Monday, March 30, 2009

Internet Dependent

It's very very scary how dependent we've all become on the internet. Our internet at work went down on Saturday morning and we had nothing. to. do. We couldn't book passengers on airlines...couldn't find hotels for them....couldn't put payments into the system.....etc, etc, etc. We were hoping our internet would get back up quickly but it didn't. When we came into work this morning it was still down. So we started figuring out how to do some work without it. No whitepages.com? Use the phonebook. No websites to do direct booking? Use the phone and call to book a client No payment system? Write out handwritten receipts. No Interoffice email? Call people on the phone. There were some things we just couldn't do, like make trip maps or book some reservations. One of the girls abandoned ship and went to another branch office where they had all the comforts and amenities. Our IT guy finally patched together a system for us to use around 3pm. We got as much done as we could but will have to wait to do the rest tomorrow.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Here Comes.........

SPRING!!
Okay.......I haven't seen any flowers like that yet here in New England.....but I'm sure they're on their way.
The weather has been warm(er) and most of the snow has melted! (please, please....snow gods....don't jinx me for saying that!)
Because the weather is so much nicer and the winter was so long and difficult, we decided to go out for some hiking today.
Please understand that when I say "hiking" I do NOT mean UPHILL! I mean ..... a walk in the woods.
We had decided to go to our beloved Parker's for lunch/dinner (Linner? Dunch?). I had to work this morning so we couldn't go for breakfast but it's okay......they serve breakfast all day.
Whilst we were out that way, we figured why not pick one of the State Parks we haven't been to yet and do a little hiking. I found Pearl Hill State Park which looked like it had some nice little hiking trails.
It turned out to be a gem. The first thing we found was the "Nature Trail" which meandered beside a very beautiful babbling brook. There was still quite a bit of snow on the trail and a considerable amount of mud, but we found ways to get across it. And I only slid in the mud and fell on my butt once!
After we got through the Nature Trail we decided to do walk around the campground road which was a big loop. Yikes! The road went up and down quite a bit so there were some friggin' hills involved but with a lot of huffing and puffing and even more encouragement from my Hubby (Thanks Hubby!) I made it all the way around.
What I found unbelievable was the utter devastation that our area experienced from the ice storm last December. There were crazy amounts of limbs and trees down. Parts of the road were just covered and we saw many places where someone had already been there to cut up trees that were blocking the road.
When I had gone online to look for a State Park to hike in, I found several that were posted "closed indefinitely" because they had sustained so much damage. It still amazes me the amount of carnage that storm caused.
We're going to try to visit all different State Parks this summer. The more often we can go, the more we hike and the more my damn cholesterol will go down.
It probably would go down quicker if I didn't eat a huge breakfast/lunch/dinner at Parker's first.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

250?? WHA??

Yesterday I went for the second half of my physical. I asked the nurse practitioner why they do it in two visits and she said because it would make one visit too long. I'm sure the $20 co-pay per visit had nothing to do with it.
This visit was for my prod-n-poke. All seemed well there, thank you very much. What I DID like about this is that the nurse practitioner had all my results from my lab tests from the first visit.
Most things were fine except for the DAMN cholesterol. I've been hovering right around 200 for the last few years. And somehow.....someway.......it's gone up to 250. Perhaps the 10 15 pounds I've gained since my marriage in 2006 has something to do with it?
Or perhaps it's the habit I picked up from Hubby of having ice-cream every night. Or maybe even Hubby's delicious fried chicken.
Now I have three months to get it under control or they'll want to put me on medication. Grrrr.
Good-bye red meat, ice cream and fried foods. Hello long walk every night. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
On another subject:
Did we all watch American Idol last night? Not a bad night overall. But I'm picking either Michael - the poster child for "white men can't dance" - Megan - "I wanna be a rocker but I have a voice like a mouse" - or Scott to leave tonight. Would it be un-PC for me to pick on Scott? I don't care that he's blind......he just can't sing. And he's been there much longer than he should have been.
Did you see Adam????? Oh my God, I am in love! He looked so beautiful with his sweet baby face showing and his hair slicked back. He looked like a very young and very sexy Elvis. And his slow crooning song was phenomenal. And we all thought he was just a rocker?
Survivor had their episode on a "special night" last night - stupid March Madness ruining my TV viewing pleasure. When they have Survivor on the "special night" it's always a review show. "All new scenes never before shown." Bleh. I'd rather see a new episode.

