Easy Peasy Snack Time

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I am a snacker.  I always have been and I always will be.  I have had a bedtime snack each night for as long as I can remember, and I don’t see that ending anytime soon.  Besides night time, I snack all day – I pretty much graze.  Like a cow.  I like snacks to be easy, to have them ready – so when the feeling comes over me, I can just grab one.  I have a list of easy ones – that are fairly healthy and don’t involve just opening up a bag of candy or ripping open a package of chips.

This is a snack my cousin and I enjoyed when we lived together.  We would each get a bowl and on one side we would put a lump of peanut butter – for this snack, we used the crunchy kind – and on the other side, we would use a portion of jelly – and for this, for some reason we always used strawberry jelly.  The go to dippers were either pretzel rods, or those honey wheat pretzels – the ones that are a bit thicker, and don’t break as easy.  It was a nice alternative to ranch or French onion dip.  It would be even healthier if we used all-fruit spread or low-sugar jelly – but usually we did not.

A quick snack (though you almost have to “cook” it) is cinnamon toast.  You would toast two slices of whatever bread you like, and then once done – butter them, with as much as you feel like having.  While the butter is still warm and melty, get out a jar of cinnamon sugar and sprinkle on both pieces.  If you want to make them a bit more fancy, you can cut them into wedges, triangles, long slices – whatever you want.  I have found that the more odd the shape, the more of a treat these seem to be – rather than just eating them like a regular piece of toast.

I like to have Pasta Salad on hand.  I usually make this with the tri-color rotini noodles.  Lately I have used actual spinach noodles and noodles made from carrots and tomatoes to perk up the healthy.  And for the third color, I have been using whole wheat or protein pasta.  It’s very simple but it is very good.  These pastas get boiled and drained, and depending on what I have in the house – I will put in some grated carrots and shredded cheese.  I toss it lightly with some Italian dressing and let it chill.  Pasta is always a treat to me, and making it this way makes me feel less guilty about eating it – because it really IS healthy this way.

A party treat to me is Deviled Eggs.  Yet there is no reason to wait for a party to have these.  They are pretty easy to make and have some on hand in the refrigerator.  All you have to do is hard boil a few eggs.  Peel them, and slice them in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the yolks and put them in a bowl.  Chop the yolks, mixing with mayonnaise, mustard, some seasonings.  Make this mixture smooth, and then spoon it back into the egg halves.  I usually sprinkle paprika on top – for decoration.  My mother always did them this way, and now I do too.  I usually do six eggs which gives me twelve halves – just enough to have without getting tired of them.

I like peanut butter roll ups.  The way I make them is to first take off the crusts from pieces of (usually white) bread.  I will roll the bread flat, with a rolling pin if I feel like getting it out – if not, I’ll just use one of our pint beer glasses.  Once flat, I will lightly cover the bread with a thin layer of peanut butter and then a thin layer of jelly.  And then – I just roll them.  I try to do them tight.  If you put too much peanut butter or too much jelly, you’ll get a mess.  You can either leave them in one long roll up, or chop them up into bite-size pieces.  Tastes delicious either way.

Another good, easy snack is trail mix.  I custom make mine from time to time, though I have also bought pre-made.  You can create a trail mix that is really healthy or not too healthy – it is up to you.  Most of the time, mine comes out more like a middle of the road mix.  I like to use Cheerios as an almost-base.  I will include some raisins and maybe some peanuts.  If I have chocolate chips, I’ll put those in as well.  For some salt, I might break up some pretzel sticks or throw in some of those little goldfish.  And that’s about it.  I usually don’t have seeds on hand, thought I know they are included in a lot of trail mixes.  It’s fun to use yogurt-covered raisins or craisins, or for color – you can use M&M’s.  I’ll make up a batch of this, and then maybe put them into little individual baggies so they’re easy to grab and go.

The other day I went to Dollar Tree and they had a large box of Fruit Loop-type cereal.  I don’t each much cereal, and even when I did, when I used to – I never liked these with milk.  I do however like them as snacks.  I did the same with the Fruit Loops that I do with the trail mix – I made snack size bags of them so they are also easy to grab and go.  This isn’t totally unhealthy, as even sugar-filled cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Frozen fresh fruit is good – take a bunch of grapes and freeze them.  They are fun to eat when frozen – you can make a game out of eating the skin/peels off them as you eat them and they melt.  You can also peel a banana, make banana circles and freeze them too.  It takes a lot longer to eat frozen fruit than it does to eat fresh fruit.  Your snacks last longer this way.

