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.