Friday, July 31, 2009

Fragments of my mind for Friday

Friday Fragments?

It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. This party is hosted by the all-in-one-piece Mrs. 4444 over at Friday Fragments is where we bloggers purge the junk drawers in our brains of all of the little bits and pieces of thoughts that take up space.

One of my facebook friends has pictures on her page of her and her partner kissing and lots of personal posts between the two of them about how they can't wait to see each other again to kiss, etc. etc. No, this isn't one of my son's classmates posting this. It is a 40 year old woman. My reaction when I see the page isn't "Oh, look how much in love they are!", it is "who are they trying to convince that they have a wonderful relationship? Me or themselves?". It may just be me but I think that some discretion is a great thing and when a 40 year old acts like a teenager like that, it strikes me as pathetic. Just sayin'.

I had my very important Girls' Night Out last night. Usually we meet every other month but we are meeting a little more frequently. We didn't discuss it but I think it is because we all need it and we all really enjoy it. Last night, we discussed a Girls' Weekend Away. How cool would that be? I think it will really happen. Mary Ellen lost her mind for a moment and wondered aloud if we would run out of things to talk about. We all laughed. That would be like Hershey running out of chocolate or Tiger Woods running out of money. Not going to happen in this lifetime!

Judy, the third side of our GNO triangle, told us one of her son's best friend died in a tragic accident. She commented that she wanted to reside in a world where children didn't die. I have reserved a house next to her in that alternate world. That must have been a heart wrenching memorial service to sit through.

I mentioned yesterday in Thankful Thursday that my husband shooed a bat out of our bedroom. It happened at about 4:00 am when the dog woke us up barking. My husband realized that Katy was raising a fuss because there was a bat in the vicinity. He knows me pretty well so he told me there was a bat "in the house" so I wouldn't totally freak all at once. He told me to cover my head so he could turn on the overhead light. While covered up, I figured out that what he really meant was that the bat was in the bedroom - where I was!! Instead of bravely jumping up to assist "my man" in the bat riddance dance, I curled up in a ball and pulled the sheet totally over my head. I did try to figure out what was going on by the thumps and bumps that I could hear and every time I thought the bat was coming closer, I squeezed my eyes tightly closed. It seemed like hours but within a few short minutes, my hero had gotten the bat out of the bedroom, down the stairs and out the front door. The next night, he purchased screen to add to our attic vents. I hope we don't repeat that nighttime adventure anytime soon!

I went to Home Depot the other night and picked out several paint chips to consider for my upstairs bathroom. One chip I picked out is a hideous color but it had a really cool name. I always wonder who sits there and develops the names and how they decide between two shades which one is "Buttercup" and which one is "Buttered Sweet Corn." The color I liked the most under the glaring high wattage lights of Home Depot is the same color I liked the best in my car yesterday afternoon. The hideous color in Home Depot was still hideous in natural light. This weekend, I will be tacking the colors up in the bathroom and living with them for a few days (or weeks or months).

It is funny to see which blogs people comment on. I have to say, I never get it right.

Here's to fragments and it being Friday.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Once again, it is Thankful Thursday!

Do we really take the time we should to reflect on the things that we are thankful for? I know I don't, so on Thursdays, I am going to think about the things in my life that I should appreciate more. I am thankful for the big things - a loving family, good health and a job in this tough economy but I also want to focus on the little things that we often overlook.

I am VERY thankful that tonight is Girl's Night Out and I get to spend time with two of my favorite ladies. We have been friends for years and I am lucky to know both of them.

I am thankful that my son is doing well at his first job. He gets paid today. He has shown a lot of interest in the job (he calls in every day to see if they need him as a fill-in!) and he has gotten to work a lot of extra shifts. I am so proud of him.

I am thankful that I found a way to save money on one of the excursions on our cruise. Don't you just love the internet and how people post suggestions and don't you just love saving money?

I am thankful that my hubby was willing to work with me last night on some of my karate exercises.

I am thankful that I have reconnected with some of my high school friends on facebook. I made tentative plans to get together with one of them when my son and I go on our "road trip" this October.

I am thankful that my son knows what his summer assignment is for English. Now, I can order the book for him.

I am thankful that my hubby chased the bat out of our bedroom the other night.

I am thankful that I was able to go off my medicine and not have a relapse.

I am thankful that Hallie's raffle drawing is coming up soon. It's not too late, however, to get in on the fun. You can still donate over at Not only is it a fantastic cause, but you can win lots of really cool prizes.

Finally, I am thankful that my vacation is only 22 days away! Yee Hah!

What are you thankful for today?

Here's to appreciating the little things we have going for us.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Sara over at hosts Mostly Wordless Wednesday where participants post a photo. Make sure you check out her blog to get links for all of the other photos. My photo offering fulfills the ordinary side of things and the others fulfill the awesome side of things!

My photo is from a park a few miles from our house. This old fort overlooks Portsmouth Harbor and this tree has always appealed to me. It reminds me of a giant bonsi tree!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Decisions, decisions, decisions.....

I had an epiphany today. I have a hard time making decisions. Now, you may ask, why did it take me so long to come to this self-realization? Well, perhaps I am not as in touch with myself as I should be. Also, it isn't all decisions that I have a hard time with. It is only the relatively small decisions that I beat myself up over so it isn't really ALL that obvious. That is what I am hoping, anyway.

