Friday, March 30, 2018

Friday Frustrations

Well, there are times. I try to be optimistic and upbeat most of the time, but there are times. I've decided to start a new meme---Friday Frustrations. Now I won't be posting negativity every Friday, but I want a category in case I need it! I need it!!

The WORST two and a half hours in my whole YEAR has to be doing the TAXES! I HATE it! Yes, capitalized and bolded HATE! Whenever I make this statement, I get, "well, if you had everything organized, it wouldn't be so bad!" And then they tell me what they do. Are you kidding me? I'm the queen of organization! I already have all of my "tax stuff" together in the folder that I marked "TAXES 2018" at the beginning of EVERY January! It's pretty simple to grab the folder and go---or should be. If that was all there was to it, it would be a piece of cake!

Having the stuff together is not the issue. It's filling out that damn booklet! There are so many questions---I think it's about 50 pages long! And maybe it's just me, but there are so many questions I don't even understand. If I don't really know the answer, I "just say no!" I think that works for drugs AND taxes!

First I have to set aside a chunk of time to tackle the job. I procrastinate this as long as I can. It hangs over my head and ruins weeks leading up to it. I should just do it and get it over with. I know this, but still I procrastinate.

Then I have to gather materials.
 Next, I sort in to separate piles.
Then I start. Methodically, I go through the book page by page.  It doesn't take long before I run in to trouble.
My stupid pencil falls apart. Most likely, it's because I never use a pencil and don't really know how this works. All I know is that all of a sudden the lead was pushed in.
I didn't know how to fix it so I got another one. Now I'm back in business!

I make my way through the booklet. Of course, I always come across things I don't have. Luckily, the internet makes it easy to get the information. Then, I have to get reports from my checking account for all kinds of household expenses: utilities, insurance, etc.--- due to Butch's home office. For the past couple years, I've been telling him that it's about time he took over the taxes. After all, I've done it for over 40 years! He won't.

Anyway, I plugged along and two and a half hours later I was done. Okay, I'm only done with round one!
Butch will drop this off to our accountant. This folder is about an inch thick. Every year when I took it in, Alan (our accountant) would tell me that I have it the most organized of any of his clients. I have each bit of information clipped to each corresponding page in the booklet as well as neatly written in the appropriate sections.

Now it's on to round two. I hate this part too. Alan will call on April 14th needing more information. Then the scramble and stress begins again. I just HATE it. Every bit of it!

Maybe it would be fun if we got money back, but that never happens. In fact, that's the final step that I HATE!---writing that check.

Then I get a break for a year and start all over again! It's the worst two and a half hours of the year for sure!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Throwback Thursday

In my post yesterday about "What I Buy Wednesdays," I mentioned that wrinkled white linen blazer. That got me to thinking...
Does anyone iron anymore? I haven't ironed in about 20 years---well, maybe a touch-up here and there. Butch irons once in awhile---since he bought those crazy pants with all the pockets. I refuse!

Ironing---is there an app for that?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

What I Buy Wednesdays

We had planned to have our AV guy install a video doorbell. I'm all about anything you can operate from your phone. But the cost was going to be more than we wanted to spend. It's the same brand but you can get it pretty cheap on Amazon. When I asked about it, Wade said that he's found that the battery operated ones are a pain to deal with. He prefers the "hardwired" one---which is still the Ring, but more expensive and labor intensive to install. Butch decided we'd opt for the cheaper one and install it himself and just see what happens. He figures the battery can't wear out that often. Connie told me that Jack did theirs, so she was pretty sure Butch could handle it. We'll see...there is already a minor technically, I bought it, but it was for him.
I bought myself some new pj's and gowns. Idiot that I am, I didn't realize I'd picked the same design in two styles. Still, you can't beat Chadwicks of Boston's prices.
I also bought this white linen blazer. I think it will look cute with jeans (and my white keds)---if I can get all of those wrinkles out! That's the downside to Chadwicks---there stuff can be really wrinkled. I considered getting out the iron---but then just laughed. Who am I kidding? I haven't ironed in 20 years! I whirled the jacket in the dryer. It didn't really work. I hung it up. I think I'll go with---"hey, it's linen---it's supposed to be wrinkled!"---and leave it at that.
I had time to kill after my treatment on Wednesday and before, meeting Connie for lunch and a movie. So, I had to stop by Pier One---my favorite place for seasonal decorations. I picked up the bunny wine glass to add to my collection. On Friday night, Nicky poured me a glass of wine. Steph was all over him because she wanted it. She thought he had taken it for himself! Come on Steph!

