Monday, May 31, 2010

Things that piss me right the heck off

The following things piss me off in no particular order.

The last two bottles of dish detergent that I have bought have come with these new tops.

This pisses me off.

I can't remove these suckers if my life depended on it! I pour my detergent into a pretty bottle that I leave on the sink. When I empty the detergent bottle, I save it for one last dish washing. I can squeeze out the last bit of soap that's stuck to the sides by rinsing out the bottle right into the sink of dirty dishes and wha-lah! Suds! But now I can't get the damn tops off! I supposed I could cut it off, but I could just see me cutting off my fingertip or something, and then that would cost money to go to the ER to have it sewn back on, and all I was trying to do was save a little money by eking out the last little bit of soap from the bottle. Sheesh.


Simple chore that can only be done by the female persuasion in my household.

This pisses me off.


Thanks to the Tylenol Murders in Chicago back in 1982, every stinking product has to be sealed like it's Ft. Knox. Now I know it's for our own safety, but, guys, can you make it a LITTLE easier here?

If they'd just put a tab on the end so I could pull the seal off easily, I would be oh so happy. But no. That puppy is sealed tighter than a drum. I pick and pick at it, hoping to catch one end to peel the seal back, but to no avail. I end up taking out my frustrations by getting a knife and stabbing the heck out of it, then peeling the foil off.

This also pisses me off.


You all know we live in a trailer. So everything has to be orderly or it can get quite chaotic. We have one door to get in the place. That's where we keep some of our shoes. I like things neat, like so.

Unfortunately, my husband doesn't see things my way. He takes off his shoes and throws them willy-nilly on the rug, like so.

This pisses me off. Big time.

Then I go back and straighten all the shoes so at least if someone comes to visit they can get in our door!

What kinds of things piss you off?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

James, Carole, Me and, uh, Dorothy

We were so excited to see James Taylor and Carole King in concert, together. Can it get any better than that folks?

I hadn't been to a concert in an arena since I don't know when. I was shocked at the price for parking - $20!! Yikes! Seriously - is that REALLY necessary? And I thought it was bad back when they charged $10!!

We arrived early for the concert - about 5:50 pm because there was some confusion as to when it actually started. The tickets said 7:30 pm, but on line it said 7:00 pm. We didn't know if maybe they had an opening act at 7:00, so we opted to get there early. So early that the doors weren't even open yet! So a policeman told us where to form a line (behind the doors, please), and we did what the nice officer told us to do. We were the second group in line. There were cops everywhere; directing traffic, standing around outside the arena, looking important.

The woman behind me said dryly, "I doubt they have to worry about a riot with THIS crowd!"

That was certainly true. The average age was AT LEAST 50.

The doors opened at 6:30 pm and we made our way up to the balcony. Of course by this time I had to use the restroom, which was conveniently located near our seats, then we grabbed a snack because we hadn't eaten any dinner. Another shock to my system. A pretzel and bottle of water? $8.50

Finally we got to our seats. Even though we were in the balcony section, they weren't bad seats. The stage was in the center of the floor and moved 360 degrees. Plus with the jumbotron screens, pretty much every seat was good.

Before long the seats began to fill up. Two women sat behind us. I thought they were mother and daughter, but found out later that they were just friends. I pegged the woman, let's call her Dorothy, shall we? to be around 60, 65. Linda thought that Dorothy was younger. That's all I know is that Dorothy got on my last nerve. Usually I can talk to anybody and tolerate pretty much anybody. Not Dorothy.

She struck up a conversation with us. Then she would not shut up. Even if we didn't turn around. (I never turned my head since she was sitting right behind me.) She continued to talk, in this grating voice, about how sick she had been, with a collapsed lung or two, puss filling in-between the lungs (yes, this while I was eating my $5 pretzel), how she has fibromyalgia, and so on and so on....By this time she just sounded like fingernails on the blackboard to me.

I WANTED to turn around and say, "Why don't you just shut your pie hole?"

