Nov 28, 2008


You know, it's the simple things in life we are usually most thankful for. Not the things that we spend most of our time thinking about during the rest of the year.

Mario is thankful for his ball. Really, anything he can get you to throw for him. Border Collies are smart like they say but they can get a little obsessive. He especially loves visitors. They may as well have "Sucker" tattooed on their foreheads. He collects every throwable object in the house and lays it at their feet. They laugh and throw his toys for him over and over. They inevitably give up long before he tires out.
Chance is thankful to sit next to me, wherever I am. He is also thankful he can tuck his back legs safely behind him. He's very weird like that. I think it's because my husband snatches at his back legs when he rough-houses with him.

I am thankful that my son is home for Thanksgiving. He's been away for his first year of college. He doesn't call nearly as much as his sister. OK, he never calls. I have reconciled myself to the fact that boys are very different than girls. They don't let their homesickness show but he couldn't hide the fact that he was excited to be home.

This one is a little tougher. My daughter did not spend Thanksgiving with us this year. Her first one away from the family. She went to Texas to spend it with her boyfriend's family. I am thankful she has a whole new family to get to know and I am thankful that they welcomed her with such open arms. But then again, what's not to love.

Finally, the whole family was thankful for a wonderful meal, the chance to be together because that's what Thanksgiving is really about. And of course, pumpkin pie!

Nov 24, 2008

Where have you been all my life?

There is a whole host of things I wish I had tried or discovered earlier in my life. Most, but not all, are food related.

FOODS: You wouldn’t know it to look at me now, but I was a picky eater as a kid. Following are some of my favorites that I didn't try until adulthood.

Scrambled eggs
– after my daughter was born the first meal I had in the hospital was scrambled eggs and toast. It’s been a favorite ever since.

Sour cream – there was just something about the name that always bothered me. Milk based products should not be sour.

Cream cheese – spreadable cheese seemed unnatural to me.

– it looked like cactus to me.

– can’t explain why I didn’t like them – the gelatinous seeds maybe.


Sleep Mask – This one could have saved me a lot of grief over the years. I am an avid reader and I fall asleep every night by reading. My husband is not a night time reader and the light really bothers him. I have tried a lot of things to reach a compromise, low watt bulbs (25 watt bulbs don’t give off much light), booklights (a pain in the ass), a towel over the lampshade (tacky and a fire hazard). I happened to get him a sleeping mask a few years back. Oh my God! Why had I never tried this before? He looks a little dorky when he wears it but it’s a small price to pay.

Wire Whisk – I always just thought a fork was good enough. My cousins thought this was hilarious so one of them bought me an assortment of wire whisks. I am now a convert.

IKEA – Where was this store when I was young and broke?

Podcasts – Doesn’t quite fit because they are relatively new, but I haven’t listened to the radio on my way to work since I discovered them.

I guess my grandmother was right all along, “You never know until you try it.”

Nov 21, 2008


I’m starting to get angry and also a little bit scared about the future. I have no particular love for the Detroit 3 (they had to relinquish the Big 3 title once Toyota turned into a big player that was regularly beating one or more of them in monthly sales.) The auto execs are arrogant, overpaid, short-sighted and got themselves into this mess all by themselves. Instead of developing new technologies and innovative long term strategies they have focused on the bottom line of the next quarter. Their strategy has been to bombard us with low financing deals for the past five years. Couldn’t they foresee a day when Americans would have to tighten their belts and hold off on that new car purchase?

On the same note, duplicity and insincerity from the Washington crew doesn’t surprise me. How many of them have uttered the words “Buy American” in one of their campaign speeches? Yet now they stand on the brink of letting the largest manufacturers of consumer durable goods in the US go under. I understand if you don’t like them. There is not much to like. But have they thought about the impact of letting even one of them go bankrupt? Our economy is like a car teetering on the edge of a cliff. One good stiff breeze could cause us to plummet to the bottom. That will be one big fiery explosion.

They seriously can’t be thinking about letting the two biggest American automakers go belly up. Not after they doled out all that cash to the financial industry. I don’t remember any of them having to endure the endless interrogatories about their spending habits and recovery plans.

I think it’s time Congress quits posturing and grandstanding. The auto execs have been abused and slapped around enough by Congress. Give them the bailout already. The economy can’t withstand such a major jolt and hundreds of thousands of hard working Americans will find themselves without jobs.

