Archive for October, 2009

Halloween Time!

Well, we’ll be closing down October with Halloween on Saturday.  I have mixed feelings about this holiday.  I’m not too crazy about the whole trick or treating aspect, but I do love the costumes and the idea of scary stuff.  So, I searched around and came up with a couple of things in the Halloween spirit to share.

This first is a video of a segment of the “Ellen” show where she’s sharing viewers’ videos showing someone being scared.  The middle part (at about 1:24) is my favorite because every time I see it, I can’t stop laughing.

I know that wasn’t all that scary, so, in the spirit of the holiday, here’s a monster I really like!


Scary, yes, but he’s probably really nice.


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stick guyRemember the older man I saw moving in next door who always seemed angry?  Well, I finally met him in person.  Before I tell you about him, let me map out the situation first.  In our four attached townhouses, this is the neighbor next to me whose front door faces mine across two porches.  So, due to that proximity, I’m always anxious as to who will be living there.

Okay, so like I said, I met him last week when I was returning from the mailbox and we stood and talked for about twenty minutes.  So, here’s what he’s not:

1) He’s not a retired Mafia Don.  (And I was SO SURE!)
2) He’s not crabby all the time.  He didn’t once crab when I was talking to him.
3) He’s not alone.  Apparently his 23-year-old (invisible?) son lives with him.
4) He’s not McDreamy, McSteamy, the Mentalist or Sawyer from “Lost.”  (A woman can dream, can’t she?)

What he is is:

1) A father.
2) A Fed-Ex employee.  (This could come in handy if I need directions to somewhere!)
3) A former apartment dweller. (For 13 years.)
4) Divorced.
5) A seemingly nice man.

So, that’s all I know for now.  Sure, it could have been better, but it could have been a whole lot worse, too. (Remember the last Evil Neighbors and their big pooping, yucca-killing dog?)

All in all, I’d say I’m hopeful.  So, I guess I’ll let him stay…for now.

But, mind you, he’s on probation!

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My eBay Experience

In my post, “The Quiet Tycoon,” I wrote about my friend Iris’s success on eBay and talked about putting these boots mainup for bid and trying my hand at selling.

Since this was my first try, I had to poke around eBay a bit to learn how one went about being a seller, what exactly was required, what the fees were, etc., etc.  Before writing my ad,  I scouted Miss Capezio boots to see if others were listed.  I found two identical pairs in different sizes, both listed as “Buy It Now,” one for $159 and one for $179.  One listing even showed multiple pictures of Brittany Spears wearing these exact boots!

That got me to thinking, so in my ad I added “This is a rare, greatly sought-after style which is selling elsewhere on eBay for over $100, so grab these while you can!” I figured it couldn’t hurt and might help.  I set my starting price at $24.99, since they were, after all, used boots.  I made a point of the fact that there were no refunds or returns and thus, added many pictures, including one of the bottom of the sole. I also set the auction to run for 7 days.

After I had them listed, I sent the link to Iris, who thought it looked good.  Then I sat back and waited…and waited.  It took at least two days before I had my first bid…for $24.99.  By then I was wishing I had set the starting price higher so that I could get at least $40 for them.  Days went by with no action.  Then I got an email from an interested party offering me $40.00 if I would sell them to her right then and end the auction.  It was tempting, but didn’t feel right, so I resisted and encouraged her to simply bid on them.  Still, nothing more happened.

On day six of the seven day auction, Iris emailed me excitedly, saying, “You’ve got TWO bids!”  But the price was only $30 at this point.  Iris predicted that I’d hit forty before it ended, but I had my doubts.

The last day was when it got fun.  Little bids would dribble in, but nothing dramatic…until the last five minutes. By now, Iris and I were on the phone together, both at our computer screens, hootin’ and hollarin’.   Every time a bid would register on her computer, she’d shout “Woo hoo!”   She was clearly having a blast giving a running narration, “You’ve got 7 bids, no wait, make it 8!”  During the last minute I got 10, then 11, then 12 then 13 bids, the last winning the boots for $56.00!!!!   Woo-hoo, indeed!

