Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sunday Stealing

It's been a while, maybe you'll forgive me for indulging in yet ANOTHER meme all about me!!   LOL!

Today we ripped off a blogger named Silly Dreamer from the blog, My Semi Charmed Kind of Life. She did not say where it is from, but, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Take the time to comment on other player's posts. It's a great way to make new friends! Link back to us at Sunday Stealing!

Sunday Stealing: The Semi Charmed Meme

1. My uncle once:  Told me, "There Ain't No Santy Claus!!"  I was 4 years old....he was 14  :)

2. Never in my life:   Have I been on a diet.

3. When I was five:  I lived in a great old house, that I would have loved to keep forever!

4. High School was:   Where I finally began to find my strengths!

5. I will never forget:   The first time I held my baby daughter.  (She was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen.  Really!)

6. I once met:   A former priest on an airplane.  We had a great discussion!!

7. There’s this girl I know who:   Has an awesome future ahead of her once she gets past her fears.

8. Once, in my house:   I fell down a full flight of stairs but didn't break a thing!

9. By noon, I’m usually:  Up!  (Usually being the operative word!)

10. Last night:   I stayed up way to late to finish a really good book.

11. If only I had:   A way to slow down time!

12. Next time I go to church:  It will probably be for a wedding.

13. Jonathan Frid:    Is he that character from Dark Shadows? Still??  Sheesh, that show was on 45 years ago!  Let it go already!

14. What worries me most:  I worry about lots of things, it depends on the day!

15. When I turn my head left, I see:  Bookcases full of books

16. When I turn my head right, I see:  Trees blowing in the breeze with rain clouds rolling in.

17. You know I'm right:  When I'm willing to bet on it!  

18. What I miss most about the 80s:   Singing with the trio

19. If I played a character in Shakespeare, I’d be:  Lady Macbeth...."out, out, damned spot"  (What a role!)

20. By this time next year:   If I'm lucky, I'll still be here!

21. A better name for me would be:   Rockefeller (or Getty or Gates would do too!)

22. I have a hard time understanding:  How some people can be so stupid!
23. If I ever go back to school, I'd  be really surprised!
24. You know I like you if:   I sit by you at parties.
25. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be:   My mother
26. If I could bring back a TV show for a reunion it would be:   West Wing  (one of the BEST ensemble shows ever,)  but only if Alan Sorkin wrote and directed it!
27. Take my advice, never:   Put off things you want to do "someday".  You never know how many somedays you actually have left!
28. My ideal breakfast is:  Cooked by someone else!
29. A song I love, but could never perform:   "Soliloquy"    from Carousel
30. If you visit my hometown, I'd suggest:  You visit every museum in town!  (Chicago has world-class museums!)
31. If I could meet a couple of my blog buddies, I'd include:  All  the ones who make me laugh!
32. Why won’t people:   Just accept that I am almost always right??   lol!
33. If you spend the night at my house:  Don't expect anyone to cook! 

34. I’d stop everything for:   A chance to be a professional actor or director.
35. The world could do without:   All fanatics of every sort!
36. The last time I got drunk I:   I threw up....just like every other time.  That's why I don't drink!
37. My favorite blonde is:  ME, when I was younger!
38. Paper clips are more useful than:  Paper airplanes!  Paper roses??   (huh?)

39. If I do anything well, it’s:  Ad lib on stage!
40. And by the way:  I modified the questions on this meme!  So sue me!

Friday, April 27, 2012

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

Dear So and So...

'Tis Friday and that means its time for another set of virtual rants of "Things I Couldn't Say" sent in virtual letters to Dear So and So!  Read on....

Dear Merchants and Retailers,

After spending 20 minutes this evening once again scraping, scrubbing, pulling, rubbing, peeling, and cursing, I have had it!!  If you really MUST affix price tags directly to merchandise, does it HAVE to be in the most prominent position on whatever it is???  And if it MUST be in the most prominent position possible, does the adhesive HAVE to be industrial strength, impossible to remove by any means known to man??  I know that there are price tags that are much easier to remove!  Can't you all agree to use an adhesive which doesn't take the Army Corps of Engineers to overcome??  It's only a price tag, you know; not the sealant around a toxic waste dump!!  Sheesh!

