Wednesday, September 18, 2019

What I Buy Wednesday

I only bought one thing this week.
I got myself the Apple AirPods.

I decided I need them to be able to listen to audio books. I first asked Mindy what she used. She and Justin have something they love, but is more expensive than the Apple ones. Then I talked to Mitchell. He has the AirPods and loves them. Since they were cheaper, I decided to stick with Apple. I'm a loyalist of all things Apple!

But, here's the thing. After buying them, I realize that I do not like listening to audio books. I don't like being read to. I don't like the reader's voice or inflections. I have not liked a single book I've listened to. Somehow, when it's read out loud, the book seems pointless and trite. Even Stephen King's books. I just need to read on my own. So, there's that.

Luckily, Mitchell has introduced me to pod casts. He recommended Hard Core History. I've already enjoyed one while driving to Metropolis for court. I have another picked out for Butch and I on our St. Louis trip this week. Of course I won't need my AirPods for that since we'll be listening in the car.

They will come in handy for walking on the treadmill. Pretty soon, when the temperatures cool down, I'll take them on the road!!

Between podcasts---including some interesting Ted Talks I have on my list and music---the AirPods
will come in handy for sure!

That's it for this week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Travel Tuesday

Okeedokee---here we go!

I had my day in court. It started with me getting up at 4 a.m. I left at 4:30 for the 3 1/2 hour drive to Metropolis, IL. It ended up taking me only 2 hours and 45 minutes (no, I wasn't speeding---just miscalculated). I listened to a podcast recommended by Mitchell---Hardcore History. I picked the one called Painfotainment. It really helped pass the time.

I also talked to Sandy for about an hour. Her being in the Eastern time zone really helps as I can call her at 6 a.m. since it was 7 a.m. her time. Oh, and by the way---there was a lot of traffic that early in the morning. A lot! I couldn't believe it. Unlike the early Sunday morning when I actually got the ticket when there was no traffic whatsoever!

I got to the courthouse an hour and 15 minutes before my time. At 8 a.m. I got off the phone with Sandy. There was no one there which I thought was odd. I walked up to the door only to find a sign that said "this is not an entrance." I walked around to another door. The sign there said, "court has been moved to 515 Market Street." Thank goodness for Siri. It's a little town. I could have walked to the new location.

There was no chance of missing it as when I rounded the corner, there were at least a hundred people in line! OMGosh! I parked down the street at the back of the building. As I walked up a woman told me that you have to leave your phone in the car. As I walked back to the car, I thought, "Oh great! Now I can't read while I'm waiting for my name to be called." After I dropped off the phone and walked back, I realized that I wanted to take a picture of the line. By then, it was growing. I decided not to go back to the car to get my phone, walk back to take the picture and then walk back to the car again. Still, I'm sorry to not have evidence of how many people were there.

I had to walk through a metal detector---which I set off. I was sure it was due to my bracelets---I asked before walking through if I needed to take them off. The guy just sent me on my way. What's the point of having the metal detectors?

When I got downstairs, I was shocked at how many people were already there. ALL of the seats appeared to be taken and the walls were lined with people standing. I found a single seat in the middle of the 4th row. I started counting (my obsessive tendencies require it). My best guess is that there were about 200 people there---8 rows of 15 chairs and another 80 or so standing around.

A guy in military fatigues in the front row, stood up and turned around. He said, "How many of you have a ticket from Officer Baxter?" Just about all of the hands shot up. He then asked,  "Was it mile 34?" Again, most of the hands shot up. Finally, he asked "How many are from out-of-state?" Just about ALL the hands went up. That's when the entire room realized that everyone here had driven from other states to get here.

When court was supposed to begin, a woman got up and said, "If you are here because of a speeding ticket, we have a one time offer for you. If you choose to plead guilty, we'll reduce the ticket to just a speeding ticket rather than speeding in a work zone. Speeding in a work zone is a minimum of $750. If you decide to plead not guilty, you need to wait for the judge. If the judge finds you guilty, this offer is no longer valid. Everyone with a speeding ticket who chooses to plead guilty needs to line up against the left wall. If you choose to plead not guilty, stay seated. Any other tickets line up on the right wall."