FOOTNOTE: "Assume the position" takes on a whole new meaning for Obama's Treasury Secretary. He's screwed.

Nov 18, 2008

The end is near...

Sling, my faithful blog reader, and fav-o-rite blog poster, tagged me in his most recent blog post.

My assignment: Open the book nearest your computer.No fair hunting for something that sounds intellectual and impressive to page 56. Post the 5th sentence,plus one or two thereafter for context.

First let me admit that I cheated a little. The books nearest my computer are my stack of unread books. I really didn't think I could work up anything to add to the post if I chose a book I hadn't read. So, instead I decided I would grab the closest book to my nightstand. (That's where all my finished books end up).

So here is my offering,

We've been over all of this. I didn't bring myself to this. I was brought. And now I'm done. I thought about not even telling you. That would probably have been best. You have two bullets and then what? You can't protect us. You say you would die for us but what good is that? I'd take him with me if it weren't for you. You know I would. It's the right thing to do.

This comes from The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I love a good post apocalyptic novel. My love of this genre started in high school with On the Beach by Nevil Shute. My all time favorite is Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. I have read it twice and will read it again I'm sure. Not sure if The Stand by Stephen King counts as a post apocalyptic novel or a horror novel but it's my list so I can include anything I like. I have read that book five times. Honorable mentions to Alas Babylon by Pat Frank and Eternity Road by Jack McDevitt.

I can't explain the appeal. Maybe my belief that we can take whatever the world has to throw at us and survive. I also love these types of movies too. Red Dawn, 28 Weeks Later, Independence Day, any movie featuring a close call with an asteroid.

I hit the jackpot when I was looking up the names of some of the authors I listed above.

Wikipedia Gold

Now to sort out the winners from the losers. There is nothing worse than bad post apocalyptic fiction except for maybe bad science fiction.

I tag Ms. G-Box and my sister who has yet to start a blog of her own but has been talking about it so this would be a great start.....

Nov 17, 2008


Winter officially arrived in Michigan this weekend. At least in my little corner it did. We got snow that fell heavy and stayed put. We've had a few traces before now but unless it coats the ground it doesn’t count. We can’t complain too much. Up until now the fall weather has been for the most part warm and sunny.

Winter starts off well, the snow puts us into the holiday mood as Thanksgiving and Christmas get closer. But deep down we dread what is to come. Around January 3rd or so we will be sick and tired of the cold and ice and snow and especially the gray skies that come with Michigan winters. We rarely see the sun in winter and become like trolls living under bridges.

My cousin moved here from Florida a few years back. She was not prepared for the harsh winters we get in Michigan. She got quite a wake up call one morning during her first winter here. All she was trying to do was go to work. My husband and I had quite a laugh at her expense but she‘s a good sport.

We had freezing rain the night before and then snow. Everything was coated with a solid sheet of ice and a nice 4-5 inch coat of snow, including her car. She bundled up and trudged out to the street.

Step 1: Bundle up in multiple layers of clothing
Step 2: Use a snow brush to clear the snow off car
Step 3: Scrape ice off windows
Step 4: Discover that lock is frozen and key won’t turn
Step 5: Come inside to warm up
Step 6: Bundle up in multiple layers of clothing
Step 7: I can’t remember how she unlocked frozen lock, she consulted my husband.
Step 8: Pull on car door repeatedly until it finally opens
Step 9: Discover that car won’t start
Step 10: Come inside to warm up
Step 11: Bundle up in multiple layers of clothing
Step 12: Get a jump
Step 13: Discover wheels are frozen solid to ground by plowed snow.
Step 14: Come inside and declare “You people are f***ing crazy!”

I can’t remember if she hacked her tires out with a shovel or called off work. I do remember that it took a few hours to complete all the steps above.

If asked though, I'm sure she will admit that Michigan has one of the most beautiful summer seasons in the country. She moved back to Florida to be close to her daughter and grandkids. But I think our winters had something to do with it too.

Nov 14, 2008

Confession Time

I have a confession to make. I am a World of Warcraft player.

