Friday, July 31, 2009

YIKES! I overslept!

Last night was another one of those nights when I just couldn't get to sleep until 3:00 a.m. I have had several of those in a row, and have been awake again around 7:00 a.m., so I've been walking around this week looking a lot like Garfield in that picture above! Those of you who read my blog regularly know this is out of character for me.
I usually like to be up, showered, and dressed by 8:30 or 9:00. Granted, that's not real early, but I'm retired now...who the heck cares what time I get up? I'm not a late sleeper by habit, and I usually feel like I've missed half the day if I'm not up and about by that time.
This morning, after several very short nights, I woke up at 7:00 a.m., went to the bathroom, looked at the clock, and said to myself, "I can't function again on 4 hours sleep." I crawled back into bed and woke up at 10:00 a.m.!
Holy Moley! I jumped up out of the sack, showered, dressed, had breakfast, and here I am--I HAVE missed half of the day. I hate it when that happens! For one thing, I'm eating breakfast when it's almost time for lunch, and if I postpone lunch until later, I'll be eating dinner around 8:00 p.m.
So what's wrong with that, you're wondering. Well if you're one of the wonderers, you won't understand. Once you reach a certain age, the body does not sleep well on undigested food! I fondly remember the days when, in the summer my husband would get home from work around 1:00 a.m. and I'd be out swimming in our pool waiting for him. When he drove in the yard, I would exit the pool, towel off, and then we'd take a ride to the other end of Main Street to the little take0ut wagon we liked to call "the Roach Coach." We'd have hot dogs with fried onions and french fries and share the events of our day while chowing down on the yummy junk food.
Those days are gone! Now if I ingest ANYTHING after 7:00 p.m., I might as well forget sleep all together. Kinda' makes me wistful and nostalgic for the good old days. . .

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Crisis Averted

One of my sons married a beautiful woman with two daughters who is a few years older than he is--just a few. They are coming up on their ninth anniversary this fall, and all seems to be going well for the two of them and their 4 kids.
Last year, my daughter-in-law complained of severe headaches. Aspirin, Excedrin and other over-the-counter products didn't seem to help so she made an appointment with her physician. After a thorough exam, he recommended that she have an MRI. This was getting scary. I began to worry. A few days after the MRI, she called me and asked, in a voice close to tears, "Did Jason tell you?"

My heart dropped to my shoes! I'm thinking brain tumor or aneurysm--both of which can be life threatening. In my mind's eye, I'm picturing my son, a widower, devastated by the loss of the wife he adores; my motherless grandkids--all horrible thoughts. I held my breath and answered, "No, Jason, didn't tell me anything. What is it?

There was a pregnant pause, then I heard an intake of breath which may or may not have been a sob.

"I have to get bifocals!"

Uncontrolled gales of laughter escaped before I could contain myself. I'm sure the news was traumatic--an affirmation of the fact that she was, indeed, born a few years before her husband. I was too relieved that it was nothing serious to commisserate!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


It's just way to hot and sticky today for my brain to function well. As a result, all I can do is forward this government health warning, and hope that I didn't get the word out too late!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The key word here is HOT. I'm hot. Not sexy hot--although I am some of that!--not menopausal hot,--past history here--not "close to the correct answer" hot. I am it's-freakin'-90-degrees-with-70%-humidity hot! I know, it's summer, and that's how it should be, I guess. I much prefer 70 to 80 degrees with 50% or less humidity hot!

You're probably thinking, "Why doesn't she turn ont the A/C?" I'm not a big fan of artificial coolness; it too often slips over into where's-my-sweatshirt-and-mittens, when-did-we-move-to-the-Arctic-Circle coldness! Especially if my husband mans the controls.

Actually, we haven't had any really steaming days this summer--and it's nearly August--so we haven't even removed the air conditioner 's winter coat yet. I was hoping we wouldn't need to remove it at all this summer, but since the long range forecast suggests that we're looking at high 80's to low 90's and humidity, today will probably be the day.

I guess I'd better stop blogging and start looking for my winter coat and mittens!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Some Memories Are Best Forgotten

The computer the company I worked for provided me with was a Dell. Now I don't know if it was the brand, that particular computer, the software that had been installed, or the incompetence of the operator, but more than once I wanted to tie the thing to a cement block and throw it over the side of the bridge that connects Maine and New Hampshire.

For starters, it was incredibly slow! It would literally take 15 minutes from the time I turned it on to when it was fully booted. (I should have booted It!) I could turn it on, go eat breakfast, shower, get dressed, and read the morning paper while waiting for it to be work-ready. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it was extremely frustrating to want to finish my day's work and have to wait for the darn thing. It had a Sprint wireless card which was always disconnecting at the inopportune moment, also. No wonder I'm so glad to be retired!
When I went looking for a retirement gift for myself in the form of a new laptop computer, I said to hell with the Dell and bought a Hewlitt Packard. It's a wonderful machine, speedy, reliable, and lots of fun to use.
This has not been a paid announcement--I just ran across the above cartoon and all the frustrations of using that computer came slamming back to me like a relapse of the swine flu! Oh, I guess you can't have a relapse unless you've suffered through the first bout with it. Well those memories are like a bad dream--too scary to go back to sleep, for fear you'll return to it. And if you have a Dell, don't take offense. Maybe I had a lemon--it sure left a sour taste in my mouth!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Love Letters from a Chocoholic

Letter #1

Dear Lindt Chocolate,

I think my husband is becoming suspicious of our affair.

