Monday, December 26, 2011

Santa Visits Cameron's Place

Cameron is somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico on a service ship.  I was told I cannot tell you the name of the let's just call it Big Ship.  She is on a rotation schedule as a new hire with her job and this rotation is on Big Ship.  She has limited internet and cell service so while in port the other night she called home.  It was comforting to hear the excitement in her voice as she told us all that she was doing and learning and experiencing.  She was even excited about spending Christmas on Big Ship...and said there were trees, lights and poinsettas around the ship.

For Christmas, she wanted drapes for her apartment.  Not so much for decor purposes but for darkening purposes.  Her huge windows face the Target parking lot and after 6 months of living there, she is tired of trying to get a good night's sleep in a well lit room. 

So before she left to get on Big Ship, she left us her keys and told us it would be great if Santa hung the fact, it was okay with her if Santa cleaned, vacuumed and even rearranged.  "Have at it." she said.  "But take before and after pictures."


Well...almost "before"...we had moved some furniture and unloaded our stuff so it's a little messier than we found it.  See Target? 


Your bedroom should be plenty dark now. 

Merry Christmas, Cameron!  We "had at it!"  Vacuumed, dusted, windexed, ran the dishwasher, hung the drapes, rearranged the furniture...unloaded the dishes, loaded up the ladder, vaccum cleaner and toolbox and headed back to the parking garage.

We found this on the windshield...

Lucky for us, it hadn't been 30 minutes yet and our car was still there.  We had parked right by the elevator because we had a lot of stuff to unload.  We had no idea it was assigned parking.  But thanks to Miss Meanie's note, now we know. 

We thought Miss Meanie should have at least written down the time she wrote the note...since she had only given us 30 more minutes before she would have us towed away.

I say "Miss" because Chuck said only a girl wouldn't put the time down.  (Which makes no sense.)

Will said he thought it was a girl because of the handwriting. (I agree.)

We all agreed the girl had PMS.

And we got out of there fast!!!

In a Flash

Christmas has come and gone.  It was a good one.  We only had one child at home so Santa left clues for a scavenger hunt so the whole opening presents thing would last a little longer.  After a huge breakfast and a nap, my sister and her family came over for some more food, exchanging of gifts and a game of Apples to Apples.  After they left, we ended the day around the firepit.  It was lazy and comfortable...just the way I like it.

Chuck finished the annual jigsaw puzzle on Saturday.

This sweet angel was given to me by my friend, Fran...she will stay out all year.

My sister gave me this bottle of wine for my birthday. 
 Santa Julia. 
Catha is the best gift giver.

The camelia is in full bloom....must be Christmas.

Did I mention we are rat sitting?  These are Cameron's two rats
 and we are keeping them while she's away.

 I have to admit they are pretty darn cute...but the smell is horrible. 

This played all day long. 
Chuck laughs like it's the first time he's seen it.

9:20 am...waiting for the baby to wake up
 and open his presents. 

Jordan and Chris on Skype...
watching us open our presents. 

A new pillow for Will's apartment. 
So true.  Whatever you are, be a good one.

Since Cameron is out of town, we pulled in a look-alike.  ha. 
This is Mark's friend/co-actor in the play 
he is currently performing in.  She's from out of town
so she hung out with my sister's family on Christmas day. 

It was all fun and games until someone started digging
for grub worms in the mud. 
 So the party was over.
  A dog had to be bathed. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Art of Gift Wrapping

After all the gifts are found and purchased, there is a great relief.  Quickly followed by the overwhelming chore of wrapping them.  For someone as artsy and crafty as me, you would think this would be way fun.  But honestly, it's not.  I buy the cutest paper and ribbon and have all the supplies at hand.  I put on my comfortable house shoes and stand at my kitchen island.  The music is playing and there's a warm cup of coffee nearby.

In my dreams...

My reality...

The place ends up a wreck after one package....the scissors get lost every 5 seconds....the tape runs out...I can't for the life of me get the thought out of my head that all that cute ribbon will be going straight to the trashbag on Christmas morning so why bother...the music playing is suddenly The
Chipmunks...throwing me in a bad mood...the coffee is cold and I break out in a sweat.  I start wrapping things with a vengence and use rolls of tape where I tear the paper around sharp corners.  Throw a sticker in the middle over the ink where I tried to do a "Martha Stewart" stamp but of course, the ink smeared. 


