Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A new post on The Big C

Cafe Press Shirt

Trying to buy gifts for Nate this year, and still not going ridiculously overboard was hard to do this year because for the most part, I don't have a car. So no running out and picking up "littles" here and there. Consequently, I did the majority of my buying over the web.

Nate really like John Wayne, and with the remake of "True Grit" coming out, I had to buy him the best version as a Christmas present - the original, with John Wayne in it! I also mosied over to Snap Fish to make him a new mouse pad, figuring that everyone needs a new mouse pad. I know the one that I have, is the one that came with the computer. It is thin and bent up, and cuts my hand when I get close to it's bent up edges.

I didn't know it, Nate has a desk, no computer.

Then I mosied over to Cafe Press for this wise guy shirt. I knew I was about out of time (yes, I really procrastinated this year) , so I asked them to please wrap it, before sending it. They did a fantastic job! No one could guess what the gift was, and everyone in the house shook or squeezed it at some time or other. When Nate opened it, I was really pleased with how well the picture was printed out.
Lastly, I know that we just had winter storm Adrianna. It ruined my son's Christmas visit and now the snow that came with it is having the good grace to start melting away. I can't wait for it to be gone, and for winter to be over.

I am not giving it one more line of blog!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Seance

I am reading another Heather Graham book called "Seance." I am enjoying it very much. It's just scary enough to keep the pages turning, but not enough to give me nightmares.

At this moment, I am trying to write a story called "The Development," and I found it interesting that the two of us chose to reveal what is in the killer's mind, without saying who the killer is.

I'm thinking of posting bits of my story on my blog as I write. May-be the feedback will keep me motivated, thinking and writing? I don't think that I am the solitary writer type.

Baking Soda and Vinegar or Frugal Cleaning

It's dawned on me that I haven't posted about being frugal in a while. I'm still doing the frugal living, as best I can with the UNCONVERTED, but I haven't written about it.

At Christmas, my daughters were making a lot of cookies, and I was doing a lot of cooking. We were all using the sink a lot, and it showed! See the first picture.

It was a complete, dirty, mess. I was ready to start cleaning it, when I thought, "You know, I should take pictures of the before, during and after of the sink to show that the frugal, non chemical cleaners really do work."

So, here is the sink before cleaning.

And this is the sink after sprinkling, ultra cheap baking soda on it.

Then I sprayed vinegar (I keep white vinegar in a
plastic spray bottle) on top. The big globs of white in the sink is where the baking soda and vinegar have reacted with each other.

Then I scoured the sink using a paper towel (yes, it should have been with a rag, but today I used a paper towel) and then rinsed the sink out.

And this is the sink afterward. See how clean and shiny it is? And no chemicals to hurt your septic system or the environment were needed!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Unconverted

So who am I to be the Christmas Tree Nazi? I'm not. Happily for all family members who preferred a tree bigger than my 3' kitchen tree, we did not wait for the tree we liked (the winner was BJ's) to go on sale but bought it mere hours before Santa arrived.

It was the second to last one.

But in keeping with my "less is more" mantra, dear heart and the kids that were home at the time, made paper snowflakes for the tree.

And that huge orange-y cylinder on the tree? Was the Cafe Press shirt of The Original American Pickers wrapped and sent by Cafe Press. Dear Heart knew it was for him, but had no idea what it was. I have to say that our experience with Cafe Press went very well. The wrapping was great, and the shirt came out fantastic. Everyone in the family got a laugh out of it. (You can see it on my webpage until Dear Heart models it.)

Let me remind you that this picture was taken fairly early in the morning after a late night for me. It's a mug from two of my son's and says $*#@!!!! Cancer, which is how I feel about Cancer.

And I got my second ever in my life box of Godiva Chocolate. Okay, so much for keeping things simple. Mea Culpa!! Mea maxissimus culpa!! But oh! Mmmmmm, deliciouso!!!

To end this post, on a happy and sad note, a cancer buddy stopped fighting with cancer on December 23rd and spent Christmas with her Savior. I am so happy that she is no longer in pain, but still sad. I always feel sad when one of my prayer and cancer buddies decide it's time to stop fighting, even though I understand why. So please remember Dovie and prayer for the repose of her soul, and pray for comfort to her children, Sissy and Harrison.

And have yourself a basic, happy and traditional Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Three Days Before Christmas

I can't believe that it's only three more days until Christmas!! I'm trying to stay within the spirit; to not only count my blessings, but to also really be appreciative of them. To forgive everyone who has wronged me, even people who I don't speak to (because of distance or because or circles just don't intersect anywhere), not just by my words, but truly, in my heart.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.

There had been rumblings among the unconverted that they might want to get a live tree that is slightly bigger, well a few feet bigger, than my little kitchen tree. Until they saw the price, added the stand (that would be used this year only) and realized it was the same price as the prime rib we're having for Christmas Dinner.

Which is a Christmas surprise. But I'm not nervous to write it here, because the people who will be surprised don't read my blog anyway. Hehehe!!!!

I have to admit, some of my Holiday Spirit has been abraded by the commercials that the major retailers have put on the television airwaves these last few weeks. One is Target and their catchy little song as a couple pop through their house hiding gifts inside of stew pots, under Frosty's hat etc. Then they ruin the whole thing with:

I don't mean to be mean
I don't mean to be vicious
But you're never gonna find my Christmas!

Really?? No, I mean, really?

Not to be outdone is crassness, WalMart's catchy little Jingle is "Less money, More Christmas!"

So somebody, please tell me when Christ's Mass became synonymous with gifts or presents?

And no, this is not me being bah! humbug -ish! Nothing could be further from the truth. I love Christmas. I love the celebration and traditions of Christmas.

However, someone needs to tell the retailers of the United States of America, that going into debt or even spending copious amounts of money is not the spirit or tradition of Christmas.

