Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Wanna Pretend

Do you ever just not want to be part of reality?  Or more correct, do you want to be part of a different reality?

That's where I am today.  Today is a slap in the face reminder of just about everything I've done wrong in my life.  I can't blame anyone else as I made all of the decisions that got me to where I am today.  I don't have to like it, but no matter how many times I click my heels together, I can't go back and have a do over.  Most days I accept that, today just isn't one of them.

I knew that today would not be a day that I can put one foot in front of the other and get on with my life.  Today, I was going to need to try to take a step out of reality and pretend for one day I'm someone else.

So I tried to play hooky from life today.  I enlisted Ron's help and I took a day off of work and he took a half a day off of work.  We started out hooky day last night at Mezcal Tequila.  They say that drinking doesn't solve your problems but I'll tell you what, I had a couple of good hours last night!! 

I learned one thing from last night.  I really am too old for a hangover.  Oy vey.  But, for as long as Ron had off of work, we had a pretty good hooky day.  We did stuff we don't ordinarily do, especially on a Tuesday.  For one, we went bowling at Rebman on Oberlin Avenue.  If you ever go there, tell Fred we said hello.  He did a great job getting us two noobs up and at 'em trying to bowl.  I warned him that we were not really sure what we were doing so he made sure we were waaay off on our own so that we didn't bother anyone.  We sucked at bowling, but it was fun. 

Fun that is, until Fred said that we'd be perfect for their over 50 seniors league starting tomorrow!  DUDE!  This bitch is having a bad day to begin with and you're going to assume I'm OVER 50???  I still have another year to go before I hit 50!  Let's not rush things!

That faux pas aside Fred did help us have a good time.  He didn't make me bowl any better, but he helped us have some fun.  And, in three games, at least I had ONE game that I bowled over 100!  I'm pretty jiggy with that.

I will make it through today but first I'm going to finish the pity party I'm having for myself.  Tomorrow I'll put my big girl pants back on and go out to face the future I carved out for myself.  Tomorrow WILL be a better day.  It has to be.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Overreacting 101

Maybe I overreacted.  I'm not sure.

Today, I had such a hankering for a Quarter Pounder with cheese that we HAD to go to McDonald's for lunch today.

We went to the McDonald's on Route 611.  Inside, there is a counter with four stools on each side.  In the middle of the counter is a little privacy wall, maybe eight inches high or so.  When we went to look for a seat, at the counter was a mom and her two daughters.  The girls were maybe between six and eight years old.  Little cutie patooties!

The three of them were all sitting on the same side of the counter and Ron and I ended up sitting behind them.  I had my back to them so I wasn't paying any attention to what was going on.  When we went to leave, I saw mom and one daughter go back up to the register while the other daughter stayed at the counter.

However, now I see an adult male sitting on the opposite side of the counter facing the little girl while mom and the other daughter are at the register.  Then I hear the man say "so, where is your Daddy?" and then "why don't you show me your new toy?" (from the Happy Meal).  This just did NOT sit right with me.

The guy wasn't there when we came in but now he was sitting on the opposite side of the counter from the little girl.  If the guy didn't know the little girl, his comments were WAY out of line.  If he did know the girl, I was way out of line.

We got up and walked towards the front of the store and I looked at Ron and just said "we can't go yet".  I stood up front where I could see the little girl and I planned on staying there until mom got back to the counter with her.  From where I was, I couldn't hear what he was saying to the girl, but I wasn't taking any chances.

I think Ron knew from the look on my face that something was up, but he was nice enough not to make an issue about it right there and just stood by me and waited.  Once mom finished up and got back to the counter with the little girl, I said ok, we can leave.  On our way out, I told Ron what I heard the guy say.  I said there was NO way I was leaving her alone there with him.  He totally agreed and thought we should have stayed as well.

I really don't know what was going on.  Maybe in the way the world is today, I am always looking for the bad guy.  I trust no one.  Was this guy with them?  He wasn't when I got there.  If he was, why was he asking "where's daddy"?  I don't know.  I just got a bad feeling.

Did I over react?  Maybe.  Would I do the same thing all over again?  Absolutely.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Addition to my Resume

I work for a small company.  Being small, we all wear more than one hat.

I always joke that my job description is Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Payroll, Purchasing, I water the plants, sweep the floor, clean the bathroom, make the Gatorade, and anything else my brother, I mean my boss, deems necessary.  I'm jiggy with that!

I am usually the first one at work in the morning.  As soon as I walk in, I walk through the building turning up the thermostats, turning on the lights and starting every one's computers.  This morning as I was walking through the lab, I hear water running.  It was coming from the bathroom in the lab so I went to investigate.

The toilet was running.  Should be simple.  I did what I could do, then continued on my rounds.

When my brother, I mean my boss, got to work, I told him about the running toilet.  He went to check it out but came back and said that nothing was wrong with it now.  Taa daa!!!  I had fixed it!!

Ok, I jiggled the handle but was out of there before the tank refilled and the sound of running water stopped.  It doesn't matter.  It counts in the "I fixed it" column.

