Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's in My Closet---as Promised

These are my jackets. To the right are what's left of my shoes. I'm over wearing uncomfortable shoes just for beauty's sake. If they aren't comfortable, they are gone.

Here ya' go. A few photos of my closet. I do have one thing over Butch---mine is color co-ordinated. I do have junk lying on the floor during the week--especially if I'm going to wear it again---why hang it up? Mostly my "hangin' around the house" clothes and several pairs of slippers are on the floor. Have I ever mentioned how much I love my slippers? Not perfect like his, but I'm happy with it! Notice the all white hangers? No wires for me! Oh and my stuff all hangs in the same direction too. 

The best idea that I've had that has really worked well for me---I keep a shopping bag in the closet. When I try something on and don't like it for whatever reason, it goes in the bag. When the bag is full, I give it to Margarita. Much better than continually trying on the same things over and over again. Let's face it, if it doesn't fit, don't torture yourself!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What's in Your Closet?

I've often complained about the fact that Butch thinks nothing of "junking" up the bathroom just so he can keep his closet perfect. I finally decided to offer proof! There's  no doubt about it, he has the neatest closet this side of the Mississippi! Every Monday, I take all the "crap" he has laying around the bathroom and shove it in his closet. He HATES that. Of course, for the longest time, he thought Margarita was doing it. I'm ashamed to say that I let her take the fall! But, sincerely, why should I have to look at his "junk" just so he has a perfect closet---that NO one sees?

All items of clothing are hung in the same direction with like things together.

He's definitely set if there's a nuclear fallout. He has the rain ponchos all set. Add the power bars and a few bottles of water and I think he can survive at least a month in his closet. Of course, the window could be a problem. I'm sure it's not air-tight! 

I'd have to say, when it comes to survival, his closet is a close second to his car.  Ahhh, but that's another photo shoot!

I'll share my closet soon. Definitely cuter than his!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I've Sunk to an all Time Low!

Or maybe Butch is rubbing (literally) off on me!

You know all of those perfume flyers you get in the mail at this time of year? Well, I've been able to try a new scent everyday by opening them one at a time and rubbing them all over my wrists and neck. Really works!

So if you are on a tight budget this year, you can give that. It's like receiving a dozen different perfumes for Christmas---at, well, "$0.00" the cost!!

You can thank me later....
The Queen of last minute gifts!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Now We're Even

This was to be my baking day---3 different cookies, party mix, 2 cheese balls, roast beef for sandwiches. Some for the family this week and some for the Titan's tailgate tomorrow. I'm enjoying the process---holiday music on the iPod and a glass of wine. Weeeellllll, Connie called about noon to say that she was dropping off the petit fours I ordered. She doesn't arrive and doesn't arrive. Finally, I get a call from her that she and Jack had been in an accident at the entrance to our neighborhood. Her exact words, "Barb, we've been in an accident at the entrance to your neighborhood. I'm hurt, but the petit fours are okay." I'm like---"I'm on the way!" I slip into some shoes and run out the door with no coat, glasses or cell phone---and it's coooolllld in Nashville today---38 degrees at that time.

I get to the car and Connie's bleeding all over. I look around for something to sop up the blood. I notice her gloves, but decide not to ruin those. I check the trunk and find a golf towel. I told her to apply pressure. She says, "and I really liked this outfit" to which I said, "don't worry, you can buy another at Costco." It's a joke that she finds a lot of her clothes there. But she laments, "no, this came from Ann Taylor!" I say f*** the outfit! Anyway, the bleeding stops so I get a look at the injury. She definitely was going to need stitches---I guessed about 4 or 5 (I'll find out tomorrow if I was right). Both she and Jack had their seatbelts on when they were rear-ended. I think she hit her head on the garage door opener. The police, fire department and rescue truck arrive. They started asking all the questions, then loaded Connie on a stretcher with a neck brace. Jack was out of the car, so they put a neck brace on him and put him in the ambulance too. Later, Connie told me that she was wondering if the man they put in with her was the man that had caused the accident. She didn't want to look at him or talk to him. The paramedics were questioning him. He said his name was John. Then they asked his last name---when he said Potter, she said, "Jack" and only then looked over to find out it was her own husband. From there, she started to correct every answer he gave the paramedics. The paramedic told Jack that that was the reason men get married---so their wives can correct them all the time!

I did overhear Connie say that she was 60. The paramedics kept repeating 60 yr. old female. I jumped in to correct that---almost 61!! Anyway, the ambulance left and I was sticking around to move the car and get all of their personal belongings. The cops started asking me all kinds of information---date of birth, driver's license info, auto insurance info, make and model---finally, I just told him that I'm completely ignorant about cars. I was just there to get my petit fours and move the car to my house. 

