Thursday, November 30, 2006

Big Pow-Wow - well sort of!

Got a call this afternoon from Teresa - my editor/publisher of my favorite little newsletter. She was on her way over for coffee and to bring me a copy of the latest issue of the West Branch Review! Terrific! Mandy stopped yesterday to try to get me a copy at the nearest distributor spot and they had been sold out since two days after this issue hit the stands! Yippee!

Over coffee, we discussed many things - some even dealing with plans for when the next issue will surface and ideas for topics to go in that one too! Gonna have to do some research on New Years type celebrations, history of that, anything pertaining to New Years. So.... if any of you have any suggestions on that topic, feel free to bombard me with ideas! (Guess who is gonna try to do an article about that?)

Mandy picked up the Christmas photos she had taken about two weeks ago at K-Mart of the two little ones together - all decked out in the "holiday" finery. Gosh, they are beautiful! The pictures and the kids!!!! Still can't believe they are actually related to me!

Since no disc was given along with the photos - rats - I will have to scan these in then but would love to be able to figure out how to post photos here then so I could put their picture up here and anyone reading this then could see I am not bragging about how terrific they are for nothing that way!

I see by the "table of contents" thing Teresa puts on the front page of the Review that yes, she has my article titled "Small World" in this issue. Hmmm - leaves me wondering there how my cousin missed seeing that. She lives in Alabama but has a subscription to the REview and had e-mailed me on Tuesday that she had just received the latest copy but hadn't seen anything in it by me! Gonna have to write and tell her where it is - what page it is on - whole nine yards, I guess! Or, maybe if she is reading this posting, she will find it herself located on PAGE 7, Ruth Ann! Go read it now, please!

This issue also contains two articles that pertain a lot to Peale - the recent fire there, the old railroads in that village at one time, plus more about Peter Karthaus - who founded a little local town down river from me and a Christmas story, written by Teresa - the editor. Oh, and there are a few other pieces of good interest for those readers of this neat little newsletter!

Other topics Teresa and I discussed for potential stories in upcoming issues: The Philipsburg HIstoric Association; Underground Railroad in Philipsburg; the "Screw Factory" of early Philipsburg, a soda bottling place that used to be located in the township where I live along with hopefully getting a piece done about a 14-year-old in our school district who plans someday to run for President of the old U.S.A. That boy - just happens to be my cousin's grandson - has his platform all worked out, along with a game plan he has too about college, major in school, future employment and then how he will eventually pull all this together and run for President! This kid absolutely amazes me and really is neat that he is also my cousin! Good genes there, maybe?

So there's a little bit of what those who subscribe to (or purchase individual copies as they hit the stands now) The WBR (West Branch Review) and what we will be trying to write about in coming months.

The topics outlined all sound really interesting to me. How about you? Let me know your thoughts about this, please.

No Okay

Just a quickie here!

My little granddaughter - age three - just started to talk about four months ago. She has some developmental issues but with the help of two therapists - one for behavior and the other for speech - she has come a long, long way in the past year and is now starting to open up more and more every day.

One thing she has picked up though is the way she responds to a question if it is something she doesn't want to eat, doesn't want to do - whatever - her response quite frequently will be "No Okay."

Trying to figure out how she came to say this - it finally dawned on me - DUH, takes a while for the lighbulb here at times. She was repeating what we say to her if we ask her a question about wanting this or that or wanting to do something and if we got no response often we would say to her "No, okay!" The difference being the comma there which, in general conversation adults don't pick up on so how could one expect a three-year-old to know the difference.

But it is just so darned cute to hear her say this - "No okay!"

No, okay is just what you are my sweet little Angel girl! Please stay that way.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This One's For You!

Tonight, I'm going to do something a little different. I'm writing this blog in honor of a very dear, old friend of mine. We won't delve too deeply into the "how old" this friend is, but she is younger than me, that much I'll tell you.

I don't remember when I first met her, though I knew her brother throughout my entire 12 years of school here - until his very untimely death at about age 36, I think. A heart attack or heart problems - whatever, but let's face it, he was way too young, still plenty of things he could have/should have been doing.

I know I first met her though at the next-door-neighbor's home as Mrs. Little - the mother of the brood of 13 children who lived in the big house adjacent to ours was her aunt. Actually, since Mrs. Little had pretty much raised this girl's mother after their mother was killed in an automobile accident way, way back, she was more like a grandmother to her, than a great-aunt.

She was back then always a bit on the spunky side - a little daredevil at times I suppose could be used to describe her. Attitude all over the place was another thing she possessed then - and still does for that matter.

She lived down near Harrisburg, PA - Camp Hill - but usually came up here and would spend a few weeks next door and maybe a little time too with her paternal grandparents here in town - which is, by the way, where her older brother -my classmate - lived year-round.

Over the years, since I left home, married, moved back here so many things changed. She married too - had three children - we both divorced. But I rarely saw her as an adult.

At times, when around any of her first cousins from the Little family, her name would pop up and they would tell me what she was doing now, where she was living - little bits and pieces - snippets of her life but enough so that I had some idea what was going on from time to time with her.

I had, for years, referred to her one cousin and her husband, as "Aunt Helen Ann" and "Uncle Joe Benny" although we aren't related. And, as my kids came along, to help them learn who people were and keep the names straight from other folks, with respect to any of the children from the Little family, it became a habit, more like a tradition maybe, to attach the label of "aunt" or "uncle" when referring to any of them. To this day, my kids and I still do this so if I mention "Aunt Rose" or "Uncle Michael" we all know exactly who I am talking about - no confusion there whatsoever. And, we're teaching my grandchildren to call them all by those names too.

I mention this for two reasons - one being, as close as I felt to all of them growing up - they were like family to me then and today, they still are and two, so my readers will be able to better follow along with me in this piece now too.

The first time I saw her -this cousin of my former childhood neighbors - in many, many years was when I went to the viewing at the funeral home for "Aunt Lily" - one of the older girls of the Little family and the first of the thirteen who passed away too. I was surprised to see her there - not because I didn't think she would come up for either the viewing or the funeral, but rather because it just so happened she was there when I stopped by to pay my respects to the family.
I recognized her immediately as she did me and we hugged, grateful for the chance to meet again.

A while after that, I got my computer, began e-mailing and I don't recall now how it all came about but somehow we connected up again - via e-mail and the AIM instant messenger or MSN's messenger which we both used. I think I may have stumbled on her name and e-mail in a geneology query site online and recognized her from that but I'm not sure today how we managed to hook up our friendship again.

But, we did and for that, I am really pleased.

Any time we talk, or exchange e-mail notes, as I read them, not only do I picture her, but it brings up mental images in me of her brother, her aunt and uncle, cousins - all of them - and that always makes me feel really warm and fuzzy - so much better even than the old "fuzzy navel" can do to you, if you know what I mean there!

Tonight, I got an e-mail from her, telling me that she had begun to read my blog and really was enjoying following my day-to-day postings - keeping abreast a little with me and what's going on here - silly stuff like that, you know.

She's not a blogger herself - so no postings in the comments section from her will you be reading at this time - but it is so nice to know that someone out there in cyberspace is reading what I write and knows who or what place or event I am writing about because she's been here, maybe is related to someone I mention - or whatever! And I wanted to stop and take the time to thank her for letting me know this too!

So tonight - this particular post is dedicated to my good friend, Ki.

I'm so glad to have you visiting my blogsite kid. Just one other little way we can continue to keep in touch, isn't it?

Love ya kid - and hugs to you!


Dang! Here it is late afternoon already and once again, I am - as I was yesterday - running late in putting up my first blog posting for today! I did however manage a little while ago to read one of my favorite blogs and make a comment there, but was only able to get to one fav blog so far because today, instead of fighting with the internet provider, I've been fighting with the freaking computer!

Yes, my computer has determined today to be the day from Hell for me! I think some of the problems I was experiencing had to do with what the first rep from my ever-loving, obnoxious provider told me to do -had to do with deleting files from the one page on my internet tools, options page cause most of my issues today seemed to link back to that!

But for now, I am finally caught up - I think - with my e-mail. Gosh those people in the Writerslive Gang sure can post bunches and bunches of e-mail responses there!

I did however finally get a chance to talk to Teresa, the editor/publisher of the little paper here I do articles for from time to time. I think I got Mandy convinced too that she will remember to stop and try to pick up two copies of the WB Review for me also on her way back home from State College today! She's on vacation this week so to her, as long as it isn't snowing, freezing rain or any of that happy poppycock, she's happy to be ramming around all over the place! She also has Maya with her - left me here with the little guy - so that makes my life a little easier, overall today too! At least there has been no more destruction to the appearance of the living room all afternoon now with Maya out of the house!

Now, it is time for me to wander to the kitchen and start working on preparing supper for us. So, I'm gonna end this piece for right now.

Aren't you relieved to hear I am taking a break from blogging, e-mailing, etc., for a few minutes anyway?

WooHoo - I Hit 100!

Ok - you know how excited I was Saturday when I finally got my site meter installed and working correctly?

Well, just checked the count there and in 3 days - only 3 days mind you - I've had 104 visitors to my blog!

Wow! I'm impressed! But who the heck are these many visitors here? The number of comments don't come close to matching with my "surfer" numbers there!

Who are you that is reading my blog? Are you my family - who I have given the blog site to and told you to go read it? Friends who I have done the same thing to and also, given orders for you to go read it? Or folks I've met through other blogs? Or just random blog button hitters too maybe?

Whoever - don't be afraid to leave a comment in that section! I really just bark a lot - I promise I don't bite.

