Christmas Card Evolution

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A bit of advice: Do not put a load of clothes in the washer on hot, and then jump in the shower. Although an icy shower is very invigorating.

Another tip: Having an episode of “Hoarders” playing in the background really helps motivate one to clean the house.

I needed 12 birthday cards in June and 2 in July. I did make some, but I didn’t love them, so I raided my card stash. Since my birthday cards were just “meh”, I decided to start on Christmas cards.

This is the first one. I glued aluminum foil to card stock and then ran it through the Cuttlebug inside the Stampin’ Up Holly Textured Impressions folder. Then I punched out the circle “ornaments”.

Christmas card, Stampin' Up, aluminum foil

CHRISTMAS CARD- FIRST ITERATION

Meh. It needs more.

CHRISTMAS CARD- ITERATION 2

CHRISTMAS CARD- ITERATION 2

I used different punches for the “ornaments” and added some punched stars.

Better, but…

CHRISTMAS CARD- ITERATION 3

CHRISTMAS CARD- ITERATION 3

I’m happy with this. I think I’ll make a few more.

Stay tuned…

Pickle Butts And Shut Up

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I made pickle wraps for No.8 Sis’ birthday party today. I schmeared a  slice of ham with soft cream cheese, and then rolled it around a big dill pickle. I repeated that about 6-8 times.

I sliced the wrapped pickles into 1/4 inch slices and served them as appetizers.

PICKLE WRAPS

PICKLE WRAPS

I know these aren’t very pretty, but they taste so good! And the bonus is that the two ends of the wrapped pickles, the pickle butts, were totally unpresentable, so I got to eat them all. Breakfast of champions.

Many years ago, I was visiting Mom in Elizabeth Fairchild. I think that’s what her one-bedroom apartment in St. Paul was called, anyway.

A bunch of other relatives were there, too, including No.1 Sis and her son, Dude. Dude had had enough of family time and wanted directions to get home to Rochester.

No.1 Sis was trying to give Dude directions, but Mom kept interrupting with an alternate route. Keep in mind, Mom had quit driving by then, and was probably trying to direct Dude via some twisty-turning bus route.

Eventually, No.1 lost her temper and shouted at Mom, “Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP!”

That put a little damper on our Mother’s Day celebration.

A couple of unnamed sisters (1 and 8) were in the habit of telling me to shut up, too. Not nice.

With the encouragement of my therapist, Dr. Ima Shrink, I told them they couldn’t tell me to shut up anymore. Now they follow the letter of the law, if not the spirit.

When we played cards last weekend, I didn’t hear “shut up” once. I was shushed a time or two, asked if I was STILL talking once, and had to endure many eye-rolls while I was talking. So today’s party should fun. I’m just saying.

Stay tuned…

Red Wing, Minnesota

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I met 3 of my 5 sisters in Red Wing, Minnesota last Wednesday. No.2 Sis, No.4 Sis, No.7 Sis and I wanted to go to the nearby casino.

I was the biggest loser, of course, but that doesn’t bother me. Since the casino is on the Native American reservation, I figure all the monies I lose are reparations for my ancestors stealing Native lands. And since my Mom’s people came over on the Mayflower, I have 300-plus years of land-grabbing to make up for.

After losing at the casino (No.7 was the big winner, since she only lost $15) we went back into the town of Red Wing to see the world’s largest boot. It’s located at the Red Wing Shoe Museum. It’s a size 638D, and they say it’s too big for the Statue of Liberty to wear. How is it that I’ve lived an hour away from Red Wing for most of my life and I never knew it housed the world’s largest boot?

WORLD'S LARGEST BOOT

WORLD’S LARGEST BOOT

FROM LEFT, ME, NO.4, NO.2, AND NO.7

FROM LEFT, ME, NO.4, NO.2, AND NO.7

After the Red Wing Shoe Museum, we went to a local confectionary. It was full of the whimsical fairy-tale paintings of Juliet Crozier, including this one of The Old Lady Who Lived In a Shoe. How apropos.

THE OLD LADY WHO LIVED IN A SHOE, BY JULIET CROZIER

THE OLD LADY WHO LIVED IN A SHOE, BY JULIET CROZIER

We also had a fun oil and vinegar tasting at this shop. We each left with multiple bottles of both flavored oil and vinegar. I think my grocery list this week will be full of greens for salads. Quite unusual for me.

