Monday, December 29, 2008

Onto New Years!

Wow! Christmas comes so fast then boom it is over! We still have all decorations up and probably won't take them down until after New Years. The holidays were good but I ate way too much junk! Now it is time for some serious exercise so I have made a promise to myself to walk the dogs at least 4 days a week for an hour. They are loving it! I took some pictures of the spoiled brats at Christmas. Of course we got them some toys and chews. I bought Rusty a cool duck that quacked that he really got into. After about 3 hours I looked and he had eaten the feet of the duck-crazy dog! Maggie got a new basket for a bed and seemed comfy and happy.

I collect snow globes and Lisa bought me an unusual one for Christmas that lights up,blows snow, and plays music as the animals rotate at the bottom. The top is dented to hold a candle. Pretty neat! We got some cool stuff this year.
I am hoping the weather will hold out through New Year's Eve so we can celebrate it down at the Harbor with fireworks. This is the first year that I can really say that I can not wait until it is over. I am certain that 2009 will be much more promising than last year. I also interview for another position soon with just the right hours to continue business at full force. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hopes at bay for now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas magic

Oh no I woke up yesterday with the worst cold which is unusual for me. That awful runny nose and watering eyes, cough, and achy muscle stuff. Damn I look into the medicine cabinet and to my surprise there is nothing for this. No NyQuil, Alika seltzer, theraflu , just nada, but a few aspirin. I guess that is a good indication that we haven't had colds for awhile. So I figure just wait it out, get some rest and watch TV.

I have watched more TV in two days than I care to think about. I watched the Christmas story the Polar Express. Very good story and the writer had quite an imagination. It was so odd because as I was watching it I thought of how we tend to lose the magic of Christmas as we get older. Then at the end of the story there was that same message about loosing the magic.

It made me ponder for the rest of the evening about the magic of Christmas and how that changes as we get older. Then I wandered into my past and thought about the changes that have transpired over the years. I still believe that Christmas is very magical and in that alone the spirit comes alive. In this particular story a small bell off Santa's sleigh held that Christmas magic because of a small boy's belief. So I hope for everyone they can find that belief and enjoy a little Christmas magic!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Soap box time!

I know it is the holiday season but after a night of doom and gloom on TV things didn't seem to be to festive for many people. I watched dateline which provided a glimpse of the collapsing home mortgage market. It was sad to watch as people were forced out of their homes due to foreclosure. Most of this could have been avoided as far as I am concerned. We all know that some mortgages had been given to people that really did not qualify, and mortgages with all types of fluctuating rates that should have never happened. Many people could afford to pay for their homes if it weren't for these ungodly rates that the banks are forcing them to pay. What good is an empty house to a bank in a collapsing market? This is where the government needs to step in and say enough is enough and force the banks to refinance at an acceptable rate to keep these people in their homes. If everyone thinks that is happening than someone is blowing smoke up their ass. Why isn't their a national lending audit to see who is charging what. I am so frustrated by this. I wonder if these CEO's sleep well at night-crooks!

It was so unnerving that I started to doubt exactly what we had done when we refinanced, even though I was pretty comfortable with everything. So I poured over all of our paperwork and let out a big sigh of relief that everything was in order. How many of you have actually sat down and looked over your mortgage papers since you have purchased your home? Take a good look at your payment plan and it can be staggering. The interest that you pay even with a good rate can be sickening when you realize how much of your money actually goes to principle. Yes I think the banking industry should be shot! I can remember a time when I was small that banks wanted your business and would do anything to get it. There were free lollipops, dog biscuits at the drive in window, free savings books, and you could open up a savings account with as little as ten dollars. The bank personnel greeted you with a smile as you carried in that giant bucket of change that you had been saving for something special and then gave you your grand total after counting it for free.

There is not a bank that I know that does that anymore. They don't take loose change or if some do they charge you to count it. You pay to withdraw your own money from your account, you must have a certain amount of money to open up a checking or savings, you must keep a certain amount of money in there or they will charge you, not enough funds you will be charged, use an out of network ATM machine you will be charged, need checks you will be charged, and the list goes on. Now when you call the bank to check on something they will tell you that you can do all that on line. Well what am I paying them for? Then there may be that one day when you go to the bank and they don't have your money, god help you if you are smart enough to get ahead but choose the wrong bank to put more than what the federal government insures.

It just might be better to keep your money at home under the mattress these days to get a good nights sleep. Remember that old saying a penny found is a penny earned. Or is it a penny earned is a penny saved? I am not quite sure why pennies are still in circulation. It is not uncommon to find pennies nowadays. People don't want them so you will find many in those loose change trays that are in store for those people that need a penny or so. What can you buy with a penny? Now that is a real brain teaser!

Then I had to sit through another debate on gay marriage, religion, the Bible, and Rick Warren.

It was time to get a drink by now. Oh my the debate of what a union is, how the church sees it, and it goes on. Time for another drink. I think there are more important things to address right now in this country.

The next segment is on the new doll baby on the market. I think it is called Little Mommy Doll. It appears that some of the dolls that were manufactured have a phrase that they whisper, "Islam is the light". There seemed to be a discrepancy about this before they hit the market and evidently someone does not want to loose a dollar and went ahead with distribution. Why not be honest and stamp this on the box. More Crooks!
They are going to try to get rid of the death penalty in the state of Maryland. Well as a taxpayer I don't want to pay for more violent REPEATING criminals to live the rest of their life in prison. Our prisons are already too crowded. So now we are going to release these petty thieves with drug habits to annoy the public by breaking and entering, stealing, and taking up police and court time. In the mean time we can watch our insurance premiums go up as we pay out of pocket for these petty theft damages to fuel their drug habits. I want to say to all the bleeding hearts out there when you look at the statistics there are very few that are innocent that get put to death. Let's not forget the innocent that have been murdered that have no appeal.

I did get to catch shoes being thrown at President Bush. I am not happy with the way things have turned out, however I do have enough respect for the leader of our country to restrain from such a display of ignorance. I am finding I have less tolerance for other countries acts of dislike for Americans. This is fine , than stay in your own country and reap what you sow. It would also be nice if these countries would stop depending on foreign government help from the United States.

Then I watched a segment on how Mexican workers are returning home back across the border due to the lack of work in the United States. Hmmm! There were probably many good workers and I feel for them, but I also have something to say on this issue. I was born and raised in the United States. I have been working since I was 16 and have paid taxes. I found it to be absurd when I applied for a managers position at TGI Fridays for them to want me to learn Spanish so I could communicate with the kitchen staff. Um the last time I looked we were an ENGLISH SPEAKING country. I am still in the states and didn't apply for this job in Mexico. After doing my research there are TGI Friday locations that are independently owned and the owners will get their kitchen staff from Mexico on green cards. Guess what I have never eaten at any TGI Friday's since. It had nothing to due with the fact that they had a Mexican staff. It was all about the fact the number one they were green card workers that were taking away jobs from American citizens at less pay, and that they should speak English if they want to work here. It was a slap in the face as an American! It is the principle of it all. I am tired of being abused in my own country.

Well on a lighter note after 3 glasses of wine I mellowed out and put a movie in. Thought I would share a nice choice of appetizer or dessert wine for you to try as I get a little soap box time!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Year

Everyone usually has a special ball and this is one of ours. This has been in our family for about 55 years. It used to be my grandmothers which was passed onto my mother and then to me. I don't know the story behind the ball just what it represents. Every year my family will visit and see this one particluar ball and it just seems to flood them with Christmas memories. Now that is a treasure!

It's been a little crazy here and I have finally found time to do a post. Last night we took a drive to the Herr's Potato Chip Plant in Nottingham PA. It is just a short jaunt for us and they decorate the grounds for Christmas so that you can drive through and look at all the lights. We did take some pictures but you know me and technology. Most did not turn out. The plant is even open for day tours to show how they make their chips. Let me tell you it smells really good in that area when your driving by with the scent of fried potatoes in the air.

Now we have decorated our one tree outside three times with lights. We added extra and plugged it up and guess what. It lit up than bang half went out. So I go to the store and buy three more sets and put them on. I plugged it in then bam the bottom set went out. Yesterday I added the other set and so far this is what we have. I don't think I'll ever get a job setting up outside decorations and lighting.

