Monday, December 27, 2010

White Christmas!

We got a white Christmas! It actually started snowing on Christmas Eve. I had to work that day, but we weren't as busy as some previous years and the boss let me leave early. I got to have Christmas Eve afternoon with my family. I made sweet rolls for the next morning's breakfast, watched a little TV, played with my new Flip camera, fixed some supper, drove around town with my husband and kids and looked at Christmas lights, and even watched Prep and Landing, all together. It was the perfect afternoon. And then to get up on Christmas morning to fresh, clean snow! Usually, if we have a "white" Christmas, it's left over from a previous snow. Or maybe some flurries floating around. This was real Christmas snow! Christmas was sitting around the tree, watching each other open our gifts, breakfast here, too much dinner at Mom's with extended family, then home in the evening. It was a good day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Fat Cat found himself a good spot under the Christmas tree! I remember as a child laying under the tree and looking up through the branches at the lights. I miss having the time to do that! Everything is hustle and bustle. I called Mom last night and we went to Walmart and stopped and got something to eat. I didn't really need anything, but it was a chance to spend some time with just her. With Dad gone and my brother and his family living 4 states away, the Holidays are just a little melancholy. I have a great step-family, and my step-brother and his daughter are coming for Christmas dinner, but it's just not quite the same. Today is going to be one of those nutty days at work. Every Christmas Eve the boss has everyone come in. We will have more help than we actually need. It's fun and tedious at the same time! We have a pot-luck dinner and people pop in and out just to visit. The boss starts indulging in a little Holiday Spirit early in the afternoon. We close early (we close at 4 every year, but they can't seem to remember that from year to year) and some of the grown-ups stay and share a drink and see how many times the phone rings to see if we are still open. Usually I do, but I think today I'm coming home to be with my family. Right now, I'm just hoping for a little snow this afternoon! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Hassles

My maniacal urge to bake cookies in December was just as strong this year as it always has been. I've spent the last 4 weeks baking, baking, baking. I have a freezer full of cookies. I'll give some away, but we'll be eating Christmas cookies into February! I've told myself "enough" but I'm still mentally planning what to bake next. The madness has to stop! I just wish my Holiday urges were the worst of my problems right now. We've having some trouble getting my daughter's financial aid worked out (that can wait until after Christmas, I think). And the IRS has just notified us that my son's taxes were figured wrong and he owes almost $700. This can't wait. I'm pretty sure it's wrong. It all has to do with a small trust fund my Mom set up that got rolled over into another account last year. My guess is something got inputted wrong somewhere down the line and I'll be pulling out my hair (what little I have) trying to straighten it all out. I'm going to spend my whole week on this instead of enjoying the last week of Christmas. I get so tired of the hassle that seems to go with everything any more!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

But I'm Not Complaining!

I had a wild week at the store. We actually got some snow over the course of the week, but unfortunately it was accompanied by ice. Whenever there is a threat of bad weather, everyone comes running in to "stock up" as if we are going to get snowed in for 2 weeks. It's been years since it was more than 2 days! Tuesday is our Senior Citizen day, so it's always our busiest day anyway, but add in bad weather and it becomes hectic. Plus, to make the day more fun, one of our registers went down for about two hours. Understand, we only have two registers on the best of days. (It's a small store.) One register, lines of people. Hence, loads of fun. (sarcasm, in case you missed that!) Fortunately, everyone was very understanding. That's not always the case. Wednesday, somehow we just got behind, then the other day girl went to do deliveries, and was gone half the day. (I think she only had two deliveries but the Pepsi delivery guy parked her in.) Then, on Thursday and Friday, she couldn't make it in because she lives about 10 miles out and the Blacktop was one big stretch of black ice. Therefore, I got to do my work, her work, and even a little extra, just for the fun of it and because one of the owners had a doctor's appointment. My bad foot has had too much of a work-out, and I think I re-injured my knee. I'm feeling old. Next week, Christmas week, should be just as fun, maybe even more so! Thank goodness, I actually do enjoy the hustle and bustle!


The husband had to work 5 to 9 this morning, so I rode over with him and went shopping with the goal of finishing my Christmas shopping. It's rather nice when there isn't many people in the stores! I went to Walmart at 6 and parked up front. Then I wondered around for awhile. Picked up a few things, checked out with no lines. But I had to go back at 9 because the photo department wasn't open and I had my mother-in-law's present to pick up. In the two hours from when I left to when I came back was like night and day! The parking lot was full and the lines were all long! But I think I'm done! Yeah!


A few nights ago, a slightly intoxicated young man "driving too fast for conditions" jumped the culvert and hit a main power-line pole North of town, taking out the electricity in at least 3 towns. It fried my answering machine. I meant to look for a new one this morning, but with all of the Christmas shopping, I forgot. My family really doesn't like answering the phone, so I guess I better figure out something quick!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Is It Thursday Yet?

