Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Wake-up call

Most of us get so wrapped up in our own lives and so busy that weeks pass before we see friends and loved ones. We often put off till tomorrow what should be done today, and in our busy-ness we often take things in life for granted, including those friends and relatives who are near and dear to our hearts.

I am guilty of not visiting my parents enough. We take for granted that our parents are always going to be there and we don't like to even think about the idea that someday they won't be here...or in reverse it could be us that is no longer here. Time is precious, and our family is precious, and my family and I just got a wake-up call of just how precious time here in this life is and that we should make a greater effort for those we love and not to take anything for granted.

I was watching the end of a movie Sunday evening and I heard my cell phone ring in another room and heard it was my mom and dad's "music" playing (I have my phone set to play different music for different people so I know who is calling me) , and figured I would call mom back after it was done. I figured if it was an emergency she would leave a message. She tried to call me twice and I did not answer. I feel so bad about that now, and am so regretful that I put a movie ending before picking up the phone. I realize now that in an emergency situation, the person who is going through the emergency is not going to leave a message and waste precious time when they need to get ahold of a live person. She was calling to tell me that my father, who will be 79 this year, was being taken via ambulance to the hospital emergency room because he was having chest pains. She needed me and I didn't pick up because I took for granted that she was calling to chit chat.

I listened to my mother's message after the movie was over and her voice said "Deb, are you there?" and while I was waiting to hear the second message my sister beeped in and said that Mom was trying to get ahold of us. She also didn't answer her phone right away. (Aren't we awful?) When she told me they were taking Dad to the ER, we didn't know yet what hospital or what was going on. Our brother, who lives near our parents, went to my parents' place and picked up mom to take her to the ER. After finally finding out which hospital they took him to, my sister then went over there and I waited here for word since I live almost an hour away. When they finally called and said that the doctors thought it was a heart attack, and that they had him comfortable and stable and were going to do an angiogram the next day, I packed my bags and went to stay overnight with my mother at her place. My sister went there, too and spent the night. None of us slept. Early the next morning, we went to the hospital and my dad looked tired, and didn't look too comfortable in that hospital bed. But it was reassuring to see him and to talk to him, and despite everything he was going through he was in good spirits.(But extremely nervous about the upcoming angiogram.)

While wating to find out when they were going to take dad for his angiogram, I called my three kids to tell them what was happening with their grandpa, and they all were quite stunned. They see my parents off and on throughout the year, but they could go see them more often than they do if they would just make the effort. My daughter lives out on the east coast and has been home for visits where she is just too busy to fit in a visit to grandma and grandpa. I think she just thought they would always be here for whenever she is ready to visit them on one of her home trips. She was quite upset with herself for not making the time to see them when she was in town. Whenever she was home and I suggested that she should go visit grandma and grandpa, she said "next time"...well, this was a wake-up call for all of us that there very well could be no more "next times" and once a person is gone, there is no turning back the clock, no second chances to make up for things we missed out on.

It turns out that my father did had a mild heart attack due to a 95% blockage in an artery in the heart. This is only the second time I have seen him in a serious situation with his health. The other time was when he had an emergency colostomy due to a ruptured colon. Seeing him laying there in bed once again was upsetting. We didn't know what caused the heart attack/chest pain and were waiting, waiting, waiting for them to take him to do an angiogram to show what was causing his problems and what needed to be done to fix it. Turns out they did the angiogram and found a blockage, put in a stint and he is recovering. He was so cute when we got to see him afterwards. The first thing he said to us was "they fixed it!" Hopefully, he will be going home this evening.

Whenever my mom or dad call my phone in the future, I will answer it and don't care what I am doing. If they just want to talk, and I am in the middle of something I can say I will call them back. But I must assume first of all now that they might need me. As for visiting...never, never take loved ones for granted. You just never know.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Not all oldies are goodies

I went to bed early last night and was watching a really stupid movie on Svengoolie. (Svengoolie is a long-time Chicago television character...a comedic vampire who shows really bad horror and suspense films from the olden days and makes fun of them during breaks.)

This really dumb film starred Joan Crawford and it was one of her worst movies, but it was fun too...especially with Svengoolie's funny interruptions. It was a 1965 black and white film called "I Saw What You Did" about teenagers who are left alone with the one teenager's little sister in a huge house while the parents went out to a dinner party.

For fun, the teenagers decide to make prank calls to people, choosing names from a phone book and they call this house where a guy just killed his wife (in the shower, trying to mimic the stabbing in the shower scene from the Psycho movie...it was really stupid). He doesn't answer the first time, and they forget about him for awhile, but they decide to try again after they are done harrassing a few dozen other people.

Joan Crawford plays Mr Murderer's neighbor and she is madly in love with him and is trying to get him to marry her after he tells her his wife "left" him when in reality he put her body in a trunk, drives it to a wooded area off a busy highway (almost gets caught a few times). When he comes back, Joan Crawford is there and she overhears when the teenager in charge calls him and the way he is talking to her, Joanie thinks it's someone he is having an affair with. The teenager says "I saw what you did and I know who you are" as she had been saying to other people she had been pranking. He starts talking to her, trying to find out what she knows, who she is. She makes up the name "Suzette" and he starts saying her name so Joanie thinks that he has a girlfriend and she gets pissed and nags him after he hangs up the phone and he stabbed his wife for less bitching than the tongue-lashing Joan gives him. But he lets her live, and kisses her and sends her home.

The teenybopper decides she likes the sound of the man's voice so wants to go see what he looks like and she makes her friend and little sister go with her in her mom's car though she only has a permit and drives to this dude's house. (She gets dressed up all prissy for this little adventure, just in case he comes outside. It was so stupid.) They get there and she decides to snoop around and peep in his windows. She sees him, but knocks over a windowsill pot of flowers and he comes to the window, opens it and she gets a really good view of his face, so why not leave then?

Nope...she has to stay. He looks down and sees that someone had to have knocked over the pot since it was a heavier kind and so grabs a knife and goes outside. Instead of running back to her car and leaving, the teenager tries to look in more windows! Then all of a sudden, she is grabbed by the back of the hair and dragged back to her car by screaming Joan Crawford crazy with jealousy. Joan grabs the girl's learner's permit which is for some reason taped to the steering column (maybe that is what they did back in the 50s for student drivers?) and tells the girl to get lost. The girls speed away from the house, in tears.

