Sunday, November 30, 2008

'Tis the Season!

Yep, it is---and I'm ready!  Always with Thanksgiving, it's the start and this year was no different.  

Sandy and family arrived on Tuesday night.  Before even saying "hello" or a hug and kiss, Victoria (age 7) was quick to report that her dad had been stopped for speeding.  Greg only got a warning, but would rather have settled for the ticket if he could have avoided Victoria checking up on his speed for the next 4 hours!

Sandy and I picked Mindy up from the airport at 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday and went straight to the mall for their annual boot shopping.  Somewhere along the line, Butch told the girls they could buy new boots over the Thanksgiving holiday and voila' a new tradition was born.  It's like that in our family---do something once and it becomes a tradition.  Steph wasn't able to be with us as some people have to work, but we didn't forget her.

We met Butch for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory which got off to a rocky start.  We were to meet at 11:45.  Sandy and Mindy were waiting for Butch.  I met up with them at 11:50, so we decided to go in.  We were just being seated when Butch called and wanted to know where we were.  Somehow, we missed each other and he was already seated---and mad that we were late! There really was no explaining that we weren't late.  

Then I made the unfortunate mistake to ask about Mindy's car (which has been in the shop for nearly a month).  Come to find out, what was only a battery problem at the beginning, turned out to be burned wires and other expensive stuff because Mindy and/or her friends hooked it up wrong to "jump" it.  Right away, Mindy said we were ruining her lunch---and you don't mess with Mindy's food!!

We ended up having a nice lunch after which Sandy remarked,  "looks like dad is crabby too when he's hungry".  That's about the closest we've ever come to seeing Butch actually hungry!!

We played poker---I staked Mitchell for his first time.  After about an hour, I took out the $2.00 I started him with.  He had about $5.00 left and immediately quit.  It was okay to gamble when he thought it was with MY money.

Dinner at the club was fabulous---boiled shrimp, broiled scallops, prime rib along with turkey and all the trimmings.  Always fun with the family.

Then it was home to watch those Titans!  I guess we've officially become one of those families who plan their social lives around the football game.  The first time I ever encountered this was in the late 80's when I invited Jack and Connie to go to dinner.  She turned me down---Connie style---apologetically---due to a UT game.  Since I did not grow up in a house where anyone watched football,  I had never heard of planning your social life around football games.  

Anyway, back to the family.  We played more games---put this one on your Christmas list---Loaded Questions.  Sandy brought it last Christmas.  It is an absolute riot.  We had friends over this summer to play. One of the questions was, "What is something you say all the time"?  Jack still swears that he says "hi ya' kids, hi ya' " everyday at the office. They must think he's strange! We sure did---or---old---as he said it was from some kids show when he was little.  No one had ever heard of it. Jack is entertainment all by himself! He's still trying to live down Charades from 20 years ago!

One of my favorite lines from Loaded Questions this time was---in response to a question that Steph decided NOT to ask---"Who would you NOT want to see naked"?  Victoria was quick to say "grandpa"!  Truly, it's a laugh a minute and great for a crowd. Great game for kids too---aside from the naked question, they are all pretty tame.

Mindy had to leave on Friday morning which put a bit of a damper on our fun.  Butch, Steph, Mindy and I went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast before taking her to the airport.  The Lapps' were with the Lapps's.  Steph and I went to the movies and saw Australia (very good, but long---2 hrs. 40 min.) and then The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (also very good, but a downer). I like to stay gone on Black Friday so that my "ladies" who decorate the outside and stairwell can come.  I wouldn't be caught dead in the stores---unless it is 4 a.m., but no one wants to go with me that early!!  

We did our decorating yesterday.  It just about kills me every year to do it all in one day, but I just want to get it done.  Butch and I got along great---nary an argument---even with the Christmas music on all day. 

After church, Butch finished up trimming the live tree today while I wrapped some presents and did laundry.  Butch did have to come to Steph's rescue as she had a clogged sink.  She had a murder mystery/dinner party last night.  It was a huge success.  Her menu:
stuffed artichokes, pumpkin soup, bourbon pecan pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes, hot fruit (Connie's recipe) asparagus and chocolate mousse for dessert.  The clogged sink---who tries to put artichoke leaves down the garbage disposal anyway?  

Butch is back to maintaining two houses.  That's okay, he's pretty good at it.  And he fixed our hoosier mailbox.

I guess that about wraps it up.  Say a prayer that my oven part is delivered this week!  I've missed my oven---well at least the clock!  You never realize how much you use something until you don't have it!  And now I'm stressed about that d**n cookie exchange that sounded like such a good idea a few weeks ago before I had oven problems and might have to bake at Steph's when everybody knows it's better to cook in your own kitchen where you know where everything is!

