Friday, March 31, 2006

Don't Know Why I Do This

I spend more, per year, on skin care products than the average third world worker makes in wages. At least, I must. I have enough products to open a store. I can't help myself: if I see something I think might be good to try, I buy it. I have products from WalMart, department stores, "only able to buy from a physician's office," high end websites, and low end websites. I have products from "Naked Skin" to "Lush" to "Biomedics" to "Kinerase." And why do I do this? Is it to try to make myself appear younger? Absolutely not!

I realize I am getting older, and I don't particularly mind it. After all, getting older IS better than the alternative. I really am blessed with very few wrinkles and I don't mind if I have any. Wrinkles are just a sign of wisdom and living a full life. So if it isn't for the wrinkles, then why do I spend so much on my skin? The Reason: I want what they call a "peaches and cream" complexion. I want to be able to leave the house without a bit of makeup on and still look halfway decent! It should not be that hard of a thing to do, but it is. I want my skin to be even-toned, no dark sun-damaged spots. I want no more blemishes. I want no more bumps, lumps, dry patches, or anything that doesn't look normal. I WANT SKIN THAT LOOKS LIKE A BABY'S!!!!! Is this too much to ask? Apparently so. And so, I continue to search for that illusive elixir that will be the answer to all of my prayers--and I continue to spend and spend and spend. And IF I should ever find the magic potion, I will NEVER tell anyone else--it will be my little secret!

Our Trip: Sunday And Then Home

I'm happy we decided to stay through Sunday because we got a chance to do some fun things and to spend time with A and her husband. After breakfast, K and I went to do some sightseeing. I wanted to take pictures of the valley, or gorge, and he wanted pics of the nearby hydro and bridges. (I know, I know--BORING!)

In the afternoon we went with A and A ( A's husband) to the Butterfly Conservatory. Sounds really nerdy, doesn't it? But I have to say, it very possibly was the highlight of the trip! (Other than the wedding, of course.) The conservatory is a big building which has a fake rainforest in it. There are many plants and trees and free-flying through the whole place are thousands of butterflies. There are butterflies of every shape, size, and color imaginable. It really was neat to be walking through and have the little critters fly around--and land--on you. I was really skeptical as to how I was going to hold up there, as I am extremely bug-phobic, but I loved every minute. I could have stayed there for days just watching the butterflies and snapping pictures.

After dropping A and A off--they were going to take the "Walk Behind the Falls"--K and I decided to walk from our hotel down to the edge of the Falls. This was going to be the last chance to get pics of the Falls, and I was determined to do it! We then went back to our room with the thoughts of making it an early night.

We decided to eat at the T.G.I. Fridays that was there in the hotel. K had a couple of bottles of beer, I had a daiquiri, we had potato skins, K had a steak, and I had chicken fingers. And for that, we paid $103CAN. Just a little bit pricey! I swear, anyone with a bad heart better never go to Canada and buy anything! I almost had a stroke when I saw the bill--K went a little white, himself.

Again, talking about the cost of things in Canada: I'm amazed at the amount of taxes and fees that were charged for EVERYTHING. We ONLY paid two different taxes for what we bought at WalMart. For the hotel bill--the room, phone calls, and valet parking--there were three taxes/fees per day, or phone call. Then, at T.G.I. Fridays, there were FOUR different taxes we had to pay! $16.08 of the $103 was for taxes! And WE complain about taxes in this country. There is one tax--the Goods & Services Tax--that you can be reimbursed for if you are not a citizen of Canada. At least in some instances. Basically, it is a tax on EVERYTHING you buy there, but in the case of the tax on a hotel room, for instance, you can get your money back if you ask for it. In our case, it will be about $30, so I have to send in the application tomorrow to get that back. Better in MY pocket than in theirs!

One thing we didn't get to do while we were there was to tour some of the wineries in the area. I had NO idea that the area surrounding Niagara Falls was laden with wineries! We noticed a lot of them as we were driving into the city and then when we drove to the chapel there were many, many signs pointing to wineries. I found that very interesting--something I never knew before.

