Well. Sorta kinda. Sorry about the delay. I've had some kind of icky bronchitis thing and have not felt particularly entertaining at all. WAH dsc_0242.jpg

So I'm sorry about that - especially since I've been pretty good about blog updates as of late. In fact Derek hasn't even pestered me about a lack of blog all week - so he must be slacking off too. :)

So the Garland show is over and done. The chicks have left the nest. I was so proud of the work we did - and everything they accomplished. It would have been really tough saying goodbye so it's great that Jill is coming back for the summer AND that I know David and I seem to have some kind of weird cosmic thing about working together every two years... AND we really we want to try and find somewhere to do the show again. I took a bunch of pictures on the last day -



The last week Margaret managed to find in her garage sale travels a delightful portable hair dryer thingy... so suddenly our Kitchen really did turn into the set of Steel Magnolias.

DRINK YOUR JUICE SHELBY dryer-and-madge.jpg



This is what Jill's hair looks like after the curlers come out, before it's styled... and Jill was like "I want my hair to be like this for the Italian show" - which would be fab - except Madge ain't gonna show up every day to do it for her... so apparently Jill is going to be doing major roller practice before she comes back :)

Many of them indicating that Jill will be missing Po way more than she misses us! Even though, Po clearly is made of radioactive kryptonite:



The last night of the show was Eckert night... Which is normally our rip-roaring, wackiest show of the run... but in this particular case, largely because I wasn't to be onstage to be heckled, it wasn't gonna be quite the same kind of party atmosphere.... at least I hoped the Eckert's were gonna feel that way. Or the show was gonna end up pretty bizarre. It turned out great - we had a packed house for the last night (people always wait until the last minute... erg) and Jill's family was there from Chicago (her Mom, Carol, for the second time!).

MOM SESSO AND MA NAJUCH jills-mom-and-janice.jpg

The combination of THAT fact, and the fact that Jill knew she wasn't going to need to sing seventeen songs in a row again for at least a week or two, meant missy really pulled out all the stops and the rafters pretty much shook.

We always keep the bar open for Eckert night after the show... because it always transmogrifies into a family get-together.

BUSY BAR EQUALS HAPPY RICH happy-rich-busy-bar.jpg

Plus it was our last night. Plus Jill's parents were there... so we ended up kind of smooshing together into one happy celebration of no descriptive specificity. But it was nice. Even though I suddenly was EXHAUSTED and eventually had to sneak off to bed.

Jill made a couple highly colorful cakes - one as a combination "mother day, brother's birthday" cake and another one as a closing night cake...


It says "Believe it or not, I will miss Huntington". (I think, actually it means she will miss the Party Shops chocolate covered expresso beans AND Don Rafael's Margarita's. Also please notice the hysterical decorative detail... Note all the cars are travelling in one direction EXCEPT the car that has an arrow that says JoJo. Because Jill heard that ALLEGEDLY I had on one or two occasions accidentally driven the wrong way down a divided highway.


JUDY DOWNS A 'RUBY SLIPPER' judy-and-rubby-slipper.jpg

And before ya knew it, it was all over... and time for clean up. bar-next-day.jpg

We had copies of the show posters printed for David and Jill with their billing on them as closing night pressies... david-and-poster.jpg

Jill drove home with her fam, and David departed the next day :( The entire time they were here we had been trying to find a time for Debbie to do one of her insanely amazing dinners. We had tried to dates that had fallen flat... (the first one was because we had so little time with Jill to put the show up, that we just couldn't take the time to...y' food). We then tried to organized it on the closing night - but with Eckert Invasion and Jill's family being here - that was just gonna be a big bust as well. So, since Jill will get another shot at tasting Debbie's culinary miracles during the summer... she made brunch for the rest of us the next day. On MOTHER DAY!! Cuz she wanted too... Awwwwwww :) :) :)

Well - to say it was good, is like saying Oprah is 'financially comfortable". We had an incredible Asian Salad... asian-salad.jpg

and these awesome roast potatoes... and fruit... potatoes.jpg

And ribs... RIBS... ribs.jpg and Egg Caserole... And French Toast... With this insane praline sauce that David and I decided we could live on (by itself) for the rest of our lives. This sauce was like crack in a spoon. Wait - does crack already come in a spoon? Dunno. I'm an innocent. Anyway - this stuff was gooey - and sugary - and deadly and GOOOOOD.

Oh yeah... and then key lime pie. We didn't eat for like three days.

I would like to take this moment to point out that my diet is going very well.