I'd love to hear from you - your thoughts on what I posted or if you read any of the blogs I have on my favorite list and if you liked what you saw and read there too.

I need the excitement in my life you know - do it now before it's too late! Never know how long we'll be here you know and I'd hate to think you had some comments and held back from making them to me, about whatever it is that I wrote about - even if it is to correct my grammar or spelling. Keeps me going you know!

And with that - I'm closing down here for the night cause I've had a long, hard day today you know - doing mostly what I do best too - and you all know now from the blog before this one exactly what it is that I excel at too, don't we?

Don't make me bitch now!

A Grand Finish!

Ok- I'm assuming you read my earlier post for Tuesday - the one about being LATE!

Now, here is how my day wound down and trust me, it wasn't pleasant!

First - yesterday I got a note from my friend Jeff, telling me how he had received his copy of the long overdue issue of the West Branch Review. That would be the little local monthly publication I usually write one or two articles for - when the editor/publisher gets it put together and published that is. Then today, I got an e-mail from my cousin Ruth Ann, down in Birmingham, ALA telling me she got her copy of the latest issue too but, she said she didn't see anything in there by me. Ok - I didn't know if the editor (Theresa) was going to run the piece I had given her a few months back or not so figured she had decided it wasn't timely and omitted it.

Then, this evening I get an e-mail from my friend Anne, telling me she got her copy of the WBR today and thanked me for mentioning her in my "Small World" piece - which is the one I had given Teresa a few months back. Now keep in mind - I already mentioned Ruth Ann is in Alabama but Jeff is up in Michigan and Anne is in the Cleveland area and I am here - and still don't have a copy of the latest issue! Cause this is the first issue Teresa has put out that is no longer a "freebie" publication and the closes place to where I live that is a distributer is about 6 miles from here and I haven't yet been able to con any of my kids into driving that far to buy me a copy or to take me there so I can buy a copy! RATS! I'm still on the 'banned from driving" list until I return to the dr's in Pittsburgh a week from this Friday!

I'm just hoping when I finally do finagle a way to get to the place that is the local distributor that they will still have some copies in stock! Gonna have to e-mail Teresa and raise cain with her that she didn't even let me know the paper was out on the stands or where I could grab a copy too!

Ok, that stuff was unsettling enough to me tonight but then, don't 'cha just know it but I got hit with more "computer issues" tonight. This time it set in when I started down my favorites list on my blog site - to read the pieces these folks had posted today and do my comment thing too here and there. The very first blog I hit into - the "Letters I Wish I'd Written" - which I must add I really, really love this blog - when I went to comment and had to type in those stupid discombobulated letters for the word verification thing, I apparently didn't type in what the computer needed to read and as a result, I ended up in a nasty loop thing -over and over - and sometimes, nothing would even show up for me to try and type and boy I was ticked.

As if that wasn't bad enough - the issue with the comment thing apparently followed me as I read the other favorite blogs too! So, I ended up reading all of 'em, messing with trying to keep up to the minute with my e-mail and about 2-3 hours later - like an hour ago -I went back to the favorites and did my comment thing although some of them were being ornery and not wanting to load the comment block for me and stuff like that!

Sometimes I think this computer just likes to do stupid crap to me just to piss me off so I will then go off into rant mode and do what I am doing right now - RANTING!

Sometimes too, it does seem like all I do is bitch, bitch, bitch. My kids would heartily agree with me on that and they think I do it strictly because by now, after almost 40 years of coping with my kids, I am just so damned good at bitching! Probably true there you know!

Cause for many, many a year - yes, I said year - that is probably all my kids thought I ever did was bitch, bitch, bitch and then, just for the hell of it, bitch some more!

Well, actually, I'm not quite as bad about that now as I was before - if what my son tells my stepgranddaughter, Katie, is to believed. He tells her that the old lady she sees there before her -pointing of course to me - is not the same person he grew up with and for that, she can thank her lucky stars too!

So, I guess I have mellowed over the years - maybe just a little.

Have you changed like that with your kids? With co-workers, maybe if you don't have kids to bitch at or about?

Wonder if my girls agree with their brother on his assessment of me with regards to that?

If they don't, I can just go bitch, huh?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm late, It's Late! (Missed a very important date!)

Ok, as those who have been following my blog somewhat religiously have no doubt realized, I didn't have a posting come up here anytime this morning, or this afternoon either and here it is now, about 7:30 p.m. and I'm finally getting down to the business I should have taken care of first thing this morning with that eye-opener cup of coffee.

I feel like I have been a bit like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland - isn't he the character who runs around all the time, crying "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!" (Or do I have my characters mixed up - been a long, long, very LONG time since I last read that book, folks!)

But trust me folks, I have some very good reasons as to why I am running this late today.

First off, although I did get up quite early (well, early for me, by my standards but to my ex-husband's - well, I'd still have been considered a late riser), was up at 7:15 this morning. Yes indeedy! Bright and early, chipper - ok, I am NEVER chipper first thing in the morning before my first cup of coffee and often the chipper doesn't begin to set in until I have polished off damned near a whole pot of that wonderful stuff! Heck, some days the "chipper" bit never sets in!

But, this morning, I had no time to play around with my blog because I had to be ready to roll out the door by 10 a.m. to go see my regular doctor for a "general occasion" type check-up. Then, after leaving her office, had to go to Wal-mart and get a prescription filled, pick up a few odds and ends we needed and be back home by 2 p.m.

Tuesday is the day the visiting nurse from Home Health Services comes - this one is the "Wound" nurse who checks out my stoma, tries her best to explain -again- how to prepare the barrier to get it to fit just right, etc., and get me set for the coming week then to care for it. However, this nurse has no set time on Tuesday that she shows up, so yesterday, when I was reminded by a phone call from the dr's office about this appointment - which, of course, I had forgotten I had - I had tried to call the nurse's office to get them to have her call me or to at least leave a message for her that I wouldn't be at home till probably 2 p.m. and for her to call me then to let me know when she would be arriving.

Well, Mandy, the kids and I got home about 1:45 and within 5 minutes after our arrival, the phone rang - but it was for Mandy. A fairly long-winded call it was too while I was chomping at the bit worrying about my nurse gonna call ya know. Then within less than a minute after Mandy hung up from the first call, boom - she gets another call, also another one that was a tad on the long-winded side.

So, while I was waiting, I figured I would log online, check my e-mail, get a few things cleaned out there and all would be fine in my little corner of the world.


The best laid plans of mice and men saying comes to mind here. Wouldn't you just know it but my connection to the internet refused to let me connect. And not just once or twice but for almost 2 hours! In those two hours though, as I tried to get my connection to do its thing, I ended up being very fortunate to have to call the provider twice to try to get my connectivity issues corrected. Don't you just love I only love their price for my connection! Well, I did sort of love the young lady on the other end of the line of my second call because she did help me to get connected to the REAL world - the INTERNET - ya know!

Ok, by this time it is after 4 p.m. by the time all almost 100 e-mail messages I had waiting got downloaded into my Eudora. Then I had to hurry and write an answer to two of those e-mail messages - like right away - so I combined them since they were to my cousins but one from each side of my family tree.

Now, it was also time for me to get cracking and get meat started to cook for supper. Then back to checking out the various messages in my e-mail, sort through the ones that I felt needed a response and deep 6 the rest after I had read them And as fast as I was reading a message, dumping some, etc, considering how prolific this group is that I belong to - The Writer's Life - there would be at least three sometimes more, messages coming in. This thing was taking on a life of its own - spreading like wildfire you know! It was all I could do to finally have things pretty well cleaned out of my inbox and answered by 6 p.m.

Then, it was time to get the veggies fixed and by 7 p.m., the girls and I sat down to eat supper. Poor Bill, the son-in-law, was working late or working at his part-time job or doing something really important and was going to be late so he had to eat supper by himself when he finally did get home about 8 p.m.

So now you have it - my day from beginning to the end where I am now - sitting here explaining all of this "lateness"" on my part by using it as a topic for my blog!

Boy, I can be the crafty one at times, can't I when otherwise I might actually have been braindead for half the day today trying to think of something to write and tell everyone about that would show my sparkling wit and remarkable repartee!!!

Cheers and may none of us ever be late again!

Monday, November 27, 2006

"Bursting Bubble"

My bubble burst today - well, not exactly "burst" but it sure as hell did devekop a very, VERY big leak!!!

Now, I will forwarn you right now, the topic here may not be what you think it might be and, as such, may not be something you really want to read about, hear about, might just be over the top in your book with "Way too much information" and if so, feel free to back out or skip to maybe my next post down the way.

Why is that? What could this possibly be that some folks might offensive here - well the bubble I am referring to is the bag attached to the barrier that surrounds my stoma from the colostomy I had done five weeks ago today. So this bit of material may involve mentioning of some bodily functions we don't generally discuss in polite company you see - i.e. Crap!

I had taken my shower around noon, was lazing around in front of the computer and enjoying the reparte of "Meloncutters Musings" - a delightfully funny blog, I might add - and suddenly as I felt some action going on in the vicinity of the stoma, simultaneously I felt a warm, very, very wet substance spreading rapidly across the left side of my abdomen and heading rapidly down my left leg. I took a quick glance under my robe, just to be sure that what I felt was was I feared it might be and yep, I was right on both counts.

My barrier had done sprung a leak - a massive leak to boot. And, what's worse is that I had never changed the barrier all by myself prior to today! To say I was nervous, is also a bit of an understatement there. Tomorrow is the day of the week - Tuesday - for the stoma nurse to show up here and help get me oriented into all the many little procedures and nuances necessary to change the old barrier and install a new one!

