Monday, February 26, 2007

What was that noise I just heard?

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It's been a very long time since I was 14 years old. So long, in fact, that at times it seems like it was an entire lifetime ago while at other times it doesn't seem like it was as long ago as it really was. Talk about a contradiction in terms!

Having a teenage daughter in the house can certainly make those years seem even longer ago as I listen to the music of some of Amanda's favorite bands (My Chemical Romance, Avenged Sevenfold, and Fall Out Boy to name a few), watch some of the anime cartoons that she is so fond of (Full Metal Alchemist, Naruto, and Bleach to name a few of those), or question her about her choice of wardrobe (not THAT hoodie again, have you even taken it off to wash it??).

But then she'll do somehing that makes me really remember what it was like to be a 14-year old girl. She did one of those things this weekend ...

When we were up visiting my friend Trish in Jewett City last week, Amanda made mention that her friend Dan lived somewhere in Griswold (which Jewett City is part of). Trish asked where and Amanda said she didn't know exactly so Trish suggested looking up his address in the phone book. Sure enough - the number was listed which then led to a search on Google maps to see just where the street was as it sounded familiar but we couldn't quite place it (I lived in Jewett City myself a good number of years ago). Come to find out Dan lives not too far from where I used to live and very close to where Trish's ex-husband currently lives ('tis a small world after all!).

Amanda said it felt a bit like being a "stalker" to have looked up Dan's address but I didn't see the harm in it as the kid has been to my house numerous times and he obviously knows where Amanda lives so what's the harm in us knowing where he lives? Besides, it wasn't like we had looked up his address and then drove over to find his house ... yet ...

On Saturday, after a visit at my mother's house, I had to drive Amanda out to her friends' house in Preston for a sleep-over and the best route of travel was through - you guessed it - Jewett City. And not only was it through Jewett City but it was the part of town that was very close to Dan's house.

I looked at Amanda and said, "so, do you want to see where Dan lives?" She giggled (giggled??) and answered "yes" so I took a slight detour and after a couple of wrong turns we found ourselves on his street and -- ohmigod! - there was his house! At that point my wanna-be-Goth-but-not-really daughter with the black fingernails and funky-colored hair let out with a loud squeal-like noise ... oh good grief ... she was even more of a 14-year old girl than I had thought! At that point she covered her mouth and said, "oh no, did I just squee like a fangirl?"

For those not familiar with the vernacular, according to the Urban Dictionary a squee and fangirl is defined as:
fangirl:
1. (derogatory) a female fan, obsessed with something (or someone) to a frightening or sickening degree. Often considered ditzy, annoying and shallow.
2. (playful, good-natured) less extreme, a female fan who can laugh at their own passion for their particular interest (or even obsession).
squee:
A noise primarily made by an over-excited fangirl, however it has spread rapidly and is now widely spread among the web community.
Uh ... yeah ... you kinda did there, kiddo ...

After we got ourselves turned around (darn the luck, Dan lives on a dead-end road!) and back on our way to Preston without having Dan and his Dad come down the road in the opposite direction, I told Amanda that she had just committed one of the rites of passage of all teenage girls known as the drive-by. I then explained to her that since the dawning of time if there were teenage girls with access to cars who knew where the guys they liked lived, there had been drive-bys.

Looking at me rather incredulously she asked if I had ever done such a thing and I had to laugh as it brought back memories of my high school days in Willimantic with my good friend Diane G. Her Dad owned a heating and air-conditioning business and whenever I would spend the weekend at her house, which was often, we'd jump in her Dad's truck and go cruising past the home of the guy she liked and then the home of the one I liked. Her Dad could never figure out why it took us so long to run a simple errand or why there were so many miles on his truck!

I remembered exactly what it felt like to have a crush on a guy and how even just the sight of his house could get my heart fluttering and my palms sweating ... and, at that moment, it didn't seem like it had been over 30 years ago.

It appears that she's definitely my daughter!

Oh no ... you'd never know she likes him!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

We need more people like this guy! Not to mention the two at the bottom of the post!

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We all get them - forwarded emails that we either delete without looking at or glance right over without much thought before deleting them. Every great once in awhile, though, I get something that I consider worth sharing not only with those in my address book but with those of you who take the time to read this blog.

I got one such email yesterday from a friend and, having some extra time, I decided to go ahead and watch the video that was attached. He should have warned me that I needed some tissue close at hand because it was a story that not only moved me but brought a tear to my eye because it was the story of someone who was not just saying that he supported our troops but was actually doing it. And not just the fella that was highlighted but a bunch of other folks in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

If you missed "The Person of the Week" on the ABC Evening News back on February 2nd, I urge you to click here and be sure to watch the video that goes along with the story - but you might want to go grab that tissue beforehand!

Sarge Charlie and Sgt. Dub - I thought of you both when I saw this ... Sarge Charlie, because I know and I am sorry that there was no great reception upon your return from Vietnam and Sgt. Dub, because I hope there is one for you when you finally return to Oklahoma from your second tour in Afghanistan. And not just for you but for all of our brave men and women proudly and selflessly serving overseas. Every single one of them deserves a pat on the back and a thank you for a job well done - it's nice to see that they're doing just that in Texas.

Two of my favorite "blog buddies" that I am honored to have met!