I have a doctor's appointment this morning. I sooo don't want to go. It's just my blood-pressure medicine prescription check, but it'll probably cost $100. I used to be able to go once a year, get my pap and the whole fun thing and then just go in at 6 months, get my blood pressure checked by the nurse, and they renewed my prescription. Not any more. No, now I have to see the doctor. So they can charge more. I know that's the whole thing. It sucks. And since I have a $5000 deductible on my insurance, it all comes out of my pocket. Money I really would rather use for something else--like heat. It's a whole 13 degrees outside right now, and we have our heat set on 65, just so we can keep the bill down. I've been feeling really old lately, lots of aches and pains, light-headed and constant heartburn. But what's the point of telling her that--she'll suggest tests that I can't afford. Plus, I should say something to her about my foot from when I fell at work two weeks ago. But again, even if the store's insurance would pay for it, I just don't want to go to the hospital and go through the whole rig-a-ma-role for x-rays. Oh God, I am not looking forward to this day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Life has been incredibly hectic the last couple of weeks, and is going to get only more so for the next month. I love it, and every year I think I will get a jump on things and have things half done before December even gets here. I used to, when the kids were younger and I was only working part time. Now, not so much! My daughter turned 21 a few weeks ago, and since she doesn't drink, she wanted to invite some of her friends from Indianapolis and some of her high school friends for the weekend and go to St. Louis to the Zoo. Only problem, we don't have enough room in our house to have a dozen girls staying the night. But my Mom does! Since my Step-dad was going to be gone for the weekend (hunting season) she said "sure, bring them out!" She has a big walk-out basement with two bedrooms and a full bath, so the girls camped out down there and I took one of the bed-rooms upstairs. We had a perfect day--overcast but not cold, small crowd. And the animals were all out. My daughter is majoring in animation, so her friends are all "artsy". Very diverse bunch of girls! I always enjoy being with them. She's planning on moving to San Francisco in January to finish school. I've gotten used to her being home, it's going to be hard to let her go--again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Own Personal Crazy

After Dad died, Mom decided to sell everything and move--get a fresh start. At that time she gave me all of her records, including her Christmas albums. Just like how some smells remind us of a certain time or place, these albums take me back to Christmas as a kid. To be perfectly honest, I bought the stereo just so I could play and record these. I'm probably going to drive my family crazy this year!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How Bazaar

Aack! My feet hurt! One of the local youth groups hosted their annual Holiday Bazaar today and I had a booth. Even though I am used to being on my feet all day, I wore boots with a bit of a heal and it was a bit much for my old-lady feet! They usually do the Bazaar on Saturday, but this year decided to give it a try on Sunday. The first year they did it, it was on Sunday and the turn-out wasn't great. Everyone goes to Church, then home to dinner. And few people from other Churches seem to make it on Sunday. This is the Bible belt, after all. Small town, so 5 Churches for every bar! And altho I think Christians are essentially the same religion, they sure are cliquey! I really think I had better results when it was done on Saturday. I know different things need to be tried to keep it "fresh", but I hope they go back to Saturday next year. This is usually my biggest event I do each year and I don't have anything else lined up before Christmas. I usually do an Open House, but I may not even do that. I think I'm losing interest. Or maybe it's just time to try something new. Maybe I need something "fresh"!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Life Changes

I just spent the last week in Cheyenne, Wyoming. My brother retired after 24 years with the Air Force and we went to attend the ceremony. My brother is well liked and has accomplished much during his time. He served 3 terms over-seas, two during hostilities. Stories he will probably never tell us. I'm very proud of him. He was a bit of a screw-up before he went into the military. It made him into a better man then he maybe would have been. He has a wife, three daughters, one grandson. His men think the world of him. I guess it is tradition for a retiree to receive a shadow box, but his men made him a shadow box pub-table. It's quite impressive. The flag in the center was presented to my Mom when Dad died and she gave it to my brother. The patches at the bottom are also from Dad's uniform. It made the box even more special. But this morning, on Facebook, he commented he is already bored! He's looking for a new job, and it'll happen for him. In the mean time, he has to adjust to being "Mr." instead of "Sergeant". He's been in the military since he was 18. It's going to be a whole new world for him!

Monday, November 1, 2010

On the Road Again

I'm heading to Wyoming tomorrow, right after we get done voting and the folks drop off their animals at the pet motel. My "little" brother is retiring from the Air Force and the ceremony is Friday. It's about a 15 hour drive, but we always try to go out for the important things. I think he's a bit nervous about becoming a civilian. He's been in the service for 24 years, since he was 18, and it's going to be a big change for him and his family. We didn't get along very well when we were young, but now we are good friends. I'm proud of him, and can't wait to see him!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Backyard Wildlife

We've got possums. My husband puts cat food out for the older cats. Last winter they both stayed in the house most of the time and I really wanted to keep feeding them inside but come Spring, he started feeding them outside. Our oldest cat is real skiddish and she had gotten over some of that, so my theory was if we kept her coming in to eat, she wouldn't act so nervous all of the time. But he started feeding her outside and now she won't come back in or let me pet her. We had noticed that we were going through cat food twice as fast, and I imagined that we were feeding ever wild cat in the neighborhood. But the last couple of weeks, since it started getting dark so much earlier, we've walked out and found one or two possums getting their fill. I don't really mind the possums--they fit in nicely with the bats, rabbits and raccoons. But I really don't want to feed 'em!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cat on a Leash

