Sunday, April 30, 2006
Day 69 - East Meets West, Nest is Best!
Another day of 'rest in the nest', then back to WORK tomorrow.
As you recall, yesterday was yard-work-day.
I found 2 bird nests inside shrubs during my trimming exercises. One of them is in the photo you see here.
Both nests were empty, but there was a little finch nearby who I think was waiting to get back into one of them.
Here is a photo of the shrub that had the nest you see above inside it, BEFORE I gave it a haircut.
Looks like a big ball of shrub, doesn't it? No way you'd see a nest in there.
I need to thank Charlie, by the way, for all the work HE does when I trim shrubs.
He does the 'cleaning up and hauling away' of all the piles of debris I create during the process.
Oh, by the way - we saw a lot of boy scouts while we were outdoors - they were running some kind of compass course and gps course exercise through the nearby fields. Some of them ended up in our field for a while (even though they had to climb a fence to do it) but no problem.
Charlie spoke to a few of them and casually remarked that there were alligators in the creek, and that they should be careful and make a lot of noise while they walked around. I don't think they bought it. ;-)
It rained yesterday afternoon, and I don't know if they were camped out there last night or whether they packed up and moved out before the rain arrived. My brother went camping once with the scouts in the spring and it SNOWED while they were out there. Brrrr....
Charlie has the garden planted, by the way, and here's a photo of it.
There'll be tomatoes, green peppers, three kinds of beans, two kinds of squash, cucumbers, cantalope, and watermelon. Mmmmmm....
Reminder - something ate the beets and the sugar snap peas. ;-)
There are also blackberry vines, blueberry bushes, and strawberries.
We get our corn from an Amish community about an hour away from us. It is so good there is no need for us to grow our own!
One more 'nesting' story before I finish up for the day...
Do you remember my blog about men not liking to nest tupperware and pots and pans? Well, here is what happened this morning...
I started to make breakfast. What was today's menu, Karen? I had huevos rancheros, and Charlie had french toast and bacon (with maple syrup from Maine that my mother gave us - thanks, Mom!)
I got out the griddle from the cabinet, and noticed one of the frying pans sitting on top of the stew pot. Hmmmm... the frying pans go in the drawer under the stove. I thought that was odd, but didn't really think much of it. I needed to use that frying pan and the griddle so I grabbed it.
After breakfast, I unloaded the dishwasher and had another frying pan to put away. Upon opening the drawer under the stove, I found a casserole dish in the frying pan position, instead of being nested with the other casserole dishes.
The light went on. THAT was why someone put a frying pan in the stew pot. Someone had put a casserole dish where the frying pan goes, effectively blocking anything else from going in there until the casserole dish was nested with the other casseroles.
Mystery solved, and now you know the rest of the story about why NESTING became the subject of my blog today!
Have a nice Sunday, everyone!
By the way - Belated Birthday wishes to my sister, and Happy Birthday to Tracey!
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Day 68 - Two, Four, Sixty-eight, Who Do We Ap-pre-ci-ate?
I woke Charlie up this morning at 5am and told him the alarm wasn't set. He reminded me it was Saturday. Oops.
I knew it was 'Day 68', but not what day of the week it was! My bad.
We're supposed to have 300 boy scouts camping on the property near us this weekend. That should be fun. Someday I guess I should do a blog about the scouts. Noted.
You're looking pretty Bloggy-eyed this morning, but you've got to get up and take the kids to the ballfield, soccer field, dance class, piano lessons, etc.
Here’s to all the parents who have children who play sports. Any kind of sports, or the 'all year round can’t keep them straight gotta drive the kids somewhere even in your sleep' kind of sports schedule.
Get a Hit, Get a Hit, Get a H.I.T!
My son played basketball and football. He even played a little baseball, until he overheard his COACH telling another coach that ‘his team sucks this year’, and he quit in disgust. I was right there with him in that decision, by the way. We're supposed to encourage our youngsters, aren't we? My daughter had weekly dance class, and if I remember correctly, she helped out the cheerleaders sometimes.
In between the organized sports, we had the YMCA for swimming, day sports camp in the summer, and the recreation center nearby with go carts and batting cages. We swam so much at the Y it turned my hair green once from the chlorine. I wear a bathing cap now.
Push ‘em back, push ‘em back, waaaaay back!
I always seemed to be picking up several other kids as I made the rounds to various sporting events. Their parents never drove. Their parents never went to the games. Why me? Was it because I didn’t protest?
Be Aggressive – B. E. Aggressive! Be aggressive, B.E. aggressive!
My son played Offense, Defense, Special teams, Kicking team, everything. I don’t know how he could keep running, but he did. On a cold winter’s day, the spectators were freezing, and we lined up at the concession stand to get some hot coffee and hot dogs. A family member (no names) said ‘It sure is cold. I’ll just stand here and break wind!’ Of course, she meant block the cold wind from hitting the rest of us. Uhhh, thanks. Appreciate the thought...
During the summer – my ex would take the kids camping for 2 weeks in Maine. That was a break for ME too that I looked forward to. My son asked me ‘You’re still going to bring everyone to practice, aren’t you?’ NO, I’M NOT, they can get their own darned ride for a change while I am at the beach, getting my UV radiation fix and checking out all the studly dudlies walking the beach.
The ‘little boy’ up the street who I drove to football practice (maybe basketball too) was already growing a beard and thick hair on his legs at the age of 12 – I thought it was DIRT until I did a double take. He could have lied about his age, gotten a license and driven himself to practice.
And there were some kids that didn't play sports...What did THEY do?
Another ‘boy up the street’ was so accident prone he couldn’t play sports. Just visiting our house was enough for him to start bleeding somewhere, without fail. His mother just accepted it as a fact of life. If he wasn’t in a padded cell, he would be bleeding in no time. I’d just call her up if he was incapable of riding his bike home, and she’d come to get him in the car and patch him up again. That is a mother’s love for you.
There were brothers nearby whose parents owned a dairy farm. They smelled SO much of cattle all the time, they were teased a lot by some of the other kids. (Of course, you understand that they could 'perfume' the entire school bus even with their ‘good clothes’ on). They pretty much just went to school and worked on the farm and didn’t play sports. My son was friends with the younger brother, and he slept over there one night. Up they all got at 6am to milk. My son said when he returned home – ‘I will NEVER be a FARMER – ALL THEY DO IS WORK!’.
My daughter tattled on her friend once – ‘Mom, she won’t play with ME, all she wants to do is hide behind the recliner and KISS my brother’. Ok little darlings – stay in sight where I can see you, and maybe you should be playing sports instead!
That’s enough for today! Be careful and keep an eye on those little darlings!
Update at 11:25 - we are heavily engaged in YARD WORK this morning. It is cloudy and windy here - you know how Charlie feels about WINDY days. My job is pruning and hedge trimming with the pruners and electric trimmer.
I've only finished the pruning of the shrubs and started on the trimming, and I had to come in to take a break. My delicate little computer-keyboard bloggy-hands are sore and shaky and I can't lift my arms over my head anymore. ;-) Does that mean the shrubs are too tall?
I've also decided that I hate 4 of our shrubs, and if I hadn't already pruned them nearly to death I think I would have asked Charlie to pull them up. They look awful, but maybe it's like a bad haircut - it'll fill in when it grows back.
Some animal(s) already ate our peas and beets in the garden. I hope they enjoyed them. The pear tree has baby pear-lets on it, and there are green strawberries in the strawberry patch that will be ripening soon.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Day 67 - What I Don't Wanna Be
What do YOU want to be when YOU grow up?
First of all, I believe it's clear that I'm never going to grow up (play Peter Pan soundclip of 'Never Grow Up').
But even if I pretend I'm going to grow up, I know what I will never be... a car salesperson.
Somehow, the subject of car sales as a vocation, and what type of personality it takes to BE a car salesperson was mentioned during our evening 'chat sessions' in the hospitality suite at the conference. 'Hospitality' means food and drinks, by the way. Draws people like ants to sugar.
To sum it up, there was not a shred of positive vibe from anyone listening about 'what it takes' to be a car salesperson. There was probably more about what it takes to protect yourself FROM car salespeople.
Now - if you ARE a car salesperson and reading this blog - please comment about whether you feel loved in the world or not. I apologize if you are offended by my judgement about typical car sales 'personas', but I can sum it up with... payback's a bitch.
Here's an excellent article written by a man who went 'undercover' to become a car salesman and see what the world of car sales was like:
Gee Karen, you sound MEAN today - is it Monday or something? PMS maybe?
No, I'm not upset, but just TYPING about car salesmen is enough to make someone annoyed!
Quote of the day:
Like you're in the showroom, about to either buy that car or walk out, and they're the salesman, saying "What do I have to say to get you in this car?"
No matter who you talk to, everyone thinks the car sales game is a sleazy one. Car sales, furniture sales and timeshare sales actually – the worst of the worst.
You recall that I got a response from my Monster resume from a dealership looking for car sales trainees. They MUST be desperate to email to computer nerds who typically have limited people skills. Hmmm....maybe that’s what it takes!
A few car salesman stories…
Being the bargain hunter/cheapskate that I am, I wanted to go look around at a dealership that advertised a ‘hail damage sale’. Charlie went with me. We actually passed another ‘hail sale’ last week after the tornadoes here in Middle Tennessee. Supposedly after a hailstorm they have a lot of cars with minor dings from hail, and offer discounts for the 'imperfections'.
