Monday, January 31, 2011


I just heard that yet another Arctic blast is heading toward the Midwest, bringing a lot more of that wet, cold, icy, miserable, dangerous, slushy, disgusting "Snow" to a neighborhood near you!  You all have my deepest sympathies!  Stay warm and be very careful with shoveling and such.  Fork over a few bucks and get a hunky, 17 year old guy to do it!  I hope you will forgive me for being oh so glad that I don't live in that climate anymore!!

The only time that I have ever thought anything positive about snow is when it has snowed with big fat, fluffy flakes that coat the entire landscape in a pristine blanket of white and make it all look like an ice castle world.  That kind of snow can be long as I am indoors in a warm, comfortable, cosy home, with a cup of tea beside me and a great book in hand.

However, as soon as that begins to melt and get grey and dirty, I lose interest in it pretty quickly.  If I HAVE to go out in it, I bundle up in boots, thick socks, hats, mittens, sweaters, parkas, and scarves!  I have on so many garments, that it is difficult to move, much less stuff myself behind the steering wheel of the car. 

The thing that I dislike the most about cold, wintry, snowy days is that the sky is unrelentingly grey!  The whole world looks depressing and I spend my time wishing people were like bears and could hibernate till Spring!!  Unfortunately, we aren't like bears and hibernating is impractical!

All those grey and depressing sights push me right down into depression hell! 
I may have written about this once before, but one of the greatest revelations of my life was the first time I flew out of Chicago during the dead of winter on one of those miserable grey days.  We took off directly up into the big ugly clouds.  The plane was bouncing around like crazy from the turbulence and wind.  I was pretty sure I was going to die.  (I am the queen of white knuckle fliers!!)

After about 5 minutes in the air, we suddenly broke through the grey clouds.  The plane leveled out and we went from bouncy to smooth.  I could breathe again!  Then I looked out the window.  Oh.  My.  God.  The sky was bright beautiful blue and that great big ol' sun was right there shining for all it was worth with warmth and light.  It was like getting a vitamin shot or something!  My mood instantly went from misery to amazement!

For some reason it had never occurred to me that there was anything up there on a grey cloudy day except the grey clouds!!  I guess I thought all those clouds went all the way up to the stratosphere!  What a dope!  All along my pal, the sun, was right where it was supposed to be, hidden from us by a bunch of clouds thick enough to block the sun from view.  I just couldn't believe it, but I was sure glad!

So for all of you who hare been buried and reburied under all the snow this year and are living under continuous grey, depressing clouds, take heart!  The sun is right above you, just like always, and eventually the clouds will blow away and the sun will work its magic to melt the snow. 

At least until the next snowstorm shows up.  In the meanwhile, may I suggest that you hop on a plane, fly up through the clouds to see the sun, and head south!

Friday, January 28, 2011

"Blowin' in the Wind"

We've all seen stories on the news describing unfortunate events resulting in someone's death.  The stories that catch my attention the most are types like these:

-  93 Year Old Woman Killed By Home Intruder
-  83 Year Old Man Dies in House Fire
- 70 Year Old Couple Trapped in Car Plunging Into River
-  8 Residents Perish when Tornado Demolishes Nursing Home
-  Bus Filled with Senior Citizens Struck by Train, 9 Die
-  Elderly Woman Accidental Victim of  Drive-by Shooting

Yes, the kind of tragic event which causes the untimely death of an elderly individual.  It is tragic when anyone dies in such events, but when it happens to an older person it makes me want to cry and shout, "No, Unfair!"  "Unjust!"  "Not Right!!" and most of all, "Why??" 

These people have lived for decades and have survived all manner of things; yet they have come through and lived to reach old age.  It should be a time for them to do whatever things they want (and can) do, to enjoy their families, to savor their good health (or as much of it they have), to live each moment, and be assured that they are safe!  By that age they have the right to feel like they are survivors, for they are!  They can reasonably expect that their health may go, their minds may weaken, and that death will eventually come, but they don't expect it to happen accidentally! 

But death is cruel and unfair and indiscriminately chooses it's victims and methods without regard for fairness or reason.  It is so sad.  It makes me angry sometimes.  It is certainly no reward for a lifetime of survival or for a life well-lived.

We received word yesterday of the death of our friend, Bill E.  Bill was somewhere between 85 and 90 years old.  His wife of 60 years, Fleda E., died just last April after a long illness.  It was about 15 years ago when we lived in California that we met Fleda, and then Bill, through our mutual love of theater. 

Fleda was one of the dearest people I've ever known.  I considered her my theatrical mentor.  I admired, respected, and came to love her.  I learned so much about theater and about my skills and talents from her.  Besides, she had a wicked sense of humor, she made me laugh.

