Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happiness is....

....a short work week....fried raviolis
....days getting longer
....a silly, cuddly puppy dog
....3 short work weeks in a row
....a successful first attempt at making a rum cake - I see more of those in my future

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happiness is....

 Today - some of my favorite things....
  • My husband's smile.  I remember the first time he smiled at me and I realized that smile was for ME. 
  • My husband's hugs.  There is no place better than in his arms.
  • My dog's soft coat and wagging tail and big brown eyes. 
  • Rachmaninoff & Tchaikovsky
  • Bruce Springsteen's version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Jon Bon Jovi's version of Baby Please Come Home
  • Jon Bon Jovi in concert. 
  • New England in the fall
  • sitting on my porch on a nice summer morning, reading the paper, drinking coffee
  • football
  • Some smells - cinnamon, vanilla, pine trees
  • Roses
  • Freshly cut grass
  • Slipping into a bed made with freshly laundered sheets
  • the sound of the ocean
  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • filet mignon
  • butter cream frosting
  • Marching bands
  • Pretty, soft yarn
  • Turning pretty soft yarn into something someone will enjoy
  • a good book
  • chocolate, preferably dark, never white
  • the smell of coffee

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Heading the wrong way

My scale is still being a little wonky, but there was no hiding from the fact that I gained this week.  Of course, I had Chinese again last night, so I think the gain is not really as bad as it looks, but I'm up almost a pound - or a whole pound, depending on which reading you believe and depending on how much water retention I have from dinner last night.  So, besides last night's Chinese food, why the gain?  Total lack of control this week.  There was a Christmas breakfast at work and I enjoyed the goodies.  Then there were the platters of cookies and boxes of candy that were dropped off that I enjoyed.  I didn't drink enough water.  And I didn't track my points.  I didn't eat much fruit either, instead snacking on weight watchers snacks which though low in points, still add up.  Now, this week is Christmas.  I expect that to be my only challenge this week.  There shouldn't be a lot of goodies at work.  We may have dinner with friends on Thursday, which could prove to be a challenge, but I think is manageable.  Truth is - it's all manageable, if I want to manage it.  I can eat what I want as long as I keep the portion sizes within reason.  I will be glad when this week is over though.  Sticking to the plan will be a lot easier after the holiday season is done.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mondays and other things that annoy me

Mondays are just so harsh.  A week starting on Tuesday would be so much nicer.  Mondays just annoy me, unless I have it off.

People who are constantly happy, cheerful and chipper annoy me.  I once had a dental hygienist who was cheery at 7 am.  I couldn't take it.  Those kind of people just annoy me.  I think it's because the cheeriness is fake.  Maybe they really are that freaking happy all the time, but I'm not convinced.  It's the phoniness I hate, not the happiness.  If it was genuine happiness, I would be okay with it, but let's face it, we all have our bitch moments, don't try to pretend otherwise.

Singers who do the vibrato thing on almost every note annoy me.  Josh Groban, I'm talking to you.   His version of O Holy Night is lovely, but his version of I'll be Home for Christmas sounds like it was recorded while he was driving down a cobblestone road. 

Drivers who get in the left lane then fail to drive at the going rate annoy me.  I notice that most of them are New Yorkers.  If you see a driver with plates from another state doing it, odds are they are a native New Yorker.  See, I'm from Connecticut.  We drive fast.  At least down in southern CT that is. 

Smarmy quotes as part of your e-mail signature annoy me.  Or uplifting quotes.  Or "empowering" or "motivational" quotes.  BARF!  In addition to being annoying, unless you are a motivational speaker, I think it's a bit unprofessional as well.  Just your name please. 

The blatantly pious annoy me.  Yeah Tim Tebow, I mean you.  I have no doubt he believes as deeply as he states - but does he really need to be in your face with it?  He reminds me of the parable about the two men praying in the church - one saying basically "look at me God, I tithe, I fast, I'm not like those other guys" and the other one saying "please be merciful to me, I'm a sinner".  I would much rather hang out with the second guy, thank you very much. 

The Giants playing like crap yesterday really, really annoys me.  It's been a tale of two teams this season.  You have the team that beat the Patriots and the Cowboys, then the team that lost to the Redskins and the Eagles.  I'm thinking that the Colts and the Vikings are wishing the Giants were on their schedules this year!  Now, we have to beat the Jets and the Cowboys to make the playoffs.  Well - if the same Jets that played yesterday show up next week, we might have a chance.  I really, really, really don't want it to be the Jets who end our playoff hopes.  Now that would be REALLY annoying!

Later this week - a few of my favorite things.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happiness is....

....happy holiday memories.  As I was heading home the other night, I heard the Muppets version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" on the radio.  It reminded me of my college days when we came up with "The Twelve Days of College."  I went to women's college, run by nuns.  Some nuns lived in the dorms.  Freshman year, my dorm mates and I sometimes ran afoul of one of the nuns on our floor.  And so, one December night, we made up a song about Sr Alma and the things she had said to us.  Thus was born "The Twelve Days of College."  I can't remember them all now - but they included...
  • Don't mess around with me (First day of college)
  • Girls in bed by eleven
  • Lights out at seven
  • Don't you ever sleep
  • There are no ghosts (a reference to an old college myth)
  • When do you work
  • I need my rest
  • None of you made the Dean's list (my personal favorite)
After freshman year, our relationship with Sr Alma improved.  We grew up, she mellowed a bit.  It actually got so good that junior year, when most students would move out to one of the other dorms, a large group of us decided to stay in our dorm, on Sr Alma's floor.  When my father died junior year, she was one of the people to whom I turned for comfort.  She had lost her father a couple of years before and understood what I was going through.