I have taken a couple pictures of the tree we put up and our chrismas village. Abbey keeps trying to steal some of the people and a car underneath for some reason (crazy dog). The cat get's behind the village and sleeps. I laugh because it usually reminds me of that movie land of the giants. Still haven't finished my shopping and just started to wrap presents today. Time seems to be flying and before you know it we will be celebrating the New Year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Find Waldo

Click to enlarge

I opened our side door to take out the trash and was surprised to see six deer on the edge of the woods. Trying to be quiet I scrambled back in the house running upstairs to get my camera fearing they would be gone before I could get the picture. As I raced back outside I could still see them slowly making thier way into the woods. I thought I was going to get the greatest picture.

Trying to take the picture while some of them were running was impossible. Now this is where the old time camera worked better because you would be looking through the lens at the subject. Well hell I was trying to watch them and get them into view in the camera window while trying to zoom in. It was really like trying to find Waldo! Even after taking the pictures when you look at them it is like trying to find Waldo! Good Luck! I am curious if the pictures are actually enlarging for you when you click onto them. Please let me know .

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A special moment in time

It was a relaxing day and we decided to put up the tree. Now it takes hours to do this and our current tree is not that big. First we have to make a snack platter, find the right Christmas music, light some candles, and get all the stuff out.

We have went artificial for the past 10 years and needed to replace our tree last year. I picked out a gorgeous one about 7 feet tall with glistening dew that looked real. It was $475.00. But hey they last a long time. Well time got away from us and at the last minute Lisa decides just to buy a tree on her own. Believe me when I tell you she does not like to shop. She came home and was so proud of that tree that she got on sale for $40.00. I was afraid to look! She couldn't be serious, but she was.

It was a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree! I saw the gleam in her eyes as she put it up and I didn't have the heart to say it was skimpy looking because for some reason this little tree had some special meaning for her.

So this year we got out our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree and decorated it with great pride reminiscing over each ball that we placed, and for the first time decided to do a small garden underneath. We completed it all with great pride then hit the lights and watched the tree and village come alive in pure amazement as if we had seen this for the first time.

Of course having a cat and two large dogs with wicked tail strength becomes an issue with the tree. We were taking bets on which one would knock the balls off first or trample a house. It was different this year. They came in the room and I was really amazed and wished I had filmed it. They looked over the tree and sniffed around then laid down right in front of it and just looked at the village underneath like it was displayed just for them. You could actually see them checking it out and taking it all in. Could it be possible that Abbey was actually growing up!

Night fell and the chores were complete and we buttoned down the hatch to watch a movie. Candle lit the windows with angels peering outside, the scent of vanilla drifted through the air from lit candles, and the room had transformed into Christmas. We were all curled up in front of the tree, the cat was asleep on the chair next to the tree and the dogs were snuggled up next to us with our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree gleaming in the background. I was flooded with the feeling of that special moment in time.


I am writing this one for all of those people that think the drunk driving laws are too strict and for Marty.

Martin Luther Shuff the Third. What was my Aunt thinking? My cousin Marty short for Martin was one year younger than I and a very sweet soul. He would take so much razzing from us over this name as kids because it was the longest that we had heard of in our family. When I think of Marty I remember all the great times we had together over the holidays and summers. Marty always had the coolest race tracks to play with and high tech toys at the time. We would spend hours playing with robots, cars, and all the make believe stuff. Marty was an adventurer at heart and really enjoyed visiting us on the farm where his mind opened into a new world where he would become a different superhero or character everyday. He loved James Bond.

Let's see he was also accident prone. We were ice skating on the pond (of course where we weren't supposed to be) and he fell in. Not good! He cornered a mouse outside once and got bit in the finger. It was gross! He went canoeing with my sister and tipped the boat. Very wet! My Aunt used to always tell him to be careful! That was like telling a stone to roll over. We grew up very close and stayed in touch throughout the years. Marty grew up in the city and loved music and dirt bikes and excelled at both. One day in the car when he was about 16 he was singing the song Hotel California by the Eagles and I can still hear his voice like it was yesterday. It was great!

I will never forget that he came to visit us when my ninth grade dance was going on that weekend. He would be staying with us for the week. So I took him to the dance with me. Oh my God did I get razzed about that by my friends at school until they saw him. Then they all wanted dates with him. It was cute because he was very shy that he was out of his own element but started to loosen up when all the girls wanted to dance with him. We had a great time that night and didn't have to worry about impressing anyone, just having fun.

Marty later develop his own band and started to sing in clubs. He just had it all by the time he was 20. Good looks, a promising future, he was engaged, and was loving life. It was quite odd because at the time everyone seemed to be scattered across the states but yet we all bumped into each other in the time frame of three months. You know how you haven't seen someone for awhile but yet when you meet again you have that warm feeling like it was just yesterday that you were with that person. When we met for the last time it was in a club where his Mom worked and we were joking with each other about our childhood. He looked good, laughed alot and was happy. It was nice.

I was at Mom's when we got the call. Marty was in John's Hopkins on life support. He was brain dead. My Aunt wanted all of us to come to see him before she had him taken off of the life support.

Marty had been hit by a drunk driver not more than 5 blocks from where his mother was working. The driver had ran a red light and hit Marty's car going 50mph crushing the drivers side. Part of the car came through the window and severed his vocal cords and damaged his head. The driver had two previous DUI's and walked away with a broken arm. The irony of this is that my Aunt has been a tavern owner all her life serving booze. Her life changed forever when this happened. Marty was 21.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I have attempted to write this piece several times but it becomes very lenghty due to emotions.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday my sister and I spoke in length about two losses we have had due to drug and alcohol addiction. I will tell you from first hand experience that all of the programs that everyone thinks is out there is pure bullshit! The more money you have the better level of treatment you get and the better chances you have of staying clean longer. Of course all of this is just a step to nowhere unless the person that has the abuse problem wants to stop.

Let me start with my cousin Kim. Kim was raised by strict Catholic middle class working parents is the suburbs. We were very close when we were young visiting for holidays, summer vacations, and Sunday get together. Her life was at a faster speed then mine and we were the same age and first cousins. I never figured out why her life was so much faster paced, until I was older. It was just the simple fact of exposure. We lived on a farm in the country with limited exposure and a slower way of living.

Kim started out on marijuana that she would get from her older brothers friends and other cousins. This progressed to PCP. Now that was a trip in itself to see a room full of people out to lunch on PCP. As we grew older and started to get into the club scene (fake IDs of course) I noticed just how many drugs she was doing. Kim was now at the level of Quaalude, PCP, and acid. The atmosphere unnerved me and I started to distance myself more and more.
Kim became a groupie of popular eighties bands that would go on to become famous. She had access to whatever drugs she wanted and took full advantage of this. Of course eventually like everything else it spiraled out of control quickly. My Aunt and Uncle started with the usual stuff of grounding (but of course she had been doing this unnoticed for years and already had an addiction issue which they had no clue of). That's was the sad part for my Aunt and Uncle. While they were working to put their kids through private school the drug use had started and taken hold before they even noticed. Kim hid things well and was an expert that had many accomplices that were close. The next step of course was limiting the friends that she could be around, counseling, and getting a job. By the time Kim turned 21 she had been in two facilities for drug use, church, counseling, NA meetings, and I can't tell you how many more programs.

I have read so many pamphlets that I could be an expert on some of the topics. Come on, reading material isn't going to cut it. We need programs to bring us up to date and conquer this problem. Or maybe the money made off of drugs is just to damn good for the US to give up. Do I believe that alot of this is brushed under the rug? For sure!

I attended some of these programs as support with her. At the free cheap programs she scored drugs and connections to buy what she needed. Many were there because it was court mandated and did not want to stop. It was a waste of time and taxpayer money. Then we went to visit her in her first in patient rehabilitation program that the insurance paid for. It is not like what you see on TV! I could relate this to a second hand crack house on the corner. What I did notice about this type of treatment is that they do more group discussion to let the patient know they are not alone. If they find drugs your out and they do random urine testing to protect the patients trying to get well. They create a sense of regiment back into ones life. They try but need more funding for a higher level of intervention better doctors and copping methods.

After that didn't work my Aunt and Uncle spent $20,000.00 of their savings for a private facility. Kim stayed there for nine months. When she came home she looked great and seemed to have a new look on life. Unfortunately this only lasted for about 8 months and she was not only back to drugs but much heavier substances. Time passed and I saw less and less of her. Then one day we got the phone call that she was in the operating room in a very critical condition. She had hit a telephone pole at 60 mph head on while under the influence of drugs. Kim had broken her jaw, fracture her clavicle, broken her arm, and torn her aortic artery.