Neither is having family feuds or sniping at what is supposed to be a festive and joyful meal. I couldn't believe it when I read in a newspaper article that people dread going home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What is really annoying me, is even though I've denounced the spend! spend! spend! of Christmas, I every so often mentally go through my Christmas list and the thoughtful gifts that I bought and wonder, Gosh, is this enough? Should I have eschewed thoughtful and non-extravagant gifts for the big "Christmas maker gifts?"

Then when I come back to sanity, I want to kick myself for my doubts. For my momentary desertion to the other side!

After all, who's birthday is it anyway?

I can't wait for Christmas to get here and I'm not proud of some of my reasoning because part of the reason is that I can't wait for my vacillating between buy and buy-more to be over. I don't want any more "buy" Christmases, no matter if the economy recovers, or even if the economy becomes super - heated again.

Hopefully, next Christmas will be easier.

Cat Scan Update
My CAT scan Update

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Small Tree

As you may well remember, we were hit by the 200 year storm last March. Our lower level was flooded, and we lost a lot of items that were in storage including my son's brand new carpet (which I blogged about buying) and our artificial, 6' Christmas Tree.

Ever since November, my husband and I have been looking for a replacement. We've gone to every store near us, and when we were visiting my sons in New York, we even went to their local stores to look. WalMart, Target, K-Mart, Lowes, Home Depot, Sears, The Christmas Tree Shop, Rite Aide, we've tried them all. The trees were either too tall, too short, had papery needles that I didn't like or trust, was to skimpy, or was just too expensive. So far, we don't have a new Christmas tree.

"We could always get a live tree." my husband said.

"Live as in balled, or live as in cut?"

"Whichever." he replied refusing to get into that conversation again.

I don't mind a live, balled tree. The only problem is, to get a tree that is big enough, you run into a quite considerable price tag.

I don't like cut trees. If we lived in the wilderness, or on enough acreage, where we could re-use the tree, I wouldn't mind a cut tree. In the winter, we could make it into a refuge for little animals and a feeder for birds. Come spring, we could put it through a chipper and make it mulch. But we don't live on acreage anymore, we live in a development where the neighbors get cranky at seeing brown, tinder dry trees that could set the whole neighborhood on fire sitting in their neighbor's yard.

The idea of ending a tree's life, so that it can end up with a bunch of other trees in a landfill makes me feel depressed. Even when I am reassured that the tree was planted on a tree farm for just that purpose, and that it's replacement has already been replanted on the same farm.

It's just hippies like me, that go out into the wilderness to cut down a tree these days. So there!!!! I've been told.

So I was home, and my husband was at work. I was looking around my small, little (I'm being redundant, I know), very un-Christmas-y home when the thought came to me "Heck! Both of us are too stubborn to buy the tree we like at such an expensive price until they have their half off sale. Why don't I put up my little kitchen tree in the living room, since there isn't room for a kitchen tree in this house anyway?"

So I did. My kitchen tree is about three foot tall, and fiber-optic. It looked great in my kitchen decorated with cookie cutters. This year it looks good in my living room decorated with candy canes. May-be at some time I'll put some garland on it, but for right now, it really looks good in it's simplicity.

If you read my previous blog, I'm in a "less is more" mindset this holiday season anyway.

"Really? You're okay with a three foot tree this year?" my husband asked with a little disbelief after he came home.

"Yes I am. It's a beautiful little tree, you know I've always loved it."

My husband had to agree, the tree was pretty.

Does anyone expect that people who have their Thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday after Thanksgiving so the whole family can be together would be tied to the tradition of a full sized tree?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When Less is More

Perhaps it all started with the dreaded question "What do you want for Christmas?"
I realized that there were many little "remembrance" gifts that I would like to get, but there was nothing that was a "lovey" gift.
Do you know what remembrance gifts and lovey gifts are? A "remembrance" gift, is just a small gift costing a few dollars or even handmade to "remember" you to the season. In other words, the gift is a mere trifle.
Now a "lovey" gift is a whole 'nother story! A "lovey" is the gift that you circle in the Wish Book or a catalogue. It's the gift you dream about at night and you daydream about. It's the one gift you desire above all others. It's the gift that "makes" your Christmas.
This year, I desire no "lovey" gift. I really and truly realize that I already have everything that is important to me. I have children that love me. I have a husband that loves me. I will be spending Christmas with the majority of my children and my husband.
There is nothing more that I desire.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Advent Wreath

I am sure there is a long history to the advent wreath, but I really have never researched it. It's been part of my history ever since I can remember.

My parents had a gold circle with ornate candle cups as their advent wreath. My grandmother had a plain one. She put a green, plastic, Christmas wreath on hers and it looked very pretty.

Our first year of being married, I didn't have an advent wreath. I bought four votive candles (three purple, one pink), lit them, waited them to have enough wax to drip, and fastened them to a plate by the wet wax. I put a shimmering Christmas garland around it and called it a day. It served well and looked pretty.

Other years, I've used heavy coat thread to hang the wreath from the chandelier above our dining table, and decorated that with a plastic star garland we had. It looked great, and with a bigger family by this time, saved much needed table space.

There are traditional prayers and meditations, but often we lit the candle (or candles depending on the week) and said a simple grace.

A search on Google will find all sorts of Advent meditations and prayers but this might be a nice place to begin:

I hope you observe Advent this year. I think you'll find it very beneficial!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hail and Blessed!

Not only is this Sunday the day we're holding our big Thanksgiving family dinner, it is also the start of the season of Advent.

You might not be familiar with the Advent Season. This year has been one more hard year, following more hard years than any of us want to remember. It seems, at least in these parts, that as soon as September started, people started to put up their scarecrows, pumpkins and even spider webs. Even before September ended, big pots of mums made their appearances as well as jack-o-lanterns, tree ghosts, and witches flying into walls. Hardly had the kids categorized their Halloween stash, than all Halloween and fall decorations were thoroughly removed and replaced with Christmas decorations. Christmas music has been on the radio, and avoided by me, for at least two weeks now.

