PARASAILING WAS FUN!!!
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
New Year's Affirmations
It is a time of resolutions. I made one resolution many years ago and I have stuck to it. I resolved to no longer make resolutions. The following are some alternative affirmations for a new year.
At the end of one year and the start of another, many of us will renew our commitment to living with daily affirmations. I know the power of affirming my truth, over and over, everyday! While these may not suit everyone's taste, here are some "possible" affirmations to consider!
1. As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I am in touch with my inner sociopath.
2. I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.
3. I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are someone else's fault.
4. In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.
5. My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of wisdom and judgment.
6. I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper, and complain.
7. When someone hurts me, I know that forgiveness is cheaper than a lawsuit, but not nearly as rewarding.
8. I am at one with my duality.
9. Blessed are the flexible, for they can tie themselves in knots.
10. I will strive to live each day as if it were my 50th birthday.
11. I honor and express all facets of my being, regardless of state and local laws.
12. Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so!"
13. A scapegoat is almost as good as a solution.
14. Just for today, I will not sit in my living room all day in my underwear. Instead, I will move my computer into the bedroom.
15. I will no longer waste my time reliving the past; I will spend it worrying about the future?
16. The complete lack of evidence is the surest proof that the conspiracy is working.
17. Before I criticize a man, I walk a mile in his shoes. That way, if he gets angry, he's a mile away and barefoot .
Monday, December 29, 2008
John's Cancer Update
Briefly (I promise), John was diagnosed in June 2007 with Large Diffuse B-cell Lymphoma (aka non-hodgins lymphoma). We found out when he was having pains in his side and he thought it was his appendix. I took him to the ER at my hospital because he was visiting me at the time.
By the time all the CT scans and PET scans and lymph node biopsies and bone marrow tests were done and treatment began, it was the beginning of October! Now granted, John refused to begin testing until after our vacation in July because he thought it might be his last vacation. But that was a 3 week delay. He had 7 chemo treatments over a 6 month period and he was declared in remission by April 2008! We also found out at that time that his cancer was at Stage 4 because he also had a spot on his liver and a tumor on his spine. And by April it was all gone!!
So 6 months go by, all his hair has grown back, his strength is back (he was fortunate to be able to work through his chemo!), and he gets his 6 month series of CT scans and PET scans. We go to his oncologist who is supposed to tell us that Hurray! You are still in remission! Nuh-uh. Dr. Swaab (who we absolutely LOVE! The man is amazing!) tells us they found 2 spots on his spleen and they want to do biopsies. It might not be cancer but the radiologist who read the scans is fairly sure it is cancer.
Now because John is retired Army, he has Tri-care Insurance (John calls it try-to-get-care insurance) and my hospital is "not a part of their network" so he has to go to Abington Hospital for any testing and/or surgery. Now Abington Hospital is fabulous but his doc is at Pottstown Hospital (which is affiliated with Fox Chase Cancer Center)! John had to fight to keep Dr. Swaab as his doctor. It's just a pain to have to get everything faxed and the docs have to keep calling each other with info, etc.
So now FINALLY John has an appointment to have his spleen removed on January 12, 2009. They were going to try to do a biopsy on the spots but it's kinda hard to do on the spleen because it's a mushy organ. The 2 doctors have agreed that removing the spleen in one piece is the best bet to be able to test it to see if there is cancer there. Also, removal is the course of treatment if it is, indeed, cancer. And they can't remove it laproscopically because the spleen will fall apart during removal. Nice, huh. What I don't know at this point is if he'll need chemo or radiation after the surgery. John will miss 2 to 4 weeks of work to recuperate.
So January and February should be very interesting for us.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Cat lady?? (Lord, this is longer than I expected!)
My ex and I split up in 2005 and by that summer, my youngest, Dani talked me into getting a kitty. I didn't even know I liked cats... I was just really pissed at my ex and he hated cats. So in August 2005, I traded in my ex for a gray striped tabby/siamese mix we named Cameron. The day we got him at Diane's Pet Shop, there were 2 kitties, siblings. Dani said, "How do we decide which one to get?" With that, Cameron hopped up and trotted right over to the door, as if to say, "ME! Pick me!!!" So we get Cameron home, and I keep thinking about that other poor little kitty we left at the pet shop. Two days later, we go back to get his sibling and he's already been adopted. Cammie's a loving little kitty, loves to be petted, loves to hop on the table, attacks my tunafish salad when I try to eat it (to this day he still does that!). Most of this behavior stops when he gets neutered several months later. I tried to keep him as an indoor cat but this kitty LOVES to be outside and he finally won that battle.
Two months after we get Cameron, Dani and I go to the PetSmart that just opened to get some stuff for Cameron. I didn't know they had a Cat Angel Network there. So as I'm checking out the collars and toys, etc., Dani is falling in love with this black short-haired domestic kitten. His name is Mason and he has a brother, Dixon (Dixon is a gray tabby). So Dani wears me down (I'm still in newly separated mode and giving this kid everthing she asks for because her dad left and I feel guilty about it) We talk to the lady at CAN, but she says Mason and Dixon are supposed to be adopted together since they came from the same home and the former owner wanted them to stay together. I really didn't want both cats... I already have one at home. She takes my name and we leave. A few days later, the CAN lady calls me and tells me she has someone who wants only Dixon and she already has a cat and since I already have a cat, I can take Mason if I want. After all, each kitty will be with another kitty. So we go back to PetSmart and get Mason and bring him home. I learn later it's unusual to get kittens at the Cat Angel Network because they mostly get full-grown cats. Either that or the kittens go so quickly, you rarely see any there.
