Sunday, January 31, 2010

That's What I call A Lazy Sunday

When you spend your whole day in your jammies....that's lazy, right? It's about 2 degrees outside. Nice and bright and sunny, but I wasn't fooled and did not go with Hubby when he walked to the store for some bread for our french toast and my newspaper. I stayed in my jammies. It seemed like a good day to sew. I haven't sewn in a very long time, but I'm making something special for someone special for Valentine's Day, so I have a deadline. No reason to get dressed just sitting in my kitchen sewing, right? Then I sat in my recliner for a couple hours and read the newspaper. I didn't really need to get dressed for that. Hubby and I did some practicing for our gig. Hubby didn't care that I was in my jammies.....and neither did his guitar. I took a nice, long, hot bath. Then it was time to..........guess what? Put on my jammies.

Friday, January 29, 2010

God knows we need the practice

So Hubby and I are going to be the "feature" at an Open Mic in February. The Feature is the "main attraction". Usually they go for big names or someone who might draw a crowd. This time, they asked us. Now, Hubby is a great musician. He's a natural. He plays multiple instruments. He's been in real bands. He knows what he's doing. Me......not so much. I can carry a tune (barely) but that's about it. Any other musical ability has passed me by. But Hubby really likes me singing with him. So I will. But I really need to practice. Hubby can "wing it" when he plays by himself. But when you're trying to sing duets, you really need to have the words and tune down pat. This time, he asked his cousin Ricky, who plays for a professional band, to play some percussion. Ricky is a drummer, but he got a new set of bongos for Christmas and will be using those for our gig. He also asked his long-time family friend Scot to play bass guitar. Last night we went to Scot's house for a practice session. Scot's wife Laurie very graciously served us supper before our practice. Then we went into Scot's basement for our practice. Ricky's wife Laurie came down to be our "audience". And I guess we did okay. Unless Laurie is a bold-faced liar. She thought we sounded great. Some of the songs we're more practiced with than others. Some of the songs barely have the ink dry on the paper, they're so new. But we worked through them. There's one or two more practices before we have our gig on February 13. I hope we get it all together before then. I know we'll have a great time.....but I'd like to make sure our audience enjoys it too.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bye Bye Wedding Ring

No...not the new one...the old one. I still had my wedding ring from my first marriage. I wasn't going to throw it over some bridge or something, so it's been sitting in my jewelry box for the last 8 years. I had no sentimental attachment to it anymore but I just couldn't throw it away. My girlfriend had been telling me how she's been taking her "scrap gold" (old earring backs, single earrings, broken necklaces) to a jeweler and getting cash for them because the price of gold is really high right now. I had it in the back of my mind to bring the ring to that jeweler for quite some time now, but of course, never got around to it. This weekend, my sister-in-law was telling me that her friend's daughter's preschool was having a "Scrap Gold" party at her school. They'd have someone there who would weigh and assess your scrap gold and give you money for it and 15% would go toward the school. So I figured...what the heck? Might as well do it. The ring weighed .17 of an ounce. So I got $55 for it. I can't remember what we paid for it 30-something years ago. But it probably wasn't much more than that. I'll take $55 in exchange for a ring sitting in my jewelry box any day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How Sad

I went to the grocery store before work this morning and saw something that made me very sad. A young mother had her probably-not-even-three-year-old in the seat in the front of the carriage. And the little girl was playing with a hand-held video game. Seriously? You can't even make it through a trip to the supermarket without using an electronic device to keep her amused? I know I'm going to sound like my grandfather (eh sonny, when I was a kid.......) BUT.....when my kids were young I actually used times like the supermarket to engage them in conversation. We talked about food and what we eat and how we prepare it and whatever else came to mind. Sure, there were times when I wished I could put some masking tape on the child's mouth so I could think for a half-second. But usually I enjoyed making conversation with my children. Everything is electronic now. Not just TV and video games and computers and WII and whatever else that keeps children amused at home (when they should be following you around and "helping" you with housework and cooking and laundry). But you can't go into stores or banks or gas stations without TVs constantly running. And children need DVD players and video games to keep them quiet in the car. Even baby toys all have music playing and lights flashing. How will children learn about life when they are constantly being amused by electronics? How will they learn how to match socks? How to sort silverware? How to carefully put on their coats and shoes to go out and get the mail? How will they learn to converse when adults don't converse with them? Personally, I think all this noise and confusion and constant flash and lights etc. is a cause of ADHD. Children never get a chance to just be quiet. To sit and think and work through a difficult problem (like a puzzle) without a toy talking to them and flashing at them. I think it's time to put down the electronics and engage your children. Talk to them. Play with them. Learn with them. And save some money on batteries.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Illness all around me

