Thursday, December 31, 2009

Buh bye 2009.....


Well, this is it, 2009! Its been……interesting. However, I would not like to have to do it over again. There have been some good times, times that made me laugh; and there have been some bad times, times that made me cry with frustration and anger. But we have weathered them all. As a family, we have pulled together and forged through the bad times and come out the other side stronger for the experience. We have learned many things…..friendships have been tested, as well as family ties. We have grown.
My daughter has been through an awful lot this year but in the end she won her disability case which had been pending for nearly three years. That, in itself, is a giant hurdle and hopefully both our lives will now be a lot easier. I’ve made some new friends online this year and hope that they will be lasting friendships. I’ve gotten closer to older online friends and truly cherish being part of their cyber family as much as they are continuing in mine.
I've seen some good movies this year (Taken, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, UP) and some stinkers (Sideways, Identity) and some in between (Twilight, New in Town, Four Christmases). UP we watched on Christmas Day and it was so good I watched it again the next day. Its a great movie.....I just love the bird! I've made a purchase that I'm in love with and proclaim it on a daily basis.....my Keurig one-cup coffeemaker. If you are a coffee lover, you simply have to own one of these. I figured out that it costs approximately 34 cents a 16 oz. mug, so its not an expensive brew. There are a couple places that sell the K-cups (used to brew the coffee) online and the shipping is free. Look into it if you love coffee!

The first day of the new year is really just another day but we all look at it as either a new chapter in a big book or else a new book entirely. I tend to view it as a new chapter. We all hope that this chapter or book will be better than the last one…..that’s human nature. But the unforeseen bad things that happen as well as the good things are all part of what makes up our lives and our personal recipe for what makes us tick.
I know the economy has hurt so many people and their lives have deteriorated noticeably from the way things were a couple years ago. The rest of us feel like we are teetering on a cliff, just hanging on by our fingertips. Maybe we haven’t lost our homes but we don’t have anything extra…we just have enough to pay our debts and guy groceries. We are at the mercy of the credit card companies and their penchant for raising interest rates. Hopefully that will end in a couple months. For people like me who feel joy and a deep sense of …..completeness when I can do for others, be it two-legged or four-legged….it hurts when I don’t have enough to share. So my prayers are not so much for me personally…..they are for things to improve so that I may have extra so I'm able to help others as well as myself and my family. For the time being my little part-time job has survived the budget cut-backs at work….my position is needed there; it is not frivolous. A review will be done quarterly and more cuts will be made then if need be. They also removed the hiring freeze, so the 4 police officers who retired can be replaced. Much to the relief of the township residents.
So, my wish for all of you, my dear friends and readers….is that you may have health, happiness and inner peace…..peace that comes with being comfortable in your own skin….that comes with following your heart and being able to fulfill some of your wishes. And because I believe in God….I will say God Bless you all. If you believe in a different higher power, then please realize that I mean for you to be blessed by how your beliefs may encompass you. Thank you for visiting me and stay safe out there. Hugs and love.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sorry.....

The Asian girlies have started to advertise on my blog again and since they didn't give me part of their earnings last time, I'm not permitting them to use me again.....so I had to turn on word verification for a little while. Don't worry, they will soon tire of not being able to get in and go elsewhere.....then I'll turn it off, PROMISE! (I hate it too but it does work)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Just tell me.....

in the average person's performance of the gift-wrapping ritual, just how many times do you think the effin tape is misplaced or falls on the floor while both hands are otherwise occupied.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Everything is good to go.....

and now all I have to do is cook, wrap and organize. I'll be back on the weekend but in the meantime............



Merry Christmas.....I love you all.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A friend from the past.....

I was very fortunate. When my husband and I purchased our first home, it was located in a subdivision of what they called, "starter homes". They were cute, well-built and sat on 50 foot lots, but most of them only had two bedrooms; enough for a couple just starting out.

Anyway, you couldn't get much more "Norman Rockwell" than this subdivision and the assortment of couples who lived there. When we moved in, the neighbors welcomed us with gifts of baked goods or casseroles. It was soon discovered that most of us were all in the same age range and financial bracket. Most of the women stayed home and the men worked. Most everyone had at least one child, was expecting a child or had dreams of having one sometime soon. We fell into the latter category since I was still working and wasn't quite ready to give it up. I think living there and watching those little families was a great incentive for me to stop work and concentrate on having children. We all felt safe there. This is where we had pinochle club once a month at rotating homes....where we had cookie exchange at Christmas and where the men all helped one another dig out during some vicious snowstorms. The picture I have attached is actually one I had hanging in the bedroom....it sort of put my feelings on canvas on how I felt there. And having my parents within walking distance was a plus.

We all got together and had coffee and visited. The kids all got along and so did the husbands. I miss that very much. Over the years, one by one all but two families moved out as we outgrew our little homes. Those that could build on because they had an extra lot, did so.

I was disappointed when I moved into this neighborhood where I now live to find that, although the neighbors would stop and wave, they didn't get personally involved. I've lived here 36 and a half years and its still the same way. We all get along (and for that I'm very grateful, especially when you read some of these "neighbors from hell stories")....but no one visits, no sitting around the kitchen table having coffee sort of thing here. My best friend bought the house next door to me and for about 12 years we enjoyed our friendship, but she moved to AZ for her health and the 3rd family since she's left moved in a year ago. They are nice and they wave.....but the closeness is not there.

But anyway, back to the original thought for this post. I answered the phone to hear a voice from my past. It was the woman who had lived across the street from me in that wonderful subdivision. She was one of the ones who stayed and built on to their home. We have so many good memories to talk about. And yes.....we did try to stay in touch after I moved. I only moved about 4 miles away....but that 4 miles prohibits you from running across the street in a rural subdivision in your jammies to have coffee after the husbands have left for the day. Through the years we didn't see each other so much....I was working odd hours and lots of overtime, then she went to work too. So it was wonderful to talk today. We gabbed for over three hours (thank goodness for cordless phones) and got caught up on a bunch of stuff. After the holidays we've made promises to meet on regular intervals for coffee and gossip. I'm so glad for my fond memories of that old neighborhood and I hope that there are still some like that here and there.....Americana at its best! I'm mostly glad that she remembered me and cared enough to call me. Another close friend and neighbor from that era is way down in Florida!

An award......

Lee, over at Hormones, Headaches and Hot Flashes, is a regular hoot. She has the ability to take a time period of about 10 years in a woman's life that is filled with all sorts of craziness and joke about it. We women can all identify with it and most men can too since they have to live with us.

I'm honored to have been one of many of her readers to be given her award and also to extend an invite to anyone that wants a chuckle or two to go read her blog. She's taking a little rest until after the beginning of the year to handle family stuff and we all know that real life trumps blog life....so make it a point to visit her then.

And, thank you Lee, for remembering me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Amazing......

what some people are capable of. I've never seen anything like this before and thought maybe you all would get a kick out of it too. Talk about putting the run of the mill Christmas lights to shame! This is somehow all hooked up to the Wii Game Guitar Hero, which determines the lighting sequence. Wow. Enjoy and if this doesn't get you in the spirit, then nothing will.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

A better vehicle.....

My daughter finally found a vehicle that she absolutely loves and tonight it became part of her family. This picture is not the actual vehicle but its the same make, body style and year.....Dodge Durango, 4x4. Hers is dark blue. We ran a "Carfax" report on it and its been a leased vehicle all of its life with the only accident being a broken fog light. As far as leased...... I think that may be a good thing because people seem to be a bit more careful about maintaining a leased vehicle as they don't want to be 'fined' at the end of their lease. It does seem to be in very good condition, inside and out. My daughter's friend looked it all over and since he's a mechanic, he hopefully can give an opinion with some expertise behind it. The first vehicle she found had unusual circumstances surrounding it. She liked that one too but never did get to test drive it. She found the Durango and promptly forgot about the other one.

