Not Fancy, But Good…

While we ordinarily do an extra fancy dinner at home for celebrations, this is one of those times when it’s less so. We’ve been having quite a bit of steak and decided tonight will be game hens and use some of the leftovers for sides, although I will of course bake the small apple pie as that is Hubby’s favorite. I did get shrimp cocktail though and champagne which we will have while “chefing”. As I’ve mentioned before, Hubby used to do roasted game hens stuffed with the wild and brown rice mix, then switched to grilling years ago. Not sure what flavor profile he’ll go with tonight. It’s usually Italian or southwestern or he may come up with something else. He does grill two because we each have half for this meal, then do the rest for a leftover. For that we pretty much go with either the smothered type similar to what one does for quail with gravy and mirepoix (we prefer the classic onion, carrot and celery) or we go Italian with cacciatore. Both are delicious and just depends on our mood.

Speaking of grill, Father’s Day is all culinary-based this year as his current grill has been rebuilt at least once which means it’s time for a new one. He simply hasn’t decided yet if he wants to stay with the Charbroil brand or go back to the Weber. He has also gotten a pellet-fired pizza oven; something we discussed in the past. I’m not going to try and describe it as he does have it all assembled, but is waiting another few days to actually cook with it. He’s been reading up on it and I will post after we see how it goes. Needless to say, this is another item I won’t be touching.

One of Those Silly Things…..

While I realize discussing  a hot tub as temperatures are now hitting the 90s may seem odd, there is a reason. When we had the hot tub and pool put in, I wasn’t aware the “how” of turning on the hot tub would be so complicated. I mean, you press a button, right? Actually, no. Valves have to be turned in a certain way first. Hubby can of course do it no problem. He’s explained it to me multiple times and even took a photo with the phone so I could see it. The problem is the valves look alike to me. One day I braved it and sure as the world did it wrong and basically drained some of the water out of the hot tub. Naturally, I haven’t tried it since.

It takes about an hour and a half to come up to temperature and so if Hubby doesn’t get home until after 6:30 – common if he has afternoon boat – that means no hot tub until around 8:30 which also means that’s probably the same time as something is on TV to watch. While we can record, and go relax in the hot tub instead, it’s been ages since we’ve done that. There is actually an issue with the hot tub that needs to be repaired. My plan is to talk to the experts to see if we can also retrofit a system to make it simple enough for me to handle. There might not be, or it might be prohibitively expensive. It is certainly worth asking the question though. I would love to be able to do this for myself.

More Snorkel Time……

Although I missed going out in May, by going really early in June, as on the 2d, I might be able to get back out the end of the month, too. And to actually dive. I was on the tail-end of a cold and didn’t think I would be able to clear properly, plus I was still having coughing fits. Conditions were only a little bouncy, so no problem with snorkeling and visibility was decent. On the first site I saw a medium size stingray early and while nothing else big, I did see French and gray angels, plus enough other fish to enjoy and all the coral was looking good. Despite some of the “cherry picking” of data going on to claim the water is hotter than normal, the reefs are still at 77-80 degrees. There are always “hot spots” in different places.

Anyway, on to the second site. I was surprised to not see my bright blue chromis on either dive, but did have a pair of file fish and lots of barracuda. In fact, in one spot there were like fifteen or so, all different sizes, hanging out together. I hadn’t see that in a long time. Quite a few chubs came through and there were plenty of sergeant majors. Parrotfish, of course, even if I didn’t get my favorite of the midnights. More angels and some blue-head wrasses. The divers found a really big green moray, but tucked underneath as usual, so not something I would be able to see. I was in the water for about thirty minutes each time. The wind was up a bit more than predicted until the last several minutes of the boat ride back. Unfortunately, it was bouncy enough for the one woman to get sick and three other individuals to feel queasy. I continue to be grateful to not suffer from that. I also find it puzzling people are willing to put up with it and go out on the boat. On the other hand, appropriate medications do help. In the case of the two friends, they agreed they should have taken a dose the night before as well as the day of.

Scrawled File Fish on Reef

Maybe Time for a Change…..

For those who follow the blog regularly, you know we’ve been through different phases with our back yard. When we first moved in, the intent was always to have the pool and hot tub take up most of the back yard. We kept the side and front yards intact, although they aren’t very large. Our thoughts were we could keep up – that has always included with our regular yard guys and occasional additional help. And yes, we have done a major refresh of the back twice and tinkered with other things at different points. At the moment, we have the three large traveler palms on the side behind the hot tub end of the pool. Also known as fan palms, they do spread out their fronds in a nice fan way. On the other hand, they drop those fronds fairly often or need to be trimmed and they constantly have shoots that take hold and need to be removed. We did have a fourth tree that sprang up removed and Hubby is considering if we should take all of them out.