We bring Mason home, introduce him to Cameron. Cam sniffs him all over and then proceeds to chase this poor little kitten all over the house! Mason finally runs up INSIDE my recliner sofa and we can't get him out! We had to cut the back of the sofa open to get him! I keep Mason in my office, just off the family room for 3 days with litter and food dishes. Finally, I decide to hell with this! You two are going to just have to learn to get along and I let Mason out and hope for the best. It was funny to see.... Cameron clearly had the upper paw and chased that poor cat all over. Then, one day, Mason decides enough is enough. He hid on one of the dining room chairs and pounced right on Cameron and gave him some right back! They now roll around and bite each other... just like real brothers!
Mason was afraid to go out for the longest time but now he cries at the back door for me to let him out. He mostly likes to go out at night but Cameron likes to go out during the day. It's like they take shifts! One comes in, one goes out!
Over time, we realize that Cameron is Dani's cat and Mason is mine. Nothing scares Cam.... just try to make him take off running and he looks at you and laughs. Mason, on the other hand, is afraid of his own shadow! He runs to the basement every time someone comes in the front door! I often wonder what happened to him before we got him. His tail is crooked too like it had been broken.
OK, fast-forward 3 years. I go into the nail salon to get my nails done and Sam (my nail tech) is there, holding this teeny little kitty. He's only 2 weeks old and they found him at the garage where they get their cars serviced. The mama died and they are tying to find a home for this little guy. Sam says just hold him while I do your nails. NO Sam! I already have 2 cats at home. I don't need a third one! sigh. So I'm holding this little kitty and he's climbing up to my shoulder and promptly falls asleep. He is soo teeny!!!! Within the hour, I'm driving home with nice red nails, a brown kitty and 2 cans of pet formula. Did I mention that I have to feed him every couple of hours from a baby bottle that looks like it's for a dolly? And I have to teach him how to poop because his mommy died before she could do that????
I give this as yet unnamed kitty a bath in Dawn dishwashing liquid and discover he's black, not brown (dirt from the garage) and loaded with fleas! How can they get so flea-infested in such a short time? Within a few days I take him to the vet to be checked out, discover he's a boy and he says he's doing well in spite of losing his mother so young. My older daughter's boyfriend, Gene thinks we should name in Java because he's the color of black coffee, so that's what we do (I was going to name him Sam whether he was a boy or girl) . At first Gene suggested Juan Valdez lol. A few weeks later, we begin to see gray stripes show up on his coat, so he's part back-haired and part gray tabby... a mix of both of my other cats!
Since Java was so young, he was living in my bedroom and bathroom. When I brought him home, Cameron (the bully) sniffed him and then started hissing and growling! Oh No! Mason, as usual, ran away and hid. (big wuss) I had to take Java with me to John's so I could take care of him, so he got used to travel fairly quickly.
Java is now 4+ months old and still living in my bedroom and bathroom. Cam is not a fan and I let him out for a few hours and when I came home, Java's eye was bleeding where Cam had swiped at him. Java just wants to hang out with his big brothers! He chases after them all the time. He didn't get to do that with his siblings. He's just looking for attention! Java likes to bite feet and that get real annoying! I hope it stops when he gets neutered! I tried a water gun, swatting him, nothing works. He thinks I'm playing with him. I have to keep him in my bathroom at night so I can get some sleep. I do let him out in the rest of the house for a while each day. He likes the Christmas tree (surprisingly, the other 2 cats leave it alone and always have). Dani calls him Satan. She doesn't like him.
One of the funniest thing this kitten does is jump into the shower with me! And if the water is running in the sink, he wets his paw and bathes himself! Goofy cat!
Anyway, I'm really afraid I'm turning into a cat lady. I'm not sure what to do about the Cameron/ Java thing. Any advice? ideas?
Friday, December 26, 2008
Italian Christmas Eve
I thought it would be a nice idea to bring a date to my parents' house on Christmas Eve. I thought it would be interesting for a non-Italian girl to see how an Italian family spends the holidays. I thought my mother and my date would hit it off like partridges and peartrees ... I was wrong!
I had only known Karen for three weeks when I extended the invitation. 'I know these family things can be a little weird,' I told her, 'but my folks are great, and we always have a lot of fun on Christmas Eve.' 'Sounds fine to me,' Karen said. I told my mother I'd be bringing Karen with me. 'She's a very nice girl and she's really looking forward to meeting all of you.' 'Sounds fine to me,' my mother said. And that was that. Two telephone calls. Two sounds-fine-to-me. What more could I want?
I should point out, I suppose, that in Italian households, Christmas Eve is the social event of the season -- an Italian woman's reason for living. She cleans. She cooks. She bakes. She orchestrates every minute of the entire evening. Christmas Eve is what Italian women live for. I should also point out, I suppose, that when it comes to the kind of women that make Italian men go nuts, Karen is it. She doesn't clean. She doesn't cook. She doesn't bake. And she has the largest breasts I have ever seen on a human being! I brought her anyway.
7 p.m. -- we arrive.
Karen and I walk in and putter around for half an hour waiting for the other guests to show up. During that half hour, my mother grills Karen like cheeseburger on the barbecue determines that Karen does not clean, cook, or bake. My father is equally observant. He pulls me into the living room and notes, 'She has the largest breasts I have ever seen on a human being!'
7:30 p.m. - Others arrive.
Zio Giovanni walks in with my Zia Maria, assorted kids, assorted gifts. We sit around the dining room table for antipasto, a symmetrically composed platter of lettuce, roasted peppers, black olives, anchovies and cheese....no meat of course. When I offer to make Karen's plate she says, 'No Thank you.' She points to the anchovies with a look of disgust.... 'You don't like anchovies?' I ask. 'I don't like fish, Karen announces to one and all as 67 other varieties of seafood are baking, broiling and simmering in the next room. My mother makes the sign of the cross. Things are getting uncomfortable. Zia Maria asks Karen what her family eats on Christmas Eve. Karen says, 'Knockwurst.' My father, who is still staring in a daze, at Karen's chest, temporarily snaps out of it to murmur, 'Knockers?' My mother kicks him so hard he gets a blood clot. None of this is turning out the way I'd hoped.
