Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New book!!

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Girly Girls...

My little Ally is a girly girl and finding her needed accessories is a challenge for me.  One of my co-workers had another granddaughter and it made me think that I should post my fav girly girl site...
They have great bargains and have the cutest stuff!!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Photo Book

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Warehouse Stores

The news seems to be all over the warehouse stores.  I just watched an interview with a marketing specialist that was admiring Costco's marketing knowledge of their consumer and the belief that bigger is better.

Not to be a killjoy - but we go to Sam's.  We love Sam's.  Sam's is perfect for those of us that have to keep toilet paper in the house for four bathrooms with seven people and half the kids in the neighborhood!  Everything we buy is 'in bulk'.  Let's face it - we are a BULK kind of family...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lunch & Learn

The place that I work sponsors interesting speakers to come in over a lunch hour and talk about different topics. I have been to quite a few of the little lectures - and they are very informative. It's a very nice perk that our company offers.

Today's topic - Organ and Tissue Donation. Wow - what an eyeopener. I have always been signed up to donate - but if I hadn't - this would have convinced me to.


In Illinois alone, over 5000 people are on a waiting list for a kidney (this is the most common donation needed). Just a kidney. We aren't talking about the thousands also waiting on a heart or a lung or a pancreas or other organ. That scared me. My daughter only has one kidney. Only 2% of those folks that sign up are even accepted as good matches. Holy crap. I might not even be able to save my own daughter's life. I knew they would never take my liver but I figured I could do a living or deceased donation for a kidney. I never realized the testing that is involved.

The speakers covered all of the common questions. Will the ER work on me as long if they know I am a donor? Yes - they have no idea who is and who isn't. Completely different department of a hospital than the transplant teams - and in Illinois - the Sec of State actually maintains that list. Do rich people get the transplants first? Nope - you are just another number. They even mentioned Walter Peyton. He died waiting for a liver.

So - in a nutshell - sign up & tell your family.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday tradition

Our little work group goes out every Friday morning for Casey's Pizza and scratchoffs.

It's a fun thing - we call it team bonding. Maybe it's become an addiction but we keep our budget on our tickets at $10 a week. We are helping the Illinois education system right?

Anyway - I usually only win $1 or $2 dollars. Today - $29!! Three tickets with winning numbers! WOOHOO!!!

The whole stinking department heard me go goofy!!

I am still in the whole overall of course - but who's counting?!?!


I love ironing. Something about immediate satisfaction and starch and the crispness... Just love it. I don't have enough time to do it much but when I get to do table linens - it's a great day.

It is with great sadness that I have to state that my ironing board has passed. I bought this ironing board when I went to college the first time back in 1982. sigh

The times that we have had together. We have been thru so many relationships with irons - but we have always remained friends thru thick and thin.

Graduations, reunions, parties, holidays - we have seen it all.

I will miss her....

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How sad...

I am so super excited - our can recycling place is having an Earth Day special! Ten cents extra per base price the week of the 16th!!! (www.MorrisTick.com) We should make about fifty bucks this month! Sometimes it is good that I have a Diet Coke addiction!

I blame my straw thing on my Nana Red - but the Diet Coke has to be my Aunt Janet's fault. I remember when I was in my "Mel training" that she allowed herself a Diet Coke a day. Well, I do way more than that now but I think that was when my problem started!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

One and done...

Mixed feelings about this whole rule....

I really think it is a stupid rule actually. If players have the skill to leave after high school - so be it. College really isn't for everyone. I think the point of college sports is to recruit students that have basketball skills. I understand that basketball is a major moneymaker for schools - winning is everything - alumni need to be kept happy. But are we helping these guys by making them play a year? What is their motivation? Grades? I think not. It is to get noticed, age and get out.

Just my two cents...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Giving blood...

It was decided by the Red Cross folks that I am indeed a great giver. I don't faint - I don't get queasy - it's just not a big deal to me.

My nurse person had two faint ones around me so she was spending a lot of time watching them. At some point, she came back and checked on me. I asked her if I was supposed to be doing anything with the ball. She said - yes, squeeze it. Then she stopped - no don't! I guess I filled my little bag by just laying there...

