Saturday, May 30, 2009

A good read.....

I saw mention of this book on Rechelle's blog and I decided to check it out. So I went to trusty and looked it up. On their site they let you read a few pages if you'd like. So I did and I was hooked!

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Its set in the Middle Ages but don't let that scare you away. My favorite book of all time, Forever Amber, is set about 500 years after. I have a feeling that Pillars may end up in the same period as Amber before it ends.

If its written well, a novel set in this time period is extremely interesting.....much more than a movie. I don't know why I had never heard of this book before; it was written in 1989. I've also heard that this is one of Oprah's picks....and, if so, she finally nailed one that I am really enjoying. Its only 900 bajillion pages long....thick as a telephone book...but I can't put it down. I started it on Friday when I got it in the mail. I found it in used condition for only $2.85. I am 120 pages into it and already there has been death, birth, murder, an execution, assaults, and thievery. He wrote a sequel in 2007, World Without End, and I have already ordered that one used because I know I'm going to like it.

Just thought I'd pass this along to all of you that love to read. The characters are warm and real and even when you're not reading, you find yourself thinking about them. I can highly recommend this one and I have no idea how its going to end yet. Sigh ~ so now you know what I'm going to be doing with any spare time I have.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Big Comfy Armchair Critic.....

Well, this time its movies. My family and I didn't do much other than kick back and relax this holiday weekend. For the most part the weather cooperated.....a far cry from the weather we usually get on Memorial Day. Its almost always very cold and raining. But this year was beautiful and backyard picnics were abundant.

A bargain bin find, the first movie is Identity with John Cusack. The stage for a perfect thriller movie is down motel in the middle of the Nevada desert...its raining cats and dogs which has caused flooding and all the roads to civilization have been washed out. Its raining through-out the movie. Its night through-out the movie. Cell phone availability is not available and of course the landline telephone wires are down. Several people from different walks of life end up here because of car trouble or because of the roads being washed out. Enter into the mix a cop who is transporting a very dangerous mentally insane criminal to a last ditch meeting in an attempt to keep him from being executed for butchering several people and everything is there for a nail-biting night. Of course the mental patient/criminal escapes and of course the police car radio doesn't work either. One by one they are being murdered. I would be lying if I said it wasn't holding our interest....but the ENDING.....the ending was just so weird and disconnected that we all just sat there with dumb looks on our faces....looking at one another in utter confusion. Its almost like the writer just got bored with the whole thing and ended it like this because he couldn't think of any way to tie the plot up to make any sense. Later on as I was lying in bed just before sleep claimed me....I was would you feel if you found out that all the blogs you read were written by just one person with multiple personality disorder. This is the road that this movie takes you down....a very strange and twisted road. My advice on viewing it....don't bother with it unless you plan on getting drunk while watching....then it won't matter anyway.

The second one is an oldie and I bought this mainly for my granddaughter....who is CRAZY about animals.....all animals. She is only 6 so we do have to be careful what she watches. Supposedly The Bear won all kinds of awards and I saw a tiny preview and it looked great. It mainly focused on an orphaned baby bear. It was amazing to me how they managed to film something like this; to get wild animals to do things that went along with the story line. The movie WAS great but not for small children. I know its nature but kids just don't understand why a grizzly would attack and kill horses or dogs. I am sooooo glad that I previewed this movie first before we looked at it with the 6 year old. Needless to say, she will have to wait about 8 more years to view this one. The movie, however, does deliver a powerful message at the end and you come away being glad that you watched it.

Another movie I watched was Seven Pounds with Will Smith. Now I really do like Will Smith....I think he's a fine actor....but this movie kind of threw me. Its my own fault. I didn't really read what it was about.....I just ASSUMED that by the name of it, it was about a baby. You have to be in the right kind of mood to watch this movie or it will surely leave you depressed even though it changes the lives of 7 people for the better forever. I have mixed emotions over it.....I can't say that it was a bad movie but I can't say that I really enjoyed it. It was just so morose. The ending was truly bittersweet.

Finally the last movie we watched was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
This movie was very good and very long at 2 hours and 46 minutes. But it was interesting and quite amazing how they were able to make Brad Pitt look so young toward the end....he looked like a 16 year old kid.....a very good looking 16 year old. Its not a movie for everyone because its kind of slow moving in spots but I enjoyed it and so did my daughter. My teenage grandson wanted more action and I think he entirely missed the emotions that were involved here. The characters are warm and you care about them.....except the character, Daisy. She ticked me off more than once and I found her to be rather cold and overly vain until she entered old age herself....then she acted like she actually had a heart. But maybe that's just how I took it. Its a good movie and worth the time to watch it unless you're into shoot 'em ups.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Don't trip over the adding machine tape.....

