The Russell Ranch

Mark 'n Di

Mark 'n Di

Friday, April 2, 2010

April will be no less busy...

Hello, Dear Friends,

All my good intentions went right out the window ~ it's been a month since I blogged. *big sigh*

Hmmmm...the last time I was here with you, I was getting ready to take Mom home, do her church bulletin board for spring, and attend our church open air Gospel Sing. Two out of three isn't too bad, I guess. I took Mom home, stopping for lunch on the way (keeping priorities straight!). The church bulletin board is done, but the Gospel Sing was cancelled due to cold weather. These Floridians are really wimps ~ hehehe.

Book Discussion at the library was about "The Zookeeper's Wife" by Diane Ackerman. It was a true story about war time in Poland. Quite interesting, actually. I do read books due to this group that I would not normally pick. I guess the librarian would say I'm broadening my! I do enjoy it, though. There is some interesting discussion and varrying points of view that come to light during that hour on the second Monday of every month!

My Stampin' Up! demonstrator has classes at her home (Amanda's Stamp Pad) several times a month ~ I'm sure I told you this before. I attend two Tuesdays each month for the classes that interest me. One is "Get Punchy" where several cards are created using the different paper punches. This is really right down my alley, 'cuz I love to "build" cards. The other one is "Scrap 'n Cards" class, which is making three cards and three corresponding scrapbook pages. Cute, cute, cute! I've used a few of these in Connie's album ~ yes, I'm still working on her album (birth through high school ~ and never mind how old she is ~ suffice it to say, I have enough pictures and projects to last me 'til Jesus comes!). And the Tuesday group at Amanda's is just the best. We have become great friends ~ and lunch at TGI Friday's usually tops it all off.

The pastor's wife had a birthday party for the pastor ~ at their little Italian Wagon on Saturday, the 13th of March. It may as well have been Friday the 13th for me, because as we sat outside at the tables, in a rather chilly wind, for an hour, a little "coughy, bronchitisy" bug entered my body. Sunday morning, my throat was quite sore and the cough was in progress and developing nicely. (nicely???) Badly! Mark and I were due to fly to the San Francisco area on the next Thursday ~ he was going to speak at a medical conference and I was gonna just tag along because I can... so I thought to myself, "Self, just lie here in bed and pamper yourself with lots of vitamin C and orange juice, and chicken noodle soup, etc., and you'll be fine by Thursday." So I did! But I wasn't! *sob* It was very, very sad to watch Mark walk out the door Thursday morning without me. You've seen kids throwing temper tantrums ~ kicking and screaming and pounding their fists? That's exactly how I felt inside. Why, oh why had I gone to that birthday party anyway! Mark was busy with a project at work, so I went alone ~ so WHY had I gone? Waaaa, waaaa, waaaa!

Now, here it is April 2, and I'm just now feeling better ~ really better. I have been up and at it, sort of, for several days, but not really feeling good. Thankfully, I believe it is now in the past. I do NOT recommend whatever it was. If you want to lay around and take it easy for a few days, just do it ~ but don't get sick so you have an excuse.... =(

I have been taking a Conversational Spanish class at the YMCA for the past several Thursdays. One of the seniors who in in Silver Sneakers, is from Spain, and he is teaching the class. I thought it would be a class where we would just learn several common phrases and be able to greet someone, ask a few questions and give a few answers, ya know? I mean how much can you learn in 10 2-hour classes? But this dear, sweet guy gets sidetracked every week with conjugating verbs in all tenses and telling us about all the genders and moods that change words completely. I'm in way over my head and can only remember a couple things, like, Hola! (hello), and Buenos dias (good morning, or good day) and Como esta? (how are you?) and muy bien, gracias (very well, thanks). That's about it. I do know that poco means some and pocito means very little, probably because that sums up my Spanish! lol! It has been enjoyable, though, because the group in the class is fun and we do a LOT of laughing at ourselves and each other. =D

One of my Red Hat sisters has started a Bible Study in her home ~ not as a Red Hat activity, but just a few friends going through one of Max Lucado's books, "Cast of Characters." Max has a delightful ability to communicate ~ his word pictures are great. We have a salad or a sandwich, then read and discuss a chapter in the book, then play games, then go home. Actually quite enjoyable. And what a fun way to share your faith!

