Monday, December 03, 2007


Yay! I'ts Advent Season! I love this time of year! I tend to walk around with a smile on my face. Add to that the following facts:

  • my youngest daughter is engaged and wedding plans are beginning
  • my mom is quite happy and getting settle into her new apartment
  • I have just about finished cleaning up after Thanksgiving
  • the street is already aglow with lights and decorations up on many of the homes
  • I am looking forward to picking out this year's Christmas tree
  • it's getting close to closing time on the house
  • Christmas music is delightful
  • my kids will all be home again for Christmas
  • my kids will all be home for Christmas
  • and finally, my kids will all be home for Christmas
Yup, I am a haaapppy camper!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Post Revisited : STUFF

Since I have been dealing with packing up Mom's house and now unpacking some of her things at my house, I thought that this post from January 2006 would be appropriate to revisit (with a few changes)!

Stuff. Yup. Stuff. We all have it. We all want it.

It is both a blessing and a burden.

It starts when we are young. We want cool stuff. We ask our parents to give us that cool stuff. We get the stuff, or at least enough stuff to leave us wanting more stuff. We even get things to carry our stuff around and things to keep our stuff in order.

When we are young adults we want even more stuff. Now we work for our stuff. The more stuff we get the more stuff we want. We start to keep track of our stuff. We never have enough stuff.

As we get older, maybe we get married. Then we really get a lot of stuff. Still this does not satisfy us. Now we know we really need more stuff. We have to get a bigger place to live to keep all of our stuff with us. The place we get has extra room, so we get more stuff to fill the empty space. Then maybe we have children, and we have to get stuff for them, too.

And now we have to do more to keep track of our stuff. We worry about losing our stuff. So we document our stuff and take out insurance on our stuff. Our kids start to demand more stuff of their own. And because we know how important stuff is in everyone's life, we get them more stuff. And we increase our insurance to cover their stuff, too.

Now a new phenomenon starts to creep into our lives...

We start to feel that we need to get away from it all... all our stuff. So now we take vacations from our stuff. We take our children with us. They spend most of the vacation bemoaning the fact they want to get back to the stuff that they have left at home.

Then one day, the kids leave home, and we look around and discover that we have too much stuff. We need to downsize and get rid of stuff that we don't need anymore. We have garage or yard sales and sell our stuff to unsuspecting people who are still in the mode of acquiring more stuff. Then we take the money we make at the sale and decide that now that we have gotten rid of some stuff, we can now buy more stuff. And we do.

And so it goes. We get rid of old stuff, and replace it with newer and better stuff. We do this and do this, until one day we are too old to do it any more. Then our children have to do it for us. Maybe they move us to a retirement home. Our stuff gets redistributed. Now our children buy us things that they think we need or would enjoy. But it is stuff that doesn't take up much room.

Yup. We all have stuff.

Sometimes irreconcilable differences put a kink in this life plan of acquisition and disposition of stuff... for a while...

When getting a divorce, you have to inventory all of your stuff and finances. Then you have to fill out forms that require all of this information. You also have to pay a lot of money for the privilege of doing this.

Then at some point, someone will look at all of this information on the forms that have been filled out and will use some sort of formula to decide how much of the stuff you get to keep and how much money you will get to help you take care of your portion of said stuff. And then you get to pay some more money so that all of this gets recorded and becomes a legal document. You then will get to add this document to your stash of stuff... a smaller stash than you had before.

What happens next? Will you get to acquire more stuff? Will a reduced income greatly impact your acquisition phase? Will your children keep you in new cool stuff as you get older. Will you rejoice in your new freedom from excessive stuff? Will you finally get all of your closets cleaned once and for all?

I suspect that not only does life go on... but stuff goes on as well.

As for me, Mom having to reduce her stuff has been an avalanche of additional stuff for me. Some of this stuff, I will pass on to my children. Some of it will go to charity. Some stuff I am really grateful to receive. However, it looks like my closets may have to wait another year or so to get cleaned...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Keepin Up With The Youngsters!

