Time Keeps Slipping Away!

March is pretty well shot, and April is moving in fast. Wasn’t it just New Year’s? Next thing you know it’s going to be Memorial Day and 4th of July and wow! Did I mention time just keeps slipping away, faster and faster!

At any rate, it’s been a while since I did an update on things around our neck of the woods, so here we go.

Jess was really busy with work the last couple of weeks. Now he’s busy working on taxes. Sounds like fun, right? (NOT!)

Jonathan is also busy, busy working these days. Surprisingly, it turns out he’s making more doing pizza delivery than when he was working at Toys R Us.

After having a really bad day yesterday, today was a lot better and I was able to get some things done. So that’s an improvement!

Otherwise, not much exciting going on around here… just plugging away, same old, same old. And sometimes that’s a good thing!

The Not-So-Phantom Son Visits!

I'm soooooo far behind on everything, and like a duck in water, the visible part of me may seem pretty serene, but underneath where you can't see, I'm paddling madly trying to catch up! That means I'm rather slow getting out the latest news from around here.

We had a great time visiting with Randy this past weekend. In case you're wondering about the Phantom Son bit, when Jess and I got married, I didn't meet Randy for quite some time. Jess and Debra would talk about him, but I finally declared he was a figment of their imaginations, a phantom that didn't exist. So as a joke, he became known as The Phantom Son.

Thankfully we see a lot more of him these days! We enjoyed visiting with him and the Sanford clan in Florida over this past Thanksgiving. And I don't know about him, but we certainly had a good time visiting this past weekend.

Here's Jess & Randy strolling along in the back yard.

He and Jess did a lot of walking around outside, enjoying the scenery and shooting the bull (figuratively speaking of course, since we don't have any cattle, they didn't really get to shoot the bull, ha, ha).

They checked out all the animals, walked in the back yard and in the woods, down by the pond and in the front yard.

We ate pizza and some other good stuff, did crossword puzzles, talked a lot, and looked at lots and lots of old pictures. Randy wanted to see some of my old pictures. I'll bet he didn't realize I have a couple of boxes full, ha, ha! But I did try to quickly scan through them and just hand him the best ones. That doesn't mean I didn't hand him a few that were AWFUL pictures of me, and pretty laughable!

Before we knew it, it was Sunday afternoon and time for Randy to head home again.

Saying good-bye is always hard, but we had a great visit!

One of My Biggest Pet Peeves

Randy is here visiting, so just a short observation for now...

They just left to pick up some pizza I ordered a few minutes ago. (Shhhh, it's from Pizza Hut because Jonathan isn't here and isn't working, so no discount on Domino's.)

But discounts have nothing to do with my pet peeve. I haven't ordered from Pizza Hut for a while, and imagine my surprise when they wanted my phone number, with area code, then got the area code wrong! How can you live in little old Fayetteville and not know the area code is 931, NOT 913?

Answer? Because they're not in Fayetteville! Instead of the local pizza place answering the phone now, they've centralized and you call who-knows-where to talk to someone who may or may not send your order correctly to the correct store, because guess what!? I could barely understand them, even though I think they might have been in the U.S.

And that is definitely one of my pet peeves! I hate calling centralized "stations" that are far removed from where you are, have no idea about what's going on in your area, and the worst is when they're not even from the U.S. and English isn't their first language!

Then to add insult to injury, there are so many other people talking that you can hear in the background, that makes yet one more barrier to being able to understand the person YOU are talking to.

Bah humbug! Give me local people who can understand what I'm talking about, and I can understand what THEY are saying!

Big companies need to concentrate more on CUSTOMER SERVICE if they want to help that bottom line.

Cookie Monster & Tricycles & Pizza

No, Cookie Monster isn't riding a tricycle while eating pizza. As a matter of fact, this particular Cookie Monster and his cookies got eaten. Nice twist, huh?
That Richard really got creative with Ellie's birthday cakes this year! Not only did he make a fantastic Oscar The Grouch cake for the big family party they had a while back, but he made this cute Cookie Monster cake for the smaller party they had this past weekend.

