Happy Halloween!

It's been 42 years since sweet Linus (the kid with the wild haircut and blanket) began waiting patiently for the Great Pumpkin, who every Halloween night rises out of the pumpkin patch and acts like a round orange Santa Claus. Naturally, the other kids don't buy into Linus' Great Pumpkin, except for Charlie Brown's sister Sally, and even she is mostly driven by her love of Linus than any real belief in the Great Pumpkin. They end up missing trick-or-treating and a Halloween party and the Great Pumpkin never shows. Poor Charlie Brown gets nothing but rocks while trick-or-treating, Snoopy becomes the World War I Flying Ace and sits atop his doghouse "fighting" the Red Baron. It's classic Charlie Brown.
Here's hoping you see the Great Pumpkin, Linus!
And I hope Johnny brings me home some of this!
Have a really nice weekend with those you love ~

Nice Place, No Parking

UPDATE: After sending emails to one of the owners, Michael Goldner, and our resident manager, Pam Charlton, we received the following:

"Nancy and John, I appreciate your e-mail and I'm very sorry about the parking problems that you have encountered at the Park. We are going to do several things to help eliminate the problem or make it easier for you to find parking spaces. To begin with you will be allowed to park on the circle and I'm sorry that you were told previously that you could not park in that area. We are eliminating two handicapped parking spaces that are not required.
Finally,the doors to the detached garage spaces in buildings 2123 and 2128 that have not been rented will be left open and available to anyone on a first come basis.They will not be available for rental. Again,I want to apologize to you for the parking issues. Please call or e-mail me if these corrective measures do not help.
Most Sincerely,
Michael Goldner"
Pam's note said basically the same. We'll see if this alleviates the problem. I'm also hoping that any new residents moving in will NOT be placed in any of the buildings on our side of the Office.
Do you see that snow covered circle? It's in front of the clubhouse/office. There are maybe half a dozen spots designated "future residents" parking spaces. BUT there are unmarked spaces for anyone else. Remember this. (Oh, management likes to park on the circle also.)
I took this photograph while standing outside our front door. You can see that there is a whole other building between us and the office. There is approximately ten units in each building.
We noticed that as residents began to move in, parking became a problem. A real problem. A big problem. A problem that caused everyone to have to park in the lots of other buildings, on the circle, and even outside the complex near the fountain! So one day I counted just how many marked spaces there were per building. Eight, there are EIGHT spaces for parking.
When we mentioned this to management we were told, "We know it's a problem, but it's a first come basis". Excuse me? We're paying top dollar for the most-expensive-place-in-Prattville "luxury" apartment for there to be no guaranteed parking?! His next statement was, "You can rent another garage." What?! Oh, it gets even better.
Tonight we come home and find a letter stuck in the door from management that says no one is allowed to park on the circle except future residents and management. Excuse me?! Are they paying rent? What happened to "first come"? Do they circle the complex looking for a place to park?! Of course they're looking for a parking space! There's not enough spots for everyone to park! However, shouldn't those of us paying rent AND management's salary be given first choice for parking?
We walked over and asked where were we expected to park?! It's not like they didn't already know there was a problem. We were told that management "has a right to park out front" and that we should "check out the surrounding buildings" and "park where there's available parking". That would be nice, but I'd like to park near MY building! Not two or more blocks away. We cannot entertain because there are too many nights that there are NO spots. If you come in after everyone has had a chance to get home, you can count on having to park on the circle or even further out.
I've lived in quite a few apartments and The Park by far is the nicest, as far as interior work and layout. Never in my life would I have thought parking would be such a problem, for management to know about it, for the owners to realize it, and for nothing to be done. Except to hand out letters telling us we cannot park on the circle "during business hours" and that if we want to be guaranteed a parking space we can rent another garage - to the tune of another $125 a month! What?!
I'm throwing this out in hopes that someone will have a viable suggestion that I can take to management to fix this growing problem. Each building as basically ten units, with the majority of those being two and three bedrooms. It's a given that you're looking at two cars a unit. So why is there only eight designated parking spaces? One idea I had was to do away with the parallel parking and put in diagonal parking. They just spent money adding etched brickwork and we weren't the only ones that laughed because parking was a much bigger problem than having fancy fake looking brickwork.
Seriously, if you have any ideas or have had a similar problem I would love to hear it. There are four marked spaces in front of each building. There is a courtyard that serves four buildings, so parking is not available in the back when everyone is home. Unless of course, you rent a garage. And we do, but that still leaves John having to walk quite some distance for parking UNLESS he comes home on a shift where the other residents are at work! It's a shame that a complex this nice, this expensive! does nothing more than to say "We know it's a problem" and to send out letters saying that residents cannot park where management and future residents park.
So, do NOT move into The Park. Read carefully, Do.Not.Move.Here! Go to Sweetwater - where you're guaranteed two spaces per two bedroom apartments - or anywhere else, but don't move here! If you do, you'll take up another space and we don't have enough as it is! So come visit me (smile) but don't plan to stay and make it your home. I'll be shocked if we are the only ones upset. There have been too many conversations around the pool. And at the garbage bin, which is another problem we won't tackle here. Hmmm, can you tell I'm a bit upset?