How does the clueless one finally have one? It could be the bag of truffles hidden in my undies drawer, or maybe he discovered the truffles in the Green Giant Brussel Sprouts bag in the freezer--or maybe he's just noticed that my jeans are hugging my ass a hell of a lot more tightly lately!

Whatever it is, I think he's on to us. We must be more discreet in our liaisons .
. . meet you on the back porch at midnight?

I adore you and I don't know if I could ever live without you!

Longing for you,

Evil Eva

Letter #2

Dear Lindt Chocolate,

I was afraid of this. My husband saw us last night. . .. on the back porch. He hid behind the window curtain and waited for me to come in. There was an ugly confrontation. I tried to deny it, but he smelled you on my breath! I was forced to confess.

I don't know how to tell you this, Lindt, my love, but the only way we can continue is if we include him. I know, I know, the thought of a threesome repulsed me at first, too. But the thought of giving you up completely is unbearable to me!

After agonizing through a sleepless night, tossing and turning, I've decided I can do this. I may have to close my eyes while he has his way with you, but anything is better then never holding you again--never again reveling in your sweetness!

I hope you understand and are with me in this.

Loving you without shame,

Evil Eva

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy Tenth Anniversary.

My oldest son and his wife are celebrating their tenth anniversary today. Well, the actual anniversary date was yesterday, but they are going out to dinner to celebrate tonight. I'm so proud of them. They work hard, and they have two adorable boys, ages seven and two .

I remember their wedding; Eric was so happy that day, he was literally glowing! I know the bride was beautiful and happy, too, but as the groom's mom, I was especially conscious of his demeanor.

As a mother, you hope that your kids will make good choices and that they will be happy; Eric has managed to do both. Although I won't be around to see them, I believed they will be together right into their old age.

Of course, his wife is a saint. He can be a bit of a challenge--the oldest child syndrome, but she deals with him very well. I love the look he still gets in his eyes when he's with her, and he doesn't realize anyone is watching. Still smitten after all these years! May that feeling never fade.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Case of the Missing Beer Cans

Rafael yesterday asked what happened to Pumpkin. She did not go to court, as she was innocent of this incident. All she did was be herself, when she was with these sailors. It wasn't her fault they couldn't get her out of their minds and had to come looking for her. Actually, I think she slept through the whole adventure, as did most of the girls in Kimball Hall that night.

When our freshman year was drawing to a close, and final exams started, most students who'd finished their exams packed up and left
for summer vacation and home. As I recall, there was a two week exam period, and then a few days preparation for graduation, the actual graduation, and then the school closed for the year, and all had to leave. Some of us who had boyfriends were reluctant to leave, so we stayed through graduation. Joy and I were among those who stayed, as was Pumpkin, her roommate, and many others. The day after our finals were over, Pumpkin and her roommate were seen carrying a large, heavy box into the dormitory.

"What cha' got in the box?" we asked.
"A case of Budweiser," Pumpkin answered. That elicited a roar of laughter from our group. Everyone knew that being caught drinking was grounds for expulsion, and bringing booze into the dorm would be a death wish!

" That Pumpkin is such a joker!" was our reaction. By four o'clock that afternoon, we were having second thoughts. Pumpkin and her roommate were sitting in the smoker (the only room in Kimball Hall where a student was allowed to smoke) laughing and giggling and acting pretty "happy."" It wasn't until dinner time that night that we became convinced that it wasn't Pepsi they had been carrying. Kimball hall housed the campus dining room, and as those who'd chosen to postpone our summer vacation were lining up at the entrance waiting for the doors to open, we heard the strains of "Put on your old gray panties that used to be your auntie's, and we'll go for a frolic in the hay" drifting down from the third floor of of the residence area. We were all gaping at each other with our eyes bugging out in disbelief!

Mrs. Dunn, upon investigation, found Pumpkin and her roommate sitting naked together in opposite ends of a bubble-filled bathtub, singing away at the top of their lungs, obviously snookered! I suppose today, a sobriety test would be required before any action could be taken, but our house mother didn't need one to know that these girls hadn't exactly made a run on the Coke machine. That was the last day on campus for the two party girls--they were just ahead of their time, as Mardel said in her comment yesterday. One mystery remained, though: no empty beer cans were found any where in their room, the smoker, nor the bathroom. No one could figure out what they had done with them!

A year later, as we were approaching the end of our sophomore year, Joy was running down the stairs in Kimball Hall and grabbed the corner post of the railing as she jumped down the last step. The cover piece came off in her hand. As she went to replace it, she noticed that the post was hollow, and was filled to the top with empty Budweiser cans. We quickly checked the other corner posts on the three flights of stairs, and sure enough, all had tops that came off, and all were filled with Bud cans. Mystery solved!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

