About Me

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I'm happy, married, and looking forward to sharing my world with you! If you're interested, that is!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Ho, Ho, Ho!!!

Photos will come later this week, when I can sit down, go through them, and find one or two that are in focus, illustrate the joy and happiness of our holiday, and don't make me look like I've eaten six meals a day for the past three days! (Although, yay, me! I was DOWN 2.4 lbs at Weight Watchers yesterday!)

We spent Christmas Eve here at my house, with my sister C and her 2 children (who were 1-1/2 hours late), C's boyfriend T and his son R, and my mom. Our neighbors stopped by to say hello and deliver some gift cards - you were ALL WAY TOO GENEROUS! I have a lot of shopping to do on my week off!

We went to Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at 10:30pm. (Does that bother anyone else like it bothers me? Even the Pope celebrated Midnight Mass at 10-something pm. That really ticks me off!)

On Christmas Day we woke up, I put the ham in the oven, all 13.89 pounds of it, we showered and waited around for DSD M to come up from her mom's. We went to my sister-in-law's house where we watched them open their presents - they were late this year! Then we snacked on bagels and cold cuts for a quick 1/2-hour and Jack and I and M returned home by way of my mom's to pick her up, and we opened presents, then ate dinner. M's fiancee S stopped by en route to his dad's house so we got to celebrate with him, too, for a little while.

Santa was very good to me - lots of little presents, with many to open, just the way I like it! I don't want one big present that ends the day as soon as it begins! I'd rather get a bunch of stocking stuffer gifts, all wrapped and put under the tree for distribution and unwrapping, so that Christmas lasts a long time!

Come back and visit in a few days, when I post my pictures!

Miss you all and wish we could have celebrated the holiday together!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Paperback Trees



I made one of these! (If you go to the original page you can see the awesome glitter on the edges of the trees!) I will take a picture of mine and upload it here next week (well, sometime after the holiday!). LOVE this idea! I just happened to have a trashy romance novel just lying around that had no socially redeeming characteristics, and lo and behold! It became a treasured holiday decoration!!!

http://wendysmedley.typepad.com/possibilities/2009/11/kayla-aimee---sample-lesson.html

1/2 an Hour to Christmas Vacation

It's 3:25pm on Tuesday, 12/22. My Christmas vacation starts at 4:00pm. I'm off until Monday, 01/04/10.

I never took a vacation like this until last year. It was the first time I was off the entire holiday season with Jack, the first time EVER, actually. And I LOVED it! I really liked not knowing what day it was 'cause I didn't have a computer in front of my face 8 hours a day. I liked trying to figure out if I had to be anywhere that day 'cause I didn't know what day it was!!!

I'm so looking forward to having to arrange my day around Live with Regis and Kelly, The View, Dr. Phil and all my evening shows, Castle, Criminal Minds, CSI New York, The Mentalist, America's Funniest Home Videos, Extreme Home Makeover, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers and Sisters. And I hope to be in front of the TV often enough to watch any episodes of HouseHunters I may have missed, and to find out exactly when they're airing What Not to Wear. Say Yes to the Dress is another favorite.

I know. You're disappointed in me. No Public Television, no History Channel (unless there's something good on) - just lots of junk TV and HGTV and TLC. For variety we'll throw in some Food-TV and Discovery, and who wouldn't want to watch something on ABC Family?!

Don't worry - Ms. Book Addict has a stack of books up at the lake just waiting to be read, and I hear some scrapping projects calling my name.

But I have to admit, I'm looking forward to rotting my brain - nay, I'm planning to rot my brain from tonight at 4pm until 8:30am Monday, 01/04, except for a few hours daily of actual thinking and planning (just so I don't forget how!).

Might even try a couple of recipes I've always wanted to try...

Well, it's 3:36pm and I have to go and work for the next 24 minutes!

More over the holidays! Happy Christmas to All!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two-and-a-half more days...

... until I can start wearing real shoes, without my favorite fashion accessory, the black broken-pinkie-toe-boot!

The doctor had told me to wear it 2-3 weeks. I went with 3, to be safe. Yesterday and today, it really feels good - a bit stiff, but less painful and I seem to be walking more normally.

I finally got a tree - 7-1/2' and artificial, but it's not.a.pigmy.tree!!! I was so tired of small live trees to replant at the lake or my little 5' tree... I'm a Christmas person and I wanted a Christmas TREE! Not a Christmas bush!

I'm in the midst of decorating it - will post pictures when I have them!

We'll be at the lake over the holidays - I'm off from 12/23 until 01/04 (YAY!) and will be shopping for a laptop, using a borrowed one in the meantime! So I'll be online over the holidays!

Well, gotta run! Toodles!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

BORING!

So nothing is really going on...

I'm still limping.

I'm nowhere NEAR done/started with my Christmas shopping.

OH!!!

We bought a Christmas tree last night, so I'll be doing some decorating this weekend!

AND we went to the N Family Christmas Party this past Sunday. The 50th year in a row (I've only been going for about 15 years...)!!! One of the cousin's sons put together a slide show, about 150-200 photos of the family dating back to the early 1900s. Considering the youngest aunt is 80, YOU do the math!!! There were photos of her as a baby, and photos of her parents when her oldest sibling was born!!!

I swear. I could have sat for five hours and watched that slide show! I only wish there were 500 MORE photos for me to look at!!

Remember way back when, I mentioned that I was working on a Christmas photo album, sort of a scrapbook of December? (Or at least, I THINK I mentioned it...)

Yea, right. No way. I've printed out all the prompts. I've not taken a single photo, except for maybe 4 or 5 at the party. I have to take a picture of my decorated limping shoe, too, and start - better late than never, right???

Well, gotta run and do some more online shopping - if I don't get it online this year, you're most likely not getting it at all!!!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Have you ever???

Copy, paste, and bold what you have done!

Have you ever.....

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Been to Key West, FL
4. Vacationed in Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/Disney World (both of them - lucky me!!)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo or played a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Gone rollerskating
15. Adopted a child
16. Gambled in Vegas
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (when I was younger, that was the ONLY way I took a sick day!!! Now I have to waste them when I'm actually sick!!!)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (yea, right!)
28. Worked at a Cannery or Welfare Farm
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Played an instrument (does it count to have taken piano lessons for one month?!?)
32. Been on a cruise (several!!!)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Acted in a play or performed on stage (in elementary school)
38. Been to Italy
39. Gone river rafting
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (and I never will!)
42. Seen ‘Old Faithful’ geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Gone water skiing
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Been to Japan
50. Rode a horse
51. Gone snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Sailed a boat (not sailed, exactly, rowed and motored - does that count?!?)
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Surfed
57. Started a business
58. Visited the Great Wall of China
59. Lived in a foreign country
60. Delivered Meals on Wheels or Served at a Soup Kitchen
61. Snowmobile or snow skiing - I went snow skiing once, and that was enough!
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Gone ice skating
67. Bounced a check - I was in college
68. Flown in a helicopter - no, but I really want to!
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - I have my stuffed bear and my stuffed leopard from my dad
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar - yes, but I didn't like it!
72. Knit, crochet, sew, or quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job - yes, they closed the company down
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone - I'm wearing my special, attractive boot right now!!!
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle - not a speeding one...
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper or been on TV
86. Visited the White House
87. Been stung by a bee
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (Sarah Ferguson, Nancy Reagan, Ann Margret, Donald Trump, Danielle Steel, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Vanna White, Richard Simmons, Jackie Collins, and a whole bunch of famous authors)

92. Joined a book club
93. Had to put someone you love in Hospice Care
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Eaten sushi - California roll, only, and I didn't like it!
99. Won the lottery - not the MegaMillions, well, not yet anyway! But a few dollars here or there!
100. Read an entire book in one day - just one??? Heck, yea!! That's easy!

Pick Me, Stephanie, Pick Me!

The Mother of All Giveaways

Oh, would I just LOVE to win this contest!

Stephanie Howell is a mom, a scrapper, and a military wife. She's a good person, a good mom, a good wife. I've never met her but do you want to know how I know? I read her blog, http://stephaniehowell.typepad.com/.

This week she's doing a contest, along with 10 other awesome bloggers, to give away a Craft Desk from The Original Scrapbox (oh, would I love to have one of those, too!).

By blogging about it, and in turn, letting you all know about the contest, I get a couple of extra entries! Hope it works!

The other bloggers who are participating, by the way, are:
http://lifeaslou.blogsome.com/
http://www.vanillajoy.com/
http://priscillastyles.blogspot.com/
http://capadiadesigns.blogspot.com/
http://craftymakes.blogspot.com/
http://nicholegiles.blogspot.com/
http://auntiethesis.blogspot.com/
http://parkcitygirl.blogspot.com/
http://lovelylittlehandmades.blogspot.com/
http://elizabethkartchner.blogspot.com/

Am off to post my contest entries!