Happy decorating!!  I'll post some family photos later.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

BIG Problems!

So, what's about the worst thing that can happen right before Thanksgiving?  My oven has gone out.  Yes, that's right, my new (20 months), Bosch is toast.  How can an oven burn up?  The service tech (who looked to be all of 12 years old) said, "Oh, I would never use the self-clean feature on an oven".  What?  Why in the heck have it then? That's about the best feature on the oven. He then says, "if you have to use the self clean feature, then NEVER use it on the top oven.  Think about it, heat rises.  What's up here---all the controls and the clock".  Yeah, right, I was about ready to "clock" him.  

I had set the self clean feature on Friday night.  On Saturday, I noticed that the clock was not working.  When I turned it on, it didn't seem to be heating up---but how can you really tell with the noise from that stupid fan that's supposed to keep the air circulating so it never really seems hot anyway.  I called the appliance store where I bought it for a service call.  The prognosis is that the clock is out, the motherboard is burnt up and he won't know about the thermostats until he pulls the entire thing out and replaces the aforementioned parts.  It gets better.  The parts are on backorder until Friday.  IF the parts are available then (and that's a BIG IF---get it, big IF), then they won't ship until then.  It will be late next week before they will arrive.  The cost, you ask?  We won't even go there.  Let's just say, I'm basically buying one of the f*****g ovens over again.  Do I have any other choice?  I think not.  The only good thing is that we're going to the club for Thanksgiving dinner.  I'll just re-arrange the other meals to make sure nothing has to be baked.  

I'll be up a creek next week if the parts don't come.  I've planned a "cookie exchange" for December 10.  It will be my luck that I'll be the only participant that couldn't actually bake the cookies! 

I guess it could be worse.  Two years ago, our tv went out the day before Thanksgiving.  But God smiled on me that day.  I found someone that actually was able to come out and fix it on Wednesday afternoon (and I only discovered the problem at 2 p.m.). To not be able to watch football on turkey day would be a tragedy.  Way worse than not being able to cook.

Come to think about it, God smiled on me this year too.  How else do you explain the fact that I made dinner reservations at the club a few weeks ago?

Learn from me---only use your bottom oven since that's the only one you can clean and let your fingers do the walking to dial your favorite restaurant. Oh, an NEVER plan anything that requires baking.

To be continued.....

Monday, November 17, 2008

November Surprise!

Wow, 3 posts in less than 24 hours!  A record for me.  The truth is that I forgot to add this---too cool.  I discovered this jackmanii clematis with this little, lone bloom in the garden.  Excitedly, I told the girls I had a surprise for them and took them outside.  All they said was "great, grammy", in a dull, bored kind of voice.  I guess the thrill is gone!


8 pt. Buck!

No, I don't mean Butch!!  This morning at breakfast, we saw an 8 point buck in our backyard.  We've been seeing a lot more deer lately, so I think they've taken up residence where the turkeys used to live---a small patch of woods on the edge of our backyard.  I guess I can add them to the critters eating my garden.  Great!  Now, if I could only get them to eat squirrels!  When I mentioned this to Butch (of course I was kidding), he said, "Barb, deer are vegetarians"!  Seriously? Sometimes, I think he might really think I'm an idiot!

The turkeys---don't know if I've ever mentioned them, but we've had a family of about 20 or so since last spring.  They are gone now---I guess it's getting a little too close to Thanksgiving for their comfort!  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Star Sighting

We went to the "Rain" concert last night.  Rain is a group formed in 1982 to pay tribute to the Beatles.  It was awesome!  Their sound was unbelievable.  They followed the Beatles from their early years.  When I'm at a concert, there is no way I can sit still!  I was on my feet a few times.  I did actually see Butch's head slightly nodding a couple times.  He had the girls laughing this morning by making fun of how I acted!  He said he can enjoy a concert without arm waving, dancing and screaming.  Go see it.  I couldn't sit still during Mama Mia either.  

Oh, the star sighting---Martina McBride was in the row in front of us about 10 seats to our left.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Beware of Scams!

I heard the saddest story this weekend.  There was a lady sitting behind me that asked me how old I was.  At these scrapbook retreats, there are women of all ages.  I had my iPod and everyone around was asking me to turn it up.  Pam and I had young girls (30 somethings) all around us. They all liked my music and decided that we must be pretty cool to listen to Gwen Stefani, Crowded House and Boyz II Men along with some of the older classics (Footloose, Aerosmith) and assorted country.  

