Friday, December 31, 2010

A Very Happy New Year........

Today marks the end of another year. As John Lennon said: "another year over; and a new one just begun"........

This has been a year of trials and tribulations; of heartache and frustration; of sadness and joy; of hope and love.

We all resolve to go into the New Year making changes. To do better, to plan better, to accomplish more, to be more loving, more patient, more compassionate.

The powers that be will, of course, try to throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing. But we need to stay above board, to keep our wits about us, to keep foraging onward.

What are your plans and expectations for the year? Mine is to have a more peaceful life. To not let people or situations get to me, put me in a funk, upset the goals I have in mind for myself and BH.

BH's constant saying to me is: "what's done is done. If you can't change it, you do the best you can at this moment and move on". He's so right. We spend most of our days, our emotional health, our heart, thinking we can always make it right. Many times we cannot. It is not within our power. People and situations will be what they will be. The question to ask is: "What is best I can do at this moment?"
Let's all pray for:

a better economic state. That those unemployed will find fullfilling employment.

that people will not lose their homes.

that no one will go hungry.

that children everywhere will once again be looked upon as a gift from God; to be nurtured, cared for, protected and loved as He intended. They are our future. They are a product of ourselves. May we all open our eyes and see ourselves in them.

that families who are estranged will find the will to come together. To put all ill feelings and hurt behind them and reconnect the bonds. No one can make it through this life alone. We're all going to come to the same final end.

that those we love who are on a path of destruction will see the light; will heed the advice of those who truly care and will make a concerted effort to change their lives around, to value themselves, to really know that someone loves them.

May we all face the New Year with peace, love and a commitment to be the person we were designed to be. To be our brother's keeper. To love those who are the hardest to show love to. To give a hand-up to those in need. To love and care for our family members as if they weren't going to be here forever ---- because they aren't. What do the petty arguments, hurt feelings, estrangement get us? A life of loneliness, bitterness, should-have's, could-have's, would-have's.

Make right what you can make right; release what you cannot from your mind and heart; always look forward to a new day, a new opporturnity, a better plan, a new you.

We wish everyone a brighter, happier, more peaceful, more fulfilling New Year! Remember, we are not in this alone. As the inspirational writer, Wayne Dyer, wrote: "If we truly, truly knew who was walking with us, we would fear nothing!" (paraphrased).

Peace to you all. God bless.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Good Morning!!.......

Well how ya doing today? Me? Great!! I've been up since 4:15am ---- that's right --- a.m. Why? Because I can!! This is the first day I have all to myself. No work. No cleaning. No shopping. No baking; no cooking. OMG! I'm giddy with self-indulgence!!

BH and I got up at that time - he to put wood in the stove and me -- because it's morning. Put the coffee on. BH went back to bed. "What're you going to do?" he asks. Silly man. "Oh, maybe I'll pull out my knitting".

Well I did. The shawl I had to put away some weeks ago to do the necessary Christmassy things. So, I knitted 2 rows. And decided to check the internet. No mail. FB is boring, no news. Went to the blogs. Decided to check out some new ones, added a bunch more to "favorites". I really need more blogs to follow. Deleted a bunch that haven't been active for many months or even a year.

Had to get up and put more wood in the stove. Geezz, it's getting cold in here. Don't want BH getting up just yet. And put on a fresh pot of coffee. Hey, it's been over 3 hours. The pot's almost empty.

Can't wait to get back to spinning. I would've uncovered the wheel and got out the tub of roving, but I need to put together a plan of action! Don't like to go at these things willy nilly. I'm sure by tonight, all will be organized.

Oh, and I found a few free knitting patterns on the web. Printed those out, to be added to my 3-ring binder.

Holy crap, it's been a busy morning! It's only 7:30. Well, I think I'll go find that tub of roving -- so many choices, so much to choose from. This may be more difficult that I thought. Just close my eyes and grab one. Do some more knitting while watching GMA. And then --- who knows ---- the day is mine, all mine!!

(Note to self: DO NOT ANSWER THE PHONE).

Have a happy one!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's December 26th!!!

Ahh. My favorite day!! How was your Christmas? Ours was very, very nice. Kind of peaceful. Son and grandson came over and of course, daughter was here. Dinner was great. The ham that son got for us was fantastic! We had a wonderful buffet.

We exchanged gifts; had a conference call with family back in NY. It was as if we were all there, like Christmases past. Everyone talking at once, lots of noise in the background, all of us yelling "Merry Christmas" back and forth over phones, and at the end my sister told us all she had a Christmas message from our dad.