She was lucky she made it to the hospital. The surgeons repaired her and she had a long road to recovery. During the process she had a stroke that paralyzed her arm and one side of her face. She was 28 at the time with a 2 year old son. Kim lived to be 35 and passed due to complications from the auto accident that left her with a heart condition.

When I think of her I remember the times when we were young and innocent running around the beach seeking out the best seashells we could find. The strong bond that we had like most first cousins do of the same age and of course that crooked smile and hearty laugh that came with ease.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Wow I can't believe I have not posted for this long. Thanksgiving went well and so did all the pies. I am a huge pie lover and will eat just about any kind of pie. That means pie for breakfast, snack, dinner, and of course dessert. I have eaten so much pumpkin pie that my skin is getting that slight golden pumpkin tone, the belly greets everyone first at the door, and I have a smidge of a new skin scent that kind of resembles nutmeg. Only kidding! I did tried a new stuffing recipe incorporating roasted chestnuts, cornbread, pumpernickel, reg bread cubes, onions, celery, seasonings, dried cherries and pecans. Turned out really good.

My sister spent about 5 days visiting and the time flew by. We watched some movies, worked, shopped, and reminisced, but this visit was some real quality time just talking about stuff. I will tell you that we used to be avid pinochle players until 10 years ago when our Mom passed. My God it was like dumb and dumber trying to get back to the basics of the game. For three days we tried to get through one game and of course it just wasn't happening. Now I am on the quest to get the game rules for the two player version (she has to see it in black and white or she thinks I am cheating-and I wonder why). She can be such a baby!

Well what I would like to share with everyone is what she brought with her. This made me even more thankful for what we had as compared to others during the holidays. Her friend is a truck driver and recently made a trip to Galveston Texas to deliver much needed food and supplies. This is one of the meals that get delivered during disaster situations for the victims when the world basically stops for these unfortunate people. So the next time when you think you don't have enough remember the meal someone else may be receiving and I think you will find yourself rather humbled. I did find the whole concept very fascinating and wondered why not make these meals available for the elderly that can't cook for themselves. I have never seen them in our area.
Everything is in the box for a complete meal. Napkins, spoon, knife, salt, pepper, instructions, 1 container of premixed spaghetti with meatballs in sauce, 1 dish that is lined with a chemical heat pad that gets activated with the pouch of salt water, and the box that is foiled lined to act as an oven. Basically you pour the salt water onto the heating pad, turn the spaghetti container over face down with lid on, put the dish into the box and the chemical heat pad activates creating steam. Heat for about 5 minutes and you have your meal.
Product is packaged for D&B Specialty Foods Inc in Deerfield, IL. Is 9 ounces and 260 calories 80 from fat. The box says no refrigeration and no preservatives. Also used for camping and the outdoors. As far as the flavor goes, you have to put yourself in the frame of mind that you have not had a hot meal for days-then the meal is great!

Thought I would also leave a neat diabetic or low carb meal we use that taste really good. The following items can be bought and used later in the week for pizza nite.
Some dreamfields low carb pasta, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, fresh basil, Roma or grape tomatoes, minced garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Cook pasta, sauteed chopped tomatoes in olive oil with minced garlic, add cooked pasta, add grated fresh Parmesan cheese, a small squirt of lemon with salt and pepper, Heat thoroughly then add some basil that has been thinly sliced. Top off with some Greek olives.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Well it is midnight and everyone is tucked in and awaiting the big feast. Me, I am of course wondering what I ate that gave me heartburn! It is all of that taste testing to get it right, but I am ready.

This year seems to be a bit laid back. Most of my family is like that anyway which is why we don't have those anxiety ridden holidays like some. I don't really care if your late for dinner, we have a microwave. Dinner may run a little late, but hey there is plenty of snacks to cure your starvation. We just roll with the punches. The best part of Thanksgiving and the other holidays are the laughs you get to share and you know me I love a good laugh!

We were reminiscing and my sister had brought up the time her boyfriend came to our house the first time for Christmas. We had several appetizers and one of them was meatballs. It was like a scene from one of those date movies: He is in the middle of a conversation and feels somewhat put on the spot like his every move is being scrutinized and then the meatball falls off the plate onto the floor. Oh no! It travels what seems like a mile across the beige carpet leaving a trail of the brightest red sauce on the way. Who would think a meatball could travel that far from a slight tip of the plate. Shit this is not happening to me! The look on that poor guys face was precious!

We were discussing how things have changed over the years when it comes to holidays and families. More and more people are having to work the holidays which makes things a tad more hectic for them. This is why I think the world is spinning too fast. Do we really need McDonalds to be open for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Do we really need 98 percent of all retail stores open on these days. I am sure that these employees would love to have the day off to spend with their loved ones and celebrate. Come on let's get back to the basics and celebrate what you need to be thankful for- family, good health, and good friends. So to all of you bloggers out there Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

to be continued......

I have started four different pages today. I just can't get my mind to concentrate on one particular event or topic. I need COKE!!!!!!!!! First I would like to thank Lori for listing me as one of her picks for the Marie Antoinette Award. I do read lots of blogs but don't always leave comments. There are many that are quite interesting to read and I will be listing just a small sample of interesting blogs to visit on my next entry.

This week has been hectic to say the least. Lisa is struggling to maintain her sanity and get through this years battle of bad health. I hope this is not a prelude to what is coming after 40. Having just gone through cervical spine surgery she has also been newly diagnosed as having diabetes type two. Well at least its a good thing that it is type two and not type one, however the hard part is that she is in between the stages of controlling it by medication or diet. The diet part is not so hard, but what most people do not know about diabetics is that their glucose levels can really fluctuate with stress and illness. Well last week she sustained a back injury at work and her glucose levels skyrocketed which meant a trip to the hospital, a few days stay, and new medication regiment. What a double whammy!

So on my trips back and forth to the hospital I pass the wanna be German Sheppard breeder kennel that I wrote about earlier. The owner has found it suitable now to at least put wooden pallets in the kennels for the dogs to lay on instead of just gravel. How nice! I have also discovered that I may get pictures without being noticed at a certain time of day. I feel really bad for these dogs and now have more time to spend on this project to get someone to notice the cruelty and inhumane living conditions.

We had snow yesterday and it was really frigid. The kids were outside today sled ridding and our dogs were loving it. It is just a reminder of Christmas right around the corner. I stopped at our local post office and it was late in the evening with only a handful of people left to service. A man in line asked a most unusual question that just seemed to captivate every ones attention. "Do you get letters that are addressed to Santa and if so what do you do with them?" You could have heard a pin drop, everyone wanted to know the answer to this question. Well here Santa letters are picked up by the local VFW and Lions Club and get answered via them. I thought that was the coolest thing to keep the spirit of Santa alive in all of those young minds. So a big hooray for those two organizations.

This week I am going to pick apart the health insurance companies. I quit smoking about 14 years ago. I used the cold turkey method. Of course you may have to attempt this several times, but never give up. I was a bitch for about two weeks, I ate more candy than willy wonka could make, I gained about 5 pounds, and I thought I had lockjaw from chewing so much gum. But I made it. Lisa still smokes and has thought about quitting several times. So she contacts her insurance company about their publicized smoking cessation program and takes a 10 minute survey via phone. Two weeks later her package comes in the mail. You have got to be kidding me! A big envelop stuffed with reading material, a rubber ball, and a magnet. Well the reading material is in the trash, the dogs have the ball, and the magnet is holding up our grocery list. So this is the program. I told her she should have sent it back and told them to stick it up their @#$!

The smoke and mirrors companies use to make themselves look worthy and competent is unbelievable. How much of our premiums are spent on this kind of stuff. It's a good thing Lisa doesn't take advantage of the invitro program. I get horrid thoughts of Rosemary's Baby running through my head.

Last I have two friends that are struggling with addiction in their families. This is a horrible plague for families in the United States. I have dealt with this up close and personal and it just destroys people. I had some work to do for a friend this week who was struggling with some medical issues of her own and I could tell something was really wrong. She was very hesitant but once comfortable spewed her overwhelming burden due to her 43 year old son being addicted to pain meds. and alcohol. I have known her for a long time and she has had a rough road to travel. Recently in the past year she lost her mother to cancer and her other son of 41 died of an overdose a month after her mom had passed. Now she is struggling to maintain her sanity and hold onto her last remaining close relative. She herself was a stay at home mom that drank very little and probably never even tried a joint. She never saw it coming and got blindsided by America's biggest affliction.

