Friday, December 30, 2005

24 hours to go...

Crap!  Where does the time go???  

A little late for the Christmas wrap up, but better late than pregnant....  

A little inside humor :)    (Not me!)  

So, the Christmas Eve open house was as it always is~ a blast!  I think I made it to bed sometime around 4am.  And that, folks, is without alcohol involved (on my part, anyway)  

It is strange how the party has evolved over the years.  When it was started, way back in the day, my brother and I would be sent to bed around 9 or 10pm, while the adults laughed and exchanged the stories of their youths.... and guffawed some more.  So loud, it would keep us awake.  

These days, it is my brother and I, and our friends, staying up to the wee hours of the morning, laughing over the stupid shit we did when we were kids....  It's amazing that we turned out so well, and out of prison ;)  

What's even funnier (funny in the OMFG, I am so freaking old now type ofway) is that one of our friends now has a 10 year old son, who got to mingle among the adults this year.  I knew the look on his face well.  It was the same one my brother and I had once we were of age to listen ;)  

Guess things have come full circle.  Well, until Grace and her friends take our places at the adult table, anyway :)  

Christmas morning, we changed things up a bit.  Normally, we wouldn't open our immediate family gifts until after we'd come back from breakfast at my Aunt's.  This year, with Grace being well aware of presents and what was inside the wrapped boxes and bags, we couldn't hold it off.   

She woke up later than she has in her entire short life~ 8am!  She ran through the bedroom yelling "Wake up, Mama!  It's Christmas!"  Then she woke up everyone else :)  

I wasn't feeling too well at all.  Mom asked if Gracie could open some presents, so I told her to let her open her Santa gifts until I got my bearings.  Actually, I think I yelled "I don't care what she opens right now, just not ours."  I really felt nauseous.... but it went away pretty quickly.  That happens to me all the time if I don't sleep at least 7 hours straight.  Messed up metabolism of mine....  

She liked her Santa gifts well enough.  Those are little stocking stuffer type gifts.  Things we pick up here and there at sales.  Once I made it downstairs, she opened her real presents.  She picked the Noddy doll gift first ~ some kind of instincts that one has.  She just squealed, hugged him, and was jumping up and down :)  He made her day!    

Noddy was actually a gift from my brother.  I did bid on him to win, but it was on his account.  He had no idea what to get her and I already bought my gifts.  Grace didn't care who he was from, she was happy to have this little guy and some of his stuff :)  I have Noddy stickers everywhere.  

She got a Leapfrog desk from her Dad.  She runs to it while yelling "I gotta go to work!"  She got five new outfits from her grandparents (his parents) and $50.00.  His brother, Robert, got her a Neopet tiger, that she has not put down.  He's become Noddy's new 'ride' :)  

Wayne's sister, Helen, got Gracie some outfits, too.  And they met on Thursday.  (I had never met his sister, either :)  Wayne was working, so Grace and I went alone. Kind of uncomfortable, but I keep reminding myself its not about me....  I still have issues with that concept ;)  

My friend, Johnny, got Grace her first Breyer horse :)  She has a couple of mine from my childhood, but I won't get all the old stuff down because some of it is way too complicated for her right now....  

The rest is the usual little kid stuff like art supplies, under clothes, etc...  Overall, I'd say my girl raked it in :)   

My holiday hasn't been too bad, either.  Seems that it took a lot longer for me to prepare for the time that went by so very quickly.  I didn't end my candy making until four hours before the party began.  Well worth it though :)   

I mostly get gifts of money, since I can never decide on stores for gift cards.  I go through store phases where I hit the same one for awhile, then move on to my next conquest/fetish/obsession.  Like, two weeks ago, it was Michael's.  This week it's Meijer.  Next week may be Menard's or Lowe's.... then there's Starbuck's ;)  I always go there....  

Told Shelley, who works there, to find out why their coffee is so addicting.  She said it was the water filtration system.  Bull.  I think its all in the beans.  Even the grocery store bought stuff isn't the same.... and that was with bottle water, too.   So, money goes anywhere I do.  It is convenient  :)  

Mom loved her re-lined drawers.  My brother followed suit and gave her a certificate entitling her to 5 unconditional favors she may ask of him.  She loved that, too.  Think Mom had the best Christmas she has had in a long time.....  

(My parents will not ask my brother to help with anything around the house because they feel like he works all the time at Johnny's, fixing his place up.  In his 'spare' time he also works on restoring his 63 Ford Falcon, so they feel like they burden him.... which is so untrue.)  

Anyway, after presents, we went to my Aunt's for our annual breakfast of lox, bagels, cream cheese, oyster casserole, scrambled eggs, red onions and tomatoes (for the bagels).  My Aunt's ex boyfriend started this breakfast over 20 years ago.  He's gone and we're still eating it :)  We call it our Christmas Jewish breakfast :)   (The ex was Jewish, we are not) It is yummy though.   

