Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Bratface!!!

You know, I really do good work, if I do say so myself!  

 Doesn't seem like it was so long ago, Gina was all eyes and cheeks and no hair. Before she could even talk, we'd hear her singing in her crib in the middle of the night.  She just cracked me up!  It was no surprise she earned her degree in Theatre!

Now she's 26, engaged to be married next summer to a terrific guy, has her own home, a good job, a weekly radio show and I hear her commercials all the time on the radio!  She's beautiful, independent, not afraid to stand up for herself or speak her mind!

Yeah, I like to think I did a good job raising her!  

Happy Birthday, Regina Frances!  Love you lots!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation

I get 3 weeks paid vacations a year, which is not bad, considering I'm a server in a restaurant.  A lot of restaurants don't give you anything for time off!  It's not a lot of money, but I earned my 3 weeks, and I take my 3 weeks!

This vacation that I'm on right now is a staycation.  The furthest I went was the local Home Depot.  I had things to do around my house... LITERALLY around my house, and by God, I was getting it done.  Well, some of it anyway.

What a wanted to do was use stone pavers like this one, but the cost would have been around $500 and I didn't have that kind of money this year (maybe next year... we're planning on it).  **This is NOT my patio!  This was on the Home Depot website!  I wanted to get these pavers for the walkway. 

 Instead, we decided to recycle the stepping stones we already had and use mulch on the walkway.  It has to be better than the mess that's on there now!
Like a friend mentioned, I chose the hottest week of the year to tackle a big outside project.  I didn't do it on purpose!  It was a week that not a lot of other people had scheduled ( you can't have too many servers off on the same week) I didn't get nearly as much accomplished as I had hoped, but I did get a good portion of it done.

I haven't gotten to the area to the left of the walkway, so I'll post before and after of them when it gets done.  In the meantime.... 

Here are the Before Pictures of the walkway.

To say I had a lot of weeds growing is an understatement!  My gardens were out of control!  I kept hoping the garden fairy would show up and make it all disappear, but that didn't happen.  So it was up to me and my daughter, Dani to get the job done.  I did all of the weeding.  After sweating my ass off, pulling these weeds and not getting much done, I got smart and bought CHEMICALS to kill the weeds!

Dani and I set to work, lifting all the stepping stones, which were supposed to be held down with cement.  Over time (like 2 years) the cement started to disintegrate and grass grew in between all the stones, as you can see in the picture above.  It made it really easy to remove the stones, but those stone were sooo heavy!

These are pics of the walkway minus the stones and cement.  There was a layer of sand underneath.

Yesterday, Dani and I went to Home Depot and bought 12 bags of pine mulch and dumped them on the driveway to be used tomorrow.  I also purchases Round Up Extended Control weed killer.

I sprayed all that grass and weeds with Round Up Extended Control, and within hours, they were dead!  This morning, I took a hoe and raked up all the dead grass and weeds and smoothed out the sand that was under all the stepping stones and cement. 

We tried to get an early start today, but by 9 am it was already 86 degrees outside and the temps were climbing quickly.  So we set to work, but it was so hot, we had to stop twice to rehydrate and cool down. 

We dumped 8 of the 12 bags of mulch on the walkway and  raked it as level as we could.  We had to take a break after doing this part too.  By now, it was around 90 degrees, and of course, the walkway is in full sun,  but there patches of shade all over the yard!  Figures.

Photos of the walkway with just the mulch.  Looking better already!

Finally, after all that work, it was time to place the stepping stones back on the walkway.  We used the last 4 bags of mulch to fill in in between the stones.  And this is the end result!

I also need to add mulch to the front gardens, but I want to get the bushes trimmed and neater before I do it. 

I still have a lot of work on the sides and back of the house.  I did manage to weed quite a bit of the back deck and along the back side of the house.   Here are a few before pictures.  When I get it all finished I'll post them too.  I need to borrow my neighbor's power washer because someone borrowed mine and I never saw it again.  but then, he did plumbing work for me and never came around to get paid, so I guess we're even.

So stay tuned for what I do on my day off!  Hopefully by summer's end, my house will look decent again!

Six Word Saturday

It's too hot to work outside!

