Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

I hope you all have a great day! I might take myself to see "It!" But only in the day time.

For your pleasure---the Halloween decorations of my friend, Nancy E.!

Notice the pumpkin in the background? It contains Halloween "suckers" that we needlepointed years ago. I gave mine to Sandy. They're really cute.
I love that creepy hand! The black tablecloth is perfect with the spider web runner.

 I love her tablescape! There's nothing that says Halloween like spooky hands, spiders and  pumpkins!

More creepy stuff!
On Saturday, we were in Baltimore. I took a little time to visit the home of Edgar Allen Poe. I thought it was fitting--so close to Halloween. Turns out, he only lived there for two years. The house was a disappointment. There was no furniture. They didn't even know which room he stayed in. The fact that he died in Baltimore under mysterious circumstances and is buried there is the reason for the house---I guess.

And then there was this:
I took Stephanie, Mindy to the ballet last Thursday night. We've only been to one ballet and that was about 30 years ago---The Nutcracker---at Christmas time. Well, when I saw that this was happening, I thought it would be a fun thing to do right before Halloween. You know how much I adore the theater? The ballet---not so much! When we arrived, we were told that the first act would be 15 minutes followed by a 20 minute intermission. Steph asked how many acts there were. Just two. The second act would be 50 minutes long.

The first performance was "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe---which made my visit to his house a priority! Anyway, when it was over, I leaned over and said, "I guess there's a reason it's been 25 years since we've been to the ballet!" I hadn't read "The Raven" since high school--nearly 50 years ago! I barely remembered the story. I could hardly figure out what was going on. After it was over, Mindy noticed that there was a synopsis in the program. Now it made more sense! We read the synopsis for Lizzie Borden and we're glad we did. Otherwise we wouldn't have known what the heck was going on.

I'll say this, the dancers are extremely graceful and definitely muscular athletes. They pick people up and twirl them around like they are feathers. But the biggest shocker was the ballerina playing Lizzie. She took off ALL her clothes and was fully naked on stage! That's in keeping with the story that Lizzie must have committed the murders in the nude since there was no blood evidence on her clothes. They did not show the actual murders, so it wasn't gruesome. She just stripped down, grabbed the axe, disappeared a bit, re-appeared and put her clothes back on.

When it was over, people were going wild---I tell you! Just like I do about musical theater. But for us---let's just say, we don't need to see another ballet for 25 more years! Still, Mindy thanked me for always finding fun and unusual stuff for us to do.

Next up---the Polar Express after Thanksgiving. Yep, we'll be boarding a train and heading to Watertown, TN for the afternoon!

Sunday, October 29, 2017


You know, I swear that awful stuff happens to us! I know that awful stuff happens to a lot of people, but I think we have more unusual, bad situations than most! 

So, we’re having our house painted. Our regular painter that we used for 20 years retired. That meant we had to find a new one. Butch found a company that was highly rated by the Better Business Bureau and Home Advisor. They came out, gave us a bid that while expensive, seemed fair for all the work they needed to do. We have some rotted wood that needs replacing and some ceiling repair on both of our porches. Everything needed power washing. That’s when he trouble began.

Now, we are aware that our 10 sets of French doors are not airtight. When we would clean the front porch every year, the water would come in the house—in the living and dining rooms. We were prepared for that. Or, I should say, we should have been prepared for that. We grabbed every beach towel and bath towel in the house and got to work. What we didn’t expect was that in the course of power washing, the tops of the doors are not air tight either! We had water everywhere—on top of the furniture near the doors and  on the pillows and throw. We cleaned up. About the time we were finished, I looked at Butch and said, “I guess we better go upstairs and check.”

OMGosh! What a huge mess! The carpets were soaked. There was even water on top of the dresser and nightstands in Mindy’s room. We mopped it all up—using ALL the towels upstairs too. There are waterspots on the furniture. I haven’t done anything yet to see if I can get those off. This all happened as I was trying to get out the door to go to the theater and didn’t really have time to deal with it. The main goal was to sop up as much water as we could. 

