Saturday, January 21, 2012

Christmas in Minnesota-2011

December 26. 2011- Get together at Mom's house. It was wonderful. Pictured are Diane Ridder, her daughter Jill. Also Sarah (Peder's wife) and she is holding Felix. House was torn up. Boxes stacked, no carpeting or curtains. We managed and quite well at that. Thank you very much. Lasagna, french bread, and salad was served. After that came plum pudding and Christmas cookies. I really think this worked out well. Didn't matter that the lasagna was baked at 308 Charing and brought up when it was done. Didn't matter that things were very few Christmas decorations. Nope--none of that mattered. Being together was what mattered that day.
Jill DeRaad and her dad Dave Ridder.
The plum pudding was put in front of Donna. She loves it so very much. This was not as good as Mom's. Maybe some day. Jerry and Pudge ae looking on.
The kids table. How very cute they were. Little Felix and Relia (Peder & Sarah's kids and Donna's grandchildren.) Ethan Manders (Emily & Ross's child & Diane & Dave's grandchild.) The little table was made by my dad for me when I was little.
Pudge & I with our 4 grandchildren. Travis, Jamie, Abby and Anna. This picture was taken Christmas day at Kari's house in Eagan, Minnesota. We also have a step granddaughter--Sarah, age 22. She lives in NYC and works for the FBI. She was not able to be with us for Christmas.
Abby, Jane, Anna and Charlie at the Christmas day dinner table.
Kari & Jamie
The Soderberg family. Anna, Abby, Jane & Bryan.
Shannon Reed - Christmas Eve at Jeff's house. She turned 37 on Christmas day.
December 22 (I think.) High school friends got together at Laurel's house for a Christmas get together. This is Diane Martin Lepinski and Krissy Hanson Anderson. Birthday cake was for Jackie Green Wenzel. This was such an enjoyable afternoon and evening.
Laurel Harholdt Hesley. What a gracious hostess!!
Jackie Green Wenzel cutting her birthday cake. Geez--can hardly believe that we are as old as we are.
Jackie and Nancy Dunlap Ream
This was my "teacher friends" get together at Marcy's house. Phyllis, Marcy, Nancy, Me, Peggy & Nancy. So very much fun to get together with all of them.
Marcy had a wonderful dinner.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Simplifying Is a Joke (Sometimes)

Since I have decided that this blog is more for me than anyone else I want to record this for my benefit. I have also decided not to try to make this blog perfect because that is what was adding to my frustrations. For example, try to fix this underlining. I know I do paragraphs but when it gets published there are no paragraphs and I am not to fix it because it seems to get me in more trouble than it is worth. So with that being said...on with this post.

Now first things first. Christmas is not here in AZ. At least not yet. Nope, not ready to abandon the idea of going back to MN. So Christmas decorations down here were not going to happen. Besides, remember I want to simplify my life and not have so many things. But I have come to the realization that sometimes I can talk the talk but I cannot walk the walk. Although in my defense I have gotten so much better. Anyway, that was before I went to one of my favorite thrift stores--the Orphanage. It is really that--an orphanage of sorts. There are children there with no parents but also there are some that have parents but for some reason cannot take care of their children. The place itself fascinates me. It is called "Miracle in the Desert." All right-enough of that. On with the story. We pull in and alas! something different. There are tables upon tables on the outside of the building filled with stuff. A beeline was made over to the area. Found out that you take a big box and fill it with anything you find on the tables and this filled box will cost $5.00. Well before I took a box I decided to look. Came across a few cute things so got a box and started to fill it. It took over an hour to go through all the tables. Oh what fun it was!!! So some of the treasures I found that made it into my box are as follows:
This very cheerful Christmas cloth.
Oh--this was not found there. This is my fireplace which is really a DVD on the TV. The pink Santa hat was put on the corner and I didn't even have to worry about it burning. I must say that this fire does cheer up the living room and I swear you can feel the warmth.
These were some of my favorites. I am sure they are vintage. And arent't they the cutest! Love these!