My daughter's boyfriend Charles has completed his product for the Next Internet Millionaire show: It is actually quite useful if you want to learn how to do videos on the internet. Below is the promo for it. A music friend/contact wrote the song for the video. I'm not crazy about the title, but obviously it is aimed at a different age group! The world is changing so fast... I feel way out of step!

Mom's move date is NOvember 19th. So after this next week I hope to have some time to do a couple of posts that I have put on hold... one on my trip to Virginia to visit my son Matt and one on the ongoing kitchen project. Perhaps a few Turkey Day photos will emerge as well...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Oops! I Goofed!

My duct work is done and I have a new vent into the Laundry Room. Yay! The electrician is coming on Monday to put the new panel in and complete the rest of the various electrical things that need attention. "L" is coming on Sunday to help me get the laundry room ready for the work. So today I went out to buy a new refrigerator to replace the one that quit working properly.

I was very careful to measure the width and depth of the refrigerator I now have because it is a tight fit between cabinets. I look up and decided that I did not need to get a height measurement because I could eyeball it by my own height. I looked at the cabinet over the top of the refrigerator and decided that I had plenty of leeway there. I should have used a stool or chair to check the cabinet clearance, however... like I did after I got home to unload the top of the old refrigerator. What I had thought was about eight inches was only about an inch an a half. It has been a while since I got up there to view the clearance. Uh, oh.

So how do I fix this problem? The price of the refrigerator was right. It has everything I wanted... and more. The color, width, depth and design are all good. Hmmm... Well, being the practical and sensible person that I am, I have decided that the cabinet above the refrigerator needs to be taken down! It is too high to be of much use to me anyway. No band-aid solutions for me! That cabinet has got to go... and before Monday when they deliver the new one... I think I have a few things to do... This should be good!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Things Seems To Be Coming At Me From All Directions!

Things are moving along, but I have experienced some unexpected glitches in my life of late. Mom will moving into her new home on November 19th. Some of her "extra" things are getting moved to my house. That means I need to be ready to have them moved in to various spots in my house. Okay, not so bad.

I am having Thanksgiving at my house this year. It has been years since I have roasted a turkey. The kids will help, though. I will need to have the house ready very quickly after Mom's extras are moved here. I'll have more beds for people to sleep in while they are here. Okay, not so bad.

I planned on having some work done on the house. To start, I have arranged to have the back of the old garage closed in with a new ceiling and drop in an air conditioning vent so my laundry room will be nicer and cleaner. I got a good quote and noted some other things that needed to be done before the ceiling work is started. An electric panel would need to be moved and I would need to check with the A/C people to make sure that the system in that part of the house could handle another duct. With about $1,000.00 for the new ceiling, a seasonal check on the A/C when they come out to check out if I can add that duct, and the electrical panel move... Okay, not so bad.

The air conditioning guy came out and did the check for the system. Yes, I can drop in a new vent... no problem. Good! However, he did find out that some of the air circulation problems I have been having in the older part of the house are due to the fact that the metal coils in the duct work are old and rusting and some of the duct work has collapsed. He put freon in both A/C units and wrote up a quote for the duct work... $2,750.00 to replace the duct work in the old part of the house, add boosters to the vents... a redesign of the duct work system basically. Okay, not so great, but I can deal with it.

The recommended electrician came out to give me a bid on moving the second electrical panel to the inside of the house. Hmmm... it seems that some things are not up to code. We could wait on the incorrectly placed well pump for the sprinkler system to see if the inspector would let it pass even though it is situated right in front of the electric meter... a no-no. To make a long story short, in order for things to be done properly-- there have been some safety issues with that outside panel-- remove the old well pump that was never taken out when the new one was installed, move the clothes dryer hookup... well, what I thought would be around an $800.00 to $1,000.00 job has turned into a $2,500.00 job IF the inspector lets me leave the new well pump where it is. Okay, things are getting out of hand a bit here.

...In the midst of all of this, I discovered that my refrigerator/freezer decided to quit on me just after I went to the grocery store. Ouch. I have been pricing new ones. Ouch, ouch. They sure cost a lot more than the last time I bought one! Costs for one the same size as I currently have seem to run between $1,000.00 and $2,300.00 depending on the features (more features, more to go wrong, I figure!). I guess that also means more time off from work to wait on a delivery and hook-up. Let's see... missed days for A/C duct work, electrical work, numerous appointments and arrangements for Mom, refrigerator delivery... I don't even want to think about the lost wages! Okay, I think I've had enough.

