"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year and best wishes to you all!

How was '08 for you? Mine started out very hopefully. I was alone on New Year's Eve but had been given the promise that it would be my last like that. This year: I got to go to Vancouver to see my love. My stepgrandparents died. My son graduated high school. My boss got fired. My love dumped me out of the blue for someone else. I lost 20 pounds because I was physically unable to eat for two months (depression diet - highly effective but NOT recommended). There's more, but I've written it all here before. I've written more than 300 posts, so it's all here if you really want to go looking for a recap.
I'm starting the new year with the hope that this will be better than the last...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reading and other projects

My Internet connection problems have been a bit of a nightmare for me lately - meaning it's down now for HOURS at a time. It's been odd though. I've picked up books to occupy my idle mind when I can't do my usual web surfing. I've read three books in their entirety, in addition to finishing one that I've been reading in bits and pieces for several weeks now. It makes me want to buy more books, but when I go through one every day or so, it really adds up. Besides, I don't have any room for any more books. I have stacks and boxes of them all over the place as it is. You see? I need the infinite resources of the Internet to keep my mind occupied. It is constantly in consumption mode and must be taking in information at all times, it seems.
I have forced myself to have some quiet time each day though. I'd gotten away from my meditations for too long, and now I'm having to ease back in. I'll have to just have my quiet time for a few days before I'll be able to focus sufficiently to really get any good meditation in.
I've got a new project. (I almost always have to have some kind of "project.") This time, I'm making wine. It's just "hobo wine," but it's an experiment that I thought might be kind of fun to try. Kind of like learning how to fold a T-shirt in two seconds. That one was kind of nifty too. So anyway, I'll let you know how the wine turns out when it's ready. :) Woohoo!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Support those who serve

As we spend the holidays with our families, it's easy to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we might tend to forget those who can't share this time with their families. We are all struggling, but our military heroes and their families are sacrificing even more so that we - and others around the world - can enjoy a life of freedom.

This year, Sears is sponsoring the Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry, so that those of us here at home can give thanks and help fulfill the wishes of those brave souls serving in the military and their families who have sacrificed so much that their loved ones may serve for the good of others.

You too can help Sears in its partnerships with various nonprofit organizations to help fulfill our heroes' holiday wishes.

Donations to the Heroes at Home Wish Registry are not tax-deductible. Gifts are given to military families in the form of Sears Gift Cards, which are distributed equally among all registered military families. More than 30,000 military families are registered for participation in the program.

By visiting the Heroes at Home Wish Registry, you can make a donation, using your credit card, to help out these families during the holidays. You can also post a message of support to thank our military service members and their families for the sacrifices they have made for us. You can also get a Heroes at Home badge to post on your own Web site and help spread the word about the program.


Weather and holiday indulgences

The weather's been crazy lately, hasn't it? We've had ice storms, rain storms, snow showers, bitter cold, brutal wind... Friday we had a deluge, complete with thunder - actual thunder on Dec. 26. That just seems crazy. The temp was just at freezing when it first started, cold enough to put down a glaze of ice. I know - I wiped out on it at work. Saturday, the temp went into the mid-60s. We didn't even need a jacket. Overnight, the wind kicked up, blowing the branches out of the trees and causing the temperature to plunge again. The rivers are running bank-full, and there's standing water all over the place. Just a couple more degrees' drop, and it will all be frozen again.
I'm predicting 8-foot snowdrifts in February. Yeah, that would be just my luck.

And in honor of the holiday season culinary indulgences.....

As you're resisting those holiday treats, consider this: Are you able to appreciate a tiny, perfect moment? Consider what I got for a measly 60 calories:

I sit here quietly savoring this delectable chocolate-covered cherry. I carefully pop the bottom of the chocolate off, creating a small chocolate cup filled with liqueur and a cherry. I hold the cup perched in three fingers while I allow the piece of chocolate in my mouth to slowly melt over my tongue. The warmth from my fingertips begins to melt the chocolate cup. After the chocolate in my mouth has melted, I sip the liqueur from the miniature cup around the cherry, then nibble away at the sides of the cup until I am left with just a tiny cap of chocolate holding the prize: the beautiful, red cherry on its tiny cap of chocolate resting in a puddle of the last of the liqueur. I scoop the cherry up with my tongue and bite into it. The cherry liqueur drips down my chin. After I've savored the texture and flavor of the cherry, I get the final touch of joy found in licking the melted chocolate from my fingertips.

All that for 60 calories.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Flashback Friday - Tainted Love

This week's Flashback Friday is one of my all-time favorites, and I'll never apologize for it: Tainted Love by Soft Cell.

Christmas done

Well, Christmas is over and done with, and even though this was a lean year, somehow it still looks as if a toy factory exploded in my living room, and we've no idea how all the new stuff will fit in a room that didn't have room for all the old stuff before.
Christmas Eve the girls and I wrapped the last of Book's gifts and stashed them away before heading off to pick him up for the night. As we drove past Wal-Mart at 7:30 pm, Gin piked her sister and said, "Take a look, Munch. That's the last time you'll see that. Wal-Mart is completely empty." I looked over and she was right. The parking lot was empty, as they'd closed the store already. I was a little surprised that it had closed so early. I expected they'd want to pick up the last-minute Christmas Eve shoppers. Anyway, I pointed out to Gin that we would indeed be seeing the same sight the next morning when we brought Book home.
We spent the late evening at my parents' house, opening gifts and doing the usual Christmas Eve thing. Pooh and his girlfriend (yes, they're back together again) even came in to share the night with us after spending the early evening at her grandmother's house.
We arrived home fairly late, and I sent the girls and Book straight to bed, as we'd be getting up early the next morning. Of course, that didn't go quite as smoothly as I'd hoped, so it was still at least an hour and a half before they were all tucked away, and I could haul out the gifts.
Pooh and his girlfriend were camped on the couch, so I simply told him not to snoop. I wasn't waiting any longer. Good thing I didn't bother, as it turns out, because he ended up sleeping on the couch anyway. And he didn't snoop at all. :)
Christmas morning, Book was the first one up - not for enthusiasm. He had a nose bleed at 7:30 a.m. He got himself a wet washcloth and asked if he should go back to bed. I told him not to bother. Within about 15 minutes or so, the girls were awake too. So we all headed downstairs to start Round 2.
Pooh popped right up and took delivery of his gifts right on the couch. He knew he was getting a new cell phone, but he wasn't expecting it by Christmas, so that turned out to be more of a surprise for him than I'd expected. What really surprised him, though, was the Bluetooth headset I got him to go with it. Surprising him at 18 years old is a challenge, so I was glad that was a success.
Book got a new book - naturally - as well as some clothes, a game, a talking Star Wars helmet he's been wanting for weeks, and assorted odds and ends. Munch got the obligatory giraffes (she's been obsessed with them since she was three), and Gin's gifts seemed all to be of the Hannah Montana or High School Musical theme.
After the gifts, we got all the kids dressed and packed up. We took Book back home to his dad's, and I dropped the girls off to spend the rest of the day with their dad and his mother. I would have kept them from him, but this is the first time in six years that he's gotten them anything for Christmas. He's living with his mother who just got out of the hospital for cancer treatment, so it really didn't seem right to keep them from having more of a Christmas with them too.
Pooh left to go to his dad's shortly after I arrived home, so I actually spent most of my Christmas day at home alone. It wasn't bad though. After the inevitable holiday stress, I was actually able to just sit back, watch a video and relax with no responsibilities at all. The house was empty, and I figured that the pile of crumpled paper, ripped boxes, yards of ribbons and assorted toy parts in my living room could do just fine where it was for the time being.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Watching cartoons

We had more freezing rain tonight, so well-stocked with junk food, Munch and I spent most of the evening watching some of my old favorite cartoons. They're now her favorites too. Here's a sampler of some of the ones she liked best:

Marvin's my FAVORITE!!