Now needing a remedial manicure,


Dear Shoe Manufacturers,

On behalf of every man woman or child who ever worn shoes, I strongly urge you to do something completely radical!!  What, you ask?  STANDARDIZE SHOE SIZES AND WIDTHS!  At any given time, I can own shoes that could be any size between 6 1/2 and 8.  Why can't a size 7 be the same dimensions no matter who the manufacturer is??  Shouldn't they always be the same?  Isn't that the point of printing the sizes in the shoe????.  I can wear a 7M in one shoe, yet a similar style by a different maker will require that I buy an 8N!  This is not right!  It makes finding shoes that fit and are comfortable an exercise in frustration.  It means I must try on as many as five different sizes before I find one that actually fits my foot!  And that is only if they even HAVE a size I need!  I love shoes.  I love buying shoes.  I love shopping for shoes (until I get to the trying-on part....see above).  I would love buying more shoes, if it wasn't such a pain!!  There really shouldn't be such variation in sizing between companies.  It isn't rocket science!  Why should I be shoeless, because you are all clueless!!

Believe me, if I could afford it, I would buy custom-made shoes crafted specifically for my supposedly size 7 1/2 M feet!

Considering Going Barefoot,

P.S.  Clothing manufacturers should jump on this bandwagon too!


To all of my favorite restaurants,

Will you, please, STOP removing things I like from your menus!!!  And how do you know which of your menu items are my personal favorites in the first place??    I know you want my business, you certainly take my money quickly enough, but I can't buy what you don't serve!!   Stop it at once!

That is all,


Dear U.S. Postal Service,

Isn't there anything you can do to stop the flood of junk mail that inundates us all, everyday??  Stop giving it a special bulk rate, or only deliver it to those who agree to accept it, or eliminate the middle man and send it directly to the recycler!!  I don't want it.  I didn't want it the last 15 times they have sent it!  I'm not interested in any more insurance, credit cards, bank loans, mailing labels, greeting cards, magazine subscriptions, or ways to work at home!  The amount of junk mail that I personally have received over the years is probably responsible for the depletion of the rain forests or something.  I think I would even be willing to pay (a reasonably) small amount if you promise NOT to bring it to my house anymore.  How about it?  Can we agree to cease and desist?



Dear Blogland, ), hook up with her Linky and add your own! It's a great way to blow off steam, and you can read lots of other letters even grumpier than mine!!

Your friend,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"What Was It You Wanted?"

I really feel sorry for the folks who work at any kind of telemarketing or telephone research.  Trying to find people willing to participate must be a drag.  One of the reason I know this is true, is because when you answer the phone, they let go with a very fast and rather garbled spiel, hoping to get out a lot of information before the callee hangs up! Often it leads to some real confusion.

Case in point:

(Last night.  Telephone ringing.)

ME:   Hello

CALLER:  HellomynameisJohnandI'mcallingonbehalfofthe...(mumblemumble)....ResearchInstitueandI'mconductingasurveyon...(mumblemumble)...MayIaskforafewminutesofyourtime?

ME:  (Not sure what I was hearing)  Excuse me?

CALLER:  Hello mynameisJohn and I'mcallingonbehalf ofthe...(mumblemumble)....ResearchInstitue. I'mconductinga surveyon...(mumblemumble)...MayIask forafewminutes ofyourtime?

ME:  (Still not sure of what he was saying)  I'm sorry, but what firm are you from?

CALLER:  The...(mumble)...research....

ME: (Interrupting)   Did you say the "Sexual" Research Institute?

CALLER:  Oh no, no, no!  No, ma'am.  The "CENTRAL" Research Institute!

ME:  Oh!  Well, darn, now I don't know if I should be relieved or disappointed!!  (laughing!)

CALLER:  (Whoop of laughter!)  I'm sorry (giggling) for the confusion. (still giggling).  Would you be able to spare a few minutes?

ME:  (Laughing too)  Oh Sure, have at it!

CALLER:  First question:  How often would you say you voted in the Republican Primary Election?  Always, Frequently, Occasionally, or Never?

ME:  NEVER!!  (Me, a Republican???  Ha!)

CALLER:  Thank you for your time!  (Hang up.)

Well, phooey!  I probably would have had a better time with a Sexual Survey!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"I Never Knew"

I read somewhere a long time ago, that one of the things that keeps you "young" is continuing to learn new things to keep your mind active (or something like that.)   If I pay attention, I keep encountering things "I Never Knew."  So I thought I'd share a few of my most recent factual finds, after all, maybe you never knew either!  :)

1.  I find it amazing that Author and Playwright of the Pulitzer prize winning drama, "Our Town", Thornton Wilder (born 1897) was actually three years YOUNGER than Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev (born 1894)!  Somehow they don't really seem like they could even be part of the same era!  A fact that I had to ponder for a while to accept that it could be true!  But it was!

