Changes in Attitude, Indeed

It’s these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning
If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane. – Jimmy Buffett

When I’m in Denver, I listen almost exclusively to sports radio when I’m in my car. It’s true that the talk is All Broncos, All the Time, but that’s okay. I – apparently along with many other people – can’t get enough scuttlebutt about our football team.

How can you not want to listen to sports analysis when you have situations such as John Elway signing former Colorado State University quarterback Nick Stevens to the Broncos’ roster despite telling fans and players that under no circumstances would he have four quarterbacks on the early roster?  I’m pretty sure the day he announced that the spunky Stevens would be competing for the QB spot, our first round draft pick from a few years ago Paxton Lynch – a QB who to this point has inspired exactly no one — broke out in a little tiny sweat. He might have even checked to see the length of his apartment lease. What he should be doing is checking the length of his throws.

At any rate, I enjoy hearing the different viewpoints and banter among all of the sports analysts on the station. What I don’t enjoy, however, are the commercials.

There are about three categories of commercials. You have your real estate ads. I can deal with those. You have your ads for divorce lawyers who specialize in figuring out ways to prevent men from having to pay alimony. They get under my skin a bit. And you have your erectile dysfunction ads, including testimonials. Oh, for the love of all that is good! I’m always surprised, by the way, that these macho sports announcers seem completely comfortable telling the world about their sexual deficiencies. They must get paid a lot of money.

However, a new category has recently been added. There is now an ad being played about 17 times an hour on this station for a product that prevents hair loss. The fact that there are ads for hair loss prevention products doesn’t surprise me. Men hate going bald. What amuses me is that the spokesman for these ads is Snoop Dogg……

It appears to me that the 46-year-old Snoop Dogg has a pretty good reason for advocating this product. His forehead definitely seems a bit large. Having said that, I must admit that I haven’t spent a lot of time following Mr. Dogg’s hairline. Still, I literally laugh out loud every time I hear him – in his urban dialect, no less – proclaiming the good news about the prevention of hair loss. It’s a sign of the aging of America.

But another sign is equally amusing. I came across the notice on Facebook. Ladies and gentlemen, Jimmy Buffett is opening retirement centers in – where else? – Florida. The first one will open late this summer in Daytona. It will be called – wait for it – Latitude Margaritaville. It will provide the opportunity for the 55-plus community to have a place where they can lay back, drink umbrella drinks all day, and never have to remove their parrothead hats…..

Good for Jimmy Buffett. He’s not willing to give up a life of fun despite being a septuagenarian. What’s more, he wants to share his joy, for a bundle of money, that is. Despite the fact that they are purported to be quite expensive, I would love to put my name on the list for one of the homes.

By the way, from all appearances, Mr. Buffett could stand to use Mr. Dogg’s product.

Thursday Thoughts

Orange Crush
I’ve seen the commercials, but frankly haven’t paid a bit of attention to them. I’m talking about the Bud Light commercials in which they proudly say they are putting your beer into cans dedicated to your favorite football team. So the other day, I was busily looking at the menu at our favorite Greek restaurant (why, I don’t know, since I always get the same thing) and wasn’t paying attention when Bill ordered his beverage of choice – a Bud Light. So when the server brought over his drink, I was visibly startled to see what I thought was a can of Fanta Orange soda. I think I actually sucked in my breath. It’s not that Bill doesn’t drink soda, but when he does, it’s always a Diet Coke. On rare occasions when he’s feeling his oats, he might have a Diet A&W Root Beer. But never, never ever, a Fanta Orange. So it was with great relief that I realized that he wasn’t in fact drinking an orange beverage, but the beverage can was simply honoring the Denver Broncos. Whew….


Twinkly Eyes
The other day my daughter-in-law Lauren posted school photos of Joseph. She took a picture of his last three photos, including the most recent. Seeing his happy face made my face happy. I showed Bill, and he immediately said, “Oh my heavens, he is getting so big.” This, from the man who saw Joseph and his family a mere few weeks ago. Still, the most recent photo (farthest to the right) does make him look alarmingly grown up. He looks devastatingly handsome in this year’s photo, but I have to admit that I am partial to the middle photo. I love the twinkle in his eye. And the twinkle? That’s Joseph, my friends…..


