Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I don't know why the last post had my first sentence crawling down the side of my SDaughter's picture, maybe it was just trying to strut also? Sorry for the challenge reading the beginning. Thanks for hanging in with me while I navigate this thing called blogging.

Dean's List

Can you see me struttin'? My SDaughter ended her last semester with a 3.7 avg-that qualifies her for the Dean's list! I can't imagine how she accomplished this. I told you that she is working full time right? I told you that she is raising a 10 year old right? I told you that I am so proud of her right?

Her next step is full time student teaching-unfortunately in the southern tier of our county-called the "SNOWBELT" for a good reason. It will be a worrisome time thinking about her driving about an hour each way in the winter, with a lousy car. I am hoping her Guardian Angel has snow shoes on!

"Blue Moon, you saw me....

standing alone, without a song in my heart, without a love of my own. "etc.

Do you know that song? Written way back in 1934 by Rodgers and Hart, recorded by Louis Armstrong and Elvis the pelvis. That song always pops into my head as soon as someone mentions a BLUE MOON.

The phrase "Once in a Blue Moon" is used when people want to infer that something rarely happens.

It is said that tomorrow, 12.31.09 we will be able to see a blue moon, BUT, the moon will not be blue, the phrase just means that we will have our second full moon in a month. And the next one will not appear in December until 2028 according to those that figure these things out. The title Blue Moon was given to this occurrence by mistake, but it has stuck.

Sometimes, there has been the appearance of a blue color to the moon because of the particles in the air from forest fires or even the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 according to Wikipedia.

The particles in the air scatter the long waves of the color spectrum which are the red colors, and since the light from the sun contains all the colors of the rainbow, when these particles interfere with the long wavelength light, the short wavelength is what is seen by our eyes. SHusband was just telling me that this is also why the sky and water in a lake, etc also appear blue to us, particles in the air or water scatter the long wavelengths, and we can only see the short wavelengths-which are blue. Isn't he the smartest guy around?

And that is why I love the last verse of the song:

"Blue moon, now I am no longer alone, without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Was Santa good to you?

Hi all, I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and that you had a chance to either see or speak with the people you care about. This is a picture on a mug that I think SBrother#1 had made for us years ago, with me (front middle) and my sisters and brothers, circa 1955-56ish. Yikes, is my SSister#1 gonna kill me or what when she sees this? We all had our Christmas pjs on. SS#2 and I got dolls, SB#1 got what? a new arm, SB#2 got a new holster set, and SS#1 obviously got lipstick.
Now, step away from the cookies, we tasted them all, and this year SDaughter and her SSignificiant other also made chocolate covered everything-SGrandson almost got dipped himself.

We went there for our annual Christmas Morning Brunch. What a team they are-excellent host and hostess. And how nice it is to see SD using real tablecloth, my former Holly glasses (remember Arby's was selling those about 15 years ago?), and the food was so tasty. SSister-in-law (remember that is what I call my former husbands wife), made this incredible fruit salad-real fruit, every kind of berry you can imagine-so very refreshing after the gluttony of french toast, sausage, ham, and all the other breakfast foods that you pay a bizillion dollars for if you were to go out for a brunch.

SD made orange Julius drinks with non-alcoholic sparking wine-very nice.

So listen, SMom came along, and even though we have a large Rav4 vehicle, we still needed to drop things off at SD's home first before we picked up SM, so I joked with her that we needed to drop off things first, otherwise we would have to tie her to the top of the car like a deer. It was meant to make her laugh because when she is confused I try to make a joke to get her jump-started. She did not understand it maybe even thought I was not joking?? So, I needed to reword then she got the humor and laughed. Laughter really seems to work for her, sometimes she uses it to change the subject if she can not grasp what is going on. I won't say she had her best day, but she certainly kept up with most things. Grateful that she was here to celebrate with us.

Santa was good to all in our family, I am sure Kohls, K-mart, Land's End will be sending me a thank-you note for helping them out this year-my own little effort at a stimulus package. SSon received some techy things(PSP) and some funny things (shorts with images of chunks of
cheese taking a picture with the caption "Say People"), some expected presents, (socks and Sabre wear), and SH bought all of us Yankee World Series Champs shirts.

