Wednesday, June 30, 2021

What I Didn't Buy Wednesday

While I was gone for two weeks, everything happened at home regarding the redecorating of the family room. Painting was completed, draperies were installed, a chair was reupholstered and the new furniture was delivered. When Sandy was here last week, she helped Butch put the room back together. It was so much fun to come home and get the "wow" factor.

The only thing left is to put our latest family portrait over the fireplace. I haven't even figured out which of the 100 pictures the photographer took on Butch's birthday weekend that I want to use. We need to decide, get it ordered and then framed. I have no idea how long that will take. I definitely want to get that in the works this week.

Everything looks so much lighter and brighter---exactly what I was going for. I wanted a few new "things" to add to the decor, so we went shopping. Sandy had introduced me to a woman who posts on Instagram as My Texas House. Of course, I knew she would have a blog and am now a follower. You can find her here. She shows her decorating skills and has products at Walmart. I didn't really find her line there, so I'm thinking it must be online only. I found the products here

While at Walmart, I noticed The Pioneer Woman also has her line there. 

This is just a small sampling of what they have. There is cookware, bowls, dishes, you name it. All so colorful. Still, I resisted!

I didn't buy anything, but I did get some ideas for the bedrooms and baths that we are remodeling next. I'm not a Walmart shopper. In fact, I don't really like Walmart at all. But, I'm not going to totally rule it out! I'll keep you posted.

Just ask soon as I posted this, Sandy sent me pictures of what she bought. She said that right now, everything is only available online. I love it!
The rug is fabulous!
She also got these pictures.

They are watercolors. Sandy plans to get some bedding for Mitchell's room. My Texas Home is coming out with some masculine things soon. She said the quality and prices are great. 

I'm seriously going to have to pay closer attention as I move on to my next project.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Travel Tuesday

Wow! It's been a crazy two weeks! 

My sister, Janice, had a pretty serious surgery. It didn't go as smoothly as we would have liked, but after 8 days in the hospital, she was able to come home---in St. Louis. She was cleared to go to her home the next day to Salem, MO where she has a cabin on her twin--Jennifer's farm. I spent a few days getting her settled. Jennifer was with us most of the time when she finished her "farm" chores. 

I organized Janice's entire place including all of the cabinets. She had just moved in late May. Now lest you think I'm that amazing, let me set the record straight--it's a small place--just 16x40. Still, it kept me busy. 

Add to that, the 5--yes, count them--five DOGS!
Now, most likely I'll get the names wrong here--starting from the left (dogs): Jack, Wilbur, Zelda, Lola and Mugsy. The last two are Janice's dogs. They are all great friends. They roam around the farm in a pack--if Janice will allow hers to go! Her white dog, Lola loves to swim in the pond and come home all filthy! That's why Janice had a dog bath installed in her cabin! In the background is Parvez, Jennifer and Sami.

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not particularly fond of dogs. You know, the hair, the slobber, the smell--all of it. But after taking my turn watching Lola and Mugsy for two weeks, they somewhat won me over. They are really good dogs. It got to where they came to me to be let out and for food--even after Janice came home. When we first got to the farm, Janice and I were sitting outside. When Jennifer's dogs came over, Lola and Mugsy got on either side of me and growled viciously at them! I screamed, because I thought I found myself in the middle of a dogfight!! Turns out, they were just protecting me! There's something charming about that. Now don't get me wrong. I didn't come away wanting a dog---they are just too much darn work!! But I do get how people love them. I have to admit, I wonder if they'll remember me the next time I see them--probably September. 

Anyway, on to the cabin.

There's plenty of space for one person (and two dogs).

Along with organizing everything, I "Old Englished" her table top.
It's an antique and the wood is oak.
Old English is amazing! It just evens everything out and restores some of the beauty.
The farm is beautiful. This is the view from Janice's front porch. 

While I was talking to Butch one evening, I got to see the prettiest sunset. By the time I got off the phone, this is all that was left of it. You can still see a strip of pink against the blue sky.
There are wildflowers everywhere. The very first thing I did was go out and collect a bouquet. There are Black-eyed Susans, two types of Queen Anne's lace, ox-eye daisies, wild shrub roses, and two other pretties I couldn't identify.

