Thursday, May 30, 2024

Colonna Club

The Colonna Club is a Catholic women's book club started in 1923. I joined in 2022 and quickly realized it wasn't quite what I thought it was.  I don't know what I expected. It's a very large group with hundreds of members. Obviously, you cannot have a book discussion with that many people. They have a meeting once a month at Hillwood Country Club. It was fun from a social aspect as I know many people there and many I hadn't seen in years---since my volunteer days at Overbook and St. Cecelia Academy. Instead of a discussion, they have one person who basically reviews the book of the month. Occasionally, they are able to get the author to come and talk about the book. 

Rules dictate that you are only allowed to miss two meetings year. Well, with our travel schedule, that didn't work for me. So I pretty much dropped out after about 6 months. But, I do still read most of the books. I'm still on their list and get all the mailings. I've enjoyed most of the books--they are not all religion based, but more related to social problems. Most have been very good/interesting. 

My friend, Madelyn who is in my regular book club is also a member of Colonna Club. We joined at the same time. So, she invited me to the 100th anniversary celebration--a tea. Now that was really fun. I saw a lot of old friends I hadn't seen in at least 20 years.
From left: Carolyn--she started the first Forensics program in Nashville in the 1980's (public speaking--not to be confused with dead bodies). I worked with her as a troubleshooter with the meets. In pink is Madelyn. We've been friends since she moved to Nashville around 1990. Nancy is one of who I consider my "daily" friends--meaning I see her several times a week. She was the very first person I met when we moved to Nashville in 1985. Both Madelyn and Nancy have daughters Mindy's age. They are both in my regular book club. Note the balloon banner--Nancy and her daughter (mostly her daughter) made it. Leigh is an expert with balloons!

Now, the day was fun, but the tea was pretty lame. Remember, I am an admitted "tea snob." I sort of knew going in that Hillwood did not know how to do a proper tea when we were encouraged to bring our own tea cup! It wasn't exactly tea food either. We had a salad to start. Then they passed plates of mini sandwiches and sweets. There were no scones on our table, although I did see them on others--no clotted cream either. Scones are my favorite part of tea. 

I will say, the table decor was fabulous. 
I love the tea and book theme.
I use books all the time in my tablescapes.  Oh, and notice that white pitcher? That's the hot water for the teabag (what??) that was in my cup. Yes, a teabag!!

I know it's not about all of that. It's about fellowship and being together. So, that's why I'm giving it a pass. Basically it was snack with tea--not quite a proper tea. That's okay, I have enough of my own tea parties. Mostly because we do not have a single place in Nashville that does tea. Around the holidays, some of the hotels will host them. That's why I love England so much. There are hundreds and hundreds of tearooms. No lie!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

What I Buy Wednesday

While in St. Louis, I spent several hours with my cousin, Chrissy. I don't know how the conversation landed on cookies, but she knows I love them as much as she does. She was telling me about these delicious cookies from Target. I said, "Well, let's go get some!" And we did.
These. OMGosh! They are delish! Everything I like in a cookie--crispy, milk chocolate, macadamia nuts, and toffee! Go get some. 

While I was looking for the cookies, I was reminded of a trail mix that Mindy and Justin had on our trip to Italy last summer. I never could find it. But I did this time.
Again, delish! It's great if you want just a little sumpin' sumpin'.  It's got that salty/sweet thing going on. But, don't be fooled, there are more peanuts than cashews. That's pretty much how it always is with mixes unless you get the pure mixed nuts with no peanuts. I guess they are a cheap filler. But this mix has plenty of M&M's along with the little chocolate covered creamy caramel and chocolate covered caramel balls. It's a great little travel snack. This family likes their car snacks (okay, I'm talking about my girls and their families and me--Butch not so much). Go get some!

Now on to what I didn't buy at Target. 
Tupperware!!! OMGosh! Can you believe it? 
I was very tempted, but didn't buy anything.
But that's not to say I won't. In fact I definitely will. What perfect gifts for my granddaughters? We all know the quality of Tupperware along with the high price. It's not the sort of thing young people will buy for themselves. Oh wait, what am I saying? Of course they would--at least when I was young--Tupperware parties were a staple of social gatherings. I guess those days are gone. That's sad. We loved our Tupperware parties. I have many, many pieces that are over 50 years old. In fact, I never had this piece, but I do now:
I'd venture to say it's over 50 years old. Back in the 70's, not only could I NOT afford this classic green humongous salad bowl, I had no place to store it. But now I have it and didn't even have to pay a cent for it. I "snagged" it at Connie's "fire sale--everything must go"--in the "free" bin! Yep, free, no dinero, without cost, totally free! Kinda' seemed like highway robbery. Oh well, you know what they say (whoever "they" are), "One man's trash is another man's treasure." 

