27 February 2013

And About That To-Do List...

I hate to-do lists. I can live with the fact I've acquired something of a little mean streak, because those spiteful little to-do lists hate me right back. Balance. Life is all about balance.

Perhaps our hostilities began because I've never had any success at completely crossing everything off on any to-do list I've ever written. That's right. Not once. And that's if I can even find the sly little rat-like things that the work of my hand turns into once it's discovered it's been born a to-do list. True, I wouldn't want to be born a to-do list. I shudder at the very thought, but somebody's got to be it and somebody's got to do it. Guess it's clear which of the options is fated to be mine. We all have our lots in life. Have a cupcake and carry on.

I've learned there are actually some very good reasons for this strong, emotional response to those little paper banes of my existence. Thus, at this point in my life, I am more than okay with avoiding those little bundles of joy that are to-do lists, as scrupulously as possible.

Not long ago, the light bulb went on and I realized that my to-do lists were something I dreaded. I couldn't look forward to starting a day knowing that pestilential piece of paper would still be there. Lying in wait. For me. I know when I first look at the to-do list in the fine light of morning, it will have multiplied tasks. Then that long meg list feels like having a conquering hero looking over your shoulder, who then exhibits an extremely bad case of poor sportsmanship just for the sheer pleasure of inflicting the maximum amount of misery as possible on the conquered of the day. That would be me.


But then... I finally noticed that the world had not stopped spinning solidly on it's axis, completely oblivious to my plight. It also occurred to me that hell... nobody had voted me off the island... yet. It's heartening to know my family still loves me. And all these things don't change whether I do or do not follow a to-do list. Why didn't anyone ever tell me this? (So many wasted hours I could have been playing video games just like my kids) 

So what was I agonizing over? I can now give my absolute best effort each day to complete as many tasks as is reasonably possible and then move on without feeling guilty that, inevitably, I will forget things that have uncomfortable consequences. Life is full of little trade offs. It could take me longer to achieve the successful conclusion of a task than it might have if I were only a little more organized. Okay. Like I would be with a to-do list... but then I figure I wouldn't be able to take the time to smell the butterflies and watch the flowers instead of writing and rewriting tasks. Huh. Rewind to smell and exchange with the the word watch. 'Kay? 

I now have time to enjoy some of the little things in life. I can be comfortably assured that the rest of the tasks won't be running off with the spoons and so will get addressed. Eventually. 

Not that I won't still experience some of that agonizing to-do list nagging. I do.  To-do lists can't be silenced easily. Unfortunately. At least not silenced without an expensive set of Bose stereo headphones. Sigh. It's a continuing learning experience to know what constitutes an emergency dire enough to warrant you stepping away from the Bose and what is important enough to only turn down the sound for a minute... Okay, maybe a solid 120 seconds... I am, after all, equipped with a replay button. Or at least my stereo is.

Remember that list of really good reasons about to-do lists to make one feel homicidal that I mentioned above... well, maybe I didn't go into that much detail, but I thought I'd share, in true The Tonight Show fashion, my decisively executed battle of wits with the dreaded to-do list. It, of course, came to the battle unarmed. 

The Top Ten Reasons why I don't want to ever write another to-do list:

Number 10. I generally forget that I have even written a to-do list so right off the bat, I've set myself up for failure
Ah, yes. The old, 'I forgot my homework at home ploy.' Feel sorry for yourself much?
Who are you?
Who am I? Hmmm. Well, I guess you could say I'm playing the Devil's advocate, but don't worry, an exorcism will not be necessary as I'm only filling in to play the role for your benefit, then it's off to Tahiti for me... I just love those warm climates!
For my benefit... Really?
Really.
Yeah. Right. So, moving right along...

