This girl is funny...not skinny.

This girl is funny...not skinny.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

22 hours, 5 states, an over affectionate hockey fan, and finally finding the perfect public restroom.

Hello all!

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this week  then Happy Thanksgiving!  

In the US this is the official kick off to the holiday season and we've gotten a bit crazy with the shopping. I mean, Black Friday should mean...you know...FRIDAY.  I give stores that are normally open 24 hours a pass because that's their regular schedule, but for the rest of the stores (I'm looking at YOU, Kohl's) there is no reason to make your employees miss a holiday with their families just so the rest of us can buy a discounted sweater and/or holiday ornament ten hours earlier than we would have anyway.  Black Friday should mean getting up in the dead of night, like 3 AM, grabbing a hot breakfast at your local 24 hour diner, and heading out to the stores around 4 or 5 AM on FRIDAY.  That's the way God intended it.  LOL

As for our family, we just got done last week celebrating my birthday and Skippy's with a quick trip to Detroit to see my beloved Redwings take on his beloved Tampa Bay Lightning at the historic Joe Louis Arena.  (Which they are tearing down at the end of the season.)

It was not going to be a long trip. Hubby and I, being old, planned on driving to the game Tuesday, watching the game Tuesday night, and coming home on Wednesday.  But...then Skippy said this:

"You know, we could just drive home after the game. Then you'd have a whole vacation day off instead of being in the car.  I do that drive all the time. It's a piece of cake."

Now, that might seem like a crazy idea, but after thinking about it and doing the math, we realized that yes, if the game got out at 10:30 Detroit time and we hit the road right away, we'd be home really no later than 4:30 Wisconsin time, allowing for stops and what not.  Skippy could do the bulk of the night driving and I would sleep in the back seat.

With this brilliant plan in place, we left for Detroit.  (Peaches opted to stay home with the cats.)

A rare picture of me...and my two favorite guys.
(I'm in the middle.)
The trip there was uneventful, as expected. We stopped once for food and made it to the Joe without incident. Well, okay, we missed the turn into the parking garage, but other than that, no problem.  We'd driven through part of four states:  Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.  The plan was to take the same route back. It was a route we all know very, very well.

Take that, Avs fans!
Being at the Joe Louis Arena, "The Joe," is a pretty awesome experience. I mean, it's really not that much to look at. It's old.  The seats are not comfortable. There are no cup holders. And there's no leg room.

But then you look up in the rafters, where the championship banners are. There's almost no ceiling space left.  The Redwings have a long and beautiful history of championship wins and retired greats of the game.  

The game itself was a good one.  Maybe not for the guys sitting behind us, who were true Detroit fans in that every word out of their mouths was unrepeatable and they had little good to say about the home team.  Until the home team started winning at the end of the second period.

It was during the second intermission that I decided I should break one of my rules and find a bathroom.  Now, have I mentioned The Joe is old?  how old?  Let's just say that the bathroom facilities for women were not...ample.

I got at the end of a line that stretched a hundred feet into the back end of the other line for the other ladies room.  As I stepped into the line, there was a little tap on my shoulder and a blonde woman with a smoky voice said, "Don't go there, I know a better place."

Now, I realize that this is the start to many different types of fantasies and believe me, I was skeptical.  However, if I stayed in the line I would miss a good portion of the third period and I had not ridden in a car driven by someone else for six hours to stand in a line and not see the game.  So I followed the blonde.  She wove her way through the crowd to a staircase and then she vanished.  I looked at the staircase. Yes, there was a restroom at the top, but in line were probably 200 men.  I saw no women in line.

Wait...

There were no women in line.

For a restroom.  At a sporting even.

I watched as a couple women sprinted up the stairs and vanished through a concrete arch.  What did I have to lose?  So I, well I didn't sprint, but I moved  pretty quickly up the stairs and at the top was a man who pointed me to a door where there were no women...

Inside...

The most glorious of all restrooms!  There were 50 stalls. I know this because they were numbered. They were clean!  The restroom smelled GREAT.  There wasn't a speck of dirt or a drop of water on the floor.  I saw steam rising out of the sinks, the promise of actual hot water!

Friends, most of you know my trials and tribulations when it comes to public restrooms. I'm here to tell you, I've found it!  I've found the absolute MECCA of ladies' rooms. It's the pinnacle of peeing!  I was in and out of there in under five minutes and there was no back up on the stairs, why?  Because there was a second door and stairs to go down.

At the bottom of this second flight of stairs I bumped into the blonde who recognized me (pink hair stands out in most crowds) and she said, "I was right, wasn't I?"  I nodded. I had no words for the magnificent loveliness she'd shared with me.

But back to the game.  

