Monday, October 31, 2005


Enjoy the Trick-or-Treating!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Shopping And Hopping For Joy

I recently realized that my reading glasses were not working as well of late, and I was getting headaches due to the eye strain involved in trying to work with them. When I went out to find another couple of pairs that were strong enough, I found one pair that was pink... not a glaring pink, just a nice soft pink. Anyone who knows me well, knows that pink is my favorite color. Anything is better in pink. However, there is an added bonus to having pink glasses. Men do not normally prefer to wear anything that is the color pink. Therefore, the men that normally come into my office and need to borrow my glasses because their glasses have been left elsewhere, are not very likely to forget that they are mine and walk out with them. I am very happy with my pink glasses.

We have had great sweater weather around here lately. I feel energized! I understand that it is supposed to warm up a bit, but it is great to have the windows open or be outside. How could anyone not love this weather? Well actually, I can think of one person...

Himself is a bit under the weather with an upper-respiratory virus. It seems that he picked it up during his trip to Arizona while Wilma was aiming at Florida. Like a lot of men, he is a miserable sick person. With golf and football on the TV today, he has some entertainment that is helping keep him in a better mood. I just hope that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win today!

My shopping buddy, Jeannie and I went to the mall yesterday to get her some slacks for her strip up north. We were unaware that there was a huge sale going on in Macy's until we walked into the store. I got an adrenaline rush and immediately went into marathon shopping mode! The main focus of the trip was to get Jeannie ready for her trip so I searched the racks while she tried things on for fit. I found out that Jeannie is also a pink freak so I was really having a grand time... especially once I convinced her that it is acceptable to wear pink in the winter! The highlight of her purchases was a hot pink sweater/jacket that she absolutely loved. It is sooo soft!

It was a lot of fun helping Jeannie shop, but I also had a grand time picking up some Christmas and birthday gifts along with a few things for myself. It was quite a sale! A lot of the merchandise was on sale. If I opened a charge account, I would get an additional 15% of any purchases made during the weekend. There was also a special charity drive that if you made a donation, you got additional 10% back on purchases made that day. So, if a shopper purchased a blouse originally priced at $70.00 which was on sale at 45% off, there was an additional 15% off on the card and then another 10% back for the charity drive. Hence a 70% reduction in price. That means $49.00 off that $70 blouse making it a $21 blouse. Everything we bought was less than $70 to start with and we really made quite a haul. We put everything on that one card (which I will pay off and cancel at the end of the holiday season) so we ended up with just about everything at half price. I do not have much left to shop for for Christmas and birthdays... just a couple of things. I am quite proud of myself, and even Jeannie managed the energy required for the marathon spree.

Since tomorrow night is Halloween, I am getting the house ready for tomorrows trick-or-treaters. The decorations are not extravagant...

but I did make sure to get in some good candy for the kids to get sick on for the next couple of nights! I always figured it was better to let the kids get it out of their system quickly instead of ruining meals for a couple of weeks. It worked for my kids... they actually learned to ration the candy themselves... that and how to cleverly steal their favorites from one another without being caught... most of the time.

So I hope you enjoy the costumes and kids tomorrow. The little ones are always so cute and the older ones are usually so excited about getting the goodies! It can be a fun time!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Close Encounters Of The Wilma Kind

All of my relatives are safe after their encounter with hurricane Wilma. My sister-in-law in Key West had some of the boats in the fleet that she manages damaged, and some that did okay. My cousin and her husband who also live in Key West evacuated to stay with my mother in Dunnellon.They evidently had several feet of water from the surge go through their home and have not gone back yet to assess the damage. My brother-in-law and his wife that live in Ft. Lauderdale had some damage to their house and are still without electricity. They have access to a generator next door, so that is helpful. The other relatives in Ft. Lauderdale are without electricity but doing fine... the last I heard. It will be a mess down in South Florida for awhile yet.

As in the other hurricanes that hit this summer, the day after the storm there are some people complaining about the fact that the lines are long and they have no food or water. I have no patience with people who do nothing to prepare and then blame everyone else all the way up to the President of the U.S. for their situation. I have ranted about that before... no need to do it again here!