We had no idea what was to come. The next day, I went out to get my flu shot. When I got home, as I walked in to the kitchen, I noticed the water all over the counter. Apparently, our windows are not airtight either! 
Besides the water mess, dirt and debris from my window box came in too! It even landed on the side of the cabinets! I had just gotten that mess cleaned up when Butch got home. He had put towels in front of the French doors in the kitchen and family room in preparation for that mess. That worked except the towels were a saturated, drippy mess that I had to traipse through the house to the laundry room. That’s when I noticed the wet towels from the previous day on the floor. I told Butch, “you know, wet towels on the hardwood floors in the laundry room is just as bad as wet towels on the floor in the living room and dining room!” Actually, the floors in the back hallway and laundry room are already ruined due to wet beach towels and drippy people traipsing in all summer for 22 years!

Anyway, after cleaning up the mess in the family room, we went in to the sun room. I HAD NO IDEA THAT THOSE WINDOWS WERE NOT AIRTIGHT EITHER! That room is ALL windows. I was about ready to start crying. We had to move all the furniture to wipe down ALL the windows, sills and floor. Once again, the water sopped in to the carpet in some areas. I feel like the whole house is in disarray.

Here’s the scary part. Once again, I was leaving for the theater. The next morning (Friday), we were up at 4:30 a.m. to head to Baltimore. You’ve probably guessed at what I’m going to say. We did NOT go upstairs to see what mess we have there! The rooms we did not check are: the rec room, Butch’s office, the guest bedroom and bath and my scrapbook room. Frankly, we just didn’t have the time. Those rooms are all carpeted, so it’s not like we have water sitting on hardwood floors. Yikes, I hope it’s not bad!

Well, now we know why our utility bills are so high. Our windows and doors are just one step away from pioneer log cabins!

To add insult to injury---with the pressure washing---all kinds of crap sprayed on to the cars in the driveway. I feel sorry for Butch because he takes such pride in his cars and keeps them meticulous! 

The only bright side I see about all of this is that everything on the outside is clean--even though everything on the inside is a MESS!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Nice Surprise!

I came home to this yesterday:
They are from my British friend, Diane and her husband Grenville. They were at our condo in Santa Rosa Beach last week. They had a great time and gorgeous weather! I was happy they had so much fun and certainly didn't expect this.

I love flowers! It's the perfect thing for me because, other than a cheap bouquet from the grocery store, I never buy them! Thanks Diane!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

While They Were Doing This...

 Sandy, Stephanie, Nicky and Greg on a Segway tour of Savannah, GA. If you've never done it before, you must! It's the most fun way to see a city. It's easy--really, nothing to it.
So, while they were there doing this, I was doing this:

I love doing tablescapes! I got most of this from Michaels and some from Hobby Lobby. My favorites are the glass candy corn.

Call me if you want some help!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Holiday China

You know how I love holiday china. Well, Hobby Lobby has some of the best:

 I love these Halloween plates. At this late date, they are pretty picked over.
You could still score some---maybe not everything you want, but you could try a couple of stores. 40% off---makes them $6.00 each. Ceramic.

Moving on the Fall/Thanksgiving---Hobby Lobby has quite a selection:
 I love these.
 These are a little more whimsical.
 These are clear glass with almost a stained glass look.

 Love the pumpkin bowls. These would work for Halloween too.

 They only had these three colors left. I don't know if there was a fourth. Everything at Hobby Lobby was 40% off. None of these plates or bowls were over $6.00.
This is a large serving bowl or something. I didn't really like the reddish pink color. It was the only color it came in.

Below are Target's offerings.

 I didn't really love any of them.

And then, of course, Hobby Lobby has their Christmas dishes out already.
 I loved these plates last year and still do this year.
The dogs driving makes me smile! They also have a camper series. I just like the "old-fashioned-ness" of them.
 This is some sort of cookie or tidbit tray. It's a good size.
 Snowman spoon rest. I almost bought one for myself, but then I have to remember about getting things home.

 I have a group of friends that I don't see often---mostly at Christmas. They always do gifts. I'm seriously thinking about getting these and making cheese balls to go with them. It's the perfect size. Who doesn't like a cheeseball at Christmas? But do I want to make 10? That's the question!
 I really like these bright red and green plates with gold accents.
 The matching mugs are huge! I don't need more big stuff to store!
And these plaid plates would make great chargers for just about any other china to put on top.