These pretty white ceramic deer were still in the box. The holly candle ring got thrown in the box.
This is kind of another story. Decided that I was going to make this my Christmas tree. It is always in the corner of the living room with 1 string of mini white lights. I put a couple more strings of the pink lights that were used on the golf cart for the parade. Then last year after Christmas I went to take our trash out to the dumpster and found 2 boxes of the prettiest ornaments in there. They made their way home with me and were tucked away. When I decided to do this tree they came out. Wish I would have taken a close up because I am pretty sure they are antique. The angel on top of the tree made its way into "the box." Can't see it too well in this picture. She has braids and freckles on her face. Really cute.
Not a good picture. But I thought this looked cheerful. On the top shelf the dancing Santas are like a border and I got several rolls.
Could not resistFrosty the snowman. The snowman snowglobe was the gift that I got last year at the Sunsationals Christmas party. The other little snowman was on a gift as well as the felt one.
Glass snowman was winking at me when I saw it on the table. Plate I have had and it gets different messages put on it as well as different ribbon.I am such a sucker for anything Scandinavian. Loved these 2 figures and the wooden heart. Candle I did buy at Ikea on sale.
Another Santa and the pointsettias.
Stuffed Santa and metallic tree.
We (Twila &me) had so much fun. Darn, I should have put the picture of Twila and all of her treasures on this post. When we returned that day we went to the picnic table and spread them all out to get a better look. Poured a glass of wine and ooohed and aaahed and giggled.
I need to mention there were other things that I got that were not Christmas. My box was over flowing but they still only charged me the $5.00.
Now I really think I need a Nativity.
So you see it is hard for me to simplify my life when things are so cute and cheap. I would not have bought any of this if they would have charged me more.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Splurge or Save

Have you ever been caught in the moment? This happened to us when we ordered the new furniture for Pudge's room last spring. 2 interior designers came in from LaZBoy after we went there and picked out the couch. They measured the room and talked to us about likes and dislikes. Then they came up with a plan--wall colors, furniture placement, rug, accessories, etc....
OK we knew we wanted the couch and the rug. They bought material for decorative pillows for the couch. The colors matched all the colors and in the picture it seemed to bring life to the mocha couch. OK--they are custom made and expensive for a decorative pillow. But we decided to bite the bullet and go for it. To make a long story short--in the fall the patterned pillows were on back order and did not come with the furniture. We waited about 1 month and they still were not here. Decided that I could find something cheaper that would work. Well I didn't but Shannon did. Picture above are the pillows she found. I like them better than the custom made ones because they were a different shape and added more interest. Not only that but the price was $6.99 each for a total of $14.00. Now go to the picture below......
Here are the custom made ones that were on back order. Do you think they are the same material? I do. Yes, these are bigger but like I said I like the smaller better. These would have cost $55.00 a piece for a total of $110. It goes without saying that I am pleased with this outcome .

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Fiesta Bowl Parade-Dec. 31, 2011