Yeah, that is SO going on my resume!  Now I'm maintenance, too!

Mystery Building

Last night I posted this picture to our Lorain 365 blog.  Lisa and I are each posting one picture a day of something in Lorain and we're going to be doing this for one whole YEAR!

Anyway, on occasion, I go through the Chase Bank drive through.  The entrance to the drive through is located on 21st Street, just east of Broadway.  This building will be directly in front of you as you exit the drive through on 20th Street.

For the last two years or so I have been using this drive through and this building has always just fascinated me.  I have no idea what it is, but while I'm waiting in line at the drive through, this building absolutely mesmerizes me.

See on the top right?  Why is that window missing?  Who goes to that hole to watch out?  Who or what are getting into the building through that hole up there?

For a long time, this building was dark and I assumed empty.  Then, maybe a year ago or so, suddenly, there was a light on.  Some of the windows are blocked by plywood or something, but if you look at the second floor windows, the second one from the right, I now see a ceiling light on through that window.  What's up??  Every time I go by, that same light seems to be on.  It can't be an abandoned building if the power is still on in there, right?

Lisa suggested I do my home work on this building and go check out at the library or the Historical Society to see what this building is or was.  I just might have to do that!

All I know is that a lot of us bloggers are aspiring novelists.  Heaven knows I always thought I'd have written at least one book by now.  This building talks to me.  I think if I ever DO get that novel written, it will be about this building.  Who or what lives in there?  Why are there lights on but it still doesn't look like anyone's home?  It's definitely going to be a mystery book on this mystery building.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No Black Olives - EVER!

Last summer when my sister Cathie came for a visit, I took one day off of work for us to go "bumming".  That's aimlessly wandering around with little to no plan other than shopping.

Our day also included a stop at the local Subway for sandwiches for the two of us and our brother Mike.  I may have been off for the day but he still had to work.  We stole him from work for awhile as we headed to the Metro Park in Carlisle Township with our Subway sandwiches for lunch.

Now, I ASKED Mike what kind of sandwich he wanted the day before.  He asked for a meatball sub and that was all the instructions I got regarding how he wanted his sandwich made.  Meatball sub.

Cathie and I went into Subway, built our sandwiches and then I asked for one meatball sub.

Sandwich maker:  Would you like that toasted?
Me:  Um, ok!
Sandwich maker:  Do you want cheese on there?
Me:  Um, ok!
Sandwich maker:  Would you like anything else on this sandwich?
Me:  Um, what do people usually put on meatball subs?
Sandwich maker:  Some people like black olives on the meatball subs.
Me:  Um, ok!

I took a lot of crap from Mike about that sandwich!  For real!  If you don't like how I make your sandwich, make your own!  If you don't like the black olives, knock them off of the sandwich and eat it!  The olives are all on top!  Oh no.  It was much easier to eat the entire sandwich as is while busting my ovaries about putting black olives on a meatball sub!

Some things you never get over.

Tonight I went for my usual weekly shopping run to Sam's Club and Giant Eagle.  The guys are on their own for dinner on my shopping night and generally as a treat I stop and get myself a Subway sandwich on my way home.  I went in to the one on Oberlin (my personal favorite!) and there were a few people in line ahead of me.  It never takes long, so I was waiting patiently for my turn.  Finally, as they had my sandwich in the toaster over, I was listening to the woman and her son ahead of me building their sandwich.

Sandwich maker:  What would you like on your sandwich?
Mom to her son:  Do you think we should put lettuce on there?  (he nodded)  Ok, put a lot of lettuce on there.
Sandwich maker:  Anything else?
Mom to her son:  Um, what else do you think we should put on his sandwich?  Some tomatoes?  (he nodded)  Yes, some tomatoes please.  (they seemed to be picking up a sandwich for someone else)
Sandwich maker:  Anything else?
Mom:  Oh I don't know what to do.  Maybe some pickles?
Sandwich Maker:  Ok.  Anything else?
Mom:  How about black olives?

At this point, I had to add MY two cents worth!

Me:  NO!  Not black olives!  You should NEVER put black olives on some one's sandwich for them!  NEVER!

For real, I have never gotten worse looks from three total strangers!  Mom, son and sandwich maker all looked at me like I was nuts!  It might have to do with the fact that I was standing there laughing my butt off, but I digress.

If I have learned nothing from my brother, I learned NO black olives.  EVER!  I was just trying to pass along my knowledge to someone else.  Did they listen to me?  NO!  They went ahead and added those black olives to that sandwich.

I know once they got that sandwich home to whoever they ordered it for, they thought of me.  Yep, I'm sitting over here saying "I told you so"!  Next time they'll listen to me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sorrento's, That's Just Wrong, Page 26

The other night when Ron and I went to LCCC to see Damn Yankees, we had gone to dinner first to Sorrento's.

I've blogged before about going to Sorrento's and as far as I was concerned, it was on my "do not go to ever again" list.  I can't find the post right now, but to catch you up, we had gone to Sorrento's for dinner awhile back.  We were sitting in the dining room and I watched as the waitresses were folding the new cloth napkins.  She had dropped a bunch of them on the floor, picked them up and continued folding.  Really??