Anyway, back to the lady who asked how old I was because of the music (she was 47, but Pam and both thought she looked older than us).  She told us about what has just happened to her this week that put quite a damper on her weekend.  I felt so sorry for her.  

She and her minister husband have just re-financed their house to pay off some bills.  He doesn't make much, so they decided to take advantage of the lower interest rates.  They also had some car from 1980 that her husband had restored.  They put it on Craig's list for $7500. and got a buyer immediately.  He sent them a check right away.  When they received it, the check was made out for $11,500.  He called the following day saying that his secretary had inadvertently included what he was going to have to pay the shipper in the check and could she wire him $4,000 to avoid all the bank "holds" etc. so he could proceed with the deal. Of course his check to her was still on "hold" at her bank.  But, since she had the re-finance money in her account, she sent the $4,000, but told the buyer that she couldn't release the car until his check cleared.  The email came back.  

She said that then she had a sick feeling and realized that they'd been scammed.  They have absolutely no recourse as the check to her came through a UPS place, so there's no mail fraud involved.  Of course, the scam artist never wanted the car to begin with.  It's just so sad that there are people out there that think they have a right to your money.  Ooops, didn't mean to get political.

Great Weekend

Pam and I went on our annual fall scrapbook retreat at the Barren River State Park in Glasgow, KY.  We've been doing this for about 4 or 5 years now---always great fun.

On the way, we stopped at a huge antique mall.  I got several really neat things.  A few of my finds:  

Vintage typewriter (you know, the kind we all learned on---not electric---the finger nail breakers).  It's really cool and blue to boot.  I bought myself a really neat pink one on eBay a while back.  Our day group decided this year that we were going to have one of those gift exchanges where you bring just one gift and draw numbers.  We decided on vintage items for our scrapbook rooms.  Knowing how much they envy my pink Royal, they will flip for this one.

Old scale---bought this for another scrapbooker friend.  She doesn't read my blog, so she won't know.  

Then, my best bargain---but here's the story before I get to that.  Awhile back, I found an old scale with a label "My Old Kentucky Home" manufactured in Louisville, KY.  Susan Dawkins is from Louisville (another friend), so I picked up the scale for her.  Paid $25.00 for it, got it home, loved it, decided to keep it.  Feeling guilty, I started checking eBay and finally found another last week.  Paid $8.50 plus $7.85 for a little over 16 bucks.  I just finished helping her organize her scrapbook room, so this will be a perfect addition.  Anyway, while at the antique mall, we saw the exact same scale for $89.00!!!  I seriously doubt it's worth that, but surely somewhere in between.  Feeling really good about that.

I also picked up a full S&H green stamp book for $4.00 and about 10 vintage photographs to add to my collection. My limit is $1.00 each for those---the professional type, not just old snapshots---unless they're cool.  I'm calling them my adopted family. Ever since I started scrapbooking, I keep remembering all the photos that I sent to Goodwill of Grandma Pierson's (my adopted grandmother).  I felt bad at the time for getting rid of them, but couldn't see what I would do with those.  Now I'd give anything to have them back.  There were some beautiful ones.  Now, collecting these old pictures is sort of my little way to pay honor to all those folks whose photos have wound up in an antique shop because no one in the family knows who they are.  Sad, really.  That's why I scrapbook!

Lastly, I picked up some little cute bottles---more junk to put on a shelf.  

I need a bigger room.  There.  I've said it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Concert

Well, Steph pretty much said it all about the New Kids on the Block concert.  But there are a few things I need to add.  As I was waving my light sticks, the 30-something gal behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I'd stop waving my light sticks as she wanted to take some pictures.  I lowered them immediately and then got a little "mad".  I was thinking, "what the heck, I paid $85.00 for my ticket too"!  Then I quickly got ahold of myself and thought "for crying out loud Barb, you're 56 years old---what do you think you're in your 40's"?  Anyway, I did wave my light sticks again, but I moved to the aisle seat as Connie was sitting down holding a sleeping Analise.  At one point, I leaned down and said "looks like you are enjoying this as much this time as you did the last"!  

When the "Kids" were performing on the mini stage, we were only 10 ft. away on our side.  I didn't make eye contact, but they did make eye contact with my light sticks!  Our group was one of the few that had them.  Amanda surprised us with them---great idea.  When the "Kids" left the stage, they were slapping hands---that's when Donnie "got" me!!  I raised my hand high and pointed to it to brag to the "young uns".  

The concert was high energy and really great.  I didn't need those back-up dancers---too distracting.  And I was impressed that I could stand pretty much the whole time.  I do believe I would actually camp out for tickets again if the opportunity arose!