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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Embarassing Moment

I've felt that a good wine cellar was the epitome of sophistication. While I don't haave the space for a full cellar, I try to have several bottles of wine on hand.


At Christmas I had to move my wine rack to make room for some decorations. There wasn't enough room in the drawer in the dining room for the bottles, so I put two bottles in a storage box in my bedroom closet.


Yesterday I was speaking with a closet designer to see about organizing my closet with some built-ins and better shelving. As I was explaining that the storage boxes on the floor were out of season clothes and I wanted to put them on shelves, I noticed there were two bottles of wine in one of the boxes. I had completely forgotten about them. Everything would have been fine if I had just kept my mouth shut, but I had to mention the bottles. We had a good laugh, but I realized that it didn't look good having wine bottles hidden in the bedroom. Today I found another bottle in a different closet.


Really, I'm not hiding them, really!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rudy Giuliani

I was very disappointed last night when I heard that Rudy Guiliani had lost the Florida primary. I was doubly disappointed this morning when I heard he had withdrawn from the race. I was so looking forward to voting for him again.


Now I have to decide which candidate will be the best. I like that John McCain feels the same as Rudy Guiliani on terrorism, and we know about his strong character. When he was a prisoner of war during Viet Nam, he was offered early release because of his family ties, but he refused and said he would stay with his men.


I must admit that because of his two terms as mayor of NYC, I'm such a fan of Rudy Giuliani I didn't pay much attention to any of the debates before now. I have one week before the primary to do my homework.

I hope that Rudy continues working for us in some way and I wish him well.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Making Do

Ever since I moved into my house 2 1/2 years ago I've had a problem with my dryer. It simply took too long to dry, sometimes three hours for a small load.

I reported it to the builder who said it was the manufacturer's fault. The manufacturer said it was the problem of the builder. I felt I coultn't get anywhere with either of them, so I just "made do". Eventually, the vent hose came off the dryer and suddenly, my clothes were drying.

When I mentioned to someone that the dryer worked fine when it wasn't connected to the vent hose, she suggested that the duct that vents outside might be clogged. I called someone in to clean and he found that while the duct was connected to the outside vent, it was never opened. Now I just have to wait for the builder to admit their mistake and fix it. I'm so glad that problem is almost solved.

I have learned a valuable lesson. For most of my life I've felt that there was something honorable in "making do". That concept works well when it comes to controlling spending or conserving materials and resources, but not when you want workers to accept responsibility for their performance. I really should have pursued this problem from the beginning. I guess it's not too late to start now.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Organization

If you looked at my bookshelves, you would see about five or six books on organization. I devour anything I can find that gives tips on organizing my home, my life, my finances. Therefore, you would think my house was neat, all my papers and statements were in one place and I was constantly in touch with all my friends and relatives.


All that is wrong. I usually have to spend a lot time looking for important papers and it can be months between calls to friends. It's been so long since I had any contact with some family members, I wouldn't know some of them if I saw them today.

Over the years I've made some attempts at organization. My closet is fairly neat, I've hung my clothes according to color and type. It does make getting dressed easier.

All that is changing. Yesterday I bought a file box and set up individual folders for the instruction manuals for each of my appliances and tools. Next, I'll find a case for all my old tax returns and bank statements.


The hardest part of getting organized will be taking the time to reconnect with my friends. I usually think of calling either very early in the morning or very late at night. I'll have to set aside time early in the evening.

Friday, January 25, 2008

An Apology

Ever since I was about nine years old and saw my cousin's shorthand book, I determined to be a secretary. In high school I took a commercial course which included shorthand, typing, business law, etc. From the time I graduated high school through all my jobs at Buell Engineering Co. Dominick and Dominick and later when my sons were older at Continental Re and AIG, I was a secretary although in the 21st century secretaries are now administrative assistants, but I digress. I was known as a perfectionist, never having typos in my work. I even assisted in proofreading our Annual Report.