Advent has been being pushed out the door for years now, but it seems like even Advent Calendars - items that have been passed down through generations even, are unheard of today.

I can understand it. The last few years have been just awful - no horrendous is a more apt definition. People have been losing their houses, their jobs, medical benefits, retirement and even all their savings for at least the last four years. Now we can add sabre rattling by North Korea and increased threats from Al Queda.

People don't want to think about waiting for Christmas. They don't want to think about giving things up. They feel like they've done enough giving up.

We don't need the somberness of purple candles. We need bright, colorful lights and cheery singing of carols that bring back memories of a happier time.

We don't have the emotional fortitude for advent.

But, may-be we should.

Advent is a simple season. If you don't want to have an advent wreath, Jesse Tree or advent calendar, you don't have to. You can have all three if you want them. They don't have to be plain, you can dress them up as much as you'd like!

The real beauty of Advent is the building of, and strengthening of character. In this world of noise and immediacy, when we want or think we need everything now, Advent encourages us to wait, to be still and reflect. Something BIG is going to happen. Something wonderful, more wonderful than has ever happened before and will never happen again. Something that deserves to be meditated on, anticipated, and truly celebrated for what it is.

The best part about Advent is the lack of pressure. There is nothing you must buy, no gifts to have to shop for, no traditional foods, no must go to meetings. However, you have to remember, that you will only get out of observing Advent, what you put into it.

Many people pray this prayer (It's called the Christmas Novena or St Andrew's Christmas Novena) starting on the first day of Advent until the Feast of Christmas :

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. (Mention your intentions here) Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.

It is said 5 times at every meal. The repetition might seem strange to you, or even superstitious, but Our Lord has told us to be constantly praying. Remember the widow and the unjust Judge who ruled against her. But the widow kept petitioning the Judge, night and day, until he could stand it no longer, and reversed his verdict to rule in her favor.

Very wonderful favors have been given from the reciting of this prayer, and I really encourage you to make it part of your Advent this year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thankful Day

One of the not-so-great things about having your children grow up, is that they grow up. They grow up, get educated, and move away. They have responsibilities that you can't suspend, things like the obligation to work on Thanksgiving Day.

So a few years ago, when the majority of our family had to work on Thanksgiving Day, we gave a long hard look at the holiday.

Was it a religious holiday? No

Did it have to be celebrated on any particular day to preserve it's authenticity? No. Throughout American history, Thanksgiving has been celebrated on many different days. In Colonial America, they sometimes celebrated many days of thanksgiving.

We broke down what we thought thanksgiving is to us - a day to be thankful and to gather with our family. We summarized that if over half of our family was missing the traditional Thanksgiving meal because they had to work and wouldn't be able to make the trip to our home, then it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving.

So we changed the day we would celebrate, to a day that the majority of our family would be able to gather together. One year it was on a Monday. This year it is on a Sunday. I also found that by not having our meal on the BIG THANKSGIVING DAY, a lot of the pressure for the perfect meal was gone.

We still have turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie; but the turkey isn't as large. We may cook more foods, but we don't cook a bigger quantity. Leftovers are more manageable and not a burden to try to foist into later meals.

So, while you are eating your thanksgiving meal, I will think of all the blessings that I have been given.

1. The top blessing for me is my year of remission from cancer. Because if I wasn't in remission, I would either be battling, or sleeping the deep sleep!

2. My next blessing is that all the rest of my family is healthy. Not relatively healthy with minor ailments. They are strong-as-a-horse healthy. And for that, I am grateful!

3. I am grateful for a husband who stayed loyal through all our ups and downs while I was healthy. I am grateful the way he put his shoulder to the wheel during the iffy days of my survival, and my grueling recovery.

4. I am grateful for the relationship between all of my children. They truly love each other, and will be there for each other through thick and thin. The older ones look out for the younger ones, so they avoid the pitfalls of life. And the younger ones remind the older ones to be vigilant for their health.

5. I am grateful that my illness didn't scare any of my children away from me. I'm sure coming to see me, esp when I was covered in tubes and wires was very hard to endure.

6. I am grateful for all the prayers that were continually offered for me during my struggle. I'm sure that, and my surgeon, are the only reason I have been given a reprieve.

7. I am grateful for the Internet. It kept me in touch with, and helped me to get to know better my Aunt Tanya and cousin Bernadette , both who left this world in God's friendship within this year.

8. I am grateful to Bernadette, who's example and advice helped me to endure hospital life.

9. I am thankful for my language.

10. I am thankful that my husband has a full time job.

11. I am thankful that we have enough food.

12. I am thankful for a roof over my head.

13. I am thankful for a warm house in winter and a cool house in summer.

14. I am thankful to live in America.

15. I am thankful that we aren't governed by Sharia law in America.

16. I am grateful that I'm not a woman, or a Catholic under Sharia Law.

17. I am grateful that my testimony is valued equally with a man's testimony in court.

18. I am grateful that I can own property in my own name.

19. I am grateful that I can vote in all government elections.

20. I am grateful that I can pick who I want to marry.

21. I am grateful that I can pick if I want to stay married.

22. I am grateful that I could go to school, without having to hide that information, or worrying if I would be killed on my way to school or in school, simply because I was a female.

23. I am grateful that I can pick what church I want to attend on Sunday, without fear that terrorists are going to drive through the front door, throw bombs at us, and shoot three year olds through the mouth because he screamed "Stop the shooting!" in terror.

24. I am grateful that I don't have to go to any church, temple or mosque if I don't want to.

25. I am grateful that I don't live in a country where enemies can make up offenses against you, for adultery, witchcraft, blasphemy etc, and you get railroaded into a death of hanging until suffocated, stoning, crucifixion, or burning at the stake.

26. I am grateful to live in a country where I was allowed to accept every single child God sent us, without fear of forced abortion or fines.

27. I am grateful to live in a country where I can write what I want on this blog what I want to write, without the fear of having my door pounded down in the middle of the night, being arrested, and never seen again.

