Monday, August 3, 2015

A Few Things

Recently, I went to a new dermatologist. I love my regular dermatologist (well, except for the day he came in wearing Crocs---that was just wrong). But according to my friends, I needed to have a head to toe "mole check." I had never heard of it and didn't know I needed one. Well, there is no way I could go see my regular doctor. We've been together too long. I could not stand in front of him in my underwear. So, I went to a female doctor---the one my friend, Nancy goes to. I really liked her. She says everything looks good. I got the bill the other day. Instead of "office visit" it said "encounter." Doesn't that sound odd? I've never heard of that before. Encounter sounds somewhat mysterious and dangerous to me. I guess if the news had been bad, it would have been.

Speaking of things I've never heard of before, I spotted these at the grocery store:
 Say what??? I cannot imagine.....
 Seriously---this is Greek to me!
 Come on this is the only one that really makes sense. This sounds like someone was eating a reuben sandwich along with chips and thought---"hmmm how about we forget the sandwich and just put it in the chips! That would certainly save a lot of time." It looks like they even included the pickle.
I'd say this sign just about has it right.
This tag is perfect for a friend of mine! She does her married daughters laundry and ironing! I don't even iron for myself. Luckily, my girls would probably think something was wrong with me if I did theirs! Wouldn't want them to worry about that.

 When Mindy and I went dress shopping, this sign greeted us.
And this is how Mindy asked her sisters and nieces to be in her wedding---they received personalized Coke bottles saying: Maid of Honor (Mindy found out later that it should have said "matron"---but we don't worry about things like that around here), Elizabeth's says---"junior bridesmaid" and Victoria's says---"bridesmaid." Mindy has a lot of very clever ideas---stay tuned!
Lastly, my mirror fell off the wall 3 weeks ago. Luckily it didn't break, but I wonder if it will take 7 years to get it back on the wall?


Sleeping Habits

After nearly 44 years of marriage our sleep habits have changed. Actually, they changed about 5 years ago when Butch retired. I guess that's only natural since he didn't have a particular schedule to follow---nor did I---being an empty nester---no longer revolving around school schedules.

When we first married, we always went to bed at 10 p.m. on "work" nights. We/he watched the news in bed. I've always been a reader before bed. When we left St. Louis on January 1st, 1977, we moved east and to eastern time. We still went to bed at 10 p.m., but never saw the news again---or Johnny Carson or Saturday Night Live---since everything started after 11 p.m. on eastern time. The point is, we always went to bed together.

So, about 5 years ago, that changed. He had much more time to watch tv. Maybe this post is more about tv patterns and how that's changed our sleep habits. Butch is ALL about sports. He watches them all---football, basketball, golf, Nascar racing---and sometimes even girls sports. With ESPN, there's something on all the time. About the only thing he doesn't watch is baseball unless he's interested in the team making the play-offs and World Series. I'm not saying he watches tv all day---he doesn't. I'm just saying his tv of choice is sports.

I, on the other hand, do not watch sports. Sure, I'll watch the occasional Titans foot ball game while either playing games on my phone, checking blogs or stitching. You get the picture. I'm not actually watching the game. I do watch the Cardinals if they make it to the play-offs or World Series. That I do enjoy---even though I no longer know anything about the players.

With all of these sports, there is very little time for us to watch programs together. So, we've settled in to a pattern where we watch tv together from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Then, Butch goes to bed---turning on the tv in the bedroom---while I watch the programs I have recorded. I usually go to bed around 11 p.m. By that time, Butch is sound asleep, so I turn off the tv and read with my little book light---anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.

That's been working for us for a long time now. But, ever since we finished the rec room, Butch has taken to watching tv up there rather than in the bed. Now that poses a couple of problems. He might fall asleep up there. In which case, I've gone to bed before him. When he comes to bed after me, it wakes me up and messes up my slumber for the night. Plus, he needs the tv to drift off. There's no way he can turn it on when I'm already asleep.

I think we've finally found a solution. I give him 15 minutes notice as to when I'm going to bed if he's still up. If I go to bed when the tv is still on, I can handle that. I just can't already be asleep. So, with the 15 minutes notice, he can get in bed and put on the tv. I come in, read for awhile---usually he's already out---and I can turn it off. That seems to be working pretty well.

I guess this is exactly how we've made it 44 years. As things change, we have to keep coming up with new ways to adjust.

Works for  us.

Now, snoring---that's an entirely different issue!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Recipe Share

I had planned to make this for my sisters on our sisters weekend. But by the time I was supposed to cook it on Saturday night, we were still full from lunch. We decided to have snacks instead. As a result, I still had the ingredients. I made it last night for Stephanie and Nicky and it was soooooo delicious!! I've had the recipe for quite awhile. I found it on Plain Chicken.

Let me start with the fact that I have never had this at Carrabba's. But the next time I go---I'll have to give it a try to see if it truly is the same!

