Sunday, February 27, 2011

To Do: Pack away Winter

With the weather hitting the upper 70's this weekend, I figured it was time to pack away the snowmen, sled outside, and snowflake decorations. Even though the calendar says February, it does look sort of silly.

Everything is getting packed up, except for my one little reminder in the guest bedroom. It's one of my favorite antiques, a clipping from the Herald & Review newspaper, showing a snowy scene of downtown Decatur in 1940.

But for everything else, I say "Goodbye Winter...
see you next year!"

Follower #12

I figured Follower #12 deserved a special blog posting...because without her, I wouldn't be able to read or write! Mrs. Calvert, my 1st grade teacher, is one of my dearest friends. Really! I often refer to her as one of my "old friends." Hee! Hee! Here is my 1st grade class way back when. Mrs. Calvert is the tall one of course (trying to convince us that our class read the most books the fastest, when years later I realized that our worm just had less humps as it went down the hallway). I'm the cute blonde in the front row with pink pants. Her favorites sat in front.





So having Mrs. Calvert (whom I now call Beth) as Follower #12 is a big deal to me. (Trust me, if you understood her computer skills you would be impressed too!). 12 is an important number.

There is...
  • 12 grades in school
  • 12 eggs in a dozen
  • 12 hours on a clock
  • 12 jurors in a jury
  • 12 Coke cans in a case
  • 12 ounces in a can
  • 12 days of Christmas
  • 12 months in a year
  • 12 spots for the Nascar Race for the Chase
  • 12 in the Top 12 on American Idol (one of Beth's favorite shows!)
  • 12--Matt's shoe size (make no judgement)
  • 12 letters in BETH_CALVERT (yes, running out of 12's)


In case you are wondering, Beth only has 3 favorite students of all time (pictured above). Ironically, besides me, the other two are Followers #14 (Jill Jones) and #16 (My dear husband)!

To Do: Go Global

Really, I do find it amazing that people read this blog sometimes. And there are some nights that I spend a great deal of time writing and I wonder "hmm..is anyone even going to read this??" But now I am proud to say that since going global and announcing my blog website on Facebook, I now have 16 followers! I had already written a post about Follower #12, but just didn't get it posted online so she gets a special shout out. I think my sister, Sherry, is really trying to get her own special posting, as I see that she is now a follower 2 times!

This also reminds me that I did notice on the Facebook comments from my family (who note, is featured often in my blog writeups), they often used the phrase "your blog is ACTUALLY pretty good " or "ACTUALLY entertaining."

Actually
adv.
ac-tu-al-ly
1. In reality
2. Used to express wonder, surprise, or incredulity

Well, I'm glad I ACTUALLY surprised you then :) Oh geez, I hope I can keep up with these high expectations!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: Top 10 in 2010

I'm starting a new series called Ten on Tuesday. While I'm not quite ready to post to other blog sites, I did get the idea from: http://www.itsacraftylife.blogspot.com/

We just celebrated our 1 year anniversary in Little Rock at the beginning of February--and what a year it has been! So to kick off the series, let's highlight some of the most memorable moments from 2010.


#10: Calling the Hogs
Our Arkansan friends are probably appalled that "calling the hogs" would be rated #10. But...as I like to say "Someone has to be Last!" Despite being a cold evening, we did have a fun time attending our first Razorback football game with our neighbor, Jeremy. There is something to be said for football in the SEC.


#9: Bob Villa Pumpkin Carving
If they can do it on t.v., so can we! We showed our pumkins who was boss, as Matt did all he could to remain #1 son-in-law. (Note: This was just a few days after a surgery and Matt learned about this while watching lots of t.v. during his recovery)

#8: Record Setting Heat
You know I'm not usually one to complain about being hot. But when the thermometer gets over 100 for 8 consecutive days (and let me tell you it was not a dry heat!), even I was hot!! Really hot! Mind you, there ended up being 21 days total this summer that it was over 100.
The previous year there was 0. My brother, Richard, just happened to chose this awesome record week to bring his boat all the way from Chicago. He works outside, and even he would tell you how hot it was. You think jumping in the 140' deep lake would be refreshing, but the water temperature was 90. A hot shower is usually 96 degrees. And poor Matt couldn't even get in the water. But, despite the heat that none of us will forget, we still had lots of fun that weekend (some more than others, just saying).

