Monday, July 31, 2006

Remember Neville?... Now meet Lucky!

Neville rarely stops moving long enough for photos... He's always too busy searching for food.

You all may remember my daughters turtle 'Neville' from last weeks blog... At the time, I neglected to mention the rather absurd anomoly that we named 'Lucky'... Let me explain why this particular fish has been bestowed the monacher of 'Lucky'.

The first time we purchased feeder fish for Neville we noticed a fish in the batch that had an entirely different body shape and color than the others... Neville finished off (ate) all of the other fish within the first few hours of their arrival in the tank but it appeared he was saving the 'odd-ball' fish for later... Funny thing is, later never came!

We ultimately named this particular fish 'Lucky' because every time we'd purchase a new batch of feeders 'Lucky' never became part of the meal. I don't know if he and 'Neville' reached some kind of agreement ("You get outta my way and I won't eat ya.") or if 'Lucky' is just the sort of fish that 'Neville' has very little interest in taste wise... Maybe 'Lucky' can bite back?

When we do come home with a batch of 20 or so feeders and release them into 'Neville's' tank... 'Lucky' goes into vanishing mode... As in he tries to make himself as little noticed as possible. I'm not sure if the carnage he lays witness to each time new fish are added is in some way harmful to his little fish psyche but if so there's not much we can do... We never intended for him to become another pet or anything... He was of course, meant to be doomed from the moment his little fins hit 'Neville's' tank water.

Anyway... Here's a NEW twist in the entire 'Neville' - 'Lucky' saga... This morning we found out the 'Lucky' isn't a little 'GUY' at all... In fact 'Lucky' is a 'GIRL'... How do we know? Suddenly there are teeny, tiny little fish swimming all around 'Neville's' tank!... Fish we DIDN'T purchase!!! I mean, we noticed that 'Lucky' had been taking on some girth but we figured that was probably due to all of the stress eating he's been doing... I think I mentioned that since our 'fish for food' campaign has taken hold 'Neville's' tank has never been cleaner... I surmised it was because of 'Lucky' and his excellent skills as a fishie garbage disposal... Ah, apparently not so... 'Lucky' was carrying a litter!??? Do they call baby fish that? And hey, I thought fish layed eggs? Maybe this one did we just never noticed... All I know is these little baby fish didn't have much of a chance at the very start... 'Neville' has made a meal (Okay, more like a very small snack) out of the few we've seen swimming around... And it seems 'Lucky' isn't exactly the maternal sort as we've observed she too, chases them around the tank and it doesn't appear to me that she's herding them to safety... I get the distinct impression that she just assumes they're another form of tank flotsam that needs to be swallowed because of all that stress she's under.

If there's one conclusion I've come to from this whole experience, it's this... Life sucks if you're a fish!

Unless you're 'Lucky'!

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Funny Story...

My cousin C and her daughter L were visiting this weekend and she related this story of a highway patrolman who stopped her in Virginia...

"I was coming home from Costco late one evening... Among other things, the back of my car held a giant pink box of 'Poise' pads that I had purchased for my (elderly) mother. I had been traveling faster than the posted limits and got snagged by a highway patrolman. He informed me that I had been going 78mph in a 65mph zone and asked for my license and registration... He then took a cursory walk around my vehicle looking inside the windows for any signs of contraband... Then he came back to the drivers side window, handed back my paperwork and informed me that I should just slow it down or next time he'd give me a ticket." Then she said, "I'm certain that as he walked around my car and caught sight of the huge box of adult diapers he must have thought to himself... "By giving this woman a ticket I can't possibly make her life any worse than it already is!"

I'm considering buying myself a giant box of adult diapers to carry around in MY vehicle... You know, just in case I get stopped by a highway patrolman.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Curse you ACME brand cleanser!!!

When I grocery shop I'm usually torn between purchasing the cheaper generic or store brands vs. the more expensive label brands. If it's something like a food item such as cheese or ice cream I'll usually pay the extravagant amount and buy what I know. If it's something like paper goods... such as paper towels or tissues... I'll always pay for the thicker ply ie. Bounty, Kleenex... And I NEVER, EVER scrimp on toilet paper... Only the softest is good enough for the delicate posteriors of my family.

However, when it comes to something like powdered cleanser.... pfffft! Why pay 15 or even 18 cents more for something I'm just going to use to scour out a toilet or a sink? So that's why I bought the store brand cleanser at the local ACME... Yes, for those of you who don't live in the mid-atlantic region of the U.S.... Our local grocery store is named ACME... You know, as in Wile. E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. One wonders why anyone would want to name a store after a cartoon factory that makes sub-standard merchandise... My guess is that the cartoon was created AFTER the grocery chain.... In fact, it was probably created because of this particular grocery store chain!

Case in point... I grabbed my can of ACME cleanser yesterday in order to clean the bathroom... And you know the little sticker they put on the top of the canister to cover the four sifting holes?... You know the one... That little lable that has a small pull tab and simply lifts right off? Well... It seems that on the ACME brand of cleanser their particular little sticker isn't made of the same easy lift adhesive that the more expensive brands use... No, the ACME brand sticker bonds to the top of a cleanser canister with the strength of Super Glue (the non-generic brand)... This means that as you're trying to get your bathroom clean you must first stop! Remove the plastic gloves from your hands! Pick, Pick, Pick... With whatever finger nails you have at said lable! Only manage to remove a portion of said lable so that only 2 of the sifting holes are partially uncovered! Vigorously shake the canister over the sink in order to remove the small amount of ACME brand cleanser that will sift through 2 partially uncovered holes! Curse wildly and wonder to yourself why you didn't just spend the extra 15 or 18 cents and buy the brand with the easy open tab and swear to yourself that you will NEVER shop at ACME again!!!

P.S. I had taken pictures of the ACME cleanser can of which I've described above... But my digital card reader broke... I think it may also be a generic brand but I didn't buy it at ACME.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Celebratory Evening...

Last night we had dinner at the home of our best friends... And just so you know, they were our 'Best Friends' BEFORE they moved into a house on the water. After a delicious BBQ dinner we celebrated the completion of their brand new 100 ft. dock... Heck, it's more like a pier than a dock. It's beautiful, it's sturdy and It's bound to be there for the next 100 yrs.

We christened the new dock with a bottle of 'Martinelli's' in crystal flutes along with some chocolate dipped strawberries... YUM! We didn't break the bottle on the dock because nobody wants to go wading out into the river and step on broken glass. We did however take a few celebratory photos and lounged around enjoying the view and watching the fish bob for our spent strawberry heads floating in the water... Life is Good!

What a Glorious view! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I should be working...

...Instead I'm sitting here trying to think of something interesting to blog about... Still no ideas so I guess I'll get to work on the guest bedroom... Just call me the GREAT PROCRASTINATOR.
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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

For Paige...

Our neurotic pound puppy.
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Because I can't come up with anything funnier than this...

Monday, July 24, 2006

For the love of Boxes...

