Friday, November 30, 2007

"The Christmas Shoes" Redux

Just in case there was any doubt whatsoever that I am a complete and total sentimental fool, I have decided to reprise a post that I originally wrote last year on December 2nd. Part of the reason for this is that I have many, many, many people who come to my blog via a search for "Christmas Shoes" or "Sir, I Wanna Buy These Shoes". Even though this is one of the sappiest songs out there, people like it and look for it. I thought I'd do them all a favor and post a slightly better video that I found on YouTube rather than the one I used last year.

While looking for another version of the song to post, I listened to the song several times over and - jeer away - I found myself getting all choked up with a tear or two running down my cheek. Now I could have posted this without mentioning that particularly vulnerable fact but I wanted to point out that even though I may come across as the proverbial "Christmas Crab" from time to time, I'm not really. Tough shell - soft innards.
"Back in early November, I had decided that I was pretty much going to write off the entire Christmas holiday this year due to my pure disgust with the retail industry and their overwhelming greed. I've become accustomed to the Christmas season beginning the day after Thanksgiving but these days Thanksgiving seems to get steamrolled over completely by the likes of Wal-Mart and Target who just can't wait to start counting their profits. Before Halloween even had a chance to be nothing more than a pile of empty candy wrappers and rotting jack-o-lanterns, retailers had aisle upon aisle of Christmas merchandise on display and were already lamenting a possible "slow" season.

Now don't get me wrong, I am by no means the most religious person in the world and am not even so sure about the historical accuracy of Christ's birth and December (apparently there were no good Pagan holidays to steal from in July) but when did Christmas become so focused on the gifts? Apparently if you don't have the Mother Lode of presents flowing out from underneath your tree, you aren't really celebrating Christmas.

I decided that this year I wanted no part of what passes for Christmas anymore, that I was going to become a "Grooge" - a combination of the Grinch and Scrooge. There are plenty of people out there who call themselves "Scrinches" but I didn't even want to be a part of their group, I wanted to be my own group - alone in my disgust. But I've discovered that it's not easy for someone who has loved Christmas their whole life to suddenly do a complete turn-around and recite such things as "Bah humbug!" and it's "A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!" followed by the humming of the Grinch's theme song.

Despite my best intentions to ignore the holiday completely I've found that I can't do it and have caught myself singing Christmas tunes while hanging the Christmas lights that I swore I was not going to put up this year. I knew my fate was sealed when I was driving across town to run some errands with my car radio station turned to WBMW-106.5 (which is playing Christmas songs 24/7) and "The Christmas Shoes" came on. One minute I'm happily munching on a brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tart while running through the day's errands in my head and the next minute I'm all choked up and fighting back tears.

Even though the song is about buying something, it exemplifies what Christmas is really supposed to be all about. It's schmaltzy, it's sad, it's got kids singing the chorus in places for crying out loud but it's Christmas in a nutshell and who can't love that? Haven't heard it? Well, you're in luck as I found a version of this on YouTube. The imagery is pretty lame so just close your eyes and listen to the song - let's see if you don't choke up, too!"
When I posted this last December the comments were none too heart-warming, with the exception of one, so let's see if we can do a little better this time around, shall we?

The Modification of a Meme (or Two!)

Quite some time back ("quite some time back" meaning November 12th!) I was tagged by Connie of Brain Foggles for the "Eight Things About Me" meme and more recently (November 25th) I was tagged by Jamie of Duward Discussion for the "Seven Things About Me" meme. Somehow I doubt that there are fifteen things about me that any of you are truly interested in learning or that I haven't already posted before so I thought I'd do a slight twist on the memes and post my fifteen favorite Christmas songs.

To make this more interesting, I'm going to post a video of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve in Sarajevo" so that you have something to listen to while you read. This piece of music takes "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Carol of the Bells" and combines them with traditional classic music and a heavy metal rock style. I think you'll like it - I know I do!

Got the music playing? Okay, good! On with the combined meme then!

My Fifteen Favorite Songs of the Christmas Season
(not necessarily in order!)
  1. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" - written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley founder of the Methodist Church, in 1739. Originally sung to a different tune completely, it was changed over 100 years later by English musician William H. Cummings who adapted music from a Cantata written by Felix Mendelssohn to fit the lyrics.
  2. "We Three Kings of Orient Are" - an American Christmas carol written by the Reverend John Henry Hopkins in 1857 for a Christmas pageant at the General Theological Seminary in New York City.
  3. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - it is believed that this particular carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season and is reputed to be one of the oldest English carols dating back to the 15th century by an unknown author.
  4. "Ave Maria" - composed in about 1825 by Franz Schubert (1797-1828) when he was twenty-eight years old and filled with devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. First published in 1826 as Op 52 No 6 it was written for voice and piano.
  5. "O Come O Come Emmanuel" - originally written in Latin text in the 12th century, the author of the words and composer of the music are unknown but the melody is believed to be French in origin.
  6. "Carol of the Bells" - original folk music from the Ukraine, the lyrics and words were added by Peter Wilhousky to celebrate the festive season and its traditions such as the pealing of church bells at Christmas and the singing of carols.
  7. "Good King Wenceslas" - the words were written by John Mason Neale and published in 1853 while the music originates in Finland 300 years earlier. Good King Wenceslas, the king of Bohemia in the 10th century, was a Catholic who was martyred following his assassination by his brother Boleslaw and his supporters, He became known as St. Stephen, the Patron Saint of the Czech Republic, and his feast day was celebrated on the 26th of December which is why this song is sung as a Christmas carol.
  8. "White Christmas" - written by Irving Berlin in 1942 and originally featured in the movie Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby, this song struck a very poignant chord with those fighting in World War II and their family members waiting back home for them.
  9. "O Holy Night" - the words and lyrics were written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure, a humble wine seller, in 1847 while the music was composed by his friend and brilliant composer Adolphe Charles Adams. Best sung by Josh Groban or Celine Dion!
  10. "Angels From the Realms of Glory" - written by James Montgomery in 1816 as a celebration of the good news the angels brought to the shepherds of Christ's birth.
  11. "The Hallelujah Chorus" - written in 1741 as part of George Frederic Handel's "Messiah", it was first performed in Dublin in 1742 and was given the city's greatest ovation ever. When it was performed in London several weeks later, the King was so moved by "The Hallelujah Chorus" that he rose to his feet - a custom that has prevailed ever since.
  12. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" - originally recorded by Bing Crosby in October of 1943, this song touched a tender place in the hearts of both American soldiers and civilians who were then in the depths of World War II. The song earned Crosby his fifth gold record while it became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows in both Europe and the Pacific.
  13. "Do You Hear What I Hear?" - words and music written by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne in 1962 became another big hit for Bing Crosby in November of 1963.
  14. "Christmas Wrapping" - sung by The Waitresses, a post-punk new-wave band that existed during the early to mid 1980s when I was a lot younger! Not your traditional Christmas song but kind of fun with a slightly sarcastic sense of humor! Never heard it? Check it out here!
  15. "This Gift" - okay, I saved the sappiest for last and you may all mock me unmercifully but this song by 98 Degrees has been one of my very favorites from the first time I heard it. I'm an incurable romantic in spite of all and what can I say? I'd like nothing more than to share Christmas with someone special. Boy-band or not, these guys could harmonize and this song just brings out every last bit of mush the Christmas season can wring out of me.

