Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Day with the Girls

Sunday was Parade Day in our town. For the past three or four years, we've taken my niece Laura to the parade. It's a fun tradition. This year Emily was old enough to join us. When I asked Laura if she'd mind us bringing Laura, she was ecstatic. Her first words were, "Now I can teach her how to roll down the hill." Because that is the most important part of the parade tradition (besides the collecting of candy) .....rolling down the hill right behind where we stand. Here for your enjoyment is a video of Laura - age almost 10 - trying to teach Emily - age 2 - how to roll down a hill. video We didn't get any really good pictures of the two girls actually watching the parade. But another part of the tradition is coming home to our house, drinking hot cocoa and a snack, and playing with all Pepere's toys. Pepere got in trouble for letting Emily use non-washable markers.

Emily and Laura play a duet on the keyboard. Emily gets a chance to bang on Pepere's new Tabla Drums. She asked us if we had any drumsticks.

Emily didn't quite get the hang of the slide whistle. Instead of blowing into it, she made the whistle sound with a high-pitched scream that was actually quite credible.
Emily enjoyed her first parade. She wasn't thrilled with the fire trucks. She sat facing me when something was scary, and hugged me tight. Then when it finally passed by she grabbed my cheeks, looked directly into my eyes and said, "It's okay."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Not the Friday I Planned........

My office was open today....Black Friday........but since I wasn't scheduled for Saturday, I took Friday off for a nice looooooong weekend.
I'm seriously not a shopper, and the thought of going out on Black Friday gives me the willies. My first idea was to stay sequestered in the house for the day.
Then Hubby found what he wanted for Christmas. They're called "Tabla Drums" and someone had them on Craigslist for a good price. After I told him we could get them, I realized they are in Coventry, RI. A two hour drive from our house.
So I virtuously offered up my Friday so we could go get them. Of course, I made it clear to Hubby that he needed to make it worth my while. So he perused the internet and found that Providence has a really nice zoo. Hubby knows I like zoos. So he offered that, with the addition of dinner at Cracker Barrel in Coventry, and the deal was made.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas. It rained, it poured, the wind was blowing. Not exactly a nice zoo day. But just the right kind of day to go to the movies. So we went to see A Christmas Carol in 3D.
Excellent movie, and really cool to watch it in 3D. It was very traditional, and very, very scary. Certainly not a film for children.
After we got home from the movie, we headed out in the rain to Coventry, RI to retrieve Hubby's Tabla Drums. We met up with the seller, forked over the cash, and now Hubby is the proud owner of his very own set of Tablas.
And Cracker Barrel was delicious.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks for Thankgiving

I'm most grateful tonight for the fact that we were able to have Thanksgiving at Mom and Dad's house this year. Mom has been pretty sick, and it was iffy up until the last minute on whether she'd be able to handle all the hulabaloo. But she insisted she wanted it at her house, and we bowed to her wishes. Everyone helped out.....as our family does when things are tough. Some of us helped with prep cooking, some helped set up, some helped serve dinner, some helped clean up. We tried to leave the house as organized and clean as we could. And Mom told me, when I kissed her good-bye, that she'd had a good day. Mission accomplished. We tend to forget to take pictures in the craziness of having dinner with 20 or so people. But Hubby did take a few....and here are some random ones: Dad all ready to make his famous "Turkey Carcass Soup". He boils his turkey carcass while we're all still there in readiness for making the best soup in the world. My niece Laura doing the traditional, "olives on the fingers" trick. This is a talent taught to children in our family when they're very young and passed down through the generations. We thought Laura might have to go find some super-sized olives this year....but she managed.
Our immediate family invites a couple of "stragglers". My cousin Paul is an only child and both of his parents have passed away. We enjoy inviting him and his very dry wit to our family gatherings.
My brother John and his wife Ruth are just about the only two who actually posed and took a nice picture.
My Aunt Izzy, sender of the infamous Omaha Steaks. To finish off that story, she called a couple of days later and said, "That bugger Tag, he gave my money back. I'll fix his wagon. I'm putting in an order for Omaha Steaks!" Sure enough, we received them the day before Thanksgiving! Can you believe this lovely lady will be 85 in December? And she just passed her senior citizen driving test! Now she's good for another five years!
There were many more people there, we just didn't get any good pictures of them! It was a great day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Annual List of Thanks

