Happy, happy joy joy…

photography of woman surrounded by sunflowers
Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

The other day I wrote about things that I didn’t like, things that made me mad and things that in general just aren’t good.  Today, I decided to write about things that I like and that make me happy.  I’m writing about things that make me smile.

I love seeing and hearing people give each other compliments.  I enjoy hearing nice things said to one another.  It’s such a nice feeling when you hear someone likes your shoes, thinks your hair looks nice that day or really enjoys the dessert you made.  It is also nice to see the smile on someone’s face as they receive a compliment for…whatever.  Just a few kind words can affect a person’s day in a really good way.

Holding a door open for someone and having them say thank you.  Such simple gestures, yet they mean so much.  Countless times I have held a door for someone and I got nothing for a response.  That is just so rude.  It makes me wonder how people were raised.  What kind of hard is it to just give a smile and a nod, as a bare basic acknowledgement?

I have met quite a few famous people in my life.  Most of them have been professional wrestlers and sports stars, and some were actors.  Meeting them and finding out that they are nice – to a point, nicer than they have to be – it is a gratifying experience.  It has always made me feel well rewarded by the fact that these individuals show class.  They have integrity and they know how to behave.  I am happy that my entertainment dollars went towards them.

Nothing gets a person (me) pumped up more than a comeback win by one of my favorite teams.  It is gratifying to watch a game when your team is clearly in control the entire time, but there is something special to be said for a comeback.  We had it both ways in one game last season.  The Lightning were up 5-0 by the time the third period started.  Before long, the hated (by me) Flyers had almost tied the game.  And then, boom – they did tie it.  We were going into overtime.  They played that entire session with no resolution.  After five minutes, we went into a shootout.  It came down to one of the last shots, but my Bolts ended up winning.  Talk about excitement!  What a game, and what an experience!

I always smile and have a good day when I know I look good.  I can of course have a good day no matter what I look like, but the feeling of confidence I get knowing I look put together – it makes me happy.  I take pride in how I look, yet sometimes people could possibly mistake me for a homeless person.  I always try to be coordinated with all of my colors looking like they belong together.  I match everything  – clothes, socks or stockings, shoes, purses and jewelry.  I always feel best when I’m matching, and usually I am.  Being made up with nice hair and makeup applied right, it gives me the confidence I feel more comfortable to conquer my day with.

A wonderful feeling is realizing (once again) that your children have grown up to be good people.  My sons are all amazing – they have done the right things their whole lives (with minor bumps in the road).  Their father and I are very proud, and every day we are reminded of how blessed we are to have had such easy and good boys to raise.  They are good young men with level heads and great work ethics.  They have caring hearts, happy dispositions and funny personalities.  I am beyond lucky to be their Mother.

My heart is warm and full when I am doing nothing, or nothing much of anything with the cats by my side.  I just love them.  I could be washing dishes, getting lunches ready for the following day and there they are, just hanging out with me.  Earlier today I was ironing clothes and three of the boys (Nik, Malenky and Boris) were there nearby, watching me intently.  In the late afternoon after work while catching up on the news, Beavis sits on my lap – watching too.  They drive me crazy, they are always under my feet and between the sheer number of them (seven) it is like an insane asylum at times – but they are my babies (actually, they are kittens, juniors and seniors) and I wouldn’t change a thing about any one of them.  They make me smile and laugh every day of my life.

Give some thoughts to what makes you smile, and keep thinking of those things…

 

Here’s Soup for You…

leek and potato soup with bread
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…and yet another reference to the one and only live (basically the only one) Seinfeld episode I saw.  With the cooler weather coming, it’s time to look forward to soup – soup of all kinds.  You can think of soup as an addition to a meal, or it can be the meal itself.  Your bowl of soup can be a basic broth or a thick, almost stew-like meal.  Supplementing with croutons, crackers or bread will just add to your soup.

Making your own soup is easy.  I enjoy cooking but I have to admit I don’t like recipes that call for a lot of steps.  Most of the food I post will be easily made.  The soups I make have a base of broth – either Vegetable, Beef or Chicken.  Another important part of homemade soup can be bones.  You can simmer bones with your broth.  The bigger and thicker the bones the better.  It is better for removal after your soup is done.  Also important is to keep all leftovers, no matter how small the amount.  Little bits of cooked meat and leftover vegetables and sauces can give some extra flavor to your soup.  Unless you know you will use them soon, just pop them into your freezer.

