Saturday, October 31, 2009

Family Time

It has been a crazy week!

My sister Cathie flew in to Ohio last Sunday for a vacation. It's been a long time since all remaining siblings were in one place at one time. We had that opportunity this week for the first time since 1997. That's a long damn time.

Anyway, Cathie flew in last Sunday. I told her I'd pick her up at the airport and she wouldn't miss me, as I'd be the one crying. Hey, I can't help it. I'm an emotional kind of gal.

I got to the airport and stood at baggage claim next to the line of limo drivers. Sure enough, as soon as she texted me that she was on the ground, the crying started. I haven't seen her since Christmas 2007 and talking almost daily just isn't the same! The limo drivers were all giving me funny looks but who cares! I waited. And I waited. None of us are as young as we used to be but for crying out loud, if she walked any slower, she'd have been walking backwards! I swear!

We finally got our huge sister hug and the tears started to flow in earnest. Luckily, I had the foresight to put tissues in my pocket. We gathered ourselves up and got her bag and headed out.

As a side note, if you haven't been to the Cleveland airport in awhile, it's totally changed. There is a lot of construction going on both in and around the airport; what a mess. But, I digress.

From the airport, Mike, Mary Jane, Phil and Ron met us at a BBQ place not too far from the house for dinner, Moosehead. It was a great dinner. We laughed and giggled and hooted and hollered until they kicked us out to lock up the restaurant.

Monday Cathie and I spent the day being tourists in Lorain. From Lakeview Park to the Black River Landing and most of the places in between. Just about any place I've talked about going, I took Cathie to see. Even my local library!

We tried to go back in time for dinner. We bought the fixings to make City Chicken, hopefully like Mom used to do. The only problem was, we really weren't sure what it was that Mom did. We went to the meat department at Fligner's and picked up veal cubes, pork cubes and the wooden sticks to make the "legs". I trusted Cathie with a knife and she cut the cubes of meat to a more appropriate size while I jabbed at them with the sticks. After all was said and done, I have to admit, we were damn close to the way Mom used to make them! Way to go, Sissy! We make a great cooking team! Mom would have been proud.

Tuesday found us teaming up again in the kitchen as we had our friends Larry and Linda over for dinner. Again, lots of laughing, lots of joking and believe it or not, another great meal.

Then here is what happened on Wednesday:

Jim came from Erie, Michael came over and for the first time in a long time, we were all together. Good, bad or otherwise, we were all together. The old stories were told and retold. It's amazing that five of us have five different versions of some of our histories. That aside, I think a great time was had by all.

After all of the laughing and arguing and eating and story telling, Jim headed back to Erie with Cathie in tow. They had a whirlwind few days planned, touring New York and Pennsylvania. I can't wait to hear their stories when they return sometime Sunday evening.

Now after all of that, here is my public service announcement.

If anyone has an older brother, give him a good noogie. For real. Who'd have thought that at our ages, we'd still be pestering each other like this. Let me tell you though, that this simple act did me wonders. This has renewed my soul, just a little bit.

So follow my advice: if you have an older brother, give him a noogie. (Look out Phil, I'm not the only one that has you as an older brother!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm A Snoop

I didn't realize how much fun, and how rewarding, snooping can be. I don't mean like snooping in someone else's medicine cabinet although I hear that can be its own kind of fun. I mean snooping in my own house.

I have issues with my basement. I can muster up some courage to go into the basement if it is during the day. But there are two rooms in the basement that I will NOT go into, day or night, alone. It has nothing to do with any ghosts that I believe live in this house but because of BUGS. Namely, spiders. Can you say EWW??

The first of these off limits rooms is a dry cellar that is directly under the front porch. It's called a dry cellar, but it's really not. When it rains, we get water in there. It normally is a little damp and dampness in my mind equates to bugs. There are some shelves in this dry cellar with some odds and ends on it and an oak barrel (it was there when we moved in!) and old sink (again, from when we moved in) and that's about it.

On the other side of the basement is the old coal room. Years ago, this house used to be heated by a coal furnace. The coal truck would back up the driveway, there is a little door on the side of the house that they'd open the door, put the slide in the door and the coal would empty from the truck, down the slide and into the coal room in the basement. From there, you would shovel out the coal and shovel it into the coal furnace. Sounds like a lot of work to me! This is a very dark room as there are no windows in it and the walls are cinder block. Damn scary to someone with arachnophobia! No way I'm going in there, with or without Ron!

So, Sunday afternoon, I was putzing in the basement. Ron happened to be in the basement having a cigarette, so I asked him to go into the dry cellar with me. I haven't been in there in a long time and I just wanted to look around. You wouldn't believe what I found in there!

I found a box that I packed up when I left Houston. All the breakables in the box were wrapped in pages from the Houston Chronicle dated October 14, 2001. It's sad I've never opened that box since then! I lived in an apartment here for a couple of years and never opened it at the apartment. Then, in this house for almost six years, and the box was in the basement. Right now, a few things have been thrown out, one thing was broken and the rest is in the dishwasher. Bonus for me.