I've always taken pride in my work and cringe when I read anything with typos or poor grammar. That is why I must apologize to anyone who read yesterday's post on Wegmans. Everything was fine until the end when I spelled "Congratulations" with two i's. Obviously I never use spellcheck

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A GOOD PLACE TO WORK & SHOP

There's a supermarket chain, called Wegmans, that services the Middle Atlantic states. They have some stores in New York, but I had never heard about them until I moved to New Jersey. Everyone I know likes this store. It's a clean and well stocked store. They have a variety of foods, which is why I always spend too much when I shop there. Everything looks so good that I buy more than I need. I've even bought buffalo meat there. It's very good.

I'm on their mailing list and I receive weekly reminders about their specials and features. Today I was surprised to receive an e-mail from them. They have been named by FORTUNE Magazine, for the 11th year, one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For". They are ranked #3.

To celebrate, all the stores will be serving cake for customers and employees on this Saturday. I think this is good for public relations, and is a nice way to share the good news with the employees whose good work makes the store a nice place for customers.

Congratulatiions Wegmans!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

PC Repair

Yesterday when I went to the Clubhouse for my afternoon of work I found that the internet connection had been lost. I wasn't sure how to fix it, but no one else even had a clue and they expected me to get reconnected. I tried the age old fix. I shut the pc down, waited a few minutes and then turned it on.

Still no connection. I kept clicking on various commands until I found one for Repair of Connection. The first page told me to check all plugs to make sure they were all tight. They were. I was sent to the next page which said to check the modem and router. I looked all over the area, but could see no modem and router. I lied and clicked the box that said I checked them and was sent to the next page.

It was just like magic. I got a message that the connection had been restored and I could now get on the web. I don't know how or why the repair was made, or even what went wrong, but I'm now a hero to the staff who had no idea whatsoever on how to fix it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Retired?

When I moved to this community I vowed to get involved, but I never realized how involved I would become.

Tuesday is my usual day to sit at the desk in the Clubhouse to accept sign-ups for the various activities. One day I made the mistake of telling the Activities Director that I'm fairly proficient in Excel, now she saves all her Excel work for Tuesday. Then I volunteered to keep some parts of our website up to date, that takes more time and there's talk of giving me more responsibility on the website. I used to be able to read my book or paper on Tuesday, now it's out of the question.

I'm also treasurer of our Singles Group and a member of the Travel Group. Both groups had meetings tonight at the same time. I, along with another single, shared both meetings - she took the first half of the Travel while I took the first half of the Singles, then we traded places.

Our Travel Group has many trips planned for this year. I plan on taking three of them and another with a friend. I'm so glad I'm retired, I never would have had the time to be so involved. It's great to be so busy and I'm meeting more and more new people and even making some friends.

Monday, January 21, 2008

International Weird News

The United States doesn't have a monopoly on weird news.

In Straubing Germany, a female postal worker was busted after cops fdiscovered 13 sacks and five wash baskets of undelivered mail in her bedroom. Her reason for this, she wanted to cut her workload.

Jacob Jugashvili is a struggling artist in the country of Georgia. He's also Joseph Stalin's grandson. And like his granddad, he is a defender of the old communist system. He said it was the most unique and successful event in the history of mankind. Jugashvili said that what we did in a short period of 50 or 60 years the Western world needed 150 years to accomplish. He has conveniently forgotten about the 3 million or more Russians his grandpa had murdered.

Access to YouTube has been blocked in Turkey because a court has ruled that some clips on the website disrespect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the country's revered founding father. It is illegal in the country to insult the former leader. At least they didn't riot, the just blocked YouTube.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Turning Point

This morning I awoke bright and early at 6:30, grabbed my bottle of water and went straight to my computer for my morning ritual of checking the mail, blogs and a few "wake-up" games.


I turned the monitor on and ----- nothing, just a faint glow. I moved the mouse around and checked all the connections, still nothing. My first thought was to call my son, but I realized that was not a good idea, he's all the way out on the west coast and it's three hours earlier. I'd just have to wait for a decent time to call.

After wandering around the house feeling cut off from civilization, I started thinking. Why can't I just go out and buy a new monitor. When did I become this helpless person who couldn't make these decisions. I've always been independent. When I worked, friends would often come to me for advice and help.

