Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happiness is....

sometimes not found in our short-term activities, but in the long-term. Does that make sense to you? What I mean is that sometimes the actions you take today are not happy ones, but they are necessary for you to be happy in the long run. Say you are in a bad relationship. Leaving that relationship has to be hard and painful, but you know that the only way to be happy in the long run is to make the hard choice now. Like quitting smoking - it's so hard to do, but you know that the payoff is worth it. For me, recently, it was making the decision to not just gloss over my younger sister's bad behavior once again, but instead to say something to her and not back down. It was difficult. I was sick to my stomach about it and lost sleep, but I felt I had to finally say something or I was just enabling her to continue on her merry way. I hope that there will be a happy result in the future because I decide to take a stand - and will continue to take that stand with her. It can be so hard with anything - job changes, moving, relationships - to slog through the tough stuff - but you have to do it when the ultimate result is long-term happiness.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Holiday is Over

Yeah. It was a good holiday, but now things have gone sour. My sister's dog was not well behaved while here. To start with, I never should have agreed to let her leave him here while she stayed in the city with friends. She doesn't discipline her dog much. He's allowed on the furniture in her home - well now it's in my mother's home. We don't allow dogs on the furniture here. Try telling a little cocker spaniel that. He doesn't like that. In fact, if you try to remove him from the furniture, he'll try to bite you. Fun stuff. And he table surfs. Last year, at Thanksgiving at my mom's, he grabbed some really expensive pate that my cousin had brought. My sister didn't really take that behavior seriously. We had to put all the food in the center of the table on Thursday and then shove all the chairs in so that he couldn't get up on the table. He tried though. The topper came on Friday when she left his filled poopie bags on the concrete in front of the garbage bins. Did not put them in, left them in front. What's up with that? Did not call or leave a note to say "hey, didn't know where to put the poopie bags" just left them there. See - that's just a perfect picture of what my sister's life has been like - someone else is always there to pick up her mess.
So, I sent her a sarcastic e-mail asking if she just had bad aim or if she didn't think the garbage was the right place for poopie bags. First I get a "sorry, someone else left one of his poopie bags there, so I thought that was the right place" huh? Then I get an e-mail saying "why did you have to be so nasty about it?....Clearly you and A were annoyed to have him at your house." So - I responded. Well - we're now having a war of e-mails. The bottom line is that my sister is not a responsible dog owner. In fact, she's pretty much not responsible at all. She doesn't think things through. There is a reason, beyond the economy, why she is unemployed and living with her mother at age 39. She doesn't understand the concept of a budget. She doesn't plan period. Oh - and she blames that on the fact that when she was young, our father died and our mother "was dying". Okay - Mom had cancer, but was never told she was going to die, never was I ever told that my mother came close to dying. And - oh by the way - she's been clean for almost 30 years. I think it's time for little sister to get over it. And yes, daddy died when she was young. It happened. You can't undo it. You can only live with it, deal with it, cope with the reality you were dealt. You can't use it as a crutch for the rest of your life.
So - back to the e-mail war. I told my sister that she needed to get her dog to behave better, that it wasn't the responsibility of the hosts in any home she visits to keep her dog off the furniture and to keep him away from the food serving area. Well - how dare I! It is not my place to say anything about how he behaves when he is elsewhere - only in my home. Yup - not my problem - that's her problem and the problem of whoever she is visiting. Oh - and I shouldn't have dumped on her when she doesn't have a job, had to move in with mom, etc. Yup - should let her skate, let her make our frustrations with her dogs behavior not about him being a bad dog, it's all about A & I being mean people. Oh - and A& I are obsessed with Boomer's behavior. Uh - just trying to be responsible dog owners - like we don't want Boomer biting anyone or destroying their furniture.
It's always about someone else with her - never about her. Back to the bit about she just doesn't think - Thanksgiving weekend, she was moving from NYC to my mom's. My older sister agreed to front her the cost of moving. Well, first thing, she never discussed with older sister how exactly she was going to arrange to pay the movers. Not until the day of the move. It's not as though older sister was going to be only 5 minutes away and could just run over with a check. Last year around the same time, younger sister was unemployed and put off looking for cheaper apartments until it was too late for her to move, she had no choice but to renew her expensive mid-town Manhattan apartment. One of the issues that caused her to lose the job before this one was her desire for too much time off. She wanted to go to the Cape practically every weekend. It was her "respite" and she just had to go. New in a job, she took much more than 2 weeks vacation, which was what she was allotted, so some of it was unpaid. What does that say to the boss?
Okay - I should stop ranting. I'm just at a point where I'm really pissed. She is not responsible with her dog - with anything. I pointed out to her that she needed to be more responsible with the dog and she's turned it around to how horrible I am. I don't know where the end will be. Will it be the next time someone tries to get him off their furniture and he's successful with the biting attempt? Will she be responsible then? Will it be when he ruins a dinner party by getting on the table and eating the food? Will she be responsible then? And we're only talking about being responsible for the dog, not her life. Or will it be when she's letting him run around off his leash outside and he gets hit by a car? Will she start being responsible then? When do I stop being the ogre in her eyes? Will she still be in this mode over the summer when A & I go up to the Cape for vacation? When does she open her eyes and realize that it is really about her, no one else and it is up to her to make some changes?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time for a Boomer post

I love my dog. He provides us love and entertainment. It's been fun watching him navigate the snow this weekend. Watching him prance through the new snow was fun. Now that it's been beaten down into paths, he follows them carefully. He's just too cute. We had guests for dinner Saturday night. Boomer was in doggie heaven. He was getting loving from all angles. He was so well behaved too. I was very proud of him. Our guests got a laugh when Boomer put himself to bed around 10:30. He's got such a personality. It will be fun tomorrow when my sister arrives with her dog. It will be madness on Thursday when A's brother and SIL arrive with theirs!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Photos

These are some shots of our tree, some of my favorite ornaments and, of course, a shot of Boomer the Christmas dog.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happiness is....

