Sunday, November 27, 2011

Randomness

What a great Thanksgiving break this has been! I'm super blessed to have a job that allows me time off to do stuff. I always have big plans: like, this long weekend, I'm going to...1. Clean a closet. 2. Organize the office. 3. Burn pictures onto CD's and label them. 4. Spend extra time at the gym. 5. Read. 6. Make phone calls that I've been meaning to make. Etc, etc, etc. But somehow, those things never seem to happen. Oh, I may get one thing knocked off the list, but honestly, that's just by luck/chance.This particular long weekend, I got a little of this and a little of that done, but nothing much to speak of, at least nothing that was on a list. BUT! I cooked (which you know I love), got a little shopping done, had a thoroughly enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, met old PA friends in Sanford for breakfast before their trek home, and just relaxed.  Tonight, Jack is working the tree lot for the Knights at church, and I'm facebooking, Pinteresting, and generally wasting time. So, as I devour other people's blog posts, I figured I'd better tend to mine as well. Here are a few tidbits from my scattered brain: things I snapped pics of to post, and never got "a round tuit". 


This is my all-time-favorite-nighttime-snack-ever. Sure, it may look like "just" popcorn, but I've even got Jack hooked on it, and he's not much of a popcorn eater. My sis Sara taught me about this years ago, and last year when I found out how bad-for-you packaged microwave popcorn is, I switched to micro air popped, and never looked back. I pop a nice portion in my Presto Power Pop, and lightly spray it with GREAT VALUE brand (it's honestly the best tasting) butter spray, then sprinkle with popcorn salt, garlic powder and a smidge of parmesan cheese (the "soap powder" kind). Yummo! 

When Ann & Dave came to FL earlier this month, I made pumpkin (I KNOW! I'll stop, I promise) chocolate chip cookies with cream cheese icing, recipe courtesy of my friend (and new mom!), Kristyn, from her mom. I've gotta ask if I can share the recipe...

Ok. This was just funny... A sweet friend at work "donated" a number of bottles of wine to me a few months back, and Jack & I have enjoyed a few of them already. So while Jack was in ND, Deb and I decided to pop one of these babies open...a half bottle of Chateau Suduiraut, French Sauternes, 1990; a white, sweet, dessert wine. Oh, yeah...this little fella goes for $45, can't wait!...Uhhh, see the cork floating in the bottle? I couldn't seem to get it out with my fancy-shmansy corkscrew, so I pounded it into the bottle, creating a spray of wine that hit me directly in the eye. We laughed for five minutes! (and this wasn't the first time I'd gotten hit in the eye by a bottle of bubbly; I went to the ER 20+ years ago after being attacked by a champagne cork!) Bottom line: the wine was truly horrid (wasn't stored on its side), and we laughed the whole time I took these pictures. (we laugh all the time anyway)

Sooooo, tomorrow we're all back at it. Happy Monday, everyone! It's almost Christmas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful, Grateful, Blessed

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus ~ 1 Thessalonians 5; 16-18.

I can't sleep. It's the day before Thanksgiving, and there's so much to do! I wanna finish laundry, pay bills, get four different casseroles made, bake a cheesecake, run to Publix one last time, get the table set for tomorrow, clean the bathroom...
These are all things I love to do (really!), but first, I'm gonna be thankful. For the last few weeks, I've seen people on Facebook giving thanks for something daily as we head towards Thanksgiving. I sure wish we (especially ME!) could remember to do that every day of the year.  The following is a very condensed version of the extremely long list of what I am thankful for:

This wonderful man and these beautiful children. We've all been extremely blessed with good health, good jobs, and good genes! (hahahaha, just had to get that in there!)

