Thursday, February 28, 2008

Winter BLAHS and phones.....

How I wish I could say that I had stuffed my ample self into a bikini and was basking in the warmth of the Cancun sun, being served exotic drinks by a cabana boy that would ultimately be the subject of several stimulating day dreams…..but, unfortunately, I can’t. Truthfully, I am suffering from a severe case of the winter BLAHS. I can hardly stand myself, let alone expose others to me. I am just SO SICK OF SNOW. As I write this we have been issued yet another winter snow advisory…3 more inches of the nasty stuff.

In the meantime…trying to distract myself….I was thinking about changes that happen in our lives and they take place so smoothly that we come to accept them without much thought. I know that there are many of them, but I was thinking specifically about pay phones. How long has it been since you’ve used one of those? Matter of fact…how long has it been since you’ve SEEN one of those? They are getting harder and harder to find. Everyone has cell phones now or pretty quick access to one anyway. I can’t BELIEVE how many cell phones are out there, generating so many new phone numbers. Every time I see a teenager, they have an appendage hanging from their ear or one clipped onto it and they are engaged in a conversation. And WHAT is this text messaging bit…it takes a lot of time to type out a message, why not just CALL the person. I just DON’T understand this. A lot of businesses and doctor’s offices now have signs at their service counters asking people if they would please not talk on their cell phone while conducting business. That seems like a no-brainer to me…but some people are a tad slow on the uptake. I personally know people who have 6 cell phones in their family. Children who are 10 years old are walking around with cell phones. Its nice to be able to contact your child no matter where they are, but its also unnerving to think that they may SAY they are at home, when maybe they aren’t at all and you have no way of knowing. So, while we are at work, we definitely have to really put trust in our children. I have a cell phone but I rarely use it. I keep it with me for emergencies and for weekend long distance calls to family. I have friends that say cell phones are cheaper than regular landline phones and they have changed their service accordingly. Anyway, this was just a thought bouncing around in my head…wondering if pay phones will soon totally disappear and if not, how much it will soon cost to make a call…I’m betting on fifty cents. (if it isn’t that already) A quarter doesn’t go very far anymore. Ever drive into the QUARTER car wash…HA, that’s a laugh. You’ll get about 1 gallon of water for that. LOL

So, have a wonderful evening. I’m going back to my book in hopes it will bring me out of these winter doldrums. Sigh ~

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My family, a meal and a good movie....Priceless

We had family day again at my house and all went well. It was like waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak….but it never did. Everyone got along great, even the under 6 set.

We usually watch a movie as well as have a dinner but it just seemed like there were no movies available we wanted…..we’d seen a lot of them already and the ones we hadn’t, we had no interest in seeing. Hmmmm a dilemma. So we looked through the bookcase of older movies I have on hand. I chose one that I hadn’t seen in a long time and no one else in the family had seen it at all. Somehow this one had slipped through the cracks, possibly because of its name. Nine Months. A movie staring Hugh Grant, Julianne Moore, Joan Cusack and Tom Arnold….not to forget Robin Williams. There are a few spots that sort of drag, but the delivery room scene is so hysterically funny that you will be gasping for breath. Trust me on this. Even the guys enjoyed watching, although reluctantly, because they thought it was going to be a chick flick. So don’t be afraid to rent this one, even though I think it came out in 1995. The soundtrack is a good one too for those of us that like the older soft rock type of music.

After that movie, a friend stopped by with the latest Alien vs Predator. Since the little ones were asleep by now, we watched it and I guess I’m showing my age here because on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a 3. Lots of gore, a plot that is nearly non-existent, lots of scenes that I didn’t understand and acting that was pretty horrible. The original Alien movie was terrific as far as I’m concerned and the second one, Aliens, was good too, but these cheap-shot spin-offs are terrible.

Tomorrow starts off another week and already we have Winter Storm Watch posted for our area beginning Monday evening; a possibility of 5 to 8 inches of new snow and strong north winds. What can I say? You all know by now just what I think about THIS. Meanwhile, I hope you’re making happy memories on this Sunday.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fragile.....handle with care

We are recovering from a shock at work; a coworker and her husband died suddenly under awful circumstances. I’ve sort of gone about things on automatic pilot this week. One of the bosses came around and hugged us each individually and stated that he appreciated everything that we do and how happy he was to have us there. You know, it sometimes takes something like this for people to realize just how fragile life is. I don’t want this post to become morose but I just wanted to say that we should show our appreciation of others more frequently and let others know how much we care about them. I’ve had to work more this last week than usual so it sort of threw off my time-line. I’ll work on a regular post later this evening or tomorrow. In the meantime, we have bright sunshine outside…the kind of sunshine that says, “spring is just around the corner”. I am enthusiastic about that thought and can’t wait for that special fragrance in the air that only spring can bring on. Oh and yesterday at work I killed a fly. Now WHERE in the world did HE come from? He was sluggish and that’s how I managed to get him. Matter of fact, I almost felt guilty doing it because of that.

