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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Just some photos of Christmas 2012...

Photos of our tree and presents, a photo of hubby on Christmas afternoon, and a photo of daughter and son-in-law-to-be (cute, aren't they?!)...

Sorry for the brevity of this post, but I'm posting it from my phone, not the easiest thing to do...

More soon... I want to talk about 2013, daughter's new house (yay!), my resolutions, my art, and lots more...

Merry Christmas and just in case I'm not back before 2013, Happy New Year!!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


This is a date I'll never forget.

It's the day my heart broke forever, into pieces I don't think I'll ever be able to be put back together.  It's the day 20 small children and 6 heroic adults were gunned down by - well, while I wanted to say "a monster," I really don't think that Adam Lanza was a monster.

I was angry.  I was hurt.  I am hurting.  Not nearly as much as those families in Connecticut, but I'm hurting.  I spent all weekend watching the news coverage.  I cried.  I yelled at the TV.  I prayed.

And my anger made me call him a monster.  Evil.  Satan.  Because who else could do such a thing?  Who else could look at those children and spray them with bullets, take their lives, take them from their families, steal their futures, kill them?

I had taken the day off last Friday and was shopping with my sister-in-law, her daughter and HER daughter, my little great niece.  J called me in the afternoon and asked me if I knew about the shooting, if I had heard any news.  Before I left for the mall in the morning I'd heard the schools in Newtown were in lockdown, but there were no details, no mention of a shooting...  So he told me.  And I could just feel the blood drain from my face.  I'm not sure I'd have stayed upright if I wasn't leaning on the stroller.

C came and took the baby from me - she said I was so obviously getting upset talking with J that the baby was picking up on my reaction...

This might anger some people, but I've decided that I don't think Adam Lanza was a monster.  He certainly did a monstrous thing.  And he did it 26 times.  He killed his own mother.  But in my heart, in my mind, I just can't accept that he was "just evil."  He wasn't just "bad."  Something was very wrong with him. 

I don't think he planned this.  I think this was a reaction to something.  I think something "snapped."  Yea, I do think it's almost that simple.  I think he was sick, so sick that he didn't really know what he was doing.  Kill his mom?  Sure, I think he could have "snapped" and done something like that in anger, in pain.  The murder of his mom, if she said something that just "clicked" in his brain, it's almost understandable that someone could react in anger, in pain, in self-defense.  The rest of it, though, I admit, is hard to accept, for lack of a better word.

To get in the car and go to the school and do what he did?  This is where I admit I struggle with my feeling that he was sick, that something happened to him that morning.  I don't think he was born a mass murderer.  I think something happened in his brain, in his heart, something that made him behave in such a horrible, horrible way.  He had to be suffering.  He had to be hurting.  He was so very sick, so "off" that he couldn't recognize his behavior as wrong, as the wrongest he could possibly ever do.  And then when the police were arriving, he took his own life.

My Twitter reaction (not really posted) was something along the lines of:  "Sure.  Want to kill some people?  Go ahead, but start with yourself.  Make sure you're first on the list."

Yes, there's anger in those words.  But today, 5 days, 6 days later, I'm less angry and more hurt and sick and emotional and sorry and overwhelmed...  There is no excuse for what he did.  No matter the reason, he did the wrongest thing anyone could ever do, take the life of another person.  And he took the lives of dozens of people, and what seems to make it worse is the majority of them were 6 and 7 years old.  Babies.

I had a sophomore theology teacher who said he thought people who committed suicide should be considered brave, that to actually do what you know will take your own life requires such strength and bravery...  It's the first time I can remember arguing with a teacher.  I said that someone who does that sort of thing is a coward, that there's nothing so bad in this life that we/you can't face it if you try hard enough.  (Ah, so innocent at 15 years old...)

Perhaps killing himself happened not when Adam realized the police were there and he was about to be caught, but perhaps it happened when he realized what he had done and he found he couldn't live with that pain, that guilt...  I'd like to think that he came back to himself in that last minute, realized what he had done, and punished himself, took his own life in acknowledgement of the horror he had inflicted on all those poor innocent people.

I know this post is sort of wishy-washy, that I sort of flip-flop from anger to pain, from "he did it" to "he couldn't have done it in his right mind," but I'm struggling with the anger and pain myself, trying to accept what happened, trying to resolve my feelings about what happened...

I support the 2nd Amendment.  You and I have the right to bear arms. 

I DON'T think that means we have the right (or the need!) to have an assault rifle in a suburban home.  If you hunt, you have the right to own a hunting rifle, but I do think you should be licensed, it should be registered, and you should be trained in how to use it.  If you feel the need to own a handgun to protect your famuily, your home, your property, okay - but again, I expect you to be licensed, it to be registered, and you trained in its use.  But a weapon that can fire multiple rounds of bullets per second?  There's no need for one of those because you live alone, there's no need to use one of those to stop that robber...

