To Get to Wear a Pretty Dress, I Just Have to Throw Some Flower Petals Around? A Piece of Cake.

April 11, 2014

A cautionary tale for all those brides planning weddings!

Add Humor and Faith....mix well


She was 3 1/2 years old and it was her oldest sister who was getting married.  So, I guess she was the natural choice for flower girl.  But, she wasn’t necessarily a wise choice.

flower-girl-001  Oh, how sweet and obedient she looks.  Her Mama made her the dress and hat and she loved getting to wear them and getting to be part of the wedding.  But this picture portends the hiccup in the ceremony that was Sandra. 

See how carelessly she’s carrying the cone-shaped flower basket over her arm.  If there were flower petals in it when the picture was taken, they would already be dribbling out.  She’s obviously all agog about getting to wear her pretty, long dress and not giving the first thought  to her assignment to carry that basket upright when it’s full of flower petals and then carefully scatter them down the aisle at the church. 

She may be a little young  to get the connection between…

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The words “silent” and “victim” don’t go together!

March 6, 2014

I have enjoyed being a member of Facebook for quite a while now.  I compare it to reading a daily newspaper  that is all news about people I know!  But up until yesterday, I had just heard about people whose  accounts had been “hacked”, but now I’ve experienced it personally.   Yesterday morning when I signed into FB, someone had used the info on my FB page to create a duplicate of my  page and then “replace” me a Sandra Reed Herman!  They have then contacted people on my friends list pretending to be me.  I’m guessing at least one reason to do this is to progress to asking for money.

Anyway, I have spent the last 24 hours notifying my Facebook friends and, in turn, hearing about contacts they’ve received from the hacker posing as me.  I’ve also received alot of information from helpful friends and relatives about what to do about it.

The bottom line of all this is that I have decided that the best defense against being victimized, in this or any other way, is communication!

Soooo, I’m writing about this here today as one of the many ways I am getting the word out about guarding against this (for example, by making your privacy settings on any web-based site as exclusive as possible, while still reaching those you want to reach — as well as not allowing someone you don’t know or seems suspicious to be in contact with you).  Yes, young people, that includes those “cool” guys on the other side of the country who want to strike up a web-only-based friendship/relationship with you!

As I write this, it seems clear that this applies to many facets of or lives — don’t be a silent victim.  If you are being taken advantaged of or victimized in any way, fight back by telling someone or many people who can help you.  Not only will you received help and/or guidance in how to not be a victim, but you speaking up may encourage someone else to do the same.

“Silent” and “victim” should never go together!

ps  BTW, I especially liked what one of my FB friends (who ISN’T a police officer) messaged me about what she told “the other Sandra” when he/she contacted her on instant message:  Her message to me:

“someone messaged me telling me they got 200,000 cash from the government  did I get mine I said I was a police officer and that we will catch them  then they blocked me”

You go, girl!  With answers like that, it won’t take long for the person to realize they have hacked into a list of very smart, verbal people and will move on.

The little present that can … I think

January 1, 2014



P1140807This present should have been in Chicago a day or two ago, but it’s still here, four hours away.

We couldn’t make it up there for our granddaughter, Mimi’s, 10th birthday on the day, but we were planning to go up on Friday to take it to her and have a belated celebration for her big “one zero”.

But did you notice, or can you see, the weather outside the windows behind the gift?  (Yes, and behind the Christmas tree that we haven’t taken down yet.  Don’t rush me!)  It has been snowing here more and more all afternoon and the weather map shows us getting a big snow storm tomorrow, Friday and possibly Saturday.

So, we (Papa, the present and me) are coming, Mimi …. we just don’t know when.  Luckily it’s not one of those fresh fruit arrangements that I know any 10 year old would love to receive (right), so it won’t spoil.

We love you babe, and promise we’ll keep trying until we get there.

And we’re so glad she had some close-by gift givers too, so that not all her birthday presents depended on good weather and grandparents to get them there.


Bi-Psycho Built for Two

November 21, 2013

I just finished reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  It was the assigned book for our next Book Club meeting.