I have a thing for boxes... I'm obsessed... I can't let them go... I save them, hoard them even and the trouble is... I don't have enough space for them all.

Why do I NEED them? Well, I just MIGHT need to wrap something or ship something off somewhere and what do I do if I can't find a box to fit said item in?

Now I'm not talking about just ANY kind of box... I'm talking about the thick, firm, type with the sturdy cardboard sides. The kind that will hold up in any situation... Stuffed in the back of a van... Holds strong even when a larger, heavier box is set upon it... One that the wrapping paper forms a nice crease around all the edges. In fact I'm a wrap fanatic... I have almost as much wrapping paper as I do empty boxes. Because there's nothing quite as wonderful as giving a gift that's not only thoughtful but also makes the recipient pause and give a wistful sigh before having to open such a lovely object. Funny thing though, I'm rarely as meticulous with the wrapping of the gifts I bestow on my immediate family as I am with those I give to friends. Why is that? Why do I save the best for guests? Guests always seem to get the cleanest house... The best meals... The 'good' china... The sparkly personality. Why do I always save the best for the guests?

Anyway, I digress... So I've got all these boxes (and wrapping paper) and I finally came up with the bright idea of breaking the boxes down and storing them on their sides in an open bin... I've got so much more storage room now... I think I'll have to keep my eye out for more boxes!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

British Open

Okay... I'll admit it... I cried watching golf today.

Tiger Woods won the British Open and ended the tournament with raw emotion... He sobbed openly over winning the first major since his dad's passing.

My husband cried right along with him... Because my husband understands what it means to lose the man who inspired you to play golf.

Congratulations Tiger.... And we miss you Dad.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Meet Neville...

My daughter has a painted turtle named Neville. She thinks I'm the best mom in the world, not only because I am, (not very humble though) but because I found Neville on a walk one Sunday morning about a year and half ago.... Well, actually our dog Anna found him but I was the one that picked him up and brought him home. The best part was that I crept into my daughters room and gently awakened her with, "Look what I found." She rolled her sleepy little eyes toward me, glanced down at my hand and quite literally SHOT awake. I vividly remember that smile she gave me and that was everything!

We didn't know much about 'Painted Turtles' at the beginning... My daughter made a comfy, mossy covered plastic container for him to roam in, filled with rocks and a little dish of water. She supplied him with some crickets she caught and we assumed 'Neville' was happy. Then we went to the pet store to find out more about caring for our new pet. 'Painted Turtles' we learned are aquatic creatures so we had to purchased a 10 gal. tank... 'Painted Turtles' need special lights... One to keep warm by and one that emits special UV rays in order to help them digest their food properly... 'Painted Turtles' need a filter in their tank, pellets to eat, dried 'crill' to munch on... I soon found out that 'Painted Turtles' are freaking expensive! A $100 later we left that store and I was left with the notion that I should have left the turtle where it was that day and kept on walking... But again, that smile my daughter gave me when I showed her the treasure in my hand that morning was worth oh, at least $150.

So Neville ended up with great new digs and my husband and my daughter ended up with a new household chore with which to bond... Cleaning the turtle tank once a month. So my daughter began feeding 'Neville' pellets... Which we found he had absolutely NO interest in... "It's a ball, it's dead and it floats.... What do you expect me to do with that?" he seemed to say. Then my daughter began feeding him the 'Crill' which stunk to high heaven but he loved them... We later found out that there's very little nutrtition in 'Crill' (it's likened to us living off of 'ding-dongs' but they smell SO much worse!)... My daughter read up a bit on-line about 'Painted Turtles' and found that they really enjoy crickets... But you had to be careful with crickets you found in your yard because they might have pesticides on them... However, when winter comes you needn't worry because you can't find crickets in your house or yard no matter how hard you look. That's when MY new job was defined... Racing around town to different pet stores to pick up crickets... Once we went to 'Petco' to purchase crickets and the $5 box was filled with mostly dead crickets (the few that were still alive were working on their wills) and far be it from Neville to eat anything not moving, besides 'Crill' that is.

So it goes... We're getting crickets once a week and feeding a ravenous 'Neville'... My daughter would feed him 2 or 3 crickets a day and he'd devour them in nothing flat... The rest of the crickets would live in an old pitcher in my daughters room and occassionally we'd find an escapee wandering along the upstairs hall... I amaze myself at how calm I can be when I come across live turtle food wandering through my house.

Well, a few weeks ago we discovered that there must be a problem with 'Neville' because he just wasn't growing the way a 'Painted Turtle' should. A new pet store we found 'Just Fish' told us that we simply weren't feeding our turtle anywhere near enough food and that the best diet for him would include 'black worms' and 'fish' (the place is called 'Just Fish'... Is it any wonder that they'd inform us we should be feeding our turtle 'FISH'??) So okay, we purchased a cup full of 'black worms' (imagine very fine, 1" long pieces of black linguini that writhes) and 15 'rosey red' gold-fish and walked out with smiles on our faces because this meal was WAY cheaper than crickets.

When we got home and bestowed our found treasures on 'Neville' he was beside himself with JOY! That turtle ate like we'd NEVER seen him eat before... Gobbling down fish, one right after the other (sounds gross but it's really fascinating to watch.)... And the worms, my God the worms... 'Neville' LOVES the worms and the remaining fish do too! So the fish get fed, Neville gets fed and the worms... Well, they make for good food I guess. Oh, and the other advantage to feeding 'Neville' fish is that they help maintain the tank... That's right, he eats the fish, they eat the waste products and everyone swims around in a clean tank... Yeah it's gross, but my husband and daughters tank cleaning duties have shrank considerably.

We're in our 3rd week now of purchasing fish for 'Neville' and every week he eats them up faster than the last. This week he went through 20 fish in 3 days... Which makes us feel REALLY bad when we think back to how much we were feeding him a month ago. So now I'm wondering exactly how many fish SHOULD we buy? Are we over-feeding him now? And how much longer before he's going to need a bigger tank? And how much is this all costing? Is it all worth it? And then I see that smile my daughter gives everytime her turtle makes a silly move or greets her swimming wildly when she walks into her room and I think... Yep, It's worth it!
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Friday, July 21, 2006

Humidity - 73%

I HATE Humidity!

I understand that doesn't make me in any way unique... Don't we ALL hate humidity? But I'm from California guys... L.A. in fact... Where the weather is arid and the temperatures mild. I remember the first time I was introduced to humidity... I was 12 and had just flown into Chicago on a summer day when the skies were dark and overcast. It looked to me like it must be quite cold out there beyond the doors of the O'Hare terminals... I was shocked when I walked outside and had the distinct feeling that someone had thrown an invisible blanket over my head... What was this? I could only compare it to having a pan of cold water thrown in my face but this water was hot and it was suffocating me!

Now I live in the East, and I'm still not fully adapted to the draining effects of humidity... Is anyone really able to adapt to it?... And during my visit to California I had to laugh out loud when the newscaster whined about the humidity levels sapping everyones strength... The height of humidity there reached 14%... But that's okay guys, I didn't know what real humidity was until I came East and I'm guessing I still don't really understand how truly terrible it can be until I live in the South.

