Monday, November 29, 2004

The Saturday Six!

Due to the assorted delights and myriad of company over this longThanksgiving weekend, there's been no time to romp and play with the computer.  At long last, things have wound down and it's time to catch up.  What better place to start than with the...Picture from Hometown

1. How long do your Thanksgiving leftovers usually last, and at what's the first non-Thanksgiving item you begin to crave when you tire of turkey?

Depending upon the size of the crowd (this year's was huge) our leftovers last through Saturday and the remains of the turkey carcass and carefully saved pieces become a great big pot of wonderful turkey soup which we make on Sunday.  After consuming turkey for several days, my system starts to think about something with beef.

2. Of the following, which would you most prefer to be located:
a) Interstate highway traffic jam
b) Slow-moving checkout line
c) Dentist's chair

b) Slow-moving checkout line

3. What is at the top of your personal Christmas gift wish list this year?

A new computer

4. What improvement would you most like to see added to AOL's Journal software?

The ability to copy and paste previously written and saved material onto the "journal entry"  format.  If there's already a way to do this, I haven't figured it out yet and would love it if someone could enlighten me.

5. What seasonal movies do you most look forward to this time of year?

"A Christmas Carol" , the Alastair Sim version; A Christmas Carol", the George C. Scott version; "A Christmas Story" with Ralphie and the gang

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #33 from Tara:  What is your favorite classic 80's video game?

This form of entertainment was never my thing; updated and new-fangled games of today are still not for me.  I recall Tetris being the one game I tried a few times but didn't do very well with it.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Happy Days are Coming Soon

A couple of years ago, I discovered the joy of vacationing at home.  I found it pure heaven to stay home for an extended period of time.  It was wonderful to start a little project and see it through to the end.  My loyal readers know I'm a procrastinator of the worst sort so actually finishing a task begun is a major accomplishment for me.

My burgeoning closets are calling to me, my covered flat surfaces are begging to be cleared, my storage area at the back of the house which was the original garage before we bought this house is...well, in need of some work.  My daughter maintains I could make a killing on E-Bay with the junk, er, I mean, treasures I have about the house.  Isn't a fun-filled vacation in store for me?

Actually, yes.  It shall be so.  I picked a prime time to cash in some of my vacation hours.  This vacation starts officially at 3pm Thanksgiving Day and I will be free from the shackles and demands of the workplace for eleven glorious days.  And oh, happy day!  I recently caught a gander of our work schedule for December and I'm so very pleased.  My seniority at work is about to reward me with a major payoff, a perk, one of the reasons I remain where I am.  I will have Christmas Day off and the following two days which are my regular days off (but I wasn't expecting to get them).  Hmmm...a nice little three-day holiday for Christmas.  You can't beat that.

Every year prior to the holiday season, a list goes up in our clock-in room to write down requests for which holiday you want off from work.  The choices are always the same:  Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.  The shift one works is very relevent to the prime choice of which day off you really want.  I work the day shift in a 24-hour staffed assisted living facility.  My usual hours are 7am to 3pm so I have a lot of leeway here.  All I ever want is to be off on Christmas Day.  Amazingingly enough, only once in my working life have I had to work on Christmas.  I had to do so last year and I didn't care for it at all.  My family waited for me to come home to "start Christmas" but it wasn't right at all.  I do not wish to repeat the experience if I can help it.

Having the weekend off following Thanksgiving means I can enjoy a more lengthy visit with my sister whom I don't see very often during the year.  She always comes for Thanksgiving.  It means that I don't have to drag my weary bones out of a soft, warm bed and go to work in the wee hours of the morn while the rest of my family is still sleeping soundly under the effects of tryptophan  It means that we can go to the Christmas tree farm we've frequented for many a year to choose and cut our tree.

I am so ready for a break from the moans and groans and whines and complaints of the residents I deal with daily.  I really do enjoy my work but eventually the time arrives when my vast well of patience begins to run dry.  It has not only begun but has all but evaporated.  There's even the occasional tumbleweed rolling through from time to time.  It's time to retreat, refresh and renew my perspective regarding work and the elderly who rely on me for much comfort and care.  It's time to care for myself for a time and I shall glory in it! 

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Time for the Saturday Six!

