Thursday, February 28, 2008
Apparently, we were parked next to a recycling center and it was can collection day. I counted no less than fifteen shabbily dressed individuals going through their garbage bags and shopping carts, sorting and shuffling their cans and bottles.
Like good little Californians, they were doing their part to keep Mother Earth happy, abiding by the reduce, reuse, and recycle mantra.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Don't you think having to name your favorite snack food as a security question is a bit ironic for a WEIGHT LOSS program?
WTF were they thinking???
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
"What kind of machine??" my cousin said.
"A eucalyptus machine. You know, the kind that you walk on, like a treadmill."
"Oh, so you mean she has a big plant in her room that she hops on in the morning?"
"What??" my mother said, clearly confused.
"It's an elliptical machine, Aunt Toni, not eucalyptus." she said, laughing. "I don't know who to call first about this, Salena or my mother." knowing that once I heard the story, I'd be blogging it immediately.
And of course, she was right.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
The only thing I didn't love was the fact that the handles were a little too short for me. I wanted it to hang over my shoulder freely and not be so jammed up under my armpit. I had to find a way to extend the handles by an inch or so.
It needed new rings I decided, so we went to Home Depot to find some. After walking a few aisles, I finally found what I was looking for, but the rings were solid and there was no way to slip the purse handles over them. While Ed was trying to figure out what to do with the rings, I left him with the purse and went off to search for other options.
When I got back to the aisle I had left him in, he was gone. I was getting a little antsy talking with the guy who had followed me back to that aisle to make some other suggestions, that I finally just told him, "Listen. I appreciate your help, but I have to go find my boyfriend. He's wandering around the store with a silver purse and I'm sure he's not going to be too thrilled when I catch up with him."
The guy laughed and I headed off to find Ed, which I did, in the aisle where the vises were sold. He had the contents of my purse neatly piled on the shelf next to him and was putting each ring into the vise to squeeze them closed. He was getting some curiouse looks but continued to work diligently. He finally got all four rings closed and handed the purse back to me as if it were on fire. I put all my stuff back in it and proceeded to the cashier to pay for the rings.
Now how sweet is my Eddie?? Can you just imagine him walking around Home Depot with "his" silver purse, looking for a way to embellish it so it will work better for me? It takes a secure man to do something like that.
Especially since the purse didn't match anything he was wearing.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
The item of furniture that was most important for us to find was a good dining room table, but the majority of what we saw was cheap wood with a veneer. We wanted something sturdy and beautiful, capable of seating at least six on a regular night and up to twelve or fourteen for family holidays, and since we didn't have a "formal" dining area, we also wanted a table that could be used every day.
We finally came across something gorgeous. We both fell in love with this Aspen Table with Ebony Inlay and the chairs that went with it; all handmade by Amish craftsmen. It was perfect. The wood was hard, the chairs comfortable and with the leaves in, the table stretched to over ten feet long! This was the one.
A few days after that shopping spree, and looking in more stores that featured solid wood creations, we found ourselves sitting in Barnes and Noble. Ed came to the table with a stack of woodworking books and magazines, plopped them down in front of me and when I questioned his odd choice of reading material, he said, "Well, I thought maybe I'd just make a dining room table."
"Make a dining room table?" I said.
"Yeah. How hard could it be? I'm sure it'll turn out just fine."
"You mean better than the Amish, who have been hand making furniture since the fifteen hundreds??"
We went back and forth with this for about an hour. He said it looked easy. I asked if I should start calling him Gepetto. He said if he read up on it, he's sure he'd be able to get the basics down. I said I don't know why guys think just because they read a book, they can all of a sudden become Bob Vila.
A few days later, I was relaying this story to my friend over lunch. She laughed in complete understanding and when I was done, told me that just a few days ago her husband told her that he was tired of paying for haircuts and since there wasn't a barber shop on his side of town, he decided he wanted to open one.
A couple of days after that conversation, she called me laughing. "Oh my God! I have to tell you what Rick said. He came home from work the other day and told me to stop buying soap because he wanted me to start making it instead." I cracked up.
What the hell is wrong with these guys?? I know they get some weird sense of pride out of creating something from their very own hands, and that's all fine and dandy if we didn't have to get involved. Because what ultimately winds up happening is, the woman gets stuck doing all of the work.
