Friday, November 30, 2007

Not too bright.....

The ignorance of some people totally amazes me. You would think that criminals would give their anticipated crime some…..thought. You know, wear non-descript clothing, drive an ordinary looking vehicle… other words….BLEND.

The other day, at work, just before quitting time I heard a broadcast being put out by one of our dispatchers. Seems as though three people had made off with a bunch of DVD’s from one of the area stores. They made their getaway in a pick up truck completely painted in camouflage patterns of green and brown, duel rear wheels, with a rack on the roof consisting of three sets of lights. This vehicle probably has no duplicates within the tri-state area so it was a no-brainer that an officer spotted it only seconds after the broadcast.

I passed the patrol cars with the truck pulled over alongside the highway on my way home. Shaking my head, I remember thinking to myself that these people would most likely be spending the night in custody. What with all the technical advances that the stores have done in loss prevention, people still try to get away with it. Granted, a lot of them do manage to pull it off but it’s only a matter of time before they get too brave and reckless and then they get caught.

Remember back some years ago when those sneakers first came out with those red lights in the soles? A kid wearing those broke into a house and the police were on the scene so quickly that he had to leave his loot and take off running through the woods in the dark. He was eventually caught, which was easy since he was wearing those lighted sneakers and all the officers had to do was follow the lights. Talk about a screw up! Not the sharpest knife in the drawer for sure.

I hope no one I know becomes a victim of a crime, and that includes myself. You have to be ever-vigilant these days. Unfortunately, some people would rather steal than work and that all boils down to our unethical society and the morals, or lack of, created by that. Sure wish I knew of a cure for that. I’m sure Big Al knows of one.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Green Tree Hugger.....

Well, not quite that bad maybe. After Tuesday's post and my ranting about all my mail.....fiwa was nice enough to suggest a place she's thinking of trying and its called Green Dimes. For $16 total, they will eliminate 90% of your junk mail and catalogs, plus they will plant 10 trees for you. This sounds good to me. I checked it out and joined it. Thank you Fiwa!

I knew my mail was getting out of hand, but this was ridiculous. Right off the bat, I listed 13 catalogs I did not want to receive. That only covers about a third of what I get. I will have to go back in and add more as time goes on. They even eliminate the 'occupant' ones too.

When I got up this morning I was thinking that maybe paying out money to have my mail reduced was a little overkill......until I went to the mailbox. I received 11 catalogs today in addition to my regular bill type mail and personal letters. Now, I'm glad I did it and can't wait for the results, which can take 2 to 3 months, they say.

Like Jamie, I do almost all my shopping online. Its wonderful.......especially for a crabby bitch like me who hates going into stores and hates dealing with lines and cashiers. Don't get me wrong, I'm never mean, unless you try and take cuts in front of me... (grrrrr snarl).....but I often wait in line doing a 'slow burn' just cause I have to wait a long time.

Online, I wait until the store either offers Free Shipping or I have a promo code ( for it. Like Soul, I hate paying for shipping and just won't do it. More and more stores are figuring this out as a lot of them are offering free shipping a lot more often. Sure, there is a may have to buy $50 or more to get it, but if you're doing your Christmas shopping, that's easily met.

In the meantime, there are just SOME things you have to venture into WackyMart to get. Invariably the four things you want are at the opposite four corners of the store. I think they do this purposely to keep you in there as long as possible so you will be tempted to pick up extra stuff. Now......let me tell ya, I hop on one of those electric carts and zoom my way through the store. Good thing they don't have speed limits in there cause I have the throttle all the way back. Not only is this fun, but its FAST. Plus that, you're not tempted to buy things you can't you're whizzing by the shelves so fast. I don't feel bad about this because I really am handicapped in a way.......I have a bad knee and also a bad hip. So it takes me a long time to walk that whole store, not to mention the PAIN! My daughter says I should apply for a handicapped sticker on my car but I can't quite do it.......I keep thinking that there are so many others more deserving of that handicapped parking spot than me. As long as I can get fairly close, I'm ok.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Boy, I've got mail.....