Yup, you got it. The big life-changing decisions - I make those with nary a hesitation. I investigate, learn everything I can, follow my gut and charge forward. I don't second guess my decisions either. When I got married 25 years ago, I didn't think twice. When we decided to start our family, I knew it was time. When we built our house, I knew exactly what I wanted.

Other decisions like which political candidate to support or how to vote on a bond issue, I also find easy to make. I know where I stand and tend to take sides early.

It is the small decisions that make me agonize. What color to paint our downstairs bathroom took multiple trips to a paint store to collect paint chips. I thought I had a vision but wasn't sure if it was right. I FINALLY picked out a paint and my hubby painted. Now, I am still not sure it was the right choice. Seriously. I am still checking out colors when I visit other people's homes or offices. I decide what vacation I want to book (IE a cruise) but worry that I might be making the wrong choices when it comes to the final details. My husband will ask me what I want to do on Saturday and my usual answer is "I don't know." This is a typical conversation between me and my (very patient) hubby. Me "I think we should paint the upstairs bathroom yellow." Him "Sounds good to me." Me "I was thinking a pale but somewhat bright yellow." Him "Fine." "Do you think a more golden yellow would be better?" Him. "Whatever you think is fine with me." Me: "I don't know. Maybe a blue would go with the tiles better." Him (obviously having tuned me out by now) "Hmmmm." Me: "But I don't want it to be like a baby's room so maybe the yellow would contrast nicely with the tiles." Him:"Hmmmm. Yeah." Me - "Or maybe another color." and so on and so forth.

If you asked me what you should do with your life or, even what color you should paint your bathroom, I could give you an answer in a short amount of time. I have no idea why I can't make these minor decisions for myself. I am going to try to be better. Stay tuned for the decision on what color to paint the upstairs bathroom. I hope to have an answer before 2010... but I won't promise. Don't want to make the wrong choice, you know?

Here's to decisions.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Fragments?

It is Friday and another shot of of Friday Fragments. Friday Fragments is where we bloggers have permission to be as random as we want to. Why? Because Mrs. 4444 over at says we can! Make sure you check out Mrs. 444's site to see what everyone else is pondering about today.

On my way to work, I pass under an electrical wire that suddenly has a pair of sneakers hanging off of it. You know how people tie them together and they hang off the wire by their laces? What amazes me, however, is that these sneakers appear to be brand new leather sneakers. What would possess someone to do that? "Gee, I just spent $80. on these sneakers. Why don't I throw them up on this wire so everyone can enjoy them?" What is up with that?

It is another rainy day in Maine. Today's rain, however, is not a gentle rain that makes is sometimes enjoyable on hot summer days. No, today the heavens have taken their hose and put it on "hard rain" and pointed it towards Maine. They are forecasting 3 inches of rain today. Three inches!! We are going to be floating away. I walked the 200 feet from my car to the office at 8:30 and I am still damp 90 minutes later. I got soaked in the 2 minutes it took me to get into the office. The parking lot has such a large puddle in it that I warned my boss that the tax assessor will probably start taxing him on "waterfront property". Yee gads. Will it ever end?

My son is going to be entering his sophomore year in high school in September. He loves music and plays the bass clarinet. Our high school band has been in a rebuilding process for the past several years. We were thrilled last fall when the band director announced that the band would be participating in the Christmas parade for Portsmouth NH - and that they were going to be paid! We were further impressed that the band director decided that the band members needed to purchase jackets so they would look more professional. I wrote the check and waited excitedly to see my son's new jacket. The day he got it, he called and seemed down. I asked about his new jacket and got an "it's ok". Hmmm. What was with that? When I got home, I immediately saw the problem. The band director had picked out a jacket that is virtually identical to a jacket that I own. Mine has my employers name on it and his has the school name on it. I could easily wear mine to band functions and people would think I was "with the band". What high school boy wants to have matching jackets with his mother? What are the odds that the band director would pick out that particular style?

My son is many things but organized isn't one of them. Last night, we spent time looking for the paperwork on his summer reading project for English. It is He sent a message to a friend to get the details because he needs to read a book and write a paper. Any suggestions on how to get a teenage boy more organized?

What random thoughts are keeping you up at night?

Here's to fragments!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another Thursday to be thankful for

Do we really take the time we should to reflect on the things that we are thankful for? I know I don't, so on Thursdays, I am going to think about the things in my life that I should appreciate more. I am thankful for the big things - a loving family, relatively good health and amazing friends but I also want to focus on the little things that we often overlook.

I am thankful that my son did well his first day at his first job. He got to work 30 minutes longer than expected and is working tonight and one day this weekend. He will be able to put money in the bank for his trip to Germany next spring!

I am thankful that my karate class went so well this week. After getting sick in class (yuck!) last week, I was a little apprehensive about going this week. I had a great time! I am looking forward to my class tonight too.

I am thankful that I got to go to the Macaroni Grill last Friday night. Penne Rustica is still one of my favorite dishes ever.

I am thankful that my son had a great time at "band camp". The two concerts we went to absolutely rocked the house. Wow. What talent. It was amazing.

I am thankful that my son is home now. I missed him!

I am thankful that I am somewhat caught up at work right now. I have no idea how it happened (LOL) but I am really enjoying it. It is much less stressful. I am going to enjoy it while I have it because it isn't a usual situation.

