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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Letting Go

I think of myself as a very controlling person, no one can do a job as well as I can. This attitude doesn't endear me to many people. It's just the way I am. I'm trying to change, but it's very hard.

I do think I've come a long way. When my son was almost a year old, my husband and I went to Washington, DC for a three day weekend. We had asked my mother to come over and stay with the baby. I really showed my true colors that weekend. I handwrote about four pages of instructions on taking care of my baby, even though my mother had raised two children without any problems and she was familiar with my son and his habits. My mother took it very well, I don't know if she really followed my instructions or not, but everyone survived and had a good time.

All this is background for the present time. I've mentioned before that our Singles Club was preparing a cookbook for the community. I typed most of the recipes because it was easier than telling anyone else how to do them. Now that we've gotten the book published (and it looks great) it's time to sell it. We've set a table up in the lobby of the clubhouse at certain times, and, of course, I'm there most of the time.

This afternoon another woman and I were there. Business was slow and I had a lot to do at home, so I left her in charge and went home for an hour. When I got back, I saw that she did very well, everything was right.

Good for her, but bad for my ego. It's not easy to let go, but I think after all these years, I'm finally learning.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crash and Burn

This past week Crash has been either more afraid of Burnie or really mad at him. When he comes near her or even past her, she runs away and starts hissing and growling. That's really disturbing at night when I'm trying to sleep.

Then, two days ago, she started moping around, so I isolated them. If one is sick, I don't want the other to get sick. She's doing much better so today I'm trying to let the two of them have the run of the house. They should like that, now they have two litter boxes to play in.

I really don't know why Crash reacts the way she does. She usually loses any fight they have and Burnie is really the most gentle cat I've ever seen. All he wants to do is chase her around the house and play. But she backs herself into a corner and starts hissing. She now has two scratches on her nose. How I wish they had been declawed when they were young and it's too late now (she's 8 and he's 7).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Say Yes to the Dress

I almost hate to admit it, but I've become a fan of the TLC show Say Yes to the Dress. I started watching just to see the dresses, but now I've become involved.

I know times have changed, but I didn't realize so much had changed, or maybe my friends and I were different and more independent from everyone else. The brides who appear on the show bring too many people to help them pick out a gown. When my best friend got married, I went with her because her mother was ill. We were the only ones. When I got married, my mother was the only one with me.

Too many people can spoil the day. I've seen brides try on a gown and they glow. They are so happy they can't wait to show it off. Then the "friends" see the gown. That same happy bride suddenly becomes unsure of her decision because one or more of the friends don't like the gown. Could they be jealous? There was one episode when the bride, a twin, brought her mother, her twin sister, her bridesmaids and I think even her future mother-in-law. No matter what dress she tried on, no matter how good she looked, no matter how much she liked the gown, her twin put on a face and complained about each gown. You could see the bride getting sadder and sadder as the day wore on. Of course, they left without buying a gown. I really feel sorry for some of these girls/women. They don't have enough confidence in their own opinion or feelings that they can be swayed by someone else. And their "friends" should think about the feelings of the bride before they criticize the gown.

I'm also surprised by the wedding gowns. Most of them look more like formal gowns and in another color could be worn anywhere. The prices are amazing too. I know prices are higher now than they were 45 years ago and, of course, salaries are also much higher, but wedding gowns are definitely much more expensive now. When I got married, my gown was one of the more expensive ones - $250, about twice my weekly salary. I've seen gowns for $10,000. Now, unless you are an executive, I don't see how you can spend that much on something you wear only once. Call me old fashioned.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Flu Shot

Many, many, many years ago I got my first and only flu shot. My company was giving them out, so I decided to give it a shot. I got the shot on Friday and on Saturday I was sick, sick for a week.

Ever since then I have avoided getting the shot and also avoided the flu. This year, since I was sick at the beginning of the year with "flu like symptoms" and again a few months ago with the same symptoms, I decided not to push my luck any more. Our activities director had arranged for the Visiting Nurse Service to come in and give flu shots. I signed up.