8:00 p.m. - Second course.
The spaghetti and crab sauce is on the way to the table. Karen declines the crab sauce and says she'll make her own with butter and ketchup. My mother asks me to join her in the kitchen. I take my 'Merry Christmas' napkin from my lap, place it on the 'Merry Christmas' tablecloth and walk into the kitchen. 'I don't want to start any trouble,' my mother says calmly, clutching a bottle of ketchup in her hands. 'But if she pours this on my pasta, I'm going to throw acid in her face.' 'Come on,' I tell her. 'It's Christmas. Let her eat what she wants.' My mother considers the situation, then nods. As I turn to walk back into the dining room, she grabs my shoulder. 'Tell me the truth,' she says, 'are you serious with this tramp?' 'She's not a tramp,' I reply. 'And I've only known her for three weeks.' 'Well, it's your life,' she tells me, 'but if you marry her, she'll poison you.'
8:30 p.m. - More fish.
My stomach is knotted like one of those macrame plant hangers that are always three times larger than the plants they hold. All the women get up to clear away the spaghetti dishes, except for Karen, who, instead, lights a cigarette. 'Why don't you give them a little hand?' I politely suggest. Karen makes a face and walks into the kitchen carrying three forks. 'Dear, you don't have to do that,' my mother tells her, smiling painfully. 'Oh, okay,' Karen says, putting the forks on the sink. As she reenters the dining room, a wine glass flies over her head, and smashes against the wall. From the kitchen, my mother says, 'Whoops.' More fish comes out.
After some goading, Karen tries a piece of scungilli, which she describes as 'slimy, like worms.' My mother winces, bites her hand and pounds her chest like one of those old women you always see in the sixth row of a funeral home. Zia Maria does the same. Karen, believing that this is something that all Italian women do on Christmas Eve, bites her hand and pounds her chest. My Zio Giovanni doesn't know what to make of it. My father's dentures fall out and chew a six-inch gash in the tablecloth.
10:00 pm. - Coffee, dessert.
Espresso all around . A little anisette. A curl of lemon peel. When Karen asks for milk, my mother finally slaps her in the face with a cannoli. I guess it had to happen sooner or later. Karen, believing that this is something that all Italian women do on Christmas Eve, picks up a cannoli and slaps my mother with it. 'This is fun,' Karen says. Time passes and believe it or not, everyone is laughing and smiling and filled with good cheer -- even my mother, who grabs me by the shoulder, laughs and says, 'Get this bitch out of my house.' Sounds fine to me.
My favorite Irish quotes
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I had my daughter, Gina and her boyfriend here for dinner for Christmas Eve, my son arrived around 9 (although he's off with his buddies at the 24-hour diner down the road), my youngest is here, chatting on her computer. The bitter cold is gone.. as a matter of fact, it's kind of warm outside now (57 degrees!)!
I got a nice warm coat from my significant other for Christmas, cute earrings and a very nice ornament from Gina and Gene. Tim and I made a pact not to wrap each other's gifts since neither one of us was ready for that. Dani is broke so she didn't contribute this year.
I'm enjoying some nice Cabernet Sauvignon and tomorrow John and I will be heading to Philly for dinner with is brother. On Friday, we'll be celebrating my daughter, Dani's 18th birthday!
Hard to believe all my kids are legally adults now!
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas Day!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Twelve Days of Christmas, humorous
I went to the door today and the postman delivered a "Partridge in a pear tree." What a thoroughly delightful gift. I couldn't have been more surprised. You're an angel.
With all my love and devotion,
Today, the postman brought your very sweet gift. Just imagine "Two turtle doves." I'm delighted at your very thoughtful gift. They are adorable and I love you for them.
All my love,
Oh! Aren't you the extravagant one? Now I really must protest. I don't deserve such generosity as "Three French hens." They are just darling but I must insist, you've been too kind.
Today the postman delivered "Four calling birds." Now really, they are beautiful but don't you think enough is enough? You're being too romantic.
What a surprise! The postman just delivered the "Five golden rings"; one for every finger. You're just impossible, but I love it. Frankly, all those birds squawking were beginning to get on my nerves.
All my love,
I couldn't believe my eyes this morning as I walked out onto the front porch and there were "Six geese a laying" on my front steps. So you're back to the birds again - huh? Those geese are huge. Where will I ever keep them? The neighbors are complaining and I can't sleep through the racket. I love your thoughtfulness, but -
What's with you and those fucking birds??? Today I received "Seven swans a swimming." What kind of a goddamn joke is this? These birds shit all over the house and they never stop with that awful goddamn racket. I can't sleep at night and I'm a nervous wreck.
Stop your laughing damn you! It's not funny. Just knock it off with those fucking birds, OK?????
I think I prefer the birds. What the hell am I going to do with "Eight maids a milking??" It's not enough with all those birds and the 8 maids milking, but they had to bring their goddamn cows! There is shit all over the lawn and I can't even move in my own house. Just lay off me, smartass!!
What are you??? Some kind of sadist??? Now I've got "Nine pipers playing" and Christ do they play! They haven't stopped chasing those maids since they've arrived this morning. The cows are getting upset and they're stepping all over the screeching fucking birds. What the hell am I going to do?? The neighbors have already started a petition to have me evicted.