Okay, so that's my holiday china report for this year. If you decide to get any of them, let me know! I'd love to see your table set for one of the upcoming holidays! If you send me pictures, I'll post them on here!

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Since I have two days while the Victoria and Elizabeth are in school, what can I do? Shop! I decided to get a jump on my Christmas shopping for them. Whatever I can buy now and wrap, will be fewer things I have to carry on the plane in December.

I started my day with Hobby Lobby. I wanted to get a roll of Christmas wrapping paper. They have the best---thick, a lot on the roll and cheap. I picked up a few other Halloween things since I plan to put together a tables cape for them. I'll share that later.

From there, I went to lunch at Smashburger. I had never been to one before. I ordered the "smash" fries which have some unusual spices like rosemary and a few other things. They were pretty good. The burger was really good, but it was one of those that you "wore" the rest of the day. I washed my hands and then tried the cart wipes at Target. It wasn't until I did dishes after dinner that I was able to rid myself of the smell.

I browsed a few other stores, but wasn't having much luck. When I went to Target, I made some good finds. While browsing the make-up aisle, I saw some false eyelashes. Now, whether it's due to age or medications, I have very little hair. I joke that I only have to shave once at the beginning of the swim season. And that's all I do. Once. That takes me through the fall, then one more shave for winter. I'll be good to go until next spring.

Anyway, I don't have much in the way of eyelashes. I've been using some sort of eyeliner that is supposed to promote eyelash growth. I haven't noticed an improvement at all. So, I started to think about going the false eyelash route. I started reading the packaging, but it didn't answer my questions.
1. Can you re-use them?
2. Won't the glue pull out what few lashes I have left when I take them off?
3. Do you put mascara on them?
4. What happens if you get the glue in your eye?
In the end, I passed them up. I felt completely out of my element. Maybe fake lashes aren't for me.

I just love Target. In fact, working there was one of my very first jobs---about 50 years ago---when you actually had to take a math test to get hired and new able to count out change! But, today,  when I was checking out, I went to my Target app to see if I had any "cartwheel" deals. The cashier informs me that I have to scan EACH barcode to see if there's a sale or special on each individual item. If so, then I have to "save" it to a list, that has a barcode of its own to be scanned at check-out. I was like---"What?? Seriously, Target expects the customer to find the sales and deals and then do something to actually get them? That's ludicrous!" Of course she apologized. I said I realized it wasn't her fault, but inconveniencing the customer is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. I told her that I was going to go online and file a complaint with Target. I'm doing that right after I finish this.

My next post will be about my shopping finds!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Visiting Charlotte

So, I'm in Charlotte to stay with the girls while Sandy and Greg meet up with Stephanie and Nicky for a long weekend in Savannah.  I can't believe it's been three years since I stayed with the girls the last time. I would have said it was a year! I have a fun weekend planned for us.

I have to admit, Sandy and Greg both tried to remember every possible thing I would need to know while they are away.

A. How to work the thermostat? Greg started telling me and I sort of zoned out---for two reasons.
1. I know how to work a thermostat---they are not that hard.
2. If I'm cold, I'll just put on a sweater. I don't usually mess with other people's thermostats.

B. Be careful when loading the dishwasher as one of the silverware basket sections has a hole in it. I think I would have figured that out.

C. The ice maker isn't working, so they bought a bag of ice. Okay, I would have figured that out too.

D. Upon leaving the house, give Titan (their little dog) a treat, put up the gate and exit.
They failed to tell me:
1. As soon as you put on your jacket, get your purse, jingle the keys and fiddle with the gate---it's a dead give-away that you are leaving and the little rascal takes off!
2. They also failed to tell me that luring him with the treat might not work. And it didn't---at first. Finally, I put it on the floor and stood back. After about 3 tries, he finally came in the laundry room to get it. I was able to quickly get the gate up and get out.

Luckily, I only have to do this one more time. I bought him some new treats today, so maybe he'll go for that better.