Bits & Pieces of Today ~

Jenny brought Miss Elle,
and after resting with her (and feeding a hungry babe),
we dressed her up and took her picture!
Connor came, and Lena Grace,
and we dressed them up, too!
The little ones were so cute,
watching the even smaller one!
And Miss Patti? Like all grandmothers,
like me, she was in baby heaven.
and this is my favorite photo for the week so far ~

Food, Fun, Friends, & Family!

I saw this in Southern Living and loved it! Not just the candy corn, which is such a necessary part of Halloween, but the photograph just made me smile! Click on the photo to be directed to the site where you can read more about how to make these and other nifty ideas for the holiday!
I subscribe to Paula Deen's magazine and it's truly one of my favorites. This recipe is one I want to try one Sunday when Jenny's family eats with us. It looks good, easy, and I just love the topping! Give me some chips for the dip and I'm slap happy, so when I read that it's used as the top layer of this dish I fell in love. Clicking on the photo will take you to the site!And I could SO LIVE HERE!! Charm Home spotlighted this issue and there wasn't a single room I didn't like or an idea that I didn't think "gee, why didn't I ever do that?!" Go visit! Now! And leave a comment! We all love comments!
Here's to you Brett! You didn't carve one or two, you carved FOUR pumpkins! And folks, he did NOT use a stencil. These were all free hand and from what Stacey reported, the kids had a blast. The same day he did this was also the day he grilled and cooked dinner. Yum, there's a whole post waiting to be written for what this son in law of ours is capable of putting on a table!

This photograph is also courtesy of our Stacey. Leslie had a costume party to attend and went as a Grecian goddess. Austin has a mouth full of Halloween candy and Alaina couldn't take her eyes of 'the princess'. Too cute!! These are some things that have already brightened my week. What's happened where you are?!


Ouch! The officiating team for the Florida/Arkansas game has been suspended! Bet Razorback fans are happy! AND I just bet the game would've had a different outcome had it not been for the officials ~ gotta love the drama! Apparently there were too many calls in question and something had to be done. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Gator fan. The only Gator fan in this household, but fair's fair and I like winning a game without official help.

Visit Melissa's House!

Pumpkin Spiced Lattes~ yum! Doesn't this look and sound delicious! I love Melissa Lester's blog and this morning found me there wishing I was one of her bestest friends! She's headed out to do some shopping for the upcoming holidays and took her girlfriends the cutest monogrammed mugs ~ FILLED WITH THIS MIXTURE! How neat is that?! Not to mention how yummy is that?! You can click here or on the photograph to go to her site and read more about her plans for today. And while you're there, scroll down and read a bit more. You'll be so glad you did! (Southern Living??!! Are you listening??!! She needs to be noticed by you!)

on a personal note ~

"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. " Matthew 10:14 When you can hold your head up, knowing you have spoken the truth, knowing you have done all that you can to correct a wrong situation, then you can walk away knowing there is absolutely nothing else you can do.