The other vehicle is an Explorer. The guy said his wife won it and she's been the only driver. Its a one-owner vehicle, which is a good thing but I think this guy was being less than honest with us about several things and that made us nervous. When we ran the carfax report on that one it showed that on 2 seperate occasions the registration expired and one time it sat for a year without supposedly being driven and the second time it was nearly 3 years before the registration was renewed. It had extremely high mileage on it and when you factor in that it "supposedly" sat for over 3 years, it makes the use more than triple that of an average driver. It also has one recall that's never been taken care of.....since 2004!! You know what they say....you take better care of something if you have to pay for it. I sort of think that the vehicle was not really maintained like it should have been. The guy let it slip that he had paid out over $500 to have it detailed to get ready to sell it. Wow....this vehicle must have been pretty dirty at one time! My daughter's friend was more worried about the horribly uneven tread wear on the front tires...he suspected a major repair looming in the near future. The owner also has had it up for sale for 3 weeks and has come down $1,000 on his original asking price. So....even though it was the first vehicle to catch her eye, I'm glad she didn't get it and went with the Durango instead.

So tonight it sits all comfy inside her garage in its new home. I feel so much better knowing that she has a better vehicle to drive.....although I cannot fault her old car. That poor car has been through the mill and it still bravely took her where she needed to go. My long-time readers will remember when vandals took baseball bats at it, breaking the windows, the dashboard inside, the hood and front grill work....along with slashing 2 tires. She only had PLPD insurance on it so she had to drive it looking like that (after getting the windows replaced). We found out much later that the vandals thought it was someone else's car.....someone they had a vendetta against and so they did all this damage. She had left it in a Pizza place parking lot because the battery had gone dead....that place is only a couple blocks from where I live and she thought it would be safe for the night, until she could get another battery in it. She learned a valuable lesson....she says she will never again leave her vehicle anywhere for the night.

So, I'm headed for my warm comfy bed. Its 9 degrees outside with a wind chill of 8 below zero. We do have some snow on the ground but nothing as bad as Iowa....(I sent the rescue dogs with a keg of beer, Jamie!). My Christmas shopping is done since I did it online. I have half of it here....the other half is in transit. HO HO HO All of you contending with this cold....stay warm and those of you who are already warm.....all I can say is...."You lucky stiffs!"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Are you gettin' this, Santa?.....

Well, my daughter stood in line for a while so my granddaughter could see Santa. She (granddaughter) was so excited she could hardly breathe. When it was finally her turn, she told Santa that she wanted "a horse farm".....a real one. HO, HO, HO, Santa said, that's a pretty big request there, little Missy. Santa's not quite sure he can do that one. She was visibly disappointed as her sad eyes looked at him in disbelief..... then thanked him for his time and got down off his lap to walk away. (this is the same little girl who just lost the beloved family pet, Mollie, a couple weeks ago)

Much to Santa's credit, he actually called her back to him (even though he had a bunch of kids waiting in line) and explained that a horse farm just wouldn't fit in the sled and it would be too hard on his reindeer. Then she compromised and said that she would be happy with a toy horse farm and, as this picture depicts, she explained all the things that it should include. Note the look on Santa's face. The old boy is really taking it all in.

You know, some people are just perfect for this kind of thing and this Santa needs an "atta boy", for going above and beyond what he was expected to do......so I'm giving him one....even though he'll never know it. But, deep inside.......I'm sure......... he knows!

Thanks Santa.....for really caring. My granddaughter was happy that night. (anybody know where I can find a good buy on a toy horse farm, complete with horses?)

UPDATE: I found one at Amazon.com (free shipping) and also found a dozen horses to go inside of it (also free shipping). Can't get much better than that.....so that's been taken care of.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Maybe if you have a cast iron stomach.....

My daughter and her family have holiday meals with me.
My son usually has his holiday meals with his dad and step-mother. Once in a while those plans change. This year he was invited to the home of a woman he's been seeing. He had a nice meal with her family. He told me that he was also fixing a turkey dinner so he and his daughter would have "leftovers" to feast upon after the holiday. I was amazed that he was cooking something like this because I've never shown him how. I figured perhaps someone else had instructed him at some time through the years. He's a middle-aged man now. I know that he can cook some decent meals but I don't know the extent of his knowledge in the kitchen. I was about to find out.

Well, he called me on Saturday morning and said that he was coming over and bringing dinner....turkey and all the trimmings. Since you all know what happened with our "already prepared" meal at my daughter's, I was looking forward to some homemade authentic holiday food. He was soon at my door, roaster pan in hand. He said to me, "I'll just put this in the oven to warm it up and we can eat in about 30 minutes or so." Sounded like a plan to me. I took note that there didn't seem to be any cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie (drat!)....everything was apparently in that one roaster pan. I visualized creamy mashed potatoes.....mmmmm yum.

I set the table and fixed our drinks and soon he took the roaster out of the oven and ceremoniously took the cover off. He said....." it turned out pretty good....I'm anxious to see how you like it." You know what something smells like when its too greasy? Well, that's what was assaulting my nostrils as he stood there beaming at me. I glanced down at this half gone bird and observed that the cavity was still filled with stuffing and upon further inspection I found the bag with giblets intact, still inside the bird with stuffing covering it. It had been cooked that way.

All around the turkey in this roasting pan were potatoes and carrots cut up, much like you would do if you were making a beef roast. The potatoes and carrots had cooked in the very greasy turkey drippings. He had even tossed in a couple cans of green beans for good measure. I mentally added up in my head how long the stuffing had stayed in this bird. He fixed this meal early Thursday and this was Saturday late afternoon. Hmmmmm....3 full days. Not good. I was always taught never to leave the stuffing in the bird, that to do so could cause food poisoning. My mom was always so careful about that.....so, not wanting to take chances, I never stuff the bird. I toss an onion chopped in quarters and a couple stalks of celery in the cavity and leave it at that. I fix wonderful stuffing, but its in its own bowl and cooked separately.

I hated to hurt his feelings but I had to warn him about the stuffing. I told him not to eat it at all and to pitch it because of how long it had been in there. I tasted a bit of the white meat and it seemed ok but I didn't taste anything else. I was afraid to. Somewhere along the line he must have gotten roast beef confused with roast turkey. I am going to have to take him aside and give him some detailed instructions on fixing a turkey. His heart was in the right place but I don't need my granddaughter getting sick. He did say that he had horrible heartburn for the last couple days. I imagine I know exactly why too. I can't even begin to tell you how greasy those carrots and potatoes were. I have to laugh and shake my head. Where....in all his dreams....did he come up with a meal like that when he's had Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners so many times and they have always been traditional.....you know, with mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes and stuffing. It looks like everything is against me having a normal, regular Thanksgiving meal this year. Did you ever leave the giblet package in the turkey and cook it that way? I did....the very first holiday meal I fixed after I got married. My mom laughed so hard at me I thought she was going to pee her pants. It took me a lot of years to live that one down.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My verdict.....

Well, if today's experience did nothing more than make my family appreciate me (Queen Mama), then it was worth it.

With the aches and pains I'm having from this damnable arthritis plus my bad knee, I just find it way too hard to be standing on my feet for hours at a time preparing a huge meal for my family with no help. For years now I have been whining and complaining about this but it fell on deaf ears. I kept asking for help in making the food and also the clean-up but help was minimal. Finally, this year I decided that enough was enough. I announced to my family that I was not cooking dinner. That I didn't care what we ate or where we ate it....but it was not going to be prepared by these little hands. My daughter said that she would take over. The torch was passed............sorta.

She decided.....since she really does not like to cook.....to buy the dinner already prepared. At our local grocery you can get such a meal. For $69.99, you get dinner and dessert....enough for 8 people, already prepared. All you do is warm it up. She ordered this meal and picked it up the night before Thanksgiving. All looked in order. Thanksgiving day she put the turkey in the oven and when it was ready (after 2 hours) she then warmed up the rest of the stuff.

Now the picture above is of a TV dinner and I'm going to tell you that I think this particular TV dinner probably has more taste than what we ate. This already prepared meal was very bland. The turkey almost had no flavor. Its beyond me how you can mess up a turkey. The mashed potatoes tasted like a mixture of instant and real....we will probably never know for sure what it was. The dressing, however, was good but the gravy was horrible. It was the color of vanilla pudding and had no taste at all. I didn't even try the broccoli or carrots. The fruit salad was good. The pumpkin pie was awful.