We walked the lot, looking for the ‘deals’. Mr. Sleazeball Salesman spots us, comes out of the showroom, and stalks us. I asked something like ‘We’re looking for the hail damaged cars that are on sale’. Mr. Sleazeball answered ‘Oh – we really don’t have any hail damaged cars.’ I said ‘Your newspaper advertisement says you do.’ Mr. Sleazeball looked us right in the eye, and said ‘Oh yes, we have lots of hail damaged cars’ immediately after he had just finished saying there weren’t any. Disgusting.
Note from Karen: Charlie reminded me that when Mr. Sleazeball Salesman started stalking us, he completely turned all his attention to Charlie and ignored me. I had repressed that memory.
I went to a car sale at a mall once – they had set up a lot full of cars there to look at and buy if you wanted one. I looked at some cars, accompanied by my car salesman stalker. I mentioned something about my boyfriend during our conversation. The car salesman stalker immediately asked if HE would be buying me the car. NO, you dumb **** – do you see anyone else here?
I have had a car salesman suggest that ‘I just put down a deposit and take this one’, and then ‘bring it back if I don’t like it’. I DON’T THINK SO.
I have had a car salesman offer me an interest rate much higher than the going rate, just to see if he could get away with it. It just doesn’t inspire trust when they try to gouge you once you've made your decision to buy. It's like - 'Oh YES, we've roped them - now what else can we get away with?'
I have had a car salesman try to sell me a car while he was standing next to the car with his leg stuck in the door - innocently revving the gas pedal with his foot to try to keep the engine running in the hunk of junk he was trying to sell. It wouldn't stay running. (It was a Neon when they first came out).
One car dealership lost a sale because a car stalker salesman never came out and waited on a friend of ours. (How does THAT happen? Were they DEAD?) Our friend didn’t like being ignored, and took his money and his sale elsewhere.
Charlie and I went to look at a truck one time - the salesman was so aggressive he practically prevented us from leaving the lot! Hmmm - would running over a car salesman leave a mark?
When I moved to Tennessee in 1994 – I ordered my new car over the telephone. I knew what I wanted, what color I wanted, what options I wanted, and they had it waiting for me when I arrived. All I had to do was sign the paperwork. That was the best car sale I have ever had, but not the best car I ever had.
Well folks - now that you're all tensed up and feeling those old 'car salesman victim' blues welling up inside you, have a nice day!
Update at 12:10 - I forgot to tell one car sales story:
There is a local car dealership that has a mascot - their sweet old doggy named 'Woody'. Well guess what - while they were ooohing and aaaahing over Woody one day LIVE ON CAMERA, Woody lifts his darling little doggy leg and pees all over the new car they were advertising. Isn't that just the cutest thing EVER??? Oh, I want to buy THAT one, it's been christened. ;-)
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Day 66 - Encore, Encore!
First - so long to American Idol contestant Kellie Pickler, who was Charlie's fave for a time. He is torn now between rooting for Paris or Katharine. I don't think he feels comfortable rooting for a MAN. Elliot is still my favorite, followed by Katharine or the rocker dude with the shaved head whose name escapes me. Chris! That's who he is.
Male pattern baldness (not my made-up male pattern blindness) runs in my family. As I think THEY are good looking, I personally think men are attractive with or without hair on their heads. (But let's not forget Legolas and his lovely long blond (wig) locks. Insert deep sighs and giggles from all the women reading this blog.)
Quote of the day:
I'm just a fat bald guy, 60 years old, singing the blues, you know? Joe Cocker
One of my favorite 'shaved bald' men was a guy at a local pizza place near work named the 'New York Experience'. He had kind of a 'cool guy meets WWF wrestling' aura about him. I affectionately named him 'Chemo-head' after patting him on the hand one day and asking him how his treatments were coming along. I also called him 'Chemoski' sometimes.
He took it all very well, and when I called in an order to go one day I found out that he had a nickname for ME too. I said 'Do you know who this is?' after telling him our order. He said in a resigned voice - 'Yeah, Hi Crazy Lady'. I am SO proud.
The restaurant has closed now, but we had many wonderful afternoons there eating way too much pizza, and Stromboli on Tuesdays. They made something called a 'giant pizza' - which you had to eat on-site because it didn't fit in any standard pizza box, and was twice the size of the largest pizza I had ever seen. They would balance it on two round pizza serving trays, and one giant pizza could feed (aka STUFF) five or six people. It was 'the bomb'. The Stromboli was the size of a small loaf of bread, and probably had a pound of cheese in it.
Who could eat the most pizza in our group? Our own buddy Phil who comments on the blog sometimes. Congratulations, Phil!
Good grief Karen, can't you write a blog entry without making me HUNGRY? Well, I guess not, because it's 6:30 in the morning and I haven't had breakfast, just coffee!
I want to include another photo from our Fall Creeks Falls trip.
Doesn't the shape of the upper rock formation look like a foot? Okay, yes there are 6 toes instead of five but that happens sometimes, doesn't it?
Anyway - I think it looks like a foot. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. This trail splits off from the trail that is marked as 'suspension bridge'. We didn't see the bridge, though - we must have done something wrong or the bridge is no longer there!
Changing subjects AGAIN...
Job Hunt Updates:
I submitted a resume yesterday to Nissan. As you may know, they are moving their headquarters to Nashville, and according to the newspaper most of their current staff doesn't want to leave California.
I've had 2 phone calls about jobs this week. One was in Milwaukee and one didn't pay enough.
I started taking one of the e-learning training classes. It's OK, but for some reason it doesn't recognize my delete key when I am doing the labs, which is an aggravation. If I hit 'next' it does the delete for me, so I think I'll live with it. By the way - the classes have audio, which is an improvement over other computer based training where you have to read everything.
Well, this is getting LONG so I'd better close. This afternoon I'm going to see 'Inside Man' with some gals from work. I also have training to do, swimming to do, and a bunch of errands to run. TTFN!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Day 65 - The Tagalong Kid
I am sitting at the computer desk, drinking my power-bloggy-juice (coffee), and thinking how easy this blogging stuff is when everything is working right.
Confession: I did Monday's and Tuesday's blogs from another location. I accompanied Charlie to an 'IT' related conference which was held in East Tennessee at Fall Creek Falls State Park Inn and Conference Center Sunday through Tuesday.
I've gone with him before, but not for quite a few years. It was a really nice time! If you look hard you can see people in this photo on the top floor of the Inn.
We were in a room on the ground floor and you could walk right out to the lake. Here's Charlie with his official conference badge on.
I didn't feel it would be a good idea to announce on the world wide web that our house is empty and we're away. Is that too paranoid?
Think back to Monday, when Blogger was down. Here I am at a conference where I have to compete for terminal time with 200 other attendees and guests on THREE computers, and the darn Blogger site won't publish anything! Grrrr... Monday was not my favorite day.
Anyway - we had a wonderful time, and I got a chance to proclaim to the world how much I am enjoying being unemployed. Nobody felt too sorry for me. ;-) I even bumped into some 'people who know people' that I know. One woman had been to a baby shower I attended. Small world.
The Fall Creek Falls waterfall is just BEE_YOU_TI_FUL.
With the spring rains there is more water coming over it at this time of year than later in the season.
The smaller falls to the right of Fall Creek Falls is named 'Coon Creek Falls'.
We did some sightseeing in the afternoon to various overlooks in the park and walked on some of the trails.
I took some pictures to share with YOU, my bloggership.
We drove along the scenic one-way road that winds through the park. There are many places with parking areas or pull-over spots to get a good view of the spectacular scenery. In the spring, there are wildflowers everywhere, and some of the trees are in bloom.
We stopped to take pictures of a tulip poplar tree in bloom. It flowers, but I rarely come across them.
See the orange blossoms? Awesome!
Supposedly you can pick the blossoms and float them in a bowl of water like candles for decoration.
The tulip poplar is a common tree here, but for some reason I almost never get to see it's flowers! I think I read that the tulip poplar isn't a poplar at all, it's a member of the magnolia family.
I happen to love trees. I can identify quite a few.
I also love how 'root structures' of trees look on hiking trails - it looks kind of spooky and 'rugged' somehow.
This is a photo looking back at the parking area from one of the overlook spots.
Aren't the roots cool?
By the way - Charlie saw a snake during this trip but didn't get a picture of it.
This view is particularly magnificent.
The name of it is 'Millikans Overlook'. (insert voices here saying 'Ooooh', 'Aaaah' in appreciation.)
Makes you want to go on vacation, doesn't it?
Contemplation of the day:
In spring, there is so much variety found just in the color green - with all the leaves and grasses being fresh and new. Imagine all the possibilities found in just one little thing.
Aaaaah... and if I had been WORKING, I guess I would have missed it all. *sigh*
Well, I'd better get this posted so you can experience the sights that I have enjoyed the last couple of days. TTFN!
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Day 64 - Let's Try Again!
I want to write down a few funny work/business related stories before I forget them!
I’ve never had a bad performance review, but I have seen a few ‘interesting suggestions’ from my managers in the review process:
(You know who you are but you don’t have to admit it)
One year I whistled too much at work. Yes, it was on my review. I guess being happy in your work is just unappreciated.
