Saturday, December 30, 2006

Cell phones...what a scam!

Our two-year contract with Verizon is running out and we can stay with the plan we have, or we have the option to purchase new phones at greatly discounted prices. Problem is, we must "re-up" for two more years, and it's not enough to just get the phones, we must get new car chargers and other accessories that we have for our old phone because the old parts are not compatible with the new phones (of course not, they want to make money on new stuff!)

My husband, since he has the main number, would be eligible to get his new phone for $50 minus a $50 rebate, so would get it for free. My phone would cost $100 minus a $50 rebate so would cost us $50. They were trying to tell us these phones are normally $400 phones. It's bullshit that these phones cost that much. They are not going to give us a $300 discount. They probably get them for practically nothing and are still making money even by giving one of them away. (They make money off the service, features and accessory fees which can be quite expensive.)

Then, our regular monthly service fee would go up $10. The salesperson pointed out that we would go from 500 anytime minutes to 700 anytime minutes for that extra cost and we could not have the option to keep it at 500. We never go over the 500 minutes we are allotted now, and we always have about 100-200 leftover minutes per month because we do most of our phone calls in the evening and on weekends when it is free. We asked if we could just keep the plan we have now, and just get new phones since what we want is the digital for better a better connection. The answer was no. We have to upgrade to the 700 minutes and pay more per month, even though we don't need it, just to get new cell phones! What a scam! They call it a "promotion" to get something better when in actuality it is just a ploy for Verizon to make more money off of people.

So, we just bought new batteries and we are going to be resistant for as long as we can. I know what they are going to do next. They will do what Cingular wireless did to my son and all of a sudden the existing service did not work with his phone and one day his phone just went dead. Cingular told him that he would have to buy a new phone, and sign another two-year agreement at an increased monthly rate in order to have their service. So, he switched to Verizon. But is it really any better? I don't know anymore.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Homemade pizza . . .well, almost

Every Friday my hubby stops at Dominick's supermarket and picks up a large-sized, pre-made to bake, one-topping pizza for $4.99. Cheese already comes with and the customer can choose one other topping for that price. When we first started buying these pizzas, we felt they were a bit dull, so we added a can of sliced olives and some choppped green peppers and it made a big difference. Over the past few months, we have gotten to be good at this, and our $4.99 pizza is now as good as any that costs $27.99.

Tonight we are having our usual Friday pizza. The free ingredient choice was Italian sausage. I added minced garlic, chopped onion, chopped green peppers, chopped black olives, sliced green olives, sliced mushrooms and shredded provolone cheese. It's in the oven now and the house smells like a pizzeria! Buon gusto!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

If at first you don't succeed . . .

Our family motto is from a plaque my mother gave us that she bought in Gatlinburg, TN on one of my parents' visits to see my grandparents in North Carolina. This plaque states:

"Everything cometh to he who waiteth, as long as he who waiteth worketh like hell while he waiteth"

This saying is oh, so true. We have tried to instill in our children as they were growing up that things do not magically happen. No genie, no god, no one is going to make something happen for them. It is but themselves and their own efforts that things will come to pass. They have to do it for themselves. Also, despite great efforts, sometimes things don't turn out the way we planned, and what we work for doesn't materialize. But then, does that mean we just give up or write it off as something that wasn't meant to be? Hell no! The saying doesn't state how long we will have to work and wait, just that "everything cometh to he who waiteth, and work while he waiteth" . . .though tired, weary, and discouraged, keep persevering and it will happen. . .eventually.

There are choices in life and we can either stay on the path we are on and keep trying for a certain thing, or choose another path to a new direction. When one door closes, we can open it back up again and give that thing we failed at another try, or we can open another door and change directions. Sometimes it takes two, three or more tries to attain our goals. Sometimes when we change directions, we find out that the new goal is what works out best for us in the long run. Life isn't easy and success isn't guaranteed in anything we choose to do. But it would be very sad to just give up and not even try at all. As homeschooling advocate, John Holt said, "It's never too late."

Sometimes the things we work for the hardest become our greatest accomplishments in the end, even if it takes awhile to achieve them.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Home Alone

This is awesome. It's been a long while since I have been alone in the evening hours. My husband , who usually works from 6 a.m. till 2 p.m. went to work later today and will be working late, maybe into the wee hours of the morning. My son, who has moved back in with us temporarily is working the afternoon shift today and won't be home until late this evening. I have the house, in silence, to myself. Just me and my Bearded Dragon, Miller. No television blaring, no one going in and out of the fridge and messing up the kitchen. No one coming in to ask me where this or that is. No one complaining about me being on the computer all the time. It's great!

I had coffee and leftover deviled eggs for breakfast, I had cookies and a leftover cheese enchilada for lunch munchies and picked around at a hunk of cold ham for supper. I can eat when I want, and what I want. I am not cooking, since I'm not hungry and no one here wanting a full meal. I took a half-hour-long shower without anyone wondering what I was taking so long in the bathroom for or using up all the hot water. I walked around in a robe most of the afternoon. I haven't even gone out to the curb to get the mail yet.

