Friday, December 29, 2006

I Talk Too Loud

I talk too loud, and I know it. Believe me, I'm not proud of it. I think it's because I spend so much time alone, I have a hard time modulating my voice around other people. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a SHOUTER, but I don't have a really soft voice either. And people with really soft voices drive me crazy. My brother Alan, whom I love dearly, is a very quiet talker. A typical phome conversation goes something like this:

Me: So, Alan, how have you been?

Alan: mumble mumble mumble

Me: Excuse me?

Alan: mumble mumble mumble

Me: I'm sorry, Alan, what was that?

Alan: mumble mumble

At which point my ears are about to break from the strain of trying to hear what he is saying. A couple of years ago, I had a phone conversation with Alan in which at some point I missed the news that he had HAD TO HAVE A PACEMAKER INSTALLED, because he had been talking so quietly for so long that by that time I had resorted to the old, "Uh huh", "Oh really", etc., because I could no longer discern any of the words that he was saying at all.

So I'm sorry, Alan, that I missed your pacemaker news. I'm sure that there is a lot of things you have told me that I have missed, because I CAN'T HEAR YOU. Sorry. So, so sorry.

P.S. - Yes, I have had my hearing tested and it is fine. I also had a manager at Wendy's at one point who talked so softly that none of the employees could hear him, and we all just mostly tried to steer clear of him, because it was so damn hard to hear what he was saying.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Good Movies

Over Christmas, I taped (yes, I still use my VCR - I have a DVD player, but not yet a recorder) the movie "Love, Actually" with Hugh Grant, because I heard that it was really good. I actually almost bought it on DVD, but decided to watch it first to see if I liked it.

It was ok, but nothing really good or really memorable. Which makes me think of all the many, many movies that I've really wanted to watch, and then they turned out to be not as good as I thought they would be. Especially independent movies. I always want them to be good, and they so seldom are.

So can anybody recommend some good movies?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Party 2006

Today is the office Christmas lunch. Lord, help me get through it. Why do I dread this?

1. The guys I work with all make more money than me, but they all dress like high school janitors. Embarrassing to be seen with.

2. A guy that used to work here, Jim, ate like he had never seen food before. Keep your fingers and toes close by, or he might just eat them too. Thankfully Jim no longer works here, but we have a new guy, hack-it-up Ed, and judging by his personal hygeine, I am afraid that his table manners might not be the best. Also, he brought in something for breakfast yesterday and heated it up in the microwave, and I don't know what is was, but it smelled like what I imagine roadkill would smell like if you scraped it off the road and heated it up. Not that that has anything to do with Christmas lunch, but still.

3. Because we have a new guy, hack-it-up Ed, this means that the Boss will feel free to tell all his stories from his ironworker days that we have all heard a billion times before. The first time, the stories were interesting. The fifth, twentieth, or thirtieth time? Not so much.

4. Because this is the last day of work before Christmas, it can be counted on that fifteen minutes before quitting time, the Boss will decide that there is a letter that absolutely has to go out the door today, and he will make me work late to finish it. Count on it.

OK that's it! I'm off work until next Wednesday (oh, but first thing Wednesday I have to take mom to the dentist - boy, what was I thinking when I scheduled that one?) so everybody have a merry Christmas and try not to kill your obnoxious relatives. Nothing dims that Christmas spirit like getting drunk and telling your loved ones what you really think about them! It might feel right at the time, but boy, you'll regret it later! If you absolutely have to get something off your chest, wait until you are stone cold sober, because then you'll realize that it's not the best idea.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Salvation Armani

I ran into my sister Ditzy at the Salvation Army last night. We are both dedicated thrift store shoppers. Lately I have been looking for patterned pants, as I get tired of just plain old solid color pants, and I am always trying to liven things up. Let's face it, office attire is pretty boring. So, I found a pair of navy paints with a really small polka dot print, but they're a size (at least) too big. Did I buy them? You betcha! They're supposed to be washed in cold water, so I'll just wash them in hot water & see if they shrink. Ha! But they can only shrink width-wise, not length-wise, because if they shrink any length-wise, they'll be too short. Will all this come together? Ask me after the next time I do laundry.

I also bought a pair of corderoy paisley pants. I know, it sounds horrific, but I really have a jones for patterns right now. I actually, seriously considered buying a pair of plaid pants a few days ago, but images of Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack restored me to sanity.

I painted my first watercolor of Rocky last night. Looked pretty good to me, until this morning, when I realized the eyes were waaay too close together. I'll try to fix that tonight.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Baby Geese!