We played our usual gift exchange after the real gifts: Everyone brings a wrapped $10.ish gift, pick numbers then SM decides which number is going to pick a present first-low or high. Then whomever is chosen picks a gift from the center pile-then opens it. The next person can either steal their present or take one from the middle, and on it goes, taking and stealing. If someone steals from you on their turn, you get to pick another present from the middle. At the end, there is a final "swap if you want to" part, with both parties having to agree to swap. There are always a few gifts that are stolen frequently. A massage pillow was hot this year, and a gift set with cups, coffee packets and creamer/sugar bowl. The more people you have, the more outrageous the stealing becomes-lotsa fun. In large groups there is sometimes a gift that is an obvious re-gifting-sometimes with the tag still in the container-tacky, tacky.

Do you play any holiday games at your house? Do you always play a certain card or other game?

On the day after Christmas, SD, SSO and SGS came for lunch and then most of us went to the movies to see "Blind Side". We gave it 8 thumbs all the way up. (you can see SS and SH in some of the Christmas pictures with both thumbs up-I think it is a flashback to Fonzie Days).

Because you know in advance that it is a true story, it was even more enjoyable to see what was accomplished by this family and this amazing young man. A real "feel-good" movie. And then to feel even better, we went to Pizza Hut. A great American Institution-show and pizza. SH would have been satisfied with just the bread sticks, he really thinks they are a great invention.

This is a truly lovely ornament that aforementioned SSIL made for all this year-the glass beads are sewn on! I can sew too-I sewed a few new buttons on my coat this year!

Tuesday, we go to SSister and SBrother-in-law's house for some great quality time-some of her SGrandchildren will be there, so SG will have a great time TTT (talking tech toys). It seemed that it was just a short time ago that there were high chairs and booster seats whenever "2 or more were gathered". I am planning on wearing the lovely sweater that SD and SSo gave me.

Time is something we have no control over, please let me choose to use it wisely. Sounds like a New Year's Resolution to me-wait, not yet, let's savor the peri-Christmas season first.
Happy Birthday Jesus!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Sign of the times...

So listen, laundry is done for today, and there are 7 pieces of long underwear drying on the clothes rack.

Need I say more?

Friday, December 18, 2009

He's pretty Wonderful

That is what I was told tonight by a staff member when I picked up SSon at a SFriend's home. The SF lives in a group home for mentally disabled adults, and they had a Christmas Party there tonight. SS used to work with this SF, and they are best buds. So after those very true words, I said, Yes he is. Thank you. And then I cried quickly before SS got in the car.
Sometimes Christmas presents come in the most unexpected ways.

New stuff

I purchased a new WARM hat for SSon. Doesn't he look warm? And that is his holiday shirt for this year. Sunday is a homegame for the Buffalo Bills, supposed to be CCCCold. SS has other warm hats, all that he refuses to wear, but I am hoping that this one will change his mind. He usually wears a baseball style hat, sometimes with a hood covering it, but Moms like warm stuff on the heads, no matter the age! He will also be wearing a Santa hat-the guy's got spirit.

Here is SHusband with his new present. He loves Penguins, and this one just had the right smile.