High Crimes at an Institute for Higher Learning

As planned, I met my college roommate, Joy, for lunch yesterday, and as predicted, she had me in stitches in no time.
We caught up on family, shared pictures of our grandkids, and reminisced about our past. She gave me permission to share this memory with all of you:
When we were sophomores in college, we had an excellent rapport with our house mother. (Yeah, back then, dormitories were segregated by gender, and women's dorms had a matronly type living in an apartment on the ground floor of the building.) Her role was advisor, confidant, and security guard--males were not allowed in the building between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., and only allowed upstairs to visit our living areas one afternoon per year: home coming weekend. And then if a male was visiting in your room, the door was left open at all times! Alcohol was a big no-no and grounds for expulsion. (Times were a little different back then, wouldn't you say?) I'm just trying to set the stage for what happened that night.
Around 2:00 a.m. a light knock on our door roused us. Standing in the doorway in her bathrobe was our housemother, Mrs. Dunne, with her index finger to her lips, indicating we needed to be silent. She came in the room closed the door and whispered, "Some men have broken into the dormitory. I heard them when they bumped into some chairs in the downstairs lounge, and I snuck up here for help." We discussed in whispers what our course of action should be. It was a serious situation: surely only rapists and/or murderers would be so brazen as to break into a women's dormitory on the campus of the University of Maine at Machias!
This was 1965; cell phones had not yet been invented. Individual rooms did not have phones, so we tip-toed down the hall to the phonebooth, dimes in hand, carefully and quietly opened the door, and Gail, the 3rd member of our room dialed the police. I can't remember if there was a 911 number then or not; I don't think so. In any case, Machias was a small town, and I'm not even sure there would have been more than one officer on duty. After calling the police, we decided to call the men's dorm--small college, there was only one men's dorm --for back up assistance, concerned that the police would not respond quickly enough to save us from the intruders below. A good friend of ours named Gordon answered the phone. Gail explained our plight, and he assured us that help was on the way. This was less than reassuring, as even though Gordon was six feet tall, he was basically a big, cuddly teddy bear and we didn't get the feeling that superman was rushing to our rescue!
Deciding to take matters into our own hands, I grabbed a broom and Joy grabbed a golf club, and we tip-toed down to the first floor landing, hiding behind Mrs. Dunne as best we could. Now you have to picture this: Mrs. Dunne in her bathrobe with a nightcap over her curlers, followed by Joy in her jammies and fuzzy slippers, wielding a golf club, Gail in her nightshirt, me barefoot in my flannel nightie holding a broom, with home made curlers in my hair--I used the cardboard centers from toilet paper rolls; they were just the right size for the look I wanted! Half-way down the stairs, I panicked. "I'm not wearing any underpants," I whispered. This was not good. We might be about to be raped, and here I was making it easier by having no obstacles between me and my attacker!
At the landing, Mrs. Dunne stepped forward, and in a deep voice we didn't even know she possessed, yelled, "You'd better get out of here! The police are on their way." There was a scuffling and scrambling footsteps, thrashing, thumping and thudding, and then quiet. We went the rest of the way down the stairs and felt a draft of cold air coming from the women's restroom, off the lobby. Joy, with the protection of her golf club, ran to investigate and arrived in time to see three men running away from the dorm. A couple of seconds later, superman in the guise of teddy bear Gordon appeared. She pointed in the direction the intruders had taken, and Gordon and his sidekick (Batman and Robin?) took off in pursuit.
Eventually the police showed up and took statements from all of us after having apprehended the culprits. The explanation we heard was that a couple of sailors from the Naval Station in Bucks Harbor, a nearby town, had met a girl in our dorm named Pumpkin (I guess the name says it all!) and had decided after imbibing a little liquid courage, that they were going to liberate Pumpkin from her Kimball Hall (dorm) prison. Mrs. Dunne's gruff warning had put the fear of God in them, and they had stumbled back out the same way they had entered.
A few weeks later, Mrs. Dunne, Gail, Joy, and I were summonsed to court to testify in the case of the state vs. three sailors. The courtroom was filled to capacity with townspeople and college students--this was the most excitement the town had seen in years! When Joy was summoned to the stand, the prosecutor questioned her and she related the entire episode--except for the part about me not wearing any underpants--to the jury, including the fact that she had looked out the restroom window and saw the three individuals racing away from the building. She was able to identify them, even though it was night time because the area outside the dormitory was pretty well-lit. The prosecutor thanked her, and the defense attorney took over. He did his best in his cross examination to trip her up, but she was no fool and kept her cool and stuck to her story.
Finally, in a desparate attempt to discredit her testimony, he said, "These figures running away from the dorm: Are you sure they were men?" Joy sat up in that witness chair, as high as her 5' 3" 110 pound frame would allow and responded indignantly, "I guess I know a man when I see one!" The whole courtroom burst into gales of laughter, the judge pounded his gavel for order, and the embarrassed defense attorney said, "No more questions, your honor."
The sailors were found guilty, but since no real harm was done, and any damage was limited to a few scuff marks left by their shoes as they scrambled out the restroom window in terror of Mrs. Dunne's voice, and maybe because of the formidible foursome they caught sight of on the stairway landing, the punishment was mild. But it did make for good conversation at Helen's Restaurant in Machias, and around the campus for weeks after.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A thing of beauty is Joy forever.

I'm meeting my college roommate for lunch today. We try to get together a couple of times per year, now that she is living in Maine again. We had been in school together since kindergarten, but didn't really know each other that well, until our senior year of high school found us sitting side by side in Mrs. LePage's Shorthand class. When we discovered we had both applied to the same University campus, we decided to request that we be roommates--the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know, was our thinking!
We roomed together for all four years of college, and graduated in 1967; we've stayed in touch since then, sometimes by phone when we were separated by several states. There was a stretch when she and her husband and I and mine went on a trip to Quebec City every year. In 1979, I was divorced; as I sat in a diner with her lawyer-husband, who handled the case, devastated that my life had fallen apart, he said, "By the way, Joy wants to know if this means our trip to Quebec is off for this year?" I burst into giggles! Just the amount of levity I needed to break up the gloom of the moment.
In 2007, her husband passed away after a long illness. She has bounced back from that with her sense of humor intact. We have stayed friends through thick and thin--I'm thick and she's thin!
She is one of the funniest people I know, and her name is Joy--very appropriate since she has brough that quality to many peoples lives over the years, especially mine. We've managed to get togther at least a couple of times per year over the past few years, and I know she will have me in stitches within minutes of meeting again today with stories of her recent trips to NewZealand and Ohio to visit her sons and grandkids. Everyone should be so lucky as to have Joy in their lives!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


These are just a few words of wisdom I received via email from a friend this morning; thought I would share them, even though I've already posted today.
Just a few random thoughts from someone's warped mind!

