Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pictures Not To Include in Your MLS Listing

I know that I have mentioned the blog It’s a Lovely Listing. Any day that you are at all blue, check it out and you are guaranteed a smile. If you are selling or buying, you absolutely will laugh out loud. As we’ve been on our house hunt, here are a couple of pictures that have surprised me:

This picture is from Brimfield, MA. I actually sent this one to Lovely Listings. I thought it was the visual equivalent to "Has everyone gone to the bathroom before we go out?" I figure that is way better to think of than what someone might find if they walked in the other way. Who comes up with these designs?

This one is actually from a beautiful house which I hope to tour in Oakham, MA. My question is though, with such a beautiful fireplace why wouldn't you move the table for the picture?

No, I haven't driffed away from my topic. This is an actual picture from a MLS listing in Paxton, MA. Why exactly is a picture of a world map supposed to inspire me to buy this house? And what room is this in? Very odd.

Finally, from Woodstock, CT - They say a picture says a 1,000 words. I'm thinking this one is saying " Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run Run ....." I'm thinking there may not even be a reason for a home inspection. And frankly this is the best picture of the grouping on this listing.

If you are crawling through the MLS and are frustrated, let me know what gets to you. Share with us any that give you a laugh. And don't forget to visit Lovely Listing. Not only do the pictures make her sight, but her comedic writing makes sure you will laugh.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dow Down, Prozac Up

Get the Prozac ready. I am watching the stock market close. The Dow is down 777.68. The bell has rung but some trades are still in the works. If I actually had money, I might invest, but since I don't, I just see this as a predicesor of what is to come. . . get the cabbage and potato recipes ready.

Philisophically, I for those who are close to failing failing and I'm glad that the bailout did not pass. Forget the idea of seperation of church and state, business and government are not a great mix either. I litterally laughed when they said that the tax payers would get money back if / when the companies bailed out made money in the future. But I am a conservative at heart and the massive swings are scarey.

We'll have to keep our eyes open.

Dreaming of Christmas Cookies

I’m not sure why I am looking forward to the holidays. I feel broke and if I hear one more word about falling into an economic depression, I may fall into an emotional one. All our Christmas stuff is packed for the move and I can’t even find my corduroy pants or my turtlenecks. And since the house still has very little movement, I’m guessing we’ll still be here so I better start looking through the boxes I already packed(See, it doesn’t pay to be proactive.). And yet when I was at the grocery store, I picked up:

I am dreaming of a romantic old fashioned Christmas: lots of cookie making, yummy pies, warm fires. Of course given the financial times, Christmas may go way back in time. How do you think the kids will feel if I give them an orange for Christmas?

Is anyone else dreaming of the holidays?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Job, An update on the Squirrel, and a question

I started my new job officially. Last night was the orientation for the new students. Work was actually a very good excuse not to go to the fair which was a virtual wash out, but apparently I was missed at the fair. DD and DH said that everyone was asking for me. DD said that she was going to put on a t-shirt that said “My Mom is not here. She is at her new job. I can’t explain it so just ask her when you see her”

I have a ton of reading to learn more about the program so that I can answer any questions. I also learned two important things:

1. Wear flats – My feet hurt. They were ok when I was there but after driving home, I could barely walk from the car to the house.

2. I need to get my eyes checked – my task last night was to get the students’ pictures so that I can make their badges (the job is in a state building so everyone must have clearance). I’m just telling you that those numbers on the camera could not have been made any smaller. Plus, the numbers were white on a white background. The 6’s, 8’s, and 9’s were virtually indistinguishable. I started tracking the number counting down and the number of each picture just so that I could cross reference. I did not want to fail at my first task at my new job.

Important Update from the Crazy Squirrel Post: I found out where my crazy squirrel came from:

Also, I have to ask why bother saying you are not going to be somewhere unless. When dispite the unless, you show up anyway. I guess pre-conditions don't always work.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ice Cream made from Breast Milk

Have you hear of PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) requesting Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to substitute breast milk for cow’s milk? Here is their press release:

“Burlington, Vt. - This morning, PETA dispatched a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of ice cream icon Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., urging them to replace the cow's milk in their products with human breast milk. PETA's request comes in the wake of news reports that a Swiss restaurant owner will begin purchasing breast milk from nursing mothers and substituting breast milk for 75 percent of the cow's milk in the food he serves. PETA points out to Cohen and Greenfield that such a move on their part would lessen the suffering of dairy cows and their babies on factory farms and benefit human health at the same time.

"The fact that human adults consume huge quantities of dairy products made from milk that was meant for a baby cow just doesn't make sense," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Everyone knows that 'the breast is best,' so Ben & Jerry's could do consumers and cows a big favor by making the switch to breast milk."”

So my question, are we going to start having women farms instead of cow farms? Are we going to regulate the diet of those women like we do the cattle?

I don’t mean to make light of something that clearly is important to many, many people, but does this seem ridiculous to anyone else? I mean let’s consider this ad absurdum. Do we keep women lactating for long periods of time to get enough milk to make all this ice cream? What women do you think are going to take this position? The women with college degrees? Or the lower socio-economic women? If women are making money for their milk are they more likely to nurse their babies or sell their milk? And a totally absurd question, if we no longer drink cow milk or eat cow meat, why will farmers continue to maintain cows? Since cows aren’t wild animals, what would happen to the species?

The letter that PETA sent to Ben & Jerry’s sites a Swiss restaurateur who is replacing 75% of their milk products with breast milk. Of course my parents’ admonition comes to mind, “If your best friend jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you?” So in a parental tone, “PETA, if your Swiss friend chooses to drink someone else’s breast milk, would you?” I’m not even going to bother to send a message to Ben & Jerry’s because I’m guessing they just had a really good laugh.

PS I think a better use of excess breast milk is for feeding premature infants, for helping mother's that cannot lactate but would like to breast feed, or figuring out how we can package it and get it to malnourished, starving children around the world.

McCain / Obama Debate

Important question: Do you think McCain and Obama should debate tonight? Or do you think McCain is right in forgoing the debate to stay in Washington DC to continue the economic debate at Capitol Hill? Do you think he really will stay away or is this a publicity stunt?

Sarah Palin Corn Maze

Have you seen this?

This picture is of a corn maze at Wheeler Farms in Whitehouse, OH. It was released by Duke Wheeler. I guess this proves she has reached celebrity status. Perhaps we could make corn mazes of all the candidates and then count visitors as votes?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crazy Squirrel Wants In

This is not my picture but a Flickr pic, because I can’t get a shot of our crazy squirrel. The other day – BANG, something hit the back door. Then there was scratching. I looked to make sure that the dog and the cat were in the house, and they were. But I’m not sure that that was reassuring, because what the heck was at the back door. BANG – He hit the door again, but this time he caught himself on the window pain. The squirrel had a great green nut in his mouth and he clung to the 9 pane back door looking at me to let him in. Now this was pretty funny, but it has only gotten funnier because he continues to do it day after day. It happens so fast I have yet to get a picture of him, but you should see his face, because I swear he thinks we are really going to let him in.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Fight for the Remote - Reduce Channel Surfing

I remember now why single women have an advantage over married women. One of the things I hate is channel surfing. I hate rewatching shows for the 10,000th time. And worse than that, once I end up getting entranced in the show to change the channel before the climax of the show. Tonight, we were watching Ransom with Mel Gibson and just before Mel transferred the money at the bank and once again beat the daylights out of the kidnapper, DH had to suddenly check out the new Knight Rider.

