Monday, October 24, 2016

What's Happenin'

Thinking: About what I need to do to get ready for our "farm crop" in two weeks. I may be a little overzealous in what I think I can accomplish. It's hard to spend all my time scrapbooking when the rockers on the front porch call for some uninterrupted reading time!

Thankful for: Happy mail!
My sister-in-law, Chris sent me a nice note along with this "My House" seasoning. She was telling me about it on our Oklahoma trip. She says that it's her secret ingredient in many dishes. Still, I need specific instructions. Just saying "you can use it on anything" doesn't really tell me much. I'm not sure what "anything" is. I'm a simple cook.

Cooking: With Hello Fresh, my horizons have been expanded. This week, I made cauliflower mashed potatoes. It was delicious. I would never have thought of mixing the two. Plus I made an applesauce for pork that had thyme, salt and pepper. I would never have thought that putting salt and pepper on apples would taste good---much less the thyme.
This is not exactly cooking, but I'm jazzing up a Lean Cuisine. Makes it a little heartier.
I did the same thing with a pudding cup. It's hard to tell, but this is a little bowl. I put a half banana, the fat free pudding cup, fat free topping and a sprinkle of peanuts. Pretty tasty.

Hoping: That these little cuties--Nathan and Travis--like the Halloween flashlights that I sent. 
Occasionally, I like to send little surprises in the mail. Who doesn't like mail? 


Planning: Our girls trip to New York. I sent the girls a list of possible itineraries. They agreed on a couple, but not all. We may have to separate on one day. They won't like that. We'll see. 

Working: On cleaning out the house. Well, that sounds almost like I've accomplished something. Actually, I've only gotten one box of books from the library. Now I find out that Butch has not been saving boxes. That's going to make it harder to pack up stuff. 

Reading: I finished The Secret Wisdom of the Earth. It was very good. I'd rate it an 8. I've started on Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles. I love JA but really wasn't going to commit to this 6 or 7 book series. I have so many books that I want to read. But, Connie was telling me how good it was that she's flown through 5 of them in about 2 weeks. I may not be able to do all of them in a row as I have my two book club books to read. It was my turn to pick. I chose, Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle and Lilac Girls by Martha Kelly. I have already read Tattoos on the Heart about 4 o4 5 years ago. It is so good---I can't wait to read it again. It's a memoir. The author has such a beautiful way of writing and phrasing things. 
Loving: Farm fresh eggs from my sister, Jennifer. 
It's hard to tell in this picture, but they are tiny. They are the brown ones next to a couple store-bought. They are so cute!
You can really tell the difference by the yolksThe taste is so much better too. I never realized it until a few years ago when we got fresh eggs in our farmer basket. 

Wearing: sweaters and jackets. After a week of record-breaking high temperatures here, we've dipped in to the 40's. Fall has finally arrived!

Watching: I discovered a new show on Netflix. It's called Glitch. It's only 6 episodes long. It's about 6 people who have risen from the dead. They are not zombies or bad--just regular people trying to figure out who they are and what happened to them. It's been pretty interesting so far. Each episode delves in to their past and how they died. A couple have been dead for over a hundred years. I have no idea how it will conclude.

Creating: I stitched this along with the candy corn while I was laid up. I picked it up this week. The frame is a barn wood style. 

Now I just have to decide where to hang it. Maybe the library? I'm running out of wall space!

Bumming: About our choice of candidates in this election. I'm heartsick. Both are morally corrupt. It's a sad state of affairs. I was raised that if you stood behind bad people, you were just as bad! Still, I voted---not for either of them--I just couldn't, but I did my civic duty. Maybe a miracle can happen. I'm praying!
 The line seemed long, but it moved pretty quickly. It took me about a half hour.
I proudly wore my little sticker! Get out there people---but don't go the corrupt route! Let's really stand up and make a huge change! Wouldn't that be something? We could be part of history!

Hearing: Sandy told me about the "Garth" station on my satellite radio. It's awesome! Garth is the d.j. and he plays everything from current country, old country to Otis Redding, Tom Petty and Adele. It's a great mix. Of course, after I told my sister, Jeanne about it---she hates country music---he played 4 old country songs in a row! We were on our way home from our sisters crop. Anyway, even if you don't like country music, give it a try. This might be a good way to ease yourself in to it! The thing I love about country music is that it's storytelling at it's best! 

Appreciating: Having the Kindle app on my phone. It makes waiting in lines go much faster. I used it this week at the phone store and the line for early voting.

Weekending: Heading to D.C. this weekend for a Catholic "thing." 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Who Says They Don't Like Candy Corn?