Sarge Charlie, proud Veteran of the United States Army

Sgt Dub, proudly serving in Afghanistan

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - "Soft"

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lotion bottles

Yes, yes, I know - I'm really reaching for this week's theme of "soft" but after wracking my brain for awhile I finally came upon this - every bottle of lotion that I have in the house that is designed to make one's skin soft! And even though you can't see it very well, all of those bottles are sitting on top of the incredibly soft and cozy micro-fleece blanket that my cousin gave me for my birthday last September (in my favorite color of green!) which has been my very favorite soft thing in the house all winter.

What more could one want other than soft skin and a soft blanket to wrap it up in?

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt Participants
1. Pamela
2. Gabrielle
3. Angelo
4. SilverWillow
5. Crystal
6. srp
7. eph2810
8. Biker Betty
9. incog & nito
10. Claire Rachael Pitt
11. Kai
12. Friday\'s Child
13. viamarie
14. Beckie
15. Hootin\' Anni
16. waspgoddess
17. Dragonheart
18. SargeCharlie
19. Christina
20. A.
21. Barbara H.
22. Sandy
23. exptraveler
24. It\'s A Blog Eat Blog World
25. chupieandjsmama
26. empress bee (of the high sea)
27. Liza\'s Eyeview
28. Coll
29. Jane
30. Sarah
31. Lightseeker
32. Teena in Toronto
33. Larry
34. Gene Bach
35. Mitey Mite
36. Caylynn
37. pat
38. PowersTwinB
39. Toni
40. Terri @ In His Hands
41. meeyauw
42. YellowRose
43. MamaDuck
44. Shawna
45. michelle
46. Leslie @ My Mommy\'s Place
47. superkimbo
48. PEA
49. Desert Diva
50. Barbara
51. Pastormac\'s Ann
52. CrAzY Working Mom
53. amy
54. Marcia
55. mar
56. TorAa

Get the code and join the Blogroll here!

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Zen Sarcasm Redux

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I snitched this from my blog over at MySpace as I thought it was well worth repeating for those who might have missed it.

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and
you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it
was probably worth it.

12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Dead Dads Club

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Tonight is the much-awaited and anxiously talked-about Grey's Anatomy episode "Some Kind of Miracle" ... well, at least for those of us who watch the show. It's the night we finally get to find out if Meredith comes back from the dead, if George kicks Izzie squarely in the ass for her hurtful words regarding his marriage, if Cristina really isn't a complete and total Ice Princess as she worries about "her person", etc. etc. No doubt I'm going to need a couple of tissues close at hand just like I have with almost every single episode of this show. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it has sucked me in like no other television show before it (and in the process, it's managed to suck Amanda in, too, though not as deeply as it has I.)

There was an episode back in January titled "Six Days - Part 2" that hit closer to home, though, then I might have liked. In it, George's father passes away after never regaining consciousness following cancer surgery. To say that the episode was moving is an understatement of the highest caliber - this one reached out and wrapped its fingers around my heart and squeezed - tight. The main reason for that was the following exchange between George and Cristina as George attempts to absorb the fact that his father is dead:

CRISTINA: "There's a club. The Dead Dads Club. And you can't be in it until you're in it. You can try to understand, you can sympathize. But until you feel that loss ... My dad died when I was nine. George, I'm really sorry you had to join the club."
GEORGE: "I ... I don't know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn't."
CRISTINA: "Yeah, that never really changes."

Cristina is right, that never really changes. Four years ago I became a member of The Dead Dads Club when my father passed away unexpectedly in the middle of a CAT scan procedure. Four years later I still have trouble believing it because it still seems so surreal. If you have never lost a parent or a close loved one, you can't grasp the enormous sense of impossibility that never seems to go away. You learn to exist without that person, you have to, but you will still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and it will take you awhile to remember that person is gone because it will just never feel right or real. It isn't just at night either, it can be anytime of the day or night when the overwhelming sense of loss overtakes you from out of the blue. I will never get used to it.

But as much as the loss of my father has affected me, I know that the loss to my mother was immeasurable. My parents were just a little over two years short of their 50th wedding anniversary when Dad passed away and I have no doubt that losing someone after that amount of time has got to be just like losing a part of yourself. How my Mom has survived the ensuing years without him is amazing to me, especially considering that she always thought that she would never have to face that possibility; that with her family's health record she would go before him. Even when my Dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma my Mom still thought she would die first but I think that was more of a desire of wanting to go first because she couldn't imagine an existence without him. I admire her strength in being able to go on and I thank her for sticking around when I'm sure she really wanted to just lie down beside my Dad and join him on the other side.


Death is obviously an inevitable part of life - we're born and we die - it's the whole Circle of Life thing but that doesn't mean that it's easy to understand or even accept sometimes. I deal with death a lot in my job - not on a personal level but on a level where I have to come to know a lot of our patients by their names in the computer or on the spreadsheet. I talk to people on 911 whose family members are dead or dying; I've heard their anguished cries and the disbelief in their voices on the other end of the phone; and I have sympathized with them over their loss. Thankfully I deal with death from behind a computer, a telephone, and a radio microphone. How the guys and gals that are in the field deal with death face-to-face is beyond me. I could never do it, I know my limitations, but I admire those that can and do.

