Monday, December 31, 2007

Saying goodbye to 2007

Ralph and the kids just returned from dropping off a rented wheelchair for my mother, who fell Saturday and has a fractured pelvis. Ouch. She is in a lot of pain.
She was happy to get it, they report. I had to stay home and work, or else I would have gone too. I'm not a bad daughter, really! I'll be visiting her tomorrow.

Call us boring, but Homer and I are staying close to home for New Year's Eve. He is making chili but basically there will be no partying around here!
I'm sure happy to say farewell to this past year. The sooner the better.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

There's always something

Ahh, a sunny but chilly Sunday morning here in Connecticut. It's quiet, unlike yesterday, which turned out to be anything but.

My mother planned to come over at 2 p.m. for birthday cake ~ at 2:45 we were still waiting so Kid Two called her. No answer. At 3, she called from the emergency room. It was a different emergency room at a different hospital than six weeks ago, but it was still an emergency room.

To make a long story short, my mother fell and fractured her pelvis. She is in a lot of pain and they sent her home with painkillers.
She also had to have stitches on her face and right index finger. It's the first time in her life she has had stitches, she said.
She has someone with her at home. I don't want to call yet to see how she feels just in case she is still asleep.

She was fortunate that a kind man was there when she fell who turned out to be a guardian angel for her. He drove her to the hospital, after the walk-in clinic people couldn't help.
That's another story for another day.
I'll write about him some other time.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

We all have one ~ a birthday, that is

That's moi.
A child of the '50s, now in my 50s.

* * * * *
Our darling daughter was born on this date.
We share the day.
Today she is 19. She was, and still is, quite the birthday gift.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

~ Spirit of Christmas continues ~

HO, HO, HO !

Hope everyone got what they wanted for Christmas. If not, there's still time. This week between Christmas and New Year's Day is a * magical * one.
It always has been for me, anyway.

The message here is to relax and enjoy, and yule be filled with the Spirit of the Season.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A true Christmas doll

Adam, you were born three months early.
Now I daresay you are chunky and burly.
We love you to pieces, and will never be fickle.
We think of you as a Christmas miracle.

I'm doing my best here with the "poetry," folks.

This is what Adam gave me and his other great-aunts on Christmas Eve.
The tree is made out of his hand-prints traced on construction paper.
It came in a magnetic frame for displaying on the fridge.
It's his first art project, and I think he did a great job.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dashing through the holiday preparations

I just "flung" another string of lights on our Christmas tree. Flinging is about the best way to describe it. Earlier Ralph wrote about not being able to wrap presents very well, now I'm complaining about not being able to string very well.
We do have our difficulties with this holiday stuff. But we continue to give it our best shot. And don't try to stop us.

The sugar cookies I made last week, sans cookie cutter, were great. I may never get the hang of those cookie cutters. But I refuse to let that spoil my spirit.

Ralph is going to be under strict orders to not post a photo of our new artificial tree until I give him the green light.
Green light, get it? Ho, ho, ho!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another side of life

This afternoon I attended the annual Christmas food and gift distribution at a nearby agency, something I have done for many years now. The executive director said she has seen a sharp increase in the number of needy families this year.
I can't express my opinion in stories I write for the paper, but here I can say this organization does a wonderful job, and appears to get by on a shoestring budget.
I have no reason to doubt what workers there tell me. All of the stories are sad ones, and I won't go into them. Many of the problems surrounding the more than 150 families served this holiday season seem to stem from job loss and major health issues.

There was one client, who I didn't interview, who sticks out in my mind. That's because I was told this man, who appeared to be about 40, lives in his pickup truck with his two teen-aged sons. It is quite cold around here at night. There's snow on the ground. How do they manage to sleep? Apparently they don't want to live in a homeless shelter.

Now if hearing something like that doesn't put things in perspective, I don't know what does.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

As I mentioned yesterday I bought this little scene to make our home more festive. It makes me smile.
Here is one of many clips from the classic show.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Odat shared this with fellow * flakes * and I shall do the same

Quoting from Odat, the award is from Lois of Lowdown from Lois.
Odat quoted Lois:
"Each of us are like those snowflakes. We bring to the blogosphere different gifts, viewpoints, and experiences. Sooo......I'm dedicating this award to YOU, my fellow bloggers. Take this badge and wear it well. All I ask is that you pass it on and refer to this entry as a short award description. When you award this badge to someone, please take a moment to mention what makes him/her unique. Spread the love...There is no one more precious or unique as you!"
~ ~ ~
I am spreading the love, as Lois says, and hoping that all of you unique bloggers reading this take the award and post it on your blogs too.

Need to vent today

I'm not a mean person. I know that, Ralph knows that, my family and friends know that...
But I'm going to sound mean if you keep reading this.
After opening the mail this morning, I feel like I'm about to explode. Simply put: I HATE THOSE DANG CHRISTMAS LETTERS PEOPLE SEND ME IN DECEMBER.
Whew! I said it.
I feel better.
This one today was a doozy. It included tales of death and broken bones yet it still was written in a perky, we have a perfect "Norman Rockwell/Currier & Ives life" tone.

