Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sometimes You Have to Have a BLAST!

August was a rather strange month, thrift-wise. I did not save tons of money. I did go on a road trip which I planned for and it cost me half of what I expected to spend. One reason for that is that my companion is a night owl and she suggested we “drive on through” instead of stopping at a motel. Since I have known her for 45 years and I know her body clock to be accurate, I had no trouble agreeing with that.

We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express©, and did not have a special deal there, but they do serve breakfast, so other than gas, we spent very little. The occasion was the wedding of a friend, and there’s always food at weddings. Gas was reasonable, and her car got good mileage.

However, my point is, we've reached the age where you just have to do some things! My companion was my best high school friend, and we have kept in touch over the years and have had many experiences from which to draw.  I was always the early riser and she was the night owl. We knew what to expect. It was “easy” travelling with her. And, as we've discussed with other high school era friends, we need to do it again. Soon. Our idea is to find appropriate classmates and just spend a night (maybe two) at each stop and basically just spend gas and have a blast!!!! It sounds like an excellent plan for next summer.

As far as spending and saving this month; I ended up with a balance of $2.09. I win again. I did purchase some items for which the Piper will come to call in September, but they are necessities, quality items, and were on sale x 3. (I combined a coupon with a discount, and got another coupon for next time)

I didn't find any great ideas, but I did spend money on a Christmas gift, so I am ahead on that.

I guess my word for this month is DO SOMETHING AND HAVE A BLAST! Time is too short!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Whatever Do You DO All Day?

Many people ask, “What do you do with yourself now that you are retired?” so I thought I would give a little rundown on how my days unfold. Knowing fully well that I am not “normal” (and no one really is), this is just me. It goes without saying, none of this is engraved in stone any particular week either.

Hubby volunteers at the hospital three mornings a week. Those days are “mine,” and they are different. I usually begin a day with watching the taped Tonight Show, while having breakfast. I believe beginning any day with a laugh is a good thing, and starts me on the right foot.

Because I cannot exercise within two hours of eating (or I will be sick), I then usually do my Bible study. I am wrapping up a study on First Corinthians, and don’t start another one (Exodus) until September. During that time, I will spend that time reading some other devotion readings. I have a quiet time to pray. Then I may go to exercise, or I may do something else.

On Mondays, because there is no Tonight Show, I clean the house. I’ll admit, I take lots of breaks. There is no one here to notice how many breaks I take and I like it that way. Each week is different. Hubby and I clean up after ourselves and this is basic maintenance. I may not get to the study time.

Wednesdays are my day with Mom. After my morning routine, I drive to her house and we just visit, or I may take her to an appointment or shopping. Sometimes I visit my niece who lives nearby, or meet another friend.


Right now, my exercise classes are Monday evening and Saturday morning. As we move into the fall season, we all are hoping for some more classes and I will adjust. I do exercise on another day during the week, but it varies.

At this time, the days my husband does not volunteer are more or less reserved for things we might do together. This is not always the case; as he enjoys time for himself too, and he takes care of the yard. I might schedule a doctor or hair appointment, meet with a friend, or just go to the gym.

Soon Thursday nights will be choir practice, and as mentioned previously, Bible study resumes on Friday mornings.

I love to read and much of my time is spent reading. I have a plan to take an online class next month on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder of “Little House on the Prairie” fame. I loved her books as a child, and the television program as a young adult. I also do webinars, meetings and online education for CEUs for my license. This will be my last renewal (October 2014), but I am open to an ad hoc opportunity if it presents itself.

I think my husband imagined that I would be out running around with friends all the time and I just don’t! This does not mean I am not in touch. I make at least one call a day to someone, and I am in touch through Facebook and email. In a perfect week, I’d have lunch or dinner with a friend one day. Sometimes it doesn’t happen.

I look forward to being a Grandma again soon and that will consume our time. Outside of that, I am very happy to be a homebody. I don’t have a “shopping” day anymore. Weather, busyness, and need regulate that. There are two stores near the fitness club, so it’s not an issue.

This week begins Friday Night Lights again so we’ll be into that for a while. The new granddaughter has been instructed not to be born on a Friday night. She’ll probably spite me.


As you can see, there is no boredom. I have my house to keep, laundry to do, books to read, music to listen to, a phone with unlimited minutes and access to the Internet. I am connected, and I am not connected. It’s OK, either way.