28. I am grateful that I live in a country in which I can write a letter to the editor about politicians, about the cost of the paper today - Sunday price, filled with paid advertising - feeling very ripped off, and being able to sign my real name, without fear.

29. I am grateful to live in a country where I can wear a religious symbol four foot high, on my five foot body, and no one will have the right to tell me to remove it.

30. I am grateful not only for free public schools, but also for the right to home school if I wish. I only wish that the free education extended onto college and tech school, and didn't end at the age of 21, but went on until death.

31. I am grateful that I can bring such joy to all people. Some people feel joy at my arrival, and others feel joy at my departure.

32. I am grateful for the relatively inexpensive price of chocolate. (And hope that the rumors I've heard that chocolate will be too expensive for the average person to buy in the next 20 years are totally wrong.)

33. I am grateful for the readers of my blog. Thank-you!

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And now a break from our usually scheduled programming!

Here I am, typing away on a keyboard attached to a borrowed computer. I still have no idea what I, or one of my family members, clicked on in order to get the computer frying virus that we got. So, I'm a little nervous about using the computer, and my imagination is a little rusty at this point. The conclusion to my Halloween Story will be coming, but it's kind of hard to write about Halloween in November, on a borrowed computer.

Before I continue on this particular post, let me reiterate, I am NOT a professional. I am only someone with a certain world view and the common sense of that world view. I can only give my opinion, and I can't guarantee that it is correct. So please take the following with a big ol' shaker of salt. Come to think of it, sipping on a Margarita couldn't hurt either!

Dear Old Broad,

My husband lost his very good job a few months ago. There was no warning, the whole department was given a box at their desk to clean out their effects, and were escorted by a guard out of the building. He was home before ten that morning.

I have a little part time job in retail. It was never meant to pay any bills, just mostly gave me something to do.

We have figured that we can pay the mortgage for about six months, and if our house isn't sold by then, we'll most likely lose it. Just like so many other Americans.

We bought a small, single wide trailer in a nearby park, and have been transferring things we want to keep to the trailer and dumping years and years of memories into a dumpster. While I'm doing that, my husband is doing maintenance on the house so hopefully it will sell faster.

All the kids are out of the house, except one, and she will be out of high school this year. I'm not thrilled that someone else will get to use my newly remodeled kitchen when and if my house sells, but I'm trying to make the best out of it. With the trailer, at least we know we'll have a roof over our heads.

The problem is my husband. He is so angry! I don't think he thought his job would ever end, and if it did, he'd find a new one easily. The fact that he'll probably work as a greeter in Home Depot when the unemployment times out has him furious.

The situation isn't my dream scenario, but I'm dealing with it. He is not. He is angry, sarcastic and caustic. It's making trying to deal with the situation much harder than if we could just deal with it as a team.

I know there's nothing you can do. I'm just venting.

His Wife

Dear His Wife,

My first question to you is this, do you fear that you might be physically harmed by him when he is angry? Because if you do, you need to get help, and a women's crisis center would probably be the place to get it.
If you are not afraid for your physical well being, and please remember I'm not an advice giver by trade, then I think you need to get your husband some counseling. If he's spent a lot of time being educated and/or time working in this profession, then his loss is probably more than what it appears at first sight.
I'm guessing he is going through a very depressing time.

Well, that's it for me. I'm sorry that I'm not much more help than this. May-be my readers will have better suggestions?

Friday, November 5, 2010

You can't keep a good woman down, knock wood!

It happened again, my computer got a horrible virus that resisted all of the tricks that I learned previously to remove it.

Then my son came for a week. My knight in shining armor! But, alas, it kicked his butt too!

So now, I am on a "loaner" computer. So all of the nifty pictures that I had for my blog, that were stored on my computer, are gone too. They might be salvageable, but I won't know for a very long time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Days to Christmas?

Did you know that as of today, there are only two months until Christmas? Yes, that's right. Who can believe that it is coming so soon.
If you are at a loss for what to get the wise guy in your life, the teen, or the person who likes to watch "American Pickers" on television, I have a suggestion? Why not the shirt shown above?
I'm selling it in my CafePress store.
and I will certainly be glad for your purchase!!! You shouldn't be able to find this anywhere else because this was actually an idea my husband came up with one day while we were watching "American Pickers" ourselves! That is my son's nose and finger too, by the way!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Prolific Blogger Award

Have you noticed? I haven't been on my blog in a while? I will briefly mention that I am in remission from Stage Four cancer and not mention it again for a while, but sometimes it has an affect on you emotionally or physically, or both. In this case, it has been both. And to my faithful readers, I do apologise!!
So what a wonderful and uplifting surprise to see when I returned, that a special blogging award was waiting for me!
My Thanks to Sherry for her timing and for thinking of me!
Here goes:

1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers.

2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award. Sherri, The Mess That Is My Mind

3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to the to the original post that started all this, it explains the origins and motivation for the award. And that would be Hazra, of Advance Booking.

Original Post

4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit said starting post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky , that way we all can get to know the other winners.

So this is who I give this award to:

Lily of Never Fading Wood - Who has seen more than her season of hardship. BUT, we know the good guy always wins, and the Thorns family has risen from the ashes. An always interesting blog.

Kat from Homesteading on The Internet If you liked the Little House on the Prairie books, you will love this website. Rich with pictures, knowledge and advice. Try it once, and you will be a follower, guaranteed!!

Sherri for The Mess That is My Mind May-be you're not suppose to nominate the person who nominated you, but Sherri is soo honest, so hopeful and so feisty in her never-give-up style, that I had to give her the award myself. Read her blog, you'll smile, and pull up your big girl panties and get on with your day.

Sr Mary Martha from Ask Sister Mary Martha If you miss the days of the parochial school, when their were a lot less wimps, more self sacrifice and roll -up-your-sleeves and get it done attitude, step into the classroom of Sister Mary Martha. You might not like some of the things she has to say, you will appreciate her bravery in saying them.

