Friday, May 28, 2010

Morgan Graduates

Here she is today at 14. Quite a difference from her 12 yr. picture 2 years ago.

Morgan graduated from the 8th Grade on Tuesday night. She received 3 awards---she had the highest grade point average for pre-algebra and computer. She got another award for the nationwide standardized test for pre-algebra, but I don't remember exactly what it was---Steph? Anyway, we were mighty proud!

Isn't she so cute??

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Random PIctures

I'm reading Jeanne's Stephen King book, Under the Dome. I only have 21 days for the 1050 page (and pound) blockbuster. That is 50 pages a day. I was doing pretty good, then it was 12 pages behind and then 17 pages behind. Now I'm a full 50 pages behind. Not too bad---just one day. I plan to catch up this weekend with 2-- 12 hour car rides.

The silverware caddy proves that a younger sister an teach an older sister new tricks. While at mom's, Jeanne and I were unloading the dishwasher. As I kept bending over to get the silverware, Jeanne said, "Barb, why don't you just take the whole basket?" I didn't admit that I never even knew the thing came out (only kidding---well, maybe).

The shot of the old photos is in my family room. Pay close attention to Uncle Johnnie (y?) in the odd shaped frame. He is the oldest of the Pagella clan. While in St. Louis, my cousin Judy GAVE it to me! I was so excited and impressed that she would trust me with such a cool family heirloom. I told her it would go on my wall. I'm thinking about moving all of these to the dining room. Thanks, Judy---and for the fun day!

The Fels Naptha soap is what was used when I was 4 and got my mouth washed out for the first time.

The tags are a close-up shot of our latest day group project. We all designed the tags---sort of like a swap, except we each did our own work.

PS Pure luck that the wording worked out with the photos this time. Go figure.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Final Flood Results

I promise that this is the last I'll be mentioning about our flood. I just wanted to share these pictures. This is at our park where those that didn't want to wait for the city to get all of their crap off their front lawn could HAUL it THEMSELVES! Imagine that!! Doing it yourself!

What you see here is just a tip of the iceberg as to what's there. I couldn't get a good shot to show the amount of stuff.

One last thing I never did mention---the landslides in the park were unbelievable. Entire hillsides of trees just slid down. I can't get a good picture due to traffic, but I'm going to try. Then that will be the LAST photo of flood damage.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm So Mad I Could Chew Nails---or the Telephone!

I got home yesterday from a fun trip to St. Louis. My mom is doing fabulously---so much better than when I was last home. They adjusted her pacemaker which made all the difference in the world.

Okay, on to the story. The point is that I'm feeling all good and relaxed. Then Butch said, "oh by the way, the phone is out." Right away, I'm mad because I thought he left it for me to handle. He said that it had just happened, so I calmed down. I get on Butch's cell phone with Comcast and went through the normal, lengthy, button pushing rigamarole. I finally get to a customer service agent. She has me go to the modem which is under a piece of furniture in the bedroom and no small feat. She wants to know which lights are green, which are out and which are flashing. Of course, the etching of the words is so tiny and matches the black box (why don't they make the lettering white so you can actually see it?)---I have a hard time reading it. Plus the lighting isn't so great there either. When I finally make it out, she says that she is going to re-set the modem from her end. She does, I have phone, all seems well. A little later, I got a call, but it was all staticky, annoying and hard to hear. No way was I dealing with that at 9:30 p.m. The first call was already out of my normal "working" hours.

First thing this morning, I call Comcast again. Once more, I go through the lengthy button pushing rigamarole---but now I have them memorized, so I don't have to listen to each thing. I get a customer service representative. She has me go back to the modem---once again, I move the heavy piece of furniture, crouch down on the floor and try to deal with the box. She asks me to find the spot marked "telephone". Then she tells me to unplug the jack from the wall. Why the h**l I didn't think of it sooner, but of course, doing that DISCONNECTS ME!!! Oh My Gosh!!! You have never heard such ranting---luckily I don't use foul language---here's exactly how it went---me literally screaming like a banshee (whatever that is)---"YOU'VE GOT TO BE FRIGGIN' KIDDING ME! THIS IS A BUNCH OF---YOU'VE GOT TO BE FRIGGIN' KIDDING ME!" Butch came running to find out what was going on. When I screamed at him, he said, "welcome to the world of Comcast." That really made me madder. I shouted at him---"YEAH, LIKE I'VE BEEN DEALING WITH THEM ALL MY LIFE. YOU DEAL WITH THEM ONE TIME AND GIVE UP!" (That was a nasty reference to the fact that he hasn't resolved some tv issues with them for the tv in the rec room).

Now I'm madder than a hornet. I call back. Same lengthy button pushing rigamarole. Of course, I do not get the woman I was previously dealing with. I get a man---heaven help him---I unloaded. He tries to be all nice to me, to which I respond, "I know this isn't your fault, but your customer service is terrible. She had to know she was cutting me off when she had me unplug the phone." I was saying it in a really mad and bitchy tone. He continues to talk to me calmly and assures me that he's going to "assist" me and set up a service call---for FRIGGIN' 5 DAYS AWAY!!! I'm delirious now. I don't even remember what I said after that.

