Monday, August 31, 2009

Birthday Baby

It's hard to believe that Saffie is already a year old. She sure has packed a lot of activity into her first year. She has her own blog, wandered the woods of Minnesota and the streets of Chicago, coexisted with two puppies, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles (and greatgrandmas), learned to eat, walk and talk unintelligibly and attended more Cub's games than her grandpa. On Saturday, Grandma and Grandpa Jones hosted Saffie's first birthday party. In true female fashion, she immediately took to one of the gifts, a shopping cart. As the pictures below indicate, cake eating is one of her strong points.

I didn't take long for Saffie to find out
what birthday cakes are all about . . .

"OK, pass the cake already!"

"At last. My own Saffie size cake."

"Am I doing this right? After all this is my first time."

"By Jove I think I've got it!"

"Now that's what I call a Happy Birthday!"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


No, this isn't a blog about the horror of putting ketchup on hot dogs. After noticing on Sally's blog that I haven't posted in two weeks, I decided that it was time to "Catch Up" on the news of the past two weeks. Speaking of Hot Dogs, which are closely related to baseball, I have a large white flag with a large blue "W" on it for sale. It's hardly been used (this season) and would make a great gift (if turned upside down) for any Brett Favre fan over in Vikingland.
Meanwhile, let's take a stroll back two weeks. After fully recovering from my "Work" stint, I was ready to "partee" (as much as any 86 year old can "partee"). Sally (Summer) came down from "The Cities" for the weekend partly to attend cousin Gavin's Baptism and partly to personally announce the arrival of "Baby Nimz" next March. Yep, another Grandkid on the way. On the left is the first of, I'm certain, many, many photos of the newcomer. We aren't able to make it to Hawaii this year (or any year in the near future) so to retain the Aloha spirit we joined our friend Judy for a Luauish birthday party. Saw some old friends and met some new ones while celebrating in true Hawaiian style by eating as much pineapple upside down cake as I could manage. Judy entertained us with a rousing hula. For a complete about face, the next morning we headed down to Chicago for the Baptism of my newest Great Nephew, Gavin. The ceremony, in which three infants were being Christened, was interesting mainly because it involved one of the infants doing a complete Jacques Cousteau. Yep, full submersion. The kid survived and will possibly grow up a little more religious than most for fear of a second dunking. The vacation like atmosphere continued as Gavin's guests headed off to enjoy a Taco feast. To make things more authentically Mexican, my niece Amanda and her hubby Sam mingled through the crowd peddling time shares and trinkets. (I got a genuine Rolex for only twelve bucks) The rest of the week was, once again, spent recovering from my exposure to other humans and watching the Cubs continue their unwinning ways. Actually I don't remember much up til Saturday. (I guess waiting two weeks to post is too long a time for someone my age) Saturday morning Jo decided that we should clean out the garage. Guess what? There's really space for two cars in there. And, I found my golf clubs, some power tools and a frozen turkey meant for last year's Thanksgiving dinner. To make her think that our garage was really tidy, I took JoAnne across town to show her what a real "Junk Garage" looked like. (Pictures below) Saturday evening we attended the Lands' End employee summer party. The LE Jam featuring food, a lot of fun games and things for the kids and three bands great including The Bodines. The night was complete with a grand fireworks display. (and real good people watching) Sunday was a great day for a little drive in the country so we packed Jo's Mom into the car and took her for a couple hour drive to show her some of the wonderful scenery in our area. The best of all the events was the celebrating of JoAnne's ??st birthday yesterday. A burger and drinks with a couple of friends in "Historic" Mineral Point capped off a fun day. Here are a few pictures of places and things that I experienced during the past two weeks. In the future I'll try to post more regularly and more entertainingly.

This to make up for the lack of BS in this post.
I couldn' resist adding this picture
just to tease every dieter that reads this blog.

Little Gavin with Mom, Dad and the "Submerger".

Saffy plays Grabba Gramp.
Or is she just learning to read lips?

I forgot to mention that Saffie has
started walking during the past two weeks.

Here she is walking, not walking, walking.

The standard by which all messy garages should be measured.
I've seen it with the door completely open
and it's solid front to back, floor to ceiling.

I guess the garage is so full that
the stuff is spilling over to the porch.

Them Bodines Jammin' at LE

Now for a little scenery,
Hyde's Mill, circa 1850 just a few miles outside of Dodgeville.

Last but not least,
birthday girl JoAnne, circa 1949.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho . . .

In the course of my life I have come up with some really Great Ideas. Unfortunately most of them involved WORK. The first of these Great Ideas came in 1953 after high school graduation. I thought it would be a good idea to join the adult world, get a job and find fame and fortune. After over fifty years of WORK, (minus a few periods of goofing off) I had another good idea, retirement. This was truly a good idea because, I discovered, I was made for retirement. I was really good at it and probably did that better than anything I had tried previously. After a few years of retirement, not willing to leave well enough alone, I came up with a really Great Idea. Why not make a couple of extra bucks by working a few shifts at Lands' End during "peak" (Christmas Rush). I applied for a job doing gift boxing. How hard could that be? How exciting, it was like being a North Pole Elf. Imagine boxing a scarf for Aunt Edna down in Alabama, a bra and panty set for cousin Norman in San Francisco, matching hooded parkas for the twins in San Diego or a monogrammed towel set for Uncle Marvin in a minimum security institution somewhere in upstate New York. What joy I would bring to so many people around the world. But at what price? It only took one shift (about 67 hours long) to realize how hard it could be for someone so suited for retirement. I requested my sentence be reduced to an every other day situation. I served my term and received my paycheck which just about covered the cost of a couple of pies needed for recovery from the ordeal. I suggested to JoAnne that if I ever mentioned working "peak" again she should contact the nearest vet and have him perform a similar procedure as one used to turn a bull into a steer (or is it a capon?) I had managed to avoid Great Ideas for a couple of years until the next one emerged. Why not work at The Lands' End Warehouse Sale? In short, this experience was no better than the gift boxing one except it involved standing outside in a tent for eight hours on hot asphalt in 237 degree heat. Nuff said! Fast forward to Spring 2009. It was sign up time for The Warehouse Sale. Time for another Great Idea. I've been trying to save up for a new computing machine for a while so maybe working as a Greeter at The Sale wouldn't be too bad. I'd get to engage in endless People Watching and use all those clever little antidotes that I amuse myself with in my retirement while passing out shopping bags to a captive audience of bargain hunters from the world over. This will be great, I can wave, and smile, and hop from foot to foot waiting for a potty break, I can tease little kids, I can see old acquaintances and exfellow workers who were there to buy the stuff that they've been trying to sell for the past year. I passed on pricing information to discount crazed customers as well as giving (sometimes correct) travel directions to disoriented shoppers. Actually the 5 day experience wasn't real bad. My main co-greeters were pretty cool. One a retired schoolteacher with the kind of work ethics that prompted Gary Commer to bring Lands' End to Southwest Wisconsin. I guess the years of teaching forced her to develop a good sense of humor. She was tall, lean and stern looking (let's call her Tallie). On my other side stood a short, slightly rounded jolly soul, a little ditzy but a fun person (Shortie). She laughed a a lot of my lame jokes. Things started out pretty good. We could stand, we could sit, there were lots of people to greet and chat with, we even had a water cooler right next to us. Then the unexpected! Our main job was to pass out large white garbage bags to customers as they entered the pavilion full of bargains. We had boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of nice new bags. But, when shoppers had shopped, paid up and exited the pavilion, they left their used bags with the cashiers who, in turn, bunched them up and brought the back to the greeters who were to recycle them by sorting out dirty and torn ones and repassing out the hole free ones to arriving customers. At last, the crappy part of the job had reared its rear. Tallie took it in stride, Shortie texted and twittered for outside encouragement and I tried to do more passing out and kibitzing than recycling. But the long run all three of us pitched in and got the job done. During the course of The Sale, special reductions would be announced. After the announcement that women's trousers were being reduced fifty percent, I spent a good part of an afternoon looking for women with their half off pants. I finally wised up after Tallie set me straight during a half off bra special. At one point I almost convinced Shortie that a woman in shorts had bought them at the "top half off special". All in all this may have been the best of my recent Great Ideas. Although I'm still not sure whether it may become an annual Great Idea.

Not having anywhere to keep my camera
I had to rely on my friend Google
to bring you a pic of The Sale.

Tallie, Shortie and Ron post sale.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Upgrade, Update, Upset!

Being a typical citizen of the Twentieth Century, I'm all in favor of "uping" anything. This is not to be confused with"UPing" as it refers to heading north to the "UP". Although we did go "UPing earlier this summer. The "uping" that I'm talking about concerns another in the series of updating, upgrading and upsetting that has taken place in the Blume house recently. In the past year I've put you regular readers through loads of words and pictures about many of these "ups" like, the new Honda Accord, a new, more efficient furnace, a new granddaughter, and the entire "uping" of our kitchen. As you may recall, the whole kitchen thing started with upgrading our kitchen garbagecan to a shiny red and chrome one. This led to a bright red KitchenAid mixer, which led to a bright red toaster and tea kettle, which led to a bright any color that coordinated with bright red. This included repainted walls, a new counter top, towels, pot holders, curtains and swinging doors. But some "up" was missing. Upon close examination, we discovered that our existing dishware wasn't visually compatible with the rest of the "up" decor. After a great deal of in depth investigation an acceptable sale was found. To the sale! Remember the old saying, "you have to spend a lot of money to save a lot of money"? (I always thought that you could save even more by not spending any to start with.) Anyway, we bought some really wonderful dishes and, may I add, saved a lot of money doing it. These new beauties now reside in our kitchen cupboard but really deserve to be in a glass doored cabinet. (Oh, Oh! This could lead to another "up".)
The dishes are so great that, to avoid damaging them, we seldom actually eat off of them. If you have a chance, stop by for a free viewing (between the hours of 8am - 5pm) or just look below for a photographic peek at these babies. There's also a photo of our backup (everyday) dinnerware.
And someday, if you have time, I'll show you the thousands of photos I have of the other UP.

The everyday "China".
These are the extra heavy-duty
upgrade model.

Okay! Here's just one UP photo.
Jo above Lake of the Clouds.