Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Annoying People...

It grates on my nerves when people are carrying on long conversations on their cell phones on the street, in stores and even at the movies. They don’t care if it disturbs everyone around them, and on top of that, they talk in a nice loud voice because of all the surrounding noise.

I love it when someone parks their full shopping cart at the checkout and continues shopping, while I am behind the cart holding two items. If you aren’t ready to checkout then keep you damn cart off the line!

Drivers who don’t signal before changing lanes, assuming that everyone else on the road is a mind reader.

Drivers who are too busy to notice when the light turns green so that by they time they move you are stuck at another red light.

Women who wear too much perfume and it lingers in the air 30 minutes after they have left.

People who take up two parking spaces on the street and in parking lots.

Motorcyclists who get on the road together and then weave in an out of traffic while reving their engines.

The old ladies who have to pay for everything with change and stand at the checkout digging and counting pennies for 15 minutes.

People who don’t control their children in stores and allow them to run around and touch everything.

People who drive by with blasting music all hours of the day and night!

Well, I could probably think of dozens more, but for now this will have to do. Just thinking about them all is enough to get me irritated. Ugh!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Who Likes To Clean?

Ok, ok don’t everyone call out at once!

I was having a nice conversation with my daughter yesterday and, for the umpteenth time, I asked her, “Why don’t you help me clean the house?” Her response, “I don’t like to clean. Things have to be moved around. It’s only going to get dirty again.” To which I say, “Welcome to my life!” I told her if it makes her happy at 99.5% of women do not like to clean. Of course I may have exaggerated a bit as I thought more about it this morning. The actual figure maybe closer to 98% who hate to clean.

I had to consider that there is a certain percentage of the population that has OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and they like to clean, or if they don’t like it they feel compelled to do it. I never feel compelled to clean. Then you have your germophones, your Howard Hughes, Michael Jackson, Howie Mandel and the character played by Jerry Seinfeld. They go through great lengths to have everything clean AND disinfected with bleach. I never feel the need to do that. These people are permanently dedicated to cleaning.

Then we have to consider the new bride. She has her new home, new furniture, appliances, new towels etc. She has everything set just the way she likes it and God forbid her husband should move something or use the towels that were out for “show.” The new bride will clean because there is basically not much to clean at first. And she wants to keep her home exactly the way it was on day one. This phenomena might last three weeks. Soon she will discover that laundry, food shopping, and cooking take precedence over dust and after working a 40 hour week, she is not about to spend all spare her time cleaning. These women are just temporarily insane and readjust their priorities very fast.

Next are first time moms. Yes, pregnant women, especially those having their first baby, get the nesting instinct. The last few months of their pregnancy they want to get the whole house clean and in order for the new baby. All the baby things are bought and set up in the nursery just awaiting the arrival of their little son or daughter. It’s a good thing they did all that cleaning too, because they aren’t going to have another chance to do much of anything for the next couple of years. Sleep deprived, under nourished women who focus on all their baby’s needs, so not have time or energy to clean. The house goes to pot while the baby thrives. So these women stop cleaning out of necessity or survival.

Women with maids love to clean too. Their contribution is barking orders at the servants, who graciously do all the work. Therefore, I advise my daughter to find a way of becoming financially successful enough to afford one of these people to come clean her house. But, I can’t afford a maid and still could use some help.

I’m sure there are more people who love to clean, but I’m pretty sure they are in the minority. It’s just something that has to be done, over and over and over again, week in and week out at nauseum. That’s why a man works from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Credit Card Debt...

The Federal Government is not the only thing in this country drowning in debt. So many people living in this country are trying to keep their heads above water because of credit cards. The only difference is that the Federal Government has no one to answer to as they rack up debt. They continue their wasteful spending practices and then just tax us more and expect us to stretch a dollar further than it will go. It makes me sick to think that some families have to decide between paying the electric bill or putting food on the table, while the Federal Government sends its employees for training and then puts them up in hotel suites for two weeks, instead of a regular room!

Credit cards are responsible for many people’s debts and some bankruptcies. They encourage people to live beyond their means. I’ll buy what I want now and pay for it, over time, at very high interest rates. One extravagant purchase turns into two or three or more. It gets easier every time you use it. Then you pay the minimum amount, so you are paying for your item three and four times over. The system is making huge profits for the credit cards companies, who not only collect interest from consumers every month, but fees from the stores who accept them.

At one time, when I first got my cards, you needed a job with a decent salary before you would be approved for a credit card. Not so today. Today, they are offered to college students with no jobs at all. I know because I got one for each of my daughters when they entered college, to be used for emergency purposes. These cards were strictly their own and not attached to me in any way whatsoever. Even without jobs they started with $500 to $700 in credit. Of course we paid the cards off every month for them, but the purchases were for books, school supplies and things that they got permission from us first, before charging. We wanted them to start establishing their own credit while still in college, as well as have the peace of mind of knowing they had “money” if they needed it.

Many parents and college students are not so responsible. Parents do not monitor their children’s credit cards and many students apply for several cards. Since they do not need a parent’s approval, they can accumulate a lot of debt in a short amount of time at high interest rates. Many students use the cards for frivolous items or pizza parties. The credit card companies are counting on that. They get to these kids early and then they own them for life.

When I was growing up, my parents did not believe in debt. If you wanted something and didn’t have the money, you waited till you did and paid cash. They never had a loan of any kind. So, when I got my first credit card, I made sure I paid it off in full every month and never paid a dime in interest. Even when I had several cards, because some stores only accepted their own, I always paid the balance off every month. I didn’t make it a habit of using them all the time and, as is our practice today, we use them for the convenience of not having to carry around a lot of cash. My children were raised the way I was raised. They do not like debt. Now that my older daughter is working, she considers her purchases carefully. Before she uses her credit card, she makes sure she has the money to pay for the bill when it comes. She has learned the value of saving money and staying debt free.

Of course many parents today are not able to teach their children these values because they themselves are up to their eyeballs in debt. But, there are ways to get out of debt and stay out of it. It would be a good lesson for children to learn about how easy it is to get into debt and how difficult it is to become debt free. They should also be aware that their credit rating is going to determine their ability to get loans for cars, mortgages and eventually loans for their own children’s education.

Maybe if the Federal Government set a good example, the value of being debt free would trickle down to it’s citizens? Maybe if parents would teach their children a few simple lessons about money early in life, they would grow up to be debt free?

So many people have grown up with debt and lived in debt, they actually don’t know what it means not to owe anything to anyone.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Learn English!

This is still the United States of America the last time I checked, yet I feel like I have moved to a Spanish speaking country. Everywhere I go people are speaking Spanish: in the stores, at the doctors, at Motor Vehicles, restaurants…you name it. If I call customer service or a utility company a Spanish recording comes on saying “marque numero uno por espanol.” Shouldn’t “numero uno” be English? Our signs are in Spanish. The instructions that come with your appliances and gadgets are Spanish. Pretty soon they will be requiring all children in schools to study Spanish along with English. I would like to see the emphasis put back on English!

When my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles came to America, they had to learn English. No allowances were made for them. My father, who could barely read in his native Italian, had to learn enough English to pass the written test to get a permit before he could get a driver’s license. There were no tests in Italian that he could take. All the immigrant children in my neighborhood had to go to school with the rest of us, sit in the same classes, and learn all the subjects in English. And immersion really worked back then. They all seemed to be fluent in English within a year or so. I witnessed it myself. Even children in my daughter’s kindergarten class, who didn’t speak a word of English, were fluent by the end of the year. Now we have ESL classes and the kids are taking forever to learn English. Why? Because these classes allow them to keep using their native language and there is no real need to acquire the new language. If they are taught in their native language and they speak it at home too, where is the incentive to learn English?