Monday, November 30, 2009

One down, nine to go...

So I have 10 toes. If one's broken, and it's only my right pinkie toe, I don't really need it anyway, right? I have nine more! In fact, my sister said they could amputate it and I'd never even miss it!

Jack's Aunt Anna died last Monday. Because of the holiday and traveling issues (a lot of her family had to come from Texas), they delayed the wake and funeral to Friday and Saturday. My first thought was that although we'll miss her and it's terribly sad that she died, and sadder still that it's over a holiday that her family has to deal with this loss, she's finally with Uncle Nat and maybe, just maybe, she's not so cranky anymore. She's been one unhappy camper for the last eight or nine years, ever since her husband died. She missed him something fierce. So now, even though we've lost her, she's back with Uncle Nat and she's finally happy again.

Anyway, the wake was Friday night. We went to the lake and came home early to shower and get ready to go and pay our respects. That night I asked Jack to wake me at 7am so I'd have time to shower and get ready for the 8:30am service at the funeral home without rushing. I overslept. I'd like to blame Jack and say that he didn't wake me after the alarm went off (which I ignored 'cause it went off at our usual 5:50am and he shut it off), but he says he woke me and I said, "Okay, just another minute" and proceeded to sleep another 20 minutes or so.

I got up and when I realized how late it was I started scrambling and somehow I was taking a step forward with my right foot at the same time that I was pulling the bedroom door closed toward me. OW! I went right to my knees!

But being the trooper I am, I powered on and showered, dressed and drove to the funeral home. We went in separate cars 'cause Jack wasn't going to go to the repast after the cemetary service, and I was. By the time he changed his mind and we were en route in two cars to the repast, I was realizing that my shoe was feeling a bit tight. I sat down at the restaurant, ate a good meal, socialized with the cousins, and when we were leaving around 2:30 or 3:00, I decided it would be a pretty darned good idea to visit the Immedicenter and have them look at my toe.

I'd always hoped to hear "Congratulations, it's a girl!" rather than "Congratulations, you have a broken toe!"

But after three x-rays, it was confirmed. I broke my toe. And as I'm sure we all know, you can't do anything for a broken pinkie toe but buddy tape it to its neighbor and hope for the best. So I'm taped, and she did give me a very attractive black boot to wear for two to three weeks. I'm stylin' now!!!

Anyway, other than that, Thanksgiving was nice. Mom was home but spent the day with my sister at said sister's boyfriend's house. Just to play with her head, I told her we were all waiting dessert for her, and why didn't she ask C or T to drive her to my SIL's house? After a VERY brief moment of silence, she said she knew I was pulling her leg and she moved on... Well, I thought it was funny!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday - lots of family, food and fun, and (private joke to come!) I sure hope your oven worked and your pies remained intact!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Turkey Day, in advance!!!

Today is the day before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year, primarily because to me, it's the start of "The" holiday season! Here's how it goes:

  1. Thanksgiving - November 20-something
  2. My birthday - December 18
  3. Christmas Eve - December 24
  4. Christmas Day - December 25
  5. New Year's Eve - December 31
  6. New Year's Day - January 1

I start at Thanksgiving weekend - writing out Christmas cards and decorating the house. And it really doesn't ever stop until it's time to take the decorations down on Valentine's Day. (Just kidding, although some years my fake tree has stayed up for quite a long time into January simply because of time constraints...)

I'm almost never in a bad mood in December - how can I be? I love the cold, I love snow, and I love Santa! And December has all three, most of the time! This year the weather has been a bit strange - it was almost 60 degrees the other day - who knows whether we'll get some winter weather or not this year - I hope we do - but I'm afraid Santa might be wearing Bermuda shorts as he comes down our street this Christmas Eve!

Well, gotta run - time to start the cooking!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I apologize in advance.

I'm sorry.

I'm just not a Twilight/New Moon fan (sorry, Miss Hope!).

I haven't seen the first movie, won't see the second. I'll probably watch them when they hit TV or someone I know lends me the video, just to see what all the hoopla is.

I read the first book. And I read the second book.

And I just wasn't thrilled.

Here's why (and I really do have real reasons!!!):

These books were written for teenage girls. While I admit that Stephanie Meyer did a great job of putting Bella's typical teenage angst into words, I have a BIG, HUGE, MONSTROUS problem with how much of this appeared in the books:
  • "I'm not pretty enough for Edward."
  • "I'm not smart enough for Edward."
  • "He's so much better than me."
  • "He's so much more handsome than I am pretty."
  • "He could never like me."
  • "I have nothing to offer Edward."
  • "Why would he like me?"
  • and on and on, ad nauseum.

Again, teenage girls feel this way on their own. I didn't see enough of the epiphany in the books, the times that Bella realized that yes, damn it, she IS good enough to date Edward! He's pale and sickly looking, for crying out loud! (Sorry, I digress!)

I would rather Ms. Meyer addressed Bella's insecurities but made the thrust of the story how she realized that yes, indeedy, she WAS good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, for Edward. That she had BUCKETLOADS to offer, that any young teenage vampire (or normal human) male would be lucky, honored to be her beau!

Bottom line, I just wish there was a little more emphasis on helping teen girls NOT feel so inferior or not good enough, instead of overwhelming the reader with her inferior status!

Yea, I get it, I know how the stories end. But it takes 4 LOOOOOONG books to get there, and quite honestly, speaking as a HUGE Harlequin romance fan who really believes in the happy ending, I like stronger girl characters in my stories, not such wimpy ones.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm officially overwhelmed!

I'm taking three online Xmas scrapping classes - and I can only scrap on the weekends! I will try my darndest to keep on top of the photos and the journaling and the note-taking and list-making, and hopefully I'll be able to have a finished product at the end of the season (or, let's face it) at the beginning of the next season!

Spent all weekend in the hospital with my husband's 93-year-old aunt. Aunt Fanny literally looks like she's in her late 60s or early 70s. My girlfriend has a theory that being cranky keeps you young!! She's been falling a lot and refusing to use a scooter or a wheelchair - why? Because in her youth she made fun of people in wheelchairs (according to the rest of the family) and now doesn't want to be on the receiving end of what she dished out years ago! If you can't take it...

There's also some tension in the family among some relatives of the husband - I think it will all shake out in the end and resolve itself, but suffice to say that some people should just butt out of other people's business!!! 'Nough said!


My niece C is 8 weeks along and her due date is June 28th. How exciting!!! I think I'll have to do some baby shopping this weekend!!! Or even tonight before we see her, if I can squeeze it in...

Monday, November 09, 2009

One photo I owe you...

Blackberry Mint Tea, poured over ice.

I have nothing else to say but, "MMM, GOOD!"

We ate in Alexandria at the Jamieson Grill in the Westin on Courthouse Square.

I did everything but lick the plate.

I had the Salt and Pepper Calamari for an appetizer. Now keep in mind that (1) I don't eat the tentacles, and (2) I only eat it fried with spicy sauce for dipping. They delivered a platter that looked a bit light in color, and I was worried it wouldn't be cooked all the way through (to me there's nothing worse than under - or over - cooked calamari). My God, I wished I hadn't offered to share with my boss and my client! It was SO delicious, tender, served with smoked salt (for dipping) and green peppercorn aioli. I chowed down and ate it all. Except, I admit, the one tentacle they included on the platter...

Then for lunch I had the Jamieson Crab Cake Sandwich: a "crispy crab cake , old bay aioli, buttery brioche roll." It was too small. Not in real life, just for my appetite once I tasted it! It was the perfect size for lunch if you wanted to be full but not feel guilty for overeating. But it was so delicious that I wanted it to be twice the size!

And the star of the show, as pictured above, Blackberry Mint Tea, sold under the heading "Healthful Tonics and Teas." It was served hot, steeping over a pitcher of ice, with a glass of ice and a shot of simple syrup to sweeten it, if you so desired. I didn't personally find it necessary to sweeten the tea (I had it both ways, with and without the syrup), but then again, I'm an "unsweetened iced tea" sort of gal. I SO regretted not bringing my camera; I really wanted a picture of the way they served it, on a bamboo tray... Thank goodness Andi, my client, apparently never leaves home without her camera so she shot it and forwarded it to me this weekend! (And check out the teabag! Instead of a boring 'ole tag, it's a silk bag with a fabric tea leaf on the end!)

It takes so little to make me happy: food, drink, good company...

More later this week!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I'm going to be an aunt!!!

My niece C on hubby's side just announced she's pregnant!