Another thing I would have loved to do was go into the Buddhist temple that was at the edge of the Falls. We drove past it quite a few times--A and A's hotel was right next to it--and it was just gorgeous. It really did seem to be out of place when you saw it there in the middle of tourist-trap country! (The non-Asian Buddhist monk that we saw eating a plate of celery in our hotel lobby was also surprising to me!)

K went to sleep around 9:00PM on Sunday and I packed, showered, and got a couple of hours of sleep. We left Niagara Falls at 4:30AM on Monday. This gave us a chance to get through the big cities--Hamilton, St. Catherines, etc.--before rush hour started. Thank goodness. We were home by 4:00PM.

We had a nice time and I'm happy we were able to make the trip. I don't really know if I want to go back to Canada any time soon, but it is a possibility. There were other cities that would have been fun to explore, but I don't know if I can afford going there too often! :)

And this concludes our trip. I probably won't be posting about it anymore. Unless I post some pictures, that is.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Our Trip: Saturday

Now on to the BIG day.

K and I got up and went to the breakfast buffet in the hotel. It was worth every penny we paid for it: it was free. The food was okay--looking back, much of what went on during our trip was okay, nothing more. We had to find a WalMart so that I could get something for the blister I got on my heel the night before, so that was our first mission of the day. (I got the BandAid blister repair strips--they are FANTASTIC!)

While we were out and about, we decided to find the chapel where the wedding was going to be. It was true, if you blinked for a moment, you missed the thing! (If you turned around in the chapel during the wedding, you got to be REAL good friends with the person next to you.) I have actually seen kids' playhouses that were bigger than this chapel--very cute, though. While we were taking our ride, we watched for the sightseeing, touristy things we wanted to come back to the following day. I just couldn't see driving all that distance and not get the usual pics. We still hadn't gotten a real good look at the Falls--something I said we HAD to do.

We went back to the hotel and started to get ready for the wedding. Thankfully it was a small affair, so we didn't have to do the real dressy, "wedding" type of getting ready. We got to the chapel about 45 minutes early and then we waited.

The first to arrive--other than the tourists--were the new in-laws. This was the first time we ever met, so it was interesting. They were fine enough, but I don't think we really clicked in a "our new best friends" kind of way. WE don't have to love them--or even like them--as we won't see much of each other. And that is fine.

The Pastor and his wife showed up next, so we got a chance to get to know them, also. He was perfect for this chapel--quite small and leprechaunish. A very nice couple.

And then we waited. A and her fiance were 30-45 minutes late--something the mother of the groom wasn't too happy about. The ceremony was over in about 10 minutes. It was a very simple, nice ceremony. The bride and groom told each other how they felt about each other and that left us all crying--very touching and sweet. They did very well. And my baby is now a married woman.

The most interesting and funniest part of the entire wait were the tourists. This chapel seems to be a very popular tourist stop and most of the tourists who stopped there were Asian. Now, we all have seen the sitcoms where they have the Asian tourists with their cameras just going on and on with their picture-taking--this is NO JOKE. They took pictures of the chapel, inside and out, both with and without people in the pics. I believe they even took pics of US! The Pastor kept telling them that this was a private affair, but it made not much of a difference: none of them spoke English! And this just wasn't the occasional person--we're talking BUSLOADS of people stopping by. There was a van load of Asians there when A finally showed up, and the tourists started buzzing about the bride being there--at least that's what I THINK they were saying. They stayed and watched her get out of the car and go into the chapel--taking pictures the whole time. As the door was closed on the chapel, we don't know how long they stayed waiting for us to come out. At least once during the ceremony, someone opened the door to see what was going on. The Pastor's wife was there to keep uninvited guests away--that was her job.

