Monday, April 30, 2012

Sometimes I Amaze Myself!

Yes, I know that sounds braggy, and it's meant to. Sometimes, the truth is just braggy.

Let me tell you about my day. I left at 7:30 a.m. to run a bunch of errands. My first stop was to have my oil changed and tires rotated. I waited about an hour. When I went to get in my car, I was so excited and impressed that they had cleaned my car. When I got home, I told Butch about it. He said, "no, they didn't wash your car." I said, "yes they did!" We went back and forth like that for a couple minutes when he said, "Barb, think." Then it dawned on me. He had washed my car YESTERDAY. I think it hurt his feelings that I didn't notice right away. Okay, I amazed myself about this, but in a bad way.

Just goes to show how I'm always thinking on the bright side. Our friend, David said that if I woke up on Christmas morning to a pile of "s**t" in the front yard, I'd say: "Yay, there must be a pony around here somewhere!" That about sums it up.

Now for how amazing I am.

Amazement #1
When I got home, this was on my desk. It says: "Donated blood--had a problem---borrowed a shirt from you. Anyway can you get this out for me?

I forgot to take a picture of the blouse before I started the washing process. I can't describe how much blood there was, but it was all over. Steph can comment below to back me up on this.
 Here it is, fresh out of the wash. It's 100% cotton, so I was concerned about how it would come out.
 This is what I used. It worked perfectly. "Zout" is better than "Shout."
I decided to surprise Steph by ironing it for her. Now, this is probably the first time I've picked up the iron in at least 5 years---make that 10 years. I just don't iron. I don't buy stuff that needs to be ironed either. I do have a couple of things that I send to the cleaners now and then. Sometimes, I just look wrinkled. Steph's going to be surprised.

Amazement #2
For no particular reason, Butch's computer started acting up. He was unable to send email and then finally, he couldn't receive email either. I messed around with it this morning and did everything I could think of. Nothing worked. I emailed my favorite computer guru, Troy. He responded and gave me a couple things to try. None of it worked. All that was left to do was to call Comcast. Ugh! That's really a last resort. Butch didn't want to do it, so I offered.

By the time I got through several menus and people, I finally was hooked up with an "internet specialist." What a joke. I specifically asked for someone that knows the Mac format. After several questions, she had me completely confused as I couldn't find anything she was asking about. Then it hit me. I asked, "are you familiar with Macs?" She responded, "very little." That really ticked me off. I asked her to hook me up with someone that could actually help me. She put me on hold. While on hold, I played around with Butch's computer, changed a few things and used a number that Troy had given me in another area than the one he suggested. Voila! It worked. I was pretty proud of myself. When the lady I'd been speaking to came back on, I told her, "never mind, I fixed it myself." After 45 minutes with Comcast, it felt good to say that.

When I made the call to Comcast, they asked if I wanted to take a survey about their service 30 minutes after the call. I agreed----just like I did last fall when I was having those billing issues. And just like last fall, I got no call. I so wanted to complain about what idiots they are!  I have to admit, after 3 calls last fall, I did finally get the billing issues fixed. But I never did receive that $50. gift card I was supposed to get for my trouble. To get it would require another call to Comcast. I wasn't about to go through that again. You know when I have to break down and call Comcast, all I want to do is say FTS!!!

That's the end of the amazements. But here's another that I could almost take credit for. Butch gets the credit. All I did was buy the cleaner.
A couple of months ago, a glass of red wine was spilled on the carpet in the rec room. It sort of splattered all over. This is the carpet AFTER we used our favorite "go to" carpet cleaner, Spot Shot. I figured we'd just have to have it patched. The next day, I stopped at the grocery store after Curves and tried something new.
As I was looking at all the choices, this one listed red wine as the first thing on the list of things it takes out. I bought it. Butch used it.
Here is that same carpet---several months later. I kept forgetting to take a picture. Anyway, it's good to know that the stains didn't re-surface like they're apt to do.