Before buying a new monitor, I decided to try to find and fix the problem. When all else fails, shut down, but I couldn't see what I was doing so I just pulled the plug. About five minutes later I replugged it in and - voila everything worked. It felt good to take matters into my own hands and try to fix it.

This was a great learning experience for me. I used to be a very independent and decisive person, but somehow over the years I lost those skills through laziness, after all, it's much easier to rely on someone else for a decision or loss of conficence. I'm glad this happened today to make me realize how dependent I've become. That has to change. I'm on my way to becoming the woman I used to be - decisive, independent and confident.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Good News

Here's some good news, and we certainly need it today.

The Dow didn't go down at all today. After going steadily down all year, it didn't move at all. Of course, since today is Saturday, Wall Street is closed. It's been a bad year so far so I'm looking for any bit of good news and having the market closed is good. At least we won't lose any money today. And it will be closed again tomorrow and Monday.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Awards

I'm not a fan of Bob Grant, I think he's very rude to his callers. Therefore, I don't listen to him. However, I'm outraged at what has been done to him. A trade paper, evidently very respected, contacted him and said they were giving him an award for his long work in radio, which started in the 1960's. He said he was honored to receive this award. A few days later they called to tell him that they were rescinding the award.


This is not fair. As I said I am not a fan, but it's wrong to tell someone you are giving him an award and then a few days later (probably because of pressure from someone who does not like Bob Grant or his viewpoint) take back the award. This seems to be yet another slap at talk radio which is favored by conservative listeners.


For listeners who don't approve of Bob Grant or his viewpoint, just change the station.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Lately, everyone seems to be in reminiscing about the '50's and '60's in one way or another.

Last Saturday, Mark Simone, on his WABC evening show, was commenting on how politically incorrect everything was in the '50's and '60's. He even asked listeners to call in with their thoughts. Some suggestions were "Amos and Andy", Hop Sing on Bonanza, among others. Jackie Gleason in his "Joe the Bartender" skit had a comic character (whose name I don't remember) who was mentally challenged and all the customers in the bar were Irish. Andy Griffith's show also had a town drunk, and of course Palladin was a gun for hire.

It wasn't all bad though. I did receive some links to the "good old days". Here's one with the old Burma Shave signs and a song with the Statler Brothers. Here's the link: http://oldfortyfives.com/DYRT.htm. It's a fun walk down memory lane. Then there's this one http://objflicks.com/WhenLifewasinBlack&White.htm. It's a quick review of old tv.

I also received an e-mail bringing back some old memories like aluminum Christmas trees, Brownie Box cameras, flash bulbs, tv test signals, reel-to-reel tape recorders and roller skate keys. It was fun looking back and remembering. I'm sure in 30 or 40 years, the current 20 and 30 year olds will look back and remember the "good old days" with pleasure. They may even have some of the same memories we have: I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, Gunsmoke all thanks to TV Land.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Storm That Wasn't

All day Saturday and Sunday the radio and TV kept warning us about a nor'easter that was going to hit the New York Metropolitan area. You would have thought there would be a blizzard to rival the blizzard of 1898. When I woke up on Monday morning, I expected to be snowed in. Instead, the streets were slightly wet and there was no sign of snow. So much for the big storm.

Last night, before I went to bed I looked out the window and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was snowing. There wasn't much, just a dusting on the lawn. Again, today it snowed. Not much, it didn't stick except in the garden areas. The strange thing about these recent snows is that I didn't hear anything about it on the radio or TV. There were no "snow warnings" or "winter advisories". I guess the networks didn't want to predict snow and be wrong again.

I guess the science of meteorology still has a few bugs to work out. Maybe then they can predict snow on the right day. They're predicting another "event" for this weekend. Wonder what that will be - snow, rain, sun, heat wave?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Education

Yesterday's mail brought three different catalogs offering education on various topics.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art sent their list of Concerts and Lectures. There are a lot of interesting topics. Of course, I plan on attending their Language of Music series. There will be discussions on Music and Painting, Music in Times of War and Soulful Music from Ancient Chant to Bach and Bernstein. There are also offerings on Central Park, Gilbert & Sullivan, Ansel Adams and of course, Art. I just don't know what to pick.

