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

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Prayers for my friend

Way back when, when I was in college, I met a girl who turned out to be one of my best friends. We stayed in touch for years, I was in her wedding, she came to mine. But, as often happens, we emailed a bit, called once or twice, and eventually I stopped hearing from her.

No big crisis. No falling out. Just life.

Well, this past Christmas I didn't send her a Christmas card. I'd sent one every year and for the past 3 or 4, didn't get one back. (So, I'm a slow learner!) I did put a note in her mom's card, though, asking/hoping she was okay and asking Mom to forward my email address to her.

Lo and behold, a couple of weeks ago, I got an email from her, with just a sentence or two to catch me up on all I'd missed.

Then today, a missive, all about how the boys are 15 and 13 and taller than her (OMG!), how her husband is doing well and luckily for her, able to be home to help her out when she needs it. He's helping out, too, with the boys, getting them where they need to go, when they need to go, getting them up in the morning and out to the bus stop by 6:05am...

All of this struck a chord with me. Why is she making such a point of him doing his fatherly/husbandly duties? Shouldn't it be like that anyway? Then I remembered previous letters, saying how he was in this band and in this orchestra, and teaching this class and that course...

Then the paragraph that took my breath away.

She has breast cancer. She was diagnosed last August. THAT'S why her mom didn't include an update about K and her family in her Christmas card, as I'd asked.

She started chemo, finished January 1st. She started radiation today. She was able to work throughout the chemo and is planning to continue working through the radiation. Then she'll start hormone therapy.

"Other than being overweight and bald," apparently she's "fine." The prognosis is good. [THANK.YOU.GOD.]

I walk every year in the Susan B. Koman Cancer Walk. Thankfully, I've been lucky enough not to know anyone with breast cancer. My husband's grandmother died of it many, many years ago, when he was a young boy.

Now it's personal.

Now it's K.

I will be walking for her. For her as somone with breast cancer. For her as a survivor. And I ask you all, each and every one of you, if you can, if you would, PLEASE PRAY FOR MY FRIEND, K. And if you can help support the fight against breast cancer, please do. For me. For K. For our daughters and sisters and mothers and aunts and grandmothers and neighbors and babysitters and dogwalkers and cashiers and bank tellers - for all those women who do not deserve to suffer from this horrible, horrible disease.

We need to do whatever it takes to eradicate it (along with other cancers and diseases, of course). But now, this fight is personal.

Please explain this to me...

Didn't someone promise less spending? Or was I listening to someone else's campaign promises?

$819 BILLION. With a B.

Unanimously rejected by the Republicans (thank you, guys!). Passed, obviously, by the Democrats. With the possibility of increasing this spending/port bill by ANOTHER $71 BILLION when it gets to the Senate.

Supposedly too much spending, not enough tax cuts.

Well, where would he get the money to distribute if he actually cut our taxes?

I missed the number of pages: 600+? 800+?

As I've mentioned before, I don't believe in a single party system. We have multiple parties for a reason. Someone has to ride herd on the other party (regardless of which way it goes: Republican > Democrat or Democrat > Republican).

I'll be voting party line this next election, just to be sure that he doesn't have free reign.

Remember "checks and balances"?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nothing to blog about so...

Here's what makes me happy - in no particular order, just sort of stream of consciousness... (got this idea from Pike's Pickles)...

  1. family, present and past
  2. Jack
  3. friends
  4. books
  5. reading
  6. flowers - especially irises, and especially NOT carnations
  7. my faith
  8. my homes
  9. work (most days!)
  10. pizza
  11. unsweetened iced tea
  12. Clint Eastwood
  13. Dan Fogelberg
  14. movies
  15. TV
  16. the smell of garlic and onions cooking - smells like home
  17. pumpkin pie
  18. cinammon anything
  19. coffee
  20. puppies and dogs
  21. scrapping
  22. creating
  23. decorating
  24. blogging
  25. reading blogs
  26. children
  27. my neighbors
  28. my in-laws
  29. reading to my first graders (I volunteer every other week)
  30. traveling
  31. cruising
  32. flying
  33. being a tourist
  34. weddings
  35. good news
  36. stationery
  37. notebooks
  38. pens and markers (not a big fan of pencils, I must admit)
  39. techno-anything - with a little education I could seriously be a computer geek! (from the operational side, not the programming/repair side!)
  40. writing letters
  41. getting cards in the mail
  42. the idea of retiring in a few years
  43. diamonds
  44. amethysts
  45. the color purple
  46. the color green
  47. the color yellow
  48. losing weight
  49. salad
  50. wearing a smaller size
  51. sweatpants
  52. freshly laundered sheets
  53. fresh air
  54. parties
  55. eating outside
  56. BBQ
  57. having someone cook for me
  58. Christmas
  59. Thanksgiving
  60. my birthday
  61. working on the computer...

