March 2017

March 2017

Monday, April 30, 2012

I've Earned My Grandma Title

Abigail Joy
Yesterday my second grand-niece, Abigail Joy, was baptized.  She barely made a peep during the ceremony, and mostly slept peacefully throughout the 2-3 hour celebratory lunch after.  She behaved much the same the first time I saw her, falling asleep in my arms with no effort and sleeping for an hour. By far, Abbey is the easiest baby I've ever met!

I can't help but be a little jealous.  As babies, Elliott had severe colic and Jonah had acid reflux.  We all suffered daily through hours of screaming with Elliott, and constant cleaning up of major spit-up with Jonah.  There was simply no just enjoying a sweet baby with either boy.  Instead, all we could do was look forward to both of them growing out of infancy.

Of course, I wouldn't trade either of my grandsons for anything in the world.  They are the joy of my life and make me smile everyday.  Looking back, I now feel Elliott and Jonah were just making me earn my grandma title.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two New TV Series

Last night I checked out two new television series, VEEP and Girls. While neither show is great, they're good enough for me to want to see more episodes.

The star of VEEP is Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  Per IMDb, the show "Centers on former Senator Selina Meyer who finds being Vice President of the United States is nothing like she expected and everything everyone ever warned about."  I loved the pilot's fast-paced dialogue.  If that continues, I'll keep watching.

What intrigues me the most about Girls is Lena Dunham.  At just 26 years old, Dunham is the show's writer and director. She also plays Hannah, the show's main character.  While I have no doubt someone so young can be so talented, I'm impressed she was able to pitch and sell an HBO show.  I can only imagine how many people in their 30s and 40s and older have tried to do the same with no success.

If you, too, are looking for shows to replace many others going on hiatus soon, I recommend taking a look at VEEP and Girls.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Success With YouTube

Yesterday I did a search for baby card ideas and ended up on YouTube.  Of course, as these things go, one link led to another and another and another, and, before I knew it, I'd been watching videos for an hour.  My head is now spinning with card-making ideas.

I'm very excited to have found another inspirational source for paper-crafting.  Before yesterday, I had never spent much time on YouTube.  But I've finally found several contributors who do good succinct presentations.  And, fortunately, with crafting, if the visual presentation is good, it doesn't matter what language the presenter is using.

In fact, I watched most of the videos on mute.  So now I have yet another activity I can do while also watching television.  The internet is a multi-tasker's dream!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Weigh In

I finally braved getting on the scale this morning.  Gratefully, I'm back to within five pounds of my goal weight.  I'm glad I didn't weigh myself when I was heavier, because it would have been even more depressing to actually see the number.  But now I'm back into my favorite jeans and most of my closet fits, again, so I knew I was back to a weight I could mentally handle.

My plan is to keep on doing what I'm doing, counting calories and walking or biking when I can.  I'm also going to continue minimizing my daily sugar intake.  I'm still amazed at how that simple practice has decreased my appetite.  Live and learn.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chinese Take-Out Night

We've gotten into a routine of "kicking off" the weekend with take-out Chinese on Friday nights.  This week's been especially rough, however, so we did Chinese tonight.  For $7.05 we share a half order of chicken fried rice and four crab rangoons.  It's a fat and calorie splurge, but easy on the budget. Best of all, there's no kitchen clean-up.  Let the weekend begin!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I (Heart) the Spa

First thing this morning, I got a facial.  What a great way to start the day.  Time at the spa is so relaxing.  Their policy of no cell phones or children has a lot to do with it.  It's so quiet.

Unfortunately, the rest of the day wasn't nearly as much fun.  I spent all afternoon on quarterly taxes and two annual insurance audits.  I had hoped to get some housekeeping done today, too, but ran out of time.

And then I got the news that one of the company trucks was rear-ended and another needs to be replaced.   Morning seems so long ago; and my next spa visit seems so far away.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Good Sleeper

I'm so grateful Jonah takes good naps at grandma's house.  On average, he sleeps two hours.
However, it's not unusual for him to sleep over three hours like he did today.

What a cutie!
After a nice morning of running errands and playing in the play room, around 10:30 A.M., Jonah announced it was time for lunch.  Then, after eating, getting a diaper change, and cuddling with grandma, he went into his play yard saying "nigh nigh."