And for me, I am going to Wal-Mart to buy new long underwear! I know, some people just have a certain style eh? So listen, I was putting some gas in the car the other day, and I ended up with wind burns on my legs-really, I am not kidding. I had what I thought were warm pants on, but yikes, the wind just really blew right through like they were made of fishnet! (See post on Peter, Paul and Mary to read about my fishnet stockings experience) .
That was the cold, windy day when we went from one doc appt to another, and I needed to have something hot, quick to drink-I have this bad habit of coughing up a lung in cold weather, and hot liquids help to stop it or lessen it usually. When I am home, hot water does the trick. But I have a low-end car, no running water of any kind. We were on Main Street in Clarence NY, and there is a drive-thru coffee place called "Good*Rich Coffee & Tea", it is on the corner of Main street, and wait-you will love this, Goodrich Rd. And when you pick up your coffee, they say "Have a Good*Rich Day". Very savvy marketing if you ask me. So, about the hot liquid, it turns out they were having a special on Peppermint Mocha. Gee, that seemed like it would be hot, and for the sake of my cough, I would have to just buy one. I did, looooved it! I forced SH to taste it because the smell was so wonderful-I know that is a mix of two senses, but it made sense to me. He did, looooved it. He is not a coffee drinker, but my little skinny guy is a sweet lover. We shared the cup. And they also had scones. Are you familiar with scones? They are usually triangular shaped, dense, can have things like raisins, dried fruit in them, and most are dry as a rock. The two we bought from Goodrich were moist, raspberry-flavorful and short-lived.

SS had a Christmas party at a friend's home not far from Goodrich Coffee last night, so as requested, I swung by to pick up 6 scones for my guy. And I bought a Peppermint Mocha for SS, and oh, what the heck, one for the driver. Don't I sound like a martyr? Yeah sure, a martyr with a Peppermint Mocha mustache!

The man at the window recognized me last night from a few days ago, and I mentioned that even though we live no where near there, we found ourselves here twice in a few days. He asked where we were from, and it turns out he grew up in the same town!!!!! A small caffeine driven world eh? They do breakfast foods, lunches, desserts and catering.

Their place has a nice story, I was given the menu which has the story in it. Their father started up this business to insure that his kids would stay in the area in the future. He has another business that 2 of his other sons work in, so between the two, he has what he calls "an insurance policy designed to keep a man's children from leaving WNY". The place has leather comfy looking seats, and free WI-FI, so maybe you can give this New place-to us, a try if you are in the area/9450 Main St. Clarence NY 14031.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Those wonderful words...

I have been reading to my Sgrandson since he was a newborn. Here he is cutting up with his Sgrampa at 15 months.

I so hoped that he would enjoy reading. This morning, I was with him before school, and he suddenly said, wait, I want to read this book to you! Let me repeat-he WANTED to read to me.

I have always read to him, as the years went on, I would point out words that he knew for him to read, and then he would need to read the first or last sentence of the page, then he would need to take over on the page when I stopped reading-this was to trick him into reading along, then we would switch pages.

One year, I found the entire set of "Dick and Jane" books,
just like I used when I was learning to read-I must confess that the little sister named Sally was a big draw card for me!

I bought this set of reissued books, and that summer, we had the rare experience of going back in time to a more simple life for families and children.

Just 10 days ago we finished reading "4th Grade Nothing" together, and he said he wanted to read the other books in the series. Amazon had a good price, so they will be waiting for him here at his next sleepover.

But today, him reading to me-has me smiling all day. I actually had a fast-forward moment-I wonder if he will be reading to me out of necessity some day?

Now, about the book, it was a Pokemon story, written and illustrated by a Japanese author (I think). This is a picture of one similar to that book.

And get this, the book read from back to front. Talk about confusing an old lady! I was watching him turn the pages and gently mentioned that he was going the wrong way, but no Grandma, this is the way this book is written. Well, did you ever? No matter, he was reading by himself and loving every page. My job here is done.

So listen, please go read a book, a magazine, a bible, an online story site, a cereal box, anything, just read, and imagine a world in your head that you could never go to without reading.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas is

This is Fr. Tom Maloney from St. Amelia's Parish in Tonawanda NY. His church does a lot of outreach services, and I hope he is outreaching this message to all of us.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And the weather outside is...........

FRIGHTFUL, and the wind ain't so delightful, and no matter where you might go, see the snow, see the snow, see the snow. I hope you were singing along with me.

Please disregard my whining about snow in a prior post-this is the real thing (snow and whining).