This had her giggling. :)

This one had her laughing hysterically.....and as soon as it was over, she even asked to watch it again!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bitter cold and unreliable connections

The wind and cold has been brutal today. We've had a little snow, but it's come in tiny little pellets, and the fierce wind is blowing it all away. I always wonder where it's collecting.
I was listening to the wind all morning before I had to go out. It sounded as if it would tear the roof off the house, it was gusting so strongly at times. I hoped that it would die down a bit before we had to go out, but no such luck.
We took Book home to his dad's, as per our usual Sunday schedule. I've arranged with his dad to pick him up on Christmas Eve, so we can do our Christmas at my mother's that night. Then we'll open presents Christmas morning at my house before I take him home again. That way, he gets to be with his siblings for all of the Christmas festivities and isn't excluded from any of it.
After dropping him off, the girls and I went out to my parents' house, and then we all went into town for lunch. That was a break from the routine, but we had an ulterior motive. Pooh's cell phone service has been horrible, so my parents decided to take out a cell phone contract and include him on it in a family plan. They're both on prepaid service now, and my mother pays my son's cell phone bill on his contract. With such bad service, we decided that paying the fee to break that contract was worthwhile, and combining them all on one will ultimately prove to be cheaper each month than the separate bills. I considered joining in on it myself, but I'm happy with my service and the cost. And more importantly, international calling would be much more on their plan. Considering all of my connections are trending international, I'll stick with my own plan.
The wind kept blowing and the temperature kept dropping. By the time we were finished with lunch and went to the grocery store, it was so bad that we were outside in it for only seconds before it actually made our skin hurt. I suspect frostbite would take only a few minutes in this kind of cold, dry wind.
I already received notification that school has been delayed for tomorrow morning. There's no snow accumulation, so I have to assume that it's the wind and cold and that it's expected to continue through the night.
My internet connection has been spotty at best recently, but tonight, it's been abysmal. It was down for the first three hours after I got home, returned for just a few minutes, went back down for almost two more hours, was up for two hours, and now it's down again. (I'm writing offline, with hopes that the connection will return in time for me to post this before bed.)
My whole life is online. I was even inspired to write my column about that fact tonight. (I took advantage of one of the brief windows of connection to e-mail it in. Good thing. I would have missed a deadline.) The column was far too long, but I didn't have access to my word count tool on Google, so I didn't know until it was finished and I was ready to send it in. I was afraid to start trimming for fear the connection would drop before I was finished, and I wouldn't be able to send it in.
Now, I'll go back to reading my book and hope that my connection returns before I go to bed, so I can post this.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bonus Flashback Friday - Interjections!

Bonus Flashback because HEY! It's Friday!

Haven't dropped off the face of the earth after all :)

Oh boy, have I been neglecting things around here! So I guess I should provide a little update....
Well, we've been having some nasty weather around here, and I've seen by the news that there's been some weather weirdness all over. Some friends in New Orleans sent photos of SNOW there last week. Most of the comments were along the lines of, "What the hell?!?! How do you drive in this sh*t?!" I even saw that Las Vegas - you know that city built in the middle of a DESERT - got 3.6 inches of snow yesterday.
Here in my little hamlet in Ohio, we got ice. Lots and lots of ice.
I went into the office Monday, as per my usual schedule. All was well then. Tuesday morning, I couldn't access the Internet from home, so I was forced to go to the office again, even thought that's my usual day to work from home. I finished up around 1 p.m. and headed home, because I've had to keep my days as short as possible these last two weeks. Use-it-or-lose-it policy for vacation hours. During the drive home, the temperature was dropping fast, and the freezing rain was starting up.
By the time Wednesday morning rolled around, everything in sight was covered with a glaze of ice. That's a usual office day for me, but I wasn't risking my life to go in when there was no real need for it. Besides, I'd already gone in the previous day - and the boss was off, so why bother? The kids had a school delay, which turned into a cancellation, so that cinched it for me.
Thursday morning I awoke to a text message informing that there was another school delay. It was the day for the Christmas "dinner" and annual staff photo at work, so I'd been planning to go in, but considering the delay and the nasty conditions out, I began to rethink that plan. I looked outside and saw that Pooh's car was gone, so clearly he had to work the morning shift at McDonald's. But then I went upstairs, and found that he was home. So what happened? Well, it seems he DID have work, but on his way there at 3:30 a.m., he spun out of control on the ice and landed in a field. He was ok. The car - not so much.
I asked him where the car was, and he informed me that he'd parked in the lot at the local market, figuring that it wouldn't make it up the icy driveway at home. So I went over to the market to check it out. The front quarter panel on the driver's side was crumpled, and there's grass and mud wedged into the tire under the rim. The passenger side appeared undamaged, except that the tire was completely flat and falling off the rim. He drove it all the way back - about 10 miles - on a flat tire. He has a cell phone and AAA - but apparently, in the stress of the situation, he forgot.
So anyway, we had more freezing rain last night, and the roads were just as bad - if not worse - early this morning when he had to drive in again. Fortunately, this journey was uneventful, if extremely slow. There was another school delay this morning, so I didn't go into the office until after I got the girls off to school. By then, the temperature had risen enough that most of the roads were in decent shape.
I got to come home early because I'd used up all my hours. There's still a cold rain falling. The temp is up above freezing at the moment, but it is supposed to drop significantly. Everything is wet, and it'll all freeze over again. We'll just have to see what it looks like tomorrow. In the mean time, I'm in for the day. I stopped and got beer on the way home from work. I'm all set.

Flashback Friday - Last Christmas

Today I'm offering a little seasonally appropriate cheesiness for Flashback Friday - Wham's Last Christmas. Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flashback Friday - Girls on Film

The live version - not the "adult" video - of Duran Duran's Girls on Film

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My day off work in the middle of the week

I took the day off work today and spent the better part of the time sleeping. I woke up to get the girls off to school, then I climbed back into bed. I woke up about three hours later, but I was still feeling tired, so I lay back down, expecting that I wouldn't fall asleep again. I was wrong. The next thing I knew, it was 1 in the afternoon. I don't regret it in the slightest. I probably needed the rest. It's certainly been long enough since I've gotten much good, uninterrupted sleep. And it was wonderful just waking up on my own rather than to an alarm clock or a child knocking on the door or kids arguing in the hall outside my room.

When I finally did get up and moving around, I managed to get a few things done that needed to be done. Then I got online and did a few things there, including some Entrecard dropping that I've been neglecting lately, I must admit.

I also got a welcome message in my inbox on Facebook that a friend of mine in Europe is planning a trip to the U.S. for business soon. He's trying to work things out so that he will be able to come my way as well, so that will be nice. We get along very well, and it would be so nice to get to meet him in person and spend some time together. I'm too used to disappointment to be counting on it just yet, but I do hope that it all works out that we can see each other. I've needed to be able to look forward to something.

My cousin called me yesterday and asked if I might be able to go out this Saturday night. She won't have her kids, and she and I haven't been out together since I was in college, I think. We hardly ever see each other anymore. I've got Book on Saturday, but I might see if I can switch that to Friday if I can make arrangements for the girls too. It would be nice to have a night out. It's been far too long.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Seeking serenity

As each day passes, it seems that life is weighing more heavily upon my already overburdened shoulders. And even the little things I had to bring me a shallow and temporary moment of escape or joy are being lost to me one by one.
At least I have one small thing to look forward to - or I might anyway. And even that is still months away, if I really have it to look forward to it at all. I don't know what to believe anymore. But I need something to believe in. I need something to hope for, and I need something I hope for to actually come to pass.
Every day I wonder how I will manage to get through to the next. And then get through the next. Each day it gets harder, and I wonder if it will ever end. I wonder if I will ever get to a day when I won't fear the next and the next. If there will ever be a day that I can feel warm sunshine and loving arms and soft kisses and know that I am safe and loved and finally whole.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Flashback Friday - Perfect Way

This week's Flashback Friday is Scritti Politti's Perfect Way. Enjoy!

Time off coming

It struck me this morning as I was adding up my hours for my timecard at work: I have almost four days of time off that I somehow have to work into my schedule over the next two weeks. The only possible way that I can do that is to take at least one WHOLE day off. A whole day off. It's almost too good to be true.
I've decided that I'll be taking Monday or Wednesday of next week, depending on what works best for my backup person. That way, I'll either have a long weekend (since this is my weekend off), or I'll split up next week into two mini-weeks (although I'm working next weekend, so that "mini-week" will still be nine days long). Either way, it's one less day at the office. And I still have almost three more days' worth of hours to shave off, so I'll be keeping my work days as short as possible. I can use the break right now, and maybe I can use the opportunity to find some new revenue sources.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Turbocharge it

Life gets a little crazy and sometimes we just want to get away. What better way than to hit the open road and feel the wind blow and cleanse away all the stresses of life?
But does your car have the power to make that drive really effective? If not, you might want to consider turbocharging it. Turbochargers force air into the fuel system to boost horsepower.
If you're looking to boost the power in your car, take a look at turbochargerpros.com. You'll find an Acura turbocharger, Volkswagen turbocharger, and everything in between.
To get that extra boost out of your car - and put that extra pep in your step - turbocharge it.

