Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Been A Great Week For Me!

I spent two days in OKC (Monday & Tuesday) with niece Amy and her sweet boys -- Adam and Nathan.

I attended two Pioneer Woman cookbook signings - one where I did not get a book and one where I did!

I researched recipes on line and did menu planning and grocery shopping.

Did some laundry...
Had my nails done...
Bought a new pair of shoes (whoo hoo!)
Cocktails with my husband and many friends at a favorite restaurant on Friday night.

Life is good. And, trust me, I absolutely know that...

Please, tell me what is good in your life...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pleased to Meet You!

In addition to giving niece Amy advice on home organizing, another reason I went to OKC this week was to attend a "Hands On Small Business" seminar.

The seminar was at the Full Circle Bookstore. Unfortunately, I did not have time to explore this store, so I will have to plan another visit.

The instructor for this session was none other than Susan Wagner, who is a freelance writer and professional blogger. I have been a fan of her blog, Friday Playdate, for several months. She is so smart, funny and cute! And nice...so very nice.

Susan gave us an overview of the Microsoft Office Live product and we discussed how it can be used by small business owners to store documents on-line and present to customers a professional presence on the internet. And, best of all, it's free. Yes, I said FREE!

We also reviewed the functionality of Twitter and how businesses can "virtually hear" what is being said about them and can also initiate conversations with their customers. We chatted about about business use of Facebook and finally reviewed Kirtsy. What is Kirtsy? Click here to find out.

I'm so glad I attended this seminar. I don't currently have a business, but I've an idea percolating that I will pursue sometime next year.

And, I'm especially happy I got to meet Susan.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Organizing in Oklahoma City

I spent time with niece Amy and her boys on Monday and Tuesday. Amy had asked me to give her some advice on organizing some troublespots in her home. If you know me at all, you know I love to 1) organize and 2) give advice!

We focused our efforts on her basement. Her laundry area was causing some stress, due to the awkward placement of the washer/dryer. We quickly determined how she could have those units moved, with the simple relocation of the power for the dryer and and extension of the vent hose. We also identified where she can have a rod installed to provide additional hanging space for clothes as they come out of the dryer.

Amy already had great shelving units and was storing decorations, etc. in clear plastic storage bins. We talked about how she wanted to use the space to not only store decorations, but to store large serving pieces (trays, etc) and as a pantry for bulk items.

We took time to sort through some cardboard boxes, etc. and suddenly we had two containers of trash to take out! Plus, we had items in a giveaway box.

We cleared a space for an additional set of heavy duty shelving to be installed. And, we also labeled a few of her storage boxes. When I say "label" I don't mean with a label maker. I just use a blank piece of paper and a marker to identify the contents and then slip that into the box so it is visible.

By the end of our afternoon in the basement, Amy had a list of small tasks for an electrician and handyman. Plus, a shopping list of items required for the implementation of the basement plan.

Next morning we were up bright and early. After dropping the great nephews off at school, we went to Lowe's and got everything on the list. Here is happy and excited Amy paying for the items.
Amy took "before" pictures of the basement. As she makes the changes we agreed on, she will take "after" pictures to post on her blog. I can't wait to see the results!

Go Amy!!!!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kitchens a la Tulsa

I went on the Kitchens a la Tulsa tour Sunday with my S-i-L and two adult nieces. We had a fun afternoon together and even saw a few beautiful kitchens.

Some houses/kitchens were definitely not our styles, while others we could have moved right into. We all had our favorite details or appliances. My favorites were the microwave drawer and the oversized refrigerator/freezer (something like this, but for home use.)

We all love home tours and are going to look for more of them to attend together.

P.S. Hopefully on the next tour we won't see one thing we saw outside a house in mid-town Tulsa and that was a hawk who had just captured a squirrel and flew to the top of a tree to eat it.

Yes, I said a HAWK in mid-town Tulsa eating a squirrel on a Sunday afternoon.

Excuse me, this is not the country. Thank you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Buy Local

We endeavor to support locally owned businesses at every opportunity.