Monday, March 23, 2009

And Just Keep On Eating

After our gastronomically intense evening on Friday night (see previous post), I just kept on with the whole eating theme for the rest of the weekend.
I worked on Saturday morning but then we went to my brother John's house on Saturday night. We hadn't visited with them since my brother's birthday at the end of January so we had lots of catching up to do. As I've said before my brother is a really good cook. He made us a chicken roasted on the rotisserie, baked sweet AND regulary potatoes, stuffing and two kinds of veggies. mmmmmmmmmmm. And of course chocolate cake for dessert. Besides the food we had a good time visiting. A couple times my SIL suggested popping in a movie, but we were so busy gabbing we never got around to it.
Sunday morning Hubby made me his yumdillyicious french toast. Sadly, we had to use FAKE maple syrup cause we ran out of the good stuff. Oh well, that's just going to entail a trip to Parker's Maple Barn next Sunday morning for some real maple syrup and of course, breakfast!
After breakfast we went to Westford to visit Hubby's Mom (we haven't seen her since Christmas! Bad Son!) His sister gave us some of her home-made fudge. (I told her she was evil when she offered to send some home with us).
We then went right around the corner to a friend's house who was having a jam. There were maybe 15-20 people there with all kinds of instruments. Hubby brought his guitar, keyboard and banjo but only ended out playing the banjo.

Since I am "musically challenged" I played the 'egg' and pounded on somebody's bongos. The music was great.....the problem was it was a potluck and everyone made such delicious food. And then when everyone moved the jam over to the open mic that was being held in town.......they packed up all the leftover food and brought THAT to the open mic! So the eating continued.

Today will be a day of rest from gluttony. But tomorrow night I'm going out with "the girls".....to a new restaurant in town! OY!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Eat 'Til You Explode

Yesterday was just an eating-fest. Eat EAT E.A.T.!! That's all I did all day. The day started out normally enough with a nice bowl of oatmeal. Good girl. Then I went out to eat with my Mom and three of my cousins. We had a wonderful time and sat in Bertucci's for three hours gabbing. We had lots of free salad and shared some pizzas. Goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. mmmmmmmm....... Still not too bad, right? So Hubby is going to be displaying his art work at a restaurant called Dynamite Sushi in Nashua, which is where my daughter lives. He wanted to go there and look at the size of the space. As long as we were there, we figured we'd try out the food. Reasonable, right? I called up Jamie to see if she wanted to join us. She's coughing up a lung, but sure....why not. As we're driving to Jamie's house, I tell Hubby I'm not going to eat much at Dynamite Sushi. I had a big lunch. Hubby says he had a big lunch too. His company does "Free Food Friday" every other week and he had lots of free sandwiches. When Jamie got into the car, she said she wasn't going to have much either because she didn't feel great. We got to Dynamite Sushi and it was in a strip-mall. Jamie and I just looked at each other and Jamie said, "I don't have any great expectations for this place." Neither did I. Thankfully we were wrong. The place was great. Much nicer inside than you would think by looking at the outside. And the food was yummy. The group of people who had all declared we wouldn't eat much ordered the following: Ginger Tea (Jamie....good for her cold) Dumpling Soup (Jamie again....also good for her cold) Avacado and Cucumber Sushi (Me.....and it was delicious) Alaskan Sushi - Hubby Kimchee Salad - Hubby Some other kind of Soup - Hubby Now that doesn't sound too bad does it? Except for the orders of Crab Rangoon and Spring Rolls that we got to share. And we ate Every Single Thing. As if all this weren't bad enough....... We went and did some shopping and then just HAD to go to Dairy Queen and get some ice cream since that is the tradition when we go visit Jamie. And we all got Sundaes and/or Blizzards. Wow. And tonight we go to my brother John's house. He is an excellent cook and we'll probably eat our brains out again. And tomorrow is a musical jam/potluck dinner. I hope Hubby doesn't mind wheeling me to work in a wheelbarrow on Monday.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's HERE!

