Friday, July 31, 2015

I Haven't Scrapbooked....

since I can't remember when. The sad part about that statement is that storytelling---and the scrapbooking that goes along with it---is my passion!!

I'm blaming it all on Connie---my #1 best friend---sorry Karolyn, you'll always be my #2 (ewww, I guess that doesn't sound so good---but you know what I mean). Connie retired at the end of the school year. I promised her that she wouldn't be bored. Soooooo, with our Movie Mondays, Stitching Tuesdays, Tuesday or Wednesday and Friday pool days, my Thursday bridge days AND dozens of assorted books we're reading and discussing---there simply is not much time left for scrapbooking. And, I haven't even mentioned my own household chores and beach house responsibilities. I think you get the picture.

I've been waiting for Connie to retire for a long time now. We met nearly 30 years ago when she moved in to the neighborhood. The girls and I had been waiting for someone with children near their ages. Sandy and Amanda---and Stephanie and Malinda---hit it off right away and became the best of friends. Connie and I met at a party the night before and arranged for the girls to meet the very next day. We had one good summer together before Connie broke the news to me that she was going back to work. She is the last of my friends to finally "give it up" and retire. I have all sorts of plans for us swimming around in my head (no pun intended). But, unfortunately, unless we plan way far ahead---there simply is not enough time or free days.

I want more mystery trips. I have an idea for a "grandmothers and grandchildren" trip (my, that sounds old---we're not, so that trip will be cool). I have many ideas for classes and things to be learned. I have ideas for sightseeing and cultural trips. I want us to learn new things. I want her to play bridge with me (on that she refuses, but I'll wear her down---after all, my regular bridge partner is not getting any younger---and bridge is NOT something I want to give up). In a nutshell, I have plans for us!

Let me tell you a little something about Connie. First off, she is a loyal friend. If she makes plans with me, she doesn't cancel unless there's an emergency. She won't cancel because a better offer has come along---and I'm sure there have been many. She is the type that would do anything for you. You hear that about people all the time. But with Connie, it's really true. And, I'm not the only one she'd do anything for. She's just that type of gal. I've always said that she's lucky to have a guy like Jack---she has drug him to more school events, wakes and funerals, weddings of people she barely knows---than anyone else I know. She has a keen sense of loyalty and is always "doing the right thing." I sort of live in that gray area of "doing what I think is right, but also doing what I want."

Connie and I have had many adventures over the years---camping out for New Kids on the Block tickets and tracking down Malinda's stolen cell phone to a bad part of town (in hindsight, that probably wasn't the best idea)---just a couple of things that come to mind. She's even the kind of friend that will invite you for dinner and then ask you to bring the food! When I arrived, I asked her what she would have done for dinner if we hadn't come! In all fairness, said dinner was omelets, but she had no eggs or cheese. Still, it was a treat to have someone else make it! I'll bring the eggs and cheese any time!

There have been parties, movies, games, 5:30 a.m. everyday walks, and umpteen trips to the theater---just another passion we share. I could never get her interested in scrapbooking---which surprises me because she has the best stories of anyone I know). The list could go on and on. We're older now, but Connie is still up for an adventure. Now I just have to figure out when we can work one in to the schedule!

I love that girl! As for when I'm going to have time to scrapbook? I guess, I'll join the ranks of women that only scrapbook when they are on retreats! That's sad, but the truth of it. Luckily for me, those opportunities come at least 4 or 5 times a year!
I wish I had more photos of us when we were younger, but I don't. This particular picture was the start of a little girls trip to the lake. Man, I loved those Ray Bans---sadly they were stolen with my purse---but that's another story.
Now I just have random photos of us when we're a bit---quite a bit---older. Oh well, at least we're still around to be in photos! That's my #2 in the background.

