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Archive for October, 2010

Since Sunday tends to be a slow day here in Blog Land, I thought I’d throw out several questions that have been swimming around in my  mind.  If any of you happen to have an answer or two, I’m hoping you’ll use the comment section to enlighten me.

Question 1:  Why does the moon sometimes hang around during the daytime? This picture was taken at 10:00 a.m.  Meanwhile, the sun was over in another part of the sky, just glaring at him.  And I don’t blame her.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love the moon, far more than the sun, but fair’s fair.  He had all night to do his thing.  You don’t see the sun showing up suddenly at 10:00 p.m. to horn in on this time.  I think he does it just to irritate her.  That’s why there’s no doubt in my mind that the moon is a man.

Question 2: Why do little boys love exhibiting their private parts to the world? One of my neighbors, Trashy Girl, has a little boy about 7 or 8, let’s call him Pita (short for Pain In The Ass.)  Anyway, to look at him one would think he would make a perfect Christopher Robin (of Winnie-the-Pooh fame.)  But he’s not like that at all.  He’s loud, a bit destructive and apparently full of anger.  I once saw him kick our new cluster mailbox as hard as he could about fifty times!  Anyway, he’s got two new cronies and together they are so loud and obnoxious that I almost long for cold, to keep them inside.

At any rate, day he and one of his friends were right out front of my and Marcia’s townhouses.  His friend whipped out his tiny penis and proceeded to pee on Marcia’s tree, saying “Gotta water the tree.  Gotta water the tree.”  So, Pita, not to be beaten in the Race for Tacky, pulled out his little Winky and started peeing on one of my trees saying, “Gotta get the roots!  Gotta get the roots.”  As cars came up the street, he turned toward them, as if he was aiming to pee on them, as well.  I thought to myself, “How proud his mother must be!”  I had a huge urge to grab my camera, but I didn’t move fast enough.  Just knowing someone had a picture of him doing that that they might show his mother might have given him something to think about.  A little later I was out shaking rugs off my balcony when I looked over to a huge green area over to the side and saw all three little boys pulling their pants down to their ankles and mooning all the townhouses surrounding them!  So what is it with little boys?

Question 3:  Why do so many people bathe or shower first thing in the morning rather than at night? I’ve never been able to figure this out. I once dated a man who would take a long run late at night, go home to bed and then shower in the morning.  To me that meant that he crawled between his sheets all sweaty and dirty.  Yuk.  I’ve always taken a bath in the evening before I go to bed, so that my body would always be squeaky clean when I got under the covers.  And, unless I had hot, dirty, sweaty animal sex that night, I’d still be clean to start the day in the morning.  Doesn’t that make more sense?  Okay, if you’re one of the lucky ones who do have passionate sex every night, I can understand why you’d want to clean up before starting the day.  But otherwise?  Why?  Don’t you feel like you’re going to bed dirty, with the accumulated dirt of the day getting on your bedclothes?  Tell me!

Question 4: (Final Question)  Do you ever wonder where all the chairs that people throw away over the years end up? Oh, never mind.  I think I know the answer to that one.  They end up here:

Okay, those are my questions for now.  If you have any wisdom to share with me, now is the time!

 

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Lately it seems I’ve been bombarded with articles that illustrate the negative repercussions of our present administration.  And two of them really struck home with me.

According to the Associated Press on Sunday, “The new health care law wasn’t supposed to undercut employer plans that have provided most people in the United States with coverage for generations.

But last week a leading manufacturer told workers their costs will jump partly because of the law.  Also, A Democratic governor laid out a scheme for employers to get out of health care by shifting workers into taxpayer-subsidized insurance markets that open in 2014.

‘The economics of dropping existing coverage is about to become very attractive to many employers, both public and private,’ said Governor Phil Bredsen, D-Tenn.”