I really think we should go back to the way we used to do it. Place all the children in English speaking classrooms where they can hear the language spoken and are totally immersed in it. That’s really the best and fastest way for them to start speaking, reading and writing it. And, instead of ESL classes, supplement their curriculum with English tutoring, to facilitate their learning of the language. I really believe that ESL is holding them back and doing them a disservice. The whole program should be reevaluated. It’s not difficult for young children to acquire a new language if they are immersed in it all day. Why not let nature take it’s course? It’s a much more efficient and less expensive process and it has proven to be successful. Student’s will be in a much better position to enter college and do well if they demonstrate proficiency in English. That’s not going to happen if the ESL system makes it easier for them to retain their native languages.

It’ just my opinion, but as they say, “When in Rome…”

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday...

I just got saw a stack of sales papers for today's sales. I heard some stores are opening at 3 am, 4 am, 5 am, and 6 am. Some sales are only lasting the early morning hours. Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t get it. Why do these stores have to open so early the day after Thanksgiving? I just spent two days cooking and a few days before that cleaning and shopping. The last thing I wanted to do last night was set my alarm for 2 am so I can be at the store at 3 or 4 am to shop. I was tired and I took a sleeping pill to make sure I slept through the night and the sales. Even if I was crazy enough to attempt to shop today, I still haven’t had the time or energy to look through the fliers to even see what “bargains” are out there.

Normally, stores here open at 10 am. I can understand them opening earlier this time of year, like 8 or 9 am. That would be reasonable. This middle of the night shopping is crazy. Besides, there will be plenty of sales before Christmas, there always are. All this hype about Black Friday and “door buster sales” just get everyone in a frenzy to make us think they are practically giving things away. They aren’t doing anyone any favors.

A couple of years ago I talked my family into going to the mall on Black Friday, and we got there around 9 am. I figured all the crazy shoppers would be gone by then from exhaustion and we could get a couple of gifts I had on my list. Well, it was a complete mad house. People everywhere. We fought our way through the crowds to get to the men’s department of JCPenney because we needed to get a couple of things for my brother. Once we got to the men’s department, it looked like a tornado had hit it. The merchandise was in total disarray. We tried to look through certain items, but it was futile. We even split up and tried the divide and conquer approach, only to meet up empty handed. All the nicer looking items were sold out, and the only sizes left were extra large. After about 30 minutes, maybe less, we all met up looking like deer caught in the headlights. There was no way we could find anything. So we left empty handed, as fast as we could navigate through the sea of people, vowing never to shop on Black Friday again!

Today, after I have a nice breakfast and shower, I will visit my favorite stores at my convenience and shop for special deals. No, I’m not going out to battle. I’m staying at home and checking out what deals these stores have online. I’ll browse without having to wake up early, without getting pushed and shoved, without waiting in long lines. If I find something it’ll be great, if not, I’ll go out on another day when there are other sales and less people. it’s just not worth it to me to maybe save a few dollars only to lose my mind.

If you are heading out for sales today, I really wish you the best of luck…you’ll need it!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Drunk Drivers…

I love the holiday season and everything that goes with it. I enjoy the shopping, the baking, buying gifts (when certain some ones give me their list), eating great meals, the decorations, the lights and yes even a glass or two of wine. But one of the things I dread is hearing about drunk drivers and their accidents.
By now surely everyone knows that mixing alcohol and driving can be a disaster. In a split second the lives of many people can profoundly change forever. The fact that it is avoidable, just makes these accidents all the more tragic.

Of course, after you have had a few drinks, your judgment is impaired to the point that you always feel ok enough to drive. Many of us have done the same thing when we were younger and were just lucky enough to be spared a lifetime of guilt for killing someone while under the influence. So, the best idea in my opinion, is if you know you are going to be drinking, be prepared to sleep over at your guest’s house, or to call a cab or have a designated driver take you home.

I gave that same advice/sermon to my older daughter. I insisted that if there was any drinking at all, she should not get behind the wheel of a car. And, if she was with anyone who was drinking, she should not get into their car. If you thought I was going to get away with laying down the law just like that, you’d be wrong. Young people today can try to talk their way out of anything. I also got a lecture in return about how an ounce of alcohol works it way through the body and virtually disappears in a couple of hours. So, if your last drink was two hours before you drive, you should be fine. I wasn’t buying that scientific propaganda. I, using my God given common sense, wondered aloud that how can that possibly be true for everyone. Would that rule apply equally to someone who weighs 110 pounds and someone who weighs 210 pounds? Or to someone who ate a big dinner versus someone who had little to eat? There are variables. Bottom line, no drinking and driving period.

My reasoning has gotten a lot sharper since I became a parent. I also explained that, even if a person has one drink and is perfectly fine to drive, if they get in a accident that isn’t their fault, it may well become their fault if it was determined that they were drinking. I reminded my angel that she is under my insurance and that I would be sued if there was an accident and my insurance would go up and it would be my financial future on the line. So I made my point, and being the smart, intelligent chip off the old block that she is, she got it. But, how many young people today don’t get it?

It sickens me every time I hear about a car, with six teenagers in it, plowing into a tree and there being no survivors. I can only imagine the anguish of the six sets of families, the devastating loss, the hopes and dreams they had for those children stolen by one poor moment of judgment. It’s bad enough when accidents happen that may be unavoidable, but driving drunk is avoidable.

At this time of year many college students are home for the holidays and they want to party with their friends, which is only natural. When my daughter has friends over, and there is going to be alcohol involved, I told her anyone who drinks has to sleepover. If anyone wants to go home, they cannot drink, period. I will not live the rest of my life feeling responsible for a tragic accident and I knew my daughter would feel the same way. I wish all parents would talk to their kids before they reach drinking age and get through to them. Maybe some of these tragedies could be avoided.

This year I pray there are no deaths due to drunk driving. Let’s put the “happy” back in Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Proposed Mosque on Ground Zero!

If you are for the mosque being built then maybe you should skip today’s blog.

I am totally against the mosque being built on or near Ground Zero. I think the voices of the victims’ families and residents of our city should be heard. Not to mention the many US citizens across the country who also believe it would not be appropriate to build a mosque in that location.

The developers have always insisted that the mosque is not at Ground Zero, it’s three blocks away. Well, the ashes of all the victims were scattered all across the area, well beyond three blocks. As far as I am concerned, that makes it all sacred ground. I am not opposed to building the mosque, I am opposed to building it in that location. People have proposed alternative locations, all of which have been refused. This is no way to build tolerance and acceptance, only anger and more intolerance.

People say we should not associate the terrorists with the “good, moderate” Muslims. But really, how do we know if terrorists will not infiltrate the group and set up operations in that building? They have done it before. They will do it again. The citizens of NYC lived in terror for a very long time after the World Trade Center was attacked on 911. Helicopters flew over my house every morning for months. There were searching for suspicious activity and were a constant reminder that we were not safe.

And no one seems to know where the funding for this project is coming from. It could be coming from terrorists groups, there is just no way of knowing. Even if it looks legitimate on paper, that means nothing. They can channel their money through legitimate channels and then use the building for their own purposes.
This isn’t about religious freedom. This is about respect of our citizens feelings and compassion for all the families who lost innocent loved ones on 911. This about compromising the safety of our city and its residents.

What brought all this back to mind was that yesterday I read in the news that the developers of the mosque want 5 million dollars from our Federal Government for their project. The reason they give is that they want to be part of the 911 development project to build up the area which contradicts their original argument that they are no where near Ground Zero! I am really too angry to say any more about this. Seriously.
Sorry to have to bring this up right before Thanksgiving. But when I saw this in the news yesterday I nearly had a stroke.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving?