E. Once you get to school for pick-up, Victoria will be able to direct you to Starbucks, the grocery store and home.
1. Uhhh, NO. She wasn't sure. So she put it in to her phone. I would have asked Siri---faster.
2. She's a lousy co-pilot. She doesn't give enough notice when I need to make a turn. She said that she gets that from her dad. She says he's the worst!

Luckily, Sandy had programmed the house in to her navigation system so I got home easily.

F. Sandy warned me that Elizabeth has anxiety about whether someone will be there to pick her up when she gets off the bus. Sure enough, she texted me at exactly 3 p.m.: "leaving now. Make sure you are at CCHS" (Charlotte Catholic High School---where I'd already picked up Victoria). I responded that I was already there---which was a big fat lie. I was actually sitting in the Starbucks drive-through line. I had 25 minutes to get across and one block down the street. I was pretty confident I could make it. Heck, I could even walk it in that amount of time!

Within 2 hours of Sandy and Greg's departure, I had to call them. Sandy forgot to tell me how to close the garage door. It's not programmed, so she keeps the actual opener in her sunglass storage compartment. Doesn't everyone keep their remote there? I never would have looked.

I made salmon patties, macaroni and cheese, peas and applesauce for dinner. When my girls were growing up, that was one of two meals that everyone loved---and I'd get no complaints. Sandy has never made salmon patties, so the girls had never had them. I think Elizabeth thought they were just so/so.

The girls have done their homework. We're getting ready to watch "Grey's!" I'd say Day One has been a success!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


It's been awhile since I've shared any aggravations. I guess you could say that not much has been bothering me. That can't be right. Stuff always bugs me. I just don't always remember to jot them down. Here's what bugging me lately:

1. I made an appointment with the Ashbusters people to have our chimney cleaned. I  chose the time slot of 8:30-9:30. When I requested that "she" make a note to try to be there by 8:30, she said, "Oh, we couldn't possible get there before 9. He's coming all the way from Smyrna!" To which, I replied, "then why do you say the window is 8:30 to 9:30? It should be 9-10." She replied---I kid you not---"Well, our first time frame is 8:30 to 9:30." I started to argue that it made no sense. Finally I just said, "okay, never mind. We'll have to schedule a different day." Sheesh!

2. I continually get junk calls. When they are actually people, they just start rattling their spiel. They don't stop or take a breath so you can get a word in. When I try to interrupt to let them know that I'm not interested, they just keep talking. I have no choice but to just hang up. How is this an effective way to market? There must be some people falling for it or they wouldn't still be doing it.

3. People always running late. Don't even get me started on that again. It's just so disrespectful!

4. Sometimes when we arrive at bridge, there is soft music playing in the background. It's nice. I love music. Invariably, someone will complain that the music is too distracting, so they turn it off. I guess they never grew up in a large family. You learn to block out the noise. If not, you wouldn't be able to read, do homework or concentrate on anything. I can remember when I was reading, I didn't hear anything. My siblings would say, "Barbara, you are so lazy, you won't even answer the phone!" Actually, I never heard it! That's the truth.

5. Recently on a short flight on my way to the beach, there were two dogs on board. I really don't get that. What about people with pet allergies? Anyway, on this particular flight, one of the dogs started barking. After a while, I leaned over to my friends across the aisle and said, "someone give that dog a piece of gum to clear his ears!" Thank goodness it was only a 45 minute flight! I can't imagine a longer one with a yappy dog along.

6. Fake News! If I hear that term one more time, I think I'll pull my hair out. Of course I don't believe everything the media reports. It's always slanted to meet their agenda.

7. Some of the childproof or tamper proof packaging is just about impossible to open. Talk about frustrating. What about those cheap water bottles that have the smallest cap--you can't even grasp it enough to open it.

8. Margarita does so many exasperating things---like not putting the setting of the shower and tub back to what it was before she started cleaning. I'm sick of being sprayed in the face or having the shoot out of the shower or tub in to the room. It only had to happen 3 times before I am in to the habit of checking now before turning the water on.

