Sunday, September 14, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
As our family grows I find I'm not the only one in the pew anymore at Sunday mass. The kids are coming with their significant others and we almost fill an entire pew now. So, last Sunday, I arrived at 10:30 mass early enough to claim a whole pew. I went in first, followed by youngest son, Matt and his girlfriend, Kelly. We spread out to hint to others, "don't sit here", as more family is on the way. Soon my middle son, Andrew arrived with his fiance, Sarah. They climbed into the pew over Matt and Kelly and sat in the middle. Next arrived Sarah's mom, Lynne She also climbed over Matt and Kelly. All the while I kept scooting further down the pew. Finally Mary and baby Abbi in her carrier arrived. They slipped into the end next to Matt and Kelly who moved down.
Now, what was wrong with this picture? Grandma is at the farthest end from her little treasured Abbi. I usually am spoiled and hold Abbi through mass so this was a problem that needed to be fixed. I leaned over and motioned for Mary to send baby Abbi down the line to Grandma. I could see some quick whispering and giggles at the other end and then slowly it happened.
The cutest little two month old girl, dressed in a white ruffly dress and bright pink sweater started her venture down the pew to grandma. From Uncle Matt to Kelly she went. Matt whispered that he thought she'd be taking awhile to get to me as everyone loves her and wants to cuddle her. Next Lynne held her and whispered "she's so cute", then on to Uncle Andrew who passed her to soon-to-be Aunt Sarah. Now Sarah is not one to share Abbi as we both always want to hold her. Finally, Sarah passed Abbi to Grandma's waiting arms. I was so very blessed and happy to be holding our little cuddly bundle.
Abbi smiled and entertained the people around us who must have watched the passing of the baby. After all, how could they have not seen what the deacon-of-the-mass' family was up to?
Then, it happened little Abbi's lower lip came out into the cutest little pout you've ever seen. She was telling Grandma she wasn't happy anymore. Even her pacifier wasn't going to make her feel better. She was just plain tuckered out and was ready to sleep. So proud Grandma took her to the back where she walked her gently. At one point I stopped and asked a young man standing in the doorway if Abbi's eyes were closed. He started to laugh and said "not at all, they are wide open." Abbi just liked cuddling with grandma and seeing the sites at the back of church. Eventually those little eyes grew heavy and she quietly went to sleep. I slipped back into our pew and finished mass. After mass I felt a tap, tap on my shoulder. It was a sweet lady who must have been observing our mass time antics. She came to congratulate me on my grandbaby. I guess it proved we were noticed! Of course, Sarah was waiting at the end of the pew for me to give baby over to her...I usually tell her "one more song" but this time, the songs at mass ran out and I let Sarah carry our family prize from the church.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Now this particular piano does have a story, as do most things in my home. I think it's an important part of the story to tell you how I became the owner of this piano in the first place. It's one of those times I suppose I should have said "no" but hind-sight is 20/20.
I was living in Plano, Texas, driving a multitude of daily carpools for my five children. Upon returning home one afternoon, I found a message waiting on my phone answering machine. It was a friend who said "I have a piano you can have if you want it. Call me." I had been to this friend's small apartment and had never seen a piano. What was she talking about? Where would she have hidden a piano in that little apartment? As much out of curiosity as anything, I called her back. This previously unseen piano had been "in residence" at the Catholic Worker's house in Dallas and now needed to be moved out immediately. For a mere $35.00 delivery fee, I could have the "free" piano delivered to my house the next day. Not knowing the full talents of my five children yet, I thought maybe this was something meant to be. So the piano arrived at my door as planned.
Over the years, the piano survived a house fire inspite of it being against the wall where the fire started. It had held the Christmas Dicken's Village, framed family photos, CD players and large candle sticks. Most recently it had held my husband's wine glass as he relaxed in his nearby recliner. It reminded me of unused exercise equipment, it was used for everything except what it was intended for.
