Sunday, December 28, 2014

Well another Christmas (holiday) season has come and gone.  And I am so very glad.  I have not really celebrated the season for many years.  When the girls entered high school they seem to become too busy to help decorate or bake cookies.  And so after we killed the last 15' evergreen at the Tree Farm, I said, "no more."  And so I make some things to give away as gifts and send out my cards with the usual Christmas update letter, generically speaking.

I enjoy getting cards and letters from my friends and family who I do not see.  I think hearing from them once a year and getting an update is important to my well being.  I am not a phone person, having worked answering phones for many, many years, I don't want to be on one any longer.  I do have some folks in my life that I occasionally write the 3 or 4 page letter.  They usually reciprocate and that fills me with something I can't explain.  A good feeling like "I am loved."

One thing I do enjoy about the gift giving thing is that I usually give my girls back some of their "stuff".  Addi sculpted this eagle while in high school and it weighs a ton.  Every time I try to give it back to her she just reaches it back to me and tells me to keep the eagle.  I sent the girls their music boxes that their great grandmother had given them as children.  Jess got her Mickey Mouse back and Addi got HI Lilly.  Addi told me that Lilly gave herself away as she was unwrapping the box. " Hi Lilly, hi Lilly, hi lo."

I started out this holiday season in a very positive manner.  I attended two holiday parties and had a very nice time at both.  I baked some cookies and made some fudge.  (Fanny Mae recipe if you want to make some killer fudge and not worry about it not coming out.)   I even put some lights on the girls' old Flexible Flyer and put it out on the porch.

I even baked an apricot pie, my father-in-law's favorite pie.  It turned out wonderful.

However, my friend and confidante, Garnet, has to undergo chemotherapy and possibly radiation for the third time.  My soul has fallen about 5'3".  I am so worried about her.  She is such a soul and this is just taking its toll on her, me and so many others.  She has been a hermit for so many years and in the past couple of years she has come out of her shell and shared so many adventure with me and our girlfriends.

If I was a prayer, as in a Christian person who prayed, I would be praying every day.  However, not being a Christian, I am a positive thinker.  I just have to get myself to the point of being positive again.  Now that Christmas (holiday season) is over.  (note from author:  I am so sick of this holiday/Christmas/Hanukkah/whatever that black season is.  Let us be friends and celebrate whomever we want to.)  Now that the holiday season has passed I am getting into my New Year's positive attitude.

I have gotten up the last two days and done my yoga.  I am breathing in the positive and breathing out the negative and thinking, "Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better."

I see Garnet on Tuesday or Wednesday after her doctor's appointment and I am positive she will have some good information to share with me.  (And we are having Japanese food.  Another adventure for her and me to share.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

My kids have teased me for years about how I save the little scraps of soap that are left when the bar is almost finished.  I will be the first to admit that I am a cheapskate.  I have tried melting those things and making a new bar, turning them into liquid soap and even putting them into an onion bag to use after gardening to wash my hands.

I need to put it on the record that it is not I that refuses to use that little soap sliver.  I know why they (Proctor and Gamble) made the bar in that shape.  If you put the old on top of the new and wash as usual, after several washes the old becomes part of the new.  But the hubster refuses to do that.  Invariably, I find that little piece of soap laying aside from it's new protector bar.  Try as I may he will not use the little sliver.

So there, children.  The truth has been told.

But I admit to squeezing the toothpaste until all is out.  Use a bobby pin and that helps.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I just went outside and knocked all the ice off the driveway.  I was wondering how many more winters I can stand this stupid cold.  It was pretty nice today 33 degrees.  I took the dog to the walking path in Durand and we walked the entire thing.  It felt good to be outside.  The dog enjoyed it too.  Got some groceries (having beef stroganoff tonight).  Rick's specialty.  He puts enough garlic in it to ward off colds for the winter.

I am trying to get in a festive mood.  I put my swag on the outside and put the girls old Flyer slide out with a big red bow.  I'm going to make a tree out of a tomato cage and put lights on it and put it on the porch.

