All the Candy

One of my favorite parts of holidays is….the after-holiday sales.

In particular, the post-Valentine’s Day, post-Halloween, and post-Easter sales.

I like to peruse CVS two-three days after the holiday passes. Candy, and some toys or gifts, are usually 50% off. Today, I picked up Hershey’s chocolate eggs, a Russell Stover bunny (already lost his ears, poor guy), Reese’s for M, and a variety bag of chocolate.

But even more exciting – I found a set of 16 eggs that have stickers in them for $2.49 for Little Baby’s Easter next year! Plus, scannin my bonus card gave me $1.00 off, so I could have gotten them for $1.49 if I wasn’t a greedy candy hog.

The after-holiday sales are usually great for stocking stuffers, hang-around gifts, and work gifts. Hang-around gifts are those that you keep handy in case of a last minute birthday. Wine, gag gifts, that sort of thing. The work gifts are for Secret Santas or White Elephants – we like tacky gifts for these.

I also have picked up a lot of my holiday decorations atthese types of sales. Pier 1, Target, and Big Lots have been pretty decent sources. I think the vast majority of our Christmas decorations came from Target the first year we bought our house, and most of our Halloween knick-knacks are PIer 1.

Anyhoo….I like candy. I like saving money. And I like knowing I have something for Baby’s Easter Basket next year, already!

I’m jealous

Totally jealous.

One of my dear darling friends is starting a website that I totally wish I had done myself!

http://drinkfxbg.blogspot.com/  – The plan is to review Fredericksburg, VA’s great watering holes. A sort of where’s where of downtown Fred, with thoughts from several contributors who will consider the merits of the locale’s atmosphere, beerosphere, and general sphereosphere.

It’s probably going to be mostly brew-focused, which may leave poor Perky out. Unless I can suddenly muster an enthusiasm for beer? Unlikely. Extremely unlikely.

But I do hope to be a family-friendliness critic! So keep an eye out, follow the page. Drink FXBG is also on Facebook – follow them! I just might pop up with my best tips for diaper changes during happy hour!

Walking Dead

I believe the reason Walking Dead is so popular is because people enjoy envisioning themselves in all of those “what if” scenarios that populate the show’s storyline.

Would you survive? Or how long do you think you’d survive?

What would be your weapon(s) of choice?  What do you actually have available, right now, in your home?

We have samurai swords, daggers, other weird knives. None are sharp, though. We also have guns. And a chainsaw. We’d have to sharpen the blades. We have at least one holster. We’d have to stock up on the ammo.

Would your family members make it with you?   Would you make it without your family members?

I’d like to think they’d survive with me. The baby child and husband would obviously be going with me to the refuge at my parents’ home. My parents’ place offers a lot more protection and refuge, just by its remoteness. The trick would be getting down there through the embattled I-95 that would be grid-locked. M has a crazy jacked up truck…but it would still get stuck in the traffic jams. Maybe we should keep that thing’s 50+ gallon tank loaded at all times…I also need to convince my parents to get solar panels. And we have MREs, thanks to M’s bizarre habit of obtaining things that normal people don’t live with.

In tonight’s episode, you suddenly realize how much Rick’s group has gone without …the things we take for granted. A razor blade to shave. A shower. A haircut. Not to mention running water. The smooth feel of a granite counterotp underneath your hands. A clean, dry, comfortable place to sleep. Or just to sit.

The baby, Lil’ Ass-kicker…growing up with no mom, no warm happy playtimes (that the show features, at least), no cuddly toys and fun finger foods. No playdates.

Carl, way too mature and hardened for his age.

Would you take the view Hershel and his family had, in the earlier days? That these are just ‘sick people’, not monsters? Would you immediately go into that full-fledged fight or flight mode?

Restaurant Week – La Rosetta

Hurray, Restaurant Week has returned to Fredericksburg!

Last night, I joined a few great ladies downtown at La Rosetta. None of us had been here before, so we thought it’d be a great place to try.

La Rosetta (Street Caroline)

La Rosetta is right across the street from the Marriot, so a few of us met up at the Marriot for a drink first. The lobby is huge, open, and contemporary. Definitely appealing for the 20-30 crowd, businesspeople, or events. The bartender was quick, and my cosmo was delicious. They also serve very full glasses of wine!

We marched over to La Rosetta for our 6:30 reservation. Our table of 6 was seated upstairs. The restaurant is in an old home, which is a neat vibe. The restaurant was pretty full – appaently Restaurant Week is setting records!

The food was good, overall. The butternut squash bisque came with a goat cheese ‘mousse’, which was essentially just a layer of melted foam on top. It was smooth, light, and delicious. For an entree, I had the pollo alla genovese: a nicely portioned chicken breast topped with eggplant, a slice of tomato, and a slice of mozzarella. The chicken was bathed in a light, tasty pesto cream sauce. I could have had another plate! It was accompanied with slices of zuchinni and carrots, which were also good. For dessert, I had a canneloni – I’m not a big fan, usually, but this was airy, flavorful, and just plain good.

