Saturday, June 30, 2007

Money to burn

People in this country, no matter what their financial status or situation, have money to blow up and burn every time 4th of July comes around. It never ceases to amaze and annoy the hell out of me at the same time.

The blowing away of money pastime starts earlier and earlier each year. People blow money on all sorts of bullcrap, but at least if you are blowing money on Christmas presents, Easter bunny presents and candy, Valentine's Day candy you are getting something for your money even if it is spoiling the hell out of your kids, or making you and your loved ones a few pounds heavier. But with fireworks, what do you get for your money? A loud bang and a puff of smoke that is gone in a flash and for some reason makes people jump up and down with glee. I don't get it. Never have. No one would think to take $50 or more of cash and light fire to it, but this is actually exactly what they are doing.

Now, if people want to throw their money away, or burn it, or blow it up it's their business (however, ILLEGAL fireworks ARE our business, and the police seem powerless to do anything about it). Also, it's impossible to enjoy such activity, legal or not, without disturbing the hell out of everyone else around you. In addition to disturbing the humans around you, you are scaring the shit out of pets and other animals who cannot understand what is going on. My parents have to tranquilize their little dog off and on for the weeks before and after the 4th of July because she trembles so bad it seems like she will give herself a heart attack or simply die of fear.

Last night I had the doors and windows open. It was a beautiful night with millions of fireflies dancing around people's back yards. I was sitting on the deck watching. The sun was almost completely set and orange filled the low horizon. Then suddenly BOOOOOMMMMM! I almost jumped completely out of my skin. A neighbor a couple doors down set off a mini bomb that rattled windows and sent birds fluttering from the trees in panic. My little Bearded Dragon flattened out on the bottom of her tank and her skin turned really dark gray, which is what happens when she is terrified of something.

It is only June 30th, and the weekend, so today and tomorrow will probably be bad. Then Monday and Tuesday should be ok during the daytime since people have to work, but after work it will be bad. Then Wednesday, the 4th of July, when everyone is off from work, they will blow up all their hard-earned money...blow it up into smoke, and disturb the neighbors, cause a bunch of fires, blow off digits and limbs, maybe shoot an eye out or even blow themselves up while they are "having a blast". We will be hiding inside like we usually do, with all windows and doors shut, watching the Chicago fireworks on television which is the best seat you can have. I have nothing against organized fireworks, which are beautiful to watch.

Will it stop after the 4th? Of course not. People will continue to blow shit up till it all runs out, which gradually takes a couple more weeks or longer. (sigh)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Piano and pincurls

I was about two years old here. I wonder if anyone still pincurls their hair anymore. It used to make my hair look naturally curly when it was naturally straight. When I was a teenager I used those brush rollers that hurt your scalp but I endured it because I wanted to look "cool" for school. (hey, that rhymes!)

I vaguely remember the little piano I am playing in the photo. It looks pretty neat. I wonder if I just destroyed my toys or if Mom gave them away. I had a plastic doll I named Marilyn, and a tin tea set with flowers painted on the little plates and I loved that, too. It was fun being a kid.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

53 years!

Pink gumdrop begonias and ageratum

I planted these today. I will post photos of all my flowers when they are all nicely blooming at once.

Friday, June 22, 2007

More aquatic "challenges"

2007 must be the curse of the aquatic gods, because all has not been in our favor when it comes to pools and spas this year.

We had thought seriously about taking down and getting rid of our above-ground pool when we bought the hot tub, but since that didn't turn out as expected, hubby decided we would keep the pool for another year and he would get it going so at least we can swim, if not sit in a relaxing hot bubbling spa. Why did we think that would work out? Silly us!

The first "challenge" was to get the water off the top of the cover. The way the water had collected on top of the cover during the winter months was quite bizarre, and something that had never happened before in all of our 23 years of pool ownership. The water usually filters through the cover and stays mostly underneath, however, this year the water collected on top, stretched the cover all the way to the bottom of the pool, pushing all the clean water under the cover up and out or something. He had to bail about 4,000 gallons of pukey green water off the cover and when he finally finished bailing and removed the cover, there was only about two feet of clean water left from when we had closed it up last fall. Quite unusual. The pool is usually at least half-full when we open it up in the springtime. Weird!

