Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Am I starting to have "senior moments"?

Yesterday morning I wrote out some of our bills that are due and then gave them to my husband to mail. One of them was the car payment which is due tomorrow, and so I was cutting it close as it was mailing it so late. Well, today I checked the mail and lo and behold, there is the darn car payment mailed back to us! I was quite upset, telling my husband how crappy our mail delivery is and ranting about the postal service and how they are always screwing up. Then hubby takes the envelope, looks at the address on the front and says "You mailed it to yourself"...I said "what?!?" and ripped it from his hand to have a look at it myself and sure enough. I put the damn thing in backwards and it was our address in the window instead of the credit company! I had to call the credit company and pay them with our checking account number over the phone for an additional $10 fee.

I put dinner in the oven and forget it's in there. I heat up water for my instant coffee and when I go to heat up lunch later, there is my cup of now cold water and I realize I haven't even made my cup of coffee. I am supposed to call people back and don't. I forget appointments if I don't have my phone alarm to remind me. Am I getting prematurely old, or just have too much on my mind?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Simpson Movie

We have always been die-hard Simpson fans, and so we were ecstatic to hear they were making a full-length film. My husband and I went to see The Simpson Movie yesterday and it was hilarious. It was the first movie in a long while where the entire audience was laughing out loud. I was also surprised to see so many children in the audience, considering how the film makes fun of everything from religion, different ethnic stereotypes, environmentalists and the EPA, government and human beings in general. I won't tell anything about the film since it is just released and don't want to give it away and ruin your fun. But I will say the one thing that is standard that always prevails in Simpson cartoons, and is the same in this new film...through thick and thin, family sticks together no matter what and a close family endures no matter how strange they are, no matter how crazy or what mistakes they might make. No matter how quirky, sarcastic, crude or stupid they might be, they are basically good people at heart. The Simpson marriage endures, and family loyalty prevails.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Not our year for things associated with water

If we don't get our roof fixed before winter, the above cartoon will be us. Our house is twenty-years-old this year, and is needing an increasing number of repairs and/or replacements, such as roof, windows, gutters, deck planks, and fence parts. We had never lived in one place long enough before to have to deal with all of these things. In the first half of our marriage we moved on average of every 2-3 years, and when we built this house in 1987 we had planned on staying for a few years and then building a bigger one on a larger plot of land. However, because of the cost of raising children...feeding them, doctor bills, clothes, shoes, braces, instruments, lessons, sports teams, school fees, field trips, family vacations and all sorts of other costs that one never thinks about when it comes to raising kids, we never got around to my husband's dream of building the home he really wanted. So, we stayed in the home that is very comfortable, though not exactly the home we planned on spending two or three decades or more in.

So, the roof seems to have moved to the top of the urgent priority list above new garage door, replacing a half-dozen windows, repairing the siding, and the deck planking, fence repair and painting the inside walls, finishing the basement floor, walls and ceilings, finishing the downstairs fireplace mantle, and so forth, and so on. For the homeowner, it never ends.

We needed rain, but not this much all at one time. Not good for the skies to open up and drop water on us like the Great Niagara when we have several leaky spots in our aged roof. I was sitting in my office room, on the computer of course, when the thunderstorms came. I could hear the tapping of the water coming down the furnace chimney like it's been doing for some time, but then it started coming out of a seam in the hallway ceiling tile like a waterfall. Had to get the big Rubbermaid garbage can to catch the steady stream which continued for about an hour, then tapered off. This only happened where it came through once before, but I have a feeling that every time it rains we get puddles in the attic.

I would just like to hire someone to come take care of it, but I know hubby won't want to go into debt for that much money when he can do the project himself for about half the cost. But I am worried about a man who has bum knees, is overweight and arthritic climbing up on the roof of a raised ranch home on a sloping roof to get on his bad knees and with his aching back to replace such a large and sloping roof. But I know there will be no talking him out of it. He will consider it another one of his manly challenges.

And, for those who are wondering . . . no, the hot tub is still not in operation and is still standing on its side in the garage.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Jon and I went to see Ratatouille today at the theater in town. This has got to be one of the best animated films I have seen in a long time. The animation/illustration is filled with incredible detail. It was impossible to take in everything from each scene because nothing was left out. I really must find out how this was done. I wanted to see this because I wanted a little escape from reality, and to have some fun which is what happened once the film started, till the very end. We even stayed to watch the animations while the ending credits were rolling.

