Happy New Year!

2019

Hello! I am hoping that everyone ended 2018 and begins 2019 in a happy frame of mind. Things here are just perfect.

We ended last year at my sister’s place. It was my sister and Sean, plus Jeff and I, and Ellie. We were a small but mighty party! The menu included lobster tails, which were absolutely delicious. Coincidentally, I have started to really streamline our food budget – just at the time when I discovered how good lobster actually is. Somehow in my new and improved meal planning there will need to be room for those tasty tails!

A good ending to 2018 was the addition of our two new little ones – sweet kittens, who look like they could be JB’s children! They are about three months old. Nikita is the boy, and the girl princess is Alexi. I love them more than words can say, already. I am so happy to have them, and I am so very thankful for Jeff. When he met me, I had two cats. And now we have five. He is a very good and tolerant man, and Cat Dad!

Pictures will follow, many pictures I am sure…

HAPPY 2019!!!

Time for a commercial break…

I find certain commercials to be hysterical, and the above one is my favorite of the past year or so.

Recently though, the Progressive commercial with the nerdy guy out with his friends in the club is moving up my favorites list. You just gotta love Tom Pritchard!

These two commercials got me thinking of ones from the past. I always liked Clara Peller and her famous “Where’s the Beef?” line. I enjoyed Spuds MacKenzie, the Budweiser dog. I was a fan of the Taco Bell dog.

Some of my other favorites included commercials for local businesses. When I lived in suburban Philadelphia, the commercials for Rand Spear, the Accident Lawyer and Ronni Deutsch (also a lawyer) were great. Lawyers I guess have a leg up on their competition, because when I lived near Tampa, this lawyer named Jack Bernstein behaved so ridiculously in his commercials that there was no way you could forget him. The guy was a huge nerd, but you remembered who he was.

What other classics are there that I have forgotten?

Christmas!

Happy Holidays! Our Christmas was absolutely wonderful, and hope yours was too! Many happy things went on during the past few days.

Christmas Eve started with breakfast out with my youngest son, Chris. He has turned into quite a good young man. He makes me very proud. Dinner that night was at the restaurant where my nephew works. It was wonderful seeing how much his coworkers like him. Surprisingly, at the end of the meal my sister’s boyfriend Sean proposed. I can now call him my brother in law instead of referring to him as my sister’s boyfriend!

I still had things to do to get ready, so after we got home from dinner we finished things up while watching wrestling. I love how Jeff just goes along with me, showing a real interest in what I like and what I do, even if it is something as silly as wrestling. Not that I think it is silly by any means, but I am sure my point is coming across. He is a good man and I am very lucky. That night as we exchanged presents, I realized even more how blessed I am to have him in my life. I have mentioned how I miss being able to watch the news while I make dinner. So he bought me a small tv that we are going to put on top of the microwave. I am very happy he takes my wants into consideration. He got me a whole bunch of beautiful and perfect gifts, including promise rings. They look like an engagement ring, and a wedding set. Technically they are not what they appear to be, yet we are viewing them as a promise to have our future together. They are very pretty and very sparkly. Santa also brought the boys quite a few gifts, and they got their Dad a mug. It was a happy day.

On Christmas Day we drove to Amanda and Kevin’s. It was their first time hosting our Holiday gathering, and they did great! The food was delicious, and the whole day was wonderful. Lots of great presents were exchanged, and again we all realized how truly lucky we are. We got home late, and fed the boys – they got extra tuna with their food. After all, it WAS Christmas!

Back to reality today, sadly. Time to get the oil changed in my car, and then I will need to get this place cleaned up. There are too many messes all around here. The focus has been getting ready for Christmas, as it should have been. But now it’s got to be business as usual.

How were YOUR holidays?

Hit or Miss Thoughts…Yes or No?

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As I sit here on a Sunday morning, not feeling good, drinking coffee and watching football previews, as usual random things are going through my mind. I am wondering how many others think the same way I do…

Do you ever lather, rinse, repeat? I don’t know if I have ever really done that. Unless my hair had some odd substance that for some reason wouldn’t come out, I guess I have always figured one washing was enough.

Do you check expiration dates on everything? From what I’ve heard, most people only check expiration dates on soon-to-expire perishables. Not me. I check everything. That could possibly come from the fact that I shop from time to time in discount stores that offer amazing deals on items with a close expiration date. I have looked at dates on all products – shampoo, cat food, canned goods. To me, it is comforting to know that I have a box of pasta that will still be good in June of 2020. Not that pasta ever lasts long here.