We had a lot of traditions at our college that revolved around the Christmas holiday.  One was the Christmas Dinner.  The Seniors' Little Sister Class, the Sophomores, would plan the menu and the entertainment for the dinner and they served the Seniors at the dinner.  It's important to note that this was a small school, with one dining room, where we all ate together, nuns included.  So at the dinner my senior year, our old 3rd floor of Fontbonne group (we did all move out Senior year to one of the other buildings) got together and helped provide some of the entertainment.  We got up there and sang "The Twelve Days of College" for our old friend Sr Alma.  She loved it.  She laughed and nodded, recalling the things she had said back then.  Happy memories!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm calling it even

My scale was being a little odd this morning.  I usually weigh myself a couple of times to be sure I've got a good reading.  Today didn't go so well with that.  I had anything from 147.4 to 148.6.  It was moving a lot while I stood on it and the final readings were varying.  It may be time for a new scale.  At the very least a new battery, since it really didn't want to turn on!  So - why would I have stayed stable or maybe gained or maybe lost just a little?  Well, virtually no exercise for one.  I've been dealing with a sinus issue all week and except for a lot of walking Saturday, I got no exercise.  Saturday was the Christmas party at the firehouse, so I definitely ate things that I shouldn't have, but I did plan for that.  I didn't eat as much fruit this week and I feel like I didn't drink as much water.  I've found over the years that I do better with weight loss when I drink enough water.  Another factor - Chinese food for dinner last night.  I tend to retain water after eating Chinese.  I may weigh myself again tomorrow morning just to see what happens.  This week's goal will be to drink plenty of water.  I will have a challenge Friday night, as we are going to a Christmas party and I expect to drink my points.  I'll be happy to stay stable this week all things considered.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Happiness is....

....finding out just how good the dealership you got your car from is.  Yesterday, my driver side windshield wiper started acting funny while on the highway, not making good contact, looking wobbly, then at about 70 mph, it flew off.  If you imagine I was a little freaked out, you are right.  I got myself to work - wasn't far.  When the rain stopped, I hightailed it on over to the dealership.  They were shocked - no way that should have happened with a factory installed wiper.  My salesman happened to be in the service bay when I pulled in.  He took a picture of the wiper stem.  When I asked the service guy about whether or not it was under any warranty, he said no, but Joe (salesman) took care of it.  Now, I may not go back there for my next car if I'm ready to get my dream car (Mercedes Benz) when this lease is up, but if it's not going to be the Benz, you can get I'm going back to there and you can bet I'll buy from Joe.  I know a windshield wiper is not much - but it's just the way they took care of me from the day I walked in to buy the car.  I suppose they do have 3 years in which to screw up and lose my future business, but for now, I'm very happy.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Didn't expect that! In a good way!

I'm down 1.4 pounds this week!  Yay for me!  That puts me at 147.8.  I was concerned because I was not very active this week.  Work interfered as did being a bit under the weather.  I've been pretty good about staying close to my daily points value most days, maybe a point over or so, with only one day where I really dug into those bonus points.  So, this is good.  I will have one big challenge this coming week, with the firehouse Christmas Party on Saturday.  No booze, but sweets and other fattening foods.  I'm going to try to stay reasonable with what I eat on Saturday - not denying myself, yet not indulging myself either.  Again, I will try to be more active, but I fear this little sinus thing I have going on may hinder that.  I would like to get to 147, but I think that's a big nut, so I'll be happy with a half pound loss this week.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

A Creature of Habit

That's me.  I'm a creature of habit.  I have routines.  I'm comfortable with my routines.  I don't like people messing with my routines.  It's things like the order in which I get ready for work in the morning, parking in a certain spot, taking a certain route. Unfortunately, I'm sometimes disproportionately upset over forced changes to my routine when compared to the actual incident.  Probably the worst is when someone parks in my favorite spot at work.  If I'm in the right state, that can just throw my whole day off.  So, why is this now a topic of my blog?  Well, I have a regular routine related to annual event that is upcoming and now I found out that I won't be able to follow my regular routine.  The event can be a difficult one for me, but I stick it out because there are people I see at it that I love and enjoy being with and I don't get to see them often enough.  Following my typical routine allows me time alone to prepare, to decompress in advance, to get to a low-level, stable state.  It helps put me in a place where I can handle the difficult part to the event.  Being with people I enjoy provides the rest of the balance I need.  I had already found out some time ago that my getting to be with the people I enjoy to hang with will be impaired or restricted.  Now, I have found out that I will not be able to follow my typical routine to prepare, to decompress and have that calmness I need going in.  I'm afraid I'll be keyed up from the start, anticipating bad things (because I have a tendency to borrow trouble), I'll be on edge working hard to hide my discomfort and it will end up being a miserable time for me.  I'm feeling a little trapped already and I'm afraid it will get worse.  I feel like there's nothing I can do about it without being seen as an unreasonable, selfish, cold, crazy bitch.  I need to find something that will help me deal with it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Well how about that! Losing can be good!

I did better than expected this week - lost .6 pounds.  My goal for the week had been to stay stable.  I did a little better than that!  How did that happen with Thanksgiving and the last tailgate of the season?  Well first, I'm going to guess that when I weighed myself last Tuesday, maybe there was a little extra water weight.  I had eaten Chinese the night before, never a good thing right before weigh-in.  So, I'm guessing I took a little off in those couple of days before Thanksgiving.  Next, although I ate quite well at Thanksgiving dinner, I only ate two meals that day, so I probably stayed pretty close to my daily point allowance.  Same thing with Saturday and the tailgate, I really only ate two meals.  One was bigger than normal, but I likely stayed close to my daily points allowance.  I also got some walking in during the week and I'm sure that helped.  This week's goal is to lose again.  I'll be happy with 1/2 pound.  Another goal for this week is to get some exercise in.  The good news is that I don't have any real challenges for a while.  That should help out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happiness is....

