Thursday, December 09, 2010

I'll Be Back!

This blog has certainly been less than a top priority for me this month.  I have been overwhelmed with the season--as usual--and am just waiting for the day when I can kick back and relax.  Whether I get to doing an update this week--maybe even as soon as tonight--or having to wait until next week, remains to be seen.  But, rest assured, I WILL be updating soon.  In the meantime, I hope all of you are enjoying this time of year--at least more than I ever can.  ;)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

New Purchases

We don't buy furniture very often.  Actually, we practically run the stuff we have right into the ground before getting new.  K claims it is because he doesn't want to play the 'furniture game'--this is where we wander from store to store over the course of several months and then I finally and reluctantly decide on what I want.  I say it is because he doesn't tell me how much I can spend and so that is what takes me so long to decide--it isn't easy finding what I want that comes close in price to my self-imposed priced limit.  On Black Friday, we went wild and crazy and bought furniture--and made the decisions in a 45 minute time span.  Un-freaking-believable!

To begin, let me explain about the furniture we replaced.  K's recliner/rocker has been in this house for more years than I can remember.  The back was sagging on one side and the decorative buttons from the back were mostly missing.  I believe I repaired the underneath, protective material several times--when the cat was smaller/younger, she would climb up inside of the chair, after she ripped the cover material.  It wasn't even in good enough shape to put it out on the side of the road with a 'FREE' sign on it--no one would have wanted it.

Our couch has always been a second bed.  The master bedroom in this house is quite small, so we can't fit anything bigger than a full-sized bed.  K and I really need a queen or bigger bed in order for us to sleep comfortably.  Also, we both radiate heat like space heaters, so putting two hot bodies in the same bed does not make for restful sleep.  K has taken to sleeping on the couch--a lot.  Some nights he will start off in bed and then move to the couch and other nights he just falls asleep while watching TV and stays there for the entire night.  AND he likes to nap.  On the couch.  Having over 200 pounds rolling around on a piece of furniture that is not supposed to be used in the manner he uses it, doesn't do good things.  (Full disclosure:  I have been known to sleep on the couch at times, also.  ;))  I am still convinced that the spring--or whatever it was--that broke in the back of the couch several years ago was because of all of the sleeping done on it.  Of course, the cushions were beginning to break down and the upholstery was beginning to wear, so it was time to buy new.

We also replaced our mattress and box spring.  It has been way too long with what we had.  I would wake up in the morning less rested and more sore than I was when I went to bed.  NOT good.  When we moved the furniture out of the room in order to clean for the new stuff, I realized just how bad the mattress was.  We set the mattress on its side and it looked just like the belly of a woman who had gained 85 pounds during pregnancy, only to lose it all in less than six weeks.  In other words, it was sagging and lumpy.  Yeah, time to replace.

This time, we went with La-Z-Boy furniture.  We have always had wonderful luck with La-Z-Boy recliners, so that is what we replaced K's 'old blue' with.  It was completely his decision, as it was mainly his chair.  The couch, too, is a La-Z-Boy.  I'm assuming it will hold up a bit better than the last one we had--which was a different brand.  K decided that he really wanted a pillow-back--after saying a while back that we would NEVER get one.  Sooooo, here is the new furniture:


The bed frame we have is antique brass.  I believe it was my great-grandparents, so it is probably close to 100 years old.  And it sits rather high.  With the old mattress and box spring--which were quite thin--the bed was high.  But nothing compares to what the bed is like with the new mattress.  I can't get into the bed without a step stool.  The top of the bed is about waist-high for me.  This will be a very interesting 'getting to know you' period until I'm used to it.  The only good thing is that I won't strain my back whenever the bed needs fixing or the bedding needs to be changed.  ;)  And to top it all off, I think I will need to get quite a bit of new bedding.  But, at least it will be fun.  And here is the new bed:

Oh, and if you never noticed or knew, I LOVE the color blue.  :D

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tough Guy

I am reading the book 'Tough Guy' by Bob Probert.  'Probie' was a hockey player with the Red Wings in the late 80s-early 90s--and then played with Chicago until he retired in 2002.  He was an enforcer and averaged a fight every four games.  He also was an alcoholic and drug addict.  He drove his cars, motorcycles, and boats at illegal high speeds.  He lived life on the edge, both on and off the ice.  He died on 5 July 2010.  He was 45 years old.

Probert was described as 'larger than life.'  He gambled, partied, and caroused his life away.  Basically, he put his friends, teammates, family, wife, and children through hell.  And he enjoyed life on his own terms.  This book is making me quite depressed.  I was looking for a fun hockey read and I am coming away with the feeling that this was a life that was lost to excess.  As I near the end of the book, while he is extremely honest about the things he did, I get the impression that he never understood that he did anything wrong.  He probably had regrets for what he put others through, but like the puppy who pees on the living room rug, he just doesn't know WHY he's being scolded.  After all, he was having FUN!  Very sad.

And this leads to my 'Things to be Thankful For This Thanksgiving' moment.  How could I ever NOT be thankful for my husband--a man who is stubborn as hell and not always easy to get along with, but also, the most giving, caring, good-natured, and gentle man I have ever known.  Some people might call K dull and boring, but to me he is reliant and laid-back.  Throughout our marriage, he has done his best to provide everything I have ever needed and most of what I have wanted.  I never have had to worry about 'what is he doing' when he left the house--I trust him without any reservations.  As I have said before, we met on the first day of kindergarten and were friends long before we 'got together'--and God knew that was the way it needed to be.  I don't know if I could have appreciated K earlier in my life.  As it is, I had too many moments in the passing years when I didn't always see what a good man it was my great fortune to have.  I love him with all my heart--my mate for life.  And I am truly thankful.

