New Cameras

Grandma Kc wrote this on January 26th, 2015 20 Replies

Many months ago, I started begging Grampy for a new camera for Christmas. Nine and a half years ago, he had given me my current camera for a wedding present! He knew I really wanted a new camera back then and he had been reading up on the soon to be released Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT. (I knew none of this at the time.) He really wanted me to have it for our honeymoon to Sedona and the Grand Canyon but it wasn’t released until a month later. I took my first picture with it on June 23, 2005. I have loved that camera but even my cell phone had a camera with 12 megapixels. My Canon only had 8 and as much as I loved that camera, I really wanted a new one.

I did my homework and read up on when was the best time of year to buy a new camera. The answer is December as the new models have usually just come out and you can get great deals on the older model. Perfect! I was thrilled at the idea of getting the Rebel T3i and in October, I started watching prices on the body only for a T3i. I already had 3 lenses so I was hoping to find a great deal.

Every morning as part of my routine, I would check Google shopping and Amazon and every day the price was the same. It was about a week before Christmas when I found a late Black Monday sale and the price was amazing! For at least 12 hours, I didn’t breathe and I debated whether to do it. I am NOT a spontaneous shopper! I have to beat things to death! But I did it! I ordered it and I was so excited.

Until I got up the next morning to an email from the company saying I had to phone in to confirm my order. I just did not have a good feeling about it! I called and was on hold forever before hanging up and calling back only to be on hold for 5 minutes again before I hung up! I replied to their email that if they wanted to confirm my order, here is my phone number – you call me! Within 5 minutes, I had an email reply apologizing and asking me to dial through to an extension. Still not feeling good about this but I called back. The man I spoke with, who could in no way could be called a gentleman began with a very confrontational attitude to tell me that I would NOT have it by Christmas. I tried to be patient and told him I knew that but for the great price, I was willing to wait. This is when he got really nasty and says the reason it is so cheap is that there is no lens or battery included. I again patiently told him I was upgrading and already had the lenses. He comes back with, “Yes, but your battery won’t fit and the battery and charger are $200. Yours won’t fit – go check, I’ll wait!” My reply was, “Just cancel the order.” “Fine!” And he hung up on me!

I was so disappointed! On the other hand, I had new resolution. I was not buying my camera until the price came down somewhere reputable like Amazon.

Waiting turned out to be the exactly right thing to do. On January 7th, I took my daily Amazon visit. The T3i body was on sale at the same price it had been since October only this time I noticed there was an ad for the T5i body. Better yet, it was only $40 more than the T3i was and it even came with lots of extra stuff! Seven long days later it arrived and I have been in love with my new camera ever since.

Now I must back track for a moment. One day when I first began discussing with Jenna how much I wanted a new camera, Amara asked if she could have my old one when I did. I thought about it for 5 or 6 seconds and said yes. Later I decided I probably should ask her parents what they thought of the idea. They had actually discussed it and thought that Amara was mature and responsible enough.

I went through the camera drawer, got out all of the manuals, the extra battery and the charger, and put them in the spare camera bag for her. I let her have the original lens that came with the camera. I even gave her the new tripod that came with the new camera. I already have a good one and she was thrilled that she could put the camera on the tripod and set the time and jump in the picture! But the first pictures she took were of her longtime friend Twursula. And of course, I had to take a picture of her taking those first pictures! She will be 5th generation camera bug!

You can click the center pictures to go to an even larger view of cuteness.

PS I love that when I got to her house this morning she was taking pictures of her new kitten, Walter!

A Special Christmas and Pink Squirrels

Grandma Kc wrote this on January 10th, 2015 17 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

My second trip back to Michigan from California was in the December of 1970. It was my first Christmas with my new family. I wish I could find where I have put all of the pictures from that trip but all of it is forever captured in my mind. Not only did we celebrate Christmas, we celebrated my 21st birthday, Dad’s birthday and went to a bunch of holiday parties.

We hadn’t told Sandy and John that I was coming. Daddy picked me up at the airport on their last day of school before Christmas vacation. I can still see the look on Sandy’s face when she walked into the front room and saw me sitting there. At first, she looked so confused. You know how it is when you see someone where they don’t belong, kind of a Twilight Zone effect! When it finally sunk in that it was really me, we both screamed and she gave me the best hug ever!

