Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blog Candy

Blog Candy is a prize given for a contest hosted on a blog. Here is a stack of layouts. I have a scrapbook related prize for whoever guesses the closest to how many layouts are in the stack. There are more than the ones I've included in the last post. When you give the number, it's for single pages---50 means 50 pages, not double-page spreads.

Just leave your guess in the comments below. I'll post the winning number and person on Monday night. Go for it!

Recent Layouts

I've uploaded all the layouts. Now I'm going to try to comment on some of them. Since I know the words might not match the photo, you'll have to figure out which layout I'm refering to. First off, the one "I'm Cooking Italian"---for some reason, it appears upside down. I have no idea how that happened as it's right side up in iPhoto.

Already, I can't get the words next to the photo, so here goes. On the layout "Brace" Yourself, this is one Smart Girl"---I used Jordan's 8th grade picture that shows her braces, a photo of the National Junior Honor Society and another of her in 2nd grade. The journaling is a report she did in the 2nd grade that was on my computer. Darn cute.

"An Unlikely Bride" is about my sister, Janice's wedding. She was always a tomboy, so we were very surprised that she chose a Scarlet O'Hara type wedding dress. I just thought that was a little more interesting than just another wedding page.

"How do you spell relief: SISTERS" is the layout about mom's surgery. I was in charge, except the girls relieved me on weekends. I swear they tried to "bump her off" while I wasn't around.

My favorite layout of the bunch is Victoria's First Communion. Due to how I now store and access my photos, I was able to use a First Communion picture of Victoria, her mom, Sandy, grammy, me and great-grandmother, my mom---all on the same page. How exciting! At least for me!

I may have already posted "Nonna's Punch Bowl" but couldn't remember. I cherish this family heirloom. I journaled about how I wondered if Nonna loved entertaining as much as I do and that perhaps, even though I never knew her, perhaps we shared that. When I asked mom about the punch bowl, she consulted with Aunt Marie and then told me that they both could not remember it ever being used. It sat on top of the china cabinet their whole lives. Sheesh---so much for my search for a connection!

You will find 2 layouts called "Just Dance". No sense in re-inventing the wheel---especially since these layouts are going in different albums and are of different subjects. In fact, I've used that same title in the layout I did about my cousin, Chrissy and me.

"The Price of Beauty" layout is about make-up. The journaling is taken directly from my blog entry here:

Sunday, February 21, 2010


We've been on the hunt for this little bugger for over 3 weeks now. Even after cleaning out all the cabinets and drawers, I waited a couple days for any further evidence before putting everything away. I just figured he'd left. Then, on Friday, right before having friends for dinner and Texas Hold'em, I discovered evidence in the drawers again. I was so upset---pulled everything out again.

Still, nothing in any of the traps overnight. By Saturday, I was really getting worked up as Butch leaves for Chicago tomorrow. I didn't want to have to worry about this while he was gone. I insisted he get the "death" traps this time.

Saturday, we went to Glasgow, KY for my organization class (which went well---20 people---some drove from Louisville). We stopped on the way home and picked up our new microwave. By the time we got to the house is was 5 p.m. Since we didn't have the new traps, I suggested that we pull out the trash compactor and put one of the sticky traps behind there since the only time he was spotted, he appeared to come from under there.

Sure enough, about 11 p.m.----long after Butch had gone to bed, I heard something. I put the tv on mute and realized we had caught that little sucker. I tiptoed in the kitchen, but then was too afraid to look. It was making such a commotion, that I thought it was either chewing off it's leg, or chewing itself free from the sticky trap. I didn't know what to do. I didn't think Butch would like me to wake him, but all I could think of was that the mouse would get away---potentially dragging the trap with him. Worse case, I might have to deal with it on my own. Soooo, I decided to wake Butch. He wasn't too thrilled, but he got up and took it outside through the garage, barefooted. I didn't even ask him what he did with it. Nor did I mention that it sort of grossed me out that he had walked barefooted outside and then got back in bed. Instead, I just slept on the couch. The bed is "germy" now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Retirement Update

So far, retirement is going well. It is taking a little time to adjust---mostly in good ways. My life, as I knew it, has definitely changed. For one thing, since Butch retired, I haven't been on the treadmill once. I always knew I was a creature of routine. I get on the treadmill first thing in the morning. After that, I started my day---make the coffee and tea, unload the dishwasher, run a load of clothes, make breakfast (we've always had breakfast together---even when the girls were growing up we all sat down together), shower and get ready for the day---done by 8 a.m. Sometimes, I worked out after Butch left for work and started my day a half hour later. Now, we get up, have coffee and tea in the living room with the fireplace and a conversation. Very nice, romantic even. But it's definitely thrown a kink in my habits. Add to that keeping the girls this week while Steph is out-of-town on business---has kept me extra busy.

