What’s Stuck In My Head – 24 August

It was a bit tough picking just one thing stuck in my head today. I’ve had lots of great songs running all around in my head (one of the nicer side effects of not sleeping). Everything from The Band’s The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, to Pat Travers and the old blues standard Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights).  But I just had to pick this one. Mainly because not only has it been playing in my head, I heard it on SiriusXM ClassicVinyl on the way in! It’s like kismet or something.

So here it is; It Don’t Come Easy by the one and only Ringo Starr.  You can file this under videos that have nothing to do with the song.

Please leave a comment (or if you’re part of my family – text me. Seems they can’t figure out the comment deal)…

Peace,
B

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Not The Song I Want To Hear (Part II)

As I mentioned in part I of this new series, I really enjoy being able to change the station when a song/artist/band comes on that I don’t want to hear, and not have to play it and pretend how great it is like when I was a DJ.

Not that I did much of that, in fact pretty much the exact opposite. When I was an on-air DJ at this particular country station (won’t mention the call letters or anybody’s name – just in case), the program director insisted that we would not play a certain song. He didn’t think it was “country” enough. The music director told me to play it (my shift was overnights, from midnight to 6 AM). He knew the program director wasn’t listening. So I played it quite often. Always the rebel!

The program director couldn’t figure out why he would get calls requesting the song when “we don’t play it” but the caller would insist they heard it last night.  We never told him we were playing it. But he did relent eventually and added it to the rotation.

That song was Swingin’ by John Anderson. It hit #1 on the US Hot Country Songs (Billboard). But yeah, it ain’t country enough.

But, as usual, I’m down a rabbit hole.  Let’s get back with the subject of today’s post.

Stuff that makes me change the station immediately;

  • Bread. Has to be the most overplayed sappy crap of all time. If you can listen to an entire song and not go into a diabetic coma, it’s a damn miracle.
  • Rupert Holmes. Seriously? How did this guy ever get a recording deal? I won’t even get into how bad Escape (The Piña Colada Song) is. I got queasy just typing the title.
  • The Doobie Brothers (but only with Michael McDonald). Early Doobie stuff is excellent. McDonald was to the Doobies as Yoko was to the Beatles.
  • 10cc. Again pure syrup.
  • Damn near any 80’s synth stuff.  Too many bands to list here.

Stuff that gets turned up:

  • Jackson Browne (with the exception of The Load Out/Stay). Way overplayed.
  • Steely Dan. When I was about 14 (this would be about 1972 – 73) one of the older guys across the street from my house told me that the Dan would be the next Beatles. They may not have made it quite that big, but they came close.
  • Santana. Another guitar god. Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile), Samba Pa Ti are two of my favorites. Smooth, on the other hand, gets turned off.

That’s my list for today.  I’m sure there’ll be more to come.

Here’s Steely Dan doing Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, which I’ve heard is about Rick Derringer (Rock And Roll Hootchie Coo). Rick and the Dan were set to record together, but Rick didn’t come back after the first session. At least that’s the story I’ve heard.

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head

Welcome to a new series!  The “What’s Stuck In My Head” series will be, mostly, music, but will also have other items I can’t seem to shake. Maybe a news item (but not a lot of politics), art pieces, meme’s, books etc… In other words, totally random, just as the blog title says.

So going off of yesterday’s random music video post, today’s “What’s Stuck In My Head” is a comedy video. I picked what I believe to be one the greatest comedy skits of all time. Abbot & Costello’s Who’s On First.

I do hope you enjoy that skit as much as I do. Please leave me a comment or two, and maybe a recommendation of something to add to the series. I’d love to hear from you!

Peace,
B

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A Day That Will Live In Infamy

(No… not that one)

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On 19 August 1977 (41 years ago), we lost one of the greatest comedians of all time. Julius “Groucho” Marx. He was, at the least, the driving force behind the Marx Brothers comedy. Somewhere I have bootleg copies of all of their movies. A Night At The Opera, Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Duck Soup, and my favorite A Day At The Races. But I do have to admit that Cocoanuts, a story about the Florida land boom of the 1920’s is still very relevant today. Just read any of Carl Hiaasen’s “Skink” books or Tim Dorsey’s “Serge” books, and you can see they fit into the same mold.