Making furniture means I have to live without a dining room table, nightstand, coffee table or hutch until he's done making it. Becoming a barber would mean my friend would be scheduling appointments or sweeping up hair in the shop. And making soap means that she'll be in the kitchen, filling every available decorative tin with some scented shea butter and lye concoction and then have to clean it all up when she's done.
I just don't get it. I'm all for being creative, no doubt about that, but it's not like I just up and decided one day to make, oh I don't know.....paper. Can you imagine if I said to Ed, "Baby. Stop buying paper for the printer. I'm going to start making it. Do you want it with extra pulp or without?"
I can see if you have a hobby, but when you open your mouth about making everyday household items when you can't even find time to shop for said items, that's a problem. I can sew, but I don't make my own clothes. I crochet, but I'm not making a winter sweater, hat and scarf ensemble. And I like butter on my Italian bread, but I'm not churning it.
I think my issue with this kind of desire to create is that men seem to take on these huge projects that they know very little about. Opening a barber shop to save twelve dollars is excessive. Making soap because you can is unecessary. And making furniture is no small task.
I want to support Ed with whatever he wants to do, but as I told him that day in Barnes and Noble...
"Start small. Build a birdhouse."
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Lady “Paydee” Lettera, a native of Tucson, Arizona died Monday, February 18, 2008. She was two and a half years old. A family statement (written by me) reads,
"Paydee, a Maine Coon, was born approximately six weeks before August 13, 2005 when she was adopted by Nana and Papa (my parents). She was actually born a male cat, but due to some confusion, she was given a girls name before that fact was discovered. Trying not to confuse her anymore and out of habit and laziness of the family, she remained a "she" cat until her death.
Paydee was adopted to take the place of Lady, who went missing earlier that summer. My mother wanted to call her Lady Two but when she was gently discouraged (by me) and told that perhaps she should give the cat her own unique name, my mother settled on calling her Lady Paydee; really for no other reason but that it rhymed. And also, I think, to secretly pay homage to the original "Lady" and thinking she faked us all out.
My nephews, Nana’s three grandsons, wanted to get into the naming and thought she should be called Lady Paydee Katie; also because it rhymed. And really, what more can you expect from three boys under the age of six? None of them seemed to take into account that she was actually a he and continued to come up with girlie names, all suspiciously rhyming with Lady. Which would lead one to believe they were being coached by their Nana.
Since none of those other names seemed to work, she became known by her middle name, Paydee. During her life, she was also known to answer to Payds, Paydster, Paydie Poo, Poopster, goddamnsonofabitchcat and Paydie Waydie Woo Woo.
As Paydee got older, she decided to be bold and venture outside. She couldn't seem to walk upright, due to some undetermined fear, so she’d slink around dragging her belly across the dirt, staying low and safe near the ground. She looked ridiculous, but seemed to like doing it, so we didn't say anything to her. Going outside became an enjoyable way to spend a few minutes each day before heading back for a bite of Meow Mix and sip of cool water to nourish her for her afternoon nap.
Paydee possessed many talents. She became an expert at opening doors; no matter how snug they fit in the door jamb, she'd find a way to get them open. She would either jump up and wrap her paws around the doorknob, or slide her paw underneath, grab the bottom of the door until it popped open, and then slide her fat body through the narrow crack. Which I think was also a magic trick.
One of her favorite hiding places was inside the shelving unit that took up one entire wall of the living room. She would open the cabinet doors beneath the shelves, sneak inside and disappear for hours. The only evidence that she was there were little tufts of hair stuck to old photo albums and Johnny Mathis records. I don’t think she ever actually listened to those records since we never heard music coming from that room, but she certainly walked across every single one of them.
Paydee was like any typical housecat in that she loved to eat and sleep. She did both very well. One of her favorite treats was salad, with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We’re not sure, but we think she may have come from an Italian family; every once in a while, she’d even eat a meatball. She also enjoyed Ritz crackers and Italian bread. But the snack that really got her salivating were those little Pounce treats in the cylinder. They were the best; all we had to do was shake the can and she'd be running in place on the tile until she got enough traction to sprint to whoever held the goods.