I have all the gifts wrapped and the children's xmas stockings assembled.  I just need to get something for Rick.  Oh well!  I plan to start baking xmas cookies and making fudge to send to the kids also.

I made strawberry jam last week and will give that away to my friends and family.

I now need to type a xmas letter and get my cards going.  So much to do.  So glad to be retired.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I remember when I was about ten years old, thinking that the best time of my life was before I grew these stupid breasts and started having these dumb periods.  Then when I was around 21 I thought the best part of my life was when I was a teenager and was free to have fun all the time instead of having to work.

When the children were small I thought the best part of my life was before I had them and didn’t have to be on guard 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  When the girls were grown and gone, I knew the best part of my life was taking care of them, and doing things and having fun.

Now that I am in my retirement I think I realize that the best part of my life is each day.  I am still healthy, can walk, read, type, and best of all, garden.  Each day is filled with adventure.  I wake up with a new cramp or ache and I get through that.  But seriously, the sky seems bluer, the clouds puffier.

Swimming has always been a joy for me but some days being outside in the clean air and sunshine almost seems bliss.  I love the sound of birds singing, that far away truck downshifting, hearing the neighborhood kids playing and laughing.  And I really like gardening with my ipod.  I find myself singing sometimes and wonder if the neighbors think I’m nuts.  I just unhook one bud and sing the song aloud.  The heck with what anyone thinks.  At this moment in time, I am very happy and no one is going to interfere with that.

Grasp that moment.  Choke every ounce of happiness out of it.  Fill yourself with the joy of the moment and cling to it if any unhappiness comes your way.

Carpe diem.  Even this stupid early winter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Finally got to do the Zumba adventure.  I went to Garnet's house yesterday and we did her Zumba CD.  What fun!

All the way to her house I kept telling myself that she would just sit back and watch me do Zumba.  She is so funny.  When we used to get together and play guitar she would just hold her guitar and not play.  She just watched.  I once talked her into playing a song for me.  She played "Over the Rainbow" and sang it.  It was wonderful.  I don't know whey she holds back.

When we used to ride our bikes around the lake (6 miles) she would get about halfway and tell me we had to turn back that she couldn't make it.  Then when we made it around she would say, "Let's do it again."  Needless to say I could just kill her.  (Not really, I love her so much.)

We walked for a while back a few years ago and she did the same thing.  She would want to sit down for a while or turn back.  And so I couldn't wait to Zumba with her.

We did 24 minutes of Zumba and I ended up with wet hair.  Sign of a good workout.   I took the front of the room and Garnet was in the back.  I cannot attest to the fact that she did 24 minutes also.  She is a sneaky one.  She has that advantage of having latin blood and I do not.  I kept the beat and really got into dancing.  It took me a while to catch on to a few of the moves.  Garnet has been doing this and knew all the moves (at least that is what she told me).  Next time I will face her.  No then I can't see the screen and the leader.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Today's retirement adventure was supposed to be Zumba.  I traveled to Seward and found out last weekend was the last class.  Oh well.  I drove two blocks to the local meat market, Eichmann's, and picked up some yummy Italian sausages, ground beef, ground pork and hamburger patties.  The ground pork will be used tonight to make Tuscan chicken rolls.  If you have never tried them you should.  Beat the chicken flat.  Cook the ground pork with some onions and garlic.  Add some bread crumbs and egg when it is cooled.  Put the stuffing into the chicken and secure with toothpicks.  Put some white wine into backing dish and add the chicken rolls.  Sprinkle with some parsley and brush with melted butter.  Bake about 30 minutes at 350.  Make sauce with the leftover wine and some chicken broth.  Yummy!

I killed the rest of the morning by making some scented pine cones.  I read somewhere that peppermint oil repels spiders.  I have a lot of spiders in my solarium and garage.  I have a few in the house too which I hate.  I hate killing them but they are very determined that I cannot pick them up and throw them outside so I squash them.  Spiders are not one of my fears.

I dried my pinecones which I had washed yesterday in my dehydrator.  I put them pinecones into ziplocks and sprayed with some peppermint oil.  I'll let you know how they come out next week.  And I will followup with the spider repellent at a later date.