So far, one doc appointment today cancelled, one doc appointment tomorrow cancelled, work for SS cancelled today and tomorrow, get together tonight cancelled, trip to post office today to mail SS#2 gift cancelled, SS's work Christmas Party-yep the one he looks forward to all year, sound system, food, dancing, you guessed it, not part of the plan anymore. And as a big disappointment, the wheelchair elevator which we had installed the first week in October, still is not enclosed to protect it from the weather (SH calls it a shroud), so of course it is frozen, unusable. We were told the beginning of November that the metal frame should be finished in 2 weeks.................
I really don't think our contractor believed me when I said we get really bad winter weather on this corner, near him a lift is not enclosed and seems to work fine he contended. That is there, this is here.

This is a Doppler image-we live just above the "E" in S. Wales, where the yellow blob is about to hit-yellow is a special color, not only massive amounts of snow per hour, but also winter lightening storm as well.

On the up side, all my gifts are wrapped, cards done, used up the rest of the chili tonight-no complaints from the diners about eating something nice and warm. And the snow thrower started for SS, he said YES!

But, family members are driving in this, and the local expressways and thruways are being referred to as "parking lots" right now. Please be careful, keep your gas tanks full, phones charged, extra glove/hats and a wee little shovel in your car in case you need to shovel out your tires-been there, done that. God speed.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Julia's Girls

My maternal grandmother was Julia Viviani. Occasionally, her two daughters (SM and SAunt), her granddaughters (there are only 4 of us even though she had 5 kids), SS#1, SCousin and SMe go out to lunch or a late breakfast. Sometimes when SS#2 is in town, she joins us, and sometimes my SD joins us. We try to always take a picture, and I call us "Julia's Girls". Yesterday we put on our best ladies luncheon duds and went to a very fancy local restaurant (yep, the same one we went to for SM's 86th B-Day Bash, that I wrote about previously in October) called Salvatores's Italian Garden. They are a very elegant, very decorated-sometimes over the top restaurant, but they are a very special place-you know right away that you are not in Mickey's D's. They are very well known for their Christmas Decorations. The front foyer area is always themed, and this year it is "Polar Express", here are some pictures:

The very large back foyer area has multiple decorated areas, perfect for picture taking:

After you get past the posing for the scrapbook time, you walk through to the dining area, where all of their usual decorations are each decorated. They have a large Remington statue collection in the hallway which now have gold beads and fake snow on them. If I had any complaint, it would be that-either remove those collections, or keep them naked-it just looks so cheesy when you see a pricey piece with stuff draped on it, sometimes as if the kids helped out and did the "tossing by the handful technique" they used as teen aged tree decorators. Can you see it in your memory mind? An eye-rolling look, huff-breathing, grab, toss, done. Thank goodness we all grew out of that. I know that this was not the look that the owner's wife was looking to achieve, but that is what I came up with. She does a splenderific job otherwise. SEE:

And then, Salvatore's has these really amazing-freak-you- out statues that are life-sized, beautiful facial features and very appropriate roles for a restaurant. Sometimes you actually stand near one not aware at first that the person next to you is not blink' nor noddin'. So you steal a peak, and yikes it is not real. Here are examples. SM is having a chat with the sommelier (is that how you spell the person that advises you about wine choices?).

We had a great meal, exchanged very thoughtful presents, talked about everything that was important to us, especially SCousin's son who is active military.

Then a nice stroll out looking and oohing and aahing. Perfect time together, and thank you for the not horrible weather called LES(LAKE EFFECT SNOW) that was predicted, but got scared away. You don't mess with a bunch of Italian and Irish ladies planning on putting on big make-up and pantyhose!

So listen, I hope you get to meet with some girlfriends for a nice little get together, big or small, it really is important to stop and smell the poinsettias.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Decorations 101

So listen, do you know the difference between Father Christmas and Santa or Saint Nick? Do you care? Well, I do, and I am not militant about it, just wanted to clarify-Father Christmas images usually have long robes of various colors, rarely have toys toted on their backs, most times they appear with an evergreen tree and/or animals.

Santas usually have red clothing including a 3/4 coat and trousers.