The germ-o-phobe in me had to say something.  EWW.  If something is on your floor, I do NOT want to be putting it on my face.  I'm funny that way.  Our server said she understood and would say something to the server who was folding the napkins but I said then that I wouldn't be back.

If your staff has no regard to the health code infractions, that comes from the top.  If she actually thought there was nothing wrong with taking napkins off of the filthy floor and putting them back in the stack to be used by patrons, then I can only imagine what is allowed in the kitchen.  Some people like to sit where they can watch what's going on in the kitchen.  Not me.  The less I know the better!

Anyway, we're heading to the show and want to eat somewhere close by.  Ron suggested Sorrento's but I reminded him of my "do not go to ever again" list.  He pooh-pooh'ed me, telling me that was just ONE server and that was a LONG time ago, blah blah blah.  Some days it's easier to go along than to argue.  Fine, let's go to Sorrento's.

You're never going to believe what happened.

We ordered 1/2 of a carafe of wine.  That probably saved me from making a bigger scene.  We both ordered dinners that included a salad.  The salads were brought out and I'm eating and suddenly bite down on something that's NOT salad.  You ever bit into foil?  I don't know if it's the fillings in my teeth or just that it's foil, but you know immediately something is wrong.  I fished it out of my mouth and it is is the foil that you take off of the top of a wine bottle before opening it. 

Really?  HOW does your food get contaminated in the kitchen???  Or, if the salad isn't IN the kitchen but at a stand where the servers prepare the salads themselves, the question remains:  HOW DO YOU ALLOW CONTAMINANTS INTO YOUR FOOD????

There is NO excuse on this earth why this piece of foil from a wine bottle got into the middle of my salad.  Even if it was the foil from OUR bottle of wine.  The reason it happened is poor management and lack of following health code regulations.  Ugh.

Ron did bring it to our server's attention and the restaurant comped our wine.  That wine is what saved them from me going off on them in the middle of the dining room so that was probably a good thing.

Guess who's back on my "do not go to ever again" list?   And this time, it's etched in stone.  Contaminants in my food?  Yeah, that's just wrong.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

February Photo Challenge

I guess I like a challenge!  As if the Lorain 365 blog wasn't enough of a challenge, a few of us have decided to also do a daily photo challenge throughout February.  Any and all are welcome to join in our challenge.  Just post the pictures to your blog daily (or as many as possible!) and have fun! 

So far, Georgia and Lisa and I are going to do this challenge.  Pictures will be posted daily on our own blogs on the theme of the day. 

If you're interested in participating, I can post links here to your blog.   The most important requirement for this challenge it just to have FUN!!  I think we came up with a good eclectic list for February and it's a good project to help us all get through a dreary winter.

Please make sure you stop by often and check on my progress.  It's going to be a Fun February!

Home Depot, From Hero to Zero

Back in September when I bought new windows for the house, I was totally impressed by everything that was Home Depot.

From Dave who came to my house for the estimate who educated me to the point that I felt that I was teaching things to the next two companies that came in to quote the job, to our installer Bob.  Like I said, Dave made sure I was an educated consumer and I knew better what to look for in the rest of the estimates.  He didn't leave my house until ALL of my questions were answered.

He explained pricing, financing, construction, and I knew exactly what to expect from the beginning to the end.  Home Depot got that contract in a large part because of Dave.  All three estimates I received were all in the same ball park price wise, but customer service wise, Dave won hands down.

Bob our installer came in and for two days worked harder than I could have hoped for.  He was pleasant, engaging, and happily followed my rules to ensure no cats snuck out the door.  And the icing on that cake was that he did a GREAT job on the installation and I have been nothing but happy about spending all that money on new windows.

So, when I needed to spend more money on home improvements, my first choice was to go back to Home Depot.   Yeah, lightening didn't strike twice.

I went to the local store on Leavitt Road in Lorain.  Now, I had done my research and even was at the store getting an estimate a few months ago so I knew what I wanted.  This turned out to be one of the worst experiences spending money I've had.  And, it's not over yet.

I have a feeling Home Depot doesn't sell many garage doors because this guy had a lot of trouble with the website to get the door ordered.  He really didn't seem like he knew what he was doing.  Another employee came over to help so I thought I was going to be in better hands.

When I bought the windows, I put half down and then paid the other half once installation was complete.  I assumed that was the way it was going to be this time.  Wrong!

When I went in previously, I had asked how to measure for the new door to get the estimate, and we just sort of guessed and used the standard size for a single bay door.  I was told then not to worry since a professional would come to my house to get the measurements before the door was ordered.