...balancing the bank rec.  And I'm not happy.  Since my assistant retired and his replacement doesn't start until Monday, one of the things I have had to do is the bank recs.  Well, the big one just is not being friendly to me.  UGH!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weekly weigh in

I'm up a pound.  I expected that getting on the scale.  I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but I knew I had done a lot of damage this week.  I was good up until Friday night.  We went to dinner with A's brother and his fiancee.  I had 3 glasses of wine, fried zucchini, too much of the entrees and then tiramisu for dessert and a cannoli.  Follow that up with tailgating on Saturday - beer, muffins, egg sandwiches, doughnuts, etc.  I think the worst though was on Sunday, when I could have gone right back on track and chose instead to eat the leftover muffin from Saturday and leftover cannolis from Friday.  I'm sure it didn't help that I really got not exercise in this week.  I did get back on track on Monday.  We'll see how Thanksgiving week goes.  My original goal for this week was to lose 1/2 pound and to stay stable for the week of Thanksgiving.  So, I'm 1 1/2 pounds behind.  I don't plan to make that up this week.  I'm still shooting for staying stable for a week.  That will require restraint at the table on Thursday.  I also want to get to the gym a time or two. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

30 years is not so long ago when you love someone

My father died thirty years ago today.  He is in the back row, last man on the right.  I wish I had more pictures of him scanned.  30 years seems so long ago, but it doesn't feel like long ago that my father was here with us.  I was a daddy's girl.  I think that's in part because when I was about 2, my father had to have back surgery and couldn't work, so my mother went back to work.  Daddy stayed home with me and was my primary caregiver.  My father liked to think we all looked like him.  Truth is, 3 of the four of us look very much like our mother.  My older sister does resemble Dad more.  We do have some of him in us, of course.  We three older children all have his brown eyes.  My younger sister's nose is more like Dad's than Mom's.  I inherited his lack of a butt.  My sisters got his wavy hair.  My brother's hair is very dark like Dad's.  Daddy was quirky.  He was pretty much color blind - or at least he appeared that way judging by his choice in outfits some times.  As a teenager, I once sent him back to his room to change when he was headed to some official function as First Selectman.  All I remember was that it was bad and there was orange involved.  He used to wait until my sister and I came home from school at Christmas to do his Christmas shopping for Mom.  He tried to get each of us to choose a college in Florida so he could come visit us.  He loved to do projects around the house.  Our first house had a brick wall he built, a sidewalk to the back door, a wishing-well to hide the garbage cans, a dry well for the gutters, a basketball court, a bridge over the creek running through the backyard, a large porch with a built-in bench and an extended covered front entryway that no other house in our development had - all because he built them.  He saved the motor from every appliance that died.  He was a good dancer, but gave up trying to teach me to dance because I always tried to lead.  He loved Julie Andrews.  "Gee she's pretty" he would say about her.  He liked to tease the dog.  He would fall asleep watching tv, but if you changed the channel, he would instantly wake up and say "I was watching that."  He didn't cook much, but would grill himself hotdogs for lunch.  Like every day.  Once, when our dog was sick, he would come home to check on him - thinking we didn't know he was doing that.  Such a softie.  He couldn't deal with his daughters pouting or just being quietly sad.  It was the easiest way to get him to do something you wanted that he had said no to earlier.  He had a distinctive walk.  I can still hear him coming down the hall.  He used to stand with his feet pointing outward, arms crossed and he would rock on the balls of his feet.  My cousins - his brother's sons - all do it too.  It is weird when I see them doing it from behind because they look like him.  He loved my mother.  So much.  He was proud of her accomplishments.  I will never forget the day he came home from the hospital and told us she had cancer.  He had trouble getting it out before he started to cry.  He was man enough that he could cry in front of his children.  I have to say we got our love of sports equally from Dad as from Mom.  But it was Dad who would come out and play ball with us.  "How about you let your old man take a shot?"  he would say when we were out playing basketball.  He liked to play golf - not that he was that good at it.   He was a bit of a picky eater.  Okay he was a really picky eater.  One of the traits I got from him was the ability to know, without even tasting something, that I would hate it.  But every once in a while he would try new things.  He was religious.  During Lent, he would walk from his office to church every day at lunch hour to go to Mass.  When we were little, our parish had a 6 am Mass on weekdays during Lent.  He would get us all up and every day we went with him.  He was an honest man and an honorable man.  I am so lucky to have been his daughter.  I think he would have loved my husband.  I can just see how the two of them would have tackled projects together.  And he would have loved his grandchildren - teaching them to ride a bike, throw a ball - he would have doted on them.  I like to think that he looks down on us and is proud of his family.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happiness is....

....two things I'm happy about right now.  One is I'm nearly finished with a knitting project.  If you are on Ravelry - this is the jacket I made.  All I have left to do is to make the buttons, sew them on and put snaps on under the buttons.  The other thing I'm happy about is that it is Wednesday already!  I'm not wishing my life away, but I was afraid this week was going to go by oh so slowly - and it hasn't!  yay!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Weekly Weigh In

I just weighed in at 148.8.  It's not as large as loss as I've seen for the first week in past go-rounds with Weight Watchers, but I think that this is because it's a more liberal plan.  It's been very easy to follow.  My main change has been healthier snacking.  I've been taking fruit and veggies to snack on during the day.  I think the biggest thing is that it's made me once again be conscious of portion sizes.  A bit of a test this weekend will be tailgating at the football game.  But I barely touched all of my extra points this week, so I think I will be okay.  If I can lose 1/2 pound to a pound for the next couple of weeks, then stay level through the holidays, I think that I'll be in good shape.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Happiness is..