Then the local community college sent their offerings. They offer tap dancing classes (not for me), Arts and Crafts, Computers, etc. They are offering a class on preserving family stories which I'm thinking of taking, if it fits into my schedule.

Then I also got a catgalog on The Great Courses. They offer a wide range of topics on science, art, language, Shakespeare. etc. These are offerings on DVD, CD or audio. I can't decide which to buy. I could combine these courses with workouts at the gym, then I could get fit and smart at the same time.

I'm so glad I'm retired, I couldn't even consider any of these courses if I were still working.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Family

I've had a very busy two days. Yesterday I went to visit a very good friend who is in a nursing home on Long Island. Unfortunately, we had rain, a lot of rain. At times it was raining so hard I could barely see the car in front of me. It made me realize why a lot of states have made it a law that lights should be on when using windshield wipers.

After my visit I stayed overnight in a hotel. When I got there I saw they were hosting a convention and expected a loud night. It wasn't too bad though, and I did manage to get some sleep. Unfortunately, I woke with a start at one point and checked the time without wearing my glasses and thought it was later than it really was. About a half hour later I saw the right time and went back to sleep.

In the morning I then drove all the way out on the Island (Greenport) for a memorial Mass for my cousin who died last week. She had seven children and about 15 grandchildren. Her sister had six children and 13 grandchildren. There was quite a crowd. After Mass we went back to her house and fortunately, the weather was great and we were not all cooped inside the house.

We went through old photos which brought back good memories and a lot of questions, "Who is that man?", "Where was this taken?", "Do you remember her?" I found a page from the NEW YORK TIMES dated October 10, 1892. No one knows why this was saved, maybe it was the first paper my grandparents saw when they came to this country, no one knows.

I saw people I haven't seen in 30 or so years, of course, I didn't recognize most of them. I've learned a little trick about that. I just listen to the conversations and sooner or later a name will be mentioned and then it comes to me and I can join in the conversation. I was even able to contribute some of the family history and now I'll be included in my cousin's son's history of the family.

It's a shame that families often only see each other at weddings and funerals, but I guess that's inevitable since we are all scattered around the country. Times have changed. At one point my parents and my aunt and uncle had apartments in the same house and we cousins were able to play and know each other. We all even went to the same school.

My cousin and I have decided to keep in touch and get together in the Spring, when the threat of snow is over

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Furniture

The first year we were married my husband and I rearranged our living room 13 times. I directed and he moved the furniture. Through the years I've continued that practice. I'm either moving furniture around in the room, or moving it in my mind.

When I get bored, it's a good, cheap way to change the scene. It's better than buying new furniture, or even moving to a new house.

Today, after I finished putting all the Christmas decorations away, I sat in the living room and thought how blah it looked. So, I revived my old habit and moved everything that wasn't built-in. So far it looks OK, at least it's not terrible even though I have to move the couch whenever I want to get into a cabinet.

While I was working on the furniture, Crash was running around trying to get out of my way. The problem with that is that she always runs right to where I'm putting the furniture or whatever I'm carrying. Burnie, on the other hand, was his usual calm, lackadaisical self. He slept through all the moves secure in his little bed on the couch.

This arrangement will work for about a month or two, but maybe I'll rearrange the bedroom next. I've got some thoughts on that too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Volunteering

My husband used to quote an old saying, "Even a fish wouldn't get caught if he kept his mouth shut". I'm beginning to understand what it means.

When I moved into this community I decided to get involved, so I volunteered for many different activities. I originally signed for two exercise classes a week, then I opened my mouth and mentioned to the trainer that I had a fear of water. She said that a good way to get over that would be to go to the pool every day and do my exercises. So I started going to the pool every day.

Then I joined our Singles Group and was soon president of the group. Thankfully, that term of service is now over and I'm only the treasurer.