YAY! She's newly pregnant; her doctor hasn't even seen her yet. He said to wait until she's at least 9 weeks pregnant. I think she said the online calendar/calculator put her due date somewhere around June 26th-ish so she's, what, minutes pregnant??!! But we're happy for her, that's for sure! Nervous for her, but happy! She had to immediately go and get the swine flu shot which scared everyone, but it's definitely recommended for moms-to-be. She catches colds so easily - with a headache on Tuesday she couldn't even take an Advil...

Already asked her if I could be called "Cioci" by her baby, instead of Great Aunt Krys (which, thankfully, C knocked right out - "you'd NEVER be Great Aunt anything, Krys!") and she agreed. Thanks, C!!! I have such great warm memories of MY Cioci Eliza and I still get a special flutter in my heart when my sister's kids call me Cioci - a new baby to call me Cioci?!?!? Yes, please!!!

My sister-in-law is thinking about what she wants the baby to call her - she does NOT want to be "grandma." AT.ALL. Personally, I like "grandma" but still want to be Babci if my stepdaughter ever gets pregnant. Babci is grandma in Polish - no idea what Jack would want to be called... he's still getting used to "his" baby being engaged - a grandbaby? We can't even conceive of that right now, in our house! (Well, HE can't!!!)

So swamped at work that I haven't had time to post any photos; I know I owe you a few... Will get to it when I can (maybe this weekend???)...

Monday, November 02, 2009

In A.C....

We're here in Atlantic City for a credit union seminar. Jack has some meetings scheduled for today - one this morning, another after lunch. We're at Harrah's, in the Waterfront Tower, and the rooms are quite nice. I'll take some photos and download them later this week, if time allows.
Forgot to take any photos in Alexandria last week, but had a beautiful mini-suite at the Sheraton in Old Town. My meetings went quite well, better than expected, actually. Although we didn't spend hours and hours at each, I think we came up with some good marketing ideas, ideas that if we really do implement them, will help some of my key accounts to build their business. And in this BO economy, I'll take whatever comes my way!

Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays. We were home Saturday night, but between the neighborhood we live in and the fact that our lights were off, we didn't have any trick-or-treaters. We had some candy ready, but will be donating it to the local food pantry at Thanksgiving, along with some other canned goods... I don't even remember liking Halloween all that much as a child. I guess I did, my mom never said I hated it or anything, but I can't even remember any costumes I wore... The holiday just never really stood out in my mind.

That said, I DO remember eating candy so I KNOW I went trick-or-treating, but my more vivid memories are of going to the circle on Route 23 in Riverdale (the circle is not there anymore) and buying a bag or a basket or a bushel of fresh-picked apples with my mom and dad, and sisters, once they came along. I can still smell the apples, and see their shiny red skins...

Happy Belated Halloween to all my ghoul-loving friends and family! Reving myself up for Thanksgiving and Christmas!!!

P.S. Send congratulations to my sister P - she just got herself a NEW red Honda Element! She SO deserves it! (I'm just sorry she had to be in a car accident to get it! Thank God she's okay, but poor Percy (may her 1990 Civic rest in peace!) was totaled!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So far, so good...

I'm in Alexandria, VA, on a business trip with my boss. I have 2 meetings left; we've met with 3 of my accounts so far. Surprisingly, even though we didn't do any product presentations, even though we're not taking home orders for thousands of books, we've accomplished "some stuff."

We have an in now with an account that historically doesn't buy books from other vendors; they only resell their own publications. Well, they're involved with an education initiative that is directly related to one of our books - they're going to buy 500 copies!

And while following up on my emails, I got a lead on another potential order of 500 copies of another title, for another account.

Having a laptop and/or internet access is a HUGE help. Even though I can't accomplish everything, without access to our titlebase, I am able to stay on top of my emails and my voicemail aned that's BIG. This is the first time I've borrowed a company laptop, and I'll keep it as long as I can!

Heard some great things about my job performance and what people think of me, people who, by the way, I am not convinced I like... Her opinion of me surprised me; I didn't think that she was that observant... And another ex-co-worker had lunch with our CEO and told him she knew me and that I was an asset to the company... Thanks, Claudia!

It's been raining for, it seems, 40 days and 40 nights... Okay, seriously, it's been raining for about 4 days and 4 nights... Just seems like 40!!! Today the sun came out around lunchtime. I tell you, these days I'm convinced I suffer from some type of Seasonal Disorder. The sun came out after lunch today and all I wanted to do was raise my face to it and soak in the rays!

Mom's old friend Elaine called - all three of her children are (gasp!) married, AND there are three grandchildren!! OMG!!

Well, it's about 11:22pm and I sill have to take out my contacts, wash my face and go to bed. Last night I crashed about 11:20, fell asleep until 12:22am, then fell asleep again, woke up again at 5:04am, and then dozed on and off until 7am.

Toodles!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How many days 'til Christmas?

Okay, it's been almost 20 years that I've been with my husband, counting pre-marriage, and I've ALWAYS been the Christmas ringer-inner! The holiday had some not-so great memories for him during and immediately after his divorce.

But I've always been such a Christmas baby, totally unrelated, by the way, to the fact that my birthday is a week before Christmas! I decorate whatever stays still long enough to have tinsel attached!

But today, October 25th, TWO MONTHS BEFORE Christmas, my darling husband is outside hanging Christmas lights on our lakeside deck. We spent ten minutes deciding colored bulbs or white icicles. Although white lights are my favorite, I went with colored bulbs 'cause Jack likes them...

We just went outside to check them out - and except for a couple places where we have to clip them up closer to the railing, we're on our way to being decorated for Christmas! Well, we're on our way to starting our Christmas decorating...

My SIL and BIL are in Puerto Rico, relaxing in what I hope is much warmer weather than we're having here in NJ. They deserve a restful vacation - there's a lot of stress in their lives and I hope they have a GREAT few days!

I leave on Tuesday for Alexandria, VA, on business, not for fun. It's a nice town, one I always enjoy visiting. We're having at least two VERY important meetings, along with a few "meet and greet" ones, and for sure, I don't have busy 10 hour days planned. We'll have quite a bit of free time... I'm borrowing a laptop from work so I can stay on top of my emails, at least... although my message will clearly say I have "limited" access to email and I'll refer them all to Customer Service unless it can wait until Friday, when I return... It's just too hard to stay on top of everything when you don't have all you need at your fingertips...

I'll be staying in the Sheraton Suites in Alexandria; they have some beautiful hotel rooms, that's for sure! I'll post some pictures next week (or over the weekend).

I picked up some fabric scraps from my mom so I can practice my sewing. I also will be hemming an old sheer curtain for our 2nd floor bath so it doesn't have to hang down into the tub.

I've completed a page in my art journal - I had started it before but I didn't like it so I painted over it and started again. I even added some paint to some other pages, so that I'm not looking at a totally blank canvas - that can be intimidating. It was fun getting paint all over me!

Well, more while I'm away...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Photos - as promised!!!

In no particular order...


Sean, me, Maria, and Jack


Jack and me


Jack, Maria, Sean, and me


Darling daughter and dad!


Cutting the cake (practice makes perfect!)


The flower arrangements I made - 2 or 3 per table, on average

Artistic & Creative: I Am!!!

A few years ago I NEVER would have used the words "artistic" or "creative" to describe myself. And I'm still not comfortable with them. But today they apply a heck of a lot more than they did way back when.

I picked up scrapbooking several years ago, when I became unemployed. I wouldn't recommend this: no income? Scrapping stuff? They don't go together. One needs money to buy stuff...

And lo and behold, I really liked some of the pages I created. Not all of them, but some of them. And that's okay.

And I found Donna Downey. What a creative genius! And she makes it all look so easy.

So I tried.

I bought an art journal kit from her months ago. It required sewing. No one had a working sewing machine so I carried that kit from room to room, convinced some day I'd start on it.

And I did. Last weekend.

I'm STILL not happy with my first page, which admittedly is a work in progress: I put some color on the page, liked it, and fell into the old trap: if I like it now, I'll like it more with more paint! And I don't. So I'm going to re-create my first page this weekend, but for now, here's what I've created so far!

And THANK YOU, DONNA!!! For helping me find my creative and artistic self!!!

(I sewed this!! On my new sewing machine! I'm feeling so inspired!!!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sewing, Sewing, Gone!

I sew.

Doesn't that sound cool? I sew.

I took exactly one 4 week sewing class in, oh, 7th or 8th grade. Which for the record, was REALLY long time ago!!! I made a bodysuit (remember them?!?!) according to a pattern. The sleeves were too short and I had to put fake cuffs on them so I didn't have 3/4 sleeves (which was not what the pattern called for!).