....having your own spot. Do you have a favorite spot where you curl up to read a book or settle in to knit? I'll bet we all have them. Mine is the left side of the love seat in our living room. A's seems to be the couch. Even Boomer has a spot - actually more than one. Downstairs, he has a rug by the back door that is his spot. On the third floor, we have a blanket on the floor that is his spot. I am planning on going back to one of my old favorite spots - my grandfather's chair. Pop Pop had this great old easy chair with a hassock - it's older than me, so it must be an antique now. I kind of scammed possession of it years ago. As kids, we used to fight over who got to sit in it. Now, it's mine. It's up on our third floor, just itching for me to use it again. I think I need to do that. There's a spring in it that makes a noise when you sit just so. That sound is a memory from childhood that when I hear it, just brings warm, fuzzy feelings. Definitely need to get back into using that chair. It's part of my history. Some day, I'll pass it on to one of my cousins' children, so that they too can enjoy it, hear that spring twang and feel happy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Some days - it's just WHAM

Some days, just when I think I'm doing okay with the whole childless future - WHAM. I don't always understand why it hits when it does. Today was the Christmas party at A's firehouse. I know darn well this is something focused on the kids. But I figured I would be fine. I know most of the wives now and they are all so nice. It's completely unlike his old firehouse. I just wasn't prepared though. While at the party, I found out that one of the other wives was expecting twins. I'm happy for them. They had previously suffered a loss and they are such a nice couple - this is great for them. I think it just hit me that I'll never have a place in that world. I have a good life. I'm doing okay with working on being happy and finding the good in our childless future, but there will always be a sadness in my heart. Some days it pops up when I'm not prepared for it and today was one of those days.

It didn't help today that I felt kind of annoyed about Christmas arrangements. We - that is A and I - were invited to go to my cousin's house for Christmas. That's where we are going. The last two years, I did Christmas dinner at our house. And that's I - not we - as A has had to work the last two Christmases. Today, his mother called to discuss how we are going to spend time with his family for Christmas. They are all coming here on Christmas day. I'm feeling resentful. How has it become our responsibility all the time? Well - because my BIL and his wife don't help. She has to go to her family every year in New Jersey, so we are a convenient stopover for them on their way home. I'm also kind of stuck with my family. They understandably want to come home to CT each year to spend the holiday with aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and cousins. Only problem is that I'm the only one who has a house in the area. So, if we wanted to go to A's parents home in Eastern CT or his brother's home in Maine, I'm kind of stuck because of my family. So I'm being pissy today because I feel like it's not fair.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Photos

Once again, Boomer is the star of our Christmas cards. The first picture was the winner, the rest are just for fun.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happiness is...

...a good butt scratch. Okay - it's not really a butt scratch, but it's close. The dog positively loves to have the area right above and to the sides of his tail scratched. He dances when you do it. It's the cutest damn thing. Clearly, he's found happiness in those moments - nirvana even. He also loves a good belly rub and chin scratch and the old behind his ears scratch - but he doesn't dance for those. Just the butt scratch.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Folding Laundry - a Revelation

Yeah - a revelation. Seriously. I was folding laundry yesterday with A. While we were doing it, I realized that he folds up socks differently from the way I do it. I've long known that he folds shirts differently. It made me think that marriage is not just combining of lives, it's combining of the way you do things. It's an area where you can change, grow, teach or be stubborn. We all grow up learning to do things from our parents. A learned one way to fold a shirt, I learned another. He puts the toilet paper on a different way - I'm an underroll person, he's an overroll. We make beds differently, fold things differently, cook differently - all sorts of things. Some areas we've kind of melded. More often than not, I'll fold shirts his way. But I still do the toilet paper my way. It's just kind of interesting to me - all the little things that we learn and how they are part of the constant compromise of marriage.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Photos

Just a few pictures - Boomer trying out his new coat and his Santa hat. The table loaded with china and crystal for Thanksgiving dinner. And Boomer guarding the table!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Happiness is....

...hanging with a friend. This is Boomer with my brother-in-law on Thanksgiving Day. They had a good time playing together, then they just chilled out.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What's in a name?

Kate isn't my formal name - that's Kathleen. I like my formal name for being formal - it's kind of elegant. I like names that have nicknames. Mine has several nicknames, but I've always been Kate or Katie. I wonder - will I ever be too old to be called Katie? Is there a point where the nickname with the cute little "ee" sound at the end should be dropped? Like my cousin Jimmy (I have a lot of those) who is in his 60s. Is it time to start calling him Jim? My husband's name has no nicknames. His parents will sometimes shorten it to the first syllable - but I don't like that. It's like calling Mary "Mare" or Dylan "Dill". That's not to say that there's anything wrong with names with no easy nicknames - some of them are so beautiful and elegant - like Julia or Aimee.

When you have a name like mine, that can have several nicknames, things can get tricky. People tend to assume I'm a Kathy. I don't care for that name. I don't need a reason beyond the fact that - well - it's not my name. But then there's the memory of the Chatty Cathy doll. And there's my brother's old girlfriend Cathy. Yeah - don't call me Kathy. You would be amazed though at the people who see Kathleen and just assume they should call me Kathy. It's presumptuous - maybe I don't use a nickname at all and if I do use one, do you know me well enough to be using it? My personal opinion, if you don't know a person's nickname, don't attempt to use one. Better to be safe than sorry. Give me the opportunity to say "Please, call me Kate."

Names are important, because they are ours. They are personal. They are one of the most personal things about us. We don't (usually) choose them for ourselves, but they are ours like nothing else. Names are the first things we owned.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Holiday Weekend Recap

Well - I really fell down on the job with NaBloPoMo at the end. My holiday weekend was kind of hectic, so it was pretty much unavoidable. But - I'm doing a recap post with pics to follow later. Warning - somewhere in the Saturday recap will be a discussion of food poisoning.