Is there anything cuter than baby geese? Check out this photo:

Looks like Mom's got her hands full!

(Not) Going to the Gym

I was just reading someone else's blog, where they talk about going to the gym for 30 minutes three times a week.

Confession: I cannot think of (much of) anything I would less like to do than go to the gym. I like to hike, I enjoy physical labor, but hopefully the last time I went to the gym (26 years ago, in high school) is truly the last time I went to the gym.

But if they had dodgeball? That would be a totally different story. Dodgeball rocks.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree

Yay! The tree is up! And decorated! And I have a confession to make - I bought it at Lowe's (a big box home improvement store, for those of you who may not have one in your area). I usually go to this place out in the sticks, and make a day of it, blah, blah, blah, but their trees were getting pricey last year, and I just didn't feel like it. So I scooted to my local Lowe's, picked out a tree, got it baled, etc., and got it back home in the space of about half an hour. Putting up a tree by myself can be interesting, to say the least, but I'm getting better at it after all these years - no swear words at all this year!

Yesterday I took Mom antiquing - I found a small desk for the back deck to replace the awful rusty charcoal grill that I never use except to put stuff on top of, which was difficult because the top of the grill had a slope to it! So now I have a nice flat desk to set stuff on. And I found this plaster tiger that's about 18" long and weighs about 20 pounds. He's on watch duty on the deck.

All in all, a good weekend.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Dear Me.

Click on "Merry Christmas!" above to see what I'm talking about.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bathroom Ceiling Part 2

Back in September I posted about scraping and painting my bathroom ceiling because condensation was forming on the ceiling and dripping down on me. Scraping and painting didn't work -the water still dripped down. And the problem started getting worse - condensation was forming on the ceiling outside the area of the tub and dripping down on the towels, the floor, etc. So I went up in the attic and put down more insulation in this area above the bathroom. The problem got worse.

I was stumped. I've been putting a garbage bag on top of my towels in the morning to keep them dry.

Then, this morning, I ran the water into the tub until it was the right temperature, then turned the diverter to make the water run out the showerhead, the way I do every morning. As soon as I did so, I could feel a fine mist from above. I thought, there is no possible way that condensation could already be forming and dripping down - I just turned on the water just this second!

So I got into the shower, and pondered this latest development. Then I reached up and felt around the showerhead, and guess what? There was a teeny, tiny crack in the showerhead where it connects to the pipe, and a teeny, tiny spray of water was coming out of that crack like a geyser, arcing up and over the shower curtain, and spraying the bathroom ceiling with water, which was then dripping down.

So I rotated the showerhead until the teeny, tiny crack and the teeny, tiny spray of water were pointing toward the tile in the tub. Problem solved. Now I can't decide if I'm a genius for figuring this out, or an idiot for taking so long to figure it out.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My New T-Shirt

I just ordered a new t-shirt off the web. I saw a picture of Heather wearing it on, and I burst out laughing and had to have one. Click on the title of this post to see a picture!

Just finished cleaning the bathroom at work. Oh, yuck.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Getting Ready for Christmas

There is less than two weeks to go until Christmas, and I still don't have a tree. Oops! I wanted to do it last weekend, but I wasn't feeling well, and I had a ton other stuff to do, and (insert appropriate excuse here), so I am going to do the tree this weekend. I am starting to get a little worried - some of the local tree lots look like they've been pretty well cleaned out already. But if I do it this Saturday, that's the 16th, and that's not that late, is it? or is it?

I did make gingerbread cookies on Sunday to take into work. As usual, I'll probably end up eating most of them!

I did wrap Texas's presents last night. I'll finish the package tonight, and pop it in the mail tomorrow.

And I got the creche set up last Saturday, and the porch decorated on Sunday. All my Christmas cards are done and addressed and ready to pop in the mail.

All of which I am using to justify the fact that I still don't have a tree.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Post Secret

One of my favorite sites to visit, Post Secret, needs more community support. Please check out the site! You can click on the title above to go there. Thanks!

Here's a sample:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Size 12 Model Too Big

Click on the title of the post and let me know your thoughts - What is beauty? What is "too thin"? What is "too fat"?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I Survived the Dentist!

Yay! I made it through this morning's visit to the dentist. I was there for two hours, which seems an awfully long time to be at the dentist. First, they did a full set of x-rays, which is difficult because the inside of my mouth is very small due to an extra bone in the bottom of my mouth (I swear, this is what they tell me). Then, a cleaning. Then, they offered to ultrasonically clean my appliances (mouthguards), so I said sure.