Number 9. I tend to forget where I have actually set down that to-do list when it's time to get cracking at it. I have spent hours looking for lists in the past.
They do say that memory is the first thing to go and the second thing to go is your memory. You've already used the losing ploy. What else ya got?
Number 8. There is no happily ever after with a to-do list. It never ends. Doing one thing just reminds me of several other things that I didn't do. It's... it's... it's demoralizing. A valid reason for not making to-do lists. I'm protecting my sanity and sense of self worth.
Hey! Isn't it kind of like that movie The NeverEnding Story, but without the rescue at the end. Or Dr. Who, but without the Tardis. Guess it sucks to be you if you are in possession of a to-do list.
Number 7. I can't help writing my to-do-lists on stray envelopes containing advertisements for items I definitely do not want, nor have ever heard of before. I don't know how they found me, but I sure would like them to get lost. And I really don't want to know what a Stretch Lock Bungee Cord is, or what it's used for. In my imagination, it could be a tool of torture (kind of like the to-do list) involving breaking someone's back. After two surgeries in about two years on my back, I'd rather be blissfully ignorant, thank you very much!
You realize that those envelopes are offended when they hear you say things like that. That's why they retaliate by sharing your address with all their paper buddies and their buddies' buddies. (classic Theorem of Hydra) Hence the reason why your mailman has herniated discs and why you keep getting even more junk mail... what you need is a junk mail dog. Junk yard dogs seem to be very efficient at discouraging any kind of communication. A well trained junk mail dog would deter even the most tenacious offender. (just sayin')
Number 6. A to-do list implies that one actually intends to and has time for accomplishing everything on that list. It makes one feel obligated to complete all the tasks before quitting. Intend to and make time for accomplishing everything on my to-do list? Lying is a sin. It's the moral principle of the thing. If I do not write down a to-do list, then my moral principles can't be compromised.
Hmmmm. Yeah, you're definitely worthy of being a roll model of parental rectitude. I'm impressed. I think you're wrong, but I'm still impressed with um... the ingeniousness of your logical reasoning powers.
Number 5. Since I regrettably was born with the curse of being more than a little loquacious. Both in written and verbal forms of communication. I can't help it. I tend to write a lot of notes on the run using my own sort of shorthand. Unfortunately, there have been times when I was not able to decipher my own notes. Abbreviations, symbols, squiggly lines all carry the burden of becoming my best kept secrets since even I do not know what I had meant. I still avoid voice recorders because there are some things in life you do not want nor need any recording of.
A little loquacious, huh? You know, you could have a good chance of running for the Queen of Understatement. You can ask anyone in your family and they'll tell you that occasionally they like to play hide and seek... without you. No offense is meant and I'm sure none is taken as no person is without the need of a little quiet time... or perhaps nap time as the case may be.
Number 4. A to-do list means you have to responsibly prioritize what gets done first and last. In my mind, this means that I can't put, say... finish current quilt before clean the overly full cat litter boxes. Let's face it. Cleaning cat litter boxes is not exactly a lallapalooza event, whereas finishing a quilt is definitely a labor of love and, at least in my mind, worthy of a lallapalooza event. I just don't want to feel guilty the whole time I'm sewing. That would take a lot of the enjoyment out of it. I'd rather feel warm and fuzzy (without the angora, of course) about piecing fabric together that is meant for someone else. Something they'll really use. Cat litters boxes get used, but they can't touch my soul and litter boxes just smell and need constant cleaning.
Lallapalooza? Lallapalooza. You've been reading the dictionary in the bathroom again? If you're in need of a book, put Sherlock Holmes or possibly, War and Peace in the bathroom library for just such an emergency. Lallapalooza. Thank you. Now that word is going to be stuck in my mind all day.
Number 3. When it comes time to start working on the items I listed on my to-do list, I feel like the list takes me hostage and I'm to be held until everything on that to-do list is crossed off. I'm a slave of the to-do list. I suppose I should feel blessed because at least the to-do list didn't change my name to Kunta Kinte. Kunta Kinte did not whine about his lot. And he was not lazy. I like to whine and I'll admit I'm lazy on occasion. It's sad, really, but true. The naming would also be wrong, because Kunta was male and... well... I'm not. (I wonder if he ever had to write to-do lists?) On top of that? When I get up in the morning, my list mysteriously has additional tasks to do on it that I could swear I'd not written with my own hand even though the penmanship sure looked the same.
Lazy on occasion? Pinocchio, thy nose is getting long. What happened to that roll model of parental rectitude? As for the appearance of additional tasks, that truly could be a troubling problem. I think you might want to separate your to-do lists, because apparently... those lists are all shacked up together and it looks like they are taking advantage of all of their opportunities by being fruitful as bunny rabbits. Just thought I'd throw that advice in there for you. Free of charge, of course.
Number 2. To-do lists gives me gas. Too much information, I know, but it sorta feels like that. They also depress me and since I've made a promise to myself that I would make lemonade from things like this in my daily life, I've made sure my lemonade recipe for these particular lemons includes a determination to avoid any possibility of a to-do list falling into my possession.