Joan goes back into the house, flaunting to Mr. Murderer that she now has his "mistress's" name and address. Does she tuck it in her bra and run home? No...she bitches at him...and waves the document around, then throws it on the floor and starts flirting with him. He still has the knife in his hand. BIZARRO! Normal reaction would be to throw stuff and run like the wind. But no...she flirts, makes demands of him marrying her anyway and so...he stabs Joan and she falls slowly to the floor in a dramatic heap.

Then Mr. Murderer does what is expected and picks up the girl's permit, and goes to her house, chases the girls around the house and surrounding foggy woods until the parents come home and save the day.

I think the moral of the story is that Joan Crawford should have retired sooner.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Catherine Marie

Today would have been our first baby's 30th birthday. Unfortunately, she never got a chance to live. Catherine Marie was born and died on this date in 1977. It was a normal pregnancy, till the very end. I had no problems while carrying Catherine, and she was quite active inside me. She could kick a plate right off my stomach with tremendous force for such a small one. I was so excited and happy, and looking forward to this little child to have to love and raise up to adulthood. But things didn't turn out that way.

My husband was in the Air Force at the time, and we lived near the air base in a town called Jacksonville, right outside of Little Rock. We used a doctor recommended by the air force clinic, and I am really regretful now that I did not choose a doctor at the University Hospital in Little Rock. Our baby might have survived if I had.

A week before going into labor, I had some bleeding. My husband rushed me into the clinic to be examined by my doctor, and he blew it off. Said that happens sometimes and not to worry about it. Little did I know that there was something far more serious going on. It was my first pregnancy, I was far away from my folks and family, and I was very young and trusted doctors to know what they are doing and didn't question his opinion.

A week later, I went into labor two weeks earlier than my due date. They had me walk the hallways to stimulate labor. They did an x-ray of my abdomen (which I found out later was dangerous to do because of radiation). It was a long, long and difficult labor -- 26 hours. In the final hours, I was on a bed in the labor ward and they gave me something called "twilight" that didn't really relieve pain, but was supposed to make me forget I was having pain -- it didn't work too well. I felt like I was in some kind of a surreal nightmare. The heart monitor that was keeping track of the baby's heartbeat sounded weird...the heartbeat didn't sound right to me. A nurse was sitting on a stool nearby, eating cake that someone had brought in to celebrate one of the nurse's birthday. I remember saying to the nurse "that sounds funny, is my baby alright?" She put her cake down and came and listened with her special stethescope, and she said that things sounded fine. I pointed out that the baby's heartbeat sounded weird to me on the machine. The nurse told me "oh, we don't go by those modern contraptions" and continued to eat her cake.

Things got worse. The heartbeat started getting worse. A doctor came in and looked seriously at the monitor and began shouting orders to get me into the delivery room and then gave me more of that twilight stuff and threw my husband out of the labor room and would not let him attend the birth as planned. I remember waking up off and on, and hearing a jumble of voices...then in a blur (I didn't have my glasses and am very nearsighted), I saw a nurse carry a bundle over to a corner of the room and others crowded around and there was no crying baby....I kept trying to say "how is my baby?" but nothing would come out. They wheeled me to recovery...still no baby. When I started to get my speech capabilities back, I slurred..."where is my baby, I want to see my baby...where is it?" and a nurse brushed back my hair and told me to rest....I KNEW something was terribly wrong.

Then a doctor came in and told me. I heard bits and pieces of what he was saying "the cord was around her neck, had been for some time"...."labor caused cord to strangle her"....

After I was taken back to my room, and was more awake, reality hit me. I was angry...angry that the goddam doctor a week before didn't take the warning sign of the bleeding seriously. X-ray results that were taken upon my arrival at the labor ward revealed that the cord, being around the baby's neck had pulled the placenta from the wall of the uterus. Most likely if she would have lived, she would have been brain damaged because of that.

My husband had to disassemble a nursery we had prepared so I wouldn't come home to that. I was like a crazy person for weeks. I had wanted that baby so much.

I now have three other children, despite difficult pregnancies. That is because we moved back up north and chose the best high risk hospital in the Chicagoland area.

Some told me it was god's will. At the time I tried to tell myself that too, but now that many years have passed I now find that reasoning very absurd. Why would a god play such a cruel joke as to give someone a baby, and then rip it away. As years went by, I came to realize there is no god pulling puppet strings, making bad things or good things happen. The reality is that doctors fucked up. Plain and simple. And I had three live children afterwards because I was under the care of excellent physicians and specialists at one of the best neo-natal facilities in the country.

What I have found is that baby could not be replaced. Despite having three beautiful children, I can never forget the one that is not with us. I celebrate and remember her birthday every single year.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Day three of what-ever-the-hell-this-is

I hardly slept at all last night. I slept in ten minute intervals. I couldn't get comfortable. I took a Sudafed yesterday evening, one of those 12-hour cold tabs and it dried my throat out so bad it was painful! I'm not supposed to really take cold medicine unless I ask my doctor because of the medications I am taking for blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and asthma prevention. The Sudafed was not a good thing to take. My heart was pounding and I couldn't calm down. It's the non-drowsy formula and I guess that means it keeps you awake, because that is the effect it had on me! I finally took a half a beta blocker to calm things down and it did, but not enough to fall asleep. I kept looking at the clock and time seemed to be going by so slowly. I finally fell asleep just before dawn, then heard my son get up for work a quarter to six and I was up for the rest of the day. So, as the British say...I am "shattered."

I have been eating little pieces of raw garlic. I read online that garlic is a natural antibiotic and if you eat fresh garlic it will get rid of your cold faster. I decided to give it a shot. What do I have to lose? I was taking those garlic tablets, but they didn't seem very potent. Raw garlic is very potent. I probably have horrible breath, but who cares. No one wants near me anyway right now since I am germ-laden.

I mostly blogged today. I didn't feel like doing much of anything else. I managed to make some eggs for breakfast, chat with my friend Myriam from Belgium on IM, and then blogged some more, and then watched some television, talked to my husband on the phone for five minutes, took a nap and had a little supper (cheese pizza and Reese cup ice cream for dessert). Now I am back here again.

I usually don't watch television during the day, but since I was laying in bed and not able to fall asleep right away, I decided to channel surf. Nothing on at all except judge shows, talk shows, news shows, all reality! I want some fantasy, some escapism! Television today is really dull, boring and depressing. Nothing entertaining anymore. There are a couple of good sitcoms, but nothing too interesting in my opinion.

