Friday, December 15, 2017

Things That Surprise Me

Growing up, I always loved Chicken Gumbo soup. I thought the "gumbo" was what I learned as an adult was the okra. Hey, I grew up in an Italian family. Okra was never heard of nor served! The soup used to be chock full of okra. No more. It surprises me that there was just this one piece in an entire can! BTW, I love actual gumbo, now that I know what it is.
It surprises me that everything seems to be labeled these days. Like---"this product contains no nuts nor was it prepared in a facility that has nuts." Or most recently, I saw another sign that said these diamonds were responsibly sourced. I guess after the movie "Blood Diamonds" the diamond industry had to clean up its act.
 I was surprised and delighted when Jordan said, "look grammy, I'm wearing the earrings that great grandma left me."
They are ivory rosebuds. I hope they were responsibly sourced and no elephants were injured!
 Every year I go to the doctor for my annual physical. There are two sheets full of questions.
I'm always surprised by the questions. At my age, do people suddenly take up smoking, drinking and whoring? Not me.
 There are NO words. None! Not a good surprise.
I wanted to treat Jordan to this wine.  I was surprised by the price--$37.99. Too bad. It's probably really good, but I'm not that much of a connoisseur (are you surprised that I had to look this up for the correct spelling)!

This sign is still on display at The Centennial Club. In this day and age of women's rights and all the hubbub over sexual harassment, it surprises me that all the way back in 1906, women were only good for cleaning and beautification!

Look closely.
Wasps always come in through the chimneys in the fall. They are lethargic, but I never knew they were so stupid! It surprises me that they are fooled by fake flowers!
 It surprises me that even florists use the tape trick to keep flowers in place.

I was surprised by this street sign in Washington, DC. I would love to know which one this street was named after!

This doesn't surprise me at all. It's just the truth.

What's surprising you these days?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Looking for Joy

I was in St. Louis this past weekend visiting my family--my brother, Ronnie to be specific. Sometimes you have to look for joy anywhere you can find it!

Several family friends and cousins stopped by. That was fun--we don't see them often enough!
Janet and I went to the grocery store to pick up food for the masses!
Santa stopped by with one of his reindeer. I had Janet stand there so I could get this picture. It was only after that I turned around and realized that we totally cut the line! There were kids lined up to see santa and Donder! Ooops! The rest of our shopping trip was uneventful.

Here's a photo of me with both of my brothers:
We spent a lot of time reminiscing---brother Ronnie (left), who never wanted to do that---well, that's all he wants to do now. Just makes it sadder.

And then JOY came through the front door! I just love these two! They are so much fun to have around---especially at such a sullen time. They kept us entertained.
It took a little while for Josie to warm up to me. But, my Camp Aunt Barb did the trick. She remembered me. It wasn't long before she was saying "Aunt Barb!" when she wanted me to look at something. She sat on my lap and played with my poker money.

 Evie loves playing computer games with her grandpa.

When they were getting ready to leave, I was making over Evie's hat---telling her she was so darn cute! Josie came running, "Aunt Barb, Aunt Barb, see my hat!" She definitely did not want to be left out!

Joy indeed!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Magic of Christmas... at Stephanie's house! Everything looks gorgeous! You be the judge.

The festivity starts when you walk up to the door.

Here's a close up of the winter pots Sara (our garden girl) did for her.

I particularly love this view at night. She posted this one on Facebook---noting that her UPS man knew to put the packages under the tree.
Stephanie hosted our annual ornament exchange last night. She decided to have a hot chocolate bar. I arrived early to get a few things going. The hot chocolate was made in the crockpot. It was so creamy and rich. I've requested the recipe, so I'll share it when I get it. She had all kinds of toppings and mix ins like Baileys and Peppermint Schnapps. It was so good!

I've raised a "lister!" She is definitely her mother's daughter! Hmm. There's the hot chocolate recipe!

Now for a few more peeks at her decorations:

I made this pillow for her several years ago. It is one of my favorites. I just love that heart background!

 Her nutcracker collection on the mantle is just perfect---doesn't interfere with the tv.
 The chairs are not usually here---just for the party.
 I don't think anyone had the eggnog--I should have just to use the antique cups!
 Oh look! My car's parked out front!

With all of those windows, everything glows at night!

The ornament exchange was really fun this year. All of the ornaments were great---which caused a lot of stealing. That makes it so much fun! But the best part is having all of our daughters and some granddaughters together. It only happens at Christmas time! Nancy's daughter, Paige, even flew in from NYC to be with us this year. I was really happy about that. I love seeing everybody together!

And, I just love going to other people's houses at Christmas time. I like to see their trees and decorations. A festive drink is welcomed too! What's your favorite festive drink?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What's Happenin'!

Apologizing in advance. I have no idea why the font is so tiny. I tried to fix it, but it wouldn't! You'll have to make it bigger on your end!

Thinking: how young people today can do such amazing things with technology. Jordan had to make this video for one of her classes. It took several hours and 100's of photos. I'm so impressed. I hope this video works so you can view it. She got a 100%. It's pretty creative---but then, that's her---artsy and creative!