Unfortunately….the service was incredibly slow.

As I mentioned, our reservation was at 6:30. I texted M at 7:30 checking in on the baby…we still hadn’t gotten our appetizers yet. When we finally got our bills, the waitress took our credit cards and disappeared for 20 minutes. I asked the waterboy to find out the status, and she came back quickly after that.

I noticed other tables upstairs with us also had similar waits – there were quite a few unhappy campers at tables of two waiting for their next courses or checks.

The waterboy, by the way, is probably the busiest person in the place! He was very attentive, polite, and unobtrusive. He must be exhausted at the end of the night!

Overall, I would go back to La Rosetta. Hopefully on a quieter night, the service is much faster!

A mellow Christmas

This is an unusually mellow Christmas for us.

It’s the first year we are not having our annual Tacky Holiday Sweater and Ugly Ornament party. These parties went strong for 5 years, with the unchanging concept that every guest must 1 – wear a tacky holiday sweater, and 2 – bring an ugly ornament, which was then “gifted” via names from a hat. The parties often had themes-within-a-theme, from Politically Incorrect and/or Generally Inappropriate, to Zombie Football, to the best, Redneck Christmas.

We are fortunate enough to have a great core group of friends who bedazzle themselves and come prepared to eat, drink, and be ridiculously merry. Our tree will forever carry the hideous souvenirs of ugly ornaments ‘won’ in the drawings, and the memories will live on in our minds, and on Facebook.

So without the usual party, we’ve been pretty lazy about decorating. We didn’t really do the outdoor lights this year. We didn’t hang paper snowflakes and paper chains all over the downstairs. We basically bought and decorated our tree, and put out our knick-knacks over a few hours one night.

Part of me relishes the freedom and calmness. Not to mention the hundreds of dollars saved by not buying a prty’s worth of booze and food. The other part of me misses the incredibly festive house, with snowflakes dangling from the ceiling like promises of shenanigans to be had.

Then, on the other side, this is our last Christmas as the two/six of us. Next year, we will have a perky baby, a new brother or sister to our four furbies. If the Perky Baby is a boy, I will be severely outnumbered! Then we’ll have to figure out how to share holidays with both of our extended families, and that will be a headache in its own right!

I hope I teach my children…

First, the confession: I am in the midst of a fertility battle. It’s been ongoing. It’s painful. I hope, I fall, I pray, I am sometimes angry. Above all, I am confident my life will unfold exactly as it should. I am not now a mother, but I would love to be.

I grew up with wonderful parents. I never worried about finances, food, shelter, education, etc.

My father was amazing: He was an inspiration of how working hard and sacrificing can create a better life for your family. How being passionate and having jobs you love will make you happy, make you successful, and will pay off in the long run. How we should never, ever, stop learning. And for goodness sake, if you like to write, write!

My mother was amazing: she was a stay-at-home mom, and of course more involved in our day-to-day lives. She is very smart, and she also has wonderful common sense. She approaches things from a point of logic, a point of ‘do it well’, a point of ‘get it done and move on.’ I admire those traits, and as I move forward every day, every year, I appreciate every moment when I think “My gosh, I am my mother!”

No matter how wonderful my parents were, and are, there were still moments/years when I, as a kid, screwed up. And honestly, when I say “screwed up”, I mean I endured and learned. I learned so much.

When my first boyfriend was having emotional affairs with my best friend, I learned how painful love can be, how conflicted we, as humans, can be, and how easily emotions and feelings can be manipulated.

When I realized my best friend was in an emotional affair with my boyfriend, I realized how incredibly horrible deceit and betrayal can be; I also learned not to trust people, to expect the worst from people, and to withhold the sacred parts of my feelings, thoughts, and emotions.

Those two scenarios happened before I was 16, by the way. The after years were even messier, with me dumping him without a single tear, then us coming back together a few months later, trying to figure out what flaws I must have for him to find me “lesser”. For 18 months, I lost a lot of weight. I gained weight back. I slept a lot. I didn’t sleep for days. I became a nail picker/biter. I obsessively manicured my nails. I focused on how I looked, and how boys reacted; I wandered around in baggy pants and shirts.

The point, ultimately, that I am trying to somehow reach, is that kids need space, time, and forgiveness. I fortunately grew up in a Facebook, Twitter less world. We had Geocities webpages, AOL Instant Messenger; we didn’t have Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and blogs.

Let kids rebel, safely. Rein them in. Know what your kids are doing online, but grant them the freedom to make (certain) mistakes. Teach them how to recognize when other kids need help, when other kids are making mistakes, and when online presence crosses the line.

The perks of being a grown-up…

I am 27 years old. I am also a wife, a homeowner, a pet owner x 4, a graduate degree holder, a full-time employee, a dodgeball player, a softball player, extensive traveler, and sporadic gym-goer.

I thus have a messy home. At least, that’s what I blame it on. I’m just a super busy person, so of course I don’t have time to vacuum and mop and Windex and clean my grout with a toothbrush.