The barrier -for those unfamiliar with anything to do with a colostomy and the bag one must wear - is the little apparatus that one fits to the size of the stoma and then, places it neatly so as to fit snuggly against the abdomen in a way that it completely surrounds the stoma. (The "Stoma" is what they call the opening the surgeons create in your abdomen from the intestine that your feces or crap or poop or poo or just plain shit passes through.)

Needless to say, before I got around to actually installing a new barrier there and putting on a new bag, I had a hell of a lot of mess to clean up first! Empty the old bag, find a trash bag container to place that in, clean off the stoma and area surrounding it, scrub down my abdomen and leg - a whole lot of poo to wash away there. And, it wasn't through releasing that substance either so as fast as I was wiping and washing it away, it seemed there was more there to take its place. LOVELY! Well, not really but yes because considering the issues I had been experiencing for a long, long time before the colostomy when this substance didn't want to expel itself from my body - or couldn't expel itself due to the tumor there - well, I'm very happy to see it flowing freely you see!

So, anyway - finally got the mess cleaned up and was ready to start work on fixing up the barrier to attach it to my belly. Got the little diagram out to show how big to cut the hole that fits around the stoma and took care of that. Then, minus my bifocals - which don't necessarily aid my vision process that much anyway these days, I stood in front of the full length mirror in the bathroom and carefully tried to place the barrier so this hole in it would be in just the right spot to conform to the stoma and also, to the layers of fat on my belly too! Trust me when I tell you that even with 20-20 vision, this is no easy task to do on one's own body!

Ok, I finally decided I had it in just the right place, peeled off the remaining adhesive backing, smoothed it all down, nice and flat and admired my handiwork with much pride. The stoma nurse I mused will be down right happy and proud of me and my accomplishment today.

I then attached the bag, got it all tucked in just right, finished gathering up the rest of my apparatus from this nifty adventure and away I went to grab clean clothes and get fully dressed today.

It wasn't until I sat back down at the computer that it dawned on me that I had forgotten one step in this whole procedure and that was to make sure to smear this heavy-duty adhesive goop around the edges of the hole in the barrier that aids in the cementing process of putting the barrier on to hold up against your skin!

Oh brother! Now I wonder if this contraption will hold water, as the saying goes, or in this case, crap, until until tomorrow when Heather, my stoma nurse shows up?

One can only pray and that, my friends is exactly what I will be doing now until she appears here tomorrow.

Gimme 40 Acres and I'll Turn This Rig Around

I think that is how the words to a song goes that I used to hear some of the truckers I waited on 20 plus years back in time mention.

And now, by all appearances, it looks like we will have a bonafide trucker in the family very soon who can be singing that song!

My son may soon be gainfully employed as a truck driver. Yippy skippy and hip hip hooray. The boy might actually have a job that will pay a reasonably good wage and may actually be able to get his finances all straightened out too in the fairly near future.

Clate's had some hard times in the recent past - or maybe too, not so recent past. Good employment seemed to always escape or elude him.

When he completed his four-year enlistment in the Army - back in 1997 - he decided then against coming back home to Pennsylvania at that time and opted instead to head down to Nevada where his Dad lives. His reason, as he explained it to me then, was that he wanted to get to know his Dad a bit better. Since Clate was 6 years old when Frank and I separated for the last time and almost 7 years old when the divorce went through, his years growing up without his dad were often very rough for him. Much as I wanted the boy to come back east, I understood completely his need to develop some type of, hopefully, decent relationship with his father and I had to let go of the reins I wanted to desperately to pull on and use to get the kid back here.

By 2000, the boy and his girlfriend (who he had met in Washington state, but who is originally from the Scranton area of PA) had decided they had spent more than enough "quality" time with Frank. Although Clate and his dad had managed to forge a relationship - somewhat rocky every now and again - overall they managed to get along fairly well. Amie, however, was a horse of a different color as she and Frank clashed almost on a daily basis.

Before I had even met Amie in person, one night as we were talking on the phone and she was telling me all the evils about Frank (as she saw them and many which I had to agree with that they did indeed exist), it dawned on me why she and Frank couldn't get along and I told her my theory. She is very much a feminist - card-carrying member of NOW if that paints a picture there - and she has no qualms about stating right up front where someone with the many male chavinistic beliefs and attitude as Frank has, that all he was seeing and hearing from her was his ex-wife - me!

After the kids moved back east and had settled down in Littlestown, PA - just outside of Gettysburg - Clate found a job driving a delivery truck for a meat packing firm across the Maryland line. His route normally was to load the truck and make door-to-door deliveries in and around the Baltimore area for quite awhile and then, just before he left that job, he was doing deliveries in and around Washington, D.C. As trucking jobs go, this one didn't pay all that well but it was better than minimum wage work. And, Clate learned he didn't mind driving all over the place in that job.

He left there for a factory-type job - assembly line - and the pay was ok, the work wasn't bad either but then the relationship he had with Amie fell apart and he decided to move back home. That was in April of 2004 that he came back to central Pennsylvania and his finances - and work prospects - have pretty much been in the bucket since then. This area is not notorious for having an abundance of good paying work for people with only a smattering of experience and just a high school diploma.

This summer, he lost the job he had working at the garage with his brother-in-law - Mandy's husband. And, knowing how difficult it was going to be to find something that paid relatively well here, he started looking into some type of training program and that is when he decided to try the Truck Driver School at the Vo-Tech in Clearfield. He applied, was accepted, got funding through the state for the expenses and began attending this school the beginning of October.

Now, his schooling is completed; he passed his CDL test a week ago this past Friday and that weekend, made contact with some folks who contract trucks to FedEx to see about signing on with them driving team, coast-to-coast. This past Friday he went to Harrisburg for his physical and to take the "whiz" test but wasn't able to get the "whiz" test worked in that day because the lab the company uses was closed that day - maybe part of the Thanksgiving Holiday.

So, today, he is now enroute back down to Harrisburg to finish up the testing stuff and as he puts it - "pee in the bottle" and since he already passed the basic physical and this test will not be a problem since (fortunately) he doesn't indulge in any of the bad test they test for, the company told him he should be in a truck and on the road by next Monday or Tuesday, the latest.

He's happy and very excited at the prospect of becoming a "paid tourist" as he puts it because this job will afford him the chance to see lots of the country he would never be able to see otherwise. And, as I said early on in this post, it will be a good paying job and one that might also enable him to actually begin to get the house he bought here fixed up in a decent manner!

And for me - I'm happy that he is happy. I will worry constantly about him being on the highways with so many others out there who might be the type of driver that has no business on the roads. I will worry every time I hear reports about bad weather conditions in this or that region knowing he might be having to contend with weather much worse than we see here. And I will also worry about the people he might meet in his travels too - "lot lizards" (truckstop hookers) or maybe lots of other unsavory characters who haunt the world today - or is he eating properly, resting as much as he should to be a really safe driver. All kinds of things will of course enter my mind and won't leave until he makes it back home or at least, calls old Mom every now and again to report in that he's ok.

So yes, I do have a lot of mixed emotions about the day, coming faster and faster on me (and him) now when he will begin this new endeavor.

But overall - as I said above too - I am happy and excited for him and the opportunity this job will give him and most of all, I am happy that he is happy, for a change.

And who knows, maybe sometime down the line, if he can arrange it - maybe Mom will even be able to go along on a run someday too!

Now, that's something for me to really get excited and happy about too!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sing Along With Me Here

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, all around the house!" Are you with me there? On key too? Remember my voice - which used to be at one time a very nice, sweet alto but is now raspy from a bad cold/sinus infection and extremely nasal too - also probably a tad off key as well - but humor me, and come on in, sing with me.

Except - for right now, change the words to "It's beginning to look quite messy" because there's boxes all over the living and dining room, gift wrapping paper containers sitting in the middle of the mess, silver garland flung about everything and well, just in general - the room which Mandy had gone to such pains just two hours earlier to sweep, then mop the floor here, picking up all traces of a 3-year-old and a 7-month-old and now - it looks like a freaking hurricane just came through with a vengance.

What's going on you ask? Well, the house trimming has begun!

Yep, I just got shoved out of the way so Mandy can drap some of that garland along the shelf on the wall beside my computer - the shelf that is lined from one end to the other with photos - all framed of course - of all three of my grandkids and the three stepgrandkids too!

Earlier, she and Katie took a big piece of cardboard, taped some really pretty gift wrap on it and then some ribbon and a bow to make it look like a big gift package and put it up on the mantle, above the fireplace. I have to admit their idea looks pretty nifty there too. Being very uncreative myself, I would never have thought to do something like that to "decorate" the room but I'm glad Mandy and Kate thought of that number.

And prior to getting into this end of the decorating, Mandy also hauled out a couple boxes from my hiding places in my room - boxes packed with handmade aprons I had sewn up when I was making them and selling them, along with another box with baby bibs I had made too - using holiday print terrycloth dishtowels and putting a cut in them to make an opening for a neckline which I then sewed knit rib trim to this to make a turtleneck. Voila, nifty large bibs that cover just about the entire kid and that you pull over their head and with the rib trim, they fit snugly against the neck as well! Mandy was thrilled to find several bibs she liked too and removed them from Mom's stash to use for the two little ones here! Glad to be able to oblige, my dear!