As the family gathered to celebrate Dad's birthday, I noticed our oldest son had driven his large, utility truck and had it parked out front. I started out with suggestions that he load up his remaining stuff that had been left behind when he moved out 3 years ago. Then in jest, I suggested he take the piano. To my surprise and delight this seemed to interest him. He said he knew someone who would be interested in it. He also had in his large truck a heavy-duty appliance mover. It didn't take long for the three brothers to get in gear. The piano easily wheeled to the door where it was loaded on the large dolly. Then the fun began! First of all, it was discovered that the piano was sitting on the strap needed to wrap around it to keep it in place, so the piano was carefully tipped to find the strap. This was a delicate procedure so as not to break the front legs. With that problem solved, it now became a challenge of how do seven people get a piano up into a large truck? I had the best seat to watch the shenanigans that were unfolding. I was holding baby Abbi and sitting in a rocking chair at the front door observing my family and the delimna before them. I watched as they sized up the piano and the truck and moved around the scene trying to come up with a plan.
The truck had a sturdy metal ramp, only it was narrower than the piano. With the piano on it's end, middle brother climbed up the large dolly to tip it back to push it closer to the truck, only the piano was so heavy, his full weight wouldn't tip the piano back. He leaned back and pulled on that dolly until it finally gave way and his feet once again touched the ground. He was never one to give up easily. Then, two others went to the garage and pulled out a large piece of plywood. This was placed over the metal ramp, but the problem now was bridging the gap between the plywood and the street. Another piece of board was found to fit in this spot. Little by little things started coming together. The biggest question remaining was if the ramp was strong enough to hold this heavy piano as it rolled up the ramp. There was only one way to find out. So with four of the strongest people in the group holding onto the piano, it was pushed up the ramp. I could see everyone holding their breath as the piano went into motion.
I'm sure the neighbors heard the cheering as the piano rolled into the truck unscathed. It hadn't been easy and it had taken the better part of 40+ minutes. With smiles all around everyone felt a huge accomplishment and headed home soon after.
It's now the next day and as I sat writing this tale, I got a phone call from my son with the truck. He was calling to tell me that he definately found a home for the piano. His friend prefers this piano to the one he already has. His friend even played piano as a child so it's now in talented hands. The piano that is being replaced isn't in as good of a condition as mine was and it weighs about 100 pounds more. I'm relieved it isn't mine to worry about. I am curious, though, as to what will happend to it. I did ask my son to let me know where that other piano goes. The saga will be continuing as I got some hints that it might not be a pretty story.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
What a joyous thing to win a Margaritaville Party! Many of my party friends have asked me how I won. So here's my story and details on the Memorial Day weekend national event.
http://www.houseparty.com/ has a variety of parties that one can apply for. I've applied for a Chocolate Bliss party and a Gerber party but didn't win either of those. When I saw a "Margaritaville Party" being offered as something to apply for, I had a feeling that I had a chance to win, this time. I had passion for this kind of party, with my name being "Rita" and all!
The first page of the application asked some basic questions such as "why should you win this party" and "what was the largest number of people you've had at a party" and "have you ever used email or the computer for sending party invitations"? After submitting that page, the next page of questions asked if I won this Margaritaville party, what would I do to make it special? I answered that I would have lots of Jimmy Buffet music, a BBQ (i.e. Cheesburgers in Paradise), invite guests to dress in tropical attire, etc. Next page gave me hope that I "might" win. The first question was "do you like Jimmy Buffet music?" Ah ha, I had already given the right answer on the page I had just submitted so I set my sights on winning this one!
A few weeks later I received an email that said I was a finalist for a Memorial Day weekend Margaritaville party. There had been 13,000 applicants and only a thousand people would be chosen. To win, I had to set up a party, complete with emailed invitations. I didn't even set my laptop computer down, instead I immediately set about planning a party. As I was putting in email addresses, another email arrived saying "You are a winner"!
For my winnings, I received a total of 3 large boxes. The first box contained a $300 Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker. The second box contained another $80.00+ worth of accessories, including a carrying bag, extra pitcher and ice container for the concoction maker, 50 ounce mixing bottle, a salt and lime tray, two shot glasses, 15 leis, 12 metallic drink umbrellas, a salt tin and coasters. There were party recipe books and information along with brochures for the party guests to get $50.00 off their own orders of a Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker. Everything came with a Margaritaville decal or label on it. It was all top quality and very impressive.