For anyone else out there who is part of The Dead Dads Club, there is a website where you can memorialize your father and post a tribute to him next to those of others who have lost their fathers. Just click here. And if you aren't a member yet, go tell your father how much he means to you while you still can. Along with your mothers, your grandparents, and anyone else you may have forgotten to tell that to lately.

Rest in peace, Dad, you're not forgotten.

Oh to be six again!

********************
Got this via email from a friend (who just happens to be a male) and thought it was worth repeating!

A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, observing his wife turning back and forth, looking at herself in the mirror.
Since her birthday was not far off, he asked what she'd like to have for her birthday.

"I'd like to be six again", she replied, still looking in the mirror.

On the morning of her birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to Six Flags theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the Screaming Monster Roller Coaster.... everything there was. Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down.

He then took her to a McDonald's where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake. Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite candy, M&M's. What a fabulous adventure !

Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted. The husband leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, "Well Dear, what was it like being six again??:

Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed.

"I meant my dress size, you dummy!"

The moral of the story: Even when a man is listening, he is going to get it wrong.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Here We Go Again ...

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As some of you who have been reading this blog for some time now might recall, I was none too happy about my youngest daughter Jamie not being able to come home to Connecticut for Christmas. This made the holidays less than joyous and I was quite happy to put them behind me while I looked forward to Jamie being able to come home for a longer period of time during the summer. In order to ensure this happening, I fully intended on buying a plane ticket early when prices were low and I wouldn't have to sell an arm, leg, and various other body parts to medical science in order to afford it. Good plan, right?

Yes, yes it was - until the ex-husband once again managed to throw a monkey wrench directly into said plan. Not that this surprised me, mind you! Oh no - if there's anything my ex is good at it's still making a hash out of my life despite the fact that we'll have been divorced five glorious years this coming March (ah, but who's counting??). Matter of fact, I rather suspected that something would happen as invariably it always does and I was not disappointed.

Soon I am no longer going to be able to make reference to the State of Kentucky when it comes to the ex as he has decided to transfer to a different job within the company he works for in Florida. Florida?? When he told me of this my first question was, "but I thought you had to stay in Kentucky because that's where the new wife's ex lives and she can't move her kids without his permission which he doesn't want to give" - or something to that affect! Apparently I haven't been paying close enough attention to the passage of time as her oldest son is going to be 18 and on his own soon and her youngest moved in with his dear old dad over a year ago so she no longer has the same restrictions and is now free to move about the country.

Well isn't that special? "So why not come back East?", I queried. Not that I really want the man back in the vicinity but it would be fantastic to have Jamie living close by and maybe, just maybe, the man might think about starting up a relationship with his oldest daughter again if he lived in the same State or close to it. "Well," says he, "that's always a consideration but we have decided to move to Florida to be closer to the wife's aging parents." Oh really now? Those would be the rather wealthy, aging parents, right? Cue not-so-new-anymore wife in the background stating "They aren't really that old!" but apparently they're old enough to warrant more consideration than his daughters. Again, why am I not surprised?

So ... rather than living 900 miles away in a place that she has come to know as home, Jamie is now going to be moving almost 1,200 miles away to the Tampa/St Petersburg area of Florida. Florida. I suppose it does give Amanda and I a more viable vacation option should we choose to go visit than Kentucky did but still ... Florida. Rather than being closer, my youngest will be even farther away.

And this is where the monkey wrench comes in ... the ex has no idea when Jamie will be moving to the Sunshine State. He, himself, will be moving down the 1st of March to begin his new job and will be living with his in-laws (oh lucky them!) while Jamie stays in Kentucky with her step-mom and soon-to-be-18-years-old stepbrother waiting for the house to sell. The house could sell quickly, the house could be on the market for months - it's a crap shoot at this point in time - and that means that I have no idea whether I should buy a plane ticket from Louisville to Connecticut for June or from Tampa/St Pete.

Every time I talk to Jamie on the phone, she talks about the plans she has for our summer together and even at the age of 13, she knows that it's cheaper to buy a plane ticket ahead of time and has dropped hints regarding that. But as of right now, I don't know where she'll be living when summer rolls around. Her hope is to stay where she is until she can graduate from 8th grade but I get the sneaky feeling that her dad and the love of his life are not going to like living apart for very long and it won't matter how much it disrupts Jamie's life if they move before she can graduate. Not to point too fine a point on it but my ex has always had problems putting anyone but himself first and I don't see that happening with this either. Even if the house doesn't sell, I foresee an early move to Florida. But I could be wrong. History could be rewritten and a leopard just might change his spots but were I a gambling woman I wouldn't bet on it!

In the meantime, I wait and play a guessing game while I keep my fingers crossed that airline costs don't skyrocket too high like they inevitably do and I won't be able to fly Jamie out. 0h, and just to add a little more icing to the cake, he called the other night and told me that he hoped I was making plans for paying for Jamie's ticket as he wouldn't be contributing anything to it and she would be very disappointed if she couldn't come out. Very disappointed.

Does anyone remember that old AT&T ad campaign from back in the 80's with the slogan "reach out and touch someone"? Well, trust me, I really wanted to reach out and touch someone that night but I remained quite civil while squeezing the phone so tightly I thought it would have indents and clenching my jaw. The man is impossible.