It must have been warmer out today because the ice that had been on the roof was sliding off in huge sheets today and crashing down on the deck making a loud smashing sound. Scared the shit out of me every time it happened. It all looked really pretty all piled up in chunks, glistening in the sunlight. I should have taken some abstract photos of it, but didn't feel like doing anything today.

Going to get a cup of cinnamon tea, and get my book and get under the covers and get warm. Hopefully tomorrow this cold will have started going away. I hope.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Feeling crappy

Well, day two of this headcold thing and I am feeling crappier than yesterday. I had to give in and take a Sudafed cold tablet which makes my throat feel as parched as the Sahara desert. I drink a lot, then have to pee a lot. I chopped up some raw garlic to put into a dish of Noodles Alfredo and had that for my supper. Now all I can taste is garlic. No one wants to come near me for fear of catching germs, so it doesn't matter what my breath smells like, but I can't stand the taste and know I will wake up at 2 a.m. with extreme acid indigestion.

I think this is going to be a short post, and I am going to go take some more Tylenol, get a cup of hot tea and curl up with a book till I get drowsy enough to sleep. I hope I can sleep through the night and get a break from feeling bad.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Headcolds suck!

I have come down with my second cold of the season, and it sucks! I would like someone to blame it on, but really don't know who since I was around a lot of people this past weekend. I was over visiting my youngest brother's two little kids on Monday, and they seemed fine and haven't heard that they were sick so can't blame them. I was at that presentation my brother gave for the Hammond Public Library on Sunday but there were only about a dozen or so old people. I went out to Pepe's afterwards with my parents and it was pretty crowded because of the Bear's playoff game, so I could have been exposed there, or my husband could have carried germs home from work, but who knows? Or maybe my son gave me germs since he says there are many people who he works with who are sick. I dunno...but all I know is I feel like crap and my nose is running like a faucet.

Whenever I catch a cold I go into defense mode. I immediately get the garlic tablets and take two ever few hours. I drink lots of tea and orange juice and chicken broth. During the couple of days when I am at my most miserable, I resort to experimenting with cold medicines to see what will work to help me breath without making my throat feel like I swallowed sand. I also cannot do without my nasal spray. I can't sleep if my nose is clogged. My husband can sleep with both nostrils plugged up, breathing through his mouth, but I have never been able to do that.

So, I am probably in for a long night. I most likely will not sleep well for the next few days. I can't wait for springtime! Winter and all of its germs sucks!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Reminiscing days long past

On Saturday, I went with my parents to hear my brother give a short presentation about some photos he had for the Hammond Historical Society's monthly "show and tell" at the Public Library in downtown Hammond, Indiana. Though I grew up on Chicago's far south side (Hegewisch neighborhood), my siblings and I ended up working, shopping and hanging out mostly in Hammond, Indiana and Calumet City, Illinois since those two places were only a few minutes away from where we lived.

My brother's photos are of the grand old Parthenon Theater which stood in the heart of downtown Hammond from 1921 till its demolition in 1983. Opening night's program several vaudeville and musical acts, a couple of film shorts, and the Douglas Fairbanks feature, "The Nut".

The luxurious and ornate neo-Renaissance style Parthenon quickly gained the nickname of "The Wonder Theatre", screening the best first-run features, with sound by 1927, and also vaudeville acts into the 30s, many of the most famous big bands of the 30s and 40s, and celebrities such as Harry Houdini, Jack Benny and even Rin-Tin-Tin, the most famous canine star of Hollywood until Lassie.

The Parthenon's spacious auditorium featured one of the earliest Hammond movie houses with unobstructed sight lines, thanks to its large reinforced steel and concrete balcony, which sat well over 1200 alone. Its lobby spaces could fit more than 1000 patrons, and all the Parthenon's public areas were richly decorated, like a Renaissance era princely palace, and furnished with the finest artwork and furniture, including caged songbirds in the main lobby.

By the 70s, the Parthenon began to look a bit shabby and was losing much of its luster and gilded glamour. The seats became ratty and worn, and not as many people came to see movies once the cinaplexes were being built in areas with more convenient parking. The Parthenon began to be used more for rock concerts than as a movie house. In 1967, Sonny and Cher appeared on stage to promote their movie, "Good Times". During the 70s, groups as diverse as KISS and Rush played at the Parthenon.

And this was where my brother worked when he was 16-17 years-old. My sister also worked there for awhile when she was 16. My brother was an usher and my sister worked behind the candy counter. I worked at Goldblatt, a huge 4-story department store down the street. On nights I got off at 9 p.m. I would walk down to the Parthenon and wait for my brother to get off work so he could give me a ride. Even though I was 4 years older, I didn't have a car and he did.

I didn't mind having to wait for him because I got to see the late movie for free. I could sit anywhere I wanted. The place had 4 balconies. I didn't like sitting in the top one because that gave me the jeebies being so close to the domed ceiling with the monster chandelier that hung at the center. I usually sat on the ground floor, or the first balconey.

Sometimes I would hang out with my brother and the other ushers in the dressing rooms behind the stage. The chairs were old and torn, kind of dirty, too. The walls were dirty and the paint was peeling. The place was in obvious dire need of renovation.

So was the store I worked at. Goldblatt's was built in 1927 and demolished in 1993. I worked on the 4th floor in the LayAway/Credit Department. I also did window-display and sign change which I loved, but wasn't paid enough for the job. One day they hired a new window-display person right from college and they asked ME to train him. While I was showing him the ropes, he mentioned what his salary was and I was livid since I didn't even make half of what this guy was making (and the guy was complaining that HE was underpaid!) So, I asked to be put back in LayAway and I was sorry later because even though it was less money, I enjoyed it more than working with the two old bats I was stuck with. A crabby old lady named Caroline who thought her last name was Goldblatt, and a black woman named Ruby who thought she didn't have to work and took off with her friend in the furniture department for numerous breaks.

Goldblatt's building was practically falling down and in need of some major renovation (and probably asbestos removal!). I felt like I lived there since I put in so many hours. I worked six days a week, Monday, Thursday and Fridays were mandatory 9-9 days for me. I hated it. I grew to hate working there and couldn't wait to leave there and go somewhere else. I became engaged to my husband and couldn't wait to say goodbye to the dump. When I was saying my goodbye's one of the old ladies who worked in the credit department said, "You'll be back, they always come back." I said, "They will tear this place down before I come back!"
And they did! LOL! Funny how I am now nostaligic for a place I despised.