I'm not opening this post to comments.  I know there are readers out there who will want to jump at me about gun control, bigger/smaller government, laws and regulations and enforcement...  I'm not in the mood to defend my feelings, so if you feel so strongly that you need to comment, you can email me but I won't be engaged in a back-and-forth on gun control, just know that from the beginning...

I'm off to say another prayer for those being waked and buried today, and for their families and the town of Newtown, CT.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Photos

Several of you so very kindly worried about us during the recent hurricane.  Luckily we survived with virtually no damage; the worst of it was discovering I was just not meant to live in colonial times!  I admit it:  I missed heat and lights!  I missed my TV and my radio!  I am a sitcom/talk radio baby and proud of it!!

Here are some photos, and where necessary, some brief explanations...

I had a mild meltdown on the Thursday after the storm.  I was bored, cold, frustrated and angry.  We had no heat and no electric, and I was sick and tired of going to bed at 6pm because there was nothing else to do once it got dark.  I was feeling sorry for myself; other people had generators, we didn't, and they didn't have to sit in the cold and in the dark night after night...  After my little crying spell, J did what he always does:  he knows how to handle me.  He suggested we go for a walk around the neighborhood.  So we did.  And this is what we saw around the corner:  this neighbor's house was struck by not one, but by TWO trees.  One came down square on the side of the house you can't see, damaging the attic and the 2nd floor.  This tree came down in the front of the house, and was tall enough to fall on two cars parked in the driveway to the right side of the house, out of the camera's frame.  They were parked in the OTHER NEIGHBOR'S driveway.  And one of the cars was new enough to still have paper plates.  In other words, the car was less than one month old.  I soon realized I had very little to feel sorry about, and that in fact, I should be feeling really grateful all we had was a loose roof shingle and some bent siding.

My empty refrigerator.  We lost everything.  I did manage to save a dozen eggs and a half gallon of milk; I took them to my mom's house.  But her refrigerator and freezer were full and the whole neighborhood was without power.  We had no choice but to throw it all away.  On the bright side?  My refrigerator hasn't been this clean since the day we bought it!

This is our extra freezer in the basement.  We lost all of this food, too.  No generator = no power = no food.

This is my neighbor's house at the lake.  If that tree fell about 20' further to the right, it would have hit my house, and my deck, and well, I wouldn't be talking about how lucky I was to have suffered no damage during Hurricane Sandy!  Thankfully, although there was some roof damage, it doesn't seem too severe.

Dinner by candelight the first night after the storm, after we had lost power.  On the menu?  Cube steaks and a package of frozen vegetables, in our feeble attempt to eat it before we had to throw it out.

Some of what was in the refrigerator...

And more...

And one of the three bags from the freezer up on top of the refrigerator...

Our dining room light switch, once we got power restored six LOOONG days later... Notice it's in the ON position!  I told J I feel like leaving lights on "just 'cause I can!"  Of course we don't do that, but in the dark of the night, between us, I really want to use as much electric as I possibly can!  I really want to waste it, use more than I should, leave the lights on, the radio or TV on when we're not in the room... 

Sorry if this is too photo-heavy, but that's my way of sharing a peek into our lives during the storm.  I am so very grateful that the worst of what I had to experience is a little lost food and some cold.  So many lost so much more... 

A Busy, Busy Week...

I'm taking Friday and Monday off this week.  While I was home for something like nine days during and after Hurricane Sandy, you'd think, wouldn't you, that my house would be spotless, just about as spic'n'span as it could ever get, but NOOOOOOO,,,  It's out of control.  There are piles of books all over, magazines stacked in every room.

The only thing I can say is that since the storm, we really have made an effort to eat home more often than not, and for the most part, we've succeeded at that.

My house is so cluttered right now I can't eve BEGIN to decorate for Christmas.  Hence, the two days off...  I figure I can get up early on Friday, go grab myself a Starbucks something-or-another, whatever flavored coffee strikes my fancy that morning, then go home and make a concerted effort to straighten up and clean my house, at the very least the first floor.  Then on Saturday morning, we'll be getting up early to drive up to Mount Rest Cemetery and lay the grave blankets J made on my grandfather's grave and on the grave where my aunt and cousin are buried.  Then we'll stop to pick up a motorcycle part J ordered and finally return home.  I figure I'll have a couple of hours, and perhaps he and I can put up the Christmas tree.

Then I'll have to shower and get ready to pick up my girlfriend for a night at the State Theater in New Brunswick, where we'll see psychic John Edward do a live seminar.  I SO hope someone comes through for me or for her!  I've had a private reading with him, been at a few book signings (once as a worker and once as a fan), attended another seminar, and been in the audience at one of the tapings of his old show, Crossing Over.  Yes, I'm a fan, and no, I'm not a stalker, but my job has made it easy for me to meet him a couple of times...