That brought down the house. It was a poem. I think it was "Merry Christmas from Heaven". There wasn't a dry eye from us all across the country. She broke down and couldn't finish the last stanza; our dear friend had to finish it for her. Our first Christmas without our dad.

Merry Christmas, Pop. We miss you so.

So, you know how I said Dec. 26 was the favorite day, a day for collapsing, relaxing. Scratch that.

Of course our two boys in the Burbs didn't make it up here. And for numerous reasons, won't be coming up next weekend or the weekend after. So......when one called, I told him we're thinking of meeting him halfway today after we take daughter home, to give them their gifts. ok. That's arranged.

Then younger son calls at 5:15pm to say he wouldn't be coming up. No kidding? Really? Hmmm. Well we'll give your gifts to Ryan and you can pick them up from his place. "Oh. I was going to come up tomorrow", says he. "ehhh, we won't be home. We're taking Julie home and then going to the other end of the state to meet up with Ryan", says I. "Oh. well I can come up anyway and pick the things up", says he.

See, he has a huge box that was delivered here a few weeks ago - some kind of car parts he ordered. I know he wants that box! And maybe the gifts.

This really pisses me off. This is the second time he has not bothered to come up for Christmas; the second time I have created a very, very special gift just for him. It happens to be an essay he wrote when he was young about my dad. My dad kept it all these years; I don't think son believed me when I told me some time ago that grandpa still had that essay. I matted and framed it with a picture of him and grandpa together.

So now I'm thinking, I will leave his stuff here. If he doesn't get them until summer, so be it. C'est le vive.

Anyway, it is Dec. 26. Time to put all the hoopla behind. Time to relax, enjoy, reflect and pray that all will resolve over the coming year.

I do, however, miss the fact that on Dec. 26, the radio stations stop playing Christmas songs. This is wrong. Oh, they play "winter" and "snow" songs. But if the commercial powers that be can start decorating their businesses and advertising Christmas sales in October, you can't play Christmas songs at least til New Year's??! Seriously. We can't extend the feelings of good will, peace and love for another week?? Wrong. Very wrong. Thank God, we have our Christmas CD's. We can play them as long as we want. So there, powers-that-be! Stick that in your microphone!

OMG. I've really got to start relaxing. I'm getting all worked up here. Not good. Ahh, the spinning wheel. That's the ticket. Time to uncover my friend, bring out that tub of roving and..........relax. Peace at last!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

5....4....3....2....1.....It's Over!!

It happens that quick!! Christmas will soon be over. I, for one, think Dec. 26 is the very best day of the Holiday season. I lovvve the day after! One can actually collapse into a state of peace and tranquility (my experience, anywho).

I've been up since 5:45am. Not so amazing except that I couldn't fall asleep until 3:00am. This is going to be a rough day. I'm gonna need a nap. But for now -- the potatoes are boiled for the salad, the beans are simmering away (it's been years since I've made real baked beans. yikes.), the eggs for said salad are boiled, the laundry is folded and all the cookies have been moved into smaller containers. Their numbers have drastically decreased since out-of-state packages were put together and mailed out.

So for today, there's a little dusting and vacuuming to do, clean up the bathroom (you always have to clean up the bathroom!) and putz around doing the last minute odds and ends. I'm thinking of steak for dinner tonight; maybe a late supper. Steak, baked potato, salad and maybe --- shrimp cocktail!! That's how I feel now. At 4:00pm it'll probably change to grilled cheese sandwiches and potato chips!!

Then tomorrow ---- ahh, yes, tomorrow. Snacks, drinks, buffet supper, open gifts, maybe a board game in the evening; say good night, drive safe, thank you for everything, love you ---- and it's OVER!!

We don't do anything for New Year's. If someone comes up, then we go through the snack/supper/games routine and have a great time. If BH and I are by ourselves, it's usually a nice supper, a movie, some snacks ---- and we're in bed before midnight!! Exciting, huh? Definitely old age? Nooo. Just a lover of extreme peace and quiet, just the 2 of us.

Ok. I stepped away for a minute. BH is sitting in the kitchen.

ME: "Say, would you bring over the big styrofoam cooler. I want to put some of the cookie containers in it to get as much as I can off the freezer, so I don't have to keep moving things when I have to get in there".

BH: "Yeah. Or I could bring over one of the other coolers."

ME: "We don't have any other coolers. I lent the one to Corey at Thanksgiving to take some food home".