I do hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to thank 'the powers-that-be,' God, the Universe, or whatever higher power you may believe in, for all of the things you have to be grateful for.  That is what Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Beyond Understanding

I don't understand why men get absolutely goofy by women's breasts.  They completely get gobsmacked--they can't speak, they drool...just unbelievable.  It isn't as if women act this way when seeing MEN'S bare chests...

Never mind.  :D

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fun and Laughs

This probably has been ALL over the intertubes, but I just saw it for the first time.  When you go to the Google search page and type in 'where is chuck norris' and then you hit the 'I feel lucky' button, fun and amusing things happen.

And the results are:

Google won't search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don't find Chuck Norris, he finds you.

No standard web pages containing all your search terms were found.

Your search - Chuck Norris - did not match any documents.

  • Run, before he finds you
  • Try a different person

I got a definite chuckle over this one.  :D

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This Sounds Terrible, But...

I could never be a nurse because I hate sick people.  I know that sounds awful, but bear with me.  I can empathize and sympathize with the sick, I just find it very difficult to take care of someone who is sick.  And I've come to the realization that I can't deal with sickness because I feel so powerless against it.  I always can bring the sick their juice and soup and aspirin, but there really isn't a damn thing I can do to help them get better--and I hate that.  I also have a big, big problem cleaning up after a sickie--vomit and other bodily fluids have never been my favorite things to look at or smell.  I do have the tendency to get sick myself whenever I have to clean this stuff up, so I wouldn't do well in a hospital setting.

Feeling like this just didn't happen--I didn't feel any differently when my kids were young.  I never was the nurturing mother that I probably should have been when the girls were sick--I didn't rock them and pet them and sing to them like I should have.  But, once again, I just felt so damn terrible that I couldn't DO anything for them.  And I always have felt better--for the most part--if I was just left alone while sick, so I pretty much leave others alone whenever they are bedridden.  Of course, I DO make sure the sick one is doing as well as can be expected--I DON'T just leave him/her to fend for his/herself.

So, where is this post coming from?  K is sick today.  It seems as if he has some sort of stomach bug with fever.  No other symptoms, just running to the bathroom very often--even though he hasn't eaten hardly anything since yesterday.  I hope he's better soon.  Poor baby.  :(

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I Want To Know This Person

While I haven't had a stranger make a comment about my psoriasis, several family members HAVE--and I don't care WHO makes a rude comment, it hurts.  This person is my hero--and probably had way too many rude comments made and decided to 'get back' at people who make them.  It also is very, very funny.  Via Not Always Right.

Convenience Store | North Battleford, SK, Canada
(I have psoriasis, a hereditary condition which leaves me with large red patches on my scalp. This occurs while I am waiting in line at a convenience store with a woman standing behind me.)
Customer: “What’s wrong with you?”
Me: “I beg your pardon?”
Customer: “Those ugly blotches all over your head. What do you have?”
Me: “Oh, it’s a highly contagious flesh eating disease. Very painful.”
Customer: “Oh my gosh! Really? How contagious is it?”
Me: “Well, you probably already have it.”
Customer: *rushes out of the store in a panic*

What Did We Do Without Computers/The Interweb?

Growing up, I was always told that the only people in the US with our last name were the ones in The Father's immediate family:  Him, his brothers, and their sons.  About 30 years ago, I accidentally found one more person with the same name.  He was adopted from Scandinavia, his parent were deceased, and he had one much older sister.  As of today, I can't find anyone other than him and his children--and my uncles, cousins, etc--with my maiden name here in the States.  That is freaking awesome!

Now, in Europe/Scandinavia, the story is much different--the last name seems to be more prevalent.  On Facebook, there are a number of people with the name--and there is a 'page' dedicated to everyone with the name.  When I search on FB, I'm able to find well over 100 people who have the name, whether they were born to it or married into it.  Still, it doesn't seem as if it is one of the most common names ANYWHERE in the world.  This is much, much different than having 'Johnson' or Smith' as a last name.  ;)

One thing that I have learned in my interweb travels is that there are several well-known and beloved people who have had the name through the years.  During the Finnish Revolution, there was a man who became famous because of certain battles and one city has a swimming pool and statue dedicated to a man who did much charity work.  Right now, there is a photographer who travels the world taking world-class pictures (actually, there might be two photogs) and there is a Grand Prix race car driver with the name.  Both Sweden and Finland have an abundance--relatively speaking--of people with the name.

Another very awesome thing that I found out is that there is a lake, river, mountain pass, river valley, and some mountains in the Russian Kona  peninsula with the same name.  Who would have thought?  Unfortunately, there is little to no info on WHY this area is named what it is--and I don't know how I could possibly find out.  Russia STILL isn't a fountain of info and I don't speak/read the language, so I am pretty much out of luck.

I know there are a lot of people who don't understand the fascination that genealogy holds on me.  They feel as if you should concentrate more on the here and now.  But, it gives me a connection that I never felt while growing up.  When my family came here to the States, there was a sense of putting away the past and the 'old country' wasn't talked about.  I was too young to ask questions of my great-grandparents and I never 'had' grandparents, so any sources of information were missing in my life.  (I only had one grandparent while growing up and we were never close.)  And even though I had three great-grandparents during my early years, they only spoke Finn, so I couldn't have communicated with them even if I would have thought of it.  So, with the help of the interweb, I am able to add a few more pieces to the puzzle that is my family.  And that gives me a happy.  ;) 

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Recently, I read a 'Dear Abby' type of article.  A woman was upset and seeking advice over a dilemma she had.  A friend had been at their house helping her husband do some landscaping.  When they were done and came into the house, the friend proceeded to wash up at the kitchen sink.   The woman was horrified to think someone would wash himself at the kitchen sink where food is prepared--and the columnist was, too.  I was dumbfounded--this was something that never occurred to me as being horrifying.

