Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Smile in Walmart

The belt was loaded with my purchases as the check out lady began to zip them across the bar code scanner. She greeted me as usual and I only gave her a nod as I was in a hurry. I go there enough that I remember thinking that I had probably been through her check out line before.

As she scanned my things, she picked up the magazine I was buying & said "Oh, I absolutely love this magazine--it's my favorite". I rudely thought "you've gotta be kidding me"....there is no way this lady would be interested in Victoria Bliss. Something made me look up at her and as she scanned my things, she began to tell me how she was decorating her home in "shabby chic" & antiques. I asked her if she ever read any decorating blogs on the Internet & she told me that her life didn't allow time for that...she works two jobs.

I was grabbing the shopping bags she was filling & putting them back in my cart and she continued to tell me of decorating touches she has done in her home. She said she also loves to cross stitch...something I used to do before the day came where I had to wear bifocals...and she quickly described the beautiful patterns she was working on. As she described the project she was working on, I realized it would have been one I no doubt would have chosen for myself.

My purchases were made & there was another customer waiting for me to move on. Quickly I told my check out lady that I would love to see what all she has done in her home and that I knew it no doubt looks lovely. She smiled again & told me to "have a great day"!

I walked away not even getting her name. She has been on my mind all afternoon. I thought about it and wonder ed how many times I've been in too big of a hurry to give someone else a smile, or slow down long enough to listen to their stories. Looking at her outward appearance, I would never have dreamed that we would have had anything in common. I would never have even considered that a check-out girl at Walmart might have a lovely home, decorated in some of the styles that I like. It made me feel a little ashamed of myself.

I'm going back in a few days and I'm going to look for her again. I'll make a point to go through her check out line if possible, and just maybe we might be able to get in another short conversation. And I'm going to give her a smile and let her know that I really do care about what is going on in her life. Something tells me that she just might be in need of a friend.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Front row: my brother Steve & cousin Cheri
Back row: Cousins Luana & Philip & me
(notice that I had a fever blister even back then!)
I have a new toy! Thanks to Annette, she found a handy dandy gadget that lets us convert our slides to a digital file. It's a miracle!

For several years I have been so aggrevated that most of my kids growing up years are stored on 35mm slide film. I've checked into having them converted to digital files before & it was just too expensive. But now I can do it myself! Thank you very much, Annette!

Bob & I personally have about 20 boxes of slides stored away. Then when my parents passed away, I ended up carting their 20 plus boxes to my house. I've already sat in this supposedly comfortably padded computer chair until my bottom side has gone numb! And that was just going through one box!

But I'm determined to get to work on these things right away, before the weather warms up too much, or it will be another project put aside. Some of these pictures have been long forgotten. I'm sure there will be a lot of surprises as I go along.
The Brown Family-B.C. (before Carol Jean!)

Wish me luck! Anybody got an extra thick cushion?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Amaryllis Surprise!

I'm not a "bulb" gardener.

My intentions are good & I always dream of planting massive beds of daffodils or tulips. And sometimes I actually find myself in the garden centers at the right time & will fill my cart up with bulbs. But they end up in my garden wagon, get push aside & are forgotten, usually to be found wasted away come Spring.

This year I just couldn't pass up the amaryllis bulbs so bought a couple of packages. And not to disappoint myself, I did the usual & forgot to pot them.

In January I discovered the bulbs still in their Lowes bag (no wonder I didn't see them!) so decided to find out what would happen if I actually did "just add water" as directed.

Much to my surprise, & delight, in just a few days green sprouts began to appear. I tried to remember to faithfully water them.

After we got home from our trip I was startled to see a very long stem full of buds about to burst open. And in just a few days this gorgeous amaryllis appeared. The companion one is growing along beside it so I'm hoping to soon be doubly surprised!

I'm not kidding you when I say all I did was "just add water". There was a small fiber disk in the pot which expanded & filled the pot with "soil" when wet. It couldn't have been easier.

Already, I'm making plans to load up my cart next year & hope to have a beautiful display of amarylis in bloom...this time for Christmas instead of the end of February.