The physician I "chose" when we moved to Florida was one of these ~ go down the list of physicians in the insurance book ~ look for an American name (ha!) ~ and when your finger stops, call that doctor and make an appointment ~ kind of thing. I went to him a few times through the first year, but wasn't really happy. My doctor in St. Louis was the BEST and I felt helpless to know what to do about finding a good one here. Then I thought about the many friends I have made since I got here, and decided to ask for their recommendations! Idea ~ there's one! *wink* My Red Hat Queen Mum, Helen, suggested her physician that she has gone to for years (she's from here), so I went to see him this week. Only one visit, but I felt much better about the whole situation. As I walked out of his office, I heard another piece of my puzzle of life click into place. Thank you, Helen. =)

Did I tell you I have two new grandbabies coming soon? Both Connie and Debbie are due in May. Can you believe what that's going to do to my travel schedule? One on each end of the country! Keep tuned ~ I'll do my best to keep you posted! Connie's having another girl, and Debbie's having a boy. I've not been privy to the name choices, but I've contributed quite a list (NOT serious ones, though). lol!

April is shaping up to be a busy month, so as things happen, I will endeavor to get them down on "paper." You'll have to watch closely to keep up with...

The Russells at Richmond Place

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thursday Jaunt

Hello dear friends!

Missouri just seemed to be calling my name during the month of February! I took off again on Thursday, February 25th, to be with my scrapbooking buddies that I worked with at Quest Diagnostics. We were very good friends at work ~ just seemed to be kindred spirits, you know? Then when we discovered our mutual love of scrapbooking, and did a weekend together (years ago), well, we just became friends for life! This weekend was really great. We took turns in the kitchen (because we had to eat every now and then) and scrapbooked our hearts out. We'd stop & visit or just relax at times, too. Jan always has to meet with the resort people when we go, so they can try to talk her into upgrading her plan. It's always good for a $50 bill, so she took us out to Catfish Kettle in Farmington on Saturday night. Now, they can cook catfish! Mmmm-mmmmmm! I told Mark I thought about him while we were there ~ he said, "Oh yeah, like when you said, 'More fish, please!' is when you thought of me." (Can he read my mind???)

I got 15 pages in Connie's album done. I really wanted to finish it, but still have about 10 more to go. The library is picking up the scrapbook nights again ~ and another library is offering it, too, so maybe I can finish up soon. You CAN scrapbook on your own ~ and I have done it quite a bit ~ but it definitely is a social hobby. Just sayin'

Monday evening we met several of the gals from Quest for dinner at O'Reilly's in Cave Springs. That was fun. One of the drawbacks of living in Florida is that I miss my friends from work. I was privileged to work with some really nice people and am happy to have them as friends. Tuesday, March 2, I had lunch with Dianne Lytle, a friend I've had since I was a child. Olive Garden is her restaurant of choice and she found no argument from me! =) We spent two hours in there eating and gabbing ~ trying to get caught up. Then a trip to K-Mart ~ and on to the airport, where I headed home. It was soooooo nice to be home again with the hubs and the cat. It's great to travel and see everybody and "stuff and everything," but there's just no place like home!

The next day was Wednesday, right? Right. I went over to Zephyrhills and had lunch with my mom, Bev Hazen, Juanita Miller and Lynn Horger. We went to Village Inn ~ can you guess why? BECAUSE ON WEDNESDAYS THEY HAVE FREE PIE! Mom came home with me for the rest of the week. She saves up her laundry and does it here every month ~ and often folds a load or two of my own laundry that I haven't gotten to. =) She's a peach! Today we went out to Arby's for lunch, then over to Barnes & Noble. I needed a Spanish Dictionary for class and a Max Lucado book for Bible study, and she got a Scrabble dictionary. We were gonna hit a thrift store, but her knee argued about it, so we came home and let the knee take a nap....

This Spanish class is rather more involved than I expected, but after attending a few sessions, I don't see how you can just dabble in it.... The class is called "Conversational Spanish" and is being taught by one of my Silver Sneaker pals at the YMCA ~ 10 sessions. Ha! I'll be doing good to say, "Hello, how are you?" by the time it's over! Hola! ?Como esta? (that first ? is supposed to be upside down, but my keyboard has not been attending class with me...)

Anyway, one of the books I bought today was "The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Spanish Phrases" ~ think it will help? ROFLOL!

Guess I'll go for now ~ but will be back with more news from
The Russells at Richmond Place

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In Again, Out Again, Finnegan!

We have pretty much taken care of February ~ at least we will have when I finish this post...