Well, how about these cuties? I just picked them up this week---6 in all. They turned out so cute.
 I really enjoyed stitching them, but it's the finisher that makes them spectacular! When it comes to
pillows, I pick all of my own fabrics---and love doing it. But when it comes to the littler things I've learned to just trust the finisher. 
 She adds all kinds of little details--like those sparkly ball picks, little spiders, tulle and feathers.

 She uses cute ribbons and trims. She "hand makes" the cording that lines the outside.
Now I just have to figure out where to put them!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Lagniappe Fund

When our girls were growing up, I was fortunate enough to be able to be a "stay at home mom." That doesn't mean I was idle by any means. I was basically a full time volunteer. I loved volunteering because I could still have control over my hours and "being there" for anything the girls needed. I chaired just about every fund raiser and event that needed chairing---too many to count. Between St. Therese in Kansas City and Overbrook here in Nashville, I was a room mom, teacher's aid, ran the health room, was president of the PTA, chaired many sales from popcorn to wrapping paper.  I loved being able to drive on every field trip and getting to know so many other parents. Many of those parents are still my friends today. Which leads me to my next venture...

All three of our daughters went to St. Cecilia Academy. We have always been so happy and proud of the education they received there. We wanted no less for our granddaughters, Jordan and Morgan. In addition to their tuition, we agreed to provide for a couple of other girls who otherwise would not have been able to attend. As school expenses came up for Morgan and Jordan, I often wondered how those other girls afforded the "extras." It really bothered me to think that they might not be able to enjoy trips during "winterim" or afford senior photos, the yearbook or even have a dress for the prom. I had plans to find out, but never did (shame on me). Our tuition commitment came to an end this past June. But when it comes to the Dominican Sisters, your commitment never really ends. They don't let you go! And, you simply cannot say "no" to nuns!

This summer, when Butch and I met with the sisters, I finally asked these questions. What I found is that there are many situations---big and small that come up on a consistent basis. Usually, the teachers or one of the staff members just provides the funds needed or if it's too much, the student just can't participate. That lead me to suggest how we might help. We're calling it "The Lagniappe Fund." Lagniappe means a "little extra for good measure." I didn't want the fund to be anything that would make the recipients feel like it was for "poor" people. My vision for "The Lagniappe Fund" is for every SCA student to be able to enjoy the full experience.
Now, a little background. St. Cecilia Academy is an all girls school---the oldest, private school in Nashville. It was founded in 1860 as a boarding school for some of the confederate officers who wanted a safe place for their daughters during the Civil War. It has  been run continuously by the Dominican sisters ever since. If you want to learn more you can go here.

A couple weeks ago, I met with Sister Catherine Marie and the director of Development to see how we might get this fund off the ground. I asked a lot of questions. I was so happy to learn that the SCA demographics include the highest percentage of minorities of any private school in Nashville---24% of the student population. $770,000 is given each year in the way of financial based scholarships to 36% of the students. Obviously, the school is doing their part. But many of those students cannot afford the "extras." 

That's where we come in. Butch and I have provided the "seed" money for "The Lagniappe Fund." My plan is to keep it fully funded by calling on my friends (don't worry, just you Catholic ones) to help out. It's not going to be a full out fund raising campaign. There are so many needs---from very inexpensive (choir pearls $8.00, senior sweaters and saddle shoes) to larger expenses (laptops and winterim trip fees).*   I will not be asking for "BIG" bucks. The sisters will be providing me with a quarterly list of the expenses. That's when I'll be calling (okay most likely emailing) for help. I will only call on you once a year. I will not be making any decisions regarding who gets what---the faculty knows the need. You and I will  just be helping with the money to make it happen.

So what do you think? Are you with me? I hope so. 

I'm excited! 

*Extra funds needed for: freshman overnight, freshman/senior week, senior/freshman week, choir alterations, festival auditions, athletic practice uniforms, athletic overnight travel, athletic summer camps, art supplies, March for Life, AP fees, calculator, VAP clothes, Leadership Workshops, books, class rings, senior pictures, school uniforms, forensics, Model UN fees, robotics, Mock Trial, Youth Legislation, dresses for prom and winter formal, athletic shoes and laptops. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It's Time