Marks & Spencer, Sephora, Kendra Scott--and now Tupperware! What's next? 

Oh Target, there you go again, luring me back in! Okay, I give. I'll be back. For sure. I need, I need, I need, okay, I don't know what I need, but I'll think of something.

Share your Target finds with me. That might give me the excuse I need to go back!

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Tuesday Thoughts About... reunions. 

I don't like 'em! Yep, I just said that. When I saw my cousin, Julie last week, her parting words were that we needed to have a family reunion. After she left, Jeanne, Janet and I said that--that was probably the last time we'd ever see her. I got to thinking about it and thought that I'd put a reunion together--my way!

This is how it goes at family reunions--individual families all stay together. There are a few of us--I am one--who will make the rounds and try to talk to everyone. And forget the picnic thing. That's a lot of work with a year of pre-planning to reserve a location. 

I've decided that as the oldest of all the first cousins, I'm going to plan one---MY way. 

We first cousins know each other---at least most of us do---maybe not all the little ones of which Julie is one. She's 17 years younger than me. I think I've seen her 3 times in all 72 years of my life. When we were kids, we went to our grandparents house at least once a month and had a ball playing together. As we've grown up, we lost touch. I have never met a single cousin's children. Nor have they met mine.

So, here's my plan for the reunioin: I'll first get with Julie to see how many emails she might have and go from there. Then I'll see if there's any interest. I'll tell them that they can invite their families but that I won't be inviting mine. My girls would not be interested in taking time off to make the trip to St. Louis to meet a bunch of people they don't know and will never see again. So why force them? For that matter, when and if this event takes place, I'll let Butch off the hook too. That way I can circulate and spend time with my cousins on my own. He's only met one or two here and there anyway. 

After I track down emails and if there seems to be enough interest, we can find a party room somewhere for 3 or 4 hours and have it catered by the restaurant. The biggest challenge I see is choosing a date. I guess if I'm doing the planning and have to travel to get there, I'll get to choose. Maybe I'll offer a couple of dates and see which is best. My best count is 21 or 22 first cousins and however many of their spouses might want to come. This seems pretty doable. Beyond that, there are well over a hundred. Maybe we can get a good count. That would be fun to know exactly how many of us there are--even if we don't know everyone. 

I guess I better get on it!

Monday, May 27, 2024

Happy Memorial Day & Travel Tuesday!

Butch, Mindy and Justin and I, went to St. Louis on Thursday of Memorial weekend for a family party at my sister, Jeanne’s. 

Whenever I go to St. Louis, I always see my cousin, Chrissy. This trip, I also met up with another cousin, Julie—who had a bunch of old pictures. Many I already have. Unfortunately, just about all the rest were unidentifiable. We don’t know any of the people or locations and there’s no one left to ask. Still, it was fun to see her. Janet and Jeanne were with me. Julie is 17 years younger than me, so I never really knew her. I love that she reached out to give us the photos.

Butch spent Friday with his brother. When Chrissy and I finished lunch, she dropped me off there. We hung out with Walter and Chris, caught up on all the news, played Mexican Train and ordered St. Louis pizza, toasted ravioli, and salad for dinner. We always have a good time with them. And, of course, we cannot go to St. Louis without having the basics--which also includes frozen custard which we had with Mindy and Justin on Saturday.

Other family came from out-of-town for the party too. There were 29 of us. It was the first time the remaining 6 of us siblings were together since Ronnie’s death in 2018. I cannot believe it's been 6 years already. Seems like just yesterday. 

From the left: Janice, me, Joyce, Matt, Jennifer and Jeanne.

The rest of the gang:

Unfortunately, Uncle Tony had already left when we got the picture. Devon's friend, Monica is taking it, so she's not in it.

I was so happy to see everyone—especially Uncle Tony. He is still so spry. However, he did have a fall. Luckily, he was okay. I spent quite awhile taking 6 kids driving in Jim’s golf cart. 
He’s always so generous to let me do that. I’m not the first, but I don’t get to do it often. I always make the kids abide by the rules of the road, using hand signals as necessary, keeping their eyes on the road (I throw in tricks to make sure they are—like, “Look, there’s a deer!”), and stopping at stop signs. Any infraction is cause for immediate forfeiture of their turn. I made a big deal out of it, “Okay, that’s it, you're done. You failed to abide by the rules of the road!” Of course, as always, it’s all about memories with Aunt Barb. This time they started hounding me to take them driving right when I got my dinner. They had already wolfed theirs down. I do love spending time with all the "littles"--even though they are outgrowing me. I might have to start calling them the "biggers!"

After we were out for awhile, we came back to the house so the kids could “refill” their candy bags. Mindy and I made a cookie and candy charcuterie board as reported yesterday. We let them each choose whatever they wanted. That was a "hit!" I hope the adults got some of the cookies.