This is not a first for DH. He has a certain protocol: Chuck Norris trumps Mel Gibson, but Clint Easwood trumps Chuck Norris, and they can all move over for Sharon Stone in The Quick and Dead. Apparently, you can never watch these movies too many times. However, there is no rule that you have to watch these shows in consecutive order and I don’t mean one show after the next. I mean one show from beginning to end. AGGGGGGHHHHHHH!

He knows that it drives me crazy. We have finally overcome his worst offense, which was to walk in the room and change the channel to whatever he wanted even if I was already sitting and watching a show myself, but I am not sure that I will be able to make a dent in these other habits. This is why you may hear me talk about movies when DH is traveling. It is one of the rare times that I can watch a movie of my choice from beginning to end.

Heath Care - A National Priority

Today, I had the joy of picking up my husband’s medications at the pharmacy, actually only 3 of the 5 that he takes on a regular basis. I paid out $100.00 today and sadly that was a relief, because without health insurance today’s total would have been over $500.00. This monthly ritual reminded me of a conversation with friends of ours this summer. We were talking about the national health care crisis, which apparently our friend did not think was really a national crisis. He said, “You hear about everyone having problems with the health care, but who can you actually name?” I think he might have regretted making this comment, when I responded that my family was one of the names.

We are luckily getting by, but we have to make decisions based on health care insurance. We know that we cannot go without it. Currently, we are living under the threat of losing our coverage. We are on COBRA and can’t get in on his new company’s insurance until we move into their service area, but as you have read on the site, we can’t sell our house because of the market. We’ve tried getting individual insurance but both of us were actually denied (They would cover the children, but not us – hmmmmmm!!!! What kind of insurance is that?). Now we have to pray for our house to sell and for the company that we left not to go out of business. Without insurance, we would either go bankrupt or have to let him get progressively sicker. If people only knew how precarious their own situations were, there would be a public outcry too loud to be ignored.

This is an issue that we must continue to keep on the front burner in this election. Certainly our country’s economy is priority, but health care is a critical component of every citizen’s personal financial picture whether they realize it or not. People should not have to choose between eating and medical care. They should not have to make choices that may affect their lives based on concern for medical care coverage.

Ask the candidates how they plan to deal health care issues.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sometimes We Forget How Blessed We Are

While testing my vocabulary on Free Rice, I came by this contest. If you go to HungerBytes, you can vote to decide on the best video about world hunger. This is the one that I thought was most powerful.

The contest instructs you the viewer to choose between the 5 finalists and then post or email your choice out so that others will view it. The video with the most viewers by October 16th will be deemed the winner. I hope you will join me in viewing this one and sending it around for other to view (note: I have connection to any of the people in the contest or the contest itself). If nothing else, we can spread the message of world hunger.
Sometimes you just have to mix things up. The kids went online to choose what they wanted for lunch (they think I run a restaurant : ) ). They came up with Simply Shrimp Fried Rice from Cooks.com. I had to make some changes, so this is what I came up with

Simply Shrimp Fried Rice Altered

1 ½ cups rice, cooked
20-25 shrimp (we used large, because that is what I had
1 red onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 eggs
1 can whole kernel corn
2 cloves garlic, minced
Soy sauce to taste
Sesame oil

Cook rice as directed.

In medium-sized frying pan, sauté onion, pepper, and corn in oil. Set aside

Sauté shrimp with garlic and oil. When cooked thoroughly, set aside with vegetables.

Scramble to eggs in pan. Chop eggs up. Add vegetables, shrimp, and rice. Shake in soy sauce to taste. Cook until thoroughly reheated.

It came out delicious. And I love when the colors blend. The purple, green, and yellow of the vegetables were absolutely beautiful. I love cooking with fresh produce. The kids were happy with it too and DS even ate the vegetables.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gardasil Put Off for Another Year.

We just got back from the pediatrician and she recommends that we wait another year or two. We have a little more time to see the effects and to become more comfortable. She said that if DD was 15 or 16, she would advise differently, but we have a little more time. So she got her Chicken Pox booster (remember when they said we wouldn't need those, but now we do), but no Gardasil.

To Immunize or Not?

DD has her annual checkup tomorrow and I know I’ll be faced with the question to give her the Gardasil immunization. I have got to give the manufacturer credit, my daughter knows the jingle, “I want to be one less, one less”. Please know that I am not anti-immunization. I just get nervous with new immunizations. I felt the same way about the Chicken Pox vaccine. There have just been too many medications that the FDA has approved that then were retracted because of problems and not small problems but deadly consequences. I think of the children that were born after the use of the “safe” drug Thalidomide. How do we know the long term effects of these immunizations and why do I want my children to test these long term effects? I certainly believe that the purpose of these immunizations are worthy, but I am worried about potential consequences; consequences that may not come clear for years or even decades. Of course, the reverse is possible too. I have been reading about the rising rates of whooping cough because of people choosing not to immunize.
Last year, I was lucky because her pediatrician agreed it was too early to make a good decision about the immunization and we could wait a year as DD was only 12. I’m hoping that her pediatrician will have some reassuring words in one direction or the other. I would like to think that we have plenty more time to consider this immunization but time is wearing on and the truth is who knows . . .or will I even know.

How are you all dealing with these issues?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dating Your Husband

Have you seen the trailer for this movie:

I think this definately looks like DH and I should plan a date night. It is so easy to forget the us when you are caught up in the day to day. I have been begging / wishing that we could disappear back to our favorite inn - The Notchland Inn in Bartlett, NH.

While we can't get there in the near future, we sure can plan a date night with dinner and the movies. He should be willing to watch it since although it is a chick flick, as he calls these kinds of movies, it has firetrucks in it. I don't think I mentioned it before but DH sells firetrucks. I'll let you know if I can convince him to go. It won't be next weekend though because it is our local fair and I'll be starting my new job, but I'm going to pick a night and write it on the calendar in pen!

How do you guys keep your fire lit with your husbands?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Wine Tasting with Friends

DH and I are planning a great evening at Gouveia Vineyards.