Open door

I woke up this morning to an unusually warm bedroom. What this usually means is that my son Pooh, who works early shifts at McDonald's, turned up the heat before he left the house and forgot to turn it back down. When I say turned up the heat, what I mean is that he's pushed the thermostat all the way up to the top to try to quickly warm up the house. I couldn't believe that this could have happened, as just two days ago he did it, and I made it clear - in no uncertain terms - that he was not to touch the thermostat again unless he plans to pay the heating bill.
Well, I opened the door to my room, and rather than being struck by a wave of warm air, I found myself in a freezer in my hallway.
It seems he'd neglected to pull the door shut all the way, and as usual, he did not lock it. The latch on my front door doesn't work properly since my ex-husband "fixed" it a couple of years ago, so it blows open rather frequently if it's not kept locked or properly latched.
So the front door was standing wide open to the world, for probably at least a couple of hours. Fortunately, I'm in a very safe little tiny town, so when the door stands wide open - even all day long - nothing is disturbed inside. Of course, my heat bill is sure to be completely outrageous, and I'm completely broke. The heater had kept running trying to get the house to 68 degrees, and my room with its closed door was a good indicator that it had been cranking out the heat for a while.
We're also searching for a cat who wandered into the house and has hidden himself so effectively that we're not even sure which floor he's on.
The cat will wait, I suppose, until he gets hungry enough to show himself.
And I've GOT to find a way to get some more cash, or I'll find myself moving my children and myself into my mother's house before winter's through.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tactical gear for holiday shoppers

It's holiday shopping time, and this year we're all more pressured than ever to get the most out of our holiday dollars. We're looking for practical, durable gifts that won't break the bank.
Not just for law enforcement anymore, "tactical" clothing has gained popularity in the general population for its incomparable practicality and durability. Naturally, with this increase in popularity, cheap, low-quality knock-offs are showing up all over the place. It's not enough to have the look of tactical pants with a clay or khaki color and a few more pockets than ordinary pants. What makes the tactical pants used by real law enforcement personnel special is their careful design and heavy-duty construction.
If you want the tactical gear used and trusted by law enforcement professionals and outdoorsmen across the country, you want the genuine 5.11 Tactical label.
If you're looking for pants, they've got more than 20,000 pairs in stock. Available in a dozen different colors and a variety of styles, you can find exactly what you want - and at great prices too. The classic style is only $39.99, and the flannel-lined (GREAT for hunters and outdoorsmen!) pants are only $49.99 right now. All 5.11 Tactical pants feature triple-stitch construction and bartacking for superior durability.
But it's not just pants, you'll also find 5.11 Tactical shirts, shorts, footwear, eyewear, bags, uniforms, jackets, jumpsuits, knives and other accessories.
If you've got a hard-to-buy for outdoorsman or teenager or farmer or weekend warrior or any hard-working, hard-playing person on your Christmas list, you'll find a perfect gift here.
Right now, free shipping is available for orders of $50 or more. Other bonuses available right now are a free tactical operations flashlight (not a cheap toy - this is a heavy duty flashlight with an 80-lumen output) with the purchase of more than $100 of 5.11 Tactical gear, and three pairs of socks with the purchase of any 5.11 boots.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I've got the *real* Mac virus...

I've become a pretty big Mac fan since I got my laptop for work about a year ago. I didn't realize how high a pedestal I'd placed Mac on, though, until today. I was home from work, surfing some blogs and all was going well. Then suddenly, when I was in the middle of typing a comment on a blog, my screen went black. The screen on my MacBook Pro...just...went...black. I was dumbstruck. I was in shock - I mean, to a degree comparable to seeing a stranger shot dead in front of me. I sat staring at the black screen, thinking, "What the hell?!?! This is a MAC! This doesn't happen!"
I've worked on Windows PCs for years and years, and frankly, whenever one crashed on me, my response was something like, "Damn it! Typical! Piece of crap!" But when my Mac just went black, I was ... stunned ... bewildered ... speechless.
Even now, I'm typing away just perplexed as to what happened and wondering if it will happen again.
I have to laugh at my reaction even more because I saw the new episode of The Simpsons last night (the first new one I've seen in a while, incidentally). At the beginning of the episode, the Simpsons were at the mall and there was a new "Mapple" store (Apple, but with an extra bite taken out). The store was a massive, futuristic glass structure filled with every surreal Mac stereotype imaginable. Then Steve "Mobs" giant image appears with a message and all the Mapple disciples turn to face and worship him.
Anyway, as I watched last night, I laughed at the Mac stereotypes being parodied. Then here I sat today, dumbstruck, when my Mac *gasp* failed.
I was looking up Mac viruses, to see if perhaps there had been some threat, but everything I read said that Mac OSX is still 100% virus-free. I think the "Mac virus" though is something entirely different. The "Mac virus" does not infect the computer - it infects the user. And it's not the product of some hacker - it's the product of Apple. It makes you have to have a Mac (or iPod, or iPhone, etc.). Then when you have it, it makes you dependent upon it. Then when you are dependent upon it, it makes you worship it. It becomes the "one thing you can't live without" in your social networking questionnaires. You become part of the cult. And now, it seems they've gotten me too.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Flashback Friday - Pictures of You

Flashback Friday brings Pictures of You by The Cure, as performed live at Wembley Stadium in 1991

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Random Rant - Glade Commercials

I hate the current commercial campaign for Glade air freshening products. Every time I watch, I cringe. This woman lies to her friends and family to make herself seem more wealthy, important, sophisticated, cultured, whatever. But she's a pretentious phony liar. She's sitting in her bathtub - but claims she's at the spa. She invites her pals over for yoga and claims the scent in the air is some exotic aromatherapy. She dumps a box of hard gingerbread cookies onto a plate and tries to pass off some canned fragrance as real cooking. I see that all the friends think this stuff smells great. And clearly the lying society wannabe thinks the stuff smells good. But what kind of ad campaign has the person using your products ashamed to admit she's using your products? And who are these friends who just laugh it off every time this woman lies to their faces? Is the humiliation funny enough that they don't mind she's a complete fake?

Don't disturb the peace

The girls are out of school today - the first day of Thanksgiving break. My mother was unavailable so I had to work from home today, rather than go into the office as I usually do on Wednesdays.
It was all working out fairly well, at first. I got up and made my coffee. Munch popped her head into the room a few minutes later, but I told her she didn't have school so she could go on back to bed. Which she did, for a few minutes. Gin was still sleeping, so Munch went downstairs and made herself a bowl of cereal then entertained herself quietly for a while. When Gin got up later, she went downstairs and got a bowl of cereal, then headed back up to her room to read a book.
So the house was quiet. Gin was reading. Munch was eating, again. Mom was getting to work undisturbed - while also running downstairs periodically to work on the brine for tomorrow's turkey.
Then what did I do? I took the quiet and decided to spoil it. I suggested to Gin that she might want to get one of her chores started, so she could have it out of the way and go back to reading after. She begrudgingly obliged. Gin was grumpy, so she groused at Munch. Munch is ... well, Munch ..... so she took advantage and decided to aggravate Gin some more. Next thing I know, I'm trying to work but being distracted by banging and shouting coming from downstairs. I put my two cents in. Silence .... for about 15 secs. Then banging and shouting from upstairs. I put my two cents in. Oh...I think I hear more banging and shouting from downstairs again.
Everything was quiet. I screwed it up. Moral of the story: the chores can wait. Don't disturb the peace.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The secret meanings of flowers

It's almost universal that the giving of flowers is one of the most romantic gestures a partner can make. The most romantic gesture of all is putting real thought into those flowers - not just the aesthetic arrangement, but the secret messages those flowers convey. 
Back in the 1800s, men and women used flowers to send  secret messages to each other. Since the propriety of the day would not allow lovers to express their feelings verbally, the Victorians developed an intricate language of feelings and emotions using flowers. 

