Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Happy Halloween season (and stuff)!

Chris Timmons animation halloween october gifoween GIF
Why is it that I felt like I had SO much time before Halloween set-up time, so therefore was not working on any projects, or preparing for the Countdown blog posts, or Instagram photo challenge.  Then all of a sudden....BAM!!  It's here!!!  I swear there's a time warp that happens when I get home from work (around 4 - so plenty early).  I blink and it's time to start dinner, I blink again and it's 10:30pm!  What happens in that blink???  

So yeah.  I'm really scaling back on my indoor decorating this year, but I don't think the fam will care. Our house is too small for a party, so it's not a big deal to be more selective with what I bring in....altho I didn't find the tote with my H'ween nutcrackers in it!  I NEED those guys!  We'll be out in the garage putting the air conditioners away this weekend, so I'll look again then.  I'll also be bringing my skeleton horse out!  Hooray! 

So catching up.....

9/28 was Miss Angela's birthday (sniff - 20!!)  she had work and then dance until late, so we took her out to dinner Friday night to this place called Black Rock Bar & Grill.  They literally bring you a slab of rock heated to 750 degrees and a piece of raw meat!  You basically cook your own meat, so if its not how you like it, its your own damn fault. 
 This was the smallest of the desserts they offered....
That brownie was easily 6"x 6" x 3" deep!  All 3 of us barely put a dent in it.

My nephew, Austin's birthday is the day before Angel's, so we always make a family trip to the orchard to celebrate them.  This year we went to a different place, just a cider mill.  There wasn't anything exciting to do (other than eat donuts & drink cider!), but there were trails thru the woods and it's dog friendly, so we all took our dogs with us!
They all had a good time. 
Family portrait
Sisters (and canine cousins)

Then things were pretty mundane until last Thursday - Randy pulled something in his back, simply by standing up.  He was a typical guy about it, of course and did nothing but take some aspirin.  But Saturday it had gotten to the point it was real pain (not man pain) and he could barely stand up.  So I took him into the ER.  They took x-rays and loaded him up with steroids & muscle relaxers & pain killers.  He has an appointment Monday with an orthopedic specialist but he's been feeling pretty good since he came home (only 3 hours in the ER - woot!)  So until then - we have no idea what caused it.  I sure don't like seeing him hurting like that!

So Miss Angela's starting a second part-time job tomorrow - at 7-11 but she seems pretty happy about it.  The 2-3 days a week she's been getting at the dancewear store was barely keeping gas in her car.  She was working every day for a while - during the beginning of the dance season rush, but it's calmed down now. 

Speaking of dance - team parent meeting next week to talk about Nationals (shizz getting real!)  and on the 22nd is the annual day-long Intensive with the guest teachers.  I volunteered to take pictures again.  It's a good way to be able to actually go INTO the rooms and watch - heehee!

 So that's all, unless you want to read about all that's involved with setting up my cemetery?  I'm finally getting the lights close to how I want them.  I'm sure my phone photo here isn't doing it any justice, either.
Or you can read my post on Maple Grove's blog about Squirrels.
 I'll leave with this gem I saw at Target in the H'ween candy section the other day....  
 reaction happy excited awesome yay GIF

Friday, September 22, 2017

It's Fall!!!

Originals excited friday free gymnastics GIF
Well.....according to the calendar anyway!

And from WTForecast (surprising a G-rated forecast!)

Last weekend was my nephew's wedding in Chicago - it was a beautiful wedding!  My new niece is such a sweet girl & she fits right in with our family.
Laurie, (Randy photobombing), Terry, me
(stolen from FB)
I know there's a nice pic of Randy & I somewhere - it must be on his phone. 

We drove over Friday with enough time to get settled in the hotel before the rehearsal dinner.  Randy & I were in one car with Angel & her friend Brittany following (lot's o drama there, but I'm not getting into that mess- let's just say they're not friends anymore!)  They drove separate because Angel had a special dance class Monday night that she didn't want to miss and work Tuesday, where Randy & I had more time off. 

