Friday, February 29, 2008

Birthdates have meaning, really!

Go ahead, see what your special day means...
Your Birthdate: December 29

You have the mind of an artist, even if you haven't developed the talent yet.

Expressive and aware, you enjoy finding new ways to share your feelings.

You often feel like you don't fit in - especially in traditional environments.

You have big dreams. The problem is putting those dreams into action.

Your strength: Your vivid imagination

Your weakness: Fear of failure

Your power color: Coral

Your power symbol: Oval

Your power month: November

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thanks for your help, Mimi

I wanted to participate in the Message in a Bottle meme, but just couldn't quite focus on all the instructions. Queen Mimi offered to make me one with this silly ditty I wrote Tuesday.

Happy Leap Day!

What message would you like to send out to the universe?

Message In A Bottle Meme

1. Compose a message to place in your virtual bottle.

2. Right click and SAVE the blank graphic below

3. Use a graphics program of your choice to place the message on the picture

4. Post the Message In a Bottle meme and your creation on your blog along with these rules

5. Tag a minimum of 5 bloggers - or your entire blogroll - to do the same. Notify them of the tag.

(I'm skipping that part)
Your virtual bottle will remain afloat in the blogosphere ocean for all blogernity.

Place your blog's name and url in a comment HERE TO LET MIMI KNOW YOU'VE COMPLETED THE MEME. She will add it to the master list of message bottles. Email mimiwrites2005 at if you have questions. Participation is optional. Have fun!

=^. . ^= Peeking cats

This morning it was Rigby's turn to peek around the drapes.
More and more these two furry guys are becoming a source of amusement for us, that's for sure.

I admit they don't know how to blog yet, but they are progressing in other ways. At least they don't hide from us anymore!

(There was a cute photo here a few hours it's gone.)

WooPsie - now it's back.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thanks, merci, gracias ...

I put something out there yesterday and now I'm truly overwhelmed with the response.
I have a lot to write about but I avoid stuff that's serious. And in the past when I've tentatively ventured into that realm it seems like almost nobody commented...So I ditched the idea. But maybe I'll try again.

I appreciate all of your kind words, and I even received one from a "dangerous" Gemini and mother of three who lives in Miami.

Hmmm...I wonder how she found me? I'm not the dangerous type. ;-)

Free Gifs and Animations

Monday, February 25, 2008

Thinking, thinking

I've been thinking about writing a serious, or semi-serious, post but I keep hesitating. I've said it before...I marvel at how many blog friends are able to let it all out. I envy that talent.
I guess I could practice.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

No question

You Are a Question Mark

You seek knowledge and insight in every form possible. You love learning.

And while you know a lot, you don't act like a know it all. You're open to learning you're wrong.

You ask a lot of questions, collect a lot of data, and always dig deep to find out more.

You're naturally curious and inquisitive. You jump to ask a question when the opportunity arises.

Your friends see you as interesting, insightful, and thought provoking.

(But they're not always up for the intense inquisitions that you love!)

You excel in: Higher education

You get along best with: The Comma

What Punctuation Mark Are You?

And my follow-up question: Any commas out there? We could be friends.

Friday, February 22, 2008


* 'Twas the night before snow * *

It's snowing out this morning. Can you believe I chose today as a vacation day? I did, so I guess I'll be getting a lot of blogging in. And maybe even a cozy catnap, featuring one or two real felines.

I had an interesting day yesterday, something about which I plan to blog. Woo hoo! Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Meme accomplished

Linda, the author of Are We There Yet? and a fellow Nutmegger, tagged me Sunday for this, The Fifth Sentence Book Meme. I got around to doing it today and it was fun!
Here are the Rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people & post a comment here once you post it to your blog, so I can come see.

And my offering is:

I picked up "The Intellectual Devotional American History" which has been sitting on the coffee table since I gave it to Ralph for Christmas.
In an incredible coincidence when I opened to the specified page it was about the "one and only" Phineas Taylor Barnum.
He is of course quite a character, and someone about whom I blogged in August, after we visited The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport.
Coincidentally at the time Linda left me a response that she'd like to visit the museum someday.
I recommend it. As for this book, I admit I haven't read it yet.

Here are the three sentences:

Exhibiting her throughout the Northeast, Barnum made a huge profit off gullible audiences who paid to gawk at the woman Barnum claimed had been "George Washington's nurse." He soon hired his most famous midget, the twenty-five-inch tall Charles Sherwood Stratton (1838-1883), who went by the stage name General Tom Thumb and became so famous he was summoned to meet Great Britain's Queen Victoria in 1844.
Barnum, who later in life established his first traveling circus, P.T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan and Circus, was the first to admit most of his shows were pure "humbug."
And now I tag
The Curmudgeon

Have fun!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I covered an event today that featured an informal conversation with a member of Congress.
There were small business owners, elected officials and corporate executives in the crowd. There was plenty of food, conversation and a sense of prosperity, even in this slumping economy. No one there looked like they wondered where their next meal was coming from.

