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My mom shares my love of Lilacs...these are from a bush I have in my backyard. I grew them from 'volunteers' -- plants that come up by themselves -- that I got from her bush years ago when I bought my house.
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It was a dreary, but fun day at the river with my friend yesterday, but the sun did come out as we were walking to a nearby brewery to have a couple drinks!
At the river yesterday with a friend

I got a little yard work done today...and now the rain has come back. I swear, the weather is driving me crazy this last year...and what if the unpredictability gets worse as the climate changes?

I brought some daffodils in before the big freeze arrives again next week --
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In the Buddhist way, I have been watching my monkey mind's thoughts.

I am in-between gigs right now -- I left the last one yesterday, and will start the next one in a few days. I noticed today that my mind has been swirling between tasks I forgot to do for the projects at the last gig (past), and doing laundry, etc. to prepare for the gig starting soon (future).

The Past and Future thoughts are totally stealing my Present! Both types of thoughts are natural, but I would like to settle down and enjoy the Present :)

Hanging out with a friend tomorrow and then dinner first part of next week with another friend, so hopefully that will help!
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I haven't posted much lately because nothing much to report. I'm in the last few days of my current gig, and I've been working harder lately than I have in a while because I'm trying to tie things up. It has been cold and rainy -- typical February. Spring has arrived, as attested to by the daffodils, but it's still dreary weather.

I've also been taking pictures of Amaryllis as they bloom. This is the last one!
Amaryllis 'Sweet Star'

Spent some time with various friends -- eating dinner and drinking mostly -- lawd, my weight has gotten out of control since New Years! Really, just not much to report, lol!
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Shit in their pants,indeed...

If the world should end tonight, I had a crazy classic life...apologies to Janelle Monae...

So glad it's Friday...I needed a break this week! Work was weird. Non work-related discussion today between (in my not so humble opinion crazy-assed conservative and in my not so humble opinion more sensible and realistic people....) Jiminy, when was the last time I had to use the word macaxeira at work???

Glad to have had TANG -- the drink -- yes TANG, lol cocktails with a friend. We also played Shuffleboard, lol!

I had a 'Tang-quila Sunrise' at Tang and Biscuit, lol!

Got my taxes filed.

And got my escrow analysis from the mortgage company -- as expected, payment going up because of local taxes.

And it snowed unexpectedly today.

And it got down to fricken 10F (-12C) this week...wtf!?? And it will be 70F (21C) next week????

And I'm now the project manager on a project at work that I have no skill set for???

And visited the breweries with a friend from out of town the other night...

And tomorrow having coffee with someone I don't know to offer career advice???

Always look at the cards that fall out of the deck!

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With the pending snow and/or ice, I just put on some lentils on to slow cook. No particular recipe -- just dumped lentils, tomatoes, stock, spices and assorted other stuff into the Instapot.

Snow is preferable to ice -- ice often brings power outages. And I've put some water in pitchers in the fridge, and turned up the heat a bit just in case.

The past week was fun -- dinner or drinks with several different friends!

One night, I had dinner with my Portuguese speaking friends -- I had a good time, and for the first time, I understood most of what was said!

Of course, these friends always slow down for me, which helped. But even when they spoke slowly, I often had trouble! But this time, I understood a lot, and they even commented on that! Also, I didn't feel exhausted afterwards. In the past, I often felt exhausted because it was such hard work to follow the conversation. But I did okay this time!
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Family Christmas dinner and gift exchange was very pleasant this year. I'm glad that one sister likes to make dinner and host -- it would be hard each year if we had to decide how to meet! I put in an extra gift card for that sister to thank her for doing Thanksgiving and Christmas every year! I know how much work it is!

In addition to the holidays, I have been getting rid of stuff -- I like the idea of a 'Death Cleaning' -- not that I'm planning on needing to do that just yet, lol! But it's a good idea. So I have instituted a "1 thing in, 1 thing out" rule -- meaning, when I get gifts, I try to find something that I can donate or pitch out.

Yesterday, I took this load to a local thrift store --

And I also put this stuff in my alley. Many times, things in the alley get picked up, so it makes me feel like they are getting used instead of throwing away.

That toilet has been in the basement since 2005 when I replaced it with a newer one in my downstairs bathroom!
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The busiest holiday time for me has finally past! I had a gift exchange this past week, dinner with friends last night and family Christmas is Tuesday. I have a couple more dinners and gift exchanges, but generally I'm chilling out this weekend!

