28 February 2007

Are your mornings about leisure and then rush? That's what mine are like. I always wake up 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours before I have to leave the house for work. Plenty of time, right? I don't like to rush. I spend time with Emily, shower, turn on the Today show and have that on while I put on my make up and get dressed. I do my hair which only takes about 2 minutes. It's the computer that's my problem. I do a lot of my bill paying online. That really eats up time. I took care of that this morning. Renewed my library books. Cancelled a hotel reservation. (If I sound like I always do productive stuff on the computer, you know I'm not telling the truth. I'm reading mail and blogging) And here I am, with 3 minutes to go. So, that said, I'm rushing off to work.

26 February 2007

I stayed on task today and stayed busy. School was delayed by 2 hours, much to Emily's chagrin. I left after she did and went to CVS, the bank, Super Fresh, the hardware store and Weis market. I came home and put everything away. I attached a 'rain drain' to the downspout by my basement because I've been getting some water coming in by the foundation. I vacuumed the house and picked up. I separated all the things I'm going to donate on Thursday and made a neat area in my living room of the things I want to sell. I did two loads of laundry. I was interviewed by the F.B.I. doing a background check on a neighbor. I made my lunches for the next few days. I love getting that done ahead of time. It's probably that way for people who have to iron; better than having to do it each morning. I got all my ingredients prepped and ready to go for dinner. We had our once a week shrimp scampi. Each week it gets a little better. Today I coated the shrimp with flour, like I did last week. I sauteed bruised and sliced garlic in butter and olive oil. Then I turned up the heat and added the shrimp. They browned on both sides, I squeezed a lemon over them and added about a half a cup of chicken broth, reduced it for a minute, and served it over angel hair pasta. I didn't really mean to include all the steps; it just came out. I also made something called green beans a la tang, for the second time. They were just OK. It took a long time to prep everything for dinner, but it all cooked in less than 15 minutes. Dishes are done.

Well, I'm off to the high school to attend a public hearing about redistricting. I wonder what that will be like? Hopefully no one will be able to smell all the garlic on me! I won't have time to add to this later, so I'll just send it off now. It's been a busy day.

25 February 2007

Why not one more?
I don't think I've ever posted 3 times in a day. Since today is so out of the ordinary, what with the weather and staying in all day, I thought I'd just keep going. I left the house for a short time to shovel my neighbor's driveway and walkways. She would have done the same for me, and I needed to get out of the house. The snow was really heavy and I'm sure I'll feel it tomorrow. I hung out in my bedroom for most of the day. I watched the latest episode of 'What About Brian' on my laptop. I love that show. I think it's great that I don't have to set my VCR to record anymore. Most of what I like to watch can be found online after it airs. Also, there's something I find appealing about watching the show up close and personal...as in on my lap. The laptop coolpad I have works very well.

So, lazy day. I even took a bath. Read a book. Didn't really eat a meal. My plan for tonight? Watch the Academy Awards till the end. Tomorrow I'll get something done.
It's been a steady snow for about the last 4 hours. Big fat snowflakes. I'm sure there won't be school tomorrow. Yahoo! Emily's outside shoveling. I'm eating chocolate.

Just a quick chronicle of my morning. Woke up early. I always wind up paying for those shots of espresso, but I willingly pay the price. Made my coffee and went outside to pick up my newspaper. Thought how wrong the weather service was in their prediction for a wintry mix. It wasn't very cold outside. I looked around the garden for a minute before coming back inside. I took my coffee back to bed, and turned on my laptop. I caught up on reading and commenting on some of my blogs. I read a new one that I really enjoyed.

I spent too much time trying to make a South Park Me like Amanda did on her site. OK, I'll admit it. It looks just like me but without the glasses.

I watched some TV, got more coffee, talked on the phone with my Mom and then Kit for a while, and who knows what else, but time flew by. I happened to look out my window a minute ago and was amazed to see this site. Where'd all that snow come from? (and there better be school tomorrow!) Goes to show how much can happen when you're not paying attention. I've been up for 4 hours and am still in bed, with my laptop in front of me. That's my idea of luxury! With that said, it's time to head downstairs and get busy with something.

24 February 2007

Yeah...today was Saturday. Like that's news. But it's the end of the week for me and therefore, my favorite. It was a great day at work. Good clients, I stayed on time, the sun was shining. Easy. I went to Border's afterwards. No line this week, which was nice. I stayed for a while, then headed home. When I got there I tried to ignore the sound that I knew was the beeping of a low battery on the smoke detector. It's so hard to get the battery out, but it had to be changed. That beeping can drive you crazy. I should just change them once a year like 'they' recommend.