When I went out to my car and got ready to leave, I spotted an old guy pushing a shopping cart full of large pieces of cardboard.
Could he be looking to get money for the stuff? The sharp contrast of the environment I had just been in and the sight of this sad sack stuck with me, enough to write about it, anyway.

Maybe this person is actually a miserly millionaire, who would rather pick up trash than stay home and count his money. If it were me, I'd opt for staying home and counting my money.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Snow what? Snow White!

Ralph used to have a joke with our daughter when she was very small about the fair maiden.
He'd say "Snow What?" to her and she'd yell out "Snow
White!" In honor of those fun times, I bring you a column I wrote in August of (ahem) 1987 for a now-defunct daily paper.

"... And they lived happily ever after"

Heigh-ho, heigh ho.
You too will be singing those words if you go see the best film of the summer - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
Yep, my husband and I saw this magical movie adaptation of Grimm's fairy tale last weekend and were enthralled by its charm and innocence.
The 1937 vintage animation is Walt Disney at his finest. From the beginning when Snow White sings: "I'm wishing...for the one I love" to when the Wicked Queen (Snow's stepmother) looks into her mirror and asks: "Magic mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" the movie sparkles.
Rarely have the forces of good and evil been so clearly defined. Snow White, the fairy princess, is surrounded by white doves while the Wicked Queen hangs around with ravens and buzzards.
The W.Q. despises Snow - she's jealous of her beauty - so she tells one of her henchmen at the palace to kill her. But he cannot go through with it and Snow winds up running through the Evil Forest until she meets the sweetest little group of animals this side of paradise. She sings, the bluebirds sing, the bunnies twitch, and the deer and the antelope play.
She tells them she needs someplace to live and they lead her to a cottage that's cozy but cluttered. Guess who lives there? The seven dwarfs, of course.
Snow can't stand the dirt and gets her animal friends to help clean up the mess. And as they work, they whistle and burst into song.
Meanwhile, the seven little men are out mining for huge, brilliant diamonds in a nearby mine.
But when these happy little guys get home that night and see all their cottage lights ablaze, they are scared out of their wits. "Maybe it's a ghost or goblin!" they shriek in unison.
They send Dopey inside to find out who or what is there. Of course, it is only our heroine, Snow, sound asleep in the bedroom.
They stare at her and Grumpy, who is suspicious of all women, declares: "She's female and full of wicked wiles."
After she wakes up, she tells them she will make dinner, but not until they wash. Grumpy is appalled. Wash? With soap? And water?
Eventually, however, he grows to love Miss White, as do his peers.
When her evil stepmother - enraged at her superior beauty - tricks her into eating a poisoned apple, she falls into a trance-like sleep and both the dwarfs and her animal friends are convinced that she has been murdered.
Since they cannot bear to bury her, they put her in a glass casket instead and set up an eternal vigil.
But she only sleeps until her Prince comes and kisses her awake and takes her away on his white stallion, off into the sinking sunset.
Unlike most mass-appeal movies made these days, this one has a simplicity and beauty that take your breath away.
It vaults you back to a different time, a different place, when people left their doors unlocked and trust was a common coin.

Go see it. It will leave you with tears in your eyes. But as you leave the theater, those tears will be replaced by a sense of exaltation, of innocence regained.
And as you walk toward your car, you will begin to hear a voice, way off in the distance, singing: "
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's home from work we go."
And then you will realize the voice is yours and you will find yourself wishing, with all your heart, that Snow White was not a fairy tale, and that you too could live happily ever after.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Flashback to November

This afternoon I had to cover the aftermath of a house fire that happened this morning. Fortunately the elderly couple had gotten out of the house safely.
It was hard because when I got there the workmen were boarding up the windows and covering the roof with a tarp.
The last time I watched someone board up a dwelling was three months ago, when my mother's house was damaged by a fire, and she was miraculously rescued in the nick of time.
She is living somewhere else, a lovely place, but her house of 52 years is just sitting there, with a pile of ashes from I don't know what still sitting in the front yard.
There are a lot of trees, so the mess is not that visible to passersby. You really have to stop and look closely to see the mess.
But it's definitely a mess. With a capital M.

Are we living...

in the Dark Ages ?
Ralph and I don't have Google Readers. Should we?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A two-cat catnap!

Signs of progress: Rigby was sleeping on the bed this afternoon but didn't budge when I decided to take a catnap.
When I woke up, scaredy Linus had joined us at the foot of the bed. It was a cozy moment.
It's good to know there's room for three on the bed, as long as two of the three are kitty cats.

Survive this, guys


Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.

Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes. There is no fast food.

Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money.

In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time.

Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment.

He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.

He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.