Thursday - the day went really well. The dog loved having everybody at the house. My mom & sister helped me finish getting things ready in the morning. A & I were up early to start the cooking. He made us pancakes for breakfast. Dinner was delicious. The company was lovely. I did have to tell my brother-in-law to take off his hat at the dinner table. Everybody helped with the dinner/clean-up in some way - well except that same brother-in-law - which was nice. My father-in-law was quite the leftover dish man. I just kept feeding him plastic containers and he got it all done. Then we sat back, watched football -did the football suck that day or what - and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

Friday - dropped the dog off early. While I was doing that, my mom & sister emptied the dishwasher and put away the china & silver - how awesome are they! When I got back, we loaded them up with leftovers and packed up the car and they headed back to Mass. (On Sunday when the dog came home, he went looking for them - so cute.) We got packed up to go to the wedding. Unfortunately, our friends that were riding with us are not so prompt, so we were later getting to the hotel than we wanted, which translated to being late to the wedding. I know I'm always late for work - but when I have to be somewhere on time - I get there on time. I just can't understand their casual attitude towards being on time. Even after A told them that we would be ready to leave for the church in 10 minutes - they took 20. Whatever. The wedding was lovely. The reception was great too. But - about an hour into the reception, they guys from the groom's firehouse (A's old firehouse) started getting calls. Their firehouse was on fire. I thought it had to be a joke at first. It wasn't. I felt so bad for them. They made a pact not to tell the groom and to get his brother to separate him from his cell phone. He did find out by the end of the reception somehow. One weird thing at the reception - there were no slow songs to dance to. We had a blast and danced most of the night - as my sore feet will witness - but I do like to dance to slow songs with A. Oh well. The food was good - or was it? See Saturday!

Saturday - we hit the road relatively early, which we needed to do because we had to go home, repack and head back out to A's high school reunion. We had a quick snack-breakfast at the hotel, then went to a diner for eggs. We made good time getting home, dropped the friends off. We repacked and headed out to Eastern CT for the reunion. It was a little weird for me, being the spouse and not knowing anyone, but A's high school friends were very nice. We got quite a lot of "do you have kids" questions. I don't know why it never occurred to me that we would hear that a lot, but I must be getting better because it didn't set me off crying or anything. The food was good - or was it? After dinner, I started feeling uncomfortable. You know that feeling when your control top pantyhose feels like it's strangling you and all you want to do is get it off? That was it. I did not feel right. So, I told A and went up to the room. After removing the offending garment, I was so bloated, I looked about 6 months pregnant. I had time to get into my pjs before it started. I must have had food poisoning. Basically, for the rest of the night, I was puking at least once an hour. In fact at one point, it seemed like it was every hour on the hour, so I started checking the clock and I was right. Somewhere along the line, the food poisoning made itself known on the other end as well. I was miserable.

Sunday - I stopped puking around 5:30 am, but wasn't done with other aspects of the food poisoning. I cried. I just wanted to go home - but didn't know how far we would make it in the car without needing to stop. Thankfully, I got a little imodium and some gatorade in me and made it home. I spent the rest of the day in bed watching the Giants beat the Redskins. Then I switched to a show about fancy cakes - very cool stuff. The Jets weren't nearly as interesting as a Faberge Egg cake and a cake that looked like a stack of French toast. So - no more puking, no more other stuff, just tired as all get out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happiness is....

...having two happy ideas to post! I do this happiness thing because I want to be sure to put some focus on happy things in my life. Too often I can get bogged down in the sad things that have happened, so every week, I try to think of something that has made me happy over the past week and that is my "Happiness is" blog. So, this week I have two that I was trying to decide between and said "Hey, it's my blog, I can do both." So..

A) Happiness is...your husband stepping up to the plate and getting the "guests are coming cleaning" done when you can't. On Monday, I got informed that I would have a BOF sub-committee meeting early Tuesday, then a full Board meeting that night. There went my plans for leaving work at noon for a trip to the storage unit, trip to the mall and finishing up the cleaning before Mom & big sister arrive on Wednesday. Well, A really stepped up. He cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed the whole house. When I got home from work Tuesday night, all I had to do was dust, put away some laundry and do some general tidying up.

B) Happiness excited greeting from my puppy dog when I get home from work. I got home last night and was greeted by a wagging tail and excited doggie kisses. I think that dogs were one of God's greatest creations. Boomer is nothing but a love bucket - giving and taking love as needed. He provides entertainment and solace. And when you've had a long day at work, it's so nice to come home to see that whole little body wagging with happiness.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Dog and his toys

My dog loves his toys. We've seen a remarkable change in him as we attempted to control his dominant nature. He no longer destroys his toys. Oh - he'll put holes in them and kill the squeakers and occasionally pull out the stuffing. But it's different now, where he used to destroy them - I mean pull out all the stuffing, rip apart the fabric, pull out the squeakers all within about 30 minutes - now his toys last for months. So - he's getting to have a lot of them. It's our fault. We buy them. We love to see him with his new toys. He's cute with how he likes to carry them around. He's got a bunch in his bed. Another group in his spot in the attic and then another bunch in a basket downstairs. He knows how to get them out of the basket. Unfortunately, he hasn't got the trick of putting them back yet. He just loves toys. He loves them so much, that we have to limit his trips to the pet store. We took him on Sunday to buy a new coat. (He gets cold in the winter and is a short haired dog, so he needs the coat.) All that dog did at the store was cry. It wasn't because he could see other dogs there - he wasn't much interested in them. He could see the toys. After picking out a coat, we headed over to the toys to "let him pick one out". HA! That dog was in doggie heaven. He was bopping all sorts of toys with his nose, pulling A from one section to the next. We finally decided on George the Gingerbread Man. (I name his toys.) George has a couple of love bites, but he still has all his appendages and both his eyes. This time last year, George would be in the garbage by now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I think I'm ready?