Oh yeah... it's minor, but the blow dryer for my hair also quit on me a week ago, someone put a rubbing alcohol solution into my orchid spraying bottle and I thought it was still water until I had doused my orchids with it, and no one seems to be able to fix my doorbell. Sheesh.

Next year had better be a very good year!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween Y'All!

We don't get as many children and teens as we used to a few years ago, but there are enough cuties to keep me happy! Here's hoping that all of your trick-or-treaters come by for treats instead of tricks!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I Am Still Wearing White Sandals

I thought that I should post something quickly tonight so that my millions of readers would know that I am still alive. Until today, the weather has been so hot that everyone around here is still wearing white shoes and summer clothes! Today however, we finally have some nicer cool weather. Highs around 83, Lows around 70. That is getting close to heaven on earth in my book... at least in terms of the weather. I hope we get a few weeks of this at least before it gets hot again!

I have been very busy getting my mom ready to move closer to me and into a retirement/assisted living complex. We have sorted through about a gazillion of her books. Yesterday and today we worked with a moving service for the elderly marking her things that will go with her, the things that will move to my house, and the things that will go to charity. There are still a lot of junk drawers that she has to sort through. I have told her to pick one a day and that should get her done by her packing date. I really don't want to pay movers to move empty cans, jars, old pieces of sting and dozens of unknown keys... to name but a few. I also suggested that her three or four old coffee makers that are no longer working or are missing parts might possibly go into the garbage and not on the truck to Clearwater!

It has been a chore, but I can't imagine how difficult it would have been without the Welcome Home service. When she moves into her apartment her bed will be made and everything will be put away for her. They worked up a floor plan for all of her things with her, took pictures of everything, and will make sure that everything is in it's proper place when she arrives. They were absolutely wonderful!!!!

On a lighter note... I have started "eating healthier" which is the current code for going on a diet with Weight Watchers. It is my hope that future pictures of me will look a little different...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

On The Rant Again...

After the recent anniversary of 9/11, and news items such as football players involved in running dog fighting matches , the unending reports of vicious killings in the Middle East and Africa, and the continuous reports of senseless violence against people and animals in our own country, I thought the following quotes would be appropriate to post:

"Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives." - Albert Schweitzer

"We cannot have peace among men whose hearts find delight in killing any living creature." - Rachel Carson, American Author and Marine Biologist

"Of all the creatures, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he's the one that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot." - Mark Twain, American Novelist

Over the past few years we have had local news reports of teenagers breaking into pens and purposely torturing pigs and horses, shooting pet cats with arrows, and beating dogs nearly to death. I shudder to think what these "kids" will be like when they are adults.

There are times when killing someone or something is necessary, but I can't imagine ever being delighted over doing so. I can't begin to understand the mind of a terrorist. I will never understand how any sane person can take pleasure in murder or torture.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Long Day, Long Week

I didn't get out of work until 8:30 PM tonight. It was a long day to end a very long and tedious work week. I have been working on several projects at work and had hoped to finish them all by the end of my day today. No such luck. Monday will be here soon enough.

My mom has been having some difficulty with her medications... taking medicine and poor memory don't work well together. She also has a new prescription that seems to be making her sick. She spent one evening vomiting. It is very hard to be at work and at home and get the phone calls about what is happening with her when I can't drop everything and travel for 2 1/2 hours to be there with her. With my projects at work this week, it was very frustrating!

Mom has a spot in an assisted living community that will be available for her in early November. It is close to my home so it will be easy for me to visit her and take her out once she is moved. It is a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment and big enough for her to take her looms, and baby grand piano... both very important to her... as well as much of the furniture and belongings that she currently has in her home.

So... this weekend I will be helping her go through some of her things and pack up some of the stuff that she doesn't want to keep. I figure that as the things that she doesn't want to keep are removed from the house, the easier it will be when it gets down to the harder choices. Hopefully it will make her move much easier. I still have plenty of boxes and an ample supply of tape to get started. We'll start with sorting through her books...