Have a bag of stick pretzels at your disposal.  You can have a bunch of them, a decent size portion for not that many calories.  With a glass of water (or diet soda, if that’s what you drink) you can get filled up fairly quickly – maybe saving you from eating things that would end up being worse for you.

I also recommend having microwave popcorn on hand.  Lately I have been enjoying Kettle Corn.  I like the combination of both salty and sweet.  You can eat the whole bag – you’ll be full for not a lot of guilt.

There is always a jar of salsa in my refrigerator.  Salsa goes good with any kind of chips you have laying around.  It even tastes good with plain old Saltines.  You can make some rice in the microwave, add some salsa when it’s done, sprinkle some shredded cheddar on and have a quick Spanish/Mexican snack.  There are so many different varieties available – I usually resort to plain old mild, or maybe medium.  Maybe.

What snacks do you like?  What ideas can I try next?

 

20 Questions…or thereabouts

 

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The other night, I was struggling to stay awake – because I was filling out one of those Facebook quizzes.  Why I felt it was so important to give my answers instead of getting sleep, I don’t know.  The post said something about posting this stuff so people can get to know little things about you.  So, I have decided to do that here.  In no particular order I present answers to some questions.

My favorite movie of all time is Austin Powers Goldmember.  I laugh myself silly every time I watch it.  And I have watched it many, many times.  So many in fact that I can almost recite it word for word as I watch.  My sister and my nephew are big fans of it as well.  When the three of us watch together, it is just too funny.  I quote sayings and lines from it daily.  I really do.

I like a lot of different toppings on pizza, but I would have to say that my favorite really is mushroom.  Since most people I know don’t like mushrooms, when we get pizza with a crowd I guess my choice would be pepperoni.  And I do like ham and pineapple on pizza.  Not all the time, but every once in a while it is a nice change.

My favorite foods are Chinese and Italian.  Currently, I would say that Chinese is winning out as my top choice.  This is only because I can somewhat copy Italian food in a decent way – though nowhere as close as to a good Italian restaurant.  I have tried making Chinese dishes, and while they were good – they weren’t authentic.

I like all fresh flowers (so does cat number three, Nik) but if I had to choose which kind, I would pick carnations.  Roses are beautiful, but I like how long carnations last and stay fresh.  Plus I like the fact that they are reasonably priced.

My favorite non-alcoholic drink is iced tea – either the Crystal Light kind or fresh brewed.  Due to the fact that I have kidney issues, I can’t drink too much of it.  I also enjoy coffee – lately I’ve been having just cream (and I always put ice in to cool it down), or at Dunkin I will get it with a raspberry shot.  My favorite alcoholic drink is beer.  My favorite is Molson XXX but I regularly drink Natty Daddy.  A lot of people make fun of it, but I think it’s good.

“As Long As You Love Me” by the Backstreet Boys is my favorite song.  My favorite musical group is the Bee Gees.  I could listen to their music for hours at a time.  Thankfully I found the New York Bee Gees – they are a tribute band that when you listen to them, you think you are listening to the real, authentic Bee Gees.

I have liked many television shows over the years, but right now my favorite is “Homicide Hunter with Lt. Joe Kenda.”  It recently ended a long run on the Investigation Discovery channel.  I am very thankful for on-demand watching, recording options and You Tube.  I became a fan of his way too late.

When I want to buy a candy bar at the checkout stand, my first choice used to be Snickers.  Now I lean more towards a Hershey’s bar – mainly because my mouth is in poor shape.  Snickers has too many pieces of nuts that get caught in between my teeth.

Years ago, if someone asked me my favorite flavor of ice cream I would have said chocolate.  Now my answer would be vanilla (out of those two).  I also enjoy Friendly’s Chocolate Chip and any kind of Butter Pecan or Butter Almond.

My favorite color in clothing would be shades of blue.  My favorite overall color is magenta.  That has always been my favorite for as long as I can remember – I always chose it first to use when I got a new box of 64 Crayola crayons.

The nicest celebrity I ever met was Sheamus from the WWE.  He has been my favorite for a long time.  He is kind and polite and funny and friendly.  The worst celebrity I ever met was also from the WWE – Brock Lesnar.  He was rude and he was condescending.  I dare say he was even nasty.  What a horrible person – and we met him at a Tribute to the Troops where you think he would have put out some sort of effort.  He didn’t.

“Follow your passions” was the best advice I ever got.  It was said by the very wise Dr. Phil when he was appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show.  He reasoned that as long as your passion didn’t hurt anyone or cause trouble, there was no harm in following it.  So, because of Dr. Phil I have pursued my interest in professional wrestling with no guilt whatsoever.  It’s given me way more memories and good times than I ever could have imagined.