Groucho has always been one of my favorites, from the grease paint mustache (said to have come about because he arrived late to set and didn’t have time to put the fake mustache on, or he hated taking off the fake one since it hurt!), the stooped over walk, and especially his always ready quick comebacks. To this day I still use one of his standards “Now that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!” (in a very poor imitation) in damn near every situation.

Some notable quotes:

I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.

I sent the club a wire stating, “PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER”. (I have used this quote when giving lectures several times. My all time favorite.)

Source: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Groucho_Marx

When he was turned down for membership to a country club due to being Jewish, it is rumored that he asked “Can my daughter go into the pool waist deep? She’s only half Jewish”.

I did watch reruns (I’m not THAT old!) of Groucho’s TV show You Bet Your Life,  and while at times very funny, the censors wouldn’t let most of his asides on air. A lot of the Marx Brothers’ movies were “pre-code”, meaning there wasn’t as much of the more risqué stuff cut. Naturally, there was no foul language or nudity, it was the 20’s and 30’s after all, but a lot more innuendo was allowed then.

Here is one source for some audio clips of all the Marx Brothers.  A quick search of YouTube turns up some great Groucho clips. Here’s one:

Peace,
B

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How’s Your Day Going??

So today has not started off all that well.  But it’s looking better.

First thing – checked my email and found that the professional genealogist I contacted to help with a search said no. She wouldn’t help me. Just referred me to someone “local”. I can’t even pay anyone to help me find ancestors.

Traffic today was super stupid. There were two guys going 30 MPH (in a 45 MPH area) side by side blocking traffic. This was planned, as they were laughing at each other and waving every time someone honked at them.  And, of course, this was in a no passing area (double yellow line).

Finally, this guy in a very large pickup truck passed them (crossing the double yellow line), pulled over to the right lane and basically just stopped.  This allowed everyone to get around the other jerk. There was much yelling and the customary middle finger salute as folks went around. I saw the passenger door on the big truck open, but no idea if someone got out to have a nice discussion with the gentleman now trapped in his vehicle. I haven’t seen any reports of an incident in that area on Twitter, so hopefully, it was settled without violence. Well, maybe just a little violence.

The next problem – the lines at McDonald’s. Only about 20 cars deep at the drive through and folks lined up out the door to get inside! Were they giving something away? I didn’t have time to sit and wait to find out. Mainly due to the idiots mentioned above that put me a good ten minutes behind schedule.

But wait! It get’s better.  The coffee pot at work is DOA. Seriously, WTF??? But I did find an old one in my bosses office, so I took it.  Hey, he’s off today. Besides, he doesn’t have a carafe for it anyway.  So coffee was finally made.

One more thing – my SiriusXM app wouldn’t load. It’s common for the app (the “official” Windows 10 version from the Micro$oft store) not to open the first time. But today, it took a good thirty minutes for it to load.

I’ll tell you, a day without coffee and no tunes? No chance. I would have gone home.

So, how’s your day going?

Peace,
B

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Not The Song I Want To Hear

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For those just joining the party, a little history.  In a previous life, I have been a DJ. I worked at a country station, a big band station, and did mobile DJ work.  All in the early 80’s in and around Miami.

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On Crandon Park Beach.  Employee party for the T.G.I. Friday restaurant chain. With Reflections Productions.

Also in a previous life, I was a worship leader for several churches in the Daytona Beach area. I have been told that I was the “Christian Tom Petty” and that my voice was like the guy from Lady Antebellum. I take both as huge compliments.