Carrabba's Champagne Chicken
2 T. olive oil
2 T. butter
4 chicken cutlets (I used chicken tenderloins)
1/3 cup flour
2 T. parmesan cheese
salt
pepper
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (I used fresh)
1/4 cup champagne (dry) (I did not put this in because when I realized it was such a small amount, I did not want to open the bottle.)
2/3 cup heavy cream
pinch Kosher Salt
1/8 t. red pepper
1/4 t. tarragon (I didn't use this since I didn't have it.)
6 oz. angel hair pasta, cooked and drained.

Mix together flour, salt, pepper and grated parmesan. Rinse the chicken in water. Dredge them thoroughly in the flour mixture, until well coated.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add half of the chicken and do not crowd the pan. Brown well on each side, about 3 minutes on each side (it took more like 15 minutes on each side). Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve to a plate. Cook the other breasts. Remove from pan and keep warm while making the sauce.

*Add the champagne and mushrooms to the pan. Use a spatula to scrape up the browned bits. Reduce the sauce by half. Whisk in cream, salt, black pepper, red pepper and tarragon. Heat until sauce thickens to a creamy consistency. Serve chicken and sauce over angel hair pasta.

*I only put the mushrooms in the pan and cooked them until soft. Then I added the cream, salt, pepper and red pepper. 

If you make it, let me know what you think!!

Friday, July 31, 2015

I Haven't Scrapbooked....

since I can't remember when. The sad part about that statement is that storytelling---and the scrapbooking that goes along with it---is my passion!!

I'm blaming it all on Connie---my #1 best friend---sorry Karolyn, you'll always be my #2 (ewww, I guess that doesn't sound so good---but you know what I mean). Connie retired at the end of the school year. I promised her that she wouldn't be bored. Soooooo, with our Movie Mondays, Stitching Tuesdays, Tuesday or Wednesday and Friday pool days, my Thursday bridge days AND dozens of assorted books we're reading and discussing---there simply is not much time left for scrapbooking. And, I haven't even mentioned my own household chores and beach house responsibilities. I think you get the picture.

I've been waiting for Connie to retire for a long time now. We met nearly 30 years ago when she moved in to the neighborhood. The girls and I had been waiting for someone with children near their ages. Sandy and Amanda---and Stephanie and Malinda---hit it off right away and became the best of friends. Connie and I met at a party the night before and arranged for the girls to meet the very next day. We had one good summer together before Connie broke the news to me that she was going back to work. She is the last of my friends to finally "give it up" and retire. I have all sorts of plans for us swimming around in my head (no pun intended). But, unfortunately, unless we plan way far ahead---there simply is not enough time or free days.

I want more mystery trips. I have an idea for a "grandmothers and grandchildren" trip (my, that sounds old---we're not, so that trip will be cool). I have many ideas for classes and things to be learned. I have ideas for sightseeing and cultural trips. I want us to learn new things. I want her to play bridge with me (on that she refuses, but I'll wear her down---after all, my regular bridge partner is not getting any younger---and bridge is NOT something I want to give up). In a nutshell, I have plans for us!

Let me tell you a little something about Connie. First off, she is a loyal friend. If she makes plans with me, she doesn't cancel unless there's an emergency. She won't cancel because a better offer has come along---and I'm sure there have been many. She is the type that would do anything for you. You hear that about people all the time. But with Connie, it's really true. And, I'm not the only one she'd do anything for. She's just that type of gal. I've always said that she's lucky to have a guy like Jack---she has drug him to more school events, wakes and funerals, weddings of people she barely knows---than anyone else I know. She has a keen sense of loyalty and is always "doing the right thing." I sort of live in that gray area of "doing what I think is right, but also doing what I want."

Connie and I have had many adventures over the years---camping out for New Kids on the Block tickets and tracking down Malinda's stolen cell phone to a bad part of town (in hindsight, that probably wasn't the best idea)---just a couple of things that come to mind. She's even the kind of friend that will invite you for dinner and then ask you to bring the food! When I arrived, I asked her what she would have done for dinner if we hadn't come! In all fairness, said dinner was omelets, but she had no eggs or cheese. Still, it was a treat to have someone else make it! I'll bring the eggs and cheese any time!

There have been parties, movies, games, 5:30 a.m. everyday walks, and umpteen trips to the theater---just another passion we share. I could never get her interested in scrapbooking---which surprises me because she has the best stories of anyone I know). The list could go on and on. We're older now, but Connie is still up for an adventure. Now I just have to figure out when we can work one in to the schedule!

I love that girl! As for when I'm going to have time to scrapbook? I guess, I'll join the ranks of women that only scrapbook when they are on retreats! That's sad, but the truth of it. Luckily for me, those opportunities come at least 4 or 5 times a year!
I wish I had more photos of us when we were younger, but I don't. This particular picture was the start of a little girls trip to the lake. Man, I loved those Ray Bans---sadly they were stolen with my purse---but that's another story.
Now I just have random photos of us when we're a bit---quite a bit---older. Oh well, at least we're still around to be in photos! That's my #2 in the background.

Have you really thought about your best friend lately? What does she mean to you? What adventures have you shared over the years? There's a scrapbook page. In fact, I'll be using this blog post for one!