I'm not a germaphobe by any stretch of the imagination. You can't be a child care provider for close to 30 years and be afraid of germs. Not when the little darlings hand you the boogers they just picked out of their cute little upturned noses. But somehow today seemed like I was in contact with more sick people than I really wanted to be. My co-worker called in with the flu. She and her husband are both sick. Does that mean she was contagious when I worked with her on Friday? I hope not, since I left work and had lunch with my cousins, who went on to go home to their families, etc, etc. Just in case, the Clorox bleach wipes came out and we sanitized her desk. And yesterday we had my brother and sister-in-law over. I just read on Facebook that she went home sick from work today. Let's hope it's something she picked up in the middle of the night, or on her way to work this morning.....not something she had while she was here yesterday. I'll double up on my Echinacea tomorrow.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dancing the night away

Well....not really the whole night. We don't make it to the third set anymore.
We love this band that plays in our area called "Classmates". They play 60's and 70's tunes....just our cup of tea!

We had a lovely time dancing......not like Fred and Ginger......but in our own fun style. I find myself smiling the entire time we're out on the dance floor.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thank God it was Friday.

Only half a day of work today!! Hurray! And I was scheduled to have lunch with three of my cousins after work. They kindly offered to have lunch near my office so I could get out at 1pm and join them. I chose Chicago Uno Grill, which is right down the road. However, this morning I went to my bank to get money for the lunch. The bank is directly across the street from Uno Grill.....or should I say it was! I glanced over and the sign was gone and the building was obviously empty! Quick call to my cousin and we switched the locale to T-Bones. We had a great visit. These three cousins...Cathy, Gail and Nancy.....were the ones who were very close to my Mom, so it was a great comfort to visit with them and chat about my Mom and Dad. Then we moved on to chatting about our kids, jobs, etc. Tonight Hubby and I went to Ayer, MA to a restaurant called 31 Main Street. Hubby had made Facebook friends with a musician who has a jazz band called "The Trude Witham Jazz Band". We went to hear them play and luckily, this restaurant had some excellent food. So I think I've eaten enough today. Now I can go to bed.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I was a bad girl.

Not a good day at work today. I got written up. Yup. An actual written warning which will now sit in my file. Damn. Kind of a long story, but the problem is this: We have a part-time supervisor in our office. She supervises two offices, so sometimes she's here and sometimes she's there. When she's not in our office, we are supposed to call or email her at the other office if there's any kind of problem. ANY KIND OF PROBLEM. Now, MY problem is that I am a problem solver by nature. And a natural leader-type personality. Someone who's been in charge of groups and organizations. The oldest girl in my family with all the attendant oldest-child characteristics. Someone who owned and ran my own business for a while. And I can't stop problem-solving and helping people. When someone in the office is having trouble with their computer, I try to help. When someone doesn't know how to work the copy machine, the fax machine, the credit card machine.....I help. And I'm not supposed to! I am supposed to turn all problems over to the supervisor. Actually, I'm not even supposed to get involved. If someone has a problem, THEY are supposed to call the supervisor. I've been verbally warned before. I understand the situation....I really, really do. I KNOW I'm not supposed to do anything that vaguely resembles something the supervisor should do. But when something happens, I react without thinking. This time, by trying to help someone with the credit card validator machine, I set off a chain-reaction that has the bank threatening to take the validator from our office. Which means we wouldn't be able to accept credit cards. That can't happen. So since someone upstairs had their butt reamed, it came down to me getting my butt reamed. The written warning wasn't even so bad as the threat that, "If you can't work in an office with no supervisor and not take on a supervisory role, we might have to transfer you to another office that has a full time supervisor." I don't want to be transferred. I would probably quit before I'd go to work permanently in another office. I'm trying my hardest not to help the other people in my office. I am trying to remember to say NO! I have to JUST SAY NO!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

French Onion SOUP!!