On Saturday morning, I did a few more things to help Janice before I left. All was good. I was sad to be leaving as I felt she needed more help, physically. Still, I was excited to be heading home. The plan was to go to St. Louis and attend the closing of our high school--Rosary--after 55 years. Jeanne, Matt and I were going together. I was planning to head home the next day. 

That evening, when we got home, everything changed. I got the call from Jennifer that the small hospital in Salem was taking Janice by ambulance 3 hours back to St. Louis. I planned to meet her there at 11:30 pm. As it turns out, due to Covid, Barnes-Jewish Hospital would not allow anyone to come in after visiting hours--no exceptions--even in an emergency. 

It was a scary situation, but by Sunday morning, we found out that it all was a false alarm. Janice was perfectly fine! That small hospital just didn't know how to deal with her situation--at least that's what we think.

Anyway, Jennifer and I went to the hospital. Janice was able to come down to the cafeteria--only one person is allowed to visit in the room. I said, "well, this is a hell of a way to get me to buy breakfast!!" I was just happy that she was okay.

When breakfast was over, we had a tearful good-bye. I got on the road. Little did I know that the five hours I had ahead of me would turn in to seven!! The first hour hold-up was due to an accident. The second hour hold-up was due to road work--dead stop each time. 

Due to the "emergency" the night before, Butch wasn't expecting me. I wanted to surprise him. I did. He heard the garage door, so came out. He said, "Oh, this is a surprise"--but not in an excited kind of way. H
e's not a very excitable kind of guy. When the girls were growing up, they would say, "moooom, dad's not excited!" Yes he is, he just hides it well!

On the other hand, he surprised me with this:

A beautiful bouquet of flowers! And this:
Now the guy doesn't really know much about trees or flowers. He said he found this perfect heart leaf while out walking and thought of me. He was disappointed that in a day, it dried and curled. I told him it was a redbud leaf and it was the thought that counts! Honestly, I thought it was so sweet. I'm keeping this leaf for my scrapbook.

He's never really been a romantic type of guy, which makes this so special. As we get older, he does more and more romantic things without even thinking about it. When we were younger, I always wished he'd be more romantic. But, I have to admit--it's seems way more special now!!

Okay, that's enough! I've rambled way too long!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Let's Take a Walk..

...through my garden. 

I planned this post for last week, but then didn't have a chance to write it due to my sister's surgery. She was in the hospital for 8 days, but all is good now! We'll be heading to Salem, MO later today. I'm not sure how good the internet will be down there in the middle of no where. We'll see.

Just thought I'd share some photos of my garden. 
Even though not much is blooming here yet, I love all the different textures.
I have always loved the Japanese painted ferns in the left front. They add another color and a break from so many greens.
My Kousa Dogwood is so tall now that I can barely see the flowers. I have to make a point to look for them. They bloom late May/early June.
When I put these in years ago, they were some sort of French hydrangeas. They look very much like the endless summer ones I have in the front yard.
You have to look close to see the new redbud I had planted in the place of the giant magnolia that came down during a storm last year. You can see the tall tree behind.
Here's a better picture of it. I am still lamenting the one just like it that was behind our pool. I still hate that the neighbors behind us took it down. It was so pretty and provided so much privacy. As Butch predicted, they are putting a pool. It just looks so bare on that side. Oh well. Hopefully the green giant arborvitaes will start growing. They are supposed to grow 36" a year! 

Things happen so fast at this time of year. I can't wait to see how everything looks when I get home on Sunday. I will have been gone two weeks. That's a long time in garden time!!

How does your garden grow?

Monday, June 21, 2021

Me on Monday

Hey All,
I'm here sitting with my sister in the hospital and thought I'd get a quick post done. Okay, none of them are very quick. There's the thinking of what to blog about. Then there's the pictures that need to go with it and then the actual writing of the post. I'm going to make this one quick.