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Cautionary Tale

There are so many ways that unscrupulous people try to rip you off. I don't think a week goes by that I don't get one of those emails from a solicitor from some foreign country that is trying to contact me about an inheritance worth millions of dollars. I don't have any relatives in foreign countries worth millions. If so, I'm sure I would have heard about them! Or our family would be contacting them!!!

And then there's the computer hackers that freeze up your internet and list a phone number to call. That's an easy one to fall for. They will take control of your computer and eliminate the bug for several hundred dollars if you just give them your credit card number. They tell you that Apple will charge you much more when, in fact, Apple charges NOTHING for security related issues. I blogged about that awhile back. You can read about it HERE! 

I realize that these scams exist because there are still people who fall for them. I don't know how or who they are, because they seem so sketchy from the start. 

Here's what's happened to me lately. I am the rental agent for the two beach houses that we own and rent out. I received the following request from Warsaw Poland:

Hello
Thanks for the updated information. We are okay with the accommodation and date .
We would also like to confirm the reservation on the following information:

Mr. chris Koffie and Mrs Roseann Tremo
45 Woronicza , 
02-625 Warsaw, Poland
tremland@outlook .com

Also , due to the unsecured use of credit card online or on the phone,I have arrange for payment inform of a check (in USD)
Please do forward me the following details for payment

FULL NAME
BILLING ADDRESS
CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER
EMAIL ADDRESS

Hope to hear from you soon
Best Regards
Roseann Tremo

*********************************************************
Right away, I thought---who would come all the way from Poland to spend 6 days at the beach in Panama City, FL. Still, I sent the contract. All of the information that Roseann requested is in the contract, so I wasn't alarmed to provide that information.

Two days later, I received this email from Roseann:

Good day
I am sorry for all the delay in payment.
There was a mix up in the payment sent to you ,I was supposed to receive two
separate payment one for you and the other for our traveling expenses
but the whole payment was issued on a single one check in your name and
sent .
I tried to correct this but it was in vain as i was ask to
resolve the problem myself. It would have to go through a very long
process to change this error.
Please I don't know what to do. I have been advised to contact you since this check was issued in your name , so you should be able to deposit the check into your account.

As soon as you have the check deposited into your account you are to
deduct your rent and transfer the balance to my agent or to us .
Please do let me know how you can help on this issue.
Thanks

**************************************************************
Now, I am not an idiot. Right away, I recognized this for the scam that it is. My response:

I am sorry, but you are going to have to resolve it on your end. Here in the US, this sort of scenario is a total scam. I cannot be a part of it.
Sincerely,
Barbara 
***************************************************
Are you surprised to find that I did not get a response? In hindsight, I wish I had agreed to accept the check. Then when I got it, I could possibly have alerted the authorities. Probably nothing would have happened, but I'd love to be a part of putting these scammers in jail!

Be careful!! Don't trust anything you get via email! It might sound tempting, but don't fall for it!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Beach

Sandy and I had planned a little trip to Panama City after our family vacation. We had such a good time---it was a perfect schedule. We slept in every day, had breakfast around 9-ish, then went straight to the pool. After spending a few hours there, we came in and had lunch. We played a game every day, then read/napped. Originally, we planned to go to the beach late in the day when it wasn't so hot and when it wasn't so crowded. As it turned out, we only spent one day on the beach. Everyone knows I'm not a huge beach lover. The sand drives me crazy, I don't like the taste of the water which will definitely splash up in to your mouth even while wading, and I hate being so hot! When you are on the beach, you roast! Victoria and Elizabeth are not beach lovers either, so we were on the same page. Sandy would have preferred a little more beach time, but in the end, we were all satisfied with a lot of pool time.


A trip to the beach would not be complete without a stop at Alvin's Island! It was right across the street from our condo.

This was our first time to Panama City. But, I have to say, after going to Santa Rosa for 30 years---that place holds my heart!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Mystery

I just don't understand people. I think we can all agree that traveling can be a hassle. The destination might be fun, but the actual getting there might not be.

On Friday, I was flying back from the beach. The lady sitting next to me had 3 little boys sitting across the aisle. She was alone with the boys. I'm guessing their ages were 8, 5 & 3. Traveling alone with 3 little ones is trouble enough. But, she made it so much harder on herself. Each of the boys had their own little suitcase and backpack. Uhhhh, are you kidding me? She had a hard time finding overhead bin space for all of those suitcases---plus her own.

When it was time to de-plane, she had to get all of the suitcases down and given to each child. The 3 year old was first and not quite sure what to do. The woman had to tell him 3 times to start walking off the plane. All of them, including the mom were struggling with luggage and carry-ons.

Why in the world would you not check your bags? Not only did she have to keep up with the children, she also had to keep up with all of their belongings. I was behind them when they got off the plane. Nashville wasn't even their final destination. So, she had to round up the boys and get to their next gate---with ALL that stuff and do it all over again!! I'm sure by the time she got to her destination she was worn out. But really, she made it so much harder on herself.

It's a mystery to me.