It's that time of year to think about my blessings. Here they are, in random order: 1. I'm thankful that I was smart enough to ask two months ago for the Friday after Thanksgiving off; thereby creating a four day weekend, people! Which means that today, which is usually my Hump Day, is really my Friday. 2. I'm thankful that my husband felt guilty enough about dragging me all the way to Providence, RI to pick up the Tabla Drums (don't ask) he bought off of Craigslist, that he is going to take me to the Providence Zoo AND to Cracker Barrel! 3. I'm thankful that my son felt well enough two hours after back surgery to ask for a grilled cheese sandwich and chocolate milk. 4. I'm thankful that my cousin Michael, whom I hadn't seen in 25 years or so, somehow decided to give me a quarter of his estate when he passed away, so I could turn around and give some of that money to my parents so my Dad could retire and take care of my Mom while she is sick. 5. I'm thankful that, 7 years ago, I had the guts to go on the computer and flirt with a random guy, who then had the guts to ask me out sight unseen, which turned into a love affair I never dreamed was possible. 6. I'm thankful that 20 or so people showed up last weekend to help my son move. If that doesn't prove the power of love from family and friends, I don't know what does. 7. I'm thankful that despite the poor economy, everyone I know is still working. Some may not consider their jobs that much fun......some may be hanging on by a shoestring.....but everyone is still getting a paycheck. 8. I'm thankful for the two most beautiful, cute and intelligent babies in my life. From a grandmother's point of view, they are perfect. And geniuses. And more adorable than other babies. 9. I'm thankful that I have such a large, extended, close-knit and loving family. I had a conversation with my daughter the other day.....she couldn't understand why people were living in an old run-down motel. Couldn't they go live with family? Some people have no family. I'm thankful that thought is out of her realm of experience. 10. So Thank You, God for Mom, Dad, Steve, Angie, Stephen, Sean, Sara, Shannon, Jacob, Chris, Lloyd, Jessica, Kyle, Samantha, Marc, John, Ruth, Ben, Laura, Doug, Kara, Emily, Nick, Kelly, Jamie, Kenny, Matthew, Wendy, Allen, and Noah. ( my immediate family) as well as countless aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws. I am truly blessed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Grocery Shopping Bliss

This week is the craziest shopping week of the year......at the grocery store. And my town seems like it's ten times more horrible than any other when it comes to shopping. I carefully avoided the grocery store this weekend. A friend who went last Thursday at 10am said there wasn't a grocery cart to be had. And the few times I've been stupid enough to go the day before Thanksgiving, the line for the check-out stretches around Produce, through the Meat dept. and all along the back of the store. I've learned my lesson. I decided this year to go at 7am this morning. I made a list, I made Hubby check the list, and then I checked it again. There would be no going back to the store at any time this week. Period. I got to the store as it opened. I parked one space away from the entrance. I picked a cart from the very long line of carts still available at the front of the store. As I headed toward Aisle 1, I dug the list out of my pocket. Sadly, it was not my grocery list. It was an old shopping list for Wal-mart. Damn, Damn and Double Damn! I considered going back home for the list, but I just didn't want to put in the time and effort. I would shop from memory (Bwahhhhhaaahhhaaa!) It was so calm and blissful and quiet as I cruised up and down the aisles. I carefully thought in my head what was needed to make it through the whole week, including a Thanksgiving dinner for my Hubby's kids on Saturday. I made it to the end, then turned around and went back for the things I missed. It was absolute heaven to have no people, no lines, no waiting. The cashier and bag-boy were pleasant as we joked about how insane it would be later in the day/week. It was the cashier's first time, but the bag-boy was a pro with three years of experience. I even remembered to use my Gift Card and to get quarters for my laundry this week. When I got back to the car.......there was my list sitting on the front seat! After I stopped laughing, I checked the list. I had not forgotten a single essential item!!! It's a Thanksgiving miracle!!!! The only thing I did forget was the Tension Tamer Tea......but I won't be needing that, now, will I?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Moving Day

Is there anything more fun/aggravating than moving? My son and his wife were living in a condex, and are moving into a split-level house. Hurray for them! I got to see the house for the first time yesterday, and it was so much fun to be given the "grand tour". Even more fun was seeing my daughter-in-law's excitement as she bounced around the house, showing each new visitor her new home. I took the day off and spent the day helping her, along with others, clean the house and paint Emily's room so things would be ready to move in today. I have to work this morning :( The rest of the moving crew is meeting at the "old house" this morning and will move until it's done. I'll join the crew and/or go take care of Emily after I get out of work. It's exciting and fun.....but so much work! It'll be worth it when they're all cuddled up and cozy in their new house.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I don't know what to name this post cause it's so stupid...........