And finally, Number 1. When writing a to-do list, I put every step on there. By time I'm finished writing the to-do list, it's time for bed. Then I start again in the morning. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I write things like this only much more detailed. (I'm being compassionate for those who have made it this far):

Check the laundry room for toilet paper
Check toilet paper dispenser for empty roll
Scrub the toilet (don't forget to wash the wall beside the toilet that has the dirty fingerprints)
Scrub the tub
Scrub the sink
Wipe the mirror
Sweep the floor
Yawn.... Snore....
Then make a grocery list-
And try to use it this time?
-pick up daughter from school.
Which one? You do remember you have five of them, right?
-remember to take out the dog.
But you don't have a dog.
Then substitute the words 'Devil's Advocate'! If you can't stop interrupting me with sarcastic comments, I'm going to find a paper shredder for this Top Ten List and I will never entertain even the wispiest of thoughts pertaining to writing about the damn to-do lists! Then I'll never have to ever endure you again! It's time for you to leave... that's your cue to exit stage left...
I feel compelled to point out you're typing this entry on a computer and the digital file is on an SD disc. I don't think I have to worry too much as you take forever to finish a sentence, and you also don't move too-
**Grinding sounds of shredding plastic**

QOTD: "My to-do list is so long that it doesn't have an end... it has an event horizon." ~ Craig Bruce

26 February 2013

The Faint Scent Of Understatement And Perspective...

My stove, NOT my kitchen, although I sure wish it were!
Me to Husband: "Oh, I forgot to tell you what happened this morning. Someone left one of the gas stove's burners on in the kitchen. I noticed the faintest scent of gas when I was coming down the stairs and found the smallest burner was on the lowest setting without having been lit. The scent wasn't very strong, but I still carefully opened doors and windows to help dissipate the gas in the house, turned off the burner after a couple of minutes, then waited another 15 minutes to close the doors and windows again." (it had to have been on for about two hours from the time the girls left for school and the time I came down to get something to drink)

Husband: "That could have ended badly." (hmmm, King of the understatement?)

Rachel: "Good thing you caught the scent of gas in time as your sewing room is right above the kitchen."

Husband to Rachel: "Gas is heavier than air. It settles downward... like say, to your bedroom in the basement?"

Rachel: "But hot air rises!"

**Roll of eyes**

Husband, as he walks away: "And chocolate pleases"
 
I had to laugh outright at that.  It's all about perspective is this house!

QOTD: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress." ~ British Airways pilot, after flying through a cloud of volcanic ash.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Note to family: I'm doing my best with the memory I have. Yes, I know I did not get the wording of this conversation down perfectly, but it's either live with it or I'll be forced to get a voice recorder and although that would make for much more interesting and numerous posts for me, it might not be better for your posterity. Let me know the decision. In the meantime I shall carry on, 'kay?
         Love, Me

24 February 2013

And Then My Life Began...

“I spent my young adult years postponing many of the small things that I knew would make me happy.…I was fortunate enough to realize that I would never have the time unless I made the time. And then the rest of my life began.” ~ Dr Chris Peterson

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

After reading this article, I've realized I have 7 of the 10 I attempt every day. Time for me to focus a little more on the other three.  What about you?

19 February 2013

Time For A Little R & R...

After a very exhausting week with little sleep, I'm going to try to finish up a few sewing projects before starting on reupholstering our two living room chairs, and making an ottoman to go with them. I've never reupholstered anything before so whether pictures will be forthcoming depends on what they look like after this first attempt.

I have a bunch of scraps to finish sewing into headbands for the daughters.  A nook cover, a sketchpad cover with handles, and a load of fabric ribbon and mosaic to make with the leftovers.





16 February 2013

The Lemon Stand Pep Talk...