What I DID was, when she took a breath, finally, I leaned over and started a conversation with my sisters. They had such a look of relief on their faces!

It was 7:20 and I thought I'd better go to the bathroom one last time before the concert. I quickly ducked out and saw that the line was at least 30 women deep. What's up with that? The men's bathroom? No line. Crap. So I just turned myself around and went back to my seat. Pee-pee be damned!

The concert didn't start till 7:40 pm, so the tickets should have read 7:30ish

Oh the excitement to see these two great musicians walk on stage!

Did you know that Carole King is 68 years old? I.Kid.You.Not. She looks great.

She danced around the stage on heels, wiggling her butt, clapping her hands, jumping around - she was just unbelievable.

I leaned over and said to Linda, "I hope I can be this active when I'M 68!"

"Get Real!" Linda replied. "You don't even do that NOW!"

Like Randy Jackson says on American Idol, "Just keeping it real, dog."

James Taylor is 62 years old, and although he's lost almost all his hair from his hippie days, his voice is still like buttah.

I don't remember if this was the song or not, but Dorothy and her cohort stood and flicked their Bics, while other people just flicked their phones (it's the millennium people!) I was so afraid ole Dorothy was going to drop her Bic on my product-filled hairdo and that I would go up in flames and run down the stairs like Richard Pryor running down the block on fire. That oughta get JT/CK's attention!

Pam leaned over and said, "I bet about 95% of this audience was stoned when this song first came out."

Carole's voice (we're on a first name basis don't cha know) was clear as a bell, and still had that "roughness" to it at times. Brought me right back to my high school days. Aahhh.....

Oh yeah, at one point, Dorothy yelled at the top of her lungs, "CK YOU ROCK!" My eyes just about popped out of my head.

Hope you enjoyed a little bit of the concert with me, and look at the money you saved!! And the BEST part? No Dorothy!

If I had known she'd be sitting behind me, I could have hired the Wicked Witch of the West to fly over the arena and write,


Note: None of the videos above were mine. The person(s) who took them had better seats than me, so I used their videos. The following video is mine. I recorded the complete version of Carolina in My Mind. The picture isn't great but the sound is good.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Antiquing with my sisters

Last Sunday morning, my sisters and I decided to go antiquing. First stop - The Big Chicken.

Cute idea if you have an old wheel barrel just sitting around.

Although some things were stored on shelves, it was kind of messy inside, with a hodge-podge of things everywhere.

I've really been into roosters and chickens lately and hope my "someday" kitchen will be filled with them. Although I didn't purchase any of these, I have a feeling I won't have a problem finding any when I want them!

I absolutely fell in LOVE with this print. I regret not buying right there on the spot. But I see it's available online from other places - without the frame.

This baby toy spoke to me for some reason....don't know if I had one as a child OR if MY kids had one when THEY were little. (I have an awful memory!)

Look at this oldie, but goodie!

We left The Big Chicken and moved on to the next place. There was an Antique Mall located on the outskirts of town. Sitting outside next to their building were these beauties.

The humidity was extremely high, and the temperature was in the high 80's, so when we entered the air conditioned building and that cold air hit us in the face, I'll tell YOU that I was happy!

The "mall" was set up with little sections, each rented by individuals who sell their items on consignment. What a difference from the first place! Paintings hung on the brightly colored walls. One room was set up like a country kitchen, with pots, pans and utensils hanging off the walls. All items were displayed so nicely. You could see each and every one. I didn't even make it to the basement; I was so busy taking pictures and stopping and looking at so many items. Here are some that caught my eyes.

This was the red/white/blue display. Those are tiny baby shoes.

This is a huge vintage dough bowl, I suppose that was used to let the dough rise. I don't know if this is Amish or not. That is not a hole at the bottom, but part of the bowl. It looks deceiving, like it is the table underneath.

Wooden spools in a row.

Okay, does this mean that I am old when I say that I first learned to type on a manual typewriter like this? Shut.Up.