Bill's interest and talents in theater were more as a support to Fleda.  His professional skills were in the area of computers, and technology.  We didn't know Bill nearly as well as well as Fleda, but we had shared a few evenings with them both and enjoyed their company tremendously.  Bill was a low-key, soft-spoken, quiet man, with a wry and witty sense of humor.  He was a wonderful counterpoint to Fleda's more flamboyant nature.  He always struck me as a dear, gentle soul.  I liked him quite a lot.

We received a Christmas note from Bill just after Thanksgiving this year.  In fact, it was one of the first Christmas greetings we received.   I was pleased to hear from him and was very glad to know he was well.  Widowers often do not do well alone, but Bill's letter was very reassuring that he was not one of them.

However, yesterday, we received a note from one of Bill and Fleda's daughters, informing his friends that tragically, Bill had died on January 17 as the result of complications from severe burns he had received during a freak car fire just before Christmas.  His family was devasted.  Mikey and I were both shaken and sad.

NO!  Unfair!  Unjust!! It can't be true!!  Not Bill!  Why???

As I re-read his Christmas letter it made me so sad.  He was living in a small cottage on his son's property and was enjoying being close and in an area new to him.  There was a duck pond visible from his window!  This dear man was looking forward.  His last paragraph said,
We Kentuckians tend to be long lived -- I just had a pleasant visit from two Kentucky cousins, both 92 -- so I hope that this will be but one of many opportunities that I will have to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
Sadly, this is not to be; he is gone now.  He did not have the chance to "go gentle into that good night" as he deserved.  I don't understand why these kinds of things happen.  I expect I never will understand. I suppose it's another of those questions whose answer is "blowin' in the wind".

Rest in Peace, Bill.  We are glad we knew you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Strangers in the Night"

I have many weaknesses and flaws (as we all do), most of them I try not to indulge in.... with varying levels of success.  There is one that I have a really hard time resisting, and most times I have little success in managing to fact, I hardly ever really try to resist.  I love  quizzes!  As flaws go, there are worse ones, so I can live with it!

And since we are little more than "Strangers in the Night", I'm going to tell you a little more stuff about my favorite topic, ME!  (Besides I haven't got anything else good to write about at the moment!)  So if you have heard quite enough about me, feel free to contain your enthusiasm!!   :)  Here we go!


I have a scar on my forehead that I got when I fainted in church at age 11.


I have a mirror, a landscape, and lots and lots of bookshelves.


I have been told that I have done them all.  I do not believe it however!


This is a MAJOR revelation here:   I don't listen to much of anything anymore.  I like the peace and quiet.


Who knows?!  I couldn't tell time yet!  (sheesh)


To be able to breathe freely through BOTH  nostrils.  (Stupid Cold)


My youth, friends, and about a gazillion restaurants in other parts of the country.


At the moment, it's my autographed copy of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' newest book!


5' 2 1/4"


Only small, dark, closed in spaces!   lol!  No, I haven't yet felt claustrophobic


Of course, when I'm home alone and I hear a strange noise!  (I never hear strange noises when the Big Guy is home.)


The Big Guy (It was a "cry for happy" though!  He gave me a Kindle!!)


The whole concept of dying!


Who remembers??


Why ever in the world would I want to propose anywhere?


Neither, thank you, but I'll take a tall iced tea!


Good Italian sausage and mushrooms


Gosh, how about a big bag of chips and some onion dip!  (I haven't had that in a couple of years!)


Certain shades of yellow


I sure hope I'm never THAT hungry!


My dad gave me a pair of dark blue plaid, corduroy Bermuda shorts for Christmas when I was 13.  He picked them out for me and I LOVED them. 


Orange or Strawberry??


I'm lucky I can still get single joints moving!


The only jeans that fit me correctly are Gloria Vanderbilt Petite Jeans, so I have at least 10 different pairs!


If I had to pick a living person I guess it would be Meryl Streep.  If I could choose from those no longer with us, I don't think I could pick just one!


Well, it all depends on whether the bunny comes back after winter departs!


I don't know!  It's a bunny!!  He's brown. 


I don't think you can control who you love.


"A number from one to a hundred"


I liked being blonde a whole lot more than being brunette! 


Oh, there are so many!  I have a ton of favorite lines from different shows/movies.  But quotes from actual people???? Hmmm, let me think.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."  -- Benjamin Franklin


"If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me." -- Alice Roosevelt Longworth


"Dying is easy.  Comedy is hard."  --  Edmund Gwenn


On a stage, in a theater, with a full house!
P.S.  I stole this meme quiz from 
She stole it from  
He stole it from
(You beginning to see a pattern here?) 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Another Story, Another Time, Another Place"

I don't know quite why I decided to count up, but today I counted the blogs that I read.  I was surprised to learn that I'm following 65 people! There is always "Another Story, Another Time, Another Place"!    No wonder I have no time to write (or do much else).  They are all interesting and amazing people who write about an interesting and amazing range of topics.  I think I could be good friends with most of them IRL  (in real life).  By and large they are prolific posters, many of them write EVERY DAY!  Some of them follow me in return too!  I admire them all for different reasons.  Some always make me laugh, others always make me think, still others can bring tears to my eyes, some of them even inspire me.  They are all fascinating to read. 

