Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Love Never Dies

Everyone knows how passionate I am about the theater. A few years ago, when I heard that Andrew Lloyd Weber had written a sequel to Phantom of the Opera, I knew I would have to see it. I bought the music as soon as it came out. In fact, we had tickets to see it in London last fall. However, the show closed before we got there. What a disappointment for me. How awesome would that have been to see Love Never Dies on a London stage? I did get to see We Will Rock You instead.

Anyway, fast forward to this past weekend. I heard on my Sirius radio---I mostly listen to the Broadway channel---that there was going to be a "one night only" theatrical event of Love Never Dies. Since it was going to be on our stitching night, I emailed the gang to see if they wanted to go with me. Of course, I couldn't leave my girls out, nor the little girls. After all, they've been exposed to the theater since they saw Beauty and the Beast at the ages of 3 & 4. I'm very proud that they love the theater and have a pretty good knowledge of it too.

I went yesterday to buy the tickets in advance. They were $18.00 apiece. That was a bit of a shock, but no where near the price of a theater ticket.

Connie, Nancy, Karolyn, Mindy, Morgan, Jordan and I had dinner at Yolo's before the show. We got to the show at 7---a half hour before it was to start. Unbeknownst to me, they had some "pre-show" documentary playing. I was "bummed" that we missed some of that.

The show started and was absolutely fabulous. Only the little girls (not so little anymore---but how I differentiate between them and my "big" girls) and I knew the story from listening to the music. I would play it as I picked them up from school. They insisted that I stop it when they got out and restart it the next day when they got in. About a half hour from the end, we literally sat in the driveway to finish listening to it.

We all thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a tear jerker. I can't wait for it to come out on dvd.
Enjoy the trailer:
Love Never Dies

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Apple Products are Sooooo Awesome!

I try not to go on and on about how I love my Mac and Apple products in general, but there are times that I just have to "stand up." This is one of them.

Butch just got the iPhone---everyone (except Mindy) that has it says they LOVE it. Butch decided to go with the iPhone so that he could sync everything---especially his calendar. It was easy enough to figure out---except Butch wanted the emails to delete from his phone when he deleted them from his computer. We found out that in order to make that happen, he needed to upgrade his computer to OS X Lion so that he could take advantage of iCloud. I had already updated mine last November. Butch isn't so good with change, so I didn't upgrade his.

Anyway, since he was out-of-town this weekend, we decided that this would be a good time for me to do the upgrade---it takes a couple of hours for the computer to do it's "thing." When I went to get it started, I couldn't figure out how to get the Lion download again. When you purchase software from Apple, it allows you to use it on 3 different computers for the same price. Since I couldn't figure out what to do, I decided I'd go in to the store for a "one-on-one" appointment. That's another thing I LOVE about Apple. For $99 per year, you can have a "one-on-one" session once a week to learn or work on anything. One of the experts will walk you through any project or answer any questions you have about anything.

Back to my story. When I clicked on the "one-on-one" to make my appointment, I got a message that said there were no appointments available in my store. I about freaked. I thought that meant they had quit doing the program. On the website, there was another option---phone appointments. I was in the area of the "one-on-one" training, so I don't know if that's available to every Mac user or just if you purchased the "one-on-one."

The choices for phone appointments were---call right now, call at a specific time, or have Apple call you. I chose to have Apple call me at 7:45 a.m. today. They were "right on" the time. The "guy" walked me through the process of finding where to download the software to Butch's computer. So simple. It's downloading as we speak.

I then asked the "guy" about that message I got. Did it mean that my store was no longer doing the "one-on-one?" He said, "no, that just means there are no appointments available at the moment." He said that calling the store was the best way to make an appointment as sometimes the website isn't always up-to-date.

What I've learned by this experience:
1. I'll still use the website to make an appointment at the store and then call if I can't (you know I hate getting on the phone).
2. Apple support is everywhere when you need it! I can get the help I need without even leaving home.

Apple products are just plain awesome! I knew it all along.