I lost both of my parents to cancer.  The days of both of their deaths were awful and they were horrible.  Their deaths were expected, however.  I took my beautiful JB to the Vet one day after weeks of allergic episodes and nasal issues.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think he would be diagnosed with cancer and that he had six months to live, if that long.  I don’t know how I drove my car home.  That night, after Jeff left for work I cried.  I cried hard and long.  I cried so hard my body shook.  I never thought something could hurt so bad.  And I never thought you could feel your heart break inside of your chest.  But you can.  His diagnosis was so surprising, so unexpected.  That night was the worst night of my life.

When I am listening to the radio, I will never turn off songs by Michael Jackson or Queen.  However, as soon as Bruce Springsteen comes on – the station gets switched.  I used to like him – I thought the fact that he could live anywhere in the world but still chose New Jersey as his home was very loyal to where he grew up.  I don’t like his antics as of late and so that is why he gets two or three notes out before the channel gets turned.

I do not enjoy anything about the Winter, and my favorite season is Summer.  I like not having to worry about getting all dressed up and ready to go outside.  In summer all I need is my purse and my keys and I’m out the door.  Fast.

I enjoy Christmas, but I can’t say I’m one of those people who has “Christmas fever.”  I enjoy most things about the holidays, and I especially enjoy being with family.  But then again, every holiday for us usually involves family.  People have suggested that I like Christmas because I like shopping.  That could be true, I suppose.

Passing time – I like to watch You Tube.  I have been known to binge watch both Bee Gees and hockey videos.  However, my favorite way to pass the time is to scroll through Facebook – which prompted me to write this post….

What would your twenty answers be to twenty questions?

Time for a health check up…

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I had been thinking of reassessing my health for a while now.  Three weeks ago, I had to go to the ER.  I was having chest pains.  Thankfully, it turned out to not be anything serious.  But that, combined with a good friend checking into the ER today has convinced me that now is the time to give my health a good going over.

It really is time for me to start eating right and to keep eating right.  I think I get lazy or laid back about my eating habits because my weight is good.  That is no reason to not take eating right seriously.  I am the veteran of many dieting attempts over the years, until I had weight loss surgery in December of 2007.  I know what things are good and what things are not.  Every meal should include a protein source.  Protein is essential for healthy bones, muscles, skin and blood.  Vegetables and fruit are important sources of vitamins and fiber.  Eating produce can cut your risk of many diseases.  Carbohydrates in small amounts are good for you in that they help to promote energy.  Certain snacks are ok too, only in moderation of course.  A well-rounded eating plan is important for health and for weight management.

My friend who went to the ER today had a few symptoms that were concerning.  He was thoroughly checked out.  His diagnosis?  Dehydration.  It takes a very short time to become dehydrated.  You may not even realize that you are.  Most people I know don’t drink enough water.  With my recent kidney issues, I have to get on the water bandwagon.  Water is good for so many things – it’s good for your skin, it fills you up when you’re feeling hungry, it’s good for your teeth – and adequately drinking enough should keep you out of the ER on a random Monday afternoon!

As I said, I had weight loss surgery in December 2007.  It was a great decision, and I don’t regret it for a single moment.  I take more than enough vitamins and supplements, and my blood work and labs are usually very good.  One thing that has taken a hit though is my teeth.  I was told this back when I was considering the surgery.  I think time has taken it’s toll on my mouth.  My teeth are not in good shape.  I had a partial made that never really fit right because my gums aren’t healthy.  I have a few dark spots on my gums around the teeth on top.  I see tiny marks starting to form on other teeth.  I realized that I really needed to see a dentist around the time the Pandemic was starting.  Things are starting to get somewhat back to normal here in Pennsylvania, and I’m hoping to be able to make an appointment with a dentist very soon.  In the meanwhile, on the recommendation of my daughter-in-law (and her dentist) I have purchased an electric toothbrush system called Burst.  The bristles are lined with charcoal which is supposed to really help with dental health.  I started using it this morning.  So far so good.  It’s a start.

My weight is good and it is stable.  I have been at what my doctors call the perfect weight for many years now.  I look thin, and I feel happy.  When I mention the gym (which I hate) people will say to me “why are you bothering with that, you’re skinny.  You don’t have to go there.”  Well, yes I do.  Just because you are thin does not mean you are in shape.  I certainly am not in shape.  Exercise benefits every part of your body.  It can make you feel better about yourself.  Exercise can also make you sleep better.  For me, I have to psych myself up into exercising.  Also for me, I think changing things up will keep me more motivated.  Regular movement just has to become a more frequent thing in my life (especially since I have a desk job).  My current plan is to go back to the gym (even though I hate it) once they open back up.  One day I will concentrate on cardio – using the stepper and the treadmill.  One day I’ll do their circuit training area.  One day I’ll do the machines.  On certain days, I will take a walk.  We have two carriages for the cats.  Each time I go for a walk, I’ll take a different cat with me.  And when Jeff is off, we can go together.

