Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas tradition with a twist

Occasionally I twist some memories.  Ok.  Alright.  Sometimes I "borrow" them from others and make them my own.

This one I'm about to tell you, though, I swear is mine.  All mine.

When we were teenagers it obviously became a bit difficult buying for us at Christmas time.  If you've already survived that phase you know what I'm talking about.

You get what you think is going to be the coolest (such dorks) gift and your teenager looks at you like you should be institutionalized.

My mom was brilliant.  She bought us clothes.  I know.  Brave, eh? How could she know they'd fit?  Well, she blindfolded us and had us try them on before she wrapped them up!

I can remember running my hands over the clothing trying to figure out - was it a kilt (yes, this was back in the 60s),  a jumper (again, 60s), a cardigan?

So my sister, Lisa, has taken that tradition and tweaked it a bit.
She recently came back from a visit to Thailand and bought everyone in the family the same piece of clothing but in different colors.  One size fits all.  Should be interesting.

She had Peter and me come down and pick the ones (folded in such a way on the back of the couch it was difficult to tell exactly what they were) we liked - color wise, before shipping the rest out.

Brilliant, eh?  Mom's going to be so proud.

I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't tell the rest of the family that we got first pick.  Might be some hard feelings because we got preferential treatment.  Well, we're special.  So there!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The "up" side of winter

This will be a short blog.  As you know if you've been hangin' with me for a while - I'm not a fan of winter.

Actually, to put it in stronger language - I HATE IT!  

It occurred to me while getting dressed this morning that there is, indeed, an up side to this 3 to 4 month long torture.

You can wear the same clothes today that you wore yesterday because no one is going to see what's under all those layers.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I caved

I've been watching the commercials for these little buggers on TV for several weeks.  I looked at them a while back but forced myself to pass on them.

The commercials continued on and on and on. 

Finally I caved.  I bought some yesterday in Kazoo and the bag was half empty by the time I got home.  I don't know what the hell happened???

Have you ever been dogged by a commercial - usually for a food item - usually something sinfully sweet - until you couldn't stand it? You didn't go out in your jammies to buy the treat, did you?  You did?  

I'm so proud.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Life's annoyances

Thankfully the good things in life outnumber the annoying ones but here's a list of the things that drive my slightly batty.

1)  using my phone to post pics to Facebook.  I love the technology but it trips me up every now and then and the swearing ensues. 

2) people in the "12 items or less" check out lane at the grocery store that have a frigging cart full -  really?

3)  when I order french fries at a restaurant and the ketchup is no where in sight

4)  sitting behind someone who doesn't realize they can TURN RIGHT ON RED

5) seeing all kinds of dog poop left behind by the lazy human owner while walking my dog

6) ambiguous Facebook posts

7)  forgetting to check the pants pockets before throwing them into the washer

I could go on and on but I'm showing some mercy during this holiday season.

Feel free to add to this list.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Pull through parking

Have you started looking for parking places at the grocery store, mall, etc. that you can pull through so you won't have to back out when you're ready to leave?

I don't know why it's taken me so long to realize this would make my life just a teeny bit easier but, boy howdy, I'm really getting into it.

Now all I need to do is find a house with a circular drive (it'll have to be in a warm climate so I can leave my car out all night) and never have to back out of a driveway again.

Our driveway is a bit long and I tried really, really hard to use my mirrors for the backing up process but I almost took the house down.  Peter is a pro at it and I'm amazed every time I watch him back up allllllll the waaaaaay down to the street.  Amazing.

I don't really know if it's the neck that doesn't like to twist anymore or it's my back or maybe both.  

I just know that pull-through-parking is my life!!!  Now.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Bird poop

Ever been shat upon by a bird?  Either sitting in a tree (the bird, not you) or flying overhead?

I remember years ago we were at an outdoor memorial with my mom.  Down by the river at our lovely gazebo.  I think the memorial was for Joe Armstrong, a local legend.  

Mom took a hit while standing there thinking of Joe.  We all knew he would have laughed the loudest had he been present.  Maybe he was and we just didn't hear him laughing, eh?

Another famous "bird poop" story involves my friend, Rosie.  We were sitting on the beach in South Haven and decided to walk back up to the cottage to refill our drinks.  One of the husbands yelled from quite a distance to please bring him something (beer) and we nodded "yes."  Just as Rosie was turning around to head toward the cottage we thought one of the guys had thrown something at us and against all odds, it dropped right into Rosie's Styrofoam cup of diet Pepsi and it splashed all over her lovely swim suit.

When we stopped cursing the bugger that threw the object, we looked closer and it was actually a dead hit from a seagull.  Yuck!

What led me to thinking about bird poop?  As I stood watching a flock of low flying geese yesterday I wondered . . . do they poop while flying?  Can you image one of those bombs???  I know they poop like crazy on the ground but are they multi-taskers like so many other birds?  Can they poop and fly at the same time?

