Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Miss "Extras"

One of my favorite shows of all time, and this episode was the first one I watched:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Clean Sweep

I've been a busy bee this weekend.  The garage has been full of my boxes for the last two years and I decided it was well past time to go through them and get rid of stuff.  Plus put together a couple of boxes of housewares for the Virginians/Texans.

Geezus, I had a lot of crap.  So one trip to the Goodwill, one trip to Auntie's Bookstore, and 3 Craigslist ads for freebies later, the GIANT TV is gone, Clifford the Big Red Couch is gone, I found a knitting project I had forgotten about, and someone may be able to park their car in the garage this winter.  Plus I'm happy that a considerable amount of stuff has or will find its way to loving new homes.

Thanks, P, for helping me schlep all the crap to the various donation stations.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Day Out for the Old Lady

The girls were kind enough to take me to the movies today.  And as always when I choose the film, they were the only people under 50 in the theater.

We saw "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", which I loved (and I think they enjoyed it too).  Most of my favorite Brits were in the cast except my gal Helen M.  It was a sweet movie, almost made me want to go to India.

We did a little shopping too: I bought a hoodie at the Gap as I was freezing (evidently I thought the 90 degree temps Cara and I were discussing this morning were here in Spokane.  Instead, it's that warm in DC and in Austin.  Here -- cold.)  Pia bought some cute shoes at Nordy's half-yearly sale.  Katie bought the World's Cutest Swimsuit and Matching Swim Cap for her pal Sarah's baby girl (due in the fall).  Hopefully Katie will show pictures bc this outfit was To. Die. For.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shamelessly Vote Pandering

Help me qualify for a $250,000 grant from Chase and Living Social.
Help me receive 250 votes on the Mission: Small Business page to get closer to qualifying for a grant.  After clicking "Support" on the home page, look for "Vintage Knits" and vote for me!

3 votes down, 247 to go :-)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rant Mode ON

Grrr.  Don't you hate it when you get really crap customer service?  This happened today:

I needed to mail a Fedex package.  The recipient is paying the cost.  Seems pretty simple.  So I walked over to my nearest Fedex store, which is Manito Ship and Copy (putting the name right out there so you'll know to avoid this place)  Mind you, I've mailed 3 prior packages the same way, at the same place with no problem at all.

The cheery owner was on duty.  I told her what I needed, and she asked how I was sending the package.  I said "recipient is paying, can I please have a Fedex mailing label and box?"  Again, seems pretty simple.  Fedex GIVES their stores those shipping supplies so that customers can USE THEM.

Imagine my surprise when she refused to give me a Fedex box.  She cheerily informed me that "I have to make my money somehow, I can't be giving away boxes.  You can buy a box.  Or you can go downtown if you want a free box."  I told her I had gotten Fedex boxes there several times and she said "no you didn't".  When I insisted that yes I did, she said "well I'll have to talk to my employees about that"

Since I didn't have the time or the inclination to "go downtown" for my free box, I bought a fucking padded envelope from her.  And was not the least bit nice about it.  I only wish I had cash to pay her, because I think I would have spit on it before I handed it over.

OMFG.  Really lady?  This is such hideously stupid and bad customer service I can't even understand it.  Not only have you ensured that I will NEVER GO IN YOUR STORE AND BUY ANYTHING EVER AGAIN, I have also filed a complaint with Fedex (because that is the kind of angry customer I am), and I'll of course tell this story to anyone who ever mentions Fedex, mailing packages, Manito businesses, and bad service.  So for the crappy $2.50 you made on today's forced purchase, I'm guessing you are going to lose on that sale.

Okay, rant mode off.  God.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Only 76 Days Til My Birthday

Ah, Fame

Remember when I posed for this picture, wearing the "Barrister's Wig" and doing my best Queen Victoria impersonation?  It paid off, people.

I received this email today:

"I came across your wonderful blog while searching for Queen Victoria lookalikes on Google.  Myself and two colleagues are producing a book called Forgotten Lancashire, a spoof local history of the County of Lancashire in England.  This requires a picture of a very poor Queen Victoria lookalike, and we would love to include your picture in it (it would only be about an inch high, unfortunately!).