The Parthenon was next to Walgreen's
(hidden) and my brother met his wife
while she was working
as a waitress at Walgreen's!
click images to enlarge

In 1993 going, Going, GONE!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Mary

Today is my daughter, Mary's 25th birthday. Happy Birthday sweetie! I miss you!

Mary lives out east and is a professional trumpet player for a major orchestra. She is a tall, beautiful, skinny blonde and has brains to go with (she recently graduated from Yale University with a Masters in Music).

It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years since her birth. She was born almost two months premature via emergency c-section after I went into early labor and drugs wouldn't stop it. She was 4 lbs. 6 oz. at birth and lost down to 3 lbs. 15 oz. (I was also a preemie and was 3 lbs. 11 oz. at birth!). She was born with a hole in her heart and her lungs were not developed enough to breathe on her own. It was touch and go the first few days, but she was a fighter. She wasn't going to give up.

She was put on a ventilator and given blood transfusions regularily to replace the blood that had to be drawn hourly to check her oxygen levels. She had to be fed via a feeding tube that was run through her nose and down her throat. I recovered from the c-section and was discharged and had to leave my baby behind. I couldn't get up to visit her more than once a day, and she was a very slow eater and needed tlc to develop strength to suck on the nipple of her doll-sized bottles. For the nurses it was easier to use the gavage tube to feed her, but if we left it up to the nurses, she would have been in the hospital for months. My husband decided to take charge. He went up to the hospital at every feeding time and made her drink from her bottle no matter how much she would rather sleep! And she was home in about three weeks after I got home, thanks to her daddy.

Mary was a fighter then, and is still a fighter now. I always joke that she wants what she wants no matter what, and will fight to get it. That's how one has to be in the field she is in. Musicians must be aggressive to get even mediocre jobs. It's a brutally competitive career field no matter what kind of musician one is. Mary has also had many problems, struggles, disappointments and challenges and she has fought her way through it all even though she is so far away from home...and on her own. She is a survivor. We love her and are very proud of her.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Groundhog day

Have you ever seen the film, Groundhog Day with Bill Murray? Murray plays reporter, Phil Conner who goes to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on Groundhog Day to report if groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, which would signify whether there will be six more weeks of winter. But what happens is that Phil is forced to relive the day over and over again until he can learn to give up his selfishness and become a better person.

I don't consider myself to be a selfish person, but I have felt all too often that each day is the same as the last and something had to change. One day rolled into another and another and all too often it would be difficult to differentiate one day from another. Each day I wake up, and before I know it, it's time to go back to bed, then morning comes...then ZIP! another day whizzes by and I find myself crawling under the covers again. There is nothing we can do to slow down the clock, and we sure aren't living the same day over and over like in Groundhog Day, but I realize I can decide what I am going to do with that 24 hours a day, and what order I am going to do things in.

So now, each day I purposely do things in a different order so each day is somewhat different that the last. I don't want to make schedules of what to do on certain days because then it just becomes the same old expected thing. I have decided to just do what I feel like, when I feel like it on the weeks I am not working on a project. Why let myself get stuck in a rut when I don't have to (like my poor hubby who has to get up at 4 a.m. every single day to go to his job -- but he seems to like his different challenges he has at work each day so it's not all bad though he would rather win the lottery and travel around the world or something).

Since I have no clock to punch at the moment, I decided to let myself wake up whenever I woke up...and woke up at 10 a.m. a few days ago, then 8:30 a.m. the following day, then 8-ish a.m. the day after that, and 8-ish a.m. day before yesterday, then 8-ish yesterday, then 8:15 this morning. Damned if my body isn't setting it's own clock to be the same ol' time every single day! How redundant! I am trying to avoid redundancy! Probably because my subconscious is telling me that Miller has to be uncovered around 9 because Bearded Dragons need regularity with their light and heat. So, more redundancy, but necessary redundancy. Then my medicine. I have to take my blood pressure and heart medicine at regular times, so that is a little problem if I sleep too late anyway. That's probably in the back of my mind, also.

I have breakfast after the medicine so I don't get sick to my stomach. Then I check email, and my blogs to see if any comments are left for me. Before, I would shower and dress immediately after that, but lately I have been staying in my pajamas if I feel like it, or write letters, read a book, draw or paint, talk on the phone, and any other of the wide variety of things I like to do. But it's always the same thing in the end. No matter how I arrange my day, I am crawling under the covers around midnight feeling deja vu and wondering where the day went! Then waking up the next morning thinking damn...morning already! Then I go in to uncover Miller and get my medicine, then my breakfast, then my email . . . . . . . .

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Outing with my friend Pam

Today I met my friend Pam at a nearby cinema to see the film "Night at the Museum" with Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Owen Wilson and a whole lot more in this large cast of characters. This is truly a kid movie, but enjoyable for adults who are kids at heart.

When I was a little girl and my family and I visited the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, I always thought it would be so creepy to be locked inside the museum overnight. I would imagine that they mummies would wake up and walk around, or that they stuffed animals and wax cavemen, indians and other statues would come to life. I would also spend the longest time by the miniature exhibits of the wild west, or a Native American village and imagined the little tiny people walking around going about their business in their little museum exhibit world. All of this happens in the film "Night at the Museum." It is a kid's fantasty right there on the big screen. The movie might also spark some interest in world history for youngsters who go to see this film. I strongly urge parents of school-aged kids to take them to see this movie.

After leaving the cinema, Pam and I went to Target. I had to get a picture frame. The other night, as I walked down the hallway to go to bed, a large framed family photo fell off the wall. The frame literally fell apart and the glass, picture and frame crashed to the floor. This happened around midnight and woke up my husband who is usually a heavy sleeper. It was a cheap frame and I guess after 20 something years, the wood just dried out and it slipped apart. So, I had to get a new frame for the photo.

Once the frame was purchased, we decided to go to a place called Champs for an early dinner. Champs is a sports bar and restaurant. Big screen televisions all around the place so no matter where you sit you can watch tv. My husband would have been thrilled. But he would not have been happy about the prices on the menu! I got a single pepperjack bacon cheeseburger and fries, a root beer, and a cup of soup and a cup of coffee and it was $23.00! Pam got simply a cheeseburger and fries and a Sprite and her's was nearly $15! We had to leave a tip on top of that. We could have gone somewhere and had a steak. It was very good, though. (should be for that amount of money!)