Can You See Me Now?
I may have mentioned that Bill has spent nearly the entire summer working on his pretty red sports car. While I – shockingly – complain a bit about his devotion to the car, I am happy to see it coming to life as it has been a paper weight in our garage for the past 10 years or so. Much of the work has involved Bill lying underneath the car doing heaven only knows what. Recently, I picked 2-year-old Cole up to bring him home to spend the day. It was a rare morning when Bill was inside the house doing some legal work. We got out of the car, and I said to him, “Cole, let’s find Papa.” He smiled, and crouched down and looked under the car!

Television Time
It’s my favorite time of the year (and I don’t mean Pumpkin Spice time!). The new season of television programs has begun. Bill and I have selected a few new ones that we are going to give the ol’ college try, and a couple of them are winners, at least in my eyes. I absolutely LOVE This is Us. It is the story of three grown siblings (triplets) – a man who is an actor, his sister who is obsessed about her weight (she is very obese), and their brother, an African American man who was born the same day as the other two, but left at a fire station, and who their parents adopted. I have only seen two programs thus far, but the twists and turns keep right on coming. Bill and I also like Designated Survivor with Keifer Sutherland, the story of the head of HUD who becomes president after a terrorist attack kills the president, all of Congress, and the other cabinet members, because he was the cabinet member selected as the designated survivor.  I also love The Good Place, which (though I’ve only seen one thus far) made me laugh out loud. And our guilty secret is Lethal Weapon. We’ll see. They may all disappoint us eventually.

You Say to-may-to; I Say To-mah-to

Bill sewing Bec apron

Here is a typical conversation Bill and I might have regarding my NanasWhimsiesShop on Etsy….

Bill – I sent you the photos of the aprons for your Esty shop.

Me – It’s not Esty; it’s Etsy.

Bill – Yeah, whatever. Anyway, how much are you going to charge?

Me – I’m not sure. What do you think?

Bill – I don’t know. What are other Esty shops charging?

Me – It’s not Esty; it’s Etsy.

Bill – Yeah, whatever.

And so on and so on and so on. While Bill loves to see if he can get on my last nerve, this isn’t one of those times. He simply can’t remember that it is Etsy and not Esty. Frankly, Esty would be a more sensible and more easily pronounceable name. But the fact of the matter is IT IS ETSY.

But for the love of heaven, why must I correct him? What does it matter in the whole scheme of life? It doesn’t.

All of this is to let you know that I am going to be selling aprons soon in my shop on ETSY. And when I say “I” I actually mean “Bill” because he currently is the sole creator of the aprons. Bill is a man of many talents, and sewing just happens to be one of them.

“A sewing machine is just another tool,” he says, quoting his father who once made Bill’s sister a quilt.

Broncos frontThe more he makes, the better the result. I have and wear three aprons currently, the most recent being one of his best. He has begun lining them, which makes a huge difference in the quality. The aprons that will be for sale first are heavy, made out of sturdy canvas material, good for either barbecuing or as a shop apron. Rather than requiring the wearer to tie the apron, they are adjustable via a snap closure. Amenities include a pocket for a cell phone and a pocket for a beer. What more does a man need?

Here is an example, with our son Court acting as the model….

Court Bronco apron

A Bronco apron is the obvious first choice to sell. However, Bill already sent a gift of an Alabama “Roll Tide” apron, complete with the mandatory Paul “Bear” Bryant houndstooth trim, to his brother David.


I will begin selling the aprons on my ETSY page very soon – frankly as soon as I get the photo posted – and then begin taking special orders. But I wanted to make the offer to my blog readers first. If for no other reason than that Bill’s newest hobby will come as no surprise to those who know him.

Just remember to look for ETSY and not ESTY, no matter what he says.

Thursday Thoughts

Hail to the Broncos
Well, the Super Bowl is over and my Broncos were the victors. I was seriously EXHAUSTED Monday. You would think that I played the game instead of Von Miller. It was fun to listen the next day to all the sports talking heads trying to back pedal and make it sound as though they knew ALL ALONG that the Broncos were going to win rather than admitting that they all thought the Panthers would leave the Broncos in their dust. Bill took down our Bronco flag, but this was our tribute to the team – Broncos in the desert….