It's just past 8:30 AM and it's already 86 degrees.  I just checked The Weather Channel for the Philly area (I have it on my desktop).  Temps could reach 100 degrees, with heat indexes up to 109.  I still have so much work to do in my yard.  sigh.  It's been so hot this week that we go outside and get some work done, but we have to go back inside before too long (maybe an hour) to cool off.   

The front walkway has been torn up.  It was easy enough.  The cement that had been used on the walkway crumbled to sand easily.   As a temporary fix (we hope), Dani and I decided to reuse the stepping stones that were there and put mulch down and the stones over top.  Next summer, we hope to do a more permanent solution and put a "real" walkway in.  Today, we place the mulch and stones back in place.  I hope it looks good when we're finished.  It has to look better than it did before!  I do have pictures and will do a post when it's finished.

OK, I better get to it before it gets any hotter and while I still have some shade on the walkway!  Stay cool everyone and let's be careful out there!

Want to try your own Six Word Saturday? Go see Cate at Show My Face and link up!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Sigh. F#$%^&*g gardens

Vacations are for rest and relaxation, right?  Sigh.  Not this one.  I'm on vacation this week.  My gardens (which I HATE, just so ya know) are atrocious, to say the least.  I've been ignoring them, hoping they will magically weed, prune, trim themselves.  Sigh.  They haven't.  So, this week, while I'm on vacation, I'm out there, weeding, pruning, trimming, all by my lonesome.  (note!  Dani is helping me... and I didn't even ask her!!)

Just so ya know, I did take before pictures of everything.  And I'll be taking after pictures and do a blog post about it next week, after I recover.

** Note:  Dani and took a little ride to Home Depot today.  We are now tearing up the walkway and replacing the walkway with new stone pavers and mulch.  I think this is a temporary fix.  What we WANT to do will cost over $500... this one will be a bit over $100.  But it's one hell of a sight better than the mess my ex did with it about 10 years ago.                          

When I was married, my ex LOVED gardens.... loved to look at them. Every year, he'd get out there, make them a little bit bigger. "Go to Home Depot", he'd say.  "Get plants, get flowers, get mulch.... lots and lots of mulch.  Oh and when you get back, plant them and cover them with mulch. I dug the gardens out bigger for you.  I'm going to go play golf now.  See ya."  @#$%^&*  (and I wonder why I was SO upset when the cheating bastard left me)  

So, now I'm stuck with all these gardens THAT I HATE.  They are terribly overgrown, full of grass where there should not be grass, azaleas and rhododendrons that have gotten way out of hand.  

Twenty years ago, we planted these nice little trees called hybrid poplars.  They were little 3 foot long twigs that were $5 each.  (note:  don't EVER buy hybrid poplars!!  no matter how cheap they are!!!) My next door neighbor talked us into buying them.  They are now monster trees.  The root system has grown above the ground.  Anywhere the lawn mower has hit them, new offshoots appear.  Today, at Home Depot, I FINALLY found a sealer for them!  So, I'll be hacking them off and spraying this sealer over them , and hopefully, they won't grow back.  The root system has also grown under my driveway and is making my driveway lumpy.  

There's no way I can pay to get rid of them, although I'd love to.  I do pray for Mother Nature to take care of it for me.  And if she does, if the one tree will fall on my house, I need a new roof.  $500 for a new roof (my deductible) is far better than the $6,000 it'll cost for a new one.

So this week, I'm pulling and hacking and chopping and digging and measuring and lifting and mulching and in my spare time, I'm cleaning and laundry and bathrooms and vacuuming, etc.  If anyone says I'm not working out, they can bite me.

OH!!!  And this is my 400th post!!!  You're allowed to have a bitch session for a 400th posts, right?  If not, bite me again!

Go see Keely at The Un Mom, read some of the randomness from other folks.  You can even give it a try yourself!  Go over, grab the button, link your random stuff to Keely's blog and you might even find some new friends!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Six Word Saturday

It's almost time for my vacation!

YAY!!  My vacation... staycation actually, begins on Tuesday (we have a weird work week... Tuesday to Monday)  I'll be working in my jungle yard and gardens.  Feel free to come by and help!  I HATE gardening and yard work!

