Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sette di noi fuori per l'Italia!

Seven of us set off for Italy! I thought about impressing you by doing this entire post in Italian. But, since I don't speak Italian (nor actually write it) I decided it would be too much trouble to fake!

Tomorrow is the big day. My sisters and I will meet up in Chicago mid day. It's going to be fun, tiring, crazy busy but completely EPIC!! At least I hope so. We've never travelled together before. Add to that, we are older and you know how older people have their own quirks. It will definitely be interesting!

I was talking to friends yesterday about families where some members are estranged. I was saying how my family has always been close. But after this trip, that could change!! I think we'll be fine as long as we steer clear of politics. That's about the only thing this family can get worked up about. Besides, there's really nothing good to say about politics on either side these days.

Anyway, I wanted to share this layout since it has a lot to do with the trip we are about to take. The AYM word for April was "when."
"When did we become the "OLD" aunts?" When we were growing up, we referred to my Italian grandmother and her sisters as the "old" aunts. All of a sudden, we find ourselves in that position---except we don't feel "old!" And our "old" aunts were younger than us when we started calling them that!

We plan to toast the "old" aunts on our trip. We're going to visit LaSpezia---the ancestral home. We're hoping to discover places our ancestors frequented. We do know of one church for sure. We had hoped to connect with some family members, but that didn't happen. Who knows? When we get there, we might just uncover something exciting.

Hopefully I'll be able to blog from Italy. But we have such a busy schedule, I might not have the time. We'll see.

Monday, April 25, 2016


It's been a really fun weekend. I started Saturday cleaning out my chest of drawers. You know, work before play!! Then I spent a few hours in my scrapbook room--that felt so good! There's nothing like playing with photos, paper and a good story.
I was having trouble getting my title letters to stick to the glittered red star. Since the layout is about wrapped Christmas gifts, I decided to just tape them down. That worked perfect!

After scrapbooking, I decided to take my book outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather. BTW I finished The Lake House by Kate Morton on Friday night. Excellent! Definitely read it. I've just started one of my book club books---When Breath Becomes Air---a memoir about a neurosurgeon who gets brain cancer. I have to read book club books closer to our meeting or I can't remember much.

The "kids" came over after lunch for their first day at the pool. The water is way too cold yet, but everything else about the day was perfect for catching a few rays.
Stephanie posted a photo on Facebook with the caption: "Who says it's not summer?"

Butch immediately texted her with the picture below.

He said everything was quiet at the beach. He had a great couple of days---took care of business, played golf, attended the homeowner's meeting and still had plenty of time to lounge on the beach.

I was really looking forward to Saturday night. I had invited myself to go along with Connie, Amanda and Analise to see Les Miserables at Franklin Road Academy.
Connie was warning me that it was a high school production and didn't know how good it would be. Les Mis is my all time---#1 musical. I knew what I was getting myself in to. I figured regardless of how the kids did, I would really enjoy the music. I didn't know there was such a thing as "School Edition." The play was great---the kids did a fabulous job with something so ambitious! The set and costumes were so good. As far as I could tell, there was only one thing they left out. It happens to be my most favorite scene in Les Mis. It's the duet between Jauvert and Valjean where they are singing in each other's face. Better they leave it out than butcher it! Other than that one thing, I could not tell what was different from the original production. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was glad I invited myself along. I can enjoy most theater---even if it's appreciating the work that goes in to it. FRA did themselves proud with their many talented singers.

I spent Sunday in my scrapbook room again. Butch got home before noon. We put burgers on the grill for dinner and caught up on a few shows.

Now it's time for me to start thinking about Italy. Friday will be here before I know it!

Sunday, April 24, 2016


My weekends always start on Friday.

