Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Birthday, Matt!

PF Chang's. 
$200 profit at the casino. 
Happy Halfway-to-90 Birthday, Matt!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Merry Christmas to Me!

Merry Christmas!  I guess it's time to get in the Christmas spirit since it seems every time I turn on the TV, there's a Christmas movie playing.  Don't get me wrong - I love Christmas, but I love celebrating Christmas AFTER celebrating Thanksgiving.  So, I guess I'll just have to get into the Christmas spirit early with an early Christmas present for myself:  a new camera and a new zoom lens!  Merry Christmas to me!! 

It's definitely quite an upgrade from my old Canon Rebel.  It's faster, sharper, has a flip-out LCD monitor, and even has wi-fi!  Now I just have to figure out how to use it!  Oh, just imagine how many Christmas pictures I'll be taking this year!  (My bit of advice:  you may want to wear sunglasses if you're in the frame of my camera lens this Christmas.  I'll be doing a lot of practicing and you'll probably feel like the paparazzi is stalking you!)

Monday, November 4, 2013

October's Blur

Either life gets too hectic at times...or I'm becoming a huge procrastinator.  Honestly, it's probably both.  October flew by and here are some highs and lows of the last month:
We went camping with friends the first weekend of October.  It was a chilly and wet weekend...but it could have been much worse.  It could have snowed.


The second week of October, my sisters and I headed down to Nashville to visit my dad in the hospital. He's totally into drama and giving us gray hair. I got a phone call during their trip out east that he was having trouble breathing and they flew into Nashville so he could be admitted to the hospital. He arrived with heart failure, lung failure, and kidney failure.  I arrived with six bags full of food and snacks and two-fully packed suitcases.  As much as my sisters teased me about over packing they were happy with all the food and extra clothes since we ended up spending six days in the ICU. Thankfully my dad improved enough to be released after two long weeks in a germ-infested hospital. He's still on the road to recovery, but hopefully he continues to get a little better each day.

We had to wear masks while they tested my dad for TB.
I gladly wore mine so I wouldn't get the plague anywhere else in the hospital. (Did I ever admit to being a total germaphobe?)

We got our first snowfall on Oct. 24th.  Luckily it didn't last for long because I hadn't switched my closets around yet and didn't have any long underwear or flannel pajamas upstairs.

This is after most of the snow had already melted.  I was too comfy wrapped up in a blanket on the couch to wander outside to take a picture of the snow on the grass earlier.

 On October 27th, Keaton turned 22...and I remained 29.

Matt & I went on a little fall color tour last Sunday.  We stopped by the lake that we're thinking of moving to in the near future.  Matt propped the camera on the back of the car to get a picture of us...and forgot that he also put his cell phone on the back of the car.  He remembered when he tried to use it a few minutes later...after we drove away.  Luckily, someone found it down the road...a little more beat up and missing the back, but surprisingly still working.
We dressed as Cinderella and Prince Charming for our Halloween party at home (Cyrus was a king and Keaton was a gladiator) and again to pass out candy on Halloween night.  Matt dressed as a short scientist on stilts at work for Halloween and earned 'The Wackiest Costume' award.  I think he should have earned the most creative...or 'The Best Mad Scientist' award!


Basketball season is upon us again for our last trip around the college basketball circuit.  Holy cow, it sure doesn't seem like it's been four years since Keaton started college.  We're hoping he's able to play more this season and doesn't have to battle health issues like last season.  We'll keep our fingers crossed that his last year is his best year!  Go Hornets!!




Monday, September 16, 2013

Tennessee Trip and Twelve Years for Cyrus!

Our annual trip to Tennessee involved the usual:  golf, shopping, and visiting family.  This year, we all got new golf bags and came home with a packed car full of five golf bags, four shopping bags, three pillows, two sets of clubs, and one dog.  It was another good trip...especially for me since I finally got my pink golf bag!  
The guys on Hole #5 behind my dad's house.
(It sure helps to make picture-taking convenient!)