So as I was walking this morning... (I'm trying to get out extra early (6:30am) so as to avoid the powerful sun and it's withering effects.) I began thinking about the worst jobs to have during the heat and humidity of summer... Here's my list from Bad to Worst:

UPS Delivery Person - (I almost said 'Delivery Guy' but that wouldn't be very PC now would it?) These people don't even have doors on the side of their truck... Or if the do, they just keep them open so they can move faster... Having to drive around all day, NO A/C... But stepping in and out of shops and offices just long enough to get a sweet, sweet taste of the cool air they're missing... That sucks!

Carpenter - Namely the guys that are framing the houses that are being built in our neighborhood... They may be inside BUT there's little circulation and there's dust and dirt flying everywhere... I imagine you sweat so badly that the sawdust just sticks to you and forms a nice paste by the end of the day... Ugh!

Roofer - No doubt that tar paper and dark shingles absorb heat... I can't imagine how they keep from fainting and falling right off... I assume that hydration is the key to survival on this job.

Road Construction Crew- At least the roofer is up high where he might catch a passing breeze... Not so for the Road Construction folks... I believe the breezes they usually catch are supplied by exhaust from the cars of frustrated drivers who toss around angry glares due to the inconvenience of having to sit in their air conditioned vehicle for an extra 8-10 minutes (unless they're working for UPS and they don't have that a/c thing working for them... But come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen an angry UPS guy.)

Garbage Man - (I'm sure they're out there... but folks, I've NEVER seen a Garbage Woman.) The ICK factor for these guys in the summer must be enormous... I had some uncooked chicken waste in my garbage can last week that turned the entire garage into an area that could not be traversed without fighting back the urge to gag!... And that was just MY garbage... Can you imagine running across that time and again?... And some folks don't even bag that crap!


Port O' Potty Waste Management - I've come upon this guy on my early morning walks through the construction site... Seems he's also desirous of getting out early before the sun gets too high in the sky... In case you're not familiar with it... This guy drives around a truck (similar to an oil delivery truck) that you don't want to be down-wind of on a hot summer day... (believe me, I was and we're talking FOUL in the very worst sense.) But to see the guy carry out this job is truly a horrifying experience... I couldn't EVEN imagine having to carry out the task and I can only hope it pays really, REALLY WELL!... What he does is remove a gas pump type hose from the side of his tank like truck and open the door of the 'Potty' and shove the pump into the bowl and suck up all that's located within... I never saw the guys face who I watched carry out this task and I surely hope he didn't catch a glimpse of the look of utter disgust on mine as I watched him pull out the gas pump like nozzle covered with, well you know what... And fit it back into the slot on the side of his truck. Now that... THAT has to be the worst, I mean, THE VERY WORST job on a hot summer day!... Well, ANY day of the year for that matter.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Guest Bedroom

For the past 4 days I've planned to clean out the guest bedroom which has become a 'catch-all' for EVERY 'orphaned' item in the house. TODAY!!! Today was going to be THE day that I finally quite dragging my feet/butt around and stepped up to the plate and got it DONE!

I woke at 6:00... Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (well, as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as I can get anyway) I walked my required 2 miles... Came home and didn't even glance at the stairway leading to my computer but immediately headed for the shower... Dressed and walked down the hall to awaken my daughter for summer camp. She wasn't having any of the early rise and shower idea that she had promised me the night before. The longer I sat and chatted with her sleepy little head... The more enticing her bed became - It was 7:45... Finally I said, "Move over, you just look far too comfortable for me to sit here and watch you." She quickly obliged because she loves cuddle time with Mom. So I rested my head and breathed a huge sigh and....

I know you're thinking that I fell back asleep... Right?... I KNOW that's what you're thinking!


The phone rang almost immediately after my head hit the pillow... It was my friend 'M' asking me if I'd received her e-mail reminder about our meeting in North Wilmington this morning... CRAP!!! I had COMPLETELY forgotten about that! She said, "Can you meet me at the school at 8:15?" "SURE, I'll see you shortly!" I said. Make-up, Cup O' Tea, 2 Cereal Bars and a blood sugar check... Plus, a sleepy-faced daughter in tow and I was out the door.

It's 1:00pm, I just got back home and am resting for a few minutes before I have to take my son to the Orthodontist. Back home I'll need to make cookies for a meeting this evening and I'm really not sure at all WHEN dinner is gonna get made?

I'm pretty sure that Guest Bedroom isn't going to see any action today... DAMN! And I was so geared up and ready for it!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Tagged by Lime (in a round-about way)

Because I wore navy blue today I got tagged by Lime
So here goes...

5 Things In My Purse -
A Tape Measure - Cause you never know when you're gonna need to measure something!
Lipstick - Don't know why, I rarely wear it?
Roll-On Perfume from 'Bath & Body Works' - Haven't used it since the day I bought it... I thought being summer and all it was a good idea to keep some perfume on hand for those times when I might not smell so fresh... And it was on SALE!
Coupons - For stores I most likely won't go to until just AFTER the coupon expires.
Movie Stubs - 2 for 'The Devil Wears Prada' (once with my daughter, once with the bowling girls) and 1 for 'Pirates of the Caribbean' (from Saturday night!)

5 Things in My Wallet -
My purse is my wallet because it's so small... I HATE carrying a BIG, HEAVY, CUMBERSOME purse full of mine and everyone elses junk so I've downsized!... There is however a pocket in the purse that holds my 'Wallet-y' type stuff, which would include...
Debit Card
Credit Card
Maryland DL
State Farm Auto Insurance Card
Medical Insurance Card
(I must have the previous 5 items in my purse at all times or the OCD in me goes kablooey and I freak over the fact that I'll need cash and I won't have my debit card... That my debit card won't work and I'll HAVE to rely on the credit card... That I'll try to write a check (because neither my debit card nor my credit card is working because they've been rubbed together and compromised both of their magnetic strips) and need my MDL as proof of ID.... OR, that I'll get into an accident and need ALL 5 of these VERY IMPORTANT CARDS... For the tow-truck, the auto-body shop, the police officer, the other driver and the hospital.... I guess I'm kind of a fatalist... BUT, I'm ALWAYS prepared!)

5 Things in my Refrigerator -
3 Gallons of Milk - Yes, my family drinks THAT MUCH MILK!
Bag of Baby Spinach Leaves - I'm the only one that eats it and I'd better make a salad for myself soon, because that stuff's gonna go bad and man does it smell bad when it does!
2 Different Brands of Cheese Sticks - Yes, 2 different brands because my kids can't agree on the same kind... And if I bought one or the other then the sibiling rivalry escalates to a whole new level... It's just easier this way!
Tropicana OJ - I LOVE this stuff and used to drink 4 or 5 tall glasses of it a day... Now I have maybe a 1/2 cup of it once a month because of the diabetes...*sniff*... I still have to keep it around for the family though...*sniff*
Yogurt - All different brands, all different sizes and I think every one of them is past it's expiration date... Note to self: Clean out the fridge!