I am thankful that my friend Mary Ellen had a job interview yesterday and has one tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for her. She deserves our good wishes and a dash of good luck. Any employer would be lucky to have her.

I am thankful that my vacation is less than 30 days away. Sorry to mention that again, but I need a vacation and counting down is the only thing keeping me sane.

I am thankful that I have a husband who noticed that I sounded tired yesterday when I left him voicemail and called to check to make sure I was OK.

I am very very thankful that my co-worker found out that the lump she found was just fluid that formed after her breast cancer surgery. We were all scared for her as she had just finished her treatment a few short months ago.

What are you thankful for today?

Here's to appreciation of all of the good things in life.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another (Mostly) Wordless Wednesday is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Sara over at hosts a gathering every Wednesday for all of the talented photographers in Bloggyland to showcase their pictures. Shhhh. Don't tell anyone but I tag along. They haven't figured out that I don't belong. Go over to her site and check out the really talented people and, please keep my secret!!

Today I am posting a photo that I didn't take but it is an old family photo of my grandmother. She was a very strong and elegant English lady who lived to her nineties. Her husband died very young and left her with 10 children to raise. With the help of the older boys, she did a wonderful job.

Here's to strong women!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ch - Ch - Changes!

Today my son starts working for a real paycheck. His first day at his first job. Yikes, he is growing up.

In less than two weeks, he starts driver's ed. That means in less than a year, he will be getting his driver's license and driving away by himself. Yikes, he is growing up.

In less than two months, he starts his sophomore year in high school. He will be taking courses that I have no chance to be able to help him with. Yikes, he is growing up.

In three years, I will be sitting here in shock because he will be getting ready to go to college. Yikes, he is growing up.

What happened to that little boy who loved to snuggle and didn't want to go away to college because it meant sleeping somewhere else? Wasn't that just a month or two ago? What happened to the little boy who I had to strap into a car seat? Or the young lad who was so excited that he could finally sit in the front seat? That couldn't have been that long ago! I remember the little boy who was studying multiplication tables and talking about them during baseball games. Where is he now?

The next few years are going to be so exciting for my son - and an emotional rollercoaster for me. I can't wait to see where life takes him even though part of me still wants to hug him and whisper "don't grow up". Ahh, the life of a parent. I wouldn't change a thing.

Here's to changes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Adventures with Comcast

Several years ago, I purchased a domain name for my personal use. The reasoning behind this was fairly simple. My husband is the type of guy who likes technology and when we first got Internet service at home, he was always looking for a better deal or faster service. Hence, we changed our email addresses on a fairly frequent basis. I decided if I owned my own domain name, I would never have to change my email address again. I have it set up so that when some sends an email to my personal domain (PD), it is automatically forwarded to the address I have set up with my Internet provider (IP). 97% of the time, this works flawlessly. 2 to 3 times a year, however, my IP stops delivering the messages that are being forwarded from my personal domain. No reason, no explanation and no error messages. It always happens over a weekend and I have to call up and get them to “unblock” those messages. The big issue is that they always deny that they have done anything and it makes it hard to get it fixed. We did change Internet providers one time because of this but found the other provider didn’t work as well as a television provider and we switched back.

Anyway, late Saturday evening, I noticed that I had not received many email messages for a couple of days. When I checked the messages I had received, they had all been directed to my email address with the IP and I wasn’t receiving any emails that were on auto forward and addressed to my PD. This is an issue because about 90% of the emails I receive are addressed to my PD address. I checked the IP’s website and noticed that they had “live help” 24/7 and filled out the live help form. My complaint was too long and it got kicked out. Undaunted, I completed the form again to notice that I suddenly had no “submit” button to submit my complaint. Hmmm. I went back to the start and tried again. Still no “submit” button. They obviously didn’t want to hear from me! Ha. I wasn’t going to take that and after digging thru layers of their website, I found a toll free number for assistance. I called and got a real person!!!! She indicated that she would be “able to solve my problem” and then proceeded to show me that she had no idea in the least what the problem was. I explained it a second time (“I am not receiving any messages that are being forwarded from my personal domain address.”) I thought I made it pretty clear but apparently I was wrong as she had me check the settings for my IP mail. I explained (very nicely, I might add) for a third time and she told me that I needed to be transferred to another department. Before she transferred me, she asked if there was anything else she could help me with. I restrained myself from answering that there wasn’t because she hadn’t helped me with the first item. When I was transferred, I got an answering machine indicating that this department was closed until Monday. Now, don’t you think, she should have warned me that she was sending me to someone who wasn’t there and who wouldn’t be there for several days?!? Strike one. I hung up the phone and pondered my next move.

I decided to try the live help avenue again. This time, I was actually able to submit my complaint! I got a new person in Indonesia who, once again, assured me that they would be happy to fix my problem immediately. Once again, I explained my problem. The person then summarized my problem back to me. Imagine my dismay when she had the issue 100% wrong. I explained it again and suggested that perhaps the IP had put a “Spam block” on the forwarded emails because I was receiving so many from that one address. She then asked me if the address from my PD was my IP address. I bit my tongue and didn’t ask her if she noticed that the address after the @ was not the same as the IP. I do have some restraint, after all! She provided a link to a form that I could submit for removing a “Spam block”. When I looked at the form, it had 2 mandatory fields that I was unable to complete. It was pretty clear to me that the form was for someone sending out emails that were blocked. This was not my issue. In addition, when I asked for help completing the form, it was obvious that this help person didn’t really understand my issue or even the issue that the form was supposed to rectify. Strike two. I disconnected and tried to decide what to do next.