There has been a situation that has been allowed to become entangled and fraught with lies and untruths for over five years now. I have not been asked what happened, although judgements have been placed and my family set aside. We no longer count as family members except what is necessary for a "public image".

It is easy to portray only what you want the public to see, to hear, to believe. When the majority do not want to face the facts and right the wrongs, there will be no solution. I am shaking the dust from my feet and moving on. There is no reason to lower my head for I have done nothing wrong. I protected the very ones that now turn their faces, their hearts, their children against me and my family.

I shall always be thankful that I was allowed to see Paradise, to see what awaits His children. I will always be grateful that He took me there. There IS a place waiting. That image continues to bring solace to my soul. Some things in this life aren't worth stressing over and I am taking myself out of this one.

Now, on a lighter note! it's been a really beautiful day here in central Alabama and although we've got some rain moving in, the days are pleasantly cool and the nights still cooler! AND there's a new place to eat downtown, where you can get hamburgers and home cooked veggies! It's open for lunch each weekday and will open for dinner Thursday and Friday nights. I'm not sure about Saturday, but I bet they'll be open. I just love downtown. Can you tell?

A few things I am thankful for tonight ~

~ it's 50 degrees on our veranda
~ the man I love is snoring softly on our sofa
~ our three daughters are happy and safe
~ it's been a happy kind of day, a bit quiet, very productive, and many nice people came my way
~ memories of days gone by filter through my heart and soul as I remember other cold nights in Aurora, Colorado and I smile
~ knowing that next month, just a few short weeks, we'll be making a trip to Gatlinburg and celebrating the birthdays of a daughter and a grandson
~ I am loved and I know this with every fiber of my being
~ being freed from a past of pain and secrets opens the future to truth and happiness
~ recalling the beauty and peace of The Garden and so very thankful I was given the chance to be there
So tell me, what are some things you are thankful for today?

Some favorites of the week ~

The week began with finding out that Jake the Pilot will be the next bachelor! WhooHoo! I love this show, and love to talk to all the dummies on there! Truly, I think it's the only time I ever talk to the television! and don't feel silly doing so. Loved Jake, disappointed that Jillian gave him the boot and look forward to seeing what type catches his eye and who ultimately lands him!
Layla at The Lettered Cottage was filmed this week! for a magazine! There was a crew at their home (in our sweet little town!) for the better part of the week. She can't show us the pics until the magazine hits the stands but you can click on the above photograph to be directed to her blog and read all about what transpired! This is one of my favorite blogs ~ and she lives nearby!
Jenny and her family made their annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch this week. It was bitter cold and damp, but the smiles on my grandsons faces brought such warmth to my heart. And the delight on Jenny's face had me sending all over again prayers of thanksgivings.
Noah was afraid to go up and slide down alone, so his mommy went with him. Look at the utter joy on their faces! After a couple of trips, Noah had the courage to go alone. I have linked their site to each of these pictures of them if you'd like to go over and see what else they've been up to and read more about their time at this annual event.
This shot is a favorite this week. My baby with her baby. And the look of love, bliss, and happiness on her face and that of her sleeping child.
A great snapshot of the man that made the preceding photographs possible ~ her high school sweetheart, best friend, and the father of three of the cutest grandchildren!
Stacey sent some snapshots from their State Fair and I began missing these babes all over again. Alaina was brave enough to ride the Kiddie Tower, and Stacey said she loved it! Austin made me hungry for corn on the cob! Note to Hood: take me to Mississippi soon. Soon! and get some corn.
I am so proud of this girl! A former student, she is seeing so many dreams come true that she has set for herself and I'm excited for her. Her blog is a favorite of mine. Click on her header photograph and go look at how neat her designs are!

Last night I met Kay at Applebee's for an appetizer and dinner! Then we went to a home decor show and laughed. Snacked on some yummy food and had some delicious drinks made from mixes offered by the consultant. The company used to be Southern Living at Home and has loads of awesome items. I, however, am a dyed in the wool Kirklands and Hobby Lobby fool and saw much that I can recreate with their 'stuff'. Still truly enjoyed the girlfriend time, though!! There's nothing like giggling girly girls!