I usually start a large pot of soup with some butter or oil – and fry/grill some onions and/or minced garlic.  Once that gets going (i.e. they soften and brown a little) you can add the rest of the ingredients that you want your soup to include.  Depending on how much soup you will want to end up with will determine how much broth to use.  You can call my recipes and cooking very relaxed.  There are no hard and fast amounts of my ingredients – I figure everyone can use their own sight and taste to make my recipes more like their own.  It’s very gratifying to make a delicious soup from all leftovers.  This is when you use all your little packages, containers,  etc. of things that weren’t finished during other mealtimes.  Try to group the meats you have with appropriately matched vegetables.  If after you’ve assembled all of your leftovers you need more – you can add maybe a half of chicken breast cut up, or an extra can of bag of vegetables.  Simmer this for a good long time.  Towards the end of your cooking, make your add ins – rice, pasta or whatever else you’re thinking of.  Once done, add to the soup and let them cook together for a bit.  At this point, you can consider it done.  If you’d like you can “cream it up” with the addition of a white sauce, a lump or two of mashed potatoes or a can of “cream up” soup.  Your meal is served!

If you would like Vegetable Tomato Beef Soup, it can be made with some Beef Broth, a can of Beef gravy, a can or two or a bag of Mixed Vegetables – and a can of tomato sauce (or a can of tomato soup).  You really can use whatever you want to get the tomato taste – even ketchup if you’re out of the other ingredients and you just HAVE to have tomato.  Now you can just have beef tasting soup, using these ingredients or you can add leftover beef, a cooked cut up piece of beef or some browned ground beef to perk it up and fortify it.  Either way it will be very good.

You can make Vegetable Tomato Chicken Soup, which is basically doing the same thing as above.  Do the same steps, and when you get to the add in part, obviously use Chicken and not Beef.  And it goes without saying that you can just do a plain Vegetable Chicken or plain Vegetable Beef – just don’t add any tomatoes or tomato products.

You can make a pretty easy yet pretty good French Onion Soup for yourself.  Grill a decent amount of onions, in your choice – butter, oil, margarine – and soften them.  Add Beef Broth and simmer.  After a short while, your soup will be done.  As it cooks, if you’d like – add some wine.  It’s a tasty addition.  The soup can also be ladled into crocks, and you can add a thick-ish piece of bread.  On top of this bread, add some cheese (mozzarella or provolone) and bake them in the oven, or broil them.  Absolutely delicious!

Potato Soup is good too.  It’s one of those stick-to-your-ribs kind of soups.  Mine is not hard to make, and it is not complicated.  I use a base of Chicken Broth and then I either add mashed Potatoes, cans of cooked Potatoes (diced or sliced) or instant mashed Potato flakes.  I start with the Broth in the pot, grilling the Onions.  I add whatever Potatoes I decide to use, and I keep an eye on it.  You don’t want it too thick, so have extra Broth on hand – or Chicken Bouillon and water – as it cooks.  As it gets to the consistency you want, you can decide if you want to smooth it out.  I’ve had good success using one of those immersion blenders.  I take it off the burner to do this.  I play around with it, and then I’ll add my additions – shredded Cheese, Bacon Bits, and Green Onions/Scallions.  Sometimes I don’t want it smooth, so I’ll put in some diced Potatoes (the canned ones).  I will serve these with Sour Cream on the side.  This makes it almost like Baked Potato Soup.  Mmm mmm good!

Another good one is Italian Wedding Soup.  I start mine with Chicken Broth in a large pot.  I then cut up pre-made and frozen Meatballs – use whatever kind you like, or even your own homemade ones.  The ones I use get quartered – they look like little chunks.  Then I will add spinach – either a can or two, or frozen.  Of course, if you want you can use fresh.  I will add a little bit of rice (already cooked) towards the end of the simmering.  This easily made Soup really is good.

I didn’t really include any seasonings in these soups, other than browning onions and garlic when you start the recipes.  As they are cooking and you sample them to see how they are turning out, this is the time you can add things.  You can add salt and pepper, or garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning – whatever you think would be good.  I have frozen these soups and they have done well.  I know you are not supposed to refreeze a second time, but the amounts of things I am using – smidgens, really – I have to say I have never had a problem.  I have survived and survived quite well…

 

What a PAIN!

gray scale photo of cat showing mouth
Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

Today has been an annoying day.  I can’t even pinpoint one thing to make it so, but that’s what today has been like.  Irritating.  Aggravating.  You can even say it has been borderline maddening.  Combined with what has been happening today, I have started thinking about other pet peeves of mine.

I am annoyed by people driving slowly in the parking garage here at work.  It is as if driving like a snail will all of a sudden magically make a space appear.  News flash to these people – it doesn’t.

People who talk over you on the phone is super annoying.  It is hard to complete a conversation (or even a complete thought) because every other word or phrase starts and stops in little snippets.  When you decide to just be quiet and listen to their ramble, inevitably they stop – and make it sound as though you are the rude one.  No, you’re not.  It is them.

I enjoy all kinds of Social Media.  I don’t see many mistakes on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter.  Facebook is another story though.  I find it hard to believe that people who are supposedly smart and/or educated put out posts that read like (less than) a grade school student wrote them.  I’m all for quick, brief updates.  Not everyone is going to post paragraph after paragraph.  Don’t these people read their words to see if they make sense and have things spelled right?  Especially those who don’t write much, it just boggles my mind.

