Sunday, November 19, 2017

This & That & The Other

Happy Weekend! 
Let's start from where I left off, shall I?

So last Friday, the 10th.  I went with the sisters & niece to Motor City Casino to see the "Thunder from Down Under".  It was 1000 times better than the "Girls Night Out" that we went to last year!!!
btw - Scrumpy's cider is ~amazing~!

 We got to the casino early and had a few drinks while waiting for the rest of our party.  We were supposed to have 12 people in our group, but 6 backed out at the last minute for various reasons - the bums.  One lady got 2 others at the last minute and we even offered tickets to the bartender & the lady who pointed us in the right direction from the parking structure (the bartender looked SO tempted, but she was stuck behind the bar until 10). 
The venue was super nice & we had awesome seats.  And it was more of an actual entertaining SHOW and not grubbing for cash like GNO was. 
 We thought it would have been better if they had more than 5 guys and the Emcee, tho.  They're supposedly Australian (2 had the accent at least) but based out of Vegas, so that show is probably bigger.
I hope this video works - you can clearly see that some guys can dance - and some cannot, even with this basic choreography.  The song ruined this for me, since Miss Angela did tap to it last year, which is why I recorded it!

But it was fun.  We walked out to the car with a lady (one of only a very few) who'd gotten pulled up on stage.  I think it was a mutual thing, since she was by herself and if she hadn't joined us, we would have invited her to walk with us (we felt safe in the parking garage, but nobody should be walking around alone in Detroit!!) But anyhoo, we asked her all about her experience.  She laughed and wondered how she was going to explain to her husband why her hands smell like coconut oil and there's a torn up t-shirt in her pocket!   

So last Saturday was the first craft show we all go to.  Usually there's just 4 of us - Mom & me & my 2 sisters.  But this time 2 nieces and a cousin also went and there were just too many of us to keep track of, so we split up for a while.  I bought some earrings & a scarf & a beautiful wooden ceiling fan pull from this old man that I buy wooden stuff from every year.  Love his work!  Also a lovely stained glass cross for the mother-in-law and some catnip mats for the cats.  Nothing too exciting.  
Daisy was the first to show up for catnip!

There was mandatory "Diversity & Inclusion" training at work, then this showed up on one of the desks in dispatch.  
Really, peeps?  We work at a trucking company - and while it's not TOO excessive, most of us do embrace the colorful trucker-speak.  So far I've only physically seen 2 people drop quarters in, but I heard that one of the supervisors puts a couple $ in at the beginning of his shift to cover that day.    

Tuesday I "power mowed" the lawn for the last time.  The last time the front yard was mowed was right before I set up for Halloween, and it had been even longer for the back yard!  We were in danger of losing Jack back there.  I'd planned to do it Saturday, but I couldn't get the damn mower started.  So I tried again when it was a wee bit warmer and then had to race the sunset.  I used the mower bag in the front yard so I could dump clippings on the flower beds.  Then the back yard I just mulched.  I even skipped parts. If anyone complains - they're more than welcome to finish the rest!  But I got done a lot quicker than I thought and was even able to make it to my WW meeting.   I've learned that if I get on the scale after working out, I'm up.  And mowing my lawn is one hell of a workout so the +1 lb really wasn't much of a surprise.  I was even sore the next day or two - especially my shoulder after yanking on the mower for about 5 minutes.  I coulda filled that swear jar!!

Last Wednesday we went out to dinner because Randy left for Arkansas Thursday.  We had to send him off with a nice evening all together.  He goes to his best friends' house in Fayetteville early every November to play radio and alternates years spending Thanksgiving with his mom in Hot Springs.  This year he's there at Thanksgiving, next year we'll be there at Christmas.  

