Last year I did host Thanksgiving dinner at my house. Since I'm one step short of veg*n these days (eggs and honey are still on my list) and didn't feel like handling a raw turkey, I bought the majority of the traditional entrees pre-cooked and just heated them up. I made butternut squash ravioli and a few other non-traditional foods for me and my vegetarian aunt to enjoy. You'd think it would have been less effort than a regular feast meal, but it was still exhausting.
This year I think I'm inclined to go to a restaurant instead. Today I had lunch at my favorite plant-based place and looked wistfully at their Thanksgiving advertisement on the table, but I know I'm going to end up picking at side dishes at a mainstream restaurant. I haven't pinned down where we'll go yet, but I already know I'm not in the mood to cook for two days so a handful of people can eat it all in 20 minutes.
I wish it were acceptable to have Thanksgiving brunch and then free everyone to go their separate ways for dinner, but I suspect tradition is too ingrained for that.
While we wait for Google Fiber to make it to our neighborhood, I went ahead and ditched my beloved TiVo in favor of the DVR that my cable company provides. I would have kept the TiVo forever, but it couldn't get on the same page with our cable service and I was tired of losing shows and channels. We never watch TV live, so it's a huge hassle when something randomly doesn't get recorded.
Now that the fall TV season has kicked in, we're barely keeping up with the shows we watch. On this year's list:
Ash vs. Evil Dead (I absolutely love it already, only two shows in)
Marvel's Agents of Shield (better than ever)
Grimm (so far, so good for this season)
Heroes Reborn (I'm cautiously optimistic)
Gotham (I was starting to give up last season, but it's roared back with a vengeance)
Sleepy Hollow (keeping my fingers crossed)
The Walking Dead (love it) and The Talking Dead (ditto)
I, Zombie (still quirky and fun)
The Librarians (yep)
So you might notice a certain theme here. Basically, if it can happen in real life, I'm not interested in watching it. The one fantasy show I did finally ditch is Once Upon A Time. My husband still watches it, but I gave up on it last year for good.
Anything great I'm missing? Not that I have time for more, but I could always pick it up via Netflix over the holidays.
Over the weekend Toby and I had a nice four-mile walk, which made him extra stinky (not that he wasn't stinky before). The next day I took his bedding to the laundromat, which meant that the dog himself needed to be destinkified next.
We don't have a bathtub or a utility sink in our house, so the dog becomes an unwilling accessory to my own shower when he needs to be washed. His shampoo sits on the shelf in the shower next to my Dr. Bronner's combination bathtime reading material and soap.
As someone who regularly performs with a band, you'd think I'd be steeped in nightlife, but that's not actually the case. When I'm singing, it's all work and when I have a weekend night off, a lot of times I spend it at home or doing something low-key like going out to a restaurant.
Last night I got together with some friends and went to First Fridays for the first time in quite a while. It's getting a little cool out, so there were fewer bands playing than usual, but there were plenty of galleries open.
I'm not usually a big shopper at First Fridays, but I made an exception this time. One of the galleries featured a holiday market with artists from an old workplace of mine. I bought four small skull prints from the 52 Skulls project that artist Michael Schultz is working on this year.
I also bought a beautiful handwoven and hand-painted scarf from Wrinkle in Time Weaving because I couldn't take my eyes off it and I decided I needed a new accessory for fall and winter.
Last but not least, I ran across Madi Apparel for the first time. I loved their "buy one, donate one" model, so I bought something from them as well.
Aside from all the not-buying-Christmas-gifts-but-instead-getting-myself-stuff, I explored numerous galleries with my friends and saw a lot of beautiful and thought-provoking art. This painting by Jessie Fisher was one of my favorites.
Once we'd had our fill of galleries, we strolled by the food trucks lined up on the street and I got a very satisfactory hummus and falafel sandwich. We ended the evening at Thou Mayest, which is a coffee shop and a bar, and one of my favorite hangouts in Kansas City. Because I am decidedly on Team Coffee, even at night, I had a Mason jar full of Ethiopian coffee and a cherry tart to finish my evening meal.
I got home by about 9:30 (not too far past the dog's supper time) and went to bed at my usual time. So maybe "nightlife" is overstating things, but it was fun to go out and do something different.
I am all in for Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing." I don't spend a huge amount of time at home, but I have gotten a good head start on putting her advice to work. I'm hoping to apply it to every category of possession I own by next spring.
It started when I bought a huge IKEA wardrobe from some friends who were moving out of state. I have a very small room in my house that was originally a bedroom before previous homeowners took over some of its square footage to make our main bathroom larger. Now I use it as a dressing room. Until I got the wardrobe, I kept my clothes in an antique dresser and on a metal clothes rack. I also had a big, wooden shelving unit where I kept books, board games and miscellaneous stuff.
When I started the clothing purge, I gathered every garment I owned from every part of the house and piled them on the floor. When all was said and done, I got rid of seven huge trash bags full of clothes, two bags of games, two big boxes of books (the serious book purge is still to come) and quite a few other random objects that I'd been keeping for no good reason. After a clothing exchange with friends, the number of bags of clothing I ended up dropping at Goodwill grew to ten. That was several months ago and already I've identified a few survivors of the cull that could stand to go.
