Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Stroll

Hubby and I went to Nashua last night for their annual Holiday Stroll. We'd never been before so it was all new for us. I couldn't believe how many people were there! It was a gorgeous night and there must have been thousands of people. Daughter Jamie lives in Nashua so we parked in front of her house and walked the couple of blocks to where the stroll began. They had blocked off Main St. and people were all over the place. It was a very festive atmosphere. They had a wagon with the Clydesdale horses that led everyone down the street to light the Christmas tree in the square. That was the kick-off. All the merchants were open with special sales, etc. There were food wagons (the fried dough was delicious!) and some street entertainers. Then there were venues open for all kinds of entertainment. We visited the library where they had three different children's entertainers performing. We stopped in a couple of churches to hear singing. We stopped at the community center to hear Amy Petty, who turned out to be a phenomenal folk singer. And we listened at the Main Stage out on the street to a Progressive Bluegrass band named "Hot Day at the Zoo" who I thought were the best entertainers of the night. I would have stayed there all day and listened to them, but it was getting late and we were getting cold. We called Jamie and ended out bringing her over to Friendly's and finishing off the night with some ice cream. A good night!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day After Thanksgiving

Hubby kind of laughed at me this week - that I had posted all about Thanksgiving BEFORE Thanksgiving happened! I told him to watch....everything would be exactly the same as I'd said it would be. Sure enough. Dad cooked a 28 pounder PLUS the extra turkey breast on the rotisserie, we had the banana fritters...and my personal apple fritters....Mom used the paper plates....everything! Grand-daughter Emily was in a wonderful mood and enjoyed all the people. I was so glad she wasn't afraid at all! In fact, her new words are "hi" (with the little wave) and "bye". So she went around saying hi and bye to everyone! Today is "Black Friday" which in Salem, NH is "Traffic nightmare day". It wasn't bad when I came out to work at 8:30 this morning...probably the lull between the 5am shoppers and the normal idiots that came out at 10am. Right now as I'm leaving I can see the traffic backed up all the way up the road. My 3 minute drive home will probably take me a 1/2 hour. Hubby and I thought we'd go to the beach this afternoon and find a nice seafood place to eat. But it's pouring down rain right now (which will make the traffic even more pleasant) so I guess the beach is out. Not sure what we'll do. Maybe the movies? I did want to go see that movie "The Changeling". I'm not sure if it's still in the theaters. I'll have to check it out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanks

In honor of Thanksgiving, here are all the things I'm thankful for:
1. My husband. He's the best. The love of my life and the reason for all my happiness.
2. My son Doug. He's a good man. He's an excellent family man, a good husband and father.
3. Doug's wife Kara. She's more than a daughter-in-law to me. She's another daughter.
4. My beautiful grand-daughter Emily. She's the light of my life. She makes me laugh.
5. My son Nicholas. He's another good man. Smart, responsible and hard-working.
6. Nick's girlfriend Kelly. She makes my son happy.
7. My daughter Jamie. She's been a good friend to me.
8. My Mom. She's a good friend, a strong lady, an excellent role model for me.
9. My Dad. He's the most wonderful father any daughter could ever want.
10. My brother John. Another good friend. We have some great times together.
11. John's wife Ruth. He's made my brother happy.
12. My niece Laura. She's given us lots of fun times.
13. My sister Chris. She's been...well....like a sister to me.
14. Chris' family. They've all been so welcoming, so warm, so enjoyable.
15. Hubby's kids..Kenny and Wendy. They make my hubby so happy.
16. Wendy's boyfriend Allan. He's a good partner for Wendy and a great father.
17. Grandson Noah. Another light in our life. He's a blessing.
18. The fact that I'm so close and warm and loving with my family. I know lots of people are estranged from their families. I'm glad we have each other.
19. All the holidays we get to spend together. Especially Thanksgiving.
20. My good friends - Sylvie, Carol, Debbie, Sue T, Sue F and Gail
21. I get to go out with my friends once a month and keep in touch.
22. A home I can afford to pay for.
23. Plenty of food.
24. Enough money to treat ourselves once in a while.
25. Taking trips and going on adventures with my Hubby.
26. My good friend who helped me get a real job.
27. My real job.
28. A consistent paycheck.
29. Hubby's job is still employing him despite the fact that they have little work.
30. Good books.
31. Simon and Garfunkle
32. Our condo is quiet - we have well-behaved neighbors.
33. We pay for our heat through our condo fee so it is somewhat regulated.
34. The price of gas has gone down.
35. I have a nice car.
36. Hubby gave me a CD player for my car.
37. And an automatic car starter.
38. Hubby's car still runs.
39. Hubby's fried chicken.
40. Ice cream
41. first cup of tea in the morning.
42. Hubby doesn't mind cleaning the oven.
43. We had a beautiful wedding near the ocean - a day I will never forget.
44. The ocean - summer or winter.
45. Hubby's warm body at night.
46. Warm socks.
47. I thought to put money aside each paycheck for Christmas this year so I can afford to get some nice things for my family. 48. Internet shopping.
49. Internet banking.
50. Hubby's family who have accepted me like their own.
51. Hubby's mom, who always has a great attitude despite her physical limitations. 52. My mom's continued good health.
53. Dad didn't miss a step despite his heart bypass surgery last year.
54. They are active and healthy and can still travel and enjoy themselves.
55. I had a chance to work at the summer camp for the past four years.
56. I worked most of my life with children.
57. I still like children even though I worked with them most of my life.
58. Boston Market Chicken
59. Mornings spent lying in bed snuggling.
60. The Sunday newspaper.
61. Internet chat friends.
62. Internet blog friends.
63. I get to work "in-town" where I know lots of people.
64. I work 3 minutes from my home.
65. I can go home for lunch.
66. Meeting all Hubby's musical friends.
67. Singing at open mics.
68. No one screams or throws me out when I sing at open mics.
69. The Beatles.
70. Prime Rib of Beef
71. Cheap coupons from Restaurant.com
72. Free shipping
73. Hiking in the woods with Hubby.
74. Craigslist.
75. We don't have to plow or shovel snow.
76. We don't have to mow the lawn.
77. I can cross-stitch.
78. Bette Midler
79. Raspberries
80. Raspberry skin lotion.
81. Contacts.
82. New clothes.
83. Being able to make photo albums with scrapbooking.
84. Digital camera - no more film to buy or develop.
85. Jamie has not been severely injured playing football.
86. A sunny spring day.
87. Clean sheets.
88. Penguins.
89. Penguin movies.
90. Christmas movies
91. Shoes that don't hurt your feet.
92. Being able to put my nightgown on and veg at night.
93. Sleeping
94. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.
95. Hubby's french toast.
96. I got the chance to try white-water rafting....and loved it so much I went back time and time again.
97. I have a hubby who likes to try new adventures and visit new places.
98. We are going away for the weekend in December.
99. Kisses from my Hubby.
100. I made it to 100 and could probably come up with 100 more!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Anticipation!

