Wednesday, March 24, 2021

What a stinker

Silent but deadly

It is once again that time of year during which my neighborhood stinks.

Like, really stinks.

It's the Bradford pear trees; they are the actual REASON it stinks.  Like a zombie's armpit, or so I've heard it called.  It's bad, and there's nothing to do but live through it or don't go outside.  CERTAINLY don't fling the windows open even if it is a glorious Spring day that really does call for the flinging open of windows.

Why, they're so bad even the polite persons at Southern Living can't stand them.  They even had to go so far as to import some grumpy Northerner to rant about them, just so Mama wouldn't get too hot under the collar and sweat BB cream all down the front of her housedress.

So, I'm hiding in the house week maybe, or until I see the shower of bright white petals start to fall to the ground during a wind or rainstorm.

That will be a happy day, for sure.


Y'all, if I manage to make it though the next couple of weeks (stinky trees and all) it will be through a minor miracle and a major jug of bourbon.  We are reaching the finish line for a major work project and if you're not familiar with the gut-clenching thrill of a looming deadline, count yourself lucky.

And because it's nearing 5 p.m. here, it's time to go put in another couple of hours of work.



Tiff out.

Saturday, March 13, 2021


 Yesterday and the day before it was in the 70s around here.  Windows were opened, rooms aired out, shorts were worn.  It's been an amazing time.

And I've spent most of it indoors, reasons being work.  But hey, I get to look out a window while I'm being the 'busy pharmaceutical professional' that I am (that title was bestowed on me many years ago when I received a piece of mail from a vendor addrssing me with such an impressive sobriquet), so that's better than slaving away in a cubicle far removed from daylight.

Can't complain.

From that window I can see the front flower garden, which is a hot mess.  We tore out an old concrete walkway a few months ago, superseding it with a ramp that goes straight out to the driveway, and have done nothing with the arrangement of the garden to cover the bare spots.  HOWEVER, there are the daffodils.

These daffs are indestructible, returning year after year even though I was SURE that a few years ago I'd relocated them all or just heaved them because they weren't flowering anymore.  The daffs had other thoughts, and are currently a-flowering where they shouldn't be, little cheery street urchins about to steal your heart with their indefatigable get up and go.

So, they can stay.  I appreciate their beautiful toughness.


North Main Street in Wake Forest has become staggeringly beautiful.

Again, it is thanks to the daffodils.  This is what they looked like a couple of years ago, which is very similar to what they look like now.

About a half a mile of this!

A couple of days ago they were just promissory notes of Springtime, but that note's been paid in full.  Such beauty!

Now, if those ornamental trees above them burst into bloom at the same time, as sometimes happens, that'd be the icing on the cake of pollen season.  This is just a couple of blocks from the Tiny House, so I might just have to wander over to see if that's the case.

Ah, Spring.

Tiff out.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

I saved a lot on soap last year


Becomes relevant, I promise.

It occurred to me a few days ago that I have been showering regularly as of late.  Like EVERY DAY type of regularly.

'And, so what?' you might ask.  I do not blame you for wondering, frankly..

Well, this time last year I wasn't.

This time last year I was 5 infusions into 6 rounds of chemotherapy, and just about every ounce of strength I had was plowed into healing after each session.  I continued to work, being that work distracted me from feeling like hammered crap most of the time, but cooking/cleaning/bathing were not things I did more than perhaps weekly.

That's right, I was maybe taking a shower a week.  It was just waaay too much effort.  Standing up and walking the 10 steps to the toilet was often too much effort; how was I to wedge in another few minutes of standing up and washing myself?  Unthinkable.

Yes, it really can be that bad, and it was.  Especially on the few days after getting the Neulasta injection, which kicks your bone marrow into overdrive making neutrophils to get the immune system up and running again, resulting in PAIN that is strength and will-to-live sucking.

But hey, I don't want to dwell on all of that, but do want to take a moment to be grateful that it is (fingers crossed!) in the past.

I did save a bunch of money on soap and shampoo though.


Topically aligned and coincidentally applied, we have discovered the joys of shampoo bars at the Tiny House.

It's soap, for your hair.  Hair soap! So old-fashioned it's rad!

I like this kind: Royalty Soaps shampoo bar.  With bonus video on how they're made!  One puck of this shampoo bar has lasted me for about 6 months, so that's about a $20 spend per year which I think isn't exorbitant and far less wasteful than buying plastic bottles of mostly water with which to scrub your melon.

Biff is partial to one of the two kinds that Indigo Wild sells. Not sure which flavor he's got in the shower at the moment, but I'm guessing it's not the lavender.

Obviously they're not the only shampoo bar sellers out there (The Hairy Farmpit Girls also sell it, so check their stuff out too); there are likely lots of options from which to choose your noggin-washer.  I encourage y'all to shop and skip the sulfates and plastic, then hit the bar!