It certainly looks spring-ish here in New England today, even if it doesn't FEEL like spring. Bright and sunny but only in the 40's. But that's okay. It's not snowing. I say that very carefully because God knows it could change in an instant. They were actually having snow showers this morning in New York as I was watching the Today show. It could have been us. Happy Spring everyone! Enjoy it.....quick.....before it changes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bits n Pieces

* We're all hoping that Spring has finally made it here to New England. Our weather has been 40-50 degrees lately. Our last snowstorm was two weeks ago. Tomorrow is the actual first day of Spring. Unfortunately we New Englanders have learned to be wary. A blizzard in April is not unheard 0f.
* I spent an hour and a half outside yesterday playing with my grand-daughter. It was such a pleasure to bring her out. We played in her sandbox and swang (swung?) on her swing and she collected rocks from the edge of the driveway. She thought it was hilarious when I told her not to eat the rocks because they're "Bleccccccchhhhh". So funny in fact that she kept putting the rock up near - not in - her mouth to hear me make the sound.
* We went to an Open Mic on Tuesday night. It wasn't especially for St. Patrick's Day...it was their usual night for this Open Mic. But a lot of people did Irish songs anyway. We sang "The Unicorn Song" (it probably has a real name but I'm not sure what it is.) I was a bit surprised when Hubby suggested it.....I didn't think it was an Irish song. But then on the radio over the weekend it was named the "Most requested Irish Song". Go figure.
* I got a $50 gift certificate from work for selling the most Universal Tickets for the month of February. I decided I should spend it on myself and buy some spring clothes. I'm a cheapo so I stopped at Wally-world. I could not believe the butt-ugly clothes they had there! Every blouse had gathering across the top which made it look like a maternity top! I bought one long sleeve light-weight sweater thing because it was on clearance for $3. I guess I'm going to have to go to someplace like Dress Barn or Fashion Bug to get something decent.
* Survivor is not on tonight. I don't know why. Probably that stupid March Madness basketball. Who the heck cares about that??? And next week it's on Wednesday night. I hope I remember! I'll be so mad if I go to turn it on Thursday night and find out it was on the night before.
* American Idol is going along just as I thought it would. Alexis was kicked off last night and she deserved it. My guy Danny is still there. So is Hubby's pick Allison. We're going to have to make a bet on who is going to be the winner.
* Whatever happened to my Beauty and the Geek??
* Speaking of Survivor - I knew we were going out last Thursday night so I taped ....yes taped!....Survivor and ER. Unfortunately I didn't realize that we had never re-set our VCR to Daylight Savings Time! So I got the hour after Survivor and the hour after ER! I was kind of upset until I went online to see if maybe there'd at least be a synopsis of the show and found out I could watch the entire episode right on the computer! I was so happy! I love technology.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Paddy's Day

Today's the day when everyone is Irish. That's the way it is in the Boston area, anyway. How about in the rest of the country?
We've got only one Irish person in our office. Her name is Colleen so she's pretty Irish. She's the only one dressed in green. I don't even have anything to wear that's green!
Anyway, I haven't posted in three days because there wasn't much to post about. The weather's been nice.....the job's been the same.....the kids are good.....anything else?
My quest to stop taking ibuprofen is not going well. It's going well in that I'm not taking it....but not going well in that I haven't been sleeping at all. Is it psychosomatic? I don't know. I've never been a good sleeper. I've tried every sleeping trick in the book. I guess I'm just going to have to get used to not using the ibuprofen as a crutch.
My sister uses calcium and magnesium supplement to help her sleep. Has anyone ever heard of this? I've only taken it for a few days and only been taking one pill per night. Sis said it might take a week or two to feel the affects. I'm waiting........rather impatiently.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Another Gorgeous Day

Spring-like weather is here in New England, despite the snowstorm we had last Monday! Last weekend we made it up to the beach and today we wanted to get out and enjoy the good weather again.
We went to one of our favorite places....The Marginal Way in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, Maine. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this place before. It's a beautiful walkway along the rocky shore of Maine.

The views of the ocean are spectacular.

There are benches along the way to sit on and gaze at the ocean.