When I took early retirement, I was, for the first time, faced with paying a sizable premium for my employer-provided retiree health care plan.  And, since I’m not yet eligible for Medicare, I’ve kept a wary eye on those premiums as they’ve gone up every year.  But, although it’s a hefty premium, it’s a lot less than I would pay if I had to get insurance as an individual.  And I’ve realized that we retirees are really lucky that our old company provides us this plan at all.  Now with Obama-Care, they will actually have an incentive to throw us to the dogs!  Fortunately, shortly after I read this article, I received the insurance plan for 2011 from my old company.  I tore it open, fearing a premium increase of $100 or more, only to find that it was only $21.  But, as you know, “the devil is in the details.”  And the details here I soon discovered were that they were raising our deductible from $350 this year to $500.  At the rate things are going, how long is it going to take for really poor people to have to simply drop insurance because they can’t afford it?  Oh, but I forgot!  If you don’t have insurance, Obama’s health care plan will fine you.  What better way to get poor people to “jump” than to charge them money for not having money? Don’t even get me started.

The other article, also from the Associated Press – “The days of free checking are ending.  One new account at Bank of America charges $8.95 a month if you want to bank with a teller or get paper statements.”  (How petty is that?)

It’s happening because a raft of new laws enacted in the past year, including the financial overhaul package, have led to an acute shrinking of revenue for banks, so they’re making a profit wherever they can.  Didn’t the government anticipate something like this?  Or did they just not care?

Personally, I seldom have to see a teller for anything.  And I could print my bank statements up myself, but I figure, why not let them use their paper rather than mine?  After all, they’re making interest on everything I’ve invested.  And I do write checks.  Yes, I’m the last of a dying breed.  But still, it’s my right and I shouldn’t have to pay extra for the fact that I prefer to pay with cash rather than credit or debit.  Thank goodness I dropped Bank of America years ago when I experienced many errors and terrible customer service.  I went with a credit union which I love and which, according to the article, might maintain free checking as a way to siphon customers from the big banks.

But, what about the gray-haired, rosy-cheeked little old ladies and men who aren’t comfortable with computers and ATM’s?  These people probably have a ritual of going into the bank and visiting with the tellers.  They’ve been banking like that for generations.  Now they will have to pay for the privilege?

All I’m saying is that our present government seems to be making things a lot harder for the average person and I don’t think they care a damned bit!  They’re so busy trying to be rock stars that they’ve forgotten that they’re supposed to be OUR servants.

I guess what I want to say is – stop and think hard and long about what’s happening  and then go out and vote on Tuesday.  You couldn’t make things any worse.

 

 

 

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Gee whiz, when I first started going on cloud patrol and collecting clouds, I never dreamed I’d have nineteen collections already!  But, come to think of it, my cloud warehouse is starting to fill up.  I’ll have to think about sending some of them to Area 51 or Warehouse 13.  But that’s a problem for another day.

My first cloud is so easy to see that you shouldn’t have any trouble.  It’s a dinosaur taking a big bite out of one of my trees.  He’s facing right.  His mouth is open and you can see the bare suggestion of an eye.

This second one is a little harder, but so romantic! It’s of two kissing clouds.  The guy is on the left and he’s stretching so hard that he has almost pulled his head off of his body, but he has already gotten his lips on hers.  She’s on the right, accepting the kiss.  Someone should tell her to close her eyes.  Can you see it?

Okay, this third one is pretty difficult, but I insisted on putting it in because it appeals to my whimsical side.  So stick with me here.  Immediately right of the tree is a cloud head which is in the middle of a sneeze.  You can see its open mouth.  The “sneeze stuff” is floating up higher, however the bottom part of the “sneeze stuff” seems to be forming an “M.”  (Is this some sort of secret hidden message to us from the sky?) In the bottom right of the picture are three other clouds watching and applauding.   Yes, I know I’m a bit weird, but that’s what I saw.  Can you see it, too?

On this particular day, when I turned around and looked up, I was shocked to see yet another Crazy Evil Cloud! I hope you all will remember what I’ve told you about this.  Any time you look up and see one – DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT. I’m not exactly sure what will happen to you, but I do know that it won’t be good.

And last, but not least, in the spirit of Halloween I give you a Wolfman/Ogre.  He’s facing left.  You should be able to see his nose and a big tooth coming out of the bottom of his jaw.  He also has big hair.

And that concludes our collection for today.  I hope you enjoyed it and remember what I always say, ” Keep Your Eyes On The Skies!”