Connie and I met her daughter, Amanda and grandchildren for lunch at Cinco de Mayo. The kids are growing up so fast. They are always fun to talk to---Analise is nearing teendom and is all about social media. She showed me some music videos that she and her cousin, Grace made. It amazes me what kids can do these days. She follows me on Pinterest---which I think is hilarious. I can't imagine which of my boards she would be remotely interested in: The Royals, Recipes, Scrapbooking, Fonts, etc. Her boards are what you would expect of a young girl: Hair styles, make-up, nail art, etc. I'm following her back, but I don't get on Pinterest much. That's one area where you can get carried away and waste hours!

Merritt got third place for his pinewood derby in Cub Scouts. When I heard that, I asked Connie to tell him to bring it. I knew he would love showing it off and telling me all about it.
He's the cutest guy and so well behaved. Sometimes he has a hard time getting a word in with his big sister---who wants to tell his stories for him. Maybe he doesn't talk fast enough for her!! Connie's always trying to "shush" her. It doesn't bother me at all. I had a couple of talkers when my girls were growing up too! Heck, I can be quite a talker myself!
Anyway, I asked Merritt about his car. He said that you buy a kit, then carve it and decorate it. He said it was a lot of fun to work on and took about a month because they didn't work on it every day. Apparently there are specific rules for the cars. They can't tape pennies to the bottom of them anymore.

I love to talk to the kids about school. Merritt is the more serious student. I always ask him about books. He's in the 3rd grade. I asked if he reads Amelia Bedelia and was quickly informed that---that was soooo 2nd grade! Analise, on the other hand will take the subject of school and go straight to all of her extracurricular activities. Gym is her favorite "subject!" Both of the kids do a lot of sports.

I'm happy to report that not only have I finished my closet clean-out, but I've also cleaned out my dresser and nightstand. All I have left is my vanity in the bathroom.
I have about 150 empty hangers now. I probably had 50 to spare to begin with. I love the neat, uniformity that matching hangers give to a closet. They're pretty cheap to buy---maybe 2 bucks for a dozen.
Of course I had to have matching white wooden pants hangers. I bought them on Amazon a few years ago. They were not this expensive when I bought them. Maybe you can find them cheaper elsewhere.
I bought those two white bins from Target---$7.00. One has socks, the other---underwear. I need to get one more for my "over the shoulder boulder holders." The baskets came in a lot of pretty pastel colors. I couldn't decide, so I just settled on white. Can't go wrong with that!
Nothing has changed here. I rarely wear necklaces, but there weren't any I wanted to part with.
Butch has been meaning to clean out his closet. He has nothing to be ashamed of here. His closet is always neat and tidy.
I'm showing these pictures to make the point that it doesn't really matter what type of hangers you use as long as they all match---like these white wired shirt hangers---just the cheapie ones from the cleaners. I never realized he had his clothes all color coordinated too.
 Okay, so there's one wooden suit hanger that doesn't match the others. Not too bad.
 And then there's this. I'm not quite sure what this is a collection of---but random hangers for sure.
I'd like to know what Butch thinks he has to clean out. It all looks pretty good to me.

Now on to my cousin, Chris! First off, Happy Birthday girl!!
We've been "besties" since we were kids. When we were teenagers, she was the one who cleaned out my closet for me. I was pretty lazy back then. I used to love helping her clean out her closet because she always gave me cool stuff! She had a lot more clothes, make up, jewelry and records than I did---smaller family, you know.

Well, apparently, my closet clean-out motivated her to do her own. She sent me these pictures.
First off, let me say that her closet ALWAYS looks this nice. She doesn't allow clutter to pile up.
I bet she knows what I'd say about those hangers. Finally---I have something on her!

Actually, my mother is the one who planted the "matching hanger importance" in my brain. When I was growing up, she assigned a color to each one of us 7 kids. I was red "x's." All of my clothes had little embroidered red "x's" so I knew which were my socks, underwear, school blouses and everything else that belonged to me. She carried it a step further and made yarn covered hangers to match our rooms. Mine were yellow. When she died a few years ago, those hangers---that we all took so for granted---became very valuable to us. We divided hers up evenly amongst us---boys included.
I keep them in my guest coat closet. Thanks mom!