So, yesterday, he took down all my info such as what door I wanted, what color, and he GUESSED at the size and then said I had to pay $XXX.xx in total up front!  I said you don't even know the size, how do you know the amount???  He kept saying not to worry, someone would be out to measure!  The next thing I know, I've handed over my gift cards.  You know I'm all about getting some free gas from Giant Eagle with the gift cards!!  Anyway, at his station, he couldn't seem to enter more than two gift cards, as the system supposedly wouldn't allow him.  This caused his coworker to ask me if I bought those gift cards from a guy in the parking lot.  Really??  I gave him the stare down while he laughed at his own joke.  Really buddy?  I'm spending a lot of MY hard earned money and you're questioning my integrity?  You're questioning how I am paying for this?  Let me tell you, had I not just spent all this money on gift cards, I would have high tailed it elsewhere for a garage door. 

Home Depot:  The two guys that work in doors and windows at the Lorain facility are NOT assets to your organization.  These two would be best kept out of contact with your customers.  I am speaking from experience here.

So, we had to walk up front so that I could pay for this purchase.  The girl at customer service rang it up, took my gift cards then asked me to sign the screen where you usually sign for your credit card.  She said this was their "customer agreement" that I was signing.  I asked just WHAT was I signing?  She said "uh, our customer agreement.  I don't really know what it says."

Um, Home Depot:  Add this girl to your list that needs to be taken off the front line and put behind the scenes.

Still nothing had been explained to me.  I said I'm not signing anything until I see in writing that the old garage door will be carted away and that the new door would be hooked up to the existing garage door opener.  The associate that filled out my paperwork was like a deer in the headlights.  I said I'm serious, show it to me in writing. 

Finally, paperwork was printed out and the THREE of us were looking through it.  I finally found the clause that stated the old door would be hauled away.  In the paperwork I had, there was NO mention of hooking up the new door to the existing opener.  I finally gave up, resigned to the fact that we'll have to hook it up ourselves.  The associate then told me "um I'm sure they'll hook it up for you."  I told him that his assurance and fifty cents will buy me a cup of coffee but I doubted it would get my opener hooked up. 

I was so frustrated by the time I left Home Depot over on Leavitt in Lorain.  I just spent a LOT of money and I feel like I got nothing in return.  As a side note, I went through the paperwork I was finally given AFTER my signature and did find in writing that the new door will be hooked up to an existing opener.  That is the one bright spot on this.

This Mickey Mouse operation does NOT give me warm fuzzies about anything else.  Mark my words, they will be getting more and more money out of me due to additional charges that the original associate had no idea about.  I don't know this for sure, but I'm telling you, between the two of them working, neither of them seemed to know what they were doing.  This is not going to end well, I'm sure.

I know it's going to cost me more money.  You can't pay for something without measurements.  WTF.  Even I know that.  I guess this is the down side to paying with gift cards.  The money had already been expended, now I have to buy something for that much money.  Ugh.

Hopefully when all is said and done, I'll have a new garage door.  And the additional cost will be minimal.  That would be best case scenario.  What's the chances?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Benny's Got a Clean Bill of Health!

Today I had Benny to the vet.  That sounds like an easy task but let me tell you, it was anything but!

Back in the day of having Benny to the vet every other week, I carried him in a soft sided carrier.  When I got Penelope, I didn't think that soft sided carrier was big enough for her, so I bought a hard sided carrier for her. 

Benny used to try to push his way out of that soft sided carrier, so I thought that now that he's bigger, it might be better to take him in the hard carrier.  The soft carrier, the cat goes in from the top.  The hard carrier, they walk in from the side.  Penelope went right in both times I had her in it, so I was silly enough to ASSUME Benny would walk right in too!

You never know how strong a cat is until you try to get it into a carrier that he doesn't want to get in to!  Just like in the cartoons, one paw on each side and he said NO!  I tried three times, lost a little blood to teeth and claws and said forget it.  I grabbed his soft sided carrier and that he went right in to.  He wasn't happy about it but he went in. 

For a cat that rarely meows, poor Benny bellowed from the time he got into the carrier to the time he got out again back home!  That poor boy let me know that he did NOT like what was going on!!

We made it to the Lorain Animal Clinic, Benny letting everyone know he was NOT happy to be there! Luckily, the staff didn't seem to mind!  They said that most of their patients don't want to be there.  I appreciated their understanding.

I've mentioned before that my cats have made me crazy since coming into my life.  I am overly emotional when it comes to the cats.  I'm just there for a check up for Benny, to get his booster vaccines and for crying out loud, when I get into the exam room with Dr. Hudson, I start having a breakdown.  I am one crying mess!  There is nothing wrong with the cat for heaven's sake!  He just needs his shots!!  But, Benny is unhappy so mama is unhappy I guess.   But, Dr. Hudson was nice enough to listen to my concerns from a list I had prepared.  She gave me some good ideas on a few behavior issues as well as reaffirmed to me that I'm doing a good job with him.  I needed to hear that.

I talked to Dr. Hudson about how Benny is still into biting.  I know if you over stimulate a cat, they will bite to tell you to stop.  But Benny can start biting out of nowhere. I was sitting in the recliner last night reading and suddenly, he's biting my foot.  I didn't even know he was by me!  And poor Penelope.  He will jump on her and start biting just because she's there.  He doesn't draw blood or anything and some people tell me there are just playing but it doesn't look or sound like playing to me. 