The house I grew up in was an old farmhouse that had been moved into town from the farm.  It only had a tiny bathroom on the second floor--and the sink didn't work the entire time I lived there.  We had to use the bathtub to wash after using the toilet--or go downstairs and use the kitchen sink.  I grew up using the kitchen sink to brush my teeth and The Father ALWAYS washed up there when coming in from an outside job.  Actually, I don't know how much difference it would have made if the bathroom would have been fully functional.  Both The Mother and Father used outhouses at some point in their lives, so the only sink they ever had that was usable WAS the kitchen one.  (The sauna was for bathing.)  When The Parents married and rented a house, it only had an outhouse and a water pump in the kitchen.  They have lived very rustically at different times of their lives.  Growing up, the kitchen sink was regularly scrubbed and it DEFINITELY was scrubbed before any food was put into it, so there was no chance of contamination.  To this day, I don't see a problem with using the kitchen sink for other than dishes and food.

My question is this:  Do I have a wrong way of looking at this entire situation?  Do you--or have you ever--used your kitchen sink for anything that was not related to food in any way?  I'm terribly curious about this.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Status Updates and Tweets

I got onto Facebook because I was 'bullied' by The Oldest.  Basically, she told me that a super-geek SHOULD be on Facebook.  So, being the obedient person that I am, I promptly signed up for an account.  I go there daily--several times a day, actually--to see what is happening and that is pretty much it.  I do update, but not daily.  My main reason for being there is to try and keep up with The Oldest and her family.  Period.

A lot of people, when they first go on Facebook, 'friend' everyone they can.  I would believe that the majority of Facebook users have 'friends' in the three-digit range.  I have less than 40.  But, it ISN'T because I'm unpopular.  ;)  I don't 'friend' people--instead, I wait to be asked by someone else to be their 'friend.'  It is the same way I am whenever I'm in a room full of people:  I feel as if I am intruding on other's lives, so I wait for them to seek me out.  While some people see this as arrogance on my part, it really goes more toward my low self-esteem and basic shyness.  (I know some people would NEVER believe I am shy--I'm too loud for them to see I truly am--but I don't feel comfortable around people I don't know.  I never feel as if I have anything of interest to offer, so I wait for others to come to me.)  And so it is with my Facebook experience, as well.  And that is why I only have 35+ 'friends.'

Of those friends that I DO have, most are relatives--a lot of nieces, nephews, and sons/daughters of nieces and nephews.  I have cousins and their kids 'friending' me, also.  I have, however, gotten a couple of very surprising friend requests.  The first one occurred several months back. 

A person with the same last name as my maiden name--a Finland native--contacted me and wanted to know if I was a relative of (my grandfather) and (my great-grandfather.)  He was doing some genealogy work and asked if I had any information to share--and he would share what HE had.  As it turned out, he IS a cousin several times removed and his info went back to the 1500s.  Amazing!  My Youngest is the genealogist in our family, so she was very excited to have his info.  She was able to give him recent stats that he didn't have, so all are happy.  I still keep in contact with him, to a certain extent, but it is difficult, somewhat.  Contrary to what I was led to believe, he isn't as fluent with the English language as I thought the majority of Finns are--and MY Finnish is practically non-existent.  So, we communicate a lot less frequently than I would like.

About a month ago, I got a friend request from a voice out of the past that I NEVER thought I would ever hear from again.  This woman was the first 'Navy wife' that I met when we got to Charleston after we were married.  I almost plotzed when I got the request!  We exchanged a couple of emails and keep in touch through Facebook.  The thing that stood out about her, though, is that she seems to have the same personality that she did so many years ago:  she is perky.  I don't do perky.  While I think I could be happy getting together for a day or two--they live in Ohio--I could never stand to be around her for too long without wanting to bitch slap her.  Sorry, but happy, peppy, perky people drive me insane.  Now, HOW do I know she is happy, perky, peppy?  In the last email she sent, I believe the exclamation points were more prevalent than the letters she used.  You got that right, she's an exclamation point abuser.  Oooooh boy.

Shortly after 'M' contacted me, another voice from the past requested me as a friend.  And this one floored me even more than 'M.'  He is a guy that K and I graduated with--someone who I never really got along with--actually, we didn't interact hardly ever.  We never ran in the same circles nor had many classes together.  He also was a terrible bully when we were young and he picked on me quite a bit.  So, him 'friending' me was a shock.  We haven't communicated beyond becoming friends, but I'm still surprised.  There are several other people we graduated with who I would have expected to friend me before 'E' did.

And that is my Facebook experience.  ;)


I don't 'follow' that many more people on Twitter--only 35+.  I actually have more people following me than I follow--go figure.  I don't follow everyone there, either, as I could never keep things straight if I did.  ;)  The closest I come to following celebrities are Conan O'Brien and Brendan Shanahan (a retired hockey player.)  (Neither guy tweets very often, but they are very interesting/funny when they do.)  I spend much more time with Twitter than with Facebook, simply because I get most of my hockey news through Twitter.  I don't have very many 'real' people that I interact with on Twitter.  By that, I mean, people who I know in real life.  Other than a close online friend, the only people that 'know' me on Twitter are my Oldest and The Youngest's husband--and they are hardly ever on Twitter.  Still, I would have to add an unlimited message package to my phone account in order to get all of my tweets daily without having to pay penalties.  I believe I get between 200 and 300 tweets a day--WAY over the 200 per month that I pay for right now.  ;)  

As I said, I get most of my hockey news from Twitter--and I do most of my interacting with Wing fans there.  During games, there will be a half-dozen or more fans--and myself--tweeting updates and comments.  It is a bit easier than some of the live blogs that run during games.  Still, with only 140 characters allowed, it sometimes is hard to express yourself fully.  And that pretty much is the biggest problem with Twitter.  Yes, I know there are programs that will let you tweet longer, I just try to stay in the parameters of Twitter--it keeps me from going off on tangents like I do way too often.  ;)



