Sunday, July 30, 2017

It's been 3 Years!

It's that time again. You might recall my previous tennis shoe buying experience---three years ago! If not, you can check it out here!

Here's what happened this time. I went in to Fleet Feet. I like the fact that they fit you. They watch how you walk to make sure they give you the exact shoe you need. Unfortunately, those shoes that were recommended, were not to my liking. I still buy shoes based on how they look. I decided to pass. When I got home, I found these on the internet:
My old pair were purple and turquoise. I can still use them. I wanted a different color combination. The other good thing about getting them on the internet, they were way cheaper by going through the manufacturer website. There's not a shoe at Fleet Feet for less than a hundred bucks! I got these for $80!

They are comfortable and stylish. I'm ignoring Butch's rant from when the girls were all still at home:
"Ladies, it is NOT a fashion show!" Um, yes. it. is!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mashpee, MA

We're in Cape Cod---staying at the beautiful home of our friends, David and Linda.
 I was here 10 years ago when they first bought the place. I remembered how beautiful it was. The flowers all over Cape Cod are gorgeous and plentiful.
 The house is open and welcoming.
 We're spending most of our time here---reading and stitching. It looked better before we junked it up!
Linda has a knack for decorating and every detail is just perfect.
I thought it was hilarious that she still has the picture that Pam and I put in "our" room!

There just one problem. It's July and frickin', freezing cold!! I did not bring a sweater or jacket. Luckily, I always travel with my pashminas. This time I only brought one---and it doesn't go with everything! That's okay, I'm not above using a bath towel while sitting around!
We went to dinner last night. They had to have the heaters on. We still opted for inside. I had the BEST clam chowder that I've ever had. It was thick, creamy and delicious. Butch and I split a bowl. I also had the baked scallops---so good!
 This morning, the guys (Butch and David) played golf, while Jack drove us girls to Sandwich, MA. We browsed the shops---all housed in homes from the 1800's---like this one! I just love old homes!
The flowers...everywhere! They certainly like this climate!

There's just one more thing wrong.
I about freaked when I saw this! David is disrespecting his computer! I LOVE my computer. Nobody better, ever do that to mine!

We're having so much fun. We played "99" last night. I lost about $3.00. Connie was the big winner.
We'll see what we play tonight....

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Bachelorette

I admit it. I watch The Bachelorette. In fact, I watch all the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise shows. Yes, they are trashy. I admit that too. I sometimes think, "parents must be so proud seeing their son/daughter acting so badly on network television." 

I can't help myself. One little excuse is that there is nothing on during the summer. That excuse doesn't hold up during the rest of the year. I don't know, I guess I just want to see all the drama--which is usually so stupid. But last week, I really think they went too far.  I think it’s really lousy what the show and Rachel did to Dean. To expose him and his family on national tv like that was horrible. I feel so sorry for him. I’m going to leave a comment to ABC. To me, this was total exploitation at the expense of a really nice guy. Here's the story:

His mother died when he was a teenager. His dad went off the deep end and the family fell apart. Dean had not seen, nor spoken to his father in years. The show got involved and they filmed the sad reunion. The dad is still some religious whack job. It was so sad to see. And then, the worst insult of all---right after exploiting the situation in the name of entertainment---Rachel sent Dean home! 

So sad! Almost makes me want to stop watching. But I won't. I don't even know why or have a good excuse. 

PS I did complain to the show. I never heard a word back. Now maybe I'll quit watching. Nah! Okay, never mind.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

On the GO Again!

Today we head to Cape Cod to spend the weekend with friends, David and Linda. They have a home in Mashpee, MA. Jack and Connie are going too. Our plans are simple: chill, eat, stitch, golf, read. That's about it. Looking forward to it. There's nothing like recovering from one relaxing vacation with another relaxing vacation.

And then----drumroll please----Sandy and family are coming back to Nashville AGAIN! I can't tell you how excited I am! This was an unexpected surprise. I'll take them any way or any time I can! This visit is thanks to Elizabeth and Analise's scheming! My BFF Connie has a daughter, Amanda who was Sandy's best friend growing up. Now she has a daughter, Analise who has hit it off with Elizabeth. This third generation friendship makes me so happy!!