We sat there for a long time talking and eating and while we were talking and eating the place kept getting darker and darker. It was getting darker outside, but the lighting in the place was also getting darker. By the time we were ready to go we could hardly see each other! That was also about when the people started coming in and sitting around the bar. Why are bars so dark? So people don't have to see each other's flaws so clearly? My grandfather used to say he didn't want to eat in a dark restaurant because you can't see what they are serving you. Anyway, that is the first time I have been in a casual place where the lights are turned down lower and lower as the evening progresses. Weird.

We left the restaurant and Pam drove me back to my van which I had left at the cinema parking lot. We finally exchanged xmas presents (we haven't seen each other since before the holidays). After saying goodbye, and promising not to wait so long to get together again, we drove off to our respective homes. I should really get out more often like that. It was enjoyable.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Vacation destination decisions

My husband keeps bringing up places we can possibly go for vacation this year. The past several years, since the kids have been grown, we have gone out east since that is where my daughter lives and we can combine seeing her and taking a few days break by the ocean. But now we are ready to do something different. Though I love seeing my daughter, I have had enough of vacationing on the east coast.

So, he came home today and told me about a deal he saw for a four-day vacation for two to Cancun for only $1,100, and what attracted him to this? This one line - "ALL FOOD INCLUDED". Food . . .that is what sells this man. If you ask him what he likes best about baseball games, he says "hot dogs, nachos and beer." Over the holidays he was invited to go to a Bull's game, in a special skybox room and when I asked him how he enjoyed the game, he proceeded to tell me "boy, they had a spread of food that you wouldn't believe!" and he listed the food items to choose from: Italian beef sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, chips, relish trays, appetizers of various types -- and beer. (Funny thing is that he is not a big beer drinker.)

Our last vacation that was not out east was in 2001 when we went to Las Vegas for a week. Why did we go to Las Vegas? Gambling? Shows with practically naked dancing girls? Because we like sweltering oven-like heat? No...he wanted to go there because of the deals on the food buffets! He was in 7th Heaven with all the food buffets to choose from! We stayed at the Tropicana where they had an excellent selection at their breakfast/brunch buffet, and it was indeed a good deal. We went to various buffets during the week and he had the time of his life.

So, back to this Cancun decision. I think it would be great, but food isn't my priority. My priority is the beach and watching the waves go in and out and relaxing under the sun. I have a weakness for souvenier shops, too. I like to look at the crap for sale even if I am not going to buy anything. I used to want to buy a bunch of useless stuff, but not anymore. I would rather spend my money on books.

I would like to go on a cruise, but getting this man on a ship or boat is nearly impossible. He hates boats. Being Chicagoans our whole lives, you would think that he would be more willing to go downtown and go on a lake cruise once in awhile. We have done the dinner cruise thing on Lake Michigan twice in 25 years (once for our 10th anniversary, and then last year when our friends from Sweden were here) and all he did was complain about how much things cost and that they didn't leave the food buffet out long enough. If they would have left it up the whole time so he could "graze" he would have thought it was the best time he ever had.

Niagara Falls would be another place I would want to go since we have only been there when it's been freezing cold. One year we were there when the kids were little. Our oldest had to go to the bathroom and we were looking for a place where he could go and the coldness made his bladder weak and he peed himself and we were far away from our hotel. Another time we stopped by on the way back from Maine in the month of June and it was cold once again, and raining. The last time we were there was about six years ago when we took our daughter to an audition in Rochester, NY. At that time, everything was covered in a thick coating of ice and there were about 50 inches of snow on the ground. They use this kind of stuff to thaw the ice that smells like cat piss. (If anyone from Niagara Falls reads this and knows what that thawing agent is, please let me know. I am curious.) Anyway, I would like to go back to Niagara in the middle of the hottest month of the summer and see if we can finally see the falls in some sunshine and warm weather.

But the Cancun thing sounds appealing. I will have to check into it some more and maybe push the idea since he is the one who brought it up. I will keep emphasis on the places to eat, of course. ;)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Finally, winter arrives

I was beginning to wonder if we were even going to have a winter. It's been very mild so far and we've had only one other snowfall back at the beginning of December and that didn't stay around very long. This is the first time I can remember that the grass has been green in January. Crocuses are confused and poking their heads up through the dirt already. They are probably sorry they were in such a hurry to wake up.

Finally, this afternoon it started to snow. First it was that powdery kind that is so fine you can hardly see it in the air, but you can see the coating it leaves on everything. As the evening wore on it started falling like big fat goosefeathers, ever so gently drifting down to the ground and everything is white and in the whiteness are little sparkles like diamonds glistening under the streetlights.

I poked my head outdoors to take in the air. I love the way the cold snow-air smells. Crisp. Clean. Clear. The snow is falling harder now, but silently. It reminds me of the poem by Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

My Bearded Dragon, Miller

My pet is a 6-year-old Bearded Dragon named Miller that I have written about on my Random Writings blog several times. Miller should really be called Millie because it's a female lizard, but we thought she was a he when my son first brought her home. She was rescued by him four years ago when he was on a carpet cleaning job for my husband (we owned a carpet and furniture cleaning business for more than 20 years). The man who had the little beardie at the time was going to get rid of it. Miller originally belonged to his son, and the son moved out and left Miller behind. One day I came home from work to find the tank set up in our extra bedroom and I went to the tank and peered in and Miller cocked her head sideways and looked up at me like "who the hell are you and where the hell am I?"

I never thought I could love a lizard, but I do. Miller has become my little friend. She doesn't make noise, she can't even hiss very loud (and I have only heard her hiss a couple of times in 4 years). Miller is supposed to eat crickets to maintain good health . . . LIVE crickets. However, she is terrified of them. When I put her in her feeding tank and put the crickets in there she tried to climb up the sides of the glass to get out. I tried this several times just to make sure she just wasn't in a weird mood that day, but no...she is indeed afraid of them. So, I have had to resort to buying canned crickets for her. She will eat those. Actually, she devours canned crickets. She also loves dried meal worms and eats those like we do potato chips. Other favorite foods are blueberries, celery leaves, beardie food pellets, and rare bits of toast crust. Her very, very favorite food, however, is fresh green beans. She attacks those, she loves them so much!

Miller can sleep in the most uncomfortable-looking positions. Tonight, for instance, I found her hanging by her armpits from her long branch with her body and feet hanging down, eyes closed.
Sometimes I find her with just her head in her plastic cave with her body hanging out as if she thinks we can't see her because she can't see us. In the morning when I uncover her tank, she is stretched out with her hind legs straight out behind her and her front legs down along her sides like people would sleep. She is a funny little thing.