John walked in after her; he wasn’t nearly as thrilled to see me! John and I didn’t always relate the way that Sandy and I did but we did have one big bonding moment that trip. John was in Boy Scouts and he and Daddy had built a car to enter in the Race Car Derby. It was fun going as a family and even more fun when they asked me to be one of the judges. While he would never admit it, I think John was proud to have me as his sister that night. I know I was proud to be his big sister.

Sandy and I shared her room for the next week and had fun being sisters! HOURS were spent lying under the sun lamp that Daddy had. Don’t know why he owned it and it really didn’t work that well but we had fun lying under it, reading magazines and talking. There may have been some instant tanning lotion incident, too. I seem to remember Sandy’s hands turning kind of orange.

OH and there were the cookies! Sandy and I decided to make Christmas cookies. It was a good thing they lived in town at that time as Sandy and I had to walk back to the store twice to get more powdered sugar. There was not one inch of counter space in that kitchen that didn’t have frosted cookies on it. We even had them on top of the washer and dryer. I have no idea why we made so many but I do remember they were very good and as always, we had a blast doing it together.

Then there were the parties! Being there in December I got to go with Mom and Dad to both of their company Christmas parties. Sandy and John didn’t go to these as they were grown up parties – but I did! It is hard to explain the emotions of it all. Mom and Dad were both so proud and excited to introduce me to all of their friends. I was so excited to be with them and to feel such love.

We had a family party to celebrate Daddy and my birthdays. Dad and Mom bought me a beautiful turquoise and gold ring and we had a huge chocolate bakery cake topped with poinsettias! It was probably the only time I didn’t hate having a December birthday. I even liked having a Christmas themed cake.

But I must say the best of the holiday parties is the one I remember the least! Mom and Dad were having a Christmas party at their house for some friends. I don’t remember where Sandy and John were that night and I don’t think there were any other kids there. The house was decorated and we were all dressed up fancy. It was Mom, Aunt Phyllis and me waiting for Daddy and Uncle Dick to get there before all the quests. Daddy and Uncle Dick both worked for Consumers Power Company and of course it was snowing extremely hard that day and both of them were still out working. Mom decided to make a pitcher of Pink Squirrels for the three of us to sip on while we waiting for everyone else. A Pink Squirrels is crème de cocoa, crème de almond and heavy cream blended with ice. It tastes very much like a liquid centered chocolate covered cherry. It sure didn’t taste like alcohol. We sipped, chatted, and lost track of time and the number of sips! We were on our third pitcher when Daddy walked in. I just remember him saying, “So you decided to start without me.” I don’t remember many of the details after that! I do remember Daddy playing the organ while his friend Bill played the guitar and we all laughed sang.

It was a wonderful trip filled with lots of wonderful memories.

Colored Snow Hits Southern California

Grandma Kc wrote this on December 30th, 2014 21 Replies

Kids! You never know when they are going to outgrow something. Recently Amara’s Mommy mentioned that Amara was starting to outgrow her American Girl Dolls. Although she did dress them in costumes for Halloween, she plays with them less and less. She surprised us all when she brought Lilly to spend the night 2 weekends ago. She hasn’t done that in a long time and granted she didn’t play with her she simply tucked her into bed in her room. Still she brought her.

That same weekend I told Amara that her friend Fred and his parents were coming to visit the Sunday after Christmas. We were discussing what to have for dinner when I casually mentioned that I hadn’t ordered any instant snow this year. You should have seen her face drop and her bottom lip start to quiver as she explained that she was really looking forward to it. “But Grandma, I saw a video on YouTube. They added food color to the snow and I really wanted to try it.” Is there anything she doesn’t want to add food color to? We immediately went to the office and found it on Amazon. An easy Christmas wish to grant. Fred’s parents said he was really looking forward to the snow, too.

It was a chilly Sunday afternoon – only 62 degrees but they didn’t even notice. They had so much fun chasing one another and dumping snow on one another’s head. The pictures really say it all!

You can click the pictures to go to larger view.

P.S. According to Jenna and Justin Amara had a real challenge getting all of the snow out of her hair and off of her scalp! It just kept growing!

Scary Stories

Grandma Kc wrote this on December 18th, 2014 21 Replies

Seems like lately there have been some frightening moments around here!