I plan on watching a couple of shows that I want to watch, and then turn the television off and read my book in silence or write some letters to my pen pals. (I have 40+ penfriends all over the world.)

I am enjoying this while it lasts because I know it will be awhile before I get to do this again.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A nice peaceful day. . .

My husband had the day off today and we spent the day entirely alone, just the two of us with only a phone call from our daughter, who lives out of town, and a phone call from our middle son who is traveling back from New York with his fiancee. Other than that, no outside calls, no visitors, no place to go. It was great.

We did go out for awhile. We went to F.I.M. to look at spas, and then we went to a local Mexican restaurant for a quiet meal together. We basically did nothing but be together, and it was good. Sometimes we just need to slow down and relax and focus on each other. He is my best friend in the whole world. With him I feel safe and calm. We are trying to figure out a way to slow down our lives, and live more simply in order to enjoy each other more as we continue to grow old together.'s over

Well, another crazy Christmas at my parents' house has come and gone. It all went well, for the most part, except when our little 3-year-old nephew threw up on the carpet after getting upset when he thought his mother left him. (She had merely gone out to put stuff in the car.) I don't think I have been to a family gathering at my parents since my nephew was born when he hasn't thrown up. It's getting to be part of the tradition. It's funny to see everyone's reaction to this event. This year most everyone flocked to the kitchen area to look from afar as the child's mother wiped up the mess.

My brother was there with his wife and two grown sons, my sister and her boyfriend was there, too. (They had left before the barfing spectacle.) My other brother (the father of barfing boy) didn't come with his wife and two little kids because he had to work midnights and since they were at her mom's earlier in the day, he had to get some sleep, so she came alone with the kids. Their little daughter is a charming little thing, totally opposite from her hyperactive brother. She will cuddle and sit by anyone who will let her. Our oldest son was there, but our other son was out of state with his fiancee visiting his future in-laws and my daughter lives out east and had music gigs for the holidays and couldn't make it home. My sister's kids were not there either since her daughter lives far away with her family and her son had plans with his in-laws. It's hard to get everyone together anymore. Someone is always missing.

My mother always makes kind of an "assortment" of food that later messes with our digestive processes. We usually end up taking turns in the bathroom for the entire visit after we have eaten. This year the menu included baked spaghetti casserole, scalloped potatoes from a boxed mix, baked beans, ham, candied sweet potatoes, brocolli, rolls and butter. And there also was lots, and lots, and lots of candy and cookies.

For some reason, we are the ones who get to take the leftovers home and we need it the least for my husband and I are trying to watch our weight and blood pressure. Still, we ended up bringing home a hunk of ham, a bowl of sauerkraut and polish sausage, baked beans, and a box of rolls, and a whole tray of sweets and cookies.

We actually ate before the opening of presents this year. It was still chaotic, however. Present opening is always chaotic no matter whose family it is. The kids opened their's first and then we adults exchanged. I only buy for my parents now, and our kids...and the little ones. That's it. My parents gave me a nightgown, a Fairy calendar (I now have six calendars I received from people this year) and a box of sprays called "Sexy Musks." My oldest son gave us two boxes of candy (more candy!) and a dvd of "Animal House." Our other son and fiancee gave us our presents before they left and that was baking pans for me and a set of Robert Palmer cds for my husband. Our daughter said she had zero time to shop this year with all the traveling she has been doing for her music. We joke that she needs a personal assistant.

One more holiday to get through and we plan on celebrating New Year's eve at my parents' place and I plan on taking this tray of cookies and candies right back over there!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Feeling nostaligic

Every year since my husband and I were engaged, we have spent Christmas eve with a family who was kind enough to take my husband in as one of their own after the death of his parents when he was a teenager. Actually, their relationship with him goes back way before that, to when he was a little boy and they would baby sit for him while his divorced/widowed mother worked.

When he was little, he would be included in their Christmas eve celebrations even though he was a bit of a brat. He was included when all the children gathered around to sing songs around a piano, and when a neighborhood Santa came to visit their house.

Time passed and those children had children, and my husband's mother and step-father passed away while he was still a teenager. This family continued to include us each and every year and treated our three children like their own grandkids. Our kids were included in the singing, and the neighborhood Santa visit. All of the screeching and playing would come to an abrupt halt the minute they heard the doorbell and the calls from parents that "Santa's here!!" They, like their parents all did at one time, all really did believe this man was the "real" Santa and stood wide-eyed, mouths gaping in awe as he jingled his bells and ho-ho-hoed and asked each one if they had been good little children to which they all nodded "yes." As he left they would run to the windows to see the sleigh and reindeers to which we replied they could not because it was on the roof! When they asked if they could go outside and see it, we said that it was too cold and Santa was probably gone already because he was in a big hurry (or some other reason we made up).