So, if any of you are on Facebook or Twitter and would like to have someone else as a friend or follower, just send me an email and we will get it done.  I am ALWAYS happy to 'friend' or 'follow' someone else!  My email is:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just Catching Up

I put out all of my bird feeders the other day and have gotten so many more birds showing up since then.  I still have the chickadees and finches, but the juncos have now moved into the yard and the starlings are making their presence known.  The blue jays continue to strip the corn cobs in record time.  I don't know what I will feed them later in the year when the corn is finished--I guess I will have to buy cracked corn to keep them happy.  (I LOVE seeing the blue of the jays in the middle of the winter--the color stands out so beautifully on a sunny winter day.)  And today I had a cardinal at one of the feeders!  I haven't seen any of them for quite a few years--at least, not up close.  We have had a family of cardinals living in the area for years, but this is the first time in a long time since one has come in our yard.  I am really looking forward to seeing what birds we get throughout the winter.

(NOT the one that was at my feeder.  ;))


And speaking of winter:  We had our first snow the other day.   I don't know if it was MEASURABLE, but it certainly was snow.  A couple of times during the day, I saw snow in the air.  I was beginning to wonder what was going on, as we hardly ever have our first snow AFTER Halloween--so, I was worried it wasn't going to happen on time this year.


Our Youngest and her husband are in the beginning stages of house shopping.  She is a bit stressed and worried--thoughts I remember so well when we decided to buy this place.  I tried my hardest to reassure her that all will be well. And I truly believe it, as they are going into this with such a realistic perspective.  They have decided just how much they can afford, where they want to live (with regards to taxes, etc), and just about every other aspect that needs to be looked at.  I guess they have impressed the realtor and financial person they are talking to--not everyone goes into house buying with so much thought and preparation.  I certainly hope all goes well for them.


The youngest granddaughter was weighed last week--or was it the week before?  Anyway, she has already gained over two pounds since being born--she is now 6lbs 6oz.  Things are going quite well, thank goodness.


 I really am re-discovering some old music these days.  I guess it started with my getting the Robert Palmer anthology and the re-issue of John Lennon's Power to the People.  I find myself listening to music much more than watching TV--which is a bit of a change from the past few years.  I just get so tired of watching the same old tired re-runs that are on during the day or late at night.  I think I will be happy when Conan comes back on the air--at least it will be something different to watch at 11:00.

Anyway, while I was listening to the Lennon CD, it occurred to me that I think he did his best work after The Beatles broke up.  The CD is just full of great songs:  Woman, Power to the People, Instant Karma, Imagine, Mind Games--as I said, some of his best work.  And personally, I think McCartney did lousy work after the break up.  I mean really, Silly Love Songs and Ebony and Ivory!?!?  The only reason Wings was a success was because he rode his Beatles fame.  (Okay, just my own opinion--but it's my blog, so I can have that.  ;))


While I try very hard not to think about it, we do have only about two months before Christmas.  So, I guess I need to get started on some gifts that I plan to make.  Last night I went into the sewing room to straighten up--a task made a lot easier to do now that I have a TV in there to watch games, I might add.  Anyway, while I was looking through the absolute mess that I had going in there, I found some material that I had bought for the purpose of making gifts.  One thing that I'm planning on making are bowl and cake pan covers--you know, like the thin plastic ones you can buy, only reusable.  I made the patterns tonight, but will have to buy more material, as some of the pieces I bought already aren't nearly big enough for what I'm doing.  I guess this gives me a reason to go to Jo-Ann's the next time we do a road trip.  :)


Not much planned for this coming week.  K is working night shift for the beginning of the week and might do a few overtime shifts later.  We don't have any appointments coming up--unlike the last two weeks--so all I have to look forward to are the games on Thursday and Saturday.  And that I can handle--a fairly lazy week.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Let's All Laugh

People have brain farts all of the time, but they definitely make for some funny reading.  Such as:

Customer: “Hi, I’m looking for a pet for my daughter. I think she’d like one of those furry things. You know, a pikachu?”
Me: *pause* “A pikachu?”
Customer: “Yeah, you know. It looks like a hamster and a rabbit put together.”
Me: “Do you mean a chinchilla?”
Customer: “Yeah! That’s it!”

And then there are those who aren't using their brain cells at all:

(When taking a call from a customer who has a trash pickup problem I usually pull up an aerial picture to see what the property configuration is.)
Me: “How may I help you sir?”
Caller: “I think the garbage truck ran over my cement pad and broke the corner.”
Me: “You mean the small pad on the north side of the driveway?”
Caller: *long pause* “Do you memorize everyone’s property?”
Me: “No, I pulled up your property on my computer and I’m looking at a picture of your front yard.”
Caller: “Wow! That’s really amazing! Wait, wait, give me a second!”
(The customer drops the phone and I can hear him calling someone as he leaves the room. About one minute later he gets back on the phone and is slightly out of breath.)
Caller: “Can you see her now?”
Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t understand?”
Caller: “My wife, my wife, she’s out on the front lawn in the white bathrobe and curlers. I can see her waving up at you!”

And we can only hope this teenage girl actually gets smarter with age:

           This takes place in New Zealand.
(A teenage girl enters the library.)
Me: “Hi, do you need help?”
Customer: “Oh, yeah, I’m looking for a book.”
Me: “Okay, are you a member of this library or any other Wellington library?”
Customer: “Oh, no, I’m here with my Mother for the US summer cause I live with Dad in Florida.”
Me: “Okay, we can sign you up to the library for free and issue you a card, the card will cost two dollars.”
Customer: “Okay.”
Me: “So, what book were you looking for?”
Customer: “Twilight. Have you heard of it? Most people in America have read it, but I’m not sure if it’s here.”
Me: “Oh, yeah, it was quite big for a while. My sister loved it.”
Customer: “Yeah, it’s my second favorite book ever, after Eclipse.”
Me: “Oh, did you leave your copy in America?”
Customer: “No, I just wanted a copy from here because everyone here has really funny accents  and I wanted to know how that would change the story.”