A new government task force has declared there is no need for mammograms before age 50 and no need for self breast exams. You can read the whole article here. Are they crazy? The American Cancer Society has been advocating for years that all women of every age should do breast exams, and women beginning at the age of 40 should have mammograms. And now this "U.S. Preventative Services Task Force" is saying there's no need? What is wrong with these people???? Have they ever seen a woman go through the rigors of Breast Cancer treatment? Chemo? Radiation? Surgery? Well, they should. Because if they did, they'd know that it's no picnic, people. It's serious business. And if feeling myself up once a month and going for a booby-squishy once a year is going to keep me from dying.....I'm all for it. If this "Task Force" convinces just one person not to get a mammogram.....they should be shot.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Are there MORE Omaha Steaks in my Future?

As I've mentioned before, my very sweet old Auntie Izy is now living about 2 minutes away from me. She has no immediate family since her son died last October, so our family has adopted her (she's my father's brother's widow). We invite her to holidays, etc, and we've let her know to call on us anytime she needs help. Last year my sister and her husband helped her move from her house to the elderly housing in my town. As a reward, she sent them a box of Omaha Steaks. I offered to help her with her medical directives and her finances......she then sent me a box of Omaha Steaks. Just a couple weeks ago, my brother John, who is an auto-body tech by trade, offered to fix up a little dent and scratch on her car from a fender-bender. He was finally bestowed the honor of receiving a box of........you guessed it.......Omaha Steaks. This weekend, Auntie called and asked, "who in the family might be best to put together a small cabinet for her". Since Hubby is an assembler, I assured her we'd be happy to come over and Hubby could put her cabinet together for her. We went over this morning and I spent two hours visiting with Auntie while Hubby built her cabinet. As we were leaving, I could see her fishing in a drawer and thought, "Oh crap, she's going to offer him 20 bucks for helping her. There's going to be a big fight". She didn't offer him 20 bucks.....she offered him $100! They argued....and Hubby surreptitiously left the money on the kitchen table while I said goodbyes to Auntie at the door. I'm sure she found it after we left. I can only guess there will be some Omaha Steaks in our future now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm Guilty.......

I've said over and over again....in this blog as well as in the "real world".....that I hate it that the Christmas Season is so rushed. Big sales beginning before Halloween. Decorations and Christmas music in the stores just afterwards. Why can't they keep Christmas for just the two weeks before the actual holiday?
But I started my Christmas shopping yesterday. Yup, I did. I couldn't help myself. I had some time off......I had money saved in my Christmas Club account......and the internet was just sitting right here in my bedroom, begging me to spend money.
So I did. I love shopping online. I found all kinds of wonderful things. I placed a huge order with Amazon, sent for some gift cards from various stores, and checked out prices on lots of items.
And I got in the car and actually went to a couple of stores. Yup, I did. It was tough, cause I had to get out of my nightgown and brush my hair to do it.
But there were a few things that I couldn't get online, and a few other things that I wanted to look at in person before I bought them.
It wasn't bad. There wasn't much traffic and few lines. Not bad for a Thursday afternoon 5 weeks before Christmas, huh?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just Stuff

* I know I've said it over and over again, but my grand-daughter is just so darn smart. At the age of 2 and 3 months she knows all her letters, some of the sounds, all her numbers, all shapes (including things like trapezoid) and can name almost any picture you point out to her. It just amazes me. She might be one of those kids who reads at the age of 3. The best part is....she's got personality galore.

* It's been over a year since I started working full time and I may have finally gotten the hang of it. You know...the balancing act. Trying to keep up with stuff in the house and still do my job and have a life with my husband. Our company just switched our hours so we start a half-hour later.....and somehow that half hour adds so much time!

* Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday and that makes me sad. It's my favorite one. I love the "getting together with family" without the "stress of shopping, wrapping, buying gifts". It's sad that people are already so focused on Christmas.

* Speaking of shopping, wrapping and buying......I have done all my Christmas shopping online the past 2 or 3 years. I live in the shopping capitol of the world....nothing but retail stores in my town.....but I hate going in them. I hate the traffic, the lines, the people, the waiting and most especially the going from store to store and never finding what you need. When you shop online, you can do it in your jammies, cruise all the stores, order what you need and then sit back and wait for them to deliver it to you. It's like magic!

* I love that my Hubby gets my teacup ready in the morning....fills the teapot and puts the bag in a clean cup near the pot. It's the little things, ya know?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

For those of you in the Heartland......

Hubby and I went to the beach yesterday. It was a balmy 60 degrees in New England and, in our humble opinion, the perfect day for the beach. No traffic, no crowds. A bit chilly but comfortable and heart-lifting. You can't tell in this photo, but the waves were actually pretty big for New England. Later in the day we actually saw a crazy person...in a wetsuit....practicing his surfing. I don't think it was actually cold enough for Hubby's hat, but he likes wearing it and couldn't wait to bust it out.
Ours weren't the only footprints. There were other people there....we're not the only crazy ones.
Hubby spied a red wooden box bouncing around in the surf. He had to risk life and limb (and wet sneakers) to capture it.
Success!
As the day got later, the sun was hitting the waves just right to make them look flourescent.
The Sunset was so pretty!
And of course, we concluded our day with a trip to the center for some fried dough. Good thing there are no photos of that! Powdered sugar sure knows how to fly everywhere!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Life is Hard.........

Life is so hard sometimes. Sick Moms, injured kids, surgeries to look forward to, kids struggling to stay solvent, worrying about jobs and money and illness, stress at work, getting along with family...............How do I stay sane? The only thing that comes to mind is Counting My Blessings. 1. I have the most loving, understanding, compassionate husband in the world. He listens to me gripe, gives me sound advice, treats me like a queen, cooks for me AND cleans up! 2. Everyone in my immediate family still has a job. Some may have jobs that are more precarious than others, but they are jobs nonetheless. 3. Good doctors are taking care of sick family members. There is hope for their recoveries. 4. I have a brother and sister-in-law who are my very good friends. My brother would do anything for me.....and often does. 5. My children are happy. They have good people in their lives and are wonderful people in their own right. 6. I have a job that is interesting and varied. I like (most) of the people I work with. 7. I have a grand-daughter that puts more laughter into my life than anything else. She is the light of my life. 8. Hubby and I have enough money for adventures. We're not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but we do okay and get to go off for a weekend every now and again. 9. I'm almost afraid to mention this one.....but we haven't had any touch of the F.L.U. in our family. Hope I didn't jinx us. 10. I have two wonderful parents.....and I'm so thankful for every day I have with them.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Why can't every weekend be a weekend?

At my job, I'm required to work almost every Saturday. The last Saturday I had off was when Hubby and I went away to New York. This weekend was the only Saturday I had off in October. I only work until 1pm on Saturdays, but boy.....does it make a difference! Having just Saturday afternoon and Sunday off makes for a very short weekend. It makes me thankful for my "real" weekends. Hubby and I went out on Saturday for breakfast at our favorite place, Parker's Maple Barn. It's about an hour from our house, so we only go once every couple months or so. Going so infrequently makes it seem like such a treat! Our excuse is usually that we need to buy more maple syrup. Whatever works, ya know? Then we went to visit my parents for the afternoon. It was so warm in New Hampshire (70 degrees!) that we sat out on their porch. And of course on Saturday night we went out trick-or-treating with Emily. Sunday we got up late - despite the time change for daylight savings time - and went over to my brother's house for a belated birthday dinner for Hubby. My sister-in-law made some very delicious stuffed shells, meatballs and sausage, a salad and some very nice bread. A chocolate cake topped it off. We spent a nice afternoon chatting about everything under the sun. We came home....I read the Sunday paper.....and watched Amazing Race. ( I wish the married couple had gotten eliminated....she's such a *itch and she doesn't deserve him). It wasn't so bad going back to work today after such a nice weekend.