Have you ever done a patch test with home hair coloring? I have never done this. I am somewhat confused by this anyway – directions on the boxes say to make up the solution, and test a part of your hair or whatever – then in other sections of the directions, it says to use the product as soon as it is mixed up. The patch test advises waiting twenty four hours – I don’t get their timing. I have always abandoned this suggestion, and nothing bad has ever come to me.

Have you ever put generic brands inside a name-brand container so your guests wouldn’t “judge” you? I personally have never done this, to my knowledge. If it happened here, it was for convenience rather than for deception. One thing I have done is pour “dollar store” laundry detergent into a name-brand bottle. The only reason for this was that the dollar store bottle never pours right for me. And that name-brand bottle was purchased cheap, on sale or with a coupon.

I like looking nice, and I like certain styles. I would never pay crazy high prices just to get a designer label. Since I was a young girl, I have always been more about quantity. I would rather have several of an item I like (for example shoes and purses) rather than one premier one. That being said, I have carried my knock-off purses to events where I thought having a better “brand” with me would look good and might matter more. Anyone who knows me will know that seeing me with a supposed Coach purse will mean that, shhhh…this is a knock off. I have acquired a few of those through thrifting that a knowing friend suspects are real. Now if they are, I could maybe sell them and make a profit. But as I also know that if these are real – I should keep them, because there is no way I would ever pay the designer price.

I have put effort into thinking of ways to present a gift – to make it seem better, more larger than life. I agree that it is the thought that counts, but I also believe that how you present something just adds to the gift giving.

So, I am wondering…what other things like this have you all done?

Maury Christmas!

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Happy Holidays and a Maury Christmas to all! So yesterday, a dream came true for me. One more item was checked off of my bucket list – I was finally able to attend a taping of the Maury Povich show! It was a wonderful experience.

Jeff and I left on Thursday and spent the night in Stamford, CT which is a very nice city and is where they tape the show. We got to the studio early and waited while all things were arranged. Soon we were escorted into the studio. The stage is so small! It looks so much bigger on television. Years ago, my sister and I had seen a taping of the Steve Wilkos show. Maury is taped in the same place. There are so many requirements to attend a taping – none really stringent, but they are strict. No clothing with logos, no cell phones out during taping, no large bags, coats and jackets on the back of chairs, no hats. The staff is really nice, and they do a lot to excite us guests to enjoy being there.

Maury came out for a quick moment, and then the taping began. We saw two episodes being taped. Needless to say, I was thrilled that the first one was a Lie Detector show. And even more thrilling was that the second one was a Paternity episode! It was wonderful. When we knew we got the tickets and would actually be able to be there, all I didn’t want was an “amazing animals” show or an “incredible kids” program. It was the last episode taped for the 2018 season.

After the taping, we went to a diner in Stamford that had delicious food. And on the way home to Scranton, we found a nice mall in NY to stop at to finish up some Christmas shopping. We had a great day, and ended up falling asleep exhausted, but very happy.

Maury Christmas, everyone!

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Happy Holiday Happenings!

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It’s been a busy and fun time of year. So much going on, and just about all of it good! Yesterday was the beginning of actual holiday get togethers. My daughter in law and son came to spend an early Christmas with my sister and her family. Jeff, Ellie and I were there too. Sean is an amazing cook, and yesterday he served two different kinds of sliders. To say they were delicious would be an understatement. One type was chicken based, and the other was ham and cheese. We all loved them. We also had a few drinks and even more laughs. Then, afterwards Amanda and Kevin came back to our place for a late dinner. Everyone enjoyed the chicken tenders, spicy mac and cheese and corn on the cob. It was a good night, actually – a great night. It was wonderful introducing JB to them. He of course charmed them completely!

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And tonight we return to what has over the years become somewhat of a tradition – a monthly Pay Per View party. We did one last month for the WWE’s Survivor Series, and it was a fun time, a great success. Tonight’s show is called TLC – Tables, Ladders and Chairs. The wrestling is always important, yet the focus a great deal of the time is the food, the drinks and the desserts. Tonight we will be having chili, three different kinds of chicken drummers, rice, cornbread, and pasta with a meat sauce. Of course there will be snacks like chips, dip, salsa and queso. Deserts apparently will include brownies, cupcakes and some homemade very moist Banana Nut Chocolate Chip muffins. I’m looking forward to resuming this, as we had gotten away from it for a while. As much as I love wrestling, lately the shows have truly been lacking. A rumor in the wrestling world is that Vince McMahon, the owner and operator – the big shot – will be getting involved even more in an effort to turn things around. I certainly hope this is true. My Sheamus is wrestling tonight I believe, defending his Tag Title with Cesaro. I do think they will retain, and I hope they do. But honestly, as long as he’s there, competing…Lisa will be a happy girl.