We arrived home from Missouri on Monday, the 15th, and met Dot (Peggy's daughter) again, and her husband, Rui, and her 7-year-old son, Sebastian. To our surprise and delight, Sebastian gave us big hugs upon our introduction! He really is a sweet little boy! Another very pleasant occurance that day was that Mark's brother, Howard, and his family (wife Barbara & boys Stephen & Joseph) came over to Tampa to have dinner with us, spend the night and have brunch the next day before heading back to Cocoa Beach where he was attending a business meeting. We all got in Howard's van & Peggy's family drove in their car, and made our way to Ellenton, FL, to experience Roaring 20's Pizza & Pipes. It was great fun! The big old Wurlitzer theatre organ was a huge hit with Stephen, who had watched videos of it being played on YouTube, but never dreamed he'd get to see it! We were all very happy to see him so happy. =) The food was very good, also.

The next morning we went to Cracker Barrel for brunch, then said good-bye. I just hate good-byes, don't you? Brings to mind one of Bob Batton's songs; "...where the hand ne'er waves good-by, that's the place my sould is longing for..." *teary eyed*

That evening, Rui took over my kitchen and grilled steaks, made a grilled pepper & onion salad, and fixed potatoes & mushroom gravy. Dot fixed a beautiful tossed salad and we were treated as guests in our own home. What a treat! Rui can cook ~ just sayin' ~ and they cleaned up the kitchen, too! =)

After supper on Tuesday, Rui & Sebastian drove back over to West Palm, where Rui's dad lives,to finish their little vacation, and Wednesday afternoon, we took Dot to the airport & said good-bye again as she flew back home and to work. Thursday morning Peggy winged her way back to Costa Rica. We are so thrilled to have had a part in her cancer care here @ Moffitt. God is in control and doeth all things well.

Mark and I have enjoyed the empty nest again for the last week. He has gone to work every day (bless his sweet heart), but I have just kicked back and lazed ~ honestly just lazed around... Some nights we have gone out to eat, and some nights I have had supper on the table when he came home. I have done laundry and cleaned the kitchen, so I did do a FEW chores (hehehe).

Saturday was work day at the church and Mark put the trim & baseboard in a Sunday school room. What did I do? I took a little trip to Solomon's Castle in Ona, FL, with my Red Hat Sisters! It is really a dorky place, but we had fun being together and laughing and eating in the "Boat in the Moat."

Today I went to a card class & made 3 cards and 3 scrapbook pages. This gal has forgotten more imagination than I'll ever have ~ I enjoy this group of ladies, too. We seem to always end up @ TGI Fridays or Cracker Barrel after class. I am truly blessed with lovely friends.

Speaking of friends ~ I am getting ready to fly away again on Thursday to St. Louis for a scrapbooking weekend with my two best buddies I used to work @ Quest with. We will spend four great days in a condo/resort out in the boonies and scrapbook page after page after page....

So sometime next week you'll read more about
The Russells at Richmond Place

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekend in Cape Girardeau

Hello to y'all from Missouri! It is really lovely to be here with so many friends and my lovely daughter and her family. Rev. Paul Pierpoint held the Preachers' Meeting for the Pilgrim Nazarenes, and did a wonderful job. We had great fun one evening, after the service, reminiscing about our old stomping grounds...I was at a little Bible school in the Adirondacks and he was pastoring a Pilgrim Holiness church in the area. We know a lot of the same people and my mom and I attended a lot of the PH revivals, rallies, camps, etc. I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God!

We had flight cancellations twice for our trip up here ~ but we persevered! Southwest Airlines only has a few direct flights, and we couldn't access any of them. Our first flight (Tuesday night)was supposed to go through Chicago and the Chicago leg was cancelled; so we booked another flight through Baltimore. Before we went to bed that night, we were notified that the Baltimore leg had been cancelled. So we booked another flight ~ through Chicago again, leaving Tampa @ 9:35 Wednesday morning. And, of course, we didn't "plan ahead" for leaving the house early enough for rush hour traffic... We checked our bags in "late" and ran for the gate. We were the last ones on! The old adrenalin was pumping ~ is that the same as a workout? If it isn't, it should be! We made our connection in Chicago, but Mark HAD to make a phone call, so I boarded without him. I went to the back of the plane where I could get two seats beside each other and guarded the second seat like a terrier! I saw Mark board and stood up and waved. He looked right at me and nodded his head, so I sat back down. Next thing I know, he has disappeared! Sat somewhere else! I am not pleased ~ and the next person that asks about the seat next to me is a hulking mass of humanity. So on one side I have a large man wearing sunglasses who is deaf and on the other side of me is a HUGE man who barely fits in the seat. I am scrunched ~ and ticked! Good thing this flight is only 45 minutes! Mark says later he never saw me...I am wearing red, and who else on that plane even looks remotely like me? Just sayin' ...