A little side story.
I have a friend who just bought a new pc. She was having trouble with downloading photos, so she called me. I tried to help her over the phone and couldn't. Later in the day, she brought her laptop over and I tried again to figure it out. Her husband is a "die-hard" Mac user. In fact, he owns an advertising agency and Macs are all they use. Nearly 20 years ago, when I was all alone in wanting a Mac, I went to his office to discuss it with him. I have never regretted my decision. With our bad experience with Dell a couple of years ago---I told the family that we would no longer purchase any computers unless they were Macs. Little by little, my family and friends are converting.

I asked my friend why she didn't just get a Mac. She said she didn't want to have to learn something new. Huh??? So she has a pc and has to learn something new anyway? Seems like it would have been a "no-brainer" to me. She has live in tech support!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Happiness is a Choice

Yesterday's post was a bit of a downer. I decided to remedy that today as I'm feeling better. I've always believed that happiness is a choice. I woke up at 5:30 and decided I was going to be happier today. So far, so good.

Let me tell you how this weekend was supposed to go. Butch left yesterday (Friday) morning---early---to meet his brother for the Daytona 500. Since he doesn't travel much anymore, I was looking forward to almost 4 full days alone. I can do whatever I want. No cooking, no going out, no making the bed, no getting dressed, no make-up---just total freedom.

I had invited ALL of the girls to come over for a girls night Friday night. Great way to kick off my "free" weekend. My plan was to have a Married with Children marathon, order Chinese food to be delivered, stitch and have a slumber party. Right off that morphed into something completely different. Steph reminded me that she and Jordan had an appointment to tour the University of Tennessee on Saturday. 2 down. Mindy said she'd come for awhile, but had a friend moving to Nashville that day and would need to leave by 10 p.m. to "hang out" with him. Morgan responded in the affirmative. Okay, that sounded fine. All was not lost.

I started off Friday getting ready for my organization class that is today. I ALWAYS underestimate how long things are going to take. I went up to my office and scrapbook room at 7:45 a.m. and didn't come down until 12:30 p.m. Great, half the day is gone already and I haven't done anything really fun yet.

My intention was that our girls night would start at 5:00 or so. Mindy changed that in the morning when she told me that she was getting off work early. Morgan also said she was coming straight from school. Now our girls night was starting at 3:30. Afternoon, shot.

Pretty much it started out according to the plan---except Married with Children turned in to watching the new series The River (which---about an hour into, we decided we didn't like) and then got a movie---Dream House---on Demand. Mindy then said she was leaving around 6:30 since her friend had arrived in town earlier in the afternoon. Okay fine. Morgan was spending the night, so she and I would have the girls night. Down 3.

A little after Mindy left, Morgan asked if she could go out with her friends for a few hours. That was fine with me. I'd just do my own thing for the evening. Then she asked if her friends could spend the night. I asked how many. She said 4. Okay, what the heck. That was fine---remember my feelings about having teenagers around that want to be around? I'm all for it.

The girls got here around 7:15. At about 8, they left to go to Moe's (Mexican fast food). They got back before 9 and never left. I guess it was about 10:30 when Morgan asked if they could watch Dream House. That meant I had to give up "my" tv as we have the basic type cable where you only get all the good stuff on the main tv. But how could I refuse when that meant we'd get 2  viewings of a $4.99 movie. That would make Butch happy. Ultimately, I was pushed to my bedroom. Okay, reading is fine by me.

Suddenly, my weekend is slipping away. Nothing is going according to plan. The kitchen is a mess---which Morgan will clean up---she's really good like that. I think when I get back from my class this afternoon, they will all be gone. I'll read and take a nap. Then it will be time for Mass. I should have the tv to myself this evening. I'm looking forward to some serious stitching.

Then tomorrow will by MY day. I'll play in my scrapbook room all day---getting ready for the Eads Girls Scrapbook Retreat next weekend. Heaven!