But art is an expression of how others see things, so sometimes all these guidelines are out the window, because you will see all kinds of variations of the "Santa" theme. And the reason I have seen so many different kinds of Father Christmas and Santas is because I am a collector-OK, so maybe I am obsessive, I never met a Christmas Santa I didn't like.

One year we counted them, and counting the statues, ornaments, paintings, tablecloths, magnets, dishes, postcards, slippers, linens, (oh gee this is really revealing my madness isn't it?), Christmas cards, rugs, jewelry and stopped at 120.
This of course is in addition to my other Christmas decorations and musical Christmas singers,

and my SHs small Penguin collection.

But guess what? I just decided that I would not put out most of my collection of Father Christmases and Santas this year.
No need to call 911, I am not ill, just thought I might appreciate them more if not put out this year. Or maybe because I need a Santaesk break or maybe it just seemed like more than I wanted to do. I am not honestly sure why, but that is what I am doing this year.
Some years I have put out only my guys, and very little else, but this year, just a few pieces of them, and maybe more of a Nativity mindset.

This image in on the header of my page for December. It was on a house in the Florence area of Italy, just above the doorway, I took this picture as the bus was flying by-it just struck me as needing to stay with me.

I never gave the fellas more importance than the reason for the season, but they were just a cute little thing that was part of my definition.

And whatever way we express it, we need a little Christmas, in our hearts, in our minds in our houses and hopefully we have enough to share, so whatever decorations are your style, time to haul 'em out!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No One Should Have A Dog

No one should ever have a dog because:

-They are very expensive to take care of properly

-Sometimes they smell

-Sometimes they leak

- Sometimes they work themselves into your hearts that takes up a space much bigger than they are. And when they are sick, you do whatever you can to make them better, and when they don't get better, you hold them and hope your strength can go into them and they can turn to you and say that they will be OK, they are just having a bad few days, and then the vet tells you that you can feed her whatever she will eat, when all along he has told you that because her kidneys are failing you can only give her this special food, and then she is unable to do stairs, then she can not stand to go pishaw, so you hold her little hips up, and then she stops eating, and then she stops drinking, and then she stops doing anything but looking at you with those big dark eyes, and then the vet says we can just give her comfort and support, and then she stops. And she is no longer there, and the only dog you ever owned is gone, and your heart is broken, and then you start. Start to cry, start to wonder how you will tell your SS who trusts you to make everything better, start to tell SD so she can tell SGS, your SH tells your SM, and she has known the pain of losing a dog, so she starts.... You go home without your dog, your sweet dog who was a stray and asked nothing from you but a belly rub. Your sweet dog who came bounce-walking to you when you got home, her little short tail wagging. Your little sweet dog who was afraid of lightening, and shook and moved deeper into your heart when she put her chin next to yours and hugged you for comfort, until this year, and how could this be, she was always afraid, but then you realized that she became deaf, no longer to hear you when you called or came home, and all her deer chasing at your SB#2's house where she showed up one day, and he could not stop feeding her and providing for her and even got surprised by her when she had a puppy one day, this tiny dog had a tiny dog, and now she could not walk, and she did not want to eat Cheese, and that is how she got her name because that is all SB#2 had to give her at first, but he started cooking chicken just for her, and her little legs just could not run after anything anymore, and we would watch her sleep, just as she watched SGS sleep, she would walk into his room at bedtime, we swooped her up because her little sweet legs were just not long enough, and she cuddled up next to her charge, and stayed there until he fell asleep, and then she jumped from the tall bed knowing that her job was done, and one day when a big dog next door, who was barking at SGS did it in a way that his nanny and protector did not approve of, she went over to this big dog who was chained up and bit him and he took a little nip of her ear, but she stood her ground telling him in no uncertain terms to not threaten her boy again, and now SGS would carry her up and down stairs, and now there is nothing to do, and her doggie friend came over after she was gone and he walked to every place she used to be and he sniffed and whimpered and your heart broke again for him, and the house is so diluted without her, our tears have permeated all the rooms, and the air is watery to look through because you just noticed that you are still crying. No one should ever have a dog, a dog has you.