Bronco flag in the desert

It’s Just Another Machine
Just so you don’t think making fancy cakes is Bill’s only specialty, here is a photo of him sewing the apron that we gave my sister Bec for her birthday….

Bill sewing Bec apron

Yes Doctor, I’m Afraid It’s Terminal
Speaking of Bec, she will begin her new volunteer career as a docent at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix next week. Now, if I had read that sentence a few months ago, I would have been thinking, “what in the hell is a docent.” But, thanks to my sister, I now know that docent is another name for someone who spent an extraordinary amount of time learning everything about a museum or art gallery or zoo so that they can be a guide. She literally has spent hours and hours over the past months learning about desert plants, and it’s fun to hear her talk about them. One day she came over for dinner, and the first words out of her mouth were, “Your neighbor’s agave plant has a terminal bloom.” What? That sounds extremely serious. Should we alert the authorities? But no. What I learned is that agave plants work really hard for a whole lot of years until voila, one year they shoot up a stalk that eventually blooms. Nature takes its course, and then the bloom dies. But so does the agave plant. That was its only job. Well, that, and providing us with tequila. Here is the plant…..

terminal bloom


Little does it know that it’s now a goner.

Road Rally
I have mentioned before in this blog that one of the many things I like about this area is that because of all the snowbirds, er, winter visitors, there are a lot of really cool old cars. Apparently refurbishing cars is a thing with a lot of Midwestern fellows. One day Bill and I decided to have lunch at our nearby pizza place, Papa Kelsies. As we parked our car, Bill said, “There must be a gathering of historical car guys at Papa Kelsies today.” I asked him why, and he pointed to an area of the parking lot that featured a whole bunch of really cool-looking old cars. And, sure enough, there was a table of guys eating pizza and talking about their cars. Take a look at these….

cars at papa kelsies


Super Super Bowl

Jen's dog Tucker shows his Bronco loyalty.

Jen’s dog Tucker shows his Bronco loyalty.

This post was written somewhere around noon on Sunday. Around that time, Cam Newton was practicing dabbing in the full-length mirrors in the locker room and Peyton Manning was checking to make sure his helmet was tight enough on his head to leave red marks and indentations that will still be there as he, his wife, and his twins are enjoying Disneyland. It turned out the way Bronco fans wanted, thanks to our Big D!

At the time I’m writing this post, the game is hours away. I therefore have no knowledge of which team wins. I am ever optimistic of the outcome. Well, I’m optimistic that there WILL BE an outcome. That’s about as optimistic as I get when it comes to football. When Dad would get nervous about a football game, he would move to the kitchen and play Solitaire. I will crochet.

I believe that God isn’t too worried about the Super Bowl, so in my Sunday morning prayers, I prayed that there would be no serious injuries to anyone on either team, that the fans of whichever team won would be grown up and not turn over cars or start trash can fires, and that the stadium and fans attending the game would be spared from hatred by anyone via a terrorist attack.

I will admit, however, that I did put in a little pitch for a Bronco victory. What could it

Addie, Dagny, Maggie, Alastair and Allen root for the Broncos.

Addie, Dagny, Maggie, Alastair and their Uncle Allen root for the Broncos.

hurt? After all, sunrises and sunsets – all created by God – are orange and blue and not powder blue and white.

By time you read my post, the victor will be known, and I will know if my other prayers were answered.

Even with the game hours away, I am certain about a few things. My brother David, his daughter Kacy, and her kids; my sister Bec; and my niece Maggie and her family will be here cheering on the orange and blue, and we will have fun. I am making a variety of appetizers and they are

Kaiya, Cole, and Mylee show their Bronco colors.

Kaiya, Cole, and Mylee show their Bronco colors.

bringing goodies as well, and it will all be yummy. Bill has set up a television in the back yard so that we can watch the game both outside and inside, and as the weather is expected to be in the mid-80s, it will be simply lovely.

When I decided to host the family for the Super Bowl, I began thinking about what I would serve. There are, of course, wings, which are so traditional. Nachos? Mexican food?

But Jen had just told me about something that she said was THE RAGE OF THE INTERNET. (She swears she has a job, but I think she just sits at home and peruses the web all day. She always knows what bloggers are up to at any given point in time.) However, when I looked up the recipe for the thing she said was THE RAGE OF THE INTERNET, I learned that the New York Times was calling this the roast that owns the internet. Despite the fact that it owns the internet, I hadn’t heard of it. What is it?