Have you really thought about your best friend lately? What does she mean to you? What adventures have you shared over the years? There's a scrapbook page. In fact, I'll be using this blog post for one!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Cautionary Tale

There are so many ways that unscrupulous people try to rip you off. I don't think a week goes by that I don't get one of those emails from a solicitor from some foreign country that is trying to contact me about an inheritance worth millions of dollars. I don't have any relatives in foreign countries worth millions. If so, I'm sure I would have heard about them! Or our family would be contacting them!!!

And then there's the computer hackers that freeze up your internet and list a phone number to call. That's an easy one to fall for. They will take control of your computer and eliminate the bug for several hundred dollars if you just give them your credit card number. They tell you that Apple will charge you much more when, in fact, Apple charges NOTHING for security related issues. I blogged about that awhile back. You can read about it HERE! 

I realize that these scams exist because there are still people who fall for them. I don't know how or who they are, because they seem so sketchy from the start. 

Here's what's happened to me lately. I am the rental agent for the two beach houses that we own and rent out. I received the following request from Warsaw Poland:

Thanks for the updated information. We are okay with the accommodation and date .
We would also like to confirm the reservation on the following information:

Mr. chris Koffie and Mrs Roseann Tremo
45 Woronicza , 
02-625 Warsaw, Poland
tremland@outlook .com

Also , due to the unsecured use of credit card online or on the phone,I have arrange for payment inform of a check (in USD)
Please do forward me the following details for payment


Hope to hear from you soon
Best Regards
Roseann Tremo

Right away, I thought---who would come all the way from Poland to spend 6 days at the beach in Panama City, FL. Still, I sent the contract. All of the information that Roseann requested is in the contract, so I wasn't alarmed to provide that information.

Two days later, I received this email from Roseann:

Good day
I am sorry for all the delay in payment.
There was a mix up in the payment sent to you ,I was supposed to receive two
separate payment one for you and the other for our traveling expenses
but the whole payment was issued on a single one check in your name and
sent .
I tried to correct this but it was in vain as i was ask to
resolve the problem myself. It would have to go through a very long
process to change this error.
Please I don't know what to do. I have been advised to contact you since this check was issued in your name , so you should be able to deposit the check into your account.

As soon as you have the check deposited into your account you are to
deduct your rent and transfer the balance to my agent or to us .
Please do let me know how you can help on this issue.

Now, I am not an idiot. Right away, I recognized this for the scam that it is. My response:

I am sorry, but you are going to have to resolve it on your end. Here in the US, this sort of scenario is a total scam. I cannot be a part of it.
Are you surprised to find that I did not get a response? In hindsight, I wish I had agreed to accept the check. Then when I got it, I could possibly have alerted the authorities. Probably nothing would have happened, but I'd love to be a part of putting these scammers in jail!

Be careful!! Don't trust anything you get via email! It might sound tempting, but don't fall for it!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Beach

Sandy and I had planned a little trip to Panama City after our family vacation. We had such a good time---it was a perfect schedule. We slept in every day, had breakfast around 9-ish, then went straight to the pool. After spending a few hours there, we came in and had lunch. We played a game every day, then read/napped. Originally, we planned to go to the beach late in the day when it wasn't so hot and when it wasn't so crowded. As it turned out, we only spent one day on the beach. Everyone knows I'm not a huge beach lover. The sand drives me crazy, I don't like the taste of the water which will definitely splash up in to your mouth even while wading, and I hate being so hot! When you are on the beach, you roast! Victoria and Elizabeth are not beach lovers either, so we were on the same page. Sandy would have preferred a little more beach time, but in the end, we were all satisfied with a lot of pool time.

A trip to the beach would not be complete without a stop at Alvin's Island! It was right across the street from our condo.

This was our first time to Panama City. But, I have to say, after going to Santa Rosa for 30 years---that place holds my heart!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Mystery

I just don't understand people. I think we can all agree that traveling can be a hassle. The destination might be fun, but the actual getting there might not be.

On Friday, I was flying back from the beach. The lady sitting next to me had 3 little boys sitting across the aisle. She was alone with the boys. I'm guessing their ages were 8, 5 & 3. Traveling alone with 3 little ones is trouble enough. But, she made it so much harder on herself. Each of the boys had their own little suitcase and backpack. Uhhhh, are you kidding me? She had a hard time finding overhead bin space for all of those suitcases---plus her own.