Our daughter, Nicole, is about to graduate from cosmetology school with far better grades than she has ever had. I suspect this is because it is something that she really likes to do (and having 4 other sisters to practice on over the years probably didn't hurt).  Although it seems a little strange at first to have my hair done at home, I think I can honestly say that I could get used to the perks of having a daughter willing to do this for me and especially where I don't have to wait for an opening at the hairdressers (and I think Nicole appreciates the fact that I still pay her the going rates because she does still have student loans to pay off).  All of our kids have learning weaknesses and Nicole is no exception, but she has discovered her niche and overcome a lot to achieve her success.  She has worked hard and I have no doubt that she will attain whatever goal she chooses next to pursue.  I also have no doubt that she will always be successful by using this same formula of success that is uniquely Nicoles'. We could not be more proud of her.

Our daughter Rachel has started to receive college acceptance letters for art schools along with some very nice dean's scholarships for her high grade point average.  There is no doubt she is extremely talented. She has worked very hard to get where she is, although some might think her dyslexia is a major weakness, her cleverness in getting around it is one of her major strengths along with an extremely impressive work ethic. We have never had to get on her about homework.  (I have no idea where this gene she got came from. I certainly cannot claim the same drive to succeed that she has) In fact, she puts us to shame as parents in not asking often enough if she needs any help or encouragement to achieve and remain at the level she has elevated herself to.  She has done this on her own.  

How successful? Well, if you happen to be in Boston for the next month or so, some of her artwork is being shown publicly with others that have won honors with their artistic abilities from the Boston Globe's Annual Art and Writing Contest. One of her works will continue on to the national level in New York City.  (She obviously did not get this gene directly from her father or I, although her Aunt Laurie is very artistically gifted. I also see the irony in the first school to accept her was the same school my father turned down a full ride art scholarship to.)

I want to mention that our daughters Danielle and Nina are no less successful for wanting to take time off from school to figure out what direction they want to pursue. Sometimes, knowing when to take a step back and look at the big picture of where you are and where you want to be, is the best first step in figuring out how to get there.  Many people get to this point and stop indefinitely. The trick is to not give up.  Figuring out a goal and then working out how to achieve it is one of the hardest lessons in life and the harder it is to achieve, the more it is appreciated when you've arrived.  Ladies, we are no less impressed and proud of all you have done to this point.  Don't lose hope or belief in yourselves.  Keep telling yourself that you can be discouraged tomorrow after you have turned the next corner to see what it holds and if it is not all you hoped for, then keep putting one foot in front of the other because another corner is just up ahead.  You can only lose in life if you give up and if you feel you are close to that line, you need only ask yourself if you really want to give up all your hopes and dreams based on what has already happened or is it worth it to you to keep trying, no matter what.

To all of our daughters. Life is all about brick walls and how you handle them. If you come to a roadblock, you are lucky.  Roadblocks mean that you are learning and growing and gaining the knowledge necessary to learn how to get past them.  This is a good thing.  Don't ever look at a dead end as the end.  It is, only if you let it be.  It isn't, if you don't let it be. It is only a lesson, so learn it and move on.  Those who are successful look back on all those lessons as the foundation of steps it took to get to where they wanted to be.  Keep on stepping lively.  You DO have what it takes to reach for a dream and make it come true.

There have been many times in my life when I wished I had had my own cheering section. To have learned these lessons of success before I hit my 40s.  Alas, I have learned that you are never too old to make one's dreams come true or to learn that if you are making mistakes that it is a good thing, because it means that you are trying. If I never teach you anything else, the lesson I hope you all learn is that you can only fail in life if you don't try. I can guarantee it won't be easy, but I can also guarantee it will be worth it.

15 February 2013

Silver and Gold...

Last night I overheard Danielle saying to her sisters: 
"Silence is golden but duct tape is silver."
Ah, truer words were never spoken...
QOTD: "Magnetism is one of the Six Fundamental Forces of the Universe, with the other five being Gravity, Duct Tape, Whining, Remote Control and The Force That Pulls Dogs Toward The Groins Of Strangers." Dave Barry (1947-) American Writer and Humorist
(Originally posted 16 Jan 2008)

11 February 2013

Our Family, Monty Python And The Quick Exit...