Get this, after 20 years of me eating only the eggs and the bagels sans the lox and oysters... blehhh... my Aunt makes a big deal of it and they gave me, and only me, a slice of ham.  Now, I knew my uncle, Tom, did not eat the oysters or the lox.  He never has!  But my Aunt learned this year that he doesn't either~ now, I think they'll be two pieces of ham next year.   

I felt bad because I liked eating what we had at our breakfast and I don't make it a big deal.  It isn't.  I was happy.  I didn't have the heart to tell them I don't care for ham much.  I ate some of it and, luckily for me, Gracie wanted in on that action ;)   

We also draw names for our family since there are only eight adults and one child.  We used to write down three things, and the person buying picked one of them.  Nowadays, we just put what we want.  No surprises for us.    

All in all, my Christmas was a good one.  Everyone is healthy and in good spirits.  Old friends are still old friends, and the new ones are blending right in.... passing to the next generation :)    

Drifting towards a new year.  New beginnings.  Fresh starts.  And.... as a few people have reminded me lately, this time isn't only for the monumental decisions one starts or stops.  It is also remembering not to take the little things in life for granted....  

It's been another great year knowing many of you.  Some of us have only just begun....  

Welcoming 2006 and all it has to offer  :)  


Friday, December 23, 2005

The battle against time...

Well, folks, IT is almost here.     

Welcome to Christmas Eve Eve.  The day that finds most out and about trying to tie up those loose ends, while those who had their holiday shopping done in July, laugh.    

There are a few brave souls who do not even begin shopping until today and some even tomorrow!  I am not one of them.  Nope, all my gifts have been purchased.  They are still scattered throughout my already overstuffed bedroom, unwrapped, price tags intact...  etc, etc, etc.... but they are here.    

Last week, I volunteered to work today.  9-6.  Being Christmas Eve Eve, one would think parents would be dismissed from their daily doldrums of duty.  And they were.  We had 9 kids, lost one by 12:30.  I was down to 2 kids at 4:30....  The last one left at 5:55.  Merry f'in Christmas to the glorified baby-sitter, huh.    

Now, part of me expected this, don't get me wrong.  But I was one of two asst teachers who left last.  And she was yapping away on her cell phone....  Some rooms only had 4 kids all day and they all left early.  I still had a lot to do at home.  Make that still DO!    

I can't afford to buy everyone gifts where I work, so I had to make extra candies.  I gave 8 boxes away and still have enough for our open house tomorrow night.  (Open house is where anyone who has no place to go can show up.  We don't make plans, we just have a lot of food and spirits ;)  Oh yeah, and candies and cookies, too....    

I still have to decorate the sugar and the shortbread cookies.  And roll the truffles.  This year, I only made two flavors.  One is made with a Raspberry liquor and the other is Bailey's Irish Creme.  I was out of Kahluha (my favorite!) and Gran Marnier, so I ran with what I had.  I pour the alcohol in after the ganache has been heated, so it has its full effects ;)    

I dip the Bailey's in powdered (confectioners) sugar and the Raspberry is dipped into unsweetened cocoa powder.  Believe me, it needs to be~it is sweet.  Typically, I would dip Kahluha in an instant espresso powder mixed with a little powdered sugar and the Gran Marnier in white chocolate shavings.    

You're mouths are watering, I know ;)    

I made almond brickle, Grams' toffee, and pretzels dipped in melted white chocolate, peanut butter chips, and chocolate chips (separately of, course)  Then I roll those in various toppings like chopped almonds or pecans, jimmies (or sprinkles), colored sugars, mini chips, and even one with mini chips and marshmallows (have you ever tried to cut a marshmallow?)    

Now, you're hooked!    

I have been a busy confectionary cat. Never know, next year I may be able to afford to ship some out to my bestest buddies.  Get enough people addicted to my stuff, and I could be in business :)    

Almost forgot, I had to make some plain ganache truffles because Grace said "That's not fair.  I can't have alcohol yet."  Can't deny a 4-year-olds logic.... hope she still says that at 15!    

I'm closing with my mother's gift from me this year.  You see, she cannot stand for us to buy things for her.  She doesn't work like that.  The woman has not bought new clothes since I was Grace's age.  I am not kidding.  She hits yard sales, church sales, Goodwill....    

So, anyway, I had this brainstorm.  Since she prefers things we do to things we buy.  I relined all the drawers in our upstairs bathroom :) 

The stuff we had in there was brown and white and old.  Very old.  Mom had the bathroom redone in a peachy color last summer.  I bought contact paper to match from the hardware store (I adore hardware stores :)  I did that tonight already.    

I believe I finally will make my mother happy with her gift this year.  That, my friends, is a grand accomplishment ;)    

For those traveling, be safe. 

For those gathering, enjoy. 

Forthose hosting, relax. 

For everyone:  Merry Christmas!    


Sunday, December 18, 2005

I'm too slow...

Colleen tagged me, so here:  

10 things that make Kitty purr, in no particular order....  