Gawd, I feel fat! I have been eating so much crap -- at home, at work, at friends' houses! I was supposed to visit someone Friday night, but the candy and crap caught up with me!

Today I did some laundry, then walked around the neighborhood to test out the new lens some more and get a spot of exercise --
Christmas Around the Neighborhood

Christmas Around the Neighborhood

Ghost of holidays past in the neighborhood --

I watched a movie today on Netflix -- Thor Ragnarok, which was actually pretty good! I usually only 'kind of' enjoy that series of movies, but I like this one. There were some very nice action scenes, and calling the large portal the 'Devil's Anus' was a humorous touch. And damned if Chris Hemsworth didn't look nice shirtless!

Watching the movie also made me look up the actual Norse tale of Ragnarok - I had remembered it differently (and I was correct in my memory) that almost all the gods died during Ragnarok -- I mean, it is the Doom of the gods / Twilight of the gods / Fate of the gods . But in the movie, Thor, Loki, etc. were still around at the end. And poor Freyr got a bum rap in the movie!

I'm still listening to the Myths and Legends podcast, where the guy gathers up old stories and re-tells them. And there is a Ragnarok episode, which I may go back and re-listen to. My habit is to listen to podcasts every morning as I make my oatmeal! The first "oatmeal making" series I listened do was the fantastic History of Rome podcast, and I have followed up with Myths and Legends.

I started my Amaryllis from last year -- I had them out for the summer and then in the basement for several weeks. The bulbs are nicely green at the top so hopefully they'll bloom nicely for me! I would expect blooms by sometime in February.
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I had my party last night to decorate my Christmas tree ... I had fun! And now I'm in process of cleaning up.

Before I get too involved in the clean-up, I am having my traditional after Tree Trimming breakfast of coffee and deviled eggs, lol - there are always some deviled eggs in the fridge left after the party. I just followed the eggs up with a couple of the delicious bourbon balls that a friend brought to the party!

Glad I had my party last night -- we are getting a lot more snow today than expected. Here's an animated gif pointed out of my back door to the back yard.
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Some friends helped me get my Christmas tree today. It was wrapped up when I bought it -- so it's a guessing game as to how the tree will look once the limbs have relaxed.

The car was COATED in needles!

The previous week has been prep work week, and that will continue this week as well. If you grew up in the South of the US, sweet potato pie is a standard holiday dessert. Sweet, sweet, sweet! And a bit fibrous because, well, sweet potatoes. I made and froze these this past week --

I boil my potatoes -- some folks bake them. You have to cook the potatoes before you can mix them with sugar, butter, evaporated milk and spices for the pie --

Pimento cheese , also now in the freezer -- fresh is better than frozen, but this dish takes to much time to make at the last time. And frozen is not bad --

Yum - fresh tarragon - an ingredient in the pimento cheese!

The 2 weeks before Tree Trimming is actually a bit lonely for me. Because I have so much to do, I turn down most social invitations during this 2 week period. But I do try to plan a few here and there (for example -- last night, wine with friend, tomorrow dinner with another friend...having friends help with the tree...etc) ...

But overall, I feel cooped up in the house cleaning and preparing for the 2 weeks! When the event finally happens, I am totally relieved!
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As the trip fades in memory....I culled through a few more pics, and de-saturated a couple. Here are a couple of pics, one from White Sands, and one from Bisti, that I de-saturated -- pics to match the memories fading.

Desaturated White Sands

Looks like an old graveyard

I think I'm finally back in work mode.

And my annual Christmas party is on my mind. I've been buying food, and cleaning house for it. This coming holiday weekend, I will have 2 different Thanksgiving dinners...also getting ready to make recipes to take with me to those. Lots to do!
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I was looking for an old picture, and instead I found a screen capture from my very first conversation online with my Brazilian friend .... he has helped me a lot with my Portuguese! I sent him this screen capture tonight!

We first met each other in person at Tropical Smoothie café....he had said he liked fruit, and this was the only place I could think of that had fruit smoothies, lol!

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Pleasant time hosting book club the other night! And then....the hurricane came through, really a tropical storm by the time it got here. No damage to the house, although a few of the girls out front were a pushed over sideways.

Power was out for about 27 hours or so.

Back home from work, getting ready to have wine with a friend and then hopefully a good night's sleep!
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It's been a long time since I have ridden a bike in the rain! I haven't been riding much this year -- it's always raining! But I've been missing it a lot!