That's what I bought this week. What about you?

Hey, now that I think about it---if you found a really cool bargain, send me a picture and I'll focus your buy here!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tuesday Thoughts About...


The reason I'm thinking about this is that by the time you are reading this, I'll be scrapbooking out at the farm in Duck River, TN.

As I was putting my stuff together, I started thinking about it. My heart just isn't in it. Partly due to the fact that I'm still pretty sad about my brother. I know it's going to take some time to get over it. But in the meantime, scrapbooking seems a little pointless. Okay, not a little--a lot!

You know how I am always preaching how "our kids don't want our stuff?" Well, I'm about ready to say that includes my scrapbooks. I decided to count how many I have. After nearly 20 years of scrapbooking---the total---so far---is 86! I have them all over the house.
 Behind these, there is another row.
 These are in the library.
 My scrapbook room.
More in my scrapbook room.

Luckily for me, I have a lot of shelves in this house. A. LOT. But my girls do not. What in the world are they going to do? Now I've bestowed a burden on them.

Okay, let's do the math.

If you consider my granddaughters, that makes 7 girls in the family divided by 86 equals 12.2 albums each (are you impressed that I figured that out? Okay, I used a calculator). That's not even counting all the albums I've already made for them individually! There's no way that they are going to want me to hand them a dozen (+many more by the time I do it) scrapbooks. Plus they'll need a truck to carry them away---they are heavy!

I figure, I can reduce the number they will have to deal with by giving them to extended family. The number of nieces I have is 7 (the nieces on the other side of the family do their own scrapbooking, so they have their own problems ahead). Of those, I'm pretty sure only about 2 might actually want ONE! So if I go further and give one to each of the "littles"---girls---that makes 5 more. I'm pretty sure those "littles" might want them since they will be so "old" (the books, not them) that maybe they'll have an interest in family history.

Even with all that math, I've only reduced the burden by one album each.

What to do? It's time to re-acess why I do this. I do it because I'm a storyteller at heart. In reality, I could stop right now and my stories would still be told---right here on my blog. Even that---I used to have my blog printed in to a book every year. I stopped that last year for the same reason. I've already been blogging for 11 years. The books were just piling up. I guess my blog will be in "the cloud" so can be accessed at any time. At least I hope so.

The creative part of scrapbooking is fun---or at least it used to be. And the act of creating is pretty relaxing. Add in the fellowship, then there is still value. I guess that's going to have to be enough of a reason for now.

I used to say that I didn't care if my books ended up in an antique shop. But now I have my doubts. There have to be millions that will wind up the same way. I'm afraid to say that I think they may be destined for the landfill. Ouch!

It's sad really!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Monday Mystery!

Well, I definitely have a real mystery today. It's funny how people remember things so differently. Here's the story.

A few days ago, Butch said, "Barb, why are you putting the silverware in the dishwasher wrong?" I asked what he was talking about. He said that I was putting the forks face up rather than "down" like we always have. I said, "We have always put the forks upwards so the tines don't get stuck in the basket!" We argued about it. One of us is clearly wrong. He's usually right, but I am seldom wrong.

A mystery for sure.

So, at happy hour on Friday night, Butch asked the girls. Both of them agreed with him right away. Then Stephanie said that now she thought about it, she thought I was right. Nicky, who shouldn't even have a dog in this fight said, "Steph, think about what you do? You wouldn't do it that way if you hadn't learned it from your mom!" Point taken. (Thanks Nicky.) Steph waffled back to her first position---her dad's side.