It's also great that Jonah wakes up pleasantly, unlike his brother.  As a preschooler, Elliott would often wake up hysterical and need rocking to calm down.  But, in general, Jonah is much more easy going than Elliott.  Thank goodness, because grandma's four years older this time around!

Monday, April 23, 2012

How Often Do You Change Your Sheets?

I hate changing the sheets.  Mainly because it's not just stripping the bed and putting on clean sheets.  It's also having to wash dirty sheets, because my small laundry room can only handle one basket of dirty items.  So stripping a queen-sized bed creates a load of wash that has to be dealt with immediately.  And that includes folding sheets right out of the dryer before they wrinkle. Honestly, it's hours of work!

Therefore, I've never been one to change the sheets every week.  My average is more like once a month.  But, recently, I watched an episode of The Martha Stewart Show that included a segment on the importance of changing sheets once a week.  So now I'm working on shortening my average time between stripping the bed.

Today I changed and washed sheets just nine days after having gone through the whole ordeal the last time.  And, I have to say, the sheets didn't look at all dirty.  But, as I learned, even if we shower before sleeping, we shed skin every night.  Who wants to lay in a build up of dead skin?  Yuck!

Nevertheless, I'll probably settle on an every-other-week schedule because I find changing sheets such a chore.  Besides, that's still be a big improvement over what I'd been doing for 60+ years!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Secret of a Long Marriage

Every night I look forward to putting on my pajamas and enjoying another quiet evening at home. Most nights are spent with my husband of 39+ years, watching television.  Jim laying on the couch with his laptop while I'm sitting on the love seat with mine.  Neither of us feeling a need to do anything more energetic or social.

Yesterday we finished the BBC series William & Mary that I got on DVD through Netflix.  Tonight we're watching Finding Your Roots, The Good Wife, and Mad Men.  I'm lucky Jim puts up with my eclectic movie and television series choices.  But, in return, I freely postpone watching favorite shows if there's a game on I know he wants to see.

I suppose the way we watch television together is an example of why our marriage works.  It's all about give and take.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Updates

On Wednesday, I finally got a good haircut.  Instead of having to wait a week or two for my hair to grow to a length I can work with, I'm enjoying this cut immediately.  While my hair is definitely better short, I hate having it extremely short.  I finally figured out I need to show my stylist medium-length styles.  By doing so, I get a generous short cut.  Lesson learned.

This past week we also solved our current office problem.  Yesterday, we let the new co-manager go. We now have to look for a replacement in the middle of our busiest season, but at least the co-manager who's been with us for over 17 years is happy again.  And that's the most important thing. Despite what one might imagine, the office manager (whether one or two) makes or breaks a pest control business.

I also made strides this week in dealing with my oven problem.  First, I learned the easiest way to clean oven racks is to place them in the tub, cover with hot water, add a cup of granular dishwasher detergent, soak 24 hours, and wipe clean.  Now my 30-year-old oven racks are clean, although the ovens still look old and used.  But, for the time being, I hope they continue to work for at least another 12-18 months.

However, I also researched new appliances and, yesterday, ended up buying the LG double built-in oven and LG microwave that match my LG refrigerator.  Our local BestBuy is closing and selling inventory at drastically reduced prices.  Plus, LG is offering a 10-percent discount on purchases of two or more appliances; and the current Missouri Sales Tax Holiday eliminated the state tax on the double oven. All in all, I saved 50 percent!  For now, we'll store the new appliances in the basement until we remodel the kitchen.  But, if my old oven or microwave quit before then, we're ready.

In summary, things are looking and feeling better in our little world.  This weekend, we plan to enjoy a moment of relief.



Friday, April 20, 2012

Food Reporters

Our entertainment budget is mostly reserved for trips, so we rarely eat at nicer restaurants at home. But, when we travel, we often have special meals at finer-dining establishments where presentation is as important as taste.  At those meals, I simply can't resist taking pictures of the food. Some friends and family have made fun of my food pictures, but I don't care.  Truth is, most of the time, those special meals were highlights of the trip.

I recently learned I'm not the only one who likes capturing a special food moment with a picture. At foodreporter.net, there are many people sharing pictures of their special food experiences. There's also a French version at foodreporter.fr, which is especially fun if you're planning a trip to France. Bon appetit!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oven Cleaning

I have a GE built-in double oven that came with the house.  That means it's over 30 years old.  It works, but not great.  Although the temperatures register correctly, most items take much less or more time then the recipe states.  The most frustrating thing, however, is that it's not self-cleaning.

