Monday, November 29, 2010

A Day With An 11 year old boy

My grandson stayed over night on Thanksgiving. His dad had to work early and they would be leaving for hunting the next afternoon. It has been a while since he stayed over by himself so I was a little nervous that he'd be bored. It was quite the opposite. The time was long overdue for son grandma-grandson bonding.
He did have the choice of staying with us or going with his dad and staying home for several hours alone. He chose staying with us. That was only after I assured him that I would not be getting him up at 3am to shop. I did have fun with that while we were watching TV. Every early bird/Black Friday commercial that came on found be commenting that maybe we should get up and go. His eyes would widen and he'd ask if I was kidding.
This is kind of how the time went after everyone else left on Thanksgiving.
  • Ask if there is anymore Pumpkin Pie even though he just had a piece an hour ago.
  • Make sure there was still Redi Whip for his pie for the next day
  • Find the Lazar pointer and play with the cats for a while
  • Take a shower and sing something his grandparents could not make out.
  • Check for messages on his phone
  • Hit the man cave with Grandpa for a while
  • See if Grandma's ready to watch the Simpson's movie
  • Settle in and watch the movie
  • Pause it once to get a snack
  • Pause again for water and bathroom break
  • Ask once again if he'd be woken up early for shopping.
  • Fall asleep watching 2nd movie-it was boring anyway
  • Wake up around 830 and wander into grandmas room. Watch news and beg to not be dragged to the store.
  • Eat the pumpkin pie for breakfast and 1/2 hour later eat a Grandma prepared Turkey sandwich.
  • Bargain with Grandma-taco bell for lunch if he goes to grocery store with her.
  • eat another Turkey sandwich when grandpa gets home
  • Take a shower and text a picture of his face with "I"m watching you" attached-to his grandmother.
  • hear the giggle when grandma checks her text
  • check one more time if Taco Bell is still promised after the grocery store
  • Go back and pick up the dirty clothes left in the bathroom, find the clothes from the night before and while Grandmother is waiting stop and send another text stating he's coming. Because we live in a mansion texting is necessary.
  • Finally get shoes and coat on and once again ask about Taco Bell.
  • Try to bargain to stay in the car, but finally decide to come in.
  • Try to add things to the cart and then giggle when the items are discovered.
  • Stop and read the cover of the latest hunting magazine.
  • Finally get the Taco Bell
  • Stink up my bathroom and text me about it.
  • Watch another movie and lay on the floor and play with Sadie.
  • Father comes to pick him up. Still doesn't have all his stuff together. Typical 11 year old boy.

All in all I did have fun.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

And Here We Go....

Every year for the past 20 years or so it happens. It's usually the weekend after Thanksgiving and I thought I'd be prepared again this year. Even though shopping and preparing for Christmas can be stressful I manage to find a way to get into the spirit of Christmas.
My mother-in-law has once again called off Christmas. Through out the years I've heard horror stories of how she freaked every Christmas over the way the tree was looking, over her cookies and whatever else went wrong in her day. I did get to witness her tossing all her cookie dough one day because she couldn't remember if she added an ingredient or not.
Back in the mid 60's Arnie's dad was in a horrible car accident on Christmas Eve. The story has it that she has been down on Christmas since then. A few years ago I made the comment "Wouldn't this make you more in the spirit because you didn't lose him?" She never counts her blessings, only looks at the bad side of everything. I've had many conversations with her showing her the good in things which works for about an hour and then she starts in again.
Today marks the beginning of her call of no Christmas this year. She is convinced that by Christmas she will be in kidney dialysis. She is one a medication that needs to be monitored and was sent for blood work the other day. Her doctors office called yesterday for a consult of her blood work and an appointment was made for Tuesday. "They're going to break the news then".
The lab sent her a copy of the blood work and she has suddenly become a doctor and is able to tell that her kidneys are bad. Fortunately my mother just went through the same thing and I remembered her telling me her numbers. They are about the same as mother-in-laws meaning she's okay. I have to remind her also that she is 77 years old. To tell her that is basically means she needs to be monitored and possible taken off the medication or have the dosage decrease falls on deaf ears. I was done talking about it. Then came the best part....
She is convinced she was adopted. Being that she is 10 years younger than her sister, she doesn't believe she was a later in life child. There is a picture she found of herself in a laundry basket that now has her convinced that she was dropped off on their porch. She's damn serious. When asked why she looks so much like her siblings she replied "When people live together for a long time they look alike". I think what we have her is a case of someone who is bored out of their mind. She needs a hobby or to get to a senior center or something to socialize with others. I've told my husband and his siblings that they need to convince her to get out and do something. This woman is very talented, educated and brilliant in many ways. She lacks self-confidence. She needs to do something other than sit in her house day after day and let her mind wander. My attempts at finding her social centers which offer crafts, music (which she loves), baking or just plain talking have been ignored.
I did remind her once again this year that Christmas is not canceled. Christmas comes every year and if she chooses not to celebrate that is her own choice, but it comes no matter what she says. So once again, we're in for the ride.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Long List