Gotta run - my ride's coming to pick me up!

What makes YOU happy????

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Please explain this to me.

President Obama invited some people to the White House (or the Capitol, wherever) to discuss his trillion dollar stimulus package (think I'll get more than $1 this time?!?!?).

He plans to increase benefits for low-income workers who pay no income taxes.


And who is paying for this? Me. And you. Those of us who actually are paying their income taxes will have to pay more so that he can give more benefits to low income workers who pay no income taxes.

I have a huge problem with this. It just doesn't jive with my "help those who help themselves" philosophy. What it does is reward those who work the system.

Please don't jump down my throat about those low-income people who can't afford to pay all those taxes and live in this country 'cause it's too expensive. I don't buy designer clothes or name brand anything unless I can afford it, and yet I'm behind a guy paying with foodstamps who's wearing $100 sneakers and a $300 leather jacket. Me? My $8 Wal-Mart winter jacket. Hmmm.

Fair Tax please. Just read it. If you buy it, you pay tax on it. If you don't, you don't. You get to bring home your salary. What a concept! Get what you earn, instead of thousands of dollars less.

And by the way, "don't listen to Limbaugh"??? [Insert another WTF??? here!!!] Last I checked, this is America. I can say anything I want, so can Rush, and if I choose to listen to him, you have NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's a sad day...

My friend Alan passed away this morning.

I met him when Jack got nominated and elected to the credit union's board; Alan was married to Gail, and she's a teacher and board member. We've vacationed with them several times and this last time, I was truly blessed to spend some quality time with my friend Gen and Alan. We'd go for coffee every morning, just sit outside the cafe and people watch and talk. He was such a good man.

Alan suffered for many years from brain tumors. He'd have surgery and bounce back.

And the tumors would bounce back, too.

He was a true miracle man, surviving countless surgeries and so many sessions of radiation and chemotherapy. Even his wife really believed he would beat it again; we just couldn't believe it would finally get him.

This last session was different. It seemed to weaken him more, take him further along in the disease. He wound up this time in a coma, then he came out of it, then he was moved to a care facility for 24-hour care, then he became unresponsive again.

Gail would sit by his side all day, every day. She would sprinkle him with holy water, pray with him and for him. She has such faith.

But I worry that this might truly be more than she can handle. She and Alan met when they were older, rather than younger. They were so much in love, they were so perfect for each other. He cared for her, about her - it was so obvious. He was her life.

And when I say this, I don't mean he was her life (or she was his) to the exclusion of all else. They just truly personified love. They were the perfect example of a happily married couple.

Alan retired two or three years ago, along with Gail. They spent every minute of every day together, I believe, either at their mountain hideaway in PA or traveling to the Caribbean or to Vegas. They so loved to travel together!

This next journey is going to be a tough one for Gail. She's going to have to go it alone. And I am worried about her. We all said she's so strong, going through all this over and over again, but she had Alan then. And he fought with her and for her and she fought with him and for him.

She's lucky - she has phenomenal family and great friends. And we'll be there to help her any way we can. But we're not Alan.

Please keep Alan and Gail in your prayers for me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I won't be discussing yesterday yet...

All it's going to do is cause me to have to defend my feelings and I don't think I should have to do that.

Suffice it to say that I did NOT enjoy the reference to "3 First Ladies," I did NOT enjoy Aretha's version of My Country 'Tis of Thee, I did NOT like the poet, her reading or her poem, and I REALLY did not like the benediction. I thought MB looked lovely, and the girls looked so cute! I resented the hugeness of the inauguration - I thought he wanted to spread the wealth, not spend the wealth. I think personally they're a lovely family - I liked seeing his daughter give her dad the thumbs up and take pictures with her tiny camera. I liked seeing his wife lean forward to put her hand on his shoulder and give her husband a little squeeze. They truly looked so happy together while dancing at the balls last night. (Although I didn't like her gown.)