Well, he put water into the pool which took about a day and a half because we had to refill it practically from empty. When it was filled, he connected the pipes, and bought the chlorine and plugged in the pump (like the one pictured above). Nothing, not a thing happened. The pump is bad! LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! It needs new bearings and some other part. It figures, doesn't it?
All I can do is laugh. Too funny!

(Nope, the hot tub is not fixed. It is still standing on it's side in the garage. He says he might have it done this weekend. My prediction is the damn thing will have yet another thing wrong with it. )

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My dad and me - 1956

Happy Father's Day, Dad!I love you . . .

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Vangelis - Memories Of Blue

Hot tub joke

Click on cartoon to enlarge

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Television I grew up watching . . .

Remembering the 50s

Weight loss update

Writing down and keeping track of calories, fat, sugar, sodium in a meal-by-meal diet journal really works. It helps me to see what I am putting in my mouth at each and every meal, and in between. I am down nearly 30 pounds, and two jean sizes! My underwear is so loose it's falling down all the time and I need a new bra. (Too bad we have to lose that part along with the rest when losing weight.)

I am going to keep at it, forever. I feel better, I can breathe better, I can fit in clothes I haven't had on in a few years, and I seem to have more energy. I like being able to bend over and tie my shoes without feeling like my eyeballs are going to pop out.

After not eating salt for so long now, I don't know how I could have salted food the way I used to. I would salt salty stuff. Now salt tastes like a chemical to me. I now taste the real flavor of the food I eat, and it's all good. Salt ruins the natural flavor of things.

The hardest thing to keep track of is sugar. I am supposed to stay around 65 grams of sugar per day and one glass of raspberry tea or a mandarin orange cup is more than half that amount. It's really hard to keep low. I have to work on that a bit more, and to stay away from the tea mixes and sweet snacks. Even a piece of angel food cake is 28 grams of sugar.

I need to get down one more size to make my doctor happy. I want to go down two more sizes though in order to wear this really nice pantsuit for our son's wedding next year. Below is a photo of it. (Click on image to enlarge. It has sparkles woven in the top and jacket.)


Well, he did it again. Hubby "misplaced" his keys for the umpteenth time. This "losing" stuff seems to be more common problem men have than women and knows no age boundaries. How many times has your significant other, or sons opened a cabinet or refrigerator door to look for something and then started bellowing "I can't find it!" and then you go in there, and actually bend over and look BEHIND stuff to find the desired item. As my father says, "if it was a snake it would have bit ya." How many times have they "lost" their keys and wallets? How many times have we had to look for this stuff for them? I feel like a powerful psychic because I, who may or may not have even seen the lost items, have the ability to locate these misplaced things in a matter of minutes.

Yesterday evening, when he came home from work he told me he lost his electronic car key. Wherever I suggested to look, he said he looked there already. He said he searched his room, the garage, his work bag (twice), the driveway, the grass in both the front and back yards, the bathrooms, the sofa cushions, trash and recycle bins, the van, his car...everywhere, he says. After watching him wander around pitifully for too long, I finally decided to look myself. I went downstairs to his room where he said he had "just looked" and what seems to have happened is that they fell out of this pants pocket when he was changing for bed last night and they bounced under his bed...but not all the way under. I merely had to bend at the waist, and peer under and there they were.

I found a handy little gadget for people who can't keep track of their stuff. It's called "Findit." Here is the advertisement:

This tiny domino sized electronic device attaches to any commonly lost household item by an adhesive strip or key ring. Things such as car keys, remote controls, cordless phones, glasses, electronic planners, pill cases, and so on. When you clap 3 times Find It will begin beeping. It operates up to approximately 20 ft. away. Included is a FREE mini high powered Find It flashlight.

Only $19.95
plus $5.95 shipping and handling.

30 Day Money Back Guarantee (less S&H)

The problem is that they would probably lose the "Findit" thingy somewhere out of "clap range."

Saturday, June 09, 2007

All I need to know

For my best friend in the whole husband, my forever love, who has stood by me, supported me, is there for better for worse, good times and the bad, and has never left me even when I am at my bitchiest.

Trapped in the bathroom

We went to my parents last night to visit with my dear aunt and uncle who are in from out of town visiting and had a little "excitement" while we were there. Mom got trapped in the bathroom.