After 5 hours, the Eads family was ready to go. We knew we were getting an early start home on Sunday. Janice and Jennifer left then too. I take a lot of razzing from my brother about going to bed early--around 9, but then we're reading or watching the news. I try to make him understand, we are very early morning people---NOT night people. Plus, 5 hours is long enough for a party in my book. At my house, I would be telling people the party was over! 

We got on the road with Mindy and Justin following us at 4:50 a.m. It was pouring down rain with lightning which made visibility difficult. The traffic was very light. We made one gas/potty/pick up food stop. It took us 6 hrs and 40 minutes. Usually it 5 1/2 hours. It's nice to have one day to just relax and get ready for the week. 

I'm so happy we were able to get the pictures. No one really wants to stop what they are doing and it's hard to get everyone to cooperate, but we make them! Our times together are fewer and farther between. I hate it. Time is just going too quickly. Please slow down!

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Something for Sunday

On Wednesday night, we went downtown to the Nashville Public Library for a presentation by Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser in celebration of their new book. They were very entertaining. We are all going to read the book and have a discussion sometime in the pool.
Michael grew up in Ferguson, MO--a suburb of St. Louis and very near where I grew up. 
Speaking of St. Louis, Butch, me, Mindy and Justin just spent the weekend there. 
My cousin and I went to Target. I couldn't believe that they now sell Tupperware! I guess the home parties are a thing of the past.
We had lunch at Freddy's. Justin is always such a good sport! 

Mindy and I were in charge of the dessert for our family barbecue of 35 people. We did a cookie and candy charcuterie board! It was a big hit with the kids.

Family pictures coming on Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

What I Buy Wednesday

So. I think I've admitted before that I don't really know how to sew. Still, I keep plugging away. Luckily, I have a couple of friends who help me. Karolyn has come over several times---to---I'm ashamed to say---change the thread on my machine. Even with the instructions, I continue to have problems. She recently had to help me with the fact that my machine was messing up all the time. She pretty much determined that I might have wound my bobbin wrong. 

That's where my other sewing expert friend, Nancy E. comes in. I was telling her about my troubles. She gave me two simple hints that I am trying. First, she said the easiest way to change your thread is to cut off the old thread at the spool and tie the new thread to it. That way, you can easily just pull it through! I haven't done it yet but I plan to. Genius!

The next tip required a purchase. That's what I bought this week. Pre-wound bobbins! I had no idea there was such a thing. Nancy said it was worth it to just buy them, so I did.
I was able to get 12 pre-wound bobbins for a little over $3.00 on Amazon. Problem solved! Well, I have to put one in and try it out. I haven't done that yet, but hopefully all will work just fine. I'm not really confident I know how to do that. 

This next thing is not something I bought. But, rather, Butch bought. When I walked in the house one day, he said he had purchased it for the "kids." I thought he was referring to our girls. I said, "Don't we already have this?" To which he replied, "A long time ago."

Turns out, he bought this for the "littles" for Camp Aunt Barb coming up in just a couple weeks.  I think he must be feeling guilty since he's not going to be here. I told him that he was going to have to tell the kids this weekend (we're going to St. Louis for Memorial Day) that there wasn't going to be "Bingo with Uncle Butch" this year! They love that. And, truth be told, so does he!!
He's such a good sport. It makes me happy that he even thought of this basketball thing for them. 

I think there's going to be a competition happening. For sure.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Travel Tuesday

So. Last Thursday, my friends, Pam (the birthday girl--celebrating #70), Karolyn and I arrived in New York City. Pam had never been there. I was thrilled when she asked me to plan her trip. She knows how much I love NYC.

I divided the trip by days and visiting different areas of Manhatten to cover as much as possible. We walked a total of 25.3 miles over 2 1/2 days. We were on the go constantly. 

Thursday--we had lunch at Shake Shack, walked to the New York Public Library to see the lions and poked our head inside--no time to tour as we were off to Battery Park where we ferried to the Statue of Liberty and then on to Ellis Island. We had happy hour at the Knickerbocker Hotel. We had reservations at the St. Cloud on top of the building, but got "bumped" for a private party. We went to Carmines for dinner and then to Schmackery's for cookies. Whew!

Friday--walked to Ralph Lauren's flagship store and got coffee (in my case, tea) and scones. Walked through Central Park to The Dakota Hotel where John Lennon was assassinated. We walked back through Central Park to Bloomingdales so Pam, could shop. Then we walked 5th Avenue stopping at: The Plaza Hotel, Rockefeller Plaza, the Kate Spade store (I had to show them the taxi shoes that are so cute), then to Parker & Quinn for a delicious lunch. We had an hour to rest before heading to Little Italy for a candlelight tour of the catacombs of the old St. Patrick's Basilica (excellent). We went to The Back Pocket--a little bar tucked in a neighborhood for drinks before the show & Juliet. Whew!