Picture from Hometown;jsessio

1. Other than news, sports, editorials and weather, which specific features or columns of the newspaper do you always read?

I read the obituraries, Dear Abby, comics, Leonard Pitts' column and Dave Barry on Sundays (out loud to my husband).

2.  When do you normally do your Christmas shopping?  Have you started this year's, yet?  Do you intend to spend more, less or the same this year versus last year?

I start as soon as my major financial obligations for the year have been taken care of; i.e. property taxes.  Nope, haven't started yet but I plan to begin next weekend but most definitely not beginning with the day after Thanksgiving.  I intend to spend more; we were very much financially challenged this time last year.

3. You're having a true "TV Dinner," made by a classic character:  who would you rather have in the kitchen:
A) Aunt Bee from "The Andy Griffith Show"
B) Alice from "The Brady Bunch"
C) June from "Leave it to Beaver"
D) Edith from "All in the Family"
E) Claire from "The Cosby Show"

I would pick A) Aunt Bee because she's probably the best cook out of the five choices.  I would consider it a blessing, however, if she had a case of laryngitis the day she came to prepare the meal.  Her voice is most annoying.

4. What topic are you most sick of hearing about in J-Land?


5. What company is annoying you most with junk mail?


6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #32 from Chantal:  What cheesy sitcom (from any era) most describes how you grew up? Your family, location, dynamics, details...

None, really but if I were hard-pressed to pick one, I would choose "Father Knows Best" (but I never thought of this show as being "cheesy".


Friday, November 19, 2004

Things For Which I'm Thankfully Thankful For

Weekend Assignment #35: Tell us something you should be thankful for -- but that you're usually not. After all, it's easy to be thankful for all the things you know you should be thankful for: Your family and friends, your home, the good things that come from living wherever (and whenever) you do. So try stretching a little and think about something that you're thankful for that you usually don't think much about at all. It can be serious or silly; it's up to you. You just have to be genuinely thankful for it -- once it comes to mind.

I am truly thankful for the person(s) who invented, patented and marketed toilet paper.  Can you imagine life without it?  I can't possibly conceive of a time when people used old Sears catalog pages, corncobs, bunches of grass or whatever to perform the task to which today, we turn to, spin and detach toilet paper for today.  I don't even want to think about what people did prior to the invention of any kind of paper at all!  I am also thankful for whoever invented paper towels and I honestly don't know how people existed without them.  I don't think I could; paper towels are one of my few, I don't care how many I use, indulgences.  At this time, I would also like to add to this "thankful" list the inventors of plastic wrap, wax paper and aluminum foil.  These are items we all use frequently and they have become indispensable (well, only if you buy the cheap kind that doesn't tear off or rip properly!)

I'm thankful for all the incontinent products on the market today which make the all-too-frequent problem a great many older people have much easier to deal with and it makes my job as a caregiver to many of these seniors a bit easier too.  Imagine how difficult life must've been for these folks before the advent of absorbant, disposable pads and underpants!  There must've been a whole lot of washing going on (and I won't even begin to touch on how difficult that chore once was) and not a very pleasant task at that, under the circumstances!!  I'm thankful for all the "feminine products" available today to help (they can get rid of the "Roses in Springtime" --whatever-- personal feminine spray and its variants, however; I think men prefer a woman to smell like a woman) see us through our monthly struggle that nature deems we women must endure.  These products help us to get through these times in a relatively tidy way.  We've come a long way from gathering and stuffing moss into leather straps, positioned in the strategic area (yes, I'm a Clan of the Cave Bear fan) or using wads of material held in place by God knows what fashion.  Again, more infernal washing.

My only complaint is that in regard to so many of these above-mentioned products, they are dreadfully expensive but have become so necessary to our lives that we'll pay whatever the manufacturer decides to charge.  And they know it.  It's a crime!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Time Once Again For that Highly Addictive little game called The Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown

1. Who is the last house guest you invited into your home and was it a pleasant visit?

One of my sisters who comes to spend Thanksgiving and some of the long weekend with us was my last house guest.  She'll be with us again before long for another Thanksgiving.  It's always a wonderful treat to have her company for a few days.  I can't wait!