I headed to the Nautilus Diner at 5:00 to meet Kit for dinner. She was there with a high school friend's mother. Marybeth, the friend, is living and teaching school in Kiev for a year. Check out her blog if you get a chance. We took this picture so she could see it. We had a lot to talk about, and didn't stop for a moment. Kit is intent on eating healthy so she had poached salmon and veggies. I was carefree and had a shrimp salad melt with french fries. It was good, but really, too many calories. I should have had salad and a dessert. I've always wanted dessert there. I'm always too full. By the time we left, the line to get in was well out the door.

I hung out on the couch tonight, mostly reading the newspapers that have been accumulating. I read almost a week's worth. I hate how long it took, but hate to throw away unread papers. Reading the newspaper shouldn't be a chore, but that's what it's become. I need to figure out what to do about my subscription. I know a lot of people read the news online; that might be the way to go. The good thing about hanging out and reading was that Emily was sitting beside me the whole time. She was on the laptop, but we were together.

Well, it's time to turn in and rest up for a new day.

23 February 2007

I did something out of my ordinary this week. I went to the movies on a week night with some of my co-workers. We saw 'Music and Lyrics.' That makes two Hugh Grant movies for me in one week. I found it to be extremely corny and I loved every minute of it. There were some good laugh out loud moments. We ate at Uno's afterwards. It was nice. It's good to do things outside of work with your co-workers.

I didn't get much sleep last night. It was so windy that the noise of it kept me up. I tried ear plugs, put the pillow over my head, turned my fan on high. Nothing covered up the noise. It was amazing. I worried that a tree might fall on the house. It didn't. This would be a totally different post if it did! I think I'll just settle in early tonight. Do some writing in my journal (Remember that mother/daughter journal? Emily never contributed anything after the first day). I start work at 8 AM. That comes early enough. I can't believe tomorrow is Saturday already. I'll look forward to getting off of work and having my latte.

I've been rambling, and it's time to go.

22 February 2007

I'm on drugs.

Yes, I'm guilty of of writing that title to get some attention. My drug is caffeine. I'm off today and am on my second cup of coffee. Drinking it makes me feel like I want to do a million things at once. The first thing I'm going to do is write this post.

I got a forwarded e-mail yesterday, this one titled 'cell phone tricks.' The person who sent it said she hadn't tried any of the 'tricks' yet. I never forward anything without running it by the Urban Legends website first. I've been guilty of forwarding things that turned out to be untrue before, and learned my lesson. So, I was intrigued by the cell phone tricks, and tried them out for myself. Turns out to be something I would forward. I'm pasting them here because I think it's worth passing on.

Cell Phone Tricks

1. The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked.
I tried this and had to apologize to the operator because it did connect me with the emergency service. I did not try it with the keypad locked.

2. If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call
someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell
phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press
the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other "remote" for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).
I tried it this morning. Emily called me from the bus stop which was out of range for the remote. We were able to unlock and lock my car. I think this is priceless!

3. Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370# Your cell will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell next time.
I didn't try this one. My battery is not low.

4. How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone? To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 # The 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. If your phone gets stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either.
I know that entering the code will display the serial number, but don't know if the rest is true.

5. Instead of calling 411 and being charged for information, use (800) FREE-411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all.
This does work.

Anyone else find these tips to be intriguing? With that said, it's time for me to get up and going. There's only so many hours in the day.

21 February 2007

I'm probably like a lot of bloggers. You want to write, you need to keep up with your commitment, you have the desire. Then, there's the things that get in the way. So, I've had too many things get in the way the last few days. I did finish my book. It left me completely puzzled. I did spent a lot of time cleaning out my basement. It's looking splendid. I've watched some TV, done some shopping. Just the ordinary things of life. I hope to come back with something really interesting really soon. Boring is not a good thing to be.

BTW, does anyone know anything interesting to do in Charlotte, NC? I'll be visiting there in a few weeks.

20 February 2007

Just time for a quickie...

Seems I keep running into new words. I came upon this one, one-off twice in the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Is this a new one to anyone else?

18 February 2007

How was your weekend?

