Potted

The quest this summer is maximum living. I’m on a never-ending quest of fun. (Outside of work because I can’t escape that currently.) Photography, dog training, hiking, disc golf, hanging out with friends, volunteering, traveling, etc.

See? That’s quite a bit of stuff planned.

Why not add one more thing to that list?!

While I’ve been planning to transplant some lilies and eventually pop some annuals in for easy color, I wasn’t planning on going gardening crazy. Then, I was at the store for something completely unrelated, I began flicking through their seeds for sale. They were cheap and here we are:

Mr. C&M requested the cherry tomato plants. So, for our first ever veggie garden (I had them when I was little, before I met my husband. My grandparents were big gardeners) we’re attempting to grow tomatoes and a variety of peppers. As food prices continue to grow, I thought it an advantageous venture. We’ll see what happens!

This past weekend was great. We spent a lot of time with friends, but it all started with going out to a super fancy restaurant as a belated birthday gift. It’s been a minute since we had a date night, and the food was beyond amazing. The desserts were absolutely to die for and we’re planning a dessert and drinks night with Mr. and Mrs. Moth sometime in the future.

Behold! My chocolate berry cake. That’s a chocolate cake with a citrus ganache and mixed berry sorbet. In the background, Mr. C&M’s super fancy pineapple upside cake.

What is the best dessert you’ve had recently??

Attacking the Invasion

I have a LOT of plans for the summer. Sometimes, it’s hard to decide which thing to tackle first. I recently came across a volunteer opportunity near my home and decided, yes, I will be doing that. (I would really love to volunteer at an animal shelter but I’m not ready for that yet. It also requires more of a commitment.)

Yesterday, I met up with other volunteers at a local nature preserve. It’s a fen, so it’s partly covered with water. (Which means I had to go out and buy new muck boots.) We got to go to the less traveled part of the preserve and pull-out garlic mustard and dame’s rocket, both of which are invasive species in Michigan. They choke out our natural flora, so it was time for battle. Turns out your girl is a weed whacking warrior. I thought I was slacking but when we all returned to our vehicles, I noticed I had the second fullest bag of the bunch. The only person that beat me was a guy who worked for the conservancy. People kept offering to carry my bag for me since it was so large, but I needed the workout, so I held onto it. Here is the beast:

One of my big missions this summer is to get out in nature more and with this volunteering effort, I will be out there every Saturday until the end of the month. (Aside from next Saturday because I work.) Then, in the fall, we return to harvest honeysuckle.

So, expect lots of nature pictures over the summer friends.

Currently Reading:

Have you began attacking your summer plans yet??

April: A Month of Shenanigans

Most of 2022 has sucked (for me) but April was a great month. We traveled to California, met some online friends and had many, many adventures.

Yesterday, Mr. and Mrs. Moth came to stay the night and get into some real shenanigans with us. We hit the bowling alley in town on the request of Mr. C&M who was randomly craving attempting to bowl again. We did this YEARS ago and he was absolutely awful at it, and I made fun of him a lot. But if you play a lot of Wii Sports and now Switch sports, apparently it CAN translate to getting better at real bowling because we didn’t have to put up the bumpers this time. The Moths hadn’t played in years either (although Mr. Moth had played more recently than any of us) and they declared this was extra good fun and we need to do this on the regular.

We attempted to go to a Mexican restaurant that I had heard really good things about but unfortunately, they were not doing any dine in on the day that we decided to show up. We selected a decent looking burger joint that exceeded our expectations and also had margaritas.

Cranberry Orange and Mixed Berry. Delicious but lacking in alcohol I felt.

After that we went home and played Switch Sports bowling which was just not nearly as exciting as real bowling anymore. 😛 Then, things got really competitive, and we played some Mario Party. Moth’s present game is always on-point, and I received some mighty sweet new swag:

April Reading:

I reviewed Half a War.

4 out of 5 stars – I won this book in a giveaway hosted by Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy. When I couldn’t decide which book I wanted, I asked Tammy to send me one of her favorites and she was kind enough to oblige. I thoroughly enjoyed my ride through space to unravel a murder mystery on the outer edge of the galaxy. I haven’t decided if I will review it or not but here it be. I recommend checking it out.

The end of April also brought my school semester to an end. I did WAY better in Intro to Probability and Statistics than I ever dreamed I would. Math isn’t my best subject. I can do it, but I hate life while I do it. I actually enjoyed this class, so I think that says something about both the teacher and my dedication to learning. I have not had more than 3 weeks off of school at a time since I started back last summer so this round, I’m taking the summer off and continuing in the Fall. I am super excited to have the summer free to do literally whatever I want. (Still have to show up to work though unfortunately.)

What adventures do you have planned for this summer?

Here’s Zelda for your extra dose of cute:

California 2022

FINALLY had an out-of-state vacation. Our last adventure outside of our state was New York in 2019. It felt good to adventure again but an almost 5-hour plane flight is just TOO much. I really don’t know how some people spend 10-20 hours on a plane. I guess I will have to slowly build my tolerance if I ever want to get across the globe.