Sigh ... can anyone tell me why life has to be so difficult sometimes?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Weekend Wrap-Up

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Just a couple of random things for this evening ...

Topping the "Things That Make Me Smile" list: I was quite happy to look outdoors around 5:30 this evening and see that it was still somewhat light outside. What a glorious sight! We haven't had a particularly bad winter this year (knock on some form of wood) but it's always nice to see the days lengthening as it means that Spring can't be too far away. It's so much easier to get out of bed in the mornings when it's not still pitch black outside (though I don't think it will ever be completely easy getting out of bed before 6:00 a.m. as I have come to the conclusion that I am just not and never will be a morning person!). It's hard to believe that it's the middle of February already but the calendar says it is and I believe it! Come on, April!

Topping the list of "très ridicule" for the weekend: I have taken to sitting on the couch with my laptop while Amanda sits in the dining room with the new desktop PC that I still can't get a wireless card for because of the whole Windows Vista/driver thing (see my previous post of February 6th for further details on that one if you missed it before!). There can't be more than six feet between the two of us and yet Amanda has taken to sending me Yahoo! Instant Messages from the dining room and I reply. Yep, very ridiculous!

And the question of the week: Who, besides me, thinks that there is no way possible that they killed off Meredith on Grey's Anatomy?? Sure, she's dead right now and talking to a couple other dead characters but it's her show for crying out loud! Granted, I have never been a big fan of Meredith as I think she needs to a) eat a sandwich, b) get over herself, and c) eat another sandwich but it is Grey's Anatomy for crying out loud! It's not McDreamy's Anatomy or Karef's Anatomy or even Yang's Anatomy but Grey's. Should be interesting to see how this little drama plays out Thursday evening but even more than wanting to see Meredith come back from the dead, I want to see George smack Izzie upside the head for her little outburst about how his marrying Callie was a mistake. I've never particularly liked Izzie and that definitely sealed the deal!

Okay, I'm done - everyone have a great Monday!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Oh snap, son! I don't think I care for these results!

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I came across one of those oh-so-fun Internet quizzes over at Duward's Discussion that I thought I would take just for chuckles but I'm not so sure that I like the results!

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by similarminds.com

I couldn't get Lincoln or Einstein or Gandhi or Mother Theresa, now could I?? But I guess it could be worse ... I could be Hitler or Clinton (not that I'm putting those two in the same boat, mind you, no one could be worse than Hitler - NO ONE). I even took the test twice just to make sure that the results were accurate. Sadly, they were.

I don't like to be "the toughest on the block" but I don't like to be a pushover either and as far as confrontation goes, I'd really rather avoid it if at all possible but I'm not afraid of it. However, I can assure you that I have no weapons of mass destruction hidden anywhere in the house!

On the same page, you could also take a test to see what classic movie you are so I figured while I was there, oh what the heck, let's give it a shot:

What Classic Movie Are You?
personality tests by similarminds.com
This one seems a little more accurate! Though I wouldn't have been at all surprised if I had gotten Wuthering Heights as I do consider myself to be a bit of a romantic in search of my one true love! And failing miserably I might add!

These tests are always fun to take as even though they might not be dead-on accurate, they do seem to hit pretty close for the most part as long as you answer the questions honestly. So, I guess that, honestly, I'm probably more like Saddam than I ever will be Mother Theresa and those that know me well enough would probably concur!

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - "Antique"

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Grab the code and join the fun here!

grandfather
The theme for this week's photo hunt is "antique" and after thinking about what I might own that I could take a picture of that would fit this theme it dawned on me that, if he were still alive today, my beloved grandfather would certainly qualify as an "antique". To that end I am posting a picture of my grandfather, Charles E. Hart, standing on the steps outside of his parents' home in Canterbury, Connecticut a long, long time ago!

I'm not exactly sure how old Gramp is in this picture but I'm willing to bet he was a young man on the verge of starting life on his own. He eventually married my grandmother who had come over from England with her parents and siblings. Together they had seven children, their oldest daughter being my mother, and eventually they built their own house on the land across from the house where this picture was taken. Both houses still stand today but, sadly, neither of them are in the family any longer.

Gramp was born on July 25th, 1904 and died on August 22, 1972 from leukemia. To say that I idolized him would be an understatement and to this day I still miss the man who had a smile and laugh for everyone. He will always be my favorite "antique".


Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt Participants
1. exptraveler
2. Connie
3. Lynn Tucker
4. Ma
5. Lazy Daisy
6. Pamela
7. Carol M.
8. Sunflower
9. Crazy Working Mom
10. marianne
11. smalltown RN
12. srp
13. viamarie
14. superkimbo
15. SargeCharlie
16. Daisy
17. Hootin\' Anni
18. Pat
19. Caylynn
20. Beckie
21. Maribeth
22. EaglesWings
23. empress bee (of the high sea)
24. Gewels
25. Barbara
26. Janet
27. Mitey Mite
28. Jane
29. guppyman
30. Ryan Velting
31. Teena in Toronto
32. Leslie @ My Mommy\'s Place
33. Jenny A.
34. Barbara H.
35. deb
36. Jamie
37. Rach
38. eph2810
39. mar
40. incog & nito
41. jan(bbsgirl)
42. TorAa
43. LibertyBelle
44. eija
45. meeyauw
46. Lisa Renee
47. PEA
48. Angelo
49. Dragonheart
50. Pastormac\'s Ann

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Life Explained

On the first day, God created the dog and said, "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years."