Thankful for: family and friends at this time of year--well all the time, but especially this time of year!

Cooking: Connie and I are getting together this morning to make mushroom crustades. We haven't made them in years. They are quite involved. Mindy requested them. Doing them with Connie makes it more fun. I'll share the recipe soon.

Wearing: As of right now, I'm still in my robe. I haven't figured out what to wear today. I usually only like to get dressed once. But I think I'll wear "work" clothes until later today when it's time for the ornament exchange at Stephanie's.

Hoping: and praying that my brother makes a painless exit. I visited him this weekend. It's just so sad. He has terminal brain cancer. He's decided not to take any treatment but rather enjoy life as it is now---still pain-free. We all agree with his decision, but it's still so hard. 

Working: Not working quite yet, but just as soon as Christmas is over, we have to empty the kitchen and pantry to get ready for the remodel. It's going to be a job. I'm hiring Morgan and Jordan. They need the money and I need the help! I'm really going to clean out. Anything on those top shelves---goes. I can't reach them and haven't used the stuff up there. Obviously I don't need it! 
 There are a lot of cabinets.
My plan for this desk area is to have cabinets all across the bottom. I wanted to remove the junk collector/mail slots, but they are a permanent part of the cabinetry, so they'll probably have to stay. The cabinets above will all be glass fronts. I'm planning to put shiplap on the wall. I'm gong to paint the whole thing a color to make it appear to be more like a piece of furniture. I have a vision---I just hope it works out that way!

The pantry---oh my gosh---the pantry. It's a huge walk in. Of course, I love the space. But emptying the whole thing out isn't going to be fun---reminiscent of those darn pantry moths!
We're having the floor refinished and everything painted. I'm keeping all the cabinets and pantry white. I just love the clean, crispness of white. When I look at these pictures, I think, "gosh, it doesn't look like it needs painting"---but it definitely does! It's been 12 years! 

It's going to be a big job, but I'm going to love the results! 

Reading: I've recently finished two really good books: Ready Player One (sci-fi taking place in 2045. It is so good---about how interaction amongst humans is almost nil--all via computer---each person has their own avatar. Really good---you will like it even if you don't like sci fi.) 
It's definitely a sign of the times! Sandy said that when she had Elizabeth's party, everyone was on their phones taking pictures and posting. They said it was a great party! Things are definitely different! I'm glad we're a game playing family as that really keeps the interaction alive!

The book I just finished last night is Seeing Red (a suspenseful book with several twists. I really like it when I don't see the twists coming!) I just started The Ladies Room. So far, I'm loving it---highly entertaining.

Needing: to plan out all the food for the upcoming holidays and getting my grocery list together.

Watching: I've been watching the Ken Burns PBS Vietnam series. It's really awesome. If you don't understand what the heck happened during that time, this documentary is for you. I was a teenager and didn't really know much. If we think we're living in a time of unrest, well, it's just as then. Confusing times.

Creating: I'm working on my 3D needlepoint santa. Mostly loving it. I'm having a lot of fun with it. Plus, it's a good excuse to watch tv!

Taking: Or I should say NOT taking---my cholesterol medicine. My doctor said my numbers were so good that she was taking me off of it (for 3 months anyway). I thought once you were on that, you would never get off of it. Officially I do not have any prescription drugs---well, except for my monthly xolair treatment.

Hearing: I have Christmas music playing, but am not paying much attention. Butch and I discussed that we're pretty sick of Christmas music--after 66 years! It's just a hand full of songs done over and over by different artists. 

Appreciating: My morning view.

Dreading: the Christmas "take-down." I always start to dread it as I'm putting it up!

Weekending: We're heading to Charlotte for Christmas with Sandy and family. Jordan and Morgan are going with us. I love that they want to spend their limited, school break time with their cousins. I hope it stays like that when they have families of their own. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Latest Needlepoint

I guess it's been about a year since we started this project. Stephanie, Mindy, Connie and I picked this sampler to stitch. We each picked our own color scheme. Connie finished hers first.
She went with blues and greens and decided on a picture rather than a pillow.
This is Stephanie's. She has hers sitting in a chair in her living room.

And this is mine. I decided to make it for my bedroom. I'm running out of places for needlepoint pillows!
I love that we all picked a different color scheme. That makes them each look so different even though they are the exact same pattern! Mindy's is going to be awesome---when she finishes it! She's using a black, silver, white and lime green color scheme.

And then there's this:
While I was working on this canvas, the girls (big and little) thought it was pretty neat. I wasn't sure who I was going to give it to. I decided to make it a game prize at Thanksgiving! As it ended up, Jordan got it, but then Carter really wanted it. She gave it to him. At first I was a little distressed that one of the girls wasn't going to have it. But then, I found out that Carter thinks my needlework is pretty awesome. That made me happy. He's the first guy to show any appreciation for it! Notice the cute little Christmas tree background! 

Now I'm working on my 3D santa. It's fun, but a few of the stitches are killing me!