She wasn't always very social, but whenever my mother had a play date with her grandsons, Paydee would be right there playing along side of them. The oldest loved to open his hand and feed her bits of salad, the middle one enjoyed tugging on her tail until she hissed at him, and the youngest enjoyed spending the afternoon with Paydee, sometimes doing dishes:
She was the epitome of a domestic animal, with more than her share of domestic duties, as you can see. Paydee also enjoyed working in the office (sitting at my mother's elbow as she sent e-mails), helping with the housework (sitting at my mother's feet while she cleaned the sinks, tub and tile), reading, crocheting and crossword puzzles (again, sitting at my mother's elbow while she did each task) and watching Law & Order (one of her favorite TV shows, watched while sitting on my mother's lap).
She followed my mother everywhere. She was always under her feet, circling around her legs as she cooked, talked on the phone or swept the porch. She would not go to sleep until my mother did, she would rush to the door when my mother came in from a day out or she'd sit on the desk in the art room as my mother painted and organized.
As I write this, I am sad that my mother is sad. Her favorite companion (well, besides her husband, of course) is gone. I always thought it was so ridiculous that people got so worked up over their pets but I am very attached to Paydee myself and feel a deep sadness that she is gone. I sort of get it now.
She was survived by Nana and Papa, The Three Grandsons, Eddie and I and my brother and his wife. She was buried this afternoon on the family property and will have a small ceremony tomorrow which will be attended by Nana, Papa and the Grandsons. They will mark her grave with colorful hand painted pavers and plastic flowers that are one of my mother's gardening specialties.
Paydee will be missed by all who knew her, snuggled with her, fed her salad and did household chores with her. May these memories provide comfort in this time of sadness and missing and perhaps someday subside to make way for Lady Paydee The Third....or perhaps another charming little kitty that will bring string and brightness into our lives.
May Paydee stretch on in kitty heaven forever..."
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
O Almighty and merciful God, who hast commissioned Thy angels to guide and protect us, command them to be our assiduous companions from our setting out until our return; to clothe us with their invisible protection; to keep from us all danger of collision, of fire, of explosion, of fall and bruises, and finally, having preserved us from all evil, and especially from sin, to guide us to our heavenly home. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
"Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, 'Peace to this house!' And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him" (Lk 10,5-6).
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Xcambo is located near the coast 50 km from Merida via highway 180, and only 6 km from Telchac Puerto, in the State of Yucatan, Mexico. Xcambo its a curious combination of Mayan ruins, a Catholic chapel and a small freshwater spring. Its eldest occupation origin dates back to 150 BC to 300 AC. According to archaeological theories, it was an important city that provided salt to the Mayan cities of Izamal, Oxkintok and Ah Kim Pech. They were also great artisans with an important handcraft production and exchanged goods with Mayan cities in Campeche, Tabasco, Guatemala and Belize. Archaeologists have found a great similarity in its buildings with the ones in Izamal, making them believe that Izamal Mayans used this site as a port. Also Xcambo counts ten natural springs.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Today is cruise day! We will be on Royal Caribbean International's Voyager Of The Sea. Their web site has this to say about her:
"This ship is a revolutionary marvel of naval engineering. Enjoy one-of-a-kind features like an ice-skating rink, the Royal Promenade and a rock-climbing wall, just for starters. How did we accommodate all of these innovative ideas? Simple. We built a bigger cruise ship. The 138,000-ton, 3,114-guest Voyager of the Seas became the world's largest cruise ship when it entered service in November 1999. Innovations on this and other Voyager-family ships add up to more space for every guest, and include enhanced staterooms, expanded dining options and exceptional recreational facilities."
You can take a virtual tour of the ship and maybe even book your own vacation while you're at it! I'll see you when I return.
Bon Voyage to me!
Saturday, February 09, 2008
I got a little bit of everything; bathing suits, cover-up, flip-flops, shorts, white capri pants, denim capri pants, tank tops, short sleeve tops, skirts, a dress, walking shoes, tote bags, suntan lotion, pedicure, manicure, floppy hat, new magazines, music for the iPod, lipgloss, Dramamine...anything you can think of, I probably bought. I was exhausted. My legs felt like I had been on the treadmill for days. I barely ate or slept. I just shopped.