The gift of parents filled with faith, love, wisdom and the courage to have 12 children! (Mom was always mad about this pic because Dad didn't have shoes on! He never did once he got home!) The 12-paneled picture frame that Dad made (behind their heads) had each of our grad photos in it. I memorized it as a kid so I wouldn't forget anyone! It went: Patti, Ellen, Mary, Sara, Dave, Tom, Connie, Betty, Rob, Ann, Joe. Then me : )

My brothers and sisters. Most of the gang's all here at Christmas, 2008: me, Dave, Momma, Rob, Ann, Joe, Con, Mary, & Tom and Sara in front. Ellen & Bet couldn't make it, and Patti passed away the year after Dad, but they were there in spirit ♥

In-laws that have been like my own parents. They just celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary! Now THAT'S a blessing!  

An interesting, challenging and FUN job (I get to use my anal retentive & OCD qualities daily!), and the best folks EVER to work with! Laura, Debbie and Patti, my surrogate sisters & dear friends!

And to everyone reading this, you're on the list too! Have a blessed Thanksgiving! ♥


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Olive Mary Cecilia Britcher Sheaffer Weaver ♥

"Hi, Momma. How ya doin' today?" was how the almost daily phone call would begin, and then we'd move on to the weather. Mom was always curious about the weather here, and loved to tell me in detail what PA weather for the day was like. I haven't talked to her in over a year. But today, one year ago, Mom went home. She prepared her whole life to be with the Lord, and I have no doubt that she's there now. Her prayer intentions always went for the souls in purgatory, and she had tremendous devotion to the Blessed Mother. She'd say, "Ask the Blessed Mother for your special intentions, and she'll whisper it in Jesus' ear; he would never deny His mother anything." Mom would never deny anyone anything either; her life was spent volunteering at St. Joe's, St. Vincent, Hanover Hospital, Golden Visions, the K of C Ladies Auxillary, nursing homes, and a hundred other places. For years, she toted folks to church, the store, the doctor, you name it. She worked dinners, garage sales, fundraisers; if you needed her, she was there, and you didn't even have to ask. I probably heard her say "What can I do?" at least a thousand times in my life. Mom had wonderful people skills, and she visited and laughed and hugged everywhere she went.

This video is from Mother's Day, 2010. Mom's health declined rapidly after this, although she rallied in July for a bit. I cherish this video, because it was collectively our last time together to celebrate our Mom.

video

Mom Facts:

♥ Dad called her "Helen", and she loved it ♥ She hated when we wouldn't pick up our pile of clean laundry on the way up the stairs ♥ She made the best homemade strawberry shortcake with milk (and that was our whole dinner!) ♥ She loved her Dad and Mom, and took it as a compliment when she was called "Oliver", but not "Jeanette"! ♥ She literally LOVED babies (obviously, along with being pregnant!) ♥ She loved card games, especially with Aunt Sandy & Uncle Charlie ♥ She was happy to be the rose between the thorns (as the only girl with two brothers on each side) ♥ She dressed beautifully (and most times was wearing clearance rack & thrift store clothing) ♥ She had the brightest blue eyes ♥ She could run a household like a drill instructor, and did! ♥ She loved to party : ) ♥ She could feed a family of 14 on Dad's salary (that's why we had shortcake for dinner! Or S.O.S bleck!) ♥
She loved the Lord ♥


Mom and Bobby and all those kids! Gotta love Tom's eyes!

Dad carried this picture in his wallet. He said Mom had bedroom eyes. Mom said she was just tired : )
(ps. that's ME!)

Ocean City, MD, I'm sure. This was one hot couple!

There are so many "party pictures" with Dad! (I get it honest enough, that's for sure!) I absolutely love this picture, she just looks beautiful.

One of my all-time favorite pics! With a ton of kids in the background too, as usual!