BH: "Oh. Yeah. I'll bring it over. You mean the one with the double lid?" (he's referring to the cooler son has)

ME: "Yes".

BH: "Ok."

Why does he DO this?? Every time. The other night is was: "Hey, you didn't give me all my vitamins. The fish oil is missing."

BH: "How many did you take?"

ME: "I don't know. I take the bigs ones last. I DON'T have fish oil!"

BH: "Are you sure you didn't take it? How many did I give you?"


Holy shit! He questions everything I say or ask; or worse --- he gives me other suggestions. You know, like "why don't you do it this way..." or "but if you did this......" AAARRGGHH!! JUST DO WHAT I ASK! PLEASE DON'T GIVE ME ANY INPUT OR ASK WHY!!

Believe me, you don't want to be filling my brain with jumbled questions and statements when I have all I can do to keep my mental list of things to be done at the forefront!! NOT AT CHRISTMAS, BUCKO!!

I think I need that nap right now.

Ahh, Dec. 26.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wishing You All a Very Merry Christmas

It's almost here. We're almost ready. Housecleaning today, some laundry. Put on a pot of chili that will get us through supper for the next couple of days. Oh, and find out why the tree lights went out last night for no apparent reason!

Christmas gremlins.

It's just a 3 ft. artificial tree with fiber optic lights. We were watching TV last night, the lights were beautifully fading the colors from one to another and -- poof -- no lights. I hope it's just the bulb, I do have a replacement. Get to it later today.

Son from NY called last night to say their box arrived and he loves the slipper socks! "You opened your gifts already?!" says I. "Yeah, my feet were cold and I knew what they were". (How did he know this?? I never gave him a clue.)

"Did the cookies make it ok?" "Ohhh yeah!" Then grandson got on the phone to thank us for his Christmas money and the framed photo of him as a baby in the arms of great-grandpa. He loves it!! Do I have more photos like that? Maybe if it's not too much trouble I could send him more? Of course I will; no problem!

Nothing makes my heart leap more than when the kids and grandchildren really value the connection to family. I grew up with a very close, large extended family of which wonderful memories through my childhood are still with me today.

Son from the Cities burbs called last night. I could tell by his voice that he is very sick. Yep. Heavy congestion, burning throat, achy and tired. This is his Christmas cold. Every year. From him, fiance and son will soon be afflicted with the same. They weren't coming up for the holidays until New Year's. Hopefully all will be well by then.

Daughter called yesterday. She took her cat to the vet (as I suggested) because she's been wheezing. They were in the vet's office when she called. Seems the cat has a respiratory infection; they already did an xray, but thought maybe more tests should be done --- very expensive tests! The bill was already up to $137.00.
What did I think? Ehhhhh - NO. Ask if they can just give her an antibiotic to clear up the infection. (who's the doctor here??)

Well, the antibiotic was prescribed - to be given twice a day for 2 weeks. Okey, dokey then. Total bill: $197.00. Did I tell you daughter is handicapped and on SSI?? Ummmm - yeah.

BH needs to get up on the roof today or tomorrow and clean out the stove pipes. It'll probably be tomorrow seeing that we had a bit of a snowstorm last night. And he still needs to wrap. my. Christmas. gifts. Hellllooo! Which are hidden under the bed in the spare room ( I accidentally stepped on the package, but I DID NOT look to see what it was. I really love surprises.) But like I said -- I have housecleaning today --- vacuuming under the beds! Oh geezzz, I better tell him this morning.

BH and I went yesterday morning and did the grocery shopping for the holidays. For Christmas it'll be a buffet - because people have a tendency not to show up and I'm not going through preparing a big sit down meal for a few of us.

But I am determined not to let anything get me down. We will have a beautiful, peaceful Christmas.

Well here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and the best of New Year's to come! Be safe, be happy, be healthy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

.....And a Merry Christmas to You!

Yesterday I was officially out of a job. It's been coming since October. Our boss sold the hotel. No one knew what was going to happen, but as the months rolled by, and the closing was postponed over and over, tensions and stress grew higher. By November 15, and the 3rd postponement, I was ready to kill someone. Ah, but my intention, which I stated categorically to my co-workers was to sign for unemployment. I would stick this out til the end. Shock and Awe, baby. Shock and Awe.

The rumors started flying. We would all be out of work; some of us would be kept on; we would be required to work one girl to a room (we work in pairs) with a limited time allowance for said room; our wages would be cut (we get paid minimum wage - even those with 5-6 years of service!), yada, yada, yada.