The original creator of the recipe is a woman named Robin Chapman, who apparently proclaims that the recipe has been in her family for years. I wonder if any of my family recipes could ever be THE (fill in the blank) THAT OWNS THE INTERNET. My grandmothers Swiss Mac and Cheese perhaps?

But, whether the Broncos win or lose, I will leave you with Ms. Chapman’s recipe.

Mississippi Pot Roast

1 chuck roast, 3 – 5 lbs.
1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix
1 packet au jus mix
1 stick butter (not margarine, butter)
5 pepperoncini peppers

Layer all the ingredients in a slow cooker; cook on low for 8 – 10 hours. Shred and serve with your favorite side dish or as a filling for a sandwich.

Nana’s Notes: The roast was good. It would be yummy as a main dish with mashed potatoes or noodles. I served it shredded with crusty rolls.

This post linked to the GRAND Social

Saturday Smile: Go Broncos, Beat Panthers

I love being in Arizona for the winter and missing out on the piles of snow. But I will admit that I have missed being in Denver these past couple of weeks as the sports nation awaits Super Bowl 50. Jen has kept me abreast of the excitement for the most part, but it’s not the same as being there. I will tell you, however, that I have seen Bronco fans come out of the woodwork here in the Valley of the Sun as of late. Bronco jackets, Bronco shoes, Bronco hats, all things Broncos. There are either more Colorado winter visitors than I thought, or Cardinal fans are declaring their post-season loyalty since their beloved team didn’t make it as hoped.

Speaking of the Broncos, you will remember that Bill decided to bake a cake for the festivities, and decorate it using homemade (by him) fondant icing. He carefully sculpted the logo out of his fondant. Here is the final result……

Bill's cake

Here is my personal tribute to the team (and my nail technician definitely looked at me oddly……


And while it appears to be All Things Cam in preparation for the big event, this photo appeared on my Facebook feed, and it made me smile. He may be a football player, but at the end of the day, Peyton is a dad.

Peyton with his son Marshall.

Peyton with his son Marshall.

Have a great weekend, and GO BRONCOS!

What Next?

The other day, the most unexpected words came out of Bill’s mouth. So unexpected, in fact, that if you ask me to list as many unlikely things he might say that I could think of, these words would not have been among them. Not even if I’d listed 10,000 things.

What were the words? Kris, do we have any cake pans.

bill making cakeActually, that’s not really true. Those weren’t the words that surprised me. After all, this is a man who used my bread knife to cut up a sofa so he could fit it into the outdoor garbage can. He might want to know if we had cake pans so that he could dump used motor oil into them.

No, it was the words that followed that took me by surprise. I am going to bake a cake and make homemade fondant icing to decorate it.

Excuse me? Bill McLain doesn’t make a ham sandwich much less a homemade cake. And fondant icing? Seriously? I’m a pretty decent baker and I wouldn’t dream of attempting fondant icing. It’s so, well, fondanty. Sticky. Sugary. Messy. Hard to work.

I explained to him that you could buy already-made fondant icing at Michael’s or making fondantHobby Lobby. Nope, he wanted to make it himself.

As hard as I think (and I have spent an extraordinary amount of time pondering this the past few days, I can’t begin to understand what generated this idea in the man’s mind. I asked him.

I want to bake Bec a birthday cake.

Well, I talked him out of that because the outcome was so unpredictable.

Why not make a cake for the Super Bowl, I suggested. And so his journey has begun. Super Bowl 50. Homemade-Cake-With-Fondant-By-Bill One.

As the days have gone by, he has spent a lot of time on his iPad or at his computer, researching. I have stopped being surprised at the questions he asks. Out of the blue one morning: Do we have a cake flattener? How about a fondant spreader? No and no. Didn’t even know those two things existed. I have floss and an offset spatula. But the internet told him he needed a cake flattener and a fondant spreader, so we now own both. Anyone need to borrow a fondant spreader?

Does your Kitchenaide have a dough hook, he asked? Someone said the icing is easier to work if you use a stand mixer with a dough hook. Yes, that I have.

knabel (2)


Do we have a rolling pin? One that is completely flat so my fondant can be smooth? Nope. I have a knibble. You know, those long thin wooden ones. My dad called them knibbles.  Don’t ask.