Yes the holidays are great, I love them. I especially enjoyed them when we used to celebrate them at my in-laws or my parents house or another relative’s house. But when you are having the holiday at your own home, the work involved never ends. Lets just think about it. If you are invited out or go to a restaurant you can wake up that morning, take a leisurely shower, have a nice breakfast, get dressed, pick up a nice dessert and get in the car and go.

Now, if you have invited guests or even just your immediate family, you have a lot more to do. Days ahead of time you have to thoroughly clean your house, if only because once the holiday approaches you have too many other things to focus on. Seven to ten days before the holiday you have to plan your menu, gather your recipes, start shopping for food items and ingredients. Three days before you have to buy last minute, fresh food items such as fruits and vegetables. And, two days before the holiday you can start to cook a couple of things, like stuffing or pies, that can be reheated the day of the dinner because you don’t have two ovens and eight burners on your stove to make it all fresh. You should take advantage of every shortcut possible if you want to enjoy the day and not spend it all in the kitchen.

The day of the holiday, you have to get up extra early, depending on the size of the turkey, while everyone else is still snoring. You wash the turkey and stuff it and get it into the oven. That’s a lot harder than it sounds! You do some last minute straightening up. You can set the table and clean some vegetables you plan to cook later for maybe a green bean casserole. Peel Potatoes! If you think anyone is going to help you forget it, it’s their day off. Once you have the ball rolling, you can go take a shower and get done in time to make breakfast for everyone. Do the breakfast dishes and get back to your dinner items. It’s only 10:30 am and you are already exhausted. Don’t forget to chill the wine, you're going to need it later.

Now try to time it so that all the food gets to the table at the same time and still hot. Thank God the turkey has to sit out a while before it’s carved. Hurry up and rotate all the vegetable and potato dishes in and out of the oven while you try to make the gravy. Unfortunately, if your husband is carving challenged, you will also have to carve the turkey. Finally, it’s all out on the table and everyone is ready to dig in. I don’t know about you, but I am already full from the smell of it all. But, I will have a small plate, just so I can take a break before all the dirty dishes pile up in the sink and all the leftovers have to be wrapped. By the time I get done with all that, it’s time for coffee and dessert. Out come the pies, dishes, coffee cups…………..

You know what? I’m exhausted just writing about it. Where the hell did I put the phonebook? Maybe it’s not too late to make reservations at a restaurant? Next year will somebody PLEASE invite us over for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Facebook/Blog Police!

I seemed to not only have acquired followers to my blog and new friends to my Facebook, but I am also under surveillance of the Facebook/Blog police aka my daughters. They read my Facebook and Blog not for entertainment or information, but to critique, correct, and otherwise undermine my progress. I first thought a year of pet peeves would be a piece of cake for me because I spend a lot of time complaining and dissatisfied with things in the world and in general. However, it hasn’t been as easy as I thought. Just 56 days into the blog and I am struggling for something to write. It’s not that I’ve run out of complaints, I just can’t remember them all. Today, my “police” have provided me with some material.

They read my blogs daily. I think it’s to make sure I haven’t said something about them which they would object to…and by something, I mean anything.  If I do mention them, since they are a big part of my life, it becomes a topic of dinner conversation. Mostly, it’s to defend themselves and to diss my blog. To which I reply (like Joy Behar) “So what, who cares?” I tell the truth and I see it, it’s MY blog! The other day, for example, my older daughter had an issue with the fact that I expected my fluorescent light bulbs to last until I had grandchildren. “Do you really expect to have grandchildren in four years?!?,” she asks. Now, of course I did not mean it literally, I was using “hyperbole” to make my peeve more interesting. You would think an English major would have realized that?

My younger daughter is not help either. I wrote, what I thought, was a clever little piece on the lack of progress we have made in technological advancements to help housewives. I am a “real” housewife, not like the ones on the television shows. So I compared our lives to those of the Jetson’s cartoon and Jane in particular. I thought it was funny. My daughter tells me, “I see you are running out of material for your blog.” I ask why. “Because you are writing about the Jetsons, it’s ridiculous.”

So I tell both of them, “for your information, I have people who actually enjoy reading my blogs and they tell me so.” Their answer, “If they are your Facebook friends, they don’t count!” Seems like I can’t win.

You know, when they do something they enjoy, I support and encourage them in every way I can. But, when I do something I enjoy it’s ridiculous. The same thing happened when I was taking French courses at college for fun. I would mention tests and papers that were required, just to make conversation, and they would answer, “Well, you asked for it!” I wasn’t even complaining, in fact, I enjoyed the homework and the papers and looked forward to working on both after my housework was done.

But at least today, my “police” did help me. They gave me something to talk about. And tonight, this blog, may be the topic of our dinner conversation too!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Self Serve Checkouts

I noticed that many stores are installing these self serve checkouts now. The purpose is for us to checkout ourselves so they can pay less employees and make more profits. Machines replacing people. I have a problem with these machines for a few reasons, and I am not going to use them. Here’s why:

First of all, I like the cashiers I have met and chatted with over the years. They are wonderful people trying to eek out a meager living and support their families. They are nice, friendly and sometimes very helpful when they point out that the larger package of something you just bought is on sale for less than the smaller one in your cart. These are the faces that I associate with my shopping experience and I have my favorites too. Why would I use a machine that is going to eventually replace these wonderful people? I will not. Besides that, are the people who run these supermarket corporations so obsessed with profits that they don’t realize that these men and women are actually why some customers stay loyal to the store even when they are fed up with many of the store’s problems. They are responsible for humanizing the shopping experience.

Secondly, there always has to be a person to help you use the self serve checkout machines. I won’t use them even if there is an employee to help me. There are many glitches with these machines, they aren’t perfected, they make mistakes and waste our time. It is far more aggravating and time consuming to use these machines. Is that what the corporations are trying to achieve? I thought customer satisfaction was the number one goal, or is that just lip service?

Thirdly, it’s supposed to be faster and more efficient. Well it’s not. They don’t scan items properly and you almost always have to get help. They can be confusing to operate which takes more time and slows down the process.

Finally, if we are going to do all the work, shouldn’t we at least get a discount? I’d say 5 to 10% of our bill should be subtracted from our bill at the end for the extra burden placed on the consumer. Shopping is not something that most people look forward to as it is. Why make it worse? Even with a discount, I would not resort to using these machines. To me it’s not worth knowing that in the end it’s going to mean someone’s job and frankly I value my time and want the process to be faster and less complicated, not the other way around.

I think we should all refuse to use these self serve checkouts. I like having that personal, human touch to my shopping experience; the kind that starts with a friendly hello and ends with have a nice day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

All the Housewives Shows!

The “Housewives” reality shows are so popular that more and more of them keep sprouting up. All of a sudden, everyone is interested in housewives. We’ve been around since the Stone Age. Our husbands still grunt when we ask them how their day was. We cook, we clean, we take care of the kids and the house. So what is the big deal? Why are housewives suddenly the big “trend” in television entertainment?

Maybe if you watch one of the shows, you will discover why they are so popular. You can chose from several shows that focus on the housewives of various cities in the US. “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” “Housewives of DC,” “Housewives of Atlanta,” “Housewives of Beverly Hills,” “The Real Housewives of New York,” “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” and so it goes. I’ll bet you didn’t know there were so many. There is even a series of shows on Dr. Phil called, “Dr. Phil Housewives!” Even our beloved Dr. Phil has jumped on the housewife band wagon.