You'll get yours, bastard,
You Rotten Prick,
Who in hell needs "Ten ladies dancing??" I can't imagine why I call these sluts "ladies." They've been balling the pipers all night long. Now the cows can't sleep and all the goddamn racket around here has given them diarrhea. My living room is a river of shit! The Commisioner of Bldgs. has subpoenaed me to give cause why the building should not be condemned!
I'm sicking the police on you, asshole!
One who means it!!!
What's with the "Eleven lords a leaping" on those maids and ladies??? Some of these poor broads will never walk again. The pipers ravaged the maids, gang-banged the ladies, and now are committing sodomy on the cows. All 23 birds are dead. They were trampled to death in the orgy. I hope you're satisfied, you rotten vicious bastard!
I hate your guts, dumbshit,
This is to acknowledge your latest gift "Twelve fiddlers fiddling" which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, Miss Agnes McHolstein. As you no doubt have guessed, the destruction of her property was total. You are advised that all future correspondence with our client should be cleared through this office.
I feel compelled to warn you that if you should attempt to reach Miss McHolstein at Happy Dale Sanitarium, the attendants of that institution have instructions to shoot you on sight. With this letter please find attached a warrant for your arrest.
J. Frank Cahole Attorney
Where were you when it happened?
I knew 2 people who died that day. On the night of September 11, we got a phone call from Greg's sister, Rita. Rita's husband, Bryan had a sister named Deborah Jacobs Welsh. Debbie was the head purser on Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, PA. She was the first person to die on that flight. Debbie tried to keep the terrorists out of the cockpit and they slit her throat. What a shock it was to get that phone call! We didn't know Debbie well, but we saw her from time to time over the years when Rita would have a christening or First Communion party or something like that.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Two! Count 'em TWO drama queens!
Now she's busy choosing her dorm SUITE and her roommate! These days, you can go online, choose what building you want to live in and see who your roommate will be long before you ever get there! She'll be living in a 2 bedroom suite, with 2 girls in one bedroom with their own bath and 2 girls in the other bedroom, with their own bath and a living room and a kitchen with a full size fridge and microwave to share among the 4 of them! And she was able to snag a first floor suite! No trudging up all those stairs on moving day! How cool is that!!! Her sister, Gina is jealous! Her dorm was tiny and in her sophomore year, they had community showers!
In other Dani-related news, she was cast a Little Red Riding Hood in her high school's production of Into The Woods, which will be performed in April. She was hoping to be cast as the Witch (everyone wants to be the Wtich!) Rehearsals start right after Christmas break (I can say Christmas because she goes to Catholic school :) ) So for a few weeks in January, she'll actually be in rehearsals for 2 different plays. They always do a Murder Mystery in winter. I know who the murderer is and I've been sworn to secrecy!
And last but not least, my youngest child, my baby will be 18 on Friday! Yes, she came into this world on December 26, 1990, all 8 lbs. 7 oz. of her! I cannot believe she'll be legally an adult in 5 short days!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Our itinerary was to fly to Ft. Lauderdale and board the Constellation, one of Celebrity Cruise Line's beautiful ships! We were 2 days at sea, then stops each day at St. Maartens, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts and St. Thomas, followed by 2 days at sea, back to Ft. Lauderdale for a flight home to cold, cold Philadelphia.
One of the best ideas Tina had was to get a cabin with a balcony. Every morning, Raquelle came to our cabin with coffee and we sat on our little balcony and had our coffee and planned our day and laughed and laughed! I hadn't laughed like that in 10 years! We always ate all of our meals on the ship. The food! OMG the food! Anything you wanted for breakfast was there! Lunch was well, lunch. Although, each day there was a different buffet (one day Italian, one day Indian, Mexican, etc.) Dinner was a 5 course meal every single night! I gained 7 pounds on that cruise! We called our trip The Just divorced Cruise. I had just gotten my divorce the month before and Tina was in the process. Tina's sister made this sign for our door and we decorated with champagne bottle and glasses and taped candy all over our door! It was the hit of the cruise because everyone knew where their room was by looking for our door!
We didn't spend a lot of money on the excursions, they cost big bucks sometimes and my funds were limited. We spent our at-sea days by the pool with good books and strawberry daquiris! It didn't take long for the waiters and bartenders to know who we were and what we liked! This one waiter came around one morning (well it was around 11:30 ... and someone else was doing the driving!) and asked us if we were ready for the Captain (Morgan, that is) LOL!! We tipped him well! Captain Morgan was our very good friend on that trip!
Our first stop was St. Maartens, on the Dutch side of the island. There was a beachside bar called The Firehouse that made the strongest strawberry daquiris I've ever tasted! We were majorly buzzed after only one daquiri! We did a little shopping on this island. And I discovered that sending text messages from St. Maartens is EXPENSIVE!!! LOL
Then it was off to Barbados and the best beach aloe massage I ever had for $10! A local guy did them right on the beach! it was wonderful! The surf at this island was rougher than I thought! It knocked me ass over head and Tina laughed her ass off!
Our last stop was St. Thomas, Tina's favorite because this is where she buys her jewelry. When you go into a shop on St. Thomas, they ply you with alcohol so maybe you'll spend more money. Tina left with a beautiful tanzanite ring and a six-pack of beer! We sat on a bench and drank the beer! LOL!
Tina and me on St. Thomas
A few more days at sea and we were back in Florida and then on to Philly and the real world. I wish I had the money to cruise every year. It was so relaxing and I didn't get sick at all. We saw a double rainbow in the middle of the ocean. We had one day when the water was a bit choppy but we discovered that the indoor pool is a hoot when the sea is choppy! Just like going in a wave pool! One day I'd like to take a cruise to Alaska and do the interior too.
Want some cheese with that whine?