Do we have your permission to use it and, if so, to whom should we credit the picture?"

Who could resist the chance to appear in a spoof history book?  Not I.  Look for me (one inch high) at your local bookshop.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Family Photos!

One of the things we did this week was gather up the tons of family photos.  We haven't quite managed to sort them, but I snagged a couple of good ones.

This picture was taken at Mom and Duane's wedding.  A little backstory: our brother Ray is NOTORIOUS for never showing up for family gatherings.  Evidently, we were pretty sure he would be a no-show at the wedding so we took matters in our own hands.

We drew (I use the verb loosely) a life-size picture of Ray and stationed it out by the party.  We added quite a few conversation starters too.  I can't read all of them, but here are the ones I can see:

"Hi! My Name is Ray.  How do you know Lois and Duane?"

"OK.  I voted for Reagan."

"Try the fruit -- it's divine."

"Yes, I do work as a programmer."

Jon added the man-hug and the glass of wine.

Best part: Ray DID show up.  And was furious about our Cardboard Brother.

Here's another goodie:

"Sliver" was Jon's nickname.  Can you see why?  Love the St. Brendan's basketball uniform with the shiny green shortie shorts.  And he's rocking the hated "child actor" haircut.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


It's been strongly suggested that I blog, so that T. Cruise's hideousness is not the first thing you see...

Just got back from my 3 day Seattle trip.  Here's what I did:
  • endured the long boring drive over.  Stopped about 4 times so I didn't fall asleep and crash.  BORING, did I mention that?
  • Met up with the sisters (B, Susna and Clare) at Mom's house for an initial clean up and to meet the estate sale ladies.  Despite going through every item in Mom's room, her missing diamond ring was not found.  We were really hoping it was in a "secret hiding place" aka a shoe.  No luck.  The estate sale gals were enthusiastic about working with us and confident they could do well with Mom's stuff.  Don't think there are any "Antique Road Show moments" in store, but she has a lot of very nice Northwest art pieces and lots of good household stuff.  So the sale is tentatively set for mid-June.
  • Had a fun lunch with the sisters.  Clare regaled us with the exploits of hubby Bill (aka Where's Waldo, Forrest Gump or Zelig), who has been on periphery of EVERY public event of the last 10 years (sample convo: "Honey, turn on the TV!  To the coverage of the G-8 Summit!  Now look to the right of the giant palm tree next to the stage!  See that tall blond guy lurking behind the tree?  It's ME!  I thought this ball room was where our conference breakfast was being held, but it turns out it's a gathering of world leaders!  And I got right in!")
  • Also, I am convinced that Jamie and Bill's house is built on an INDIAN BURIAL GROUND.  Seriously, the weirdest stuff happens there.  Escaped felons running naked through their yard.  Terrifying biting fresh water eels.  Swamp people.  Rats trying to bite their way out of the cabin.  Etc. Etc.
  • Visited Mom at her new adult family home.  Run by great people and with wonderful care providers.  Of course, she doesn't want to be there.  And is a bit more confused than the last time I was there.  But she was glad to see B & me, and enjoyed an outing to Target for a couple of summer weight tops.  Although she will probably continue to wear her favorite sparkly sweatshirt :-)
  • Enjoyed delicious dinners cooked by my favorite chef, B-Z.  If I had half the skill in the kitchen (or half the enjoyment of cooking) I'd be thrilled.  She gave me her recipe for this yumm-o chicken dish with feta and green beans and I will definitely be cooking that.  And finagling another invite to stay at her house!
  • Went to see "Dark Shadows" with B.  So fun!  The two of us LOVED this soap when we were kids, and it was a fun movie. 
  • Got to see two of the babies.  Meg stopped by with Hads and Carson (plus they were at Zaide's house when I got there Wednesday)  My two favorite moments:
  • Hadley offered to share her Teddy Grahams with me, and I told her "no thanks, I'm trying to lose some weight".  She looked me over very seriously and said "Auntie Laurie, you don't need to lose any weight".  What a sweetheart.
  • Carson was M.A.D. that his mama wouldn't let him play out in Mimi's front yard.  She carried him in kicking and screaming bloody murder.  As soon as she put "Furious George" down, he marched over to Mimi's chair and threw it over with all his might.  I'll show YOU, Mom!
Hoping to get back over soon for another visit!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cannot. Unsee.