And the week is ending with a close football game, too close, of the Crimson Tide and South Carolina. I love watching SEC games with The Hood. He gets so involved. Talk about talking to the TV?! The man does!! and paces, and yells, and laughs out loud. I love you, Johnny Hood. Forever and a day.

So, how was your week and what were some of your favorites?!

Fairytales & Fireflies

Oh be still my heart!
Are these not the most beautiful photographs?!
A friend of mine, Teri Rowe, has been talking of this photographer for months now and I found her page on Facebook, which led me to her blog, which led me to dozens of the most gorgeous pics! Teri says she's amazing and has a series called fairies that are to die for ~
This happens to be Jaxon, Teri and Jason's son.
He's the man.
And this is Katon, her oldest daughter.
Have you ever seen anything like this?! This was a series of Pirates and Mermaids. Yeah, they were priceless, too! Click on any of the photographs to be directed to her blog, which you can link to her website and her Facebook page. Dreamy, just dreamy ~

New Trick or Treat Policy

{This was so cute last year, I decided to treat you with it again this year! Happy Halloween!}

This Halloween, I will be practicing a fair redistribution of candy with trick-or-treaters that come to my house. We're just trying to spread the wealth around a little.

* Trick-or-treaters who have under 50 pieces of candy in their bag will receive 10 pieces.

* Trick-or-treaters who have between 50 and 100 pieces will receive 5 pieces of candy.

* Trick-or-treaters who have between 100 and 150 will receive nothing and I will probably take candy away from you next year, but I want your support now so I'm not going to mention that.

* If you have over 150 pieces, I will take away half of your candy and require you to provide candy to all of your friends that have under 50 pieces. If you do not give your friends candy, then I will take away the rest of your candy and give it to them myself.

* If you have no candy at all, I'll give you 25 pieces of candy and a college scholarship.

Your loving neighbor,

Mr. Obama

Thank you, Chad, for this so-true-it's-scary scenario!! As Chad ended his post, "WAKE UP, AMERICA!"

pUmPKinS, PuMPkiNS

Last year I did something along the lines of the pumpkin pictured above ~ now, my pumpkins were white and there were three of them. One had a 'B' on it, the other two had an 'O' on them (spelled out 'BOO' buahaha). They turned out cute! BUT, tonight I saw this on Layla's page and love it even better. Lots better. I think I'll see if Jenny wants my little white ones and I'm going to visit Michael's or Hobby Lobby and get a large white one! You can click on the pic and be whisked away to Layla's site on how she did this beaut! (By the way, while you're there, you MUST read some of her other posts. She's awesome when it comes to home decor!)

The Strip

While reading through an SEC book of John's this afternoon, I came upon a quote from a player. I found it interesting, so I began running a search to see just what was being bandied about ~ it led me to Alabama's George Teague chasing down a Miami receiver and stripping the ball away from him! Awesome. Not only did he prevent a sure touchdown, but Alabama won this national championship game 34-13 in the '93 Sugar Bowl. The quote that began it all this afternoon? "Alabama's cornerbacks don't impress me one bit. They're overrated. Real men don't play zone defense and we'll show them a thing or two come January 1." This quote coming from Miami receiver Lamar Thomas (the man that just happens to have his touchdown taken away by George Teague!) Gotta love SEC football. Gotta love the Crimson Tide ~

Sharing the Soup

This is Miss Virginia ~ I took some of 'The Soup' to her this afternoon because she's a good cook. It needs something, and I knew she would know. However, she thinks it's good and only suggested adding a bit more liquid (and maybe some tomato sauce). I'm also trying to talk her into having a blog of her own, to share recipes, bits of wisdom, and just living a good life.
Her husband, Raymond, writes several blogs. You can click on a photo to be taken to any one of them! They're good friends. She fried cornbread, and I took The Soup! Look how yummy! Soup, cornbread, and sweet tea! What a meal. Guess what! She had fresh flowers on the table!
I ate lots and lots of cornbread. I'll think about a diet tomorrow. Miss Virginia likes orange juice in her tea. I've never heard of such, but

I intend to try it!

Soup, Anyone?!