The original reason we chose this location is because Mr. C&M wanted to hit the biggest (second biggest?) video game fighting competition in the country. Genesis. So really, the location chose us. Genesis decided it would be in San Jose, so that is where we made our plans. We met up with THREE online friends and their significant others, which was really cool. We’ve made a few really great friends online so it’s always exciting to meet up with people, even if some people aren’t as cool as others. The boys all won their first matches and one friend made it all the way to 25th place. (I should mention they were playing Rivals of Aether.)

There were quite a few adventures had, but this just highlights a couple of them.

We spent Easter, exploring a redwoods grove like a bunch of hippies and we loved every second of it. If there was one reason I would move to California, it would be to be a mountain hermit. That forest was magical.

Monday, my 35th birthday, we spent the day in San Francisco until we had to fly out later that night on a redeye. First, we went to Pier 39 and had lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp. Alcatraz hung out in the background while we ate.

After, I FINALLY saw sea lions in person! They smell. They also appear to only sleep or fight and occasionally swim. It was still exciting. I’ve wanted to see them since I was little and did a presentation on them.

We ended the adventures with a trip to the California Academy of Sciences. There was a biodome rainforest, planetarium (we missed that show), and a sweet aquarium.

There is SO much to see and do, just in the little section that we saw of California that I am positive we’ll have to return to check out more. Perhaps we’ll make our way back out there for Genesis next year. We’ll see. Either way, thank you for a fantastic birthday California! ❤

Half a War – Book Review

Published Date: July 16, 2015

Publishing Co.: Harper Voyager

Pages: 513

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This will be an overall review of the entire trilogy.

I read the first book, Half a King, eight years ago. I did not think it had been quite so long when I picked up the second book recently but according to Goodreads, it most certainly had been. I never take the time to reread anything, however, I somehow remembered a great deal of the first book. I think that speaks well of the author.

In the second book, Half a World, our petty crew of misfits is traveling the world, gathering support for the Iron King against the High King. Each book has some characters that you are familiar with and a couple new ones peppered in. In this edition, we’re introduced to Thorn, a young woman desperate to become a fabled warrior like her father, and Brand, a gentle giant doing his best to stand in the light, always. Both of them learn lessons the hard way on their journey making friends for an empire.

In the last book, Half a War, war breaks out. If you can imagine that based on the title. Half a war is fought with swords, the other half with words. Princess Skara’s kingdom has crumbled beneath the armored boot of the High King’s favorite general. She works desperately to keep together an alliance between the scraps of her kingdom, the Iron King and King Grom-gil-Gorm in their war against the rest of the land.

Most of this series feels much like a Viking tale of war however, toward the end, the elf magic is revealed to be something much more familiar to us. I won’t give it away, but it was a very interesting turn of events. Overall, I very much enjoyed my adventures with this motley crew and rated this a solid 4 out of 5 stars across the board.

March 2022 Update

*waves*

I’m still here. Being a semi-functional human being. March was rather BLAH. March BLAHNESS.

Samus is getting used to the only dog life. She misses her brother. How can I tell? When we’re not home, sometimes she sniffs his collar that is hanging within her range and then wanders around, lost. (We have a pet camera that we bought just before Ozzy passed.) Other than those brief periods, she is much enjoying the frequent walks, car rides even if it’s just up to the store and now, she has her own personal luggage for travel! Look at her! So proud to show it off. She’s ready to pack up and head out on some adventures!

Yes, in our grief, we’ve been spending a lot of money on her to make ourselves feel better lol. But seriously, why didn’t I know dog luggage was a thing sooner? Previously, I was jamming as much dog stuff as possible into recyclable bags that liked to tip over and dump its contents on the regular.

Work still leaves much to be desired. I think I’ve just lost all heart for the profession.

Reading was very slow, but I did finish the following;

In early March, I finally finished my reread with Moth of Goblet of Fire. Loved it.

The conclusion to the Fever series. It was a pretty solid ending, but it lacked the usual passion between characters that this series is known for. However, the author suffered serious brain damage in the past couple of years, so I am not holding this against her as it sounds like it was a miracle that an end was written at all.

8 years after I read the first book in this trilogy, I finally got around to the second. (Thanks library!) Somehow, I still remembered a good deal of the characters and the plot. That probably speaks fairly well of the author. I wasn’t in the mood to review it, but I really enjoyed myself.

Currently reading:

I’m impressed with myself, jumping directly into the next book in the series. No 8 year gap this time! Should I feel up to it, I’ll probably do an overall review of the series when I’m finished with this one.

April – I turn 35 and get to go to California. Another year older, another year bolder!

Do you have anything exciting planned for April?

Goodbye, Sweet Boy

Just shy of 2 weeks ago, we had to make the decision to let our sweet boy, Ozzy, go. My heart is broken. This is the reason that I have not posted in almost a month. What we thought to be a pulled muscle from a fall while we were at work, turned out to also be a probable internal tumor that was leaking blood inside.

