It’s a Dead Man’s Party!

This years party was a Dead Man’s Party (think Oingo Boingo!) and I have declared it a success!

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My kitchen while in the process of making all of the goodies.

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My table being “staged” the night before.  Yes, that’s my notebook sitting there with three pages that contain my “to-do list”!

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The entree station set up (hot dogs and nachos) and the beverage station ready to go with some Zombie Tonic and Bat’s Brew.

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A few hours of sleep later and it’s time to unwrap and start loading the table up! That eyeball in the back is the pinata that hasn’t been hung up yet… but it looks cool, right?

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The fireplace is nailed shut so the zombies can’t get in, the entry way is properly lit up and the fair is bubbling and George is ready to greet guests!

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Me and Mr. T; Amy and Scott and even Shorty gets dressed up for the party!

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Next year I’m totally doing a photo booth!  Time to scour Pinterest for easy ideas!

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Mr. T and his friends – I love his theatre group, they are awesome kids!

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The pinata is always a “hit”!  hehehe – get it?  A Hit!  Yes, that is astro turf under the pinata.  I have a tiny dog and I want it easy to pick up the candy and goodies that are shoved in the pinata so that nothing is left behind for Shorty to eat/choke on.

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My mom and niece Bella. They were Me and Mini Me – dressed alike in tie-dye!

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My dad and Bella playing with mom

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My nephew chilling out!

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My niece Samantha getting ready to bob for an apple

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My nephew Jayman enjoying the fruit of his labor!

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My nephew Joshua taking a turn!

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This game is way harder than it looks! I had them stand 2 feet away and you throw a sticky spider at the web. I had to let everyone take three turns and we scored the best out of three! 🙂

All in all I think everyone had fun, we talked and ate and played and celebrated end of the harvest!  Okay, so maybe the harvest never came up, but for us, this time together is a celebration of our friendships, new and old.  So, while Monster Mash played in the background we celebrated!

Oh, and I must learn the Thriller dance.  🙂

I Love Halloween

The look of my blog is a bit different – I can’t help it, I am so ready for Halloween.  The other day we spilled something on the tablecloth, and I took it off to wash – and I was so very tempted to go ahead and put up the Halloween tablescape! I haven’t yet, but I also haven’t ruled it out!

Every year I decorate for Halloween – and I mean decorate! I have actually paired down the decorations, but it’s still pretty darn awesome when you walk into my house!  I have a spooky monster that greats you in the living room.

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Here he is posing with Joshua last year.  Yes, that is a witches cauldron bubbling in the background.  And if you look closely, an apparition has appeared in the mirror.

Mr. T and I live with the decorations all month long – and yes, there are times that spooky monster, or, as I like to call him, George, will scare us when we walk in the room and forget he is there!

I have a graveyard that I set up in front of the fire place, an old man hanging in a cage in the corner and T’s bathroom was apparently the site of a grizzly murder as there is blood spatter and bloody hand prints all over the place!

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I think I could do this! It would look great as a backdrop to my graveyard!

The highlight of the season is the fact that I’m blessed to be able to throw the annual Halloween party for all my friends!  The day before I take off work and crank up the oven!  I like to make treats and eats!  I always have some type of main course and half a dozen sides, and all my friends bring something to toss on the table to share.

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We have brains – in both red and blue – a bucket of poison and even some veggies for the non-zombies in the group!

Most importantly, we get to dress up!! I love costumes, always have! Every year, going way back to my teenage years, I’ve dressed up to hand out candy, so I get super excited when it’s time to pick a costume for Halloween!  I don’t mind spending time or money on them, as I reuse them over and over again – and having said that, I think that this year I have to buy a new tub to hold the costumes… or go hang them up in the spare room closet!

I love that I have friends who get into the spirit of things – they aren’t fuddy-duddy’s who won’t play along – they enjoy participating and it makes the night and the memories even more special!  (yes, there are a few that don’t play along and show up wearing a shirt that says “this is my costume”, but that’s okay – they just don’t get to take a whack at the pinata!)

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Queen of Atlantis and Pippy Longstocking (2011)

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Pinata Time! (PS, I put down a big patch of astro turf on the grass under the pinata, that way, once it is busted open, it is easier to gather the goodies and nothing gets lot that Shorty could choke on or get sick eating) (2011)

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Even Shorty gets in the spirit! (2011)

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George, Gypsy, nun and do you remember those Barbie heads? You could brush the hair and put make up on them? That had to be the most inspired costume of the bunch – there was even make up on her tray! (2012)

So, tell me – don’t you just love Halloween?

