Sunday, October 31, 2010

Remember When…

When I was a kid we didn’t have computers, cell phones, huge color televisions with 200 plus channels to watch. We were lucky if we had a black and white set with 7 stations and we had to get up and change the channel manually. Imagine if our kids had to spend their whole summer without a computer, cell phone or 40 inch TV? What would they do? They are so plugged into these things that they are missing out on some genuine fun…

I remember being outside all summer, from morning till night, except for meal times. There was never “nothing” to do. A little chalk and a bobby pin and we had a hopscotch board on the sidewalk. If we got tired of that, we went to get a long piece of clothesline and used it as a jump rope. Everyone took turns jumping in and out singing “A My Name Is Anna” or “Bill and Hillary Sitting in a Tree.” When we done with that we went to get our roller skates, the ones with a “key” and clamps. The last time I skated I fell and scraped my knee so bad I gave it up. After skating we took out our yoyo’s, top’s, and hula hoops. Nothing was battery operated, we had to have skills and practice to do tricks with our toys. If we were lucky, and owned bikes, we would take those out to ride up and down the street. And, remember the Pensy Pinkie balls? They were great! We played handball, stoopball, punch ball with those Pensy’s and they really bounced! Some used them for stick ball, hitting them with a broomstick instead of a bat, as an alternative to baseball. If that wasn’t enough to fill the day, we would play “Iron Tag,” “Old Mother Witch, What Time Is it,” “Mother May I,” “Simon Says,” and “Red Light-Green Light,” all with no toys or props at all!

Sure we would take breaks for meals and every time the ice cream truck passed by, but there was no shortage of things to do. I remember laughing and having the time of my life every summer.

Of course, if I mention these things to my girls, they would not be impressed at all. Not unless someone figures out how to turn any of these things into cell phone apps, Wii games, or a reality TV show!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

College Fund Raising…

So I’m sitting here minding my own business when the phone rings and it’s my younger daughter’s college calling to tell me about this new career center they opened. I politely explain, to the young freshman they recruited to make these calls, that my daughter currently has no time for an internship or job and if she is successful with her studies she should be able to find a job as a clinical laboratory scientist. Then I hear a pause, after which the young girl says, well now I come to the hard part for me. I had to laugh. The school never calls for any reason except to ask for money. So I said, “Why, are you going to ask me for money?” She says yes…

I am not going to chop her head off for doing something she obviously was coerced to do. But, I did explain to her that my daughter is currently enrolled and the tuition is expensive. On top of that, she has been taking classes in the summer, the past two summers, to ease her workload during the year to a tune of $6,000 per summer. We haven’t taken out loans, so right now we are a little strapped for cash and have nothing more to spare. Of course she understood because her parents have two children in college and she, herself, is in a 6 year pharmacy program. Good luck to her parents!

Now, I would like to know how this college feels it’s ok to ask parents for more money when we are already paying thousands in tuition? Many parents have more than one child in college, so the money well has pretty much run dry. I think it takes a lot of nerve on their part. A year ago it was some kind of university anniversary, so they were asking all parents to donate 1896. I was confused and asked, Where are you putting the decimal point?” After all, if they were asking $18.96, I could swing that, but no, they actually wanted me to send $1,896.00! I told them I just got done paying so many thousands in tuition and I’m sorry, but I really cannot afford to send you a check in that amount!

I could write a blog on astronomical college tuition costs, and maybe one day I will. But today I am just focusing on the audacity of any university, especially in these economic times, to call and ask the parents of enrolled students to cough up more money than they are already paying!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kids and Cell Phones…

When my older daughter started high school we decided she should have a cell phone for emergencies and also to put my mind at ease. I worry too much, everyone knows it. What’s the problem? Well, it’s now ten years later and I still hear grumbling whenever I ask her to call me. Apparently, calling me takes a lot more effort than calling or texting her friends nonstop. It must be a generational thing because I don’t get it.

It’s not like she pays the bill. We have a family plan that has gotten more and more expensive as we have added “dire necessities” to it, for example, unlimited texting, at an additional charge of $30 per month. It’s not me that needs to text and I rarely do, except to communicate with my girls. But, it seems texting has replaced calling, and whole, lengthy conversations are now carried out via her Qwerty keyboard. I don’t have one of those on my phone. I have to text the old fashioned way and it’s annoying. So, when she is driving or taking the subway, I simply ask her to call when she arrives at her destination, so I know she got their safely. That takes all of 30 seconds, tops. I also ask if she can call when she leaves someplace to come back home. This way, if she delays, I will know to start worrying. I do not think this is too much to ask for providing her with her cell phone, but often she does. She doesn’t “get” how a mother worries over the safety and well being of her children.

Now, you would think paying over $100 a month for four phones is enough. I know I do. But, my older daughter now feels she urgently needs an internet plan for her phone in order to be able to check her emails 24/7. I tried explaining to her that except for the time she is on the subway going to and from work, she is always sitting at or near a computer. And, while she is on the subway she will not get a signal on her phone. So what is the point of having internet access, which will undoubtedly add at least another $30 to my bill? I know her mouth was moving and words were coming out, but I zoned out. My logic is flawless on this point. However, we did reach a compromise when she stopped talking. I will get the internet added, but she will pay all portions of the family plan bill that pertain to her phone use. Case closed.

I still expect to be called when I feel it’s necessary. I think it’s a matter of consideration and respect. When my girls become parents, and their children are out of their protective zone, I wonder what they will be requiring them to do? Only then will they realize why I worried about them so much and why I could only sleep soundly when I knew they were both tucked into their own beds.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Christmas in July?

Yes it sounds bizarre to think about Christmas in July, doesn’t it. And yet, year after year the stores start decorating earlier and earlier so that all the fall holidays blend together. I remember when I was a kid and September signaled the beginning of the school year. Shopping was all about school supplies, backpacks, clothes, and shoes. I never saw Halloween decorations or candy until we were well into October. Thanksgiving was promoted in November and the Christmas season actually started the day after Thanksgiving.

Flash forward to today. We barely get the kids off to school the day after Labor Day, September 7th, and then September 8th out comes the Halloween costumes, decorations, candy, makeup, pumpkins and more. I don’t know what the rush is, but ok I can accept all the Halloween displays, even if they are out early. But, then the week after that, and right next to the Halloween stuff, is a section with Thanksgiving decorations, paper dishes, napkins and so on.

But wait, by the end of September I start to see Christmas decorations! Trees, lights, ornaments, join the Halloween and Thanksgiving merchandise on the shelves. I love the holidays, but I like to take them on one at a time. Someone had the wisdom to space them out, about a month apart, on the calendar for a reason. So I am considering that maybe it would be easier to just combine all three holidays into one big celebration where anything goes and we can get them all over with at once. Here’s how my new Holiday, Hallothanksma’s, would be celebrated: costumes from each holiday would be represented, turkey, pilgrims, Indians, witches, vampires, ghosts, santas, reindeer and elves. Santa carries a huge pumpkin filled with toys and candy and rides in a sleigh pulled by 8 flying turkeys: Gobbler, Clucker, Coocooer, Pecker, Fowler, Winger, Comber and Jonathan (who has a red light-up beak). And for dinner, a nice traditional meal of a glazed ham with candy corn on the side!