My family is spoiled because I am a good cook. I cook with love and I take extra measures to make sure the food I prepare has a wonderful taste. Nothing bland comes from my kitchen.

I think my family learned a lesson. Everyone agreed that nothing could compare to what they are used to. My daughter announced that at Christmas she was going to learn how to prepare a meal like I've always fixed and asked if I would show her how. (haven't I been trying to do this for 15 or more years now?)

So, my verdict on already prepared meals.....at least from this establishment....is a score of 2 out of 5. If you can make a meal out of dressing and fruit salad. True, it was cheaper to put it on the table than it would have been if we had bought the groceries and prepared it.....but we have nearly no leftovers and the food was not that good. For the first time....I didn't even CARE if I had leftovers to bring home.

So sometimes you just have to show your family (tough love) what its gonna be like without a home-cooked feast in order for them to actually do something about it. I think I'm going to go to the store and get the stuff to make some pumpkin bars and/or a pumpkin pie. I really missed that. I'm already looking forward to Christmas dinner.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How about a good HAPPY cry.....

Just in time for the holidays. Just in time to renew our faith and affirm that goodness is alive and well. Just in time to prove that miracles do exist and manifest themselves in the oddest places from sources you would never suspect. After all this, how could anyone ever deny that there is a higher power. So have a happy cry as you watch this and don't let anyone ever try to tell you that there is no such thing as a miracle.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Saturday, November 21, 2009

C'mon, get Happy......

I've been reading "Chickens in the Road" every single morning for a long, long time. Its my morning coffee even when I don't have time for a cup. She's left the chaos of big city life and moved back to her roots.....to a small town in West Virginia. Suzanne can find happiness in a blade of grass. She's creative and up-lifting on rainy days as well as sunshiney ones......not to mention the excellent recipes! I simply love her site. She's a paperback writer and up for a contest and has made an excellent showing....all on the votes of her readers, like me. But the competition is tough so I'm posting this in hopes that you will go there, read her blog and like her enough to vote for her to get this job that pays $5,000 a month for 6 months. So please think about it. All her bubbly enthusiasm needs to be rewarded even though she feels rewarded just by making people feel good....but this new job is writing to make people feel good and she's doing that already....so she's perfect for this. Agree?

So, after viewing the video, go here and please vote for her....one click a day until December 7. Bookmark her site and return often....become a member of her blog community. You won't regret it for a second. Thank you all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

dogs, squirrels and shopping.....

Well, first of all, my daughter had to put down her wonderful pet, Mollie. Mollie, a black lab, just had too many aches and pains from old age and it was something that had to be done as she could barely move any longer.....she was an important part of our family for over 15 years and was a bit of a heroine to my old dog, Tommy. You can read about it here. Rest in peace Mollie.

If you read that old post, it gives you a little insight on the problems I have had with squirrels. They are the cause of many power outages, not to mention the intimidation they do to the family pets. Tommy (my Lhasa Apso) wasn't able to fight them back like Mollie did so he had to put up with it. This dog I have now...my rat terrier, Abby, just hates squirrels. I think her breed is born hating them. She spends her days running from one window to the next watching the squirrels jump from tree to tree or scamper all over my roof. Since Abby would rather chase a squirrel than eat, I have to let her out on a 50 foot nylon leash so she won't leave my yard....the squirrels have learned just where the boundaries are and they will run around just inches beyond her reach with her angrily yapping. Yesterday I let her out and she tore off the deck and headed straight for a squirrel that wasn't out of her reach....he just wasn't paying attention. My sweet little pet turned into a snarling savage as she tackled this squirrel....they tumbled ears over tails in the yard and the squirrel managed to get away from her. That was her first taste of actually having one in her grasp. When I let her inside a few minutes later and went to unleash her my hand came away covered in blood. Upon checking her over I could see that the squirrel had bitten her on the top of the head and also on the ear. Abby has her first battle scars and she wears them proudly. I hope she was able to get a couple bites on him too. I called the vet to make sure I didn't have something to worry about as I've heard that a lot of squirrels carry rabies. They said as long as she's up to date on her shots, (she is) that she should be fine. I cleaned her wounds with peroxide and put some antibiotic ointment on them. Now when I let her out, she actually prances. The squirrels are keeping their distance for right now, but I know they'll be up to their dastardly tricks again before too long.

Now this is off the above subject but its something that I have to pass on or I'll surely forget to. About 6 months ago I came across what I refer to as a best kept secret in the shopping world. Yep, its a family owned department store somewhere in PA. They may have more stores elsewhere in that general area too, I'm not sure. I was looking for something (what....now I can't remember) and I believe their name came up in Google. I checked them out and really liked what I saw. I have bought from them 3 times now and they are wonderful. This last time I got my granddaughter a London Fog winter coat for only $43. and some new Mary Jane type shoes for $16. I also got her some nice waterproof and insulated Totes winter boots for $23. These prices are absolutely unbeatable....especially for brand name merchandise. Yes, they were having a sale, but they seem to have a lot of those. They ship for a flat fee of $9.95 no matter how big your order is and they are prompt, as well as accurate. I'm not getting anything from them to promote their business....I just wanted to pass along a good thing. Go to www.boscov.com and see for yourself. I just love it when I find good deals. And just in time for Christmas too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another movie review.....

This time its the movie, Sideways. The cover on the DVD boasts that it was nominated for FIVE academy awards, including best picture and best director. That it was the winner of TWO Golden Globes, including the Best Picture. And Access Hollywood has deemed it "The Best Comedy of the Year". Well, with all THAT going for it, I figured I was in for a red carpet evening.

crickets

I'm seriously wondering what these people are smoking. At first I thought maybe it was me.....but I'm not going to fall into that trap again. I'm a normal person and I still DO have a sense of humor. I know its still in there someplace....although its getting harder and harder to find lately. But back to the movie. To say I was grossly disappointed is an understatement. Even the full frontal nudity of one of the bit part male characters didn't liven me up. Now maybe if he had been something to look at it may have....but he was nude except for a knit cap and shoes....very much out of shape and when good looks were passed out, he was taking a nap. So that was a failure too. It wasn't even funny.

Virginia Madsen was one of the stars and I like her. Her part was nice. Sandra Oh was another one. She played a sex-crazed single party gal. Nothing was funny though. If anything, it was sad in more than a few spots. WHAT movie were these critics watching when they said it was the best comedy of the year??? It was more of a 'character study' type of picture. I kept watching it...thinking to myself....its GOT to get better soon.....after all, it won best picture. In my opinion it didn't get better, it only served to make me angry at the male character who was due to get married.....and this week long trip taken with his best friend was his last as a single guy and he wanted to be wild....and he was...much to the dismay of his friend. The poor friend took a lot of abuse and still hung in there.

I've concluded that its best not to take any stock in these crazy recommendations of Hollywood and their so-called critics, as well as the people who hand out the awards. Either they are all under the influence of something or I'm just stuck in a rut.....a rut that says Good movies, really good movies, should be the ones winning these awards. Don't waste your time or money on this one....its not what I would call a really good movie. Hell, its not even a good movie....on a scale of 1 to 5, I would give it a 2, at best.....and I do that because of some nice scenery of California wine country. And so I continue with my quest....to find some really good entertainment we can access from the couch or easy chair with our feet up and, if we desire....in our jammies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day....Thank you

This is a picture of my parents when he came home on leave. She was afraid and uncertain and he was getting ready to be shipped overseas and was putting up a brave front for her. The feelings of so many couples during WWII were exactly the same. The feelings of parents seeing their sons or daughters off with a prayer to please come home safely. The flags that were hung with pride.

Thank you Daddy. And thank you to all the Veterans who fought so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have today. We were so blessed....my dad came home.

Every time I see a Veteran, I stop and thank them. It only takes a few seconds and it means so much. Make it a point to do that the next time you come across a veteran and see their eyes light up.

Thank you to all the servicemen and women who are presently serving this fine nation and another thank-you to their families. Thank you truly .....each and every one of you. ~

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My- my, how time does fly.....