I gathered my work uniforms to wash yesterday so I'd have clean clothes to wear to work this week (what a concept! a few of my younger co-workers should try this) I head down to the basement and see... 6 inches of water!!! Apparently, my sump pump moved a bit and the water was not receding from last week's flooding. Actually, it did go down then filled back up. (sigh) So I jiggle it around and it's now working. I nearly forgot to mention that I had to remove my shoes and nice warm socks and roll up my pants legs to wade through the very very cold water to get to the stalled sump pump! BRRR!!!! Did I mention that it's cold in eastern PA in December?? I took my basket of laundry to John's apartment and did it in his laundry. And used his quarters and his soap and stuff!
My just about 18 year old daughter is getting braces put on her teeth as I type. The dentist has been telling us for years that she needs braces, but so does her brother too. Dani has been having trouble with her jaw and the dentist told us if she had braces, they could fix that. So the ex says "then we'll get her braces." Ok, where were you 10 years ago when the dentist said this??? But the good news is, the ex said he's paying for it! Then I get the estimate....$5,000!!! LMAO!!! They were $3,000 when the dentist first suggested it. Dani is graduating from high school in June and heading off to college in August. But she should be out of braces by the summer before her sophomore year.
Now my son, Tim, who is nearly 21 says, "Well? What about me? Why can't I get braces? My teeth are worse than hers? Why do I get skipped over???" Well, your jaw isn't a problem. (sigh... I love my children, I love my children, I love my children...)
So I just get a text message from Dani telling me they want to know where I am! This child will be 18 years old in 8 days! Does she really need mommy with her to get her braces on?? I was there for the initial appointment, I was there for the money appointment, even though her father should have been there since he's the one paying for it! They tell her I need to sign another form. But it's an insurance form and Daddy is the carrier. They were supposed to mail this crap to him in OCTOBER!!!!! OH! And they ask, where is your check? HUH? Dani told them they were supposed to mail the bill to her Dad and he was going to send the check but they never did. So now they are calling him for a credit card number! LOL! Stupid ass receptionist!
Hey! This isn't as whiny as I thought! I'm loving this "Dad has to pay for all of it" stuff! Give me a minute, I'm sure I can get back to the whine and cheese party soon.
I had to get a lightbulb changed on my car and Dani's car. One of the headlights was out on each car. They charged $30 to change the lightbulb! Dani's car went to my regular mechanic and my car went to Sears (because I can drop it off on my way to work and pick it up on my way home) We also had oil changes done and tire rotated (free because I buy my tires at Sears) So each car was $75.. just what I need 10 days before Christmas! I was hoping for $35 or $40 each.
OK, last course on my whine and cheese party, mainly because I have to get ready for work and I really need to stop typing..... why can't I use the cool fonts and colors any more? That option seems to have disappeared from my blog! I can do BOLD, I can do italics, I can add links. What I can't do is change the color of my font, the size of my font or the style of my font any more! And this makes me sad!
**UPDATE: As you can see, my fonts are fixed! Thanks Garret !!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Christmas Blizzard... all my fault
My father had a part-time job at the Philadelphia Inquirer on Saturdays, working the 3 to 11 shift. Christmas was on a Sunday that year, so Dad had to work on Christmas Eve. My sister, Peggy was a senior in high school and worked at St. Francis Country House, a nursing home.
Up to this year, we had a tradition in our house to set up the Christmas tree but have Santa do the decorating. That way, Christmas morning would seem the most magical! Peggy was finished at work at 7PM, Dad at 11PM. Snow is piling up everywhere. Dad is 20 miles away at his job, Peggy is about 6 or 7 miles away at hers.
Peggy has a ride home but gets stuck partway home and they head back to the nursing home. Dad has to drive to Clifton Heights from Philly. He makes it as far as 69th street, find a pay phone and calls home to check in and let my mom know where he is. Mom tells him that Peggy is stuck somewhere between the nursing home and our house. Dad heads off towards Darby to look for her. Somehow he finds out that Peggy is safely back at the nursing home and will stay the night. So he heads for home again and at some point got stuck, had to leave his car and walks 5 miles, in the blizzard to get there!
In the meantime, Mom has a candle burning in the window and praying for everyone to get home safely. Oh! And the tree isn't decorated yet! And the gifts are still hidden from the kiddies! She's waiting for Dad to get home to help her!!!! I'm a little fuzzy about whether my Mom finally decorated the tree and got the gifts out or if she really did wait for Dad to get home to help her. I'd like to think she took the initiative and did it but, knowing Mom, she just might have waited for Dad!
All I remember Mom telling me years later that they finally got to bed at 6 am and we were all up at 7 to open gifts!!
I remember we had to walk to church up the middle of a busy street because it had been plowed. Of course, there were no cars on the road because they were all snowed in. We had to go to 9 AM Children's Mass (mandatory for students at Holy Cross School... the nuns actually took roll at Mass and if you weren't there, you needed a written excuse note and it had better be a good excuse! We even had assigned seating! Wow! The things that are coming back as I type!)
Anyway, after that year, we helped Santa by decorating the tree for him. And I don't think Jeanne or I EVER drank Fresca again!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Boom De Ya Da
Monday, December 15, 2008
Jennifer and Jim kept getting huge water bills. They knew beyond a doubt that the bills weren't representative of their actual usage, and no matter how they tried to conserve, the high bills continued.. Although they could see nothing wrong, they had everything checked for leaks or problems: the water meter, outdoor pipes, indoor pipes, underground pipes, faucets, toilets, washer, ice maker, etc., all to no avail. One day Jim was sick and stayed home in bed, but kept hearing water running downstairs. He finally got out of his sick bed to investigate, and stumbled onto the cause of the bills. Apparently this was happening all day long when they were not at home. Knowing that few would believe him, he recorded a video of the 'problem' for posterity:
Because I'm weird like that, I counted 10 flushes in that 2:47 time frame! The comments by the videographer are funny too! Mystery solved!
