Saturday, October 14, 2017

A few Things

 This year for AYM (A Year of Memories), the theme is "story starters." Each month, I assign the "story starter." This one was "Can you believe it?" I finished it with "We've been together for 46 years and he's still the one!"
 Last month, the "story starter" was "Can you tell I was..." I thought Karolyn's idea was so clever. She decided to use emoji's and used several words like, happy, relaxed and bewildered to go with some old pictures. She used an emoji to show each emotion. I LOVE including current trends in to our scrapbooking. I think it's so important in showing how we lived!

Stephanie and Nicky's landscaping is really coming along. I was very happy with these new planters that Sara (our landscaping girl) put together. I'm their landscape consultant.
 I had to take a picture of this at the Kate Spade store. I just loved the words! Adding real things to the wall made it so interesting. We could totally do that in our house.
 So, one night, I decided to have a pudding---not the British version of "pudding" (which just means dessert), but a real pudding. I bought tapioca. As I was eating it, I thought, "this isn't very good. In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd say this was "rice" pudding." It was. Now the other 3 are going to waste because Butch doesn't eat pudding. Just goes to show you can't judge a pudding by it's picture.
Well, it's that time of year. We got 16 catalogs yesterday. I was interested in exactly NONE of them. Straight to recycle.
  This is still my most favorite Halloween decoration. I made this pillow about 2 years ago.
I loved stitching it with all the challenging and variety of stitches.

That's about it for today.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

What's Happening

Thinking: About how busy this fall is. Between now and Thanksgiving, I'm only going to be home for 2 weekends---and one of them, I've signed up for a 3 day needlepoint workshop! I leave today to scrapbook at Kentucky Lake with my sisters, Jeanne and Janet. Next week, I'll leave for Sandy's on Wednesday to stay with the girls while Sandy, Greg, Stephanie and Mindy meet in Savannah, Georgia for a long weekend. The next weekend Butch and I go to Baltimore with the EOHSJ. That takes us to November. 1st weekend is my workshop. The second weekend, Sandy, Stephanie, Mindy and I are going to Washington, D.C. to see the debut of Mean Girls before it hits Broadway! We have a pretty full weekend planned, including a Segway tour---the best way to see a city---fun and educational. The upcoming weeks are busy, but fun.

Thankful for: My friends. I had them over for a Halloween luncheon yesterday. I started with "Bloody" Mary's. I served my Grandpa's Soup (a minestrone type) along with Italian cheese bread. For dessert, I made my most favorite cake in all the world. That's quite a statement since I am a cake person. I love cake---not bakery cakes or restaurant cakes. I don't even like wedding cakes unless they are by Dessert Designs. Their cakes are home made with secret recipes. When I say I love cakes, they need to be home made cakes. Haven't really met one I didn't like! Well, unless you put raisins in it.
From the left, then clockwise: Diane, Karolyn, Susan, Pam, Joanie, me, Linda, Nancy, Nancy and Connie. I'm a two hour party person. We started at 11:30. At 1:30, I said, "okay, the party's over. You're getting in to my nap time!" I've been doing that for years. Plus, I take away that problem with people not wanting to be the first to leave and feeling like they broke up the party. My friends are okay with it! 

Cooking: That cake. My. MOST. Favorite. Sharing it here:

Oatmeal Cake
Pour 1 1/4 cups boiling water over 1 cup of oatmeal and 1/2 cup butter. Cover with towel and let stand for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sift together:
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Add to flour:
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
oatmeal
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg

Mix and bake in a prepared 9x13 pan at 350 for 35 minutes.

Topping (the best! Use it on other cakes too--German Chocolate, spice or carrot)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 beaten egg yolk
3/4 cup heavy cream
Bring to a boil on top of the stove---stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup coconut and 1/2 cup pecans. Cool. Spread on cooled cake.

The BEST, I tell you! the BEST! I only make it about once a year and only for company. I can't be trusted to have this cake around. It's perfect this time because I'm taking the leftovers with me to Kentucky Lake.

Wearing: Still in my robe this morning, but I'm really enjoying the clothes I'm getting from Stitch Fix. Even the girls remarked on how stylish I am this past weekend. I've always tried to remain stylish, but haven't bought any new clothes for a couple of years now. What I like the very best about Stitch Fix? The pants actually FIT me. Being so short has always posed a problem in the length.