#7: Intro to Betting
I have to admit, I still have no idea what Trifecta means. But I do know that I really enjoy going to the horse races! My first experience was when my sister, Sharolyn and her family came to visit. It wasn't long before we had taught the kids to cheer "Do The Tiger" or "Dare We Dream"....whatever one has the best name (or maybe the highest odds if we are really feeling lucky). The kids were so excited that a jockey gave them each a pair of goggles after the final race that they even slept in them that night! (After a wild night of Just Dance!)
#6.5: Tube Ride
I know some of you may want to believe that I am athletic. Let me just inform you (if you aren't on the floor laughing) that I am not. I'm weak and I really don't care. So the idea of holding on with my weak arms, as I'm being dragged across a huge body of cold water, (with the idea in my head that I could drown at any time), with water splashing on my face (I hate water on my face), under someone else's complete control....really just doesn't sound like the funnest idea in the world. But somehow when we went to Alabama to visit our friends, Heath & Sophie, somehow I was convinced to give it a try. I think I stayed on long enough just to capture this photo!

#6: Our Titanic moment
Again, another experience on water. This memorable event happened to occur early in the summer. Matt convinced his friend Dustin to get a pontoon boat and we had the waverunner. We were sooo excited for our first trip to the lake, Lake Ouachita (which we pronounce as Lake Wash Your TaTas). Dustin's parents were even in town and we kept the big trip to the lake as a suprise. Well, we didn't see much lake. The pontoon wouldn't start. But that didn't stop us....the waverunner could pull the pontoon to a cove. See...
What you don't see is that minutes later, the front of the pontoon started to sink....FAST! While everyone screamed for Matt to stop (but he couldn't turn around to see us), the pontoon was almost 1/2 way under water. Luckily the grandparents were holding onto the kids and lives were saved, but we learned a lot (a) Boating can be stressful (b) Don't put the rope in the front (c) Update the will. We can laugh now. Really, we did laugh, but it took a few minutes for our heartrate to reach normal speeds.
#5: Sledding on the Mound
We must have been very outdoorsy last year--but my next memorable day also was outside. This time, it was a little colder. It was Christmas Day and we had a nice snowfall come just hours before Santa. It was mentioned that I, having lived in or around the town of Blue Mound, IL (population 1200) for over 30 years, had never done what Blue Mound was known for--going sledding at the Mound. "The Mound" is an 80 foot high hill in the middle of the flat, flat fields once left by a Glacier. So, we bundled up in all the winter gear we could borrow and took Matt's sister and her boys with us. The best part was that we were the only ones there. Now I can check this off of my bucket list.
#4: Take Me Out to the Ballgame
I hope you are still reading, because these are good. My sister, Sherry and her two daughters, Katie (Follower #11) and Kara came to visit us for Memorial Day Weekend. While the whole weekend was entertaining, without a doubt we all are still talking about the baseball game. First, my sister almost died. Really. A line drive came right toward us, too fast to even yell, with the ball bouncing off the seat next to Sherry. I know you had to be there, but it was priceless. It was scary!And I guarantee that when my sister reads this, she will say "Oh My Hell."
But the night didn't end there. As we waited for the firework display to start after the end of the game, there was entertainment on the field. Entertainment as in the fact that my dear husband, suffering from arthritis and a hole in his stomach, volunteered to do a game in front of the whole dang stadium!! It's not great video, but let's just watch:
video
#3: Christmas Tears
Christmas can be a happy time, or a sad time. It never fails that every Christmas someone in my family usually ends up crying. This year's occasion was worth sharing. You see, my mother just retired from being a school teacher and decides that now for holidays we have to answer test questions. We had to go around the room from youngest to oldest and answer (1) What was the best gift you ever got for Christmas and (2) What was something you always wanted but never got. There was no question that Sharolyn and I would both say that getting our Collie dog, Jackie as a puppy was a complete surprise and a pretty hard gift to ever top. But some of us realized, oh 20 years ago or so, that dogs die. But mention the word "Jackie" and my sister, Sharolyn, will cry instantly. (I'll place a bet she is crying now reading this). So of course, saying that Jackie was the best gift ever brought Sharolyn to tears at Christmas.
And to add to it, watching Sharolyn cry made Susan cry (which side note: Susan always cries.) But to see both of them crying over a dog that died 20 years ago made the rest of us laugh. And laugh. And laugh. And any time Jackie was mentioned again that weekend, the waterworks began.
As we say at the Flamm's "Merry Frickin' Christmas!"
#2: Four scores and three years ago...
I have no idea how long four scores is, but I do know that this day was a long time coming. Hallelujah! I think we can finally announce that after 6 surgeries, Matt is finally healed!