2.  Have you ever heard of an  in·ter·ro·bang??  Me neither.  Although I am a reasonably well-educated and well-read person, I had never stumbled across this word.  But Webster tells me it is a real word!  Who knew there was such a thing?

Oh, you want to know what it means?  Well, of course you do!

An interrobang is a printed punctuation mark (‽), available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), " indicating a mixture of query and interjection, as after a rhetorical question."  Hmmmm, seems like it would be very useful and should have appeared in printed materials a lot, don't you think‽    So, how come I've never seen it before‽  (That's definitely a rhetorical question.)

3.  This one is not so much of a surprise, considering how little I watch TV or go to the movies, still.....anybody still remember the original television production of Rogers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" from 1961 with Leslie Ann Warren as Cinderella?  I remember seeing it on our small (no more than 17 inches, tops) screen TV when I was about 14 years old.   I thought Lesley Anne was a beautiful Cinderella and I think I fell for the prince, just like she did!  :)  I love the music too....."In My Own Little Corner".... "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?"...."Ten Minutes Ago."    Perfect songs for Cinderella and not nearly so cutesy as the Disney version's "Bibbetdy Boppitdy Boo"  or "Cinderelly."  But until this week, I never knew there was another very well done production of Roger's and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" made in 1997 with Whitney Houston, Bernadette Peters, Whoopi Goldberg, Jason Alexander, and Brandi, in the title role. The Prince was played by Paulo Montalban, a particular appealing young man!  It was made with color-blind casting which I find disconcerting visually.  Nevertheless once you get past that (in just a few minutes),  I think it was actually better than the original!  Film for television has come a long way since 1961!  If you've never seen it either, the film is on YouTube and only about 90 minutes long.  And there isn't a singing mouse in either version!!

4.  Now this is not a great revelation of some factual tidbit, but this one rocked me anyway....I found out that my husband, the Big Guy, with both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree, the fellow who enjoys reading as much as the rest of us in the family, the man who knows a lot about a lot of diverse and interesting things, the guy I have been married to for 46 years...... has never read "To Kill a Mockingbird!"   Never  Not only that (and this is really hard for me to believe), but neither has he seen the movie!!!  How is this possible    One of the most influential and well-written books of the 20th Century, and he never read it!  Wow!  Talk about "rock my world!!"    

[Did you see the interrobangs?  I really am surprised they never caught on!]

So, have you learned anything new lately?  Want to share??  Go ahead!  You know you want to!!!  lol!

Class dismissed.....

Friday, April 20, 2012

Oh Bother!

Well, I can't say I wasn't warned.  Google has been alerting us for weeks that changes were coming.  And today they arrived with a thump!  Oh Bother!! 

Change is not my favorite thing.  And when it relates to technology, computers, using the Internet, and my own personal blog.....well, let's just say it's a pain in the ass!

I know that using Blogger costs me nothing.  I know I could never manage to write a blog without Blogger's structure.  I know that nobody likes a whiner, but oh Lordy, it is as annoying as it can possibly be (probably) 

I expected that Blogger's upcoming change would be along the lines of change for change's sake!  You know, let's change everything just because we can!  But the reality is something else entirely.

Here my friends, is the real reason behind the "update":

"Your browser is no longer supported by Blogger. Some parts of Blogger will not work and you may experience problems. If you are having problems, try Google Chrome."

I have always used Internet Explorer as my browser, but now Google and Blogger, don't want us to use any browser except the one they own.   Should have known, it's always about the money, isn't it??

I suppose I will eventually (probably sooner than later) change my browser so that I don't lose any more functionality than necessary, but boy, I really HATE being forced into doing this when the ultimate benefit is only to Blogger and Google and not to the users!

It's a damn shame I don't have the moral fortitude to just close up shop and walk away from the whole thing!!  But I don't.  I'll stumble around until I figure it out.  I just won't be happy about it!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Once Upon a Time"

This may look like a photo of a rather inept tablescape, snapped by a rather incompetent photographer, but its not.  What it is, is a modern day fairy tale.  And like all fairy tales, it begins with....