RED WING OLIVE OILS AND VINEGARS

RED WING OLIVE OILS AND VINEGARS

Oh, my. It turns out Red Wing has another “world’s largest”. At the Red Wing Pottery Museum we saw one of the three world’s largest jugs. It holds 70 gallons.

NO.2 SIS STANDING BY WORLD'S LARGEST JUG

NO.2 SIS STANDING BY WORLD’S LARGEST JUG

Back at home, I decided to unbox my new crockpot and make some slow-cooked beef fajitas. They turned out pretty good. When I took the liner out of the crockpot to clean it, I saw this.

OOPS

OOPS

The packing cardboard had been between the heater and crock throughout the 5 hour cooking cycle. I didn’t burn down the place, but my neighbors would be so scared if they knew me better.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Mass-produced Birthday Cards, May 2017

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Me and No.2 Sis, on the couch, watching TV and playing on our phones.

No.2 Sis: I’m tired.

Me: Me, too. I found this shade garden on Pinterest.

Sis: I think it’s nap time.

Me: I could grow ferns and hostas.

Sis:

Me: But, for color, I could add blue veronica.

Sis:

Me: Day lilies would add color, too.

Sis:

Me: I wonder if Tiger lilies grow in the shade.

Sis:

Me: OMG! You’re tired, and I’m still sitting on the couch, which is your bed!

Sis: {snore}

I guess once Sis chants the magic words, “nap time”, nothing else is required.

I had a lot of birthday cards to make in May, so I wanted something I could mass-produce. I used Freshly Made Sketches #207.

I found three coordinating designer papers in a feminine pack, and three in a more gender neutral pack. All supplies are from Stampin’ Up.

I cut a 2 inch strip from each piece of paper, then cut each strip into three lengths. I shuffled the papers so each card had a variety of patterns, then glued it all down.

MAY CARDS

MAY CARDS

Added the sentiment and, kapow! shazam! Six cards in less than half an hour.

WITH SENTIMENTS

WITH SENTIMENTS

I can’t wait to get into my own apartment, and I’m sure No.2 Sis feels the same (although she’s been a very generous hostess).

The furniture’s been delivered, so it’ll be as soon as I can get off the pain-killers. Yay!

Stay tuned…

 

 

Retirement Resolutions

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I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions last January, because, hey, I’m retired. I can just go with the flow, be in the moment. Oh wait, that would require me to be an entirely different person.

I like to plan, and I worry, whether I like it or not. So there are two retirement resolutions that I needed to make.

I WILL NOT HIRE SOMEONE FOR ANYTHING THAT I CAN DO MYSELF.

That doesn’t mean I won’t hire someone to fix or build things. My DIY skills are sorely lacking.

It does mean no more professional mani/pedis, no wax when I can save money by shaving, and no housekeeper. Do you know I’ve had a housekeeper for the better part of 35 years?

“Retire”, people said. “It’ll be fun”, people said.

I WILL TAKE ON ONE PROJECT AT A TIME.

That means no beginning project number 2 while project number 1 is still lying around half-done. Half-done projects are clutter. I got rid of 35 years of clutter by moving to Costa Rica. I don’t want to start rebuilding it.

MO AMIGO ROBERTO, LOADING ALL MY WORLDLY GOODS INTO HIS TRUCK FOR THE TRIP BACK TO THE USA

MO AMIGO ROBERTO, LOADING ALL MY WORLDLY GOODS INTO HIS TRUCK FOR THE TRIP BACK TO THE USA

And it also means, since shopping for projects is the be-all, end-all funnest thing in life, no shopping for project 2 (or more likely, projects 2 through 111) until number 1 is done. Ouch.

The latest “project” I’ve been working on is recovering from my knee surgery. I had a full knee replacement on the left side on April 26th.

I was in the hospital overnight, then went home with a walker. I just graduated to a cane today. Progress! Yay!

I have about 4 weeks of physical therapy left. I can move into my own apartment and start driving again as soon as I’m off the painkillers.

Does narcotics rehab count as a project?

Stay tuned…

Ass-Bling

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When I returned to the U.S.A. from Costa Rica last December, I had to buy pants in a smaller size.