The good news: No cavities! and they didn't even use that awful pokey probe thing to jab between my teeth & into my gums! I'm sure they'll probably do that next time, but not today. Whew! The hygienist was very good, which makes a huge difference. I called the one I used to have "Nurse Ratched".

So my dentist was telling me about a nightmare she had last night about going to the dentist. Even dentists have nightmares about going to the dentist! I didn't have the heart to tell her that I had a nightmare last night about going to the dentist, too.

I'm off the hook for six more months! Hopefully, my jaw won't act up too much after today's cleaning.

Note to dentists: Every once in a while, let someone out of there with just a cleaning. Those of us with troubled teeth get tired of hearing bad news visit after visit - it tempts us to stop going.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


The local newspaper here runs a charity, Lend-A-Hand, which gives assistance to people in need who can't get help anywhere else. Usually it's something like help with prescription medication costs or help with rent if someone has been laid off. The newspaper prints anonymous "case studies", along with the names of people who have donated money, if they wish to be identified.

In today's case study, a couple who got flooded out in June had more than $100,000.00 in damages to their home and had to move into a FEMA trailer. Then the paper states, "Even though their income was significant and normally led them to live a comfortable life, (emphasis mine), they were now desperately seeking help from whomever they could get it, just to make it day to day."

My question is, why? Why, if these people have a significant income, don't they just go to the bank and get out a loan, instead of hitting up local charities? And if their home had more than $100,000.00 in damages, that means that the home was worth more than $200,000.00 to begin with, or else it would have been marked for demolition by the local municipality (the more-than-50%-damaged rule), and around here, $200,000.00 will buy you a very nice home. Heck, $70,000.00 will buy you a nice home around here.

The article continues, "They had received help from FEMA and New York state, but still had not gotten enough help to be able to afford paying for the flooring supplies necessary for their home." The article goes on to say that Lend-A-Hand contributed money toward a supply of flooring materials.

Again, why? Literally hundreds of families in this area were affected by the June flooding, many of them who did not have the proverbial pot to pee in before the flooding, let alone after. And yet this couple, with a significant income and a house worth more than $200,000.00, after receiving help from FEMA and the State, were right there with their hands out.

I know that I don't know the whole story of this couple's particular situation. I also know that I'm not donating any more money to Lend-A-Hand unless I find out. I donate to Lend-A-Hand, even though I don't have much myself, to help people even less fortunate than I am, not people who have significant incomes and live in $200,000.00 homes.

That's my rant for today.

Quoted material courtesy of the Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton, NY, December 5, 2006 edition.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Going to the Dentist

I have to go to the dentist Wednesday morning for my six-month cleaning and five-year x-rays. Thanks to a massive amount of dental work done in a very short period of time (not recommended)a few years ago, I developed Temperomandibular (sp?) Joint Disorder, or TMJD. What this means is that if I have to have any dental work done, even a cleaning, my jaw aches for days afterward. If I have to have a cavity filled, my jaw aches for months. I have a mouthpiece to wear which helps immensely with the pain, but I still dread going to the dentist. Chronic pain teaches you things. It taught me that I am a whiny, depressed mess when faced with pain that doesn't go away.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Health Insurance

I was just reading an article in a magazine about workers' benefits, and one sentence began, "In 1945, when President Truman first proposed national health insurance ....**" - If this is true, than the idea of national health insurance has been kicking around for at least 61 years, and there are still a shameful number of people in this country who cannot afford to go to a doctor. Case in point:

In 1992, I broke my shoulder (or, more accurately, someone broke it for me). Trip to the emergency room, x-rays, trip to the bone doctor and more x-rays ensued. The bone doctor wanted to operate and set the shoulder with pins. He estimated that the surgery would cost $5,000.00. At that point in my life, I could no more afford a $5,000.00 surgery than I could finance a trip to the moon. So I went home with my arm in a sling. Even so, the bills from the emergency room, etc. totaled more than $800.00 (keep in mind, this was 1992). I had to borrow money from my parents (oh, the shame) to pay these bills off. Thanks Mom and Dad!

So my shoulder today, while not painful, has this weird little dip in the top. And for whatever reason (the way the bones set themselves?), that arm is now a little longer than the other one.

I now have health insurance through my employer. But do I believe in national health insurance for everyone? You betcha.

** The New Yorker, "The Risk Pool", August 28, 2006

Don't Pet .... Sweat ..... Oh Never Mind

Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.