Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Young Professionals

We have been having great attendance on Tuesday nights.
This last week, we ate dinner together and then the young
adults assembled Halloween bags for the
kids of our ESOL students (one
of our ministries at church).
They also made enough bags
to hand out to our Food Share clients.

After dinner, we walked up the hill to the
"cardiologist's house." He hires someone to
decorate his yard for Halloween and it is unbelievable.
I didn't take pictures because I hate
clowns and he has scary clowns.

We walked back down toward our house
and they decided to walk a couple
of blocks more to see the Barbie House
(see earlier post).

Aren't the bags cute? I got almost everything
from Amazon - coloring books,
small packs of Crayola crayons, a slap
bracelet, a glow in the dark bracelet,
a pencil or two, spider
rings, and candy.

We love this group of folks!


Monday, October 30, 2023

Gran and Pops

Mark and I had a full weekend of being Gran and Pops to two of the cutest little girls you ever did see!
Granddaughter #2 and her mommy drove up and spent Saturday and Sunday with us so lots of playing went on. Pops is THE best Barbie player ever.

We live on a park (basically our front yard is the park) and there were multiple trips to the park!

She was thrilled with the leaves on the ground!
Simple pleasures!!

She had a pizza picnic for dinner.
Yes, those are Halloween plates.

Once it was dark, we rode around to see all of the neighborhood Halloween
decorations and I was driving so I didn't take any photos.

On Sunday, we all had lunch together at Mark's mom's house and I love watching the two cousins

After lunch, granddaughter #2 and her mommy headed home and
granddaughter #1 came home
with us. Once again, there was
much playing of Barbies.
Right after we moved back into our house,
these two made a whole town,
including a Dollar General, on this thick
floor covering paper. Mark rolled it up
and they got it out again yesterday.

Before dark, they headed over the her favorite 
park in our neighborhood. They have
redesigned it. I think Mark took
some photos but I haven't seen

I had saved pizza from the night before
so she had a quick supper
of cheese pizza (said with an
accent like Peppa Pig).

We were waiting on it to get dark
so that all of the lights in the
neighborhood would be


We rode around the neighborhood in the golf cart to look at all of the decorations. She actually had to work up her courage to touch the giant skeleton.

This was her favorite, of course. Barbie and Ken 
were in a Barbie box.
They even had Barbie and Ken on the upper floors and
the lights on their house were pink rather than orange.

I think this one might have been Midge??

Our best news of all is that in April, we will be Gran and Pops to another
little girl. Let me just say that this coming baby is a miracle and
a wonderful surprise! Here granddaughter #2 is holding
the pink balloons and the ultrasound of her baby

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Sunday Stealing

I'm joining up with the Sunday Stealing crowd:

1, Do you decorate for Autumn? Yes, I love fall decorations – from Halloween to Thanksgiving. I don’t decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving because I love fall decorations so much!

2. How often do you clean out your closets? I’m sure I don’t do it often enough. I did get rid of a lot of stuff after the fire. I had a closet full of things at a friend’s house and I didn’t wear them for a whole year so I weeded out most of those and gave them to one of my mother-in-law’s caregivers.

3. When is the last time you planned a surprise for someone? When we went to Israel earlier in the year, my boss (senior pastor) had a birthday. I got in touch with everyone going on the trip and asked them to bring a card and a small “thought” gift and we surprised him at lunch that day.

4. Are there foods you really don’t like? Beets. I don’t like beets.

5. What is something you recently learned? I learned something new about an app I use – I can hold my finger on the app and it opens a few choices on the home screen. Very handy. I’m also learning all sorts of things in BIO 102.

6. Items you’re most likely to buy at a convenience store: Diet pepsi, bottles of water, cheese its.

7. Do you believe in the paranormal? I’m not sure.

8. How would you describe your spirituality? I am a Christian. I work in a church. I facilitate two different studies every week. My goal is to Love God and Love people – all people.

9. Do you make plans far in advance: I do like to plan things in advance.

10. Do you like being scared for fun? I used to! We went to a play and they fired a gun . . . which they warned us about at the beginning before the play started. I still jumped about a foot in the air! I used to like to go to Haunted Houses but I don’t know that I would enjoy them anymore.

11. What has been difficult for you lately? I need a few more hours in every day. I try to cram too many things into too short of a time.

12. Have you ever written or read fanfiction? No

13. What type of wall art do you have in your home? We just bought some new canvases that are so pretty (see below). I also have art from family members (see here) and art from travels.

14. Are you more likely to be private or overshare? I’m pretty sure I overshare always.

15. What have you recently learned to live without? We learned to live without our house and without our things for a whole year and ten days.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Who is My Favorite Artist Hodgepodge?

I am joining up with Joyce and the other Hodgepodgers today for a few questions!