Whew! Hopefully Queen Mimi will allow me a special dispensation for having done a combined meme and not throw me in the dungeon for violating the original rules of a meme. If not, I may be testing out the acoustics of the dungeon with some of my favorite holiday tunes while the Queen wonders what all that caterwauling is!

How about you, gentle readers, any favorite songs of the season? I'm not going to tag anyone with this modified meme but about you leave a comment? Pretty please?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! All Ye Peoples of the Land!

Let it be known throughout the Blogosphere that today is the birthday of Her Royal Majesty, Mimi - Queen of Memes!
All subjects are hereby requested to go forth to Bloggingham Palace and leave messages of greeting and good will for the Queen to celebrate this most auspicious of days!
In honor of this glorious occasion, the royal bakers have produced this most beautiful castle cake truly fit for a queen! Help thyself to a piece but be sure to stop by and wish Queen Mimi a Happy Birthday afterwards!
Happy Birthday, my Queen, and may the year laid out before you bring you nothing but the bountiful good things which you so richly deserve!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Captain Jack or Willy Wonka? Decisions, Decisions ....

Anyone remember a TV series on Fox called 21 Jump Street? It was an hour long police drama series that debuted in 1987 and was Johnny Depp's first major vehicle to stardom. He played Officer Tom Hanson, Jr. from 1987 to 1990 and I have to admit that I was a fan. Of course, I was working as a police dispatcher in Stockton, California at the time so that probably accounts for some of it!

Since then, Johnny Depp has gone on to star in countless movies and turn in some truly amazing performances. As Glen Latz in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Icabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow, Mort Rainey in Secret Window, Sir James Matthew Barrie in Finding Neverland, and lots of other roles in between, Johnny Depp has brought a uniqueness all his own and turned in many memorable performances.

Two of my favorite Johnny Depp roles are his portrayals of Captain Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Caribbean movies and Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (but don't tell Amanda about that one as I've told her time and time again that I didn't like the movie!) but which character do I like the best?

As Willy Wonka, Depp does an eerily fantastic job at portraying the role of the enigmatic chocolatier who has deeper problems than the world knows. Of course that's not to say that the movie isn't rather strange in places as evidenced by my daughter walking around saying "Everything in this room is eatable, even *I'm* eatable! But that is called "cannibalism," my dear children, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies.", a line spoken by Willy Wonka himself. Truth be told, he does have a point!

As for my other favorite role, how can anyone possibly not love Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow? He's roguish and sexy and wears eyeliner better than most women! One of my favorite quotes from Captain Jack comes from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl when Jack says, "Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly... stupid." Seriously now, how can you argue with that kind of logic? Savvy?

If I had to choose between the two roles, I'd have to say that Captain Jack is most definitely my favorite as Depp's portrayal of Sparrow probably did more for the pirate revival than any other pirate movie ever! And who doesn't love a pirate? Rrrrrr!! Besides, like I said, he's darned sexy in the role!

This December, Depp hits the screens in another role that is sure to be uniquely his own in Tim Burton's production of Sweeney Todd. If you're interested in getting a sneak preview before the movie hits theaters on December 21st visit the official Sweeney Todd movie site or visit Sweeney Todd on MySpace. I'm sure that Depp is going to have another very memorable performance and I know Amanda is going to definitely want to go see the movie when it comes out as both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are high on her list of favorites. I'll let you know what I think once we've seen it!

Calling All Ladies!!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Some of you may or may not have heard about the Saturday Comeback Challenge that Mimi, Queen of Memes hosts every week on one of her other blogs, Dating Profile of the Day. If you aren't familiar with the game, on Saturdays Mimi posts ten headline and/or essay snippets from honest-to-goodness, you-can't-make-this-stuff-up personal ads written by eligible bachelors in search of their one true love. Your mission, as a contestant, is to write a comedic response to each of the snippets and then send them back to Mimi via email no later than 11:59 on the following Monday. At that point, Mimi judges your comebacks and then announces the winners in a post on Wednesday. The idea is to be funny without being base, crass, mean-spirited, or inappropriate.

I've participated in the Comeback Challenge a few times since first finding it and am happy to say that I've actually managed to win twice but it's tougher than it sounds as coming up with the ultimate comeback can be quite tricky at times. Sometimes it's hard to find the right combination of cutting and comedic but it's a lot of fun to try.

This week I did a'ight but I was competing against three men and lost - yet again - to one of those men. I need someone to explain to me why it is that men seem to be able to come up with snappier comebacks to other men than women do? Is it because they're used to hearing cutting comebacks from the women that they dish the same sort of foolishness out to? Is it because they know exactly how lame they're going to sound with their pick-up lines before they even utter them so have already predicted the response? Is it because men play the Comeback Challenge more than women do?

Whatever the reason may be, ladies, we need to take the art of the snarky comeback back and show these men exactly how it's done! I ask all of you to join me in the next round at Dating Profile of the Day this coming Saturday and show these men how it's done. Come on, girls, let's make Queen Mimi proud and maybe we can even talk her into a "get-out-of-the-dungeon-free pass" for at least making an effort.

Who's with me??

*graphic borrowed from Dating Profile of the Day

Happy Birthday to Bobbarama!

bobbaramaMy most favorite inkblot in the Blogosphere is having a birthday today (November is a great month for birthdays - almost as good as September!) so please take the time to pop on by bobbarama dot com and leave some birthday best wishes for the little fella! And if anyone can find out how old he is, I'll come up with some sort of cool prize for you!

Happy Birthday, Bob, and best wishes for a wonderful year with many more to follow!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A View From Dispatch

Can you believe that this picture was taken with the camera on a cell phone? Well, more accurately, it was taken with an Apple iPhone that one of the guys I work with bought for himself awhile back (oh, to be young and live at home with my mother and be able to afford all the cool toys!).