I beg to differ. You really don't. No one does. Nope.
As Ralph just said to me, there is something wrong with the people who sent this. Really wrong. He said they're "empty. " I agree. It's sad.
And the two-page, single-spaced letter, filled with every positive and perky adjective in the book, well that's just insanity.

Meanwhile, on a happier note, I just bought myself yet another present (remember the 10-pack of markers last week?)
Today I found Charlie Brown and his pathetic Christmas tree and single red ornament, made of the finest plastic, at 25 percent off!! I just had to have it.

Setting that up later will soothe my upset. Something to look forward to...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Flashback to last month

As I've done several times before, last night I judged an essay contest for sixth graders in a neighboring town. Last year my bureau chief did the judging, so I had a "year off." I don't mind doing it, and it's interesting to see where the kids are in their thinking at that age. The folks from the other newspapers didn't show this year, so I had the essays all to myself.

The problem for me this year was the subject of the essay is fire prevention/preparation, having working smoke detectors and a family escape plan. As you regular visitors know, I just lived through my mother being dramatically rescued from her bedroom window as a fire raged in her living room. She spent five days in the hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. Fortunately she has moved into a nice house for the next six months, paid for by insurance.
Her own house needs a lot of renovations and cleaning up.

So as I sat there reading essays that talked about scenarios like "imagine you are sound asleep and the smoke detector goes off" and listed statistics about house fire fatalities nationwide, I had a flashback.

The essays demonstrated that the children know about the importance of having an escape plan, about not panicking, about meeting their family outside and calling 9-1-1 from a neighbor's house. And that's a good thing.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tagged by Linda with a (modified) meme

Quoting from Linda: The "Crazy 8's" meme is from Debbie Dolphin of New England Lighthouse Treasures.
Linda decided to make it the "Crazy 8's Divided by Two" meme. Sounds good to me.
So here we go: Crazy 8's Divided by Two Meme

8 ÷ 2 things I’m passionate about:

1. My family
2. Writing
3. Blogging
4. Being loyal

8 ÷ 2 things I say often:

1. I think I'll take a nap.

2. What should we have for dinner?

3. Can I use the computer for a few minutes?

4. Did you get any comments yet on that post?

8 ÷ 2 books I’ve read recently:

Sad to say, I'll skip this one. I don't feel bad because Linda did, too.

8 ÷ 2 things I want to do before I die:

  1. Read some good novels
  2. Earn more than I'm earning now
  3. Have grandchildren
  4. Watch them grow up
8 ÷ 2 songs I can listen to over and over again, and probably have:

1. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - Judy Garland
2. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - Judy Garland
3. "My Girl"-The Temptations

4. "In My Life" - The Beatles

8 ÷ 2 things that attract me to my friends: (I told Linda I'd steal her answers)

  1. A sense of humor
  2. Honesty
  3. Compassion
  4. The ability to accept me as I am

8 ÷ 2 things I learned in the last year:

1. How to blog
2. A house fire is devastating
3. Smoke inhalation takes a horrible toll on its victims
4. How attached I was to our late cat, Humphrey

I tag Odat, Ralph (bit of nepotism here) and Michael C.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More on the storm ...

I finally ventured out, camera in hand, to get the newspaper.
Our snow woman, who just seems to be popping up everywhere, watched me from the window. You can see me (below)
photographing her.

* * * * *
I'm dreaming of a White Christmas, and right now it looks like we are going to have one.

Baking to forget the weather

We're having a Nor'easter this morning. Snow, sleet, sneet, snice...all kinds of stuff going on. It isn't pretty right now. I took these photos from the front door. Who wants to go out?
The wind is howling. Brrrrrrr. A perfect day for blogging. And drinking coffee and eating breakfast that Ralph has planned.
I may venture into a baking mode and attempt this cookie mix I got the other day.
I usually end up making drop cookies. For some reason the cookie-cutter thing never works out for me.
Apologies to Queen Mimi for stealing a photo idea and just showing part of my face, but of course imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
If anyone thinks I'm obsessed with these little festive trees, well, you'd be right.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Getting into the spirit around here

Aren't we festive? No wreath, no garland, no reindeer, no Santa. But at least we have three little trees stuck in the ground in the front yard. And with the snowfall from the other day, it looks like a winter wonderland at night.
It's the thought that counts, right?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Debiting 101

Today I had a day off from work so I took my mother shopping for clothes and essentials. We went to Target, or Targe, since the sign at the brand new store already lost its second T.

She used her new debit card that draws on an account opened with insurance money she received after the fire.