2.  Other than to work or school, where was the last place you drove?

Sigh!  The grocery store.

3. In terms of emergency supplies, how many of the following do you have in your home?  A) Candles  B) Fresh batteries  C) Containers of bottled water

I fall rather short on this one, I'm afraid and shame on me because I live in earthquake country.  I know I should be better prepared.  I always have lots of candles around, occasionally have a couple of AA batteries rattling around in a drawer and I don't have a supply of bottled water.  However, I do know that in an emergency situation, the water in the cistern behind the toilet is perfectly safe to use.  Now, don't you feel better for knowing that?!

4. You're invited to a pot-luck dinner:  what specialty do you offer to bring?  (It has to be something you can cook yourself, not something you bring from a store!)

Funny you should ask; I just went to one of these last night.  Lately, I've been bringing my homemade pumpkin pie which I've altered to be sugar-free and egg-free.  I swear you can't tell the difference from the original.

5. Which of the following do you feel is the most true based on your own life experiences:
A) It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
B) The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
C) To have a friend, you must first be a friend.
D) Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
E) Never judge a book by its cover.
F) The tree of knowledge bears the noblest fruit.

E) Never judge a book by its cover, most definitely

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #31 from Cherie:  We have all watched movies and TV shows that have inspired us to want to do what the characters in the show are doing, (doctors, lawyers, politicians, fire fighters, etc).  Has there ever been program that you watched that made you realize that the occupation of the characters was something you could NEVER become?

Fascinating though I'm sure it is, I couldn't do what the characters do on CSI, Crime Scene Investigation.



Friday, November 12, 2004

Assignment Time

Weekend Assignment #33: They're Singing Your Song Weekend Assignment #33: You can have any person, past or present, sing any song for you that you want. What is the song, and who is singing it for you?   The creation and performance of music is one of the greatest gifts we human beings are privileged to enjoy in this world.  I listen to all sorts of different music and have countless favorite songs that I love to hear over and over again.  The same can be said for singers; there are so many favorites that I don't know how to choose a single one.  I'm going to cheat this time around and choose two.   I thought about this assignment all day at work and nothing came to me.  I usually roll these "assignments" around in my head for a bit before deciding upon how I wish to proceed.   When I initially checked out this week's assignment, it was about to become the third in a row I was going to pass on participating.  But now I've got an answer to the question, with a little help from my friends...this time around, my husband and my son.   I would enjoy a private performance by Billy Idol and Tina Turner singing, "Flesh For Fantasy"!  Billy Idol is one of my secret, guilty pleasures (oops! I guess it's not a secret any longer) and I just love to crank this song of his up sometimes while I'm driving and sing along with it lustily.  The addition of Tina Turner's voice could only make this song better (anyone who knows and loves me knows I'm a major fan of the lady)!  Having these two show up at my door and proceed to serenade me with this song would thrill me to the gills!  Knock my socks off!         Can you just imagine having these two on your doorstep?? Parteeeey!!!!                   Extra credit: Name a singer you wish you could sing like, but can't. So that means even those of you with excellent voices have to pick someone you can't sing like.   I wish I could sing like Cleo Laine.  She has a most beautiful voice and I had the joy of seeing her perform, along with her musician husband, John Dankworthe, many years ago.  In my next life (along with a few other wishes) I would like to have a voice worthy of a singing career.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?  I think so.  

Monday, November 8, 2004

Three Decades and Then Some

 Do you inwardly groan at the words, "high school sweethearts" when reading a wedding anniversary notice in the newspaper?  Is "how boring!" the initial thought which comes to mind?  I sometimes think people perceive the lives of these particular couples as stagnant and unbeliveably dreary.  Don't you believe it!

This coming Wednesday, November 10, marks a very special day for my husband and me.  It was on this day, 35 years ago, we declared ourselves as a couple to the world.  The year was 1969 and this was in that long ago time when young people enamoured of each other went "steady".  The build-up to our decision to do so took all of seven days.  When I returned home after our second date, I very seriously informed my mother that "this was it!"  I don't think at that time I was entertaining the notion of a lifelong union but I was in seventh heaven at the time.