I asked Dane to take this picture at work a couple of Fridays ago as I thought the clouds looked really cool that afternoon and naturally I didn't have my digital camera with me as I don't make a habit of bringing it to work with me. Dane whipped out his new iPhone and this is what he emailed me. I haven't touched it up at all, just posted it the way I got it, and I've got to say that it came out quite well for it being a camera phone - a camera phone! But I'm not jealous, really I'm not as I'd probably never be able to figure out how to use an iPhone as I'm just not that technologically savvy.

But don't the clouds look cool??

Need Some Help With Some Birthday Wishes For a Friend

Today is the birthday of one of the most special people in my life - MizCyn. I have had the privilege of calling her a friend since the day I first met her at the Stockton Police Department in 1984 and in spite of time and distance, we remain good friends and confidantes. Not sure what I'd do without her to be honest - or without unlimited long distance for that matter!

I was going to hack into her blog as I did a few months back with this post when she was going through the stress and emotional trauma of putting her 19-year old autistic son Daniel into permanent placement (an ordeal that, though completed, is still not over as there has been one issue after another and it hasn't exactly been clear sailing). So many of you left so many wonderful comments of support and encouragement for her and I thought I could prevail upon you to pop by and leave some birthday wishes but either I've forgotten her password (which is quite probable) or she changed it so I couldn't pull another such stunt (which is more likely!).

That said, I'm not going to let a small thing like not being able to hack into my good friend's blog stop me from asking you to click on this link here and leave her a small birthday message if you're so inclined. I've been doing my best to draw MizCyn into the Blogosphere and I think that the more she sees how wonderful and caring the people who make up this virtual world of ours are, the more inclined she might be to actually put up more than two posts on her blog - 90 mph Uphill-in-Reverse.

In addition to being a wonderful friend and exemplary mother, Cyndi is also a damn fine writer - though being Irish she tends to run off at the keyboard and can't tell a short story to save her life - something she considers to be a curse and something I consider to be a gift as I'm sure most folks don't mind long stories at all when they are told in an engaging and humorous manner. Least ways, I sure don't and the woman has stories to tell me - trust me on that one! Some stories I'd rather she didn't tell of course but still ... I would be willing to take the chance should she ever decide to make blogging a regular part of her life. Besides, if the woman has a picture of the female department at the former California State Hospital in Stockton as her profile image - how can she not have a sense of humor?? (I find it somewhat ironic that she lives close to a former mental hospital in Stockton while I live close to the former mental hospital in Norwich ... that should tell you something, shouldn't it?!?)

If you've got a minute, do me a favor and click on by Cyndi's blog, leave her a birthday message, and tell her she could have at least put out some cake for her guests or put the coffee on - maybe we can guilt her into becoming a blogger!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Manic Monday - Rank

When I first saw that Morgen of It's A Blog Eat Blog World and host of Manic Monday had declared this week's word to be "rank" I had a sneaky feeling that it had to do with the tumble in Page Rank that many of us suffered at the hands of Google recently. Well, either that or someone had forgotten to take the trash out and that was what had inspired him!

At any rate, I have no desire to start whining once again about my Page Rank dropping from a 4 to a 2 to a 0 (boo to Google yet again, I say!) so instead I thought I would write about rank in regards to my military service. It's certainly not anything to brag about as I barely made my way into NCO status (Non-Commissioned Officer for those unfamiliar with the vernacular) during my five + years that I served in the United States Air Force but at least my DD-214 (discharge papers) have me listed as a Sergeant, a rank that the Air Force did away with in March of 1991 due in part to the manning reductions that occurred in the post Cold-War drawdowns of the early 1990s. Ah, good ole' President Clinton ... not!

When I first joined the Air Force in June of 1976 at the ripe old age of 17, I had no rank whatsoever as I was an Airman Basic (E1) and we didn't have insignia, or chevrons, on our sleeves to denote any sort of rank as we were the lowest of the low. A lot of recruits never made it through Basic Training to begin with so why have them sew on an insignia? Eventually I made it to Airman (E2) and got to sew this insignia on my uniforms:

Next step was Airman First Class (E3) which gave me this insignia:

After that came Senior Airman (E4) which was this insignia below with the star in blue rather than silver. Once I was promoted to Sergeant (E4), the star was silver again and that was what put us into the category of Non-Commissioned Officer as opposed to just a regular old Airman. The dual insignia within one grade mirrored the Army's Specialist/Corporal division of E-4. The reasoning behind it was to promote Senior Airmen who were ready for NCO responsibilities but not prepared to take on the role of a Staff Sergeant, which was the next step up (E5).

Had I stayed in the Air Force rather than taken a discharge when my son Michael was born, it probably would have taken me years and years to get to Staff Sergeant as my career field was very difficult to get promoted in. You had to test and then wait until there were openings and even though I enjoyed being a motion picture camera operator (I had cross-trained from being an electronics communication repair tech), I wasn't very good at the promotion tests.

My Dad, on the other hand, was and he advanced to the rank of Master Sergeant (E7) quite quickly within his career field of aircraft mechanic (he was so good, The Thunderbirds asked him to join their team at one point but he declined saying that he "didn't want to live out of a suitcase" or most likely leave my Mom alone any longer than was necessary!). The diamond device, or French lozenge, in the center of this insignia indicates that he was a First Sergeant, which was not a rank but a special duty held by a senior enlisted member of a military unit who reports directly to the Unit Commander. As the "First Shirt" my Dad was responsible for the morale, welfare, and conduct of all the enlisted members in his squadron and was the chief adviser to the squadron commander concerning the enlisted force. You wouldn't believe how many times the phone would ring in the middle of the night with one problem or another from some enlisted member!

Even though he was good at being a "First Shirt", I think my Dad missed being on the flightline and working as the excellent aircraft mechanic that he was so when he was offered the chance to re-enlist and sew on the rank of Senior Master Sergeant, he choose instead to retire with 20+ years of service under his belt.

It wasn't an easy decision for him, though, and I remember that he took one of the Senior Master Sergeant insignias (like the one above) and tacked it to the doorway leading to the dining room of our base housing at Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire so that he could look at it every day before making his decision to retire. In August of 1974 he retired with the rank of Master Sergeant along with a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and more commendations to his credit than I could list. While serving in the Air Force he wore his rank with pride and he wore it well and it was one of the things that inspired me to join up myself right out of high school.

Interested in finding out what others find rank on this Manic Monday? Check out Mo's post at It's a Blog Eat Blog World and see where it takes you!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dad, Wherever You May Be

Today is my Dad's birthday - or would have been had the effects of the Agent Orange that he was exposed to in Vietnam not eventually turned cancerous and into Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma which, after a darned good fight on his part, took his life in February of 2003.