Oh wait, I forgot. I have a 7:45 a.m. phone appointment with Apple so I can download some software to Butch's computer. Then I get to figure out some things for his new iPhone. Oh and then don't forget, I have to feed his fish twice a day, turn the light on and off and clean out my closet.

FTS! By the time I do all that it will be Monday---which is already a full day. Tuesday is taken. I guess that means on Wednesday prior to the retreat, I'll be throwing all my "s**t" together at the last minute, grocery shopping and cooking! Sheesh. For an organized gal, this is exactly how I DO NOT like to go.

You know what they say about best laid plans! Maybe next year when Butch goes to Daytona---I'll have the weekend to myself.

I'm starting to feel less happy.

Friday, February 24, 2012

I have a problem...

There, I've said it. I don't know why I'm this way. I was told years ago by a therapist that I do not have good "boundaries." I just always considered myself tenderhearted and empathetic.

I started crying at episodes of Lassie as a little girl. My sisters and brothers always made fun of me. I didn't care. I even cry at some commercials. Books can move me to tears---pretty much anything touching---weddings, graduations, school plays. But here's the problem---and why I don't have good boundaries: I take on other people's problems and suffer sadness and depression in my own life. Here's the other problem: I'm a fixer. I recognize that I can't solve problems or fix things for people I don't know. I realize that I just have to "ride out" the sadness.

It's one thing if the reason for my sadness is caused by people I don't know---I can work through it pretty quickly. This week, on Wednesday, I saw the results of a head-on collision. The girl who lived was 22 yrs. old and driving drunk. She went the wrong way on the interstate. It was big news. The girl who died was 29 and on her way to work. Of course her family was devastated. I can't seem to get them out of my mind. Both lives have been destroyed. I've prayed for them both. But, I'll get over it.

It's much harder when the problems are within my circle of family and friends. That's when the "fixer" part of me comes out. Sometimes there's just nothing you can do. About 6 months ago, we had a family problem that really threw me for a loop. It was completely out of the blue. One of my favorite nieces admitted to having a drug problem. I was weepy for a good 4 weeks. It wasn't far from my mind. I felt so helpless. As the news came that she was getting better every day, I felt better too.

Still, I'm blue about that auto accident this week. I have never been a worrier---except for one thing---car accidents. That is one thing that can really get me worked up. I try to just not think about it too much or the fear sets in. I worry about my teenage grandchildren and their driving---or their friends driving. All I can do is pray for them.

Life is so fragile. This sadness will lift. It always does.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Remember Man....

...that thou art dust and unto dust thou shallst return."

I'm pretty sure that these are the words that Mindy lives by. This must be her excuse for the "dust" that has covered every abode she's ever lived in. What's the point if that's where we're all going to end up anyway? Uh, Mindy, does that sound about right?

Well, today she surprised me. Unbeknownst to her, I had planned to surprise her by going to her new condo and hanging her framed playbills that I just picked up yesterday. I even debated with myself as to whether it was a good idea to surprise her. I didn't want the surprise to be on me. If her place was a mess, that would really bother me. This time, I was surprised, but in a good way.

Anyway, Butch and I went to 7 a.m. Mass for Ash Wednesday. We went to Cathedral, so we were right down the street from Mindy's place. We realized that she had not given us back the security pass that she loaned to a visiting friend a couple of weeks ago. I had to call her so she could "buzz" us in.

I had already told myself that I was not going to look around or even enter her bedroom. I am not a SNOOP---ever----anywhere. We had to go in the kitchen to get her tool box. I did notice that she did not have a single dish on the counter or in the sink. What's up with that? She always has dirty dishes lying around. Then, I noticed her living room (which is open from the kitchen) was all straightened up too. Huh? Could this seriously be the home of my baby?

Not wanting to ruin this new "illusion" of her, I did not go in to her bedroom or bathroom. She told me that she was going to respect her new place by keeping it nice---since she's a homeowner now. I didn't believe it. I knew that to keep my sanity, I just wouldn't visit. But I never expected this.

