Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year

Another year has come and gone. The older I get the quicker they fly by. Lately, I've become more melancholy and reflect more and more on past Christmases and New Years.
Well, mostly Christmases. New Years was always fun, but Christmas, let's just say Christmas was special. It was a time spent with family, full of laughter and fun.
I think back to Christmases from my childhood. We always spent Christmas Eve at our house. Mom made a traditional Christmas Eve dinner and my uncle, aunt, and their four kids came over to share it with us. After dinner, everyone piled into their cars and we headed for Grandma's house.
Eventually, we kids grew up and the Christmas Eve dinners with my aunt and uncle stopped. With six kids in our family, it wasn't long before we filled the table on our own. I tried to remember when we actually quit the dinners, but we never quit going to my grandparents - well, not until they passed away that is
Christmas Day, after all the gifts were opened, found us at my uncle's for dinner.  They did it that way because my aunt didn't know how to make the traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Thanksgiving they alternated between our house and theirs.
Funny, we had many other aunts and uncles, but for some reason my mom's brother was always the one we shared dinners with. They were very close. Partners in crime some would say.
Ah those years were so much fun. I have many fond memories, not of gifts received, but of the good times. The years my uncle played Santa - long after many of believed.
Then there were the Christmases shared with my brothers and sisters - We always celebrated Christmas Eve. In the beginning my mom made the traditional meal for all of us, but as our families grew that ended. There were 14 adults, counting my parents and our spouses, and eventually 24 grandchildren. A bit much to make a meal for. As my parents aged, we kids decided to take turns having Christmas Eve at our houses. Oh what fun when we all got together. Kids and adults in the kitchen, dining or living room. Sometimes the kids went off to the bedrooms, or basements. Anyplace we could find room.
Of course, our kids grew up, married, and had kids of their own, with their own places to visit. My brothers, sister and I (a brother and sister have since passed along with my parents) still get together Christmas Eve. This year, there were only 3 of us as one brother went to Florida for the winter. We missed him, but understand. Some of our children join us as their spouses's parents have passed on also. This year there were actually 20 of us at my house. It's fun to celebrate the holiday with everyone.
As far as New Year's Eve , we never did much through the years. Sometimes we got together with my siblings and went out, other times with friends, more recently at one of my children's homes. New Years Day has always been a quiet day. One spent at home. Everyone always had to work the next day and after staying up and celebrating the night before, no one wanted to do much. Besides, the parade and all those football games were on TV.
So, as I look back over the years, it brings fond memories. This past year has been good to us in many ways. We camped - although not as much as I wanted to - and we bought  a house, which I love. So I look forward to the year ahead and wish all of you a very Happy, healthy, wealthy, and successful new year.

Check out  Books We Love to see where to purchase them from your favorite online retailer. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Memory

Image result for christmas in the 50s decorations downtown clevelandI always get nostalgic this time of year, remembering Christmases from my childhood. One of my favorite things from the season was going downtown to see the lights and decorations. We always parked and got out to walk along, looking in all the store windows. The windows in the department stores were decorated with animated characters. I could stand there for hours and watch  them. Of course we didn't, we had to move along, and the next window was even more fun to look at. I miss those days, miss my parents, especially my mother. She always made Christmas fun, baking and listening to Christmas music. Fridays nights my dad went bowling and Mom brought out the baking supplies. What fun making cookies, being silly, and singing along with her. One of the things I remember most about my mom was her singing. She sang all the time, while washing clothes, cooking, baking, or cleaning - often making up her own songs. 

Another place we went to see the lights was Nela Park. The big GE headquarters. What a display they put on. We'd drive through the streets of the massive complex and oh and ah at the different displays. They quit allowing the public inside the complex in 1958 due to the traffic jams. This year, in celebration of their 93rd year of decorating, they allowed the public in on 3 specific Fridays. 
My daughter, son in law, husband and I took advantage and went there last night. What a treat. They had displays from the 1920s to present day. Brought back a lot of memories, although I don't remember sitting in traffic for as long as we did last night. 
I'm not sure which display I liked the most. They were all so beautiful. I've always loved Christmas lights and last night was a real treat. I'll always miss those days and think of them with fond memories. I hope I've passed on some happy memories to my children of special times. I think back on those days and even though we didn't have a lot, I never realized it, because we had a lot of love. We did things together that didn't cost money and it's more precious to me now than if I'd have had all the fancy clothes or latest toys. I never really missed those things. At least as I think back, I don't think I did. Maybe at the time, I wished I had more clothes, the newest toy, or expensive vacations, if so I have no memory of that and I'm glad. 
Some pictures from Nela Park:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Waiting ----

I'm not the most patient person in the world. In fact, some might say I'm the most impatient. But God is teaching me patience. Recently - actually several months ago, my husband and I decided to buy a house. The time was right - or so we thought. We got pre-approved, which went quite smoothly and our search began.