The secret behind this cake? It's made using a 3-D panda bear cake pan, a couple of cupcakes and of course, cookies for props! That pan has seen a lot of use through the years! It was a panda bear for Richard's first birthday in it's original incarnation, then got reincarnated as a Care Bear at various times for Richard, Jonathan and some special friends. Now here it is again, as a terrific Cookie Monster!

As for the tricycle part of this post's title, here's a picture Richard sent me of Ellie riding her tricycle. It got warm enough in the north land for them to go for a walk this past Sunday. (Of course, you realize "warm" is a relative term, and what I'd call warm and what they call warm are two totally different things!)

Richard mentioned that he had to adjust the tricycle because Ellie has grown so much.

Now, as for the pizza part of the title! Jonathan is now working next-to-full-time delivering pizza at Domino's Pizza. He can make more money delivering pizza than he could working a retail job, so there he is. In fact, he informed me last night when he came home that he'd made as much money in 2 days as it usually took him 30 hours to make at Toys R Us.

Oh, the irony... for the longest he didn't want to do pizza delivery because of the wear and tear on the car. However, Domino's has a policy of NO SPEEDING, and in fact, if you get a speeding ticket while delivering pizza, you get suspended. The last time he worked at pizza delivery they were pushing him to "speed up" so he could make faster deliveries (which ultimately led to driving a little too fast on a rain-slicked road over a mountain and wrecking and totaling his car). He'll still put the miles on the vehicle, but this store also doesn't have as big a delivery area as the last place he worked, so that will help, too.

So there we have it, some of life's blessings - Cookie Monster birthday cakes, Ellie riding a tricycle, and Jonathan delivering pizza. Sweet!


WOW, Ellie is FOUR YEARS OLD today!!! She's not a little baby anymore. She's not even a toddler anymore. She's just a really cute little girl!

It's hard to believe that four years ago, she was such a tiny little thing.

And she was a little over 6 weeks old when I took this picture, so she'd grown some already!

Of course, you can see where this is going... now we need to see a picture of her at one-year old!

And another picture from around 2 years old...
And then 3 years old...

And now, here we are, four years old!
At least, she was mighty close to the official 4-year mark when this picture was taken, since it was just a few weeks ago when they were visiting.

Ellie is one special little girl. I wish we lived closer, but that's the way it goes in today's world! I know she has a super grandma were she lives, and lots of other fun family. (But I still miss her and her parents of course!)


Prayer and Praise

As always, there's a lot going on with our family. I couldn't begin to make a list of everything happening with the extended family. For instance, we have a niece who is pregnant again, a divorce in the works, another niece that's getting married, a nephew with knee problems, a... well, you get the picture. Once again, I'm going to zoom in on just the immediate family and hit the major stuff.

All Prayers Appreciated!

  • Ellie and all her therapies. She also just got new glasses, and we're praying they help her see better!

  • Dave is looking for a different line of work. He wants to find something that takes less physical labor.

  • Jonathan has a job interview Tuesday morning.


  • Jonathan has one job for sure, doing delivery for Domino's Pizza. But he also has a job interview Tuesday morning for what might be an even better job!

  • Jess has almost more work than he can handle right now. In fact, here it is Saturday, and he's working at the office. (Maybe just space those jobs out a little please?)

  • Ellie is going to be FOUR YEARS OLD tomorrow!

  • Randy is coming to visit soon!

  • Ryan has a scholarship to play football at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC next year as safety. Way to go Ryan!

In one of those funny little quirks of life, we almost ended up in Hickory when we moved from Cleveland. In fact, we were house hunting before a last minute change sent us to Alabama instead.

All things considered, we could spend a lot more time counting our blessings and have much to be thankful for!