On Sunday our family is hosting the 50th Annual N Christmas Party, thrown by J's mom's family.  Recently the cousins decided each family would take turns hosting the Christmas party and the summer picnic.  This year it's our turn to host the holiday party.  There were a lot of details to manage, tomorrow I have to finalize the menu with the caterer, we've already picked up all the extra "stuff" we need for the party...  LOVE the party but I must say, I like it much better just being a guest...

Will post some pictures from the party next week...  And of course, if Dad shows up, or my in-laws show up, at the seminar on Saturday, I'll be announcing THAT from the rooftop on the blog next week as well!!!

Hope all of you in the PA/NJ area survived this mini snowstorm; it appears to have already stopped snowing tonight...  Enjoy the next couple of days.  I'll also post some decor pictures when Christmas finally arrives in our house!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Yea, who'd have thought I would want to do a blog post about cooking?!?  The closest thing to me being a cook is my maiden name (yes, it was Cook). 

I'm not good at it.  It doesn't come easy to me.  I like to blame my mom because we grew up hearing her say she hated to cook.  But really, she did okay; no one starved!  But I want to learn to cook well and have always said that I want to take cooking classes when I retire. 

As it is, we have been leaving for work before 7am and getting home around 6:30pm.  To start cooking a real meal at that time would be just a) too much work, b) I wouldn't have enough time, and c) I'm just too darned tired to do it.  And there are only two of us.  So what's the harm in one day at Burger King, one day at Costco, one day of pasta, a day at Subway, etc., etc.???

Well, hubby is thisclose to retiring, and while I know he'd be fine stepping up and making meals every day, I don't want him to do that.  I figure now's a good time to learn to cook better, and to practice what I learn.  And to make things a bit easier on us both, we now leave for work before 7am but are getting back between 4 and 4:30pm on a normal day.  Of course, he has meetings and I have work, so that doesn't always happen, but we try...  As a matter of fact, it hasn't happened in a couple of weeks!

There are a few meals I make and I make them well.  No one can screw up a plate of pasta, especially if we top it with some of hubby's homemade sauce.  So that's an easy out.  I can make great fried eggplant.  [I can make it baked, too, but really?  Who wants to?  The flavor just isn't the same.]  I have a quick and easy vegetable and tortellini recipe, straight out of the freezer, with homemade alfredo sauce, that's 1/2 an hour, start to table, so that's another easy meal.

I've recently come up with a couple of new staples.  Believe it or not, until very recently I never made chicken cutlets.  But I'm a pro now!  Yea, so they're easy for you to cook, but for me?  They're meat, and I'm not good at cooking meat.  I like my meat well done, so to cook it to well done results in shoe leather 99 times out of 100, at least when I do it.  I just don't know where to stop so it's edible for him, yet cooked enough for me.  But I figured it out on the cutlets. 

I've made chicken soup before, but I was feeling so inspired recently, post hurricane-Sandy, inspired to fill our freezer with food we'll really eat, instead of hundreds of dollars worth of food we had to eventually throw out.  I made a big batch of homemade chicken soup, and shh!  It's better than the one my girlfriend sent home with me a couple of weeks ago.  Hers really had no flavor but mine was really good!

She gave me a couple of recipes I want to try.  The one I'm really intrigued by is fried carrots.  You basically buy the fattest carrots you can find, peel them and cut them into 4" lengths, boil them until they're softer (not mush - you still want a bit of crunch to them), then dredge them in a seasoned flour batter and fry them like you fry eggplant or cutlets, minus the breadcrumbs.  I can't wait to try this!

We're going to the vegetable market today to pick up what we need for Turkey Day.  I'm not cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal this year, not until January or February, when my mom comes home from her AZ visit.  But I'm bringing mashed potatoes and a green salad to my sister-in-law's and I think hubby is making a tomato and mozzarella salad and I'm thinking of bringing my green stuff (recipe courtesy of Mom - see below!) but I'm not sure that will be a hit.  I'm thinking I'll be the only one eating it, but I really miss it on my Thanksgiving plate when we eat at P's house!!!

We can easily do hot dogs and hamburgers, of course, in the summer, when the grill is up and running.  We're not those people out there grilling in our parkas... 

So that's that, folks.  I'm going to learn to cook if it kills me.  (Hopefully it won't kill my husband!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Meet Scarlette and Kayla Aimee

I've mentioned Kayla Aimee here before...  She and her husband are the VERY proud parents of Scarlette, a teeny, tiny dynamo who was born 15 weeks premature. 

15 weeks.

I look at my 27-1/2 month old great niece and I think how BIG she is compared to the day she was born.  She was 8 lbs, 4 oz, and 20-3/4 inches long when she was born.  I thought that was so small.  J wouldn't even hold her until she was, oh, almost a toddler.  Okay, that's an exaggeration but he totally refused to hold her when she was a newborn.  He waited until she was, I don't know, 6 or 8 months old...  Me?  I held her the day she was born.  And she wrapped me around those teeny tiny fingers of hers at 2 hours of age.