This afternoon I made a Christmas spray.  I had a class last weekend to show me how to do it.  I gathered some pine branches from the yard and wound them together with wire.  Added a ribbow bow which did not turn out as lovely as the lady who taught the class did.  I added a little Christmas heart ornament and lovely Christmas thingie which I hung outside on the house.  Photo attached.

Another day of retirement adventures.

Oh and PS, since I was dressed to exercise, I went to the basement and did 30 minutes of aerobics with Jane Fonda.  I also walked the dog in the campground for about 30 minutes.  Got my exercise in before the big snow storm hits tonight.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A walk in the woods

I was walking the dog in the local campground this morning and I found myself smiling outrageously.  I realized how much I am enjoying my life as a retiree.  The dog was running and smiling too.  Several chevron of geese flew over and even the dog stopped to gaze at the wonder.  It was so quiet and peaceful.  All I could hear was the dog tromping in the grass looking for a good blade to chew.  The geese were honking in the background and one lone vehicle passed by.  A truck carrying a log splitter on the trailer behind it.  Fall is such a wonderful time of the year.

When I was a kid I dreaded fall and the summer ending and having to go back to school.  Not going to school so much as having to get up early.  I love to sleep in and that is another part of retirement that I truly enjoy.  I wake with the sun and stretch and yawn and decide I need 10 more minutes to just lay there and enjoy the moment.

I recalled while walking when I was young and starting out my "career" in life.  I hated getting up and having to watch the clock.  I gave up a watch when I quit my job as a junior executive secretary and decided to be a stay at home mom.  The girls decided on time for me.  Nap time, bath time, bedtime and so on.

Retirement is the time to enjoy the moment.  Every single moment.  I love cleaning house and doing my chores.  I make a list each morning and try to cross off everything on that list.  I do take breaks in between chores.  I do get to do my crossword puzzle every morning and a jigsaw puzzle in the afternoon.

Now that I have decided to try to blog every day, I must search myself for stories to write.  Every day is a new adventure.

Peace be to all.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Aunt Nollie's sweater

A couple of weeks ago my sister wrote me that she had visited my aunt in the Alzheimer's nursing home and that she was wearing a think teeshirt and a towel.  She went to her room to find her some warm clothes and found none in her drawers nor her closet.  I decided to hit my local Goodwill and buy her a new sweatshirt.

I was thinking I should try to find her some of those labels you can sew into your clothes with her name on them.  I'd look on line.

I went to my local Good will and a bright pink sweater hoodie caught my eye.  I checked the label to see what size it was and it said, "Nollie".  Flabbergasted I bought the shirt without know what the price was.  My aunt's name is Nollie.  How often do you hear that name?  Never?  I know.

I just love Twilight Zone moments.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

We have lived in our home for 29 years as of yesterday.  We moved in on Halloween night.  Tough getting costumes together but we did it.  I have had the same linoleum tile in my kitchen and I gave up years ago trying to keep it clean.  I bleach the heck out of it before company comes.

I decided to sell Rick's boat as it had sat in our driveway and yard for many years unused.  I had a garage sale and put a "for sale" sign on it.  I had four guys stop by and ask about it but none came thorough.

The next spring a guy came by and asked if I still wanted to sell the boat.  Sure, I'd take $1000.00 for it.  He came back a week later with his wife to look at the boat and see if they wanted to buy it.  As we looked it over I opened one of the storage compartments and inside was a raccoon.  I slammed the cover quickly.  The wife opened the thing and said, "there's a mother nursing her three baby raccoons."  We left the cover open, I threw in a few mothballs, and that night and it rained like all get out.  The raccoons were gone the next day.

Time passes and the guy comes back and says he just can't buy it as he had to buy his wife a new vehicle.  I tell him I will give him a deal.  I know he installs flooring for a living.  Take the boat, see if you can get it started.  Decide if you want it and in a week, let us know.  He could install our new kitchen floor for the price of the boat.  He is thrilled.

I am more thrilled because the "albatross" boat is now out of my driveway and yard and I am going to get a new kitchen floor.