A Sears Kit Home in the area.
**For the future, I have some things I am looking forward to:
·        Singing in the local symphony chorus.
·        Expanding my interest in architecture and history, with a special emphasis on Sears Kit Homes of the early 20th century.
·        Being a Grandma chaperone for preschool field trips.
·        Before we know it, headlong into our 45th high school class reunion.



Friday, August 22, 2014

What Would My Dad Think Today?

Prom 1970.
Everyone has thought of a deceased loved one and wondered what they would think of life today if they suddenly “returned from the dead.” This is beyond the emotions of missing them or wishing we could have a conversation—although I know my Dad would have a few things to say—it’s just thinking about how MUCH has changed since he died. Along with that thought, I am sobered to remember that it will be the same for my descendants.

My Dad died thirty-seven years ago, August 24, 1977. So many things make me think of him, not the least is his grandson, who is very much like him, although they never met. But there are other things that pop into my head as I go through my day, and I wonder “What would he think?” By the way, twenty-five years ago the very same week, my Aunt Petie died. My mother’s older sister died of lung cancer when she was 63. It just doesn't seem possible that it’s been twenty-five years.

SPORTS:

The first thing that comes to my mind is sports. The major change in basketball has been the three-point shot and how that has changed the game! We admit that the college teams are a farm system for the NBA. A University of Dayton fan since my earliest memory; what would he think of the NCAA today? Would he go Mad in March like his son-in-law, grandson, and grandson-in-law? He died before my Alma Mater became Division I. Maybe we would go to more ball games together.

What would he think of LeBron James? I’m sure he would have the same feelings that many have had, and probably the same level of “forgiveness.” He never lived to see Michael Jordan play college ball for the University of North Carolina (think on that for a minute!).

He died the same year the Big Red Machine died. He never saw Barry Larkin play. What would he say about Peter Edward? I can only imagine. What would he say about the steroid scandals? Subjects he never even thought about! I can only imagine what he would think today of Billy Hamilton or Aroldis Chapman.

He had definite opinions about designated hitting and the strategy of working around a hitting pitcher. He was a National League Baseball Fan. Perhaps today, after seeing inter-league play, he would acknowledge the fact that the DH role lengthens some players’ years of competition.

The ump at work.
How he would have loved watching his grandson play for 13 years. Oh yes, he would have been right there for every possible game. Maybe later he would have enjoyed watching his grandson umpire Little League, since he himself had been thrown out of a few (of my cousin’s) games; and his grandson did NOT put up with any crap!

The strategies in the game of football have changed quite a bit since he died. Not the die-hard fan, he would have become one when his grandson played. Like me, he would have learned to watch the defensive game as my son was a middle linebacker. Everyone watches the offense. We had much to learn. He would have been as much of a nut case as the rest of us as we watched my son’s high school team win two league championships in a row! Then later, as my son became a coach, enduring many “character-building years” until he served as defensive coordinator for a regional runner-up high school varsity team. He would have watched many games with us.

TECHNOLOGY:

It’s kind of hard to write about something that is so foreign to the experience of someone who has been gone thirty-seven years. He DID use a remote control and a microwave. The only place he saw a cell phone was on “Get Smart” and I laugh as I write this, remembering those. VCRs were on the horizon, but personal computers were not.

With computers, I tend to think he would be among the last to jump on board, as in some ways, I am. This would somewhat be defined by how much he HAD to learn for work. I think he would have a simple computer and have learned to look up things. He would do email. I don’t think he would do Facebook, unless I set him up so he could see all the pictures of the kids he loved so much. He would NOT be watching ESPN on his tablet, as his grandson—and even I—do.  He would have a “dumb phone” and I do not think he would have quit the landline phone.

But I can’t help wonder, what he would think of the “level” app on his grandson’s iPhone? My dad was a builder and brick mason by trade. What would he think of it? I might tease him with my “lighter” app and he would laugh, and some of the others would interest him; but I still don’t see him with a smart phone.

TELEVISION:

In 1977, the top shows were “Laverne and Shirley” (no) and “Happy Days” (maybe). He watched “All in the Family” and “M*A*S*H.” He did not watch “The Love Boat” or “Barney Miller.” As a family, we watched “The Walton’s” and “Little House on the Prairie.” He never saw “The Cosby Show”, “Family Ties,” “Cheers” or “Growing Pains.” He missed “Rosanne,” “The Wonder Years” and “Doogie Howser.” Just for a little perspective.