It took almost 2 hours before I was able to leave---I was completely frozen. Some nice man came up and "loaned" me a coat for about a half hour. I thought we were about done, so I gave it back to him and then spent another hour freezing. Why didn't I just go home and get my coat, you ask? They told me I couldn't leave. The crappiest thing---after all the emergency vehicles left, there was one cop left to write up the report. He got cold, so SAT in his warm car and had the rest of us---there were 4 cars involved---stand outside his car while he wrote. He would roll down his window if he wanted to ask one of us something. What a jerk!

When I finally got home---at 2, I got my coat and Butch and I went to the hospital. When I saw Connie, I told her that now we're even for the time last year when I asked her to pick up my mail when I was out of town. One of the days, she found about 15 huge boxes on my front porch that she had to move around to the garage. She has not let me forget that! 

I ask you, who made the bigger sacrifice? Moving a few boxes, or "cookie interuptus" (you've heard of coitus interuptus---same thing, but cookies).

Oh, and tonight, I am so sore ALL over. I finally figured out it's from tensing up and shivering for 2 hours! Feels like I've been in a wreck!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Things I get Myself Into!

Last weekend, I was feeling kind of sorry for Steph. You know, the single mom, working full time and running the girls all over tarnation. Then to top that off, she had to give up her Saturday to help a friend move---between meeting Butch to get a Christmas tree, Morgan's basketball game and Jordan's Winter Formal preparations. Since I was completely finished with all of my decorating, shopping and wrapping, I offered to help her on Sunday. I had a 7 a.m. hair appointment and went over straight from there---arriving about 9:30. She doesn't have much, so I knew it wouldn't take long. Seeing her meager holiday collection, I sent her to Walgreen's to get some garland for her stairs. 

While we worked, she told me about her Thanksgiving dinner she hosted with friends. Each person brought a part of the meal. She did the turkey. The whole thing turned out to be somewhat of a nightmare. The girl bringing the appetizers came an hour late. Another friend preparing the soup came straight from the grocery store and then began cooking rather than having done it ahead and just heating it up. And Steph's turkey was---well, how shall I put this---"white"!  She cooked it in the crock pot, so of course, it didn't brown. Admittedly, she is not a cook.

Here's the part where I open my big fat mouth. I said, "Well Steph, what you need to do is prepare the entire meal and just have your friends "pitch in" on the cost. I can give you an easy, yet impressive menu that even you can handle. In fact, I'll help you so that you can learn how to prepare it all." Did I really say that? Big mistake!

I finished doing what I could in the way of decorating, but of course, had visions of what could be.

I went home and raided my Christmas closet for ribbon, greenery, flowers and discarded decorations. I discovered a tub of nutcrackers that I didn't even remember still having. 

Then I put together her Easy Dinner Party Menu for 8:
Spinach Balls
Bourbon pecan pork tenderloin
Mashed sweet and white potatoes
Fruit casserole
Sister Shubert rolls
Fudge pie with peppermint ice cream

I even went so far as to send her the grocery list and recipes with the menu. 

She responded with "Mom, this all looks really good. How about you come over at 5:30 on Friday night---the party starts at 7." I'm like---"what the heck? I just assumed a WORKING WOMAN would plan a party on a Saturday night. I thought we'd get everything ready in the morning (everyone knows I only work in the morning!). What if I get an invitation for Friday night? Unlikely, but still...." So, I take a deep breath and agree. I did tell her that we needed to get together this weekend to make the spinach balls in advance and put them in the freezer.

Now, back to the Christmas decorating. I picked the girls up from school on Monday. When we got to their house, I spent about an hour finishing up the decorating. Steph was very grateful and excited when she got home. She called to thank me and I reminded her that this was not going to be an annual thing. I don't really like doing it and didn't want her to expect it.

My week progresses---full of fun---it's the holidays. On Friday afternoon, Steph calls me and tells me that her dinner party has now grown to 16! OhMyGosh!!! Now I'm freaking out. I leave for New York on Monday with Butch. I don't get home until Wednesday night where I go straight from the airport to Connie's annual ornament exchange. Steph will be there too. 

Thursday is my bridge club luncheon and party for which I do everything, centerpieces, table favors, and prizes. I've got that all ready to go, but the party takes up the whole day. That night is the school Christmas Mass and party and then it's Friday---day of the party. It's not even my party and I'm completely stressed about getting everything done. I told her that she'd have to take a half day off work and I can't get there until 4. 