Friday, December 12, 2008
1. Tag people when I want to pass funny stuff and cool awards along.
2. Refer to people's blog by their blog name with the underline rather than http://joanies-random-rambling.blogspot.com/ I'd like to say Joanie's Random Ramblings (but underlined so it's linked)
Any help would be greatly appreciated! I know it's probably something really simple but for the life of me, I can't figure out how to do these things!
Thanks a bunch!
**UPDATE: Many thanks to Lilly @ Lilly's Life for the help in learning how to fix my links!
I'm Fabulous! How about that!
I got a blog award! It came from Gina over at My Inner Monoblog! I'm tickled as pink as her homepage! Now for the rules:
1. Send this award on to 5 fabulous blogs. So I am sending it to 6 because I couldn't decide on just 5:
Jim and Garret @ RV'ing
Liz @ Eternal Lizdom
Vodka Mom @ I Need A Martini Mom
Ann @ Ann's Rants
Temple @ Cookies Mean God Loves You
Amy @ Bitchin' Wives Club
You all make me laugh every day! Thank you!
2.You have to list 5 of your Fabulous addictions
The Internet. I could stay on here all day and all night and to hell with meals and cleaning and TV.
Diet Coke with Lime.
Cheddar Cheese with Horseradish. my newest addiction, with Wheat Thins, of course.
Reading. I used to be a big reading addict (reading 2 or 3 books a week)and as I had kids, got away from it (lucky to read 3 books a year) Now I'm back to reading all the time and am on my 23rd and 24th books for this year.
http://www.pogo.com/ my favorite game website. I can earn badges for playing the games online.
3. Include the person who gave you the award and make sure you link it back to them.
Gina @ My Inner Monoblog
Thank you, Gina! My very first award! I think Gina is fabulous but she is my daughter.
Could be worse... it could snowing
It's been raining here in eastern PA for 3 days now, often torrential downpours. And that means flooding, lots and lots of flooding. I now have about 4 inches of water in my basement and if I didn't have a sump pump, I'd have a foot of water. There is nothing I can do until the rain stops. And the rain is not supposed to stop until tomorrow, I think. I know we're supposed to get more rain today and often heavy. Great. Then, once the water recedes, I can get in there with the wet dry vac and get the rest of the water up. It could be worse though. If this was snow, we've have gotten several feet of it.
I hate this house. I should have sold it 3 or 4 years ago, but I was stupid and thought the ex would "come to his senses and come home." I told you I wasn't sane then, I wasn't kidding. OH! And the roof is leaking over my son's room. There's a wet spot on his ceiling. Some years ago, we had the remnants of a hurricane come through and it tore about 6 shingles off the roof. Of course, we never did anything about it then. Now I can't get anyone up there to replace the shingles. Wimps! It's too high! I know I need a new roof but that's not happening. I don't have the thousands of dollars to replace the roof. Hell, I can barely keep up with the regular monthly bills. So a patch job it's going to have to be. Maybe my friend's dad can do it for me. He fixed my front steps for a nice low price.
We tried to sell the house last year but couldn't get a buyer. Now the bottom has dropped out of the market and the house is worth less than we owe on it. This is because we refinanced the mortgaged so many damn times there's no equity in it any more. The last time we did it, it was right after the ex left and he needed money because his entire paycheck was going to me to pay bills. He got an interest-only loan. Did I mention that I was insane back then?? So for the past 3+ years, we have been putting no principle into the payments and we owe the same as we did back then. The only thing I did was refuse to have my name on the mortgage this time. My name is still on the deed so I'm protected. And my divorce papers say I get 95% of the proceeds if and when we sell the house... Greg's idea. He wanted me to have a down payment on another house. Sometimes I actually know when to keep my mouth shut. Dontcha just love a guilty conscience?? LOL!
And to top it all off, I woke up with a migraine. I get these about once a month, and if I can catch it before it really kicks in, it will go away fairly quickly. But if I wake up with one, it could take 2 days to get rid of it. For some reason, my migraine headaches are in my sinuses. And the only thing that works, besides coffee, is Aleve Cold and Sinus. Of course, my Aleve was in my purse, in my car. And my car is parked outside, in the rain. And I'm in my jammies and too lazy to go upstairs yet and put clothes on. Got my pill , so hopefully, the headache will go away soon.
It's 2 weeks to Christmas and I haven't started my shopping yet. Thankfully I only have to get gifts for my 3 kids, Gina's boyfriend and John. When I was married, I had to buy for all the nieces and nephews on the ex's side, his aunt, a $75 Pollyanna with his siblings, my mother was still living so I bought for her and my sister the nun. And he and I spent hundreds on each other. Just insane. John is thrilled if I buy him a book for Christmas.
OMG!!! The SUN is shining in my window!! Maybe, just maybe this rain is over for now!!!
And as soon as my water recedes in my basement, I can wash all the clothes that were on the floor in front of the machines. Some were actually clean but weren't brought upstairs right away. I'll be doing laundry for a few days now because of course, my hamper if full.
My poor cats don't know what to do! Their litter box is in the basement. I moved it to the landing at the bottom of the stairs but they keep looking down and meowing.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Happiness after 50
As you may know, I found myself suddenly single at the age of 49. I never, in my wildest dreams, imagine I'd be single again. Widowed maybe but not divorced! That happened to other people. Apparently I am other people.
I joined several online dating sites... match.com, yahoo personals, etc. EHarmony said I needed to be legally divorced to join. I met a few guys and found almost all of them to be married, trying to get laid by anyone who was willing. ick! There were a few I chatted with for months and month and no meeting. This went on for about a year and a half. And I'll admit I wasn't the most sane person at the time. Desperate for affection, hoping to find someone to love again, I met some real winners!