Scarlette was, if I'm not mistaken, 1 pound, 8 oz, when she was born.  Kayla couldn't hold her baby daughter until Scarlette was 30 days old. 

30 days.

30 days. I can't even conceive of what that was like.

But then I read her post today.  And now I get it.

It's World Prematurity Day.

Please take 3 minutes of your day and read this post.  Meet Kayla and Scarlette.  Take 3 minutes to watch her video.


I read Kayla's blog every day.  I see pictures of Scarlette today and I think she's just like Great Niece E.  But you know what?  After 156 days and nights in the hospital, after feeding tubes and quarantines, she's NOT like Great Niece E.  Take a look at her sitting on her deck steps.  That's when you realize just how small she is for her age.  But she has made leaps and bounds from the day she was born.  The day she broke MY heart when I saw the picture of her fingers on her mommy's finger. 

It's almost unbelievable that she's as she is today.  After all Scarlette and her parents have been through, they are now a healthy, happy family, but they had a tough start, and they've beaten the odds.

Please think about all the premature babies out there struggling to make it.  Please pray for them, and for the ones who aren't suffering or struggling any longer.

Thanks to Scarlette, I'll never take a baby's health for granted any more.  We've been lucky in our family.  Even my sister who was 6 weeks premature, she was a GIANT compared to Scarlette, and my dad used to talk about holding her in the palm of his one hand. 

But he could hold her.

[Dad, meet Scarlette...]

And now Kayla and her husband can hold their Scarlette.  Thanks to the Lord and the medical angels he had in place to care for that beautiful little baby.

Kayla, I'll be keeping up with Scarlette as long as you continue to share her with us by way of your blog.  Thanks for the beautiful reminder about today.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Just 22 Words...

I WILL say "I told you so" during these four years, when things don't go as well as you think they will.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

We Voted!

Went online and randomly checked to confirm my polling location. For the 1st time in 17 years of voting it was moved to our local firehouse.


Because the school where we usually vote has no power yet.

So we went, we registered and I entered my booth and voted. I came out and Jack was still in his booth.

So I waited. And waited. And waited. And started to worry he forgot who he was voting for, LOL...

He came out and called the voting guy over, who btw needs a MAJOR attitude adjustment (talk about a cranky old man). With no sense of humor. Or sense of hearing: had to repeat our address and name four times!

The voting buttons were stuck (on the wrong candidate). He couldn't un-vote them. They wouldn't allow him to vote for the candidate he wanted to vote for! The voter dude had no idea what to do, started mumbling about giving Jack a provisional ballot...

The voting dudette, however, said no, and told Jack to go into the booth I used and vote. She tried clearing the panel and apparently she couldn't fix it either.

Wonder how many votes in front of Jack were actually invalid? I'd hope you'd notice if the voting booth wasn't working, wouldn't you????

Please tell me you would!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

We Got Real Lucky

We took a drive up to the lake house. A pine tree mere feet from our property line fell. It fell on our neighbor's house. There wasn't a lot of damage, thankfully. They had some damage to their house a few years ago that they had to deal with; I'd hate for them to have to deal with that again...

The area is full of trees. We drove around the lake to look at the damage, and we were lucky. For all the trees that are there in the mountains, surrounding the lake, there could have been so much more damage than there was... The aren't getting power back for at least another week, and their schools are closed indefinitely...

Jack and I have some pretty powerful angels taking care of us up there! Thanks, Daddy and Mom and Dad S.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Sandy Has Come and (Thankfully!) Gone!

Yea, right. "See you in a day or two." That's what I said in my last post.

Well, I last posted on October 29, the Monday Hurricane Sandy was supposed to arrive.

And arrive she did!

Please note: today is Saturday, November 3, and this is the first time I have had a chance to blog anything. We have been without power or heat since Monday night at around 8:45pm. Just to be sure that we knew we were without power or heat, the temperature dropped every day since the storm.

We don't keep our house very hot: 60 degrees during the day while we're at work, it bumps up to 68 degrees the hour before we arrive home and it drops to 65 degrees from 11:30pm to 5-something am, where it bumps up to 68 degrees again so I don't freeze in place when I get out of the shower. At 6:45am it drops to the daily 60 degrees. And normally 68 degrees feels really warm to me. If it's a particularly cold night we have a room heater we turn on in our bedroom which heats the room up so much that I snore all night from the dryness in my nose. (TMI?)

Well, we had no heat this week, and right now my thermostat is set at 65 degrees and I have a jacket on and I'm thinking "I hope J turned on the room heater 'cause it's really cold in here..."

We were not meant to be colonists. Every time we walked into a room this week we hit the light switch and were totally baffled when the light didn't turn on. (Personally I want to leave a light on now, all the time, just because I can!) It's such an automatic habit that I never dreamed I could miss light so much...