I gave up a stove with a self-cleaning oven when we bought this house.  It was so easy to clean.  I just locked the door, pushed a button, and, several hours later, I had a clean oven.  I was spoiled and, as a result, have rarely cleaned my built-in ovens.

Since a new kitchen is still years away, I recently decided I really need to tackle my ovens again. So, for the past week, I've been combing the internet, looking for the best products to do the job, and the easiest techniques.  As far as the oven racks are concerned, I'm now close to just replacing them because they're in such bad shape.

So far, the cheapest price I've found for two racks is $192, which includes shipping.  I suppose that's not too bad if it makes my 30-year-old ovens look better.  My fear, however, is that, shortly after making that investment, the old ovens will quit working.

Maybe I just should research new ovens instead.  Even though replacements will require a modification of my old cabinets, which will cost at least a couple hundred dollars, I'll at least also be taking another step toward an updated kitchen.

Sounds like I still need to do a lot of research.  Thank goodness for the internet!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our Reliable Infiniti I35

Over 10 years ago, we bought an Infiniti I35 and, so far, have driven it just a little over 60,000 miles. It was recently at a garage for two new tires and state inspections and got a clean bill of health.

Last night I had dinner with the friend who first introduced me to the Infiniti.  Her's is now 12 years old, has just over 120,000 miles, and is driving fine.  That's great news, because we hope to still be driving ours in 2022.

As long as it's working fine and looks good, I have no problem driving a 10-year-old, or older, car. That's why, today, a detailing company is at the house giving our Infiniti a thorough sprucing.  Now all we need is one of those "new car smell" fresheners and we're ready for, hopefully, at least another decade.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Out of My Control

I'm hoping my weekly visit to see mom at the nursing home is punishment for all my sins.  It certainly feels that way.  Mom no longer talks and looks like she's barely alive.  She's so frail I'm amazed she's still able to sit up.  Worse yet, mom's surrounded by people in the same shape, soulless beings unable to show any signs of their former personalities.

I like to think I'm handling the situation just fine, but I'm obviously not.  For the last few months, I've been grinding my teeth so badly I'm now on a daily dose of Ibuprofen to control the pain.  The last time this happened was well over ten years ago when I was in an abusive work environment.

A couple days ago, I finally pulled out the night guard I hadn't needed since I left that job.  If things don't improve, however, I'll need an upgrade.  I hate the idea of spending money on such a thing, but there's only one way out of my current situation and, this time, it's out of my control.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ridiculous New Series

Over the weekend, I checked out the television series Missing.  It's about a former CIA agent, played by Ashley Judd, who's looking for her son who was kidnapped while studying abroad.  It's not a bad concept and I liked seeing the different countries and cities she visited.  What turned me off (besides the incredibly bad acting) is how Judd's character comes out of every near-death situation in a clean new stylish outfit.

Seriously?  The woman never carries a suitcase or, for that matter, a handbag.  The only thing she travels with is her cell phone, which must be one heck of a smart phone.  It never needs charging and can conjure up a new outfit out of thin air.  The series is not set in some future world so, if that phone exists, sign me up!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Do You Pinterest?

I first heard about Pinterest in an email I received from a paper-crafting site.  That same week, one of the hostesses on a home-shopping channel began talking about her Pinterest page; and I found Pinterest.com mentioned in one of my magazines.  It was more than enough to peak my interest. Last week, I finally took a look and ended up requesting my own Pinterest page.

The iTunes App Store describes Pinterest as ". . .a Virtual Pinboard.  It lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find in your life."  Anyone who knows me even just a little will understand they had me at "organize."  But, beyond that, I'm finding it's a fun way to learn more about my friends.  And, in doing so, I'm discovering we have more in common than I thought.  I'm also finding many Pinterest pages lead me to useful sites and information.

Interested?  Take a look at my Pinterest page and see what you think.  But I must warn you Pinterest can be addictive!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Elliott's Latest Obsession

Thanks to his cousin, Elliott's latest obsession is Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, a relatively new video game and toy brand.  It was the theme of Cole's recent fifth birthday party and Elliott was hooked immediately.

Although Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was released in North America last October, I suspect it didn't hit Elliott's radar until now because he was too busy obsessing over pirates, Legos, and Ninjago.  But now he's feverishly saving allowances, monetary gifts, and what he made at last week's bake sale to buy the Nintendo Wii Skylanders Starter Pack.