Every time I hear the dirty word'exercise',
I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

I do have flabby thighs,
But fortunately my stomach covers them.

I know I got a lot of exercise the
last few years, just getting over the hill.

I joined a health club last year,
spent about 400 bucks.
Haven't lost a pound.
Apparently you have to go there.

We all get heavier as we get older,
because there's a lot more information in our heads.

Every time I start thinking too much about how I look,
I just find a Happy Hour and by the time I leave,
I look just fine.

Walking can add minutes to your life.
This enables you at 85 years old
To spend an additional 5 months in a nursing
Home at $7000 per month.

I like long walks,
especially when they are taken
by people who annoy me.

I have to walk early in the morning,
before my brain figures out what I'm doing.

The advantage of exercising every day
is so when you die, they'll say,
'Well, she looks good doesn't she.'

I hope at least one of the above made you smile!

A LOOK into the Future

United States Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.

I received the above in an email from a friend as part of a list of “Headlines from the year 2032.” I would have laughed more if there hadn’t been a slight ring of possible truth to it. There are articles on the Google search engine stating the Postal Service is considering closing 10 percent of its offices across the country. I’m beginning to wonder if we even need mail service. I know the only things I seem to find in my letter box are junk mail, bills, and catalogues.

Most companies now have a pay-by-phone option, or an online payment option, and most banks offer a bill paying service. Many companies are now offering to send your statements electronically. I know this would require everyone to have online access, but that day is very close. Though not everyone has a computer, your local library has computers available; even senior housing facilities are now offering a computer room. It would probably be much cheaper to provide online access and computers to those who can’t afford it, than to continue to fund the Postal Service which is operating at a huge loss.

The cost to mail a one ounce letter in 1958 was 4 cents; a postcard, 3 cents. We’re fast approaching a 50 cent stamp, and mail service is slower than ever! Additional increases in the cost of stamps will only decrease service usage further.

Ending postal service would end junk mail—such a pity! I suspect all of you would miss yours about as much as I would miss mine! And Catalogues! I seem to get the same ones over and over with different covers; an obvious attempt to fool me into thinking the company has new merchandise to offer, rather than the same old, same old.

Well, I guess I’ve ragged on the Post Office long enough; the question that cartoon really inspired was, “Have you had your eyes checked lately?”

Monday, July 20, 2009

Crafting Impairment?

I have browsed the blogosphere and seen how some talented people make lovely quilts, manufacture their own laundry soap, knit, crochet, scrap-book, carve or whittle, paint or sketch, and I feel terribly inadequate. I have come to the conclusion that I am crafting-impaired.
While some look at pine cones, driftwood, and seashells and see all sorts of beautiful possibilities, I look at the same items and I see pine cones, driftwood, and seashells. Campfire fodder comes to mind, and maybe the opportunity to hear the ocean, but that’s where my creative imagination begins and ends.

It’s not for lack of trying. I did sew some in my 30’s, but I think it was of necessity. I lived in a rural area, had few opportunities to go clothes shopping—no mall nearby and the time was pre-internet. As a result, if I wanted a new dress or whatever, it was up to me to stitch one up! Once my children were in school and I went back to the workplace, the desire to sew disappeared for lack of time and energy.
I did learn to crochet. I worked for months and made an afghan that was six feet long and eight inches wide. It was not very effective protecting me from the chill of winter. I guess I could have planted one foot on the end of it and wrapped it ‘round and ‘round me! I could have called it an afwrap! Or maybe a scarfghan!
Obviously, there is a crimp in my chromosomes; a gap in my genes; a defect in my DNA. Admitting imperfection is, at best, awkward. And now the cyber-world knows! I am doomed to ignominy on the internet.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

You Are What You Eat?

If there's any truth to the saying, "You are what you eat," then I'm in serious trouble! I need to stay out of the heat! I fear I'm made of chocolate! Lindt and Ghirardelli with a hint of Godiva--Oh, dear! This could be why I like to walk around in my house "au naturale:" It's the Godiva influence!
Of course, the weather has become more seasonable here lately, and there's been no evidence of melting; if anything, there's been an increase in mass, rather than a decrease!
There are only two other possibilities. I'm either composed of pizza (preferably pepperoni, mushroom, green pepper, and onion), or chicken--no preference there--baked, fried, broiled or roasted.
Any of the above could account for physical expansion...but I really can't imagine myself as a strictly salad person. I'm just not that crunchy! This is all just too much to ponder. I think I'll have a truffle!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Age is Just a Number

The misconception in the quote above is that even if you do mind, it doesn't matter. You can't change your age, you can only change how you feel about it. I will admit, there are times when it's hard to feel good about it, like when there's a spell of damp weather and my joints are stiff and sore, but I'm trying to focus on the positive: they may ache, but they are still functional!

There are so many things to be positive about: I am grateful for all the blessings in my life: healthy, self-sufficient children and grandchildren. ( I watch Dr. Phil--I've seen those kids who mooch off their parents into their thirties, those kids who are drug dependent or in some other way at odds with the law!)

I have the good fortune to have a loving husband who puts up with all my flaws and foibles, and (knock on wood!) I am still healthy. I have a sister who is the dearest person in the world, brothers I know would be there for me if I needed them, and a circle of really good friends. By those standards, I count myself truly rich. What more could one want?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tie a String Round My Finger?

