Thursday, May 18, 2017

No Dim Sum for me thank you very much

My friend, Sharon G. and I met for lunch yesterday. She suggested this restaurant which is known for its dim sum. OooooKayyyyy. I've never eaten dim sum so wasn't exactly sure just what a treat (not!) I was in for! I arrived first, was seated and watched ladies with carts moving around serving lots of dishes to customers. Hmmm. When Sharon arrived, even before she had a chance to sit down, these ladies were at our table opening baskets of food and seemed annoyed when I said I didn't want one dish that they were sure we should get. Slimy looking white "dough" encasing shrimp. I felt assaulted and asked for a menu. That didn't help as they continued to open baskets and set them on the table. Absolutely nothing looked good to me but Sharon had been through this routine before so I asked her to go ahead and get what she wanted. She was quite sympathetic to my situation and wanted to be sure to get things I would like. Thanks, friend!

As it turned out, I like to decide in a relaxed manner just what I would like to eat and didn't find much of what we got to my liking. Poor Sharon. I think she was even a bit frustrated with the ladies forcing their food on us without a chance to even sit down or think about what dishes we should order. She thought this would be a treat for me, but I wasn't thrilled to eat a ball of gummy shrimp wrapped in a pretty slimy doughy wrap or sticky rice with tiny balls of meat (?) inside served in a big old leaf, deep fried shrimp in a triangle of some sort of yellow dough or a teensy bit of  BBQ pork inside a "dinner roll." As it turned out, these 4 dishes cost us $14 per person. Add insult to injury! I guess the Chinese community likes this type of food and service because there were plenty of diners and Sharon and I were definitely the minority. I will stick to my normal American Chinese fare please!

On the other hand, Sharon and I had a fine time catching up and we always enjoy our time together irregardless of what type of food we eat!




Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why I dislike going to the mall


I very rarely go to a shopping mall. I prefer to do my shopping online or at stand alone stores. I took this photo while standing in line to make a purchase at JC Penney's at Southcenter or Westfield Mall as it is now known. Much to my dismay, I couldn't find a sales associate anywhere on the floor to help me (men's department upstairs) and when I finally thought I knew what I wanted to buy I had to walk all over trying to find a place to check out. Gone are the department sales counters only to be replaced by 2 "customer service" stations for the entire upstairs. Then there is the long line, and yes there were people in back of me in line. The sales clerks were busy chit chatting with their customers instead of speedily moving along and shortening the line. And look at all that junk on the shelves to the right and left. What a messy area. I felt like I was at WalMart.

I suppose it is because people like me would rather shop while seated in front of the computer screen that brick and morter stores are struggling. I hadn't realized that the Penneys at Bellevue Square has been gone for quite a while now. Still....there were lots of people at the mall and plenty were making purchases. Of course typically the younger ones are just cruising the mall looking for trouble. There were 3 police officers outside the main entrance to the mall and since I didn't actually walk inside the mall but just parked near the store entrances and went in, I have no idea what was going on in the mall or if there were more armed police officers inside. This mall has had a bad reputation for gang activities and problems. It didn't help that I went here on Saturday evening! As I walked out to my car a group of young "adults" were hollering and gesturing but I didn't stick around to see what they were up to.

I know I am out of touch with current trends and prices, but I sure become disgruntled when encountering guys with their underwear exposed and pants halfway down to their knees and the ripped, torn, patched style of jeans that people must be paying real money to buy! And then there are the tattoos on both the young and old., nose rings, studs, etc. etc. I did pop into Nordstroms to pick something up and was aghast when I looked at the price tag on a men's shirt as I walked by. Who is paying $169 for a man's cotton shirt?? Who can afford to shop at Nordies?? The prices are ridiculous! Just what is the average income for this area? And I saw lots of people who didn't look like they had two nickles to rub together shopping at Nordstroms. Or are there just TONS of people living in our area who are rich? And don't look the part?