The dog said, "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years
and I'll give you back the other ten?"

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said, "Entertain people, do
tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."

The monkey said, "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time
to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?"

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said, "You must go into the
field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and
give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span
of sixty years."

The cow said, "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty
years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said, "Eat, sleep, play, marry and
enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years."

But man said, "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty,
the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the
dog gave back. That makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God, "You asked for it."


So that is why for our first twenty years, we eat, sleep, play and enjoy
ourselves. For the next forty years, we slave in the sun to support our
family. For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the
grandchildren. And for the last ten years, we sit on the front porch and
bark at everyone.

Life has been explained to you. Now go forth.

Thanks to Renee for this email!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I've got a donut and I know how to eat it!

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Disclaimer: If you are one of those lucky people who was born blessed with a high-speed metabolism and/or good genes and have never had to worry about a single thing that passed over your tongue on its way to your stomach then you might just want to skip right over this post. ... Move along, there's nothing for you to see here! ... If, however, you're one of the many people who has fought way too many valiant hand-to-mouth skirmishes in the Battle of the Bulge only to find yourself locked in the enemy's concentraion camp and forced to eat way too many calories while not getting any exercise, then please read on!

While perusing some of my favorite daily blog reads (see yesterday's post for my confession on being a blogaholic), I came across a post over at
Skittle's Place regarding how hard it is to stick to a good diet and weight loss program even when you have something terrifying like a life-threatening disease hanging over your head.

In the comments section,
Callie Ann wrote that she thought it might be a good idea for some of us girls to join together and perhaps start having on-line "meetings" where we could share our progress and motivate each other. I know that there are many bloggers out there who do this exact thing, one of my dispatch partners at work being one of them.

She had joined a group whose name I won't mention as this is "sort of" a family blog and they would each post an entry on Friday about their successes and/or failures for the week. Jen really enjoyed doing this and I think it gave her a lot of encouragement to share her progress with others. Unfortunately, she currently has very limited Interent access at home and the Web Marshall at work laid down the law regarding blogging while on duty so it's been awhile since she's been able to post but I know that she really was motivated by all of those in the same sinking ship boat as she.

Empress Bee must feel the same way as she stated in Skittle's comments that she, too, would welcome and join in with such an endeavor. She suggested that perhaps we could either start another whole blog dedicated to weight loss or that perhaps one person could post and others could comment. Either way she wanted to be counted in!

I, personally, think that this would be a great idea as I seem to have an awful lot of trouble getting motivated on my own these days. Some cyber-encouragement might actually go a long ways towards getting me up off the couch or out of the refrigerator! And I bet you my last package of Twinkies that there are men out there who would find this just as helpful as all of us women who have noticed a bit of "blogger spread".

So what do you think folks? Anyone feel that a new blog for team members or perhaps a host/hostess for a weight loss sort of blog carnival or maybe a new meme like Fat-Off Friday or Slim-Down Sunday might be a good idea?

You guys think about it for a bit while I eat this piece of Cheesy Garlic Bread Pizza from Domino's that has been calling my name for the past half hour and get back to me to let me know what thoughts you might have on this - SOON!

Monday, February 12, 2007

My name is Linda and I'm a blogaholic*

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(Hi Linda!)

I first started blogging in August of 2003 on LiveJournal.com. My blog there is titled "It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times". Most of the times it seemed that the only person I was writing to was myself or a couple of faithful friends that would stop by on occasion and my writing was, at best, sporadic for awhile there. I missed almost an entire year in 2005 which could certainly be considered pathetic by anyone's standards!

In July of 2006 I was offered the chance to write a blog that was linked to via a Blogs page at
NorwichBulletin.com, the online version of our local newspaper here in Norwich. I was ecstatic as I saw this as my chance to finally have an audience for my writing; I might actually get some interaction with readers! Woohoo!

I blogged happily away for some time getting decent numbers for page hits but only the occasional comments from friends and co-workers. I was a bit confused as it seemed to me that if people were reading my blog then they might actually want to comment once in awhile but I was lucky if I could get ten comments on a post. Perhaps I was doing something wrong?

Then one night while hitting the "next blog" button and cruising through other people's blogs I came across
The Bestest Blog of All Time by Bobby Griffin. This blog was touted as "the bestest place to find great blogs" and had a link on how to add your own blog to the directory. This seemed like just what the doctor had ordered so I wasted no time in signing up and becoming part of the directory. And - wow - look at that, if you're listed, they will come! Before I knew it I had people visiting my page and leaving actual honest-to-God comments! So of course I had to go read their pages and the rest, as they say, is history.