Dad would have been 73 years old today and probably would have happily spent the day playing Bingo with my mother at Foxwoods Resort & Casino which is located just a bit down the road from here. Even though the game seemed to frustrate the hell out of Dad, he enjoyed going with my Mom and also enjoyed spending a bit of time playing the slots afterwards. Much like Sarge Charlie (another fine veteran) likes to play poker, my Dad liked to play the slots. Not the big money slots, mind you, but the nickel or quarter slots were good enough for him.

As a 20+ year veteran of the United States Air Force and someone who then put in another 20 years in the Maintenance Department at Day Kimball Hospital, my Dad more than earned his retirement and the chance to enjoy it a little bit. Unfortunately, because of the cancer, he didn't get to enjoy it for nearly as long as he should have been able to. His life was shortened because of his service to our country but I don't think that he would have changed a thing if given the chance. He served proudly and with distinction and honor. He was one of the good guys.

There aren't a lot of pictures of myself and my father around but I do have this one that was taken on my wedding day in August of 1991. I think at the time he was still trying to convince me that I had the chance to turn around and head the other way but, like so many other times before this, I didn't have the good sense to listen to him!

It took me way too many years to realize that my Dad was right a good part of the time and that he really only had my best interests at heart but, stubborn mule that I can be, I didn't listen anywhere near as well as I should have. I doubt that it was any victory to him to know that he was right when my marriage ended ten years to the date of when this picture was taken but he was right - again. I think it's kind of ironic that one of the few pictures I have of my father and I is one that I look at and think "Linda, you should have listened to your father more often and not been so stubborn and pig-headed." Come to think of it, though, I'm sure he would rather enjoy the irony in that!

Dad, wherever you are - happy birthday and I hope they've got a mocha angel food cake like Mom used to make for you every year - and a meatloaf as I know how much you liked that, too! Though I know it's not anywhere near as good as Mom's always was.

"Another Saturday Night & I Ain't Got Nobody ..."

After returning home yesterday evening from taking the girls down to the mall and torturing myself with the aromatic smells of coffee at Seattle's Best while blogging at Borders, I had some free time online because I had caught up with all of my regular reads and there was no one on to play Scrabulous with. What to do? What to do? I know! I'll sign up for this free dating site that I had heard about and see what's who's out there.

Having paid good money to be rejected on,, and even Yahoo! Personals in the past, I have a major aversion to shelling out cash for dating sites as I just don't think a person should pay for feeling like the last person picked for the kickball team during gym! is a 100% free dating site that has a chat feature, forums, dating ideas (like I need an idea - what I need is a date!), and a pretty easy to use search function. Of course the thing that appealed the most to me is that it's FREE! Free is a good thing in my book, a very good thing!

So, I set up a profile with some basic information (ah yes, the dreaded "body type" question - I hate that question!!), tossed on a semi-decent picture (at least for me), and proceeded to see who was available in my neck of the woods. Surprisingly, there were quite a few guys in my area - even some right here in Norwich - but I'm not the type to initiate first contact as I always hear my mother's voice ringing through my head saying "nice girls don't call boys". I guess that means nice girls don't wink at boys on dating sites either! Still, it was nice to see that there are men my age out there who are also looking for "the one". Considering that Prince Charming has obviously lost his way to my house, I guess I have to start somewhere, right??

I played around with it for a little while and then called it a night to go upstairs and watch the end of Spiderman 2 (ah, Toby Maguire battling it out with Alfred Molina!). Imagine my surprise when I checked my email this morning and found that someone had actually winked at me - me! Too bad the guy lives in Fargo, North Dakota but hey - a wink is a wink and that's one more wink then I've had in a long time!

Hmm, reminds me of a mutilated line from Casablanca - "here's winking at you, kid!" I'll let you know if anymore winks come my way!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sshh ... Don't Tell MizCyn ...

... I'm doing the thing that irritates her more than anything ... I'm sitting at a WiFi Cafe and blogging in spite of the fact that she has repeatedly told me not to do so. I've got a good reason, though, really I do! Amanda and Ayla wanted to go to the mall and having no desire whatsoever to walk around the mall on the Saturday after Thanksgiving I opted to retreat across the street to the Borders Bookstore and park myself at a table in the Seattle's Best Coffee Shop and do some blogging. Oh sure, I could've left the laptop at home and just sat and read a book but what's the fun in that? It isn't anywhere near as pretentious as sitting in a public place and spending time on my computer!

Truth be told, the place was so crowded when I first got here that I couldn't even find a place to sit down so I was forced to walk around the store a little bit and look at all the things I'd like to buy if I had the money - which I don't! But it all looks so Christmasy and holiday-like and even though I'd really like to give the holidays a pass this year, in my heart of hearts I am not a Grinch or a Scrooge and I really do love the Christmas season.

Trust me, if I had the financial wherewithal there are a lot of things I'd like to get just in this store alone - a book for Jamie called "Maximum Rock & Roll" which is the official biography of her beloved AC/DC, a book called "Quotationary" that would be perfect for myself and my love of quotes, a Maxine desk calendar for several people that I know, and all sorts of other goodies that I can only gaze longingly at and think "if only". Heck, I've been eyeballing the poster for a Peppermint Mocha Trio coffee that they're selling right in this coffee shop that looks divine but $4.15 & tax for a cup of coffee, no matter how good it looks, seems rather extreme to me at the moment.

Peppermint Mocha TrioBut it sure looks good, doesn't it? It smells even better so sitting here is somewhat akin to torturing myself! Gee, I hope the girls get tired of the mall soon before my willpower and resolve breaks down and I succumb to the call of the coffee! Which MizCyn would probably tell me is exactly what I deserve for doing the one thing she tells me not to do!

Oh good, just got a call from Amanda, they're ready to go. Saved by the bell! Barely!

City Thoughts

One of my blog buddies that I have had the pleasure of meeting in person several times, Ms. Maggie Moo, made her move to Boston this weekend (actually, it's been a bit of a gradual process but this was her first official weekend in her new apartment) and I've been wondering how she's doing. With all moves, it takes time to get everything set up and reconnected so Mags is without internet, TV, and phone this weekend (though I think she might still have her cell phone and I might actually try giving her a call later just to check on her!).

I can't even imagine moving to a place like Boston or Baltimore or New York City or any of the big cities that we have here on the East Coast though when I was younger I used to think about living in New York City (I even went so far as to look at a New York Moving Company or two) but I think that's just a fantasy that a lot of us have. Big cities are exciting and yet scary at the same time and you certainly can't base the decision to move there on what you see in the movies; you actually have to go check things out for yourself and see if it's something that you can handle.