The mail came today and my mailbox was leaning with the weight of all the catalogs contained within. Lawdy, lawdy, I was amazed. After getting the wheelbarrow to bring in no less than 1900 catalogs and various pieces of other mail, I made a pot of coffee and settled down to peruse my stash. 7 catalogs from different places that sell shoes. 3 toy catalogs, 9 catalogs that sell clothes, 3 different catalogs from the same store, 1 jewelry catalog, 1 catalog that sells pajamas (for $50 apiece those suckers better be made out of gold), 3 selling food baskets and/or flowers, 2 that sell unique items (omg.... I just looked in one of them and found an ornament that says, "She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain." THAT'S what's wrong with me!), 1 that sells dishes, 1 selling misc. items, 1 selling dolls that look like your child (kinda spooky, me thinks), 1 natural food catalog and a partridge in a pear tree.

This time of year is when my house gets out of control. I save these books for "when I have time" to look at them and pretty soon I've got the equivalent of the national forest in paper products. Sigh. I know I shouldn't complain because it IS easier for me to order things rather than go to the ...... shudder......mall. But, anymore, there are just TOO MANY choices. And I also know that if I throw them out, I will find that I just HAVE TO HAVE an item that was featured in one of them. You know I'm right.

The various other pieces of mail consisted of 1 bill, 3 offers of life insurance in case I croak before I get my loan paid off (but they won't say how much this is going to cost me....they want MY PHONE NUMBER so they can call me. HA, not on your sweet bippy) and the rest were requests for donations, none from places I'd heard of before. Oh, and a thank you and receipt for my recent TOYS FOR TOTS donation.

Not because my daughter used to be a mail carrier, but my heart really DOES go out to them this time of year......especially the ones who have a walk route. Your back-breaking work IS appreciated, even if your boss doesn't acknowledge it. Honest.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Suddenly....the S-word

I can admit I sure didn't want to get my ample butt out of bed and into work this morning, especially in the cold. I zip through a drive-through for coffee and cinnamon minis on the way for me and my co-worker and that starts the day off nicely. We were fairly busy today and the day went fast. I looked out the window in the afternoon to what looked like a blizzard. The police calls were going crazy with accidents. Ahh.....the first significant snowfall and people are sliding around and off the road like bumper cars. About now, I wanted to be home, in my jammies and on the couch with a good book and a hot cup of coffee.....or maybe my favorite mixed drink....a White Russian. Thankfully I don't live too far from work and I was anxious for 5 p.m. to arrive. Yep, the roads were bad and I swear it seems like every year we have the first snowfall, we also have an abundance of drivers who have forgotten how to drive on slippery roads. I think we received about 3 inches of heavy, wet least. I was never so happy to reach my driveway. Other drivers make me seriously nervous.

My son has the house decorated in Christmas lights that look so inviting but nothing was as inviting as my jammies and the White Russian drink I fixed myself 10 minutes after I pulled into the garage. Ah yes......matriarch of my domain.

My co-workers who ventured out on Black Friday had horror stories like you wouldn't believe. Even though a few of them got some bargains, they all admit that it was not worth all the hell they went through to get them. Frankly, I was quite happy with a purchase I made the Monday before Thanksgiving......a $160 winter coat for my grandson for $80 and free shipping using a promo code from All done online within the comfort of my home. Maybe I'll get through the holiday season with my sanity intact this year.

In the meantime......we have snow. Quite a bit of it. I'm sure it will melt within a few days. In my corner of the world, the weather changes at the blink of an eye. However it is a prelude of things to come; several months of bitter cold and snow covering most everything. Its beautiful for Christmas but after that.......its really not that enticing since I'm not a snow bunny with a 44 inch bustline and 23 inch waist who looks great in a skiing outfit. I think I was refilling my plate at the buffet when God passed out those attributes and I missed out entirely.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday thoughts.....

Its late afternoon Saturday and the dog and I are alone. The house, once more, is quiet. No little footsteps running up and down the hallway, no bursts of childish laughter, no temper tantrums......and that's just the adults. Just kidding.......or am I? Really though, its been wonderful having my family here but its also nice to kick back and relax in the silence. My batteries need recharging badly. Plus that, I have books calling my name.