....autumn in New England.  Yes, I live in New York these days, but I work in Connecticut, so I'm home in New England 5 days a week.  Plus, one of my favorite things about autumn in New England is watching football - and we do that in Connecticut too!  It's the colors of the leaves, the smell of the leaves,  and the crispness of the air that I love.  If only autumn didn't precede winter it would be darn near perfect!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Trying to lose weight, yet again

The gaining part is so easy, the losing part less so.  I'm sure this is not healthy for me - I lose 10-15 pounds and eventually gain it back over the next year or two.  About eighteen months ago I had gotten down to a nice weight, gained a little over the summer and then come fall decided that I would enjoy the holiday season.  Boy did I enjoy the holiday season!  Now, I'm looking to drop that weight again.  I weighed 151.2 this morning.  More than I did coming back from vacation!  Damn!  Ideally, I would like to get down to 140.  I am restarting weight watchers.  I'm going to try to do it online and use this blog to keep myself accountable.  I think I will also make my husband be my conscience.  I'm not sure what workout strategy I'm going to use, perhaps heading back to the gym, maybe doing tapes at home.  The gym can be difficult as some days I need to get home to the dog and the gym is between work and home.  I would love to try out A's gym program - it has really worked for him - but it is expensive and since we need to be saving to go to Italy next year, I think I can find a cheaper solution to my workout issues.  Anyway, back to being accountable, I plan to post my weight in this blog each Tuesday morning.  Hopefully if I commit to that, it will force me to follow the plan and get on track.  One of my motivations is the clothes that I can't wear right now because the waist bands are too tight!  That is my reward - a revived wardrobe with little investment.

Monday, November 07, 2011

When Good Things Happen to Bad People

There is a book titled "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" that really helped me come to terms with my miscarriages and our inability to have children.  The book really helped me to see that there is no rhyme or reason to who is blessed with a series of wonderful events in their lives and who is visited with sadness and tragedy.  Just like bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people.  It can be hard to accept.  You see that bitch ending up with the 4BR, 2.5 bath house, with a bonus room and 2 car garage on 2 acres.  And there you sit in your 3 BR, 1 BA cape, no garage and 1/12 acre of land.  The witch has 2 children and is planning a 3rd, you have trouble getting pregnant let alone staying that way.  Her husband has a fabulous well-paying job, your spouse has been unemployed for 9 months.  She doesn't have to work.  You have taken on a second job to help make ends meet.  Why is it that she gets all the good stuff and you get shat upon?  First question - has she really gotten all the good stuff?  Let's face it - she's a bitch.  Starting right there I see that she's not a happy person.  Something is making her miserable.  (Fight the urge to say "GOOD!")   And she has a nice house filled with things, but you have a house filled with love.  And the kids - well, I've learned this from talking to friends and colleagues - it's not all sunshine and roses.  And sadly, a lot of suffering that people do over issues with their kids is done in silence.
Now, of course, maybe the bitch just really does have it that good and it's just an example of how life works sometimes, how life isn't meant to be fair.
The moral of my story is - it's not worth any angst over why the bitch has what appears to be a better life than you.  Looks may be deceiving.  And if thing are as they appear, there's nothing to be done about it - not legally anyway - and it is in no way a negative reflection on how you live your life.  And wouldn't you still rather be you anyway? 
PS - If it sounds like I'm trying to convince myself - well you might be partly right.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Happiness is....

....wearing hand knit socks.  Okay - yes, I know it's Friday, Friday is usually picture day - but I did that already this week.  So, today, I'm wearing my first pair of hand knit socks.  Well - my first finished pair.  The Jaywalkers I started a couple of years ago are still on the needles.  This is the second time I've worn these socks and I just love them.  I must knit more!!  I should note that the first time I wore these was to Rhinebeck (for non-knitting readers it's a big sheep & wool festival in Rhinebeck, NY) and the socks were the only hand knit item I wore.  These socks are comfy and squishy and just feel so nice on my feet.  It was just a plain sock pattern, knit on #2s using Madelintosh Sock in Ink.  Love them!  I have decided that after my Christmas knitting is done - keeping it simple this year btw, my lunchtime knitting will be devoted to socks. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

I know it's Friday but...

Happiness is....grass growning in the front yard! Our front yard just never really came in this year. It has never been a lush, lovely font yard, bu this year, I was mainly weeds. Then we had the water leak and half the front yard became mainly dirt, with the odd weed thrown in there. So, we had it dug up, leveled and reseeded. A little watering, a little sun, a little rain and last night I came home and could see what looked like a green haze on the lawn. Little bitty blades of grass! Now if only the snow that is predicted for tomorrow doesn't scare the new grass away!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Rhinebeck Stash

 Top left, some baby blue and darker blue Shepherds Wool, worsted, destined to be herringbone mittens as a gift for someone - don't know who.  Top right and in the next picture down, some trio from Brooks Farm - just loved the color, don't know what it will be, but it will be for me.  Bottom left is some Skinny Bugga! from the Sanguine Gryphon.  I don't think the photos do the colors justice.  They are a lovely combination of yellow, red & orange.  I'm torn between making this into socks and making it into a shawl.  I fear the socks won't do right by the lovely colors as they may not be seen.  Next is some DK from Shelridge Farms which will become a sweater for our little niece.  Last, some Four Play from Brooks Farm which will be a sweater for me.  I'm torn between a couple of patterns, so I won't decide for a while, since I need to get going on some Christmas gift knitting.
 Must say, I think this is my favorite.  I have no idea what it will be yet, but it will be for me.  Likely a shawl or a cowl.  If I make a cowl, I'll probably have enough left for a hat too. 

The photo doesn't really show the colors of this yarn at their best.  I stopped at this booth, not realizing that it was the popular Sanguine Gryphon.  There were many, many beautiful yarns there.  I wish I had purchased more, but didn't have any real projects in mind for them, so resisted.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why can't I see it that way?