The countdown to the right on this blog shows 1 day and 17 hours left until Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday. I love it because there's so little pressure. 1. No gifts to buy. You don't have to go into debt and feel bad because you can't get everyone the perfect gift they need. 2. There's no stress of fighting traffic and idiot shoppers to contend with. 3. There's no Thanksgiving parties to be attended....having to get the new dress and the too-tight pantyhose and the uncomfortable shoes so you can dress up and try to impress other people. Instead it's a day for families. For getting together and eating a wonderful meal while enjoying being all together. This year my Mom and Dad will have a really full house. Besides them, there will be my older brother Steve, his wife Angie, Angie's son Jacob and Steve's two girls Sara and Shannon. Hubby and I will be there along with my son Doug, his wife Kara and their daughter Emily; and my son Nick with his girlfriend Kelly and my daughter Jamie. My sister Chris will be there with her husband Lloyd, their son Marc and their daughters Jess and Sammi, and perhaps Jess' fiance Kyle. Also present will be my brother John with his wife Ruth and their daughter Laura. Finally there will be what we laughingly call the "old folks and stragglers"; my aunt Sister Marcelle, my Aunt Isy and my cousin Father Paul. That counts up to about 27 people! Believe it or not, we'll all have a place to sit at the table in my parents' mobile home. They built an extra room onto the side and manage somehow to arrange the tables so we can all fit. Of course, once everyone is seated, there's no way to get back up again! But that's okay. We dont' mind sitting there for a long time eating the delicious meal my parents prepare. We'll start out with a salad and some plates of pickles and olives. Cranberry sauce will make an appearance as well as snowflake rolls. There'll be turkey of course. My dad will probably cook a 25 pounder or more. In addition, because God forbid we should run short of food, he might make another turkey at my sister's house and have her bring it over. Or he might cook one on his rotisserie grill. The turkey is accompanied with the usual Thanksgiving fair......mashed potatoes, maybe some sweet potatoes, perhaps squash, and definitely stuffing. In fact, I believe for the past few years they've made THREE kinds of stuffing - one regular stuffing that goes inside the bird, one without meat for any non-meateaters, and traditional French pork stuffing. Corn and carrots will probably be the vegetables. And finally, my Dad makes banana fritters. Why? Who knows? Actually, I think it started many years ago when my Aunt Claire and Uncle Rudy used to come to Thanksgiving and my Dad made them one year on a whim...my Aunt liked them so much she requested them the following year...and a tradition was born. The really cool thing about this is....my Dad knows how much I detest bananas, so every year he makes me my own little plate of apple fritters. AND .....strangely enough.....we all love the little bits of crunchy batter that ends out floating on the top of the oil after my Dad is done cooking the fritters. So my Dad scoops them up and puts them on a plate and we eat them. We call them "pitons". Naturally, there'll be lots and lots of desserts. My sister will make some cheesecake because Sister Marcelle loves it. I think she also said she's making some sort of pumpkin whoopie pies? And we are bringing an apple pie. I think DIL Kara is bringing a dessert and so is sister-in-law Ruth. I think that might be enough! After dinner the table is cleared and the dishes are done. A new tradition was born a few years ago....Mom uses paper plates! That tradition started because while my daughter and nieces were doing the dishes, they were singing at the top of their lungs. The threat was made that we'd use paper plates the following year if they didnt' stop....the singing got louder (they're not stupid!!) and Mom followed through and got paper plates the next year. Then we all sit and talk....some play cards....a couple times Hubby has brought his guitar and he and my nephew jam a bit. It's all very lazy and lots of fun. More often than not some of the old stories come out about the trouble we got into as kids. Once in a while, we slip up and Mom and Dad hear stories they hadn't heard before. Oops! I suspect that pretty soon the stories will be coming out from MY kids about the mischief they got into and the things I never heard about! It will be a long, lovely day and we'll go home full and happy and tired. Perfect.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This weekend was a "grandchildren" weekend. On Saturday we babysat Emily. Doug and Kara just wanted to spend some time out together so we went over around 3pm. Emily was up from her nap and in great form. We had a good time playing with her. She loved playing with Pepere. He'd put a ball under his shirt and then ask her where it was and she'd come over and smack his stomach until he pulled it out. Of course, she had to do it over and over and over again! After a while we gave her some supper, which she ate like she hadn't eaten in days. Then it was bath-time. She loves getting herself soaked. She takes the little tupperware containers that she uses to play with in the tub and manages to fling the water in them perfectly so it lands all over her face and head. She laughs like crazy. After bath she was very calm....so we picked up toys and watched a little Sesame Street. I had forgotten what a great show it is. So fun for kids and not a bad thing in it. We were just thinking of putting her to bed when Doug and Kara came home. They loved their time out but were happy to come home and see their baby. This afternoon we had Tag's kids over for Thanksgiving dinner. His son Kenny came with his friend Matthew, and his daughter Wendy came with her boyfriend Allan and their son Noah. Noah is two months old already! He's a very solemn little guy. It's hard to get him to smile. I managed a couple of half-grins and one full blown smile. I don't get to see him much so I grabbed him as soon as they came in and hogged him most of the night! He ate and slept and kept us amused. I couldn't resist this photo of "Uncle Kenny" holding his nephew.
And I tried hard to get him to smile.....he's so serious!
video