Now there is yet a new generation of kids and we are now the grandparents (or old enough to be grandparents) and we sit and reminisce about the old days when our kids were small as we watch the little ones once again sing their little songs, and wait for Santa and rush to the windows in hopes for the glimpse of the magic sleigh and flying reindeer. It made both my husband and I a bit weepy in the eyes as we remembered those days when our kids were little and way back to the days when we were little ones ourselves.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Jello mold mess

I am the first to admit that I am not a very domestic person. While some women thrive on making crocheted potholders and baking cookies, I find it absolutely boring and time consuming when I would rather be doing other more important things like writing, reading, drawing, painting, walking outdoors, and any other number of things not related to "housework".

I especially hate doing anything that is related to food and cooking. That doesn't mean I don't cook, I do or else we would be severely obese from fast food, or we would go hungry. My hubby is particularly in love with food, but doesn't cook very often. He is so lazy about it he won't even make a sandwich and eats his peanut butter and jelly out of the jars with spoons! So, I do cook meals, though the kind of meal we have depends on what kind of mood I am in. Usually, when I am sick of cooking I make a huge-ass pot of soup or stew that lasts for about three weeks. (My kids used to hate that when they lived at home.) It's nutritious, filling and easily zapped in the microwave. If anyone complains, they are welcome to cook something else.

Despite my not liking to cook, I can cook well when I want to, and I have some recipes that other people love and ask me to make again and again. Like my strawberry-whipped-cream-jello. I always make that for get-togethers where we all are bringing something. They say "make that pink jello stuff of yours!" The problem with that is that it is a several step process and the time must be watched carefully or else it will turn out funky. So, I spent the entire morning fooling around with this jello mold. Since making it for the first time, I try to be very careful when whipping the Cool Whip into the strawberry red jello because it can get quite messy. Well, today was one of those days I must not have been too careful because the Braun hand mixer I was using flipped pink spatters all over the friggin' place and what a mess that was to clean up! It was on the counter-top, wall, appliances and things I have on the counter-top, floor, and myself.
I will be wiping up little pink dots for weeks.

"What time are you coming over?"

My mom gets so excited when any of us are coming over, and she is ecstatic when all of us are there at the same time, so instead of just stating a time for everyone to be there, she tries to "orchestrate" everyone being there at once at least for part of the time. For Christmas, as for most family gatherings, she wants to coordinate the arrival times of everyone so they at least overlap so she can have her family together all at once for at least a fraction of the day...I know her strategy well even though she is never just blunt and says that is what she is doing. It's not an easy feat for her in recent years with most of the grandkids grown and some living in other places, and the crazy schedules of those who live nearby...and yet she tries her very hardest to get as many of us together as possible.

I had talked to my mother about this a couple of days ago and when she called and asked "What time do you think you are coming over?" I told her that my husband and I would plan on being there between 2:30 - 3:00. In the meantime, she called my sister and asked "what time were you and J planning on coming over?" and my sister said, "what time do you want us to be there?" and my mother said "what time can you be here?" . . . and so on, and so on. They hung up with that still undecided. That same conversation most likely also happened with my two brother's because she told me what times they said they thought they were coming by.

My mom called me again last night. She asked, "so what time did you say you were coming over?" I said, "we said 2:30 - 3 p.m. didn't we?" and she said "I think so." And she said she still had to talk to my sister and brothers and find out what they are doing. Then she called me again before 9 a.m this morning and asked "what time did you say you guys are coming over?
I said, " 2:30 - 3 . . . Is that still okay?" and she said, "well, ___ is coming early in the afternoon, but ___ can't make it till 5 - 5:30 because they have to go to her mother's and won't get here till later. Will you still be here?" (she paused for my answer) I told her "yes, we would stay till whenever they got there" and she sounded so happy about that. I expect to get a few more phone calls between now and tomorrow verifying our arrival and staying times
and an update after she gets a confirmation time from my sister.

The greatest gift for my mother is to have her entire family squeezed together in her "manufactured home" with noise and chaos all around, messes being made and grandbabies giving her hugs. As for presents, we could give her a bucket of poo (that she will treasure, because it's the thought that counts) and she would be happy...because we are all there and it's not about the presents or anything else...because as dysfunctional as we are at times, my mother loves all of us.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Hours on the telephone

I swear I am going to start shutting off my phone for at least a part of my day. I spend way too many hours with my ear to the thing and hopefully won't get a brain tumor or something as some research suggests will happen with long-term cell phone exposure!

In only one year I have accumulated 9487 of mostly incoming phone calls. That adds up to 1240 hours 18 minutes and 32 seconds since January 2, 2006!

When I first got the cell phone, my daughter said that I was then going to become what she calls a "phone whore"...which means that I would be at the beckon call of the phone ringer...and that has indeed happen. I am constantly checking my phone for messages, if it rings I feel compelled to answer it. If I let it ring and not answer it, I still have to check to see who called. I have even gotten into the text messaging even though I said I wasn't going to. (That can add up moneywise.) I live for the phone. At the same time I HATE the phone. I am hating it a lot lately. It rings and I cringe but at the same time I don't want to make my family and friends sad/mad for not answering them.