As for New York, I've been there numerous times and it always, always wears me out regardless of why I went - a Broadway show, a trip to the museum, a trip to flunk the audition test for "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (twice), a shopping expedition, a baseball game at Yankee Stadium (and yes, I live in New England but have gone to games at Yankee Stadium - several times!), a visit to Grant's Tomb, or whatever reason I decided to visit "the City". It's a big city with lots of people and lots to do and by the time I get on the train to head home or point the car in the direction of Connecticut, I am totally worn out!

I've only been to Boston twice so am not sure if that city has the same affect as New York for the same reasons. The times I've been to Boston I spent so much time walking (the first time I walked the Freedom Trail with my cousin and the second time was when we walked the entire length of Newberry Street both ways) that it was no wonder I was worn out! But Boston is a different type of big city than New York - it's cleaner, less manic, less harried. In Boston you can always see the sky because it's less closed-in than New York and that makes a big difference, at least for me.

I'm looking forward to visiting Mags once she's had a chance to get settled in as there is so much more of Boston I'd like to see and I'm sure she's going to want to do some exploring in her new home, too. I'll just have to make sure I take vitamins beforehand and wear comfy shoes - and take lots of pictures so I can share the city with you!

Friday, November 23, 2007

I've Got a Question, You've Got an Answer

Now that Thanksgiving is officially behind us here in the US of A, I can accept the fact that we are in the holiday season and Christmas will be on us before I can say "Bob Crachit's your uncle"! I don't care if retailers have the stores jam-packed with Christmas goodies before the last Halloween ghost has had a chance to say "boo!", I don't want to start thinking about Christmas until after the last piece of pumpkin pie has been eaten! I am just a bit of a traditionalist in that way I guess!

Even though it's still over a month until Christmas, retailers have already been whining about what a dismal season it's going to be for them and if there's one thing that frosts my Christmas cookie - that is it right there. Christmas shouldn't be about how much money people pump into the economy, about how many gifts are overflowing from beneath your Christmas tree, about whether or not you got that diamond pendant or fancy new car that they've been pushing on all the commercials, or about how much money retailers like Wal-Mart managed to suck into their coffers.

Christmas should be about peace on earth, good will towards men, and the one time of the year that you can greet a stranger on the street with a hearty "Merry Christmas!" without being eyeballed like you're some sort of internet stalker out for the day. People are supposed to like each other at Christmas, they're supposed to put their differences aside and get along, they're supposed to act like human beings who care about other human beings. Sadly, though, the focus of the holidays has been taken away from that and placed solidly on how much loot you got. It saddens me and I really miss the Christmas seasons of my younger years.

So - after all my ranting and raving about the meaning of Christmas being lost in the rush of consumer sales let me ask you this week's question because inquiring minds really do wanna know -

How much are you planning on spending this holiday season? More than usual? Less than usual? About the same? You're boycotting the holiday?

As much as I would like my answer to be the fourth option, I can't do that because I have kids and grandkids but I can tell you that I will be spending way, way less than I have in years past. Not only because I don't have the extra money to spend on extra gifts but because I believe that the holiday isn't about the gifts despite what Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and every other retailer out there might have you think. Gifts are nice but they should be given in moderation and not just because more is better. A lot of times, it isn't.

Oh, and you'll notice that I'm not out contributing to the Black Friday craziness but staying home and blogging! I am a bad consumer ... a bad, bad consumer!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Catching Up On Awards ... I Hope!

It seems that lately I have been given more awards than I can shake a stick at, a phrase that I have yet to be able to find a definitive meaning for but one that is quite old. The best I could find is courtesy of The Word Detective who states that "its first recorded appearance is found in The Lancaster Journal in 1818: "We have in Lancaster (Pennsylvania) as many Taverns as you can shake a stick at." The sense then, as now, was "a lot" or "too many to count" which sounds about right to me! At any rate, I have been quite remiss in posting those awards that people have been so very nice to give to me so I am going to make an attempt to get caught up on them now. Please forgive me if I missed something or someone!

I usually try to trace these awards back to their originator as I feel that if someone was nice enough to make an award for others in the Blogosphere that credit should go back to them but I'm afraid that I just don't have the time to hunt down the origins of all these fine awards. If you know who started them, please leave me a comment and I'll edit the award to reflect the creator so that credit can be given where credit is due (another phrase I can't seem to find the origin for!).
An award that I know the origin of for sure is The Winning Attitude Award that was created by Mel over at Monday Morning Power. What Mel says is:
"This award seems like a natural given what my site is all about. This award is based on positive thinking and is meant for those blogs who base their existence, in part or in whole, on Positive Winning Attitudes."
I received this award from several bloggers and all I can say is 'wow!' as sometimes I feel like my attitude is less than winning (the whole slap in the face by Google being a prime example of that!). A big thank you to Jean-Luc of Captain Picard's Journal, Dixie from Dixie's Heart & Soul, Misty Dawn of My Dogs Keep Me Sane, and Sandee of Comedy Plus. Thank you
all so much and I shall try to live up to this award.

Colin over at Life created a new award called the Best Blogging Buddies award and had this to say about it:
"Having received many awards I have decided that it was time I created one for ALL my Blogging Buddies. You are ALL awesome and contribute to the wonderful global communities that we have all created. Thank you!"
I, in turn, received it from Sandee, Misty Dawn, and
Lois of Lowdown From Lois. Thank you, ladies! Misty Dawn wrote a fantastic poem to go along with the award and you can read it here at Misty's Words. It's a lovely, lovely poem!

In keeping with the theme of friendship, I also received a Thanksgiving Thank You that was started by Mel over Monday Morning Power who had this to say about this one:
"There is something very special and unique about blogging friendships. In “real” life we all have to first get by the physical and superficial aspects of each other before we can get into who we are, really. In “real” life there is so much bull shit that we have to put up with, that sometimes developing true friends becomes very difficult. I feel that with blogging friendships there are no superficial aspects to it; the barriers do not exist. We open up in our writings as to who we really are. We bare ourselves and say “this is me.” For many of us this is the only way that we can truly express ourselves, our opinions, our strengths and our fears. I have also discovered a level of INTEGRITY amongst bloggers that I have not found in “real” life."
Misty Dawn and Sandee were once again kind enough to pass this on to me and for
that I say thank you and right back at ya! But Sandee wasn't done there as she has become the Queen of Awards and is very gracious in awarding them on to others and she passed the following on to me.

That Sandee is quite a gal and she also has one fantastic sense of humor so if you haven't been to Comedy Plus what are you waiting for??