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cell phones!! PLEH!!!

I've ranted about cell phones before. When I was substitute teacher they were the bane of our existence.....causing so much havoc they FAR outweighed the "benefit" most parents profess....that being that they can get in touch with their little cherubs any time they want. (which is assuming the little cherubs actually answer the phone when the caller ID says it's MOM).
I'm not substituting anymore, but cell phones are still a pain in the #@*. When you're driving behind someone and they're going slow as molasses, and weaving all over the road.....chances are they're talking on a cell phone. Go ahead. Check it out next time you finally pass someone you've been following for the past 700 miles. They'll be chatting on their cell phone totally oblivious to the road or the person behind them going into a rage because they need to GET somewhere (dammit).
Today at work, I had a woman who was trying to do some fairly complicated business with me, yet kept answering her cell phone and chatting while I was trying to do her transaction. We are supposed to be extremely friendly and polite to all clients so I didn't go with my first inclination, which was to say, "you go ahead and finish your conversation and I'll just wait on the person waiting behind you. You can go to the END of the line when you're done." (Although I thought that was fairly polite!!) Instead I just asked her for info (address, phone number) while she was talking and she finally said to the person on the phone that she'd have to call them back. Thank you!!
I'm not totally anti-cell phone. I own one myself. But I would never talk on it at the counter of a store, in a restaurant, or while I'm driving. I have a little common sense. Apparently most people don't.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stuff