Yes, I made some French Onion Soup tonight with my new crocks. I truly meant to take a photo of the beautiful melted cheese dripping down the sides of the crocks, but I forgot and we ate it and no one wants to see the empty bowls. Anyway, I made the soup in our crockpot. I pretty much winged it after reading a bunch of different recipes. I put in 4 big yellow onions, 3 cans of beef broth, 1 can of water, 1/2 can of red wine. I cooked and carmelized the onions before putting them in. Then I made a French bread with Pillsbury dough in a can. I sliced the french bread, put in the bottom of the crock, poured in some soup and covered it with a slice of Provolone. I broiled it in the oven until the cheese was all melty and gooey. We had the soup, the leftover French bread and salad for supper. It wasn't bad for a first attempt, even if I do say so myself.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gotta Love the Long Weekends

I sure do love the long weekends. I could use an extra day off every single week! Yesterday I was restless so Hubby agreed to take me out somewhere. Our first thought is always the beach so we headed up that way. It was starting to drizzle just a teeny bit as we were driving, so instead of going to Salisbury beach to walk in the sand along the water, we headed to Newburyport so we could walk along the boardwalk. It really wasn't a great beach day....gray and overcast, but we don't care. We love being at the beach any time of year. At then end of the boardwalk is a great big antique/junk barn filled with stuff. We've been in there before but figured we'd go in and browse around. For once, I actually bought something. I'd been thinking about trying to make some French Onion Soup and needed some individual size serving crocks. I found a set of 3 for $9. Now I can have ONE visitor over for French Onion Soup! LOL We finished our walk around Newburyport.....visited some art galleries. Then we went to Brown's in Seabrook because they have the very best seafood in the world. I got Clam Chowder (or Chowdah as we say here in New England) and some scrumptdillyishous fried scallops. Today was a day off for Martin Luther King Day. We got about 4-5 inches of wet, heavy snow. Good things the kids were off school already. I spent the morning doing the housewifey thing. Cleaning, laundry, groceries, errands. And then Jamie and I went to see "The Lovely Bones". I hadn't read the book first so I have nothing to compare it to. It was a good movie but a little weird. I was glad we went to see it. Let me just say though that one should be careful when ordering popcorn that you don't emphasis too strongly that you'd like extra butter. We had so much butter on our popcorn that it was seeping through the bag and I had a puddle of butter in the bottom of my bucket at the end. You definitely can have too much of a good thing.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Christmas in January

We had our Christmas yesterday....postponed because my Mom was sick at Christmastime. It was a fun-filled day, although I'm sure every single person there was thinking about my Mom the whole time, as I was. We managed to keep our sad emotions in check except for a couple of moments. We each draw a name for a gift exchange and my daughter-in-law picked my sister. She gave her a silver ring with two stones.....one a ruby to signify my mother's birthstone and one a pink stone to signify her fight with cancer. It was a beautiful and very thoughtful gift. The other moment came when my sister gave my niece Laura, who is 10, a jewelry box full of all my mother's costume jewelry. It's amazing that Laura understood the sentimental value of the gesture, and it made her cry. So naturally we all welled up with tears. All in all, we had a nice day. Here's few photos of the family: Laura, who is growing more beautiful every day. Her father's going to have to beat the guys off with a stick pretty soon. She's getting more and more stylish too. Nick and Kelly look so comfy and cozy together. They make a great couple.
Kara (aka Emily's Mom). You can see how beautiful Emily is going to be if she turns out to look like her mother.
Jamie tried hard to thwart the camera but I got her in the end. 'Course the first picture may have been because she had a mouth full of food.
Doug couldn't keep a straight face.
My brother John....always with the happy attitutude.
Samantha couldn't be prettier. She's in her Junior year of college.
And Emily with her cookie is having a great time. She looked adorable in her little two-year-old pigtails.
I took more pictures of the rest of the family, but I did quick drive-by shots and some of them were less than flattering. Since my sister wouldn't let me take a picture of her face, I took a picture of her butt.......but I figured she'd kill me if I posted that one!