OMGosh! Just about the entire room was there for speeding. The line wound all around and out the door and down the hallway. I was about 50 people back, so that wasn't too bad. Of course standing in line for so long, everyone shared their story. One couple was from southern FL and took 3 days getting up here. Others from Texas, Mexico, St. Louis, Michigan and North Carolina. The couple right next to me, a mother and her 16 year old son drove 13 hours from Wisconsin somewhere. Their story was unbelievable. They had driven to TN because her parents were giving their 16 yr. old grandson a car for his birthday. They were driving the car back---him following her. She got pulled over, so the son pulled over too. The officer told the son to go on. She kept saying, "he's my son, he's with me!" The officer kept yelling at them both and the boy didn't know what to do. So the jerk cop gave them BOTH a ticket!

Every single person said there were never any workers in the work zone. In their states, you don't have to slow down unless workers are present. That led everyone to speculate that this was just a trap.  I don't know the laws in TN about that. I actually slowed down. But according to the cop, apparently I was too late.

Anyway, to quicken the pace of this story, I stood in line for about an hour. When it was my turn, I plead guilty, paid my fine and got out of there. As I was heading to the highway, all of a sudden, my heart stopped. There was a cop behind me in an unmarked car that put his lights on. I was like---"what the ....!" I know I was not speeding. I pulled into a car sales lot and the cop went right on by.
After calming down and cleaning out my drawers, I headed home.

It was a crappy way to spend the day. I'm glad it's over. By my best calculation, Metropolis made about 75K in one day. Seems to me that should cover the cost of whatever construction they are doing (but not actually doing).

Oh, and the woman with the 16 year old boy---they were nice enough to dismiss his ticket. At least that was one good outcome for the day. Well, except they still had a 13 hour drive home! She didn't want him to miss any more school.

FACT: They absolutely do not allow anyone to pay online! You have to appear in person.

That's ridiculous. Once you learn you really have no recourse, what makes the difference whether you pay online or not? Oh yeah, they couldn't get court costs out of you! It's all about the money. Always!

Oh and did you know that speeding in a work zone is a misdemeanor? I learned a lot that day. I always say I like to learn. But, not that way!

While you are reading this, we will be on our way back to St. Louis for a family wedding on Friday. Prior to that, we're doing Route 66 from St. Louis to Chicago. You'll hear all about it next week.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Mitchell on Monday

Well, in my mind, I blamed Mitchell for something, so I need to fess up! 

The story starts all the way back on Mother's Day when Mindy gave me some pecan butter along with some preserves from Fortnum and Mason (my favorite store because of the tea room in London). She knew I had never tried anything but regular peanut butter---which I love. 

Peanut butter is a staple in my diet. I'd say I eat peanut butter at least 4-5 times a week. Crunchy, please. For breakfast, I'll have it on toasted grainy bread or an English muffin. Sometimes I'll top it with bananas--but only for breakfast. No jelly at breakfast either. For lunch or dinner I'll either have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread with kettle chips on the side along with a glass of milk, or, if the bread is stale, I'll have two slices toasted with jelly and a glass of milk---but no chips. I'm very particular about my bread. I want it to be really soft. Since we've discovered Sara Lee Butter Bread, it's always soft. And, apparently, I'm really particular about my peanut butter habits. I never really realized that until I'm reporting it here.

Gosh, I really am particular about things. Anyway, you get the idea-- I eat a lot of peanut butter. After having the pecan butter, I decided to try almond butter. Pricey, but I'm worth it---or so I thought! I had it exactly once and really liked it. Then, all of a sudden, it disappeared.

This is where Mitchell comes in. Remember how I keep saying that he EATS SO MUCH? Well, I figured he ate it. And I don't even care about that. He can eat whatever he wants. But an entire jar in less than a week? I looked all around the pantry thinking it had been misplaced. It was gone, so he must have eaten it. 

Last weekend when Mitchell was out-of-town, I don't even know what made me mention it to Butch. He said, "oh, I threw that out. It was gross. All separated and oily." OMGosh! He threw a brand new jar of almond butter out! Oh well, I'll get another jar soon---when I manage to save up some money! Only kidding, it's not that bad. And, I'm still worth it.

So, I owe Mitchell a big apology for jumping to a conclusion that if it's food and it's missing, he must have eaten it. Even if there's been plenty of evidence to corroborate this. 

Oh, and I had the conversation about the dishes he's been leaving upstairs. I just said, "by the way, when you take dishes and glasses upstairs, but sure to bring them back down." He gave me a sheepish grin and said, "I know I'm bad about that!" That boy can melt my heart. I almost said, "oh never mind you darling boy. I'll just go upstairs everyday and carry them down for you." Almost...luckily I didn't! I'm not that crazy! 