So whatever you’re doing today….give it your all and enjoy yourselves. I’ll be back later.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An Award to Pass On.....

Soul gave me this award and made me feel great. Its wonderful to receive a compliment, isn't it? I had a smile on my face the rest of the day. Thank you again, Soul-friend. So now I am passing this on. Soul, Jamie and Gypsy certainly would also have been on my list of recipients but they already have this award. I pass this lovely award on to the following:

FIWA... because she is my daily dose of sunshine. A more caring or compassionate person you will never find. You just want to have her for a best friend cause you just know she's loved by everyone. So FIWA, come get your award and have some coffee and cinnamon rolls with me.

Kelly Jene.... because through all the pain she has, she has never lost her faith and love in God and in HERSELF. She's had some rough times and still manages to set a wonderful example for her boys. Good things are going to come your way soon. Come get your award and stay for coffee and rolls with us.

Hensteeth....because every time I visit your site your exquisite prose has taken my breath away. Such beautiful thoughts send my mind back.... waking memories I had tucked away and forgotten about. It takes love to write like this and Hensteeth certainly spreads this love to all who read her posts. Thank you for that. Come get your award from me and stay for coffee and rolls with us.

Bill and Heather.....because they have so much love that they have adopted a child with special needs and are thinking of adopting another child who is also blind. Thank God for people like Heather and Bill, who shower their love on children that many ignore. I have personally seen how their son is flourishing in their loving care. So come get your award, you two, and stay for coffee and sweets. Oh yeah, faucet is leaking in the kitchen, so while you're here........

Monday, February 18, 2008

Time for Another Recipe.....

The following recipe is so much better if you add Emeril’s® Creole Seasoning in the amount I have specified. Emeril’s seasoning recipe can be found on his websites or you can follow my altered recipe for it here. The only difference with mine is that I have reduced the cayenne pepper amount by half because I don’t like things TOO spicy.

My Version of Emeril’s® Creole Seasoning

2 ½ tblsp paprika

2 tblsp salt

2 tblsp garlic powder

1 tblsp black pepper

1 tblsp onion powder

½ tblsp cayenne pepper

1 tblsp dried leaf oregano

1 tblsp dried leaf thyme

combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container for use as needed.

Yield: approx. 2/3 cup


Another quick and easy recipe.

Serves 6. Total time 30 – 35 min.

1 lb. Ground beef

1 jar (1 lb 10 oz.) Ragu spaghetti sauce in your favorite flavor

2 large green and/or red bell peppers, coarsely chopped

1 ¼ cups water

1 cup instant rice

1 rounded tblsp Emeril’s® seasoning ** (IMPORTANT, see option below)

Shredded Mozzarella, if desired.

In 12 inch skillet, brown ground beef, drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low and cook COVERED for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove cover and top with a couple handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese, if desired. Let sit 5 min.

** if you chose not to use this seasoning, then use 1 tsp salt and 1 ½ tsp garlic powder INSTEAD.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Snow plow manners.....

With all the snow we’ve had, its been a good year for the plowing companies not to mention all the people who love to play with their snow blowers or the plows on their trucks. I guess none of them stop to realize that when you use such an item, a certain amount of etiquette goes along with its use.

Some subdivisions are worse than others. Where I live, I haven’t had a problem with the shoveled or plowed snow. My neighbor does get a bunch in front of his mailbox occasionally from the guy across the street. I figure the first time it interferes with his mail delivery, words will be spoken.

The subdivision in which my daughter lives in just terrible. This year was especially bad. So much so that she even inquired at the police department if any of this was illegal; its not, as long as its not impeding traffic. There are several families in her subdivision that are related to one another. I suspect that they would love to have her move as her house sits in the middle of their ‘circle’. Every Fall, she gets the leaves blown into her yard by these neighbors on both sides of her (the neighbors are related to each other, parents and daughter). My daughter pays to have a yard man come and take them away as burning is forbidden in our town. So she is basically paying to have THEIR leaves removed too as they have been blown into her yard. This has been going on for nearly ten years now. Even though it is frustrating, nothing has really been said because no real damage is being done by the leaves.

Every year they do the same thing with the snow, but this year, because of the increased amount, its been much more noticed. They paid someone to plow their driveways on both sides of my daughter and they pushed the snow right in front of her house, in her front yard. It looks like the Great Wall of China. Its absolutely ridiculous. This is causing inconvenience as far as getting in and out of her driveway, but it is going to also cause flooding when it all decides to melt. I’ve watched Court on TV before and have heard about some of these petty things neighbors argue about that sometimes escalate into a lot of damage being done to both parties. I always thought it was being over-played, but now I can understand the frustration. Talk about the neighbors from Hell!