She decided when she dipped into the box of aprons I have done up that she is going to wear some of them to work with the idea in mind that maybe she can interest some of her co-workers to purchase an apron or two - or more - for themselves or for neat little stocking stuffer type gifts. These are the "butcher" type aprons and have two large pockets across the bottom with a strap that goes around the neck and they tie in the back. Neat, because they really do cover just about your entire front! Although I haven't sewn any aprons this year - just have my "inventory" that is leftover from what I made last year, if anyone is interested in purchasing one, I sell them for $12 each - $10 for a pinafore type for little girls (roughly a size 6X) can be bought if they are special-ordered as I don't have any of them left in my inventory right now. The baby bibs I mentioned that I make are also something I made and sold at craft fairs - $4.00 for a large big, $3.00 for a smaller one.

And, while I'm sort of advertising my "wares" here, if anyone would like to purchase a furry boa type knitted scarf, I think I have around 20 of those puppies in my stockpile as well - they are priced at a bargain basement rate of $12 each as well!

Wow, how could a shopper go wrong with nifty little extra gifts like these, huh?

The only problem here being I have no photos of the items to show you - just have to use your imagination and allow me to tell you what prints and colors I have done up in the aprons and what colors I have in the scarves that are all knitted up too.

But if you are - seriously now - interested in any of these items, let me know and I'll give you further instructions for payment and will also ship them to you at no extra cost - my Christmas gift in the bargain just for you! Actually, it would be considered a favor to Mandy if folks would clamor to order these items and get them the hell out the way here so she will have room to stash stuff she picks up at all the yard sales she frequents at every opportunity.

Or, I would have some extra space to use to go out and purchase more yarns or more fabric to use to do more sewing or knitting of some type - sometime in the next decade or two - as slow as I am at making stuff sometimes!

Merry Christmas - a little early - but by darn, I think I've got it now - or am getting it at any rate - THE Spirit, that is, of Christmas!

Give Me The Knitting Needle (and no one will be hurt)

Remember a few blogs back where I mentioned I like to knit? Well, did I bother to mention one thing I hate to do with knitting projects is fix errors. And, I especially don't like to deal with a whole row of errors either. And, that is pretty much what I had to do tonight!

I was cooking supper and had stuff going on the stove that didn't need to be attended to it by standing over it, stirring constantly, so decided I would sit back and knit a bit - work on a sweater project I started about a week or two ago. I have the back done and am working on the front - only had six more rows to do in the stockingette stitch before I would be able to begin my neckline decreases. Yea! I was making good progress - for me, anyway.

Well, the buzzer went off in the kitchen so I put my knitting - in progress - down on the end table and giving it no further thought, headed to the stove. I wasn't out there any more than five minutes when here comes my sweet little granddaughter, Miss Maya (age 3), handing me not one knitting needle, but both of them! And, of course, there was no yarn attached to either one, I must add.

Well, that immediately struck fear into my old heart! I could feel the beats quickening as I yelled at the kid "OH NO!" And, of course, at that, she off and running with the needles in hand.

Her dad jumped up - as did her 15-year-old sister - both who had been seated in the living room in full viewing range of where my knitting project had been left on the end table and neither of them was aware that the little munchkin had just done a major no-no to the sweater I'm making. Hopefully, it will be for her to boot! (But granted she's too little to give a rat's you know what about old Grammie slaving away in her blindness, trying to make a pretty little pullover just for her sweet little angel!)

After supper, when I had calmed down adequately, I picked up the knitting to see how much damage had been done. Went through and put the stitches back on the needle and fortunately only about 4, maybe 5 of them had begun to unravel to the row below so I was able to correct for that potential for dropped stitch damage then quite easily enough.

Let that be a lesson to me for future knitting or crochet projects now too - nothing is safe or sacred to a three-year-old! Always put things like that up and away, well out of reach of little inquiring minds and sticky fingers.

And, in the process, make damned sure you remember where the hell you hid the project then too!

"They Said; They Did" -Other Illegalities!

I got to thinking after posting my last diatribe - about the Pennsylvania Legislature and the ill-fated pay raise debacle - that perhaps I should explain, for those unaware of how our lovely legislators work, some of the other things they said and did that didn't exactly go over too well either with the voters.

Lest you think I am just stingy about what our legislators receive for pay, there's a tad more to that story than meets the eye too.

For openers, their base salary in July of 2005 -for the lowest paid legislators, that is, was a little over $69,000 per year. Ok, granted compared to private industry for those who are members of the bar (and most of them, by the way, are attorneys-at-law - there's a joke too - the "at law" bit) but all of them receive some really hefty benefit packages which would make the average slob drool if they had even a smidgen of these benefits.

A retirement that really can't be beat anywhere on the face of the earth - well, certainly not in Pennsylvania anyway. They get a vehicle and mileage plus a per diem reimbursement package that is really "to die for" - up to $650 per month reimbursement for lease or other expenses in acquiring a vehicle, plus the mileage and then the per diem expenses allowed is $141 per day. Now the per day thing is supposed to be per every day the House/Senate is in session but recently it was reported that one guy actually billed the state a per diem expense for virtually every day - got reimbursed for over $26,000 in per diems for the year he did, at any rate.

Then there is their hospitalization plan - paid for by guess who (hint - certainly not the legislator cause they couldn't possibly afford to pay any portion of this expense out of their "meager" salary, could they) - and this plan, I might add, is also "creme de la creme" of insurance plans too - of course - we wouldn't want it any other way. Oh, and it also covers spouses and family and extends over into coverage after retirement as well - fully paid, no less! WOW! By comparison, the last I heard, the regular state employees who used to get their insurance paid for, now pay a percentage of the premiums and they sure as hell don't all earn at least $69,000 per year to begin with - along with all the other "perks" the legislators get.

Then there is a little clause, I believe it is in the State's Constitution, which says that legislators shall not receive any raise during their term in office - which means if they pass a raise for themselves, it does not become available until after the next election. Soooo - this raise, passed in July of 2005, by all rights (and laws) should not have been dispensed to the legislators until December of 2006 at the earliest.

However, through a little mechanism called "unvouchered expenses" many of the legislators last summer applied for and received the equivalency of their "raise" each month then. When the raise was repealed there was also a big furor over the "unvouchered expenses" and some of the legislators did repay the money they had already received but most just kept it. Does it smell like something is rotten in Denmark- or closer to home, in Harrisburg? If you can't smell the stench by now, your sinus is in much worse condition than mine is at the moment!

There's also a little issue of "Gerrymandering" in Pennsylvania too - districts that are changed, "re-districted" so as to insure that the incumbents have plenty of voters of their own party then in their district to pretty much keep their position in Harrisburg safe from the anger of the voters! Gee, ain't that nice too - career insurance to the fullest!

And, I also failed to mention that the reason the voters were angry with the supreme court justices in the 2005 election was that they too were included in this lovely pay raise as were some members of the Executive Branch of our government.

And, when the supreme courts judges failed to rule about the illegalities that took place - the "unvouchered expenses," other illegal ways the legislature was skirting around or flat out abusing the state's Constitution, is it any wonder why the voters took aim and shot to kill? Actually, that last sentence is phrased incorrectly as it makes it sound like the courts did nothing when in fact they did something - they decided that there was nothing illegal in the way the legislators had operated, in the way they opt to do "business as usual."

Currently, in this fair state, many are clamoring to get the legislature to "reform" - to at least reduce property taxes in the state. (Some are even living in a dream world where they think those taxes can and should be totally eliminated but I'm not so sure the state can find another way to adequately fund the operations without some form of property taxation.) The word "reform" has become a very "hot-button" issue here and became a total farce though in the gubernatorial race that just took place as ad after ad for Gov. Rendell stated how he was fully in favor of "reform" and furthermore, how he has worked for "reform" in state government since taking office. Bah Humbug! The man probably never even heard of "reform" until the voters started screaming about it and he sure as Hell did nothing in his first term that in any way, shape or form qualifies as any type of "reform." So much for truth in advertising, huh?

I'll not go into any further details of how our state government operates except to say that we have one of the largest legislatures in the country as well as one that ranks very near the top in the pay scales too - if not being the highest there!

I post this piece only to clarify a bit more why the voters in this state are up in arms and for darned good reasons too in my opinion.

So now, what's your opinion on this whole mess? Think the voters in Pennsylvania were right in asking for major changes to their elected body or at least, changes to the system that allows some of these things to take place - flaunting their ignoring the rules as set forth in the state's Constititution? Come on - don't be afraid to speak out. This isn't for publication in any newspaper ya know.

Lacking Comprehension

Ah yes, "Lacking Comprehension" is about the best way I can think of to describe the logic that seems NOT to exist in the minds (what minds?) of many of Pennsylvania's so-called finest legislators.

For anyone reading this who DOESN'T know this, the House and Senate of this wonderful state did something back on July 7, 2005 which shall forever live as a day that will go down in history here, anyway, as the day these fools made what for some, was the most foolish move of their legislative lives - they voted themselves a pay raise that was absolutely THE MOST OBSCENE RAISE ever!

How does a pay raise of anywhere from 16 to 54 percent hit you? For the lowliest legislator on the totem pole, this equated to a raise of $11,400 - which, if you do the math is more than some poor schmuck working his/her butt off at a minimum wage job would earn even if working 40 hours a week for all 52 weeks in the year! Now that is really obscene when one thinks about the fact that the poor folks earning minimum wage haven't seen a raise in their pay checks for 9 years too!

But, this is what our great legislators thought was a "reasonable" raise for all the hard work they do for us, the poor citizenry here. Bull Pucky is the nicest thing I can say about that deal!