The money is for replacing smoke-damaged clothes, and for buying groceries and necessities. We assume that means some Christmas presents as well. Tee hee.
Apparently the house renovations will be paid for directly by the insurance company, as far as I can determine. That project is ahead of us.
She had never used a debit card before, and needed some assistance. But we got through it.

* * *
I'm not one to wish my life away, but this has not been a very good year for us and I'm ready for it to end.
I just ho-ho-hope that 2008 is better.

Mystery photos

~ So, any guesses ?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A holiday splurge

I bought something for myself the other day at Target. Hold on to your hats...I spent almost $3.00. Not three hundred dollars, three dollars.
I was feeling creative so I got a 10-pack of fine line markers.
I'm ready for some yuletide doodling. ~*~*~
I may even post the results.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Party at Ralph's!

Just kidding. This isn't our house. But Ralph does like beer. ;-)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dec. 7, 1941 remembered

I joined a small group of veterans and other residents who gathered last Friday to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
I was there covering the brief ceremony for the newspaper, as I have in the past. I'd like to think if I had a different job I would have been there anyway.
We stood in the bitter cold (the folding chairs were way too cold to sit on!) to hear a Vietnam veteran speak about remembering what happened at Pearl Harbor and about supporting our troops, even if we don't support the war in Iraq.
Several veterans I have gotten to know invited me to join them for lunch. I wasn't going to, but they insisted. It was an honor to spend a short time with these veterans of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.
And at a lunch like that, that's when the real stories come out!

Monday, December 10, 2007

All I want for Christmas ...

is a Hello Kitty 2-slice toaster???

I don't think so. I saw one on display this morning in Target as I was hurrying over to the Christmas department to buy a specific ornament I had seen...

A Hello Kitty hair dryer and a Hello Kitty waffle maker also were on display. Next they will be selling Hello Kitty wine glasses. Or boxers imprinted with the infamous logo.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas quizzes courtesy of Odat

Have fun!
You Are a Cranberry and Popcorn Strung Tree

Christmas is all about showcasing your creative talents.
From cookies to nicely wrapped presents, your unique creations impress everyone.

I said I liked homemade cookies, but I didn't mean my homemade cookies. And I've never strung cranberries or popcorn.

What Movie Is Your Christmas Most Like?

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas

For you, it's all about sharing times with family.
Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.

Yes, we most certainly get a bit cheesy. Especially with some wine-y.

And a riddle, courtesy of me.

What if it had been Three Wise Women
instead of Three Wise Men?
A. They would have asked directions, arrived on time,
helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable,
made a casserole, and brought practical gifts.

I got an early Christmas present ~

Mimi, Queen of Memes, presented me with this sweet award while I was "absent" from the blogosphere. Thank you, Mimi!

Quoting from Mimi, "This is what the award means as written by its creator........
There is something very special and unique about blogging friendships. In “real” life we all have to first get by the physical and superficial aspects of each other before we can get into who we are, really. In “real” life there is so much bull shit that we have to put up with, that sometimes developing true friends becomes very difficult. I feel that with blogging friendships there are no superficial aspects to it; the barriers do not exist. We open up in our writings as to who we really are. We bare ourselves and say “this is me.” For many of us this is the only way that we can truly express ourselves, our opinions, our strengths and our fears. I have also discovered a level of INTEGRITY amongst bloggers that I have not found in “real” life.
The creator of the award is Mel at Monday Morning Power.

I'll pass this on to my blog friends who have been supportive amidst trials and tribulations during this past tumultuous year. It hasn't been an easy 2007 for a lot of us, that's for sure.
Let's raise our cyber-glasses and make a toast: Here's to friendship!

~ ~ ~

Saturday, December 8, 2007

An angel among us

I met a wonderful person last Saturday ~ her warmth and kindness have inspired me to write something about her, to share a lovely experience with my blog friends.

I was exhausted from trying my best to help my mother with post-fire housing arrangements and shopping all week. I was running about a half-hour late that morning as I drove to pick up my Kid One.
She and I were headed to niece Amy's baby shower that fortunately was being held at a restaurant that was not too far from Kid One's college.

We arrived, nice and late, greeted Amy, her younger sister, Jessica, and their wonderful stepmother, Barbara. Sadly, Amy's mother, Ralph's sister, died a few years back at 46.

Barb showed us two empty seats at one of the tables. We got our brunch buffet and one of Barb's friends I had just met asked me if I wanted a coffee. I must have looked frazzled. She got me the coffee and started chatting with me. Her smile lit up the room.

She and Barb had met through a mutual friend and they hit it off immediately. I can understand why. She is a lovely person.
I needed to feel taken care of that day, and she was there. It was a wonderful feeling to know there are caring people out there, and when the person is a stranger it makes the feeling more special.
This woman was meant to be there for me to meet ~ like an angel.
Maybe someday our paths will cross again. I hope so, anyway.

Friday, December 7, 2007

What would you do?