What would he think of how FAST our shows and commercials go? Of course, this has come little-by-little, and we don’t notice it as much; but if we came back from the dead from years ago, we certainly would. Catchy tunes are replaced by sound bites. And…..the best invention ever, we can tape and fast forward through the commercials. I do believe he would like that.

With regard to cable, being the sports fan that he was; what would he pay to watch? He could be a cheapskate on one day and generous on another. Generally speaking, he was conservative. But when I look at our U-Verse bill and our cell phone bills, I think he’d be shaking his head big time. On the other hand, he was never a hermit by nature and he genuinely loved watching sports. This is one subject I’m at a loss to comment on. After all, it’s come upon us gradually.

FOOD:

Mom and I got to talking about changes and she said not to leave out food. Now, I must preface this by saying that my father's weight varied from 157 pounds in the summer to 163 pounds in the winter ALL OF HIS LIFE! He was not obese—but he smoked cigarettes.

Dinner to my father was meat (usually beef), potatoes (usually mashed), a side dish (corn and peas were his favorites) and sliced bread and butter and jelly. We didn't have dessert every night, but I bet we did three times a week! Macaroni was NOT a main dish. Remember, he was raised by a mother who served big breakfasts, made home-made noodles and pies with lard, and all kinds of wonderful things—BUT Dad had a heart attack at the age of 45.

Dad and his oldest son. We didn't
eat out often
While I am FAR from perfect, what would he think of the amount of chicken, turkey and seafood I eat on a regular basis? Some of my meals, now that there is just the two of us, are one entrée. I might make omelets and top with salsa. Or, would he have adjusted too, as we learned more about different foods?

What would he think of the amount of eating-out we do? When I was little, we used to go to a hamburger place on the way to Grandma and Grandpa's. It sold seven hamburgers for a dollar. That took care of the four of us! He and my mother did dine out with friends! I watched my in-laws and my own mother age, and we've all adjusted to dining out more, as I’m sure he would have.

THE KIDS:

What would he think of his grandson, the teacher and coach, married to his lovely wife, the RN? His granddaughter, presently carrying the second of his two great-granddaughters, who is a generalist in HR for a big company, married to an actuary. (Since he spent years selling insurance, I wonder if he thought much about what actuaries do? It was never mentioned in our home.) My cousins have had fifteen more children, and the NEXT generation totals fifteen and more-than-a-half (our granddaughter)! Thirty-one souls he never met. (I am not even counting in-laws!)

He loved children. We have pictures galore of him patiently reading to them. Would he be playing games on the iPad with his great-granddaughter? Probably.

LOSS:

Since he died; we've lost both of his brothers and sisters-in-law, and his nephew. We've lost my mother’s sister. We've lost my maternal grandmother. We've lost a pre-term baby that would have been his grand-niece. And, we've lost his son, my brother, at the age of 51. I can’t imagine how he would have handled that. We've lost his best friends, and other peers from church and work.


This is the last picture taken of our extended family--August 6, 1977.
I imagine it would be a big shocker for him to come back to 2014. He would have been upset by my cancer diagnosis, but I think he would be proud of who I am as a person. I think he would approve of the life I have lived. (Well, I know my Mom does!) He would be enormously proud of his two grandchildren and great-granddaughter; and all his nieces and nephews and their families.

That’s what I think.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

National MY Social Security Week!

August 17-23 is National my Social Security Week.

Social Security will host events and activities across the country to raise awareness and encourage the public to sign up for an account. The campaign message is: “Prepare for your SOMEDAY: Join the millions and discover your benefits. Open a mySocial Security account.” 

Individuals can use a my Social Security account to access statements, check earnings and get estimates of future retirement, disability, and survivor benefits they or their families may receive. Individuals who already receive Social Security benefits can get benefit verification letters, make address and phone number changes, and start or change their direct deposit information.

If you have not already done so, and you are close to retirement age, you should go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/ and set up a My Social Security Account. It will help you to see what you are entitled to at age 62, your full retirement age and if you delay until 70 years of age. If you have 40 “credits” (which is what we used to call quarters, but the measurement is different now, it’s all explained) you are entitled to Social Security benefits. Even if you are in another retirement program, but you have enough credits for extra part-time or summer college jobs, or any other thing, you may be entitled to benefits. Every situation is different.