She is truly lost without a clue of what to do. She almost seems like she is afraid of her son but yet has a codependency of him. For all that think most drugs come on a street corner where your addict is born you could are so wrong. A whole new waive of addicts have been created in the 90's due to the over prescribing of opiates. To be continued.......

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Why do we hide the reality of what is actually happening inside us and around us. I refer to it as the Painted Face Syndrome. No matter what happens, put the face on and act like it is all okay. Do people like to suffer inside? Is the fact of not having to be embarrassed so important? If you hide it will it just go away and no one will notice? Or is it the fact that no one will listen?

I am a dreamer, and a realist. I have courage and strength beyond the bounds to draw from but at times lack the direction in which to apply it. I possess the ability to be knocked down and get up, dust off, and move ahead. I feel comfortable in my own skin with the feeling to be satisfied with the choices I have made and not ashamed of but wiser from. The unfortunate thing about all of this is that I can't help someone else that really needs it.

To be able to give someone the confidence and power over their life would be a great gift. I think we need more motivational speakers in the world. We need to tear down the labels of thin, fat, ugly, wealthy, poor, and look at ourselves from the inside. Are you comfortable with who you are? There are ways to change, to feel whole again, and life to grasp!

The Obama's

Well I watched the interview on 60 minutes. Yes, the republican that I am watched with an open mind and was very much impressed and at ease with our new president elect and first lady. He did not falter, hesitate, or even have to think much before answering the onslaught of questions that were fired. I feel that we are in good hands and that the people have made a good choice to move us forward and out of this mess. I truly feel sorry for the man to have such a burden going into the presidency. I am also impressed with his wife Michele as the First Lady. She seems to have her own agenda, independence, and thoughts that she brings across in a positive and comfortable way in which you can identify with. I don't think that we have seen a first lady with such independent strength before. Most seemed to be what I consider as "arm trophies" to put it nicely. She will make a difference in her own way. I hope that the term treats them well and that they remain what appears to be truly connected with hope and dignity.

Faltering banks, automobile makers, mortgage crisis, the war, recession, ungodly deficit, and ragging unemployment. Now if that doesn't give them gray hair in one term then the man is ready to rule the planet. Good luck to the Obama's!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Case of the bubblies

Passed the house with the dog kennel yesterday and came up with a plan. My sister is coming up soon and her and I are going to park our vehicle and walk down close to the water where the kennel is to try to get the pictures. Once we have them then I am going to try some of every ones suggestions. I am definitely going to post on the web to get some response.

Yesterday was just a plain rainy and ugly day. So we passed some time away playing pool. It had been awhile since we played. Well one game turned into seventeen. We can become quite competitive sometimes.

I had been trying to get rid of a headache all day. I will admit that I am an addict! Yes I have an addiction and it is Coke. No not that the soda! I have been drinking coke since I can remember. I think I must have drank coke instead of milk as a baby.

Seriously I hate water and really don't drink much else but soda. After this past summer with all the problems I have been having with my stomach I have decided to try to follow the doctors orders and not drink carbonated beverages and definitely no coke. Damn ! I have had a headache that you wouldn't believe, laid down last night to get relief and woke up twelve hours later-good grief. I guess from caffeine withdrawal, but let me tell you after four days my stomach is already feeling 50% better. I can't decide what I miss most all the bubbles or the caffeine. So now it is onto punch, koolaid, iced tea, and yuck the dreaded water. I think I am a CO2 freak that just loves the fizzes. Prefer beer over wine but like champagne and Spumante. I have a serious case of the bubblies.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

maggie and ten things most people don't know about me

"Wait don't change that channel animal planet is just starting"

"Where's the Popcorn"

Okay I yesterday I went out with a friend for shopping and lunch. We've been friends for a long time and a couple things came up that she said she never knew about me. Then I read Betty's page.

#1 When I was 21 I thought I wanted to be a police officer and went through the intial phase of application

#2 I hate to give speeches to large groups

#3 I get anxiety when I go to the dentist

#4 I was engaged to be married

#5 I know more than I project

#6 I was a carpenter for many years

#7 I have a worm phobia

#8 I have a sixth sense

#9 I am vain

#10 I have really small feet and it is hard to find shoes sometimes

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How do you fix this?

For many months now I have passed a house that has several German Sheppard dogs that are in rough looking kennels. I always feel bad for the dogs but have not been able to determine how many they actually have. Then one day on the main road I saw a sign that said German Sheppard puppies $400.00 and I knew where they were coming from.

As I said before if you wait long enough you find things out from all the talk that circulates through the neighborhood. These people were breeding dogs.

Well this just ticks me off to no end due to the conditions these dogs are living. Yes they have food, yes they have shelter, but it is primitive. Good dogs don't come from wanna be breeders that know nothing of bloodlines, the proper testing or care of dogs. These people are just trying to make money off of these poor animals.

As I pass I try to check the conditions. The dogs are kept on very large stone. Can you imagine laying on that all day. Imagine laying on stone for months.

Finally I had enough and called the SPCA. They referred me to the planning and zoning department of the county first to see if they were licensed to run a kennel. Called planning and zoning they don't have those actual records I have to call the county treasures department. Called the treasurers department and yes they were licensed to run this kennel. They have seven full grown dogs that are licensed and planning and zoning approved this. They said to call back planning and zoning to complain which in turn they would call the SPCA. Planning and zoning said they only license the dogs that I would have to call the health department about the conditions. Hmmmmm! I am at the end of my patience here!

First I want to take pictures. How can county government approve such a primitive site to breed animals and license this. Myself and many others have adopted our dogs from the SPCA. Why are they there? Because of places like this!

Who wants to pay $400.00 for a dog that has never seen the inside of a house? That has not been socialized? That has not had the proper care?

I thought there were laws to protect animals. I thought the county and the SPCA would have some system set up that prevented breeding farms like this. They have 5 puppies that have not been sold and they look like they are about 6 months old. What will happen if they don't sell these puppies?

I am so angry with this situation. Poor breeding gives certain breeds a bad name. Poor breeding creates unwanted, unhealthy, dogs with poor dispositions. How do we end this?

I don't know where to start from here. I thought about taking pictures and sending them to our local government officials first, then the newspaper. How do you fix this?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Re entering the workforce is like a chess match. You anticipate what moves will be made to get that checkmate.
Well I was offered the job but at $2,000.00 less. I was kind of put out and offended. To them it is not that much, to me it is principal not money.
I had listened for two visits that totaled 2 1/2 hours of what they wanted and needed. I must work all holidays, work weekends, work swing shifts, supervise, lift morale, teach and instruct, and whatever comes my way.
My stipulation was salary. I don't like the game! I like straight forward this is what I want and mean it. I don't barter with life! Getting what you want is a must for you when you walk in the door, because with most companies raises can take awhile or there are none in times like these. You only get what you pay for! So I declined the position. I look at these things like they are either meant to be or not.
Sound kind of cranky don't I? I am today. I'll just give Lisa forty lashes and feel better! HaHa.
Watch out because the next entry gets worse, frustration beyond belief.
Lisa goes for hers today maybe she will have better luck and get a checkmate!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Party Crashers!

Of course we watch most of the Ravens games and get the football food ready. When the food came out we had two uninvited guests ready to crash the party. I guess they figured if they wore the right apparel no one would notice!

Friday, November 7, 2008

On the prowl

Wow things are really moving fast. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Had my second interview yesterday. Lasted for 1 1/2 hours-jeesh! I have been offered the job but they need to see if the salary I requested is okayed. I am not budging on this. They want 50 hours minimum a week and of course all holidays and shift. I know I should be grateful and I really don't mind working hard but this is going to be more mental than physical. I applied at Willow Valley Resort and Conference Center and my job will be to supervise, teach, and motivate the kitchen staff. Believe me they are not happy campers. I have worked in many institutions and kitchens and this one has really low morale. Not a smile! I think I have my job cut out for me.

I keep telling myself that it doesn't have to be permanent, just get through this economy crisis and you can get back to business. The other neat thing is that I pass an auto dealership on the way and they have a really sweet looking car out front-now that's motivation!