The guy doesn't call me in a week nor in two.  I finally write him a note and leave it at his house.  Do you want the boat or not?  He calls me that night and says he wants the boat and will do my floor for it.  Yippee!!!  Can you do it next week?  Sure, he says.

Next week comes and goes.  In the meantime we have gone to the big box store and purchased enough porcelain tiles to do our floor.  they are in the middle of my garage and I can't park my truck in the garage. A month goes by, then two months go by.  I call the guy and say I have to have the floor done by Sept 4 because we are having company and I really want a new floor.

Sept 4 goes by and no floor.  I am upset not only about the floor and the boat but I am parking my truck in the driveway.  I finally text the guy and tell him to bring the boat home or I will have to call the police to help me retrieve it.

He texts back that I really don't want to go there and I text back to bring the boat back.  He calls me and says he will bring the boat back that evening.  The hubster and I are awake at midnight when the boat pulls into the driveway.  We wanted to make sure he didn't ram the garage or anything stupid. Little did we suspect what he had done.

I went out to check out the boat the next day.  It was so oily and nasty and smelling like pee the I was nauseated.  I went in and told the hubster.  He came out and said he thought he had poured motor oil all over the boat.  And we thing he peed in it.

I took pictures in case we wanted to sue him.  After hearing about him from his next door neighbor we decided to stay away from law suit.  He had visits from the police a couple of times since he had lived there.

I cleaned the boat up and I threw away the clothes that I had worn.  I took pictures of the boat and put it on Craig's List Rockford, IL and on Facebook.  I had ten or more interested folks.

Three came and went and I never heard from them again.  On a Saturday morning I got an email from a guy in Chicago and he wanted to look at the boat.  He was two hours away and could be here to take a look.  My bid were up to $750.00 at this time.  I also had a family coming out that day to take a look.  He was concerned that if he drove 2 hours and got here and the boat was sold he would be pretty pissed.  I told him I would call when the family came out and decided.

They came, they passed and I called him on the road to come on over.  He took a look and got out of his car a tool kit.  He checked the motor and said "sure, how much?"  I said $750.00 and he counted it out for me as we filled out the paperwork.  Ca-ching!

I called the big box store and set up arrangement for our floor to be installed.  The guy came out and said they were out about two weeks.  Okay, that was October 1st.  I'd have my floor by my birthday on the 13th.  He called on the first and said it would be two more weeks.  Installer finally came on the 20th and put down one box of tiles.  At that point he said the tiles were not the same size and he couldn't guarantee the floor.  They took the tiles up and put them into their van and left.  The hubster and I went back to the big box store and choose different tiles.  As we were leaving the parking lot the store called to say we forgot to pick grout.  So back we went.  I was beginning to feel like these were my people.

They called and said Thursday the floor would be installed.  Thursday came and sure enough, they were here and I finally got my floor. ( It is lovely.)  Except for one corner.  Hubster and I kept walking to it and looking at it and shaking our heads.  A week later I was allowed to mop the floor with plain water.  Our house was so dusty it was unbearable.  As I was mopping the foyer some grout just bounced right out of its little niche.  The next tile to it did the same, and the next one.

Back to the big box installer.  He would be back out and inspect.

As of today Nov 1, I am still waiting to hear from them.  I guess they must be two weeks out.

Good news is that the albatross is out of my life and driveway and I made $750.00 for my new floor.  But the best news (I think) is that the hubster hates the counter tops with the new floor and now I am getting a new counter top.  Well, maybe by next Halloween?
That is the corner we are not happy with.  Bad cut.

My beautiful new kitchen floor.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pictures from when we were movie stars.

Garnet and me at the Swedish Pancake house.

Miles, Courtney and Garnet on the set.
In the "hall".

We are movie stars!