Ever since my first job at the bank, I've been diligent about balancing my checkbook. Yes, I've made errors....but I've found them before any serious damage could result because I balance my checkbook on a regular basis. I took pride in the fact that I balanced to the penny almost every time..........except these last few times.

Somewhere around the middle of March I was an even $10. off. It was in my favor so I didn't come unglued over it and sort of pushed it to the back of my deal with it when I had some uninterrupted time. Well before I knew it, it was the middle of May and the time was way overdue. The other day I made up my mind to find that lousy $10. I downloaded my latest statement and found that I was now $246. off! Still in my favor....but WTH??? After looking for only a few minutes I found the $10.....totally my own mistake in writing down the wrong amount. Now I'm left with $236 that the bank says I have but I say I don't.

I have gone over my checkbook three times. I went all the way back to January, even though I balanced back then.....just to make sure I REALLY DID balance back then. I am at a loss. I have checked all my addition and subtraction. I have checked the debits and credits on my statement against those written in my checkbook. Everything matches....but yet it CAN'T....because I. DO. NOT. BALANCE. It has become an obsession for me. I keep going back to it. The adding machine tape must be as long as the length of my property line and yet it remains elusive. I do not want to humbly appear at my bank, checkbook in hand, and ask that they help me find this. That would be admitting that I am not SMART enough to find a mathematical error....that the numbers are more intelligent than I am. They actually are, apparently, but damn if I'm going to admit it. My once neat checkbook is now filled with checkmarks from all the intense searches for discrepancies.

I am tempted to just let the bank have its way and go with their total. After IS giving me $236 that I didn't have before. But what troubles me is that I'm afraid that the bank will discover IT has made an error and deduct that amount from my account and I may have already spent it.....resulting in a bounced check and then overdraft fees. HORRORS! What to do. What to do.

All I can say is that I'm grateful that I balanced it frequently so the window I have to look at is only a couple months. I know people who NEVER balance their checking accounts.....which I've told them is quite dangerous. Obviously they have enough money in there that they are not afraid of bouncing a check.....but they could also become a victim of fraud and not even know it for months if the perp just took small amounts of money out at a time. I also knew a girl who hated math and therefore would round out the amount of her checks to the nearest whole dollar when she wrote them in her checkbook register. What a nightmare! In other words, if she wrote a check for $25.62....she would round it out to $26. in her register and subtract that amount. If the check was $25.15....she would round it out to $25. and minus that amount. Needless to say she never bothered to balance her account and was never worried....she claimed her system "evened itself out in the long run" and kept her safe. Whew! Her thought processes are unique, you'll have to say that.

Anyway, I'm back to the adding machine today. I HAVE to find this. Its driving me nuts!
Of course if Publi$hers Clrng Hou$e would ever show up at my door with that multi-million dollar check, I wouldn't have to go through this kind of crap. I just know their driver got lost.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maybe an earth angel.....

Do you think my daughter could possibly be an earth angel? All the trauma that happened in our lives earlier this year really put our faith to the test....but we didn't lose it.

Now this class that she has to take.....the instructor has asked her to mentor a particularly difficult person who has recently joined the class. He's having a hard time reaching deep within himself to answer the questions and do the class assignments. My daughter says his case is extremely sad....lots of difficult memories from his childhood.

I am so proud of her....proud that the instructor has seen something in her and recognizes her abilities as well as a realization that she really doesn't have the problems that the other students seem to have. We have tried to find a reason for what happened to her and maybe the door is opening a bit for us. I think she was put in this situation to help this person. I think that she has become his earth angel and he is her assignment. My daughter is showing a talent I did not know she had.....that she really didn't know she had. She has the ability to teach. She has the ability to reach people and they respond to her. The whole class of 15 people respond to her every week....they have written to the instructor that she is an inspiration to them.

My heart swells. God knows she will do her best to complete this assignment He has asked of her. When this is over, she wants to pursue teaching....she is glowing with the knowledge that she is truly helping someone....possibly more than just one. Its true, you know.....God DOES work in mysterious ways.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Movie with a message.....

The instructor in this class that my daughter is taking recommended that all the students look at this movie. I had never heard of it but I guess its been out for about a year. We rented it and OMG....what a powerful movie.

So I would like to pass this along. If you are having problems in your relationship or know of anyone who is....please look at this movie or recommend that they do.

It has a little bit of everything in it - temptation, life and death scenarios that firemen have to go through, humor on the job.....and yes, its religious. But its not overly done.