One year I used bold font too often on my status report. Yes, it was on my review.
Now that I'm unemployed, I can use all the bold font I want to on my blog. So there.
A comment about one manager given by another manager… ‘If you work for her and you blow your nose you have to write it down on your status report.’
At the first computer company I worked for, a couple was known as the ‘Parking Lot Lovers’. They’d go out at lunch and spend the better part of an hour ‘having a grope’ in one or the other’s cars in the parking lot. We’d gather at the windows to watch (some people brought binoculars). Didn’t they realize that everyone could see them, or was that intentional? Get a room, people!
A guy who worked with me there had the most rotten luck of anyone I have ever worked with. And, he had to tell ME all his problems. After relating medical issues (specifically catching an STD), a later bad marriage, car trouble and car accidents, one day his car (with no symptoms) caught on fire and burned up in the company parking lot.
Another company I worked for in the 80’s was only a few miles from the beach. Unfortunately, the ocean was a huge distraction for us on beautiful days. I remember calling my manager once (just once?) that I was taking vacation time and not returning to work that day.
I remember going to a database conference in Florida and witnessing several of the presenters ended up in the pool with their business suits on, not their bathing suits.
At that same conference, attendees were walking off with bottles of liquor smuggled in their suit jackets. They even stole the pink flamingos that had been set up as ‘theme decor’. Sounds a bit out of control, doesn’t it?
I worked for a couple years in the 80's as a contractor at the Newport Navy Base doing 'a little light anti-submarine warfare'.
There was a big sign as you entered and checked in with the gate guard that said 'What have you done for the Fleet today?' Every morning I would answer (out loud) the sign with 'I showed up, didn't I?'.
In those days - everyone smoked, including me. Good thing, because if you weren't a smoker you absolutely could not have taken a breath in there from all the secondhand smoke. We worked in a 'pit' with no windows, ONE exit, no ventilation and 4 foot thick walls.
Our favorite OD (Officer of the Day) was a HUGE guy named D.V.
D.V. was German or Swedish or something like that. He used to sing this little song over and over under his breath as he made his rounds that went something like this - 'Ooompha Ooompha, Ya, Ya, in da back seat of da Vol-vo'. Quite fetching.
One of my managers (P.C.) at the Navy Base would turn beet red and VIBRATE, I mean physically SHAKE whenever he was upset. He had to make lifestyle changes later in life to control his blood pressure.
There was a tech guy - Pete (I can't remember his last name to do the initials), that ALWAYS made P.G. upset, without even meaning to.
Pete was just doing dumb things all the darn time! A few Pete-isms...
We asked him if he knew what a petticoat was. He said it was french for 'a small coat'. Good grief.
He could never FIND anything, misplacing anything he was given to work on (including important documents) and never finding it again.
Pete's job was fixing things. He 'fixed things', sometimes badly. He was using a soldering iron one winter day and left it carelessly sticking out from a table, and still on. P.G. burned a big hole in his new down jacket that his wife gave him for Christmas. That was the first time I saw someone who had murder in his eyes.
R.G. was a retired Navy guy who was contracted to the base. He wouldn't open the 4 foot thick bank-vault door for me until I answered one of his awful knock-knock jokes. Here's one I remember - 'Knock Knock. Who's there? Emerson. Emerson who? Emerson nice lookin' legs you got there, honey'. Another classic from R.G. 'Is that skirt felt? Would ya like it to be?'
There was a little guy named J.S. who was always talking about retirement. He annoyed most people because the entire time you spoke with him he would jingle the change in his pockets. Nervous habit.
They were a very politically incorrect bunch, but it was the 80's and that's how it was back then! They were really nice to work with, and I remember them all fondly, jokes or no.
Maybe I'll write down more stories another time... TTFN! Have a nice day!
Monday, April 24, 2006
Day 63 - Technical Difficulties
I tried to do my Monday morning blog. I spent a LONG time this morning trying to post it. Blogger did save it when it crashed, so you can read it after this one.
I ended up with a bunch of unpublished draft blogs from today (around 6 of them). I just finished going through them and deleting out all the garbage.
Sorry about that, all you disappointed readers out there in Bloggyland!
Day 63 - chalk it up to Technical Difficulties. Good thing I don't have to give out refunds.
I guess the Bloggyman'll really will get ya if you don't watch out!
Anyway - this afternoon I got back online to make amends for the issues this morning, and Blogger was DOWN for service. No S*it, Sherlock - you needed maintenance!!
It is now after dinner and MAYBE I will actually get a posting done. (please please please)
I will be equally worried tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!
By the way - I guess we should understand that sometimes this is going to happen.
Don't call the police or think I'm dead or something if I don't get my blog out early EVERY SINGLE morning on time.
After all, we're relying on TECHNOLOGY aren't we? Being in this business is the reason I'm doing this UNEMPLOYED Blog to begin with! Sheesh!
End of rant. Love you bye. Try try again. XX-OO
Day 63 - He's a Bad Spamma Jamma!
That FIGURES, because it's MONDAY.
Rise and Shine, People! Look alive 'cause it's time to go to work!
Time to open your work email and see how many tens of thousands of Spam email messages came in while you were off for the weekend! Spam, spam, spam, and spam.
How many precious minutes of our lives are now spent deleting SPAM messages? What an aggravation. I've mentioned this before, but every time I open my email and ALL I have is SPAM, it gets annoying.
I get drug related spam, mortgage related spam, porno spam, and a lot of spam with unknown content.
In the good ol' days, SPAM used to be a food. Still is, except they now have SPAM, Spam Lite, and Turkey Spam.
I saw the end of a John Wayne movie just the other day. He and others (in military dress) were stranded in a blizzard somewhere. At the end of the movie, they were found by search planes. The planes air-dropped some emergency supplies to the survivors. John Wayne opened the supply bag, reached in, and pulled out a 5 lb. rectangular block of SPAM. He took one look and hurled it as far as he could out of sight. Guess he wasn't starving that badly.
Did I already tell you I was in a SPAM eating contest once? Bad idea. A local radio show held the contest. There were 4 of us contestants if I recall correctly.
Don't get me wrong, I like SPAM in small quantities, inside bread, or as a side dish.
The SPAM eating contest dumped an entire, room temperature can (complete with oozy gelatin) of SPAM on a plate. The contestants had to put their hands behind their backs and eat it with nothing but their teeth. Eeew.
I didn't win, and I don't mind that I didn't win. I still have the audio of the program on tape somewhere, by the way. A collectors item for sure.
By the way - for years after that, my nickname at work was 'Spamette'.
Have a nice day and Happy Monday! (I have my foot on the Bloggyman's head right now)
I'm hungry... do I have any SPAM in the pantry???
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Day 62 - Give Us This Day Our Daily Blog
It's Sunday, and we have our normal weekend routine in place. Coffee, newspaper, breakfast. Charlie is loading the dishwasher right now. Thanks, Charlie!
Some updates from yesterday... The HVAC service tech came by (at the very final second of the very final minute of the two hour long arrival window) and cleaned the heat and air unit, checked the filter, etc. I couldn't use my coupon, it 'wasn't for maintenance, it was for service'. Sheesh. What's the bloody difference? ;-)
I told you I finally got my license key and 2 pages of instructions to get set up for the older online training system, since the new one has an implementation delay. So I set myself up for training yesterday, which involved the following...
- To run the training software, I needed the 'Shockwave' Plug-in installed on our computer. I installed it.
- It also installed a dumb toolbar on my browser. That was annoying so I uninstalled it.
- After creating my account and entering my license key for the training, I got a message that the popup-blocker had to be disabled. I disabled it.
- When I finally got into the training program, I got a new message. It wanted an older version of Shockwave (8.5) than the download default (10).
- I had to uninstall the new version.
- I rebooted the computer.
- I searched for and found the older version download.
- I downloaded the older version.
- I installed the older version.
- I got back into the e-learning website and started all over again.
- I finally got into the training and ran something (an Access 2000 module) to see that everything was working correctly.
- By that time, I didn't feel like actually DOING any of the training.
I had an idea (here in the South you call a spur of the moment idea 'having a wild hair') to go to the Chinese buffet instead. On Friday and Saturday nights, they have 'all you can eat' snow crab. It was Sooooooo Goooooood! I guess I am still having 'seafood withdrawal' after leaving New England last weekend.
We went to the very same Chinese buffet I mentioned in my 'blonde moments blog'. The one in the strip mall. The one that Charlie let me walk past their front door. He watched me closely but I did it right this time. I even got a good parking space. ;-)
I don't know how these places can make any money after paying for all the crab. This particular buffet is about $10 per person (plus drinks) and it was fantastic. I have decided (after consuming 3 plates of crab) that it's best to pick out the ones that have the big claws. The claw meat gives you a big, sweet hunk of crab with a lot less work.
And for you health-conscious folks out there that read my blog - I did not have ANY butter with them. Instead, I used the seafood cocktail sauce very sparingly and it was great! Who would have thought you could enjoy crab without gobs of drawn butter. That's a first for me, by the way! I was raised to drown seafood in butter and lemon. ;-)
In addition, I had a little hot and sour soup, some peel and eat shrimp, and a 'seafood with Chinese vegetables and broccoli' dish so I could have some vegetables to offset all the crab. Charlie only had a few snow crab legs, he thought it was too much work for what he was getting. He tried a lot of different dishes instead - chicken wings, shrimp, lo mein, green beans, etc.