Maybe it’s just me, but I would like to enjoy each holiday before having to think about and prepare for the next one. Commercialization is causing them all to blend into one another so we can hardly distinguish between them. I wish there was a way to get that across to retailers. If we don’t stop the madness we may soon see the Easter Bunny wearing a red suit, carrying a pumpkin in one hand, a candy filled heart in the other and saying “Gobble, gobble“!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Aging Gracefully?

I saw my doctor the other day about my chronic back pain. It got me thinking. I’m only 56 years old, but I feel like 86. I can’t figure out why that is. I don’t drink, smoke, stay up late. I always thought I would just age gracefully and maybe in my 70’s start getting some of the unavoidable aches and pains that come with normal wear and tear on the body.

It all started back when I was 30. I noticed little things starting to happen, but I didn’t pay much attention. That’s how it starts to creep up on you. You don’t realize what’s happening until you have to go around visiting all kinds of different doctors. At around 30 I had my 3 impacted wisdom teeth pulled. It seems almost everyone has to have them pulled, no one’s mouth is big enough to hold them all. Then I had a mole on the back of my ear lobe that the doctor thought looked suspicious, so that was removed and biopsied and all’s well. I had my girls at 32 and 35 and then my memory went. Something about childbirth that they don’t tell you is that it takes away your memory.

Between 35 and 40 I found I couldn’t read the prescription bottles to give the girls their medicine so I went and got glasses. Between 40 and 45 I was getting dizzy spells every day so I went to the ear doctor. He ran all kinds of tests and finally diagnosed it as fluid in the inner ear. I should be fine in 6 weeks with the meds. Between 45 and 50 I get a rare form of cancer, LMS. Dodged a bullet there. My hair starts graying, my knees hurt when I walk too far, my teeth start becoming sensitive to cold and hot things, my prescription glasses have to be tweaked up every year…but who’s complaining?

Now, for the past year, as I am between 55 and 60, my lower back aches all the time. After having two MRIs and facing the possibility of another serious scare, it turns out the pain is due to normal degeneration and “aging.” Oh, and I noticed my left leg swells from water retention too. Is this all I have to look forward to? I’ll tell you what I am going to do about it. I am going to start physical therapy and hope the stretching reduces the pain or eliminates it. I am determined to get rid of the 20 pounds extra I have put on, because that can’t be helping my back or my leg. I will report back to you after a while and tell you how it’s going or not going.

Meanwhile, I just can’t wait to see what 60 to 65 has in store for me! So much for the golden years. They sure aren’t what I imagined they would be!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

People With No Phone Etiquette!

I really don’t like talking to people who have absolutely no clue about phone etiquette. I mean this is really just about using simple common sense, or being polite, or considerate. And yet, they can’t manage to do any of those. I have a list of things that tick me off, so here goes.

First of all, if you say you are going to call me back, then call me back. Don’t just leave me hanging time and time again waiting for your call. I can understand something coming up now and then that might make it difficult to call, but not all the time.

Second, when you are talking to me on the phone, please do not carry on text conversations with other people at the same time. It’s obvious you are missing half of what I am saying because you keep asking me to repeat it. And, please do not ask me if I can hear you texting, as though if I don’t hear you pressing your little keys I should be okay with your ignoring what I am saying so you can focus on your messages. It’s very frustrating on my end. If you want to text, then end our conversation and go text.

Third, when we are engaged in a conversation and another call comes in, please do not tell me to hold on a minute and then spend 20 or 30 minutes talking to the other person before coming back to me. Common sense should tell you to tell the other person you will call them back because you are already on the phone with another call.

Fourth, when we are talking on the phone, I would appreciate it if you weren’t also talking to other people in the room. I don’t mean answering a question someone might have, asking someone to do something, or any other quick exchange. No, I am talking about having a conversation with me on the phone and another simultaneous conversation with person who is in your presence.

Fifth, I would really appreciate it if you could be less engaged in what is on television or shut it off and give me your undivided attention. If the program you are watching is that important then go watch it. The last thing I need is to hear your interpretation of what you are watching, I have my own TV, thanks.

Sixth, if you have something important to say concerning some problem or misunderstanding we have had, please have the decency to call and NOT text about it. Texting, in my opinion, is for short, random, spontaneous, informal messages. Texting is not for solving personal issues. Texting is the coward’s way out. I will never have a serious conversation in text messages.

Of course there are other issues that pertain to phone etiquette, but these are at the top of my personal list of most annoying things a person can do. I have experienced all of the above and, as it happens, all with the same person!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Incredible Shrinking Products!

The incredible shrinking product is something that really makes me angry. I first noticed it a while back when my Breyer’s ice cream container seemed smaller. At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me because the price was exactly the same. But, I also noticed that it occupied less space on the freezer door. It was noticeably smaller and, sure enough, it was no longer a half gallon. To me this is a very deceptive practice on the part of the manufacturer. When the price of a product goes up, you can’t help but notice and you can decide it’s no longer worth buying. But, when they shrink the package and give you less for the same money, they are trying to make fools of us!

Breyer’s isn’t alone in using this unethical strategy either. EDY’s ice cream is now 1.5 quarts instead of 1.75. I started noticing the cereal boxes were shrinking too. Kelloggs has been shrinking their boxes by 2.4 ounces, check out the Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops, and Cocoa Krispies! General Mills’ Cheerios are down I.5 ounces. Hellman’s mayo is also 2 ounces lighter, down to 30 ounces from 32. Doritos has shrunk their packages from 12 ounces to 10 ounces. Tropicana has reduced its 96 ounce container of orange juice to 89 ounces. Bounty paper towels are also down from 60 to 52 towels per roll. Charmin toilet paper created Charmin Ultra Strong that now comes with fewer sheets per roll. Yes, even a bar of Dial soap has lost weight, it went from 4.5 ounces to 4 ounces. Who knows what else has shrunk? Remember when the hamburger bun used to be too big for your burger? Last week I made hamburgers and the buns were smaller than the burgers!

These companies may blame product shrinkage on rising costs, but they failed to inform the consumer. Instead, the boxes look exactly the same and the prices are exactly the same and they know that, after purchasing these items year in and year out, we are not going to look at the weight. After all, we are too busy checking expiration dates, price, nutritional value, calories, etc to worry about shrinkage. I’m sure more and more companies will follow suit and why not, if these companies are getting away with it so will they.

So what’s next? Somehow, I can see us all going to buy a dozen eggs one day soon, only to find it’s now a box of ten.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jeans, Ugh!

Why is it so hard to find a decent pair of jeans that fit? Used to be I could go to the store and get a size 9 pair of Jordache jeans and they fit me to a tee. Now, I have to try every brand and say a few prayers before finding something that "fits" but never the way I want them too.

I'm happy they make stretchy jeans that look like regular jeans now. I admit I could use a little flexibility on the part of the material these days. More often than not I am adding a pound here and there, so a little stretching goes a long way for me. But, why are there very few, if any jeans, they go up to the waist like they used to? I like my pants around my waist, not on my hips or somewhere between my hips and my waist. I always feel like they are falling down. Besides, if they are making them stretch for us full figured, well-rounded women, then how is it going to look if I have a few pounds hanging over the top of my hip hugging jeans? I'll tell you how it looks...not very attractive! And they are not very comfortable either.