It was a good game, but the Redwings lost.  I was happy for Skippy because his team won. I guess that's all part of being a mom. Anyway, as we walked out of the arena, the guys decided they had to use the facilities. I would have shown the the staircase, but they are men and it would not have been as magical for them.  I told them I would park it next to the pillar next to the statue of Gordy Howe.

And now, for an "It can only happen to Sarah moment":

I stood there smiling, watching fans filter out of the building. I didn't feel crowded at all.  I was happy. This had been a great night!  And, we'd decided to take a short jaunt down to Toledo, OH, and hit a Waffle House on the way home. It wouldn't increase our drive by more than twenty minutes, the guys decided, so why not?

As I was thinking about the Waffle House menu a very, very tall Redwings fan and his buddy walked up to me.  I didn't think much of them, a lot of people brushed past me.  But this guy stopped.  He stopped and he leaned down to my face level.  Which, since he was so tall, meant all of my viewing space was full of him.

He put his arm around me like he was going in for a kiss or something.  Instead, he leaned a bit closer to my ear and said in a tender, moderately inebriated tone,  "We lost.  It's a sad f---ing night."

"We did. But we're going to be okay," I responded.  I mean, what else are you going to say to that?

He seemed satisfied that we'd comforted each other and he and his buddy went on their way.

Okay then.

We drove down to Toledo  (Thereby hitting our fifth state of the day) and had a lovely meal at Waffle house. I had a grits and eggs bowl.  It was fantastic. I have friends who think I'm nuts, but I love Waffle House.  

By this point it was one AM  Eastern Time.  (Game ran long, it had taken longer to walk out of the Joe than expected, and we lounged a bit at Waffle House.)

We did the math. We still thought we'd be home around 5:30 Central time.  Confident the guys had it in hand, I curled up in the back seat and tried to sleep.

And then we hit the death fog.

Death fog like I've never seen it.  We'd drive along for a couple miles at 70 and then BAM.  A while wall of no visibility for several miles.  This went on through half of Ohio and all of Indiana.  We had to stop twice in Indiana  (Once at a gas station that wasn't open, but thanks to some GUY who just happened to be driving around at 3 AM, he informed us the station wasn't open and neither were the pumps, but that if we "drive up the road there a piece" we'd find all manner of open gas stations.)  We did, and by this time I was FREEZING in the back seat. The guys, in an effort to stay awake, had turned off the heat.  We didn't have a blanket in the car.

I'm now the proud owner of one of those silver plastic sheets, the kind they wrap accident victims up in. They sell those for $3.99 at the gas stations in Indiana.  Wrapped up in that I was warmer, and I also resembled a baked potato...or Jiffy Pop Popcorn.

By the time we hit the Illinois border, Skippy was asleep and the sun was starting to come up.  I had to be the co pilot through that last leg home.  

We pulled into our driveway and it was nearly 8 AM Central time.  the guys went directly to bed.  I needed to thaw off my feet, so I took a hot shower, checked in on the conference call at my job, and then hit the couch and spent that whole lovely full vacation day...sleeping.

And so my friends, here ends my story.  The moral of the story is that I'm too old to stay up most of the night and it's going to be a long time before Hubby and I drive across Indiana and Ohio again.

With that, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and remember if you are making the dessert for dinner: 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sarah stars in her own weird after school special.

Good evening!

It's been quite the couple of weeks here.  I released a new book:  Superhero in Superior, the second book in the Nora Hill Mysteries.  

I've been sick with some sort of mystery illness that makes it impossible for me to do anything other than drink Vernor's and binge watch BBC mini
series on Netflix between naps.

And last week I broke every fashion rule I've set for myself and those around me.

I bought purple leggings.

Here's how this went:  Because I've invited everyone in the world to more Partylite parties than I can count I get invited to a lot of in home parties. A LOT of parties.  

Seriously...I get invited A LOT.

It's a normal thing, I get it. I invite, people come, they shop, I benefit with free candle stuff. In turn, they have a party, they invite me and fully expect me to show up and shop so they can benefit.  It's how those in home parties work.  

So when an adorable daughter of a church friend of mine bounded up to me wearing THE MOST ADORABLE piano keys leggings, and invited me to a Lula roe party, how could I say no?  Besides, the young lady said, "It's fun clothes and I know you're fun, and you'll love these!"

How can I turn down an invite when I'm told I'm fun?  My kids don't tell me that.  Sometimes it's all about the ego!  

So last week Friday I headed off to the party.  Hubby came along because, well, my friend lives out in the country and I can never find the driveway in the dark.  We weren't alone. When we got there, it was clear that a lot of the women couldn't find the driveway in the dark, given how many husbands where in the dining room.