Next thing is to get a car in St. Louis and head to Cape. In the car lot, I make and throw a snowball! And I make a second one and take aim for Mark, who doesn't see the humor ~ at all. The car is a KIA, and we actually "put in on" and took off down the road. All the bumps and seams in the road were felt down that 100-mile stretch. Groan!

One note of interest ~ we drove by our old house to see if there had been improvements or deterioration. I had mixed feelings about even driving by, but Mark had no hesitation, so a trip down Inverness (memory) Lane was made. We saw: new windows, white vertical siding on the porch, basement cement blocks painted white, barn windows all boarded up with white boards, and a hot tub in the back yard. Well, good. They're taking care of the place ~ now can we head for Cape?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday's Trail

Hello! Ever had a week when Tuesday felt like Monday? It felt like that for me... I took Mom home today and we stopped @ Village Inn for lunch. I think she was happy to get home to sleep in her own bed tonight. Camp is nice, good, spiritual, needed, etc., etc., but it's good to get back home. Just sayin'

I came home with all intentions of unpacking and totally putting everything away, and all that sort of thing ~ but got my kitchen all put back in order & made the mistake of sitting down in my recliner to check my e-mail and Facebook. 'Nuf said. Sassy came to look over my shoulder (she likes to see what everyone has to say, too!), and when I kicked back in the chair she smiled and started "singing" and we both curled up and took a nap!

We started revival tonight with Rev. Noel Scott. I was really very tired of going to church ~ I know y'all know what I mean. However, Bro. Scott has such a sweet spirit and his message was so refreshing, that I actually felt "soothed" and was glad I went.

Our dear friend, Peggy, who is here from Costa Rica to have cancer surgery, has had her surgery and got the final pathology report today that there is no cancer in the lymph nodes and surrounding tissue ~ hence, no further treatment is needed. We rejoice with her! She will be here for a follow-up visit or two with the physicians, and heads back for Costa Rica the end of this month.

So ends the Tuesday trail for
The Russells at Richmond Place

Monday, February 1, 2010

Every Day Posts ~ Gone With the Wind!

Well, hello there! Remember me? Yeah, I'm the one who went to camp meeting 10 days ago and had no Internet connection for the duration. That's tough, ya know? Just sayin'........

The camp I went to is a God's Missionary Camp in Sun City, Florida. Harry Plank, the President of the denominaiton, and his wife, Rachel, went to school at Hobe Sound Bible College in Hobe Sound, FL, the same time we did ~ so it's always fun to be with them. Rachel asked me if I would help her out this year, by planning and preparing the snacks after evening service for the camp workers and other invited guests. That is a task that I really enjoy, and I had lots of fun! I love to set pretty tables, and fix yummy foods, and be around people ~ so this was really no "task" for me, but lots of fun.

Rev. Don Myers, from Schenectady, NY, was one of the evangelists. I knew him as a young girl and teenager, but hadn't heard him preach since then. It was great to get reacquainted and sit under his ministry.

Rev. James Plank (Harry & Rachel's eldest son) was the other evangelist. He is a powerful preacher and certainly gives you spiritual food. He had to leave the camp early due to his wife having surgery, plus the fact that his wife's grandma passed away during the week of camp, as well.

Rev. Jacob Martin, from PA, stepped in and took James' place ~ and did a terrific job. He's an on-fire preacher and stirred us up to walk with God! It was a very wonderful week!

Our pastor, Rev. Jay Smalley, offered the use of a 5th Wheel RV for us to stay in on the campgrounds. We had it parked right beside the caretaker's house, which is where the evening entertaining was done, so that was a real blessing!

Mark packed my car Sunday evening, so all I had to do was pack the refrigerator stuff and get Mom's stuff and head home this morning. I'll have to admit, I am quite weary today. I had the job of unloading the car and putting everything away today ~ but the only things that got put away were the refrigerated items. The rest can wait for Tuesday.... *yawn*

Sassy went to camp with us, and didn't seem to mind being there ~ however the trip down there and back was another story. The cat carrier is definitely not her favorite conveyance! When we got home today, she walked to the middle of the living room floor and laid down. Like, "Thank God, these people have come to their right minds!"

I wanted to update today ~ but I'm so tired I'm not sure I'm making much sense ~ so I'll sign off and try again tomorrow.

Good night from
The Russells at Richmond Place

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday "To Do's"

When I got up this morning, I had camp meeting on my mind. I started going through my closet and getting my clothes ready to pack...and so the time passed and I missed my Silver Sneakers workout at the Y. I was rather disappointed, because tomorrow will be "it" for another whole week. That is one activity that is "important" for my heart health, and ya know, it's probably the one activity that seems to be hit 'n miss for several weeks now. (tsk, tsk) Must be gettin' that higher on the priority list...