Bag pipers practicing. This was happening in the staging area before the parade. We waited about in our assigned spot for about 2 1/2 hours. I didn't mind. There was so much to see and watch. I walked up and down amazed at all the entries, the people and all the goings on. We also did some practicing of our routine and lots of visiting during this time. These bag pipers were good. Really enjoyed this.
Waiting to be shuttled to our staging area. This was so very well organized. We parked our cars in a big veterans facility. Van picked us up for a short drive to this place where we waited for a bus to pick us up. It was about a 5 mile drive to the staging area where we were assigned. After being dropped off we had to walk about 10 blocks before we found our sign. Got to see lots of the other parade entrants during that walk. I was astounded at the floats, the costumes, the people. Bands were practicing all over the place. Cases of water were all over the place. Lots of portable bathrooms.
We got acquainted with the group behind us. They were the Buffalo Soldiers. From what I understand back in history buffalo soldiers were all black and they fought in the war but were very badly ostracized. I think this group took on the name in honor of these soldiers. They were all black and I am sure they must be known for their absolutely beautiful and very expensive Harley Davidsons. I have never seen anything like it. These machines were a work of art. There were probably about 30 and each one was different. There were some Hondas in there also. Even their outfits were impressive. Very nice people.
We were told to get ready and started lining up. Isla and Roy (brother and sister) carried the banner. The tall, thin girl in center of picture is Stephanie -- our dance instructor. She choreographs all our dances. She did not mind marching with all of us old ladies. And thank God because it would have been very difficult without her there.
Buffalo soldiers with their beautiful bikes. We got very acquainted with them during the wait. Every group had a sign like the one on the cone and that was our waiting place.
Here we are with these gorgeous boys. They were so big and really nice. They were All Americans with Semper Fideles which is connected to the marines. I asked to have my picture taken with them because I wanted to tell my granddaughters-Abby & Anna that Grandma still has it. Then the rest of the Sunsationals joined in because they wanted their pictures taken. That just made it more fun
The GhostBusters. They had neat costumes and a neat van. They were ahead of us so we got to know them also. Had my picture taken with them also.
These people were along side of us. I could not quit staring at their spectacular costumes. Even their hairpieces were awesome. This picture does it no justice at all. Their float was very nicely decorated.
Camels were down the way from us. Roy & I walked down to see them. The closer we got the worse the smell was. They stunk. Then one of them started to get very agitated and really started to act up. It was scary because it looked like he could have broken his leash and boy was he mad. The guys attempted to calm him and it did work after a while. That was a sight to see.
This group was just ahead of us. Talk about talented!! Oh my gosh!! It was a percussion group. Looked like high school kids. They played a few numbers to warm up. They also had chorography to go with the beating of drums. They were incredible!! Loved this.
These cars are a work of art. The people driving these were dressed like gangsters and their molls. This car has a suitcase as well as a bank bag attached to the running board.
Here we are posing by our sign. These costumes were all hand made by a few of the members about 4 years ago. We got a lot of compliments. Being as the parade's theme was "Southwest" they were very appropriate. We were very easy to spot. In fact the group sent a security guard down to find me and Linda when we walked around looking at the other entries. He knew exactly what to look for.
Nancy, Darlene, Linda P., Linda L. and Mary Lynn--age range is 66-68.
Waiting in the parking lot at Sunland Village East. This is 8 am. A little chilly but it sure warmed up later in the day. We caravan to Phoenix.
What a riot this picture is!! This is the day before in the parking lot at auditorium. We are practicing "roll off." We did this once in the actual parade and it did not work at all so it was not attempted again. The back row could not hear the whistle and they were so busy waving at crowd that they didn't even do it.
So after the parade was going on for about an hour we finally got to move. We were near the back so that is why the long wait. Now I thought the line up was all the groups around us. Not the case. They also had groups on side streets that would funnel in to the place they were supposed to be. We never saw the POW honor guard until just before the parade approach when they came in to get in front of us. Then a group of beautiful Arabian horses came in behind us. Never saw those either until after we started. There was a preparade section that we had to walk through and then a sign that said "start" and that was when it began. It was almost too much to get my head around. TV cameras, commentators, and tons of people. So much to see and we had to concentrate and keep our eye on each other to stay in line as well as listen for Stephanie's whistle to cue us that we would be doing the little routine. Oh yeah--and we had to keep a certain distance from the other groups. People were stacked 9 deep and clapping, cheering and whistling and shouting "Happy New Year" I thought this must be what Kate Middleton feels like when she makes an appearance. The people were in back of barricades. Then we would come up to bleachers with more people. I do remember a TV camera being pointed at me and I did wave my pom pom and said "Hi Abby, Anna, Travis & Jamie." Not sure if that is what got on TV or not. I know ABC was televising it but other stations were there to do clips for their news programs. I was enjoying waving and shouting Happy New Year back to the people. When ever we did our routine it really made a hit. Found out that we got a little behind when we took the time to do it. Had to walk fast to catch up. Try to keep in step while doing that. Started to laugh when my attempts to get in step were futile. Once I heard Carole in back of me hollering, "Pat--Right." I had a tendency to drift off to the left and because I was the beginning of one line it was noticeable to the others behind me. At the end we found out that poor Mary Jean was almost done in because it was so fast. It seemed to me that our steps were so much bigger when we did the routine than when we practiced it. At the end we were sweating and thirsty. We all agreed that it was a great experience and would do it again. I loved it!!! Only next time the back row wants to be in front so they can hear the whistle. I do know that Darlene was on camera for a while and she blew a kiss into the TV camera to her husband who was watching it on TV. I joked that she didn't get into trouble with her kiss like I did. This whole experience was amazing and I feel so fortunate to have been able to do it.