I wasn’t going to do any gardening this year. In Florida we plant in the fall – October-ish and this past fall I was a little busy. However, after school finished, I decided to clean up the garden a little and plant a few things. You can plant into December and maybe even into January, so I did.

The tomatoes, jalapeño and kale are all doing well. I started with everything in pots and was pretty glad I had when the cold snaps hit in January. It is way easier to cover plants in pots near the house than it is to cover the garden. I ended up moving the kale to where the garden should be because it needed more space, more light and more air circulation. To prevent Arthas from eating said kale (yes, he eats kale), I used a bit of gardening fence we had. So far everything is looking really good.

IMG_20180211_105705.jpgWhen I moved the kale, I also cleaned up the herbs and I ended up with a bunch of oregano. I have plenty left in the garden, but I didn’t want to waste what I cut so I decided to dry them. Finding a place to hand the oregano where the pets would not get to it, I wouldn’t forget about it and they would get plenty of air was a little tricky, but I just attached them to the window in the kitchen and two weeks late – fresh dried oregano! It isn’t as pretty as the cat grass and catnip that I have planted, but it is pretty all the same. Arthas and Alinea really like the cat grass.


I was pretty proud of my little efforts and I think they are starting to pay off. We’ve used a few jalapeño and some herbs in some dishes recently and I even had a kale salad with kale from the garden. The tomatoes look fantastic – I’ve cut them back once, but the plant just seems to keep growing, so I’m going to just let it be. I counted four clusters of tomatoes right now, and there are a bunch of flower clusters that give me hope for lots and lots of tomatoes until summer.

The plant that would not die

I can’t remember when I got the Bougainvillea but it was a while ago – either right before or right after Bob and I got married. In the years since I got this plant I have pretty much neglected it, especially in the last few years. It has sat on the back patio and pretty much been ignored and it just hung on barely alive. Before Irma came through we moved it to the corner between the house and the fence – it is a REALLY heavy pot and we figured that it would be safe there. I never moved it back to its spot after Irma, so it sat in that corner, unattended for the last few months. This week, I finally got around to moving it into the sun again, watering it and cutting the dead branches off. I’m hoping that if I actually pay some attention to it, I might be rewarded with pretty peach flowers.

I also moved the mini garden to a spot where it would get a little more sun, and planted some cat grass and catnip for the kitties. I don’t know if they will play in them or not, but they are kind of pretty.

I’m hoping to get the actual garden back in the fall, but for now, I think the pots will work. The pets seem to enjoy the back yard and it is a nice place for Bob and I to have a glass of wine in the evening (weather and bugs permitting).

Vacation at home

Over the last week I’ve had the chance to rest a bit and not think about work or school. Final grades are in and I did well, so now it is just waiting for the diploma and final transcript in the mail. It has been a little weird to not *have* to do anything and I’ve tried to do a little around the house – clean out the fridge and pantry, shred what needs to be shredded, attend to the garden and pets – and just read for fun and relax. It’s been nice.

So the pets … All are good and they are fairly normalized now. I will find Arthas and the kittens on the couch more and more and the kittens are going right up to Arthas and he just sniffs. He is seeking them out every now and then. Tigger is good – he needs his space and quiet time, but he plays with the kittens and curls up with them (or lets them curl up with him) so we know he likes them at least a little.

I’ve also had the chance to cook a little this week. I haven’t ventured too far into experimenting, but it has been nice to think about cooking and have the time (and energy) to make a few things.

If I like my wine, Bob is equally enamored by beer. Oh, he drinks wine with me with dinner, but in the evening, if we are sitting on the couch watching something, he tends to go for beer. He recently (thank you, John) discovered that he can get beer delivered to the house. He is a happy man – with a cat.

Just a few more days off and then it is back to reality. But, I’m enjoying the time while I have it and looking forward to cooking, hanging out with the pets, and maybe looking at a little travel.



I’m done.

Wow, that feels good to say. Grad school is done. I’m waiting on one grade for one paper, but it is all over but waiting for the diploma at this point. I think this is the first time in two years I haven’t *had* to do anything and it feels really good, especially after the last few months. Two classes, full time work and an internship were a lot, but we made it through. The last two months were hard – hence no posts – but it was worth it. I finished the internship at Thanksgiving, finalized the portfolio that week and defended in the beginning of December. The last paper for the last class got turned in this past Sunday, and then it was just work stuff this week – midterms and crazy schedules. But it is over and I have two weeks to find my brain again.

IMG_20171206_190741.jpgArthas is doing well. We’ve had a few run-ins with off leash dogs in the last few months, something that is never fun. The last time it ended with Bob scraped up and Arthas limping, but otherwise ok. I know people think its ok to let their dog’s off leash, but really, it isn’t. Poor Arthas is still scared of other dogs and every encounter where ones just run up to him (and attack in two cases) just makes getting him to accept them that much longer of a process. Happily, he is still just fine with the cats and I can say we are almost totally normalized. The kittens can walk right up to him and Arthas just lets it happen. He isn’t going out of his way to be friends, but he isn’t growling for the most part. He does still have his quirks and we are now on trashcan number five in the efforts to keep him out of the trash. So note – dog proof trashcans really aren’t dog proof if the dog in question is highly motivated and somewhat clever.

IMG_20171214_092849.jpgTigger is still a great big brother to the two new kittens. He is a grumpy old man in the morning and doesn’t like to be played with before breakfast (and he is not shy about letting Alinea know that) but he is generally very sweet with them. Tigger is still my baby at almost eleven years old and he just keeps on keeping on.

IMG_0057.jpgThe kittens are growing. I know, that is what they do, but really, they keep growing. They look like cats now with only the occasional hint of kitten, but they still play like kittens. They love to play with each other – which is great for Arthas and Tigger – but Ella has attached herself to Arthas and Alinea goes to Tigger when they want to just hang out. Oh, they sleep together plenty still, but it is interesting to see the dynamics developing.

