Thursday, November 30, 2023

End of the Month Re-cap

So, let's start with Starbucks. I stopped by yesterday and dropped off the ornament for Perla--my new favorite barista. 

Everyone "oohed and aahed" over it. I said it would make a nice addition for those on your gift list who you give Starbucks cards to. I think that's a great idea and I'd use it myself except that everyone I would give a Starbucks gift card to will be or has already made one.

Now on to the books I've read this month. That would be 11. In full transparency, 2 of these I was near finishing at the end of October. But I don't count them until they are finished. And another 2 were memoirs that I listened to--read by the author. I have a hard time with audio books as my mind wanders. But if it's a memoir read by the author, I do love that. I don't have any trouble staying focused. So that would leave technically 7 books I actually read. Tomatoes, tomahtoes. It's amazing how many books you can read by going on a beach vacation for a week, a long car ride and going to bed early. Like I say, "just because I go to bed early doesn't mean I actually go to bed!!" 

Anyway, not all of them were 5 stars. Only five of them made that cut. In no particular order:
If You Would Have Told Me--
this was John Stamos memoir. Loved it. Of course, I love him. 'Nuff said.

Everyone Here is Lying--
all I can say is "wow'--lots of twists and turns. Exactly how I like a book! PS The Couple Next Door was really good too. I read that in 2020. (I'm so glad I keep track of the books I've read--started in 2017. Since I use my Kindle, Amazon tells me the date I read it. That way I can go back and check my list for the rating.)

One True Loves--
about the time a young widow is starting to recover from the disappearance of her husband two years prior, he resurfaces--just as she becomes engaged to another. I might have considered this one fluff, but it posed a dilemma--what would you do?This one is really good with some great philosophies that gave me something to think about.

The Girl Who Was Taken--
at first, I thought this might be too hard to read. Think Dateline. It was intriguing with a very surprise ending. Sometimes the ending alone can cause me to give a book 5 stars. I didn't see it coming--at least not until the very end.

The Dream Daughter--
this one is about time travel. A woman from 1971 has the opportunity to travel to 2003 for an in vitro surgery to save her baby. That surgery wasn't available in 1971. Really, really good. You can't go wrong with Diane Chamberlain! I haven't read them all, but I have read quite a few.

Now for the movies. 
Connie, Nancy and I have managed to see 6 movies this month counting the one we are seeing today--the latest Hunger Games. Here are the ones I recommend:
The Eras Tour--Taylor Swift--I saw this by myself and loved every minute of the 3+ hours. As I said in a previous post---"it's the best concert I never actually got to go to!" (Update: it's coming out soon on one of the streaming services. Stephanie has already invited me over on 12/30 to watch it with her while we stitch. I'd love to see it again. In fact, I've already put the dvd on my Christmas list for next year!)

Priscilla--based on her book Elvis and Me which came out in 1986. I read it back then and knew it was the 80's but looked it up to find the exact year. There were a couple things that stuck out to me that I still remembered. The movie is true to the book--since Priscilla was one of the producers. All I'm going to say is I came to a realization while watching the movie. I'm not going to say what, but he was a strange guy. 

Journey to Bethlehem--at first, I couldn't figure out if this was supposed to be making fun of the story, but soon realized that it was more of a Broadway production. It took me a bit to warm up to it, but in the end I really liked it.

Holdovers--about a boy who has to stay at his boarding school over the Christmas holidays. It was sad and touching. Kind of a downer, but I did really like it. 

That's it for the movies I'd recommend. But, I think I'll add a really good documentary I just saw on Netflix. It's called Twin Flames and is about a cult called the Twin Flames Universe. This one is a really strange one. It's so hard to believe that people can be so desperate and lonely that they get sucked in to something like this. But, considering there are 10,000 active cults in the US, I guess it's not surprising. I'm shocked by that number. Thank God, I never came across any in my life. I'm afraid that I'm just gullible enough to have fallen for some BS. It's only 3 episodes, so easily bingeable.