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Long ago, in a universe far far away…

Now that we have that out-of-the-way…

What I came here to talk about today are artists/bands/songs that either make me turn up the volume or change the station.  This is not a comprehensive list and I ask for comments, both where you think I’m wrong and anything that could be added. And as I’m writing this post, Jethro Tull’s Aqua Lung is playing.  While I love this song (and the “follow-up” Locomotive Breath) Wifey® will leave the room when either play, and I’ll turn it up. So that’s a perfect kick off!

Stuff That Makes Me Change The Station

  • Anything, and I mean anything, by George Thorogood. There is just something about his whole style that I do not care for. And I love the blues in general, just not his version.
  • Along the same lines is Bruce Springsteen. But not every song, just most of them. Again it’s a style thing for me.
  • Almost anything from Lynyrd Skynyrd. Especially Free Bird. I will let Simple Man and Curtis Lowe play.  Growing up in Florida, they had to be the most overplayed band of my youth. Along with our next entry.
  • Led Zepplin. Again, they were like every third song on the radio. I’m so over them.

 

Stuff That Makes Me Turn Up The Volume

  • The Beatles. When my granddaughters on riding with me in my truck, we always have The Beatles channel on SiriusXM playing. But not too loud, don’t want their ears to get as bad as mine.
  • CCR.  I love John Fogerty’s style. Every one of their songs gets me rocking.
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash (with or without Young). Songs I learned to play very early. Although I could never quite get the right sound out of my guitar. It wasn’t until much later that I learned that Stephen Stills used an alternate tuning.
  • So we also need to add Neil Young as a solo artist. Wifey® doesn’t care for Mr. Young. Something about his voice. But I love his melodies, harmonies, and lyrics.
  • Just about any other “Southern Rock” band other than Skynyrd. Molly Hatchet (Especially their cover of Dreams), .38 Special, the Outlaws (High Tides and Green Grass), Marshall Tucker Band.
  • The Allman Brothers. Sure you could place them in the “Southern Rock” category, but they play the blues more, and better than the others. Is it odd that I like their instrumental works best? Melissa, Jessica, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed. Now that I’ve put that down, maybe it’s because they’re all named for women?
  • Bob Seger (except for Turn The Page, again way overplayed). But if  Main Street or Night Moves comes on, the volume goes up.
  • Eric Clapton. Doesn’t matter which band. The Yardbirds, John Mayall Blues Breakers, Cream, Derek & The Dominoes, or solo (even with Delany & Friends). His guitar soars above everything else. And that leads me to –
  • Steve Winwood. Just like Clapton, it doesn’t matter which group or solo. Spencer Davis Group (as “Little Stevie Winwood”), Traffic, Blind Faith etc, etc…
  • So lets put them together. Clapton and Winwood did a three-day gig at Madison Square Garden.  Has to be one of the best of all time. They covered each of their bands and other stuff. That cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing is my all time favorite.
  • Jimi Hendrix (oh nice segue there dude). Such an amazing guitar. Nothing else needs to be said.
  • The Monkees. Yeah, it’s bubblegum, but my very first album I was “More Of The Monkees”.  I watched the TV show every week. It was the one night I didn’t have to help with dishes! And, in my opinion, Michael Nesmith is a very talented musician. His music, both with and without The Monkees are some of my favorites.
  • Staying with the “pop” genre, let’s go with The Bangles. Great music, and easy to look at. Their cover of Simon & Garfinkle’s Hazy Shade of Winter is so much better than the original. But the video sucks.  Wifey® would add The Go-Go’s here, but they weren’t my favorite (but I do follow them on Twitter).
  •  Yes.  That’s the band there, not just some random exclamation. Such interesting melodies, not to mention Jon Anderson’s vocals! I also have several of Rick Wakeman’s solo albums. The Six Wives of Henry VIII is so out of this world, I used to blast it outside on Halloween night.
  • Heart. I have seen these ladies in concert three times. They put on a great show! I had a poster of (my wife to be – before I met Wifey®), Nancy Wilson in my bedroom.
  • The Who. Really anything by Pete Townsend. His style of blending guitar, keyboards and either his or Roger Daltry’s vocals are superb. It’s that “wall of sound” that gets me.