9. Another Margarita aggravation---she leaves rags and cleaning supplies all over the house. I don't understand how she can get to the next room and not notice she left something behind. Two weeks ago, she forgot to put the vacuum away. If she wasn't so good, I might look for someone else. Just a little aggravating.

10. The last thing aggravating me this week is the fact that my new Movie Pass has not arrived. I've seen two movies since joining that I could have saved money on! I'm assured that I should get it this week. They are behind due to an overwhelming response!

So, what's been bugging you lately?

Monday, October 16, 2017

"Life isn't fair!"

I can't believe how many times I've said that to my girls and grands over the years. But, it's the truth.

Tonight, we got this picture from Justin and Mindy:
Yes, Mindy won the grand prize---an autographed Mariota t-shirt (for those of you who are not in to football, he's the Titan's quarterback. Here's the story:

Butch is not crazy about the Monday night football games. So, he gave Mindy and Justin our tickets for the game tonight with the Colts. Then, he got a private invitation for season ticket owners for a free tail-gate party---free food, beer and 25 prizes. Yep, he gave those tickets to Mindy and Justin too. She won the grand prize. Butch said, "that's the story of my life! I never win!" It's so true. Life isn't fair! 

On another note, I think it is so cute that Mindy and Justin have matching shoes!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A few Things

 This year for AYM (A Year of Memories), the theme is "story starters." Each month, I assign the "story starter." This one was "Can you believe it?" I finished it with "We've been together for 46 years and he's still the one!"
 Last month, the "story starter" was "Can you tell I was..." I thought Karolyn's idea was so clever. She decided to use emoji's and used several words like, happy, relaxed and bewildered to go with some old pictures. She used an emoji to show each emotion. I LOVE including current trends in to our scrapbooking. I think it's so important in showing how we lived!

Stephanie and Nicky's landscaping is really coming along. I was very happy with these new planters that Sara (our landscaping girl) put together. I'm their landscape consultant.
 I had to take a picture of this at the Kate Spade store. I just loved the words! Adding real things to the wall made it so interesting. We could totally do that in our house.
 So, one night, I decided to have a pudding---not the British version of "pudding" (which just means dessert), but a real pudding. I bought tapioca. As I was eating it, I thought, "this isn't very good. In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd say this was "rice" pudding." It was. Now the other 3 are going to waste because Butch doesn't eat pudding. Just goes to show you can't judge a pudding by it's picture.
Well, it's that time of year. We got 16 catalogs yesterday. I was interested in exactly NONE of them. Straight to recycle.
  This is still my most favorite Halloween decoration. I made this pillow about 2 years ago.
I loved stitching it with all the challenging and variety of stitches.

That's about it for today.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

What's Happening

Thinking: About how busy this fall is. Between now and Thanksgiving, I'm only going to be home for 2 weekends---and one of them, I've signed up for a 3 day needlepoint workshop! I leave today to scrapbook at Kentucky Lake with my sisters, Jeanne and Janet. Next week, I'll leave for Sandy's on Wednesday to stay with the girls while Sandy, Greg, Stephanie and Mindy meet in Savannah, Georgia for a long weekend. The next weekend Butch and I go to Baltimore with the EOHSJ. That takes us to November. 1st weekend is my workshop. The second weekend, Sandy, Stephanie, Mindy and I are going to Washington, D.C. to see the debut of Mean Girls before it hits Broadway! We have a pretty full weekend planned, including a Segway tour---the best way to see a city---fun and educational. The upcoming weeks are busy, but fun.

Thankful for: My friends. I had them over for a Halloween luncheon yesterday. I started with "Bloody" Mary's. I served my Grandpa's Soup (a minestrone type) along with Italian cheese bread. For dessert, I made my most favorite cake in all the world. That's quite a statement since I am a cake person. I love cake---not bakery cakes or restaurant cakes. I don't even like wedding cakes unless they are by Dessert Designs. Their cakes are home made with secret recipes. When I say I love cakes, they need to be home made cakes. Haven't really met one I didn't like! Well, unless you put raisins in it.
From the left, then clockwise: Diane, Karolyn, Susan, Pam, Joanie, me, Linda, Nancy, Nancy and Connie. I'm a two hour party person. We started at 11:30. At 1:30, I said, "okay, the party's over. You're getting in to my nap time!" I've been doing that for years. Plus, I take away that problem with people not wanting to be the first to leave and feeling like they broke up the party. My friends are okay with it! 