I have to pay our guy this week and will put in a note to see if a) he can handle that big a job and b) if not, does he know someone who can take care of it. We also have one spot where we have been unsuccessful with growing anything and there might be an issue with the soil. That may turn into the place for a new fountain as the easiest solution. What I haven’t told Hubby is that I’m tired of the right-hand front bed, too. We’re tried different things; none of which I have been really happy with. Now, our hibiscus in another place in front are lovely and the purple whatever they are on the other side can stay as well. They get a little ragged, but are more manageable. Stayed tuned as we figure this out.

Memorial Day Ceremonies….

I’ll be headed out soon to the local cemetery where the VFW leads the annual ceremony of speeches, firing of the 21 gun salute, playing of taps and then volunteers place small American flags on the graves of veterans. I cover the story each year for the paper and there are usually multiple Scout Troops as well as individuals and other organizations that participate. Hubby is teaching – as is usually the case – so I’ll do the best I can with photos. Okay, I managed to let the day slip away from me and didn’t finish this yesterday. The ceremony was nice as usual with a few new participants and some who weren’t able to attend this year.

Looking back though to many years ago – as in 33 – the Memorial Day of 1991 was very special to us and had nothing to do with official ceremonies. As I have mentioned in other posts, we were in Germany when Iraq invaded Kuwait August 1990. The immediate response units such as the 101st and 82d Divisions and associated Air Force, Marine, and Navy units began Operation Desert Shield as decisions were  planned, then made for Desert Storm, the offensive operation. Hubby had to leave first in November (actually on our anniversary) and I followed the first week of December. I’d sent ten-year-old-son back to the States where he stayed initially with his paternal grandparents for Christmas, on to Texas to be with my sister and her family, then back to Maine after school. Texas schools were out in May.

After the “Lightning Fast” war, there were refugee operations and a follow-on force to put together. As logisticians, we of course helped get tens of thousands of troops on their way home first. Therefore it was May before we were scheduled to leave, but didn’t know exactly what day it would be so couldn’t make firm plans to bring son back. We were also exhausted and needed a few days to semi-recover. Since even at that age, he was a seasoned traveler, we agreed he could make his first Transatlantic flight alone. Hubby’s parents lived not quite an hour from Atlanta, so he flew from Maine to Atlanta, stayed with them a couple of days, then we allowed him to pick one of three cities to fly into as they were all direct flights. He chose London. We drove over, spent the night, were reunited with him the following morning and spent another three days there. While it wasn’t an official ceremony, it was certainly a great one.


Guest Blog Post, Overcoming Imposter Syndrome…

Ah, last week was more hectic than I realized. I intended this to post on Friday.

As you know, I occasionally have a guest blogger and today is Candace Sigmon. In engaging with her by email, she has a great background being somewhat, “born to DIY”. She has always loved to tinker, fix, and build, and she has been working on home projects with her dad pretty much ever since she could hold a hammer. She created because she thought it might be fun to share some of what she has learned along the way as well as resources that she finds especially useful.”

While the topic here isn’t exactly DYI, it’s an interesting topic that I see among a number of writers. For those of you who have friends or loved ones who may struggle with self-doubt at times, Candace offers some excellent insight:


Image Freepick

Silencing Self-Doubt: Proven Strategies to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome can be a formidable barrier to achieving our dreams. It stealthily undermines our confidence, leaving us feeling inadequate despite our accomplishments. But fear not, as there are proven methods to overcome this self-doubt and unleash your full potential. Let’s explore some effective strategies to combat imposter syndrome and pave the way for success.

Understand Imposter Syndrome

Recognize that imposter syndrome is a common phenomenon characterized by feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, despite evidence of competence. It often stems from internalized fear of failure or being exposed as a fraud. Understanding that many high-achieving individuals experience imposter syndrome can help normalize these feelings and reduce their impact on your self-esteem. By acknowledging its presence, you can begin to challenge and overcome its influence on your mindset.

Aim for Excellence, Not Perfection

Instead of chasing an unattainable standard of perfection, focus on excellence or progress in each task. Perfectionism fuels imposter syndrome by setting unrealistic expectations and fostering a fear of failure. Embrace the concept of “good enough” and recognize that mistakes are growth opportunities. By shifting your focus from flawless outcomes to continuous improvement, you’ll alleviate the pressure to measure up to impossible standards and cultivate a healthier relationship with success.