So we are trying something new. Inspired by a friend, I have posted our chore list on the fridge. Most of the chores fall to me, but M has been delegated some, and he has chosen some. Each day, we have 1-2 tasks to accomplish: Windex the windows, sweep, laundry, bleach the bathrooms, etc. So far, we’ve already failed: we were out of town most of Sunday, I was sick Monday and am still in recovery mode this Tuesday.

However, M was randomly hit by the cleaning bug and decided to play catch-up. Together, we have windexed the main windows, swept, vacuumed, and done some laundry. I feel both accomplished and exhausted.

Why doesn’t adulthood come with a free robot maid?

Am I that old?

I miss being young.

I’m 27, though. So I feel like I am both cliche, overdramatic, and other adjectives.

But really, though. I miss being young.

When we could choose whether or not to do our “jobs” for the day – go to class? Skip class and lay outside in the square on our first fall-like day of the summer.

When we could stay up late and sleep in with little-to-no consequence: Throw in a movie marathon at 9 pm? YES!

When we were restricted to the clothes we could fit in our closet and the food we could fit in our minifridge: frozen pizza? No room. Skirts and pants that don’t fit? No room. Outta here!

When we didn’t have pets: I adore, love, and cherish my dogs and cats. But yes, they do cause some obstacles in planning, roadtrips, impromptu day trips, etc. I feel so, so, so guilty if I leave them home for more than 5 hours without a break.

Feeling like the future was still wide open and far away: I would have done college SO differently. Gone to all my classes. Gotten better grades. Avoided the sketchy girls I “found” my freshman year. Not gained a freshman 40.

Instead, though, I am sitting here on my self-purchased laptop, on my self-purchased bed, in a home I own. Drinking one-too-many glasses of boxed wine, my dogs sleeping on the floor behind me, and fighting that mental battle of “I should go to bed, I have work tomorrow” and “I don’t waaaaannnnaaaaaa”.
So I shall watch some reality TV. Browse the world wide of web. And just feel nostalgic, not about the things I did do in college, but the things I wish I had done.

Walkers

I like watching people walk.

My hilltop front yard offers a nice vantage point to watch the walkers. Right now, an older couple is coming downhill. The man carries the same long stick he carries every walk, the woman wears the same blue-grey headband she wears every walk.

There’s a teenager up the street who walks three dogs. Her timing is always terrible: her three dogs come trotting down, and my two dogs run off the upper yard, blazing to the valley in a fit of hoooowling and squeaky angry barks. Then she awkwardly, embarrassedly, corrals her dogs while I clap my hands and shout ignored commands at my dogs. Eventually, my dogs decide to behave, sprinting towards me as though they can outrun their naughtiness.

I see a girl walking home most afternoons. She dresses all in black, even in the hottest summer afternoons, and trudges monotonously. She wears a fast food uniform, and has never smiled or waved.

The woman around the corner (a curve, really) walks her black dog every evening. There used to be two black dogs with greyed faces, calmly and patiently following familiar paces. Now there is only one black dog with a grey face. Soon, there will be none, and I wonder if she will walk alone or find a new companion.

I have my companions. Two dogs and a husband. One is perpetually smelly, one perpetually tinkles in public, and one hates the heat. We don’t walk often, or regularly, but when we do, it is a pleasant suburban chaos. We dance back and forth, untangling leashes and switching sides to match the dogs. We stop and wait for life, scoop it into plastic bags, and march onwards.

It’s all we should do, really. March onwards. Keep walking.

Blue & Grey Brewery

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Fredericksburg is (fortunately for us!) in a great spot for people who like wine, bourbon, and brews. We have many nearby wineries, distilleries, and breweries.

Last night, M and I went to Blue & Grey for dinner. M had a coupon from Restaurants.com, and it was Happy Yappy hour. Dogs were welcome – we did not bring ours because Pickles skews more towards tazmanian devil clown dog than well-behaved quiet dog, and Chutney would be terrified at the number of inanimate objects, much less people.

Blue & Grey is a little out-of-the-way, but it has a nice outdoor eating area and a decent-sized interior space. The weather was phenomenal Thursday, so we ate outside.

 

M got Blue & Grey’s Stonewall Stout and Falmouth American Pale Ale. He prefers the APA, which is more of a refreshing summer beer. I had Reisling (I forgot which one!).

M ordered the Black & Blue steak, which is smothered in a creamy gorgonzola portabello mushroom cream sauce, and served with a side of delicious creamy mashed new potatoes. His steak was good, and he cleaned his plate. Which he always does, but still. This dish is also recommended to pair with Stonewall Stout.

 I had the Shepherd’s pie, which was essentially a deconstructed shepherd’s pie with a tiny lamb chop on top. The sauce for the meat was really good, and the potatoes were phenomenal. We both agreed, however, the chef seemed to be a corn-fanatic. The sheer quantity of corn kernels was a bit overwhelming.

Overall, we enjoyed our food. We liked seeing (well-behaved) dogs, and speculated Pickles will be society-friendly when he’s approximately 12. Chutney will need massive quantities of doggie anxiety meds.