Happy Thanksgiving. We should all be thankful that we are here to celebrate this holiday again.
This date seems to be the day a lot of people sit down and reflect upon what they are or need to be thankful for. I am guilty of not taking the time each day to give thanks. When something not so good happens my first reactions are anger or panic. It takes a bit of time to switch to the "well things could be worse" mode. They could be worse, which is why I am thankful :

I am thankful that I was woken up this morning by Sadie's potty bark. It means her & I are still here.
I am thankful for my husband's snoring. (well, just the part that means he's still her also)
I am thankful that 2 years ago we made the decision to adopt the cat that crawls all over us at night. He's become Arnie's little buddy.
I'm thankful for my parents who raised us all with strong family bonds and morals.
I'm thankful for my grandfather, who will forever have an impact on my life.
I'm thankful for the ability to have had children, who need a good kick once in awhile, but have brought joy & love.
I'm thankful for my first failed marriage because without it I would never have known what a good marriage is. Thankful for 26 years of a good marriage.
I'm thankful for all those have served our country and those who continue to do so. Without these courageous people we may not be able to live in the great country we do.
I'm thankful for the memory of my former mother-in-law who always had a saying for everything. I'm thankful that I can still remember the sayings.
I'm thankful that my brother, after two attempts, now has a good marriage. I'm thankful that his lovely wife is the person she is. Did I mention what a great friend she is also?
I'm thankful and blessed with some of the greatest friends. Can't say enough about them.
I'm thankful for my family & my husbands family. Without any of them life could be boring.
I'm thankful that we have had the ability to "rent" out or spare room to those in need.
I'm thankful for the forever memories I will have of my brother David. Today's memory will be the half frozen veggie casserole he brought to Thanksgiving and the "special" pumpkin creme pie he'd order each year.
I'm thankful for the time I got to spend with those taken to soon, and the memories I will always have of them.
I'm thankful for my grandchildren. They are a beyond words incredible kids.
I'm thankful for good health and the ability to fight and overcome any illness's or diseases.
I'm thankful that I can walk next to my friend each year and celebrate her victory.