Most are listed on my sidebar which directly links back to their blog.  A few of the newer ones haven't made it onto the sidebar yet, but they will.  I truly recommend them all to you.  They may not all appeal to everyone, but I'd be surprised if you didn't find at least one that calls to you!

Blogs about Mommydom, blogs about Houses, blogs about Home Decor/DIY projects, Fashion through thrifting, Funny things kids say and do, Writing and authors, or just plain ole LIFE??  Yep, I read a blog or 2 about all those things and more!  I love them one and all. 

The one I discovered today is really great for those who like to repurpose old furniture and such.  I don't actually do that myself but I love seeing what other people have done!  If you like before and afters, you will LOVE this blog!  Go visit! 

[Aside to Ratchlet:  You've Got to visit this one, sweetie, trust me!]

There are a few that, for whatever reasons, seem to have stopped writing.  After a long inactive span I do remove them from my lists, just to keep my lists from becoming gargantuan!  But the ones still on the list are definitely keepers! 

Go visit one or two, I bet you'll like them.....but be sure to do it when you have some free time, because one blog leads to another and before you know it, it is 4 in the afternoon and you haven't even had lunch yet!!

(Did I ever mention that I have an addictive personality?  Evidently, that extends to blogging as well!)

Monday, January 24, 2011

"What I Really Meant To Say"

I just returned from a book signing at Barnes and Noble for my favorite author, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP).  I've never been to a book signing before and didn't really know what to expect, but I have read every book she has ever written (in fact, I own every book she has ever written!), so despite not feeling the best in the world (stupid cold), I wasn't going to miss the chance to meet her in person.  Worried that I wouldn't be able to hear her (stupid cold), I got there early and got a seat in the first row. 

She was delightful, funny, unpretentious, and genuinely likeable....just like her books!  What a nice person she seems.  It makes me wish I had her for a friend -- a real friend, not just the Facebook kind!  She talked about her books and her style of writing, she talked about how some of her books have come to be.  She did a SEP trivia contest and gave out some very small prizes.  She read an excerpt from her latest book "Call Me Irresistable". 

She asked about us too!   There were actually 5 published authors in the audience, plus several writers who were not yet published.  She was so encouraging of all of them. 

Because I was sitting in the first row, I got to be the first one in the signing line!
Now as you might expect, I'm not normally tongue tied, in fact, usually I'm the one nobody can shut up!  Tonight, though, I could hardly get my name out.  I didn't want to say something sappy and stupid, which I'm sure she hears a lot of, but all I ended up saying was that I was enormously fond of everthing she has ever written!  How lame is that???  I was so fearful of gushing, that I ended up sounding like I was just barely aware of who she was!!   Arrgh!  How embarrasing!

So I practically ran to her page on Facebook when I got home.  Then I  just went ahead and was sappy and stupid and gushing....I told her she is my all time favorite author and that it was my great pleasure to attend tonight.  I told her she was just as funny and entertaining in person as she is on paper.  I thanked her for not only sharing her gift with us but for taking the time to visit with her fans!  And I gave her my best wishes on the rest of her tour.  She may or may not ever read it on FB, but I sure hope she does!  I really wanted to tell her those things when I was standing right there in front of her.  Truly, that was "What I Really Meant to Say", but my brain went numb.  I'm going to blame it on this Stupid Cold!! 

By the way, if you're looking for someone new to read and you like "women's fiction" I heartily recommend Susan Elizabeth Phillips!  This is her newest book, I just bought it this evening so I haven't read it yet, but I've never been disappointed in one of her books!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"It's My Turn (Now)"

After moving at an absolutely glacial pace for the last 5 days, the cold that the Big Guy so thoughtfully shared with me, has finally begun to manifest most of the more unpleasant symptoms.  Of course, it hasn't actually made any effort to leave me and move on to some other poor soul.  Nope, it has settled in, fully invading my sinuses, my lungs, my throat, and my eyes.  I am well and truly sick.

Coughing, sneezing, blowing, hacking, and generally affecting every square inch of me and making me miserable.  I'm sleepy and have zip energy.  And I can't hear too well!  Gee thanks, Mikey.  Actually he still feels pretty crummy too, which is not a good thing.  Hold on, gotta snee...............(God bless me!)

I told you the other day that I haven't had a cold in nearly three years, so I guess I shouldn't complain that "It's My Turn (Now)"....I really shouldn''s not anybody's fault will go away eventually, won't it?   I just hope it's gone real soon!

Don't get too close!  I don't want you to catch it.  Ahh, it's time for more decongestant.  I'll  be able to actually breathe for a little while.  Oh Joy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A few more things I just don't get!