I think I really need to set up so many hours in a day to shut the damn thing off and only answer urgent messages. I think I am going to start doing that. If I leave it on and hear the ring (I have my phone set up for a different ring for each person), I feel guilty if I don't answer, so have to pick up. If I don't hear it, I won't have the guilt thing. That is my New Year's resolution...limit my time on the phone and to get over the guilt when I choose not to answer.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Gift cards are best when your kids are grown

Well, the gift I bought my daughter, which I wrote about HERE did not fit! It was a pretty gold color that is made of a spandex blend and is very fitted. I thought it would be fine, and used to be able to judge with my eyes if something would fit my kids or not. But not any more, apparently. The thing is that I only see her for a couple of days every three or four months or so, so no longer know her tastes, sizes, etc. She thanked me for the thoughtfulness, and she enjoyed the chocolate I also sent along, but she asked me to send her a gift card so she can go shop for herself and try it on. That's probably a good idea...sorry it didn't fit, M! :- (

Making cookies

I am making cookies the lazy way. Slice and bake from Pillsbury. Sugar cookies and peanut butter cookies. Even though I am not normally very domestic, all the way up until last year, I made holiday cookies with colored frosting and sugars. But what work that is! And since there are no kids around anymore, not even grown ones, I figured why keep on doing it when I don't even enjoy baking? And I sure don't need the extra calories. So, I bought two tubes of cookie dough -- one sugar cookie dough and the other peanut butter. Slice them, plop them on a pan and bake. Just enough for a treat for a couple of days.


I went to my hairdresser's house to get my hair cut. I usually like the way she does my hair, and it's really not bad...but it's too short! Why do they always cut it funky at the times when you want to look really nice? Other times, like during the summer, unless I have something special to go to I really don't care if it is too short. It grows fast. But, if I am planning to go to some dress-up event, I don't want to be scalped at that time. I am going to have to try to figure out how to make this look good with that nice new long coat I just bought. Grrr!!!

The season of "Gimmee"

For most people, even religious ones, this season is all about consumerism. How much can they buy, and having to keep up with the Joneses...and even all about having to keep up with or even outdo other family members on the gift giving. I was at my hairdresser yesterday (I go to her home where she has her own little salon), and she was telling me that she has a rather large family and they all buy for each other. There are certain members of the family who buy extremely expensive gifts and certain other members of the family have to struggle and get into huge debt to keep up. I don't get this at all. Trying to be equal just becomes the same thing as people swapping equal amounts of money. The gift-giving becomes meaningless when people are obsessed with equal money spent.

I have watched children in today's world open piles and piles of gifts without even paying attention to what is inside. They sit on the floor with flushed cheeks, frantically ripping open packages, tossing the paper in one direction, and box and present in another and hurridly move on to the next one without even realizing what was in the box that was previously opened! When you have several children and adults in one room going through this process, it's a package opening frenzy! And what happens afterwards? The kids might go back and pick the cheapest thing from the heap to like best, and ignore all the rest. Or, like I have seen quite often...they play with the boxes the stuff came in!

I remember when I was a child, I would be waiting for that one special item I had asked Santa to leave me. I didn't always get what I wanted, but I was sure that it was in his better judgement to give me something else. I now know that my parents couldn't always afford what I had sat on Santa's lap and asked him for. Most kids today get pretty much make out like bandits.

I have cut my list way, way down. I only buy for my parents, nephew and niece, my three grown kids who only get one thing now, my best friend, and that's it. My husband and I might just get something we both want...sometimes he gets me a bottle of perfume or something. It's no big deal if we don't give each other anything, which we don't some years because there really is nothing we need at the time or what we want we can't afford and will get it later.

I am thinking what would be neat to do one year is to have a holiday family gathering with zero presents at all. Just good food, getting together and enjoying one another. And if we all weren't so tired from all the crazed shopping and waiting in lines, and wrapping etc. maybe we would all have a much more enjoyable and relaxed time together.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Love and happiness

I had a restless night. My children are on my mind. All I want for them in life is to be happy.

My daughter's boyfriend broke up with her over the telephone. Isn't that wonderful? It wasn't a long relationship, but I know she is sad, for this isn't the first time this has happened for her to be rejected via electronic communication.

Finding someone to love in today's world is difficult when "drama" seems to blind people from what is real. In my younger days, it was so much simpler because we focused on what is good, while today's society teaches the young to only see the bad in things and in other people. Also, they seem never satisified. Few things satisfy them, and they seem to think that they might be able to find something better instead of making their current lives the best they can be. Materialism pervades and distorts. Commercialism promotes this idea of perfection. There is no perfect. Perfection is elusive and unattainable. We are human. We are real. Not some characters on a television show.

My son, who works like crazy for his girl who he loves so very much, (and who we also have grown to love) tries so hard. I have seen him turn his life completely around for this person. He has "domesticated" and settled down. It is for this person who he has changed from an irresponsible and frustratingly confused person to a responsible and hard-working, clean-living young man. He has his flaws, and has made past mistakes he is not at all proud of. Bringing up past mistakes is futile if one is no longer making those same mistakes. What should outweigh all else is what kind of man he is now, and his commitment and love he has shown during the present relationship.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing that my husband could tell me about his past from before he met me that could change my love for him and make me not want to be with him (I don't even care to know about past mistakes and negative things). Love is blind to a lover's flaws...overlooks past mistakes. It matters not because he has been good to me...he loves me unconditionally and has given his life to me and would give his life for me, as I would him. The young people need to learn this.