5 Things in my Closet -
A 3 1/2 yr. old Yoga Mat - Used only 1 time! - Anybody need a yoga mat?
My Old Fat Clothes - They're on a shelf in the back part of the closet neatly folded... I fear getting rid of them because I might need them again someday... I'm the opposite of the girl that keeps the skinny jeans hoping she'll get skinny enough to wear them one day... I'm the girl that keeps the fat jeans and fears she'll HAVE to wear them again one day.... Again, the fatalist!
A Crib - Yes, the very crib that my two babies slept in... Broken down into pieces and stored against the wall behind my clothes... I was told a long time ago that you never want to get rid of a crib because right after you do, you end up pregnant! (It happened to not one, but two friends of mine!)... After the hysterectomy that's no longer a concern but now I think we're just hanging on to it for sentimental reasons and in hope that one day... SEVERAL years from now, it'll be available for a grandchild.
Shoes - I've kinda become a shoe-holic in the past couple of years... So the shelves above my clothes hold several shoe boxes... My favorite?... Why, my 'Kick-Ass Boots' of course!
That Laundry Sorting Bin I talked about Many Posts Ago - With a section for the whites, light colors and the dark colors... All mostly empty right now because I've been making an effort to keep up on the laundry duties.

5 Things In My Car -
Cell Phone Adapter
My Friends Suede Jacket - She left it in there only about 5 weeks ago and I still haven't had the chance to return it... But c'mon... It's 95 degrees out... What could she possibly need it now for?
Emergency Break-Down Kit in a Zipper Black Case - Got it for Christmas one year... I'm not even sure what it contains?
Blue Dolphin and Seahorse Air Fresheners - These are suspended from my rear view mirror... They serve one purpose and it's not to keep the inside of the car smelling fresh because they lost that particular ability about 3 yrs. ago... The purpose they serve is to differentiate my Green Van from all the hundreds of other Green Vans in the mall parking lot.
Rainbow Colored Beach Towel Covered with Dog Hair - This particular item is kept in the very back of the van and is utilized to cover the rear seats so the dog doesn't turn them into a carpet of white dog hair.

5 Items on my Desk -
2 Hallogen Desk Lamps - Because the other lighting in the room is merely there to provide 'mood' and NOT 'illumination'.
A 36" Long Self Healing Mat - To protect the desk from all of the eyelet setting and X-acto knife work I do.
A Giant Pot of Pencils & Pens - And No Lime, not ALL of the Pencils are sharpened.
A Tin Bucket Full of Scissors - So I NEVER have to search for scissors.
Another Giant Pot full of several different 'useful' Rulers - Some of the Rulers have register marks on them for different card projects so I won't have to keep focusing on the tiny numbers in order to measure out a card.... Blindness & Laziness creates the Mother of Invention.

And NOW.... I'd like to tag 'M'... That is if 'Lime's' random tag didn't hit her first.

P.S. Hope my TAG didn't bore you all to tears.


I just spent the better part of an hour taking an online IQ Test...

I answered question... after question... after question... Using every bit of brain power I had left in my reserves after a long day of grocery shopping, laundry, closet purging, furniture moving, check-book balancing and mail sifting... Oh, and some random blog searching too!

The IQ website was an advertising link on a popular blog I read... Advertisement... I shoulda' known better! The questions seemed to go on forever and the more pages there were the dumber I became. MATH... I SUCK at MATH!!!! I kept hoping I'd get to the end and be able to see the problems I'd answered incorrectly... Then I could go back and check my answers and determine what I did wrong and LEARN from it.... Well, following the grueling brain crunch and after giving the greedy bastards a bunch of personal information (entirely false, except for my spam filter e-mail address... because hey, I wanted to see my results!) I at last reached a screen that informed me that I had scored a 120 on my IQ Test.... 120??? Out of what??? What they heck does 120 mean??? The one bit of information I DID receive is that I tested as a 'Word Warrior'

This means you have exceptional verbal skills. You can easily make sense of complex issues and take an unusually creative approach to solving problems. Your strengths also make you a visionary. Even without trying you're able to come up with lots of new and creative ideas. And that's just a small part of what we know about you from your test results.
Find out more in your personalized 15-page IQ Report. It's ready right now!

And guess what? If I give them my credit card number they'll bill me JUST $12.95 and send me a report with a crap load of information on 'The University of Phoenix'... I curse myself for being so freaking gullible... It reminds me of the first time I ever clicked on the pop-up screen just to prove that I could hit the ducks with the big red X's on them in the shooting gallery.... That got me a load of spam mail for the next year and a half.

The one thing I learned from this experience is... I may have an IQ of 120 but I've got STUPID written all over my forehead.

The 'Bowling Girls'

I have a group of friends that I've known and hung out with for quite a few years... We used to bowl together until they closed down the lanes to build a grocery store... That was roughly 10 yrs. ago but we still refer to ourselves as 'The Bowling Girls'.

We once took a day trip up to New York City to have lunch and see 'Les Mis' on Broadway... We decided to have lunch before the show at a place called the 'Jekyl & Hyde Club'... It's a kitschy horror theme restaurant where statues talk to you and everyone is part of the joke.

Before walking into the 'Club' one of the girls in our group who is originally from NYC said to group, "Whatever you do, PLEASE don't tell anyone in here that we're 'BOWLERS'!!!!"... Seems she was embarrassed to admit to anyone in this big city of the seemingly ultra-chic that she was a lowly bowler... She added, "I'd rather people think I'm a 'Lesbian' than a bowler."... Not that being a Lesbian is a bad thing... She just thought it would sound cooler than, "Hi, I'm L, from Wilmington, Delaware and I'm a 'Bowler'... Of course, I don't know many Lesbians but I doubt they go around introducing themselves as... "Hi I'm ______, from Hakensack, New Jersey and I'm a Lesbian."... But I digress.... Well, all you need do is tell this group something you DON'T want them to do and you know you're in for trouble.

So we enter the club and are met at the door by a rather handsome looking guy dressed as 'Indiana Jones' with a lovely Irish lilt. He shows us to our table and squats down so he can meet us all at eye level and politely asks us where we're from... I couldn't resist... I said, "Oh, We're the Lesbian Bowlers from Wilmington, Delaware." Our friend 'L' turned a bright shade of red but before missing a beat 'Indiana Jones' came back with, "Oh, those are the worst kind you know, they don't like picking up the balls!"

Tickets to Les Mis - $70

Lunch at a kooky theme restaurant - $24

Laughing 'til your sides nearly split with a group of good friends - Priceless!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

My Newest Addition...

I recently added a new Blog...

I invite you to check out and leave comments on:
Preposterous Ponderings


I'd be happy to list the 'Preposterous Ponderings' of others and give credit where it's due as long as they remain clean enough that I wouldn't be embarrassed to have my 13 and 16 yr. old read them.

Can you hear me now?