Well, I now have a happy car. $1,237 later. Its a shame when you see on the bill that nearly $800. of it was labor.

They had to replace the crank shaft sensor, replaced both rear wheel cylinders, replaced rear break pads and turned the rotors, replaced the brake line and did an oil change and winterization maintenance. The only two things on this list I fully understand are oil change and winterize.

Its just too darn bad that I didn't take an in-depth course in auto mechanics. I certainly could have saved myself some money in this case. Of course, I'm not going to complain too loudly. Having these repairs done may have possibly saved my life and I'm grateful to my 'angels' for looking after me.

I was cleaning out a bookcase and came across a DVD set of the old Amos n' Andy TV series shown back in the 50's. I watched a few of them this weekend and even though the quality wasn't the best, I got a kick out of them. This is definite proof that a program could be entertaining, creative and funny without a bunch of sexual innuendos and crude jokes or actions. I know it was felt that the programs were a slam against a certain racial group, but I never thought of them in that way....no more than you would think that of The Beverly Hillbillies or Married With Children. It was just good creative entertainment with plots that were sometimes brilliant. I sure did enjoy bringing back some memories ("Holy Mackerel Andy") and am looking forward to watching more of the discs each weekend. Do you remember this classic old program?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My car is sick.....

I was finally able to get my flu shot on Monday. The Health Dept. and all the drug stores and senior centers and other places that were giving the shots were out of them completely. I managed to find a doctor's office that still had some. I'm not going to get the H1N1 unless my doctor specifically tells me I have to have it. I'm just glad that I was able to get one. I've had a flu shot every year for over 30 years and have rarely had the flu and even when I did have it, it was a very mild case. So I do believe that the shots help a lot.

The other day my car stalled while I was driving down the highway. Not cool to be driving along at about 45 mph and suddenly your car quits. Its never done that before and it was pretty unnerving to say the least. Since then its been doing it a couple times on the way to and from work....and its only a 6 mile drive one way. I figured that maybe I got some bad gasoline or worse yet....maybe my fuel pump is going. As much as I hate to part with the money, I need my car and have to keep it healthy so I decided that on my day off (today) I would take it in to see what's causing this.

I had my daughter follow me so I could leave my car there. I took it to the dealership for the repairs. I've always used the dealership unless its something small like an oil change. I trust the mechanics there. I told them to winterize it and change the oil too. Also I told them to check the brakes because they still don't feel right to me. I had them checked a couple months ago because they felt "spongy" to me but the place I took it to (not the dealership) stated that the brakes were fine. I was beginning to feel like I'd lost my mind. I figured they were right and I was wrong.

Now I want to tell you all something that just proves beyond any doubt that I have some powerful guardian angels looking after me. I've learned to listen to their whispers. See, I've been driving my car even though I felt something was wrong with the brakes.....but I was driving it because people who are supposedly professionals told me there was nothing wrong. I probably would have continued to drive it even though I still felt that the brakes didn't feel right. That is until this new thing happened with the stalling. Having a car that stalls out in heavy traffic is extremely stressful and only a fool would put up with that. So that made me go and have my car looked at and while there, I felt a nudge at my shoulder and a whisper in my ear.... I heard myself saying, .....'oh yes, would you check the brakes while its here....they feel spongy to me but no one seems to think I know what I'm talking about'. Yes ma'm....we'll check them out for you.

They found the reason why my car is stalling....some sort of electrical problem that can be fixed without much trouble. But.....the brakes.....the brakes, the brakes. Seems as though my rear brakes have been leaking brake fluid for quite some time and the brake pads are soaked and the master cylinder has to be replaced. Dangerous? You bet! They will be repaired and yes, its going to cost more than $600 for everything to be repaired....the stalling plus the brakes, plus a tune-up. I'm going to do it even though my car is old. I'm going to do it because I've taken very good care of my car since I bought it new and it has low mileage and I can't afford to replace it right now. I'm going to do it because my car has always been dependable and has never caused me any trouble. I'm going to do it because my guardian angels have gone to a lot of trouble to make sure I knew about those brakes. Somebody up there loves me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Back to normal.....

Just a quickie post. I asked the maintenance man at work about my circuit breaker box and he told me that I have to flip the switch all the way off and then flip it back on in order for it to reset. So I did that and my microwave came back to life. The other affected outlet in my kitchen also came back to life which means that my coffee pot may not have died. I will test it out to see if there's any life in it and if so, pack it away and use it only if I have a lot of guests, like over a holiday or something. Its about 10 or 12 years old so I wouldn't be surprised if it has turned up its toes. If it has, I guess I can't complain after all those years. Its a Bunn. In the meantime, my one cup brewer, which is a Keurig, has made me extremely happy. I am discovering different little tricks so that I get the perfect mug full. I have sent for some sample packages of coffee so I can pick out my favorite brand. So far, I've liked just about every one I've tried.....so picking one isn't going to be easy.

Halloween was very quiet around here. I saw just a few kids and they were on their way to the subdivision behind me where the houses are closer together and no fences are in the front yards to slow their progress. I didn't get any kids again this year....none of us here did. My granddaughters went to a party at the school and then just went in their own subdivisions on actual Halloween night. It was a beautiful night, but cold....only in the 40's. Friday night it was the same temperature but pouring rain. I think that kept the "devils" at bay so mischief was minimal.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

some good, some bad.....

Well, I just love a good hot cup of coffee and that's a good thing. Yesterday I went to heat up something in my microwave and it stopped working after only running 10 seconds. And that's a bad thing. I've had it for about 12 years and its worked perfectly so that's a good thing but if I have to replace it, that's a bad thing.

This morning I went to my trusty coffee-maker to brew up a pot and it wasn't working. Its the kind that keeps the water hot in a reservoir and then drips through the grounds. The water was not hot. Hmmmm...this is most definitely a bad thing. I figured that this was too much of a coincidence that two things quit working at once so I checked the outlet and ..... no power to the coffee maker one. Well, this could be a good thing....maybe nothing more than a tripped circuit breaker. So I go downstairs to check.

Now, last year I had my fuse box converted to circuit breakers but have not had to deal with the box until now. None of the breakers are marked! This is a bad thing. I don't know what I'm doing. One looked like it might be off, but it wouldn't stay on when I flipped it. So now I'm going to have to get someone over here to find out what's wrong. Do I feel stupid? Why yes.....yes I do!

I come back upstairs and plug the coffee maker into a working outlet. At least a nightlight works when I plug it in. The coffee-maker does nothing but sit there and refuse to work for me. I end up boiling water on the stove and pour it through the grounds in the carafe to make a pot of not so good coffee. I don't bother moving the microwave and fooling with that outlet. I'll handle that at another time. Maybe if I'm lucky, I can get someone else to do it. HA! Exhibiting perfect timing, UPS comes and delivers the new pot I had ordered last week.....and that's a great big good thing!

Getting tired of wasting 3/4 of a pot of coffee every day simply because I no longer drink a whole pot before it starts to taste yucky....I bought one of those one-cup coffee makers after doing a tremendous amount of research to convince myself that I would like it. All the reviews were so good I figured a million people can't be wrong....so I will try it. I made my first cup this afternoon and I will have to say that the coffee named "Donut Shop" is great......a freshly brewed mug can be had in about a minute and a half......and that's a good thing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This n' that.....

Nothing post-worthy has happened and sometimes that's a good thing. Its been cold, blustery and rainy. The leaves are falling heavily now and if they weren't so wet, you would be hearing the rustle and crackle of them when you walk out to get the mail. Soon the trees will be bare, their naked branches reaching for the sky.

I think I've gotten the upper hand with my bronchitis with the help of antibiotics. Still have a little cough left, but its not bad at all. Because of that, I put off getting my flu shot and now I'm not sure I can get one because of low supply. Tomorrow I will be checking that out to see if I can get one. I don't think I will get the H1N1.....I'm a little fearful of it because it was formulated so quickly and also, according to the news reports, because of my age I may have a bit of built in immunity.

I've been doing a lot of reading and also getting back into the groove of watching TV on some evenings. It gets dark so early and light so late in the day now. I will be actually glad to see the time change take place. I'm driving to work in darkness and coming home in twilight.