See - I am a great dripper.

Oh - and five hours later when I took off my bandage (yes, I listened to her instructions), I started dripping a bit. The girls thought it was cool. Little bit of pressure and I was all better.

No, I am not on blood thinners - they don't let you give blood if you are on funky meds - or have been to a swanky resort in the Dominican Republic (DEB!!!) or had a tattoo or piercing in the past year. So - I am safe...

Great coach...


Coach Whiteman was a great coach - I always thought he would end up at a major college at some point...

So glad that Kiel matured with his leadership...

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Just for my fantastic Aunt Janet - I am a great dripper!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Moving desks..

A memo went out today from our supervisor about common courtesy among our fellow workers. Basically it said to not eat stinky food at your desk and keep your private conversations at a minimum and quiet.

Now, I don't think it was geared at me. It was probably a case of someone complained and we all got the blanket email. However, I took it a step further. I asked my supervisor if I could move.

I am loud. I admit it. I don't have social phone calls - anyone that knows me will confirm that I am NOT a phone person. But - when I start talking with my techs or with agents, I get animated and excited and just get loud. I know I do - it is just how I am. Now, I am one of the more entertaining employees and manage to keep people laughing and happy. No one can deny that.

But - professional is professional - and I have a goal to get further in the company one day. So - I was given permission to move across the aisle to the cube directly across from me. It is against a nice outside wall that doesn't care if I get giggly or engaged. I am saving myself from myself - it's a good thing!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I hate this weather. It isn't cold enough - it isn't dry enough. It is just wet.

I have one dog that LOVES to chase birds or squirrels or a leaf - and somehow manages to collect enough good black dirt to start a garden on his feet. Our other dog - very prissy - doesn't like to get dirty. But - she has a water thing. I don't know if she is on a diet or what but she drinks GALLONS of water. And then she has to go out all of the time. To top it all off - she might like to drink water but she doesn't like for her paws to get wet.

We keep a nice bucket of warm water next to the back door. Each paw gets dipped and dried. Bear doesn't mind at all. Kieran hates it. She never gets her "good job" cookie. I hate washing the fifty million dog towels that we go thru on a daily basis.

Can't wait for the heat to dry out our mud wrestling pit back yard....

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dang dog

Before the animal rights activists start screaming at me - the dog is not dead - but not because I didn't want to kill her.

We have a newer dog. And - we don't like her much. Is that awful to say? I think she is mentally retarded - I really do. She doesn't know her name - she cannot understand a single command. The only word she understands is WALK. Then she goes ape-sh*t-nuts. No, I don't have a problem with the mentally retarded - just really not in the mood for a dog that is.

Anyhow, Valentine's Day quickly approaches. I had just taken my two heart shaped cake levels out of the oven and were on the rack cooling. Damn dog jumped up and ate one whole level. Just like that - gone.

Now, my other dog, Bear, is bigger and taller and not once in the three years has he jumped up on the counter. He knows better. Kieran has eaten pizza, pork chops, tator tots - you name it - she snatches it. We feed the dogs - and she eats just fine. She is just a turd.

So - the whole weekend, we have been cleaning - and I use the term "we" loosely as that would be Chris - cake piles. Luckily, she does that regurgitate sound for a good minute before anything comes up so he can get her outside in time. Not so lucky at 4am today.

I am married to a very good man.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Class Reunions

We had our first meeting last night for the big 30. I look at my face in the mirror every day - I am used to it. It is such an eye opener to see old friends - and they just look older somehow. There was one girl that was always the athletic one - always the tomboy - and very successful at it too. She might look older - but dang - she still has the body. Hate her.

Anyhow - we picked a date and a format. August 4th at the Elk's. The 25 Reunion was formal - so we are going with a more - 'thank god we are still here and which way is the bar' theme.

I already told Chris he didn't have to go! This will certainly not be a fun night for someone that doesn't know a soul!!! Maybe Meesie will go with me - I will need a DD!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hard call to make...