Also, the last season of The Crown has started. I finished the first 4 episodes and it seemed to end abruptly. Then I found out that the final 6 episodes will be released in December. I've really enjoyed the series (also on Netflix), but you have to realize that they really took a lot of liberties with the stories. It's not all true. I kinda' hate that because there's a tendency to believe everything. If I hadn't already read so many books about the Royal Family, I would have believed it all too. 

Let me know if you read or see anything you think I shouldn't miss. 

Okeedokee then, that's it for this month. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

What I Buy Wednesday

When we were at Morgan's last week, we went to Michaels. I had a $5.00 coupon that was expiring.
All of these things were half price---they started their Black Friday sales on Wednesday---maybe earlier. The candy cane trees are new stocking hangers. The green trees are candles, cardstock--just because and who doesn't need tiny little containers for 99 cents??

Now this falls under the category of what I didn't buy. 

A couple months ago, the girls asked for a Halloween craft project. My question to them was---when do we have any time to do one? We often do a craft project on Thanksgiving. When I came across this one, I thought it was the perfect thing. It involves Starbucks cups. So, I went to Starbucks and got my regular tea. Then I asked if I could "buy" one each of the holiday cups. The barista, Perla, said, "Oh no, you don't have to pay for them!" 
She gave me one of each. Then she asked me if I wanted a "red" cup too. Those are the special plastic holiday ones released every year. They run out fast--usually in a couple days. Stephanie didn't get one this year, so I gave it to her for her birthday. Yeah, I'm a big spender!!

Then, I told the girls to each get some cups. We made our project at Morgan's. It was just the three of us then. I'll do it again with Sandy, Victoria and Elizabeth. And maybe one more time when Jordan is in town.
I think they turned out so cute. I'll be using mine on one of my Christmas scrapbook pages this year. If you want to make one, just let me know!! I have plenty of strips. 

I plan to give one to Perla for being so nice. But, I'm wondering if that might not be such a good idea. Maybe the Starbucks people wouldn't like to know that people are costing them money in free cups. Considering I have quite a few now, maybe I'll risk it!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Travel Tuesday

When we were traveling to Bloomington, IL on Tuesday, this happened. Butch is always so good about catching something like this. I always miss it. It's the little things...

I thought it would be fun to see how many travel mailing we get in a month. 27--that's nearly one a day. I guess this happens when you travel a lot. But the waste of money here! The back row are full on magazines! Actually, I do browse through them and pull out pictures of beautiful scenery that I use to make small envelops for my scrapbooking.

We don't have any travel plans until we go to Atlanta so spend a Christmas weekend with Sandy and family. Still, it's a busy couple of weeks until then.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Me on Monday

Me on Monday is all about ME---and I have a lot of "me" things today.

1. The week before last, I bought a cantaloupe. I always let them sit on the counter for 4 or 5 days to ripen and sweeten up. I swear by that method. I was telling Butch that I was going to cut it that day.
The next thing I know, it was done! He did it for me. He's always doing nice things like that for me. I love that he saved me that time! Oh, and it was delicious!

2. It's been almost a year since we bought our new bedroom furniture. The other day, I was thinking, "Hmmm, I wonder what's in the middle drawer of the nightstand?" I knew that the bottom drawer held all of my nail stuff and the top drawer held various stuff: Blistex for dry lips, Kleenex, notepad and pen for those middle of the night ideas, lotion, and Russell Stover chocolates--if I have any. My most recent box was from my birthday. I opened it about a week ago. It was bad! I didn't know chocolates went bad. You can be sure I won't let that happen again! 

Okay, back to that middle drawer. I opened it and found this:
I had completely forgotten that I put this little used jewelry in there. Actually, I was looking for something that's in here. I'm happy to have found it now---especially since all of my Christmas jewelry is there too. It's kind of scary that I could forget something like that so soon!