We have a wonderful friend 'B'... Who shall now and forever be referred to as 'Captain' because he's desparate for a boat that will take him from point A to point B and back again without breaking down...

Anyway, Our good friend 'Captain' has a hearing problem... As in, he doesn't do it very well. We love Captain but a typical conversation with the guy goes something like this:
Me: "Hiya Captain, how's it goin'?"
Captain: "Great! How 'bout you?"
Me: "Pretty good... Did you fix the boat yet?"
Captain: "Hmmm?"
Me: "I said, did you fix the boat yet?"
Captain: "Ah, no... I don't think I need a coat, it's pretty warm outside!"
Me: Deciding to just give up for now... "Ya, I guess you're right."
Captain: "Hmmm?... We're gonna go get a bite?... Who's all goin'?"

Anyway, we went to Captain's and his lovely wife L's for dinner last night and noticed he had a new accessory or should we say accessories... Captain had two rather large ear plugs sticking out of his ears that we later found out were hearing aides... They looked like 2 button mushrooms... In fact as I was clearing the remains of our shish-ka-bob dinner later I almost picked them up off the table to dispose of them in the trash... Thinking one of the kids didn't care for the veggies on their ka-bob.

As we were sitting and chatting, Captain shared with us that he'd gotten a great price on his new aides and they cost only $79.95!... But the really odd part of the deal was that they came in a package of 3 hearing aids. 3 hearing aides??? "What do you do with the third one?" his son asked. Captain with his lightning quick wit responded with... "I can't tell you but if I stand up I can hear you even better!"

Friday, July 14, 2006


I don't watch much t.v. - I couldn't tell you who was or is 'LOST' or why the 'Housewives' are so 'Desperate' (other than my own personal perspective)... I'm not certain if 'CSI' is currently solving crimes in Miami, New York or Pocatello, Idaho... And I guess I'm under the misguided notion that the show 'House' isn't a home decorating program.

A year ago March as the family was sitting around the dinner table watching yet another re-run of 'That 70's Show' (funny stuff!)... We had a discussion as to whether we were capable of doing without the t.v.... We have some friends that quit watching it altogether and wondered if we should, even could do the same? So my husband threw out a challenge... He said, "I don't think YOU (directing his comment to ME.) could go without television!" As though I alone sat gape mouthed in front of the tube for hours on end. Well... Don't think you can get away with insinuating that I'm a 'Couch Potato' and not have me respond in a defensive manner! I said, "Oh yes I could go without t.v.!" and he said, "I'd like to see you try it for a week."... I replied with, "Oh yeah, I propose the entire family go without t.v. for a month!"... The kids looked a little horrified at this point but as a family we ironed out the details of our plan/sentence. I admit, while cleaning up the dinner dishes I pondered the deal I had just made with some amount of distress... No 'Ellen'?... No 'Dr. Phil'?... No more 'HGTV' for a month??? My God, what have I done? However when the right person comes along and tells me that I CAN'T do something... Well, my resolve can be quite strong. The really goofy part of this whole thing was that just a week before we made this decision I had started receiving my new subscription to 'T.V. Guide'... A decision I had made because I was tired of never knowing what was on t.v. and when... Well, now I knew and I couldn't utilize it... Lots of things in my life are like that.

So my kids somewhat solemnly followed along with the plan... I think my son took it the hardest for a while but then he got more interested in his computer programming skills and began doing amazing things in that capacity. In place of television my daughter, husband and I began playing 'Scrabble' after dinner... Which as hokey as it sounds proved to be great fun and educational too!

It was tough the first few days... Because I'd often stop and think to myself, "Oooo, 'Amazing Race' is on and I'm missing it!" but it wasn't long before it just didn't seem important anymore. The other benefit I found to this whole 'No TV' thing was the time I'd normally spent being a passive observer became time that I utilized to further my creativity. Now I spend time doing things like playing the piano (I'm getting better but I'm still not where I'd like to be.) or working on art projects (although 'working' doesn't sound like an appropriate word for doing something I enjoy.)... And for better or worse I spend more time Blogging (the jury's still out on that one.)

Now, nearly a year and a half after I accepted my husbands challenge... I can't say we don't watch ANY t.v. at all but our viewing time has greatly reduced. We currently have only one t.v. that gets cable (that is if you don't count my sons computer... Where he and his sister watch 'Futurama' each weeknight). We have a television without cable in what we call the 't.v. room' but it's purpose is purely for watching movies (which we do once in a while.) As for what we watch... My son and I have a standing date every Saturday night to watch 'MAD tv' and 'Saturday Night Live' (When I was his age SNL was the end-all, be-all of television viewing... However, because my parents didn't approve of the raunchy content of the show, I always hoped I'd be babysitting at a house with a good t.v. and kids who mercifully went to sleep and stayed there... And those were the relatively benign days of Chevy Chase, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray & Co.) As for today's SNL and MAD tv... It's fun to share in the humor with my son and MAD tv's Bobby Lee running around naked every chance he gets always makes us laugh.

About the only other time I watch t.v. is when I'm folding clothes... It's a pretty mindless chore so I usually go for a mindless show. Which means I either turn to VH1 and a 'Remember the 80's' marathon or my absolute favorite MTV and 'My Super Sweet 16'... If that show isn't a car wreck I don't know what is? The show both appalls and excites me... One minutes I'm thinking, "Oh my God how could this couple have raised such a little bitch?" (well, actually I'm not really all that surprised... but you know what I mean.) and then I can't wait 'til after the commercial so I can see if she really got her mom to consent to allowing her to wear the 'barely there, strapless, backless, hooker dress she picked up in Paris'... And yes, she did wear it and now every scene shows her tugging relentlessly at the dress to keep it all in place.... Ah yes, a PERFECT clothes folding pastime!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Off my blog...

In the interest of providing a pleasing living environment Margie will not be blogging today (other than this post) - Look for her comments tomorrow when (hopefully) she'll be able to walk through her home with a pleasant smile on her face.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Childhood Playthings

After blogging about the ARCO Ark the other day, I got to thinking about some of the toys I had as a child... The good, the bad and the downright dangerous... One of the earliest toys I can remember is pictured above. It was a tin doll-house that my grandma got for me with her carefully saved S&H Greenstamps*... The doll-house had mono colored, very square, very hard plastic furniture (You don't want to accidently step on one of these pieces when you walk across your bedroom in the middle of the night.) I can recall the day I received the house and my dad putting the whole thing together... Little tin tabs, fit into little tin slots and then you bent the tabs down to keep the whole thing intact... I remember my dad cutting his finger open on the tin tab during the process. He may have been the first to have received a tin cut from the 'House of Hell' but he certainly wasn't the last! I can't recall the number of times I slit my fingers on the tin framed windows but now I can understand why Grandma kept a large stash of band-aids in the hall closet nearby.