Then I started hearing stories about adverse reactions and I had second thoughts. Last Monday was the day for the shots and - I forgot all about it. I never got the shot, and it's a good thing too. On Tuesday, I woke up with a nasty cold - coughing, sore throat, etc. I know it's just a cold, I checked and compared the symptoms of cold vs. flu, but if I had taken the shot, I would have blamed my cold on the flu shot.

Now I have a problem. When my cold is gone, do I get my flu shot or do I just go my merry way and press my luck. How about you, have you gotten your flu shot yet?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Sky

Last night, I guess it was around 6:00, I looked out my kitchen window and saw this sky. It was so unusual, I just had to take some pictures. I don't remember ever seeing a sky like this. The clouds seemed to be dashes with bits of the fading sun poking through.





Then I went out front and saw this sky. This one looked like a giant spaceship coming down. I'm sure there's a very scientific explanation and name for this sky, but I like my explanation. Remember the movie Independence Day? The sky looked like that.


And just to the east of this dark cloud, the sky looked like this.

All those changes in a short time and distance. Amazing!
.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fox News

I've been listening to the sound bytes on Fox News regarding the White House attacks on the network. I will admit that I'm a fan of Fox News and not a fan of Obama. I felt that the president was wrong to have his aides, along with himself, attack the network. To me this is very immature and unprofessional.

Ever since he has been inaugurated, Obama has been whining about one thing or another, the most common being that he has "inherited the mess". It might not have been so bad if he had spent some of the last two years in the job as senator that he was elected to. Now, he has taken to whining about the criticism from Fox News, he even has been so childish as to not appear on any of Fox's Sunday shows when he was making the rounds of the other networks a few weeks ago.

I decided last night to check out the coverage of this story on MSNBC to get their slant. To my great surprise, they believe that the president is making a mistake with this "war on Fox". Many democrats believe that the president and his staff should have nothing to do with Fox, even though they have many independents and moderates in their audience.

I was even more surprised when I read the comments on this article. So many of them were pro-Fox.

I'm concerned that the president and his staff are working so hard to discredit a network whose commentators disagree with the president's agenda. Is the president trying to silence dissenters, or just control the news? Is this "war" intended to discourage other commentators, or newscasters from questioning the White House? Or is this just a diversion to take attention away from the health care debate, the economy and the coming climate treaty that the president may want to sign in Copenhagen.

So many questions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ahh! Qiet

Here's an update on my latest uninvited houseguest. The cricket is gone.

Last week, I saw Crash staring at the floor in the hall to my bedroom. The cricket found his way out of hiding and seemed to be heading to my room. That would have been awful. I got a tissue and picked him up and threw him away.

While Crash is more of a lover than a fighter, I'm glad she's at least a pointer. And now, the house is finally quiet, no more chirping

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Sculpture Garden

Last week some members of our photography group traveled to the Garden of Sculpture in NJ. It's a large park containing sculptures of many kinds. There are some very modern, some that just make you scratch your head and wonder what the artist was thinking and some that are a surprise.

Here are some of the puzzling and modern ones.





After you've seen some of these, you wander into a more serene, wooded area. There are surprises around every turn. At one point, we came upon the following family scene, complete with an artist capturing the characters in oil.



There were others, like this mother and child resting and enjoying the view.


Then there was this, the lovers. I don't know whether they are embracing in a joyful "hello", or in a tearful "goodbye".


While there, I couldn't resist the urge to get some pictures of nature. I saw this duck, just hanging around in the lake. Every time I tried to snap his picture, he turned around to preen himself. It was very frustrating.


Persistence paid off and I finally got a better shot of him.

Then there was this tree. It didn't look like much from a distance, just a dead tree, but up close, it was very different.



At the end of the day, we saw this and I couldn't resist. I call this "Men at Work".


They were bringing another piece of sculpture and preparing to set it up. I wonder what it will look like when they're finished. Oh well, another excuse for a road trip.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Food and Parties

Today I went to the 65th birthday party of a friend. She had invited a lot of people, did all the cooking for the main meal. Some of us brought appetizers.