Mindy, I have to say, I am REALLY proud of you!!! Darn, I wished I had brought a few friends along to see!
Mindy and mom, 1984

Steeplechase, 2011

PS I missed it, but my post on Monday was my 700th!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

We're Back...

for a little while anyway. It was a fun trip, but having to go to Starbucks everyday for internet access was a pain---especially since that access was intermittent---pretty frustrating. Butch even said that from now on, we must have internet access before we rent anything. We can't really complain, because this was a "free" place. The condo belongs to a business/friend of Butch's.

We stopped outside the restaurant at Vail for a few photos. Karolyn, Pam and me.
 The guys: Butch, Bruce and Hugh. They did the runs you see behind them.

When we got to the Nashville airport, we had to wait for the limo service to pick us up. Since we no longer get free valet parking at the airport, we have to park off-site. We weren't the only ones waiting. Butch struck up a conversation with this guy. After a few minutes, he turned to me and asked me if I knew who he was. Of course I did. I said that one of the best things about Nashville is that people leave the "stars" alone. Then I said, "but could I take your picture?" He said "yes," but he didn't act thrilled.
In case you don't recognize him from his olympic days, you might remember him from Dancing With the Stars. It's Scott Hamilton! He was quite friendly on the ride. He said he's lived here in Nashville for 6 years now.

Never a dull moment!

Oh, one last thing, the AYM Layouts are up.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Vacation in Vail

We're in Vail, Colorado with the Broussards and the Blacks---having fun---of course. We do not have internet access (bummer), so Pam and I are sitting at Starbucks for a couple of hours while the rest of the gang is on the slopes. I don't have much to report at the moment, so some "odds n' ends" will have to hold you.
 This is where you can find me just about every morning from 4:30 a.m. to 5:45 when I'm heading to Curves. I'm usually updating my blog, checking other blogs, playing my "Words with Friends" (if anyone wants to start a game with me---no playing the computer), updating classes, or reading---all while listening to Pandora.
Our day group met last week at Nancy's. She was doing the project and decided that in order for all of us to be able to see the example, she used her "Head Banz" game piece to hold it. If you don't have this game, you need to get it. It's fun for all ages. Just be sure to get the children's edition--it's hard enough. The adult one is way too hard.

 Here are the darling petit fours that were to be for Angie's shower that I left in Nashville. They were sure cute. Sorry, Angie!
 I picked up these flour sack towels at Krogers. I love the vintage look of them.
Speaking of vintage linens, I'm in love with them right now. I got this tablecloth awhile back. It's just perfect in the kitchen.
And this is why I don't let Mindy cook. She doesn't even know she was the cause of this. Last week, she offered to make scrambled eggs for breakfast. After she and Steph left for work, I was cleaning up. I put a package of buns to put away on the stove while I wiped the counter. Little did I know that she left the burner on. Bummer! What a friggin' mess. It took quite a bit of elbow grease to clean it up---all that plastic stuck on there.

Reminds me of our first meal in the house. Connie was going to toss the salad for me. She put my salad bowl on a hot burner. I had a stringy, pink plastic mess all over. She and I looked at each other---before she burst out laughing. Thus began her effort to "wreck" stuff at my house---unraveling a pillow, dripping Green Bean Bundles on my needlepoint rug, various other spills too numerous to mention. Now I have someone keep an eye on her whenever she's here.

 This is how the cooktop is supposed to look---and does---after nearly 17 years. It takes some work, but it still looks new.
My most recent vintage finds from antiquing in St. Louis and Clarksville, MO. I originally passed this picture up. It haunted me, so as I was checking out, I had Jeanne go back and grab it for me. I hung it in the entry---looks good.
 All kinds of goodies here---much of it will wind up in my AYM kits---old pattern, thread, receipts, and labels. My AYM/3 group will benefit from the cabinet cards. The 1952 book in the back is an almanac of sorts. I had to have that since it is from the year I was born.
 More goodies---I couldn't resist the cherry tablecloth and napkins. Other things for kits are the old music books, maps, and pattern. The teapot tea cozy is made from an old quilt. Of course,  few more clocks for my collection. The box camera is for Morgan's birthday.
 I couldn't resist these mini trays. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with them, but I have a teeny bit of an idea "percolating" in this manic brain of mine. If you notice the "two-toned-ness" of them---that's my fault. They were in pristine condition until I soaked them in hot water. Half of the sealer peeled off. Oh well, that just makes them look shabby. Stay tuned to see what they become....
Here is Elizabeth getting her hamster "Jolly" out.
 I wish we'd have at least one snow like this every year instead of every 3-5 years.