I hope with all my heart that he does a good job. I don't believe in him or in his plans. I think he has a lot of people fooled. I think he will make decisions that the people do not like, even his own supporters, once he's in office and privy to all the information. And for that I'm truly sorry. There are a lot of people in for, in my humble opinion, a huge disappointment.

But if we're all very lucky, he'll do a good job, make good decisions, not steal from me to give to those who didn't work as hard as I did to have what I have now. GWB has already begun to implement the return of our troops, and BO will be taking full credit for it once it happens 'cause it will/might happen on his watch. And that's how it goes. The one to blame is gone, and the one taking all the credit for what's been already started will be there to take that credit.

He is the President, though, and I will support my president as I believe all Americans should have supported GWB during his administration. I will most assuredly be critical when I don't agree, but this is America and I am allowed.

I'm off to find an email address for GWB - I want to send him a thank you note.

P.S. Those of you who know me know what I think about reading. I read anytime, anywhere, anythingl. Well, I read a great blog post today and I wanted to share it with you... Go to Zen Habits and read what Leo Babauta wrote about learning to enjoy reading.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I saw it after it happened...

My office is a cubicle but I'm at the windows and I face the Hudson River. I've spent the last three days in meetings and this afternoon, during our E-line and R-line meetings, we heard all the sirens.

We're in Hoboken. We hear sirens all the time. We really didn't think anything of it. I didn't hear a crash.

But when I got back to my desk, the plane had already crashed. It was somewhere up around the 50's, pretty much across from Jack's school if it were riverfront, maybe a bit higher, but the currents were so strong the plane was drifting south really quickly. I could almost make out the people standing on the wings, but I'm not sure if I really saw it or if I knew they were there 'cause we were watching it live on the computer.

We were plastered to the windows. People were running out onto Pier A, and uptown, onto Pier B, just to watch. By the time the plane drifted even closer, all the passengers and crew had been rescued.

Thank you, God. They couldn't have done it without you.

It was 18 degrees this morning, real feel 10 degrees with the wind chill. The Hudson River was really cold. I heard later 60 people were in the water. And aside from some rather minor injuries, considering, so far, at least, everyone is okay.

They said the pilot made a heroic and perfect landing under the circumstances. There were 2 pilots on board, according to the news.

I beg to differ. God was their co-pilot today. They couldn't have done it without Him.

We'll be glued to the news tonight, just to make sure that the people are all okay.

President Bush is speaking - I'm going to go and listen. Tomorrow I'm sending him a thank you note, if I can find an email address for him. He deserves it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

There's a new guy...

...in my daughter's life. Not yet serious, she says. Nice guy, she says. A year older than her, she says. Lives a mile away from her, she says. A supervisor for NJ Transit, she says.

We went to the Board meeting after dinner (It passed! It passed! Jack will no longer be working without a contract if it now gets ratified.). The new guy came to pick her up. She kissed us goodbye (we waited out front with her so she didn't have to wait alone) and ran and got in the car and they drove away. We went back into the school to walk out the back door and go home. Jack was on the phone with a friend. DD called. Come out front, she said. He wants to meet you, she said.

No chance to brush my teeth or see if the hair helmet was holding up - he double parked his car in the bus stop to run in and say, "Hi, it's nice to meet the parents." Hmmm, not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

Now as we all know, manners matter to me. And the ex had manners. With us, anyway. This one's cuter, in my humble opinion, and has manners. Risked a ticket to meet us. One point for him. Nice smile. And when I said, "We'll have to do dinner," he said, "Sure!" Two more points for him.

Sales Conference

No, I'm not dead.

I'm starting Sales Conference.

I will be in meetings from 9am to 4:30pm, today, tomorrow and Thursday.

Tonight I have dinner at Anthony David's in Hoboken.

Tomorrow I have dinner at Court Street in Hoboken (yummm!!!).

Thursday I have a manicure appointment at 6:30pm.