Well after 4 years with my iPhone 5, I was ready to upgrade to the new iPhone 7. It's time. I was concerned about the size because I really loved my 5. I didn't get the gigantic one---the 7 I got is the same size as the smaller 6. Turns out, it didn't take me any time to get used to it. Plus, it helped that I watched about 3 hours of videos to learn about all of the features.
 I decided to retire my old phone and put it next to the really old phone in my scrapbook room.
It's amazing how phones have changed over the years. I really am pretty happy that I've experienced all of the phones in between too. I know that it makes me seem old, but then again, I'm getting there. I used to know all of our phone numbers, but can't remember them anymore. We did get rid of our landline about a year ago. I still use that phone number now and then as it's linked to frequent buyer programs at some stores around here.
And so it's about time I retire the old rolodex too. Stephanie told me that the easiest way to do it would be---that as I use a card, pull it out and enter the information in to my phone. I've started with these two. I'm going to actively start pulling cards every few days until I get them all entered in to my phone. 
Here's my new phone. I love it! I adjusted to the size pretty quickly. I had a few issues with my calendar syncing with my laptop that I had to figure out, but everything is working fine now. The only thing I can't figure out is how to make a song that I have on my phone--my ringer. I hate all of the pre-loaded ones on the phone. I'll just call Apple tech support when I have a little time. I like doing that better than going in to the store.
And of course, I had to have a new Kate Spade case. I do love Kate Spade! You might notice that the old one above is all chipped up. Well, that's 4 years of wear and tear. I like my "stuff" and I keep my "stuff!" But after 4 years, it was time. And I'm happy with that!

Monday, October 17, 2016


Last weekend while I was away at Kentucky Lake for our semi-annual sister's crop, Sandy and family came in town for the Kid Rock Fit Fry and concert. By the time I found out about it, my plans had already been on the calendar for months. Stephanie and Nicky missed them too as they were in New Orleans for the weekend. I sure missed seeing them, but Thanksgiving will be here before you know it.

Still, the family kept me in the loop with photos of their activities over the weekend.
 On Friday, Butch, Greg, Sandy and Elizabeth went geo-caching. Elizabeth had never been to Centennial Park, so that was fun for them.
Some of their geo-caching took them to East Nashville, so they stopped at I Dream of Weenie food truck for hotdogs for lunch. I haven't been there, but it's on my list. I'm happy to know that they do have some seating. 

Friday afternoon, Mindy picked up Victoria and Elizabeth and took them for manicures. Afterwards they went to a hibachi place and then to the movie to see "Storks." They said it was a really cute movie.
On Saturday, the whole family went to Octoberfest in Germantown. Apparently, coordinating that many people was somewhat of a fiasco. They eventually all met up and enjoyed the booths, beer gardens and music. Getting food required long waits in line. Next year, the plan is to eat first before it gets too crowded.
 The weather was perfect for strolling around.

Stephanie and Nicky got home on Saturday night. That meant that Stephanie was able to spend Sunday with the girls before they headed back to school. They went to a pumpkin patch in Franklin and then to lunch.

We just found out today that Mindy and Justin are going to be able to join us at Sandy and Greg's for Thanksgiving. The will be the first time we've all been together since last Christmas. With the young adults school schedules and jobs, our time together is hit or miss. We'll take whatever we can get.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What Could Be Better...

...than meeting one of your favorite authors on a Saturday night? Okay, maybe having a good friend share the experience with you!

I went to Nancy's house early. We were Ubering for the very first time. It's something the "young" people do all the time. We've both Ubered before, but our daughters handled it. Nancy's daughter, Leigh, came over earlier in the day to "walk" Nancy through the process. She handled it like a pro! I was impressed. We Ubered 3 times---from her house to the Midtown Cafe where we had dinner. We Ubered from the restaurant to Rocketown where the event was held and then home again. Each time, it came up that an Uber was a minute away. Unbelievable! Way more fun and easier than the whole expensive parking situation downtown. Remember, now that Butch is retired, I no longer have those free parking perks!---And someone to make sure I get a good "spot" saved just for me! ;(--poor, poor, pitiful me!

Anyway, we had a great time and really enjoyed listening to Jodi Picoult (pronounced "pee KO"---we've heard her speak before, but I didn't remember that).
Part of the ticket fee entitled us to her latest book. This one is about the explosive, racial situation going on today. All of her books address some social, ethical dilemma. She has such a great way of thinking and putting the most unusual situations in to words. She makes you think and immerses you in to every side of an issue.
I have read everything she has written--well except this new one---22 books. They are all so good. You come away with a new appreciation for each situation. In fact, a few years ago, for our family book club, we read Nineteen Minutes about a school shooting. This book was so perfect for a family discussion as every one could relate to the characters. Jodi made you really sympathize with every character in the book.

I was resistant to reading Leaving Time because a good portion of the book was about elephants. I didn't think I would really be interested. It was fabulous! I learned so much about elephants---like---daughter elephants stay with their mothers their whole lives! I wish that were true in real life! It was a great story with a few unexpected twists.

I'd say my all time favorite Jodi Picoult book would have to be My Sisters Keeper.  I was finishing that book on the back patio. I sobbed so hard that Butch came around from the driveway to find out what was going on! The ending to that book is my favorite book ending of ALL the books I've ever read!

