We got Wii . . . Wheeee!

April 28, 2008

We just got a Wii game, which we had played when visiting our kids, so we knew we would really enjoy it.

We got it yesterday, so we bowled on it last night, and I’m sore this morning.  I’ve decided I’m going to have to start bowling half the time with my other hand, so BOTH arms get equal exercise. 

We also played golf (the animation is amazing) and I played tennis by myself after Hubby went to do other things. 

The tennis was kind of funny because the system creates two of you as a “team” on one side of the net, and two interesting-looking people on the other side of the net to play against you.  You know, those two on the other side of the net didn’t look like they were in the greatest shape, so I thought “we” (me and ME) could take them, but they “beat us like we stole somethin'” over and over and OVER again.  And, this game is so realistic I actually think I saw those “ringers” on the other side of the net smirking!  I’m going to enjoy wiping that smirk off their faces when me and ME get better! (Especially, ME.  Just between you and me, ME’s not really carrying her weight.  She steps aside most of the time and lets it come to me! I may look for a new partner — maybe MYSELF is available!)

I can see I’m going to have to set limits on this — I think it could become addictive!

Have to go now.  Need to go ice my bowling/golf/tennis elbow.

What Will Sell at an Auction?

April 25, 2008

The subject of auction items was one of the many areas that Hubby’s committee discussed alot at the beginning of planning the fundraiser for the school. 

They finally decided to ask for new gifts worth at least $75, and then just see what was donated.

They got lots of, I suppose, “typical” items like beautiful hand-made quilts and rugs, trips, gift certificates to restaurants, landscaping services, tickets to sporting events, hair and nail salon services and products, floral arrangements, rounds of golf, jewelry, etc. 

And, they got some very unique items too.  Like a Dallas Cowboy’s football helmet signed by Bill Parcells.  Original works of art by two local artists and one from Hubby’s cousin, Irene, who is an artist in Seattle.  Also, one member of our congregation is an interior designer and artist, who is capable of turning anythng she touches into a work of art.  She had hand-painted two sets of wine glasses that were absolutely stunning.  And one man had made a wonderful dollhouse, furnished with carefully handcrafted furniture.  It even had a music box built into its roof.

And then there were the items that show how “outside the box” creative people can be:

… One of the first grade teachers, auctioned off a “Day with Miss H.”  She is a wonderful caring person and a beloved teacher, so I’m sure some child was thrilled with this gift.

… A lawyer in the congregation donated estate planning.

… Our church organist is a wonderful musician who both composes and arranges music, as well as performing.  She donated organ or piano lessons, or performance at a wedding.

… One couple, who are gourmet cooks, offered a gourmet dinner for eight in their home and when that one sold for $1,200, they told the auctioneer they would sell another one — so he offered it to the second highest bidder for the same $1,200, and he accepted.  So, $2,400 was made in just a couple minutes.  What a generous couple — and what generous bidders!

… A wheelbarrel full of “Lutheran beverages” (that’s alcohol) brought lively bidding by about four different guys.  When it sold for a price wayyyyy more than what it was worth, the auctioneer yelled to his assistant, “Quick, go get more wheelbarrels to sell!”

… One family who have a pool at home, offered an afternoon pool party for six women, including massages by a professional masseuse.

… Both a Corvette and a Porsche were each auctioned off for a weekend.  One of my sisters-in-law bought the Corvette weekend for her hubby (my hubby’s brother) as a belated 60th birthday present.  They are going to take a weekend trip in it.  What a great gift!

… A local dentist donated teeth-whitening.  If you haven’t checked into how much that costs, you may be surprised to hear that that was valued at $600!

… Five hours of “whatever you need” work by the youth group from one of the churches.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone bought this and gave it to an elderly relative or neighbor, to help do some things around their house and/or yard?

… A whole hog — since I didn’t see him there (I think I would have noticed), I assume this was processed and not “on the hoof.”

… Twenty tons of crushed stone, delivered, from a local trucking company.  I’m not good at picturing quantities, but I think that is a heck of alot of stone!

… Two cases of canned beef.  I haven’t had canned beef in years, but I remember it was GREAT for beef and noodles.

… And, finally, an item that, when I saw it on the live auction list, I thought what in the heck is that, and why would anyone BUY it — a deer hunting site!  Let me just say there are lots of deer hunters in this part of the country, and apparently this was a prime hunting spot, that the buyer would have exclusive rights to for the season.  There were three guys who had a spirited bidding war on this, and it brought big bucks.  Go figure.