The first time DH and I did a wine tasting, we actually went to Newport Vineyards. I love their wines especially Great White and Sanctuary. Newport does not have the ambiance that Gouveia does, but they sure have the variety to make up for it. You can even arrange to tour their processing area. We have tried several wine tastings with our friends Bob & Shirley, but have never gone with the group we are going with tonight. The nice thing about our plans tonight is that we will have a tasting, hear live music, and then we are going to pick out a couple of our favorite bottles to share together as we eat hors devours that each of us has brought along. It should be a wonderful evening.

Tastings at vineyards are usually not very expensive and usually pretty informal. Do not be intimidated. In Connecticut there are actually two wine trails that have been mapped out for people to travel and try the variety of what is available here. You don’t have to be in the Napa Valley to enjoy local wines. When we find a flavor that we find particularly interesting, we usually buy 6 or 7 bottles to give out for gifts or to add to a bottle or two to our collection (ok – collection sounds way to formal for what we have).

I am in Love with the Mailman

I must make an open admission. I love the mailman and the UPS and the Fed Ex guy. No, I am not cheating on my husband. I just love what they bring. My two favorites today are:

My Pottery Barn Magazine - I adore they style of Pottery Barn and could easily live in any of the rooms represented on their pages. In my journal of ideas (a photo album that I fill with ideas that catch my eye), Pottery Barn is probably the most commonly pulled from. I wish I could afford it.

My Pampered Chef Family Skillet – The UPS man delivered my replacement family skillet. I cannot speak highly enough about this skillet. It has become the do it all pan in our home: from pancakes to stir fries, from sautéing vegetables to grilled cheese. I love the size, the no-stick surface, and now the warranty. This pan came with a lifetime warranty from Pampered Chef. I am not one to put too much stock in warranties. I think many stores use warranties as a ploy to sell your products that they really never intend to back-up, but Pampered chef stood behind their product. A friend of ours complained about the non-stick seeming to be disintegrating and they were returning theirs for a replacement. After looking at theirs; I thought our looks worse than theirs, so we opted to return ours at the same time. Of course in order to do that I had to scrape out that night’s taco dinner (I told you that I used it all the time). I was sad to see the pot leave my house. What would I cook in? But today is a joyous day because I have a nice new family skillet.

Friday, September 19, 2008

calendar to CALENDAR; purse to POCKETBOOK

With the new job, I may have to break out the big calendar again. I had whittled my way back down to the giveaway pocket calendars that you can get at your hairdressers or insurance agents just before the new year, but there is only so much that you can fit in those 1” x 2” blocks (granted I fit more than the average person). The bad part of the larger calendar is that it doesn’t fit in my purse. Maybe I’ll have to pick out a purse more like this . . .

Thank goodness big is in.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

From interview to a job offer in 6 hours!

I got the job. I got the job : ) I am so excited. I will go in next Thursday to set up my office. The best thing is that the hours will bend perfectly around my husband’s schedule and homeschooling. I’m sure we will have to make some adjustments, but compared to other possibilities, I don’t think it could work out any better. Add to that the fact that the job is within my skill set, so I can sharpen my skills and begin to network again in my field and not my husband’s.

Now I will have to really focus on the car search. . .I don’t want to start a new job with car problems.

Crazy, Crazy Life - How to survive a real estate showing, an interview, and a book club

I am sorry that I did not get an opportunity to post yesterday. Sometimes days that are supposed to be calm and easy suddenly become frenzied and crazy. I thought that I was going to spend most of my day yesterday finishing Nathanial Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter for my book club last night. DS had to go to an award ceremony at which his troop was receiving an environmental award for their recycling project and our local fair, but DH had made arrangements for another parent to bring him. So in the morning, I got up dressed and brought him over to their house. Upon arriving home, DD and I had just gotten resettled on the couch with a book and I with a cup of coffee, when the phone rang. The realtor had a call for a showing and wanted to know if I wanted to do it today or tomorrow. Knowing that it is never good to put off a showing, I looked around and shuddered. How could I possibly be ready for a showing in 1 ½ hours? But that is what I choose. I put the computer and my book away and ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to wipe down the shower, vacuum, hide paperwork, and generally clean up. Thank goodness DD was here to help. We just made it out the door as the real estate agent and the potential buyer arrived. Then of course I had not find DS and keep him from being dropped off at an empty house. So actually I went to their house to pick them up and ended up in a wonderful conversation with the mom. Somehow the coffee I drank with her was like the elixir that Alice in Wonderland drank. Hours slipped away. I arrived back home still having to make dinner and finish the Scarlet Letter. There was no way that I had time to blog.
Fortunately, I had dinner partially prepared because I had caught Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller over the weekend and had planned my weekly meals around her “I feel Like Chicken tonight” episode. So I prepared the Chicken Caesar salad and the Cheesy Garlic Bread and then got back to reading. I finished my book by the slimmest of margins and rushed to the location for the book club. FYI, if anyone has any ideas for our next book club, I am open to ideas. When I got back home, it was bed time. Of course I had to take the dog for his final walk of the day. He was well behaved until we arrived back at the door where he promptly laid down in the front grass and refused to move. I thought, if life were only so easy. How do you think others might respond if we did that?
Today, I’m still running late because I had a job interview in Hartford. In my wisdom, I set the meeting for 9 am – DUH! If you have an option to not travel into a city at rush hour, you perhaps should take advantage of that. Oh, well, I made it there and I think it went well, but we will see. Wish me luck! And since this extra driving will force us to make a car decision, I would love to hear any input that you may have in cars. I want something that gets over 30mph and can fit a busy family and their stuff. I currently drive a minivan and really like the versatility.
I will try to get back on schedule with my posts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leather Couch - true luxury and utility

Oh, I wish that I had a leather couch in the living room. We had had one for years, but it got relegated to the cellar. We replaced it with a suede type that is supposed to be stain-proof etc. etc. While that may be true, it is not as good as our good old leather couch.

I don’t know about in your house, but in ours a couch has to take a serious beating. We have animals, children, and I will admit that sometimes it acts as a dining room too. Couches have to be durable, sturdy, and comfy. Our house is not one of pretense, but utility and comfort.

We could not seem to find a leather couch that I liked at the time, but I liked the way this couch looked in the showroom. It hasn’t though lived up to my expectations. The couch is now only 2 or 3 years old and is already starting to show its age. I get very annoyed at expensive items with short lives. I don’t mind spending the money but I expect it to last.

Leather was so easy to care for. Everything wiped up so easily. Occasionally I cleaned it with a leather cleaner , but that was all. Pet hair didn’t stick to it. It never cracked or ripped. The leather looks almost as good today as the day we bought it. It was actually the frame and cushioning that started to give out after almost 20 years of usage. DH actually bought the couches before he had his first apartment. When these couches wear out, I am going to wait to find another leather couch that I like. Maybe I'll go for something like this . . .