We went to bed at - are you sitting? - 6:30pm every night and slept until 7:30am every day. That is unheard of in this house! J is of the "Get up! We're burning daylight!" ilk and sleeping past 7am is just - well, too decadent for imagining, let alone for doing...

We had to throw out all the food from our refrigerator/freezer and our extra freezer in the basement. And I knew this would be the worst part of the whole experience for my husband: all that wasted food and money... To you, my readers, I confess that over half of what we threw out I couldn't even remember buying! We are were wasteful, conspicuous consumers and I will NEVER do that again! Effective immediately the only things I will buy extra of is stuff we use on a regular basis: an extra pound of butter in the freezer is okay. 5 extra pounds of cavatelli or tortellini is not. An extra package of bad-for-you processed American cheese slices, even an extra TWO packages, is okay. We go through cheese like crazy in this house. A 20# turkey from 2009 is not okay. 3 containers of peppers and onions, frozen when we make a large batch, is okay. 3 extra packages of hot dogs in the freezer is not (we'll discuss ONE extra if we actually make hot dogs more than a couple of times a year). I am LOVING seeing the clean, empty shelves of my refrigerator/freezer, and while I admit that my intentions are all honorable, I do know that I'll probably fall off that wagon at the first big can-can sale, but I really want to try to stay on the straight and narrow - have what we will use, plan what we will need, and eat whatever it is we buy. Keep whatever you can cross, crossed for me. I'm taking Mom to the Shop Rite tomorrow to "replace only what is absolutely necessary."

We finally got our electricity and heat back this morning, at about 9:45am.

Thank you to all the linemen, the groundsmen, the tree-guys, every one of you who has helped me get my life back to my normal, which I'm almost ashamed to admit, includes electricity and heat.

I had a mini-meltdown on Thursday. I was cold, I was bored, and I was hurt (another story I won't be sharing here), and I lost it. No one cares about us, we have no lights, no heat, it's cold, this is awful, etc., etc. Once I calmed down, we got out of the house (stir crazy, anyone?!) and we went for a walk around the neighborhood.

My friends, I am so very blessed to have what and who I have in my life.  We have neighbors literally a 1/2 block away who had two trees fall on their house.  NOT one.  TWO.  One on the front, tearing off part of the siding and crushing a corner of the roof.  The other crashing SQUARE on the side of the house, damaging the entire side of that house, the roof, and settling on the second floor.  Or should I say IN the second floor of the house.  And the one in the front?  It was large enough that when it landed, it crushed and totaled the neighbor's TWO cars, one so new it didn't even have it's license plates yet.

There were literally TWELVE trucks from Pennsylvania on that street alone, cutting down and removing trees, and that was before the power companies came in and restored service, IF they got service already.  I am looking across the street onto the next block and it appears they have power...

Meltdown?  I have SOME nerve.  Sure, there's an excuse for it, or perhaps I should say a reason for it.  There's NO excuse for feeling that sorry for myself when all I was was a bit chilly and a bit bored for a few days.  I'm in my house, my family and friends are okay, no one was hurt or lost their home, etc. 

When I go to church tomorrow morning, I'm going to say some extra prayers for all who are suffering, and I'm going to do a little penance for my selfishness and thoughtlessness, and pray for a little more of the "right stuff."

I am praying for all who are suffering, all who have lost loved ones, all who have lost their homes...  Know that I will be finding my own way to help you, somehow, very soon.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy Is on Her Way

Did my hurricane prep over the past few days... water, lots of water, milk, bread, tuna, peanut butter, a roasted chicken, cabbage for cole slaw, peppers and onions and wraps... We have a gas stove so I bought matches; we will be able to heat up anything on the stove even if we loss power. I'll be setting up candles in the dining room, kitchen, and bathroom. When it's time to go to sleep, we'll go to sleep. Everything is charged: phones, laptop, Kindles. Pump is set up, wet vac is ready: of course this is only a plus if we don't lose power. See you in a day or two. Stay safe.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'll be starting these books this week...

Looking forward to making Simple Abundance a daily read, and can't wait to start the other two as well. Susannah Conway is an Instagram pal, and I follow Dr. Brown as well (on Twitter). I've been feeling the need to appreciate what I have more consciously, and I'm sure a bit more introspection won't steer me wrong!