1.  Chocolate, the darker the better :)  

2.  Grace, on a good day.  The days when the 'public' G is on at home, she is polite, well behaved, soft spoken.... unlike the 'private' girl, who is loud, demanding, and enjoys pushing her mother's every last button.

3.  Being home alone, whether with Grace or not.... read that My parents are gone!  ;)  

4.  Sex.  When I had sex, that is....   

5.  Work.  Despite the issues we have, I love my job.  I'm there for the kids, that's it :)  

6.  Finishing my list of things to do early!  I hardly ever finish one, so actually doing it early is a miracle in itself.....

7.  A good movie.  I haven't seen a movie that drew me in since LOTR.  Not even Star Wars, that is sad.  I'm a huge space/sci fi junkie.  

8.  Naptime!  No explanation necessary ;)  

9.  Hearing "I love you, Mommy" for no reason, spontaneously.  

10.  Getting comments!  From old friends and new ones, alike...  I love reading what you have to say :)

Pretty sure everyone has done this, so consider my not tagging anyone, a Christmas gift  :)  


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Follow the leader...

I had an epiphany.  An a-ha moment.   

But first, an explanation of why I haven't updated my Cat House Journal... 

Basically after AOL yanked it, I didn't want to lose my work again.  And yeah, it was my fault for not saving it elsewhere... I never thought a private journal was held to the same accountability as public ones... I thought it was safe   :::cough-bullisht-cough:::   

So, I obviously cannot write what I write without being obscene <picture Christian porn> (My apologies to Christians, but that's funny right there ;)  

Here comes the bright idea....  

Why not move it to Blogspot?!  There are no rules on the other side.  I can go even harder than before ;)   I'll even be safe for graphics!  Don't have to worry about people I offend because I won't be politically correct.... or quiet.   

Anyway, the real question is will you follow?  I wouldn't be able to leave the link here because of the material it leads to.  So those who don't subscribe to some other feed or blog watch service might add it to their favorite places.  I usually say when I update it in here, though.  I like to keep you informed :)  

Gimme your opinions on relocating, please....  

Update on work is not good.  I was off today, but Molly worked.  She comes in at 2 every day.  She called me at 3:30 saying that #2, the one who made the shedding Christmas trees from yesterdays fun fare, was taking the reindeer down again!  #2 told her they wanted the parents to have them for Christmas and Molly responded that we're still open next week.  So, Molly put them back up in another location. 

At this point Molly stayed quiet, but it got to her.    Then, she called me back at 6 and said Mrs. lead yelled at her for doing artwork with the kids today.  Saying that Molly needed to clear any artwork with her first and that they had already done some artwork today.  She said this to her at 4:30 on her way out the door.  Molly did the artwork at 3:30, why couldn't Mrs. Lead have stopped her if she didn't want her to do it?   

Molly had had enough, so she went down and gave her two weeks notice to the office.  The upside is they wouldn't let her.  Well, they talked her out of it because she'll be a floater as of next month and won't have to put up with it.  These people are so petty and Mrs. Lead just doesn't do her job very well.  

Tomorrow, I am asking the Director for the credentials to be qualified for the position.  Mrs Lead said nothing while #2 and Molly had words.. in the room... in front of the kids.  How's that for mediating?  

She should have had them go out of the room, or to the staff room and deal with it.  Or, she could've just intervened because I really don't understand why they had to come down so soon (they were up for 3 days!)  We leave crap up for weeks....  

I foresee a meeting for our room with the Director coming.  Spread the holiday cheer ;)  

Molly has to work at noon tomorrow with Mrs. Lead and #2.  Maybe they'll move her to a different room....  she may request it.  I would.  

Well, kiddies, its bedtime for me :)  

Let me know!  


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

One way or another....

I don't like Jim Carrey too much... but I'm stealing his line.  "Somebody stop me!"  Actually, I have stopped myself.  Didn't know I  could actually do that ;)  

Yes, I am officially done with Ebay.  For now, anyway....  I did quite well, too.  Let's see, I got:  

1.  2 pairs of name brand jeans for $22.59 (I know! A steal for my size ;)

2.  A sapphire in 14kt yellow gold ring for $26.75

3.  A sapphire in sterling for $11.95  

And of course the child's items consisting of:  

1.  The Noddy doll for $21.95 (OMG! The only purchase where I exceeded my limit)  

2. 4 Noddy books (the big ones with lots of stories) for $19.69  

3.  Noddy stickers $3.24.   

Prices include shipping, too :)  Kitty did do well!  

But I am back to not being an ebayer now.  I could easily get caught up in all that with my never ending collection of junk addiction.  If I showed you my bedroom, you would understand.  It has been in clutter overload longer than I care to mention.  That is probably why I only go in there to sleep.  I can't really stand clutter, it just follows me around.  

Here's a pointless, drawn out story for you that tells the kind of crap I deal with at work....  

You know I mentioned my favorite coworker, who just also happens to be great at artwork with the kids.  She did these reindeer by tracing the kids' shoe and hands, using the feet as the face and the hands as the antlers.  Sounds neat, doesn't it?  They look awesome and she hung them outside our room, where we usually display the nice artwork.  

