Wednesday, November 29, 2023

What's Up Wednesday - November 2023

This post may contain affiliate links - using affiliate links from A Fresh Cup of Coffee helps continue the coffee breaks and conversation. 

On the last Wednesday of each month, Shaeffer & Shay host a link-up to talk a bit about what's going on in our worlds - food, entertainment, plans, fashion, work, whatever - in the What's Up Wednesday linky party. 

What We're Eating This Week . . . We're not eating leftovers since Thanksgiving was at our kids' place! So far this week we've had chicken shawarma (bought it ready to cook!) and beef florentine pinwheels. Tonight we'll eat out, and on the weekend I will be making a chocolate cheesecake to celebrate my husband's birthday.

What I'm Reminiscing About . . . It's now been a year since we moved here. A whole year. I can't decide whether it feels like that year went quickly, or that it seems like a lot longer that we've been here. I have started feeling a bit down as that one year mark was approaching, because the townhouse still feels kind of temporary, and I don't feel like I've accomplished a whole lot. It's home, but I'm not sure I really belong yet. I'm not unhappy, but I don't know that I'm really happy either . . . I'm fine. On the plus side, I really do love our church and my chorus, and I like my job. I'm starting to make a few friends. 

What I'm Loving . . . holiday music and movies and decorations! We haven't got our tree up yet, and really haven't started on our own Christmas decorating, but it makes me happy to see the lights and trees as we drive. Every day a few more houses have lights up and a tree in the window. Kind of building the anticipation!

What We've Been Up To . . . I started the month in Louisville, at the Sweet Adelines International Convention & Competition. My chorus, Scioto Valley, placed seventh in the world! An exciting kickoff to November!

Months ago we decided we should make sure to visit every one of the Metro Parks in the Columbus area. We haven't checked them all off the list, because we tend to keep going back to the ones close to us. Makes sense, right? They sure look different in the fall!

For Thanksgiving, we went back to Maryland and spent the weekend with our kids. Went out for dinner with Kennady and Dan, played games and had fun at home with the whole gang, attended church, and even had the chance to connect with a few of our friends. We especially loved the time with our adorable granddaughter!

Suitcase racing with Uncle Cer

Mastering a smartphone with Daddy

Refereeing card games with Mommy

Meaghan and Landon prepared a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, and I think everyone pitched in to help.

Our traditional family dinner 'action shot'

What I'm Dreading . . . paying bills. I think I've finally got our dental insurance sorted out, but it barely covers any of the dental work I've had done so far this year, and I still have another procedure and a crown that I'll have to pay for. The sucky part is that not only does it not count towards my deductible, but it probably won't be quite enough to be a deduction on our taxes either. Speaking of dreading things . . . taxes, ugh. Too soon to think about that!

What I'm Working On . . . memorizing the Christmas music for the chorus performances coming up. There are a couple of tricky spots for me that I need to get right, and in general feel more confident that I'm singing the right thing! Most of it comes pretty easily since they are all well-known carols and holidays songs, but barbershop arrangements with a little different timing and harmony.

What I'm Excited About . . . all the Christmas and holiday things! Some fun holiday things to do and see around here, and another trip back to Maryland to celebrate Christmas with the kids! And I'm even kind of excited about Christmas shopping, which really isn't my thing.

What I'm Watching/Reading . . . I've been watching The Santa Clauses with hubby. So fun! We watched some hockey and a couple of holiday movies over the Thanksgiving weekend. I wanted to watch Babette's Feast but we didn't get a chance.

I've been trying, with limited success, to pick up my pace in my reading. The end of the year is approaching, and I'd like to check a couple more boxes in my reading challenges!

For all the details on what I'm reading, see my book blog at Just A Second.

I'm currently working on:

Kingdom of Love by Tracie Peterson
The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright

Recently completed:

Garden of the Midnights by Hannah Linder

Up next:

Voice of the Ancient by Connilyn Cossette
Queen of Exiles by Vanessa Riley
Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

What I'm Listening To . . . switching over to my holiday playlists on Spotify, and occasionally the RadioU Christmas channel! I love all the Christmas music! Everything . . . Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Amy Grant, Michael W Smith, Pentatonix, Crowder, August Burns Red, Barenaked Ladies . . . and especially Trans-Siberian Orchestra. 