Job Interview

I have an interview! Thursday morning, I have an interview. Thank goodness for friends. One of our friends saw a job come up that he thought I would be perfect for. The schedule would fit around homeschooling, and the location would work whether we were still here or had moved. I was so thrilled when he called. I zapped over my resume and I got a call back this morning. I am excited and nervous all at the same time.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Book Clubs - to read or not to read? That is the question.

I am in a reading conundrum. My book club is Wednesday and I have to finish the Scarlet Letter and I still have Sons by Pearl Buck to finish. I originally did not perceive this as a problem. I had wanted to finish Sons before I got into the Scarlet Letter, but now the book club is too close so I have to interrupt one to get the other one done. I didn’t perceive this as a huge problem because I would just renew Sons online at my library - - -no such luck, someone has it on hold. So I have to return it tomorrow. So either something will go unread or I will not be grocery shopping.

I find this to be one of the problems with being in a book club. Although, I love the camaraderie and literary conversation, I find it very difficult to time the ending of the book properly with the club meeting. Either I finish it far too early and can’t remember exactly what happened or confuse it with the next book I read; or I wait too long and I am cramming, if I can even possibly finish it. I also hate when we end up reading something I am not interested in. Although on the positive side, sometime I may get a pleasant surprise and read something I would not ordinarily have read like Water For Elephants. I have also read books that slogged by like grains of sand pushing through an infinitely constricted glass bell.

I think that it is possible that Book Clubs have run their course for me. I needed a Book Club so that I had an excuse to read again. As an avid reader, I was devastated that once I gave birth to my first child, reading became a luxury I could not afford. I almost should have turned in my library card as I checked into the maternity ward. I was thrilled when I could glean a couple extra seconds in the bathroom to read one article in a magazine. Even when they were toddlers, I couldn’t bring myself back to reading fiction. There were too may interruptions. Just as I would find myself transported into the novel, some beckon or call would yank me back to reality. I was able to begin reading non-fiction as I found it much easier to leave and come back to a non-fiction book. Rarely do you transport yourself into a book about the workings of a mind or about the state of our nation. Finally, though time began to reappear in my life and the one thing I wanted was to read. I still had to make it a priority or other people would try to eak those minutes away from me that is why a book club was so helpful. For example, I love reading before I go to bed, but my husband claimed that I was cutting into “His” time. I won’t bore you with the words that came out of my mouth that night. Any of you that have had children understand that you have given up a great deal of your life to other people (I am not implying that this was bad just honest) and I’ll be darned that any other human had a claim on “MY TIME” unless they were crippled or feeble. If I wanted to give someone “MY TIME” that was my choice. Of course our conversation was not quite so calm and definitely not so short. However, once I joined my Book Club, all I would have to say is that the book club is in a couple days, I need to finish this and it seemed everyone understood. My kids would go find something to do as I read a few more pages. My husband wouldn’t complain about the light on for a few minutes in our bed. It was like a child saying, “I have to finish my homework. I need just a few more minutes.” But now the kids have grown older and they respect my independence and my husband has learned to live with my little idiosyncrasies. Now the instead of me using the Book Club, I think the Book Club is adding pressures that I don’t need. Reading is my joy, not a chore. Hmmmmmm! I think when we move, I may just let this extracurricular activity just float away.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Corn Salsa

I got my husband to give up the recipe (if you can call it that). He has taken the recipe from Mrs. S and adjusts it to taste and availability when he puts it together.

1 – 2 Can(s) Mexican Corn (or we can use the nice fresh corn we have now)
Fresh chopped cilantro
1 C salsa
Lime Juice (sometimes he even cuts some up in it or adds some zest)
1 can black beans
1 can Kidney beans

Mix everything up. Adjust to taste. Keep in the fridge. The longer it sets the tastier it gets. Scoops tortilla chips are especially helpful with the chunky salsa.

So what do I do with all this corn?

Since I told you how to freeze up the tasty summer corn, perhaps I should give you some ideas of what to do with it. I particularly love this Creamy Corn and Potato Chowder that I pulled from Family Fun years ago. I have made this chowder for our Soup & Sandwiches dinner at our church’s Christmas Pageant. I can’t tell you how many complements I have received.

My husband loves cornbread with corn kernels in it and I use corn as an additive to ground turkey and beans when making tacos. DH has also created a delicious corn salsa. I promise to squeeze the recipe from him and get it posted for you all to enjoy.

If you have any corn recipes / ideas, please post them so that we can all share.

Creamy Corn and Potato Chowder

Rich, creamy chowder is a favorite comfort food -- reassuring, full-bodied, and very delicious. And it's easier to make than a lot of cream soups because you don't have to puree anything.

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
5 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 large all-purpose potato, peeled and diced
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Black pepper, to taste
Fresh dill or parsley for garnish, chopped

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan or medium soup pot.

2. Stir in the onion and celery.

3. Partially cover the pan and cook the vegetables over moderate heat for 9 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the chicken stock, corn, potato, and salt and bring the mixture to a low boil.

5. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for about 7 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender.

6. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and flour.

7. Stir the mixture into the soup with the pepper.

8. Bring the soup back to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes.

9. Serve hot, garnished with herbs.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

High Heels for Babies

I am a practical kind of woman myself. I look at shoes like this and wonder who in the world wears these things, but it wasn't until . . . .

I saw this

that I thought all logic has left this world. Who in their right mind think that this is even cute? What will come next? Maybe I don't want to ask that question.

What do you think of this trend?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Freezing Corn

Amidst the sadness yesterday of putting our dear James to sleep, my husband decided that to take my mind off it, we could freeze corn. Although it seems a little crazy, I think to some degree he was correct, especially since everyone pitched in to help. We blanched, cleaned off, and bagged a bushel of corn in about an hour. It is amazing what many hands can accomplish.
While I can can, I find freezing so much easier. I couldn’t immediately remember the amount of time needed for cooking, so I quickly googled freezing corn and found this website with the basic instructions.

As I said, the great thing was that the whole crew helped out. The kids husked. DH boiled and cooled the corn. Then I cut it and bagged it. As you see in the picture, DS also kicked by marking the baggies when I ran out. The environmentalist that he is, he also took charge of bringing the cobs out to the compost. I hate to admit that since we have put the house on the market, we have stopped composting, but since this project had so much organic waste, DS insisted that bring composting back.