This list could go on and on and I have a Turkey to prepare, which I'm thankful for.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Hopefully this day will fly by. It seems that just about everyone in this department has taken the day off. I thought about it but didn't want to burn a vacation day. I'm out a 1 anyway and that should give me ample time for the Thanksgiving preparations.
I have a mental list in my head of things that need to be done. The mega Turkey I purchased has thawed, the to go with items have been purchased so I think I'm good to go. My husband has eagerly agreed to help peel potatoes (huge help). I'm convinced he grew up in a home void of a potato peeler. Proof can be seen in his use of one, so I'll just put him on cutting detail. There are no instant potatoes on Thanksgiving day.
I listened to Turkey cooking horror stories on the radio yesterday and had a few chuckles. I will probably jinx myself now but I've never had an issue. The first key in staying out of trouble is to purchase your Turkey ahead of time. Buying a Turkey the day before may cause issues. Those guys are frozen solid. Ours took 1 week in the fridge to thaw. I don't see the need to stress yourself out by trying to thaw a Turkey in one day. You want to make sure you coordinate your Turkey (which will take up most of your oven space) with the other items you need to cook. For the past several years I've had the Turkey done at least an hour before and had it carved and kept moist and warm in a nesco. My family doesn't care about a Turkey being brought to the table and carved in front of everyone, they just want to eat. Martha Stewart doesn't exist in our family gatherings. The Turkey is not on a special platter and decorated to the hilt. Don't get me wrong, there are serving dishes and the good plates are hauled out. There have been people caught sneaking the crunchy part of the stuffing and french fried onions off the top of the casserole dishes they were cooked in.
The eating seems to take only about 1/2 hour or so and then comes the hard part. The flurry of packing everything up and doing the dishes. The dishwasher comes in handy but we can't seem to fit everything in. I try to keep it somewhat organized and usually ask that I be able to pack leftovers away prior to having dirty dishes brought in and stacked everywhere. This is about the time I will glance at my kitchen floor and wonder how the heck it can get so messed up in such a little time. Then I'll look around at the rest of my house and wonder how it could get so messed up. You spend a lot of time cleaning and preparing for the gathering and spend just as much time cleaning up afterwards. But the extra work is well worth spending time with family. Afterwards I feel thankful that I have a job that allows the day after Thanksgiving off.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Behind The Scenes

Saturday marked the date of the 84th Annual Milwaukee "Holiday" Parade. Growing up this was always a big deal for my family. My dad would pack us up and we'd head downtown to stake our claim and watch the parade. It fizzed out for a while and picked up again when I started taking my kids. Other family members would join us and the group grew as the years went by. We missed a few due to cold weather but for the most part sucked it up and dealt with the weather.
Two years ago Ben & Nannette began to participate in the parade through her work place. We were asked if we'd care to join in this year. We were to hold the Toy Soldier balloon. When telling the rest of the family we got mixed reactions. Apparently they don't actually enjoy sitting in the cold. Bunch of spoil sports.
We then decided to join Ben & Nannette along with other friends to see the other side of the parade. The prep began in the wee hours of the morning when my alarm went off at 5:30 am. I figured I could handle being a little cold and decided to ditch the winter jacket idea and go with layers. We met in the lobby of her workplace and were given Santa hats, some directions and a warm bus ride down to the lakefront. At this point assistance was needed in preparing the balloons. We were provided with hot chocolate, coffee and Krispy Kremes and more directions. The woman coordinating threw out some helpful hints to those of us that would be handing out freebies to the parade watchers. She mentioned several times that we would be swarmed and that the adults were worse than the kids. "Don't give everything out in the beginning of the parade, pace yourselves so you have enough left at the end also, and last but not least, do not throw the items toward the crowd" They didn't want kids running into the street to retrieve the items. We were also warned about poop and to keep an eye on the road ahead of us to avoid stepping in it.
The wait began. We were to be in slot numbers 69 & 70. We could hear the bands warming up and could watch the crowd beginning to form. Our waiting spot was close to the actual beginning of the parade so we had a good view . A few minutes before the parade begins they have the bus brigade. I think there were around 70 school bus's used to transport the parade participants. Our bus driver seemed to be busy drinking coffee and wound up running toward her bus to fall in line.
As a crowd member this was always a good time. The kids would see the bus's coming and know that the parade would begin shortly. This always brought cheers from the crowd. The only thing that brought more cheers was the street sweeper and Santa.
Then came the police escort and the banner marking the 84th Annual Holiday Parade. The Homestead Band was then next. We knew we were somewhere after Ronald McDonald and began to get lined up and ready to go. Some of the girls decided to carry the beads on their arms and were once again warned about the swarming crowd. And then it was showtime...
Off we went following our balloon. I was carrying a Journal bag with rulers, little newspapers, coloring books and cookbooks. I was immediately swarmed with requests for beads. I was walking along handing out my "not too welcomed" rulers and thought I was keeping a good pace. Dodi was next to me with newspapers also. We looked ahead and found that we were quite a bit behind our balloon. Stepped it up a bit and caught up to our balloon holders. We looked back and saw the bead girls being swarmed by the crowd. They were keeping a good pace to keep up with the van so they could restock. Our balloon holders were doing a great job but were having some difficulty with two people toward the front who didn't seem to want to work together with the others.
It was a different experience seeing things from the other side. There is a lot of work that goes into the parade and I was glad to be a little part of it. The best part of my experience was having my grandson run out and hand his grandpa and me a cup of hot chocolate. It's those little things in life that warm your heart. He got a few extra "not so fun" rulers for his thoughtfulness. His mom may have gotten an extra cookbook or two.
The coordinator was right. We were swarmed, the adults are worse than the kids, and people seem to have a thing about the beads. All I heard besides "thank you" was requests for beads. Because of the swarming I decided to toss out some rulers and was pretty good at getting them close to the curb. I did get a little warning for tossing. It was either that or walk along with people clung to my arm.
Turning the final corner the parade veers off to the west but the balloons head east. This is where they met up with most of the wind. Poor Nannette looked like she was going to be carried away, but she kept things under control. One short block and it was time to set the Soldier down and begin to deflate him. Turned in my empty journal bag and our work was done.
To sum it up, it was a good time, I wasn't cold at all after walking, I made it through without stepping in any poop and I had a good time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Please Don't Help Me