Following the ceremony, we went to eat at a gourmet Italian restaurant. When we got there, the dads and the couple left for a short time to take some pictures with the Falls as a backdrop. K got reprimanded by the cops while they were doing this. I guess he parked where he shouldn't have parked--the signage was ambiguous, at best. The comment the cop gave as he was entering his vehicle: "Hmph! Americans!"

The meal went fine--thankfully, the dads split the check--and then we spent the evening together wandering through the shops at the casino. We couldn't go INTO the casino as the groom's brother was only 16. We sat at the food court and visited for several hours and then parted ways. They went to their hotel observation deck to look at the Falls and K and I went to the casino to donate more money to their economy. And that was the end of the second day.

Two things I really noticed, again, about Niagara Falls: there is NO PLACE to park for free and prices are outrageous! The closet parking to the Falls that we saw, was about two blocks away from them--and you had to pay to park there. There might have been one other place that was just a little more than two blocks from the Falls, but I'm not sure. If you wanted to get to the edge of the Falls, you had to walk, ride shuttles or other forms of public transportation, or take a cab. Before we got there, I wasn't aware of how much walking you have to do to see ANYTHING. And, again, the outrageous prices. We stopped in Starbucks on our way back to the room--I know Starbucks is expensive, anyway--and we paid over $10 (CAN) for a cup of coffee and a cup of tea. Believe me, neither one of the beverages was worth over $5!

Our Trip: Friday

We left the house at 4:30 AM on Friday--just to try to get a jump on the traffic. Everything went along quite well. We got to the Mackinac Bridge while it was still early--so early, in fact, that the bridge was enclosed in fog. It was a bit weird to look ahead and see--or rather, not see--the tops of the towers above the roadway. Traffic was still extremely light when we crossed over. After the bridge, I went to sleep.

I woke up before we got to Flint. I had told C that I would call her just before we crossed over, as I didn't want to have to pay roaming charges from Canada. (Little good it did me--A and I kept in contact the whole while we were in Niagara Falls by cellphone.) We stopped to have lunch and gas the Jimmy before crossing the bridge at Port Huron.

We had to pay a toll to get across the bridge at Port Huron and I have never seen anyone so unfriendly as the toll-taker who "waited" on us. Not only did she NOT SAY A WORD to us--NOTHING--but her face, literally, would have fallen off if she had even tried to smile. The look she gave us was the very definition of "if looks could kill." The customs agent who "interrogated" us before we got into Canada wasn't much better than the toll-taker. Neither one of them made us feel very welcome or wanted--if you don't want tourists, put up a damn fence!

Again, I went back to sleep and was very happy until I woke a few hours later as we were passing Brantford. Now, I had thought the biggest city in that area was London, and because we weren't getting too close to it, I didn't think traffic was going to be too big of a problem. Well, I was wrong! Brantford wasn't too bad at a population of 86,000, but then we got to Hamilton. The population there was 491,000 and by this time we were racing at speeds I don't want to think about and were surrounded by eighteen-wheelers doing their best not to crowd us too terribly. I came very close to a full-blown panic attack, but I calmed myself by saying this wouldn't last too long. HA! We still had to go through Burlington (151,000) and St. Catherine's (130,000). The traffic, I'm sure, was normal for a Friday afternoon, but I grew up in a town of less than 1,000 people, so I was not a happy traveler! Niagara Falls, at 79,000 people, was a cakewalk compared to what we had just gone through. Thank goodness K has no problem driving in that traffic.

We got to our hotel before 4:00 PM--much earlier than I had expected. We used the valet parking--so glad we did--and had a bellhop bring us to our suite. All of that was very nice. The suite was nice enough--probably not worth what we paid. It DEFINITELY was not as clean as it should have been, but I don't think any hotel room would be clean enough for me! I'm anal that way.

A and her fiance were already in town, so we went out to dinner with them. Afterwards we went to the casino. It was very cool--I've never been to Vegas, but I would imagine this was very much like it, only on a smaller scale. A had never gambled in a casino, so we put her in front of a nickel slot machine and had her go at it. She didn't win, but she had fun.