Boost Your Confidence Through Education

Returning to school to enhance your skill set can significantly boost your confidence by affirming your capability to learn and adapt. Acquiring new skills not only expands your expertise but also provides a solid foundation for self-assurance in your professional and personal life. The benefits of earning an online degree include the flexibility to balance education with other commitments and the opportunity to connect with a global network of peers and professionals. Notably, enrolling in an MBA degree program can particularly help you deepen your understanding of business, strategy, and management, while also enhancing leadership skills and promoting self-awareness and self-assessment.

Personify Your Imposter Syndrome

Giving a name or persona to your imposter syndrome can help externalize and confront these feelings. It allows you to separate your identity from the negative self-talk and self-doubt associated with imposter syndrome. You might envision your imposter syndrome as a critical colleague or a persistent gremlin. By visualizing this inner critic as an external entity, you can engage in dialogue and challenge its undermining beliefs. This process empowers you to take control of your thoughts and emotions, reclaiming ownership of your narrative.

Replace Negative Self-Talk

Challenge and replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Imposter syndrome often manifests through self-deprecating thoughts and beliefs, such as “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t deserve success.” Combat these harmful narratives by consciously reframing them with affirming statements. Practice self-compassion and acknowledge your accomplishments and strengths. By cultivating a mindset of self-affirmation, you’ll build resilience against imposter syndrome and cultivate a greater sense of self-worth.

Embrace Humility

Acknowledge that no one knows everything, and it’s okay to seek help or clarification when needed. Embracing humility frees you from the pressure of unrealistic expectations and fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth. Recognize that vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength, as it allows you to connect with others authentically. By embracing a humble attitude, you’ll create space for collaboration, innovation, and personal development, ultimately enhancing your confidence and effectiveness.

Seek Support

Don’t suffer in silence. Share your feelings of imposter syndrome with trusted colleagues or mentors. Opening up about your struggles can alleviate the burden of isolation and provide valuable perspective and encouragement. Surround yourself with a supportive network of individuals who uplift and empower you. Lean on their guidance and feedback as you navigate challenges and pursue your goals. Remember, seeking support is not a sign of weakness but a proactive step toward growth and resilience.

Imposter syndrome may lurk in the shadows, but it doesn’t have to define your journey. By implementing these strategies, you can dismantle the barriers holding you back and step into your greatness. Remember, you are capable, deserving, and worthy of success. Embrace your journey with courage and resilience, knowing that you have the power to overcome imposter syndrome and achieve your dreams.

End of Guest Blog

Thank you, Candace.

Pop-Up Card and Dinner……

I received an envelop and a box yesterday and mistakenly thought the envelop was an item I’d ordered sent separate from the items in the box. As Hubby was on his way out this morning – yes, he’s working on Mother’s Day – I opened the box first. In finding everything I ordered inside, I was now puzzled about the envelop. It contained a large, pop-up card that I assume was sent by the kids. Since I am capable of accidentally tearing these things, we will wait until this afternoon when Hubby is back and I’ll let him open it.

An aside before discussing dinner. Weekends are of course busy dive time and thus Hubby rarely has a weekend off. Between my various writing, I also work part of each weekend; it’s just the way things are. Anyway, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we don’t go out for Mother’s Day, etc., because it’s always very crowded and we prefer to make a special dinner at home. I am going out with a friend whom I usually have lunch with on Sunday, but we’re going to the Red Crab where people tend to come in later.

For my special dinners, I tend to go lobster or steak au poivre and steak won out for tonight. Hubby found two lovely filets – we sometimes have to ask the meat guy at the store to cut some for us – and I picked up the heavy cream for the sauce yesterday, some nice asparagus and dessert. I usually go for some kind of cake and decided this time to instead to get chocolate and lemon cream pies. These are from the freezer section. The brand Edwards makes whole pies or you can buy two slices in a box. I’m thawing one slice from each box and I like them both. I’ll let Hubby pick first although I have also offered half a slice of each. Oh, and as usual; one chocolate covered strawberry as garnish. I am conceding to Hubby on the wine as I would normally have bought a Mouton-Cadet or something similar, but we have extra Zinfandel on hand and that’s his favorite. He did already buy a bottle of Chandon for us to have while preparing the meal. Oh, he does the grilling and I do the sauce.


Computer Annoyances….