Rosco, one of our in-door cats, decided he wanted to be an out-door cat. We were having problems with him not using the litterbox and making messes where ever he felt it was convenient. When that place was one of my plants, I grabbed him mid-poop and threw him outside on the grass. He freaked! It would have been funny if I hadn't been so irritated at the moment. But then he started trying to get out-- so one day I grabbed an old dog leash and put him outside. He loves it! I don't want him wandering the neighborhood, so we have continued with the leash. He's just like a dog--we open the door first thing in the morning and he runs right out to his spot. It's the funniest thing! On the bright side, knock on wood, there hasn't been any more messes on my carpet!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

NOW It's Officially Fall!

I just made my first pumpkin pie of the season! We love it--I don't know why I don't make pumpkin in the Spring and Summer, except the pumpkin shortage the last year probably affected my recent pie choices. We got a half-pallet of canned pumpkin in the store yesterday, tho, so I think I'm good for awhile!

Officially Fall

It seems like just last week I was wondering if the leaves were ever going to start turning color, and almost over night they did! It's been strange weather-- extreme hot, then sudden cold with frost, then hot again, and now we are at just about perfect! Illinois weather bounces around so much, you never know what you are going to get from day to day. We always say, if you don't like it today, wait until tomorrow! The farmers have been crazy at work--I think most of the fields are in. Corn, anyway. Because of the Spring rain, some of the beans got out late. But, I still think they are ahead of schedule. You know you live in an agricultural area when weather isn't just something to talk about to fill in those ackward silent spots!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

On the Fence

I can't seem to stay mad. Most of the time I think that is a good thing, but sometimes I think it's why I never seem to get any where with my life. I get mad at work and decide I have to find another job, but then I get over it and it's just easier to stay where I am. Twenty excuses to stay--it's flexible, I can get off any time I want to, I like the people, on and on. But it's minimum wage and there is no future there. If I knew that in five years I could have the position I want I wouldn't even consider leaving. But the woman that does it is in her early 60s and will probably stay until she's in her 80s! By then, I hope I'm about ready to retire myself. Unfortunately, the job market sucks here. I've got a job interview tomorrow for a job that I think I could really like, but it's only 20 hours a week. It actually comes with benefits, but with my husband not working right now, I'll probably still have to work part time else where. Probably at the grocery store. I don't think that will make my life less stressful! They will probably be interviewing 2 dozen people, so maybe the whole quandary is moot!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just a Thought--Double Standards

My daughter's girlfriend is coming to stay for a few days.  I wonder if it was her boyfriend, would I be so nonchalant about it?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Just a Thought

How can there be so many channels available, and not a single thing I want to spend my time watching?!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Summer's Last Harrah

My folks have a nice spread out in the country and several years ago we started having a hog roast on the Saturday before Labor Day.  It's been a learning experience, but the guys pretty well have it down to a science now.  The actual party starts on Friday night.  My stepdad's nephew brings down his backhoe and digs a 5 or 6 foot hole during the afternoon, and we fill the hole with wood and start burning it.  We add wood for several hours until we have a couple of feet of coals. 

I usually leave before it's done enough because sometimes it's midnight before they decide it's burned down enough and I still have to get up the next morning and cook!  (Plus, they start passing the shots and my stepbrothers won't let me say no.  I don't drink much anymore and I honestly don't want to start my next morning praying to the porcelain god!)  They wrap the meat in cheese cloth, put it in aluminum pans and wrap it in wet burlap bags.  They then wrap heavy wire around each bundle so they can lower and raise it out of the pit.  They didn't think to do that the first year, and it was tricky getting it out!  Live and learn!  They put a piece of tin down on the coals and set the prepared meat down in the hole. A few more pieces of tin go across the top and then they shovel dirt over that to hold in the heat.  We leave it like that until about 4 o'clock the next afternoon. 

The next afternoon starts with a trap-shoot.  I'll say upfront I don't much like guns so I usually don't go out until later in the afternoon.  I will admit, however, there are some truly skilled shooters in the family and I enjoy the competitiveness of the event.  These are people who take this all very seriously and have some really expensive equipment.  It's a bit beyond me.  Eventually, they decide it's time to open the pit.  Everyone crosses their fingers that there is still heat and the meat is done.  I don't know why everyone worries, we've never had a bad bake yet!