So, that concluded our first day of the trip. Eventful in some ways and easy in others.

Monday, March 27, 2006

So, What Did You Do This Weekend?

To answer my own question: I went to WalMart. In Canada. Twice.

Yep, I couldn't even go the whole weekend in another country without showing up at the place that inhales more of my money than any other! I must admit I had a very legitimate reason for going there--rather TWO reasons: first, I had to buy something to put on my heel where I developed a very bad blister the very first night we were in Canada, and the second time we went for a map of Ontario. Can you believe it, I printed out all of the directions on how to GET to Niagara Falls and neglected to print out how to get back home! (And please don't say all you have to do is go in reverse order! As it turned out, WITH a map, K didn't listen to my directions and we wound up halfway to Toronto before he would admit we were driving in the opposite direction of where we were supposed to be going!)

All in all, the weekend was fun: our daughter DID get married, we met the new in-laws, and Canada sucked more money out of us in three days than Walmart can in six months! It was an expensive experience, but well worth it. I will post more about the trip in the next few days. Thanks for all the well wishes--I missed being on line and each and every one of you!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I'll Be Back

Just wanted to say good bye to all of you--we will be leaving in about 10 hours or so. I will post about our trip next week--have a good weekend ya all!

You Might Find This Interesting...

The people who live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are called Yoopers. Yoopers call people who live in the Lower Peninsula, Trolls, because they live below the bridge.

A great amount of the Yoopers are of Finnish heritage--at least partly. I think so many Finns found themselves in the UP because it reminded them of home--four seasons, snow, lots of trees.

A lot of the early Finns in the UP either worked in the lumber industry or the mining industry. The UP has both copper and iron mines. There have been other kinds of mines, but those two types were the most profitable. Iron mining is still a big thing in the central UP.

People who live in the UP--whether they are Finn or not--have a lot of "sisu." Sisu is a Finnish word that can be best described as "stick-to-it-iveness." To live in the UP, one has to be a strong individual, as the winters, especially, can be brutal. It takes someone with sisu to live--and stay--in the UP.

There are some unique things in the UP. Pasties are a food found here that can't be found in very many other places in the US. A pasty is a Cornish meat and potato pie that makes a fantastic meal. The best pasties are made by old Finnish women. "Pasty" is pronounced with a short "a" sound, like in "cat." It is NOT pronounced with a long "a" as in the word for a stripper's tassel.

One word that is used in the UP and not used anywhere else is "pank." You can pank the cowlick on your head, or pank snow. Basically, you are flattening whatever you are panking: you flatten your cowlick with your hand or the snow with the back of a shovel.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tech News

Now, I don't know if this is really news or just an inevitable announcement, but Microsoft is delaying the launch of Vista until 2007. What more can we expect from Microsoft? The only way this would come off as a wonderful announcement is if Vista actually launched without being buggy--and that is as likely to happen as Hugh Hefner coming to my house and asking me to be the next Playmate of the Year! I just may have to move on over to Linux. And I thought my next computer would have Vista, but I don't like having a new Microsoft OS on my machine until 6 months have passed or the first service pack is issued--whichever comes last. Oh, well, time will tell. Here is more info.

I was absolutely shocked to read that Dell is buying Alienware! It has been a dream of mine to own a computer from Alienware or Voodoo, but now Alienware is being taken over by Dell. It does sound as if Alienware may be able to do business independently (or relatively so) of Dell and be able to continue making its high-end machines. Let's hope so. Here is more of the story.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


-The US Fish and Wildlife Service is looking at the possibility of taking the gray wolf off of the endangered species list for the Western Great Lakes region. The wolf has made a great comeback over the years and is no longer in trouble. Actually, some people say there is an overabundance--and that is what is keeping the deer population down. Hunters, especially, will be happy if the protection is lifted. I don't have any feelings about this either way, but I do agree that there are many more wolves, as we have actually seen one while traveling around--something that NEVER happened when I was a child. (And if anyone would have seen a wolf, it would have been my family and me--we did the "Sunday drives" week after week after week. And The Father ALWAYS drove the old logging roads, or whatever PATH he could get the car down.)