We purchase meat from Harvard Meats on a regular basis. It is such a pleasant shopping experience. The staff is friendly, the products are excellent and if you are over 55, you get a 10% discount. The Husband loves that!

What local businesses do you support?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cocktails With Friends

Tonight we met a couple at Tulsa's Summit Club.

The same folks we met that I blogged about here. We again had fun with them.

Now that I'm retired, we are going to have them over to the house for dinner. It can be difficult to make new friends at our ages (50+). But, we are going to make every effort to nurture these new friendships.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I May Be Developing A Little Problem

I could not drive past the fabric store. Somehow, I ended up with two more Halloween prints and one fall print for more tablecloths.
Maybe my old dream of being a "World Famous Tablecloth Designer" is beckoning.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Had A Great Day

Last week was my first "official" week of retirement. However, I was not in charge of my schedule. My family had me booked every day. :-)

Yesterday was the first day I was "in charge" of my time. It was fantastic. I didn't get out of bed until 9:00 am. But once I did, I was on the move all day long. Until nap time, of course! (tee hee)

I ran errands, saw my Mom twice and had a nice, easy dinner with The Husband.

The day was perfect!

How was your day?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend

The weekend was a strange mixture of sadness and beauty.

We went to NW Arkansas this weekend to attend the funeral of my cousin's husband, which was sad. However, the service was very uplifting. He was a very well known high school coach and the turnout for the funeral was tremendous. Lots of stories were told about "Coach K" that caused as much laughter as there were tears.

We packed a bag, thinking we would go to Eureka Springs after the funeral to spend the night. The drive over was great. The color in the trees was wonderful. Unfortunately, we should have phoned for a room first. The was a craft festival in town and there were no rooms to be had. No matter, we enjoyed the drive. We also enjoyed the drive home. The sunset reflecting light on the clouds was beautiful. The colors were indescribable.

The Husband and I have always been good at seizing opportunities to take little weekend get away trips. We have reaffirmed that vow again this weekend. Life can change in such a short time. Seize all opportunites to live it to the fullest.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Seasonal Tablecloths

Following are the three fabrics I purchased last week to make tablecloths. Pumpkins, silly Turkeys and Trick or Treaters.
I've said for years I want to be a "World Famous Table Cloth Designer." I need to figure out how to make that happen.

I'll be sure to post photos of the finished tablecloths.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hula Girls

We had the family over Sunday night for dinner. This was the first time since our Hawaiian vacation that we had all been together in one room. Baby L showed up in a pink Princess Gown and red sparkly (Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz) shoes. My sister said she had worn the gown and shoes off and on for the previous three days.

Before dinner, we presented the family with their "trip presents." We bought the nieces hula outfits, with a DVD of "How to Be A Hula Girl."

Baby L put on her grass skirt and leis over the pink princess gown and red sparkly shoes!
Nothing like mixing fantasy and reality!

Monday, October 12, 2009

10,303 Days

10,303 Days = 28 Years & 83 Days = Number of Days employed by a global oil company

Today = Day 1 = Retirement

I'm so excited!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What's for Dinner, Dear?

My answer to the question on Tuesday evening was, "Let's go to the fair." Look, endless possibilities on the midway:
How do they get the mashed potatoes to stay on the stick? We had to try the deep fried Mac & Cheese.It was surprisingly tasty. I didn't say healthy, I said tasty! How do they get it into these shapes?What the heck is a fatball????
Mystery meat on a stick?
Chocolate covered bacon. No way!
We had to try the chocolate covered bacon. It wasn't bad. Sweet, salty and bacony (is that a word)? Definitely just a once a year, fair food.

Don't tell anyone that you will be able to buy it year round at Old World Confectionery in Tulsa (25th & Harvard) beginning after the fair.
If you don't like your bacon as dessert, you can have it as the main course.
Rest assured, with all the bad food choices at the fair, very few people were opting for the low carb offering.
It was a perfect night at the fair. Weather was cool and crowds were sparse. We agreed it might have been the best night we've ever had at the fair.