Time's A Changing

Here we are, changing to Daylight Savings Time. I hate these time changes. I wish we’d just stick with Standard or Daylight Savings, and quit switching back and forth.

But time’s, they’re always a changing. That’s just the way life is. Sometimes those changes are good, sometimes they don’t seem so good. I try to cling to the “all things work together for good” premise, but there’s no doubt my life isn’t anything like I imagined it when I was a kid. For instance…

  • I was going to grow up to be a teacher or a writer. What happened? I went to school to be a nurse because that’s what my family thought would be good. You can always get a job as a nurse, right? Well, not if you are out of the field for years and years. I couldn’t even get a job at a nursing home after I got divorced.
  • As a teenager, I dreamed of getting married, and growing old with the same guy, still holding hands when we were tottering around with our canes. Hmmmm, that didn’t work out either.
  • I wasn’t going to live on a farm again, because I didn’t want to be tied down taking care of animals. So where am I living now????
  • And when I was young, I was like most young people. I figured I’d be in good shape, healthy forever. It’s hard to envision living a life in pain when you’re a teenager and full of energy and youthful vitality!

But there’s changes, always changes!

  • Address changes. How many address changes have I had??? Off the top of my head, I can think of 20 different places I’ve lived in 6 different states.
  • People change. I have yearbooks with all these autographs saying “Best Friends Forever!” But with time, you walk such divergent pathways and lose touch, and there’s few that you can pick up and be the same best friends you were years and years ago.
  • Interests change. Some by choice, some by necessity. I used to love to crochet and machine knit and do all kinds of crafts. I would dearly love to still be able to do that, and it bugs me I can’t make all the cute little outfits I’d envisioned making for grandchildren. The last I made were for the Sanford kids, and they’re getting all grown up now! No, I just can’t manage that stuff any more. So I’ve had to switch and focus on different interests, like more into photography and computers.

All kinds of changes! Too many to list changes! My size has changed, my health has changed, my life has changed. But hopefully, I’m changing for the better in the process. The new, improved me!

Cause mostly, I’ve been blessed with changes for the better. Even things that didn’t seem so good at the time have usually worked out to move my life in an improved direction.

I may not always like change, but most of the time it’s good for me.

MANmade Cake and Pie

When Richard and family last visited, I asked him if he'd be interested in any of my Wilton cake pans. He's the only one in the family I know that is "into" decorating cakes. With Ellie's birthday coming up, he thought that was a good idea, so we took the time to dig a box of cake decorating stuff out of the storage pod.

It didn't take him long to make use of some of them! Yesterday they had a conglomerate birthday party for the Kroeker clan, so Richard volunteered to make the cake. And what a cake it is!
Ellie is into all things Sesame Street, but particularly fond of Elmo and Oscar the Grouch. Richard used the ball cake pan he got from me to make Oscar's head, and 4 round cake layers stacked together to make the garbage can.

What an awesomely cute cake! I think he did a great job with it. He said it took longer than he figured, but they usually do. It's time consuming to construct one, then do all that tedious piping the icing on.

Since he did the cake on Saturday, and the party wasn't until the next day, he was presented with the problem of keeping the cake from drying out. You can't just lay plastic wrap on the cake, or the icing comes off with the wrap and there goes all your hard work.

Once again, he put his little gray cells to work and came up with a workable, if humorous looking, solution.

But not only do we have MANmade cakes in our family, we have MANmade pies! Last time Jess and I visited my dad, he asked us if we'd like some apple pie for dessert. Of course we said yes! I just figured one of the ladies who have sent him pies before had sent this one. It wasn't until we'd finished eating the pie that Dad 'fessed up that HE made it.

Well all right! I'm really proud of the way Dad's taken to puttering around in the kitchen and making things for himself. He makes pies, and cakes, and one of the latest new recipes he tried was for Sausage Jambalaya. Go Dad!

I for one am all for MANmade food!