One of her favorite things to do is to sit on my lap and watch television. She loves television and she knows my husband is the television watcher. She hears him come in and knows he is going to turn the television on and goes to that end of the tank that faces the tv set. Sports seems to be her favorite with lots of action, and championship wrestling really makes her happy. I think it is the flashing lights and colors that gets her attention.

Miller likes to sit outside on my lap in the summer, but is very wary of birds that happen to fly above us. She runs up my chest then and gets close to my neck as if that will make her safer. Normally, beardies in the desert of their native Australia survive only a couple of years at most because they end up being eaten by large birds, snakes or other predators. But the beardies like Miller are most likely bred just to be domestic pets. Miller would probably not survive very long at all in the wild.

Anyway, just thought I would write a bit about my little scaly friend. She's a little sweetheart.

Mr Fix-it

Turns out we don't have to buy a new stove after all because my husband can fix almost anything, and I mean that quite literally. He did a few tests with meters and other gizmos he uses in diagnosing a mechanical or electrical problem and found out it was a switch thing that tells the big flame when to go on and off. He went to the parts store and bought the part and it was working within a matter of minutes, and the house is still standing. Now we can still plan to buy a hot tub. :-)

The part for the stove fits in the palm of your hand and cost $100!!! It must be because I am getting old, because the price of things today just astound me!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It's always something

Hubby brought home a fresh-made pizza from Dominick's -- the take-and-bake kind. He gets sausage and cheese and I add extra ingredients and extra cheese myself. Tonight I turned the oven on to preheat it while I piled on the mushrooms, green peppers, black olives, fresh garlic and extra cheese to make a very thick, scruptious-looking pizza pie. I then went to the oven and opened the door and the damn thing was COLD! I checked to see if I really had turned it on (sometimes I think I do things and I haven't) and it's set to 425F. I turned it off and then on again and the little ignition thing went click, click, click and I heard the pilot light and waited, and waited, and waited . . . and the burner did not come on. Grrrrr!!!

These things always happen when hubby is especially tired from a difficult day at work. He goes in to see what the matter is. He has been an electrical maintenance/mechanic supervisor for a number of years now, so I know he knows what he is doing but dicking around with natural gas appliances scares me. I get all tense. He is fiddling with this switch and turning things on and off that make the gas go on and off and the whole kitchen smells like sulfur. I took my cell phone and went to the far end of the house, just in case. Hey... why should we both be blown to smithereens?

He doesn't know what is wrong with it for certain, but thinks it is the thermostat that tells the big flame to come on. He says he will go to a parts store and get what he needs once he figures out what exactly it is that he needs to fix it. (or try to) So, while he is doing that, I think I will go out shopping with my future daughter-in-law and let him do his thing without me hovering around wringing my hands and worried that he is going to blow the house up. Hopefully, I won't come home to splinters and everything in bits and pieces all over the neighborhood. Also, I hope he CAN fix it because if there is one thing I don't want to be spending our money on, it's a househould appliance. I want that platinum hot tub I wrote about a few days ago. With the way things usually go though, we will probably be out stove shopping over the weekend. It's always something!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Everybody's getting so old...except me! LOL!

David Bowie just turned 60 the other day. My high school fav, Elton John is turning 60 in March. Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane is going to be 68! Paul McCartney is 64, Ringo Starr 67, Rod Stewart 62, Alice Cooper 59, ZZ Top guys are all 58, Tina Turner 68, Bette Midler 62, Emmylou Harris 60, Carly Simon 62, Mick Jagger 64, Twiggy 58, Goldie Hawn 62, Diane Keaton 61, Suzanne Somers 61, Dolly Parton 61, Wayne Newton 65, Tony Orlando 63, Davy Jones from the Monkees 62, Stephen King 60, Paul Newman 82, Robert Redford 71, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin 59, Ozzie Osbourne 58, Carole King 65, Joni Mitchell 64, Van Morrison 62, Bob Dylan 66, Leon Russell 65, Garry Lewis from Garry Lewis and the Playboys 62 (His father Jerry Lewis is 81), Rob Reiner (Meathead on All in the Family) 60, Sally Struthers from All in the Family 59, Bill Cosby 70, Gordon Lightfoot 69, singer Melanie 60, Petula Clark 75!!!!, Shirley Temple 79!!!!, Mickey Rooney 87, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull 60, Ronald Belford Scott of AC/DC 61, Donovan 61, Bobby Goldsboro 66, Jan Michael-Vincent 63, Julie Newmar 74, Angie Dickinson 76!!!, Michelle Phillips from Mamas and the Papas 63, Patty Labelle 63, Chevy Chase 64, Dom Deluise 74, Galloping Gourmet Graham Kerr 73, Sean Connery 77, Roger Moore 80, Julio Iglesias 64, Chuck Norris 67, Willie Nelson 74, Gladys Knight 63, Donna Summer 59, Liza Minneli 61, David Letterman 60, Richard Carpenter (The Carpenters) 61, Comedian Gallagher 61, Cher 61, Tina Louise from Gilligan's Island 73, Teri Garr 60, Billy Joel 58, Sting 56, Al Pacino 67, Dustin Hoffman 70, Robert Di Niro 64, Donna Mills 67, Linda Gray 67, Joan Van Ark 64, Barbara Eden 73, Sally Field 60, Patty Duke 61, Joe Cocker 63, Issac Hayes 65, Danielle Steel 60, Shirley Jones 73, Peter, Paul and Mary 68, 69, 71 respectively . . . ok...I am depressed enough. I am stopping now.

Where does the time go?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


George Carlin has a really funny stand-up piece he does about "stuff" and the way people horde stuff and have to buy bigger houses to put their stuff into. As I was dusting the house today, I realized I really do have a lot of stuff. I have little knick-knacks of all kinds and feel like I have to keep them because someone took time to buy it for me. I rarely buy useless stuff for myself, but I get a lot of stuff as gifts -- especially from my mother. She likes to give stuff as presents. It's not stuff we need, but stuff she thinks is cute and she doesn't want to get it for herself, but doesn't want to leave it behind either because she can't because it's too cute or pretty or funny (sometimes strange).

I have candle holders, bells, figurines of little animals, little stuffed toys, fake flowers arrangements, plaques with little sayings, vases, coasters, picture frames . . .

I also have books, tons of books. I could open a library. I have read most of them, but not all. I seriously doubt I will read most of them again, though I do use some of them for reference when writing something or if I need to look something up. But I can't bear to part with them. So, here they are and I must dust them along with my other stuff.