Lula roe, if you're not familiar, is an in home clothing company that is all about comfort.  With sizes for children as well as fluffy girls like me, I have to admit there was a lot of cute stuff there.  We walked around the various rooms of the house where the clothes were displayed, chatting with friends and acquaintances along the way. As in home parties go, this one was great!

Until...

"Sarah, aren't you going to get some cool leggings?"

Now, I can see how my church friends might think I'd be all in when it came to leggings with splashy flowers and prints.  I mean. I have pink hair.  How can I not get excited about loud clothes?

Regular readers will know, however, that my fashion rules for myself and others include this:  NO PANTS for adults should be any color other than black, blue, all shades of brown, and grey.  White is allowed only rarely and then only on women over 60.  And leggings should never, ever be worn as pants by anyone over the age of 9.

And yet, here I was.  after some cajoling, walking up the stairs to try on (and thereby breaking another fashion rule for myself, "Never try clothes on anywhere but at home") a pair of leggings that were ORANGE and had big, bright triangles all over.

Worse yet, I put the leggings on, put on a long gray top, and emerged to model for my friends.  (Breaking yet another rule, "Don't model clothes for anyone but Hubby and Peaches and if they say it looks good wear it.")

From the base of the stairs, all the women in the room cheered!  "They look SO CUTE ON YOU!"

(This from a group of women who, by the way, did NOT buy any leggings for themselves. Except for Kirsti, who looks fantastic in leggings and who can wear a maxi skirt upside down as a full on halter dress.   She's just awesome in fashion.)

I was unsure, and normally I would have called Peaches up to make me see sense.  But Peaches was working. So I had Hubby look at them.  All he said was, "I like orange, but I don't like big patterns."

Okay, I put the leggings away. But then....

"How about these? The pattern's not that big!"  

Purple, with yellow flowers.

I tried them on. Everyone cheered about how cute they were.  Ever the people pleaser, I bought them.

I got home and the next morning I explained to Peaches about the party and the leggings.

"Mom, you bought leggings?  For yourself?"

I showed them to her.

"Oh mom...you're not eight."

(This is funny because when she's shows me clothes I say, "Oh Peaches, you're not 22."  I've been saying this since she was 12.)

And so, I decided I had to return the leggings. I couldn't were them, I'd never get the idea out of my head that I looked like a second grader.

But, lucky me!  Kirsti asked about the leggings Monday at choir rehearsal. I told her my issues.  She said she wanted to buy them from me. After a bit of friendly haggling over Face Book this week we agreed on a price and tonight I will be, once again, legging-less.

The moral of the story, kids, is that peer pressure is a real thing.  Those after school specials told the truth! You have to be careful and be strong, otherwise you might find yourself owning a pair of purple leggings.  That or, you know, you'll have a drinking problem or start smoking or something.  It's all peer pressure.  

The cruel thing is, Kirsti is going to wear them and look like a super model in them.

But she's got normal colored hair, so it's a trade off, I guess.

Meanwhile, enjoy your weekend. I'm off to do a craft fair where I will be signing and selling Superhero in Superior.  Stop on by....10025 W. North Avenue, Wauwatosa. Saturday, November 19, 10-2  Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. I

I'll be the one with pink hair and regular pants.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

And then there was this conversation with my mother...

Good evening!

I'm taking a break from watching my beloved Green Bay Packers lose because...well, I can't bear to watch them lose.  But also because I have one announcement and one funny thing to tell you this week.   First the funny thing, because this is why you read this blog, right?

My good friend Marie described our generation as the "sandwich" generation. You know, kids are still home, and now you have to start taking care of your parents?  Well, I thought to myself, this is true for Marie.  Her son is in college but still living at home and her mother lives near her but Marie stops in several times a week.  Now, my kids are still home, that's true, but my parents are healthy and living in their own home a blissful 30 minutes from my house.  (Close enough to visit on a regular basis, but too far away to just drop in without calling first.)

Ah, be careful what you think your life is because God has a magnificent sense of humor.

Thursday night I got this text from my mother:

Mom S.:  We can't get net flick.

(She has a flip phone and getting the words all correct is a lot for her.)

Me:  Pull the cord out of the back of the blu-ray player and then plug it back in.

Mom S. :  We don't have a blu-ray player.

Me:  Yes you do.

Mom S.: No we don't.

At this point I dial her number because texting her takes too long.  "Mom," says I. "You have a blu-ray player. I bought it for you for Christmas two years ago when we also started your subscription to Netflix."

"No, we don't have a blu-ray player. We have a VCR/DVD player combo TV downstairs. That's where we watch most of our movies and such."