He's better than he was with Penelope but it's not perfect.  That was one of my biggest concerns.  So after a discussion with Dr. Hudson, we decided to try some pheromone therapy.  It's just like a room freshener type thing, it plugs into the wall.  It could take up to a MONTH to take effect, but it should calm him down.  I'm not sure I'm on board with this as I don't want to take away from Benny what MAKES him Benny.  We'll see.  If the plug in thingie just stops them going at each other, then I'll keep paying for refills.  If Benny stops being Benny, that thing will be chucked down the street.

I came home, and called Cathie and cried on her shoulder.  Can you imagine if something was WRONG with the cats??  I'm a wreck for a freakin' check up!!  Thanks, sister, for once again being there and listening to me just be stupid and talking me through it!

The bottom line is Benny is 11-1/2 pounds, he's happy, he's healthy and he still loves me.  And I'm still a mental case.  And THAT'S just the way things should be. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It Was a Real Date Night!

Ron and I had an actual date last night!

Like most good dates, we started with dinner.  Um, ok, this needs to be a post on its own.  I know Ron thinks I'm nuts, and he may be right but . . . well, that will be in another post.

After dinner, we headed over to Lorain County Community College to the Stocker Arts Center.  Linda gave us tickets to last night's performance of Damn Yankees.  Ok, here's a little guilty pleasure of mine.  I love live theater and if it's a musical, BONUS!  I really think I CAN sing like these people.  I belt it out like that in my car and to me, I sound fine.  I ignore all the stares and looks I get from the people in the cars around me.  But, I digress.

Somehow Linda got the tickets and couldn't make the show so she gave the tickets to Ron.  As much as I love live theater, not much is worth driving into Cleveland for.  Since this show was at the LCCC, I was in!  Close enough to home for me!

After dinner, we headed over to find the Stocker Arts Center.  The signs on campus were plentiful and lead us right to where we needed to be.  The building was very nice and artsy!  In the lobby were tables and chairs and benches all around for people to sit and relax and talk while they wait for the doors to open.  Then, instead of the mad dash to rush into the theater once the doors open, Stocker is set up so that there is a separate door for every three or so rows.  That really made it nice.  You didn't have to walk over or through as many people trying to find your seat.

We went in and found our seats and ended up talking to the couple next to us.  Here is a vibrant, active, retired couple that has season passes not only to the Stocker Arts Center but to just about every arts center or theater around.  Good for them!  The guy was really a hoot and because he was so outgoing and gregarious, his wife was much quieter.  I think she had to be, because he would be too much to try to talk over!  At first the conversation was pleasant and generic.

They he started in on the jokes.  Really, people, this is 2012.  Believe it or not, I do NOT want to hear any racist or ethnic jokes nor do I want to hear jokes about people with disabilities or jokes about dead celebrities.  I do not see how putting down someone who is not the same color or religion or race as you as funny.  Disabilities are not funny.  People who have passed away too soon whether they are celebrities or not is not funny.  This guy starts telling one Polish joke after another.  I was offended.  This is before the show even started, so I wanted to diffuse this situation without totally pissing him off since we're elbow to elbow for the next two hours.

My last name sounds Polish but is actually Slovak.  Very close in geography, language and food.  I politely told him that before he went any farther, my last name was "X".  Without missing a beat, he said that's ok, his last name was "Y" and it was definitely a Polish name with a lot more consonants than my name.  Just because you're Polish doesn't make it right for you to tell Polish jokes.  I don't want to hear them!  Luckily, I think he got the hint that I was getting ticked and we changed the subject.

Nice enough couple but totally out of line with some of the comments.  Crazy seat mates aside, the show was fantastic!  I had never seen Damn Yankees, but I could sure relate.

The wives are complaining that for six months of the year, they lose their husbands to baseball.  The husbands are complaining because their beloved Washington Senators are 7th in the division.  Hey, I'm a Cubs fan!  I totally understand!

An unhappy Senators fan makes a deal to sell his soul to the Devil so that his beloved team will win the pennant!   Don't worry though, it had a happy ending.  The fan realizes his life was better than he thought and he uses his escape clause to go back to his old life and leave the life of a famous ball player on a winning team.  You gotta love a happy ending!

The music was awesome, the dancing was fantastic and for real, the sets and costumes were absolutely amazing.  Ron and I had such a good time and at the end, my hands were sore from clapping.

Not to dis the school, but I believe that this was a traveling show that had a one night stop at LCCC.  I wish them MUCH luck and success on the rest of their tour.  That really was the most entertaining two hours we've had in a long time.

Date night.  We so gotta do that more often.  If there is singing and dancing involved, all the better!  It was definitely good for my soul.  My soul that as much as I love my Cubs, I'm not quite ready to sell it to the devil, even for a pennant!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cat's Meow

My sister Cathie is way too good to me!  Today for my birthday she sent me flowers to work. 

I just had to share this.  The frame is metal and that tail and neck are heavy duty metal springs.  This is just the cutest thing!  And, it kinda looks like Benny!  Bonus!!