When I came back in March, I went to buy one size smaller yet. I just had a hard time finding anything that fit. I finally found some Gloria Vanderbilt jeans that fit perfectly. They were two sizes smaller than the pants I wore in December!

I liked the jeans so much that I bought three pairs. Then I took a little closer look at the details on the jeans’ back pockets. Bling. Ass-bling.

ASS-BLING

ASS-BLING

When my mother was my age, 58, she was wearing old lady pants. Elastic-waist, double-knit polyester pants. You know, the kind with the “crease” sewn in.

Dear readers, the question before us now is, am I too old to wear ass-bling? And if so, where do I buy those old lady pants?

Stay tuned…

Birthday Cards, April 2017

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Yesterday was a good day. I was conscious and pain-free, two of my favorite things. Well, in the top 10 at least.

No.2 Sis took me to the orthopedic clinic, where I got a cortisone shot in the right knee, and finally got surgery scheduled with Dr. Jack for the left knee. You know, the knee I’ve been trying to get replaced for the last 9 months, the one I damaged even further in Costa Rica by falling hard in the road.

Then I took a mega-dose of pain pills, as per the recommendation of my general practitioner, Dr. Kitty. She had promised (apologetically) to hurt me during a procedure scheduled for later yesterday. After she got started though, she found out she didn’t need to do the hurty procedure after all. Suh-weeeet.

I treated No.2 Sis to a celebratory dinner at Baker’s Square. (Pie.)

She started reciting a nursery rhyme while I drinking water, and I damn near drowned, laughing. I may have been a little loopy from the pain-killers. It still was a very good day. (Pie. Definitely in the top 10.)

I have a niece and two grand-nieces with birthdays in April. I wanted to get back to making cards. I missed it so much while I was in Costa Rica.

The challenge was to use as little as possible of No.2’s stash, because my stuff is still all packed up.

I bought a paper pad, Fashionably Chic, by Recollections, at Micheal’s. I just used some of Sis’s black and white paper, black ink, adhesive, and one stamp. The stamp is the owl from the Stampin’ Up set, Punch Bunch.

Ugh. Her paper trimmer is very dull, so I had trouble making clean, square cuts. Oh yeah, I used Sis’s paper trimmer, too.

I used 3 sketches from Pinterest for the layouts.

The first sketch is from Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge #294.

The second is from Mojo Monday #396.

The third sketch is originally from Quintessentially Me. I couldn’t find this exact sketch, so this a link to all of her card sketches.

If you want to see my Pinterest board with the sketches I’ve collected, click here.

Stay tuned…

Fashionably Chic, Stampin' Up, Punch BunchFashionably Chic, Stampin' Up, Punch BunchFashionably Chic, Punch Bunch

Toastmasters, Because I Love Toast

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I was getting ready to come home from Costa Rica with No.1 and No.2 Sis. They were talking about their membership in Toastmasters. I said I wanted to join, because who doesn’t love toast?

Of course, Toastmasters is about making speeches, not about making toast. Now that I’ll be joining  No.2 Sis’ Toastmaster club tomorrow, I’m having some feelings. And you know I hate feelings. Especially these feelings. Fear, anxiety, terror, PANIC!

I didn’t have trouble getting up and speaking in front of people until 7th grade. We had to make a speech in front the class about any topic. I gave a humorous speech about why cats are better pets than dogs. Apparently, I’m no Henny Youngman (Steve Martin? Chris Rock?) because it got no laughs at all.

Hello

Also, the teacher, a very mean and vicious nun (aren’t they all?) shamed me in front of the class for using a little off-color humor. Like the lack of laughs wasn’t humiliating enough.

Then in 9th grade, we all had to take a speech class. I researched the hell out of all my topics, and gave some very dry, humorless speeches. In a small, shaky voice. I’d get an A for prep and a C for delivery.

No.5 Bro was in the same class, and he’d just go up in front of the class and wing it (and even get laughs). He’d get a D for prep and an A for delivery. If only we’d been able to combine my research with his confidence.

So tomorrow I begin facing one of my biggest fears, public speaking. Even though he never joined Toastmasters, I think I need to call No.5 Bro for some tips. I hope none of them involve first getting stoned (not that my brother ever did that…wink, wink).

Stay tuned…

 

It’s Hard To Have Roommates

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No.2 Sis: Where’s the butter?

Me: By the toaster.