Spring is coming girls! Get your shovels, rakes, knee pads out. I'll race you outdoors!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Florida Sunshine-Part Two

And we are off on Part Two of our Sunshine Adventure! Bob knows if there is a Lighthouse in the area, he might as well start driving in that direction. After leaving Ormond Beach, we headed south on Hwy A1A to Ponce Inlet, the southern most point near Daytona Beach.

At the Inlet sits the beautifully restored Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. It has been a beacon along the eastern coastline since 1887 & is the tallest lighthouse in Florida.
We browsed in the gift shop, took a few pictures, & decided against climbing the 194 iron steps to the top of the 175 foot tower. I've climbed the one on Jupiter Island...and that was enough for me!
We wanted to see the Gulf Coast so drove on to Tampa/St. Petersburg area. There we saw some gorgeous homes, miles & miles of hotel-condos-townhouses with tourists everywhere. The Gulf area was beautiful but maybe just a little bit too populated with tourists!
It was a warm, beautiful day so we decided to do a little beach combing.
Bob just LOVES to pose for me!
Later that afternoon we decided to drive across the Causeway towards Bradenton. On our left side was Tampa Bay and on our right side was the Gulf of Mexico. A beautiful drive. Notice the steep incline up the bridgeway!
On top of the Causeway And look what I spotted as we drove through Bradenton!
You can't go to Florida & be in the sunshine without having ice cream!We actually had lunch first & topped it off with their delicious frozen custard.I was about to pop after devouring a to-die-for Concrete of vanilla custard with raspberries, blackberries & blueberries!
If you are ever in Bradenton or Sarasota--look for Sweetberries! Mmmmmm
Doing a few of my favorite things...
Sitting in the sunshine
-talking on my cell phone (just happened to be Mary Jane!)
-eating a Concrete!
On our last day we did a little shopping & went back to Downtown Disney.
Every time I go in this entrance I have to snap a picture of their never ending display of seasonal flowers. I had been there a few days earlier, just after their freezing temperatures, & the flowers were wilted. But leave it to Disney to replace everything quickly. It looked like Springtime in Indiana!
Bob has a weakness for skinny blondes with their hair down.
(Sorry about his long lost luck!)
And I found a skinny boyfriend!
Our last big spree was at Orlando's Mall at Millenia.
Fortunately for Bob, we had very little space left in our luggage!

This humongous Mall was anchored with a Macy's, Neiman Marcus, & Bloomindales. Now I know where to go while Bob is car-showing...
Bob splurged & finally bought himself a pair of quality sunglasses. It had been years since he had any other than an old prescription pair. He wears contact lenses so can gets the luxury of nice sunglasses. (I get the snap-on granny ones!)

We ended our day-& vacation-with a late afternoon lunch at Mimi's Cafe.

Then it was off to catch our flight back to Indiana. We had a great vacation but as aways, I was happy to be back home!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Florida Sunshine-Part One...

Bob & I left Indiana in the deep freeze, a brisk 9 degrees above zero. Brrrrr!