It may not sound like much money to you, but here’s how I look at it. For almost twenty years I have moved those boots from house to house, where they have ended up sitting on a shelf in my closet.  I clearly was never going to wear them again.  Now I have more space and $56.00!  It’s like free money!

The boots have been shipped and now I’ve taken to walking around my house and peering into closets, looking for unusual treasures to sell.  Why, you might ask?

Well, because I think I’ve been bitten…by the eBay bug!

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Bits bookHi y’all!  No big dramas happening right now, but lots of little stuff – thoughts, rants, you-name-it, floating around in my brain, so I thought I’d share a bit.

First of all, there’s the flu shot thing.  My friend, Babs and I planned to get our flu shots together last week.  At the last minute, my doctor told me that since I had just had outpatient surgery, I had to wait thirty days to get mine.  Okay, fine.  It didn’t make me happy because I’m a big believer in flu shots, not having had the flu in years, but, I figured I’d just have to bite the bullet.  However, I wanted Babs to get hers, at the very least.  So, off we went to CVS, where we found a small line and only had to wait about 20 minutes.  After her shot, Babs told me that she asked the doctor how their vaccine supply was and she said they had plenty.  (Oh yeah, and while I was waiting, a woman sneezed on me, making the whole “not-getting-a-shot” thing a little more difficult to swallow!)

At any rate, Bab’s husband had called his doctor and was told they were out of the vaccine and weren’t getting any more in.  So she sent him to CVS the next morning, where he was told they were saving what vaccine they had left for sick patients and pregnant women.  Sick patients?  Wouldn’t it be a little late for them?  And pregnant women?  This was for the regular flu, not H1N1.  Doesn’t that seem a little unfair?  Anyway, later that same day, my friend Iris went to that same CVS store, only to find a sign on the door saying they were completely out!  She checked Walgreens and a couple of more places, all to no avail.  So, what worries me is that on October 30th when I’ll be cleared to get my shot, will there be any shots left in my city?  Or am I just doomed?  Will my “Bits & Pieces” end at 11?  Sob!

USB flas driveSecond thing – When I was pulling my jeans out of the washing machine to put in the dryer, something clattered onto the floor.  It was one of my computer flash drives!  My first thought was, “say goodbye to that drive!”  After I got the dryer going, my curiosity overcame me and I went upstairs and popped it into one of my laptops.  Guess what?  That drive went through the entire wash cycle and didn’t lose one iota of information!  Is that cool, or what?

Third thing – The writer of one of the blogs I’ve read for years is going through some huge problems right now that are affecting not only her mental and emotional health, but her physical health as well.  I’ve never met this woman personally, but I find myself worrying about her…a lot.  That’s what this blogging world does to you.  She has been a daily read for me for so long that I feel I know her and her family.  She’s made me laugh and cry and now she’s going through this horrible nightmare of a time, and there’s nothing I can do for her.  On a lot of her recent posts, she has closed her comments, so there’s not even that.  Isn’t it amazing that the written word can be so powerful as to bring people together from all over the world?  I guess all I can do is keep her in my prayers and ask any of you who have room in your heart for a stranger, to send a good thought to Shannon.  Thank you.

And last – Naturally, I’d like to leave you on an “up” note, so I’m going to share a picture I came across that always makes me smile.

girl and penguinHope it made you smile, too!

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There are so many self-help books and self-proclaimed “life coaches” who do the talk show circuits, trying to tell us all how to live, that it’s easy to simply tune all that stuff out.  I mean, how many times can you hear “Be yourself,” without wanting to scream “WHO ELSE can I be?!!!!”  But, as I go through life, there are certain little gems that have stuck with me that I pull out now and then to help me get by.  One in particular that I’ve been using lately is one I’m determined to hang on to and try to incorporate into my life all the time.

This piece of wisdom goes something like this:  You can’t control someone else’s behavior.  You can’t change someone else.  And you can’t always control the circumstances in which you find yourself.  The only thing you can control is how you’ll react. Therein lies your power.  This sounds so simple, but I am finding that it can make all the difference in the world to my attitude and my happiness.