To be truly happy, one must be happy with one's self. One cannot blame another for one's own unhappiness or disatisfaction in life. We have choices all the time...we can choose to be happy or uhappy and whether we are going to focus on the good of today instead of ghosts of a dead past.

Back from visit with Mom and Dad

I had a relaxing visit with my mom and dad. They really love for any of us to come over and once we are there they will do whatever they can to delay our leaving. If we want to leave by 4 p.m., for instance, we better start our goodbyes at 2 or 3. Other people we visit might be ready to usher us out of the house after a couple of hours, but Mom and Dad make you feel loved and want to keep you there.

Mom made a Stouffer's lasagna for supper after I got there Tuesday evening and then we went over to see my brother and sis-in-law's new house, which is absolutely beautiful. I am happy for them. After living in Chicago for more nearly 20 years, I think they are going to love suburban life.

My parents live in a trailer (manufactured home is the p.c. term nowdays). The room I stayed in is very small, and the bed is a short twin bed. But I slept well. I woke up to the sounds familiar to my childhood...the sounds of my father shuffling around the kitchen, making coffee and opening and shutting the fridge. I heard my mother get up and whisper, "Is she still sleeping?" I then got up and got dressed and we had some eggs and then watched The Polar Express dvd which is a wonderful animated film that warms the heart and brings back a bit of childhood magic. I love Santa movies. They bring back so many childhood memories of waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. Of course...we all find out who the real Santa and dad...and it is their love that brings Santa to life.

I talked with my other brother on the telephone and we had a nice conversation, though a bit long. (He is long-winded, but that is how he is.) I came home around dinnertime to find that two of my children were heartbroken...I am so sad for them right now and wish Santa could fix things, but of course...they will have to fix things themselves. No one else can do it for them.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Off to my mom and dad's

I am off to spend the evening and overnight at my mom and dad's place. My mother gets so excited when one of us is coming over, and if we all say we are coming over at once, she is ecstatic. My mother loves her family. She is sort of like Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond and wants to feed you the whole time you are there. She always has new products that are on the market sitting around the kitchen. The fridge always has something to drink in it.

Then there is the dog, Annie. Annie is a strange little dog. She is black and a mix of several different breeds, making her a mutt. Annie hates her feet touched. Though she appears to be very sweet, if you touch her feet she may try to take your hand off. She has drawn blood on several people. Her favorite "trick" is to show her teeth when my mother sings "If you're happy and you know it show your teeth." It's really quite bizarre.

So, off I am to my visit with my parents. I am sure I will have something to write about when I get back.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Stouffer's chicken enchiladas

My hubby is resistant to try new things. He is pretty much a meat and potatoes man. When I try to make something different that we don't normally have, he turns his nose up at it and develops a bias against it before he's even tried it.

I bought a party-sized pan of Stouffer's chicken enchiladas with rice for supper tonight. It took over an hour to bake in the oven. I dished some out, tasted it and it's good! He came into the kitchen and looked at the pan and said,

"what the hell is this stuff?" as he tried to scoop one out with his fork and it was falling all apart.

I told him, "they are chicken enchiladas with cheese and rice on the's really good and you need to dish it out with the big spoon."

He says, "I don't know if I am going to like this crap. I don't really like Mexican food,"

which is not true because we eat at Burrito Loco in town often. But, he usually gets his standard soft-shell beef taco dinner or a beef and bean burrito or occasionally, tamales.

I got the big spoon to dish one out properly for him and put it on his plate. I was about to add another and he stopped me and said,

"let's just see how I like this one before taking more."

He is now in there getting is second one. I bet he eats the remaining two, also.

Monday again

I thought I was all done with mailing stuff and happy that I would not have to wait in the insanely long lines at the post office, but found myself there anyway this morning. Though I gave my daughter, who lives in Philadelphia, her presents when we visited her over Thanksgiving weekend, I saw something that she would love while out shopping with my sister on Saturday and had to get it for her. (Actually, my sister pointed it out and said it would look good on M.) I can't write it here what it is and what it looks like because M might read this. (Hi M!, I miss you!)

I got there before the post office opens only to find the parking lot jammed! I went inside and a long line had already formed. Many of the people who were waiting had several good-sized packages to send and I wondered to myself why people wait until the very last week to do this stuff. I am a procrastinator about buying gifts and mailing stuff, but not that bad!

I waited about half an hour in a line to buy the gift, and then about 45 minutes to mail the small box. I hope you like it, M after all that! :-)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday morning

It's another Sunday morning. My husband usually sleeps in on Sundays, and the house is quiet. He will probably go get a newspaper when he gets up and said last night that he wants to get some Pillsbury cinnamon rolls to bake. While we were watching Groundhog Day late last night a commercial came on for those cinnamon rolls and he now wants to eat some. Advertising works on him. Me too, sometimes, especially for the fast food sandwich ads. I am a sucker to try new products, too.

