Our Halloween Greeter!

October 30, 2008


Several years ago I bought this little guy, who is motion activated, to stand outside the door on Halloween and greet our trick or treaters.

He’s so sweet.  I fell in love with him the first time I saw him.  He says, “Happy Halloween!”  or “Do you like my costume?  I’m ready for my treat!”  or “Halloween is fun!”  All said in an enthusiastic, friendly little-boy voice.

But, do you notice something funny about him?  Like his pants?  Or lack thereof?  I bought him two years ago, and didn’t use him last year, but this year when I got him out, I noticed for the first time those wimpy pantaloons they have on him — with his “cool” tennis shoes!  This look must not have bothered me the first time I used him, but now that I have noticed, it really bothers me.  It looks like he’s ready to go trick or treating in his long johns!.  Or, more accurately, in his sister’s long-johns!

So, I decided he needs pants!  I thought I would go to the Goodwill store and pick some up, but yesterday when I was at the super store, I happened to see the little boy department and just wandered through, on the chance that something cheap would catch my eye.  And, voila, it did!  I found gray sweats for $5.00!

So, now he has pants.  


He was always a happy little fella, but I think he looks happier now, in his “cool” sweats.

May you have a fun and safe Halloween!

October Sky

October 30, 2008


By now, you may have noticed I love to look at the sky.  Here are some different “faces” of the October sky.


I’ve learned to look up.  I’m never disappointed.

Hanging Around in a Parking Lot with Thousands of Our “Closest Friends”

October 29, 2008


Well, we didn’t make friends with all of them, but we did get to know quite a few of the people around us during the time we stood in line, waiting to get into the Sarah Palin Event Saturday!

Let me tell you our little tale.  

The doors were to open at 4:00 for the rally starting at 6:30.  So, Linda, UD, Hubby and I went out to dinner at 2:00 in the afternoon (definitely no line to get into a restaurant at that time of day!) to “fortify” us for the couple boring hours we anticipated spending in our seats at the Coliseum, waiting for the rally to start.  But, of course, we reasoned, the pay-off for the inconvenience of getting there so early would be great seats. Ha!

When we got to the Coliseum, there were already lots of cars in the parking lot, but the Coliseum has multiple venues, so it was hard to tell how many were there for the rally, after all we were there a half hour before the doors would even open! 

But, after we parked and started walking toward the building, this is what we saw.  There was a long line already!  Well, good thing we got here a half hour before the doors opened.  The line shouldn’t be too long.

As we walked along the line, I stopped to take pictures of “people of interest.”

The woman on the right stood in line with me downtown when we got our tickets . . .

the daughter and son-in-law of friends . . .

a couple of women we didn’t know, but, boy, were their hats interesting! (her button says, “Sic ’em, Sarah!”

Did you catch the glasses and lipstick on the hats?


We just kept on walking, along the line, right out into another parking lot, where there were lines of people between every row of cars!

Including at the ball stadium about a half mile away.  I think those were people who had parked at the university down the road and had been shuttled to the stadium by buses.

We couldn’t see a rhyme or reason to the different lines, so we just had to trust the officer who told us to join one, that he knew what he was doing.  It all looked pretty organized, it was just hard to figure out what the organization WAS!

As soon as we joined a line, we realized — it was cold!  Much colder than we had expected, because the wind had really picked up.  We were all glad we had worn coats.  Hubby had on the lightest coat, but he is always too warm, so this felt just right to him!

I’m taking the picture, so who is the woman on the right?  That’s Kathy, who worked in the courthouse when Hubby worked there, and she was in line ahead of us, so we invited her to join our group.  (Now Kathy’s got the right idea for warmth — even a hood!)

That’s my camera hanging around Linda’s neck.  I ran out of battery about the time we got to the line, and had forgotten to put more in, so Linda let me use her camera.  What a good friend.

The people standing behind us, along with alot of other people, hadn’t come prepared for the suddenly colder weather. Those are my gloves she’s wearing.  I thought they would keep her at least a little bit warmer.