I made my spicy sausage balls. Last night as I was making them, I sampled a few, then decided to make another batch. Today as I was warming them before the party, of course, I had to check to see when they were hot enough. I really didn't have that many and I brought a lot to the party. I'm proud to say that they were a big hit. There had to have been at lease 70, but there were gone within a half hour. They really are that good.

Later in the day, I did something that I have long criticized my in-laws for. Whenever I have a family party, there is a mass exodus right after the food is served, sometimes even before dessert. As a result, whenever I have a party, I always push the time for food a little bit later each time.

Well, tonight, I did just that. Dinner was delicious, the birthday cake was spectacular, but shortly after I had the cake, I decided it was time to go home. The in-laws have rubbed off on me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weather and Food

Yesterday was cold and rainy. There was a chill in the air. I had to go to the store for some ingredients for a dish I'm making on Sunday. Walking through the parking lot, I got the idea that it's a perfect day for soup.

So, the trip to the store for 4 ingredients wound up costing much more. I was wandering back and forth between aisles. First, I had to see if they had chicken wings. Once I got the wings, I had to go back to produce for celery. Then, in the frozen section, I saw mixed vegetables, then back to the meat section for some beef for soup.

With all this back and forth, I met a woman doing the same thing. She'd pick up something, then realize she needed something back on the other side of the store where she started, back and forth, back and forth.

Anyway, when I got home, I froze the beef, but made a huge pot of chicken soup. And, it was delicious. Now, all I have to do is warm up some for the next four or five nights since there's no room in the freezer.

And, yes, I did remember the items I needed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good News

I'm happy to report that the management of The Oaks, the apartment complex in Albany, Oregon has come to their senses. They have rescinded the ban on the flying of our American Flag.

Good for them! I guess they didn't like the negative publicity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time for my Soapbox

What has happened to free speech in America?

I just heard that just two days after the insurance industry has come out against the Baucus bill, Sen. Schumer of NY has made public and claims that he has been trying to rescind the anti-trust protection of the insurance industry.

There's an apartment complex, The Oaks in Albany Oregon which has banned the flying of any flag while they are flying a large flag advertising their two bedroom apartments. They will allow no other flag, including our own American Flag. The complex manager feels that a resident's right of free speech should not interfere with another's right of peaceful enjoyment (where is such a right granted in our Bill of Rights). One resident is facing eviction over his flag while his son is getting ready for a third tour in Iraq. The ACLU won't get involved because it is private property. Isn't this America, shouldn't we fly our own flag?

About a month ago Humana, one of the biggest private insurers sent customers a letter warning them about the pending health care reform legislation. Humana said that if Medicare Advantage funding gets cut, millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of their benefits. Then the federal government basically issued a gag order on Humana and any other company that communicates with its clients on this issue. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ordered a "cease and desist" order on all of Humana's health care mailings until an investigation of Humana is completed.

Then there is the case of Rush Limbaugh's possible bid for the St. Louis Rams. Al Sharpton quickly wrote a letter to the NFL commissioner requesting a meeting to show why Rush should not be allowed to buy the Rams because of a comment he made a few years ago. As you all know Al Sharpton is such an upstanding character. Does anyone remember Tawana Brawley? She claimed she was raped by six white men and Al immediately came to her defense against the white men. He can still do whatever he wants. He still believes her, although this was proven to be a hoax. I think if Rush Limbaugh has the money to purchase a football team with an 0 and 5 record, he should be allowed to.

The latest outrage (in my opinion) is the attack on Fox News by the administration. The president has previously made snide remarks about Fox, but now they seem to be declaring war on the network. I fully expect to hear about an investigation into Fox and their various commentators. We need to hear both sides of the argument and opposition to the administration.

Again, what has happened to America and our right to free speech?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Out of Control Bidding

On Sunday I attended a brunch and silent auction for the Susan J. Koman Foundation. I went around putting in my bid on several articles.