I got home late last night, made a light dinner (stuffed mushrooms with roasted walnuts, sausage, stuffing, onion, cheddar, and a salad), had a thousand things running through my head, sat down to watch TV and I heard our cat.

That familiar high pitched meow that signals Abbey and I that she had gotten a mouse. Of course Lisa goes into her freaked out mode and runs to the bedroom locking the door. Well we just didn't have our synchronization down and this turned into and hour project. That was one fast mouse. Maggie would catch it, drop it, and every time I went to put it in a bucket it took off. Finally I captured it in a cat litter bucket and slammed the lid on and drove it down to the ponds and let it go. I can't stand to kill them because it takes them forever to die and seems really cruel. I did flush one half dead one down the toilet downstairs and of course Lisa wouldn't use that one for a month because she thinks they can climb back up (it probably could but I won't let her know it, she would never use it again).

Didn't feel so hot when I went to bed. Next thing I know I woke up and was really sick of the stomach. Actually threw up which I never do. Went back to bed then woke up again this time I had diarrhea ( I know everyone is glad that I am sharing this). This is unusual for me I really don't get sick to often. Then it hit me. Over the summer I had a really bad bout with my stomach, finally went to the doctors and had a cat scan which was normal. Then after she looked over my history and exam she said I had a bout of diverticulitis. The week prior I had eaten alot of popcorn, seeds, nuts, and all that good stuff. This was the first time ever and it wasn't much fun. Then I recalled Lucy saying about her bout with the peanuts and Mexican food. So last night it must have been the walnuts and jalapeno cheddar fries. It seems that nuts and heat don't mix and make this flare up quicker. Believe me I don't feel like eating anything today.

So this household didn't get much sleep. I was in and out of the bed all night, Lisa couldn't sleep because of me and the fear of mice, Abbey and Rusty just wasn't sure what was going on, and Maggie was on the prowl all night for another mouse.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

it was priceless

Thought I would share some fall colors around the house. I love this time of the year with all the color. Although, this weather makes me hungry. Made some fresh herb pizza dough then topped it off with mozzarella, Parmesan, bacon, and onion. It was really good. I did notice that the dough is not as fresh and airy the next day. Last night we had corned beef and cabbage with baby red potatoes. Today it is gonna be beef stew. We tried a new veggie sandwich on grilled panni bread. Red roasted peppers, Muenster cheese, grilled onion, mushroom, and zucchini. It was excellent! It's time to loose 5 pounds. Last year I dropped to what is suppose to be the ideal weight for my height which was 116. I can tell you that as you get older this is not a good thing. That's when I started getting really severe tendinitis and started to feel weak. The clothes fit great but when you reach a certain age weight loss does not look healthy and you don't feel physically strong. You also loose muscle mass. I equate this with the way boxers move up a weight class because of the stamina and strength. I have found that the ideal weight varies by age also. Mine seems to be 124. What a difference these pounds make. If you watch dancing with the stars you know that Susan Lucci is competing. She looks good but is a bit too frail and if you notice she does not have much strength. She does not have the muscle mass to compensate for the lack of weight. So the thought is to start now, loose about 5 or 6 pounds to make sure I leave room for all of the holiday treats.
Lisa went on a interview yesterday. Lisa has only had three jobs after she graduated. Wished I could say that! Lisa's sister and I could be interview experts. I warned her some of the interviews can be long and brutal. I wanted to laugh when she came home and was beside herself with all of the questions that were asked. Seven other people are applying for that same position and most will have to go back for a second interview. She goes for her other interview next week and we are keeping are fingers crossed. My second interview is tomorrow with the same company. My decision is I want what I am worth. I finished the business books last night to give me a better prospective on things and business has been good. All repeat customers, so now I need to concentrate on growing the operation. So I don't think I should settle for less. I have what it takes and what they need but I want top dollar. Scary!
I think our neighbor (the one that was robbed) has moved on, I have not seen any activity for weeks. I'm waiting for Barb (the owner) to come up so I can ask her. This is probably a really good thing. When we first purchased here we were under the impression that the homes in the community were owner occupied, but learned that there is a small percentage that are not. This can create some issues.
Went to Walmart yesterday and they had loads of Christmas stuff out. You know it is really not that far off. They had so much really cool stuff and I love looking at it all. I just get this surge of excitement and warm feeling when the season rolls around. I drive Lisa nuts because I start playing Christmas music so early.
My sister came for a brief visit awhile back. I noticed as we get older we do really get set in our ways. She is just plain noisy! She gets up early (she has insomnia) and starts digging around for a coffee cup slamming the cabinet doors, rattling around in the silverware drawer. I have never heard someone so noisy, and she burps. Yes, I said she burps. Really loud. In fact we all have burping issues. I think it is our soda consumption. My whole family is hooked on soda. When my sister visits it is nothing for her and I to go through a 12 pack a day. She could blow a match out from 50 feet. Well I kinda got away from what I was talking about. I keep the sugar, flour, and stuff in canisters. I was sitting at the table when she was making her coffee and I saw her put heaping teaspoons of kosher salt in her coffee thinking it was sugar. Yes, I had that evil anticipated wait of the reaction to come, of course I wasn't going to tell her. She lifted the cup to her mouth and took a big swig of that coffee. Her eyes widened, her lips tensed, and at this time I thought she was going to spew coffee all over the kitchen. I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to fall off the chair. She grimaced and took a deep gulp cringing as it reached her stomach. She gripped the end of the counter, roller her head around, which of course made me laugh harder and proceed to call me a $#@#%%. It was priceless.

Presidential Blues

It's over! Okay now we have to accept what we have been dealt. This good turn out to be a good thing, so I keep my hopes up because I think we need change also.

I am however not going to let this off the hook so easily. I did some research this morning to see the results of Maryland's individual counties. I knew that we lived in a red county. Oh my! I was quite shocked when I realized that more of the counties had voted Republican. Maryland has always been known to be a democratic state. It had been won by Obama as a democratic state. This puzzled me as I usually just accepted these facts in the past without question.

With more research I have found that of course our largest city and poorest counties voted democratic. Add up the number of people in these areas and that gives you the answer. Then I took the time to go over some of Baltimore City's election questions. Money needed for the library's, the opera house, the museum, and much more. These properties are declining because of the areas they are located in. Baltimore has become a very violent and unsafe city. People are leery to go to these attractions due to the crime level. We have had more police chiefs in 4 years than Paris Hilton has changed her shoes.

So I see now where the democratic vote comes from that makes up the electoral vote. This is putting voters off when they know that people that have never voted before signed up this year. No wonder the politicians attack these large cities to get the vote when it makes such a difference. When you have large apathetic communities ridden with crime, drugs, and corruption they want change. Unfortunately their ideal of change is to throw government money at this problem and I for one am tired of my tax money going towards this. So now the majority has had there say and let's hope they have made the right decision. Get ready for taxes to go up.
Maybe it's time to move to a red state to get rid of these presidential blues.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ranting and feeling opinionated

Okay I just can't take it anymore.

I am going to refuse to watch the news for awhile. Why? Due to the following.

Obama has a Aunt that is an illegal immigrant living in public housing in Boston!
I am sorry but I find this distasteful! We have many American citizens that need housing that have been paying their taxes for years and they can't get it. We have people from hurricanes that need housing and they are still living in trailers, but Obama illegal relative is living in public housing. What is wrong with this picture?

I go for an interview and I need to have references, good credit, I get background checked and you would think I would be making six figures with the interviewing process ( I wished). However we can have the Senator from Alaska committing fraud and guess what? He can actually run for the same political office! That's just insane!

I watched 20/20 and always wondered about our voting machines. The program director sat right there on national television and stated that we spent something like 20 billion dollars of tax payers money for election machines that they did not know if they would work or not. The money was distributed to individual states even before the machines were built. Purely idiotic! He was appalled and resigned.

Palins wardrobe, Palins kids, blah blah. I agree with Palin. There is a set of double standards that we as a nation hold women accountable for. Did we asked any of the other presidential candidates in the past years how much they spent on their wardrobe? Do we not criticize women in the media if they are not up to Hollywood standards, sure we do. Do we asked the men how will they juggle family life? Of course not! This is 2008 not the 1800's.

The Phillie's win the World Series and the fans are destroying the front's of stores and defacing property. What the hell? I think these people would be really surprised if they went home and their house had the windows busted out or their cars had flat tires and paint across the sides. What are people thinking? Why is this stuff tolerated? Give'em some serious jail time and this will stop.