I'd like to give a big hug to the person who coordinated a Spongebob Squarepants Marathon for all day long yesterday. What a brilliant idea. It kept the kids occupied and out of trouble a great deal of the time. It also amused me. Am I weird or what? I love Spongebob. He is so irritating that he is endearing.

If no one pops in on me I have enough leftovers for my dinner tonight. Yum. By tomorrow I will be totally sick of turkey and all the trimmings but tonight it still sounds mighty good.

We still have light snow covered ground and its lightly snowing now. Supposedly tomorrow its going to warm up to 40 and then rain. Then its back to work on Monday. We are not going all out on Christmas presents this year.......only the kids will get presents. As adults we will give hugs and blessings. Everything is just so darn expensive and in most households money is very tight. Since so many toys have been recalled, I will have to be very careful in my selections.

And speaking of that........what is with some of these toys coming out? I was totally surprised at some of the offerings. A dog that you feed 'biscuits' to and those same biscuits come out as poop when you push its tail. You take those same 'items' and then feed the dog again with the same result. What kind of message is this sending? I'm not getting good vibes about that one. I've heard its one of the ones that's been recalled because of lead. Go figure..... How about the doll that you feed 'special' baby food to, only to have it come out the other end in a diaper? What ever happened to imagination? Aren't these little girls going to have enough diapers to change when they grow up? Now they have to change their TOY'S diapers. And isn't that going to make a yucky mess INSIDE the about a breeding ground for bacteria! Oh.......and how about the dog I just saw advertised today......he is a plush toy but he lifts his leg and pees. read that right. You have to buy little 'pee pads' for it. Toys are supposed to be FUN.........this sounds like work to me........not to mention I bet those pee pads and special baby food and diapers all cost a pretty penny to keep in supply. These marketers really have a money thing going here. I am NOT going to buy my granddaughters anything like this......I think its terrible. But that's just my humble opinion.

Friday, November 23, 2007

After the feast.....

And oh what a feast it was. Everything was so good. My family was present and no big problems erupted. Most of the problems revolved around the two young granddaughters getting along….or not getting along….it could change at a moment’s notice. They are 5 and 3 and are first cousins.

After we were full and lazy, we watched two movies on DVD as the snow continued to fall. Sometime during the evening I heard my ‘alert’ for bad weather conditions go off on my computer. It was a warning of ‘black ice’ on the highways. My daughter decided to stay the night rather than venture out.

At 8 this morning I was awakened by my 5 yr old granddaughter crawling in bed with me. She nestled down under the covers and fell back asleep. Now I had not only the dog at my feet but a child near my head. She is the grandchild who has enough energy to power Manhattan and she moved something, be it arm, leg, hand, foot or entire torso, every 3.67 seconds. I finally just gave it up and got up. Maybe I can take a little nap later in the afternoon.

Today is bright and sunny but very cold; everything is coated with snow. Its more or less a picture perfect day. I have friends who were planning on getting up at 3 a.m. in order to hit the stores at 4 for Black Friday. Call me what you will, but I just can’t see putting my body and my car through that. Its like a feeding frenzy and good manners are left at home. I do most all my shopping online and this year some of the stores have extended the Black Friday good deals to online purchases. I may browse and see what they are offering but it will be in the comfort of my jammies, while sipping a hot cup of coffee. Life is good.

I plan on lounging all day long, maybe doing some reading or watching a good movie or two. We have plenty of leftovers for today’s dinner. The biggest thing I have to do is help referee two young ones. In the meantime, they are pre-occupied with watching Spongebob, bless his little squarepants.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rural Town Problem-solving.....

I was thinking about how so many things have changed in every segment of our lives. Some changes were blatant and drastic, others more quiet and subtle, but they were changes nonetheless. Sometimes changes are good…..but sometimes the old ways were better.

Before retiring, I worked as a police and fire dispatcher for a small rural town. After many years at the radio, I then worked as a DB secretary, eventually finishing up as Administrative Secretary for the entire department. The radio years were the most stressful but they were also the most interesting.