Of course, Skylanders is also a collectible toy.  Beyond the three characters in the Starter Pack, there are at least 27 others sold separately.  After doing some research, yesterday I contributed Whirlwind to the cause.

It was refreshing to only spend $8 for a collectible toy after dealing with the high prices of Lego sets. It reminded me of when I used to buy Elliott Thomas the Tank Engine vehicles for just $5.  Who would have thought a time in the life of a six-year-old would be considered the "good old days!"

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wisdom Comes With Age

It's been cool for a couple of weeks now.  So cold, in fact, we've been running the heater in the house again.  And, today, we're getting a steady rain, making it feel even chillier.

During those warm weeks in March and April, it was tempting to begin planting annuals and vegetable gardens.  But, based on years of experience, I had decided this year not to start planting until May.  As a result, I avoided the chore of having to cover young plants during recent freeze warnings.  Sometimes wisdom really does come with age!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Feeling Better

I got a lot done yesterday, so I'm feeling better.  First I went to Ameritrade and fed our IRAs.  I also paid our taxes.  We are now officially done with 2011.

My next stop was Bethesda where I turned over the Medicaid mess to a social worker.  I also signed papers regarding mom's care, which needs to be done yearly.  It's still hard to believe mom's been in a nursing home for three years now.

I then went to Dobbs to schedule a time to get two new tires and the state inspections needed to renew our license plates.  Turned out they were able to do it immediately, but it would take an hour and a half.  No problem.  I just used the time to get in my walk by going to the Subway down the street for lunch.

Finally, I went to Target for a few groceries and essentials and ended up also getting birthday presents for a grand-niece and grand-nephew.  Their birthdays are April 30 and May 6.  I need two gifts for each child because I also do my dad's gift shopping.  After yesterday, I now only need one more gift for my grand-niece.

Checking so many chores off my to-do list has definitely improved my mood.  I only wish I could have resolved my hair frustrations yesterday also.  But that'll have to wait until next Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Morning Person With Demands

When I was a teen and young adult, I never ate breakfast, preferring instead to sleep as late as possible.  I was not a morning person and loved staying up late.  It's strange, therefore, for me to now say mornings are my favorite time of day.  I love getting up and enjoying a couple cups of coffee with a small breakfast all by myself.  I even wake up an hour early the days I watch Jonah so I have plenty of time for my morning ritual.

I am now a morning person, but only if I can spend the first hour alone, or with a husband who knows not to talk to me.  On second thought, I guess I'm still not a *real* morning person.  I'm more of a morning person with demands.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I'm in a terrible mood.  We owe taxes, the car needs two new tires and state inspections, the new office co-manager isn't working out, Medicaid has mom's finances messed up, and I need a hair cut. Errrrrr!

I was hoping to hand over the Medicaid mess to the social worker at the nursing home today, but ended up having to stay home with both grandsons.  Elliott is running a fever and probably has a virus.  Thank goodness his dad picked him up mid-morning after his meeting, because Jonah desperately needed to get out of the house.  We drove through the bank and got the car washed, his favorite activity.  It was then time for lunch and a nap, my favorite activity.

Unfortunately, I felt the need to cancel my hair appointment for tomorrow because my stylist keeps cutting my hair too short.  So now I have another week of dealing with hard-to-manage hair.  I should probably find another stylist, but I've been with the same woman for over 20 years.  If I stick with her, we definitely need to come to an understanding about not cutting my hair too short.

One way or another, I need to snap out of this fowl mood.  Another spring break might do the trick, but that's not going to happen.  I guess I'll focus on the school year ending in seven weeks at which time our finances should look better and I'll have some free time.  Ahhh, the light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Nightmare Continues

Mom's 81 birthday was yesterday.  She's been in a nursing home for three years and in a "fog" due to Alzheimer's Disease for over ten years.  Last April mom stopped walking.  Since January, she's been unable to feed herself.  She has no idea she has thee children, nine grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.  She also no longer recognizes her husband.

The good news is mom is not in any pain and has no idea how terrible and sad her life is. Without a doubt, mom's situation is hardest on the family, which is not surprising.

All my childhood memories include dealing with mom's bipolar disorder and chronic depression.  Life at home was always about being careful not to "upset mom."  Therefore, it's no real surprise mom is still the center of attention.  The only difference is I'm no longer a child.