What about the length? Used to be they sold jeans are various lengths, short, average, tall. The short fit me just fine. I guess they decided it was too much trouble, so now it's one length fits all. I either have to roll them up so they don't scrape the pavement, or let them get worn out at the bottom (and filthy too) from dragging along the floor. I suppose one day I will break my neck as one of my feet steps on the "extra" material hanging over the other foot.

I heard of Apple Bottom jeans, but my "fashion police" daughters inform me those are not for me. I've tried all the jeans in the Gap and those are not for me. Where are the jeans that ARE for me? I may have to invent them myself. I'll call them "Pear-fect" Jeans. That more or less describes my shape today. And, my line of jeans will come in various lengths, have just the right amount of stretch, and come all the way up to the waistline, if that's where you like them!

Used to be, I could get jeans that fit. Now I hear my mother's saying ringing in my ears, "Used to be's ain't what they used to be!" Oh well.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Celebrities Consider Your Fan Base!

I have a real issue with celebrities who achieve success by appealing to young preteen and teenage children and then go on to do something which is totally inappropriate for that fan base. If a celebrity gains their popularity via a family oriented show, then it seems to me that they have an obligation to act and perform responsibly because what they say or do can influence their young fans. This seems to be happening more and more often. Just during this past year I can name three instances which exemplify what I am talking about.

Miley Cyrus achieved huge popularity with preteens on Disney’s Hannah Montana program. Even though I do not think she is very talented, her fans obviously do. Two news items regarding her performance at the Teen Choice Awards and her behavior at a party made the news. At the Teen Choice Awards she performs a sexually suggestive “pole” dance. And, at a private party, a 17 year old Miley does a “lap dance” for Adam Shankman (who at 44 should have known better himself). The video of the lap dance got on the web and went international, so everyone saw it and was talking about it.

Adam Lambert became an overnight celebrity on the family oriented show, American Idol. Millions of young children watch this show along with their parents. Just a three short months after coming in second on Idol and completing the tour, Adam appeared on the American Music Awards. Children across America were watching when Adam strayed from his scripted, rehearsed performance and added some very disturbing, sexually explicit parts to his routine. To be exact, “Adam had a dancer on a leash, had a dancer's head grinding against his crotch simulating oral sex, and had a hand on his own crotch. He also made out with a male band member and flipped his middle finger.” So outrageous was his performance that he lost a couple of appearances soon after that because of it. However, it wasn’t until he realized he had to do some damage control for his career that he apologized and said he got carried away!

And, what brings all this to mind today is the cast of Glee and their photo shoot in GQ magazine. Glee is a family show with a huge fan base of young children. So it is a concern to parents that, while appearing “in character,” cast members were shot in very provocative poses. What kind of message does this send to children? Of course children aren’t going out to buy GQ magazine, but it is delivered to homes across the country where many children have easy access to them. The internet also makes it almost impossible to protect your children from anything of this nature. If, for example, they Google Glee, the GQ photo shoot is going to show up on top of their search. And, even when vigilant parents take every precaution to protect their children from inappropriate material, other parents may not. So what children don’t see at home they can easily see at a friend’s house.  Here is one such link:

I find all this very troubling. Children look up to these celebrities and they are very impressionable. Shouldn’t these people consider the fact that their success came from a young audience base and behave in a way that is appropriate for their fans? As a parent, you would not expect to see a “pole” dance by Disney’s Miley Cyrus at the Teen Choice Awards, or American Idol’s Adam Lambert doing a sexually explicit performance at the AMA‘s, or the most popular Glee member, Rachael, sitting in a chair with her legs spread wide open and her underwear showing. What can you do after your child has waited all night to see their favorite celebrity perform? Shut the TV and drag them to bed as though they did something wrong? Try to explain what they just saw? Hope they don’t get their hands on GQ at a friend’s house?

Kids today have to grow up fast enough. Their innocence is taken away all too soon. But, when they are exposed to things like this, it not only influences them in a negative way, but forces them to grow up even faster.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I remember the days when I used to pray for snow and everything it represented. If it snowed enough, we might get a day or two off from school! Snowball fights, building snowmen, building forts, sledding and helping to shovel off the sidewalk…what could be better than that? If it fell before Christmas, it only added to the holiday spirit. If it fell after Christmas, it gave us a free day or two to play outside with our friends in a winter wonderland. Even when my girls were little, we took them out to make angels in the snow and snowmen. It was always a lot of fun and, when we came in, we had a nice cup of hot chocolate.

I do have fond memories of snow filled winters, but enough is enough! Now when I think of snow it’s a whole other story. I start strategizing as soon as the weathermen, who relish telling us about an upcoming storm and its severity, announce the snow is coming. You know how they report it. There’s a cold front from Canada that is going to hit a storm from the Midwest. Depending on what track it takes we could get 1 to 3 inches of snow. But once it starts falling, they play a new game called guess the inches. One to three turns in to 2 to 4, then 5 to 7, then 8 to 10 and finally we are going to get a blizzard and break the record from 1939! With each new prediction I am hyperventilating and planning my next move…

How are the girls going to get to school? If I drive them, there will be no parking spots when I get back. Why? Because in NYC people shovel all their snow into the streets and fill in what little parking spots we have with mountains of snow! If the girls take the bus, that’s an ordeal too. Everyone is taking the bus and they are overcrowded. Sometimes you have to wait 30 minutes or more for a bus you can squeeze into. The sanitation trucks take care of cleaning the streets here by plowing to the right. That means if you parked on the right side of the street your car will be plowed in. You will have to dig your car out for hours, only to get plowed in again every time they come down your street. If you are brave enough to take your car out, you may not find a parking space when you get back.

I used to be able to run in the snow, now I have a hard time walking. A lot of people don’t bother to shovel or they will make an 18 inch path. If they don’t clean it very well or neglect to put salt down, the snow freezes up and turns icy overnight. In the meantime, the lovely white blanket that fell the day before has turned gray and black from car exhausts and pollution. We clean our sidewalk very well and pile our snow near the curb, not the street. However, when school lets out, many kids walk on the mountains of snow on our curb and like a small avalanche, it falls back down on our sidewalk! If the weather warms up a bit or the sun comes out, we begin shoveling the snow into the street to help it melt faster. It’s all pretty exhausting and frustrating. I’m not even going to complain of the cold, I can easily take care of that by wearing layers. But the snow, I just can’t deal with it any more.

I always thought that Florida was a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there with all that heat. Every winter is making me really rethink my position on that. As for now, I cringe every time I hear the word snow, because for me

S-N-O-W has become a four letter word!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stages of Motherhood...

I am mulling over the stages of motherhood I have been through so far, including early childhood, the teenage years and young adult. What a difference a few years makes!

When my girls were in their preteen years they basically believed everything I said, even though they may not have liked it. They came to me with all their questions, like I was the world wide web. They also understood everything I said, and I didn’t feel like I was speaking in a foreign language. They recognized a lie was a lie and it was best to tell the truth, because one way or another I was always going to find out what was going on. Then came the teenage years, sigh.