The packages are wrapped.

Pretend they are pretty.

Know they are not.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Ten more days until Christmas Day.  I am in retail for the first time since I was 19 and it's crazy being on the other side of the counter this time of year.  I have been shopping for my own family on my days off.  My brain is foggy...trying to remember who I've forgotten to buy what for.  I've been to several parties and been eating dessert and party food topped off with adult beverages.  I'm already thinking about that diet I will begin and those walks I will take beginning in January.

One daughter is married and living in Arizona and won't be home for Christmas.

One daughter is in a rotation with her company and her schedule has her on a huge ship in the Gulf of Mexico for the next 3 weeks....yep...that encompasses Christmas and New Year's. 

So when Will called home last night and we started discussing Christmas he realized he would be home alone with us.

Will:  Wait!  I'm going to be the only one home?

Me:  Yep.

Will: an only child?

Me:  Yep.

Will:  That's not gonna be fun.

Me:  Well, I know.  But I have no control over this one.

Will:  ugh.

Me:  Look, you can get up and open your presents and then go hang out with your friends.

Will:  I guess I can go to P's house.  She's an only child, too.

Me:  Will, you are adult now.  You know Christmas isn't as fun when you aren't a kid.

And while this conversation left me a little sad, on top of being tired, I woke up and saw this on someone's fb wall.  And suddenly, my perspective is all in place.

Christmas is a day to celebrate God's gift to all of us.  Whether you are with one or all of your family.....and whether you get one or a jillion gifts...or have little or a lot of money....or have little or a lot to eat......this whole season is only stressful because of perspective.


Sorry if this picture hits you hard.  It hits hard for me, too.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Little Profanity

Chuck comes home from the grocery store and is all shaken up. 

Chuck:  You're not going to believe what happened to me!

Me:  What?

Chuck:  Some lady went crazy on me.

Me:  What?

Chuck:  Well, I always back into the parking space at Kroger...

Me:  What?  You BACK IN to the parking lot?  Why?

Chuck:  Because it's easier to get out.  So anyway.... I had pulled past this space and then backed in to it and she comes out of nowhere and starts yelling at me and calling me a M.....F.....!  She said "I know you saw my blinker!"  I just shrug my shoulders at her like sorry. 

I'm still way back on him backing in to the space.  Who is he? 

Me:  Chuck, are you sure you didn't see her?  Cause I've driven with you and maybe you did take her space.

Chuck:  No, I didn't take her space.  Then later, I'm near the dairy section and she's there and she says, "Oh, so you can drive a grocery cart but you can't drive a car."  So I ask her if she has rage issues.  Then she starts yelling at me again........YOU M......F.....!!!

Me:  Oh, my gosh! What'd you do then?

Chuck:  I just walked away.  But then, when I'm checking out, she is right there and gives me this creepy smile.

Me: What'd she look like?  How old was she?

Chuck:  She looked about 30....pretty.  I think she had PMS.

Me:  Well, she probably did, but Chuck you must have done something to her to set her off.

Chuck:  You should be on my side.

Me:  Well...she sounds like a nut but I'm just thinking something must have set her off.

Chuck:  Wait........get this....then I go to my car and she pulls up in front of me...blocking me with her car and she just stares at me......then she takes her cell phone and takes a picture of me...I guess....then shakes her finger at me.

Me: Wow.  Creepy.

Chuck:  I've never been called that before.

Me:  I think I've called you that before.  And it seems your driving was involved at the time. 

(And maybe I had PMS.)

Poor sweet Chuck.  So so sweet.  But behind the wheel?  Maybe just a wee bit of a M.....F.....  You know he's that guy that doesn't need to use his blinker.  And the guy who changes lanes...quite often.  But get him out from behind that wheel and he's a different guy. 

He backs in to the space at the grocery store?  Because it's easier to get out? 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Vino Artino

I don't know about your area, but these art/wine places are popping up all over this town.  It's an art studio for birthday parties and company parties but also for a Girl's Night Out.  You can bring in your own wine and appetizers and they provide the glasses, plates and napkins.  Then for a fee, the canvas and paint are provided and the whole thing is set up and ready to go when you get there. 

So a few of the Book Club girls decided to meet up one night for just that.  It was challenging.  But not because we were drinking and painting.  Because I kept trying to dip my brush in the wine glass instead of the water glass. 