So, is there anything to be said about the relationship between computer software installation and snow crab at a Chinese Buffet?
If there is, I can't think of it. Have a nice Sunday, everybody!
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Day 61 - The Speed of Business is SLOW!
How the HECK are ya?
We've had coffee, newspaper, and breakfast. I had a 'Thomas's Light' english muffin with fat free bologna, egg and cheese. Charlie had 4 slices of bacon, 2 eggs over medium with cheese on top, 2 biscuits with butter, and 4-6 ounces of strawberry jam and apple butter that he loaded on the biscuits. (He just emptied whatever was in both jars on his biscuit plate.)
Charlie has gone outside to play in the yard and do 'man stuff' like mow grass. ;-) The entire time we have lived in Tennessee I have never mowed the grass, and don't intend to start.
I have a couple 'mowing' related stories though, while I'm thinking of it...
A couple years ago, Charlie's wallet (yes, like in St. John) fell out of his pocket while he was mowing, and he ran over it with the lawn mower. He brought the shredded remains in and spread them all out on the dining room table. He put a bunch of items back together like puzzle pieces before going to get replacements for his cards and even replace some money.
He went to the bank and put the shredded bits of bills on the bank teller counter. He related to the teller that he had run over his wallet with the lawn mower. The cashier (who was blond beyond a doubt) asked him in a concerned voice 'Are you HURT?'. Charlie replied 'It wasn't in my POCKET at the TIME!'. (Take a moment or two to imagine HOW you could run over yourself with your mower).
Years ago I asked my daughter to tell the neighborhood boys she went to school with that I was looking for someone to come mow the lawn once a week. I told HER that I would pay up to $15 a week. When a boy came to take the job, Heather asked him 'How much do you want?' He answered 'Oh, I'll do it for $10'. Heather said 'No, my mom will give you $15'. Thanks, Heather. Way to save money. ;-)
I have the heat and air conditioning service guy coming between one and three o'clock today to do the summer air conditioning tuneup. What that entails (for those of you who don't have central heat and air) is to clean the unit, check the filter, check the coolant, ask if there's any trouble, etc. I need to remember that I have a coupon! Maybe I'll tape it to the door.
Here's some updates from Unemployment-Land that I didn't mention during the week.
As you recall from earlier blogs, my e-learning training package from the Career Center has had an implementation delay. COMPUTER issues, go figure.
(I put in just a random picture of a computer system at the top of the blog, it isn't our desk. I prefer my blog entries to have SOME kind of picture.)
As they don't know when the new system is going to get it's kinks worked out, they have now decided to set me up on the OLD system, then I'll have to transition to the NEW system.
Kind of a pain, but totally typical when it comes to changing over to a new computer system. I'm surprised when anything that you can call 'the old system' EVER gets unplugged, you usually end up using and supporting both systems ad infinitum. Big mistake.
So anyway - I've had to install some software, and I have 2 pages of instructions (oh joy) to make my account and get started. I may tackle some of that after I write my blog entry.
I may not, after all, it's SATURDAY which isn't a BUSINESS DAY.
You'd think that 61 days is a long time - but look at what the 'Speed of Business' has been, taking care of the TRIVIAL administrative issues from my employment demise.
Realization - I've discovered that Business isn't any faster than NOT being in business.
Success: I finally got my key for the training system THIS WEEK (yesterday, actually).
Success: My COBRA is getting billed correctly. I got the right bill for the right amount on time THIS WEEK for the first time.
Success: My car insurance is getting billed correctly. It took until THIS WEEK.
Success: My long term care insurance is getting billed correctly. It took until THIS WEEK.
Still in transition - 401k related stuff.
Already straightened out: Dept. of Labor
Isn't it amazing that it has taken all this time to set those things up and get them running smoothly?
By the way - during the time I have been unemployed, my former department has lost or is in the process of losing (involuntarily) at least 6 people, maybe more. Talk about a downhill slide.
I also need to stop at the grocery store for a few items. Charlie is running dangerously low on trail mix. He switched a long time ago from eating potato chips for munchie food to eating trail mix. He likes the big green bags of tropical trail mix that Wal-mart food centers carry.
I'm going to defrost some of the trout (4 I think) he caught while I was away and cook them on the grill for supper. YUM-O!
Have a nice day, whatever you are doing! TTFN!
Friday, April 21, 2006
Day 60 - Sixty? Am I Eligible for Blogger-AARP (or is it AARB)?
Day 60 and Bloggin' Along!
I had to grab 'Hoi Polloi' from a thesaurus - it means 'the masses'.
Uh, didn't the thesaurus become extinct with the rest of the dinosaurs (and the Cobol programmers)?
No, Karen, you would have had to put that in yesterday's blonde moment blog.
Maybe my blog is growing ever closer to extinction and I don't even know it!
Speaking of yesterday - I didn't remind you that yesterday was my second month anniversary of Working Independence Day! Is that like - dude, whassup WID you? Yes, month two has come and gone, my many minutes of liberated happiness leaving a trail of happy-dust in the universe.
I went to the company credit union yesterday to deposit my unemployment check and the security guard said to me 'I've never seen you look so happy'. Well, I AM happy! But eventually I'm going to need payola, unless my blog-audience sets up an annuity for me.
I guess I could start pan-handling in downtown Nashville (My sign would say 'will blog for food') or sell treasure maps on ebay.
Hey, that's an idea! Instead of giving away stuff I don't want to Goodwill, I'll bury it somewhere in capsules.
Then I can sell pirate-style treasure maps on waxed and ironed grocery bags (that gives them a batik old-paper effect if you've never been in Girl Scouts or Camp) to willing and eager Gen-X'ers, complete with GPS coordinates for the more modern tekkie folk.
So, Karen, is today's blog going to be filled with bad jokes and random ideas? I dunno, it's just how I started out!
This morning, Charlie got out of the shower and came back into the bedroom to find me completely hidden under the blankets. I said 'Look, I'm lumpage'. He laughed, so that started off my morning of bad jokes.
I'm sitting here drinking my power-blogger-juice (coffee) and thinking 'SIXTY blog entries sounds like a lot'. Is there a blogger-AARP that I am now eligible for? They could send me a magazine chock-full of advertisements, along with a very occasional idea, and some recipes. They could have photos of bloggers who were popular when they were younger, and now have become 'mature and accepting' of their blog-ulinity. All this, for the low price of 10 dollars a year. But wait! There's more!
Ok, enough of that subject.
Here's a blogger juice story...
My very first computer job (the one I started on April Fools Day of 1982) was working for a company run by a single individual. No committees, no boards. A tyrant. This man had not heard of 'sensitivity training'. When he was ready for coffee - he stuck his arm out of his office with the empty cup on his fingers. If you were the unlucky soul who was walking by, it was YOUR turn to go get him some coffee. End of discussion.
I had the nerve (or the idiocy) to disagree with him about something. He turned several shades of pink and hollered 'You will do what I say!' I said 'Yes, I will do what you say, but I need to tell you I disagree'. He looked at me and hollered 'You will do what I say!' I repeated 'Yes, I will do what you say but I disagree'. Repeat this scenario a few times, and yes, I did what he said, and yes, I disagreed.
This man had an interesting method of sending people on travel to Washington. He would not provide a hotel for us - we had to stay AT HIS MOTHERS HOUSE. Good grief.
Well, it's getting late so I'd better send this out to the masses, and add more later if I feel like it.
Have a nice Friday and Weekend, everyone!
Update at 8:17am.
Since it appears I have sparked interest in the above job I held in 1982, I'll tell a few more stories about 'the tyrant'.
Whatever services he needed, he would start his own company to service the need. This separate but related arm would be led by a family member. He needed to travel, so he had his own travel agency. He needed publications and printing, he had his own people to do that. He wanted to advertise, he developed and printed magazines.
The secretary kept a huge stack of BLANK business cards. Whatever role you were playing for whatever contract you were working on, the secretary would type your name and your position on the card. I had several - developer, analyst, operator, technical writer, procurement - whatever fit the bill.
Some of the equipment was really old and worked sporadically.
If you were needed overnight to keep things running, you worked overnight. Sometimes people would work all weekend long. See the picture on the left of the disk drive? The older ones would have trouble 'spinning up'. We'd have to reach in sometimes and start it going with our hand like it was an old dryer tub.
'Mrs. Tyrant' got REALLY mad at her husband one day and got revenge. She took it out on his wallet by ramming his new Mercedes into one of his buildings. It was talked about for years.
The landscapers and maintenance crew at his OFFICES also had to go work on his HOME (which I believe is a business no-no for tax reasons). They would come back with stories about finding chicken bones in the pool and other such curiosities.
By the way - he was eventually banned from doing business with the government (his meal ticket), and the company closed.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Day 59 - Blonde Moments - If I Can Remember Them
For some reason, only Thursday is listed on my calendar.
I really wasn't going to tell this, but it's a segue to what may be a funny, although embarrassing blog entry. ;-)
Quote of the day:
'She was what we used to call a suicide blond - dyed by her own hand.' Saul Bellow
Think back, now... All the way to YESTERDAY... Trizzle trazzle trazzle trone...
Remember the cat picture in yesterdays blog?
Remember I said you can see my hand in the picture?