The lock on that door had been "sticky" for some time. I sometimes had a bit of panic when the door didn't open immediately for me when I had to use that room. But play with it for a couple of seconds and it would open right up. However, last night it stuck, and wouldn't budge.

Dad got his screw driver and started disassembling the doorknob and mechanism. Mom pulled the handle out on her side, Dad pulled the knob off from the outside, taking out part of the mechanism, but the lock part was wedged in their tight! It wouldn't budge. I peeked in through the hole to look at Mom while Dad went off to get another tool, and she was sitting there peacefully on the toilet lid, waiting patiently. This would have made a great scene for a sitcom or in a movie.

Dad came back with his tool, and my hubby Jon helped him to pull that latch part out of the hole finally, freeing Mom and we all then could have a good laugh. (Mom got trapped in a department store rest room not too long ago, so don't know what is up with this happening to her lately!) Dad took a doorknob off another door for now and put it on the bathroom door so all is functioning properly again and they just have to buy another doorknob for the other room.

It's always something, but these things make for great stories. Our family has lots and lots of funny stuff to tell.

Hot tub update

If I were superstitious I would think this hot tub has a curse upon it. As I mentioned before, hubby found a few more parts that needed replacing, one major (a transformer) and a few plumbing pieces. We waited, and waited for them to arrive, and finally UPS tossed them upon our doorstep and he was happy to see that they finally got here and excitedly opened the box, emptying out those obnoxious packing peanuts that cling to everything around them as soon as they escape into the open, only to find ONE measly part and it wasn't even the right piece!

"Where's the rest of my order?" he bellows, "and this is the wrong &^%&%$^%$ part!"

I don't think I am the only one noticing this, and I don't think it is because of old age approaching, but it does seem like few in this world actually do their jobs properly. This happens too often for it to be mere conicidence or just our critical perception of customer service as we get older.

So, he went online while at his office today and found the company and saw that he did order the right parts, they just sent the wrong ones. He went to another company site, ordered the parts from them, and then when he went to look for the area to pay with a credit card it said to "mail a money order or certified check" which means that nothing will be shipped till he pays with that, and he couldn't find a place to cancel the order. The only reason he is going online for this stuff is because the one and only dealer for this hot tub (American Sales) doesn't keep parts for older spas in stock. They tell you to go home and order them online. The internet is supposed to make life easier but it sure doesn't because you can't talk to a flesh and blood human being.

He hasn't even opened the transformer box yet. Hopefully that is the correct one. I will let you know in my next hot tub update.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cicada invasion shiver, shiver. shiver!

"If Cicadas sing in early morn, it is good for growing corn;

if Cicadas sing all day, it is time to gather hay;
if Cicadas sing at noon, it will be hot enough to swoon."

Well, it's cicada time again. I can't believe that 17 years have gone by already. Luckily, we don't have to experience these creatures all that often. This is the fourth time they have come around since I have been alive. I was born in 1954, and they were here in 1956, 1973, 1990, and now 2007. The next time they come around will be 2024 and I will be 70 years old. Yikes!

I thought being out here in the far suburbs that we would escape these creepy and noisy things, and last time they came out we had just moved here and since this had all been farmland and very few trees, we didn't see too many of these red-eyed insects. But in the past twenty years, trees have grown and there is much more foliage, and more cicadas. However, they are not as many in numbers as these poor people have who live more towards the city. If I came outside and saw this, I would go back in and not come back out again till the last one of them was gone. The photo itself gives me the jeebies.

Some of the area forest preserves are filled with their shrill "singing" and can almost be deafening in some places.

While they are creepy and make me shiver, I also feel sorry for the poor things. They have such an incredibly short time in the sun before dropping to the earth to burrow underground to being another 17 years of sleep.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Still crazy after all these years. . .

This should be my hubby and my theme song...still crazy after all these years. That's us. Though we have changed in body, we have not changed in our craziness...and I hope we never do. Ironically, this Paul Simon clip is from the year we were married...1975. Such a long time ago, but seems like yesterday.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Day one and my brain is already fried

Just started a new project scoring ACT tests. Talk about picking your brain! The training for this project is going to take all week, which was a bit strange to me at first, but now I can see why so much time is allowed. This is mind-boggling. I am scoring writing essays and that is all I can tell you...I can't talk about subject matter or about the project itself, but I can tell you that education shouldn't have to be this damn complicated. Also, if this is the finest and brightest entering out nations colleges and universities, we are in big trouble!

