Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Some things I remember from 2008...good and bad:
Power outages in January from the high winds and being without power all day!
The Penguins playing great hockey.
Obama coming to Pittsburgh and Peg and Brody meeting him, sitting behind him on stage.
Randy Pausch and his remarkable spirit and will to live.
Obama winning the election and the elation of people in Grant Park.
The concession speech by McCain, a class speech.
The floods in Iowa and family members there.
Tina Fey and Sarah Palin...need I say more? Gotcha!
(I hear Bean does a good imitation of her)
On a more personal note:
Health issues resolved!
Sleepless night in O'Hara airport.
New kitten for Monkeyboy.
The collapse of the economy and all that goes with it.

I hope for the new year that everyone has their health and their loved ones nearby. Be safe and Happy New Year.

What are your memories of will you remember it?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning

Everywhere children awake with great anticipation. They scream with delight as they rip paper and open gifts. Parents sit in bleary eyed exhaustion, smiling, doing whatever is necessary to wake themselves from a long, pre-Christmas flurry of activity. Mippy just called and said that Monkeyboy woke up at 3:30 AM. Bean came in their room at 4:11 AM because they were bored and wanted to color. Those of us without little ones awake, have a leisurely breakfast, read the paper and enjoy the peace and quiet of the morning. I remember the first year I didn't get toys for Christmas, but rather, clothes. Clothes that my parents had picked for me. And we all know what that means. I don't remember how old I was. In our home, presents weren't wrapped, they were set out on card tables in our dining room, which was very large. The tree was always in the bay window, tied to the ceiling, because it would fall if not tied. I remember one tree that actually did fall over...on my mother as she was sitting there watching us trying to tie it to the ceiling. As we were older, we were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. The rest had to wait until Christmas morning. My father would go down and light the tree and run the trains, which had been set up in the den. The layout of the trains took up the entire room. More relatives, what few we had, would come in the afternoon, bearing more gifts. As a teenager I would go to Midnight Mass at St. Andrew's. I liked that, because it was always a peaceful way to celebrate the season. One was usually done with the hustle and bustle by then and it was a time to reflect on those things for which we were thankful. I am blessed to have a healthy family and to have wonderful friends with whom I can share the holidays. To everyone, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a healthy New Year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I'm on vacation this week, and it has been wonderful! Ginger and I went to Ikea yesterday for our semi-annual trip. I LOVE Ikea. They have such neat things there. And they are very reasonably priced. We got there at 10:50 AM and they had $1.49 breakfast until 11:00 AM. We raced inside and up to the cafe. The woman who was working there TRIED to ignore us, but we got her attention, though she was a bit cranky. We got our breakfast and headed on our mission. It took us two hours to completely tour the store and get our winter fix. My Christmas cards came yesterday and I got them all in the mail. Most of all, I have been just enjoying being home and doing things I don't usually get to do... eating breakfast and enjoying the paper, reading books, and of course, watching Judge Judy. The office Christmas Party was today, and everyone brought food. It was delicious! And kudos to Michele for putting it all together. Kitty missed it, but I ate enough for both of us. Today was the highlight of my week. I got to be the mystery reader at Monkeyboy's and Sprout's school. What fun! There are fourteen children in their class of second graders and people take turns surprising the children by bringing in books to read to the class. The kids are absolutely delightful and they giggled, laughed and shouted out questions when asked. Their teacher giggled when I brought out the book called "Teacher's Pet." It's been a busy week, but such an enjoyable one. Lunch everyday, Monday with a fellow Springsteen friend. We haven't seen a lot of each other, and I often forget how much I enjoy her sense of humor. It's the time of the year to catch up with old friends to see how life is treating them. And to be with friends and family. I am exhausted, but you know what? I can sleep all day tomorrow...I don't have to go to work! Happy Friday everyone.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho

Sunday dinner as usual. Well, maybe not quite so usual. I had more of an opportunity to watch children tonight. Between the Steelers game, that is. Whew, I can't deal with Ben waiting until the last five minutes to win the game...two minutes, actually. The kids are excited about the pending Christmas. It's fun to watch them. And then there is the flying elf, or whatever he/she is. Apparently, an elf that can fly about the house every night and watches over the children in the home to see if they should get gifts. (Wonder if he/she watches the adults going absolutely nuts and saying words that....well, aren't exactly in the spirit of Christmas.) And the children are not supposed to know from where he/she watches. But they look for the elf every morning, and if they find the elf, then I guess they can be bad in every other room in the house. Who knows, but it is funny to see them when they discover the elf. And Monkeyboy keeps adding to his Christmas list, which of course, is growing by the hour. We do a gift exchange where everyone buys a gift for $25. We put them in the middle of the floor and pick a number. If you get number 1 you go first and pick a present. Number 2 has the option of taking your gift or picking a new one, and so on. I, of course, always buy the best gift in the world which everyone wants. One year it was an ice scraper that you plug into your cigarette lighter. Mippy got that one. Shortly after she got it, there was a recall that stated you could get shocked with it. I called to tell her immediately, but her response was, "I gave it to co-worker as a re-gift." I suggested that she tell her co-worker immediately, and she replied that she didn't care, she didn't like her anyway. I believe it was last year that I gave postage stamps with my picture on them. Then there was the year that I gave the large autographed picture of myself. The picture frame was exquisite. I later gave the same present (Bird must have given it back to me) at our office party, and it was received with equal delight. I gave it back to someone in their family and it is hidden behind the cute pictures of the kids on the mantle, right beside the Elvis ceramic head that Monkeyboy painted and had glazed, an art object if there ever was one. Bird usually gets my gift, because he knows I give the best one. Bean got a really beautiful plate and mug and I got that one year (picture at the right). It couldn't compare to the postage stamps, but it was something that I treasure. So, I have to think of what my contribution will be this year. Something, no doubt, that will be THE BEST EVER present.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Donuts, and Not the Eating Kind