Here’s an example.  Someone in my life promised me that they would never do a certain thing again, after I told them how hurtful it was.  And a few days ago, they turned right around and did it again.  At first, my body reacted instinctively with a sinking feeling of disappointment. I felt hurt and anger closing in fast, all feelings I had felt before when this happened, almost as if my body was on an automatic loop.  But, just as I was about to sink into despair, there was a pivotal moment when I said to myself, “NOT THIS TIME.” It was like someone had flipped a switch in my brain!  This time, instead of just standing there like a helpless victim, letting all this bad stuff wash over me,  I CHOSE to turn around and walk away from this little script.  I decided that I did nothing to deserve this bad treatment and therefore I would not let it become a part of my consciousness.  If that person wants to behave in a certain way, there’s nothing I can do about it, but I don’t have to be a party to it.  I chose instead to concentrate on the good, positive things in my life and the people who don’t feel a need to hurt me or test me.  And you know what?  It works!

Whether you apply this kind of magical thinking to an out-of-control child, a thoughtless husband or a sucky job, it CAN help.  I don’t mean you’ll immediately start loving the job or that the husband or child will suddenly transform themselves.  No, those things are out of your control.  But you can decide to take control of your reaction.  When someone is trying to book you a ticket for a guilt trip, tell yourself, “NOT THIS TIME.” When something doesn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, instead of dissolving into tears, stop yourself and say, “NOT THIS TIME,” and then channel that energy into making yourself a stronger person who’s simply not going to be beaten down!  The more you do this, the better it works and the more powerful you become in your own life.

Even though I’m sensitive, I don’t want to be someone who can be crushed by someone else’s whim.  And I won’t be.  I choose instead to be…



Think about it.  It might just work for you, too.

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After the rain…

Whew!  We’re finally getting a bit of a reprieve from the wet gloom and doom!  I wandered out after the last rain and found that the wet leaves cling to everything, whether they’re supposed to or not…

wet leaves

and zombie creatures emerge to forage, like some bit actors in the squirrel version of “dawn of the dead.”

zombie squirrel

But, on the “plus” side, Lila, my favorite tree, stretches her arms out to embrace the long-absent sun.  Note how her long hair hangs down.

lila tree

And my wind chime tinkles merrily with each passing breeze, adding harmonious embroidery to the edges of the day…


And, finally, my hard-done-by yucca plant survives and triumphs, showing that love trumps dog pee any old day!

healthy yucca

Yes, life is good.  Thank You, God.

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A Weather Schizophrenic

SchizophrenicWhere I live, we have just experienced five or six days of below-average temperature days in which it has been cold, wet, dark and melancholy.  In other words, day after relentless day of gloominess.  It has made me realize what a weather-sensitive person I am.  Almost every day I have woken up, stepped outside to discover that it was still wet and cold, and have experienced different extremes of moods.

Here are a few different versions of me, and how I’ve reacted to these doldrums.

“Oh Goody!  This will be a perfect day to snuggle up in my recliner with a cup of vanilla nut cream tea and read my book and be all snug and warm.  Good thing I don’t have to go out.”

Another day…

“Why did I even bother to get up?  I can’t do anything right.  No one loves me.  No one cares.  I’m totally alone in this world.  I just feel like crying.”

Another day…

“Gloomy again?  Oh well, this will be a perfect day to get some stuff done around the house.  I can bake some cookies, polish the furniture and maybe do some writing in my blog.  It’s kind of atmospheric!”

And, still another day…

“Oh drat!  Cold and wet AGAIN?  When will this damned weather end?  Looks like we’re going straight into winter.  Pretty soon they’ll start all that sentimental Christmas advertising and you know what that does to you.  How will I survive again this year?”

Yikes.  Sometimes I even scare myself! There’s me and me and me and me.  On the bright side, I guess I’ll never be truly alone!

Anyway, I don’t know about you, but I could really do with a little Indian summer before we delve deep into the depths of winter.   So, what do you say, God?  Don’t you need a little more time to show off those pretty leaves?  Sure you do!   I’ll be waiting…

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