This stuff just drives me crazy.

On a good note we went to a nursery Halloween party on Wednesday. Boy was it cold! It was worth it though. The green houses were turned into decorated dining areas with a doo wop band performing in the front. They did have heaters and lit chimneas which made it cozy. Plenty of beer and wine but they ran short of food. This was a good way to interact with other landscapers and get some fresh ideal's. Last night we really didn't have many trick or treaters so I guess I'll be eating all the candy-oh just twist my arm.

We both got job interviews. I had mine yesterday as a Sous Chef at a Resort/Conference Center. I go back for the second interview next week. I don't know why but in this business they normally interview twice. Lisa has hers next week and things seemed to be looking up. She has applied for a cardiac cath tech at one of the hospitals and the director is the one who trained her many years ago. Funny how you run into people.

I am still not sure what to do. Business is still coming in just not as strong as the summer months. This position that I applied for offers good money but it is salary which means less time for business. I don't want my customer service to slide backwards. I am grateful for the opportunity but I struggle with making this decision.

This morning we had a large hauling job which took three truckloads of household stuff to the dump. I could not believe what this woman threw away. Lamps, suitcases, perfectly good stuff, shoes, pictures, tools, printer, and a 24 ft extension ladder that was almost new. I sold the ladder right away to someone else for $50.00. Steve took most of this stuff up to an auction house. She just got divorced and didn't want certain stuff. She didn't even want to have a yard sale.

Betty, I hope you read this. People will always disagree with the things others say. I don't deliberately try to offend someone, but they might not agree to what I say and take offense to it. I don't write for others I do it for myself and say what I want. If they don't like it I suggest to them not to read it. I did read about your grocery store incident about the Bible. I personally think that people have lost integrity. I think however that you probably really put him on the spot and he may think twice about doing that or he may pick up the Bible and actually read it. So you probably did accomplish something without knowing.

Most companies have put their mowers in storage. Not us! We mowed two lawns the other day and I will tell you it was cold. I said I didn't care, if they want lawns mowed in December we would do it. Machines don't earn money sitting in storage.

We had a group of wild turkeys out today in the neighborhood and of course I didn't have my camera. There is about 14 of them that travel around this time of year. They better hide soon with the economy being bad they might end up on someone's table. I know it is alot of ranting but I get these days when it all comes out.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thinking of Christmas Already

The weather is turning chilly, Halloween is right around the corner, Thanksgiving is down the road and then there it is CHRISTMAS! I get the fever early, thanks to my mother.
About this time every year we would ponder on those things that we were hoping to get for Christmas. We were asked to produce a list and then sat down to review it with our mother before Santa would receive it. It was like a Christmas Story all over again (by the way that is a must for me to watch for every Santa Season). We would be perched on the edges of the kitchen chairs as my mother would get her coffee ready before tackling the undaunting task of each list. I soon learned to write my list in great detail to make this process go faster so that Santa would be getting my list early, why yes I wouldn't want him to forget anything.
I of course would go first, I was the baby! This was the only time that I can remember appreciating being the baby.
Oh my the questions and facial expressions she would make as she poured over the list. "What is this?" she asked as she pointed to the bottom of my list. "Oh know she picked that out first to ask me about, I thought she would not see it". I hesitated and almost stammered then slowly in a very explicit manner described the Charley McCarthy ventriloquist doll with all of his attributes.
Her lips curved up into a smile and with a slight amusing laugh as she reached for a pen. "And where did you see this doll?" she asked. Well of course it was in the Sears and Roebucks catalog. I would make it easy for Santa and just rip the pages out usually and attach them to my list, but had caught such a raft from my sisters that I grew accustomed to listing page numbers and itemizing things.
With a flash I produced my second page of itemized, labeled, sized, gifts of color preferences and locations. I knew this would make things much easier for Santa with all the kids that he had to take care of.
"Now what are you going to do with that doll?" she inquired. Of course I would become a great ventriloquist and probably perform all over the country.
Oh the dreams you have when your are young. So simple to conquer the world.
I waited patiently and she reviewed things. The the big question came. "What do you want the most?"
Without a doubt the Charlie doll! She nodded her head and circled the Charlie doll and attached the itemized list carefully to the first page. Then off I was with grand thoughts racing through my head of Charlie sitting on my lap with his top hat and eyepiece in place just talking away.
Well by the time Christmas rolled around I had forgotten what the other stuff was that I had put on the list except of course Charlie.
Oh my God! The build up on Christmas Eve was tremendous! Of course my best friend Rickey and I would put out cookies, candy, soda, milk, slim jims, bubble yum, and any other goodies we could find for Santa and the elves. I pity the pour souls that had to eat all of that stuff. We would spend hours discussing the possibility of what we might get the next morning. Watch how the Grinch stole Christmas, then say our goodbyes and wait for Christmas. I swear I woke up early every Christmas just from anticipation regardless of how much sleep I got.
We would have to wait until Mom and Dad were up. That was the rule along with no peeking. It seemed like they slept for hours. Then I would hear that tinest bit of movement.
I tried to wait quietly then of course I had an excuse. The dog slept with me.
"Mom the dog has to pee" I would sneakingly quip. I would hurry and reach down to and shake that dog out of her dead sleep and motion for her to come to the door, race back to the bed and leave her poor puzzled statue standing in the middle of the floor. Of course I would make it up to her later by sharing dinner. Once she was up I knew she would become a little noisy, shaking her fur wildly prancing around the room. This only worked for three years before they caught on.
There door opened and I could hear the coffee cup bottoms hitting the counter, the spoons swishing around in the water. Well of course I could because at that age I had supersonic hearing to go with my xray vision. The sound of their slippers scuffing across the floor into the living room.
"Okay you can come out now" she said. I came around the corner to see none other than Charlie McCarthy sitting in a new rocking chair there in all his splendor with his top hat and tuxedo waiting for me to bring him to life.
I had Charlie for many years and he provided some of the best laughs (especially in a tavern full of drunks). We never got to tour the country together but. I remember him fondly which has me thinking of Christmas already.

Friday, October 24, 2008

odds and ends

I have been trying to stay positive and relatively calm but when I watch the news and read the paper I am starting to panic somewhat. Stock market still falling, banks still in trouble, and more closures. Another car dealership closed just 15 miles from us that was also a long standing business. This one was Honda. In the paper today I read where Chrysler is closing another plant in Newark, Delaware. A loss of about 1,800 jobs. This location is about 24 miles from us. There are no job openings in the tri-state area for Lisa. Her company has notified everyone that at the end of this month they will no longer have health insurance, life insurance, or disability insurance.
I have decided the best thing to do is for me to put in some applications for a full time chef's position. I have not figured this out yet, but for some reason there seems to be jobs in this area. So I better take it now while it is there. I have gotten a reply to one already so I am keeping my fingers crossed for a potential interview. I am hoping that between Lisa working part time and on my days off we can keep the business running until things calm down. With all of these layoff's I cannot predict how business will be in the next 4 months especially with lawn care season over. It is getting really bad and I don't want to be sitting between a rock and a hard place. Everyday the news gets worse.
I have also read wear Korea is having a food shortage. Now that is really bad. A month ago I had touched on this subject about the United States and the dwindling farm land used to build houses on. Where will we get our food in the years to come? Korea could be an example of what we will have to face.
So much for all of this doom and gloom on the bright side I fixed a toilet today and it only cost us $6.89 yeah! Maybe I was a plumber in my past life, it just seems to come natural. I made a pot of beef vegetable soup for dinner to go along with some grilled cheese sandwiches. What is really good is cream cheese and jalapeno peppers on rye bread grilled-yum! Now it is off to try to change my own oil-awweeehhhh!
You know 5 years ago I never would have done this, but I am learning to save money and stop being so wasteful. We have always bought what we wanted and have had nice holidays, but I am realizing that I have a basement and attic full of stuff that we don't use. That is really a waste. So now for the first time we are trying to organize a yard sale-that's gonna be a trip! Of course we have no ideal of what we are doing or how much to price things at. I for one hate to haggle over pricing, that is gonna be Lisa's job. If we ever move it will take forever to sort through this stuff. We have a electric guitar (of course I wanted it) that I never learned to play, an old piano that we don't play. Tennis rackets (bum knees can't play), roller blades (don't use since Lisa broke her wrist), sleds, vases, stuffed animals, comic books from our childhood, jewelry boxes, and the list goes on.
I have a new thing that I do now. Once a month I go online to eBay and buy either a gold coin, or bouillon bars. It is an investment, it is easy to store, and hopefully will increase its value as we age. I have noticed on eBay that people overbid on things just like at some auctions. I attended a closing of a sports goods store and people were bidding like crazy at the beginning. I just haven't figured this out.
Gas prices have came down dramatically here. Yesterday it was $2.49 a gallon. What a relief that is to everyone. We think we have figured out the neighborhood break in. Inside job! Due to excessive talk in the neighborhood and the absence of our neighbor due to the lack of funds for his rent it seems quite clear what transpired. People say time will tell in this case it has. I have lots running through my head today so just a post of odds and ends.