Did I happen to mention that I hate shopping? Even on the best day? I'm an in and out shopper. I don't meander and I don't go to the mall just for the sake of going. I get hot just thinking about dressing rooms and I hate trying on clothes. I'd rather buy all the stuff I want, take it with me and try it on in whatever icy air conditioned surroundings I may be in and then take back whatever I don't want. It's worth the two trips for that.
Also, if you've been paying attention here at the blog, you'll know that I'm one of them good 'ol full figured gals....PHAT, as Mo'Nique likes to say. This in itself presents a problem, as my choices for shopping are a little more limited. Add to that fact that I wear a size twelve shoe and you can imagine the frustration and trauma at having to do everything last minute!
So after the marathon scavenger hunt was over, I had basically everything I needed, which included three bathing suits if you can believe it! I had it all laid out on the hotel room bed, sorting and packing as I went along. This meant going back and forth from the truck to the room with this and that as I decided what to take and what not to.
On one of my trips back to the room, I got to the door, arms full of stuff, and knocked.
I knocked again. After a minute, I heard shuffling and finally Ed opened the door.
His first words?
"Don't you have a key?"
WTF? Was he not here for the whole four day shopping ordeal? Does he not know I'm hot and irritated? Has he heard the muttering under my breath as I was packing?
And if I had an mother-effing key, would I be knocking on the door???
Friday, February 08, 2008
We are going to Cozumel, Mexico (where we'd like to do a little snorkeling), Roatan, Honduras (which I am very excited about since I just saw this island featured on a HGTV show) and Progreso, Mexico which is located on the Yucatan Peninsula.
I am looking forward to taking lots of pictures of all things tropical and hopefully coming home with more tan and less crappy trinkets from port shops. I am unsure of the internet situation, but you can bet if I have service, I'll be checking email!
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
The Ed Man.
These are just a few of the monikers my Eddie goes by; nicknames given by my nephews, brother and even Aunts. Everyone loves Ed.
Today is sweet Eddie's birthday. He's a spring chicken, still in his thirties. I figure since it's common for men to be older than their mates, it may work to my benefit when people find out that Ed is only thirty-three. Conceivably, I can probably get away with telling people I'm thirty-two instead of forty. So that's my plan; since I turned forty last year, I'm going to start lying about my age this year.
So let's all come together to wish Ed a Happy Birthday and at the same time, we can wish me a happy reverse birthday on the side!
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
What I do remember, is an older guy seated across the room, who kept looking at me. Every time I looked up, he was looking at me. Every time I gazed across the room, he was gazing back. He clearly wanted me. All through dinner, all through the speeches, every time I moved, he was looking.
Come to find out this guy, this old guy, the one looking at me all night, was Joe Franklin; famous radio and TV personality, commonly known as "The King of Nostalgia". As it turned out he wasn't looking at me at all, he was just looking in my direction. Because I couldn't see his eyes, it appeared as if he were checking me out. Staring. I thought he wanted me. And even though I didn't want him, I was crushed. Rejected. A young girl's dream? Shattered.
I told that story so many times and got so many laughs from the description of how I thought he was looking at me the whole night, how he couldn't take his eyes off me, that my friends and I began to describe someone's interest in us as, "He wants me like Joe Franklin." Even my brother started using it, saying to his friends "She wants you like Joe Franklin wanted my sister." It became so integrated into his language, that even his friends started using it. It started a mini-trend.
To this day, some twenty years later, I'll still say "He wants me like Joe Franklin wanted me" when I catch someone checking me out. Even if the person I say it to doesn't get it, I secretly chuckle to myself as the memory is conjured up in my mind. Sometimes they'll want to know what I'm talking about and if I'm in the mood, I'll let them in on it. Other times I'll just say, "Oh, nothing" and leave 'em hanging.
In fact, just today someone was looking at me with interest in his eyes, and judging by how he watched me saunter across the convenience store to pay for my Diet Coke, I knew it. I could just tell.
He wanted me just like Joe Franklin did so many years ago.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Fiji, Madagascar and Chile were mentioned, as was Italy, Russia and China.
"How about castles?" he said.
"Oh, I'd love to see castles!" I said.
"Yeah. You know, there are some beautiful ones in Germany and I've always wanted to go to Romania, which is where Bran Castle is, the one that people attribute to being Dracula's. And that one is for sale!"