We are so connected these and dependent on our computers that when we have issues, it makes the time difficult. About two weeks ago, I began having problems with my laptop as it wouldn’t light up the screen properly without going through a very odd procedure. Hubby finally had some time where I could show him and he agreed, “That’s weird”, and had no idea what could be causing it. On the other hand, once I went through this odd procedure it worked just fine. The concern, of course, was it would get worse and no doubt fail at an even more critical time. So, since he was finally going to have few days at home, I took the computer to Best Buy on my way to a luncheon Monday. The pleasant tech listened to me and you could tell she thought I didn’t know what I was saying, but politely said, “Let’s try it”. She also said, “That’s weird.” She thought it might be an update and driver issue and she could take care of it while I waited. Great! Nope, didn’t work which meant the next level techs would have to tackle it. Sigh, maybe as long as three days.

Hubby set me up with his back-up, older laptop and I had backed up my files to an external drive and flash drive. That was awkward as his is set up slightly differently, and of course his computer wasn’t set for my printers. Fortunately I didn’t have to print and they did get mine fixed the following afternoon. Hubby went to get it for me as I knew I wouldn’t really understand what they would explain to me. The problem was a disconnect with the drivers and something I did not in fact quite understand. There was a recommendation from the young lady about a different way to update that I guess I’ll try to remember to do each month.

Interesting TV Show…..

I don’t recall how I ran across the show of “Bar Rescue”; a cable TV show I will provide warnings about if you decide to watch. John Taffer, according to the intro, has saved hundreds of bars during his 30-plus year career and he goes all over the country. The warnings before I explain why I watch it. Taffer is a quintessential New Jersey/New York guy; big and burly, an in-your-face, profanity-laced, stop-lying-to-me-and-making excuses approach. The bars range from bad to appalling and in many cases, family dynamics are involved; a bit heartbreaking at times. Some of the debt racked up is hard to imagine.

Herein lies the fascination for me. Someone involved finally acknowledges they need drastic help – the only kind he provides. Ninety-five percent of the time, at least one individual who is an owner and/or manager is highly resistant and initial intervention is required to even get started. Skipping forward, Taffer brings in a mixologist and chef to analyze the problems and provided solutions. Taffer is extraordinary in his understanding of every aspect of the bar business. For example, in one case in renovating the bar he added five stools. He explained in that market, those five should bring in $5,000 revenue per stool per year. Another example is differentiating between the profit margin of cocktails, draft and bottled beer and types of food items. Matching potential profit to the specific market is where he starts.

The pattern of the show is understandably why he’s there, tearing into everyone for like 45 minutes. One of the things I would like to know, but it’s not the drama part, is how costs are covered for the huge amount of physical renovation that takes place. (Many of the equipment items such as appliances or furniture are donated in exchange for promotion.)

The end results may include changing the name of the bar for re-branding and the renovations are often extensive. The shift in attitude and dynamics are of course key to the show and how initial resistance is overcome. At the very end, there is usually a “Six Weeks Later” text shown. In most cases, sales are up, relationships are repaired, and debt is being lowered. At times, problem employees have been fired; some however, are redeemed. In a few cases, the impression is despite all the efforts, bad habits will probably return.

Bouncy on the Water…..

Getting out to dive on April 30 does still count for making it out in April. The winds were supposed to have come down for waves of 2-3 feet. It didn’t exactly work out that way although when we started back it was getting better. We actually had 3-5 for most of the day. That also meant there was a lot of surge. On the other hand visibility was like 50-60 feet which was nice. I did the first dive and didn’t want to struggle with the ladder again so went in for a bit of snorkeling on the second site.

Anyway, back to the first dive. Nothing big, but plenty of fish to include my queen and gray angels and two rock beauties. Yellowtail snappers were all over the place and my pretty little chromis were around, too. Couple of butterfly fish, a trumpet, a file fish and plenty of parrotfish. There was one that has black, silver, and yellow and I never remember the name. I hadn’t seen one for a while. I was surprised to not find yellow headed jaw fish, but there were some bluehead wrasses. Those have become a bit of a joke because a few months ago a crew was in from England and for some reason they were out filming specifically to get footage of bluehead wrasses. I forgot to ask if anyone ever found out why. We do see them on most dives. So then, coming home I realize that also unlike the weather forecast, the “scattered afternoon showers” were in fact  heavy dark clouds and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it home without going through heavy rain. I did make it with about ten minutes to spare.

Rock Beauties are the smallest of the angel fish we have on our reefs.

Chromis are seen on most of the local reefs.