Friday night I happily went and had dinner & a couple drinks with some girls from work.  I needed it after the day I'd had!  I went into work like usual and discovered that the only other person in my department decided to take Friday & Monday off and "forgot" to tell me. It was a last minute thing, because I had looked at the vacation schedule Tuesday and she wast NOT on it! Of course I thought something was wrong and texted her.  I'd just hit send when I heard her in the lobby. Apparently she had a doctor's appointment and her husband was in town (he works out of state a lot) so she took some time off.  Gee, thanks for giving me a damn heads-up!  Not that it would have changed anything, but I could have been mentally prepared for the extra 1 1/2 hours I stay when she's gone!  And I could have prioritized my own work a little better to get some stuff done sooner instead of it all getting shoved to the side since I can't do both jobs at the same time.  Pissed me off something fierce.  And I worked my ass off nonstop.   

So today was the other craft show that we always go to.  It was back to just the 4 of us.  I really didn't spend a whole lot of $$ this time!  I had to get Rusty a Christmas ornament.  I got Angel a white turkey cookie that came with a paint brush and edible paints so you could color it yourself.  Then a messy-bun hat for Angel (don't tell her - it's gonna be a Christmas present!) and a hunter's orange dog vest for Jack to wear when we got to sister Laurie's for Thanksgiving.  That's all I came home with!!  

We went to lunch after shopping and made our list of things to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner.  Actually - its more than that.  We'll got to Laurie's Wednesday night and come home either Friday or Saturday.  So we plan for the extra meals & snacks & what games & beverages to bring, etc. 
You know what's awesome about Michigan?  Most Thanksgivings & Easters are still cold, so we're able to use the garage as an extra refrigerator.  Fun fact!

*****gratuitous cat photos*****
because they're adorable!       
 Sorry for the sideways photo - Daisy's been taking advantage of my lap a lot lately.  
She's just too cute, tho!
Rusty was grooming Daisy here.   
Here's Rusty being all snuggly against my knee this morning. 

The weirdest thing happened today!  When Linda dropped me off at home after the craft show today - I could see Jack in the living room window.  That in itself in not unusual.  He likes to lay on the back of the couch and look outside. I came in and went directly to my bedroom and got comfortable and relaxed for a bit.  I wandered into the kitchen a little while later, shortly before Angel got home from dance....and noticed the TV was on and the end credits of a DVD were on the screen!  
It had all been off when I left and nobody had been home. 
Somehow...someone managed to turn the TV on.  And turned the power to the DVD player on.  AND changed the input so that the DVD that had been in the player may or may not have actually played in its entirety.  If this whole operation used one remote, I could guess maybe Jack stepped on it getting on or off the couch...but the DVD player needs its own remote! 
Guess someone wanted to watch the 2105 dance recital!! 
twilight zone deedee deedee deedee deedee GIF

So the rest of the weekend?  Hmm.  I really should put the indoor Halloween stuff away.  Most of it is still staged on the kitchen table. Yeah.... that sounds like a plan.  And lunch or dinner at the restaurant that Angel's working at now.  I'm supposed to ask to be put in her section so she can be my server.  Dinner at a sit-down restaurant by myself.....alrighty!  

Until later......

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Skywatch Friday 11/17/17

We had a completely spectacular sunrise yesterday.
 I saw a lot of posts on Facebook & Instagram about it. 
 From my driveway as I left for work (7am-ish)
 At the end of my block....
 At the end of my street - maybe 1/3 mile away from home
 Approximately 20 minutes later from my work parking lot. 


Linking up at Skywatch Friday


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Back on track

Alrighty!  I was pleasantly surprised when I got on the scale this evening.  My leader weighed me in, and as I stood on the scale, she leaned forward to look at the screen, then clapped her hands together.  I was thinking "oh, I'm probably down 0.2 lb or something, which is better than a gain anyway".  Nope!  I was down 3.6 lbs!!  