Carrie, Nina, Danielle, Rachel at Sunday Dinner
As always, Sunday dinner was fabulous. Danielle (insists she) won an argument with her father, a rarity for anyone in this household. They were discussing Monty Python and Danielle took exception to his saying that Monty Python's The Meaning of Life was not a sketch comedy film when it clearly was. Her father still insists that it is not. (clearly, we don't get too much of the innocent questions of childhood anymore)

I am considered an odd duck in our family because:

a.) I have never gotten the humor of Monty Python so I don't like Monty Python (a familial blasphemy apparently)

b.) I have no idea what a comedy sketch film IS (and not really interested in finding out) as I get my comedy on a daily basis from my family and am ok with this.


c.) I tend to save all my sallies for family book critiques which get pretty in depth and I am always considered on the wrong side of the debate. Danielle tends to win these more often than the rest of us.
Although I think it's a moot point to me, the conversation was riveting as Danielle has such an expressive face and tends to be wonderfully passionate in defense of anything that means anything to her. Her father on the other hand, has the straight man's face down pat. That, and the fact that he usually does not open his mouth unless he's pretty sure of something, which tends to make him seem like he's always right. He isn't always right (he's male, after all), but sometimes it just looks like he is.

At this point, Erin abandons us because homework is less embarrassing than subject matter and the deliverability talents of the members of our family. (In other words, it's not necessarily what is said so much as to how it is inclined to be delivered)

First Case in point:

Husband: "My Mother was the most cleverest person I've ever known." (True fact. She was the the most amazingly cleverest person I've ever known. I still really miss her.)

Husband: "If I were stranded on a desert island, I would want my Mother to be with me. Her or Dora the Explorer."

Me: **blink**

Rachel: "Dora the Explorer?"

Husband, (who has been waiting for Rachel to ask): "Yeah. That bitch had everything in her backpack!" [thankfully my husband doesn't normally talk like this, so I said nothing]

Rachel: "Dora the Explorer?"

Husband: "Well, go watch her sometime and see what she takes out that thing!"

At this point I walk away.

Second case in point: 

Some months ago, my husband took the kids to Chilli's one night after our family meeting (Euphemistically speaking, our family therapy sessions. Some of the kids do not even live at home but we always try to make time for our family meeting and then go out to eat after it. Hey, we don't mess with what seems to work.)

I was sick at the time and so I was at home in bed and was not there to... mediate, shall we say, the conversation in this public restaurant.  I was not even aware of this incident until I suggested we go to Chilli's one night after our gathering and was met with some red faces, stammering and then finally,

Rachel: "We can't ever go back there."

I should not have been surprised, but I was.

Me: "You guys got kicked out of Chilli's?"

Husband: "Ummm, not exactly."

Me: "Not exactly?"

Now I knew it was bad, "Just what did you do to not exactly get kicked out of Chilli's?"

Husband, "We didn't get kicked out of Chilli's...... exactly.... We chose to leave." 

Me: "You chose to leave. Huh." 

*waiting expectantly*

Nobody wanted to give any further information. There was a lot of red faces, general mumbling and embarrassed coughs. Now I really had wanted to know what they'd done because my mind can imagine an awful lot when it comes to the ability of my family to get into trouble, but at this point I realized I wasn't going to get much more out of any of them, which told me exactly how disappointed in them all I should be, husband included. Husband especially. 

I never did get the entire story out of any of them, but as near as I can figure it, my wonderfully warm and friendly family sat in a booth, surrounded by other patrons, including a family right behind them.  Conversation slipped it's leash in this public setting and they were loudly obnoxious, laughing about something in which every member of my family (husband included) had an opinion about and just had to voice one-upmanship as if they were at home around our own dinner table. (My husband was right... we are raising social hyenas)

It sounded as if this show of wit (witlessness) apparently lasted a while and new depths of how low my family's conversation can get (they get this from their Father) were apparently achieved. Anyway, at some point they must have realized how loud they were and noticed the attention they were garnering (I can just picture the slack jaws and horrified expressions of the other diners). I guess by this time, they could tell that the poor unlucky family sitting behind them was very uncomfortable.  My husband at least had the grace to look embarrassed and ashamed for allowing things to get that far as he told me this. He told me realization dawned somewhere around this time and they decided they should leave as fast as the bill was paid. Then they all agreed to never go back. (I'm sure the other diners and wait-staff would be happy to know this.)

I write about this now because when the subject somehow came up at dinner Sunday night, Danielle finally said, "The only thing I can remember about that conversation now was that we were debating that some name sounded like it should belong to a black stripper." 

