Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Felt Halfway Human Today.

My brother & nephew drove from Pennsylvania to visit me today. My brother used to live fairly close where we didn't have to plan ahead to see each other. You know, just pick up the phone and say "ya wanna grab something to eat?" But, he fell in love a couple of years ago and moved out to PA to be with Joan. It's kind of a neat story.
My bro got divorced after 25 years of marriage. They didn't have kids. Meanwhile, our nephew fell in love with a super girl from PA, Debbie, and got married. Debbie is an elementary school teacher and said she worked with someone who would be perfect for him. But he kept saying no. Even after Deb had Joan stop by one afternoon when we were all visiting, he still resisted with excuses like "she's geographically undesirable, iI'm too old, yadda-yadda-yadda. Finally, Debbie got them together to join her and Jack, my nephew, to go to a Mets-Phils game (in the enemy's territory). They survived and the rest is, as they say, history.
My nephew comes over to Jersey to visit his sister (my niece), Chris, who is in a home for the developmentally disabled in Edison, usually once a month. Since they were going there first, I asked if they would stop at my favorite sub shop in the world, Tastee Subs, a little hole in the wall in the town I grew up in. I haven't had much of an appetite lately, but I knew a #10 with provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, onion and mayo would do the trick.
We had a nice visit, talking about the upcoming baseball season, tomorrow's Super Bowl (Go Steelers) and as always, a few memories are brought up that never fail to make me laugh, even if it's at my expense.

Friday, January 30, 2009

One Ringy-Dingy

My cellphone contract is up in a couple of weeks, so I've started to check out some of the new technology out there and,the more I learn, the more I don't know. One question leads to another and then another and another until my eyes can't see straight anymore and I give up.
Right now I have what, I guess, would be a basic phone - texting sucks because the keyboard is so small, can't do email or internet, etc. So I've been considering a "Smartphone" or a 3G? (is that the same thing)? I've heard quite a few positive things about the LG EnV (is ot 2 or 3)? Trying to find out what my total monthly payment would be is like asking for the secret of life. If you want to do this, then you need this, but you may not want that because you csn do this instead - yadda, yadda, yadda. I definitely need a QWERTY keyboard because my texting skills are non-existent. I'm working on building up my thumb muscles so I can try and be as good as my 10 year old niece.
I currently have Sprint - goes back to the time I worked for Continental Airlines and we had a great deal with them. I'm not married to Sprint, so I'm checking everyone out. In order to cancel my Sprint contract before they auto-renew it, I have to csll them on the EXACT day of expiration and cancel over the phone. Not the day before or after and not on line. If you miss the day, you're renewed and I'll be in for a fight. You can bet I've got 2/19 marked in red on my calendar.
For those of you not old enough to remember "Laugh-In," above is a pic of Lily Tomlin as Ernestine, the phone operator, one of the great characters she created on the show. I've included a video below that will enlighten the young ones and bring a bit of nostalgia to us boomers.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tag -- You're It

The Rules:
*Grab the nearest book.
*Open the book to page 56.
*Find the FIFTH sentence.
*Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your blog along with these instructions.
*Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one; pick the CLOSEST.
*Tag five other people to do the same.

I tag:

Purple Flowers
Bilbo's Random Thoughts
Surviving New Jersey
Preppy In The City
An Angel In The Outfield

I'm using the closest book to me. Knowing I was going to be laid up for awhile, I stopped by the local B&N a few weeks ago and picked up an assortment of books, mostly "take me away" kind of books. I admit I got hooked on the Twilight series(there's something about a sexy vampre). So, this is the author's newest-no vampires in sight, at least not yet.

