Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mid Week Catch-up

I still have stitches. I went today to get them out and found out I'm not ready and have to go back Saturday. That's okay. It's a nice place with nice people, and that will get us out early (9 a.m. appointment) to go by the farmer's market at East Chase on the way.

While I was in the waiting room, I got a phone call from a realtor wanting to show the house tomorrow. Well, really today, but I put her off until tomorrow. This poor house has been neglected so long it's going to take a lot of work to spruce it back up.

Couponing is still happening, but it's hard work. Usually CVS is the most helpful place, but today I got Miss "I have NO idea," about anything. She just stood there with a vacant look while I scanned and sorted my "deals." At least she wasn't hostile. I spent $44 and got $18 back with a $15 rebate to come. That $11 bought 3 12-packs of Diet Coke, 4 cleaning/Zip-Loc items, 4 shampoo items, 12 paper towels, and 2 brownie mixes ($.08 a package).

I still had enough energy to buy big groceries at Publix where I got a sweet cashier who took responsibility for matching and pushing all my coupons through and telling me why certain ones wouldn't work. I love that store. Spent $80 - saved $50.

And to top off a great day, big black clouds are rolling in for a nice evening storm.

Not so much excitement for thunder and rain with some members of the household.

Others don't care.

Or pretend they don't. The ear position gives her away.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blame It On Couponing

My accident, that is.

I'm thinking about going back and making the manager at the local CVS feel guilty. He's the one who was getting so excited one night when this lady was piling things on the counter and going back for more and getting it all for very little money.

If it had not been for him, I would never have checked into couponing and would never have tossed that pair of scissors into my bag before leaving to go shopping. And I'm sure it was his fault that I misplaced my car keys and got irritated and stabbed myself.

Anyway back to the CVS guy. He was very enthusiastic about what you can do if you concentrate on shopping and plan (very weak points on my part). He said he had done a lot of research and found that there was no way the store lost any money, and the customer comes out way ahead.

I've bored my family with tales of the things I've gotten free or less than a dollar, but they're not going to mind being on the receiving end of some of them. You can't argue with filling a whole shelf of the freezer with Eggo's whole-wheat waffles for 39 cents a box or getting shavers, razor blades, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. just free. And sometimes even making a few dollars' profit.

It does take concentration and planning and even after thinking I have it together, I'll run into the Rite-Aid guy who usually works in the pharmacy and has no idea about anything and cares not one bit whether you get a refund on toothpaste, and then I just have to put back things or not get as good a deal. Or just a sullen cashier who breaks out in hives at the sign of a coupon.

And here's where it gets complicated. There has been a huge upsurge of people doing the couponing, and there are hundreds of blogs written dedicated to it. People will take pictures of whole tables of their loot and then say that they paid just $6.31. There are those who are turning their garages into mini-warehouses. This kind of bugs me. It's okay for people with big families, but how much body wash do you have to stockpile.

Yesterday, someone on a blog was giving away five $3 coupons for something (I believe body wash) and told people to make a comment on her blog and she would give the coupons away at the end of the day. When I last looked, there were over 800 people requesting them! Coupons!

Mama and I need very little, and I concentrate on buying the things that we ordinarily would buy or things I can send to other family members. But it's hard to resist free deodorant or juice even though we can't use it. I figure I can donate those things to our church or a homeless shelter, etc.

But some of these people are brutal. They have multiple computers and even BUY coupons so that when a good deal happens, they're the first ones there and clean the shelves, leaving nothing for those who want only their fair share. (All those waffles I got at 3 stores over 2 weeks and only took 2 at a time). And there are those who hold up the line doing multiple transactions and questioning every penny. It's kind of like big business to them.

So, I can see how the store managers and cashiers are getting a bad taste in their mouth about the whole practice. But that means that those of us who are doing this on a small scale have to suffer the consequences. It is so refreshing to find someone who thinks what you're doing is commendable, and I've found the nicest people at Publix (nothing new there!) A sweet young girl got more excited than I did at free apple juice and blackberries and coffee creamer and the fact that she subtracted over $40 from my $80 grocery bill - plus the added bonus of my senior discount, buy-1-get-1-free things, and penny item day. All this, along with the clean store and happy employees, almost - almost - makes buying groceries a pleasure.