What a fun evening.

A Perfect Event: When Fun and A Good Cause Come Together!

April 21, 2008

The Gala that Hubby was co-chair of was held Saturday night and it was a huge success!  He and his brother were co-chairs, but they said all they really did was put together a terrific committee and then just got out of their way!

The purpose of the Gala was to make money to help support our Lutheran grade school — which is supported by ours and two other churches.  Gala dinner auctions have been used successfully by other private schools in our area for additional funding, so this was our first experiment with this type of “boost” for our school.

There were many unknowns and “best guesses” involved because we hadn’t done anything like this before, so it was a thrill for everyone involved that 230 people (full capacity) actually were willing to pay $100 a plate for a dinner and auction at a local country club.  The other unknown was — were the attendees then going to be willing to bid with their hearts in the live and silent auctions, not just to get a “good deal.”  Well, the answer was a resounding “yes.”

The facility was already very nice, but the committee’s hard work made the setting very elegant.  Attendees had taken the opportunity to dress to the “nines” so that added to the “atmosphere.”  The dinner was delicious and was presented beautifully — and the live auction was exciting!

The auctioneer was a local Lutheran boy “from the ‘hood” (I’m laughing because, in this case, “the ‘hood” is the rural farmlands on the eastern side of our county) who it seemed was related to or had grown up with or knew from business, most of the people there!  We have attended other benefit auctions, and I have to say he was absolutely the best auctioneer I have ever seen.  He was very entertaining and, of course, because he knew so many people, he would prod them into bidding by telling funny stories about them.  For example, the girl he shared his first kiss with was there, so he teased her by telling that story! 

There was a large additional room full of many, many silent auction items to be bid on.  Businesses and individuals had been very generous in donating items to be auctioned off — the number of items was amazing.

It was an exciting, fun evening, and while the final amount raised can’t be known until all the expenses have been paid, it looks like the goal will not only be reached but will have been significantly surpassed!

I do have to tell you about one item I purchased on the silent auction.  (Drum Roll)  Four hours of a computer expert’s services!!  I will definitely talk to him about posting pictures on my blog!

Thank you God for all those who demonstrated their heart for Christian education by participating in this wonderful, fun evening for the benefit of the school, and to Your glory.

Sleep . . .Wonderful Sleep

April 19, 2008


I have always been a sleeper.  And for most of my life, I’ve been able to sleep on command, no matter whether I was tired or not, or how much caffeine I had consumed.   But that’s one of the things that has changed with age.  So, I sometimes take Bayer PM if I think I’m going to have trouble sleeping.  And so does hubby.

Yesterday, during the day, Hubby and I did something unusual for retirees — we both worked at doing hard physical stuff, so we were both a little stiff by evening.  As we were getting ready to go out to dinner with friends, we had the following conversation:

Me:  “I’m feeling a little sore, so I’m going to take some aspirin before we go.”  I went to the kitchen, took some aspirin and returned to the bedroom where we were getting ready.

A few minutes later Hubby said: “You know, I’m a little stiff too.  I think I’ll take some aspirin too.”  He left the room.

A few minutes later he returned.

Hubby:  “Did you take your aspirin out of the bottle in the kitchen?

Me:  “Yes.  Why?”

Hubby:  “Because I think you may have taken Bayer PM.  It’s the bottle setting closest to the front of the cabinet.”

Me:  “Well, this could be an interesting dinner.  If you notice me missing, look under the table.”

Hubby:  “I’m most concerned with drowning.  Don’t order soup.”

Our dinner was fun and uneventful.  But I did sleep like a log last night!

Funerals Are For The Living

April 16, 2008

My cousin’s wife died last week and the funeral was Monday.  It was in Maryland and we weren’t able to attend, so I wired flowers.  But I wish we could have been there. 

Also last week, a friend’s brother died unexpectedly in Canada.  Again, too far to go, but we wish we could have been there. 

 We have come to understand the importance of being at funerals — but it wasn’t always that way. When we were young, we avoided funerals if at all possible — they made us uncomfortable and we never felt like we had the right words to say.