Since joining "Bestest Blog" I have become addicted to some really good blogs: if I need a good laugh I can go to Bobbarama, The Dating Profile of the Day, or the WTIT Tape Radio Blog. The Curmudgeon and Gem-osophy provide me with some thought-provoking posts that are oftentimes sprinkled with humor; if I'm in need of a meme or two I can stop by and visit the Queen of Memes at Mimi Writes while Duward's Discussion is perfect for my history fix. Sgt Dub blogs from where he proudly serves our country in Afghanistan and Sarge Charlie, an honored veteran, never fails to get my patriotic blood flowing with his blog. For great moments in motherhood I need to look no further than CrAzY Working Mom and Ephiphany Alone; while Callie Ann, Dixie, Becci, Empress Bee, and Skittles also help to feed my daily addiction to all things blog. God save the Queen and thank goodness that I have Claire in England to offer counseling help!

These blogs are just the tip of the iceberg, a very small part of the very big Blogosphere that I never knew existed on the Internet until recently.
Wikipedia reports that Technorati was tracking over 60 million blogs as of November 2006 and I've no doubt that number grows by leaps and bounds each day. If I don't get myself under control, I'm afraid that I may feel the need to visit them all!

But with all those great blogs out there, is it any wonder that I've become a blogaholic and spend way too many hours each day reading them? Despite my best intentions to step away from the blogs, I just can't seem to help myself and since becoming a two-computer family it's gotten worse as I no longer have to share the computer with Amanda and can indulge my addiction for hours on end taking breaks only long enough to eat, sleep, or go to work (well, with a few other things thrown in there also!).

What's a girl to do? I admit it, I'm weak ... I need help ... but maybe later ... there are some really good posts over at Dayngrous Discourse I just gotta go read ...

*(one who likes blogs to excess and compulsively feels the need to read them)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The world gets smaller and smaller every day ...

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I was up at my friend Trisha's house in Jewett City the other day having a lovely cup of hot apple cider with caramel and just a small sip of homemade Cranberry Cordial (I had to pick up Amanda at NFA after her field trip to New York City and a bigger gulp of Cranberry Cordial would have rendered that impossible as that stuff was potent!) along with Jackie, another of Trisha's friends.

Somehow we got to talking about the stairs in our respective homes and I made mention of the fact that the stairs at my house leading to the basement are more like a glorified ladder than they are stairs. "Steep" and "narrow" does not begin to define those stairs and there have been many a time when I've been negotiating them with a basket full of clothes that I have thought about how if I ever fell down them I would most certainly break my neck.

At that point Trisha said to me, I think Jackie is quite familiar with your stairs, aren't you, Jackie? Turns out that Jackie is extremely familiar with the stairs in my house as she used to live in my house back in the mid-1970's! There are thousands and thousands of houses in Norwich so how funny is it that I am friends with someone who is friends with someone that used to live in the exact same house?

Once again I can hear those annoying Disney animatronic dolls singing that cloyingly sweet tune of "It's A Small World"! And it really is, isn't it?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - "Broken"

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

cemeteryBefore anyone looks at this picture and thinks "What the heck has a cemetery got to do with this week's theme?" let me just explain myself as best I can!

First off, if you look closely you will notice that there are several broken or close-to-broken tombstones in this picture and that alone would fit the theme of "broken" but more than that is the place itself.

A cemetery is a place of broken hearts, of broken dreams, of broken lives. Chances are very good that for every tombstone and grave marker that you can find in a cemetery there was a broken heart attached to it somewhere for very few of us live our lives totally alone and have someone to grieve for us when we die.

This picture was taken at Yantic Cemetery here in Norwich and - believe it or not - it's one of my favorite places in town. It was established in 1884, sits on over 28 acres, and has some of the most interesting gravestones in the area. I am sure that each and every single one of them has a story, most of which I shall never know, but I like to think about the people who have made this cemetery their final resting place and wonder what their lives were like.


Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt Participants
1. tnchick
2. Barbara H.
3. Angelo
4. eph2810
5. Mysteriouslady
6. Gattina
7. viamarie
8. Pamela
9. Pat
10. Friday\'s Child
11. meeyauw
12. Danella
13. Hootin\' Anni
14. chupieandjsmama
15. Beckie
16. Connie
17. Daisy
18. SargeCharlie
19. Sarah
20. Barbara
21. Becci-PowersTwinB
22. empress bee (of the high sea)
23. Maribeth
24. Lisa Renee
25. Christina
26. East of Oregon
27. Leah
28. Michelle
29. mar
30. srp
31. TorAa
32. Stacy
33. Teena in Toronto
34. Mike
35. YellowRose
36. incog
37. It\'s A Blog Eat Blog World
38. Coll
39. Kim from Hiraeth
40. Jessica
41. exptraveler
42. Sunflower
43. katherine.
44. Pastormac\'s Ann
45. Biker Betty
46. JHSiess
47. Sanni

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

Oh well, that certainly explains it then!

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While catching up on my blog-reading earlier this evening, I came across a post on Gem's blog about one of my very favorite actors, John Cusack. In her post you could link over to What John Cusack Movie Are You? over on the Girls-Only Blogthings page and so I did. Turns out that:

Your Life is Like

No surprise there, as I do have that incurable romantic side that darn few people know I have but "Serendipity" wasn't one of my favorite John Cusack movies if I'm going to be honest. I much prefer "Say Anything" or "Must Love Dogs" but really, I wouldn't turn my nose up at any John Cusack movie! Amanda likes to tease me on a regular basis about liking John Cusack but not as much as I like to tease her about some of the strange stuff she likes.