To get the idea of going back to work in a full time office job out of my system, I also volunteer one afternoon a week at the desk in the Clubhouse where I take reservations for activities and usually have most of the afternoon free to read my book or paper. I made the mistake of telling our activities director that I have some good computer skills. Today, when I went for my afternoon armed with my book and newspaper, she was waiting for me with a project in Excel and a calendar update. I never got a chance to read. On the upside, the time flew and it was time to leave before I knew it.

I also volunteered to do some work on our website and now it's too late to back out. Oh well, it's much better than a 9-5 job five days a week. So far, all I'm really losing is my afternoon of reading.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Jon & Kate Plus 8

Recently I was channel surfing and found a reality show called, "Jon & Kate Plus 8". This is about a couple who had twin girls and then had sextuplets - 3 girls and 3 boys. I've always been fascinated by multiple births so I started watching.

At one point I thought it would be great to have twins, however after watching this show I'm so happy that I didn't. During my days doing daycare, I came close - I had two children from two families that were a month apart. It was easy to take care of them, probably because they went home at night.

Back to the sextuplets. That woman has the patience and energy of a saint. I really don't know how she does it, she must be very organized. I've seen some family outings, they used carriages built for three. Their car looks more like a bus than a car. Their food bill must be huge.

The children have their usual squabbles, but they are very well behaved. Even with all the work and stgruggles and crying and whining babies, you can see the love for all the children and also between Jon and Kate.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Christmas Clean-up

Christmas is now officially over. Now comes the hardest part, time to take down and put away all the decorations. I've decided to be more organized in putting them away by labeling each box. But, why is it necessary to make such a mess and have boxes strewn all over the house before I can get everything put away and I'm sure I'll find something that should have been put away in about three weeks.

At least, so far this year I haven't found any hidden or forgotten Christmas presents.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Gifts

My son has got to be the best gift giver. While other people agonize all December on what to give, he spends the year making mental notes on comments made about likes and dislikes, and he has always done that.

This past Christmas he remembered how impressed I was with the towel animals that were put in my room each night of my Alaskan cruise. Among other wonderful gifts this year, he gave me a book of instructions for making my own towel animals. Here is a sample of my first creation. It's still a little amateurish, but I'm sure I'll improve with practice. I've found a new hobby.






Thursday, January 3, 2008

Freezing Weather

Get ready for higher food prices.

The cold weather that has hit the northeast has also brought temperatures down in the south. According to MSNBC in a report yesterday, the citrus crop is in danger if the cold lasts too long. Whole trees could be damaged, causing problems for years to come. The citrus industry has already been damaged by the various hurricanes of the past few years

Other crops are also in danger from this cold snap. Broccoli and cabbage in the north and strawberries, tomatoes and corn in the south are also threatened. The only people welcoming the cold are the peach farmers who say the cold benefits their fruit trees during their period of dormancy.

New Hampshire has had the snowiest December on record and more is expected. I guess the ski resort operators are happy about that. And, of course, the children are thrilled because many schools are closed, lengthening Christmas vacations.

So, next year or even this year, we may not have enough oranges and grapefruits, but come Spring, we can look forward to sliced peaches, peach pie, peach jam, etc. Sounds good to me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Winter

Winter has finally arrived. We had some snow flurries this morning and now it's 16 degrees outside. I've been sitting here listening to the wind and now I'm very glad that there are no large trees around here.

I'm also very glad that I have a fireplace that is gas fired instead of woodburning. It seems that no matter what I do, or how I stack the wood, I can't seem to start a fire, or keep it burning. That was a huge problem when I lived upstate and had a woodburning stove and the wind and cold surrounded the house.

All I need now to make this setting perfect would about 10" of snow like my cousin has.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Elections

This morning I was going through some papers and found some weird news. It seems there was a local election planned in a small town, but no one won. No one even received a vote. Everyone in town forgot about the election.

It makes me wonder if that will happen here in November. It seems like I've been hearing about the candidates forever. This past weekend was particularly bad. All I heard about was the Iowa caucus and who will win, whose win won't mean anything, New Hampshire is more telling, etc. etc. Right now I'm suffering from primary overload. I wonder how many others are too.