One last thing...thirteen was a special number to Mom and Dad. Dad's birthday was the 13th, their wedding was on the 13th, and the number just seemed to bring good things. When Mom was in the hospital after her heart surgery 20 years ago, she was in bed 13, so we knew she'd be ok. Jack and I met on a Friday the 13th. And last year, on the way back to Florida after Mom's funeral, we offered to take a "bump" for free airfare, since the flight was overbooked. We felt that if it worked out, it was Mom's intervention. We got the bump, and were on flight 133, seat C13. Thanks, Momma. You never stop doing for us ♥

 

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Coincidental Tourist

 No kidding...one coincidence after another. It started when we checked into the hotel (the gorgeous Planter's Inn on Reynolds Square); Becky and I opened the door to our room, and it had ONE bed. Uh uh. Nope. Not happenin'. So back down to the desk we headed. "I'm sorry, we're full up, so all we can do is bring you a rollaway." Seriously?! For $150 a night, I gotta sleep on a rollaway?! Short story longer, a couple checking in behind us offered to switch rooms, since they were a couple (from Winter Park, FL!) in a twin bed room. Well, sure we will! Although the hotel claimed no responsibility for the mix up, our new best friend Karen the Concierge gave a peace offering of wine and a fruit, cheese and cracker platter...WELL....Ok! On Friday, we ran into our co-worker Jed at the Pirates House (I KNOW! How weird is that?!) Right after we left there, we met a lady named Evelyn on the street outside the Strobhar Chapel (she is caretaker & they minister to sailors on the container ships), who happened to have a sister in Titusville (retired NASA), and she invited us in to see the chapel! On Saturday, Becky, who is all about the "bird girl" (from Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil), sat directly under the stained glass window of the bird girl in Clary's Cafe (from the book!), I found an imported Irish Celtic braid ring (just like the one I bought in Ireland this summer and subsequently lost 3 days after returning), and the responsorial psalm at Mass on that night in the Cathedral (33rd Sunday in Ordinary time) was Psalm 128 (it's tattoo'd on my back in honor of Mom, whose one year anniversary is on Wednesday). Not to mention that I came away with an amazing ghost story of my own! (Jack has his very own from last year)
SO...to summarize...we met some wonderful people this weekend, witnessed a flash zombie walk, saw a gazillion weddings in the squares and churches on Friday (11-11-11), googled "which side do you wear a boutonniere on" to help out some groomsmen in the Cathedral on Saturday, ate some new foods, shopped till we dropped, learned new things, toured houses, and had a fabulous time!


River Street was our first destination on Friday morning, and no visit to the city is complete without a visit to the Waving Girl. It was chilly and windy, but we didn't mind, we had lots to see!

The famous Pirates House on Broad Street, with great food and story telling by a local "pirate" guide. I'm acting the part because I'm pretty sure that's what the young lady pirate taking our picture told us to do. Or not. But I sure felt like a pirate! Aaargghhh!

I've always wanted to see inside the Lucas Theater, but it's only open during shows, which so far were on opposite weekends from when we were visiting. This weekend, however...open for tours! And free popcorn! Yeah, baby! It was beautiful ♥

Sitting in the chair I've always coveted through the window! I was SO excited!

I'm not a huge ice cream fan, but again, Leopold's is the best! There was a 15 minute waiting line to get in, but this PUMPKIN PIE SUNDAE was worth the wait!!! One scoop of pumpkin, one scoop of cinnamon, carmelly swirly stuff, fresh GA pecans & whipped cream! Crazy thing is, I don't even like pumpkin! ; )

Forsythe Park was lovely on Saturday. There were families and dogs and a farmer's market and kinda crazy people and picnickers and tourists everywhere.

Yesterday's stop at Bonaventure Cemetery was the highlight of the trip. We all agreed that it was one of the most peaceful places we had ever been; different from Colonial Park cemetery in downtown, and extremely different from the New Orleans' St. Louis Cemetery #1, where Madame Laveau is encrypted! That place gave Linds & I the creeps! 

Gracie Watson is one of Savannah's most well known ghosts; her life-sized statue is still beautifully haunting after 100 years. The early morning sun kept her face very bright and hard to photograph (for me and my little camera, anyway).

I can never get enough of the moss! Our tour guide on Friday reminded us that the moss is full of chiggers, and not to put any on our heads and pretend it's hair. Thanks for nothin', too late now!