It will also give you numbers for disability benefits, should that become the situation. But generally, it lets you know what you will earn on your own Social Security record, and give you tools for planning.

I have had an account for years and my situation is different from yours. But it behooves us all to know what is going to happen.

It’s easy to do.

Grandpa's War Letters--Part Two

Upon finding the letters that my grandfather, Charles Arthur Kline (1891-1970) wrote home to his parents during World War I, it was hard to read the original letters, so it took me some time. He wrote a few letters to my grandmother also—she would have been 18 and he was 27—but he never mentioned her in his letters to his mother and father. That leads me to believe that there was not a romantic relationship between them until after he came home in 1919. They were married in September 1920.

The first letters come from Chillicothe, where he must have been training, although he found life redundant there. (Keep in mind, it’s just another kind of redundant at home.) He missed the comforts of home, could not always get passes to come home, but I did not get the feeling he was lonely.

He found time to write to family and several friends. He mentions aunts, uncles, “grandma” and cousins that I have never heard of. It would seem that he was part of a close family network, and this was a surprise to me. He only had one sibling, Hazel, and she died of something we could cure today at 19. If he was 27 and a few years older than she was, it was a fresh loss. He speaks of sending his mother money to put flowers on Hazel’s grave for Christmas Day. My grandmother told me that I looked somewhat like Hazel as a young woman; keep in mind that Grandma died when I was 18. She never knew me in my full maturity.

By the time I came along, I never knew of this large family connection. His parents, step-mother and Hazel were long gone, and I never heard much about cousins.

He also mentions going to the YMCA every evening for movies and other entertainment. He uses the YMCA stationary to write home. He talks frequently of his pals in the army, and asks of other Medway fellows and how they are doing. So, a surprise to me, he was very much a social being.

They waited in Chillicothe for orders to go to France. There was illness and quarantine and eventually they move to New York City. He regrets not being able to see more of NY because some were able to get passes. They waited in NY also. It seemed that nothing went fast in the army, as he repeated more than once.

The letters begin in October 1917 in Chillicothe and two letters, in early June 1918 are written from New York City, but by July 1st he is “somewhere in France.” His letters pass through censorship and are initialed on the bottom of each one. His November 14th letter speaks of the peace, but that nothing happens fast in the army and although they all want to be home for Christmas, he isn't holding his breath.

In late 1918 and early 1919 he writes of seeing some of the areas of war-torn Germany. He experiences hospitality of the German people in their homes. These letters truly describe Germany in post-war condition. Beautiful and terrible.

The last letter is written April 4, 1919 and then he must have headed home.

First of all, I was impressed with Grandpa’s penmanship. (My great-grandmother, not so much). He did not write short letters, and they were not flowery, but he described in detail the surroundings (until he was in France) and everyday life of the soldiers. It was much more intense in France, and he couldn't tell about it, but I could gather from the words he did use that it was dirty, nasty and he was close to shooting. He described living in “dugouts” they dug with their own hands.

I was amazed at his family dynamics. He mentions all the relatives and sends his wishes. He tries to write everyone who writes to him, but sometimes that is not always possible, so asks his mother to share the news. He mentions a person named Alma that he writes to often; but other than that said, I have no idea if she is a romantic interest. He did write to my grandmother, but she lived in Fort Recovery at the time. She was hardly “the girl next door.” I know nothing of their courtship and these letters give me nothing about that.

He sent money home regularly to his parents. I was particularly touched about his request for the flowers for his sister’s grave. He asks them what they are doing with it, but I don’t have their responses.

He certainly wasn't a “lifer.” In one of his last letters, he says he looks forward to being home and never wants to hear the word “army” again.

One has to wonder if he ever experienced what we call PTSD today. I have no idea. By the time I remember him, he was retired and sometimes he was crotchety, but he would play cards with me and talked to me while he painted pictures “by number.” He loved doing that! We didn't talk about deep things, but I felt loved by both my grandparents.

I am so grateful to have had this window into a time I knew existed, but never talked about. This discovery has been a tremendous blessing.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lost Letters From My Grandpa!

Every once in a while a “Connection Intersection” entry begs to be written. Something happens in life that is remarkable and is an illustration of our shrinking world, opportunities to share information and truly create connection.