So we're all pretty happy that gas prices are going down. Most people I know have been trying to cut back or be conservative with their gas usage to cut their costs. But one thing I've seen quite often is something I don't quite understand. Parents DRIVE their children to the bus stop, then sit in the car with the engine idling and wait for the bus. HUH??
First of all, if the children are elementary age, the bus stop is usually right in front of the house. We've all been behind a bus when it stops at every single house along the road so the precious babies don't have to actually WALK next door to the neighbor's driveway. OR - the bus stop is at the end of a sidestreet, in which case, I see no reason the parent can't simply WALK with their child and stand to wait for the bus. I know, I know......some parents are sitting there in their cars anxiously awaiting the bus so they can take off and get to work on time. In that case, why don't they just drive their child to school and make things easier for everyone??? Just wondering.
Maybe this is why parents have to be there with their kids at the bus stop.
I've talked before about the traffic situation in my town. We're gearing up for the worst time of the year. Between now and Christmas it's going to be a zoo. I've had experience before with trying to go to the grocery store the week of Thanksgiving. I've personally seen the lines go through the store, around the produce department and lined up along the meat case at the back of the store. Are you kidding????
Because I hate (and I mean HATE) traffic, crowds and shopping, I decided to go out today after work (I worked 1/2 a day so it was only 12:30) and get the things I needed to do Thanksgiving dinner for my Hubby's kids on Sunday, as well as everything I need to keep us going until NEXT weekend, so as not to go into the store again before Thanksgiving.
I was pretty lucky. When I got in line at the register, there were only two people in each line. By the time I got to the cashier, I looked back and there were five people in each line. I got there just in time. But it raises the question....if I'm almost a WEEK ahead of time, and the store was so busy, how early would I have to start shopping in order to shop in relative peace and quiet? Two weeks? A month? and how do you buy fresh vegetables and stuff that far in advance? And .......God forbid.......what if you forgot something and just have to run in for ONE item??
I'd like to have Thanksgiving with all my family and all the fixin's but with nobody else in the world around!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Open Mic

Hubby and I were the "feature" at an open mic last night. For those who are uninitiated, an open mic is usually held in a small room in a cafe, a church hall, a community building.....where ever someone will give you space. Anyone can participate. Most of the time it's "old men with guitars" as we say. Just regular people who like to come out and sing and play an instrument. Often better-known (and better-abled) singers come out to use the open mic to try out new songs they've written....sort of a practice for gigs they might have in the future. Usually everyone gets one or two songs, but the feature gets a half-hour. Hubby's friend Betsi runs an open mic in Concord, MA , http://www.elizabethmandrioli.com/twice_told_open_stage.htm and offered to let us be the feature. Hubby is an excellent and very versatile musician. He's written many songs....most of them unfinished. So our first challenge was to pick the songs and the second challenge was to get them finished. Most importantly we had to practice. When Hubby sings on his own, he "wings it" a lot of the time, which is great. It makes for some interesting and wonderful songs. But when he wants to sing with me, we have to practice. We did practice quite a bit in the past month, and he did finish writing his songs. We sang five or six songs. For some he played guitar, for one song he played banjo, a couple on the ukelele and one on the keyboard. I'm not sure how we sounded, but we had a great time. And that's the bottom line. We want everyone to enjoy the music, but more importantly we want to have a good time at it. Hubby already has that attitude. He doesnt' care what people think and usually I'm the opposite. I fret and worry and get all worked up. But last night I went in with the attitude of - 'I'm here for Hubby, to enjoy ourselves and I'm going to let myself go and have fun"....and I did! Hubby's son Kenny came with his friend Matthew. Hubby was extremely pleased that he came out to see us. And Matthew signed up and played and sang a beautiful song.....such talent! I'm glad he came on after us! Five things I am thankful for: 1. That I have the whole day off today and can get lots of stuff done this morning before going to babysit Emily this afternoon. 2. That Hubby and I had such a good time last night. 3. That the sun is out even though it's "briskly cold". 4. That the price of gas is going down, down, down. 5. That I'm not rich enough to have money in the stock market because that is also going down, down, down!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Madagascar 2

Hubby and I got to take my niece to see Madagascar 2 at the movies yesterday. It's her ninth birthday next month and we wanted to take her out for her present. It was also a great opportunity for me to go see a children's movie and not look stupid cause I didn't have a child with me.
We told Laura we'd get her some snacks. Little did I know that they had containers of loose candies with scoops and little white bags so you could pick and choose your candy and pay for it by the pound.....$8.99 a pound, to be exact! I told Laura she could fill the bag up to the bottom fold line - she negotiated for the middle fold line. I put some candy in my bag and weighed it and determined that we could each get 1/2 pound of candy. We had a blast filling our scoops with everything from gummi bears to raisinettes to sour patch candies and weighed in. My bad was .45 lbs. Laura's bag was .58 lbs. Hubby's bag was .75 lbs!
The movie was a lot of fun. My only disappointment was that they advertised 37% more penguins and I'm sure there was NOT more penguins in this movie than their was in Madagascar 1. But it was great....the humor was funny for the kids as well as the adults. We had a good time. There's nothing like seeing a movie with a kid to make you enjoy it more.
Five things I am thankful for today:
1. It hasn't snowed yet.
2. I have a niece young enough to take to children's movies.
3. In a couple of years I'll have a grand-daughter old enough to take to children's movies.
4. I passed the test for Disney Academy and got my Mickey ears with the mortarboard on top in the mail. 5. I can put my jammies on now as soon as I get home because it's dark out so early.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kids These Days