So there you go. It's been a good day!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Jordan's prom. She's on the end on the right. So can you see what's wrong with this picture? 
She is wearing one of the most gorgeous dresses I've ever seen. It's purple and turquoise with sparkling silver running through it. The back is beautiful too---it laces up. Anyway, she has managed to ruin it. It was chilly, so she wore her RATTY OLD SWEATSHIRT with that gorgeous dress!!!! It's not like her mother doesn't have a half dozen pashminas---or her grammy that probably has 2 dozen!!! When I asked her about it, she said, "So??" Totally didn't get what the problem was! Teenagers!

Another thing, you might be able to see her red hair that she got in so much trouble for at school (you can click on the picture to see it bigger). She dyed it without her mother's permission. I never thought it looked that bad.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Steph's Turkey

This came out of the email archives. It's an "oldie" but a "goodie!" I've kidded around on here about how Stephanie is NOT a cook. This just goes to show what I'm talking about. This recipe is Steph's very own. I'll add my comments in red.

Steph's Turkey

1 smallish frozen turkey

Day One:

1. Place turkey in refrigerator to thaw 

Day Two:

2. Place turkey in cold water to thaw
3. Place turkey in warm water to speed up thawing
4. Cuss turkey while returning it to refrigerator to thaw

Day Three:

5. Run cold water over turkey to remove remaining ice
6. Chip ice away from cavity opening and pry out turkey innards
7. Bake for 2 hours - check for pop up done timer
8. Bake for 3 hours - check for pop up done timer (turns out she didn't even have the type of turkey with a pop-up timer---she thought they all had that)
9. Google "Done Turkey"
10. Call Mom (I'm like---"you just started baking your turkey at 6:30?)
11. Pierce crispy outer layer to see if juices run clear
12. Cuss juiceless turkey while putting it in refrigerator because it's 10:30 pm

Day Four:

13. Remove turkey from fridge
14. Remove turkey from congealed grease and all those clear juices that ran out of the turkey
15. Spend 1 hour making cranberry turkey wreath using less than 1/4 of turkey (legs only) (sounds like much too aggressive of a recipe for her)
16. Place remaining turkey (breast and bone) in generic brand ziploc bag and place in freezer

Day 180:

17. Cuss freezer-burned bag of turkey 
18. Realize there is no other food for dinner
19. Toss out turkey 
20. Order a pizza (you can never go wrong with pizza)

Now you know why we have her do clean-up!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Long Car Rides

We left St. Louis on January 1, 1977. As I was sobbing to be leaving family and friends, Butch consoled me by saying, "look Barb, it will be an adventure!" And boy, has it been. But since we've lived away for so long, we have this travel thing down pat. We had several years of working out all the kinks when the girls were little. They always had to go to the bathroom, or were hungry to which Butch responded by speeding up at every exit. Soon they learned to be good travelers. Or, it could be that we started traveling at night while they slept.

Butch has never been much of a talker. In fact, about 10 years ago, I told him several days in advance that he needed to prepare 3 topics of conversation. As long as I reminded him, that worked for awhile. Finally, I gave up---arming myself with my book, several magazines and sudoku to keep myself busy while he listened to the "oldie" station. Although I prefer my "Broadway" channel, I don't mind the "oldies.'

This weekend, we went to St. Louis. Here's how it went down. I try to wait until we reach the highway before asking my first question, knowing that our chatting time is limited. Our conversation lasts about a half hour before we (I)'ve exhausted all topics. From then on, I occupy myself with my own stuff and take a lot of naps. 

We were nearing Mt. Vernon when I asked Butch when he wanted to stop for dinner. He said he hadn't planned on it. He never likes to eat. Anyway, he said, "well, we need gas, so we'll stop." He did. We had to go to McDonald's because it was hooked on to the gas station. I was supposed to get the food while he filled up. I asked him "what is the rush, can't we eat in?" He, very aggravated, agreed to eat inside. Let's face it, McDonalds wasn't what I had in mind to begin with. I was hoping to go somewhere and be waited on. He ordered first---from the dollar menu---as usual. I got the expensive fish sandwich with fries and drink. He just got the sandwich. I gave him my drink and we shared the fries. About 7 bucks.

As we continued on, he spoke the words I thought I would never hear from him. He said, "I'm sick of these songs." Now, mind you, I've criticized him for many years about this. I tell him he lives in the past, never wanting to listen to anything but "oldies." It was a shock to hear that. He kept station hopping. That drives me crazy as each time a good song would come on, he'd switch it. Just like when he has the tv remote. I kept quiet because I believe that whoever is driving, gets to control the radio.