We still have to do some shopping, but I think I'm ready for Thanksgiving. The regular cleaning we've engaged in the last month or so has paid off. Tonight, we'll clean the kitchen. Tomorrow the bathroom. I'll vacuum tomorrow night or Wednesday night - or both. The guest room is ready to go, just needs a dusting. The bulk of the work in the office/den/guest room is done, it just needs a vacuum pass and some incidental tidying. Now, it's not necessarily "Aunt Alice" clean - which is clean beyond belief, nothing unnecessary out on a table or shelf, etc - but it will be presentable for guests, which is my goal. Oh - except for the master bedroom. That's the room that we leave to the last and I think the door may need to stay shut. Oh well.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Please say a prayer

A member of the FDNY died today fighting a fire on Staten Island. Please say a prayer for his family and his fellow firefighters. As the wife of a firefighter, you know that everytime you kiss your loved one goodbye before a tour, that may be the last time you do so. We all have our ways of dealing with it. I wear a St. Florian's medal whenever A is on duty and I don't listen to the scanner. I trust in the men with whom A works. They are highly skilled and devoted to their jobs, but I know things happen. It's a dangerous job. So again, please say a prayer.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Busy Saturday

Not much time to blog today. I've got lots to do. There's laundry, vacuuming, dusting, general tidying up and walking the dog. Which he wants me to do right now. Do you know how hard it is to type with a doggies nose stuck in between your hands? He wants what he wants! And he's getting it. See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Photos

These are some shots I took one day recently while A and I walked the dog.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I'm just not ready for it - but it was here this morning. Someone needs to tell Mother Nature that winter is still a month off. I won't linger - but really - I just wasn't ready to see snow when I walked out the door this morning. Couldn't it wait at least until after Thanksgiving? And along those same lines - do radio stations really need to be playing Christmas music already? Someone in my neighborhood already has a creche out. I'm just not ready. Give me at least until Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happiness is...

...a new vanity/sink in my bathroom. Silly right? Nope. It really has made me very happy that we replaced the sink and put a new one in that is part of a vanity. YAY! Here are pics of the old and the new.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday, November 18th

Twenty-seven years ago today, my life changed dramatically. My father died suddenly that day. I was in college. The memories of that day haven't faded, despite the passage of time. The pain has eased, although it pops up at times. Mostly what I'm left with is loving memories and a hope that he knows we're okay and that he approves of where we've gone with our lives. My dad was a very good man. He was honest. He was loyal. He was smart and quirky. He was driven - a real type A. He was the son of Irish immigrants who lost his own father when he was only nine. He never finished college, having been called into the service during his college years. He was a very hard worker. He didn't cook much, but he would come home at lunchtime even during the winter to cook himself hot dogs on the grill. He tried to be the tough guy, but we knew he came home to check on the dog when he was sick. He cried when my mother's cancer was diagnosed. He was easily manipulated by a pouting daughter. He taught us to drive - maybe not a good thing for other drivers out there! He loved my mother and was proud of what she accomplished in her work life. He never made as much money as my mother, but was never bothered by that. He fixed things around the house and built things around the house. He saved the pumps and engines from every appliance that we tossed. He loved sports - baseball and football especially. He learned to play golf - but was not that good at it. He tried to teach us to dance. He loved Julie Andrews. He had bad taste in furniture and was pretty much color blind when it came to clothes. He loved his old Cadillac. He was particular about food. He liked to tease and was not above being teased himself. He loved us and we loved him. He is missed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Even if I didn't know it was Monday...

...I would know. It started off with me looking for my house keys. They were not by the door where I normally leave them. They were not in the coat I wore to the store yesterday. They were not in the jeans I wore yesterday. Not in my bedroom, not in the car, not in my purse, not in the basket with the spare car keys. It was looking like doggie was not getting his morning walk, when I realized it was Monday. I did something smart and then promptly forgot. I had already put my winter coat on because it was barely above freezing. This coat has a multitude of pockets. So, as I loaded up with poopie bags, I also put my house keys in one of the pockets where I thought they would be safest - least likely to fall out when picking up poops. I zipped up the pocket and forgot I had done it.

Then of course - still being Monday - we run into the animal I lovingly refer to as the Fucking Dachshund. (Apologies to my friends/readers who have adorable dachshunds.) We seem to always cross paths around the same spot on our morning walks. As I approach the end of S Avenue, I look through this one yard down M Street to see if the damn dog is coming. Well, he was. Boomer and I quickly cross the street, but the dachshund starts barking at him, getting Boomer all excited. I just really didn't need that.

Then, get to work. I know I have one staff member who needs to be out soon for surgery. I've been trying to balance his needs with the one who wants to be with her daughter when she has her baby. I was hoping that the dates would coordinate a little so I could accommodate the one to some extent since I have no choice with the other and do this all while not placing too large a burden on myself and the one other staff member who is going to want time off in January when her daughter gives birth. Well, I got the surgery date today and it won't be easy. Oh - and did I mention that December is when I have to wrap up the audit filing, send my audits off to a dozen places and file for the coveted CAFR award, start working on not just my budget but helping other people with theirs? We'll have to see what we can manage. ARRGH! Is it Friday yet?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This is a catty blog post

I went to a wedding last night. It was fun. I love weddings. I love dancing and watching others dance. I'm not that good a dancer - but what the heck I have fun dancing and I don't think I look as bad at it as some others do. There's generally some coordination to my movement. Not too many people out there last night were good either. My worst dancing move of the night? Well two worst - tipped over a little when going low doing the twist and - really bad - at one point, I caught myself starting to do the White Man's Overbight. EEEK! It can be really funny - if you are sober - to watch the drunker guests dance with abandon, but not much skill. It was enjoyable, seriously, to watch this cute little 3 or 4 year old flower girl dance with abandon but not much skill. She was so cute and having such a grand time!

