Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Once again, it is time for another edition of Thankful Thursday. What is Thankful Thursday you ask? It is where we all take a moment to reflect on all of the good things in our lives. Where we reflect and realize that even on those days where the weather is below zero, our boss is acting like a jerk and that darn needle on the scale is going in the wrong direction, we still have many things to be thankful about.

1) I am thankful that our Christmas was drama-free. I won't go into details but suffice it to say that my mother-in-law doesn't really enjoy Christmas and it sometimes seems like she is trying to make the rest of us hate it too. Some years we have lots of drama.

2) I am thankful that I got to see some of my high school classmates at a small gathering on Sunday. It was fun to catch up. I am particularly thankful that my husband was willing to take my son to an event that he wanted to go to on the same day. Even my husband enjoyed himself waiting in Boston.

3) I am thankful that my niece is so happy in her life as evidenced by her recent facebook posts. It warms my heart to see her happy in her career and happy with her beau. She is an amazing person and deserves all of the good things in life.

4) I am thankful that my son's friend was able to visit for New Years again this year. Brett moved away when the boys were in 6th grade but has been able to make it back to visit and this is the 4th year he has come up for New Year's Eve. He is a great kid and easy to have around. It is nice to see the friendship continue.

5) I am thankful that our project to declutter the family room (OK, OK. Mostly, declutter my desk area) is almost done and has been very successful. We have found a new home for our exercise bike and a potential new home for the scanner. Also, my husband has hooked up my new scanner/printer/copier combo.

6) I am thankful that everyone seemed to really enjoy their Christmas presents this year.

7)I am happy that I have a house and warm clothing on these bitterly cold Maine days. Can you say "Baby, it's cold outside"?

8) I am happy for my new crock pot and the awesome Lasagna I made. Now, if I could only get Boy-o to eat the veggie soup I made for him.....

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope that 2010 gives you plenty of time to blog, spend time with your family and is full of happiesness, health and wealth.

Here's to thankfulness.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Is it just me....

I have decided to join Hallie's parade and march along to the "Is it just me" beat. Why you ask? Because I figure joining will give me Hallie points for when I meet her in 2010 (that is gonna happen, right Hallie?) and, oh yeah, it is a fun idea.

Is it just me or do other people live in homes where putting the dog out means instant deafness for the rest of the family? So many times, the dog starts barking and nobody in the entire household 'cept me hears her bark to come in. Husband and Boy-o might be on the first floor and I am upstairs. They don't seem to hear Miss Katy's bark but it is loud and clear on the second floor. Strange but true.

Is it just me or do you also notice that the people who complain the most frequently and the loudest about the song on the radio are also the same people who are most likely to sing along?

Is it just me or do some people lose all of their common sense when they turn on their GPS? Did you see the article about the couple who was lost for three days because they alledgedly got lost from following the directions on their GPS? Hello, folks. Just because the GPS says something doesn't mean it is so. Perhaps going down a deserted dirt road might not be a good idea. Just sayin' When I use the GPS, I also take a back-up map and, usually, printed directions from MapQuest. Why you ask? Because we took a GPS on a trip once and it malfunctioned. It was a trip that we had taken several times and had directions from both AAA and MapQuest. The GPS kept insisting that we take exits when we knew that we needed to stay on the highway. Did we follow the GPS? No, we used our common sense and went the way that made sense. It was the same trip that declared that we were arriving at home in the middle of the higway in Massachusetts. We live 2 states and 3 hours away from there. Whoops.

That's it for me today. Don't forget to go over to see Hallie to see what other people are wondering in "Is it just me or...."

Here's to Hallie!

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

We only have a few days left in 2009. Where did the past year go? Where did the past decade go for that matter? It seems like just a few weeks ago that we were worrying about what would happen to the world when we changed from 1999 to 2000. Now we have to worry about what will happen on 12-21-2012. I imagine I will worry about that date about as much as I worried about Y2K. Not at all.

Do you make resolutions every year? Do you keep them? I always have made them but the past few years, I have actually made fewer but been much more successful in keeping them. I have started to go a bit more specific. Instead of saying "lose weight", I now have "walk at least 3 times per week". I do find that to be much easier to keep as I have very specific parameters.

My resolutions for 2010 are:

1) To use my crockpot at least one time per week. I am actually in the process of making a meal for supper tonight and am looking at vegetarian crockpot cookbooks so my son can get in on the slow cooker fun.

2) To walk at least 3 times per week. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I made that one last year. I did a great job with it for about 6 months but I have fallen off track lately. Back to it.

3) To take my lunch to work at least 3 times per week. This will help me save money and calories. A double win!

4) To accept myself and others as they are.

5) To agonize less over decisions. I usually have an easy time on the big decisions but the small ones tie me up in knots. Seriously. I put 2 items in an "Amazon shopping cart" yesterday morning and have logged on three or four times since then. I have not, however, pushed the "order now" button. We have been discussing repainting our upstairs bathroom for months. We finally bought a paint tester on Saturday and PURCHASED a gallon of paint this morning. There is hope.

What are your resolutions for 2010? What past resolutions have you managed to keep? Inquiring minds want to know.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

What better day to have a Thankful Thursday posting than on Christmas Eve? Thankful Thursday is a time when I take a step back from the hustle and bustle of my life and spend time looking at all that is good in my life. Today, my thankful list includes in no particular order:

1) I am thankful that I haven't had to run around these past few days doing last minute errands.

2) I am thankful for the adults who have provided support and guidance to my son this year. These include, but are not limited to, the adults who spent time with him at the scout holiday party last night reviewing his Eagle Project booklet. It is ready to be mailed to get the district committee's approval!

3) I am thankful that my husband and I still have jobs.

4) I am thankful for karate which has taught me many lessons about myself this year.

5) I am thankful for my friends - new and old - who are always there for me.

6) I am thankful for the new people I have "met" thru the bloggie world.
Thank you for sharing your stories. You make me laugh, you make me think and you
often inspire me.

7) I am thankful that the people around me are mostly very healthy.

8) I am thankful that I live in a great town, a great state and a great country. I
feel safe, I (mostly) enjoy the weather and I appreciate the many freedoms.

9) Most of all, I am thankful for my husband, son and extended family for always loving me.

Merry Christmas to all of you that celebrate.

Here's to thankfulness.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Twofer Tuesday

What is Twofer Tuesday you ask? It is a quick post where I share two things that I am thinking about.

My mom passed away 5 days after my 22 birthday. Since I face my 50th birthday in the new year, it was many many years ago. I still miss her. I don't know if it is because of the holidays or because I am getting closer and closer to the age she was when she passed away (56) but she has been on my mind a great deal lately. I mourn not only what her loss meant to me and the rest of our family but I also think about how hard it must have been for her to leave us all. I think about dying when my son is 22 and barely out of college. It would simply break my heart. I so look forward to seeing what type of man he is going to grow into and what type of father he is going to be. My mother only got to see one grandchild. She never met my amazing niece who is a generous and kind teacher like her mother and has an amazing amount of musical talent. She never got to meet the two 15 year-olds (my other niece and my son) who are both scary smart and could easily change the world. They are also both loyal and loving kids. So this holiday season make sure that you hold your family and loved ones close and appreciate the time that you have together.

Where the heck does the time go? I mentioned a few days ago that I wrap presents every year for a friend. He and my husband used to work together. He was married and was the type of husband who would stick his wife's present in a paper bag and call it good. If he put a bow on the present, she considered it fancy! I took pity on him (really on her) and offered my services as his present wrapper. We were trying to figure out this evening how long this has been going on and realized that it is close to 15 years. My baby is now 15, his two elementary school kids are in college (and close to finishing) and the wife is now an ex-wife. I guess he got custody of us in the divorce. We had the same food tonight that we had at the first wrapping party. Pizza and beer. Some things never change. As always, it was a fun evening.

Here's to quickies.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Morning Musings

As we all rush head-long into this holiday week, here are some of things I am thinking about this morning:

After almost 26 years of marriage, my husband doesn't bring me flowers anymore. However, I don't mind. I don't think he is being thoughtless or uncaring because, you see, I am now allergic to flowers. What he does bring me, however, is even better. He brings me coffee. Yup. If I have to go to a meeting or sporting event before him, he usually shows up with a large coffee for me to chug down. He has today off so he got up, took the boy-o to school (allowing me to sleep later) and brought me home coffee. Not your ordinary run-of-the-mill coffee either. He brought me home a coconut mocha from one of my favorite coffee shops. Yup. I think he is a keeper.

We watched the season finale of Survivor last night. We have been addicted to that show since the very first season 10 years ago. Next season (starting in February!) features an all-star cast of Villians vs Heroes. I can't wait to see who is on it. I would love to see "Survivor Bob" selected. He was the high school physics teacher from Westbrook Maine who, I believe, is the older winner ever. Definitely a hero in my book! If you are a fan, who would you like to see on it. This season's villian, Russell, looked like a pimp last night. Not that I have ever seen a pimp, mind you, but what I would imagine a pimp would look like. I will say, I found him to be unlikeable but I was surprised that he didn't win. He truly did out-play everyone.