1. October 25th is International Artists Day...do you have a favorite artist? If so tell us who and why. Well . . .my granddaughters are my very favorite artists! Our daughter is quite talented, also. My niece, who painted the canvas in our kitchen, is an engineer by degree but is very talented as are both of my sister-in-laws! I have art from all of them in our home. The other kind of artists . . .I love Starry Night by Van Gogh. Supposedly I’m named after the Mona Lisa (who I was the voice of during our women’s retreat) so I must say Leonardo Da Vinci, too.

The lemons hanging in our kitchen were
painted by our niece

Mark’s sister painted the fish PLUS she
made the fancy mats!

This is art by the two granddaughters 
and they are hanging on the wall
in my upstairs office.

Our graphic designer at work drew this as
our logo for the Women’s retreat. The theme 
was Portraits. One of the break out sessions was
to paint her. I didn't have enough time to finish painter her.
I’ve got to tone down her skin and
finish her. I’m not even good at painting something 
someone else drew.

My other sis-in-law painted this
years ago. It hangs in one of
the guest bathrooms upstairs.
I carried Rubrum Lilies in
our wedding.

2. Would you describe yourself as artistic? Elaborate.  I am not artistic at all. I am creative in some ways. I can copy projects and I’ve come up with a few of my own over the years but I am NOT artistic. (See above)

3. What's a skill, task, hobby, or job you've done so often you now have it 'down to a fine art'? I can out-type just about anyone!

4. How often do you dine out? Fast food, fine dining, or somewhere in between? Tell us about a less than stellar restaurant experience you've had recently (or not so recently if that's easier).  We dine out a couple of times a month at a nicer restaurant. We ate out with friends a couple of weekend ago at Bistro V. I had a wonderful salad with grilled shrimp. A less than stellar restaurant experience . . .I am sure we’ve had them and I can almost hear the discussion about the experience in my head. Sometimes Mark orders the wrong thing in a restaurant. I know – the kids and grandkids and Mark and I all went to Bricktops for Mark’s birthday dinner. The steaks were all cooked incorrectly – some were overdone; some were underdone but those who ordered steak didn’t complain because we had such a sweet server.

We had a table full at Bricktops

We were at Casual Pint (pub style food)
With our good friends/neighbors…
Being silly

5. Do you celebrate Halloween? To what extent? Are there trick or treaters where you live? Yes – see previous posts! We have tons (1200) of trick or treaters and our neighborhood decorates like it is our career!

6. Insert your own random thought here.  I just ordered two rugs from Boutique Rugs.com because I read about that website on a blog. I’ll let y’all know if they work. We actually need one more but I couldn’t make a decision. I actually thought about ordering the same exact rug for the dining room and living room. Have any of you used the same rug in two rooms?

These are the two I ordered. The red one is for the loft upstairs and the neutral is either dining or living/family room. I ordered large ones.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Sunday! Sunday!

I'm joining up with the Sunday Stealing crowd. Please forgive punctuation and possibly spelling errors and lack of cohesion in my thoughts. I haven't had much sleep!

1. October reading & writing goals and plans – I guess my reading goals would be to read all three chapters of my Biology textbook due right now. I almost always have a book for pleasure on my bike so that while I pedal, I can read.

2. Something I did that totally paid off – accepted the offer for my job. I’ve been there almost 20 years and this job has meant so much to me – not financially but personally.

3. I want to see this make a comeback – padded shoulders! Not really – just kidding!!

4. Generational traits I really value – would good work ethic count as a generational trait? If so, my parents had it and I have it. Mark’s parents had it and he has it. I think our kids have it, too.

5. Changes I’d like to see in my daily environment – I would like to see people being kind instead of mean; I would like to see all people treated with respect

6. Favorite soup dishes – I love lots of soup! I love chilis and stews and bean soups and vegetable soups.

7. Start with the best part, or save the best for last – I have a tendency to eat one thing at a time on my plate and I usually save my favorite for last EXCEPT French fries. I am always going to eat the French fries first.

8. The most chaotic part of my daily life – I guess it would be the amount of things I cram into every 24 hours

9. If I could only eat 10 things, I’d pick – watermelon, French fries, lean ground beef, chicken, apples, grapes, bananas, green beans, PBJ’s with sugar free jelly . . .oh wait! Except for the French fries, that is pretty much what I eat already.

10. What Autumn feels like where I live – coolish nights, warm days, crisp blue skies

11. The teacher who would be most proud of me – Mrs. Studdard was my first thought. She taught honors English my Senior year. Actually, I think one of my accounting professor from when I was taking classes back in the early 80’s would be proud. He knew I was getting married to Mark and he encouraged me to finish my college degree. I’m a tad late but I’m working on it now.