Today, I was bound and determined to ride just a little, so while I was having breakfast, I checked Accuweather -- "No precipitation for next 120 minutes" -- great! I get dressed, get some air in the tires and a water bottle full...and as I was leaving, I check Accuweather again -- "Rain starting in 15 minutes" What, lol???

"Light" rain it said. LIGHT rain, lol...so I went out, knowing that I might get a bit wet. Well, it rained harder than "light", and I came home sopping wet...I hadn't ridden in the rain in years, so it was sort of fun! I cut the ride short and only rode about 7 miles, but it was nice to be on the bike again!

It's nearly Fall, so I'm getting the last of the veggies from the garden -- tomatoes and bell peppers. The kind of bell pepper that I grow turns brown ("chocolate bell pepper") -- it doesn't change the taste.

I am also prepping 'the girls' with new batteries -- these are my normal Halloween decorations.

There have been a few butterflies in the garden lately - this Red Spotted Purple was out a few days ago --
Red Spotted Purple on Butterfly Bush

Lucky for us, Hurricane Florence was pushed more south for landfall, so we only got cloudy showers from it. "She" is supposed to turn and go northwest, but it seems only more rainy showers for us. Again....we are lucky in that regard. I believe I have a roof leak, based on the unpleasant, musty smell in my bedroom at home, so I have called a roofer to come and inspect the roof.

Book club was enjoyable this past week...I did have an interesting situation that has stuck with me.

When we were talking about the book, there was discussion of which actors and actresses would be best to play the part if there were to be a screen play. Some of the actors and actresses were unfamiliar to me, so I would search for them and find a picture online, then I would show the group to make sure this was the right person.

During the discussion, one of the guys mentioned that he hated that I was doing that because each time I searched for a name and showed the picture, it would bring the conversation to a close...lol....that surprised me. I mean, what else would you do but look up stuff online?

It wasn't a bad comment or situation or anything -- just surprised me that 'googling' wasn't just standard operating procedure when you're having a conversation, lol! Seriously, why would you NOT search, if you don't know who that person is???

Now don't get me wrong...I do sometimes find myself in situations where someone uses a phone or laptop while I'm talking to them, and it's completely frustrating. There is a friend who visits who will get lost in his phone or laptop for minutes at a time...to the detriment of conversation -- and I really find that frustrating. Now that I think of it, maybe I'll turn off my WIFI the next time he does that since I can control my WIFI from my phone, lol...

But that was not this situation at book club - in this case I, in-my-not-so-humble-opinion, was contributing to the conversation, lol!

Speaking of which, I need to begin reading the next book -- I put less time to reading now, and reading is harder to do since I have been trained to 'skim' online...a friend and I had a related discussion the other night. I was finding words in Wikipedia which I considered old and too formal for Wikipedia -- I thought Wiki entries should be written at a 7th - 8th grade level...and some of the words I was finding in articles would NOT be appropriate for that level. He disagreed, but seriously, when was the last time you said or wrote 'virtuosic'??? It's a fine word, but I think our language is changing, and those sorts of 'odd' words slow my reading down.

That reminds me that I need to watch the movie "Idiocracy"...lol

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This morning I went down to the river to pick up a few pawpaws. I think that some of these were not quite ready to harvest, but I mostly picked up the ones that had already fallen - some are very green.

The one to the right above looked like it might actually be past ripe, but when I cut it open, it was pretty tasty! Maybe just a smidge past, but definitely sweet, juicy and good!

The cherry tomatoes in my garden are definitely coming in fast now! I love them, but I'm having trouble eating so many! I wonder if I should make some tomato sauce with these....

Hung out for lunch and the museum with Nh yesterday. It was very pleasant excursion!
Stopped by the VMFA on way back from lunch today.

He snapped a pic of me to get me back for another similar pic I had taken of him a few month ago. I actually like this pic fine, lol!

The mural below is from the other night when Deege and I had dinner. It pretty well describes my emotional state regarding our current politics!
My reaction to current politics.  Mural located in the Fan District.

The Moonlight ride went was last night -- I haven't ridden in a few years, and I think there seems to have been fewer riders the last couple years. This kid was totally hamming it up -- standing up off the seat!
Moonlight Ride

This one I did as a black and white because she has very classic Spanish/Roman/Aquiline features. I thought the b&w looked good --
Moonlight Ride

This one is a sweet pic. It appears to be a dad taking a disabled child on a ride.
Moonlight Ride

There were plenty of lights, but only a few full featured 'costumes' (?) for the bikes!
Moonlight Ride

Today sitting on the porch enjoying the great weather and, of course, sipping a bit of wine.
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Been thinking about the boyfriend thing lately...or maybe I should say I've been thinking about the 'lack of' a boyfriend...One characteristic I have is that I don't mind being alone...I get along fairly well with myself, lol! And I have lots of hobbies that keep me busy, at least during the warm part of the year.

