Baggin’ It

I’ve never owned an expensive purse. No $300 Michael Kors bag. Not even a $150 Kate Spade bag. I did once own a Coach bag, but since I bought it from a street vendor in New York City and it cost $12, I don’t think it was genuine…..

 

I’ve owned many a purse in my life, but the sum total of all of the purses I’ve owned probably doesn’t equal the cost of a Prada bag from Neiman Marcus.

I’m not criticizing anyone who owns and loves an expensive purse. We all have our things for which we will spend money. One of the first things I bought when we began wintering in AZ was a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. For what it cost me, I could have bought an expensive Marc Jacobs bag that didn’t come from China.

And, by the way, I’ve noticed that nobody who spends a couple of hundred dollars or more on a purse actually calls it a purse. They call it a bag. I carry purses.

Many people get their expensive bags as gifts from their husband. My husband wouldn’t be able to tell you what color purse I carry. That doesn’t bother me, because frankly, I probably would have to look down at what’s around my neck to be sure what color it was. I care very little about what my purse looks like, and more about whether it meets my needs.

The thing is, my needs change.  In 1993, I graduated from the University of Denver with a master’s degree and arthritis in my neck from having spent all those hours at the computer writing paper after paper after paper as required by the Communications Department. I found that carrying a purse over my shoulder was very uncomfortable. So for a while, I carried a professional-looking backpack. (I’m calling it professional-looking to convince myself that I looked, well, professional. I probably didn’t.)

After a while, I went back to a regular purse, and I chose one that was large enough to carry a small service animal. Seriously, back in those days we weren’t able to have access to our entire world on a cell phone. So my bag needed to hold my billfold, my daytimer, my address book, my business card holder, any files necessary for whatever meeting I was attending, my cell phone, a makeup bag, my lunch, and probably Court’s cleats so that he could change in the car when I took him to soccer practice.

Out of habit, I kept a large purse for a long time, even after I retired. I remember carrying juice boxes and diapers and diaper wipes and bags of soggy fruit and crumbling bars when I would take grandkids to the zoo. I could have been one of those women on Let’s Make a Deal.

Until finally one day I realized that my grandkids no longer wore diapers and my cavernous purse contained only a small billfold and my cell phone, and it still hurt my shoulder. That’s when I decided I would downsize to a small purse with a long strap that would fit over my head, thereby leaving my hands free to do whatever I wanted to do with free hands. There must be something good to do with two hands.

All of this rambling about purses is because yesterday I once again bought a new purse. Actually, in all honesty, I bought two new purses – one to carry my lone billfold every day and a large backpack to carry on an airplane that will fit under my seat. The total cost for both? $57.00

Target, my friends.

By the way, Bill did actually buy me a purse one time. I went through a period where I kept leaving my purse wherever we dined. By the grace of God and a very busy St. Anthony, I always got my purse back with nothing missing. One day Bill spotted a little purse that clipped onto one’s belt. He reasoned that if the purse was connected to my body, I may not leave it behind. It was a reasonable thought.

However, there were a couple of flaws. First, the bag was too small to carry much of anything except a credit card. Second, when I sat down wearing the purse, it would jab me in my side. As a result, I would remove the purse, thereby negating its benefits. And third, I don’t wear a belt, so I had to hook it onto the waistband of my pants. The bag pulled my pants down on one side. It was such a nice thought, though, wasn’t it?

It was better than him buying me this Louis Vuitton bag which they call an urban satchel. It’s priced at a mere $150,000. It must be the cigarette pack. You know how expensive smokes have gotten…..

But, see above. Fifty-seven dollars for two bags at Target.

I win.

Are You Sitting Here?

I’m in a fight with Target. Believe me, that doesn’t happen too often. And my fight has nothing to do with their bathrooms.

It has to do with their toddler car seats.

You may be wondering why a 63 year old woman is interested in car seats. Well, again, maybe you aren’t wondering since the name of my blog is Nana’s Whimsies. And being a nana involves more than making slime. It often involves giving rides to one or more of the grandkids.