Now before I go, a few things:
Nathan and Travis. Jeanne said when they were leaving the King's Cove Resort last Saturday, Travis insisted they stop and take a picture of Aunt Barb's cabin! Sounds like I was a success!
 So happy that these girls are going to have some more cousin time together next week.
 If you get a chance to see this---do it! I love the theater, but even if you don't, you'll like this one!
Mindy waited outside the stage door to meet one of our favorite Broadway actors---Adam Pascal.
 If you see something like this on the beach, most likely it's the Eads family. They never get tired of glow stuff! Butch never forgets it either!
Last weekend, we went to Cheekwood (our botanical gardens and museum housed in the Cheek mansion--creators of Maxwell House Coffee). They had a Downton Abbey exhibit. Costumes from the show---awesome.
 Afterwards, we had tea in the Pineapple Room. The tea was just okay---not the normal pomp and circumstance associated with high tea. Tea is an event! Sadly, there was no clotted cream!
 My gladiolas were gorgeous one day and beat down by rain the next. There's only one thing to do when that happens.
Bring them inside and shake off all the ants!
 I made Bobby Flay's roasted beets for the first time---first time making beets---ever! Scrub beets, rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, wrap in foil, bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, slice. Delicious!
 We have a BEATLES station now! There are so many songs I never heard of before. What I like the best are the stories.
 I know that there are now dozens of ways to work out, but I have no idea what this means. Anyone?
 And then there's the newest member of the Zimmermann family.
Proud papa Zachary with little Reese Daphne! Still no boys to carry on the Zimmermann name!
 Are you kidding me? Right after I paid for a car wash, this happened! I had to go back later to get in.
 We saw this at the Barn Dinner Theater. It was so good. We had a ball. Lots of laughs!
 Sandy got tickets for the NKOTB concert. Steph and Mindy (and Nicky) went to Charlotte for the weekend.
Throwback to when they actually got to meet the New Kids! And then this happened:
Justin was cleaning out their storage unit last Sunday. He came across this! Then he admitted that it was HIS! He likes boy bands! That's why he's perfect for Mindy!
So, I received a wedding invitation. This is the first time I've seen this. I'd say it's a pretty good idea. Weddings are just too expensive for people to just bring extra people. The invitation was addressed to Butch and I. This reply card makes it clear that only the two of us are invited! No kids, no plus ones!
 At Sandy's getting ready to head out to dinner.
 My beautiful girls! I'd say that's a good place to leave it!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Camp Aunt Barb!

Oh. My. Gosh! It was so much fun and such a success.

When we first arrived, I thought Camp Aunt Barb might be a "fail." My little great nieces and nephews just don't know me that well. I don't get to see them as often as I would like. Emma 8---Jim's granddaughter, didn't know me at all. Nathan---3, is a total momma's boy and Josie---2, is a daddy's girl. Evie---5, is outgoing and has no problem interacting with me. Travis---5, is shyer and doesn't really want to talk or even look at me. I was potentially looking at only one---maybe two showing up!

Instead, I was surprised that they all came and STAYED!! I think they were distracted right away by what I called, their "tackle, treasure boxes" and water bottles.
When they arrived, I had them put on their t-shirts.
I found out their favorite colors in advance and stamped the shirts with acrylic paint. It might wash out with the first washing! Jackie said that Josie's favorite color was whatever they told her it was! I picked yellow for her since I thought it would go good with her red hair. (Side note---we have no redheads in the family and now have two---her cousin Nathan is a redhead too. Nobody knows where it came from--some sort of recessive gene. Only 2 percent of the population has red hair.)

Butch helped me get everything ready.

Janet took a bunch of pictures and I'm glad she did. I was too busy to take very many. I got a few--reflected in this post.) Next, I had them get up to the table in front of their boxes. They were not to look inside until I told them they could. Even then, I said, "Open your box. Don't look at anything. Just take the ziplock bag out." I wanted everything to remain a mystery as long as possible. I packed everything they would need for the day inside.