That's if for now. Better than nothing---I hope.
I don't' have time to edit, so forgive any grammar or spelling errors!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whitney Houston

It's such a shame about her. But did anyone catch Glee last night? Mercedes really belted "I Will Always Love You." I'm sure it was just a coincidence that this song was on the Valentine show. 
Whitney Houston

And thank you Dolly Parton for writing it!

By the time you read this, we'll be on our way to Vail, CO for our annual ski trip. Since I don't ski right now, I'll be getting a few more blog posts up. 

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Connie! You're still older than me!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday at the Lapps'

Today we went to watch Victoria play basketball. When we got there,  I said, "only 6 minutes to game time." Mitchell quipped, "you mean 6 minutes to PAIN time!" He wasn't too far off. It was quite a different experience from his game. The girls got hammered. They quit keeping score after the opponents reached 24 in the first quarter. Victoria's team only made one basket the entire game. Victoria never even touched the ball. She doesn't like it. This is her first and last year. Sports are just not her thing. Or, at least they haven't found the right thing yet. She likes Girls on the Run but this is the last year for that. She's going to try something track related next year. Also, she does play golf in the summer, but I don't think she loves it.

After the game, we came home and had rubin sandwiches for lunch. The talk was about how Mitchell just inhales food. I don't know if this is a regular activity for Victoria, but she took great delight this morning in trying to find out what Mitchell ate last night after she went to bed by checking the trash. Apparently, he finished off the Chubby Hubby ice cream. Butch told the story of them skiing the day before. He said that they got burgers for lunch. He had gone to the condiment bar and by the time he got back, Mitchell had already wolfed down his whole burger. It is a sight to behold for sure!

When Sandy was getting out the pickles for lunch, the lid came off in her hand and she nearly dropped the jar, spilling pickle juice all over the refrigerator and floor. She was concerned about serving them if the jar had already been open. About that time, Mitchell came in and said he'd opened the jar and had a couple. Who doesn't take the plastic seal off? Of course Sandy gave him heck. She said that she'll hide stuff in the back of the pantry that she needs for a recipe. He'll find it anyway. I told her that she needs to start marking stuff---Do Not Eat! We're not used to growing Boys in this family full of girls!

All of the pictures above were taken during our Yahtzee game. This is how we make it interesting---each person puts in 50 cents. There's not much we do without gambling!

Sandy was the only one to get a Yahtzee. Still, she lost. Butch, Elizabeth and I all tied and split the money.
I just had to have this picture to show how darn tall Mitchell is getting. He actually raised his arm and I fit perfectly in his armpit. I'm told that's not a good place to be!

We played more games this afternoon. Also, the girls have introduced me to a new show that is very cute---Raising Hope. The family is very red-neck, but very funny! Really, just what I need---another show to try to keep up with. Really.

Another thing about those Lapps' kids. I think they must be Stepford kids. They rarely fight, have impeccable manners and are polite to each other. They even thank their mom for cooking supper! Pretty amazing!

It's been snowing all day. There's probably 4 or 5 inches on the ground, but the roads are clear. They know how to deal with snow here. We'll be heading home tomorrow. The further south we get, the higher the temperatures. It was 3 degrees this morning. No telling what it will be tomorrow. I've enjoyed seeing the snow.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Visiting the Lapps Family...

...always provides good "blog fodder." You just never know what the kids are going to do or say. This time, they knew we were coming. We left Nashville at 6 a.m. so that we could get here in time for Mitchell's basketball game. We lose an hour going, but it's nice to gain an hour on the way home. 