12. My go to Halloween snacks & treats – UTZ bats and jacks and Veggie Ghosts (Target)

13. 10 ways my life is great right now –

·        We are back in our home

·        We have lots of fun new stuff

·        We didn’t lose many sentimental things

·        We have amazing friendships

·        I have a great job

·        Mark loves volunteering each week

·        We have amazing kids

·        We have amazing grandkids

·        I am loved

·        Each new day is a clean slate


14. A perfect day indoors looks like – a good book to read, lots of diet pepsis, a cat for snuggling

15. Pumpkin spice – is great in a Premiere Protein shake

Saturday, October 21, 2023

What's been going on around here

Well, I got back into town to find out that our brand new heating system doesn't work! The builder arranged for the company to come on Tuesday to fix it. We did use our new gorgeous fireplace and it did raise the temp in the room several degrees.

I love fall decorations!

I usually try to set the table and decorate with a centerpiece so it will look nice for our Tuesday night group.

Mark left to go out of town on Thursday but I was able to go to Emma's last game of the season. They were using pink pom poms for Breast cancer awareness. I asked my daughter-in-law if the girls knew why they were using pink poms poms . . .they didn't.

This is our entire row of supporters -- her mommy and daddy, her gran, her Wynn, her grandma, her Donna, and Bentley (German Shorthair) and Maggie (another puppy) -- all to watch her cheer.

Mark and I went to Hoover Antiques last week and bought this chest and mirror for our entry hall. I love it! We also bought 4 new paintings for the walls - 3 big paintings on canvas and one smaller one in a metal frame to go in the loft upstairs.

I know I posted a picture earlier but I made the banners and hung them on Friday afternoon. The banner on the left is "Thank You." The banner on the right is "Hoover Fire Department." Our skeletons are dressed as firefighters.

My car was FILTHY - inside and out. I took it for a $50 detailing. I felt horrible because I realized I didn't have any cash - I think I had two dimes. I was feeling bad that I couldn't tip the guys BUT when I got home, I opened the back and they didn't vacuum the very back portion of my car.

I am loving my room upstairs. I wrote the Sunday School lesson, this blog post, and I studied up here since Mark isn't home. Do you see the rug under me? I bought it at Aldi for $49.99! Speaking of rugs, where have you purchased your rugs? I'm having a difficult time finding what I want for the price I want to spend.

A week ago, we met our young professionals at Moss Rock Tacos. I had a watermelon margarita. It was not very sweet at all.

We had a great group and sat outside and the weather was perfect!!

Last week, I bought groceries for us, for Tuesday night, part of the food for our staff retreat, our part of the Sunday lunch family meal . . .would anyone care to guess how much this cost? I tried not to faint! The cart was horrible to push! 



I’m joining up with Joyce and friends for Wednesday Hodgepodge. Joyce writes the questions and we answer and link up here!

I’m actually writing from Camp Sumatanga in the early morning hours of Tuesday. We are here on an overnight staff retreat. We worked all day yesterday and our boss (senior pastor) grilled salmon and flank steak for everyone last night and I brought the sides.

There is a hint of fall in the air!!

On to the hodgepodge:

1. What's something small you tend to sweat even though you know you shouldn't? I’ve started this answer three times so maybe that is my answer. I sweat “saying the wrong thing.” Yesterday I made a comment in a meeting that within seconds I realized had nothing to do with anything. I HATE when I do that.

2. October 17th is National Pasta Day...do you like pasta? What's your favorite? Cooked at home or eaten in your favorite Italian restaurant? How often do you make/eat pasta? I like pasta. I like one pot spaghetti and I like Chicken Tetrazzini. I really enjoyed the pasta in Italy! Mark doesn’t even like pasta but did enjoy the pesto pasta at one of our hotels. I even took a pasta making class back in January.

3. Do you consider yourself a spontaneous person? Explain. I am not the instigator of spontaneity but if someone suggests something, I can go along.

4. Who are some of your heroes? Tell us why. The Hoover Firefighters from the Preserve station are at the top of my personal list, along with my co-workers, close friends, and neighbors who helped us so much. If I were to look at the bigger picture, I would say the folks who went back into the Trade Towers to save others. Another example would be the young woman in our church who donated a kidney to a total stranger – that is pretty heroic.

5. Let's wrap it up with something light...Taylor Swift...are you a fan? On a scale of 1-10 how much so? (1=who's Taylor?, 10=a true Swiftie, seen her in concert more than once). If you're a fan what's your favorite T. Swift song? I like Taylor Swift just fine so maybe I'm a four or five. Mark rode home from the beach with our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter #1. He said they listened to every single Taylor Swift song on the way home!

6. Insert your own random thought here. Mark and I are going to be like ships passing in the night this week. I was away on Monday and Tuesday. He leaves on Thursday and will be gone until bedtime on Sunday. I go to work on Monday morning and then leave to go to our daughter’s house because I get to go on a field trip with granddaughter #2 on Tuesday!