And then there's The Pact, House Rules, Plain Truth, The Storyteller, Change of Heart--so many to mention. Just get one and you'll want to read them all.

This is not a spoiler. The new book is about an African American nurse assigned to take care of the baby of a skinhead. When he finds out, he adamantly refuses to have anyone of her "kind" touching his child. The hospital complies with his wishes and the nurse files suit.

As with all of her books, you know there are going to be twists and turns. You cannot anticipate them. Just enjoy the read and be shocked when they hit you!

Thanks, Nancy for a really fun evening! Since there was only football going on at home, there's nothing better I'd rather have been doing!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Home Sweet Home

Wow! I had no idea the mere mention of our thought of moving would cause such a stir! Well, here's the explanation.

We've been talking about whether we should move, or stay for a couple years now. On our Oklahoma trip, we discussed the pros and cons. I said that if we're going to move, we needed to do it now while we're still young and capable enough to do it. OR, we need to just stay and do the necessary home improvements--regardless of the cost.

Reasons to move:
1. We need a new driveway, the front steps need to be re-built, the 4 French doors on the front of the house need re-placing, there is rotted wood that needs replacing, we need two new trees, the garage doors need to be replaced and the garage itself needs a complete overhaul.
2. Our house is energy "IN"efficient. Utility bills are outrageous.
3. We don't know what the guy building behind us plans to do regarding "his" woods that shields our house from his.
4. They are going to widen the road above us which means more traffic, noise and probably a stoplight at the entrance to our neighborhood (that might not be all bad).
5. Moving would be a good chance to really clean out,  re-organize and downsize a bit.

So because of all of these reasons, we decided to start looking at houses. Connie has acted as my realtor by sending me about 30 listings for us to look at. I was pretty excited. I'm pretty picky about what I like. I want something open and bright. I love white and will always choose white painted woodwork over wood. I want white cabinets in the kitchen. I like the clean, fresh look of white. I'm actually sort of fanatical about it. So, I was really particular about what I wanted to look at. I narrowed it down to 9 houses. Butch and I drove around and looked at all of them. Due to various circumstances---location, surrounding neighborhood, lack of yard, too hilly or odd looking houses, we narrowed it down to just 2 houses we wanted to see. We weren't even sure about those.

We looked at the two houses yesterday and then drove by another that is soon to come on the market.
House #1--had a serious drainage problem in the backyard and, although it sits back on the lot, it's on a busy road. House #2--great porch and we loved the main level, but too many steep steps to the upper level and basement, plus it had a fall away lot in the back which made the backyard awkward and not easily usable. Plus, I wasn't crazy about the location---too far away from family and friends.

The new house coming on the market was in a terrible location and the surrounding neighborhood was old and run-down. So we nixed that.

As we were driving home, I mentioned that neither of the dining rooms would would have been big enough for our furniture. When we moved in to our current house 21 years ago, there were 3 things I wanted: 1. an open foyer, 2. 9ft ceilings (we have 10 ft. downstairs and 9ft. upstairs) and 3. A BIG dining room--which we have. I said that I would hate to think we were settling at this stage in our lives. We actually already have the perfect house for us.

Reasons to stay:
1. We love our location--we're central to everything and close to family and friends.
2. We love our house. Sure there's a few cosmetic things we want to do inside but we've already re-done most of it. We have just the master bath, powder room and kitchen left.
3. We're still enjoying the pool.
4. We love our yard, gardens and especially the front porch.
5. Moving would be such a huge hassle!

So here's where we're at. We're going to be open to whatever comes on the market for the next month or two. After the first of the year, we're going to get started on the improvements here and just stay.

Here are a few pictures of our house as it is right now.
The pool. I've already re-designed the beds around the pool and will implement that plan in the spring.
Butch and I have happy hour on the front porch occasionally if it's not too hot. We both enjoy reading out there.
 Don't let these pictures fool you.
 The "kids" do not maintain the pool! We have a pool company who takes care of it for us.
 Elizabeth and Victoria enjoying the pool.
 We have a really big driveway. You can see one of the bad spots here.
 We do enjoy the wildlife in our backyard.
 The turkeys nest in the trees in our side yard and drink out of the mini bird bath.
 The porch at night.

You can't tell from this picture, but the steps need to be re-built. The bricks are crumbling and many are loose. We renovated the porches and columns about 5 years ago.
 More pool fun.
We have a nice big yard and a lot of people to maintain it--the lawn guy, the garden girls, the sprinkler man and the boxwood guy. It takes a lot, but we want it to look good.

So now you know our plan. At least that's what it is for now!