Outings and Errands

Over the weekend, the yoga/pole/Aerial studio we attend held a Halloween show. While I don’t have any pictures to share, it was amazing. It was fairy tale themed, and people performed on silks, the pole, hammock, and Lyra. There was a lot of variety and talent on display and it was fun to get dressed up and go out.

Monday, since My Prince was off, we made a date to go run all the errands we’ve been putting off because they either require a bunch of driving or require both of us to go at once. Doing a bunch of shopping at once is somewhat exhausting, but we met with great success!

We got a Fall swag (the not-wreath-shaped wreath things) for the front door, some adorable candy corn lights to hang up and a couple Fall-themed scented candles. We also got a ton of Halloween candy, so we’re ready for the holiday. Then we headed to the mall where we dropped stuff at the tailor, got my watch resized so it actually fits, and got shoe inserts for my boots. After that we headed to the other mall to hit a couple clothing stores and grab a few cooler-weather basics that have been on the list forever. My Prince spoiled me with a new jacket I think is “space smuggler chic” in all the best ways.  : D

We grabbed lunch at a bistro I’ve been wanting to try and I loved it. It’s absolute decadence when you find a place with a nice ambiance and a gluten-free menu that has so many delicious options it’s actually hard to choose.

I was glad to get home and be done running around, but it’s a good feeling to cross a pile of things off the to-do list that feel as if they have been there forever. It’s still hard to reconcile my mind to the fact that we’re more than halfway through October already, but I’m daily grateful that the weather remains nice here and that the days are good even though they’re going by too fast.

(The photos at top are from a couple weeks ago, but I thought I’d share them anyway since I got them uploaded finally. Our fur babies went in for a proper grooming because they needed their teeth and nails done. They came home impossibly soft and smelling like coconuts, and adorned with the cutest little Halloween ascots! Nenya wore hers for about two days before chewing it off, but it was cute while it lasted.)

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The Last House Project of the Year

Two Fridays ago, we set aside the day to get the attic insulated. My Prince had done some advance work and a slew of research. In the two weeks prior to Attic Day, he stopped at Home Depot and loaded up the truck with cube-shaped batts of insulation three times. Thursday night after yoga we stopped and rented the machine so we were ready to go after tea and breakfast on Friday. 

Donning grungy clothes, facemasks, eye protection, and work gloves, we got started. My Prince headed up into the attic with the blower hose and I worked out of the training room, cutting open batts and feeding them into the machine. It took a little trial and error to get the speed and a system down, but then we worked steadily until lunchtime. We used every single batt and made a mess, but when we were done the attic was stuffed with insulation to the overkill point! It’s now closed up and shouldn’t need a thing the rest of the time we’re here (unless we add more solar panels at some point).

We celebrated our success by returning the machine, taking really long showers and ordering in Pad Thai for lunch. (Have I mentioned that I love living somewhere where gluten-free take-out is a thing?) After that, we spent the afternoon scrubbing down the house because the cellulose got everywhere.

The effect of all that insulation was almost immediate. Temperatures dropped pretty noticeably last week, but we’ve barely had to run the heat at all to keep the house warm! In fact, the energy company sent someone out to see if we had tampered with our (brand new, high-tech) meter because our energy bill for the month was less than $3. 

With that in the bag, we have officially finished our last house project of the year. We’ll do minor decorating for the holidays and My Prince put new weatherstripping on the door and got plastic for the windows, but all the major projects are finished. With the house in good shape, it’s likely we’ll look toward doing something with the yard next year but, for now, the changing leaves and cooler temperatures have us leaning into cozier projects like knitting (me) and practicing guitar (him). 

Quick Resource for Screening Books

censorship-3308001_1920 I try to keep an audiobook on hand to listen to while I’m doing dishes, cooking dinner, cleaning up the house, or handling other chores. Recently, in the spirit of October and Halloween, I picked up one that was billed as a spooky paranormal-ish book set just post-WWII at a failing British manor house.

It was a little slow to get started, but it was doing all right… until the part where (unexpectedly) the family dog bit an obnoxious little girl who was visiting. Long story short, the family was forced to put the dog down and if I’d had a physical copy of the book instead of a digital one I’d have promptly hurled it across the room.

I screeched about it briefly on my online writer’s group board and several friends recommended the site https://www.doesthedogdie.com. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of this before, but never bookmarked it. I did this time, however, and thought I would pass it along for everyone else. It covers at least books and movies and, I believe, some comics and other forms of media.