We have come to understand that the funeral truly is for the survivors — not the deceased.  They need to hear the nice things people have to say about their loved one.  I have learned to try to share a memory I have of the person, because I hope it helps the person to know that their loved one lives on in memories.  But, most importantly, I’ve come to realize that your presence is really what makes the difference, more than any words you say.

My cousin’s wife was in her 70’s and had had health problems, so her death wasn’t a total surprise, but our friend’s brother in Canada was 46 years old and dropped dead of a heart attack — that was very unexpected.

Life is short.  We should all live as if today is our last.  Funerals remind us of that.

You Can Always Use “A Little Help From Your Friends”

April 10, 2008

A few days ago I expressed my frustration level with my own inability to do two “simple” tasks — prepare our taxes and post some pictures of our first great-grandchild.

In regard to the taxes, I am blessed that Bill, a very busy accountant who did our taxes for years, didn’t even blink an eye when I called him in April in a semi-panic and asked him to do them this year too, because I realized I was in over my head.  They have already been electronically filed!  Thank you God for the very capable, pleasant, not-easily-ruffled, expert-at-taxes Bill for “pulling my bacon out of the fire” and doing our taxes at the last minute!

Now, let me just explain my priorities here.  While I love “my angel” Bill and certainly respect the government and their out-of-date, confusing tax system, the most important of my two concerns, BY FAR, was my inability to post the pictures of our first ever great-grandchild.  Not just because of his “first-ever” status, but because he is just pretty darn cute.

So then, in stepped my second angel — Barb at Half Past Kissin’ Time.  She offered to help me post the pictures.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but let’s just say Barb’s great ideas could only take us so far when put up against the wall of my legendary inabilities!  So, Barb offered to “guest post” them, which I had no clue how to do — but she did!  She put the pictures on HER blog, and then all I had to do was link them (here).  How cool is that? 

Thank you God for my blogging friend Barb and her how-can-I-help attitude and limitless patience that has finally allowed me to share these pictures of our darling newest addition to our family.

BTW, our sweet and funny daughter-in-law, Dilly  (this is her and Gunny’s first grandchild) has suggested that great-nana just doesn’t “flow” — so she’s going to call me Nana the Great.  Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

A Road Trip and Killer Clowns!

April 9, 2008

Nikki (14) and Jay (13) are here for their Spring Break this week.  Last Sunday we met their mom half-way to pick them up.  Five hours down just Hubby and me, lunch with DIL and kids, five hours home with the kids.

So, on the way home, after we had exhausted all our normal ways of killing time, i.e., sleeping and some of the road games I’ve told you about before, I suggested something new!

I suggested we do a “group story” like DD and I did (see subject “Pure Fiction” at right).  I gave the starting point as, “There were four people sitting in a diner in a small town, and one of them said, ‘Do you know what I heard?'”  Each of us then took turns adding to the story and ending our part with an “and then . . . ” or “but what they didn’t know was . . .” that the next person had to use to continue from.

To summarize the story we “built”:  It turns out what he heard was that there was something mysterious going on at the old, run-down amusement park outside of town.  They went there, where they met a nice clown who lead them into the house of mirrors, where they got lost and then were attacked by the “nice” clown and his “gang” of clowns with weapons. 

One of the four lost both arms, so they called him Stubby from then on.  They finally made their escape in little pedal cars that the clowns ride in the circus, but when the clowns gave chase, they decided they couldn’t outrun the “killer clowns” and were going to die anyway, so they turned around and charged the clowns.  They killed the killer clowns by running over them with the pedal cars.  (What’s a “little” chain saw when it’s up against a “powerful” pedal car, right?)  Hubby said the morale of the story was, “If you have to stop pedaling, at least kill a clown.”

Not John Grisham material, but we had a ball doing it.  I have given both the kids the challenge of coming up with scenarios that will start stories we can do when we drive them back on Friday!

Have I mentioned?  I LOVE grandkids!  

Sometimes You Just Have to Admit When You’re In Over Your Head!

April 5, 2008

Yes, there are times when you have to admit when you’ve in over your head, but I don’t think it usually happens twice in such short order!

Thursday I sat down with Turbo Tax to do our taxes.  We had had them done by an accountant for many years, but, hey, we were retired now, so how hard could it be?

But, I DID put off doing them, probably because I was unsure of myself.  So anyway, I ended up with about two weeks to get them done — plenty of time to do some simple “retireee’s” taxes, right?.  Well, “retirement” brings all kinds of new wrinkles with it, that I had no idea how to handle. 