My granddaughter, Alexandria, is turning five, and her birthday party is a week from tomorrow. My oldest son, Allie's uncle, asked me last night if I was going to remember to come to the party. Forget one birthday party, and you are living it down for the rest of your life!

A year ago last February, I missed Allie's brother's birthday party. I didn't forget Nick's birthday, I just got the party day confused; I could have sworn that invitation said Sunday! Saturday, the day before the party (which was the day of the party, but I didn't know!), my husband and I decided to take a drive to a restaurant in New Hampshire called "The Smokehouse" for some BBQ'd ribs. It was one of those crisp winter days when the sun is bright, the sky is blue, and the trees are sporting their sparkling snow hats--a perfect day to escape cabin fever, which can be quite debilitating during winter in Maine.

So, totally oblivious to the party preparations underway at my son's house, Hubby and I jumped (okay, maybe we didn't exactly jump, but we tossed his cane in the back seat and climbed) into my Chevy and headed for the hills--literally. New Hampshire is known for it's White Mountains.

We meandered leisurely up and down the winding roads, anticipating the juicy ribs, the moist corn bread, and the bubbling baked beans, totally unaware of the panic we were creating behind us. The party time arrived and passed, and we were no-shows. My sons and their wives knew we wouldn't just 'blow off" a grandkid's birthday party, so they began to worry. First they called our house, and of course, we weren't home, so they thought we must be on our way. Then they called my cell phone. New Hampshire's mountainous terrain is notorious for "dead" zones where there is no cell phone coverage, so they were unable to reach us.

While we were pigging out on pig ribs, the kids were freaking out. They called my sister in a panic, certain something horrible had happened to us. We, totally unaware of the chaos about us, calmly finished lunch, and started home. When at last we were back within cell range, my sister was able to reach us and alert us to my error. Of course I was devastated that I had missed my grandson's birthday, and we delivered our presents for him the very next day along with profuse apologies.

Because of that mix up, every birthday or holiday since, my sons call me and remind me of the upcoming festivities and make certain to get in a dig about my age, declining memory, and make not so subtle hints about Alzheimer's testing.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ya' Better Remember Your Password!

Everything we do calls for a user name and password. Want to access your bank account? "Please enter your user name and password." Plan to visit Facebook? Enter your user name and password. Shopping on line? Enter user name and pass word. Feel like playing cribbage or literati on Yahoo games? Enter user name and password. And it's not just on your computer! Telephone access to most of your accounts require the same.

The worst part is you really should have different user names and passwords for each site or account, because if you use the same for all and a thief is able to discover them, he or she will has access to your whole life! Now maintaining different passwords and user names becomes difficult when you reach a certain age; and getting that message: "You have entered an incorrect user name or password" can be very annoying, especially when you are sure that what you just entered is correct.

I used to jot my user names and passwords on bits of paper, which would inevitably, mysteriously disappear. After having clicked on "forgot password" and waiting for that enlightening email too many times, I finally started keeping them all in a little notebook. But now I worry: what happens if the thief finds the little notebook?? Guess I'd better remember the password!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vacation Day and The Best Laid Plans. . .

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men (and women, too) often go astray. Thank you, Robert Burns! Today was to be a blog vacation day for me, as I had planned to take the one hour and 45 minute drive to my sisters for a fun visit. My plan was to head out early giving us a full day to enjoy, so I went to bed early last night and fell asleep around 10:30 pm.
Around 12:30 a.m., I woke up, feeling as though I had slept all night. When I saw the time, I immediately closed my eyes to go back to sleep; no such luck. I tossed and turned, fluffed and refluffed my pillow; I got up and used the bathroom, thinking a full bladder might be the problem; I pulled on a blanket--maybe I was chilly. Still the sandman eluded me.
I read somewhere that when you have trouble sleeping, you should get up for a while, so I did. I went to my office and turned on my laptop and put a message on my blog that I would be taking a vacation day. I accessed online banking and verified that my social security deposit had landed in my checking account, and used the online bill paying service to make my car payment. That seemed a long enough break from trying to sleep, so I went back to bed.
Still wide awake. Maybe I needed to count sheep. I closed my eyes and tried to conjure up those fluffy creatures seen on the mattress commercial. All I could visualize were some mangy-looking critters resembling wild coyotes. There was nothing soothing about tallying that crew--they looked a rather menacing! Then I remembered drinking milk is supposed to help you doze off. Since my days as a nursing mother when I consumed gallons of the white stuff, I have never again been a fan; but cheese! The ads say that each slice of cheese has a fourth of a cup of milk in it.
Out of bed and to the refrigerator for a slice of cheese. Back to bed. Tossed and turned and fluffed some more, envying my spouse who was peacefully far away in dreamland. I considered hijacking his C-Pap machine (a device which helps people with sleep apnea get uninterrupted rest). I gave up that idea realizing he might not have a sense of humor about it at 4:30 a.m.
My last view of the clock on my nightstand told me it was 5:45 a.m. I finally captured a few winks somewhere between there and 7:30. When I awakened, I knew that a long drive to and from my sister's today would not be wise. (I once fell asleep at the wheel on the highway with the cruise control set at 65 mph; having come out of that one unscathed, I wasn't about to push my luck!)
So --- plan scrapped, here I am: a bleary-eyed blogger, bummed out that the fun had to be postponed until next week! Does the caffeine in chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies bother anyone else? That's the only culprit I can name.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Not To Eat?