So - here comes the cattiness. Ladies - Foundation garments! Seriously. That tight dress does nothing for your little tummy pooch. You may be thin, but you still have a pooch honey. And you over there - well - a comparison to a sausage would be unkind - to the sausage. Dresses that give you four boobs are never attractive. Black stockings with a silver dress? I don't know. I suppose some fashion insider may tell me it's in, but I just don't like it. Me?
The hanger straps on my dress kept slipping out. I need to cut those off - terribly tacky when they are peeking out the side of your dress.

There were a couple of women there who did not have great bodies - but their dresses were fabulous and totally appropriate for them. There was one in particular who accessorized fabulously as well. And she was a good dancer. I wanted to ask her what the secret was! It really goes to show that you don't have to have the best body to look the best.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nature or Nurture?

I know where I got my brown hair from and my brown/hazel nearsighted eyes and the big boobs. But where did I get my tendency to procrastinate from? And my lack of enthusiasm for housecleaning? Are we born that way or do we become that way? Do I have a gene for procrastination like I do for straight hair? I seriously don't think that either of my parents were procrastinators. Why am I? Is it something about the birth order?
Sometimes, I wish I had been born a neatnik - not obsessively so, but I do wish that I were more inclined to be a more diligent housekeeper. Was it because I was potty trained too late? Nah - not going for that theory that if you are potty trained early, you'll become an anal neat freak. My brother is living proof. Anyway, it's not that our house is dirty, but we have a lot of stuff and we don't seem to be good about putting it away or tossing it. My mother was definitely more relaxed about housecleaning than her sister. Maybe that's it - being like Mom? But my dad could be kind of obsessive about it - so why am I not like Dad? I think that my father would be horrified if he could see my office! Because I am a creature of habit, I believe that I can work organization into my life if I make it a habit. The problem is making it a habit. Sometimes life and work just get in the way. I was going good for a while there at work where I would file things away promptly and I would take an hour at the end of the day to clear out the clutter on my desk. Then, I got overloaded with work for a while and 'poof' that habit vanished. I'm trying now with the house to be in the habit of doing minor cleaning of some sort each night, to avoid the buildup of major cleaning needs. I just have to keep at it until it becomes a habit and then I think I can do it. And hey! That's another nature or nurture question - why am I such a creature of habit? Was my mom that way? or my dad? or maybe it's that I'm a Virgo? eh - who knows. Saturday's chores are to do the linens and dust. I better get on it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Photos

I took a photography class recently. It turned out to be more about fixing photos in photoshop rather than about how to take photos and use the settings on my camera. That was disappointing. But, I must say it was very cool to learn how to fix the photos - remove color casts, remove objects, improve the image - like thin up a person, etc. So - here are a couple of shots I took with the wrong white balance setting - giving them a blue cast. And then you can see how they look fixed up. And for those of you who are observant - I changed something else in the second set (the 2 men at the grill). Let me know if you can tell what it was.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

a yucky Thursday

It's grey and dismal and wet out. This is the kind of day that is made for staying inside by a fire with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book to read. Instead, I had to be at work early for a meeting with the big shots to decide how to close our anticipated budget gap. We also discussed what to expect in the coming budget. So - not a fun topic. We are not at the point of layoffs. We are delaying projects though. That has turned one of my favorite department heads into a whiny little boy. Hey - we're just doing what needs to be done.
Anyway - life is good in other areas. I need to do some tidying up around the house today, but in general the regular cleaning schedule is really working. I am managing to stay under my goal weight. It will be a challenge with all of the holidays and associated parties coming up - not to mention two weddings and A's high school reunion. Yes - I am going. He wised up and invited me. I'm having fun with my camera. I'll be showing off some more pictures tomorrow. The Boom Doggie is as entertaining as ever - like last night when he was trying to figure out how to navigate the stairs with a big stuffed animal in his mouth. He ended up giving up!
So - onto tomorrow - Friday! My favorite day of the week!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happiness is...

...sleeping in your own bed. I love my bed. I sleep well in my bed. I have difficulty sleeping in strange beds. Usually after a night or two in a strange bed, I sleep okay. The one exception is my mother's house. I think it's something to do with being on the Cape, something in the air that just makes me always sleep well there. Come to think about it, I always sleep well at my sister's house on the Cape too - so it must be the air. I am envious of people who can fall asleep anywhere - in the car, on a train, on a plane. I can't. I'll sometimes fall asleep in the car or on a plane, but not easily, certainly not quickly. The first night back from a trip - sleep always feels better, back in my own bed with my very comfortable mattress. Definitely a happy thing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two for Tuesday

Well - it's really Three for Tuesday. That's how many times I've been to Home Depot today. This all started with both of us being off, so some projects needed to get done. One was to level the fridge. The fact that it wasn't level was causing us to not have a seal on the freezer, which caused problems. The second project was to replace the faucet on the bathroom sink. This turned into replacing the sink itself. After we - well Aron - got started, it turned into one of those experiences that only people who own old homes can really truly appreciate. So - three trips to Home Depot, but it's finally in, working and beautiful. Now, back to the fridge. While Aron's been doing his thing, I've been trying to rein in the paper explosion in the attic office/guest room. I really need to find out how long I should save bills and such, because I think I keep way more than I need to keep. The other thing I need to do is set myself the task of once per month, sorting through the bills and paperwork and toss, shred and file as appropriate. It's my best shot at keeping it under control.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Morning Quarterback

Okay - I'm not really being a Monday Morning Quarterback - but I am blogging about football. Last night, my beloved NY Giants beat the hated Philadelphia Iggles. I hate night games though. It messes with my bedtime. I do admit that I will sometimes turn the Giants off if a night game is going really late - but usually only if they have the game in hand or it's out of hand. I can't do that when they are playing the Iggles though. Remember The Fumble? I do. Joe Pisarcik to Larry Csonka to Herman Edwards for a touchdown. Only problem is - the last guy on the play was not a Giant. All they had to do was take a knee. Somethings we just never get over. Anyway - last night, the Giants controlled the game. They also beat a couple of challenges - one because of a quirky rule - that the QB is not over the line of scrimmage if one part of his body remains behind the line. Last night, that one part was Eli Manning's heel. Yup - his heel. Hey - we'll take it. I had two concerns last night - the defensive secondary gave up a few too many long passes for my liking and we had to settle for field goals twice when down in the red zone. But - we won the game. I'm a little tired, but happy.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Reality TV for dogs