Want to try your own Six Word Saturday? Go see Cate at Show My Face and link up!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Twenty Questions

I got this from Laura @ Under The Sheets - Shhh  It looked like fun, so I thought I'd do it too!

The twenty question link back

I love getting to know my blogging friends better. So I'm reaching out to you with twenty questions that I hope you will answer on your blog. Post these questions and your answers on your blog, link back to me and comment back to me when you’re done. I promise to link to your post.

1) Dressing up or casual?
I'm a casual kind of gal.

2) Most original Halloween costume?
Ugh! I HATE dressing up in costume!

3) What would your talent be if you were participating in a beauty pageant?
I can crack my jaw!

4) What do the words retro boutique design mean to you?
30s 40s style. Sleek satin gowns for the 30s and cute 2 piece swim suits for the 40s.

5) What do you see as your greatest achievement?
Having my 3 kids and surviving my divorce.

6) What household chore pacifies you?
I hate doing chores but I'm happy when they're done.

7) Favorite type of weather?
I love the cool crispness of fall.  I've come to appreciate summer over winter.

8) Do you sleep with the sheets tucked in or out?
I like the sheets tucked out. I feel trapped if the sheets are to tight around me.

9) Do you have freckles?
Yes, Ma'am, I do.

10) Favorite kind of sandwich?
Turkey with coleslaw, Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese on grilled rye.

11) Can you hold your breath without holding your nose?
Yup, I can!

12) What’s your name spelt backwards?
Naoj. weird, huh?

13) What message is on your voicemail machine?
Haha! I have to listen to it first! hold on.... Hi! You've reached Joan's cell phone. I can't take your call right now, but if you leave your name and number, I'll get back to you as soon as I can! Bye!

14) What was the name of your first pet?
Lizzie. She (we think it was a she) was a parakeet who escaped when her cage fell over when the door opened and she flew away!

15) Do you believe in karma?
Yes, I do.  I do not want it to bite me in the ass, so I try not to mess with it.

16) Do you believe in luck?

17) Do you have a nickname?

18) Are you a shopping addict?
Not since I got divorced and lost that perk.

19) Favorite superhero?
I don't think I have one!

20) Chocolate or vanilla?
Ok now its your turn to enter the twenty question link back,  and I am looking forward to reading your answers. Go on, I know you can do it. All the cool kids are...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Public Service Announcement

I have a Public Service Announcement (or two) to make.

When you get a prescription from your doctor and your insurance co-pay sucks or you don't have Rx insurance, you really need to Google the name of your Rx.  Chances are you will find a coupon or some kind of discount card for that Rx.  I was given this heads up by a Pharmacy tech who works for Target.  I tried it.  

When I had really bad bronchitis a few month ago, I Googled the names of the drugs my doc gave me Rx for and my bill went from $87 to $60. 

My doctor just gave me a new Rx for blood pressure meds  (Diovan) and I found a discount card and used it.  My bill for the Rx was ZERO!!!  Yes, I said ZERO!!!  I love ZERO!  I'll take ZERO for my drugs any day!!!  

I also discovered that Wal-mart has the lowest prices, by far, of any other place that has a pharmacy.  

Check out this site:

This place will allow you to compare prices of prescription drugs and various places within your zip code.  It's also a discount card!  Print it out and take it with you to the Pharmacy!

So, try it!  You just might save yourself some dough!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Raindrops keep falling on my head!

We're getting some much needed rain today.

Want to try your own Six Word Saturday? Go see Cate at Show My Face and link up!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

John's Cancer Update

Real quick background for newer readers.  John, my fellow, was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes (stage 4) in June 2007.  He did 6 months of chemo and went into remission.  Six months later, it was back, this time in his spleen.  So they removed the spleen, no chemo.  He was in remission.  They decided to keep a closer watch on him and  he had a scan 3 months later, showing the lymphoma was back yet again, in his groin.  He saw a Lymphoma specialist and they decided to do a very strong, very dangerous course of chemo.  This was last summer.  He did 3 days of chemo in June 2009, 4 days of chemo in July and a week of super high dosage of chemo in August, followed by a stem cell transplant, using his own  stem cells.  The chemo knocked his white blood cell count to zero.  His blood count rejuvenated quickly after the transplant and he was released from the hospital 12 days later (most people are in for a month after transplant) .  One month to the day after he entered the hospital, he was back at his job!  Amazing!  He gets a PET scan every 3 months to check for signs of the cancer returning.  So now you're all caught up!!