Yesterday, I guess someone took them down and put up 'My Christmas list' collages the kids did using cut out magazine pictures.  Not nearly as nice, but whatever....  

Whoever took the reindeer down, put them in the kid's cubbies to go home.  My coworker did not want them to go home yet, so she took them out and put them above the bulletin board inside our room, in front of the person who took them down.  She did not say anything to anyone about taking them down from outside.  

Fast forward to today, when the Christmas trees the kids made with another coworker (a paper tree with sequins and such glued on) started shedding their fake snow all over the floor, after some of our boys started throwing the balls at them.  Which then prompted one of our girls to sit there and eat anything that fell to the floor.   

So, I said to Molly (my fave) I think we should move those to the outside and bring the collages in here.  Make sense to you?  Did to me, too.  

I have no idea what Mrs. Lead thought I said, but she all of a sudden got mad and said that SHE put those up there and to just leave them.  Then she mumbled some other isht about "us not being there to worry about art projects and where they were, we're supposed to worry about the kids" and walked out the door to get a buggy.  That's what she does when she gets mad, she leaves.  Oh f'in well....  

So I said to Molly and the sub we had in there that we needed to vacuum that stuff up before the girl chowing down crapped a sequin at home.  Who needs that drama?  We swept it up.   

When Mrs. Lead came back, I said "I am sorry if I made you mad, but it is the kids I am worried about.  The kid is eating the stuff, so yeah I am concerned.  I could really care less about artwork and where it is or is not, but if a kid on my watch is affected by it, then yes, I am going to change that!" 

She took them down and put them on the table.  I asked if I should switch them with the collages and she said yeah, whatever.  

I left them on the table.  I don't respond to attitude.  Especially when given with no idea of what in the hell I was talking about in the first place.  She thought I was moving them because someone moved Molly's work.  Molly is quite capable of fighting her own battles, too.  That is why I like her so well, ya know :)  Once Molly took her stuff out of the cubbies and put them on the wall, Molly was over it.  

I was completely caught off guard by Mrs. Lead's attack.  I handled it and also emailed my other two coworkers, so they would know why the trees are on the table.  Andknow that I did it, and not Molly.  They like to blame Molly for everything.... they're still mad she instigated the cleaning of our room!  The funny thing is Molly is only 19 and is more mature than 3 of our other 4 coworkers!  

Maybe I'll vie even harder for Mrs. Lead's job now ;)  Keep pushing Kitty, woman.....  

In other news, Gracie had her class Christmas party today.  She also has another cold.  She wanted to go to school because it is their last day until after the holidays and the party, of course.  My girl ain't stupid ;)   

I went for the party in the last hour of class and all that child did was scream how she hated everyone and every thing!  I know she didn't feel well, but I will not tolerate the word hate from a child.  She can 'not like' what ever she wants to, but she does not know the strength of the word hate.  (I say the same thing for words like stupid and dumb, from kids).  Told you all I am a militant mom....  

Anyway, after I heard her say it more than I would ever let her get away with at home, that was exactly where we went.  Home.  I gave her some medicine, lunch, and put her butt to bed.  She should be happy she was sick or she would've had some 'Dawn' in her mouth as well....  

I went to work after that and Dad said she just laid on the couch most of the day.  I should've kept her home.  Now I know :)  

Well, that's all for me.  I wish I could go back in time where all I had to do all day is this:

                       Picture from Hometown  

Now, that is laid-back!  

Yes, she is biting her fingernails, too.  Where in heck do kids pick these things up?  I haven't bitten my nails since I wiped elderly people's butts for a living and Grace has never seen me do that....  She doesn't seem like a nervous kid to me... never has been.  I want to know why!  

That's Sammy the horse.  He arrived for her birthday :)  

Have a great one....  


Monday, December 12, 2005

Future, present, and past tenses rolled into one....

Hello journal family :)  How you all doing?  

Figured I'd better get an entry in before another week goes by.  Is it me, or is time zooming by faster every day?  Wasn't it just Halloween a month ago?  And Thanksgiving just a week ago?  I personally think there is something wrong with solar system.  Time is advancing faster and we don't even notice....  

And no, I am not stoned.  

I'm just vastly aware that I'm behind in my plans and I cannot possibly take the blame ;)  It couldn't be my newly found Ebay addiction.  Or my ability to continually play online games for hours.  Or the fact that I can sit here staring at a computer screen with nothing on it.  Nope, that's not it.  

It has to be some flaw in the space-time continuum.  Has to be.  

I'm really dreading the new year for many reasons.  One is that I need to get off my lazy ass and get it in gear.  At some point, I have to realize I am not 20 anymore (physically, that is) and that my health is seriously in jeopardy if I stay this course.  