There are things that I encounter in life that make no sense to me; other people seem to "get it", but not me!  Do you understand....

1.  Why some people are so anxious for the holidays to end that they take down their tree and outside lights on Christmas Day???!   It's actually still the holiday, folks!

2.  Conversely, why some people cannot manage to get their decorations down until February???!   Really, you guys, you couldn't find an hour to get it down before Valentine's Day??   It makes you look really lazy!!

3. Why fingernails (and toenails) can go along just fine for several weeks with just a little bit of maintenance, but then will, for no discernible reason, suddenly start breaking and splitting and generally looking awful, requiring a complete manicure tut suite!?!   

 4.  Speaking of nails, why have plain old emery boards become little more than useless bumpy cardboard??!   They don't work worth a darn anymore!! 

5.  Why every single gadget for swiping a credit card in a store is arranged differently from every other such gadget in every other store??  Haven't you people heard of "User Friendly"?  How difficult could standardizing them be???

6.   Why the numbers on a telephone keypad are arranged in reverse order from the numbers on a calculator???  It makes absolutely no sense!!  (I may have mentioned this one before, but that's OK, I still don't get it!)

7.  Why the post office continues to make it more and more difficult to get a letter or package into the mail??   One pick-up a day, even INSIDE the post office is ridiculous!!   Perhaps part of their dwindling business relates to their dwindling service!

8.   Why won't this stupid "almost cold" just go away?!  It's not getting worse, it's not getting better, it just sits there making me feel "almost sick" and waiting for the other shoe to drop.    Arrggh!

There you have it, my friends, the unanswerable mysteries of life! 

Guess What?  I've signed up for a Blog Hop for us kids over 40!  (Hey, it doesn't limit how FAR over 40 you can be!).  Why don't you go visit some of the folks in the parade and then join up yourself!!

And if you just hopped in from Follow Friday, Welcome!  Nice to meet ya!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Sick and Tired"

From the time I was very young, I have been prone to catch every possible cold or flu bug that comes within 100 feet of me!  I cough, I sneeze, I blow, I ache, I can't hear, I can't breathe, I can't swallow....every cold I get has some combination of any/all of the symptoms above. Even though I'd been getting flu shots, I still caught the flu from time to time.  My colds generally last a minimum of 10-11 days until they are completely gone.  Sometimes they go as long as two weeks.  Flu goes longer.  Once a cold actually morphed into pneumonia!  That was not fun at all!

I have had colds or flu at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, at shows/ performances, on first dates, during auditions, at weddings (luckily not my own!), during "finals", and every conceivable occasion of note!  Not at all of them, you understand, but often enough!  That, of course, is to say nothing of the colds I have gotten on UNimportant days too!  When I get a cold it isn't usually a couple of days of coughing and sneezing, like a lot of people get.  Oh No!  My colds are World Class!  I am usually miserable, uncomfortable, and a mess.  I am not attractive when I'm sick.  My eyes get puffy, my nose is red, my lips get chapped, even my hair turns into a bird's nest!  I'm cranky, short-tempered, and all I want to do is sleep.

The truth of the matter is that I got "Sick and Tired" of being sick a long time ago!

Then about three years ago it stopped.  I didn't get a cold all winter.  I didn't get any symptom of flu or a cold in the spring, no summer cold!  No holiday was spoiled for me by some miserable blowing, sneezing, coughing sickness.  None!  I haven't had any sort of a cold or flu for 3 years!   Really!  Three whole years!  That is the longest stretch of "healthy" I've ever had in my whole life.  It seemed so unnatural that I asked my doctor about it.  I couldn't understand why all of a sudden I was staying healthy!  She said that maybe I had already caught all the cold bugs out there and was now immune.  At first I thought she was kidding, but she wasn't! 

Evidently each cold is caused by a different type of virus or bacteria and you build immunities when you are suffering from whatever one you have.  And eventually, you can build a high enough immune level that you can't catch one you've already had!!  How about that?  It's sort of a prize for suffering through all those times I've been sick!  It's kind of like that Social Security thing....if you pay in enough during the year, you get X weeks where you don't have to pay anything at all, at least until the next tax year begins!

It has been a great three years of being healthy.  I have loved every minute!  Other members of my family would catch something and be miserable.  They would pass it around among themselves for a while, but I never caught anything!!  Whoo Hoo!  This was living!  I had paid enough!

Late last week the Big Guy started to not feel well .  (Poor guy, he has had more things wrong healthwise in the last six months than ever before in his lifetime!)  He said his throat felt scratchy and sure enough by the next day, he was coughing, blowing, sneezing....the whole nine yards! 

I felt fine.... for the first 4 days I felt absolutely fine!!  He was still congested, and coughing, etc., etc., but I felt fine.   Ahhhh, dodged another one!

Yesterday I woke up with a scratchy throat.  Oh No!  Today I added in a little coughing.  I may cry!  Maybe this is just one stray little bug that somehow missed me through the years.  Tomorrow will tell the tale.