#1: On the Wings of Love
For us, the most memorable event wasn't necessarily the funniest, but the funnest. When planning our trip to Arizona, I just happened to come across information on Trip Advisor about a group trip that included a helicopter ride. Having been (ok, I still am) a big fan of The Bachelor, I joked with Matt about this idea. He instantly said "let's do it!" This was not the reaction I was expecting, but booked the tickets immediately. If you watched The Bachelor at all last time, the dude was a Pilot (hello dream come true) so they constantly played the song "On the Wings of Love". Every time we talked about our helicopter ride, we had to sing too. It was even cooler than I imagined and my biggest recommendation ever to see the Grand Canyon. And just wait till you hear what cheesy songs they play while you are in the helicopter! The pilot got a kick out of watching my reaction to the song choices.
Gee...I wonder what we will do in 2011???

Monday, February 21, 2011

To Do: Hang Curtains

Way back in October, Matt had surgery. My mom came down to be his nurse. I thought she may get bored, so I left her with a project--transform a shower curtain into curtains for my office. I figure that since I spend so much time there, I might as well make it cute! Needless to say, I just got the curtains up this week. I think my productivity will likely increase now...ha!
Here is a view of the grande fortress:

While I am lucky to have my own office (though I do miss the fun times I had with my roomie Jamie in Springfield), this picture shows you how I really rate:


And as a reward for having the least amount of clutter/crap in my office--I recently received this trophy:


You don't have a bridge in your office? Well, hopefully I'm just a temporary storage place while our big meeting room is full of cookies.

Here's a look at what I stare at for about 8 hours a day:


You may notice:


  • A not so new computer

  • My awesome vinyl clock (not Uppercase Living, but it was $10--LOVE IT)

  • Cookies (it's like a torture test when you have to stare at them all day)

  • The back door--guess who usually has to answer the doorbell? (It's not like I can hide!)

And taking a closer look at my desk, you will see my never ending to-do list, and yes...what gets me through the day...Coke!


But often, some of the best views are behind me...


My view of Motel 6 "we leave the light on for you." You can imagine!

Just like momma

That's my girl! I caught her hogging all the heat!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

To Do: Feed the Hungry

Some people pick up cans from the side of the road.
Some people pick up pennies from the sidewalk.
Some people pick up chicken fingers left over by a stranger.

Last night, we did a good deed--unintentionally. Call it a random act of kindness! Unable to eat the last two chicken fingers from my basket at Verizon Arena (Little Rock's indoor stadium), I pushed the basket of food under my seat (thinking I may eat them later...but clearly didn't). As the stadium was clearing out, we left our aisle seats so the rest of the row could hurry out. We moved up about 3 rows to wait for our friends that were coming over to meet us in our section. It happened in a flash, but while the man in the red shirt thought he was being sneaky, I caught it all. As he exited up the steps, without a second of hesitation, he reached down, grabbed those two chicken fingers, and shoved it in his mouth. He didn't look around to see who was watching (I'm sure he didn't expect the original eater to be watching) but just ate and kept walking. Now I should point out that while I'm glad the food was not wasted, I don't think the man in red really needed to eat two more chicken fingers if you catch my drift.

But needless to say, I think we scored some heaven points with our food donation.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shout Out...

Everyone--Stop what you are doing. Stand up and give a round of applause to blog follower #10...Tonia Herrmann. I don't care that you look like a fool--just do it! Tonia, this is for you...

(clapping, bowing, whisteling, etc.)