Instant sweeper of the Razzies, "Rock of Ages", is now Instant Winner of Worst Magazine Cover of The Year (AND worst Photoshop)

Seriously, I have these questions and observations:

  1. How many boxes did Tom Cruise have to stand on to be taller than those models?  2? 3?
  2. Could they not have found a makeup artist/FX person who could paint on decent-looking fake tattoos?
  3. Ditto with the painted-on abs.
  4. Ugh, his NIPPLE.
  5. Lay off the Photoshop on the face please.  
  6. Who is the target audience for this movie?  I cannot think of a single demographic who might want to see it.  Other than Scientologists?
  7. Also, his extensions.  Lindsey Lohan called, she wants them back.

Mother's Day is the Best

Of course, my kids treat me like a queen EVERY day, but yesterday was especially nice!

We started off the day with a delicious brunch that Katie and Pia cooked: a Strata with strawberries and syrup, bacon and mimosas.  Yum.
Then we went for a walk through Manito Park.  The weather was absolutely beautiful, flowers are finally starting to bloom, and there were tons of families picnicking in the park.

 Lulu loved the walk.  The Gentle Leader, not so much.

Pia claims Katie and I are always squishing her out of our self-pics.  I guess this is the photographic proof.

I got 100 K-Cups in my favorite French Roast and 4 sessions with Pia's trainer at the gym.  I'm excited about that (a little nervous too, I have NO core strength and broken arm is still like a spaghetti noodle)  Had a nice call from the Virginians; they are heading to Austin this weekend to find a place to live, and their moving date is sometime in mid-June.  I'll  miss having a reason to visit our nation's capital, but Austin looks pretty fun!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, B!

Today is my little sister's birthday.  Most appropriately, it falls on Mother's Day this year (as it did the year The B was born).

This photo is how I always picture B-Z at her happiest.  Surrounded by family and friends, sharing a wonderful meal, at the happiest place on earth (aka The Cabin).  A home full of laughter, loud conversations, three generations of family, and much love.

I hope your day is full with all of the above, my dear sis.  Love you like 60, doll!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

This Is Exciting!

Add this to your Amazon wish list, people.

PS  Who told this woman that she could sing?  Seriously, this is the most painful thing I've ever heard.  I could do better, AND I CANNOT SING.  AT ALL.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We Heart Teachers Too!

Nurses, Teachers -- it's your week!  We love teachers -- and they deserve more than just a day or a week in their honor.  We trust our kids to them for 12 years -- and they deliver.  In a world where we had our priorities straight, teachers would be earning what the cast of "Jersey Shore" does..

In honor of our resident teacher Miss L., here are some fun "vintage teacher" pictures:

Hope your staff room has a bottle of that for you on Friday!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We Love Our Nurses!

It's National Nurse's Week!  Who better to celebrate than our very own Angels in Scrubs Katie & Megan!  My dream is that on my deathbed, these two dedicated nurses will show up at my bedside looking like this:
Gals, you'd do this for your dying mother/auntie, wouldn't you?  At least wear the hat.

In honor of our nurses, here are a few vintage photos of our favorite profession:

May your week of recognition include a steamy embrace in the meds closet! 

Where The Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak died.   "Where The Wild Things Are" is still my favorite children's book ever.  Brilliant. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I bought Mariners tickets for Katie's birthday, and the three of us gals (make that 4 of us, Lulu came along too) were tootling happily down I-90 on our way to Seattle for the weekend...

when Katie's car started acting weird.  Like we were driving over "corduroy" roads (I-90 is kind of bad through Spokane but not this bad)  We limped into Moses Lake and found the only open garage. 

And they couldn't fix it.  Suggested she needs a new engine :-(

So we limped back home.  No Mariners game, no fun weekend.  Boo.

Friday, May 4, 2012

British vs. American Candy

In anticipation of our trip, I'm researching all things Brit.  Pia and I were discussing American vs. British candy this morning (sadly, P, I couldn't find the "Schnickelfritz bar" I mentioned lol), and she is of the opinion that British chocolate is too milky.