The weather is still wonderful here today. I understand that it will warm up a bit later this week, but right now it is great! The A/C is off and the windows are open. WOW! I love hot chocolate weather! I'm off for a couple of hours of work today and then to the mall with a friend for a bit of shopping. She is looking for warm slacks for a trip to the north and I am looking for stocking stuffers and a few gift items. It is a fine day to be out and about! I refuse to accept any more hurricanes this season!

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Progression Of Distinctive Art

Pinky... Still my favorite

An odd period for sure

An art form from my youth

Modern Urban Art

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's A Good Day Here

I really love this weather! I sleep better with fresh air at night from a couple of open windows. I get to fix my favorite Russian Tea. I have purring heating pads with whiskers keeping me comfy all night. I look forward to walking outside and not immediately breaking out into a sweat. It is a great time of year for me!

On a not so happy note... I have relatives in Ft. Lauderdale and Key West who are not doing so well. House damage, no electricity, and lines for supplies for the folks in Ft. Lauderdale. I have not been able to get in touch with my sister-in-law who lives in Key West. The last I heard from her was when she called and said they had water coming through the house... storm surge. She lives on a sailboat, but had taken shelter in a hurricane secure house. I trust she is okay or we would have heard. I suspect she is dealing with lack of electricity as well and has been unable to recharge her cell phone. She will also be very busy assessing damage and dealing with the boats in the fleet for which she is responsible.

Himself will be driving South with our generator for his brother in Ft. Lauderdale, as generators are hard to come by and if you can find one it is probably at a very inflated price. Please keep these folks in your prayers. They will be fine, but it is no fun going without electricity and dealing with trying to get your home repaired after a hurricane. It has been quite a couple of seasons for hurricanes.

Keep all those who have been or are being impacted by hurricane damage in your prayers. There are a lot of people out there who are still struggling after earlier storms as well as people who are dealing with current damage and destruction. Don't forget about them.

So... I am delighted with our current weather (which has probably cooled the water enough to ensure the end of this year's hurricane threat for us), gratefull that we escaped any damage from hurricanes this year, grateful that I was not on vacation in Cozumel or Cancun and stuck there as so many have been, and relieved and grateful that family is okay although they have to deal with hurricane damage and lack of electricity.

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's Time To Start Thinking About Changing Out The Closet For The Season Change

We are finally getting a bit of sweater weather here. Believe it or not, it came in as Wilma left. Actually, the cold front is what steered Wilma out of here so quickly. I am rejoicing in the cool weather. I was so tired of the 90 degree weather and humidity. I now feel invigorated!

It's October, and it's about time! It's about time for sweaters, hot chocolate or hot tea, cozy slippers and pjs, and brisk walks in this wonderful weather! Sorry to taunt those of you who are dreaming of sunshine and the summer breezes. I guess we always want what we get the least!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Getting Ready For A Bit Of A Blow

Once again the winds are blowing this way, and we are getting some rain and thunder and lightning off and on. At least we will not get the main part of Wilma. We will just get Tropical Storm sustained winds and some higher gusts. We have been under tornado watch most of the day and there have been numerous tornados touching down around the state. As soon as one area lifts its tornado warning another one pops up in another county. Since we are not in the right forward quadrant of the storm, I did not expect so much tornado activity.

My sister-in-law is hunkered down in Key West, and it looks like she will be facing a category 3 storm by the time Wilma get to the Keys. I wish she had evacuated, but by the time she gets the boats tied down and secured there is usually not enough time for her to leave. She does have a secure house that she goes to for shelter, but I still worry!

The eye of Wilma is visible on the radar now, and the storm, instead of diminishing, seems to have strengthened a bit. The size of this storm has grown from the small tight powerful storm it was when it hit Cozumel and Cancun. I am sure that the residents of Key West that are hunkered down until the storm passes are all finishing up their Fantasy Fest costumes and making plans for their parties. You can't keep a good Conch down! And, it seems, you can't beat any sense into their thick Conch skulls either! You'd think after Georges a few years ago, they would be wiser. Sigh.

Let me know when it is over!