Tonia DESERVES this! I can't believe I even overlooked the fact that this outstanding blog stalker turned fan was the one who put my fan total into double-digits (yes, she made sure to point this out to me).

I met Tonia (and her cute, fun daughter Rylee) through this amazing organization, Girl Scouts. Maybe you have heard of it. I had just started at the Decatur office and was told that the leaders in Clinton were going to hate me--the previous staff member was like God to them. Great, that's always a fun way to start out. But luckily, Tonia was in charge of the Clinton gang and through bribes, she convinced them I was okay. We quickly bonded over Monical's pizza, crafts, decorating, oh and GS drama and even though I have no love for music like Tonia, she accepted me anyway. Hopefully she told the next staff member that I too was irreplacable!
I have to admit though, I'm a little jealous of Tonia. She wanted to be like me so much that she went out and started her own blog at the end of January. Wanna know why I'm jealous? I became follower #8. In no time, she will have more fans than I.
I'm also a little jealous because Tonia is trying to fulfill a dream that I've also had. They are trying to adopt from China. Aw! So check out her blog.
And be on the watchout for crafts she is selling to help fund that worthwhile (and oh my, costly) cause. Here's hoping it's a girl...because Girl Scouts needs you for a few more years!

Monday, February 14, 2011

We went to...

MEMPHIS!

After a record # of comments posted today (um 2, but still a record none the less!), I hated to ruin your Valentine's Day by leaving you hanging. Congratulations to Follower #11, Katie, on the first winning entry. Your prize is in the mail...even though I don't have your college address.

I actually had figured out by Friday that it wasn't Texas, but the blog had been written. We left too late on Friday for us to make the 5 hour trek to Dallas. If you know us, you know we often don't make it up past 9:00 p.m. too often. So Dallas will likely have to wait for a 3 day weekend.

Anyway, I had never been to Memphis and we had a good time. We spent most of Saturday on Beale Street, eating bbq, taking the trolley tour, going to see the Peabody Ducks and having drinks like the rich & famous, (yes, the rich & famous drink hot chocolate with Bailey's) and then heading to the dueling pianos (we took a nap so we could party past 9pm). Elvis crap runs in the Ervin blood so we took the camera by Graceland, then went and toured Sun Studios, which actually was quite entertaining. Here's us with Elvis' microphone:
Thank You! Thank you very much!
Sunday we drove 20 miles to Tunica in hopes of a good breakfast at Paula Deen's. But Paula must go to bed before 9pm because the lunch menu took over at 10:30am--We got there at 10:15. We played penny slots for about an hour, coming home losers. But first we made an important stop--Gap Outlet--If you know Matt and his love for Gap shirts, you'll understand. Plus, we bought a few items for our real vacation which is only 4 weeks 2 days away.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

To Do: Unpack Bags

Well...did I leave you in suspense about my trip?
I hate that I even have to say this aloud,let alone put it in print. But--I was wrong! My weekend getaway was not to Texas (and luckily not Hope, AR).

Here's a few clues about our destination:

To Do: Shout Out

Welcome Follower #11....who I believe is my niece, Katie!

(Glad to see you were reading blogs not partying it up to much at college this weekend!)

Katie is crazy--Her new life goal is to become a pharmasist at the fancy new Kroger in Little Rock. No, I wish I was making that up!

Friday, February 11, 2011

To Do: Pack my bags!

I love suprises! Really, I do!

Matt sent me a text saying to pack my bags for a weekend trip. (Trust me, him being home 1 day yesterday was enough to give him cabin fever!).
I'm good at guessing suprises. I really am!

But you see, Matt hates it when I guess right. So this time I have no clues. I did ask if I needed to pack shorts, and he said no. Hey, I can dream big!!

So I am going to tell all of you my guess. Here's some hints:




I think we are about to find out if everything really is bigger in Texas! I'll be sure to pack my Big Sexy Hair hairspray in case we run into any cute Cowboys or famous celebrities. I'll let you know in a few days if I was right. Dallas, Texas here we come! (Maybe)

Boy, I hope he wasn't just planning on just going to...