I’ve watched a couple of episodes of the New Jersey and New York housewives. I am appalled that we are being “represented” by these women. I did not see anything that remotely resembled me or the housewives I know, and I am from New York. I saw a bunch of catty women, who like to dress up and wear heels and makeup, talk behind each other’s back, expose each other’s secrets, argue, insult, and ridicule each other. I didn’t see anyone washing dishes, doing laundry, making dinner, reading their children stories, vacuuming, or food shopping. Is this how we are perceived today?

I will admit that I am a huge fan of the Dr. Phil Housewives! Not because they are real housewives, because only two can be classified as real housewives. But I like the series because they are dealing with women’s issues that exist in today’s world. They expose themselves and their personal problems to all of us and we can see the affects of these problems on their behavior. We can see ourselves in these women’s vulnerability, their denial, their tears. Whoever thought of this idea on Dr. Phil’s staff deserves a raise and a promotion! Is there fighting and arguing on his show? Yes, they lash out at one another, usually the person who is most like them. But, unlike the catty fighting on the other housewives shows, these housewives reactions come from the years of pain they have experienced in their past. So I am hooked! I love to watch them every Tuesday. And because they interact with the viewing audience through Dr. Phil’s website and Facebook, we feel like we really know these women and we are investing ourselves in their journey to finding the answers to their problems.

Soon every city will have a housewives show, but they won’t be about “real” housewives. We need to all unite and speak up and demand a show about us, the down in the trenches housewives. The housewives that get up at 3 am to take care of sick kids not just getting home from some soiree; that go to PTA meetings instead of parties; that have to worry about paying bills, not making bills; that are lucky they have time to brush their hair, let alone their eyelashes; that shop at JCPenney, not Nordstrom’s.

I want a show about people like me and you! The ultimately real housewives, who gave up the good life to be wives and mothers, not television celebrities!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Over-the-Counter Medicines!

Yes, it’s cold and flu season again so I want to stock up my medicine cabinet with some vital over-the-counter products just in case one of us gets sick. The question is…what works best? When I was a kid, we had Bayer aspirin and cough drops. The only cough medicine I remember taking was a prescription that the doctor gave me. And maybe, Vicks vapor rub for the chest. Now, when I look for medicines I am so confused by all the choices I waste at least a half hour or more picking up bottles and reading them, before settling on something.

Aspirin has been replaced by acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) and maybe other pills I am not aware of. Not only are there more drugs, but within each drug there are several varieties too. Do you want the 4 hour rapid release pills, the 12 hour pills, the time released pills, the ones with cold remedies built in? Do you want tablets, caplets, gel caps, capsules? I don’t know, I am so damned confused. Finally, I settle on a bottle of rapid release because I have no patience and if it works faster, why the hell should I suffer?

Move over to the cough medicines! Ugh! There is the Robitussin section with a nice assortment of bottles. There is Nighttime Cough and Cold, but what if I am sick during the day? There is also the long-lasting cough suppressant, who would want a short lasting cough suppressant? There is Robitussin DM and DM Max which is a suppressant and an expectorant, two cough medicines for the price of one! There is Robitussin CF and CF Max which controls the cough and clears your stuffy nose. And those are only the ones for Adults, there is also a line for children. If you hate the taste of cough medicine, as my kids do, they now come in gel cap form. I’m too confused to make a decision, but finally grab the CF Max, because it’s been my experience that colds and coughs come with stuffy noses and I want the MAXimum relief I can get! Why settle for less when the price is the same? By the way, some info about Robitussin…it seems to assist women in getting pregnant, some of you might want to consider that, if you plan to take it. Also, it is being abuse by teenagers who get high on it, “robo tripping.” You have to do your homework on these over the counter products, because that information is not on the label.

I am not even going to go into allergy medications, I’ll save that for the spring. Right now, I just want to get through this winter with as little sneezing and coughing as possible. I made sure we all got our flu shots early, I hope you all do too. It’s well worth the protection you get from it, but more important, it will save you a trip to the pharmacy to pick out the medicines you would need to ease your discomfort.

Have a healthy, happy winter!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Light Bulbs......

I am sick of having to change light bulbs so often. Sick of going to get the ladder and getting up there to replace a bulb when it feels like I just put a new one in there last week. I know they could make a longer lasting light bulb if they wanted to, they just don’t. The package reads one thousand hours, but I don’t think I am getting my money’s worth.

With all the “going green” talk, I was told by my electrician that the fluorescent light bulbs would last a lot longer and save energy. They are more expensive, but they pay for themselves over time in what you save in replacement bulbs and electricity. He told me this three years ago (this is important so remember this).

So, following his advice, my husband and I went to Home Depot and bought a cart full of these fluorescent bulbs for every lamp and light fixture in the house. We were blown away by the fact that right there on the package, it states that these bulbs last seven years! Seven years! I wouldn’t have to change another bulb until I have grandchildren! And, with smiles on our faces, we went home and replaced literally every bulb in the house.

Well, since then, we have had to replace several bulbs. Notice that I first got the advice three years ago and so none of the bulbs are lasting seven years. I don’t know how many I have replaced already, I just know there is one in the kitchen and one on the living room that needs replacing right now. Sigh. I have to ask myself if it was worth paying all the extra money, if the bulbs aren’t lasting a fraction of the time stated on the package? On a “bright” note, I did notice a decrease in the electric bill so there may be something to that.

I am going to drag up the ladder to change these two bulbs today. But, before I replace them with new ones, I am going to write today’s date on each one and see how long they really last. Then I am going to write the manufacturer and give them a piece of my mind.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Last Piece of Toilet Paper on the Roll…

Just went to the bathroom and for the life of me I do not understand why I am always the one who gets the last piece of toilet paper on the roll. Like one square is even going to do anything. Does it take that much effort to change the roll once it’s down to the end? I keep the new rolls of toilet paper very well stocked in the bathroom for convenience, but even that’s not enough. Maybe someone passed a law saying it’s the mother’s job to change rolls and no one sent me the memo?

How about soap? Everyone uses it and wears it down, but I am always the one who has to replace it. I also keep the soap well stocked in the bathroom and right next to the toilet paper. So why can’t anyone just get out a new box and open it? I hate finding the remnants of what used to be a bar of soap once I am already in the shower. I must have some pretty bad luck to always be the one finding a used up bar of soap.

Orange juice any one? I go to get some OJ in the morning and find there is barely an ounce in the container. So I have to throw out the container and open up a new one. Why? Couldn’t the person before me just finish up that last few drops? The same thing goes for milk. I only add a little to my morning coffee, but I have to used two half gallons, the one with ten drops and the new one.

It must be hard to replace things, everyone dreads doing it. Add napkins, tissues, paper towels, to the list. I guess you get the point. Everyone just leaves a sample for the next person to find as long as they don’t have to be the one to take care of it. Problem with that is, that I am always the next person.

One day maybe I will hide all the toilet paper and carry my own supply around and see what happens!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why Does Hair Turn Gray?

It’s been a few years now that my hair has been gradually turning gray. Like everyone else, I blamed it on the kids. Yes, stress must be behind it! Kids becoming teenagers, parents becoming elderly with all kinds of serious health issues, my own health issues, living in the biggest city in the world; come to think of it, I should have been all gray a lot sooner, if stress was the cause.

Maybe it’s some subversive plot of hairdressers? Maybe something they put in the water supply? They stand to make a lot of money coloring hair if women become prematurely gray. After all, who wants to be 40 and look like they are 65? It’s not so easy to color your own hair either. You really need help. It’s not too expensive if you can do it yourself, maybe $6 to $10 for a box of dye. But if you go to a salon, it could be $40 or more. And that’s a lot of money when it needs to be done every 4 to 6 weeks. But, no, hairdressers cannot be the cause either.

Is it hereditary? If it is, then we are all carrying the same gene.