Well, I bought an art journal kit from Donna Downey. Here's the link: art journal. Now, that's not the pattern I chose, but Donna's kits sell out really fast! Anyway, I've had it for a few months now, probably close to six months! This past week, not that I had anything else to do, what with the engagement party and all, this past week hubby and I went to Wal-Mart and bought a Singer Sewing Machine for me. I figured that, worst case scenario, I'd try to sew this journal, try to shorten the curtain for the bathroom window, and then, when I failed miserably, I could just return the machine, nothing lost.

My journal came out AWESOME!!! (I will be posting a picture of THAT, too, later this week!) I had to sew a piece of printed cotton, wrong side to wrong side, to a piece of canvas. I had to leave a 4" gap, turn it right-side-out, starch and iron it, sew the elastic loop closure into the gap, add the button, then bind the pages in with the ribbon Donna included in the kit.

It came out so well - I was shocked at how cool it was! I can't wait to create in it. I can't wait to show it off. I know, to those of you who make your own clothes or sew your own slipcovers, this is nothing. But to me?

WOW!!!

Post Party Wrap Up

The engagement party was lovely! Everything went smoothly, no great crisis, no collapsing tables or inter-family arguments!

My only problem: I was too busy playing "hostess with the mostest" to get pictures. So I'm waiting for my friends G&M to forward the photos they took to me - which came out beautifully, from what I saw on the little camera screen!

I took a couple, mostly of daughter and future son-in-law, but of course, being me, I remembered to bring the camera but forgot the USB cable so I can't download them right now.

I promise: photos in a day or two!!!

The food was delicious. And I didn't know this, but the staff wrapped it all up and sent the leftovers home with us! The party lives! I don't have to cook all week!!! (They must have heard me telling Sean's family that the closest thing to being a chef for me is my maiden name (Cook, for those of you who don't know!).

Everyone looked beautiful. Boy, do we all clean up well! And my niece? GORGEOUS!

The favors worked out well, and the flower arrangements were a real hit. They did come out nice, if I say so myself! (Maybe I can retire and work in a flower shop...)

Anyway, photos and more to come, I promise!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize.

WHAT.A.JOKE.

What exactly has he done?

* Has he achieved peace in the Middle East? No. And he won't be able to. The only ones who can reach a peaceful end to the crisis in the Middle East are the people involved.

* Are we still at war in Iraq? Yes. I don't want to be at war, but I support the war.

* Are we still at war in Afghanistan? Yes. Ditto my comment above.

I HATE that we have lost thousands of young Americans in this war. But we have a VOLUNTEER army, people. Every person who joined the military knew there was a chance he or she would have to "man" up and fight. I don't care why they joined: free tuition after you serve? You deserve it. A job after you put in your time? You deserve it. But remember, just 'cause we're not at war today (September 10, 2001) doesn't mean we won't be at war tomorrow. Who knows what could happen tomorrow? If you join up today, you're going to be fighting the fight tomorrow, if it happens. Okay? Okay.

* Has he spent one thin dime to solve the problems the people of the US are suffering from? No. There are still starving children, homeless families. We are in the midst of a recession that was NOT caused by President Bush, even though BO supporters seem to blame Bush for everything. My grandchildren, and their grandchildren, and generations after that will be paying off the debt BO has created.

* Has he spent trillions of dimes to give money to big business? Yes. What has that accomplished? Are all those employees working again? A jobless recovery? What a joke. There's no recovery in sight. When every one of those people who have lost their jobs is employed and making what they were making before? THAT'S when there will be a recovery.

Do NOT mention all those foreclosures and bad debt, either. WE have to take responsibility for OURSELVES. It is absolutely possible to live the American Dream. Want to know how to do it? It's no big secret. Here it is: LIVE.WITHIN.YOUR.MEANS. If you have $200K to spend on a house, if you can afford a mortgage payment for a $200K home, SPEND $200K. Just because you "qualify" for $400K does NOT mean you have to buy the McMansion. JUST.SAY.NO. Buy a used car, you don't have to lease that Lexus. Buy your clothes at Walmart or Target, whichever suits you better. You do NOT have to wear a label that costs a ridiculous amount of money.

Oh, wait, no. This is America, people. Don't forget, you can be a "community organizer" in Chicago, become President, take 7 vacations in your first 9 months of office,... The American Dream!

The deadline for submission for the Nobel Peace Prize is FEBRUARY. Tell me what BO accomplished between his inauguration on January 20, 2009, and the cut-off. What a fix.

I find this so totally offensive that I just can't even write any more.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Arts and Crafts, and Loss (not a great segue)

So the engagement party is literally one week away (it's next Saturday) and I've decided, today, that I want favors and centerpieces.

And I've decided I want to make them.

It's official.

I'm certifiably nuts.

So I go online and I look up "wedding favors," "party favors," "engagement favors," and then I go back and add "homemade" to all of those. And I decide that I want something simple and easy and not expensive and not frilly and girly 'cause my daughter's not frilly and girly... Which, in retrospect, one might think would make this much easier.

But it doesn't.

So here are the final three contenders (and I'm sure there are MANY more easy favors out there, but I found these):
  1. mini mason jars decorated with silver ribbon and a heart charm and the happy couple's initials, with a votive candle inside
  2. Ghirardelli chocolates, those little individually wrapped ones, wrapped again in wedding/engagement paper, sealed with a "love" stamp from the post office, with their initials on the paper band
  3. a small round tin filled with chocolates, with a solid piece of paper adhered to the lid, their initials on the paper, and a charm tied with a piece of tulle ribbon around the tin
  4. cupcakes, individually wrapped in cellophane, tied with a ribbon, with a charm

Here's the final decision:

  1. No - too complicated, to hard to transport, and who really wants another favor you don't really want to throw out 'cause "it's from M&S's engagement party..."
  2. THE WINNER! Easy, quick, not frilly, chocolatey, and can be carried in a basket, and the basket can be decorated, and we can put the basket on the dessert table at the end of the night
  3. No - I'd have to travel hither and yon to find the damn tins, and I'm just not in the mood!
  4. This was my runner-up, but we're already having so much dessert there...

And then there are the centerpieces. The room is not huge and the tables are rectangular, so they're not very deep. A large centerpiece would just get in the way. There will be 5 tables of 6, and 3 small tables of 4 each, just with tablecloths, in case some people want to move to see the flat screens at either end of the room (is there a football game on Saturday night? Or a baseball game? If there is, the TVs will be on!). I figure I'll get small square glass block vases, a couple of bunches of assorted flowers from Costco, and I'll cut the flower stems down and just have a couple of small mini bouquets on each table. There's no need to go to a florist (sorry, John!). I suppose I'll make a vase for each of the small tables, too... And then anyone who wants to take one home can take one home, and I won't have to worry about getting them back to my house!

Tonight there's a wake for the father of a friend of ours; he's actually the head of the funeral home our families use. Jack knows him from growing up; I know him from all the people in my family who have died. Michael's dad started the business years ago, and has been living in Florida for a while now. He apparently had a brain tumor; we haven't seen Michael in a while, not since maybe the summer of 2008, so we didn't know his dad was ill. We'll go tonight to pay our respects. I said to hubby, even though we haven't seen Mike in a long time, he's helped us and our families get through so much, we need to go there for him.

Tomorrow there's a funeral mass for the dad of a friend of mine. I haven't see Mr. and Mrs. W. since they moved to Lakehurst, oh, 10 years ago or so, maybe even longer... We email political jokes back and forth, and they always sent me postcards from any and all of their trips around the world. When Mr. W. was still working (he retired a few years ago) he spent a lot of time in France. He brought me some Chanel No. 5, Chanel No. 19, Chanel No. 22 and Chanel Cristalle. When he went to an exhibit of Monet paintings at the Musée d'Orsay, he managed to take some video and even mentioned me in his home movies ("and here is Monet's Iris Gardens - just for you, Krys!"). He and the rest of his family made me feel so welcome - I used to stop by and say hi when they lived in Nutley.

I got an email a couple of weeks ago saying there would be a funeral mass for him this Saturday.

I was floored. I didn't know he was sick. I didn't know he had passed. I want to go tomorrow, but I don't know if I can. It's supposed to rain cats and dogs all day and hubby really doesn't want me to drive 2 hours each way in the pouring rain, and I can't honestly say I want to, either. I think I'm going to decide tomorrow.

We might not be going to the lake this weekend - which opens up a bunch of other stuff for me to do: shop for clothes to wear at the party, clean my house, shop for and make the favors, learn to use the sewing machine I'm going to buy tomorrow, start my art journal, work on my scrap projects (classes just finished), ...

Will post photos when I have them!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All better!

Surprisingly I had no trouble with the tooth extraction and bone graft. No swelling. No pain. No bleeding. No misery. I like that kind of medical/dental procedure.

I went in for my 1 week follow-up visit yesterday and they asked me if I wanted to be the new poster child for tooth extractions! I said, "Sure, if I don't have to pay for the rest of this procedure." Stopped 'em dead in their tracks! They complimented me and said I was quick with a retort! Mmm-hmm, I am!