Friday Jack and I have dinner at Frank's Waterside in North Bergen.

I have sporadic access to voice mail and email, and unless I stay up really late and fall asleep during the meetings, virtually no access to the Internet and this blog.

Until the weekend. When it turns C.O.L.D. When double digits would feel like summer (or at least spring). When I have a three day weekend. When I take Mom's laptop to the lake and hack into my neighbor's wireless.

OH. BIG NEWS! You all know how much I miss my mom (she's in AZ visiting my sister P - who, by the way, I also miss, bigtime!).

I GOT TO SEE MY MOM THE OTHER NIGHT!!! P got herself a webcam and with Mom's laptop we were able to video chat. Okay, I can handle Mom visiting P if we can do this once in a while. Just for the record. (Although I'd still like her home, she can stay by you for a while longer, P!)

This has pretty much decided it for me. It's time for me to get either a webcam for my desktop, which will most likely be the route we go, or a laptop (which I'm resisting simply 'cause I hate their keyboards and the darn non-mouse-pad). And Mom, you'll just HAVE to leave your house once a week or so to come over to mine and you can video chat with P, a NICE change from "just" a daily phone call (or three!).

Friday, January 09, 2009

Words to live by...

From Stuff Happens (and then you fix it!): 9 Reality Rules to Steer Your Life Back in the Right Direction, by John Alston and Lloyd Thaxton

1. Learn to say "thank you" when you wake up in the morning. After all, if you woke up you're still alive and in the game!
2. You must never forget that life is a gift, don't trash it.
3. Shout "Why me?" when good things happen.
4. Every day walk around with your head up and a smile on your face shouting "I am the greatest."
5. The most important gift you have is your mind. Use it and your life experiences to grow.
6. No problem is bigger than you are and you have all the resources to make your life work.
7. Find out what you're good at, develop it and give it back to the world. The world is waiting for your contribution.
8. Always be the most decent human being that you can be... and

I found these 9 rules when I first started working here at my current job. I've had them hung up in my cubby for the past 4-1/2 years and since I was rearranging the stuff on my cubby walls today, I thought I'd share them with you!

And then I found something else... Procrastination is a bit of a problem for me. Even though I.HATE.BEING.LATE.FOR.ANYTHING, I have no problem putting little things off until I sometimes have to scramble to get them done by their deadlines. I'm going to scrap these on a page and create something to hang in my office... (I have no idea where I found these; I would credit the author if I did.)

1. Do it once.
2. Clear your mind.
3. Solve problems while they're still small.
4. Reduce interruptions.
5. Clean up backlogs.
6. Start operating toward the future instead of the past.
7. Stop worrying about it.
8. Now, feel better about yourself.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

My new mantra, borrowed from Leo Babauta at ZenHabits. Found him on Ali Edwards' blog.

Stop waiting for happiness. Happiness is right here, right now.

Love this!!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Since Miss Hope likes her some photos...

Jack opening one of his stocking stuffers... He's always complaining he has no energy so I bought him a bottle of One a Day Vitamins formulated for increased Energy!
This is my sister C and her beau, T. He really seems to be a nice guy. He cares a lot for her and for her kids, despite their less than enthusiastic reception of his place in their lives. And he gave C a beautiful emerald and diamond band for Christmas!
These are the beautiful flowers I got for my birthday from my sister and my mom and from the girls at the office. (This year Jack gets a failing mark for no flowers!) And sorry, P, I realized after I took this picture, that it's another one where you can't see the purple flowers in the arrangement! They were there! I swear!
Here's Maria, opening one of her presents Christmas afternoon. When she opened it, she smiled big and said, "I KNEW I could count on you for a great sweater!" As boring as it sounds when I read it here, there was such enthusiasm in her voice! It's a good thing! (I didn't take a picture of the set of knives I bought her. Knives that were identical to the knives her mother bought her that she opened earlier in the morning. Darn it! So I'm returning them and contributing to Maria's Ugg cause...)
Isn't he just one of the handsomest boys you've ever seen? This is my nephew, J. There aren't a lot of pictures of him where he's just genuinely him, no sneer, no sarcastic expression in his eyes, just J. Love him so much!
And this beauty is my niece, A. Gorgeous, right?! Another of those rare photos, a real smile, happy, carefree, no teen angst... (These last two pictures were taken in our house on Christmas Eve.)
And here's this year's mini-tree. I bought this little 5' tree for the lake. I used to stand it on a coffee table in front of the picture window, but this year, it took the place of our "real" tree in Clifton. We went looking for a 9' prelit artificial tree post-holiday. And we found one. Beautiful. Perfect for our 9' ceilings. P.S. When you have 9' ceilings, a 9' tree doesn't work 'cause the 9' refers to the height of the tree not.counting.the.stand. We now have big gouges in our library ceiling where we tried to set up the new tree we bought on a non-returnable basis at 50% off... (Thank goodness I bleach blonde highlights into my hair: I played the blonde card at Home Depot and said, "My husband said our ceilings were 9' high but I didn't know that the tree height didn't include the stand and $150 is a lot of money to spend on a tree I can't use! Can't I please return it? I just bought it this morning!..." And he let me return it!)
This was our dining room table set up for Christmas Eve dinner. And yes, baby Jesus is in the manger even though he technically wasn't born yet... And yes, those are paper plates. Boy, was this an easy holiday! Minimal dishwashing, just sweep off the table and toss in the trash!!!