The library happened to be open today, thankfully, and I got my next book for my book discussion group, "The Commoner" by John B. Schwartz. On to the bank, then to a little computer class @ the Y offered by one of the Silver Sneakers who calls himself a "geek" but truly is NOT! He showed us a few things I didn't know about, but not much ~ and I'm certainly no computer geek! Ahem! Just sayin'....

Came home & had lunch with Peggy, then took a nap while she went out and took a walk. I tended to Sassy's needs, then just couldn't get enthused about fixing supper. Mr. Mark came to the rescue and took us to Chili's! Was it ever good! Our waiter was really good to us, and when we left, he gave us a bag of chips & a container of salsa. Thanks, John! You impressed Mr. Mark, and we'll be back! *grins*

Peggy has gone to bed ~ she's an early-to-bed and early-to-rise person. How on earth does she fit into the Russell life-style, you say. Good question! She's a very patient, easy-going person, I'm thinkin'.

Mark is workin' in the "grudge" (you know, where you park yer car...) and I will be heading for Facebook here in a couple minutes.

Wishing all of you a pleasant week ~ from the
Russell's at Richmond Place

Monday, January 18, 2010


Class #6 of 6 Memoir Classes was this evening. It was not expected that our entire lives would be on paper by the end of this class, but that we would have done a summary of grandparents, parents, and 10-year sections of our lives, and be ready to seriously begin the project of writing our memoirs. I was interested in this class because I thought it would be a good idea to have for my children and grandchildren. I DON'T think it will be best-seller material ~ although.... (lol!)

Mom washed up all my dirty towels today, and the remnants of her laundry, and I took her home on my way to class this evening. She will unpack and re-pack for camp and I will get her again on Thursday and take her to Sun City Camp. Peggy is going with us, too, until Sunday after dinner, at which time Mark will take her to the airport to meet up with her twin sister, who is coming to be with her through her surgery.

Our pastor & his wife, the Smalley's, are not going to be able to stay down at the camp this year, and they graciously offered us the use of a lovely RV (5th wheel) to stay in on the camp grounds. Mark & Bro. S got it all situated today near the Gandee's residence, where I can be of assistance to Sis. Rachel Plank in feeding hungry preachers after the evening services....

Mark rented a storage unit today, so we can empty the garage of boxes and "stuff" in order for him to create a workshop. I'm thinkin' that as we look in the boxes that we take from garage to storage unit (that we haven't looked in for over two years) that the decision may come that we don't need a storage unit at all. What do you think? Na, I really didn't think so, either.... just sayin'.....

Sassy is sitting on the floor looking at me, like, "Doncha think it's time you leave the 'puter and go to bed?" Cuz she doesn't go to bed until I do ~ so ~

Monday's shades are closed at the
Russell's at Richmond Place

3rd Sunday of 2010

Wellllll....I went to bed before I updated my blog last night. What excuse can I come up with? One is, I guess I really don't have to say something EVERY DAY!!! Another one is, I spent way too much time checking on all of you in Facebook, until I just couldn't stay awake any longer... And both of them are true statements.

Mom spent the night, so she was with us for Sunday. Dot (Peggy's daughter) went home this morning, so that left Peggy here with us for Sunday. Off we went to Sunday school and church ~ to the God's Missionary Church in Seffner, FL. Mark taught the adult lesson, which was about Rahab and the Spies. Interesting, that. Adam Clarke says that "harlot" in this instance, was more of an innkeeper. He does not feel that she was a woman of loose morals. I like that ~ it has always bothered me that Joshua's men stayed at a house of ill repute. Thoughts, anyone?

Mark & I sang, "Each Step I Take" Sunday morning, and one lady said she hadn't heard that song in over 40 years.

When we walked into our house after church, the yummy aroma of the roast beef that had been in the crockpot since Saturday night, wafted through the air. Mmmmm. We were all hungry little bears ~ well, I guess Peggy is the only one who qualifies for that "little" adjective...

Rev. Harry Plank, the President of the God's Missionary Church denomination, preached for us Sunday night. The Sun City Camp (Florida District of the GMC) will be starting Thursday night, which is why Planks are here from Pennsylvania. Mark & I attended Hobe Sound Bible College the same time Harry and Rachel (Will) Plank did. It's been fun getting re-acquainted with them since we've moved to Florida ~ plus a few other people we went to HSBC with, as well.