We got to Sandy's around 3 p.m. The kids caught us up on the latest hamster antics. Remember the demise of Jeannette on Christmas Eve? Greg bought the girls each a hamster before leaving Nashville. We were on our way to St. Louis when Mitchell texted Morgan: "guess who's hamster is loose?" We never really heard anything more. Now we got "the rest of the story." 

When the Lapps family got home, they unloaded the car and proceeded to have their Christmas. The next morning, Victoria said she couldn't find her hamster. Thinking it got out of the cage, Sandy tore the house apart looking for it. Greg got the idea to put plates of cheese all around to narrow down which room the hamster (Noel) might be hiding. There were no traces of her. Finally, they got the idea that perhaps she escaped in the car. Greg tore the van apart to try to find it with no luck. He put a plate of cheese in there and lo and behold, there was a "nibble." Sandy got the idea to put the little cage in there with the cheese. Within 30 minutes, they caught her. They couldn't believe she survived without food and water in below freezing temperatures. 

Finally you might think the saga of the hamsters would end. But, no, they are just beginning. About 2 weeks ago, Jolly (Elizabeth's hamster) and Noel started to fight. The fighting got so bad that they had to separate them and get another complete cage and set-up. Greg purposely bought 2 hamsters from the same litter so they could co-habitate. But they fight, I guess, like real siblings. So now they have gone to the expense twice and have two cages to clean. The joys of pet ownership! I don't care what kind of pet it is, they are a hassle! No thank you.

We went to Mitchell's basketball game where I tried to get some good photos. Out of at least 40 that I took, these are the best. I never could get one straight on as he was always moving. Then my camera died---and I didn't bring my camera cord. Sheesh! A scrapbooker without a camera is not a good thing.

In my opinion---and this could be the grandmother in me speaking, but I don't think so---Mitchell is one of the stars of the team. He's a starter and scored 16 baskets for 32 points in a 56 point game for the win. I'm just amazed every time I see him as to how tall he is and he's not stopping yet! 

After the game we went to a new pizza place called Old Chicago. It was really good---although we do prefer St. Louis pizza the best---gooey and thin.

When we got home, we changed in to jammies and sat around and talked. At one point, Elizabeth had this gigantic toothbrush that she gave to Butch and said, "I dare you to scrub my back with this." That was hilarious. Now we know all we have to do is say, "I dare you to rub my back" in order to get a free back rub. I then dared Elizabeth to do mine. She didn't quite get it. She said to me, "doesn't that feel good?" She never understood why we were laughing.

I'm sure I'll have more stories to tell. The guys are going skiing today. We'll see...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Little Things Make Me Happy!

I've always said that little things make me happy. But I have to admit, it's also little things that can drive me nuts! Sometimes a little thing has to drive me nuts before another little thing can make me happy. Take    
our cordless phones---for instance. We've been plagued with sporadic, static-y phones for a couple of years now. I've even replaced the phones, thinking they were the problem, only to find that they weren't.

Our most recent phone problems began with our security upgrade. We've put up with static-y phones for nearly 3 weeks simply because I haven't had time to deal with the problem. This week, I did. I called Comcast and suffered through the typical half hour of getting no where, only to have to schedule an appointment. Today was the day. Actually, it was supposed to be yesterday, but they didn't show up. Instead, we got a call that today was "our" day.

"Larry" the cable guy showed up at 9:30. His first question was "where is your phone box." Huh?? I asked him if he meant the modem. "No, the phone box where all the wires are." I have no idea. I took him in to the mud room and showed him the security system box. "No," that wasn't it. He said he'd just roam around outside. I told him about some box on the side of the house. That was the tv cable stuff, not phone related. Eventually, he found what he was looking for in the garage. I had no idea there was something out there.