Well, we're less than two weeks away from DD's engagement party. Got some disappointing news today: some dear friends of ours won't be able to come from MA to join us (hi, Mrs. B!). The rest of the family, though, will be there. Except of course for my one sister, who has yet to RSVP. I asked her about it yesterday and her response was, "Er, I think we'll be there..." And your kids? My niece and nephew? "Oh, yeah, I sort of forgot about them!"

Now I know they've been giving my sister a hard time, but she just seems to me to want to forget she's a mom. Well, she can't. She brought them into this world, and like it or not, trouble and conflict or not, they are her kids. And I know one of these days I'm going to say something to her and she's not going to like it and we're going to be estranged while she's pissed as heck at me! But while the kids are 19 and 17 and hard to control, admittedly, I still think she's contributed to her own problems, and it doesn't help that she "forgets" about them. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that those two kids know she'd rather be with her boyfriend than with them. She's chosen more than once to do things for him and his kids, at the expense of her own family. She's chosen more than once to spend time doing for them, and not doing for her own kids. And I know they hold that against her sometimes. All the time in my nephew's case. And he's messed up enough with his feelings for his deadbeat dad (remind me to tell you about HIM sometime!).

Anyway, enough whining! Tomorrow is son-in-law-to-be's birthday and I bought him a Yankees doormat. We'll pick up a gift certificate to a local restaurant, too - they like to go out and this way they can have a little bit'o'fun on the ole' parental units...

Today I'm leaving work a bit early to go to a volunteer meeting at the primary school where my husband works. You may remember I read there during the school year, once a week, every other week. I've really missed it this summer! (Next summer I hope to do it with my little neighbor, when he's old enough to sit still and listen to a story!) The meeting is at 2:30; we're walking over there at around 2pm. The meeting will run until about 3:30 and we'll go upstairs with our assigned teachers to see their rooms and exchange phone/email information. I hope they kept me with the same teacher; she's moved from first grade to second this school year. (Yay! Just found out my former work neighbor has volunteered this year, too! We're going to walk over to the school together!)

My mom is recuperating. She's still bruised - really bruised - from her belly button down to the tops of her thighs, all around her entire body. I had no idea the stent surgery would be so traumatic to her body! But she came out with us last night and visited with my sister-in-law. It was the first time she was out, except for her one doctor's visit, since the surgery!

So J has been taking some pictures during After-School to hang in the gym. I'm sorry to say his pictures are better than the ones I take! It helps that he's taking photos of the kids in the schoolyard so there's great color and great lighting as they play on the swingset and the slide, etc. But J's shots all have an element of movement to them; he tilts the camera on an angle. I spend so much time lining things up and trying to make them centered and straight - I want to take a photography class! (Just thought I'd throw that in there for no good reason!)

Well, I think it's time I do a little work, before we leave for school! More soon!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My all time favorite Dooce blog post is...

One foot in front of the other.

For the record. So that I don't ever forget.

Piece of Cake!!!

WARNING: grossness below, in reference to my bone graft....

I had a lower molar extracted yesterday, and a bone graft done in its place.

Now, if you know me, you know that I rarely admit to any nervousness or fear; I usually plow right through, thinking positively, sure that all will be just fine.

The body, however, doesn't lie.

I guess, in response to the stress of my mom's surgery, and the impending extraction and graft, my body finally said, "Uh-uh. We're done. Take a rest."

Aside from some period-related symptoms that were a week early (sorry, guys!), on Saturday we drove up to the lake for the weekend. After a wonderful dinner Friday night, I woke up with a sore throat. And at the lake, I slept all day. Until 7pm. At night. From around 10:30am. In the morning. That is unheard of for me!!! Unless I'm really sick, I can't sleep during the day. And not 'cause I'm never tired - it's just that when it's light out, I can't sleep.

Well, I couldn't. Before. Obviously I can now. Because I did. For eight-and-a-half hours.

So we went home; Jack thought I'd recover better at home. We went to church Sunday morning, I spent a relatively quiet afternoon at home, did a little food shopping, made some Caribbean chicken for dinner, and we watched some TV and went to bed.

I got up yesterday morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, went to the oral surgeon's office, not nervous at all. Yeah, right. My blood pressure was 158/90. Not nervous. Sure, Krys... My usual BP is 120/80. BIG difference! Even the nurse said not to worry, that if they take it after the procedure, it'll most likely be back to normal.

And it went so smoothly. I can't believe it. I've had an extraction done before, by this same doctor and that one went well, too, but it wasn't followed up with a bone graft. Now I had to decide last week: synthetic, cow or cadaver. I lit up like a Christmas tree - "Synthetic!"

Until I looked at the doctor's face. He looked crestfallen. I just knew what he was going to tell me so I said, "Okay, just do what's best, but we'll never discuss it out loud again." And he smiled and proceeded to assure me that there was no risk of infection or disease, that my healing would be much easier and much faster... "That's okay - no discussion. Just do what you have to do."

So that's how I got "Fred" in my head. I had to name it, you know. Mom asked if I knew anything about the person... "NO! All bones are white and all blood is red! I don't want to know anything else!!"

I didn't know until this past Sunday (thanks, Bob!) that they use pulverized bone for the bone graft. I had visions of a piece of "Fred" just getting glued in place...

Okay, grossness over!

The whole procedure went so well. So far, so good. No swelling, virtually no pain or soreness. No bleeding. I LOVE Dr. V!!! If you're local here in the Passaic/Essex county area and you need a good oral surgeon, just contact me! I know a GREAT one!!!

Well, it's time to get back to work - I am, after all, at work... More soon, everyone!

Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP Patrick

Just heard Patrick Swayze died.

So sad.

He was sick for so long, fought the hard fight for so long.

But what hurts the most is what his poor wife will be going through. They were so obviously in love with each other - I can't imagine what she is feeling now.

I remember when my dad died, I was at the wake, talking to a work friend, and my mom walked over and reprimanded me for "socializing" at my father's wake. (Apparently I had been looking like I was enjoying myself a little too much.)

I admit I got a bit annoyed, but then Eric said something I'll never forget. He told me not to worry about my mom, not to be embarrassed - that her husband had died and of course she was upset.

So I jumped down his throat and said, "My FATHER died. I'M upset, too!"

But he said - wait for it, here it comes: "It's different for you, Krys. He was your dad. You didn't pick him. Your mom? She chose that man to spend the rest of her life with, to have a life with, to have children with. She chose him over all others. Of course you love your dad, but it's a different love than the love between your mom and your dad, and you have to understand that. If my wife died, as much as we fight like cats and dogs, I'd miss her with all my heart, there'd be a huge hole in my life that no one else could fill. It's different."

And I never forgot that. Such thought-provoking words, so simple though. And that was my first thought with the announcement that Patrick Swayze had died. "His poor wife." Of course, he's not suffering any more. But, oh, his poor wife...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Labor Day Weekend 2009 - A Recap

So nothing's ever easy...

I took the 11:20am train from Hoboken to Lake Hopatcong, with a transfer scheduled for 1pm in Dover. We got in to Dover at 12:47. The 1pm train never came. We waited and I checked the schedule and called Customer Service and guess what! The next train was 3:19pm! I called Jack and he came to pick me up - thanks for not making me wait, hon!!!

We spent Saturday and Sunday outside on the lake, cutting down trees and paddleboating and suntanning, and then had dinner at the Olive Garden (mmm!) on Sunday. We went back to the house, and laid down to watch some TV on our one channel. Jack fell asleep right away and I turned the TV off at 10:30pm and was out cold by 10:45! That's unheard of for me!!! I slept in 'til the ungodly hour of 8:10am on Monday and by then, of course, 1/2 the day was over! We came home, did 4 loads of laundry, went to Shop Rite, and had Mom over for dinner. Then we watched a little TV, and went to bed, ready to start this short (thank God!) week!