As a testament to how much New Englanders love the ocean......notice the layers of clothing we needed to wear even though it is "spring".

Did you notice Hubby's bare feet? Yes, he couldn't resist putting his feet in the water. Even though I know I'll be in trouble for adding this picture, I can't resist.

He admitted afterwards that the water was so cold it was actually painful for him to put his feet in. He did think it was worth it though.

It was a fun, relaxing day. We love being outdoors and love the beautiful sunshine and warmer weather. It always relaxes my soul to be around the ocean. Someday it would be incredible if we could live near the ocean. For now I'm content to go visit and spend the afternoon with my sweetheart and the sound of the surf.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Must Be Getting Old

Staying out late on a weeknight has gotten to be too much for me. When I was younger I could do it (as I'm sure we all could). But not anymore. Last night was an open mic called Stagecoach Showcase. It used to be Five Star Friday which......imagine this.......was on a Friday night. However, the venue...Stagecoach Inn....wanted to get "real" bands in there on Friday and Saturday nights, so they bumped the open mic to Thursday. As you can imagine the name Five Star Friday wasn't going to work so well. And since the host for the evening was changing as well, they decided to change the name to Stagecoach Showcase. We haven't been there since it moved. Last night, however, was a special night. One of the guys who is popular on the open mic circuit, Ellis Ralph, is moving to Arkansas. He found the true love of his life at "guitar camp" last summer and since she's been offered a job in Arkansas, they decided to get hitched and moved out there. So the host of open mic, Gail Picard, thought it would be nice if we dedicated this week's open mic to him as a tribute to his contributions to live music. Many, many people showed up. And almost everyone had either written a song about Ellis or covered one of his original songs. It was a fun night and a great tribute to a wonderful guy. We left the open mic at midnight and got home around 1am. By the time we relaxed and unwound we didn't get to bed until 1:30ish. And of course I couldn't get right to sleep. Part of the reason for my insomnia has to do with what time of the month it is (does anyone else have that problem for that reason?). I've tried taking sleeping aids (ie. Tylenol PM) but all it does is give me nightmares. I hit upon taking ibuprofen and.....whether it's a placebo effect or it really helps.....I've gotten into the habit of taking some every night before bed. But..............when I went for my physical last year they found a trace of blood in my urine. After lots of test they ruled out any serious problems and kind of blew it off. Then when I went for my physical this year.......a trace of blood again. I googled it (what else would you do???) and found that too much ibuprofen can cause blood in your urine and serious kidney problems. Yikes! I decided to talk about it with the doctor when I went for my follow-up appointment next week. Then Hubby came home last week and said a guy collapsed at work and was vomiting blood. After being taken by ambulance to the hospital and tested for everything....they determined he had ruined his stomach lining by taking too much ibuprofen! Well that decided me. I haven't taken any since, even though I felt like crap today. I had some nice green tea and relaxed this afternoon and I don't feel too bad. So I don't know if the feeling like crap has to do with that monthly time, insomnia, or staying out too late. Probably all three mixed together (it might have been the couple glasses of wine too....who knows?) All I know is that 10 20 25 years ago I could stay up most of the night and still be bouncing the next day. I was not bouncing today.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stolen Cartoon

I had to steal this cartoon because it goes so perfectly with my previous blog:
Thanks to my friend at The Zoo for unknowingly letting me steal her cartoon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Booby Squishy