My ex-husband and I raised three children.  Were they always good?  No, at home boy did they have their moments – as all kids do.  Were they always good in public?  I can honestly say this – yes, they were.  From a very young age, they learned how to behave properly in restaurants, and they also could ride in a carriage through a mall or sit in a shopping cart at the grocery store without taking a fit.  I have seen too many kids acting up – and you can just tell it wasn’t a one time meltdown.  These kids cry and complain and try to run around, and the parents are oblivious that it is bothering everyone around them, or they just don’t think their children are irritating.  Guess what?  They are.  Until your child can behave (and/or you can act like a responsible parent), please do the rest of us a favor.  Keep them home!

Know-it-alls are another irritation to me.  Why is it so important to some people to make it seem as though they know everything about everything?  No one can be so knowledgeable, yet some claim to be.  It is even more irritating to see someone try to tell you something about what you clearly know more about than them.  Depending on my mood, I will either humor them.  Or I will stare at them almost blankly, and then state the right comment.  They know right quick they’d been had.  It is a gratifying feeling when you take one of these folks down a peg.

I don’t like judgmental people.  Unless you are personally acquainted, none of us know the true story of anything.  People voicing their opinion on something they’re really only guessing about opens themselves up to looking like fools.  You don’t know where someone is coming from and where they are going.  Being so opinionated is really very wrong.  Of course we all have feelings about certain things, but if you don’t know – don’t say.  It’s not that hard.

In the public bathroom etiquette leaves a lot to be desired.  From leaving soap and water all over the counters, to throwing towels on the floor, to “sprinkling” on the seat and then not flushing (seriously, who does that?) it’s all just disgusting.  All of these behaviors must go hand in hand with those who don’t wash their hands after using the facilities.  Yuck.

I feel very offended when I read or hear supposedly religious people doing things that aren’t indicative of their faith.  God loves everyone – where does their hate speech come from?  Isn’t honesty a virtue?  Why is it ok for a supposed God-fearing person to perform acts on the job and not perform acts and then lie about it?  Being dishonest about work isn’t the right way to be.  How do these people reconcile their behaviors with God?  I would love an answer from them for that.

No one needs to be impeccably groomed.  Not everyone needs to look as though they stepped out of a band box (that was a favorite saying of my Mom).  I do think that being a part of society means the bare minimum a person should do is be reasonably clean and neat.  Lately I have come across people who are in desperate need of a shower, and a good, long teeth brushing.  I always wonder if these people can smell themselves, and why it doesn’t bother them.  It truly can be a nauseating smell.  From what I can tell, soap is pretty cheap.  And Dollar Tree sells deodorant.  It’s only $1.00.

I’m not a fan of sports fans making others feel as though their team is the only one that’s good and the only one that matters.  Good natured teasing and things like that are all fine, but when some of these fans get all full of themselves, it is very annoying.  Especially because a lot of the time it’s fans of teams who haven’t done much who are the biggest braggarts.  Keep your mouths shut.  Celebrate with your own kind, and if you’re with others – act like a decent person first, a fan of your team second.

I do not like hearing details of things that should be private.  People post things they shouldn’t on social media, or they’ll talk loudly out in public either in person to someone else, or they’re yelling into their phones.  It is not my business and I don’t want it made my business by me seeing or reading things.  Have the decency to keep private things the way they should be – private.

A lot of people have the pet peeve of others being late.  I’m trying to work on this, as I tend to be a late comer.  As annoying though is the person who shows up 45 minutes early.  Most people aren’t ready this much ahead of time, and the fact that they show up at your place is very rude.  You shouldn’t have to entertain someone when you’re trying to get ready.  Everyone should strive to be on time – not late, but not early either.

It is very annoying to send a text and wait for an answer. And wait.  And then wait some more.   What effort does it take if you’re busy to type “got your message, busy here. will text later.”  This way, the sender knows the message was received and the recipient cared enough to at least give a brief response.  And another thing about texting – please don’t type U for you and R for are.  Doing this is annoying, and besides – you’re only saving two letters using these abbreviations.

Open your mouth when you talk!  So many people over the phone get annoyed when you ask them a second or third time to repeat something.  Or they get annoyed and blame their accent.  No, it is not your accent – it is that you mumble!  Speak clearly and all of your conversations will be better.  I guarantee it.

There are more, but I’m getting annoyed thinking of them.  No, seriously – what are some things that just grind your gears?  I would love to know…

 

Copycat!

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(Photo courtesy of Worldsbestcatlitter.com)

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”    (Charles Caleb Colton, 1820)

Many people agree that it is best to be yourself, to be your own person.  You should be your own person with your own wants, dreams and personal ways to achieve these things.  However, I also believe the above statement.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with liking something and wanting to recreate it.   I try to copy things that I like, things that I am fond of.  Sometimes I get a “version” that is as good as or better than the original.  Sometimes, though I end up being satisfied with getting “close enough.”