A few of the hightlights:
  1. Jack was cutting down that tree I mentioned, and part of the trunk fell onto his toe. We're talking a major blood blister here!
  2. Then I was walking of the house and tripped on the mat. It's a good thing the screen door doesn't latch closed too securely or I'd have been cut in half by the screen door frame as I went careening through it, arms and legs windmilling to catch my balance. Totally hurt my big toe - sympathy pains for Jack? Nope. Just clumsy!
  3. Ordered invitations for the engagement party we're throwing for my daughter - ordered them online. They looked great in the photo - hope they come out as nice in person!
  4. Read a new Kathy Reichs book: 206 Bones. It was a good one. I sort of strayed away from a couple of her more recent books but this one caught my attention and I did enjoy it. That television show Bones is based on the main character in the series.
  5. Started Richard North Patterson's new book, The Spire. So far, it's great! Of course, I left it on the bed at the lake, and I'm halfway through it so I won't be able to finish it until next weekend at the earliest, possibly the weekend after that if we don't go to the lake next week!
  6. Ordered our new dryer - yay! No more hanging clothes to dry. Which, by the way, totally worked over the summer while Jack was home to put them out during the day and take them down when they were dry. But with both of us now gone all day at work, we need that dryer! It's scheduled for delivery tomorrow, don't know what time yet. Will have to reschedule if it's not first thing in the morning, 'cause of Mom's surgery.
  7. Packed up for my all day crop this weekend - 10am to 10pm on Saturday, all meals and snacks included. Will most likely leave soon after dinner... if Jack doesn't come to the lake but stays home to install the dryer, I'll have a 1/2 hour ride home at 10pm so I might leave a little earlier...
  8. Dinner out on 09/18 with the Credit Union - we always go to a nice restaurant.
  9. Possible dinner out on 10/8 with my old bosses and a couple of former coworkers - that will be fun so I hope the day works out for all of us!
Jack starts After-School on Wednesday, and my mom's having surgery that same day. She's having 2 stents put into arteries in her legs and hopefully staying in the hospital only one day or so - she's hoping to come home but I have a funny feeling she's going to be in there at least overnight... She's been 39 years old for a while now, so they might be a bit leery of her bouncing back from major surgery quite as easily as she used to...

We're going to meet one of the new fiance's parental units on Thursday - we're going to go to the Cheesecake factory for dessert. YUM! Have to plan a VERY light lunch and dinner that day!

Well, will be downloading some photos sometime this week, hopefully - will post a few here if they turn out okay...

More soon...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friends we've never met

Just wanted to post a little something here about two people I've never met, but consider good friends. I'm not going to name any names but they know who they are: H & F.

Now H has a blog that I read every day (well, every day she posts something!). I can't even remember how I found her blog, but I'm so glad I did. She and her husband F are wonderful people. They love God, their family, their friends and their country. They have values, wonderful values that permeate their lives and they are raising their children to have the same values and morals. Together they make up a family I would be proud to be a part of and they are a family I am so happy to know, even though we've never met.

But we have blogged, and texted, and IM'd and telephoned. Even though I haven't met them, I've tried to support them any way I can, with words and thoughts and prayers. I sent them a selection of books when they had to deal with something new, books I thought might help them help their son. And being the kind of people they are, they passed those books along to other families dealing with the same issues - paying it forward, so to speak.

Well, F is retiring after many years in the Navy. Their family is in the midst of some (thank God!) relatively minor health issues. F is looking for a new job, they will have to relocate who-knows-where (well, by now they might know!) and they will have to uproot their family and start again somewhere new. And we'll be there, at the other end of the Internet, cheering and clapping and supporting them and hoping it's a little closer to NJ!!!

So what made me start this post? Guess what I got in the mail the other day? An invitation to F's retirement ceremony. They don't know us! But they know us enough and care enough about us to invite us to join them on what is a very special day in their lives and I just wanted to share that with the world.

I want to tell them both, you are two very special people and we, Jack and I, are proud and happy to call you friends, and we really can't wait to meet you both! (Even though it might be a while 'cause we're unfortunately not going to be able to make it to GA for the party!)

I'll be thinking of you, F, on September 18th. And I'll be clapping wildly as you're recognized for your service to this country and for your dedication to this country, and I'll be cheering you and your family on as you start this new part of your lives! I know everything will be just wonderful - you deserve it!!!

$40 - back and forth

So we have some dear friends who live in Hoboken. Jack and G have worked together on Special Olympics for oh, I don't know, 20 years or so! We grew closer still when Jack was nominated for the position on the Credit Union's Board of Directors and G's husband M is the treasurer.

We love going out to dinner together and when the check arrives, it's always a toss-up as to who's going to grab it first. So we try to alternate paying for dinner; it seems the fairest thing to do and avoids fisticuffs and tug-of-war at the table!

Well, Jack's been spending some time at their house this summer, helping M remodel his bathroom. (A story for another time - suffice it to say they paid for a new bathroom less than two years ago but M had to tear it out and start from scratch 'cause of leaking behind the walls and in the shower floor, to say nothing of the popping floor tiles...) There were a couple of nights here and there where we went out to eat after I got off work. The usual check fights took place. One night they ordered in, paid for it all, and sent leftovers home with us, enough for three days (!) 'cause "M doesn't do Chinese leftovers." They wouldn't take any money.

Well, a couple of weeks ago we got take out again. I tried to pay and was, of course, beaten to a pulp and told my money wasn't any good there! So before we left, I put $40 and a note reading "Dinner's on us!" under someone's car keys on the end table in the parlor. And Jack and I giggled like schoolchildren all the way home 'cause we got one over on G&M!

We got home and the phone rang around midnight. G cussed us out something fierce! How dare we leave money?! She's going to get even!! Jack helped M so much feeding us is the least they can do!! Blah, blah, blah. Let her rant. Who cares? I left them $40 so all was well in our world!

A week or so later she sent home a newspaper with Jack, the local rag I don't usually get a chance to read, but G knows I'm nosy and I like to keep up with what's going on in town. Well, I carried it around for another week, 4 days at least, and almost threw it out more than once.

You know where I'm going with this, don't you, you smart readers, you?

I finally decided to skim the paper here at work before I tossed it. And what was stapled to page 6, with a note that read, "Love you guys!"

Yes.

$40.

Two twenties.

So now it's up to me to get that $40 back to them without being caught. I'm planning feverishly. Perhaps I hide it under her pillow. Or in the fridge when I get another iced tea the next time I'm there. Or I mail it to her anonymously. I thought about asking them to deposit it in her checking account at the credit union but aside from that being illegal (I think!), I'd go nuts if I couldn't balance my checkbook and I wouldn't want to do that to anyone, so I gave up on that one... Maybe I could tape it to the inside of their new shower stall, or on the toilet tank in the bathroom on the first floor, the one she doesn't use unless she goes in to clean it...

The mind is just humming away, trying to come up with something clever and funny.

Any ideas?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Less than two hours and counting...

I'm leaving work early today to take a long weekend with my hubby.

Next week is his last week of summer vacation. For the first time in 36 years he's starting school in August! August 31st, to be exact, but that's still August! AND they've taken away his winter break, so now he only has a November break, a Christmas break, and a spring break - no week off in February. Boo hoo!

Now personally I LIKED it when he had off 'cause we got to go away every other year or so with the Credit Union for a work seminar - work for him, play for me!

And I succumbed to my addiction and bought another pocketbook online. It's bad. I really do have to win the Megamillions lottery tonight! $207 million dollars. Can you even imagine??? $207 million! That number seems almost incomprehensible to me, although I'd give it my best shot comprehending it first hand!!!

So what would I do if I won???

I'd have to figure out what's better, a lump sum payout or a payout over the next 20 years. God willing, I'll still be around for the next 20 years, so it's not like I'm 95 and might not live to collect. Although we all know I could get hit by a speeding police car just stepping out my front door!! (Long story...)

I'd first of all cash the first check. Then I'd spend some of my money fixing up my mom's house, giving both my sisters some money to help with their bills and so that they have some to put away for a rainy day, and then I'd book a vacation to Disney World.

After that I'd sit down, do some digging to find a good, reliable financial advisor, and then I'd buy some furniture! Oh, almost forgot! I'd give a little bit to a dear friend to help her pay off some debt she's struggling with, and I'd hire a maid.

Oh! And I'd quit my job, or turn it into part time, if they'd be willing, and I'd CLEAN.MY.HOUSE.

And I'd buy a laptop.

That's all. Then Jack and I would just live our lives. Together. As usual.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hmmm... So much going on, so little time to catch you up...

Wedding plans.
Wedding conflicts.
Wedding expenses.
Wedding headaches.
Lovin' it all!

My daughter is planning her wedding. Her description of her perfect day? "A beautiful wedding with a Halloween twist!" My stomach is in knots, picturing pumpkins and spider webs and candy, instead of flowers and pretty dresses and happy people... But it's her day, not mine, I know. No need to remind me!

But seriously, so far here's what's going on...

The wedding will be in her mom's backyard.
Outside.
On Halloween, 2010.
That's October 31st, for those of you who don't know.
I can't remember the last Halloween day we had that wasn't cold and miserable.

Her original thought was no jackets for the guys. On October 31st.
What could be next? Spaghetti straps for the girls? With no jackets?!

Now it's orange and purple lights, with jack-o-lanterns and invitations that are Halloween-themed. But still wedding invitations.

And a dress. Not a gown. 'Cause she's "not a foo-foo sort of person."

And her friend was taking photos for her. Nope. We told her we're getting a photographer for her.