In the meantime, with all this roaming around, he left his booties ON! Now doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of NOT walking on my white carpet in the bedroom (where the modem is located) if you've traipsed all over outside and in the garage with them? I questioned him about it because I really, really, really, wig out about walking on my carpet. I cannot tell you how it literally makes me sick to my stomach to have people walk on my white carpet with shoes on. As I write this, it dawns on me that Butch bought me some sort of drop cloth that I'm supposed to put down when workmen are here. I completely forgot about that. Bummer.

Anyway, I was really irritated about him walking on the carpet, but on the other hand, he fixed my phones and that makes me really happy. So now, if you want to call me, we can have a nice conversation without static. Only kidding, don't call me. You know how I feel about the phone. Email me!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Missing in Action

It seems like I've been gone forever and we're getting ready to leave again on Thursday for Sandy's. The next two months are nothing but traveling for us. I'm not complaining because it's all fun. It's just that when I'm home, that doesn't leave much time for anything else---pay bills, re-organize for the next trip, get class materials, handouts and kits ready, Curves, family dinners, plus all the normal household stuff. Unfortunately, it's my blog that suffers.

I just got back from St. Louis (actually, I was at a scrapbook retreat in Barry, IL) on Sunday. Due to OnStar, we came home a different way. I thought that would save us a lot of time. It didn't really. We went through Illinois so there was much less traffic. But, time-wise, I think it was about the same---7 1/2 hours of driving time plus another hour and a half for gas and food stops. It felt good to be home. Butch went to a Superbowl party without me (my choice). I took a shower and started on the mail.

We had a great time at the retreat. Most of the same people go, so after 5 years, we've gotten to know quite a few of them. The funniest story of the weekend came from Janet. She tells it best, but here goes. She had gone for a pedicure/manicure on Monday. After the pedicure, she went to sit in the manicure chair. She bent forward to get her shoes when the chair slid out and rolled away from her---leaving her to flounder on the floor trying to protect her pedicure. About that time, the little Vietnamese girl came out of her seat over the top of the table and said, (you have to imagine the accent), "where you go?" Maybe you had to be there, but it was hysterical and came up several times during the weekend.

We had a delicious, new type of brownie. If I get my hands on the recipe, I'll share it here. It had a lot of peanuts and caramel---like a snickers or baby ruth. Downright sinful.

I think I got about 11 pages done at the retreat. I'll be sharing those when I get them photographed. I'll also be sharing everyone else's layouts on my AYM blog. Nancy photographed them and is going to email them to me.

During the Superbowl, I got a text from Jordan that she wanted a family dinner on Wednesday. Since I'll be at the theater on Wednesday, I called Steph to discuss the week. We decided on Monday night, but then that required me to plan a meal. I asked Jordan what she wanted. She's easy. Hamburgers on the grill, regular fries and sweet potato fries. Since I returned to Nashville and springtime (the daffodils are in bloom already---not really good---too early), I wasn't worried about standing outside in the cold. I hit the grocery store after Curves---early morning grocery shopping works best for me.

Monday went by in a flash---so much work to do. The kids---including the big ones and one boyfriend---all came over. It was fun to catch up with everyone. Steph's stressed about her new position at work---happy to be doing what she's wanted for a long time, but stressed at the amount of work.

Mindy still loves her job and the traveling involved. She's all about her "premium" status with airlines and hotels. She's heading to Mardi Gras in NOLA in a couple of weeks and is excited about that too. She's also stoked about AYM and has a lot of ideas.

Jordan got a fab interim report---she's one smart cookie---takes after her mom. They are starting the college hunt. UT is first on the list at the end of the month. I can't believe I have grandchildren getting ready for college!

Morgan "wowed" us with her AP schedule for next year. It's going to be intense, but she's really smart too, so I guess she'll be fine. We gave her some info on a photography course at Grassmere (our zoo) that she's going to sign up for. We'll pay. Anything to promote her soon-to-be career.

Is anyone watching the new series, "Once Upon a Time"? It's by the makers of LOST. The show goes back and forth in time from Fairytale land to Storybook, MA. All of the fairytale characters are there, but they don't know who they are. It's really interesting. I love shows that go back and forth in time.