For those of you who don't know what World of Warcraft is I will explain. (At the same time I will refrain from making snide comments like "What, do you live under a rock?") World of Warcraft is an MMORPG which stands for Massively Mulit-player Online Role Playing Game. It is by far the most popular MMORPG. 11 million people play world wide with no end in sight.

I certainly don't fit the demographic of the typical WOW player but this appeals to the rebel in me. I started playing WOW because my on-line poker playing was not going well. I had a promising start but had to come to terms with the fact that I am just an OK poker player.

My on-line gaming has followed this path over the years:
AOL On-line Word games (Basically chat room word puzzles and stuff)
On-line Scrabble
Yahoo On-line Card Games (Hearts, Pinochle, Euchre)
On-line Poker
World of Warcraft

I have been playing WOW for about 2 1/2 years. I love it. For about the last year I have been in a guild that is dedicated to "raiding". This is bringing 25 people together, each with a unique role, to run through a dungeon and kill monsters and "bosses". It takes study, effort and dedication. The guild becomes like a family almost.

This week the latest expansion to the game was released. I stood in line at midnight on Wednesday with a bunch of pale young men all dressed in black to get my pre-ordered copy. They probably thought I was there to pick it up for my son. But I am a nerd too. Just an old nerd. I will be spending the entire weekend playing this game and I will be in heaven!

Nov 10, 2008

Be careful what you wish for.

We have raised our kids to make up their own minds about things. I always thought that my greatest success would be to raise kids that turned into free-thinking, independent adults. I still think that but some things take some getting used to.

My daughter became a vegetarian about 6 months ago. It was our fault for sending her off to the University of Michigan. Ann Arbor Michigan is a hotbed for liberal thinking and activism. It’s like Berkley transplanted into the snowbelt. I like to think I am pretty open-minded but her vegetarianism is something I have had to get used to.

On one of her first visits home from school she explained that she had run into some PETA people on campus and that she had read some of their literature. The material really bothered her. She loves animals and was very disturbed by the pictures in the brochures. This was about four years ago and we saw a marked decline in her beef consumption. The only meat she ate with any regularity after that was chicken. Even though I tried to get her to eat some beef she just wouldn’t do it.

She finally made her decision and broke the news to us that she would not eat meat anymore. Her decision was based on the treatment that animals receive in the factory farming system. We were in denial at first. Surely this was some passing fad. In an attempt to hurry her through this phase we threw every argument in the book at her. I admit, in hindsight, that some of them are pretty lame.

* Why do you think we have canine teeth? (Seriously?)
* These animals wouldn’t be roaming the countryside, free and happy if we all stopped eating meat. They are bred so we can eat them.
* You will have such a hard time when you eat with non-vegetarians.
* What will you do when I make Chicken and Dumplings or Chicken Tacos? Will you really be able to turn those down? (I don't want to brag about my cooking but I have to admit I thought this was my strongest argument.)
* You being a vegetarian will not end factory farming. There are still plenty of us that eat meat.

As the family peacekeeper I usually had to stop these raging debates by encouraging everyone to just agree to disagree. But every once in a while I am struck by a new realization of how this will impact her and us.

* You mean you will turn my grandchildren into vegetarians?
* What about your wedding reception? Will you serve meat?

She very calmly explains that she has made this decision because she feels strongly about animal cruelty and that she would be a hypocrite if she raised her children differently or served meat to 200 people at her wedding reception. (200 people? Does she think we are made of money?)

I don’t know why I felt so strongly about this in the beginning. It really shouldn’t make any difference to me at all. But, I have come to respect her decision. I am glad to see that she is a person of conviction and principle. Independent means she gets to make up her own mind about things even if it's contrary to the decisions I make in my life.

Nov 7, 2008

Quitcher Bitchin!

I am traveling to Ohio this weekend. My husband, daughter and I will be going to a “Cousin’s Reunion” for my husband’s side of the family. I am trying so very hard not to whine about it.

These are cousins that he spent quite a bit of time with as a kid. I didn’t meet any of them until after we had been married for over 20 years. That was at the first reunion 2 years ago. I enjoyed the reunion and it was nice to meet everybody. But I am at a heart a hermit. The prospect of a long drive and a whole day of lots of people that I am not so familiar with is not a pleasant one for me.

I like small groups of people. It takes me awhile to get to know people. Most of my favorite things involve me being inside my own head. I read quite a bit, I play video games, I scrapbook. I am just not a social butterfly. I am more like a cocoon.