Tonight we went to a community theater production of "Forever Plaid". I had never seen it before....didn't even know what it was about. Hubby and I had a good time...the show was cute. Not great - it was Community Theater after all - but it was fun. We brought our own wine and popcorn, saw some old friends, and enjoyed the show and the music. There was, however, one thing I did not like. Someone brought their toddler. Why do people do that? Why do they think it's okay to bring an 18 month old to an adult production and keep them up until at least 10:00? And why do they think everyone else in the theater wants to hear their child babbling away during the most sentimental scene in the show? The little girl was actually pretty well-behaved. She didn't cry, scream or run around. But she obviously had no interest in the show, and her parents spent the whole night appeasing her, feeding her, walking her, and doing whatever was humanly possible to keep her quiet. Do they think she's just so darn cute that no one else will mind? Well.......I did. And I paid for my ticket to be there. I'm sure there were other young couples there who had paid a babysitter so they could go out for an adult evening, and instead they had to listen to someone else's child. ugh! We had a Dad come into our office today with his little boy who was about 3. Dad was getting some maps and tourbooks and the little boy wanted something too, so my boss gave him a Disney brochure. Dad says, "say thank-you" and the little boy would not. Dad repeated it a few times and the little boy just ignored him. Finally, Dad said, "If you don't say thank-you, we will give the book back." I thought - Oh boy - Dad's setting himself up. To my surprise, he followed through. Dad took the book and gave it back, which of course made the little boy start screaming. Dad picked him up and carried him outside. Despite the fact that it made us uncomfortable, and I think it made my boss feel kind of bad that her nice gesture turned into a fiasco, I think Dad did the right thing. He made a threat, and he followed through. What was great was - a few minutes later the door opens and it's Dad and son. Dad says, "I think he had a change of heart" and the little boy said, "thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you". That must have been SOME discussion in the car! The little boy got his book........and a very good lesson from a very smart Dad.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Fill-in

1. Please feel free to use your manners. 2. When I use my bread-maker to make home-made bread I can't help sniffing it occasionally. 3. My favorite thing to cook is crepes. 4. Time spent enjoying the outdoors with my hubby is something I can't get enough of. 5. That's the thing I love most about my family is our closeness. 6. Rude and ignorant people always makes me think to myself, what the heck? 7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to working on a special secret Christmas project, tomorrow my plans include working in the morning and going to see a community theater presentation of "Forever Plaid", and Sunday, Hubby and I are taking our niece to the movies to see "Madagascar 2" (37% more penguins!) for her birthday. THINGS I'M GRATEFUL FOR TODAY: 1. Penguins! 2. That I finished my special secret Christmas project before the deadline. 3. That I'm safe and warm. 4. That it's time for bed....I'm tired! 5. That I dont' have to get up until 7:30 tomorrow morning.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How Can One Baby Be So Cute?

Yesterday was my babysitting day. Always a pleasure. Every week when I see Emily she is doing something new. This week she was just popping out with words all over the place. Every time I said something, she would repeat the last word of my sentence. "Emmy, are you sitting in that box?" She'd reply, "Box". She said Elmo, Big Bird, stairs, buttons, dish, up, down, duck, dog, etc. It was amazing that she figured out what words meant and could repeat them so quickly. She did keep me running back and forth yesterday. She loves to press the buttons on the tv. She knows to press the button to turn the TV on and then she presses a button for "touch focus" and the tv makes these red and blue and green lines going up and down the screen. She was fascinated by it. At one point I just let her go for it because, frankly, I was tired of getting up and re-directing her away from the TV. It was funny that she'd push the ON button, push the focus button, then just stand there and watch it like she was watching a show. Besides the buttons on the tv, her next favorite thing is climbing on the couch. I don't know of her mommy and daddy let her do that, but I don't.....mostly because I don't want her falling off and knocking out a tooth on my watch! So every time she'd start climbing, I'd be up and moving her away from the couch. She has endless energy....I don't! She did a couple of funny things yesterday. She actually played hide and seek with me with her rubber ducky. I'd very obviously hide it behind me and say "where's the duck?" and she'd go find it. At one point, I hid it under her blanket and she went over and whipped the blanket off to find the duck. Then she decided SHE would hide it, only she didn't really get that you had to put the duck UNDER the blanket. She just put it on top......but then laughed hysterically when she whipped the blanket up and there was the duck!! I was sitting on the floor at one point and she had her back to me. As she walked away from me, I'd grab her back and pull her in for some kisses until she was laughing. Then I'd put her down and she'd take a few steps and I'd snatch her back. I did that four or five times.....then I let her walk away without snatching her back. After six or seven steps she realized I was not going to grab her so she glanced behind her to see if I was still there. When she saw that I was.....she walked backwards toward me until she was close enough for me to grab her! It's such a pleasure to play with her. She's 15 months old and everything is new and exciting and fun. Sometimes I just look at her with a funny face and she cracks up laughing. Too bad you can't do that with adults without them thinking you're weird!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm Complaining