At this point, I was getting irritated. I simply wanted to get my email. Every time I checked my emails, I would get the “No New Messages” notice. I knew there were messages waiting for me. I was being mocked by technology.

Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to try the toll free number to get a real person. I called and got someone to talk to. Once again, I was assured that she would solve my problem in mere moments. Ha. I wasn’t falling for that again. I explained my problem to her. After a few questions and a few more times explaining the issue, I got the impression that a miracle was happening. She UNDERSTOOD. Perhaps her promise of help was not a false promise. Could it be? Alas, I was too optimistic. She did understand what I was saying but told me that it wasn’t an issue by the IP. She claimed it was a problem on the end of the host of my personal domain. Now, I had been thru this the past three or four times this problem has occurred and the IP always said that. I was able to tell them that we had confirmed that the host of the personal domain wasn’t the issue as emails could be forwarded to other addresses. Anyway, she refused to even consider that it was an issue with the IP. I asked if I could take this problem to the next level and she indicated that she would fill out the paperwork to do this and that someone would call me within 2 hours. At that point, it was after midnight and I indicated that I wasn’t interested in a call within 2 hours, as I would be sleeping. She said OK. Two minutes later, she told me that I would be receiving a follow up call “within 2 hours”. I pointed out (very nicely) again that it was late and I did not want a follow up call until Sunday. She said she understood but, once again, a few minutes later referenced that I would be receiving a follow up call “within 2 hours”. At that point, I strongly said, “It is after midnight here. I do NOT want a call back tonight as I will be asleep at 2:00 am.” She did indicate that she understood after the third time. Strike three. I am supposed to receive a follow up call from them sometime today. So far, no calls. While I was talking to this third person, I attempted to send the IP an email from the help section of their website. Once again, I did not get a submit button to send the complaint. I am getting paranoid. No one wants to help me!

In the meantime, I set up a new gmail email account. I went into the host of my personal domain and changed the forwarding address to my gmail address. We went into the gmail account and had that account forward mail to my IP address. Lo and behold, I am now getting my mail again. However, all of the emails that were sent to me from Friday to after midnight on Saturday are sitting somewhere in email limbo at the IP. Assuming I don’t get a call tonight, I will be on the telephone tomorrow desperately seeking assistance. If you read in the paper about a woman’s head exploding in Southern Maine, you will be able to say, “I read her blog and know what caused it.”

UPDATE: I called them on Monday afternoon. Once again, I got the "It is nothing we are doing." answer. The customer service agent put in a repair "ticket". I asked about the previous two repair tickets that had been put in. Both of those had been closed without action. No explanation why. She also told me that no one would be calling to confirm that any solution had been found but that I could call back and check. Interesting method of customer service. However, when I returned home later last evening, lo and behold, I had all of my messages from over the weekend. Someone had done something! I had set up a work around Saturday night and I plan on keeping that in place to see if, perhaps, we can avoid this situation happening again in another few months.

Here's to solving problems and keeping your sanity.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fragmented Friday once again

Friday Fragments?

It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. This event is hosted by the fun-loving Mrs. 4444 over at You know all those half thoughts that zoom around in your brain looking for a place to land? Friday Fragments is where they all join together and end up. It is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Make sure you check out Mrs. 444's site to see what random thoughts are racing around inside of everyone else.

I have mentioned a time or two (OK, OK, I have whined about) a project at work that we have literally been working on for 3 1/2 months. This past Monday, my entire department (commercial lines in a small insurance agency) traveled 45 minutes to present our proposal. We got there early to look around and let the woman we were presenting to know we arrived early. Right before we presented, she informed us that she had another meeting and could only give us 15 minutes. Fifteen - freakin' - minutes to summarize 3 1/2 months of work? In addition, she had the four of us join her in her itsy-bitsy goldfish bowl of an office. We sat around her desk on very uncomfortable chairs attempting to balance our materials on our laps. Needless to say, the presentation did.not.go.well. Our salesperson and the agency president are returning this coming Monday to give it another shot. What does this mean to moi? You got it. I get to do more work! We are re-tooling our presentation to add in more information to counteract her concerns. Once again, the salesperson is NOT GOING TO BE IN THE OFFICE TODAY! Yup. He is going to be at his vacation home while I get to do all the work. He will come in Monday morning to review and give me the revisions so I get to work all day today just to be able to run around frantically Monday morning to re-do it because he is NOT GOING TO BE IN THE OFFICE TODAY to give me guidance. Not that it bothers me that he is NOT GOING TO BE IN THE OFFICE TODAY. Nope, not one little bit. Not at all.

Tonight, after work, hubby and I are hitting the road and heading north to Gorham, ME to see our son perform in a "band camp" concert. I gave up a ticket to go to a gala event tonight. I am a little disappointed because I really would have enjoyed the opening night of our local designer show house and the ticket was free. Oh well, there is always next year and I know that Evan won't be going to band camp for much longer since he is going to be (gulp) a sophomore in high school this fall. The other benefit is that I don't have to dress up for the concert and today is casual day at work!

