Summer camp recap

We (the boys and I) got home yesterday from ten days in Virginia and I’d better write it all down before I forget. The beginning of our trip already feels like a lifetime ago (but like, a really fun lifetime.)

We arrived after an early flight at around lunchtime on Saturday the 9th. Kiki picked us up, and we headed to my sister’s house to drop the boys off for their first day of Camp Aunt Jenny. She made shirts. After lots of hugs and pictures, Kiki and I left to go have lunch at a Mexican-Indian restaurant. (Yum!)

Then we got to go back to give hugs and goodbyes again because I left my wallet at my sister’s. (Convenient!)

After shopping for a lot of booze and food, we headed to Kiki’s house and got ready for Camp Kiki. I made shirts. We had a very fancy Wagyu steak for dinner. It was sublime. Also Maxie is very cute.

We loaded up Kiki and Mike’s car Sunday morning and drove a couple of hours to an amazing airbnb in Charlottesville. On the way, we stopped at winery #1, Early Mountain. We drank wine and ate delicious food, including this couscous that I need to figure out how to recreate. It was incredible.

The airbnb was amazing – very clean, well stocked, and with a huge pool, hot tub, and a gorgeous view. Perfect place for Camp Kiki!

Day 2 in Charlottesville:

Kiki went for a walk, then hit a few wineries before spending the afternoon in the pool. Everything was delicious and the scenery everywhere was stunning. We made s’mores around the firepit later and saw lots of fireflies, which was exciting for me.

The next day, Kiki’s friend Jess arrived, yay! That day we hit up a winery and a brewery, had more delicious food, more pool time and then some rousing rounds of Shithead.

Wednesday was the day for lunch at Pippin Hill, which was just breathtakingly gorgeous. We also hit a cidery afterwards, where I got to see apple trees and a cute dog.

More pool time and more Shithead followed.

Sadly, Wednesday was our last night there. And of course that’s when I discovered a friend lives less than ten minutes away from where we were staying. Isn’t that always the way?

But I couldn’t be too sad because the next phase of Camp Kiki was a trip to New York City!

We got back to Woodbridge Thursday afternoon, did a shitload of laundry, and repacked for the trip to NYC.

Friday morning, we hopped on a train like the fun-loving globetrotters we are.

After a few hours we arrived at Penn Station, and then made our way to our hotel (not before having some lunch and wine.) The hotel was adorable. It’s called the Library Hotel and see if you can guess what the theme of it is.

After relaxing, we headed out to dinner at a wine bar, and then to a play. The play was the main reason we went to NYC. One of the stars is Noah Reid from Schitt’s Creek and maybe you don’t know this about me but I am a little obsessed with Schitt’s Creek. Surprise! I was supposed to go in May but because SOME CHILDREN I WON’T MENTION got covid, I had to cancel that trip. So I’m glad I got to see it finally. Even if it was…weird.

The wine bar we went to was fancy (like us) and we had some delicious wine and food before heading to the theater. Our seats were very good, and it was neat to see Patrick Noah Reid up close.

We were only there for one night, but we made the most of our morning before the train back to DC. We walked down to the Union Square Greenmarket, which was very cool. And then wandered around for a while. Kiki was THE VERY BEST FRIEND EVER and agreed to let me go to Mood. Yay! I tried to be as fast as possible, but I get decision paralysis at smaller places than this, but I went in with just one goal (some cotton poplin) and I made it out with just that. Whew!

Afterwards, we got our stuff from the hotel and I cursed my sandals for reactivating my Achilles tendinitis, but it was worth it. We hobbled our way back to the train station, and, well, the rest of the day was fairly uneventful.

I mean, we’ve done so much already, wouldn’t you think our trip was almost over by now? It’s only Saturday at this point and we didn’t go home until Tuesday!

Sunday, we went and retrieved my offspring from my sister’s house. They had stayed up until 2am because my sister had promised them middle of the night ihop, so they were pretty tired, but we had a baseball game to go to!

Mike and Kiki have season tickets to the Nationals so that’s how we spent Sunday. We ate delicious food, drank delicious things (including a bloody mary with a raw oyster on top), and were good luck charms for the Nats, who won for the first time in a little while. Yay us! It was overcast, too, which was nice.