My favorite childhood memories are of the Sunday mornings that we DIDN'T go to church and stayed in our pajamas and my father would go up to Iwan's and get a newspaper and then to the bakery and bought a dozen chocolate-covered cake donuts -- the big fat kind. We would all sit around contendedly eating our donuts, my dad read the paper and my mother seemed happy that she didn't have to cook us breakfast or get us ready to go anywhere. Sundays when we stayed home were easy going, calm, happy days.

I will probably stay in my jammies all day today. Life is so much better since leaving religion and church. No more getting up on Sundays and rushing to get dressed and driving to a building full of guilt-ridden, sad acquaintences who are interested in focusing on their problems and hearing how very bad humanity and the world is. I can get more optimismistic influence by going to Bally's! When I was going to church, no matter what denomination it was (we tried several), I was sad a lot and seemed to have a harder time coping with problems. Now, I still get sad sometimes, and have problems and difficult things to deal with, but I can pull myself up by my bootstraps better and give myself the credit for it. I get more peace and tranquility sitting on my deck listening to the birds sing and feeling the breeze upon my face. Or eating a cinnamon roll with a hot cup of coffee and reading the newspaper with my hubby.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Weekend Amateur Political "Debates"

My gawd...every single frickin' weekend my husband and my 27-year-old son have to get into a rather excited political "discussion." My son is a fairly new neo-con, and my husband a liberal Democrat. According to my son, we are "marxist, socialist scumballs". My husband throws out statements with no supporting evidence or sources. So, it's a futile discussion. It's just a good thing our son is an atheist or there would really be some flaming going on!

I would love, love, love to have a weekend with NO POLITICAL TALK. I am sick of it. What the hell do they expect to settle here in suburbia? What good does spewing forth hot air in our livingroom while sitting on the sofa in front of the television set with the Bull's game blaring? If I go in and tell them to get along, they both tell me not to worry about it, that they are "just discussing" and I tell them it sure sounds like a lot more than that! They claim to be enjoying it. I find that rather a strange way of finding enjoyment.

So, I came in here in my office and am blasting Ozzie Osbourne and can no longer hear them and I dare them to tell me to turn it down!

The company makes the difference

Shopping today was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. That's probably because I was with my sister and we always have a good time together. We enjoy each other's company and conversation is a two-way street. My sis and I got all of our shopping done in one day, on a Saturday no less! And we stopped for a lunch break and went to Chili's and had a salad and talked and talked. We left the waitress a generous tip and people were generally friendly in the stores.

The lines were long in Kohl's, but moved along at a fairly good pace. Maybe it didn't seem so long because of who I was with?

We finished the shopping spree at Oberweiss and got scrumptious peanut butter cup sundaes. Yum!

It was a good day, as always when me and my sis get together. I love her very much and don't know what I would do without her.

Most wonderful time of the year?

I am sitting here trying to mentally prepare myself to go back out amongst the greedy hordes before my sister arrives to pick me up to go shopping again. My sister, however, is MUCH better to shop with than the friend I wrote about previously. However, we must be crazy to be going on SATURDAY.

I have only bought one gift so far, and though I don't have a lot of people to buy for anymore, it is a big deal to me to go xmas shopping because I despise long lines and how hot the stores are and the way people push and shove or just run you over with baby strollers and shopping carts. I keep saying each year that I am going to order everything online and though I do order much of it online, I always find myself having to go to the stores for a few people I buy for. And to go out into the masses of materialistic crabby shoppers, I have to psyche myself up in preparation. I truly feel sorry for the store clerks and people who work in retail at this time of year. Not the ones who sit in the offices and collect the profits, but the cashiers, customer service associates, stock clerks and janitors who must service the disrespectful, inconsiderate, greedy bitches and bastards that come out in droves at "the most wonderful time of the year."

My poor mother is nearly 70-years-old and has to work to keep her insurance going and to make some extra money for herself and my father. My mother is very sweet to people and there is no reason to treat her badly...EVER. Yet, she tells me stories about people yelling at her when their credit cards are over limit, when something they pick up off the sales rack is not really on sale because another non-caring customer didn't put the item back where they got it from, or if an item was sold out that they had come for. Those are just a few things people get pissy about with her. Yesterday she called to talk and was telling me things that were going on at work. One customer came to her check-out lane with a pair of jeans. They rang up at $17 and something, and the lady barked "Those are on sale for $12.99!" and my mother explained that it didn't have a certain sales code that it would have if they were on sale. The lady snapped back "well, they were on the sale rack with all these other jeans!" My mother explained that someone must have put them there, but they aren't on sale. The woman YANKED the jeans out of my mother's hands and said some obsenities and then went to the manager to complain! That is one reason I could no longer work in retail...I would have called the woman a fucking bitch whore.
How dare she treat my mom like that! Bitch! Makes me so mad!

