Monday, February 28, 2011

Barb Bungles Badly at the Bridge Table...

Today, I played bridge with my partner, Joan at the new Bridge Center. I've never really liked playing with all of those people---pretty intimidating. But Joan has been after me, so I told her I'd go on a Monday now and then.

I should have realized that it wasn't going to turn out well, when the first thing I did was hook my earring on my purse strap. I'm still using my travel purse which I prefer to wear across my body. When I was taking it over my head, the earring hooked. I gave it a couple of tugs as I was really tangled. The earring popped out and flew two tables over. Nothing like looking like an idiot your first time meeting people. I guess I should be used to that.

This is a huge game---28 tables (of 4). When the director (thank God it was David---who directs our Hillwood game and knows/likes me) announced the game movement, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was playing on the "expert" side. Right away, I was starting to get all worked up. I have about 110 Masterpoints---which is no where near expert level. You earn Masterpoints by playing Duplicate Bridge which is all I play. But, you earn them very slowly based on the number of people playing. You have to come in 1st, 2nd or 3rd to get anything. Obviously, if you come in against 28 tables, then you earn more points. Our Hillwood game averages 8 or 9 tables every week. As a result, even though Joan and I come in about 75% of the time, when you are competing against so few, you don't earn much. It has taken me 25 years to earn 100+ MP's at the rate of .18, .25. you get the idea---a loooong time. You earn a lot of points at tournaments---which I hardly ever do. Anyway, because Joan goes to every tournament around and has been playing for about 30 years longer than me, she's now a Life Master---1000+. Her "high" points made us ineligible to play in the game I am more suited for.

Then, I notice that nothing is what I'm used to. I've never seen cards with bar codes, or the numbers in all the corners. The colors are off too.
Even the boards are different. It was as if I was playing in a foreign land or something.
The bidding box was the same, except for the color.
You can't really tell from this picture, but the clubs are grey and the diamonds are orange. These cards are put into some sort of computer generated shuffler. The bar codes are read and the hands are pre-set. We shuffle and deal the cards ourselves at the start of the game at Hillwood, then they are set for the day, but at least totally random. I've always heard that computer hands were really hard. And boy, were they.

Right off the bat, first hand, I trumped my own trick, down "1". I know that our expert opponents though---"what an idiot!" On the very next hand I reneged---called director---like I said, thank God it was David. He teased me, "Barb, why did you do that?" To which I replied, "I just don't get these cards." Cost us two tricks and the hand.

I was so nervous, that I remembered the time last summer that I played in the Music City tournament and someone criticized me for "snapping" my cards. I didn't even realize that I "snapped" the cards. Today, I was very careful to NOT do that.

I finally calmed down by the 4th round or so when a couple of gals from my regular game came to our table. I was able to relax. Didn't improve my bridge, but at least I wasn't quite so worked up.
Here is the end result. I grade each hand just like a report card. On my regular days, I might have 1 or 2 "F"'s and 1 or 2 "D"'s with mostly "A"'s or "B"'s. Today it was totally the other way. The only good thing is that each pair is only at your table for 2 hands. If they had stayed longer, for sure my cover would have been blown! Then I noticed, that some people were actually drinking. Maybe that's what I need to do the next time I play there. Luckily, it won't be until April. A very humbling experience.

A Couple More Things That Make Me Happy!

When we went on our scrapbook retreat outside of St. Louis, Nancy gave all of us a keychain that she made. This just makes me so happy---pink, my favorite and black to go with it. Plus, add the "B" and I'm in heaven! I'm so fortunate to have such a good friend! Thanks, Nancy. I can find my keys really easy now. But I have to say, Butch isn't too thrilled when I hand over the keys! Whose car is it anyway??

This vintage matchbox came from Janet for my birthday. I just love it. Plus, it still has the original matches in it. Really nice. I don't even care that the greens don't match. I never worry about that kind of stuff. The blue trivet that you see is from Karolyn for helping her organize her scrapbook room. I only mention it now because it's in the picture. Now I wish I'd photo-ed the whole thing. Maybe next time. 

I plan to add something new to my blog soon. You know how you are supposed to take a video of your house and stuff for insurance purposes? Well, I've never done that. But I've decided to go room by room now and then and share anything that I think is interesting or has an unusual story. Stay tuned.....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Guys AYM/February

I'm starting right off by saying that for whatever reason, I'm having trouble with this post. It looks a mess, but while trying to "fix" it, I nearly lost it, so I'm not taking any more chances.