 This guy standing ahead of us told a great story about his daughter taking his father to see Gov. Palin last weekend, at the Verizon Center in Indianapolis.  The Verizon center is an outdoor venue that is surrounded by hillsides that are used for extra seating.  The girl and her grandpa had been given “seating” on the hillside because the only actual chairs that were left were VIP.  But, just before the rally began the girl saw that there were a number of empty VIP seats, so she told grandpa that they were going to go sit in some of those seats.  So, she waited until none of the ushers were looking and then said, “Run, Grandpa, Run!” 

This guy said he didn’t know his dad was capable of running any more, but apparently he was, because they got seats!  It was a really funny story the way he told it, and I told him I was going to post his picture on my blog, so that the “seating police” would know where to look for the father/son of the “perps.”

Being a people watcher really helps when you have to kill a couple hours just standing in line.

This man had found a great way to entertain his son.


They eventually noticed that they were being noticed!

A local basketball team is called the Mad Ants.  Here is their mascot passing out season schedules.

Of course, you were given an opportunity to buy Sarah Palin buttons, which we did.


This young business man wanted to be booked for parties to make balloon figures.

After about an hour, Hubby decided to step away from the line and have a cigar. 

This young woman was looking for any little source of warmth she could get!

Finally, the line started moving. 

As we moved closer to the mirrored part of the building, I got a couple shots I like.

Once we got inside the building.  It was packed.  In fact, it was so packed that it was hard to get a picture to show just how packed it was!

Here, we are on one of three wide stairways that all led up to a large open area, up there to the right. that then funneled into a smaller area where the Secret Service were using metal detectors and looking through purses, etc.  THAT’s what made the standing in here almost as long (it seemed) as the wait outside!  But, I’m not really complaining, because I know they have to do that sort of thing now.

When we finally got into the arena, we were seated in a section that was directly to the side of the stage.  Not ideal seating, but we could see.  Unfortunately, a large, high-ceiling auditorium like that made it really hard to take pictures.  So, at that point I handed Linda’s camera over to her, so that she could work with the settings and get the best pictures possible.  (Thank you again, Linda!)  She’s not terribly happy with these, but, believe me, they are much better than anything I would have taken.

Before the program began, when the seats were still filling up (even as long as we waited, we weren’t nearly at the end of the stream of attendees!) the lighting was brighter, and I thought Linda got some pretty good shots of the arena.  By the way, all those empty seats were filled before the program began, which probably explains why the program began almost an hour late.


These letters said: I N D I A N A (heart) P A L I N  (It looks like the person who should have been holding the “I” may have taken a break!)

Hank Williams Jr. opened the show.  He’s a great singer, if you like honky tonk, and was sooo enthusiastic about  Sarah.  I was impressed with the level of involvement and enthusiasm I felt he demonstrated by not leaving the stage when Sarah spoke.  He stood at the back of the stage with her family.  

There were other speakers, but none I imagine you care about.

Then, Sarah and her husband and two younger daughters arrived.  Sarah was dressed in a black jacket, tweed short skirt, and high heeled black boots.  She specifically pointed out that these were her clothes.  She was also wearing earrings made for her by her mother-in-law, who is full-blooded Eskimo.




Her youngest daughter particularly impressed me.  This has to get sooo boring for her.

We really enjoyed the rally and getting to see Gov. Palin in person, even if we did have to wait a looooong time!


Me, to the Seventh Power!

October 28, 2008


Hmmm. ElleBee has given me a new ticket on the “meme” train.  These become more and more challenging, because I am running out of things to say about me!  Stop laughing.  I mean it.

So, as writer’s block descends on me like a heavy fog, I sit here, keyboard at the ready, trying to think of things I can say about me that might even be mildly interesting to people outside my family.

Let’s see . . .

1.  I have taught all of my grandchildren the Hokie Pokie, and plan to dance it at their weddings. (I wonder if that statement will keep me from being invited?)

2.  I read an article years ago, which I wish I would have kept, that said one of the things that might suffer after menopause is your sense of direction!  I had never heard that before nor have I heard it since, but I reallllly have lost any sense of direction.  Thank you God for GPS!

3.  It’s early morning and I just heard the sound of a distant train, and I realized that since we moved into our first little house in 1967, we have always lived within hearing distance of trains.  Maybe that’s the reason I find the sound so pleasant — it evokes good memories.