Its powerful and it made me cry. Of course I cry during some commercials, but I'm just sayin'....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

OMG...this is funny

I was cleaning out some old documents on my computer and came across this. It's laugh-out-loud funny and wish I could take credit for creating it. Anyone who has a cat or cats will understand.


1) Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.
2) Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.
3) Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away
4) Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5) Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call friend.

6) Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees. Hold front and rear paws
firmly. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get friend to hold head firmly with one
hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's
throat vigorously.
7) Retrieve cat from curtain rail. Get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy
new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered Doulton figures from
hearth and set to one side for gluing later.
8) Wrap cat in large towel and get friend to stretch out flat on top of cat with head
just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw. Force mouth open
with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9) Check label to make sure pill is not harmful to humans. Drink glass of water to
take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to friend's forearm and remove blood from
carpet with cold water and soap.

10) Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and
close door onto neck to leave just the head showing. Force mouth open with
dessert spoon, drop pill in.

11) Fetch screwdriver from garage and put door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to
cheek and check records for date of your last tetanus shot. Throw shredded
tee shirt away and put on new one from bedroom.

12) Call fire brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor
who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil-wrap.

13) Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining
table. Find heavy-duty pruning gloves from shed, force cat's mouth open with
small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of filet steak. Hold
head vertically and pour pint of water down throat to wash pill down.

14) Get friend to drive you to the emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor stitches
fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Stop by the
furniture store on way home to order new table.

15) Mix yourself stiff drink, collapse on sofa. Purring cat lounges in your lap.

Enjoy your Friday everyone!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

My own Mom passed away over 26 years ago and I still miss her immensely. We were very close. I don't think you ever get over losing your Mom. She will be on my mind more than usual all day today. If I close my eyes and think really hard, I can still smell her perfume.

Motherhood....what a wonderful event in any female's life. You can be assured that your life will never be the same once it has occurred. No matter if you're a duck watching over a flock of 14, or an elephant nourishing your single baby, your first thoughts are the protection and survival of your young. Through teary eyes I read the story of a female stray cat who repeatedly went back into a burning garage and rescued every single one of her eight babies, doing much damage to herself in the process....but her babies survived. She's ok now too and has been taken in by loving people who will see to it she is content for the rest of her days. We've all seen articles about dogs who nurse orphaned kittens or even ones as far-fetched as a tigress nursing little piglets.

What is this mysterious emotion that is so full of unselfish.....and so deeply ingrained that a mother will risk life and limb for her offspring. There is nothing so vicious as a mother protecting her young. I'm sure it has puzzled mankind since the beginning of time and will continue to do so. I am proud to have been born female so that I could experience this first-hand. So today I wish all my sisters a Happy Mother's Day. Men, you do realize that just being female is all it takes to have that emotion....we do not have to have given birth......its just there and on this special day, I mentally embrace all of you. We are awesome. (note...I do realize there are some bad mothers out there and for them I am truly sorry for their flaws...thank God they are the minority)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

65 things about me.....

I got this from Soul and also from Smocha…..and thought I’d give it a try and also let you have a peek into the boring life of a senior citizen.