Cathe from Just Something I Made I am a "artist" of the naive/prim/folk art style, so sometimes I just need a blog of eye candy. This is one of them.

Wendy - from Wendy's Adventures in Wonderland which is another "eye candy" blog.

And Gena - from The House on Lavender Hill which is the most perfect house anyone has ever lived in, and yet looks soo cozy and friendly.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Words Are so Funny!!!

I would have started writing this earlier, but I had to use the bathroom sooo badly!!! Well, no, that isn't exactly right, though I can't say that I had to use the bathroom so goodly either.
Hmmmmm......... this English language isn't always used soo well, is it?
I mean, I really had to use the bathroom, but I had no intention of using it badly. I wasn't going to urinate on the floor or pee in the tub or anything like that. Now that would being using the bathroom badly, wouldn't it?
You know, when people use the English language incorrectly, it makes me sooo mad! Well, no, not really. I do get angry, but it doesn't unhinge me mentally. I don't go mad. Unless .....
No, I won't go there!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Seasons of Your Life: Fifteen Albums

Do they even call them albums anymore? The CD's that you buy, or don't buy actually. I haven't bought a disk of music in a few years, I subscribe to Napster and my family downloads tracks to their MP3 players.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, people listened to their music on round, flat things that were called records. They came in different diameters, and were called 45's, 33's, and 78's depending on what speed they had to be played at on a record player. They were kind of a precursor to the CD/DVD, except they used a needle (or a industrial diamond) to transfer the music from the record to the speaker instead of a laser.

Record Albums were a group of songs put together on one album, usually by the same artist, and were given names like "The Christmas Album."

Soon after that technology came out with the 8 track tape. The 8 track tape looked a lot like the games for the NES Nintendo game console. It was plaid on a tape deck and was still called an album.

Not too long after that came the cassette tape. It was smaller and thinner than the 8 track tape, and was a little sturdier than it too. Soon it replaced the 8 track tape and was a staple in most cars until the CD player replaced it.

Then the Internet became widely and wildly available, and people learned how to share tracks, illegally. Very few people were buying albums anymore. Along came the MP3 player which allowed people to store their music on the computer hard drive and transfer files to their MP3 player at will. Sites like Napster became wildly popular for people who liked a single song or track from an artist, but not necessarily any other of their songs.

I can not name a single new album, which is pretty sad considering I know so many old albums.

So, here is a list of 15 albums that colored my life. See how they compare to your list.

1. Let It Be by the Beatles

2. Sesame Street (I was about ten with 3 younger brothers. Besides, this album had cool songs on it like Kermit the Frog singing "It's Not Easy Being Green."

3. Gypsies Tramps and Thieves - Cher

3. Calypso - John Denver

4. Photographs and Memories - Jim Croce

5. Best of Bread - Bread

6. The Best of America - America

7. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - David Bowie

8 Young Americans - David Bowie

9. The Man Who Sold the World - David Bowie

10. Out of the Blue - Electric Light Orchestra

11. Led Zeppelin (can't remember what album)

12. Appetite for Destruction - Guns and Roses

13. Black Rain - Ozzy Osbourne

That last CD actually was given to my son. I liked some of the tracks, and listen to them on Napster, so the last album I ever bought was over 20 years ago. Yes, Appetite is from 1988/89 and still Welcome to the Jungle is played sometime at every baseball/football game.

What are the albums of your life?

About the Record Player:
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. Information from its description page there is shown below.
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attribution – You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
Phonograph manufactured in Romania, by "Unitra" company The aparatus below is an radio/amplifier manufactured by Electromures.

date/time username edit summary
07:37, 14 August 2005 en:User:Paulnasca (further explanations about the picture)
07:29, 14 August 2005 en:User:Paulnasca ({{cc-by-2.0}} Phonograph manufactured in Romania, by "Unitra" company)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


A Poem about the Michaelmas Daisy:

The Michaelmas Daisies, among dede weeds,
Bloom for St Michael's valorous deeds.
And seems the last of flowers that stood,
Till the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude.

Today is the day the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, and my first Michaelmas bloom was yesterday, in the pouring rain. What a brave little flower! As you can see from my patch of Michaelmas Daisies, they are in all stages of bloom; some are still tight little green buds, and some you can see the tightly folded white petals, and some the petals are on their way out.

I wasn't always a fan of St Michael the Archangel, not that I ever didn't like him, but his feast day has come and gone without me noticing it, until my brother Michael's death. Sometime in that first year of bereavement, I came across the habit of the Michaelmas Daisy, and the knowledge that I had had Michaelmas Daisies ever since some time in the early 1980's, even before my brother's death!

So every year as the 20th approaches and I feel grief again, the 29th follows with Michaelmas Daisies that I have seen brave heat, cold drenching rain and howling wind. They are an inspiration that usually endures to the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude on October 28th.

And this is how our biodegradable bag of Sun Chips is doing. A little dirty, a little faded, but still going pretty strong, despite drenching rains, wind and lots of 80 degree heat.

Just a reminder, tomorrow is the last day you can scroll to the Earring Giveaway post and post and become one of my followers to have a chance to win the earrings, donated by

The Agony Column, Part Two

From the last blog:

Dear Old Broad,

I have known my fiancee and his family for the past five years. We met in college and became engaged last year. My fiancee George is very close to his younger brother Bill and really wants him as Best Man at our wedding. Bill is in high school and is very into football. Because George really wants to have his brother in the wedding party and because Bill is really into football, I coordinated the date of my wedding so that it would not fall on a "football" day.

The invitations have been printed and sent, the hall is reserved, the caterers hired. Everything is set for that day, except now Bill isn't coming because some other football game thing is happening. It isn't a scheduled game, I really have no idea what it is or why it is so important for Bill to attend it instead of being best man at our wedding. As a double whammy, George's parents won't be attending our wedding either, they'll be watching Bill play football.