Instead of canned corn this winter, we will have fresh, tasty, local corn. DH inquires at our local corn stand if they have any leftover corn. They will often sell extras at the end of the day for a substantially less than the regular price. Corn stands only sell at their stand fresh same day product. They have no use to end of the day or day old product, except to feed the animals or to fill their own kitchens. So DH bought the bushel for $16.00. We were able to make up 15 bags to freeze. Four ears, plus or minus, in each which probably is like 2 large cans or 3 small cans of corn (cans of corn range from .89 cents to $1.29 in the store, you can probably get it cheaper in bulk, or with coupons and sales). Plus we ate a little along the way. So each bag costs about $1.06. So on top of everything else, we have saved a little bit of money too.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

EconomicTimes Require Open Faced Sandwiches

Ok, that is a cute title. We aren’t really forced to eat leftovers due to our economics, but having been inspired by Owlhaven and the economic times I have been looking for more ways to use our leftovers. It is really disgusting to see how much food we threw away. Small countries would probably be thrilled to take our garbage. While we were eating a BOGO (Buy one Get One) Pot Roast the other day, DH said why don’t you make open faced sandwiches with the leftovers. DS said, “A what?” Leftovers have not been our forte. DH practically refuses to eat them, but now that the kids and I are home during the day alone, I have been trying to use dinner leftovers to create our lunches. And so the next day, he found out exactly what an Open faced sandwich was. I shredded the leftover meat, added some gravy, and toasted up some bread. DS added his trademark pepper and declared open faced sandwiches alright in his book. DD liked them too. A few days later, I had left over turkey. I added a half a can of peas and leftover carrots from the same meal, tossed in some gravy, toasted the bread again. Success again. Not only did they both like them. DS ate all the vegetables too.

I would love to hear any other ways that you have made your dollar stretch a little farther.

Geriatric Care - Not just an issue for humans

I am sorry that I did not get a chance to post last night. I was on dog watch. As I mentioned on ltginfaith.blogspot.com, our older dog is not doing well and last night he took a turn for the worse. I actually have spent the night on the couch. We have decided to put him down today, but I wasn’t even sure that he would make it through the night. The poor thing has lost so much weight and hair. He is normally a beautifully full Keeshond (for those unfamiliar with the breed, they are like huskies). Now he looks like a skeleton with wisps of hair. Tumors have come back where they were removed a little over a year ago and they have spread. And he had started “leaking” for lack of a better word. He also over the past few months had begun chewing at his legs to the point that they were raw. The vet gave us medication in case he was chewing because of arthritis and medication for the leaking. Originally, there was an antibiotic because there were signs of it being UTI and a thickening of the kidneys, but when we finished that they put him on a maintenance pill that was supposed to help.

Over the past week and a half though, he began outright peeing. I think as his legs got worse; he just did not want to make the effort to go outside. Some nights his breathing was so labored, I thought this was it. As I continued to talk to the nurse at the veterinary hospital, she was very patient and helpful, understanding the difficult stages of an aging dog. She kept telling me that we can do everything we can. As I struggled to know, when it was time to say goodbye, she assured me I would know. Last night it became clear. We have done everything in our power to give him care and make his life worth living. When he could not get himself upright, I would stand over him putting my feet on both sides so that he could push against them with his back feet so that he could get himself upright. As food and cookies have become hard to chew, he has enjoyed a feast from the table: chicken, beef, and pork. We had to get rid of the carpet in the living room because of smell, but I have put out a blanket so that he would have a warm comfortable place to lay.

Yesterday though, as everyone was at their respective activities except me, the dogs, and the cat, the smell from him was worse than usual. I hesitate to keep giving him baths because he hates them so, but I had decided to just get him to go outside for a bit, maybe he was leaking again and that was what I smelled, so I encouraged him to get up. You should have seen his look of shame and apology. He had started going bm right where he lay. I thought you have to be kidding me. I had to wipe him up and get him outside, but now I would definitely have to wash him. When I went to get him from outside though to ready the bath, he didn’t want to move. I sat with him for a few minutes on the back steps crying. Then when he did get up it was clear that something had changed, he did not have full control of his back legs. Now I’m thinking do I torture this poor thing and give him a bath or just live with it for a night, because we have to take action tomorrow. My husband concurred. It is time. We have passed the time of comfortable but limited existence and clearly have moved to a point where he is uncomfortable to a point that we cannot help him. The poor thing was able to hobble in to his water bowl and after drinking tried to move away, but just couldn’t be steady enough on his back legs to turn away from the bowl and move to the living room. Then when he got to the living room, he couldn’t get himself to lie down. I decided to stay out here with him last night and again prayed for God to take away his pain, but this morning we all woke up again.

Now I am wondering do I give him the bath to take him to the vet (that vanity thing again) or do they just need to understand that the last thing I want to do to him in his last hours of life is the thing which he hates the most. But I have to take care of this today, because this morning I even had to bring his water to him, he could stand up, but could not seem to bring himself to cross the room to his water bowl.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Jeff Dunham Comedy in Pre-School

Have you ever seen the comedy of Jeff Dunham? You may be more familiar Achmed – the dead terrorist, Peanut, Jose- Jalapeño on a stick, or Walter. I will concede that his comedy can be brash and definitely verging on racist, but some of it is funny with a capital F. I find Achmed particularly funny. I tried to be offended and ignore it when my husband had it on, but I couldn’t do it. Ventriloquists are amazing artists. It has to be done well or it fails. Jeff Dunham is a pro.

My kids and friends of ours have listened to his Achmed segment so many times they can recite it. This has become particularly but sadly funny because our friends are a family of six children ranging in age from 4 to 14. The littlest one Anna is very quiet and often doesn’t talk (I personally think this is because she has 5 other children and her parents to do all the talking). Anyway sweet little Anna has taken to using one of Achmed’s tag lines, “SILENCE, I Kill You!” It is a very strange sight to see such a beautiful angel with big brown eyes say this with all guttural tones, “SILENCE, I KILL YOU!”

Anyway, because of her slower speech the other mother has considered having her tested and hopefully getting her into our local pre-school. Of course, all I could think of is all the kids sitting innocently in morning circle. One of the kids will reach over to pass the morning share around and little, angelic Anna will say, “STOP touching me!” The kid will looked shocked at her and she will rebut, “SILENCE, I KILL YOU!”

Yes, I know some of you are horrified at this though and wonder why a four year old would even watch such a thing and when my kids were 4 they never would have, but you know what, when you have six kids, I give you credit if you make it through the day with all kids alive and even a portion of your sanity intact. If watching Jeff Dunham helped, then good for her.

You Know You Were Born in 70's If . . .

Sometimes daughter’s ask the strangest questions. I have been talking to one of my bff’s (see I am hip – remember this throughout this post). As I hung up the phone, dd asked me, “How long was that call?”

“64 minutes” I replied as I looked at the phone screen.

“And you complain about me and Eva?”

“Whoa, I talk that long once in a while and I don’t hang up, call, hang up, call” She started trying to explain why her friend and her had made so many calls to each other recently.

Then came the priceless comment, “Didn’t you do that with your friends when you were a teenager?” The look in my eyes told her everything. “That is your first cell phone!?!” It was more of an accusation than a question. “You got your first cell phone at 36?”

This was probably funnier than the time that she, upset about being banned from a game on the computer, tearfully asked, “What games did you play on the world wide web?” She was horrified to find out that computers, when I was her age, were just a glorified typewriter.

Time warp .. .

You know that you were born in the 70’s if . . .