How Do I Sleep?

Last night about 9:30 Mr. T tweeted “How do I sleep when I get my #permit tomorrow?”

He was pretty darn excited – but then again – so was I!

We had a good weekend for his birthday – we splurged on take out Friday night and he ended up going over to his grandparents and spending the night with them since his cousins were there.  I joined them on Saturday morning and dad said several times how impressed he was with the twins and Mr. T and their team work.  Remember all those trees that were cut down last weekend in order to fix the fence?  Well, this weekend we had to cut those apart so they could be bundled up.  The trees were down in the easement behind my parents house and at one point I was down there to help and my niece goes “Aunt Kate, we kinda have a system going.  But, I forgot to bring some water down!”  I think she just sent me off to get water so I’d get out of the way! Jayman would cut the trees down to size, Samantha would stack them and T would tie them up and them haul them up to the yard.  We all were so proud of them – and they were proud of the work they did!

I took off in the afternoon to go pick up the goodies and dinner.  Mr. T wanted Taco Casa for dinner, so I got a good selection of items and a gallon of both sweet and unsweet tea.  For those of you that don’t have Taco Casa – you are so totally missing out!  Plus birthday cake… yummy birthday cake… that there is no picture of because I couldn’t wait to cut into it!  Papa made his delicious homemade Reese’s peanut butter cup ice cream to top it all off.  As I told Facebook, I was stuffed, exhausted and on a sugar high all at the same time that evening!

Now, because I know you are all wondering – we did NOT rearrange the bedroom!!  You don’t know how happy I was about that.  Dad actually likes the arrangement and mom does too, except for a few items that just don’t “flow” for her.  So, we’ll focus on just fixing that… eventually! (Yes, I know mom, we won’t forget, I promise!)

I know you've seen this one, but it's a great shot of me and the BD boy!

I know you’ve seen this one, but it’s a great shot of me and the BD boy!

Today was the exciting day.  We were up and at the DMV by 7:55, and waiting outside the doors with everyone else for them to open at 8:00 am.

The line outside!

The line outside!

We got in and through the line up to the front of the desk, proved we had enough paperwork to sit down and wait – and they gave us our number: 601.  Now, the only thing that T and I could come up with was that their numbering system was random so that people couldn’t buy a better number or to keep them from pulling a Beetlejuice (“Hey – look, there is Elvis!!”).

What sense does this make?

What sense does this make?

Our number was called and we made our way up to the desk.  Finished filling out the paperwork I missed, signed half a dozen documents and Mr. T had his picture taken!  From there he was sent to take his test.  I’ll admit, I totally cheated here.  Let me tell you how.  He was supposed to take his test and THEN stand in the next line.  I went ahead and got in line while he was taking his test.  Working the system baby, working the system!

He did well! Scored an 83!

He did well! Scored an 83!

He passed!

Ready to drive!

So, that happened, overnight I’m now officially living out the Driving Miss Daisy movie! Please send prayers! 🙂

Getting Ready for the Family Reunion – 2013

It has been over 20 years since we started hosting the annual Family Reunion – I’m not sure how long exactly, but I know that we’ve held the annual family reunion since well before Mr. T was born.

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How the back yard at my parents looks most of the day of the reunion. There is my cousin Hunter, my niece Sam, cousin Katie, Mr. T and my nephew Jayman on the shoulders of Lee.

It is always a good time.  Mom and dad buy the meats through out the year and freeze them, and the days before the reunion arrive you can’t step near their sink without seeing it overflow with goodies defrosting and getting read for Dad’s magical hands. My dad’s ribs are the best.  You can’t eat just one.  He will also BBQ some chicken legs, hot links, sausage, a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts (for yours truly) and a big slab of bologna.  I learned just earlier this year that not everyone has had BBQ bologna.  It boggles my mind.  Really, stop what you are doing, go to the deli and get them to cut you off about 6″ of bologna.  Go back home, fire up the grill, score some deep slices in the bologna, about every 2″ and then dump some BBQ sauce on it, getting it into the slices and then double wrap it in foil.  Then add another layer of foil.  Go ahead and put another layer on there – better safe than sorry.  Dump that sucker on the grill and just rotate it occasionally.  When you take it off the grill it will be nice and BBQ’d and you will be in heaven.  Trust me on this.