If you want to say - Use these flowers

I am thinking about you - Asters
I love your innocence - Baby's Breath
I'll be faithful to you - Bird of Paradise (given to a man from a woman)
I send you luck - Bells of Ireland
I long for you - pink Camellia
You're adorable - white Camellia
I'll never forget you - pink Carnation
My heart aches for you - red Carnation
Wish I could be with you - striped Carnation
I'm disappointed - yellow Carnation
I seek the truth - white Chrysanthemum
You're the only one - Daffodil
I'm loyal to you - Daisy
I remember our good times - Forget-me-not
I'm anticipating our next meeting - Forsythia
You're my secret love - Gardenia
I'm sincere - Gladioli
My love will never fade - Globe Amaranth
Love at first sight - Gloxinia
I'm consumed by love - Hibiscus
I'm bonded to you in love - Honeysuckle
I'm feeling jealous - yellow Hyacinth
I give you a promise in love - Iris
I return your affection - Jonquil
I'm walking on air - yellow Lily
You've made my life complete - Lily of the Valley
Eternal love - Orange blossom
You are a beautiful woman - Orchid
Here's to a happy life - Peony
Our souls are united - Phlox
I can't live without you - Primrose
I desire you - coral Rose
I'm enchanted with you - lavender Rose
I'm fascinated with you - orange Rose
You give me perfect happiness - pink Rose
I am worthy of you - white Rose
I feel strong when you're around - Snapdragon
Elope with me - Spider Flower
I'm declaring my love - red Tulip
There's sunshine in your smile - yellow Tulip
Caught at last - Venus Flytrap
I vow my faithfulness - blue Violet
Let's take a chance on happiness - white Violet
My affection will last forever - magenta Zinnia

Friday, November 21, 2008

Flashback Friday - The Promise

Here's another of my '80s favorites for Flashback Friday: The Promise by When in Rome.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sick house

I don't know if it's a blessing or a curse. Everyone in the house now has officially been sick. (That's the curse.) But no two were sick at the same time. (That might be a blessing.)
Last Friday night, Gin came into my room and said she had a stomachache. Not two minutes later, I hear retching sounds coming from the bathroom. I called Book's dad and told him I would not be picking Book up for our usual Saturday visit because Gin was sick. It was a good thing I did, too. Gin spent half the night hanging over a bucket in her bed, and even though she didn't feel sick Saturday, whenever she tried to eat anything, it came right back up. By afternoon, she was actually getting angry about it. By Sunday morning, she was perfectly fine again.
Sunday night, you guessed it, Munch said, "I have a stomachache." Replay Gin's scenario, except Munch got a day off school for it.
A few days passed, and we thought it was over, then Pooh got it too. His lasted a day longer than the girls' did. You know how boys are when they're sick.
Anyway, I don't have what they had, but for three days now, I've been fighting a cold of my own. *Groan*

Dean Koontz Answers Questions in Special Video Blog on BN.com

With more than 375 million copies of his books sold and 11 thrillers reaching # 1 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, Dean Koontz is known for his middle-of-the-night-sneak-up-behind-you literary surprises. But what you didn’t know is that he is quite the comedian!

Koontz is currently promoting his new book Your Heart Belongs To Me in a special video blog at Barnes & Noble.com. Readers and fans have posted questions online, and Koontz is answering more than a dozen of them in a series of videos that began this week.

Koontz says, “The questions are lively and direct, and my answers are mostly true, though occasionally evasive and deceptive.”

A new video will be posted every weekday through November 26th, the day after Your Heart Belongs to Me is released.

The videos can be seen here, and in the Fiction Book Club.

Girl power: Eri Yoshida

A sixteen-year-old girl has just become the first female in professional Japanese baseball's all-male league. You go girl!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flashback Friday - Solsbury Hill

I've been waxing nostalgic lately, so I've decided to institute a new feature I'm calling Flashback Friday. I'm a child of the '80s, so I'll be offering each Friday a song, video, news item or some other '80s memory.
This week, it's one of the best songs ever - Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hope --> disappointment

Gin was sick all weekend, and it hit Munch last night too. So Gin went off to school today feeling better, but Munch spent the day in bed. It did mean that I didn't have to go into the office. A sick kid means work at home for me, while for anyone else it would actually be a day off. But at least I got to stay home. And I did not volunteer to trade it for tomorrow in the office, so I'll be home then too.
No footie on tomorrow though, I see. Great. I'm depressed, and I don't even have anything to look forward to. There's good proof to my theory: hope is the quickest road to disappointment. I dared hope that I'd have a footie match to cheer me up tomorrow, and I don't even have that.
Yes, I am depressed today. I'm 36, twice-divorced with four kids in a crappy job that keeps getting crappier. I'm alone, but even if I had someone I could really love who really loved me back, how awful would it be of me to inflict me and my life on that person? It seems like the cruelest thing I could do to someone I love. But I'm getting ahead of myself anyway. It would be easier if we could choose whom we love with our heads, rather than letting our hearts do the choosing. The heart is always so cruel about it. It only seems to want the ones who could never work for us, or don't want us back, or seem too good to be true and turns out they are, or take some sort of twisted pleasure in giving mixed messages because they know they've got us wrapped around their little fingers. Not that I'm thinking of any one (or ones) in particular. But then again, it's as bad for anyone knowing me. As I said, I wouldn't want to inflict me on anyone I care about.
Did I mention the insomnia has returned as well? I forgot to get any sleeping pills over the weekend. Maybe I should have a couple of shots of rum before bed tonight.

Friday, November 7, 2008

As promised, my rant against the gay marriage bans

I haven't taken the time to outline this post, so it will probably start to wander all over the place. Consider yourself warned. But here's my rant on California's Prop 8 and the two other gay marriage bans that were enacted by the voters on Tuesday.

Let's go over the standard arguments against gay marriage, and I'll address them one by one. (Thanks to the jackasses at nogaymarriage.com for making this easier.) Maybe it'll help keep this a little more organized, but I still don't promise not to stray a bit.

* God says it's bad, according to the Book, anyway. We have no business legalizing behavior prohibited by God.
Alright, I'm going to get the God argument out of the way right now. We're not talking about church doctrine, we're talking about law - as in man's law. The church doesn't apply on a legal issue. Each church has the right to decide whether or not they will bless the union of a same-sex couple or a heterosexual couple, but under law, marriage is a contract. Religion has nothing to do with it. Atheists are allowed to get married, and the church won't sanction it, but the state will. As the state should. Under law, marriage is a contract. If you have religious objections to gay marriage, that's your right, but you - or the government - can't force any other part of your doctrine on the rest of the population - thanks to our already constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion. No church or religious entity of any kind has to sanction a marriage in order for it to be legal. I got married the first time in front of a judge, not a minister. God wasn't mentioned in the vows or anything I signed. When it comes to law, sorry folks, God has nothing to do with it.

* Legally sanctioned gay marriages destroy the institution of marriage and are a threat to traditional families. More specifically, it's "devastating to children."
Ok. Tell me, HOW exactly it is a threat? Will heterosexual couples stop getting married if gay couples are allowed to marry? I think not. It's completely ridiculous. So this is sanctioning non-traditional families. Well, mixed race families are non-traditional. Mixed-religion families are non-traditional. Families with adopted children or foster children are non-traditional. Hell, marrying outside the clan is a break with tradition, and if you look at the history of royal families, marrying outside YOUR OWN BLOODLINE was a violation of tradition. Traditional marriages, depending on your culture and tradition, included having herds of mistresses, often living within the same household. Traditional marriages were arranged by the parents, with no right of the children to choose their own mate. Tradition sent pre-pubescent girls into wedlock with men old enough to be their own grandfathers. Times change. Don't even try to make the argument that "tradition" is the gold standard for determining what is right. Slavery was a tradition once, too, in this country. In many places, it still is. Does that make it right? Does anyone really believe that there's any validity to the "we do it this way because this is the way we've always done it; therefore, it is the right way to do it." We wouldn't get very far if we thought that way about everything. And as for destroying the institution of marriage, gays are trying to be a PART of the institution of marriage. They're showing the ultimate form of respect for the institution of marriage. What do the anti-gay marriage people think this is? Some kind of segregated country club? And as far as being devastating to children, it's been well-established that children of gay couples are no more likely to be socially deviant in any way than children of opposite-sex couples. In fact, children raised by two committed parents statistically are better off, regardless of the sexes of the parents. Besides, I might remind you that marriage is not biologically required by homosexual or heterosexual couples to bear children. I know lots of lesbians who've given birth to children. Usually in the "old-fashioned" way, too. If mommy lives with another woman, she's still mommy. And the other woman might well be mommy, too. Why can't they get married and legally establish the commitment they've made to each other? As it stands now, if the biological mommy dies, the non-biological one has no legal right to keep the child she might well have raised since birth. Taking both parents away is somehow BETTER for the child?

* Legally sanctioned gay marriage will lead to polygamy and other vile practices such as marriage to children or animals. This is the so-called "slippery slope" argument.
This is my favorite. I'll say again marriage is a contract. By its nature and definition, it is an EXCLUSIVE contract. Remember that "forsaking all others" bit in the usual vows? That's what it's about. The contract legally binds two consenting adults to each other to the exclusion of others. So the idea that legally sanctioning gay marriage will open the door to polygamy is, like the rest of the arguments, a complete load of crap. There goes the part about marrying children or animals, too. Under any contract law, contracts cannot be entered into by a minor (without a parental co-signator) or by an animal. Enough said. On top of that, states already have in place protections regarding the age of parental consent for marriage. All the states. So this supposed door has already been closed.