The new bags. Mine is definitely the prettiest!

Keaton told me that I can't get anything else for golf until I play a round. Then, for every round of golf I play, I get $10 to put toward golf accessories. I think pretty, sparkly jewelry with a golf charm will count as an accessory.

We found a fabulous radio station in TN. Thankfully, it wasn't country!

Sir Cyrus Pembroke celebrated his 12th birthday with a ten-hour car ride back to Michigan.  Don't feel too sorry for him, though...he had part of a chicken sandwich and some french fries to celebrate his milestone.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Jello + Alcohol = YUM!

Jello + alcohol = YUM!  We went to a friend's annual rib cook-off over the weekend.  I made a highly-requested tray of jello shots.  This is the only way I'll make them anymore...right in fruit rinds.  No stupid plastic cups to feel guilty about not being able to, the fruit rinds ground up in the garbage disposal make the kitchen smell nice.  This year's varieties included:

Raspberry Lemonade (raspberry jello w/ pink lemonade vodka) in lemon wedges
Pina Colada (pineapple jello w/ coconut rum) in lime wedges
Tropical Punch (tropical punch jello w/ mango/blood orange/passion fruit vodka) in orange & mango wedges

My favorite was the tropical punch.  Matt's too...the couple he was able to snag before they disappeared.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Next-to-Last College Move

Keaton has made his next-to-last college move.  Wow...the time has flown by since we moved him into his dorm room for his freshman year three years ago.  We (and a nice friend who volunteered and wasn't blackmailed into helping) helped him move into a house that he'll be sharing with six other guys.  He took his bed and about half of his clothes from our house. His uncle was nice and donated some furniture and kitchen odds and ends from his bachelor days.  The house is awesome and has two kitchens, three bathrooms, and seven bedrooms. It's located across the street from campus (appropriately on Academy St.) and will be an easy commute to class.  I spent about seven hours cleaning the upstairs areas that Keaton will be occupying most of his time to ensure he doesn't contract any strange diseases.  (He said the house had been cleaned, but let's face it, nobody will ever clean it to my strict standards.) It was pretty gross...even Matt agreed...but is now smelling and looking much better after our thorough scrubbing and sanitizing.  We used an entire extra-large economy-sized bottle of antibacterial wipes on the kitchen, his bedroom, and one bathroom alone.  I steam-cleaned his bedroom carpet three times and the water was black and absolutely disgusting.  I won't even talk about the other upstairs bathroom because I'm going to need serious therapy to revisit those memories.  For now, they're safely tucked away in the back of my mind and I'm hoping I can one day forget how absolutely horrible, disgusting, awful, terrible and frightening it was. (I just shuddered while thinking about it.)  Happy thoughts.  Happy thoughts.  Happy thoughts.   

Now Keaton is happily living in his house and is currently responsible for all of his meals.  He made his first dinner and sent us pictures of spaghetti, garlic toast, and green beans.  (Yay! He remembered to have a vegetable with dinner!  Oh and I could see his desk in the background of the picture, so I know he wasn't really eating at a restaurant!)  I've spent the past week picking up odds and ends so he'll be self-sufficient and nicely decorated.  (Sorry, although he thought the towel and blanket he hung on his bedroom windows worked, I had to veto that decorating decision and picked up some curtains to hang.)  Matt and I stopped by on Friday night to bring him more goodies and get his curtains ironed and hung...and I totally forgot to bring the camera for pictures.  I guess I'll just have to stop by this week for a visit.  I'll just be sure to bring lots of food so he doesn't think I'm a stalker...even more than he already thinks I am.   

He took all of his electronics in his vehicle.
Matt & I got to take the rest of his stuff.
His top priorities were getting his computer set up and connected...
...and his TV connected to cable.
Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bees: 21, Me: 0

Matt has a lot of making up to do with me and it better involve something pretty and sparkly...or something really good to eat.  While helping him do some mowing for someone he worked with, I was attacked by bees and got stung 21 times.  (We think it was 21, but it was probably more.  It was hard to count with all the red splotchiness and welts all over my body).  