Alyx had a little friend spend the night Saturday night. She loves her sleepovers. Anyway, at some point this little girl mentioned that she didn't have anywhere to live. Turns out, Dad has no money and can't afford the trailer payment. Mom is disabled and has six kids. They lose their trailer on Feb. 15.

Chris and I have always accepted anyone into our home. We may not have a lot but we have a roof and love and let's face it - it's enough. We have had several different kids live with us at different times for different reasons - never this young. Poor thing is ten.

So, I called the mom tonite. I told her that I have been in her shoes. I was 'homeless' and someone found me a place to live and helped me out. I would only be returning the favor. She was crying and so grateful. I can't imagine. How does a mom decide what is best for her children versus her needs as a mom? I was lucky. Someone helped me. I was trying to do the same. She thanked me a million times and told me that she would call me next week.

Poor thing doesn't know which way is up. I hope she makes the best decisions for her children and herself.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Sometimes sharing a Netflix account with adult children is not a good idea...

How unceremonial...

I noticed today that there was an interoffice envelope in my mailbox at work. Now, I am pretty much paper free so an actual mail item is unusual. Not only is it an interoffice mail envelope but a very well used one. Normally, not a big deal - that's the green way. Until I looked inside...

Yes, it was my LOMA associate certificate! What??? I have studied how long and they just stick it in a damn nasty envelope? Geesh. Bastards.

Now, I need to get it framed!

No, I didn't keep the stupid envelope.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Basketball crazy weekend...

Kiel had this out on his Facebook page - I stole it... Kind of cool. I cannot wait until next season when he can finally play again...

Riley's bball season started. They won 26-12. She had 6 points. I was loud and embarrassing as usual. I wish she would be more aggressive. She is the tallest kid out there and solid - she could move some girls!!!

Chris took the girls to a gymnastics meet at ISU on Saturday. Alyx gets sick of ball - so it was nice he did a somewhat girly thing with her!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Let's talk Paula

A friend of mine and I were talking about the whole Paula Deen - diabetes thing. This is my viewpoint - and sorry if you don't feel the same way I do.

Paula is from the South. Guess what - we like butter - we like sugar - we like all sorts of stuff that isn't good for you but wow, it tastes good. At some point, we all have to make a decision - do we want to be happy or do we want to restrict ourselves from something that we truly enjoy?

I have picked the happy choice. No, I will never be some centerfold. No, I will never be the same size as I was when I was young. But you know what - I am happy. My husband loves me. I love food. I love that my husband is one of the best cooks that I know. And I do not plan on missing one single morsel of it.

I think that Paula is the same way. We like good food. We try very hard to eat in moderation. And I bet if her health took a turn for the worse - then hard choices would have to be made.

I don't want her to change her show - it's a show. What she does on her own time - I could care less. She's not a role model - she a cook. It's her style. And I love it.

Being green

I am all for being green. I recycle - I reduce. But I draw the line here...

I am not sure if you can see the picture clearly - but this is a picture of our toilet paper at work. Yes, I took a picture in the bathroom. There is a little sticker that says basically to use the other roll first.

OK - I have no problem using the other roll on the 'dispenser'. But I refuse to use the loose roll. I mean - who knows who has had their hand in there??? Ewwww. It's bad enough that I have germs to deal with on the handles of faucets and towel dispensers and doors. I shouldn't feel guilty for not using the loose roll!

If they want me to use it till it is empty - then don't take it off of the roller thing!!

Monday, January 16, 2012


We have successful and delicious rolls!!! Alyx complained that I overcooked her's but they will soften up just fine.

We did have a quick lesson on hand mixers. It is very important to keep the beaters straight up and down!

Since we had double of everything - no arguing over the bowl licking so it was a very pleasant experience. I am very glad that they are getting older and we can do fun stuff like this together...

Next - they want to make filled cupcakes... Oh boy...

My little assistants

I stayed home from work today to spend quality time with the girls. Of course, I woke to crying, punching and tattling. Love it.