I can’t only rely on my physician’s office to keep my health record – I am going to assemble one for myself.  There will be one section where I can include information about screenings, test results and lab work.  I will put a section in with dates of completed appointments.  In this record I also plan to include a family history.  I also will be adding a section where I can journal – to add changes in my eating and sleeping habits.   There will also be a section where I can add questions I would like to ask my doctors at upcoming appointments.  I will probably write this all out old-school and eventually put it onto the computer.  It is a good idea to have this all in one place.

You can’t talk about your health without talking about your mind, and your mental well being.  We have all been living in crazy times recently.  For sure and without a doubt.  It is always good to try to focus on happy things.  Write a gratitude list – see how long you can make it, and how many good things you can include.  Start your day how you like to – whether it is alone, just daydreaming over coffee, watching the news or scrolling to see what’s new on your phone.  While going through your regular routine, it is always helpful to have something to look forward to.  It could be something big or something small.  As long as it’s something you like, it’s all good.  Fresh air is important – try to get at least a little bit of it every day.  And don’t forget to laugh – laughing clears out your insides.  I swear it does!

Recent Frugal Meals

 

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Last week I went grocery shopping and was very surprised at the high prices in the meat department.  I decided right then and there that I wasn’t paying those prices.  Instead, I found alternatives to what I originally had planned on buying.  Since then I have been making fairly frugal meals, and I would like to share them with you now.

Instead of ground beef that was $5.74 a pound (I was shocked), I purchased frozen ground turkey, already seasoned (taco flavored) for $1.67 a pound.  My first meal using this turkey was a Taco Turkey Bake.  I fried and drained the turkey – not having to drain much because this turkey was very lean.  While the turkey was frying, I made rice in the microwave.  Once both were done, I mixed them in a bowl.  I added a bit of tomato juice, and some shredded cheddar cheese.  I mixed it up real good.  I made up two individual portions in containers, putting more cheese on top.  I put one portion reheated into two soft tacos and the other portion I ate with some sour cream on top.

The other meal I made with this seasoned ground turkey was Chili.  I fried/browned the turkey and then put it into a crock pot.  I then added a large can of honey beans, some tomato sauce and a generous sprinkling of chili powder.  I cooked it on high for two hours, and when it was done – it was delicious.

My next frugal meal was a salad.  I cut up a green pepper, chopped some cucumbers and sliced a few petite carrots.  I put shredded cheese on top.  I put all of this in a container with some room in it – and then shook it up.  Once it was all mixed, I put a lump of cottage cheese on top.  This was for a work lunch.  I have individual packets of salad dressing I got for an amazing sale price, so I took one of those along with me.  Lunch was served.

I made a completely meatless spaghetti dinner.  Usually I have some homemade sauce on hand, but I didn’t feel like defrosting any so I used a jar of store brand.  I have been trying different kinds of pasta, so for this meal I used regular angel hair and protein spaghetti – I mixed them.  Once the pasta was done, I tossed it with a little bit of sauce.  I divided it into portions – and on top I put more sauce, some grated cheese and shredded mozzarella.  It was plain, yes – but it was very good.

Pasta Salad was another meal I have recently made.  Again, I’m trying different kinds of pasta, so this was tri-color – rotini made with spinach, ziti made with carrots and tomatoes and whole wheat rotini.  Boiling and finishing the pasta, I put it in a large bowl.  While still hot, I added just a bit of Italian dressing.  I had chopped some carrots while the pasta was cooking, and I added them to the bowl.  I sprinkled grated cheese on top, and at this point if I had ham, I might have chopped some up to include.  Boris is a ham maniac, so there was none left.  I have added crushed red pepper in the past, but for some reason this time I didn’t.  I mixed it all together, and put it in the refrigerator to chill.  Once it was ready to serve, I put a little more dressing on top.  It is a simple, light meal but it is very good.

An easy, cheap summer meal is tuna salad or egg salad.  Egg salad takes a little more prep time, obviously.  I like to add chopped pickles to these – sweet gherkins to tuna, dill spears to egg salad.  I chop each one up good, and add a bit of mayonnaise.  To both I will add minimal salt, some pepper and celery seed seasoning.  I like to add chopped carrot to the tuna – I just think it gives the salad a nice taste and crunch.  Both sandwiches taste good on any kind of fresh bread you have in the house.  I like having chips with sandwiches, but we usually don’t have any on hand.  They don’t last too long around our parts.