I do this every year and it does absolutely no good. I complain because Christmas starts too early. You all know how it works.....the decorations and things in the stores BEFORE Halloween, the advertising on the TV at the same time. Of course everyone knows why the retailers do it. It's a fact that the earlier people start spending money, the more they spend. It makes sense. You start early and get all your shopping "done". Then you see that one cool thing for somebody. Even though you already bought them a gift, you can't resist buying them this item. And then if you bought that one something extra, you really should get something extra for the others.........and on and on it goes. The other problem in my area is the traffic. Yesterday was Veteran's Day and the schools were off. Some companies were out of work, others weren't. But the stores were packed with people trying to get a head-start on their Christmas shopping. And it'll just get worse and worse from here. I feel bad for the lonely Thanksgiving holiday. A lot of people forget about it. But I think it's the best holiday. No rushing around buying presents, no craziness with the kids. Just a nice holiday to be with your family and eat a nice meal. I sincerely hope it stays just the way it is. I nice quiet holiday. I never want to see it get all hyped up like Christmas has become. My five things to be thankful for today: 1. I am thankful for Thanksgiving! 2. I am thankful that I have family close by so we can all be together for Thanksgiving. 3. I am thankful that I had yesterday off and was able to go visit my sister. 4. I am thankful that I get to babysit my grand-daughter today. 5. I am thankful that so far, everyone in my family still has jobs and are able to survive in the difficult economy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Update

So I wrote an email to the company that was selling the item on Ebay:
I received your email stating I have won my auction on Ebay for item #260309742884. I read in your instructions that items can only be shipped to the billing address on my credit card. I've had a problem in the past having packages shipped to my house. I live in a locked condo, and if no one is home UPS or other shippers cannot leave the package on the doorstep. I have been having my packages shipped to my husband's work address so someone will be there to receive it. The only way I can have packages sent to the house is through regular USPS mail because we have big locked mail boxes where they can leave it. Please advise if you ship it UPS or USPS. If it's UPS or other similar shipping company it will have to be sent via my husband's work address.
The answer I got:
Thank you for contacting us. The item will be shipped by FedEx. When using a credit card to pay for the item we will only ship to the credit cards billing address due to fraud. If you have a paypal account you can add your husbands work address to this account and then we can send it there. If you do not and would like it send to your husbands work address you will need to select one of the other payment methods. Postal money order walmart money order, Western union wire, bank to bank transfer. We are not held by the credit cards rules when paying with one of these alternate methods and we can ship the item any where you would like it sent. If you have any questions on this please let me know.
So I decided to go the Paypal route. I had to go in and add my husband's work address as a "gift address" in order for them to be able to send it there. The only other problem I had was that they still had my previous name - from before I got married 2 1/2 years ago - and there was no way I could change it. Supposedly, the name on the card has to match the card number. But Paypal accepted the payment so we'll see what happens.
Things I am thankful for today:
1. That an extra cup of tea got rid of my headache this morning.
2. That I was really busy at work and the time flew by.
3. That the only mistake I made at work today was not my fault.
4. That I got to visit my brother and his family yesterday.
5. That tomorrow is Veteran's Day and we have the day off. (even though I don't get paid for it......which doesn't sound very thankful....sorry!)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Here we go again

After touting the joys of internet shopping, I may have hit a snag. If you read my blog about UPS you'll know that I went through hell with them trying to get a part delivered for our computer. As a result, I decided to have everything I ordered online sent to Hubby's work so there would be someone there to receive it.
Today I bid on an item on Ebay and won the auction. The item is a Christmas gift for a family member. Once again, I figured I would have it delivered to Hubby's workplace. But when I read the instructions, the vendor had written that the shipping address had to match the billing address of the credit card used! Or, if I used Paypal, it could only be shipped to the address on the Paypal account. DAMN!!
I sent an email to the vendor, explaining the situation and asking if they could make an exception and send it to a different address. I'm hoping I'll get a response tomorrow. If they won't, my only recourse might be to send a bank check via snail mail and wait for it to be cashed, then they'll send me my item. It will take a lot longer, but I'm not in any rush. Christmas is still a few weeks away!
But all this "red tape" made me think of how easy things used to be. If you needed something, you walked over to the General Store and got it. If you couldn't pay for it right away they would put it on your tab. No need to show ID, or have your check approved, or have your credit card denied.
I noticed the same thing when I went to the RMV the other day. Hubby's car somehow lost its license plate so I had to go get a new one. I had the little form all filled out and my $4 for a new plate ready. I thought it would be a simple thing to order it. As it turns out, I spent about 15 minutes at the counter while the woman did things on her computer, then she had to issue me a new registration with new little stickers since all the numbers had to match and she had to give me a cardboard temporary plate as well as a temporary registration for THAT so I'd have something on the car until the new plate was mailed to me! Crazy, huh? I'm sure the people who drove those first Model-T's had no license, no registration, no fees, no excise tax, etc. They just got in and drove. Life was so simple then.
Now when I look out at the traffic congesting my streets, and think about the horrible economy we live in because so many people over-extended themselves with mortgages and credit, I wonder what it would have been like back then. Probably physically more difficult, but I bet those people lived with a lot less stress.
**** It cracks me up that Hubby noticed that the picture I used of the old car DOES have a license plate attached to the front of it!! I guess I didn't pick a car that was old enough. According to my research the first license plates were issued @1903. Massachusetts (of course) was the first to issue "state license plates". **************