Clearly both the blu-ray player and the subscription to Netflix are not being used to their capacity.

"Mom, you have a blu-ray player.  Hubby connected it the week before Christmas two years ago.  We had to get it so you could get Netflix."

"Well we've never used a blu-ray player.  We just turn on the TV and Netflix is there."

It's at this point that I realize something that could only happen to my parents  (you didn't think I came by this magical life by accident did you) is happening.  "Mom, go get Dad."

I hear her yell for him downstairs.  My father, since his retirement, all but lives in the basement. My mother has no idea what he does down there, and it bugs her.  I suggested she ask him.  She said she didn't want to disturb him. Then I, in a moment of unbridled snark, suggested he was watching porn.  She, of course, pooh-poohed this. I mean, of COURSE he's not.  But still...it's a joke worth carrying around a while, especially since she complains that she doesn't know what he's doing but she refuses to ask him.

Anyway....

As I listen to my father stomp up the stairs I tell my mother to look at her TV set up.  I say, "What do you see?"

"The TV.  The Direct TV Box...and oh....there's a little box right there!"

"MA!  That's the blu-ray player!"

"Donny!  Look at this! We had a blu-ray player!"

"We don't have a blu-ray player!"

Then I hear them mumble some sort of disagreement.  When that breaks up my mother says, "But there's no place to put a DVD or a blu-ray."

"MA...you have to open it with the remote."

"We don't have a remote."

"Yes, you do.  Go check on the table by dad's chair."  I know full well they have several remotes on that table.

"Oh yes, here we go.  But it's not working."

"Are you pushing the eject button?"

"Yes."

At this point Hubby has arrived home. Now I would normally just drive up there and fix this myself, but given how technology NOT INCLINED my parents are, there's a good chance they've done something to their WiFi in the process of trying to get Netflix to work, so I know I'm going to need him.

As I'm explaining the situation to him, I hear laughing on the other end of the phone. It's my mother.  "We figured out why the remote won't work!"

"Let me guess...no batteries?"

"Right!"

As we drive the 30 minutes to their house, hubby and I decide that they knew, at one time, about the blu-ray and that they removed the batteries, probably to put in some other remote because Hubby set that thing up to WORK batteries and all.

When we get there it takes us about four minutes to sort out the problem. Apparently, for the last two years my parents have had the blu-ray player ON and so yes, when they turned on the TV they had the option of Netflix.  But at some point all good technology must hiccup and thus theirs did.  Had they been aware of their player, they could have simply unplugged it and plugged it back in I could have eaten dinner at a normal hour.

While Hubby is sorting through the pile of remotes on my dad's table, and instructing him which ones to throw out, I'm resetting my parent's Netflix password because, my mother, several months ago, forgot the password and CALLED Netflix to change it.  (First of all...called? ) Then she wrote the new password down and forgot where she put it.

I introduced her to the "forgot password?" button.

Now, my mother's reasoning for this complete lack of...I don't know, what do you call it when you completely forget you own a piece of equipment that's sitting six inches beneath the TV you watch every day?...is that her life is so busy with stuff.  Then she read a list of things she "HAD" to do the month after we gave her the blu-ray player.  (Now, first of all, she was able to put together that list in the 30 minutes it took us to drive up there, but she didn't remember she HAD the thing in the first place?  I see a problem in priorities.)

That started a big argument between her and my father about why he takes naps during the day. Hey, he's retired.  He should be able to eat when he wants to and sleep when he wants to. He's not the one who bogged his schedule down with church and social activities, most of which involve driving someone to a doctor's appointment.  (Seriously, her whole list of stuff for one week was driving half a dozen people I barely know to appointments.)  I suggested that he be allowed to stay up all night if he wanted to and sleep all day. It's what I would do.

My mother said, "NO!  It's annoying!"

I said, "To whom?"

She said, "TO ME!"

Okay then.

With the password updated...and written down...and the useless remotes tossed and the blu-ray player fully functioning, we got in our car and headed home.  On the way home I told Hubby about my secret book of passwords, a book I use to keep track because I swear I need a password for everything.  I also informed him that when we are retired (which will be about three months before we die of old age since given our current political and economic climate we'll never get to retire) I'm going to stay up all night if I want to and nap all day.  I do now, anyway.


And now the announcement!

Today I've released the second in my Nora Hill Mystery series:  Superhero in Superior in print form. Those of you who read things on devices will just have to wait one more week!  

I'm very excited about this book and where this series is going and I hope you enjoy it too!

The difference between a Meijer employee and a heart attack? Not much.

Good afternoon everyone and Happy Holidays! When I was little I lived in Michigan, home to a wonderful store called Meijer's Thrif...