I’ve made cheesy rollups this week.  They are kind of like the ones you can get from the dollar savings menu at Taco Bell.  I line up the soft tacos, and I put cheese in the center mostly.  I will microwave them until I see the cheese starting to melt.  Then, I take them out and roll them.  Putting them back on the plate, if I have some kind of an enchilada sauce, I will drizzle that on top.  This week, I just used salsa.  Dipping them into sour cream – they were good.  Very good.

I made what I like to call faux chicken parmesan this week, too.  I have frozen chicken fritters that I baked.  Once they were done, I cut them into bit size pieces.  I then put them into a dish with some spaghetti sauce on top, and some shredded cheese on top of that.  It went into the microwave for about two minutes.  I ate these chickens along with some leftover spaghetti from earlier in the week.  Not a bad meal at all.

I didn’t spend much at all this week on food because, with the exception of the two packages of ground turkey, I had everything else on hand.  Were all of these meals perfectly healthy and perfectly balanced?  No, they were not. But that is ok. I filled in here and there with a sandwich from work, takeout Chinese and leftovers from the above meals.  It was not a bad week at all.

Being over 50 is good, and here is why…

 

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Some days it is hard for me to believe I’m as old as I am.  Yet again, there are other days that I feel much older.  This, I’ve been told is a normal part of aging.  I don’t like it.  Even though I get tired easier and don’t bounce back from things as easy as I used to, being this age does have advantages.

I can listen to the type of music I like and not be embarrassed.  If people are judging, my choices can be attributed more to my age than to my lack of true musical knowledge.  I was a very big fan of the 70s Boy Band, the Bay City Rollers.  As much as I liked and still like them, I can maybe see why people would smile when they hear that group’s name.  My other favorite group is the Bee Gees, and I just know no one would dare to put them down.  At least not in my presence!

A perk of being this age is – no more periods!  What a pleasure it is to not have to worry about that monthly visit, as they say.  I only wish that I could say I will have no more hot flashes.  Despite me being done with menopause (thank you, God) I still get sweating hot from time to time, randomly.  It’s like a little spark is still inside of me, igniting at will.  Ugh!

Being my age, I feel I can offer advice in a respectful way.  I would never try to demean anyone just because they are younger.  I never want to come off as an old fool.  I also never want to appear to be a know-it-all.  Know-it-alls really bug me.

At this age, you can get to know your children in a whole new way.  You knew them growing up, as babies, toddlers, teenagers and young adults.  It is wonderful enjoying your own children and their spouses, and seeing how they turned into adults.  It is a heartwarming feeling, and the pride you can feel is just wonderful.

Speaking of your children, at this age it could be time to enjoy their children – your future grandchildren.  I cannot imagine the joy of watching my own children become parents.  I am looking forward to that time very much.  I already love seeing them as pet parents!

I know I am not perfect, and I have never claimed to be.  I am at a point in my life where my appearance is important, but it is not the most important thing.  I want to look good, within reason.  I know I will never look 25 again, and that is ok.  Despite being a little slower and not having much energy (except self-directed when it’s something I really want to do), I am relatively healthy.  And for that I am thankful.

Women over 50 have reached a point when they stop apologizing for who and what they are.  I am lucky in that I have always been fairly self-assured.  I am who I am, no one else is like me.  I have never apologized for who I am, and I never will.  I am a thrift store shopping, cat loving, professional wrestling and hockey fan – never ashamed, always proud!

A Top Ten List About…the Telephone!

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My full time job as a Switchboard Operator involves a lot of phone work.  Well, not on an actual phone per se.  Our lines come in through our computers, though we do have “side phones” for emergency calls, and for times when the system goes down – which happened last week, and let me tell you – it was not fun!  Being “on the phone” for eight hours a day has left me with thoughts and opinions about people, and about technology.  I need to insert here that I really do enjoy my job.  This is the truth.

One – when a call comes in, we don’t have to immediately introduce ourselves – we have what they call the “perfect greeting.”  It is a pre-recorded introduction.  This recording is clear and the volume is perfect.  It is very frustrating to begin hearing your caller’s voice and feeling as if they are calling you from a wind tunnel somewhere.  I listen to them talking and picture them out in a horrible storm, with wind blowing them all over the place.  It can be very bad and hard to hear.  These are the calls that I am very happy to get done with.