Last, but not certainly not least, is the lovely Good Buzz Blog Award that I got from Gale at Gem-osophy where I am a member of the now officially Official -

We were the Unofficial Cheering Squad until Gale wrote 50,000 words towards the novel that she is writing (and that I can't wait to have in my hot little hands) and she reached that milestone on Sunday, November 18th which made us the Official Cheering Squad - WOOHOO!!

I've never been a cheerleader before as I'm allergic to pompoms and perkiness but when there's a cause worth cheering about like Gale's book, I can give a shout-out with the best of 'em! Speaking of the best of 'em, the other members of the Cheering Squad are:
Quite the group, aren't we?? Trust me, Gale's book is well worth cheering about!

If I missed thanking anyone for an award, I beg your forgiveness and will try to remember to post 'em as I get 'em from now on (provided anyone wishes to give me anymore because I'm so scatter-brained and can't keep track of things!).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Thanksgiving Proclamation

We here in the United States tend to get carried away with pilgrims and turkeys and overabundant feasts at the end of November while those of us who live in New England like to smugly think that it was our very own ancestors who celebrated the very first Thanksgiving Day and no one else. Sometimes traditions are hard to break and those things that are drilled into our heads during our early formative school years are hard to put aside.

Though it's quite likely that the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 did have some sort of Harvest Feast with the Native Americans who populated this part of the country (before they were beat back into submission and forgotten about until they resurrected themselves and started building massive casinos), Thanksgiving was not proclaimed as a National Holiday until 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. Encouraged by Sarah Josepha Hale, a prominent magazine editor of her day, it was he who set apart the last Thursday of November as a day of "National Thanksgiving and Praise".

To that end, when you sit down tomorrow at your dinner table that is virtually groaning under the weight of all of the good food heaped upon it with all of your family and friends surrounding it and bow your heads or join hands to give thanks, please remember to say thank you to one of this country's greatest Presidents who proclaimed that you should have a day off to do those things.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and eat a piece of pumpkin pie for me and Abe!

President Abraham Lincoln
By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward
Secretary of State

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rolling Out the New Look

Surprise! It's a new page design and doesn't it look fantastic!! As mentioned in my 700th post, I was going for a new look here at "Are We There Yet?" and this is it. It's more bright, more open, and my "massive sidebar" has been split in two. Hopefully you, my faithful readers, like this new layout as much as I do despite the fact that I am no longer Super Mom but just Ordinary Mom stuck between two teenagers!

First, I want to thank my artistic daughter Amanda for finally, finally, finally doing the artwork for me that appears at the top of the page. It took cajoling, it took begging, it took bribing, and it took a lot of nagging to finally get it done but I think she did a fantastic job. I only wish that I was as skinny as the Mom in the middle on her artwork - even if it meant I had to have feet that big!

Second, I want to send a big shout out and thank you to the man who does my blog designs for me - the incredible Se7en of Blogs Gone Wild! I can't tell you enough what an awesome site designer and incredible human being he is because there just aren't enough words to say it! Se7en did my previous blog design based on some general ideas that I gave him and when I asked him this time if he could redesign and incorporate Amanda's artwork, he said it would be no problem at all.

No matter how many questions I have or if I need help tweaking something that I might have inadvertently screwed up myself, Se7en is right there for me. Even if I had a question about the design he did a year ago, he was always helpful and explained things in a way that my brain-of-little-technological-knowledge could grasp. Se7en doesn't just design your blog and then disappear into the Web - he's there for you and you couldn't ask for a better site designer - ever!

So - what do you think? I'm anxious to hear your thoughts and opinions - and accolades for Se7en! Oh, and if you want to comment on Amanda's artwork, I'm sure she'd like to hear your opinions on that, too!

A Belated Birthday Wish & One That's On Time!

Despite the fact that I am a little bit late on this, I wanted to take the time to wish a very happy birthday to another of my blogging faves - Akelamalu from Everything and Nothing who celebrated the anniversary of her birth this past Sunday the 18th.

Belated happy birthday wishes my friend and best wishes for a fabulous year!
If you're wondering who this handsome gentleman is in the picture with her, he's Akelamalu's very own Dad who is celebrating his 83rd birthday today! A very happy birthday to him and best wishes for many more!

Helping a Friend Ease the Pain

This is a picture of my good friend MizCyn that dates back to 1986. Even though we are the best of friends, I don't have any recent pictures of her because we just aren't the picture-exchanging type. The last time I saw Cyndi was in 2003 but even though I've not seen a picture of her since then, were she to ever step off a plane (or walk out the gate as people are obviously no longer allowed to greet friends and loved ones at the actual gate!), I'd know exactly who she was without a moment's hesitation. She'd have that same smile and that same twinkle in her eye and I'm sure she'd greet me with one of the snarky comments that I have always loved her for. Some things just don't change when it comes to friends and friendship.

Unfortunately, though, some things do change as we grow older and in Cyndi's case it was her health that has changed since this picture was taken some 20+ years ago. In the early 1990's, Cyndi started suffering from some pretty debilitating pain in her shoulders and wrists that was diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome - something that is unfortunately quite common for those of us who dispatch for a living. We do a lot of repetitive tasks and unless you're lucky enough to work in a dispatch center that is put together very well with ergonomics, chances are real good that carpal tunnel is going to catch up to you at some point. It did for me and also for Cyndi.

Mine was a fairly easy fix - surgery to both wrists and I was back to work with no problems in less than two months. For Cyndi - no such luck. Despite the fact that the surgery seemed to go well, she was still in a lot of pain and after what seemed like forever, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia - a chronic syndrome characterized by diffuse or specific muscle, joint, or bone pain, as well as a wide range of other symptoms. The severity of her pain eventually led to Cyndi having to medically retire from her job as one of the best 911 police dispatchers I ever knew and I firmly believe that the City of Stockton Police Department has suffered from her loss ever since. I never knew a woman who was more compassionate on the phone then Cyndi. She ran rings around me when it came to empathy and understanding for our callers and I'm sure she still would if she ever was able to sit behind a dispatch console again. She was that good.

Throughout the years, Cyndi's pain has ebbed and flowed much like the tides of the ocean and relief has been pretty hard to come by most times. Her pain takes on different aspects from sore muscles and joints to back, shoulder, and neck pain as well as painful arthritis-type symptoms which sometimes leave her in bed for the entire day as it's just too painful to even think about getting up - particularly when the weather is bad. However, Cyndi didn't have the luxury of lounging in bed most days as her son Daniel, a low-functioning autistic, required her care and attention and she wasn't the kind of Mom to ignore her child no matter how bad she felt. She soldiered on in spite of the pain and debilitation and for that I admire her greatly. Even though Daniel is now living in a Group Home, Cyndi still has an active life that can't just be put on hold while she waits for "a good day" and it saddens me that so much of her life is spent in constant pain that limits her abilities.