I'm also brutal now that I have a mission. If regular graham crackers aren't on sale and Teddy Grahams are, that's what Mama gets (which she actually like better). It also makes me try new things (which is the purpose of coupons from the manufacturer's point of view). Now I'm no longer satisfied with Cremora in my coffee - I have to have French vanilla Bailey's liquid creamer. Yum. A whole new coffee experience. I'm pretty sure next time I need it, it won't be free.

I'm not sure if it bothered me more that I had to have stitches Wednesday or that I was foiled in my bargain quest. I did go straight across the street to Publix from the clinic and buy groceries. No one likes hearing it, but I took out those sharp little scissors and clipped a coupon or 2 in the store - very carefully.

I mentioned earlier that Debby had her knee replaced Monday. It kind of got shoved into the background when I tried to top her drama. We've exchanged awful pictures and given each other sympathy, but while I've stepped down from a huge impressive looking bandage to a little Band-Aid, Debby is just getting started in her recovery - despising the physical therapist, suffering muscle spasms, and just not able to find a comfortable position. If Debby can't read, she's not a happy person, and it's hard to concentrate when you're in agony.

Everyone say an extra prayer that she can get through these next 2 weeks and start a new life of walking without pain.

And that it will rain before my grass is completely brown.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless - or White - Wednesday?

A lot of blogs I read follow a theme of writing, and Wednesday is sometimes White Wednesday or Wordless Wednesday. Like this beautiful little white dress on one of my favorite heirloom sewing blogs. I just have to make this - HAVE to. But then I want to make everything Jeannie shows a picture of!

But there is no method at all to this madness I write. Whatever comes into my mind ends up printed here.

So already it's not wordless, although I had just planned to post these pictures and run.

But in the meantime, I gained something else white. I'm too tired to talk about it now. Just think my sharpest sewing scissors, a quilted bag, and an innocent arm coming down hard on top of it.

Maybe on sickening Saturday, I'll post the pictures of the actual suturing. Or maybe not!

Kind of a pretty bandage cover though, I think.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Nice Friday

Today I traveled to Andalusia to have lunch with my father-in-law and take him some banana pudding for Father's Day. We ate at David's Catfish and had our usual. I'm not sure what it is, as I was concentrating only on the cheese grits. I think there were fish and some slaw on the plate too. I got this picture from Facebook where they have 577 followers. No pictures of the food though.

When I did a search for David's and cheese grits looking for a picture, I ran across this blog. Pretty good explanation of grits for non-Southerners. Notice the comments section - sugaring grits!? The blog looks like fun, and I put it in my favorites to go back and read more when I have time.

I had picked up a Stephen King audio book in the library last time, just 2 CDs, and figured it would be the perfect length for a trip like this one. Sometimes his writing is good, other times just more of the same stuff. This was called The Gingerbread Girl, and it started off nicely enough and didn't start to terrify me until I was almost there. I even turned the sound down so I wouldn't have to hear some of it, but I didn't want to miss anything either. Thank goodness it was short.

I stopped at Debby's on the way home for a nice visit. We talked about books, family, her upcoming knee surgery, and life in general.

How beautiful the lake is. I forgot I had the camera in the car on this trip.

How Gus the bulldog wouldn't stop licking my feet. This was taken last year when he was a new lake-dweller.

I got sent home with these!

They have a huge blueberry bush in the yard that is full of them. I've already frozen a bunch to snack on and kept some for cereal in the morning. Beautiful. And there will be hundreds of scuppernongs ripe on the vine in a few weeks. My suggestion that Debby could make scuppernong jelly was met with silence and a dubious stare.

It's good to take a day just to relax and visit with family.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Mountain Climbing

If you haven't seen this little video, it's neat.

Emily seems to have a need to climb mountains every weekend, and I'm so glad she shares her joy with us. Even if it does make me gasp at times and want to reach out and grab an arm here and there.

Here's a little more about Bandera Mountain. Only 7 miles roundtrip. And they don't even look tired at the top. The girls didn't know Chad was filming. Video cameras are not quite as obvious as they use to be. He did a great job putting this together.

I told her I wanted to be there on the top and just sit there and enjoy it, but I can't see how I would get there. Maybe a 3-day camping trip?

Georgia Birthday

Today is my friend Lydia's birthday.

Happy birthday, Lydia. Hope your day is lots of fun.