This was just so clever, I had to share it.

And, not to be outdone by my sister, Ron had sent me flowers today as well!  He had them delivered to Mutt & Jeff's, where we met up with some friends and family for a little dinner celebration.

I had a theme working here!  What woman doesn't like flowers!!??  Ron thought of everything tonight, even the birthday cake!

Thanks to everyone for their cards, phone calls, texts, comments and emails today!   All in all, it was a GREAT birthday!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's My Birthday! . . . in Korea!!

January 16, 1963.  Yes, I am going to be 49 years young!

Anyone that knows me, knows I love my birthday!!  I can't help it, one day of the year it's MY turn to be the center of attention, queen for the day.

I have a few routines that I do every year on my birthday.  I stay up until midnight the night before so I can welcome in my birthday.  My sister Cathie then calls me at midnight, to be the FIRST to wish me a happy birthday on my day!  She makes sure that I start my day off right!

Then, I have to stay awake until midnight on the night of my birthday, to say good bye to my birthday for another year. 

This year, my brother Michael stole Cathie's thunder and was the first to wish me a happy birthday ON my birthday!  You see, my brother Michael is right now in Korea, where it is 14 hours ahead of us.  So at midnight his time, 10:00 am my time, I got a Skype call from Michael ON my birthday!  How awesome was that?? 

People think I go nuts over my birthday.  Guilty.  It's my favorite holiday of the year.  Every year should be better than the year before.

Now, did Mike start a new tradition?  A girl could sure get used to this!  I think from now on, I either need a new friend in Korea, or Mike needs to go back again next year!

Happy birthday to me!  I can't hear that too many times!

Day in Erie

It's been almost two years since I've been to Erie.  I've had a feeling deep in my soul that I needed to get back there. 

I've been trying to work up the oomph to make the trip and when I finally talked myself into doing it THIS weekend, the weather turned to crap.  I sincerely felt though that I really NEEDED to be in Erie.  So, weather be darned, we were heading out.

Ron was gracious enough to play my reindeer games with me and go as my copilot on this excursion.  We headed out in the morning to light snow here in Lorain and I hoped for the best.  Perhaps I should have my head examined because we should never have been traveling through that weather.  Two words should have rung loud in my head:  SNOW BELT.  Really?  Ever hear of it?  When they are calling for a winter weather advisory in the snow belt, listen to them and DON'T drive through it.

We were ok heading east until we got to Painesville.  There the weather started turning to crap with heavier snow but the roads were basically ok.  Then we got to Madison and the plows hadn't caught up with the snow.  I-90 was down to one lane and I think that one lane was just made from the traffic, not by a snow plow.  The farther east we went the worse it got.  I white knuckled it the rest of the way into Erie but we made it and met up with Jim for a great lunch.

After lunch, we went to Aunt Mary's, the real reason for my trip home.  Aunt Mary is my second mother.  We lived upstairs from Aunt Mary all the time I was growing up and so she was always a huge part of my life.  I haven't seen her in too long and I missed her.

It was a surprise visit and wow, was she surprised!  But a good surprise!  There were hugs, there were tears and then there was just love.  We sat and caught up with Aunt Mary and just got to have a great visit with her.

Unfortunately, she snow had NOT let up the entire time we were there, so I cut the visit short and we headed for home.  If I thought the trip out there was bad, the trip home was worse!  We hit a very small band of no snow right at the state line.  I actually was thinking that we were getting lucky and would have an easy trip home.   Man was I wrong.

Like I said, it was just a small band of clear weather.  We hit snow again just into Ohio that just kept getting worse and worse and worse.  I had been behind a semi and thought I was doing well picking a large target to follow down the road.  We hit a white out that had me crapping my pants!  I could barely see the hood of my car.  I had NO idea where the side of the road was and for sure, that huge semi just disappeared in the snow.  And to think I missed this crap when I lived in Texas!

Oh well, face to face time with Aunt Mary was so worth the trip!

Once again, the magic Painesville was the dividing line between good weather and bad weather.  Once we hit that mile marker 200, the weather just cleared up.  Suddenly, barely any snow falling and DRY pavement.  Unbelievable. 

Since I finally felt like we might live through this trip, we talked about stopping for dinner somewhere on the east side, since we never get over there any more with my back.  I even let Ron pick where he wanted to go!  One of his favorite restaurants, Phil the Fire, reopened just off of I-271.  It's "Comfort Food for the Soul."  And it sure was!

Their signature dishes are the chicken and waffles selections.  Ron chose the dark meat fried chicken and I chose the grilled chicken breast, both over waffles.  That's Ron's friend chicken in the foreground.

We also chose a couple of side dishes, just because we wanted to taste more of what was on the menu.  We split an order of some buttered grits and some red beans and rice.  Ok, we both ate too much but MAN, was it good!

So that was our day.  The trip did me in.  I am sore, it's hard to sit up, but again, it was worth it.  I miss my Aunt Mary!  And even though I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to, I at least got to visit with Aunt Mary and my brother Jim. 