My curiosity got the best of me, so I looked it up online. What I found was that hair color is like the ink in a pen. After a while it just runs out. The scientific explanation is as follows:

“Hair turns gray as we age because the follicles at the base of the hair shaft cease to produce melanin. Each follicle contains a finite number of pigment cells. These pigment cells produce melanin, a chemical that gives the hair shaft, the visible strands, its color, whether that be black, brown, blonde, red, or any shade in between. The darkness or lightness of the hair depends on how much melanin each strand contains. Melanin is the same pigment that makes skin tan upon exposure to the sun. With age, the pigment cells in the follicle gradually die off. As they do so, that strand will no longer contain as much color and will show up as silver, gray, or white as it grows. Eventually, all the pigment cells will die and the hair becomes completely gray.”

I never heard any of that before, but it’s good to know. At least there is something concrete I can blame for this extra work I have every 4 to 6 weeks. And when my age catches up to my gray hair, then I will stop coloring it.

My curiosity is now satisfied. We are all in the same boat. Well, not quite. When men start graying, people say they look “distinguished.” When women get gray hair, they just look old. Maybe that’s a blog for another day?

Meanwhile, I better go get a box of Clairol and color my hair. I’m not quite ready for Senior Citizen discounts.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Remember The Little Red Hen?

Remember the story of The Little Red Hen? The little hen who finds the seed, plants the seed…makes the bread? Have you read it to your children lately? I found it very cute until I realized it’s really about “mothers.” Think about it. Here’s how the story could read…

Once upon a time there was a mother wearing a red apron. She lived in a house with a lazy son, a sleepy daughter and a football fan husband. One day the mother needed to go shopping for food for dinner. She asked her family, “Who will come shopping with me today, I have a lot to buy?”

“Not me,” said the lazy son.
“Not me,” yawned the sleepy daughter.
“Not me,” yelled the husband over the sounds of the game.

“Then I will,” said the mother in the red apron. And she went to the store alone.

When she came home, the mother asked, “Who will help me unpack the groceries?”

“My foot hurts,” said the lazy son.
“I‘m tired,” yawned the sleepy daughter.
“The game hasn‘t finished,” yelled the husband over the sounds of the game.

So she unpacked the groceries alone.

When it was time to make dinner, the mother in the red apron asked, “Who will help me peel potatoes?” because everyone loved mashed potatoes.

“My finger hurts from playing video games ,” said the lazy son.
“I need a nap,” yawned the sleepy daughter.
“There‘s just five minutes left to the game,” yelled the husband over the sounds of the game.

So she peeled them herself...

“Who will help me set the table?” she asked in a cheerful voice.

“I have to save my video game,” said the lazy son.
“I‘m on the phone,“ yawned the sleepy daughter.
“The game is in overtime,” yelled the husband over the sounds of the game.

And so it went! Of course, when dinner was done, everyone enjoyed the meal and went about their business, while the mother washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. She went upstairs without saying a word.

If anyone was paying attention, they would have seen the silent tears streaming down her face and making two more new stains on her red apron.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Days Off For Moms!

I woke up this morning and I felt like calling in sick or a vacation day. I need a day off like “working” people get. It’s not fair that I work more than a 40 hour week for no pay, no benefits, no days off!

I really do not want to do all the things I have to do today, but who else is going to do it? I get up and throw a load of wash in the machine before sitting down to breakfast. Go upstairs and take a shower. Back to the basement to put a load in the dryer and another load to wash. Back upstairs to get dressed and make the bed. Back downstairs to get my jacket and head out to the supermarket (which was worse than usual this week, see earlier blog) to do my week’s shopping. Come home and unpack the groceries and throw the other load of wash into the dryer. And this is all between 6:45 and 9:00 am.

There is still plenty for me to do today and I hope I don’t forget anything. I have to cook dinner, fold laundry, help my daughter study for a French test, serve dessert and coffee when my brother comes over in the afternoon…ok, that’s it, I am not going to think about it any longer. All you moms all know what I mean.

While everyone looks forward to the holidays and I am making lists. What do I need to buy for Thanksgiving dinner? What can I cook in advance so I don’t have to spend the whole day in the kitchen? How many desserts do I need, because everyone doesn’t like everything? And moms not only have to plan, shop and cook the meals, we have to clean up, if we want it done right! And we have to clean before the holiday. What fun! And just as we put the last plate back in the closet, we have to think about Christmas gift shopping and meal planning. Just thinking about it all makes me tired.

Even if we go away on vacation we are getting cheated of time off. We are never off duty, especially if we have small children. But who plans the vacation, books the flights and/or hotels? Packs the luggage for the whole family? Has to make lists not to forget anything important? Who unpacks it all at the hotel? Who does all the laundry before and after the trip? Is this really a vacation?

All I know is today I need a day off and I am not getting one. If only I could quit and let someone who is unemployed have my job…but I bet no one would take it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The ABCs of Murder!

Got someone you’d like to kill, but afraid you’ll get caught? Watch a few episodes of the shows I suggested yesterday: Snapped, Forensics Files and 48 Hours and learn the absolute basics of how murderers get caught and what you can do to avoid the common pitfalls. These shows teach not only you and I the ABC’s of murder, but also all potential murderers who just need a little guidance as to how not to get caught. Here are just a few thoughts I can share:

First of all, get rid of your cell phone. Many a murderer is caught because he/she is busy using their cell phone before and after committing the crime. Cell phones connect you to towers in the area from which you make a call. They place you at the scene of the crime minutes before and after it has taken place. They also help connect you to others who have helped you or are in cahoots with you, if you are calling them to tell them the job is done. You might want to leave your cell phone with a teenager at home and tell them you have unlimited minutes. They might run up your bill, but your cell phone will be your alibi that you haven’t left the house.

Second, don’t do any research on your computer! Searching for ways to commit the perfect crime and the effects of antifreeze will only create suspicion and point the finger directly at you. Incriminating emails to someone you are plotting with or having an affair with can be deleted, but remember that every keystroke, to everything you have ever written, remains in your hard drive. The police have experts to decipher all that and then it becomes damning evidence.

Third, for heaven’s sake use gloves, but not latex gloves! While latex gloves will not allow you to leave fingerprints at the crime scene, they preserve your fingerprints inside the glove! If you lose one at the scene, all they have to do is turn it inside out and you’re busted!

Fourth, do not smother someone and then burn the house down. It doesn’t take them anytime at all to realize the person was dead before the fire was set because the lungs so not show smoke inhalation. So, you’d better figure out a way to let them breathe in some of that smoke before they take their last breath.

Fifth, if you wear any kind of shoes at all, you’d better burn them after the crime. Not only is it possible to pick up the tiniest amount of blood splatter from the shoes, even if you can’t seen it, but from the pattern of the soles of the shoes the authorities not only know what type of shoe it is, but the size. No way you can plead innocent if your shoes put you at the scene of the crime. Maybe borrow a pair from someone you hate.

Sixth, do not bite the victim, even in the heat of the moment. Like shoes, teeth impressions can and often do lead right back to the person of interest.

Seventh, wear a cap over your hair so as not to leave even one strand of hair, do not help yourself to a drink of any kind and leave saliva on the glass, do not smoke and leave the butt of a cigarette there, if the victim scratches you you had better clean their nails because all of these things provide DNA, which is irrefutable evidence that you were there.