John had his PET scan done last week, as he's had every 3 months for the past year.  Yesterday he had his appointment to see his Oncologist to find out the results of the PET scan.

YAY!!  YAY!!  YAY!!!  It was negative!!!  John is still in remission from his Lymphoma!!  Dr. Nasta is very pleased with the results.  So he's coming up on 1 year cancer-free, and we couldn't be happier!  The doctor has been keeping an eye on his adrenal glands for a while, because something was happening there.  The scan showed the adrenal glands are shrinking, so that was more good news!

So we just knew we had to celebrate!!  There's a little sandwich shop just  next to the hospital that makes amazing sandwiches, called The Potbelly Sandwich Works.  (I ate many meals there last summer).  We had lunch there.  Then we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and saw the Late Renoir Exhibit!  It was great!!  I have a new print to hang in my family room!  It's called Terrace at Cagnes.   We were planning to go to the movies last night, but we didn't.  We mistakenly thought Salt was playing, but it opens on July 23.  So we stayed home.  It was 103 degrees yesterday anyway, so we had enough outdoors for a day!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

An Anniversary... of sorts

Today is an anniversary of mine.  Actually it's a Golden Anniversary that I share with my brother, Michael.  Michael is 4 years older than me.  Fifty years ago today, when I was nearly 5 and Michael was 9 years old, I was hit by a car... and it's all Michael's fault.

Michael was on his way to the 5 and 10 store to get decorations for his bike so he could ride it in the 4th of July Parade in our hometown.  The 5 and 10 was right down the street from our house, but you had to cross one busy street to get there.. I wanted to go with him, so he let me ride on the back of his bike.

We got to the drug store on the corner and Mike told me to wait there, with his bike... that he'd be right back.So off he went to the 5 and 10.  I was not too happy to be left behind, guarding his stupid bike!  I wanted to help him pick out his decorations!!!

So I followed him and with no regard for my safety, stepped right in front of a car!  Now I have absolutely no recollection of this event.  I don't know if I was hurt, or if I had to go to the hospital.  I'll have to ask him if he remembers.  I mostly remember because he reminds me every year that this happened.  If he does and tells me, I'll be sure and pass the info on!

You know what?  I don't even know if Michael got his decorations or if he was in the parade that year!  Maybe that's why he pulled down my pants and shoved me out the front door when I was 21.  He was a real joker like that... or maybe he was still bitter about me messing up his parade plan.  

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dear So and So: The Yawn Edition

Dear Sun,
What the heck are you doing, waking me up at this ungodly hour?  I don't have to be at work until 11 am!  I could have slept until 9, but no!  You had to come up and wake me 3 hours earlier than needed.

Thanks for nothing,

Dear Comfy Bed,
I miss you.  Never fear, though.  I'll be back tonight.


Dear Coffee,
How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  I love your fresh aroma.  I love your caffeine.  Oh my!  I love the way you wake me up so nicely, especially after that damned sun woke me so early.  I love the way I can drink you without even any cream or sugar to dilute that wonderful jolt I need to get me started. 

Slowly starting to feel human,

Dear Township,
Thank you SO much for putting the Noise Ordinance into effect!  It is so nice not to hear the trash trucks come through the neighborhood at 4 am any more, especially in the summer!  Although they aren't supposed to be here before 7, I did hear the truck today at 6:30, but since the sun woke me before 6, I guess today it didn't matter. (we have at least 3 trash companies come through over 2 days each week)

Grateful Taxpayer,

Dear Kids,
It would be so nice if you didn't SLAM the door every time you come in really late (Tim) or go out to work very early (Dani).  If it keeps up, I will be slamming around the kitchen and turning the TV on really loud to return the favor.

Not above acting childish when it's needed,

Dear Readers,
Why not pop over the pond to Kat's Place in the UK, grab the button and get some stuff off your chest?  Trust me, it feels good to release it all!  Don't forget to Link your Dear So and So and lots of others will be able to read them too!  Go on!  You know you want to!