But I am not here today to focus on what went wrong, as much as I am here to convey a weak attempt at all that he meant to us. He was 13 years old. If you have followed me for a while, you’ll know that he had emergency surgery to save his life 5 months ago. We regret nothing about paying the money to do that because we got 5 more months of him being the happiest boy and making more memories with him. So much snuggling, a few more adventures and lots more pizza crusts.

We adopted Ozzy from the Flint animal shelter when he was 10 weeks old. He has been the joy of our lives ever since.

He was a once in a lifetime dog. He was a ride or die. We read SO many books together over the years. He was down to snuggle or adventure. He traveled like he was born to do it. Every stranger was just someone who didn’t know they loved him yet. (And they ALWAYS loved him once they took the time to meet him.) He was the most empathetic creature I’ve ever met. Sad? He’s got you. Angry? He knows it and gives you your space. Tired? Cuddle time. Excited? Let’s bounce around the house together.

I reread what I’ve wrote and all I can think is, this doesn’t do him justice. He was that amazing. I would look at him and my heart would swell so much that I had to rush over and kiss his forehead and squish his cheeks.

Our lives will always be emptier without him. At the same time, we were so damn lucky that he chose us, and we got to be his parents. We went through so much together in 13 years and created so many wonderful memories that we’re lucky to have.

His sister misses him.

His dad misses him.

I miss him.

I think we all will for every day that we have left on this planet.

Goodbye, sweet boy. We will remember you and miss you and love you. Always.

Coffee & a Chat – Snowpocalypse 2022

It wasn’t quite the snowpocalypse that everyone was making it out to be. At least for us but, it is the most snow we’ve seen in a long time in our area. We got about 8″-10″, probably closer to 10. (I’m bad at estimating and I never watch the local news.) There was plenty of shoveling but we didn’t have to actually leave our property for two days, which was awesome. We watched the snow fall, made chili, played video games and snuggled up with the fur babies in blankets.

Luckily, we never lost power. I prepped like a crazy woman in case we did but we didn’t. Years of growing up in Northern Michigan makes prepping feel like an essential. During Y2K, (I was 13) my dad wasn’t worried about it, but he let me prep to feel better. I filled our root cellar with water, canned food, dog food and make sure the dog was inside when midnight hit. Obviously, nothing happened but I felt better being ready for it.

Apparently, 22 years later, that still makes me feel better.

Instead of getting in a TON of reading, I became absorbed in Pokemon Shield. I am having a great time and my Dreadnaw can kick almost anyone’s ass.

This isn’t actually my character but they look alike.

When I do get a little reading in, I am still working on Goblet of Fire. It’s slow going but I am enjoying it when I do read.

The snowstorm and subsequent roads have made it a quiet return to work, which is a nice change of pace. I still don’t like being a pharmacy tech anymore.

School on the flipside, has been very enjoyable for a change. I’m doing great in Strategic Business Management (easy when you’ve helped run a small business for 10 years) and I have been working hard in Intro to Probability and Statistics. Despite being a math class, I am having fun learning it.

What is making you happy these days??

Coffee & a Chat – Prepping for Chaos

You have been welcomed with a BLEP.

My dad came to visit for a few days. He was going to watch the dogs while we were in California after all, so why not get away from home for a bit since he already had the time off? We worked on a small bathroom project (NO MELANIE IT’S STILL NOT DONE), and then mostly we hung out and watched movies and some TV. Where my dad lives, he doesn’t get cable or internet so he’s been through his movie collection multiple times. It’s funny watching someone’s mind being blown by all the options presented by streaming.

This has mostly been a lazy vacation. Lots of rest and relaxation. A bit of gutting and organizing parts of the house. Plenty of time to get schoolwork done before its due. It’s been great.

AND NOW

They are calling for 12-18 inches of snow to hit us.

To be honest, I am totally okay with this. I welcome the snow chaos. As long as I don’t lose power.

So that means, we’re spending today prepping for the incoming storm. Unfun activities like grocery shopping and hitting the pet store for food for the animals as well. Gotta bust out all the winter gear because there is going to be a lot of shoveling in our future.

It’s funny because a few months ago Mr. C&M and I agreed that we would like to be snowed in for a week. We’re not getting a full week but I will take the couple of days before returning to work.

Hot cocoa, coffee, soup, books, puzzles, video games, locked and loaded.

Are you getting hit with the storm? If so, what do you plan to do during it?

Vacation Incoming!

We were supposed to be running off to California in a few days however Covid-19 had other plans and the gaming competition we were supposed to go to has been postponed until April, right around my birthday.

Despite that, we’re still taking the time off because work sucks and we need time to get our lives back under some form of control.

Usually, my vacation post is to mention that I will be MIA for a little bit, but I actually think I will try to blog more while I’m off. I haven’t posted in almost 10 days because the workload for school has been heavier this semester but I’m actually enjoying the classes so I’m not pulling my hair out. Yet, anyway.

I’m currently working on rereading The Goblet of Fire with Ms. Moth for our annual Harry Potter reread. By annual, I mean we read about 1 book in the series a year but it’s usually around this time.

For now, I leave you with my snow boy doing snow boy things. ❤