After church, the Smalley's invited us to the parsonage for sandwiches. Mrs. Sally Smalley makes the best tuna salad in the world (personal opinion, of course). We enjoyed some good fellowship, until Mom and Peggy were nearly asleep, then decided we better head home before we had to carry them to the car. Picture that. =)

It goes without saying, that between the delicious roast beef dinner and the Sunday night service, we quite "religiously" took our Sunday naps.

Thanks for "experiencing" a Sunday with the
Russells at Richmond Place

Saturday, January 16, 2010

1 little, 2 little, 3 little cousins... 10 little cousins meet

Today I drove to Bradenton, FL, to take my mom to a "cousins' reunion." Let's see, how do I put this simply.... My mom's dad and Don Whitney's dad were brothers, so that's the connection for mom. Said cousin Don's mom had two sisters, and their children were the ones who had the reunion today. So actually, mom was only cousin to Don ~ but they invited her to come, and she and Don with his wife Mary Lou had a great time re-uniting (it's been 40+ years since they'd seen each other). It was also fun to meet Don's other cousins. Now just imagine being in a room with ten 80-year-olds, listening to them joking and teasing each other, and reminiscing and solving the issues of the world, and laughing (cackling?) ~ it was a hoot! The host of the day was Howard Spencer, and he and his wife, Gerry, were a delight.

Penelope (my GPS) did not know anything about Howard's address, and we found this out when we got in the car and tried to plug the address in. So now we were at the time when we needed to depart. Mark graciously made the phone call to Howard, while Mom and I headed out in the direction of Bradenton. When we got to the town, Mark called and tried to read a Google map to direct me to the desired destination... This proved to be quite a disastrous situation. He was telling me to turn on streets as I passed them ~ or telling me I should be going west when I was going east and there were many cars on the streets acting like they knew exactly where they were going and were NOT happy with me trying to go slow and be in the right lane, when often I was not. If you know me, you know the blood pressure was rising.... *sigh* Not a happy thought. However, we finally arrived and really did have a nice time. But ya know, this kinda thing wears you out, and when it was time to return home, I was more than ready.... And, thankfully, Penelope knew exactly how to get me home! Gotta get that girl some more schoolin'!

I need to get my Sunday dinner in the crock pot so I can relax and go to bed.

Here's wishing everyone a wonderful Sabbath day from the
Russells at Richmond Place

Friday, January 15, 2010

Coffee * Tea * and Mom

Ahhh ~ don't you just love Fridays?

My house guests had a very early start today ~ leaving the house @ 6:30 a.m. and not returning 'til after 3:00p.m. I did not get up with them, but Mark did (bless him!) and they followed him to Moffitt, where Miss Peggy saw the physician and had some tests done and got some plans laid for treatment of her disease.

My day started with a lovely, leisurely cup of coffee (with liquid pumpkin spice creamer)and a look at the "to do" list. Library, post office, grocery store, pick up Mom, go to lunch, gather the "stuff" for the sing tonight....

The library was the first stop ~ and there were no cars in the parking lot! Wait! Did I miss Friday? Was I working on the wrong "to do" list??? Let's see what the sign says on the door... "All Hillsborough County Public Libraries closed today due to budget restraints. All employees are off without pay." Well, isn't that hunky-dory? They then listed a Friday each month that the same process would be followed. Hmmmm. Well, since I had no overdue books and part of the reason for going to the library was to GET more books, I went on my merry way to the post office. THAT was open, so the card got mailed.

Now to the grocery store. Can you ever go the store and get ONLY the things on your list? I find it nearly impossible! However I did get everything on my list, plus a few more items that "should have" been on my list. *wink*

On to pick up Mom. We loaded her things in the car and went to lunch. She suggested a new little place in Zephyrhills, called "Two Minutes." It is owned by a Tibetan monk, who left the monestary and went into business. He had a restaurant just out of town on State Route 54, and CVS wanted his property, so bought him out for a pretty penny. Now he has this little place in town ~ and on Fridays he has an "all you can eat fish" special. The fish is Alaska polluck, which is a north Pacific species of the cod family. Aren't you glad I've done my research? And it was quite tasty! And his little place of business was packed to the gills and the waiting line was out the door! I think the little Tibetan monk has done well for himself...although I'm sure the people in line waited more than "Two Minutes."

