Saturday, August 31, 2013

There - I Said It!!!

On Thursday Larry and I took a little Living Social created trip to Staunton.  It was wonderful and I'll write more about THAT later.

As we were leaving after lunch to come back home, Larry noticed that we were driving by a couple of quilt shops - one which had a sign that just said "Antique Linens".

"Ummm," he said nervously, "Do you want to stop and look?"

"No," I said instantly.  

"I think that I have enough linens." 

Larry, in a state of shock, managed to drive for a few blocks before he felt it was safe to say "ok."

He was happier than when the Yankees lose.

Anyone who knows Larry knows exactly how true that is!!

Yep.  That's a happy man!!!!

(*However, if you are GIVING linens've got my number....)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Trip to Las Vegas

Most people go to Las Vegas to to gamble or to see some shows.

I went to Las Vegas to visit Hogwarts.

Yes.  I am among a small percentage of people on this earth that have never read OR watched a Harry Potter movie.

So in July when my brother and sister-in-law needed to go out of town for a week and my niece Beth and nephew Travis asked if I could stay with them (I still feel honored by that request BTW) we decided one way to entertain me would be to rectify my non-Harry Potterness and watch all eight movies.

Which we did.

In four days.

I am surprised that we didn't have British accents by Tuesday.

Along the way we tweaked the series just a little...Watching those movies one right after the other made Hogwarts and it's residents feel like a real place with real people, so it's only natural that we would have little nicknames for our buddies...

Harry Potter being a teen aged wizard with a big bank account of course was renamed Harry (Big Poppa) Potter.

Hermione by the sixth movie became Hormones...

Lucius Malfoy due to his luxurious blond locks became Luscious.  (That was Beth's shining moment!) 

My own best effort was to proclaim that Hedwig would be called Owly and that he would be Harry Potter's best friend and he shall call him Owly.... 

I don't know why we christened Prof Snape Prof Snade.  Or why I was so drawn to him....

And, of course, Cedric Diggory was "Shovelface".  (Thank you, Honest Trailers!)

My nephew Travis - along with Tattoo, Belle and Jack in Harry Potter watching mode.

I had such a great time!  (And I hope they had a good time too!!)

And yes, we did do other things besides Harry Potter - 

We accidentally saw the Red Rock Canyon when we turned the wrong way for the comic book store.

We ate our weight at Sonic.

We broke in the GPS mode on my phone trying to find PF Changs.  (Travis is a WONDERFUL navigator.)

I nearly had my fill of Jack in the Box tacos...(They ordered milkshakes instead.)

We had a couple of evenings where we hooked my computer up to their big screen and watched YouTube.  Amazing stuff can be found on YouTube!!

We went (inadvertently) to the BIGGEST MALL I'VE EVER BEEN TO IN MY LIFE!!!  I needed a Pandora charm and I didn't want to go to the Vegas strip (we'd already DONE that - looking for PF Changs) So we looked up a Pandora store on Google and of course it took us to the huge Fashion Show mall on the Strip.  By sheer luck we parked in the appropriate parking garage, walked in and I was totally intimidated by the size of the place.  After 6 wrong turns we found the Pandora place, got my charm and  I announced that we would do lunch and that each kid could visit one store and then we would be outta there!!!

I also got the rare opportunity to see Travis and Beth in their natural setting without parents hanging around to make them feel shy or bashful.  I got to see what a talented guitar player Travis is, and what a whiz he is at anything to do with the internet.  I got to see that Beth is an artist and a writer and great photographer. I got to see that they are both bright, articulate and honestly fun to be around kids.

And I got to meet Big Poppa and his friends. 

I'm on the 4th book as we speak.
Thank you, Bryan and Sarah for sharing your children with me.

I had a blast!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Conversations With the Grandkids

Today Grey and Neve and I met Aunt Mary for lunch.

Sounds easy, right?

Let me just mention that earlier in the day at the back to school doctor appointment Grey got one shot, while Neve got FOUR shots.  And rumor has it that she was not at all cooperative. When they were finished with Neve's shots she told Shayne "Daddy, they HURTED me!".
So, they were a little keyed up with they climbed into the back seat.

And as Mary works near Baileys Crossroads, it's a little bit of a drive.