To my Great-Grandmother, who
came first at that time!
I realize not every person likes history the way I do. Even so, perhaps you can understand my thrill. This blog is for all Facebook nay-sayers. It is what can happen that is just short of miraculous.

I know much about my mother’s family. There has been much physical and oral sharing of history, stories and information. I am very familiar with my mother’s home town—mainly because I worked in business and non-profit there, and I understand my own history, as well as the interconnections with other families’ history.

That said, I have very little history from my father’s family. Upon the death of my grandmother in 1972, my father and uncle, who were basically good guys, didn't have some of their finer moments. They threw out boxes of family history, including the family Bible. My mother was beside herself; but it was one of those minutes she kept her mouth shut. I’m not sure she was right in doing that, and although I have been at that place myself with my husband’s family, I have to think I would have been, uh, vocal!

I do have pictures, but I know very little about these people. I can see a resemblance of my brother to my grandmother’s brothers, who I never knew. I just know their names.

So, you can imagine my glee (I can’t think of a better word), when I was on Facebook and someone posted a letter FROM my grandfather to the “friend” (who would become his wife) from WWI in 1917. It wasn't long, but it was a window into their world. I thanked the poster publicly on Facebook, and he wrote a private message to me (for those of you not on Facebook, you can private message those who are not your friend, but that you might have information for) telling me he won these on eBay along with some other things and he was planning to donate them to Wright State, but that he would create a CD for me with all 51 of the letters.

I went to his house to get the CD, and I beheld a home with as much history of the area as I have ever seen in once place. This man is 77 years old and very computer-savvy. I asked him if everything was backed up, and yes it is, in two places. I didn't stay long because I had groceries in the car on a summer day; but the amount of images and stories he had was fabulous! I could have spent the entire day with him.

I brought my CD home and put the files on my computer and began reading them that evening. I was transported to another world, of a man that I did not know. I figured out that my grandfather was just about my age when I was born, and I am expecting my second grandchild. There’s a whole lot of life that has been lived before the age of 61.

Next time I will get into the specifics of what I learned about my grandfather, his family and a war that was fought 100 years ago. Stay tuned.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Time For Both: Feast and Famine (and Free)

Last weekend I went on a “Girls’ Road Trip,” that I had put money back for (and did not spend it all). You can find our adventures here if you like; but we did not scrimp on accommodations, nor did we take the car with the lesser gas mileage. The word was comfort. Gas is what it is, and we did not worry about splitting in “half,” we took turns buying a tank—actually at about a half-tank—and some places are cheaper than others.  We didn't spend tons of money on food, because there was a wedding, a reception and the Holiday Inn Express© serves breakfast.

I think one of the things I would interject here is that I have known my traveling companion for forty-five years, and we decided ahead of time that we were NOT keeping tabs of every dollar. There was a time for that, and we have lived it—and we’re past it. We had a great time and we deserved it. Period.

We did decide to drive straight through while coming home, so that saved a hunk of money. We arrived at my house at 12:30 AM. I chose not to take my keys, therefore I had to wake the Love of My Life, who says he still is. He was up at 6:00 AM. I slept until 9:00.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Changing subjects a bit—today I went to a “Lunch on the Lawn” concert at the art museum that I was employed at some time ago. The series is a collaboration of several arts groups in a modest sized town (county seat) and some wonderful sponsors. I never got to see an entire concert, because work took first priority—and it always preceded the largest fund-raiser of the year, which I was overwhelmed with—so today was really a treat and it was really FREE.

My point here is that every town has some truly free entertainment, and usually it is sponsored by several people or businesses. My suggestion is to follow these organizations on Facebook or online if you do not get a newspaper anymore, so that you will know when events are planned.


This isn't just about the arts, either. I recognize that many have other interests. There are free lectures at the library, free festivals (there you have to be disciplined about what you will spend!), many pre-season sporting events for all seasons, car shows and on and on.

I would mention, however, to take note of the sponsors and patronize their businesses. I know I am more sensitive because at the museum I personally had to TYPE all those names, and CORRECTLY! When I go to any concert or production, I read the list of donors. I just do.

I went to this concert alone; which did not bother me because I knew I would know several people well enough to approach. (There were others that I do not know well enough to approach). It was also in the middle of the day. I am not afraid to do things alone, but I am sensible about it. I think this goes without saying.