 I'm hoping that yesterday wasn't the start of my new "tax year" so to speak.  I think I've had enough colds!  There can't be too many more of them out there that are new to me, right?  Because even though I haven't had a cold for 3 years, after two days with a scratchy throat, I'm already "Sick and Tired" of being sick....Again!

Monday, January 17, 2011

"I Just Wasn't Made for These Times"

It's true!  "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times."  I belong in the 1950s and 60s.  I understood how things worked back then....well, at least enough to use a telephone, a typewriter, a television, a radio, a washing machine, an iron, a stove, and even a car!   They had knobs and dials and buttons you could press.  There were labels, like "on" and "off" and even sometimes "reset".  If you'd never used any one of these common, ordinary items (frequently because you weren't old enough to use it yet), you could ask your mom or your dad or even a big brother what to do.

However, I lived through the 1950s and 60s already; as well as the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 10 years into the new millennium!  None of those items mentioned above have changed so much that I cannot still use them.  They may be sleeker and smaller, but not much different than the original models.  Using those things became second nature, didn't even have to think about it.  Just pick it up, turn it on, adjust a few things, and away you go. 

There are a lot of new things these days that all seem so much more complicated and the worse part is that there really isn't always someone handy to show you what to do, because as you struggle to figure it out for yourself, it just keeps getting more and more confusing and you feel like you are the Typhoid Mary of things electronic and mechanical.  Sometimes you have to wait until the weekend when your Big Guy is home, so you can ask him what to do.  And then you can watch him do the very thing you had started out to do....the very same thing that didn't work at all for you....and it will obediently do exactly what it was supposed to do for you, but didn't! 

The Big Guy was able to get it to "reset" just exactly like the instructions said it would....Yes, he is able to actually count off 15 seconds while doing nothing but waiting for it to reset.  Unlike his wifey (that would be me) who evidently is incapable of counting off 15 seconds and letting the DAMN KINDLE DO ITS THING WITHOUT  hitting numerous commands that totally confused the little man inside, to the point where it was completely non-functional! 

Not only was said wife upset, bewildered, and generally mad at the world, she broadcast her problem with the Kindle to the whole bloomin' world on her blog!!  Thus necessitating a new posting shamefacedly admitting that the reason her new Kindle wasn't working was because it's owner is an IDIOT!

Thus, I am happy to let you all know that my new Kindle is back up and running.

Really, "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times!"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"This Old House"

Wallpaper is a home fashion that comes and goes.  Right now I think it is out of favor, which is too bad.  There are some beautiful papers out there that can give a room real warmth and character.  Nevertheless, putting up new wallpaper is not easy, especially if you have to remove the old stuff first.  Some people don't even attempt to do it themselves because of the difficulties they have heard about.   Luckily for me, the times that I have chosen wallpaper for a room, the Big Guy has always been up to the challenge.

I was reading a blog the other day about the horrors of removing old wallpaper from walls.  Anyone who has ever done it knows that it can be tedious at best and impossible at worst.   Although many people don't do it, removing the old paper is really necessary, even if you're just going to paint a room.  Otherwise the wall will be bumpy and a mess.

The saga detailing the other blogger's experience reminded me of the last home we bought in Chicago.  It was an older house that had great bones but it was definitely a fixer-upper decor-wise! 

It wasn't a wreck, but it had been "decorated" in a manner that was more suited to a bordello than a nice family home!  Very dramatic window treatments and wallpapers were in the living room, dining room, bathrooms, and one of the bedrooms.  None of it was to our taste, and it all had to go!  We began doing our re-dos in stages. 

One of the bedrooms had obviously been occupied by a teen aged boy.  It wasn't as bad as the other rooms, but it definitely had it's own problems.  Two walls of the room were covered in an okay wallpaper that was white with evenly spaced dark blue stripes.  The stripes were only about 1/4 in. wide.   There were several pennants from various major league and NFL teams.  Those two walls didn't look bad, it was kind of reminiscent of a baseball uniform.

The other two walls, however, were covered from floor to ceiling with sports posters of various kinds.  Not a wallpaper of posters, you understand, they were the actual individual posters in a kind of collage effect.  It was great if you were a 14 year old sports nut, but not so great for my 22 year old grad student daughter who would call that room home!!    We moved into the  house in early Fall while she was away at school, but she would be home in just a few weeks.  And she wasn't coming alone!  She was bringing her boyfriend whom we had never met!!We had to fix it asap!  We promised her it would be presentable by the time they got home for Thanksgiving.

I really hoped those posters would just peel off easily.  They didn't!  We tried all sorts of  things. Ultimately the Big Guy did practically all the work himself.  It took him days and a huge amount of scraping and steaming and chemicals and more scraping to get them off.  The posters came off in little bits only a couple of inches square.  It was an enormous mess! 