A friend commented on my post about destination weddings, trying to get me to see it in a different way. How would I look back in this time when I was 70, which, by the way is now only 20 years away! Her point is an excellent one. Would we rather look back and be so happy we spent the money on something to do with the house (she used the garage as an example) or would we rather look back and remember that wonderful wedding. My first thought? I would be looking back pissed that the garage fell down because we couldn't afford to repair it because we spent so much money on the wedding. I wish I could see it the way Brenna suggests. Am I too practical a person? I am sentimental in so many ways, but when it comes to weighing money issues, I tend to be more practical. I think the fact that it is my in-laws weighs into my issues. If it was my sister, I think I would tell her straight out that she's asking an awful lot of us and that we may not go. But this is the in-laws, and though I know that my mother-in-law isn't over the moon about the whole thing, I think part of my resentment is that I feel constrained in voicing my thoughts on the matter. No one wants to be the difficult daughter or sister-in-law. I would like to be the carefree person who can just up and go and not worry about the long term. I wish I could be the person who says "20 years from now we are not going to wax on sentimental about repairing the garage." I wish I had the kind of money that we would not only have no qualms about spending the money to go, but could extend the trip and stay a week or more! No that would be the real solution! I should go buy a lotto ticket today.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My thoughts on destination weddings

If you read along, you know A & I recently went to a destination wedding.  We had planned and budgeted to take a vacation this year to celebrate my 50th birthday, the idea was some all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean or Mexico.  When this wedding in the Dominican Republic at an all-inclusive resort came up, it fit right into those plans and we went.  Would we have gone otherwise?  I don't know.  It's a lot of money.  We have another one coming up next year, this time in Italy.  If we both go, it will cost us between $3,000 and $4,000 to go - and that's for only four days!  I would say we don't have a lot of choose over whether or not to go - the groom is A's brother - but we may not be able to afford to both go.  We will do our best to insure that at least A goes, but for both of us - well - that's a big nut to swallow.  I think that weddings should be what the bride and groom want, but I hope they consider what all the implications are of that.  I'm hoping that, in making the decision to marry in Italy, they recognize that not many people will be able to attend.  I would say that it's a good bet that most of their cousins will be unable to attend and likely only one uncle.  That's okay - if they understand that.  As long as they don't get upset that people can't go - then that's fine, have the wedding the way you want.  It's your day.  I have to admit that I'm a bit resentful about this whole Italy wedding.  Neither the bride nor groom are Italian born.  I think it's just that it's pretty and different.  For us though - to spend that much money to go means other things won't be happening.  We are aggressively paying down our credit card debt and I don't want to change that.  We need new windows for the house.  We need to upgrade the service.  We just had a water leak in the pipe in the front yard that was partially insured, but still cost us $1,200 to fix.  Our garage needs to be rebuilt, we need to redo the bathroom.  There are a lot of things that $3-4k could go towards.  And we wouldn't even be getting a vacation out of it.  That only covers arriving two days before the wedding and leaving the day after.  Add several hundred dollars more - probably another grand actually - if we want to extend it.  We're not talking about an all-inclusive resort here, we're talking hotel, car rental, meals - all of it.  So, now the money I saved per month when I leased my new car is I guess going towards the wedding in Italy.  Not the house cleaning help I wanted to hire.  Not windows, not paying down debt, not the electric service upgrade.  Not the new furniture we could use in the living room.  (Don't by Raymour & Flanigan, it doesn't last.)  And you know what else - it's not the vacation I would have chose to take if we had planned to take a big one this year.  We have already decided we can't go to Vegas for a weekend with friends like we did last year.  We are hoping that if a miracle happens and UCONN becomes bowl eligible, it's the Pinstripe Bowl so it will only cost us a ticket and a train ride - otherwise our streak of bowl attendance is likely done.  So, going back to my previous statement - it's their day, it should be what they want, but I do wish they had considered the loved ones that will feel obligated to attend and what that will cost them.  And I hope that they are understanding of the other loved ones and the friends who will be unable to afford to attend.  And I hope that they get that someone who spends $3k or $4k just to be at the wedding - well their presence is the present.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happiness is...

....yummy yarn and lots of it!  This past weekend was the Duchess County Sheep & Wool Festival, aka Rhinebeck.  I went up on Sunday, hooked up with my friend A, her husband S, adorable daughter L and some of their friends.  I had already been through several buildings and snagged some yarn when I met up with them.  Then I bought some more.  I could have bought even more - I really could have - but resisted.  While I had projects in mind that needed yarn, I decided I really needed to knit my stash down some before I bought even more.  So, I've made a semi-resolution - no new yarn until I knit at least two projects off my Rhinebeck stash.  Seeing as how I haven't touched last year's stash yet, I think two is a reasonable start.  Since some of the yarn I bought this year is destined for a little sweater for my niece for Christmas and some of the other stash is for mittens for me or maybe someone I like, I think I may actually be able to stick to my resolution.  I may even try to post some pictures of the stash on Friday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I am the 98%

Yes, you read that right - 98%.  I'm not the 1% that makes all the money and I'm not the 1% protesting that the other 1% makes all the money.  I went to a small school that provided an excellent education, but didn't cost an arm & a leg.  I got scholarships and student loans that I was able to pay off within a few years.  I didn't go to a big name school - or even a medium name school that cost more than we could afford without burdensome loans.  I got a degree in something I liked, was good at and which - shockingly apparently - prepared me to get a job.  I got a degree in accounting, not history, philosophy.  I have a mortgage.  I have a mortgage that I can afford to pay every month.  My house is under water, but I can afford my mortgage because we did the math before buying.  We only bought as much as we can afford.  There's no evil bank here, there are only responsible home owners in this story.  I am lucky to have a good job, a stable job, as does my husband.  I know some people were smart about everything, education, mortgage and got unlucky in the job area.  I recognize that there are some things the protesters suffered that they couldn't control.  But what are they protesting?  That some people make too much money?  I'm not opposed to people making a lot of money.  I chose not to go into the lines of work that would have put me in the top 1%.  Are some of the 1% grossly overcompensated - you bet.  But you can't just protest that they are overpaid.  Do they pay their fair share in taxes - everything I read says no.  So protest for changes in the tax regulations.  Protest for changes in the regulations which allow them to create situations like synthetic debt which helped caused the mortgage crisis and protest the lax mortgage regulations.  You can't just protest that you have a lot of student loans and no job.  You did that to yourself.  You chose the expensive college instead of the local one - or instead of a trade school.  Protest for or against something specific - not just that someone else has more than you and that's not fair.  And remember this - to a certain extent, it is fair that some have more.  We are not a communist society.  We are a free market based society.  You don't like that concept - move to Cuba.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vacation in the Dominican Republic