Speaking of Twilight. I saw the movie finally. I was curious about all the hype over it but didn't buy the books and I didn't pay the outrageous prices they want for a movie ticket. I waited for the DVD and then got it used. People.....I'm sorry, but I just can't see it. I know a lot of people went nuts over it and maybe I've become a cranky old woman....but I just didn't get pulled in by all of it. First of all, the star....Pattinson. He's not THAT handsome....plenty of other stars that have it all over him. Secondly, the girl....Bella. I didn't appreciate her mouth always being open. It was driving me nuts! My grandmother used to get after me when I was small about that....she'd say..."are you trying to catch flies?....close that mouth". It makes her look very unintelligent. Then her backpack....she'd have it, then she wouldn't only to see her have it again at home. Her trip into the woods started out with backpack, then it mysteriously disappears. It drove me nuts because she has this book in there that if "he" found it, he would know that she was on to him. The movie's special effects were not good.....a children's "Goosebumps" movie has better. The only thing I can say is that the country is gorgeous. The scenery is absolutely breath-taking. So, I didn't think much of it. My young granddaughter, however, loves it. I can say it was refreshing to look at a movie that wasn't forcing the F-word down your throat every other minute. In fact, I don't think there was any swearing in it at all, no nudity and very little gore. Even though those are all attributes, I'm guessing that maybe I'm just too old to appreciate the plot and I've been spoiled by excellent special effects in other movies, which would have enhanced this one immensely.

If allowed to go, the trick or treat set will be going from place to place in darkness, which is dangerous but more thrilling for them. We really don't have door to door trick or treating in my neighborhood any longer. The schools and churches have little parties for the kids so everything is done safely and supervised. Its a shame that so many sick people have ruined a holiday that every kid looked forward to; when I was a kid doing this, it never crossed our minds that anyone would try and harm children. So, this coming weekend will be an active one.....for the older kids with pranks and mischief on their minds. Before Friday, I must get all my outdoor furniture and such brought into the garage where it will stay for the winter....otherwise it might end up in the middle of the road, arranged for a social gathering.

My grandson has abandoned his ideas of going into the service in the hopes of attaining a specialized field. His very selfish, immature girlfriend has nixed that. And what is more frustrating is that he's listening to her demands. He has wasted months of his life only to be of service to her. He spends his days waiting on her, eager to jump to her every command. Its sickening and makes us all feel so helpless. We can't talk any sense into him. As for her, she definitely has gotten off on the wrong foot with me. Her rudeness, lack of any sort of etiquette whatsoever and her "me first" attitude cinched that. I would like nothing more than to see him break it off with her and to do it quickly. Since she's been cheating on him, maybe I'll get my wish soon. So far she's been able to lie her way out of everything and he believes her excuses. She's going to make a kind-hearted, trusting young man very bitter and suspicious of all women after this.

Well, that's about it. I have laundry to do and tomorrow is dreaded Monday, which is always busy at work. Maybe tomorrow I won't drop and spill my entire cup of coffee in the parking lot in the pouring rain like I did Friday. Have a nice evening dear friends!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

An award and a MEME.....

Thank you, Gypsy, for including me in your group to receive this award. I'm supposed to pass this along to 6 people but I am going to extend this award to anyone who has commented on my blog in the last two posts. So if you have, consider yourself a recipient and accept this award from me because if I have you on my blogroll and I read and comment on your blog, I consider it to be genuinely "over the top" in every way possible.

Now......for the Meme part. Apparently the answers to these questions can only be one word. Hmmmmmm....kinda hard for most women to do, but let's see what happens.

Here goes:

One Word Meme............

Where is your cell phone? Purse

Your hair? Colored

Your mother? Passed

Your father? Passed

Your favorite food? Steak

Your dream last night? Driving

Your favorite drink? Coffee

Your dream/goal? Happiness

What room are you in? Den

Your hobby? Reading

Your Fear? Pain

Where do you want to be in 6 years? Secure

Where were you last night? Home

Something that you aren’t? Dishonest

Muffins? Yes!

Wish list item? Maid

Where did you grow up? Michigan

Last thing you did? Typed

What are you wearing? Nightshirt

Your TV? Sharp

Your pets? Dog

Friends? Valued

Your life? Introspective

Your mood? Variable

Missing someone? Yes

Vehicle? Pontiac

Something you’re not wearing? Pantyhose

Your favorite store? Kohl's

Your favorite color? Blues

When was the last time you laughed? Yesterday

Last time you cried? Unsure

Your best friend? Relocated

One place that I go to over and over? Memories

One person who emails me regularly? Wanda

Favorite place to eat? Home

Don't forget to retrieve and then pass on your award to keep it going. Happy Saturday!! (and YES...I'm feeling better already!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pardon me while I just s-i-g-h.....

I really did try hard. I did everything but enclose myself in a waterproof suit and wear a face mask but the germs still got to me anyway. Yep....bronchitis and a sinus infection. I have learned not to wait with this kind of stuff cause it only gets worse. I didn't see any sense in going into the doctor's office because I get this just about every Fall.....I figured he could call a prescription in for me and I wouldn't infect his waiting room. Well, I called and of course I had to go through the whole business of recorded announcements, computerized voices and voice mail. I ended up leaving a message which they said would be listened to and handled shortly. Well....good thing I wasn't dying! 24 hours later, after no response from them, I called back and I was more than a little bit ticked off. This time they called in the prescription for me within an hour.

So I have missed a week of work and that's like throwing money out the window. I haven't felt good at all and when I'm not happy.....ain't NOBODY happy. (just kidding about that.....I actually curl up in a corner and just feel sorry for myself). I wasn't able to get my flu shot because I didn't think it was a good idea to get it when you're sick already. So I've started the 5 day dose of antibiotics and I hope this does the trick. Last time I had this stuff, it took two prescriptions to clear it up.

Sorry I haven't said much.....I just haven't felt up to par. I've been trying to make the rounds and visit everyone though. Hope you all are feeling well. I'll see you in a few days....hopefully bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Never a dull moment.....

Well, let's see....where do I start. The other day I was doing laundry and noticed that my water just didn't "feel" right. I figured that it was no longer soft water and probably the reason was because my water softener needed to be refilled with salt. So I trudged downstairs to check it out.

Now, I had my laundry facilities moved upstairs a while ago because the stairs are just too hard to navigate with my bad knee and bad hip, but I CAN go down there if I'm careful. It just hurts, plus takes me a while. I would say that I probably haven't been down in my basement for about 3 months.

So anyway, I go downstairs to check out the softener. Now I'm no Martha so I go barefooted inside my house. I've always done it and probably always will. As I'm walking toward the softener, I have to step on a large piece of kitchen carpeting that's been down there for ages. It's better than standing on a cold floor when you're doing laundry. I step on the carpeting and immediately jerk my foot back.....its wet.....very very wet. My first thought was that the wash water may have come back up through the drain in the floor but there is no smell. I look around some more to find a clue. The water must have come out quickly at one time as the water line on the paneling is about 2 inches up from the floor and there are calcium deposits that have settled in between the tiles on the floor. Bright white they are and there's no missing them. About the only place those could come from is my water heater and upon closer inspection....yes, its leaking.

I can't really complain; it has served me well. It was installed in 1985 and I've never had any trouble with it. So I call my furnace guy and make arrangements to get a new one installed the next day. I thought briefly about getting one of those new tankless water heaters but they are expensive and take much longer to install. My budget dictates that I stay with the tried and true.

First and foremost I have a clean-up job that must be tended to. That soaking wet big piece of carpeting is not going to be easy to contend with. I call my son and ask him if he would do this for me and he readily agrees to take care of it. He will do it the very next day and the day after that I get the new water heater installed. Perfect timing. The next day he comes over and cleans everything up down there, carts the wet carpet up and out of the basement and mops the floor. He did a very good job. The next day the new one is installed and it takes about 2 hours. Its nice to have hot water again. Oh and my softener was out of salt, so that was replenished and now I should have soft water again. Life is good.