I don't know what kind of adhesive they used to stick those posters to the wall, but getting them off the wall was one of the worst jobs the Big Guy had ever undertaken.  Quite a lot of cussing and yelling went on and he almost threw in the towel several times....but eventually my guy finally managed to get all traces of those posters off the wall.  The walls below ended up in horrid condition (with gouges and lumps and unfinished drywall beneath the posters), but that was a project we could put on hold for a few weeks. 

In the interim, he just painted those two walls and called it done.  When Ratchlet made it home with her beau, she was grateful to no longer have all those athletes surrounding her as she slept, and she wasn't embarrassed to have a guest see her room.  The Big Guy was grateful the job was finished for now and that the former owners lived far, far away; that way he didn't have to track them down and knock some heads together for leaving such a horrible job for us to do!  And me, I knew when we bought "This Old House", that we had a lot of work ahead of us.

Mostly though I was just so grateful that it hadn't been worse; after all, their son could have been older and decorated his room with posters of nudes!

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Magic Moments"

(l-r)   The Big Guy, T.A., Ratchlet,
Maddie-the-Great, and me

We had these taken a couple of days after Christmas.  They turned out very well,    I think.  We're kind of a cute bunch, if I do say so myself!!
Nothing in the world is more important to me than my family! 
Can you tell?  :)

DISCLAIMER:   You can probably guess that I had nothing to do with the actual taking of these photographs; I didn't even touch the camera!  Hence, the quality, crispness, general composition, etc! (Except for the last one, that I messed up when editing it. Sorry it's blurry!) The photos were taken at local Picture People outlet.  The photos are my personal property.  There was no compensation or agreement regarding promotion of photos between Picture People and I.  Please do not use, without contacting me FIRST!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Important Addendum

I realize that I left out one very important element of my problem when I wrote the post. The Kindle won't let me do anything! Not only can I not go to the store, I can't read anything I've already downloaded, it won't go to sleep, it's basically useless. It must be defective, 'cause I didn't do anything that wasn't part of their directions. Arrgh.
Amazon is about to meet one unhappy techno-dweeb!!

"I Just Don't Understand"

I really should just declare a permanent ban against allowing another new piece of technology into my life!  It never turns out well.  No matter how well the entire rest of the world is doing with their new [pick one] (Blackberry, Ipod, Ipad, laptop, MP3, or Kindle, etc.), if I get any one of them or any other technology, I can guarantee you that whatever it is will not work for me!  At least not right away.  No matter how often the 10-year old sales kid at Best Buy (or wherever) says, "It's really easy." or "Really, there's nothing to it." or "You'll love it."  "Nothing could go wrong."  I must remember that none of that is true!!  It ISN'T easy, there's a LOT to it, I DON'T love it, and it WON'T work right for me! 

The Big Guy gave me a Kindle for Christmas.  I have been resisting the idea for a long while, in fact, I hadn't put one on my wish list.  I have been hearing (and reading) people raving about Kindle for some time now.  Everyone who has one seems to love it and they are very excited to tell you how much they love it.   Nice for them, but I wasn't convinced.  I was wavering, however!   As I heard more and more about them, I began to see the advantages that might just be great to have!  So when I opened the gift on Christmas I was excited.  Decision out of my hands, it was a gift!!

All those people who loved their Kindles didn't hesitate to tell me I would love it too.  If it lived up to the expectations I had based on other people's experience, I would love it!  In fact, I was on my way to loving it!!  I bought and read one book on my Kindle and yes, it was easy.  I wasn't bothered by reading on a screen, or by not holding a book.  The book prices didn't seem outrageous.  Yep, I could see now what all the fuss was about.  I was looking forward to learning more about it and joining the rest of the e-readers out there as an up-to-date, savvy woman who could use new technology with the best of them.  I should have known better.

The same night I finished the first book, I was going to go to the "store" and get something else.  Oh, this was fun!   Shopping late at night in my jammies, so I could  read something new in bed.  Whee!  I was hyped.

So I woke it up, and pulled up the menu and tried to go to the Kindle store.  Hmmmm, nothing happened right away, but after a several seconds a small box appeared onscreen telling me that my Kindle couldn't connect  with the WiFi right now because there was no WiFi close by and to try a different WiFi or come back later.  Hmpf!  I was able to connect from my bedroom two days ago, why couldn't I do it now?  I thought, well, I guess it needs charging.  So I went  out to the computer and found the cord for charging the thing, plugged it in and went to bed and read a book the old fashioned way.  No problem.  I'll get something tomorrow I thought.

The next morning, I went to collect my Kindle, it had a green light, so I unplugged it, carried it off to the computer and sat down to find another book.  Went to shop at the Kindle store and  the same box and message popped up again:  "Cannot connect", "none nearby".  I was sitting 3 feet away from the router!  I couldn't get any closer unless I climbed up and sat on the desk!! 

