Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Who knew

Yes.  Those are curls or maybe some would call them active waves.  WTH!  How long have they been there?  All my life and I never knew it?  You mean I went through all those "Dippity-do" sessions with mom out on the back porch for nuthin'?

Apparently so.  Gosh, sure wish I'd known that.  I have to give credit where credit is due, though.  If it hadn't been for my trustworthy stylist, Michelle Rutledge, this coolio affect would never have happened.

One day Michelle said to me - "El, how'd you like to try embracing the wave."  I only thought it over for a minute or so - cuz - she's "trustworthy."

I knew I'd have to let my hair grow longer than I'm used to but she encouraged me along the way. And . . . .

BAM!  I'm a happy, curly/wavy gal these days.  

Thanks, Michelle!!!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

I've lost my chops

Not my choppers.  Not my pork chops.  I'm talking about my baking chops.

Oh.  I can already hear those of you who know me well saying "what baking chops?"

It's very true and if you've been around for a while, you already know I'm not a fan of the kitchen - except to walk through it to get to the rest of the house.

But let's get real here, folks.  Anyone can cook/bake.  Am I right? It's not rocket science.  Doing it well is a whole different ball game. And liking to do it is not nor has it ever been on my radar.  

Having said all that I decided to bake some chocolate chips cookies for a thing we're going to tomorrow.

I can not honestly tell you how long it's been since I last baked anything, let alone chocolate chip cookies.

I got rattled right away because I wanted to spruce them up with some chopped almonds.  I actually have a little chopper - I think it was a Pampered Chef tool.

Didn't work so well.  Not the tool's fault - all mine.  I got impatient and it hurt my hand.

Back to basics.  Then I realized I don't really have one of those deep bowls that are much better to use with an electric mixer than one of my several pottery bowls.

Had to search around, switch bowls and then put the mixer away and put some elbow grease to the batter and that was pretty much it.

Did not enjoy it AT ALL.  Won't be doing that again for a very long time but, ya'll know me, it's probably going to be never.  I'm ok with the store-bought stuff.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fair 2017 Observations

It was another great year working the front gate at the Allegan County Fair.

This year was extra great for a few reasons: 1) the weather was outstanding!  A tiny bit of rain (not enough to keep anyone away) in the middle of the week but otherwise - all 9 days were pleasant as all get-out. 2) no computer problems.  Not one. Compared to last year (every frigging day - several times a day which caused all the gate "keepers" high anxiety), it was a walk in the park. 3) Our tech support people - Kim and Misha - were ever-present and so, so helpful. And last but not least 4) no buttheads came through my gate.

I will confess to taking an attitude adjustment break about an hour and a half before my last shift ended because . . . . it was my last shift.  I was tired, my feet and back hurt and my usual smart-ass good humor was waning. 

I observed something interesting on "Senior Day."  The majority of people that came through my gate on this day knew how much $$$ they had to hand me and had it ready - in the right amount.  Didn't need change.  What does that tell you?

"Veterans Day" was and always has been my favorite day.  I loved looking into the eyes of the young and older, the men and the women and telling them I appreciated their service.

So, one corn dog and 2 Gibby's fries later I'm back to my daily routine.  


Friday, September 8, 2017

Pride in property

Peter and I moved to Allegan 39 years ago.  We bought a house that had been vacant for 5 years and hadn't had a thing done to it for many years prior.

We worked like little doggies to spruce the joint up.  Scraped and painted the outside and started stripping wallpaper off the inside.  It didn't cost a fortune for the transformation - just a lot of elbow grease and a fair amount of swearing.

This memory brings me to the topic of this particular blog.

I was chatting with a friend this morning - a life long Alleganite who loves this town like I do.  A person who takes pride in her home, business and surroundings.

We share a sadness for un-cared-for properties.

We started naming off houses around town that had once been beautiful and now look very, very unloved.

Don't get me wrong - I'm thrilled to see the opposite happen as well. It's been great watching some wonderful transformations happen around town.  Empty houses and old businesses getting a new life brings a smile to my face as I drive/walk around town.

The frowny face happens when I walk/drive past a house that I remember from my youth or simply 20 years ago that had been a beauty and now looks like a neglected soul.

Where does the responsibility lie (I have issues with the lie/lay thing so ignore it if I'm wrong)?  Well, the home owner is responsible, of course.

Am I asking the new owners to start popping thousands upon thousands of dollars to breath new life into a structure right away? No.  But do something!  


Am I asking the landlords to step up?  HELL, YES!!!