To say I was upset is a bit of an understatement. Angry is getting close but probably the best way I can describe how I felt when I heard about this lovely piece of legislation would be to say I was downright PISSED! You better believe it! So ticked off in fact that about four weeks after the raise had been passed, while reading an editorial by John Grogan of the Philadelphia Inquirer, I learned about a grassroots movement that had been started by a guy from Lebanon County called I looked for more information on the 'net about this guy and the group and found something I liked, something I believed in too - the motto for this group. The motto was pure and simple "Vote 'Em All Out!" Russ Diamond's theory was that our General Assembly was in dire need of a good housecleaning and the only way to do that would be via the next election (2006) when the voters should go to the polls and vote out every single incumbent regardless of that person's party affiliation and regardles of whether or not that legislator had voted for the pay raise too! Guilty by association was his theory and you know, that sounded pretty darned good to me!

I joined up then and there with PACleansweep.Com and since then, though I haven't been actively pursuing any projects through the group, I still support and believe wholeheartedly that a "clean sweep" is long over due in our House and Senate!

CleanSweep did a lot of good things in the past 16 months since Russ formed it by simply setting up a little website. In the elections of 2005, through a lot of help from the Media, we managed to oust one supreme court justice who was running for re-appointment for another 10-year term and came damned close to getting rid of the second judge running for reelection too!

In May of 2006, in the primary, we really struck big-time oil when two of the ringleaders in the Senate were dumped - Robert Jubelier, a Republican from Blair County who held the position of President Pro Tem of the Senate and "Chip" Brightbill, also a Republican from a county down near Harrisburg - forget which one off the top of my head right now. But they both lost their bids to run for re-election in the May primary as did several other incumbents. And, in November, because of all the turmoil created via that lovely pay raise, there were over 50 new legislators elected to office in the General Assembly! Normally, turnover there only occurs by death and occasionally through retirement!

One of the best defeats in November came when Mike Veon, a Democrat from Beaver County, lost his bid for reelection to the state Senate. Veon had been a big honcho in the State House and back in November of 2005, when the General Assembly finally decided to do the right thing and voted to repeal the stinking pay raise, he was the only legislator to refuse to vote for the repeal. Well, looks like that move came back and bit him in the behind this past November when he lost in the elections! Finally, the voters from Beaver County woke up and saw the light!

I'm sorry to say that the voters in the District where I live still were operating in darkness as they voted to send our Representative back to Harrisburg. Yep, good old Camille "Bud" George, who is competing against JoePA for longevity in a career position I guess got re-elected. Yeah, and as you can imagine, that was much to my dismay too. This guy should have been packing several years or terms ago, for sure! One can only pray that come the elections of 2008, the voters in this district will by then have come to their senses. It could happen. Yes indeed, it could happen and it is my fervent prayer every day now that it does!

But the funny thing is none of these clowns see that there was anything operating except very, very misguided judgement when they voted for that pay raise for themselves. They didn't see any error then and they still don't. How insane, how absurd is that.

Well, when you have convoluted thinking, such as exists in almost all legislators, then what else could one possibly expect.

And now, according to some newspaper articles in today's papers, Russell Nigro, the supreme court justice who got booted due to the also very convoluted thinking that goes on in our supreme court in this fine state and the pay raise issue, is now considering a possible run for election (again) to the supreme court. How stupid can one man - and a supreme court judge to boot - possibly be? Does he, even in his wildest dreams think he could manage to clean up the court and his prior election track record and get re-elected? I think not and certainly would hope that the voters won't forget his and the other justices involvement in this obnoxious legislative process.

Never Forget! That should become the motto right there along with "Vote 'Em All Out"!

That's my story and boy, am I sticking to it too!

WooHoo! I'm So Excited!

Barb over at Skittles Place said that right - WooHoo! And, why was she saying that? Because she probably knows how I have been messing around for the past week trying to get my sitemeter to work because her kind, sweet, generous with his knowledge husband has been trying to give me instructions in selection, installation and fixing it to make it work!

And tonight, I finally achieved great success! So yes, WooHoo is definitely the word for tonight!

I still have no clue as to why the initial installation didn't work because I compared the code I had in the appropriate place to the code on the sitemeter's instruction area and they matched but apparently something somewhere was going awry and it wouldn't show the counter, so naturally, it wasn't doing anything either!

I finally ended up tonight just totally reinstalling the whole thing - from start to finish - and I was so excited when the little meter appeared on my blog, I called my daughter, Mandy, over to see what remarkable thing I had just achieved.

Her comment to my stupendeous ability there - "That's nice, Ma!"

Boy, kids sure can burst a bubble for an old lady fast, can't they?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

When Shall The Fun Commence?

Some busy days ahead in this household, I can see 'em coming 'round the bend now!

The living room got a good going over tonight, with some much needed cleaning here and there, which is always nice. But in addition to that, tonight furniture got moved, re-arranged, toys picked up and hidden to remain out of sight (out of mind of a certain 3-year-old too) for the next few weeks and you know by now what this means, don't you?

The tree is coming! The tree is coming!

Yep, time to set up the lovely little old Christmas tree!

Mandy and Kate got what boxes they could handle out of the attic late this afternoon and when Bill got home, it was his job then to drag down the rest of the paraphenalia, including of course, the tree, so that the inside of the olde homestead will take on a pretty, seasonal look.

Since Mandy has to work Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., but has Monday off, it looks like Monday, November 27th, will be the designated decoration day here.

Hip, hip, hooray! Pretty soon too, it will be Christmas Day!

And, after Christmas Day, that is when the fun will really commence as the family will have to determine then when the tree and all the trimmings and stuff will be taken down. Since it is such fun to put it up, make it look all lovely with the favorite ornaments and such. Put down the tree skirt and watch as packages will begin to appear under the tree - all such things give happy feelings, a nice glow to everyone and the spirit of Christmas begins to descend. But, after the big day has come and gone, why then is it such a depressing chore to defrock the tree?

This will be a point that will come up several times before the tree comes down and is all "folded" up (well, sort of) to be placed back in the attic with the boxes of ornaments and stashed away for another year. "Why do I have to be the one to take it down, put it away?" is the question that will be bantied about here, over and over again. You can bet money on that one!

Now enter Mom's theory of how this issue should be handled.

Why not do as I did after the holiday season of 1996 and just leave the tree up all year?

Are you crazy, is what most everyone reading this will be saying to that suggestion but trust me, it worked fine and dandy for me.

I didn't plan it that way though. It's just that over the Christmas holiday season of 1996-97, I was working two jobs, totally usually anywhere from 60 to 80, even 90 hours a week. I was lucky I had found enough time free for Mandy and I to put the tree up and get it trimmed. And, after the holiday season ended, my workload seemed to increase and finding time to take the tree down, put all that stuff back up in the attic, just never seemed to materialize.

Before I knew it, the end of January had become the end of March. Then, April and Easter rolled around and the tree still was in place. Carrie, my older daughter, offered Mandy $20 to defrock the tree and Mandy turned her down. And, I decided then if the kid wasn't going to do it for $20, then I sure as hell wasn't going to do it for free!

Month after month in 1997 came and went and still the tree remained, safely ensconced in the corner area of the living room. My grandson, Alex, then only 3 years old knew this wasn't exactly "normal" and whispered on one visit here in early August that year to his mother, "Why does Grammy Jeni have a Christmas tree?" Carrie's response to him was a simple, "Don't ask!"

By this time, pure stubbornness on my part had definitely set in and I figured since it had been up this long, still looked fine (how could an artifical tree change anyway?), might as well leave it up now for the duration.

And that's exactly what I did! When the holiday season rolled around again, I was all set, all ready for it and was probably the first person on my street to be able to say "I have my tree up and all trimmed!" And, only those who didn't know it had been up all year would marvel at my ability to be so organized and have something like that done so early in the Christmas Season.

Plus, I decided then too that since the spirit of Christmas is what is really important and the tree is supposed to be a reminder to us of that, then leaving it up year-round kept that spirit alive deep inside me too and that was a good thing.

So that's my theory about Christmas trees and trimming and untrimming them. Leave 'em up all year to enjoy and remember the reason for the season in the doing!

As I've said on many other occasions too - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Changes - Because Life Changes

Lately, if you've been following my blogs, you may have noticed I have become somewhat more prolific in my postings. I've also become a bit more prolific too in the changes I've made under the "Blogs I Like To Read" as well - and just today, I added two more blogs to that area along with one yesterday. These three blogs I found to be very interesting, some good perspectives about life, living and the changes we encounter every day.

Why am I seeming to be putting in new postings here, sometimes almost hourly? Darned if I know! Maybe it's because when a notion hits me, I figure I best put those astute thoughts and opinions down in writing and do it right then because, if I wait even five minutes, the thought may have passed through my pea brain and with the sieve it seems to be much of the time, those great thoughts would have gone through and poof, disappeared, right down ye olde drain!

That's what happens when you are dealing with the old and senile you see! Gotta get it out while the memory lasts!

So, take a minute or two - or more really is what you'll need - and check out the new blogs I added here. Read some of my earlier postings too maybe? Who knows what gems you might just encounter along your reading way!

That's my story and by damn, I am sticking to it too!


Thanksgiving, for this year is now history; so is Black Friday. Now, at least for me, the countdown to Christmas begins in earnest. Well, considering my track record pertaining to organization and procrastination, it begins as earnestly as I will ever begin anything involving a "countdown."