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My Living Room Forest

Well, I’ve been at it again!  You all know how much I love doing decorating stuff and, since I’ve been trying to distract myself, I just finished another project.  I don’t know if you remember when I put the abstract flower wall decals on one of my living room walls.  This is the only picture I could find of them, although I must have better ones somewhere else.  At any rate, flowers hadn’t been what I really wanted.  I had wanted trees, but couldn’t find any that would fit between the wall sconces and yet stop short of the air intake vent.

However, in the meantime I had gotten this lovely tree wall sculpture which I put on another wall.  It’s really not crooked, it just looks that way from the angle I from which I took it.

So anyway, I was sitting there the other evening thinking how cool it would be if I had trees on the other wall because then it would be like I was sitting in a forest, with trees on two sides of me.  (And yes, I do live in a fantasy world!) So I went on Etsy.com and combed through many decal stores until I found some trees that would do the trick.  I ordered them and then figured I’d better start removing the old decals.  The sellers always say that they don’t damage walls, so now it was time to put that statement to the test. As you can see, they didn’t leave a mark or mar the wall.  As you can also see, I didn’t have the heart to remove the white bird perched on the light switch.  He’s become a friend.

Very soon my package came and it included two trees, eight birds and nineteen leaves.  The name of the purchase was “Changing Seasons” and the picture showed leaves falling from the trees.  All in all, I was very pleased with everything but the birds.  With the exception of one, all of the other “birds” looked more like splashes of fungus.  Honestly, you could not tell they were birds.  That was a bit disappointing.

On the evening that I got them I put up one tree…  (Ignore that strip of brown paper hanging from the stairs.)

Then two trees.   Already I was liking these WAYYYY better than the flowers that were up before.  At this point I decided to wait until the next morning to deal with the leaves and birds because I knew the positioning would be important.

The next day I used tiny pieces of masking tape to attach the leaves (which still had transfer paper on them) in various positions.  At first I used the store’s example but then realized that less would be more in my case.  I pulled out the birds and tried to stare some meaning into them, but had to face the fact that they were merely blobs.  I saved the one good guy and added him at the very last, almost as an afterthought.  (But he does provide company to my ghost bird.)

I’m pretty pleased with the finished product and anytime I decide I can always remove the leaves or the black bird.  Oh yeah, and just to add a touch of whimsy, I made it look like one of the leaves had blown across the hall!  Very fun, I think!

So, lovely readers, what do you think?  Do you like it?  Should I lose the leaves?  Or do you like it just the way it is?

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I live in a very nice middle-class neighborhood of two-car garages and three bedroom houses in an area called “Walden.”  It may be a little less tranquil than Thoreau’s, but I like it.  One day I went for a longer walk than usual, turned a corner, and entered a different world.  All of the houses must sell for a half million to a million dollars or more.  There are all styles, from Federal to plantation house to big stone ones resembling museums.  Many have huge fountains in the front and some have circular drives.  My own favorite is a big yellow, vine-covered villa, perched high above the street.  It wouldn’t look out-of-place on a hillside in Rome.  It looks something like this.  (I hesitate to take pictures of the actual houses because I feel it might be violating privacy.)

Needless to say, I christened this area “Rich Walden.” Ever since I discovered it, I love walking or driving through.  And, as I wander past each of these houses, I always have the same question – What is life like for these people?  And who ARE these people?  I never see them.  The only people I see outside are those in some sort of uniform or wearing shirts with their names embroidered over the pocket.  Obviously, these are the service people doing yard work, painting, roofing, trimming bushes, or cleaning the pool.  Is there another whole army inside consisting of maids, cooks, handymen, nannies and, gulp, butlers?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First of all, since I come from humble beginnings, I naturally wonder how people can afford to live in houses like these.  I mean, the heating and cooling bills alone must be staggering.  Or don’t they worry about things like that?  And what about the property taxes?  And then there are all the salaries to be paid.  Are they all doctors and lawyers and C.P.A.’s and computer gurus?  These must be the people for whom money is no object.  I wonder how that feels.