Suddenly, there is a shift in communication. Now they know everything and I know nothing. The fact I have a degree is worthless because, after all, so much has happened since I graduated college that there is a huge void in my education. Not only that, but my 45 years plus of life experience isn’t worth a hill of beans. They would rather get advice from their friends, who understand what they are going through. No amount of convincing was going to persuade them that I had more to offer in the way of advice than someone their own age, who basically got out of diapers 10 years ago, completed kindergarten 8 years ago, learned the facts of life 5 years ago, and is making the same stupid mistakes as they are today. Still it must feel great to think you know everything at 13. I noticed they talked less about what was going on in their lives and started not understanding what I was saying, as though we were now speaking different languages. How many times have they used selective hearing when I have said something, and only took away what they wanted to hear? How many times have I given permission to do something only to have them change all the circumstances and expect me to still go along with it?  And, the “truth” suddenly became a little more fuzzy. It’s not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth any more. Now it’s more like “if it’s not asked, don’t tell“…or the lie of omission. A parent can’t let their guard down for a second and forget to ask all the pertinent questions because they will use that as their “loophole” for neglecting to tell you material facts. The “you didn’t ask me” loophole.

Then, one day, they hit the magical age of “18” and, in all sincerity, consider themselves to be adults, with all the rights and privileges implied therein.  Meanwhile, I am wondering what happened overnight, that made that metamorphosis even remotely possible?  So I go down my checklist: Do you pay your own bills?  Do you make your own dinner?  Do you have credit?  Do you have a job?  Do you have money?  Have you even put 1,000 miles on that new license (that I paid the lessons for so you could pass the road test)?  Are you paying rent/room and board?  Are you paying for car insurance?  Do you buy your own clothes?  Do you pay for your cell phone?  If you get sick, do you know what to do?  And, of course, the answers to these and many other questions is a resounding “NO.”  So therefore I concluded and politely explained that “18” was just a number and that unless and until they have all the responsibilities of an adult, they are still children.

I think my daughter got my point. One day I overheard her talking to a friend on the phone. Apparently, she was asked to do something and she told them (using the good judgment I instilled in her) that she wasn’t allowed. To which the friend must have promptly followed up with, “But you are an adult, you’re 18 and you can do whatever you want.” And my daughter replied with, “You don’t understand, in this house, 23 is the new 18.” That was a very proud moment for me, my baby was growing up!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Eloquence of Today’s Politicians?!?

I have been listening to our politicians for many years now and something seems to be lacking in the delivery of their thoughts…I’ve concluded it’s intelligence.

Our forefathers would be turning over in their graves if they could hear the things that come out of our nation’s leaders. Remember the eloquence of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence? And, John Adams who said, “Because power corrupts, society's demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.” And the endless quotes of a wise Ben Franklin who said, “Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.” I could go on and on. Their words were meaningful, moving, eloquent, and intelligent. But what about today’s leaders?

I’ve been comparing a few of today’s illustrious quotes with those of the past…

George W. Bush was president for 8 years and has filled volumes with quotes such as, “"There is some who say that perhaps freedom is not universal. Maybe it's only Western people that can self-govern. Maybe it's only, you know, white-guy Methodists who are capable of self-government. I reject that notion."

Richard Nixon: "When the Catholic Church went to hell in, I don't know, three or four centuries ago, it was the homosexuals. Now, that's what happened to Britain. It happened earlier to France. And let's look at the strong societies. The Russians. God damn it, they root them out, they don't let 'em hang around at all. You know what I mean? I don't know what they do with them."

Ronald Reagan: “We are trying to get unemployment to go up, and I think we're going to succeed."

Sarah Palin: "I didn't really had a good answer, as so often -- is me. But then somebody sent me the other day, Isaiah 49:16*, and you need to go home and look it up. Before you look it up, I'll tell you what it says though. It says, hey, if it was good enough for God, scribbling on the palm of his hand, it's good enough for me, for us. He says, in that passage, 'I wrote your name on the palm of my hand to remember you,' and I'm like, 'Okay, I'm in good company.’”

Joe Biden: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'“**

I’m sure you get my point. Nothing I’ve heard in the last 40 years is inspiring me to get out and vote with confidence. Maybe we should require that today’s politicians go and study a little history, get a dictionary, and have an English teacher go over their work?

* The exact quote from the Bible is: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

** There were no televisions in 1929 and FDR was not President until 1932.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reality TV!

Reality TV is anything but real. Every show is being manipulated behind the scenes in order to get the highest ratings. If, after a season, viewers start to slack off, then they tweak the show here and there to give the viewers what they want. I admit I have a few reality shows I enjoy watching, but even those are not as “real” as they would like us to believe.

American Idol is one of my favorites and seems to be the least manipulated show. However, I find that the judges, in their comments, try to sway viewer votes for one contestant and against another. Hell’s Kitchen is another of my favorites that promises the winner a head chef position at an elite restaurant. Turns out they just get the title, not the position. Ramsey, himself, said he would be crazy to let any of the winners actually run one of his restaurants.

I used to enjoy Big Brother when it first started. They had a set of rules where 10 or 12 complete strangers were brought in to live together. But, the show got too boring so they began to revamp it every year after that, with new twists and turns. Instead of all strangers, they would throw in a few who were related or who knew each other outside the house. It strayed so much from the original premise of the show that I lost interest. Jon & Kate Plus 8 was popular with viewers, but I only caught glimpses of it when my girls were watching it. That show is nothing but scripted and edited pieces that they want viewers to see. Who has 8 kids and always has some kind of outing planned? Kate’s own brother says they have to tape hours of the family in order to edit out all the arguing between Jon & Kate and have enough video to air! Now Kate wants to be a “star!” Who the hell is watching her 8 kids while she is “dancing” on DWTS? I refuse to watch Jersey Shore! A bunch of illiterate, uneducated, mindless twits getting paid way too much money to be themselves. Do you know how much the main characters get paid per episode? $30,000!!!  If this isn’t the biggest waste of money, I don’t know what is. And, does anyone really think those Nannies can fix all those children’s bad behaviors in a week? Would anyone agree to a Wife Swap for a week if they didn’t get something significant out of it in the end? And I happen to know they do not switch for a week, maybe a total of 4 days. My daughter worked on that show so that’s how I know.  And did you catch the show “Kid Nation” that was on for one summer? They claimed the kids were on their own, no adults!  Ok then, who was shooting the film? No medical staff present in case of illness or injury?  No psychologist available in case a kid has a meltdown? I think there were plenty of adults there, just not in the camera’s eye.

It seems like the majority of shows are “reality” now. They are cheaper to produce and people are watching. I don’t know about you, but I watch TV to escape reality, not watch more of it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The XX versus XY Chromosome!

I am not a scientific genius by any means, but life experience has taught me a few things you can’t learn in a classroom. In a biology we learn how men and women are physiologically different, in psychology we learn how their minds work differently, and in sociology we learn how each sex is treated differently according to cultural norms. In the classroom of life I have come to my own theory to explain the differences between the sexes. A woman has two XX chromosomes, and a man has an XY…all of the important things that a man lacks is on the missing piece of his Y chromosome. The little piece that makes an “X” and X and a “Y” a Y!

Here are some of the things that is on that little missing piece of chromosome that women have and men lack:

1. If you tell a woman to do something, she completes all the steps of the job without having to be instructed…a man must be told each step. Example, tell a man to wash the dishes and he washes the dishes, and not very well I might add. Tell a woman to wash the dishes, she washes them, dries them and puts them away and then wipes down the stove, counter and table.