On one collection of cookbooks, I saw that a friend was topping my bid each time I entered one. When the bidding reach $20, I decided to let her win. Wasn't I generous? I learned a few things through the years of attending silent auctions. Near the end of bidding, I went around and added my bid for the items I really wanted.

I didn't realize how many times I did that. I wound up winning 12 baskets. I won teapots, tea, lots of coffee, some mugs, some cookbooks and a set of six wine glasses with decanter. I was quite surprised when I opened the basket of wine glasses, I only expected two glasses. What a bonus. There was also a bonus on one of the coffee baskets - five cards for a complimentary 12 oz. beverage.

Unfortunately, I didn't win the grand prize which was a $500 gift certificate for a bed and breakfast in Cape May, NJ. That would have been nice.

Oh well, as it was, I had to have several people move my baskets to the parking area so I could load the car. It's a good thing I have such a big car. I haven't gotten the final figure, but I'm sure they raised a lot of money. And, it's a good cause.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Museum, Part II

It was my good luck to go to the museum when they were having a special exhibition of the work of Johannes Vermeer. The focal point of this exhibit was The Milkmaid. It really is a masterpiece. The colors were so strong. I particularly liked the details like the Delft tiles on the right hand side and the stitches of her dress.




Again, I'm amazed at the age of this painting and the age of the artist. Vermeer was about 25 years old when he painted this. It was done around 1657, and has survived to this day. Amazing!

As I was walking into another room, I saw and (I'm proud to say) recognized the Burghers of Calais by Rodin. This is a relatively new work (compared to others I saw), having been done in 1888.


I saw some others, but I neglected to make note of the artists. I just liked the scenes. That's one of my faults in photography, I just shoot and don't make note of the subject.

This scene reminded me of my vacation last year. I cruised on a barge through Alsace-Lorraine.


I really liked this ice scene since winter is my favorite season.

Some of these pictures are a little off-center, I couldn't get a good angle because there were people who were studying the work.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Museum Artifacts

On my trip to the museum on Wednesday, I saw this very small room with walls of wood. When I went into the room or studiolo, I saw this. This is the best example of Trompe L'Oeil I have ever seen. That really is not a bench, the wall is perfectly flat. All the wood is inlaid to give the 3 dimensional effect. This studiolo was built in 1476.



In another section, I came across this saddle made of bone, lindenwood, rawhide and birch bark. I don't think the picture shows its true beauty. This saddle was made around 1430.


Since I have done some needlepoint in my day, I especially wanted to see some tapestries. Of course I never did work this fine or beautiful. I thought the colors were spectacular and gave some dimension to the robes. Again, there was a three dimensional effect. I forgot to make note of the time of its creation, but I'm pretty sure it's from the 14th or 15th century.


I also saw this marble doorway from a church in Italy. This doorway was carved and assembled around 1100.

I loved the paintings that are shown in this museum, but I am in awe of some of the other artifacts there. I find it amazing that these items that were created so many centuries ago have survived so that we can enjoy them.

This doorway, tapestry, saddle and studiolo were all crafted without the use of power tools or sewing machines. How long must these craftsmen worked to create such beauty and how lucky we are that they have survived for us to enjoy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Barak Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Is this a joke?

This morning when I saw the news that Barak Obama had received the Nobel Peace Prize, I just couldn't believe it. I checked the calendar to make sure it's not April 1.

I don't see how anyone could have made this decision. His nomination was submitted just two weeks into his administration. He certainly had no record of great public work, no work among the sick and dying, no negotiated treaties between warring nations.

As for the time since he took office, he has divided the country with his push for health care for all. He has taken over the automobile industry, taken control of some banks. He's trying to control the pay of executives. His administration has mocked the participants at Town Hall meetings just because these citizens wanted their elected representatives to know how they felt.

The war in Afganistan has gotten worse, we have more casualties. He doesn't meet with his generals to get their ideas to make the situation better. Iran is shooting missiles to show their power. Yes, they have agreed to inspections, but at their leisure. That gives them enough time to hide everything.

I guess the kool-aid has made it to Norway. Maybe if I have some, I'll see the wisdom of their decision, or maybe this is a consolation prize for not getting the olympics.