I turned it off, re started it, tried again, got the same message.  What the ???  When I looked at the screen and hit the home button a new message popped up, "Your battery is very low, re-charge immediately"  What???  It was charging all night.  The light was orange.  Ooo-Kaaaay!  I charge the battery again.  So I did and went on my way.  When I returned several hours later, the light was green, the battery symbol showed a full charge, and I had 4 bars worth of signal strength.  Tried to connect and got in!  Whoo hoo!  Ok, I figured it out. Yay!!

Last night the same thing happened, in almost exactly the same way.  This evening I tried again,  "Cannot connect"!  Arrgghh!

Went on line, found the troubleshooting info and it said, "With Kindle's long battery life, you can read your Kindle device for up to 10 days with wireless on. Turn wireless off and read for up to one month. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store and downloading content."

I used it for two days, with the wireless on.  I've charged it three times , but haven't read anything more since then.  I can pop into the Goodwill store less than a mile away and buy a used book for $2 and be back in ten minutes.  I thought this was supposed to be easy!  I guess my definition of easy is different than most people's.

So you see what I mean?  "I Just Don't Understand".  This is the kind of thing that happens every time I try to move into the next level of technology.  Any technology!  Always!  Is anyone else having these kinds of problems?   Is it just me?  What am I doing wrong??  Does anyone know what I should do??  Is my Kindle defective?  Am I defective???  Why do machines hate me???? 

I'm going to go read a plain old book now.

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Things I Couldn't Say" (aka Dear So and So....)

Christmas is over.  For most people, the holiday season is pretty much wrapped up and put away.   No more sweet and sappy Christmas stories.  So now I can get back to normal.  Back to the real me!!  It's time to VENT!!    

Dear So and So...

To my $%^*# Mean-Spirited Computer,

Okay, I get it.  You are tired of Christmas.  You don't want anything more to do with it.  You are entitled, I guess.  It's been pretty much non-stop Christmas around here for the last six weeks.  I do get it, really!  But did you HAVE to choose our two-page annual  Holiday Newsletter as your revenge??  You know the one....the newsletter I had been slaving over for three hours!!....the newsletter that was my last official pleasant duty relating to Christmas and the Holidays....the newsletter that was so darned difficult to write this year, because nothing much interesting happened?  THAT newsletter!!  Did you have to make it completely DISAPPEAR just after I finished it??  Did you have to completely ignore my intent to save the document and send it off somewhere into cyberspace instead??  I hadn't had time to make a back-up.  I hadn't had time to copy it.  I hadn't even had time to edit the darn thing.  And I really don't think I have it in me to recreate the whole bloody thing!

This was an act of pure cruelty, edged with meanness, and was certainly intentional!  Make no mistake,  you will be punished!!  (Just as soon as I figure out how to punish a supposedly inanimate object!)

Very Disappointedly,


Dear Santa's Elves,

I figure things must have quieted down up there in the North Pole, now that the Christmas frenzy is over.  You guys probably don't have a lot to do.  It is a little soon to be started on next year's toys.  So, uhhh, how about ya'll come on over and get all this Christmas stuff packed up and put away for me??  I'll make cookies!    It'll be fun.  You can tell me all about Santa's bloopers! With a bunch of you little guys pitching in, we'll get it done licketdy-split!  So, what do you say, guys?   Guys??  GUYS????



Dear January,

I don't mean to insult you or anything, but you are my least favorite month.  We have discussed this before, but it seems to have had little impact.  Every year you peak on the very first day of the year and it is usually all downhill from there.  Generally, there is nothing exciting about January.  Oh, I know some years you dump a bunch of dramatic snowstorms all over the country, but you know how I feel about cold, so snowstorms do not make much of a positive impression on me!  January is pretty much always grey, cold, dark, miserable, and un-ending.  January is like a big box of depression delivered every year whether it was ordered or not!  So this year I'm again suggesting....asking....begging you to just slide on by as quickly as you can and move out of the way for the rest of the year.  Winter doesn't HAVE to last forever, just because the calendar says so!  Right?  Are you listening to me??



Dear Friends and Family,

I am afraid that our annual family update will be delayed....postponed....cancelled this year.  This is completely due to a malicious computer that ate the letter before I could send it out. (See rant #1 above.) This is not like the old "the dog ate my homework" dodge, the computer really did eat the letter.  (And please do not start with the, " garbage in, garbage out" nonsense.  I've had this computer I long time.  It should know better by now!!) I am sorry there will be no letter, but don't worry, nothing much happened this year anyway.  If you are still interested in knowing what we did this year, may I suggest that you read this blog.  I spend an awful lot of time on it and some of it may actually amuse or entertain you. 

Despite this latest setback in our lives, as always we hope you all had a great and wonderful Christmas and we wish you a safe and healthy New Year!