What I'm Wearing . . . my kids teased me last weekend that all my clothes are barbershop themed now! They're not wrong, at least when it comes to new clothes! I got a couple of t-shirts at Convention and I really like them so yes, I did wear those last week. And with holiday performances coming up, I decided I'd better get a couple of really Christmas-y tops for those, since I don't have even one solid red sweater or blouse. I ordered a couple things that I'll need to pick up tomorrow, if I have time, and I hope they'll fit. 

We've also started wearing our winter coats, gloves, hats, and scarves! It was more than a bit brisk the last couple days and I definitely saw a few snowflakes in the air!

What I'm Doing This Weekend . . . On Friday evening I will be at Franklin Park Conservatory with Scioto Valley Chorus, singing a Christmas concert. On Saturday we're going as a family to a Cookie Walk in a nearby town. Doesn't that sound fun? I've never been before, but it's kind of like a Trunk or Treat but for Christmas! SVC will be caroling there as well. My husband's birthday was a couple of days ago, but we're going to celebrate with our Ohio family on the weekend. 

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month . . . all the Christmas things!

What Else Is New . . . I decided I wanted to bring our cat Merida to live with us in Ohio, and I think I've made significant progress in convincing everyone this is a good idea. So I'm hoping that we'll bring her back with us at Christmas. It annoys me that we have to pay an additional monthly fee with our rent in addition to the extra security deposit but I understand it. 


A hodgepodge is a jumble or assortment of things that might not appear to belong together. Joyce at From This Side of the Pond hosts a weekly link-up called Wednesday Hodgepodge that is a little collection of questions for bloggers to answer just for fun and to get to know each other. I always look forward to chatting with friends over coffee, so pour a cup of your favorite and let's visit for a few minutes!

Please appreciate that my nails match my coffee cup!

Here are this week's questions - and my answers - for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. Does anybody really know what day it is? Last week we skipped the Hodgepodge and I just assumed this week would find us in December, but nope. Still November. Do you wear a watch? Use a paper calendar or strictly electronic? What's your favorite hour of the day? Why?

November DID seem super long because of Thanksgiving being so early this year, so I get it. I don't wear a watch any more. I mostly rely on my Google Calendar to keep track of everything. If it's not on my Google Calendar, it's not real. But I do have paper calendars that I use as well - a wall calendar with organizer pockets by my desk to help me remember birthdays and bills, and a paper calendar in my kitchen to help me keep track of meal plans.

My favorite hour of the day is probably 7AM. On weekdays anyway. Start of a new day, and usually nothing has gone wrong yet! That first hour or so has been my coffee and alone time for decades (feels wierd to say that, like I'm in my nineties or something!) and I like to keep that continuity of a low-key and grounded start to the day.

2. Tell us something about how you celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday.
We went to Maryland and stayed with the kids. The weather was decent so we deep fried the turkey, and had our dinner early enough so that Kennady and Dan could go do Thanksgiving dinner with his family as well. Our celebration was low-key and homey this year.


3. What's a sound you hate to hear?

 Feedback in a monitor. Brakes squealing, especially behind me when I'm driving!

4. Where do you not mind waiting?

 Hmm. In bed? Actually, as long as I'm prepared and have something to do while I wait, I don't mind waiting at an airport or doctor's office or anywhere else. And since I'm usually expecting to have a wait at those places, I come prepared with a book or something else to help me pass the time.

5. I really wish ___________________
I really wish that my whole family lived closer together. Like all within an hour would be awesome. And while I'm wishing, I also wish I had a million dollars!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I had forgotten that my phone has a night photo setting. I rediscovered it last week and captured this photo of the moon and Jupiter on a frosty night.


What's up in your world this week? Leave a comment and let me know!