Mine was low key. I was home alone last night. It was a long night and very quiet. Had I remembered Emily was spending the night at a friend's house, I would have made plans. I watched a movie, something I never do. Notting Hill. I liked the music more than I liked the movie. It was actually the first time I've seen a Hugh Grant movie. I had a pretty unappetizing Smart Ones frozen dinner. I read my book. Read my blogs. Tried to upload a picture into my header, but blogger would not cooperate. IM'd with a friend for a while. Watched a repeat of Saturday Night Live. All in all = boring. Fortunately that doesn't happen very often. Thank goodness. Did I say I wished there were more hours in a day? There were too many in yesterday's

I went to visit my parents today. The first thing I noticed was that their garage door opener wasn't working. They had to open it manually when they lost their power, and couldn't get the chain to hook up to the latch, or however it is that it works. I asked my Dad if he knew how to fix it. He had no clue. I couldn't get the door to work either. This will probably mean that they'll have to pay someone to do this simple job. I think that's too bad. It would take someone in the know 2 minutes to fix it. Anyway, I cut and colored my Mom's hair and then blew it dry. She looked so much better. We went out to lunch at an Italian place, 3 Brothers. It was great. I called Emily to ask if she wanted me to bring her something home for lunch. I told her the stuffed shells with meatballs was delicious. She asked, are you at 3 Brothers by Grandma and Grandpa's? I want the hot dog and fries. I told her I wanted her to have a real meal, but she said, I love those fries. So, I ordered her the kid's hot dog and fries. I brought my Mom home, then headed back to my house. When Emily saw the small hot dog and little portion of fries, she was really surprised. She said, I can't believe this is all the fries there is. They usually serve them in a bag. Then I got it. She thought I was eating at 5 Brothers, which is in the same shopping center. They're known for their awesome fries, hot dogs and hamburgers. It was pretty funny.

Emily wanted to buy a CD with one of her gift cards. She pleaded her case for me to take her to the mall. The store, FYE, is huge. The Cd's were expensive. Sale prices were $14.99. Regular prices were $18.99 - $23.99. I told her I couldn't believe the place was so crowded with the prices being so high. She told me not everyone cares about price. I guess that put me in my place, huh?

I'm reading a Western, 'No Country for Old Men' by Cormac McCarthy. It takes place in Texas and northern Mexico. The terrain is something that I'm totally unfamiliar with. I find myself looking up words like scabrock, bajada, caldera, datilla, and phrases like running borderlands, a long talus of lava scree, candelilla and scrub catclaw, etc. Thank goodness for Google images. Being that I don't watch many movies, I'm really unfamiliar with the western landscape. Well, that's not quite true. I did go cross-country, and traveled through the western states, but am not familiar with the words that describe the geographical features. It's been hard to read this book and not be able to visualize the scenery. I can now. The books's really good, btw.

Okay, I think I've rambled a bit too much. How was your weekend?

16 February 2007

I drive to Augusta, GA every year to visit my sister and her family. Usually we hang out, shop, go to the pool, etc. One year we spent almost a week at Kiawah Island, SC. I had been there once before, and loved it. The sights and sounds as you approach Kiawah are right out of a Pat Conroy novel of the SC low country. I just love it. If you ever get the chance to go to Kiawah, go. It's wide beaches, Spanish moss, magnolia trees and palms are just beautiful. I thought it was the most wonderful place I'd ever been to. A colleague of my brother-in-law's owns a home in Kiawah and we had plans to stay there when I visited 2 years ago. A few days before our trip, he called to say his son was going to use the house and, well, sorry. We were all hugely disappointed. My BIL frantically called all his medical colleagues and asked if anyone owned a beach house anywhere. Finally, a dentist he had met at a conference said he had a house in Edisto Island and would be happy for us to use it. As we drove there, my BIL warned us not to expect the opulence we knew at Kiawah. He said it could be a small cabin. We had no idea what to expect. The road leading to Edisto was much like the one leading to Kiawah. There's one 'main' road that goes through the island. We turned off of that onto a narrow tree-lined road. From there we traveled down a dirt road to be met with the sight of a grand home. We were so happy! The couple who own it were as gracious as anyone I've ever met. They gave us a tour of their home and told us the history. The point of land the house was on had been in Susalee's family for 6 generations. They used to farm indigo, then cotton, then rice. Now it's tomatoes, cucumbers and pine. One of her cousins lived further down the creek in the old plantation house. Other cousins had homes along the creek. We got in their boat, and we met the cousins at their docks. Susalee and her husband live in a house they built a few years before. All the heart pine floors were from trees on her land. The books in the cases highlighted Edisto Island, and her ancestors were in all of them. Susalee and her family moved to New Orleans when she was a child, but she spent every summer on the Island. She had a display area with the memorabilia from when she was a Mardi Gras Queen, from her cotillion, etc... We just couldn't believe all of this. Susalee and her husband fed us a supper of tomato pie and salad, then were off to their home in Charleston. Edisto Island had all the things I loved about Kiawah, but I had never experienced anything like the creek. The house is on the banks of a freshwater tidal creek. I had never heard of this before. The tide changed direction twice a day. During low tide, the water was only a few feet deep. We'd have to wear sneakers because of the phluff mud. The kids loved playing in it. They'd try to sink in it. They'd slide in it on their belly's. At high tide, the water was about 10 feet deep. We were told that what you do on the creek is 'float it'. We'd get in the boat and my BIL would motor up or down the creek, depending on the direction it was flowing. We'd travel about a half of a mile, and jump into the water with our floating devices. The water temperature was very mild. We would just float along with the tide till we made our way back to our dock. It might take an hour. We'd float through channels of water separated by the sea grass. We would do this a few times a day. Every morning we'd catch crabs. As soon as we'd lower the line with bait, a crab would grab it. We'd have 6 or so lines going at the same time. We had almost more crabs than we could eat. We went to the beach twice, but it held little appeal after life on the creek. We even saw dolphins in the creek. My sister and I spent lots of time on the porch. We read all the books about the family and the Island. The kids played games every night. There were no TVs, no computers. The family that owns the house never rents it. They were so kind to let us share their wonderful home. We would love to go there again. I will never forget it.