This happened yesterday. Fast forward to about 3 in the morning when I wake out of a sound sleep and smell gas. Now I am terrified of natural gas. I have a lot of respect for it and for what it can do for us as well as to us. My emergency dispatch training pops into my head so I know not to turn on any lights as I roam around my home sniffing the air. Yes....definitely gas odor coming from the basement. Strong gas odor. I call the gas company and report a gas leak.

As I sit there in my nightgown with my hair sticking straight up on one side of my head, I'm listening to this guy on the phone giving me instructions which make no sense. They really should update this speech they go through. First of all, he tells me that they recommend that I evacuate my home immediately.....which escalates your fear factor about 100% right there. In the next breath he wants to make sure that someone will be here to let in their employee. Then he tells me not to turn on any appliances or any lights and not to use the phone. At this point, I actually take the receiver away from my ear and look at it. WTH does he think I'm calling him on? Oh well, it hasn't exploded yet.......I continue to listen. He states he will have someone here within 60 minutes. SIXTY minutes. I was figuring maybe 15 to 20 but not 60. There's not much I can do but wait. I then get dressed and open the front door to let some fresh air in. After about 10 minutes of fresh air, I turn on a table lamp, thinking it will be safer than a wall switch. Then I wait some more. All of a sudden my whole house is submerged in darkness. The power has gone out! I can't remember when I've ever been so scared. I figured that this was just a prelude to a house explosion and I tightly shut my eyes and brace myself. Nothing happens. I open my eyes and then the lights come back on. I'm thinking to myself....oh great...this can't be good, power going off and on through-out the entire house and here they warn you not to be turning stuff on. Then it goes out again and this time I look outside and discover that the entire neighborhood is pitch dark. The wind is very strong at this point and its spitting rain. I was surprised when the power came back on a minute or so later. This time it stayed on. (my daughter wasn't so lucky.....she's still out of power and the power company says it may not be restored until early Friday morning!)

The gas company showed up within 40 minutes and he yellow tagged the water heater (dangerous) after shutting off the gas to it. He said there was a definite leak in the connection....a substantial leak. He said to have my installer come back and fix it, then fill out the card and mail it back. He said that if they (the gas company) have to come back out again after the installer has been here, I will be charged for it! Off he went. (personality rating out of 5 stars: 2) I felt better but it took me nearly an hour to calm down enough to where I could go back to sleep. At 9 a.m. I called my guy and he came over and fixed it all up. Apparently there was a problem with a fitting, which he replaced. I should have hot water by 6 tonight so I can do dishes and my white laundry.

Right now I'm sleepy and so I'm headed for a nap. This old girl can't take all this excitement in stride any longer. Time to recharge the batteries. Hope your day was more calming than this. Peace!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Here ya go, another easy recipe.....

Its been cold and rainy all weekend and its just the right time for a recipe like this. Its easy and kids love it. It is my own recipe as I've added and taken away from the original that I think came from Miracle Whip ages ago. I hope you make it and let me know how you like it. Enjoy.

VAL'S ONE PAN GOULASH

Dinner's on the table in less than 30 minutes!

You will need:

1 lb. ground chuck
1 jar spaghetti sauce (1 lb. 10 oz size) I use Ragu or Prego
1 medium onion, finely chopped
quarter of a green pepper, finely chopped....more or less according to your taste
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni (or Penne works well too)
1 to 2 tsp. minced garlic or garlic powder
pinch of white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 heaping tablespoon Miracle Whip salad dressing
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Brown hamburger, onion and green pepper in a large pan that has a cover. Drain this mixture in a colander, sprinkle with salt, mix and set aside.

Pour 1 cup water and the entire jar of spaghetti sauce in pan, mix well and bring to a boil. Add 1 1/2 cups of elbow macaroni, stir well to combine.

then add:
1 to 2 tsp. garlic powder
a pinch of white sugar (a must)

Add the hamburger and onion mixture, combine well. Bring to a boil once more, then turn down to medium, cover the pan and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes, stirring often so the macaroni won't stick to the bottom of the pan. Note: stir carefully, you don't want to make the macaroni into mush!

After the macaroni is cooked to your liking, remove from heat and add a heaping tablespoon of Miracle Whip and mix well. This is optional but it does give it a little kick and adds a nice flavor.

Top with Parmesan cheese if you wish. Serve with hot buttered rolls. Serves four.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Not ready for this.....

Early Monday morning....oh about 2 or so....I was awakened by thunder and lightning. I snuggled back under the covers and fell back asleep and when I awoke at 6 to get ready for work, it was raining hard. It did let up for a while so I could let the dog out. And I actually was able to drive to work during the respite. But the entire day was very dark, dreary and rainy. Plus that, we had wind advisories up as it was gusting to 50 MPH. What a miserable day and it got worse as the day wore on. By the time I got out at 5, the wind was cold and I was very happy to walk into my house that night.

I put on a pot of coffee right away as it sounded really good. The wind was really whipping things around out there and we had periods of pouring rain. Later, in my jammies, as I snuggled down in my couch with a good book, my coffee and the dog cuddled next to me, I couldn't help but wonder about all the people who are homeless. I always think about them more in inclement weather. I am so fortunate to have a warm, comfortable home and I give thanks for that fact on a daily basis. My little dog lives in more comfort than the homeless.

The rain kept up all night long and I woke up to more of the same today. It got down to the 40's last night and today the high did manage to get to 55 but tonight its going into the lower 40's again. We've had periods of heavy rain on and off through-out the day and I'm grateful that today was a day off for me and I didn't have to get out in it. It just seems too soon to be this cold.

I guess what I'm trying to convey here is that no matter what....no matter how disgusted you get or how angry you may get at certain situations, you have to stop and think about your blessings. Yes, I've worked the majority of my life to obtain my things but so have a lot of people....and because of current economic conditions, they've lost what they once had. My prayers are focused on those people; to help them and to help our leaders find a solution to this horrible problem. We all know someone who is in a bad situation right now. I've never, in my life, seen things as bad as they are and never have I seen so many empty homes. I hope someone comes up with a plan.....one that will work and one that won't take more away from those of us who are barely keeping our heads above water.....and I think that's most of us right now. I certainly wish I had the solution but it isn't going to hurt to pray and to pray often about it. Remember......'there but for the grace of God, go I'. Take care and God bless, my friends.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sleepy.......

so sleepy I can't stand it. I've been working a lot to fill in for vacations and that may be it or else its the weather change....but all I know is that I'm so sleepy lately I feel like I could fall asleep in the middle of a crowd. I've been going to bed earlier and earlier at night. I've even missed a few of my favorite TV programs that have started up this Fall because of my sleepiness. One good thing, I can watch them online through www.hulu.com if I miss them first time around. Last night I watched Medium and The New Adventures of Old Christine online since I missed the original showings. As usual, they were excellent.

On the home front, things have been quiet for the most part and that's a good thing. I'm trying to prepare for the upcoming winter in case its as bad as it was last year. The Farmer's Almanac states that its supposed to be BITTERLY cold in my area but not much snow. That does make me feel better....you don't have to shovel COLD. I'm buying frozen dinner type stuff a little at a time to put in the freezer downstairs. Frozen homemade bread dough (its really quite good) and also powdered milk....just in case the weather makes going to the store difficult.

I have to get my flu shot yet and also get my car winterized. I still don't know if I'm going to have a job next year or not. At first I heard that it wasn't going into the budget....then I heard it was. So I just have to wait and see what happens. It would be nice if I could work just one more year to get some bills paid off....but the thought of not having to get out in bitterly cold blizzards to go to work is also a nice dream. One good thing is that my work is only 6 miles one way from my house and the roads are usually well-maintained between here and there.

I've been reading The Help and its very good. Once again, fiction based on fact. My huge stack of books to be read is 29 books high as it is and then my daughter insisted I read a book she just finished by Philippa Gregory (who wrote The Other Boleyn Girl ) called The Wise Woman. Oh my Gawd.....it was a sit on the edge of your seat type book that was hard to put down. I read it in two nights. Not for the faint of heart.... there's lots of sexy passages, descriptions and acts, not to mention some witchcraft thrown in for good measure. Takes place in the 1500's, England.