When it was time to de-plane, she had to get all of the suitcases down and given to each child. The 3 year old was first and not quite sure what to do. The woman had to tell him 3 times to start walking off the plane. All of them, including the mom were struggling with luggage and carry-ons.

Why in the world would you not check your bags? Not only did she have to keep up with the children, she also had to keep up with all of their belongings. I was behind them when they got off the plane. Nashville wasn't even their final destination. So, she had to round up the boys and get to their next gate---with ALL that stuff and do it all over again!! I'm sure by the time she got to her destination she was worn out. But really, she made it so much harder on herself.

It's a mystery to me.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

It's Really True...

...time flies when you're having fun.

My sister's weekend went by way too fast. We floated in the pool, ate, played, took a Segway tour of downtown Nashville, went for a steak and lobster dinner, played poker and drank---a lot! Well, I should say everyone drank a lot except me. I just don't. I'm too much of a lightweight when it comes to drinking. It's a very fine line between having a good time and being sick. One glass of wine---two at most---is enough for me. Still we all had the best time.

I had Mary, my travel agent/friend come for lunch on Friday. I made a big Italian salad with cheese bread. Jeanne brought the Provel cheese I requested. It's made only in St. Louis. Sometimes people refer to it as Italian Velveeta. That's what St. Louis style pizza uses---not mozzarella---Provel. So good.

Anyway, I had Mary there to discuss our Italy trip in the spring. All 7 of us are going. We will have so much fun---we all get along beautifully. Sure, we might have some disagreements, but there's so many of us that we put everything to a vote. Works for us! We'll fly in to Rome and spend a couple days there. We'll have a day trip from Rome to Pompeii. We'll go to Tuscany and take in as much as we can. Cinque Terre is on the list as well as La Spezia---our ancestral home town. I'm hoping to line up someone that can help us find the Church where our ancestors were Baptized and married. It would be especially fun if we could connect with relatives. We'll see---that's a tall order and I have no idea how to go about finding someone to help me.

On Sunday, I went to the airport with Janice and Joyce. While they took off for home---Texas and Indiana---I flew to Panama City, Florida to meet up with Sandy, Victoria and Elizabeth for 5 days at the beach.

Some fun photos from our weekend:
Janice, me, Jeanne, Joyce (behind Jeanne), Sharon, Janet (behind) and Jennifer. Prior to their visit, I was looking through my photos for a picture of all of us girls. I didn't have a single one with all of us in it.
When we were younger, we referred to my grandmother's sisters as the "old aunts." Somewhere along the line, we became them! Janet (with the help of our cousin, Judy---thanks Judy) had these photos of the old aunts blown up and made in to fans. It's sort of a joke because we had already assigned each aunt to one of us for reasons that matched each of us. Janice has Aunt Stella due to the same hairstyle and color. I'm grandma (Maria Jennie) because I'm the oldest and bossy (although, all of my sisters can give me a run for my money in the bossy department!) Jeanne is Aunt Pauline because  she's the crabby one. Joyce is Aunt Josephine because they share some of the same facial expressions. Sharon is Aunt Elda because she's an "in-law." Janet is our mother---because there wasn't another aunt for her to be. And Jennifer is Aunt Annie because she's a work horse---which could actually fit for all of us. We're taking these to Italy with us because once the Pagella family made it to the U.S. none of the sisters ever got to go back. We're taking them!

 Heavy concentration at the poker table. I lost $8.50. I'm usually a winner, so I can't complain.
Sharon was the big winner---considering she rarely plays poker, I was happy for her.

We talked about so much:

Ronnie is so smitten with Evie that he built her an elaborate playhouse/playset. When there was water under the slide after a rain, he put in a French drain---for a swing set!!! Anything for Evie. Janet is starting to "use" her to get what she wants from the old grouch! Janet and Jackie are going to get Evie to ask for a pool for next summer! They'll get it---he can't refuse Evie.