We have hundreds of rental properties in this small town and many, many, many of them look horrid.

Those are the people I want to take responsibility.

I think I'm done.

  


Monday, August 21, 2017

Hanging out with the Oldies


The 50th reunion was a huge success.  The setting was great and the food was tasty.

There were a lot of smiles and plenty of laughter.

I didn't get the chance to speak with every single classmate.  There were waves and "OMGs, you look fabulous" but simply not enough time to squeeze in chatting with everyone.

The group photo was pretty funny.  It was like herding cats.  Guys in the back weren't paying attention so we didn't catch every face. There was a hat here and a left eye there but . . . .  the ladies in the front row, sitting down on the ground, stole the show.  And they didn't even need assistance getting up.  Go, girls! 

The committee did a great job.  I know the time commitment reunions require having served on several in the past so THANKS!

Funny thing happened - I found myself at the "smart" table when we all sat down to eat.  That was never the case in high school.  When I looked around at my table-mates I almost got up (knowing someone would find me there and make me move) but decided to stay and learn a thing or two.  I did.  I learned that those smart kids were still smart and pretty damn fun.

I was also hoping, since it was our 50th, that they would do that "cutest couple, most likely to succeed" thing and I had my fingers crossed that I would be voted as "prettiest girl" again.

And then I remembered I was never voted prettiest girl but I WAS voted "best dancer" and I still have some righteous moves. 

No voting went on, though, which was probably a good thing.

As we left, contacts were exchanged as well as hugs and waves.




Sunday, August 13, 2017

Has it really been 50 years?

I graduated from high school in 1967 so this must be our 50th reunion coming up, eh?

The worst part is it's next Saturday and I haven't lost the 17 pounds I wanted to lose before stepping into a room full of old classmates.

Maybe there will be a few there in the same fix.  There will, won't there???

1967:  right at the end of the innocent 60s.  The shit hit the fan pretty hard right after we left those hallowed halls.

The kids today hear "the sixties" and they think we were all hippies, flower children and protest marches.

No, we were wearing below-the-knee skirts to school.  With knee socks and penny loafers.  Peter Pan collars and cardigan sweaters. I don't know what the boys wore.

Squaresville, man.

I'm looking forward to this reunion but it will be bittersweet.  So many of our classmates have died; even since the 45th.  Others are too ill to come.

I'm thinking we'll need to stand in a corner and sing "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."

Watch for an update on the reunion.  Tell me I look thin in the pictures, please.  I'm begging you.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

This is my friend, Linda Kauppi.  She posted this pic today on FB so I'm guessing it's free game to do what I want with it, right?

The very first thing I thought when I saw it this morning was how darned cute she was.  I envied the hat.  I couldn't figure out the emblem on her jumper/dress/vest but I bet it signified something very cool.

The other thing it brought to mind was the old Roy Rogers TV series.  Remember that?  You don't?  Get out and off this blog.  It will mean nothing to you!  Just kidding.  Stick around.

So, back to Roy and his wife, Dale.  That's who Linda put me in mind of - a young Dale . . . then I realized I couldn't remember her last name.  When I said Dale Rogers out loud it didn't seem right.

But she was married to Roy so her name must have been Rogers, right?  It took me an embarrassingly long time to come up with Evans and that brought up another question.

Why didn't Dale take Roy's last name?  I mean, this happened a really, really long time ago.  Was Dale way ahead of her time?  Was there something fishy going on?

Then Petey stepped in and did a little research.

Did you guys know that Dale was Roy's third wife???  OMG!!!
Roy, you dog, you.  Was he a player?

I didn't ask Petey to continue on with the research because I was afraid he'd find a plausible explanation for the "third wife" thing and I'd have to drop the fantasy of Roy being a hound.  

Now that I think back on it, he did have a sneaky kind of smile on his face most of the time, didn't he?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Falling in love . . . again

We've been in our house for 39 years.  I remember seeing her for the first time.  I was with my best friend, Sue Lange.  We were here visiting from PA where we were living at the time.  She told me there was a house downtown that was for sale and we should look at it.

This old girl had been vacant for 5 years and I can't even imagine how long she stood still (no updating or renovation whatsoever) before we walked through the front door.

Sue had an eye.  I couldn't see what she was seeing even if I squinted.  Really, really hard.  

We ended up buying this old house and have repainted, re-papered, repainted, re-papered, etc. many, many times.

Recently Petey and I have started talking about moving to another home.  One with two bathrooms and an attached garage.  Only one story.  You get the idea.  We're older now - thinking old.