Today was Booby Squishy Day. Yep, I had to go for a mammogram. Just my yearly check-up. For the first time I wanted to go. Crazy, you say? Not so crazy when Breast Cancer suddenly runs in your family.
Since my Mom was diagnosed a year ago last August, it's been on my mind that now I'm in a different percentage of people whose risk of breast cancer has increased. I've always been mindful of getting mammograms, but I was especially happy anxious to get it done this year.
It's embarassing for some people I know. But after the indignity of having three babies, a mammogram is nothing. They put you in a tiny curtained room that's half the size of a changing room at the local Walmart and ask you to put on a gown with the opening in front. Does the gown ever have laces that tie? Of course not. So you're sitting there with the gown pulled as tightly as possible around you and you're holding it together with your hands.
They called me into the room within two minutes and asked a few questions. I had to wipe off the deoderant I was wearing (which I'm sure the people I met later at Market Basket must have appreciated).
Then it's time for the big squisheroo. Standing at the machine, the tech asked me to whip out expose one breast at a time. That must have been for modesty's sake. The tech has no fear of just grabbing your breast and arranging it on the machine. Then she lowers the top part of the machine and squiiiiiiiiishes just enough.
For my bodacious and ginormous ta-ta's she had to take three pictures of each one. Yup.....they need a bigger machine for me. And each one had to have two angles done, so she did a total of 12 pictures.
I like the new digital mammography. She was able to view all the pictures and make sure they were clear and not fuzzy so they didn't have to be repeated. The very first mammogram I had done was not digital......and I got a letter in the mail a few days later asking me to come and have it repeated. I had a heart attack until I found out my films were just out of focus. Digital mammography removes all that.
Seriously........and I DO mean seriously..........please don't hesitate to go and get your mammogram. It's so, so, so important. Yes, it's scary. But it DOES NOT hurt. I was going name this post "Booby Squishy....ouch". But decided to delete the "ouch" because I dont' want people to think it hurts. Yes, it's uncomfortable. And not uncomfortable in the way a doctor says it's uncomfortable while you're writhing on the exam table. It hurts MUCH less than stubbing your toe...or hitting your funny bone.
So go get your mammogram. It could SAVE. YOUR. LIFE. Your life is worth saving, right?
Her shirt says, "Find a Cure Before I Grow Boobs!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Blog Award!!

My friend Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals sent me this beautiful blog award. Thanks Kaye! If you're a penguin lover as I am.....don't miss her blog. She has the cutest penguin icons all over her blog.
Here are the rules to keep the award moving:
Add the logo of the award to your blog
Add a link to the person who awarded it to youNominate at least 3 other blogs (Yes, Kaye, it did say 7 but that's so many! I choose to nominate 3)
Add links to those blogs on your blog
Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!
I've chosen the following blogs to receive the award:
How to be a Housewife - my good friend Joan authors this blog. It's funny and fun and interesting. And we get to see pictures and hear stories about her wonderful grandson Mr. B.
Thou Shalt Not Whine - funny and irreverent and also a great blog to read about her family.
The Meanest Mom - I just started reading this one and it's hilarious. So many stories about kids to share!I would re-nominate Pudgy Penguin Perusals but that would just be silly. I do love her blog so go check it out.

Whew!

What a nice weekend!
Friday night...... Chinese take-out.
Saturday morning.....work. The travel industry right now is buzzzzzzing. We have been crazy busy the last two Saturdays. It's tiring but Let's keep it up People! Stimulate that economy!
Saturday night we went to see "The Producers" at Theater at the Mount. It's a little out of our way....Gardner is over an hour from our house, but it's worth it. This is supposed to be community theater but it's a giant step above the usual community theater. I'll go so far as to say it's semi-pro. The show was excellent. We laughed all night long. The singing and dancing were great and the totally raunchy jokes and visuals were hilarious. If you live in the area I highly recommend it.
Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day here in New England. Sunny, 60 degrees.....it must be spring!! Of course Hubby and I had to go to the beach. 'Cause that's our thing. We love the beach. And we had a wonderful afternoon.....just walking on the beach, collecting shells and people-watching. And BONUS! The fried dough place was open!!! Those little holes-in-the-wall that sell pizza and stuff at the beach are not stupid. They know there's lots of crazies like Hubby and I who love the beach so much they'll go in the dead of winter. There were tons of people there yesterday.
And today it is SNOWING!!! Not just a little.....we're supposed get 1/2 a foot!! WTF????