Two – I really do not like talking to what I refer to as “the mumblers.”  It really isn’t all that hard to be understood on a phone call.  There have been callers who I have had to ask three or four times who and where they wanted their call directed to.  It is also difficult to understand a “mumbler with an accent.”  These people seem to think they are not understood because of their accents.  That is not the case at all.  Accent or no accent, if people open up their mouths and speak clearly their calls would be connected a whole lot quicker.

Three – there are callers who, for some reason, think they need to give you every little detail of what they are calling for.  No, I don’t need to know the reason why you want a certain department, and I don’t need to know how you know the patient you’re calling about.  All I need to know is the spelling of the patient’s name (if it could be a difficult one) or the department name clearly stated.  No further details are necessary.

Four – I thought we had gone past the days of bad cell phones with poor connections.  I was wrong.  Recently there have been increasing numbers of calls coming in like calls did years ago – with poor connections, calls dropping, calls zoning out.  These calls result in frustration for those who answer, and I’m sure also for those making the calls.

Five – I work in a hospital.  Hospitals have strict rules about confidentiality.  I cannot tell how many callers try to get information that we simply can not give out.  It doesn’t matter how sweet they are or how persuasive they try to be.  There are only a few bits of information we are allowed to give, and that is it.  Ugh!

Six – Volume!  How hard is it to really speak at the proper level for a phone call?  I have had callers who whisper, who whisper a second time and then all of a sudden will be shouting.  Then there callers who start out practically screaming into my ears.  There really is no need for either extreme.  It is also very annoying when you hear loud sneezing or loud coughing.  It is almost like you can feel the germs coming through the wires into your headset.

Seven – I dislike talking to rude people.  I fail to see any reason for being nasty to someone who is only answering the phone.  Understanding that callers may be stressed because they have a loved on in the facility still to me does not give anyone the reason or excuse to be rude.  A caller doesn’t have to be friendly yet I think they should be polite.  It’s common human decency.

Eight – Now on the other hand, I enjoy talking to nice people.  It is a pleasure to speak with a caller who is treating you with respect.  These are the people who you would want all callers to be like.  They are talkative and friendly, and I wish we could talk longer to them.  The nature of the job is to get the caller to where they are calling quickly and properly.  I just wish we could keep them on the line a little longer.

Nine – I dislike talking to callers who are calling in from either a bad cellphone or a computer-generated phone.  There is always a delay, and these delays are always annoying.  You don’t know when to speak, and inevitably just as you say a word – so does the caller.  These delays make for a very annoying call, and I wish they would just end and go away.

Ten – This is silly.  I can see incoming phone numbers on the top of my screen.  We take messages and forward those messages to different locations.  I kind of scrutinize the phone numbers.  I either like a number or I don’t.  I find certain phone numbers easy to retype and remember, and other ones a bit harder.  I don’t like phone numbers with the first three digits after the area code that also seem like an area code – like, for example 215-307-xxxx.  Different phone numbers just bug me, that’s all.  And I can’t really even explain why.

So there you have it.  My thoughts on phone numbers.  I had to give up my cell number back in November when I upgraded my phone.  To keep my old number, it would cost me $20 a month for the phone.  If I changed it, it was free.  It was hard giving up a number that I had for almost thirteen years, but…free is my favorite price!

My Three Sons – One Proud Mama

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It’s been a while since I’ve written about my three sons.  I am so incredibly proud of them.  I am happy, thankful and grateful that I am lucky enough to be their Mom.  I see so many mothers bragging about their children on Facebook, and on all social media.  These children are usually young, or at least they still live at home.  I don’t post too much about them online, due to the fact that they are adults – adults who many not always want to see their Mom brag and boast.  Rest assured, Moms of older children are just as proud as those Moms of babies and little ones!

Michael was our first baby.  He shares his birthday with an infamous date in history – he was born on September 11, but in the year 1988.  He turned thirteen years old on that horrible day.  Michael was always an easy baby.  So easy in fact that this was the reason we tried to have another baby so quickly (and Kevin was born not even twenty-two months later).  He was easy to please, and always (usually) had a smile on his face.  Reading came naturally to Michael.  We never had to “teach” him to read – it’s like he just picked it up on his own.  Growing up, he was a fan of Sesame Street, Thomas the Tank Engine and Barney, but once he discovered the Power Rangers, that was it!  They were his favorites!  He takes his role as Big Brother very seriously.  Michael was a good student, and in Second Grade he won all FOUR Spelling Bees!  An interest he picked up around the time he turned eleven was professional wrestling.  He loves it to this very day.  He was also an easy teenager, who has worked consistently from the time he turned sixteen years old.  He has an amazing work ethic.  Michael earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education last May while working Full Time.  Now all he needs is a full time teaching position – we are all waiting for this Pandemic aftermath to be done so he can get hired.  Right before Corona came to be, Michael proposed to Alex.  She’s a great girl who actually works face to face and hand to hand with Covid patients. They have one cat named Daphne.  We are very happy for both of them, and look forward to watching their future unfold.