As for me, I am on the couch watching the weather channel. I will go to bed when I get tired enough. The cats are on patrol. They are watching the windows that are not boarded up, and they are keeping me informed via very loud yowls if there is anything going on that I should be made aware of (in their estimation). Seems like it may be a long night.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Happy Birthday to Happy and Blue 2!

Let me be the first to say Happy Birthday to Happy and Blue 2!!!

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Happy and Blue 2
Happy Birthday to you!

Have a great day!!!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Still Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttccchhhing...

It is easy to get mesmerized or hypnotized while watching the weather right now. If you watch for more than a minute or so, you are watching the buzzsaw that is Wilma spin almost in place as it erases Cozumel and blasts Cancun. Unfortunately if you live on the West coast of Florida from the Tampa Bay Area south, it is necessary to keep up to date with the weather. To put it simply, this storm's path is still very uncertain after it finishes with the Yucatan.

People are evacuating from the Keys and some areas to the north. The roads have been clogged with tourists leaving for home or less stressful vacation spots. Fantasy Fest fans are still trying to figure out if they will be able to strut their stuff on Duval Street in a Fantasy Fest parade in Key West this year. "L" is languishing in utter despair at the thought that she may have to miss it this year.

I am still recovering from having to prepare for four storms last year. We actually ended up just leaving our windows boarded up for the last two storms. It gets to be ridiculous trying to put the boards up and take them down every time our area gets put on watch. As far as I am concerned, the boards that are up now can stay up until the end of this year's hurricane season which is November 30th!

So here I sit on a Friday night watching the weather while writing this post... trying very hard to avoid slipping into a hypnotic state. I am doing this even though I know that this storm is moving very slowly and probably will not head for Florida for a couple of days. The problem is that these storms typically do anything other than what is predicted. In this case, the National Hurricane Center has said that things could change quickly once the storm gets a weather system to move it. Wilma had already missed one trough and it could miss the next one. Once it gets that push it will move fast towards another landfall... and that could be anywhere in large portion of the west coast of Florida.

I guess anyone could use a bit of excitement in their life.

I'm Just Being Sensible

Happy and Blue 2 did a post on setting goals. He asked at the end of his post what goal his readers have set for their life. I set a goal to exercise regularly. I regularly set a goal to exercise. I don't like "organized" exercise. I don't like regular exercise. I don't like to exercise.

However, I do like to get out and do things that result is getting some exercise. Shouldn't that count? I mean I can do marathon shopping trips in the mall that require at least several miles of walking. I keep upper body strength by lifting items off of shelves, lifting clothes off of racks and holding them up to look at them, and I definitely get points for lifting weights when I carry all of those bags around the mall and then out of the mall to the car. And then I have to carry them into the house. And then there is grocery shopping. That is a lot of weight to carry in several trips from the car to the house and the a lot of bending and lifting to put everything away.

I could list some other things that I do that require some form of exercise. The point is that if I do these things, why is more necessary? You know "they" say that one should do everything in moderation! I'm just being sensible!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wilma Is A Tease

I am on watch for hurricane Wilma... well not really. No watches around here as yet. I am however watching each update in anxious anticipation of her next move... or non-move as the case may be. She speeds up. She slows down. Her eye collapses and then returns. Landfall is Saturday. No, landfall is Sunday. Well maybe landfall is Monday. She is supposed to make a turn to the northeast... unless, of course, she dilly dallies around the Yucatan Peninsula for a few days and then it is anyones guess what weather pattern will come into play next.

In the meantime, while watching the updates, I am getting a few things in order. Some of the windows are prepped. And what are the plans that Himself has put into place?

He leaves tomorrow morning for Scottsdale, Arizona.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


What do you think?

I don't know. They've got to be out there somewhere.

Sheesh! You'd think they would at least say hello or something.

Yeah, but you know how they can be... always in a hurry.

Well at least a couple of them have checked in...

Yeah, what do think we should do?

I don't know. What do you want to do?

I don't know. I guess whatever you want to do.


Koko: 15 Years And Still Going!