You have pictures of you at a child that you would be embarrassed to put in donation box now.

You know the secrets of Wonder Woman’s lasso, the Hulk’s transformation, and Secrets of Witch Mountain.

You can sing the verses and the chorus to Puff the Magic Dragon.

And apparently,

Didn’t get your cell phone until you were an adult

And remember sticking your phone receiver into a modem to “dial up”

Monday, September 8, 2008

Parenting Styles - to be or not to be like your parents

When you read parenting professionals, they all espouse that you should be the parent that one day you want your children to be and I try to follow this philosophy. However, in my personal life I question if this theory is correct.

My parenting style is completely at odds with the way that I was raised. The killer of this is that fine style continues to today. It is now two days after my birthday and my father (who despite this complaint, I love dearly) has yet to utter the words “Happy Birthday”. Truthfully, this really is nothing new. He has always blamed it off on confusion of my birth date when I was first adopted. The paperwork said one thing and the hospital records said something else. The issue had to be reconciled before the adoption could be finalized. But, it is 38 years later; you would think, if it mattered, he would have gotten it down by now.

And then to top it off, I have been planning to go out with him tomorrow night to see Azar Nafisi speak at the University of Hartford, his alma mater. Azar Nafisi is the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. I have been looking forward to this lecture since last year. We had had it planned and scheduled several month ago but unfortunately the author was sick and had to cancel. Anyway, my father let me know that the lecture was rescheduled and asked if it fit in my schedule. I said, “Yes” and joked we could celebrate my birthday then. Now mind you, as you’ve read it has been a little crazy, but when he finally called today to ask if I wanted any tomatoes, I asked what the schedule was for tomorrow and he let me know that he had forgotten, he had not RSVPed, and he had to pick up our cousin at the airport. He hoped I didn’t mind . . . Oh, no not at all. I hadn’t arranged alternative childcare, had my assistant Girl Scout leader set up to run the meeting, let the choir director know that I couldn’t be at rehearsal, and have been talking about the lecture for weeks. Grrr!

I promise to always be there for my children.
I promise to remember and celebrate in some form every birthday with my children.
I promise to always make my children feel like they are the most important things/people in my life.
I promise to keep my promises.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Perfectly Simple Sunday

Hannah has blown away over night. We lost power from 2 am to sometime very early this morning. As I heard (or I guess technically the lack of sound) the power go out, my first concern was not for weather, the frozen foods, or the damage Hannah could be doing to my house and yard, instead I worried about how I was going to do my hair in the morning for church. But fresh from my license lesson, I convinced myself that even if I did not have a shower in the morning or the ability to curl my hair, I could rise above my vanity and make it to church. Fortunately, I did not really have to do this. Today was a busy day at church, we had to make pancakes for Rally Sunday, I practiced and sang with the choir, and then I gave the children’s sermon. Now this sounds overwhelming, but church brings me peace especially on week’s that we have communion.

When we got home, dh and I worked on his Woodbadge and made prayer cards for the Patrol Boxes of his Boy Scout troop. As he made them, I thought that we could use a set of the prayer cards for our house and they could make great Christmas presents for families with young children. So I had dh make up a couple extras. Then I sewed badges and badges and badges on my kids’ uniforms and on the neighbor’s uniform (Can you believe she was going to bring it to a seamstress? They charge $5.00 a badge.). My poor little thumb is now supersensitive. Sewing made me think of the shopping challenge on Owlhaven and her overall simplistic ideals. The whole day was pretty low stress and simply wonderful. We ended the day with a delicious turkey dinner, rice pilaf, carrots, and applesauce. MMMMM!

What rejuvinates you?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

AAA Renews Driver's Licenses

As you read earlier, my daughter reminded me that my license expired today. I had ended that post saying that “I guess I know where I am going on Monday.” But apparently my memory is worse than I had thought. Duh, the DMV is not open on Monday. As it was just shy of noon, I thought I was out of luck and figured everything was closed, but after a few quick clicks, I learned two things: One, a license expires on your birthday and there is no 30 day reprieve. Two, DMV doesn’t close until 12:30. Slam, I shut the computer, grabbed ID, the renewal form, but then I had to stop in the bathroom to curl my hair and put on some make up - - - no wonder vanity is one of the seven deadly sins. I drove like a crazy woman down 91 to Wethersfield watching every minute tick away. I turned the wrong way off the exit, had to turn around. Pulled into the East side parking lot and found out I had to go to the west (of course, if I could have read the sign better, I would have know that quicker - - -mental note, get eyes checked). I ran to the front door. It was locked. I was ready to walk away but a DMV worker opened the door for me and said they were still open. I asked people as I hurried down the one hallway to the next to find myself at the door with one of the security guards just shutting the door. I begged her to let me in. She said they had taken their last customer and were balancing out. “Please check. See if anyone is still open. It’s my birthday. Please”

“Sorry.” I could have cried. I could see my whole week going up in smoke. How was I going to get DD to the orthodontist? My husband had just asked me to deliver scouting fliers to the schools. Then as I drove home, wasting a ton of gas, I tried to trouble shoot in my brain. Could we drive with him to Mass on Tuesday, stopping on the way? Then I wouldn’t have a car. I realized that this was no one’s fault but my own. Vanity cost me at least 5 minutes. Being cheap made me not renew when I got the silly renewal card (it seemed silly to renew for $66 if we had already moved). And sheer stupidity made me forget I even had the renewal. I had tucked it out of site for a showing and did not look at it again.

When I got home I was frustrated and my husband’s comments were making me angrier. Because now my license would be expired, I couldn’t just go one town over; I had to go all the way back to Wethersfield. My husband started joking that he would help me study for the test. This was seriously not funny. I went back online to see if there was anything else I could do. I saw that CT now allows license renewals at AAA and the one just two towns over didn’t close until 2. My husband offered to drive. He saw that I was so rattled and shaking, I would probably kill someone if I got behind the wheel. We cruised over there as quickly as we could and I got my license renewed with just minutes to spare. Whew, my week is saved.

Renew Your License Now!

I am only 38 today, but senility is already setting in. I’m sitting here blogging and my daughter says, “Just think, today you are relaxing and next Saturday will be at Motor Vehicle Board of Appeals.” She actually meant Board of Assessment Appeals and we will be hearing motor vehicle tax complaints, but that is neither here nor there because that wasn’t what it triggered in my addled brain.

I jumped up. “Oh, my goodness. My license is no good.” I had put off renewing my license because of our potential move (if we ever sell the house), but apparently I put it off a little too much. I guess I know where I am going on Monday.

Birthday Presents for Me

Thanks, Mom, for the slippers. I got my first birthday present today delivered by the mailman. I can’t quite figure out why he didn’t bring me the mail too, but that is a whole different story. My birthmother sent me these white slippers – very comfy!