This little rat feels he is somehow very different from the other rats becaus
e instead of merely scrounging for food scraps in humans' trash heaps, he wants fresh food...and he wants to cook like a grand human chef he sees on the television of a nearby house where his fellow rats find their food. His father isn't keen on the idea of his son choosing such a strange thing to do with his life, and in the typical "coming of age" theme that is found in many of these Disney films, he is separated from his father and family. Though he faces many obstacles and challenges, he finally succeeds at achieving his dream of being a great chef (with the help of a human named Linguini).

The rat is cute, the fellow rats are amusing, and the story has a good moral to it. Believe in yourself, go after your dreams and anyone can achieve anything if they are willing to do the work it takes to get there. I want to buy this when it comes on DVD.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Weight loss update

Well, I have been on my diet for nearly six months and have lost a total of 32 pounds so far! Yipeee! My doctor was very pleased when I went to see him. As I mentioned before, he has started me on some water exercise which take about a half hour a day in the pool. Walking in circles, round and round. It could be pretty boring, but I am using the time for "quiet time" and meditation. Time to think, or just relax and not think about anything at all except the puffy clouds in the sky and the wind blowing through the tree branches. I am enjoying it.

I have started to slip off the wagon a few times, going out for a hot dog or tacos or ice cream, but I am finding that's okay to do now and then as long as it's a once-in-awhile-treat. I continue to record what I eat in my diet journal, and keep track of the amounts of sugar, sodium, fat, carbs, etc. I find that the days I go over my limits I feel awful. I am more tired, and I the ringing in my ears comes back and I am dragging my rear end around for the next couple of days till the bad stuff gets out of my system.

With a husband who really enjoys eating almost as a hobby, it hasn't been easy to stick with it all the time. But I am becoming an influence since he has to eat healthier when I cook, and I often say no to going out. (He would eat out nearly every day, and goes out for lunch while at work pretty often.) I wish he would try to follow what I am doing since he needs to lose about 50 pounds. Last night I made tilapia seasoned with Mrs. Dash's lemon pepper and boiled red potatoes with skins and peas and carrots. The portion he ate was three times what I eat so no reason to be hungry later. However, later in the evening he was eating out of the peanut butter jar and the strawberry preserves (yes, he eats it plain with a spoon right out of the jars).

He is bugging me as I am writing this to go FOOD shopping again and since I want to make sure we get healthy stuff that is good for us I better go along with him.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Starved Rock

Left is a photo of the new Starved Rock Visitor Center in Starved Rock State Park Illinois along the Illinois River (pictured below). Weather permitting, we may go here this weekend and do some hiking and have a little picnic. Years ago, when I was a kid, there were no nice planked walkways or railings to keep people from falling off the top of the rock. Even when our kids were small, there were still no railings, but I guess one too many Boy Scouts went sailing over the edge to the water below so the park's services upgraded everything and now there are nice railings, and lookout points with seats here and there. The visitor center and museum are quite nice, and there is even a snack bar and gift shop, and a movie theater to show a short presentation about the history of Starved Rock and surrounding areas. Also, there is a lodge in the park (also pictured below) which is deep in the woods and surrounded by nature and peace and quiet.

It's one of Illinois's beautiful

Aren't these guys cute?

I am feeling better today so it had to have been a 24-hour bug, or the pizza. I went to bed very early last night and slept it off. I think it was the pizza because every time I think about that cheese pizza my stomach does a flip. It was one of those take-and-bake pizzas, and hubby bought it on his way home from work and didn't have the a/c on and it was quite hot out as he was driving home so it could have gone bad with the weather the way it was. Who knows how long it sat in the store before him buying it, too.

I love the above photo. I love mice. Not when the real ones get in my house and make me set traps for them. But I love the way they look. They are so cute. I have a whole collection of mice figurines. I will have to post a picture of them sometime. I have all kinds of them in a shadow box that once belonged to my Grandma. It's a real pain to dust, but if I don't move them from their spots I don't have to worry about the dust very often. No one notices unless one gets moved.

My father is the one who got me started collecting mice. I have written about this before. He gave me a little porcelain mouse called "Troubles" when I was a teenager and going through a bout of sadness. It was from a collection Halllmark sold back in the 70s. I have a whole bunch from the same collection, and then I have all kinds of other ones.