No wonder more and more jobs are being shipped out overseas. It's not really the kids' faults, but the educational system itself. It's a mess. The hoops these kids are being forced to jump through are absolutely ridiculous. Kids can't read, can't put together a proper sentence or a complete thought, they can't spell, too many stink at math and they are going backwards in the sciences instead of progressing forwards. Our nation is in big trouble if education reform doesn't happen soon!

I have my rubric, fortunately, to use to sort out the messes. The facts don't have to be correct, and the powers that be don't care about spelling or any of those "technicalities", just as long as the students follow the directions given in the prompts. Obedience is number one -- do as memorized and they get their cookie points. If they pass they can go off to college for the poor professors to deal with who will try to undo and correct 12 years of idiocy that is instilled in their brains, and start from scratch with the basic fundamentals that children should have learned in primary and secondary schools. I remember when I took my first college English course. The professor looked out at all of us and said "whatever you learned in English and writing up till now...FORGET's all wrong." And he was right.

Teachers don't get paid enough for all the challenges they are up against in today's wacky world. The elementary and secondary teachers are forced to do whatever the adminstrations tell them to do (usually administrators are ex-football jocks) and then the college professors have to try to "fix it" all. Either way, it's not an easy job. And then we scorers of the "Borg" tests must score in silence and not complain or talk about it. What a world. I am glad I am done raising kids.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Glad it wasn't me!

If it isn't one thing, it's another. The first day of our vacation, around dinnertime after arriving at our motel at Fredericksburg, hubby slides his big butt across the van seat as he is climbing out and broke the captain's chair right off its motorized base! I am so glad it didn't happen to me or else I would never hear the end of it.

Van seats should be rugged, tough and built to accomodate large men. Jon isn't more than 50 lbs overweight, so that should not have done it, however, it's so great to be able to tease him for once since he thinks it's so fun to tease and make fun of me. Now it's his turn. I am not letting this one die down for awhile.

Now we have one more thing to fix around here. He went by the dealer where we bought the van to make his complaint and to see how much a new base would be. $600!!!! So, he is now on a quest to find not only hot tub parts to repair a broken hot tub, but also a motorized base for our van chair. I have a feeling that this will be another ongoing saga to write about. In the meantime, since the van is my vehicle, I am trapped here at home until he manages to fix it or till he gives in and buys a new base. I hope I do make enough money with this month's project to pay for it, because I am not waiting beyond two weeks to be without wheels.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Last evening's sunset

I was sitting on my deck reading a book yesterday evening before it got dark, and I put down my book to watch the sky change as the sun was setting. In a twenty minute span, the sky must have changed a hundred times. Birds were flitting from tree to tree, and birds could be heard everywhere singing their nightsongs. Our neighborhood has an evergrowing songbird population now that most of the starlings have gone. Maybe now I can put my barbecue grill back on the deck. When we had it there the starlings would come and make frightening-looking nests inside it and nothing would keep them out.

I love my porch. It is my little sanctuary to be connected to nature and the sky and the birdies and the sunsets all year-round.

Hot Tub Update

Here is our actual hot tub. I sneaked out to the garage to take a picture of it when hubby had the garage door open when he was mowing the lawn. Yes, it is standing on it's side. Like I suspected, the leak is coming from the center where the foot jets are located. Jeff, Whitney, Jason and Jon had to hoist this near 700 lb monstrosity up onto one side so Jon could get to the parts underneath. I was hoping that it wouldn't fall and squash one of them. I have a bad back so had to be the one to reach up and hold the Genie garage door opener out of the way.

More parts ordered and we are waiting for them to arrive. He had to order a transformer and various plumbing and electrical parts so far. When these come in, and he installs them, and if it still doesn't work, then he will have to check out the electronic control keypad. That could cost hundreds if he can't fix that. Hopefully it will work after all this, but I am skeptical. I want to be optimistic, but after 30 something years of experience has shown me that Murphy's Law prevails most of the time.

More to come . . .