Cole is 3, and he’s our youngest. He’s surprisingly tall for his age, but still requires a car seat, and will until he’s 4, at which time (I think) he can move into a booster seat. So for the past few months – all summer long, really – I have been squeezing him into my existing toddler car seat. That seat has been involved in the lives of eight previous grandkids. C’mon, just one more to go, I thought each time I struggled to get him into the seat.

I finally threw in the towel a few weeks ago when I took Kaiya, Mylee, and Cole to see a movie. Getting the carseat completely buckled over the squirming boy was nigh on impossible. Given that the theater was only a quarter mile from our house, I finally made do with only having one of the buckles fastened.  But I vowed that it was the end of the line. Time for a new car seat.

So I began researching car seats. Heavens, one can spend a small fortune on a car seat. Given that he’s the youngest, coupled with the fact that we will leave in a short time for our winter in AZ and when we get home he will be 4, I didn’t want to spend a fortune, no matter how small. But I wanted something that got good reviews and safety ratings with which I was comfortable.

I finally narrowed it down to a specific car seat that was sold at Target and didn’t require me to sell my plasma to afford it. Target.com told me that the store that is literally a half mile from our house had two in stock.

First thing yesterday morning, I drove to Target and made my way back to the baby supplies. I quickly found the model I had selected, but couldn’t find one in the box. I found every single OTHER car seat in its box, but not the carseat I sought.

With a minimum of fuss, I was able to get a Target staff person, who helped me look but was also unsuccessful. She checked the back room, also to no avail. However, she kindly assured me that another Target that was further away had two in stock.

So I made the trip to the second Target, and I won’t bore you with details. Suffice it to say that they also had one on display but none available to buy. But the staff person also couldn’t have been nicer, and promised me that a particular OTHER Target had a couple of the carseats in stock.

Now, as the saying goes, I might have been born during the day, but I wasn’t born yesterday. So this time, I called. Or perhaps I should say I TRIED to call. Because despite several attempts, I got cut off just at the point that I was going to get a live person who could tell me whether or not they had the car seat in stock.

I was pretty frustrated, and about to give up except that I kept envisioning poor Cole nearly busting out of the car seat and me wrestling the seat like Hulk Hogan fighting Andre the Giant. With renewed vigor, I drove to the Target in question and found the car seat in question.

And then, lo, and behold, decided on another one instead. One which they may well have had at the original Target. No matter, because I’m giving Target a reprieve. After all, my alternative is Walmart, and you all know how much fun that trip is.

Sorry for all the car seat drama, Nana.

Thursday Thoughts

What Would Wilma Do?
One time, not too long ago, a friend of mine posted something on Facebook that made me laugh and nod. It said I went to Target and only bought the one thing that was on my list, said no one, ever. And isn’t that the truth? Any time I go into Target, I come out with a multitude of things that I wasn’t aware I couldn’t live without prior to going in. My most recent example? I went to Target to buy a potato peeler and came out with a 6 qt. crock pot. What the heck? Well, my old one was, um, dirty. Seriously, the old one had been purchased back in the mid-70s. It worked perfectly fine, but it was the wrong shape. I guess back in those days the only thing crock pots were used for was stews or soups. I wanted to fit my corned beef into the pot and I would have had to fold it over. Which, of course, would have worked, as it has worked for every St. Patrick’s Day since I purchased it in the late 70s. But now I have a shiny new one, and my old one is going to join its crowd of lookalikes at Goodwill.

M is for the Million Things She Gave Me
The other day, Bill was working on the blasted acacia tree in the front yard. You know, the tree with which he is in a constant battle? If it isn’t pods, it’s beebleberries. If it isn’t beebleberries, the pods are back. Anyway, he was trimming the tree (no easy task because in addition to pods and beebleberries, it has thorns). He told me later that he was about to cut back a branch when he noticed some eyes peering at him. There was a mother mockingbird sitting on a nest on that very branch. She didn’t say a word to him, but she didn’t move either. She was going to go down with her baby, no matter the consequences. She’s a mother, after all. I took a photo, but you have to really search to see the bird. Find the nest and then imagine the bird. She’s there, I promise. My photography also didn’t alarm her…..

