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.