Janice just spent a week in St. Louis taking care of Uncle Jules and Aunt Irma. They are in very poor health---Hospice has been coming. Janice cooked and did laundry for them. They were very grateful. She's going back for another week in August---and probably one week a month for as long as they last. Janice is good-hearted. I never knew she could cook, but Jennifer says she's a good cook. Uncle Jules and Aunt Irma liked her cooking so much they bought a barbecue grill for her to use!

Our niece, Ranya (Jennifer's daughter) got married on July 1st. They'll be hosting a party for her in St. Louis soon. Jennifer works 4 days a week so she can spend 3 days on their farm in Salem, MO. After two heart attacks last summer, she works out every day. She looks fabulous! I just wish I could have her hair.

Jeanne's little grandson, Travis finally likes her. He spends the night and doesn't want to go home! She said that she lets him do and have anything he wants. She doesn't make him go to bed either. Finally, at around 10:15, he said he was "tired" (in a little 3 yr. old voice) and wanted to go to bed. I guess he was confused that no one was making him go to bed. He finally gave up! The next day, when Jeanne took him home, he was all mad. She asked him if he wanted to run errands with her---assuring him that it would not be fun. He jumped at it! When they left, little Nathan (not quite a year) was sobbing at the door. I would not have been able to leave him behind! The jury's still out whether he wanted to go with Jeanne, or just didn't want his big brother to leave again! We're not sure whether he likes her or not---remember, she's the crabby one! Only kidding, she's not that crabby! And definitely not with her grandkids!

Sharon filled us in on all of Matt's retirement plans next spring. He'll only be 55. I think he wants to pursue his second career---as a fishing guide. Poor Sharon doesn't seem to have much say in the matter. Matt wants to sell the house and get something smaller with less maintenance. We'll see.

Joyce is finally back to work after her accident---broken wrist on the job. She's had surgery and lots of rehab over the last year. She's anxious to get back to her regular job. She's been in another department until she was cleared to return to her old job. As a result, that department has increased it's numbers. They gave her a bonus and are begging her to stay. She says "no" as she likes her old job much better. She lifts heavy boxes. To her, it's also how she works out.

Joyce's daughter, Devon has completed her first year of college at Indiana University. She settled in just fine. Back home for the summer, she returned to her job at Panera Bread. In order to give her more hours, they cut Madison's hours (her sister who took her job when she went away to college.) Madison is starting her senior year and the college process.

So there you have just a little snippet from each sister's life!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Another Sister's Weekend

Today, Wednesday---starts our annual sisters weekend. There are 7 of us and EVERYBODY is coming this year. And, wouldn't you know it, I go upstairs to make sure everything is ready and the air conditioning is not working!! This happens EVERY time we have out-of-owners. My heat and air guy---whose company I've used for over 20 years now is MIA. The number I've always used is "not in service or has been disconnected." I feel kind of sick about it. I trust this family owned business. The grandfather just retired a couple years ago, so I've been dealing with the grandson, who I also like and trust. Now I have no idea what's going on with them.

I called a new company and they are going to "try to get to me this afternoon!" That's really not good enough. Here in the south, AC when you have company is a necessity. It's 86 degrees upstairs. I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed. I can't believe this has happened again---on the day we're expecting people. Just like the last time Ronnie and Janet and then my sister Janice and her friend visited. Sheesh!!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to my sisters.
Joyce, me, Jeanne, Jennifer and Janice. I don't know where Sharon and Janet were when we took this picture.

We're going to have fun! We always do. We'll spend a lot of time floating in the pool. We'll go to dinner at my favorite steak place. I've got a surprise guest lined up for lunch on Friday. Then, on Saturday, we're doing a Segway Tour of downtown Nashville. We'll still have time to work in some games or poker. It all works out just fine---Butch is fishing in Louisiana with his friend. It will truly be a girls weekend.

I hope they all behave!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Another Mystery!