So, after a couple hours I went outside where Hubby was “staying out of my way while I did the taxes,” by doing the spring cleaning in the yard.  I walked up to him and said, “I’m calling Bill.”  He said, “Okay.” But, then he said, because he’s always the optimist, “But, you know it’s probably too late to get him to do them for us.”

Well, that put some pep in my step!  I hadn’t thought about not being able to just dump this mess on Bill!  So, I immediately went in and called him, and, thank you, God, he said to bring the stuff over.  I am so relieved.  Crisis averted.

Then yesterday, I received cute pictures from our granddaughter that I decided, without any reasonable expectation that I could actually DO it, to post them here for you to see.  Well, you know how THAT turned out.  The post looked lovely when I looked at it, but apparently none of you could see the pictures!  I have spent several hours trying to put the pictures on in a way you could see them, and I just can’t figure it out.  So, I’ve “unpublished” that post, and I’ll keep working at a way to do it.

So, I think we could safely say the “theme” for my last two days could be “UNCLE!”   As in, “I give up!”

But, I remind myself, there are lots of things I CAN do, so I’m not going to stress over the things I can’t. 

I thank God for the people in my life, like Bill, who do for me the things I can’t do for myself. 


What Were We Thinking in the 70’s?

April 3, 2008

I received this in an e-mail and just had to share it with you.  The commentary by the guy gets a little “sticky” sometimes, but, overall, I think it is hilarious!  Hope you do to.

He says:  Last weekend I put an exhaust fan in the ceiling for my wife’s grandfather. While my wife’s brother and I were fitting the fan in between the joists, we found something under the insulation. What we found was this:

A JC Penney catalog from 1977. It’s not often blog fodder just falls in my lap, but holy hell this was two solid inches of it, right there for the taking. I thumbed through it quickly and found my next dining room set, which is apparently made by adding upholstery to old barrels:

Also, I am totally getting this for my bathroom:

There’s plenty more home furnishings where those came from, however I’m not going to bore you with that. Instead, I’m going to bore you with something else. The clothes. The clothes are fantastic.

Here’s how to get your ass kicked in elementary school:

Just look at that belt. It’s like a boob-job for your pants. He probably needed help just to lift it into place. The belt loops have to be three inches long. And way to pull them up to your armpits, grandpa.

Here’s how to get your ass kicked in high school:

This kid looks like he’s pretending to be David Soul, who is pretending to be a cop who is pretending to be a pimp that everyone knows is really an undercover cop. Who is pretending to be 15.

Here’s how to get your ass kicked on the golf course:

This “all purpose jumpsuit” is, according to the description, equally appropriate for playing golf or simply relaxing around the house. Personally, I can’t see wearing this unless you happen to be relaxing around your cell in D-block. Even then, the only reason you should put this thing on is because the warden made you, and as a one-piece, it’s slightly more effective as a deterrent against ass-rapery.

Here’s how to get your ass kicked pretty much anywhere:

If you look at that picture quickly, it looks like Mr. Bob “No-pants” Saget has his hand in the other guy’s pocket. In this case, he doesn’t, although you can tell just by looking at them that it’s happened – or if it hasn’t happened it will. Oh yes. It will. As soon as he puts down his matching coffee cup.

Here’s how to get your ass kicked at the beach:

He looks like he’s reaching for a gun, but you know it’s probably just a bottle of suntan lotion in a holster.

How to get your ass kicked in a meeting:

If you wear this suit and don’t sell used cars for a living, I believe you can be fined and face serious repercussions, up to and including termination. Or imprisonment, in which case you’d be forced to wear that orange jumpsuit.

How to get your ass kicked on every day up to and including St. Patrick’s Day

Dear God in heaven, I don’t believe that color exists in nature. There is NO excuse for wearing either of these ensembles unless you’re working as a body guard for the Lucky Charms leprechaun.

In this next one, Your Search For VALUE Ends at Penneys.

As does your search for chest hair.

And this — Seriously. No words.

Oh wait, it turns out that there are words after all. Those words are What. The. H***. I’m guessing the snap front gives you quick access to the chest hair. The little tie must be the pull tab.