"Once Upon a Time," a long, long time ago, a penniless princess met an equally penniless prince.  As you might expect they fell hopelessly and totally in love.  Even though they were practically paupers, they decided to marry and live on love.   They had a small wedding with only their most favorite subjects in attendance.  Because they had literally nothing in the way of possessions, their loyal (and loving) subjects presented the happy couple mostly with the coin of the realm.  This was a blessing for they needed many, many basic things for their rented castle.  With the generosity of the gifts the couple was able to set up housekeeping, but agreed not to furnish the castle with luxury items but rather with things that would be usable everyday and provide for their needs.  The prince and princess dreamed of one day bringing great wealth to their kingdom and then, possibly they would consider adding luxurious accoutrements to their household.

Many years went by and although they were no longer penniless, their's was never the richest kingdom.  There was always some expense necessary for the kingdom.   So rather than getting wonderful crystal stemware, they replaced the transmission in their carriage.  Rather than investing in beautiful silver flatware, they sent the prince back to college to get a Bachelor's degree, then a Master's.  And instead of warm glowing fine china to grace their table when they entertained in their kingdom, they found they had a new little princess to clothe, and feed, and educate and so on and so on.

Over time, life went on and they didn't suffer because they never got around to getting their own luxurious things with which to set their table. Even the princess stopped wishing for a "someday" when she could choose her own special china and silver.  They made do with some inherited pieces and gifts, and even with things called "stoneware" and "stainless", and ....(gulp)....."glass"!  They never felt deprived. They were happy with their work, their family and especially their very own junior princess (granddaughter) who decreed that they would be Princess Grammy and Prince Poppa  for evermore!  Yes, they made a good life and lived happily ever after, even lasting together all the way to retirement age.

The End 

Whoa, Nellie!!  Hold the phone!!  What??  The end???  The end??????   That's not much of a fairy tale, you're probably saying.  Where's the fairy godmother?  Where's the three wishes??  Where's the magic??   You call that a happy ending???  What happened next?  Were the princess and prince sentenced to a life of parties with paper plates?  To cocktail parties with plastic cups??  To holiday dinners served on (shudder) everyday dishes??  Surely there must be more to the story!
(Oh, all right, all right!    Sheesh,everybody's a critic!    Okay, back to the kingdom.....)

One day Princess Grammy was making a royal visit to a local shop.  It was a shop filled with many gently used, but serviceable items.  All kinds of goods displayed on rack after rack by the proprietors of the shop.  The proprietors were very nice people filled with GOODWILL (ahem....hint, hint!) and sold most of the items for very little money.  Princess Grammy was looking specifically for a particular item needed for an upcoming theatrical presentation in the kingdom and the Shop of Goodwill was always a good place to look for such items.  As she was about to leave the shop, something caught her eye.  Her heart began to pitter-pat as she went to examine what appeared to be a stack of dishes.  She asked about it and was told the following story: 
It was a complete Service for 12 (!) of Mikasa fine china in the Amherst pattern (which is no longer made.)  In addition to the 12 place settings (dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate, cup and saucer) there were 12 soup bowls, 11 small dessert bowls, sugar and creamer, two serving bowls, a medium-sized round platter, a large oval platter, and a gravy boat (not all shown below.)

[Although a thoroughly delightful, beautiful, and especially charming princess (hey, its a fairy tale!), Princess Grammy is a terrible photographer!   As there is no royal photographer in the kingdom, she tried her best to photograph some of the pieces. She apologizes for the crumminess of the pictures!!]

The china was beautiful.  The colors of the design were red, gold, and black on white.  The pattern was colorful, classic, and striking.  Princess Grammy fell in love.  She really, really loved it, but she knew she probably couldn't afford it (as usual, the castle needed a new fence and Prince Poppa needed new brakes for his carriage.)  She suddenly realized that the set would be AUCTIONED on the following Saturday. Auctioned??!!  Really??  Perhaps there was hope!  This was, of course, the Shop of Goodwill!

Home she ran just as fast as her not so tiny glass slippers would carry her.  She went to tell Prince Poppa of her discovery and he could see how much she wanted that china.  Together they agreed they would attend the auction (they went incognito, of course.)  They also agreed that they might even bid if the bids were in an affordable range but they would bid no higher than $300 (surprisingly, the coin of the realm was U.S. Dollars) If the bidding went above that, they would give up.