Anyways, more about that later. Now I have to go make myself something bland to eat since I am finally feeling hungry again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Stomach bug

I don't know if it was the pizza we had last night, or if I had picked up some kind of bug or what it was, but I spent most of the night up and down to the bathroom. I was fine when I went to bed, and I read for awhile and watched my usual episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond and Will & Grace, then clicked off the light and fell asleep . . . then started dreaming I had a big stomach pain. I woke up to find that I really DID have big stomach pains. I had to get out of bed and sat in the chilly bathroom when I wanted to remain snuggly under the covers.

I was supposed to go to visit my Mom and Dad today and we were going to go to the Blue Moon Cafe (I think that is what Mom said it is called) for breakfast. Breakfast...BARF! My stomach squinches up at just the thought of breakfast. I took my daily medications with a bit of water and that sent me back to the potty again. I hate getting sick.

I am thinking it was the pizza. Hubby, who usually sleeps like a log was up at 11:30 p.m. with the same problem, and my son who shared the pizza with us was looking for TUMS before he went to bed. I don't know it if was bad, or maybe we just had the same bug. I don't know if cheese pizza can spoil. Maybe the cheese was bad. I dunno. All I know is that my stomach still hurts and I feel like hell.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Life Aquatic...finally

We still don't have a functioning hot tub (it's STILL standing on it's side in the garage), but we DO have the pool running and I was out there in it today and it was great.

The water is cool, but not cold and that's without the solar cover being put on when not in use. It's been quite hot here, and great swimming weather.

I went out there today to start my aquatic exercises that the doctor told me to start doing. He told me to walk in the pool for a half an hour. Because of the arthritis, I have trouble walking on hard surfaces, so he said the water would make me more "buoyant" and lighter on the joints. In addition to walking, I also swim back and forth.

Since our pool is an 18 ft. round pool, this can become very boring after about ten minutes of it. Half an hour seems like an eternity! The first few minutes I took the net with me to catch any bugs or stray leaves along my path. Once I got all of those things out, and the water was clear, there wasn't anything else to do but walk...round and round and round. The water was making a whirlpool, with a funnel-like swirly in the middle. I could have cut across the middle to make things interesting, but we have the middle dug out deeper so the water would come up to the middle of my face there. The reason we made it so deep in the middle is so that when the kids were all home, they could jump and dive into the middle of the pool from the deck and not hit bottom and get hurt. Now it's kind of a pain because that deep hole in the middle makes it harder to clean.

Anyway, I walked around several times, watching the birds in the trees looking at me as if saying "silly human" (or they were waiting for me to get out so they could come use the pool for a birdbath like they love to do). I did a few swimming laps around, and then across. It's so peaceful in the water and I felt so light. One of my favorite things to do is to put a mask on and sit on the bottom of the pool underwater where it is totally silent, and so blue and sparkly with the sun rays shining through the surface.

Then the sun went away, and the skies grew dark. Storms. DAMN. I was forced from tranquility back to reality. However, weather permitting, I can go out there every single day for a little exercise...then quiet time. ahhhhh. I'm so glad he got the new pump. Thanks sweetie! You're the best!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Credit/Debit card alert

Whenever I go to a restaurant and use my debit card to pay, I have never thought to look at the name on the card to make certain that it is mine. I look for the name of the card, but not my own name. Well, from now on you can bet that I will be checking to make sure that not only is the card from my bank, but that it is MY name that is on there.

A few days ago, our daughter went out to dinner with friends and paid her bill with her ATM card. The waitress took her bill, and then brought back the card and the receipt for her to sign. She signed the receipt and then put the card into her wallet, assuming it was her card. Later that evening, when she tried to use the card again, it didn't work. She thought that was weird and looked at the card and that was then she saw that it was some man's name on the card and not her own. Too late to go back to the restaurant because it was closed already, and also too late because whoever had my daughter's card was long gone.

She phoned the company immediately to report the missing card and they canceled it right away, which is what they told her anyway. She told them she had the other guy's card and they said to just destroy it and he would probably be calling and reporting it missing. (She didn't destroy it because that seems not to be her place to do that, and when she returns from her trip to Vermont, she will drop it off at the bank personally and let them do whatever they want with it.)

Later that day, when she was checking online to make sure no one was taking anything out of her account, she saw that someone HAD used her card AFTER she had reported it missing! They apparently do not realize they have someone else's card and are using it as a credit card, or they know they have someone else's and are using it purposely. So she phoned the bank again and told them about the charges, and that the card was supposed to have been canceled when she called the first day. They assured her it was now "really " canceled, and that it would take 72 hours to get the money problem straightened out! Good thing she isn't down to the bottom of her money, or the $100 that was taken out would have caused a big problem for her.