3. Two weeks ago last Friday, my friend Nancy invited some of us over for dinner. It was poker night---the guys play poker and we girls go to dinner. She wanted to cook for us.
We got a "selfie"--Nancy in front, Connie, Susan, me, Pam and Karolyn
She made a beef tenderloin stuffed with lobster, hash brown casserole, a caesar salad and some homemade yeast rolls. It was all so delicious. Her table was beautiful. We had the best time. Nancy even entrusted me with these photos to do her round robin this month. Actually, I'm doing Karolyn's too. I volunteered to take them both since no one else wanted to do one this month. I love doing it so that's fine by me!

4. When we were in Mexico for the wedding, I discovered a new drink.
It's called a Miami Vice. Nicky ordered it. It's Strawberry daiquiri on the bottom and Pina colada on the top. So good. I have no idea how many I had--at least one a day, sometimes two. 

5. This happened yesterday. I was upstairs working on one of the round robin layouts. Butch called me down to show me something. We went outside where he was pointing out a hawk. You might recall my fascination with our hawks in 2022. They didn't return in 2023. I was disappointed. Of course I was excited to see it. Then I realized that I came outside in my slippers. I do not wear shoes inside---especially on our white carpet. I'm still a little obsessive about that. I wear slippers in the house, but I don't wear them outside--otherwise they become shoes! I wasn't out there five minutes.
When I came inside, my slippers were filthy. I rest my case! This is the kind of crap we are carrying in to our homes! I realize I'm becoming more and more fanatical. I can't help it. I just like things to be clean!

Well, that's me on this Monday. 

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Something for Sunday

As promised, a few pictures of Morgan and Olly's house.
When you walk in the front door, her dining room is to the left looking through to the living room.
This is the bathroom we used. I didn't get a picture of the powder room downstairs---which has a safari theme with all of the fun things they got in Africa.
I thought this room was so cute. This is their spare room upstairs. They have the master and the guest room that we stayed in. His side on the left and hers on the right. It's so cute and perfect! Masculine and feminine!

In the basement, they have another bedroom--where Steph and Nicky stayed and another family room. I didn't do such a good job with the pictures. I should have taken them as Morgan gave us the tour.

But I had to take a picture of this room--it's the laundry/pantry.
Olly built all of the shelves to exactly make space for their trashcan and dog food bin. It's all custom exactly as they need it.
And, they have everything in their house perfectly organized---girl after my own heart!

I honed in on this because I couldn't believe the size of this bottles of spices. Then I noticed that HUGE canister in the back. I really wasn't being nosy (or maybe I was), but I just had to know what it could be to require such a large amount. I actually thought it might turn out to be coffee.
Instead, it's some sort of protein powder. I don't know anything about that but I do know that they are very fit and work out all the time. I guess it's related to muscles and health.

Now on to their furry "sons" (as they refer to them).
Finn loves to sit on this table to sunbathe. He loves being outside. At first, when I saw that he was out most of the time, I felt sorry for him. I thought they just made him stay out there. Morgan says he doesn't listen as well as the others. But he's not being punished. He loves being outside. Whenever he wants to come in, he just comes to the door and they let him in. Morgan says he's obsessed with the dogs next door--waiting for them to come out. 
On the other hand, these two spend more time inside than out. Walter on the left, doesn't like to go out all that much. Joey stands at the window looking for the neighboring dogs. All of the dogs including the neighbor dogs bark. They keep "the boys" in to try to minimize it.

Butch has a little buddy! Or maybe he has Finn's pillow.

We had a fabulous time---they are excellent hosts. I think it's ironic that this is the second Thanksgivng that Morgan has hosted (one for Olly's family) and her mother has never made a Thanksgiving dinner! Hmmm, we need to rectify that. Maybe next year...