Shortly after announcing his intention to create a culinary masterpiece, he made his fondant out of marshmallows and confectioners sugar……


He has spent the past few days patiently creating the Broncos’ logo out of that fondant…..

20160202_151225 (1)

When I got home from doing errands yesterday, he cheerfully said, “Let’s bake the cake.”

So he brought out the Kitchenaide, prepared the batter, added the orange food coloring, poured the batter into pans and baked the cake layers……

making layers

Once the cake is completed, I will post pictures. In the meantime, I’m going to give Food Network a call. I’m pretty sure he can get onto Cake Wars.

Saturday Smile: Super Bowl Smiles

As the countdown to Super Bowl 50 continues, I want to take this opportunity to remind you about one of the many differences in the two participating quarterbacks….

Peyton "I'll Smile When I Get the Job Done" Manning

Peyton “I’ll Smile When I Get the Job Done” Manning


Cam "This Game Makes Me Laugh Out Loud Plus I Am Chewing Gum" Newton

Cam “This Game Makes Me Laugh Out Loud Plus I Am Chewing Gum” Newton

Speaking of the Broncos, this past week, Broncos running back CJ Anderson came to visit Mylee’s kindergarten class, the result of her teacher’s willingness to risk getting arrested as a stalker by dropping off on his front porch some letters that the class had written as part of an exercise teaching them to write letters of persuasion. (As an aside, in Kindergarten, I learned my colors, how to nap on a little rug, and how to be away from my mommy. Times have changed.) The letters were persuasive enough to bring the running back to Willow Creek Elementary. Mylee couldn’t wait to get home to tell her daddy, who is a Broncos fan extraordinaire. Did she know who CJ Anderson was, I asked Court. Well, she knew he must be special because her 19-month-old brother Cole wears a jersey with his name and number.

Cole football jersey 12.15


Mylee with CJ Anderson

Mylee is the one with the arrow pointing to her head. I inserted the arrow. She doesn’t go around with an arrow hovering over her all the time.

Anyhoo, what a nice move on the part of an apparently nice man.

Have a great weekend.

Football Hangover

If you had told me at the beginning of the football season (or really before or after any game during the entire season, because, you see, it’s me we’re talking about) that the Broncos would be in the Super Bowl, I would have called you C-R-A-Z-Y. No way. I’m pretty sure the only game we played this season that we didn’t have to wait until the final whistle to take a breath was against Green Bay. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots were winning handily, game after game after game.

Until they met the Denver Bronco defense the first time during the regular schedule, which presented them with their first loss of the season. And then again on Sunday afternoon when the Bronco defense sent them back to Boston to shovel snow. I’m no expert on football, but I’m telling you that Tom Brady got up Monday morning feeling out of sorts.

tom-bradyWhile I was in the hospital, my niece Maggie brought me my secret vice – entertainment magazines. I’m not sure why I enjoy them so because I probably don’t know 95 percent of the people they talk about. Still, I secretly read them in only a few places — grocery store lines, doctors’ offices, and the hospital. In one such magazine, there was a small blurb about Tom Brady and his gorgeous wife Gisele from which I learned that 80% of Tom and Gisele’s diet consists of vegetables. The perfectly splendid couple eats no white flour, no white sugar, no nightshade vegetables (??????), and no dairy. Brady proudly states that the ice cream he eats is made from avocados. Seriously. Avocados.

So he couldn’t even drown his sorrows Sunday night by eating a big bowl of Bunny Tracks ice cream drenched in hot fudge. Poor Tom. Instead of waving towels in the end zone, Bronco fans should have been waving signs depicting Big Macs.

I certainly didn’t count on a Bronco trip to the Super Bowl, but if it was to happen, I searchdreamed the opponent would be the Arizona Cardinals. I’m a Bronco supporter through and through, but Cardinals have become a team of which I’m fond. And I’m pretty sure Cardinals Coach Bruce Arian eats white flour, white sugar, and ice cream made from real cream. But alas, it was not to be. Instead, the Bronco’s opponent in a couple of weeks will be the ever-smiling Cam Newton.