Boy, I really feel my age. I'm old. I'm grumpy. And I just don't understand why things cost so much. I remember when my dad needed a new pair of shoes many years ago and he couldn't understand how a pair of shoes could possibly cost $60! "Why, they used to cost $10!!" I was so amused at the time that he was so out of touch. And now here I am. Insulated in my own little world and out of touch.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Cookie Sales

This is the weekend that the girls are hitting it hard on the sidewalks selling cookies. We are a bit behind the 8 ball since Shauna was out of the country when sales began. Have I mentioned that I will NEVER again volunteer to be the cookie manager for girl scouts? I am overwhelmed with all the paperwork and complexity of something that I ASSUMED would be simple. I have already told Shauna that I will be moving out of the country so the GS people can't find me. And I told Dave that the only reasonable way out of this for me is death. If we get this whole mess reconciled it will be a miracle. I haven't done everything the right way so don't have all the paper trail they expect to see when the sale is over. This 30+ page manual was way too intense for this grandma. And another problem is that Hailey's troop is small and only 3 of the 5 girls are able to sell. UGH.

But here they are having a fun time yesterday. They were VERY successful!! One of the mom's owns this salon and we had to go through the approval process to be able to set up there. It is surrounded by a bunch of restaurants and a bar. A police cruiser drove past, stopped in the middle of the road and used his bullhorn to say "We bought S'mores and are enjoying them." That was fun! Despite my frustration, the girls are learning to be bold and talk to people. They have to make change and deal with the cash box. And they are SMILING!!



The blonde lady left the restaurant across the street to come buy cookies and take the girls' photo. That was sweet. And a gentleman donated $100 for the troops. OCD or Operation Cookie Drop is a gift of caring project with Girl Scouts allowing cookies to be given to local military personnel via the USO.



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Girl Scouts and School Performance

My dd, Shauna, needed a helper for Girl Scouts several months ago, when she began her adventure in leading 2 girl scout troops for her daughters. Voila! It is I, the one who sweeps in to say "yes, I will help." This simple yes, also led me to agree to be the cookie sale manager for both troops since none of the moms would volunteer. That is another story for another time. 😭😭

Yesterday I arrived to be with the Daisy Troop (Charlotte's troop) because the mom who would normally be there couldn't come. The leader must have another "approved/background checked" person in attendance at each meeting. Poor Shauna had just arrived home from vacation at 2 am or thereabouts so hadn't had much time to recover from the long day of flying let alone preparing for the troop meeting. She did, however, have an idea for the craft portion of the meeting. And what a winning idea it was.

Here are the girls, making small cookie booth's for their 18" dolls. They are not actually doing booth sales this year but will be doing so next year. This will give them good practice for when they can sell in front of businesses. Aren't they sweet?? Notice the boxes of cookies on the ledge in back of the girls.


This is Charlotte's creation.
Of course, Hailey, who is a Brownie, HAD to be involved and made a cookie stand too. Sorry this photo didn't turn out. I should have snapped a couple more. At least her doll is in focus!


When the meeting ended at 5 pm, I had to get back home, make dinner, eat and leave by 6 pm for the 2nd grade singing program at Briarwood Elementary, which Hailey took part in. I was SUPER impressed with this 1/2 hour performance. They sang songs about the planets and even sang about poor Pluto being demoted from planethood!

Can you find Hailey? She is left of center by a few kids, 2nd row up, with only the top half of her face showing, right under the kid in the dark shirt.
It is amazing when I think about how many 2nd graders there are at this school! There are over 100 kids and 5 teachers. A far cry from when I was in 2nd grade!




Tuesday, March 7, 2017

SEW EXPO 2017 IS OVER

This was my first year working at the Sew Expo in Puyallup. I did love it, but I was gone for about 12 hours per day for 5 days straight. I showed up for a couple of hours on Tuesday to get the lay of the land and help with set up a bit. Then from Thursday through Sunday I was in the classroom from 7:30 am until typically 6 or 6:30 pm.

I worked in the Bernina classroom which was in the Expo Hall, separate from the rest of the sales booths and fun stuff, where we had 30 sewing machines and 15 sergers set up and 2 to 3 diferent classes each day. My role was to be in the classroom (there were 4 of us total) to help the students. If the sewing machine needle broke, we changed it, if they couldn't find the right sewing foot, we helped them find and install it. Thread breaks? We rethreaded and adjusted. If they weren't sure what the instructor wanted them to do, we would guide them along. We also checked in the students, collected the money for supplies, handled the door prizes and got to know each of our workmates along the way. The biggest challenge was trying to get all the machines set up and prepared for the next class. We only had 1/2 hour between classes and each instructor/project was different and we had to set up according to their needs. Then after the last class finished up at 4:30, we had to clean things up and prepare all the machines for the class in the morning.