Speaking of books... I am about to get settled in to read my new Harry Potter book. I just need to grab a nice cold beer from the refrigerator and change from my work clothes into some comfy pajamas. You all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Best Laid Plans of Mice And Men...

Well, I'm sad to say that I am losing my roommate. It seems she and her man have decided to be just friends, so she is heading back to Georgia in the next day or so. She plans on getting a job and going back to school to study to be a nurse. She also plans on visiting in the future when she can (likely for the Florida/Georgia football match in October). So tomorrow after work we will float in the pool and enjoy some Mimosas. It has really been a lot of fun having her staying in my home.

Lately, I have been following the episodes of The Next Internet Millionaire on the internet. Mostly, I am interested in the program because my daughter Allison's boyfriend Charles is one the twelve people who made it as a finalist. I especially enjoyed watching episode 4 tonight because Charles, who won't eat fish, pork, or a lot of other things, ate 2 worms. Not only did he eat them, but the way he ate them was hysterically funny... to me any way! You can watch any of the episodes or auditions for the program by going to the following site: The first episode was a little too long and a bit boring, but sets up how the other episodes unfold. By episode two you really get to see some of the personalities (negative and positive) emerging. There is a new episode each week until the final one sometime in November. I will continue to watch to see what Charles gets to do next. But it will be difficult to top the worm-eating that debuted tonight!

I am determined to finally start reading the latest Harry Potter book. It has been sitting in its box since the first day of distribution waiting for me to open it and start reading. Everyone that I have talked to that has already read the book has given it a thumbs up. I'll let you know what I think when I am done.

Anything Could Happen

I am looking forward to attending Blogstock '08 next summer. Although I know that I am going, I have yet to figure out what kind of accommodations I will be using. I'll have to ask Cliff if he is providing showers and toilets for everyone... perhaps a local motel will be my choice... with air conditioning! Knowing Cliff and Ralph, they will have everything well planned. It should be a fun time... but I am a little concerned about the toilets and showers...

Yup, I look forward to being let out of my cage! I have already used up this year's vacation days, so January will not be here soon enough! I am determined to plan better for next year's time off. I want to fit in a trip to Key West, Blogstock, a trip to somewhere I have never been before, and perhaps a short cruise. Key West can be a long weekend, but the others will take more time. I plan on taking my camera and getting lots of pictures... and lots of material for this blog. You never know... first I get dressed up as the Swedish Chef from the Muppets for "L"s house-warming-costume party... who knows what lies ahead!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Things Have Not Been Great...

...but I am still alive... and I have been trying to keep up with reading my favorite blogs even though I have not been posting.

The second baby bird died (was killed?) shortly after my last post. I found the little thing dead in the nest and mama bird no where to be seen. The next day the body had disappeared. It was sad... I had looked forward to watching the birds grow and leave the nest. Sigh.

My 82 year old mother has been having some memory problems and related health issues, so I have been trying to deal with that situation while still trying to figure out what to do about my own housing situation. Since I don't get alimony until the house sells, and the housing market does not look hopeful, it has been a bit difficult at times. I think that I may have figured a way to resolve some of that... it looks hopeful at any rate.

I now also have a roommate! Her name is Allison (same name as my youngest daughter) and she is the girlfriend of our new Youth Minister at church. I am really happy to have her here with me! She is a gem!

I am looking forward to attending Blogstock next year... I think it will be a wonderful time, and I look forward to meeting so many people in person that I have only known through blogs! Kudos to Ralph (Homespun Headlines) and Cliff Morrow(blog of the same name) for the idea and follow-through!

Things are looking brighter. I'll try to post more often so people don't forget me!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

One Baby Bird

Well, we are down to Mama and one baby bird. I am not sure what happened to the other baby... one morning it was just gone. Sigh. Life is not always fair. I will continue to enjoy watching the little guy that is left grow. Look how big he is already! I haven't seen the male parent, but I hear him all the time close by in a tree.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

They've Arrived!

Yes, we have two new baby Mourning Doves. If you look closely in the above photo, you can see one of the little heads peeking out from under Mama bird.