Okay, that's enough about closets and closet organization! Just tell me one single thing you love about your own closet or the organization there of.

Whew! That was only Friday!!

Friday, April 22, 2016

I Was Sicker Than I Thought!

Basically, I've spent the last two days in bed.

On Tuesday, I started feeling bad and went to bed at 7:15. Wednesday morning wasn't so bad. I went to Nashville Needleworks to pick up fibers for our latest project. As I was there, I started feeling "woozy." I went home and to bed around 11:30 a.m. and slept the rest of the day. I had that flu-like feeling that I get with my hives, but didn't think that was it.

Butch insisted I see the doctor right away on Thursday so as not to mess up my Italy trip the end of next week. I got up early and planned to be there when the office opened at 8 a.m. I almost talked myself out of it as I could hardly get myself together to drive over (Butch is at a board meeting at the beach). I was the first one there. I got in right away. No fever. Blood pressure low. Weight---not going there but less than last time.

Diagnosis---double ear infection and bronchitis. She ordered a breathing treatment and steroid shot. I reminded her about the prednisone since that's steroid. She said it was fine. I've never even heard of a breathing treatment before. They put this liquid stuff (medicine, I guess) in this little container hooked to a breathing thing that plugged in to the wall. I was told to breath in deeply and exhale through my nose. The nurse left. About 10 minutes later she came back. The doctor came back in and checked my lungs again. She asked if I could breath easier. Since I didn't even realize I was having a problem breathing, I paid attention and said, "well, yes, now that you mention it I can breath easier!" I'm highly susceptible to suggestions. She said that I had far less wheezing than I did before.

She called in three prescriptions for me---an antibiotic, heavy duty cough suppressant and a nasal spray for my ears. I still was feeling pretty crappy, but decided that I didn't want to go home only to have to go back out later to get the prescriptions. I got to the pharmacy and was told it would be about a half hour before they would be ready. I was waiting in the car when suddenly I realized I wasn't feeling so bad anymore. Those steroids are miracle drugs.

I decided to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things. Look what I found:
I was so excited. But there's a few things wrong right off the bat. The packaging is wrong. And they are not by Sunshine.
Even when I opened the package, they look wrong. First of all, that's too much filling. Plus, they look like "seconds" all cattywampus. I really didn't care as the proof would be in the tasting.

I did what I always did with Hydrox---twisted it apart. I licked the frosting and it's exactly like an Oreo---your tongue just slides across it. Hydrox frosting is a little grittier and much more lickable. The chocolate cookie part wasn't right either---very much like an Oreo. Something tells me that they just tried to match the Oreo recipe an slap Hydrox on the label.

So beware! They are fake Hydrox. Butch is not going to be happy about that. Now we have Oreos and Hydrox in the pantry that I don't like!

If you are a Hydrox lover and have had a chance to try the new ones, let me know what you think.

PS I'm feeling great already!!! You know I'm sick if I miss my nail appointment and bridge!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A # of Things