Second is my most favorite-ist coworker's college schedule changes, and I will not be working with her anymore :(    Kitty's crying crocodile tears on that one.  She is the only one I really, REALLY, get along with... we're on the same page on everything :)  That is hard to come by.. I'm sure you understand that.  

Third is I will be working more hours.  Okay, I'm not really upset about that... actually looking forward to being out of the house more than twice a week.  And of course, making more moo-lah.  That is always a good thing where I'm concerned.  I am money driven.  I'm Scrooge, like that ;)  

I won't be able to pick up too many more hours until April, when Mom goes on part time at work.  I have already talked to the Director, and she seems hopeful she'll be able to use me there more often.  My star coworker and I are trying to devise a schedule we'll both be able to work in the same room... but it may prove to be impossible  <sigh>  

Well, that's all I can think of for now.  But it's enough to start.  

Hey!  You remember the bat I caught a few months back?  Sometime in the summer, as that's when they come into the house.  I said then that they come in twos and I was on alert for bat #2 to come dive-flying over my head. 

Well, guess what?   

I was putting the girl to bed tonight and came into my room for something.  I happened to look at the door connecting my room to the guest/computer room, on the top moulding of the door frame...  I have a smoke alarm up there.  Tonight, I also had a half-hibernating bat, hanging from one arm, on my smoke alarm.  

The poor guy.  I certainly cannot keep a bat in the house with a very curious one year old kitty.  She had obviously seen the little sucker flying around at night and was very interested in getting her first bat toy... or meal, whichever.  

I grabbed my trusty bat catcher (an empty storage tub) and used the lid to scrape the bat, smoke detector and all, into the tub.  The bat barely moved.  My options are limited to killing it or putting it outside.  Since I only kill mosquitos, ticks, fleas, and flies, I put it outside.  He wouldn't even try to fly.  It is very cold out tonight, so I laid (or scooted) him on the chair on the porch.   

He is so 'asleep', I wonder if it will be there in the morning.  I really hope not.  I don't even want to think about it dying because I didn't take it to the barn.  That was just lazy on my part.  Well, that and it's f'in freezing outside and I didn't want to trek my fat ass down there.   

Crap, now I'm going to have to go look and move it if he's still there.  

I have so much to do tomorrow.  With time moving as it is, next week will be over in two days, thought I'd get a jump start on my candies... just hope we don't eat it all before Christmas Eve!   

But, next week is the last week of work until after New Year's (we're closed the week between Christmas and New Year), so I have to get enough made for all my coworkers and other staff for presents by the end of the week.  

Okay, that whole paragraph is confusing as hell.  

Grace has dance class tomorrow.  I cannot believe the difference in her between last year and this year.  She is so much the star student now.  Unbelievable!  There are a couple of girls, one in particular, who do the same crap she did last year.  I've talked to both their Mom's, hoping they don't get discouraged from enrolling them for next year.  (I detect the same confusion in that paragraph ;)  

I'm past my bedtime, so I'm off of here.  I'll leave you with last weekend's picture :)  

Picture from Hometown  

Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.....  


PS~   Yea!  The bat is gone!     :)  :)  :)

PSS~ Don't know why my pictures get blurry, either.... damn it.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Make way for Noddy....

That title is what Noddy's show is called.  I knew many of you would not know Noddy... so here he is, the cute little guy :)                                      Picture from Hometown  

Okay, I'll admit it... I think he's cute, too ;)  It's one kids show I don't mind watching.  I did win the doll and 4 books, so Gracie is set for her little heart to be contented on Christmas morning.  

Think I'll be smiling too.  I bought myself some jeans and working on a sapphire ring, as that's Grace's birth month gemstone.  Yes, I buy myself Christmas presents.  I get one from Grace and one from Santa :)   And I get what I want ;)  

We got a little under 8" of snow yesterday.  Of course, Grace still had school this morning and I contemplated keeping her home, but she's out for Winter Break as of next Friday, so I took her.  I did keep her home from Speech Therapy though.  It's only a 1/2 hour class and the bus ride is 45 minutes long... just not worth it today.  

I had to go out and finish shoveling the driveway.  Grace wanted to go play in it but it was only 11 degrees(F), without the wind chill.  I let her outside for a few minutes to burn some energy off.... she needed that in a bad way today :)  

Tomorrow she is going with Mom for breakfast with Santa :)  Its at the hospital Mom works for, so hopefully it'll be quiet enough to sleep in for awhile.  I hate that my digi cam is down.  Waiting for pictures to be developed takes too long.... and I never remember to scan them once I get them.  Oh well, I'll do my best to get some in here....  

Well, back to bidding... someone put Noddy stickers for sale  :)  

Have a good night!  


Monday, December 5, 2005

How long?

Time flies.   Especially when searching frantically for something.  Or bidding like a mad woman on Ebay ;)   You see, I have a problem.  

My 4 year old daughter is in love.   Yes, people, my girl has been bitten by the love bug.  Gracie has a boyfriend. 