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Thanksgiving 2023

We had the BEST time at Morgan and Olly's. We arrived on Tuesday afternoon. Morgan and Olly took us to a fancy Mexican restaurant--Ancho and Agave. I'll be dreaming about that place. We love Mexican food, but usually we go to the "hole in the wall" places. This one was really nice. The food was so good! Butch and I shared a beef burrito---I cannot describe how humongous this thing was. When we said that we were going to share it, they divided it for us. We each got a taco too---which due to the size of the burrito we didn't really need. But I'm glad we did. I got a grilled Shrimp taco that had a mango salsa on it. So, so good! Also we got some sort of side that were sweet corn tamale cakes--delish. M&O got them for the table. I've never seen those on a menu. They weren't just regular tamales. Also delicious. I could have made a meal on just those. I had a glass of homemade sangria (a little too tart for me) while the guys got some specialty margaritas. We'll definitely be going back!!

Okay, so that was the start. When we got home, we just talked for awhile. Butch and Olly ended up going to bed while Morgan and I were waiting up for Stephanie and Nicky. I loved having those few hours with just the two of us. We talked about everything!! 

On Wednesday, we did all of the prep work for our Thanksgiving dinner. I told the girls it would take about an hour. Everyone was making fun of me about how I always underestimate how long things take. I stand by one hour!! 

Here's all we did:
Morgan started her soup for dinner
peeled the potatoes for mashed
green bean casserole
corn casserole
carrot casserole
tore the bread for the dressing
boiled the eggs

That left Morgan's sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs and the dressing for me to do in the a.m.n Olly smoked the turkey, so he got up early and started that. We had Sister Shubert Rolls too. 

With 3 of us doing the prep work, it was probably an hour and fifteen minutes. It ran over because when you are cooking in someone else's kitchen, you spend a lot of time looking for things. We clean up as we go, so that was included in the time. 

The guys went out and did some brewery thing where they went to three different places while having a beer and watching sports. 

We girls went to Michaels. They were having their Black Friday sales early--more on that on What I Buy Wednesday. They had all of their Christmas things 50% off and boy, did they have some nice stuff!!

That night, we played poker--which we hadn't done in quite awhile. There are just too. many when we are all together. 

Here was my very first hand:
This is a pretty amazing hand at any time, but with 6 people playing---5 card draw--it's nearly impossible. 

But then, a little later:
Morgan drew this hand!! Unbelievable. 2--4 of a kind in one game. Morgan was a big winner. As for me, I held my own---up, down---and wound up losing $2.00.

We took a break for dinner. Morgan made a delicious soup--Creamy Cheesy Chicken Broccoli.

On to Thanksgiving:
We always start the day with Bloody Mary's and the Macy's Day Parade. This is the cheeseball I made. I wanted to surprise Morgan with it since she's quite the entertainer. It was so easy to do. Just make your choice of cheeseball, roll in shredded cheddar and wrap in Saran Wrap. Use rubber bands to make the grooves. Add the top of a green pepper for the stem.

A perfectly cooked turkey--so moist. 
The table was so pretty. The gold chargers are from her wedding. In fact, she gave me quite a few. Really, they are perfect for any time of year.

And of course, the pictures.
Considering we were "up north," its was a pretty nice day.
I love Butch's once a year turkey shirt. He says he thinks I bought it, but I have no recollection of that. Not unusual these days. 

Morgan, Olly and "the boys!" Walter on the left, Joey on the right and Finn is on Morgan's arm. I think this would make the best Christmas card. Actually, I'm pretty sure they will use one of their wedding pictures--as they should!!

We cleaned up, napped, played Sequence while the guys watched football, and had leftovers for dinner followed by blueberry cobbler with ice cream. We all had such a nice time and so many laughs. That's sort of non-stop when we're together. 

We're all looking forward to Christmas which will be here before we know it. 

We left around 7:20 on Friday morning so that Stephanie and Nicky can have some one-on-one time with them. Turns out, that's a great day to travel over Thanksgiving. There was hardly any traffic. It only took us 6 1/2 hours including one stop. It went by pretty fast to me as I did some organizing on my computer, played a game on my phone and read my book. OMGosh! It's a good one! You'll have to wait until I give you my book review at the end of the month. Plus, I want to finish it first. Right now it's really good. I hope it stays that way!