2. A man’s idea of a romantic date is to sit in the living room in his underwear watching a game while a woman brings him food and a beer. A woman’s idea of a romantic date is to get dressed up, go to a nice restaurant and let the waiter bring them both dinner and a bottle of wine.

3. A man answers the question “How was your day?” with a grunt. A woman answers the question by telling you all about her day and then asks the man about his.

4. A man catches a cold and acts like it’s the plague and he is on death’s door. A woman gets the flu and is still cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, doing laundry, driving kids to school and games etc etc etc.

5. All men are color blind. They can’t match a shirt, tie and pair of pants to save their lives. It’s not till they get married that their clothes all go together and they stop wearing brown shoes with black pants! Why? Because the wife dresses him!

6. If you wonder why a man is never able to stop and ask for directions if he is lost, you now know to blame missing leg of the “Y” chromosome. Women never have that problem. The GPS was invented because of men, not women.

7. Give a woman the remote control and she finds a program she likes and watches it. Give a man the remote and it will not stay on any one channel more than a minute or two. He keeps searching and searching and never finds what he is looking for. Maybe it’s a power trip? A very short attention span?   I could go on and on.

Next time you see a man doing something a woman would never do, you ask “why?”  I ask, “Y” not?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Mother's Sacrifice...

A Mother’s Sacrifice…

I never understood why my mother would blow up at us every now and then because she was feeling unappreciated and taken for granted. I felt like I was doing everything a kid should be doing. I excelled at school, did my household jobs, no cursing, no drugs, no lying, no staying out breaking curfews…I thought I was the model daughter.

Now, being a mother myself, I can see where those feelings were coming from. It wasn’t about what I was doing, it was about what I wasn’t doing. I wasn’t acknowledging all the sacrifices she was making, and had been making every day since the day I was born. My brother and I were her whole life. She nursed us through countless illnesses, sometimes staying up through the night with us, comforting us, bringing us medicine, fixing our blankets whatever it took to make us well. She cooked our favorite dishes and loved to watch us eat and enjoy them. We were far from rich, but every Christmas she made sure we got everything that was on our list and more. She took us shopping for winter coats, Easter outfits, new school clothes, but I never remember her buying herself a new coat, outfit, or even slippers. She wore the same clothes for years. Her slippers had holes in them, but when I told her to get new ones, she always answered, “these are broken in and comfortable.” She made sure we both went to college and always stressed how important education was, even though she was only allowed to go to school until 9th grade. She did all the laundry, we always had clean clothes and she ironed everything too. She did all the shopping, cooking and baking. If we had a problem, she had the solution. She was funny, she was loving, she was protective and she was or felt unappreciated.

Mothers are supposed to raise their children and care for them the best way they know how. My Mom did that. All she ever wanted was the best for us and maybe, every now and then, a small acknowledgment of the sacrifices she was making in order for us to have everything she never did.

I wish I had realized that. I miss you Mom.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Plastic Surgery...

I don’t think there is a person who hasn’t seen the before and after pictures of bad plastic surgery. And I’m not talking about people who have a mental condition called body dysmorphic disorder, I’m talking about people who are so vain they want to look good and stay young forever. It ain’t happening. No amount of botox, silicone, or surgery is going to stop the aging process. What’s worse is that this is becoming so common and so popular, young girls are also trying to “fix” any little thing they perceive to be a defect too.

I’m not even going to discuss Michael Jackson, he had many issues and should rest in peace. I’ll just stick to the few actresses that had some “work” done and should be the “poster children” for anti-plastic surgery. I was very disappointed with Meg Ryan. She has always been so naturally pretty, adorable and cute…then she had plastic surgery! To me she ended up looking like Sally Struthers. Who in their right mind goes into surgery looking like Meg Ryan and comes out looking like Sally Struthers???  Next, I was shocked to see recent pictures of Olivia Newton John. I always thought she was so naturally beautiful and now she has that “frozen” alien like look. I don’t get it. There are so many stories, all with the same unhappy ending. Has any one seen Joan Rivers? Even she jokes about how many surgeries she has had. One day she was on TV when my husband came into the room. He took one look and said, “I can’t stand to look at her,” and walked out!  Ironically, all these enhancements that are supposed to make one look better, are  winding upmaking people look worse and totally unnatural.

It actually reminds me of a “Twilight Zone” episode where everyone on Earth was require to get the same face, a perfect and beautiful face. That’s what so many people are trying to achieve and they are failing miserably.

It strikes me in a sad way that people don’t see that there is beauty even in wrinkles and in the process of aging naturally and gracefully over time. The lines that life’s experiences, both good and bad, have place on our faces and make us who we are. Should we erase all that makes us unique and look like everyone else for the sake of vanity?

Two wonderful actresses come to mind, that I feel great admiration and respect for and who, as far as I can see, have not resorted to plastic surgery, but rather are letting life paint on the canvas of their beautiful faces: Meryl Streep and Sally Fields. I look at them and still recognize them as the beautiful women they were 20, 30, 40 years ago. I wish more people would take notice and realize they do not need to change their looks or try to stay young. Everyone knows how old they are and that they have had work done, so they aren’t fooling anyone.

Aging is a natural process and natural is what is beautiful. Let’s get back to that!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Faux Diets!

"Faux diets" (trans. false diets) are not the latest fad in dieting. You know the fad diets: The No Carb Diet, The Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet. They all require a blog of their own, I’m not that interested in them. I want to talk about what I call the “faux diet.” That is the one when people say they are on a diet, but they are not even close to being on one. They are just deluding themselves and think they are fooling everyone else too.

Here are few examples of what I am talking about. The guy who orders three Big Macs, two supersized fries, one supersized onion rings, an apple pie AND an extra large “diet” coke! A 12 ounce regular coke has 9 teaspoons of sugar, or a total of 135 calories. Cut out those 135 calories with a diet coke and you’re good to go!

My aunt was always on a “faux diet.” That’s why she always puts “Sweet N’ Low” in her coffee before cutting herself a second slice of cheese cake. She always has plenty of diet soda on hand too, for after the five course meal she ingested. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget to mention she is never without skim or 1% milk.
People seem willing to trade in those dreaded 15 calories per teaspoon of sugar in drinks for an all-you-can-eat buffet attitude. It’s the same thing we all see at the end of every year, during the holidays. “Eat, drink and be merry” for in January we will diet, join gyms, start yoga, take aerobics classes AND cut out sugar in our soda and coffee! No one sticks to a real diet. The only thing they seem to stick to is eliminating sugar from their beverage of choice.

I’ll bet I could have a best seller if I wrote a diet book just for these people. It’s a large group. I’ll call it the “Lo-Cal Drinks, Shrink!” diet. It’s a catchy title and the diet itself is already a big hit!

Time for my morning coffee. Now where the hell did I put the Equal!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trick OR Treat?

Halloween is around the corner! When the girls were little we went “Trick or Treating,” after school, at the local stores in our neighborhood. I always felt it was safer than going door to door and the candy wouldn‘t be tampered with. After we got home with bags of candy, the girls would keep their costumes on and give out candy to the kids who weren’t afraid of being poisoned. Every year we have been on the “Treat” side of the holiday, and candy is not cheap! I think I finally found a way to avoid that expense. This year I am going to be on the “Trick” side of Halloween; it's cheaper and more fun.