The third box was an unexpected surprise sent out a few days before the Memorial Day weekend of parties. In that final box, I received a red Las Vegas Margaritaville T-shirt (wore it at the party), a large, yellow Land Shark flag, a Margaritaville pitcher and 4 glasses, a Jimmy Buffett CD, Margaritaville tatoos, and Land Shark coasters. This was a most generous company to win a party with. Yay Margaritaville.com!
Once the party was set up, I had access to the House Party web site to manage my rsvps and to send messages to my party invitees. Pictures were posted and blogs and comments posted.
Here are a few of my Margaritaville Blog posts as the party was in preparation and after the event!
It's HERE!! The Margaritaville Party "Key West Frozen Concoction Maker" arrived today! It came with wonderful embellishments so be sure to come and celebrate with us! Rex says "we need to build a kitchen around this machine." It's awesome!
Woo Hoo for Mother's Day I received "margarita glasses" party lights for the patio. These will perfectly add the perfect touch to my decor of a thatched umbrella and "Welcome to Paradise" signs and parrot and "Parrot Head Hwy" sign! I have my Jimmy Buffet music playing to keep the fun in motion!
We did it! We partied in Margaritaville! All 36 of us kept the Margaritaville Frozen Concoction machine whirling! We had 15 virtual party guests and many who had to send their regrets. We will just have to do it again so those who missed can join in the fun! A special Hooray for Andrew who was the ultimate drink master! He did an awesome job keeping everyone happy with their individual drink orders. We had lots of special guests but the one who came the farthest was Simon from Switzerland! Glad you could join us! The spinning-out-of-control chocolate fountain was something to see! Thanks Steve for your attempts to control it at your chocolate-covered expense! I've never seen anything like THAT before! I think it helped to make the party memorable! Thanks for coming everyone! It wouldn't be a grand party without YOU! Cheers!
The Margaritaville Concoction Maker, sits proudly on my kitchen island. It's already been out on loan for Sarah's bridal shower. The handy carrying case makes it an easy party favor. I continue using this lovely machine, even to make my breakfast shakes. Alcohol in it can be optional, you know! If you come to visit me, be sure and ask for a concoction. I'm getting well versed on delicous drinks of all kinds. Who needs food when a frozen drink is at hand? Cheers!
Monday, April 14, 2008
To pick up hints on entertaining in the best way possible, I have become a fan of author, Sally Quinn. Her biography on books tells us that she "was for many years a political reporter for The Washington Post, famous for her coverage of the social scene as well as national politics...her husband, Ben Bradlee, the former executive editor of The Washington Post."
The most recent book of Sally's that I have read inspired me to rethink my dinner table. When the children were young, I had a rather large table with two leaves that easily sat 8 to 10 people. When all the children had left home, I thought I'd be down-sizing so I passed the table on. I didn't realize I would still he hosting a growing family, only now one including in-laws of the children, grandchildren, college friends and other visitors.
At my last large holiday meal my guests were seated at two smaller tables put end to end. The table looked beautiful but it definitely hampered the conversation between everyone. Waving down the long table was the only way to connect with those at the far end.
Sally's book "The Party, a Guide to Adventurous Entertaining" had a paragraph that inspired me. It said "A five-foot round table is a good size because you can put four people or twelve at it. Twelve is a little tight, but I find people have a good time when they're jammed in together." And on another page: "The rounder and more generous a table, the better time guests generally have." And yet on another page: "Round tables are best for conversation. That's just a fact. Even with twelve people you can have a group conversation with a round table."
After reading this, I got it in my head that I "needed" to find a round table! Preferably one that was five-feet across. I already had a smaller round table and loved it but it wasn't round after I put a leaf in it. After starting my search for the perfect table, I found one that was intriguing. It was in a decorator store with a rather high price tag. What I liked about it was that it had leaves that attached to the edges of the table, thus maintaining its round shape when it was enlarged. What I didn't like was the heavy, strange base and the soft wood that would chip easily. I even brought my husband, Rex, to the store to show him what I had found. It was close to what I wanted but this wasn't it.