"I turned my back to her and concentrated on calming myself. I tried to pretend she wasn't there. That I was all alone in my austere kitchen, staring out the window into the little patch of night sky, at the three bright stars I could see through it."
-The Host
by Stephanie Meyer

I'm Never Going To Be Able To Retire

Tell me. It's not a good thing to receive a letter from your financial guy that begins:

"Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat."

is it?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random Rant

Modern technology, when it works, is marvelous and should be a big time saver. But, time & time again, it just becomes a revolving door of frustration.
To "save time", I allow my local paper to take my monthly subscription payment directly from by debit account. In October, I received a new debit card# and immediately went online and updated my information on the paper's customer service site. Great. Took less than a minute.
December I receive a VM from the subscription dept saying that payment was overdue because my debit card info was no longer valid. So now, I call said CS dept, they review and say that, yes, the info is correct and she doesn't understand why I received that call, but she would take care of it.
Early January, receive same VM, now threatening delivery cancellation, unless I resolve this issue. Back on the phone, CS again says that it was their error and to disregard.
Today - Received another VM. Now I'm on the phone a third time trying to resolve this, when, if there was no thing as this online technology to "save time," I would have done all this with a iive person the first time and be done with it.
I know we all have these frustrating stories. I understand there will always be problems. I get pissed off when my time is being wasted on the same issue again and again. It happens at work as well. And my staff knows that I'm a pretty easy going manager, but this is one thing that makes steam come out of my ears!

Want to hear about irony? There's a weekly paper in this area that i paid for a one year subscription literally over 15 years ago. Since then, I have moved 3 times and changed my name and this paper has been following me weekly for 15 years, without another payment from me, I have contacted them numerous times to have my name removed from their subscribers and every 6 weeks or so, I get a notice that my subscription will cease unless they receive payment,

I can only shake my head and wonder, who's minding the store?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Anatomy 101

Brief recap - felt lousy for eons, had tons of tests, saw different specialists, and, after all that,the consensus was "uh, we don't know what's wrong." Thus, I agreed to lathroscopic surgery If at all queasy about this sort of stuff, move on; there are pix included).
All my history, test results and medical opinions were sent to the surgeon who told me, after reviewing everything, said that he had to google one of the dr's ideas, which was that I had a case of Chiladiti Syndrome. He said this was such a rare condition that the average surgeuon would never see it during his career.
Having surgery nowadays is very different than past. In order to help the patient to relax and feel "part of the team,", you are distracted upon being rolled into the o.r., with formal introductions - "Participating in today's event are anesthesiologist Dr Feelgood, who will send you off to wherever; he's very good at that." I was happy about that, but how good is he getting me back?" Also, Nurse Nancy will be in charge of today's music selections, which will start with a soothing Brahms concerto, followed up by a medley British boy band hits, and closing with Bruce Springsteen's version of "When The
Saints Go Marching In.
Anyway, the last intro was to the videographer. I looked at the surgeon and he said, "I still don't think you have that syndrome, but, wow, if u do, I gotta have a copy of it. It's medical history,man!"
Well, I'll let you guess the outcome. I'll just let you know, my surgeon is thrilled.

While I was looking for that video, I found another of one of my favorites. The odds are, if you aren't a Springsteen fan, you probably don't know it. I don't believe it's on any American CDs, though Caryn will correct me, if I'm wrong. He sang it on the last tour. You'll particularly like it if you're Irish. So, everyone get your dancing clogs on and get ready to do the Irish Jig. Erin Go Bragh!

And, for those of you who complain you never understand what the hell he's saying (ok, Tom??),

What is this land America so many travel there
I'm going now while I'm still young my darling meet me there
Wish me luck my lovely I'll send for you when I can
And we'll make our home in the American land

Over there all the woman wear silk and satin to their knees
And children dear, the sweets, I hear, are growing on the trees
Gold comes rushing out the rivers straight into your hands
When you make your home in the American Land

There's diamonds in the sidewalk the's gutters lined in song
Dear I hear that beer flows through the faucets all night long
There's treasure for the taking, for any hard working man
Who will make his home in the American Land