Hoping: To get some Christmas shopping done while I'm at Sandy's. I especially need to buy the gifts that need to stay there anyway. My first stop will be Hobby Lobby for their wonderful wrapping paper. It's thick. There's a lot on the roll. And it's cheap!

Taking: Stock of what needs to be done around here. The painters and carpenters are lined up for the outside. We're getting ready to start on the kitchen in January. Looking forward to getting everything done! 

Planning: My new kitchen! My friends and I had this discussion again yesterday. The thought of moving is daunting. But it will only get harder the longer we wait. I said I never thought I'd be in this position of being so indecisive about it. But the issue remains---where to go? We love our location and nothing quite measures up--unless it's another old house. Rather than that, we'll just deal with our "old house" problems. I'd love a new house, but we haven't been able to find one that meets our specifications. I'm picky. Plus, I don't think we're quite ready to give up the pool.

Working: Well, I've cleaned out my kitchen cabinets and drawers 3 times! Not a fun job. Just when we think we've gotten the two mice causing the problem, I heard mice in the wall. Butch has set traps in the attic. Our exterminator has put the poisonous bait in the garage. Makes me think we might need to get another outside cat. I'm just not ready for that. We travel too much.

Reading: Just started The Identicals. I can't tell yet whether I like it or not.

Loving: That we're on the third generation for this rug!
I had this rug made about 22 years ago. When I was tired of it, Mindy had it in her first condo for about 6 years. It still looks great. Now it's in Jordan's apartment.
It's still in perfect condition. But I'm pretty sure this will be the last go round with it. Besides her dog and cat, there's no pad under it. I'm sure it will finally get worn out.

Needing: To continue cleaning out this house. Who am I kidding? Butch and I were going to start last January and go room by room---cleaning out closets and getting rid of stuff. All we actually did was haul off a few boxes of books. We really do need to get on that.

Watching: Enjoying the new tv shows. So far, I've watched The Good Doctor with one of my favorite actors--Freddie Highmore. He was so incredible playing the young, Norman Bates in Bates Motel. If you haven't seen that, you need to. Catch it on Netflix. Liking the new Will and Grace  and Wisdom of the Crowd. I'm also enjoying Kevin Can Wait since Leah Ramini has been added to the cast. Basically, it's King of Queens  all over again!

Creating: My Halloween tablescapes. I love doing them.


 The "kids" have already laid claim to the needlepoint "candy corn."


Bumming: That a couple of my friends have gone back to work. I can't seem to shake this cloud hanging over me. 

Appreciating: Butch. He does so much around here. I try to be aware and thankful. 

Dreading: That Christmas is soon upon us. Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas, but I don't love the decorating any more. While I'm putting it all up, I'm already dreading the "take down!" Seriously thinking about eliminating the tree in the living room this year.

Well, I guess that's about all that's happening around here.



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Saturday

Let me tell you---we had the best time on Saturday. We did something that we locals never do if we can help it! We went downtown! Downtown Nashville is craaazzzyyy! There are so many tourists, you would think we were a big city like New York! The pedal taverns and party barges were in full swing and it was only 9:30 a.m.!

Anyway, Stephanie arranged for us to do a scavenger hunt. It took us about 3 hours and was approximately 2.5-3 miles. It wouldn't have taken quite that long, but we encountered a little rain, so we took shelter in the Tennessee Performing Arts building until it passed.

Basically, you "purchase" the right to do the hunt for $35.00. Then you have access to an app on your phone. Everything is on the phone. Greg was the navigator. Jordan manned the paper and pen. It took us all over town.
 One of our first activities took us to our own walk of stars. Sandy had to pose with Kid Rock. The people honored with these stars are those who have had an influence on music here.

 Once we moved away from Broadway and all the honky tonks, the crowd disappeared. Of course, this was heading up to capitol hill. Tourists are not interested in our government!








 The crowds!
 You're never too old to rock a guitar in Music City!
Every bar and honky tonk has live music starting early. It really is and exciting city. It's kind of fun to be part of the hubbub!

The scavenger hunt was so much fun! In fact, I'm planning to get my friends together to do it. You actually compete for prizes. We had done pretty well, but now I don't remember what place we were in. We started at 9:30 and left downtown around 12:30 p.m. We decided that with 11 people we would not be able to find a place for us.

We went to Nashville West to a pizza place called NY Pie. They had delicious New York style pizza. And they let us push two tables together! Always a plus!

We got home about 2:30 and immediately started with the games. The guys watched football while we girls played.