How can people be so small-minded that they can’t see the problems their inconsiderate acts cause others? I wish I knew a simple solution for her, other than moving. I do suspect that if she weren’t a single mom and if she had a man there, I really don’t think the neighbors would do this to her. Enter stage left…..her brother (my son). He is furious over this and I do expect that he is going to do something….as to what, I will have to let you know. I just ask that he doesn’t embarrass us or do anything illegal. Sigh ~ never a dull moment.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Things I Would Love to Say.....

Excerpts from phone calls I receive at work.

(I must get 20 calls a day that start out like this one)
Caller: I probably have the wrong department but….

If you really think you have the wrong department then you probably do. Click.

Caller: The garbage company refuses to come down our street because of all the snow and YOU need to do something about it.

Ok, pardon me while I get my AK47 and shoot up the offices of the garbage company and set fire to their trucks.

Caller: If I can get out of our subdivision to go to work, then the garbage truck can certainly get in to pick up our garbage.

I’m glad to know you know how to drive a 50,000 ton truck on snow and ice. Maybe YOU should drive it and pick up all the garbage FOR them.

Caller: If my child has an emergency, our roads are so bad an ambulance wouldn’t be able to get here.

This state has a winter season….winter means ice and snow, which means driving could be hazardous or nonexistent…you may want to move to a warmer climate.

Caller: There are people riding horses down the road leaving piles of horse manure and that’s a danger to my health.

Really? Oh my god…don’t go anywhere near it…keep everyone inside, I’ll alert the media.

Caller: I don’t think you’re giving Mr. Jones my messages, he hasn’t returned my calls.

Actually, I never took your messages in the first place because Mr. Jones thinks you’re an a-hole.

Caller: Do I have to bring my dog with me in order to get his license?

Geez lady, are you on crack? What an ignorant question.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sibling mysteries.....

I am a senior citizen. I am on the last 1/3 block of my existence but I am still puzzled by one facet of life. Siblings. I am an only child, from parents who were both only children. I have no idea what the normal relationship between siblings should be. I know what I’d LIKE it to be. I know what it COULD be but I am completely mystified by it all because I’ve never experienced it myself.

I had two children because I did not want them to grow up alone. I was lonely a lot of the time. You learn to like your own company, especially if you live on a farm and close neighbors are not a reality. I always wanted a brother or a sister, probably because I didn’t have one. You know kids always want what they don’t have. I had friends who had brothers and sisters and I thought it was great, even if they didn’t most of the time.

I was blessed with two children, one of each sex. My daughter, being the oldest, was not thrilled when her brother arrived on the scene when she was 3. My attempts to make him seem like a gift didn’t sway her at all. All these cute things you see or read about where the oldest one wants to help take care of the little one never happened in my home. If the phrase ‘take care of’ meant to eliminate, then she would have been all for it, I’m sure. I kept thinking that they would grow to love one another.

As time went on, he became bigger and delighted in teasing his sister. Frogs in her bed, burping in her ear type of things went on frequently. He rough-housed and smacked her a lot and she cried a lot. This did nothing to endear him to her, believe me. Of course teasing went both ways; she did her share. I kept thinking they would grow to love one another.

After they were young adults I was sure they would be glad to have each other. They both moved out of the house, at different times, and started out on their own. They actually would go for months and months and not even talk or even ask about the other. Is this normal? By now my husband and I were divorced and the boy visited him the most and the girl, me. I kept thinking that they would grow to love one another.

Now they are middle-aged and both parents. They are both SINGLE parents. They have something in common. Everyone sees everyone else frequently. They are both very possessive over their dad or me. They are in competition for our attention. They remind me of a couple of pit bulls straining on their tethers. The air is testy with their charged feelings toward each other when in the same room….or the same house for that matter. Each one complains secretly to me about the other’s life, friends, spending, personality or child. They glare at one another, they snap at each other, words are said and taken wrong and tempers flare. Most holidays are a nightmare. Sometimes I throw up my hands to the heavens and ask WHY I have to contend with all this and vow I won’t anymore. Yet they have each saved the other’s life more than once. Out of the blue one will do an unexpected favor or act of kindness toward the other. If someone threatens or makes one fearful or breaks their heart, the other is fired up and ready to defend and fight. Have they grown to love each other? This is a strange love to me or is it because I don’t understand sibling love?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Things that make me cranky.....