Unfortunately, he resides mostly in the UK.  He is an elf and his name is 'Noddy'.   She loves him so much, she wants him.... and only him... for Christmas.  The problem is I can't find him in the States, except for Ebay... and even there, he is hard to come by.  I have been in bidding wars all week.... okay, for two weeks now ;)   I have been outbid each and every item. 

So, I wander across the pond and I cannot afford to buy and ship it here.  I looked at and wow, what a selection of elven delight.  Not gonna happen.    There were a few Canadian items... outbid.  I have under an hour on an 11" Noddy plush doll on Ebay... I may go as high $20.00 just to have something Noddy under the tree. 

No retail stores know who I am talking about... they all want to sell me the Breyer horse 'Noddy'.  Why they can't tell the difference between an elf and a horse, I don't know...   

Had I known it would be this difficult to obtain, I would have had our friend, Jackie, get something from England when she went home to visit last summer!  I didn't know Noddy was so unknown here...  He's been around since the mid to late 50's.  I love the books (by Enid Blyton) and she has so many stories for older kids too.  Anyway, he's a cute little guy, as Gracie would say ;)  

So, that is what I've been doing with my computer time lately.   

Work is going okay.  We have a total of 14 kids in our room, but only on Wednesdays do we have them all.  I have made it through a complete rotation of children now.  All the ones who were there when I started, are now in the 2's room.  My favorite little blue eyes was the last to move.  She was speaking in complete sentences and could say any word you said to her.  Her favorite was cappacino  ;)  

There are a few kids in the newbies who are growing on me fast.  Others, not so much so...  Funny thing is, all the ones who I think are cute, turn out to be brats.  We have some very spoiled, undisciplined tots.  Ones who are not used to being told 'No' and who get their way everytime they cry at home.  I'm not saying we are hard on them, but when you have 10 or more toddlers, you have to say no.   

A couple have complete meltdowns if you say no or take a toy away that they have taken from one of their 'friends'.  They don't get the concept of sharing when they first come into our room.  By the time they turn 2, they get it.  

But, with the bad always comes the good... and they make up for the ones who drive us up the wall.  The majority of the kids are pretty good. 

My coworkers are well.  #2 still drives us nuts, always leaving early and having to be right all the time.  It's Christmas time, so I'm on good behavior ;)  

Tomorrow is dance class for the child.  Her main recital for this year will be 'Alice in Wonderland'.  I love that story, so this should be a blast :)  Her class is going to be the Oysters.  That's their ballet routine. 

The tap routine will be performed in the other recital, 'The Big Top' and they will be cotton candy :)  Some will wear pink and some will wear blue.  Being this is her second year, it ought to be interesting :)  

Okay, well gotta go check out Ebay, again.....  

Hope all is well with everyone!  

Thanks to Bernie for my Christmas lights on my no ad signs ;)  


Friday, November 25, 2005

Still stuffed.....

Hello to all my favorite people :)  

Hope everyone got super stuffed on their Thanksgiving feasts.  I know I did!  With both oven roasted and deep fried turkey on our table, among all the glorious side dishes consisting of yams, asparagus, mashed potatoes, 3 types of cranberry sauce, rolls, and corn souffle (corn puddin, for my southern friends ;) we had ourselves a feast!  Of course, no feast would be complete without dessert.  Offered were both pumpkin and pecan pie :)  

I had my piece of pecan pie today... there was no room left yesterday.  It was all so yummy, but I'm pretty much over it tonight.  All turkied out...  

Grace had a cold yesterday, so she couldn't go with me to help serve at the food kitchen.  This is the second year she missed it, but my Dad thinks she shouldn't go anymore, anyway.  He's thinking of her safety, and I understand his point, but its not like I have to stay there.  If something should ever happen that I'm uncomfortable with, we'd leave!  

Ah well, maybe I'll just take her with me to the children's hospital for Christmas.  She has always enjoyed going there and handing out presents and candy to the little sick ones.  She liked to tell them stories last year :)  

This evening we went downtown to watch 'The Circle of Lights'.  They transform our Soldiers and Sailors monument downtown into a Christmas tree.  It is a big deal and this was the 43rd year :)  Be sure to watch Monday night football so you can see it live!  I love the way our downtown is decorated for the holidays :)  Everything is lit up....                                    

I love the monument by itself!  The architecture is fascinating.  For the history lesson: 

It was designed by Bruno Schmitz (1858-1916), Germany's foremost architect of national monuments. Completed in 1901, the Monument appears to be Schmitz's only commission outside of Germany and Switzerland. Most of the bronze and stone sculptures on the Monument were designed, executed and manufactured by Germans.                                             Soldiers and Sailors monument photo 

                  Photograph of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, ca. 1895  

The limestone sculptures are the work of Vienna-born sculptor Rudolf Schwarz (1866-1912). The bronze Army Astragal sculptural band above the monument base was designed by Nicolaus Geiger (1849-1897) of Berlin. The Astragal and the eight candelabra were manufactured in Berlin.   