Michael

Kevin was born on an absolutely beautiful day in July of 1990.  I carried him way differently than I did Michael, so we were sure we were having a girl.  Obviously, we didn’t but that was more than ok.  He was a happy baby, a happy toddler, a happy youngster, a happy teenager and he’s now a happy man.  He always had a smile on his face, and he and Michael were very close growing up.  So close in fact that even though we had a four-bedroom house, the two of them shared a room.  Every morning we would find Kevin in Michael’s bed, so we gave up and combined their rooms.  Kevin had many ear infections before he turned 18 months old, and some doctors think these illnesses could have caused his stutter.  He has stuttered since he could talk.  It has never held him back, and these days we barely notice it.  I remember one day when he was about eleven years old.  He was crying and said no one would ever love him or want to marry him.  I told him that was nonsense.  I told him the right girl would find his stutter adorable.  And she did, and does.  Kevin has been married to his wonderful wife Amanda since September of 2018.  They are homeowners, and parents to six cats and two rabbits (their names are Thor, Delilah, Mango, Tango, Target, Twix, Arthas and Charlie…Whew!)  I could not be more proud of them, and I love them very much.

kevin

Chris came into the world on September 1, 1995.  He was a big baby, who probably would have been even bigger had he been born on time – he was three weeks early.  We found out in advance that we were having a boy, and we were thrilled.  He was an easy baby who liked football from the first day he came home from the hospital – I found myself alone with him.  Everyone was busy doing something.  He was fussy so I put him in his baby swing, right in front of the television.  He sat mesmerized at the football players going back and forth on the screen.  Chris learned to do things fast – he tied his shoes early, he could even tie a tie at a very young age.  He’s a go getter who got his first job at the age of 14.  He graduated from Temple University in February of 2018.  Another notable milestone for Chris happened just before he turned 16.  He met and started dating Bre.  They have been together ever since, and they both turn 25 this year.  They got engaged last summer and will be getting married this November.  Bre (like Alex) is a Registered Nurse and is also working closely with Covid-19 patients.  We are very proud of them both.  They have one cat, Offred and one dog, Elway.  A nice, happy family!

chris

Things that make me smile :)

 

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There have been so many things going on in the world lately that just makes people so sad.  So worried.  I wanted to start thinking of and focusing on good things.  The following things make me smile.  Maybe they make you smile, too.

I just love sleeping when you can hear the rain coming down, hitting the windows…

I feel so very happy when I finally find something I think I’ve lost…

I love the smell of bacon cooking.  My mother usually made bacon when we were on vacation at the cabin resort we used to go to.  The smell brings back happy memories…

I am a crazy cat lady.  I love our seven more than I love my own life.  Yet there is something so special about holding a small kitten…

Remembering the first time you ate something that you ended up loving…

One of the best feelings there is – laughing so hard that your stomach hurts…

Watching and bingeing videos of my favorite team and favorite singers/groups makes me very happy..

Taking a nap on a lazy day off from work..

I love the smell of brownies baking in an oven…

Finally finding a great hairdresser…

The last day of work before a vacation…

At work, when callers say they will call back.  Meaning no message needs to be taken…

Getting into bed after you’ve put on freshly washed clean sheets…

Seeing a funny sign posted on a business…

Undressing and unwinding after a long day…

Completing a long-avoided project…

It makes me feel great receiving a nice compliment.  When this happens, I try to return the favor and tell someone else something nice…

Waking up at night and seeing you still have time to sleep before your alarm goes off…

Remembering (finally!) a password you thought you had forgotten…

The smell of freshly cut grass…

I love to sit, snuggle, play with, hug, love and watch my cats.  Those seven furries fill me with so much love.

 

There is my list.  Do you agree with any of these?  What makes YOU smile?

Can’t we all just get along?

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This line was said by Rodney King back in 1992.  He spoke these words as the city of Los Angeles was experiencing riots brought on by the acquittal of officers accused in his beating.  His words have come across my mind quite a bit lately, and not just because of the rioting and looting of last week.  There has been so much disagreement in the public view recently.  There are people who don’t agree about politics.  Some find that they can’t come together with others over their views on how the Pandemic should be handled.  Fans can’t agree how and when professional sports should return.  Of course, everyone believes their own opinion is the right one.  Real growth for everyone will happen when we realize it is more important to get along with your fellow man rather than opposing him or her at every turn.  Why fight, why disagree?