This Economy - Once A Month Cooking

As the kids and I were checking out the local market, we all noticed that friends of ours were posted as delinquent by the cash register. Aggh! They were already forced to move to a rental because their house was repossessed. Could they be in financial trouble again? I called a mutual friend when I got home, who knew the couple better than I. As we’ve been very busy with moving and such, I wondered if I had missed something in their life – had there been a loss of job or illness. Apparently not. The friend was quite distraught for them and I asked if she knew of anyway that we could help, because truthfully many of us are only one job loss, one illness, one major life change away from being in the same boat.

Anyway, the friend noted that she couldn’t think of any problems with the family, other than they spent a great deal of money on eating out. She said that often they were so busy trucking their children here and there and often could not get dinner ready. Both parents work and while this brings in extra cash, it leaves them very short on time. So I thought what if we all got together and tried some Once a Month Cooking. I don’t think we actually have to achieve 30 meals, but even if we could have one or two in the freezer, all of us could be better off. My girl friend thought it was a great idea. So I am supposed to be looking into the idea and how we can save money, work together, and get some great food.

So here is where I turn to you, I need some ideas. Have you done Once A Month Cooking? Have you done it with a group? What have you learned – good and bad? Do you have any favorite recipes? I appreciate any help that you give.

Friday, September 5, 2008

More on McCain & Palin - an alternative view

I was shocked today. The kids and I went to a Not Back to School party at the beach. Of course, the conversation came round to politics. Now I love talking politics, but I was shocked at one mother’s response. She was very hard on Sarah Palin. She questioned Sarah’s momness. She could not understand how a mother of five could take on such a large job. In her words, “something has to give”. She figured that the Palin’s must have nannies and other caretakers, and felt that this made Sarah different from her and all the mothers she knows. I was taken aback by her response. She also felt that Bristol’s pregnancy proved that there was some failing in their family. I tried to tell her that Sarah had fired the cook and gotten rid of the Governor’s jet. Unfortunately, I think the fact that she had this to begin with angered her. I told her that I felt for Bristol who had a very difficult time in her life investigated and interpreted by the entire country if not the world. She felt that this was just another example of our society’s acceptance, if not glamorization, of teen pregnancy. I was even more surprised to hear that she has discussed these feelings on online boards and found people that agreed with her opinion. I hope the RNC will get out more about her life and prove that she is like us.

Also, I was very surprised that she was not really aware of McCain’s military passed. Again in her own words, “If you ask me, if the republicans want to win this race, they will introduce America to this part of McCain’s life.” Of course, I have found this very funny since all the commentators could talk about was the waste of time Republicans spent on “introducing” McCain to America. They felt all Americans already knew McCain. Well again, we that enjoy politics sometimes get stuck in our bubble and do not realize that average Americans do not follow politics like we do. She had actually seen the biography of McCain on a History or Biography type channel. She felt that if people could see his character it would override their concerns about McCain’s age.

On the positive side, despite her bad talk of McCain & Palin, she did feel that they would be the next President and Vice President of the United States of America.

Also, note she wasn’t too thrilled with Obama and Biden either.

As for me, I thought McCain did a great job last night. It wasn’t outstanding, but it was very good. I personally appreciated his admonition of political leaders who have sold out and instead of being in Washington to make a change, they become focused on ensuring their longevity in the office. The change that McCain and Palin are talking about is the change that my husband and I are looking for. I think not only will they make a mark on the Oval Office, but they may change the Republican party forever – back to the basics, working for the people!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin Hits a Homerun

Did you stay up for the Republican National Convention? Sarah Palin knocked it out of the park last night. There will be quotes from her speech that will live in infamy. The speech was amazing and her delivery made it even better. Here are some quotes that struck me:

“But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country.”

“But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform - not even in the state senate.”

“In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.”

“What is the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick!”

You can read a full transcript at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26535811/

Sarah Palin has brough vigor back to the republican party and she successfully made a case for McCain in the process.

One of the cutest parts of the speech did not even happen on stage, but with her daughter Piper. Piper licked her hand and patted down little Trig's hair. The clear love between these two shows that the Palin family is doing something right.

BTW - Thank you Rudy for standing up for all of us mom's.
If you watched it, what did you think?

Nook & Next Blog

I now have a little blogging nook. It consists of the far left of the couch. I’m writing in this picture, but I sit in the same spot.

Have you ever “next blogged” the button on the top to just surf through all that is out there? Sometimes I wonder if anyone else speaks English or wish that I could read other languages better. Hasn’t the internet made us super-global? Amazing! Of course just after I blogged this, I “next blogged” and found a blogger that is practically around the corner from me. The world is shrinking and expanding at the same time.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Talking Turkey - for Real!

Ohhhhh! Get the camera! Get the camera! I walked out to the playroom and out the window, I saw . . .

I called the kids over and tried to quiet the dog. They all looked like mama birds and three little ones. We did not see a male but he was probably lurking around.

Of course, I laughingly though that I should add the picture to our house listing. It’s Lovely! I'll Take it! often shows bizarre wildlife pictures that people think are somehow necessary in their listings. I could add the turkey, deer, and the 5’ black snake that once slithered through our back yard. Who needs to see the kitchen when there is such an exciting array of outdoor animals. Currently, we have a red tail hawk roosting somewhere between our house and the neighbors. I can’t get a good look at him myself let alone a picture of him, but I could take audio of his incessant cry. With all this wildlife you’d think we lived in Yellowstone National Park, not in a small town in CT.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pokemon with PokeMOM

Have you been introduced to the Pokemon nation? DS loves all things Pokemon. He collects cards and plays it online. He begs for later and later bedtimes so that he can see Pokemon shows and movies.

Each character has a name. They are all very strange: Mantyke, Croagunk, Skorupi, Hippopotas. And then some “evolve” into more advanced characters:

Munchlax - - -Snorlax
Gible - - -Gabite - - -Garchomp
Happiny - - - Chansey - - -Blissey
Mime Jr. - - -Mr. Mime
Bonsly - - -Sudowoodo

It is more complicated than I can possibly understand. Some are rare. Each character has HP (health), attack, defense, special attack, special defense, speed. You can even find out their height and weight, type and ability. All this information tells you how they combat each other. I could not explain this if I tried, but it got me thinking that there may be pokemon in my very own home. I know that I have seen a DOGUSHAIRIUS, who can evolve into a UNNYBUSTY if not battle quickly enough and maybe into a TUMBYEEDS. They are very, very dangerous and multiply easily. They can only be combated by SUCKELETROSIS or OOBROOM. I’ve also seen a UNA OKSOC evolve to a NAUDRYL and to its most fearsome form MONTS Y MONTS.

Sometimes it seems there is only one super rare POKEMOM that can save us all. She does have the ability to have babies that can assist her in the battles, but sometimes the hatchlings cause the evolution of the evil that she battles. Without these tiny BABIBS, the evil ones can be kept in control, but with them sometimes the dangers spiral and grow beyond reason.