Tomorrow, I'll share some pictures of M & O's house. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

What I Buy Wednesday!

1. I actually bought this for a gift in London all the way back in September. The tin was so darn cute, I just had to take a picture.
The tin contained shortbread cookies. But when you turn the tin around... darn cute is this? Whoever thought of it. Like a little surprise. And I didn't even know it until after I bought it!

2. This is my collection of teas.
And yes, with the exception of just a couple, I did buy these!

3. I did not buy these, but here's the story. When I was in England with my bookclub friends, my friend Pam was talking about buying a purse with the wide straps. I was saying that I'm not crazy about them as those straps remind me of camera straps. As it turns out, those purses are called "camera strap" purses. I called it without even knowing it! 

The next thing I knew, Kate Spade jumped on that band wagon.
I'm still not crazy about them, but I think it's a great idea that they decided to make straps that you can buy for your existing bags.
I do love Kate Spade, so if I was going to try this style, I'd go for this strap. But, I'm still thinking "no, not for me."

4. Last week, I went to Starbucks to get some of their new holiday cups for a craft project. I felt kind of funny just asking for them. So instead, I asked if I could purchase one of each design. The barista was very nice and said I could just have them. 
That made me very happy. Then she said, "Do you want a "red cup" too?" Of course I said yes! You'll just have to wait and see what I make. Actually, it's our holiday craft project, so we'll be making it on Thanksgiving afternoon---after we have dinner. Aren't they so pretty? I love the fun colors.

5. It's still fall, so I thought I'd share these pictures of a couple of sugar maples.
My brother, sisters and I bought this tree when my other brother, Ronnie passed away in 2018.
We wanted something that his little granddaughters could relate to---grandpa's tree. It's so pretty every year.

And that's everything I bought and didn't buy.

Happy Thanksgiving! Don't eat too much turkey.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Me on Monday

Oh gosh. Where do I begin? Okay, here goes.

We leave for Thanksgiving with the newlyweds tomorrow. Since I wanted to have most of my Christmas decorating finished before we leave, I've had a lot to do. A whole lot. Here's my list:
I've finished most things, but everything I planned to do yesterday pretty much came to a halt. My computer started acting up. I freely admit, I am addicted to my computer. My whole like is on it. It's how I communicate. I write on my computer. I watch YouTube videos while I scrapbook. I keep track of everything with my computer. I am simply lost without it. 

So here's what happened. I was writing a Storyworth story when all of a sudden every time I typed anything, it would do this: bdadrdbd--whatever I typed, a "d" would be inserted after each letter. A really weird problem I never heard of before. So, I restarted my computer. That didn't work. It still happened. I didn't really have time to deal with that before leaving town. I decided I'd just take care of it when we get home.

 Then, when I was working on a craft project (more on that later), I had a YouTube video of Ali Edwards playing--she's my favorite scrapbooker. Well, the cursor was acting all weird and a box with numbers popped up and kept flashing. I closed out of that and set up an appointment for the Apple Store. After making the appointment for 12:45, I ended up shutting down the computer completely.

I left shortly after noon and got back home at 2 p.m. The "genius" thought it was most likely a software problem because when he ran the diagnostics, no problems popped up. So, if it was a software problem, then there would be no charge to fix it. He launched into a spiel that had my head spinning. "If it turns out to be this it will be $400, but even if we have to get more parts you won't pay more than that. Or, if it's this, it might be $600...blah, blah, blah." He was talking so fast and most of it was way over my head!

I left my computer knowing full well that he was going to "wipe" it. I have everything saved in the Cloud, so I would be able to get everything back. He told me that it would take a couple hours. I went back at 4 p.m. Well, wiping it didn't fix the "d" problem. 

