Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sweet November

Wow, November is nearly gone!  We have had a great month, cleaning out the garage, having a very successful yard sale on the 7th, driving down to Jacksonville Beach to visit Larry's aunt and uncle and getting ready to host Thanksgiving next week!

Our yard sale went better than we had even hoped!  We sold almost everything and what we didn't, we donated to a local church that has its own thrift store. 

I made these signs Friday night and Larry and I went around the neighborhood and put them out!

Saturday morning, we had folks out there at 6:30!  We had Tom the Turkey up early!

It threatened to rain all morning and did sprinkle on us once but I started praying and the rain clouds blew on away from us, the sun came out and it got HOT!!  Thanks to all of y'all who came out to see us and buy our junk!  :)  We had some pretty cool stuff.  And now the garage is empty and I can park my car in there again.  Yay!!

Sweet Cleo
Last weekend, we went to Florida and had the best weekend with Aunt Ruth and Uncle Don.  Larry had not seen them since he was a teenager and I had never met them.  They greeted us at the door with big smiles and warm hugs.  Aunt Ruth had homemade chicken salad and crackers waiting on us for lunch and she made a delicious lasagna for supper.  Then we had brownies and butter pecan ice cream at bedtime.  We were so tired and so dang full but we still got the best sleep that night in their guest bed and then we got up and went to church with them Sunday morning.  I made friends with their cat, Cleo, who has the most adorable black "ink spots" on her face!  She's an old girl, born in Germany about 13 years ago.  When raccoons started eating her food, she found her way to Aunt Ruth and Uncle Don across the street and they adopted her.  Her owners were okay with it so now she's theirs.  And she never has to fight raccoons for her food again!  And she likes to play in Aunt Ruth's hair at night.  :)

They gave us lots of old family photos and told us the stories that went with them.  Like this one of Larry's grandpa, Herb, and his cat, Smoky.

I loved this one of Larry's aunts and uncle, Carolyn, Wilma and Hal, Jr.  I LOVE that Wilma has her eyes closed!  We are kindred spirits.  :)  They were all very talented children and all played musical instruments, were actors and sang.

This handsome boy, Hal, Jr. has such a sad story.  Days after this picture was taken (he's the one on top) and hours after his performance as Huckleberry Finn in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at Jacksonville Beach's Junior Little Theater, he went to his job at the boardwalk amusement park and was killed trying to retrieve a lady's pocketbook from the roller coaster she had been riding.  He was only 15.  I'm thankful for all the photos we were given but the ones we have of Hal are special.  What a smart, talented, handsome, sweet kid.  He died helping somebody out.  So very sad. 

Aunt Ruth and Uncle Don are models, too!  We got to see this Winn Dixie circular they did several years ago.  :)

Sunday morning at First Baptist Church, they voted on their new pastor and we were there to welcome him in!  We made a new friend at church, too, a guy named Zach, who had the most awesome t-shirt on.  It said, "Pirates, Terrorists, Sex-Traffickers.  They need Jesus, too!"  We were immediately drawn to this guy and made fast friends with him, "friending" him on Facebook so we can stay in touch.  He shares Jesus with the homeless on the beach and we think he's just awesome.  If you're reading this, hey, Zach!  :)

We had lunch together at Longhorn and then Larry and I went to the beach!  Lannadoo was going on at the Seawalk Pavilion on the beach and we enjoyed the beautiful Celtic music, the dancing and the arts and crafts festival.  We even saw a guy walking around in a kilt! 

The beach was absolutely glorious!  Windy, with strong waves and a few clouds but I've never seen a beach day I didn't like.  

Now we're looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving here on Thursday with our family and some friends.  When we found out a few neighbors and friends didn't have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving, we invited them to join us.

It's almost Christmas.  Eeeeek!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Be our guest!

We took Stephanie back to the airport Wednesday and we were all so sad!!  We enjoyed our two-week visit so much!!  She was a little under the weather the first few days she was here so she just took it easy, got some good rest and got adjusted to an entirely new climate (and air conditioning!  She wasn't used to that.).  We spent those two weeks showing her some true Southern hospitality and a glimpse into our everyday life.  We never got around to hitting any yard sales but I took a few days off work the first week and we went to a few estate sales and antique stores.  We got her all caught up on "The Walking Dead" (thanks to Netflix!) and she got to try some Southern staples like grits, boiled peanuts, fried okra, fried green tomatoes and barbecue and she got to pick some cotton and hike Georgia's leg of the Appalachian Trail.

Our Banjo and Tabbie Hoffman absolutely loved her!  We knew Banjo would be all over her 'cause that's just his way but Tabbie is different.  Way different.  He always hides under the bed when people come over.  Not with Steph, though.  He was out and stayed out from the first day on!  That is huge for him and we were so proud!! 
He fussed a lot the first night she was gone, too, like he was asking where she was.

Stephanie cooked for us EVERY NIGHT!!  I cannot even express how much I enjoyed that.  She cooked us things that we'd never had, like Sri Lankan Sambar and Borscht soup (Larry remembered it from his childhood but I'd never had it) as well as things like spaghetti, flat bread, stir fry, poached chicken, fish with the most delicious white sauce EVER, amazing salads made from cabbage, mustard greens, beet greens and quinoa and since she's a pastry chef, she baked fresh bread for us and made the yummiest fruit and white chocolate scones and chocolate chip cookies for us.  I swear I couldn't believe all that came out of my kitchen!  We attempted to make homemade butter, too, but the heavy cream I got at Kroger was heavy whipping cream so the amazing homemade thyme and sea salt butter we had planned turned out to be a Mason jar full of plain Cool Whip.  No biggie, though!  We just added some sugar and called it real.  Ha!  It was most yummy on the scones.  Anybody got a cow??  I need some real cream.  :)

One of the things she wanted to do when she was here was go to work with us.  I had class all week but she did get to go work with Larry for the day!


Steph also cut our grass for us, while she was sick!  And since she's a musician, she played guitar and harmonica and sang for us, too.  

Larry wrote another verse to "You Are My Sunshine" that she played and he sang to me.  Awwww! 

She helped him do a little Christmas shopping for me, too, and wrapped my gifts for me so she'll be with us at Christmastime, too.

We took this selfie at the airport Wednesday.  We had a half hour before she had to go through security so we got some coffee and a little breakfast at Starbucks. 

She posted this so long (not goodbye!) picture on Facebook for us right after she got on the plane.  It still makes me cry.  (BUT!!  She ran into Sean Penn at the airport in Los Angeles that afternoon and he told her "cute hat"!!)

After we got back home, we found letters and goodies she'd hidden for us in the guest room.  She left me a beautiful scarf that I cannot wait to wear!  

We love you, Stephanie.  If you ever need a place to land, you know where we are.