Koke enjoying one of his favorite pastimes as "Captain Koko"

Unequaled Scrabble Fan

Computer Geek

With his person and favorite patsy

Fifteen years is a long life in cat years, but Koko seems to be ageless... still no gray hairs (to speak of) and still very playful. The only difference seems to be that he sleeps a bit more and is far more tolerant of people. Happy Birthday Koko!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Rooting For The Bucs

Yesterday, I watched both of the teams I was rooting for lose... and the Florida Gators lost as well. Today, I am hoping that the Tampa Bay Bucs will not make it 3 for 3! After all, they are the professionals. I wouldn't say that I am an avid football fan, but I especially enjoy watching the Bucs... and this year they seem to be off to a good start (forget last week).

So, I will forget about what happened to Notre Dame, Florida State, and U of Florida yesterday, and I will root for the Bucs with expectations of a rousing win! I hope your teams win... unless they are playing the Bucs!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Little Bit Cooler Here

The outside temperature has cooled down a few degrees around here the last couple of days. It is a welcome relief, for sure! It is still hot but not 93 degrees. It is also cooling off in the evening so that being outside is very pleasant. So, in spite of the fact that we are watching another storm develop in the tropics, it is feeling more and more like fall... at least as much as we get fall in Florida. ;o)

I am still doing a little bit of Christmas shopping, but I really need to get some casual browsing time in the mall. Maybe by next weekend I will have the time. Last year the "kids" really liked getting the gift cards that I included in their stockings. I may have to repeat that this year, but maybe use some different stores. Gotta keep the surprise factor in place at least a little!

So, does anyone out there have any gift suggestions for brainy 24 to 30 year olds? The girls I can handle. It's "JPR" and Matt that I am still trying to finalize. Maybe now JPR will not be moving around quite as much and I can get him something for that apartment he hasn't had in quite a while. Matt is finishing up his Master degree in Computer Engineering... should be done sometime in December. He also is an outdoor nut... loves to hike etc. I think I should request a wish list from each of them, but they usually don't cooperate in time! Men!

While doing some Christmas shopping, I was introduced to a new store that I had never been in before... Burlington Coat Factory. There was a lot of junk in there and lots of boxes around since they were stocking up for the holidays. In spite of the crowded condition, I did get a few bargains. I found a cute dress with jacket for only $14.98. That is very hard to beat although I know that "L" manages to do that sort of thing frequently! I'll have to check back there once the stocking is better under control.

Today I caught up a bit on the laundry... not a major chore at this point. I guess I am putting off some bigger chores that I have been trying to avoid, but I will get to them all over the next couple of weeks... I just have to get myself in the correct frame of mind. The list includes the linen closet, my bedroom closet (yes, again), and the kitchen and bathroom floors. It is also time to get the carpets cleaned, but I may put them off a bit and do them when Himself is out of town.

This week should be quieter that last week... no meetings to attend!!! So I hope that I will have a bit more time to do some posting for this blog. It gets frustrating when I don't get to post anything new... then I don't get as many fun comments... and I really love reading them! I also should have more time to read my favorite blogs and leave comments... something else I love doing.

I am looking forward to tomorrow and some more nice weather. Maybe I will get some reading done outside... it seemss like an enjoyable thing to do. Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Disaster Overload And Christmas Shopping

It's enough to make anyone a bit wacky. Devastating hurricanes have been slamming into Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Thoughts still going back to the horrendous tsunami that hit the Indonesian areas. Earthquakes and flooding have been making appearances all over the world including the USA. Volcanologists are watching various mountains for activity. Terror alerts whether hoax or real are being announced. Fears of an outbreak of Avian flu has been in the paper and on the TV news. Then there's hurricane Vince forming where it is not supposed to be able to form and traveling to Spain to give those folks a bit of wind and rain. Some days it just isn't the thing to do to watch the news or read the newspaper.

I don't know if this is a proper term, but I will call all of this disaster overload. I haven't been caught in the middle of any of these disasters (thank God), but I am still experiencing disaster overload. Each day when I wake up, I wonder if it is our turn, shake my head, have a cup of tea, and decide what my reaction will be to the latest disaster. Some days I write a check to donate to a charity dealing with one disaster or another. Some days I pray a bit more. Some days I have a second cup of tea and decide that life does go on and obsessing over all of this is unhealthy. This week, I have turned to my Christmas shopping list. Before you decide that I am a totally callous individual, let me try to explain why.