Apparently, the girls never thought of signing for unemployment. WTF?! Come on, girls. Get with the real world! Well I must say, everyone is now on board. Too bad we weren't union. I'd make a great union rep. But I digress........

Things did not end amicably. We all had to fill out job applications for the new owners and were told there would be interviews. Our current boss never once came to us and told us what was going on, what we could expect. She would mention things to one of the desk clerks and they would pass on the rumor. She never had the balls to talk to any of us! Everything that has happened with this transaction was relayed through the grapevine. That's enough to piss anyone off!

Well, Monday I had mine. It went like this..........

New Owner (with my application in hand): "How long have you worked here?"
ME: 2 years
NO: "Can you work any day?"
ME: Well, yes, but my schedule is Monday and Friday and weekends. Actually, I requested those days because I have a disabled daughter who works the opposite days, and I have to take her to appointments and such. So I prefer to keep my schedule.

NO: "Here's what we're going to do. We will pay you $3.50 per room. You can take as long as you want in a room and do as many as you want to. Is that agreeable to you?"

ME: You mean Three dollars and 50 cents per room?
NO: "Yes. That's right".
ME: (shaking my head side to side and with the most "are you shitting me" look on my face Icould muster) NO. I need to make at least minimum wage.

NO: (with one eyebrow raised and a "oh, you Americans" look on HER face): "Well, I will let him know this and we will call you ----after 3:00?
ME: Yes, after 3:00, I'll be home.

End of interview. No phone call. No job. Hallelujah!!! Thank you, Jesus!!

I must add here that with each of us girls, the interview and questions were different. Some were told they would get $3.50 per checkout and $1.50 per stayover; my supervisor, who's been there for 10 years and makes $12.00 an hour and is "on call" 24/7, was offered $7.50 (she refused, after much soul searching - she's a single mom with 5 kids!!); the desk girls were told the only shift they would be working would be 2:30pm until 10:30 pm. No mornings, no midnight shift.

So, there are 10 of us out of work. Let me also tell you that this is the only hotel within 25 miles, and our town has a population of 400 people. As a matter of fact, the next "big" town (pop. 1200) IS 25 miles away.........gas is nearing $3.00 a gallon...........everyone pays minimum wage............see where your math skills start coming into play??!!

When I went up to see the girls, I told them how much I was estimated on receiving on unemployment. Each one of them jumped on the computer at the hotel and looked up their own estimates. Smiles came across their faces; they lit up like a 150 watt bulb; they started getting giddy and laughing. "Hey, I can live with that til I find another job" was echoed throughout the lobby. They all felt much, much better.

That's right. Shock and Awe, baby. Shock and Awe.

Let the spinning and knitting commence full bore!

Friday, December 17, 2010

BH Goes Christmas Shopping......and Other Scarey Stories

Yesterday was BH's shopping day. He and son were going to mingle with the masses. Is there anything I need? Well, now that you mention it, yes.....

So, all showered, shaved and dressed in "going to town" clothes, he left at 9:30am. It's a beautiful, sunny day. Temps in the teens.....above zero. WhooHoo! "Be home before dark" are my parting words. I know. I know. But when all the kids are grown and gone, your husband must take their place. It has something to do with that regressing as you get older thing, I think. Him, not me.

Me? I'm going to get the decorations up and clean the house.

Put the Christmas music on the cd player and I'm ready. Every thing went well, though I didn't get as much done as I had hoped. Even though only 1/4 of the decorations were going to see this season. It must be age. I guess I don't move as fast as I use to.....or thought I could. But I was satisfied. Will finish the rest today; not too much left to do.

Well, BH called about 3:00pm. He's doing fine. Is there anything else I need? No. That's about it.

He got home at 5:00pm. Accomplished everything on his list. Or so he thinks.

BH:"Ok. Here's your Christmas present, but don't look. You can't open it til Christmas Day".

ME: "Is it in a bag?"

BH: "No"

So here's the CD/radio/cassette player that I wanted. It looks like a beauty from the picture on the box.

BH: "Here's the humidifier you told me to pick up". Ok. The box looks just like the one daughter bought last week.
BH: "Here's the cake pans. Are they the right ones?" Why, yes. They're exactly the ones I told you to get. Good job!!

Alrighty, then. Let's get that humidifier out of the box and working. My skin is shriveling and scaling like a freakin' lizard. So upon removing the item from the box, I now realize that no, it's not the same one. This one has a lot of bells and whistles. Digitalized. Temp gauges. 4 buttons.