There was an Outlet Center near the Stadium in Hershey.  Ellie and I stopped in last Monday before we went to the Backstreet Boys show.  I enjoyed the kitchen gadget store.  They had so many little doo-dads – I wanted so much!  I ended up with cat bag clips, straw pipe cleaners and reusable silicone straws.  While we were there, we went into some of the high end stores.  Some of these stores were REALLY high end.  I love fashion and all that goes with it.  However, my lifestyle and budget would never, ever allow me to spend so much money for just one individual item.  Even if I had unlimited income, I know myself.  I am a bargain hunter, and I always will be.  Still, I went into these stores.  I kept my eyes wide open, noticing as much as I could.  I noticed the styles of purses, and I noticed the colors of the items on most displays.  I observed the accessories in stores, and kept my eyes on the styles of shoes that seem to be popular, current and in style.  I left the outlets with a pretty good idea of what is in, and what I need to copy.  I will try to buy these items in off brand stores, department stores, discount stores and even in thrift shops.  I saw that one style looking popular for the Fall is a black blazer with a button down white blouse.  The pants they paired with this were a medium blue denim.  The choice on the mannequin had rips in the knees, but I am not a fan of that style.  The shoes with this outfit – simple black flats.  There is no reason I cannot copy this style and achieve this look for much, much less money.

When we were having dinner before the show (at a chain-type restaurant) I looked over the drink menu.  And while I went with my usual favorite (beer), I did read the list of ingredients in different cocktails they made.  To get the exact taste of what they were offering, of course I would have to know how much of this and how much of that (of each component).  The combinations sounded so good together that I figured however my version turns out will be good.  Yes, that is right – they will turn out to be good enough!

Since we wanted to get to the Stadium and get settled in our seats, we skipped dessert.  The menu included items that sounded delicious – oh, if we weren’t so full!  They offered cheesecake with syrup over the top (caramel and raspberry).  I can duplicate this at home – even with store bought cheesecake (though I do make a GREAT homemade cheesecake, thanks to my Mom’s recipe).  They had apple pie, warmed – with vanilla ice cream on top.  Easily copied.  The sundae was a warmed brownie with vanilla ice cream, syrup and whipped cream.  I can (and have) done this before.  There was also some sort of Oreo Cake.  Chris and I had seen this in a diner once.  I made one for him, and although it wasn’t as plush and didn’t have seven layers, the sheet cake with cool whip and crushed Oreos on top satisfied our desires for a copy of what we had seen.  You need to keep your mind open – use your imagination!

It’s nice to pamper yourself.  It really is.  That might be the only chink in my “tightwad armor” if I ever come into money one day.  In my opinion, a massage is one of the greatest things you can have done for yourself.  Other than using some kind of brush or something in the shower (with nice warm water) I really don’t know how to recreate a massage.  You can pamper yourself with an at home pedicure.  It doesn’t even have to be a full pedicure with a polish change.  All you have to do to make your feet feel special is soak them.  You can soak them in a bucket of warm water.  Keep them in the warm water until it starts to cool off.  Depending on how much you like how it is feeling, repeat the process.  Again and again if you would like.  When you are done, dry your feet with a towel or washcloth that will also slough off any skin that loosened from the water.  Then it will be time to rub them in.  Rub them in real good, and for a really perky feeling, use some sort of cream or lotion with peppermint.  That will end your feet pampering with a very nice fresh feeling.  And then put on a pair of your favorite socks!

I like decorating.  I am very happy in my home and want it to look nice.  However, I don’t want to (or can’t, at this point) spend a lot on furnishings and accessories.  I go the copycat route with this as well.  I will look online, in different places, sites etc. to see what the hot trends are now.  I like to know the popular colors.  When I look at different sites, I let my mind wander as to how I can copy these ideas to make them for my own home.  I have found ways to make a fruit display stand using plates and accessories from Dollar Tree.  Yet, I found a way to make it even cheaper – because I got the plates, candlesticks, etc. from Salvation Army.  Spray paining it white, it looked as good if not better than the Dollar Tree version – and my ENTIRE purchase didn’t even come to $2.  You can copy the look of a bedroom set (the bedding), making it close enough with solids – if the magazine or online room has red, white, gray and black – you can achieve this look with solid pillows and pillow cases, curtains – maybe even finding a plaid throw rug with the same colors you like.  Keep in mind that any item in the color scheme can be included in your room.  The key to Decoration copying is patience – always keep your eyes open while out shopping for items to help you recreate the look you want.

The key to being successful with copying is to always be aware, always have your mind working.  Jeff made a reasonable alternative to an expensive cat litter box.  It has worked out very well.  With seven cats, we have to always be on our toes with things, both to ease our daily life with them – as well as to ease our pockets!

What things do you copy?  Would love to hear…

Time for a workout…

 

people wearing running shoes
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…but not the kind you think.  Anyone who knows me knows I am not into fitness, exercising or any kind of athletic activity at all.  I will surf – yes, surf – for funny anti-workout memes on Facebook.  I am not proud of this, but I am also not ashamed either (if that makes any sense).  One favorite quote relating to my lack of interest in working out comes from Ellen DeGeneres.  She once famously said…”I really don’t think I need buns of steel. I’d be happier with buns of cinnamon.”