My sister gave my husband a cloth pouch from Christmas to be used for baking potatoes in the microwave. It sounds strange but, oh my, the potatoes I baked last night came out great. Chili and baked potatoes were on our menu last night. Great meal for a snowy cold night in Maine.

Well, I have to dash off to work. Have a wonderful week.

Here's to thinking.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Takin' a breather

It is Sunday night and my men at at the movies, the dog is sleeping on my bed (under the covers no less) and the cat is sleeping on a chair. I am takin' a breather from the Christmas crazies and just reflecting for a few moments before I get back to work on my "to do" list.

We spent yesterday celebrating Christmas with my side of the family. My niece traveled down from "the county" and picked up her mother in "mill town" before heading south while my husband, son and I headed north to Mid-Coast Maine to gather at my brother's house. My other brother doesn't join in as he basically cut ties with the family years ago. We have a relaxing pot luck lunch before exchanging presents. It is truly "the way Christmas should be" to me. No stress. The focus isn't on the presents and how much money we spent but on the thoughts behind the presents. It was very obvious that everyone thought about what someone would want or need. My 15 year old niece picked out a wall placque for me that is the absolute perfect colors for my newly redone bathroom. My brother-in-law invested a lot of time and effort in making us all personalized hiking sticks. It was really a great day and a wonderful start to the rest of the Christmas week activities.

Monday night, we have tentative plans for friends to come over for a wrapping party. Just about every year for the last 15 or so, I have wrapped Christmas gifts for a man that used to work with my husband. At first, it was just what he gave his then wife but, since the divorce, it was been most everything. As his daughter messaged me lately, he is a whiz in assembing a computer but the paper, scissors and tape defeat him. The past few years, his girl friend comes too and after we eat, we gather around the kitchen table and she wraps her presents and I wrap Dave's. I look forward to this every year. The scheduling has been difficult this year and I hope it works out.

On Tuesday, my office is starting our annual two-day eatathon. As requested, I am bringing in what I call "Melinda's Meatballs". A former co-worker used to bring them in and someone asked it I could this year. So easy and yummy. I quickly said yes! Tuesday evening will be karate as usual. Somehow, I think it will be a great stress reliever!

On Wednesday, we are hosting my son's boy scout troop for the annual Christmas party. They are going to do a night hike and then come back to our house for Hot Chocolate and goodies. My 25 cup coffee maker will be perfect for making the mass quanities of hot chocolate that I will need.

On Thursday, we will join my in-laws for a pizza supper and also go to a movie. My son has the day off and I get out at noon.

We all have the week off between New Years and Christmas - first time ever. My son is having a friend visit from Connecticut for a few days and we are hoping to repaint the upstairs bathroom. Yee gads. I still haven't picked out the paint color!

I hope the up-coming week is fun, relaxing and blessed for you and yours. Don't forget to take some time for yourself.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Twofer Tuesday

Twofer Tuesday is where I share two thoughts for the day.

I have had more and more conversations lately with people who act like they know me and I have NO IDEA who they are. On Saturday, I was doing my best imitation as a jailer and serving pizza to the 40 high school band students between parades. A woman entered the cafe and started talking to the band director. I didn't recognize her but figured that since he knew her, I didn't need to have my husband use his phone to go online and check out the listing of known sex offenders. I went about my merry way making sure that everyone had enough hot chocolate and trying to keep the debris under control. When I ventured into her general vicinity, she commented that she was shocked at how tall my son had grown. We had a conversation about how time was passing so quickly, blah, blah, blah. The entire time I was frantically asking myself who the heck this person was and how does she know me?!?! I finally figured out that she was the bus driver but I still have no idea how she knew me. Earlier in the day at a craft fair, two women asked me "Are you Evan's mother?". Since they had smiles on their faces, I admitted that yes, indeed I was. They, at least, didn't act like they knew me but told me that they were lunch ladies in the school district. They said nice things about Evan and one commented that her son "thought the world of Evan". That was a nice mom moment for me. The benefits of a small town.

We have a doberman/dalmatian mix dog. When most people hear about the doberman part, they immediately think "guard dog". My dog is the biggest sissy on the face of the planet. No joke. She is scared of the dark. Her food dish is down in our cellar and, if the light isn't on, she will not go down to eat. She stands at the top of the stairs and barks until we come and turn the light on for her. She is also afraid to be upstairs in our house by herself at night. Luckily for her, she is also the sweetest thing on the face of the planet because she isn't earning her keep as protector of the house.

Have a great day!

Here's to short posts.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fraggin' my life away

Friday Fragments?
It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at is like the Santa Claus of this fraggin' workshop. Go over to her site and see what all of the other little elves have been working on.

As I lamented on Tuesday, my car with less than 45,000 miles and barely 3 years old (but just out of warranty, thank you very much) had the heater die. The quote for repair was $1200 - $1500! It was a common porblem on that year, make and model. My husband called the dealership and mentioned that it was a known issue. At first, they denied it but apparently did some research. When he talked to them a second time, they told him that they would repair the car for $100. Yup. You read that right. $100! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

My son is in the high school band. They are marching in our hometown holiday parade tomorrow at 3:00. At 6:00, they are marching in a second parade because they get paid to. I had no idea that parades sometimes paid for bands to participate. They are receiving $800. for their 40 student band to travel 10 minutes. How cool is that? The band director is concerned about how many students would return if he let them go home between parades so we basically keep them hostage in the school cafeteria. We feed them pizza, hot chocolate, soda and cookies. When I agreed to be president of music boosters, I didn't realize that my job duties would entail making gallons of hot chocolate, acting as a jailer and saving the music teachers job. Here I thought this would be an easy gig!

Am I the only one who was really shocked about the Tiger Woods' story? I don't know why but I am stunned. Other pro athletes, I expect that sort of behavior from but I always believed Tiger was above that. Not sure why I felt that way but I did. It is unbelieveable to me that he had an affair for that long without it coming out sooner because of all of the media attention. Guess his "luck" ran out. Are there any other athletes that you would be shocked to read a similiar story about? The only ones I can think of are the "Manning boys". Peyton and Eli seem to stay out of the spotlight too. Who is on your list?

That's it for today. Have a great weekend!

Here's to Fraggin'.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Twofer Tuesday

Twofer Tuesday is where I share two thoughts for the day.

The other day when I turned my heat on, it only blew cold air. Not a good thing since I live in Maine and it is November/December. My husband took it to the garage yesterday and the estimate to repair it is $1200 - $1500! Merry Christmas. Hard to swallow on a 3 year old vehicle with less than 45,000 miles on it. He is taking it to the dealership today as the garage told us that this was a "known" problem with our vehicle. I checked online and found 3 websites where multiple owners were complaining about this issue. Apparently this is a plastic part (read easy to break) buried deep in the dashboard (read hard and expensive to access). We don't usually buy Chevy vehicles and this will determine if I buy one in the future. Seriously, shouldn't the heat in a car last longer than 3 years? Keep your fingers crossed for us! I know it will make typing more difficult but I will appreciate it!

Tonight I am going back to the school committee meeting as they take action on the citizen's petition to discontinue all discussions about closing our local high school. It will be interesting to see what results. The other side on the issue (a handful of vocal parents) have been very quiet the past few months. One representative was at the last meeting where we presented the petition but did not speak. Hopefully, they will respect the wishes of the vast majority and let the issue die.

That's it for today, folks. Have a great one!

Here's to short posts.

Monday, November 30, 2009

More Monday Morning Musings

What a wonderful super-sized weekend. My family arrived on Thursday (albeit earlier than expected - thank goodness I called to get an update!) and we had a wonderful visit. The food all came out good (orange juice and orange flavored craisins are a nice addition to stuffing, by the way) and the company was outstanding.

We started a new family tradition this year. We headed out at 11:30 pm and went to a local mall for Black Friday shopping. The weather was great, the bargains were plentiful and the costumed singers were melodious. I saw tons of people I knew and, while I didn't buy a ton of gifts, I did accomplish a little Christmas shopping. Some of the other shoppers were dressed up. Knowing my sister, I wouldn't be surprised if she shows up next year with something for us all to wear.

My favorite thing about our Thanksgiving is the opportunity to spend time with family as we live quite a distance apart. We usually spend some time playing games. This year, we had a rousing game of Bananagrams. It is a fun and easy-to-play game that is extremely portable. This evening, my son invited his father and me to play a game after dinner. How cool is that?

I got lots of ideas for gifts and have been on several shopping trips since they left Saturday morning. I have gone from 30% of my shopping done to about 75% done! Yeah! I cleaned up the guest room this morning and set up my "wrapping station" and wrapped several presents. I have a lot of things going on the next several weeks so it is a big sense of accomplishment to get things underway.

