Saturday, December 29, 2012

Waiting Rooms

Why are waiting rooms so quiet?  Nobody really talks to each other and if you do talk it seems like everyone else kind of stares at you.  A few months ago I was in a doctor's waiting room with Dominic. When we first walked in it was very quiet and about half the people kind of looked over at us.  I guess it was because I had a child with me.  The median age of the people in this waiting room was about 65.  After we had been waiting a little bit, Dominic started talking really loud. I tried to shush him, but that attracted even more attention. When you are waiting in a doctor's office, it would be kind of awkward to strike up a conversation. You can't really ask the person next to you, "so, what are you here for?" One thing I've learned about doctor's waiting rooms is to bring your own reading material!!  I was in my cardiologist's office a few weeks ago and there was a husband and wife waiting to see the doctor.  The husband said quite loudly, "these magazines here are 12 years old!!"  I was going to offer the guy part of my newspaper to read, but then the nurse called me in.  What's the worst is if you are in a waiting room that has no reading material and you didn't bring anything.  Yikes!!  Where do you look? At the person across from you in the chair??  The orthodontist's office where Lauren is being treated has the best waiting room ever! They have all of the most recent issues of my favorite magazines AND a television!  An added bonus are the wonderful ladies that work the front desk. They are so polite and friendly! The next time you are in a waiting room, take a look around.  Do most people have something to read? are they talking? texting? or are they staring into space??

Monday, December 24, 2012

The First Snow of the Season

Last Friday, (ironically the first day of winter), we got our first measurable snow of the season.  Lauren's response when she woke up and saw the white stuff was, "FINALLY!"


Growing up in Maryland, we did get some measurable snow from time to time, but not anything compared to what we get here.  We moved to the Midwest a few weeks before the Christmas of 2001.  The first time we got a significant amount of snow here, I went out to our driveway in my fashion boots (the only boots I owned at the time) and promptly fell on my backside!  Within a week, I marched right to the nearest store and got myself a proper pair of snow boots.  Now, after over eleven years of living in the Midwest, I have come to really LOVE the snow.  I used to dread having to drive in it, but have come to the conclusion that things don't shut down around these parts just because of a little snow. The schools don't close for the day unless it's about six inches or more.  The kids and I like to try and build snowmen, but I've noticed the snow here is a little more fine and powdery than the Maryland snow I grew up with.  Christmas Eve afternoon it started to snow, actually pretty hard, it looks like we will definitely be having a white Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Classic Toys and Games

Back in the day before "electronic" toys (Game Boy, XBox, Wii, etc.), kids played with games that didn't involve batteries or a plug :)  I came across this box of dominoes yesterday and was kind of scratching my head wondering where they came from.  I asked the hubby and he said they were his.  He remembers playing with them as a child.

While doing a little bit of research for this blog post, I got a kick out of the games and toys that popped up when I Googled the words, "classic toys and games."  At least 75% of them were toys and games that I used to play with when I was little, like Monopoly, Yahtzee, the Game of Life, Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, Don't Break the Ice and Battleship.  Wonder if that means I'm a "classic?!?" What's cool is we have all those games in our house and I have played them at different times with my stepson, Lauren or Dominic.  How about an Etch a Sketch?

 or needing a View-Master to use these:

Legos have been around over 50 years and are still going strong.  Right now, they are Dominic's favorite toy. He builds all kinds of things.  A few days ago Dominic made an apple.  I usually have to grab the camera real quick, because sometimes he takes it apart a few minutes after he finishes it!


I played the card game, Canasta, many times with my grandmother (my mom's mom).  She had quite a poker face.  I can probably count on one hand how many times I beat her! One card game that doesn't seem to ever go out of style is War.  You can play that game for HOURS (and I have)!!  One toy I really wish I would have held onto was my Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll.  I had him for a few years until I believe he was sold at a yard sale :( There was a little string that made his mouth move and I actually could talk without moving my lips.  I also had a pair of stilts and would walk up and down the street with them.  The things I used to do when I was younger! What can I say? the summers were LONG!  What are some favorite "classic" toys and games that you remember playing when you were little and now enjoy with your own kids??  I would love to hear!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trying to Make Sense of It

Last Friday afternoon, when Dominic hopped off his bus, I gave him an extra giant hug.  I'm so glad that he was unaware of what had happened earlier in the day in Connecticut.  Friday night, we purposely kept the television off for a while.  We talked about what happened with Lauren and my stepson later on in the weekend.  I think whether you have little kids, teens, grown up kids, grandchildren or no children, what transpired Friday morning, will be in our thoughts for a long time.  Children especially are so innocent.

I took this picture recently of Dominic. He looks so peaceful when he is sleeping.  When a tragedy occurs like what happened Friday morning, it makes me appreciate every moment that I have with the special people in my life. I have tried to make sense of it all and have come to the conclusion that it makes no sense. We lived back in the Washington, DC area at the time of September 11.  I can remember like it was yesterday, how I felt.  My stepson was at his high school, Lauren was in kindergarten and the hubby was at work in the heart of downtown DC.  The not knowing feeling of whether they were all okay was horrible.  When the hubby did make it home from work, we went up to Lauren's school and the administration wouldn't let our kids out, it was locked down.  A bunch of us parents circled around the school trying to get in so we could get our children.  I can't even wrap my mind around what the parents of the kids at the school in Connecticut must have been feeling last Friday morning. I pray that in the coming days, months and years they find a way to cope with this tragedy.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the children and adults that were taken too early from their loved ones.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Honesty is the Best Policy