In short, you can look up anything you are interested in reading or watching and it will tell you if any pets (dogs, cats, horses or other) are injured or killed in story, or if other common and potentially objectionable actions or tropes are present such as “fridging,” cheating, substance abuse, foul language, or self-harm. The list of things it includes is surprisingly substantial and, given how furious I am about having unexpectedly encountered this unpleasantness, I’ll decidedly be checking everything else on my reading list before I stick my nose in it for a while. I thought I’d pass the link along in case anyone else was interested in being able to do the same.

 

BB Friday

Following Brene Brown’s Friday template again!

This week I am: 

Grateful for several big-ticket items crossed off the long-term to-do list and my talented, conscientious husband.

Inspired by the book I just finished, Poison Squad. (Review coming soon.)

Doing for fun reading spooky, seasonal Halloween-oriented fiction and watching episodes of Time Team while I knit.  : ) 

Nine-oh-nine

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As many of you no doubt heard, one of the few B-17 Flying Fortresses still in the air was lost yesterday in an accident in Connecticut. Nine-oh-nine, which was operated by the not-for-profit Collings Foundation crashed at Bradley International Airport after experiencing a problem immediately after takeoff and trying to return to the runway.

Having seen (some of) the Collings Foundations’ planes when they visited the air museum at which I used to work, I was deeply saddened to hear about this loss. Not only because these planes are so rare but because events like this inevitably lead to calls to take such planes out of the air entirely.

What people who make those calls fail to understand is the magnitude of the loss this represents to the public. You cannot imagine the way that WWII plane engines, like those B-17s and B-24s, vibrate straight down to your bones until you’ve stood on the tarmac beside one as it spools up. No Hollywood movie or trip to a modern airport will give you that chill-down-your-spine, overwhelmed feeling, or make it even remotely possible to imagine what our grandparents experienced when they served in a war in which the skies were full of those massive flying fortresses.

The vast majority of aviation museums cannot ever hope to get their hands on working planes of historic value, let alone afford the upkeep and protection they need. Organizations like the Collings Foundation enable Americans across the country to experience what they would otherwise never have an opportunity to. I won’t get into a proper rant here, but I sincerely hope that this latest tragic loss will not lead to any others.

Medicaid

sign-304093_1280A friend passed this article on to me and I wanted to post it here because it’s information everyone should have: Medicaid’s Dark Secret.

The title is sensationalist, but the information is sound. The basic gist is this: Medicaid contains an estate recovery clause which can result in the children, spouses, and care-givers of Medicaid recipients losing their homes (often with little warning) after the recipient dies.

This is preventable but only if people plan and take action before signing up for or taking advantage of Medicaid benefits.

Transferring deeds, setting up trusts, and getting the right legal counsel to understand one’s options and take the best steps can feel stressful or expensive in the moment, but they stand to save families enormous grief and loss later. I have at least two friends actively dealing with the mess of this nonsense, and I wouldn’t wish their headaches on anyone (except the people in government who let this be A Thing).

So please pass the word along and encourage anyone you know who may be approaching retirement, considering Medicaid/Medicare for acute or chronic health conditions, or who has parents in either of those boats to seek good legal advice before proceeding to make sure they protect their assets and the people they love – because the government absolutely won’t.

Kamelot Concert

 

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photo credit

 

The last time we went to a concert at The Complex, we discovered that two other bands we liked were on the slate to perform there in the Fall. The friends we went with last time were excited as well, so this past Thursday the four of us went out to dinner and then headed over to the Kamelot concert.

Our friends told us they had been really looking forward to it, and it was amusing to be the “fun” friends since we tend to joke about being old and anti-social.

The business major in me was baffled that no one was selling earplugs at the venue. You must have earplugs if you want to be able to hear the next day, and inevitably some attendees will forget them, but there wasn’t anywhere to buy them! We joked that I should bring a bunch next time and sell them for $1/pair and make a killing, lol.

The Complex is interesting in that it has two different performance spaces. To the right of the entryway is a “little” space and the to the left is a huge one. We’d all assumed the concert would be on the huge side and were rather surprised to discover that it wasn’t. Fortunately, we were comfortable near the back where the crowd wasn’t overly squishy.

First up in rotation was Battle Beast. We all agreed that the lead singer had impressive amounts of energy – she did cardio up on stage for a solid hour! Second in line was Sonata Arctica. While I generally enjoy their music, I didn’t feel that the concert did them justice. Something was off about the sound modulation, making it hard to properly hear and appreciate the lead singer’s voice around the music.

Last up was tour-headliner Kamelot. I thought I’d recognize more of their songs, but either I’d confused them for someone else or they focused primarily on newer things I didn’t know. In either case, the music was unfamiliar but good. We had a very good time all around, then headed home to crash because it was still a school night!