Hope everyone is having a good Holiday weekend time too!

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Random Ramblings about the Holidays…

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Thinking about what to write was interrupted by thoughts of what I have got to do for the Holidays. This is not a bad thing, it is a good thing. I am happily looking forward to be in the Season this year.

A random fact, thought or whatever you’d call it is the fact that, even as a young teen doing Christmas shopping, I always included myself as a gift recipient. Aside from small gifts for a few friends, my Christmas shopping consisted of my Mom, my Dad and my Sister. Honestly though, I divided the budget I had (which came from babysitting) to include myself. I have now and usually in the past treated myself to at least one thing for Christmas that I would have wanted. As a teen, I remember buying a bottle of perfume that my mother loved for her, and since I loved it too – got one for myself. This didn’t translate too much during the years I was raising my kids, but recently it has returned. Currently, there are two Tampa Bay t-shirts in one of my online shopping carts. Do I need these? No. Do I want them? Yes. Especially since they honor the Team Captain (I don’t have one of his shirts) and another player (I in fact do have one of his, but this one is just too perfect to pass up). I am still going to try to make up my mind.

The Christmas song I hate the most, without a doubt is Paul McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime.” I hate it with every ounce of my being. About three years ago, my sister and I were in a dentist office when this rotten song came on. At the same time, we both said we hated it. A few weeks later, our hate for this song turned into us planning a Christmas In July party, which ended up being a blast and one of the best days of the summer.

Christmas music was never my thing. While my ex-husband did love Christmas and enjoyed all that came along with it, his taste in songs he played were more of the sad, instrumental kind. I always felt a bit depressed while he played these songs, because while nice I felt they were a bit of a downer. Now that I’ve been on my own for the past few years, I find that I do in fact like Christmas music. It’s just that my taste goes more for the happy, uplifting and joyful songs. I love Jingle Bells and Jingle Bell Rock. I love Santa Claus is Coming to Town. But I still hate Simply Having. And I always will.

Years ago, when I was home raising the kids I did a lot more holiday baking. One year in particular I did more than ever. We would eat a few of whatever I’d made, and I would freeze the rest. It was a great thing, because defrosting a few just before we would go for a visit or had people to visit would give us a wide variety of treats to choose. My freezer currently has room, so I started some almost-mass baking last night. First up was Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffins. They are moist, and taste more like cupcakes. Mmm mmm good…

I do not like the traffic that holiday shopping brings. Once I get into the stores, I don’t mind crowds (unless they are like the massive hoard that was at Kohl’s on Thanksgiving night). I have seen happy looking people. On long lines. Not upset, not anxious. This year more than other years I am seeing people looking like they are in legitimate good moods. It’s nice to see. Now I understand this could be because it is still kind of early, and that we still have two weeks left. I must admit though, I will be trying to finish up what I still have to do and get during the week. The weekends are going to be nuts. Probably.

What other random thoughts have you all got about the holidays?

Ho Ho Ho Happy Holidays…

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It’s exciting getting ready for the holidays. It’s not exciting getting ready for the holidays when you aren’t feeling quite right. Nevertheless, since my feeling bad comes and goes, yesterday I pushed myself to do a few things and I am very glad I did.

Jeff and I went out for breakfast yesterday, and he finally met my friend and former co-worker, Patsy. It was great introducing them, and we had a great time. The food was good, very delicious. As I thought, Patsy and I did a lot of talking about our former place of employment, and I feared Jeff was going to feel left out. He seemed to enjoy our talking. He’s such a good man.

After leaving Patsy, we did some grocery shopping at Walmart. I found an electric curling brush there that before I could only find online, so that was a good thing. And the place wasn’t even that crowded! This is also a good thing.

We brought all our things home, and then scooped up JB (our youngest cat) to get him to his Vet appointment. He hasn’t been breathing right for a while – we thought it was just his adjustment to a totally different atmosphere here in PA, but recently his nose started running and, well it’s just gotten worse. The vet examined and said compared to his file from Florida, he had lost two pounds. That is huge for a cat. I got more and more upset, but I tried to remain calm. They did a bunch of tests after the doctor confirming by examining him that he had a sinus and upper respiratory infection. About a half hour later after waiting, they came back and said he was negative for feline HIV and Leukemia. Thank god, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The rest of the blookwork tests should be back today. I knew I loved him, but when I saw his beautiful eyes staring me, I realized just how much. So fast forward to me being $326 poorer. I don’t care, he is more than worth it. It’s just going to be very interesting to give him nasal spray drops twice a day and antibiotics also. Hopefully he will realize it’s for his greater good!