The topic for the guys this month was to tell a story about their first car or driving experience. They all really "got it" this time by actually writing the stories down!! Way to go guys! Some of the gals said they learned things they didn't know before. My point, exactly!!!
 After our last meeting, I emailed Jack to see if he would like me to make a "storybook" for him as Connie doesn't scrapbook. Connie said he was very excited. He had his pictures and journaling on a flashdrive by Tuesday. So much fun to work with such a willing subject! This is his first "5@5" page. Nancy made the shirt for me when we were at Kinderhook Lodge on our scrapbook retreat. If you look closely at the pictures, you can pick out each of the grandkids in Jack (just click on any picture to see it bigger).

Here is Jack's "Just Drive" page chronicling many of the cars in his life including his first "pedal car."
 This is Butch's page "You managed to get it in the ditch, you better figure out how to get it out!" Butch tells the story of how his dad was trying to teach his brother how to drive the Volkswagon. Walter just couldn't get it---his dad was pretty intimidating. Then you had 15 year old, Butch in the back seat saying, "Walter, all you have to do is...." to which Walter finally lost his temper and said, "well if you think you can drive it, then go ahead." And of course, Butch, DID!!

Butch then added the title story about his dad letting him take the car at 15 to drive his cousin Irvin Dale in Oklahoma. Butch backed it into a ditch. About an hour later, his dad and Uncle Happy pulled up in a pick-up truck and said the title line, then got back in the truck and drove off. They waited awhile longer until a farmer on a tractor happened along and pulled him out. Upon returning to his grandmother's, no one said a word. Butch says he figures they learned their lesson!!

Here's Jim's layout "Burnin' Rubber" by my sister, Jeanne. Pretty impressive---a teenager with a "vette."

Pam chose "Used Cars: You've Come a Long Way Baby" for Hugh's title. She did her journaling over the top of the old Chevrolet logo she found on the internet. 

Bruce's page is titled: "Driving Milestones." One of the neatest things about Karolyn's pages is that she has lots of memorabilia that she is able to incorporate. She used an old Auto Insurance Record folder to house Bruce's story. He also found the original bill of sale.

I'm telling you, these girls are good!!!

The guys had a great time sharing their stories. Then I had to share mine---and I'm sharing it here too because, after all, this is MY blog and ultimately about ME! Wink ;)!!

My best friend, Reenie and I, were 16 years old. She had her license for exactly one week---and I didn't have mine yet. We were applying for a job soliciting door-to-door for Charles Chips. We were to pass out small sample tins to get people to let the truck stop by their house. Anyway, the guy interviewing us  asked if we had our licenses, Reenie said "yes" and I fibbed---thinking I was getting it any day---I ended up failing it the first time, but that's another story. The guy then asked if we knew how to drive a standard transmission. We said "yes" because we thought that meant regular! They gave us---2 sixteen year old girls---a 1963 Chevy company car---that we could use outside of work if we paid for the gas. Are you kidding me??! I still can't believe it. When we figured out it had a clutch, we knew what to do, but had never done it before. After a few stalls, Reenie managed to bounce it out of the parking lot. That's how I learned to drive a stick. We liked the car better than the job. We spent more time riding around in the car than we did working. What an amazing, unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience. Those were the days.....

Friday, February 25, 2011

Antiquing in St. Louis

St. Louis has the greatest, largest antique malls with the best prices of anywhere I've ever been. It's one of the things I look forward to with my sisters. When I'm passing through with friends for the scrapbook retreat outside of Hannibal, MO, we always plan a day for the malls. We always hit it big---or "little" as you can see here. That makes me so happy. Here are some of my latest finds:
 I thought these little pixies were darling---so 1950's don't ya' think?
 And these little beauties---Madame Alexander minis---not old---actually McDonald's kids meals "treats"---still, the price was right, so Jeanne, Janet and I scooped them all up. The little witch with her darling striped tights will join my Halloween decorations. Little Cinderella needs a new hair-do.
 Of course I had to have the vintage pixie sticks. On rainy days at St. Aloysius, we had to stay inside. We either played pixie sticks or "Cootie"---remember that cricket type game where you had to add all the parts? I liked the stix better. I was pretty good with the stix.
 I'm starting to have a problem with these vintage toasters. If the price is right, I simply can't pass them up. I plan to use this one in the guest bath holding a fingertip towel or two. I'll let you see how that looks.
 I cannot pass up hot pink Shiney Brights---in the original box no less!
 More bottles for my Halloween tableau on a rusty old enamel tray. In front is a little shallow shadow box. I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet, but I'll think of something.
 I saw several of these little cruet sets---I can picture them filled with glitter, buttons or baubles. This will make its way to one of my friends at Christmas.
And finally, I didn't find these on this trip, but I use them every day. Vintage tea bag holders for a tea snob!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Year of Memories/2/February