What a nifty idea folks... Why didn't you just give us the lids to old tuna cans to play with? This was obviously the days before the public was aware of the concept of 'Suing for profit'... When you stop to think about it... How many childhood amusements can you recall that were either implements of torture or were seemingly designed to insure a trip to the emergency room... Remember 'Clackers'? 2 solid resin balls that weighed roughly a pound each, suspended from 2 pieces of string tied to a ring... The idea was to put the ring on your finger and then get a pendulum motion going with the balls... What you were trying to achieve was a double clack so that the balls hit eachother on both the down and the upswing... Get the balls out of sinc though, the string would tangle and the balls would come crashing down upon your forearm... Resulting in, at the least, a nasty bruise or a compound fracture... That was if you were lucky! On some occassions the balls were known to shatter and spray shards of resin, which could render the 'player' blind! This toy was so dangerous I couldn't even locate a picture of it on ebay... I'm sure somewhere there's a landfill teeming with resin balls and half-decomposed string. You know, when you stop and think about it... Perhaps the whole toy-making industry was just trying to insure the survival of the fittest.

Sorry about GI Joes nakedness... It's the only picture I could find of 'Joe' with the flocked hair and beard... Just like the ones my step-sisters and myself owned... But if I remember correctly, our Joe's were naked most of the time too! My step-sister 'S' always took really good care of her Joe and she had every accessory available... an inflatable raft, scuba gear, guns galore... You name it!... However, my step-sister 'T' and myself really put our Joe's through the ringer. The only accessories we owned were Parachutes and we'd pitch our Joe's off of hillsides and over rooftops... Seldom did the shoot open in the manor a parachute should... Which would leave poor Joe half-bald from having his flocked hair skinned off due to his inevitable dive into the pavement. Our sister 'S' never let us play with her Joe... Sister 'T' and I always thought her to be extremely selfish but in hindsight I can see why... She was protecting her Joe.
Quick Curl Francie... Barbie's rather under-developed, follicly challenged best friend. I liked my Francie doll for about the first 5 minutes I owned her... I could wrap her hair into a little plastic rod and roll it into a cute 'do but that only worked the first time... After that the wires in her hair never layed flat again. You can see from the picture above that 'Francie' is STILL (after 30 some odd years) suffering from a chronic bad hair day! As for My Francie doll... Eventually I cut all of her hair to within a couple millimeters of her head, dressed her in GI Joe's clothes and she became Barbie's dyke friend who all of the other dolls felt a little uncomfortable hanging out with.

Not many girlfriends that I hang out with today have ever heard of 'Tiffany Taylor'... Probably because they're all so much older than me (hee! just kidding gals.) But 'Tiffany Taylor' was perhaps the most beautiful and prized of my childhood possessions, though I have absolutely no idea where she ended up. 'Tiffany' was in a word GORGEOUS. She was 18" tall with a body that this pre-pubescent girl would pray every night she'd ultimately be graced with... She had long life-like eyelashes and her make-up was just the right touch of heavy but not whore'ish... And her skin color was a golden brown... A perfect tropical tan... Not pastey white like Barbie!

The thing with 'Tiffany' was that the top of her head twisted around so that she could be either a brunette or a blonde... For some reason the brunette side had bangs but the blonde didn't?... And because I wasn't confident enough in my hair color and I'd heard said that blonde's had more fun... My Tiffany usually sported her blonde side. My best friend next door had a Tiffany doll also and her mom and my step-mom used to make the most beautiful clothes for our dolls... I think they were in a mad competition with eachother as to who could turn out the latest in couture for the beautiful Tiffany. The bummer about Tiffany was that she didn't have a male doll to accompany her to the fancy soiree's she was always attending in order to show off those fabulous clothes... But then for a lot of women I guess that's a lot like real life.

Now it's your turn... Post a comment and let me know about your favorite or not so favorite childhood toys.

*Find out about S&H Greenstamps here. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Feelin' Cool... Lookin' Miserable

I'm wondering... Why don't dogs like to be bathed? It's the middle of summer... They're covered with fur... Wouldn't you think that a date with a hose would make for a more comfortable existence? Not for Anna... Her attitude towards being bathed is clearly visible in the top most picture. True, she is an indoor dog and therefore spends her days luxuriating in an air conditioned environment... But a bath, A really good Bath not only refreshes the skin but also the spirit!... I think Anna would disagree. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 10, 2006

Summer Evenings

A Leopard Frog

My daughter and I have a ritual that takes place on 'not so muggy' summer evenings. We go for a walk and she hunts for toads and frogs. She's got amazingly quick hands so there are few critters that can escape her grasp. Once she catches said 'critter' she brings it over to show me and together we say, "Hello little guy!.... Awwww, He's so cute!" (as if we were admiring a precious newborn baby.) Then my daughter wanders back to the approximate location she captured the critter and let's him go.

I can't help but wonder what the frogs and toads think of this phenomenon?
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Sunday, July 09, 2006

The ARCO Ark

As the family was enroute to our friends house yesterday we got into a discussion regarding Gas (As in, "Lordy, Lordy... Look at the price of Gas... Why, I can remember when Gas was just 75 cents a gallon.") Yea, we're THAT old!

We began talking about the different Gas companies and how they competed with one another "Back in the olden days."... And then I recalled an old memory that had been lodged far back in that dusty corner of my mind. The ARCO Ark! It was circa 1970 and the highlight of each week included a trip to the ARCO gas station with my dad. He'd fill the tank and then we'd walk together into the shop off of the garage where he'd pay for the fill-up. In those days you always had to go into the station to pay for your gas, this was the world before debit cards... This was also the world before the gas station mini-mart... You wanted a candy bar or a bag of chips you best hit the 7-11... However, if a soda was what you were hankerin' for you could always get a bottle of coke out of the machine for a nickle and a quarter. I never enjoyed walking into the Shop... The smell of grease always burned my nose and everything was covered with a layer of black dust - cans of oil, packages of air freshener and the yellowed calendar on the wall. Even the item I desired... The very item that brought me to the station in the first place, was layered with the same dusty, black film... And that item was a small cellophane package that held 2 tiny plastic animals within it's grimey cocoon.

The thrill of this whole experience was the anticipation of which pair of animals you'd receive. The idea is that Noah had collected 2 of each animal... I however, seemed to have a plethora of Ardvaarks (much like the e-bay collector shown above.) The joy of receiving a whole new pair of animals to add to the mix would make my entire week... And set my fingers to itching until I could get home and proudly add the newest acquisition to my collection.

So I was pretty excited when I found this ark on ebay this morning... But then I remembered the disappointments involving the ARCO Ark... How frustrating it was to receive ANOTHER pair of Ardvaarks and how that would make the entire excursion to the gas station seem pointless... I'd silently curse the powers that be at ARCO for not being mindful of the fact that Noah would NEVER have considered more than 2 of the same animal... Not only that but where was Noah? His wife? and the Dove with the olive branch? The other thing about the ark that filled me with dismay was the fact that the damn thing didn't float in the bathtub... Yeah, that's right... Put it in water and it tipped on it's side and drowned all the animals... I mean, if you can't make a boat that floats so that it can double as a bath toy then what's the point?