The wedding was Saturday, and by then we were all sick, of course.  I'm not sure if Brittany gave it to Angel, or Angel got it from the kids she works with at the store....but Randy started with the sore throat Friday & I had it Saturday.  Sinuses stopped up, chest congestion - all the fun stuff.   I'm sure the food was delicious at the wedding, but we couldn't taste it!  
The live band at the reception was excellent - they were called Recycle the Day.  They were a cover band & sounded really good with every song they did!  They even did some small choreography on their stage.  The dance floor was never empty. 

Sunday we played tourist.  By the time we were all up & around & fed, it was after noon.  We went downtown & up into the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) to the Skydeck.  Super awesome!   Basically you take an elevator 103 floors up & can go out ON the glass windows over the streets of Chicago. 
Then we got to experience a Chicago cab driver to take us to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner, then another taking us to the train station afterward.  Those guys have some serious cahones!  Wow!  When the sign in the back says to Buckle Up for Safety - they aren't kidding!   We had 2 cars - Randy, Angel & me in one; Mom, sister Laurie, niece Lisa & her boyfriend AJ in the other. 

It was late when we got back to the hotel and we were all exhausted.  We all visited in Mom & Laurie's room for a bit with Linda & Dave (the parents of the groom) - then turned in. 

Monday morning, everyone was getting ready to go separate ways.  Angel had to head home.  Laurie, Mom Lisa & AJ were heading to the airport, so Randy & I met up with Linda & Dave to have breakfast with the bride & groom and see their new house before we took off, too.   

Linda & Dave went back home, while Randy & I headed north.  We decided to take the scenic route home, thru Wisconsin & the UP!   We stopped at a maritime museum in Sturgeon Bay, WI.  It was very cool.  We picked a good time to go, since maybe 2 other people were there, but we never ran into them.  We actually learned some neat stuff!

I have this bucket list of sorts, where I want to visit all 30+ Maple Grove cemeteries in Michigan, because that happens to be the name of my Halloween display.  So Randy humors me.  There are 5 in the UP and one just south of the Mackinac Bridge, so we hit all 6!  Yes, I take pictures of interesting headstones & blog about them over on my H'ween blog (Maple Grove Cemetery) but they'll be up in October during the Countdown to Halloween.  Shameless plug, but I digress!

One was near Bond Falls, that Linda & Dave recommended to us.  It was beautiful!  The lower part was even wheelchair-friendly.  But if you wanted to climb up to the top, there were cement stairs & a path to follow.  
I've heard people say they're better than Tahquamenon Falls - 
but they're both glorious in their own ways!
We passed the house of some people after my own heart - they had a bunch of skeletons out doing stuff in their yard, so Randy stopped so Chuck (my mascot & traveling buddy) could "visit".
Yes, I travel with a googly-eyed skeleton wearing a camo onsie! (another shameless plug - check out #skeletonroadtrip on Instagram!)

Monday night, we hit one cemetery, then stayed the night in Iron Mountain.  Tuesday, we went to the falls, then hit a total of 3 cemeteries and ate pasties in the place voted best in the U.P.

Tuesday night we stayed in St. Ignace.  If it had been "in season" the suite we had would have been 2 or 3 times more than what we paid!  We had a lovely balcony overlooking Lake Huron and Mackinac Island in the distance.  And we had our own hot tub, which felt really good after sitting in the car for so long! 

The U.P. is seriously a beautiful place.  The leaves were just starting to turn color, so in a couple weeks, it will be spectacular!

After breakfast Wednesday, it was back on the road.  We didn't stop at Castle Rock because it was too foggy to see anything!  But we did get some nice shots of the Mackinac Bridge from Bridge View Park. 
We got the last cemetery & stopped at Tim Horton's in Gaylord, since it's the furthest north Timmy's in the state and we needed our fix. 

We stopped and pick the dog up from Laurie's house on our way home - he'd been kennelled with her Barney & Linda's Baxter & Webster while we were in Chicago, so she just picked him up when she got Barney.  I've never seen Jack so eager to get in the car and leave her house!  Normally I have to put the leash on him & pull him away.  

It's always nice to get home after being away!  Especially when you're not feeling well.  