I think that at times it is necessary to balance the negative things that we face in our lives with positive things. There is very little I can do to ease the pain and suffering around the world that is always there to a greater or lesser degree. Christmas to me symbolizes hope for the world and a sense of peace and the world as it could be. I cannot take away the pain of so many human beings. Someday I may be in the middle of some of that pain myself. In the meantime, I will do what I can to make things better for the people in my life... people that are here now and will not always be here. I try to spread joy, provide comfort, share what I have, and be grateful that I can do these things. When I celebrate Christmas, I am thankful for and celebrate all that God has given me... my family, my home, my friends, my faith, my health, my talents.

When I find myself in a position to help with disasters I do what I can. When I find that I am so far removed from what has happened that all I can do is send a check to a charity I do that. I am aware of how lucky I am, but I don't think that it is healthy to obsess over things I cannot control. It is sad to see the images on TV, but that does not mean that I need to carry that sadness around with me all day. What I do need to do is focus on the good things that I can do and do them.

When I go Christmas shopping, I include those things that I will donate for the poor. This year our church will have an adopted family that are refugees from the hurricane disasters. It is a simple thing to include people in need in my shopping list. When you do this type of thing you bring joy to someone who is in need. Don't you also feel some of that joy yourself? Think about expanding your list this year. If you start shopping early, you will have plenty of time. You never know when you might be a person in need... due to life changes or a disaster.

Okay. I am off of my soapbox now.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Which Harry Potter Pet Are You?

You are Fawkes!
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While I was searching for something else, I came across this quiz. Since I am short of time to finish a longer post tonight, I chose to post this.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Switch Has Been Flipped

Last night during Girls' Night Out the switch in my brain was definitely flipped. We had a fun dinner and then finished off with a bit of shopping in the mall. I already told you about how the fall weather can get me in Christmas planning mode... well I saw something for my two girls when we were shopping that I just had to go back for tonight.

Now I also have to tell you that I was feeling really yucky today... I was even tempted to stay home in bed. But I did get into work and convinced myself not to skip the staff night out. It was a good choice. I ended up deciding to go to the mall and called on my good shopping buddy Jeanie to go with me. We only had about an hour, but I got what I wanted... and they were the last two in the store... and both of them were the size I needed. Success!

It has now happened. I have already gone from the planning stages to the shopping stage and what my youngest daughter refers to as mom being in her stealth mode... I wouldn't say that I am yet in full stealth mode, but it looks like I've got a healthy start on the season. I also have some birthdays and Hanukkah gifts to select... not a problem at all!

Why don't you give it a shot this year... plan ahead, shop early, avoid the crowds, take advantage of sales and a good selection, and actually enjoy December! You may find that it is easier to stick to a budget and spend less than when you are rushing around at the last minute.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Don't Get It, But I Got It

I am not sure what is going on, but for some remarkable reason the cable seems to be working consistently tonight! So perhaps tomorrow evening after Girls' Night Out, I will be able to post something from home! Have a great evening!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Frustration Continues

Getting a bit perturbed here...

I am typing this on my computer at work (after hours) because the Road Runner cable at home is still on the blink... or still blinking depending on how you look at it. The results of this situation are that when I sit down to post something I cannot get online... or if I am lucky enough to get online, the connection breaks, and I cannot post what I have written. It seems that the only times the cable stays on for long enough to do anything is early in the morning or very late at night... if at all!

It has been a bit hectic of late, so I have yet to find a time to schedule the cable guy to fix the stupid thing. No, not me... the cable to the computer. That's not Road Runner's fault, but it is the way things are right now.

So my question to you is... am I just this lucky or do the rest of you also experience constant gliches with your computer or cable service?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

OK God, Am I Strong Enough Yet?