In the diningroom is a shadowbox that used to belong to my grandmother that is now full of little mouse figurines of all kinds that I have collected over the years. I started out with one little mouse my father gave me and now I have more than 100 of them. The little mouse he gave me is named "Troubles" and is crying and holding his tiny bandaged tail. My father gave me that when I was going through some hard times as a teenager. It means a lot to me. Lots of my stuff means a lot to me and I associate it with the person who gave it to me. I find it easier to toss out or give away if I have no real connection to the person who gave it to me, but if it is someone who I am very close to, I can't part with it.

My mother is the queen of horders. Her house is like a museum of useless stuff. Knick-knacks fill entire shelves and tabletops. She has all sorts of things hanging from lamps and pictures on walls. Every room of the house if full of framed photos of family members, living and dead. I think she has kept everything anyone has ever given her and my father. It means a lot to her when people give her something so she treasures it.

My mother also is a horder of stuff that makes no sense...broken blenders, broken phones, small appliances that no longer work and have been replaced with new, sheets and blankets from years gone by that are thin from wear. She buys new, but cannot get rid of the old.

I think much of the reason we save stuff is because it is a connection with the past, and if that connection is a good one. I got rid of some things from my high school years which I now regret. I wasn't the most popular person in high school and there were many times I would cry myself to sleep. But getting rid of the stuff didn't erase those things from my mind and I now wish I hadn't gotten rid of it all. I am older and though I still remember painful times in my life, I can remember without pain, and now regret getting rid of parts of my life that I would now like to look back on. My children would have liked to have some of the things I tossed away. But I still have enough to remember who I was back then.

So, when I am cleaning my stuff, instead of complaining about all the work that is involved, I am going to try to slow down and remember who gave me what, when and what for...what the days were like then.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Eggs and spaghetti

I have not been feeling very domestic lately (well, I am not very domestic most of the time, but lately I am feeling even less domestic than usual). If I could hire help to do anything it would be for cooking and cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. I hate being in the kitchen. I can cook, but just don't like to. With my husband, everything revolves around food. If food were a god he would worship it. Every day when he gets home he expects dinner. Since I am not working at the moment I feel obliged to make sure he gets a hot dinner...but like I said, lately I am not feeling very domestic, especially after being sick for several days.

About three days ago, I made eggs for supper. Eggs and toast. The next night I made spaghetti with sauce and meatballs. I made enough sauce for two meals. Last night I made eggs again, with pre-cooked sausages that you heat up in the microwave, and toast. He ate it with no complaints. Then tonight when he came home he didn't seem to want to eat right away (he probably knew what was coming) so we waited till he was hungry. He asked what I was making...I said "spaghetti and leftover sauce and meatballs." He shrugged and said "whatever," and he ate it without complaint. I think I won't get away with this very long. I will have to think of something else to make tomorrow. Maybe Eggo toaster waffles? LOL! No...I will thaw out some tilapia and have that. Even though he isn't keen on fish, he will most likely welcome the change and it only takes about 10 minutes to zap in the microwave with some lemon pepper. I'll make some instant rice to go with and a canned veggie. :-) I will bet that he will suggest that we eat out the day after. :-D

I'll put it here so I will know where to find it next time

I don't know how many times I have put things in a specific place so as not to forget where they are the next time I go looking for them. When the time comes that I need a certain thing, I forget where the hell I put it! Never fails. Like just this morning I was looking for a certain document and I went to the desk where it was before I move it to the "safer" place and for the life of me could not find it. I searched in drawers, in the coffee table where the magazines are, in the coat closet in a container where we keep some papers that we mean to file properly one day. I looked and looked and finally decided to look finally of all logical places -- the filing cabinet. There it was filed in a labeled folder right in the front of the second drawer. I had purposely written the name of the type of documents in large letters on the manila file folder. If I had looked in the most logical place first, I would have saved myself about a half hour of wasted time and aggravation.

This is why I am not a secretary.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Feeling better

I am finally starting to feel like myself again. That had to be one of the weirdest viruses I have ever had. Though I still tire easily at least I managed to stay awake all day yesterday without needing a nap and managed to even go out for awhile.

My husband and I have been shopping for hot tubs. We would like one to use to soothe our aches and pains that come from getting older and old injuries. Like many other things for sale on the market, there are many varieties of hot tubs with many different styles and options. Hubby has been looking online from used ones on ebay to top-of-the-line manufacturers like Gulf Coast.

One cannot tell what these things actually look like, nor can we really tell the quality from a touched-up photograph, so we decided to go out looking at them in stores. We went to two places. We first went to a private dealer who sells Gulf Coast via a warehouse he leases and he gave us a thourough explanation without the high-pressured sales pitch that one usually gets at a retail store. He even let us climb inside them and try them out for size (they were empty of water, of course). While I thought I could be satisfied with a small unit with a few jets, I found myself absolutely wanting the huge, most expensive model. The Platinum, 7-seater with lounger and colored lights..and also a waterfall...and stereo system.

After we left the Gulf Coast dealer we went over to American Sales to look at their hot tubs. After looking at the Gulf Coast models, the ones at AS seemed very "cheap" though they were nearly twice the price. American Sales most likely has a huge overhead and makes a huge profit on things they sell. I we are going to get this thing, we should get the best. I want the Gulf Coast Platinum model, and I can see by the twinkle in his eyes when we talk about it that hubby wants it too.

We really wanted to buy it yesterday, but my husband who is always cautious about where his money goes wanted to go home to think about it. I know it is the best thing to not make snappy decisions on something this expensive, but the thought of soaking in the whirling, hot water seems heavenly. Hope we can make a decision soon!

We decided to get rid of the swimming pool we have had for more than 20 years. Digging that sucker out and removing it, and filling up the huge crater in the back yard will provide for future stories, I am sure.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Still ill

I'm still fighting off whatever this is that I have that is making me shake with chills and want to curl up under my covers in my bed every half hour. I want to sleep, but only sleep in ten-minute spurts. It must be some kind of flu bug. I can't say there are any really big symptoms, just a lot of little annoying symptoms that are making me feel tired and uncomfortable.

I am trying to get motivated to write another short story or some poetry, but when one doesn't feel good, then it's hard to force doing anything. Like eating food, for instance. I have zero appetite at the moment, but my husband said I need to eat something to keep up my strength. I wander in and out of the kitchen with a shawl over my shoulders and look in cabinets at the variety of Campbell soup I have. Nah...nothing appealing. I look in the fridge and see nothing I want in there, either. Even my coffee that I love so much is not interesting. I finally settled on the coffee though. If anything, maybe it will counter the sleepiness some.