I sent her an alternate menu that would be even easier and lend itself to a large group. She didn't want to change the menu---still having visions of a fancy "sit-down" meal. Soooo, when she came over today to make the spinach balls, my first words were, "you've just made this so much harder on yourself (and me---although I didn't say that part). I don't even do sit down dinners for 16!" At which time she chose to inform me that now we're up to 18!!! Double everything---including time! (Then I remembered---but didn't tell her---that I actually served this exact meal for a sit-down dinner for Mindy and 29 of her closest friends before her Winter Formal senior year---I had tables set up all over).

Anyway, I went over the entire menu with her. Discussed the timeline, cookware, serving utensils, bowls, dishes, napkins, centerpieces, glasses, candles, silverware, salt and pepper shakers---every aspect of the evening. Then she hauled it all home! Yep, that's right, she borrowed everything from here. I told her that there were a couple of rules if she borrowed my stuff. She can't just hit me with it when I drop the girls off and say, "oh mom, here's your stuff, take it home." She has to haul it all back. And when she does, she can't just dump it in the house---everything had to be put back and hauled where it belongs. I do have everything under the sun for entertaining.

I'm looking forward to my trip to New York tomorrow. It will be a nice break. I have my itinerary all planned out. After dropping my luggage at the hotel, I'm going shopping at Macy's. I just love that store---just feels like Christmas there. Butch will be working. Monday night, we're seeing "Avenue Q" off-Broadway. Monday is the "off" day for theater. I've already seen "Avenue Q" but Butch hasn't. It's "fab." 

On Tuesday, I'm going to the New York Botanical Garden Conservatory. I've never been there, but I'm dreaming that it will be gorgeous for Christmas. After, I'm going to window shop on 5th Avenue. I don't like to actually shop those stores as they are ridiculously expensive, but I love the window displays. I'm also going to Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. It's a gorgeous old church right on 5th. That night, we're seeing "God of Carnage"---2009 Tony winner---Best Play---starring Jimmy Smitts and Annie Potts. My favorite thing to do in New York is the theater---in fact, that's my main reason for going. I'm just not that much of a shopper anymore. Plus I love the excitement of the city. 

I always want to do something festive during the holidays, so this short trip will be fun. Then it's home and a dinner party that isn't even mine. The things I get myself into...me and my big fat mouth!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How Many Decorator's Does it Take to Spoil the Effect?

I guess the answer would be 2! I think it's cute that Butch cares enough to decorate anything. Of course, he has "his" tree---the real one in the family room. If I put an ornament on, he moves it---like I'm a little kid. That's okay with me. He can have it the way he wants.

He took the trimmings from the tree and put them around the house along with the magnolia leaves and holly greens. The addition of the frasier fur branches is all good---I love that smell. It's the smell of Christmas to me.

Our tree topper wouldn't fit this year. We have a 10 ft. tree. By the time he cuts the 12" top off, the "trunk" part was too fat for the topper. So, this is what he did---he placed the topper in the dining room. Now there is officially no place to put a single dish in there! 

I can let him have his little "touches". See, I'm not so rigid after all....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Those annoying cell phones!

Here is an email that I sent to the girls this morning. 

"Okay girls, properly warn the "kids"---there will be no cell phones allowed in the dining room or on Christmas Eve---not even in the room!

I thought of this as I'm thinking more and more about how offended I am when cell phones are constantly ringing. To me it just sends the message that "I don't think you are important enough to spend time with, so I need to get this because whoever is calling is more important than you". Seriously, I know this is my problem as everyone seems to think it's okay to annoy everyone around them with their calls. 

I'm having my "day" group luncheon here today. I've made it really nice---good china, hand-made table favors and all. I was thinking of posting a sign on the front door to leave your cell phones in the car. So you see, I'm not just picking on the kids. Really, except for certain times (like dinner), I could care less that the kids are texting, playing games, etc. 

I just figured I can set the rules for my house! Of course, your dad doesn't get a say!!"

End of email....

I'm not saying that cell phones haven't been the greatest invention since sliced bread, I'm just saying that there needs to be some etiquette that goes along with them. Just a few common courtesies would be nice. Okay, if you must answer your phone, then take the call away from present company. Usually, I just hit the button that makes it stop ringing and deal with it later. If it's an emergency (which is why I originally got a cell phone), then my "kids" know to call back immediately. Of course, an emergency to Mindy is an entirely different thing. "Mom, where can I find lemon zest?" or, "Mom, I know it's 9:30 p.m., but I just got off work and I want to make Rotel Chicken. What do I need to get from the store?" Side note---then I love it when she accuses me of never calling HER. Heck, she never gives me a chance!