* I'm pulling this one directly from the site, because it's such crap you need to see it in its entirety. "An even greater objective of the homosexual movement is to end the state's compelling interest in marital relationships altogether. After marriages have been redefined, divorces will be obtained instantly, will not involve a court, and will take on the status of a driver's license or a hunting permit. With the family out of the way, all rights and privileges of marriage will accrue to gay and lesbian partners without the legal entanglements and commitments heretofore associated with it."
Damn, I've got to say, "paranoid much?" There's a homosexual movement? So they've got recruiters out there or something trying to "turn" your children like it's some kind of cult. Give it up! Gay marriage means these people WANT to commit exclusively to one person for the rest of their lives. How on earth does this equate to a desire to make divorces as easy to obtain as a hunting permit or driver's license. Besides, MARRIAGE is already easier to get than a driver's license for most people. There's no test involved. Divorce, however, is not easy. That first marriage of mine in front of the judge, we got it in two days by signing a couple of papers and filling out an application. And the marriage lasted five months. Yes, it was a mistake, but it was ours to make, and it was perfectly legal. The divorce? That took 22 months. Nothing in legalizing gay marriage can possibly relate to making divorce easier. The marriages and the divorces should be equally as easy or difficult to get as they are right now for anyone else. Just EQUAL. "With the family out of the way, all rights and privileges of marriage will accrue to gay and lesbian partners without the legal entanglements and commitments heretofore associated with it." How is that, when precisely what they're asking for is to be able to have EXACTLY THE SAME legal entanglements and commitments as heterosexual couples?

* Every school will be required to teach that this "perversion is the moral equivalent of traditional marriage."
I don't think anything about any kind of marriage has been taught in most schools since maybe the early 1970s or so. I mean, they don't have time to teach music and art because there are all these tests they're required to prepare kids for. Schools don't teach morality.

* Courts will not be able to favor a "traditional family" over a household with two parents of the same sex in adoption or foster family child placement.
So what? Children need to be raised in a healthy, loving family. There are thousands of heterosexual married couples involved in drugs, violence and all kinds of other criminal behavior. Each couple should be evaluated on its own merits, and frankly, they need to be evaluated a lot more closely. There are children who need good homes that could be provided to them by a loving homosexual couples. Those parents will dress them for school, help them with homework, make them dinner, drive them to soccer games - just like any good parents do. Preference should not be given to a couple with lesser qualifications just because they're of two different sexes.

* It would be excessively draining on the Social Security system because of the millions of new dependents entitled to survivor benefits.
Umm, so you shouldn't be able to collect Social Security benefits because you're gay? Umm, do gay people not work and pay into the system just like everyone else? And let's talk about the children again. If a parent dies, the children are entitled to Social Security benefits, which, by the way, are calculated based solely on that person's lifetime income and payments into the system. So, if Tommy has two mommies and one of the mommies dies, he shouldn't get that benefit? Yeah, that's really protecting his interests, isn't it?

* This one's not from the site, but from a comment I read while going through all the post-Prop 8 passage news. The purpose of marriage is to sustain and propagate the species. Gay couples can't have kids. As I recall, the fellow said something along the lines of "why should they get all the rights and benefits associated with marriage while WE do all the work."
Alright, stupid. So does this mean that heterosexual couples who cannot or choose not to have children should not be allowed to get married either?

The supporters of Prop 8 in California and the other abominations in Arizona and Florida are arguing that the majority has spoken, and gay couples will just have to live with it. One of the primary purposes of government is to protect the minority from the majority. These propositions never should have been presented to the voters in the first place. It's just allowing the morality of the majority to be imposed upon the minority. It's sanctioning discrimination. If the abolition of slavery was put to a vote in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia in the 1860s, it would have failed. Would that have made it right?

Munch concerns

Munch had her second swim lesson this evening. She came home from school and immediately asked if she could change into her swimsuit. I told her that she could, but it was probably a mistake, because then she started asking every 20 minutes if it was time to go yet. Two hours later, yes, Munch, it's time to go. "Okay! I'll be waiting in the car!" She's so excited.
After swim lesson - and picking up our Thursday night pizza - I had to race to get the girls back home to drop them off so I could go to a parent/teacher conference for Munch at school. They schedule these things for 10-minute sessions. I was there for 40 minutes. Surprise, surprise - Munch is flighty, disorganized and unfocused. I know this. Every parent/teacher conference I've had has been the same. In fact, I've already gotten at least five phone calls from her teacher about her work habits this year alone. Funny thing is, we just got her report card, and it was four A's and a B, plus three Satisfactory marks with only one Needs Improvement. Any other school would think that was more than good enough, but our school is very "high involvement." It's a good thing, really, that the teachers are so concerned for their students, but REALLY. Well, I guess if we can get her focused, she'll be a little phenom.
I came home to cold pizza, but at least the kids saved me a slice. It was all I got to eat today.

All day today I'd planned a post on the Prop 8 passage in California and the other two gay marriage bans that passed on Tuesday, but it's getting too late tonight. I'll get to it tomorrow. I've been reading news stories and blog entries - as well as thousands of comments on them - and I've got a hell of a lot to say on that one myself. Stay tuned.

Save a small fortune on prescription eyeglasses

I think it's safe to say that we're all hoping somehow, some way, this economic nightmare we're facing is going to turn around soon. Remember the "It's morning in America" message that Ronald Reagan offered when we were seeing double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates and double-digit unemployment numbers of the late 1970s? I was only 8 years old when Reagan took office, but I remember the factories closing down in my town, and my mother being forced to take a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant just to keep me fed and a roof over my head.
Things slowly began to turn around. New businesses came into town, and my hometown - which was fast becoming a ghost town - recovered and even grew.
Those businesses are now laying off workers, cutting back shifts, and we're all back to tightening our belts after the salad days.
Every expense is getting to be too much, so we're all getting a lot more creative in how we save money. Some of them are complicated and time-consuming, but some of them can be pretty simple.
Take prescription eyeglasses, for example. How much did you pay for that last pair? $100? $150? More? Fortunately, there's an alternative for beautiful, fashionable prescription eyeglasses that will save you a small fortune. Would you believe me if I told you that you can get great new prescription glasses - that's complete eyeglasses, including the lenses and frame - for just $8? That's not a typo. Really. Eight dollars. To steal a phrase I heard somewhere recently, YES YOU CAN!
ZenniOptical has cut out the middleman by manufacturing its own lenses and super cute frames, and sells them directly to the consumer. They don't buy big, fancy ad campaigns and pass the cost on to the consumer. They rely on the buzz created by offering a quality product at previously unheard of amazing low prices. And it's worked. I'm telling everyone I know who wears glasses about ZenniOptical, and if you wear prescription eyeglasses, I'm telling you too. Before you head out to buy another pair of glasses, take a minute to check out ZenniOptical for yourself. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A breath

May I pause to take a breath, please? Today, I finally could, and it was wonderful. Just to stop and breathe.
Lately, I've been so busy, waking up every morning with a long list of things that must be done and not enough time to do them. The last two were the worst, I won't get into Monday, but the insomnia set back in Monday night. I watched the hours tick away all night, until finally at 4 a.m. I gave up on the attempt and just took a shower. Afterward, I spread a towel over my pillow and managed to squeeze in about an hour and a half of sleep.
I had to wake up early Tuesday morning so I could get the papers' homepage news up before I had to run to a meeting at the girls' school. After that I had to drive in to the store (it's in another town - we only have a little tiny market here). I came back home to find that Pooh had just arrived home from work, so we went over to the church hall to vote - it was his first time. :) He's a bit of a political junkie too.
Fortunately, there was no line at the polling place. In fact, there was only one other person there voting when we arrived. So we signed in, cast our ballots, then back home so I could get back to working - and watching two football matches. I so love the sport. It's an art form. And the "artists" are works of art themselves. Could it possibly be any better?
But anyway, I finished up my work and started watching the election coverage. Just then, my friend F popped up online to say hello. He knows I'm a political junkie - and he is too - so we chatted as we waited for the polls to start closing. He's in Switzerland, so it was getting pretty late for him, but he hung in with me until after 9 p.m. my time. Then Z called, also knowing I'd be watching election results coming in. He was watching, too, from England. I guess the whole world really was watching this one. It wasn't exactly suspenseful, though. There was little doubt as to which way this one was going. We were all just waiting to watch it happen.
When the results came in I was back to working again. Up until 2 a.m. Then back into the office Wednesday morning.
And here I am up too late again after having 6 hours of sleep total in two nights. To bed right this minute.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Party to attend