Sometime in the next few weeks, I'm going to post some pictures taken in my home so you can sort of peek into my house... Another blogger did this and it was so much fun to see how others live. It was like peeking in their windows but with permission!!!

Resolutions v.2009

I usually make really sincere resolutions that deep in my heart and in my mind, honest injun, I know I'm not going to keep: be a better wife/daughter/sister/cook/housekeeper, be sure to attend Mass on every Holy Day of Obligation, budget and save more money, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. (hmmm, now I want to sit down and watch Yul Brynner in The King and I!)

This year I'm going to do something different. I'm going to make some resolutions that I know I can keep. And I resolve, too, that I won't beat myself up when I slip up and do something or forget to do something...
  • I'm NOT going to spend a lot of money on useless crap (okay, well, once the mail orders I placed over the past two or three days are delivered, I won't spend a lot of money on useless crap...)
  • I'm NOT going to buy something I don't need every time I set foot in a Wal-Mart
  • I AM going to save more money
  • I AM going to try to keep a neater home
  • I WILL downsize my scrapping supplies (part of my goal as a student of BPS' Get Organized, Be Inspired class)
  • I WILL cook more at home and eat out less
  • I WILL try to be a better person
  • I WILL donate more to charity
  • I WILL NOT allow my moods to control me

There now, don't these sound a lot more reasonable and easier to actually achieve than "I'm going to reach goal weight," "I'm going to go sky-diving," or "I'll sew new curtains for the scrap room since I can't find any I like in a store"??

Monday, January 05, 2009

Right now...

I was catching up on some blogs I read and I happened across this on Lisa Bearnson's blog. She got a holiday letter from a friend of hers that included a bunch of right nows...

Right Now:
Out of my window: the Manhattan skyline - I'm at work, admittedly goofing off a little.
I am wearing: black jeans, a white tank, and a gray sweater that Jack bought me for Christmas.
I am hearing: my colleage E talking to someone on the phone.
I am thinking: about all the things I have to do this week - play catch up here at work, go to the movies, go to a scrapping bingo night, go to Michael's with my neighbor to plan a scrapping project as a gift for her dad, clean my kitchen so it does justice to the rest of the house (which is still clean from the holidays!), and clean the two guest rooms which are where I threw everything to make the rest of the house look neat!
I am thankful for: my family and friends, my mom's good health, my husband and my children, that I have a job in this troubled economy, my faith
I am creating: perhaps this should read "I am planning to create" some scrapbook pages from Christmas and Hanukkah and Gedalia's 1st birthday party, some handmade cards for my Soulology pals (sort of promised to do that for the holidays but...)
I am going: to Bloomingdale's for my make-up, then to my sister-in-law's for our traditional Monday dessert night, and to the movies tomorrow, to Michael's on Wednesday, to bingo on Thursday, and to the lake on Friday
I am hoping: I can keep to my unpublished and not-too-difficult-guess New Year's resolutions.
I am reading: Running Hot, by Jayne Ann Krentz
Around the house: it must be sort of quiet, I'm not there! The only sound you should be hearing there right now is the sound of the steam radiators as the thermostat prompts them to start heating the house in preparation for our return home.
One of my favorite things: Reading. Books. Words. (Wait, that's three!)
A few plans for the rest of the week: See "I am thinking" and "I am going" above...