Mom and I headed out for the sing at the Smalley's Italian Wagon around 6:45. Mark suggested that I travel some back roads to Seffner, since the highways were backed up with traffic due to construction, and just Friday night here we go, in the dark, on a new venture, which Penelope (my GPS) knows nothing about. You must understand that I am VERY directionally challenged, so this could be interesting. The first turn I make was the wrong way ~ okay, who's surprised? I call Mark and he's not answering his phone. I really need to make him understand that when I call, he is to answer! So I call again, and he answers! I find out that I have turned the wrong way (my first clue was not seeing anything familiar) and get turned around and head in the right direction. Next turn is only supposed to be a "dog-leg" turn ~ you know, right then left then right again in rapid succession, but I missed the last half of the dog-leg. Turn around again and then I'm home free. Oh yeah? Well, I make the next two turns correctly, then call Mark again (and he answered!), and asked which way to turn when I get to the street the Italian Wagon is on. He says right ~ I turn right and get to the Interstate, which is what I was trying to avoid, so was I going in the right direction? I called Mark again ~ no answer. Three times ~ no answer. Well, I just know it's not the right direction, so I turn around and head back the other way, and sho 'nuf ~ I find the Italian Wagon. THIS has not been a happy trip ~ and I'm supposed to sing and smile all the rest of the evening. I'm just sayin'...

We are now safe and sound back home ~ I came right up I-75 and made it without a hitch. Sleepy Time Tea hits the spot...and soothes us to sleep. Mark is still not home ~ wonder if he turned right ~ or should that have been left? I'm not gonna answer the phone. (hehehe)

Friday is coming to an end for the
Russells at Richmond Place

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Success! Nap! Pork Chops!

Hello Friends!

It's a happy mood we're in this evening!

Our new friend, Dot, needed to get a rental car, so she went on line to see what wonderful bargains she could find ~ and find one she did! $13 / day ~ not bad atall! So where does Dot need to go for this wonderful bargain? The airport. *Gasp!* But I don't DO the airport! Not even! The only two times I've tried, I have made wrong turns exiting the place and wound up going across the bay to St. Pete.... (groan) But I take this situation in hand, and drive right downtown like I know what I'm doing. We found the National car rental office (which was no small endeavor in itself!), and then came the task of getting home without crossing that stupid bridge... The morning Fox News guys had just said a couple days ago that there has been so much construction downtown Tampa and in and around the airport, that it has rendered all GPS's invalid ~ so I knew no assistance would be forthcoming from Penelope... I took a deep breath and followed the signs v-e-r-y carefully to get myself on I-275 north. Made it! Now ~ I-4 east. Made it! Now ~ I-75 north. Made it! Yay! I'm on familiar territory ~ made it home with no problem. This was epic, people ~ a major accomplishment!

When I got home, there were two loads of laundry to do and supper to prepare, but you know, I was really worn out. So I took a nap. Don't you love it?

I had put "Golden Glow Pork Chops" in the crock pot in the morning before all the excitement ~ so to complete the meal, I fixed a veggie tray (sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers), rice, and green beans.

Supper is over, dishes are done, company has gone to bed, and

It's a happy mood we're in this evening, these
Russells at Richmond Place

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Clean House & Company

Hello again! Aha ~ three days in a row. Don't they say if you do something three days in a row it becomes a habit? We shall see ~ we shall see...

The day started with cleaning up the guest bedroom ~ clean sheets & dusting furniture & all that. There's a little lady named Peggy who works with Mark's sister, Mary, in Costa Rica and the Methodist Mission, who was largely responsible for taking care of Papa (Mark's dad) during his last months of life. This dear Peggy now has cancer, and Mark has arranged for her to come to Moffitt Cancer Center for treatment. She and her daughter, Dot, will be arriving in Tampa this evening, and staying with us for at least a few days.

Next came cleaning up the kitchen ~ putting dishes away and running the dishwasher one more time. Then making a pot of homemade vegetable soup that will simmer on the stove all afternoon. Sure smells good!

We arrived at the airport around 7:35, and Dot's flight was to come in at 8:11. Mark had not had anything to eat all day, so he got a Whopper while we were waiting. We stood at the tram exit until about 1/2 hour after Dot's flight was due in, then moved down to luggage claim. No Dot. She wasn't answering her cell phone. Then Mark's phone rang and she told him she had gone to the red side luggage belts, when she should have gone to the blue side ~ what can I say? Mark told her to stay put and he would find her and bring her to where she needed to be. Meanwhile, the airport "person" put all remaining bags on a cart and wheeled them away. I ran after him and told him we would need to claim one of those bags when we found the passenger, so where could we find them? When Mark and Dot showed up, we had to go to the airline office and claim the luggage. Exciting? We're not finished. Mark took Dot's luggage to the car, while Dot and I trekked over to the red side now, to wait for Peggy, whose flight was due in about 8:50. When Mark came in, he checked the monitors for flight updates and discovered Peggy's flight had been delayed until 9:15. At about 9:30, I went down to baggage claim to see if she may have walked passed us and gone there on her own. When I got there, all bags had been cleared away and there was no-one around at all. I walked over to the airline office and asked if Peggy's bag was there ~ and it was! I called Mark & said I had found the luggage ~ had he found Peggy? He said he had. Now wouldn't you think that meant she was with them? That's what I thought, but when they walked up to me, there was no Peggy. I said I thought he had found Peggy! His response was that he had ~ she was still in Ft. Lauderdale. Communication is not his strong point, ya think?