The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails manicured and eyebrows groomed.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

They will need to read a book and then pray with the children each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7 a.m.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.

The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.

If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years, eventually earning the right to be called Mother!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Guess who?

Somebody looks relaxed as he digests his hearty breakfast.
I almost didn't post this picture, embarrassed by faded draperies and all, but I figured friends don't judge you by what your house looks like. Hope I'm right. ;-)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Musings on the day after

Dear fellow chocolate lovers,

Today the stores will be selling Valentine's Day chocolates for half-price. It's a perfect opportunity for us patriotic Americans to go out and jump start the economy as we get our chocolate fix at a big discount.
And by Sunday if there is any remaining chocolate on the shelves it will be 75 percent off.
So I say show your love of country...stock up!
It's stimulating the economy!!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Just little ol' me

I'm not an intimidating person. But when I asked someone who had given me a comment for a story about a business he patronizes what town he was from, he drew a blank.
I didn't think that was a hard question. I guess it must have been my natural beauty (or at least my naturally curly hair) that stunned the guy.

He was driving an expensive German import too...which further confirms what Ralph always says, "Money can't buy brains."

So, how was your day?

Love is in the air (along with the dander)

Happy Valentine's Day!


Shifting gears a bit, I saw this book quiz on Linda's blog. I'm just not sure if I agree with the results.

You're Siddhartha!
by Hermann Hesse

You simply don't know what to believe, but you're willing to try
anything once. Western values, Eastern values, hedonism and minimalism, you've spent
some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in.
This makes you an individualist of the highest order, but also really lonely. It's
time to chill out under a tree. And realize that at least you believe in ferries.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Humphrey never did that, either

These cats are definitely coming around.
Rigby, the mostly white one that we affectionately call "The Rigster," seems to love water. Unusual for a kitty cat, no?
He drinks a lot more water than our former feline did, and I caught him twice straddling the toilet seat. Hope he didn't drink that water. On Sunday I saw him dip his left paw into the water bowl and clean his face off with his paw. That was too cute!
He likes to go into the shower and check things out. I thought cats didn't like to get wet! I guess there is an exception to every rule.And both Rigby and his scaredy brother, Linus, found that a pile of newspapers on a chair made a good resting spot Sunday. I guess these guys like to keep on top of the news.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A subbing he will go ...

My dear husband, Ralph, just left for a last-minute job substituting at a private K-12 school about 12 miles from here. The call came at 9:30 a.m., even though school starts at 7:45 there.

After he was all set to go wearing a short-sleeved collar shirt and pullover sweater he already had on, the woman at the agency calls back and tells him he needs to wear a tie.
Boy did we get him out of outfit #1 and into outfit #2 fast! A team effort. He is now wearing a long-sleeved shirt, tie and argyle vest.
He stayed in the wheelchair, of course. I'll spare you any further details. Ha ha.

He's never been there before...should be interesting to see how this place operates.

* Update * Things didn't work out. Visit Ralph to find out what happened.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Boys with their toys = ^ . ^ =

Boy cats, that is. Yesterday we got the felines a scratching post and I garnished the base with catnip.
They liked it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

* Happy Birthday *

We took my mother out to lunch (was more like dinner in the portion sizes) yesterday to celebrate her birthday. And we used her debit card.
Aren't we thoughtful and generous? We were going to use our debit card, but she insisted we use hers.

The good thing was she got out of the house and did something fun, just using a cane. No wheelchair. Her broken pelvis is healing, slowly, and when that's better we help her start the search for a contractor to repair her house. Yikes. That is going to be a project.

This morning we're off to a pancake breakfast at church. Food, glorious food!
~ ~ ~
So, what kind of fruit are you? Odat shared this the other day and I found out I'm an orange..

You Are an Orange

You have a zest for life, especially for anything colorful, wild, or dramatic.
You have a unique take on the world, and you're not afraid to be a little funky.

You are a bit reserved toward people who don't know you well.
You have a thick skin, which can protect you from anything that goes wrong in your life.

Once someone does get to know you, they totally get and appreciate you.
Your friends see you as a bright person with a refreshing take on life.

What Type of Fruit Are You?

give it a try

Friday, February 8, 2008

Week that was: busy is the word, yes I'm a nerd

Paczkis, preschoolers, pets, pens, nutrition, heart disease, and more.
My week has been a diverse one, that is for sure.
Oh well, that almost rhymes.

I finally revisited a wonderful blog written by The Curmudgeon (sorry it took so long!) and wouldn't you know this Chicago-based lawyer and blog friend (I hope!) also had Paczkis on the brain this week.
Sad to say I had them in the stomach as well. I told myself I wouldn't, but I did. I'm bad.
What are Paczkis, you ask? Let's just say they are HUGE Polish doughnuts. See The Curmudgeon's Fat Tuesday post for further important info. A person could gain five pounds just by being near a box containing six of them (two were for co-workers).