I need suggestions on how to nicely tell my boss not to help me. My hours are based on production running, and for the past few weeks they have run a 10 hour a day staggered shift. My boss does not care to come in any earlier than 8:30 am, so I have the 4:30 am start time. This means I'm gone by 1 and he takes over from 1-3. I try to get any testing needed done by the time I leave.
We have been swamped this week with extra testing for a new Customer. When new products start the testing most customers require is beyond obscene. We take it in stride as we know that once regular production starts the testing amounts will decrease. A customer has every right to demand the testing and documentation to cover all their bases. The past couple days I have met with him before leaving and let him know that I could finish whatever was necessary the next morning. Every day this week I have come in to a complete mess. Uncompleted paper work, samples unlabeled, and tests done completely wrong. It has taken me more time to figure out and clean up his mess than to do it myself.
The first two days I just did it without commenting. See at home I'm accused going back over what I ask someone to do. Well 9 times out of 10 there is an issue. Taking out the garbage means taking out all the garbage, vacuuming means the whole house-not just one room, doing the dishes means-all the dishes including the pots you used to cook. So by past practice it's easier to do it myself, rather than pretending to be happy that someone did a half ass job.
Today I think may be my final straw. I came in to a bigger mess than the past 3 days, two major tests that were done wrong, and crap laying all over the lab. No notes, no paperwork-nothing. This may be my punishment for not saying anything the first couple days. Maybe I will hide any samples I do not finish by the time I leave.
My boss has made it clear that his position is only temporary. I can tell he is bored with his job and therefore puts no effort into things. He is taking night courses and figures he'll be moving up soon. He becomes very defensive when questioned about anything and actually becomes somewhat snotty with customers. There was an awkward situation in the lab with the customer that he was called out on afterwards by our manager. So I'm not sure what to do about this situation.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Back in Time