When the doorbell rings this year I am going to answer it. I’ll be wearing a lab coat and holding a pair of pliers in my hand. I’ll have my big computer chair and a small table with dental instruments on it. I bought some of those teeth cleaning implements at the dollar store; they look just like the ones my dentist uses. I’ll be sure to pour a little ketchup on the table for effect. Then, I’ll answer the door with a big, toothless smile and say to each little imp, “Oh, wonderful, you are right on time for your dental appointment, come right in, have a seat and OPEN WIDE!”

Just think of all the money I will save on candy this year? Just imagine all the laughs I will have…that will be my Treat!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Off Days!

I’m not feeling myself at all today.  I'm having an "off" day. I had a misunderstanding with a friend and I have other issues on my mind. Not feeling funny or sarcastic or in the mood to complain, just feeling anxious. I know it will all pass eventually, but I didn’t want to skip a day on the blog.

So I’m helping my daughter with her presentation on the testing of testosterone in urine. She is doing a Power Point presentation tomorrow for her toxicology lab and has to practice. I didn’t think it would be so interesting, but it is once you understand all the science behind it. It involves testing for steroid use in sports. Apparently, drug companies have created a synthetic testosterone close enough to the real thing, making it very hard to detect the difference. Laboratories have to devise new and improve techniques to measure the levels of different things in the urine order to test for steroid abuse.

I’m getting a second MRI on my spine Saturday. The first one six weeks ago showed that my chronic pain isn’t due to sciatica after all.  It’s probably nothing to worry about, but somehow I can’t help it. Some days I’m sure everything will be fine, other days…like today…not so sure. I have been told “it’s probably nothing” before and it ended up being something. This blog was supposed to be keeping my mind off that!

Everybody has their own problems. I guess it’s just easier to spill my guts here and not burden anyone else. I have three followers, but if I’m lucky they won’t show up today. If you do, I’m sorry, I am taking a day off from laughing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time Warner Cable TV!

Time Warner is my cable company. They aren’t cheap. They charge us for everything. We have four boxes, one for each bedroom and the living room, we have four remotes, and we subscribe to their TV guide. No premium channels, just your basic package. We get all that for $120 or so a month. I think it’s too much money because I watch reruns of the “Golden Girls,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “King of Queens,” and the “Andy Griffith Show,” all of which I can buy on DVD and watch over and over again without ever paying another dime. However, my girls find cable absolutely essential for their lifestyle, so I guess we are keeping it.

But that’s not going to stop me from complaining! For one thing, a couple of years ago we bought a 40 inch HD television so the girls would be able to enjoy it while my husband and I went away for a long weekend. Well 4 days before our trip, the cable goes out. I call Time Warner and they make us try different things to “reboot” the box, nothing works. So the technician tells my daughter they will send someone in a week to fix it. I heard her say okay, and I said, “NO! That’s unacceptable! Give me the phone.” The tech told me that was the earliest appointment. I told him to get me a supervisor. The supervisor said she wanted to try one more thing before scheduling a repair. I gave her back to my daughter and lo and behold the cable was working in less than 5 minutes. So much for incompetent technicians!

Now we get calls all the time offering us a special deal. If we use Time Warner for Cable, Internet and Phone they will only charge us $99 for a year. No mention of what happens after the year, but I’m sure we all know it will shoot up. Here’s my problem. The other day my cable went out. I tried calling Time Warner and got a busy signal. In fact, every time there is a problem and I call I get a busy signal. Why the hell would I switch my phone and internet over when I can never speak to someone when there is a problem? And, instead of having one service out, I risk having all 3 out. I’d be triple “played!” So, thanks but no thanks, I will not be giving you any more business, Time Warner. If anything, I have been looking into other options for my cable service. I am spending way too much money to watch old reruns and I hate to tell you what my girls are watching. That may be the subject of another blog!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Commercials for Prescription Drugs!

Yes, we have all seen commercials advertising prescription drugs. They encourage you to ask your doctor about them. When I am watching one I can't help but wonder what makes me qualified to suggest to my doctor what medication is best for me? What makes anyone qualified to second guess a doctor's opinion based on a 30 second commercial and their less than vast knowledge of pharmaceuticals? I have a couple of other issues with these commercials too.

For one thing, the side effects caused by most of these drugs are far worse than the condition they are supposed to be treating. I even would go so far as to say the pharmaceutical companies are inventing new diseases/conditions for us in order to sell their amazing drugs. For example, in my 56 years on this planet I have never heard someone say, "I have dry eyes." Yet, suddenly there is a new dry eye condition and a miracle cure called "Restasis," which is going to add moisture to your eyes. Maybe renting a tear jerker movie and a good cry would do the same thing? However, if you decide on Restasis, it may have a few minor side effects. The side effects they admit to on their website are: "Eye burning, redness, tearing, discharge, pain, itching, stinging, or visual blurring may occur." As if that is not bad enough, they conveniently leave out the following: "Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); changes in vision; continued or worsening itching, burning, stinging, or irritation; continuing blurred vision; discharge from eyes; excessive tear production; eye pain, redness, or swelling." Ok I'm convinced, sign me up for some of that! Not!

How about Lipitor for high cholesterol? Oh, it will lower your cholesterol alright, but at what risk? Well its side effects include: bone, joint, or tendon pain; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; flu-like symptoms; joint pain; muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness; painful or frequent urination; pale stools; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; severe stomach pain; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; yellowing of the eyes or skin. Sounds good to me! So what if it can cause liver damage? At least my body will have normal levels of cholesterol when I die! And they make sure to tell you all the benefits of the drug at a nice, slow, friendly pace. However, when they get to the end, which is signaled by the words "MAY CAUSE," it's followed by a dozen or more side effects you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, at a rate of 500 words per minute!

I don't know about you, but those commercials really build up my confidence in drug manufacturers and their products. I mean who wouldn't want to trade in their heartburn for some chest pains, seizures, ringing in the ears, severe headaches etc? It makes perfect sense to me! On my next appointment, I'll ask my doctor @@ (eye roll!).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Special Dates like, 10/10/10

Every time an unusual date rolls around, people start to talk about its meaning.  All over the internet people are talking about today's date, speculating about its significance, wondering of it's a good or bad omen to be celebrating a birthday or anniversary today. I heard on the news this morning that lots of people are getting married today for luck, especially at 10 am and 10 pm!  Some are even looking at it mathematically or scientifically...anything to start an uproar.  Which reminds me of another special date: Y2K! 
Remember all the buzz about that date, 1/1/00.  You would have thought the world was coming to an end!
"At the stroke of midnight, January 1, 2000, elevators may stop, heat may vanish, credit cards and ATMs may cease to function, airplanes and trains my come to a halt, telephones and televisions may not utter a sound..."(for more Y2K warnings from Leonard Nimoy's video go to: and finally the biggest threat of all, our computers would crash!  But, nothing happened.  I, for one, was scared to death to turn on my computer, which was only 2 years old and cost a fortune back then.  But, low and behold, it went on normally and I conducted my business as usual.  Yet, here we are, ten years later, and what have we learned?  Nothing. 
At least today's date, 10/10/10, is viewed in mostly a positive way.  No gloom and doom predicted, only good things.  But considering how far we have evolved and for all the advances we have made scientifically, you have to wonder how we can still be so superstitious about dates?
I guess it doesn't happen often enough to complain about.  But, there are still 11-11-11 and 12-12-12 to look forward to.  And don't look now, but I have already read predictions that 12-12-12 is going to be the if you've been putting off taking a trip or buying something really extravagant, you had better do it while you still can.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Car Insurance Enigma!