Evidently, this Brit vs. US candy bar debate is intense and bitterly divided.  If you grew up with Cadbury's Dairy Milk bars, you are not a fan of the US version produced by Hershey's:

It’s a different bar from the Cadbury bar available in the United States. According to the label, a British Cadbury Dairy Milk bar contains milk, sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, vegetable fat and emulsifiers. The version made by the Hershey Company, which holds the license from Cadbury-Schweppes to produce the candy in the United States under the British company’s direction, starts its ingredient list with sugar. It lists lactose and the emulsifier soy lecithin, which keeps the cocoa butter from separating from the cocoa. The American product also lists “natural and artificial flavorings.”

And Brits find our iconic Hershey Bar to be "sour".  Sour?  Super-sweet maybe.  Waxy perhaps.  But Sour?

There are different versions of the Mars Bar and the Kit Kat (which P stated categorically she will NOT be eating in England):

"Mars bar, the prom queen of British candy bars. About three million of them are made daily in Slough, just west of London. It’s like a less sweet version of the American Milky Way, rather than the almond-stuffed American Mars bar.    Kit Kat, invented in York, England, in the early 1930s and available in versions that match the tastes of, variously, Japanese, Germans, Australians, Canadians and Americans."

This tidbit here nearly killed my love of British candy entirely:

"Cadbury Milk bars, including the mint crisp, whole nut and Turkish delight with rose jelly. "

What the hell is Turkish Delight with Rose Jelly?  And what is it doing in a candy bar!?

We will have to do some intensive investigatory work when we are in England, and will report back on the US v. Brit Candy Wars.

Happy Birthday Katie Cat!

It's my baby girl's 31st birthday today.  How did you get to be this grown up, Ramona?  As you can see, she's always had that happy smile, those sparkling brown eyes, lots of hair (except for that time Cara cut all your hair off in the back and you got that pixie cut in the upper right), and those big dimples.

Easiest baby to raise ever.  Loved her naps, perfectly willing to hit the sack at 6 pm and stay there until 7 the next morning.  With her thumb and her blankie, she was good to go (in fact, we had a few times where she sucked that thumb so much, she got a sore on the poor thing).  Loved her big sissies like nobody's business, and they were usually willing to let her tag along.  Little brother? Yay, somebody to boss around and translate his speech until age 2.  Independent: in kindergarten, she insisted on walking BY HERSELF.  And would take a different route home every day to throw Bruddy and I off her trail.  Smart, so smart.  Too smart.

Katie, you have been a delight and a joy since day one.  And getting to share a home with you as an adult is even better.  You're my road trip pal, my grand puppy's mom, and someone who "gets" me.  Love you doll!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Go-To Movie

She denies it, but I swear we have watched "Wall-E" at least once a week for the last year.  Every time there's nothing on TV, this is Katie's go-to movie.

Better than "The American President", her other favorite when there's nothing on.  God, I hate that movie on every level.

499 Miles Closer

So our "Bring Em Home 2.0" campaign is bearing fruit.  Just not the fruit we hoped.

Cara and Tony have been lobbying their boss relentlessly to get them jobs here in Spokane, so they can spit the East Coast for good.

We had a glimmer of hope last week that they would be back home by summer.  Alas, the guy who has Cara's job here doesn't seem all that willing to give it up.  And (so far) her bosses can't find a good reason to fire him.

So they are pretty sure they're going to take the jobs offered in Austin (TEXAS), with a 2 year commitment, then home (and it could be less time)  That's 499 miles closer to Spokane!  And about 50 degrees hotter year round.

We're all a little (really, a lot) disappointed that jobs couldn't be found here in the great NW.  But Austin actually seems pretty cool.  I'm all for a city that has a statue of Willie Nelson.  And BBQ.  WHEN they actually make the move (and if you know these two, one doesn't make any plans until the moving van is packed and on the road), I'll head down for a visit and to see if Austin is a place I might want to mooch off this set of kids for a bit :-)  That hot weather is making me nervous though.

We'll be trolling the Carquest parking lots to try to run over this guy who won't give up his job for our Virginians.

Whew, I'm Younger Than These Two

 Mr. And Mrs. Potato Head are 60 years old!  And the originals are really pretty creepy...