Wednesday in the Park

The weather on Wednesday morning didn't look too promising for our trip to the City. Fortunately, that changed and the sun came out. So did a lot of the uptown residents. On my visit to Central Park I saw a low of people strolling and some even taking advantage of one of the last warm days to soak up some sun.






I saw the Mad Hatter statue and the following plaque. I had never heard this version of the Starlight rhyme.In case you can't read it from this angle, here it is:

Twinkle twinkle little bat
How I wonder what you're at
Up above the world you fly
Like a tea-tray in the sky

Has anyone else heard this version?

I've seen many bloggers showing pictures of the wildlife in their area. I thought I'd show some of the wildlife I saw on my visit to the park.

Here's a genuine New York pigeon. His coloring is different from the pigeons I've usually seen.

It's hard to see, but in the middle of the picture is a picture of our long tail squirrel that inhabits Central Park.
Here are some more of the pigeons that were hanging around the park.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

City Fix

Yesterday our community had a bus ride into Manhattan. My original plan was to meet a friend and we would do a little shopping and then have a nice leisurely lunch. Unfortunately, she had a dental emergency and couldn't make it.

I changed my plans and went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I just love that place and I'm convinced that even though I've been there several times in the past few years, I haven't seen it all.

After wandering around the museum for a couple of hours, I took a walk to Central Park. What a beautiful park. Even though it was very windy, there were several people there relaxing and enjoying the sunny weather.

I took a lot of pictures and once I organize them, I'll show them off. I feel so much better now that I've had my "city fix". Can't wait to do it again. I'm kicking myself that I never took advantage of all that NYC has to offer when I lived in Queens.

Today, a few members of our photography club will be on a field trip to the Sculpture Garden to shoot some sculptures.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

TV vs Writing

The new fall TV schedule has caused me to miss blogging some evenings.

I'm a creature of habit and I like to write just before bed, or around 10:00 pm. Now, some of my favorite shows come on at 10:00. On Sunday, there's Cold Case, on Monday, Castle. Tuesday, we have The Good Wife. Tuesday night is also full with NCIS and NCIS LA. I do enjoy CSI New York on Wednesday. Right now the only 10:00 timespot that's free is Thursday.

Today, I'm experimenting with the early morning. Morning computer time is the way I start my day anyway. After the cats are fed, I sit down and check my mail from last night and read all about my blogger friends' interesting lives.

I think this might be a good way to start my day.

Good morning everyone!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Old Clothes

Timing is everything.

Since I've been cleaning my closet and getting rid of old, uncomfortable or too tight clothes, I've also been feeling guilty about throwing some of these clothes out. But my garage is filled with boxes of good clothes that I plan on taking to a charity, soon. Unfortunately, I've been planning on doing this for years and I never seem to get around to it.

Yesterday's mail brought a card from a local church saying they would come to my house and pick up any old clothes I want to give away. They'll even give me a receipt for tax purposes. I think this is the same church one of my friends mentioned last week. It sounds like a good deal. They collect the clothes and then give them away to those who need them most.

Now I can kill two or three birds with one stone. I don't have to bring the clothes somewhere, they will be picked up. My garage will be cleaner and someone will have some warm clothes this winter.

I'll make the call tomorrow.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Walking

Today, the Men's Club of the community sponsored a walk to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes Research.

I volunteered to walk. We went around the community for about 2 miles. It was very humid this morning and that made it a bit uncomfortable. After the walk we went back to the clubhouse for coffee and bagels, a nice treat.

Since I haven't been doing much walking lately, I was hoping for a nice, slow stroll. I met one of my friends. She's a few years older than I and hasn't been well lately so I thought I'd keep her company. As we walked along at a nice pace, I noticed that we were gaining on the people in front of us, then we passed them. I then realized, much to my embarrassment, that Carol was setting a new, faster pace.

That old girl really kept me on my toes. But I felt much better for the faster walk. Next week, it's a walk to benefit the Susan J. Koman organization, followed by a brunch and raffle the next day.