My friend L at work had a party yesterday for her husband's 40th birthday, and she invited me and the kids to join in the festivities. I took along Gin, Munch and Book, hoping that Book would be able to manage with the crowd. It was my first party since all those graduation parties back in May and June. Those weren't a lot of fun for me, since they came immediately following my break-up and I was kind of a mess. (Ok, if anyone remembers back that far, clearly, I was a lot more than "kind of" a mess.....)
First thing when we arrived at L's, Book decided to take a seat in the kiddie pool sitting on the front porch for the apple bobbing. "It looked like a chair," he told me, so we did the best we could drying the back of his jeans with a hair dryer.
Once all the kids arrived, they started into the apple bobbing in the kiddie pool. I had to laugh at Munch as she critically assessed the pool and stated, "There needs to be more water." It didn't matter that it was cold out or that most of the kids playing were very little ones who certainly shouldn't be sticking their faces into a big tub of water with their hands behind their backs. Though I tried explaining this to her, she still felt that, if not the rules, then at least the spirit of the game was violated if the apples were not in deeper water. She's 7 years old, folks, but don't ever ask me to explain how her mind works. I don't think I'll ever understand it. Anyway....
After that, L brought the kids in to decorate mini pumpkins and gourds and color some Halloween pictures. That kept them all well-occupied for a pretty impressive amount of time, until they all decided they'd like to get into a mass boxing match with the birthday balloons. It was a surprisingly controlled chaos. Eventually they started to wind down, and they started watching a movie together. The funny thing was, when the kids left the art table for the movie, about a third of the adults decided to take over the art table and color some pictures themselves. It was just such a classic picture to see all of them hunched over their big bat and pumpkin and haunted house printables with their crayons and markers and colored pencils. Hehe.
Gin ate four bowls of chili and a bowl of chowder and a giant slice of chocolate and red velvet cake. How that tiny, skinny little child can pack so much away, I'll never know. Munch was more into the coloring than eating (yes - she likes art THAT much), so she just had a small bowl of the chowder and some cake. * Munch's passions are, in order: 1) chocolate; 2) drawing; 3) many other foods; 4) TV; 5) all other foods; 6) anything else. She's lucky she's got skinny genes, or she'd be as round as she is tall by now.
We left the party about 9:30 pm, when Book decided he'd had enough. He doesn't do well in noisy environments. It's overstimulating for him, so parties and such gatherings generally don't last long. Actually, he lasted a lot longer than I expected.
It was about a 45-minute drive home, and by the time we got there, the kids were pretty much done. They came right in and got ready for bed. I wasn't far behind. I must be getting old. Still, it was nice to get out and be around different people again. It's been too long, and I've become too much of a hermit lately.

Top droppers

My top droppers for October:
Communique by Ivanhoe
WindMill on the hill
Hong Kong, iPod and Joomla
New Dilemma

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Nonstop day

I had work in the office today. Long day, at least compared to my usual work days in the office. The server was really slow, so everything was taking forever. After work I had to run to the store to pick up a witch hat for Munch's costume for trick-or-treat. I hurried home, so I could do Gin's makeup for her costume. It included some wholly unimpressive creepy flesh that took forever to dry. I finished her up, and she headed to the neighbor's house to go trick-or-treating with about 14 giggling fifth-grade girls. I think I'm glad I missed it.

Here's Gin in her zombie mid-1980s secretary costume. :)
With a scarier angle below.

I took Munch to her very first swim lesson today, and she was so happy and excited she couldn't stop smiling to hold her breath. She chattered her instructor's ear off, too. She did pretty well though.
Trick-or-treat started at 6 p.m. but her swim lesson didn't end until 6:10. She threw on her costume in the car for her abbreviated Halloween. It was cold. She was wet. We kept it short.
Munch cold and wet via cell phone cam.

When we got home, it was a scramble to get out of the cold clothes and clean up and eat (I sent Pooh out for a pizza - no way was I cooking) and get baths and things ready for school tomorrow. Hardly a moment to stop for breath.
I'm up too late now. Time for bed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Isn't THAT interesting? Hmmm.....

Ok, I see on Fox News (oh aren't I just eeeeevil for actually watching the political coverage on ALL the cable and network stations) tonight that there is a Halloween display in California that includes an effigy of Sarah Palin being hanged by a noose. Apparently, this display has been up for three weeks, and this is the first I'm hearing about it. Law enforcement officials have said there is no legal recourse, and they have no legal reason to ask the homeowners to take it down. It's not a hate crime, they've decided. The media - at least the national media - haven't mentioned it until now. Hmmm....... Do you suppose that would have been the reaction if it had been an image of Obama?


My son Pooh and his buddies are doing a podcast, and I hadn't gotten around to listening to it until today. It's a comedy podcast, similar to a morning radio style. Good stuff! Check it out!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Heavy thoughts and procrastination

I'm not posting as much as I had been, and I think I'm feeling a little uninspired. I can also use the excuse that my mind is preoccupied with thoughts of the election next week and Halloween this week and...other things.

For Halloween, I know what I want my costume to be, but I haven't gotten what I need yet. And we have makeup for the girls but haven't yet chosen the appropriate clothes (they're both going scary this year). We should probably wrap up the prep for that today.

I'm slow starting this morning, too. It's nearly afternoon, and I'm not getting much accomplished at the moment. There is much I could be doing, but I'm putting it off. I already know that I'll be leaving in two hours, and that's when my busy day begins. I just don't feel adding to the list of things I have to do already. I probably should though. Nothing is getting accomplished without me, so I guess I haven't much choice. Ok. I'll get started. In a minute.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another footie fix :)

I did get my football today, but it wasn't what I'd expected. My TV directory had said the broadcast would be Chelsea - Roma, but instead it was Liverpool - Atletico Madrid. I didn't really want to watch Liverpool, but I realized that I'd never seen Atletico (I'm still a newbie, remember?). I was pleased to discover that Giourkas Seitaridis plays for them. I discovered him during the Euro Cup. And he wasn't the only one I noticed today. Oh, it is definitely worth expanding my horizons in the football world. :)

I still got to watch most of the Chelsea - Roma match too. I was watching it online at the same time I was watching the broadcast. Not easy! That reminds me. I've got to find team roster photos for Roma. Some of those fellows definitely warrant closer attention....

Really! I DO love the GAME! I've just been single for a while now......

Well, that's all of my footie fixes until next Tuesday most likely, so I guess I'm back to politics tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My happy place

I got to spend time in my happy place today. :) I watched TWO soccer games. The first was the Arsenal-Everton match from this past weekend. My cable service shows one Premier League game from the weekend on Tuesdays. The second was Man U-Celtic. 3-0. My boys are doing quite nicely. Hehe. I'm glad to see that my sports curse apparently cannot reach that far over water. Or something.

Actually, I didn't quite get to see all of the second match. I saw the first two goals then I fell asleep. The match was anything but boring, but I was soooo tired.

As an added bonus gift from my cable service this week, I see I get another Champions League match tomorrow. Chelsea-Roma. I'll have to be home by 2:30 to catch it from the beginning, but I can probably manage that. Yay! I love Italian footballers. Yummy! And Michael Ballack...double yum... I love watching the game - the skills, the strategy, the sheer artistry of it - but isn't it nice that they're just so damn good to look at, too? :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Keepin' busy

I swear I have been so busy that I have just not been able to post as I feel I should be. Just don't corner me to tell you what I've been doing. It's all the usual, typical family thing. I mean, there's been nothing particularly outstanding or eventful, but every moment of each day seems to be fully caught up in it lately.

I did get a nice little break today, though. I got to know better one who'd been a distant acquaintance for quite some time. Of course, nearly every contact we'd had up to this point centered on politics, so naturally this one was dominated by the topic as well. I can't help myself. I'm a political junkie, but I am trying so hard to stay out of the hate game going on with this campaign. So, we talked politics, but we kept it general. I suppose I don't have to apologize. Just about everybody's talking politics these days. But there's more to me. There really is. :) Talk to me after the election.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


*This was supposed to go up yesterday, but encountered a computer error and didn't realize it hadn't been posted until just now......