Does anyone know what to eat anymore? There have been so many warnings in the past, many of which have since been refuted, I have to confess, I am totally confused. I remember when butter was a big No-No; margarine was the healthier choice; then we were told that margarines contained more transfat than butter, so they were the No-No.

For years we were told that caffeine is bad for you; now studies are showing that caffeine can be used in the treatment of migraines, and some studies are even claiming increased longevity in women who use caffeine. This one hasn’t been a real dilemma for me; I discovered in my 30’s that PMS and caffeine turned me into a creature from the netherworld, so I gave it up permanently. (Except for chocolate; I do have my limits!)

Sugar was the bad guy and we were urged to switch to saccharin; then aspartame was the way to go; now that is in question and we’re told that a dextrin and sucralose product is the answer. And I’m sure down the road a new study will undermine that!

Eggs were at one time a terrible choice, now they have regained the respectability if consumed in moderation.

I fully expect that in the future we will be advised to eat only (organically grown) grass and drink pure spring water. Won’t that be a delightful time?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Equal Opportunity Needed!

In an earlier blog, I alluded to the fact that if a man has a problem, they get right on finding a solution! Women’s difficulties are of a much lower priority, obviously.

I want to know when a cure for my breaking fingernails will be developed. Just about the time that I get them all evenly grown out, shaped, and looking nice, I invariably break one. Could we get a fix for that (short of fake nails)?

I’ve also noticed as I’ve “matured” that those dark hairs which were once abundant on my legs are much less plentiful; they seem to have found a new home. While the job of shaving my legs has become a less frequent chore, I find now that I have to peer into the mirror daily looking for those dark hairs sprouting out on my face! Thank goodness they haven’t transplanted themselves in huge numbers, but they are disconcerting, nevertheless! When will they come up with a pill that will intercept that “hair highway” which has obviously opened up from my calves to my chin?

And wouldn’t you think that if they can develop a pill to cure a man’s sagging appendage, there’d be one to lift my sagging butt? It’s just not right!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Did I Just Walk into the Twilight Zone??

videoThis video was sent to me by a friend a while ago, but it was so funny, I just had to save it. If you've ever been somewhere and walked into the wrong place at the wrong time, you'll identify with the victims of this porta-potty prank. The looks of confusion and consternation on their faces are priceless! Put yourself in their shoes and imagine your reaction.

Click on the arrow at the lower left of the window; I hope this makes you chuckle!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Carpe Diem!

The time is now to seize the day;
Mustn’t wait ‘til old and gray.
Make the most of the time you’re given;
Too late at death, to think of livin.’

The grave’s no place to take regrets,
Live for now; don’t hedge your bets.
Kiss your kids, and love your spouse,
For without them, you’ve just a house!

Do it now, that dreamed of deed;
Don’t hesitate—take the lead.
Is there one for whom you care?
Tell them now ‘fore Gabriel’s blare.

The time is now, to seize the day,
Mustn’t wait ‘til old and gray;
Make the most of time you’re given;
Death’s no time to think of livin.’

Friday, July 10, 2009

Camping, Anyone?

I apologize in advance to anyone who is offended by this photo. It was sent to me on email by a friend under the title: A Short Safari Story. I couldn't help but laugh and thought maybe some of you would, too.

Although I used to love camping, I always camped at the more civilized facilities that had amenities such as restrooms with johns that flushed, hot and and cold water showers, and occasionally even mini laundramats. I know, I know: some would say that's not camping, but we did sleep on the ground in sleeping bags in a tent and cook our meals over an open fire.

My first camping experience was of necessity: we had just moved back to Maine and my (first) husband needed 9 more credit hours to complete his master's degree. The University of Maine would not accept more than 12 credits in transfer, so he decided to go back to Western New England College in Massachusetts to finish his degree. At the time, we had one car and a six-month-old baby. I didn't want to stay in Maine with no car and a six month old in a town where I knew no one, and we couldn't afford to rent an apartment for six weeks and still make our house payment in Maine, so we decided to camp for that period of time.

Now, we're talking about two people who have never camped in their lives. We bought a tent, sleeping bags, a Coleman stove, an outdoor extension cord, and electric heater (gotta' make sure that baby stays warm!) an electric frying pan, and whatever other paraphernalia we thought might be needed, and we made the trek, with baby in tow, to a campground in Connecticut about 15 miles from the Western New England College campus. (The name of the place just came back to me: Stafford Springs Campground. I don't know if it's still there!) We had a car bed for the baby, which was the 1970's version of today's "pack 'n play."

On our first day, the sky clouded up as we were setting up our 12' x 14' tent and our 14' x 14' tarp, which gave us a place under cover for the picnic table. Mother Nature was kind enough to allow us the time to get the car unpacked, our sleeping bags and car bed into the tent, and the coolers under the picnic table before she let loose. The rain begain to fall, and fall it did, for ten straight days! We had to dig a trench around the tent in an attempt to keep the water from getting under it, for we were getting a sloshing sensation through the tent floor with every step taken. Thank God the tent didn't leak! We had to buy plastic curtains to hang from the sides of the tarp so we could eat at our picnic table without getting soaked. Of course, we weren't so lucky when nature would call, and we would have to make the dash to the restroom facilities!

After that first ten days, we had pretty decent weather, and the baby and I had a great time. I learned to cook many one-dish meals in that electric fry pan during bad weather, and we made use of the Coleman stove and the fireplace. The campground had a small pond and sandy beach, and I thought it a grand adventure. Unfortunately, my husband who was attending classes and trying to do his homework in the tent, didn't find the adventure that grand; he refused to go camping ever again! A year later, my second son was born, and the boys and I went camping many times including a three-week stretch with a babysitter along, while I took classes toward my masters'.