My son and husband are both 2nd degree black belts in karate. My son is unable to advance for several years because of his age. It has been hard to keep him interested because he isn't learning anything new and the dojo (karate school) is quite small and he keeps working with the same students. Basically, he is bored. In addition, this year he has had a great deal of homework and it has been difficult for him to make it to class 2 nights a week. However, his father and I hate to see him quit. This afternoon, we had a family discussion and came up with a solution. They are going to take private lessons and attend classes for black belt students once a month. It should be enough to keep him involved and keep his skills at a high level but not so much that he dreads going to class. I have my fingers crossed, anyway.

My niece received a Kindle for her birthday. When we were talking about them this weekend, she mentioned that Kindle gives you free access to the Internet. I realized that I could access Wikipedia but I didn't realize that I could access facebook,etc. I don't have Internet on my cell phone because I really don't need it and I am too cheap to pay for it but free Internet is right up my alley. Jen said that she found a recipe online that she wanted to try but she forgot it at home when she went shopping. She did have her Kindle with her and was able to look it up and get the ingredient list. I downloaded (and read) the latest Friday Night Knitting Club book by Kate Jacobs and the newest Alex Cross book by James Patterson. I also downloaded 5or more free books. Gotta love the free aspects of the Kindle. If you are looking for a gift to purchase for that hard to buy for person, I highly recommend the Kindle.

That's it for today, Folks. I hope everyone has a great Monday and a great week.

Here's to musings.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twofer Tuesday

I work in a small insurance agency. I pitch in and answer the phones when the receptionist and her back-up are busy. Last week, I answered the phone and a customer told me that she had a problem with her bill. I found out her name and what type of policy and told her that I would put her through to the woman who handles her account. She said to me "Before you give me to someone else, I want you to know that my bill was soaking wet when I got it and I don't appreciate it." I thought that was weird but made noises of concern and gave the call to my co-worker. She told my co-worker the same thing and said "I don't understand why you would mail me a wet bill." Yup, you got it. She actually accused our office of mailing the letter wet. My co-worker explained that the bill was sent by the company and the client asked her to call the company and complain and tell them not to send wet mail. She didn't believe my co-worker when she explained that it had probably gotten wet on Saturday when our area had torrential downpours. Nope. She believes that we - or our company -mailed her a soaking wet envelope. We are still scratching our heads on that one.

For a couple of days, my husband told me that he planned on working with our son on the burn pile on our spare lot on Saturday morning. He also mentioned - in passing -that they were considering going to the movies. Saturday, they left to go to the dump dressed in working outside clothes. I stayed home and slaved away doing housework (ok, I did a little housework and played on facebook). About 2:00, I realized that it would be a good time for lunch and I went out on our front porch and called them. No response. I went to the back door and called. No response. I went into the garage to discover that they weren't home. Hmmmmm. I called the cell phones. No response. By this time, I figured out that they had probably gone to the movies and used it as an excuse to head upstairs for a nap. :) About 4:30, I got a call from my husband. I asked where he was and he said they were leaving the movies. Once he said that, he realized that he had never told me they were going. They never worked on the burnpile but had instead gone Christmas Shopping and to the movies. I figure I can milk the guilt on this one for a good week. What do you think?

I hope everyone has a great day!

Here's to quick posts.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Morning Musings

About this time last year, my husband went on a "green" kick. He replaced all of our light bulbs with more energy efficient ones and we did what ever we could think of to get our electricity bill down. We started at $140. a month and our new family activity consisted of gathering together and opening the CMP. After the first month, we had dropped to $98. (insert happy dance here). This inspires us to new actions. We started drying our clothes on a drying rack and only using the dryer to "fluff" them. We also put power strips onto our televisions. The next month, our bill was in the $70. range. (insert high fives). If you drove by our house at night, you might have wondered if we were on vacation or perhaps had moved. On most evenings, nary a light could be seen peaking out of our windows. No, not us! We were energy efficient. If we weren't in a room. we didn't need a light. I got very proficient at walking around in the dark. A few bruised skins but no broken bones in the process. Fast forward a year and we are a little less vigilant about things. We have been known to have a light or two on in the evenings and the drying racks have been folded up and put away. Our electricity bill last month was $63. That is right, it is still low. The only thing that we figure is that the more efficient light bulbs and the power strips on the TVs(DVRs,cable boxes)made the difference. I might just be able to convince my husband to let me turn the Christmas tree lights on more than just on Christmas Day this year.

I have a relatively unusual name and that is probably why I am fascinated by names. I often see an unusual name and I would love to get the story behind it. You know, what were they thinking when they named their kids Sandy, Rocky and Clay? That would be OK except the last name is Beach. You got it. Sandy Beach, etc. A few years ago, I did player registrations for Little League in our small town. There was a boy registered named Blue. Doesn't that make you wonder? Are his siblings Red and Yellow? Apparently, there was a family years ago in the next town over that named their first two kids He and She. True story. The younger sister's name was Yriah. My office pondered that one day until we realized that it was hairy backwards. Can't you just see it? "This baby has a lot of hair! What are we going to name her?" "Gee, Harry won't work. Aha. Lets spell hairy backwards!"

I am really struggling with ideas for Christmas this year. Everything I have come up with for my son has been shot down - first by his father and then by him, I don't want to just buy something to have something, anything under the tree but if this keeps up, it is going to be the quickest Christmas present unwrapping ever. The good news is that I have managed to get the photo taken and the Christmas Card ordered. Yeah for that. Here is what my handsome son looks like.

I hope everyone has a great Monday!

Here's to things that make me go hmmmmm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Fragments?
It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at is the creator of this fun event. Make sure you go over to check out all of the other entries.

I may have bragged about my son one (hundred) or two (thousand) times so if you are tired of that, you can just skip ahead to the next topic. I went to teacher conferences last night. I don't think the person who does the conference scheduling likes that I want to meet with ALL OF HIS TEACHERS. Yee gads. You would think it is a crime. Our high school has classrooms on 3 levels and also has a one story wing. She scheduled conferences that were as far apart as possible. I was literally "trotting" around the building. Third floor to the first floor opposite wing back to third floor,around the corner to a different wing, down to first floor, up to second floor and then finishing where I started - on the third floor. The teachers said Evan was doing extremely well, three teachers said they want him to serve as their "teacher assistants" in the future and one teacher told me that he would give him a summer job. My son called me on my cell phone after conferences asking if "he was in trouble". Yeah, right.

It always amazes me to see what parents show up at conferences. The kids who are struggling or who misbehave on a regular basis? I rarely see their parents. The parents I see are the ones who have honor students. Many a teacher has said to me that the parents that they need to see are the ones who don't show up and the parents that they don't really need to see are the ones that schedule the appointments. I get a lot of great information out of conferences that probably wouldn't come up in an email. Also, I believe that the students who put a priority on their education do it because their parents put a priority on it too. Just sayin'.

In the "I can't believe I did that" category, my karate class is scheduled at 6:30 in the next town over. My last conference was scheduled at 6:30. I spoke to the karate sensei and got permission to come in late. To save time, I actually wore part of my karate gi (uniform) to work yesterday. I wear black pants, a white t-shirt and an optional black top. I wore the pants and t-shirt to work along with another top. That way, I could do a quick change when I got there. It seemed like a good idea at the time and it worked but, now I realize how geeky that was.

I found a folding table at Target at an amazing price. Once my Thanksgiving guests vacate the guest room, I am going to set up a Christmas present wrapping station in that room. I can't wait. It is going to be so much easier to wrap presents! My husband and I are going to do some shopping early Saturday morning. If only I had some ideas of gifts to buy.....

It is time for me to dash off to work. I hope everyone has a smashing good weekend.

Here's to fragmented thoughts.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Once again, it is another edition of Thankful Thursday. Thursday is the day I pause and reflect on how very fortunate I am. Even after all of the crap that I have endured the past few weeks, I realize that there is usually something big or small to be thankful for. Here is the time that I remind myself of that. I hope you will consider joining me.

My thankful list (in no particular order) is:

I am thankful for my extended family. My son and I visited my niece this past weekend and had a wonderful time. I am excited to see her - and the rest of my family - next week around the Thanksgiving table.

I am thankful for friends who reach out when things are going bad. They remind you that there is good in the world.

I am thankful for my dog who is always happy to see me and who likes to snuggle on these chilly Maine evenings. Between her and menopause, I am going to save a fortune on my oil bill this year.

I am thankful that my husband took time to try to fix the heat in my car.

I am thankful for a son with a driving permit who drove 13 hours this past weekend. I appreciate that he didn't complain once about being stuck in a car with me!

I am thankful for the dedicated teachers that spend so much time shaping our youth. I am especially thankful for the ones that maintain their passion 30 years after they started teaching.

I am thankful that I live in a community is willing to work together to save our local high school.

I am thankful for the up-coming holiday season.

I am thankful to live in a country where I can speak my views without being afraid.

I am thankful for medicine that makes me feel better.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Twofer Tuesday

Two thoughts for this Tuesday morning....