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Totally used without any of their permissions – but since they don’t read my blog, I figure I’m safe. That’s my dad in the hat and patriotic shirt. 🙂 My cousin Matt is in blue and loading up his plate from the chafing dish just overflowing with BBQ.

Anyway… We have the chafing dishes out and dad just comes in and dumps meat inside them.  Mom and I will put together several different salads and sides and desserts.  Friends and family will come from far and wide and usually bring a side with them, either fresh peaches from Fredericksburg, or the best cheese roll and crackers you have ever tasted.

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We all pig out and catch up with each other.  You can cycle through the living room, kitchen and back yard and see your relatives and friends.  You can sit and have some fresh iced tea or do a cannon ball into the pool.  We graze all day and spend quality time with each other.  There are several family members that the only time I see them is at the reunion!

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Lee whipping up a batch of cookies for us a few years ago – chaos all around him and kids underfoot, but he’s calming sifting – and refusing to look at the camera!

This will be the first year without Lee there, making cookies or entertaining kids in the pool. It was this time last year that we thought he was fighting bronchitis, and eventually found out it was congestive heart failure.  We had less than a year with him after he was diagnosed, and this will be the first major family gathering that I will look around and expect to see him, and he won’t be there.

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He won’t walk around the corner and give me a look.  And he won’t be sitting next to me at the kitchen table as we scrape out the insides of Oreos so that we can use the outsides to make the best homemade ice cream you have ever tasted.  He won’t laugh every time I eat the inside instead of putting it on the “discard” plate. What?  Like I’m the only one that does that!

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But, he will be there in spirit, cause even he knows it’s the party not to be missed!

I’m Getting Too Old For This Stuff

This week was the lunch lady convention.  It has a better name; however, lunch lady convention sounds better!  This is a state conference that has any and everything to do with lunch ladies.  There are classes and lectures, vendor areas and networking.  It’s my favorite conference! I’m not a lunch lady, but I do deal with the huge equipment they cook on, so I actually learn a lot at this conference.  The conference is held at a different major city each year, so we get to see different parts of the state and have different adventures each year.

I’ve been in Houston all week.  Houston weather is hot (which I can handle) and very humid (which I cannot).  It takes not time at all before you are leaving puddles behind you when you walk the block to the convention center.  I ended up having to straighten my hair at the end of every day before the evening activities began.  It was not fun, I’m not that high maintenance!! I had no choice, the humidity combined with my seemingly excessive sweat kept making the roots curl back up!

That was a problem, but that wasn’t the primary problem.  I’m getting older.  I’m not getting OLD, I’m just getting OLDER.  Big Difference!

There was the dinner and bar Sunday night.  Cause you know, we can’t stop after just dinner and drinks, we have to go search out the bar with a couple of guys with guitars, you know, that’s just how we roll.  Never surrender!!

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Up early Monday to set up the booth.  Which I didn’t really have to do, but I still had to be there, so it counts!  Monday night are when the major parties happen.  Several of the food brokers and equipment reps all throw parties.  We normally spend about 10 minutes on Monday afternoon plotting our route.  What do we want to hit first? What do we want to hit last? What is the most effective and efficient way to attend all the parties?  I’m not kidding, we map them out.  And then you proceed to go from party to party to party.  All of them have free food and most of them have free drinks.  Needless to say, you have to pace yourself!

This year I was on my own.  I had no one going with me.  Even my boss stayed behind.  This severely limited what I can do – cause I don’t know how to take a taxi by myself.  It scares me, there are all of these weird numbers and beeps that happen in a taxi.  It’s overwhelming.  Plus, I am insanely shy.  It takes every bit of willpower I can muster up to walk into a new place by myself.  I mean, I really have to psych myself up in order to do it, I repeat to myself  “Self you can do this.  You can walk in there. You can do this.  Take a deep breathe.  You got this.”

You think I’m kidding.  I’m not.

But I did it!!! I ended up only attending the parties that had a shuttle bus.  The bus would pick me up and drop me off at my hotel.  I can handle that!  And, it worked out that the two parties I picked to attend were just across the street from each other!  🙂

Those were fun!  Did I mention the free drinks?

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Up not as early Tuesday, but still too early, and off to learn.  Spent the day walking the show and learning from my various reps.   It is good to see and catch up with people, plus, I really do love my job and I love being able to learn about the new products out there!