And we'd like to pay for her gown.

And we'll pay for her wedding cake.

Her mom is paying for the tents and the catering, last I heard. Which I interpret to mean we don't stand a chance getting the extra guests we want - we have 13 out of 130. Yes, I feel a bit penalized 'cause we have a smallish family... Something else to deal with...

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Tragic Accident on the Hudson River

I'm really glad I wasn't in the office on Saturday. My office windows look right out onto the Hudson River, exactly in the spot that helicopter and plane collided just before noon on Saturday. 9 people died in this crash. Such a tragically different outcome than just 7 months ago when that jet crash-landed in the river and all survived.

I've been glued to news reports. The older I get, the more I watch the news, and the less I watch for entertainment (although I will admit to a couple of sitcom and drama addictions). As I post this entry, I can see several police boats and divers going in and coming out of the water, searching for the last two bodies and the mangled wreckage of the Piper.

My heart goes out to the families of those who died. What a sad, sad thing.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Someone needs your prayers

I have been keeping up with The Vedra Family these past two years. Their beautiful baby Ellie was born in 2007 with a rare, unknown neurological disorder. This beautiful family has simply gone on, blessed by God with a strength born of love, to care for this extremely disabled baby.

She is absolutely beautiful.

Her mama got pregnant again. They asked for prayers that their new baby would be healthy.

Hannah Grace was born at 12:06 this morning. It appears she suffers from the same debilitating disorder that her older sister does. She was rushed into the NICU immediately.

I don't know Emily and Adam, or their older sons, Noah and Seth. But what I do know from reading their blog is that this family, in the face of such extreme disappointment and worry - this family is consumed by love and patience and grace. This young couple has made a wonderful home for their children, for all four of them, and I pray, and ask you to pray also, that God continues to help them through whatever it is that faces them.

Take a few moments and browse through their blog: The Vedra Family. You will come away with a new appreciation for your own health and your family's, as well as a broken heart, that two such beautiful little angels face this long road. They are lucky to have the family they have.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Still fuming...

Took the train in to work this morning. As I was boarding, my phone rang and it was my friend G. We started talking and since we were talking about my daughter and potential wedding plans/issues/problems, I was specifically talking in a lower voice 'cause I was referring to people by name, and you never know who's sitting behind/next/in front of you...

We went through the 3rd stop and some guy walked over to me, leaned in and asked me, really nastily, if I was intending to keep talking on the phone all the way to Hoboken.

My response? "As a matter of fact, yes. You're just not as entertaining as I'd hoped so I'm going to stay on the phone!"

Now, had I been speaking or laughing loudly, I'd have apologized and lowered my voice to be a bit quieter, but G was repeatedly asking me, "What did you say? I couldn't hear you!" I was consciously being careful not to talk very loudly so I know for a fact that I wasn't one of those rude people who just scream into the phone with no consideration for their surroundings...

What nerve! I'm still ticked at that guy!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vacation Photos...

A pretty sunset - but please don't ask me what night this was taken or where we were - I have no idea!

Jack en route back to our ship after a rainy morning on Grand Turk.

Leaving the city - one of the most beautiful sights I'll ever see. It never fails to move me to tears. We were standing next to a man who was with his 15- or 16-old daughter. As we passed Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, he told her that her grandmother had come through Ellis Island in 1895. She kept asking him questions like, "Was the Statue of Liberty there then? How old was Grandma? Does she remember what it was like going through immigration on Ellis Island?" I was so moved that he knew enough about his family history that he could teach it to his daughter and that she was so interested...

My first lunch on the ship, before we even left! Mozzarella, roasted peppers and tomato on an Italian roll, with pesto. Mmmm!!!

Waiting in the terminal in NYC to board the ship - SO impatient to get our vacation started!

The last towel animal our cabin steward left for us (and my favorite!).
Can't go anywhere without stopping into a bookstore!

This photo was taken from the tender returning us to our ship; we'd spent the morning and early afternoon on Half Moon Cay, Carnival's private island in the Bahamas.

What beautiful shades of blue! They really, really looked this wonderful! (the beach at Half Moon Cay)

Sitting by the pool on board the ship - not our best photo, but we were having fun!

The pool at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, on Grand Turk. All cruiseship passengers were allowed to use the pool at no charge. It's the largest pool on the island (it totals three pools, each this size, connected at the far end, to make one giant pool).

Our first Cruise Elegant night; another passenger offered to take a photo of the two of us. (I look thinner when my legs are showing!)

"To your muster station!!!" (lifeboat drill before we left NYC)

A hallway off one of the bars on deck 3, I believe. That's Jack in the red shirt, off in the distance.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Darling Daughter Is Engaged!!!

It just happened last night!!!
A romantic proposal, Mr. Right-for-Her, and the rest is history!
Suffice it to say that his proposal made her forget they had to leave the Mets game - her first at CitiField! - early!
He faked being sick, took her to a hotel on the NJ waterfront, overlooking the Manhattan skyline, had arranged for a a table-for-two to be set up on an outside terrace, complete with 2 dozen roses and a bunch of candles - and the ring!
A beautiful diamond solitaire, set in platinum.
We're very happy for our girl, but I must say, here where it's only you and me, that Dad is having a bit of a hard time dealing with his baby girl getting - gulp! married!

More about the engagement (and our vacation!) later this week!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A picture is worth...

Mom and me at the wedding reception...
My darling daughter and her beau...
Hubby and me, enjoying ourselves immensely! (this was at the end of the evening, so tie is askew, hair is a bit flat... sorry!)The GORGEOUS bride and groom - what a lovely couple!

At church, after the wedding, before the reception...






Monday, July 13, 2009

The wedding is here and gone...

And MAN-O-MAN, was the bride gorgeous! (I will download some photos later on - I'm at work with no access to my photos on my home PC...)

My daughter described it perfectly: "She looks like she's wearing a cupcake!" And if you know my niece, that's an incredibly apt description! The gown was strapless, the softest, whitest white you could imagine, with crystals on the body of the dress, a basic A-line but with a crinoline underneath that just ballooned it out, gathered with fabric roses scattered across the skirt. It bustled up underneath so the look of the skirt wasn't compromised once it was danceable! She had a removable cathedral length veil, edged in crystals and a shorter one that stayed attached to her tiara. Her hair was just GORGEOUS! Curls on top of softer curls...

To backtrack a bit... awesome appetizers at Gianna's, where the rehearsal dinner was held.

Wedding cocktail hour? O.M.G. A recap: fajita bar, grilled vegetables bar, antipasto bar, salad bar, fruit and cheese bar, pasta station (cheese or lobster-filled ravioli, with your choice of red seafood sauce or alfredo), carving station (turkey, lamb, pork, prime rib), raw bar, seafood bar, sushi bar, hot appetizers (shrimp scampi, shrimp w/ peppers, steak tips, stuff I never even looked at 'cause I was stuffed to the gills!), mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes served in footed sundae glasses, waiters circulating with mini stuffed pizza appetizers and bruschetta, and there was a martini bar, too.

Entree choices: stuffed chicken breast, chilean sea bass, chateaubriand.

Open bar.

Wedding cake and Venetian table, with chocolate fountain, ice cream sundae bar, Italian pastries, fresh zeppolis and canolis, espresso and cappucino bar, and coffee bar with your choice of liqueurs.

I starved myself to fit into my gown and I must have really outdone myself 'cause everyone told me how beautiful I looked. What? I look like a dog every other day of the year??? My hair looked so nice that even Jack offered to try to help me blow it out like that more often - when I told him it took my hairdresser 1/2 an hour to blow it out and my hair isn't even shoulder length, well, he didn't withdraw the offer but he stopped mentioning it....

Come back tomorrow or the next day to see some photos...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Win an Elisa Lou bag!!!

Melissa at The Inspired Room is giving away an Elisa Lou bag!
OMG! The colors! The design! The bag!
Go leave her a comment - maybe you'll win!!!
(But if you don't, I hope I do!!!)

Oops, I missed it!

I missed 04:05:06 on 07/08/09.
And there were two of them, AM and PM.
And I missed them both.
I also missed 07/08/09 @ 10:11:12.
Again, missed 'em both, AM and PM.
Oh, well.
Saw a challenge on Liz Kartchner's blog Just Us and thought, "Cool! I can do that!"
But I didn't.
Par for the course.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Michael Jackson Memorial

I thought it was tasteful and a lovely couple of hours.

EXCEPT for the couple of speakers who insisted on politicizing the event. When Al Sharpton walked on stage, I took my earphones out, and went back to work, only checking every few moments to see if he was done yet. I refused to watch him. But unfortunately I did turn back in time to hear him tell those beautiful, grieving children (paraphrasing here) that they shouldn't believe every awful thing they hear about their daddy.

WTF???