-I think I got all of our clothes taken care of for the trip. I did the ironing that was needed last night and have clothes hanging from every doorknob available in this house. It should be so much easier to have everything out in the open when it comes time to do the packing.

-I will finish A's bouquet tonight and make the boutonniere for the groom, also. I'm really quite happy that I didn't have to do a whole wedding's worth of flowers.

-My house is absolutely overrun with stuff that needs to be packed. (See previous post. I like RT's suggestion and would do it if I could!)

-Prison Break returned last night and it was a great episode. It is a show like 24: it grabs you and won't let go! Of course, I acknowledge the ridiculousness of some of what goes on--just as with 24--but it still makes for exciting viewing! I can't wait to find out how they get Linc out of the electric chair. Next week will be good.

-24 comes on right after Prison Break now, so I get to see two of my favs back-to-back on Monday nights. Implausible or not, 24 can deal the surprises better than most shows on TV. It is amazing how many main characters they have killed off so far this season--always a surprising shock when that happens.

-Only about 60 hours before we leave on our trip. I will get little or no sleep before we leave, as usual. I obsess about things and make more work for myself than is necessary, so sleep doesn't come easy. No big deal, though, as I will have 10+ hours to sleep while we travel. (Go here for my explanation of why I sleep while traveling.)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Packing Suitcases

We will be leaving for Niagara Falls early on Friday--hopefully we will get there late in the afternoon or early part of the evening. It will take us at least 10 hours to drive. Everyone is surprised that we are not flying, but there is one reason we have to drive: the airline wouldn't let me take all of the luggage I plan on bringing with me.

I am the world's worst suitcase packer. It is not that I don't know HOW to pack, it is that I don't know WHAT to pack! If I don't have a least two outfits for every day I will be away from home, then I panic . I think I will not have what I MIGHT need , so I overpack--JUST IN CASE! And it isn't just clothes--I overpack shoes. Like I would EVER wear more than one or two different pairs in a day. Then, of course, you have my over-40-year-old skin: it takes an awful lot of products just to keep it at a point where small children won't run away screaming when they see me. And beyond clothes, shoes, and personal products, we have the miscellaneous essentials: books, magazines, music players, Gameboys, other electronic gadgets, etc. When I get my laptop, that will be just one more thing I have to take.

With this trip we also have to take cameras and camcorders, wedding flowers, and jewelry for A to borrow. It just keeps getting worse and worse! Pretty soon we will have to hire a U-Haul to drag behind the Jimmy. I would love to see the looks on the faces of the hotel personnel if we drove up with a U-Haul in tow--and then started to unpack it! I really don't see me being able to get away with anything less than three suitcases. Haven't figured out if I will have to take any odd totes, also. I'll just have to see what happens. K just might have to go and buy himself some luggage--I don't know if we have enough suitcases for the both of us. :)

New Cars

K and I went to the annual new/used car show here in town last night. All of the local dealers get together and display vehicles in one central location--quite neat to be able to compare different models at once. While we are not in the market for a new vehicle right at the moment, it still is fun to see what is out there.

It really freaked me out when K kept pointing out the slightly smaller cars and saying how they would be nice to have. Right now I am driving a GMC Jimmy and don't want to give it up for something SO MUCH SMALLER, as a Honda Accord! I always liked the smaller vehicles--they were fun for me to drive. And they fit me so well, considering how short I am. K kept telling me that I would really like an SUV if I gave it a chance, but I kept saying no. I was afraid of how big they were. Then we got my Jimmy a couple of years ago--AND I NEVER WANT TO GO BACK TO A CAR AGAIN! I LOVE having the 4 wheel drive in the winter. I love being able to sit high enough to be able to see over snow banks. I love not feeling (too) intimidated when I am next to an 18-wheeler! I don't want to have to go back to driving a car again.