It was definitely a page-turner — I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.  In the reviews I had seen Alfred Hitchcock’s type of thriller mentioned as a comparison, but it also reminded me of the early TV show, The Twilight Zone by Rod Serling.

Beware that events are sometimes graphic and the language is rough.  Unfortunately that has become really common in today’s literature, I guess because that is how so many people talk today. The author does make her characters very interesting,with nuanced personalities — not all bad or all good, at least on the surface.

I would summarize it as a story of two people with varying degrees of mental illness who happen to marry each other.

We have a friend who jokingly says that he and his wife have an agreement that they won’t both be crazy at the same time.  The couple in this book obviously didn’t have the same agreement.

I can tell you right now that I know we are going to have a field day discussing this book in our next meeting!



Memories came to visit

November 2, 2013

About two weeks ago we got a call from Phil who had been one of Hubby’s classmates in the police management institute at Northwestern University in 1980/81.


Hubby is on the left, Phil in the middle (obviously in a t-shirt given to him by one of his other classmates!) and their friend Tommy is on the right.

Phil is from New Zealand and retired a few years ago as the number two official in New Zealand’s national police department.

He and his wife Jackie were in the States for a month-long visit and had tracked us down (with the help of Tommy) so wondered if they could “stop by” to see us.  What an exciting opportunity for both of us!  We had never met Jackie since they had married “only” 21 years ago, but we had fond memories of Phil and his sons when they had come to visit us after graduation and before they returned to New Zealand

Image Phil at our house during his visit.

Image  Graham, DD, Nigel and Gunny.

So when Phil and Jackie got here a few days ago, we looked forward to meeting Jackie and renewing our friendship with Phil.

They could only stay a day, so we decided to eat our meals out so that all of our time could be spent visiting, and I have to say we crammed alot of that into a very short time.

Here is where I wish I was as photo-opportunity ready as I used to be because for lunch shortly after they arrived, we took them to a local Italian restaurant that is what we call “a hole in a wall” — a very unimpressive store front in the complex with a truck stop.  But we knew where the food was anything but common.  They loved it, of course.  Then we took a drive out into Amish country, because Phil wanted Jackie to see some of the sights he had seen when he was here before.  We went to the Amish store and the Grabill hardware, but of which they found fascinating, but the best part was that the Amish clerk at the store told us that her two brothers were plowing with horses not too far away (we had told her they were visitors from New Zealand, so I guess she understood they would enjoy seeing that).  We followed her instructions and found two teams of horses pulling plows in a field.  There were eight horses pulling each plow.  They weren’t harnessed straight across but with four following four.  Very impressive and oh how I wished for a camera right then.  But Phil did get a picture with his phone, so they will have something to show back home.

That was really the only sightseeing we took them on, the rest of their short visit was pretty much taken up with eating and talking!


Image  That night we took them to our favorite Chinese restaurant.

Of course, even in so short a time, Jim and Phil HAD to go to the range to shoot.  So we just ate toast for breakfast and they took off for there.


Jackie was such a nice surprise for me.  I don’t know what I expected, but when she left I told Hubby that I wished she could be my next door neighbor.  We got along great.

ImageJackie is a librarian by profession, so while the guys were shooting, we went to a bargain book store and browsed and bought some books for a dollar or less!  A treat for us both.  And we even met an “interesting” woman who was also shopping there who wanted to become “best friends” I guess because we were looking at books too!  After she had just “bent our ear” for a couple minutes, I suddenly noticed that Jackie had casually wandered (or maybe with intent!) and I was left listening to “gabby” — and you KNOW if I think someone talks too much, they really do!

I finally peeled myself away for my new “best friend”, and went and found Jackie wayyy at the other end of the store, enjoying looking at cookbooks.  Who knew she was a little sneaky like that!  That’s when I realized, Jackie would be a great friend to spend time with regularly.

After eating lunch at our favorite Greeks restaurant (yes, in just 24 hours, we had taken them to Italian, Chinese and Greek restaurants.  If they would have just stayed another day, I’m sure we would have gotten them to an American restaurant too!

What a great short visit.  We had the opportunity to re-live some great old memories with Phil, hear lots of interesting things they have done (they are sailors and spent six years sailing around the world — staying a month here and a month there and even flying home once when the weather where they were keep them from sailing for a few months) and making some nice new memories together.