I've decided that I really don't want to know anymore. I've also decided that my family is banned from dining at any restaurant unless I am with them.  Let's see, all of the kids with the exception of the youngest who is a young adult, are all 18 years old or older and they are all grounded until further notice.  

I thought kids (and husband) were all supposed to grow up.  You know?  Become a responsible adult like their father... ok, well I can see where the logic in that thought process went wrong... (Just for the record, I'm only joking about my husband. He is usually the voice of reason outside of the house with me coming up with the bird-brained ideas)

To be fair, after this experience I think (hope) they will all think twice about where they are and what kind of audience they have. I don't have to worry that it will happen again after all the red faces and the refusals to talk about it.  They looked truly repentant. They had been horrid. There is no doubt in my mind. Still, this will go down in our family history as a humorous dud that was not repeated. (Or else!)

10 February 2013

Famous Love Letters - Nathaniel Hawthorne...

Nathaniel Hawthorne to Sophia Peabody who would become his wife in 1842
5 December, 1839

Dearest, - I wish I had the gift of making rhymes, for methinks there is poetry in my head and heart since
I have been in love with you.
You are a Poem.
Of what sort, then? Epic?
Mercy on me, no! A sonnet?
No; for that is too labored and artificial.
You are a sort of sweet, simple, gay, pathetic ballad, which Nature is singing, sometimes with tears, sometimes with smiles, and sometimes with intermingled smiles and tears.

08 February 2013

To Whomever Did The Happy Snoopy Snow Dance...

Congratulations! You have been beyond successful. If life were based on the accuracy of the weather, I would vote for you to be the Grand Pooh Ba...  Right before I voted you off the island.

We are now in the midst of a monster snow storm that is supposed to turn into a monster blizzard and dump anywhere from 18 inches to 3 feet of snow, depending on which weather service you are using.  At this point, I can still see the trees right outside our window, but that is supposed to change in the next couple of hours. I will attempt to take pictures and add them here as the blizzard goes by.  I think I should also warn the person(s) doing the Happy Snoopy Snow Dance?  That although I'm not more than a couple of inches above five feet, do not let that mislead you if you are foolish enough to risk my wrath

If I see someone doing a 'Snow Dance', I will hurt them.

If I hear someone 'Praying for Snow', I will hurt them.

If I feel 'The Force' being manipulated to produce 'Snow', I will hunt the perpetrator(s) down and I will hurt them... and I won't care if you are Yoda or even related to Yoda!

If I even smell someone 'thinking'about Snow', I will hurt them.

If I SEE anyone using the word 'Snow' in ANY of it's possible forms as a Key Word in a search engine... that ends up in my blog stats?  I will most likely go postal!  

Thank You,

You have been warned. 
You may carry on...

Famous Love Letters - John Keats

To Fanny Brawne (fiance of John Keats from December 1818 to his death in Feb of 1821)

March 1820

Sweetest Fanny,

     You fear, sometimes, I do not love you so much as you wish?
     My dear Girl I love you ever and ever and without reserve.
     The more I have known you the more have I lov'd. In every way - even my jealousies have been agonies of Love, in the hottest fit I ever had I would have died for you.
     I have vex'd you too much. But for Love! Can I help it?
     You are always new. The last of your kisses was ever the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest.
     When you pass'd my window home yesterday, I was fill'd with as much admiration as if I had then seen you for the first time.
     You uttered a half complaint once that I only lov'd your Beauty.
     Have I nothing else then to love in you but that?
     Do not I see a heart naturally furnish'd with wings imprison itself with me?
     No ill prospect has been able to turn your thoughts a moment from me.
     This perhaps should be as much a subject of sorrow as joy - but I will not talk of that.
     Even if you did not love me I could not help an entire devotion to you: how much more deeply then must I feel for you knowing you love me.
     My Mind has been the most discontented and restless one that ever was put into a body too small for it.
     I never felt my Mind repose upon anything with complete and undistracted enjoyment - upon no person but you.
     When you are in the room my thoughts never fly out of window: you always concentrate my whole senses.
     The anxiety shown about our Love in your last note is an immense pleasure to me; however you must not suffer such speculations to molest you any more: not will I any more believe you can have the least pique against me.
     Brown is gone out -- but here is Mrs Wylie -- when she is gone I shall be awake for you.
     -- Remembrances to your Mother.