While I was over at Blogthings I came across another quiz that piqued my curiosity and I decided to take it just for hee-yuks. That would be the How Do Men See You? quiz. If I had gotten back a response of "Men do not see you. You are invisible.", I really would not have been at all surprised but instead what I got instead was:

Men See You As Choosy

Men notice you light years before you notice them
You take a selective approach to dating, and you can afford to be picky
You aren't looking for a quick flirt - but a memorable encounter
It may take men a while to ask you out, but it's worth the wait

Right then ... and just how long is that worthwhile wait supposed to be? I believe I am going on close to five years and counting so perhaps it's worth my while to wait a little longer until I have perfected the act of worthwhile waiting!

But this little quiz was right on at least one thing - I am, in fact, choosy. There was one time when I decided to be not so choosy and that resulted in my second marriage which ended after ten years of wedded non-bliss. Let's say that taught me to not be choosy again!

Problem is, at my age, you also run into the old adage of "beggars can't be choosy" so what's a girl to do? As one of the EMTs at work has said, "at this age men are like parking spaces - all the good ones are taken and the only ones left are handicapped".

Oh well, I guess I shall choose to continue to wait and see if a good parking space opens up that doesn't require a special permit - for whatever it's worth!

Some days at work are better than others. Wednesday was not one of them!

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I had a sneaky feeling that it wasn't going to be a good day even before I left the house when my pager went off advising me that a particular road in Norwich was closed due to a working structure fire. For those of you who aren't familiar with fire terms, a working structure fire means that a structure is on fire and firefighters are working at putting it out. Leastways I think that's what it means!

The road in question wasn't one that I had to worry about traveling but whenever there's a working structure fire in the area, American Ambulance sends out what is called the Rehab Unit. In a nutshell that's a trailer that is equipped with heaters, blankets, hot beverages, water, medical supplies, etc - anything that is needed to help firefighters who are battling not only smoke and flames but also weather elements like extreme hot and extreme cold.

Having never been bitten by the 'fire bug' myself, I have no desire to don 80+ pounds of turn-out gear and battle a fire but I have come to know a lot of people who do and from them I've learned that fighting fires can be pretty intense. It only makes good sense to have equipment nearby to help these guys out - a lot of whom are volunteers with their local departments.

Upon getting turn-over from the midnight dispatcher I was informed that, sure enough, a crew had been at the fire scene with the Rehab Unit and I was going to have to figure out who was going to go down to replace them as the current crew was off at 0700 hours (7:00 a.m. to you non-military types). Not everyone who works at American as an EMT or Paramedic is trained on the Rehab Unit so before anyone can be sent, one has to consult the list of qualified people and see who's working that can go.

What that meant for me was that I was going to drop down a full BLS car when I sent that crew to replace the crew that was already at the standby. On top of that, there were two burn victims of the fire and it sounded like we would be transporting at least one, if not both, to the closest hospital with a Burn Center. In our neck of the woods, that just happens to be Bridgeport Hospital which is about 75 miles south of us. Needless to say, it wouldn't be a quick trip.

The first hour of my day went by relatively okay and then someone seemed to open up the floodgates somewhere as I took several emergency calls, a couple of long-distance transfers (including the expected one to Bridgeport), and the hospitals that we service started calling in with one discharge after another. This was all in addition to the calls that were already scheduled on the spreadsheet laid out in front of me.

Soon I had every car at my disposal out running calls and yet the phones kept ringing. Add on to that a suspected HazMat spill at one of the local elementary schools developed and before you knew it I was giving serious consideration to biting my nails as I found myself starting to clench my teeth! Every time I thought I had a little bit of breathing room, the phones would ring again and I'd have to juggle things around a little more.

The crew at the fire standby with the Rehab Unit cleared from there basically just in time to go to the elementary school for the HazMat spill as somehow a small batch of white powder had turned into a Level 3 HazMat incident which took up two additional ambulances along with the Rehab Unit. Things were not looking good as I started to wear out my eraser moving calls from one spot on the spreadsheet to another.

Shortly after that I had to put two of the guys who work in dispatch that are also EMTs out on the road with medics to make up a couple of cars as I had run out of regularly scheduled road people and I had a need for more ambulances. Before the day was done the Director of Operations, the Director of Quality Assurance, and the guy who does the mountains of paperwork that we generate were all out running calls in various parts of the city. Falls, seizures, chest pains, alcohol intoxication, difficulty breathing - it seemed like if there was an ailment out there, someone was calling in with it!

It wasn't until 2000 hours (for the militarily challenged, 8:00 p.m.) that I finally had a clear screen on the computer in front of me. No calls were glaring at me from the open work module, there was some white space actually showing on the spreadsheet, and I could at long last breathe a sigh of relief after what had been one of the busiest and most stressful days that I can remember in awhile. Granted, calls kept coming in but at least it was at a slower pace that didn't require a high level of erasing or teeth-clenching!

I'm sure it would have been much worse were it not for the expertise of my Supervisor and his many years on the job (he always seems to make it look easy - damn the man!) but I have to say that I was quite glad when 2300 hours (11:00 p.m.) finally rolled around and I could put another double shift behind me for another week.

For all I know, today is going to be just as busy but I'm not going to worry about it as it's my day off and I plan on spending it not thinking about work. Unless, of course, I hear a siren wail past the house ...