To this day, my sons still go camping, now with their own families. I confess that since at this age my bladder can no longer make it through the night without having to "use the facilities," I don't go anymore; but I still have lots of great memories of those times!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Rain in Maine Causes Me Pain

We here in southern Maine have had at least 25 days of rain out of the last 30. (I think the guy across the street is building a really large wooden boat!) There are huge puddles everywhere, and in some rural areas whole sections of roads have been washed away by the deluge.
On the bright side, since I’m retired, I don’t have to go outside in the downpour; I can sit and read or blog-browse while listening to the rain on the roof. Of course, as the pantry depletes, hunger may make venturing outside a necessity! But tomorrow, The Schwan’s Man Cometh! Every other Thursday, he pulls into our driveway with his truckload of goodies; he is not deterred by a little rain! Turkey pot pies, beef short ribs, frozen veggies. . . ah, we will survive another two weeks, even if the rain continues.
On the darker side, at this age the rain wreaks havoc with my arthritic joints. The dampness and the inactivity resulting from a reluctance to venture into the precipitation (who am I kidding? The downpour!) tend to make my shoulder and hip ache. Getting out of bed in the morning is a chore. Things improve as I move around and the day wears on, but I start the day with a not too gentle reminder that I’m not as young as I used to be!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shop for Drugs? Who Knew?

My plan was to retire from my job with just a 60 day gap between my health insurance and Medicare. You know what they say about “the best laid plans…”
Once my employer was informed of my intent to retire, the “business decision” was made to make my retirement effective April 17th instead of May 31st. While that made sense financially to my employer, it did put a little crimp in my plans: six weeks fewer paychecks, and a longer gap without health insurance.
I have managed to stay healthy (knock on wood!) during this time, but I have allergies, and this is the season! Apparently, I have a champagne nose on a beer budget; the nasal spray I use (after suffering from the side effects of several less expensive options) is rather costly. Had I known I was going to be this long without health coverage, I would have refilled my prescription back in April! But, since I was only given two days advance notice of the effective date, I didn’t have time to even think about it.
A phone call to the pharmacy where I traditionally have my prescription filled informed me that the nasal spray without insurance would cost $110. Yikes! I decided to shop around and learned that the same item was available at Wal-Mart for $60. I’m going to hold off until I hear back from my doctor if she has any samples that might carry me to August!

The message here is shop around for your prescriptions! I was amazed at the price differences on the same medication. Generics are the best bet, if you can tolerate them; if you require a name brand, or if a generic is not available, price comparison will be to your advantage. If you are lucky enough and/or healthy enough to not require prescription meds, more power to you! The happiest pills are the ones that you don’t have to take!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Someone Please Liberate This Housewife!

Okay, so the holiday weekend is over. It’s time to get serious and do some housecleaning. I don’t understand why they can put a man on the moon, but they can’t make a self-cleaning house! There’s no question in my mind that if traditionally men were required to do the housework we would have riding vacuum cleaners, house windows with washer/wiper attachments, and beds that remade themselves upon exit.

The fact that we don’t have these inventions is not because women lack the creativity and talent to come up with them, but because they are too busy taking care of the men and boys in their lives to find the time to work on these issues. Someone did come up with the self-cleaning oven; how about self-cooking meals? I’m not talking TV-dinner fare, I mean produce and meats that jump out of the fridge, unassisted, and dice, slice, boil, roast, or fry themselves. Okay, maybe that’s a little over-the-top.

I’d settle for the self-cleaning house. They were on the right track with Roomba, that robotic vacuum cleaner, but it needed to be able to do walls and ceilings in addition to floors, make and serve me a Pina Colada and, of course, be affordable. When they come up with that little gem, I’m in!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Last of Acadia for 2009

These are the last of the pictures of Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine. It is a three to three and one half hour drive from my home, depending on the traffic, so I only get there once a year, usually. Again, apologies that these are not my photos, but again, I'll give credit to the photographers. The force that helped create Maine's rugged shoreline can be seen, felt, and heard as the waves pound the coast. This often tranquil scene becomes a stage for great drama when storms pass out to sea. Photographer- Robert Thayer.
These beautiful wild flowers, called Rugosa roses are plentiful in the Park. They are hardy enough to grow in the sandy soil and do well in the moist, salty air.
Photographer-Robert Thayer

Heavy rains create many temporay waterfalls, along the park roads, and this one reappears often near the summit of Cadillac Mountain. Photographer-Robert Thayer.

The ocean slowly erodes the granite bedrock; this process creates the sheer cliffs that dominate the island's shoreline. Photographer Susan Cole Kelly.
I hope these pictures convey to you some idea of the beauty and majesty of Acadia. Actually experiencing these scenes takes one's breath away! I know I must return again.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

More Acadia

These are some more pictures of Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine. Again, I apologize that these photos are not my own; the weather today was not conducive to photography, but I really wanted to share my Acadia with you. As I said in the previous blog, I purchased the pictures and will give credit to the photographer in each case. The picture above is of Bass Harbor Head light which has been active since it was built in 1858. One of four lighthouses in the area, it is the only one actually on Mount Desert Island and easily accessible.
Acadia boasts an extensive 50-mile carriage road system. Gate houses were built where the carriage roads meet the auto road to control access. This is Brown Mountain Gatehouse in Northeast Harbor. Photographer, Jeff Gnass.