One of our officers, Big Al, who was as big as his name implied, always carried a .44 magnum on his hip. Big guy, big gun. (picture Jackie Gleason) He smoked big cigars and had a wickedly wonderful sense of humor. I think Big Al had been with the department since its inception. It being a small town, you know most of the residents by first name and it seemed like Big Al knew everyone. Not quite Mayberry, but pretty close. And….yes, we did have an officer that resembled Barney Fife. Those stories will be for another time.

Every weekend, this elderly couple who lived in the south end would hit the sauce and then get into an argument over something stupid, which would escalate to the point of one of them calling the police. Since it was a “family fight” type call, two officers had to be sent. The officers would go in, referee or listen to each of their complaints, and basically act as marriage counselor and then leave with everyone being happy until next weekend when it would start all over again. This one particular weekend, Big Al was running from call to call like mad. It surely must have been a full moon because we were busy. Sure enough, in came the call from the old folks, arguing as usual. As soon as they were available, I sent Big Al and another officer. When they cleared the call in a surprisingly short few minutes, you could hear the chuckle in Big Al’s voice. I got the story when they came in to the station.

Big Al had told his partner as they exited their vehicles outside the old folk’s place that he was going to do something to get these people to stop calling like this and to play along with him. They knocked at the door and were invited in. Right away, as usual, both of the old folks started talking at once, each pointing the finger at the other. Big Al cleared his throat and took out a cigar. He put it in his mouth and lit it, blowing a nice smoke ring into their living room. All the while, the old folks were still talking at the same time, getting louder by the minute. Then Big Al slowly unsnapped his holster and removed his gun, which was impressive, I kid you not. He held the gun, pointed at the ceiling and cleared his throat once again. By this time the old folks had stopped talking and were looking at him with wide eyes. Big Al said, in a very matter of fact way, “you know we’ve been coming here for years every weekend and the chief has decided that you two just are never going to get along, so I’m going to have to shoot one of you. Which one is it going to be?” You could have heard a pin drop as they both instantly sobered up. They then assured Big Al that things were fine and he could leave….really, he could….they were fine….as they quickly ushered him and his partner to the door Big Al slowly returned his gun to his holster and said, “ok, but remember what I just said”.

We never had another complaint call from those people. Maybe some won’t see the humor in this, but I do. It goes to show you that sometimes a little rural, small town justice in the way of a bluff is just the thing to solve a problem.

An officer today could never get away with this. There would be lawsuits and internal affairs investigations and disciplinary action taken. Even in this same small town, which has had its population tripled in the last 25 years, changes have been implemented so that if a police officer just pulls his gun, a full report has to be written. Big Al would be going “humph” over that. I think now he’s basking in the warm sun somewhere, loving his retirement. God Love ya, Big Al, and thank you for finding a way for those old folks to appreciate each other for the remainder of their lives.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

On Recovery Road.....

Well, I think that NyQuil® and I have managed to beat back the germies and my inner immune system is waking up and starting to get to work. I don't feel wonderful but feel a whole lot better than I did a few days ago. I actually lived in my bed, making a tent of comforters and quilts and practically rubbing down my whole body in Vicks®. Unfortunately my daughter and granddaughter managed to catch this and now they don't feel so hot. I really hope they will be OK for the holiday but it will be close.

Someone had told my daughter that if you ever want to know when you've been exposed to a germ, to count back 4 days from when you first come down sick. I did that and it coincided with a visit to the beauty shop where I get my nails done. I remembered that when I was there this guy was in there working on installing new fluorescent bulbs in their overhead lighting and he was coughing. BINGO. The culprit has been fingered. I have mental pictures of abusing him severely for going to work 'sick'. I wonder if my nail tech came down with this too.

I think I can venture into work tomorrow. I called in sick on Friday. Not only did I feel like death warmed over, I did not want to be blamed for infecting the whole building. The last time I worked was Tuesday so if anyone caught anything from me on that day (doubtful) they would have it by now. Tuesday night was when I really came down with it hard. Before that it was a little stuffiness and a sore throat. I think my poor immune system was trying hard to fight it off but apparently I have a lot of lazy soldiers in my platoon. Most of them were sitting in front of a TV playing video games or maybe playing poker.