I have a stack of new fiction to plow through as well; guess I'll be cutting back on my television (except for my must sees!!)... I admit I'm a TV addict but I'm feeling the need to read!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Miscellaneous October

1. Reading JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy - So far a tough go. There are NO similarities to any HP characters!
2. Loved these gold flats from PayLess. Asked J what he thought and he didn't like them so I didn't buy them. Going back to the store later this week to get them.
3. Yes, I am THAT customer. I'm $200 poorer but I own makeup that makes me glow... (See photo below!)
4. Made chicken cutlets today, in an effort to eat out less. Are you sitting down? This is the first time I've made them! I've made fried eggplant. I've baked chicken breasts. But this is the first time I fried up some chicken cutlets. The first batch? Perfect. The second batch? Burned. The third batch? Perfect.
5. Went to Outback on Saturday night. We shared some hot wings and a Bloomin' Onion. Yum!!!
6. If the photo of my new Sak is sideways, sorry! Can't figure out how to fix that in the Blogger mobile app...
7. Love these lamps from JCPenny, especially the owl one! But I like that empty glass base, too...
8. That glowing face I mentioned above... My skin looks much younger than its 51-almost-52-years...

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Romney vs. Obama #1

Personally I think Romney blew Obama out of the water, but content-wise, I don't think there was all that much new on either side.

Almost more interesting were the Tweets... Twitter said 4million Tweets were posted during the debate!

I didn't expect Romney to be warm and approachable. He might very well be a very loving man with his family, friends and parishioners but the bottom line is he comes across as a bit of a stuffed shirt. (Perhaps it's his mom jeans... Just kidding!). That said, he *was* strong and confident, speaking TO the President directly.

Obama, however, didn't look at Romney when he spoke; he probably looked at Lehrer 95% of the time... Hash tag #lostwithouthisteleprompter! I think he was a bit surprised by Romney, and that, plus the fact that he's not a good extemporaneous speaker? Definite disadvantage this time out...

I hope the next couple of debates are stronger, content-wise.

And just two comments about Jim Lehrer: did he have an eye lift?!? I found his buggy eyes very distracting. I don't remember him looking like that before... And I don't think he had control of the candidates.

Ryan vs. Biden 10/11/12. I REALLY dislike Biden and have since I met him while I was in college. My family and I were walking along the Green and Biden did his big smile/handshake thing with my dad (completely ignoring my mom, btw). When my dad said we weren't Delaware residents, he just walked away! No "thanks, anyway" or "hope you vote in your home state." Nothing!! Rude, condescending, ignorant... And I'll never change my mind...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Qotation of the Day...

... from Shelf AWARENESS, September 28, 2012, Volume 2, Issue 1838
Bookstore 'Has to Grab You, then Settle into a Comfortable Place'

"A good bookstore is a lot like the products it sells: It has to grab you, then settle into a comfortable place, all the while building upon itself, opening up new aspects and ideas with each chapter until you're ultimately hooked. It has to envelope you in a world you can get lost in and can't wait to get back to once you've left so you can find out what happens next."

--The Boise Weekly, from its description of the Rediscovered Bookshop, which was the readers' choice for Best Local Bookstore for the fifth straight year.

Blog Your Heart

Okay, just me, my soldier, and our 4 little chicks is one of my favorite blogs.  Stephanie is a military wife, mom to 4 beautiful little girls, and someone with one of the biggest hearts I've seen in the internet world.  She's raising 4 future phenomenal women and she has a strong, faith-filled, love-filled marriage and home, and I love reading her blog.  I found this Blog Your Heart idea on her site. Here's how it works:

1. blog whatever is authentic. whatever is truly on your mind and in your heart.

2. it can be serious, silly, short, long. note:no one said it has to be serious. but it should be authentic.
3. no judging allowed no snarky comments, no making fun, no passive agressive digs.if you are going to read the blogs linked below, don't be mean. nothing here is whining. it's me honestly sharing my feelings. if you feel that it's whining, then you don't have to read. :)...

So here we go...  Sorry if the first few sound like whining and complaining on my part...  But I'm going to get a couple of things off MY chest and out of my heart...

-- I grew up thinking, believing my life would include children.  I would be a mom, no matter what.  Well, life works in mysterious ways and I fell in love with a man who didn't want more kids; he had two from a previous marriage.  Thankfully, I now have two step-children.  I may not have birthed them from my loins, but they are the children of my heart.  And it hurts me that there is someone very important in my life who refuses to acknowledge that I am a mom, a mother, that I have kids even if I didn't give birth to them.  This person does not acknowledge me on Mothers' Day, and it hurts.  And it makes me mad.  I can't understand how this person can totally ignore the fact that I HAVE two children, children who love me, children I helped raise, put through college, support now as adults.  Would it really kill you to wish me a Happy Mothers' Day once a year?

-- We go to two churches, one at home, the parish which both my husband and I attended as young children, and another near our vacation home which we attend 1/2 the year, if not more; we're there almost every weekend.  Lately I've been unhappy with the lake church.  I'm very traditional, and I don't like changes to hymn lyrics to accommodate political correctness ("Let us walk with each other" instead of the original "Let me walk with my brother").  I don't like the new music they're using for the Alleluia before the Gospel.  It sounds like a polka.  Where's the accordian?  And I don't need a tambourine keeping beat while we sing every song or prayer.  It's not presented as a folk music Mass - get rid of that tambourine and stop playing carousel music in church!