(Now to talk to those tree-huggers out there that hate SUVs: I don't care what you say about people who drive 4 wheel vehicles! I have every right to drive what I want. I WILL drive what I want. I have to pay for the gas that goes into my vehicle, so it is my own choice if I want to spend $50 or more to fill the damn thing up! And, besides, come here where I live, in the middle of a terrible winter, during a violent snowstorm, and try to get around WITHOUT a 4WD! If you can do it easily, THEN I will think about listening to your opinions.)

I sure hope gas prices go down before we are in need of replacing my Jimmy--then it won't be so hard to talk K into getting another SUV. Heck, maybe I could even talk him into getting me a Hummer! A dream come true!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Little Knowledge

Got this as an email and found it to be interesting and funny. Don't know who originally wrote it, but the comments are too good!

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months, and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
(Hardly seems worth it.)

If you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
(Now that's more like it!)

The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.

A pig's orgasm lasts 30 minutes.
(In my next life, I want to be a pig.)

A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death.

(I'm still not over the pig.)

Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour.
(Don't try this at home, maybe at work.)

The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male's head off.
("Honey, I'm home. What the....?!")

The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It's like a human jumping the length of a football field.
(30 minutes...lucky pig! Can you imagine?)

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds.
(What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond? )

Some lions mate over 50 times a day.
(I still want to be a pig in my next life...quality over quantity)

Butterflies taste with their feet.
(Something I always wanted to know.)

The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.
(If you're ambidextrous, do you split the difference?)

Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump.
(Okay, so that would be a good thing.)

A cat's urine glows under a black light.
(I wonder who was paid to figure that out?)

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
( I know some people like that.)

Starfish have no brains.
(I know some people like that too.)

Polar bears are left-handed.
(If they switch, they'll live a lot longer)

Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure.
(What about that pig??)

Happy St. Urho's Day

I want to wish everyone a very happy St. Urho's Day. Everyone is expected to wear green and purple today to honor St. Urho, the legendary patron saint of Finland. Eat lots of mojakka (beef and vegetable soup)--or kalamojakka (fish stew)--and nisu (cardamom sweet-bread) as part of your celebration! To those not familiar with this holiday, you can read more here.

Just Info

My Stat Counter now shows 1300 hits on this blog--yippee! Never thought the hits would EVER get that high.

Today K finally got us all shoveled out of the storm we had the other day. I believe this was the only really big storm we had all winter. C said they got 32 inches of snow in 24 hours--we didn't get as much, but we usually don't unless it is all lake-effect. I really think we turned the corner on winter and spring will be coming within the next month or two! (And I'm really not joking about the time frame!)

Saw my orthodontist today--he still wants me to keep going back every three months. Really, I think he just likes looking at my teeth--he NEVER thought they would come out looking so good. I have to have some kind of a retainer/splint/mouth guard made because I have begun to grind my teeth really bad again while I sleep. My retainer only has a limited time left before I grind a hole right through it. Of course, the cost of this thing won't be cheap: it will cost $300! Yeah.

C has "decided" to come up with a new medical problem: she is now losing her hair by the handful! I wish they could just find out what the hell is going on with her! She is, after all, my first baby and I worry.

I finished my shopping for our trip--at least I think I have. Every store around here has all of their winter clothes on clearance and we WILL be going to a cold place, so it has been great getting all of the bargains I have. It is hard to pass up stuff that is so cheap. I really have to stop, though, because I won't have a chance to wear everything I bought! K still has to go and get some new clothes, but he is being stubborn about it. MEN!!!