There are 17 stone bridges along the 50-mile carriage road system. This one was the first, built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in the early 20th century. It is the only one built entirely of cobblestones. Photographer- Robert Thayer.

This is Jordon Pond which was created by glaciers. During the last ice age, glaciers scoured deep valleys and rounded the island's granite mountains. The melting ice filled many valleys with water which is why Acadia has many lakes.
Photographer, Gary Randall/Unicorn.

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is my absolutely favorite place in the whole state of Maine. I try to get there at least once each summer, and have done that 13 out of the last 15 years. These are some pictures I wanted to share. Unfortunately on Independence Day, 2009, the sky was overcast, and the top of Cadillac Mountain was in the clouds, so there was no visibility. Then we had a major thunder shower, so I didn't get to take pictures myself. But I was able to acquire these and will share them, giving credit to the photographer in each case. This first one above is of Sand Beach which is the only sandy beach in the park. Most of the coast in the park is rocky. The photographer was Robert Thayer.
The picture above is the view from the top of Cadillac Mountain, looking down on the town of Bar Harbor, Porcupine Island, and Frenchman's Bay. The photographer for this was also Robert Thayer.

The above picture did not come out as reddish as the original; Cadillac mountain is the first place in the United States to receive the sun's rays each day, and at sunrise the naturally pinkish rocks turn red-orange! Another Robert Thayer Photo.

This is another picture at sunrise, but again, when I scanned it, the photo didn't keep the red-orange glow of the original. Photo by Tim Fitzharris.
The website where more of these photos can be seen is
I apologize that these are not my original work; I had to purchase them. I just wanted to be sure to share the beauty of Acadia with all of you. Usually I like to go to the top of Cadillac Mountain and just sit and enjoy the breath-taking panorama. It's truly a spiritual experience.

Independence Day!

I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday and taking a few moments to silently thank all the soldiers of the past and present, who sacrificed their time, their comfort, and too often their lives to make this day possible for all of us.

Thank you, men and women of our armed forces.

I'm working on a blog with pictures of Acadia National Park which I will share with all of you tonight or tomorrow.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Water Safety

A video(As near as I can tell, no old people were seriously hurt in the making of this video! Chuckling and giggling are allowed, but no loud guffawing. Show some respect!)

After yesterdays's post where I mentioned all the recreational activities available in Maine, I felt a responsibility to mention water safety. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the above video should be worth several thousand. I think it illustrates many things not to do while engaged in on the water activities.

Click on the arrow at the lower left hand corner of the video to start it. No matter where you go boating or fishing, remember that those activities do not mix well with alcohol; wear a life jacket; and always use caution and common sense!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer in My Neck of the Woods

Summer offers many recreational opportunities. Here in Maine there are wonderful, scenic State Parks with picnic areas, mountain climbing trails, and swimming areas. We have sandy beaches, numerous lakes for boating, fishing, and waterskiing; and campgrounds abound. The state is aptly nick-named “Vacation Land.”

Every year starting around Memorial Day, the influx of tourists, or as we natives like to call them, “folks from away” begins. Much like clouds of locusts the crowds descend upon us. (The similarity to locusts is only in the numbers; we welcome visitors and the dollars they bring to our economy. The resulting traffic jams, parking shortages, and long lines at our favorite restaurants are only a minor inconvenience.)

Vacationers come to Maine from all over the Unites States and Canada. Old Orchard Beach, which is only 3 miles from my home, is an especially popular playground for Canadians. Many of them are from Quebec, which is a primarily French-speaking province and they are easily recognized by the cadence of their speech and their men’s fondness for “Speedos” (those tiny little swim suits that leave nothing to the imagination!).
The beach area is a magnet for locals as well. We love to grab a slice of “Bill’s Pizza” (preferably with extra cheese and lots of pepperoni!), some “Pier Fries” (the world’s most delicious, fresh cut, delicately browned, potato wedges) and find a place to sit and people-watch. The scenery varies, depending on the time of day. Mornings are filled with families juggling beach chairs, blankets, towels, and excited children, making their way to a spot on the sand where they can relax and enjoy the sun and surf. You can spot the new arrivals by their pale skin. Those who’ve been in town for a while are in varying shades of pink, lobster-red, or dark honey.
Later in the day, shirts and shorts have been shed, and bare skin, deep cleavage, and hairy chests are everywhere. When we’ve had our fill of pizza, fries, and bikini clad bodies, it’s time for some crisp, golden onion rings, or maybe some fried dough with maple syrup or powdered sugar on it. Then we drag our junk-food-satiated-bodies home again, until the next time. (People–watching at Old Orchard Beach is not a low-calorie activity, and hence must be restricted to no more than two or three times per season!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Global Warming?

This whole global warming issue has me wondering. Like where is it this month? We haven’t had a day over 70 degrees, which is highly unusual for this time of year. I’ve never been one to sunbathe, but it would be nice to at least see the sun now and then; I think my toes are getting mildewed! Our lawn is beginning to look like a hayfield, as it’s been too wet to mow.
On the bright side, we haven’t yet had to use the air conditioning, and have only turned the overhead fans on two days so far this summer. Our electricity bill should be considerably less this for June 2009 than it was June 2008, unless the fact that I’ve been cooking on the electric range instead of using the outdoor gas grill offsets any savings there.
We live just three miles from Old Orchard Beach. Of course, if it keeps raining, my home could become shore property soon! I feel sorry for all those tourists who have waited all year for their week at the shore and haven’t been able to enjoy it. Being cooped up in a cottage or motel while Mother Nature throws a wet blanket over all cannot be fun. And who knows the shelf life of sun block? Will it keep ‘til next year?