IMG_20171217_175451.jpgAs for wine, I am still drinking, tasting and taking notes – I just haven’t had time to write them up and post them. In many cases, I forgot to take pictures of the bottles and the glass. So … I will be updating the wine posts soon. I hope.

I even managed to find a tiny bit of time to plant a few plants in the back yard. The kale did so well last year, we have more and this year we added a jalapeño pepper plant, a black cherry tomato plant, thyme and basil. Amazingly enough, the basil is doing fantastic! (it is usually the one herb I cannot grow.) The garden is in a pot this year as we haven’t reestablished the garden plot after Irma. I think this will work ok though – and I found a new use for wine bottles.

I hope to have more updates soon and if I get super lucky, a new job using the new degree. I know it will take a while, but I can’t wait to start something a little different.

Happy belated Hanukkah and Winter Solstice. Merry Christmas a little early and prost to a wonderful New Year!

Pets and Other Things

I am not 25 any more. I can’t function on three hours of sleep for days on end and still have a spring in my step. Stress wears me down more than it use to and I’m counting the weeks until I finish grad school and can focus on just one thing at a time again.

Bob and I knew this semester would be rough – work full time, intern and class. We were prepared for it, but the reality is that I’m just tired. The kitties and Arthas help, but when I worry about the little ones playing around Arthas’s head, or using him as a launching pad for to the couch (I’m looking at you, Alinea) I do wonder about the wisdom of adding two kittens to the house at this time.  But then they curl up with me or I see Tigger playing with them or cleaning them and I know it was the right decision.  … So … cute pet pictures:

I am also behind on taking notes on wine. I have some that I remembered, but others that I just totally forgot. So .. for the wine I’ve had recently that didn’t make an individual post because I lost track of time …

IMG_20170928_182938.jpgThis Pinotage and Shiraz blend was fantastic. I’ve had wines from Spier before and generally liked them, but this was just amazing. Both Bob and I loved it and found it really easy to drink. I’m a fan of Pinotage in general and was surprised at how good this blend was. And for an $8 bottle of wine, I am definitely picking this up again.

The Furmint was ok – not as good as the bottle we had from Weekly Tasting, but not bad. It has some interesting notes and is easy to drink. As the weather gets cool


er (well, cooler for Florida) I’m sure I will be drinking less and less white, so this was a bit of a last nod to summer.

I’m sure there has been more wine, but I didn’t take pictures of the bottles so I don’t have them to post.

On the food front, it has been Hello Fresh boxes or old stand by meals. Poor Bob has not had any experiments in a while and I miss exploring different combinations. Unfortunately I just don’t have the energy to search for new recipes, shop for all the ingredients and then make a totally new recipe right now. What I have been cooking has been pretty good, but basic:

I will admit the pesto pizza was fantastic – spinach pesto with mozzarella and pecorino cheese.  So good.

Not the most exciting catch-up post ever, but right now I will take it. I am looking forward to January when I can slow down a bit, enjoy the babies more and experiment with food more. I’m looking forward to going to work just for the hours I’m to work and not add many more hours for internships. I’m looking forward to reading something just because I want to read it and not because I’m researching and I’m looking forward to not feeling guilty for taking a morning to myself since there is so much work to do. I am definitely not 25 anymore.


Irma’s Aftermath

We are fine. Let me start with that because that has been the question of the day. We are fine. We are incredibly lucky also, and everyone is ok.

Irma had the potential to do major damage to us, and since we did get hit with (or were very near) the western wall of the eye, the little damage our area sustained is just amazing. Whatever forces of nature merged to slow and weaken Irma worked in our favor and while there were some definite scary moments last night and into this morning, it all came out ok for us. For other parts of Florida, large parts of Florida, they were not so lucky and cleaning up and rebuilding after this (heck, just getting the power back on for many, may people) will take some time.

Bob and I walked around the neighborhood today and the one thing that struck me most of the sheer volume of water that came down over the last 48 hours. Nothing like Houston, but it still boggles the mind. Places where I would walk Jessie (and sometimes walk Arthas) are now rivers. No, seriously – we have retention ponds that are usually ponds – they are now connected and flowing into we aren’t sure where.

There is usually a large path where this starts, with lots of land between the path and the pond on the right. Everything to the left as the camera pans is normally field. The still pictures tell the story just as well, I think:

You are not supposed to have rapids and white caps in a retention pond.

But we are all ok. There is a lot of debris to clean up, and some things to check on. There will be roads flooded for a few days (hopefully less) and friends to check on. I will definitely take what we got, especially since it could have been, and should have been, so much worse. What I hope doesn’t happen is that people don’t take the next storm as seriously. Just because this one weakened and turned does not mean the next one will. The house has never suffered damage until it does; everyone has always been ok until they are not. There is always a first time for everything and if we get lucky again, fantastic. If we don’t, we will be prepared.

Hurricane Prep

A number of people have been asking if we have evacuated as Irma approaches. We are still here and should be ok. We are in a non-evacuation zone and outside of any flood danger (100 year/500 year flood zones we are still outside of). Biggest concerns right now are projectiles as the winds pick up, and losing power. So far we are fine and we have provisions for when the power does fail. 

While I probably would stay put it was just us, I can’t take the kittens to a shelter since they are too young for their rabies shots. Arthas is still scared of other animals and I just can’t see putting Tigger through that. Multiple hours in a car to maybe get out also didn’t sound like a great plan so we stay. We prepared as well as we could and will make the best of the next few days. Right now I just want Irma to come and go so we can see what we need to do and just get back to normal. 

On the upside, it was really pretty out last evening as the clouds came through.