Friday, January 15, 2010

How Do You Measure the Value of a Life?

It's taken me a couple of weeks to write this post. It's difficult, but I just think it's so important to put down in writing how I feel about my Mom. She left us January 2. She was 71 years old. A life so short in years. But she managed to fill her life with enough love for many years to come. It's hard to measure the value of a life. In my opinion, a life well-lived is one in which you leave behind many people who love you. Because in order to have many people love you, you have to be a warm and loving person yourself. My mom was that warm and loving person. She married my Dad at the age of 19. They'd been high school sweethearts and were told, "It'll never last. You're too young." But it did. It lasted for 52 years. And my parents were just as much sweethearts at the end as they were at the beginning. My Dad would always call her beautiful. "Hi, Beautiful" he'd say, right up until the day she died. To make a marriage work for 52 years is a testament to the love they were both able to give each other day in and day out. Mom was a stay-at-home Mom when we were little. There were four of us. And she took good care of us. With a special mother's love. A tough love that would ensure we'd grow up to be decent human beings. She taught us to be strong and independent, to rely on ourselves and take responsibility for ourselves. She made us work hard in school, do chores at home, get jobs to support ourselves. And she made sure we had plenty of time to play and relax and enjoy our friends and our family. The four of us are fine, upstanding citizens....in good marriages with loving and attentive children..... a testament to her love and nurturing and caring. And she loved her extended family as well. As her sisters passed away one by one, she took on the role of "special aunt/surrogate Mom" for many of my cousins. She had lunch with them and kept in touch and became the Matriarch of the family. They all came to wish her goodbye at her memorial. Mom and Dad were involved in Square Dancing for over 30 years. They made many, many friends. We heard from a lot of them who sent their condolences when she died....commenting upon how much fun my Mom made their square-dance weekends and how they always enjoyed what a sweet lady she was. Despite the fact that Mom retired fairly early from her job, she stayed active in the community. She volunteered in her town's elementary school, as a substitute aide for the handicapped children. She went bowling every Tuesday with her sister, and then alone after her sister passed away. And she joined the local Curves, where she made friends with the owner and many of the ladies whom she met during her workout every day. They all supported her through her breast cancer, and held their own memorial for her after she died. All these lovely people sent beautiful cards or posted notes of condolence on the websites of the newspaper and the funeral home. Mom left her mark on this world. Not in any grand, showy way. But in her own quiet way of loving people. It's impossible to count all the people her love affected......the circle ripples out like a droplet on a pond. And it will continue. I hope and pray I can learn by her example and be the kind of woman she was. And my loving actions will affect another whole group of people, who in turn might share their love with someone else. I'm going to miss my Mom. I'll miss her wisdom, and her caring, her hospitality and her unconditional love for us all. I'll especially miss having her be a daily reminder to me of how a woman/wife/mother should be. We each got a tiny urn with some of her ashes. I'll place it as a keepsake in my house. I won't need it as a reminder. She'll always be with me in my heart.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Anticipation turns to Disappointment

Finally.....something to be excited about. The Patriots didn't make it into the playoffs last year. Their season was way too short. But this year......ah......this year they were going to go ALL. THE. WAY! Not! We brought dinner over to my brother's house. Got there and got all comfy in our seats for kickoff at 1pm. By 1pm plus 14 seconds our enjoyment turned to horror. The Ravens scored on the opening kick-off. And it just went downhill from there. 24-0 at the half. I don't even remember what the final score was. I kind of stopped watching closely when Tom Brady got sacked for the umptymillionth time. Another season ended. Another 3 months until opening day for the Red Sox. But I KNOW the Red Sox will go ALL. THE. WAY! PS.....Thanks to my Dad for jinxing us before the game even started and then calling to TAUNT us after the first touchdown!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

We never get tired of the child.