14 February 2007

Today didn't feel like Valentine's Day
I'm sure that's because I don't have a valentine. I hope that those of you who do celebrated in a way that made you happy.

This picture was taken two years ago on Edisto Island. I'm going to make a 'tabblo' of my pictures from there and post them. It's an amazing place and I wish I could go back.

Things here in Maryland got shut down today from the weather we got yesterday and last night. I feel bad for all the people who had Valentine's Day plans and the businesses that were hurt by the weather. We got a winter mix of sleet, freezing rain and snow. My salon was closed, as was school. My parents, sister and brother have been without electricity for the last 14 hours. The wind is really howling outside and I fear that we'll lose power here. Please, no. So it was an out-of-sorts kind of day for me. I had an omelet and english muffin for breakfast. I guess I can't say I have oatmeal every single day anymore. I do like it better. Emily had chocolate chip pancakes instead of her half asiago cheese bagel. We did some cleaning. She wanted to exercise, so I asked her to shovel. She did it! It was a big job because the snow was so wet and heavy. She went sledding afterwards, on the ice. I ventured out to feed the birds (squirrels too) and salt the driveway. I watched two episodes of What About Brian on my laptop. It's a great way to watch TV because it's high def. I scrubbed the fiberglass floor of my shower. I don't think it will ever come clean. I took out some silicone caulk from my shower. I was sorry I ever started on that. I sprayed the shower door with WD-40. I read it cleans soap scum. I'll find out when I take a shower tomorrow. I made that cracker dessert again to bring into work. It's just been a day of this and that. This post is not very exciting, huh? That's OK...my life isn't either, at least not today. I think I'll work on that tabblo.

13 February 2007

Something Unusual Besides This Picture

I started this blog in earnest last August. I've never stuck with a journaling project before, but this must be the thing for me, because this is my .........

Hundredth Post

With that said, I put together a list of 100 to mark this occasion. With no further ado, here's a bunch of stuff about ME

1. I have curly hair
2. I love jelly beans
3. I love candy corn
4. I love summer
5. I wish I had more of a social life
6. I almost never watch movies
7. I hate the sound of sports on TV
8. I hate cleaning mini blinds
9. I’m very conscientious
10. I don’t like talking on the phone
11. I’m a middle sister
12. I was born in Brooklyn, NY
13. I wish I made more money
14. I love taking pictures
15. I’d love to have Photoshop, but don’t think I could figure it out
16. I love to read blogs
17. I wish there were more hours in the day
18. I’m bad about keeping in touch with friends
19. I caused the death of my bird
20. I don’t like dogs or cats
21. I keep books and magazines on the empty side of my bed
22. I love my house
23. I want but don’t need an iPod video
24. I’m 5’7”& 140 pounds
25. I loved college
26. I want to have red hair
27. I like to drive
28. I miss John Denver
29. I don’t exercise
30. I've made all my curtains
31. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day
32. I eat the same thing for lunch every workday
33. I love caffeine
34. I like to grocery shop
35. I'm an optimistic person
36. I rarely sit down
37. My best friend committed suicide
38. I wish I could sing
39. I love learning
40. I like to camp
41. I wish I had more friends
42. I can keep a secret
43. I always wanted to be a mother
44. Its hard to be a mother
45. I’ve had surgery
46. I love my job
47. I hate to clothes shop
48. I don't like cleaning floors
49. I’m honest
50. I don’t want to be this age
51. I’m afraid to fly
52. I never balance my checkbook
53. I wear make up every day
54. I love having a laptop
55. I want a Kitchen Aid mixer but don’t need one
56. All my closets are messy
57. I’d go out with John Mayer
58. I love getting comments
59. I worry about cancer
60. I wish my GA sister lived closer
70. I love Edisto Island
71. I wore overalls and construction boots in college
72. I love Spanish moss
73. I read the newspaper every day
74. I sometimes wish I lived in a small rural town
75. I love the beach
76. I’m friends with my neighbor
77. I make my own cards
78. I love to entertain
79. I love decorating for Christmas
80. Besides my grandparents, none of my relatives have died
81. I love going to Border’s
82. I love getting together with family
83. I always use my turn signals
84. I love the movies but rarely go
85. I never let my daughter get soda when we eat out
86. I love a bargain
87. I listen to audio books in my car
88. I used to love gardening
89. I need to drink more water
90. I want a HDTV
91. I’m impatient in traffic
92. I love being single
93. I don’t talk to my brother enough
94. I’m a big Mary Engelbreit fan
95. I love ice cream
96. I love music
97. I wish I was funny
98. I use Google everyday
99. I sleep less on weekends than on workdays
100. I love to blog, of course