I can tell I'm a lot better because I am HUNGRY. I am "chew on a table leg" hungry. I have a chuck roast in the crockpot that's been there since this morning and the whole house smells wonderful. It has a couple hours to go and I'm panting in anticipation. (wouldn't want to waste away to nothing here)

Thank you to all my readers who wished me well, either in the comments or by email. It certainly is appreciated. Hopefully I can get back to writing with more frequency again.....unless all the work from Thanksgiving cooking does me in. LOL In the meantime, stay safe.....take your vitamin C's and beware the germies. Oh, and what an evil bunch they are, too.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Intruder Alert.....

I don't know how it happened; I'm usually very cautious. He crept up on me when I wasn't looking. He wrapped his germy cape around me and whispered gleefully in my ear - "Gotcha". In an instant he was gone, running off in search of someone else, laughing; muha ha ha ha ha. It started out as a scratchy, sore throat. I gargled and that was gone by Monday but I was stuffed up to the max. NyQuil® and I have been battling this cold since then. Yesterday I felt just awful; today I'm not a lot better. I think I had a fever on top of everything else. NyQuil wiped his brow and told me he's doing the best he can for me. The only good thing about this is that I'm confident I'll be all better by Thanksgiving. It should have run its course by then. Hopefully. (hear that, NyQuil?)

In the meantime, stay safe out there. The germies are out and about and looking to get you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Chop chop good.....

Especially for you, Fiwa. This is quite good.


You will need:

1 Lb. Ground beef
1 cup chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
2/3 cup uncooked white rice (not minute rice)
4 tblspns soy sauce (Kikkoman works well)
1 16 oz. can of bean sprouts or small can water chestnuts, drained. (your choice)
1 small can chow mien noodles (crispy ones)

Preheat oven to 350. Brown hamburger, then drain. Add rest of ingredients except noodles. Mix and bake covered for one hour. Uncover and sprinkle with noodles over top and return to oven, uncovered, for additional 25 minutes. Serves 8.

A friend indeed.....

Is there anything better than a nice visit with a cherished friend? I don’t think so. An old friend came to see me today; she came from thousands of miles away. I can’t begin to say how much I have missed her; our chats over never-ending cups of coffee either at her kitchen table or mine. She is not only my best friend, she was my neighbor as well. But she flew off to a better life and I’m happy for her. Things are great for her and that makes me feel wonderful because she’s special and she deserves it more than anyone I know.

I can only hope that everyone could have the experience of having such a true friend. We can go years and not see one another but pick up as if we’ve never been apart when we see each other once again. I am blessed.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Gathering of the carnivores.....

Tonight my son and I ventured out to a local grocery store for their annual ‘meat sale’. It’s a 3-day event and this was the last day. I knew I should have gone on the first day but you know how that goes. It was crowded but everyone there was orderly and pleasant. I was amused to see the crowd patiently waiting for their ‘meat’ to be placed out on the counters so it could be snatched up with eagerness. How far we’ve come from our ancient ancestors who would snarl and club someone else to get at a piece of food.

They ran out of chicken breasts and ground chuck while I was there and I didn’t see any more pork roasts either. I managed to get several packages of the chicken and ground chuck before it was gone and I also got 4 chuck roasts. I’ll divide the ground chuck into one-pound packages and freeze them. I’m practically the queen of hamburger, preparing it as many ways as possible. I can even make chop suey that tastes pretty darn good. I have an easy recipe for it if anyone wants it. Just leave me a comment and I’ll post it.

When freezing ground round, chuck or hamburger, let me give you a helpful tip. I usually divide them up in one-pound portions and put them in freezer bags. I flatten the meat out once its inside the bag so its only about ½ inch thick. Make sure you get all the air out before you seal the bag. The meat will be about the size of a piece of paper…8x10 maybe but only 1/2 inch thick. This way I can stack the packages on top of each other neatly in the freezer. If space is a problem, you’ll find you can get much more in your freezer if they are like this. Give it a try….I think you’ll like this idea. Another big plus is that it reduces the thaw out time dramatically. I kid you not.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Another quickie recipe for a cold night.....

