All posts by cupcakesandmachetes

About cupcakesandmachetes

I read stuff, I bake stuff, I rant about stuff. Book in one hand, cupcake in the other, machete for a mind. I find myself endlessly entertaining. You might too. Or you might not, but you'd be lying to yourself.

June 2022

2022 has mostly been a dumpster fire for Mr. C&M and myself. June was less so and we could really use for things to turn around. Fingers crossed, the second half of the year, proves much better than the first.

Plants update:

My pepper seeds sprouted awhile back. Unfortunately, all the habaneros were knocked over in a storm and lost. The hot pepper mix (red, jalapenos and others that I forget) are going strong after being transplanted. My cherry tomatoes have tiny little tomatoes starting and the rosemary and basil are plentiful despite a squirrel attack. (The squirrel is an assumption. Something broke some stalks.)

Dogs:

Samus went for her first ice cream walk yesterday. There is a cute little shop at the end of our road, and she enjoyed the ice cream. She did not enjoy the other people as much. She’s not a fan of children after being carried around like a football by them in the house she came from.

The second picture is not a new addition to the house but a visitor at work. Her name is Brie and she’s the best lil corgi on the planet. One of my coworkers is dog sitting via Rover.com and has had Brie for almost 2 weeks. Her owner travels a lot for work and that kind of upheaval is difficult on a dog when they’re shipped from place to place while the owner is gone. (She was with one dog sitter that ditched her, to her owner’s friend’s house for one night and then onto coworker.) Brie has bonded very heavily with my coworker. To the point that her owner did come home for two days, and she didn’t care much about his reappearance. However, when he dropped her back off to my coworker, she lost her mind jumping and doing zoomies. She’s always welcome at the pharmacy though. She’s great for morale and the customers love her too.

Reading:

Assassin’s Quest Review

Current read:

I’ve tried to spend as much time as possible outside. The heat and humidity have made it difficult but, every day that is even a little bit cooler, I’m out there soaking it in. I’m hoping for a weekend trip up to my dad’s neck of the woods sometime this summer. He needs some help on his hunting cabin and I just want to go where I can’t hear vehicles for the day.

Do you have any plans for the Fourth of July weekend?

Assassin’s Quest (Farseer Trilogy #3) – Book Review

Published Date: November 5, 2002

Publishing Co.: Spectra

Pages: 757

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Ah, here we go. Another classic me. I claimed in my review of book two that I would be running out to buy the third book had I not just picked up several books from the library. The implication being that I would buy it after I finished them. That was 2017. Five years later, not only am I finishing the Assassin’s Quest, I’m finishing my quest to finish this trilogy.

Warning: Spoilers abound.

Fitz has been resurrected from the dead. The world besides Chade and Burrich, believes him dead by King Regal. His nefarious uncle who tortured him mercilessly in his dungeons. He’s not quite himself but what is the correct way to come back to life after narrowly escaping death?

First, Fitz must heal mentally and physically before he even grasps the concept of seeking revenge or searching out the true king, if he still lives. He does this in a cabin with his wolf, Nighteyes, and the help of Burrich bringing him supplies. From there, he travels to Tradeford to bring his revenge down upon Regal. Thworted, his efforts change to finding Verity deep in the Mountain Kingdom after being summoned to him by Verity’s Skill. Why has the true king not returned? His people suffer, both from the raiders on the coast and the complacent, lazy king on the throne. Now, Fitz must trek halfway across the world to find answers.

I love the slow burn of Hobb’s writing. It genuinely felt like I was along for Fitz’s entire journey. When I sit back and think about where the story started, to where it ended, it feels like I have read an entire trilogy in one book. We traveled the entire country, visited many people, survived many trials, lost ourselves, found ourselves, and brought legends to life. We starved, we ate until bloated, lost old friends, gained new friends, and fought many battles. It was an amazing adventure.

Hobb has skyrocketed to my favorite authors list.

Happy Place

Welcome to my new happy place folks. Mr. C&M and I were wandering around, checking out state parks and happened across this secluded fellow.

It’s a state park and waterfowl preserve. Certain times of the year, endangered bird species come here to reproduce. No boats allowed and you can only fish during certain months of the year (the ones opposite of breeding season). So, Mr. C&M took up his reel and caught a decent number of perch and sunfish while I wandered around taking pictures of everything under the sun with my fancy camera. (These are phone photos.)

A small herd of deer came down and walked through the water, not caring very much that I was there. A great blue heron flew back and forth across the lake catching his breakfast. Massive bullfrogs called to one another and there were red-winged blackbirds everywhere. The air randomly smelled of wild roses. It was perfect and it’s only 20 minutes from our house. With gas prices being so high, this is probably where you will find us for most of the summer.

For anyone interested, there is a wonderful app called iNaturalist, where you can take pictures of plants and search their database in order to learn what you’re looking at. That is how I learned that this lovely purple flower is called Spiderworts. Not sure what it did to deserve that name but there you have it.

I hope you’re finding peace in your day-to-day. ❤

Pulled

Potted, Planted, Pulled. We have a theme going with titles here. Everything is plant related recently. I hope you’re enjoying it because it’s what I have going on right now.

I’m still plucking away at Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb. It’s 700+ pages and I’m only sitting down to read it once or twice a week.

This past weekend was the last Saturday to go harvest invasive species at the local fen. I went the week before that however a thunderstorm rolled in. It was the day after a tornado hit the town where I grew up, so I wasn’t so trusting that Mother Nature would be gentle even though another volunteer claimed that, “We’re here to help Mother Nature, she will take care of us.” I bailed.

Pretty field, yes? This is the plant we were pulling. Beautiful, but invasive, Dame’s Rocket.

After that, we spent the entire Memorial Day weekend with Mr. and Mrs. Moth at their place. We bowled, we partied, we ate fantastic food, and we had a drunken night in the hot tub. It was exactly what we needed.

When was your last forest adventure and what was your favorite thing that you saw?

Planted

You guys. I am out of control.

I made friends with the owner of a nursery in town. He’s going to supply all my crazy ideas I have brewing. This is probably trouble.

Sunday, I spent several hours weeding, transplanting lilies and planting annuals. I somehow pulled a muscle in my neck doing it and am now living on ibuprofen.

As you can see, I went with a black, purple and yellow color scheme. (Our house is pale yellow.) this year I chose pansies and a new discovery to me, double petunias. I highly dislike petunias but DOUBLE petunias are cool and apparently hail from Victorian times. SOLD.

I also purchased four sweet basil plants and a rosemary plant.

My zinnias are sprouting but no sign of the pepper plants yet.

We also have a new plan for a part of our backyard that doesn’t grow much grass.

SEND HELP.

What is your favorite flower?

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! ❤