Today's blog is inspired by a comment on my Friday Photos. The doggie in the doorway is, of course, my beloved Boomer. He is an endless source of amusement for me. And the door business is a good example. We were at the Cape, staying at my sister's house. The dog was just beside himself - 2 doors to look out. We have none at home that he can look out. So, this was his routine...look out the front door for 5 minutes, trot to the back door and look out that one for 5 minutes, back to the front door, back to the back door and so on. He just loves to stand there and watch the world. I think it must be like "Reality TV for dogs". I could probably do a photographic series entitled "Doggie at the Door." :)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I miss my paperman

We have a paperman - well, could be a paperwoman, but it's definitely an adult because they drive to deliver. Anyway, our regular paperperson seems to be missing or on vacation or - gulp - moved on. I've gotten quite used to having our paper delivered before 6 am on weekdays and before 7 on weekends. I love to read the paper while eating breakfast. It's a habit I developed in college when I often ate breakfast alone. I needed something to occupy me. Today, the papers came late again - although interestingly, the paperperson was talented enough to land the papers on our front porch! All in all, I would rather have them early though.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Photos

Well - I forgot to upload my latest photos. I was going to show you some of the magic of Photoshop. So - here are some oldies but goodies. - well except for the one with the polka dots - that's me as a ghost on Halloween.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Unvoiced Expectations

We all have expectations. Many times, we do not voice them. That can lead to disappointment, hurt feelings and anger. If your expectations are important to you, you need to voice them. You can not simply assume that others know what you want and will comply.

As you might guess, this is the subject of my blog today because it's happened in my world. My in-laws will be celebrating their 40th anniversary soon. They want to celebrate with their children. What a happy event to be a part of, and with two lovely people - what could be the problem? Unvoiced expectations would be the problem.

To make a long story short - all we were aware was happening this weekend was dinner with A's family Saturday night. Apparently A's parents expected more of a two day affair, including us spending the night on Saturday. We are not doing this. A already had committed to teach a class on Saturday and Sunday when the invitation to dinner was extended. As this didn't impact our ability to go to dinner, he did not back out of the class. We didn't know there were expectatons that we would be with the family for more than dinner. There may now be some hurt on the part of his parents that we are not falling in with all the plans they had, but how could we, when they never voiced those expectations to us. It's just really sad, because they really are such nice people and this is a special occasion. I want it to be a happy one. I hate to think that any kind of damper has been put on the celebration because of unvoiced - and now unfulfilled - expectations.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Happiness is...

... a good win. I'm pleased with the election results. Obama was not my first choice, that person was not on the ballot. He was the candidate whose positions best aligned with mine. I might have to pay higher taxes under him - we're in that bubble area that's not assured of more or less. I'm a little concerned about his lack of experience, but I think he was the best choice for me and for the country. I hope he does a good job. I think he has a heavier burden than most incoming presidents. He has to be better than the average. As the first black man elected president, he has to really not suck, or it may be generations before we see another black man - or see a black woman - elected. I am happy with the apparent indication that this country looked beyond race in voting yesterday.

I feel badly for those McCain supporters who supported him because they agreed with his policies. I want to send a big raspberry to hate mongers who, in support of McCain, told lies and tried to stir fear in Americans. I wish that I could believe these people might someday open their minds, but I don't see that happening. I was saddened by McCain's descent to the low road towards the end of the campaign, but I really feel that he redeemed himself last night. He showed himself to be gracious in losing. He is a fine man, a fine American. He has served his country and his constituents well and I hope he continues to do so in the years to come.

I am happy that 01/20/09 is in sight! Goodbye George. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

Get out and vote. It's important. It's both a right and a responsibility.

And then - rejoice - the campaign ads will be done, newspaper reports, tv reports - all of that done - for two years anyway. I think there ought to be some kind of law prohibiting campaigning more than one year before the election.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday, Monday

Some people I know - friends, bloggers - are doing NaBloPoMo. I'm not sure I'm up for it, so I'm not committing. And I've missed two days already anyway, but we'll see if I can do it for the rest of the month.

I have been thinking about what to blog today. I had thought about doing a political endorsement. But I have other thoughts running through my head - so you're getting one of those random thought posts.

First the endorsement. I am voting for Barack Obama. He's not my ideal candidate, but of my options, his plans, policies, positions, etc coordinate best with my views. I had given John McCain serious consideration, but his choice of running mates made it impossible for me to vote for him. My decision to go with Obama has only been strengthened since. Sadly though, it's not so much what Obama has said since the conventions, but rather what McCain has said. I am saddened by the tone McCain has taken. I really feel that he has gone for the low road. There have been times when he has tried to move away from that, but for the most part, he and Palin have stayed down there. So, it's Obama for me. That's all rather brief and simplistic - trust me I could go on for paragraphs, but I have other stuff to say.

Next - A's high school reunion is coming up the weekend of Thanksgiving. A told me this weekend that he is thinking of going. I asked "are you planning to take me?" He said "no, you would be bored." Well, yeah maybe. But I'm your freakin' wife buddy. You should at least ask me to go with you. Let me make the choice. You should be wanting to show me off at the reunion, not ditch me at home so you can have fun without me.

The good and the bad of the weekend - UCONN lost, NY Giants won. UCONN could have beaten West Virginia, but they made too many mistakes to beat a good WVU team. The Giants played pretty well - with the exception of a couple of Eli turnovers - and they beat the evil Cowboys. Back to college football for a moment...I have a real dislike for these teams who run a flag around the end zone as part of their "we scored" ritual. I have no rational reason for it, just don't like it.