George wants to change the date of our wedding, which means that we'll lose money on renting the hall, same with the caterers, photographer etc and we'll have to contact everyone with the new date. George really wants to have his brother as Best Man, but he will abide by my decision.

My parents are livid, and my friends while trying to be supportive (and having to potentially change their schedules) are rolling their eyes.

The thing is, I want this beautiful fall day to be my wedding day. I want to spend my anniversaries at a Bed and Breakfast in New England picking apples.

But I don't want to start my married life at odds with this family.

I try to remind myself that it is the marriage that is important, not the wedding. But the wedding is important to me too!


Totally confused and starting to hate Football

Dear Totally Confused,

Your letter has me totally with my mouth hanging open. You made sure to schedule your wedding on a non-football day for your brother in law. You've sent out the invites. You have everything reserved. And despite this, not only your future brother -in-law, but also your future mother-in-law and father-in-law won't be attending, unless you change the date?

And your husband -to-be who should be your protector, wants to cave in? Or will allow you to be the "bad guy" in his family's eyes, if you stick to your guns? You're not even married yet, and he can't stand up to his family?

My advice is to run!! Call off the wedding and have a "It Was A Narrow Escape" celebration party.

There is more than football going on here Cookie. You are being shown your place in the family, and it's way behind Bill, and most probably the parents also. If and when Bill marries and/or has children, your status will decline again. Your fiancee George knows this, whether it is consciously or unconsciously, I can't say. What I do see is a future of either kowtowing to George's family, or standing up to them alone.

Not much of a future.

Count your blessings that this happened before the wedding instead of after. And have a piece of celebration cake for me!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Agony Column

In the US it's called the "Advice Column." I only know that it's called the "Agony Column" in England because Agony was my favorite Brit Com in the 1980's, and was about an Agony Columnist.

Do you like the "Advice Columns?" I do. It's kind of like a soap opera without having to sit there for a half hour and endure commercials at the same time. It's kind of like being the listener at gossip over the back fence or by the water cooler, without looking nosy.

Sometimes, nah, often, I don't agree with the advice that is given. I feel like the columnist just doesn't really understand what is going on. You know what I mean?

Like a column from a couple of months ago. We're going to pretend that I am an advice columnist, and that the person wrote to me for advice.

Let me know what you think at the end.

Dear Old Broad,

I have known my fiancee and his family for the past five years. We met in college and became engaged last year. My fiancee George is very close to his younger brother Bill and really wants him as Best Man at our wedding. Bill is in high school and is very into football. Because George really wants to have his brother in the wedding party and because Bill is really into football, I coordinated the date of my wedding so that it would not fall on a "football" day.

The invitations have been printed and sent, the hall is reserved, the caterers hired. Everything is set for that day, except now Bill isn't coming because some other football game thing is happening. It isn't a scheduled game, I really have no idea what it is or why it is so important for Bill to attend it instead of being best man at our wedding. As a double whammy, George's parents won't be attending our wedding either, they'll be watching Bill play football.

George wants to change the date of our wedding, which means that we'll lose money on renting the hall, same with the caterers, photographer etc and we'll have to contact everyone with the new date. George really wants to have his brother as Best Man, but he will abide by my decision.

My parents are livid, and my friends while trying to be supportive (and having to potentially change their schedules) are rolling their eyes.

The thing is, I want this beautiful fall day to be my wedding day. I want to spend my anniversaries at a Bed and Breakfast in New England picking apples.

But I don't want to start my married life at odds with this family.

I try to remind myself that it is the marriage that is important, not the wedding. But the wedding is important to me too!


Totally confused and starting to hate Football

A little apprehensive

So son number two and I were talking, and he made reference to my blog content. I was a bit surprised since ...

"Now how would you know that, since you aren't a reader of my blog, are you?" The look on his face said "Crap!" as he admitted that no, he wasn't one of my readers.

I was curious, so I asked him "Why don't you read my blog?" It's not an unusual thing, I can safely say that more people don't read my blog, than do, and in my family, the ratio of don't read to do read is even higher.

He started by saying "I get home from work pretty late, and I'm pretty tired. Most of the time I don't even read my e-mail and I just pop into FaceBook for about a half an hour or so to see what it going on there." And then he said it: "And to tell you the truth Mom, I've read your blog, and that's not your best writing. I've read your other things, and your blog just really annoys me because I know your writing is much better."

Thank-you .................... I think?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spotlight Saturday 9-25-10

Spotlight Saturday is when I pick out one of my favorite blogs to read. This week, I pick the blog "Ask Sister Mary Martha." If you have any questions that you'd like to have answered from a Catholic point of view, this is the place to go. Nothing is off limits, and although Sister Mary Martha isn't cruel, she doesn't pull any punches either.
Don't let the fact that you are not a Catholic or even a lapsed Catholic keep you away.
Want to check out more Spotlighted blogs? Follow this link:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shine On, Shine On Harvest Moon!

Today we say goodbye to Summer of 2010. If there was anything you wanted to accomplish during the summer, you only have hours left to get it done. At 11:04 (ish) tonight, the summer is over, and autumn begins. Yes! Autumn, my favorite season! The season of greens turning to reds, and yellows, bronzes and gold! The season of pumpkins and Jack O'Lanterns.

The cold is coming, but first we must celebrate with Holidays!

Tonight is also the night of the Full Moon, but not just any full moon! No, the night of the honest to goodness Harvest Moon, on exactly the day (night) that it should occur!

Here is more information, and you'll see why I am soooo excited!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is it Friday yet?