We had a great time in St. Louis---especially since I won $17.00 playing poker.

We left about 8 on Sunday to come home. Another quiet trip, but I caught up on my sleep! That's not all bad.  Oh, and by the way, we didn't stop at all on the way home. Like I said, we have this traveling thing down pat.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

AYM Blog

Just letting you know that I've started something new on the AYM blog. Check it out here:
AYM Blog

I'll have a new post here some time tomorrow.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Recent Layouts

I've posted the layouts on the AYM blog.  Just click on the link to see them.

These are the layouts I did at the Farm Crop a couple of weeks ago:

 I really had fun with this layout. This is for The Scrap Room Challenge Club. The challenge was to scrapbook your idol or famous person using hexagon shapes. I carried it a little further by using the sewing machine with a red zig zag stitch. I zig zagged right on top of the picture too. It was a lot of fun to do.
 Since I was sick for our last TSRCC meeting, I didn't get to show this layout. The challenge was to scrapbook something your father always said and to use a black and brown color scheme. I came up with the title because of the button cards---they are from the Pearl Button company. That made the title pop into my head and then on to the page!
 This was a simple layout using a variety of patterned papers. I love the picture of the sisters making homemade ravioli.
This layout is going in my ancestry album. It's all pictures of headstones along with a few pictures of my great grandfather's wake, thus the title "RIP."

Next weekend is our golf/scrapbook weekend. We're excited to go. I'll have to get unpacked so I can re-pack!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'm Such a Procrastinator

I have needed to clean up my scrapbook room for just about 2 weeks. I put it off and put it off even when I put it into my schedule. I've had plenty of time to do it, but instead, have enjoyed reading outside in this gorgeous weather. The several times I've actually gone up there to get started, I get side-tracked with something else and actually make it worse. "Hhmmm, maybe I'll start getting the AYM kit contents together." Which then leads to further mess. I can hardly walk anywhere for all the crap on the floor. The next time I decided to get started, I noticed the stack of layouts that is actually Butch's AYM from last year that I hadn't yet put together. So I decided to do that, got side-tracked with something else and now have added those layouts to my work table.

I told myself not to worry about it since I was going to be home all day today. We leave for St. Louis tomorrow, so I definitely wanted to get it all cleaned up. This is how it went:

My plan was to go up to my room after Mindy and Butch left and I had the house straightened up---8 a.m. I skipped my shower since I'm home all day anyway---who cares how I look. After I did all the straightening, I saw my Kindle and remembered how good my book is---Winter Palace---about Catherine the Great. I figured I could read until 9 a.m. and still have plenty of time to work. I actually read until 9:30---just lost a half hour.

When I first got upstairs, I decided that I needed to get everything together that I was taking with me to St. Louis. I have several gifts to wrap and planned to do that in front of the tv tonight. I got it all together and wrote a couple of checks for sisters that I owe. Then I remembered about my Making the Most of My Memories Workshop that starts next Wednesday. I needed to send all the participants my welcome message along with their "pre-class" assignment. That took another 45 minutes.

Finally, I was ready to get started in my room. I walked in and started putting a few things away. I came across a pile of pictures for AYM that I hadn't decided whether I wanted to use or not. I decided---but that required me to scan some of them---just in case I might want to use them for something else. Then I noticed Connie's flash drive sitting there. I thought, "well, since I'm scanning and printing pictures, I might as well do hers." Then I remembered a mistake I made on her layout for last month. I inadvertently left off the last sentence in her journaling. I got out the layout, measured the journaling box, spent about 20 minutes trying to find the font I used---only to realize that that font was on my laptop---which I was too lazy to go downstairs to get. So I picked a different font, printed it out, pried up the original journaling and put down the new. By the time I did all this, it was 12:30---an hour past my lunchtime. Time to quit---I can come up later---after my nap.

That didn't happen either. The day is just too beautiful. So here I am, outside, updating my blog.

I swear, I can find more things to eat up my time. Certainly I must have ADD---ya' think?