We found the first couple of houses we wanted to look at, made an appointment with a realtor to show them to us, and the waiting began. We made the appointment on a Friday to see the houses Monday. Big mistake - at least I thought so at the time. More on that later.

Since we had a limited budget, houses in our price range were few and far between, especially in the area we wanted to live. Just a month earlier, there were an abundance of them.

Come Monday morning, the realtor sent a message, one of the houses sold over the weekend. Day late and a dollar short. Okay, we went to look at the other one.
Can you say small? I mean small. It was a 2 bedroom house with closed in porch. All newly remodeled. I found out why it was in our price range, not only did it not have a garage - which we knew going in - but the 2 bedrooms together would have made a small one bedroom. I've seen closets bigger than the smallest bedroom. I don't think a twin bed would have fit in there.

So back to the drawing board. Hubby and I both loved the other house from the pictures and drive by - well actually, I got out of the car and looked in the windows. It needed some TLC - anything in our price range would - but nothing we couldn't handle. Of course this drive by was before it was sold.

We found few other house over the course of a several weeks, but there was always something wrong that we couldn't go see them. We were going FHA so that limited how much work we'd be allowed to do. Either it wouldn't pass FHA standards, was a short sale, or sold before we had a chance to look at it. One house, that we really loved, was being shown to 30 perspective buyers. Realtor said there'd be a bidding war and wouldn't even show it to us. About that time, we were totally frustrated.

Coming up with an idea to increase our down payment, and therefore, increase the price point, I called the lender. He upped our price point and wouldn't you know it, not one house came on the market in that price range, everything was higher. Signs of an improved economy and seller's market in the area we were looking. Seriously, one would no more come on the market and be snatched up within a day or two.

Then we found it. The perfect home - or so we thought. A manufactured home in a 55+ community. Sounded like the solution to our problem. Best part was we could pay cash. Okay, it was old and needed updating and a lot of elbow grease and TLC. That was okay, we'd own it outright and only have to pay the maintenance fee. The community had a lot of activities and I hoped to get my hubby off the couch and involved.

There were a couple problems, though. They only allowed two dogs and they could only weigh 30#s together. Or you could have one dog up to 30#s. We have two dogs and I'm afraid they're both overweight. One of them was very close to the 30# limit. Would we have to get rid of one? Which one? How to make that decision? Of course, we only found this out after we put in an offer on the house, and it was accepted.

There was a stipulation to our offer, though. It was contingent on an inspection. We'd never buy something of that magnitude without one. So, $300 later, we rescinded our offer. There were some concerns about the electrical and he couldn't check the furnace because the gas was turned off. Also, a neighbor came over when we were outside talking and mentioned the skirting around the home. It hadn't been updated and the homeowners were supposed to do that. This was an estate sale and it was being sold As Is.  They weren't willing to spend the money for it and the community wouldn't approve our residence if it wasn't done. The cost - upwards of $1000.00.  

So, back to the drawing board. Talk about frustrated. But, I had faith. God had something in mind for us. I prayed about it right from the beginning, for Him to show us where He wanted us. We honestly thought it was the manufactured home. Everything seemed ideal and went smoothly. The owners accepted our offer without hesitation. No back and forth counter offer. And we loved the location of the home, right across from woods, met two of the neighbors who were really nice. We really looked forward to moving there. But alas, it was not to be.

Fortunately, for us, the first house that we liked came back on the market.  Funny thing was, I told my hubby we'd probably end up with that house even after it sold. Something about it felt right. I was drawn to it right from the beginning.

I called the realtor who was handling the deal and made an appointment ASAP. It felt like home the minute we went inside. After we walked through it, hubby said, "Buy me this house." LOL We put in an offer contingent on the inspection and called the same inspector who did the manufactured home. He was very thorough.