Why is it that the people I work with who are always crying poverty are the first ones who order out lunch or breakfast or ice cream? One of my co-workers in particular is always saying she can't afford this or that but she often spends $50. a week or more on ordering out. I always have to bite my tongue when she says she is poor because "she has the worse luck". No, sweetie, maybe you are poor because you made bad decisions. Saying you can't afford for your son to take his SATs ($40.) the same week you buy him a $50. Rock Band game just doesn't make sense. You all have coworkers like this, right? Please tell me. I hate to think I am the only one.

It has been so nice that it hasn't been raining this week. Hubby and I have been able to take our dog for a walk a couple of evenings. It is so enjoyable to get out and enjoy the weather and the quiet time together. An added benefit is that the dog sleeps better at night. In our house, if the dog isn't happy, nobody is happy!

I am in my second term as president of a local professional organization. Our executive board met last night to plan out the up-coming year. Oh my, what a great group of women. They are professional, educated and nice people. Last year, I arranged for all of the monthly speakers. This year, we brainstormed ideas and everyone grabbed a topic and volunteered to contact a speaker. I don't have to do a thing. That's right. I don't have to do a thing. How cool is that? Well, nothing beyond do the monthly newsletter, arrange for the locations and run the meetings. Still it is a lot less work than last year!

What random thoughts are rattling around in your brain today?

Here's to Friday Fragments!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I am thankful it is Thursday

Do we really take the time we should to reflect on the things that we are thankful for? I know I don't, so on Thursdays, I am going to think about the things in my life that I should appreciate more. I am thankful for the big things - a loving family, relatively good health and a job in this tough economy but I also want to focus on the little things that we often overlook.

I am thankful that the weather here in Maine has been beautiful this week! It has been sunny, not too hot and NOT RAINING.

I am thankful that I live close to Portsmouth, NH. It is a lovely small city and my hubby and I often go there to walk our dog. It has lots of little shops, great places to get coffee and it is safe.

I am thankful that I am sleeping better at night. A good night's sleep makes it so much easier to face the next work day.

I am thankful that I was able to see someone reach a goal this week. Hallie put together a raffle with the heartfelt hope that she would raise $5,000. for the United Network for Organ Sharing in honor of her father and his donor family. She did it! However, there is no reason to stop now. You can still donate over at Not only is it a fantastic cause, but you can win lots of really cool prizes.

I am thankful that my son is apparently having a great time at his band camp. At least it appears so from the very few text messages I have received from him.

I am thankful that it looks like my lunchtime walking program can return to normal and I can start listening to my audio books again. I have really missed that.

I am thankful that the Boston Red Sox return from the All Star break and play Toronto tomorrow night. I haven't known what to do with my evenings this week without a ball game to watch!

I am thankful that in 36 days I will be in a car heading towards Baltimore and my cruise vacation. I can't wait!

I am thankful that I have had a great week with hubby this week while our son has been gone. We have had fun and gotten some chores accomplished.

I am thankful that I lost weight at my first official weigh-in!

What are you thankful for today?

Here's to appreciating the little things!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

The awesome Sara over at hosts Mostly Wordless Wednesday where participants post a photo with a brief explanation. Check out all the other great photos. The bloggie world really has some talented photographers!

I chose the above photo simply because it makes me smile and it makes me remember a wonderful family vacation.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I am my mother's daughter....

I have recently reconnected with several high school friends on Facebook and we have all done the "what have you been up to since the good old days in 50 words or less" updates. Condensing the past into just a few words has made me realize something - I have turned into my mother.

Perhaps I should have noticed this earlier but I honestly never thought about it. I was always close to my mother and I never was one who said "I want to have a different life than my mother" but I always assumed that I would. As a youth growing up in a small town in Maine, I always assumed that there was more out there and I assumed I would find it.

However, I have realized:

My priority is my family. My mother's priority was her family. She was the youngest child and I am the youngest child. In many ways, she was the child who made the effort to keep the family connected after her parents passed away and I find that I have adopted that role also. She was at every performance and every show that I ever participated in. I knew she was behind me and I hope that my son feels the same way. My mother was always the parent who made sure that everything got accomplished that needed to be accomplished. While my hubby is a wonderful dad, it something needs to get done, everyone in the family looks to me to make sure it happens.

She loved the small town lifestyle of where we lived and I love the small town lifestyle of where I live. We both enjoy "neighbors helping neighbors". My mother always baked for bake sales, supported the youth organizations we participated in and "mothered" way beyond the family ties. I like to think that I have followed in her footsteps with my support of our community.

I work in the same industry as my mother. She worked in a small family owned insurance agency in claims and I work in a small insurance agency handling commercial accounts. I left a higher paying job in a bigger city about 10 years ago because I wanted to be closer to home and my family. I really enjoy helping out my neighbors with their business insurance and going into local businesses and knowing people. I know my mother enjoyed that part of the job also.

Is there more out there? Perhaps but the life I lead is a perfect fit for me. I can think of no better woman to be like than my mother. I miss her every day.

Who are you most like?

Here's to family ties and being my mother's daughter!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Framented Friday

Friday Fragments?

It is Friday and you know what that means! It is another edition of Friday Fragments. This party is hosted by the one. the only Mrs. 4444 over at Check her out as she always makes me smile and she has links to all of the party goers and their personal fragments.