Did anyone perceive something WRONG with that statement?
Confession: It could not have been my hand, because I was taking the picture of the cat. It was my daughters hand.
Blonde moment number 21,180,832. I need one of those incremental counters like they used to have for McDonalds. Now their boards just say 'billions and billions served'. I'm not into the billions yet - or maybe that's just because I can't remember them...
Here's a few blonde moments for you, just to prove to the world I CAN remember a few of them...
CONFESSION, right off the bat. Ok, Charlie had to help me remember a few of my blonde moments. Oops.
CONFESSION, right off the bat. I had to check whether to write 'blond' or 'blonde'. Both are acceptable.
You might say that I have at least one blonde moment every day, for still thinking I am blonde.
People who have only known me here in Tennessee probably ‘think’ I have brown hair.
It looks brown, it photographs brown, but I know I’m blonde. I can prove it… Here is a picture of me. So what if I'm only TWO or THREE. ;-)
When I was a child, my hair was white-blonde. After that, a slowly darkening blonde to brown. These days, throw in an OCCASIONAL gray until I pull it out, which might also count as blonde behavior.
Charlie once put a sign on the door saying ‘Karen, you live HERE’, because I drove past our own house the day before. Hey, I was THINKING. I was distracted. I was...blonde.
Charlie and I went to a Chinese restaurant in the middle of strip mall. I walked right past their front door, thinking it was further down. Charlie didn’t say a word, he stepped inside the correct door and just waited. Meanwhile, the restaurant staff had noticed what was going on. They actually scolded Charlie saying (insert accent here) 'You bad man! You let her keep walking. You not tell her. You bad man!' They were extra nice to me when I finally got in the correct door. ;-)
Recently at bedtime (because I'm UNEMPLOYED and hardly care anymore) I asked Charlie what day it was. I received confirmation it was Saturday. Moments later I reminded him he hadn’t set the alarm for work the next day. *sigh*. So much for my short term memory.
I have driven with my brain on auto pilot and missed the exit I needed to take. So much for my short term memory.
I stand at the (insert refrigerator, pantry, bathroom, living room, wherever) and can't remember what I was looking for. I say out loud - 'WHAT?', hoping to prompt myself into remembering what I was planning to do. Sometimes I even remember. At other times, I walk away, which must be my punishment for forgetting, because shortly after that I remember what I wanted.
I am almost ashamed to share this with you, but I’m BLONDE so I have to…
I read the little turn-tab on the spray bottle of Windex upside down.
First it said ‘OFF’.
The next turn of the dial said ‘NO’. So I kept turning…
Of course, NO upside down means ON. Oops.
Saying the wrong year. Writing the wrong year. Living the wrong year.
Saying the wrong decade. Writing the wrong decade. Living the wrong decade.
Saying the wrong century. Writing the wrong century. Living the wrong century.
ALWAYS turning the wrong way out of an elevator or from a hotel room. Charlie says that I walk in a circle, doing a homing maneuver. ;-)
When I switched from half and half to lowfat milk in my coffee, I wanted to measure half a cup (which is a lot) so I could count it as a little calcium. I remarked to Charlie - 'How will I know how much coffee to put in my cup so it won't be too full when I put the milk in?' Charlie answered - 'Put the milk in FIRST'.
Now why didn't I think of that? I never put the milk in first, that's why.
I just lost a bunch of respect out there, didn’t I?
Well, sometimes you have to admit your blondeness and move on. That provides closure.
Right? RIGHT? (silence)
Is anyone out there? (crickets chirping)
Hello? Hello? (echoes sound)
Will anyone read my blog ever again?
Come back! Come back! Aunty Em! Uncle Henry!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Day 58 - My Apprentice
I downloaded my (few) Easter photos this morning, to see if I had something inspirational there to blog about. ;-)
Let me introduce you to Fred, my new computer blogging apprentice. Yes, he climbed up on the computer desk and was sitting ON the monitor. You can just barely see my hand on the mouse.
Fred kept me company in the mornings at my daughter's house while I was blogging and the rest of the household was sleeping.
Fred enjoys climbing on everything and anything, and has learned (just like a baby, actually) what fun it is to knock objects off surfaces to see them crash. ;-)
I watched him 'toggling' a vase with his paw, seeing how far he could go before tipping it over.
I stepped in the shower and every single item - every bottle of shampoo, creme rinse, body wash, and the soap was in the bottom of the tub.
He uses tissue boxes as punching bags, always knocking them off their positions.
In short - you don't need a poltergeist in your home, you need Fred.
Thanks, Fred. ;-)
Changing subjects now...
Confession: I hate my current box of trash bags, and I refuse to throw them away (in the trash) until they are used up. It figures that the box of trash bags I detest is the super mega jumbo multipack box that has THREE HUNDRED 13 gallon annoyances in it. *sigh* They just are a speck too small for our trash receptacle, which means they always slide off the rim and have to be fixed. Grrrr...
It's like the bacon thing - why can't packages of bacon or trash bags be consistent?
Did I already tell you about the year my son moved into his first apartment? I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, and his answer (said with a straight face) was 'Trash Bags'. I do believe that young adults never realize that items like trash bags, shampoo, soap, kleenex and toilet tissue don't just grow in the house somewhere.
Quote of the day:
Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. But I'd like to add a third certainty: trash. And while some in this room might want to discuss reducing taxes, I want to talk about reducing trash.
Ruth Ann Minner
When I had kids in the house, I used to be a triple coupon shopaholic. I don't use many coupons nowadays because I'm only feeding myself and Charlie. I would deliberately match the supermarket sales with my coupon stash (which was huge because we pooled coupons at work), and come home with just about anything I could get for pennies.
My daughter wistfully recalls all the gallons of hair products we used to have in the house.
The top of the refrigerator used to be filled with boxes of breakfast cereal. My son could eat a box a day, and often he would eat dinner, then have a bowl of cereal immediately afterwards to 'fill in the appetite cracks'. The overflow cereal we could not consume I would send over to my sister for her three boys.
By the way - if you're a woman who has to watch calories, you love to see teenage boys eat. I could gain a pound just watching them. I love to cook for kids, or take them out.
My mother had the best idea. She would take my nephews to 'all you can eat' buffets, which was about the only place that could fill them up. They could eat till they couldn't hold any more, then come home and hit the refrigerator. ;-)
Gee - it's getting late so I'll do a posting and see if I feel like bloggin' on any more.
Have a nice day!
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Day 57 - One Bite to Remember
I’m a little slow and groggy this morning after my trip. I am partially unpacked and just put in a load of laundry. I can't wait to go swim.
Yes, I did make Charlie's lunch this morning, and no, he didn't make one yesterday. ;-)
I did take the time this morning before blogging to have my cup of coffee and finish the book I was reading – ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kidd.
The subject of Bees made me think of insects in general. I am not fond of bugs – crawling ones, stinging ones, flying ones, you get the picture. I’ve seen 2 ants so far this ‘bug season’, both in the guest bath. I squashed one and drowned the other. So, arrest me for murder. I have ant traps around the house now.
I do like inanimate bugs like the creepy crawlers we used to make out of plastic goo, and bugs depicted on clothing, art objects and pottery.
Don’t BUG me, now, and tell me bugs are really nice and that all creatures are special. As a matter of fact, I will usually think nothing of swatting a bug vs. gently, lovingly carrying it outdoors where it came from and releasing it back into the wild. Sorry, Discovery Channel. I also take a sick pleasure in vacuuming bugs. Sorry, PETA.
My daughter used to name the bugs and bees outdoors, and loved watching them. She’d say ‘Oh, look – that was Buzzer going by…’ Ask her now about how she feels about spiders, as times have changed. ;-)
There are bugs that violate your personal (skin) space. You can’t even SEE them and they burrow themselves into your skin as you work outside, unaware, appearing in a day or two as itchy red welts that make you beg to cut your skin off.
Yes, I am talking about the evil that is known as a CHIGGER (imitate Joe Pesci saying ‘What is a grit?’). In New England, where I am from, there are no CHIGGERS. Here in the South – if you have the nerve to sit in a patch of grass without putting SEVIN on it first (funny thing that bug poison sounds the same as a very scary evil movie) it’s your own fault. Shame on you. ‘CHIGGERS’ is a 4-letter word twice over, and that’s the honest truth. ;-)
Charlie can go out to the garden without insect repellent on, and the bugs ignore his 'tough, manly hide'. I can go out WITH insect repellent and still get bites. Bugs have been known to hide out ON Charlie, waiting until bedtime, so they can leave him and bite ME. Sigh.
I have had dreams of bugs 'en masse' swarming in the house, travelling under the floorboards and in the walls, and one particularly unpleasant dream of millions of bugs travelling across my brother's bed and pillow while he was sleeping. Eeeew! Dr. Phil - what does that mean?
I love to pick fresh berries, which I immediately wash and freeze to make homemade jam with all year ‘round. The biggest issue with picking berries are the BUGS, and perhaps some other dangerous things that sound like bugs.
I came close to swatting a hummingbird one day because it was buzzing above my head. I’m so glad I looked before I leaped. I sure hope I never hear a snake buzz, I have been able to avoid the rattlesnakes so far while berry picking. I’ll tell you about getting set upon by a wild turkey another time.