For Butch, the phone has been ringing off the hook. So many people want to "do something" with him. He's had so many meetings with people to discuss ideas and propositions, plus his normal board meetings, he's pretty busy for a retired guy. The girls call him a lot. Sandy and Mindy plotted to call him several times every day and say what fun it is to be able to talk to him just whenever. To that he said, "uh huh"---while not acting irritated. They let him in on the "joke" by the second day. There is something nice about knowing that you are not interrupting anything too terribly important.

I'm even handling the "mess" of having him home. He's a pretty neat guy mostly, but somehow the house always gets cluttered on the weekends. Now it's a weekend every day. I've mentioned in the past how he uses the kitchen chairs as his own personal coat racks. Now the kitchen table has become his office/desk. He has a very nice office upstairs and even moved all of his Central Parking office stuff into it, but he doesn't use it. I don't know why. I don't mind having his computer cord draped across the counter to the table either. I just ask him to clear off his desk so we can have dinner.

Jeanne reminded me that we were going to get back to our stamp collections in retirement. We had put them away when Sandy was born and have just moved the boxes from house to house through the years. When I suggested that, Butch said, "Barb, I don't have time for that!" Of course he doesn't. Between cloroxing the cabinets and drawers from our pesky visitor (which we have never caught in either the live trap or "sticky" traps---that everyone else seems to keep stepping on), making phone calls, and working on his computer, he's very busy.

He's been able to take advantage of some caches as soon as they are placed. He runs out of the house and is so excited when he comes home with a FTF. (Geo-cache talk for First To Find). Since last January, he's found over 325 caches all over the United States and Scotland. His goal is to find a cache in every state. Too bad the weather has been so cold and crappy here. That makes golfing "out" too.

Without the free valet parking, I've been enlisted to do the airport runs---which tends to interfere with my schedule. I was just getting ready to having my days to myself again after the carpool. I didn't even get a day before the retirement happened. Next week he goes to Chicago on Monday and Tuesday to meet with 2 groups. You might know that his going and coming interferes with my schedule. He tries to be accommodating by saying that he doesn't expect me to change my schedule---he can just drive himself and leave the car. I might take him up on that.

Probably the best result of retirement is that EVERYONE (from friends to business associates) is taking him to lunch---and paying! Leave it to Butch to figure out a way to make money (sort of) in retirement! That's my entrepreneur!

I have to say, we're only 3 weeks into it and I'm loving it! Of course, I was gone one week!

Oh, and one more thing. Our microwave (25 years old---original to the house) finally bit the dust. Wouldn't you know it, there's not a microwave made that will fit the spot. Our only alternative aside from major carpentry work, is to buy a countertop microwave and hire a company that builds custom surrounds to encase it. The microwave is pretty cheap---only $125.00. Seems like we paid twice that for our first one in the 70's. It will probably cost us an arm and a leg to have the custom trim kit made. We'll see.

Pictures from my scrapbook weekend soon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Travel Travails

Our scrapbook weekend was great! Except---for the coming and going!

Jeanne and Janet were to meet us at the hotel at 10 a.m.---a little later than originally planned as I had to take care of some business with mom. About 9:45, Jeanne called me to say that Janet forgot her tool bag, so they were headed back to her house to retrieve it---a good 45 minutes away from the hotel. They offered to let us go on ahead of them---and in hindsight, that would have been the better plan. Anyway, they got to us about 11:15 or so. We're off!

Our first stop was a little antique shop that Pam and I had visited last year. We each made a purchase, but Nancy got the "prize"! She snagged a brown cart for her scrapbook room. Of course we knew that we couldn't get it home, so we put it in Janet's (Ron's) suburban for me to get the next time I'm in town.