Regardless of the frustration, I find myself wishing gas stations still participated in these little promotional gimmicks... Even though I'm now in my 40's (ugh!) I know I'd still get excited about going for a fill-up and anticipating what I'd find poised in a little celophane package... Rather than have to deal with the reality of cringing over how much the price of gas has soared since my previous visit.
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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Angel Face

Could a greater miracle take place
than for us to look through eachother's eyes for an instant?
- Henry David Thoreau

Those true eyes, too pure and too honest
in aught to disguise the sweet soul shining through them.
- Owen Meredith

I have looked into your eyes with my eyes.
I have put my heart near your heart.
- Pope John XXIII

For I dipped into the future,
far as human eye could see,
saw the vision of the world,
and all the wonder that would be.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson
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Friday, July 07, 2006

Mexico bound Lex

My trip to California gave me the wonderful opportunity to get re-acquainted with my beautiful 20 yr. old niece. I normally find it awkward to carry on conversations with young people... But hey, this is my niece... It's important to me to get to know her better. I saw her often when she was a toddler... For a brief time she and my sister even lived with us... But then my husband and I moved east and time and distance have made it difficult to carry on the Aunt/Niece, Friendship/Relationship that I wish we'd been able to share. I find it IMPOSSIBLE to believe that she's now 20 yrs. old (where does the time go?)... I wish I could call back the years and we could spend time braiding eachothers hair, gossiping about boys or share some form of female bonding time. I was so pleased that Lex and I did find some time during the visit to get re-acquainted. We took a beach walk together the night before the flight home. Initially I was a bit nervous and worried that we'd have little to talk about... However, once we hit the beach we never stopped talking... We laughed, we shared stories and I'm not sure she has any idea just how much it meant to me... How much SHE means to me!

Other than that last night I had with her in California I didn't see Lex very much. She had to work a lot while we were visiting... She works in a super trendy upscale clothing store... The kind of job my sister and I wished we could have had when we were young... The kind of job where you're required to wear the trendy clothes that are sold there and you don't have to buy them, they GIVE them to you... The kind of job that the really beautiful girls get... And my God, but Lex IS beautiful... But not only that she's got substance, she's brilliant, she's interesting and her life isn't focused around how she looks.

Lex is currently preparing for a cross-country motorcycle trip through Mexico with her dad. She'll be riding on the back of a bike they intend to pick up somewhere in Texas. While I was out there she went out with her dad to pick up the necessary bike wear for the trip... Helmet, Heavy Jacket and Ultra-Thick Denim Jeans. I personally can't think of any greater form of hell than donning heavy clothing... Sitting for hours haunched over a whining motorcycle motor... Hot wind and enormous bugs blowing into my face... And all this while enduring the intense Mexico sun! But my niece is NO sissy... She's travelled extensively throughout places like Thailand and Vietnam and most of that was via motorcycle. In fact Lex has seen more in her brief 20 yrs. than I will most likely see in my entire lifetime. My sister says that the globe trotting experiences with her dad have made my niece into the mature and compassionate girl she is today.

Even with all that experience I can't help but feel nervous for her... My ex-brother-in-law may be knowledgable on a motor-cycle but there are all sorts of idiots on the road he'll need to be looking out for AND he'd better be looking out for them! I want to remind Lex that she needs to drink plenty of water in order to stay hydrated... But also make sure she's careful what water she drinks... I want to tell her to be wary of strangers, seedy characters and banditos!... But most of all I want to wish her a good time, full of amazing experiences... So that when she returns, she can share them all with me on a good long beach walk.
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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Romo or is it Roam-O'

My sister always told me she didn't have any pets... She says she doesn't have the time and she doesn't need the extra responsibility they require.

So we're hanging out in her kitchen and to my surprise she walks over to the back door and lets a cat in that's been pawing on the glass. The cat then slinks over to an empty bowl on the floor that I hadn't noticed before, and looks beseechingly at my sister who pointedly asks the kitty, "Are you hungry?"... She then walks over to a cupboard, pulls out a bag of cat food and fills the bowl with crunchy morsels. I sat there with my mouth agape and finally said, "Wait a minute... I thought you said you didn't have any pets?" To which she replied, "I don't... This is Romo, he belongs to the next door neighbors but he comes over here sometimes." Then she pointed out a cat bed with a toy in it laying in a corner of the kitchen... I had noticed that before but thought it was one of my nieces playthings.

So I look at my sister and I say, "It's not your cat but it eats here, it sleeps here and it paws at the door to be let in and out?"... "Pretty much." she replied. I think my sister is deluding herself... She's got a cat or rather, the cats got her.
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Busty Billboard

Hey, this is California folks - Need I say more?
Note: I find it difficult to tell
if this gal is pre- or post-op??? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Yes, I'm REALLY that paranoid...

I've been working on a group project for my kids school. We've been searching for ways to better advertise... Thus the online search for 'Bumper Sticker' printers... and the following true story:

So I'm online searching different printers and I hit on a site that's... Oh, let's call it so-so... As my right hand begins to move toward the mouse in an attempt to back out of the site my speakers suddenly come alive with a resonating 'DING'... And a new screen appears on my monitor announcing that "Katie, and online representative is here to help me with any questions I may have."... "What's this?" I think to myself... I've got a virtual saleslady peeking over my shoulder inquiring as to whether I'm going to buy anything? I'm never very comfortable with that scenario when I'm in a real store and now I feel the same uncomfortable feeling at home on my own computer.

I'm such a people pleaser... So worried about offending perfect strangers... Or worse, having them think I'm lacking good manners. I tend to be ultra polite and feign interest even when I'd rather move on... And that's the reason why my right hand backed away from the mouse and joined the left hand at the keyboard to reply to 'Katie, my online rep'... I politely told Katie, "I'm just looking around, thanks!" and she replied with, "Let me know if I can help you with anything!"

NOW I was stuck! I felt it would be rude to leave the site so quickly after 'Katie' offered me her assitance in such a kind manner... So I did what any other paranoid, people pleaser, bucket-head would do and I pretended to be interested in the other items available on the site... Yes, you read that correctly... I pretended to be interested... I waited for what I thought was a reasonable amount of time... Oh, about 4 minutes and then I let my right hand wander over to the mouse again and quickly exited the site... Before 'Katie' could ask me where I was going... Whew!

At the meeting later I reiterated my experience to the other committee members who had been doing similar research. They laughed... Which is usually my goal in sharing such tales but one of the members told me that she had hit on the same site and yes, 'Katie' had also offered her help. She said that she left the site immediately without regret because 'Katie' is an automated computer programmed to answer FAQ's... My friend informed me that I could go to that site any time of day be it 3 o'clock in the morning or 3 o'clock in the afternoon and Yes, 'Katie' would be there to make me feel welcome... Well NOW I REALLY feel Stupid!

Mother Nature's Flower Shop

I'll blog something really profound later but for now I just wanted to post this lovely floral pic I took while in Laguna Beach. It's a reminder to take a moment, find a pretty spot and just be glad to BE.