Look around and see what is available in your hometown! I bet there are plenty of free activities!




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Another Road Trip and a Wedding!

This trip was needed and wanted on several levels and did not disappoint.

My friend Brenda from Wisconsin was getting married to her fiancé Scott, in a wedding to be held at an annual festival in their town; on a date when the follow-up would be a concert by their favorite band, “Here Come The Mummies.” They are studio artists who started their own band and they are very good! More on that later.

I have known Brenda since high school choir. We did not go to the same middle school (we called it junior high back then). My traveling companion, Debbie, has known her since third grade. Debbie and I have been friends since summer of 1969, when I needed a ride to the pool and she was already driving and we took our three younger siblings with us and kept them out of our mothers’ hair. We get a lot of mileage of how we met.

Last year when Brenda and Scott decided to marry, I really wanted to go, but I wondered if I could make this happen. My other good friend, Beth, was going to be matron of honor, just as Brenda had been maid of honor in HER wedding 41 years ago. Beth wanted to fly, however, and I didn't want to be limited by flights. When Deb said she wanted to go, I was on board. We have been very good friends since we were 16 and we know each other so well that we know what each other is thinking.

We are pretty much on the same page with our religion and politics and other important matters; but we are polar opposites in lifestyle. I am an early riser and she was ALWAYS a night owl; even in high school when she was forced by society to get up early and get an education. I didn't know how this was going to work.

We left at 8:30 AM EDT, and made excellent time. We made two wrong turns, but my google map app let me know right away we were headed the wrong way and we corrected our mistake. It might have added—with both situations added together—a half hour to our day. We make pit stops and we did have lunch at 3:00 PM at a Subway. It was good to get out of the car.

We had a lovely day, two country girls who loved the drive through the lushest part of the growing season in the Midwest. Illinois was beautiful. Deb had never seen windmill farms before and she was fascinated by them. We totally enjoyed the uneventful ride, the scenery and the banter in conversation. We became friends at 16 and we are now 61. I guess you could say this was our 45th anniversary trip. In 45 years, we have a few stories to tell.

Arriving at the Holiday Inn Express about 5:30 EDT or 4:30 CDT, we were delighted that our motel was less than a mile from Brenda’s house. After settling in, we went over to the house and visited for a while. I got the guest book, which was “my job” at the wedding. We later had a light meal at Applebees.

On Saturday, we slept in—both of us—and then went to the breakfast in the motel lounge. We went swimming in the pool and sat in the hot tub, which was wonderful. While swimming, I got a text from Brenda to come to the Perkins restaurant in front of the motel, so we got dressed and walked over there. We weren't really hungry, but I can always find room for pie, and we were able to meet some of the others coming to the wedding. These were mostly relatives. I've heard about them, but never met them.

The wedding was not until 6:00, so Deb and I had time to shower and rest and pick up a sign at Brenda’s house. By now it was Wedding Central and we didn't stay long. We were to drive to the middle school, pick up a shuttle provided for all by sponsors, and it took us directly to the festival. Debbie stayed at the bus stop with the sign, while I traipsed off to find out exactly where this wedding was going to be held. I had two “professionals” (we all know they are volunteers) tell me two different stories, but I finally found the spot and so I stationed myself at a place to direct people more precisely to the area.

I missed this!
Because of my location, I missed the wedding party’s arrival on a vintage fire truck. Durn. I did get to see the pictures, but would have liked to been there. The wedding started a little late because someone had pinned the photographer’s car in at the house. A taxi was sent for her, and that took some time. In the meantime, I passed the guest book around.

It was a beautiful service and represented the two individuals very well. It was sincere and heartfelt, and sweet. This couple has been through much together already, which I am not at liberty to discuss, but I felt like, “Well, of course they are going to be together through ‘thick and thin.’ They have a track record!”

After the short service, we went to an area where the groom’s cake had been set up and we all had some cake and got to know each other better. I didn't count, but I think there were about fifty of us and we really could genuinely converse at a deeper level. Later in the evening, some of us went to the other side of the park to the “Here Come The Mummies” concert. It reminded me of one of our concerts in the park in our hometown, with lawn chairs everywhere. There were many people standing also. Not me.

Here is a link to information about  Here Come The Mummies but the short story is that they were studio musicians that formed a band and dress up like mummies. They played and sang and danced for almost two hours without a break. They must be young and very energetic!