I do realize the importance of health, however.  Recently I have felt good – much better than I have in months.  I believe the assurance of a regular paycheck and being back in an actual routine has helped my mind at the very least.  Turning fifty-six has me looking a little harder at a lot of things that are health-related.  I have been forgetting things lately.  Reading and researching I have determined that what has been going on with me can be described as “normal aging.”  I felt good when I realized this, but it did make me sit up and take notice.  I want to keep my brain in shape.  So I began looking for ways to make this happen.

It is important to eat right.  Most people know that what they eat is either good or not so good for them.  Foods that are good for brain health include blueberries, wild salmon, nuts and seeds, avocados, whole grains and beans.  For those who like to snack, dark chocolate is an acceptable choice.  In terms of liquids, water is everyone’s best bet.  Drinking an adequate amount of water each day will help prevent fluid retention and dehydration.  It will also burn stored fat and will control calories.  Water intake is good for your skin.  Drinking caffeinated beverages and alcohol is also fine – in moderation, unless of course you are restricted from these items.  It is also recommended to stay away from foods, etc. that are white in color – which usually means they could be heavily processed.  Keep your consumption of salt and sugar low.  Again, it is not necessary to really cut these out completely – it is best to limit them as much as possible.

For your brain to get a workout, you have to use it.  That sounds silly but it is true.  Keeping your brain active ensures that it is moving.  Working.  It is active.  Do puzzles – all different kinds.  Something as simple as doing a crossword puzzle gets you thinking.  Read – read as much as you can.  It can be books, newspapers or online.  Read things that might teach you something new.  You might pick up a new hobby, or rediscover an old one.  Your mind will really get a workout when you try to learn a new language.  Think about it – those gears in your brain will be grinding!  Another tip is to change hands.  When you can, use your less dominant hand to do something you normally don’t use it for.  It will challenge your brain if you change up something as simple as using your other hand for the mouse on your computer.  I guarantee you won’t do it for a long time, but doing it just for a short bit will kick your brain into a little bit of overdrive.

To keep your brain healthy, you have to rest it.  You need to relax and take it easy from time to time.  Don’t rush – when you can hang loose – do it.  And don’t feel guilty.  Take a long, warm shower or lounge in the tub, if that’s what you like.  Smile as much as you can, and don’t forget to laugh.  Laugh as much as possible (without looking like a fool).  Smiling releases endorphins.  Endorphins make us happy.  Happy people should be with other happy people.  Be social.  Go out with friends.  It doesn’t have to cost anything.  A simple walk can boost your spirits.  You can make new friends too – volunteer.  Volunteer with an organization that will make you as happy as the people (or pets) you are signing up to work with.  Indulge in your guilty pleasures, and don’t feel guilty about them.  One of my guilty pleasures is watching the Maury show.  I enjoy his show so much I traveled to Connecticut – twice – to see it filmed live and in person!

Jeff is very dedicated to working out – I am not.  I do realize that I should be a little more motivated.  What makes me happiest is being with him and our cats.  So to encourage me to be more fit, we are going to start taking walks.  I plan on buying a Pet Stroller.  Yes, we will be walking the neighborhood with the cats!  The stroller will fit two of the bigger ones at a time, and all three kittens can ride together.  I’ll be known as the REALLY crazy neighborhood Cat Lady!  I don’t mind – it’s a title I will happily accept – because it is true, and it is accurate…

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(Photo courtesy of Pinterest.au)

 

Objectless Thoughts…

 

analysis blackboard board bubble
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For as long as I can remember, I have had odd thoughts about things.  Well, not really odd – I guess you could say unusual.  If I’m watching a scene in a movie and they’re showing a family eating, I focus on the table.  Do they drink soda with dinner?  Is ketchup being used?  When watching an interview with a hockey player, either during the game or after, I wonder why someone can’t run a comb through the guy’s hair before he goes on screen, looking all disheveled.  There are some strange stories on the news – how do our local news anchors keep a straight face and keep from laughing?  Today I had a few curious things run through my mind.  I have decided to look up answers to some very mismatched inquiries.

Did you know a shark’s pregnancy lasts for four years?  Yes, it does.

The chance of you dying on the way to buy a lottery ticket is greater than actually winning that very same lottery.

Cows kill more people than sharks do.

The most popular birthdate in the United States is September 16th, followed by September 9th and September 23rd.  The least popular birthdates are February 29th, December 25th and January 1st.  My birthday is April 22nd, and it is the 201st most popular birthdate.

An image of Superman appears somewhere in every episode of Seinfeld.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

A golf ball has 366 dimples.

Were you aware that the lint in your pockets has a name? It is called gnurr.

You lose 50-100 hairs every day.

The state with the most malls is New Jersey.

What would you think an octotroph is?  It is what the hashtag on your keyboard is called.

Minnie’s full name is Minerva Mouse.