The way I see this, in order to have a "countdown" towards something as important as the Christmas holiday, one must have a game plan. To have a game plan, definitely requires organization. To be organized, one must not indulge either in that other big issue that is a major problem area for me - procrastination.

This a akin - for me - to making New Year's Resolutions - something I did away with in my life many, many years ago. Actually, I wonder if I ever MADE any New Year's Resolutions in my entire life and if so, did I ever hold up to any of them for more than the time it took to decide I was making that resolution? Probably not.

In years past, prior to Christmas, mainly when my kids were youngsters, I was much more "organized" about my shopping. I started it the year before the holiday often with the after Christmas sales and would purchase clothing in sizes larger than the kids were currently wearing -usually in much larger sizes to allow for growth spurts - and these purchases would then be stashed in storage, in hiding, for gifts the next year. With my economic set at that time, it was often the only way I could afford to get nice clothes for my kids at what I considered "decent prices." That aspect of Christmas shopping would continue throughout the entire year as I would try to pick up bargains at close-out sales when the stores would start bringing in new merchandise for the next season. Rarely did I have any (or not much) shopping left to do then by the month just prior to Christmas and my kids would usually have a good supply of gifts under the tree of clothing. Yes, some of the packages they unwrapped in December were items that were geared to summer wear - sleeveless shirts, light-weight fabrics, etc. - but they were happy anyway, knowing it was the thought that counted in the gift - along with the number of packages they received.

My kids grew up knowing better than to ask for any outlandish gifts - expensive toys, fad-type clothing that was also usually outrageously priced. They knew it would automatically garner one of my two pet responses to requests like that: "People in Hell want ice water, see how far that gets them." Or my other oft-used reply - "Wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which one fills up first."

My son likes to point out that he was raised "poverty-ridden" and that he had made the choice to stay in a situation like that when he decided he was going to stay here, living with his mother and two sisters, rather than going to live with his father. His Dad had made the offer for the boy to come live with him when he was twelve years old because, as Dad had pointed out to him, he was now old enough to make that decision on his own without the courts intervention.

What had ensued after my ex had told the boy that lovely tidbit of wisdom was roughly three, maybe four weeks of misery for the kid as he tried to weigh this in his mind and would end up in tears over trying to decide should I stay with Mom and my sisters or go live with my Dad. I had told him I would allow him to make this momentous decision and would abide by his choice too, but only if he agreed to seeing a counselor to form his answer in a way that would allow him to see the entire issue clearly.

And, from September of that year until the following spring, the boy saw a counselor sometimes by himself, other times with me and/or his younger sister present, and we all worked this out together. After roughly six or seven months of the counseling, one day as we walked into the counselor's office, he announced he had "made a decision" and believe you me, my heart was in my throat wondering what he was going to say.

It was much joy that I heard him tell Dave, the counselor, that he had decided he was going to stay put with Mom and the girls. Dave then asked him what made him come to make that choice and the boy's logic then amazed me.

He had said that if he went to his Dad's, he knew he could then have the prized attraction - a four-wheeler - to ride, to play with and he knew there was no way he would ever have something like that if he stayed with Mom. But, he also figured out that if he went to live with Dad and had that precious four-wheeler, he would also not be able to ride it except maybe on Saturdays or perhaps Sundays, depending on whether Dad was working those days or not and also, depending on Dad's mood of the day as well. He also determined if he went to his Dad's place, the fact the house where Dad and his step-mother lived was right along a very busy highway so he would not even be able to ride his bicycle - also a very prized possession of his - and furthermore, he had come to the conclusion that Dad was trying to buy him with promises like this just to get him there and thus, lower his child support payments. Smart boy, huh?

No way was this kid going to be fooled by the lure of "Come live with me and be my love" and the promise of roses lining his pathway. I don't know when I was ever more proud of my son and his abilities as I was that day. I don't know either of a time in my life when I was more frightened either though.

My son loves to remind me and also, has no qualms about telling others that he chose to stay with Mom and he chose to live a life that was "poverty ridden" as a result but, to this day, he has no regrets for having made that choice. Now THAT really makes me proud when he tells me this or repeats his story to those who have no clue as to what his life was really like.

The girls were never given any options - no choice about who they would live with. For them, it was a given that they would stay with Mom. Probably because my ex thought he could impart more of his male chauvinistic attitude on to our son easier than he could deal with PMS and the moodiness young girls are notorious for as well. I don't think the thought of inviting either of the girls to live with him ever crossed his mind! I'm glad it didn't too because they might not of been able to sort through the offers and see "the forest for the trees" the way our son did. The girls both had a tendancy to be a trifle more materialistic back then.

But, had our son decided to go live with Dad, I think it might have been a very rude awakening for Dad, more so than for the boy. Dad only thought he knew the kid! Just because the boy was very interested in cars and such manly things, what Dad never knew about the kid back then was that he had other interests and had they become evident then to Dad, he may have been really worried that his son was a tad on the "wimpy" side. The boy was then, still is, very interested in art, which Dad has absolutely NO INTEREST in whatsoever, and the boy was then, still is, much like his mother in that he is a total, unadulterated sentimental slob too! And I don't think that would have gone over too well with the ex as behavior becoming to a MAN!

And, today, it is that sentimentality side of our son that usually brings forth some strong feelings from me - of so much pride in him that I could just about bust every button on my apparal when I see that part of him exposed. I am also so proud of him and his commitment to his beliefs - how he feels about racism, bigotry, prejudice, feminine issues, domestic abuse and violence - things of that realm that often with other young men his age in this area are never thought of except that they are accepted as the "Norm."

And, my son doesn't believe that is the way things should be and it sure does make the old lady here fill with pride to see I managed to instill a good sense of right and wrong in him in that respect somewhere along the way.

I tease him that it has to be the choice of the lullaby I used to sing to him when he was a baby - "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar." He says it can't have been that but then I point out to him I never sang that to either of the girls so what else could it possibly have been then?

That's my story son, and I'm sticking to it. And, for the record, I used to try to whisper-sing that to my older grandson when I thought I could squeeze it in to him and I fully plan on singing that - full-blast too - to the little grandson as he grows up too. It worked before, why not again?

"I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers to big to ignore." Yep, works for me, for sure!

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Present From My Granddaughter

Today was my first day since before the surgery of watching both kids for the entire day - alone. My daughter (Mandy) wanted very much to do the "Black Friday" shopping thing with her sister, two of her sister's girl friends and the daughter of one of those folks but she was concerned about having the regular sitter watch them due to that age-old factor - economics!

So I told her not to worry, I could handle them. And, I did - no problems either as both the little ones really seemed to be on their best behavior today -or at least fairly close to that.

The exception being something my granddaughter did to me that ranks fairly close to the time my son at about the age Maya is now had pulled every box of cereal out of the cupboard, dumped them all on the floor - including the oatmeal as the top layer of cereal but had then added a bottle of maple syrup on top of the oatmeal -just for effect I suppose! As I told a friend today, when I was reiterating my son's actions to him today, that was the day my son came very, very close to becoming a member of the "endangered species" list. He may have made that list had it not dawned on me that Pennsylvania had the death penalty then and sitting in the electric chair had never been on of my list of things I wanted to try out either!

Miss Maya had eaten her lunch - a plate full of penne pasta with a spaghetti and meat sauce on it and had followed that with a half-piece of pumpkin pie. The pie had gone down very nicely and I offered her the other half of the piece, which she seemed to have scarfed up in record time too.

So, I went to take her out of the high chair only to discover that somehow she had turned herself in the high chair and was able to grab an ashtray her mother had on the island behind the high chair and had pulled the ashtray over to the high chair tray and dumped the ashes in it onto the tray! Then, she made her own brand of finger paints by smearing the ashes into some of the sauce that she had also smeared on the tray and finger painted this combo around the top of the tray to do a spectacular "paint" job of sorts, you cold say.

Needless to say, I was not very impressed with her artistic talents. Her hands looked like she had been working for several hours in a coal mine and she even had a little black ring, tinged around the edges with the red from the spaghetti sauce around her mouth as well. Yep, she looked lovely, indeed she did!

Oh well, it did all wash off fairly easily but sure did look ugly as sin!

Knit 1, Purl 2?

If you are a knitter, you will understand my title. If not, don't worry about it, as it means nothing exceptional other than that I'm going to expound a tad about knitting.

What inspired this you ask? One of my pretty regular readers noted today in response to my mentioning knitting in my earlier post of today that I am working on a sweater. Key word there being "working," as I am not exactly a speedy knitter, nor am I that devoted to the hobby or projects I start, that I keep on working at 'em to get them completed!

But I do, when I am in the mood, usually enjoy trying to knit.

My reader wrote that she feels she can't really knit as all she has ever made, using that method, would be some long scarves, but she adds that she makes a really mean afghan.

I've made some afghans too in my day - crochet type, that is. Oh, almost forgot - I have knitted two afghans - both baby type though so they weren't huge projects which, if I were knitting a full sized afghan, the project would most likely ended up in my corner pile of things started and never completed! One I made in the late winter-early spring of 1980 and went to my friend, Kate, for her third (and last) baby! Do you feel honored Susan that you were one of two recipients of one of my knitted afghans? The other - which was a kind of lacy patterned baby afghan was given to the daughter of one of my Avon customers back in the early 80's.

But what triggered this posting here really was Skittles mention of making long scarves. And I was just wondering if she had tried to make the nifty boa type scarves using the really pretty "eyelash" yarns?