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Just another manic ... Tuesday??

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Here it is, after 10:00 at night and I am finally getting around to posting something in my blog which will probably end up amounting to about 1,000 words of whining when I'm done! Sigh ... I need a longer day sometimes!

I got home from work at the usual time and found not one but two boxes from WalMart had been delivered via the big brown truck. When I had finally gotten around to ordering a new desktop PC and microwave oven (my mother had given me a gift card to get one at Christmas), I had decided to order off of WalMart.com for the simple reason that I have a bad back and it seemed so much easier to have large, heavy boxes delivered to my door rather than go through the process of lugging them around myself. Plus WalMart actually has what one would call decent prices for shipping and handling so it seemed like a marvelous idea.

I wasn't expecting both things to arrive on the same day (got to love that package tracking info that is oh-so-accurate!) but they did and that left me with my hands full for the evening. Before hauling Amanda off to NFA so that she could play in pep band at the basketball game tonight, I managed to get the kitchen rearranged and get the new microwave set up (I really had been meaning to clean those counters for quite some time!). That, as it turned out, was the easy part.

After I got home from a quick run through the grocery store (don't you hate it when you run out of milk and kitty litter at the same time?) I then tackled the big project - setting up the new computer. First things being first I had to dismantle the old desktop to make room for the new and then I unpacked the new one and got it all hooked up and ready to go so that Amanda could use it tomorrow while I'm at work for 16 glorious hours. The only thing left to do was get the new wireless software up and running so that she could have Internet access.

The new computer didn't come with a wireless card so I had decided to try using one of the new ones that, rather than hard wire into the computer, you can just plug into a USB port. It had seemed simple enough that even a not-so-technologically-adept person like myself could handle it so I got the thing out of the box, got my glasses on so I could figure out exactly what I was doing, and found out that I couldn't install the software because it wasn't compatible with Windows Vista. What the ...???

After staring at the package inserts for awhile, I decided to give NetGear tech support a call to see if there was some way around this little predicament and after listening to a good five minutes of recorded instructions, I ended up speaking to some woman whose name had to be Helga who vacationed in the fjords. After getting through the language barrier issues, she told me that they didn't make drivers for Vista yet and I would have to use an older Windows operating system. Uh ... Helga ... new computer with only Vista installed ... "vell den, vat choo need to do ist to take der card bach to der store und get chour money bach."

Spectacular! So now it's 8:15, I know I'm going to have to pick Amanda up from the game soon, but I figure if I drive like a fiend across town I can get to Staples before they close and see if there is a wireless card that IS compatible with Vista. Of course, before I can get halfway there my cell phone rings and it's Amanda who is ready to be picked up - but of course! I explain to her that I am just about at Staples trying to get a new wireless card and if she can hang tight for a few I'll be there as soon as I can. "No problem", she says.

I careen into the parking lot of Staples on two wheels, jump out of the car, and run up to the service desk only to find out that apparently no one has Vista-compatible wireless cards yet because it's such a new operating system. A few not-quite-foreign and yet colorful words escaped my lips as I realized that I was going to have to go the old-fashioned way and hook the new computer up to the modem - which wouldn't be so bad except that there are no phone jacks upstairs where the computer is which is the reason I went wireless to begin with. Great - more rearranging when I get home as I know there is no way that Amanda would survive the entirety of tomorrow without Internet access - how could she check her MySpace messages, how could she IM Dan and Nicole, how could she do anything??

After returning the useless-to-me wireless card, I zoomed over to NFA, grabbed the kid, and on the way home made a quick stop at the local gas station for if I didn't I was going to be pushing the car to work in the morning. Some idiot had let it get down below a quarter of a tank! (Yeah, yeah, that would be me!) Could this day get any more screwed-up? It was now after 9:00 at night, I hadn't eaten dinner, the computer still needed to be hooked up, I hadn't written anything in my blog, I needed to find a picture for Wordless Wednesday as I have to post it tonight or it doesn't get posted, and- worse yet - I had forgotten to set the DVR to record House!!

Finally getting home, Amanda and I got the new computer disassembled from upstairs and down to the dining room where I hooked it up temporarily until I can actually find the time and strength to lug the desk downstairs. Of course I had to move both the modem and router and find another ethernet cable in order to get everything hooked up but shortly before 10:00 I had everything up and running like it was supposed to and I could at last throw something in the new microwave to nuke for dinner. Whew!

I was finally able to sit down with my laptop a little bit ago to post something but I feel terrible that I haven't had a chance to make the rounds of the blogs that I usually read each day. Add on the fact that I won't be able to get to them tomorrow until after I get home at 11:00 at night and I am going to have some serious catching up to do!

It's times like this that I really hate being the only adult in the house - the one responsible to make sure that everything is up and running as it should be - the one who has to do all of the assembly on new things - the one who has to do all the driving and grocery shopping and fueling of the car - and the one who's going to have to move everything around again on my day off once I figure out how to lug the desk downstairs without blowing out a couple more disks in my back.

Sometimes I just don't want to be "I am woman hear me roar" anymore. I'd really rather be "honey, can you take care of that for me?" Oh well ... whatchagonnado?? At least Amanda has Internet AND the new computer for tomorrow and she's happy - that's gotta count for something.