Well, we were at the airport until nearly 11:00, trying to contact a supervisor, who seemed to have vanished in thin air, and trying to get Peggy's luggage released to her daughter, which was easier said than done....but it was finally accomplished. The airline gave Peggy vouchers for a hotel room for the night, supper, breakfast, and lunch! The next flight into Tampa on that airline is tomorrow at 7:50 p.m.

We finally made it home around 11:30 and all had a lovely bowl of homemade vegetable soup. Dot went to bed, Mark listened to a little guitar music and I updated my blog.

Another day with the
Russells at Richmond Place

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cards * Lunch * Practice

Hey! Two days in a row! Heading in the right direction....

Diana went to Amanda's Stamp Pad today and made 4 cute cards... Amanda is the Stampin' Up! Demonstrator and she gives classes in her home nearly every week ~ if you care to participate. Some are exploring new techniques, some are using paper punches, some are using rubber stamps, some are cards, some are scrapbook pages, etc. etc. Our "Tuesday" group is lots of fun and more times than not, we end up going to lunch together ~ to TGI Friday's (which has a Michael's in the same shopping center...). Today was no exception ~ after our cards were made, off we went to lunch! Sandy, Linda and I made a stop at Michael's where all their Christmas dollar stuff was 4/$1! Wow! What fun! Lunch was broccoli cheese soup and half a California club sandwich. Very tasty. And I went over my 100 stripes today, so I should be getting $8.00 off my next meal there. Woo Hoo!

This evening we went to the church to practice some songs for our Friday night sing. Sound system adjustments, learning to sing "into" the mic's, finding your part (I just wish Mark would NOT sing my part ~ jk!), all makes for a fun evening!

When we got home, Sassy's toy was in my chair ~ translation ~ I was not in my chair long enough at all today....

Well, there you have it. Tuesday with the
Russell's at Richmond Place

Monday, January 11, 2010

A New Decade ~ A New Year ~ A New Start

Oh, Hi!

I could continue the title with a new month, a new resolution, a new blog site, etc. etc. So here we are, trying again, to keep all of you informed about our lives. Aren't you just thrilled? Good intentions, that what I have! My goal is to write here every day ~ ha! you say... The proof is in the pudding!

To start the day, Mark was up and around getting ready for work, while Sassy and I were still curled up and comfy in bed, when "blink" ~ the electricity went off. Good thing Mark had already shaved, because the bathroom is as dark as a cave... So out came the flashlight, so he could get his clothes out of the closet.

When I got up, shortly after M left, I came to my computer and it said the temperature was 29* outside ~ wait, are we still in Tampa??? Hmmm... I shut the computer down, as I could not get to Facebook (sniff); and the house was quickly becoming very cool; and there was no way to fix coffee! So, with jammies and robe and blanket, Sassy & I sat in the recliner. I do have a battery operated CD player, so we kicked back and listened to a book on tape...which put me back to sleep. Naps are really nice things! I was supposed to go to the Y for my Monday Silver Sneakers session in the morning and then to the library for my monthly book discussion group at 2:00 p.m., but there was no fixing my hair in a bathroom where you could not see ~ so no outings were attempted. At 2:36 p.m. the refrigerator started humming and warm air started coming out of the furnace/AC vents. Lovely, these things! I made a dash for the bathroom and combed my hair, in case of another emergency!

I worked on some historical fact-finding for my Memoirs Class, and at 6:25, was ready to head for class, but alas, the printer wouldn't work. Now all I know about computers is that they are supposed to work! Trouble-shooting is not my forte ~ so all the work I had done will have to wait for the next class, and I will sit there and smile pretty with nothing to contribute this time.

Mark went straight from work to the church to work on setting up the sound system for our gospel sing this Friday night, held at the Italian Wagon (our pastor's little place of business). We try to have a sing once a month ~ outside ~ and offer a simple meal, as well. A Gospel outreach that our pastor's wife put into motion. It's a fun endeavor and we pray it will be used to reach somebody with the Gospel message. Whew! I said all that to say that I was home by 9:30 and Mark didn't get home 'til 11:30! And now it is 12:30 and I am going to bed.

Another day in the life of the
Russells at Richmond Place