My Aunt Mary - the one who recently passed away - got me hooked two years ago this winter with making those scarves, using that type of yarn and I just love making them! They are soooo easy - well, once you get accustomed to the feel of the yarn and working with the really big needles and such. But if I start one of those type scarves, provided no one comes along to interrupt my train of thought, I can generally push one through to completion in a matter of only a couple of hours worth of work! My kind of project there for sure; fast and easy and pleasing to the eye when finished too!

And if anyone is interested in making scarves like I described above, just let me know and I will gladly give you the specs to make your own!

A "Beautiful" Day!

Here's my mid-day posting - yes, it is indeed a "beautiful" day here in SUNNY central PA! Just looks so pretty and inviting outside with the sunshine pouring down - so much nicer than seeing rain pouring down, isn't it?

And, inside ye olde homestead here, it's - so far - a beautiful day too! Kurtis and Maya both work up around 10:30 - ah, nice to have both kids sleep late! And both woke up and were quite pleasant in temperment too! Also a big, big bonus for old Grammy who is the babysitter du jour!

Fed Kurtis first, got some nice dry drawers on him and put him back in the bassinet where he has been sleeping peacefully now for almost an hour! And Maya - who woke up smiling which is REALLY the big bonus when she wakes up like that - has had a big cup of orange juice and a nice bowl of rice krispies, which she polished off completely and with no mess either. My life is just really blessed and full of lots of bonuses today, isn't it?

Looks like - if things continue at this pace - I might be able to work on the sweater I started knitting the other day. Won't have to slave over the stove fixing supper either, cause we will be having a re-run meal - celebrate Thanksgiving dinner all over again! Yippy skippy on that deal too!

May your day go as nicely and smoothly as mine has at least begun! Pray for a continuation too!

Black Friday!

It's here folks! That wonderful, to die for (and sadly, some may if folks keep acting like animals at these sale events), and dream about too for some folks as they plan for this day from one year to the next!

My older daughter and two of her bestest friends ever - from high school - started their own tradition a couple years back of getting together on Black Friday, going to Altoona to hit the malls there - although they don't go the really, really early morning route to catch the really big sales - and thus, by spending the day together, just the three of them, shopping, lunching, gabbing, catching up on everything and anything by being "alone" - without kids or spouses or significant others, they have one heck of a good time.

Last year, they invited my younger daughter to join them on this bonding expedition along with the elder daughter of one of Carrie's friends in the group. They figured at 16 years old, she was old enough for a day with her Mom and her friends I guess.

This year, the five of them will be heading out from here to Altoona at about 8 a.m. to have a good time together. It's been nice to see my girls wanting to do something where they can become closer in some way - as sisters should be, you know. Well, that's my theory on how sisters should be but what the hell would I know about that aspect anyway since I am an only child. Or as Carrie loves to point out to me that I was an only child and therefore a spoiled brat too. Gee, do ya think? Personally, I think that's a bit of the pot calling the kettle black there because in many ways, each of my kids can show a good bit of the "spoiled brat" syndrome too from time to time.

Don't ever think just because there's more than one child in a family that kids don't or can't also get "spoiled" cause they can! To prove my point there, I refer to something a son-in-law of the family who lived next door to me when I was a kid once said on that subject. You see, the Little family next door had 13 children - 11 girls and 2 boys - and this one son-in-law once asked Mrs. Little to please explain to him how on earth his wife, one of their 11 daughters, could possibly have become so spoiled while growing up in a family that big. It does kind of boggle the mind to think how Mrs. Little managed the extra time there with that many children to do any spoiling but, if you'd have ever seen how she (and her husband too) were around children, how they both managed to show the little "extras" of love to each one, you'd know then how that could have happened!

Gotta say this too - having grown up around that family and darned near living over at their house too much of the time - that's another thing to point out - since I am still in the "Thanksgiving" mode - to be really, really thankful for. That family and the one on the other side too - the Nelsons - gave me so much as a child and the giving continued from Mr and Mrs Little and Gert and Howard Nelson right up until they died! Good people, such very good people and so grateful I am to have had the privilege to have known them!

Our Thanksgiving here went very well. Got lots of compliments from all present at the table about the food of which there was plenty! We feasted on turkey (naturally), mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole with the marshmellows on top, green bean casserole, stuffing and applesauce and for dessert, pumpkin pie along with some really, really yummy (Slovak) Nut Rolls and Ladyfingers. Mandy did the mashed potatoes, I did all the rest for the main course and the pies and the nut roll and ladyfingers, we bought from two very good friends here in town who make nut rolls, ladyfingers and some other stuff too for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They take orders and then make up what is needed to fill the orders - nut rolls I think are $6 each and $4 for a dozen of the ladyfingers and boy, are they ever good! These two entrepreneurs are Nila Force and Sue Little Humenay and Sue has another last name now which at the moment escapes me! Drat! I can't keep that straight there but think it is either Croyle or Dunlap and for the life of me I can't remember what it is! Sorry Sue! Well, heck she will always be Sue Little to me anyway! But in my house, my kids and I always just refer to her as "Aunt Sue" because all the kids from the Little family get called Aunt or Uncle by my kids and by me and we've done that for many years now too! That way, we always know who we are talking about in case there are others with the same first name and it saves on remembering last names that way too!

Back to our Thanksgiving Day and dinner, etc now for a bit - there were 9 people here today but only 6 adults and one child around the table, Maya in her high chair and little Kurtis in his exer-saucer! Present and accounted for at the table were: Son-in-law Bill, daughter Amanda, Bill's dad - "Pap", me, my son Clayton, Bill's sister, Kathy and her son, Jared. Everyone had a plate well loaded with food with the exception of Jared. How that child manages to exist on what he eats is beyond me! Today, he had a small serving of mashed potatoes, with no gravy, and a tiny bit of turkey and he barely even touched any of that! He is now I think 7-years old (maybe 8, I lose track there) and this child is something to behold! Cute as a button he is, but boy, now there is the epitomy of a spoiled child, for sure! I will say this - before any of my kids would have a chance to say it first - if one of mine had ever acted the way this boy acts out in public or at other folks' homes, it is highly unlikely mine would have lived to see adulthood - or at least would have had difficulty sitting for a while! He is rude and disrespectful to his mother, his grandfather and it doesn't stop there either! He holds back no punches! Everyone gets the same type of treatment! Although I do have to say today he must have been warned in advance that he best watch his mouth because he and I have often had run-ins in the past when he has been over at our house simply because I will not put up with kids acting like little brats that way! He knows I am the old ogre here and he also knows that his Uncle Billy is not too far behind me in expecting him to act civilized here too. I was a bit concerned when Mandy said he would be coming over with Pap and Kathy about how he and I might manage to get along today if he began to act up but thankfully, he was, for a change, on his best behavior. So, you see, there is just another thing for which I can be very thankful!

Last night, Bill's two middle children - Shane and Sierra - were here and spent the night. This morning, he got up early and cooked breakfast - French Toast - for all of us and then about 10 a.m. he had to have them back to their maternal grandmother's for their Thanksgiving Dinner celebration there. (They live with their maternal grandmother year-round, which probably is a very good thing to help maintain some semblence of "harmony" for Bill and his dealings with his ex-wife, their mother!) When they left, Maya threw one royal fit - crying, howling, sobbing - because she didn't want them to leave! She just worships her half-brother Shane when he is here - follows him around and he pays lots and lots of attention to her, plays with her and keeps her out of trouble by keeping a really close eye on her moves too! She likes Sierra very much too but it is really obvious by her reactions to Shane that she favors him - a lot! Now, if she ever decides to accept her full brother, the little guy here, Kurtis, all will really be right in her (and my) world!

After eating breakfast this morning and getting the veggie dishes ready to put in the oven, turkey already in there cooking away, I hit the sofa and managed to snag a nap for about an hour from 1 to 2 p.m. Got up, finished up the dinner preparations, made gravy, and we sat down to eat around 4:30. By 6 p.m., the only one still here was Clayton, my son, and he was enjoying some quality time on the loveseat, playing with his little nephew, making him chuckle and laugh and taking so much pleasure from being able to do that with the little guy!

I fell asleep on the couch then about 6:30 and didn't fully wake up until around 10 tonight! Wasted is the word that comes to mind to describe my nap time there! I can't really say I was that tired because I overate today - I had only one helping of everything prepared and a piece of pumpkin pie for dessert. There must really be a lot of truth to that bit about turkey making one very, very sleepy cause it sure did a number on me today!

And here I am now - it's almost 2 a.m. and I'm typing away on my blog so as to have at least one posting up on my site for today! Since I will be the babysitter all day today for the two little ones - and because of that I should really be in bed, sleeping away, but I have to get myself re-tired now so I will be able to go to sleep and still get up early in the morning when Mandy leaves to do her "Black Friday" shopping event with her sister and friends - Deb, Gina and Deb's daughter, Alina! And no, I have no desire - narry a one - to join them at the malls and shop till I drop! Cause in my case the drop part would probably take place within an hour after the shopping trip began! I'm too darned old for that stuff any more is my excuse but really, I just have no desire to be out among the throngs looking at very over-priced (usually) merchandise that even on sale, I probably couldn't afford to purchase anyway!

Hope everyone reading this had as nice a day as I had here and that your table was set with as much bounty -or maybe even more - than was ours so that your physical needs were fed. But even more, I hope your emotional and spiritual needs were fed as well and will continue to have that take place throughout the rest of our time here on earth.

Be thankful now that I am signing off from this posting and going to bed! If I can fall back to sleep fairly quickly that will give me yet another thing for which I can say I will be very, very thankful, won't it?