We all stand around during the "unveiling" and sample the meat as each package gets opened.  It's so hot it burns your fingers, but it just doesn't seem as good once it starts to cool.  It literally falls off the bone.
  I usually get my fill of the meat then, and when it comes time for the meal, I eat the salads and desserts that everyone has brought!  Sooo much food!  But so good!  This year saw the biggest crowd I think we've ever had.  I left a little after 9 and headed home, but I'm sure the party went on till way after midnight.  I'm just not the partier I used to be-- but it's all such a good time!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gone Batty

Several years ago we noticed bat houses at the zoo. My husband found a pattern for them and built one and put it on the garage. Further research said it could take 4 or 5 years to actually attract bats. I think it's probably been 7 and I had given up. But I noticed droppings this week and upon further investigation it looks like we have three! I'm guessing that losing a big part of the tree that is between the house and the garage is the reason we finally have bats. I imagine the tree was simply in the way. Too cool!

Zucchini Bread

The garden, the little bit I had, produced a goodly amount of zucchini. (Still is, actually!) So last Sunday I shredded up several to make bread. The plan was that I would make a different flavored batch each evening after work. Which didn't happen! Surprisingly, it hadn't soured so early this morning I had a zucchini bread making marathon. I have found throughout the years that Christmas isn't Christmas for me unless it includes lots of baking. And somehow, now I can't seem to get motivated to do a large amount of baking without Christmas music! (We all have our little eccentricities!). My daughter got up mid-morning and walked in and just stood and stared at me. Finally she said "Christmas music? I could hear it in the bathroom. I knew you were baking", and walked out. They know me so well!

Friday, August 27, 2010


A guy I used to party with a thousand years ago (before the husband and kids) comes into the store quite often. The other day during the course of our conversation he made a reference to "secrets", more than once. I think I know what secrets he is referring to (again, before the husband and the kids!), altho I'm not sure why. But like I said to him, this is a small town--there are no secrets! The thing I find so funny about this is--again, it's a small town. Many of us have a "past" that we don't talk about anymore. Maybe pretend it didn't even happen. But come on, folks, true secrets are hard to find. Someone was there and remembers, even if we pretend we don't! I'm probably not explaining this right, but I just find it so funny to wait on certain customers and make small talk with them, act like we are casual acquaintances when we used to know each other quite well! It's just so hilarious!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Just a Thought

In this economy those of us with jobs should be thankfull we have one. But sometimes it's really hard!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Kick the Computer

I'm going to start a new game--Kick the Computer! I'm talking about the one we have at work. Three years ago we got a new register system at the grocery store. At the time, I and the other full-time "day checker" had our doubts about the system. It is a flat screen with lots of "buttons" that one pushes to get to other screens. We had very little training--basically we just had to figure it out ourselves. I asked the tech that installed it for a manual and his response was "the manual is 600 pages long and no one reads it". In other words, we received no manual. I believe we were the first store that said computer expert installed and it has been buggy as hell. We have had trouble after trouble with it for the whole three years. And this week has been a bad one. I'm sure the owners spent a lot of money on the system and we are stuck with it for years to come, but oh, it is so frustrating!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Deathwatch 2010

My cousin's husband has been fighting cancer for a couple of years and it looks like he is going to lose his battle now. I hurt for her so much. This is her second marriage, and I think he is her "soul mate". So many of us never find that. We find someone to love, someone we marry and raise children with. But that doesn't mean they are our soul mate. I think there are actually just a lucky few who find that. At this point he has hung on longer than they thought he would Monday morning. I hate this waiting. But, she has a chance to say good-bye. I know that may sound a bit morbid, but early this morning my step-cousin and her friend were shot by a 15 year old that broke into their house. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around it. I just saw them a few weeks ago. We had a fish-fry at my folks' and they were there. And now they are gone. Poof. No one got a chance to say good-bye or "I love you". I'm just so sad for everyone. She had her Mom and sisters and nieces and nephews, Aunts and Uncles and countless cousins. He had his kids and grandkids. My step-dad's family have always just treated me like I was one of them--wonderful people. I think I'm in shock a little bit. Bad week.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Eat'um Up, Yum!

It's Fair time! Our town hosts one of the bigger County Fairs in Southern Illinois and it's a "big deal" around here. We have a very nice fairground and there are lots of activities that will go on all week. I remember as a child getting so excited when the fair came. My parents would take us out for corn-dogs and cotton candy and we would get to spend money on the rides and games. The sad part was the Fair meant the summer was almost over. Now, as an adult, I just get excited about the Elephant Ears! The last couple of weeks have been hectic--one thing after another-- so it was nice to take a break and get my yearly fair-food fix!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Current State of Affairs

My world is falling apart right now, by which I mean that I have so much to take care of that I'm becoming paralyzed. The list is so long that I don't know what to do first. This isn't the first time this has happened, and what normally happens is I will do whatever has to be done in the next day or two as each thing comes due, and eventually I should work through it all. It always works out, but this time feels worse for some reason. I think my nerves are so frayed at this point that my mind has quit working. I keep screwing up at work. Not good. I've suffered from depression in the past and a few years back I started having panic attacks so bad I could hardly leave the house. I ended up on medication for a few years. I don't want to end up back there again. I know time takes care of things, but I just don't want to have to wade through it. I would prefer just to pass by it! Do you think if I just ignore it all, it will go away!?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Home Upkeep