The FHS Group!
Debbie and I took two of the bridesmaids back to the house and headed on to the motel. I suppose we settled down about 12:30 CDT. We slept well until 10:00 CDT! Checked out by 11:00, and then headed to the reception/cookout at Brenda’s. We had perfect weather, great food and again, wonderful people to hang around with. Deb looked at her watch at 4:30 OUR time and we wanted to get on our way, but it felt like the party was just getting started! I hated to leave, but we had decided to drive home in one stretch. Again, Debbie the night owl could bring us on home. So we said our goodbyes and gave our hugs.

It was a good trip until we hit our home state and some pop-up showers that were quite heavy. By that time I was glad she was behind the wheel. In Illinois, we were coming up behind an oversized ½ “house” (never did see the other half) that had an entire tire fall off. The tire did not come into our path and what I would assume to be the bolt holding it on became a projectile and hit the windshield, shaking me up a little! It happened quickly, only the windshield sustained damage, and the truck got right off the road and did not affect us or any other driver. I don’t know where the tire ended up.

So we did a little slow breathing and settled down, and that was enough excitement for the day. Only later did we admit that we BOTH thought of a mutual friend who was killed in 2004 in a very similar kind of accident. The difference is that the windshield held back the projectile in our case.

We pulled into my driveway at 12:30 AM EDT. I did not take my keys. (Well, I wasn't going to need them!) My husband was SOOOO happy to see me!

Whether you want to consider this road trip a trip to witness a good friend’s wedding, a 45th anniversary trip for two good friends, or just a road trip with a good friend for a change of pace—it was really a wonderful time and we are ready for another!



Friday, August 1, 2014

A Bathroom Re-do On the Cheap!

By now, I hope you have found your way to my Facebook page if you use Facebook. The thing I like about that “place” is that I can “like” pages that I think would apply and that readers would be interested in. Once in a while there will be something I find that I think someone might find interesting and I can post in on Facebook.

So, July was a long month and it included my birthday. I was determined to stay within my budget and NOT touch birthday money. Keep in mind that this is just a challenge to me; if something comes along that I TRULY need, and all my medical bills are already taken care of, I have resources. Once in a while we talk about medical bills, but not often; and this year is so different from last year. I am blessed.

I found out that I may have been exposed to peaches that carried the bacteria “listeria.” After reading up on that, about all I can do is manage my immune system the best way possible, and who wouldn't do that anyway? I doubled my Vitamin D dosage, and then just keep my wits about me, knowing that at the FIRST SIGN of illness, I get my little self to the doctor—who has been informed—or an urgent care center.

So now I am a little paranoid, even about fresh fruits and vegetables. In a few days, SubHub and I are going to a farm market in a community nearby and see what is there. We have a coupon for 20% off and I may do some buying.

Well, I made it through July with $1.95 to spare. Haha. I win. Yesterday, we went to get some pillow fillings for SubHub’s den and we went to Hobby Lobby© and I have an app on the phone that saved us 40%. (I love it when my smart phone saves us money!) Then I came home and followed through on an idea I had been playing with for a couple of weeks.

New subject: I have a yellow bathroom and I have deep red accessories and towels that are probably about 8 years old, because I bought them to show our old house attractively when we were selling it. Yellow can act as a neutral, and I needed to think what color I would like to switch to. The red was showing every piece of lint and dirt and I was just plain tired of it. 

I thought for a while and blue is opposite of yellow on the color wheel and I like to use opposites every so often. I went to Amazon.com and I found two complete sets of towels and two rugs in an “Azure Blue” (?) for $40. Over $35 is always shipping-free. I had a birthday gift certificate loaded and two Swagbuck rewards cards loaded, and this entire re-do cost me just under $10. I have a wreath with dried flowers in there and I don’t want to replace it, but a few flowers at Hobby Lobby cost me $2.00 and I needed to find something new to hang on the opposite wall. I always shop my basement first, and low and behold, a blue framed cross-stitch of a Precious Moments. It needs cleaned up, but it’s cute and represents a good bit of work before Arthur struck my right thumb.

I ordered the stuff from Amazon and within a week will have an almost new bathroom. At least I am done with those red rugs! I will post pictures later.


So that’s my big deal for the time being. Other than that, I was thankful the cost of gas is down!