Now, from what I can tell, Cam Newton is a like-him-or-hate-him kind of guy. Not being a particular follower of the SEC college football division, I don’t have a preconceived idea of the man. And since the Broncos rarely play the Carolina Panthers, I don’t have a knee-jerk negative reaction to them like I do to the Patriots.

cam-newton-86d1093fb4187b39Having said that, if you held my feet to the fire and insisted I give you a gut reaction to Cam Newton, it would be positive in nature. Sure, he’s full of himself. Sure, he does that dance in the end zone that other quarterbacks would never do. (Can you even IMAGINE Peyton Manning doing a dance in the end zone? A fist pump and a smile that looks more like he’s relieving gas pressure is about as much joy as the almost-always-serious Peyton demonstrates.) But Cam seems to be having such FUN. And, in his own words, if opponents don’t like him dancing in the end zone, they should keep him out of the end zone. I can’t say I’m very fond of the towel he seems to always wear over his head, but he has a million dollar smile, and you can take that to the bank. And you’ve got to give credit to someone who can chew gum and become the NFL Most Valuable Player at the same time.

I may or may not be paying my respects to Cam Newton and his team in a couple of weeks, but let the media blitz begin!

And to the Arizona Cardinals, you guys had a helluva season. I can’t wait ‘til next year.

Thursday Thoughts

White Christmas
Though Bill and I purchased (along with Jen) a house in AZ to avoid cold and snowy weather, we inevitably must endure some in October, November, and December. In fact, this year it snowed during the night before Thanksgiving Day, and for much of that day. I try to maintain a reasonably good attitude about the cold. After all, for the most part, I don’t have to drive on the icy roads since I don’t have a job. Bill is particularly susceptible to the cold because of his Parkinson’s (although admittedly he has never liked cold weather; funny for someone who grew up in Chicago). The other day when we left church, he stated the weather was “brutal.” I oh-so-helpfully pointed out that 32 degrees is not brutal. Zero degrees is brutal. He oh-so-patiently pointed out to me that what is considered brutal weather is perhaps different for each person. Whatevah.

Snowy Football
And speaking of the weather, Sunday night’s football game, featuring the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots (the Bronco’s won; did you know that?) was played in the snow. I HATE to watch football played in the snow. Even when I’m snug and warm under a blanket in my living room as I was Sunday night. I just think it’s such sloppy football and I always feel sorry for the players,  all of the folks along the sideline, and the people who chose to go to the game despite the weather because they paid somewhere near a million dollars for their ticket. The Broncos used to have a fan who wore nothing but an orange barrel to each and every home game. The so-called Barrel Man was even at cold and snowy games wearing his barrel and nothing else (well, I never checked…..) He has since passed away, perhaps from pneumonia. Anyway, the funny thing is that we got no more than an inch or less of snow here at our house in southeast Denver. Jen got just a few flakes. I really think the snow only fell at Mile High Stadium! That’s perfect, because nationally televised football games in the snow always help the Colorado ski industry.

Wrap It Up
I think I am finished with all of my Christmas shopping for the grandkids. Now I just have to wrap the presents. I can’t tell you how much I dislike wrapping gifts, and my distaste shows in the final product. Put the paper on the gift, stick on too much scotch tape, slap on a gift tag, no bow or ribbon. Done. Jen told me recently that I used to like to wrap gifts. Jen often tells me what I like and don’t like. Mostly she’s right. Except I don’t think she’s right that I used to like to wrap gifts. Her reasoning was that Mom always had me wrap all of the Christmas gifts. That doesn’t seem like proof positive. Here is a conversation that would NEVER have happened: Mom – Kris, I want you to wrap the Christmas gifts this afternoon. Kris – I hate wrapping Christmas gifts. I’m not going to do it. Mom – Okay Honey, I will do it myself so you don’t have to be bothered.

Off We Go
We are leaving Friday for a quick trip to see Bill’s mother in Chicago. As you will notice, next Monday’s and Tuesday’s posts are reruns of previous posts. Both posts are from an earlier trip we took to Chicago. Wilma moved into an assisted living unit from her fairly spacious apartment in the same senior complex about a month ago. We are eager to see her new digs, and to spend a little time with her just before the holidays. Bill’s younger brother will be arriving to spend Christmas with Wilma.