Since he's been reminded about the dishes, I have a back-up plan if he "forgets." My girls can attest to this. I'll just inconvenience him. It always worked with Sandy, Stephanie and Mindy (well maybe not Mindy so much. After all, she was my darling "baby!") Some night, I'll call him down for dinner, then say, "Oh gosh, we don't have a plate for you! I guess you'll have to go to your room and get one and then wash and dry it before you can have supper." 

Yeah, that'll do it. 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Family Fun

We try to get together every Friday for "happy hour" and sometimes that includes dinner. But I'd say it averages twice a month---especially in summer with everyone's travel plans. Plus, we get together on the weekend whenever we can to float in the pool and barbecue. We have the occasional dinner out. Then there are Titan's games that give us an excuse to get together now and then. But we don't usually have anything "big" planned.

Mindy came across---what sounded like a fun family activity, so we all were on board. She bought the tickets and the plans were made. We were going to Hotel Indigo for a cajun dinner and dueling pianos.

The arrangements were made the night before. Morgan---who lives downtown was going to meet us there. Mitchell---who works downtown was just going to stay down there and meet us. Butch and I were picking up Nicky and Stephanie at 5 p.m. and then Mindy around 5:15. Plans set. We are a family of planners---nothing is left to chance. We've got it. Organized to the last detail. Always!

Here's how it actually went down. Mitchell came home from work---not much after noon. (I've been teasing him that he's getting paid a lot for a part time job!) We were planning to take the Enclave that would hold 7 of us so I could drive everyone home---we had plenty of room. I told Mitchell that we were leaving the house at 4:40 to get Steph & Nicky. About 3:45, he came down and was messing with his phone. He said that he was picking up Morgan. What? Now the plans are starting to go awry. I questioned him---"why are you taking your car back down? Why is she just not meeting us down there as planned?"

I started firing off the questions. He didn't really have any answers other than she was dropping Walter (her dog) off at a friends. "Oh," I said, "her friend in Bellvue?" He responds, "yeah. She said if I picked her up she'd buy me a drink." I then started asking more questions, "is she planning on spending the night there? Is she coming back here? Or, am I dropping her off at her apartment?"

Mitchell said he didn't know. He just agreed for the free drink. To which I told him that for what he'd waste in gas, he could have paid for his own drink! I told him he didn't do a very good job of getting details. He said, "grammy, don't tell Morgan this, but I don't really care!" That sums up Mitchell right there!!! He's just laid back.

By this time, it's 4 p.m. Butch prompted him to get moving since we were leaving at 4:40---SHARP! The plan was set in stone! Off he went. 4:35 they're not here. 4:40 they're not here. 4:41 they're not here. You get the picture. We were pacing. Butch was starting to "wig." At 4:45 we get a message that they are "almost" here. You know what that means. They had just left!

At 4:50, we walked out to the car. A minute later, Mitchell and Morgan pulled in. Mitchell says, "perfect timing!" I replied, "not really, we were just leaving without you!" Butch was---let's see, how can I put this---TENSE! But at least we were "off!" Until we got behind every slow driver, every driver that was on their cell phone, every driver that would not turn when they had the chance, every driver that went so slow we missed every light and every driver that had no idea where they were going! Typical ride anywhere in Nashville.

Actually, we were only about 5 minutes late getting Steph & Nicky. The "thing" we were going to didn't even start until 6 p.m. But, with downtown traffic and the fact that we had 7 people, we weren't sure whether we'd have a reserved table. We wanted to make sure that we could all sit together.

We needn't have worried. We were the first ones there. One table set for seven was obviously ours!! We went to the bar and had a drink. Butch started to chill after the stressful start to our evening.

After that, it was just pure fun. The food was delicious. Every possible cajun dish you can think of:
barbecued shrimp
salad with green and black olives, tomatoes, eggs, cheese and a cajun style ranch dressing
jambalaya
cajun pasta salad
crawfish ettouffe
maque choux
grilled oysters
seafood gumbo
muffaltta sandwiches
praline bacon
And then the desserts: pralines, bourbon pecan pie, white chocolate bread pudding and bananas foster