One of my husband's nicknames for me is "Honest Abe" as in Abraham Lincoln.  During the summer, while I was in my kitchen, I heard what sounded like a lawn mower.  After looking around at my neighbor's houses I figured out there was a lawn guy mowing OUR lawn!  I went outside and asked the guy what he was doing. He was like, "don't you use a lawn service?"  I said, "no, I do it myself."  I guess I could have let the guy do our lawn, but then my neighbor who did pay for his services would have got the bill and not had their lawn mowed! Yesterday, we got an envelope in the mail.  We didn't recognize the return address, but opened it up anyways.  It turned out, somebody found something of ours that was lost and they took the time to mail it back.  That really meant a lot to me.  This morning Lauren and I were talking about Christmas presents.  A month or so ago she had told me there was a certain book that she wanted.  I guess as a "gentle" reminder, she was telling me this morning, "if you haven't already bought me any Christmas presents, there's a book I want."  I said, "well, I'm not going to tell you whether I bought it or not."  Lauren took one look at me and could tell by my face that I had already bought it and said, "you're not a very good liar!"  I think honesty is a good quality.  It's definitely a trait I try to teach my own children.  I remember once my grandmother (my dad's mom) telling me she didn't "trust" one of the guys I was dating.  She also used to tell me if I had pimples.  At the time, I thought she was being a little too honest!! I'm glad I listened to her about the old boyfriend though :) One of the definitions of the word honest is genuine.  My friends and family know that what you see is what you get with me :)  It makes me sad when somebody will say one thing to my face, but says something else behind my back.  I guess I like to try and see the good in everybody!!  Do you think it's possible to ever be too honest??  To me, honesty is always the best policy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Sweaters

I'm kind of bummed.  The last time I washed this sweater (which was probably last Christmas), I think I automatically put it into the dryer.  I tried it on a week or so ago and now it's too small :(   I have had it for about ten years, so I definitely have gotten my money's worth out of it!

Since the sweater doesn't fit me anymore and I have worn it around the holidays for such a long time, I had to start looking to see if I had anything that could become it's replacement as "the" holiday sweater this year. I have a couple red sweaters with no snowmen, sleighs, etc. which I guess could work, though they seemed kind of plain.  I then fished around a little more and found this one!

One of the local papers around where I live is having a contest to see who has the best holiday sweater. I don't think it's an "ugly sweater" contest, I'm pretty sure they are looking more for ones that are unique.  I have had my "penguin" sweater for as far back as I can remember.  I do believe I used to wear the sweater with a pair of black stirrup pants, so that will tell you how long I've had it!  Since it had been a while since my "penguin" sweater had made an appearance, I asked Lauren and the hubby for their opinions.  Lauren told me the sweater was "loud" and it would be a good entry into the contest.  My husband said it would be good to wear when I'm out holiday shopping. The thing about holiday sweaters is they have a very limited shelf life, about six weeks.  You really can't wear it before Thanksgiving or after the New Year.  Well, I guess you could, but you probably wouldn't want to. People might look at you a little funny if you wore a holiday sweater in the middle of July! I'm going to enter my "penguin" sweater into the contest, but I'm not sure how good my chances are.  A few weeks ago, the paper posted a picture of an entry that had a man and woman sitting on Santa's lap.  The man was wearing a sleeveless holiday sweater.  Not sure I can compete with that!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coupons and Freebies

I know that I'm going to sound ancient, but does anybody remember "S&H Green Stamps?" When you would shop at participating stores, you would get adhesive stamps that you had to stick into a book.  When you got enough stamps, you could redeem it for merchandise at a Green Stamp Redemption Center. The "stamps" went electronic in 2000 and is now called S&H Greenpoints. At one of my jobs when I was in my 20's, I had my boss tell me it was a requirement that I wear pantyhose. I found out about the "Silkies Hosiery Service" and knew it was a service I needed!!  Every five weeks, I received three new pairs of pantyhose.  It was similar to "green stamps" where every time I made a purchase, I would get points.  Once you got enough points, you could redeem it for merchandise.  I was able to get a vacuum cleaner and a kitchen clock among other things. The company is still around and ships out pantyhose to your home, but I'm not sure if you can still accumulate points for merchandise.  I always thought it was kind of cool to tell people I got my vacuum cleaner from wearing pantyhose!!  Earlier this year, I called Nestle to ask how long I could use chocolate chips I had in my pantry. They sent me a free cookbook and some coupons. I bought some rice cakes a few months ago that were burnt. I let the Quaker Company know and they sent me two coupons each worth $4.00. When the hubby turned 60 in November, I went to my favorite grocery store and bought two candles, the number 6 and the number 0.  I hadn't realized when I bought the 6 that it was broke in half.  I sent the company who manufactured the candle an e-mail and they wrote me back saying they were sending me some free coupons. Yesterday, I used the coupons to get two tubes of holiday decorating icing, each would have been $2.99.  Just about every company out there has a website. A lot of times, all you have to do is give an e-mail address.  If you don't want to have a bunch of e-mails clogging up your personal e-mail account, open up an account through Yahoo or a similar company which has free e-mail and only use it to receive coupons and freebies, that's what I did :)  If you are a regular user of Facebook, there are multiple coupon groups that will send you "alerts" when things are free or at a reduced rate.  I'm getting a free one-year subscription to Family Fun magazine from an offer I saw on Facebook, no strings attached! Try calling or e-mailing a company when you have complaints or praise and see what happens.  It will be the best five or ten minutes you could spend and you might just get something for free!!

Making an "Impact"

I had someone very close to me ask me this question many years ago, "why do you stay in touch with so many of Dominic's...