12 February 2007

The trip to Penny's was successful. The manager was very accommodating. She took care of the two tops and refunded half of the purchase price for them. She also gave me a $5 gift card. Emily wound up buying a bathing suit while we were there. Only a teenager would be excited about trying on a bathing suit this time of year! You didn't see me lusting after the bikinis. We went out to Macaroni Grill for dinner afterwards. It was worth the trip.
I just called Salvation Army and they're coming on Thursday to haul away lots of stuff. I'm so excited. My living room is filling up with the bags and boxes that I'll be donating. I posted about 10 new items on Craigslist, and I hope someone's on their way to pick up all the curtains I'm giving away. Mind you, I still have lots of work to do, but it's coming along. One day I'll take a new video of my cleaned out basement.

Here's a picture of the dessert I made yesterday. I think I'll make another batch to bring to work.

I called and spoke to a manager at J.C.Penney this morning. I told her about our trip to the mall yesterday and our plan to shop at American Eagle. I relayed how excited we were when we saw the great clothes and prices in Penny's Juniors department. I described what we bought. I also told her about our check-out experience--the lack of eye contact and no thank you from the sales clerk. Then I told her about the frayed tank top and the security tag that was left on the Valentine's Day tee shirt. She was very nice and understanding. She gave me her name and told me to see her this afternoon when I come back to the store.

I think (know) I'm procrastinating now. Time to go back to my chores.

11 February 2007

Sometimes I struggle with what to write. What can I say that's worth reading? Why am I doing this? That's sometimes. Tonight I feel like I could go on and on.

I'll start here > I didn't spend much time working on the house today but I did clear out a new area. I've saved fabric from anything I've ever sewed and it's taken up two large boxes. It was a heaping mess. I asked a client who is a FACS teacher (Family and Consumer Sciences-formally known as Home Ec) if she could use any fabric. She told me her class sews pillows for the homeless and could use all the fabric I could donate. I now have a tidy box of folded fabric for her, and an empty space in the basement.

I would have spent more time down 'there' but had promised to take Emily to the mall. She wanted a Valentine's shirt and had earned a 40% off day at her favorite store, American Eagle. We parked by Penny's and entered into the Junior department. We never shop there, and were surprised to find clothes that Emily loved. She found the perfect VD shirt, and other things that were well priced. We went to AE and Emily got a bunch of clothes. I think the store is so overpriced, but it's the brand the kids want. She used gift cards to pay for her purchases there. We went to the Apple store and took pictures.

I did a little food shopping at Trader Joe's, then headed home. I left soon after to pick up my friend Kit and head to our book club meeting. There were 12 of us there, and it was a gabfest! I'm telling you, we were loud. It had been about 6 weeks since we'd been together, and there was a lot of catching up to do. What could be better? A group of women who are so happy to be in each other's company and plate after plate of mouth-watering food. Did I mention wine and chocolate? I think we covered all the food groups. We did discuss the book, Saving Graces, and most everyone loved it. We chose our next book and will meet again in April.

Emily just came into my room to show me the fraying hem on one of the shirts from Penny's. No problem, we'll take it back sometime. I was not happy when she returned a few minutes later to show me the security ink tag they left on her Valentine's shirt. You know, one of those big round hard to miss plastic things? That really makes me mad. It means we'll have to go back to the mall tomorrow. Not what I had planned on.