Bronze Astragals  designed by Nicolaus Geiger and 
George W. Brewster.  (Photo by Ruth Reichmann)

North side of Monument: 
Limestone sculptures by Rodolf Schwarz, representing 
Artillery and Navy and plaque honoring soldiers of other
wars.  Above it the bronze Army Astragal sculpture band 
designed be Nicolaus Geiger.  (Photo By Ruth Reichmann

South side of Monument:
Limestone sculptures by Rudolf Schwarz, representing 
Infantry and Cavalry and Civil War plaque.  Above it the 
bronze Army Astragal sculptured band designed by 
Nicolaus Geiger of Berlin. (Photo by Ruth Reichmann)

The State Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument was dedicated in 1902 to Indiana's heroes who died in wars before World War I. Erected as a memorial to the soldiers and sailors of the War for the Union (1861-65), it also commemorates the War with Mexico (1846-48), Indian and British Wars (1811-12), War of the Revolution and the capture of Vincennes from the British on February 25, 1779.  

South side of Monument:
Limestone sculptures by Rudolf Schwarz, representing 
Infantry and Cavalry and Civil War plaque.  Above it the 
bronze Army Astragal sculptured band designed by 
Nicolaus Geiger of Berlin. (Photo by Ruth Reichmann)

East side of monument: Statuary group "War" 
with "The Dying Soldier" below it by Rudolf Schwarz 
(Photo by Ruth Reichmann)

The Monument rises from a circular plaza, 342 feet in diameter, where once stood the governor's house--but where no governor ever lived. At the lower level of the Monument is a Civil War exhibit.                             

Anyway, it is something else to see in person... and anyone tuning into the Colts vs. the Steelers game on Monday night will see it, I'm sure!  Just wish we had some snow to make it extra sparkly ;)  

Onward, I now have a cold, too.  Knew I would as all the daycare kids have something going on, too.  I don't care how many vitamins a person takes, kids' germs permeate through anything.  I knew I shoud've kept taking Airborne :)  Now, I'm sucking diligently on Cold-Eeze lozenges.... Hopefully, I can kick it by Monday!  

Yes, two of my three favorite NFL teams, meet up for that game... and I'll be sitting quietly cheering both sides.  I don't want the Colts to lose a game, but the Steelers need a win.  Of course, if Tommy Maddox starts instead of Ben Roethlisberger (spelled without looking it up, too ;) I'll root for the Colts~ loudly.  Anyone who knows Tommy, knows how the game will end up for the Steelers.  

Okay, as you can tell by my font colors (hopefully), I'm decorating for Christmas.  Feel free to bombard me with your creativity ;)  I want to spruce up my sidebar.  Anyone think I can hang Christmas lights on my No Ads signs?  I know, its a cool idea ;)  

That about wraps things up in my neck of the woods.  Glad you stopped by :)  Nae~Nae better hurry, though, I'm having serious DTs without her around.  

Hang in there peeps....  


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Biting the bullet.....

Hey guys!  

Just wanted to wish all my family and friends reading here, a very happy Thanksgiving holiday :)  

This whole ad thing has really messed things up for me.  You all know I just suck at maintaining two journals in the same place, well imagine what two journals on two different sites does.....   

I really don't want to learn a new site, to make my new place look like mine... I already have a place~here, in my first 'home'.  I know some people have subscribed to Changenotes, but not many and I know its a big pain for my loyal readers to follow me around.   

I am against the ads, still.  Will always be and will continue trying to stop them.  But I think.... no, I know.... writing somewhere else doesn't feel right.  I am not comfortable there.  Sounds silly, I'm sure.  I am already a virtually unknown in J~Land,  Blogspot is like jail for me.  I feel isolated and alone there.   

This is my favorite time of the year from Thanksgiving until Spring, I come alive.  The first measurable snow fall brings me to life and sets the wheels in my head turning towards happiness and harmony, instead of the monotonous droning that Spring and Summer bring for me.  Kinda like a reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder :)  

Anyway, I think, on this day of thanks, Kitty's coming home..... to stay.  

I am thankful to everyone who stands next to me to continue our fight against ads.  I am thankful for my friends here... my second family.  I am thankful that the people I've grown to adore in this, our online community, are forgiving and non judgmental.  I am thankful for all of J~Land,the popular bloggers and not-so popular ones, the ones who left and the ones who stayed~you're all special in my book.  

Most of all, I am thankful for second chances.....   

Hope your families are all safe and happy this Thanksgiving, and for many more to come.  

Now, let's eat!  


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It's a Groovy day....

Thoughts from a former J~Lander.....   With permission, of course.  Thanks, Groovy :)

For My AOL J-Land Readers

Feeling: Tired, But Thanks For Asking ;)
Hearing: White Christmas -- The Lettermen


So. There's quite the controversy going on in AOL's J-Land Community these days over the recently added banner ads to AOL's subscriber's journals. Some of you have asked me for my opinion, having not only been a member of AOL's J-Land Community, but also being a former AOL employee. So I thought I'd give you all my take on it.