We came back from the DR a week ago.  We had gone down there for a vacation/friend's wedding.  We had talked with my cousin K, who is 4 months older than me, about he and his wife and A and I going on vacation together sometime this year to celebrate our 50th birthdays.  Then A's friend P & his fiance announced their plans to get married in the DR in September.  Since that fell just days after our anniversary and a month after my birthday, we decided to make that the big trip.  It was so much fun!  The country is beautiful.  It is clearly poor, with some more well to do areas. We stayed at an all inclusive resort, in the adults only section.  There were about 45 people there for the wedding - great turnout.  We were among the earlier arrivals.  That was determined by our using frequent flier miles to get there.  We had a 6:30 am flight out of JFK.  That doesn't sound too bad until you realize that you need to be there 2 hours early for an international flight.  And that means leaving your home about 45 minutes before that, so getting up about 45 minutes before that!!  We got up at 2:30.  The limo was a little early, but we were ready.  When you get to JFK at 4 am, going through security is a BREEZE!  Downside - nothing, but nothing was open.  As we sat in the gate area, there were other people on our flight who were chatting at a volume that was a little louder than necessary - and worse - they were speaking Spanish and too fast for me to understand, so I couldn't even eavesdrop!  ( I do that at airports sometimes.  :D )  So, we get to the DR, get in our shuttle, head off to the resort.  Our shuttle driver likes baseball.  He named all the Dominicans who play in the majors.  First off - Robinson Cano - one of my favorites!  The resort is lovely.  We were shown an upgrade room and then our assigned room.  Aside from the huge patio with bed style lounges and a second jacuzzi, the upgrade room had the distinct advantage of being on the other side of the resort from the three rather overweight men sitting at the pool bar in their speedos, one of them graciously sharing his butt crack with the world.  I said Si! to the upgrade.  There were several pools at the resort, two of them restricted to the adults only guests.  There was also a section of the that was adults only, but topless sunbathing was everywhere.  The worst was leather lady.  She is seriously anorexic.  You could count her ribs.  Her legs were the size of my forearm and she was topless with these little prunes sticking up off her chest.  Ugh.  The ocean water was not as warm as I expected, but definitely better than the Cape.  And it was a lovely blue.  There was lots of wave activity, which was fun.  But we spent more time in the pool.  A decent number of the wedding guests did not do the adults only, so we spent a lot of time at that pool.  Plus it had the swim up bar!  We had so much fun hanging out with everyone.  The wedding was a blast.  It was kind of warm and we were all soaked, sweating from dancing.  We went to karaoke one night, a Michael Jackson show another and to a Circ du Soleil type show another night.  We met some other couples who hung out with us and even crashed the wedding, much to the delight - seriously - of the bride.  We ate Japanese one night, Italian another, barbecue on the beach and the steakhouse 3 nights!  The wedding dinner was surf and turf.  A gave away his lobster tail because of my allergy.  The friend he gave it to was beside himself with joy at a second lobster tail.  There are so many stories - from Grandma, to the gay guy who is the only one who doesn't know he's gay, to the two firemen we swear never slept in their own room, to Applauso!  Applauso!  to the beer barge, the tramp stamp and Johnny Bravo.  So much fun!  It got sadder day by day as people left.  We want to go again.  And now, the newly married couple, the best man & his wife (who officiated at the wedding) and A& I all have anniversaries within a two week period - I see mutual anniversary trips back to the DR in our future!!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Friday Photos

Some flowers, some knitting, some Boomer.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Happiness is....

....sleeping in your own bed.  Boomer and I both feel the same way.  Our vacation in the Dominican Republic was fabulous, but it was good to be home yesterday.  Will post soon on my thoughts on the DR

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happiness is....

....a new cellar door.  When A built the patio last summer, the old cellar door had to come off.  We think it was original to the house.  Because of the location and size, we had to have a door custom built.  We kind of dilly dallied about doing it, then finally got on it this summer.  It took a while to be built, etc.  So, we went through the summer with the old door just laying on top of the opening, weighted down by some patio blocks.  Until Irene was coming, then A fashioned some serious supports and a tarp so the basement wouldn't get flooded - well at least not by rain coming through the door.  It came in other places.  Anyway, the new door was installed yesterday.  It looks so nice!  It's waterproof.  I'm a happy camper.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years on, it continues to be important that we remember, that we tell the next generation what happened that day.  In the years to come, we need to tell those who were not yet born then or were too young to remember that our nation was attacked, but not defeated, that good men and women were killed, innocent men and women, heroes.  Even on that horrible day, when it was clear that the chance of survival was low, good men and women rushed in to save others, rushed in despite the risk to themselves, rushed in to their deaths.  Strangers bonded together to survive, to help others survive.  We need to tell them that it is the American nature not to give in, but rather to survive, to go on and rebuild.  It's not just about reliving the horror of the day, it's remembering how we responded.
I've posted this tribute before.  This tribute that was published in Pensions & Investments magazine on 10/15/2001 in an ad from Progress Investment Management Company.  From the day I first read it, it has resonated with me.  I have it hanging on my wall in my office, along with editorial artwork that shows the Statue of Liberty amidst the smoke, still standing tall.  That's an image that will always stay with me and which I think represents that day and our country's response.  They did their worst, yet she stood tall, unbowed, as did our nation.