Great. Now I have to read a freakin' manual to operate this thing. I just want the one you put water in and turn it on! Well, onto the manual. Not too bad. Ok. Fill it up and turn it on. Sit down and read the rest of the manual.

Wait a minute. What's this? "Humidifier will start after 10 minutes, allowing for the water to start boiling". WHAT?! Water boiling?? Daughter's humidifier had a nice lukewarm mist that started instantaneously. I don't want boiling water!!

Ah, but there's more. "Unit will make noise as the water boils. If this is too loud, you can turn the speed down to Low".

Indeed. It DOES make noise. But with the wood stove motor going behind it, it's barely audible. For now.

ME: "How much did you pay for that? It was more than $42.00"
BH: "No. Well, I think it was $50. It was the only one they had other than a really small one"
ME: "Did you look on the bottom shelf. It was on the very bottom"
BH: "Yes. This was the only one like what you told me"

We now both go look at the thing. "You wanna take it back?" asks he. "I don't know. It's already got water in it" says I. (Like that would ever stop me from returning it!!) "Well, we'll see how it goes", says I.

Fa La La La La, Fa La La La!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's -13.....................

Good morning! And how is it in your neck of the woods?
We have been in a deep freeze for - oh - about 5 days now?! The weather man on the news yesterday said the temps won't moderate for the rest of this month. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Well, things have been in a flurry here since after Thanksgiving, trying to get things done for Christmas. Although, the tree is not up yet, the house is not decorated and the cookies are not baked. BUT ----- all the gifts are wrapped, all the breads baked and candy made.
So if all the gifts are wrapped, that means I've finished making them, right? You betcha!!
***16 pairs of slipper socks, crocheted.
***a 16x14 frame matted, by me, (yay!!) and son's essay and picture with grandpa in two separate openings. Looks very good!
***pictures of great grandsons with grandpa cropped, printed and framed.
***picture of daughter with grandpa cropped, printed and framed.
***2 snowman plaster pieces hand painted and affixed with lights - done.
***DVD's of Mom and Pop's 50th wedding anniversary have a cover picture of them dancing - to be given to our kids.
***5 cotton dish cloths, each knitted in a different pattern
***Christmas cards written out and mailed as of yesterday
***boxes of decorations have been brought over from storage and are sitting in the utility room (hey, this is an accomplishment!)
***Christmas buffet menu written up.
***Cookie recipes have been gathered and ready
***Nuts have all been chopped (1# each almond, pecan and walnut) and graham crackers have been pulverized ("Hello Dolly" bars - son in NY's favorite)
I call that progress, baby. Things are just humming along. Of course, there's a little glitch every so often - there's always a glitch, isn't there?
BH has been staying up these past 2 nights til about 2 a.m to make sure the water pipes don't freeze. But of course, we got up at 6 a.m yesterday to ---frozen water pipes. Thank goodness he knows the exact spot where it freezes. 15 minutes with the hair dryer and we're back in business.
Last night was I told him I'll get up early, being I don't work today. So I set the alarm for 5. Water pipes ok. Of course, it's too early to run the KitchenAid mixer, so I'm waiting for the butter to soften and when I'm finished writing this I will make the pan of "Dolly's" (no mixer needed).
All the projects did give me their own glitches occassionally. Caused me to smack my forehead a dozen times and let out a few cuss words. Some unwrapping and re-wrapping; some re-strategizing and a lot of re-printing of pictures.
Ah, but all is done now.
Also made it to daughter's last week. Spent the night. We decorated her apartment and went Christmas shopping. So she has that all done, too.
So the plan is cookie baking for the next 3 days, boxing of gifts and mailing them out on Friday and then decorating the house on the weekend, including putting up the tree. This should not be a problem - it's a 3 foot artificial with fiber optic lights. I love this tree. I do miss not being able to put up a real tree anymore especially since all the hand made ornaments cannot be used. But a lack of room in the house and the fact that for 1 or 2 days during the holidays that we have any company coming, it's not worth the time and mess. I'm sorry.
And we won't be going to visit the kids in the Cities because we're 3 hours away, we'd have to stay overnight and or go back to New York to see the rest of the family because ------- the water pipes will freeze. This is what happens when you have only a wood stove as your source of heat. But BH keeps reminding me that we save over $1,000 a year on heating costs. Well, ------ok----------I guess.
Well, here's wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and the best of New Year's to come! May you be safe, warm and happy! God bless.