I bought our house at auction 11 years ago. It's a big house, 10 rooms, 3 full bathrooms, nice sized utility room, and a mudroom. Plus a double lot with two garages. It was an older house that had been added onto in 1995. It was a spur of the moment thing, the buying of the house. And right now I can't afford it. The utilities are high, and alot of the remodeling was apparently done by amateurs. We had to have the plumbers come this week to run a snake to the sewer, except there was no clean-out, and they couldn't find where the line left the house. It turned into an all-day thing. $500 and a torn up flower bed later our drains work and we have a clean-out, but I suspect this is only the beginning. Things are probably going to start falling apart. Part of me knows we need to unload it, but the other part of me really likes it here and wants to stay. I've been planting stuff since we first moved in and I don't want to leave my plants! The food producers, like the rhubarb, gooseberries and asparagus, are just now really going strong. If we move, I'll have to start all over! And what if the new owners don't want to mess with it and dig it all up? Oh, the horror! I think it would physically hurt me! Plus, there is my burning bush, butterfly bush, peonies, lilies, iris beds and other miscellaneous plants. I'm hoping the money problem resolves itself soon and I can stay here. In the mean time, I'm just glad I don't have to go to the laundromat any more!

Three Sisters

A friend had mentioned "three sisters" on facebook and being curious, I looked it up. Turns out it refers to an Indian method of gardening. Our garden spot is small and in a low spot--not the best location. Last year we had so much standing water I didn't mess with it at all--I just let the sunflowers take over. This year, after I had read about the three sisters, I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, we again had a wet spring and I began to suspect there would be no garden this summer, either. But I got stubborn. At several different points I was tilling and planting in the rain. And I had to modify what I read to my circumstances. Then it rained and rained some more. The plants started growing, but half the time my garden had standing water. When we got back from vacation, it appeared that there was more weeds than plants. My husband said to just forget it, but again I got stubborn and started hoeing and tilling and found there was more plants than at first believed. A bit yellow, yes, and the tomato plants are a bit scrawny, but my hard work paid off. Everything is turning green and is growing. I've replanted a few things, so fingers crossed, I'll get some beans yet! Even the neighbor's cat, Oreo, likes it!

Friday, July 2, 2010

After Vacation

Well, the garden just might survive, after all. I guess the rain continued while we were gone, and when we got home after being gone for almost two weeks, there was more weeds than plants. My garden is in a low spot, so after a rain there tends to be standing water, at least on half the spot. But there wasn't any standing water when we got home. Yesterday I took the hoe out and worked around all of the plants and this morning I took the tiller and went down the rows and between the plants. It looks like most of the corn made it, but not many of the beans. I'll have to replant. At least one of the zucchini made it, and some other vining plants--cucumber, pumpkins. The eggplant is a no-show. And the tomatoes are hanging on. Every thing is a bit yellow, which shows they have been in water recently, but hopefully they will green up now--if the heavy rains can stay away!

We have cats. Two outside, two inside. Mom checked on the outdoor cats while we were gone, made sure they had enough food. We boarded the inside cats. And came home to fleas. We've never had trouble with fleas in this house before, but I guess last year was a great year for the critters, and we have fought them all winter long. I thought we had them taken care of, but I guess not. Syd and I both apparently have sweet skin, because we both got bitten immediately. The guys haven't had a single bite. It's so not fair! So we fogged the house yesterday and I'll Frontline everyone again. Uugh!

We went to see Toy Story 3 yesterday (while the foggers were doing their thing). Good movie! (I got teary at the end.) I think Toy Story was the first movie we took the kids to. We saw it in 2-D and I think it was a good call. We saved $8.00 and I don't think we missed anything. I went and saw Avatar three times, and I think the 3-D enhanced that movie, but we've seen the latest Shrek movie and Alice in Wonderland in 3-D and think both movies would have been just as good in 2-D. I'm hoping this whole 3-D thing is a fad.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth

We just got back from Florida. I've been planning this trip for two years, but for various reasons, (both related to my husband's job situations) we weren't able to go. This year I said we were going, no matter what! This was our second time going as a family to Walt Disney World. What can I say--I love it there! We stayed at the All-Star Movie Resort this time--last time was Century Pop. Altho the resorts are similar in most ways, we will stay at Century Pop next time just because there is three All-Star resorts and they share buses. We stayed 7 nights with 6 days of park tickets, plus we went to see Cirque du Soleil. It's expensive, but if you ever get a chance, see the Cirque du Soleil. It is amazing! My 18 year-old son said that was his favorite part this time. He even bought the CD, and he isn't a big music person. I was able to get in on a special WDW was running where we got the Meal Plan for free. The meal plan allows two (express) meals and two snacks a day per person. We took extra snacks with us just because we were afraid that the Meal Plan wouldn't be enough and we would get hungry, but we shouldn't have worried. Last time we went, we took breakfast stuff and sandwich stuff that we ate for lunch, and bought food in the parks for supper. We bought the cheapest stuff we could and shared alot, so I guess that's why we thought the meals and snacks would be a bit small. It was so much food, we didn't even use it all! The morning we left, we went to the food court and loaded up on snacks and sandwiches and salads. We ended up with enough stuff to cover two meals on the drive home! So, yes, I definitely recommend the Meal Plan! The only thing that put a bit of a damper on the trip was the fact that I guess my age is starting to catch up with me. My ankles swelled so bad and that's something new that I didn't expect.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Plenty of Good People