I have been working on a big project at work for a new salesperson for the past several months. His presentation is due on Monday. This week has been challenging because we have been in the "finish up" mode - and he has decided to be out of the office for 3 days. The week before your biggest presentation since you have worked somewhere is probably not the best time to be out of the office that much. At least, not if you want to keep the rest of the staff happy. Just sayin'.

It is our second day in a row of sunny weather. It is supposed to be 78 degrees today. It is helping my mood improve - which is a very good thing if you read the above paragraph.

The downside of the two days of sunny weather is that the pollen is back and my allergies are acting up quite badly. I am popping decongestant like they are m&m's to try to get rid of this sinus headache.

My son is going away to band camp for a week starting tomorrow morning. I love the fact that he can go because he is very passionate about music. I will admit, however, that I am going to miss him. Our house always seems so quiet when he is gone for any period of time. It is hard to believe that in just a few years, he will be gone away to college.

Tomorrow is hubby's birthday and he is going to be as old as me! One benefit of our son, the vegetarian, being away is that we can go out to a rib place for his birthday dinner. Yum! There is this little (and I mean little!) rib place in Portsmouth, NH that has amazing ribs. We are BBQ people and it is a lip smackin', finger lickin' type of place.

My hubby and I met when we were both college students at the University of Maine. We were shocked to find out that our fathers were both from Mississippi. They were both in the Navy and met Maine women during their tours of duty. The women won the "where should we live" battles and both of these southern boys with wonderful drawls settled in the cold climate of Maine. In all of my growing up years in Maine, I had never met someone else who had been from Mississippi until I met my husband and his father. Strangely enough, our fathers even grew up about 30 miles apart. Talk about a small world! I have never been to Mississippi and I hope to travel there sometime in the future.

I work in insurance and that is obviously not a creative industry. I am trying to expand my creativity and that is one reason that I have started this blog. I am also thinking about starting to make jewelry. I think it would be creative but also my love for symmetry would be a benefit. I love to give "made-with-love" gifts for Christmas and I think jewelry would be great for my nieces. Someone just pointed me in the direction of Youtube for help on how to make it so I am hoping to be on my way soon.

Here's to Fragmented Thoughts!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Do we really take the time we should to reflect on the things that we are thankful for? I know I don't, so on Thursdays, I am going to think about the things in my life that I should appreciate more.

I am happy that the sun is shining this morning. I don't know how long it will last but I am thankful it is here right now.

I am thankful that the summer activities that I planned for our Boy Scout troop seem to be going very well. The smiles on their faces last night were great to see.

I am thankful that I have a wonderful karate sensei who is patient with this "almost 50 year old out of shape" woman and makes me believe that, yes, I can do it!

I am thankful for my dog, Katy. No matter how bad a day I have had, she always makes me happy.

I am thankful that my vacation is only 43 days away!

I am thankful that tonight is my dinner and a play with a friend evening. That is always a great time.

I am thankful that the project at work I have been working on for what seems like forever is almost done.

I am thankful that my hubby's birthday is on Saturday and his birthday present is already purchased. He is hard to buy for!

I am thankful for all of the people who take the time to comment on my blog.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

center> is the Chronicles of My Ordinary and Awesome Life, Family, and Thoughts. is the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Sara over at hosts a party every Wednesday where everyone posts a photo. Check out her cool photo and all the other great photos.

Because it is raining (AGAIN!) here in Maine and it is below average for temperature, I just have to post a photo from a vacation we took in Bermuda a couple of years ago. This is of a sunny day and a beautiful beach. May Mr. Sunshine take pity on us Mainers and come to vist us soon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, my friend!

Psssssttt. Want to know a secret? Today is someone's birthday! Someone very special. Can you guess who it is?

This person is one of the funniest people I know. She is also a talented writer. You may be familiar with her blog. The way she tells a story is even better than the way she writes. She can make me literally want to roll on the floor laughing.

We have been friends for a few years..... ok, ok... it only seems like a few years but, in reality, it has been almost 30 years!

In all those years, we have never once, not even for a nano-second, run out of things to talk about. It doesn't matter if I have seen her the day before or two months before. Sometimes we don't even need words to communicate. A look can speak volumes!

She is an amazing mother. When I had my son, I didn't need a "how-to" book. I just watched her!

She is a "shirt-off-of-her-back" sort of person. As a newlywed, she opened her heart and her home to her husband's younger brother. That is just one example of how she puts others before herself.

She is a great person to go on an adventure with. Our trip to New Jersey, Washington DC and Richmond VA is a great memory. Can you imagine three young naive girls on the road? We were in our early twenties and I don't think any of us had been out of the State of Maine without our parents before. We got lost but navigated our way back to where we were supposed to be without panicking, we broke the rules about not eating in the car and, most of all, we had a blast!

She will break the law with you if the situation warrents it. We broke my car out of a parking garage one evening. Who knew that the parking garage closed at 10:00 pm?

I don't remember ever being angry with this person. How could I be? She is perfect!

So, have you figured out who it is? I will put the answer in comments so you can guess.

My friend, may this be your best birthday yet. I know that things have been hard for you these past several months but I believe that the best is yet to come for you as you start a new chapter in your life. If anyone deserves good things, it is you.

Boys may come and go but a great girlfriend is forever! Love you!