bird in tree

Midget Model
You all might remember that I have a shop on Etsy in which I sell handmade items. If you don’t remember, it is Nanas Whimsies Shop. Check it out! Anyway, I recently have been making sun hats for toddlers. I asked my niece Kacy if her youngest daughter Kelsie would model one for my shop. Now if this doesn’t sell a hat or two, then I don’t know what the world is coming to….

kelsie hat (2)

 

A Little Something Different
The restaurant at which Bec and Bill and I dined Tuesday night at the Desert Botanical Garden (Gertrude’s) has kind of a unique spin on their food and beverages. Locally-made tequilas. Locally-grown produce and nuts. Interesting flavor combinations using spicy peppers. So I was excited to try their Cactus Cosmo, which used prickly-pear-infused vodka. Not only was it lovely, but it had a unique and absolutely delicious flavor. Well done Gertrude. Or whomever….

cosmo with prickly pear

Our granddaughter Kaiya is studying the desert in her second grade class right now. In a text I got from her yesterday morning she said, “Nana, I learned that in Arizona they have stick trees. Have you ever seen one?” Of course, I need more information than that, but I suspect she is referring to the ocotillo tree. It is one of my favorite Arizona plants. When dormant, they look absolutely DEAD. And then in the spring, they start sprouting little green leaves. Their big hurrah is right about now when they sprout beautiful orange blossoms. I would love to have an ocotillo tree, but our co-owner (my sister Jen), who doesn’t put her foot down about much, has put her food down about planting an ocotillo tree. “They look like something from out of space.” What do you think?….

ocotillo flower

Ciao.

Fire the Underbutler

Housons 2015

Bill, Bec, Jen and I enjoyed our annual New Year’s Eve LUNCH at Houston’s in Scottsdale. We were sound asleep at midnight.

The first Monday after New Year’s Day is always a combination of a letdown and a great relief. I’m sure many of you are like me, that is, beginning somewhere around Thanksgiving you enjoy an extravaganza of eating, drinking, shopping, and partying that is like no other time of the year. I swear that since December 24, I have eaten every iteration of beef imaginable. My colon is going to seize.

Like many others, I woke up yesterday morning determined to start anew. I went to Walmart fixing to purchase nothing but healthy items so that I could cook wonderful and nutritious meals for Bill and me.  I, of course, was not the only one who had decided to stock up their larder after the holidays, particularly here in the Valley of the Sun with the return of the winter visitors. I’m pretty sure I say this every year: Do my larder stocking during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Someday I will actually remember this.

Nevertheless, things went pretty well Walmart-wise, until I tried to pay for my groceries. As you are all probably aware, stores everywhere are in the process of changing their credit card machines over to ones that accept the new chipped credit cards, which mine is. Many more stores are ready to go here in Arizona than they are in Denver. In Denver the only store I have found ready to go is my little neighborhood liquor store, which is owned by a friendly husband and wife who apparently are smarter than King Soopers when it comes to installing the new technology.

Anyhoo, after the cashier rang up all of my groceries, she gave me the total. Once I got over the shock of how much she said I owe, I stuck my card into the card reader and it proceeded to tell me my chip was damaged. Now, that was a possibility of course. However, minutes before, the chip had NOT been damaged at Target. But, things happen and perhaps it had gotten damaged while riding in the car in my purse in the front seat. You never know. The cashier, however, told me that her particular Walmart store had been having technical troubles the past couple of days with their little credit card machines. (Perhaps they should contact my Denver liquor store owners.) She kept trying, and the people behind me in line kept getting more and more impatient. As for me, I kept telling her, “Never mind, I have another card I can use.”

Finally, she reluctantly agreed to let me use my second credit card. However, you guessed it. It, too, wouldn’t go through. “We’re having lots of trouble with our little machines,” she told me once again. By this time the line behind me was becoming just short of belligerent. A riot was about to ensue. The seniors were revving up their electric carts.

“I have one last option,” I told her. (Golf clapping from the masses behind me.) “I have a debit card.”

Well, I’m happy to tell you that my debit card worked and a riot was forestalled. Remember the olden days when we used, uh, cash? Something that mostly doesn’t exist in my wallet.