Here's the best part, they ask if I want to take the customer survey---which I normally never do---well this time---I'm going to give it to them good. When I hang up, I get the call back for the survey. Of course, it starts off automated---asks if I've agreed to answer a few questions---press "1", hold, press this, hold, etc. Next a customer service rep is to come on line---I'm loaded for bear. So what happens---I'M DISCONNECTED!!!

All I can say is Oh My Gosh~! What is up with that! When I am finally ready to complain---I can't even do it! I swear, it's a conspiracy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Great Flood of 2010

Anderson Cooper with CNN was in town this past Monday. He called what happened here a tragedy and apologized for the lack of media coverage. Most people knew nothing of the wide spread flooding throughout the great state of Tennessee until Opryland had to be evacuated. That was just a tip of the iceberg.

I would venture to say---with the exception of loss of lives (for which there is no comparison)---our flood was every bit as devastating as Katrina. People traveling through the state were trapped in their cars on highways that had been shut down, nursing homes had to be evacuated, people were trapped in their homes without power, shelters were set up all over town, schools and businesses were shut down and yet, the outside world had no idea what was going on. There was no option to go to the stadium as it flooded, downtown flooded---the flooding took place everywhere.

It seems to me that it isn't newsworthy in this country unless it happens to the poor and downtrodden. Just because this happened to the middle class and "well-to-do" doesn't mean it wasn't just as devastating. Most of these people lacked flood insurance (why would you have it for an event that could never be predicted---they're calling this a 200 year flood---what does that mean anyway?) and have lost everything. It is heartbreaking to see all of their possessions piled in a muddy, stinky, messy heap in the front yard.

What DID happen here that would have been good to report---people picked themselves up the very next day and started shoveling out. Within a week, most houses have been gutted down to the studs. How they will actually re-build is anybody's guess. Oh, and FEMA took nearly a week to get here too. But that didn't stop the "volunteers" from starting! There were only 3 cases of reported looting and our mayor never once screamed at the president to do something. Oh and by the way, the president hasn't even bothered to stop by.

It bothers me that there is a culture in this country of people that believe that the "haves" should be taken from to give to the "have nots". Well, the "haves" don't have it to give now and yet, they'll get by.

I guess the irony in all this is that I keep saying in disbelief---"where in the world is all the "stuff" that has just vanished---swept away by the floods?" To which Walter replied---"it's all on it's way to New Orleans!"

Ooops! That isn't the result of the flood, that's Jordan's room! Looks like we still need a shovel!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Another Room---Finished!!

The latest scrapbook room I've decorated was for my friend, Linda. I had already organized and set up her room a couple of years ago, but after seeing the decorating I've done for our friends, she asked me to do hers. Of course, she had the same mandate as those before her---"make mine cuter than....." That's starting to get pretty hard, but I do my best!

Linda had so much that was from her family. She had a lot of hats in the hallway of her home. I asked her right off if I could use those. She said that her husband would be happy as he didn't like them---plus she had dozens more. That's when I decided to line her room with them---she had enough to do the entire room.

She had all of her "stuff" on and around a card table in another room that I was able to "shop" from---plus I had picked up some things for her too.

For her window treatment, she had a lot of vintage linens, doilies, hankies, dresser scarves and gloves. The idea of doing a laundry line came to me last week while driving after she told me she was having trouble finding something for her window. Since I put this up, she has found more clothespins so it looks more like it's supposed to. It looks kind of junky in the pictures, but really is cute in person---plus it makes you want to look at all the individual pieces hanging.

The frame with the lace hanging off is a project that our day group has just completed, so that too looks good. At this point in the decorating, I was just reserving the spot on the wall for it.

The photos you see here are of her and her sister when they were young. When she saw them, she started to cry has her sister passed away suddenly about 18 months ago---her only sibling and they were very close. I saw the picture sitting on her work table and decided to use it. I had picked up the blocks here and there and found one that had an "s" on it for her sister, Sharon.

The bread box was another flea market find---it holds all of her little scrapbooks.

I forgot to ask her if there was a story behind the old lunchbox. The typewriter was my Christmas gift to her this year. Any questions?

A Year of Memories---May

This month, the topic was about our "home"---however you wanted to interpret it.

Here are the layouts. Susan is slightly computer illiterate, so she does her journaling by hand then is at the mercy of us to type it up for her---that's why there's usually a blank on her page. But, her journaling is always inciteful.

On Jeanne's layout, everyone liked how she used the "road" to symbolize how "long" she's come in her titled page: "I've come a long way... baby!"

Stephanie used her 12" printer to make an oversized picture of her house. She played around with the color and made it sort of a misty blue---everyone liked that too.

Pam had some fun facts about her childhood home that were interesting---like how much it cost when her parents bought it.

I made my layout---"On the Move" about all the places we've lived since marrying in 1971. I did it like a timeline. For each location that I did not have a photo, I just substituted little houses with the address.