On the plus side, we're all on the mend, even tho we're at the stage where we're coughing up nasty stuff.  Physically, we feel better!  Woot!

So plans for this weekend?  Next Thursday is Miss Angela's birthday, which means Friday is GO day for setting up my Halloween display!  So I'll be out this weekend, getting things out of storage & cleaning them up, staging them on the patio so they'll be ready to go!  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Where has summer gone?

Ok, I'm not exactly thrilled with it still being dark when the alarm goes off in the morning, but by the time I get to work, the sunrises are spectacular.  I have a ton of Instagram pics of the tree at the business next door to work, because it's between me and said sunrise!
January 2017
Last Monday....


Ummmm.  Yeah. 

How's it going?

I felt obligated to write a real post, since there has been too many in a row of linkups.  Not that there's anything wrong with them, I just hadn't done any free-style posts for quite some time. 

We've gotten a couple home-improvement projects done recently and another is on the short-list to be done.  For some reason, Randy thought it bothered me that our garbage disposal hasn't worked in 10+ years.  I personally don't recall caring, but he saw some Moens on clearance at Home Depot last weekend that had high reviews, so we went back & got one.  And of course while we're fighting with the old one to remove it, he found a reset button on it.  So that one probably still worked after all!  But too late.  We finally got it out & the new one installed and got the electrical hooked back up today.  

We also had an unexpected project with the fridge.  He noticed it didn't seem as cold as it should be, and discovered the freezer was all frosted up. We took everything out of the freezer, unfroze it and cleaned it all up.  Then he went online & found someone's hack on how to keep the drain from plugging up with ice.  So the fridge is good & cold again & some science projects have been removed from the freezer!

The next project is replacing the ceiling fan in the kitchen.  Now ~that~ I may have made a comment or two about wishing it was replaced.  The old one has a broken blade (it just fell off one night!  Of course I was home alone and scared the crap out of me!).  We've had the new one for quite some time, we just need to DO it. 

So, the shorter days & cooler nights can only mean one thing....Halloween is near!  
You know that I'm all about this time of year (shameless plug for my H'ween blog Maple Grove Cemetery).   I don't do a big fancy haunted house or anything, but I do have a decent sized cemetery in my front yard & a bus-load of skeletons that I have do stuff within the cemetery.  It's more humorous / spooky than it is scary / spooky. 
New thing for this year - a swing! 
Quick & easy to take a piece of scrap board & drill holes in the corners & thread some rope thru. 
This is Chuck - he's the cemetery mascot who stays out year-round & travels with me & does random stuff.   You can't see it here, but he's got googly eyes! 
 Also new for this year - I managed to scored one of the skeleton horses from Home Depot back in April.  I haven't looked recently, but I think it's pretty hit or miss catching them in stock.   I was really happy to find out they also carry a saddle & bridle for it! 

I've been doing a bit of shopping, too.  Some of the bigger chains (Walmart/Target/CVS/Walgreens, etc) around here don't have anything out, it's still back-to-school time because most Michigan school don't start back up until after Labor Day, but I've seen a little bit at the local greenhouse (really!) and places like Kirklands & TJ Maxx., but not a whole lot yet.  

Today was the launch of Yankee Candle Halloween collection.  I didn't go to the mall to see things in person, but I ordered a couple Boney Bunch pieces online.   Since this always happens the weekend before my birthday, Randy lets me buy what I want, then he doesn't have to worry about getting me a gift!!
   They had a really cute Clue-type theme going this year, so I was tempted by a couple pieces (I copied their pics off their website), just because they reminded me of Miss Angela's last dance season's production of Clue (check it out on my YouTube channel over on the right sidebar - look under my uploads.) 
Death by Chocolate - got her.   
 Head Chef - got him.  He cracks me up!  
Squad Car - this was the first thing I put in my shopping bag!
I was really tempted by Boney Holmes.  
Maybe if YC puts out some coupons, I'll go back & get him. 
Same with "A Little Party Never Killed Nobody"
I do believe this is a pretty big piece, and they're a pain in the butt to store & display. 
So maybe, maybe not. 