Hope, Arkansas

To Do: Make a Recipe Book

I've had a request: One of my followers to this blog has requested that I post something every day. (The other 9 probably don't agree). It's not likely that I can fulfill the expectation of every day. I mean, I have to have a life. Ok, pretend to have a life. It also would help if I didn't have a job to interfere with my blogging! But, since I was blessed with yet another snow day (thank you God!), Cathy, I will grant you your wish.

I actually had intentions of blogging about this a few weeks ago, but since I lost my photos when dealing with camera issues, I forgot. (It doesn't take much for me to forget!). I just had to show off a project that I finally got done...

My recipe book!



Because of my addiction to blogs and the 8 or 9 newsletters that clutter my email, oh and the 5 magazine subscriptions, oh, and my friends that cook....I had ended up with an entire basket stacked to the brim with recipes. Most of these are just ones I had printed. Some I've yet to even try, but oh they sure sounded good at one time.

My sister, Sharolyn, had told me about her recipe book then I came across some in the blogging world. Let's just say that it's one of things I wish I had done a long time ago! It only took me a few hours and the result is so much more organized. I really like to have everything in it's place, and that now includes my recipes. Just slide them into the plastic protector and file away.
Love it! I'm telling you, it should be on your weekend to-do list. You can mail your thank you card to: 3006 Mustang Cv......Ok, just leave me a comment instead.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

To Do: Shovel

This is what I get for saying that I was a little jealous of the record breaking snowfall in IL last week.


Oh, well---I can't say I was angry to get 2 days (so far) off of work.

Here's the good news:
Yep, that's why I love the South!

(And for my Girl Scout friends, note that I have cookie deliveries on Wednesday. You understand. I did my share of blood loss in ice, snow, and cold)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

To Do: Buy a new camera

Happy Birthday! Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Anniversary!

Our new gift to ourselves probably falls into all of those categories! That's ok--It's so worth it!

After noticing that our Christmas pictures taken in my mom's basement and recent bowling pictures trying to capture people in action turned out looking like crap, we decided it was time to upgrade our point and shoot into a real camera. Really, we have no idea what we are doing (luckily it has an auto funciton for dummies like us), but we sure look like pros. The camera guy helping us told it us was not the camera that made great photos, but the photographer. Oh geez, let's hope not! Of course he was trying to explain to us how to manually control the ISOs, shutter speed, lens image stabilization, aperture, light reflection, the numerous additional lenses you can purchase, etc. Let's just say, don't get your hopes up for amazing photos to come on this blog. I still haven't even figured out yet how to turn the flash off. But here is a glimpse at my first photo session...



Poor Shadow, she hates the camera. But I'm sure she will be the subject of many future photo sessions as well. Isn't she so cute?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Storm to remember

29 some states are being hit by this unheard of, historical ice/snow storm of 2011. Arkansas might be considered one of them, but not where I live. I would write to tell you all about how my feet got soaking wet this morning as the rain came down in buckets. I would tell you about how cold I was when I got in the car to go eat lunch. (The temperate went from 75 on Saturday to 22 currently). Wait, maybe you want to hear about how our satelite dish went out for about 10 minutes from the very gusty wind tonight.

Yeah, I have nothing to complain about! And I know it. I remember the ice storm of 2006 and I'll be just fine if I never have to live through another! (Though I do have to admit, I would be curious to see life in Illinois for a day with 24" of snow...I just don't remember ever having that much).

In the meantime, I'll just appeciate the heat running, the toilets flushing, the cell phone service with unlimited minutes (my how times have changed in 5 years), neighbors within distance, the hot meal we ate for dinner, and the silent night. My most vivid memory is probably hearing those enormous trees falling all around our house like a 2 year playing with dominoes. And then to hear the ice slowly slide off the roof. Luckily, besides my memories, I have some photos to help me never forget either....
Now that is some ice!
This was the view from our front porch. The trees were bent all the way over!
The driveway and road looked beautiful, but I thought Matt might never make it home.

This leads to no power for 5 days.

And this still makes me laugh. We had just moved into the house we were building a month before and had not yet finished the fireplace. And even though we had cut down trees for years to build our house, we didn't have a single piece of dry firewood, but we did have 2 x 4s. Despite not having a blower, this was all the heat we had.


So friends and family in Illinois, I'm thinking about you. But really, you may want to consider moving to the South. It has it's perks!