Curious minds (well, maybe just mine) want to know.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Show some restraint

The title for this blog came to me yesterday and was reinforced last night.

I was teasing/poking fun at a friend who was having trouble restraining herself on a Facebook political thread.  I've stayed away from that particular topic (except making fun of DT and his excessive sniffing during the first presidential debate) because, honestly, I'm not very political.  Besides I don't think I could show enough restraint and would be throwing things like "you dumb ass" and "are you frigging kidding me?" all over the place.

The reinforcement I mentioned above hit home last night after going above and beyond at a buffet.  Petey and I swore off those things a while back but we fell prey to a new-to-us one last night in Kazoo.
Why?  Why did we do that??? You always over eat at buffets.  You eat stuff you would never eat normally and go back time and time again cuz . . . you paid for it, damn it, and you want to get your money's worth.  (was I supposed to use an apostrophe there?)

Today I got on a restraint roll and started thinking of other situations/categories that people may have a bit of an issue with when it comes to holding back.

Spending:  I'm pretty good at this one.  I try to hold the desire to spend a ton o' money when it comes to my bracelet making biz until stuff goes on sale.  Last March Michael's had 70% off on strung beads and metal spacers.  I was like a kid in a candy shop.  I even worked up a sweat.  But 70% off?  You can not NOT buy.  Am I right?

Swearing:  I'm a loser here.  I've tried everything in the book and nothing really works.  But I have a pretty good reason why I fail so. It's because swearing does the trick when you're really mad . . . or stub your toe.  "Gosh darn it" simply won't fly.

Keeping my opinions to myself:  "There's a time and a place."  I totally agree.  It's knowing the difference and I think I've come a long way with this one (some of you out there might disagree) but I could probably work on it a bit more.

How about you?  How's the restraint thing going for you?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Another dinner club experience

The Minteks hosted this food-fest.  We were all trying to adapt to the fact that we weren't spending time at the "farm house" as in the past years but instead in their home here in Allegan.

As much as we all look forward to spending the night near the big lake, we still got a "warm/fuzzy" from their home.

Somehow the picture of the beautifully set table didn't make it in the transfer from the phone to the PC - but, take my word for it, it was glorious. 

Pre-dinner goodies.  Figs were in the one beside the pizza looking yummers.  Both were very, very tasty. 

The bar.

Once we loaded up the small plates with snacky bites, we headed out through the yard to the deck on the river.

Before hitting the stairs toward the deck, I snapped this one of the river below.  

The "think tank" at work.  They got busy quickly.

Molly stood guard while we gathered on the deck.

Greek salad

A fancy chicken entree (can't remember the name) with side veggies.

Apple pie that completely blew me away.

Great food and the laughter got so out-of-hand at one point someone almost fell out of his chair.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The 3/4 Sleeve

It's back!!! Have you noticed?  Are you as thrilled as I am?

I'm always either rolling my long sleeves up a bit or shoving up the sweater/sweatshirt/t-shirt sleeves. It gets annoying because the suckers keep sliding down - well except the ones I roll up at the cuffs but they can be a pain too.

So yea for the return of the 3/4 sleeve!

By the way, I posted this via my phone. That's why it's so short. Frustrating. Letters are so dang small.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Only one ass at the gate

Gotcha, didn't I.  You're like "what the heck is this one going to be about?"

As many of you know, I work at the main gate of our county fair. This is my 11th year and I really enjoy it.  When it's not crazy busy I take the time to have fun with the fair-goers.  There's a lot of razzing that goes on - both ways.

When it's slow - usually in the early mornings - I entertain myself watching the black squirrels cross the street in front of me.  So far I have never had to witness a squirrel death.

This year I wondered if I was seeing the same squirrel cross back and forth out there or if it was several from the same squirrel camp. And my other question was - what the hell are they doing?  They're not transporting nuts.  I never saw a one.  Then it occurred to me that it might just be their form of morning exercise.  
Squirrel Jazzercise.

Back to the title.  There are a lot of animals at our county fair but this blog isn't about them.  Surprised?  Of course you're not.

Over the years I have encountered some rotten apples at the gate.  Over all I would venture to say that 99% of the people that I see are great but, you know, there's always a few.  I try to not let them ruin my day and I've gotten pretty good at that.

This year I only had one ass come through.  The fact that it was only one amazes me and left me pretty darned contented when the 9 days came to a close yesterday.

The "ass" experience was countered by darling children - one blew kisses to me - wonderful old vets on Veterans Day, vendors who considered themselves stand-up comedians and my co-workers.

All and all, it was a great fair.  Oh, yeah, you'll be proud to know that I only got my favorite Gibby fries twice and I shared them (not a quality I'm known for) both times.