I think I am really getting this game down.

Well, I think I better throw my Pokeball, “NOCHELEEP SI!” If I’m lucky he’ll get the kids ready for bed and tucked in. He’ll gain such power from his battle that he’ll evolve to WALKI CANINI to walk the dogs and then in his final evolution OUTOUSE LOCSED. He’ll spin his way through the house finishing up the chores so that PokeMOM can retire to her Pokeball.

If this inspires you, let me know about any PokeMOM villains that you encounter in your home.

Monday, September 1, 2008

God’s Answer to a Dysfunctional Family is Great Friends

Today, we spent a great day with old friends. Bob and Shirley have been friends with us since before we were married. I grew up next to Bob and George was friends with Shirley all throughout school. These are the kinds of friends that join you for the fun times and carry you through dark times. We are very blessed in the friends department, because people are blessed to have even one friend like this and we have many.

Today, we met up about noon and took a hike together. Hiking is something both of our families enjoy doing, but clearly we each have put on a couple pounds and are a couple years older, because we were quiet satisfied with our hike today which was nowhere near as long as we usually take. After a couple mile hike and lots of conversation and laughter, we came home for burgers. It is great to have friends that you can sit down and not worry about a thing. Shirley helped me in the kitchen and Bob and George cooked the burgers.

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked”

-Bernard Meltzer
I have / am the trifecta of psychological issues. I am the eldest born child in a alcoholic family who was born under the sign of the Virgo. That pretty much makes me a complete control freak with perfectionistic tendencies that will appologize for all actions whether in my control or out of it. I will organize everything, then still worry if I have everything in order, and if you look at me sideways I will be concerned that somehow I have persoanlly no accomodated you or outright offended you in someway. Sometimes it is frightening how right characteristic traits can be. As my husband often jokes, "You have issues!"

Virgo Traits
You Virgos have the uncanny sense to see what's wrong with a person, a situation or your environment. It's why Virgo makes such natural critics. Virgo practical analytical abilities are second to none. Your mental process may not be the most creative, but Virgo's razor-like thinking is highly effective. Like the maiden pictured in the Virgo glyph, you separate the useful wheat from the unneeded chafe, the good from the bad. Virgo might be a "clean freak," but most Virgos have a messy closet somewhere or a disaster under their bed.

The Virgo motto could be "Perfect is almost good enough." On one hand, this trait makes you very employable, for you're not likely to do shabby work. On the other hand, you can be so finicky that you put limitations on your interactions and experiences before they happen. You'll be happier if you can learn to be selectively less critical, both of others and yourself.


First Child Traits
-Is only child for period of time; used to being center of attention.
-Believes must gain and hold superiority over other children.
-Being right, controlling often important.
-May respond to birth of second child by feeling unloved and neglected.
-Strives to keep or regain parents' attention through conformity. If this failed, chooses to misbehave.
-May develop competent, responsible behavior or become very discouraged.
-Sometime strives to protect and help others.

-Strives to please.


Children of Alcoholics Traits
Adult children of alcoholics appear to have characteristics in common as a result of being raised in an alcoholic home. Review the characteristics listed. If you identify with these characteristics then seek appropriate sources of support to understand and resolve them. You will find many books at the bookstore on this subject. Additionally, there is Adult Children of Alcoholics 12-Step self-help community meeting, individual therapy, and group therapy facilitated by a therapist.

1 Isolation, fear of people, and fear of authority figures.

2 Difficulty with identity issues related to seeking constantly the approval of others.

3 Frightened by angry people and personal criticism.

4 Have become an alcoholic yourself, married one, or both. A variation would be the attraction to another compulsive personality such as a workaholic. The similarity is that neither is emotionally available to deal with overwhelming and unhealthy dependency needs.

5 Perpetually being the victim and seeing the world from the perspective of a victim.

6 An overdeveloped sense of responsibility. Concerned about the needs of others to the degree of neglecting your own wants and needs. This is a protective behavior for avoiding a good look at yourself and taking responsibility to identify and resolve your own personal difficulties.

7 Feelings of guilt associated with standing up for your rights. It is easier to give into the demands of others.

8 An addiction to excitement. Feeling a need to be on the edge, and risk-taking behaviors.

9 A tendency to confuse feelings of love and pity. Attracted to people that you can rescue and take care of.

10 Avoidance of feelings related to traumatic childhood experiences. Unable to feel or express feelings because it is frightening and/or painful and overwhelming. Denial of feelings.

11 Low self-esteem. A tendency to judge yourself harshly and be perfectionistic and self-critical.

12 Strong dependency needs and terrified of abandonment. Will do almost anything to hold onto a relationship in order to avoid the fear and pain of abandonment.

13 Alcoholism is a family disease which often results in a family member taking on the characteristics of the disease even if they are not alcoholics (para-alcoholics). Dysfunctional relationships, denial, fearful, avoidance of feelings, poor coping, poor problem solving, afraid that others will find out what you are really like, etc.

14 Tendency to react to things that happen versus taking control and not being victim to the behavior of others or situations created by others.

15 A chameleon. A tendency to be what others want you to be instead of being yourself. A lack of honesty with yourself and others.


Where did this come from today? My dad’s house was broken into. Why? Dear brother, the youngest in the family, exhibits other issues of alcoholic parents and has battled with his own abuse demons for years now. Of course the killer is that as the “responsible” one in the family, I am the one that gets shit on repetitively. Every time I think that I have extricated my family from craziness that swirls around that part of the family, we get drawn in yet again. With both of them gone, who do you think was down bringing in the mail and feeding the fish – yes, the responsible ones. So guess who found the break-in and got the joy of working with the police. As I told them and still maintain, somehow this will all become my fault. Sure enough, as I called my father to discuss the issue, “We don’t want to jump to any conclusions”. Let’s see the tv’s are there, the dvd players, china, silver, but every top drawer is pulled out. Hair clipper boxes are popped open. A first aid kit is rummaged. Social Security cards are still there, blank checks, and credit cards. “It’s like last time just kids in the neighborhood.” A few years ago, he was broken into and coins were taken. This time full jars of coins are still sitting there. This was not local kids and these people found whatever they were looking for and it was small. Of course, as I tried to put drawers back in dressers I came across items that indicate that dear innocent brother is on more of a downtrend than an up. But according to my father, I always think the worst of my brother----Hmm! He must have been warming up dinner - One spoonful at a time.

But in my typical fashion, I feel responsible for something I have no control over. I want to make it better and solve the problem and can’t get over my obsession to get to the bottom of it. I am hurt by my father’s response and frustrated by husband’s feeling that I am making it about me and not my brother. I want to escape and get away from all this and I am so happy that we are moving.

I have decided that the best gift that my father can give me is to write me explicitly out of the will. I really, really don’t ever want anything to do with my brother again. And I'm actually glad that my mother is not alive to go through this all yet again.