Analise re-joined us around 4 (she had volleyball). I took the girls to get their nails done. Then it was back to the house for more games. This time, the guys played. We wrapped up the evening around 10 since Sandy and Greg wanted to get on the road early on Sunday morning.

It was a short weekend, but we managed to cram a lot in to it. It will only be a week and a half until I see Sandy and family again. I'm going to Charlotte to stay with the girls while Sandy and Greg meet up with Stephanie and Nicky in Savannah, GA for a long weekend. Then Thanksgiving will be here before you know it!


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Weekend

We began the weekend with Sandy, Victoria, Elizabeth and I going to lunch at a new place (well, new to me) here in Brentwood. I took them on my updated stars tour first. We went to Jefferson's for lunch. The place is small, but the food was really good.

When we got home, we made some dracula cookies:
They were pretty easy and turned out cute.

The rest of the family started to arrive for happy hour---before Sandy and Greg had to leave for the concert.





I found out from Sandy that my fashionable shirt is called a "cold shoulder" shirt. Turns out that was completely accurate. Later, after the craft project, I took Elizabeth and Analise to the movie to see Flatliners. It was pretty good---but scary for sure! My shoulders got pretty cold. I'm glad I had my pashmina!

I had some dip with vegetables and this hot one. I'm pretty sure I've had this before with different versions. It must have been good because it was completely wiped out. I didn't even get a taste! It couldn't be simpler.

Hot Cheesy Dip
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup sliced green onion

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (that seemed high to me, so I did 375). Combine all ingredients and put in baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly. Serve with crackers or veggies.

For dinner, I put a chuck roast in the crock pot and topped it with onion soup mix. I served it on buns with Muenster cheese and pickles. I made KFC Cole Slaw. I have never made very good cole slaw---usually opting for a bottled cole slaw dressing. This was good! I'll be making it from now on when I want cole slaw.

KFC Cole Slaw
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 T. white vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
8 cups finely chopped cabbage (I bought the mix and it had carrots in it)
1/4 cup shredded carrot
2 T. minced onion

Pour cabbage mixture in large bowl and stir in onion. Mix dressing ingredients and pour over cabbage. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.



Sunday, October 8, 2017

Again with the crafts!

Have I ever told you that I hate craft projects? Well, I do. Still, the girls are like---"come on mom, plan a craft for us"---in that naggy kid voice that always gets to you. So, I did. 

Sandy and her family were in for the weekend. They come in every year for the Kid Rock Fish Fry.
Sandy would be a groupie if she could! We're all going next year---we're getting a box. Sandy said for our first time out, we need to stick with the riff raff in the boxes so we can get ourselves prepared for the regular riff raff!

Anyway, Mindy and Stephanie wanted a craft project. That means I had to scramble to come up with an idea and the materials really quick. After scouring Pinterest, I didn't see anything that I just loved. I ended up deciding on a banner. 

I headed off to Michaels on Monday and bought what I needed. Craft projects aren't cheap either! Especially when you have to get stuff for 8 people! On the way home, I got to thinking about candy corn. I couldn't remember what the order of the colors were---from the bottom: yellow, orange, white or orange, yellow, white. I texted Sandy, Stephanie and Mindy. I asked them the question and told them to NOT look it up, just go with their memory. I could totally see it both ways in my mind. Sandy ended up being correct---yellow, orange, white. 

When I got to Nashville Needleworks (on Tuesday, my friends and I stitch), I was browsing all the trunk shows. I saw this and it hit me right away.
This designer got it wrong! I wonder how many people will notice.

Here's the proof:

Then as I was looking at my tablescape, I was looking at these needlepoint candy corns I made last year.
Since these had faces, you couldn't really tell. But upon closer inspection, I noticed this:
The ribbon used as a trim is WRONG too! OMGosh! I'm sure I'll be noticing it all the time now. After seeing there real thing, this just looks wrong!

On to our project:

 Since Elizabeth was in town, we invited Analise to join us. Those girls crammed a lot in--for sure.

 Even though the projects were exactly the same, the girls always make the guys choose which is best.
Stephanie was the winner!

Another craft project down. More about the weekend later.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Why I'm Glad I'm NOT a Man!

Let's face it, men have to deal with awful stuff.

1. He has to unclog yucky toilets---even taking them off the floor to remove flushed objects. Even if plunging works, it's a nasty job---and messy. I'm glad I don't have to do it.