Speaking of bonuses, I really hit the jackpot in the dry cellar while snooping. I found a box full of goodies! There have to be 20 balls of crochet thread! Plus, books and books of crocheted doily patterns as well as a home made book of favorite crocheted doily patterns!

For the life of me, I could not remember getting this box. I looked at the writing on some of the pages and couldn't recognize the writing. My first thought was that I got it from my sister in law, since both of us had crocheted doilies throughout the years. According to Mary Jane, they weren't from her. This was a mystery. When I saw my name written on the box, I was really stymied! My mind was just drawing a blank.

Finally, going through the books in the box, I saw a name written on one of the books. Lil! My friend Jeff's Mom! I have a huge box of goodies and I am ashamed to say that I don't really remember getting the box. And WHY did I put this in the dry cellar? I have no idea how long it's been there, but I'm telling you, it was like Christmas here yesterday afternoon!

Maybe for that reason, I put the box away when I got it, because it was meant to be found on a day that I needed to find something that happy. Then again, maybe it was Lil herself stopping by to say hello. I know she was on my mind all day yesterday. And now today my mind is filled with creating these beautiful doilies. Here's hoping my bifocals will allow me to crochet with the thread again!

So there you go. Start snooping in your own house. You never know what treasures you will find.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Where's George?

I have a little bit of CDO. That's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but in alphabetical order, the way it should be.

I know I'm not as bad as most obsessive compulsives, but I definitely have my issues. One of the ways that this manifests is in my following of one of my favorite websites.

Where's George tracks currency. I know it sounds silly, but I am totally addicted to Where's George.

I suggest that everyone should start their own addiction to this website. Follow the link above and register for an account. Not to worry, it doesn't take but a minute. Then, start entering your one dollar bills.

You can enter any denomination, but I hold my addiction to just ones. You enter what year is on the bill. Then, you enter the serial number, complete with the alpha characters before and after the number. A box is provided for a note to go with the bill. Personally, I like to keep track of where I got the bill and I write that in. For example, I will write that I got the bill in change from the local post office in my city, or something similar. I am extremely anal about not spending a dollar bill before I can enter it into Where's George!

After I'm done entering my bills, I write on the bills. Please don't tell anyone because I'm not sure how the feds feel about me marking up their bills! I've seen some people purchase a stamp to promote this website, but I just like to take my favorite pen and write along the bottom margin of the bill, the website address of

Then I wait for the emails to come in. Where's George will automatically send an email when someone else enters your bill into their system. This was more common back when I was traveling and would spend my ones all over. But, now I still get excited that a bill I entered in Brunswick Ohio is in Portland Maine. Or how about my bill that I entered in Lorain Ohio that was last reported in Kenosha Wisconsin. Or, one of my favorites that I entered while staying in a hotel in Pittsburgh that later showed up in Erie Pennsylvania! See why I'm addicted? Where's George also writes statistics on your bills in more ways than I can ever explain in here. It is any anal retentives dream come true.

So, try it. Tell me if you like it. Just don't blame me if you get addicted too. And, if you see one of my bills with the writing across the bottom, please enter it into Where's George. I need some emails in my inbox!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

We're Watching You

Call it shutting the barn door after the horse got out, but Ron has been working on protecting us from any future break ins.

We now have an alarm system. If you know Ron, this isn't just any run of the mill system, either! He has numerous components hooked up, and seems to be hooking up more and more each day. As each component is hooked up, there is a learning curve.

Like for example, remembering to turn on the alarm system when we leave. Or, remembering to turn it off before we open a door. Yeah, little things.

I said it was an alarm system. Aside from the plain old alarm that will go off should someone breach an opening, the system will also turn on and off lights for you, there are inside motion detectors and outside motion detectors. Some of the motion detectors also turn on the recorder on the cameras to tape whatever tripped the sensor. Pretty cool, huh?

Then of course, there are the cameras themselves. We have watched the activity (actually inactivity!) on our television as well as our computer monitors. This can be a whole new type of reality TV addiction for me. It's a darn addicting show, let me tell you.

Let's go back to the learning curve. Over the weekend, Phil had gone running around town. While he was gone, Ron and I decided to head out ourselves. Before we left, I sent Phil a text message letting him know we were leaving, so when he got home, he should turn off the alarm before opening the door.

Too bad I didn't take my own advice.

Ron and I ended up getting home before Phil. Since we took my car, I stopped to let Ron out of my car by the side door of the house before I pulled my car into the garage. I even reminded Ron that he should turn the alarm off before unlocking the side door . . . just . . . as . . . I . . . reached . . . up . . . and . . . opened . . . the . . . garage . . . door. DANG! Sirens, horns, lights flashing! A lot of to do in our neighborhood just because I forgot to wait for Ron to shut the alarm off before I opened the garage door! Yeah, that's hooked up to the alarm too. With all that hoopla going on, it's sure hard to get your head together enough to remember how to shut off the alarm. If nothing else, the neighbors now know we really do have an alarm.

So we are wired up. And, remember I said we also have cameras. So, the next time anyone drives by our house, make sure you wave. Chances are, one of us are watching on one monitor or another!