I got a letter today. No, not a letter. I got a subpoena today, ordering me to appear next Wednesday on questions concerning my village taxes. I called the tax office and informed the lady who answered that I had zero tax liability in my village because of the credit for taxes paid to the city where I work. I asked if I could just send the form in again to show my zero liability, and she said, "That's fine. All we need is the form." My liability has been zero for the six years I've lived here. Why the sudden issue now? Anyway, at least I don't have to drive the 40 minutes to the tax office (our village taxes are administered by another city). It was resolved with just a phone call and a quick trip to the post office. I just made copies of my forms and sent them in again. But if a cop suddenly shows up at my door because that lady said I didn't have to show up, I'm not going to be happy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hopeless optimist

I love Boston Legal. I was so thrilled when the new episodes started up again. I wasn't sure if I would still enjoy it, because Boston Legal was kind of an "our thing" with P. Each week I'd watch the show while chatting with him and make various comments here and there, with a time frame for him. Then, because he was three time zones away, he'd watch it three hours later and have to watch for the moments I'd commented on. It was a little game and the next best thing to watching it together. I still think about P sometimes, but it doesn't make me sad anymore. More often than not, I find myself a little ticked off when I think back . I deserve someone who can give me more of himself, and he sort of strung me along, knowing that he'd never be there.

But anyway... life goes on. And so does Boston Legal. Excellent episode tonight, by the way.

Gas was $2.71 when I left work today, and Pooh told me that it dropped even further later in the afternoon. It's good to see, but I don't expect to see those prices that went up because of gas to start dropping any time soon. I figure the companies will just take advantage of the larger profit margin for a while. Guess I can understand it. Many of them have lost a lot recently too. It's a good sign though that it will start to balance out soon - or at least level off. Even the stock market rebounded today. Am I a hopeless optimist?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Perils of a pack-rat fashionista

It's a quiet day at home now that I've done my morning and early afternoon Saturday running around. I've got a big enough chore to tackle today at home that I think it will succeed in filling my whole day off. Surprise, surprise. I'd like to just relax and enjoy the time off, but I'll be sorting through clothes to get rid of and figuring out what we need to buy for the winter season. The girls have both gone through growth spurts, so it seems that everything they own is suddenly too short.

And of course, I need to sort through my own closet and drawers and plastic tubs filled with clothes. With my recent weight loss, I was pleased to find some clothes I've had for 20 years that fit me again. Some of them are even fashionable again. But those items that are horribly out of fashion, out of shape or just age-inappropriate now have to go, and I've got the huge task ahead of me. I'll be sorting, washing, ironing, photographing and packing items up for eBay, packing items for Goodwill.... Yeah, long day ahead. Better get started. Ugh.

True love

I've done enough blog hopping to know that I'm not the only one out here still trying to find that elusive thing called love. It's nice if you have the freedom to get out and do things with your friends and put yourself in a situation that will allow you to find that special someone, but some people - like me - just don't have the time or the energy or the life situation that will allow them to "get out there."

So how do we find that someone special? Well, we all know there are now a few more options available to us. We've got the Internet available to us. And some of us spend practically our whole lives there, so why not use it to find that love?

If you're looking for love, try the search for freeavailable at True.com. True has millions of members, and registration is absolutely free. It uses scientific compatibility testing to match couples, and it even has criminal screening, stating "We can't guarantee criminals won't get on the site, but we can guarantee they'll be sorry if they do." Felons and married people are not allowed on the site, and the Member Safety team vigorously pursues individuals who misrepresent themselves on the site.

Safety is always an issue in the dating world, and it's as much, if not more, of a concern when pursuing online dating. It's nice to see a company that makes a point of protecting its clients.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Ahh....no work for the moment....

I was sitting in the office just after lunch this afternoon, and I started adding up my hours for the week. I discovered that I should have been gone 15 minutes earlier, so I jumped up, punched out and packed up for home. It was such a good feeling to just shut down and walk out and get to relax at home for a couple of hours before the kids got home.

This is my weekend off, but now that I'm officially the moderator for our papers' online forums, I'll be working anyway. But at least I won't have to get up too early tomorrow morning, and I won't have to wake up to an alarm at all on Sunday. Ahh... I feel better already just thinking about it.

Search death certificates

A lot of people are doing genealogy research these days, because it's become so much easier thanks to the internet. Still, genealogy research - even online - can be expensive, so it's nice to find a resource to lead you to the cheapest option for the information you need.

If you're trying to find a death certificate, you might want to check out <this site. Their database contains death certificates recovered throughout America, and they'll help lead you to the information you need in the quickest and most cost-effective manner.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My secret biscotti recipe

I made yummies tonight! It's an original recipe, but I'm sharing it with all of you. Anyone who tries it, please give feedback!

Chocolate Molasses Biscotti
1/2 cup butter, room temperature (real butter, NOT margarine)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder (use the best stuff you can - Hershey's works in pinch)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.  Set aside.
With electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).  Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla extract and molasses.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.  Add to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated. 
Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and divide it in half (it will be very, very soft).  Sprinkle generously with flour and gently form each half into a log 10 inches long.  Do this by rolling the dough back and forth into a cylinder shape with floured hands.  Transfer the logs to the baking sheet, spacing them well apart (width-wise on the pan), and pat to even the shapes. Bake about 25 - 30 minutes (logs will spread during baking).  Remove from the oven, slide intact on wax paper onto a wire rack, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Reline the baking sheet with waxed paper.
Transfer the logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into slices about 3/4 inch thick on the diagonal. Arrange the slices on their cut sides on the baking sheet and bake on about 8 minutes.  Turn the slices over and bake until crisp, about 8 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Under a rock

The plumber never showed up yesterday, and he didn't come today either. I'm thinking that he might show up tomorrow, since I mentioned that I work at home on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

On a related note, my daughter informed me that the village council will be fining the company doing the road work $1200 a day if they don't finish by Friday. See? EVERYONE in town is completely sick of it. It's taking entirely too long. We're a tiny little town. They don't have that much road to do. And yet, they have left every road in town a complete mess. Not ONE road is fixed yet. The dug it all up...half-ass filled it....and didn't finish anything. In the latest road fallout, Pooh's car lost a hubcap. Divinely touched as he is though, he actually went to Goodwill and found a box of four of the EXACT hubcaps on his car - for $10.

I was definitely ready to get out of the office today, as they were decorating yet another desk for a birthday. It seems that balloons and streamers have become standard operating procedure in the office - for everyone but me. How about that?

Oh well. I'm still in a good mood. I got an invitation today to a party next month. That should be a lot of fun. L and I get along really well, and it will be great to get to interact outside of work in a more relaxed atmosphere. She's cool. I think it will also be GREAT for me to get out and do something social. I feel like I've been living under a rock lately. A rock with Internet access, but a rock nonetheless.

Air cleaner guide

If you're shopping forhome air purifiers, you might want to check out the Air Cleaners/Air Purifiers Guide at www.aircleanersguide.com.

The site lists a wide variety of HEPA air cleaners, ultraviolet air cleaners, ionic air cleaners, carbon air filters, electrostatic precipitators and car air purifiers. It includes descriptions of the types of air cleaners available, along with links to purchase when you've chosen the one that best suits the needs of you and your family.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Stop saying that!

Terms I am completely sick of hearing:
heartbeat away from the presidency - yes, we know...president dies, vice president takes over. We get it. Stop pointing out the obvious.
change - every presidential candidate since the second one has promised change. You started it, Barrack, but did you catch on to how tired and lame a slogan it is? NO!! Instead, your opponent picks up the same damn lame tired slogan.
maverick - this is just stupid. If you want to say that you went against your own party - fine. You want to say you worked with those in the other party - cool. But stop dishing up this stupid term.
reach across the aisle - like the change thing. We all have heard it before. It won't ever happen, at least not anything that matters. No miracle worker in the world is going to make more than 500 people agree about anything that really matters.
Wall St./Main St. - business vs. you common joes. We get you common folks out there. We feel your pain. Yeah, yeah. Whatever. I don't really care if you can relate on a personal level with my pain. I just want to know you can do the job. And while we're on the subject, business isn't against the common joes. They're not the enemy. It's not a battle.
the American people don't want to talk about *such-and-such topic* - if the American people don't want to talk about it, why do the pundits complain that the OPPONENT is bringing it up? wouldn't it just allow THEIR GUY to talk about the things the "American people" DO want to talk about and give THEIR GUY an advantage while the OPPONENT keeps talking about the stuff that the "American people" don't care about? This is the ultimate last-ditch, desperate comment used to try to shut up a topic. Media talks about what the American people DO want to talk about, or their ratings go down. It may not be the IMPORTANT stuff, but obviously, if ratings are high on a given topic, the "American people" want to see it, and if ratings go down on a topic, the media will stop talking about it. The media people watch their ratings and get direct feedback - they don't need to be told what the "American people" want to talk about.
my friends - It might be sincere. I don't know. But it sounds patronizing, John. Knock it off.

There are more, but I'll let you guys toss in a few. What are you sick of hearing this campaign?

Cute glasses!