I docked at Ellis Island in a city of light and spires
She met me in the valley of red-hot steel and fire
We made the steel that built the cities with our sweat and two hands
And we made our home in the American Land

There's diamonds in the sidewalk the's gutters lined in song
Dear I hear that beer flows through the faucets all night long
There's treasure for the taking, for any hard working man
Who will make his home in the American Land

The McNicholas, the Posalski's, the Smiths, Zerillis, too
The Blacks, the Irish, Italians, the Germans and the Jews
Come across the water a thousand miles from home
With nothin in their bellies but the fire down below

They died building the railroads worked to bones and skin
They died in the fields and factories names scattered in the wind
They died to get here a hundred years ago they're still dyin now
The hands that built the country were always trying to keep down

There's diamonds in the sidewalk the gutters lined in song
Dear I hear that beer flows through the faucets all night long
There's treasure for the taking, for any hard working man
Who will make his home in the American Land
Who will make his home in the American Land
Who will make his home in the American Land


Just a short note to thank everyone for the lovely thoughts and well wishes and the beautiful flower arrangements, particularly the gorgeous plant thst arrived just this minute, from my friends at Fairview First Aid.

I'm home; I was able to convince the doctor to release me ahead of his schedule; I just had to get out of that place; the hospital is the worst place to be when you're not feeling well. Isn't it ironic (don't cha think)?

Not feeling well, at all. Lots of pain and exhaustion. It's the time of an illness that I find tobe the most depressing - feeling like you're never going to feel any better, feeling like you're just an imposition to everyone. You hear/see other people going about their lives (yes, and particularly those whose lives are going well now) and, I admit it, I'm very envious now. I want to be there too!

I'm sorry. This post was just to be a quick thank you, not turn into a pity party.
Next time, I'll make sure I'm in a better mood before I post.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

I'm home from work today, taking a little quiet time for myself, before I have my surgery tomorrow.
Today is Inauguration Day and, although I realize we're witnessing history, I don't have the tv on. I have never been interested in the pomp and circumstance surrounding this day.
I'm excited about a new beginning and interested in where President Obama takes us. Lord knows, he's inheriting a ton of problems.
No matter who you voted for, today is the day to stand together as Americans and say a prayer for the new administration, that they have the wisdom and courage to make the right decisions, whatever they may be.
God bless America.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Leave of Absence

I'm really not sure if anyone actually checks out this blog, but, in case someone does, I wanted to say that I'll be taking a leave of absence, so to speak, from blogging temporarily. I'm scheduled for surgery on the 21st and I'm really not sure how long I'll be out of commission. If it turns out to be a minor event, I'll probably be home from the hospital in one or two days. However, it could become a more involved procedure, depending on what the doc sees.
Right now, I'm working, but I'm pretty wiped out by the time I get home, so I'm beginning my LOA today; however, if I feel the need or get inspired, I may post once or twice before next Wednesday.
Anyway, please keep me in your thoughts and, if you have a connection with the man upstairs, please put in a good word for me!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