I was sure that I had blogged about the time that Grampy scared us at bedtime but I guess I didn’t. We have a routine where I get Amara ready for bed and she then hides under her covers and call Grampy to come kiss her good night. She has been doing this since she was old enough to know how to hide. Grampy is always in the front room waiting and watching TV. When she calls him, he comes down the hall to her room and pretends to try to find her. That night as Amara hid under the covers with me lying next to her she called out for Grampy – who immediately stuck his head in the door and said, “Hi!” We both screamed. We had no idea he had been standing out there! We all laughed and Amara immediately started plotting her revenge. She spent the next day trying to sneak up on Grampy in his office and scare him. He loved it! She delighted in telling him she was going to tell her Mom he scared her – and she had lots of fun actually doing it!

Then there was the night a few weeks later that Amara took one of her special glow sticks and candlelight baths after we finished our movie. We were both relaxed and she was all powdered and in her PJs. She walked into her room just as Grampy leaped out from under the covers where he had been hiding and said. “What just happened?” That is what Amara always says if you wake up while she is sleeping. Trying to scare us had been funny the last time. This time Grampy really scared her. There were tears and Grampy still feels really bad about it. I was immediately concerned she wouldn’t sleep but she snapped out of it in a few moments and was sound asleep in less than five minutes! She never woke up all night.

Scary PumpknsThen there was Halloween, often a scary night for kids! Jenna and Justin had planned a Halloween Party with a few friends and their children. Justin had taken all of the kids out trick or treating while Jenna handed out goodies at their house and entertained the adults. They had been back from trick or treating for a while and the girls were all in Amara’s room exchanging candy with one another when someone started knocking on Amara’s window. Someone who was very scary looking! All of the girls were screaming and Jenna, Justin and all of the parents were up off the couch and out the door ready to hurt somebody! They figured it was teenagers. It was one of the Moms. She was all dressed in elaborate costume. She felt terrible, as she had no idea she would terrify the girls so badly. She is lucky that Jenna finally recognized her and didn’t punch her one! The Mom has been apologizing ever since.

Then there was last weekend. It was about 9 AM on Sunday morning and I was standing at the kitchen sink looking out in the backyard. I love my view from the sink and was busy watching the neighborhood cats play on the fence when someone snuck up behind me, poked me in the ribs and said “Hi!” I jumped and screamed – I am very easily startled! Last I knew Amara was still in bed sleeping. She really thought I would hear her walking up on me. I didn’t and she felt really bad that she had scared me!

Amara and I talked it over and decided that it all started with Grampy. Grampy had scared her. She had scared me. So logically, I should now scare Grampy! We’re keeping this revenge circle in the family and leaving our mom friend out. All I can say is

Grampy had better be careful!

Toasted Butter

Grandma Kc wrote this on December 6th, 2014 18 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

It is amazing that my sister and I never burned down the house. True, we set the backyard on fire more than once but it had to be pure luck that we didn’t torch the kitchen. Well, there was that one time I tried to set mom’s kitchen on fire making candles but that was in her apartment many years later and the fire department never had to come out so I don’t think it counts!

That old house was cold in the winter and so was the kitchen. One of the many things I remember about that kitchen was the toaster. It had a brown cloth covered cord and a big round plug that always scared me. At one time, it must have had a brown plastic lever on the side for putting the toast down but it had broken off. Now if you wanted to put your toast down you had to use the wrong end of a spoon or fork to press it down. The knob for adjusting the color of your toast was missing, too so if we ever wanted to make it lighter or darker we had to use a butter knife to turn it!

toaster full of crumbsMy sister and I both loved toast. In the wintertime, you knew that the butter was going to be hard even if it had been sitting out all night. It was really cold in that kitchen, how could the butter be anything else? But my sister and I came up with a solution to that problem. We would toast our bread and carefully spread the cold butter on it – doing our best not to tear wholes in our toast. Then we would put it back down in the toaster to melt the butter! Yep, we toasted our butter. I’m pretty sure our mom was aware that we did it and strangely, I don’t remember her ever getting angry with us or telling us to stop! Thinking back, I can’t believe we didn’t at least short out the toaster. I may have put peanut butter toast back down once or twice, too!

They sure don’t make toasters like that anymore!