There were hardly any people there---about 20 counting us! When the dueling pianos started, we took over the room---dancing, partying and just having fun. At one point, I "made" Stephanie give the piano guy $20 to STOP playing a song!! We had a ball. Here are some pictures to prove it!
 This was in the bar prior to the event. The walls are lined with red and orange books. They are for lending. The manager told us it's all and honor system and they have extra books to replace those that are not returned. She said that rarely happens.
As part of the "deal", we each got 3 green coins for drinks. I only had one of mine since I was the designated driver.
 They offered hurricanes and hand grenades. I really like hand grenades and can't even tell you what's in it. Those got me in trouble years ago when Pam, Anna, Lauren and I went down to New Orleans to meet Mindy for Spring Break. Ahhh, but that's another story.
 I gave one of my drink coins to Butch and the other to Nicky.
 We danced. There was one other lady who danced with us---in fact, she's the one that got us going. Later, one other gal joined us.
 We really loved having the place nearly to ourselves. The guys definitely played to us and our requests. But Butch made the point that it was kind of sad for "Felix and Fingers" as they also work for tips. At least the Eads family did their fair share in that department.
We had such a good time that we're already thinking about the next one. They are doing a Beatles night in about a month. Mindy is in charge of getting all the details. This time we're going to try to convince Sandy and Greg to come in for it.

We closed the place down at 10 p.m. We haven't partied for 4 hours in a long time. In fact, Stephanie, Nicky, Mitchell and Morgan continued the party downtown. I would have liked to join them, but I was the DD and Butch wanted to go home. Same for Mindy because Justin was going to be getting home from work.

This was a great way to spend a Friday night. We all had so much fun. But then, we always do when we're together.

Now, if we can just get the "young ones" to take the timeline a little more seriously!!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Outside

Just thought I'd share a few outside things today. The last picture is going to freak you out. I can barely look at it myself. You've been warned!

 My "everlasting hydrangeas" were gorgeous this year. As beautiful as they are at first, they bloom sporadically throughout the summer. But, never all at once like this. I just love all the shades together.

I already showed the photo from my kitchen sink looking out. Here's the outside view. This is my favorite from all 24 years of living here. I'm going to remember this for next year. Plus, we bought larger plants to begin with and didn't have to wait all summer for them to be lush and full.

 I stepped out of the shower one day and found this guy staring at me! At first I was startled.
 He must have liked what he saw, because he followed me to the sink.

Actually, I was surprised that he did not scare. I got to see him really up close. I hate squirrels. They destroy the garden, dig up flowers, eat bulbs, empty the bird feeders and look exactly like rats with a bushy tail! And we have tons of squirrels.

Stephanie and Nicky invited us over last Sunday for the first Titan's football game. I snapped some shots outside.
 They have a nice covered porch that they fully decorated this year. I love everything about it!
She kept talking about party lights. I never understood what she wanted. Now I get it and I love them! Also, I love fans on porches. When we re-did our front porch, I completely forgot to have one installed. It's too late now. I'll have to wait until the ceiling needs to be re-done--which will probably be never! Besides moving some air, they keep the mosquitoes away. That's the best!

They've added a fire pit rather than a coffee table. This is pretty brilliant since there actually is room to set glasses and a cheese plate!
I just love everything about it. The porch is so pretty and inviting. Now I'm just waiting to be invited! I want to see those party lights at night. It will be fire pit season soon!

And then there's this at Stephanie's. The tree in the foreground---yes, that little dinky one---was planted the exact same time as the full one in the neighbor's yard in the background. They are the exact same trees and were the same size when planted. They get the same amount of sun. Butch and I went over in the spring and fertilized it. It's not much better than it was. It has to be a drainage situation.

Okay, here it comes. I warned you!
Is this freaky or what? This "frake" or "snog" was sighted in my cousin, Chrissy's garden. Obviously it's a snake eating a frog. I'm pretty surprised it got the frog. Eeek! I can't stand to look at it while at the same time, I can't take my eyes off it! I hate it. HATE it!

What an awful note to end on. I can't leave it like this. So here's something else.
Another plant from cuttings. They are so easy to grow in just water. Plus they can tolerate low light. I give them to the girls. When I do a trimming, I get at least two like this.

Okay, so that's a better place to quit.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What I Buy Wednesdays

Last Wednesday--now follow along with me here--Virginia--the mother of our good friend, Jack whose wife is my best friend, Connie, whose daughters Amanda and Malinda were best friends with Sandy and Stephanie---invited me to join her table at the Centennial Club to listen to a guest speaker.

Mary Laura Philpott is a local author and also the host of "Word on Words" on NPT (Nashville Public  Television).
She spoke about her book of essays---I Miss You When I Blink.

She was a funny and interesting speaker. I enjoyed visiting with Virginia's friends. I like old people and always have. Good thing since all of my friends are old now too! Somehow, we don't recognize that in ourselves! Okay, we're not that old!!