Sunday, Matt hopped on the tractor and I got stuck with the push mower.  As I mowed a little bit, I felt some stinging on my legs and thought I must have mowed over a stick and was getting hit by splinters.  As I looked down, I saw bees around my legs.  Then, when I cut the engine on the mower, I heard even more buzzing around my head and that's when I took off running and yelling for Matt to spray me with the hose.  I don't think I've ever asked to be sprayed by a hose ever in my life.  Ever.  He was on the tractor and didn't know what was happening as I was frantically running around and flailing my arms around me screaming at him.  His first thought was that I just lost my foot mowing, but then realized that wasn't the case since I was running.  Then, he saw the bees all around me and on me.  He kept yelling at me to hold still so he could swat them off me and I kept running around like a crazy person yelling at him to get the hose.  We ran to the spigot and there was NO FREAKING HOSE!  Matt finally got the bees off me, I sucked down some Benadryl and off we went to the nearest medical facility so I could get a shot of epinephrine.   

After returning to the scene of the crime, Matt found two holes near some rocks that must have been hiding the little buggers.  I must have mowed over the holes with the push mower and they obviously didn't like it and came out angry and seeking revenge.  Yay, me.  I'm glad it didn't happen to Matt while he was alone...or it didn't happen to the little boy that lives at that house.  I have been fogged out on Benadryl and have spent the last couple of days napping and just taking it easy, waiting for my hives to go away.  I think some pretty jewelry would help them go away more quickly.    

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Small Town Sojourns

Matt and I have embarked on a journey of visiting small towns every couple of weeks.  Our first visit was to the small towns of Saugatuck and Douglas along the gorgeous west Michigan shoreline.  We wandered through the towns, did some window shopping and then stopped at a local brewery for lunch.  We ordered a flight of six different homemade beers.  I'm not a beer drinker.  I dutifully tried them all (even one with a promising title of 'Neopolitan')...and decided that I'd much rather drink my pretty, fruity cocktails.

We picked all different beers:  some with chocolate, some with caramel.
Matt keeps telling me that beer is an acquired taste...but I still haven't acquired any I like.

Our latest trip was to Shipshewana, IN to visit the huge flea market and to enjoy some Amish culture and food.  Matt was in all his glory at the flea market and probably could have spent a week digging through the, ahem, treasures.  I didn't get my hands dirty like he did, but I did find a Coach purse for $40, beads to decorate another patio table, and some awesome license plate letters to make a project for the RV.  After two trips to the car with our loot, we headed over to the popular Das Dutchman Essenhaus for a chicken dinner. Yum!

I know the Amish don't want to be photographed, but I didn't think they'd mind the back of the buggy being photographed. 
I just thought this was funny as they passed the speed limit sign.  It's the little things in life that make me laugh!

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Thornapple River

Last weekend, we went camping and kayaking with our good friends.  Our adventure involved a 5.5 mile trip down the Thornapple River...and a LOT of rain.  We started with a partly cloudy morning and ended with a very rainy afternoon.  We still had a good time...even though I was soaked.  But it's always definitely better to getting soaked by falling rain rather than getting soaked by tipping in the river!


After.  It's a good thing I did my hair that morning.

Monday, July 22, 2013

"New" Table

Yesterday's little craft project brought some new fun and colorful life into an old patio table:


Monday, July 15, 2013


Yikes!  Yesterday morning, while outside, Matt noticed the fountain in the pond was not running.  Upon further inspection, he checked the outlet that the pond pump was plugged into and discovered yet another household project he'll have to tackle.  Well, make that two...he'll have to replace the outlet box and erase the scorch marks on the siding.  No, make that three...he'll have to find a new house because I'm ready to move.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Festive Fourth