65 things about me.
1. First thing you wash in the shower? Hair or face (if I'm not washing my hair that day)
2. What color is your favorite hoodie? brown and I can’t find it.
3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again? Yes,if I could remember who it was.
4. Do you plan outfits? If I have somewhere to go, yes. On a regular old NO. I resemble a bag lady.
5. How are you feeling RIGHT now? Pretty good actually…as I’m sipping my second cup of coffee.
6. What's the closest thing to you that's red? My dog’s red collar.
7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having? I usually forget them once I wake up, but I had one the other night about a snake that escaped down the bathtub drain.
8. Did you meet anybody new today? I meet lots of new people when I’m working; most of them are bitching about something.
9. What are you craving right now? Porterhouse steak, mashed potatoes and tossed salad.
10. Do you floss? When I feel the need, yes I do.
11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage? Makes me think of my excellent cole slaw, which makes me think of the baked beans I make to go with it, which makes me think of my meatloaf that I usually make to go with that. Hmmmm, I’m hungry now.
12. Are you emotional? Yes, I am. I cry over some commercials.
13. Have you ever counted to 1,000? I honestly don’t ever remember doing that.
14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it? I lick it. And if its in a bowl, I will stir it up so it resembles pudding.
15. Do you like your hair? Approximately 2 weeks after its cut, it looks great for about 4 days and I really do like it then.
16. Do you like yourself? Yes I do. I’m a good person who is a loyal friend.
17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush? I’d actually prefer Laura. I think she’s an awesome lady.
18. What are you listening to right now? The rain falling on my roof.
19. Are your parents strict? My mom was and my dad followed her lead.
20. Would you go sky diving? I’m terrified of heights. Just going up the steps into the plane would make me pee.
21. Do you like cottage cheese? I love it…especially with black pepper on it.
22. Have you ever met a celebrity? No, but I know someone who plays music with Willie Nelson just for fun.
23. Do you rent movies often? No. I usually buy them from
24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in? Not really into sparkles but my granddaughter’s Bratz doll is sitting here and her earrings are like neon signs.
25. How many countries have you visited? In person, Canada. Through my books and blog reading…I’ve been almost everywhere.
26. Have you made a prank phone call? Oh lord….yes, when young and dumb.
27. Ever been on a train? Oh yes…several times. I LOVE trains.
28. Brown or white eggs? I was raised on brown ones but white ones have dominated my refrigerator for the past 40 years. Why is that? Aren’t chickens laying brown eggs anymore?
29.Do you have a cell-phone? Yes.
30. Do you use chap stick? Rarely.
31. Do you own a gun? several.
32. Can you use chop sticks? Yes but I’m not that good. If I had to use them, I’d be skinny.
33. Who are you going to be with tonight? My family is coming over for “movie night”.
34. Are you too forgiving? I tend to always remember a slight even though I won’t treat you any differently. I’m working on that.
35. Ever been in love? I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may stimulate me.
36. Who is your BFF? Martha
37. Ever have cream puffs? I’m not sure, probably not.
38. Last time you cried? During the news when they found the lost 3 year old in the woods alive and as well as he could be under the circumstances. He’ll be fine.
39. What was the last question you asked? (to my grandson) When are you going to clean out my eaves?
40. Favorite time of the year? Summer, then Fall for the sheer beauty of it.
41. Do you have any tattoos? Lord no....too squeamish.
42. Are you sarcastic? Wouldn’t dream of it.
43. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect? Yes. Its one of those “play with your mind” movies. I have to be in the mood for those.
44. Ever walked into a wall? Actually, the wall walked into ME.
45. Favorite color? Almost all shades of blue
46. Have you ever slapped someone? Yes I have.
47. Is your hair curly? Freshly washed, no. After a couple days of hairspray, yes.
48. What was the last CD you bought? Seal
49. Do looks matter? Something has to grab your attention in the first place…for me, its more CHARM and just having a kindness….or an irresistible way other than being a pretty face and hot bod.
50. Could you ever forgive a cheater? I have…. only to find out that there seems to be no cure and they will commit the dirty deed again and again. They get their addictive ‘high’ on the risk of being caught.
51. Is your phone bill sky high? Its higher than I’d like it to be and I rarely call long distance.
52. Do you like your life right now? I’m disappointed in my life right now because of my arthritis pain but, considering the only other option, I’ll take it.
53. Do you sleep with the TV on? No, I like a quiet house.
54. Can you handle the truth? Yes, because I just sort of instinctively know when I’m being lied to and that makes me furious.
55. Do you have good vision? Not without help from my contacts. If we lived back in the Neanderthal era, I’d be dinner cause I’d never see the threat coming.
56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people? Hate is an emotion I do not have…however there are a couple people that I just plain don’t like.
57. How often do you talk on the phone? I talk to my daughter every day on the phone…sometimes more than once. My friends and I email.
58. The last person you held hands with? My granddaughter.
59. What are you wearing? A Scooby Do nightshirt. I just have sex kitten written all over me, don’t I?
60. What is your favorite animal? I’m partial to dogs but I love cats and birds too.
61. Where was your default picture taken? In my kitchen.
62. Can you hula hoop? I never could master that and it was a huge crush to my ego, which I’m certain had an effect on my inability to make mega millions.
63. Do you have a job? I retired from my full time job and now work part time in the same building.
64. What was the most recent thing you bought? Flowers for my cyber friend’s funeral.
65. Have you ever crawled through a window? Yes but not in many many years…..the reason for doing so seems to have conveniently slipped my mind.

There you have it....exciting right? LOL

One thing I've discovered is that children answer a lot of questions with "I don't know"; mobsters answer with "taking the Fifth"; and seniors answer with "I don't remember".... which is true most of the time. Usually, though, all three have something to hide when those answers are given. Never trust a senior with perfect memory.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Please.....SOMEBODY help me understand

I don't have a degree in finances but to me it seems like a no-brainer. If times are tough and jobs are scarce....WHY would a big bank want to make things TOUGHER on those poor souls who DO still have an income? Seems like they would WANT to keep the money moving....keep customer satisfaction high...get the people who do have an income to actually SPEND some of it. Makes sense to me.