Our car insurance premium came today...
You've heard the expression, "what goes up must come down?"  I've heard plenty of people complain that their car insurance has gone up, but I've never heard anyone say their car insurance went down.  Neither does mine! 
It costs a fortune to insure three cars in New York City with liability, theft and collision.  Everyone knows that the theft and collision part of the bill is very expensive.  Now what I want to know is this: If the value of your car goes down every year in the blue book AND if insurance companies will only pay blue book value, why is it that insurance premiums don't go down every year?  Afterall, if you get into an accident, God Forbid, or your car is stolen, they do not pay you what you paid for your car.  They pay whatever it is worth at that point in time.  We have purchased cars over the years and added them to our insurance.  Every year I check my premium to see if it goes down along with the value of my car...nope, if anything it went up!  I asked my husband why?  It doesn't make sense.  Why am I still paying the same premium on a 5 year old car that I paid when it was brand new, yet if something happened to it today I would get a lot less.
Is this one of the mysteries of life?  It hurts my head when I think about it too much.  Time for a tylenol!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Christmas Gift Ideas!

It's that time again!  Time to ask the girls to start making up their Christmas Lists.  The hardest part of shopping is figuring out what they want or like.  So a few years ago I started asking for lists.  It was so much easier when they were little to go to Toys R Us and fill up the cart with all the toys they saw advertised on Saturday morning cartoons.  Now, it's like pulling teeth to get a list from them.  Up until last year, even with their lists, I was able to surprise them with a really nice present they didn't expect.  But, I'm afraid those days are gone.  The well of ideas has run dry.  Sigh. 

So what do I get two girls, 21 and 24, who have everything AND if they are missing something, they have the money to get it?  Even if I ask them right now what do you want, they answer "I don't know."  Not very helpful at all. 

So this year, since our phone plan is up, I have decided on Smart Phones for the girls, whatever they are!  My older daughter says the words "smart phone" at least once a day.  That must mean something.  So far I have gathered that with these phones you can access the internet and email and also use it as a GPS.  These phones are probably too smart for my husband and I to own.  We just want phones that ring when a call comes in or goes to voice mail should we have them off.  Of course, if they ever invent a phone that is smart enough to do laundry or cook, then I'm sold! 

New Smart Phones for Christmas will not be a surprise though.  I willI to go to AT&T with them, one day soon, so they can decide which phone is the smartest!  I don't want to surprise them Christmas morning with "dumb" phones, and ruin the holiday.  Meanwhile, my husband and I will settle for the best "Flintstone" model they have available this year. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Dinner Conundrum!

Every day at 5:30 pm or so my nice little family of four looks forward to sitting down at the dinner table and sharing a home cooked meal.  I would enjoy it too, except for the fact that I'm the one who has to think up what to make, go out and get the ingredients, clean, wash, and prepare it, and finally cook and serve it. 

Now I wouldn't mind most of that if I could come up with something the four of us would like to eat.  My younger daughter is very picky and although she has gotten better over the years there are still many things she will not eat. Amongst the dreaded things on her list are fruits, vegetables, and fish.  That leaves me with meat and potatoes.  A few years ago she put her foot down to "hot dogs" so no more franks in this house.  My older daughter will eat almost anything, but that doesn't mean she likes it.  Yesterday's meatloaf, for example, got a huge groan.  She isn't crazy about my tacos either or my chicken stuffed with mushroom stuffing.  My husband will eat everything except olives and pickles...I can work around that. 

So, when I ask everyone what would you like for dinner tonight, it irks me to hear a chorus of "I don't know's."  Afterall, I could easily make myself a hard boiled eat and call it a day, I don't need the stress of thinking up a dinner menu 365 days a year!  The past year has even made this chore more difficult because there are nights when one of them will be coming home late due to classes or overtime at work.  That means making something that will reheat easily and still taste good (or cook twice as in the case steaks and pork chops).  Right now I am trying to come up with something for tonight that can be warmed up later. 

Let's see my dinner conundrum: what is it that four people will eat, will keep two hours after dinner time for my younger daughter, doesn't require too much preparation, won't get too many groans, is light on vegetables, and we haven't had in a while?  I am hearing Jeopardy music in my head.  The pressure is killing me.  Finally an answer comes to me: Italian Wedding Soup!  No complaints with that and it fits all the criteria.  Luckily, it's not too hot out for soup...sometimes the weather also has to cooperate with the dinner menu or it's a no go. 

So, for tonight the problem is solved, but what about the next 85 days of 2010?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Election Calls!

I don't know about you, but I don't start thinking about Election Day until mid October.  Well, this year has been a little different thanks to Mr. "Unavailable" and Mrs. "Private Caller."  Politicians seems to think that voters appreciate getting phone calls at dinner time every day just to listen to them campaign.  My calls started coming around June!  Every day between 5 and 6 pm the phone rings and a recorded message comes on telling me everything I have seen and heard in their campaign commercials on television.  I guess those messages aren't enough to persuade me to vote.  I'd like to meet the genius who came up with the idea for these phone calls.  How does interupting a family's dinner time, every single day, endear you to voters?  None of my friends have posted on their facebook: "I am so glad I got a taped call last night from my mayor, my Governor, my senator asking me to vote for them or I would have forgotten!"  For me this constitutes harassment.  There is no way to turn off these unwanted calls like they have for telemarketers and the "no call list."  We are stuck having our privacy invaded, our intimate family times intruded on day after day, night after night.  Caller ID is useless.  They get around it by using "unavailable" or "private caller."  Some of my family members come through as "private callers" and sometimes calls I am really waiting for come through as "unavailable" and there is no way to screen and know who is who.  I just let the phone ring and the answering machine pick up, but even that is annoying.  There isn't even any place to complain about this issue.  If you happen to be one of those cockeyed-optimists that sees the glass as half full (which I am not), I supposed the silver lining here is that these calls are doing wonders for helping me stick to my diet!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fruits and Vegetables

first, continued from yesterday:

Called the doctor's office at 10:30 to speak to Yoni about this bill.  I was told Yoni won't be in until 11:30.  I am ready to start taking bets for A) will Yoni ever show up today  B) If she does show up, is she going to be able to help me?  I'll just wait till 11:30 and try again.  I called and got to speak to Yoni, who told me to call the anesthesiologists billing department and tell them they have to accept my insurance payment as payment in full.  I call and speak to the Account manager, Bill, and what do you know, he pulled up both our accounts and made the notation that we owe nothing.  Nice to know things go right once in a while (but let me knock on wood!).

Fruits and Vegetables...