But, aside from the cost, I’m also curious about their quality of life.  Instead of programming their coffee maker the night before to come on every morning like I do, do they just go downstairs, secure in the fact that “Cook” will have breakfast ready?  Do they walk around in awe of their beautiful surroundings, or do they even notice that they’re living in a mini-mansion?  Are their lives more glamorous, like living in a movie?  Somehow I can’t picture them running the sweeper or cleaning the toilets like me.  Do they look down on average people?  I’d love to be a fly on the wall to be able to observe a day in the life of someone who lives here.

Of course, I’m realist enough to know that tucked here and there in that lovely neighborhood are probably those whom the economy has hit hard.  One or two of those houses could be almost empty of furniture, while the owners are struggling to pay their debts.  But I bet they strive to keep that a secret.

So, are the rich happier?  I mean, you must admit that having plenty of money must lower stress somewhat.  And being able to buy whatever you want whenever you want it would certainly put me in a good mood!  But happier?  I think I’d still have this double vision problem even if I lived in my yellow villa up there.  These people get sick.  These people get diseases.  These people lose loved ones and have their hearts broken, I’m sure.  They just do it in more luxurious surroundings.

They say money can’t buy happiness and I’m sure they’re probably right.  But it’s one of those things I’d like to find out for myself.  (Memo to Self:  Start buying lottery tickets.) In the meanwhile, I’ll just keep strolling through Rich Walden…and keep dreaming.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Great Bra Dilemma

We can send a man to the moon.  We can cure polio.  We can invent the Internet, You-Tube, iPhones and iPads.  But no one in this entire world seems capable of creating The Perfect Bra.  By “perfect,” I mean “comfortable.”

Men have no idea.  They have no idea at all of what we women must endure to harness our little fillies so they don’t go flopping around in the world, embarrassing not only themselves, but us.  It’s absolutely horrible.  I know few women who don’t long for that moment in the day when they can come home and shed their current instrument of torture.  Oh, and I can just hear the men now, “Why do you need bras at all?  Go without!  It’s okay with us!”

We need them for all sorts of reasons.  Some women have breasts so large that, unrestrained, they either head for their feet or else spread out halfway around their sides.  This is not pretty in clothes.  We need to corral those little ponies so that they stay where they’re supposed to appear on the front of the body.  Some, like me, need one to keep my nipples (or, as my baby sister called them, “nibblets,”) from poking someone’s eye out.  Yeah, I know, it sounds good, but nobody likes men talking to their nipples rather than them!

So we go bra shopping, trying on one style after another until we find one that might, just might, feel good.  We buy it.  We might even buy two.  So far, so good.  When we get home, we try it on again and feel like this time we might have actually found a good one.  We didn’t.  By 3:00 p.m. the next day it’s either riding up, riding down, cutting into our shoulders, too tight, too loose or scratchy or all these things at once.  It’s so sad.  I have a drawer in my dresser that contains, oh, maybe 20 bras that tried and failed.  I call it my Dead Bra Drawer.

My friend, Francie, and I were talking about this the other day and she told me she has the exact same problems I do.  Even her favorite bra is not totally comfortable, but she does what we all do.  She makes do.  So, she suggested that I look into this problem for my blog.  “You could do a study,” she said, “research the subject and find us the perfect bra!”  So, being the sucker that we all know I am, I told her I’d look into it.

The problem is that on the Internet there are hundreds of bra manufacturers that will tell you they have the perfect bra.  And you can also find hundreds of women who will tell you why that particular bra is killing them.  We’re not dummies.  The one universal fact seems to be that 90% of women are wearing the wrong size bra.  It is recommended that you be measured professionally.  Well, I actually did that at Macy’s.  I let some strange women with a tape measure take my dimensions and measure the girls.  She recommended a size and I bought three bras in that very size.  I remember them well.  I was determined to make them work until I got so sick of trying to “adjust” them that I finally tore one off in a fit of frustration.  Fortunately I was home at the time.  Unfortunately, I was out in the front yard.  (Kidding!) Those three bras now reside in the Dead Bra Drawer.

After Francie’s challenge, I also found a number of bra calculators on the Internet.  Here in the privacy of your own home, you could take measurements, plug them into the calculators and hit “Find My Size.”  I tried four different ones and got four different sizes…different band sizes and different cup sizes.  I kid you not.  How can that be?  It’s a conspiracy!