I went Christmas shopping with a friend yesterday. Living in Maine, I am used to holiday shopping all bundled up with a heavy coat and mittens. It was a beautiful day yesterday and I was able to go with just a light fleece pullover.It makes shopping much easier and more enjoyable. No coat to carry around the store! I got a little bit of shopping done but not as much as I would like. For some reason, no one seems to know what they want this year - and I am fresh out of ideas. We buy for my extended family. Every year, I think about proposing to my brother and sister that we stop the big gift exchange but I don't want to be the party pooper. I do wonder, however, if they are thinking the same thing.

Tonight, I am attending our school committee meeting to present a petition against closing our local high school. Because our town is quite small, it was suggested that we get about 1000 signatures. We are well over that! It has been rewarding to see all of the positive response. The school committee has already agreed to investigate other options for our high school but we want them to take this idea totally off the table. We don't want a possible closure hanging over the heads of our teachers or our students.

I hope everyone has a great day!

Here's to quick posts!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where has the time been goin'?

I haven't posted in so long. It isn't due to lack of interest but rather lack of time.

You know how you make plans for some unknown date in the future thinking it will be a Loooonnnng time before it happens and then you wake up one day and it is here? That happened to me. My niece moved to a new town up in the potato capital of Maine (called THE county). That was three years ago and I told my son that when he got his permit we would do a road trip to visit her. Fast forward to this past weekend and the time was here. We hit the road on Friday and he drove us up there. We had a WONDERFUL visit with my beloved niece and her boyfriend. It was so nice to see her and see the life that she has carved out for herself. She seems happy in life, work and love. It doesn't get any better than that. Caribou Maine is a long way from civilization as I know it but is a very self-contained town with a lot going on. In the "it's a small world" category, my son met her boyfriend this summer at band camp. Also, we went to a high school musical that Jon was playing in the pit band for. Also in the band were my son's two roommates from band camp.

My boss has been stressing out lately over the littlest thing. We never know what is going to set him off. It makes going to work a lot less fun, I tell you. Add in a co-worker who has decided she hates me and you can tell that I have been under a ton of stress lately. I keep telling myself that "this too shall pass."

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!! That means that Christmas is also just around the corner along with snow, etc. etc. I am actually going to do a mega Christmas shopping today. I have found that an early trip with a friend reduces the stress of Christmas for me. If only I had any ideas of what to buy......

I am off to start my day. I hope everyone is doing great!

Here's to making time.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fragmented thoughts on a Friday

Friday Fragments?
It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at is the grand marshal of this parade of randomness. Make sure you check out the other participants.

Everytime I clean out the lint trap in my dryer, I am amazed at how much stuff is there. Am I the only one who wonders why we still have clothes? I always think that some day, I will open the dryer and it will be empty because all of the clothes dissolved into that big mass of lint.

In my current hometown, they hold trick or treating on October 30th. Apparently they have done this forever and a day. Isn't that strange? No one seems to know why it isn't held on the 31st. Just that "it has always been done this way". Not that it really matters as we never get trick or treaters. I think the most I have ever gotten was 10 - mostly because I told people to make sure they stopped by with their children.

I got a call from the school nurse today. First thing she said to me was "they are dropping like flies". I had to go get my son at school because he had a slight fever. He went to her office to get a cough drop and she took his temperature. With all of the flu going around, they have zero tolerance for anything. I have to say, I think that is a good idea. His temp was only 99 but I would rather catch it early. Our school has been overrun with what they are calling influenza like illness. The paper referred to it as ILI. Where do they come up with these things?

That's all, Folks.

Here's to randomness.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I have been so busy lately that I have only had a chance to think about blogging in passing. It is 11:00 Saturday night and my husband is off to pick up the kiddo and I am taking advantage of these few quiet moments to throw something together.

The Good......

- My husband's cousin and her husband were visiting from Mississippi this past week. i hadn't even met them until a couple of years ago but I really enjoy their company. This year, we promised to take them into Boston for a day. What a glorious day we had. We decided to walk the Freedom Trail. The weather was perfect! We ended up skipping the last stop (Bunker Hill) and took the water taxi from the USS Constitution back to Fanieul Hall. You know, I have lived about 75 minutes from Boston for 26 years and this was the first time that I have ever walked the Freedom Trail. It was the first time on the water taxi too. Isn't it funny how we never do the tourist things until we have someone to take with us?

-My son had plans this evening. We were visiting his grandparents next door, he left early, went home and got ready and then drove the car down. I am really enjoying him having his permit!

-My husband installed Windows 7 on my laptop. It installed very easily and so far, I really like it. Usually when we upgrade something, another function breaks down. So far, so good. I have my fingers crossed (which is making typing much more difficult.)

The Bad.....

-We have a vocal few residents who are pushing to close our high school and have our town tuition out our high school students to another school district. While this would have some benefits (an increased course selection), I believe that it would have a lot of negative effects also. Class sizes would increase significantly, it would be much harder for our students to participate in many activities, the distance from our school could easily result in 2 hours on the school bus each day OR our teenage drivers traveling a very busy and dangerous road and we would have no voice in their education. The savings that they are spouting about has not been verified and I have been told by various people that it is simply not accurate. All of the people pushing to close our school are people who moved into our town knowing the small size of the high school. If you don't like it now, pick a new town. Many people moved to this town because of the small school department. The good news is that I attended a meeting less than a week ago that was advertised by facebook and word of mouth. On a rainy Sunday night, 40-50 residents showed up to say they support our school. I looked around the room and thought "Yup. These are the people that I want to go into battle with. They are the people that make things happen in our small town." I have been tied up writing petition and fact sheets, ordering buttons, writing letters to the editor and planning strategies. Phew.

and The Ugly.....

I got a phone call a little over a week ago from the high school principal. I figured it was because of the fight we were mounting to save the school. Imagine my shock when she told me that a notebook had been found in the school with "disturbing" comments - and my son (and other classmate) was named. Gulp. They know who wrote it but they can't tell us who or what he said. In fact, they didn't even say it was a boy - although I put that together since. All they said was that the writings were disturbing, the police had been called and that while they didn't think it was anything to worry about, they had to let me know. The good news here is that our high school is small enough that the principal knows my son personally, knows who he hangs out with and knows that he has no interaction with this other kid. The bad news - to me anyway - is that they couldn't tell me anything. No name to tell my son to stay away from, no idea of what the threat was so I can tell my son what to watch out for, nothing at all. I understand privacy issues but, gee, isn't my son's right to safety as important as the other kid's right to privacy? I ran into the principal in person and she did tell me that the kid had been removed from school and "probably will not be returning". Huh? He has been removed for good because of what he wrote?!?! Needless to say, that shook all of us up!! I called the police and got more of the same. Although, the first officer did tell me that they didn't consider it to be a serious threat. He had a detective call me back - the husband of the high school principal (the joys of a small town). He also said he couldn't tell me much but did tell me that the kid was away for treatment. He said that they were well aware of this kid at the police department, that he had done many things over the years but that he had never targeted my son or the other student before. He told me that they took the safety of all of the residents very seriously and that he did not feel my son was in danger. Basically, we are operating in the dark and being asked to trust everyone else. As a control freak, that is difficult but I am trying.

Now I am off to read everyone else's blog. I am happy to be back!

Here's to finally posting.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Once again, it is another edition of Thankful Thursday. Thursday is the day I pause and reflect on how very fortunate I am. There is usually something big or small to be thankful for and we all feel better when we accentuate the positive. I hope you will consider joining me. Mighty Mom has joined our thankful party. Go over and check out her Wonderful Life!

I am thankful that I passed my karate test this week. Orange is my new favorite color!

I have season tickets to a local theater and the season starts tonight. I am thankful that I have a wonderful friend to go to these plays with. We go out to dinner first and it is a very enjoyable evening.

I am thankful that I have a super sized weekend to look forward to. I have Monday off so I decided to really stretch things out and take tomorrow off too. My husband and son also have tomorrow off so we are going to do something fun.

I am thankful for my facebook and bloggie friends. I was bombarded with birthday wishes. It was great to hear from so many old (and I mean old!) friends.

I am thankful that my husband and son are meeting with the music teacher today to talk about the possible eagle project. He is on his way!

I am thankful that I got my car fixed this week and the cost was $125 less than the first estimate we received.

I am thankful that I live in New England where the foliage is so beautiful.

I am thankful that the Red Sox made the playoffs so I have more games to watch. What will I do with the extra time when the season is over?

I am thankful that I live in the United States where we all take our freedom for granted.

What are you thankful for today?

Here's to everything wonderful!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mastercard Moment

I have always enjoyed the commercials with the credit card where they list the cost of everything and then point out that the memories are priceless. That was my day yesterday:

Tickets to a Red Sox game - $150.
Parking near Fenway - $35.
Snacks at the game - $20.
A teenager saying he had a great time - PRICELESS

For my birthday, my husband and son got me tickets to the Red Sox as I have turned into an avid fan. It was a wonderful day. My son took the day off of work (and didn't complain once!) and we traveled to Boston. The weather was great, our seats were awesome, the sox won and the company was enjoyable!