I thought that these were shoe stretchers. WRONG! My husband, Mr. Wikipedia, said these are called "lasts" which are tools for making shoes. Huh! Who knew? They just caught my eye. I like to take pictures of things in a row. (see photos of milk cans, spools, above!)

I got a kick out of this print. This looks Rockwellish, but I don't know if it is or not. It's called, "Grandma gets a hit!"


Later in the morning our cousin drove up for a visit and to show us the latest addition to her family. Meet RLE (pronounced "Arley"). Those are her husband's initials - he died a year ago.

All together now, "Awww." RLE is part Chihuahua, Cairn Terrier, and Maltese. He is so sweet.

We had a great visit. After a good dinner of spaghetti, salad and garlic bread, we all drove into town for a little ice cream.

Isn't this a great name for an ice cream joint? "The Brain Freeze"

Look how cute it was decorated inside.

A work of art....

I had a scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream in a waffle cone. Delish!

We were leaving in the morning, and it had been a good weekend.

We had one thing left on our agenda: The James Taylor/Carole King concert. Stay tuned....

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sales, Schneckens and Steaks

On Saturday morning we ate a quick breakfast, then headed out to the town of Princeton (WI), where there is a weekly flea market. They sell everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, to plants and flowers, socks and T-shirts, cheese and pickles, antiques, home-made crafts, used books, and anything else you could possible want and/or need.

Linda and I have been coming to this flea market for years so we're accustomed to how it is set up, and how each of us shop. (We both kind of wander, with me keeping an eye on her in the distance.)

One time I was driving home from the market. Also in the car were my husband Jim, Linda, her husband (also named Jim), and her brother-in-law, Mickey. Three men, two women. Got the picture? It was a two lane country road. The car in front of me was turning left. Oncoming cars were preventing the car from turning so we were waiting.

Mickey said, "Go around him," even though there is no lane there - just a muddy shoulder.

Jim, (Linda's hubby) said, "You'd better not. Just wait. Plus you'll get the car all dirty."

My husband wisely kept his mouth shut (for once).

"Go around him!" Mickey urged again.

So I jumped. I drove around the car. Done.

Did I mention that my niece, Kelly, was following me in her car? Let me give you a little background about her.

She drives like a maniac.

Anycop, I got to a small town and slowed down to 25 mph and all of a sudden saw a cop with his lights flashing come up behind us (both me AND my niece). So I immediately pulled over, and Kelly followed suit.

I laughed and said some snarky remark about, "Oh I wonder what Kelly did now!"

Boy was I surprised when the cop came up to my window and scared the bejesus out of me! I actually let out a little scream!

"Sorry I scared you," He said.

"That's okay," I replied. Like, duh, what else am I supposed to say?

"Do you know why I stopped you?" He continued.

In my head I'm thinking, "ME? You stopped ME?" But I said, "No, I don't."

"Well, back there a mile or so, you passed that car that was turning. You drove on the shoulder. There was no passing lane."

"Oh." All the while I'm thinking, "WHY DID I LISTEN TO A MAN TELLING ME TO GO?"

"Well, I'm not going to give you a ticket, but this is just a warning. You can't pass on the shoulder like that."

"Okay, officer, thank you for telling me."

Did I also mention how Kelly beeped her horn, smiled HUGELY, as she drove by, while the cop was talking to me? Why I oughta.....

All of us in the car had a good laugh over the incident.

But I digress....

Linda is always looking for things to put in her garden (both at home and in Wisconsin). She bought a few garden items and got a good deal on a kid's bike to leave up at the trailer.

I scored on a baby swing for Lily and picked up some paperbacks.

Pam only bought socks, but they were a steal at a buck a pair!

I didn't bring my camera with me (shame on me!) so I had to rely on my cellphone again in a pinch.

I came across this couple who were peddling their bakery goodies. I asked them if I could take their picture for my blog and the wife said, "Do you hear that, honey? We're going to be FAMOUS!"

As they posed for this photo, she turned to her husband and said, "Don't look short!" (She was about 2 inches taller than him.) So she bent her knees a little so he would appear taller than her. Her secret is out now, though!