On Wednesday, we packed up the RV, loaded the kayaks in the trailer, and headed over to Ionia to enjoy a long weekend with good friends.  We ate lots of good food, played a lot of cards, swatted a lot of mosquitoes, and enjoyed some kayaking in the Grand River.  Keaton came over on Friday and was our kayaking chauffeur and saved some time before/after kayaking.  (And to get us girls to a bathroom...not a pit toilet, but a real bathroom with running water and soap!)  Cyrus was pretty good with all the festivities.  He was a little freaked out by the nearby fireworks, but running the AC in the motor home and watching TV helped to muffle the noise.  Poor puppy.  We wore him out with all the fresh air and all the walks.  He spent all day yesterday recuperating.  As a matter of fact, it looks like he's planning to spend today recuperating as well.
Aren't the paddles pretty with their new flower stickers?
(I'm still on the lookout for pink paddles though.)

The Grand River was slow but still grand.
(It's always grand when I don't get stuck.)
Poor puppy.  He can't escape me.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Working Weekend

We FINALLY opened the pool last Thursday night.  I was able to wash down the driveway and then get the cover thoroughly scrubbed on Friday...much to my delight because I believe my neighbors think I'm crazy when they see me washing down the driveway every year.  When they see the cover spread out on the driveway later, it helps to explain away some of my OCD cleaning insanity.  (Well, kind of.)   It only took three days in the blistering sun and ten hours with the power washer to get our deck all sparkly clean...just in time for the next couple days of rain and thunderstorms.   I also pulled one over on Martha Stewart and did a little of what I call redneck sewing in the garage over the weekend.  I used an extension cord to plug in my sewing machine on a flipped-over bucket while sitting on a college-dorm-room-leftover recliner in the garage to sew straps back onto our RV cover.  Seriously.  All I needed was Daisy Duke shorts, a tube top, cowboy boots and it definitely could have been true redneck sewing in all its country-music-listenin', tobacco-chewin', NASCAR-lovin' glory.  
Keaton was in his techie glory and put his newly-acquired college computer skills to good use and built his very own computer.  He ordered all of the components separately and then spent Thursday night and some time on Friday night to put it all together.  Everything works and none of the lights dimmed, so life here is good.  Except for when he blew a fuse and my oven died right in the middle of cooking dinner.  But, everything is now back to working order and life is better than good.  It's great...I discovered the frozen alcohol slushies.  I'm trying all the flavors...twice just to be sure I can decide which one I like best.  I'm leaning toward Bahama Mama at this point, but I still have a few more flavors to try.  Twice.  Maybe three times just to be sure.

Keaton's girlfriend and I enjoyed a frozen cocktail while cheering him on during his computer building project.
Keaton's tower and all the stuff that makes a computer run.

Installing the cooling fan and other stuff.

Installing more stuff.

Putting all the stuff into the tower.
(And yes, I think that "stuff" is the technical term.)

Wiring all the stuff.
(I love the headlamp.)

Ta da! It works!!




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

This past weekend was all about Matt...and it should have been since it was Father's Day Weekend. You know, that revered weekend where fathers can sit back, relax, and be waited on hand and foot by their offspring.  Except for Matt.  He doesn't sit still for long.  He ran a 5k with Keaton after work on Thursday, went golfing with Keaton after mowing and fertilizing on Friday, went kayaking with me and some friends on Saturday, enjoyed some fishing on Saturday and Sunday, and finally was able to watch some golf on TV on Sunday after unloading the RV and drying out everything from a weekend of camping.  (I took a nap.  Is there anything more boring on TV than golf?  Oh, I  Yuck.)  Happy Father's Day to my favorite father of our son!  (Maybe one of these Father's Days you'll sit still long enough to take a well-deserved nap with me.) 

They ran a local 5k for a fundraiser. Matt placed second in his age group.
(I don't know if that's good or bad. I think it's awesome unless you ran with 70-year-olds.)

Keaton got his favorite father a new putter. They put it to good use right away.
(Notice Cyrus in the door. He doesn't like to ever be out of the action. He's afraid he might miss a bite of something good to eat.)

Matt caught some fish while kayaking in the Manistee River and didn't tip once.