'til next year.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

An epiphany

Actually I had two today but I wasn't sure how to pluralize that word so I'll just explain both of them . . . one at a time.

The first epiphany happened this morning at Jazzercise.  I was chatting with some of my sweaty friends (Nancy, Diane and my sister, Lisa) about fans.  The floor ones and the ceiling ones and our combined experiences with them over the years.

I was describing what an idiot I look like when I go to bed at night with my blue ear plugs stuffed into the appropriate orifices and my sleep mask over my eyes but shoved slightly up onto my forehead to keep the wind from the ceiling fan from blowing across it.

It gives me a headache, ok?  That's why I do it.

Stand by for the epiphany:  Nancy said, "why don't you just reverse the direction of the fan blades."

What???  You can do that???

I'm trying it out tonight.  Stay tuned.

Epiphany #2:  After Jazzercise I was giving Lisa a lift downtown and we started gabbing.  I was still in my car and she was standing outside with the passenger door open.  

She said something about how low my seats were compared to hers. We both drive Subaru Imprezas so shouldn't they be the same?  She said, "why don't you just pump yours up with that lever thing on the side of the seat?"

What lever thing???  This lever thing?  Pump, pump, pump.

Holy crap - it's an entirely different view from up here.  Who knew!

I feel so enlightened.  Thank you to my friends and family.

Good night.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Funny techy stuff

I was walking Augie today and trying to send an email at the same time.  I know the young ones hold their phones with one hand and use the thumb on that same hand to tap out their messages.

I was feeling quite proud of myself because I was mastering the same thing while holding a leash in the other hand.

I was tapping along when my thumb swept across the little microphone icon in the lower right corner (didn't even know it was there) and the screen went blank.

I didn't, at first, notice that there were those squiggly lines at the bottom indicating voice mode when I said a bad word.  

It printed out loud and clear.  Thankfully I rectified the error before hitting send.

Then I realized I could send an email via voice.  I already knew I could do that with a text - see what a smarty-pants I am - but didn't realize the same option goes for emails.

Boy howdy, I'm in business now!!!

On the other side of the block I saw three young boys riding their bikes up the one way street - in the middle of the street - while, obviously, playing Pokemon Go.

Think that's dangerous?

The first time we saw the Pokemon rage in play we were in downtown Holland and saw a group of young people walking down the sidewalk all holding their cell phones in front of their faces.

What the hell was going on?  

I still don't understand what it's all about.  I need to find a 10 year old for a one-on-one tutorial. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Hats, hats, hats

Allegan hosts a huge fiber fest every year and I usually go with my sister, Lisa, the knitter.  I do not knit.  I tried it once and the results were horrid.

This year my cousin, Barb, also a knitter, came down from Newaygo for it so, once again, I tagged along.

I like the colors.  

I decided to focus on hats this year.  So here ya go.

I'm not one for hats but if I was going to a very, very fancy party, I might don this baby.  It would look ok with jeans, right?

Definitely for an evening out.

Somewhere that has something to do with France, I'm thinkin'.

This one and the two below scream "fall" don't they?

Is this just for people with pony tails?

I see a college kid walking across campus in this one.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

As long as my ears are warm, I'm good.

Didn't want to leave the guys out - cool, eh?

The female spin on the one above.

I know my friend, Donna Nowak, would love this one.

I love the added color here.




I really like the slouchy style.


I know a few people that could really rock this hat.

I'll be wearing this one when I graduate from wizard school.

I'm always amazed at the craftsmanship.  They spin, they felt, they knit.  Even if you don't do anything with fiber, check it out next year.  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The tale of two shorts

So I started the summer with two pair (pairs?) of shorts.
I've always been more of a capri kinda gal but I kept seeing "larger" women walking around in them and also wearing sleeveless shirts so I jumped right on that band wagon.

Back to the shorts:  one pair fit me perfecting in early June.  I looked stunning, believe me.  Darn it, I don't have a picture - you'll just have to take my word.

The other pair was loose around the middle but no biggie because I stopped tucking shirts in a decade or two ago.  A little extra breathing room is always a good thing, right?

Long about the end of July I started to notice a change.

The perfectly fitting shorts must have shrunk in the dryer - damn machine - because they were still rather comfy if I was standing but sitting was a different story.  hmmmm

Then the second phenomenon occurred. 

You guessed it - those loose babies fit like a dream now. hmmmm

So unless I'm going to an event where you stand the whole damn time I'm down to one pair of shorts.

Good thing they wash well . . . and summer's almost over.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The annual trip up north

We hadn't driven Pierce Stocking Drive in several years.  Now it has new pavement which made it even better.

One of the many look-out stops.

Aren't we cute?  It was a little humid while we were making this part of our journey.  That's my excuse, anyway.