We all expect those panicked late-night calls from our kids when they are in their teens about car trouble. Even I had to call my folks to come pull me out of the mud two Christmas' ago. Yesterday was my daughter's official moving home day. I knew she would have a lot to finish packing and I knew she was going to have a rough time separating from her roommates, one especially-they've been joined at the hip for more than the last year and a half. But I really thought she would head home by mid-afternoon. The drive between here and Indianapolis, where she has been attending school, is almost three hours long. The fact that she drives a 15 year old Escort has never bothered me much, but for some reason I had a bad feeling this time. Not unfounded, as it turns out. The RA that was supposed to inspect the apartment didn't get there until (very) late afternoon, so by the time she finished packing and got something to eat, it was almost dark. Half way home, just west of Terre Haute, her tire blew out. Thank goodness, she had just gotten to the rest area. She pulled over and called us. While I was "discussing" options with my husband, she was "Mom, I'm all freaked-out here!" I told her to unpack the trunk, get out the spare, and look helpless. Maybe someone would take pity on her. In the mean time, we would head her way. Well, my plan worked. A nice trucker helped her get the tire changed. We had only gone approximately 20 miles when she called so we turned around and headed home, and she finally made it, safe and sound. It's nice to know there are still plenty of good people out there!

Friday, June 18, 2010


We are heading to Florida to Walt Disney World in two days. We went as a family 4 years ago and it was one of the best times I've ever had. I had promised the kids two years ago that we would go back, and I've been planning this for the last 6 months. For the last month I've had flash-backs of the Haunted Mansion, and I've caught myself the last week or so taking deep breaths as if I am breathing in the Florida air. Anticipation, I guess! We have reservations for 7 nights at the resort, 6 days in the parks. I am so ready to go!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Monsoon Season

For quite a few years our summers here in Central Illinois were hot and dry. We were actually in severe draught for several years. But for some reason the last few years have been totally opposite. We have had such wet Springs that the farmers have had a rough time getting their crops into the ground. And if you have noticed a canned pumpkin shortage, it's because the ground was so wet last Fall that, altho there was a decent crop, no one could get out to bring them in and they rotted on the ground! This year hasn't been quite as bad as last year, but it took me forever to get my garden planted, and now it's been so wet I haven't been able to hoe. At this point I have more weeds than plants, so there may not be much of a crop this fall. To top it all off, we have had some pretty strong storms move through and the one that passed us on Tuesday had a little tornado action going with it. There is a "mound" outside town that seems to divert actual tornadoes around us, but occasionally we get some damage. This time it was our turn! My poor Bradford Pear took a hit. The gooseberry bush got smashed a bit, but otherwise we were lucky. Our neighbor down the block--not so much. A huge limb fell on his garage and car. I haven't heard how the dog is.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Modern Use of the Encyclopedia

The previous owners of our house had off-white carpet in every room. Every! Room! That's just wrong. Carpet should not be in bathrooms, mudrooms and kitchens, and especially not off-white carpet! We tore up the rugs in the bathrooms several years ago, but we just recently replaced the carpet in the kitchen with linoleum tiles. A little extra glue and the weight of the encyclopedia made sure they are good and flat! I think we have used my encyclopedia to hold things down more often than to look things up!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Life Adjustment

The daughter is moving home in two weeks. After almost two years away at school, she is taking a break. She and her roommate have both decided they have gotten all they can from the school they have been attending and are going to look into other options. In the mean time, she is moving back with us. It's going to be an adjustment! I think more so for her than for us because she has spent the last two years in Indianapolis, where there is plenty to do. There just really isn't much to do in our little town. (Maybe that will be her incentive to find a school quickly!) She came home several weeks ago and brought a car load of stuff. We met her in Terre Haute today, which is half way between here and there, and brought home another car load. I was hoping she could get the rest of it home in one more load, but she didn't sound confident that she can do that, so we will probably make another trip next weekend and do it again. I'm just wondering where we are going to store all of her stuff! It's amazing what one can accumulate in 2 years!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Life in Altamont

I've spent so much time the last month getting ready for our town's first Homecoming, I haven't had much time to devote to other things, including this! A huge amount of time has gone into Life in Altamont , my blog about my home town, hoping to "reintroduce" people that have been away for a number of years. It's amazing to me how much our little town has changed in the last twenty-five years. When you see it every day, you don't notice it so much. I think I had kind of quit looking. But as I went around and took pictures and talked to people, I was rather amazed! My goal was to do one entry every day in May and it turned into more work than I ever thought it would be--partly because it kept raining and I had a hard time getting pictures! Somehow, I succeeded. Although it won't be a daily thing now, I plan on continuing. Hopefully, I can do one entry a week. There is still so much I missed! Who would have thought there was so much in this little town!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Toy