The day of the auction arrived, Princess Grammy and Prince Poppa planted themselves right up front.  Prince Poppa agreed that the china was as beautiful as he had been told!  At the appropriate time he began to bid.  Princess Grammy crossed all of her fingers.  (She would have crossed all of her toes too but she was afraid she would fall down!)  There were two other bidders but before long one dropped out, the bidding continued until finally Prince Poppa made their top bid....."$300.00!" he said.   Princess Grammy held her breath! 





Going, going, gone!  Princess Grammy yelled "Yay!"  and Prince Poppa grinned and all the other people clapped their hands.  It was theirs!!  A full service for 12....91 separate pieces!!  And they got it for a mere $3.30 per piece!!   That didn't even put a strain on the royal coffers!!  Princess Grammy finally had beautiful china of her very own!  After all those years.  What a joy!  They took it all home, used it for their Easter State Dinner, and  now it sits in 5 separate boxes until Prince Poppa gets to work on the new/old china cabinet to make a place for their new/old china!

And so, now  Princess Grammy and Prince Poppa are really living happily ever after! 

The E.....oh wait!! 

One more tiny, little thing.....did I happen to mention that when the Shop of Goodwill first received the china,  it was in a large box labeled, "Grammy's China"!    (Prickles at the back of my neck!!) Now is that magic, or what?!!

Like I said, a modern fairy tale!   Maybe the best one since "The Princess Bride".....but that's a whole 'nother "Once Upon a Time".....

The End 


 I've joined up with....

I'm participating in Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Go visit all the participants of Tablescape Thursday. Lovely table settings, with lots of imagination!!
You'll love it!

I've also joined up with: 

Seasonal Sunday Teapot copy

Monday, April 16, 2012

Things I Should Never Do!

Sometimes other bloggers are a great source for good blogging ideas!  I freely admit I stole.....borrowed.....copied this idea from one of my favorite bloggers, Shell at Things I Can't Say
Thanks Shell!!  I love this.  Shell had 8 things, but I'm a lot older than she, and I've screwed up a lot more often, so I ended up with 10! 

10 Things I Should Never Do!!

1.  Never pass up a chance to go to the bathroom....ever!

2.  Never buy a pair of shoes that are  "just a little tight" in the store, thinking they will stretch....they won't.

3.  Never buy a pair of jeans that actually fits comfortably in the store, forgetting that they will stretch, because they will become positively baggy before I get to the third wearing.

4.  Never send an email written while upset, angry, or will come back and bite me in the ass!

5.  Never forget that my face gives away exactly what I'm thinking.

6.  Never decide to pass up more than one motel after 7:00 p.m. when on a road trip.....the next acceptable motel will not show up for at least another hour!

7.  Never, but NEVER, get into the car without two sets of keys!

8.  Never arrive late when meeting a group of friends at a restaurant....the only seat left will be at the end of the table next to the person I like the least!

9.  Never go to the grocery store looking like the Wreck of the Hesperus....I will run into the most attractive man I know!

10.  Never wait till the last minute to put together an outfit for an event....nothing in the closet will look good with anything else and I will not have any shoes that work at all!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues"


What is it with men?  Do they have absolutely no control over their libidos?  Nothing on their minds besides sex?  No awareness of right and wrong when it comes to physical gratifications??  No realization that no roll in the hay (no matter how good) is worth what it will cost them??  No regard for the pain it will create in the people they love??   Examples? (just off the top of my head) Clinton, Kennedy, Gingrich, Cain, Schwarzenegger, Sandusky, Thomas, Woods,   Just this little impromptu  list includes 2 Presidents, a former US Senator, a Governor, a high level industrialist, a nominee to the Supreme Court, a University Coach, and a Sports Icon! Every politician ever born??? . Every Catholic priest ever ordained?   And now, 11 members of the Secret Service and 5 of the military men assigned to assist them????   While they were on a mission to South America?   What the hell is wrong with them??? 

The Secret Service is the arm of U.S. government charged with protecting the President, the Vice President, former Presidents and all of their families.  Men and women trained and committed to that protection, even to the point of "taking a bullet" for their charges.  Men and women with the highest of personal standards of ethics, integrity, and morality.  Caught with their pants down....literally!

I do not mean to imply that all men are like this all the time.  I know there are men of morals, who would never get involved in any such situation.  Still, examples of the male interest in sex superceding their interest in almost anything else abound.  If these reasonably intelligent men in public positions of trust and responsibility can let themselves take chances just for a little ....uhh...(fill in your favorite euphemism!).... how can we believe that any other man would never give in to temptation? 