Anyway - my goal was to have the girls help me with some yeast breads. Chris may be the cook - but I am the baker in the house. I love making breads - especially sweet ones.

Today - we are making a knock off Cinnabon recipe.

I decided to just tackle one girl at a time. Blood in the bread would not be appetizing. Riley was an awesome helper. Thank goodness we had plenty of eggs. She ended up with egg white on the floor, her clothes, the counter and somehow one of them ended up squirting across the room to the fridge. I don't know how she did it but that was amazing!!! And what a great stirrer - she managed to stir all the way until the 7th cup of flour!

Bread is on it's first rise... Details to follow...

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I really didn't want to go to my reunion this summer. It's 30 years. I am overweight - going thru menopause - and enjoy a nice drink and a comedy - and a large fan. Yes, I should be THRILLED that I am still here and kicking but I just really didn't feel the desire to reminisce.

And then I had my sign. Not one - not two - but three people asked me about the reunion. Now, I was not a class officer my senior year (I was previously). I was moving and didn't feel like I had the right to skip out on my class as I was graduating early. Somehow I had the idea that the senior class officers were stuck with planning the reunions for eternity. So - after the third question - I felt somebody had to do something.

So - I have planned the first meeting. I have contacted every body that I can find thru Facebook (after all - it is the tool of all stalkers). Poor Chris - he knows how I will want to control this which is my nature. And how it will just about kill him!! His only guideline so far - we are not paying for this (Mel paid for most of the 10 year one).

I am sure that there will be more to come on this....

Friday, January 13, 2012

My new undergarment...

New bra.

Very strange. It has no underwire - which I like. It has an elastic band under the cup similar to the shoulder strap to tighten up under there.

I am strapped in for life! I think I could bounce on a trampoline and not have movement!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Yes - it is January and yes, it gets cold and yes, it snows.

Then why in the world are people freaking out around here?

We have had weather before - and we will have weather again.

It's Illinois - get over it!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Six Sigma

We have all been there. Another way to do a project. Another fantastic idea to create new procedures. Another way to rationalize how we do what we do.

Six Sigma. It's not a new way of thinking. It's been used and battered around for years but it is newish to our company. Believe or not - I actually like it.

I think the biggest difference - you beat the 'current state' of your process or whatever the issue is to death. Detail is important. But what really is the most important - the voice of the customer.

How many times have I been on projects to fix something 'broken' or make something work smoother? Very rarely did we consider how it affected the 'customer'! We thought - hmmm - this saves money - this saves our department time - this saves head count. BUT - how does it help or hinder the 'customer' (in my case - an agent in the field) - never really considered that part.

So that is my big lesson over my two days of class. Ask - ask - ask. Why - why - why. Don't solve the problem without truly knowing the problem from the perspective of those people that are affected.

What a concept!


I was in my little class yesterday - Six Sigma. Interesting class - continues today. Not the subject here though.

So - this guy comes up to me during the lunch break. Excuse me - do I know you? Did you teach my orientation class here? No. Are you in HR? No. Hmmm. So after lunch - we talked briefly. He asked if I had kids. Gave him my normal answer - lots - ages 26 to 9. He asked the name of the oldest. AJ Turpin. That was enough. Oh - you are Mrs. T!!!

He remembered me from my student teaching in his 2nd grade classroom!


I completely remembered him then. He had a changed a bit but I remembered his little eyes. I told him that I remembered being one of the good kids in that room - that some of them drove my a little crazy. He said he knew who I meant and they never changed!

Sometimes, I really wish I was still teaching...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Class Photos

Yearbook pictures.... A time honored tradition.... My, they have changed over the years!

I remember that I had an absolute fit with my parents that I had to have this certain photographer in Bloomington do my senior pictures. And it cost a small fortune. I went with my friend, Julie, and we couldn't find the dang place and just about missed the whole appointment. I thought they were beautiful. This photographer was very modern and had all sorts of backgrounds and poses and even let us change clothes. I know - it's the norm now but back in the day - that was cool.

