (or better yet, buy them already cut) and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast at 400 for 45 minutes or so. Do the same with the sprouts, but cut them in half after you cut off the bit at the bottom, but I don’t know, maybe that’s optional, but I always cut it off. The sprouts definitely cook faster, I think they came out after 30 minutes? I dunno. Make sure they’re cooked through but not burned. I shouldn’t have to tell you this. (I put them on two cookie sheets but cooked them together.)
  2. Make the dressing while the roasting is happening.
  3. Toast the walnuts in a hot pan (just a few minutes, you don’t want to burn them!)
  4. Put the warm veggies in a big bowl, and top them with the dressing. Cover the bowl and let it all sit together for a while to soak up everything and cool off a bit.
  5. Throw in the walnuts whenever.
  6. Wait til everything is closer to room temp before you crumble the blue cheese over it. You don’t want it melting.
  7. Quarter the grapes and toss ’em in.

The end! I mean, it’s easy, but not quick, really. But soooo worth it. This would be a fabulous side for Thanksgiving.

Here’s the bowl I had for dinner last night. Tastes better than it looks, I promise!

Good stuff.