Well, I'm going to sign off with Jack for National Puppy Day!  
Are you looking forward to fall?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Skywatch Friday 8/24/17

Woooo, another eclipse post (sort of, kinda, almost)!  Here in SE Michigan, we only had about 78% coverage of the sun, so it basically got hazy.  

When I left to go to work that morning, this is what I saw from my back porch. 
 I love the clouds like that! 
 Look!  It's the tree at the business next door to where I work!  It's been a while, tree!  
I was really entertained with the "S" in the clouds.  
So, like I said, we didn't see much of the eclipse, but we did go outside and borrow a welding mask from the guys in the shop to look.  And one of the admin ladies brought in a cereal box viewer, which fascinated me, since I was wondering how something so simple would work, but it did!!
I tried to get a selfie with the sun (ignore my 14 chins from this angle!) and didn't notice until a couple days later when I uploaded my pictures onto my computer that there's a reflection of the sun on my upper lip!  

The XM 80's on 8 channel made me laugh.  When I first got in the car, Total Eclipse of the Heart was playing.  Then the very next song was New Moon on Monday!
At least my Monday started off with a laugh! 

I'm linking up over at SkyWatch Fridays, where I'm sure there will be some real eclipse photos!  But even if there's not, there will be awesomeness!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Transforming Tuesday 8/22/17

Woot!  Check me out!
It's amazing that if you actually follow the plan correctly, it works!  I tracked every day and was down 2 lbs!  Imagine that.  And only went over the "healthy eating zone" twice!

So I'm just gonna keep on doing what I'm doing!  Which means not ignoring the alarm on my phone that goes off several times a day, reminding me to track!

Next Tuesday is my birthday!!
Birthday Bot dancing party beer celebrate GIF
Not sure when it's going to happen, but I've already informed the fam that I want to go to the Hard Rock Cafe in Detroit for dinner.  I'll scope out the menu before we go and see what they have.

Brief & to the point tonight - caio!


Saturday, August 19, 2017

What up, Weekend?? 8/18/17

This is one week that I'm not sad to see be over!  There are only 3 of us in my department at work - Boss Lady (aka the owner of the company's sister), me & another peon.  And Peon #2 was on vacation this week, so I had to cover for her.  Which meant doing a lot of do-it-NOW / customer service / people-y things that I normally don't do (and very little of my own work) and also staying later (my hours are 7:30-3:30 and her's 9-6) so I split the difference & stayed until 5 each night. 

It was exhausting!

Really didn't think today was ever going to end!  On the plus side....each day, while at work,  I saw my FitBit notification pop up on my phone that I reached my steps goal!
 What's up, Wednesday?
As usual, I'm linking with with Miss Lindsay & crew to reflect on the positives in life from the past week. 

1.  Notifications that say "Overacheiver!" from Fitbit.
 funny lol laughing laugh minions GIF
2.  Extra hours at work = extra $$$!!

3.  Finding out that Home Depot carries a saddle & bridle for their skeleton horse. WOOT!  That just saved me a lot of work before Halloween! 

4.  Going kayaking for the first time last weekend!  My arms were dead for a couple days after, but it was so fun! 
5.  Going out for Thai tonight, since Randy knew I had a rough week.
Not even caring that I didn't count how many points were in that delicious 17 oz bottle of 5.5% alcohol Zombie Killer (cherry hard cider - mmmmmmm!)
6.  My eye exam tomorrow.  I hate admit that I really do need readers.  Getting old sucks!  But it'll be nice to SEE!

 7.  There just happen to be several stores that I know have Halloween stuff out already not far from the eye place!  It's in the middle of a nasty construction zone, so I would normally avoid venturing into that area but since I'll be there anyway.....
8.  Finally getting the fall dance schedule!  Miss Angela is really happy about that!

9.  Speaking of...she's doing well at her new job.  Seems perfectly appropriate that she works at a dance-wear place!  So far she hasn't put much of her paycheck back into the store.....

10.  My bed that is calling my name!!

Have a great week!  I'll have to do a post about the kayaking trip, just because it was so much fun!