When our friend called to reserve space for our party of 6, she had to pick a subject to paint.  With little to choose from, she chose the wine bottles.  Our instructor was an art teacher at a junior high by day and at this studio by night.  She took us step by baby step.  There were breaks now and then to refill our plates and glasses.  And soon our paintings were complete. 

Guess what you're getting for Christmas?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Five Things

You may not know that I

 1) am a terrible listener (but that doesn't mean I don't care about you...
I just have a very short attention span),
2) wish I was a teacher,
3) love to rearrange furniture (even in my mind while waiting at doctors' offices),
4) love to sing,
5) am fiercely independent and it gets in the way sometimes.

I'm really pretty knowledgeable about

1) decorating on a dime,
2) organizing a home,
3) accessorizing a room,
4) casseroles (throwing one together with whatever's in the pantry)
5) balancing a checking account.

I know nothing about

1) sports,
2) car maintenance (Thank you Chuck for taking care of mine),
3) calculus,
4) or physics,
5) or chemistry.

And I believe

1) there is no such thing as fair in this world...
we will all have our own lessons thrown at us,
2)  in honesty,
3) that there are some people that are toxic for us,
4)  that all choices have consequences,
5) in God.

Your turn.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A True Gift

For my birthday...and Thanksgiving... I wanted a get-away with the family.  I didn't want to cook or clean...I just wanted to relax, eat and enjoy the days off.  So we headed back to Lakeway Resort in Austin, Texas...again this year.  But this time we were joined by my sister and her family and Jordan and Chris flew in from Scottsdale, Arizona.  There were 10 of us and it was pure relaxation and fun.

Chuck and I arrived around sunset and the others all arrived a little later. 

After everyone checked in, we grabbed a bite to eat then rearranged the furniture in the lobby for a couple of games of Chicken Feet.  Which, if you don't have Chicken Feet, go out and get it. 
 It's the perfect game for all ages and intellectual abilities.  
 Chuck uses strategy and I don't.
  Sometimes he wins, sometimes I do. 
Let's let Chuck think his strategy works.

We woke up on Thursday morning to a solid wall of fog. 

The fog burned off and the day was gorgeous.  Our dinner reservations were for some in our group...Chuck....hurried down to the All You Can Eat Breakfast buffet...because it was complimentary with our room package.  I slept in and drank coffee and worked up an appetite.

Because it was a 3 room long buffet....appetizers, cheese and bread, salads, vegetables, meats including turkey, ham and prime rib, and took a while for all of us to get our first round of food.  We decided to start eating and at some point when all of us were back at the table, we said a blessing.  And in keeping with the Hackney Family tradition, we go around the table and take our turn saying what we are thankful for.  This year I am thankful for adult children....the baby is now 21 so they are all adults.

I am thankful for my sister.  And thankful for our husbands...
for their hard work which affords us this trip together. 


My nephew was seated directly across from me.
  This is the view I had of him. 

I am thankful for all you can eat dessert buffets...
where the leftovers stayed behind. 
I got my piece of pumpkin pie...
but not the whole pie. 
Which I would have eaten
if I had been at home.

Although I'm sure that guy is a delight.

I'm thankful that these two took time and money to spend Thanksgiving with us.  We are still getting to know Chris and he is still getting to know us.  So with every visit we are bonding more.

We had a little photo op after dinner.  After 20 shots this is the only one where one of us isn't talking, blinking or looking away. And by one of us, I mean me.

After dinner but before the 7:00 kick-off for The Game (Texas A&M and UT...for those of you not from here)...we all headed in different directions.  Some napped, some went to the movie, some played Chicken Feet.  All met back up at 7 in the Sports Bar to watch the game. 

Texas A&M, Class of '07

Texas A&M, Class of '07 joined by Class of '10

I love this photo.  Will is staring at Cameron's moving mouth.  He didn't sit here long.   Like me, we can't really watch football.  Too much movement and somebody always loses.  We didn't make it until halftime before we left the area. 

Apparently, the somebody that lost was our team.  See?  I told you.  Somebody always loses.  yuck.

This 3 day get-away was a true gift.  Thank you, Chuck...and Jordan, Chris, Cameron, Will, Catha, Kim, Jack and Mark.  Hug.