Southwest one-dish supper

1 lb. Ground beef
1 package (4.9 oz.) au gratin potato mix
1 can (15 1/4 oz.) whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
Dash salt and pepper
* 1 rounded tblsp. taco seasoning
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar OR shredded
Mexican style four cheese

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the potatoes, and contents of sauce mix, undrained corn, undrained tomatoes, milk, water and taco seasoning. Salt and Pepper to taste. Transfer to a greased 3 qt. Baking dish. (I save time by using a dutch oven to cook the hamburger, drain, then add the remaining ingredients, cover with lid and pop into oven.)

Cover and bake at 350 for 65-70 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with cheese and bake uncovered for 5 minutes longer.

*Taco seasoning may be doubled if you like your food a little more spicy. I prefer mild and have adjusted the seasoning for my taste.

Serves 4-6 hungry people

Who's on first.....

My granddaughter is in Pre-kindergarten and my daughter went to the first parent-teacher conference tonight. I babysat while she went and when she returned she looked a bit dazed. I wondered if something was wrong, but she said everything was a matter of fact, the girl was doing above average in everything. She handed me her "report card", which was basically a sheet of paper. I glanced at it and saw that she had a C. I said this is not above average, but at least she's not below average. My daughter said no, she is above average.....see here is the explanation of grades. C is a B and a D is an A. What??

Seems like they've once again changed the grading on us. I think its part of a diabolical plot to keep us all unbalanced. Sure enough, A means lowest grade, then C is above average and D is the highest grade you can obtain.

I couldn't help but be reminded of the old Abbott and Costello comedy bit of "Who's on first" and what a confused frenzy and play on words it was.

So the bottom line is: My granddaughter is doing above average and this is a good thing. She is so full of energy that we are pleasantly surprised that its not affecting her school work. She LOVES school and is a good helper. I hope this trend continues for the next eighteen years.

In the meantime, I need a drink.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Recipe for a cold night.....

You will need: 1 package of 4 to 6 chicken breasts (preferably boneless), 1 envelope of Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix, 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup, 1 cup of uncooked white rice, 1 “soup can” of water. Mix together the soups, can of water and the rice in a 9 x 13 pan. When thoroughly mixed, carefully place the chicken breasts on top. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. That’s it! You have a wonderfully delicious meal without a lot of mess or bother. You can serve a side of green beans and salad if you wish. Enjoy. This is another of my "stressed-out working mom recipes”.

Shoo Flu.....

The other night on my way home from work I stopped in at my local CVS Pharmacy to pick up my prescription refills. While there I noticed some signs posted in the store stating that they dispense flu shots at their “Minute Clinic”. Since my doctor’s office is closed when I get off work, I decided to check it out.

I was able to get my flu shot, which my insurance totally paid for, in less than 10 minutes. I’m a firm believer in flu shots. I have gotten them every year now for the last 15 years and I can tell you that they really DO help. I’ve only had the flu a couple times in that time period and both were mild cases.

I used to get them either at the Health Dept. or the senior center for a small fee (started out being $3, then eventually went up to $7.) but they have cut back on that it seems. Lately I’ve gotten them at my doctor’s office when I could find time to get there before they closed, but insurance never covered them for me until this year. I’m glad they are finally getting wise and are starting to pay for them.

So, “Kudos” to CVS and the Minute Clinic. They were very professional and administered the shot privately behind a closed door. I was promptly treated by a “nurse practitioner”, in full uniform. They claim that they treat several other minor things, as well as give other vaccines. Seems like we are going back to the way things used to be maybe 100 years ago when the neighborhood “drugstores” were like doctors. The local pharmacist was as highly respected as was the town doctor as far as dispensing medications for common ailments. With all the waiting you have to do at the doctor’s anymore, maybe this is a good way to get the ‘little’ things taken care of. NOW….if only some people don’t abuse it, we may have a good thing going here.