Stuff That Doesn’t Get Turned Up, But I Don’t Change The Station

  • Cat Stevens/Yusef.  His music saved me during those tough High School years. But I have to admit, I did turn up the volume now and then.
  • Dan Fogelberg. More music that saved me after those tough High School years. I tend to like the earlier stuff better.
  • Linda Ronstadt. Hers was the other poster up in my room. Her voice was what I fell asleep to most nights.
  • John Denver. Yes, John Denver. Just something about the folksy sound I really enjoyed. Except for Grandma’s Feather Bed et al…

As you can see, I have a lot more likes than dislikes. And I’m happy that I’m no longer behind the mic and have to play stuff I don’t care for, and pretend that I enjoy it.

I’m sure you can add others to both sides of this list. I didn’t go into much of 80’s music. But there are some I enjoyed, some I didn’t, and some that are hit and miss. I didn’t go into any Beatles solo projects either.  But I’ll save that for another post…

I’ll leave you with a video of Clapton & Winwood.  Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Catching Up

So it’s been a while since I posted anything. So let’s catch up, shall we?

The reasons I haven’t posted are several. I had a killer head cold for about 2 weeks, that I couldn’t shake (same one I mentioned in my Celebrate Good Times (Come On)! post).  My work issued laptop died on me, and I’ve been so busy at work that when I get home and I feel like crap due to the cold, I had no desire to sit in front of any PC. When you consider how much computer time I log at work, it’s rather surprising how much I use one at home.

But not everything was bad. I bought a new SiriusXM radio for my aging truck. It’s an external device that plugs in through the aux port on the existing radio. I also stream, mostly the “Classic” (oh, how I hate that term. Can we go back to AOR please?) stations. I like SiriusXM over the local radio because the DJs don’t think they have to be funny so they can get hired and go to a larger market. SiriusXM’s market is North America. Quite a bit bigger than any terrestrial market. Plus these DJs know what they’re talking about.  I also like SiriusXM over most streaming services (Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, etc.) because they play the music the way it was recorded. One thing that always pissed me off with the various streaming services is they tend to cut apart songs the segue into each other. A classic example is Jackson Browne’s “The Load Out/Stay”. Streaming radio turns those into two separate songs. It increases the total number of songs in their library, but it totally screws up the listening experience.

My office replaced my very small Micro$oft Surface Book with a beautiful 17″ HP laptop.  This thing is a beast! An i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and this wonderful huge screen! These tired old eyes can see again!

Wifey® and I have planned, and made the deposit on, something that is on both of our bucket lists. A trip to Scotland, the land of our heritage. We’ve both did the Ancestry DNA tests. I’ve posted about this before.  Turns out both of our DNA points directly to Scotland/Ireland/Land of the Vikings. I’d like to try to find the ancestor that made the trip over the pond to settle in America before we go. But that costs money, and right now we’re trying to save, not spend so we can blow the whole wad while in Scotland.  I’m hoping the duty-free shop in the Edinburgh airport has a good selection of native scotches.  I will have a separate post(s) about the trip as things get closer, and when we are in country.

We had a wonderful dinner the other night with my brother and his wife here at my house.  I smoked three whole chickens. Not that I expected we would eat them all that night, I planned on leftovers so we (as in Wifey® and son-the-younger and myself) could make pot pies from the leftover chicken and other veggies we made that day.

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Yup, there are 3 whole chickens in there!

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We ended up with 10 pot pies of varying sizes

I confirmed something I learned the last time I smoked chicken. From now on I’m only buying leg quarters. There were 4 and a half breast quarters left, but only one leg quarter. Seem we prefer the dark meat!

And I’ve read a couple of good books too. I won’t write any reviews.  If you want book reviews, there are plenty of sites that have them (I recommend Once Upon A Spine).

I’ll leave you with a video. Has nothing to do with this post, but the opening line “Been away, haven’t seen you in a while”, fits with the theme. Plus it’s Dave Mason.  I’ve been a fan of his since his days with Traffic.