Here's the agenda that I planned:
  1. Put on “Camp Aunt Barb” t-shirts.
  2. Kazoo practice (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)
  3. Water balloon relay race (under arms, between knees, under chin, wooden spoon)
  4. Nature hike—look at bugs and flowers up close
  5. Scavenger hunt (heart leaf, round rock, black rock, stick, acorn, roly poly, pointy leaf, flower)—get ziplock bag
  6. Snack—Fish for goldfish (pretzel sticks, peanut butter and goldfish crackers)
  7. Pool time
  8. Fish for plastic fish in the pool
  9. Put Gummy Bears on the line and let them “catch” them with their mouths.
  10. Pretend like they are seals and throw them Swedish fish
  11. Singing time (BINGO, Itsy Bitsy Spider)
  12. Game—Steal the Pile
  13. Make slime.
  14. Simon Says
  15. Lunch
  16. Books (The Disappearance of Miss Nelson and George Shrinks)
  17. Movie/rest (Little Brave Toaster)
  18. Ring Pops
  19. Dip magic towels in water
  20. Craft—paint initials then glue on buttons
  21. Kazoo practice
  22. Head Banz game
  23. Snack—Watermelon 
  24. Magic trick—water bottle and penny
  25. Concert
  26. Playground if there’s time left.

Everything was going really well. When we got to #7, Nathan fell down the steps---head first--- on the way to the pool. I was sure it was all over for him. Since he's a momma's boy, I thought for sure he'd cry for her. I scooped him up really quick and held him. He snuffled, but didn't get worked up to a full on cry. I rubbed his back and told his that he was so brave that I was going to let him fish first! He recovered quickly. 

Pool time was a lot of fun---until later, when they ALL admitted to peeing in the pool. Believe me, when the day was over, I couldn't get to the shower fast enough! 

While at the pool, we nearly had disaster number 2. Jose fell and scraped her knee. I asked her if she would let me hold her. She shook her head "yes." She laid her head on my shoulder, cried softly, but didn't ask for her mom. I felt like we really dodged a bullet! Even when Janet walked away to join the other adults going on the boat, Josie just watched until she was out of sight. Then she re-joined us in the pool. Somehow, the Gummy Bears had disappeared (I never did find them), so I used the Swedish fish for #9 & #10. 

When we finished at the pool, I got them all dried off and dressed. Evie said her mom didn't pack underwear, so she went au naturale in her shorts. Turns out, the underwear were in a pocket of the bag. I've learned to trust Evie--that little girl is "on" it! So, I didn't think to look in the pocket. No problem.

The game "steal the pile" was a "fail" as Jose and Nathan were too young for that and kept picking up the cards. It was the very first game that Grandma Preli taught us when we were kids. I quickly finished the game and moved on. I skipped #13--make slime because it was a little more involved than I was ready to take on by myself. I inadvertently skipped #14--Simon Says.

Next up was lunch:
With the exception of the Swedish Fish, I kept the food healthy. For lunch, they had Uncrustables, juice and cherries. I told the kids at lunch that afterwards, we were going to read books, watch a movie and rest. I bribed them with Ring Pops as I needed them to be quiet so Josie could fall asleep. I pictured myself getting a rest too. That didn't happen!
 The boys grabbed the couch. The room was so small, that they all couldn't fit on the floor anyway. My rest consisted of sitting straight up in a kitchen chair in the doorway! Not very comfortable.

After rest time, we had another little accident. Nathan didn't make it to the bathroom. He was so embarrassed. I tried to ease his feelings by helping him. I remembered that we had put the swimming suits and towels out to dry. I went out and discovered that his and Travis' weren't there. I checked their backpack and found that the wet trunks were in there---on top of the spare underwear which were now wet too! I suggested that he put his wet trunks back on, but he balked at that. I said, "okay, never mind, your shirt is long enough." So we had another "au naturale" situation. I put the trunks out to dry which we put back on later.

The game Head Banz is so much fun---even for adults. I had the kids version and they understood how to play right away. Even Josie! The card I gave her had a slice of pizza on it. I told Evie to give her the first clue. She said, "it's what you and I love to eat the most!" Josie said, "peez!" I looked at Evie in disbelief and said, "what did she say?" Evie responded, "She said pizza, Aunt Barb! She can't say "za!" I was blown away. Even that little 2 year old knew exactly what to do! In fact, she did everything and kept up perfectly!

We never made it to #25--the playground. The timing couldn't have worked out better. We finished everything around 3:50. Camp Aunt Barb was from 8-4! I was tired--no doubt. But what I really noticed was how bad my back hurt! All that bending down to little people.

I went straight to the shower (the pee and all) and then took a little nap. Around 5, Evie came over while I was on my computer.
She said, "Aunt Barb, do you have wifi? I brought my tablet, but couldn't get wifi!" These kids just amaze me! They are so darn smart!