Mindy's bridal portrait shoot was a couple of weeks ago. #1. We went back to her old alma mater where we had taken her First Communion photos. #2. St. Cecilia Academy (SCA) has been the butt of jokes for many years because of those fearsome scarabs. #3. They've finally decided to embrace them! #4. If you look close you can see the little line of ladybugs walking on the sign.
I went to Atlanta last week with Stephanie---well just because I hadn't been anywhere in at least a couple of weeks! #1. Ya' gotta love a hotel that provides outlets on their bedside lamps. #2.  Thanks Hampton Inn!
Picked up the "preserved" wedding dress. #1. Where the heck are we going to keep this? #2. How do we know if the dress is really in there? #3. Wedding expenses continue...
I really don't understand scented candles. #1. Yankee Candles have been my favorites. #2. Recently, I've tried Bath and Body Works candles. #3. Some smell throughout the house and others just don't. #4. This one from BBW smells so good all through the house (well, most of it), but is really too strong in the kitchen where it's burning. #5. Others smell good just where they are burning. #6. You really don't know what you're going to get until you buy them.
 Butch gave me a Groupon for Christmas to Music City Tea. #1. I didn't know we had a tea company. #2. I went after stopping at Hobby Lobby which looked to be right across the street. After driving around for 15 minutes, I discovered it's in the same shopping center as HL! #3. Who knew?
 OMGosh! #1. Remember those pesky pantry moths? #2. It's been nearly two years since it began---August 2014. #3. I've had the traps out ever since. #4. I've gone months with no moths. #5. Just like that, one moth two months in a row. #6. I'll be using these traps forever!
 Last Saturday, the girls and I went to the Southern Women's Show. #1. Met the channel 2 morning crew---Justin and Dawn. #2. Huge show. #3. Crowded. #4. Still a lot of fun!
 Mindy wanted us to go for this reason. #1. Neil---morning anchor on the left introducing Val Chermovsky. #2. Dancing with the Stars.

#1. I have another bronchial thing going on. Since the cough lingered so long from the last one I might go to the doctor this time. Maybe.
#2. Butch left for the beach this morning. Protecting the investments.
#3. Getting everything organized for our latest stitching class. Fiber purchases on the agenda.
#4. Finishing up the closet today. Swimsuit try ons---UGH!
#5. Looking forward to playing in my scrapbook room! Can't wait! Fun AFTER the work!

How are your  numbers shaping up?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Did She or Didn't She?

SHE DID!!! Well, partly. I got started cleaning out my closet. No procrastination this time. I spent 4 hours and am 2/3's of the way done. My back hurt from all that bending, but I feel great to be this far along. I'm going to finish tomorrow morning.

Here are the preliminary results:
I even have an empty shelf! Of course, since I have 10ft. ceilings, I can't reach it. I'll probably put some tote bags there. I didn't even go to the top shelves because those are needlepoint pillow that I am saving. I didn't make them, but they are pretty cool---old florals. I don't really know why I'm saving them. Our kids aren't going to want them. In fact, our kids don't want any of our stuff. I've known that for awhile, but just recently read an article about how nobody's kids want their stuff!! I have a lot of things I need to turn loose that I've been saving.
 This is my view looking in to the closet now. This makes me so happy. I did do one more section, but have not photoed that yet.

While cleaning out, I made some discoveries.
 This was my favorite sweater last year. I wore the heck out of it. I haven't worn it a single time this year---somehow, it got buried and I forgot about it. I'm keeping it so next fall when I start wearing it, it will seem like new again. That's what I'm telling myself,
 I've never even worn this. Not my color. Don't know why I bought it. Probably cheap.
 Ditto here. I think I've worn it once, but yellow is not my color either. It's going.
 This posed a dilemma. Should I keep this woolen glove purse or get rid of it. I only use it for when we go to Christmas Village. It's the perfect size for a credit card and some cash. You wear it around your neck like a necklace. I keeping it.
This is the only Christmas sweater I kept. I love pink and green at Christmas---especially since pink is my favorite color to wear. Why am I keeping it---since Christmas sweaters seem to be "out"---because someone always needs one for an "ugly sweater" party. I sort of resent that, but figure it's just my age getting in the way.
This sweater? Apparently I liked it so much I bought it twice!! Really, I didn't know that. But, it's a good thing I did. When I "uncovered" the new one, I was so happy. I was able to get rid of the first one. As much as I like it, it catches on everything and had pulls all over it. Now I have a new one that I can try to be a little more careful with---or not wear jewelry with.
 I have no idea what I was thinking here. It's gone.
These are just some of the bags full of clothes I'm getting rid of. Add about 3 more and you have the whole picture.

Boy does it feel good to clean out! Next to my love for family and friends, organization is my favorite! Chrissy, aren't you so proud of me? (I learned it all from my favorite cousin!)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Upon Procrastination

I am not a procrastinator.