Monday, July 6, 2009


As I watched the beautiful fireworks last night (yes, they were on July 5th), it made me wonder once again why such a spectacular sight is marred (in my opinion) with the loud booms. Is it really necessary? The most enjoyable fireworks I ever saw was 15 years ago when I was in the hospital after having our son. We were able to watch them from the nursery window and we couldn't hear the noise. It was perfect! Anyway, when I got home from the majestic show last evening, I did what I always do when I am pondering such a question - I got online.

This is what I found:

Fireworks were invented in China more than a thousand years ago, when the explosive substance called black powder-a mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur-was developed. For centuries, fireworks were little more than small rockets that exploded with a loud bang. It wasn't until the nineteenth century that the chemistry and physics of fireworks were studied in earnest, giving rise to the kind of spectacular, colorful displays we now enjoy on the Fourth of July and other occasions.

I thought the history of fireworks was interesting and I found my answer regarding the noise also:

When the last stage of the rocket explodes, atoms of aluminum, magnesium, or titanium are heated to extremely high temperatures, causing the metal to become incandescent. The incandescent metal gives off radiation across a wide portion of the visible spectrum, producing a bright flash of white light. The high temperature causes the nearby air to expand rapidly, producing a loud bang.

It definitely is a case of not being able to have the good without the bad. I will try to remember this in the future and not complain about the noise.

Yesterday was apparently a "pondering" day for me because the other question I asked myself was why the Japanese baseball player Ichiro Suzuki, who plays for the Seattle Mariners, has his first or given name on his jersey instead of his last or family name. The three Japanese players who play for the Boston Red Sox all have their last names on their shirts. Once again, I headed for the internet and found the answer. Apparently in Japan, the custom is to put the first name on the jersey and Ichiro wanted to continue that. Major League Baseball granted his request.

Isn't the internet an amazing thing? The information you can find is mind-boggling. I can get answers to most of my ponderings. Want to know when to use affect or effect? There is a paper online that explains that. Want to know what song that lyrics came from that you can't get out of your head? You can find that online too.

What are you pondering about today?

Here's to the internet and answers!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America!

Since a restaurant in our neighborhood shoots off a very loud cannon every hour on the hour on the 4th of July, the hubby, son and I decided to take a road trip today. Where better to go to on July 4th then a town named Liberty? How appropriate! I happened to grow up in Liberty, Maine and have been hankering for a visit back for quite some time. Unfortunately, both of my parents are deceased and I no longer have a reason to return so it has been several years since I have been to my hometown. My Dad always called it "sweet land of Liberty" and it truly was a great small town to grow up in. It was the type of community where you knew that if you did something wrong, a neighbor would give you heck for it and your parents would hear about it before you got home. It was also the type of town where people helped each other regardless of age, etc. It was just what you did.

It was an interesting and somewhat sad trip for me. The village where I grew up had a relatively small number of homes but there was a lot of pride of ownership. The people of Liberty didn't have a lot of money but most of the houses were well-maintained and neat. I didn't find that today. Only one of the houses on the "main drag" was as I remembered it. That house is still owned by the same man who owned it when I was growing up. The rest of the houses were mostly run down, needed repairs and some had debris and junk in the yard. We actually owned two houses next door to each other when I was growing up. We owned one house that we outgrew and "traded" with the next door neighbors as their house was too large for two people. It was an interesting move, I tell you. Both of those houses were fairly run down. I know my parents would be heartbroken. I am not so naive that I expected the properties to look like they did when I lived there. It was just sad to see much of the town in a state of decline and disrepair.

There were some positive signs, however. The elementary school that I went to has been updated and athletic fields have been added and the only church in town looked to be in even better shape then when I lived there. We also drove by a Chicken BBQ lunch that was being sponsored by the fire department and it was packed. We thought about stopping in but having our dog and a vegetarian son with us nixed that idea. Also, Liberty now has its own library. When I was growing up, we had a bookmobile come to our small town three or four times a year. That was it. I would have been in heaven with an actual library!

There was one house that looked newly painted that is right next to the church. It is painted pink panther pink and has an attached red barn. It was colorful to say the least.

All in all, I am very glad that I went home again. It was fun to show my son where his old mom had grown up.

We did manage some fun as part of our day. For us, no car ride "up Maine" is complete without a stop at the world famous L.L. Bean. It is always a great place to look around and today I managed to find a pair of dress shorts and a new backpack purse and both were on sale. The
purse was about 70% off the original price! How sweet is that? In addition, we took the long way home and traveled down Route 1 along the Maine coast. We got caught in not one, but two, severe thunderstorms but enjoyed the coastal scenery. In a "it's a small world moment", I did drive by the home where Mary Ellen grew up. We didn't meet until college and were thrilled to discover that we grew up about 45 minutes from each other.

I hope everyone in blogdom had a happy and safe 4th of July.

Here's to going home.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I am Friday Fragmenter....

Friday Fragments?

I am always on the outlook for great ideas and one that I am following along with is Mrs. 4444's Friday Fragments. Make sure you check her out at There are links to all the fun people who participate in this event.

What is Friday Fragments? It is the home for all those random thoughts that seem to pop up at the oddest times.