This was their father's memorial service! Don't you think that with all the trouble MJ took to protect his children from the public and from the media that perhaps they might not know all the gory details of his life??? So you bring it up at his memorial service??? AS is an ASS.

I'm not a huge fan of Michael Jackson. But as is almost always the case, I can certainly go back and appreciate his work post-mortem, which is a real shame. I knew he was talented while he was still alive, but admittedly I sometimes got distracted by what others called his odd persona. Brooke Shields' eulogy was lovely - she briefly mentioned that others might have called him "odd" but to him he was just her friend. She truly humanized him in a way no one else did, until his beautiful daughter got up on stage, took a deep breath, and told the world just how much she loved her daddy.

And that's when I cried. That's when the loss of his great talent, this man who really did mean so much to so many - that's when it hit me. And that's when I cried.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Better Late Than Never

I was sans computer for the whole weekend (definitely need to buy a laptop post cruise!)...

Happy 4th of July!! And a special thanks to the military, active and retired!

Had a lovely weekend - for a change, the bulk of the long weekend was without rain. It seems as though it's been raining here in NJ for months; actually it's only been one month...

Here's the story of the weekend: Daughter and her boyfriend and a girlfriend came up on Saturday, and I picked Mom up so she could celebrate the 4th with us. We sunbathed, ate, sunbathed some more.

In between sunbathing and eating, hubby and daughter's boyfriend decided to take the paddleboat out into the lake. A little while later, my daughter asked me where they were. We looked up and saw them waaaaay out on the other side of the lake. "Oh," she said, "there they are." I looked up a minute or two later and saw a cabin cruiser passing in the general area where the men were, then I kept reading my book.

All of a sudden daughter says, "Hey, what are they doing? Are they standing up?"

It turns out they were standing up, to put on their life jackets! That cabin cruiser swamped the little paddleboat and they were submerged for a moment, then they were really low in the water! And they started bailing with their hands! Several boats passed them; the one that caused it didn't even stop! Eventually a party boat stopped, offered them a cup to bail with, then offered to tow them home!

So they got towed home by three young 20-somethings, each drinking a beer, and 4 dogs!

It was better than TV!!!

Thank goodness of course that no one was drowned or panicked out there in the water, but from shore? How funny!!!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

My answer is...

"Yes, and what's wrong with that???!!!"

Click on this link to see what I'm talking about!!!

http://www.snotr.com/video/2630

Friday, June 26, 2009

Finally Scrap Creative!


So finally, I created some cards and I'm posting them here! I took a class with the very talented Lisa T (her blog is called Stamp with Lisa T). There were only two of us there with her; our 3rd classmate took sick (feel better, Jo'Anne!).

Lisa cut and scored all the paper for us, so we were able to jump right in! She's a great instructor - she had a finished set there for reference and is a big help when you get stuck! The great thing is that this project will make an awesome gift for someone! And I almost always need an awesome gift for someone, and I never have one home! [So I suppose I should take this home and not leave it on my desk at work...]

The colors are so soft and complement each other so well. And I got to practice my blender pen technique, and I used some SU Crystal Effects (which I've bought but never used! Now I'm hooked!), and I like the 3-D effect of cutting out and raising some of the flowers...

I know this isn't the best picture, but... no one ever said photography was my thang!!!

Rest in peace, Michael

Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest yesterday.

This shocked me. He was 50. He would have turned 51 in August.

This man, this boy, I'm almost at a loss for words.

He was not one of my favorites, but I did admire his talent. He was bigger than life, he created that image for himself, and he created, in my humble opinion, all of the bad press he got, too.

I don't know if he really did all of the terrible things that hit the newspapers, but I can say I did sympathize with him, to a degree.

I went to college at age 16-1/2, after my junior year in high school. It was a Freshman Honors Program at the University of Delaware, and the group of us, 133 in all (I think) were housed on the campus of Wesley College, a small nursing college in Dover, DE. We were a group of strange children, some of us very bright, some of us bright enough, some of us struggling to find out who we were, some of us convinced we were "different." Some of us were on the straight and narrow path, some strayed and experimented with drugs and alcohol. Some of us tried suicide, some of us quit the program, some of us stayed and succeeded and moved through the rest of our college years.

I liken us to the kids in The Breakfast Club, a small group of misfits, all of us very different, each in their own way. And we had to learn, about ourselves, about each other, about life.

Michael Jackson reminded me almost of an amalgamation of a bunch of my classmates. You could describe him as shy, retiring, reclusive, smart, bright, a genius, talented, kind-hearted, big-hearted, generous, easy to take advantage of, unaware of the real world, protected, sheltered...

I don't know if I believe he did those horrible things; I wouldn't be surprised to find that he just didn't think things could be misinterpreted, that his intentions were not criminal or sick, that he just had a big heart and couldn't say no to children.

I could be wrong: he could have been all of those terrible things of which he was accused.

I just don't know.

I do know that he was very talented, whether I personally liked his style or not, and there's just no one around to take his place. I did like some of his work, and always admired his abilities.

If it turns out he was abusing drugs, with or without the enabling of his family and friends and medical staff, well then, I'm sorry for that. Ultimately it's always our own responsibility. But that won't take away from his legacy.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rest in peace, Farrah

How very sad. Farrah Fawcett passed away today.

Cancer sucks.

No one is safe.

Every time I hear about another loss, it brings it all home again. I suffer all over again. I feel the pain all over again. I feel the loss all over again.

I didn't know her. But I truly feel a loss with her passing. Seems a bit strange, even to me, but over the past few years, since she announced that she was suffering from anal cancer, she did what she could to raise awareness. She released a video she filmed while taking treatments, while suffering. She did this to help others. She proved herself to be a strong, wonderful, passionate fighter.

She was more than just Jill Munroe from Charlie's Angels.

Rest in peace, Farrah.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Whatever happened to polite?

I found this blog entry at Ordinary Courage. All I can say is "thank you" to Brene! Thank you for speaking so eloquently to this very real lack of respect that is permeating society today.

Is it really so hard to be polite? To say "thanks" or "you're welcome" or "excuse me"??? She was prompted to write about the rudeness of people on cell phones, how self-absorbed some of these people are, how they ignore everyone around them, how they ignore others and treat them as if they're not even there, how rude and ignorant they are to those who are working for them or doing something for them...

One of my pet peeves, and, yes, it's one of many and it's not going to save the world... one of my pet peeves is when I drive through a tollbooth and I hand that person my hard-earned money (we don't have an EZ-Pass), 9 times out of 10 they don't say thank you. Now I know they're getting paid to be there, and I know that I'm not giving them money out of the kindness of my heart (I sort of have to, if I want to go any further on the road!), but would it kill them to say "thanks" or "have a nice day" - especially when I say (and I don't know why I do this!) thanks to them (for taking my money????)? This will ALWAYS prompt me to make a nasty little comment like, "How RUDE!" as I drive off to finish my trip.

I hope I remember to always be polite and considerate and not take anyone for granted. And please, remind me I said this if you see me treat someone like the dirt on the bottom of my shoe!!!

I'm worried about what's going on here...

If you're concerned about the US, read The Man on the Edge today.
I like the way he thinks.

Books.

Books.

I love them.

I love reading them.

I love being surrounded by them.

I love the smell and the feel of them.

I would rather read than do almost anything else in the world, and that includes eat. (Yes, believe it or not!)

Books are part of my life, part of my home, part of me.

I am always reading one, sometimes several at a time.

I learn from books. I teach with books. I decorate with books. I buy books. I share books. I borrow books.

I collect books. Signed books. Unsigned books. Books by certain authors. First editions. Reprints. Old copies, damaged copies, annotated copies. Books about certain subjects. Books about books.

I have become recently obsessed with the idea of creating a book. Designing it. Writing it. Binding it. Making a book that is "me." I've been crawling through the crafting sections of a few B&Ns, looking for a specific book that was recommended to me: How to Make Books, by Esther Smith. Two stores said they had it in stock, but it was nowhere on the shelves. I'm thinking of ordering it online, sight unseen, even though I'm a bit leery about doing so. I'd really rather see it, touch it, know that I want it because I see it and love it.

I've browsed through other books in the store, other books about the same topic, but I wasn't thrilled with them. What if I don't like this one? Just because someone recommended it to me doesn't mean I won't be disappointed in it.

Lord knows I've bought other books sight unseen. What makes this one different? What makes me hesitate about buying this one? I've spent $80+ on a book about libraries, sight unseen. Why am I so uncertain about buying this one? It almost makes me think I should buy it, just because I have no real reason not to... (Sorry about that ending preposition...)

But I'll try a few other stores first. There's a Borders at the lake that I'll be passing en route to the beauty supply store, which is the only place I can now find my favorite hairspray. Which is another story, for another day...