-- Okay, let's admit that I don't like change much in any aspect of my life.  I guess it all tracks back to loss of control.  There's so little you can control in your life; why does something have to change all the time?  What happened to "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"???

-- I am the luckiest person in the world.  No, I didn't win the PowerBall lottery - that would make all of YOU, my family and friends, very lucky!  I'm lucky because I'm married to the best guy on this earth!  Yea, yea, yea, I know you all think your husbands are the best, but, sorry!  J is awesome!  He has the biggest heart of any man I know.  I have no doubt, not for one second of the day, that he loves me and cares about me.  He loves his children totally and completely.  He will do anything for anyone.  My biggest regret about my marriage is that my Dad isn't here to be father-in-law to this man I married.  That would have been a great relationship to witness - they knew each other superficially, so I draw comfort from the fact that my Dad at least met the man I married, even if it was years before we ever started dating.  And I SO regret that I wasn't able to have a FIL/DIL relationship with my father-in-law, who died after hubby and I got back together but before we got engaged or married.  I had THE BEST mother-in-law; I know my father-in-law would have been equally wonderful.

-- Speaking of my mother-in-law, I miss you, Mom!!!

-- I love my neighborhood.  It's the very definition of "neighborhood" - we all know each other and watch out for each other...  I know we're not meant to stay there forever; we're starting to think about relocating after retirement.  We're going to be taking some weekend trips to scout out different states and neighborhoods - DE, MD, VA, FL...  Mom is the dealbreaker, of course - she's either going to have to come with us, or we're not going anywhere for the next 25 years or so, 'cause I plan for her to be around for at least that much longer!!!

-- I want to retire.  I want to take cooking classes, photography classes, I want to take my mom out to lunch, keep my house clean, do my laundry when it's not dark in my basement 'cause the only time we have to do chores like that is at night...

-- Speaking of the lottery...  IF we were every lucky enough to win "the big one," our lives really wouldn't change much.  I wouldn't move, or change houses.  I wouldn't buy a new car.  Admittedly I'd be traveling more, but I'd be coming home to the same house, the same clothes, the same husband...  Oh, I'd have a dog.  But my family?  Ah, THEIR lives would change so very much!  Their mortgages would be paid off, their children would have money to go to college when they're ready, their credit cards would have zero balances and their bank accounts would have a LOT more zeroes before the decimal point!  Okay, my life would change a lot - I'd be able to be much more generous than I am now...  I guess that's a really nice way my life would change, and I'd be so very happy to see that change come my way...

-- I've been lucky in my work life.  For the most part, I've had jobs I loved, or worked with people I love, or been lucky enough in one of my jobs to have it both ways, so I can't say I'm miserable getting up in the morning to go to the office.  I'll admit I wish my day started later - I've recently become less of a morning person than I was before - I've always been a "stay up and watch TV until midnight" kind of girl, but now it's getting harder and harder to get up before 6am to get ready for work.  NO, I'm NOT getting old...  I'm just more tired...

For an unplanned Blog Your Heart post, I've really hit a few big ones...  Well, it's off to work...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Staying Married

I have every intention of staying married forever, and staying HAPPY in my marriage forever.  Now that's not to say that there won't be days that he drives me freakin' NUTS or I drive him up that proverbial wall.  We're not the same person.  Even if we agree on all the big things, which we do, I might think that one day of rain will put me over the edge and he'll be thinking, "Awesome, the yard needs watering."

Here's how I was raised...

My mom taught me that...
...when you're single, you have no one to answer to but God and yourself (and your parents, when you're young)
...when you're married, you have to put your marriage first, your husband second, and yourself last
...when you have children, the children come first, the family second, the marriage third, the husband fourth, and yourself?  Uh-huh, dead last again.  She said if you're not willing to sacrifice it all for your kids (or your husband, depending on where you are in the family scheme of things), DON'T DO IT. 

Now don't get all pissy with me - your husband should be putting the marriage and you ahead of himself, or the kids and the family and the marriage and you ahead of himself - having this same philosophy about love and marriage and children:  that's what makes it work so well.  The kids will always know they come first.  They will always know they are loved and can depend on their parents.  They will always look back at their childhood and remember how much their parents loved them and each other.

Now I'm sure Mom didn't mean at your own or your spouse's expense, not to the black and white definition of that phrase, but you all have to be willing to sacrifice for the good of each other.  Selfishness has no place in a family or a relationship.

Today I was reading Elise Joy's blog and she referred to this article about staying married for 15 years.  Well, she's a newlywed, but J and I just celebrated our 13th year married (and our 22nd together).  So I was curious to see what the article said.  I liked it!  Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jury Duty, Work, Fall...

I was called for jury duty back in April or May.  I filled in my form, mailed it in and promptly forgot about it until it was time to serve.  I told my boss I had jury duty and reported on time to the Paterson Courthouse, only to find that I COULDN'T serve because, they claimed, I hadn't mailed my form in to them.