First I had to contend with these budding Weird Al Yankovics changing the words to a couple of songs from Les Miserables.  I won't bore you with these particular song lyrics -- just imagine the word poop, diaper, and cars rhyming horribly with other words....

We had a nice lunch at the Olive Garden with Aunt Mary, even tho their lunch seemed to consist entirely of croutons, garlic bread, chocolate milk and a random grape or two. (I guess they ate the basically untouched cheese pizza for supper tonite.)  
The waitress had a hard time with their names (on the take-out containers) so after we corrected her several times, we gave up and the kids just wrote in crayon over the names that she had assigned them.

On the way home with stopped by a goodwill store to see if I could find the Harry Potter books that I am missing.  We didn't find those, but Grey and Neve each found a book and soon we were back in the car and on our way home.

Neve's book was about ballet dancing and she showed one of the pictures to Grey.

Neve: See Grey, This is how you do it!

Grey:  Neve, I already showed you how to do a twirl!  You stick your arm up and you put your foot out and you spin!

Me: hey Grey!  maybe you would like to take ballet lessons?

Grey: NO.

Neve:  But Grey, you need to be my partner!

Grey: No!  Your teacher will divide you up and give you a partner.

Neve;  But my teacher will say, Neve, you need to have your brother for your partner!

Grey: No she won't.

Neve:  Yes she will!!

I could see that the shots and the day were catching up with Neve so I changed the subject.

But I couldn't help day-dreaming just a little about how adorable Neve and her partner Grey would be.

Even thought Shayne would kill me for even suggesting it......

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Trying to Find an Antique Store....

My friend Sue and I took off for Angola, New York last week.
Angola is near Buffalo and that is where Sue's mom lives.  Sue's sister-in-law found a cool dresser for her and we decided to do a little road trip and fetch it back to Manassas.

(I may have mentioned earlier that in August for the past few years Sue and I zip up to a giant antique flea market in upper New York.  For various reasons this year we couldn't go, so this was a good substitute.)

In the past whenever we would head up to Bouchville we would drive like crazy and try to get there as soon as we could, stopping only for gas, potty breaks, breakfast, lunch, a certain Fashion Bug store near Scranton, PA, and maybe dinner.

This time, we decided that we would take time, stop and smell the roses, and go to any antique store that caught our fancy.

In another post i will talk about what a great time we had with Sue's family and the sight-seeing we did and the great food we ate.  But for now, let's talk about the antique stores.

The first one was in Hanover, MD.  We had stopped to buy a pie at a great pie shop and while trying to find the interstate again, we passed by a sign that said Neptune's Attic.  YES! Our first random antique store!!  It had some crappy furniture out front, but the inside looked promising.  Inside it had a really bad mold and mice and some other undefinable smell.  And the prices were ridiculous, so we wandered back to the street and that's when we saw that the next store was Neptune's attic - an aquarium store.  The store we had been in was called "The Jesus Christ Our Lord Thrift Shop".  Well, it must have been the maids century off because we sneezed and coughed for quite a few miles afterwards, trying to clear our lungs.

The next store was a few days later on our way back home ...evidently all the cute little antique stores are on I-81, not the roads that we were traveling on.

So we were coming from a pottery - again looking for the interstate - and it was pouring down rain when we saw the  big white barn with the words "Antiques - Honk to see if we're here" painted on it.   Looked promising!  We honked and they were there so we ran in out of the rain. That old barn was dark and crowded and had lots of rooms - just the place for a rainy afternoon!
We'd made the circuit of one room when, of course, I had to go to the bathroom.  
It never fails!!
We asked the strange looking farmer-ly type owner and his equally strange looking helper if they had a restroom.
"Oh yeah", he said.  "Just follow me."
As we followed him, I have to admit that visions of Pulp Fiction flitted thru my mind and I prayed that he wouldn't lead us to the basement.
Oh no, he lead us outside and pointed to the next field over and said see that little white building?
Oh great.  A port-a-potty.  Across a field.  In the pouring rain.  But, we did have to pee.  So off we went, with the strange looking farmer-ly type owner and his equally strange looking helper laughing their asses off.

We got there and Sue graciously said "Go ahead.  I'll wait."

I cautiously opened the door and what I saw made my self-esteem immediately shriek "GO AHEAD - WET YOUR PANTS - THERE ARE DRY ONES IN THE CAR!!!" 