So, I hope everyone is having a great start to Fall in your area. Here, the leaves are beginning to turn and that certain little nip is in the air. I do love this time of year.....just not what follows it!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Something is getting more frequent.....

....hatred. Oh, its always been around but it was kept hidden for the most part. Here lately it seems to be everywhere. I'm no goodie-two-shoes but I know I've never done anything like what I'm seeing and reading. Yep, I may have whispered to my girlfriend that so and so looks just awful in that skirt and.....what was she thinking!!!! ....but I certainly would have never publicly embarrassed her by saying it out loud. And, at the age I am now, I've learned to keep my mouth shut about things that could hurt someone. I may be thinking it but I keep it to myself. Of course, thinking it is nearly as bad I guess.....but at least it doesn't hurt the one you're thinking about.

I play on a free online game site. I've played the games there for years. I usually go there once a day and give my brain a little workout. I don't stay very long at any one time but its something I used to look forward to. There is a chat section for each game and I rarely contribute, but I do read it. I have noticed a trend lately. People are getting more and more hateful; they say hurting things or else they take someone's comment and turn it around, blow it out of proportion and the insults start flying. It seems like a lot of people have huge chips on their shoulders now. I have to admit I've gone into certain game rooms and have been so engrossed in reading the chat section because of a 'fight' that is going on that I completely neglect the game. At first it was intriguing....almost like eavesdropping, but now its disgusting to me. I am unable to understand why people cannot get along well enough that they can't come together in an innocent, open to all ages, game room without getting ruffled feathers and flinging insults.

So now that I've seen this happen enough I've also noticed that a lot of the same people are involved. Now I check to see if they are playing the same game I am and if so, I often leave the room and go to another one. There ARE sections that are friendly and polite. What's wrong with these people that they are so quick to start something? Is this a learned trait or is it just the frustrations of their lives coming out and the only way they can find relief in their own misery is to strike out at others? I'm seeing more and more of this behavior and, frankly, I'm embarrassed that people act in such a way. There is a lot of hate being distributed in demonstrations, on TV, radio and in articles, not to mention web-sites and music. When is this going to stop? I don't think a day goes by that we don't hear of something hateful and UNNECESSARY that's been done or said. The anonymity of the Internet makes it all the easier for hate to be nourished and distributed.

I just wish people would stop and take a good look at themselves and stop and think just for a half a minute before spewing out some words that can't be retracted. Remember what our old Sunday School teachers taught us? If you're going to say something and you're in doubt....answer three questions before you say it. Is it true.....Is it kind.....Is it necessary. If you can answer yes to all three, then go ahead and say it. That's sage advice we should all adhere to.

I have no answers to solve this problem and I desperately wish I did. What is so distressing is the fact that the "haters" pass this disturbing behavior on to future generations and therefore its kept alive......and growing.

Well, 'nuff said. Have a Blessed day everyone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Well, this is just plain creepy.....

To add an update to the previous post.....the dead squirrel. The next morning, after my coffee, I went outside armed with a plastic garbage bag to dispose of said squirrel. It was a task that I was not looking forward to, but it had to be done.

I went to the base of the pole where the squirrel had been and it was........(gasp)....gone!

This is the second time this has happened now during the night. ( *a few weeks ago I found a dead squirrel by the AC unit outside. When I went to get it to dispose of it the next morning....it was gone! I think this is squirrel mating season, they are fighting with each other like crazy right now. He was most likely the loser. I doubt his family came and got the body to give him a decent burial, even though I'd rather think of it in those terms.)

Which reminds me of something. One day I was watching an ant carrying another ant, that was dead. He trudged across my driveway, carrying his load, which had to weigh as much as he did. I thought to myself....isn't that special. He's taking his fallen comrade back home. Wow. I watched as he took him to an anthill and down the hole. It was a couple days later, talking with someone else who apparently has a lot more intelligence than I, that I learned that ants are cannibals and he was taking him home all right....he was SUPPER!

Ok, back to the original storyline here...........

There is something creepy out there roaming around my yard looking for something dead for.......food.

Either that or the hawk has been helping himself as soon as its daylight. But this squirrel was in a heavily leafed area....mostly hidden from a sky view.

I've got to quit watching so many spooky movies....my imagination is getting the best of me in thinking of scenarios.

Shudder........this just makes me very uncomfortable although I do appreciate the disposal help. I've got my own National Geographic series going on in my own back yard. Nature's clean-up.

Speaking of that.....I really miss Meerkat Manor. Any of you ever look at that? It was the cutest show that I became quite addicted to. I suppose they ran out of story lines....there's only so much a Meerkat family can do. Hope your day is a good one.

Monday, September 7, 2009

And it continues.....

Sunday was a nice day. The neighbors to one side of me were having a family BBQ, the neighbors behind me were relaxing on their screened-in porch; the other neighbors in this immediate area were gone. I was enjoying a 3-day weekend by doing mostly nothing. I had been on the computer, then read for a while and finally decided that I would take a nice little afternoon nap.

I was jarred awake by the distinct sound that I've come to know so well. Yep, the transformer blew again and it was a sure bet who was responsible. After shutting down my computer safely (its on a battery back-up system), I trudged outside to see where the body or bodies were this time. My neighbors were kidding me about having squirrel BBQ for dinner. The neighbor behind me who had been sitting on her porch said it was the first time she had actually witnessed it....she said a huge ball of bluish white light came off of that pole and it was indeed frightening. I confirmed the body count of one laying at the foot of the pole. I sure wish they would land in another yard for a change but 98% of the time they land in mine, which makes me responsible for disposing of the body. Yuck! I'll admit there's been many times I've been tempted to toss them over the fence (where a MAN lives) and the only things stopping me is that I'm afraid someone will see me doing it and if I'm going to touch it to do that, I might as well go ahead and get rid of the body (logic takes over).

A call was placed to the power company by myself and I'm sure many other neighbors called too. The recording on the phone stated that our problem should be fixed by 10 tomorrow morning. Oh goodie! That's a good 15 hours away. It was just dark enough in my living room that attempting to read a book was difficult. I talked on the phone for a bit then noticed the power company truck. Wow...I was impressed....only two hours from when the call was made! The guy walked into my back yard and located the culprit's body at the base of the pole. It is now completely dark outside.

Well, we waited and we waited and still no power. I couldn't figure it out, since they located the problem right away and its happened so many times before, they certainly have it down pat as to what to do. I began to have scenarios run through my mind as to why it was taking so long.
1. Since its a holiday weekend, they had to call in more crews because they are short-handed.
2. Since its a holiday weekend, they only have an inexperienced crew working and have to call in the experienced guys if something big happens and all the experienced guys are three states away having a last summer vacation.
3.This call interrupted a BBQ and after locating the problem, they went back to finish their dinners first.
4. The truck appearing was nothing more than a facade to get people to quit calling. The "real" crew will show up early tomorrow morning when its light.
5. This was a particularly violent blow-out which fried 1,900 miles of wires and they all have to be replaced.

I got disgusted and went back to bed at 11. I left my bedroom light on so I would know if and when my power came back on. At approximately 1:30 in the morning, I had power.

Now, if you remember it wasn't that long ago that I had back-to-back outages during a weekend due to squirrels. I reported it to a "person of importance" at the power company that time and he said he would definitely look into putting up a squirrel guard which is what we've been asking for in the 37 years I've lived here.....and have yet to receive. Obviously, they still have not put one up even though I was visited by an inspector who stood at the base of the pole and stared skyward at it for more than a few minutes. In all their infinite wisdom, I figure that the power company has decided that it is more beneficial for them to not put up a squirrel guard which would take perhaps an hour or so. Instead they:
1. pay out overtime for their crews to respond on a holiday
2. pay out overtime for their crews to respond during the night or on a weekend
3. lose a substantial amount of money due to the fact that there are hundreds of meters not running during this outage.