On February first, I started on a health journey. I know, that's sort of the "buzz phrase"--health journey. But for me it has been really true. I started a program that encompasses spiritual health, mental health, physical health and financial health. Basically a revamp of my entire life. To say I was skeptical is an understatement. Sounds all "new wavy" to me. But, I made a commitment and here I am. Four months later and there has been a significant change.

I've been marginally successful with the spiritual health. I could still stand some work there. I never had any mental health issues--at least as far as I know. And I also didn't have any financial health issues either. That leaves physical health. Now that's where I've really been successful. See for yourself:
Here I am at the very beginning. Actually, it's pretty embarrassing. Pictures always tell me the truth. I've said that when I was way younger---all the way back to my teen years, I ALWAYS saw fat when I looked in the mirror. I went to Weight Watchers for the first time when I was 30 and weighed 118 lbs! Honestly, I can't even believe that now. They wanted to know what I was doing there. I told them I had 10 pounds to lose, so they let me stay. I lost that 10 pounds, but I haven't seen even 118 pounds in decades!! 

What's funny to me is that somewhere along the line, that view in the mirror changed to not seeing reality in the opposite direction. It's pictures that gave me a true view of myself. 

Now I'm not going to say what I started at, nor am I going to tell you where I am now. (A girl deserves some privacy! Okay, who am I kidding!  I'll tell anyone who asks!!)
Let's just say I've lost a significant amount of weight. I've got a ways to go, but not nearly as much as you might think--just two more months! I'm not looking to get to 118 ever again--that's crazy--and unrealistic. And maybe even unhealthy.

Someone very close to me said that I have a lot of willpower. That has absolutely nothing to do with it. For me, it's all about "mindful eating." I stop and think about everything I'm going to consume and ask myself if it will align with my health goals. Really, it's a mental thing and it's working. Hey, I can't believe I just said that. So maybe I did gain something on the mental side of this program! Talk about self realization...

Aside from the obvious weight loss, I have had quite a few other--what are called in the program--"non-scale victories." I've had a lot of those. Here's one:
I'm able to wear the ring that my dad gave me for my eighth grade graduation in 1967. I probably haven't been able to do that in at least 40 years. 
Recently I also put on my high school graduation ring. I've been wearing it for a couple months to remind myself of how great my high school years were. My high school is closing for good and wanted to mindfully honor good, old Rosary High!

I've had many, many other "non-scale victories." Here are a few more:

I don’t think about food all the time. I didn’t even realize I did until I didn’t!

Going down stairs feels more stable.

Easier walking uphill in the neighborhood—I don’t have to stop and rest anymore on the slow incline.

Easier getting out of the tub (this is huge).

I was able to kneel longer in church--even with my bad knee.

My robe cinches better.

The bath towel wraps all the way around me now.

Easier to walk in sand.

Shoes that used to hurt, don’t.

I weighed 2 lbs. lighter at the doctor’s office compared to home--that has never happened!

You might think I'd have some other health successes, but I've always been healthy. There's really nothing to improve there. Thank goodness!

So there you have the new me. My health coach/friend keeps asking me if I have more energy. I honestly tell her "no!" I've always been a high energy kind of gal. That hasn't changed! But, I must admit, I definitely have higher spirits! Holy smokes--maybe that's part of the spiritual health too!

Can you spell H*A*P*P*Y? 

I can! 

Turns out that wasn't so quick after all! Oh well.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Butch is Always Prepared!

And it doesn't matter where he is! I've said it before, he could live in his car and have all of the creature comforts. For sure. 

When we're traveling, it's the same way. Just ask for something and I can pretty much guarantee he has it. He should have been on that show "Let's Make a Deal!" 

Well, I never dreamed that his "prepared-ness" would even show itself in his home office! Here's the story:

One morning, I went up to his office and made myself comfortable. I had something to discuss with him. 

I was sitting in this chair.