I'm not tempting fate - I'm not expecting to be that lucky again.  I haven't gone too crazy with the leftover Halloween candy and I didn't really snitch too much beforehand.  I do give out full-sized candy bars during trick or treating, but I really wasn't feeling anything.  The almond Snickers wasn't as good as I hoped, and I really haven't been tempted by anything else.  Maybe next year I'll stick with the Skittles & Starbursts, since 1) the kids seemed to be most excited about those anyway and 2) I don't like chewy candy.  I'd be OK with sending the rest to the studio with Angel.  But the bag of Reeses Cups that Randy got on clearance are a different story.  I've been grazing on those, plus I polished off 1 of the 2 boxes of Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts in the past week (which, btw, are 8 points each / 16 points per package!) 
Image result for going down the candy aisle like
Anyhoo.  I did indeed make it to they gym last night.  I'm not as sore as I expected to be.  I did 2+ miles (walking at a brisk pace) on the treadmill and did some of the machines, mainly for arms & back.  So back again tomorrow!  


Sunday, November 5, 2017

October Wrap-Up

sweeping clean up GIF

Brushing off the ol' blog here since I've sorely neglected it the past month or so!

So Halloween was what I'd call a success.  We only had about 40 kids, but that's about average.  Sad, because there are so many kids in our neighborhood, but the lack of streetlights on our street, no sidewalks and the fact there are maybe only 4 of us in the middle of the block who turn our lights on probably are a good explanation.  But that's OK - that means I can afford to give out full sized candy bars and toys!  
My favorite costume of the night?  A couple came up with their baby.  Mom was wearing baby in a front-facing carrier (she was probably 8 months old or so) and she was wrapped in a cardboard box painted like a podium with a Presidential seal on it.  Mom & Dad were dressed as Secret Service men!  Black suits, sunglasses, earpieces, the works!  Hilarious,  Close second was 2 year old Minnie Mouse who came running up the driveway, just giggling like crazy!  Too cute!

What I thought was funny were the parents wanting to get their kids' picture in front of the pony....and I could see the kids looking around all confused,  probably looking for ....
but this is really what was there!
Skeleton PONY! 
The horse is named ZipTie so of course the pony is DucTape!

I was pretty tweaked to get a text from my sister from Home Depot that they had their Halloween stuff half off - so I scored him for $50 Sunday - 2 days before Halloween!  He was actually on my list to get for next year, so this was a happy bonus.

I had a half day off work on Halloween so I texted Angel as I left work and asked if she wanted to grab some lunch.  This is how she went to lunch!
Luckily we chose to go to a restaurant she used to work at and the waitress was a girl she has danced with for years! 

I did my makeup right before trick-or-treating - it apparently looked pretty creepy after dark.  I actually forgot I was painted up like that, so some of the little kids were sort of hesitant to say anything to me - they just stared!   In fact when I came in,  Randy made me wash my face!

As of yesterday, all of the outdoor Halloween stuff has been put away for the season.  We emptied & cleaned out the shed of the squirrel carnage (I posted about that HERE), then put the Halloween blowmolds away and cleaned up & staged the Christmas ones in front so they'll be easy to get to after Thanksgiving. I still have to get the minimal indoor decor put away, but there's not a lot of that.

A bunch of us went to a haunted house / hayride on the Saturday before Halloween.  I haven't been to a haunted house in years and I've heard a lot about Slaughtered at Sundown.  We sat on the back of the wagon for the hayride and I made the mistake of being between Target & Target Jr. (my sister Laurie & Miss Angela) so the 'ghouls' kept going after them since they (and niece Lisa's boyfriend AJ) were freaked out the most. They kept trying to drag them off the wagon (it was one of those places that the actors could touch you). I thought it was funny & random that we were stopped in the woods and the wagon was swarming with ghouls and this girls walks up with a tray of donuts & cups of cider, shoving her way between the ghouls, offering them to us!   