Since another holiday was nearing, Rex and I were prompted to do a serious search for a larger table. A round table was my preference but it appeared that the need outweighed the availability. We considered a number of rectangular tables with leaves, almost buying one that luckily was out of stock. After a day of searching, we had one more stop to make.
We had looked in lovely, pricey stores but our final stop was at a consignment store in a new shopping mall. Immediately we felt hopeful as we wandered around the showroom. There were a few table sets all reasonably priced and worth considering. As we made a complete circle through the building we spotted what we wanted in the front corner of the store.
Our table had been waiting for us! There sat a 72 inch round, wooden table with drop down sides and a green wooden base. As we marvelled at how perfect this table was, another couple noticed it and indicated interest until they saw that we had dibs on it first. So, with our new-found prize, we were additionally excited to find that with the drop down sides, it would fit in the back of our SUV which saved a hefty delivery charge. As I waited for Rex to back the SUV up to the door, a lady who worked at the store came over to visit. She told me how she wanted this table and she even went home and measured her dining room to see if it would fit. Lucky for us, her dining room was too small!
A few days after bringing the table home, we had our first holiday dinner. We had 10 people and it was delightful having everyone sitting around the new table. I used colorful, round placemats and tulips in a vase in the center which all added beautiful, vibrant color. It was a joyful time.
There is definitely something special about being able to see and visit with everyone I am hosting. We had a second dinner with another mix of 10 people about a week later. Again, the smiling faces across the large, round table were delightful. I had achieved my dream.
The table sits quietly most of the time with one leaf dropped down, thereby making room to push the table against the dining room wall. The base has movable legs that fold up when a side is dropped. I was told that the table is a replica of an antique style. I sometimes wonder who had the foresight to own this unique table before us and why they were willing to give it up. However, it's found it's place in our home and it feels like it was always meant to be ours. A round table is welcoming and I hope all family, friends and clergy we entertain feel this warmth and welcoming in our home.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
So you recognize the commercial when it comes on, I will give some background so you'll know to look for me.
Having been a Slim Body Coach round winner, I am sometimes invited to step in front of a camera to tape an advertisement for the company, GNS. Today about 30 women were gathered in front of the GNS building and an actress played the part of the interviewer, ala "Good Morning America" style where all the people are outside waving at the cameras, etc.
I was directed to stand center front with a gathering of other women on either side. These ladies had been specially chosen because they fit the demographics that the commercial was aimed at. All of us in the front row would be interviewed by the actress.
When the camera started to roll, we had a number of takes. The actress needed to change from a teleprompter to cue cards because of the morning sun. It was chilly outside so between takes we all crowded into the building for a brief warm-up. Once we were actually recording, things went fast. We became a crowd of enthusiastic, animated women cheering, clapping and chatting with each other like we were all best friends. Our hair was whipping in the wind and our noses and cheeks were becoming pink with the chilly Colorado weather, but we were having lots of fun. At the appropriate time, the actress turned to me and asked my name. That's when I was to deliver my line "I'm Rita Pilger and I lost 63 pounds with Slim Seduction and I'm here to get more." The actress then moved down the line of ladies and asked them why they wanted to try Slim Seduction. They were told to make up their own lines. I was happy that I had been told what to say so I didn't have to ad lib. After all, I don't claim "actress"as one of my talents.
With the completion of the final take, the group of ladies was re-arranged so that those in back could be taped closer up. Then we were finished. Inside the office once again, everyone was given a $50 check for their efforts and a free bottle of Slim Seduction. It was a successful video shoot! Now we watch for the premier. I hope I won't be too embarrassed
Easter Vigil Mass was a very special event this year. My future daughter-in-law became Catholic. It's been a long-time dream for her and her excitement spilled out on the whole family.
Since my husband, Rex, was one of the Deacons participating in the Mass we had arrived early at the church. A few families were already there claiming the coveted front rows and aisle seats. By the front doors a woman in the vestibule was handing out candles to the congregation as they arrived. I knew the church would be filling up fast so I took my candle and scanned the darkened church to see where I might find a row for our family.