Eighth, blood splatter…try to avoid this at all costs. If blood of the victim is involved you can bet your boots it will end up in your car one way or another. Whether from your clothing or shoes, finger tips, weapon or whatever. The messier the crime the more attention to detail you have to pay to get rid of evidence.
There are probably many more tips I could pass on, but I think you get the picture. TV is educating America on how to commit the perfect crime AND because there is nothing else on television to watch, we are all getting a “killer” of an education!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend Television…

Is it just me or isn’t there ever anything good to watch on Friday and Saturday nights any more? I practically wore off the plus and minus signs on the channel button of my remote, just searching for one decent thing to watch. What’s the story? Is everyone out on the town those two nights except me? There has to be other people at home looking for something good to watch besides me. After all, don’t we all have those huge screen televisions with HD, but now that we have them there is nothing to watch.

I happen to know that even if many dating couples go out to dinner and/or a movie on the weekends, there are many who stay at home, cook together and watch television. It’s only natural, that after a week of work, most people want to relax at home. Also, eating out and going to the movies is expensive. In this economy, people just do not have extra money to go out all the time. Besides, most of us are already paying too much for our cable service so we should be using it more, not less.

So why are we lacking good programming on the weekends? Don’t families stay at home and watch television together any more? That’s what we used to do when I was a kid. What programs are even on that you can watch with your children today?

I’ll tell you what I end up watching on the weekends. On top of the list are comedy reruns of: Everybody Loves Raymond (each episode seen at least 10 times), The Golden Girls (each episode seen about 15 times), reruns of The King of Queens (each episode seen about 6 times), Seinfeld (each episode seen about 12 times). After I have had all my laughs, the next shows I watch are about murder. Snapped, isn’t always about someone who snapped, but includes many premeditated murders. The Forensic Files, which teach you a good deal about how to get away with murder. I also watch 48 Hours, another good show about murderers. It’s gotten to the point where I am watching reruns of these shows as well, because they can’t create new ones fast enough. Basically, if you watch the last three shows, you can avoid many pitfalls if you intend to kill someone, and that’s the topic of tomorrow’s blog!

Meanwhile, it’s Friday night, I am staying in, and there’s nothing on TV to watch tonight. Maybe I should use what I have learned on weekend TV and go out and kill someone? At least my story would make for some good weekend TV.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My POW Bracelet

I’m taking a day off from complaining to remember our Veterans and to tell a story of why this Veteran’s Day is very special to me.

When I was a teenager, the Vietnam War had been going on for years, Every night, on the news, we would hear the numbers of soldiers who were killed that day. Sometimes there were hundreds or thousands who died. It got to the point that everyone seemed to know someone who was in the war or someone you knew well, knew of someone in the war. It touched everyone‘s lives.

When I was 14 or 15, I saw an advertisement for POW bracelets that one could wear until the POWs were released. I sent for one and when it came I wore it everyday. My bracelet had the name of Commander Robert Shumaker on it and the date he was taken prisoner, February 11, 1965. I thought about him and prayed for him and his family on a daily basis. I couldn’t help but think of the worrying his family must be going through and I had no idea of the suffering he was enduring or if he was even alive. After the POWs were released, I saved my bracelet and after 5 moves and over 40 years later, it is right here beside me still.

Last month, my cousin posted a status on Facebook asking everyone to post their favorite memory of the 70’s and my mind went immediately to my bracelet. I was commenting back about POW bracelets in general and then stopped to go take mine out. There it was, just as I remembered it, shiny and silver and clearly inscribed with the name of a very great man who fought for our country so many years ago. I became sad, because I never knew what happened to him. Suddenly I got the idea to google his name on the internet just to see if I could learn anything at all about it. Within seconds I was overwhelmed with dozens of sites that told of his biography, all his accomplishments after the war, his family, and even a video in which he describes the secret tapping code, he and fellow prisoners of war made up in order to communicate with each other from their prison cells. Best of all, after very long eight years of captivity, Rear Admiral, Robert H. Shumaker was alive and well and living in Virginia. With some encouragement from friends, I decided to write to him and tell him what I have just told you, that a young girl wore his bracelet so many years ago and prayed for his safe return. I sent that handwritten letter out on October 10th, 2010 and to my surprise, on October 30th, I had a letter from him waiting in my mailbox! This is what he wrote:

Dear Nina,
Thank you so much for your kind letter of the 10th. I guess we’ve “known” each other for over forty years. I just want you to know how much I appreciate your having worn my bracelet during the Vietnam war. It must have worked, because I made it back home and have enjoyed a lot of fun times since.

I went back to school and got a doctorate in electrical engineering. Our son, who was just three weeks old when I left, went to Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth (15 years) and is now a neurosurgeon. My wife, who was a Canadian, became a U.S. citizen and we live near Washington, DC in a house I designed in my mind in Vietnam. I held interesting jobs in the Navy as a program manager, then as head of the navy’s Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, and then as a research and development coordinator in the Pentagon. After the Navy I was an assistant Dean at George Washington University, and then a dean at the University of North Dakota.

I just hope that the young people of today have the same patriotic spirit that you exhibited in the late ‘60’s. I am grateful for your prayers during that time, and I hope that you too are enjoying a fruitful, productive and happy life.

With best wishes, I remain,

Robert H. Shumaker, Rear Admiral USN (ret)
And now, with tears in my eyes, I am going to respond to Mr. Shumaker on the most memorable Veteran’s Day of my life. He has graciously provided me with his email address so, hopefully, he will receive my response today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Bullying has been going on forever, but it keeps getting worse. Talks shows are talking about it to raise awareness of the problem, but we are all already aware of it, aren’t we. How many more suicides have to make the news before some serious action is taken to stop it? Schools will only deal with it if occurs when the children are there. Even then, they don’t seem to take it seriously enough or can only do so much. I’ve heard story after story, where parents have contacted the school time and time again, and very little is done to stop it. The parents of the victims step forward to help their children, but where are the parents of the bullies?

If one of my children was being bullied at school, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to stop it. Even taking them out of that school and place them into a private school, as a last resort. But not everyone can afford to take their child out of a school and put them into a private school, and then shouldn’t have to. Schools should be given the authority to take extra measures to stop this behavior dead in it’s tracks. Why can’t law enforcement be brought it? This is harassment right? Sometimes it gets physical, and that would qualify as assault or assault and battery. Police reports provide documentation of an ongoing problem, so if you have to take it to court you stand a better chance of the bully being punished.

Once, many years ago, a boy ripped my brother’s new winter coat in junior high school. My mother did not bother talking to school authorities. She took my brother and his coat right down to the police station, filed a complaint and pressed charges for assault. They had their day in court. As it turns out, this bully already had some priors and was sent to juvenile hall. My brother never had a problem with him ever again. My mother wasn’t one to have patience to see what the school was going to do about it, neither would I.

Judge Judy had an excellent idea too. She spoke of hitting the parents of bullies where it hurts! She said if your child is bullying other children the government should not allow you to claim that child on your income taxes for that year. If parents know it’s going to cost them money, that may curtail some of the bullying. However, if your child is being bullied, I believe the parent has to do everything in their power to stop it and not depend on others, who do not have much invested in your child, to take care of it.

This is one problem that needs a solution. Enough talking and more action. We need to keep our kids safe!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

TV Commercials!

Television commercials are another pet peeve of mine for many reasons. Sure I grew up with them as kid and I understand the need for them, they generate lots of money for programs. But years ago, the commercials were almost as fun to watch as the programs themselves. They had cute little jingles they would stick in your head all day or great slogans that you couldn’t forget. Remember Alka Seltzer’s “Plop, Plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is?” Or the catchy, “Aye, aye, aye-yi, I am the Frito Bandito?” Or the famous McDonalds’ “Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special order’s don’t upset us?” I still remember them, but I could not tell you one jingle or slogan from any of today’s commercials. The best part of the old commercials is that there were fewer of them and you had a reasonable expectation of getting back to your program before you forgot what you were watching!