At 60, all I can hope for are 15-20 more good years.  I would like to spend most of them out from under mom's oppressive control, which is why I continue to ask God to please end this nightmare soon.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Jonah and Elliott
Missouri Botanical Gardens

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Big Shed

I've spent two days dusting, vacuuming, spiffing, and polishing.  Or I should say I've spent two days chasing cat hair!

Rupert is in major shedding mode, preparing for summer.  It makes house cleaning seem like a waste of time.  It's like when the trees drop their leaves in the fall.  There's really no point in raking until they're done.

But there's no way I could put off cleaning the house until Rupert's done shedding.  I'm just glad Rupert doesn't tolerate other cats so we never were tempted to get him a friend.  For me, one hair shedder is more than enough!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Preparing for Easter

One of the best things about hosting an event is the motivation it gives me to clean.  We're serving Easter brunch, so today I started giving the house a thorough cleaning.  I'm a little more than half done, now, and it feels great.  I love a clean house.

The other thing I need to do for Easter brunch is plan and prepare the menu.  In keeping with my New Year's resolution to not take on more than I can easily handle, I'm keeping it simple this year.  I've already purchased all the baked goods, eliminating the mess and time of making everything from scratch.  So all I have to do is bake the maple bacon, cook the scrambled eggs with asparagus, and make the spiced pineapple juice drink.  Best of all, everything except the egg dish can be prepared tomorrow.

This year I'm determined to spend more of Easter just enjoying family.  I'm off to a good start.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Most Valuable Room

I'm always amazed at how much I can get done when I'm home alone.  By 2:00 P.M. today, I baked and packaged six dozen cookies for Saturday's bake sale; worked on the company books for two hours; ate lunch; did two loads of wash; and took my 40-minute walk.

But it's a good thing I got so much done today, because I don't expect to get anything done tomorrow.  The painters will be here Thursday and Friday to paint the finished area of the basement. There's no school Friday, so tomorrow is the only day I'll need to entertain Jonah without the play room.  I'm just praying it doesn't rain, so we can either play outside or go shopping.  And I don't want to cart Jonah through parking lots in the pouring rain.

Of course, I'm also hoping Jonah takes one of his three-hour naps.  The less time I have to entertain a preschooler tomorrow, the better.  Honestly, the play room has become the most valuable room in the house!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"See It?"

Jonah at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.
Jonah is such a boy.  Unlike his dad and brother, he loves being outside, exploring and getting dirty. This afternoon, Jonah noticed a caterpillar inching its way across our front porch.  He was extremely curious and kept asking, "see it?", which meant he wanted to pick it up.  I kept discouraging him because I knew he would end up squeezing it to death.

But I have no doubt Jonah is going to find a lot of creatures.  And cleaning out his pockets is going to become a risky business!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hello Boston Ferns!

Every spring, we hang two Boston ferns on our front porch that thrive until at least Halloween.  I've paid as much as $25 per fern, in the past, and don't always find big lush plants.  That's why I was so excited to be in the right place at the right time today.

I went to Schnucks to do some grocery shopping and found huge Boston ferns out front.  They had just arrived so were not tagged.  Because they were so large, I felt certain they would be $25 or more, but asked anyway.  I was shocked to learn they were just $12.99!

It's tough to find a bargain these days.  But, when you do, it's such a thrill.





Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Trick

I've successfully completed my "junk" food fast.  For the entire month of March, I didn't eat my version of "junk" food -- pastries, cookies, ice cream, and chocolate candy.  Surprisingly, it wasn't that difficult and, best of all, there turned out to be a hidden benefit.  By reducing my sugar intake, my appetite decreased.

I know I've lost weight because my clothes are fitting looser.  I'm sure exercising more helped, but believe it's primarily due to eating less.  A friend did some research and found "eliminating refined sugar from your diet improves sugar levels, reduces cravings, and stabilizes your appetite."  I'm thinking greatly reducing refined sugar has the same results.

My plan now is to continue minimizing my refined sugar intake, but without depriving myself.  I have a bake sale this Saturday and, of course, Easter's next Sunday.  Nevertheless, I'm determined not to overindulge.  I now know overeating "junk" food causes more harm than I originally thought.  This "old dog" has learned a "new trick."


March 1- 31 - No "junk" food.