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Open Mic

Hubby is a musician and loves to get up and sing and perform. I am quite the opposite....the opposite of a musician being ...uhm....I don't know what you'd call me but I'm definitely non-musical. But Hubby loves for me to get up and sing with him, so I've been going to open mics with him and singing....totally against my better judgement. In a couple of weeks we are going to be a "feature" at an open mic. The feature gets to sing for about a 1/2 hour instead of just being allowed the usual two songs that the regular open mic people get. That means we have to have about 6-8 songs prepared.
We've been practicing, but not enough for me. Hubby would be happy to get up there and "wing" it....but I can't do that. I have to practice over and over again because I don't have the natural ability to know when to come in with the next line of lyrics, etc.
Tonight we sang two of the songs we've been preparing for the feature. We did okay. We stumbled a bit through the second one, mostly because we had just finished actually writing it this afternoon!! If I can, I'll get Hubby to practice with me every night now until November 18. I need it.
Five things I'm thankful for today:
1. A hubby who wants me to sing with him even though I stink.
2. A hubby who willingly makes apple pies while I'm at work.
3. A hubby who left the kitchen nice and clean after he finished making his apple pies.
4. A hubby who is going through his coin collection to chose just the right coin to bring to my niece tomorrow because he knows it will make her happy. (he usually brings her a nice seashell or a pretty rock)
5. A hubby who willingly went grocery shopping with me this afternoon even though it's a Saturday and the traffice was intolerable. He also carried in all the heavy bags.

Friday Fill-in

1. My blueprint for success includes being loved by those who surround me 2. A mini-Snickers bar from the basket on the counter in our office was the last candy I ate. 3. The best facial moisturizer I've ever used is Bath and Bodyworks Raspberry face lotion. 4. Discussing problems (actually, ranting about my day) with my Hubby can be good therapy. 5. I'd like to tell you about my Grandchildren! 6. Showing my family how much I love them is my strongest characteristic. 7. And as for the weekend, tonight (which was actually last night, Friday) Hubby and I will watch "The Pink Panther" DVD that my friend let us borrow, tomorrow my plans include working in the morning, grocery shopping in the afternoon for our dinner with my brother on Sunday, and going out to an Open Mic at night, and Sunday, I want to go to my brother's house for the football game.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Already Christmas Shopping!

I really detest Christmas shopping. Not because of spending money. I'm fine with that. What I hate is going into the stores and the traffic. We live in Salem, NH which is the shopping capitol of the world ..... or at least of New Hampshire. We have every store imaginable and many that I don't think we really need. Starting NOW it gets crazy. People are out shopping already and from the week of Thanksgiving on, the traffic is so bad we can't get out of our driveway. So a few years ago I found the wonder and joy of Internet Shopping!! It's a Godsend. I absolutely love it. Sit at the computer, often with my jammies on and visit store after store, comparison shopping, finding the best bargains, picking out exactly the size and color I need. Without having to drive through traffic, put up with rude drivers, fight shoulder to shoulder with other shoppers only to find out that the item I wanted is sold out, or they don't have the right color or size. Most sites have extremely low or free shipping at this time of the year. Internet shopping is a miracle! So yesterday I started shopping, and I've already bought 5 or 6 gifts and gotten some really great ideas for some others. I learned the hard way (see the UPS rant blog entry) not to have stuff shipped to my house unless it's small enough to fit in the mailbox and I am SURE it is being sent through the post office. Otherwise it gets sent to my husband's work where I know someone will be there to sign for/receive it. My favorite sites are; Deepdiscount.com, Overstock.com and Amazon.com Check them out! My 5 things to be Thankful for: 1. That the rain that is currenly pouring down right now is not snow. 2. That I worked today....and will be working permanently.....in Salem which is a 3 minute commute and I can go home and eat lunch. 3. That the elections are over, the signs are coming down, and the commercials that are on the air are not political ones. 4. That we have a VCR and can tape shows so as to avoid commercials altogether. 5. That tonight is Survivor night and I can sit decadently on the couch and veg while I watch it....followed by ER!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm Thankful for.......