I know how to cook. However, I am also an empty nester and to tell you the truth, I haven't cooked, I mean really cooked, since, well, a long time. When I decided I wanted some vegetable beef soup this afternoon I didn't stop to think of how much of everything I needed, I just wrote down WHAT I needed and headed to Publix.

Gathered cans of potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, carrots, lima beans, and beef broth. Grabbed a cute box of miniature ABC pasta, some sourdough bread from the bakery, and grabbed some more Little Debbie's. Oh wait, I digress. Headed home, to open all those cans, put the beef on to brown (almost four pounds, thank you very much), sauteed two large sweet onions, and grabbed the biggest pot I could find.

It was about this time that John walked into the kitchen, took one look, and asked, "Are we feeding the homeless tonight? the neighbors? Is Jenny and Brandon and their neighbors coming to eat?" I had to admit, all of a sudden that soup had multiplied. And I didn't stop there, to make matters a bit worse, I threw some Uncle Ben's rice in along with the rest of a bottle of ketchup. Salt. Pepper. More salt. More water.
Wow. There's a lot of soup! Put the lid on, cover it up, and let it sit for awhile. Maybe it'll cook down. No, it won't. Rice fluffs up. So does ABC pasta. While The Hood laughed, I wondered if I had enough containers to hold all this soup! It got bigger. And thicker.

I fixed a big bowl for myself, thinking John would eat more than me and reduce the amount somewhat. He didn't. At this moment there are three very large containers of soup cooling on cookie racks, with a smaller container cooling near the sink. It looks like a soup kitchen. Tomorrow we have plans to eat lunch with Raymond and Virginia Elliott (soup) and I want her to tell me what this soup needs. (Do NOT laugh, because yes, it needs 'something'. I'm not sure what, but it needs some sort of seasoning and I'm betting she'll know what.) That will leave us with only two large containers and another small one.
(Note to self~before taking a picture like this, wipe the inside of the bowl!)

Maybe Leslie and Ty like soup, they live nearby! Jenny's getting a container. Sheez, you'd think at my age, with the years of cooking behind me I'd know better than to make so much soup for two people that forget there are leftovers in the fridge! Truly! It was just this morning I cleaned out fish, salad, fried chicken, and potato salad that's been in there since last week! This soup doesn't stand a chance!

In my defense, when our family was younger I cooked at least once a day but it was a meat with several veggies and a bread. Or it was a casserole with salad and bread. I didn't do vegetable soup. My soups consisted of two recipes, a wild rice soup that we all fell in love with when Lisa made it or a broccoli and cheese soup that Deborah made. So today was a first for me. The next time I make vegetable beef soup, it will be with more of an idea of how much I need.

I've also included a slice of the cake I picked up in the bakery before I got the sourdough bread ~ it's chocolate marble. Yum! And coffee in my favorite cup. It's not focused well and right after the shot that hand went straight to my mouth.

I took the following picture first. It shows a bit more of the background. Yeah, that's candy. I plead the fifth. It's a holiday! Of course we have candy corn! And M&M's in pretty colors for Halloween.

That's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it.

Hooked on Houses

I had every intention of going to bed. As of an hour ago. I innocently went to a blog I enjoy, just to see if she had updated and instead found myself browsing another blog that was listed over on the right. Hooked on Houses. And now I'm hooked. On this site.

On my. I'm in love. This writer allows you to view her research not only on celebrity homes but you can click on TV/Movie homes and see endless photographs and learn lots of trivia about the TV/movie series you decide to visit! I could gush on and on about where I went, which ones I just spent moments poring over, but I'll let you look on your own. You can bet I'll be following this blog from now on!

I'll leave you with a favorite of mine, The Notebook: Noah's House with Blue Shutters ~ I could watch that movie over and over.
Take time to go visit Hooked on Houses. I promise you'll find something that will keep your attention for longer than you'd planned. Then, next time you're here, leave me a comment and let me know what you liked best about the site.

~ ~ ~ ~
Ah, that's better! The pattern over my sidebars was driving me crazy UNTIL I realized I had the code for a two column blog and not a THREE column blog ~ all better now!

~ from The Letter Writer ~

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