Mindy probably never loaded the dishwasher---being the baby and all, so her vote barely counted---although she brought up two good points: 1. If you put the forks face up, that would require you getting all "gunky" when putting them in, and 2. When you put the clean ones away, you would be putting your fingers all over the tines. I replied that when I handle the silverware, I do not touch the tines either before or after. Later when loading the dishwasher, I showed how I put them in without getting food all over myself. Pretty simple, really.
Everything else goes down. This looks totally correct to me.

I guess it's another mystery that will never be solved! Unless---Sandy decides to weigh in. Whatever she says, her dad will go along with! After all, she's the favorite!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Things That Make Me Happy!

This is sort of like a part 2 of my random post from yesterday.
To say this little guy runs to me with glee when he sees me would be a major overstatement! But, Nathan at least will not run away from me in fear! My goal with Camp Aunt Barb last summer was to ensure that the "littles" knew who I was---since I'm not around much. It worked! I love playing with the kids. That makes me happy!
This little girl doesn't really know me yet. But Reese is at the age where she lets people hold her. That makes me happy!
This is my fancy crystal chandelier in my bathroom. I got to thinking, I'm the only one who gets to enjoy it back here (well, Butch too, but I doubt he even notices it). So, I decided to move it to the dining room and replace it with a much cheaper one.
 Here's the cheap one. I like it just fine.
Honestly, I actually love it! Maybe it's just glass and not really crystal. I don't know the difference or what actually makes crystal. I got it from Wayfair---my favorite "go to" place for inexpensive home goods. I don't care that it's cheap.  I just know I like it.
This is the old brass chandelier that was here when we bought the house nearly 23 years ago. Aside from putting the chain cover on it, I've never really thought about changing it.
I'm so glad I did! I just love this and am so happy to have moved it from the bathroom. Now you may be wondering, "I'd hate to have to clean all those crystals on two chandeliers!" Well, I actually have a third one in the powder room.
This is my Waterford chandelier that was in the dining room in our old house. It was too small for the dining room in this house, so the powder room was the obvious choice. What is it with me and crystal chandeliers in bathrooms? I don't know---I guess like the dramatic statement they make. Or maybe, it's the sparkle and shine. I like anything shiny. I'm still a baby like that! Back to the cleaning issue---I LOVE cleaning them. Yes, it's true. I love cleaning crystal chandeliers. I only do it once a year, so it's really not a big chore. They should probably be done more often than that, but I really like seeing the before and after! Crystal chandeliers make me very happy!
Stephanie told me about this steam cleaner for wood floors. I put it on my Christmas list and got one from Santa!

Now, before you think my floors were this disgusting, this pad was grey and white to begin with. Still, I don't think my floors have ever been this clean! AND they're shiny. That definitely makes me happy.
It's so funny to me the things that impress you when you are a little kid. My grandma Zimmermann had these little personal salt and pepper shakers at each place on the table. I always thought they were so cute. I even asked my aunt if I could have a set when she passed away. I never got them. This pair I found at an antique shop years ago. They may not have been hers, but they are a constant reminder of the fun times, games, delicious food (she was a fabulous German cook) and family at her house in the "country!" That makes me happy!
This tablecloth belonged to that same grandma. I have one other---both given to me from a cousin. They are the only things I have from her---plus her beautiful handwriting as evidenced in my First Communion Prayer book. All of this makes me very happy!
 Crunchy peanut butter makes me happy!
Especially if it's on honey sunflower toast!
My friend, Susan, brought me these gorgeous, white roses last week. Flowers always make me happy!
This week, my friend, Mary Jo, brought me these happy tulips. And they're PINK! That makes me happy! Along side the white roses---in full bloom and still going strong a week later---perfect for spring---that makes me REALLY happy!

So, what's making you happy this week?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Few Randoms

Every once in awhile, I decide to do a post with all of the single, random photos that I've taken for various reasons. Today's the day.