I've been wearing make-up since my early teens. Back then, it was a lot of Bonne Bell, Yardley of London (I wanted to look like Jean Shrimpton), and, of course, Maybelline & Cover Girl. There weren't any Sephoras or Ultas; there was a chain of stores called Merle Norman. I guess they're still around; back then they were known for catering to the "blue-haired" set.
I have never been brand loyal to any one particular brand. I think I've found something I'll stick with and then, I spot an ad in a magazine or see a commercial on tv and, boom, I gotta have it.
For 2009, I've decided to try and not be so fickle when it comes to cosmetics. A few months ago, I started buying various Bare Minerals products, wore them a bit, and moved on. A few weeks ago, I started wearing them again and noticed I was getting compliments, even if some of them were a bit backhanded. Tony, the mailroom guy, dropped off some mail to me last week and said "What did you do? You look different. You look good." Uh, thanks, I guess.
Over the weekend, I purged just about all my partially used make-up - foundations, eyeliners, mascaras, blushes, you name it - I didn't think twice. I held on to just a couple of items from Nars and Urban Decay, but otherwise, it's going to be Bare Minerals from now on.
The only exception is lipsticks. I cannot walk into any store that sells make-up - drug, department, whatever, and not at least check out the lipcolor and,more times than not, buy at least one. The problem is I'm a terrible judge of what colors look best on me. I think they look great in the tube, but, so many times, I hate the way it looks on me. The same thing goes for eye shadow. I rarely wear it because, if I try any shades but brown, I feel I look like a clown. I would love to have a complete makeover done, head to toe, like on "What Not To Wear." Anyone want to nominate me?
So, I'm curious to see how long I can do this. This upcoming weekend, the LSH & I are planning on heading to the Freehold Mall, which I don't get to very often and which has a Sephora store there. You know, I HAVE to stop there to, at least, check out the lipstick.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stealing Resolutions

I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with Susan Reinhardt. She has a syndicated column that appears every Saturday in my local paper. For the most part, her columns are humorous and she's been called "the Southern Belle's David Sedaris." Last year, she wrote a column on the more serious side that really hit home for me, so I sent her an email just to let her know how much it meant to me. She responded within 2 hours, asked me to write back and tell her a bit about myself, which I did and since then, we "talk" occasionally via email.
Her column today was about making resolutions and how she's decided just to steal other people's resolutions rather than make up her own mundane, annual ones, like lose weight, read more books,etc. As I was thinking about writing about resolutions myself, after reading her column today, I've decided to steal some of the resolutions Susan stole because I liked them so much. The first 3 were from Erma Bombeck after she learned she had cancer:

"I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage."
"I would have talked less and listened more."
"I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded."

The following were "borrowed" from Maya Angelou:

"Every woman should have a youth she's content to leave behind and a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age."
"Every woman should own a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra."
"Every woman should know how to live alone, even if she doesn't like it."

So, thank you Susan, Erma, Maya for sharing your wit and your wisdom. Whenever I read something that you wrote, I never get to the end of it without an "ah-ha" moment and a smile on my face.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News.............

Some of you may know that's the first line of a song by Bachman Turner Overdrive (BTO)- that's them above. The next line is "I got a bad case of loving you." NOT!
2009 started off still searching for some medical answers to some of my unexplained aches and pains. None of these things are going to kill me; they just make life a bit less pleasant.
So I was scheduled to have a test on Monday - one of those tests where you have to drink some pretty nasty stuff. I cannot believe, with how far medicine has come in the last 50 years and they still can't make any of this stuff palatable. Yuck!
Well, the doctor came out afterward and said, everything looked good, but we wouldn't have the full results for about 2 weeks. She then tells me that, barring anything negative showing up, to come back and see her in two years. Now, keep in mind, I had this test to try and find the cause of the pain I've been having. I said to her "Well, I'm glad the test seemed to turn out well, but I still have my problem." I swear, she stared at me like I was speaking a foreign language. I then listed all the symptoms I've been having since I was hospitalized in October and all the things I've tried on my own to relieve them. Now, this is the specialist who was on call when I was admitted to the hospital. It's not like she didn't know my history. I had been to see her at least twice since I was released from the hospital. She left and returned in a few minutes, hands me a scrip and tells me to go see this SURGEON! In a matter of less than 5 minutes, we've gone from "come back to see me in 2 years" to "go see this surgeon." WTF?????
I was still not entirely lucid as I had anesthesia for this procedure, so I admit, I didn't respond. But now that the drugs have worn off, I want an explanation. I put in a call to her this morning; now I'm waiting to see how long it will take her to call me back or if she bothers, at all.
Someone told me that this particular doctor was #1 in her specialty in her class at Columbia. I need to find out the year she graduated, so I can make it a point to steer clear of the students that graduated behind her.