Tuesday, October 28

Picked up Garnet Smith at her house at 9:00 am.  We got to Eiger Lab at 9:13.  We weren't expected until 10:00 so we turned around and headed north to find a Gladys' home-made slop joint.  We didn't find Gladys but we did find the Swedish Pancake House.  It was very quaint with cute little Swedish looking knick knacks tucked around little niches in the room.  It also had a Last Supper picture and so I had to tell Garnet my Last Supper joke.  (Okay, if you haven't heard it -- What did Jesus say at the Last Supper?  If you want to be in the picture, sit on this side of the table.)

Garnet and I determined that we would get our picture taken under the Last Supper picture.  Darn it if a little old lady with a walker came in right after and took our table.  Garnet said it was okay because we would have had to stand on the table to get the Last Supper pic in our photo.

Garnet had an egg sandwich and I ordered two potato pancakes.  I had eaten mashed potatoes for breakfast already but they sounded good.

Oh and I forgot the hostess had on a kick ass wrap around dress and knee high boots and looked lovely.  We determined that we would tell her that she looked lovely before we left.

My potato pancakes arrived and did not look good at all.  In fact they looked a little blue.  I suspected that the cook had not washed the potatoes nor wrung them out before she cooked them.  They were soggy in the middle and not crispy like I prefer them.  I ate half and gave up the go.  (For those who do not know me, I eat anything and everything.)  Very seldom do I ascertain that a piece of food is not fit to go into my mouth.  I put my fork and knife in my plate along with my napkin and said I was finished.

My phone rang at about that time.  It was the Rockford Register Star wanting me to become a subscriber again.  (This will be another blog, I'm sure.)  I told them "no" and to take me off their calling list and hung up.  All this time the waitress had returned to ask me if I was finished or if I wanted a box.  I explained to her that I found them inedible and didn't want them.  She took them off the bill which Garnet picked up -- the little booger.  She got off easy.

My stupid phone rang again and it was the handsome Jeff Scaduto who we were to meet at Eiger Lab. He said we had plenty of time and to take our time.

Garnet and I got to Eiger Lab around 10 to 10:00.  Jeff was in the lobby and so was a very pretty blonde with a huge piece of purse/suitcase.  We were met by the director of the movie we were going to be extras in (that was a bad sentence) and he explained what was happening and what to expect.

We sat around for a while shooting the bull.  The director came out and got Garnet for a shoot scene.  She always gets picked...  Later he came back for the rest of us.  We met up with the photographer, light man, a frumpy little guy who I think was named Michael and a lovely lady named, Janet.  The director explained what he wanted us to do.  Stand in the hall talking and when we were cued because the boss had arrived, scoot off  to our respective cubicles.  Talk about wanting more of an actor!  We did this twice.

The third time the director thought to introduce us to the star of the movie, Miles.   Miles is a drop dead gorgeous blonde with a full beard. (Okay I admit it. I love a man with a beard.)  Janet confessed not only to be Miles' mom but that he was adopted and she couldn't take credit for the genes.  I thought this very odd.

So we did a pretty good take and were back down the hall to the lobby.  We had such a lovely time talking and exchanging little stories in our lives.  Janet told us all about going to Australia with Miles when he performed a comedy Breaking Bad routine for a big competition.  Courtney explained after I bluntly asked her if Miles was her boyfriend, that they were very good friends.

I had such a nice time I decided that I was coming back to the Eiger Lab every day from then on and just sitting around enjoying the entertainment.  A lady with blue hair in business attire came though the door just then.  And a guy with an eye patch came in after her.  It was just one thrill after another.

We were called back onto the movie set to do some more walking around the hall.  It was just thrilling.  We then broke for lunch.  The director said he was pretty much finished with us and Garnet and I decided to head out for lunch.  They had ordered pizza but I explained that we were eating vegetarian right now and besides at the Olympic Tavern down the street we could have a beer.  We old ladies like our beer.

The Olympic was the usual busy and odoriferous.  I almost ordered the potato skins but realized that I had potatoes for breakfast and brunch.  I got a small Caesar salad and French onion soup which was great.  It was very beefy though.

We got excellent service and I told Garnet that the waitress recognized us as movie stars and that was the reason.  Before we left I told the waitress that we were movie stars.  We all had a good laugh.

It was an excellent adventure with my adventurous friend.

Thank you for this day.