I must have dozed off while taking the class of Life and How to Come Out of It Alive. A lot of what's happening now just plain doesn't make any sense at all. Case in point.

I open up my MasterCard bill and note that the monthly amount due has increased quite a bit. Now I rarely use this card because it has a high balance and I'm trying desperately to pay it off by making double payments. I immediately suspect that fraud has occurred and there have been charges added to this account but that hasn't happened. Instead....much to my dismay....I observe that my interest rate has increased.

Now I realize that everyone is out there to make more bleed you dry....and I would have accepted a small increase of a couple percentage points with only a little cussing to myself. But they more than doubled my interest rate. a whopping increase of 11%. You can imagine how much it made my monthly payment SOAR. This is a card I've had for 25 years and have NEVER been late on a payment or over-extended my credit limit.

I called them today. I wanted to yell and scream but that does no good at all. After all, the person I'm talking to doesn't make the rules and doesn't own the bank. Bottom line.....I did get my interest lowered 5% so now I'm at 16.4%, which doesn't make me happy but its better than what it was. I just wish I had the money to pay it off and close it but if I could have done that, I would have done it long ago.

So, can anybody help me understand this. WHY....when so many people are hurting....does a bank UP the interest rate so your payments go higher when everyone has to watch every penny right now. I am going to research this and am going to find the right people to contact to get some sort of legislature going that will put a cap on these credit card companies.....that they can no longer just up your interest on a whim. This is just so wrong. Yes, I know. I shouldn't have credit cards. My dad never had them and always chastised me. But some people ..... like me ...just don't have resources to pay cash for needed items. I am helping a disabled daughter and her two kids also. If you keep up your end of the contract and pay your bills on time, they should have no right to raise your interest rates. I can understand late fees and the over-extend-your-credit-line punishment fees and returned check fees....but not this. (putting soap box away now).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Misc. ramblings.....or better known as this n' that

I thought maybe I'd just finish up some loose ends. Remember my request to get door delivery of my mail?

Well, that got shot down. The Congressman's liaison did try and the first denial was appealed but my postmaster is as uncaring and cold as they come. Maybe someday he'll have problems walking very far and he will be treated the same way. You know how those things do tend to happen. I guess the part that hurt the most was he had to lie about me. One of reasons why I was turned down was because I "had a husband here who could get the mail for me". My 'husband' has been out of these premises for over 25 years now so I really don't know where this postmaster is getting his information. I live alone. I made sure the girl at the Congressman's office knew that too. I had even lowered my request and was only asking for winter month door delivery and they still refused me. Oh well. I'll figure something out. I'm not going to lose any sleep over this.

All this swine flu talk really started working on me. I have never thought myself to be paranoid but it seemed like every time you turned on the radio or TV or even eavesdropped on anyone's conversation....that's what it was about. I actually was beginning to feel sick. I dragged myself through the week at work. Our boss had the maintenance men disinfecting doorknobs and countertops and I do commend him for taking that extra step as the general public, for the most part, are pigs. I'm sorry, but its true. The hygienic practices of most people leave a lot to be desired. I especially hate it when someone comes in wanting help and they are coughing and sneezing all over the place (your desk) and wiping their nose with their fingers and then ask to use your pen. I have told people to keep the pens before or if they leave them, I've swiped them off the desk and into the trash. Am I paranoid?

I stopped after work on Friday and got some groceries. The whole time I was there I kept thinking about all the germs that were probably on the handle of the grocery cart. I couldn't wait to get into my car and wipe my hands down with disinfectant wipes I carry with me. So for most of this weekend I have slept a lot. I think I must have needed it and today I feel much better. But thinking along those lines, I did want to say this last thing.....did you ever notice that you can go ALL DAY LONG and the phone won't ring but if you lay down to take a nap or if you get into the shower....guaranteed....the phone will ring within five minutes. I used to think this was funny but now that I'm older and bitchier, it just plain makes me mad. Yes, the answering machine can get it if you're in the shower....but if you're wakes you up and makes you mad and....ever try to sleep when you're mad? Its the cherry topping on the sundae when the caller happens to be a SOLICITOR. I always threaten to take the phone off the hook when I'm going to lay down....but I'm afraid to in case something happens to someone in my family and they need to get in touch with me. (worry, worry, worry)

The Money Fairy must still be working for me. I received my bill from the gas company and nothing is due as I have overpaid during this past year. I only paid what they budgeted for me...but I do keep my heat turned down at night and when I'm not that paid off!!

Hope everything is going good in your little corner of the world. Its almost 70 here and the grass is getting nice and green and that, in itself, just makes me happy, happy, happy. Keep smilin'.