We were all pretty exhausted after that.

Monday was our last full day, boo! We took the boys to see the new Thor movie, which was fun. And then we picked up some dinner, and saw a rainbow, and packed up our stuff, and watched the Home Run Derby.

Tuesday morning we went home. Everyone (except us, apparently) is getting covid and it sucks. But it was nice to see Ziggy again and to sleep in my own bed. The end.

How is it almost May?

The last time I posted about the random little goings on in life was three months ago, so I guess it’s time for another quarterly recap of my extremely exciting life.

I visited Kiki twice. Her mom passed away in mid-March, and luckily I already had a flight booked for two days later, so I was able to be with her and hang out and help her go through stuff and get rid of stuff and drink wine for a few days. And then I went back again last weekend to help with the memorial celebration she had at her house. We did a lot of gardening and cooking. Everything we made was from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I was cursing Julia Child’s name by the end of the weekend. But everything we made turned out well. It was pretty cool, actually. Kristina’s mom was a really amazing, adventurous, well-traveled woman who journaled everything, including her dinner party menus from the 1960s on, so we made dishes she frequently made for those dinners.

(If you’re interested, we made Orange Bavarian Cream, Cheese Puffs, Legumes a la Grecque, Salmon Mousse, Cheese Tartlettes, and Liver and Cheese Tartlettes.)

The spread of food.

Since this is my blog, I can brag that I made the tartlette shells and the cheese puffs (and helped with the other stuff.)

We also did some gardening and I learned how to spread mulch, which is good because I need to mulch our gardens.

Speaking of gardens, kind of, we got a rain barrel from a local organization yesterday, which is exciting because I’ve been on the wait list for a year. It’s sad, though, because in that year, I got a different rain barrel so I couldn’t put this rain barrel in a prominent spot. It’s behind the house, which is a shame because LOOK HOW CUTE:

Oh, and also plant-related, Kiki sent me these beautiful flowers!

Okay, well that about covers the last 72 hours. What else? Hmm.

I guess it’s exciting, if a little sad, that the boys decided on a high school for next year, and it’s not the school they’ve been at for the past 11 years. (They could have chosen to stay there, but they did not.) On the bright side, it’s one of the top public high schools in the country, and a lot of their friends are going there as well. But a lot are staying, so it’s tough either way. At least since their classes are in English, I can help with homework now! Wait, hold on. That’s not a good thing. Heh.

I suppose I already blogged about the boys’ school dance and making jeans, but I also made another quilt for funsies (it lives on the couch, mostly under Ziggy):

And also this one for my friend Heather (I realize if you’re not a Saints fan it’s pretty ugly, but she and her fiance like it, so that’s all that matters.

I also made a red dress for her wedding this weekend, but I’ll save those pics for later.

Oh well I guess Mardi Gras also happened and we didn’t get Covid, so yay! It was pretty fun. We put the house float back up (and added a Rose Apothecary!) and Steph and I dressed up as Moiras on Mardi Gras day and I went to a parade and got a shoe and we saw our house float on a float, so all in all, it was good.

Okay. I think that’s it for real. Coming up: 8th grade graduation! A wedding! A new fridge! Summer! Another trip to Virginia! Camp Aunt Jenny! Quinceanera! Graduation parties! Bugs! Heat! Humidity!

2021 in review

I feel like maybe the last thing I want to do is revisit 2021, but you know, there were some real high points, so let’s do it.

January

I turned 46. I sat around the fire pit at my friend Jen’s house and it was all I wanted to do for my birthday – so it was perfect. Spending time with my friends was what made 2021 bearable, but it happened so infrequently, so that is what made it terrible.

February

Mardi Gras! I spent a lot of January preparing for this, the Schitt’s Creek house float that I participated in. It was one of the high points of 2021. I had so much fun making my Moira costume (and Jen’s!) and helping with the creation (mostly telling Chris what to do) and then on Mardi Gras day, seeing all the people and BEING INTERVIEWED BY THE BBC.

You know, in case you wanted to watch it.