My five things I'm thankful for today: 1. Having the opportunity to babysit my grand-daughter.....she's so much fun! 2. Being able to shop for Christmas online....I hate shopping in stores! 3. that I'm becoming more comfortable in my job. I felt very efficient today. 4. That my new shoes are comfortable and don't hurt my feet. 5. Even though the economy is lousy, we have enough to put food on the table and to pay our bills.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Did You Vote????

Hubby and I just went to the polling place and cast our vote for President. It really is an awesome experience to have the freedom to do that. I felt very "American". The FOX news truck was there and the guy was doing a spot when we walked in but we didn't get a chance to be on TV. Oh well. My five things to be thankful for today: 1. That it was a gorgeous fall evening and Hubby and I could walk hand-in-hand to vote. 2. That I got to have lunch with my Mom, whom I've been missing. 3. That I'm feeling more comfortable in my job and not like such a dolt who makes mistakes every time she turns around. 4. That the new shoes I bought turned out to be comfortable. 5. That I thought to put some money away every paycheck for a "Christmas Club" and now I don't feel bad spending it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Challenges

I received two challenges today....one was from Heidi Lou http://heidilou.wordpress.com/ who challenged me to tell her seven things about myself that people probably don't know. So....
1. I was best man at my brother's wedding.
2. I have 25 first cousins on my mother's side of the family.
3. I love to go white water rafting but I'm too scared to go downhill skiing.
4. I can cross-stitch but can't knit.
5. My first and only plane ride was when I was 40 years old.
6. My first time out of the USA was when I was 47 years old.
7. I've written a full-length novel but haven't been able to get it published.......yet.
The other challenge was from Joan http://joanoh2.blogspot.com/ who challenged me to say five things I'm thankful for EVERY DAY between now and Thanksgiving! So I am thankful for......
1. Getting a second chance at marriage and finding the love of my life.
2. Having children who are smart, responsible and are leading the lives of fine, upstanding young adults.
3. My parents who are healthy and active.
4. Two adorable grandchildren.
5. Siblings with whom I'm close and have a lot of fun with.
Speaking of having fun with my siblings reminded me of this picture I have to share with you. It was at my brother's wedding a couple of years ago. My mom wanted a nice picture of just her "children" and we weren't in the mood to cooperate.
On the left is my "baby" brother John, my sister Chris, myself and my brother Steve.
My mom loved the picture so much she had a copy framed for each of us and gave it to us for Christmas.

Manchester Animal Shelter

Son Nicholas has gotten involved in the animal shelter where he lives in Manchester, NH. http://www.manchesteranimalshelter.org/ He volunteers his time two nights a week to go and care for the dogs and cats and walk the dogs. He also sometimes spends extra time there when they're holding a special event. This weekend they had an "Adopt-a-thon". They reduced the cost of adopting a pet in order to try and adopt out more animals.
The shelter is a "no-kill" shelter which means that once they get an animal they keep it there until it's adopted. Some of the animals have been there for months. They also take in animals through the police department. These animals were the pets of people who were arrested and they have nowhere else to go. The shelter houses these animals until the person's court case it finished.....again, sometimes for months.
We went up there yesterday to see the place where Nick spends a lot of his time. It's a very tiny place, jammed packed with cages full of cats. I didn't count, but there were a lot, mostly grown cats, which are harder to adopt out than kittens. There were a dozen dogs as well. Despite the cramped quarters, the place was very clean and the animals were very well taken care of.
I was very impressed with the whole situation and very impressed with my son. He puts a lot of time, effort and passion into his volunteer work. If it wasn't for people like him, these poor animals wouldn't have any place to go. Kudos to Nick.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween

This year for Halloween we got to go out with baby Emily. Doug and Kara had made arrangements to go to her parents' house and walk around their neighborhood because they live in a cul-de-sac and it would be safer. We laughed at the fact that usually, there's four or five kids and one parent. We had five adults (me, hubby, Doug, Kara and Kara's dad) with just Emily! Kara's aunt had bought Emily a costume last year right after Halloween for pennies on the dollar. (smart woman!) The costume was a skunk!! Doug got a huge kick out of the fact that other little girls were dressed as princesses, and his daughter was a skunk!!
Emily got her first fright as we gathered outside the house to leave. They have a little mechanical skeleton on the front porch that is voice-activated. Emily walked up all friendly-like and said "Hi" and when it moved it scared the be-jeesus out of her!

She wasn't scared at all about being outside in the dark, and she wasnt' scared by all the kids in costumes. Although no one in a really scary outfit came right up to her. It was a gorgeous night....about 50 degrees and perfect New England Autumn weather. We went to three or four houses and everyone thought Emily was adorable. The funniest thing - the thing that made us laugh all night long - was that the costume was big and fat, and made her waddle when she walked just like a real skunk!!