One of the first things I ever bought when I got old enough to start baby-sitting was a record player. Not just a record player, no, this was one that played cassettes and 8-tracks, also! I thought it was a beautiful thing! I've had several different stereo systems since that first one and they have always included a turn-table. But about a year-and-a-half ago my stereo died. Although I had kept my eyes open for a new one, I didn't have much luck. Then I heard the great stereo gods had created a stereo that would actually record vinyl to CD. Oh, life was good! So many of my albums have gotten scratched and warped over the years--basically I believed they were just good for framing and hanging on the wall! But several months before Christmas I saw a picture of this stereo in the Kohl's ad and KNEW that was the one! So of course, every time it was in the flyer, I ran over--and they had none. Zip. Nadda. The last time it was in the ad I decided I would check one more time and then head North to the next nearest Kohl's. Which is about 90 miles. I know, crazy. But I get obsessed with things. The stereo gods smiled on me that day, however, and there was amazingly several on the shelf! I love the little pops and crinkles an album makes, unlike the smoothness of something digital. And it's been amazing--so far most of my albums have played without any skips or warps!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why I'll Never Be Skinny

Rainy day today, and outside activities are limited! So I pulled out this recipe for Chocolate Mousse Torte I got off a nilla wafer box that I've been wanting to try. I had even bought the ingredients weeks ago, but hadn't taken the time. It was a hit--even my son, who isn't a fan of cream cheese, liked it. Yeah! I'm one of those people who pull pages out of my magazines because I want to try the recipe, but then they never get made. I decided I was going to start trying some of them. According to my husband, tho, the problem is I make something, it tastes great, and then I never make it again. My filing system leaves something to be desired! Maybe, someday, I'll be organized!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Harry Dresden

A few years ago I discovered The Dresden Files -- a series written by Jim Butcher about a Chicago Detective who just happens to also be a wizard. I love, love, love the books and was ecstatic a couple of years back when I heard it was to be made into a TV series for Syfy Channel. Like most everything I love on TV, it was short lived. (My husband was sure the reintroduced Dr. Who was doomed!) But a "thank you" goes to Mr. Butcher--he continues to publish new stories and I can honestly say I haven't been disappointed yet. I just got his latest edition, "Changes" and it's been a happy week! I'll probably finish it tonight or in the morning, and it's always a bit sad getting to the end! Hopefully, another adventure will be forthcoming!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rhubarb Pie

I like to bake. Usually, come Fall, I start baking like mad. By Spring that falls away a bit. But lately I've gotten the bug again. Mainly, I've been baking cookies, but the rhubarb was ready, so I spent part of my Sunday baking a rhubarb pie. I add a diced apple to cut some of the tartness (and the icky feeling my teeth get!), so technically, it's rhubarb/apple pie! I know you can't tell from a picture, but I think this was one of the best pies I've ever baked--and my husband agreed. This from my biggest pie fan! The Rhubarb crop is looking pretty good this year--I see lots of pies in our future!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Favorite Aunt

Everyone should have a favorite Aunt! My mom has a big family and I have lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. But there is one aunt that was always there--kind of my "mom away from mom" aunt. I often would spend a week or two with her during summer vacations. And I've always felt like I could tell her things that I couldn't tell Mom. With the recent marital situation that I find myself in she was the one to turn to. Not just because of our connection, but because her life situation matches mine more than it does my mom's. So I headed up to see her yesterday. The temperature had dropped about 20 degrees from last week's record highs and the sun was shining, so the hour and a half drive was extremely pleasant. We talked, laughed, went out to lunch. It was all very therapeutic! I'm not sure I'm any closer to making a decision, but I feel better/clearer about the decision I have to make. I really thought by this time in my life everything would be settled for my future--and here I am on the tip of the mountain wondering which way to get down! I wish that made me feel like I was King of the Hill instead of free-falling!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sick Day

Yeah, they got me in to see the doctor yesterday afternoon and she gave me a bunch of pills to take. Which seem to be working quickly. Another yeah! But she told me not to go to work today. I hate using a sick day when I don't feel sick, and I thought about going anyway. But she told me to wear loose clothes today and I can't do that at work, so I stayed home. Now, to find some constructive way to use my day. Cleaning and sorting, I suppose. I'd really like to have a yard sale soon. Maybe this is the boost I need to make it happen!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chain of Events