Who needs to sit up today?  I did enough of that yesterday.  I think today will be spent holding the couch down, maybe with a heating pad to help.  A good day for watching football!  I think that's just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, January 09, 2012

No Longer A 3-D Virgin!

Saturday, Phil had gone out for the day so Ron and I were tossing around a few ideas of what to do ourselves.  I voted for laundry, but Ron wanted something more fun!  Luckily, I was talked out of laundry pretty easily!

We haven't been to a movie in awhile, so that was our pick for the day.  We went online to see what was playing, and out of everything we chose Hugo.  It looked cute.

I guess we should have looked closer at the write up on the movie!  Neither one of us had any idea that it was a 3-D movie!  Yikes!  Hey, we're cheap.  When we do go to a movie, we hit the matinee.  It's still expensive but better than paying full price.  Do you have ANY idea how much a freakin' 3-D movie is?  Even at matinee prices?  It was $21 for TWO of us.  For real! 

Now we're in line, just told it will be $21 and at the last minute we decided what the heck.  We're there, we wanted to see a movie, we'll (Ron will!) cough up the extra cash and we'll splurge.  Hence, my first 3-D movie in probably 25 years.  Actually, now that I think of it, my last 3-D movie was Friday the 13th part III in 3-D!!  That came out in 1982 so that means . . . damn, I'm old.  But, I digress.

Back in my day, it was the paper glasses that never seemed to sit over your glasses right.  Everything was still a little blurry, or at least as far as I was concerned.  Gone are the crappy paper glasses with one red lens and one blue lens.  Now we have Blues Brothers

kind of black plastic glasses!  There at least were recyclable, which I'm hoping means that they clean and then rebag for the next person.  At least the germ-o-phobe in me is hoping that!  Stylish, huh?!

So, we saw our first 3-D movie in a lot of years.  And man, have things changed!  I don't think the point any more of a 3-D film is to scare the crap out of you with spears coming at your head.  Now I think the point is taking you INTO the movie.  When it snowed on screen, Ron and I both were reaching out to touch the snow.  I swear, we were waiting for it to fall on us.  That was pretty cool.

Did I like the movie?  To be honest, I don't remember.  I think I was concentrating so much on the 3-D effects, I really don't know if I liked the actual movie or not.  It had Sir Ben Kingsley in it so that is a huge plus in my book.  I have always loved his work, even when he played himself in The Sopranos!  I'm a big fan. The movie didn't really end up being what I thought it was going to be, but I guess it was good.  I really was too busy looking at the gear works of the clocks, the falling snow and of course, a charging doberman pinscher in 3-D to really pay that a lot of attention to much else!

Cool effects aside, was it worth the extra cash?  I don't think so.  But, you know me, I'm going kicking and screaming into the new technology age, so I'm probably the last one to ask about this.  I can say now that I've been there, done that.  It will be a long time I imagine before I'm willing to spend that kind of money on a movie again. 

I told you, I'm old.

At least I'm not a 3-D virgin any longer!

Thursday, January 05, 2012


Ok, I am sure I nicked this title from somewhere else.  But, it's been awhile since I blogged about the cats and I have some good pics I wanted to share.  So, it's "Caturday" or "Cat Update".  See?  I think I picked the winner.

Let's start with Benny.  Benny isn't a cat that will curl up in my lap for some love for very long.  I may get a little pounce by now and again, and he interacts with me in other places in the house, but when I'm sitting down relaxing, Benny isn't usually in my lap.  He's all around my legs when I'm in the basement doing laundry.  In the kitchen, he's my shadow.  But heaven help me if I sit at the dining room table to read a book or work on the laptop.

Last weekend, I picked up a new book from library.  Here I am, trying to enjoy page ONE!  Please note that he needs to lay on TOP of the book.

The other night, I was trying to play some Pogo while I was cooking dinner.  He finally laid down between me and the laptop.  Made it kind of difficult to play this way.

The best was tonight as I was trying to blog on the Lorain 365 blog.  Luckily, I was able to hit "publish" before Benny had enough of me blogging.

I love this little boy!  Ok, I could take a hint.  I shut down the laptop and played with Benny while the dinner finished in the oven.

Then there is Penelope.  My friend Linda gave both of the cats little catnip toys for Christmas.  (Thanks, Linda!)  Penelope protected that little catnip pillow with her life!  Benny's goal was to get that away from Penelope and for once, he failed.  She was NOT giving it up!

Then there was the aftermath of that catnip.  My Penelope was one happy little kitty!

Tonight, as almost every night when I come upstairs, here is what I find.  Penelope, keeping my office chair warm for me.  Ok, I have to push her out of it so I could sit down, but it's the thought that counts, right?

I know, I've said it before, but who would have EVER guessed I'd have pets.  And, something beyond fish!  Two cats.  They own the house, and I work my life around their needs.  Who needs another cat to be that "crazy cat lady"?  I think I'm there already.