2. He has to deal with dead animals that the cat brings home. Not only is that unpleasant, it can be downright messy too. I'm glad I don't have to do it.

3. He has to deal with dead mice in mousetraps. Not to mention the danger of setting the traps in
the first place. I'm glad I don't have to do it.

4. He has to haul stuff--heavy stuff, awkward stuff. It's hard, sweaty and not fun. I'm glad I don't have to do it.

5. He has to clean nasty stuff. Like that cooler that someone forgot to clean out. Weeks later, it's nasty for sure! I'm glad I don't have to do it.

6. He has to come to the rescue of his kids and grandkids. Always with the car stuff---running out of gas, flat tires and numerous other questions and problems. I'm glad I don't have to do it. Oh wait, sometimes I do---when he's not available!

7. He has to "fix" parking tickets just because he knows people. I'm glad I don't have to do it.

8. He has to build stuff because the girls think he can do anything (he can). I'm glad I don't have to do it.

9. He has to keep his wife happy by doing ridiculous things like replacing all of the hinges in the house. I'm glad I can't do it!


10. He has to clean the garage, clean out the pond, power wash the pool deck and wash the cars. I'm glad I don't have to do it.


He does a lot of "un"fun stuff. Yeah, I'm really glad I'm not a man.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Disaster after disaster

From the hurricanes to the horrendous shooting in Las Vegas---where will it end?

I'm not trying to get political here, but we all have to be careful about what we believe concerning what's being reported. I didn't vote for Trump, but am distressed that he will never get a break for anything good he might be doing.

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook from someone she actually knows who is in Puerto Rico. I just thought it was important to pass this along.
Michael A Elliott Sr. From Charity Munoz
In Puerto Rico: I got online for the first time in days and one of the very first things I saw was an out and out lie about the government's response to the crisis I am in the middle of. I don't care if you hate or love Trump, using 
the crisis in Puerto Rico to spread political lies is disgusting! I am literally across the street from the airport, and the hotel I am in is where many of the first responders are staying, so here is what is going on from someone who is actually here seeing it.
The government is here and has been here! Every single day plane after plane full of FEMA, FBI, homeland security, army, Air Force, Marines, and extra police officers from all over the country shows up. Cargo plane after cargo plane and ship after ship full of supplies shows up.
There is a hospital ship off the coast that I can see from the beach. The response was quick and it keeps coming! They are out every day from sun up until sun down.
This isn't a political issue, it is a humanitarian one. The lies being spread about the response aren't helping the people here, it is just fueling hate based on lies! If you want to help Puerto Rico, donate money or supplies and pray. If you want to play politics find something else to argue about! Not like there aren't hundreds of topics for you to choose from!

Edited to add this- Roads have been completely destroyed in many areas, especially the remote one. The military and FEMA are going out to these places on foot with 100 lbs + packs on their backs. It is requiring them to cut their way through flooded areas to get there. It will take time to reach everyone when conditions are as bad as they are. President Trump dispatched 140 helicopters, 28 ships, 6 Army field hospitals, 3 Navy Seabee Battalions, 5 US Army Combat Engineer Battalions, 3 Civil Affairs battalions, 2 Nuclear Submarines capable of generating 2.8 Gigawatts of Power, release 300,000 tons of food, medical supplies, and water from Military stocks to Puerto Rico...
Please stop touting the party line of bashing our President when his actions have been excellent for the island. 
There's been a string of 4 horrendous Hurricanes, it's going take some time. But your immature comments devoid of any facts don't help a single person on the island. No President has had to face this level of domestic disasters and done a better job. Trump is America's President.



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The THINGS...

...I worry about! First off, I've never been a worrier. But when you get older, you have a natural tendency to worry---or you should. If you aren't, then I think you are just in denial!

I worry about:
1. falling---especially after my fall last year at Chic-fil-a when I had a serious ankle break. I'm very careful now and am constantly on the lookout for slippery floors, wet surfaces or uneven pavement.

2. falling out of bed--my bed is tall. I have to use bed-steps to even get in it. It has occurred to me---hence the worry---should I ever fall out of bed, I'll probably break my back when I hit the steps.

3. losing my mind---why did I come in this room---forgetting from one second to the next. I've beed doing that for years. Recently, I was to pick Connie up at 4:45. Somehow from 3 p.m. on it went from picking her up at 4:45 to leaving my house at 4:45. She called me and I was still home--wondering why she was calling. After all, I was getting ready to leave! At least I can take solace in the fact that my friends are having similar problems.