I just wanted to write about this so those who read this will make sure to double check their debit and credit cards immediately after making a purchase to make sure they have the right one with their name on it.

It's always something.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Morning coffee & stuff

Every morning I get up out of bed, take a quick shower, get dressed, and go make a cup of coffee with some kind of flavored creamer in it. There are so many varieties available now. My favorites are Blueberry Cobbler, Cinnamon Vanilla, Vanilla Hazelnut, Pralines & Cream, Creme Brulee`, and just plain French vanilla. I then take my coffee to my computer and check my emails, and then look to see what my blogs are doing. Usually, not much going on in the early hours. I then check the news pages, funnies on Yahoo, along with Odd News. Same routine every day, unless there is someplace I have to be, or if we are on vacation.

Hot tub is still not done. He is still waiting for our middle son and his friend to come over and help him lift it onto its side, once again. They were supposed to come by yesterday but my son had to work later
than expected and then had to meet up with friends to see the new Transformer movie so the hot tub has to wait. Hubby hates to wait. He hates for me to demand something be done NOW, but when he wants something done, he can be quite impatient. He says last night that he can do it himself. LOLOLOLOLOLOL............. that is ridiculous. The thing is nearly a thousand pounds. If I didn't prevent it, he would definitely try it. Then when he injures himself doing such stupid things, he says he doesn't complain about any injuries he might acquire, but he groans, moans and sighs so loudly that everyone around him feels sorry for him even though he did do a stupid and preventable thing.

So, he goes on vacation as of tomorrow, and he will be home for a whole week. While on one hand it is very nice to have him around, and nice that he can have time away from that insane job of his and the frustration of all that, it will also be a week where I have to listen to television nearly non-stop except when he finally decides to go to bed. He will turn on the tel
evision even when nothing is on. He was watching a commercial the other day for some garden gizmo. I know he thought it looked cool. I could tell by the way he was interested. This man has an attraction to gizmos of all sorts.

A couple of decades ago he bought the Bucket Cooker.

It's still out in the garage somewhere. This is literally a metal bucket with holes in the bottom for ventilation. You wrinkle up sheets of newspaper and set it on fire, and then put whatever you want to cook in the metal grate thing that sits on the top. To turn the food you are cooking, you have to be quick. If you are cooking hamburger patties, for instance, if you turn it too slow, the patties slip out from between the grates and fall on the ground or into your flaming newspapers. The burning ink gives the food a weird taste, too. We used the bucket cooker a few times, and then it was resigned to the garage and holds some miscellaneous junk.

By far, the worst gimmick he has fallen for is the "power painter." That thing takes more work to set up, and clean up than just doing it the old-fashioned way of paint pan and manual roller and brushes. You still have to tape everything you don't want paint to get on, and you still need brushes to get into corners and along edges. The power painter needs constant attention, and it sputters and clogs up off and on throughout the whole painting process. Clean-up is not easy. You have to have a large container of clean water, and you have to have someplace to pump the paint and water into as you are cleaning it. One time when still a young teenager, my husband asked one of our sons to clean the power painter for him. He did it in the driveway, and white paint was EVERYWHERE...down the driveway, all over the garage floor, all over his shoes which then was tracked up the front steps. Haven't used that damn thing since. If it was up to me, the thing would be in the garbage dump right now. But it is sitting there, for someday when hubby is feeling especially masochistic.

He is fascinated by stuff sold on infomercials. Like the fruit dryer/jerky maker. Make your own beef jerky! yeck..pftt...yuck. Or the rotisserie that cooks whole carcasses of meat at one time. For years, he has dreamed of owning one of those huge turkey vat-like fryers that uses a couple gallons of peanut oil to fry a whole frozen turkey in about 45 minutes. Then there is that thing that "cooks pasta in minutes" that is simply a plastic Tupperware-like container that you put your pasta in with boiling water, seal the lid and let set for several minutes and wow...just like it took the same amount of time to cook in a pan of boiling water! I keep saying, no...no...no. If I didn't, our house would be full of gizmos and odd contraptions.

Ok, enough picking on him again. I think he is just intrigued by things that are different from the norm. He gets bored with reliable and ordinary.

Off to make myself another cup of coffee, and then try to think of something constructive or productive to do today.