I've spent the night watching the Grammy's. I love watching all the live performances. I'm glad The Dixie Chicks won so many awards. They deserved the recognition.

So, that's it for my day. I'm off tomorrow and am glad about that!

10 February 2007

First this, then that.

I usually have so much energy on Saturday nights. I've spent much of the last seven hours sitting on the couch. Not just sitting, of course. I did some work on the computer. I've read a few days worth of newspapers. I made the dessert for my book club. And took the caulk out of the tub that I caulked a few weeks ago. Mostly, though, I've been on the couch. I've had a lot on my mind. I have a big decision to make, and it's weighing me down. It looks almost certain that redistricting of our community to a different high school will occur in time for the 2007/2008 school year, Emily's first in high school. I had an inkling last year that this was a possibility, and knew it would be voted on in April. I was told that even if it was decided, it would not be implemented for at least a year and then they would most likely grandfather the kids into the schools they were already enrolled in. I breathed a big sigh of relief. Well, it seems certain now that we will have to go to this other school next year, and it's a terrible school. Here's the thing: I don't want Emily going to that school, it's not even a possibility that I'll let her. That will mean I'll either have to move, or send Emily to private school. I absolutely don't want to move, and I have no support from my ex or from Emily for her to go to private school. I have made a few decisions. I'm calling the private school on Monday to see if I can come to the school to see it and see if they have a program where Emily could 'shadow' at the school for a day. She may find out she loves it. I may find out she can't go there. Who knows? But it will be better to do something than to just think about it. I'll also find out what communities feed into the different schools in the county I work in and take a look at the houses out there. I may find I love something as much as I love my home. I've just been worrying about all of this, and getting depressed.

What can I say that's on a brighter note? Hmmm. I brought my chili into work today. A few years ago a neighbor was hosting a chili cook-off. I Googled 'award-winning chili recipes' and found this recipe. I won the cook-off with it. Everyone at work loved it. The dessert I made for tomorrow is very interesting and wonderful. You line a cookie sheet that has sides with saltines, making sure they touch all sides. Melt 2 sticks of butter with a cup of sugar and boil it for 5 minutes, stirring. Pour it over the saltines and spread to edges, then bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until it's toffee brown color. Take it out of the oven and sprinkle a bag of milk chocolate chips over it. Let set for 5 minutes then spread the melted chocolate. Refrigerate and break into pieces. I hadn't planned on including recipes on this blog, but this is wonderful stuff. I had it at a friend's recently, and have a niece that makes it often. There's many versions of this recipe on the internet. I just got up to try a piece to make sure it turned out as good as I remembered. It definitely did! On that note, a much better one than this post started out with, I'll say good-bye.

08 February 2007

Yesterday Didn't Really Count

It seems like forever since I've written. Was it just two days ago? Yesterday didn't really count; it was just a quickie. I can't start out talking about the first part of my day because this is a public blog and my daughter reads it. Suffice it to say that I was madder at her than I've been in a long time. My frustration lasted for hours. I had little patience with my mother, drivers, shoppers, etc... I got over it at about 1:00. I'm fine now.

I went and picked up my Mom this morning. She had an appointment with her dentist, an older man who looks like he's led a rough life. He shows absolutely no emotion or hint of his real personality. My mother doesn't like going to him but his practice is one of the few places that take her union dental insurance. Oh well. The waiting room is tiny, probably 6 X 8 and lined with chairs. The person sitting by the door has to squish sideways every time the door opens. I know because I've been stuck in that chair before. I finished reading my book club book while waiting. Yeah! The meeting is on Sunday. Anyway, I suggested we go to Walmart afterwards. My mother just loves that store. I like to go on a weekday, with her, when we can just browse the isles. My Mom has to use one of the motorized scooters, and I spend half my time looking for her. I can't blame her for going where she wants. Being in a scooter gives her freedom, something she otherwise lacks. I've learned from her what it's like to be handicapped. Sort of. I wound up spending $67 on assorted 'stuff'. Cleaning stuff, lots of different caulks, window insulation, etc. Things I really do need. Afterwards we went to a favorite Chinese buffet. It's $5.95 and the food is fresh and very delicious. I finished way before my Mom, as usual. She only has the use of one hand, and it's painstaking to watch her try to cajole little pieces of food onto her fork. I had my patience back by then, and told her I can't imagine how hard it must be not to have the use of her right hand. I jokingly told her that for now on I would only get her big food. She has me well trained at the buffets. I know what she likes in each one of them and I always get her food for her. We went back to her house afterwards, and got her settled in to watch her favorite soap, Passions. Too steamy for me! I went home and cooked a pot of white chicken chili. I want to bring it in to the shop for lunch on Saturday.