4. losing my memory---I have to wait until pretty close to book club to read the book or I can't recall enough for the discussion. Sometimes, I know I've read a book, but can't recall a single thing about it. Once someone reminds me of what it's about, I can usually remember it. Another thing---this past week, while at the beach, I was looking for the big fry pan. Since I couldn't find it, I wasn't even sure I actually bought one, just thought about it or it was stolen! Sometimes somebody will mention something that happened years ago and I'll have no memory of it whatsoever. Scary.

5. acting like an old lady:
a. our house decor---recently, Butch said he thought a few things looked "old lady-ish". I'll have to ask the girls what they think. On the other hand, they still ask me to help with their decorating, so maybe I'm not so bad.

b. the clothes I wear--I've always prided myself in being fashionable. I think this has more to do with what clothes are available in my size. They don't make really cute clothes in chubby sizes. Luckily for me, that is changing. Slowly, but happening none the less!

c. how I do my make-up---I think I look pretty good until I get in the car and look in the rearview mirror. That makes me question how I really look---the mirror in the house or the one in the car---which is the truth? I'm asking for a new makeup mirror for Christmas. I've even gone so far as to looking at makeup looks for older women. I've checked with the older women at the Estee Lauder counter. I guess I could just ask my girls about this too. Family will tell you the absolute truth.

d. parking---okay, I'll admit it. I was so spoiled! That free parking pass I had for years AND the "guy" Butch sometimes sent to actually hold my space until I got there---definitely spoiled me. I especially miss that free valet parking at the airport! Now, it's hard enough to figure out where I'm going much less figuring out where I need to park.

e, feeling befuddled about being downtown at night---I can never figure out quite where I need to be going. Recently, after the theater, I was trying to get on the highway. As I was looking at the arrows on the street to figure out which lane I needed to be in, I inadvertently ran a red light. About that time, another car, merging from the left honked at me as if "they" weren't supposed to be yielding anyway! There was no traffic anywhere, so it was no big deal. Still, Stephanie was in the back seat saying very calmly, "red light, red light." Maybe she needed to shout! I need a better co-pilot!

6. hearing---since I never heard Stephanie telling me there was a red light, that leads me to think maybe something is wrong with my hearing! Actually, it probably has more to do with listening!

7. health issues---I've always been very healthy and never, ever worried about it. Now, with my friends having different ailments, I'm playing mind games with myself: "my neck is bothering me---is this what Connie has?" Or, "my knee is bothering me, does that mean I'm going to need a knee replacement?" Actually, now that I think about it, maybe this just goes along with #3.

You could pretty much lump everything under "losing my mind." If that's the case, it's all over! I might as well not worry about it. I guess pretty soon, I won't know to worry about anything anyway!
Really, that's a scary thought. I'll just keep worrying!


Monday, October 2, 2017

Monday Mysteries

Well, it's not exactly a mystery, but it certainly was a mystery to me!

I'm reading a "novel inspired by true events" called The Magdalen Laundries. I have never heard of these. Another name was the Magdalen Asylum. Or it could also be Magdalena or Magdalene---"a rose by any other name..." The book takes place in 1961 and tells the story of a 16 year old girl brought to one of these "laundries." Young girls were sent there if they were pregnant, or their families and/or parish priest thought they were or might become promiscuous. Prostitutes were also imprisoned there.

Since I had never heard anything about this before, I looked it up. The laundries started in the 18th century by the Catholic Church in Ireland. In 1993, a mass grave of 155 bodies was found in the convent garden of one of the laundries. In another, the skeletons of 800 babies were found in a septic tank. The laundry was a terrible place where the girls were given little food, abused and worked unmercifully in the laundries. 30,000 girls were confined to the laundries. Believe it or not, the last one just closed in 1996 after over 200 years in existence!

The book tells that while scrubbing clothes for 12-14 hours a day, the girls had to pray out loud---a Hail Mary and Our Father---all day long. This particular girl's story is unbelievable. She was taken from her classroom by her priest after confessing in the confessional, that she had lustful thoughts. Her parents weren't even aware of her "abduction!" I haven't gotten any further to know if the parents ever find out what happened to their daughter. It's a really good book--the type I LOVE! I always say that one of my main criteria as to whether I like a book or not is whether I learn something. I'm definitely learning a lot in this one.

Some times I'm ashamed of what the Catholic Church has done throughout history. The bad stuff never seems to end:(

I found this picture:
So sad........