In this post, however, I am speaking of public figures, polititions, etc.  Every day, it seems, there is yet another revelation and/or accusation of some guy  in public life who couldn't keep his pants zipped!   How often do we read a headline that yet another "Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues"!
And it appears to matter not at all if they are heterosexual or homosexual, young or old, believer or non-believer.  If you think hard enough or research long enough, there will not be many male "types" or professions, which has never been found to harbor a few guys caught in that same sexual net.  Seriously, think about it.  Ministers?  yes  Doctors?  yes   Lawyers?  yes  Policemen? yes  Athletes?  Oh yeah  Teachers?  Uh huh  Scientists?  yes  Movie stars?  Don't make me laugh!!   How many divorces came about because of infidelity??   If there has been any instance of sexual misconduct, it will be found, documented, and if the perpetrator is famous it WILL be publicized to all the world!  And yet it seems that it happens a lot!  Why?

Now we all know that men and women view sex differently.  But either women don't misbehave as often or they are a hell of a lot better at covering their tracks!  Because you rarely hear about a well-known woman's indiscretions unless it is in relation to some influential man's "urges".

Yet men seem willing to put everything at risk for some sexual adventure.  Really, everything!!  Their careers, their spouses, their children, their families, their standing in the community, their ambitions, their integrity....all unimportant!  Why?  Because Joe (or John, or Jim) is getting some!   whoo hoo.

Not to be too graphic, but the "feeling" that men get, must be a WHOLE LOT better than what women get, because I doubt very many women would even be tempted by such a trade off. 

Aren't we further along the evolutionary trail than this?  Shouldn't men (no matter how strong their "urges") be able to understand that this behavior can, and someday WILL, bring them results that no reasonably sane person could ever want?  Are they really so stupid?   And if the answer is yes, then the jerks deserve every single loss they suffer. 

And if the male gender of the species really is unable to control these urges, for God's sake let's either medicate them or stop making a big fuss and just accept the nature of the beast!! 

Currently however, that is not the prevailing opinion.  It is still treated at best, as a lapse, and at worst, as a sin!   Either way, the public figure is raked over the coals for his own actions and does, in fact, harm his own reputation and, potentially, his own value to society.

Personally, I don't think what goes on in anyone's bedroom is anybody's business but their own.  Nevertheless, if a person chooses activities that will expose himself (both literally and figuratively) to public scrutiny that could cost himself everything he holds dear, you think he'd figure out that he really ought to think long and hard before he lets that particular horse out of the barn! 

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Over and Over"

If there is anything in this world that I hate, it would be repetitive tasks.  Those things that must be done "Over and Over" (and over and over, ad infinitum).  There are soooooo many of them....dusting, paying bills, taking minutes at meetings, polishing silver, laundry, the list is pretty much endless.

It seems to me that once you do something, it should stay done!  Every Friday I sit down and pay bills, every week, four times every month, 52 times every year.  Wouldn't it be nice (if one could afford it, and we certainly cannot) to pay bills once and be done with it?  I know that lots of people sort of do that, but that is for those who have a lot more discretionary income that I do!

And what's up with cleaning your house??   I dust, I vacuum, I scour, I polish, I scrub, but no matter how good a job I do (or how bad a job I do for that matter), after the passage of some period of time, it all needs to be dusted, vacuumed, scoured, polished, and scrubbed AGAIN.  Why is that?  We live in a "hermetically-sealed" home; our windows are never open, we have very little traffic in and out, and when its just me and the Big Guy at home, we barely move!  He sits in front of the TV and I sit in front of the computer.  We can't be stirring up and dirt and dust,  we're still as statues.  (Okay, that's an exaggeration, but we aren't like Peanuts' Pigpen either!)

Doesn't matter.  There is a layer of dust or fingerprints or lint or some dumb thing that has taken up residence on top of my furniture and can only be removed forcibly by me and my trusty microfiber tool!