Even before the clothing purge, I selected thirty t-shirts whose designs I enjoyed despite the fact that I no longer wore them for various reasons and had them made into a t-shirt quilt. I'll save that story for another post, but it was a great way to get a head start on the whole project.
Once I had the wardrobe set up in my dressing room (which I left to a service that does that kind of thing because it was huge and there was no way I could reassemble it on my own), I learned a bunch of cool folding techniques designed to make clothes as compact and wrinkle-free as possible. The only drawback has been that I don't really have a convenient spot in my house for folding clothes, so I have gotten to the point where I don't put my laundry away as promptly as I should. But when I do, the results are pretty impressive.
Best of all, it's taken my dressing room from a place that was just stuffed with stuff to a room I can actually decorate and enjoy. I've framed and put up a bunch of artwork that had been languishing all over the house and I really like the atmosphere of the room.
The only thing the room still needs is for me to install a new ceiling light fixture. The old one was in the way of the wardrobe, so I took it down. The new one is a pendant light that I'm going to swing out of the way and treat as a swag lamp with a strategically-placed ceiling hook. I just need to bring in the ladder and take a few minutes to get it done.
Next on the agenda is probably my pantry closet in our TV room. It's gotten out of control and I know I can live without a lot of the stuff in there. (Ice shaver? Nope, I don't need it.)
After that, I'll tackle kitchen drawers and cupboards, and my home office, which was looking pretty good for a while last year but has descended back into chaos. The basement and garage will get their turn as well.
Have you done any Kondo-ing of you house? What did you think?
I'm usually a really good sleeper, but last night I think I tempted fate with too weird a combination of dinner foods and drinks, so I ended up waking up around 3:00 a.m.
I wish I could say I'm the kind of person who gets up and does something productive with her sleeplessness, but instead I played The Secret Society on my iPad for about an hour with the dog sitting beside me, and then went back to sleep.
Toby was nice enough to delay his usual breakfast time a full hour until 6:00 a.m., so at least I got in a solid couple hours of sleep before I had to get up to feed him. I slept another hour after that as well.
Tonight I expect to be sound asleep by 10:00 p.m. no matter how much coffee I drink today (and it's going to be a lot).
The last several years have been full of upheaval and frankly very taxing. In self defense, I scaled way back on extracurricular activities and gave myself permission to fill my free time with mainly friend-related activities and my band. I had been doing quite a bit of volunteer work before that, but I quit almost all of it.
A couple of weeks ago I got an email that one of the pet stores where my favorite animal rescue group keeps cats was in need of a regular Tuesday night volunteer. I thought for a moment about whether I was ready to commit to a weekly volunteer shift and decided I was.
Tonight was my first night back and I realized I've really missed working with the adoptable cats.
Right now the store has five cats and two "teenager" kittens. I let them all out of their kennels at the same time to run around in the back room while I cleaned their cages, scooped their litter boxes, refilled their food and water dishes, and washed both sides of the plexiglass so they'll be easier to see.
As an added bonus, there's a Trader Joe's in the same shopping center, so Tuesday nights will also be grocery nights. I can work with that.
I'm looking forward to getting to know all the cats' names and cheering them on as they find their permanent homes. It's good to be back.
It's been nearly a year since we took in Izzy, née Sooty. Once we learned that he had chronic kidney disease, we pretty much gave up on the idea of getting someone else to take him. He's long since been assimilated into the household to live out his life as happily as possible.
We support his health with kidney supplements and all the meals he wants of his favorite food. He's at a reasonable weight under the circumstances and you wouldn't know he had health concerns if not for the fact that he pees quite a lot.
I've gotten several reminders this week that he's been with us for a year. The first was a postcard from the veterinarian's office associated with the shelter where he was discovered informing me that 24182036 was due for a rabies shot. It was a rather stark reminder that if not for the person who called him to my attention on Facebook last year, the poor numbered cat's number would have been up.
The woman who found him at the shelter and shared his story re-shared it on my Facebook wall this week. I'd forgotten how rough he looked in that early photo. He's looking much handsomer today.
Finally, my own vet's office sent me a reminder postcard about the same rabies shot, but they still have him in their system as Sooty. I'll correct their records when I call to make an appointment for this weekend.
There in no doubt in Izzy's mind that I am his person. He sleeps next to me every night and spends as much time on my lap as possible. Even the dog gets a little jealous of him and sometimes crowds him off my lap when he feels the cat has had enough of my attention.
He's really quite well-behaved except for occasionally testing the boundaries of my least social cat, Trillian. He and Dr. Jones sometimes play, and he enjoys catnip, toys and cardboard scratchers even though he doesn't have front claws.
Of course, you could say that he pushed our cat population from "too many" to "way too many." Or you could say that he raised the number from "numerous" to "what's one more?"
So Happy Gotcha Day, Izzy! I'm glad you're with us.