That wasn’t the only excitement in February. The boys were also enrolled in a COVID vaccine trial (Moderna) and we learned later in the year that they actually did get the vaccine (first one in February, second in March.)

March

Really, not much happened. Well, I got my vaccine. That was nice.

April

My sister & fam came down for Easter.

Our yard renovation was completed!

May

I went to visit Kiki! We baked a lot.

Linus was hospitalized for asthma. (He’s fine.)

June

Things were looking up. We found out the boys were fully vaccinated. Was it over? We were able to take off our masks and do things! I took the boys to a couple of soccer games. We ate at a restaurant! We booked a trip to California! Life was back to normal! I call this “the golden time.” Boy were were we naive.

July

My blog turned 20.

We got devastating news in the middle of the month when my sweet cousin Molly died suddenly. I still can’t believe it.

The boys and I went to California to visit Evan and Jennifer and Ellie. It was a lovely trip, even though it was under a cloud of sadness. Things still felt normal. We went to Disneyland and to an LAFC game and to the beach, and I got to meet my best friend in person finally. (She’s 3.)

This is when the golden time ended. LA had re-introduced a mask mandate not long before we got there. Delta was coming. Thank god we went when we went, or we wouldn’t have been able to go at all.

August

We got to hang out with the Murphys, which was wonderful.

The boys started 8th grade.

We went on a terrible road trip. Thanks Ida!

September

We finally got to go home! After spending 11 days in Houston and Baton Rouge, we were ready. And that’s about all I can say about September.

October

I went to the Rosebud Motel with my friends. That was fun.

That’s about it. Oh, I did some sewing.

The boys finally got to start soccer again. Or was that September? I don’t know. One of those months.

November

KIKI CAME TO VISIT! That was awesome. We did a lot of stuff around the house and ate at restaurants. Things were starting to feel normal-ish again.

I made a quilt!

Obviously it was Schitt’s Creek themed.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving, just the five of us.

December

My sweet baby boys turned 14!

My mom turned 75 and my brother and sister came in for it.

Finally, we celebrated Christmas with Grandee and Larry and negative COVID tests.

On to 2022!

Christmas 2021

We had a nice Christmas. Quiet. Also, 14 year old boys are very hard to shop for.

As usual, I took them out individually to shop (how many years have we been doing this? I’ll have to go back and look) which was lovely. It was right on the cusp of Omicron taking off, so we were able to eat inside this time (I just remember last year sitting in the parking lot of Five Guys, which just isn’t quite the same.)

We had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner – steak. Yum!

Then it was time to read The Night Before Christmas and take the stocking pic.

I was quite proud that I didn’t have much to wrap that night, I’d gotten it all done. But I did spend much of the day finishing George’s present, a collared shirt with fabric from Spoonflower with keyboard keys all over it because he’s a big ol’ nerd.

relaxing with a cozy fire and my coffee before the boys woke up (or rather, before I let them out of their room)

And don’t you know, I didn’t take any pictures while we were opening gifts. Just being present (no pun intended.)

The boys got a new chair to sit in while rotting their brains on video games, and some clothes, and cases and cords and other electronics-adjacent accessories and all in all they seemed happy with their gifts.

I got a sous vide thingy, and a Ziggy puzzle, and a necklace, and a new Kindle, and some Schitt’s Creek things, and so all in all, I think I did the best of all, but I might be biased.

That Ziggy puzzle is really really really hard, btw.

We had the traditional eggnog French toast for breakfast, and I started drinking mimosas (we had a lot of orange juice, what can I say) and then we all took the traditional Christmas morning COVID tests (all negative) and then Grandee and Larry came over (also negative) and we ate air-fried turkey (yum) and cornbread dressing and spinach and homemade bread (my mom and I both made some and the boys preferred my mom’s but that’s fine) and cheesecake for dessert.

So that was our Christmas, and it was low-key and, oh, 80 degrees, so that part sucked, but otherwise, was really nice.

Getting back to normal

Yikes, it’s been a while since I posted, and a lot has happened. Well, for one, we came home. Wheee!