Webster’s Dictionary has 315 entries spelled wrong – true fact.

Cats sleep 70% of the time.

Guess what?  Marilyn Monroe had six toes on one of her feet.

That blob on the end of your toothbrush?  It has a name, and that name is nurdle.

Finally, Powerball – the most popular (most frequently called) PB ball is 20, followed by 37, 2, 31 and 35.  For the white balls, the most popular one is 42.

And there you have it – you didn’t know these things before, but now you do.  I am sure you feel privileged!

 

Flee, fleas!

 

ants on brown and green leaves
Photo by Heather Smith on Pexels.com

This is disgusting, I know…and it’s just (I think) ants.  For quite some time now, my cats have been plagued by fleas!  I hate them, and I think the cats do too.

The kittens that we took in after finding them in the basement were perfectly healthy and clean – bug free!  Many people remarked that this was unusual.  They remained clear until the end of July.  All of a sudden, we saw Lexi with a mark on her head.  We didn’t think too much about it until one of the little ones seemed to be cleaning and licking himself a bit too much.  It turns out he wasn’t cleaning – he was scratching.  Looking at all of them, we saw what I (sadly) knew was fleas.  When I lived with my sister, our cats got fleas two Fall seasons in a row.  All of them were indoor cats, as ours are now.

Although I cannot say for sure, I believe the fleas came from the shelter.  Malenky, Boris and Tasha were fixed at an animal rescue shelter near us.  It’s a great place – Nik and Lexi were adopted from there.  I dropped the littles off in the morning, along with others being brought in by other pet owners and rescuers.  There were a lot of cats in the waiting/holding room.  I think the fleas that our babies got came to them from the ferals there.  Of course, I cannot say for sure – but this is what I believe.  Other than knowing how they got them and not allowing it to happen again, it really doesn’t matter how.  It just needs to be taken care of.

Initially, we tried a laid-back remedy – we combed them, washed them with some kind of flea shampoo from Dollar Tree, and used a squeeze on medication (also from Dollar Tree).  They seemed better, and we felt confident the problem was done. Yeah, uh…not so much.  We then kicked it up another notch – all seven (yes, all of them) got combings, flea baths, and more combings.  Jeff’s shirt and my arms were victims, as cats don’t like bathing all too much.  This method lasted a week, and before you knew it, we were giving baths again – to all seven.  Combed, washed, dried…it didn’t work.

We went to a local “chain” pet store, breaking down – we bought the top-of-the-line, most expensive treatment for the four oldest (two seemed the worst of all).  For the babies, we got what I guess was one level down.  Combed, washed, dried – they were then medicated.  And all seemed right with the world.  For two weeks.  Laying with Nik on Sunday, watching my favorite murder-true crime shows, I noticed – they were back.  I hate fleas.

The Magnificent Seven have been treated, with combing, baths and more combing.  You can’t discount the appeal of love and hugs – they got these, too!  Everyone seems ok, for now – if these fleas have tried to (they will fail) overtake our family – watch out!  They stand no chance!  This weekend is it, the proper amount of time has passed so they will all be treated again.  In this house, we don’t like fleas – this is an understatement.  We want them gone – for good!

Will update soon – hopefully with good news!

 

It’s Nostalgia Time…

antique background blur book
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Lately, I have been feeling nostalgic.  I’m not really sure why.  I think it could be the fact that Ellie and I had been getting ready to attend the Backstreet Boys DNA Tour.  I was looking through a lot of things online, and as I was finding different videos of theirs to watch, I found myself wandering to websites, etc. of other interests I’ve had over the years.  When it comes to this kind of stuff, my attention ends up taking off into all different directions.

My favorite hockey team at one time had been the New York Islanders.  My favorite player from that team was John Tonelli.  His number is tattooed just above my left ankle.  So as I wandered all over You Tube, I found many videos from the glory days of the Islanders.  They were the Dynasty years – when the team won four straight Stanley Cups.  JT assisted on Bob Nystrom’s Cup-winning Overtime goal to win the team their first ever Stanley Cup, and had figured prominently in just about every other significant goal during that time.  I found the game tying and game/series winning goals against Pittsburgh on You Tube – from 1982, how primitive the footage looked!  I have watched that OT goal hundreds of times since that day back in 1980, but these lesser videos I really hadn’t seen in a very long time.  I literally got chills watching John Tonelli tie the series and win it for the Islanders.  Why this man’s number has not been retired alongside his teammates from back then is beyond me.  It’s a mystery.  It was a good, emotional visit down nostalgic Memory Lane.

My oldest son just turned thirty-one, and my ex-husband is about to turn sixty.  Getting things ready for the birthday celebrations had me thinking of when we were young, married just four years with Michael, our first baby.  He was such a little round, perfect boy with the bluest eyes and the easiest disposition.  Easing into parenthood, back when we really knew nothing – we were blessed.  That is why we had Kevin so fast – not even two years later.  Thinking about all of us getting together this weekend – with them as confident, happy and successful young men – it is hard to not remember with fondness and a full heart – Michael and his tiny bear (of which he has a tattoo of on his calf), Kevin hanging onto his beat-up Disney Baby blanket and Chris and his pacifier (which he gave up after getting a vintage, original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Megazord – he bargained!) There really isn’t much else that’s better to reminisce about than these wonderful children we raised.  We did a great job, if I do say so myself!