All of these are from Not Always Right.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Formulating A Post

While I get my remaining brain cells working properly enough to get my next post organized, I had to put this up.  While doing some reading the other day--probably on mental_floss (where else do I get these obscure links?)--an article was posted entitled 50 Secrets Your Pilot Won't Tell You.  Absolutely fascinating!  I have to remember, the next time I fly, to tell the pilot "Nice landing!"  13 Things Your Flight Attendant Won't Tell You and 10 More Things Your Flight Attendant Won't Tell You are also very interesting reads.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Yup, Yesterday's Post Did Its Job ;)

As in the past, as soon as I write one of my 'I might be done blogging' posts, I find that I have a post inside me just waiting to get out.  This time is no different.  So, here goes.

--Has anyone else noticed a definite 'something's not right' thing going on with the interwebs today?  Things are very slow and I'm having trouble getting to some sites.  And I'm not sure what is going on...

--The first indication that something wasn't right on the Gore today was when I went to try to buy our tickets to see 'Wicked.'  It took forever to load the performing arts center website and then I couldn't get from there to Ticketmaster and things went downhill from there.  I came close to drop-kicking this computer out the front window, but I decided to try and have a Zen moment, sit back, try to relax, and ride out the problem.  Surprisingly, whatever the problem was got resolved fairly quickly and I was able to purchase our tickets--for the day I wanted AND seats that are excellent!  So, on 8 February 2011, we will be sitting and watching 'Wicked'--YAY!  I don't know if this would have been MY choice to see, but K--and our friends--wanted to see it, so I'll happily go along.  What I actually can't wait to see, however, is 'Jersey Boys'--and that will be in June.  I will get THOSE tickets next month when they go on sale.  I wonder if this means I WON'T get to see a concert next year?  Hmmm...

--We are having a perfect fall day today--temps in the mid-60s, sunshine, very little breeze.  I can handle this weather.  I've been trying to prepare things for the winter with setting out the bird feeders, etc.  It still is too early for me to put out the shepherd's hooks because of the chipmunks, but I've been able to attract birds with the window feeder.  I'm trying to get the bluejays and grey squirrels to eat off of the corncobs that I have out, but they don't seem to be going for it yet.  And I put out a 'sock' full of thistle seed, hoping that the goldfinches will find it before the snow flies.  I think they will be okay with it, even though it is so close to our back door--they are quite tame.

--Lately when I've been here at the computer--AND when there isn't a game on--I've been listening to the digital music channels on the TV.  One of the channels I listen to is 'Solid Gold Oldies' and have been enjoying it very much.  While I'm familiar with most of the songs/performers that are on here, I find myself saying "Who the hell is THAT?" often enough.  It's almost as if I just didn't listen to any music at several periods in my life--which I don't understand.  It seemed as if I LIVED for the radio back in the day, so I don't know how I missed some of these performers/songs.

--I saw my orthodontist last week.  He was The Oldest's orthodontist many years before he was mine--and I love the guy.  He is another of my health care professionals that 'gets' me--and I sometimes think that's why he still has me coming in for check-ups every four months five years after I got the braces off.  I think he waits for my visits just to hear what I have to say.  :)  Anyway, he adjusted my bottom retainer and then we discussed how my teeth seem to have completely settled, as my top retainer is actually easy for me to place and remove--a much different situation than when I first got it.  As he was looking at how nicely the retainer fit, he looked at me and said (with a twinkle in his eye)  "DON'T EVER lose this retainer--otherwise, I just may have to hurt you!  We will NEVER get this good of a fit ever again."  I guard this retainer--my second one--VERY well.  Not only does it fit PERFECTLY, but the damn thing cost me almost $400--something I DON'T ever want to pay again.  Yeah, I will do my best to never lose it!

--We are now going into the third week of The Season and I am adjusting to not having a life, once again.  Tonight's game will be the last one until next week Thursday and I'm sure I will suffer withdrawal pains--even this early in The Season.  What can I say?  K and I are still going back and forth as to whether we will be getting Center Ice this year, or not.  We get every one of the Wing games on our cable system, so Center Ice would just be for those nights the Wings aren't playing--just to see what the rest of the League is doing.  Today I told him I would be just as happy to use the money to upgrade my text-messaging service on my cellphone to unlimited messages--but he didn't respond.  Without unlimited messaging, I'm really not utilizing my cellphone as well as I should be, so I have to figure out a way to get it.  I have to come up with a plan...

--Re:  previous post.  The Oldest used to work for Wells Fargo and when I told her about the phone call, her first thought was "repo man."  However, she said that the 'repo man' usually just shows up and tows your vehicle away, rather than make calls ahead of time.  I do believe this will forever be a mystery that isn't solved.  And yes, both of the vehicles are at the neighbors' house, so neither has been repossessed.

--Re:  previous post.  I spoke to the neighbors about the driveways and it seems--whether it is intentional or not--that this entire situation is kind of pay-back for the city losing money from them*.  In order to save money on taxes, the neighbors changed the status of their property from three city lots to a homestead--and the city lost quite a bit of tax money because of it.  It almost seems as if this is payback for their doing this--but, of course, this isn't something that can be proved.  As it turned out, the neighbors didn't get any good answers to their questions regarding this entire driveway mess, but they decided to just let it go--it was much easier and cheaper to move on.  And I certainly don't blame them one bit.  After all, it IS true:  You CAN'T fight city hall.