We arrived in Orlando on Wednesday evening to find out they were under a severe freeze warning, with the possibilty of setting record low temperatures. Ya might know... Well, we awoke to a frigid 27 degrees on Thursday. Flowers drooped. Palm trees looked frost bitten. The grass turned brown. Welcome to Florida in February!
But it got better. In just a couple of days the temperatures climbed up in the 60's, 70's & later even in the low 80's. For the most part it was perfect sun shiny weather. And I did nothing but relax and it was wonderful!
Have any of you ever been to the town that Disney built? If not, you must wander over there. Celebration is tucked off of the busy highway & it is like stepping back in time. I wish I had taken pictures of some of the adorable houses. If I was ever to live in Florida, this just might be the place I would choose.
I took a morning to wander up and down the streets & into some of the shops in Celebration. Most were out of my comfort zone as far a spending, so I was "just looking".
One chilly afternoon I thought the shops at Downtown Disney might be a warm place to be so spent a little time there. But I kept thinking about the vacation we had almost two years ago with some of the grandkids in tow & I got homesick for them. I wished I had all six of them there with me. At least for just a little while!
The boys would have loved this shop & I'm sure if they were along I wouldn't have walked out empty handed.
In these shops I was wishing for Kerrigan & Paige! They would have loved to pick out an outfit, have their hair done & been sprinkled with pixy dust. I could just see both of them all dressed up...
Disney definitely knows how to tug on your purse strings. Fortunately I had mine tied in a double knot before I stepped into this shop!
As I was snapping pictures of the eye catching displays, I looked up to see this guy snapping one of me. You never know who's watching!
When I went back out into the sunshine I found Mrs. Lego Lady snapping pictures also!This friendly Lego dragon has been in this lake for years!
Sunday morning we headed out of Orlando towards Daytona Beach. We drove right past the Speedway. Of course I didn't think to take a picture there either as we whizzed by.
We spent a couple of hours driving along the coast. I love the ocean & if it had been warmer, I might have made Bob take a walk with me. But in spite of the sunshine, the temperatures were still on the chilly side.
On to Steve & Suzanne's for two nights. Here Suzanne is preparing a delicious meal for us on Sunday evening. Suzanne is English & cooks a little different than I do but we love her food! For dessert we had Plum Pudding with custard sauce & I loved it.
Bob & Steve are both builders. Therefore, they never lack for something to talk about! Steve always takes Bob around to show him his projects. Once again...I failed to take pics of the houses! One job is a remodel project right on the beach at Daytona and the view from their living room was breath taking. Another project was a new home on the Intercoastal Waterway & the view there was almost as beautiful as the ocean. Kind of makes you want to move--until you hear of the Million Dollar prices!

This is the bridge across the Halifax River at Ormond Beach, which is the Intercoastal Waterway. Beautiful area!

It was good to visit with Steve & Suzanne "one on one". We seldom get to visit other than in a large family gathering & once in a while it is nice to just sit & catch up on our life happenings. Thanks for a great visit! Now you have to come to Indiana. : )

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy 22nd Anniversary to the Wheelers!
What could be more romantic than a wedding on Valentine's Day!
That is exactly what Carol & Garry chose & it was indeed a romantic day.
There were roses, hearts, greenery & white tulle that made the church & reception beautiful.

My beautiful sister, Carol Jean!

Garry & his Groomsmen
Larry (Garry's twin brother), the handsome groom, & his brother Fred
Kevin Grabil, Will Russell, Jeff, Garry's nephew(I forget which one!) Steve (our brother) & Larry Riggs

Carol & her Bridesmaids (& one old matron!)
Karen, me, Carol & her flower girl Tammy Beckham, Sharon Kramer,
Liz Wheeler (Garry's sister) & Fran (Carol's friend)

The reception was lovely, done in red roses & hearts.
Mr. Romantic even whisked Carol away on a honeymoon to Austria!
Just think, Carol....3 more years & we you will be celebrating a Silver One!
Happy Anniversary & Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Destination Sunshine!

As the snowflakes are falling this morning, I'm cheerfully packing my bags to head south. I can't wait!!!

Bob & I will be flying in to Orlando tomorrow evening for a weeks worth of sunshine--I hope! I have been to Florida this time of year when it was absolutely cold & miserable and not a whole lot of fun. But I'm hoping for warm days & sunshine.

Bob will be hanging out with his car buddies at Eckler's Chevy Convention at Old Town for the first part of our vacation. We have friends from all over the country in our car club & I'm sure I'll be around the convention some. But for the most part I'll be off exploring....or in other words shopping! Unfortunately we are limited on luggage so I won't be able to buy too much. Oh well...I'm sure they have a Fed Ex around there somewhere. ; )

Sunday we plan on heading to Ormond Beach to visit with Steve & Suzanne, Bob's brother. We always enjoy our time with them. Bob & Steve go their way, looking at houses & properties, while Suzanne & I hit the shops. I love to go with her as she is a decorator & finds unique boutiques.

We have never invested in a laptop and I'm actually looking forward to a few days of being lazy without the draw of the Internet. But I'll be back loaded up with pictures to share.

Wish I could pack you all in my suitcase for vacation! Maybe we should have a little bloggers retreat one of these days.....