Then it was lunch time. We stopped at Cadillac Bill's---the fabulous burger drive-in that we went to last year---hand-patted burgers. After lunch, we were on our way---until Janet tried to start the suburban---no go. Jeanne, Janet and I were trying to open the hood. Unbeknownst to us, 3 men were watching and laughing that we couldn't figure it out. Just as they were coming to our rescue, I got it open. They took it from there and determined that Janet did not have a dead battery. One of the guys crawled under the car with a hammer, banged something and got it started. They recommended that we take the care a block down the road to a garage. Janet drove it down the street. As she parked it and started to get out, Jeanne told her it was still rolling. Janet slammed it into park---and the whole steering column broke--flopping around. I didn't even know that could happen. Pam said "oooh, that's going to cost a lot!"

To try to make a long story short, Janet took my advice and had it towed back to St. Louis for Ronnie to deal with. She rented a car---asked for the largest they had---the delivered a tiny KIA. We removed all the antiques I bought and put them in the suburban while packing in everything scrapbook related. We know where our priorities are.

Janet and Jeanne had to take the rental guy 25 miles back to Troy, MO. Pam, Nancy and I went on at that point. As it turned out, Jeanne and Janet were only about an hour behind us.

All was well and we had a great weekend.

Now it's time to leave on Sunday. We decided to get an early start---7:30 a.m.---so we could go to a Super Bowl party. Pam was riding co-pilot. She mis-read the directions---we were supposed to turn on Hwy. 61 and go 75 miles. She thought we had to go 75 miles to get to 61. When I saw a sign for St. Joseph, I knew something was wrong. I handed Nancy the Atlas. She determined we had gone waaaayyyy wrong. Sooo, we turned around. We had to go 45 miles back to Macon, MO. Then we had another 65 miles to reach Hwy. 70. When Nancy said we'd be entering 70 at Columbia, I said, "OMG! That's 2 hours out of St. Louis!"

The funniest thing---Jeanne and Janet slept "in" and had the big breakfast buffet before leaving and they beat us back to St. Louis! I called her when we reach Hwy 70 and they were there too--except 2 hours further down the road from us.

We didn't get home until 5:30---10 hours on the road---should have been 7. We logged 635 miles on my car---I figured we went 250 miles out of our way. The only good thing about it was being with girlfriends made the time go by fast. Had I been with Butch, the trip would have been in stony silence which then would have made the trip seem like 3 days. Of course, if I had been with Butch, it wouldn't have happened. Pam and I have never had any trouble before, so we're blaming Nancy for the distraction. I guess my next car will have a GPS.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Am So Freaked Out!

My mouse-hunter has failed me! I discovered today where the mouse/mice have been. We have set 5 traps tonight, so hopefully we'll get him/them. There are so many droppings, that it looks like more than one. But the fact that it has been on the loose for nearly 2 weeks now---could mean it's just one happy fellow.

Anyway, I am so freaked out because I have discovered that it has been all through my kitchen cabinets and drawers! Eeeewwww! I have to take the whole kitchen apart and clean EVERYTHING. I've only done one drawer so far. My OCD has really kicked in---I feel the need to get a new dishcloth with EACH item as I don't want to feel that I'm cleaning my utensils with a dirty cloth. This is going to take me forever. I'm so freaked.

Butch is going to help me tomorrow. Luckily he's retired.

I have several posts planned, but I'm too freaked to write them now. Just watch for them over the next couple days.

Did I mention that I'm totally freaked out? And everyone wonders why I don't like animals!

PS I have NEVER had a mouse because I've always had cats. I might have to break down and get another. I am soooo freaked out! The heck with the live traps, I want them dead!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Year of Memories

The February assignment was to scrapbook your purse. It was so much fun to see everyone's creative titles. Mine is "let me grab my purse".
I contrasted my purses with Grandma Preli's. I included one of her hankies on my page.

Steph went with "33 at 33"---33 purses at 33 years. The little strips signify all the items she carries.

Then there's "Purse-anality", "If Purses Could Talk", "It's in the Bag from A to Z" and Jeanne's is "I Don't Leave Home Without It". She took a photo of the trunk grandpa brought from Italy and put a subtitle under it "Grandpa' Carry On."