I was disappointed in not being able to see the scenery - they clearly made these (probably really cool) scenes along the trail but weren't lit up well enough to see anything.
Lisa Owens's photo. 
The haunted house was pretty good.  I asked Lisa which of us was going to lead, and who bring up the rear, so we could protect the weenies in the middle.  As it was, a ghoul followed me in and kept reaching around me to grab at AJ!  It was hilarious!   We had paid extra for a VIP pass to get us to the head of the line so we walked right up and saw a couple girls Angel dances with in line.  They wanted to go thru with us but it would have been too big a group, so the guy at the door wouldn't let them.  As it was, being the back of our group of 5 I missed a lot since things happened at the beginning.  

Speaking of dance, they had their annual WERK intensive early this year.  Usually it's in mid-November, it was Oct 22 this year..  This is where they have 6 guest teachers come in and they get their happy little butts worked off for the day.  They love it!
I volunteered to take pictures again and one of the other moms did SnapChat videos. It was a lot of fun for me, too.  I like to be able to go into the studios and watch.  I confess I almost forgot to take pics during tap & hiphop because the guys who were teaching were completely mesmerizing. 

Their first competition is in February this year - regionals!  And they just decided this past week to scrap the hiphop line (all ages) dance and revisit the one they did so well last year.  So they can spend the next couple months polishing & tweaking it instead of learning an entirely new one.  There's a small line up change, but it's mostly the same girls.  We probably won't have to get a new costume,  woot!  The owner of the studio has high hopes for this dance.

Moving on - on Friday the 13th, Laurie had to have Captain put down.
Pic is from 2014 so he still looks good here.  He'd lost a lot of weight toward the end.

He was like 25 years old and hadn't been ridden in probably 2 years due to bad legs / arthritis / old age.  He had a hard time last winter, so Laurie was kind of expecting the inevitable.  So much so that she'd been looking for a new horse to help her other horse, Kisses, when this did happen.  She'd been looking all summer and just bought Remington about a month prior.  She called me the night before from his stall and she told me that he was telling her he just just tired and ready to go. He was having a hard time standing and even more of a hard time getting up from when he was lying down.  So she called the vet, gave him an extra dose of horse aspirin to keep him comfortable and spent most of the night in the barn with him.  The next morning, she treated it like any other day, gave him breakfast & let him outside.  So his last hours were peaceful & happy for him. It's been a few weeks now.  She said Kisses & Remi are settling into their new routine quickly.  It's sad.  She'd had him for a good 15 years.  He was such a good boy.

So that's all the excitement here,  I think I'm going to stop at the gym on my way home tomorrow and get back into a routine of moving my carcass.  It seems to silly to be paying for both Weight Watchers & Planet Fitness when A) I'm not following the plan so the fact I've only lost like 8 lbs in the last year is my own damn fault and B) I haven't been there in months.   So yeah.  Even tho I heard it's time for Weight Watchers to update their program again next month, I need to get my lazy ass doing some meal planning.  Exercise will help, too.  I didn't want to go back during October since it was crazy getting ready for Halloween, but now that it's on! 

And I'll get back in the habit of updating my WIP page and posting here, too.

This Friday I'm going to see the Thunder from Down Under at the Motor City Casino with my sisters - so that should be something fun to post about!   We're hoping it's better than 'Girls Night Out' that we went to last year - words cannot describe how awful that show was. 
Another gratuitous Daisy pic!
Until later!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Happy Halloween season (and stuff)!

Chris Timmons animation halloween october gifoween GIF
Why is it that I felt like I had SO much time before Halloween set-up time, so therefore was not working on any projects, or preparing for the Countdown blog posts, or Instagram photo challenge.  Then all of a sudden....BAM!!  It's here!!!  I swear there's a time warp that happens when I get home from work (around 4 - so plenty early).  I blink and it's time to start dinner, I blink again and it's 10:30pm!  What happens in that blink???  

So yeah.  I'm really scaling back on my indoor decorating this year, but I don't think the fam will care. Our house is too small for a party, so it's not a big deal to be more selective with what I bring in....altho I didn't find the tote with my H'ween nutcrackers in it!  I NEED those guys!  We'll be out in the garage putting the air conditioners away this weekend, so I'll look again then.  I'll also be bringing my skeleton horse out!  Hooray! 