Holy Cow! I finally got it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Master minds

Well I must truly tell you all that I am fed up with this program. I am not quite sure what it going on but I can not get anything to load correctly. It is either the carrier that we have or the computer security (I'm guessing?) that won't allow this. I just can not be this dumb. I have tried to load play list for about two weeks now only to keep getting messages that read broken gadget, failure or some shit like that. I've read so many I don't even know what they say anymore. So I put that aside for awhile and thought I'll try some of this other stuff. As Betty would say GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Okay photo bucket slide show sounds good. Got everything set up in photo bucket and went to apply to gadget and a warning appears stating that this could cause computer to slow down and information may not be saved. What the hell? Yes I am sorry for cursing but these are just mild complaints that are leftover from my earlier rant. Could it be our Internet carrier? It is a small independent company, not AOL or Verizon. Could it be the security downloads we installed?

As I work my way through most of this I must tell you I do not really get what it means. What is a feed and what does it do? Some of programs have so much stuff it takes you an hour just to sort through it before you get started. UGGH! And all of the advertisement on these screens. I want plain and simple, cut to the chase, black or white, not all of this bullshit to sort through.

While doing this I had the phone ring 5 times. All of it was telemarketing except one. Number #1 Do I want to advertise for the business? I get about 4 of these a week. My new thing is when someone from their company signs on for a service then I will think about it. Number #2 New homeowner rates do you want to refinance? As bad as the economy is right now I just feel like selling! Number #3 My sister-wanting to let me know that she is donating her whole body to science. Okay! Your decision, I'm surprised she's not leaving it to the aliens. Number #4 Having a blowout sales event for Chevy. I may switch to Ford after that brake deal they put me through. Number #5 Advertising for the yellow pages two counties over. How much money do they think people have to advertise, but then again they should look on photo bucket, play list, and the list goes on. Who are the masterminds behind this blog?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is it the Moon?

I was watching him watch her. Her hair was whisking around her face with the slight breeze that was in the air. He was silent. Could he possibly see her that far away with his cataracts? The wind picked up and her dress flowed around her body slightly adjusting her hat.

His gaze became more intense and you could see his muscles tightening. Did he recognize her? I tried to contain myself and kept quite. That was asking alot. Her eyes were very large with a piercing stare. He moved forward small steps at a time.

Finally I couldn't take it anymore and burst out in laughter. Chance (on of my clients dogs) has been fascinated by the neighbors Halloween witches display ever since she put it up yesterday. We have been through this scene at least 5 times.

It must be silly animal weekend.

Early this morning I guess I wasn't moving fast enough as my other clients corgi decided she wasn't getting enough attention and head butted me in the mouth. It has to be the cool weather because all of them are acting crazy.

Next stop is Whiskers the cat. I am giving her fresh water and food in the garage and she decides that she is going to try to stand on my back. Something she has never done. Well when that cold paw hit on a part of my back that was exposed I didn't know what it was. I reared up and forgot that a cabinet was over head and damn near knocked myself out. She just stood there purring away.

Came home and thought I would take a nice relaxing bubble bath. NOT! Abbey this foolish 3 year old that refuses to grow up must have remembered that I gave her a bath last week downstairs. Lisa lets her in from outside and she comes barreling through the house, up the steps, past the kitchen, down the hall, then into the tub in a single leap. She was soooo proud of herself! I of course was not a happy camper. This is when it turns into one of those "it's your dog things".

Try cleaning a litter box when the cat refuses to get off the top of it. I explained several times to her that I know that is her bathroom and believe me I really don't want to use it. Smokey must lay on top of the box and watch what I am doing. Good thing she is not really heavy.

Hmmm! I am rethinking this career change. Maybe its the moon!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Taking the Time

Click on picture to enlarge.

My mind is kind of racing today. It is one of those day's when I have fifty thoughts and 50 to do's going on and what am I doing but posting a journal instead of doing bookwork. Question for anyone. On my travels I have came across this plant in many areas and wondered what it is? The berries are small clusters that are purple. Seems to last from spring to fall.

Well this week was definitely different for us. I celebrated my 46Th birthday on Tuesday and we celebrated our 25th anniversary on Thursday. Wow 25 years! The good thing is that it does not really seem like 25 years. This has been the first time ever that we both had off together at the same time (one of the perks of owning your own business). The other odd factor is that we usually plan something big. This year it was Hawaii. Due to Lisa's surgery, the current state of economy and layoff's those plans were nixed. We did something simple (after I worked in the morning-I can't help myself!) We went to lunch with her Mom. Lisa's mother treated us to wherever we wanted to eat and it was my choice. You know we have never eaten at a golden corral which is a buffet restaurant. They thought I was joking! They of course were thinking seafood. Let me tell you it was quite a deal for what they had and I enjoyed it. The food was hot, fresh, and plenty of it. We ate leisurely without interruption and had some good conversations . The down side was that I ate like it was Thanksgiving. My belly grew three sizes. Later that even we had a nice bottle of wine, some cheddar fondue out on the deck with a fire. You know sometime the most pleasant of surprises are right in your own backyard.

Okay at 46 do I feel old. NO! I do have the crackling joints beginning and arthritis, but I still feel like I'm in my mid twenties. I even woke up with a pimple-ooooh! I hate that. I am going to try Windex one time like in the movie My big fat Greek wedding just to see if it works. I figure it can only go three ways. I will wake up and nothing will change, it will be gone, or I will have this big gnarly pimple three times its size. My sisters always call on my birthday and send cards with money-yeah! I think we keep sending the same $20.00 bill to each other. This year Sharon is going to send something unique, I haven't gotten it yet. Lisa's gift was an early card with money to gamble in Atlantic City, makeup, a box of candy and a movie card. She follows my mothers tradition and still makes me my favorite birthday meal. Since she doesn't cook that well I let her off the hook this year and requested something simple. It turned out nice! Except for Abbeys gift of a roll in the mud after I had given her a bath just the other evening.

Right down the road from us we have an old steel bridge surrounded by trees and and a creek bed that flows underneath. It provides some great fall colors as the season changes. Whenever I pass over I usually stop to listen to the water rippling over the rocks taking in all the color.
I recently accepted two new clients that travel often and need their dog taken care of. They go to re-enactment camps from the civil war time era. It is very primitive with no luxury at all and of course no cell phone use. Seemed very interesting. I have often thought that if I could go back in time I would have liked to experience the old west. The pioneer days and most of all the staking of your own claim for property like in the movie Far and Away. Things just seem to move too fast for me sometimes. We have three phone lines in our house and it seems like you spend more time answering phones than anything. I just hate having a cell phone. Customers are calling while your out on a job and I loose concentration or have to stop in the middle of something. I have just gotten to the point that I only turn it on when I'm in transit. Maybe we will retire in the Hills of Tennessee, the mountains of Montana, or a remote shore bank in Alaska. Really I do enjoy interaction, but I like meaningful interaction.
Meaningful Interaction. I will give you an example of this. I have a client in my neighborhood that I do work for. She is a divorced woman that is a VA nurse. She seems rather nice to me but had stated when I first went to work for her that she had a strained relationship with the neighbor. I was mowing her grass when the neighbor came out one day. A big man in his early 40's with a gruff attitude pointing to me where the property line was. I got off the mower and listened, smiled, and expressed to him that I knew where the line was and that I would do him a favor and cut his small side for free while I was doing hers. Just to make things look nice. He became very friendly after that. I have seen him many times and waived since then. I thought that this may soften their relationship. The other day I was mowing her lawn and Lisa went with me so she could see what I call the lawn from hell. Tony the neighbor that I am talking about was outside and his dog Coco was on the porch. I asked him if we could pet Coco. I had seen him staring at Lisa, then he came over and introduced himself to her. I was laughing inside because I knew what he had in mind and I thought you are barking up the wrong tree. I was petting the dog when Lisa came over and Tony expressed to her how he needed petting too. She was appalled! She did an about face and muttered "pig". Tony then proceeded to stress what a nut case and a bitch I was working for. That she looked like a troll and needed a new attitude.
This is what I mean by a NON MEANINGFUL INTERACTION!
I had quite alot to say today. The brain never stops! I wish that people would be more kind, more gentle, genuine, stop rushing and get used to taking the time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can you solve the mystery?