What what your most recent Mastercard moment?

Here's to birthday presents that rock!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Finally - Fragmented Friday

Friday Fragments?
It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at is the Principal of the School of Random Thoughts. Your homework assignment today is to check out the other ones going to her school.

I have slept well three nights in a row. Let me say that again. THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW. For someone who doesn't normally sleep well three nights in two weeks, that is a huge deal. Gigantic even. It has made such a difference in how may days have been going.

I used to really enjoy watching "Jon & Kate plus 8". I loved the interaction between Jon and Kate in the confessionals because the little comments seemed so real. Ever since the announced divorce and the "he said/she said", I have decided to boycott the show. I just can't support such bad behavior. The sad thing is that it is the kids that will pay the price. I support that Jon wants the show off the air but do question his motivation. Whatever. Just GO AWAY and take care of the "plus 8".

One of my friends (a friend of the "because we have children the same grade in high school" variety not of the "I would give you the shirt off of my back" variety) asked me before school started about one of the graduation requirements for our sons. I remembered reading that they had upped the health requirement from 1/2 year to a full year a couple of years ago but went online to the school website and confirmed the requirement and sent her my answer. She told me that I should ask my son's guidance counselor because she said the other guidance counselor at the school said it was only 1/2 credit. To humor her, I did. I received several "did you get a response yet?" inquiries from her but did get the answer that yes, indeed, there is a full year requirement. The counselor said that she verified it with the principal. Last week, I got another email saying that she had a meeting with the principal who told her it was 1/2 year and that it had been a typo in the program book for 2 years about it being 1 full year. I emailed the principal who quickly emailed me back asking me why I was asking about a typo but that the requirement was, indeed, a full year. My friend is apparently very upset about this. Seriously, is this really something important enough to get your knickers in a twist about? Her son is a sophomore and will have plenty time to take one more 1/2 credit class. It was in the book last year and this year and the counselor told me that she had reviewed all of the graduation requirements with all of the students last year. What is the big freakin' deal? This is the same woman who told me that the topics in Algebra II class her daughter was taking was the same as a regular Algebra II class in the eyes of colleges. I knew from the teacher who created it that it wasn't and tried to tell her that but she wouldn't listen. The next year, her daughter had to take the real Algebra II class because colleges wouldn't accept it. Gee, maybe going to open houses, teachers conferences and reading the program of studies book isn't a waste of time like she always says? Just sayin'.

My son is really being challenged academically this year. It has been interesting and a bit sad to watch. Suddenly he is doing hours of homework and isn't getting automatic As on all of his tests. It has been interesting to see how he is dealing with this and a bit sad to watch when he gets frustrated. He had a mini-meltdown one evening this week as was very overwhelmed with the amount of homework he had and he couldn't find one of his assignments. He took a deep breath and started working on another assignment while his father and I scoured the house. My husband (whose Indian name would be "Finder-of-all-things") located the missing paper. By this time, he had calmed down and we talked about some strategies he could use in managing the work load. I have seen a significant reduction in his stress level this week as he is using some of the techniques and they seem to be working. Last evening he and another student got together and worked on their AP Calculas assignment. He said they figured it out together and he was very excited about his understanding. It was cool to see the other student posting on facebook that my son had been a big help to him. I am very impressed that the other students do not think twice about asking for help or asking to study with the sophomore in the class. I am not sure we wouldn't have just ignored him back when I was in high school.

That's all I have for this school edition of Friday Fragments. Don't forget to do your homework and check out the other Friday Fragmenters over at Mrs. FFFF's.

Here's to Fragmented thoughts.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Once again, it is another edition of Thankful Thursday. Thursday is the day I pause and reflect on how very fortunate I am. Even on those days when I wonder why I bother to get up in the morning, there is usually something big or small to be thankful for. Here is the time that I remind myself of that. I hope you will consider joining me. Mighty Mom has joined our thankful party. Go over and check out her Wonderful Life!

My thankful list (in no particular order) is:

Today the boss is providing lunch for the office. He does it once a month. This time, he is actually making us lunch and lobster rolls are on the menu. Yum!

My husband and son bought me Red Sox tickets for my birthday. We will be at the last regular season game on Sunday. Go Sox!

My son is taking the day of off work to spend my birthday with me. Of course, the above-referenced Red Sox tickets helped.

It is getting cooler in the evenings so I didn't overheat at karate on Tuesday. It makes class much more enjoyable if I don't throw-up. I am sure my fellow students would agree. (It has happened twice - yuck!)

That there are people in my community willing to question if closing our high school and sending our students to a neighboring school really will be in the best interest of our students. They are looking beyond the dollars and cents at what is best for the children.

That we were able to save our largest account this week. It was a lot of work but we won!

That I had such a fun time with my high school classmates this past weekend.

That one of my GNO friends took the time to drop me a card thanking me for my friendship. It made my day.

That my son has his eagle project selected. He will need to get the approvals but he has found something that he is interested in doing that will make a difference in the high school.

That my son and I are both starting to feel better.

What are you thankful for today?

Here's to appreciating all the good things.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to high school!

I have recently reconnected with several of my high school classmates on "Facebook". One of our classmates lives in Germany and was back in Maine for a quick visit so Julie offered to host an impromptu reunion at her farm. With a fair amount of excitement and a small amount of hesitation, I quickly RSVPed that I would be there.

I went to a high school that served 11 towns in a rural area. I have not seen some of my classmates since graduation day over 30 years ago as most of us moved away.

There were 9 of us in attendance plus 2 spouses. As soon as we started talking, the years magically disappeared. It was great fun to catch up with everyone. It was also interesting to hear "the rest of the story" from my classmates.

One classmate, Ed, always seemed to be watching the rest of us with a smile on his face. I always felt that he was more mature than the rest of us and he found our antics amusing. Another classmate said the exact same thing. When we shared that with Ed, we discovered that he had grown up in a household with parents who fought a lot and he feels he stepped back, shut down his emotions and observed the action. He said he was regretful that he never felt capable of joining in the fun.

Another classmate, Kristina, dropped out of our high school our freshman year, took classes in night school and dropped back in our senior year. A different religion from the rest of us, she was not very involved in the social aspect of school. We grew up in the same town and kept in telephone contact even when she wasn't enrolled in our school. What I didn't know was that I was the only friend that she was allowed to call. Apparently, her parents liked me and liked my parents. In addition, her father was a concentration camp survivor from World War II and was abusive. Of all of us, I would say that she has changed the most. She is now a blond, very confident and very social. She has forgiven her father for his abuse and now takes care of both of her parents.

The guest of honor, Danny, is just as I remembered him except that he is much better looking! He has come to terms with being gay and still goes with the flow. I remember teaching him how to deal with fractions in the testing room before we took SATs. No advance planning for him! It appears that he operates under the same philosophy now too. He ups and moves to a new location without a job and without a place to live. Somehow, it always works out for him.

Julie, our hostess, looks and acts the same as she did in high school. On her 4th husband, she lives on a farm in rural Maine and is thriving. Her back story was that she wanted to go to college to become a nurse but her parents wouldn't help her by filling out the financial aid paperwork. Also, her home life wasn't as rosy as we all thought. Her father, a teacher at the school, was apparently very strict and treated her poorly.

Kathy is 60 pounds lighter then in high school (a statement I certainly can't make) and served as a sniper in the military. Not a typical career choice for a small town girl in the late 70s!

Lynn married and divorced her "bad boy" high school sweetheart. She quit college to do that but returned to college and her life plans after the divorce.

Betty got married and divorced twice and picked a new last name after her second divorce. She wanted a new beginning for herself. I have to confess that even though our school was very small - I have no memory of her. Zilch. Nada. Not even a flicker. I kept hoping that something would trigger a memory but no such luck.

The other Julie brought her husband with her. I thought he might feel awkward but he says he had a great time. They co-own a couple of businesses. She seemed very secure and content with who she is and where she is in her life. She was the only other person married to her first spouse.

And, me. Well, I have turned into my mother. I work in the same industry and have the same values regarding family and helping the community. I can't say that I am where I planned to be but I certainly am happy with where I have ended up.

It really was a great day and will be a great memory. It caused me to be introspective. I realize that my classmates were much more complicated than I ever imagined and that the labels they had were not who they were. I realized that if I met some of them today, I probably wouldn't be friends as we don't currently have much in common. Other classmates that I didn't have much in common with in high school would probably be my friends now as the high school cliques have disappeared. However, there is this bond between us that remains after all of these years. I know that if I called Kristina up today and said I needed help, she would be there. No questions asked except for "what do you need?".

We all had such a good time that I know we won't wait another 31 years to get together again. For one thing, we would all be 80 and who knows if we will remember each other!

Are you in touch with any of your high school friends?