Some things can not be adequately expressed, yet cry desperately to be told
told to those you know and love
to those you meet in passing
told to the children of today
and to those who are yet unborn
You need to tell them what you saw that day
And make them see....
the ones who fought with hand and axe
and took the stairs by twos,
who looked into the face of death
and stayed its hand,
if only for a moment,
with a calm ferocity of spirit
the ones in uniform and those without
who vanished in the coming of a madman's dream
the fatherless...the motherless...the childless who remain to mourn them
Tell them of the great heart of a great people
And let them ask, and let them hear your answers.
To our friends and colleagues at the New York City Fire Department
To the men and women of the Police Department and emergency medical services
To all who have sacrificed and those who will.
We will tell your stories.
We will remember.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Happiness is....and looking for help from knitting friends and others

....almost done with one pretty shawl, thinking about the next.  And I need help picking the next one!First, the almost done one.  This is wollmeise yarn - so nice, beautiful color.  The pattern is Batik.  It's a bottom up, so it was slow going with long rows at first, now it is flying off the needles.
Then, the skeined yarn is my next one up.  It's squooshy sock yarn from fiberphile.  The colorway is Sakura - it's creamy, pink, peach and tinges of beige.  I want to knit a scarf that I will wear to a friend's wedding the end of the month on a beach in the Dominican Republic.  So, I'm trying to find something that fits the color and fits the idea of just a light cover if needed on the beach.  I'm posting a few of the top contenders.  Would love to hear opinions, suggestions!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Kindergarten dreams

School is starting all over the place today.  I should be sending a little one off to kindergarten.  How much fun it would have been buying a little backpack, school supplies, school clothes! I'll bet I would have been weepy watching my baby go off to school.  But those are just dreams that will never be fulfilled now.  It's easier 5 years later, but I don't know that I'll ever not think of how old our child would have been, what milestones they would have hit.  I know I'm not alone in this.  Every person who has miscarried, suffered a stillbirth or lost a child after birth goes through the same thing.  It really does get easier with time, but the feelings of loss, the hole in your heart never completely goes away.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Friday Photos just a day late

It's been a while since I posted photos, so I thought I might catch up some.  We survived Irene just fine.  Luckily we never lost power.  We did get water in the basement, no surprise there, so I spent a fair amount of time Sunday with the wet vac.  The garden survived pretty well, the dinner plate dahlia plant was the only one that really got beat up.  So, here are some photos, the roses are pre-Irene, everything else is post.  Note the bee in the 4th picture.  I love the mums.  A did that.  After the driveway was done, he thought that area would make a nice little planter box - and it does.  He picked out the plants and did all the work.  And then, of course, there's Boomer doing what he does best, sleeping in the sun.  He did very well during the first part of the hurricane, but Sunday afternoon when there was no rain but the wind was really whipping, he seemed agitated.  He was like a little kid wanting to be next to me all afternoon.  Until A came home of course.  Then I was just that other person who hangs out at the house.  :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happiness is surviving the East Coast Earthquake TV Coverage!

I felt it.  No one else on my staff did.  Two were at lunch, the one who was with me thought I was nuts when I said "What just happened?  It felt like the building moved."  So - thank you Al Gore for inventing the internet - I promptly googled earthquake and saw that there had been one in Virginia.  Then I went on facebook and had my suspicions confirmed.  The TV coverage was just a little bit much.  I do feel for people in DC and NYC that must have thought it was another terrorist attack.  It appears that no one was injured or killed and damage seems to be relatively minor, except for some damage to our national monuments.  That makes me sad.  And Californians can laugh all they want at the New Yorkers who evacuated their buildings - but if your city was once the target of a terrorist attack and rarely has earthquakes - what would you think was going on and what would you do?  I would get the hell out of the building, that's for damn sure!
Anyway, the earthquake pre-empted my planned post that would have said "Happiness is that new car smell."  I picked up my new car on Friday.  I'm happy with my decision.  I don't totally love the color, but I don't hate it and for the price I got I'm not being picky.  One feature that I love in this car is that it has a hard drive for music.  So, I put a CD in and it records the CD to the hard drive.  I've been having fun picking what CDs to put on the hard drive.  So far I have a little Bon Jovi, some Queen, a mix from Greys Anatomy soundtracks and some standards (think Frank Sinatra).  Must add more Bon Jovi, REO, Beatles, Buffett - so so many.  Tonight on the way home, I think I'll load up the soundtracks from The Concert for New York City from back in 2001.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happiness is....

....the car hunt being over and money in my pocket.  I find car shopping to be very stressful.  Test drives, sales pitches, negotiating.  UGH.  I thought I knew what I wanted this time - a Ford Edge or some other crossover.  I really liked the Edge.  It was not as economical as I thought it would be, but that wasn't really an issue.  I was briefly swayed at the thought of a Lincoln.  Went and test drove the Cadillac SRX.  Didn't like the styling, didn't like the roof support that created a big blind spot, but I really liked the ride.  Got a quote on a Cadillac CTS and was amazed at the price and thought - I may be getting Baby Jr. soon!  (Dad had a Cadillac Sedan back in the 70s that we called Baby.  We swore that if the house caught fire, he would save Baby first.)  I was really determined to buy American, helping out the economy, but did want to keep my personal economy in mind.  So, I got in touch with two Infiniti dealerships - the one that replaced the dealership where I got my current Infiniti and the one where the salesman I worked with 3 years ago went.  Well, the first one got back to me pretty quickly and gave me an amazing price.  $130 less per month than I am paying now for basically the same car.  I was still willing to go with one of the others if Ithought the overall value would be better.  But after reading reviews, etc - nothing could match the price or the value I was getting with the Infiniti.  So,  my personal economy won out.  Now - what to do with that extra $130 each month?  And I got a raise this month too!  Some of it will definitely go into savings.  I may also finally break down and get a cleaning lady to come in every week or every other week.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Photos

Just a quick post - finished a blanket for my new niece.

and boomer

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happiness is....