I've mentioned before how we'll find unusual things when we come back from being out-of-town. Many times they have been mysteries as no one in the family will claim the item. The difference is that this time, the whole family was with us. So imagine my confusion when I found this in the mud room:
It's a little slab of marble about the size of a brick---except an inch thick. I asked Butch about it. It almost looks like a piece of some sort of trim. He and I, both, were trying to figure out where it came from. I figured Margarita must have found it somewhere while she was cleaning.

Later, while floating in the pool with my friends, I bought it up. Karolyn looked at me quizzically and said, "that's ours. I can't imagine why we brought it in the house." They were in the process of moving last week and needed to temporarily borrow some freezer space. They stopped by to put some things in ours.

At least this mystery was solved! We just never know what we'll find when we come home! We have a lot of people coming and going at our place!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday

In honor of our recent Disney trip, I thought it only fitting to share a picture from our first and only visit to Disneyland!
Circa: 1989. Stonewashed jeans; big glasses! Although we had a great time here, we've always gone to Disney World. It's much closer and just makes sense.

Disney has our hearts! We can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Few Disney Pictures

On Tuesday, Elizabeth and I took off on our own to really explore Epcot.

 This is the train garden in Germany at Epcot. The only thing we didn't get to do in Germany was the Snow White show. It wasn't starting until 1:30 and it was only 11:30. We chose not to wait.
We were surprised by how few people were in Epcot. Then we realized that things didn't really start to get going until around noon. Still, we enjoyed the clam and quite. It's really HOT in Epcot. Not quite enough shade.
 We stopped for a live show. Since it was so hot in Disney, I had empathy for ALL of the cast members and their "hot" clothes. Even the lifeguards had on long sleeve shirts.
We arrived at 7:30 on the day the Magic Kingdom was to open at 8 a.m. We always go early. But this was the first time that they let us in at 7:40 to be greeted with a "Good Morning" song.
 The train pulled up and the Disney characters unloaded to greet us.
We got to enter the park a full 15 minutes before the early hours!! That has never happened to us before. I'd heard of it, but never experienced it. A great way to start the day. Until it wasn't!! We went directly to Peter's Pan Flight and got in line---15 minute wait. Turns out, one of the cast members came along saying they were looking for Tinkerbelle and her magic pixie dust to help get the ride started. We knew then that they were having problems. We left the line and were able to get on the new Dwarfs Mine Ride without too much of a wait.
From the time Mindy was about 9 months old, Dumbo was her favorite. I put the VHS tape in every day for an uninterrupted hour and fifteen minutes.
 As she says, it wouldn't be Disney without a ride on Dumbo!
 Probably the thing I love the most about Disney is the attention to details. The pavement in the "Big Top" area where the Dumbo ride is located is embedded with peanuts! How darn cute!
And then all of the trash and recycle bins look like popcorn boxes. The theme of the cans changed in every area. I wish I would have taken pictures of them all.
Mindy also dressed for the occasion. She even bought another dress for Sandy. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of her.
 If you look close, you can see that the print is Disney! Sandy's dress was white and very cute too.
 Nicky, Morgan, Stephanie and Jordan.
 Mitchell, Sandy, Elizabeth, Greg and Victoria in front of the Magic Kingdom.
We laughed at Mitchell all week at his odd combination of clothing. These socks are an orange print. He says that all he wears are "gift" clothes. He doesn't buy clothes and has no interest in them. Quite a departure from a few years ago when Vineyard Vines was about all he wore! Actually, come to think of it, those were gift clothes too!
Sandy wanted to do miniature golf for the first time. Of course, the family made it a competition. I wasn't there. I don't really like miniature golf. I thought I might tag along and take some pictures, but in the end, I was tied up taking Morgan to her exam. Sandy is thinking this might be her Christmas card picture this year.

I didn't take too many pictures on this trip---nor did I intend to. I have so many pictures from Disney over the years. I do wish we'd had one big family picture made. I didn't even think about it. Oh well, I guess we'll have a new family picture made at the WEDDING!! No date yet, but soon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Great Expectations?