The main reason that I do not procrastinate is due to how I was raised. We were taught that you could not "play" until the work was done. No matter what the work was, you had to finish it before you could take off for the day.

Even though I don't really think like that these days---I'm the boss of ME and can do whatever I want---it's an unconscious thought that keeps me on the straight and narrow. All through my volunteer years---I was "chief" organizer---chairing too many events to count. I had many great people that loved to work with me and we all worked well together. I could count on them and they could count on me. What I learned early on is that it didn't matter how long you gave a person to do a task, they usually waited until the last minute. Me, not so much. I usually started right away---thinking things like---"what if something comes up next week and I can't get to it?" Or, "what if I'm sick next week or the week after?" What if, what if what if...

Of course, it's easy to NOT procrastinate if you are really looking forward to a task. With me, that poses quite a quandary. If I'm looking forward to the task it becomes FUN which puts it in to a whole 'nother category.

This week, I listened to a Ted Talk about procrastinating. Ironically, I have had it on my "reading list" for about a year---I procrastinated listening to the talk about procrastinating! Why? Because listening to Ted Talks is FUN! It was so interesting---and hilarious. What I learned was that WE are ALL procrastinators! I was shocked at that thought! When the explanation came, I realized that "he" was right---I AM a procrastinator!

This fellow (I have a terrible memory--that's a completely different problem!) was explaining about the two different types of procrastinators. You have regular procrastinators who procrastinate with just about everything whether they have a deadline or not. And then you have the people like me who never procrastinate when they have a deadline, but procrastinate just about EVERYTHING that doesn't have a deadline!

OMGosh! What a revelation! It made me take a hard look at myself. I AM a major procrastinator. I never thought about it, but that would explain why I never was able to get the ironing done. I had that on my "to do" list for at least 5 years before I just took it off. I never iron! I'm never going to iron! Who am I kidding---I just decided to face that fact and take it off of my list. What a relief---it no longer haunts me.  If I need to iron, it's on an "as needed" basis---which is pretty rare. A fluff in the dryer is good enough for me! I used to joke that I just waited until everything in the laundry basket went out of style and then just got rid of it. That's where I came up with the label of "lazy" for myself. Turns out I'm not lazy---just a procrastinator. That seems better. I don't really consider myself a lazy person (my siblings would say otherwise---as they called me that all the time growing up).

I live with a major procrastinator. I always somehow thought of that as a flaw. Now don't get me wrong---he's an extremely hard worker and does all kinds of unpleasant things that I would totally procrastinate myself. But what I am now realizing---he only procrastinates the things I want him to do! Boy, wouldn't a therapist love to get ahold of this one! Now that I know the key to procrastinators is a deadline---I'll be giving "him" deadlines from now on! Then we'll see how things go!

I also realized that my procrastination---although I didn't recognize that---is the reason I live my life on a timeline! I inadvertently SET deadlines for myself in order to get things done. I organize my house---which basically means clean out stuff---every January. This January, I didn't do a thing---using Mindy's wedding as my excuse. Heck no---I was totally on top of the wedding and basically wasted January. Now I have "clean out my closet" on the "to do" list and haunting me. Well, NO MORE! I refuse to have to call myself a procrastinator!! Today is the day. I'm tacking that closet. Yep, I am. You read it here. It's happening! For sure! Well, right after I catch up on some blog reading and my morning tea and a show I want to watch so I can stitch and checking out Facebook. Hmmm, maybe I'll just start on it today and finish tomorrow or Sunday, or next weekend. And my book is so good. What the heck, maybe it can wait until next January. What do you think?

It's going to require a LOT of trying on. A lot! A whole lot. Yes, I'm doing it! Maybe...

What have you procrastinated lately? Come on, now that I know we all do it, fess up!

PS If you are so inclined, here is the link to that Ted Talk if you have a spare 14 minutes. So worth it!