So catching up.....

9/28 was Miss Angela's birthday (sniff - 20!!)  she had work and then dance until late, so we took her out to dinner Friday night to this place called Black Rock Bar & Grill.  They literally bring you a slab of rock heated to 750 degrees and a piece of raw meat!  You basically cook your own meat, so if its not how you like it, its your own damn fault. 
 This was the smallest of the desserts they offered....
That brownie was easily 6"x 6" x 3" deep!  All 3 of us barely put a dent in it.

My nephew, Austin's birthday is the day before Angel's, so we always make a family trip to the orchard to celebrate them.  This year we went to a different place, just a cider mill.  There wasn't anything exciting to do (other than eat donuts & drink cider!), but there were trails thru the woods and it's dog friendly, so we all took our dogs with us!
They all had a good time. 
Family portrait
Sisters (and canine cousins)

Then things were pretty mundane until last Thursday - Randy pulled something in his back, simply by standing up.  He was a typical guy about it, of course and did nothing but take some aspirin.  But Saturday it had gotten to the point it was real pain (not man pain) and he could barely stand up.  So I took him into the ER.  They took x-rays and loaded him up with steroids & muscle relaxers & pain killers.  He has an appointment Monday with an orthopedic specialist but he's been feeling pretty good since he came home (only 3 hours in the ER - woot!)  So until then - we have no idea what caused it.  I sure don't like seeing him hurting like that!

So Miss Angela's starting a second part-time job tomorrow - at 7-11 but she seems pretty happy about it.  The 2-3 days a week she's been getting at the dancewear store was barely keeping gas in her car.  She was working every day for a while - during the beginning of the dance season rush, but it's calmed down now. 

Speaking of dance - team parent meeting next week to talk about Nationals (shizz getting real!)  and on the 22nd is the annual day-long Intensive with the guest teachers.  I volunteered to take pictures again.  It's a good way to be able to actually go INTO the rooms and watch - heehee!

 So that's all, unless you want to read about all that's involved with setting up my cemetery?  I'm finally getting the lights close to how I want them.  I'm sure my phone photo here isn't doing it any justice, either.
Or you can read my post on Maple Grove's blog about Squirrels.
 I'll leave with this gem I saw at Target in the H'ween candy section the other day....  
 reaction happy excited awesome yay GIF

Friday, September 22, 2017

It's Fall!!!

Originals excited friday free gymnastics GIF
Well.....according to the calendar anyway!

And from WTForecast (surprising a G-rated forecast!)

Last weekend was my nephew's wedding in Chicago - it was a beautiful wedding!  My new niece is such a sweet girl & she fits right in with our family.
Laurie, (Randy photobombing), Terry, me
(stolen from FB)
I know there's a nice pic of Randy & I somewhere - it must be on his phone. 

We drove over Friday with enough time to get settled in the hotel before the rehearsal dinner.  Randy & I were in one car with Angel & her friend Brittany following (lot's o drama there, but I'm not getting into that mess- let's just say they're not friends anymore!)  They drove separate because Angel had a special dance class Monday night that she didn't want to miss and work Tuesday, where Randy & I had more time off. 

The wedding was Saturday, and by then we were all sick, of course.  I'm not sure if Brittany gave it to Angel, or Angel got it from the kids she works with at the store....but Randy started with the sore throat Friday & I had it Saturday.  Sinuses stopped up, chest congestion - all the fun stuff.   I'm sure the food was delicious at the wedding, but we couldn't taste it!  
The live band at the reception was excellent - they were called Recycle the Day.  They were a cover band & sounded really good with every song they did!  They even did some small choreography on their stage.  The dance floor was never empty. 