Note to readers:  Now I remember one of the reasons I stopped posting on my blog.  I edited this post just to my liking, but I have worked for an hour for it to accept that new version.  Not happening.  So in frustration I’ve gone ahead and posted the first draft, which is really rough, but it’s apparently my only option!!

Happy Saturday!


Help Wanted

April 27, 2013


Hubby has many talents, but one of the handiest of those is his ability to judge whether a left-over will fit into the refrigerator container I have picked.  Our routine is that after we eat and he is still sitting at the table, I will start cleaning up, including putting leftovers in the fridge.  Sometimes (many times, actually) when I look for a container to use, it is very hard for me to judge whether it will fit or not.  So I will ask Hubby whether it will fit and he is right 99% of the time.   What a handy talent!  And, of course, it means he has no trouble at all picking the container, if he is the one cleaning up.

I have never thought of this trait of Hubby’s as “marketable”, but after receiving an order from a national store chain the other day, I think he could have a second career in their shipping department.

This box arrived yesterday.


I knew what I had ordered, but I could not believe it was in this huge box.


When I opened it, it was packed full with brown paper packaging.

And when I removed all the packing…


… the items I had ordered were in the bottom.


Six placemats.

I couldn’t find anything on the package that said how much the company paid for shipping (it was free shipping for me), but I have to believe that there is some waste, both in postage and man hours, because of this overkill in packaging.

I hope their shipping department pays big bucks, because I’m sending them Hubby’s resume today!

April 2, 2013

A little late for Easter hat making, but I loved these hats, even if I did make them! : )

Add Humor and Faith....mix well

On the day of our Tea Room visit, the girls put on their dresses and the hats.  And, of course, I wanted pictures.

Mimi “stylin'”!

“Auntie Linda” went to the tea room with us and, luckily, took some pictures too.  She got this one that I really like of Mimi before we left our house.

Lulu did wear shoes to the tea room, just not for this picture!

Coco is 12 and becoming quite a young lady.

“Which of these things is not like the other?”  (Do they still play that game on Sesame Street?)  Maybe I should have made hats for Linda and me too.  But I think there may be a very fine line between paper hats being cute on children and maybe a little silly on retirees.

All three of the girls chose hot chocolate to drink and were delighted to find out that they still got…

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“Aint” born to Paint — but fun anyway!

March 14, 2013

We have a great niece in Colorado who is an artist and an art teacher (as well as a wife and mother to small children).  She also (because her life just isn’t busy enough, I guess) teaches wine and painting events.  The pictures she posts on Facebook of those “painting parties” have always made me wish that I lived close enough that I could participate in one of those.  It just looked like so much fun.

Soooo, unbeknownst to me, there are now events like that here, and my friend Candy invited me to one last Thursday evening.

Here are some pictures (some blurry for some inexplicable reason):


Apparently they have figured out that when you have a group of inexperienced painters slinging paint around, it’s wise to give them aprons to wear that cover most of their clothes.  (That really is an apron, even though there is so much of it that it has wrapped around Candy so that it looks like it might be coveralls!)


The name of the event is “Wine and Canvas” but in reality it’s a little hard to savor a glass of wine (at least for me) while you are trying to put paint on a canvas that actually looks like something!  So there were drinks and appetizers before we started.


We were seated pretty close to each other at the tables.  (Notice Candy showing off, holding her paint pallet like an old pro.)


When we arrived I noticed that our plates of paints were under our canvas.  (Shown from the back) So, I wondered out loud to Candy how we were going to get to the paints while we were painting because there obviously wasn’t space to put them beside the easel — and you couldn’t reach them where they were.  She said we would be holding the plate in one hand and the brush in the other.  Oh, yeah.  Have I mentioned that it has been years and years since I have had an art class?  Let me just say, enough years that I was definitely a “rookie” at this event.  Thank goodness, Candy knew more about what we were doing than I did.

When I first saw the painting we were going to do I thought, “There is no way I will be able to paint that wine glass!”  But the instructor had it all figured out, patiently instructing us to use a paint brush as a measure (full brush length, half brush length, etc.) and plotting dots on the canvas that we could then use to “connect the dots”.