It's been a dreary day here in the 'burg. Rainy, cold, dark. Not my kind of day. I went out at lunch today and my boss took my parking place. You may remember, many of our parking spots were taken and reserved for the county police, because they are important. We, obviously, are not. So, on some days, parking is at a premium, especially, it would seem, on cold, rainy days. When I came back I parked illegally. Do I care? No. In fact, I dared them to tow my car. They didn't, of course. Our agency gets Christmas presents donated for children. Lots of Christmas presents. We have to unload them, check them, load them and deliver them. It gets a bit chaotic. Today was an unloading day. I have four bicycles in my office and I keep knocking them over. That is in addition to many other items. Picture to follow tomorrow. So, I left the office with my boss (did I mention she took MY parking place?) and we walked to the cars together as we often do. In the rain, the cold rain. We went our separate ways and I remembered that I had to stop at the pharmacy. As I pull into the parking lot, I hear a large bang and thinking that I hit something, I spew forth many obscenities. I notice, as I pull into a parking spot, that my car isn't steering right. Ooops, a flat tire. I call my mechanic friend, who comes and tells me that I blew a tire. DUH! He changes it for me, only to tell me that my donut spare is flat. How does that happen? I have never used it! He fills it full of air and as he is doing so a woman is berating three teens for picking on her daughter. Right there in the open parking lot. She is screaming that she has called the police, and dare they leave, because the police will chase her down. She continues to yell that the girls will go to prison for life for picking on her daughter as the police pull in. My mechanic mentions that the police didn't come that quickly when his car was broken into with his gps and other items stolen. The teen looks very frightened and her friends have taken off in spite of the warning. In this day of bullying, I admire the woman for taking action. I don't know what happened, but I admire the police for responding so quickly. My mechanic mentioned that the girl that was picked on would probably have it even worse now that the mother got the police involved. Bullies are not my kind of people. And as for donuts...I would rather talk about the kind I can eat, but alas, this is my donut for the day. Have a warm night.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

'Tis the Season???

If I hear Burl Ives singing "Holly, Jolly Christmas" one more time, I am going to pull his beard out whisker by whisker......oh, wait, he's no longer with us. Sorry. I had the day off yesterday. One would think that a day off is for resting. Not so. I began by cleaning the second floor. I then did some running around (a Pittsburgh expression) as soon as the stores opened so that I could beat the rush. Success. Came home and began to call Verizon about a problem with my bill. DON'T EVER BUNDLE WITH VERIZON. This was the second day I had been dealing with them...unsuccessfully, may I add. One can not find the right number to call and all of the numbers that Verizon gives you are wrong. One only finds this out AFTER you have been on hold for 21 minutes...count them...21 minutes, minimum. After two days, the problem is still not resolved, because now, they won't even answer their phone. It rings until it disconnects. I gave up and began to drag Christmas decorations from the attic. Put up the fake tree, threw some lights on it and went to watch Judge Judy. Mippy, Bean, Monkeyboy, Sprout and Buzz came then to help decorate the tree. Oh, my, what great fun! "There are too many red balls here." "Well, they aren't mine." "Yes, they are." "Are not." "Well, just move them." "Can't, they aren't mine." "Her pile of gifts are higher than my pile of gifts." The angel on the top of the tree is 25 years old. It's face was made from an eggshell, which has since broken. Cookies and hot chocolate topped off the evening. Kids being silly for pictures, excited about what was to come in a few weeks. Monkeyboy's last remark as he walked out the door was "Don't take that angel down." I won't, Monkeyboy. I promise.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Life Changing Decisions

Let me say first that again on the way to work, the sky was incredible. I think sunrise and sunset are my favorite times of the day. I love the way the sky changes color. When at the beach, the one thing I like more than the waves hitting the beach are the sunrise and sunset. Sometimes, I just pull over in my car and watch the sky change. I had a friend once and her life was in such turmoil that she felt the only way out was to end her life and that's what she did. It was tragic, and I miss her to this day. But the thing that struck me most about the tradgedy was when a co-worker said he was driving through the mountains and saw a spectacular sunset and thought that our friend who took her life would never see a beautiful sunset again. He was angry with her for taking her life. He was sad that she would never see the beautiful things in life again. Klever Kitty and I talked about changes and choices in life today. Those small decisions that change our lives forever. And the big decisions. Who knows at eighteen what one wants to do with their lives? And yet we make some choices at that young age that can impact us forever. I am soon, well, maybe not too soon, going to embark on a new that I look forward to with some trepidation, but also with excitement. After all, it is not the destination, it is the journey that makes life interesting and exciting. In ending, Michele has a new blog that is fun, visit her at Have a great evening, and enjoy the journey!