Holy exposed roots!

There is no picture that can adequately capture how steep this sand dune is - you'd have to be insane to give it a go.  We saw a handful of crazy people doing just that.

This might help put the dune in perspective.

Hey, how'd he get in there???  This is Ryder, one of our son's best buds.  He's the general manager of our favorite place to eat in Traverse City, Northpeak Brewery.  After our dune drive we were famished.  Thanks for a great lunch, Ryder!

Full moon from Mackinaw City.

Doesn't this remind you of creepy stories told around a camp fire when you were a kid?  The narrator would put a flash light under their chin and scare the crap out of you?  Scared??? 

The light as we took the ferry from Mac City to the island.

This is opposite of the light - a range light?  Petey - is that right?

This is Orville and Wilbur.  They pulled us around the island.  Nice job, boys.

Arch rock where Michael proposed to Rena.  We reenacted the scene.  Not really - too many people around.

The light in Mac City.

The "Mighty Mac" at night.  Handsome, eh?
Just so ya know - I showed uncharacteristic restraint when it came to fudge consumption.  I kept it to a half pound.  You'd be surprised how fast that stuff goes down.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Quiet Man

If you've been reading along you know Petey and I just returned from a trip out east.

The trip had been planned for a while and the dates firmed up, finally, about a month or so ago.

Besides the lighthouses and the PA Grand Canyon, we were going to be spending some quality time with Peter's side of the family which we were both looking forward to.

Our last visit was two years ago and our brother-in-law, Lee, was in the hospital with a leg injury which limited our time with him.

Since Peter's sister, Patty's, death five years ago we've stayed in pretty close contact with Lee via phone calls so having some face time with him was important.

As we were leaving our house, bags packed, our nephew, Mike, called to tell us that his father, our brother-in-law, had died suddenly.

The funeral was going to be in four days and we were encouraged to go ahead with our travel plans so we did with heavy hearts.

Lee Kichline was a quiet man.  A man from humble beginnings.  He was an honest, hard working man with a professional work ethic that was never surpassed by anyone.

He was a very generous man who opened his home to Peter's parents without a backward glance.

He catered, sometimes grudgingly (the guy was a saint), to Patty's every request.

He loved his grandchildren and was very, very proud of his two children, Mike and Stephanie.

The man loved to cook and we were the grateful recipients of many of his meals.

He will be missed by many.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The PA Grand Canyon

Did you know there was one?  Neither did we until two years ago and we lived in Pennsylvania for a number of years.

We found out about the Grand Canyon when we were in Williamsport, PA for a Blues concert.  We were chatting with a fellow from Wellsboro (directly north of Williamsport) who said "next time you're out this way, come on up to Wellsboro and see the Grand Canyon."

He didn't act or look drunk so we continued our conversation.

Yup, sure enough there's a Grand Canyon and we headed toward it after we finished our round of lighthouses in Ohio.

First off, Wellsboro is a darling Norman Rockwell kind of town. Complete with a village green and cute shops.

The canyon is about 10 miles from Wellsboro and here's what we found when we arrived:

First stop was the Wellsboro Diner for lunch.  We almost passed it by but it started to rain and we took shelter.  Plus we were starving.

So glad we made that quick decision.  The diner has been there forever and for good reason.

Hot diggity dog.

OMG, this cookie was outstanding.  The reason there's a crack in it is because I had already split (it's a relative term for me) it when Petey reminded me to take a picture.  Guess which half he got.

Here's the village "green" I mentioned with a lovely fountain.  We attended a concert there in the evening.

And now for the trek down the canyon.  It was a mile of switchbacks down and obviously the same coming back up.

There was a lot of shade which we gratefully thanked Mother Nature for - it was a hot day!

Peter was trying to text for an uber but there was no cell service. ha!

Most of the pathways were dirt but there were places with wooden steps and ramps as well.

Watch out for the tree roots!  I never took my eyes off the path and was quite skittish on the way down.  The pictures were only taken when I stopped to gasp for air.  Not really, I was surprised at how well I did.  Slow but sure and thanking Jazzercise all the way.

See how chipper and "dry" we are?  That changed, big time, on the way back up.

A little waterfall.

How come Peter looks the same as he did in the "before" picture and I look like something the cat dragged in ???

After a rest and IV fluids (just kidding) we strolled through Wellsboro and spotted this piano on the sidewalk.  It's there for anyone to play.  Cool, eh?

We also took in the local cemetery.  I couldn't help but notice the food related head stones.

I got a kick out of this one: the first and second wife made the stone.  That Luther, what a thoughtful guy.
We definitely plan on returning to Wellsboro and want to visit the Finger Lakes of NY next time as well.

So now I can say I hiked the Grand Canyon with a straight face.  I needn't include the Pennsylvania part, right?