People need to listen to understand, not just to hear what is being said.  While speaking to someone who has a difference of opinion with you, commit yourself while listening to not have a pre-planned response.  While you are both talking, maintain eye contact.  It helps to keep neutral facial expressions even if you do not agree with what they are saying.

It helps to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  Try to understand where they are coming from.  Even if you don’t think you can, try.  Putting in effort usually yields results.

While talking with a person who has opposing views, be polite.  Keep it civil.  Be open, and smile.  Do not forget to keep an open mind.  Often times, even after disagreeing with a person you will find you have learned something.  Even if your opinion remains the same, you may understand their side of things more.  Hopefully they will also understand you more as well.

Question.  Ask.  Inquire.  It is important to know what made the person arrive at the opinion they have.  Once you understand their why, you may understand the reason they feel like they do.

Show genuine concern for someone, if not for their opinion.  Whether you agree or disagree, it is always right to be kind.

When you are talking with someone with whom you don’t agree, determine which one of you is more passionate about the topic.  If it is you, gently, calmly and in a smart way explain your points to make them see what it means to you.  Seeing the other person being more invested in the topic – try to get them to show you why it means so much to them.  Ask for examples, reasons.

You have to have self pride and self respect, sticking up for yourself, your beliefs and your opinions.  When talking to others, and not being able to come to a conclusion, an agreement, a common ground – the best approach to take is to agree to disagree.  I personally have seen, read and experienced friendships fracturing and ending.  That is a sad occurence and is something that doesn’t need to happen.  Please don’t let it happen to you.

Some Good Things Just May Have Come From Covid-19…

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…well, I don’t really mean GOOD, obviously.  This pandemic has been disastrous in every way there is.  Yet, if we continue to think about all the death, hurt, damage and sadness – it would not be wise.  What do they say, you should always look for the silver lining?  I think that is a very good idea – focus on the good, and try to ignore the bad (though, with this situation it is very hard to do).

We will all be so thankful when we can see our loved ones again.  So many families have been separated – for far too long.  Everyone did what they had to do in the name of safety and health.  My family and I had a sort-of reunion when we got together to celebrate my oldest son’s engagement.  Michael’s fiancée and my youngest son Chris’ fiancée are both RN’s dealing with Corona patients directly, on a daily basis.  Once the end of May came around, both girls thought it would be perfectly fine for us to all get together.  We did, and it was a wonderful, happy time.  It was made even more sweet by the fact that we had all really missed one another and were even happier to finally all be together again.

A good thing that came out of this situation was the fact that many professions are being recognized and honored.  Nurses, doctors and ALL healthcare workers are being hailed as heroes.  None of us who work in this “industry” want to be considered heroes, because this is just regular people, doing their regular jobs.  The caring they show is beyond ordinary – it has been extraordinary.  It is also nice seeing grocery personnel, fast food workers, gas station attendants and utility workers getting praised.

We are lucky that during this time we’ve had just that – time.  Those who haven’t been able to work or those who’ve had their schedules reduced have been able to reconnect with their home, families and routine in a more relaxed way.  There haven’t been as many “rushing here” and “hurrying there” things to do.  People have been forced to take it easy.  That is a good thing.  Everyday life, routine life – it is many times a rushed existence.  For now it’s been nice to have that laid-back approach and attitude.

Being home has made people more productive.  Who knows if it is because people are bored, or because with being home – they notice their surroundings need things to be done.  De-cluttering your surroundings can have a calming and relaxing effect on people.  Regular daily life is easier to live when your things are where you can find them.  Like the saying goes, a place for everything and everything in it’s place.  For a thrift store shopper like me, when the stores finally all open up – there will be amazing shopping, because of all the people at home, cleaning, organizing and purging.  It will be a great time to be a thrift store shopper!

There has been a lot of togetherness.  This is great for the families who live together – they can reconnect and (hopefully) realize what they mean to each other.  This quarantine and stay at home order has been a double edge sword, as we all know.  Missing your family members and friends is hard.  Very hard.  One good thing with this is that communication has increased.  There have been more texts, more phone calls, more video calls than there would have been before.  Hopefully when this is over, and we go back to whatever ends up being our new normal that people will keep up their connections.  I think we have learned to not take one another for granted.

An obvious good point of this whole Corona/Covid pandemic is increased cleanliness.  We are now more aware of what is sanitary, and what isn’t – and what we need to do to protect ourselves and others.  There is not enough known about the transmission of the virus for us to be anything less than as careful as possible.  We cannot let our guard down.

It would have been so much better if none of the last few months had happened.  We have to focus on what we have learned, and to also focus on what is to come.