Had to bring a bunch of stuff in to be dry cleaned--K's suit, my trenchcoat, etc., etc.--and it will come to cost about $80 when I pick everything up. No wonder I don't bring more things to the dry cleaners!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Pet Diaries

As seen in a dog's diary...
7am - Oh boy! A walk! My favorite!
8am - Oh boy! Dog food! My favorite!
9am - Oh boy! The kids! My favorite!
Noon - Oh boy! The yard! My favorite!
2pm - Oh boy! A car ride! My favorite!
3pm - Oh boy! The kids! My favorite!
4pm - Oh boy! Playing ball! My favorite!
6pm - Oh boy! Mom! My favorite!
7pm - Oh boy! Dad! My favorite!
8pm - Oh boy! Dog food! My favorite!
11pm - Oh boy! Sleeping in a people bed! My favorite!

As seen in a cat's diary...
Day 1283 of my captivity
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre, little dangling objects.
They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal.
The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from clawing the furniture.

Tomorrow? I may eat another house plant

Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded -- must try this at the top of the stairs.

In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair -- must try this on their bed.

Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body in an attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear in their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I am.

Hmmm? Not working according to plan.

There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the food. More importantly, I overheard that my confinement was due to my powers of inducing "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird, on the other hand, has got to be an informant and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room, his safety is assured.

But I can wait -- it is only a matter of time...

What People Earn

Okay, here goes my annual rant over Parade magazine's article about what people earn per year. What is wrong with this picture? What the hell is wrong with this country when people earn the following salaries?

Kobe Bryant: $15.9 million--a Sgt. in the Marine Corps: $22,000
Angelina Jolie: $30 million--a high school librarian: $50,300
Howard Stern: $31 million--a registered nurse: $45,000
Terry Semel (Chairman/CEO, Yahoo!): $120 million--a police detective: $45,800
Alex Rodriguez: $25 million--a caregiver: $13,000
Dan Brown (author of DaVinci Code): $76.5 million--a firefighter: $42,600
Dakota Fanning: $15 million--an ER technician: $23,000
Jennifer Aniston: $18.5 million--a school secretary: $24,000
John J. Mack (CEO, Morgan Stanley): $11.5 million--an electrician: $45,200
Sean Combs: $36 million--a respiratory therapist: $40,000
Reese Witherspoon: $30 million--a dairy farmer: $22,600
Richard Wagoner (GM chairman/CEO): $4.8 million--a lab technician: $27,000

MOST, if not all, of the people on the left side of the list don't really work for a living--at least not if you compare them to the people on the right! The people on the right are who keep this country going--they are the backbone of this nation. It is a terrible shame when someone who PLAYS A GAME or PLAYS AT MAKE BELIEVE makes more money--MUCH, MUCH more money--than someone who saves lives. We have really screwed-up priorities.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


I have known some strange people in my life, but the young couple who lived up the street several years ago were stranger than most. Here is their story. (C, you will enjoy this.)

B and D were a young married couple who moved into the house on the corner. They got to be friendly with my friend, C, because she lived next door. I met them because of C. D was a nurse and B worked at the hospital--in radiology, I think. She was a blond ditz. She was VERY fond of herself and truly thought she was a great, world-class beauty--she often told the story about how B's boss told her (once) how beautiful she was. She was cute, but nothing to write home about.

Getting to know D, we exchanged bits and pieces of our lives. My story was quite mundane: married, two kids, stay-at-home mom, husband a former sailor. Nothing to get overly excited about. D's story, on the other hand, was quite fantastic. While HER life wasn't anything too unusual, the story she told about B was not to be believed--LITERALLY.