This, by the way, was not a problem faced by Lord and Lady Grantham Sunday night in the Season 6 premiere of Downton Abbey. Financial issues, yes. A possible need to fire the underbutler was the greatest crisis Robert and Cora are facing following the season premiere. There is a promise of much greater drama, however. I won’t say any more at this time as I’m not wont to be a spoiler. (See, sitting down and watching one episode makes me say things like “not wont.”) The only thing I will say is, oh Anna. You’re beginning to get on my very last nerve.

With her bad luck, her credit card wouldn’t go through at Walmart either. Although it would undoubtedly be Mrs. Patmore who would be sent to stock up the larder. And she would actually call it a larder, as well. Oh no! I’m starting to speak in Downton Abbeyese.  I may have to speak to Bill about firing the underbutler. Oh, wait. He is the underbutler.

Thursday Thoughts: The Wednesday Edition

Is it Thursday?
You have probably picked up by now that I publish something I cleverly call Thursday Thoughts each Thursday. Random thoughts about random things. You probably also realize that today is not Thursday. Why am I publishing my thoughts today instead of tomorrow? And more important, why do I feel compelled to call it Thursday Thoughts even though it isn’t Thursday? There is no good answer to the latter question, except for the fact that I am in love with the alliteration of the title. I could have called this post Wednesday Wonderings or Miscellaneous Midweek Minutia. But I didn’t. As far as the first question, I will tell you now not to expect a posting on Thursday, thoughts or otherwise. The reason for this is that Bill and I will be traveling to Vermont on Thursday. Our travels will take us all day long, as our plane leaves DIA at 6:40 a.m. MDT and arrives Manchester, New Hampshire at 4:55 p.m. EDT. We will then get in our rental car and drive another two hours to Montpelier, Vermont, where our family resides. If all goes well, I will be kissing and hugging our two grandboys by 8 o’clock Thursday evening. Pray for us!

Can I Return This?
Yesterday morning I went to Target just after they opened at 8 a.m. I bought a few things in preparation for a day with grandkids. Since the store had just opened, there was only one checkout stand available. The clerk, who appeared to be new, cheerfully checked me out, but when it came time to pay, the credit card machine was confused and wouldn’t work. She called for help, and the problem was quickly resolved. When the clerk told me the amount due, it struck me as kind of high, but I got distracted by the credit card machine problem, and paid the amount she said. When I got to my car, however, I looked at my receipt and noticed she had charged me twice for my toilet paper. Being Target, however, when I went back into the store and headed directly to the customer service station, they quickly rectified the problem without question. Two things struck me: First, Target is amazing at how quickly they handle returns, and handle them without question. There is no way she could know that I hadn’t simply put one of the packages of toilet tissue into my car. I love that. Second, I am horrible about paying attention to what I pay for things, particularly groceries when I go through self-check. I wonder how many times I have paid twice for something or paid the wrong price? I’ll bet many, many times.

Grand Opening
At long last, Bill has finished the playhouse. Well, except for a few finishing touches. So today, since we had all of our Denver grandkids visiting, we held the grand opening. The opening included a ribbon cutting ceremony (well, it was actually yarn, but with three pairs of scissors doing the cutting), a speech by papa about how much he hopes the grandkids will enjoy playing in the house he built for them, and some treats, including regular pretzels, peanut butter filled pretzels, and sliced peaches, which Maggie Faith and Kaiya prepared. All in all, it was a grand ceremony. And the kids spent the entire day playing either inside of the playhouse or in the sandbox underneath the playhouse. Even Cole got involved in the festivities. He especially likes using sand as confetti. And pretzels.

20150811_105738

This photo looks a bit creepy what with the blurry heads peeking out of the windows; kind of like a horror movie complete with ghosts. In reality it was Alastair, Kaiya, Mylee, and Magnolia peeking out, with Dagny ready to go down the slide.

playhouse 1

playhouse 3

By the Way….
If I should miss a day or two of posting, don’t panic and think I’m back in the hospital. I am simply enjoying our trip to Vermont. My plan is to continue posting, but one never knows….

Ciao.