I think I need to write up a parents' "How to" manual for the baseball team next year. The coach just emailed everyone to thank them for the season and one of the parents (who had been at one or two games and barely paid attention) hit reply to all and slammed the coach. Not sure what he thinks he is going to accomplish by that. Chapter one in my manual will be "How to ask the coach questions in a polite and respectful manner." Chapter two will be "Keep your mouth shut until you have all of the information." Chapter three will be "Coaches are volunteers and deserve your appreciation," Chapter four will be "I hate to break it to you but your son might not be the best player this town has ever seen."

We have had so much rain here in Maine that people are actually forgetting that there have been a few (very few) nice days sprinkled in. Last Sunday, my Mother-in-Law told my husband that the weather all weekend had been bad. I reminded her that the day before had been nice. She denied it. Hello, we live next door to each other. If it was nice at my house, it was nice at theirs!

I tried a new vegetarian recipe this week for "Cowboy Beans" in my crockpot. They were basically BBQ Baked Beans. I am not a huge Baked Bean fan but these were yummy and so very easy. We took them to a boy scout cookout to share. People were actually scraping the botton of the crockpot and my son, who is a very picky eater, had two large servings. Definitely a recipe I will use again.

I love the fact that Carnival Cruise Line has a count-down feature for cruises that you have booked. If I am having a bad day at work, I just log onto their website and see how many days I have left before vacation. It only takes a few seconds but it puts a smile on my face. (49 days to go!)

What is it about movies that puts me to sleep? I can be wide awake and as soon as a movie starts, I get sleepy. I even fall asleep in movie theaters on a regular basis! My hubby and son are planning on going to the movies this afternoon but I am thinking I must might skip it and stay home and take a nap. Might as well save the price of a ticket!

Have you noticed that on websites where you have to put in the "validation" code (that squished phrase or numbers string) in order to proceed, they often have a button to click on to get an audio version for the "sight-impaired"? How do the "sight-impaired" people know to click there if they can't see the button and instructions? The instruction font is usually smaller than the font in the validation code.

I really enjoy Facebook and the fact that I have been able to reconnect with many old friends. I don't understand, however, the virtual gifts, food fights or hugs etc. that people insist on sending me . At any point in time, I could have 50 or more of those requests and then I have to go in and delete them. Two days later, I will have 50 more. Enough is enough, people!

Thought for the day - whining never makes things improve. It just annoys the people around you.

I hope that everyone has an enjoyable 4th of July!

Here's to holiday weekends!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another Thankful Thursday

Do we really take the time we should to reflect on the things that we are thankful for? I know I don't, so on Thursdays, I am going to reflect on the things in my life that I should appreciate more.

I am thankful that I have a 15 year old son that is willing to go out for brunch with his Mom.

I am thankful for Hallie who is passionate about making the world a better place. She is raising money and awareness about organ donation in honor of her Dad who received a donor heart. Consider donating to this amazing woman's cause as she attempts to raise $5,000! You could win a nifty prize too. You can donate here.

I am thankful that I had a good night's sleep last night. That doesn't always happen.

I am thankful that I have tomorrow off because our office is closed. I love 3 day weekends.

I am thankful that the forecast for tomorrow includes "partly sunny". I have missed my friend, Mr. Sun, greatly over these past several weeks and I hope we can persuade him to stay around for a little while.

I am thankful that my son's work permit came in this week. Now he just has to get on the schedule!!

I am thankful that I was able to attend my karate class this week. I really do enjoy it which is as big a surprise to me as it is to everyone else!

I am thankful that I have found someone to go to the outdoor performance of "Grease" with. "Grease" is one of my all-time favorite shows. You can't go wrong with an outdoor show in a beautiful park on the bank of the Piscataqua River.

I am thankful for the warm welcome I have received from Blogdom!

Last, but not least, I am very thankful that I live in the wonderful United States of America.
Happy Birthday, America.

What are you thankful for today?

Here's to gratitude.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Birthday to my son.....

Fifteen years ago, my life changed forever. After a very difficult delivery and 10 days early, you showed up. I always said that the delivery from he** gave me “Evan from Heaven” and that has been so true.

I am so proud that you have always been a loving son. Hardly a day goes by that you don’t say “I love you” one or more times. As you said on-line, how many teens have ‘I love my parents’ on their facebook page? In addition, you are very caring towards your other relatives and your friends. Your empathy towards others is a wonderful quality.

I am so proud that you have always kept us on our toes. It has been an education trying to keep up with you. With your razor-sharp mind, you often process information twice as fast as me and often come up with a conclusion that had never occurred to me. I love the way you try to see both sides and come up with a win-win situation for everyone.

I am so proud that you strive for excellence in things that matter to you. You are a wonderful student and I can't believe I have never had to bug you to do your homework. I know your grades are important to you and the result has certainly been worth it.

I am so proud that you honor all of your commitments. Never once have you quit a sport or activity or given up. That will serve you well in the coming years.

I am so proud that you think ahead and plan for your future. I think it was in first grade when you first started talking about going to college! I know your plans will come to fruition and your future is bright.

I am so proud that you stand up for yourself and the things that you believe in. From when you insisted that we "ask the little guy what he wanted to do" at about age three to the high school freshman who advocates with the high school principal on what he needs for classes, you have never been afraid to speak up.

I am so proud that you are a leader and not a follower. While I may not always agree in the ways that you show your individuality (IE skinny jeans), I always admired you for not following along with the crowd.

I am so proud that you are my son and I know that the next 15 years will bring you many great things. Happy Birthday with love from your mother. I love you as much as you love me!