Speaking of crazy dreams! I decided to curl up in bed last night and watch a little TV. Flicking through channels my interest sparked when I came upon the History Channel. They were reviewing some of the countries biggest disasters. The show was about an avalanche back in 1920 or so which took out a train with passengers and coal. Must not have held my interest long as I think I fell asleep within 5 minutes or so.
The goofy dream I remember was that I had wanted to fly out and see my parent's but my husband talked me into taking the train so we could see the scenery. The problem was we weren't on a modern high speed train, we were on a very old coal type train. We got discounts on our tickets for shoveling coal for a few hours. I remember bitching (imagine that) several times on how we were taking so long to get there that we'd have to turn around and come right back.
About 1/2 way through the trip I noticed the Statue of Liberty off in the distance and questioned why we were going East. The conductor told us that the train had one route that went east and up through Canada and then back down through the west. My blood was boiling at that point and I was trying to figure out how to get off the train and to an airport. I finally managed to sneak off when we stopped at a station. Somehow I found my way to an airport but was told the only planes they had were the small open passenger single engine planes. I asked where all the jets were and was told they weren't invented yet. I was given a parachute and some goggles and boarded the plane. I had our cat with us and was worried that he'd be cold, so I was clutching him. I must have been cold in real life because we weren't much off the ground when I woke up, holding the cat.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Early Bird Gets The Prime Parking Spot

Sometimes change takes a while to adjust to. Things changed for us at work starting today. We are under the "Winter Parking Regulations". We have an L shaped building with two parking lots. One building is Corporate & the R&D labs. The other is production lines and warehouse. Our parking lot has a slight decline to it and is closed off for the winter. Melting snow seems pool up in the center of the lot and once the temperature goes down it freezes. A few years back someone had slipped in the parking lot and was out for a few weeks. The solution to this problem was to move the parking from Nov 15th through April 15th. This move causes all the production workers on this side of the building to park and walk about 1/2 block to the time clock, and then back to the production area. For years we've requested them to move the time clock. The entire process is silly. We're pretty convinced that the reasoning for leans more toward cost savings on plowing the lot. Thus we are now under the race for the prime parking spots. Being that I am an early start I usually get a prime spot. I just have to beat out the guy who comes to work 2 hours before his start time to read the paper, burn his toast and get the prime spot. Today was successful.
Had a pretty good weekend, yet a little bit on the boring side. I managed to get the kitchen painted and put back together in one day. Did get a little help from Barney with the high areas, which beat having to climb up and down the ladder. And then as a thanks to him, I dragged him Christmas shopping. Funny thing is he thinks he's done now. The few items we got are about 1/4 of the shopping that needs to be done. After the mall shopping he suggested that I do some shopping online as many places are offering free shipping.
The biggest mistake I made was suggesting that we should purchase a flat screen TV for the bedroom. My shopping trip Saturday was to purchase gifts for other people. It appeared that every store we entered that carried televisions, I lost him. If we walked past the electronics department I'd all of a sudden turn around and see him checking out televisions. I had to tell him several times that I didn't mean buy it today, as prices would most likely be dropping as Christmas neared. I found something else to do yesterday as he was plowing through the Sunday ads. I felt a little bad when I suggested we purchase a different fridge instead of the TV. The look on his face was priceless. Like I said, I felt a little bad.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Vets I Know

Though the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, November 11 remained in the public imagination as the date that marked the end of the Great War. In November 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. The day's observation included. In 1954, after lobbying efforts by veterans’ service organizations, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the 1938 act that had made Armistice Day a holiday, striking the word "Armistice" in favor of "Veterans." President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation on June 1, 1954. From then on, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Interesting. I know I learned all this in history class, and then again probably when helping my children with homework, but sometimes its good to go back and give yourself a little refresher in history.

My shout of thanks today goes out to all those who have served and those who are serving our country now. You have made it possible for the rest of us to remain safe and free. No amount of gratitude can repay the lives lost, time away from family and loved ones, or injuries suffered while serving your country. God Bless you all!

My immediate family has been blessed with having all those who served returned safely to their families. Both my grandfathers and my father served in active duty. I'm still searching for the news article from 1953 which covers a story of my father and several others being trapped on a hilltop in Korea. Their Thanksgiving dinner was air lifted to them. My grandfather used to have the article framed and it went to my father however being the humble man he is, I'm sure it's hidden somewhere. My dad cursed the air lifting of the dinner, as it gave away where they were. He never really talked much about the war itself. Just expressed his gratitude in returning home safely. My brother retired from the Air Force a few years back and was fortunate enough to never be in battle. And of course there's Bambinos brother-Mick who is still serving our country, and thank God has always returned safely to his family.