So a bit of a moral dilemma has arisen. Well, I know what to do but I am tempted to do something evil.
For money.
I brought my mother to the grocery store this morning. When I got out of my car, what to my wondrous eyes did appear in the parking lot but a diamond ring in a 14K gold setting. A tiny, heart-shaped diamond that looks like a pre-engagement ring.

I took it home with me. It's on my pinky. I'm going to put it in my jewelry cleaner solution and bring it back. To the customer service desk. Really. Then if the young girl who lost it comes in looking for it, it will be there for her.
I'm nice, I know.

UPDATE: I just cleaned the ring. It's sparkly.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tryin' to get into the spirit...

...and it may take a few days.

"Sleigh bells ring, are you listenin'?"

I can't seem to get those lyrics out of my head this time of year.

"In the lane, snow is glistenin'..."

(I picture Odat and Spud walking in the early morning chill as the snow glistens in the moonlight.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I'm back, sort of

My mother moved into her temporary digs yesterday afternoon. It's a nice, older house (built in 1940) in the town's historic district. It has an updated kitchen and the heat works well - much better than ours - so she is happy.
It was a hectic day, as I combined two trips between my house and her new one, running to the grocery store and bank and writing a feature story about a 9-year old who is taking flying lessons and interviewing a couple of people on the phone.
So last night I was way too tired to re-enter the blogosphere. But I'm here for a few minutes anyway.
This morning I responded to all my friends who commented on my post from Sunday.
Thank you all for your thoughts and kind words. ~

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Cry me a river ~ maybe

I may have come up with a way to turn on the water works to relieve some stress.
It came to me yesterday as I was driving to Hartford to pick up Kid One. I was tired, so I had the radio on loud to keep myself alert.
I listened to a lot of classic rock, then switched to a station playing Christmas songs. I don't mean Christmas carols, but those tunes that remind me of decades gone by. I was getting a bit emotional as I drove north.
A steady diet of "Blue Christmas," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and Alvin and the Chipmunks singing "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) " for the next three weeks may just help me unwind and weep a little.
It's worth a try.

Friday, November 30, 2007

One extreme to the other

When out of the ordinary, stressful stuff happens I've found that my reactions range from realizing how meaningless the crap I surround myself with is to what the heck, why not buy more crap because life is too short. Am I making any sense?

I mean most of the things that are smoke damaged in my mother's house are not worth trying to save. With the exception of photographs, a few antiques and some jewelry. But when something happens I guess we all realize we need a lot less stuff than we have managed to collect over the years, that's for sure.

I am starting to get myself confused. And because I am overtired, my wish is to be able to cry. But my anti-anxiety medication prohibits me from doing so. Not a tear shed.

OK, back to work.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I could fall asleep at the drop of a hat

Odat presented me with this award the other day and I am just getting around to posting it. I truly miss the blogosphere and my friends.
I just need some time to myself when I am not too tired to read and comment...I'll be back.
Meanwhile, thank you, Odat! How did you know of my love of all things warm and fuzzy?
I will pass this award on to Lynn and Joan (if you ladies already received it, I apologize!)
Thank you to everyone for hanging in there with me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mumbo jumbo

Legalese ... help! Mr. Curmudgeon sir, where are you???

I am looking at a three-page document that my mother is supposed to sign but she is reticent to do so. She said she needs a lawyer.
It is regarding the six-month lease for a house to be paid by her insurance company. I'm tired and it's difficult to decipher. I feel the relocation company is fine, but she is nervous about signing.

UPDATE: She signed the documents and I faxed them back. I talked to the woman again at the relocation company and she made it seem less scary.

Monday, November 26, 2007

An interesting side note

On Saturday I met with a real estate agent who showed me two houses for my mother to lease while her fire and smoke-damaged house is being renovated.
One is in the center of her town, across from the Green and adjacent to the parking lot of a historic Congregational Church.
She will be moving into it soon, maybe by the end of the week.
We drove to the other vacant house, about two miles away in the same town. The brick Cape is not in live-in condition but has potential for someone who is a contractor.

I was stunned because it is adjacent to the parking lot of a Catholic church.

Both houses abut church property. Coincidence? I think not.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

After a fire comes the shopping

The past eight days have been busy...I've never had my mother burned out of her house before.
I just bought a winter coat, gloves, wallet, and bathrobe to go with the other stuff I got last week. She stayed home and watched TV and tried to relax. The money I spend will be reimbursed by the insurance company.
Everything fits! It's kinda amazing. She's tiny (unlike her daughter) and it's easy to dress her.

There is a house available for her to move into soon. The insurance company will pay the lease while her house of 52 years is being renovated. The moral of the story is get a really good insurance policy, which apparently she has.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Always keep your sense of humor ~ that's the key

I haven't been visiting blog friends lately, but I am going to eventually!
I have read all your comments and I thank you all for your kind words and prayers.
My mother is doing pretty well...better every day. Most importantly, she has kept her sense of humor through all this.
She needs all new clothes and for the first time in her life she is living in sweat suits. Yesterday I got her a pair of pull-on denims and a nice sweater that hopefully will fit.