Another one that used to drive me absolutely nuts when I was working....taking minutes at meetings.  Over my 40 year career I took minutes at 73,293 separate meetings (or something like that ;), and trust me, after 2,478 times (or something like that;)  of writing essentially the same thing for every meeting you attend, you begin to be able to take the minutes without really listening to what's going on!  In fact, I have upon occasion, actually written minutes for meetings I did not attend!  This is because the essence of taking good minutes is not to say much of anything!  Truly.  And the farther up the corporate ladder you go, the less you say!  Really, no joke.  At least from an attorney's point of view, the best minutes would look something like this:

1.  Meeting called to order.
2.  Discussed ongoing issues.
3.  Agreed upon actions to be taken.
4.  Meeting adjourned.

No detail, no identification, no names,  no opinions, just "they met, they talked, they agreed to do something, they left!"  This little talent of mine shaped my career as an excellent recorder for meetings, which is how I got to attend those 47,339 separate meetings (or something like that;) and why 67,479 (or something like that;) of the sets of minutes sound pretty much the same.  Over and over and over again!

Polishing silver is another one that just gets on my nerves!  I polish, I de-tarnish, I use, I wash, I cover it all with a "tarnish-proof" cloth and store it away in an enclosed space where it is not exposed to air, light, or things that go bump in the night.  But does it stay polished????   Ooooh Noooooo!  Not even close!  The next holiday comes along and I want to use the good stuff but when I drag it all out, instead of the beautiful patina of old silver, I discover a bunch of cruddy, tarnished, ugly, dirty-looking icky!  Again.

Laundry?  Same thing.  Wear, wash, wear, wash, wear, wash, forever or until the fabric positively falls apart after a gazillion wash and dry cycles.  Arrggh!

And then there's eating.  What a waste of time!  No matter how much I eat at lunch, by the time 7:00 rolls around, I'm hungry again!  Hey, I ate yesterday.  I was full, and now I'm hungry again??  Over and over and over again....

I wonder how much of my life has been wasted....uhhhn.... spent doing these things that just won't stay done?!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"There's A Girl In Texas"

"There's A Girl in Texas" who is, by almost any definition, really special.  She has been special since the moment she was born.  She is our family's pride and joy and Sunday, April 8, she turned 11 years old.  Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

This special girl is, of course, our double miracle girl, the light of our lives, our granddaughter,  Maddie-the-Great.   Before you go any further, I strongly urge you to take a few minutes and read her story in the following posts.  After you read her story, you'll understand a lot better, why I go on and on about this special girl.  (Go ahead, read.....take your time, I'll wait!)

Part I:  Against All Odds

Part II: It's NICU time!!

Part III: Life in the NICU and Beyond

Part IV -- The Week When Time Stopped

Part V -- Our Second Miracle

Part VI --  Addendum

So, are you back??  Did you read it all??  Do you see why she is so special, at least to us?  Of course you do!  She is Maddie-the-Great for good reason!

Those health issues are all over with now and we are grateful.  M-t-G is completely healthy, suffered no consequences of being a preemie and on top of that she has been cancer free for eight years!  There are other ways that she is special too.  She is extremely bright.  Seriously bright, not just proud- Grandma bright!!

At the end of this school year she will "graduate" from elementary school and will be promoted to Middle School (6th-8th grades).  Kids in Austin have several options for Middle School.  Most of the kids go to one of the public Middle Schools as assigned according to the School District boundaries, but in addition to parochial or private schools, there are four other options.  There are three Middle School Magnet schools which focus on different areas of interest.  One is performing arts, one is law and international studies, a third (KMS) is an academically rigorous program, and the fourth is the Anne Richards School for Girls.  Application to these four consists of academic records (grades), special needs (gifted kids), and individual essay. 

M-t-G applied to KMS and Ann Richards.  Ann Richards School is a program established by the late Texas Governor, Ann Richards, to provide educational opportunities focusing women and opportunity.  Richards was also specifically established to provide opportunities for the financially disadvantaged girl.  Their enrollment is structured to be 75% from economically depressed neighborhoods in the city and the remaining 25% of the enrollment is selected by lottery of eligible applicants. 

Our girl was accepted at KMS and  was accepted/eligible at Ann Richards.  Whoo-Hoo!!  That's our kiddo!!  Although accepted/eligible at Ann Richards she was not selected in the lottery.  She may reapply next year or any following year, but I don't know that she will because she is REALLY excited at being accepted at KMS!  It was really her first choice.  There were 800+ applicants to KMS, of which about 200 were accepted and our Maddie was one of them! 

I think it will be a good choice for her.  She needs the challenge of being with other very bright kids.  School has been easy for her, straight As more often than not with not much effort.  KMS has an interesting curriculum and many electives are offered that challenge the kids in unusual ways (e.g., Physics through Cooking).  For the first time M-t-G may have to work a bit harder, but that's a good thing!