Bloggers have been buzzing about it. Radio personality Clark Howard raves about it. And what really got my attention was all the great unpaid, unsolicited comments raving about Zenni Optical.

This place, I kept hearing, has eyeglasses for as low as $8. I doubt they could do much for Gin, because she's going to have a very special - and I'm sure quite expensive - prescription. I'll check on that one though - imagine the fortune I could save there. But even if I can't use them for Gin - and I've already had Lasik, Pooh wears glasses (and loses them on a regular basis). My mother wears glasses. My stepdad wears glasses. Book wears glasses. How much do you want to bet Munch isn't going to get through this family with perfect vision? We've already gotten the letter from the school saying we might want to double check her vision. Yep - we go through a heck of a lot of eyeglasses in this family.
Pooh's checking it out right now. He needs to replace the prescription sunglasses he lost at the Foo Fighters concert. I checked it out, too. Spent about an hour there, actually. These frames are soooo cute! I even considered getting clear lenses and getting some myself!

By the way, shipping is only $4.95 for any size order, no matter how many glasses are in the order. That means you can get a a complete pair of prescription glasses delivered right to your door for as little as a GRAND TOTAL of $12.95. Very cool deal. We sure can use any way to save cash lately.

Noisy morning in an empty house

I worked this morning to the sounds of the school marching band playing in my living room. OK - they weren't actually in my living room, but it sounded like they were, or at the very least, that they were playing on the street in front of my house. (Which, btw, would make no sense as I live on residential cul-de-sac at the edge of the village.) It was clear and close enough, in fact, for me to go downstairs and look out the front window to see where exactly they were. I couldn't see them. We're two blocks from the school, so I expect to hear the band practicing. I actually grew up in a house a mile from my high school and I could hear the band practicing in the distance. But these guys SERIOUSLY sounded like they were right on my lawn.

By the time the band stopped, the excavation work had started. All the homes along my street are having their lawns torn up this week to connect the houses to the new water lines being installed. I get the home invaders this afternoon. I've finished working now, so I'm jumping into the shower, just in case they have to shut off my water for a while. This is soooo much fun. (That was sarcasm, btw.)

Well, I'll jump in the shower as soon as the soccer game is over. I've got on the broadcast of Sunday's game of Man City v. Liverpool, which I didn't get to watch live. In its honor, here's another footie hottie:
My footie crush of the day: Javier Garrido (someone THIS fine deserves some extra notice! Yum! I usually post pics of them on the pitch, but this photo was just too good to resist)

Free People Search

If you're trying to find someone in the United States or Canada, you've probably used most of the free "white pages" sites and come across a lot of sites that tease you with a number of results but then want to charge you to see them.

There's another free people finder available now that you might want to give a try. It's called LookupWho.com.

You enter the name, city and state - or as much as you know, with only the last name as a required field - and it provides a list of matches, up to 50. Add more information to narrow down your choices. The results bring up addresses and phone numbers.

LookupWho.com also offers a reverse phone search, useful for when you get an unknown phone number on your caller ID - or when you find an unidentified number on your phone bill.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Good water

I worked at the office today, and I've got to say, I'm getting used to it again. It's pretty uneventful over on the editorial side. I never hear any good gossip, but it's quiet and mellow, with the occasional polite conversation, so it's not altogether bad.

I get to work at home tomorrow, but that's not going to be a stress-free day either. They'll be coming to pull up the carpet in my hall closet to get to the crawl space underneath to install the water pipes for our new municipal water. Right now, we're on a well. All the homes in my teeny, tiny town are on wells. But we just got a water tower, and we've been driving over horrible, mangled, gnarled roads like minefields for months now. My water now is rusty and a little smelly. I only drink it filtered. And my shower's always orange. I buy CLR in multipacks. All my whites are dingy. Still, it had better be damn good water we're getting.

Estimates say the muni water won't be flowing until 2010. And I don't see the roads being fixed any time soon. I'm serious...every road for the entire length...mangled minefields with pits and dips and chunks and sand and gravel and ripples.....AAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH!!!! Can you tell this is getting on my nerves? It's been MONTHS. The steel belts are breaking inside my tires. And my mother's tires, and she's only here once every couple of weeks or so. I've gotten two flat tires on it. The SCHOOL BUS got two flat tires on it. I'm guessing at least two-thirds of the town's population (which is about 650ish now, I believe) have gotten flat tires from it. For two full (separate) weeks this summer, I had to park my car at the school two blocks away because my road was completely inaccessible. Try sprinting in 90-degree heat wearing Italian heels carrying a grocery bag with a box of ice cream (already dangerously soft because the grocery store is, ordinarily 20 minutes away, but on these mangled roads - 35 minutes....) in it, while corralling two children for two blocks.

This had better be damn good water.

Find a Realtor

Have you ever seen all that Charleston, SC, has to offer? I've been looking around at vacation areas and stopped by the Charleston visitors bureau site, and I have to say, that place looks pretty cool.

I've never been there before, but if I wanted to relocate, I'd consider it. And if I relocated, I'd need a real estate agent, wouldn't I? Well, I already know where I'd go to find Charleston Realtors. I'd visit ClickSmart and check out the listings for Realtors in Charleston.

ClickSmart lists experts in not only real estate, but also contractors, florists, home and office services, massage therapists, mortgage brokers, and weddings and events. And ClickSmart experts are pre-screened and certified, so you don't have to be an expert to find an expert.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Quiet weekend at home

Book called Friday to tell me that he was sick and wouldn't be coming for his usual Saturday overnight visit. I miss him when we don't have our weekend together, but it did give me a lot of extra time to things that needed to be done and saved me the gas money from all the driving around.

I had work this weekend, but at least I was able to finish everything all at once in the mornings. That left my afternoons open to spend time with the girls. We spent the whole weekend at home just cleaning things up and reading and playing and cooking.

All in all it was a pretty uneventful weekend, but I think I needed some uneventful time. I have a feeling things will be getting hectic again pretty soon.

Air mattress buying guide

If you're looking to buy an air mattress, whether for a camping trip or for guests in your home, be sure to check out the air mattress ratings on the Air Mattress Guide.
This site includes ratings for air mattresses, plus price lists, information on air pumps, guides for finding sheets that will fit your air mattress and lots more useful information on air mattresses.
Find out before buying if the air mattress you want will suit your needs with detailed reviews.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Life and politics

It was pretty much an average, typical Thursday around here, with my work from home, Gin's swim lesson and pizza night ('cos I'm not even trying to cook a meal after we get back from swimming).

Munch has a field trip tomorrow to the Columbus Zoo. It works out perfectly, because we were supposed to go to the zoo this summer, but my schedule and budget never allowed for it. She's a fanatic for giraffes, so she's super excited to get to go. And she gets to eat a packed lunch and ride on a bus. For her, those are special treats.

I watched the vice-presidential debate tonight. I hope all of you Americans out there took the time to watch it, too. Personally, I'm not a supporter of this early voting drive that's going now. I think people should take the time and effort to learn as much as possible before making such an important decision, and frankly, we haven't learned it all yet. Get through the debates and listen to the candidates THEMSELVES - not the pundits - on ALL of the issues, THEN choose the one you want in office. I know, I know - a lot people have their minds made up and nothing said will change them. So I suppose my plea is going out to the undecideds. Learn all you can, and don't trust anyone else to tell you what's going on. Find out for yourself.

Can I say one thing though? How is it that so many of the folks who support intervention in places like Darfur, where tens of thousands of people were systematically murdered by their own government, seem to forget that the same thing was happening in Iraq under Saddam Hussein? The oppression of women, the denial of education, the suppression of political dissent - under penalty of death - these things somehow have been forgotten. I don't get that. That said, I opposed the unilateral invasion of Iraq from the beginning. I thought it was a dangerous precedent to set.

But anyway ...

There's an interesting website (<--click here) I stumbled across the other day. It's a tax calculator that estimates how each candidate's CURRENT STATED tax plan will personally affect YOUR (American) individual tax liability and refund. Granted, it's not exactly accurate, basing a lot on assumptions (for example, it assumes an annual income increase, and SOME OF US work for CRAP COMPANIES that haven't given raises in the last FIVE YEARS and won't offer any pay raises anytime soon). But still, the basic calculations are sound. At my income level (which, I believe I mentioned before, is CRAP), it looks like I'll get a bigger tax refund under Obama than McCain, assuming either gets the tax plan implemented that he wants.

Let's not forget, too, that it is Congress that makes the laws, so we've got to take that into account. Why don't people pay more attention to the Congressional races? Senators are elected every six years and members of the House are elected every two years. Do you know who's running in those races? Do you know what THEY stand for?