11.2 miles of paddling down the Manistee River on Saturday wth friends.
Surprisingly, I could still lift my arms on Sunday.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday Things

Whew, it's been a busy week...and it's only Thursday!  We took a trip down to Kalamazoo and loaded up the Durango and trailer with Keaton's college-life necessities on Sunday.  (It's amazing how much he can fit in a small space!)  He took a couple of finals and headed home with his vehicle full of the rest of his dorm-sweet-dorm stuff on Tuesday.  He remarked how much quicker moving back home and getting unpacked and organized was this time.  (I don' think he took into account that his favorite parents in the whole, wide world already moved and unpacked 2/3 of his stuff on Sunday!)  So, after cleaning three area rugs and a chair, washing six loads of laundry, cleaning every tote that came into the house, and strategically stacking his stuff in the basement I'm happy to say he's happily settled.

Last night (before we decided to hang out in the basement while the tornado sirens were screeching), Matt installed ANOTHER new dishwasher.  No, we're not collecting dishwashers.  (Matt does seem to be collecting tractors though, but that's another story.)  So, the brand-new dishwasher we bought and installed a couple of weeks ago died.  After one use.  ONE.  The repair service the company uses told us it would be six weeks before they could come out.  SIX WEEKS.  Yeah, right.  Other service centers didn't service our area.  (It's so frustrating because it's not like we're in the middle of no-man's-land...we're between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, which were actually established, domesticated, civilized cities the last I heard.  Shoot, I heard they even have that new-fangled internet thing now.)  Anyway, we decided to return the dishwasher and try our luck with another manufacturer.  It was delivered yesterday and it's now running its first load.  (My dishpan fingertips are thankful!)  While Matt was installing it, I decided to let my creative juices flow and I made some magnets to put on our new metal map of the U.S.  I made two different logos:  one for the states we've visited by RV and one for the states we've visited by plane.  We have 11 more states to visit and then it'll be time to conquer the rest of the world!


Monday, June 10, 2013


We celebrated our 23rd anniversary of wedded bliss on Saturday.  We enjoyed the most expensive breakfast in our history at the casino (sadly, we weren't winners on any slot machines that morning), bought another new dishwasher (this is where it would have been really nice to be big winners at the casino...even little winners would have been nice), and enjoyed a lovely dinner and sunset on Lake Michigan.  After 23 years, we still make each other laugh every day.  Although, I'm definitely funnier than Matt.

Dinner took a little longer than expected, but we were still able to catch the last rays of a gorgeous sunset.
And there really was a gorgeous sunset behind us. This just helps prove my point of why I need a better phone.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Recipe Reunion

Years and years and YEARS of recipe collecting, sharing, and copying created a huge pile of yummy things to try.  But, it also created some paper overflow.  My little recipe box got so full that things spilled over into a second recipe box.  Then, recipes started to spill out of the second box.  I was not about to get a third recipe box.  My solution:  I bought a big cute box, made cute little dividers, and finally got all my recipes happily living together in one happy little home.  This has been bugging me for years.  It's funny what drives some people crazy.  Disorganization is definitely at the top of my list.  Well, maybe not at the top of my list, but definitely in the top 100 after: impolite people; people who don't use their turn signals; inconsiderate people; people who throw cigarette butts out the vehicle window; people who don't recycle; people who don't use personal water bottles (and those who only drink bottled water and think they're doing good by recycling them, but in reality create more energy to be used by having them recycled when they could just use one water bottle and just wash it daily instead of wasting energy to have dozens recycled); people who don't pick up after their dog; people who let their dog pee in my front yard while walking it; people who let their dog bark relentlessly OUTSIDE all day, every day; and the list could go on an on and on.  Maybe I really do need to be medicated...or I need to live on an island, far away from some of my neighbors.
I found this box at Hobby Lobby...and it coincidentally also matches my tablecloth!

All my recipes...reunited in one place at last!!
(Well, my handwritten recipes.  The ones I printed from the computer are in binders.)

All my recipes downloaded from the computer, printed, and neatly organized!