It was time for dinner, and we had planned to meet my sister, her boyfriend Sean and his daughter Eowynn at a restaurant that is filled with decorated Christmas trees. Area companies compete to win best of the best, with each tree being dedicated to a certain charity. Some were very creative! My two personal favorites were the one by the Eyecare Center that had decorations to look like eyeballs, and the Oncology Center who decorated their tree in blue prescription bottles, each adorned with different colored cancer support ribbons. That one was edged out in my mind, mainly because it was blue and silver and white – coincidentally, colors from my team – the Tampa Bay Lightning! The food was delicious, the beers were good and reasonably priced, and we were together as a family. What a perfect night celebrating the holidays with my loved ones.

Today, who knows what will go on. I feel better, but more like staying home. Not relaxing – organizing. Going through gifts I’ve bought, seeing what else I still need. It will be a good day. Tomorrow the sales change, hopefully the mail today will include the new circulars – so I can plan my attack!

Saving money? What have YOU done?

I was home today, feeling unwell and not doing much of anything. And it got me to thinking, spurred on by a favorite money-saving site – have you ever done anything crazy to save money?

I can’t say what I have ever done has been crazy. Maybe it has been what people would consider unorthodox, or wrong, or just not…common. A few things come to mind.

One thing I did quite a while ago was to purchase two or three cans of “spread.” What these so-called spreads were, right now I don’t remember. But I do remember thinking, oh…these will be good. For get togethers, for snack times during games, whatever. So opening them up, and spreading them on crackers – Christine (as you know, my best friend) and I tried them. Let me just say that they were…not good. The first bite we thought they were ok, we were smiling. That is, until we swallowed. Soon after this, we realized that although we had never consumed canned cat food – this was what it must taste like. The cans and the spreaded crackers promptly were launched into the trash can.

As wrong as it might sound, I have looked at used “underthings” in thrift stores. Now I know that this is the rule – buy anything used, but not this kind of stuff. I kind-of uncomfortably got over my slight reservation to look at these items as I looked at other used garments – I made sure they were clean (they were), and I made sure they would fit me (they would). As with any other used item, I planned on thoroughly washing these items – and as I have always said, once these things roll around in my washing machine, in my hot water – it’s all good. So right here, right now – I admit – some “underthings” that are now mine are previously owned.

I love my Jeff, and he loves me. I am a lucky woman. I want to send him to work at night with good-tasting food, something to look forward to during his night shift. At Dollar Tree, I found “Virginia Sausage (Hot)” and thought he would enjoy it. My only reservation was that the three decent-sized links were $1 (like I’ve said, it was at Dollar Tree). Cooking them up, frying them with peppers and onions – they smelled delicious. Putting them in a container after having added some tomato sauce – I felt bad, guilty…I don’t know. I guess it was because it was, basically…cheap. The next morning when he came home, I asked how his dinner was. He said it was delicious. And I believed him, but I guess I had doubted myself because the cost was…minimal. I am glad I can continue to provide for my loved ones in an economical way.

All of this got me thinking about what others have done in the quest to save money. Would love to hear. Care to share?

What exactly is aging poorly?

I turned fifty-five years old in April. I must admit, I am happier now than I have been in a long, long time. I have wonderful kids, a great man by my side and friends that I consider family, and vice versa. But a lot of the time, I just don’t feel good. And I don’t know why.

Is it age? I don’t know. What I do know is that I just cannot shake things off fast anymore. Before I used to feel bad with a cold or whatever, and I would pop a cold pill or two, drink a bunch of fluids and then I would be on my way. Now if I am feeling bad, I just can’t. I can’t do anything. For the most part, I just have to stop. And rest and be done with the rest of the day, or night.

The latest battle of feeling unwell started on Thanksgiving Day. I had really chapped lips, on both the top and bottom. My mouth looked like a clown. And before the night was done it had spread to my right eye. It’s a good thing Kohl’s was CRAZY INSANELY CROWDED because I looked bad and didn’t need to be out in public scaring anyone. I truly did look awful.

For the past three weeks, I have been unable to get rid of these things. I have tried everything – I used medicated creams, just plain water and vaseline – whatever else I could think of. I am addicted to chap stick as I have stated before, and fearing one of those tubes could be contributing to this, I haven’t been using them at all. I don’t know what to do, I am at a loss. It would be one thing if it looked bad yet didn’t hurt, or if it hurt but looked ok. All during this time, I haven’t felt well. Haven’t felt good. I have been off, to say the least.

Does anyone out there have an experience with this skin thing? Do you think odd feelings of just not being right are the results of everyday, normal aging? Would love to hear from you all…