"Oh yeah? How much?" he wanted to know.
"I don't know, I think like a hundred and fifty three or a hundred and thirty five million, something like that."
"Wow." he said. "Someone should buy that and turn it into a blood and breakfast. Bwaaah-ha-ha-ha..."
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Due to its proximity to Washington, DC, this base was home to Air Force One and often experienced a lot of activity and buzz whenever anything "presidential" happened. We were living there just before the war in Iraq was started and because of possible retaliation, my boyfriend was required to carry his government issued gas mask in his duffle bag at all times.
The people on the base were always talking about the security levels: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta; Delta being the highest, where the base went into lockdown. No one in, no one out. Since I was living in a hotel suite at the time, I would just wait to hear the news about what happened that day, but didn't give much thought as to what I would be doing should the security level go to Delta.
That wasn't the case for one of my boyfriends co-workers. She was G.I. Jane, with a boyfriend who was a Green Beret and several years of her own Navy service behind her. After leaving the ship she had been on, she wanted to continue her service on land so she enlisted in the Air Force.
She was entrenched in all things military. She couldn't have a conversation without including something about her being in the military. Her sentences always contained something like, "...when I was at sea," or "On the ship, we did it this way..." She wore no makeup and had cheekbones that could cut glass. Not in the chisled beauty sort of way, but in the short haired, plain faced,I-could-be-a-very-skinny-man-if-you-looked-too-quickly-at-me kind of way.
She grated on my nerves. I tried to befriend her because she was a co-worker of my boyfriend, but I couldn't bear the sound of her voice. Because several people working in the same unit were staying at our hotel, she'd often wind up sitting with our group at dinner.
She spoke in acronyms and told time using the twenty-four hour clock. I'd have to listen to conversations over dinner with her saying things like, "Well, since we're TDY, the DOD wants us to be prepared for an ADE and you know what happens if we have to go to the PX and have AAFES prepare provisions for us to take on base just in case we're in lockdown." or, when I would agree to meet her for lunch or a movie, she'd tell me to be there between "nineteen hundred hours and nineteen-thirty since the movie started at twenty-ten."
I wanted to shoot her in the head ASAP with a three fifty seven. She drove me nuts.
I'm writing about this because every time I pass this one particular town in Virginia, I'm reminded of a conversation we had just prior to the war being started. Seems they all knew that the President was going to announce us going to war before it was reported on television, so they were making plans for "what if". One of those plans included me and what I would be doing should something happen while they were on the base and I was happily snacking and watching TV in my hotel room.
She told me that in the event of a chemical attack on Washington, I should head South, not North; something stupid about the way the wind blows. I'm thinking, chemical attack? I thought the government said duct tape was good for that...
OK, kidding. Who ever thought the duct tape solution made any sense??
Anyway, I listened with feigned interest because I really couldn't care one iota about what came out of her mouth, but she continued on about what I should do just in case my boyfriend was locked down on base and couldn't get to me; which would be useless anyway, since he didn't have an extra gas mask, right?
She knew he was the only one I knew in town and that my family was in New York and Arizona, so as she continued her instructions, she offered me the shelter of her family. If the time came for me to head South, she said, I was to meet her family in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Wytheville, Virginia. Wytheville? I had no idea where the hell that was. I do now, since I drive all over the country, but then? No clue.
"If for some reason," she said, "in the midst of the chaos you may be faced with while trying to get out of the area, you forget the name of the town where the Wal-Mart is, just remember...We'll Be With You In Wytheville."
Unfortunately, I have never forgotten those words. They ring in my ears every single time I pass the sign on the interstate or stop in that town for fuel.
I am haunted by G.I. Jane.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Seriously...they actually didn't. We requested what we wanted repaired/replaced and they didn't want to do it. So, we lost interest and cancelled any further dealings.
Now we're back on the road and have put a hold on the hunt for now. We may resume once we get back to town, but for now, it's internet searching only.
And if all else fails, it might be back to RV livin', which was our first choice anyway!!
Friday, February 01, 2008
I'm pretty sure the ass was that annoyingly perky little blond that peered deep into my Eddie's pretty blue eyes before writing up his prescription. Ass, is right.