I held my breath and prayed while he went through the house. A few minor problems later, that we could take care of ourselves, we sealed the deal. I wait yet again for the financing to go through. We're supposed to close in Sept. and move in Oct. Seems like such a long time away. In the meantime, I've already packed everything I could possibly pack, as well as gotten rid of a ton of stuff. And I'm making lists. I'm a list maker from way back, and as I get older, I make even more lists. I have a list of cleaning supplies we need to take over, a list of stuff I need to buy for the cleanup and, of course, lists of stuff I want. My wish list - like a new stove and carpeting.

I'm definitely learning patience. It's not easy, but I'm learning to live with waiting. Not that I  have a choice. But I've become less anxious. I did lose 14#s through this whole thing so far. I figure it's all the packing and moving boxes I've done, because I'm sure still eating the way I always did. Stress might have something to do with it, but since I was pretty much a couch potato, I'm crediting it to the activity.

I can't wait to move.

Our house:

Check out my books at: Books We Love

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Memorial Day/Decoration Day

This is a repost from 2014.

As we celebrate Memorial Day this weekend with cookouts and picnics, I'd like to take a moment to remember our Vets and talk about how Memorial Day started.

Originally called Decoration Day, it's a day of remembrance for the men and women who died serving the United States. More than two dozen towns claim to be the originator of Memorial Day. In 1996, President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo, NY as the birth place, but it's impossible to prove the origin of the day. It was originally started to honor the dead of the Civil War. 
That being said, Memorial Day became a National Holiday and celebrated on the 30th of May in 1868. Its purpose was to decorate the graves of our men and women who died in defense of their country. The date of May 30th was chosen because it wasn't an anniversary of any particular battle. 
General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery on the first Decoration Day and more than 5000 participants decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.
By 1890 Decoration Day was recognized by all of the northern states, but the sout refused to acknowledge the day until after World War 1. 
Congress passed a bill in 1971 changing the date from May 30th to the last Monday in May. 
Let's all take a minute from our celebrations to remember the true meaing of the day.
Thank you to our men and women who serve our country in the past, present and future. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Aunt Beatrice Lulu is back

Here she is, the lovable, zany, nosy busybody. And she's involving Ed in her crazy adventures.  Not that he's an unwilling participant. At least not after he agrees. Investigating the local dog rescue shelter to see what's making the dogs sick involves volunteering. Ed loves dogs, so not a problem for him. Besides, he has an ulterior motive.
Trying to figure out who's stealing food, is a little more involved. Add in a new neighbor and as usual, Beatrice Lulu is off and running.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Coming Soon

Nothing Ventured - Nothing Gained  (Book 3 of the Family Affair series)

Beatrice Lulu is back creating more havoc, but this time she’s involving Ed. From testifying in court to investigating a dog rescue shelter, she’ll keep you on the edge of your seat. When teenage orphans enter the picture, things really get chaotic. Beatrice Lulu adventures of mystery and humor take on new meaning when a new neighbor finds a note about hidden money and gems.


Beatrice Lulu couldn’t get out of that courtroom quick enough. Once the judge said she was free to go, she hightailed it out of there and hurried past the defendants without looking at them. No doubt their faces were forever imprinted on her mind.  She leaned against the sink in the lady’s room, fighting back nausea.
They didn’t get it. Not Ed, not Ethel or Lottie. None of them did. They thought it was all cut and dry, but they weren’t there. They didn’t see how those guys worked. Didn’t see the evil. Easy for them to say she had to testify. No skin off their noses. All she wanted was to go home, live her life, and forget this ever happened. She’d become a recluse, that’s what she’d do. She’d never become involved in anything again. Her days of snooping were over. Callie could handle it from now on, that’s what they paid her to do.

Read Book 1 - All in the Family 
Taking over the police chief's job in her hometown should be easy for Callie Johnson. At least that's what she thinks. After working in a big city, small town crime should be a breeze. What a surprise when she arrives to find her grandmother, the judge, accused of murder. As if that isn't enough, someone attacks her while walking to her car.
Between criminal investigations, her nutty family's antics, and her Aunt Beatrice Lulu's matchmaking, Callie has her work cut out for her. Will her grandmother be exonerated? Can Callie ward off her aunt's unsuitable suitors?  What other surprises are in store for her? 

Book 2 - All's Well That Ends Well

Aunt Beatrice Lulu is back and creating more havoc than ever. When a body falls out of a chimney in their newly purchased cabin, she takes it upon herself to investigate. Just because her
niece is Chief of Police doesn't mean she should mind her own business. Even her husband can't control his busy body wife. It doesn't end there, too many things happening for Beatrice Lulu to overlook. She's bound and determined to figure things out on her own.