We got a chance to babysit our Emily last night. As usual, we had a wonderful time. My sister-in-law Peggy found some animal visors at the dollar store and picked them up for Emily. (Actually, they were for Emily and Noah but we figured Noah would eat them.) We brought them with us to babysit and Emily loved them. Of course, she insisted that everyone else get into the act.
Emily loves her dress-up clothes and she enjoyed showing us what she could do.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Babble

I started to think about what I wanted to post today......and.........nothing. There is nothing there. No thoughts. No ideas. For fun, I went back to a year ago to see what I posted about last January. I posted about how boring January is. So true. Last year we were still recovering from major damage from the epic ice storm we had in December. This year....hardly any snow yet. (Not that I'm complaining). Last year I posted about my grand-daughter Emily who was just over a year old. This year, I can post about my grandson Noah who is just over a year old. (I found out Noah is the second most popular name of 2009. Great....he'll have four of them in his first grade class.) Last year, I had only been working at AAA for a few months and was still in that dazed period when everything was overwhelming because there was so much to learn. This year, I am the "old hand" helping the new girl learn how to map, etc. Last year I was lamenting the fact that the Patriots didn't make it into the playoffs, despite an 11-5 record. This year, they're record is 10-6 and they are in the playoffs. Go figure. Last year I was all excited to show you the cross-stitch I was going to make for Noah. I'm ashamed to say I haven't gotten very far with it. I don't know why. I have to be in the mood to cross-stitch, I guess. I'll do better this year. Really. Last year was the inauguration of President Obama. Nothing going on there. And I mean nothing. Last year I had to send a nasty-gram to Shaw's bemoaning their deplorable salads. This year it was Boston Market Chicken. Same complaint, different restaurant. Last year I posted about the arrival of our cat, Oreo. This year I'm willing to give him away to anyone who wants him. Last year we had a wonderful New Year's Eve. The children had given us a night out and we had a ball. This year we sat on the couch and dozed until it was time to see the ball drop. Things sure do change from year to year.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm Glad the fact that she's pissed off was to my advantage....

First....let me say thank you to everyone for their heartfelt wishes. It's been an incredible blessing for me to feel the outpouring of love during such a difficult time in my life. Now.....what does one do when faced with adversity? I'm not a shopper...not much of a cleaner.....but..... I did have the day off today so I went through and did absolutely everything I've been unable to do in the last few weeks. Laundry, cleaning, errands, etc. One of my errands took me to a large chain department store (I won't name it but it has two initials and a type of coin in its name....c'mon.....figure it out). Hubby got me several nightgowns for Christmas and Bless his soul, he thinks I fit into a large. I had to exchange two of them, so I went to the mall and found two that would fit. I approached the "Customer Service" counter and stood in line behind the person being waited on. The middle aged woman employee was quite agitated......her shift ended at 3, and it was a few minutes before and her replacement hadn't come yet. She called on the phone to her supervisor. The girl who was supposed to come replace her had called out sick. The employee was getting very upset. Since I've been in the same position before....time for me to leave and customers are coming in the door....I showed some understanding by offering to go to another counter. "No," she says, "I can't do that to you." She takes my returns and then rings up my two replacement nightgowns, all the while explaining to me that she would have been happy to stay a little longer except that the company "pissed her off" by cutting her hours and now she "doesn't really give a **it". When she rang up the new nightgowns, she noted that one of the replacement ones was expensive, and did I really want to spend that much money on a nightgown? I said yes, my Hubby had given me nightgowns and I wanted to purchase something similar. After taking into account my returns, she said, "Oh no, you'll still owe me $19. That's too much for nightgowns." Then she says, "Oh what the hell, I don't give a **it" and proceeded to take 25% off my bill. Thank God for pissed off employees.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

In Memory Of

In Memory Of
My Mother
Doris M. Frechette
July 14, 1938-January 2, 2010
"You're free now, Mom, to fly with the Angels."
I love you