My friend and her children came out to visit me years ago. They had always lived in the city, and I lived in a rural area. When the fireflies came out that evening - the children were absolutely ENCHANTED saying 'What's THAT? What's that LIGHT?' Can you imagine never having seen a firefly? That is so wrong!
Charlie is the strawberry grower and picker in the household. Thank you, Charlie! He helps with the blackberries and blueberries too. However, I must say that I am the primary blackberry picker, and those blackberry vines exist to try to scratch the life right out of you.
‘Life is like a blackberry vine, grasshopper Karen. All is fresh, sweet and juicy, loving and giving till you try to back away from it with your handful of fruit. Then it grabs you, sucks your blood, and makes you drop the fruit and run.’ I guess that is how prickly vines reproduce – they urge you and tempt you to pick from them, then stab you and make you drop your prize, thereby enriching and encouraging new growth of the species. It’s a vicious cycle.
For the last couple of years, the japanese beetles have been a real problem around here. Charlie bought some beetle traps that use attractant to draw the beetles away from your plants. Let me tell you something - they WORK. By the way - Charlie chooses the location for these traps carefully. Don't put them anywhere near your house or you will have thousands upon thousands of amorous beetles marching through your yard to participate in the Woodstock love fest at the trap.
Writing this blog entry is making my head and ankles itch. Is anyone else experiencing bug bite symptoms? If so, you have my permission to withdraw. Put some alcohol on it and call me in the morning. For chiggers, some people swear by painting the bites with nail polish. For the heebie jeebies you get from thinking about bugs and bug bites, there is no known cure.
I have to take a break here and toss a shot of antihistamine… Later, Gators!
Monday, April 17, 2006
Day 56 - The Travellin' Show
I hope you all had a nice holiday weekend. I believe the UK folks have today off from WORK as well. I hope you can stand it if I don't put a picture on the blog this morning, maybe I'll do that later today.
I am still digesting Easter Dinner, by the way. Any intended or hoped for caloric conservation measures were blown out the window by holiday indulgence. My sister went all out, I will tell you! She and her husband hosted 14 of us, many of us staying all day and into the evening. An excellent time and a delicious meal.
What did you have, you ask?
You KNEW I was going to tell you, didn't you? A reminder - you know there are vegetarians in the family when you see the words TOFU and VEGAN.
Munchie food was available before dinner, including cheese and crackers, chips, etc.
My nephew made small savory tarts in pie shells made with vegetables and fruit over sweetened tofu custard.
Ambrosia salad (the kind with mini marshmallows and pineapple).
Spinach salad with fresh strawberries.
Sweet Potato casserole.
Mashed Russet potatoes.
Asparagus spears with melted parmesan.
Homemade braided sweet bread. (be still, my heart)
Lemon Burst cake.
Italian Rice Pie.
Vegan oatmeal raisin torte.
This afternoon (if I can move) I'll fly back to Nashville, get picked up by the Park and Fly shuttle, and drive home. Charlie and I should get home about the same time. ;-)
Since I'm travelling again today, I thought I'd write down a few of my favorite travel horror stories as I remember them...
You might never want to travel again after reading them, but I hope you don't feel that way! I love to travel, and most of my trips are fantabulous.
One newlywed I worked with went to an exotic island for her honeymoon. The first day, she got so badly sunburned she was UNTOUCHABLE for the rest of her HONEYMOON trip.
Another newlywed I worked with arrived at her honeymoon destination with no luggage, and they NEVER FOUND IT. She wore her husbands boxer shorts to the pool the first day and had to buy new clothes for the rest of the trip.
A friend of mine was to be married in Ireland, then go to Greece. Her luggage was rifled by thieves who stole all the wedding finery and jewelry packed in the suitcases. (A reminder to travelers, put jewelry in carryons only. Better yet, just leave it at home)
Another friend who lives in Hawaii came to stay with me at Christmastime, bringing gifts for her friends and family. She never saw her luggage again. One tidbit about that event- as we stood at the airport to fill out lost luggage forms, a famous heavy metal rock band had also lost their luggage on that flight and were very nice to us. I can't remember their names - I'll have to ask my daughter.
Charlie and I went snorkeling in St. John, Virgin Islands. A man (a very nice, honest man) swimming near us remarked 'Hey - is that YOUR money floating away?' Yes, it was. Charlie hadn't taken his wallet out of the pocket of his swim shorts and it floated away, spilling the contents. Thankfully we recovered it.
My friend and her husband visited St. Lucia. Their trip included sand flea bite poisoning and flat tires on the treacherous hilly roadsides.
My friend and her husband (same friend, same husband) went skiing in Colorado. He got altitude sickness and had to be treated at a medical clinic. While they were there, there was a hit and run on their rental car due to the snow.
My friend and her husband (same friend, same husband) went skiing in Tahoe. They had rented a special vehicle so they wouldn't have trouble driving in snow. However, they had another car accident in their rental car due to a chain reaction caused by another tourist who didn't have a snow-worthy car and couldn't control their vehicle.
Charlie and I met a young guy in Aruba, where we had a WONDERFUL vacation. This guy had gone to Aruba with a couple of girls he knew, neither of them his girlfriend. He was sleeping on the floor, (as the girls had claimed the two beds) and complained to us that 'All they want to do is lie around at the pool. I want to do things.' He had improvised a cooler for himself by putting ice in his hotel wastebasket (eeeew!) and living on bologna sandwiches to save money. We surely felt sorry for the guy. We saw him again a couple days later as we toured the island in an air conditional rental car. He was sporting a huge sunburn and riding around the island on a rented scooter.
Also in Aruba - I didn't know how to buy hamburger by the kilogram. I just held out my hands cupped together to indicate how much I wanted. ;-)
Also in Aruba - one of our cab drivers described visiting his cousin in Cuba for vacation. He said - 'They have no FOOD there, only beans and rice. I like BIG meat, BIG chicken. I'll never go there again'.
Our buddy Joe went to Dublin, Ireland with family members. A nice old man, passing them on the sidewalk, said 'Get the f*** out of me way!'. Also in Dublin, an old lady tried to pick their pockets. Remind me never to go there.
Well, there are a lot more travel stories I could tell, but I need to go shower and pack!
Have a nice Monday, everybody! TTFN!
Update at 4:11pm.
I am back home already! I had a smooth flight and missed the rush hour traffic. My baggage was searched at the airport when I checked in because the security folks didn't like the shape of the maple syrup jug my mother sent with me for Charlie.
Parking fee from Thursday through Monday, baggage handling and door-to-door delivery service - $36.
Charlie is outside mowing but stopped for a few minutes to welcome me home (translate that into 'grin, greet and grope').
A few additions to the stories above -
I didn't mention that one of my sisters brought and cooked her own fish (cod) on the grill outside and had that for her entree. I didn't include it on my list because it was a 'food for one' dish. ;-)
An addition to the story about St. Lucia, sand fleas and horrible roads... I was reminded that when the couple landed in St. Lucia and got their luggage, 'hubby' accidently took someone else's bag instead of their own to the resort from the airport. They were staying TWO HOURS away (by bad roads) and had to drive the luggage back to the airport again. Yuck.
The rock band we met at the airport who had lost their luggage was 'Guns and Roses'.
I'm going to go start unpacking now! TTFN!
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Day 55 - Happy Easter! (Part II)
For the first time, I actually posted my first Easter blog entry the night before. I am at my sisters house now after church, so I am redoing it to get the date right.
I got picked up this morning at 6:45am (ouch!), so didn't have time in the morning to write my blog.
I wandered around with eyes closed and arms outstretched until they drove me to Dunkin Donuts, where I had an iced coffee and an egg and cheese English muffin sandwich for breakfast before church.
Here are a few random Easter memories I want to share with you… These aren't in any particular order.
When I was young, getting new Easter clothes and new patent leather shoes was wonderful. It just FELT nice to know you were all dressed up. (Charlie would call that being 'prissy'.)
Sometimes we'd even get white hats with a velvet ribbon around the brim, and tiny white gloves. Does anyone do that anymore?
Be sure to check out the picture of my sister in Easter Part I, all decked out in her Easter regalia. (Blogger wasn't cooperating uploading the picture to this entry).
Some years, we’d get the new Easter clothes and patent leather shoes, then it would SNOW and we’d traipse off to the church freezing to death and planning to pray harder for SPRING.
By the time I was 10 I would lie, cheat or steal to have THAT Easter outfit or THOSE shoes. Didn’t even matter if it didn’t FIT right (or at all) – THAT was IT.
I got an ultra-cool (or so I thought) Native American style fake suede vest and boots once. I *might* have worn it once, it barely fit when it was purchased!
I had the cutest blue patent leather shoes one year. Too bad that they were too small and hurt my delicate little tootsies.
My sister had a tantrum over white go-go boots that she just HAD to HAVE. She got them. I just can't remember if they were for Easter or Christmas.
I loved receiving pansies at church. Just the children got the pansies. You got to take home your own little flowering plant, and they (ours anyway) always died. I didn’t take it personally. Resurrection and all that.
My mother tells me we asked not to have lamb anymore for Easter because we couldn’t stand the thought of the little lambs on our plates. (I didn’t remember that!) By the way – if you have been around any live ones, they do smell like lamb.
We have had Easter dinner at many different houses: Grandparents, aunts, siblings, and HOME. After we stopped having lamb, we usually had ham, and sometimes 2 meats like ham and a turkey.