I have always been fascinated with true crime stories and the human mind. After the police came that night I thought about everything and what he had said, something still was not right. So the next day I saw the neighbor outside and went over and asked him what had happened and some other questions regarding the break in. Believe me when I tell you as before that you can not always judge a book by the cover and that there are skeletons in every one's closet. I am going to list the facts, characters, background, and events to see what you think.

Cree Terrace: a climbing street that winds through heavily wooded areas comprised of many different types of homes located in a residential community that used to be a vacation area.

The beginning of Cree Terrace we have the Altman's on the right a modest rancher, us on the left a bilevel, Krissy and Mark next to us a small cottage, directly across from us is Barbara in a two story A-frame with the lower half rented out to Bob. All in clear view of each other, except for the shrubbery.
Bob's apartment was broken into, vandalized, and robbed during the day on a Monday (Columbus day).
Police report in not totally correct with all of the necessary information. Bob did not tell them everything.(This comes directly from Bob). Police interview Bob, Altman's, and Us. The officer in charge thinks that it is kids due to the vandalism and no theft. Bob did not tell the officer what was stolen. Guns and Money.
Bob: 21 year old male renting lower apartment from Barbara. Current length of residence 7 months. Victim of recent robbery. Occupation construction/farm worker. Has part time live in girlfriend. Works day shift and not steady. Likes to party, is neighborly, quite, stays to himself most of the time. Has developed close relationship with the Altman's, mostly Steve and Duane. Currently on probation, has a DUI and struggling.

Barbara: 46 year old gay single female living between two residences. One in Baltimore, and the one on Cree Terrace. Recently renovated her home to rent out lower apartment to help pay the mortgage. Always comes up on Sat./Sun and stays until Monday. Very consistent pattern of everyday life. Very friendly with everyone in the neighborhood. Close relationship with the Altman's. Shares a large amount of personal and financial information with the Altman's. Occupation: Landlord/long time employee of Wholefoods Grocery/4 year coast guard. No police record.

Krissy & Mark: Both are in the Mid 30's. He is a tool salesman. She is a teacher. First marriage, no children. Just moved here about 9 months ago. Very friendly and neighborly. We share produce and goods, etc. They are busy and stick to themselves, work during the day, go away on weekends to hike. Krissy currently joined the board of directors for our development. No police records.

Us: We have lived here 10 years. We are neighborly and friendly but do not visit neighbors, nor share personal information. I run my own service business so my schedule is erratic. Lisa is a MRI Tech and works Mon-Fri. during the day. Lisa does not pay attention to what goes on in the neighborhood and is friendly and neighborly but does not socialize with the neighbors. We both are rather guarded. No police records

Altman's: Late 50's couple with two grown daughters. Steve's fourth marriage. Residence of 12 years. He is an injured truck driver with no police record and currently on Workman's Comp. Currently on a very potent pain patch that causes him to talk alot and divulge quite a bit of information. Nancy is a private house cleaner with no record. Both are drinkers. The two girls one living at home is 19. The other has moved in with an ex-convict and is 18. Steve does not work, and Nancy has an erratic schedule. The daughter works split shifts. This is the loud house on the corner. Very friendly people, will help anyone that needs it. Close relationship with the victim and the home owner. Steve has even worked with me on past occasion. Currently have a live in guest that is thirty three years old. Long police record. Steve states that he was a foster child and used to live with them there about 10 years ago. ( This has to be false due to his age). Duane: unemployed 33 year old male, long police record, no transportation or support. Friendly with Bob. The Altman's know everybody and everything. They are the ones that pass on all the information about what is going on in the community. Always outside smoking on front porch and working around their house.

The house was vandalized badly. Bob left the main entrance door open. There then is his apartment door, then steps that go up to Barbara's level. Another entrance door that leads to her side of basement. They punched a hole in a wooden flimsy interior door about the size of a 10 " diameter.
They trashed the house. Bob said they broke glasses, sliced up stuff with a knife, and put holes in the drywall.
Bob lied to the cops and said nothing was stolen.
Bob is on probation so that is why he lied about the guns being stolen. Two shot guns and money were stolen.
Bob denies having enemies.
Bob states that the money was in a place that only he and Barb knew in the one side of the basement, not his apartment, but you have to go through that way to get to it, or through her front door down to the basement.
Bob states that he doesn't have much company.
He seems genuinely upset and mad.
Bob contacted Steve to ask if he saw anyone or heard anything but did not ask anyone else. I went to him.
Steve stated no.
Bob left lower entrance door open because he thought Barbara was coming so she could get rent.
He reported this to Barbara and she stated about filing a home owners claim.
Babara did not come as she always does.
Steve does lots of personal favors for Barbara and knows his way inside and out of her house.
Nancy cleans house for Barbara's dad and Steve says she is always asking for extra stuff without paying for it.
Duane has been in Bobs house to party and have a couple of beers together.
Bob, Barbara, Steve, nor Nancy have contacted Lisa, Myself, or Krissy or Mark about this robbery.
We find this highly unusual because we all communicate and watch out for each other.
A robbery occurred on a street where I work for a client.
Steve has been with me several times at this street
The night before the robbery I heard Duane and Steve leaving in the truck late at night-unusual
The men were identified as wearing dark ski masks
They shot the woman's dog in the face.
The very next day Steve was outside moving a couch wearing a dark ski mask in 75 degree weather. Odd!
I asked why the ski mask (this is before I knew about the robbery) he stated that he did not want Workman's comp investigator seeing him move the sofa.
5 years ago we saw a traffic stream of young kids into this household during the day
kids of all ages not just their daughters age
Steve is friends with another man down the road that just got busted for drugs
I recently say Duane at this same house
The man is an avid gun collector (all had been seized by sheriff's department)
All of the young kid traffic stop completely.
Can not get the truth about who Duane is.
Steve admitted under the influence of pain medication some past events that transpired in the neighborhood that were underhanded imposed on other neighbors
Steve poisoned the neighbors two dogs
Steve is committing Workman's comp fraud
Barbara does not have a legal renters occupancy permit
Bob thinks he is being overcharged on his rent
Steve has a grudge against Barbara that she does not know
I locked myself out one day and Steve opened my door in 10 seconds with a credit card
In the last three days the weather has been gorgeous and there have not been any signs of the neighbors outside except for us and Krissy/Mark
Steve and Duane claim that they go out at night to scavenge trash metals.
Steve asked what i thought was an unusual question: Where do I keep the dogs in the house?
This sent a red flag and I stated they have free run.
Last of all the Altman's are suffering major financial problems.
The day of the crime the kids were in school.
Yes we do have vandalism problems on occasion here.
I have not seen many kids lately and the ones I have seen are very young
I was outside that whole day and did not see anyone at Bobs house
The dogs did not bark
Steve's dogs did not bark
There is a private passage way that joins the Altman's and Barbara's yards

My take: Past history has proven that many serial killers had no record and some were actually in the security profession such as the BTK killer. Ted Bundy was charming. Randy Woodside was an ex football player. History has proven that large bank thefts do not always generate from the common criminal but from high powerful executives that have no criminal record. Proven facts state that robberies occur from someone that knows you, knows your routine, and knows what you have. Murder victims lives are most likely taken from someone that they know instead of a random act. Criminals can be charming, witty, deceiving, while possessing a sadistic nature. Ted Bundy lured some of his victims in by using a dummy broken arm routine. Some of victims of child abuse and practice animal torture. Then there are those that commit a crime and want to be there to see the aftermath and bath in the publicity of the case.

Could our likable overzealous strange neighbors on the corner be behind the robbery/robberies?

Okay that is most of what I can remember so What do you think? Can you solve the mystery?