Recently, I've been reading about a new product that I think might give Cyndi some relief to be able to do the things she wants and needs to do without the constant pain of fibromyalgia standing in her way. Freeze It Gel is a topical pain reliever that can be rubbed on the skin all around the affected area and provides quick relief from sore muscles and joints. It can safely be applied up to four times a day and even before bedtime if one has trouble sleeping due to persistent pain and discomfort. No doubt receiving a good night of undisturbed sleep would help Cyndi vastly when it came to facing the day ahead of her as a good night's sleep should never be underrated - especially for those who suffer from chronic pain like she does.

I need to give her a call later today (she left a comment in my last post telling me so!) and when I do, I'm going to tell her to check out this video about Freeze It Gel and see what she thinks.

Right now Freeze It Gel is having a contest to win a year's supply and it sounds to me like it could help and Cyndi more than deserves to feel good. She has earned it by being the exemplary 911 dispatcher that she was and the loving mother that she is. Besides, if she started to feel better then maybe she'd actually get on the plane and come visit me like she keeps threatening to do and that would most certainly be worth all the Freeze It Gel in the world!

This Week on The Mo Show

This week we'll be discussing Sue Monk Kidd's novel
The Secret Life Of Bees
Wednesday @ 7pm Eastern on Blog Talk Radio

Due to some pre-Thanksgiving committments, I'll be missing the first Mo Show Book Club session tomorrow night but that doesn't mean that I can't catch it in the archives. Which gives me a chance to catch up as I still haven't gotten the book and read it yet - oops! But I just happen to have a gift certificate to Borders that I got for my birthday that I haven't used yet so this seems like the perfect thing to use it on! Mo tells me the book is great though apparently I'm going to need to buy a box of tissues along with the book as I'm going to need them!

At least he warned me!! Everyone enjoy the show and I'll catch you in the archives (after I've read the book!).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Manic Monday - Relish

With Thanksgiving almost upon us here in the United States, Morgen of It's A Blog Eat Blog World and host of Manic Monday decided that we were going to progress from 'gravy' last week to 'relish' this week in keeping with our holiday feasting words with multiple meanings.

Being a New Englander, there was only one thing that I could possibly write about when it comes to Thanksgiving and relish and that's the traditional Thanksgiving relish tray. There is not a single self-respecting traditional New England household that doesn't have at least one crystal relish dish in its cupboards somewhere for what's Thanksgiving without that crystal dish being set out on the table amongst the other feast items filled to overflowing with baby gherkins, black and green olives, and maybe even a sweet pickle mix with cauliflower and miniature onions? I can't remember a single Thanksgiving dinner here in Connecticut without it!

One of the things that I 'inherited' when my father's mother, my Old Gram B, moved into a nursing home due to increasing health ill and advancing Alzheimer's disease was a relish dish complete with a detachable handle (that I'm afraid is in need of a good polishing!). I wish I knew the story behind it but if Gram ever told me, I don't remember it and I doubt anyone else knows either. I have several dishes from her house but this is one of my favorites even though I don't get to use it very often as entertaining is not high on my list of things to do.

Still, I think I'm going to take it to work with me on Thursday and fill it with sweet baby gherkins and green olives just to make the day more traditional! I wonder how it will look on a dispatch console??

Old Gram B's relish trayIf you relish reading some more Manic Monday posts, stop by Morgen's place and may your Monday be sweet! Also, scroll down to see who's having a birthday today!

Happy Birthday to Tisha!!

Today is a special day for the nicest CrAsY Working Mom in all of Arkansas and one of my bestest blogging buddies, too!

Happy Birthday to Tisha and best wishes for many, many more!

After you help yourself to a slice of birthday cake, hop on over and tell Mom to have a happy birthday and a fantastic year to follow!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Amanda's Company For Thanksgiving

Even though it would have been a beautiful morning to sleep in (it's always a beautiful morning to sleep in as far as I'm concerned!), it was also a beautiful morning to take a drive up to Boston which is some 110 miles northeast of here as the Mazda drives. No, I wasn't heading that way to visit Ms. Maggie Moo in her new digs in Allston (this is her moving-in weekend so I doubt visitors are expected just yet!) but to pick up Amanda's online friend from Atlanta who was flying into Logan Airport.

Amanda and Ayla have known each other since May when they met through Amanda's Deviant Art post about the My Chemical Romance concert that we went to last May. Since then they have spent countless hours chatting online, texting, and talking on the phone - including almost the entire Projekt Revolution concert stop that Ayla went to in Atlanta. Ayla is a drummer and big fan of Bob Bryar, drummer for My Chem whose wrist injury caused the cancellation of our concert in Maine (poor guy is apparently out for quite some time so they have a replacement filling in for him at this point but couldn't get one soon enough to do the UMaine concert). She and Amanda have wanted to meet for a long time so when the opportunity came up for her to fly to Connecticut for Thanksgiving week, I found it pretty hard to say 'no'. After all, how many of my online friends have I met lately? Would be pretty darned hypocritical for me to tell my daughter that she couldn't meet people she'd only met online in person, wouldn't it? Mo? Mags? Carrie? Back me up on this one!

Due to the fact that there are so many deceitful people on the internet, several people had commented that Ayla was probably some 60-year old male pervert but I knew that not to be the case as I had spoken to her on the phone myself, have her as an added friend on MySpace, and have also spoken to her mother (a science teacher who home-schools her daughter). Seemed pretty safe to me that we weren't going to be picking up some old guy at the airport this morning and if that was what had walked out of the gate area, you can bet there would have been some screaming and police involvement!

The drive to the airport wasn't anywhere near as bad as it was the last time I drove to Logan, which was in November of 2002 when my good friend MizCyn had flown out from California for a visit. At that time, The Big Dig was still digging and I had to detour directly through downtown Boston on a Saturday night to get to the airport. Not. Fun. Today traffic was light, the weather was crystal clear, and getting to Logan was a breeze. I only took a wrong turn once finding the parking garage at the airport and getting to the terminal was easy once we got parked. The strangest thing about that, though ... the elevators in the parking garage have forest sounds that make you feel like you've stepped from the parking garage into the woods with birds chirping, frogs peeping, and the like. I'm not sure what the whole point is behind it but I guess it's better than canned elevator music! In addition to that, they have a new system where you pay for your parking before you get back in your car at one of the automated payment machines located outside of the main elevators so that when you leave the garage you just feed the ticket into the machine and out you go. Pretty cool!