Tuesday night is the banquet, and after an appearance is made, then we take off again.  It was the play-offs, so naturally we hit a bar to watch the game and nibble and drink.   Then we walked over to a different bar to end the game and then we ended up back at the hotel bar to end the evening.  Have I mentioned that we tend to drink? Can you tell yet that we also tend to miss out on sleep?

Up not as early on Wednesday to finish walking the floor and following up with people, and then it’s time to load back up and hit the road!

I had a friend and work peer, a guy that was with me most of the trip, post this on his Facebook earlier this week “I’m getting too old for this s#!+”  Naturally, there were several Lethal Weapon quotes that followed in the comments; however, I knew right where he was coming from!

GTOFTS

Picking up the Pieces.

By nature, I’ve very happy.  I smile and joke about everything.  I am also super positive.

As such, it is very hard on me when I struggle with being depressed.

Fortunately, for me, being depressed manifests in more of an apathetic and listless lifestyle.  I just don’t want to do anything.  I don’t really have the energy to care.  (I think the side result of this is that the people in my life aren’t peppered with so many questions – being nosy, err, I mean curious by nature, I’m all about asking you about you!  So, some people have been spared my constant interrogations questions, and they probably welcome the break!)

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What my friends probably feel like when I’m on a roll!

Some people would see it as a good thing that I recognize that I’m struggling and taking the steps to correct it.  Personally, it drives me nuts that I recognize the issues, as I’d like to just wallow a bit more!!  That’s just me being ornery I suppose!

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This will not define my life, though.  This is a part of what has happened along my journey, so, I have begun moving forward again.

Last weekend I spent time with the family and then down at my Amy’s for an impromptu pool party.  This weekend has already been busy.  I had lunch with my BA on Friday.  He goes “You look… good.  Considering.”  LOL, Okay, I’ll take that compliment – hey, I’ll take it anytime someone tells me I look good.  I know I do – but it’s cool to hear it reinforced!  Okay, I jest!

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If you don’t know Zoolander by heart, you are missing out!

Friday night my mom treated the girls with a trip to the salon.  Okay, this is a funny story.  I’m sitting with BA at lunch and my dad calls to see how I’m doing (I had more massive work done on my mouth this week, 4 hours Tuesday and 4 hours Thursday).  I assured him I was much better.  Then my mom calls.  She wanted to see how I was doing.  I told her I was good.  She then proceeds to tell me that she is meeting my sister and niece at the nail place tonight.  They are all going to get mani/pedi’s and have a girls night.  It’s my nieces first time, so mom is surprising her with the treat. I told them to have fun, it sounded like a blast.

Mom calls me right back.  “I didn’t mean to exclude you!  I know you just got your toes done, though.”  Yeah, three weeks ago…  I told mom that I didn’t feel excluded, it was okay, I wasn’t due for another week.  She goes no, I thought you just did them.  I reminded her that I had them done the day Lee died, cause it was past due and I couldn’t face the family and friends with nasty toes, but it was okay, they should have fun, I didn’t feel excluded at all. Plus, Mr. T has his theatre banquet tonight, so I had to take him back to school at 6:45.  In the end, to satisfy her, I told her that I’d check my budget when I got home, see if my pedicure had come up in the rotation yet, and if so, I’d meet them up there.

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I went back to my lunch.  Then I got a text from mom… “My treat, I’ll call and change the appointment to 4 people.  Dad will take care of Mr. T, just bring him to the house”

So – anyway – that’s how I ended up at the nail salon with the other females in the family.  I actually got a manicure! I haven’t had one in like 12 years! There is polish on my fingernails!  The only time this happens is at Halloween, and normally you don’t see that unless we are in the dark – cause I love my glow-in-the-dark polish! 🙂

Then I got my toes done.

It was a fun night!

Today we are celebrating Memorial day, my sister’s birthday and Father’s Day all at the same time.  With my sister just weeks away from having another baby, it’s getting harder for her to make the hour drive over, so we are doing it all in one fell swoop! I hope there is cake.  I want some cake.

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Party Time!!

Sunday Mr. T and I are going to a friends house for a pool party – she just got it installed last week, so we all have to go break it in! 🙂  If we didn’t have cake at mom and dad’s, then that’s what I’m taking as my side dish to the party.  I want some cake.

Monday, maybe some of dad’s BBQ ribs, or a nice cool movie theatre (still haven’t had time to go see Star Trek!), we haven’t decided yet.

One way or the other, I’m picking up the pieces in my life and moving forward.

Thank you to all of the military men, women and their families that have kept me safe and allowed me the freedoms that I enjoy.  I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend.

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