--*I am a conspiracy theorist--and I might actually believe the conspiracy theories more than I want to admit.  ;)  I definitely believe that there are many, many things going on in the country and the world that we would be amazed at if we knew, but I don't know how much I believe in some of the 'crack-pot' theories that float around from time to time.  One thing I DO know is, people hold grudges and WILL get back at you, one way or another--especially in small towns.  And the best way to do this is through small-town politics.  When you piss off the wrong people who are part of the powers-that-be, your life and property can come under a scrutiny that isn't always comfortable--and things can be made to go against you.  And you can never prove what happened.  It is sad, but I think it is the way it always has been and will always be.  And that is why I wonder how much the 'driveway incident' might be payback--the neighbors have had their share of ongoing feuds with our elected officials--both past and present.

--And finally:  If you have never tasted Werther's coffee flavored candies, RUN don't walk, to the nearest store to get some!  I'm eating the sugar-free ones and can't stop!  I do believe they are addictive.  The mix of the coffee flavor and caramel, yummmmmmm!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The End of Blogging?

When I look back on my life, I seem to have cycles of 5-10 years where I am gung-ho about something and then my interest wanes.  Right now, my interest in blogging is getting smaller by the day--and it seems to be that way across the blogosphere.  Along with Facebook, it seems as if people I follow are less and less inclined to do many posts or status updates.  The only thing that is going strong right now is Twitter and some of the Red Wing blogs.  (I am one of the 3,967,542 Wing fans with a blog and I am seriously thinking about closing up shop.  With so many people talking about the same thing, I have next to nothing new or interesting to add to the conversation.)  I think blogging and Facebook have reached their peak and are on the downslide.  And, to a great extent, it makes me sad.  I very much enjoy the people I have gotten to 'know' online and really am interested in what is going on with them.  I would hate to lose touch with a lot of the 'imaginary, fake' friends I have come to know.  Through the years, I have lost several regular readers and often wonder what has happened to them.  And when you don't know real names, it is impossible to contact them.

I haven't decided to close this blog--I will continue on.  I'm still not sure whether I will just blog when the spirit moves me or if I will force myself to post more frequently.  Forcing myself might bring the fire back, but it also may make me hate this whole thing.  The whole thing is a dilemma that I have to work through.  Hopefully it will work out quickly.  :)

(And watch, starting tomorrow the thoughts will start pouring out of me like diarrhea and I will post multiple times per day for the next six years.  That's just the way things seem to happen, at times.  :D)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More Government At Work

Our house was moved to this lot from another place in the city, well over 40 years ago.  I believe the people who moved the house also owned many of the lots to the east of us--and that is why our house is 'illegally' positioned on our lot.  We are just a couple of feet from the eastern-most lot line--a situation that is only allowed because we were 'grandfathered' in when laws/ordinances were put into place.  So, this was why our neighbor's driveway was directly under my bedroom window.  As a matter of fact, if they parked at the very edge of their driveway, I could have (almost) reached out and touched their vehicle from my window.  While it wasn't ideal--and it could be a bit noisy, at times--over the course of 30+ years, I learned to live with the way things were.  Our street steadily declines from west to east, so the neighbors were able to put up a retaining wall on the other side of the narrow driveway and put another driveway directly in front of their house--on a level with their basement.  With multiple vehicles and parking ordinances, all vehicles have to be off of the streets at night during the winter, so the added driveway was a necessity for them.  And this summer, things changed and that is why I am using the past tense.  So, on to the rest of the story...

After all of these years, the neighbors finally decided to put up a garage.  They own the lots to their east, so the garage was built on the side away from our house.  They got the proper permits, etc, so the city was well aware of what they were doing.  Because our neighbor did the work himself, it took most of the summer to complete the building.  About a month ago, the city was called to come and do the final inspection.  That was when the 'wisdom' of our government shone so very brightly--as happens so very often.

With the building of the garage, a new driveway was put into place.  This meant that the property--THREE lots wide--now had three driveways.  And the city had a meltdown over this.  How DARE our neighbors try to have THREE driveways on their property--which just happens to border up against the dead end street we live on.  They were told that one of the driveways MUST be DESTROYED and grass MUST be planted and growing before the snow falls.  NO discussion, NO exception.  Our neighbors' protestations and explanations meant nothing.  They asked if, at the very least, they could keep the curbing from having to be placed in front of the space where the driveway was closest to us.  As they explained, the door on this side of the house is 36"--the width needed to bring an appliance or over-sized piece of furniture into their house--and the door on the other side was only 32".  This argument fell on deaf ears--as the city told them, "Those moving trucks have NO problem driving over the curb, so it must be installed."  Unbelievable.

As far as I know, there was no good explanation as to why they were not allowed to have three driveways.  If they own that many lots, why CAN'T they?  If they wanted to pave over their entire property, why not let them?  It is getting too sad when EVERYTHING is so regulated--and yet, the entire country seems to be going into the dumper.  I don't have answers to how things could be changed for the better, but I certainly don't think regulating such piddly things is going to make things better any time soon.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Posing A Question

Our next door neighbors directly to the east of us have a son who lives directly across the street from us.  He is an only child and he is married with a son.  And these are the people who are the subject of this post.

We were just on one of our 'road trips' this last week.  Early in the morning--before 9:00 AM, our time--I got a phone call.  (I always set up the call-forwarding when we go out of town, so this was a re-directed call from our home phone.)  The guy on the other end asked if he could speak with M____ K___.  I answered that there was no one by that name to talk to.  He then spelled the last name--which was ours, which he couldn't pronounce to save his life--and I once again said that it WAS my last name, but not my first.  He then asked for me, by using my FULL first, middle, and last names.  He then asked if I live at our address.  I answered in the affirmative to all he asked, so he went on.  "I'm looking for (a name that didn't sound like ANYTHING I have ever heard) who lives at (the address I thought was our next door neighbors.)"  When we went through the spelling of the name, I realized he was asking for someone related to our neighbors, but no one I recognized by the name, which I told him.  "I've been trying to get hold of (woman's name) for a few days and I'm concerned about whether she is okay, or not." he told me.  After a little bit more back-and-forth, I agreed to take his info and give it to our neighbors and ask them to pass on the message if they recognize the name.