4.  I am left handed, but figured out soon after computers came on the scene that it was easier to learn to use my right hand to control the mouse, than have to move the mouse whenever I used a computer someone else had used.  Is this an accommodation that most lefties have made?  I’ve never noticed what other lefties do about that.

5.  I mended a sock once.  When Hubby and I first got married, he showed me a sock with a hole in the toe, and said his mom would have darned it.  So, I got (probably bought!) a needle and thread and set about mending his sock.  When I was done, yeah, the hole was darned, but there was a huge mass of thread that would have taken up the room of a sixth toe in his shoe.  We decided right then that we would throw away socks with holes in them.  A great idea, we, especially I, have never regretted.

6.  I have only eaten liver once in my life.  That time, it stuck to the roof of my mouth and tripped my gag reflex.  I’ve never had any interest in trying it again.

7.  When I was a little girl, if I was sick, Mama’s “comfort food” for me was milk toast.  A piece of toast buttered and generously sprinkled with sugar, put on a plate and hot milk poured over it.  Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

Phew!  There they are.  Facts you didn’t even know you needed to know about me!

Giving Compliments, Part II

October 28, 2008


Recently I wrote a post about giving some “meat” to compliments, but this morning I’ve read a post here that I think gives that idea an interesting twist.

In her post, Praise That Sticks:  “I noticed . . .”, Beyond Just Mom suggests that praise that is given as an “I noticed” statement, rather than a direct compliment, resonates best with the child.   She says, “We want to shape our praise so that (the child) responds internally with ‘I did a great job.’”  

I’m not raising children any more, but this seems like good advice that is easily applied. 

Let me know what you think.

Taste-Kickin’ Chicken Chili

October 27, 2008



Isn’t it interesting how our food tastes change with the weather?  It’s been cool and rainy here the last few days, and that gives me a taste for cold weather foods. 

One of our favorites is chili.  So, inspired by Karen who gave a wonderful lasagna recipe using ground turkey, I revised our chili recipe a little and came up with something we love and is, hopefully, a little bit better for us.  I hope you like it too.

Taste-Kickin’ Chicken Chili

1 C. chopped onion

1 ½ Tablespoons minced garlic (from the jar), or 4 cloves of garlic, minced

Olive oil

20 oz. ground chicken or turkey (I use turkey)

½ lb. ground sirloin

3/4 of a Jar of Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce (I use Bertelli’s)

15 oz. chicken broth, low sodium

15 oz. diced low-salt tomatoes, not drained

2 cans beans, drained  (I use dark red kidney beans)

4 T. chili powder

2 t. sugar

Hot sauce, to taste (I use about a tablespoon)

Salt and pepper to taste. (I use low sodium products where I can, so that I can control the salt.) 


Saute’ onion and garlic in olive oil, in a large pot.  When onion is translucent, add ground meats.  As the meats brown, chop with the spoon to eliminate large chunks.  Add rest of ingredients.  Salt and pepper to taste.


Can be eaten as soon as it is hot, but it just gets better the more it is cooked.  So, leftovers are wonderful!

 BTW, my favorite crackers to eat with it are the Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil Triscuits.

It definitely takes the chill out of your bones, especially if you add sliced hot peppers with a little of their juice!

There are Tickets and Then — There are TICKETS!

October 25, 2008


Thursday I went downtown to see if I could get tickets for the Sarah Palin event tonight.

There was a long line, as I suspected there would be.

The woman sitting in the doorway, had been there since 4:30 am!  Sorry I didn’t get a better picture of her, but you don’t want to get too close to someone who would wait FIVE AND A HALF HOURS for free tickets to a political event!

So, I went and found a parking space and fed the meter two quarters.  One quarter gave me two hours, so the second quarter was just to guarantee I got my two hours!

And then I walked back to take my place in line.

When I arrived at the end of the line, this man greeted me.  People in lines they are in voluntarily are friendly like that, have you noticed?  You won’t get that kind of smile in the line at the license bureau!

I wasn’t the “end of the line” very long.  A minute later I turned around and took a picture of everyone behind me who had arrived in that minute!