From this Side of the Pond

And this post is linked at What's Up Wednesday for November, with Sheaffer & Shay.

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Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat


  1. I hope your cat will get to come home with you...maybe that would help it to feel more like home. Love your cup and your nails. Makes me think about getting mine done (never have before). We'll see. Love that you are part of a choral group.
    What part do you sing? My hubby used to be a music minister and I really miss singing in the choir. Our church is too small to have a choir. Hope you have a really great day.

    1. I've never had a real manicure - my nails are almost always ColorStreet. In Scioto Valley Chorus, which is women's barbershop, I sing bass. When I sang in a mixed voice SATB choir, I sang alto. Before we moved, we led on of the two worship teams at church and I shared the singing duties with my daughter. I do play keyboard on the worship team at our church here sometimes, but I sure miss the level of involvement and doing music with my family! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. My family is about 3 hours away, which isn't too bad. We didn't see them for Thanksgiving but hoping for after Xmas.

    1. Three hours is not too bad - I'd take three hours as an improvment from the six hours we have separating us from family. Sorry you weren't able to be with family for Thanksgiving; and I hope you're able to be together soon! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. Happy Hodgepodge... I picked 7 AM too. :-)
    It was fun to see your family.
    xx oo

    1. I never pictured myself as a morning person, but I sure love my 7 AM time! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  4. Wow it seems hard to believe it's been a year already; but when you think of how far you've come having found a church you like, making some friends, finding a job you enjoy. I hope your kitty enjoys living in Ohio. I pretty much still only use my paper calendar.. but often use my cell phone to actually know the date! I feel the same way about waiting and I try to always have a book on hand just in case I have to wait.

    1. Yes I do try to stay focused more on the positives of what's happened during this first year here! I love having my cell phone calendar, but it NEVER syncs everything up so I know I can't rely solely on it! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. I would love to have both of my girls within an hour's drive. It's unlikely, but one can dream, right? Sounds like you had a nice Thanksgiving. We didn't take a picture of the table and at the end of the evening my daughter said, 'mom we didn't take a picture of us in the kitchen with our pretty mimosas'. So she and I went in the kitchen and took a picture after the fact. I spent very little time on my phone and am so aware lately of how much time I generally spend there, often doing necessary things, but I'd like to change that behavior. Have a nice weekend!

    1. Yes, having my people within an hour from me is a wonderful dream! As silly as our "action shot" family dinner photo tradition is, I'm glad we do it because it's a fun way to remember having everyone together and a little more meaningful than just a photo of the turkey and stuffing! LOL Thanks for stopping by and commenting, and for hosting the Hodgepodge - I sure enjoy it!

  6. I'm not sure if I said this before or not, but congratulations to your group! That is an amazing accomplishment! Your granddaughter is adorable, and I hope you get to bring your cat home with you. As far as dental bills, we pay for something called Delta Dental...$80 a year for both of us. Mike has had several crowns replaced this year, and I think the discount was about 1/3 or we paid 1/3 the normal price. You might check with your dentist if they honor it. We also get discounted cleanings and other dental work.

    I think we are actually going to go the Franklin Conservatory in the coming weeks. I wanted to go to the Biltmore, but Mike thought that might be pushing it. So, the Conservatory it shall be.

    I hope you have a marvelous weekend!

    1. I am very seriously considering whether something like Delta might be more bang for our dental buck than the insurance. And probably less hassle! I wish we could visit the Biltmore, but that will be for another time! The Franklin Conservatory is really beautiful during the holidays - hope you enjoy your visit when you go! Too bad it won't be tomorrow when I'm there! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  7. I think I would feel the same way if I moved...not sure i belong yet. I feel like making friends as an adult is so much harder. I've had to do that in the last years, and I admit it's not easy and I haven't even moved. I love the same things. I love those movies.

    I hadn't thought of it, but I guess November did seem a bit longer. Lol. I enjoyed your answers this week and the extras.

    1. Making friends as an adult, especially at the empty nest age, is really hard! Much harder than I expected. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


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