After I told K about this conversation, it dawned on me--HUGE brain fart I had--that the guy was asking for the SON'S wife and not anyone in our next door neighbor's house. So, it started to come together:  Someone was looking for our across-the-street neighbor's wife and he called me to try and track her down.  Hmmm.  So, here come the questions.

First, did the person making the call even KNOW the woman?  He couldn't pronounce the name, so I would say 'no.'  WHY would someone call a NEIGHBOR in order to track someone down--especially if they weren't close to the person?  HOW did my name and number even show up on the caller's radar?  Where did they find me from?  What do they want the woman for?  I want to think this may have been a bill collector, but I was under the (possibly mistaken) impression that they had to follow certain rules with their phone calls.  I didn't think they were supposed to make calls before or after certain times--and I think before 9:00 AM is too early.  I also didn't think they were allowed to call and harass--although, one phone call isn't really harassment--neighbors, co-workers, or employers, with phone calls.  Am I wrong?  So, my BIG question is:  What are your thoughts on this?  Was this a bill collector, or something else?  When I brought the info across the street when we got home, the husband didn't seem to be concerned or surprised by my visit, so, does this mean he knew what was going on?  Too many questions which I KNOW I will never get the answers to.  Damn, but there IS a downside to not being close to your neighbors.  ;)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Steven Wright

One of my favorite comedians is Steven Wright.  All I have to do is look at him and I laugh--just because I know what he's going to say next is hilarious.  Most of what he says takes a bit of thinking before the depth of the humor is fully appreciated.  Here are some of my favorite lines of his:

--I bought some powdered water, but I don't know what to add to it.

--If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet, what happens if you strap toast on the back of a cat and drop it?

--Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.

--I hate it when my foot falls asleep during the day because that means it's going to be up all night.

--I was born by Cesarean section, but you really can't tell... except that when I leave my house, I always go out the window.

--I went to a restaurant that serves "breakfast at any time." So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.

--I had a dream that all the victims of The Pill came back... Boy, were they mad!

--My friend has a baby. I'm recording all the noises he makes so later I can ask him what he meant.

--I went down the street to the 24-hour grocery. When I got there, the guy was locking the front door. I said, "Hey, the sign says you're open 24 hours." He said, "Yes, but not in a row.

--I have a map of the United States... Actual size. It says, "Scale: 1 mile = 1 mile." I spent last summer folding it. I also have a full-size map of the world. I hardly ever unroll it. People ask me where I live, and I say, "E6".

--Every so often, I like to stick my head out the window, look up, and smile for a satellite picture.

--Last night, I walked up to this beautiful woman in a bar and asked her, "Do you live around here often?" She said, "You're wearing two different colored socks." I said, "Yes, but to me they're the same because I go by thickness."

--I stayed up all night playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.

--My dental hygienist is cute. Every time I visit, I eat a whole package of Oreo cookies while waiting in the lobby. Sometimes she has to cancel the rest of the afternoon's appointments.

--I was arrested for selling illegal-sized paper.

--My house is made out of balsa wood, so when I want to scare the neighborhood kids I lift it over my head and tell them to get out of my yard or I'll throw it at them.

--I installed a skylight in my apartment.... The people who live above me are furious!

--My school colors were clear. We used to say, "I'm not naked, I'm in the band."

--Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.

--I invented the cordless extension cord.

--I have the world's largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world... Perhaps you've seen it.

--I busted a mirror and got seven years bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me five.

--I like to skate on the other side of the ice.

--I filled out an application that said, "In Case Of Emergency Notify ________". I wrote "Doctor"... What's my MOTHER going to do?

--When I was crossing the border into Canada, they asked if I had any firearms with me. I said, "Well, what do you need?"

--When I was a baby, I kept a diary. Recently, I was rereading it. It said, "Day 1 -- Still tired from the move. Day 2 -- Everybody talks to me like I'm an idiot."

--I was once arrested for walking in someone else's sleep.

--You know how it is when you're walking up the stairs, and you get to the top, and you think there's one more step? I'm like that all the time.

These are just a few of his most famous lines.  For more of his hilarity, go here.  This site also has a bunch of jokes that have been attributed to Wright--but were said by others. They definitely aren't in the same class as Wright's.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Saving Money With Guilt

One industry that has done quite well with the whole 'global warming' and 'save the planet' movement is the hotel/motel one.  Anyone who has been in a hotel within the last 5-10 years knows what I'm talking about.

Somewhere in (almost) every hotel room is a card--maybe two--that will ask for 'your' help in saving the earth.  And just how are we to do this?  By allowing the hotel to NOT wash bedding and linens daily.  The card will say something along these lines:  "Please help us in our effort to save our planet and save water by using your towels more than once.  By hanging your towels, you let us know that you want to save the earth and will help us do it.  If you want your towels washed, leave them on the floor."  The other card that will be displayed says this:  "If you stay here long-term, we will--in an effort to save our planet and save water--only change the bedding every third day.  If you want your bedding changed more frequently, let us know by placing this card on your bed.  Thank you for helping us save the planet."  HORSE HOCKEY!  Let me tell you what REALLY is happening here--or what I IMAGINE happened.

Several years ago, hotel owners saw a drop in their profits due to a bad economy and rising costs.  At some owners' convention somewhere, someone came up with the idea of how to cut services, save money, and be APPLAUDED for it:  Use global warming/saving our planet to guilt their customers into accepting less services, while paying more.  Quite ingenious, actually.  Every time I put the card on my bed for clean bedding, I really do feel guilty--and the same goes for asking for clean towels daily.