Here's to memories!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fragmented Friday thoughts

Friday Fragments?
It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at is the instigator of this Internet crop of randomness. You could call her the farmer and we are all her farm hands. Go over and check out her little patch of odds and ends and check out what the other farm hands are up to around the Internet world. She designated little ole me as her Favorite Friday Fragmenter for last week. I haven't been so excited since I won the social studies award my junior year.

I also won a "silly goose" award from Mighty Mom over at My Wonderful Life for my goofy definition of one of her words in Thursday Thesaurus. Check out her blog if you haven't already! Don't they say that winning comes in threes? I am going to buy a lottery ticket tomorrow!

Speaking of high school, one of my high school buddies is visiting Maine from his current residence of Hamburg, Germany. Another high school classmate is hosting a gathering at her farm tomorrow so we can all get together and see him. I have reconnected with a lot of these classmates in the past 6 months due to Facebook and I am looking forward to seeing everyone. I can't believe it has been 31 years! I have not seen some of these classmates since graduation day. There is a small part of me, however, that is nervous about getting together. The high school insecurities are raising their nasty heads. Would you feel the same way?

Growing up, I loved the show "One Day at A Time" and I have casually read articles about Mackenzie Phillips and her struggles over the years. Her latest bombshell is creepy and sad, to say the least. I do wonder, however, what is motivating her to tell "all" at this point. Is it therapeutic or is she simply trying to get more attention? It is getting to the point, where I don't even want to know what is going on with anyone. Look at all of the highly talented people who are just wrecks. The price of fame is much too high!

Many of you know that one of my oldest and dearest friends is Mary Ellen. She is the one who got me into this bloggie world.You can comment on her blog with compliments or complaints about that! Anyway, she has not been blogging very much this week so I wanted to give you a ME sighting report. Yes, she is still alive and doing extremely well. She started her new job this week, is doing fabulous at it (she didn't tell me that but I am sure she is!) and likes what she is doing.

My son is a boy scout and my husband and I are both adult leaders. Two of the other leaders signed their son up for a sport that conflicts with the scout meeting. They knew that when they signed him up. Now they have asked the Troop to change the meeting night to a night more convenient for them. When I stated that our family has a conflict on the night they want to move it to and we would be unable to attend that night of the week, she sent an email to everyone saying that "We all sacrifice for our children to make them happy and feel involved but I guess that it isn't always possible". Huh? I am not sure where that one came from. I was questioning myself - should I stop doing something I enjoy (and one of the few things I do for myself and my health) so I can therefore take my son to the meetings on those nights he doesn't have his own conflict? My son heard that and said "Gee, Mom. You sacrifice for me all of the time. I don't think you need to sacrifice your commitments for him". Sometimes it takes the younger generation to put things in perspective.

Don't forget to head over to Mrs. 4444's and check out the other fragmenters.

Here's to Fridays!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thank Goodness it is Thursday!

Once again, it is another edition of Thankful Thursday. Thursday is the day we all sit back and reflect on how very fortunate we all are. Even when your happiness tank seems to be nearing empty, if you sit back and think about it, there is usually something big or small to be thankful for. Here is the time that you remind yourself of that. My thankful list (in no particular order) is:

I am especially thankful today is Thursday as it is really my Friday! I have tomorrow off.

I am thankful that my employer allowed me to carry over my unused vacation days this past year even though it is against company policy. Now if I can only figure out how to use 23 days before next April.

I am very thankful for Girl's Night Out! My two college buddies are the best! I am thankful that the restaurant didn't charge us a rental fee for the booth last night. We were there almost 4 hours! We laughed, we talked, we gave our opinions, we sympathized, we celebrated successes and, most importantly, we were together.

I am thankful that the weather is so beautiful in Maine this week. I have been able to get out and walk at lunch time a couple of days. There is a cemetery near my office that is quiet (of course!) and peaceful. I really enjoy walking there.

I am VERY thankful that my co-worker's test showed she does not have a recurrence of her breast cancer. She joined me on my walks this week.

I am thankful that I don't have to worry what my husband is up to when he isn't with me. Ditto on my teenage son.

I am thankful that I didn't get sick at karate the other night.

I am grateful that I live where I live. I live in a relatively small town where people know me when I go into a store. However, I live an easy driving distance to Boston and Portland ME. It truly is the best of both worlds. As I get older, I am really appreciating the small town atmosphere. I am on a first name basis with the high school principal (who was one of my husband's teachers) and the school superintendent and not because my son is always in trouble! :)

I am thankful that I have a birthday coming up in the next few weeks and there really isn't anything that I really want. I realize I am lucky!

What are you thankful for?

Here's to filling the happiness tank.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It is sequel time!

I am usually a very fast reader so I was very frustrated about how long it was taking me to read Dan Brown's newest blockbuster "The Lost Symbol". I have had a cold and it just made me way too tired.

This weekend I was able to finish the book. It was a book featuring Harvard professor Robert Langdon and followed Dan Brown's formula for success. It featured puzzles, a madcap race against time, a female cohort and beautiful descriptions. Since the Da Vinci Code was one of the most successful books of all time, why mess with something that obvious works? This book featured the Freemasons and their secret society. In the book, Robert Langdon was rushing to different places in Washington DC. The descriptions made me want to take a road trip to see the sights myself. It was full of surprises and is well worth the money. I will give this book 4Ks. The fact that it had a similar set up as the other Robert Langdon books is why I am not giving it 5 Ks.

This was the weekend for sequels as the next book I read was No Time To Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard. This is a follow-up to her widely successful breakthrough novel, The Deep End of the Ocean. It returns to the Cappadora family several years after their son, Ben, was returned to them. It turns out that happily ever after wasn't truly completely happy. Ben insisted on calling his kidnapper's husband Dad and calls the Cappadoras by their first names.He also goes by the first name that the kidnapper gave him. The older son has acted up over the years trying to get his mother's attention. This books starts with the older son, Vincent, previewing an independent movie about missing children without telling his mother what the movie is about. The movie brings back a lot of memories for the family and for the other families highlighted in the movie. The rest of the book deals with the ramifications of the movie and how it affects the family relationships. I remember reading the first book and not wanting to put it down. I felt the same way about this book. I read the entire book last night. I will give this book 5 Ks out of 5.

What have you read lately?

Here's to reading!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Fragments?
It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at is responsible for this bloggie party of random thoughts. She is the party planner but we are all responsible for making it a happening party.

I saw on the news that the recession is officially over. Really. That is what they said. I hope the news gets around so people start hiring and stop having layoffs. My husband's employer is announcing a lay-off this morning. We have our fingers crossed that his name isn't on the list.
UPDATE - I got an email from my husband - he survived the lay-off!

"Survivor" had their season premier last night. I am addicted to Survivor. We have watched every season and almost every show. I always wonder about the twists that they throw in. Do they have these scenarios set "If this happens, we will use this twist but if that happens, we will do this instead"? Did you know that the contestants sign a contract that they will not write a book about their experience for several years? I also wonder why the people dress the way they do. I would only pack and wear quick dry clothes. They have to know that they are going to taken to the site pretty soon. Why don't some of these people wear their bathing suits as underwear? The women end up spending most of the season walking around in their bra and panties. Get a clue, people.

Did you read about the couple that got robbed while having an "intimate moment" in a dumpster? They had jewelry and money stolen so it isn't like they were homeless. I wonder how they happened to end up in a dumpster. "Let's go back to your place." "No, honey, my place is an absolute wreck. Let's go to a dumpster instead!" or perhaps "I can't wait to get you alone!" "Hey, look there is an empty dumpster! We don't have to wait!". Seriously, if my husband ever asked for an intimate moment in a dumpster, I would have him climb in first and leave him there. Yuck!

Here's hoping for a less stressful day at work. One co-worker is waiting for results from a biopsy and another co-worker is fighting with her significant other. Keep your fingers crossed for co-worker number one. Her doctor said she was 90% sure it was only an infection and not a recurrence of her breast cancer. We have a lot of hope. As for co-worker #2, I have given up hope that her life will ever be drama-free.

Here's to Friday Fragments! Party on!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Once again, it is another edition of Thankful Thursday. Thursday is the day we all sit back and reflect on how very fortunate we all are. Even when things seem to be dark, there is always that little spark of light to be thankful for. Here is the time that you remind yourself of that. Be thankful for the big things - and the little things too!

This week I am thankful for:

I am thankful that I have a teenage son who is interested in my blog enough to "stalk" it. I am particularly thankful that he said "Mom, thanks for saying you appreciated that I say 'I love you' so much."

I am thankful that my son's work permit finally came in. It took two weeks and one day!

I am thankful that my son goes to a great high school. I went to open house last night and was very happy with the teachers and his courses. I am even more thankful that I am not the one taking all of his classes. AP Calculus and AP Physics would definitely do me in! :)

I am thankful that my friend Mary Ellen starts her job next week! It has been a long journey for her but I know that she will be a smashing success. She has shown determination and good spirits during the job search. She is one of my heroes!