We were always surprised when we would discover in talking to many of the students, that they had come from far and wide to attend the Expo. Some came from Montana, Nevada, Michigan and even 2 ladies on Sunday had flown in from London just to attend this event. I knew it was a big deal because I typically attend every year, but I had no idea it was THAT big of a deal! I had heard that there were about 1/3 less vendors this year and most of us noticed that it was less crowded and it was quite apparent to those of us who have experienced this Expo in the past that there were less businesses represented. Still, in all, it was fun. I only had about an hour and a half total to shop and that is just not enough time to really see all the goodies. My pocket book didn't take too big of a hit this year because of this!

Here are some photos from the 5 days.

One of our instructors had the most amazing coat on. Of course she made it, but she said it took her 8 years of off and on work to get it done! I know this photo looks a bit risque, but she is showing the people in the class that the inside of the jacket has lots of lovely embroidery work as well.

And here is the back

Gather around and learn this great trick.

I enjoyed learning a thing or two from the various instructors....when there was a lull in attending to the people in the class. Oh, and we actually had a few MEN that attended the classes.

We typically had 30 students in the classes
Sell those machines!

This is in the Make and Take area of the Bernina sales booth

Just a shot of some quilts that piqued my interest
I had already made a couple of these several months ago when I saw it in the latest Sulky (thread) technique book, but then learned a few more tips to make it even stand out more.

We didn't have any mahine embroidery classes or even free motion embroidery classes, but one of the instructors had this sweet pouch which she had made sitting on the table..

OOOHHHHH, there is Shelly (owner of Bernina of Renton) and Cheri with whom I had the pleasure of working with. Cheri and I hit it off and are looking forward to when we can meet up again. She lives down in the Puyallup area. They are both two very sweet ladies!

And here is one of the Bernina of America Ambassadors (most of them fly in from all over the country to teach and oversee things. She is standing next to Ken who was a HUGE help for the entire time. He and his wife (below) own the Bernina store in Aberdeen.
This is Sue, a wonderful lady and look at that snazzy coat that she made!


Look at all of that machine embroidery work. Isn't it gorgemoondous!?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Life is a Whirlwind!

So my hubby was in Arizona for a week of golf and FINALLY returned yesterday. I find it interesting that while he was gone it seemed like my schedule was packed, the phone rang more than usual and decisions needed to be made about a variety of things. I coped, but was so thankful that we were able to talk things over on the phone. And then his cell phone began to malfunction! Conversing with him became problematic but he borrowed his friend's cell phone and I managed to get the advice that I so needed.

One of the more time-consuming and stressful situations was when my daughter and son-in-law decided to list their house for sale on Zillow so that they could try to get it under contract to make it doable to get financing on a new house. I had minimal stress....but they were overloaded with stress! They were working like crazy people to "stage" the house for an open house on Sunday and I volunteered to handle the open house so they wouldn't have that aggravation to deal with. They received a full price offer that evening. And then things got really crazy with another offer the following day for a bunch more. I felt so sad for them as they navigated their way through dealing with the offers on their house, their phone ringing constantly with people interested and real estate agents wanting to list it, as well as scrambling to get their offer in on the house they hoped to get. Because of my real estate background I was immersed in helping them with the contracts and giving them the information they needed to make proper decisions. Unfortunately they did not get their offer accepted so now they are trying to figure out what to do.

So, anyway, my stress level is almost nil today as I have no responsibilities elsewhere and I am beginning to wonder just why I was so overwhelmed for the past many days! Ah, there really were reasons and I won't go into all the other situations that needed attention. I am thankful, however, for a bit of relief.

It was interesting that yesterday's memory verse was quite relevant to me. James 1:5 "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him." I shared this with Shauna because I knew she needed that reminder.

Today I randomly pulled another card from my box of verses and amazingly it was the followup verse. James 1:6 "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." I am so thankful that God does give us wisdom when we ask and that my faith is firm as I believe he will give it to me. I sure don't want to be doubtful. I shudder to think of myself out to sea on a life boat, blown and tossed by the wind, without the Lord calming the seas.

Praise God! He is in control of all of our circumstances and will direct us when we look to him for guidance. What a relief that is!

The book of James is my favorite book of the bible. It continually speaks directly into my life to give me pause to make sure I am doing and saying what is pleasing to God.