Friday, March 6, 2009

Reality Shows

I'm hap-hap-happy that all my reality shows are back on again! It's still early on but I definitely have my favorites: American Idol - Hubby picked fake-red-haired sixteen year old I-forget-her-name. He also likes gothic-looking Adam. I like Adam too but I'm picking widower Danny. And not just because he's very sympathetic....I really like him. I was glad they went with a final 13. Although poor Anoop. They have to torture him like that? I thought he would have a heart attack. Amazing Race- I don't have a real favorite here. There's not actually anyone that I think is outstanding. So I'm going to give my top three - Mom and Deaf Son, Old-guy Dad and son, and the two little stunmen guys. AKA Margie and Luke, Mel and Mike, and Mark and Michael. Survivor - Another great year with some interesting characters. Coach is the one to hate. The other one that's pretty funny is Tyson. But I'm going to pick Taj here. She seems pretty savvy and while she's not really going under the radar, she's being careful. Although the previews for next week show her losing it .....so I hope I'm not making a bad choice here. Now if only Beauty and the Geek would come back on, my life would be complete.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Doctor Visit

An update on my ongoing saga about my doctor and my insurance company. I called on Monday to look for a new doctor and was able to get an appointment today. If I'd wanted to see the actual doctor, I would have had to wait until August. I agreed to see the nurse practitioner and got the appointment in two days. I was happy and comfortable with this doctor's office. I went today and had the basic physical - EKG, breath-test and usual ears, nose, throat etc. They sent me to the lab for bloodwork and I have an appointment next week for the mammogram. Then I go back March 25 for the pap smear and to sit and go over the test results. That's what I like. I will actually sit and talk with someone in person about my test results. No one will be sending me scary things in the mail that petrify me and then I can't call until the next day to find out what the hell is going on. So far so good. And I was even happy with the lab who got my blood with ONE stick! I have very bad (non-existent) veins that tend to collapse when they are stuck with a needle. So I've had some pretty nasty experiences with blood work. But this lady was great. Although it did perturb me a little when she sat at the receptionist desk and took all my info, then donned a white coat and met me in back for the blood draw! But she was good. I'm happy with things so far. Don't worry....you'll hear about it if things go bad.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

FACE2FACE

For the second time in my life I've paid an exhorbitant amount of money for something and I don't even feel badly about it.
I bought concert tickets yesterday.
To see BILLY JOEL AND ELTON JOHN! In concert.....Face to Face.
Strangely enough.....this concert is the same thing I spent an exhorbitant amount of money on the last time. Yes.....I went to the Face2Face concert 7 or 8 years ago when it came to Boston. And I spent an obscene amount of money for the tickets. But I didn't care.
It was the most awesome experience E.V.E.R!
They literally played for four hours. One hour of both of them playing together...one hour of Billy...one hour of Elton....and another hour of both. And every single song was a major hit. That you could sing along with. And I did.
I said if it ever came back I'd go again. And I am. This time it's at Guillette Stadium (where the Patriots play) in the summertime. Outside...which will be different and fun.
So mark your calendars for July 18th. Pray it doesn't rain......and come say hi to me if you're going as well.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Smile for the Camera!

Hubby and I had the joy of babysitting our grand-daughter last night. And I do mean joy. I've said it before and I'll say it again. She is really the happiest baby I've ever met.....and that's saying something considering I did child care for 25 years.
She makes me laugh over and over again. The funniest thing that happened yesterday (and I'm sure it'll lose something in the translation):
Emily was laying on a bouncy ball, rolling back and forth like they do with those exercise balls and I thought, "she's going to roll forward and do a face-plant". Sure enough, she did. I waited for the wail, but instead there were several seconds of silence followed by a muffled, "Uh oh" as her face was still implanted in the carpet. It didn't faze her for a single second. She got up and continued to play.
Speaking of the bouncy ball, she has a new game she plays with Pepere. It used to be Pepere would stuff the ball under his shirt and Emily would "find" it. The new game entails teasing Pepere with the ball.....actually holding it out to him then pulling it away and running over and giving it to Memere. Watch: video

For some reason, she has started to "smile" for the camera. Mom and Dad said they didn't teach it to her.....they have no idea where she got it.

Then it was time for Pepere's favorite part of babysitting. Taking the child out for ice cream. Last time we just let her lick a little ice cream off our cones. This time we got her her own dish of vanilla soft serve and let her go to town.
video
I think there might have been a little bit of "brain freeze" involved here. Either that or she didn't like the raspberry flavor of Pepere's ice cream that she stole from his bowl.
It's okay that she stole from him......because he did his share of stealing from her:

As always we had a blast. We gave her a nice tubby and had her in her jammies and all sweet-smelling when Mommy and Daddy got home.