I'll write a little about my Mom. She had always been the mover and shaker in the family. Growing up, she worked as a cashier in grocery stores. She always worked the 'speed booth'--20 or less items, because she was so fast. She started working long before the advent of bar codes when every item had to be rung up by hand. In the house, she did it all. She cooked, was the disiplinarian, kept the house spotless, did the finances, mowed the lawn, shoveled the snow, etc. That's just how it was in our house. My Mom was from Brooklyn, NY, and was fast talking and always on the go. She was known for always speaking her mind. It was hard when she and my dad retired. She couldn't stand that all he did was sit at the kitchen table. Every time she was in there, there he was. She planned to get a part-time job at Kohl's Department store. One August day, 6 years ago when she was 68, she was supposed to come pick Emily and I up to go to Atlantic City. My Dad had ridden there the day before with a friend, and we were going to meet him and spend 2 nights. My mother was late. It took a while before I started thinking the worst. My mother had never been late in her life. To make a long story shorter, I alerted her neighbor who broke into the house. She found my mother on the floor of her tiny bathroom. She had suffered a major stroke and had been trying to get up for hours. She had taken a shower, the bathroom door was closed, and she had been trapped. The force of her fall was enough to bend all the metal knobs on the vanity drawers. She had been trying for hours to stand up. She knew something had happened, but didn't know what. She never lost consciousness. I got to the house right before the ambulance. It was all very surreal. If we hadn't had plans to go to Atlantic City, my mother could have been in that bathroom for days. She was hospitalized for weeks, and spent many weeks in a rehab hospital. She spent years in therapy, but the only real progress she made was in the first year. She went from being a fiercely independent woman who did it all, to one who is mostly dependent on others. Whoever said life isn't fair had it right. I'll write more about my Mom another time.

To change the subject completely, my nephew Ryan said he was inspired by me to start his own blog. If you get a chance, stop by for a visit.

07 February 2007

It's 18 degrees outside...not as cold as it's been the last few days. I looked out my window to see everyting covered in snow. No school, I thought. Emily has a bad cold and I thought she'd have to stay home anyway. I lay in bed, waiting for the call from work telling me how long we'd delay opening. No call. Finally I got up, turned on the news to find out school was cancelled. Got ready for work. I just looked outside, the streets are totally cleared and it looks like there's only an inch of snow on the ground. I'd like a snow that keeps us in for a day or two.

05 February 2007

It was a busy day at home. I'd love to find out what it would be like to be off of work for a while (and not have to worry about money). Who wouldn't, I know. I wrote a list (in my notebook) of all the things I did get done today, and it's really inconsequential. I doubt, however, if I had the opportunity, that I'd use my time wisely. I'd probably waste most of it. Who knows?

The basement is slowly shaping up. I finally got realistic about what I think I could actually sell, and now have a very large 'donate' area. I think I'll wait till the weather isn't so brutally cold, and bring all that 'stuff' to a donation center. It was interesting (to me anyhow) to go through all the gifts I've bought, for one reason or another, and not given. I didn't even know I had half the stuff I found. Time to start giving things away. One task I accomplished, that was so long overdue, was to go through my recipes. Every time I have to find a recipe, I wind up looking through the same bulging binder full of untried, unused recipes. A majority of them found their way to the recycle bin today. I had to be realistic about what I would actually ever use.

I did spend time watching the birds that visited my deck, the feeders, and the birdbath that's attached to the deck railing. I've gotten so much pleasure out of that birdbath. It's heated and the birds use it all year-round. It was only in the teens here today with a fierce wind. At one point I looked outside to see a wave of water spraying out of the bath by a gust of wind. I refilled it and after a while saw icicles formed along the bath's edge. The weather didn't stop the birds from bathing. Sometimes three or four of them would be in there at a time. It was one popular house for the birds as I also put out a box of crushed corn flakes that had expired. The only ones who didn't make much of an appearance were the squirrels. They think I put seed in the feeders for their pleasure and can empty one in a day.

All in all = a very good day.