I inherited my mother's sterling silver. I've only used it once---Thanksgiving, 2010---right after she died---sort of in her honor. Jordan and Morgan helped me polish it in preparation. The main reason I never used it was because it was in this huge, inconvenient, heavy box. When we just renovated the kitchen, we pulled it out from the depths of the pantry. I was determined to figure out a better way to store it so that I would use it. I went to The Container Store and bought this divided, zippered, silver protection thing. I cleaned out a drawer in the buffet in the dining room and put it there. I still haven't used it yet, but it is way more accessible now! I'll definitely be using it more.
Butch and I drove up to Murfreesboro a couple of weeks ago to have lunch with Morgan. She took us to her favorite sushi place. Have I ever mentioned that we are sushi lovers? We were definitely way behind the rest of the family---more about being unwilling to even give it a try. Now we're so glad we did. The presentation is so "fancy!" Besides being delicious, it was cheap! Butch definitely loved that. Of course, our visit with Morgan was the best part of lunch!
My SIL, Sharon was telling me how my brother, Matt, fans out her magazines to make them easier for her to read. #1. I never realized reading magazines in their current state was a problem to be overcome. #2. I think this is a sign of the ultimate control freak! Yeah, that's my brother.
I picked this little saucer up at an antique shop years ago. It's been buried in the kitchen cabinets. I love it because this is what our dishes were growing up. I think mom got them in laundry detergent or really cheap at the grocery store---a piece each week. I can't really remember which. Either way, it would have taken a long time to collect enough for our family!
I swear, every time I visit the mother of a friend of mine at the nursing home, I think, "I really think I could get in to this." They have so many fun activities ALL THE TIME! I sure hope that when the time comes, I'll remember this and not give my family a hard time!

What random things are going on in your life?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Throwback Thursday

Does anyone remember these?

They are the lunch trays we had in grade school. We didn't get to buy our lunch very often. In fact, just about never unless mom was in the hospital having another baby. I loved getting those lunches. That was back in the day of lunch ladies and real, home cooked food. It was all so delicious---and nutritious. No pizza or fast food, meat and veggies every day. Each compartment had something in it with silverware rolled in a napkin in the end slot. Milk was in the compartment with the circle---white milk only, no other choices. The cakes were always so delicious too! I can still remember that good food. We even had chop suey one time. We had never heard of such a thing. It was very good. I don't think I had ever even heard of Chinese food. Heaven help you if you didn't like the food!

You had to eat everything on your tray. The nuns patrolled to make sure you were eating. There was no talking during lunch. Lunch was business. Before you could take your tray to the window to drop off for washing, you had to show it to the nuns. It was the same for the lunches we brought from home---in metal lunch boxes. We had to eat everything and show the nuns before we could be dismissed. I don't remember how much time we had in the cafeteria, but we went out to recess right after. 

Another thing I remembered about lunch---the music. They had classical music playing. I've always loved it. To this day, a particular piece can take me right back to that cafeteria. They also had music from many Broadway productions---instrumental versions---South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Camelot, etc. Had no idea what that music was back then. Maybe unbeknownst to me, that music sparked my love of music theater. At least I like to think so.
I found these at the flea market several years ago. I had plans to use them on the patio for the kids for barbecues. I never have. When we just cleaned out the kitchen, I had planned to get rid of them. Butch said to keep them. I don't know why, but I'm glad he did. They just make me happy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What I Buy Wednesday

I talked about my Target run, but I didn't talk about what I bought there. I got too wrapped up in my memories about my job there.

I picked up a few things. But this was my favorite.
I bought this cutting board. If it was shiny, it would match my counter top exactly!

Also, my Stitch Fix box came in.
I really liked it all---and they make it so tempting to keep it all. If you do, you get 25% off everything. Sometimes, it's to my advantage to keep it all---if what I want to send back is less than the 25%. This time, I only kept two things---those pink shoes and the dark jeans. I really like the jeans they send me---just because the actually fit. I've sent a note to my stylist to let her know that I don't want any more jeans. I have 3 pairs now---all different. I don't have any pink shoes, so I wanted to keep them. Plus, now that my "toes" are fixed, I can wear cute shoes again. The polka dot rain jacket was cute, but more expensive than I would pay, plus it was a little big. The silk blouse is really pretty, but also was too big. I tried to exchange that, but they didn't have it in my size. The black ruffled top was really cute too, but I don't need another black top. 

I'll look forward to my next box. 

What have you bought this week?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tuesday Thoughts About...