Years ago, when I was a young clerk in a department store, I had this customer who has stayed in my mind since, unfortunately. I worked in the lay-away (will call) department. For those younger people who don't know what this is, in the days before instant gratification via a plastic card, if someone wanted to buy something but didn't have the money for it right away they could have the store hold it for a certain length of time while they made regular payments on the items being held. When the item/s were paid for, they could take their stuff. This department also provided gift wrapping at a small fee. During the xmas shopping season, gift wrapping was crazy. People lined up in one line to check out their lay-away items, and in another line people waited to get their gift wrapping. We were told by management to take care of the lay-away customers first and the gift wrap people had to wait for us to wrap their packages in-between lay-away customers. Well, this man came to the counter and wanted something wrapped. I told him polititely that he would have to wait a few minutes because we were told to take lay-away customers first. He yelled at me to wrap his gift NOW. I told him that I couldn't because I couldn't go against what my boss said or I would get in trouble. He said "GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE AND WRAP MY PACKAGE NOW!" I basically told him to go fuck himself (in nicer words) and he asked where the manager's office was and I willingly escorted him there. He never came back. It's nice when management backs up their employees.

So, my sister will be here soon. I am sure I will have some more to write about shopping at this "wonderful time of year."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Paper pile sorting

I spent the entire afternoon sorting out the paper piles I previously wrote about. What a waste of trees! I would say 80% of this stuff is junk mail - advertisements, offers for credit cards and equity loans, car insurance, catalogs from companies I never heard of before!

My paper shredder was smokin'! Checks from my credit card companies...shredded. Offers for new credit cards....shredded. Offers for travel discounts...shredded. Offers for car repair services...brick coupons...magazine beggars for various charities...all shredded.

Now I have to file all this. My sister is coming over tomorrow. I think I will just take it downstairs to the file cabinet and put it in the "main pile" till I can get around to filing in all their proper places...later.

Paper piles

Is everyone like me who has piles of junk mail to sort through and bill statements to file that are in piles, sale papers in piles? I have a whole forest of pulpified trees laying in piles around my house.

I keep telling myself that I am sick of piles of papers laying around here and there and that I will be better about throwing away and filing. I spend an entire day sorting and tossing out and the house looks neat and spiffy for a few days, then I backslide to the old pile-making habit. When we are expecting company, I hurridly put the piles in a main pile at the back of one of the drawers in the metal filing cabinet downstairs and lie to myself that I will come back and file all of them properly "later".

My husband's contribution to the pile problem is newspapers, usually something he finds interesting and wants to keep for future reference. He also pulls out sale papers that contain items he might want to buy but never does. These piles are usually found on the floor by the sofa in the livingroom. The other mail piles are laying on the kitchen table and counters, around my office and on the diningroom table.

I need a paper pile anonymous group (or a personal assistant).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My new cool dressy pant coat

I bought the most gorgeous pant coat today to wear to that dinner party my husband and I are invited to. I mostly wear tailored jackets and blouses...they have to have the tailoring. I hate anything "boxy" or straight. I also hate flowers, and glitter and loud colors and stick with mainly neutral, so when I saw this black coat yesterday when out with my crazy friend, I HAD to go back to get it today.

It's black, and like a suit jacket only is long, down to my knees at the back and tapers up shorter around the sides to the front. It's hard to explain, but is so pretty. (The brand is Bisou Bisou.) It buttons together in the front with one braided button. The back is all tailored and the coat gets fuller as it gets longer and is sort of "flowy." Kind of like the kind you see celebrities wear. I will wear a white tailored silk blouse underneath and my black dress pants and my heel boots.

It feels good to get new threads. :-)

Xmas shopping MADNESS!

I try very hard at this time of year to NOT go near a mall or large department store. Since the invention of the internet, I have tried to do as much as I can online, and with my shrinking list and getting away from the present buying bullcrap, this is getting to be less and less.

There is no joy at all for me in shopping at this time of year. The stores and malls are hot, the music gets on my nerves and I get really irritated by the phrase "excuse me" as people shove their way by with their arms laden with packages. Crazed moms with strollers are the most dangerous because they just plow their way through and don't care who they run over. Long lines, hordes of people crowded around the racks, and blasting xmas carols I can do without.

However, when my friend called the other day and wanted to go out to lunch and do some shopping, I agreed, reluctantly. Mainly out of guilt because I have not seen this friend in about four months. There are things I like about this friend, and things about her that irritate the shit out of me. (Like her constantly interrupting me in the middle of me telling her something all the time.) We have been friends for nearly 27 years and she has become like a relative. Most of us tolerate our relatives no matter how annoying they are.