The mess on my work table. I don't even know where to begin! I'll get to it---I guess it will be Monday now.
I did get a path cleared to the door. But see that black rolling bag and tote? Neither have been emptied since I was at the farm two weeks ago.
This table isn't so bad. The stack of layouts are part of Butch's album and my layouts for The Scrap Room Challenge Club. What I'm putting off is sorting and putting away all those pictures on the right.

Now I've set my goal for Monday morning. Remember, I don't work at night. If it's not done by 5, it doesn't get done around here.

I'm getting another post ready for Friday while I'm gone. I'll be back on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy Hour Gone Awry

Mindy arrived at 4:30 for our weekly happy hour (on Friday nights) and said Steph would be here shortly.
About 5 p.m., Butch got a call to which he started to rant and rave. Steph had run out of gas at the worst possible corner for rush hour traffic. Butch was saying, "I don't know how many times I've told you girls (now somehow, Mindy and I fall in to that category) to quit running your cars on empty!" He headed out the door. I said to Mindy, "If I were Stephanie, I don't think I would have called him." But who's she gonna' call?

Anyway, Mindy and I sat on the front porch swing for the next hour. When they got back, Butch went in the house while Stephanie was on the phone trying to find a tow truck to get her car. Between calls, she told us that she wasn't even sure she had run out of gas as her car seemed to be acting funny. Butch came out on the tail end of that and started ranting all over again. "I guaran-damn-tee you, it was out of gas!" That's his favorite word when he's worked up. "This is going to cost you $200 because you didn't want to put $6.00 worth of gas in your car." He went back in the house. I asked Steph if he yelled at her the whole time. She said, "yeah, pretty much." I told her to just start crying and he'd stop! He can't stand for his girls to cry.

About that time, Steph left to meet the tow driver and we needed to get ready to go to our monthly poker club. Mindy came back in the bedroom and said that Butch was still yelling at her, "Mindy, have you learned something?!"

Anyway, alls well that ends well. Steph ended up finding a really honest car repair guy. He checked out her car and made a simple adjustment to some gauge that the dealership wanted $800 to fix (Butch said "no" to that). The verdict was "in" She HAD run out of gas. To add insult to injury, she had to listen to another lecture from the car guy about how bad it is to run your car out of gas. That's why I get gas every Thursday whether I need it or not!

Poor Butch---all these girls. And Morgan gets her license on May 10th.

Stay tuned---AYM layouts will be posted today.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things I Love Right Now

1. Sandy informed me of a new show---America's Best Dance Crew---on MTV. I didn't even know where to find MTV. I only know the main channels---ABC, NBC, CBS (and I've added FOX to that list) and the minor channels (History and Biography, sometimes Home and Garden). I know this makes me sound sort of old. Anyway, I did a search and found several reruns. The new show debuted last night at 9 p.m. One of the things I like about the show is that they pick one particular artist to showcase for each show. What I've seen so far is Rhianna, Justin Beiber and Nicki Minage (those were the re-runs). The new show last night featured Brittany Spears.

2. I don't usually watch commercials as I record everything so I can fast forward. There are 20 minutes worth of commercials in every one hour show. I'm all about saving time. You can watch 3-1 hour shows in 2 hours time. But in the morning, during Good Morning America, I catch a few commercials. Currently, I love the one where it shows a couple sitting on a front porch. Suddenly, a voice says, "Honey, the Coopers are sitting on our Summer Classic furniture again." At that, the couple jumps up and runs away. Clever and funny. Love that. Makes me want to go sit on our neighbors porch just to see what they would do. I really should try it.

3. I love that today is National Grilled Cheese day. I know they have crazy days for just about everything these days, but this is a good one. Who doesn't love grilled cheese? It's one of my favorite comfort foods. Mindy used to ask for them for breakfast when she was in high school. The little girls ask me to make my "gourmet" grilled cheese for them. The only thing I do to make them "gourmet" is to use any combination of cheese that I happen to have on hand! I made one for myself tonight! Of course, I have to have pickles on the side---and don't forget the chips. I can't have any sandwich without chips.