A 'pattern of variety' for holiday entertaining would include Turkey for Thanksgiving, Roast beef for Christmas, and Ham for Easter. Makes sense to me!
My grandmother would make beautiful little lamb cakes with boiled icing and coconut fur. They were very special! Eastertime was when ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was annually broadcast on television. That movie is a delicious mix of music, fantasy and absolute terror. (You remember when the wicked witch was commanding the monkey’s to ‘Fly! Fly!’ I’ll never get over it.)
Did I tell you I played ‘Dorothy’ in the second grade production of ‘Wizard of Oz’, and my picture was in the newspaper? That play was both the beginning and ending of my illustrious acting career.
My mother made me sing ‘Over the Rainbow’ for company for YEARS afterward until I rebelled. I am still rebelling.
I like to make Easter egg trees. You blow out and decorate the eggs like usual, but then you hang them on a branch that is inside a vase. I have seen people hang Easter Eggs on trees outdoors as well.
My nephew called eggs 'Eggies' when he was little. Our entire family has called them 'Eggies' ever since.
I revealed ‘the truth’ about the Easter Bunny to my children by accident. They knew but it had never been spoken aloud. We were shopping in Kmart and there was a huge display of filled Easter baskets. I made an offhand comment like ‘Hmmm… I think I bought you that one last year’, and my daughter, shocked but not shocked, said ‘Mom! Do you realize what you just SAID?’ Yep. I spilled the beans. Oops. Demerit in the parent column.
They do a lot more Easter egg hunts in the South. That’s because you can SEE the ground there. In New England, there’s too much snow and you might end up with both Easter eggs AND frostbite at no extra charge.
Whatever your Easter is like - have a nice one! Love You Bye!
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Day 55 - Happy Easter! (Part I)
I edited out most of this posting when I made Part II, but this picture wasn't cooperating in Part II so I am leaving it here.
This is a picture of my sister, all decked out in her Easter regalia.
Please note the white Easter straw hat, the white gloves, and you can't see them but you KNOW there are patent leather shoes on her little feet.
Is anything cuter than that?
Have a great Easter!
Love You Bye!
Day 54 - It's Easter Eve and All is Well
Tonight you'll put your Easter baskets by the chimney, and the Easter Bunny will come and fill them overnight while you're sleeping.
(That's the way it goes, right?)
I am hoping the Easter Bunny remembers to fill my basket with low fat egg-substitute and candy made with Splenda. After all, we're more health conscious these days. I'm kidding! I'm kidding!
Big news - Congratulations to Charlie for a successful fishing trip yesterday! Way to go!
Here's a photo of his catch. YUM-O!
These trout were caught in the tail waters of Tim's Ford on the Elk River in Tennessee.
Five, count 'em ladies and gentlemen, five lovely fresh trout are in the freezer today, waiting for me to come home and cook them in lemon pepper and olive oil. Mmmmmm...
Charlie had two sly little trout get away, but he has five keepers and the picture to prove it.
Meanwhile, a thousand miles away in New England, the family is gathering, and gathering, and gathering...
My daughter and I began our day going to Dunkin Donuts yesterday morning. Dunkin Donuts is an institution here in New England, with coffee shops every couple of miles, but you can't even find one in Nashville. I have to buy their coffee here and bring it back with me.
I had ICED coffee, by the way, another rarity in Nashville. Southerners want their tea cold and their coffee hot. I like tea cold AND coffee cold. It is twenty three ounces of liquid deliciousness. Heather had their hot chocolate that is very creamy and frothy. She gets one just about every day.
After that, we went shopping at 'Ocean State Job Lot', a Rhode Island based chain that is similar to 'Big Lots'. They have a mixture of hardware, stationery, gadgets, food, and housewares at discount prices. Between us we lugged away 50 bucks worth of goodies - food, drinks, books, spices, and whatever struck us as 'a good deal'.
Then it was time to go out to lunch. When I'm in New England, I have to have seafood. We went to one of my favorite seafood places named Perellas in Warren, Rhode Island. It's just a small, family run kind of place that makes wonderful clams and calamari. We were the only customers in the dining room at lunchtime. They only open for lunch on the weekends.
We ordered a small appetizer of calamari with hot peppers and garlic, and the serving was enough for 4 people. We had to take the remainder to go.
We each devoured a large order of steamed littlenecks - mine steamed with garlic and Heathers with garlic and oil.
Littlenecks are small quahog clams - if you don't know what they are, suffice it to say that they are delicious. This picture looks accurate.
After all that seafood, it was time to head back to the ranch and REST up before it was time to go out for dinner and EAT again.
We met my mother, sister, son, etc. at 7pm for dinner. Table for 8, please. Heather and I both ordered salads due to our big lunch. ;-)
Today's schedule is still up in the air as it is only 7:30 in the morning, but will probably include a trip to Dunkin Donuts, visiting with friends and family, maybe a matinee movie, and of course, more seafood!
Happy Easter Eve everybody! I hope you have a special weekend. XX-OO
Friday, April 14, 2006
Day 53 - It's a Good Friday!
I am here, safe and sound in Massachusetts, staying with my daughter for the Easter Weekend. There were rainstorms around yesterday, but it didn't interfere with my plane travel, and it wasn't raining when we walked from the terminal to short term parking.
By the way - short term parking in Nashville runs about $1.50 - short term parking in Providence, RI - $4.
I'll share a few highlights of my trip yesterday...
I stopped at 'Jack in the Box' and bought a chef salad to bring to the airport to eat for lunch. I packed it on top of my 18.5 lbs of homemade jam in my L.L. Bean canvas tote bag that has my initials monogrammed on it (my mother gave it to me for Christmas).
I had a smooth transition from the Park and Fly place to the airport. The nice young man that drove the shuttle bus hauled my luggage and my 'jam bag' for me, and told me his mother in Waverley, TN makes muscadine jam. I gave him $2 for a tip.
I got my bag checked and went through security. I almost walked through with my purse on my arm, but I remembered at the last second to toss it in with my shoes.
I walked to my gate and found a seat next to an outlet, plugged in my phone, and made a few calls using the airport's electricity. Then I ate my salad while my phone recharged and people-watched.
I saw one celebrity at the airport yesterday - Eddie George the football player. He is hard to miss, but he walked casually enough from the gate area toward the baggage claim and didn't have a gaggle of groupies chattering after him.
People started lining up early for their boarding groups. The flight was oversold and they asked for several volunteers. They offered $100 plus the one-way fare that you paid for your ticket, which I guess is fair considering everyone pays a different amount for their ticket. The plane already had passengers on it, and they expected a full flight.
When I boarded, I got an aisle seat 3 rows from the door. There was a Hippie type at the window seat, shrouded by hair. The middle seat was blissfully empty. The middle seat stayed empty until they were closing the door, and the few passengers who hadn't found a seat yet had to come back to the front and take whatever was left. So, of course, the middle seat next to me became filled... WITH A GIANT. Oh, yes, this was going to be a good flight.
Remember I mentioned Hercules? I think I will call him 'HULKules'. I actually felt more sorry for him than for myself, although my personal space was certainly encroached upon. He sat, literally squashed in the middle seat, for the entire trip. All I really saw of him was an ocean of white shirt - his gigantic arm was at my eye level, and his head was somewhere in the clouds up above. His legs touched the seats (plural) in front of him. His body mass overflowed his tray table. Truly a sight to behold. He was pounding down Jack Daniels and Gingerale - he had three of them during the two hour flight. He was trying to watch a movie on his laptop, but he had to keep closing his laptop to put his drinks upon. I wonder how HE felt about his flight?
I think the Giant knocked out the hippie when he had to reach for his wallet in his back pocket. I did see the hippie move later - he got out a bag and ate some oatmeal-type-substance instead of the high-salt high-fat munchie mix the rest of us were eating. This munchie mix contained some little imitation Wheat Chex pieces that are trademarked as 'Shreddies'. Who thought up that name? 'Come on honey, eat your Shreddies.' Randy Jackson would say - 'Doesn't work for me dog...'.
Anyway - I made it here and my daughter has redecorated the guest room (and some of the kitchen) since I was here at Christmas. She's painted, moved furniture around, bought new linens, and stained an old maple dresser that we've had forever, giving it new life.
She has an artistic flair, I can only hope she gets it from ME. That would imply I had some flair somewhere. Normally my flair is in writing my signature on checks to other people to do things for me. It reminds ME I should be doing some painting, yard work, window washing, etc. WHILE I'M NOT WORKING! All I do is swim and shop! Is that bad? ;-)
Quite a few people are off from WORK today for the Good Friday holiday. ME, for example. My son in law has already gone off to work though, and my daughter is taking the day off to spend it with ME. We're going out for coffee, then back home for breakfast, then off again for some light SHOPPING. Tonight we'll meet my son and my mother for dinner out.
Charlie has today off and plans to go fishing today. I hope there's some trout in the freezer when I get home! He had to make his own dinner last night, poor thing. He said he was heating up a can of soup. He is planning to make a pot of chili today that will last him till I get back. ;-)
TTFN and have a nice day!
Oops- forgot to tell one thing.
When I got off the plane and turned on my phone, I had a voice mail from a COMPANY about a JOB. Of all times to get a call about a job - when I'm away!