No.2 Sis: No. There’s an empty plate by the toaster.

Me: Maybe the butter’s gone?

No.2 Sis: We had two plates of butter. The clean plate and the messy plate. The empty plate is the messy plate.

Me: Is the empty plate round or square?

No.2 Sis: Square.

Me: That’s the clean plate. I finished off the messy plate a couple of days ago. Then the clean plate turned messy. And I finished that off too.

No.2 Sis: (low growl)

Me: It’s hard to have roommates. They will eat the butter while your back is turned.

I’ve been living with No.2 Sis since returning from Costa Rica 12 days ago. Besides eating all the butter, I’ve had a nasty cold. Bad roommate. Sis is avoiding me to avoid getting sick.

I have a new apartment lined up. It’s kind of cottagey, in that it has it’s own outside entrance, with a little porch. The manager told me I can plant whatever I want on the grounds near my unit. Isn’t that great? I don’t want to overdo, so I’ll start with a pot or two.

I told No.1 Sis that I was going to go without a car for as long as possible, as a money-saving measure. I lasted 8 days.

Since I loved my previous Honda, Gypsy Blue, I went to the nearest Honda dealer and started test-driving used cars. I drove a CRV (who informed me his name was Butch). I really liked him, but he had 109,000 miles on him. A little old for me.

Then I drove a 2013 Fit hatchback with 31,000 miles and the angels sang! I bought her immediately. I couldn’t pick her up for a few days though, since I didn’t think to arrange for insurance before-hand. Oops.

Insurance turned out to be a hassle. I had cancelled my policy when I went to Costa Rica, because I didn’t have a car there. Apparently, that flagged me as some sort of flake (imagine) to the insurance company, and they tripled my rate! I’ll go with Progressive for now. Thanks Flo!

I know you’re wondering what the name of the new car is. Her name is Baby. Awww!

RANDOM PHOTOS OF THE VERANDA AT THE RENTAL HOUSE AT ESTERILLOS OESTE, COSTA RICA

RANDOM PHOTOS OF THE VERANDA AT THE RENTAL HOUSE AT ESTERILLOS OESTE, COSTA RICA

Stay tuned…

P.S. I’m still answering salespeople and waitresses’ questions with si, and telling them gracias. That should wear off soon, right?

 

 

 

Gravity Checker

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Seen on Pinterest: I hate gravity. It always brings me down.

Gravity has brought me down a couple of times recently. The first time was in the grass, so I wasn’t hurt.

The second time, I was crossing the main road and tripped over absolutely nothing. And I went down hard, mostly on the more arthritic of my two knees. We were near a blind corner, so No.2 Sis quickly hauled me to my feet and I limped to the side of the road.

In a few days, the bruise blossomed into this.

KNEE BLOSSOM

KNEE BLOSSOM

I needed a vacation from Paradise.

Our good friend and Soul Sister, “V”, flew into Costa Rica to see us, and we all went to a rented house in Esterillos Oeste, near the Pacific coast.

THE BEACH AT ESTERILLOS OESTE

We found the house on Airbnb. It was a Tico-American hybrid (had screens, but couldn’t flush the toilet paper) with three bedrooms, a refreshing pool, and an ocean view.

ESTERILLOS OESTE RENTAL

ESTERILLOS OESTE RENTAL

It also had a back veranda with a gorgeous jungle view, and a semi-feral veranda cat named “Buster”.

After we came home to San Luis, No.2 Sis wasn’t feeling well, so we asked our amigo/driver, Roberto, to take us to Liberia. No.2 was hospitalized, and No.1 and I found ourselves on a fiesta parade route any time we tried to do anything.

COSTA RICAN TRAFFIC JAM

COSTA RICAN TRAFFIC JAM

No.2 was released from the hospital a few days later, with a diagnosis (you’ll have to ask her) and about six prescriptions.

No.2 misses her house, her kids and her grandkids (not in that order). No.1 Sis and I were the only ones planning on staying in Costa Rica permanently anyway, but we’ve all decided to go back to the USA for good. We leave tomorrow.

I have mixed feelings about returning. On one hand, I’m worried about finances (the USA is so expensive) and the political climate (Goddess help us). On the other hand, I’m excited to see my women, my posse, my Soul Sisters (you know who you are)!

Home tomorrow!!!

Stay tuned…