4. I especially love that I am officially off the prednisone right now. I'm determined to stay off. If that means I have to just be sick now and then, I'm going to do it. I have to admit, it's taken me nearly 2 weeks to recover from that last bout---it was 6 days long. Then I just felt tired and weak for the past 2 weeks. But today I feel great! I'm determined to ski again! I hate limitations. Ooops, this is supposed to be what I love!

5. I'm loving Words with Friends. I'm kicking some major b*** with just about everyone I'm playing.

6. I have a pretty relaxed weekend. I'm looking forward to that. But suddenly, I have all these ideas and it's starting to fill up. We'll kick it off with our first happy hour on the front porch tomorrow---if Butch gets the furniture cleaned. I really should book a hair appointment. And I'm feeling in the mood for a barbecue on Sunday. I love the possibilities.

That's about it for now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

10 Things on the 10th

 1. I love this. I think it's all we need to know.
2. I have no idea what type of flowers these are, but I saw them in Israel and fell in love with them. Sort of made up for the fact that when I got back, I had already missed the blooming of my cherry tree and my lilacs, plus all of the flowering trees. Two weeks makes a big difference here.

3. Glee started up again and it was really good. I'm in love with Blain's older brother. He's really cute! I really liked the song they did---"Somebody that I Used to Know"---I discovered Goyte on Youtube a few month's ago. Here's the original---kind of weird but in a good way:

4. It's not a good idea to buy clear dishwashing liquid. It was in a blue bottle, so I had no idea. I used it       up pretty darn quick because you can't tell how much you are using.

5. Since when is Michaels selling bras? How in the world do you use those in your craft projects. Must be something I don't know about.

6. I saw a billboard with a girl holding her baby and smoking. The caption was :  Jenny smokes 2 packs a day and so does her mom. I don't know who could smoke after that.

7. I hate paying for parking. I was spoiled for too many years.

8. I had dinner at Cinco de Mayo with a friend. I don't know what was better---the dinner, or the one-on-one time with my friend, Karolyn! That doesn't happen very often.

9. I'm loving my Kindle. I especially like how you can keep track of how many books you've read. I've read 13 since the first of the year.

10. Why is it that every time I settle in for a pedicure, I have to go to the bathroom? Must be the running water. But once you're "in," you're stuck. Sort of prevents me from being fully able to relax and enjoy the pedi.

Monday, April 9, 2012

We Found Something...

...that Mindy can actually do!
 All those years in the restaurant business---she can fold fancy napkins!

 She also made these cute Rice Krispie treats. The size of this dish is about 6 x 8---pretty small and yet she spent $29.00 on ingredients. It was all the colors of that glitter icing---I think. They were supposed to be Rice Krispie eggs, but those didn't turn out. Looks like she learned a valuable lesson from me---turn a flop into something else and no one will know!!!
The Fiddler on the Roof cake looked good, but was just "so-so." I didn't like the almond flavoring with chocolate.

Easter was a fun and busy day. Everyone helped, so it didn't seem like so much work. They all went out to the pool after to catch some rays. I napped with my book. A great way to spend the holiday. Now it's on to a busy week.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday---April 8th

Where to begin?

I think I'll start with the end of our trip. I have one last thing to say about that. When we got our itinerary, I was a little "bummed" (okay, a lot "bummed") to see that we were going to Mass every day. The thought of that took me back to my childhood when we had to go every day at St. Aloysius. Ronnie and I even had to go on Saturdays because we lived so close to church. If we didn't, on Monday, the nuns would ask us where we were on Saturday. Needless to say, going to church was a chore. I've carried that "chore" in to adulthood. Remember, I do not claim the be the best or holiest of Catholics. Anyway, I was dreading the thought of Mass every day. But at our very first Mass in Bethlehem, something happened. I can't quite put my finger on it as it almost went unnoticed. But I didn't think of Mass as a chore to be gotten through. All of a sudden, it was a "privilege" to be able to attend Mass at all of these holy places where everything actually happened. Turns out, Mass was one of the highlights of my day! I was hoping to carry that feeling home with me. But last Sunday was Palm Sunday and I didn't feel quite the same about it. Part of that was that I still wasn't feeling up to par after being sick the previous week.

About being sick---I'm still not 100%---but getting there. This past week at the farm, I went to bed around 9-10 every night and was just about the last one up in the morning. Not at all like me. I'm just feeling pretty tired and weak still. I can work for an hour or so, and then need to take a break. That leads me to preparing for Easter.