Also, judging by the sheer amount of matching his/hers outfits, I’m guessing that in 1977 it was considered pretty stylish for couples to dress alike. These couples look happy, don’t they?

I am especially fond of this one, which I have entitled “Cowboy Chachi Loves You Best.”

And nothing showcases your everlasting love more than the commitment of matching bathing suits. That, and a blonde girl with a look on her face that says “I love the way your junk fights against that fabric.”

Then, after the lovin’, you can relax in your one-piece matching terry cloth jumpsuits:

I could go on, but I’m tired, and my eyes hurt from this trip back in time. I think it’s the colors.

That said, I will leave you with these tasteful little numbers:

Man, that’s sexy.

From Whence I Come

April 2, 2008

My father’s father was a charming, but irresponsible, Irish drunk and his mother, a heavy-set, jovial Prussian. 

His mother had dark red hair that she always parted down the middle and pulled back into a bun at the nape of her neck, old world style, and a ready laugh that filled the house.  And, I’m told, she dearly loved her grandchildren and baseball, most of the time in that order!  (Her idea of a perfect Saturday was to take all four of my siblings on the street car across town to watch the Kansas City Blues play.)  She worked (at a time when very few mothers worked) because the money from my grandfather’s job on the railroad was spent mostly in bars.  Daddy’s response to that was to become a non-drinking adult.  His brother’s response was to become a drunk (until he married Aunt Hazel who helped him get sober). 

Daddy’s mother died the year before I was born, but I have “known” her all my life through the wonderful stories my siblings tell about her.  I look forward to one day meeting her in heaven.  I hope when I meet her she will grab me and hug me tight, pounding me on the back, and telling me that she’s going to “squeeze me in two so that there will be two of me to love,” just like she told my siblings so many times.  Oh, how they loved her. 

She is actually the one who taught my mother to cook.  Mama’s mother didn’t like to cook, so, of course, hadn’t taught Mama much.  So, Daddy’s mother taught her.  In fact, Grandma taught my mother many things, but most of all she gave Mama a wonderful example of how to be a grandma.  My father’s sisters never completely accepted Mama, partially because they didn’t think she was good enough for their beloved brother, and partially because she adored (and was adored by) their mother.

My mother was the short, oldest daughter of the tallest, skinniest couple you have ever seen  (She was 5’10”, he was 6’4″ — very tall for people born in the late 1800’s.)  They looked a lot like the couple in the famous painting, American Gothic (you know, with the pitch fork), except her dad had a full head of snow white hair and a bushy mustache.  Her father was a very nice but weak, Scottish dreamer.  He loved his family but wasn’t a good provider.  He believed the “grass is always greener” whenever someone promised it.  He would uproot his family and move to a new “opportunity” on the slimmest of promises. 

Her mother was a solemn woman who I don’t remember interacting with me very much.  Apparently, when she first became a grandma, she didn’t like that title, so we called them “Mom and Dad B.” 

Mama’s parents never owned a house, and, when their four children were little, walked away from all their possessions more than once in the middle of the night because the rent was due and they couldn’t pay it. 

That kind of insecure childhood made Mama, as an adult, a collector and lover of “things.”  She was a pretty organized person so her house wasn’t terribly “cluttered,” but she did have lots of “stuff” neatly tucked away.  (After Daddy died, and we were helping her get rid of some of her “stuff” so that she could move into a senior’s complex, I had to realllly do some talking to get her to throw away my last pair of tap dancing shoes, that would have been, let’s see, about 30 years old!!)

But when these two people married, both having come from pretty insecure homes, they apparently decided that they were going to make a better home for their children than what they had had, and they did.  They were truly two people who realized what they had missed, and made it their goal to make sure their children didn’t miss those things.

Our home life, of course, wasn’t perfect, but it was secure and stable.  Daddy always held a job and provided well for us.  Mama was always home to take care of us, and truly worked at making good memories for us, like taking me (and the others, when they were little) to parades. I can remember her carrying a step ladder to a parade route a block over so that I could sit on top of it and have a great view of the parade! (My little friend, Phoebe Ann’s father carried one over for her too, so that we could sit up in the “sky box” together!)

I am thankful for the vision my parents had for what kind of life they wanted to give their children — and the hard work they both put into accomplishing that for us.

I thank God for my parents, and all parents, who look at their children and ask themselves, “What kind of childhood do I want for my children?” and then set about providing it.