Let’s see, the last post was taken on a Saturday, and power came back on late Monday night, so we went home on Tuesday the 7th. All told, we were away from home for 11 days, and boy was our fridge gross. We’d thrown out all of the food the previous Friday when George and Miles and I went to check things out, so it could have been worse, for sure.

Gas was still hard to come by when we got home, as were groceries. Even now, two weeks after coming home, stores aren’t fully stocked. But it’s getting better.

We had to get a tree removed, and while we had a crew, we also had them prune some of our other trees. I was sad to see the tree go – though I’m hoping that the increased sunlight in the yard will mean my new plants from when we had the yard redone last spring will start thriving.

Just a stump.

It’s sad to look out of the upstairs bathroom window and not see the tree, though.

I’ve also been sewing a bit more. I made a new cardigan for myself and a skirt for Terry for her birthday.

I’ve also been baking a bunch. I found this no-knead recipe that is so easy, it seems silly not to make bread every day. Well, last night it was pizza. We also made flour tortillas the other night because, why not?

Ziggy is still cute.

Oliver has eaten avocados.

The boys still haven’t gone back to school in person yet – this week has been virtual. In theory they’ll go back to campus next week. (Mold issues, not COVID.) And soccer was supposed to start last week, but we’re waiting on that too. Hopefully soon!

So yeah. That’s about it for now. Yay for fall!

Is this Schitt’s Creek or is it life?

Because suddenly I find myself living indefinitely with my family in two hotel rooms, squabbling siblings included.

The 'Schitt's Creek' Motel Is For Sale: Photos of the Real Rosebud!

Okay, fine, we’re really staying in a Courtyard by Marriott on the outer edge of Houston and we’re probably heading back to Louisiana soon.

16 years ago I was blogging about our evacuation from Katrina, so I figured I should probably blog about this.

We booked hotel rooms on Thursday but for Sunday and Monday nights, reasoning that we could cancel them if we needed to. Well, we didn’t need to, but we did need to tack on Saturday night. Good thing, because if we hadn’t left Saturday we couldn’t have.

We packed up the car with a few changes of clothes (you’d think I’d have learned from Katrina?) and the boys and Ziggy. After 11 hours of winding back roads, torrential rain, horrific traffic, and a lot of snacks, we made it to our hotel. (Normally it would be 6 hours.)

Yesterday a friend went by our house and checked for any possible damage. The news was good! A few ridge caps from our roof are missing, the shed fell over, and the top half of a tree came down. We won’t know until we are able to get back in if we have any water damage or something else, but fingers crossed everything inside is okay.

We will stay at my mom’s for a while – we have no idea when power will be restored to the city. But Baton Rouge isn’t in great shape either, which is why we’re staying in Houston as long as we can afford to.

So yeah, that’s where we’re at. At least this time we don’t have to re-plan a wedding!

(More random evacuation photos.)

Last day of summer

Tomorrow the boys go back to school! I am both sad (won’t get to sleep late anymore) and anxious (duh) and excited (I like our morning routines on school days even if it does mean waking up at 6am.) Also they’re going to be in eighth grade which, I mean, what.

(Next year, high school. Let’s not think about that.)

So this is the last day of summer break. It’s been a quiet one. We didn’t do too much aside from our trip to California. Went to a few Jesters games. Ate at some restaurants in that glorious month of June when we thought things were going back to normal.

And now we live in the worst place on earth for COVID, I know too many people who have gotten it (vaccinated and not) and I am disgusted with the state of humanity in general.

I was supposed to go to Las Vegas at the end of the month with friends to see Morrissey.

Obviously that’s not happening anymore.

Okay, this was supposed to be a happy post. YAY SUMMER. The good things about this summer? It rained nearly every day so I didn’t have to water my plants very often. I think I only had to pull the hose out once.

On the other hand, about a third of the plants we had put in are not at all thriving. That makes me sad. But I’m going to try not to stress about it.

We got to see old friends, that was fantastic.

What else did we do this summer? I cut my hair. Ziggy remained cute. Oliver and I put together a puzzle. We visited Grandee and Larry. I begrudgingly made more masks. Stocked up on COVID tests. Sewed shades for my office. Kept a houseplant alive.

So, that’s it, summer of 2021.