I have never been so close to newly hatched birds before. I am really excited! Yes, I know that probably means I lead a rather mundane existence, but it's okay for now. My next door neighbor suggested I name the mother bird, but I have not come up with anything yet. Suggestions are welcome. However, I have come up with names for the newly hatched... Heckle and Jeckle... just seems to fit.

Mama bird had gotten used to my presence until Heckle and Jeckle arrived. Now she is quite spooked about my being close to the nest. That is why I was able to get pictures of the babies. When I took the first picture, she flew from the nest and tried to do the injured-bird-to-distract-me-from-the-nest routine. I quickly closed the front door and left her alone. Hopefully, I will be able to get more pictures in a few days and as Heckle and Jeckle grow, but for now I don't want to panic Mama bird any more than is necessary to water the plant.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Convenient Birdwatching

I enjoy birds and am rather pleased to have such a close-up view of this rather dumb bird's nest. The nest is in a hanging planter immediately outside of my front door. I have to be careful not to spook mother bird every time I enter or leave the house. I took the picture of the eggs when mother bird got spooked when I was startled by almost stepping on an over 2 foot black snake slithering over my front door mat. I was not wearing shoes so it was not something I wanted to touch my bare foot!

To the best of my knowledge this bird is what is called a "Mourning Dove" and there are lots of them around. They seem to be fond of nesting in hanging potted plants. I keep trying to explain to her that I need to get some water into the pot to keep her "cover" alive. I am curious to see if these eggs will actually hatch. These really are very dumb birds.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy July 4th!!!

I hope that you have all had a wonderful holiday! We had a bit of rain, but there was still a lot of fireworks going off around here. I enjoyed dinner with my Italian neighbors and generally relaxed today. Tomorrow it is back to work!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Back At Work After A Great Trip To Austin

I has a wonderful mini-vacation in Austin, Texas over the Memorial Day weekend. It was fun playing tourist in a new place and learning a lot about Texas history. Below are some of the pictures I took that actually came out...

If you are ever in Austin, this building is a must! It is 3 stories of Texas history and quite intriguing! I knew very little about Texas history before this trip and could only retain a small portion of what I saw. My tour guide is quite a history buff, so that made it even more interesting to listen to his comments along with seeing and reading the exhibits.

This is a poor representation of a beautiful floor in the main lobby. I was so enthralled with everything, I forgot to take more pictures!

On the way from the museum to the state capitol, we passed the Diocese of Austin building...

and this statue... It is hard to see, but besides the book he is also holding a set of keys in his lower hand. Guess who!?!

Approaching the state capitol which my tour guide explained is actually larger than our capitol building in Washington DC.

My great tour guide/history buff

It is amusing to see these two portraits next to each other!

I was surprised to see the legislative session in gear on a Saturday of a holiday weekend!

This picture was taken at a wonderful Bistro that served German, Hungarian, etc. foods. It was scrumptious! I had something called Jaegerschnitzel, a cucumber salad, and fresh baked apple strudel. Yummy! Here my hosts, the Young brothers, are getting ready to enjoy their meal. Bryan, on the right, also fixed some great food at his home. We had steak at one meal, Brautwurst with a mustard and onion sauce at another, and on my first night there, Bryan took me to a great Mexican restaurant where I had the best chili rellenos I have ever had!

One of the highlights of my trip was to view the emergence at sundown of the largest urban bat population that happens to reside under a bridge in Austin. This picture was taken prior to the bats leaving the bridge. I don't know what these kayakers were thinking, but at least they had the good sense to be wearing jackets and hats!

It was hard to get a picture of the bats, but here you can see some of them. Once they start coming out they just keep coming! They stick together in a long snaking "flock" and then another, etc.

The low clouds in the night sky here are actually clouds of the bats... and at the same time, more bats are still coming out from under the bridge! It is quite a sight.

So now I am back at work. I am behind, but rejuvenated. It is crunch time to get the new accounting program that has just been installed in my new computer up and running and finish the budget. I am getting it done, but it will be close! I have never been this late with the budget before, but I will have it ready shortly in both formats... the old system and the new!