I was in Kohl’s not long ago and decided to give it another try.  File that under “Glutton for Punishment.”  I took five different styles of bras and sizes into the dressing room and began the ordeal.  With each bra, I adjusted the straps, fixed the band so it wasn’t too tight or too loose and organized the girls so they were snug in their cups.  Then I raised my arms and stretched this way and that.  I think the problem is that you can’t simulate what it will feel like after five or six hours.  Nonetheless, I finally picked the best of the lot and took it home.  At home I tried it on again.  It was good.  The next day I wore it.  After five or six hours it was bad.  Just like the others.  I kept trying to wear it.  I even tried it again on different days, to no avail.  It has since joined the other losers in the Dead Bra Drawer.

So what to do?  I honestly don’t know.  Wait until some brilliant woman inventor gets a clue and creates the Perfect Bra?  Meanwhile I shall keep the hunt going and let you know if I find the prize.

But if I were you, I wouldn’t  hold my breath.

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I keep telling myself that if life were easy all the time we wouldn’t really appreciate the good normal times.  Yup, that’s what I keep telling myself.  However I must admit that lately I feel a bit like that little guy on the left.

Anyway, when I last left you, I was going to try to adjust to some prisms put in plain glasses to make my double vision easier to handle.  Unfortunately, one of the prisms was the wrong number (they don’t make the number I need,) so what I ended up with was extremely blurry vision.  It was a total bust.  $20 for the plain glasses (my ophthalmologist got me a deal) and $35 for each prism, none of this covered by my insurance because I didn’t take the vision plan.  $90 for more frustration.  Lovely.

About this time I came upon the Bible verse, Matthew 17:20 that ends …”If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”  Well, I started out this ordeal having loads and loads of big-time faith and was totally sure that I’d be cured almost immediately.  After days and weeks went by, it became harder to maintain that enthusiasm.  But seeing this verse last Monday felt like a message.  I needed to start over with faith as a grain of mustard seed, not as a big honking elephant in a parade.  So I did.  Baby steps.

I happened to be searching Google images later that day when I saw a page with the word “diplopia.”  (For those of you new here, that means “double vision.”  That’s your new word for the day!)  Anyway I followed the link and ended up on a page that was talking about eye patches.  It said for double vision to be sure to wear the patch on the good eye, so that the muscles of the troubled eye would have to work harder and get stronger.  My eye doctor had said that my right eye had the most inflamed muscles and the fact they couldn’t track with the left eye was what made my vision double.

Right then I had an epiphany. All this time I’ve been thinking that my eye muscles must still be inflamed, despite the fact that I’ve been on one of the most powerful steroids you can take for a month and a half.  But, reading this made me realize that perhaps the inflammation has gone down, but that the muscles, which haven’t been doing anything for almost three months, are just very weak.  That happens with muscles in your body if you don’t use them.  Right? About then an imaginary light appeared above my head.  “Hark!  What is yonder light?  Could it be the slightest glimmer of, dare I say it? HOPE?  Methinks it could be!”  I immediately removed the prisms from the plain glasses and put black paper in the left side, determined the wear them at least an hour a day, if not more, to start to strengthen those muscles.

As I continued to read, I found some exercises to strengthen eye muscles.  Two of them didn’t make much sense to me.  But one of them was tantalizing.  In it, you concentrate on something, like a pen, that’s six inches from your eyes, for five seconds.  Then you glance at something twenty feet away for five seconds, then back for five seconds, then far, etc., etc.  You do this twenty times several times a day.  I tried it, staring at a pen, then glancing at the television.  And for the FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME there was only ONE television!  I was so excited that I held it too long and the TV morphed back into two.  I do this kind of thing all day every day now.  Sometimes it works beautifully and sometimes not so much, especially outside.  I still can’t drive with both eyes.  And I still can’t seem to manage to watch a whole show on TV without seeing double.  But I won’t give up. The fact that it works even sometimes, is encouraging.  It takes time for weak muscles to strengthen and I’ve only been doing the patch glasses and exercises a few days.

It may be nothing.  But hey, it could be something…okay a very tiny something…maybe something just about the size of a mustard seed?

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