This morning she is going to go get her hair washed and cut. She has been wearing wigs for the last five years since losing her hair from cancer treatments. Her hair has grown back, thankfully, and is pretty 'wispy.' So this will be a good morning.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to Cam

~17 ~17 ~17 ~17 ~17 ~

Our son turns - you guessed it - 17 - today. Happy birthday, Kid Two!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

'Cool as a cucumber'

Yesterday I read a second newspaper account, this one published in a weekly, about my mother's dramatic ladder rescue from her smoke-filled bedroom.
Her name wasn't mentioned, which is fine. Just her age and the address. Anyway, the quote from the firefighter who rescued her will stay with me always. He said, "She was as cool as a cucumber. She was getting a little 'antsy,' and rightly so."
Oh, boy. My mother is too much. All she was wearing was a nightgown. She said he told her to drop herself onto him. He was on a ladder, 15 feet up. She hesitated, apparently. "I can take it," she told me he said. Whew.
I'm hoping she is released from the hospital today. It has been a long haul.
On this Thanksgiving morning I'm in no condition to write a serious post about being thankful. Although I feel I should.
But before all this happened I did have something silly set to mark the holiday. So I'm sharing it here. I love these little animated things. But then again, I'm easily amused.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nothing new ~ It's a waiting game

Well, the story in the paper came out OK. It talked about the heroics of the volunteer firefighter and the neighbor who fortunately just happened to be coming home from work at 4 a.m. , called 9-1-1 and ran to get a ladder, which the firefighter used to save my mother. The firefighter lives just down the road from her, it turned out, and arrived on the scene before the truck and ladders.

She is still at the first hospital. She wasn't transferred to New Haven yesterday as we had thought was going to happen so I guess that will happen today.
I'm not doing that much but I'm "on call" by the phone, waiting for news, waiting to hear from the insurance adjuster, stuff like that. I'm in a state of alertness.
I'm rambling, but it feels good to ramble.
My co-workers are supportive, via e-mail and phone, since I work from home. I haven't told too many friends about this yet. And if they read it in the paper they wouldn't know my mother's last name and therefore would not connect her to me.
It's hard to repeat the story, and I'm not a talker. Maybe I'll just refer them to my blog. And to Ralph's.
On a brighter note, we're thawing the turkey (sorry, Lynn!) and while I'm working today Homer will be making stuffing for baking tomorrow.

I miss reading my blog friends, those of you who are reading this right now! Looking forward to catching up when I have time and feel like I can relax. I'll be back to visit.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thank you

I do appreciate the kind words and prayers my blogging friends have sent our way.
We are truly fortunate to still have my mother with us. A volunteer firefighter saved her life.
I haven't talked to him yet, but I will.
She is still in the hospital recuperating from the smoke inhalation. It has really taken a toll on her, but her spirits were much better today.
I definitely saw progress, and certainly hope to see more tomorrow. This is one of the most traumatic things I've ever gone through, for sure.
And I'm sure it's one of the most, if not the most, difficult thing she has ever lived through.

What I'm not too happy about is the fact the newspaper for which I work is doing a story about the incident for tomorrow. The reporter writing it told me he was focusing on the heroism of the firefighter, who it turns out has never saved anyone before.
And as Ralph said in his blog yesterday, the hero happens to live a mile from my mother, on the same road.
I can't believe this whole scenario is real, but it is.

UPDATE: Just found out she had a mild heart attack when she was rescued so now tomorrow she gets transferred to a bigger hospital and gets a catheter put in.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

She got out alive, that's what matters

Turning to friends in the blogosphere as I wait for my son to figure out how to set the time stamp on our camera.
I need the camera because I have to go photograph my mother's house. She was pulled from her bedroom window early this morning by a volunteer firefighter.

I just left her at the ER. She's getting pure oxygen now for the smoke inhalation, other than that no other injuries.
I"m off to see the damage, and try to get inside to get her insurance papers, pocketbook, etc.
Ralph is sitting in the van in the driveway, to make sure no one tries to get into the house.
He said the fire chief told him the house is uninhabitable.

It helps to talk to blog friends about this, though. And you know who you are. ;-)
I'll keep you updated.

This is not the best of Saturday mornings.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gobble, gobble

I just wrote a long story that included references to Clement Clarke Moore's poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." I quoted from some of the stanzas that served to inspire local garden clubs to decorate rooms of a historic homestead for Christmas.
Nothing like rushing the season. It's only Nov. 16. But that's the way it goes when some stories have to be written in advance, to highlight upcoming holiday activities.

I'm getting ready to get ready for Thanksgiving. Gobble, gobble.
What about you?

When she was good...