Of course, we are extremely proud of her!  She has already taken her Math placement test and she is awaiting the results.  She also has auditioned for the KMS Orchestra (she has been studying violin for four years) and it was indicated that she will most likely be accepted.  She's looking forward to that too!

Maddie has such a broad range of interests....she loves American History (especially WWII and the Civil War eras), she loves math, she loves music, she likes to be physically active, she is taking Tae Kwan Do and has already achieved several different colored belts (I've lost track of what level she is at currently), she is still in Girl Scouts, she loves to swim and roller skate (not at the same time!)  She wants to take up archery!  She loves horses and riding.  Nine times out of ten, when she watches TV, she watches the History or Discovery channels. Her vocabulary is outstanding.  She reads constantly (when she's not doing any of the other things she does!)  Her reading comprehension level has been identified at the High School Senior level and above!  As I said, she's an interesting kid!!

She, like every other kid, has some things she struggles with.  She likes to be in control.  She is feisty.  She has a temper that can get nearly out of control.  She is also approaching the time that hormones kick in and put her on that emotional roller coaster of the Tween/Teenager.  Every parent of girls has experienced that time when all of a sudden their happy little loving sunshine girl into a sad, miserable unhappy lump!   We have seen glimpses of that with our girl, and the next few years could be challenging for us all.

A few weeks ago M-t-G was upset about something with her mom and dad, and it slid into a melodramatic meltdown mode, with yelling, and tears, and "nobody likes me, I have no friends, you don't understand, you won't let me do anything, you don't love me!"  In between the dramatic sobs and the litany of being unloved, she paused, then sobbed out, "I am, of course, speaking metaphorically!!"

Oh yeah, she's our Maddie-the-Great!  She's a pistol!   I mean, really, how can ya help loving a kid like that??!! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

May your Easter holiday be filled with


Monday, April 2, 2012

"Get Me to the Church On Time"

My mother used to say that it took me 24 hours to get born, and I've been late ever since!  It  appears I do not have the same understanding of time as everyone else.  The sad truth is that I am late more often than not....all my life!  We were late to my best friend's wedding.  We were late to my daughter's wedding (but they couldn't start without us....we had the bride!!)  I was late for work about 75% of the time for my entire career!!!  It drives a lot of friends, bosses, and family absolutely crazy!

But I am NOT always late.  In fact, on the one day when one might be expected to be delayed by over-the-top primping and such, I was on time.  In fact, we were even a little bit early (not a lot, you understand, but a little.) 

Just like Alfie Doolittle ("My Fair Lady"), "Get Me to the Church on Time" was my mantra that day!  What day??  Well, my wedding day, of course!

Forty-six years ago today.  46!  Years.  Ago.   Holy shoes and rice, Batman!!  46 years!

It was a very bright and sunny day in Chicago on April 2, 1966 but it was really cold!  It looked like Spring but it still felt like Winter.  We had to drive from the north side down to the south side, because we were being married in Mikey's home parish (I can't remember why exactly), so we had at least a 45 minute drive to get to the church. 

I don't remember whose car we were in.  I don't remember who drove.  I don't remember who was in the car.  I have a vague recollection of sitting alone in the back seat, but I don't think I was really.....maybe it just felt like I was alone.  Its a big thing to get married (duh!), but when you are only 19, its monumental. 

What was ahead?  Was this really a good idea?  Would it work out?  Would we be happy?  Would it last??   Did I really want to be a wife??  Maybe I should just jump out of the car and run away!  Very far away!!  These kinds of thoughts jumbled around inside my head throughout that long drive.  I suppose that is not much different from any other bride (or groom for that matter.) 

There I was, little 19 year old me, only weighing about 100 lbs. soaking wet, wearing a borrowed dress, a borrowed veil, wrapped up in a borrowed mink stole (it wasn't as politically incorrect, all those years ago).  It felt a little bit like playing dress up. 

But it wasn't make believe, it was very real.  And it turned out to be the right thing to do, because here we are 46 years later and we are still together.  It was was a good idea.  And it sure has lasted!  We have had a life filled with much happiness, a lot of laughter, a reasonable number of tears, love, caring, a fair amount of worry and sadness, lots of joy, some disappointments.....highs and after day....for 46 years. 

I think they call that a marriage!

Happy Anniversary, Big Guy!

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