This makes a lot of sense! This idea is one of the best ways to recycle plastic. It's about 12 minutes long but so worth the listen!

We recycle everything---EVERYTHING! If you don't believe me, come check out our garage---there's so much crap waiting to go to recycle (or Goodwill)---that it looks like the house on Sanford and Son.

With the completion of the new kitchen, I told Butch that I no longer wanted the end of the counter and floor below to be used to collect the recycling. I don't want to see it at all. I wanted a plastic trash bin with a little swing door, lined with a trash bag, in the hallway to the garage. I don't want to look at it constantly. Instead, Butch decided on this:
It's a dinky little basket. Granted, I did a lot of cooking, plus water bottles, plus a wine bottle and a half dozen beer bottles (my niece visited with a friend for the night)---it filled up quick. My concern is that the wall is going to get messed up. I would still like the trash basket with lid because then you would not see the mess at all. This is Butch's department, so I'll be happy with just having it out of the kitchen.
We keep a bag in the pantry for all the recyclable paper. That has been working for us for years now.

I believe in recycling---and I don't know anyone that takes it to the extent that we do (mostly Butch). We bring recyclables home from trips. We drop off at recycle stations on vacation. He's brought a suitcase of paper home from a cruise. He lives it more than I do---for sure. And, for the most part, he keeps up with it. I'm just ready to get the garage in order, cleaned out, floored and re-painted. In order for it to look like the vision I have in my head (I always start with a vision), we'll need to get rid of a couple cars too. That would be the ultimate---cashing in on the recycling!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday Mystery

Let me start by saying that Jordan and Morgan gave us an Amazon Echo for Christmas.
Part of the gift was that they were to help me set it up. I guess they don't think I'm capable of figuring it out! Well, it's been a couple months and we haven't done it. I decided to go ahead this past week and get it set up.
I got everything out of the box. The instructions required that you download the "Echo" app to your phone. I went to the App store, but the app I needed didn't show up. A little further in the instructions, it was noted that I could also set it up online from my computer. That's more my speed. When it comes to the phone, I'm just slow.

I went to the set-up page on Amazon. Right away, it would not recognize my password. Oh. My. Gosh! This is so frustrating. I got out my handy little address book that I have all my passwords written in and---sure enough---I WAS using the right password. I did it a few more times. Finally, I logged off my internet and logged back in. That did it. Now I was in business. It was pretty simple to set up.
This looks like a piece of cardboard that needed to be removed. I couldn't get it, so I left it alone. I hope it can't catch fire!
I like that it came with a rubber band to keep the cord in check. I hate tons of loose cords!
The gadget is pretty unobtrusive. I like that too. But, apparently, Alexis is always listening. Talk about people tracking your life---I wonder if this could be used against you in a court of law (that's a definite mystery)!

So here's what happened. I played around with it to see what it could do. I asked for music---it wanted me to sign up with Amazon Prime Music. I asked about playing Jeopardy, it wanted me to subscribe to be able to play the game. So far, I've only used it to check the weather. I simply don't know what to do with it.

Today, I started to tell Butch that I was reading Killing Reagan by Bill O'Reilly (say what you will, he writes great books in the BEST readable way---always interesting---his are the only footnotes I ever read---always interesting too!). Since I'm keeping track of my books and how much money I'm saving, I went on Amazon to check the price. I couldn't believe that you could buy a brand new hard back book for $3.94! The electronic version is $14.99! As I was saying to Butch, that apparently most people have electronic readers now which has driven that price up and the less desirable hardback copy prices have been driven down---Alexis interrupted our conversation. I was talking, the television was on, and Alexis was talking. I didn't really know what she was saying, but I finally had to say, "Alexis, cancel" to make her shut up.

She was listening!! I don't know what set her off. That's a mystery to me as to what I said that prompted her to interrupt! I can't think of anything I said that even remotely sounded like "Alexis." I have to admit, it gave me another idea to try---ask Alexis to give me a synopsis about books I want to find out about. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm going to. That would be faster than looking up all the books I want to check out.

Does "Alexis" really listen to your conversations? It's a mystery for sure! My mother would be "rolling!"---if you know what I mean!