Cooking: That cake. My. MOST. Favorite. Sharing it here:

Oatmeal Cake
Pour 1 1/4 cups boiling water over 1 cup of oatmeal and 1/2 cup butter. Cover with towel and let stand for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sift together:
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Add to flour:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg

Mix and bake in a prepared 9x13 pan at 350 for 35 minutes.

Topping (the best! Use it on other cakes too--German Chocolate, spice or carrot)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 beaten egg yolk
3/4 cup heavy cream
Bring to a boil on top of the stove---stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup coconut and 1/2 cup pecans. Cool. Spread on cooled cake.

The BEST, I tell you! the BEST! I only make it about once a year and only for company. I can't be trusted to have this cake around. It's perfect this time because I'm taking the leftovers with me to Kentucky Lake.

Wearing: Still in my robe this morning, but I'm really enjoying the clothes I'm getting from Stitch Fix. Even the girls remarked on how stylish I am this past weekend. I've always tried to remain stylish, but haven't bought any new clothes for a couple of years now. What I like the very best about Stitch Fix? The pants actually FIT me. Being so short has always posed a problem in the length.

Hoping: To get some Christmas shopping done while I'm at Sandy's. I especially need to buy the gifts that need to stay there anyway. My first stop will be Hobby Lobby for their wonderful wrapping paper. It's thick. There's a lot on the roll. And it's cheap!

Taking: Stock of what needs to be done around here. The painters and carpenters are lined up for the outside. We're getting ready to start on the kitchen in January. Looking forward to getting everything done! 

Planning: My new kitchen! My friends and I had this discussion again yesterday. The thought of moving is daunting. But it will only get harder the longer we wait. I said I never thought I'd be in this position of being so indecisive about it. But the issue remains---where to go? We love our location and nothing quite measures up--unless it's another old house. Rather than that, we'll just deal with our "old house" problems. I'd love a new house, but we haven't been able to find one that meets our specifications. I'm picky. Plus, I don't think we're quite ready to give up the pool.

Working: Well, I've cleaned out my kitchen cabinets and drawers 3 times! Not a fun job. Just when we think we've gotten the two mice causing the problem, I heard mice in the wall. Butch has set traps in the attic. Our exterminator has put the poisonous bait in the garage. Makes me think we might need to get another outside cat. I'm just not ready for that. We travel too much.

Reading: Just started The Identicals. I can't tell yet whether I like it or not.

Loving: That we're on the third generation for this rug!
I had this rug made about 22 years ago. When I was tired of it, Mindy had it in her first condo for about 6 years. It still looks great. Now it's in Jordan's apartment.
It's still in perfect condition. But I'm pretty sure this will be the last go round with it. Besides her dog and cat, there's no pad under it. I'm sure it will finally get worn out.

Needing: To continue cleaning out this house. Who am I kidding? Butch and I were going to start last January and go room by room---cleaning out closets and getting rid of stuff. All we actually did was haul off a few boxes of books. We really do need to get on that.

Watching: Enjoying the new tv shows. So far, I've watched The Good Doctor with one of my favorite actors--Freddie Highmore. He was so incredible playing the young, Norman Bates in Bates Motel. If you haven't seen that, you need to. Catch it on Netflix. Liking the new Will and Grace  and Wisdom of the Crowd. I'm also enjoying Kevin Can Wait since Leah Ramini has been added to the cast. Basically, it's King of Queens  all over again!

Creating: My Halloween tablescapes. I love doing them.

 The "kids" have already laid claim to the needlepoint "candy corn."

Bumming: That a couple of my friends have gone back to work. I can't seem to shake this cloud hanging over me. 

Appreciating: Butch. He does so much around here. I try to be aware and thankful. 

Dreading: That Christmas is soon upon us. Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas, but I don't love the decorating any more. While I'm putting it all up, I'm already dreading the "take down!" Seriously thinking about eliminating the tree in the living room this year.

Well, I guess that's about all that's happening around here.