With love,


If you feel the need to let a few people know exactly what you're thinking,
but you just can't do it for real, just pop on over to to join the fun and to
read more Dear So and So posts…

Dear So and So...

Monday, January 3, 2011

"Deck the Halls" - Christmas 2010

 In our family Christmas doesn't completely end until January 6 (Three Kings' Day). Therefore, even though most everyone has already moved on and into the New Year, we still have things up for 2 more days....and you lucky people get to see a few photos of what Christmas looks like at our house.  Hope you like them!

Disclaimer:    I don't know why the reindeer photo won't stand up straight and tall like the others.  Neither do I know why the daytime photo of the Nativity is so blurry.  If I knew how to make it into a pretty photo collage, I would have.  However, given my track record with cameras and photography, these are darned near museum quality...or at least as close as I'll ever get!!!   And I feel lucky to have gotten them!

"Frosty the Snowman"
season lunch

"...You Know Dasher and...."
My only successful craft project Ever!!
Christmas 1968
and every year since!

"T'was the night
before Christmas...."

Nativity we've had since 1967
(Sorry it's so blurry!)
I just love this Nativity.

"....T'was a humble birthplace...."

"It Came Upon A Midnight Clear"
"The Nutcracker Suite"
(Mikey's collection that just
keeps on growing!)

Okay, that is it on Christmas photos that turned out well!

I could possibly write one, maybe two more posts about Christmas, but then I will most certainly move the rest of the world. It was a grand Christmas in many ways. But it had its quirky moments. Still and all, I truly do love these Holidays and I will truly love having everything packed up and put away until next year!  Yep, it's almost time to "Un-deck the Halls"!!!

"Shape of Things to Come"

Well, I can't exactly say that the New Year is shaping up to be a winner, at least not so far!  2011 has only existed for two days and already there has been an unexpected jolt.  I don't particularly care for jolts to the status quo; I'm just not great about things that pop up out of nowhere.  (NEVER sneak up on me to "scare" me because it really does scare me!)

On New Year's Eve, while the Big Guy was out and about in the afternoon, he had a few moments of dizziness...not too much and they didn't last long, but enough to be unsettling.

When he got up on New Year's Day the dizziness was much worse.  He said everything was spinning.  From the way he described it, it sounded a lot like the flipping screen you sometimes got on an old black and white TV.  Remember that?  He said as long as he was still, it diminished and finally stopped,  until he tried to stand or moved his head quickly to one side or the other.  Also, his gait was a bit wonky and he felt off balance.  He didn't fall, but he did feel like he might.

AHA!  The light bulb went on over my head (so to speak).  I have had similar experiences over the last few years to a much lesser degree.  I was pretty sure his dizziness was probably caused by an Inner Ear problem. 

He decided to go back to bed around 2 p.m. didn't really wake up again until after 9:00 p.m.  Unfortunately, he felt just the same.

He called the After Hours Clinic and talked with the nurse.  He described what was going on, including telling her his BP was pretty high. We both had anticipated that she would probably agree that it was an Inner Ear thing.   She didn't.  She said he needed to go to the ER.  Evidently (we found out at the ER later) vertigo/dizziness is one symptom of stroke.  The high BP was a red flag.  Oh great, he could have been having a stroke and we waited all day!!

So at nearly 10:30 p.m. off we went to the ER.  There were really no other symptoms, EKG normal, pulse OK, no slurring, just the dizziness and the almost-off-the-chart Blood Pressure (initially 210/120 - YIKES!) when we arrived.  After the initial exams, the doctor pretty much agreed it was most likely an Inner Ear thing, but because of the out of sight BP which was really alarming, he wanted to get an Brain MRI to rule out stroke. 
And so we waited because they had to call in a tech.  We were pretty sure there was no stroke, but we usually follow the rules, so we waited.  In fact, we waited a whole HOUR.  At that point the nurse very apologetically informed us that the order had been overlooked and the tech hadn't been called after all!!  She expected he would be there within a half hour.  Sigh....Mikey was very uncomfortable lying on the ER "bed" (the mattress as only about 3 inches thick!   Not much of a cushion.) Still it was better than the hard plastic, un-padded chair I was sitting on!  My tailbone felt numb! 

The tech did indeed arrive within that 1/2 hour and proceeded to take Mikey away for his test.  The tech told me it would take about 20-25 minutes.  He underestimated!  It was another hour!  Then we had to wait another 1/2 hour for the results which were no surprise.  No Stroke!  It was an Inner Ear thing!  Arrgh. 

We had been in the ER for over 4 hours to get a diagnosis I knew 12 hours ago!  They gave him a prescription for a BP medication and sent us on our way.  It was 3:30 a.m. by the time we got back home.

Don't misunderstand, we are grateful there was nothing more serious, but gee whizz, that's just not the way to start a new year....and it had better not be the "Shape of Things to Come" for this year!  Otherwise, I'm going to lodge a complaint and ask for my money back!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

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