04 February 2007

I thought I'd share my pictures from today.
I didn't get a good night's sleep, waking up before dawn for the second day in a row. I met some friends for breakfast at the Nautilus Diner while Emily slept. I did a little shopping, and arrived home just as Emily's Dad came to bring her to his house. He's having a Super Bowl party and she'll have a lot more fun watching it on his big screen TV than with a non-football Mom. After a while, I started to not feel well; I had a lack-of-sleep headache. I thought I'd take a walk and shoot some pictures as it was a brilliantly sunny day. There's a wetlands area around the corner from my house that has walkways and viewing shelters. There used to be many, many trees before the beavers moved in. Little by little, they cut down the trees. It was really sad, but nothing could be done about it. It was nature. Finally, it stopped, although I don't know how. Did someone get rid of them? That was a few years ago. Imagine my surprise when I saw tree after tree newly cut down or in the process. The beavers are back. It was a freezing day, and there was a thin and brittle coat of ice on the water's surface. I actually had to run a little on my way home I was so cold. I hope people thought I was athletic and just getting my afternoon exercise!

03 February 2007

It's been an unusual Saturday. I only worked a half day, and it went by very quickly. I went to Borders, enjoyed my coffee, and read PC Magazine and Consumer Reports.Then I went in search of Moleskines. Yes in-deedy. You see, I got the idea from Andrew that I should carry a notepad to write ideas for future posts. Finally, a legitimate reason to buy a new book. (yes, I was looking for an excuse. Thanks Andrew!) It's a little bigger than an index card. It has an elastic band to keep it closed and a ribbon to mark the page, just like the bigger version. I was happy to take the cellophane off and start writing. Here's something interesting I read in Consumer Reports that I jotted down in my notebook: Emotional health improves with aging. Certain areas of the brain become "less resistant to happiness and better able to resist fear." Something for us to look forward to!

I got home a few hours earlier than usual. Emily had just gotten home from an overnight/up all night outing with her youth group. She's been sleeping for the last 3 hours. I tried to wake her once, but she didn't want to get up. If she sleeps too long I'm afraid she won't sleep tonight. I'll try again soon.

I spent about an hour working on the basement today. I brought one bag of trash out and filled up one recycling bin. I need to start separating the things I want to donate from the things I'd like to sell. I'm accumulating a big area of 'stuff', and it's starting to take over. I'm going to be brave here and show you what my basement looks like. Be warned, it's not a pretty sight...

Well, Emily's up. It took her a while to acclimate but she's eating and ready to watch a movie with me. Gotta go do that Mom thing.

02 February 2007

Mundane thoughts: something about coupons. I come from a coupon family. I grew up knowing you don't buy something expensive from the grocery store without a coupon or without it being on sale. This has been passed down to the kids in my family and to our children. You see, my mother was a cashier at a grocery store. She collected coupons. Growing up, we'd buy extra newspapers just for the coupons. I come from a very frugal family. Both of my parents worked for grocery stores. My dad was always a deli manager. They both worked hard, and were savers. They instilled that in all of us kids. All 4 of us, that is. I cut out coupons every Sunday. I don't use many, but I have them just in case. I'm always surprised when Emily asks me to buy something in the store that's full price and expensive, like fruit roll-ups, let's say. She knows how I am. I'm not going to spend $3 on snack food, but I'd spend $1.50. I save a lot of money that way. My sister was saying recently that sometimes her son would start to ask her to buy something, but then remember and say, 'oh, I forgot, we don't have a coupon.' She said when she dies, her tombstone will read, 'I had a coupon.' My mom used to be the coupon-clipper and shopper before she had her stroke. Now my father does it, and relishes the job. He clips the coupons and will go to 3 different supermarkets to buy the sales.

Any other coupon clippers out there?

01 February 2007

It was a busy day for a day off. I spent some time with my mother early in the day. We went to Panera Bread, one of our favorite places for lunch. I don't think I've ever had anything there that wasn't good. I think it's the only place in MD that has free wireless service, so there were a lot of laptops in sight. I'll never forget the first, and only time, I ever brought my laptop to Borders. I had recently gotten it, and though I didn't have any business I had to conduct there, I thought it would be cool to do some Internet stuff at my favorite place. I took the laptop out of it's case, feeling very obvious but trying to be nonchalant, and tried to get a connection. Couldn't do it. I felt kind of foolish, but walked over to someone using their computer to ask for help. I didn't realize you needed a paid subscription to use a T- Mobile Hot Spot. I slunk off to put the computer away, and that was that. I'd really rather be reading magazines in Borders anyway, so there. Continuing on with what I was saying before I got off track, I ran lots of errands while my Mom stayed in my car. She doesn't like to bother going in and out of the stores and is happy to wait for me. She's been working on the same People magazine for months. I won't bother with all the places I went after bringing her home. You'd be worn out too.

Emily and I sold something else on Craigslist today. We've made $42 so far. I don't think we'll get rich, but it is fun.

Time for a little TV...