Quote for the day:
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty, never grows old. - Franz Kafka
Nice quote Mr. Kafka... I like the idea and I'm holding you to it!
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Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Our cute little rental car is pictured above. Like most typical suburban stay at home mom's I drive a Toyota Sienna Mini-van. I'm used to sitting high in the saddle with a picturesque view of the road before me. I enjoy driving my husbands Corolla for it's zippiness (we've actually named it 'The Zippy Car') but I detest getting behind larger vehicles that make it difficult to see the traffic conditions ahead.

I chose 'Dollar' rental car company for their low rates while planning our trip. I was quite pleased with how smoothly everything went. The only glitch was with the guy at the desk who rented me the car. He was exceedingly friendly until I told him I wasn't interested in the extra $9 a day rental insurance. He argued that my $500 deductable wouldn't be satisfactory coverage should I get into an accident with his car. I waivered only slightly and stated matter of factly that "No, my husband said it wouldn't be necessary." (In hindsight, I NEVER should have referred to my husband because it made me come off looking like a world class ditz, who couldn't make a decision on her own.) Mr. rental car guy gave me several distasteful sneers before asking for my signature and handing me the keys... I'm guessing these guys get some sort of bonus for getting people to agree to the extra insurance coverage... Where else would all that extra money go? He sent me on my way, offering only minimal directions as to where I needed to go to pick up my car... So my son and I stumbled around the rental car site, luggage in tow and finally found the pick-up location.

With rental cars you can never be sure what you're going to get when you check off the box 'Mid-Size Vehicle' I was expecting a 'Dodge Stratus' and when we walked into the garage there they were... 6 Dodge Stratus's (Stratai?... Strat's?) all in a row. The friendly garage attendant asked, "What are you picking up?" I told him a mid-size and that's when the most amazing thing happened... He said, "Anything in this row, just pick one!"... Did I hear him correctly? I got to choose which rental car I liked best? That's never happened before... Normally you're given a lot space and there's your car... For better or for worse. So I'm standing there under the harsh glare of the garage mercury lamps and trying to decide... Hmmm, the silver Stratus... The gold Stratus... The white Stratus... BUT WAIT!!!! What's that, in the very row I was told I could choose from... A little Candy Apple Red number... It was a Jeep and her name was Liberty! I said to my son, "Ooooo, Oooo, Let's get this one!"... He began to protest, assuming it was another of those SUV gas hogs but once I popped the tailgate and the window lifted and the door opened automatically as if beckoning us to place our luggage within, we were sold... My son and I turned to one another with enormous smiles and stars in our eyes... For Liberty was ours for the taking!

I am SO totally going with Dollar rental car agency from now on... Because how cool is it to pick your own rental car... Especially when it's Candy-Apple Red, it's named Liberty and it makes you feel like a hottie driving it!
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Monday, July 03, 2006

On Top of the World

While in California we wandered from the beaten path (Pacific Coast Hwy.) and took some side streets down toward the cliffs of Newport Beach. This is an area of exceptional wealth and amazing beauty (two things that often accompany eachother in So. Cal.) The day was, in a word, Perfection... Mild temps, Brilliant sunshine and an ocean breeze that carried with it the fragrance of the flowers from the well manicured gardens gracing the amazing homes that clung to the hillsides.

I took several pics of the incredible homes... All the while concerned that at any moment a homeowner might rush out and berate me for infringing on their privacy... Thankfully, I managed not to get caught. Either the residents didn't care or they're used to tourists gawking at their homes.

There was one home in particular I decided not to capture on film... Simply because it screamed narcissism. The garage door of the home was made of a highly reflective stainless steel... I could only guess that the owner drove either a Porsche or a Mazarati and the highlight of his day was driving up to his garage so he could admire himself as he parked his gem... I feared that if he caught sight of me taking a picture it might add to his already overly inflated ego. It's probably wrong of me to assume that it was a male who purchased said door... But c'mon!

Anyway, About the picture above... It may be slightly difficult to discern from this perspective but the guy on that roof is working perhaps 8 or 10 stories above where the ocean meets the sand. He is tethered but can you say VERTIGO? However, if you're the type that doesn't mind working from high places suspended by only a thin line then this has GOT to be the job! I always thought of roofing as hot, miserable, dirty work... But this guy had ocean breezes keeping him cool and a view that would make God himself sit back and say, "Yup, I done good!"

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

One Upmanship

Some things blatantly scream at me to sit up and take notice... For instance, the two furniture stores across the street from one another on Garden Grove Blvd. in So. California.

I'm almost certain that 'Today's Furniture Store' had to be the first furniture store on the block and just as they settled in, secure that everyone would be drawn to place with a name like 'Today's Furniture' the competition moved in across the street... And horror of horrors they labeled themselves 'Lifetime Furniture'... Well, who could compete with THAT? Now folks looking for a new sofa or dinette set have the choice of purchasing a piece they'll like for 'TODAY' or one they'll treasure for a 'LIFETIME'.
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Saturday, July 01, 2006

California Dreamin'

The BIG bummer about California is that it's just so darn far away from Maryland! 6 hrs. on a plane is no picnic, but that won't slow me down... I'm already dreaming about a trip for the whole family next year. I'm not sure the budget will permit but my son simply states that it just HAS to happen.

At one point my son said that he couldn't wait to go home... I surmized by that comment that he wasn't having a particularly good time... But when he said, "I miss Dad and Sis so much, we have to bring them out with us next year and stay twice as long!" I knew then that he was just wishing the whole family was together... I was too!

I look back on this trip as an experience of great personal growth for me. I booked the entire trip myself... Choosing the hotel and rental car by price and gut instinct... Choices that turned out to be very good ones (despite my post about the view from our room, our hotel was really very nice!) I navigated through airports, security, rental car options and the LA Freeways with little or no glitches... And let me tell you, airport security is one heck of a stress test.... Take off your shoes? Leave your shoes on? Empty your pockets of cell phones? Lay your back-pack on the conveyor belt standing up?... On it's side?... In a bin?... Not in a bin? Remove your laptop from your back-pack?... Put it on the conveyor belt?... In a bin?... Not in a bin?... Hand it to the security officer? Walk through the monitor? Don't walk through the monitor yet?.... Stand up, sit down, touch your head, bend over?... BEND OVER?????.... Okay, maybe it wasn't THAT bad but my son offered that it would be a good idea to read up on security regulations before we fly again because we just seemed to do everything incorrectly, which resulted in some rather perturbed looking security personnel. If any of you are out there reading this.... I'm sorry, we haven't flown in 5 yrs. so please be patient with us. (:-
In a nutshell, everything was managed without too much worry and the trip turned out perfectly... Leaving me enough fodder to blog about for weeks to come... LUCKY YOU! I'm aware of the fact that there are people who are completely adept at travel and don't think twice about the choices that need to be made... I envy those folks... But after this trip, maybe... just maybe... I'm closer to being one of them.

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