Meanwhile on to other important matters...fruits and vegetables.  Usually, every summer, there is no shortage of delicious fruits and vegetables here in NYC and at very reasonable prices too.  This summer has been the absolute pits!  First of all, my favorite summer fruit is cherries.  I was able to get a couple of pounds of quality cherries ONE time this summer, around mid July.  All the other cherries I saw were overpriced and awful looking.  Strawberries and blueberries were pretty decent, but you have to inspect the boxes very closely.  Mixed in with the good ones are fuzzy, mold riddled berries.  The grapes were great for a short period of time, nice, big juicy and sweet.  Then they got smaller and more sour!  You never get what you pay for.  The peaches were the best fruit of the summer.  They were sweey and juicy, but as soon as summer ended so did their reign; they got drier and a stringy texture inside.  Green peppers ugh!  I can never seem to find decent green peppers any more.  I used to make stuffed peppers, but now all I can do is find the best of what is offered, throw out the bad parts and cut up what's left to make with onions for pizza toppings or with sausage.  There are many days I walk into the vegetable store, have a look around and walk out in disgust.  There are two stores near me, one is supposedly organic, but the quality is still the same.  Maybe next year I will have to drive out to the farmstands and buy fresh grown fruits and vegetables.  It's kind of far, but it may be well worth the trip!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays!

It's Monday and raining. No sign of the neighbors today.  A great day for sleeping in?  Ha!  The house next to them evidently has a water main problem and, bright and early this morning (before 8 am) workers were busy jackhammering the sidewalk and street.  I now have a wonderful, throbbing headache to start off my gray and dreary day!  But the headache doesn't end there...
Okay, now on to more important peeves.  This past July my husband and I both had colonoscopies done by a participating provider of our Medical Plan.  We pay $20 each for a copay and we thought we were done.  Wrong!  The doctor, in his infinite wisdom, decided to use nonparticipating anesthesiologists.  We get two bills from their office for $462, one for each of us.  These types of bills always arrive on a Friday afternoon so that I have to be steamed all weekend before I can call about it Monday morning.  If I have to pay these bills the doctor is at least going to get an earful first.  So, at 9 am, I make the first call and I am told to call back at 10:30 am to speak to Yoni.  Well, I called promptly at 10:30 am to resolve this issue and guess what?  Yoni isn't in today, she called in sick.  I am told to call back tomorrow.  Gee what a surprise! 
By the way, the digging goes on across the street all day, 8 hours so far...time for tylenol!
To be continued.......

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Supermarket Issues!

Every Sunday morning my husband and I head to our supermarket (Stop & Shop), while most people are sleeping, around 7:30 to 8 am.  We've been doing that since we got married 27 years ago.  We are early risers and my strategy to to make this process as painless as possible.   So I try to shop while I have his help and there are less shoppers in the store.  I never fail to come home with bags of groceries and a long list of complaints!

This week's complaints are as follows:

SALE ITEMS MISSING!  Why is it when they put something on sale, they can't also put it on the shelf?  I can understand it if they had Jumbo Shrimp on sale, at $1.99 lb., that they could run out of them before I get there.  But seriously, give me a break, Orbit Gum?  Was there a rush on that since Friday?  I had no idea it was such a popular item.  Oh and they had shell steaks on sale for $6.99 lb., but where were they?  I asked the manager of the meat department and he said they would be out in ten minutes.  So I finished my shopping and went steaks yet...5 more minutes he tells me.  Ok so I meander around and finally 10 minutes later he hands me three packages of steaks.  I consider myself lucky!

BLOCKED AISLES!  I have written to corporate headquarters many times about this issue.  I have to admit, every time I write they make sure the store manager calls me to apologize and promises to take care of it.  Well guess what?  Several of the already too narrow aisles had boxes piled in them today.  I presume they are going to stock the shelves with them at some point, but no one was around tending to that while I was there.  It's a regular obstacle course, and that's if you can even get through.  One day I will have to take pictures to post.

INCONSIDERATE CUSTOMERS!  Either that or they have no common sense or have to be blind.  How can you park your cart on one side of a narrow aisle while you are shopping for items on the other side of the aisle AND block the whole aisle with your FAT A$$ and cart while you shop?  They act like they are so engrossed with all the different kinds of Rice a Roni that they are oblivious to your standing a foot away!  How can anyone pretend not to notice someone is trying to get through with their cart, and is at an impass?  Yes, I could say excuse me, but I don't want to scare off my husband if my words don't stop there!  My tone would be sarcastic and, I can't say it won't end up in an argument, so I bite my tongue and wait.  However, I have absolutely no control over my facial expressions.  I guess they get the message one way or another.

I'm sure next week's shopping experience will be just as delightful!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Noisy Neighbors!

This is the first day in a long while where I can actually open the windows and let in some fresh air.  No heat, no humidity, no rain, just a beautiful day.  But can I really open my windows?  Sure, I can open them if I want to be driven crazy by my noisy neighbors across the street!

Don't get me wrong, I live in New York City, so I am used to noise.  I can even tune it out.  Sirens, car alarms, sanition trucks, motor cycles reving their engines as they pass by, you name we have it.  But, we also have inconsiderate, ill-mannered, thoughtless, noisy neighbors.  Neighbors who literally live on the sidewalk.  They take their chairs out first thing in the morning, before 8 am, and don't pack it in until 9 or 10 pm on a good day.  All day long they are shouting at each other or into their cell phones, yelling at their kids to come back, or fighting with their "significant others." 

They have birthday parties and barbeques right there in front of their door.  On those days, larger crowds congregate and spend the entire day eating and drinking to their hearts content...and yes it's an all day thing from 9am to 11 pm.

For entertainment they get in their cars and turn up the volume on their stereos.  But these are not ordinary car stereo systems!  These have been amplified with speakers as big as the back seat of your car so that when they turn them on my windows actually vibrate!  And what are my windows vibrating to?  Not to Carrie Underwood, noooooooooooo!  It's rap music and reggae at a volume that is testing the limits of the sound barrier.  They don't care what time it is, day or night; or what other people might be doing, like trying to get some sleep, read, watch tv; they just blast their music whenever they please.  Yes, we can and have called the police.  They eventually show up and tell them to lower it, but as soon as they leave the volume is cranked up again. 

I don't want to have to wait for freezing temperatures to open my windows and let in fresh air and, I shouldn't have to!

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Street Signs!

I hear that over 250,000 perfectly good NYC Street Signs are going to be replaced at a cost or 27.6 million dollars!  Each sign will cost $110 to replace and this is to comply with Federal Highway Administration guidelines.  Why?  What's the problem with our signs?  Well the names of the streets are written in all caps.  The new signs will just have the first letter capitalized and the rest of the name in lower case.  The entire replacement project should be completed by 2018 and has already begun in the Bronx.  They claim this change will make our roads safer because lower case letters will make the signs easier to read. 

Let's see:    WALL ST  vs   Wall St    which do you think is easier to read?

This is NOT the only city where this is supposed to be taking place!  I don't know how the Federal Government can justify spending this kind of money to change perfectly good street signs.  Guess what?  I am writing an email to them and we will see if I get an answer!  Here is what I found on their website:

"To report fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement at the U.S. Department of Transportation:, OIG 1-800-424-9071, or"

Is that IRONIC or what?  Well, I am going to report it as all of the above.  As a concerned citizen I would like to get an answer because it clearly seems like fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement of our tax dollars.

Thanks for listening.