I am thankful for bloggers who teach me, inform me, challenge me and entertain me. Check out My Wonderful Life today for her fun "Thesaurus Thursday Challenge". You will be entertained and also educated. While you are there, scroll back and check out her version of Thankful Thursday. She calls it Thankful Tuesday and you will get an extra dose of positivity!

I am thankful that the Boston Red Sox have been winning. I am even more thankful that Jerry Remy is back as a commentator. He makes watching the games more interesting.

I am thankful that my husband got up the other night when I didn't feel well and insisted on getting me something for my bad headache. The cold pack for my head did the trick.

I am thankful that today is Thursday. The work week is winding down and they say the weather in southern Maine is supposed to be great this weekend!

I am thankful for a loving family. My sister found a vegetarian recipe she thinks my son will like and my niece seems excited that I am going to visit her.

What are you thankful for this week?

Here's to appreciation.

Monday, September 14, 2009

More book reviews

We interrupt the regular blog for another session of "What's on my Kindle!". I will now be adding a new feature - ratings. I will be giving each book 0-5 (with 5 being the best) Ks.

Jennifer Weiner was an oft recommended author when I was looking for vacation book recommendations. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to read her books when I was on vacation (I had to spend sometime with the family, you know) but I did read two of her books when I got home.

The first book I read was "Good in Bed". Since I am more of an adventure/crime/mystery fan, I was a little hesitant to purchase this book. However, so many people recommended it, I took a leap of faith - and I am glad! This book is about a writer, Cannie, with serious body issues, self esteem issues and abandonment issues who is betrayed by a former lover when he writes an article about "Loving a larger sized woman". All of these issues were wrapped up in comedy. It was a bit over-the-top but in a good way. I laughed and I identified with her friendships and, yes, some of her feelings about her weight. I will give this book - K K K K (4 out of 5 Ks).

The second book of Jennifer's that I read was the sequel to "Good in Bed" - "Certain Girls: A Novel". This picks up Cannie's life several years later. She is now married and her daughter is 14. The book is told from Cannie's viewpoint and from her daughter Joy's viewpoint. Joy feels that Cannie is over-protective and that causes conflict with her mother. Part of the story deals with Joy's Bat Mitzvah and the different visions that Cannie and Joy have for it. I could certainly identify with that! In reading this, I felt like I was catching up with an old friend. Once again, it was funny and serious at the same time. I will give this book - K K K K (4 out of 5 Ks).

Since my son is the new owner of a learner's permit, I couldn't resist "The Secrets Between Us" by Barbara Delinsky. In this book, the daughter, who has her permit, is driving home in a rain storm and hits a pedestrian. The mother decides to say she was driving. The story details the issues that result from this secret and also delves into other secrets of her somewhat dysfunctional family. I could identify with the mother's reasoning and the story was interesting right up until the end. I felt that the ending was a bit "pat" and it seemed like the author just got bored and decided to finish the story. Because of the weak ending, I will give this book - K K K or 3 out of 5 Ks.

Finally, I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This book kept popping up on the list of books that Amazon was recommending for me so I finally purchased it. It is a series of letters to and from Julia, an author in Post World War II England. She is researching a book on the occupation of the Channel Islands by the Germans. I do not typically read historical fiction but I enjoyed this book. The horrors of what the islanders - and others - suffered in World War II were tempered by the format of breezy letters. I felt like it gave me a taste of what happened there. I felt the book ended rather suddenly. I was actually surprised to turn the page and see that it was done. I will give this book 3 1/2 K's out of 5.

Next on my reading list is the latest by Nicholas Sparks "The Last Song" and the new Dan Brown which is being automatically downloaded at 12:01 am tonight. No waiting in line for me! I also have a sample of "Malice" by Lisa Jackson to preview. I am able to download a sample of a book (for free!) so I am usually pretty sure I will like the book before I purchase it.

What have you read lately?

Here's to reading!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Fragments returns

Friday Fragments?
It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at is responsible for all this fun. What is Friday Fragments? I am so glad you asked. It is where we take all of the bits and pieces of our thoughts and try to assemble them together into a crazy quilt of randomness. It is a virtual quilting bee and Mrs. 4444 is the queen bee.

I feel subdued today and I think it is because it is 9-11. It is hard to believe that eight years have passed since that day. So many heroes, so much sadness. One of my facebook friends summed up my feelings by saying: USA, home of the free - because of the brave. Amen to that.

I sent an email to someone this week and asked him to keep "this between us". I was asking a two questions but didn't want to make it into a big deal. His response to me was a note that he forwarded it to someone else to answer. What part of "between us" did he not understand? Shame on him. Shame on me too as this is the second time this has happened to me in the past 6 months. You can be sure that I won't be doing that in the future.

In the "eww, that's gross" news, a person in this area was arrested for crawling under an outhouse to watch people do their business. He was convicted of the same crime last year. Yes, you read that correctly. He crawls into the loveliness under the outhouse to watch. Can you imagine looking down and seeing two eyes? I am sure you could hear my scream all the way from Maine to California. Here is the link in case you don't believe me:

It could be a long school year. My son has block scheduling so he has 4 blocks on one day and 4 different blocks the next day. One "blue days", his schedule is "Oh, my gosh!" difficult -2 AP classes and honors English (not his favorite class) and band. On "gold days", it is relatively easy. honors Social Study, Spanish II, gym and a study hall. He is going to be stressed out on those blue days, I can just tell.

Gee, it is frustrating how long it takes to get a work permit in the State of Maine. You have to go to the Superintendent's office, fill out paperwork and they have to send it to the State of Maine to process. It is then mailed back. The last time, it took 2 weeks. It looks like it is going to take that long this time too. It is frustrating because my son would like to work this weekend. The ice cream shop will be closing Columbus Day weekend so he is running out of time!

That's all I got today folks. Make sure you go over to Mrs. 4444's and check out her portion of the crazy quilt. She always brings a smile to my face. You can also see what everyone else is quilting up today.

Here's to Friday Fragments!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A few of my favorite things....

In the Jennifer Weiner books I just completed, the lead character, Cannie, was a big fan of "The Sound of Music" and they mentioned the song "Favorite Things". It got me thinking - what are my favorite things?

Pampered Chef can opener - This leaves a smooth edge and works every time. It makes it so much easier to open cans.

Kindle - I have blathered on plenty about it so I won't bore you but it really is one of my favorite things. I can't wait for the new Dan Brown book to download! I have already pre-ordered it.

Bennies and St. Joe's coffee - This is a local coffee shop (sorry) and they feature Bennies. They are small pieces of fried dough covered with powdered sugar and served with a variety of dipping sauces. My personal favorite is espresso cream. Can you say Heaven on earth?

My projector/television - This is one of my favorite things assuming I can figure out how to turn it on (about 80% of the time). I get a high definition picture and an 88 inch screen. You feel like you are sitting on the baseball field with the players. These are much less than a comparable TV also. (Gotta love a bargain). They are also less obvious than a tv as I can put the screen up and you don't even notice anything.

Green Mountain Coffee K-Cups - we have a fancy coffee maker at works that makes coffee one cup at a time. Fresh brewed gourmet coffee to order.

Lilacs - Even though they make my eyes water and they aren't in season right now, the sight of a lilac bush in full bloom makes me smile. My mother loved lilacs too and it makes me feel closer to her.

Coffee Oreo Ice Cream - Creamy Coffee ice cream studded with chunks of oreo cookies. Yummy!

What are some of your favorite things?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Standin' up for me!

I have always been a very strong advocate for my son and for the youth in our town. When they were scheduling second graders for little league games from 7:00 to 9:00pm on school nights, I didn't just sit in the stands and complain. I got appointed to the executive board to make sure it didn't happen again. When the school wasn't meeting my son's needs in math, I developed a plan and didn't back down. It wasn't always easy (I was insulted, lied to and made fun of) but I did what I knew was best for him.

Who I haven't always been an advocate for, however, is ME. I am the type of person who will drive miles and miles out of my way to do an errand for someone else. I am the person who will get up at 3:00 am to drive someone to the airport and I am the first people a lot of people call when their child needs a ride somewhere. Most of the time, I am fine with this but there have been occasions when I have been taken advantage of.

I have turned over a new leaf this year. I am now starting to advocate for myself. As I have mentioned, I have recently started taking karate and I am finding it to be a lot of fun as well as great exercise. I am president of our music boosters organization and I have informed the two music teachers that I am unable to make any meetings held on Tuesday or Thursday evenings because those are the nights that I take karate. I told the head of the boy scout committee the same thing. I am making myself unavailable to them because I want to do karate for ME. Now this might not seem like a big deal to you but it is a huge first step for me.

What are you doing to put yourself first this week?

Here's to taking care of yourself!

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's time for another edition of Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments?

It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. Mrs. 4444 over at came up with this brainchild. Friday Fragments is where we bloggers can justify all the randomness that we try to hide the rest of the week. It is a mental goulash
and Mrs. 4444 is the head chef.