However.  Petey has been chomping at the bit to make some changes.

First he painted the inside of our enclosed back porch.  We rearranged the furniture back there and added a small table and chairs.  It's lovely.  We sit back there and look out on our little yard. Peaceful.

Then he decided to rip up the carpeting in our living room.  Wow! The hard wood floors look great. We moved a few things around in there and replaced a few pieces.  Digging the new feel and look.

Many years ago we brought the washer and dryer up from the basement and moved our bedroom down from upstairs.

We've fallen in love with the old girl.  Again.  

Guess we'll stay . . . for a while, anyway.

Monday, July 3, 2017

So . . . . the tick thing.

Petey and I were coming back from Kazoo yesterday and I scratched what I thought was . . . I'm really not sure what I thought it was - but it was a bump at the back of my neck at the hairline.
I performed fingernail surgery without giving it a second thought.

That was until I saw a damn tick wedged underneath said fingernail.

I did not shriek.  I did not swear (very unusual for me) nor did I cry out in any way.  I'm pretty sure I didn't - time kind of stopped for me.

I kept that bad boy pinched between my thumb and forefinger until we could pull into a parking lot whereupon Petey squished it in a piece of paper.  We went into the market and I got a zip bag from the deli and dropped Mr.Tick into it for safe keeping.

I don't panic about that kind of thing but the stories on the news and some personal experience with friends and family had me worried about Lyme disease.

I called the health department today and spoke to a wonderful nurse who told me to email a picture of the little bugger.

I put him in my hillbilly light booth and snapped away.  Guess what, the damn thing was still alive!  And I thought roaches and palmetto bugs were hard to kill.

The nurse (Erin) got back to me right away and said it looked like the common "dog" or "wood" tick (is there supposed to be a "k" there or not?  Never mind, I don't really care) and they don't carry Lyme but she'd be sending the picture along to MSU for confirmation anyway.

I wouldn't have known to call the health department if my Jazz buddy, Kendra, hadn't told me to so, THANKS, KENDRA!!!

All this before a holiday.  Whew.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

What's your style?

Recently I posted "mullet sightings" on Facebook.  I remember when they were the thing but I thought that fad had disappeared. Turns out? Not so much.

I was truly surprised the other day to spot a young fellow wearing his pants, I swear, below his butt.  I was really hoping that obnoxious style was gone forever but - nope.  

I tried not to stare but for the life of me, I don't understand how they stayed up.  He was wearing a belt but that can't possibly help much.

My point here is - people sometimes get stuck.  It could be with a particular hairstyle - like the mullet.  They can't picture themselves any other way.  For women it could be the "french twist" or "beehive" hair-do.  Remember those?

Kids probably move through fads much faster than adults.  Does that mean that they're hip and we're not?  Don't answer that.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fun, Family, Friends and Food

Our son, Michael, is visiting from Thailand.  When his cousin, Mike, found out he was coming home he hopped a flight from Philadelphia to spend a little time with him.  

Bonus - he brought his wife, Michelle along and extra bonus - his son, Andrew as well.

Time was short so we packed as much as we could into yesterday.

A trip to Saugatuck included lunch at Phil's and a little shopping. 

We rounded out our time there with a trip up Mt.Baldy.

A different perspective of the "big lake" was had from the channel in Holland - Ottawa Beach and "Big Red."

The evening was capped off with a delicious meal at our new, local restaurant, The Redtail.

L to R:  Michael, Mike, Peter and Andrew

Michelle and me

Steps up to Mt.Baldy - 303 of them times 2 for coming down.

They lived to tell.  No one fainted.

No sweat was involved.  The quads squawked a bit, tho'.

No photos of the other meals.  I was totally focused on these fantastic ribs.

Michael's 2 buds (Travis in the middle and Chris on the right) came to sweep him away for a while.  They were only missing the "4th amigo," Ryder but we'll see him soon in Traverse City.
I was going to do a blog about Redtail when I took Petey there for his 70th birthday lunch but never got around to it so here are the pics I took for that blog.




This one and the 3 above are all of the bar.

This is the dining area looking back toward the kitchen.

This is John.  One of the smiling fellows you'll see making the goodies in the kitchen.

A good time was had by all.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Mom

Life is different without mom but she left a lot behind.  She left her love of reading which my sisters and I share.

She left a zest for life which everyone whoever met her felt.

This is a picture of 4 generations and I'm so grateful that the 4th generation shared many, many visits with mom.