So what have you been up to?

Peace,
B

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Celebrate Good Times (Come On)!

Yesterday we had the final celebration of Wifey® and granddaughter-the-elder’s birthdays. Since they both have birthday’s on or around the 4th, and we live in a tourist area, sometimes we have to do our celebrating in stages. Plus it’s more fun to keep the celebrations going for a while! Then this morning, Wifey® reminded me that today is our 73rd six-month anniversary. Yes, we celebrate every six months since that was how long we were told we would last. Ha!

So yesterday the family went to Universal City Walk and had a great time. It was all son-the-younger’s idea. Since Wifey® and I both agree we have too much stuff, we would rather do things with whichever family members we can get together. Son-the-younger picked Blueman Group, and since none of us have ever seen that show, I immediately agreed.

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My fam-damily!

And boy did we pick a hell of a day!  The rain was so bad on the way over to Orlando, we could barely see the hood of the car. But there was no rain in Orlando (surprise!). We had crazy heat. Well maybe not crazy, after all, we are Florida natives (except for son-the-younger, he’s our “token Eskimo” – he was born in Alaska).

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Feels like 108!

So our basic “plan” (we never have a plan – or if we do we don’t follow it), was to get to City Walk around 3PM, walk around and shop a bit, then catch an early dinner and the finally the Blueman Group show at 6PM. But as luck would have it, we sat down at the Lone Palm Bar (part of Margaritaville) and had a few beers. Son-the-younger took his girls and walked around. They found the hot dog stand. And they know that I love hot dogs. But, even cooler, they found stadium seats from some major league stadiums! They also know that papa loves baseball!

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My baby girls in the doughnut chair

Once we realized that we had missed our time for an early dinner, we decided that another round of beers was in order and that we would go to the theater and wait for the show.

Since it was so hot and humid outside, the theater was like an ice-box. But man did it feel good! Plus we were allowed to bring in our drink and snacks! I won’t give much of a review of the show as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing it.

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Beer, popcorn, and Minecraft swords! Oh, my!

The Blueman Group show was totally awesome! I have not laughed that hard in a long time. I was already fighting a head cold and scratchy throat before we went, so now I can hardly talk. But it was completely worth it. wp-1531740904422..jpg

After the show, we went to the restaurant that we used as a ruse to plan this whole adventure. We didn’t tell Wifey® about the show, only we were going to dinner. But since we had waited so long, there was now an hour wait. What to do? What else, go have another beer!  So back around the park, we go back to the Lone Palm Bar. But our very cool server, Bethany, was off shift now. But we only had time for one beer, so it was all good.

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It was 9PM or so by the time we got to eat. The girls were very hungry, almost to the point of feeling sick. But the milkshakes they had took care of that quickly. I will say I was not happy with my meal, but I don’t blame the restaurant. By this time I was feeling so bad, between the heat and the head cold, that nothing would have tasted good to me.  Everybody else said their meals were great, so I’ll take the heat on this one.

Other than stupid Orlando traffic, and all the damn construction, the drive home was a little easier. Traffic on I-4 (AKA The Devil’s Highway), which according to a recent study is the most dangerous road in America, was light. But we still didn’t get home until midnight.

But all in all, a most spectacular evening! I highly recommend Blueman Group. We’ve already made plans to bring the girls to the Universal Theme Park and Harry Potter.  Stay tuned for that review!

So, how was your weekend?

Peace,
B

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And A Good Time Was Had By All

As I mentioned on my 4th of July post, Wednesday was granddaughter-the-elder’s birthday, and Thursday was Wifey’s®. Last Monday, granddaughter-the-elder informed us she was having a unicorn party at both houses (as in our house and her other grandparent’s where she lives). Of course, she didn’t bother to ask us if she could have a birthday party, she just decided she was going to have a party, and that was the end of the discussion.  Well, what’s a good papa to do, other than making sure she has a unicorn party? Between Wifey®, son-the-younger (AKA Daddy), and myself, we managed to get everything together.