- A person who constantly interrupts

- Having to wait in line for a long time

- Phone or door-to-door solicitors

- Finding the toilet paper roll empty or with only one square left on it

- Milk carton in fridge with only a teaspoon of milk left in it

- Junk mail

- Natural citizens who assault the English language

- Anyone with a wad of gum the size of Manhattan in their mouth

- Being hungry

- Commercials that come on TV twice as loud as the program you’re watching

- Borrowed things that aren’t returned

- Unfinished projects

So, I will stop here with the last thing on this list and comment about that one, even though Lord knows I have more things that make me cranky. I asked my son ….oh, I don’t know….maybe 2 months ago…. about redoing my bathroom. The wallpaper had seen MUCH better days and I wanted it taken down, the walls prepped and then painted. Well, he started on it one day while I was at work as a surprise to me. I came home to a MESS. Only one wall had been worked on and it was only half done. But the bathroom had been emptied of everything. I had some cube shelves in there for my towels and washcloths and also some bath products. The very top of the shelves held a basket with my makeup, so positioned because of my two little granddaughters who just LOVE to get into grandma’s makeup. All the things I had hanging on the walls were gone, including some decorative shelves and another one that’s used to hang the blow drier and curling iron. Now I want you to imagine someone taking all the little things you use to get ready for the day every day and putting them in another room in various boxes. That, in itself, is bad enough….but multiply the number of days that things are ‘out of place’ to equal more than a month and your mood meter just goes off the chart. I have to HUNT for almost everything and its gotten on my last nerve. I finally had to get on to him about finishing this job before I curled up in a fetal position in the corner.

So he worked on it the last few days and I watched my granddaughter while he was doing this. (A major reason why I have not been online much.) The paper finally was off all the walls and when I saw them, I remembered why I papered them in the first place….oh so many years ago. They were not in such good shape….screw holes where old towel racks had once hung and uneven places where the wall had been repaired by previous owners. Wallpaper hides a myriad of flaws. So, the walls are finally spackled and prepped and are awaiting the paint, which I have yet to pick out a color. I could go with anything since the ceramic tile floor is white and the tile around the shower area is a light gray. My shower curtain has a white background with pastel blue and pink. I really don’t want to replace it. I was thinking of LIGHT mauve walls. Maybe in a faux finish. You do know how this ‘simple’ little redo can snowball, don’t you?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Give and Then Give to Cover Costs.....

Is it just ME? I found this horribly amusing…so much so that I laughed my way through to the end of the conversation. I received a phone call tonight…soliciting money for a “good cause”…..aren’t they ALL? Anyway, after courteously listening to his sales pitch, he then asked me if he could count on me for a “small” donation. With a sly smile on my face I suggested an amount and he retorted with, “well, we do ask for a minimum donation of _____ to cover costs and handling, etc." (I thought I was donating for a CAUSE, not costs and handling) WHAT costs and handling? Am I paying someone’s salary? Handling? I’m paying someone to open the envelope to remove my check?

This tickled my funny bone something terrible. Sorry, but I just found this darkly humorous. Someone is asking ME for money….and then they have the audacity to DECLINE an offered amount that they deem TOO SMALL and suggest a higher amount? Forget about being GRATEFUL that you would consider even donating in the first place. Am I missing something here? Is it just me? Did I lose a few brain cells? Anytime I collected for charity, we were happy for every penny. Sigh. Just thinking out loud.

Oh and to answer what you’re probably wondering….yes, I did donate something and it was only because it was for children, which is a soft spot with me.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Memories and Sentimental Value.....

How often have you taken the time to really look at the possessions you have sitting around…the knick-knacks…all those little things that mean something to you. What do they mean to you and why do you keep them. Some items stay with us for a short time, others for our entire lives. The history of each is as unique as the item itself and it takes on a personality of its own. Some are bittersweet memories, some are happy and bring an instant smile to your face, while others may invoke a chain reaction of many memories of many things. It’s almost guaranteed that none of them carry sad memories because no one likes to remember those.

The little guy above is unique in a couple ways. There is not another one of him in the entire world and it was my daughter who lovingly made him. Named Bubbha (a southern version of Buddha), I love him to pieces. Get a load of the toes! At the time of his creation, my teenaged daughter was taking art in high school and an art project was to make something that could ultimately be a gift for someone. She knew how much I adored the little Buddha statues with their smiling faces and big bellies and attempted to make me one. The result turned out to be something that looked primitive enough to have been excavated out of an African cave. She made many mistakes, but the mistakes seemed to “work” for the piece. Her teacher displayed it in the showcase and afterward asked if he could buy it from her because there was just something about it that really “spoke” to him. I’m glad she refused and gave it to me instead.

So I know the whole history of Bubbha and I’m hoping that he’ll be in the family for many years. He’s 24 years old now. He sits safely on my nightstand and every time I look at him I have to smile…he just has that effect on you. I think part of it is the toes. He was made by someone whom I love and who loves me. With the addition of each piece of clay, I was thought of and it was hoped that I would appreciate the effort being put forth. Oh I did. I still do so very much.