Ayla's plane actually landed early (wow!) and when the girls finally met for the first time I was beginning to think the welcome hug was going to put me into the next payment bracket on my garage time! Obviously, Amanda does not take after me in the hugging department! After gathering Ayla's bag - another surprisingly easy process - we went back out through the 'forested' elevators, hopped into the car, and had a very easy drive back to Connecticut. As I drove past Fenway Park, I was thinking about Mags' new apartment somewhere in the area and wishing her luck with her move. I'm sure I'll be going up to visit at some point once she gets settled in.

Hopefully the girls will have a good visit while Ayla is here (she flys back out on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) and if the giggling and laughing that has been going on since they met is any indication, I think it will be. As for me, well, ear plugs may be in order but at least I can escape to work for a little bit of adult time!

Amanda & AylaAmanda & Ayla

Speaking of which, I gotta go - hope everyone has a fantastic Sunday and I will catch up with you after my lovely 16-hour shift tomorrow!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

May I Have a Drumroll, Please?


This is a special post of sorts. This is a post that almost didn't happen because I haven't been keeping track of things very well and almost completely missed it. This is my 700th post!

I'm not sure what one would normally do for such a monumental occasion as one's 700th post, having never had a 700th post before of course, so I thought I'd dig back through my Stat Counters and see what sorts of searches have brought people here to "Are We There Yet??" over the last month or so. To that end, I present to you ...

The Best of My Stat Counter Searches, Part Three!

The last time I did one of these was on May 31st and the one prior to that was April 9th when I celebrated my 250th post and 21,000 visitors. As of this writing I have 43,800 visitors so let's see if they're looking for anything different than before, shall we?

The number one search - yet again and Lord knows why - is still for Rachel Lutzker, she of the WFSB Channel 3 News Traffic Reporter fame as well as nighttime DJ at The River 105.9 in Hartford, Connecticut. Guys - there's nothing new to report with Rachel and you need to stop coming here looking for naked pictures because there aren't any and there won't be any! Sorry to disappoint but I'm quite sure that Rachel doesn't do that sort of thing and if she did, I can guarantee you that those pictures WOULD NOT be anywhere on my blog!

The number two search is for the lyrics "I Wanna Run Through the Halls of My High School", which surprisingly lands this post I did in November of last year about not attending my high school reunion at the top of the Google search page. Either this particular song of John Mayer is still really, really popular or a lot of people want to run through the halls of their high school for some reason. It might be that whole "scream at the top of my lungs" thing!

Less popular but more fun searches include things like:
  • Let's not go to work this morning (oh good! let's not!)
  • Breakfast when having common cold (I don't eat breakfast cold or no cold)
  • Who has the coolest bedspreads (good question!)
  • What to say for 1st anniversary (I am supposed to know this??)
  • Real life examples of Newton's 2nd law (ah yes, The Law of Dynamics)
  • How to soothe a drippy nose (I've found Nasonex works great!)
  • I'll have blue balls this Christmas (whoever this was, I feel sorry for you!)
  • Earth shoes do they really work (why yes, yes they do!)
  • Please Mr. Custer (I don't wanna go!)
  • 911 dispatch best blogs (and I came up in this search? wow!)
  • Wonder Woman suffers age regression (huh?)
  • 1970's Jesus sandals (oh Lord!)
  • Firing a 13-inch seacoast mortar (does anyone do that anymore?)
  • Who is touring with MCR in England (that would be MSI doing that)
  • Mom at rock concert humor (I might know a thing or two about this)
  • Was Fee Waybill ever married (who wants to know that?)
  • 400 chest compressions (yes, we really do instruct people to do that when giving CPR instructions via 911)
  • You know you're an Air Force brat (yep, sure was and damned proud of it!)
  • Regret-my-divorce (uhm, no, not at all actually!)
  • Value of eating chocolate (there are many, many values)
  • Veteran's Day History (and I am very happy that people came to my blog looking for that, not enough people care about it)
There are a lot of other little searches here and there - a lot having to do with My Chemical Romance and Mindless Self Indulgence and Dominick the Christmas Donkey (argh!). In the last month, 48.69% of the visitors to my blog came via some form of search engine with 86.1% of those coming via a Google search (and yet my Page Rank is now a zero - go figure!).

However you got here - whether you are a regular reader or stopped in via some sort of search - I want to say thank you for visiting and I hope you will continue to pop in now and then. Though I should warn you, with any luck, there will be a new look coming to this blog shortly - one that I think you'll like and that will be more uniquely "mine". Just don't freak out when you land on this page and Super Mom is no longer standing in the right-hand corner!

Now, onward and upward to post #750! Hope you stick with me for that! Oh, and because this is a celebration of sorts and Miss Bee likes it so very much - here's some cake for everyone! Enjoy!

The Five Things Meme

Miss Patti of Late Bloomer Boomer fame recently tagged me with the Five Things Meme and being that I haven't done a meme in quite some time, and don't want to risk the Dungeon at Bloggingham Palace for such a simple meme, I figured I had best do it post-haste and pronto. After all, I understand Queen Mimi is not feeding the prisoners a traditional roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings for Thanksgiving (and if she did, you might be better off not eating it if what I hear about her cooking is true!) so I really don't want to spend my holiday there! Bad enough I have to spend it at work answering 911!

Oh, and just to give credit where credit is due, Patti got the meme originally from Joan who got it from I-don't-know-where and I will pass it on with a tag to Misty Dawn and Connie! Consider it a Thanksgiving gift from me to you, ladies!

The Five Things Meme

Found in My Room (the one I'm sitting in now is the living room so we'll use that!) ...

1. At least three plushie dolls (LynZ, Steve - with pants!, and a half-finished still-naked Jimmy)
2. A wedding picture of myself with my father walking me down the aisle
3. My collection of elephants
4. My infrequently-used Gazelle exercise glider
5. My grandmother's old sewing machine

I've Always Wanted to Do ...

1. Go to England
2. Win the lottery!
3. Find true love
4. Play a musical instrument
5. Go on a cruise

Found in My Bag (I don't carry a purse so I will have to use the lunchbag I use for work) ...

1. Dental floss
2. Allergy medication
3. A packet of cinnamon & apple instant oatmeal
4. A potholder (I have no idea why!)
5. Spare change

Found in My Wallet ...

1. Driver's License
2. Health Insurance Card
3. Hot Topic Frequent Shopper Card
4. Time Badge for Work
5. Two Dollars

I'm Currently Into ...

1. Apple Crisp (it's that time of year!)
2. The music of Trans-Siberian Orchestra
3. Blogging (aren't we all?)
4. Sleeping in on my days off
5. Finishing this meme!