I recently had a conversation with our newly assigned young priest, Fr. Mike, that revolved around the idea that we need to go through life's struggles to reach our full potential... If we need to learn patience, God sends us something to test our patience and make it more substantial. If we lack humility, we may find ourselves in some humbling situations that we need to work through. Basically, the conversation concluded with the idea that God gives us struggles to make us better and stronger.

I wonder if when or if I will ever get to the point that those life lessons slack up a bit. Ok, God, am I strong enough yet? I guess not. Sigh. Guess I have a lot to go through still. I'll keep hanging in there and try to focus on being grateful for my struggles.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Season Changes

Today was the day designated by the Roman Catholic Church as the feast of St. Francis of Assissi, the patron saint of animals and a man noted for his humility and compassion to the poor. It was also the day that people bring their pets to the church for a blessing by one of the priests. It is a fun time. It would have been a fun time for me as well had I been able to gather the two cats in time to make the blessing. Maybe next year.

OOOO... smell that fresh breeze! Wonderful!

As I arrived at work today... a bit after the blessing of the animals... I couldn't get over how hot it still has been. Usually by the time St. Francis and the blessing of the animals is celebrated, we have had a little touch of cooler weather... not cold but not 95 degrees either. After I got a bit of work done in my office, I went over to the hall and joined in on the monthly pot luck and gathering called Faith Alive. Tonight we had Italian food and a teaching Mass. I really enjoyed it. However, as I was leaving the hall tonight I noticed a distinct cool breeze that definitely hints of fall. Fall... as much as we get it in Florida!

This was the highlight of my day! A wonderful gathering followed by the scent of season change. I wanted to run home and open all the windows and turn off the air conditioning! I didn't though, because I knew it would get hot again tomorrow. But something happens to me when I feel that first fall breeze. Something that tends to make most people think I am nuts... which is why I don't usually say much about it! What happens is that I get a dreamy smile on my face because I am beginning to think about my plans for Christmas!

The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. I love Christmas music. I love Christmas decorations. I love having the family together. I love the Advent preparations and Advent wreaths. I love the anticipation of this special celebration. I love the candles along our street as we return from Mass on Christmas Eve. I love Christmas trees. I love Christmas traditions. I love planning special surprises and gifts. I love Christmas cookies. I love the wonderful time with family that week after Christmas day. I love seeing the church all decorated and the Christmas Creche in the sanctuary. I even love cooking Christmas food even though it can be a lot of work. I think that the reason I love all of these things is because I get most of my shopping done early... way before the stores get crazy. By the time everyone else is getting started, I am relaxing and enjoying strolling through the malls just picking up a few remaining things. I have several birthdays to shop for during this time as well.

This first sign off is also the time that I start my scheming. It is never fun just to give gifts in pretty packages. There must be a few gag gifts included and maybe a trail of clues for someone to follow for a special gift. Even though the "kids" are all grown, we still have stockings. I grew up with that tradition and still do it for Himself, my mother, my kids and any siblings of Himself that happen to be there. Basically, anyone who spends the night Christmas Eve and wakes up with us in the morning gets a stocking.

Stocking gifts are a bit different. For instance, when my sister and I were growing up and got to be teenagers, my father got tired of missing his tools. So that Christmas we each got our own screw drivers in our stockings. I usually include the obligatory hair brush or toothbrush, fancy underwear for the girls, funny boxers for the boys, funky pens or pencils, and any other goofy things I can find. Now that the kids are older, I have started putting gift cards in their stockings as well. My mother also puts things in the stockings and the kids sometimes do now as well. It also makes it easier on some of the relatives that don't give big gifts to everyone... they just put a little something in the stockings. If you are creative, stockings are a lot of fun. I often pick up stocking stuffers throughout the year when I see something that is stocking worthy.

Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent, I will be pulling things out of drawers and closets. I will begin decorating and usually try to have the Christmas tree up by the end of the first week of December. Most of my shopping will be done before Thanksgiving. I will spend December enjoying everything... except for the couple of days of mad cleaning that I usually have to do. My list will start tomorrow. The fall breeze says it is time to begin. It is time for Mrs. Christmas to get it in gear. So, although you may think me nuts, it works for me! I smile a lot in December!