We had a visit from the grandbaby and his Mom the past couple of days.  Purpose was so that we could give our van Carl to her because 1) we got a new car and don't need a van anymore, and 2) they could use a second vehicle.  

The visit was fabulous, the baby adorable, the dog a professional 'doter.'  Lovely time, except I fear we've not been as observant as we could be about certain things.  Like, we did not pick up on the fact that Carl had a desire to transition.  A mortifying omission, to be sure. 

Well, to address this issue S went out and purchased a steering wheel cover in glittery pink and seat covers in a very party-glitz pink Lily Pulitzer-type pattern (that's her up top with some of her designs), then added in with some kind of fruit-scented air freshener, and BOOM: Carl is Carla.

We're glad to have had a part in this new phase of life, for Carla and her new family.  Just wished we had noticed sooner.

(Carl got 'his' name from being a white van who, to Biff's mind, resembled the next-door-neighbor of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force.  That's how badly we got it wrong.)

Before and after.  Quite a change!

Tiff out.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Moving (to another room) and how it's all going

 We decided, it seems, that 2021 is the year we Do All The Big Things, such as

  • Tear out every tree in the backyard to prepare for
  • The garage we are planning to build while also
  • Renovating and then putting an addition on the back/'master' bedroom for an expanded closet and second bathroom, which meant that
  • We had to move out of our bedroom and into the front bedroom (which had been renovated a couple of years ago).

ALSO, it seems we are replacing our 2010 Grand Caravan.  Carl's been a good vehicle, but we no longer require seating for long-legged young men or a towing-capable vehicle, because 1) the young men now drive their own cars and aren't going to be back-seating it with us anymore unless something changes, and 2) The work van is way better at towing the trailers than Carl could ever be capable of.  So if anyone wants a slightly used but really great van that only needs a couple thousand smackers to get in perfect working order (he still drives fine, but is a little leaky), then I can cut you a deal.  Admittedly, the Stow-n-Go seating will be missed.

Back to the moving part now.

First and foremost, in our old room, we are able to cram an awful LOT of crap into a 15x15 space (with additional not-huge closet).  Clothing, shoes, office equipment, furniture? Yep, all of it. So MUCH stuff went to the ReStore or to the Rescue Mission Thrift store or to Goodwill (anything the other 2 wouldn't take).  Vanloads of stuff we probably won't miss or didn't even know why we had it in the first place.    It felt wonderful, to be honest.  So much stuff that I really hope someone else can use and that we didn't want/need anymore.

Seriously, when did I think I would ever wear a DRESS again?

Even with all the purging though, we still needed a place to put what remained as deemed necessary, because the front room has a 'guest-sized' closet and that just wasn't going to be enough for teeshirts and grots , etcetera, that we need to live life without having to dive into a storage tub in the shed.

So, we purchased an inexpensive dresser/chest of drawers set from the surplus furniture store and plugged them into the space along with our bed and a couple of side tables and my desk/office setup and a 2-drawer file cabinet and a bookshelf (WHEW!!) and whaddaya know?  It all fits somehow and doesn't feel cramped. The room too is 15x15  (all 4 rooms in our house are, except the bathroom and laundry, which are of course much smaller) so it's a pretty good size.  Even so, the armoire was sold, and the big metal cabinet that held random stuff like camping gear and who knows what all didn't make the move.  We also don't have our bed on what used to be the kitty-cornered wall, which opened up a ton of floor space.  

Our old room is in the 'reconstruction' phase now, which is good. However, I'm in no rush to move back until the addition is done, seeing what a nice cozy nest is available for us at the front of the house.

We are rich indeed.

Tiff out.

Bed used to go between those 2 sconces
Now loveseat will go here in the new reading nook. Wernstrom approves.

That brown line is where the ceiling height used to be.  Note  the original walls are beadboard.
This window is going to be the entrance to the addition - full doorway with transom above for light. There will be a window to the left of the doorway for light and egress. Fancy ceiling alert!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Things that I do not care for.


Sometimes, I get to feeling way too chipper about life and stuff, so have to bring myself back down to reality by dwelling on stuff that I simply don't care for.  Not that I HATE these things, for hate is too strong a word (and, frankly, is one of those things I don't care for), these are just some things that if I never had to deal with them again it'd be fine by me.

- Mis-use of 'less than' when 'fewer than' is correct.

- The gunk that gets caught in the kitchen sink drain.

- Bunched-up socks (because of this I rarely wear socks anymore).

- Liquor in my coffee.  Irish coffee?  A little Bailey's?  Some peppermint schnapps in there?  Ptoooey!

- Waking up too early on weekends.

- Dry eyes.