Well, I guess that's a pretty silly question since it is now Sunday and the DREADED MONDAY is only hours away.
This past week, my IPod touch died. Yes, just died. I had it on my computer recharging, and the screen went blue. The Ipod wouldn't turn on, no matter what trick I tried. Finally the ITunes icon showed with the little cord thing requesting me to plug it back into my computer, where I was told that it was wiped and needed to be reset to it's factory settings. I did, and every file, that wasn't an App, was wiped from it's memory.
You probably don't understand who awful this is for me. It probably seems like audio files are the casualties, but that is the least of my problems. Right now, my husband, a daughter, and I are going to a bunch of different doctors. Many of them are new to us. Many, I don't know the names of, only where their practices are, sort of. So, not only do I need to deduce the doctor's name, and then find their telephone numbers by calling the referring doctor's office, I also have to find out when the appointments are.
Thankfully, my previous PDA, a Palm Pilot, still has files on my computer (to the best of my knowledge, IPods don't do that with your calender or contacts) from pre Christmas 2009, so the damage isn't as bad as it could have been.
From now on, my handy dandy IPod will be for playing games like Bejewelled and listening to audio files. But for serious matters? My trusty Palm Pilot, that I bought when it was already a late model, and now I've had it for five years.
I have to say, I'm really surprised that my earring give away has only one entry. According to my counter, I've had a bunch of visitors. So what is going on?
Tomorrow is Scary Monday, which I always look forward to. Thanks so much Wendy for putting it together, and thank-you Lily for pointing me me in that direction!
Monday is also the 20th anniversary of my brother Michael's death. He was only 17 at the time, exactly a month away from his 18th birthday. He had graduated High School the previous June, had a girlfriend and loved computers. He was also one of the early, dedicated gamers and loved Metal. He and a friend had tracked down Dio in Connecticut and got his autograph. Michael was buried with it. He had wanted to get Ozzy's autograph also.
My Michaelmass daisies buds are starting to swell, and they will bloom soon, usually in time for Michaelmass on the 29th. They always make me think of Michael. I wonder, if he had lived, what would he be like? Would he have "sold out" to society, and cut his long blonde hair? Would he be married? Would he have children of his own? Would he still be a gamer? Would he have still loved computers?
I often wish that I knew someone with an age-progression computer program. I would love to see what Michael would have looked as an adult.
Instead, I remember him as my baby brother with long blond hair that flowed behind him, as he did his "rock star gait,' with a light sprinkling of freckles across his nose. Still and always, just a kid.

Super Give Away!

There are give aways, and then there are give aways! I just found out about this one at Garden of Daisies blog, so I apologise for posting this at the very last day. But the prize is sooooo superdy, duperdy, you have to hurry over and enter!!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Refining Silver, a new post on Cancer Catholic Cured

I thought this post might be a blessing to someone who is suffering from a chronic, debilitating, or fatal disease. ‎

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How to win the neew earrings ...

I've finally decided how I will pick the winner of the new earring from
This contest is open until the end of September, so that is two weeks from now.

1st You must Follow my blog on Google or Blog Frog

2nd You must make a comment on this post. If you follow my blog, but don't make a comment, then you are still not eligible to win.

3rd I will pick the name on September 30th and announce it on this blog, though not on this post. You have until October 7th to e-mail me your address. If you don't, I will pick another winner, and they will have until October 14th.

Just to make sure everything is clear, these are NOT real diamond earrings, they just look like they are. A great BIG thank-you to for supplying the earrings!

Best of luck to everyone! :)

My House Is Going To Be Blue

or strategies for how to afford the siding your house needs

As I was just walking back from putting NetFlix into our mailbox, I looked up at our two story, white house and thought "Soon our house is going to be blue. With white corners." What color the shutters will be, is any one's guess. My husband seems to think that the dark green shutters that we have now will work perfectly fine, and they are in great condition. I have my doubts, on the shutter color. They are in great condition, but I think they'll be going to FreeCycle before they ever return to our house.

And to be perfectly honest, our house is going to be Harbor Blue, not Baby Blue, or Military Blue or any of those other blue - blues that houses are colored. In fact, our blue is the 5th color from the bottom on the swatches I have posted. May-be green shutters will work.

This is how it all started: I was going out the door because I
thought I heard my husband's car in the driveway, and I wanted

to welcome him home. Yes, after thirty years
I still do that. As I went out the door, I scared the salesman coming up our front steps half to death. He hadn't expected me, I hadn't expected him; it's good that neither of us have faint hearts.

"Uh, uh, uh...." he said.

"Uh, uh uh.." I said, wondering who the heck this
was, and why my Labrador hadn't sounded the alarm first.

Well to cut to the chase, he was a pre-salesman with Power Window and Siding , and would we be interested in a free estimate?

What did we have to lose? We knew the house needed to be resided (unfortunately, we only seemed to notice how badly it needed it done, after we bought the house. I think Barnum wrote something about us, something about a sucker?)

The next day, a salesman came to our house, to show us samples, to measure the house, and to tell us why the product that Power Windows and Siding uses is superior to what we would have bought at Home Depot, for instance, because that was where we had pretty much decided to go if Nate was going to do the work.

That is Johann Manss, our salesman in the picture above showing the three layers that are going up on our house. The green layer sheds water, and yet is breathable. The second layer is insulation with bug killer (think termites) embedded in it and the third layer is our siding. Not only will that keep our warm air in the winter, in our house and our cold air in the summer in, but it also makes the siding more durable to random things like little boys throwing baseballs and lawn mowers tossing stones.

Then Johann gave us a little class about where siding comes from. Our siding has never been formed before; being our house siding is it's first incarnation. Now you know I am nothing if not a re-use, recycle and re purpose girl, but when Johann showed us the demonstration about Power Windows and Siding's material (Jar A) and other siding (Jar C), I made an exception.
Because for the whole appointment, which was about 4 hours, the powder in Jar A never mixed with the water. I even stuck my finger directly into it , and pushed the powder into the water. It still never mixed, and my finger, where the powder had been, remained dry also. The contents of Jar C however, became one with the water. The reason for this being such a big deal is that when water becomes part of the equation, so does mold. Ick!

The frosting on the cake though, is not only are we getting a lifetime guarantee with this siding, but the guarantee is transferable to the people we eventually sell our home too! I was pretty impressed with that. Actually, I was impressed with the whole thing, which is why I am blogging about this in the first place.