Commercials used to be longer, that’s true, but they were more entertaining as well and I knew what the product was and who made it. Sometimes the advertisers of today are being so clever, I can’t even tell what they are trying to sell. I did a little research to see for myself how much time commercials take in a 60 minute program. In the 60’s, commercials only took 9 minutes of viewing time. Today that time has more than doubled to approximately 20 minutes or more, depending on the popularity of the program. And, the length of commercials have decreased from 60 seconds per ad to about 30 seconds per ad. Very interesting!

So, now I know why, when I try to watch a show at 10 PM, that I never get past the first series of
commercials before falling into a deep sleep. I barely see maybe 3 or 4 minutes of the show to get me hooked and then I am bombarded by an estimated 12 thirty second commercials right off the bat. I think I usually fall asleep between the 6th and 8th commercial and shut the television off just before the show ends.

I’d rather go back to the way it was, when commercials were engaging enough to get you to listen and even leave you humming their tune…”Double your pleasure, double your fun with double mint, double mint, double mint gum!” Now that’s a commercial I could sink my teeth into!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Airport Security

Last time I took a plane was July, 2009 and sometimes I think it will be the last time. The security procedures are getting to be a huge hassle. At first we just had to put our luggage on a conveyor belt and walk through a metal detector and go on our merry way. Every year they keep adding additional requirements to the list of things we have to do before can get to the gate.

If you haven’t been on a plane in a while, this is what you can expect. First, all carry on luggage and bag must go on a conveyor belt. I put mine on the wrong way and it got stuck, so I was reprimanded. You have to put your laptop in it’s own bin, empty your pockets, take off your shoes, jacket, sweater and put them in bins to pass through the conveyor belt. Then, as your things are being carefully scanned, you have to walk through a metal detector. When you get to the other side of the detector you have to quickly gather up all your belongings as they are piling up. Then, with your arms full, you have to redress yourself. On goes the sweater, jacket, shoes. You refill your pockets. Safely restore your laptop. Make sure you didn’t leave your keys or cell phone behind. And when you are satisfied that you have pulled yourself back together, you can continue to your gate, if you remember what it was.

Of course, there are new developments now that may require you to enter a scanner which is a “virtual strip search,” but I have not experienced that, nor do I want to!

And yet, with all this security, people are always finding ways to circumvent the system. This is what irks me. Last week, a young, Asian male boarded a plane dressed as an old man. He did not have the proper ID and yet managed to get on the plane. While on the plane, he removed his disguise and of course was much younger. Do you mean to tell me that he was able to fool everyone with his disguise? And, if so, no one noticed he wasn’t using proper ID? His hands were young, but his face was old, and that slipped by everyone? What is worse is that he has now shown the world that this little gimmick works and who knows who will try it next! Meanwhile, all of us law abiding, paying, ID carrying citizens are being practically strip searched like common criminals and terrorists. I think everyone responsible for this slip up should be fired, so maybe other security personnel will take their jobs more seriously.

What ever happened to “flying the friendly skies?” I don’t know, but these days I feel more like the enemy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Savings Time

Spring Ahead, Fall Back…so we gain an hour today, isn’t that great? I woke up at 5:30 am, fumbled around in the dark and went to have breakfast. I am wondering if there is still a point to this ritual any more? Aren’t we all annoyed by having to reset all our clocks and getting our bodies used to the new time. Even my dog was confused and wanted to go out at 5:30 am this morning. Come to think of it, it was his barking that got me out of bed!

I think that there once was a real reason behind changing the time at some point. I’m sure plenty of money was spent by the government on scientific studies to determine how much energy could be saved by this bi-annual manipulation of time. But, does any of it still apply today? Has anyone checked into it? Does anyone care?

We are being inconvenienced twice a year for no real reason. So why isn’t it being eliminated? I think it’s because it’s elimination is something that the federal government would have to execute. We all know how fast the government gets things done! Maybe 50 years from now a politician will bring it up and a committee will be formed to study the matter and upon their conclusions, 50 years later, they will do away with it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not sorry I am getting an extra hour today. I love the extra hour and I would be even happier if I could get and extra year. But, in the spring, losing that one hour has always irked me. The days are never long enough when you have things to do, and taking away an hour really stinks.

I guess I’ll be going to bed at 9 pm tonight, an hour earlier than usual, so much for the extra hour!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Concert Goers, UGH!

Last night I went to my first concert in six years. The last one was to see Shania Twain. Love her, she was great! This time I went to see Carrie Underwood at the same venue! She put on a spectacular show, can’t say enough about her! She is the best! Ok, so either I have been away from the concert “scene” too long and don’t remember what it’s like OR people have gotten much more obtuse over the past 6 years!

Since I have been dying to see Carrie perform live for over 5 years I was very excited and got there before 6:30 for the 7:30 start time. I did not know there would be two opening shows and Carrie would not come on until nearly 9PM. At 7:30 the show promptly gets started, but half the people have not yet arrived or taken their seats. So all through Sons of Sylvia, people were walking in and out of our row SEVERAL TIMES, and down the aisle blocking my view of the stage. This went on for the entire performance of the first act.

The second act starts about 8:15. Now, I figure I can sit back and enjoy a few songs. Nope! Now people are going in and out of my row to buy $7 hot dogs, $6 pretzels and $5 beers. So again there are people filling the aisle, obstructing my view and making me get up and down like a game of musical chairs! All I can think of is that MAYBE they will all settle down by the time Carrie comes on, because if they don’t I may actually be hauled out of the concert for creating a disturbance.

OK it’s Carrie’s turn to take the stage. This is the main event, right? Everyone should have filled their fat faces and found their seats by now? I’ll tell you this, there was a big improvement, but not enough to suit me. There were still plenty of restless people moving around. Worse yet were the two girls in front of me. I don’t know how I restrained myself, honestly. The two of them were talking the entire time Carrie was singing, and since the music was very loud, they had to raise their voices. How inconsiderate! Why did they even come? They were drinking beer are beer and just talking throughout the performance. Then they get a bright idea. They are going to take pictures of themselves so they put their two obtuse heads together and point the camera in their direction and snap. Who do you think the flash blinded? That’s right…ME, as I was sitting right behind them. If they had stopped there, I might not have mentioned it. BUT, they snapped at least 12 pictures, probably more, just like that! I really wanted to say something, but when I am that angry I know it would have lead to trouble.

I don’t know if I will ever go to another concert. I only went to this one because it was Carrie and I think the world of her. If she ever comes this way again, and I am able to see her, I think I would go, just because it’s her. But hell can freeze over if anyone thinks I am going to put up with all that to see anyone else!

The things us fans do for love!

Friday, November 5, 2010


When I was a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons, the Jetsons was one of my favorite shows. I loved all their futuristic gadgets, robots, and flying cars. The best episode was the one where Jane has to see Dr McGravity because she injured her finger from pushing too many buttons on her appliances. Without the use of her finger she couldn’t get any of her housework done. We should all be so afflicted! So, my pet peeve today is why, with all the technological advances being made in every field, are we not seeing anything revolutionary to help with housework?

Surely, the ideas conceptualized on the Jetsons, are no longer an impossible reality? Even a halfway measure, between what we have and what they had, would be appreciated. Sure we have that little Roomba to vacuum the floor, but it’s no Rosie! What about treadmills for dogs so we don’t have to walk them? Astro never had to be walked! Phones with a video screen were predicted to be the up and coming invention by one company at the 1964 World’s Fair…so where are they? Computers do so many things these days, but Jane was able to program hers to provide dinner, I still can’t! How about moving sidewalks? I’m getting a little tired of walking everywhere. And, remember their shower? You just have to stand there and the gadgets wash you, dry you, dress you, brush your teeth and give you breakfast to go! I’m not going to even wish for a flying car, I can already predict that would cause more trouble than it’s worth.