....a truly local local yarn store.  And I don't have it.  I finished the baby blanket for our new niece on Monday.  (Pictures will be coming.  It's pretty and colorful.)  So now, I am ready to start a new project.  I want to use up some of my stash and I have this beautiful skein of Wollmeise yarn just itching to be a shawl.  So, with A's help, I pick a pattern.  I wind the yarn into a ball - let me tell you - 575 yards takes a while to wind.  I'm ready to cast on 319 stitches - WOW!  As I'm casting on with a larger size needle per the pattern, I realize that I only have one set of size 5 circular needles that are long enough for the body of the shawl.  And those size 5s are currently in the middle of a top I am knitting during my lunch hours.  Well, I could use some new stitch markers too, so I order another set of size 5 tips for my addi clicks.  I thought about waiting until Friday to head to the nearest local yarn store that would carry the needles I like, but I figure that if I ordered them first thing in the morning from a favorite online supplier, I would probably have them by Friday anyway.  And then I can spend Friday doing other things I want to do - like test drive cars.  It really would be nice though to be able to just pop into a yarn store on my way home or only have to drive 10 or 15 minutes.  Instead, the nearest good quality yarn store is over 30 minutes away.  They are quite lovely, just wish they were closer.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

I need clever quips

A friend of mine is posting a countdown to my 50th birthday on my facebook wall.  Every day it's "Morning :) XX and counting...have a nice day!".  Today is 22 days.  I have been trying to come up with clever responses.  One of these days I plan to say "beats the alternative" but I've got 21 more days to quip back.  I sure wish I had some comedic talent right now.  One thing I will be doing soon, is starting a countdown for her, because she turns 50 less than 3 weeks after me.  :)  I love this woman.  She's a good friend and I actually am enjoying the fact that she is enjoying the fact that I turn 50 first.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Happiness is....

...a new hair style.  That's what I'm going for today.  The longish (chin length) look is just not doing it for me.  The perm makes it harder to dry and I don't think it's really added so much body that it makes the style look good on me.  I still feel it looks kind of old ladyish.  So today, I'll spend some time looking at hairstyles yet again.  Hopefully I can find something I like that will be attractive on me.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

God's Will? or not

When you are dealing with infertility, loss or any kind of disease, there will always be people who say things like "It's God's will" or "It must be God's plan for you."  I suppose with some people, believing that their situation is God's will helps them cope with it.  For me, the suggestion that my situation is God's will is not a helpful one.  Starting on an intellectual level, I find it hard to believe that God gets that deeply into an individual's life.  Yes, He is the Supreme Being and could probably map out each twist and turn in our lives, but I don't believe He does.  Otherwise, it negates the concept of Him having given us free will.  On a purely emotional level, I don't buy it either.  If it is God's will that I remain childless when that is my heart's desire, then it must be some form of punishment.  Well, why would He punish me yet grant other people their desires?  I know I'm no angel, I am a sinner as are we all, but I am a good person.  There are people that you can legitimately look at and say "not so good a person" yet they get their wishes.  You could make the argument that they are not happy with their lives - but then I think you are stretching it.  And where does God's will come in to people who abuse or worse murder their innocent children?  Every day in the news you read about people abusing or killing children.  Was it God's will that those children live painful lives, die painful deaths?
So what started me off on this rant today?  I read someone's blog where they opined that it was selfish not to accept God's will for your life.  This is the blog of a woman who experienced infertility and eventually accepted living life without children.  If it helps her cope to say it was God's will, then I guess I need to respect her coping mechanism.  But for me, I don't believe it was God's will.  If it was God's will, then I would have to blame him.  He wouldn't be the loving force I have always believed in and relied upon.  For me, I believe it is just how life turns out sometimes and God's role in all of it is mourning my loss with me, being an anchor to hang onto when the pain is too much, being a light to show me that there can be happiness in my life in other ways.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happiness is...

....eating the vegetables from your own garden - or in the case of tomatoes, I think it is fruit.  Last year, my attempt at tomatoes was a downright failure.  This year - success!  I planted them in a corner of the garden and have nursed them along.  Yesterday, as a snack, I had some tomatoes in Italian salad dressing.  I came home, and A had taken some more tomatoes and some of the cilantro we grew and some other ingredients and made salsa.  YUM!  He barbecued pork chops and topped them with the salsa.  Double YUM!  I have peppers growing, soon to be picked.  Can't wait to see what we can do with those!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy

My father would have been 82 today.  My guess is he probably would have spent the day playing golf with my brother, my husband and my cousin before going out for a nice dinner with Mom.  I always wonder what he would have been like as he aged and retired.  What would he think of the things his children have done.  How proud would he be of his grandchildren - I have to say I think my niece would have been his favorite.  We'll never be able to know how all of our lives may have been different had he not died so young, so suddenly.  Thirty years on and I still miss him.  I always will.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hairspray is your Friend...and other thoughts from vacation

"Hairspray is your friend."  I had a hairdresser who used to say that to me.  I realized just how much of a friend it could be when I was on vacation on the Cape last week - and had forgotten my hairspray.  Permed hair, a weak hairdryer and no hairspray make for some bad hair days.

I don't know how I survived childhood without air conditioning.  How did anyone ever survive it.  My favorite person on the Cape was the guy who fixed my mother's a/c late Friday afternoon.  Boomer loved him too.

Sand stings on a windy beach.

Thundershirts work on dogs that are scared of thunder.  Don't know how, but they do.

Flowers grow differently on the Cape.  My mom & I both have gallardia plants, but hers grow much taller than mine.  Balloon flowers too.

Hydrangeas are everywhere on the Cape. 

Pedestrians can be really stupid.

We have great neighbors on the Cape.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Retread pictures

I didn't take any pictures this week.  I plan to take some next week - like the ones below.  What do they all have in common?  All take on the Cape.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday Photos...

A study of the Stink Doggie, aka the Boom Doggie.  A week ago tonight, Boomer got skunked.  Such fun.  The boy does not like being bathed, but we managed to get it done.  He's still a little stinky though.  I took these photos a couple of days after the skunking, playing with the Retro Camera app on my cell phone.  The stuffed animal on the floor next to him is Charlie the Chimp, his consolation prize for having to endure two baths.  This dog is spoiled!