Monday, June 14, 2010


That's all. Just hot.

Our power went off for 5 or 6 hours Saturday morning, and that was not fun. It didn't get too hot in the house during that time, but I worried about the refrigerator and freezer and how long it was going to be off and about the fact that I had already promised to work.

Mama and I out of necessity had to eat the last 2 ice-cream sandwiches in the freezer.

Then I went to the very nice farmer's market that appears on Saturday mornings at EastChase. It's a perfect place for it. Lots of parking, close to home, and a good many vendors, and when you get through, you can run right over to Target and spend a little more money.

Fresh fruits and veggies make everyone happy, and it's a fun place.

On the way there, I drove by the house with the missing cats. These little guys don't seem too worried about coyotes. There were 3 more that hopped off before I could get their pictures.

Some pretty survivors of the heat.

Crepe Myrtle just getting ready to bloom. The white ones are already going.

Everything else is a little wilty. Maybe it will rain today

Friday, June 11, 2010

So Much for Worrying about Coyotes in Washington

When I hear about Emily and Ryan and their friends hiking, I kind of mention "wildlife"and what they would do if they happened to see a wild animal. They are quite educated and say they are prepared with mace and whatever else they need, I guess, and never hike alone.

I guess I need to worry about my own back yard.

This was in an e-mail from our neighborhood association today:

If you have seen the “lost tabby cat” signs posted on the light poles around the neighborhood, please be aware that the cat is still missing. This cat belongs to Mary Overton of Forest Trail Court. Unfortunately, her other cat is now missing also. Mary said that a few of her neighbors have also lost their cats. When she contacted wildlife control, she was informed that it is highly likely that both her animals were taken by coyotes that are rampant in both our neighborhood and Arrowhead. The control officer said that the problem started last year and they have spent over $75,000 trying to eradicate the problem. So,…….please keep your cats in at night. You should also watch out for your small dogs, again, especially at night.


First I've heard of it. This may be the cul-de-sac at the end of our street or either one street over. Too close for comfort anyway! I guess I'd better stop tossing Stella outside for being evil and keep her inside. Darby will stay inside the fence and is safe, but the cats can climb the fence and wander around on the side and front.

I'll also think twice about taking the trash can to the street in my pajamas after dark.

I checked a map, and that little street is over 2 streets and in a less wooded area than ours. We have miles of forest starting just a block away. I try not to think about it. Forest Trail is on my walking route though, and I believe Darby has "spoken" to those cats before.

Monday, June 7, 2010

More Mountains with added pictures

Emily posted this on Facebook yesterday.

She should know by now that these pictures also appear on my FB.

But I comforted myself with thinking that she just took this random picture somewhere and was not already halfway up that mountain. But I was wrong. That's why she didn't answer the phone when I tried to call her and tell her to stay on level ground.

I talked to her last night, and she just laughed at my fears. She said someone was hiking it with a 10-month-old in a backpack. I feel a little bit better. Just a teeny bit...

Here are a few more pictures. Her friend is Melinda, a fellow PT at Pinnacle. Feel free to add comments to the pictures, maybe saying how nice she looks off of mountains and suggesting exciting alternative activites. Not that I would do that, of course, but others can.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Odds and Ends Again

Just a few more pictures from the wedding.

Lydia sent these pictures of Jacob enjoying his Uncle Fuddy-Duddy books. So cute. All scrubbed and ready for bed. I couldn't chose just one. It's a pretty happy time for Lydia and her family having her parents move back to Georgia from Kansas and getting settled themselves in their new home of Columbus.

For the 1 or 2 people who haven't heard my adventure on getting from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa (normally about 2-1/2 hours), here it is. No excuses. Just blame it on age and my usual state of being scatter-brained. I hate that I've lost my title as Chief Navigator for the family though. I've always loved finding new ways to get places and was thought to have a good sense of direction.

Anyway, after much preparation and cat-catching and double-checking after Debby arrived, we set off for Tuscaloosa - which involves taking I-85 S to I-65 N. Simple enough. Except that I had the wrong wedding in mind and took I-85 N toward Atlanta. Debby had printed directions from Google Maps very nicely and pulled them out, but I heard her mutter one time, "These maps are no good. They don't even have Auburn on them."