Wifey® and granddaughter-the-elder, along with granddaughter-the-younger, starting browsing the Intertubes for unicorn party ideas. Somehow they decided on unicorn cake pops. Now we have never made any cake pops before, much less unicorn type, so Wifey®, being the smart cookie that she is, said we should make a trial batch before the party so we could get things right. Damn good thing we did. The first batch was an utter failure. The “instructions” (not really instructions – more like general ideas) were so generic, nothing went as shown. So she broke down and bought a cake pop tray. And while the cake pops came out correct, it was still anything but smooth sailing.

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Nekkid cake pops

The concept is once you have the cake pops baked and stuck on a stick (and there are several sizes of sticks available – but no advice as to which size to use), you’re supposed to dip them in some melted candy. This will give them a nice smooth surface to decorate, plus it seals the cake portion making them last a bit longer.

But here’s the thing. We bought a package of “candy melts” that are specifically made for this type of project. We bought a 10-ounce package (only size available), the “instructions” say you only need 4 ounces to cover 24 cake pops. Bullshit. For one thing, despite following the melting instructions on the candy packaging, I never could get it to dippable consistency. I have been melting chocolate and other candies for many years and never had a problem like this. One “instructional” video shows that instead of dipping the pops, use a spoon and drizzle the melted candy over the pops. Nope, not gonna happen. The candy was never liquid enough to drizzle either. So we ended up only covering some of our pops.

So on to the unicorn decorations. Wifey® found “instructions” on how to make a unicorn horn with fondant. It sounded easy enough. Just roll out some fondant cut into about a 2-inch section fold, and twist to look like a horn. You can then mount it on a toothpick, or something similar, so you can stick in a piece of styrofoam like stuff and put them in the fridge to harden. Once they’re hard you paint them with a small mix of either water or something alcohol based (for quick evaporation) and some edible glitter. We used vanilla extract, but I think the dark color of the extract made the horns turn too dark. But for the ears, mini-marshmallows cut in half, and painted with the same mix, they came out beautiful.

Next, we were supposed to draw eyes on the pops. We

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have special edible markers just for this purpose. But since the candy coating didn’t work correctly, and wasn’t smooth, it didn’t work either. But granddaughter-the-elder had a blast doing it anyway!

Wifey® then showed up my failures by piping the manes and little flowers on some of the pops. She has considerable piping skills!

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But, cake pop issues aside, the party was a lot of fun. Since we didn’t have a lot of time to plan it, we let granddaughter-the-elder set the guest list. So only a few really close friends of hers were invited.

Daddy (AKA son-the-younger), made us some homemade pizzas. He is a sous chef for an Italian restaurant here in town, and he has this pizza making stuff down pat. We had five pizzas and a mess of garlic knots (also homemade). And they were amazing!  I think we only had three slices of pizza left over!

The best of all the kitchen work was how little I had to do. Not that I didn’t want to help, but my lower back issue flared up again Saturday afternoon so I was on muscle relaxers most of the weekend. So all I really did was sit and chop veggies, and fail at the candy coating for the pops. It also meant that I couldn’t join in on the tequila shots later that evening.

Granddaughter-the-younger said that the kids were celebrating sissy’s birthday and the adults were celebrating memaw’s (Wifey®) birthday. So there was a water balloon fight (all ages), fireworks later in the evening, beer (and I did have some of that) & tequila (adults only!) and movies with popcorn and a sleepover (kids only!). My driveway looks like a battle zone right now. Remnants of fireworks and brightly colored balloon pieces are everywhere.

One of granddaughter-the-elder’s presents was a stuffed turtle. She has a fascination with any stuffed toy, with a soft spot for turtles. The turtle looks decidedly drunk. One droopy eye and the pupils are different sizes! She absolutely loves it.

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SO… how was you’re weekend?

P.S. If you have any good tips on cake pops, please leave a comment.  Thanks!

Peace,
B

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