But I've been thinking lately. This past weekend, I took the car in for service, and I took a Lyft home. I got a friend to take me back out to pick up the car, but it would have been nice to have someone at home to do that for me. And when the ice maker on the fridge started leaking a couple of weeks ago, it would have been nice to have someone to commiserate with. And, omg...wouldn't it be nice to have someone to unload the dishwasher -- NOT a favorite task! Wait...is it a boyfriend or a servant I want, lol???

Unfortunately, I really have never been able to 'tolerate' people for very long. If I fit well with someone, I can spend all day with them. But if not, I really don't 'tolerate' them for very long. I have several guys in mind from my past whom I could not tolerate well enough to actually date them for very long.

Aaannd...there's no point to all this rambling -- just thinking aloud.

I got out with the camera fair amount this weekend --
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Very attractive dragonfly!

In this one, the Monarch was flittering around, landing now and again. I think she was laying eggs since she was on a Swamp Milkweek plant! Unfortunately, I have not found any eggs -- maybe the heavy (3 inches in one rain!!) that we had last night washed them off? Or maybe she never found the 'right' spot for laying.
Monarch fluttering around the milkweed today....laying eggs?
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Enjoyed birthday lunch with friends today, and tomorrow the family birthday lunch is happening!

But the rain! I have been so drowsy all day -- lying on the couch watching Netflix! I feel like I have a cabbage for a head!

And the rain is going to keep going and going and going!

I was on the porch last night taking a few moon shots. I do love to look at the Moon! I am also lusting after a longer zoom lens, which would improve my shots!
A Lua brilha em todos
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Fun night last night -- friends came over for one of our 'experimental cocktails nights! This is where we pick a particular alcohol and make several cocktails with that alcohol as one of the ingredients.

This is only the second time we have done this. The first time, we used Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur. For last night, the ingredient was Bénédictine.

All the drinks last night called for being placed into a shaker with ice to be mixed up and then strained into the glasses, so I had previously figured out how many ounces of each ingredient we would need to make drinks for all of us in the shaker. Although there were 5 of us, I had done the calculation using '6', figuring we might need to top off a glass or two.

And then we made a smart decision -- we halved the resulting calculation. That way, we could all have a good taste of a drink, without the fear of being completed wasted by drinking 3 strong cocktails.

It was a fun night -- I snapped a few pics --

These are the drinks we made --
Frisco Sour -

Singapore Sling -

Preakness Cocktail -

Probably not something we would do every weekend -- our poor livers -- but very fun thing to do several times a year!
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A few years ago, I bought a packet of Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry seeds.

I have grown a few plants and saved seeds each year from some of the fruit. Each plant doesn't make enough fruit to really do much with, so this year I planted a few extra plants -- I think there are 5 plants this year, so I'm getting more fruit.

Here are some of the plants --

When the fruit first started coming in, I had a couple small bowls full so I decided to make some jam. The fruit grows in its own wrapper, sort of like a tomatillo --

Peel the wrapper, and the fruit looks a lot like a cherry tomato. The tastes is more like a cross between a tomato and a cherry --

Only had a few; boiling with some water and lemon juice.

Added some sugar after the fruit popped open (and I mashed a bit also)...then let it cool and thicken!

The resulting jam was sweeter than I expected, so I might add a bit more lemon juice next time. I like it -- but you have to be tolerant of pulp and seeds -- which I enjoy, but it's definitely "jam" and not a strained jelly or anything!

Book club was enjoyable tonight, and now I gotta get to bed...after I finish my Old Fashioned night cap :)

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The bokeh in the background reminded me of the halos in religious iconography, so I called this 'Our Lady of Perpetual Vigilance'...
Our Lady of Perpetual Vigilance

This one looked like stained glass --
Stained Glass

And some Dragonfly love --
Dragonflly Love

I have to go to work tomorrow after 5 days off! But until I retire, that's how it is! I didn't do the things I had originally considered doing while I was off, but it was still a nice few days off.

Last night, some friends took me out to dinner for my birthday -- it's a bigger one this year -- a definite (minor) milestone! Nice dinner and nice company!


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"O seguro morreu de velho, mas o desconfiado ainda está vivo." -- "The safe one died of old age, but the suspicious one is still living."