If you feel up to it, take this challenge and do a "Right Now" entry. Imagine comparing it to "Right now" next year at this time...

Another Award?!? You're jesting!

You're kidding, Miss Hope!! Miss Hope has passed along this One Lovely Blog Award to me, lil'ole'me! She received it over the holidays and part of the deal is that you pass it along to seven other bloggers; she chose me to be one of the recipients! Miss Hope certainly did deserve this award, that's for sure. She shares with us her love and pride of family and country, her faith, her steadfastness in the face of some trials and tribulations. She's going to help out a lot of people whose children have ADHD as she shares her story about her wonderful son...

I'm just going to scan my "list of blogs I read each day" and start passing the love along...

Erika Martin's Stampin' Mama Designs is one of my favorite scrapping blogs. Why? Because she is one talented lady, that's why! And she shares so much of herself in her blog and on her pages and I truly admire her and her work! I've taken one class with her and am waiting patiently for her Journaling 101 class to start on 01/26/09. She's got a way of making you really look inside yourself, but without a shred of pain or self-doubt! Thanks, Erika!

Kim at Parachuting without a Net deserves this award, too, for a number of reasons. She has shared with us her heartbreak over losing her two daughters a year ago in an horrific car crash, but rather than that devastation, what comes across in her blog is her love for her daughters, her caring love for the daughter still here, grieving with her, and her love for her new fiance... We're all looking forward to reading all about her wedding plans, etc.

Jeanette at A Passion for Scrapbooking, Decorating & Shopping also gets my vote. Talk about a lovely blog!!! She shares her decorating skills, her internet finds, her planning and implementation of home projects - I've gotten some lovely ideas from her blog... now if only I could get those ideas to translate into reality in my house...

And Suzanne at Let's Talk Organizing - she SOOO deserves this award, too! Her lovely blog has made me a more organized, in control worker, and I'm taking what I read here and applying it to my home office - Suzanne: you'll be happy to know I've started off 2009 unencumbered by 2 LARGE bags of trash and two more bags are waiting to be burned in the wood stove this weekend (no shredding for me!)! And what a sense of accomplishment when I downsized to ONE calendar - okay, I admit I still have one on the wall in my house and on my desk at work, but I have only one planner... I'm going to try my best to use my Franklin Covey planner again this year, but I switched to weekly rather than daily - planning is more my problem than recording what I've done which is what I was doing with a whole page per day... If it doesn't work, I have a back-up plan: I have a monthly calendar that is just ready to step into the breach...

And Kristina Werner's kwernerdesignblog - SO many lovely scrapping and cardmaking ideas! Kristina deserves this award just for the sheer lovliness of her blog, to say nothing of her creativity! I've learned so much from her weekly videos - she makes new techniques so easy and so many of her ideas are just milling around in my brain, just waiting for an opportunity to be put to paper!!!

There are probably many more blogs that deserve the Lovely Blog award, but I'm back at work and I have to begin actually working...


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy 2009!!! (4 days late!!!)

When I scheduled my vacation, I thought, "Man, am I going to have so much time off! J and I will probably kill each other 'cause we're going to be spending so much time together! What am I going to do for all that time? I have SO much time off!"


I have to go back to work tomorrow. Nose to the grindstone.

I can't believe it.

It's 2009. It's been 2009 for 4 days already and I haven't done a single thing on my list. I was going to set up the calendar for 2009. I was going to clean out the 2 guest rooms. I was going to rearrange the kitchen (although that's still on my list for this afternoon...)

All I can say at this point is: I hope 2009 is more productive for you than it's been for me (so far!) and I wish you all health, happiness, and if not prosperity, at least not the poorhouse! Don't forget, you'll be distributing your wealth to those who have less but want more. (I couldn't pass up the chance to toss that in there!!!)

Seriously - my only resolution this year, and it's one I hope I can do, is to live a good life, a better life, than I did last year.