Everyone knows I'm not much of a phone person---such a time waster. You all know me---I talk a LOT! I have to schedule a time to even call my mother because I know it will be at least a half hour. Sandy and I have a lengthy conversation at least once a week which I enjoy---she calls me on Monday mornings, or I'll call her on Thursday mornings. Mindy has been calling more frequently recently, but they are quick conversations as she's usually running an errand for work. I don't mind a quick call to get or give information, but email is my preferred method of communicating. 

That brings up another annoyance---while I'm ranting here. If you are not going to respond to emails, then don't give out your email address. My "biggest" gripe of all is if I have to make a follow-up phone call because someone didn't respond to an email. Some of those "people" have been "punished" by NOT getting the call---then being "bummed" later. I just say, innocently, "well, I sent you an email." 

Gosh, I guess I'm getting old because I'm sure getting cantankerous! And in this season of JOY!!! 

Really, I'm very happy right about now---all the decorating is done, shopping done and wrapped and the calendar is FULL! Love that. This weekend, I'll start some baking. 'Tis the season....

For all of you---get up an hour earlier and give yourself some more time! That way, you can talk on your cell phones and not feel guilty about the time you're wasting!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Our "HOME" for the Holidays!

Okay, here we go again. The other pictures didn't quite line up right. I'm not sure how to fix that. When I add the text, it looks just fine. Then when I hit "publish post", it just goes however it wants. I guess you can figure it out.

These cuties are from the 50's. I picked them up in an antique shop. Although we didn't have these exact ones, they remind me of my childhood at Christmas.

This picture is my collection of Murano
glass Christmas trees from Venice, Italy. I didn't actually get them from there, but had definitely planned to add to my collection when I was there. I never saw a single one and nobody seemed to know what I was talking about. I paid a hefty price for them---but they were probably made in Taiwan! 

Here are my elves. I like to refer to my decorating scheme as "Time" for the Holidays. Jeanne's the one that made me realize I have a "thing" for clocks. The kicker here is that none of these clocks are real---just all fake clocks and clock plates.

The elves are named Tick, Tock and Tick II. I didn't name them, that's what's on the collector's paperwork that came with them. 

The brown jeweled clock is real. I got it at the flea market for $4.00. But my best and favorite find is the old toaster. It is in really good shape. There is no rust on it even though this picture makes it look like it. It's pretty shiny---Westinghouse. I paid $5.00 for it. I checked it out on the internet and found a place that sells old toasters. This EXACT one sold for $50.00. I just buy what I love and sometimes I luck into a good deal. I'm going to keep this up all year round as part of my dining room decor.

In the next picture is another flea market find---the old scale. I'm having a love affair with scales right now. I have to stop buying them because I think I've given them to everyone I can think of. This one is also part of my regular decor. The nutcracker is standing on the other end of the scale.

Lastly, you have the blue scale I (well, Janice) found in St. Louis. Sitting on top---the little rolling pin---is an invitation I made last year for my cookie exchange. I decided to use it as a decoration. What the heck else am I going to do with it? I could put it on the tree. Just goes to show, I have a ton of useless ideas. 

The old jar to the right is a newer find---flea market after Thanksgiving. It's really a cool jar with a pattern and an old, rusty green lid. I put ornaments in it and I just might leave them in there all year round.

Now you've seen just a little glimpse of how my decorating is all consuming! But I have to say, I do enjoy it when it's done!

"Hand-made Christmas"

You know I'm not so good at these pictures, but I keep trying. Here goes---the picture of the Christmas tree is made out of pins. I made this about 10 years ago after seeing the idea in the Mary Engelbreit Home Companion. I went out the day after Christmas and bought every pin I could find with plans to make these for gifts the next year. Never did it---only made this one. But I do love it---maybe someday I'll get the others made.

Here we have my favorite cross stitch. Sandy made it for me about 14 years ago. I love it so much that it stays up year round in the powder room. 

On the far left (if that's how it shows up, you can see the button trees I made last year. I have several of these in different colors around the house.

Directly left is the ornament Christmas tree that I made. Connie paid a pretty price at a silent auction and invited Steph and me to join her and Amanda. Despite several burns from the heat gun, we all loved the results.

Stephanie made this tree for me a few years back. It's just about my favorite tree in the house---even if it's miniature.
Besides the regular tiny ornaments, it has miniature photo ornaments that she made. The tree itself is lime green and it is lighted. This picture doesn't do it justice.