Anyway, I'll have to call them back today and tell them I'm out of town. ;-)
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Day 52 - Takin' the Blog on the Road
First - Charlie indulged me yesterday by letting me snap his photo in his turkey hunting gear. Here it is.
Thanks for being a good sport, Charlie!
That hand-held item which looks like the end of a plunger is a turkey call. You shake it and it makes gobbling noises. A technological marvel.
Anyhow - Charlie was out in the driveway hooting this morning, but nothing answered (maybe a few groggy neighbors but we couldn't hear them cursing). The turkeys that visited last week have not shown up this week. They're hiding out somewhere in their 'safe house', I'm sure.
Back to your regularly scheduled program...
I'm packing up this morning to go to New England for Easter weekend. I'll see the family, visit, have a huge Easter dinner, catch up on the news, and most importantly, drop off about 20 lbs of jam. Lets see, Heather wants strawberry, Mom wants peach, etc.
I hope my carryon bag can take it, and I sure hope it fits under the seat, or I'll have to get Hercules (or at least some big guy who can't spell Hercules) to lift it into an overhead bin.
I'm leaving my car at a 'Park and Fly' kind of place near the airport. I LOVE THESE PLACES. If you've never tried one, here's how it goes...
You drive into the front lot. A representative looks you up on his handheld computer. He asks you when you're returning, and if you'd like your car detailed while you're gone. Then he gives you the phone number to call for pickup. That's it. No paperwork - after all, they have your vehicle! Meanwhile, they have moved your baggage for you to their shuttle.
You step into your gilded coach like the princess you are, and are whisked away to the airport, where you are deposited at your airline of choice.
The photo you see here is from Storyland in New Hampshire. I'm in there somewhere.
All for the same price as economy parking. No brainer, that one. Especially nice when you have heavy bags or it's raining.
We USED to have a company airport shuttle at WORK, but it got downsized even before I did.
I've already printed my boarding pass, but I need to check my luggage. One bag; a few clothes, various goodies for the family, the newspaper from the day after the tornadoes, and a box of famous Sturms whole grain cranberry oatmeal. My mother hates oatmeal, but I've raved about Sturms so much she is considering trying it. That, my blogging friends, is what marketing is all about.
I pack neatly going TO my destination. I don't really care on the way back.
I have my cell phone charger in my purse so I can plug it in at the airport and get free electricity. That one little 'gimme' helps justify the hours of tedium that is airline travel.
Thankfully it is not snowing anywhere on my travel route. I have been stranded in Colorado and Chicago in the past due to snow, and I also dislike landing on a runway covered in snow. I have endured various plane malfunctions and delays, fainting passengers, and annoying tourists. Here's a couple of highlights...
Once someone on the previous flight left their briefcase on the plane. The stewardess, who was busy chatting it up with the man who stocks the beverages, didn't see it, so it was unnoticed until the next flight - MINE. We had to wait on the plane for several HOURS so the bomb squad could remove it and scan it.
Last summer my flight was diverted from Atlanta to South Carolina due to thunderstorms, then experienced hydraulic trouble so it couldn't return. We were all put on buses and bussed back to Atlanta, where the airport was still in shut down mode. It ended up taking me 24 hours to get from Maine to Nashville.
What I didn't mention is when I exited the plane in South Carolina, I noticed a little girl waiting over at the gate counter. It was my cousins daughter, who was traveling as an unaccompanied minor on her way home. This was 'supposed' to be a non-stop flight. Long story short, after a few phone calls she was 'signed out' to me and we all made it to Atlanta and met my cousin around 2am. After that, I had a never ending cycle of standby flights to Nashville to get home. Ugh. I am still annoyed at the Atlanta airport.
I could tell more airport stories but maybe I'll save that for another blog, this is getting long and Blogger crashed in the middle of my second posting.
My daughter is picking me up at the airport in Providence. Thanks, Heather!
I'm staying with my daughter, son-in-law, their cat, and their dog Clyde. Clyde doesn't really like house company. I startle him and he startles me - we're compatible that way. He spends most of his time in my daughters lap, even though he weighs over 50 lbs.
I'll be writing 'da blog' for the next several days on my daughter's computer, so stay tuned. As she says 'The Blog Must Go On'!
Have a nice day and Love You Bye!
If anything should happen while I am flying, remember that I donate my blog to science.
Update... It's 10:19am.
My suitcase is in the car, along with my carryon bag. The weight of my carryon BEFORE I put in my book, my sweater, a snack, and a drink was 18.5 pounds. My pocketbook probably weighs in around five - I don't want to know.
Most important parts of the 'going on a trip' checklist:
Am I wearing slip-on shoes, because you have to take them off at security.
Am I wearing socks with no runs in the toes? Mustn't have our toes showing.
Do I have my... luggage, boarding pass, itinerary, license, carryon, cell phone, charger, etc.
Does my suitcase have a luggage tag? Well guess what - most of my baggage has my BUSINESS CARD on a tag on it. I'll have to replace them all with my name and address. Sheesh.
Did I go to the bank and get some money? Very important item there. The answer is no, I have to go today.
Do I have some 'ones' for tips? I might want to bribe someone to carry my carryon. Check.
By the way - I once received a counterfeit one dollar bill in downtown Nashville. At a food booth at a craft fair, no less. Along with my other change, I didn't even notice it. When you count your change, you just fan out the bills and look at the corners, don't you? Upon closer inspection, not only was it counterfeit, it was also pornographic. 'Nuff said about that. I wonder where that is...
Okey dokey, smokies. Guess I'm ready to go to the bank. TTFN!
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Day 51 - Batter Batter Batter, S-wing Batter!
Ah, the roar of the crowd! The sights, sounds and smells of the ballpark! Yesterday was 'Home opener' day at Fenway Park in Boston.
The 'Green Monster' beckons.
My son was there - ticket price $125 a seat. Ouch. He sent me these pictures from his cell phone. Good thing someone in the family is working...
It was the Sox's 95th season opener and the Red Sox won against Toronto.
I have some huge Red Sox fans in the family, including 'Mom' and 'Aunt Nancy'. I also have a few Yankee fans in the family. That is interesting, to say the least.
Mom and Nancy even went to the celebration parade in Boston when the Sox won the World Series. I would have avoided it like the plague. ;-) But that's not what FANS do!
Charlie and I have been to a Sox game at Fenway Park. We took the train to Boston and had a really nice day.
A 'really nice day' at the ball park means you had fun, you spent too much money, and nothing too bad happened to wreck the event.
There were some 'rowdies' sitting behind us who we wished would turn their volume down. They spilled beer on us, swore alot, hollered during the national anthem, etc. A typical day at Fenway Park.
What Charlie recalls about that game was someone yelling 'POCKET! POCKET!' over and over. He asked me what that meant. I replied - 'He's not saying pocket - he's saying PARK IT - Hit it out of the park! It's just the accent thing.' Then he understood.
We had more fun going to Paw Sox games (the Red Sox farm team - Pawtucket Red Sox). We've always enjoyed those games, and it's a fun time at a low price. Now you're talkin' my language. CHEAP and FUN.
Speaking of Boston in general...
Charlie and I went on a whale watch trip out of Boston's Fishermans Wharf. The weather was bad, and I got sick as a dog. 'Nuff said about that trip, but I did get to see the whales!
I used to work outside of Boston in Randolph, MA. Some co-workers and I would go downtown sometimes for nightlife, baseball, etc. I even went to a wrestling match at the Boston Garden. I wasn't impressed. I saw concerts including 'Billy Idol' and 'Bonnie Raitt'. I went to 'First Night' - New Years eve celebrations more than once. It was always freezing.
Whenever I went to Boston with a particular co-worker, something bad would happen. My buddy J.N. and I were walking down the street in Boston. A car went by and threw beer on us. WHY? Waste of good beer if you ask me. Another time J.N. avoided parking in a pay lot and found a parking spot off the beaten path. When we got back to his car, his battery was gone. The moral of the story is - PAY TO PARK.
I worked IN Boston for 6 months near Chinatown. I took the train in every day. You get to know the conductors by the design on their metal punch that they use to punch your train ticket. Each conductor has his own punch that he receives when he gets his job. At one time, conductors could request their punch mark, but now they are assigned at random.
Anyway, I'd sit with the same crew every day and we'd chat and drink coffee on the hour long train ride. Then I'd walk from the train station to where I was working downtown. When I left work, I'd walk to the train station, get on my train, and I could snooze till the end of the line which was my stop. Not a bad way to commute.
Well, I'd better get this posted because it's getting close to 7am.
Job Hunt Update - I have sent out TWO resumes in TWO days. This sounds serious!
Have a nice Wednesday, everyone!
7am - I forgot one baseball related item...
I enjoy the pitching of Randy Johnson, who went to pitch for the Yankees last year (shame shame). However, ol' Randy is SO NOT eye candy. As a matter of fact, I can hardly stand to watch him on the big screen TV. Too many closeups.
You see, some women watch sports just to see cute guys like Derek Jeter. Randy Johnson does NOT do it for me. NOT. AT. ALL. I am fascinated but horrified. Steve Buscemi has the same effect.
So Charlie went out of town one weekend. I went into the darkened bedroom at bedtime and turned on the light. Charlie had papered the bed with 8x10's of AWFUL Randy Johnson photos before he left. Thanks, Charlie. Way to go. Appreciate the thought. XXX