Last - I've been sticking below my goal weight pretty well. Halloween is a challenging time. The candy is so tempting. It took real effort for me yesterday to not over indulge. I had two pieces and then had to STAY AWAY because it could very easily have turned to twenty-two pieces very quickly.

Okay - I think I'm done for the day. Maybe I'll see you tomorrow. Don't forget to vote!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Photos

Would you believe that I had never carved a pumpkin before last night? Yup - it's true. Mom & Dad just weren't into it when I was a kid. So, last night was my first. Truth is, A did a lot of the work, but I helped. I don't know if I'll ever do it again because it is a lot of work. I can understand why Mom & Dad didn't do it! Anyway - enough chatter - here are some pictures of my first pumpkin!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happiness is....

....getting brownie points with just a phone call. Huh? I don't get it you say? Here's the deal. I called Aunt B and invited her and Uncle B to Thanksgiving Dinner at my house. They can not join us as they had already accepted another invitation (which I kind of expected), but I scored major brownie points with Aunt B just for inviting them. And, since, if they had come, they would have pushed us to the limit space-wise, it's a win-win. I get the brownie points, but I don't have to worry about a crowded table. It should be noted that when Aunt B was the new wife (Uncle B is Mom's brother) she didn't do enough inviting of The Aunts to her house and they didn't like her for it. When I refer to "The Aunts" I mean my mother's bunch of aunts - and they were a bunch. My grandmother was the oldest of 8, 6 girls 2 boys. They were quite the group. A large boisterous Irish family was maybe a bit difficult for Aunt B - she was an only child from a much quieter family. I can see how inviting The Aunts would be a bit - um - scary? I mean - these are people who had a fight over who was the youngest. And it was a water fight. They were in their 40s & 50s - well except for Mary, who was the youngest, she was 39. One more thing to say about The Aunts - and The Uncles. One of my mother's cousins once said to her mother "Your mother raised two sane children, and you weren't one of them." Truer things are rarely said.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Why do middle aged men - or worse post middle aged men - buy cars like the Porsche Carrera and then drive slow? There is just something wrong with that.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

*College football is fun. I really enjoy going to UCONN games from the tailgating to the game itself. I do wish that they didn't sell alcohol at the games (they can because it's off-campus) because I find that it can lead to stupidity on the part of some fans.
*I planted a bunch of flowers today - 12 in fact. There are only 11 left to make it to summer. I just took the dog out to do his business and some rodent has already taken one of the daisies I planted. I was so pissed. I suppose I should be glad it was just one.
*I made pumpkin biscotti for the tailgate yesterday. It turned out well. I'll have to do that one again.
*Tailgating in the cold is not good when you are nursing a cold or sinus thing or whatever the heck this thing is.
*We are into something like week 4 of our little "keep the house clean" project. We've got different chores to do each night except Friday. I'm finding it's not so hard to keep up with the cleaning by breaking it up like that. It doesn't take long each night to do the assigned chore and the result is well worth it.
*We had our first freeze and that spelled the end of the dahlias. The garden along our back fence looks so bare now. I also took a crack at pruning my roses.
*I just saw a commercial with Kobe Bryant, A-Rod, Michael Phelps and some guy I don't know - they were doing the Tom Cruise bit singing "Old Time Rock 'n Roll" in their undies and button down shirts. Commercial is for guitar hero. I bet it was fun to make for those guys.
*I think that pro football refs look stupid in the long pants uniform.
*I want to dress up for Halloween for work, but I have no idea what to wear.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Photos

I'm taking a photography course. So I thought I would post some of my homework! We were to take portraits with the cameras on aperture priority mode and the aperture wide open. So - here are my boys.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happiness is....

...a resignation from the Board I staff. YAYAYAY I've been waiting for this one. I knew it had to come sooner or later. It happened last night at about 10:30 pm. I was not expecting it. I thought he would wait until he had sold his house and had to resign because he was leaving town. But - he's going a little early. I wanted to call my boss and tell her - but it was kind of late. As I was leaving, I saw the light on in another office, went in and found one of my colleagues, so I did my happy dance and told him the news. There will be happy employees throughout Town Hall today. This is a mean man. This is an angry man. It was actually kind of amusing sometimes to watch him get angry at a meeting and turn purple - seriously his whole head would turn this kind of reddish purple. So, off into the sunset he goes. Now - the interesting thing in all this is who might they put in his place. Given the makeup of the current board, I think they will choose someone intelligent, reasonable and not given to the nastiness that we sometimes saw from our former member.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just can't wrap my head around it

My friend Patrick died yesterday morning. I've known for a week or so that it was coming. I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around it. Patrick had a bigger than life personality. He was just so much fun - so lively, funny, carefree and also intelligent and caring. It's hard to imagine that much life just going away. I've only known Patrick for a couple of years - but that was sure long enough for him to make an impression and for me to feel a strong sense that I have lost something. And he died from a golfing accident. Who goes golfing thinking that they are going to have a fatal accident. He did something stupid. He was leaning out of his golf cart to catch his golf ball, which was being thrown to him by another person in his foursome. The golf cart was moving and Patrick fell out and landed on his head on the cart path. A fatal golf accident - it's just so hard to wrap my head around. Seriously - a freaking fatal golf accident. So much life - gone in a fatal golf accident. Who goes out to play golf thinking they might never come back?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Photos

Note: the pumpkins are my neighbors. They grew them in their backyard. A couple of days after I took this shot, some jerks smashed the four smaller pumpkins in the street. The flowers are all mine. I'm especially pleased with the mums. They were originally in a planter last fall. I planted them in the back garden, just hoping for the best - and look what I got!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Their Stupidity is Amazing