So, weigh out the fact of losing much money on one hand.....to paying out a tiny amount for a squirrel guard on the other hand and I can fully understand why they would chose to not put up the guard. These people, after all, have to prove job security and what better way than this.....as if all the storms we get isn't enough. Besides that, if us old folks didn't have stuff like this to complain about, then we might just as well curl up our toes and check out. Half the fun of getting old is the part where you can moan and groan and complain and get away with it. We have earned that right, dad gummit. Hope your holiday weekend was a good one....its winding down now and, like everything else in my life, it went by amazingly fast.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mixed emotions.....


about a lot of things. I was told Monday that my part time position was not going to be put into next year's budget. Part of me felt bad that I wasn't considered important enough to be kept....but I realize that these are strange times and so many jobs are being cut. Although I can't begin to imagine that the small amount my job takes out of a budget would make that much difference....I suppose every little bit helps. Since my daughter should be getting her disability starting this month, I am hoping that she will be taken care of that way and my financial help will no longer be needed. If I take care of a couple bills, I can make it on my income if I don't have to help her. I have four months and I think I can pay those bills down so that I can manage....at least that's the plan. I haven't really been able to enjoy my retirement. As soon as I retired my knee went out and I was in a lot of pain....then surgery and by the time that was over I had gone back to work part-time to help my daughter as she had lost her job. So I guess its time that I stopped and enjoyed the roses, so to speak.

My co-worker is going to fight to keep me.....she likes having me there. I've been in this building since 1974 in a different capacity. I am learning more and more about this job and she knows I can be trusted....so we'll see what happens. If I can stay, it will help me pay off some nagging debts....but if I have to leave, I can still make it unless they raise the interest rates even more or raise groceries even more....then its going to be super tight. The important thing I have to remember is that this job came through for me right at the time that my daughter desperately needed help. The timing was right and I know Who I have to thank for that and have thanked a million times. I have faith that things will continue to work out.

I think Fall is upon us. We have had some nights in the low 40's. Today, although nice and sunny, is only 72, yesterday was 70. The leaves are beginning to turn. I'm not ready for this, although I do love Fall....its WINTER that I cannot tolerate any longer. The Farmer's Almanac has predicted that our area is in for bitterly cold temps this winter but not that much snow. I guess I can take the cold....its the snow that just about did me in last year....it just kept coming and coming. So, I'm off to do some earth shattering important things.....like laundry and all the side-chores that go along with doing laundry.

Oh, and you won't believe this one. My great little workhorse computer died. This is the old one that I've had for so many years and recently replaced. My computer guy stopped by to make an adjustment on it so it could send things to the printer in my office and he couldn't get it to come on.....the hard drive wasn't even coming on. This is a VERY bad sign. I panicked at first then realized that I still have the backup of that machine on my external hard drive and so now have been transferring the important stuff onto my new system, like photos and all my word documents. Please....if you haven't made a backup of your machine, DO IT....before its too late. What a nightmare this would have been if I didn't have it. So computer guy took my trusty old machine to see if he could salvage anything. Its been a good worker for me for many years and I feel sad that it has died. Sorry, I'm in just a pitiful mood today....I get like this once in a while....but thankfully it never lasts long. I need to go look at a funny movie, I think. Have a great day.....tomorrow is humpday already!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Its so good when things work like they're supposed to.....

My computer is up and running and is so fast. The programs that I use on a regular basis have installed flawlessly. My bookmarks and passwords have imported into the browser just like they are supposed to and they actually all work! I just can't help bragging even if I may jinx the whole thing. I really NEEDED things to work right.

I still have a few things to incorporate and I need to set up my backup system yet.....but so far, so good. Even the online brain teaser games I play work.

I reinstalled the little weather program that I've used for quite a while and my virus program jerked itself up out of the system tray, stood on a box and literally screamed NO at me. It says there's a trojan in there and I'm disappointed because I like the program, but I'm not taking any chances. Recently the program had to be redone, according to the author, because of changes the weather channel made to its site. Maybe he did something odd...or maybe my virus scanner is having hot flashes....not sure but I'm listening to it. I don't need any more problems.

This afternoon the power went out at work. We have a huge generator which immediately kicked on so we barely knew the difference but having all the offices open and working is a drain on the system, which has to be up and running because of the police department that is in the same building. The traffic on the 5-lane highway out front was bumper to bumper because the traffic signals were no longer working. Then we found out that the outage was extremely wide-spread....at least an 8 mile stretch of the highway and areas surrounding it. Something to do with a transformer that had a domino affect and other transformers went out too. After an hour of being on the generator we found out that service would not be restored until after 11 pm this evening. We were all told to shut down our workstations and go home. It was only an hour and a half early....but great that it happened on a Friday night! To avoid the traffic mess, I took the back way home...which is all gravel roads through the farm route. I take this route frequently when I just need to unwind....no traffic lights and plenty of horses and rolling pastures as well as some areas of deep, thick woods. Very pretty. The rain even stopped for my commute home. Anyway, I was glad to pull into my driveway tonight.

Today is cold and rainy. Its only 60 right now and I swear it feels like Fall already. Its a good night to cuddle with a book.......or maybe play a computer game now that I can.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

One step forward 2 steps back.....

I'm done. I concede. Its gotten the best of me. UNCLE. I just get one thing to work and then two more don't work So I'm getting my computer guy back out here.....he can't come until Thursday....and we will reformat the hard drive and I'll start clean. I will have to reinstall everything, but the end result will be that I'll have a system in which everything will WORK.

Lesson learned. If something sounds too good to be true.....be vewy vewy careful...to quote a certain little guy that had problems with a wascally wabbit. PC Mover, I think, is great for moving data files, photos and music....but NOT programs....at least not from one operating system to another. And with a flashdrive, you can move those files yourself without much trouble at all. So I'm saving all my bookmarks and passwords and hopefully my new system will be able to import them into the new installation of my browser. If not....I have them all written down and will just have to put them in manually. Arghhhhh. its never easy.

Hope your weekend was a good one. I'm gonna love this computer when I get it customized to my liking. Hope it gives me as good of service as my last one has....and is still doing....bless its little hard drive heart.

I can't believe that in the third week of August....our high yesterday was the middle 60's with periods of rain. Today is a repeat. Its 64 right now. All this coming week is going to be chilly. I still say that summer forgot about us in Michigan this year. She got stuck up in the Pacific Northwest. My SIL just hated all that heat, which they aren't used to.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I feel like I'm in a maze.....

....just wandering aimlessly, bumping into walls. I think my computer guy felt compassion for me....maybe because of the sorrowful look on my face....but he did come back on Wednesday to fine tune things. He spent quite a bit of time and when he left everything worked. I was at least intelligent enough to log on and pay my bills that will be coming due the first part of next week. I also got my bank statement so I can do my mid-month balance. I don't think it was more than a couple hours later I uninstalled a program using Add/Remove Programs and when it asked for a reboot....the computer did the same DANG thing. I just laid my head down on the desk and went to my happy place for a while.

I once more used my old trusty workhorse in the den and emailed him. He said he will be back on Saturday. I'm beginning to think that its not such a good idea to move all the programs and so we are not going to do that this time. I am only moving the ones that I use every day, which should only take 30 minutes or so.....this would include my camera and printer settings, not to mention all my bookmarks and passwords. No wonder computers intimidate me so much....they just decide to act up for no apparent reason that we can see. Even my computer guy couldn't figure out why its doing this.....but moving the programs may have something to do with it. I will let you know and I may have to retract my earlier recommendation.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Microsoft should hire me.....

They should hire me to test out their programs to see how much abuse they will take before crashing. If I can't crash them, then they must be pretty darn stable. I don't think I had my new computer for more than 6 hours when I crashed it. Yep....you read right. I was going through various programs to see what would work and what wouldn't on the new system and one little game on there just went NUTS. I got the BSOD (blue screen of death), which chilled me to the bone cause that never means anything good. Sure enough I .... or should I say that evil little game..... corrupted enough files that everything had to be done over. It wouldn't even boot up. My computer guy came back on Monday and started the whole process over again (its a 2-day ordeal). So now I have to wait for him to come back to fine tune it again and he can't make it back until Saturday. All I can say is thank goodness I still have my old trusty workhorse in the den. Sigh....it's never easy.