- Food that grows in your mouth the more you chew it.

- Yappy dogs.

- Ingrates who do not return their shopping carts to the buggy corral.


This list is of course not exhaustive, but certainly does capture what rises to the top of my 'meh-o-meter' at the moment.  I could add 'inconsistent use of punctuation' on the list, or 'too salty food' or 'willful ignorance' to the list, but perhaps another day.


Note I mentioned drama in the list.  Not 'dramas,' which are very different and can be enjoyable especially if they are set sometime back in history or maybe the distant future.  No, I'm talking about DRAMA, the manufactured sort that seems to keep some people's clock ticking and without which they might just not have a reason to breathe shallowly and rapidly, ever again.  

You can just leave that shit at the door if you're going to walk into my house.  Got no time to spend on manufactured angst.  World's got enough to deal with without all that mess.


While I'd ask readers of this post to comment on things they don't care for, there aren't many readers left so won't obligate the few of you who do idle by here to contribute.  But if you want to, hey - you know what to do.

Tiff out.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

I copy one of the greats, if pompadours are your thing.

So, this one's mostly more hair and nails.  You excited?  You ready?  Then let's dive in, but not too steeply, because this is kind of a shallow pool of topic and you don't want to mash your noggin on the bottom.


I put this photo on FB recently, with the statement that this is what my hair looks like right now, which is about 7.5 months after it started growing back:

No word of  a lie, folks.  This is my current hair reality.  Now, Mr Twitty, seen above, had sported some magnificent pompadours in his time, but this iteration is the most natural one I've seen on his head.  I guess that once you get famous, certain visual cues are no longer necessary?  Make sense to me.

Anyhow, what he's got in that pic is pretty much what I've got, right down to the color and texture.

It's good to know that even fancy rich fellers have trouble with their hair from time to time, just like regular folks.


In the nails department, I'm facing the fact that I'm going to have to cut them back a touch if I don't want to turn into some ninny-fingered prancy lady.  You know the type, what with the clicky nails on the computer keyboard, the weird sideways finger positioning when opening a poptop can, the odd splay-hand manner of dealing with produce bags or doors, that kind of thing.

These were them about a month ago.  I realize they are not cardi b-type talons, but to me, these are LONG.  They have grown since then (OBVIOUSLY, as I haven't trimmed or filed them in the interim):

I do like having the longer nails, but they are getting in the way.

And starting to get little splits in them, which need repair.

BUT, I keep letting them grow, and continue to repair the splits with bits of TP and base coat, then doing a full manicure to ensure the coast of polish will keep the nail from further splitting.

I kind of don't know who I am anymore or how to behave with these things.  I hope it's not too late to learn.


In other news, and ignoring the hellscape that was the attempted coup here in the USA a little while ago, we are moving out of our bedroom and into the other bedroom so as to tear apart the old bedroom to put a new addition on it that will include a fancy new closet and what will be bathroom #2.  Such excite!

Except holy shit these was a lot of stuff in our bedroom.  And closet, because that's getting a facelift too.  Like, YEARS of stuff, stuff we'd forgotten we had, stuff that might have once had meaning to us but we no longer know why, stuff that has disintegrated in the decade since it was shelved and forgotten, stuff that we really ought to have been using all this time (hello, French Horn) but have not.

It's a grueling and somewhat embarrassing process, this sifting and winnowing.  Not to mention dusty, dirty, sometimes moldy.  So MUCH is getting donated, so MUCH is getting chucked out.  On occasion something is unearthed that bears remarking upon and relocation to a spot for safekeeping, but those moments are not as frequent as the 'just get rid of it' moments.

A terrible job, but in the end we're going to be many pounds of stuff and dust lighter when we're done, and for that we give thanks.



Tiff out.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Happy 2021 y'all!

 I'm still here.  Still a work-at-home corporate denizen pounding the keyboard for a day's pay.  WITH NO COMPLAINTS.  After the absolute shitshow that was 2020 for a lot of people, I really need to keep my mouth shut about getting to work at home full time and the bennies that come with company employment.

Like, healthcare, which meant that in 2020, through all the excitement of cancer therapy and a random appendectomy (plus other joys) we didn't go broke paying for healthcare.  I wish that was true for everyone.

My fingernails, which all fell off thanks to chemotherapy, have grown back into frigging DAGGERS that I think I'm going to have to buy a tiny hacksaw to trim.  They're ridiculous, and they're still growing.  They click when I type.  Not sure how I feel about that.  They do look pretty all manicured, so that's new.

Also, Christmas lights from some folks near us who really do it up near us.

It's 'dry January' for me, because why not?  If amazing things happen it might be a Thing to carry forward longer.  As if that would be a bad idea.

And, probably most importantly, VACCINE. Thank God.

Tiff out.