All except for the absence of the annual butter sculpture. That was the only negative!

Happy Birthday, Tosha!

Today is my niece Tosha's birthday. Happy birthday, dear!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday, October 5th - Accomplishments

1) I cleaned the front flower bed of weeds & magnolia leaves
2) I cleaned our front porch of cobwebs
3) I cleaned the front porch furniture of dust
4) I purchased fabric to make tableclothes for Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving
5) I did needlework for 1.5 hours today
6) I cooked a fabulous meal tonight
7) I cleaned the kitchen and did the dishes

Tasks 4-7 were done while wearing pearls. (Channeling June Cleaver!)

Thank you. Thank you, very much!
(Channeling Elvis!)

Happy Birthday, Tracy!

Today is my niece Tracy's 30th birthday. Happy birthday, sweetheart!

Love,
Aunt Cindy

The Fall Tree

I'm putting the finishing touches on my fall decorations. My fall tree is complete.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Act Like a Scarecrow!

The three year old niece is sick with the flu - H1N1 to be exact.

My sister asked me today if I could take the six year old this afternoon, to get her out of the house for a bit.

So we went to lunch at Freddy's Frozen Custard and then to Pumpkin Town at 81st & Mingo.

Act like a scarecrow!
What do you see in a patch of pumpkins?
Pose for me!
Can we take her home?
I love this child!

The three year old greeted me at the door when we returned and said "Now it's my turn to go with you, Aunt Cindy!"

I guess I owe her an outing when she gets well.

Tulsa State Fair - 1st 2009 Visit

I went to the Tulsa State Fair early this morning, with my friend Monica.

We went specifically to see all the cakes entered in the Oklahoma Sugar Arts Show and the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition and the annual butter sculpture (the artist sculpts a life size person or thing in hundreds of pounds of butter.)

The theme of the 2009 cake show is "Of Sea and Shore."

There were a considerable number of traditionally shaped cakes decorated with shells, coral, fish, mermaids, birds -- all made of SUGAR.

There were also numerous cakes that took on other shapes. Following are some that caught my eye. I call this one the crazy cake.
A watering can with flowers.
False teeth!
And my FAVORITE -- Surf and Turf! Everything is edible, the placemat, napkin, utensils, plate and food.
I admire people who have the patience to perfect this type of baking art. Loved it!

We then went looking for the butter sculpture and didn't find it. We stopped and asked two volunteers in the competitive exhibits area and we were informed there is NO BUTTER SCULPTURE THIS YEAR!

Read that again.

NO BUTTER SCULPTURE!

There's always a butter sculpture! Who made this decision? Why?

The two very nice volunteers were collecting comments from people expressing their disappointment at this decision. Of course, we expressed our displeasure.

Won't seem much like the fair this week without the butter sculpture.

For a bit of history about the Tulsa State Fair, go to Tulsa Gal's Blog. Also, note her information about BUTTER sculptures!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Our Hawaiian Adventure - Part 2 - Oahu

Day 6 - Monday Sept 21st

Our short flight from Maui was on Hawaiian Airlines. We were met at the airport by a representative of the tour company and received our activity tickets and were directed to the bus for our transfer to the hotel.

We were mightily impressed when we were dropped at our hotel...the Outrigger Waikiki. The hotel facilities were quite nice and our room was excellent. Below is the view from our balcony.
We unpacked quickly and went exploring. The beach was beautiful. The pool area was great and Duke's Canoe Club was right there! We have a Lava Flow and Mai Tai to celebrate and then walked the beach for a bit.
We took the required photos at Duke's statue. Seriously a tourist thing to do! :-)
The Husband was excited to find a Chuck's Steakhouse located in the hotel. It brought back fond memories of 30+ years ago when he lived in Connecticut and went to a Chuck's Steakhouse there a few times.
Again, early to bed so we would be prepared for the next day.