Beautiful. That's all.

We were so excited when we found the Mercer graves! This is Johnny Mercer's mother, Lillian's....don't you LOVE the engraved saying?!

The tribute bench sits right by Johnny Mercer's grave. We stood and marvelled at the many famous songs he had written (engraved on both sides of the bench) that we hadn't even been aware of. Laura even called her Momma right there to tell her she was visiting Mr. Mercer, who penned "Laura", the movie she was named after!

Savannah, as soon as Jack retires, you are MINE! ♥



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Come Home, Hon, I'm Tired!

Ok, I'll admit, the first week was pretty darn fun. Dinners out, Halloween party, shopping, girl's night in, shopping, girl's night out, visiting, shopping.... But by week two, I was starting to think more like, "When Jack gets home, I'll tell/show/ask him ______." Now I'm in the last few days of my hubby-stay-away-cation, and I'm ready for my hunter to come home. No, not just because my car is broken. (although....) Nope, I really miss him. We've probably only talked three times in two weeks, and that's ok. He's doin' what he loves, and I'm enjoying the quiet, I'm not gonna lie. But now it's time for him to get his little unshaven self home. I'm goin' on a road trip to Savannah tomorrow with the buds for the long weekend, and it will be a blast. But these hunting trips of his are wearing me out! 
PS. He'll be home when I get back. ♥

Today's shoot in Tappen (29°). They eat everything they kill, so that's a good thing. (I guess!)


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Day of Birth, Jackson Lee!

Jackson got his name for two reasons: 1. we wanted to choose a southern name, since he was the first Ehrig in this family born in the south, and 2. Jackson Lee kinda translated to "Jack's Only" in case he was the only boy to carry on the name (whatever, it's a guy thing). So along came Jax...our chef (he learned to read by reading menus!), navy boy (which faded soon after taking ROTC), and adventure-loving little play-by-his-own-rules ball of energy, who literally never stopped! From the minute his feet hit the floor until he was forced into bed at night, this guy was our happy-wanderer!

Grandpa's navy cap : )

Never wanted to miss ANYTHING!

One of my all time favorite pics ♥ He honestly went through at least 3 plastic lawnmowers!

Big trucks, bicycles, cars, dump trucks...anything that rolled, (and an extensive Matchbox collection) he was destined to be a truck driver! I made his 9th birthday cake with a picture of Jack's big truck at the time (go Hanover Foods!).

Right after his bridge up into Boy Scouts in PA. He biked a weeklong 212 mile trip on the C & O Canal, and hiked 15 miles on the Appalachian Trail at 12 years old! I tellin' ya, that didn't even slow him down!  

First car! Big dude in a little car!

This morning before breakfast. Our boy & his dog ♥
All grown up, working darn hard (it's still hard to believe he's actually a beer delivery guy, because he doesn't even like the stuff, hahahahahahahahahaha!), driving a pickup, rockin' boots and flannel. *sigh* Wasn't I just in that delivery room last week?! Happy birthday, Jax, it's 12:17 pm somewhere! ; ) We love you!


 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin. Again.

Obsession seems so creepy. Let's just call my enthusiasm for pumpkin an affinity. That just means "a natural liking or close attraction". There. That's better. So, my affinity for pumpkin has me scouring food blogs for even more recipes (the "Pumpkin Files" are currently the largest folder in my foodgawker account, beating even the "Dessert Instead of Dinner" folder). Jack is still hunting, and time is running out to make myself foods that I know he doesn't care for. Like pumpkin. I haven't cooked a great deal in the last 9 days, so I figured I'd see if the stove still worked. It does. Darn.

Yep, pumpkin black bean soup! I know...I get it....doesn't sound great to non-squash-lovers (or maybe even to actual-squash-lovers). But it's fantastic! Really. It just takes like a rich, creamy black bean soup...oh....you'll have to like black bean soup! Try it on a cool night like tonight, and it feels like fall heaven ♥



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