As I entered the church, I decided to head off to the left side where there were some seats available and the third row was still empty. Glancing that way, I was briefly distracted. But then, my attention was suddenly jarred back to the present, when there was a large "splat" right in front of me. To my horror, in front of where I had just stood, was sprawled a lady on the floor. Her legs were spread, despite her lovely skirt; shoes were kicked off in various directions, and her glasses had skidded across the aisle; her purse all but dumped on the floor.
I don't know how long she had been there but three men came running to her aid out of nowhere. They bent down and asked "are you all right"??
I looked at them and said "I'm fine and I didn't even break my candle". They helped me up, and I gathered my shoes as one of the men handed my glasses to me. I stooped over to pick up my scattered shoes and said "I think I'll just go over here (to the pew) and regroup" as I pointed in the direction of a dark, nearby seat.
In the pew, I put on both shoes, my glasses, rearranged my purse and straightened up my rumpled clothing. With great humility and wounded pride, I pulled up what dignity remained and again slowly stood up from the pew. I quickly looked around to see if anyone else had witnessed the deacon's wife falling flat on her face in her Easter finery! Only one lady that I recognized was looking my way, so I was hopeful that this event would be quickly forgotten. I shrugged and smiled in her direction, thinking it would reassure her that I was uninjured.
As I gracefully glided into my chosen pew, third row from the front, I was surprised to see the lights in the church come on. Usually everything stays dark until the procession of the Easter candle. I was grateful that lights were now on as it would help others to see their way into the church, but I did wonder if my episode had contributed to the lights.
Mass was lovely and I was thrilled with the surprise to hear my husband chanting as he carried in the Easter candle "Christ Our Light". He hadn't been scheduled to do that but then I had not planned on tripping and falling either. Upon returning home, late that night, I queried my husband if he had heard about the lady who had fallen down in church before mass started. He said that an usher came into the sacristy and mentioned something about it, suggesting that a light should be turned on. I asked Rex if he heard anything about "who" the lady was that had fallen down. To my great relief he hadn't heard, reassuring me that I hadn't become the talk of the sacristy that night! Then, I enlightened Rex and first received his concern for my physical well-being before we both broke out in hysterical laughter!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
My first joyful event was my 3 1/2 pound loss this week. It's been a long time in coming I'd like to think "the tide has turned". I'm determined to reach my "keeping off pounds" status again soon! I'm inspired now!
Today I also "scored" a free bag of fresh green peppers. I made some stuffed peppers for dinner and they turned out yummy. I don't remember the last time I made them but now I wonder why I don't cook them more often. They were that good!
I was scheduled to work tonight from 4:30 to 9:00. The evening shift usually has 2 of us but I was on my own tonight. It is first week of the racquetball league so I anticipated a busy night. I was pleasantly surprised to see the rush came in spurts so I had breathing time here and there.
As things quieted down I was lamenting that I hadn't had my daily "grandma fix". Since my new granddaughter is only 1 day shy of being two weeks old, our cuddle time is most important to me. As I muddled over this missed opportunity of the day, the door opened and my spirit soared as my daughter came in, carrying my dear little love! She is truly beautiful and I slipped into ecstasy as I held that little baby .girl in my arms
The joy of a newborn is like no other and when that newborn is my grandchild, I'm truly in touch with heaven on earth. I remember the high I had with each of my five children and now my grandchildren are continuing this thrill in my life.
To close out this awesome day, a spring snow storm is in the making. It's raining now and by morning I will be waking up to a winter wonderland. I always delight to see such beauty out my window as the Colorado snow has a way of sticking to the trees, bushes and grass in such a breath-taking display of beauty.
Day is done so I bid you a very good night!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
The name "Traveling Tea Lady" is a warm and comfortable friend from a brief, pricey home-based business I was inspired to start and close down a few years back. I still believe in what it was meant to be, only I havent' figured out how to manage it. That whole story will come sometime later. So with a name, a blog site and occassional time to write, I here-by start my blogging career.
I have lots to write. So I don't forget some of my stories I will start listing them here for reference:
"Being in Love" by a new Grandma"
The Big Round Table
Amazing Mom that I am...