B wasn't yet 30 years old. In his young life, he had done quite a bit of things that probably would have made him famous enough for me to have heard of him. Actually, (and all of this is according to what D said), he had been quite famous. He, supposedly, had written and recorded a very well-known pop song and had a hit with it. (This was before MTV and videos, and his career was pretty much over by the time MTV came into being. This was why we didn't know his face.) He wrote and played with John Mellencamp, Neil Diamond, and others. He was quite good friends with Neil Diamond and Neil even called on the phone to talk to B. Of course, whenever anyone famous called, D would happen to be gone, so she never ACTUALLY talked with anyone famous--she never met any of them, either. She claimed he was in a Mellencamp video--of course, he wasn't featured, so you could pretend it MIGHT have been him. Then, one day, I happened to see a "classic" video on MTV and it was of the person D claimed to be her husband, singing one of his big hits. There was NO WAY this was the same person who lived up the street from me and I mentioned the lack of resemblance there was, to D. She had an excuse: B had been in a race car accident and had to have extensive plastic surgery to fix him up--this, and the fact that the music company sold his stage name to someone else, were the reasons the video didn't look like her husband. Okay. It was about this time that I started to distance myself from her. She began to scare me and I didn't want to be too close if she went completely off the deep end. Eventually they moved to another part of town and then left altogether. I don't know where they are today.

Now, I personally, never heard B talk about his famous friends or singing career--it was all D that talked about it. So I don't know if they shared this fantasy life or if it was only her. The thing that scares me is they had a child before they left from here--yes, they procreated. At least once. Their child(ren) will have MANY years of therapy ahead of them--God help them! (Oh, and before I forget, D's main reason for getting pregnant in the first place was because her older sister was pregnant--couldn't let the older sister please the parents more than she could!)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I'm Back

K and I went for a spur of the moment road trip on Monday--came back last night. We didn't get to see our friends as they were on their yearly cruise. I completely got the dates mixed up--if I ever REALLY knew when they were going! Oh, well, K was on long weekend, so we had to go now rather than later. We could have made it a day run, easily, but we stayed the night. I like staying in hotels--don't have to fix the bed in the morning. :)

I made our reservations for Niagara Falls--now I have to see if everyone else is going to be there at the same time! :) Yes, I haven't heard from A since I called her last weekend. The only thing that was a done-deal when we talked was the time and location of the wedding: 25 March, 3:00PM, in the Wayside Chapel. I hope they have their reservations set--there would be very little reason for K and me to go there otherwise. So, anyway, K and I will be staying at the Embassy Suites Hotel right next to the Falls. I didn't book a fallsview room as they were quite a bit more expensive--the suite I did book is expensive enough! I figured we won't be doing this again anytime soon, so I might as well have the luxury I want and deserve(?).

Saturday, March 04, 2006


In 1896, Finnish immigrants founded an institute of higher learning named Suomi College. This small college was a private institution looked on as a "junior" college in many ways. This was where people could get nursing certificates and get some of their course work done before heading off for a four-year university. Not only was Suomi the only college to be started by Finns in the US, it also was (and still is) an affiliate of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). Quite a proud heritage for a very small, private school.

One day, several years back, the college began to make it's way towards becoming a four-year university. They wanted to offer degrees and a more diversified curriculum in order to attract a greater variety and number of students. This brought the powers-that-be around to thinking about the name. They figured a lot of people wouldn't quite understand what Suomi stood for (Finnish for Finland), so a name change was decided on. The decision was to change Suomi College to Finlandia University.

I want to know WHO didn't think about all of the ramifications in this name change. Did NO ONE think about the crowds of people at sporting events screaming at their opponents "eff-u, eff-u"? Quite funny when you think about it. I wonder if heads rolled? :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


We received one telegram in our married life and it wasn't for a good reason. We were living in Charleston, South Carolina--K was in the navy--and we didn't have a phone. A telegram came to us one afternoon and it said we were to call my mother ASAP. Of course, when you get one of those, you panic rather quickly cause you know it isn't good news. And this was not good news. As it turned out, K's identical twin brother had been in a very serious motorcycle accident in California, where he was living. There was really no more news than that, just that he was in bad shape. He died less than a week later from complications.

Now, the reason I even told this story is this: Western Union, as of January 27, 2006, no longer sends telegrams! I couldn't believe it--the end of an era. I really think it should have been bigger news--I just found this out a couple of days ago. Oh, my goodness, I think I'm old.