The doors opened at 10:00, and in about 10 minutes I was in the door, where there was organized chaos.

You had to go to one of the many tables and fill out a form with your name and address, in order to get four tickets.

When I got to a table, I was greeted by a young man who may already be preparing for a career in politics (see him spotting a camera in the photo above) and a woman who could have been his grandmother.  The two of them struck me as clearly representing the past and the future of the local organization.

So, after getting my tickets, I head back to my car.

And found a ticket I hadn’t asked for on it!

I immediately looked at the meter. Can you see?  It has 1:09 left on it.  An hour and nine minutes!  So, why did I get a ticket?

As I left, I turned at the next corner, and lo and behold, there was the meter attendant, jauntily going on her merry way giving tickets hither and yon!  Aha.  Now I would have an opportunity to point out that she had made a mistake, let her offer her apology, and give her back her ticket, thank you very much.

So, I stopped and politely told the attendant that I had mistakenly received a ticket.  And then she, equally politely, told me that she recognized my car and I had received my ticket because I had parked in a spot that was no longer a parking spot — it was a loading zone!  She told me there was a “loading zone” sign “above,” but I didn’t go back to see — I assume she wouldn’t lie just to give me a $10 ticket!  Rats.  No apology and I still had the ticket.

So, I guess it was my fault.  If I would have noticed that a two-meter post was missing the meter closest to me, I would have probably taken a closer look at where I had parked.  

 But, unfortunately, I didn’t notice that there wasn’t a meter for the spot I parked in, and I had actually fed the meter for the car ahead of me!

So, there are free tickets that you get for standing in line for a while . . .

and there are $10 tickets that you get for not paying attention to where you park!

So, I hope we enjoy the rally, because, the way I see it, I paid $10.50 for our free tickets!

Opie Picks Sides

October 24, 2008


A political commercial just now on TV.  Ron Howard dressed as Opie having a political dialogue with Andy Griffith as Sheriff Taylor and Henry Winkler as the Fonz.

I’m trying to think how the discussion would have gone when these three men who played three characters who are still beloved by the majority of Americans, whether liberal or conservative, decided to do this. 

I wonder if one or all of them had any reservations about politicizing those beloved characters.  I like to think they did at least think about that.  But, it makes me truly sad that they chose to do it anyway.

Look What I Found!

October 23, 2008


We gave Furby’s to our grandchildren the Christmas they were so popular.  But, I was recently surprised to find this one, that must have been an extra, in the back of a closet.

Does anyone remember what year they were so big?  I’m pretty sure it was less than 10 years ago. 

I always thought they were kind of ugly, and I didn’t really “get” their appeal, but I remember they were certainly popular!  Now I’m wondering what I should do with this homely little guy.

Do you have any memories about Furby’s?  Of a child receiving one?   Or memories of how you managed to buy one when they were so hard to find?  Did you have to stand in a long line? 

I’d be interested to hear if seeing this picture immediately brought a memory to mind!

“Meaty” Compliments

October 22, 2008


Have you ever had someone compliment you, and then, if you thought about it later, wonder what had specifically inspired the compliment? 

I read an article a few years ago that addressed “empty compliments” and it struck a cord with me.  Before reading that article, I would have said, “A compliment is a compliment!”  But after reading it, I have taken its advice to heart and have tried to remember, especially when talking to children, that a compliment will mean much more if I am specific about what I am complimenting!  And, of course, I’m talking sincere here.  I think an insincere compliment is easily detected and dismissed by even small children.

Which would feel better to your child? 

GOOD:  “I’m proud of you.”

BETTER:  “I’m proud of you that you’re being neater.”  

BEST:  “I’m proud of you because I’ve noticed that you’re keeping your room alot neater, and putting your clothes in the hamper. Good job!”

And, by the way, I would suggest that if you aren’t already a “complimenter,” you look for opportunities to become one.  Don’t we all know that nothing feels better than a sincere compliment?  And they don’t cost the giver anything!  But, they can definitely make the day of the person on the receiving end.

May God bless all of us with a talent for seeing opportunities to give sincere compliments.