I have another group doing "A Year of Memories." They are doing the exact topics that my first group did last year. Here are the results. This first one describes Suzanne's love of her "pursen"---a mini purse that she found at a boutique. It contains all of her essentials which you see in the picture below. She simply has to move it from one purse to another and have all the basics. She can't live without it!

Sally told the story of her "Parisian Dog Purse." It was so funny. She was using that purse when we met so she could show us all about it. The story was about her purchase of this purse in Paris. Upon returning to Nashville, they were visiting her husband, Tony's dad in the nursing home. He was starting to suffer from dementia and kept staring at Sally's purse parked on the floor next to her chair. Finally, he said "that is the most well-behaved dog I've ever seen." Sally said that even though it's hard to watch a loved one go downhill, you have to keep a sense of humor.
Kim's layout isn't complete, because she was trying to figure out how to get all the pictures on the page. I suggested that she make a fold out. She has quite a collection of unique purses including some that her mother made.

I'm glad they are getting "in" to this project. So far, everyone seems to be enjoying it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Scrap Room Challenge Club

There's a group of us that have been meeting for over 5 years---once a month to share our scrapbook pages.
A few months ago, I took our day group on a mystery trip to The Scrap Room that had just opened in a new location in Lebanon. While shopping, I asked the store owner if we could meet the 4th Tuesday of the month at the store. Charon has been very accommodating. I sent her a "promo" for the club to get other people interested in our club. We've grown from our core group of 7 to 14 in just 2 months.

It works like this: each month, someone suggests a challenge to use on a scrapbook page or card---it can be a title, color combination or technique. I started us off and you can guess that my challenge was to tell a story. Then we have lunch together.

This month, the challenge was to use ink, stamps, or die cuts on a page. Here are the results:

It Takes So Little to Make Me Happy!

 It all started with this wine glass that my friend, Susan gave me for my birthday a couple years ago. At the time, it seemed sort of random as usually you get wine glasses in sets. But this past year, I decided to start drinking a glass of red wine every evening for heart health---okay, yeah, I really tell myself that---it's true! So it's become a pretty fun ritual. 

After dinner, remove make-up, put jammies on, pour wine, light fire, settle "in" to my chair for an evening of stitching, knitting, computer playing, television watching, magazine thumbing, list making and general relaxation. I must be able to multi-task or then I feel like I'm wasting valuable time! Plus I like having so many choices of things to multi-task about.

One day, I come home to see this sitting on the counter. Margarita had been here and it looks sort of "Mexican-ish", so I thought she had brought it. I asked Butch about it and he said, "no, that's my wine glass." Isn't that cute? He bought his own "fun" wine glass. We enjoy our glass of wine every night together while we discuss what went on for the day which takes exactly 3 and a half minutes and then it's back to "Wheel of Fortune."
 Then, this little beauty pops into my life! Jeanne gave "her" to me for my birthday. I totally love anything monogrammed---and PINK  to boot---especially "hot" pink. I used it every day we were snowed in at Jeanne's in St. Louis and then on the retreat---especially as I worked the room "running for Mayor of Kinderhook." The little rhinestones are just plain adorable. Now, every night, I have a choice. Again, I love that. 

 Well, you know me and the "multiples" problem I have....I saw this baby around Valentine's Day. My thought was, "wouldn't this be cute if a friend was over and needed a "fun" wine glass?" Done, bought, waiting for someone to use it. I guess now, they've turned into another collection. 

Come on over and have a glass of wine with me!! We can "whine" together. Although, really, I have very little "whine" about. Life is good! And my heart is just fine.