This has provided a good balance to my husband. I have walked up on him in public places convinced that is talking to a long-lost dear friend only to find out that he only met the person 10 minutes earlier. I envy this ability he has, but console myself with the fact that if we were all the same life wouldn’t be so interesting. I get to tag along for the ride.

I have decided that I am being selfish.

Very early in our marriage my husband’s family scattered across the country. My family all lived within three blocks of each other for 14 years. As a result, we are incredibly close to my family and spend quite a bit of time with them. Holidays have always been spent with my family. We have traveled numerous times to Florida so that I could spend time with some cousins that I am very close to. Every five years we attend a huge week long family reunion with my extended family. Don’t get me wrong. My husband loves my family and enjoys spending time with them but his family has not had equal billing.

My husband lost both his parents within the last two years. He needs to feel that connection that family gives us. He needs to laugh and share stories and be with people who come from the same place he did. I need to stop being so selfish. I don't have to enjoy it but the least I can do for him is shut my mouth and pretend like I do.

Nov 5, 2008


I, like so many of you, was overjoyed last night when Barack Obama was elected as the next President of the United States.

I lay in my bed watching the coverage and heard fireworks in the streets. I saw people flocking to the White House to celebrate. This seemed to me to be a collective flipping of the bird at the man who has held our country hostage for eight years. I saw celebrations across this country like I have never witnessed before.

Ain't democracy a wondrous thing?

We've accomplished step one. But the work is just getting started. The "Yes, We Can" chant is not a just a campaign slogan. It is a rallying cry to put things right that have been wrong for quite some time. Barack Obama is a man of high ideals and a desire to make fundamental changes. Key legislative initiatives will be coming our way soon.

What does "Yes We Can" mean? It means to fully understand the critical issues facing us. To clearly understand the proposed changes and how they will affect not only ourselves and our families but also our fellow citizens. It means to let our voices be heard to those who represent us. It means taking action on the issues of most importance to us.

Contact your Congressman and Senators

Get Involved
Volunteer Match
Volunteers of America

Sounds cliche, but my faith in the American people was restored last night. We can not only vote for change, we can bring about change through our own commitment and efforts.

Nov 2, 2008

Bacon or sausage?

Presidential elections are getting to be like Christmas in Department stores. They both keep starting a little bit earlier every time. Tuesday is starting to feel like the finish line of a marathon race. Enough, already.

While reading up on the latest and greatest news about the election I came across an article titled "Praying for Election Day miracles". I read on, intrigued by the notion that God really cares who wins. I discovered that each of the opposing candidates have prayer circles across the country dedicated to them.

How does God decide which prayer circles will prevail? Is it based on the length of time the prayer circles pray? Does the number of faithful in the prayer circle impact God's decision? Or does God just end up flipping a coin when we aren't watching? Is proximity to Washington DC important? Some of the faithful believe it is since they are flocking to our nations capital to hold their prayer circles.

And once God decides who will win how does he manage it? Voter fraud, election tampering, you can't be too careful. I don't remember any uncontrollable urges to change my vote at the last minute. Does God make your car break down if you are on your way to vote for the wrong guy?

And why prayer circles? Wouldn't forming the devotees in the shape of a cross be more persuasive? Well, I digress.

The article I read contained the following quote.

We have just days to pray that someone who upholds the sanctity of life and marriage between one man and one woman will win," said Pam Olsen, co-pastor with her husband of the International House of Prayer in Tallahassee, Fla.

First off, how is gay marriage affecting the sanctity of marriage? You idiot! Second, why do you care? And third, did you know that you named your church after a popular restaurant chain that specialize in pancakes? I have to assume you did know because I can't imagine Tallahassee gets many international church goers.

Why did you name your church IHOP? Are you hoping to snag a few unsuspecting people who really just want a stack of hotcakes and stumble into your church by mistake? Were you sitting there enjoying a plate of Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity pancakes struggling with what to name your church? Holy House of Bible Thumping? First Church of the Self Righteous? Wait, I got it..... International House of Prayer.

Like I said, Tuesday can't come soon enough for me. I will be spending the next few days switching channels between MSNBC and Fox News. It's my way of balancing the news. Happy Voting!