So that meant, I had to wait for about a half hour for the technician to come and talk to me about the next step. While waiting, I was checking out my computer and realized that everything was still downloading from the Cloud. I set my desktop photo, I set up my mail account--it's a lot of work! I had to download a couple apps again. and log in to every app I use all the time--Instagram, Facebook, Storyworth, Feedly, etc. That led to having to change a bunch of passwords because my computer was now brand new again and no longer recognized anything! What a hassle!

When the tech finally came out, he said that he had other things to check. Same sort of quick talk occurred, "if it's the keyboard that needs replacing it will cost such and such. If it's the logic board, it will be this much. But first I'm going to replace the "d" key." I was thinking, "Why didn't he already do this?" 

So he took my computer in that back and I waited and waited. I'm thinking that before I get out of there it's going to cost me $500. Imagine my surprise when he told me that by replacing the "d" key and cleaning under it---fixed it!! What? Now I'm wondering if I even needed to have my computer wiped back to the factory settings. 

There were a few things I needed him to help me with. I asked how much I owed. He said, "Nothing!" What??? He said there was no charge. I was shocked and happy. 
Well, except for one thing. 

Remember how I've mentioned that I have an obsession with fonts? Well, they are gone!! Don't get me wrong, I still have 360 that come preloaded on the Mac. But I had 841 neatly organized in folders. All of it is gone. I cannot tell you the hours I've spent organizing, making lists and downloading fonts. In fact, last week when we were at the wedding I spent at least 2 hours scrolling through and playing with my fonts to find some really good ones for my scrapbook journaling. Now, that list is obsolete--unless I want to go back and download all of them again. I think I'm not going to. I think I need to just let it go. 

Actually, I don't really understand how that happened. Because whenever I get a new computer, those fonts always transfer with the folders. I don't know, maybe they are still up there in the Cloud. My brain is just too tire to think about it or try to figure it out.

At least all of my photos and albums are still there. I don't know what I would have done if I lost them.

So, today I have a pretty busy day---dental appointment, bank, post office, nails, grocery shopping, appointment with 10 yr. old neighbor boy who's going to stop by and check for packages while we are out-of-town.  

Stephanie and I were supposed to go to a concert tonight, but I've cancelled that. It wasn't what I thought it was going to be anyway. I thought I bought tickets for Walker Hayes. Turns out it's some sort of fund raiser called Country Cures Cancer. There are several artists with Walker Hayes being the big name. It doesn't even start until 8 p.m. which means he probably won't play until 10 p.m. Here's the kicker. There are NO seats! It's called a "standing room only" concert. I should have known something was up because it's at a place I've never heard of before called "The Brooklyn Bowl" Nashville. Steph and Mindy know about it so at least it's legit. But still, I feel totally ripped off. I should have known because the tickets were only $60. You get what you pay for. That's why I don't like to be the one to buy tickets. It's too complicated. 

I guess I was just blinded by Walker Hayes. Love him!!

Okay, so that's what's been up with me.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Something for Sunday

Oh no you don't! 

Oh no you don't TARGET!!! 

You don't get to lure me back into your store!!! 

I'd rather suck up the 5 bucks than go back. 

You knew I liked sparkly things.

You knew I wouldn't be able to resist this sparkly, glitter paper.

You knew you sold me some wrapping paper that won't stick. What good is wrapping paper that won't actually wrap something? 

You knew I knew that nothing sticks to glitter. But, you blinded me as you always do when I get into your store. 

You take over my mind and body.

You make it so I can't think straight.

You knew I would have to come back to return it.

You knew! 

Now I know your tricks! 

You know I am weak.

I know I have to quit you cold turkey. Yet again.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Scrapbook Saturday

1. Pam did this layout for me for our monthly "round robin." We trade pictures along with the journaling. The we each do the other's layout. 

2. This month's AYM was Nancy's question: "What were your Halloween Tricks or Treats?" This is my layout.

3. This is Janet's layout. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the other layouts. 

4. Grandpa & Morgan.

5. This is the "round robin" layout I did for Pam.