Anyway, so what I bought---although it was a couple weeks ago was the book.
I wanted to read it in preparation for the luncheon. Although I enjoyed most of her stories, I didn't find it quite as satisfying as an actual memoir. She has written one other book for children.

You know how I am now about books. I prefer to get them through the library. But, I was not going to be able to get this one in time. So, I bought it. Surely I must have bought some other stuff this week, but nothing comes to mind.

Oh yeah, I did buy my first Christmas present!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Travel Tuesday

So this post is going back to our family vacation. I never got around to posting a couple of my favorite photos.
You may recall that last fall we went to Big Cedar Lodge. It is one of the coolest places we've ever stayed. There are animals everywhere. When we were there, it was cool and rainy, so Butch and Walter did not want to pay the expensive green fees to golf there. So, when our nephew, Greg, wanted to play there, he and Butch were all in. Although it was hotter than hades there, the course was beautiful and they had a great time.
That same day, I kept all the great nieces and nephews for about 5 hours. We had a good time and played fun games, but they wore me out for sure! I didn't take them swimming because I didn't want the responsibility with so many. We ended the day with ice cream. That little one in front was supposed to be a little terror--I'd heard all the stories! She was so good! There was just one little incident when she didn't want to hold my hand in the street. I get it. She'd only met me once before. I just asked her if she'd rather go home or hold my hand. That was an easy choice because Harper didn't want to miss out on the fun. After that, I made everyone take a turn holding my hand. I believe in putting them all in the same boat! Only the big girls moped about it. I love these kids and always get a kick out of spending time with them. They don't see me often, so I want them to know who their Aunt Barb is.
 I've really been successful with these two! Nathan and Travis don't have a problem greeting me and talking to me.
 They are a couple of rough and tumble boys. I'm used to girls, so I can't get over how they don't worry about getting hurt. I do!
 Travis first day of school.
 Nathan first day of school.

 Evie's first day--her backpack is bigger than she is!
Evie with Josie who is still in pre-school.

I get Travis and Nathan's pictures from Facebook---my favorite reason for being on there. Jackie sends me important pictures now and then and always the first day of school. Love that.

I don't have any other travel news. I will next Tuesday since I have to drive to Metropolis, IL to appear in court for my speeding ticket on Thursday. Stay tuned...

Monday, September 9, 2019

Mitchell on Monday

It seems like I have lots of Mitchell stories to tell, so maybe Mondays are a good time for them.

He's having a little milk with his breakfast. I guess if you plan to drink the rest of it, there's no reason to bother with a glass. He is thoughtful like that!
On Monday, we had BLT's for dinner. Mitchell promptly got out the leftover chicken, ranch dressing and pepper jack cheese. He piled it all on. He says we have "dollhouse" food--meaning too small of portions.  Later, for a snack, he made another just like the first! I think I've mentioned that the boy can eat!!
Years ago, I read an essay about how "moms" always take the cracked plate. I notice that whenever I'm setting the table, I always give it to myself. Well that is true. But it could also be that we are running out of dishes! Last Monday, Margarita carried a pile down from upstairs. I couldn't believe it. I might have to have a talk with that boy!

Mitchell was in Clemson for the weekend. It's amazing that by Monday, we still have food left in the refrigerator! That will all change when he gets home today!


Sunday, September 8, 2019

All About Recycling

 I think this would be brilliant if it really was a way to recycle old phone booths.
Still, I thought it was clever.
 One of my favorite casual restaurants is The Picnic. It's sort of like a tearoom without the tea. Well they do have the best tea punch in town, so I guess that counts.
 The decor includes all kinds of old things. Great way to recycle old pots.
 I LOVE all the blue willow and Flo blue incorporated in to The Picnic's decor. Although I love how it's decorated, I go for the food. The BEST chicken salad in town. Really everything is good---muffins, pimento cheese, artichoke soup, cookies...all of it.
 Not exactly recycling, but a Nicoise salad is a great way to use up odds and ends in the refrigerator.
Speaking of recycling, I never knew what happened to it after it's picked up. When Butch and I were going to look at pool tile, we passed this humongous building full of recycles.
I can only imagine the smell. What happens to it now? And that little trash can on the right? What's the point?
Does anyone know a good place to recycle broken glasses? This is the second pair that Connie's "Dash" has gotten ahold of. And he's chewed up ALL of her summer sandals--even the replacements!
On second thought, maybe it's Dash that needs recycling!!