Here is the menu of what they were offering.

I loved the way the man pronounced the words, like "schnecken". Say it. "Schnecken". Isn't that fun? It means "snail" in German. This is what the pastry looks like.

You can see why it's called that, yes? Oh, and that's Linda's pretty plate that the pastry is on. Yep, we bought one to taste, along with this oatmeal/raspberry/orange scone

and this chocolate croissant that had a thick piece of dark chocolate in the center. How it didn't melt during baking is a mystery.

They also had some ciabatta bread (which literally means "carpet slipper" in Italian) (Gosh the things you learn from my blog!). The bread was THE BEST. Crusty on the outside, fresh on the inside. We ate it for lunch, along with our homemade tomato salad, some provolone cheese, and fresh fruit. Delish!

Here is Pam re-enacting the grasshopper scene with Linda's garden statue.

We wiled away the afternoon playing games - dominoes and Bananagrams.

Did you ever play that? It's a fun game, similar to Scrabble, but each player makes their own puzzle.

Our menu for supper was steaks on the grill, baked potatoes and corn on the cob. Mmmm...

Here's a quick and easy recipe for steak.

Take meat out of refrigerator to bring to room temperature before cooking (around 20 minutes prior)

Drizzle both sides with olive oil and rub in

Salt both sides

Pepper both sides

finely dice or grate one garlic head for two steaks; then rub pieces onto each steak

Grill (usually about 8 minutes per side for medium)


And finally, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share this sign with you. Somebody sounds like a braggart!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Planes Sisters, trains, and automobiles

This past weekend I was in Wisconsin with two of my sisters. I took a train and a car to get there.

It was gloomy and overcast when Jim drove me to the train station. The train station, built in 1911, is so cute.

I got a quick picture off before I gave Jim a kiss and boarded the train!

I was lucky to get a seat to myself. There were a few other passengers, each in their own little world. Except for the two behind me. It was a mother and her child. I didn't see their faces till I exited the train, so I only heard their voices through the whole trip. The little girl sounded so cute.

They were looking out the window of the train. The little girl said, "Cow barn."

"That's right. A cow barn," said her mother.

"Cows seeping."

"Yes, they probably are. It's early. We got up early, too to catch the train."


Almost everything the mom said, the little girl replied with, "A-ha." It was so cute. The mom tried to keep her daughter occupied by pointing out bridges, trees, cows, etc. Once or twice the little girl got somewhat anxious, but the young mother kept her cool, spoke in a soft voice and avoided a situation that could have gotten out of hand. She'd distract her daughter with something else. I commend this mom on doing such a great job with her daughter. I enjoyed my train ride listening to the two of them converse. The little girl's voice reminded me of my grand daughter, Lily, and how she would sound when she starts putting words together to form sentences.

When I departed the train I told the mom what a good girl she had and asked how old her daughter was. She was only two!

I was the last one off the train and my sisters were waiting for me. Pam thought that I had missed the train! Nope. Just struggling with all my stuff!

Off we went! We stopped in Madison, WI for lunch. Afterward we hunted down a clothing store that we all liked and did a little shopping. Finally we headed to Pardeeville, stopping first at the Piggly Wiggly for some food.

We passed this Amish person on the way to the campground.

There is a small Amish community nearby. They have a store and garden center. They also sell their home baked goods at the campground on weekends.

Linda-Martha-Stewart, as I like to call my sister, has a knack for decorating and planting. Here are some of the beautiful things she has around her humble abode (trailer).

I think this is called "Crazy Pots". You buy several clay pots that have a hole in the bottom and graduate in size. You also need a piece of rebar. Fill each pot with dirt and a plant. Pound the rebar pole in the ground. "Thread" the pots on the bar, largest on the bottom, tipping the pots every other way.

Doesn't this look inviting? Is this like a page right out of Martha Stewart Living or what?

Even a spot for the wee ones

At night we sit around just staring at the fire,or roast wieners or marshmallows, whatever we wish.

To be continued.....