I received an email from Morgan---she also sent it to her mom. She's going to be moving in to her new apartment in August and has enlisted my help with the decorating. Her expectations are a little too great if you ask me!! Check out my response below her list.

Here is a list of what is going on in each room so you guys can get an idea of what I'm going for. I have attached links to stuff and if y'all buy any of it (you don't have to, just to show you what I like), let me know so I don't buy it as well! Thanks!! Tell me what y'all think..

I have some art for my room and all my furniture and such. I like this wall decal for over my bed:
I also need curtains in this room… The colors in the bedroom vary but the bedding is white and art and such are all colors.

I want to get silver soap dispenser and kleenex holder for in the bathroom.
I also want to get these three prints to hang on the wall along with frames for them:
I would like to get two red towels along with a red mat for in front of the sink as well.

Living Room:
I have a red couch and need a coffee table. I would like to have all black furniture but if you have any sort of table let me know. I also need two smaller tables/shelving (black as well) to have my aquarium set up on one and my record player set up on the other. Here are some things I like for the walls in this room:
Also, do you have any pillows to throw on the couch? Colors?
I need an area rug for in here, the whole living room is hardwood.
This room also needs curtains.

I am making the area where the table would go into an office space. What is the desk you have like? I need something small. And what is the chair like?
A rug for this area would be nice as well

I also want one of these chalkboard type deals like mom has for my keys and grocery list
My kitchen has a lot of area on top of the cabinets so I was thinking of putting some decor up there as well if you have ideas for that… as far as kitchen stuff goes my dad has a lot for me but if you have any mixing bowels, tupperware, tumblrs or to go coffee mugs, a mixer, blender, or any spices and kitchen essential type things that would be great. I have a bar in the kitchen so I need 3 bar chairs for that

Other than that I would like a mat for the front door and a mat for the patio.

Ahhh, my sweet, little, naive Morgan. At first I thought this was a joke. Then I realized that you have no concept of what a young college student’s apartment will look like. Most likely, nothing will match as you take hand-me-downs where ever you can get them. That’s where I come in. I will work my magic and have your place looking fun and stylish. It won’t be the least bit embarrassing, but neither will it look like a photo from House Beautiful magazine—more like something from “College Cute.” Trust me, I have had nothing but satisfied customers in all of my decorating endeavors!

I think she understands now that her expectations are a little too great! I'll be sure to share photos when I finish!
Morgan's on the right. Jordan is on the left. I'm decorating her apartment too---but she has NO expectations!! Still, I have some really fun and cute ideas for her too!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Appealing for Help from my Mac Usin' Friends

Hey All,
I'm having a problem with an email address. It's a Yahoo address and I cannot get my Mac to "train." It keeps reverting back to the old email which is no longer valid. I've removed the old address from my contacts. I've even removed the person and then re-added her.

It's a problem because I can't seem to remember to physically put in the correct address eery time. I probably email her daily.

Any help or ideas? Anyone else have any problems like this? It could be a Yahoo thing as this is the only Yahoo email address I have in my contacts.

I hope someone out there can help me!!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Perfect Ending to our Disney Vacation!

Justin got down on one knee at the Magic Kingdom to cheers and applause from onlookers!
Apparently, spending the week with us didn't scare him away! We love Justin and are happy to welcome him in to the family! It's about time!
 Justin's brother (who works at Disney) arranged for a photographer to capture the moment!

She couldn't be happier and neither could we!!
The ring is gorgeous---rose and white gold intertwined with little diamonds throughout.
Hmmm, sounds like the title of my blog. I only hope that after 44 years together, they can say they are "living happily ever after!"

We love you, Mindy! And Justin! Congratulations!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

And Just When you Think Disney Can't Get Any Better...

 they do!!
And you can count it as a snack on your food plan.
And, YES, I bought this for my collection. There are one or two more that just might win me over tomorrow!

Disney's catchphrase says it all: "Welcome Home!"