I was just resigning myself to a life of solitude and living alone when I found this site called True Beginnings aka http://www.true.com/. I can't even tell you how I found it, if it was via email or an ad on a game site or whatever. It offered 3 days free, so I figured what the hell, I'll fill in the blanks and see what happens. I put up a real picture of myself and was very honest about me. Once or twice a week, true would send me an email with 12 guys who matched my criteria. I never ever made the first move! I'm way too insecure for that!!
One day, a month or so after I joined, I get an email from a guy who lives on the other side of the county. His message basically says "Hi! Thanks for the wink!" huh???? I didn't send anyone a wink! I'm too shy for that! So I look at his profile and think that he seems harmless looking in a grandfatherly sort of way and I respond with "Well, I didn't send a wink, but hi!" We exchange info about ourselves. I'm 4th of 8 kids, he's 4th of 7 kids. He went to Catholic schools, so did I. He's a row house kid from Philly, I'm a row house kid from just outside the city.
We email back and forth for a few weeks and try to get in a private chat room to talk and we can't figure out how to do it, so he gives me his home phone number. I hem and haw for a few days and finally call him one evening. We were on the phone for more than 3 hours that night and an hour and half the next 2 times we talked! I learned a lot about him and he was quite honest about himself. (his family has verified everything he's told me in stories about their growing years, etc.) John tells me he was in the Army for 20 years, is now retired and working at a chemical company as a security guard and tutors kids in the evening in math and science. Then he told me he'd been married 4 times! I have no idea why I didn't hang up the phone right then and there! Was I that desperate? I was certainly interested! And glad of his honesty.
We decided to meet, and he comes to my job as I'm finishing work. We go to dinner and see a movie and we really hit it off! I felt so comfortable with him, from the very beginning! I'm happier now than I've been in many years. We've been together for 2 1/2 years now and plan to stay together for the rest of our lives.
I don't know if we'll ever get married. John wants to get married but I don't want to, at last not yet. My ex has to give me spousal support until Dec 2014 and I've earned every penny and if I remarry it will stop. I worked for my ex for 6 years for no pay, so that alone makes me want to wait. I also found out when I went to the Social Scurity office to change my name back to my maiden name that if I don't remarry until after I'm 60, I'll still qualify for my ex's social security and he makes a LOT more money than I do! I'll be 59 when my support runs out, so I can wait another year! I promised John I'd marry him for his 63rd birthday!
So that's our story and I'm sticking to it!
Road Trip, The Finale
Up bright and early on Thursday to check out and drive to the college. And it's raining... and cold and just icky outside. We get to the college and I really like it! Dani checks in. They have her listed as a theater major, not a musical theater major. So they fix that. All the Arts prospective students are there... music majors, voice, art, theater and musical theater. When it's all said and done, there are 4 theater/musical theater kids left. Her audition is set for after lunch (sure am glad we got there at 8:45 am!) Dani thinks she did well on her audition.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
So it's back in the car at 2:30 for the drive to Pittsburgh. That drive is 2 hours. Dani's GPS is awesome! We get to the hotel, with hardly any problems, a few wrong turns but not a big deal. We settle in to our room and we don't need to be at Point Park University until Saturday morning at 9 am. At this hotel, we need to pay for parking (what a rip-off!) I wasn't budgeted for parking! So I need to keep $33 to store my car for 2 days. Wander around the neighborhood and find a little Chinese place and have dinner. There's no extra money for nice restaurants, cabs, shopping, etc. But that's ok. It's too damned cold to be wandering around Pittsburgh in the dark anyway! So we go back to the room and watch a few movies. Dani absolutely crashed by 8 pm and slept until she woke in the morning!
Point Park University Campus
Friday afternoon, we get the car, drive to the college and discover, it's only about 1/2 mile from the hotel! We also did a little driving around to see the Duquesne Incline, a trolley car of sorts that takes you up the mountain. We decide to do that, but the GPS took us to the TOP of the mountain and it seemed pointless to take the trolley down then back up when we can see the sights from up there for free, so that's what we do (Dani's idea, not mine). I'm sure the view in the summer is terrific!
The Duquesne Inclines
The concierge at the hotel gave us a cool place for pizza that delivers, so that's just what we did. Hawaiian pizza (yummy!) and buffalo fries (so-so) for dinner in our room.
Saturday morning, we're up bright and early, get ready and decide we should walk to the college and leave the car in the garage until afterwards. Now, I am a middle-aged, over-weight, out-of-shape mom and Dani is a skinny, long-legged teenager. That kid left me in the dust!! We get to the school, I try not to have a heart attack and she gets registered. Then we wait. There's a tour of the school.. well, the building we were in. This college is right in the heart of the city. I didn't like it and I found out later, neither did her dad when he brought her there for visitation last summer. It just didn't feel like a college at all. I found the students there to be snooty and many of the prospective students to be snooty as well. The kids all do their auditions and we have lunch and wait for the callback list to go up. While we're waiting, I look out the window and it's snowing! Now I love snow when I'm home and it's warm inside and I don't have to drive anywhere. I don't like snow when I'm 300+ miles from home and I have to drive through it to get home! Over mountains!!! So, finally the list goes up and Dani finds out she's not on the list. We get our stuff together and start walking back to the hotel to get our car. I see that Dani is crying. Not the loud tantrum crying I'm expecting but quiet tears. She says, "That's it. I'm out of it." I'm secretly relieved because the school is $35,000+ a year, and IUP is $13,000+ a year. She'll also get a bachelor or arts degree from IUP and she'd have gotten a fine arts degrees at PPU, meaning she would have graduated knowing how to sing, act and dance and nothing else.