I’ve traveled all over the country for wrestling.  It is hard to explain how and why I will randomly start reminiscing about different Wrestlemanias.  It could be that we were watching a Dallas Cowboys game on television, and remembered when we were there in that stadium for WrestleMania in 2016 – there were over 100,000 people in attendance that day.  Those thoughts give way to our other Mania that was in Texas, which was Houston in 2009.  Something thought of about that trip will lead into memories of maybe Atlanta or Phoenix.   It’s been a wild, crazy ride, all these WrestleMania trips – which started back in 2004.  I can’t even venture a guess as to what the total cost is that I’ve put out over the years.  Thinking back, remembering it all – whatever the amount – it was way more than worth it.

The Backstreet Boys.  I have been a fan of theirs for a very long time.  So was my son Kevin – his 5th grade class picture has him in a BSB t-shirt.  I’ve now seen them five times.  They say things (and I guess people) get better with age, and this is true.  I have always though they were talented beyond words, but to see them twenty-six years after they started – they are better than ever.  Their show was a wonderful spectacle – they gave our crowd a show that really was phenomenal.  Playing a lot of their newer stuff, along with the older classics, it was a beautiful night of remembering good times.  Of the concert where they dedicated part of their performance to one of their Crew who died in one of the planes on September 11th.  Or the summer of 1998 when we listened to NOTHING but their first CD.  It is true – theirs was the only CD we had in the minivan.  The first concert of theirs that Kevin and I attended – and sat in the rain for the ENTIRE night.  We had colds and scratchy throats for a long time after that, but it was completely worth it.  I remember hanging out (fairly recently) with a friend (a guy who’s in his early 40’s) who knew EVERY word to each BSB song that would play on the Juke Box – he either had dated a girl way back when who was a fan or was a huge fan himself.  All of these Backstreet Boys memories really do make me smile.

Reminiscing can make you sad as well.  With this, I try (as I do with other things) to immediately replace a sad thought with a happy one.  If I’m missing my parents and I’m about to cry, I try really hard to think fast about a good and happy time with them – it usually works.  I miss JB every day of my life.  I still cry about the boy – but then I remember that he went over that Rainbow Bridge knowing he was loved.  And almost right away, one of his siblings does something to make me crazy.  Crazy but happy.

What nostalgic things puts smiles on your faces?

 

Take 5, Tomato…

tomato shake being poured in drinking glass
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It’s soon going to be Fall.  As much as I enjoy warm weather, I am looking forward to the change.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t eat much soup in the summer months.  Unless it’s at a Chinese restaurant, given as part of a special at the diner or, more recently, one I can’t resist here at work, most of my soup consumption comes in the Fall and Winter.  I do enjoy a bowl of soup during these months.  It’s during this time that I make some of my own.

I enjoy Tomato Soup.  I love the classic Grilled Cheese sandwich and a cup of Tomato Soup – it’s a great comfort meal for me.  Since I enjoy Tomato Soup so much, I’ve made a few of my own versions.  I am going to take five… and include five!  Some of my favorites are below.  They are really good and they are really easy!  Good old Tomato Juice is a core ingredient in all.  Use a large stockpot-type pot for these soups.  Note that I have not included salt in any of the recipes.  As with most recipes, use salt at your own discretion.  Serve these soups with your usual sides – saltines, rolls, croutons, or those little odd shaped oyster crackers.

A more Plain Tomato Soup (you can call it Cream of Tomato Soup) can be made with 32 ounces of Tomato Juice, 2 tablespoons of Butter, one small chopped Onion and two cups of Milk.  Simmer for a good while.  Enjoy it!

The one is really a Perked Up Tomato Basil Soup.    The ingredients are as follows – 4 cups of Tomato Juice (which is a 32 ounce bottle/container), a 28 ounce can of Diced Tomatoes (or use 2 15 ounce cans), 4 ounces of Butter, add some Basil (recommended is 12 leaves), and one cup of Heavy Cream.  Simmer this for quite some time, and whenever you feel as though it is done – turn it off, and get ready to serve.

You can make a very nice Vegetable Soup – start with the standard 32 ounce Tomato Juice, use a 16 ounce bag of frozen Vegetables, and – depending on your preference – either two cups of water OR one cup of water and one cup of (whatever kind you like) Broth OR two cups of Broth.  Throw in a pinch of oregano, parsley, Italian seasoning – whatever you feel like at the time.  Cook, simmer, cook some more.  And – you got it – get ready to enjoy.