A Year of Memories

I started a new club in January. I provide each club member with a kit of materials and a theme for the month. At the end of the year, we'll have a completed scrapbook about ourselves. The focus is on the journaling. I want us to change the way we think from scrapbooks to storybooks.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Butch Has a New Job Already!

Yes, it's true---and it didn't take long. He is now a "trapper". We have a mouse in the house. I'm freaking out about it. I was certain he brought it home in the boxes from his office. He says that he hadn't even brought the boxes in yet. He bought a "humane" trap and baited it with peanut butter. He said that he'll take it beyond the fence and release it. Seems to me that the mouse can still see the house from there. I told him that he should drive it around for awhile to get it really mixed up and then let it go. He just gave me one of those looks. I'm thinking that I might drive HIM nuts in retirement! Anyway, the mouse didn't take the bait last night. Now he thinks I was seeing things. I think he needs to get more traps.

Retirement Day 1:
I'm not counting the weekend as the first day of retirement as it seemed pretty normal. But on the other hand, I guess every day is a weekend from now on! Butch got up at 5:30 a.m. to work out---I guess it's going to take awhile for those old habits to die. Then---this is soooo sweet----he made my tea. Now you might think making tea is no big deal. But, I'm a purist about my tea---only loose for me, no bags. I was impressed that he knew exactly how to measure it. I could get used to this!

He had a difficult conversation with his assistant of 12 years. He was unable to reach her over the weekend, so had to call her early this morning. She broke down and just sobbed. She told Butch he was the best boss she'd ever had---she wants to leave---he told her to just give the new guy a chance and do what was best for her family. Considering he's not the most "touchy, feely" type of guy, I think he handled it pretty well.

We left for the dentist together---totally a coincidence that our appointments were on the same day---how's that for a "meant to be" moment?

After the dentist, we went to buy new cell phones and get ourselves on the same plan. We've been meaning to do it for months, but could never find the time. We both got the Lotus (mine's red, his is black)---I told him that he had to figure it all out. From there, we went to Kroger's to pick up my prescription and for him to use the Coinstar machine. We've figured out how to "beat the system". If you agree to get gift cards instead of cash, they don't charge the 10% fee---and it takes pennies too. One more job for Butch.

Then, we were going to look at new cars (for him---I'm not due for a new car until fall---he's really not due either---we trade our cars every 5 years, but he dislikes his Mercedes so much that he wants to get rid of it---and it hasn't even been a year---thank goodness it was used), but there was an accident some where on the highway and it was all backed up and at a complete standstill, so we just came home.

The phone rang off the hook most of the day as the news has spread. Already, people are wanting "to do something" with Butch.

I was supposed to teach a class tonight, but it was cancelled due to icy roads left from the weekend, so I made spaghetti for dinner. We shared a half bottle of wine (on a Monday---we usually only drink on weekends) and toasted to retirement. Last night, we went out to dinner on a Sunday NIGHT---I don't think we've ever done that---with work the next day---we just never did.

Butch helped with cleaning up after dinner---oh wait, that's nothing new---he ALWAYS helps with kitchen clean-up.

So far, I'd say retirement has been fun. Of course, I'm leaving town, so it's too soon to tell. At least it's starting off okay. Knowing that he's going to be home alone, I made a lot of food over the weekend. He has a meal of pork tenderloin, mashed sweet potatoes and peas, vegetable soup and the leftover spaghetti from tonight. I don't think he'll starve.

He'll be pretty busy without me. He's made a huge list of things he needs to take care of. I added a few things to it too. It's nice to have another person to share the errands.

I will say, that I am already noticing a few things that have annoyed me slightly over the years. I didn't think it was worth complaining about, but now I can see that these little things are going to really get on my nerves on a daily basis. Like:
Not putting his dirty dishes in the dishwasher (he just puts them in the sink)
Using the kitchen chairs as a coat rack (every one---what, does he forget that he already has a coat out?)
Leaving crap all around the kitchen (and the bathroom---which he's always done, and now some in the family room too. Seems like the more he's home, the more his crap grows.

I'm realizing that I allowed him to develop some bad habits over the years--and he's really a pretty neat guy---just some things. I hope it's not too late to teach that old dog a few new tricks.