I shut the door and turned to Sue and said "Um, you can go if you want.  I'm not going in there."

As Sue very well knows it has got to be REALLY bad if I won't go in, so together we opened the door, looked inside and here is what we saw:

Shown actual size....
That spider was sitting in a web right by the toilet seat with about eighty just as large dead spiders laying all around it.  
And just to round things out, the port-a-potty was a "two-holer". and the other seat was closed with a huge rock holding the lid down. 

We did not want to know what the rock was holding in.

I won't say that we ran screaming across the field to the car, but I do think that we broke several previously held sprinting records.  

We both agreed that antiques are seriously overrated, and well, we have enough of 'em anyway.


We never had this much trouble spending money in Bouchville!!!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chopped - The Home Edition

Tonite I wandered into the kitchen trying to figure out what we were going to have for dinner.  I needed to use up what veggies that Larry and Audrey may not use while I am gone for the week.

( I am leaving in the morning to go with my friend Sue to Buffalo to pick up a dresser - (Sue prefers good New York dressers, thank you very much!!)  And since we aren't going to Bouckville this summer, we plan to leisurely drive up and maybe actually GO into those antique malls we always quickly drive by because we are in such a hurry to get to the antiques in Bouckville.)

But I digress.

In my Chopped Basket I had a yellow squash, a package of mini cucumbers, a carton of pre-sliced mushrooms, 6 beautiful tomatoes, and some questionable chicken breasts.

From the Chopped pantry, (i.e. Larry was going to Wegmans anyway) I selected some fresh basil and fresh mozzarella.

I figured a nice Caprese pasta salad, and chicken breasts sauteed with mushrooms, onions, and squash.

First I cubed the mozzarella and put it in some Italian dressing to marinate.  Then I spent a happy 20 minutes or so chopping vegetables and slowly frying some bacon for the salad.  (This was a new brand of bacon that we bought in Maryland and I have to tell you, smelling it while it was in the pan cooking was enough to reduce you to tears - it smelled that good.)

I took the bacon out to drain and added the mushrooms to the pan and seasoned them.  
Then I took out the chicken and the question of the chicken breasts was answered as soon as I opened the package.  Thinking quickly, I bribed a crew-person  (Audrey) to run to the store and pick up a rotisserie chicken.

This move was frowned upon by the Chopped Judges who penalized me by digging out a just good thru today head of cauliflower from of the back of the fridge.

OK, mushrooms, onions, squash, and cauliflower?  Yep.  What is the cure for the common vegetable??  Cheese sauce!!  Made the old-fashioned way with that big ol' block of Velveeta also dug out of the back of the fridge.  I added sour cream and lots of good black pepper added the veggies and dumped it all in a casserole pan and popped it in the oven.

Yes, this a cheese heavy supper.  BUT the leftovers will be great and plentiful and will stand alone for lunches.

So, I went over a little on time, and had I any competitors, I would still be getting dirty looks for the rotisserie chicken, but I think I had a fine showing in this, the home version of Chopped.

You should stop by for some of the salad.  I did a chiffonade of basil and everything......

It would've only been better with breadcrumbs.....


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Electronic Family

I was trying to be a good citizen last night while I was driving in rush hour traffic. 

I had a question that I needed to ask Audrey and I figured that I would use my snazzy new "voice to text" feature on my phone. 

Speaking slowly and deliberately, I said the following:

"One thing that I don't understand is why did they have to kill Harry Potter's parents in the first place."

This is what the message actually said:

"1 thing that I didn't understand is why was why did they still carry  spiders terrace in the first place."

Oh boy.

So I tried again:

"Hairy slaughter harris why did they carol is there?"

Audrey:  "I have no idea what you're asking me, LOL."


So at a stop light I quickly texted:

Me: "Why did Voldermort kill Harry potter's parents? Why were they killed?"

Audrey: "Bc V was in love w Harry's mom and she didn't love him back.  I think.  I need to rewatch."

Me:  "Me too.  His mom sure got around. Snape was in love with her too."

Audrey: "Or maybe Voldermort knew that Harry was the one and decided to kill them all."

Me: "The one what?  Guess I need to read the book."

Audrey:  "Guess sooooo."

Well, at least we have a vague idea about the classics.......