Saturday--we started at Starbucks for coffee/tea and muffin which we ate at Bryant Park. We had 10 a.m. reservations at Rise NYC--great museum ending with a fun ride where you are flying over the city. We had brunch in Hell's Kitchen at my favorite place--Marseille--a French Cafe. There was a flea market happening with the street shut down so everyone could stroll. We headed to Hudson Yards to The Edge where we were 100+ floors above the ground. You can look out all over the city. From there, we walked The Highline. Usually one of my favorite things. It was previously an overhead train that has been turned into a park. The flowers were beautiful, but it was super crowded. Disappointing. We walked the length, exited in the west village and stopped for a drink at the 2nd oldest tavern--The White Horse. We walked from there to Macy's, shopped, then walked back to Times Square. We had dinner and finished the evening about 8:30. Whew!

It was a jam-packed trip, but so much fun---as these pictures show!! 

We've had many adventures over our 40 year friendship and hope to have many more!! 

Monday, May 20, 2024

Me on Monday

Last week, I was at Sandy's on Mother's Day, so yesterday, we celebrated here in Nashville with Stephanie, Mindy and the boys. We turned it in to our first pool day and barbecue of the season. Steph is the only one who got in the water. She stayed in for quite awhile, so I guess it wasn't too cold. Justin grilled the steak while Butch did most of the other food prep.

How about some "throwback" pictures of my babies?

Now on to the gifts!

My girls know what I like! Here's proof:
Sandy gave me this cookbook along with the stand. It happens to be one of her and Greg's  favorites. I've already ear-marked some new recipes to try. And then, candy. I love candy! Always have!

Stephanie said that Mother's Day was about pampering.
She gave me these super-soft jammies with some comfy slippers! PINK!  Just like a little kid, I had to wash them right away so I could wear them.

Mindy brought me some beautiful hydrangeas. I do love flowers. But it's the vase that is so darn cute.
I have never seen a vase like this---a ceramic book. It just happens to be a favorite book of mine too--The Great Gatsby. But talk about a coincidence---when she handed the flowers to me, I whipped this out:
OMGosh! I just picked up this little magazine in New York. I wanted to show the girls and tell them that we need to see this. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. I can't wait to see this one. What are the odds?

So, there's my Monday report and Mother's Day review all in one. I love my "girlies" and how they continually surprise me with fun gifts. 

You know, people my age always say they don't need anything. I've said it too, and it's true. I don't need a thing. But, I don't think I'll ever get too old to enjoy fun presents. Come on. Who doesn't like a surprise? I know I sure do! My girls do it so well!

Monday Mystery

Do you know what this is?
It's a jar opener. 

I have had many different types--the rubber band gripper, the rubbery sheet and even one that had handles and expanded. Butch broke that one. I bought this one to replace it. I don't seem to have the strength in my hands I once had. This works just fine. 

But then, I actually saw a trick recently. I haven't had a chance to try it as I haven't opened a new jar of anything. There were several things to try, but the two I remember are:
1. Put the heels of your hand (I guess that's what you call the fleshy part), interlock your fingers and press the heals together until you hear a "pop" which means you've broken the seal, thus making the jar easy to open.
2. The other tip which sounds more like something I can do is:
Using a knife or fork, put the tip under the jar and sort of pry it until you hear the "pop". This one sounds doable, but I'm not going to like it if it bends up my cutlery!

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Something for Sunday

Well, my sago palms didn't fare so well over the winter this year. We bring (and when I say "we"--I mean Butch) bring them in each fall. We put them in the sunroom. 
Even though the sunroom is heated, it's very cold and drafty with all of those windows. 
This one fared even worse. It looks totally dead. I'm hoping for a miracle like the last time. Remember that? You can read about the last time here,

The other two are going to be fine. I'm not so sure about these. I've cut away all of the dead stuff, so we'll see.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Scrapbook Saturday

Here's my layout for April. Scrapbooking by the month has saved me is much time by being able to include everything important within this double page spread instead of a bunch of separate layouts. 
The same is true with travel layouts. 
I just added an insert for our Windmills and Tulip cruise.
I have the trip journal and garden brochure in an envelope. 
This is the insert opened up. 

"Hats" is our AYM word for the month of May. Janet already sent me her layout.
Her page folds out on each side which allows her to include 45 pictures!!! OMGosh, that's a record!
Here's her journaling.

This one is mine too.
I cut the "Then & Now" with my Cricut. I purchased that design for $1.99 for the round robin I did for Nancy. I've never bought a design, but felt like she was worth it. Now that I've used it for my own layout, that brings the cost down to a buck. 

Okay, that's it for this week!