Still didn't occur to me what I was doing. Just about the time we got near the turn-off for Columbus, I thought about the time change and remembered how that got us in trouble last year preparing for Emily and Ryan's wedding. Then the wheels starting turning. Time change? The time doesn't change between Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. Why are we headed to Georgia? Lots of wailing and laughing and panic from the front seat. Mama said later from the back seat that she knew all along that wasn't the way to Tuscaloosa but didn't say anything. Thanks!

It took Debby about 2 minutes to text Mike and Tom and probably everyone else she knew and tell them what I'd done. Mike suggested letting Mama drive. Then I had to put up with suggestions about not taking I-65 S and ending up in Mobile.

My first thought was to take a smaller road that I knew went from Columbus to Birmingham, so I called my brother and asked what he would do. He said it was best to go back to Montgomery and carry on on the interstates. I hate backtracking, but that's what we did. Luckily we had allowed a little extra time - but not 2 hours - so I gave up my leisurely driving and went as fast as I could and stay within the speed limit. When we got back to Montgomery, we decided to eat lunch there - 2 miles from where we started out 2 hours ago.

Luckily the rest of the trip went better except for hearing about it all day. We arrived 5 hours after we set out. Mama was due for pictures in 30 minutes, and the check-in person at the hotel seemed to be in a coma. It took 20 minutes to check in 3 sets of people.

Later someone innocently asked me how long it took me to get from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa (thinking they would go to Montgomery after the wedding), and I said "Two-and-half hours if you don't go by way of Georgia."

I've had all the rain I could wish for this week, so I'm in a good mood. Work's going well again. Life is pretty good.

We need to remember the people of Guatemala in our prayers. Dina sent this today. It's very sad. Dina and Gaby and their families and homes weren't directly affected, but there are so many people who were, and so much work to do to get it back to normal. One disaster is hard enough to cope with, but 3 in one week? Awful. Those sinkhole pictures are enough to give me nightmares.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Two Excellent Feasts

One of the rewards of getting dressed up for my niece Robin's wedding Saturday was the good meal I knew we would have. And it didn't disappoint.

I'll have more pictures of the wedding later, but I need to talk about food today.

After the ceremony and the 40-minute cocktail hour where we just kind of milled around and hugged lots of people, we finally found table 3. We shared it with 7 other nice and funny people, none of whom I ever found out the names of, except maybe Chris who did the service and his girlfriend Amanda. We all got familiar enough to takes each others' pictures bunches of times with those disposable cameras and find out all about each other - just no names.

These are some of the decorations on the tables.

Mama, me, Debby, and my brother Mike, the bride's father. All us looking fairly presentable, I think. I even managed to keep my shoes on the whole time until we were walking back to the hotel. I think Debby and I behaved very nicely - except for just a tiny bit of texting to Mike and Emily that went on.

And here is the dinner, stuffed lobster AND steak. The mashed potatoes were good too once we determined they weren't tofu - just potatoes between pieces of phyllo dough.

Mama not only rode in her first limo Saturday but ate her first lobster. She managed to stay grounded though and still wanted a McDonald's sausage and biscuit for breakfast the next morning.

And the cakes!

The bride's cake. I just had a bite or two, but I think it was amaretto flavor. Delicious. Top of the cake.

The groom's cake was red velvet.

With cute little strawberry men.

I mentioned 2 feasts so here is the second one, totally opposite from the first one, but just perfect for me on this rainy day.

On the way home from Tuscaloosa Sunday morning, Debby, Mama, and I stopped at Durkins Market fruit and vegetable and everything else you might want store in Clanton, AL.

It's too early for good peaches, but we still got some. And squash. And Watermelon. And tomatoes. And boiled peanuts. And maybe some peach ice cream for the trip home.

Mama cooked squash and onion yesterday, and it was delicious.

This is my own personal watermelon. Beautiful!
And this is my feast today. One of the juicy tomatoes sliced over a piece of ham and covered with mozzarella cheese and spices. I used Italian seasoning, but it didn't quite work. Maybe basil next time.
With cucumbers and watermelon, it was delicious.
We did get the rain we thought was never coming. And lots of it.

I'll be back in a day or so and have more pictures of the wedding and mention our exciting trip that took 5 hours and provided much entertainment at the wedding and, thanks to Debby's texting dexterity, all over the country.