I had the stub with me, the portion you have to bring that has your juror I.D. on it.  Quite obviously the form was not there.  Wherever in the system it got lost - by the USPS, at the courthouse - I couldn't serve that day because they didn't have my form.  So they told me they'd reschedule me for September 11.

Well, in August I got my paperwork again, and THIS time they told me to complete the form online.  (It's like they didn't trust me to mail it in again...)  And THIS time my time to serve was THREE DAYS, not one.  They're punishing me because they lost my paperwork?!?!?

But I went to jury duty like a good citizen.  And on that very first day, THEY PICKED ME FOR A JURY.  The catch to this is it's "3 days or 1 trial."  If chosen for the jury, the judge said, they expected the trial itself to last 3-5 weeks, 3 days a week.  They picked 65 of us from the jury pool, and we went up to Judge G's courtroom.  They asked if anyone needed to be excused for hardship reasons, or if they had a vacation paid and scheduled within the next 3-5 weeks.  FIFTY of the 65 people said yes, so we spent two days going through those 50 people in private interviews.  There were 19 of us left after all the excused were excused.  So they chose 14 to go into the jury box.  I was juror #9.

The NEXT week we went back on Wednesday, and they had more people in the courtroom and they started our individual interviews and THAT took two days.  Eventually they excused me, the defense attorney did.  There was a police officer on the jury with me.  During our breaks, he was explaining how excusing jurors is just like a big chess game.  Of course there are probably myriad reasons they didn't want me or the others they excused:  relatives who are in law enforcement, our likely politics based on how we get our news, whether we can understand and consider the evidence without allowing personal feelings or opinions to influence our findings, the TV shows we watch, etc.  It was really fascinating...

Considering I was only out of the office two days each week, I really feel like I'm behind at work.  Summer was so S L O W that when things went back to "normal" at the start of September, I felt (and feel) overwhelmed!  And while there's no more work than I've done before, but the summer was really slow and it FEELS like more...  And my hours have changed, which I know contributes to my feeling that there aren't enough hours in the day.  I used to drive in with J and would be at work 7:30am, and he'd drive me home, picking me up no earlier than 5:45pm.  Now, I'm in for 7:30am, but I'm leaving at 3:30pm.  If of course, I need more hours, I'll stay and take the train home, but 7:30-3:30 is a full day.  Who knew that those extra two hours a day I was putting in really made that much of a difference?!?  I thought I spent most of them surfing the net and reading personal email and FB and Twitter...  Apparently, I was working part of that time!!!

And I decided that the other day, a day I took off as a vacation day, would be the ideal day to bring fall clothes down and put summer clothes away. 


I'm going shopping this weekend, but will only allow myself a pair of BROWN pants, jeans, and/or a few colored tops.  I really need to take a picture of my closet - I'll try to remember to do that tonight or tomorrow and post it here.  It's very black... and gray...

Well, it's 8:52pm and I have to shut down and go upstairs and get ready for my favorite show's season premiere:  Criminal Minds.  See you guys in a couple of days...  In the meantime, a few images from the last couple of weeks...

Took Mom and my baby sister to Wendy's for dinner, then my nephew (literally) sped there from work and met us for some food.  Here's my sister and me...  Pardon my double chin!

Here's Mom sitting on our porch swing one night when she came for dinner.  We've figured out the trick to getting her to come:  J asks her, early in the day, before she can claim she already put dinner in the microwave...  She finds it too easy to say no to me, but she doesn't say no to him, at least not too often...

Here's a shot of a building next to the Paterson Courthouse.  It really is beautiful, isn't it?

I'm hooked on Instagram.  There's a photographer there who takes some awesome shots of rusty metal anythings...  So I thought I'd try to "see" the way she does.  That's my biggest complaint about my not-so-mad photography skills.  I just don't see things the way a "real" photographer does, and I would like to think I might be able to learn...

This is my nephew...  cute, no?!?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Found at Lafayette Village antique store

So many treasures, not enough money!

Beautiful wooden drawers
Old Kodak camera
Black and white painted cement floor
More doors
Remember shoe stretchers? (Betcha $5 there's a set in Mom's closet!)
Loved this cabinet but it was full of mold spores in the drawers
Rotary phone, anyone? Party line? Pilgrim 3-7407...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Last weekend in photos...

So let's see...

We went to Atlantic City with some friends. J and I have a tradition of taking self portraits at arm's length and here's our latest...

I'm not much of a cook but check out my fridge!! It's as full as its ever been!!!

We both sort of consider the "front" of the lake house secondary to the back, lake side of the house. I like the idea J had to create this little deck of planters...

This post was done on my smart phone and I have no idea where the text will be with respect to the photos so forgive me if the photos aren't captioned. I'm sure you can figure them all out...