Day 7 - Tuesday Sept 22nd

We had intended to go to the Polynesian Cultural Centre on this day. I knew we were supposed to catch the bus at 10:30am, but I didn't realize they would not return us to the hotel until 10:30pm! We didn't want to stay that long at the Centre, because the next day we were scheduled to be picked up at 6:25am (!) for our Pearl Harbor tour. Long story short, was we decided to cancel the Cultural Centre tour. Next time we go to Hawaii, maybe we'll get to go there.

We spent the morning on the beach and at the pool. Again, liberally slathered with sun screen! We had lunch and then strolled the shopping district. It was just like the Magnificent Mile in Chicago...Prada, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany's.

One thing we noticed in Waikiki was the large number of Japanese tourists. They were the most serious shoppers at the high end stores. Plus we saw at least 5 brides. Evidently, it is common for the Japanese to have a traditional wedding at home and then come to Hawaii for an all out western wedding. I just love brides and weddings. I had take a few pictures!
Dinner again at Chuck's Steakhouse and early to bed.

Day 8 - Wednesday Sept 23rd

We were up at 5:00am to get ready for the 6:25am pickup for the Pearl Harbor tour. We ended up with probably 10 other couples on the tour. By arriving so early at the visitor's center we were able to get tickets to 8:30am movie and tour of the USS Arizona memorial. The movie was a good summary of the Pearl Harbor attack. The memorial itself was very solemn.
Here we are on the Arizona Memorial.
We then moved on to tour the battleship USS Missouri. It was immense and impressive. Watch out, I've got a machine gun!
We saw the memorial for the USS Oklahoma casualties.
We left the military base and took a city tour of Honolulu. Among other sites, the driver took us by the hospital where our President Barack Obama was born, the apartment building where he lived with his grandmother and the Baskin Robbins where he had his first job.

The last portion of the day was devoted to a tour of the Punchbowl Cemetery, which was very solemn. The cemetery also offered very impressive views of Diamondhead, Waikiki and Honolulu.
By the time we returned to the hotel at 4:30pm we were both tired from the day -- awake so early and all the walking, my goodness, all the walking!

We were both in bed and sound asleep by 9:30pm! Whoo hoo!

Day 9 - Thursday Sept 24th

Our last day in Hawaii started very slowly. We slept late, and took our time reading the paper, checking e-mail and packing. We took one last stroll and stopped for lunch at Cheeseburger.

Our airport transportation picked us up at 3:45pm and then stopped at a second hotel to pick up another couple for the airport. Mike and Breezy were their names and they happened to be on the same flight as us. They were in the mid 20's and were on a delayed honeymoon. They had been married for 20 months. They were delightful. We enjoyed them so much on the ride to the airport, we invited them to join us at the airport lounge to wait for our flight together!

Folks that know me, know me to be organized. But I imagine Breezy could teach me a thing or two. She's one of those women who plans her menus out a month in advance, grocery shops a month in advance, and cooks most everyday. She plans lunches and dinners so closely, she even tells her husband when he can and CANNOT have seconds at dinner! "No seconds tonight, honey. That's your lunch tomorrow." Crazy!

Our flight departed at 7:15pm, which was midnight 15 in Oklahoma. Thankfully, we managed to get some sleep.

Day 10 - Friday, Sept 25th

Our flight arrived in Dallas at 7:30am. We had an almost 3 hour wait for our flight to Tulsa. However, it was on time and we were home, sweet, home by 12:30pm.

Learnings

We thought we would take this trip to Hawaii and then check it off our life "to do" list. However, we both found ourselves saying, "Next time we come here, I want to do this...or this...". I think there may be another trip to Hawaii in our future. We need to be sure and save all our airline points, so we can travel first class again!

We are not "tour" people. We both were frustrated at different times by being restricted to the "group" activities or schedule. This is good to know as we begin retirement!

Hawaii is definitely an "early to bed, early to rise" location. Which is great, because given the time zone differences, our bodies were ready to wake up at 6:00am, so we got to fully enjoy every day.

All in all, it was a fabulous vacation!