Of course, no one took our little romance too seriously.  My mother remarked that it was always nice to have a beau during the holiday season.  It didn't take too long for us to realize that this was indeed a relationship with much potential for a permanent basis.  Looking back, I have to admit that 16 is incredibly young to decide upon a future spouse.  My husband maintains he was certain I was "the one" from day one.  It's not easy and entails much risk to entrust your heart to another.  A great many people are unable or unwilling to do so but this is truly a case for the nothing ventured, nothing gained philosophy.  Never in a million years did I foresee finding my husband-to-be in our high school cafeteria.  It takes a brave and not just a little bit wise person to recognize what they have found and not go off looking for something that might be better, only to return to discover that "the one" didn't sit around waiting for you to decide.

There's much to be said for a relationship in which a couple grows up together; lots of common references and experiences to enjoy as the years zip by.  It's wonderful to be comfortable and at complete ease with each other.  However, you don't want to become as comfortable as an old shoe.  The day my husband calls me "Mother" and he's not making reference to me while talking to our kids is the day I'll know the bloom is off the romance and the honeymoon is indeed over.  We always say we never "work" at our marriage but it does take some effort to remain interesting, interested and unpredictable on the occasion.  The most important thing is not letting your marriage fall into little more than a realm of contentment.  You've both got to steer clear of lapsing into a comfortable union that more resembles a brother and sister cohabitation rather than a man and wife.  You do have to continue to court each other and treat each other as you did in the beginning of your romance.  My husband steadfastly swears by the fact that you must never lose your lust for each other and I think there's much truth and wisdom in this.  Alas, I think the opposite happens all too often.  So many couples stop making any kind of effort to keep the fires burning once they're married and have produced a child or two.

I have been incredibly lucky to have been blessed with a man whose love has only increased since we first met.  He is more than generous with his compliments, most affectionate and not at all reticent in his continuing declaration of love for me.  This both delights and amazes me that he should continue to feel this way after all these years.  And I?  I know I should tell my husband how very much I love him even more than I do.  If I had it to do all over again, I would once again choose him.  It's been a wondrous 35 years, a terrific ride.  Am I ready for the next 35?  Hell, yes!


Saturday, November 6, 2004

The Saturday Six

My well of writing has been running a little dry lately; thank goodness for:

Picture from Hometown

1. If you could invent your own cable channel, what would it be called and what type of programming would it show?

Presently, I think there's something for everyone on the airwaves.  My own choice of cable channel already exists, almost.  I'd like a channel that runs movie classics with some "Masterpiece Theater" productions added to the mix.  I'd love to see "Upstairs, Downstairs" again from beginning to end.  I'd call my program "Classic Movie Masterpieces".

2.  What is your typical Thanksgiving dinner menu?

Our typical menu usually includes a huge fresh turkey, mashed potatoes, "bashed neeps" (this is a mixture of mashed potatoes and yellow turnips, also known as rutabagas), gravy, green beans and almonds vinaigrette, mushroom marsala stuffing, rolls, whole berry (always) cranberry sauce, pumpkin, mince and apple pie...all enjoyed with the good wines of our local area.

3. What was your first job?  Was it within the career path you ultimately intended to pursue?

My first job was a secretarial job I landed upon graduation from business school.  It was a one-man office for a regional sales manager to whom about six salesmen reported.  I did a lot of their secretarial work as well.  It was certainly within my career path which I hoped to pursue for only a few years.  I had never worked a day in my life and this job was overwhelming.  I did the best I could and stayed with it for about nine months.  When I got to the point where I started to think that getting in a car wreck on the way to work rather than arriving there might be preferable, I realized it was time to look for something else.  I did exactly that.

4. You're at home by yourself:  do you prefer to wear shoes, slippers, socks only or go barefooted?

Depends upon the season and you left out the option of socks and sandals.  That's for me; with socks in the cold weather, without in the warm.  This is one of the pleasures of being over 50.  You can wear whatever you want without having to constantly worry about looking "cool".

 5. What's your favorite restaurant appetizer?

Has to be Fried Calamari at The Bear Republic!

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #30 from Carly: Do you have a single comment that was ever left that you really enjoyed to the point you still remember it?

Yes, I do.  It was quite amusing and still makes me laugh when I think about it.



Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Election Day

At long last, Election Day has arrived.  The build-up to this day has seemed to go on for an eternity.  I have never been very politically active but acknowledge the importance of voting and trying to understand the candidates' positions, measures and issues on the ballot.  Also, as a woman I am very aware that it is doubly important to cast my vote.  A great many women before me had to go to great lengths and much suffering to secure the right to vote.  I feel duty bound to honor their perserverence and ultimate victory.

This evening, after work, my husband and I will go to our polling place and vote.  I want to say thank you to the journalists whose entries I read regularly for their combined political information, opinions and input in general.  I believe you know who you are and I've read your entries and ensuing comments with great interest over the past months.  Your collective passion is inspiring.  Your knowledge and grasp of the myriad of problems existing in our country, our world, is impressive.  Your opinions of same have served as a guideline of sorts for me.  Do I agree with all that you say?  Not necessarily but you've all provided much intelligent food for thought and I am sated for now.

This is the first time in my voting life that a presidential election has coincided with my own access to the almighty internet on a personal computer in the privacy of my own home.  I also want to thank you all for your caring, time spent, your insight and your fervor for a better, more knowledgeable take on the issues concerning our country and the world which affect us all.

Never before have I been privy to such an articulate outpouring of opinion concerning our political challenges.  I've made my choices and I'm ready to vote.  May the best man win.  I believe we're all agreed on who that should be.  Time will soon tell.

Monday, November 1, 2004

Halloween - in retrospect

fairy-3.GIF (9887 bytes) It all started with the wings.  Have you ever seen something you simply had to have?  Something you were drawn and kept returning to until you finally gave in and bought it?

A few weeks before Halloween, I came across a pair of fairy wings for sale in the costume department of one of the stores I frequent.  They were beautiful and I was enchanted.  I picked them up and put them back down again.  The next time I returned to the store they were still there and I did the same thing.  This went on for several more visits until I succumbed.  Now that I was the proud owner of these lovely fairy wings, what was I going to do with them?

My work has a Halloween party for the residents and the staff is always invited (read strongly encouraged) to dress up.  I'm not one who's big on masquerading and usually find myself sitting on the fence as to whether I will or won't dress up.   Then, something almost always comes over me and I find myself trying to come up with something at the eleventh hour the night before.  Now that I had this great prop, I decided to bypass the valley of indecision and actually prepare a costume for the day.

I put on a long blue, lacy dress, blue socks and sandals, a blonde wig with a silver cap and donned my new silvery blue wings. I added a silver and blue necklace, heavily made-up eyes with blue eyeshadow and liner and applied silver glitter gel to my face, neck and upper chest. A star-tipped silver fairy wand completed the outfit.  To my mind's eye, I was trying to be "The Blue Fairy" from Walt Disney's "Pinocchio".  I had to pull all this together very early in the morning before I left for work.  

My husband took one look at me, proclaimed me beautiful and said, "you know who you should go as, don't you?"  I, being the fish who always bites, answered innocently, "no, who?"  He wrote down on a piece of paper what he thought I should bill myself as and it was this:

          The Lady of Rising Hopes; The Fairy Princess Viagra

Oh my!  We shared a good laugh over this before I left for work.  I stuck to the "Blue Fairy" persona among the residents but I shared my husband's take on my get-up with my administrator and the office staff and much appreciative laughter was shared all around.  The old folks got a big charge seeing me dressed as I was and a few had no idea who I was--what fun.

My daughter and son-in-law invited me to join them for my granddaughter's trick-or-treating adventure.  She was dressed up as the cutest, most sparkling "Cupid" you could possibly imagine.  To me, she looked like a beautiful Valentine but what the hey.  I decided to don my costume once more and go with them.  It was refreshing to step back and experience Halloween through the eyes of a four and a half year old and feel all the enthusiasm that ensued.  I wanted to share this Halloween with my daughter's little family and get a new, not so negative perspective on this holiday which, as a child, I once adored.  I think I got just that.

This morning, I went outside and as I looked up and down the street, I was so pleased to see no traces of broken eggs or smashed pumpkins.  I really hate to see anyone's carved masterpiece reduced to a pulverized orange mess in the middle of the street.  All in all, I enjoyed this Halloween more than I have in many a year.