I don't have the money to overspend on hotel rooms whenever we go out of town, so I have no way of proving this statement that I will make next.  LUXURY HOTELS THAT CATER TO THE VERY WEALTHY DON'T ASK THEIR CUSTOMERS TO RE-USE TOWELS OR GO WITHOUT CLEAN BEDDING DAILY.  Really now, do you think that (insert celebrity's name here) would spend $1500 a night at the Ritz-Carlton near Central Park--or more at some other luxury hotel--and NOT expect clean linens all the way around, daily--if not two or more times a day?  The 'environmentally sound' thinking of the chain hotels is ONLY a cost-saving measure--nothing more, nothing less.

One of the reasons I enjoy staying in hotels is the feeling of having a small bit of luxury in my life.  I love not having to fix my own bed or hang my towels in the bathroom or do laundry--the hotel staff does all of this for me.  I pay for this privilege and I expect it--so don't ask me to give it up to save the planet.  NOT going to happen.

Friday, October 01, 2010

A Milestone

I just checked my Site Meter account and it told me that there have been more than 20,000 visits to this blog--my tiny little piece of The Gore.  Obviously, there haven't been 20,000 PEOPLE, as I DO have about three regular readers who come here regularly.  :)  But, no matter how many people find themselves here, I want to say THANK YOU to each and every one.  I truly appreciate the time--no matter how long or short--that you spend reading what I have written.  And I know that it isn't always very easy to read my oftentimes boring ramblings.  ;)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Vacation, Part 5

This last post about our vacation is, once again, about Como Park.  

On the grounds of the Park is a beautiful Japanese garden--wonderful in its elegance and simplicity.  Adjacent to the garden is a teahouse, surrounded by a traditional teahouse garden.  While we were able to go TO the teahouse, it is not made for thousands of people to walk through, so we only got to see the outside.  Traditional tea ceremonies ARE conducted in the teahouse and they are extremely popular and anyone can attend.  However, because they ARE so popular, one has to sign up and have their name placed in a lottery where it MIGHT get picked to attend a ceremony NEXT year.  Crazy. I only got pictures of the 'regular' garden--which was so beautiful and peaceful.

Our last stop of the day was the Butterfly House.  Let's be truthful here:  Butterflies ARE bugs--of a sort--but when you put them in a butterfly house, they are quite neat.  I don't even mind when they land on me.  But out in the outside world--FORGET IT!  ;)  While this butterfly house wasn't comparable, at all, to the one in Niagara Falls, it was really pretty--as were the butterflies they had.

And this concludes my vacation pictures.  Hopefully, by the end of the week, I will have some more pictures to post:  I'm hoping we will go up-north this week to look at the colors.  And if this happens, I will be taking a LOT of pictures.  :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Really Didn't Lie

Ever since the 'Do Not Call' list came into being, I don't get nearly as many of 'those' calls that I used to.  And, with Caller ID, I wouldn't even have to answer the majority of those calls that still come through to the house.  But, there are some problems that I continue to have and I wind up answering my share of those calls.

First, I NEED my reading glasses to see the Caller ID displays--and I don't wear my readers all of the time.  So, I don't always know who is calling.  Also, every one of our Caller ID displays will show a number in a different way;  one display will say "Number Unavailable" and another will say "Unknown Caller."  I just never know if it is a call I want to answer.  Sometimes, I may be bored or just not have much to do, so I will take one of these calls.  If it is a survey, I may answer the questions--after all, it just takes a few minutes.  And, there are times when the display comes up a bit funky when 'privacy' is an issue:  As in, when my mail order pharmacy calls.  All of these factors go a long way toward my answering enough calls that most people wouldn't.  I got one of those calls tonight.

Of course, I didn't have my glasses on, so I answered the phone when it rang.  With the baby just getting home, I don't want to miss a call that The Oldest may make--and with K at work, I never know when he might call.  Anyway, this is the way the call went:

ME:  Hello.
MAN:  Hello.  May I speak with a head of the household, please.
ME:  I'm sorry, but no one is available.
MAN:   How about you, ma'am?
ME:  Oh, I'm only the caretaker here.
MAN:  Thank you.
(phone hangs up)

I believe that was the easiest time I have EVER had getting away from an unwelcome, possible solicitor call.  And I didn't have to lie!  :D

Our Vacation, Part 4

The Como Park has a very large building--the Conservatory--that houses some wonderful gardens.  If I lived closer, I would spend hours in this building.  The place is quite peaceful--full of plants of all types and ponds and water fountains.  Just a wonderful place.  And, of course, I took pictures.

Outside of the Visitor Center, there are water ponds--and there were some wonderful plants.

The Conservatory is divided into several 'rooms'--each room houses different plants.  A very humid and warm room was the fern room.  I didn't know where to look first, as there was so much to see.

There was an Orchid House, which was off-limits to all but the staff.  We were able to look into it through a window--not able to take pictures, however--and the flowers were amazing.  I really wished I could have gotten closer to them.

If it wouldn't have been another very humid and warm room, I think the Palm Dome might have been my favorite room.  It had wonderful benches for sitting and a gorgeous pool/fountain in the middle.

Of the gardens, the Sunken Garden was my favorite.  It was filled with flowers and had a beautiful pond in the middle. The openness of the room was much different from the other ones--and it was very bright, which was also different from the fern and palm rooms.

My favorite room in the Conservatory was the Bonsai Gallery.  This room is meant, strictly, for viewing the bonsai on display--it is not a place to sit and relax, as you can in the other rooms.

Golden Wissel Cypress--65 years old

Japanese White Pine--45 years old

 Ponderosa Pine--115 years old

Horsetail Tree--100(?) years old

White Cedar

Japanese Maple

There is one more post that I will do from the park--and then I will be done with my vacation pictures.  We had a great time, as can be seen from the pics.