You Are a Black and
White Cookie

You're often conflicted in life, and you feel
pulled in two opposite directions.
When you're good, you're sweet as sugar.
And when you're bad, you're wicked!
What Kind of Cookie Are You?

thanks for the quiz, Miss Odat!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The book cover meme

Joan gave me this today. It was fun to do ~ the rules are simple.
Go to the Advanced Book Search on
Type in your first name in the book title and post the most interesting/amusing cover that shows up.
I almost picked an inspirational book ("Patti's Pearls") by the wonderful Patti LaBelle, until I saw this:

I cannot believe that, Boomer that I am, I had never heard of this doll! I want one.
I've heard of Chatty Cathy and others, but not Patti Playpal. What lovely red hair she has, and a perfect peaches and cream complexion.
Now I know what I want for Christmas.
Thanks, Joan, for this meme!

I just tagged five folks for the other meme, so this one is up for grabs. I urge you to give it a try.

The magic number is 5

This Five Things meme came from Joan, a friend in Southern California ~ who retired at a young age, I might add!

Five Things...

Found In My Room : (our living/family room)





Travelocity Gnome

I've Always Wanted to Do:

Publish a book

Visit the Grand Canyon

Tour the French countryside (been to Paris)

Knit a sweater (or even a scarf!)

Bake from scratch

Found In My Bag:



Cell phone

Guardian angel pin


Found In My Wallet:

$7 and some change

Driver's license


Credit cards

$20 gift certificate

I'm Currently Into:


Eating Healthy


Looking for freelance assignments


I feel like I revealed a lot about myself here.
Now I get to tag five fellow bloggers.
OK, I tag Odat, Linda, Bee, Curmudgeon and Sari.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ya never know

When I started blogging last January I never, ever would have thought I'd ruminate about topics that had anything to do with sex, religion or politics. But I have, from time to time. No one is more surprised than moi.
By doing that I'm really going out on a limb, venturing into unknown territory - leaving the comfort zone far behind.
But those posts seem to get the most responses! And I like comments as much as the next blogger.

Since writing the above the other day I have learned my blog's reading level is GENIUS. Who woulda thunk?
I'm in good company, because Lynn got the same result for her blog.
cash advance

Blogging is fun, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You gotta have friends

The one and only Mimi, Queen of Memes, bestowed this wonderful honor upon me Monday :

It's The Colors of Friendship award and I truly appreciate it.
I have chosen four female blogger friends whose opinions I trust, and whose comments I always look forward to!
(Drumroll please) I present this award to those bloggin' sisters in California, Joan and Lynn, their cousin, Ina, and Odat.
Joan was the very first blogger I met, and through her found Lynn's blog. I've followed their journeys, to Ireland and Disneyland(!), and have learned a lot about them over the past 10 months.
Ina, "The Moose Buyer," is a plain-spoken blogger. Moosie always has a kind word and a straightforward comment for me to ponder.
Then there is Odat, a New Yorker whose real name is Kathleen. Ralph found her and I'm so glad he did!
She is one funny person and her blog is a joy to visit.
I hope you all enjoy putting this award on your blog, which I'm about to do myself.

They deserve our thanks

Yesterday I covered an event at a nursing home that honored elderly patients who had served in the military, mostly during World War II, as part of a Veterans Day holiday celebration.
Staffers had decorated a room to look like a USO Canteen.
Residents listened to WWII-era songs - on original 78 rpm records - and talked about memories from their youth.
A school administrator and former high school history teacher, dressed in a wool uniform from Patton's Third Army, played the records. She showed off memorabilia that included V-Mail envelopes, gas ration coupons and part of a white parachute signed by paratroopers who fought in the Pacific Theater.
Members of the American Legion who had served in WWII and the Korean War made up an Honor Guard, and one of them played "Taps."

The director of the historical society showed patients black and white photographs of local people celebrating downtown in 1945 when victory was declared and the war was over.

I talked to a few of the veterans and they were clearly moved by the program. Many were misty-eyed as they recalled where they were when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

I met a friendly chap in his 70s who is from a small town in England. He was a child during the war.
He teared up as he talked about his childhood and his memories of the Germans bombing his country. He remembered with fondness King George and Queen Elizabeth (the current Queen Elizabeth's mother) and how after the bombings they made it a point to visit their subjects, a gesture that was most appreciated.

The nursing home staff said the patriotic program was meant to honor the "Greatest Generation" for the sacrifices they had made on the battlefield and on the home front.
The event served to remind those of us who were not alive at the time that when we see a serviceman or woman we should thank them for their service, past or present.

Monday, November 12, 2007

An autumn morning

This is a view from our patio at our humble abode in Connecticut.
With gasoline prices what they are, I guess I should be grateful I don't have to drive any distance to catch a glimpse of some beautiful fall foliage.