Since then we've pretty much been in a week long brunch coma. While I was having a fun time with this evil flu athsma inducing thing... Rich and Janice were hell bent on taking full advantage of free dump week. (this is a major event in the Najuch calendar, second only to Christmas and Black Friday...really). So everything that needed to be demolished in the new house they ripped out and got in the trunk (the upstairs bathroom and the rest of the kitchen area), as well as various other stuff from the auditorium etc... including all the old seat parts stored upstairs in the balcony. Which apparently Rich jettisoned out of the fire escape into the alley and Janice took pictures of flying seat cushions.... flying-seats.jpg

Rich and I are now on our own for like two weeks - which is like a first since well before Christmas. The big event this week was that Madge was awarded a Hoosier Hospitality award by the state of Indiana for her work at the theatre. It's this annual award event they have to honor people who have done special volunteer service for the tourism industry. We nominated Margaret through the Visitors Center and she won which was fantastic. The awards ceremony was on Friday. Originally we had planned on going to Atlanta to see Bob and Janice's apartment there (and the AQUARIUM!) for the week - But then we found out about the award. So we changed our flights to be back in time for the ceremony in Indianapolis on Friday. And THEN... We discovered that we had been told the wrong date of the ceremony and it was on WEDNESDAY not Friday. We found this out on Monday - right before we were about to start packing for the Atlanta trip (that afternoon). Rich and Janice were not thrilled. We were upset because Janice had made plans - and the money had been spent on the tickets (AND changing the dates of the tickets) and we didn't want to miss the event. For a while Rich was going and I was staying... but Rich really wanted to be there (and probably was concerned about how much damage I could do with my mouth at the State House unsupervised!) So we finally decided we would both stay here. Po was not happy because she was supposed to have a vacation at Cindy's house for the week - which always means cat food. And of course around here she has it so rough... po-digs.jpg

(Yes, by the way - that is Po ON an easy chair ON a pillow covered by a blanket and laundry).

So Madge and Larry and Rich and I all trekked up to Indianapolis to the Steak House. Which meant we had been to Indy twice in 48 hours - since we had taken Janice to the airport on Monday! (And yup, I made him go to the Cheesecake Factory... speaking of which my Mom apparently found some cookbook that has the actual Cheesecake Factory recipe for their Cajun Jumalaya Pasta - which is officially the greatest, greatest, greatest dish ever conceived by man. I am VERY excited).

The State House is really, really impressive... state-house-rich.jpg


WINKIN, LINCOLN AND ODD me-and-abe.jpg


Here's the programme with Madge's name listed... madge-award.jpg

The ceremony was in this huge foyer area in the middle of the state house (with several zillion school groups shuttling through)... dscn0803.jpg

And Margaret got her award and of course, while receiving it, tried to emotionally blackmail the Lieutenant Governor into coming to see a show! The L. Gov was really nice, very classy and I LOVED that she was totally copying Hillary's whole look... but she pulls it off in spades... lieut-gov.jpg

And yes - that may be the first ever picture taken of Larry that includes his face.

Now of course, I couldn't tell you any kind of Eckert story without it involving some kind of insanity. And I'm not going to let you down. Margaret's big annual SALE is coming up - it's like your average yard sale times a billion. She sells plants, and furniture and Korean babies... all kinds of stuff. And this year Margaret has somehow been seduced by the glory of Ebay. You know that episode of the Golden Girls when Sophia becomes obsessed with Costco. Well - it's happened to Margaret with Ebay. In bulk. She has discovered this place that sells stuff in lots. Like shipping pallette sized lots. They are overstocked merchandise, or returned goods, or whatever. And Margaret decided she would invest in some of this stuff and sell it at her sale. And then it got a little out of hand. We think it reached the intervention point when she bought a kayak.

Yes. A kayak.

Anyway - this stuff was all in Indianapolis and had to be picked up. So - after the very nice formal event at the State House - Grant drove up to Indy with a box truck... a large box truck...and met us at the warehouse. That was like the final scene in Indiana Jones: indiana-jones.jpg

And they started bringing Margarets few little items out. With a fork lift. There were televisions, and barbecues and carpets and ottomans and bicycles and lounge chairs and Korean babies. (see, you ARE still paying attention). Rich was responsible for a very small amount of this lunacy - he had purchased a new ice maker for the bar and some other stuff. So Grant and Larry and Rich filled up this box truck...with Larry and Rich in their suits it looked like some kind of mob operation: VINNY AND LUIGI LOAD UP THE 'MERCHANDISE' box-truck.jpg

With the help of the fork lift lady who was like a jedi knight with this thing... fork-lift.jpg

There was so much stuff we barely, barely managed to get it all in the truck. But we did. Including the Kayak.

xo Jojo.