More than 1/2 of our staff is out of the office today. I am not sure what the boss was thinking when he kept saying yes to time off requests. Here's hoping that everyone is thinking about the long weekend and not thinking about their insurance today.

My son got his coveted learning permit Monday evening. He has driven several hours already. We live next door to his grandparents and they have allowed him to drive. In fact, his 82 year old grandmother basically insists that he drive. It is probably a good thing! Evan won't be eligible to get his license until next July so he will have lots of practice in by then.

Our school district is starting discussions with the neighboring town about closing our high school and sending our high school students to their high school. At the first meeting, apparently parents stood up and said they fully supported the idea and let's do it sooner than later. Hello. This is a major change in our educational system. How can they fully support something when they have no idea how it is going to work, what the cost will be - financially and, dare I say, emotionally to our students? They don't know what that would do to class size or anything else. Bigger is not necessarily better. I feel like I don't have enough information to say I don't support it but I certainly don't want to rush into something. The person who said let's do it sooner than later made that statement after her son spent one day in the high school. One day! I cringed when I read that statement. The teachers must feel awful. It made it sound like our high school is a bad place to be. It is small but my son loves it there and we have been very happy with the teachers, etc.

The weather forecast here in Southern Maine is beautiful for the entire weekend. We have had the worse weather most of the the summer and the last weekend, it is going to be nice? I think the weather gods are taunting me. Showing me what the summer could have/should have been.

All morning I have been hearing weird noises. I kept hearing a strange vibration at home this morning Everytime I heard it, I got up to check but it would quickly end. I just heard a strange beeping noise here in the office. At least one other person heard it too so I know it isn't me just going crazy. I hate those unidentified noises. Is it a sign that something is breaking down? Is it someone calling me on my cell to tell me that I have won $1 million dollars? Is it a bomb?

That is all that I can add to the mental goulash today. What tasty tidbits are you going to throw in?

Here's to fragments.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It is time to be thankful

Once again, it is another edition of Thankful Thursday. Thursday is the day we all sit back and reflect on how very fortunate we all are. Even on those "I can't wait until it is 4:30 and I can leave this horrid job" days, we truly do have a lot to be thankful for - I just know it! Here is the time that you remind yourself of that. Be thankful for the big things - and the little things too!

This week I am thankful for:

My dog who was so excited to see us when we got home from vacation. She sat on the couch next to me that evening, put her head on my lap and sighed a big sigh of relief. Her people had returned.

The high school boy who house sat while we were on vacation did a fantastic job. The house looked great when we got back, the dog and cat just loved him and he left us a nice note thanking us for giving him the job. He is an all around great kid.

That my son has made positive choices in kids to hang out with. The above house sitter is two years older than my son but is one of his friends. Also, another friend helped my son get a new job this fall. There is an ice cream shop a few miles from our house and my son really wanted to work there this summer. Unfortunately, they prefer to hire 16 year olds and sonnyboy is only 15. He got a job as a dishwasher at a local restaurant but told me he was aiming for the other place for next summer. This fall, he got an email asking him to interview at the ice cream place to finish out their season and for next summer. He was selected because of a personal recommendation of one of his friends. He got the job and his buddy is training him. It was a nice thing for his friend to do. Evan and these two boys are doing a school trip to Germany next spring. I have no worries about him because I know they are all great kids who make great choices. Phew.

That Mighty Mom liked my Thankful Thursday idea enough that she is doing Thankful Tuesday. Make sure you go over to see her and get a double scoop of thankfulness each week.

That, while I had a pile of work on my desk, I did not return to any crisis situations when I got back to my job this past Monday.

That my sunburn doesn't hurt anymore.

That things are going better for my BFF Mary Ellen. I can just tell that things are starting to go her way and no one in my world deserves it more than her.

That the way my husband suffers from his mid-life crisis is by buying a new motorcycle. I prefer that over him getting a girl friend or a new wife!

What are you thankful for today?

Here's to gratitude.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Book reviews - part two

I also read "Julie & Julia, 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen". For those of you living under a rock and not familiar with this book/movie, it is about an almost 30 year old woman in New York City who is dissatisfied with her life and decides to cook all of the recipes in Julia Child's The Joy of French Cooking in 365 days. While she likes to cook, she isn't an accomplished cook by any stretch of the imagination so this was quite the undertaking. In addition, she blogged about her progress.

As you probably know, this book has been made into a movie and is quite popular. It is not my typical choice for a read. When I read non-fiction, I tend to read true crime books or biographies. Also, I really don't enjoy cooking. However, I kept seeing people everywhere reading this book and decided to see what all the fuss was about. Surprising to me, I enjoyed this book. The focus really wasn't on the cooking as much as it was about Julie and her life. She was a secretary at a government agency and was wondering if "this was it" for her life. Her life in the Big Apple was interesting to this country gal and her friends and family made for an interesting cast of characters. The bloggy component was interesting as well. I was surprised to see where Julia Child was made aware of what she was doing and wasn't impressed at all. I am planning on going to see the movie and would recommend this book.

Since I had enjoyed a "non-typical" choice in a book, my next book was one recommended by a fellow blogger. Kim recommended "Golden Country" by Jennifer Gilmore and when I checked it out, it looked very interesting. I don't usually read historical fiction but decided to take a chance - and I am glad I did. This story featured several families of Jewish immigrants and their successes and failures over the years. It was based in the early 1900s- Depression and World War II times. The family members ranged from mobsters to inventors to society wives. It also had several familiar people show up in Cameos - Irvin Berlin, Mae West, etc. While most of the book is based in New York City, part of it was based in Maine and that was a very pleasant surprise! What made me even happier was that the author got the geography of Maine correct - the towns were in the right order, etc. I hate when they screw that up and the last book I read based in Maine had errors all over the place. Anyway, while this story didn't have a plot with a thrilling climax, it was a very interesting "slice of life" type story and I would recommend it! Thanks, Kim.

The next book I read was back to my typical "mystery adventure". I read "Chosen to Die" by Lisa Jackson. This book was about a serial killer who caused accidents, rescued the victims and then, after nursing them back to life, ties them to trees to die. The characters all had flaws and it was a very interesting book. It was obvious to me that the author wrote the book in such a manner that there will be a follow-up book coming. If you like this style of book, this book is on my recommended list.

Finally, I am currently reading "Good in Bed" by Jennifer Weiner which was recommended by several bloggers. I haven't read more than 25% of if so I won't attempt to review it. I will say, however, that so far, I am really enjoying this author. This is a real hoot!

Thanks for reading my reviews.

Here's to reading!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Book reviews by popular demand

My entire family loves to read. The first things on our packing list for vacation are books, books and more books - or in my case, my kindle. I will share almost anything with my family but my kindle is ALL MINE! Anyway, on our cruise vacation, I read several books. Some of these books were recommended by my bloggie friends and were by authors I would not usually read. I also took along some 'tried and true' personal favorites. Here are the details on some of the books I read:

I read two books by Lisa Gardner. The first one was "The Killing Hour: A Novel". Lisa Gardner is a prolific writer and she has many continuing characters. This book focused on Kimberly Quincy who is the daughter of another character. Kimberly is at FBI training camp, following in Dad's footsteps, when she finds a body in the woods. She joins forces with an agent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to try to solve the crime and puts her own career in jeopardy. Of course, Dad and his girlfriend join in the "fun". This book solved the crime in a "CSI" way. They had to take clues left at crime scenes to determine where the killer was sending them. Along the way, they enlisted the help of several nerdy scientists. If you enjoy "CSI", this is definitely a book you would enjoy. It was intense and I had a hard time putting it down.

The second book I read by Lisa Gardner was "Say Goodbye" and, once again, it focused on Kimberly Quincy. She is now an FBI Agent, married and expecting her first child. This case was of a serial killer obsessed with spiders who was killing off "ladies of the night". This case was less dependent on the science method of crime solving. Once again, the book shows a main character who struggles with who she is, decisions, etc. Kimberly isn't perfect and that just made her more enjoyable. The story also includes a couple of young boys who were snatched from their families and what happens to them. It also included a few twists and turns that I, for one, didn't expect. If you like crime/adventure, this is a book that I would recommend also. It is pretty intense.

After reading two intense books, I decided to go in a different direction and the next book, I read was total fluff. I read "Thursdays at Eight" by Debbie Macomber. This book followed 4 women who met in a journeling class and decided to meet weekly for breakfast to keep their friendships going. I have read several other series by Debbie Macomber and I knew that this would be "light" reading. I was correct. I have to say, however, I was a bit disappointed. It seemed like a remake of the Blossom Street series. The characters all seemed to be similiar to other characters and it was a bit predictable. If you love Debbie Macomber, you will probably like this book. If not, I would probably skip it.

That is it for today - come back tomorrow when I talk about Julie and Julia, The Golden Country, Chosen to Die and Good in Bed (which I started when I got home).

What good books have you read lately?

Here's to reading!