And then there is the question of : How on God's green earth will we ever be able to afford this? I'd like to share a few thoughts and tips with you. As I mentioned before, my husband and I knew we were going to have to replace the siding on our house before the salesman ever called. We knew it would be expensive, and not something we could afford easily. We also knew that it was to the point that we couldn't think about it any more, we had to act on it pretty soon.

We went to both Lowes and Home Depot to see what was available, how much it would cost (at least in a ballpark estimate), and we looked online to see tutorials of how reside the house. We knew we could never afford to hire someone to do it.

The trips to Home Depot and Lowe's were downright depressing. At best, we could only afford their least expensive, so no fancy siding like we wanted. The job would be a drudge job; an expensive drudge job. Actually a big, expensive, drudge job with little pride to it except to be able to say that we did it ourselves.

Yet, as depressing as those trips were, they were necessary and informative. It didn't let us have any false hopes about how much we'd be spending. We took out a home equity loan. Joy of joys, it wasn't something that we wanted to do, especially since we are trying to live debt free, but it was necessary.

At the time that the pre-salesman came, he told us that if we signed for the work to be done in the month of September, we would be getting two discounts, one was offered by the Warehouse Club we belong to, the other was a matching discount offered by Power Windows and Siding.

Another thing to consider is this: if you are among the first to get siding or window work done in your community, your house can be an advertising billboard for that company. Is that worth any money to the company? For Power Windows and Siding, it was. We agreed to have pictures of our house taken before and after, along with having a small sign posted in our front yard. The sign in our yard is self explanatory. The before and after pictures will go into the company's "brag book." And it shaved money off of the bottom line.

Being able to pay cash for the job also shaved money off the bottom line.

Lastly, and this is only offered this year, the government will give us a $1500 tax credit (not deduction) on our taxes.

Another thing to ask is if may-be your salesman would consider less of a sales commission and lower the price, if you agree at the first meeting to sign a contract for work? Be aware though, not all salesmen work on commission. Ours didn't.

See if any of these strategies work for you.

* I have not made a penny writing about my experience with Power Windows and Siding. I have only written because it was a good experience, and I wanted to share. If you'd like to talk to a salesman because of my blog, please e-mail me with your name and telephone number, and I could earn an $100 gift certificate.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

1022 Evergreen Place

When you lose someone, it is devastating. Their absence is so poignant that you live with it every day. You never forget them, but that sharp, knife edge is always with you. That is the way it is with my cousin Bernadette. Long time readers of this blog know that my cousin left this world in May of this year. It's been more than three months now, and life has resumed it's rhythm the best it can.

And then, I get bludgeoned with her loss again when I look on the back of the current Woman's World magazine and see that one of my favorite authors, Debbie Macomber had just published another book in her Cedar Cove series. Previously, my cousin Bernadette would know way before the rest of us that there was a new book in the series or in the Blossom Street series and tell us. Often, she bought the book in hardcover first, and then we would pass it through our family to Debbie Macomber's other fans. Finding out about the new book just brought it home again, Bernadette is gone.

I bought the book a few days later when I conveniently, accidentally on purpose was near a book store. Buying the book was bittersweet, since usually my copy was my cousin's hand-me-down. Reading it is both enjoyable, and re-uniting me with the past. I love the Cedar Cove books, and I love Cedar Cove even though it is a fictional place. This is the tenth book in the series, and over the span of five years (I played catch up in 2005) I've come to know and care for the characters. I'm not done with the book yet, which is pretty unbelievable , since I usually read these books in two days at the very most. Right now, Rachel is newly married and pregnant. She's having such a tough time with her teenage step daughter Joleen, that she is afraid to tell her husband about the pregnancy. While at another address, MaryJo has found WWII love letters under the floor boards in her bedroom.

So, I'm going to stop blogging, and go back to reading. If you have never read the Cedar Cove series, there's no better time to start!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Scary Monday - From The Haunted Bookstore

Taking them to the Haunted Bookstore was a last resort, but ultimately it had worked. The Twins didn't seem to be bored any longer.

"Is it haunted really, or is that just it's name, Aunt Mary?"

"I really don't know Misty. I know it's name is The Haunted Bookstore, and I know it looks like this year round, but, if it is haunted, I don't know."

"There are a lot of black cats around." Misty observed.

"Yes, they lounge all over the place."

"I see a Witches hat." Colby observed. "It's just decoration."

"Maybe not." Aunt Mary replied. "May-be it's just to high for her to wear comfortably inside the shop, so she left it out here."

"That means she might still be in the Shop!" Misty answered with a shivering thrill.

"Oh bro-ther!" Colby said with disdain. "I'm not afraid to go in!" But even with all her bravery, Colby's feet weren't heading toward the Shop all that quickly, and it was actually Aunt Mary who led the way.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

9/11 Budweiser Tribute

Cleaning Up The House

At the moment, I'm watching Sunday Morning on CBS. The subject is, the dreaded bedbug! Apparently, and I'm not sure why, bedbugs are becoming an epidemic at hotels (luxury or economy), clothing stores (Victoria's Secret was one shown on CBS), and - gulp! - our homes!

For people who have a can-do, entrepreneurial spirit, bedbugs have even become a business. Believe it or not, there are dogs that can sniff out the location of bedbugs, and people that train dogs on how to sniff out bedbugs.

When people hear bedbugs, they often think "ugh! dirty house!" But this is a common misconception, because bedbugs can be carried in on furniture, upholstery or cushions; or they can crawl from one infected room or apartment to another. There isn't much that you can do about bedbugs once you get them, it seems. Aside from hiring an exterminator that is. Prevention though is the key.

Dirty house got my attention though, so I surfed the internet after the bedbug report, and came across this wonderful quick article about cleansers that are both organic, and probably already in your home, things like white vinegar, lemon, baking soda and borax among others. Here's the link:

Homemade Cleaners


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