June so far

Not that there’s a lot to say. But I guess we’ve done some things, now that everyone is vaccinated and life seems to be returning somewhat to normal.

Plus I got a new iPhone so my pictures are better now. 😀

We’ve been to a couple of Jesters games…

We went out to eat! At a restaurant! Though now that I think about it, we sat outside so I guess it wasn’t that notable. But it was really nice. And we sat outside the pub after and played with a tiny puppy.

I donated blood and got a cool t-shirt. Ziggy remains adorable. It’s rained a lot.

I made beignets and we went to the pub for Father’s Day.

So yeah, it’s been a quiet month so far.

Next month will be more eventful. The boys and I are going to Los Angeles to visit my brother and his family and we’re going to an LAFC game and Disneyland and I’ll finally get to meet my friend Robyn’s daughter and see my brother’s new house. Very exciting.

May so far

It’s been an eventful month. Maybe too eventful.

Went to Virginia to visit Kiki. That was good eventful. Being on an airplane was weird. We baked a lot, including croissants. PS buying good croissants is much easier. Just do that. But it was fun.

Oh wait, but the night before I left, I had to take Oliver to get stitches. Well, a stitch, really. (He lost a fight with his desk.)

When I got back, I got the house cleaned professionally for the first time and IT IS STILL CLEAN.

Then a tornado skipped through our neighborhood last week, and we lost power for a while. Spent the day with the boys at Starbucks and Target.

I did a dumb thing and booked a (non-refundable) hotel room in a half-asleep haze, not even thinking about the fact that hotels don’t let you check in until 3pm. The power came back on at 2.

The boys and I went to our suite and hung out for two hours. I took the soaps and shampoos yet I still don’t feel like I got my money’s worth. Ah well. An expensive lesson.

Fortunately, we didn’t have any damage from the storm, at least not physically.

And then on Sunday, Linus was having a tough time with this asthma, which ultimately resulted in an ER visit followed by overnight admission.

I’m ready for the rest of the month to be boring, thanks.

Here’s a bunch of pics. You’re welcome.

1 year since I joined a cult

I am a pandemic cliche. Not just the puzzles I put together, the shows I binged, or the sourdough I started and baked with. No, it was the purchase I received one year ago today:

Yeah, I laughed at the commercial just like everyone else did. I took a spinning class once and hated it. But I guess I have enough friends that raved about it, so I reasoned that I could always return it if I hated it.

But I didn’t. I loved it immediately.

And all of the aches and pains that I’d gotten from four years of Orangetheory went away. The tendinitis in my ankle, the knee pain, the back pain, the shoulder tendinitis. I used to love running on the treadmill. That was my favorite part of OTF. But until I stopped, I didn’t know how much it was hurting me.

So what have I done over the past year?

668 rides totalling 9 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes

45 live rides

1 shout out from Tunde on my birthday

Longest ride was 75 minutes, 35 seconds during a work call (I have a tray for my laptop)

I could go further into my stats, like which instructor I took the most classes from, but that’s boring if you don’t have a Peloton so I won’t.

Anyway, I’m not going to talk about things like the number of calories I’ve burned or inches lost or anything like that because that’s not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this because now I have really amazing leg muscles and it’s good for my cardiovascular health. I do need to get better about taking advantage of all of the other classes especially upper body strength training and stretching. Maybe that will be my goal for the next 365 days.

Look at the cute view I have! (I mean the dog!)

March 11

Right around now, everyone is talking about “the last normal day.”

March 11, 2020 was the last normal day for us.

I took the boys to soccer practice that evening, and I used the time while they were practicing to go buy some hand sanitizer because I’d heard that might be a good idea.

By the time I’d driven to five stores with no luck, I knew something was up.

I went back to soccer practice to wait for the boys to finish. While I was waiting, I got a message from school that due to possible exposure, there would be no school for the next week or so.

Oliver and I were due to have our “day out” that Friday. Still waiting to do that.

And here we are, March 11, 2021 and I got my vaccine! It’s possible that everyone in my house is at least partially vaccinated now (though of course we don’t know with the boys, but it’s possible.)

Now for the obligatory post-shot selfie from my car:

46

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.