Nite now! Sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thoughts on Thankfulness

First, as I begin this post, let me wish each and everyone who read this a very Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving Day!

We should, by all rights, take time every day to be thankful to whoever it is one feels is their guiding spirit, God, Allah, Budda, Mother Earth, whatever name you give to that entity really matters not in the grand scheme of things, but being thankful for all the things that comprise your life - family, friends, faith, freedom - are all things we have around us to be thankful for not just today, but everyday of our lives.

As I sit here and look out the window of my living room to the world outside, because the day right now appears grayish, maybe even cold out there, and not the really pleasing picture we often want to see as we being our day - sunshine and lots of it you know - perhaps the first inclination I might get on taking a peak out through that window is that oh heck, it's a dreary looking day - not pretty, therefore not nice and not worthy of being thankful for it. WRONG! Any day that you wake up can therefore be regarded as a fine and glorious day!

Ok, you say, I woke up, I didn't exactly like what I saw outside and maybe your idea of changing my view about the big old world out there has some merits, but what about me - I have issues, illness perhaps, or I'm unemployed, no one appreciates me or loves me, money problems, addiction maybe to whatever thing I have used in an unhealthy manner, my kids need food, new clothes, new other things, debt is crushing me - what the heck is so darned good about that?

Well, for openers - go back to the paragraph above that and remember you are still alive and maybe you can't change every single problem you see in your life right now - maybe not ever - but you are alive and that's the important thing and you can start to try to make things different one baby step at a time. Rome wasn't built in a day as that old saying goes and neither were we. And the things we view as problems in our lives probably didn't all just come into our lives with a big slam dunk and announcing "Here I am, right now. Deal with ME!" did they? Work on things in a prioritizing manner, little by little, perhaps just changing the attitude at first from gloom and doom to a "Hey, what the heck, I can do it!" and it makes things at least look a little brighter for the moment anyway. Be thankful you have the ability to do that much!

For me, looking around me inside my home, I am again so grateful that I have my family - my children and grandchildren - all who are absolutely wonderful, just beautiful individuals and I am ever so blessed to have each of them as a part of my life. My kids still aren't perfect perhaps - at times in my view, maybe to others who think they know them - but heck, they're still in the earlier learning phases of their lives and trying to get their footing, some stability and I have faith that eventually each of them will manage to get where they want and need to be and will be people who I can continue to be so proud of, loving individuals, helping, caring and good parents, good to their siblings, good to those they encounter in each of their lives too and what more could any parent ask to see in their offspring then anyway?

I am so thankful especially for my grandchildren - such lovely, sweet and wonderful beings they are. I look at them in absolute awe to think that I even had a tiny part in their coming into the world by providing them with one of their parents! I look at them and see also people who are part of my extended family - a few still with me, many who have long since gone on to whatever it is that awaits all of us some day - and it gives me such pleasure then to see the little smidgens of traits from this or that member of that part of my family shining through in some tiny way in each of these gorgeous little people. How wonderful that is to be able to see those loved ones of my life come back to visit me again through my grandkids? Isn't that a great thing right there of which I can truly be thankful?

Although there were many times in my life, over the years, when the last person in the world I thought I should be thankful for and that would be my ex-husband. However, today especially, I can say how thankful I am for openers, that he decided over 13 years ago to find sobriety and because of that, today he tries, albeit from a distance of over 2,500 miles, to be a part of the lives of our three children and also, especially, that he has chosen too that he will try to be a good and loving grandfather now as well. Yes, I am really grateful that he has chosen that route and even that he and I can now speak to each other, not just attempting to carry on civil conversations but that we can again talk and joke and poke fun at one another and even express concerns for each other from time to time that health returns and stays a good part of our lives today. That really is something for which I am especially thankful and I think our kids are also very happy to see that he and I can now interact in that manner with each other and with them in return. Yes, indeed, I am really thankful for my ex-husband now more than ever before - if I would even have ever said before that I was thankful for him. (After all, if it weren't for him in the first place, I wouldn't have these great children and fantastic grandchildren to love and brag about now would I?)

I have so many people who are a part of my extended blood-related family - some who maybe at times might annoy me, others who always seem to stay a part of my life as warm, loving, caring folks who never cross the fine line over to the annoying aspect - but regardless of where they are in that spectrum, they are still part of my family and yes, I love each and every one of them, faults and fine points they have, equally. They are the links to so much of my past and continue to be a very large part of my life and yes, for sure, for each and every one of them, I am most certainly blessed and thankful.

For the members of my family who are no longer with me - parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins - so often I think of those good folks and how much they meant to me while they were here, with me, how much I miss them still and how grateful I am that I was once able to know them too. To all of them, I will be forever thankful.

For the fact I do have "faith" - faith in the Good Lord above and all the bounties He has seen fit to bestow upon me - and they are so many there, too numerous to ever begin to name because many of them I don't often even think of and regard as a blessing to me from Him but they are there - even when they might seem to be not such a nice thing, those things have often been blessings to me in disguise because they served to give me a different perspective on many things. Oh my yes, for that I am really today very, very thankful!

For the freedoms I enjoy and often take for granted too, I am thankful. I may rant, grump, grumble, complain and yes, at times bitch like crazy about things in this country, in our government, but yet, I should be downright thankful that I can openly (or quietly) do those things! So many people in this world have so little freedoms afforded to them by their country, their governments, that even when I am angry and feel ours isn't doing near enough for the citizens here, I need to stop and think and be thankful that our government even exists and that there are people willing to try to serve to make our lives better. Just because there are people who might be corrupt but are part of our governing body doesn't make the whole place bad or wrong - it just shows us that we all need to work to get things better for ourselves and for each other. Some folks can't even begin to do that so I need to be thankful the form of government we have still exists, even with its faults, its still pretty doggone good and yes, I am thankful for it!

I am ever so thankful that some people years back had the ingenuity and put that to use to invent this little item that sits in the corner of my living room and that I can go to it and through it and the science that brought it into being, I can open my window to the entire world as it is at my fingertips now through my computer and the internet! Some would say - and probably rightly so too - that I am addicted to this machine. But it connects me with so many things - my family and friends for openers and allows me through the internet to make lots and lots of new acquaintances and yes, even friends that way. It has truly expanded my mind and my world and for that, I am especially thankful. (And I pray daily too that the darned thing doesn't crash too!) It has given me ways to learn so much more - especially through one of the groups I belong to here - Writer's Life - and for this silly (at times to me, often to those who read my postings) blog! It keeps my mind at least semi-working and that is something for which I am really, really thankful too!

Some who read this, along with others who know me but maybe never see my thoughts I post here, family or friends or folks who may just happen by and click in here and glance at my words - whatever, however, anyone knows anything about me - may think I am crazy to say that I am actually thankful for the health concerns that have come my way over the past three plus years. But without them, my perspective on life, how I live it today, all the things that come into play there, would not be the way it is today if those "bad" things hadn't happened to me. It is my belief they happened for a reason and in my mind, things have come together there and made me a better, stronger person for that and yes, for sure, for that I am very much thankful.

And that's all I have time to list right now of the things I am very thankful for being a part of my life.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good day and may we all have many, many more seconds, minutes, hours, day, weeks, months and years during which we can all say for this, I am truly thankful!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

MY (our) WAY - or the highway?

Here's a little analogy - of sorts - I thought of this morning with respect to this country and our foreign policy, perhaps. See what you think of it and if my thoughts on this "hold water" at all.

My late mother - who I DID love dearly - and I always had a relationship that was rocky. We disagreed on many things over the years and the example I am about to explain here is just one of many things we couldn't come to terms about.

My ex-husband and I built a home next door to my mother which enabled her to pop in and out of my house frequently. This was fine - for the most part - in my opinion, except that she and I didn't see quite eye-to-eye about a lot of stuff and one big issue was housework.

I had then - still do too - the habit of when I washed dishes, I would put them in the drainer and let them drip dry and frequently, I would just take clean dishes then from the drainer to use again - infrequently I might actually get around to putting the dishes all back in their proper places in the cupboards.

Mom, on the other hand, was a firm believer that immediately after washing dishes, they should be towel-dried and also, put away, out of sight and yes, in their proper storage spots too in the cupboards.

Ok - it is not any really big deal there over which one of us had the correct and proper theory there, is there? Either method actually works fine and dandy as long as you have clean dishes available to use - right?

Well yes - to a degree. But, a further issue with my Mom was that she would come to my house, see dishes in the sink drainer and insisted on then putting them away in my cupboards. Ok, also fine except for one small thing - she also insisted on putting them where SHE thought they should go - not necessarily according to the way I had my cupboard organized.

And yes, this is a petty thing to cope with, I do realize that, but it was one that was a thorn in my side and I resented her doing this whenever she came over to my house.

My question here is how is this example of the contention this created between her and I any different, really, between how we - the U.S. go into various countries around the world and insist to these other people, that OUR way is the ONLY way? Isn't that kind of like my Mom insisting on putting my dishes where SHE felt they should go and not following my organizational patterns in my cupboards?

After all, these people in these different countries also have different ideas than we do here; they have different cultures, different mores, different methods of operation on many levels and what right do we as a nation have to go tell them well, you should put your cups here, glasses here, serving dishes in this place - not in the areas where you have them now? Isn't our trying to insist these countries do things Our way operating in the same manner then as my Mom did with my kitchen cupboards?

And my thought there then is gee, it's no damned wonder these other people think we are overbearing!

Does anyone else here share my theory on this? Do you think my analogy "holds water?"

I'd really like to know.