She got a real kick out of her younger (by 13 months) brother as did the rest of us.

When mom wanted to know how to do something, she searched until she found someone that could guide her.  This day, the experience of riding a Harley fell into her lap and she couldn't jump on fast enough. That was mom.

We adored her.  So did her two son-in-laws Peter and John.  Her grandchildren Laura, Jeff, Mark, Chris and Michael.
Her influence on her two great-grandchildren, Cody and Kaelyn, will be felt for the rest of their lives.

I haven't cried much since mom died because I was so grateful that she died content and comfortable but something is dripping from my eyes today.

Thank you to everyone who reached out to my sisters and me.  Your calls, cards, emails, etc. have meant the world to us.

I read and heard, over and over, two words:  "Influenced" and "Inspired."  Mom touched so many people.  If you were one of the lucky ones - you know what I mean.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Wind Chimes

How do you feel about them?  Do you have any?  Are they the ones that emit the light, fairy-like tinkling sound or the ones that sound like a soft gong?

If you have wind chimes, do you have neighbors nearby?  Do they like your wind chimes?

I think it's kind of like your favorite music that you're sure everyone else loves too. You want them to hear your favorite tunes - all the time and at max volume.

Possibly not.

We had very close neighbors at the family cottage in South Haven. When I say "close" I mean when someone next door sneezed, someone in our cottage would politely say "bless you."  Well, we really weren't "bless you" people but I don't know how to spell the German word others use.

Anyway, those neighbors had a wind chime that hung from a front corner of their cottage.  It was small.  It was made of glass.

You can imagine what it sounded like when the wind blew.  

Yeah, glass breaking all damn night long.

I finally couldn't take it any more so I politely asked them to take it down.  The lady was nice and complied.  If it had been up to the man (whom we did not like) I would have had to make the thing "disappear" in the dead of night.

So if you have wind chimes you might want to think about your neighbors.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Dreams

Do you dream?  I'm sure you do.  Some people don't remember their dreams.  I had one the other night I wish didn't remember.  It involved mice.  They were jumping around on a shelving unit that was right next to my damn bed.  And of course, a couple of them jumped ship - right onto my bed covers!  There was some screaming (me - not the mice) and flailing of arms.

Dreams can be fun.  They can scare the hell out of you.  They can be sad and dare I say, sexy. 

Let me ask you this, though.  Do you hear sounds in your dreams? I've heard the phone ring several times.  Real enough for me to pull out one ear plug and reach for the phone.  I've heard my dog bark and did the ear plug removal thing, too.

I've only ever had a tactile experience once.  It was so real.  I placed my hands on the face of a friend who had died several years ago and asked him if he was ok.  He smiled and said yes.

I don't remember if I've ever had a smelling dream or a tasting experience.  Except that time when I ate a huge quantity of Mexican food - wait - that was real.  Never mind.

Have any dreams you'd like to share?  Not the sexy ones, please. You need to keep those to yourself.  TMI.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Recent observations

Am I the only one that has noticed how men are wearing their sports jackets lately?

They look too tight and they're only buttoning the top button leaving a gap below where you can clearly see either their shirt or the bottom part of their tie.

They look like they've outgrown the jacket but that can't be because I'm seeing it a lot - on the young, thin guys.  Weird. Unflattering.

The other thing I've been noticing is what appears to be an epidemic of burned out headlights.  Just one.

If it's not the headlight it's the smaller one on the front - whatever that one is called.

I'm tellin' ya, they're everywhere.

I want you to start paying attention and get back to me on the sports jacket/headlight thing.  Ok?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

How weird are you?

I have a question for you but first - let's set the scene.
You're sitting at the dinner table and this is a full blown meal; not just a burger and some chips.

Your plate has at least 3 different items on it.
My first question is: when you look at those 3 selections have you already picked the one you want to be your last to taste?
That only applies if you're not one of those weirdos that finish each one completely before moving on to the next.
I'm addressing the adventurous people that do the mix and match thing.  That also includes the real rebel that might spear two goodies with one forkful.  My hero.

Example:  let's say applesauce is on the plate and you want the last thing you taste - bringing the meal home - to be sweet apple.  So you schedule consumption to make that happen.

Second question:  are you ok with stuff touching?  Are you more comfortable with "warm touching warm" but completely freak out if "cold touches warm?"

I may or may not have blogged about the fact that I was a shimmer as a kid.  I usually used the odd spoon to shove under my plate so I wouldn't have to experience the horror of blending.

I'm all grown up now.  For the most part.