Anyway, the day was a total success. I loved every minute of it. For me, it's all about the memories. That's what it's all about! Now, maybe the next time I'm in St. Louis, they'll really know who Aunt Barb is. At least I hope so!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Table Rock Lake

Well, being out in the "boonies" means sketchy internet access and very slow at that. I could not post pictures. Texts were "iffy" too. We're home now and had a fun time. It's a long drive for us---8 hours--although it took us 9 to get home.

Anyway, the lake was gorgeous.
We arrived on Sunday afternoon. The family was already out on the lake. When they got back we all hit the pool and spent some time catching up.

Jeanne asked me to organize the trip since she was in the middle of her move. The plan was that each cabin (we had 5--for 18 of us) was responsible for their own breakfasts and lunches and we would all gather for dinner. Each of the first generation would be responsible for dinner---me, Jeanne, Janet and Joyce. Their adult "kids" could help them. They would cook and serve at their house. The rest of us would bring our own chairs and drinks. That worked perfectly. We had great food and no repeats. Jeanne did brats, salssiccia, and hotdogs. Janet did bbq pork and Italian beef. I did a Mexican dinner. Joyce (and mostly Scott) did this:
A shrimp boil! I was so excited. I've never had a boil in my entire life and now I've had 2 in 2 weeks! It was delicious. Unfortunately, I snapped this picture after everyone had filled their plates.

Speaking of Scott, he brought this jar of his "famous" pickles for Mindy.
When we gave them to Mindy, she opened them right away and shared them with us---just a taste! Scott had some for all of us to eat on vacation. They are the best pickles ever. He grows everything for them, cucumbers, garlic, dill and I don't know what else. He makes some hot. They're really good, not too hot.

Butch and I had planned to do some fishing on this trip. While everyone else likes to go out on the boat and sit for hours, that's just not us. Besides it's too hot. You can get in the lake to cool off, but that doesn't work for me. Yes, I've done the lake thing many times, but never really liked worrying about the creepy things you cannot see in the water. Plus getting in and out of the boat could be a problem for me these days. I'll stick with the pool.
Anyway, fishing these days couldn't be easier. You can just go online and get your fishing license. I just took a screenshot and had it on my phone along with the receipt that I'd paid. We were never stopped, be we never take any chances.

It was pretty hot right off the bat. I caught the first 3 fish.
I don't care how little they are---it's just fun to catch. This one was nearly as big as the lure!

I just love these fish. They are all so different and beautiful. This was my favorite--blue and orange. The colors seems like it would be a danger for them as they don't exactly blend in to their surroundings.

Butch caught one fish and another that got off right before he got it to the boat. On Tuesday, he went without me since that was my day for "Camp Aunt Barb" (all about that in then next post). He caught more than he could count. Figures. We went out again on Wednesday. He caught 6. I only had two bites. I caught trees, bushes and rocks. That made me skittish, so I quit getting really close to where I needed to be to catch fish. Butch said, "Barb, they're not going to jump in the boat---you have to cast out there!" Still, it's such a hassle to have to retrieve your lure. I will say, Butch is incredibly patient about it. He had his share of entanglements. He says that's just part of fishing.
Still, it was fun getting my rod in the water! I do enjoy fishing until it gets too hot. At one point, I asked Butch to find a shady cove. He said, "Barb, the sun is straight up, there is no shade!" I'm glad we're both early birds. We quit about 11. We went back out one afternoon, but it was still stifling.
On our second day of fishing together, he pulled this on me. I though he planned to somehow "steal" the fish! He said that all the pros wear this---to prevent bugs, I think. Anyway, after modeling it for this picture, he didn't really use it. I texted a picture to the girls, since I knew they'd get a "kick" out of it. He provides us with endless entertainment!

We packed up Wednesday night so we could get an early start for home on Thursday morning. We got on the road by 6 a.m.

It ended up taking us 9 hours to get home because of this:
We were stuck behind this RV for 45 miles. He had a long line of cars behind us, but wouldn't pull over. That's the courteous thing to do. Butch handled it remarkably well. I kept telling him to honk, but he wouldn't. My blood pressure was rising, so I just played my new game.
It sure helped pass the time. It's a free app for your phone or iPad. Butch doesn't know it, but I put it on his phone. I know he'll like it. It's so easy! Thanks for sharing Connie! As if I need another time waster!

Up next: Everything you ever wanted to know about Camp Aunt Barb!