As we were talking, I noticed that I had a rough edge on my nail. I thought to myself, every good office desk drawer should contain an emery board---at least mine do!! I have emery boards in both my office desk drawers and the kitchen desk drawer, my scrapbook tote and room, plus one next to my chair in the family room and, of course the bedroom and bathroom. Still, I never dreamed he'd have one in his office. I went ahead and asked anyway. He handed me this:
OMGosh! This pouch contained EVERYTHING!! There are q-tips, cotton pads, binder clips, mini stapler and staples, bandaids, nail clippers and an emery board. I'm sure if I'd dug a little further  I would have found a rain poncho, comb and energy bar! I used the emery board , but was intrigued with what I thought was some sort of lip balm. I pulled it out. It was this:
What??? I've never even seen such a thing as this. No wonder he's so calm when he's in his office! Seriously, I wonder where that came from. Like I said, the guy has anything you could ask for--just about anywhere he is!!
He's so cute! Happy Father's Day to the "goat!"

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Rest of the Weekend

I've already given you the rundown of Butch's actual birthday. But, basically it was a birthday weekend.

Saturday morning started with a trip to the Maker's Mark Distillery. It's 2 hours and 45 minutes away. Butch didn't realize that it was on Eastern time when he booked the tour at 10 a.m. He tried to change it, but couldn't get through to MM via email or phone (never returned either message). He wasn't happy about that, so they were forced to go early.

They left the house at 5:30 a.m. They arrived and got their nameteags.
And of course...
...the tour included a tasting...
...and you get to dip your own bottle(s).
Looks like MM knows what they are doing!

They had a really fun time, but the kicker was that the air conditioning was out on the Enclave. They said it was so hot in the car--the temperature outside was well over 90--that they had to keep the windows down--which meant they were whipped with the highway wind!! When they got home, they joined us in the pool.

That evening, I had rented the private dining room at the club. Since our family now numbers 14, we are forced to rent private rooms at restaurants along with their hefty price tags. The dining room at Richland is perfect for us. And the food is always amazing!

We surprised Butch again with our"favorites" gifts. Every gift--the birthday gifts and then the favorites were so very thoughtful. 

We almost had a little snafu when we were discussing who might have gotten him nuts. He LOVES nuts and has just about exactly 12 every night--a small handful. Everybody thought someone else got him nuts. In fact, I was the one who asked the family if anyone was getting nuts. One of the girls responded that I shouldn't because surely one of the "kids" would. The day before, we discovered that no one had. Luckily, Jordan came through with them!

I might not remember everything, but here goes. He got golf socks, golf balls, hiking something (can't remember exactly what it was), fishing lures, nuts, a huge box of Tobelrones, Dollar Store cookies that he has raved about, alcohol (can't remember which)--and more that I can't remember. There really weren't any duplicates. Honestly, I didn't even think of all the ideas they came up with. He was really surprised.

After dinner, the "young 'uns" went back to Morgan and Ollie's place for the evening. The rest of us went back to the house and played a new game---Blank Slate.  It wouldn't be our family if there wasn't a little gambling involved. Each person put in a dollar for each of the 4 games. We had a first place winner (side note: Sandy came in first 3 times!) and a second place winner. It was a fun game for 8 people. We figured out how we could make it work the whole family. 

Sunday we ended with a family pool day and Corky's BBQ. This was when we had our book club discussion (this time we chose Later by Stephen King) and Butch's final surprise. That's when each person told their favorite dad/grandpa story. It was so much fun hearing what everyone loved about him. 

One last shot of my pretty girls!

Then it was over. As everything, it went by way too fast. 

Well, wait! There was one more thing. While we were all cleaning up in the kitchen, our three girls made an announcement. They said that they had something planned in honor of our 50th anniversary---coming up in August. They wanted to discuss the date with us. In my mind, I thought, "oh my gosh! We're pretty darn busy---trying to ramp up the travelling." But, earlier, they had slyly discovered that we didn't have anything planned for Labor Day. They said that we were to reserve Labor Day weekend, starting from Friday through Monday and wouldn't know anything until we needed to. Hmmm, no telling what they have up their sleeve! One thing's for sure, I know it will be fun!!