Your affectionate, J. Keats


Normal Dinner Conversation...

Danielle, "If I had to lose one of my senses, I would wish to be mute. It would be awful to lose the ability to see because I love to read and I would hate to lose the ability to hear because I love music so much. I could always learn to talk with my hands."

Husband, "Please Lord, I hope you're listening...."
(Originally published 16 Dec 2006)  

07 February 2013

Snow Plus Shovel Equals Men In White Jackets With Little White Pills...

If you have ever lived in Maine, this will make SOOOOO much sense to you. If you haven't.... you'll know why the "Maineacs" laugh at the 'sunbirds' in the winter....

I don't know who wrote this but I surely feel like this gentleman by the end of winter in the great, white north!
DIARY OF A MAINE SNOW SHOVELER

December 8 - 6:00 PM


It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses Print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 9


We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the whole world? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had! Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life!

December 12


The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment! My neighbor tells me not to worry- we'll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible. Bob is such a nice man, I'm glad he's our neighbor.

December 14


Snow, lovely snow! 8 inches last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn't huff and puff so.

December 15

20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly. We aren't in Alaska, after all.

December 16

Ice storm this morning. Fell on my butt on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel.

December 17

Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. God I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room.

December 20

Electricity's back on, but had another 14 inches of the darn stuff last night. More #$%^&** shoveling! Took all day. The darn snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snowblower and they're out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying.

December 22

Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white stuff fell today, and it's so cold, it probably won't melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to go to the bathroom. By the time I got undressed, answered the call of nature and dressed again, I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter, but he says he's too busy. I think the jerk is lying.

December 23

Only 2 inches of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she, nuts?!! Why didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she's lying.

December 24

6 inches - Snow packed so hard by snowplow, I broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son of a biscuit who drives that snowplow, I'll drag him through the snow by his #^$& and beat him to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down t he street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the !@#$$%^%^^&& snowplow.

December 25

Merry ------- Christmas! 20 more inches of the darn slop tonight - Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God, I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's a idiot. If I have to watch "It's A Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to stuff her into the microwave.

December 26

Still snowed in. Why the heck did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves.

December 27

Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze; plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him, he only charged me $1,400 to replace all my pipes.

December 28

Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. The WITCH is driving me crazy!!!

December 29

10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30

Roof caved in. I beat up the snowplow driver, and now he is suing me for a million dollars, not only the beating I gave him, but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his #*^@&. The wife went home to her mother. Nine more inches predicted.

December 31

I set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8

Feels so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Wonder why they tied me to this bed??
(Originally posted 2009)

06 February 2013

Famous Love Letters - Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo was probably best known as the author of Les Misérables 

To Adèle Foucher (she would become his wife in 1822)

My dearest,

When two souls, which have sought each other for,however long in the throng, have finally found each other ...a union, fiery and pure as they themselves are... begins on earth and continues forever in heaven.

This union is love, true love, ... a religion, which deifies the loved one, whose life comes from devotion and passion, and for which the greatest sacrifices are the sweetest delights.

This is the love which you inspire in me... Your soul is made to love with the purity and passion of angels; but perhaps it can only love another angel, in which case I must tremble with apprehension. Yours forever,
Victor Hugo (1821)

No. I am not lazy, I am just very protective of my seat...

I'm going to have to work really hard to stay focused and actually get something done today. I have a very long list that keeps getting longer. 

Note to self: Some kids today, "Instead of doing my homework; I like to stay on the computer and worry about how much homework I have to do." In all fairness I must to admit it is WAY too easy to waste an entire morning or even day on a computer, which is fine if you are getting paid to do it, but that is not a likely scenario. As an adult I should have more self control to focus on more Important things. In the words of Gloria Pitzer (we would have gotten along famously), “Procrastination is my sin. It brings me naught but sorrow. I know that I should stop it. In fact, I will--tomorrow”

Stray thought for the day...  I'm not having much luck at that whole self control thing this morning.  Do you know? I think I could really be a morning person... If morning happened to be around noon. Sigh

I have a house to clean and it's probably a very good thing that we don't have cable TV... because then I could sit down and watch Hoarders and not feel quite so inadequate. 