Sunday we played tourist.  By the time we were all up & around & fed, it was after noon.  We went downtown & up into the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) to the Skydeck.  Super awesome!   Basically you take an elevator 103 floors up & can go out ON the glass windows over the streets of Chicago. 
Then we got to experience a Chicago cab driver to take us to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner, then another taking us to the train station afterward.  Those guys have some serious cahones!  Wow!  When the sign in the back says to Buckle Up for Safety - they aren't kidding!   We had 2 cars - Randy, Angel & me in one; Mom, sister Laurie, niece Lisa & her boyfriend AJ in the other. 

It was late when we got back to the hotel and we were all exhausted.  We all visited in Mom & Laurie's room for a bit with Linda & Dave (the parents of the groom) - then turned in. 

Monday morning, everyone was getting ready to go separate ways.  Angel had to head home.  Laurie, Mom Lisa & AJ were heading to the airport, so Randy & I met up with Linda & Dave to have breakfast with the bride & groom and see their new house before we took off, too.   

Linda & Dave went back home, while Randy & I headed north.  We decided to take the scenic route home, thru Wisconsin & the UP!   We stopped at a maritime museum in Sturgeon Bay, WI.  It was very cool.  We picked a good time to go, since maybe 2 other people were there, but we never ran into them.  We actually learned some neat stuff!

I have this bucket list of sorts, where I want to visit all 30+ Maple Grove cemeteries in Michigan, because that happens to be the name of my Halloween display.  So Randy humors me.  There are 5 in the UP and one just south of the Mackinac Bridge, so we hit all 6!  Yes, I take pictures of interesting headstones & blog about them over on my H'ween blog (Maple Grove Cemetery) but they'll be up in October during the Countdown to Halloween.  Shameless plug, but I digress!

One was near Bond Falls, that Linda & Dave recommended to us.  It was beautiful!  The lower part was even wheelchair-friendly.  But if you wanted to climb up to the top, there were cement stairs & a path to follow.  
I've heard people say they're better than Tahquamenon Falls - 
but they're both glorious in their own ways!
We passed the house of some people after my own heart - they had a bunch of skeletons out doing stuff in their yard, so Randy stopped so Chuck (my mascot & traveling buddy) could "visit".
Yes, I travel with a googly-eyed skeleton wearing a camo onsie! (another shameless plug - check out #skeletonroadtrip on Instagram!)

Monday night, we hit one cemetery, then stayed the night in Iron Mountain.  Tuesday, we went to the falls, then hit a total of 3 cemeteries and ate pasties in the place voted best in the U.P.

Tuesday night we stayed in St. Ignace.  If it had been "in season" the suite we had would have been 2 or 3 times more than what we paid!  We had a lovely balcony overlooking Lake Huron and Mackinac Island in the distance.  And we had our own hot tub, which felt really good after sitting in the car for so long! 

The U.P. is seriously a beautiful place.  The leaves were just starting to turn color, so in a couple weeks, it will be spectacular!

After breakfast Wednesday, it was back on the road.  We didn't stop at Castle Rock because it was too foggy to see anything!  But we did get some nice shots of the Mackinac Bridge from Bridge View Park. 
We got the last cemetery & stopped at Tim Horton's in Gaylord, since it's the furthest north Timmy's in the state and we needed our fix. 

We stopped and pick the dog up from Laurie's house on our way home - he'd been kennelled with her Barney & Linda's Baxter & Webster while we were in Chicago, so she just picked him up when she got Barney.  I've never seen Jack so eager to get in the car and leave her house!  Normally I have to put the leash on him & pull him away.  

It's always nice to get home after being away!  Especially when you're not feeling well.  

On the plus side, we're all on the mend, even tho we're at the stage where we're coughing up nasty stuff.  Physically, we feel better!  Woot!

So plans for this weekend?  Next Thursday is Miss Angela's birthday, which means Friday is GO day for setting up my Halloween display!  So I'll be out this weekend, getting things out of storage & cleaning them up, staging them on the patio so they'll be ready to go!