On Fat Tuesday I wrote about a Paczki-eating contest, an event in which I competed (and finished poorly) last year.
The reigning champ, a professional eater, held onto his title, and beat his own record by downing a baker's dozen of the doughy delights in five minutes.
Preschoolers: I wrote about a grant to aid those involved in early childhood education in our four-town region.
Pets: Did a story about a new pet supply store that sells toys and supplies and natural and organic food. We adopted our felines, Linus and Rigby, from one of the owners of the store.
Pens: Covered a presentation by the president of BIC Corp., who addressed the local Chamber of Commerce at a breakfast this morning. (I didn't eat, just had coffee).

Et cetera, et cetera. Starting to bore myself now.

Thank goodness it's Friday!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Memory quiz

Time to joggle a friend's memory. Today's victim is Joan, that erstwhile librarian in California. She always figures stuff out.
The other day I covered an exciting event and I thought of you, Joan ... can you guess what it was?

There may be a prize...Or an offer to contribute to my cheesy blog. My other cheesy blog.

Thursday chuckle ;-)

Jake was on his deathbed while his wife, Becky, maintained a steady vigil by his side.
As she held his fragile hand, her warm tears ran silently down her face, splashed onto his, and roused him from his slumber.
He looked up and his pale lips began to quiver with sound.
"My darling Becky," he whispered. "Hush, my love," she said. "Go back to sleep Shhh! Don't talk." But he was insistent. "Becky," he said in his tired voice. "I have to talk. I have something I must confess to you." "There's nothing to confess," replied the weeping Becky. "It's all right. Everything's all right, go to sleep now." "No, no. I must die in peace, Becky. I slept with your sister, your best friend and our next door neighbor."
Becky mustered a pained smile and stroked his hand.
"Hush now Jake, don't torment yourself. I know all about it," she said. "Why do you think I poisoned you?"

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Back to being a sub

Ralph returned to a local high school to substitute today. We're getting to the end of our unemployment checks and it's scary.
I can't get any more hours at work, and no raise in sight. I'm in search of freelance writing jobs.
I don't want to commit to a new full-time job, because I am on call for my mother during the day (she's five miles away, stuck in a house her insurance company is leasing for her, with a broken pelvis) and there is much to be done at her own house. It's just sitting there, boarded up after the fire in November.
Life doesn't get any easier, that's for sure.

Yesterday Ralph had an interview at a temp agency. And last week he had an interview for a permanent job in the aviation industry.
Please think good thoughts for us.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tough love

Dear Abby,

My husband is a liar and a cheat. He has cheated
on me from the beginning; and, when I confront him, he denies everything.
What's worse, everyone knows that he cheats on me . It is so humiliating!
Also, since he lost his job
seven years ago, he hasn't even looked for a new one. All he does all day is smoke cigars, cruise around and shoot the bull with his buddies, while I have to work to pay the bills. And since our daughter went away to college, he doesn't even pretend to like me and hints that I may be a lesbian.

What should I do?

Dear Clueless:

Grow up and dump this bum! Good grief, woman, you
don't need him any more.
You're a Senator from New York and a candidate for President of the United States.
Act like it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

From the e-mail bag

Dear friends,
On Saturday I started a new blog. It's called The Roquefort Files
and I hope you visit.
Ralph will be a guest contributor.
And there may be others.

I know this cartoon is hard to read, but squint! It's worth it.

P.S. Or like Joan said, just click to enlarge ~

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Five (5) Things Meme

Sarah from Sarah's Cucina Bella tagged moi with this. Sarah is a friend and the mother of two young children.

She edits several cooking blogs, including Fit Fare, which Ralph and I contribute to on a monthly basis.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

2. Share five random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.

3. Share the five top places on your “want to see or want to see again” list.

4. Tag a minimum of five random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment in their blog.

1) I was tagged by Sarah Caron

2) Five Random/Weird Facts About Me:
  1. I don't like heights
  2. I don't like closed-in spaces
  3. I am an only child
  4. I love to write
  5. I majored in French

3) Top five places I want to see or see again:

1. Paris. I somehow managed to get there twice, both times with Kid One on a high school trip.

2. London. Saw some of it on a whirlwind visit after spending five days in Paris.

3. Grand Canyon. Never been there.

4. Mount Rushmore. Ditto.

5. Italy. Ditto, again.

4) Tag at least five friends:






( ' > Quacks

Whatever possessed me the other day to reveal what Ralph calls me? (Quacks) I don't know.
So much for keeping my secret identity (although probably my webbed feet would give it away).
Ralph calls me quacks, because we like ducks around here. And bunnies. He quacks a lot, and twitches a lot, and one day he started to call me Quacks. And it stuck.

I think I'll leave additional explanations for another day and time.

P.S. Just launched: check out The Roquefort Files