Here's what I found most interesting this week. There were actually 8 dwarfs. The 8th one was named "Stealthy." He was killed by one of the king's arrows. Since I've never actually read Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, I don't really know their backstory.

I'm watching "The Bachelor" even if it's sleazy. It gives my friends and I something to talk (and laugh) about. How desperate these girls act. Last week, one of them went "skinny dipping" with the bachelor. This week, she went topless only covered with beads. Mom always said it, "they won't buy the cow if they get the milk for free." She's going to be toast---count on it---and it's my girl in the "pool"---there's like $90. riding on it.

I'm definitely still a "Gleek". "Glee" got off to a rocky start this year, but it has really been good for the last couple of months. It's going to be interesting to see what happens when so many of the cast leave after this season.

As for good, wholesome family shows, I think there is only one on the air. "The Middle" is about a middle class family that lives in Indiana. The family interactions are so true to life. The kids are pretty nerdy, the house is a mess, the wife doesn't cook much, the kids fight and make fun of each other---it's just downright hysterical.

I'm really liking the drama, "The Good Wife." I don't like her husband at all. He seems so slimy. I can't figure out if he's supposed to be a good guy or a bad guy.  I love Eli Gold and Calinda.

Now for the soaps. I'm hooked on "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice." I've always loved shows with beautiful people. Patrick Dempsey---Kate Walsh---Taye Diggs---need I say more?

When I think about anyone alive or dead who I would like to have dinner with, I would choose "Ellen"---hands down. She is just so funny. The stuff she comes up with is just plain genius!

"Last Man Standing" is pretty funny. I like that Tim Allen has 3 daughters---we can relate. But, I have to admit, it's his same show except with girls this time instead of the 3 sons.

I watched "The Voice" after the Superbowl. We really liked that show last year even though we came to it pretty late in the season and didn't see how the teams were selected. I like that part too----they don't see the performers, so they are judges solely on their voices. Check it out.

That's it for now. I have a class tomorrow and have some more prep work for. I'll try to blog from Sandy's. Later...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fun Times in St. Louis

Yesterday, I had lunch with Aunt Marie at "Babbo's"---a really good Italian restaurant. I can never get enough Italian food in St. Louis. I can be happy with just the salads alone. Every Italian restaurant puts "stuff" in their salads---unlike Nashville---where you get lettuce, a tomato slice and a few croutons. I've been complaining about that for years. Here, every place has a bit of a different take on a salad. They include, artichokes, pimentos, black olives, pepperoccinnis, red onions and tons---I mean tons of cheese.
Give me a salad and a slice of Italian bread and I'm good to go.

Later, I met Chris for a movie. We opted for popcorn rather than dinner. We saw "The Artist" and enjoyed it thoroughly. This is the silent film. The silence didn't bother me at all. But I have to admit, there were so many times I wished I could see things in color. I love the 1920's and 1930's style of decorating and dress. I would have been nice to be able to see the color palettes. Anyway, it was really good.

After the movie, I went to Michaels. I haven't been there is quite awhile. Seems they have changed ALL of their dollar bins to $1.50 bins. Bummer.

Here are a few pictures from the shower on Saturday.
Here's the happy mom-to-be. She's a cute little pregnant girl! This baby afghan was made by my mom for her brother, Johnny. Jeanne (her mom) gave it to her with the understanding that if Johnny has a boy, she'll give it back. Angie is going to have a little boy.
All of a sudden, we have become the "old" aunts. How did that happen? All of the original "old" aunts are long gone now. Joyce is the only one missing.
Sharon made the centerpiece for the shower---the diaper cake on the right. One of Angie's friends made the diaper cake on the left. She made an airplane out of diapers. Since Angie's husband, Brian is a pilot, that was the perfect thing.

The fun is continuing. My friends, Pam, Nancy and Karolyn are arriving today. We're going antiquing today and tomorrow and then on to the scrapbook retreat on Thursday. I can't wait to scrapbook---it's been too long. It calms me---and I need that for balance in my life.