I'm talking about some of my fellow Americans here. I'm talking about the ones who believe the incredible lies people tell about politicians. I have to say - I haven't seen any horror stories about John McCain (and I looked at to see if they had any) - but the things that people are posting about Barack Obama are amazing. How about this one - the writer claims his college roommates were Pakistani and that after his second year in college, he made an around the world trip, visiting his mother in Indonesia, his roommate's family in Pakistan and his father's family in Africa. He also went to Columbia - an expensive school and then to Harvard Law School. The writer questions "how could he afford this" and suggests that the sources are from "the Middle East". Hey - must be true - his roommates are Pakistani. OMG I understand believing that his stance on issues is wrong and disagreeing with his proposed policies - but the hate mongering is just staggering. And to think that people believe this? It's mind boggling. Are they that stupid or that paranoid?
And then there are the people who think that Sarah Palin is highly qualified to be Vice President. Some of it, I'm sure, is party faithful posturing because they have to. But seriously - McCain could have done so much better. Women should not be proud of this pick. I think it has set us back in terms of women on the national stage. I'll give her the whopping 2 years of her governorship - but other than that? Seriously people? If you leave off those 2 years, I have far more experience in government than she does, administering larger budgets, dealing with labor unions, trying to reduce taxes while maintaining or increasing services. As a woman, I think he did us a disservice. He could have chosen Gov. Jodi Rell of CT, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison or Senator Elizabeth Dole or plenty of other Republican women with far more experience and greater credibility. I'm just puzzled by the people who think she is such a good choice, so qualified. Maybe they were mesmerized by her wink.
I'm just amazed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happiness is...

sometimes elusive. This has been a tough week. The economy has caused us to put some projects on hold at work. I've been working the numbers, trying to figure out how we can have a mill rate increase of less than 4%, possibly as low as 2%. There's really no way to get there without layoffs. Then there's the situation with my brother. And the possibility that my friend is going to pass away. Add in my employee who wanted to take from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day off. Then to top it all off, I've got some kind sinus thing going on, so I physically feel on the shitty side.
But I know happiness is out there. It's in my father-in-law moving our recycling bins to the backyard when he stopped by the house. It's in A stopping to get me dinner on his way home because I didn't feel like cooking. And in him cleaning the bathroom last night without me nagging. It's in Boomer snuggling up to me and giving me kisses. It's in the flowers sitting in a vase in my kitchen, cut from the garden that I planted and tended. It's in a friend sending me an article that made her think of me. Happiness is always around, sometimes it's just not shouting at you, rather silently reassuring you that there is goodness.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

When not even chocolate helps

What do you do when you don't even think chocolate will help?

There's kind of good news on my brother. My older sister spoke with him this morning. Yes, he has a gambling problem. No, it's not as bad as his wife is making out. He says the worst part about it was that he was hiding things. He is getting help. He recognizes that he has some issues - he has an OCD personality - and is working on it. My sister said he sounded really good - not fake good. It sounds like a very real possibility that they will get divorced and he's okay with that. He apparently has considered divorce in the past, so I think that is going to happen sooner rather than later. I feel better about his situation now.

Then there's my friend Patrick. He was in a weird accident about 4 weeks ago. He suffered a brain injury and has been in a coma since. It's not looking good. His girlfriend indicated today that he may die today or tomorrow - which I guess really means pulling the plug. This is a guy that is larger than life. He has such a big personality. He's the kind of guy that can wear a seersucker suit or madras plaid shorts and look great doing it. Just a fun person to be with, also an intelligent man. He got such a big laugh about the time I got mad at A for telling me he would be home shortly, then not coming home for 45 minutes. To me, shortly was 10-15 minutes. I think Patrick thought shortly meant by the weekend. :) Anyway, he liked to tease me about it. I did a cancer walk last year and he donated under the name "I'll be home shortly". Got to love it. I'm very sad that the world may lose this guy. I'm very sad that I'm going to lose a friend. I'm even more sad for his girlfriend, who is my friend, and for his kids. Chocolate is just not going to make it feel better today.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I expected to be happy about this.

My brother's wife has told at least one relative that she is leaving my brother. I expected to be happy about it. I guess I am, but the rest of the story leaves me sad. She claims my brother has a gambling problem. With her - who knows if it's true. Her tales have sometimes had a bit of truth in them, so it's possible. I do know he used to play the daily lottery all the time. Whether this is or developed into a problem, I don't know. I don't have much contact with my brother anymore, because of the way his wife treats me, my sisters and my mother and because my brother has not only allowed it, he's tacitly endorsed it. So - I don't know if he really has a problem and if he does, how severe it is. I am sad about that. Could I have changed anything? Would I have done anything differently? I don't know. What I do know is that I am not in a position to say that I've witnessed his behavior, the conditions in their home, etc and to be able to make my own judgment. A very big part of me thinks that she may be exaggerating things. That is one of her MOs. She would, because if they are indeed splitting, she needs for it to be totally his fault. She will not accept responsibility. She needs other people to be bad for her to feel that she looks good. And the fact that she has gone to my cousin and told him this tale is also typical behavior for her. She's also trying to get in touch with my sister - the one who took the longest time to get on her list. My sister is avoiding her calls, she wants to talk to my brother first and get him to call our mother. I don't know how long it will be before his wife calls my mother to tell her how "awful" my brother is and give her tale of woe.
I'm worried about my brother. What if it's true? He needs to get help if it is. Will she be trying to drive a wedge between him and the kids - if she hasn't been working on that already? We've always worried that her last move, after successfully separating him from his family, would be to move to separate him from his kids. She may have gotten there.
So, I expected to be happy when I got word they were divorcing, not to have this lump in the pit of my stomach. I hope my brother comes out of this okay. That's the most important thing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday Photos on Saturday

Yesterday was a little rushed. I had an early meeting at work to discuss how we are going to deal with the current economy and its impact on our taxpayers and potentially our budget. So - here are some photos a day late. All of my two favorite boys.