Lastly, a picture of each of them that I really like.  Benny, napping in the sunlight, and Penelope reflected in the window.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I love these cats!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

New Toy

You know, it doesn't take much to amuse me!

I have an alarm clock on the bedside table on my side of the bed.  It's just used as a clock since I use my cell phone as an alarm clock.  I can't seem to spend an entire night in bed, so the cell phone alarm just made it easier than remembering to turn off the bedroom alarm clock and turn on an alarm clock in the living room.

Just recently I found out that Ron isn't happy with the clock situation since he said he can never SEE it.  On my bedside table is usually at least one book so that alone will obscure his view of the clock.  I never thought about it as I can see the clock ok from my side of the bed, if I need to.

A few years ago when we were visiting my sister in California, my brother-in-law had this clock in our bedroom that actually projected the time up on the ceiling so you could see it from anywhere in the room.  I know when we were there, Ron LOVED that clock.  I guess he's been thinking of it ever since!  He finally picked one up for us!

This is the view as I was laying on my side of the bed.  The size of the numbers is somewhere between 3" and 6" tall.  It depends on if you ask Ron or me!  I guess we both measure differently!  ;-)  Anyway, it's a very cool little toy.

I was afraid this would give off too much light in the room but honestly, unless your eyes are open, you don't realize there is a light source in the room.  The only bad news is that my eyes are so freakin' bad that without my glasses on, I still can't read it!

At least now Ron can finally see the clock and we have a new toy.  Win-win as far as I'm concerned!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

And Poof It Was Gone

This one went too easy, therefore I don't think that the City of Lorain had anything to do with it.

This was one of the neighborhood houses.  Granted, it's been empty for a couple of years and it's been showing the signs of neglect and thieving neighbors.  By thieving neighbors I mean the neighbors that raided this house and took everything they could out of it.  There haven't been any doors on this house in at least a year.  I'm assuming the night the doors got lifted, the wiring and plumbing had also been whisked away.

Back on December 26th, they brought the back hoe in and we watched them drive it to the back of the house and park it.  I know the guys that brought this in were obviously professionals, but MAN!  It was awesome to watch them do their job!  It was a two man crew.  The first guy off of the truck did a walk through down the driveway.  He held his arms out like mentally measuring the space.  The back hoe had to be driving down the driveway that was a little less wide than the back hoe, and the turn at the top of the driveway was between a fence on the left, a garage straight ahead and the house on the right.  The first guy had a conference with the second guy and the second guy drove it in nice and slow.  Second guy made a lot of small moves but it was a beautiful thing to watch.  He had to raise the boom up all of the way to make that turn, but he got that puppy behind the house and snuggled in until demolition day.  That was today.

Thanks to my brother Phil, who happened to come home as they started the tear down on this house, I have picture goodness to go along with this blog.  Thanks, Phil!!

If you look at the front left corner of the house, this corner has been crumbling.  The damage you see wasn't from the tear down of the house.  If you follow that basement wall towards the back of the house, that wall had caved in well over a year ago leaving an opening into the house.  I've watched Hemingway go in and out of that wall a few times.  When I heard that the house was coming down, I was having a bit of a panic attack at work worrying about Hemingway.  I haven't seen him in a few days and I was assuming the worst.  Luckily, he came by for dinner tonight.  He was looking a little ragged, but he is still doing ok.  He's not ready to come into my house yet, but after this, I may have to up my efforts to get him to change his mind!

The front screen door is in place, but the inside door had been stolen a long time ago.  You see that note pasted on the door?  That's a note telling the homeowner (whoever that is) that the grass is too long and if it's not corrected, they will be receiving a fine.  Hmm.  That sign has been on there for at least six months and the grass there has been kept up MUCH better than some of the houses in the neighborhood that ARE occupied.  Go figure.  Another good indicator that the City of Lorain does NOT own this house.

Take a look at these pics.  Phil really did a good job getting the work in progress.  This house came down fast!  This series of photos took up a seven minute span!  Unbelievable!

These shots are my favorites.  This first one here with the claw in the second story I love!

And just like that, poof it was gone.

I know this needed done, just from the damage I could see to the house.  It's just sad watching this neighborhood fall down one house at a time. It's hard to love or support a city as you watch it being torn down around you.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Lorain 365, 2 chix 2 pix every day

I've been kinda missing our PhotoPhun challenges.  I brought the subject up to my friend Lisa from Buster's House about resurrecting some form of our old project.  Little did I know, but she was working on a photo project already that she wanted to do in 2012.

Lisa came across the 365 Project.  This is taking one picture a day to document your life for one year.  She put a twist on it and decided a picture a day, of Lorain.  Lorain is her birthplace, my adopted city.  This sounded like a GREAT project and definitely a way to make me get out there and take some pictures!  I was thrilled to be invited to join her in this project.

And that is how Lorain 365 was born.  You will see Lorain through our eyes.  While 365 pictures is daunting, together coming up with 730 pictures in one year will be amazing!

Please go check us out.  Stop in, look around, come back often!  It's going to be an amazing year!

Lorain 365, 2 chix 2 pix, EVERY day!