The last of the vibrant red, yellow, and orange leaves are swiftly dropping from the trees now, which means it's almost time for Thanksgiving...gobble, gobble.I snapped these one sunny morning last week, as I was getting ready for the day.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

* Happy Veterans Day *

I noticed as I was visiting blogs yesterday and today that many bloggers are writing about the importance of observing Veterans Day, which is today.
I am one of those people who believes we should all pause to remember those who served and those who are serving our country in the military today.
Tomorrow, a holiday for schools, banks and some offices, I will cover a program at a nursing home that will honor veterans who live there. A high school administrator/former history teacher will give a talk about Gen. George Patton, and the historical society plans an exhibit with memorabilia from the home front during World War II.
I'm looking forward to it.
This afternoon Ralph and I attended a service at a park on Main Street. There were about 100 people there, many of them veterans, of course.
We heard schoolchildren read contest-winning essays they had penned about what Veterans Day means to them. The senior center chorus performed patriotic songs.
A World War II veteran played Taps, which always lends an air of solemnity to any event.

We're glad we were able to be a part of this important show of respect and recognition to all veterans.

Sunday scene

Sipping coffee, refreshing my memory of the story of David and Goliath...
Yes, it's my turn again to teach Sunday School. The maximum number of kiddos in the class is five. I think I can handle that.
And as a bonus, Kid Two may assist me. He seemed to enjoy working with the little ones last time he was with me.
The church pays teens a small amount to help with the nursery (we have two new members who are infants) or to assist in the class. Any amount of money Cam can earn for himself is a small blessing, since funds are so tight around here.
Ah well, enough financial talk. Back to reviewing the story and the craft we are going to make in class.Now if I can just find my slingshot...

OK, I'm kidding!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quiz time on a lazy Saturday ...

Your Blog Should Be Yellow

You're a cheerful, upbeat blogger who tends to
make everyone laugh.
You are a great storyteller, and the first to post
the latest funny link.
You're also friendly and welcoming to everyone
who comments on your blog.
What Color Should Your Blog or Journal Be?

-> QUESTION: Do I make you laugh? Or at least smile? That's my intent.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Whatever will be, will be

Everything happens for a reason. That's my motto. And Ralph's.
There really aren't any coincidences in life. We were meant to meet when we did, when we were 30 and ready for a permanent relationship. We were meant to have two children, one of each.
And I believe we were meant to find our way into the blogosphere as well.

Often when Ralph goes somewhere by himself, either to the store, a job interview or on a trip, he is meant to meet the people he meets.
The most recent example of this just happened today, which prompted me to think about this subject and write this post.
He was waiting at an employment agency and a woman who also was waiting for an interview asked him about his disability. She needed to talk, it turned out, because her husband has MS and can no longer drive.
Ralph feels like he was meant to be there to listen to her when she needed to talk.

Sometimes he gets a chance to show interested people how the lift on the van works. He has had it for 10 years, and has done many demonstrations in parking lots in that time. Everyone seems to know someone who is elderly, disabled, or who has limited mobility, and many marvel at this contraption.
He's more than happy to explain the process, and to tell them how to go about researching a van purchase, if that is what they are considering. They welcome the information (he is full of information) and thank him profusely.

Back in 2000 at Baltimore Airport when he was traveling to visit his terminally ill sister, Claudia, he met a man who had questions about accommodations on airplanes for wheelchair users. He needed the information for his disabled son and Ralph was able to assist him.
There have been other times that this has happened. True these are minor occurrences, but more and more we feel they all happen for a reason.
He is in the right place at the right time to help someone, and that's something that makes him feel good.

Fun with quizzes ~ oui, oui

Take this quiz if you dare.

I got it from Lynn, that Tired Mama, who despite being tired is 0 percent stoopid! Congratulations, Lynn! You rock. says I'm 40% Stupid! How stupid are you? Click Here!

and give this one a try ~

Your French Name is:

Marie Cavelier

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

~ Dona Nobis Pacem ~

is a feeling
of tranquility,
a sense of


It is also a state of mutual accord or a pact to end hostilities, the dictionary tells us.

Simply put, I am flying peace globes today because I want to be part of this movement that Mimi started in the blogosphere. She is indeed an inspiration to many.

Let there be peace.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Vote for him? or her?

It's 5:30 a.m. and I just dropped Kid Two off at a polling place at a school right around the corner to work all day. He has to be there until after 8 p.m. when the polls close.
He's getting a taste of what it's like to have to get up and go to work an an ungodly hour. At least he is getting paid, and the experience will look good on the college applications .

Here in Connecticut we have paper ballots and optical scan voting for the first time. No more curtains, booths and levers. Kid Two will be one of the poll workers available to answer peoples' questions about how to cast their ballots.

I hope the day doesn't drag for him. We've been awake since 3:30 because we were concerned we wouldn't hear the alarm to get him up and out in time. But he's there. Phew. Mission accomplished.

I will be working tonight in a neighboring town, running between the two headquarters getting unofficial vote tallies and reaction comments from the winner and the loser.
Did I mention I don't like Election Day? Maybe next year I'll have a new career and won't have to cover Election Night any more.
On the other hand, I'm aware of the importance of taking our right, really our responsibility, to vote seriously. And I will do so later today.