I don’t know why we marvel at scientific progress when they can’t or won’t do anything to help housewives overcome their drudgery. I’d be happy with a Rosie and a computer that makes dinner for the family. That’s all I’m asking for, a little help. Technology has progressed in every other area, but has left housewives in the prehistoric ages.

We should be relating to Jane Jetson and her poor finger, but instead we are the Wilma Flinstones of the 21st Century!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I woke up to the pitter patter of rain this morning. I’m not a fan of rain, but Mother Nature doesn’t read my blogs, so it doesn’t pay to complain about it. However, I can complain about a related subject: umbrellas. I would like to know where I can get a decent umbrella, if in fact one does exist.

Most umbrellas will hold up well if it’s drizzling outside…without wind. I have seen many an umbrella turn inside out because of wind, and it doesn’t have to be a tornado or hurricane type wind either. Most people have figured out to tilt your umbrella towards the direction the wind is blowing. That keeps you dryer and prevents an umbrella malfunction. But, all the wind has to do is change direction for a second and there goes your umbrella. First you get a face full of rain and then, as you try to regain control of your umbrella, it turns itself inside out! Don’t you think that umbrella manufacturers should take “wind” into consideration, when making umbrellas? After all, rain and wind often go together.

Another thing that irks me about umbrellas are those tiny little knotted pieces of thread that they use to attach the frame to the material. They always come undone and I have to sew the material back to the frame myself, just to get my money’s worth out of it. If I had to get rid of every umbrella that this has happened to I would not have been able to send my kids to college. Don’t you think there has to be a better way to attach the material to the frame? After all we invented the internet!

Finally, the frame of the umbrella itself is a joke. It’s a tinny, flimsy piece of junk that does not stand the test of time. How many times has one of the corners of my umbrella hung down like the lid of a lazy eye? That’s one thing I can’t fix, so I have no choice but to replace it. But, should I invest in an expensive umbrella or buy one at the dollar store? They both seem to have the exact same issues and I swear the dollar one lasts longer.

I have been buying my umbrellas at the Totes outlets the past few years. Well, actually 6 years ago to be exact. I wanted the girls to have decent umbrellas to protect them from the rain and Totes has a lifetime policy, which means if they break they replace them free. I figured that meant their products met higher standards. I was wrong. There is nothing whatsoever different about a Totes umbrella, except they will replace it when it breaks and they do. They replace it with another umbrella that breaks.

This is the 21st century! We have made enormous progress in every technological field. Computers, television, cell phones, cameras, medical science, you name it. So why, oh why are we still using the same umbrella they used in Ancient Greece in 5th century BC? (Wikipedia)


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Day Is Over!

Maybe now I’ll get some peace! My phone has been ringing all day, every day, all “out of area” and all telling me who I should vote for and why! I was on the verge of having a stroke. It’s not like you can pick up the phone and tell someone off because it’s always a recorded message. If I don’t pick up, they leave it on my answering machine! I am really fed up.

I tried picking up and just listening a few times. I just wanted to get a real person that I could tell off. Finally, a live person answers the phone and launches into his scripted message. Before he can say three words I tell him, in my angriest voice, that I consider these calls harassment, that I have been hounded everyday, all day about who I should vote for and that I do not need anyone telling me who to vote for! He apologized and hung up. I was happy to get a little satisfaction, but I believe these calls should be outlawed, period!

I am now looking forward to a little peace in my house. I hope to be able to sit through a television program, to be able to cook and eat dinner, have a conversation with family, without the phone ringing off the hook.

Whoever wins, whatever their political party and beliefs, I will have won! I will have won my right to the pursuit of happiness and tranquility in my home without having had to rip the phone jacks off the walls!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

JCPenney and other store Renovations!

We went to the mall yesterday for some shopping, eating and family time. Our first stop: JCPenney. Seems as though the store is still being renovated, a project they started during the summer. I hate when stores do renovations because you can’t find anything any more. Plus they have these fake plaster board walls up right now, so it feels like you are walking through a maze. I’m still upset with my supermarket for rearranging all the groceries in all the aisles. I think I am getting old and I don’t adapt to change well!

I managed to find a “manager” on the floor of JCPenney, so I ask her how long will these renovations last. She tells me well into next year! First of all, there was nothing wrong with the way it was (same for my supermarket) so that’s a lot of money going down the drain. I thought the retail industry was suffering because of the economy? Yet, these stores seem to have extra money to update their entire interior, department by department!

Now it’s not just me complaining. I’ve heard other customers who feel the same way. That cannot be good for business. My supermarket will not suffer because food stores are few and far between here and it’s unlikely people will switch to other stores. However, as far as JCPenney goes, I don’t think the genius who thought of starting this project and allowed it to run into the Christmas Season was very smart. It’s frustrating to try and shop as it is during the holidays. Penney’s is one of the main stores we hit. But, from what I saw yesterday, I just may decide it’s not worth going there this year. Besides, there is a Macy*s everywhere there is a Penney’s and they carry the same kinds of things.

Of course, I am still mad at Macy*s for what they did to me two years ago, so it’s not likely I will go there either! I’ve resisted it, but maybe this is the year that I will do all my holiday shopping online. And why not? Many items are cheaper, do not charge me tax and deliver it straight to my door (often without shipping charges).

Hey, I am better off with online shopping! Who says I can’t adapt to change!

Monday, November 1, 2010

You Get What You Pay For?

Once upon a time a person paid for something and they got what they paid for. If you bought an appliance it would last half of your lifetime. If you paid for your utilities, you got a full 30 days of service. If someone came to do work on your home, whether carpenter, electrician or plumber, it stayed fixed. Those days are gone.

Today, whenever you buy an appliance of any kind, the salesperson asks if you want to buy insurance. Do you want to buy it for one, two or three years? If so, and it breaks, you are entitled to the same or equivalent product that just broke down. The reason is “built-in obsolescence.” They make things not to last so that you can buy insurance and/or replace the product faster than you did years ago. They make things to break? It sounds like a scam to me, but all the manufacturers are doing it so I guess it’s ok. I think when you buy something brand new and pay a lot of money for it, you should be entitled to expect it to last a reasonable number of years. Instead, I now find myself analyzing the situation. If I spend a certain amount for something I will pay for an extra year of insurance. I arbitrarily set this amount at about $300 or so. If it’s less than that I roll the dice and take my chances.

I remember when I could pay my phone bill every month and never went a day without service. I got what I paid for. Not today. Our Verizon cables are so old that a couple of days of rain will take out your phone and DSL with one blow. Of course, when I call about it, several other customers also have the same problem and it takes longer and longer for the repairmen to come fix it. But, don’t worry, they will take a few cents off my bill for the inconvenience! One customer service person I spoke to actually replied to my lack of service and static on the line with, “Well, it has been raining.” As though, now, I should expect the phone and DSL to go out when it rains. Well, I don’t!

Last week I hired a guy to install a new ceiling in the closed in porch of my house. The next day I noticed one of the seams was opening ever so slightly. So I make my husband call him about it, because men listen to men. Well, it’s been a week and so far he hasn’t called my husband back. So what am I supposed to do, call a repairman to fix what the other repairman did? My husband will call him today and try again. I am not holding out much hope that the guy will come back.

I noticed too, that when we buy new clothes, very often the buttons will fall off soon after the first couple of wearings. Not so years ago, a button stayed put for as long as you owned the garment. Now they must put them on with spit. Thank God I know how to sew buttons back on.

It’s the way of the world today. No one expects much from the goods and services we pay good money for, and it’s a good thing too, because we are not getting what we pay for.