I have clothes to wash, dry and fold but although we are firmly entrenched in the 21st century, there is still no FOLD button on our dryer.

At the moment? All I really want to do is go back to sleep.  Although I also must admit that having had a dream about past English teachers last night almost makes me rethink the whole going back to bed thing... ALMOST. 

I know this is going to sound... well odd, but whenever I think of laziness I think of The Dead Poets Society. There is a point in the story in which the new English teacher tries to convince his all male student class body that an English essay homework assignment did not have to be akin to a death sentence. 
“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.” N. H. Kleinbaum, Dead Poets Society
I know I just have to find the right motivation as I can not use a cattle prod as an incentive to my backside. I'm too old to do a pretzel impersonations.

And I truly hope none of my past English teachers ever have the opportunity to read any post I have written on my blog, but just in case one should ever chance upon it?  I just want it to go down on record that I publicly exonerate you from any and all blame.  I had wonderful English teachers who really did teach me the correct use of the written English language.  The sentence structure and punctuation found amongst most of my posts would have earned me an 'F' (and a lecture) should I have ever had the lack of intelligence to hand in any assignment riddled with these flaws with them.  

I know this.  I want to make sure anyone else chancing upon my blog is aware that it's purely because I'm lazy (ok, I'll admit it) and not some maladjusted academic failure.  

Honest.  I'm just lazy.  

Look at the mess I have made of this post thus far.   Now that I think about this, if you had ever been my English teacher, you would already be extensively acquainted with my educational shortcomings. It is also possible, given my age, that a few of those English teachers may be rolling in their graves at my egregious annihilation of the written word... but may I point out that I do know what a real dictionary and thesaurus looks like and even how to use them without the help of Google.  So I guess it's all good... feel free to ignore this post and carry on...

Quote of the day: "Lazy is a very strong word. I like to call it 'selective participation'"

(In the interest of complete attribution, picture above came from uberhumor.com, and I'm not as witty today as I should be and so I stole borrowed quotations which had unknown authors, unless the owner is cited)

05 February 2013

Breakfast at The Lemon Stand Household...

Husband (yelling up the stairs), "Erin your breakfast is getting cold!"
Erin, "I'M COMING!!!!"
 Husband "Hey! You don't yell at me. Go back upstairs and read your kid manual. It states that very clearly."
**roll of eyes** 
Danielle, "I just wish there really were a kid's manual."
Husband, “There is.  It’s one page and it says two things.  Shut up.  And listen.  Oh, and pick up your crap.”

Nicole, "That's three things."

Husband, "See the first two rules."
QOTD: "No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal." Bill Cosby
(Originally posted 5 Dec 2007)

04 February 2013

Promotion Management Committee Proposal...

I can't help posting this.  I have been reading my old blog files and it just seems so appropriate for the current job climate...  It is also kind of odd to realize that this post is looking at past political history.  Someone please, either tell me I really am not getting older, or bring me some chocolate... 

John, my best friend Kelly's husband, was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Project Management at work this week and I broke the good news to my family at the dinner table.
Rachel, "Does this mean he's second in line only to the Vice President?"

Me "I believe so."

Danielle, "So all we need to do is take out the Vice President so that he can take his place..."
**Blink** 
Husband, "Sure, just start with Cheney and work your way down."
**Blink, blink**

What? [I think I need to reassure readers that they are just joking before someone reports us to child welfare for raising blood-thirsty little heathens...] Exhaustion has been dogging my footsteps all day and I missed the link in conversation at first until I realized that Dick Cheney is the VICE PRESIDENT.... just not the Vice President who is John's boss... But the kids picked it up and ran with it...
Danielle, "We can invite John's boss to go hunting. Don't move Mr. Vice President. There is a deer right behind you."

Husband, "Duck, Duck, Goose..."

Rachel, "Deer hunting, not duck hunting, but you're right, we have to make it look like a hunting accident..."
**Roll of eyes** And here I thought that the kids were blissfully oblivious to the political scene...

As for John... Congratulations!!! Just wanted you to know that your promotion management committee is already hard at work for you in planning your next raise in stature... (and wanted to warn you to decline any invitations to go hunting with your boss...)

QOTD: "This job is only a test, had it been an actual job, you would have received raises, bonuses and promotions." Unknown
(Originally posted 13 Mar 2007)