Karolyn did a "take-off" of the popular "my space" by using "my space(s)" as her title. She started with her childhood home through to their farmhouse on the Duck River today. Notice that each arrow actually is a little journaling block. A great way to include it if you don't have enough room.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Great Day at the Bridge Table

Today was probably the best day my partner and I have ever had at the bridge table. Not because we came in second---we only missed first by one point. We come in 1st, 2nd or 3rd about 95% of the time, but that's not it either. It's because out of the 28 boards we play every Thursday, we played 23 of them our way and I personally played 13.

I realize that this isn't making much sense. So here's a short explanation. In Duplicate Bridge, you have 2 sides---North/South and East/West. My partner, Joan and I play North/South---we sit at the same table and the East/West pairs come to us. The cards are dealt and placed in card holders called "boards". Basically, a "board" is one hand. The boards also move around the room, so that by the end of the day, everyone has played all of the same hands. At each hand, my partner and I are not only trying to beat our E/W opponents, but trying to bid and play better than all the other North/South teams. That's who we're really playing against---the other North/South teams.

At the end of the day, you have 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners for N/S AND E/W. The only advantage to placing is that you get "master" points in the bridge world. And you win money---not a lot---$5.00 for 1st which is what it costs to play each week. 2nd is $3.00 and 3rd is $2.00. Obviously, you can't get rich playing in our group.

The beauty of Duplicate is that everyone really tries to play their hand the way it's supposed to be played. None of this "well, I just didn't want you to get the bid again" or "you've played too many---I don't care if I go down."

If 23 out of 28 boards were played our way, that means Joan and I got all the action---a very boring day for the E/W side. Even though they didn't get to "play" the hands, it was still important for them to defend better than the other E/W pairs. That means everyone has an equal chance to win---it doesn't depend on the cards at all. In duplicate bridge, there's no such thing as the luck of the draw. Plus, for me to get to play 13 hands is just unbelievable. I don't ever recall a day we had all the cards. This was it.

I don't know if I ever mentioned that I am the youngest in the room by about 15 years (I used to say 20 years, but lately, I've been feeling like I'm catching up with them). But, believe me, these little old ladies are pretty darn sharp at the bridge table. Even if they sometimes mistake a crumpled candy wrapper for a valuable button that someone has lost that they are trying to find the owner of---until I was able to point out that it was a candy wrapper.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Making the Most of My Memories Workshop

I presented my last class with a challenge---create a layout based on a connection you were able to make since re-organizing your pictures in this new system.

Although 7 "signed up", only 4 actually came. That's okay---they gave me some really good feedback. The statement that struck me the most---one of the girls said that when I stated in class---"if you don't tell the stories, it's only pictures on a page"---that this is when it really "clicked" with her. Be sure to notice her "doll" layout. She had photos of her grandmother, her mom, herself and daughter with their favorite dolls. Her daughter's doll (which is Samantha from the American Girl collection) is very similar to that of her grandmother---same time period. By re-organizing her photos, she saw that connection right away.

Another girl discovered that she had several photos of her son in camo and playing "war" when he was little, now he's in Iraq. That one gave me chills.

Lola, was able to do a layout about the changes her Christmas tree has taken over the years---despite the fact that her family accuses her of taking a photo to get it exactly the same.

My friend, Kathy, forgot to take a photo of her own layout. It was a really great layout about Sedona. By re-organizing her photos, she discovered a photo that she had taken on her honeymoon in Sedona. Several years later, they moved there. She had taken some pictures from her back porch. With the re-organization, she discovered it was the EXACT same view as her honeymoon.

I just love it when people are excited about how well this system works!

A Little Entertainment

I have several blogs to do, but in the meantime, enjoy this video---amazing---12 yr. old boy from OK performing in the school talent show. The only boy to sing despite the advice of his music teacher (she said 6th grade is so tough---she thought he might really be "in" for it with his song choice).

And then this one for fun---these guys deserve it:

Does anyone else love Lady Gaga?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Scrapbook Layouts

Since I never know where my comments are going to show up, I'm just going to start here and let you find the corresponding layout.

On the layout, "Flea Market Finds", I had too many photos that I wanted to use. In order to accommodate most of them, I created a small fold out on each side---good idea to get more pictures on the page.

I love the title on the page about Stephanie:
"Stephanie: She has many talents, but cooking is not among them."

On "Cradle Catholics" I had the 4 generations of First Communion pictures. I decided to make it sort of a family tree---my 3 girls connect to me, their children connect to them. Love that idea. I've left a spot for Elizabeth---about 4 more years until she makes hers. If I have other grandchildren, I'll figure it out (another fold-out maybe). I just loved the concept of all the generations. Even though it seems like I've done a lot of First Communion layouts lately, they all go in different books that will ultimately go to different people. There's no reason you can't duplicate the same layout, or at least use the same pictures.

The last two single page layouts are title and end pages that I "taught" to my friends at the farm crop. Notice my original quote---of course, now that I've said it (and it goes down in history as a famous quote), I can think of how I'd rather have said it. I would have substituted the word lots with many. I guess I should have spent more time thinking about a quote that would go down in history--as I'm sure it will!