I got up this morning and started straightening up the house. I hadn't unpacked from the farm either. I did a few other things before I planned to start my cooking for Easter. About 11, Mindy called that she was on her way over to meet Steph and Nicky to hang out at the pool. Weather is great here to get a little sun. Of course, Mindy can't come without food being involved in some way. I had sloppy joes leftover from the farm, so we had those. Steph arrived shortly after followed by Morgan and Carson. I would love to blame all of them for the chaos and problems that ensued with my cooking. But the truth of it is, when they all went out to the pool, I laid on the couch and read/napped for the next 2 hours. Then I was ready to get my cooking started.

First up was to make a new cake I had never made before. I got the recipe from my friend, Sally, several years ago. It's called an Apricot Nectar Cake and seemed just perfect for Easter. After I tell you all the problems I had and what NOT to do, I'll post the recipe on the AYM blog. I usually don't make things if I don't know where to find the ingredients. I had no idea where to find apricot nectar. Sounded like it would be by the fruits or juices. Instead, I asked someone at Kroger and found it in the Mexican food aisle. I don't know why, maybe that's where it comes from.

So I make the cake and put it in the oven to bake. That's about the time I realize I miss-read the recipe and put the powdered sugar that was supposed to be for the glaze---IN the cake. I thought, "oh well, it will just be sweeter." I'll just use enough powdered sugar with the lemon juice to get it to "sink in" the cake like it's supposed to. I didn't factor in the fact that when you are baking, you have to be pretty precise about the ingredients to get it to turn out right. I started to smell something burning. Here's what that was:
 Can you see how spotlessly clean my oven was? The cake ran over and caused a huge mess.
And then, to top it off, it sunk in the middle. What an ugly mess. I went to my "Cake Doctor" cookbook that Pam gave me for my birthday to find a "plan B" thinking this cake was a total loss.

I started making the carrots for the carrot casserole. I forgot you have to baby the garbage disposal---I don't cook so "big" anymore. Easy mistake. But still, I wound up with this:
I was going to try to handle it myself, but Butch "caught" me when he was getting ready to do something else for me (see next picture below). Another huge mess---whenever you have to use the plunger.
Now what's wrong with this picture? If you said the ladder, you would be wrong. It would still be the ugly cake. The ladder is for the light that's out above the kitchen sink. I can't stand to cook without ALL of the lights on. Butch took care of it for me. Oh, and I forgot to mention that last week, when I was feeling so lousy and Butch was out-of-town, I discovered the kitchen sink was leaking. There was a huge mess on the floor and under the sink. I pulled all the crap out, wiped it up the best I could and just felt sick and went to bed. I'd have to deal with it later. So, it's not been a good week in the kitchen.
Close up of said ugly cake. But then, lo and behold---I'm starting to think I might just be able to pull this baby off!

Once I flipped it over, it didn't look half bad. I would be found out when several people got the slices that have a huge hole in them. Plus, I still don't know if it's going to taste good. So I decided to go ahead and make my "plan B" cake---Fiddler on the Roof Cake. I'll share that recipe too---when I get it made.

Right now, it's 5 p.m. and I'm waiting for the oven to finish self-cleaning so I can start baking again. Best laid plans....I just discovered that the oven wasn't running! Ugh! I went ahead and made the new cake and am baking it now while the burned smell permeates the house. I'll clean the oven when the cake is done. I just hope the new cake doesn't pick up the burned smell. Not a good day for baking. I think I'm just so out of practice. I don't think I've done any baking since Christmas.

I have the table half set, but need to cut flowers for the centerpiece. There will be 9 of us with family and "boy" firends. We're going to 8:30 Mass first. However it all turns out, it will be a fun day. Hope yours is good too!

Check out the recipes here:
Easter Cakes

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dazed and Confused

So I've been taking a lot of grief for not updating my blog since the 19th. That confused me because I knew I'd updated it since my bout of hives last week. Then it dawned on me. I posted on the wrong blog. I posted on the AYM blog. All I can say is I was still out of it.

Check that post out here and check back for something new tomorrow (Easter).

AYM Blog