Two weeks ago I had a tooth pulled. The cap had popped off and taken part of the tooth, so it couldn't be reattached. I've never had a tooth pulled, so I was pretty nervous. But I've got a really good dentist and it went smoothly and fairly pain free. Except, the next day I started getting a cold sore. Then developed a dry socket. The pain wasn't excruciating, but uncomfortable and was giving me a headache. I took pain killers all weekend. Then on Monday I went back to the dentist and they put in a paste that worked wonders. Except, the next day I started breaking out in hives. I didn't realize what it was at first, but by Friday it was starting to spread. So I went to the Clinic on Saturday morning for their walk in hours. Except, they had closed early! So now I'm waiting for them to open to see if they can work me in today. What next?!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Weekend Plans

I've heard dire predictions of snow all week and it finally got here, but luck was on our side again, and we didn't get very much. It's pretty, but really wet and sloppy. The last snow we had was really dry--no shovels required. A broom was enough to do the trick! Anyway, I have every intention to stay in today. I just got the new Dr.Who/CompleteSpecials box set and I plan on doing a bit of a movie marathon this afternoon and tomorrow! I've been a Dr. Who fan since I was a young teen, so the new seasons have been a high point for me the last few years. Thank goodness Syfy showed Seasons 1-4 because we don't get BBC America on our cable. But they didn't show the Specials from this last year and I had to wait until they came out on DVD. Well, the time has arrived! Thank goodness for the snow and a reason to stay home this weekend!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Still on Strike!

I'm still on strike, but I think I need a picket sign because I don't think my husband actually realizes it! It's hard being on strike. I've spent a big part of my day watching Life on Mars, but I keep thinking I need to get up and do something! I've still been cooking, because the son and I still have to eat, and I've been doing laundry because I want my clothes washed a certain way. But I have done absolutely nothing else. How does he not catch on?!

Saturday, January 9, 2010


When I checked the Weather Channel this morning, our temperature was -2. Wind chill was something like -14. That is the coldest it has been here in around 10 years. And, of course, I feel the need to get out of the house! Mom wants to see "Avatar" and even though I've seen it already, I called her to see if she wants to get out today and she was all for it. But she needs to stop and get groceries afterwards. Sure, I need eggs, anyway! So I think I'll get some soup going in the Crockpot and start taking down the Christmas tree this morning. Yes, I'm way behind on taking down the Christmas decorations this year. Ehh, I'm sure I'll get it done before the end of the month!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Midlife Crisis

My husband quit his job today. It's the 5th job he's had since November of 2007. He actually had this one for almost 12 months. He has been going through assorted mid-life crisis' since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. I think it's been long enough! I'm going on strike! If I'm working all of the time, and he's home all of the time, he can do the cleaning!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Daily Irritants

Why do people think they can go into a store (or any business, actually) trash talk the products and the employees, and then wonder why they aren't greeted with smiles and service? I'm sorry, if I'm that unhappy with a store, I quit going there. I don't continue to return weekly! I had a customer today who was unhappy that we were out the bacon we had on sale. I explained to her that store policy is we only give rainchecks if we have been shorted the item and will not receive any before the sale ends. This particular customer said she wouldn't be in again this week--but I would almost bet she is. She comes in several times each week. And she was unhappy with the response she got from the employee in the meat department that told her we were out. (He has had previous run-ins with her and kept his answers as short as possible.) At that point I offered to give her the raincheck but she refused. She didn't want it any more. She said she would just have to go to Walmart and she was having a good day until she came to the store. I mumbled "me too" and then clamped my mouth shut to avoid telling her how much we dread seeing her come in the door. I think she started to realize she had gone to far by the set of my face because her tone changed and she even tried to smile a little. 98% of the customers are okay--quite a few downright chatty and friendly--but it's that 2% that ruin my day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Inner Hippy

New Year, time for a new start. Why do we always pick the coldest month of the year to think that? So many people starting diets when our bodies are telling us to take in more calories to counter the cold weather and viruses floating around. Or how about quitting smoking--during the time of the year when we are stuck inside and bored. It would make so much more sense to wait to start new "resolutions" when the weather is nicer and we can get outside and distract ourselves from our bad habits! My husband has decided to quit his job and study laptop repair. He wants to open his own business doing computer repair and maintenance. I would back him totally if he was going to an actual school, but he plans on doing this on-line. In fact, he has already started the program. So I have to wonder why he can't at least work part time while he completes the program. I am seriously considering having my own mid-life crisis. I think I will start by looking for my inner Hippy (whom I seem to have lost when I got married and had kids) and see what she would like to do with the rest of her life!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hope I'm Wrong

My daughter went back to school yesterday. She was home from college for 2 weeks--2 weeks when I was working at the store and constantly trying to get things done around the house. I've been behind the whole year--don't know why I tried to stay caught up through Christmas. I didn't manage it, by the way. Anyway, I was busy enough that I didn't get to spend much "alone time" with my daughter. I thought I was handling her being away really well but I think I'm having some delayed "empty nest" or "separation anxiety" or something going on. Maybe I'm just tired. Now she is talking about changing schools, and moving even farther away. I know it's what she needs to do, but I'm having a bit of a hard time with it! I wish I had high expectations for this coming year, but I think it's going to be an incredibly difficult one. I so hope I'm wrong!