Normal West does something easy and has a school photographer do their yearbook pictures. If you wanted anything else, you could either pay extra for more poses from the school person or also go somewhere else. AJ and Kiel could have cared less about their pictures. We just had a few extra photos taken by the school person. Meesie on the other hand, wanted the whole enchilada. Yes, we spent a fortune and honestly, it was worth it. Gorgeous subject - gorgeous photos. None of those pictures are allowed in the yearbook though - those were just for family and friends. Headshots from the school photographer was all that was allowed.

I guess that there is a news item now about a controversial photo that a beautiful girl wants to add to her yearbook. Here's the deal. Yea - it is gorgeous - as is she - but I don't think it is yearbook appropriate. Can't really blame her though - it is a 'current' type of photo. I really blame the school. They should have some guidelines. Maybe require only headshots for the yearbook. Maybe have a setup like our school district and have a school photographer. What about the kids (like AJ & Kiel) that don't care about their picture? Are they even included? What about the kids that can't afford that ridiculous amount of money?

Always a new controversy...


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Too far...

I had my teaching degree. Yes, it was a while ago and I admit, I am probably very out of touch with some of the current teaching methods. Early childhood methods tend to dive into a topic and just hit it hard in every way possible. So - for example, if we were to study whales - we would have every center have something to do with whales. So we might have a water center with little whales or maybe an ecology lesson on ways to protect the ocean. The reading center would have simple books on the topic. We might do a crayon/blue wash that depicted their view of an ocean. You get the idea.

Tonight on the news I heard something that just went too far and upset me. Judge for yourself.


Friday, January 6, 2012


My friend Deb and I went to Casey's today and bought our favorite bacon breakfast pizza. Believe it or not - I had coupons for Lottery tickets!!! So - we spent a whole four dollars (buy one get one free) and will be millionaires this time tomorrow!

For the record - I know who my favorite family members are....

The weather...

I am planning a lovely family trip to Florida to escape the horrible weather conditions here in Illinois for late April.

But what happened to winter? It is January and I told Riley to just wear her warmer jacket not her winter coat (but take gloves and hat in case). What is happening?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


As a new year is upon us - it seemed only appropriate to have a little thought about clocks...

I like clocks.

I have an old grandfather's clock that hangs in my bedroom. It doesn't work. It didn't work when mom had it either. I remember that she had a neighbor, Mr. Hughes, work on it once. I think it was too old to have available parts. It is really cool looking and once I am a millionaire, I will find someone to fix it.

I have a standing grandfather's clock in our hallway. I bought it when the Carriage House in Champaign went out of business. It used to work but it has been moved way too many times by non-professional clock movers. I will get it fixed too...

I have a clock that I love that hangs over my sink in the kitchen. It hasn't had a battery in years - but it is a cool looking clock too. It's just easier to look at the microwave or the stove to find out what time it is.

I remember staying at my grandmother L'Hote's house in Aunt Lisa's old bedroom. That was a cool bedroom. Everything matched and was white. Aunt Lisa had moved out long ago but I felt grown up in there. Grandmother kept her china painting stuff there. Anyway, I remember this clock that in the day - was modern. It had little tiles that would flip every minute. Not sure how to explain it - but I remember staying up so I could watch all of the little tiles rotate at midnight.

I took a picture of my favorite clock. I bought this clock with my first lifeguarding check - yes, it is that old - and I was so proud of my purchase. And guess what - it still works!!! It was the new thing - and was compact and digital. Now, I don't use it to wake me anymore - I have my cell phone for that. But it is still chugging away. I think I bought it in 1978. That clock has gone everywhere with me - to college - to all of my moves - everywhere. It will break my heart if it ever quits working.

I must have a zillion watches. I went thru a watch phase. I remember when Chris wanted to buy me a watch. I like watches with numbers on them. I guess he had a hard time finding one...

I think it is sad that people don't have as many clocks and watches anymore. I use the time on my phone, my computer, my appliances or my tv stuff now.

And don't even get me started on time telling with my kids. I still don't think Kiel knows what a "quarter till" means.... I guess it is a lost skill - similar to cursive handwriting. That's a whole new post!