This one is kind of similar to the one just above, but the different ingredients does change things up a bit.  You take 4 cups of Vegetable Broth, and the usual 32 ounce Tomato Juice.  To that add one can of sliced Carrots, a dash of celery salt, one small chopped Onion, one 15 ounce can of sliced Mushrooms, and one 15 ounce can of diced Tomatoes.  Add whatever kind of seasonings you feel like at the moment.  Cook.  Simmer.  Enjoy.

I have always enjoyed this Ground (Meat) and Tomato Vegetable Soup.  Start with the 32 ounce container of Tomato Juice and add one pound of (previously browned and drained) ground Meat – this tastes good with either Ground Sausage or Ground Beef (or Turkey, if that’s what you like). Whatever kind of broth you prefer goes in next – 4 cups (32 ounces).  Add a small chopped Onion, a heaping teaspoon of minced Garlic, one 16 ounce bag of frozen Vegetables, a 15 ounce can (or two) of diced Potatoes.  Before simmering, add your spices and/or seasonings.  After simmering and cooking, you will have a delicious meal in front of you!

So there you have it.  Soup for you!  I’m not a Seinfeld fan, but that was THE one episode of the show I saw live – the “soup Nazi” one.  Too funny.  Like with any recipe, as you read the ingredients, etc. feel free to add or subtract ingredients – maybe you would like more of a thicker, stew-type soup.  Or a more thin broth type.  The choice is yours!

 

 

Never underestimate the power of kind words…

“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.” – Blaise Pascal
Words matter.  They have the power to make or break your day.  An encounter, a small conversation or just a brief comment can stay in your memory for a long time.  Whether the words were nice or if they were unkind doesn’t matter when it comes to remembering.  It is much more pleasant to think of good words rather than bad ones.
Last night, I was telling a friend at work a story about when I was dating a few years ago.  I said something about not wanting to settle for less of a man, and the fact that I was fifty-something years old gave me the right to be choosy.  She stopped and looked at me, acting very surprised.  And then she says “I had no idea you were that up there in age.  You look younger.”  It was just an innocent comment, a conversation between friends.  Hearing something that I felt was nice – that I look young, at least to her – put a smile on my face and kept me happy all night.
Years ago, actually over twenty-nine years ago – I had just had Kevin.  I was big, bloated, breast feeding – and not feeling particularly pretty.  I had taken the two boys to the mall.  I don’t even remember why we went there.  Maybe for an actual reason, maybe just to get out of the house.  Anyway, I decided to get pizza for Michael and I.  Kevin was asleep in the carriage.  Michael was patiently waiting as we moved up on line.  When it got to be our turn, the cute guy serving us smiled.  He greeted Michael with a “hi, buddy” or something, and then he looked at me and said “hello beautiful, what can I get for you today?”  I am sure beautiful was something I didn’t look that afternoon.  Nevertheless, his smile and the way he said those words perked me up and kept me smiling for a long, long time.  I would imagine he spoke that way to a lot of women – he wasn’t a flirt, he was just nice.  It obviously made an impact on me, as I still remember that all these years later.
Christine and I went to Orlando in the Spring of 2008 for WrestleMania.  I had just had my Weight Loss Surgery that December (actually it was the day after Christmas 2007).  I remember a lot from that trip – a few things stick out in my mind – back then, the Citrus Bowl was an absolute dump, and this was the trip that my hair kept falling out.  This is common after Weight Loss Surgery, due to reduced intake of protein. We joked that it was a wonder I had hair left on my head.  What I really remember though about this trip was what was said to me on the flight – I don’t remember if we were going to Florida or heading back home.  I was sitting in the middle seat – Christine always likes to sit by the window.  There was a woman in the aisle talking with the flight attendants.  They were looking at her ticket.  They told her she had an aisle seat, and she could sit on the side with me or the other side.  The woman looks at that other seat and tells the flight attendant, looking my way “oh, I’ll sit here.  Next to this woman.  She’s tiny.”  And smiled at me.  I had lost a significant amount of weight by that time, but I didn’t think of myself as tiny.  Yet she saw me that way.  I felt so happy and proud of myself that I was looking good.  It was a great feeling.
One time when I was a Transporter, a nurse and I were trying to convince a patient to get ready to go for some sort of test (I don’t remember what kind of test it was).  The patient was reluctant.  She really didn’t want to go.  I never thought this nurse liked me.  She always seemed upset, tense.  And not happy.  Fast forward to years later, we found out that she had some bad personal problems with family members.  Anyway, we went back and forth with the patient.  She seemed to be softening her stance.  The nurse sensed this and said, “it will be ok.  Go with Lisa.  She’s the best and nicest transporter we have.”  I felt so proud of myself when I heard her say that.  The patient did agree to go for the test, and every time after that day I always smiled at that nurse.  And she’d smile back at me.
So if you see someone wearing a cute necklace, say something.  If you see someone wearing a color that you think looks really good on them, let them know.  If you like the cologne someone is wearing, ask what kind it is.  A little, insignificant blurb of words can change things for the better for someone.  And for you too.