Thanks to you all!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

This is what I do when I'm bored....write poems.

For those of you that know our situation:

When I bought my childhood home at a steal
I knew that my sister came with the deal
Sister moved out, and then came a brother
Who would soon leave but then came another

Along came Ken with his daughter in tow
We nicknamed him Chico, as our lawn he would mow
He would then leave as he found a place
Whew, that should give us some space

Then came the poor unfortunate kid
Wormed his way into our hearts he did
We watched him grow up and graduate school
He was helpful in cleaning the pool.

Bout that time middle sister was in trouble
All I can say is she left on the double
Then came Air Force retiree Steve
He was here to stay, not just on a leave.

He would find work and more out on his own
Once again we had regained our home
But not so fast cause there was some lovin
And Julie would soon have a bun in the oven

The first Grandchild-oh what a joy
The added plus is it was a boy
He would be over each day for awhile
And never cease to make me smile

Shawn would then move out on his own
And call each month for a little loan
Michelle would then declare herself master
Move out with her friends which would end in disaster

The house was once again just us two
Redecorated my kitchen with cows that went moo
But not for long, wait, what the muck
Here's comes David with a loaded down truck

He has some issues, his marriage is done
He was less like a brother-more like a son
Things got patched up and back home he went
Soon to return and start to pay rent

He stayed quite a while and saved up some money
His antics annoying, but sometimes quite funny
Then off he went, out on his own
And found an apartment and called it his home

When is seemed as if things were settled down
My daughter appeared with a rather huge frown
Her back was a mess, her husband had cheated
We let her come home cause she felt defeated

And now it seems that the house is to small
Stuff from their room bursting into the hall
She's feeling much better and has met nice fellow
Who had two small children, one isn't so mellow

I would like to think that this could be good
It could lead to her leaving, really it could
I won't get my hopes up, won't declare a win
Cause next thing I know they'll be moving in.

It's been joked that our house is really an Inn
So many have stayed, it's almost a sin
Arnie's the smart one, cause he sees the light
He hides in his man-cave most every night.

The List

I lost my list from last year. This could pose an issue. The list I am speaking of is my last years Christmas list. A very important document.

My mother always kept a notebook of Christmas gifts she had purchased. Each page listed each child and the gift & amount purchased. She kept it in her nightstand drawer. Once we were on to it we'd sneak in and check the list. She did a good job of spending an equal amount on each child. Once she knew we were on to it, she made two books. The fake one would contain nothing we asked for. Didn't take to long to figure out what she was doing.

I thought it was silly, but as I got older I started a list myself. I kept a notebook and therefore could look back a few years to assure I didn't give a gift I had given in a prior year. This especially helps with purchasing collectible items for someone. Last year I decided to put the list into a word document. Worked out quite nicely. But now it's gone. Vanished. I'm wondering if I erased it on purpose or may have tittled it something else to keep the nosey people out. Problem is I, myself forgot what I did. I managed to find some scribbling in a notebook from last year, but it doesn't say much. I shall not panic until all my resources are exhausted in the hunt.

Last week my mom fell and broke her arm. Did a pretty good number on it, as it required surgery to rebuilt the socket that the bone sits in. My mom knits a lot. She's made some very nice blankets, scarves, mittens and hats over the years. We place orders with Mom. One by one she's knitting blankets for her great grandchildren. This year was Dylan's turn. Let me just say that I can do some crocheting & knitting, but not as nicely as my mother. She's got patterns and colors going. When I received the phone call telling of the accident, she started out by asking if I could finish Dylan's blanket. After hearing the details of her accident I told her to send it and I'd finish it. "Oh no, that's okay" was her reply. This makes me chuckle as I picture the look on my mothers face at my suggestion. I know for a fact that she got off the phone , looked at my father and said "I'm not having her finish that blanket...have you seen her work" Thanks mom.