We met at Olive Garden for lunch and that was going well till the bill came. We had the soup/salad combo and she ordered calamari (which cost almost as much as both our soup and salad combos). The only extra thing I ordered was the alfredo dipping sauce for my breadsticks. We chatted and caught up on things that have been going on in our lives since we last got together and all was going pretty well, except our waitress was a big "aloof" but it's not easy being a waitress and she was young. I had never had calamari before and I tasted it but was not impressed so left it to her. I would not have gotten the appetizer since the salad/soup was plenty for me. When the bill came, instead of tallying up her part with her expensive crappy calamari, she split the bill down the middle! Me, not wanting to make a fuss there in a crowded restaurant, just handed her my half of the money that she asked for. THEN, she only wanted to leave only a $2 tip on a $28 bill after we had been taking up the booth for almost 2 hours! I had to slip a couple more bucks onto the table as we left.

Then we get into her car to drive to a nearby mall to do some shopping, while I left my car parked in the restaurant was hostage for the rest of the afternoon and toward evening. She wanted to go here and there and everywhere. All I wanted was to get my mom a nightgown for xmas and needed to look for a couple other small gifts for my sons and an outfit for myself for a xmas eve party my husband and I are going to. Well, we get in the mall in J.C. Penney's and she says she has to look at draperies. AAARRRGGGHHH! If I don't NEED to get that kind of domestic crap, I don't want to be looking at that stuff. It's torture. So, I told her I would be in the ladies departments upstairs while she did her thing downstairs. I was upstairs for only a little while when I heard my name being called over the loud speaker! "Attention D---B---to the drapery department, D----B----to the drapery department!" Oh my gawd! I can't believe she had me PAGED! I was in the middle of trying on a jacket when I heard it. I threw it back on the rack and headed downstairs and was I PISSED. I had my cell phone, she could have called it and talked to me like a normal person. When I got downstairs, I was about thirty feet away from her when I said "why did you have me paged, MOM?" People turned around to look at her and I hope they thought she was my mother. (She is 8 years older than me.) Turns out, she just wanted my opinion between two kinds of fabric. WTF!

My own mother has never done that to me even when I was a kid!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Politically correct

Wikipedia defines Political correctness (also politically correct or PC) as "a term used to describe language, or behavior, which is claimed to be calculated to provide a minimum of offense, particularly to the racial, cultural, or other identity groups being described. The concept is not exclusive to the English language. A text that conforms to the ideals of political correctness is said to be politically correct."

In this increasingly PC world, we are going to all need a handbook with lists of what is appropriate and what is not and what the alternatives are for the things that are not appropriate. (There is already a satirical version of this handbook.) We will have to carry it with us at all times and refer to it regularily because lawd knows, we don't want to offend anyone!

Are people's skins really that thin?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Burning cds

It took a scare after our last trip to make me realize that my husband's suggestion to make copies of all my cds was a good one. When we returned home from last trip, I could not find my case of cds for two days! I searched the van, I searched the house to make sure we didn't bring them inside. I searched the garage. I searched the ground around the van. I called my daughter in Philadelphia to make sure that I hadn't left them there. I was frantic and very sad!

With a great sigh of relief I found them! The case had slid far back under a middle seat in the van and with the case being black, blended into the darkness of the shadows. I then realized how much money would have been down the drain had I not found them! And I had all of my favorite cds in the case...most of my Elton John, U2, a 4-CD Led Zeppelin set, a collector Aerosmith, all of my INXS, and more!

So, I spent today burning all of the cds I like to take in the van to listen to while I am driving around. It's really monotonous, but will be worth not having to worry about losing them anymore.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Quiet of the night

I am a night owl. I am at my most creative late at night or in the wee hours of the morning before the sun comes up. The house is quiet. Everyone I know is at home sleeping so I know they are not going to call me and interrupt my thoughts. Sounds I hear are those of my computer motor humming as the little fan inside it twirls to keep it cool and the clicking as I type on my keyboard. There is an occasional gust of wind outside that whips around the outside of the house and shakes the rafters at times causing popping sounds that startle me.

I guess I got to liking the late night hours after having children. After I put them to bed after a day full of activity and lots of work and play, and after my husband had gone to sleep, the night hours were mine. I knew I would be tired the next day from staying up late, but for me having my own time to think and be alone was more precious than sleep. I still feel that way. I can get by on little sleep, but I cannot survive without time for myself, undisturbed.

What do I do with this free time? I read, I work on writing my short stories and poetry, I blog, I draw, I paint, or I just sit and think about things. I often reminisce, think about how fast time goes and wonder if I will grow to be very old. Wondering how I can ever do all the things I want to do in life.

There isn't much time for these things during daylight hours. Too many distractions and disturbances. Too many errands to run, shopping and phone calls to answer. The light of day and the activity it brings actually makes it harder to see, hear and think. It is in the late night hours when everything becomes clearer.

Ozzie Osbourne - Dreamer

I LOVE this video:

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My new online journal

Yes, I have decided to start yet another blog. I already have a photography blog, a short story and poetry blog, a book review blog and a "freethought" and atheist blog. But, this one I just created is only a personal journal of thoughts and random stuff and not about any one particular thing or anything serious. Just things that come to mind, daily happenings, funny stuff, sad stuff and my ideas or things I want to sort out by writing them down.

People might want to read it, then again maybe not. But it doesn't matter because this blog is mainly for myself.