It worked!

But this is when we began to see that each picture is unique, even though we had all followed the same instructions.


Candy said our glasses looked like one for white wine and one for red.  My take on that was that mine looked a little more like a beer stein.  But I was thrilled with it.  Here, we were waiting for the instructor to tell us the next step.

One of the hardest parts of the project was keeping my paint colors separate, except when I wanted to mix them.  Soon after we  started, I looked down and my black paint had made a straight line to his next-door-neighbor the yellow.


It’s good that we finished when we did, because I had totally lost control of my paints!


And, by the way, all the paint didn’t make it to the canvas.

But in the end, considering everything I didn’t know and did do wrong, I was happy with my painting.

Here are our finished paintings.

P1140148 P1140150

P1140159I find it really interesting to look at a whole group of the pictures and how each one is different.  I suppose that is the reason these events have become so popular.

I can’t wait for the next time!

This is an example of what I love about the Internet

March 12, 2013


A friend saw this on the web and gave me a copy.  I’ve carried the copy around with me for a couple weeks and whenever a conversation would have a pause (those usually happen when I quit talking — I wish that wasn’t true, but it is), I would whip out my copy of this story, read it, and give everyone a laugh.

I hope you enjoy it too.

My Favorite Animal

Our teacher asked what my favorite animal was, and I said, “fried chicken”.

She said I wasn’t funny, but she couldn’t have been right, because everyone else laughed.

My mom and dad tell me to always tell the truth.  I did!  Fried chicken is my favorite animal.  I told dad what happened and he said my teacher may be a member of PETA.  He said they love animals very much.

I do too.  Especially chicken, pork and beef

Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal’s office.  I told him what happened and he laughed too.  Then he told me not to do it again.

The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favorite live animal was.  I told her it was chicken.  She asked me why, so I told her it was becaue you could make them into fried chicken.

She sent me back to the principal’s office.  He laughed and told me not to do it again.

I don’t understand.  My mom and dad tell me to be honest, but my teacher doesn’t like it when I am.

Today, my teacher asked me to tell her what famous person I admired most.

I told her, “Colonel Sanders”. 

Guess where I am now . . .

I hope this at least made you smile.  Happy Tuesday!

Puzzling to two and sometimes to three too!

March 1, 2013

My sister ML came for a visit recently.  She was here just two full days, but we made the most of our time … doing “important” things.  Of course we ate, a favorite activity in our family, but for entertainment we alternated from playing our family’s favorite dice game, Yahtzee, to working a jigsaw puzzle.

ML works lots of jigsaw puzzles, so she is much more organized about it than amateurs like me.

She suggested we sort the pieces by similar colors plus a pile for the edge pieces.


When we were done sorting, I thought the pieces looked like a mosaic.  But when I suggested that since we had already achieved such a “work of art”, why spoil this look by actually assembling them!!, ML thought I was joking, so we started working the puzzle …


You can see a man’s hand on the left.  That’s because even though Hubby swore off jigsaw puzzles after we had what turned into a jigsaw puzzle marathon a few years ago, he couldn’t resist putting a piece in occasionally as he would walk past.

As hard as ML and I worked for those two days and even for an hour or so the morning of the third day, before she left, we still didn’t get it finished.  When I went to bed that night I had decided to finish it the next day.

What a surprise when I got up in the morning and found this …


Do you see the two little pieces, upper left?


What a surprise that the puzzle was finished except for two little pieces.  I laughed to myself because I knew the only other person in the house had finished the puzzle … almost.  I “finished” the puzzle and looked forward to hearing why Hubby had avoided being the one to finish the puzzle.

When Hubby got up and looked at the puzzle, he said he was glad I had finished it and reminded me that he doesn’t really like doing jigsaws.

He may not like them, but I think Hubby would have to agree that jigsaw puzzles are like popcorn — it’s hard to eat (popcorn) or place (puzzle pieces) just one!

ML and I had a wonderful couple of days together.  Hubby pretty much stayed out of our way and did his own thing … until of course, it came to popcorn or jigsaws.  Those he has trouble resisting.