Monday, November 5, 2007

BlogBlast for Peace is less than 2 days away

Wednesday is BlogBlast for Peace. It's a day for all of us to think about working toward world peace.
If you haven't gotten yourself a peace globe for your blog, go get one now. Just visit Mimi, Queen of Memes, founder of the Peace Globe Movement, for all the info. Have fun expressing your thoughts and feelings as you create your own.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's a cozy congregation, I guess you could say

Picture this: A good-looking, middle-aged guy who uses a power wheelchair serves communion to a small congregation on a Sunday morning.
Yes, friends, I'm describing Ralph. He's a deacon at our church. Today was his turn and he did just fine.
But having a guy balance, and practically juggle, a silver platter of mini-communion cups filled with grape juice on his lap as he steers the wheelchair down the aisle is rather ludicrous.

He was honored last year to be asked to be a deacon, but it just looks weird. And I for one cannot look, afraid bread may drop off the plate in his lap or juice will spill or something messy like that.
There were no mishaps, nor have there been with him doing it thus far, so I suppose I should not be concerned.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

All politics is ...

If you thought local (to quote the late Speaker of the House Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill) when you read that, you win.
I don't know what the prize is, but maybe we can think of something.
I could just have easily titled this post: "Is it Wednesday yet?" because I cannot wait until the municipal elections are over and done with. Even the local officials I have been talking to call it the silly season. It's actually more like the sniping season.
I've been "substituting," kinda like Ralph I suppose, by having to write some pre-election stories. The kind that inevitably get some people fuming. That's because the reporter who would be doing this is on maternity leave.
I didn't sign up for this. I wasn't hired to be a town reporter. I did that many moons ago, in my 20s, and I thought I had paid my dues. Guess not.
With staff reductions and positions not being filled, I turn around and it looks like I'm it.
I don't want to whine, overall the job is great. I know tons of people, have learned about stuff I never would have learned about, been behind the scenes at all kinds of places, etc., etc.

It's been a l-o-n-g week and I am just happy it's Saturday morning and I can sit here and post about it. It's called venting, right?

On a lighter and happier note, I did a story Wednesday (I was still working on it as the trick or treaters were knocking on our door) about an 84-foot Norway spruce that is being prepared to be transported to NYC to become this year's Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center Plaza. Found out mid-afternoon that it's in a yard of a house in a nearby town.
'Twas a last-minute story that ended up being fun.
How was your work week?

Friday, November 2, 2007

So many men, so little time?

Joan passed this along to me, but I'm not able to think of any real responses.
“Ten Literary Characters I Would Totally Make Out With If I Were Single and They Were Real But I’m Not, Single I Mean, I Am Real, But I’m Also Happily Married and Want to Stay That Way So Maybe We Should Forget This.”

(This is not easy, she said to herself, worried what others would think of her.)

1) The Prince from Sleeping Beauty
2) The Prince from Snow White

3) The Prince from Cinderella
4) The Prince from Beauty and the Beast

I can't think of anyone else. I lose at this meme.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween wrap-up

In an hour and a half we had 136 ghouls, goblins, vampires, fairy princesses, hobos and more knock on our door. Spiderman was here; so was A-Rod.
And all but the tiniest (they can barely talk so they have an excuse) said 'Thank you.'
It was a lot of kiddos.
Kid Two terrified Trick or Treaters by standing like a statue next to Ralph's van in the driveway.
A few children poked him, not sure if he were real. He dressed as V from the 2006 thriller "V for Vendetta." No, I did not see that movie. Nor will I ever see it.

Holiday season is officially here ~ * ~

Today is Halloweeeeeeeeeen.
I am anxiously awaiting the first ding-dong of our doorbell with the early Trick or Treaters. It will be some wee tykes looking up at me, dressed as princesses and pirates, ballerinas and baseball players. Or Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, too.
They are adorable. There will be some tiny tots being pushed in strollers, wondering what they are doing out at night.
Then the kindergartners through fifth graders will show up. They are usually polite and say thank you when we drop the goodies in their bags.
Then the middle school and high school kids arrive. By the tons, it seems. The boys will be dressed as Dracula or the Grim Reaper, the girls will be pajama-clad babies with pacifiers and pigtails. A few hobos and assorted monsters might pass through as well.
Then the candy and bags of pretzels run out. And we turn out light.
Note: all ages and times are approximate. But that is how it seems to flow, and we get more than 120 kids at our door. ;-D

Next up is turkey day. Gobble gobble. It's only three weeks away. Gobble gobble. I get into the habit of saying gobble gobble each November.
Creative, isn't it?
And the next day is Kid Two's birthday. He will be 17. Yikes.
Then we turn around and it's December.........And we all know what that month means.
Happy holiday season kickoff to all.