So, now we wait to hear from IUP to see if she was accepted into their theatre program. The good news is she's already been accepted academically and she wants to double major in Theatre and Education with a concentration in Literature. So if she doesn't get into the theatre program she can still go as an English major and audition for the shows anyway.
Ok, back in the car, we start for home. Dani turns on the GPS and because the buildings are so high, it can't find us at first. I'm driving aimlessly around Pittsburgh trying to get a signal. We finally get one but it's being retarded and telling us to turn on streets that aren't there. The snow is coming down and it's so cold (25 degrees), it's freezing on the roadways and driving is becoming treacherous. That damned GPS had us driving up these little steep one way streets going from one end of town to the other. FINALLY, it finds I-376 and traffic is bumper to bumper and we're crawling. But that was good because I did the sliding thing when we were in town and it scared the crap out of me! Traffic opens up when we pass an accident on the other side of the highway! That crawling was all gaper delay!
Eventually we get back on the turnpike, heading east. Speed limit is 65 MPH but I don't think I drove any faster than 55 or maybe 60. It seems like the Allegheny Mountains take up half of Pennsylvania! I drove not more than 40 MPH for most of the way home. It took 7 hours when it should have taken 5 or 5.5 hours. We left Pittsburgh around 2 pm and arrived in Pottstown at approximately 9 pm. And when I got to town, I did the sliding thing again! Sometimes those wet roads aren't just wet, they're frozen! Thankfully, I didn't hit anything (except a curb in Pittsburgh).
So that was my big adventure this past weekend in western Pennsylvania! Hope I didn't bore anyone too much!
What Joanie needs...
1. Joanie needs to keep taking her medication. (see #3 and #9, 'nuff said)
2. Joanie needs a little time to consider it. (consider what??)
3. Joanie needs to eliminate the mood swings. (well, I'm 53 and peri-menopausal and the peri- part of that is enough to cause moods swings!)
4. Joanie needs to lose some weight. (hey! hey! be nice!)
5. Joanie needs your number so she can call you all the time. (sounds kind of stalker-y, doesn't it!)
6. Joanie needs to find spookier friends. (is creepy the same as spooky?)
7. Joanie needs to find a nude scene before she goes. (me? nude? in public? HA! only in my "naked in public" dreams!)
8. Joanie needs to go to sleep. (I blame this on the elephant couple and their yapping dog who live upstairs from John)
9. Joanie needs some psychiatric help. (well if I had kept taking my meds, I might not)
10. Joanie needs something to steam her up. (got that. his name is John. LOL)
So... what did YOU find on your search?
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Feel free to copy and paste it to your blog and fill in the blanks!
1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share seven random or weird facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven others and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each of the other people know by commenting on their blogs.
Seven random or weird facts about myself?
I have a sister who is a nun and has been for 43 years.
I got my driver's license when I was 27 years old (the day before my 28th birthday but officially I was still 27!) ** swiped that one from Liz!
I smoked for 20 years and have been smoke-free for 16 years, 11 months and 1 week (but who's counting?)
I do the New York Times Sunday Crossword in ink and once did the entire puzzle with no help from a dictionary.
I'm almost 100% left-handed, but I can only use a computer mouse with my right hand. (hey! I'm scrambling for a few more odd things here, folks!)
I can't whistle any more but I used to be able to. (I think it quit when I quit smoking)
I went to my first concert when I was 34 years old and pregnant with my last baby (Paul McCartney at Philly's Vet Stadium)
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Road Trip.. with a teenager.. a GIRL teenager!
Dani, on the other hand, is VERY independent! Her theatre teacher (the same teacher Gina had) didn't even know she had applied to colleges, never mind had gotten accepted to them! Dani never asked her advice, never asked for letters of recommendation, nada!
So, on Wednesday, we leave for Altoona, PA because the closest Marriott Hotel to Indiana, PA is in Altoona. Dani had a 9 am appointment in Indiana University of PA for her audition, and the hotel is an hour and a half away (hey it's free! the ex is giving me Marriott Reward Points!). These auditions usually take several hours because she needs to sing, dance and act, along with lots of other seniors hoping to go to this school. Actually, IUP is Dani's second choice of schools.
When the auditions are all finished, we leave IUP and head west again for Pittsburgh, PA because Point Park University is in Pittsburgh. Dani's audition at PPU isn't until Saturday, so we have Friday free to explore the city. This is Dani's first choice of schools. I'm not sure of the time for the PPU auditions but I'm guessing 9 am. At least we'll be near the school this time and won't have to get up at 6 am to get on the road! Once auditions are done, we have to head straight back to the Philly area where we live, a fun-filled 6 hour drive! I just hope we don't hit any snow! I HATE driving in snow!
On Sunday afternoon, Dani is going off on a religious retreat called Kairos. Of all 3 of my kids, I think she needs this the most. After an intense 4 days they come home, full of love and God, but in time, it does wear off and the old teen emerges again. I was trying to find some clear info about it because I'm not good at explaining it. My daughter, Gina (My Inner Monoblog) might chime in here since she went to Kairos when she was a senior and it made a big impact on her life. I know it was started by Jesuit priests.
So, in the long run, I'll have TWO Drama Queens with degrees to prove it! Well, they are both very talented young women, if I do say so myself!
UPDATE: My good friend, Kathy recorded 2 songs for Dani to use in her auditions this weekend. And she was kind enough to lend Dani her cassette recorded so she can practice... all the friggin' way to Pittsburgh! So I get to hear Shy from Once Upon A Mattress and Someone Else's Story from Chess. My car has one of those regular outlets, so Dani can sing these 2 songs over and over and over so she has them down pat by the time we reach Indiana, PA and Pittsburgh, PA. I'm SURE I can find a way to repay Kathy for her generosity!