A friend of mine was telling me, "go to the doctor, you can't try to be your own doctor." I asked her what the hell a doctor was going to do for me if it's a virus? Usually when a person suspects he or she has a virus, that is exactly what it is. Especially when there are no other alarming symptoms...such as seeing blood, or having a big pain somewhere. I have head congestion, cough, chills, low-grade fever, aches, and am very sleepy...and irritable. I am in no mood to drive in the rain to the doctor's office, to sit there in an uncomfortable chair in a waiting room full of bacteria and virus-laden sick people only to be told when I get in the office "it's just a virus, go home and drink plenty of fluids and rest" which is pretty much the only things that the illness is allowing me to do anyway!

Off to snuggle down for awhile again.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


My parents' have this little dog that they treat like a human child. She is a little black dog, a mixture of this and that. A mutt who they saved from the kennels and probable death when she was about two years old. She is at least ten years old now and getting a bit of white whiskers around her muzzle.

Mom and Dad talk to her in baby voices and even buy little clothes for her. Her most recent addition to her wardrobe is a light pink tennis sweater with baby blue and white strips around the cuffs. When she has it on she looks rather uncomfortable. People think because they are cold that their animals are cold and forget that they run around in the wild on cold winter nights in just their fur...no patent leather boots, no raincoats and bonnets, and no snugglies to keep them warm.

Annie is a sweet dog, unless you touch her feet. Then she will practically take your arm off. I was over visiting one day and walked past her while she was eating one of her doggy frosty frozen treats and my toe accidentally kicked the cup it was in and she turned on a dime and left teeth marks in the top of my foot!

My parents like to play games with Annie, despite the risk of pulling back a bloody stump. My father grabs her front paws and makes her play "Pat-a-cake". My mother sets her on her lap and sings "if you're happy and you know it show your teeth" (to the tune of "if you're happy and you know it clap your hands") as she grabs one of the dog's feet and squeezes just enough to make her curl her lips and growl...and show her teeth. My mother thinks that is the funniest thing.

On the 4th of July and New Year's eve when people are blowing off fireworks, Annie trembles as if she is going to have a nervous breakdown. The louder the fireworks, the more she shakes. When we were over there this year I saw first hand what they have to deal with. I hate fireworks. They scare animals, make old people nervous, and get on other's nerves or keep them awake when they have to get up early for work the next day. My mom finally had to give her a tranquilizer pill. This has to be given in a lump of liversausage or she would never swallow it.

Annie is the third dog my parents have owned. This dog looks exactly like the other two...completely black and kind of strange-looking. My bet is that when Annie's life is over, my mother will talk my father into going hunting for another little dog to adopt for their entertainment and to love.

First cold of the new year

I can't believe I started off 2007 with a headcold! I had been feeling cranky and very tired for a couple of days and then woke up this morning with congestion which progressed to earache and low-grade fever. I feel like crap and cannot sleep. My hubby has a cold starting, too. He started with a little raise in temperature this afternoon and he slept all day. I think I know where we picked up the germs, too. Tiger Direct when we were there shopping on Saturday.

Why do people go out sick, and more of a question...why do they take their sick kids out? When we were in Tiger Direct looking at new computer power supplies and cases, there was a little boy of about age 7-8-years-old leaning on the shelving and looking like he could hardly stand up...like he was real sleepy or something. Then as we walked by he barked this very loud, yucky-sounding cough all over us. I could not believe it! He was hacking his head off after that and we had to walk through that way again to go to the check-out. I told my husband, "we are going to get sick, I don't believe how people can bring their sick kids out to contaminate everyone!" And it is bad for the poor kid, too. He should have been home in bed!

So, now I have a cold to fight off to start the year with. I am taking my garlic tablets, and drinking lots of juice and now I think I am going to go lay back down and try to fall asleep...if I can. Aaaahhh-choooo! >:-(

Monday, January 01, 2007

Welcome 2007

Well, another year gone by in a flash. When I was young it seemed like time went by a lot slower. I remember it seeming like an eternity for me to turn "legal" age, and now I wish I hadn't been in such a rush to get older.

I made cinnamon rolls and coffee for breakfast yesterday morning. Then we just hung around and did pretty much nothing till it was time to go to my folks' place for a little New Year's eve party. For some reason I was feeling especially nostaligic this year for things from my childhood, especially the citrus punch my mom used to make when we were kids, and also French onion dip and other kinds of snacks we used to have back in the "old days".

I made my punch but forgot to buy the frozen lemonade to put in with the pineapple juice and 50/50, but it still tasted good. It just wasn't as cold as we would have liked.

My two sons were there and my middle son's fiancee. My daughter lives on the east coast and couldn't make it back for the holidays this year and went with a group of friends to NYC to celebrate the arrival of 2007. I miss her so much and wish she could have been here with us. :-(

We had been playing Scattegories for awhile first, but mom kept forgetting what letter was rolled and writing down words for the wrong letters! So, we scrapped that game and decided to play something else. My husband and I had given my mom and dad a game for Xmas called Scene-It and we decided to figure out how to play that and ended up playing five times! It's got several ways to earn points: watching a movie clip provided on the included dvd and answering a question correctly at the end of the clip; answering questions correctly that are printed on cards according to categories; naming a movie via photos provided from that movie, and many other options. I would like the game just to watch and try to guess the answers at the end of the movie clips by myself. The clips are quite entertaining.

So, we stuffed ourselves, played games, and then watched New Year Chicago on Channel 5. What lame and/or washed-up musicians they find for these celebrations! And people are so drunk they are dancing to it, unaware of it's awfulness and having a grand ol' time. They are oblivious to how stupid they look and they probably won't even remember if they had a good time or not. Crowds like that make me nervous. I have never been a big fan of "clubbing" and dancing around in a club with a bunch of liquored-up sweaty people doesn't look like something I would enjoy. It's always funny to watch drunks on television, though. They all look so silly.

At midnight Chicago time, fireworks were set off from barges on Lake Michigan and at Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park and we can enjoy a perfect view of it all right in the warmth and safety of our own livingrooms. We can hear the music clearly that goes along with it and see it from various angles, even from the air. The flashing colors of the fireworks reflect upon the water of the lake. The whole city is aglow with lights. And when I watch this fantastic display and I hear the song "Sweet Home Chicago" I feel proud that I am and always will be a Chicagoan.

Happy New Year, everybody!