I don't typically use my blog for this kind of thing. In fact, I don't think I ever have. The purpose of this blog is completely different than that. But, you asked, so I'll tell. I really wanted to do this entry a few days ago, but I honestly have been just so busy. But, I figure better late than never. So here it is...

First of all, I feel the immediate need to voice this sentiment: I used the term "AOL's J-Land Community" above. That's almost a Catch-22 phrase in itself. A huge part of me doesn't want to call it AOL's Community. Because, let's face it. AOL provided the space, but all of us -- and yes, I'm including myself in this because I was a part of the community at one point -- made it the community that it now is. Or sadly, the community that it was until last week. A part of me truly feels that it is your community.

Having gotten that part out of my system, I want to give you some background on where I fit into all of this. Most of you know that I was an employee of AOL. But I'm not sure many of you know exactly what I did when I worked there.

I was on this wonderful team of people that was called the Community Management Team. There were about 150 of us from all over the country who worked from our homes to manage various communities on AOL. The four biggest areas on AOL are, in no particular order, News, Sports, Personal Finance, and Entertainment. There are many, many more areas on AOL (such as Parenting, Health, Education, etc.) that are fabulous areas, but the four largest ones are the ones I mentioned above. I was in one of those four areas.

I worked in my area from October of 2002 until February of this year. And I loved my job. When I began, our jobs were more diverse than they were towards the end. I did everything from creating message boards to writing content to customer service and a zillion other things. I was probably most proud of my work when I saw it featured on AOL Welcome Screens. I remember signing on one day, seeing the Welcome Screen linking to a feature that I built from scratch and thinking, "Oh my God! Millions of people will sign onto AOL today and the very first thing that they will see is a link to MY BABY!" One feature in particular that I did was heavily promoted throughout the entire AOL service -- even on the main Journals page. I can't tell you what a feeling that is. (Some of you may have seen some of my work, and although you don't know it was mine, I'm proud as hell that you've seen it.)

In December of 2004, AOL announced a very large lay-off. Unfortunately, all of us who worked from our homes (plus a very large number of people in the Corporate Offices) were laid off. It was an extremely difficult thing to get through, and I went through a real anger phase, but I can look at it now and know that it was a business decision. They were kind enough to give us two months' notice. A lot of companies don't give that.

By that time, my job had changed significantly. AOL had gone through a huge community re-structure, and my job had turned solely into community management. I was no longer providing content, but I was managing Community Leaders, managing Message Boards and Chat Rooms, and doing mostly Customer Service.

(I promise, this really does have something to do with the banner ads on the journals -- I'm getting there, really!)

My Customer Service position was a hard one. There were times that I absolutely dreaded signing onto my Customer Service screen names to check the mail. The reason? At one point, AOL changed Message Board formats. And many, many people weren't happy. People in general don't like change. And I can understand that. I was so used to the old boards myself, I knew everything about them -- from the user side and the back-end -- and looking at the new ones, having to learn all over again how to use them, figuring out how to navigate through them and all that jazz wasn't easy for me, and I worked for AOL. Meaning, I had to pretend to be knowledgeable on a subject that I was trying to learn myself. The members hated these boards.

I look at the boards on occasion now, and my personal opinion is that they're really nice, and ultimately, they're actually easier to use than the old format. But, man! What a transition!

I got some of the nastiest e-mails from members. Some asking me to change the boards back, some threatening me with account cancellations, and some asking me to do inappropriate things that weren't anatomically possible. With my mother. I can't tell you how many tears I shed over some of these nasty, hateful e-mails.


Of course, I couldn't do that. And when I was feeling the worst of the frustration (which, at that point, was several times a day), I had to walk away from my computer and remind myself that these members were paying members and were visibly upset about the changes. Without them, I wouldn't have a job. And they deserved to be heard.

I also had to remind myself that I was their front line. I was the one in my area whose e-mail address they were given to voice these complaints. They had nowhere else to turn. This was my job. My life-line. How I would feed and clothe my children. And, regardless of how I personally felt about these changes (and I hated them myself), it was my job to not only help these members in every way I could, but to continue to be loyal to my employer. It's the hardest position in the world at times, and finding that middle ground is often next to impossible.

I had so many members ask me how I could work for such a horrible company. How could I work for someone who treated their members so terribly? The answer was simple: It's not easy to find a job that pays relatively well that allows me to work from my home so that I could be here for my children. Prior to my AOL job, I worked for an AOL Partner site. I started that job when Princess was 4 months old, and eventually had Spiderson while working there. How many other jobs can you bring a 23-month old and a newborn to? How many other jobs can you return to 48 hours after you've had a C-section?

Did I agree with every business decision that AOL made? No, of course not. But I've never, ever worked for a company where I was in 100% agreement with everything they've done -- even now, and I'm self-employed. But I continued working for AOL because I couldn't imagine finding another job that allowed me to be here when my children needed me. I felt like I missed out on so much with Goth Daughter because I worked outside of the home. And I was lucky enough to be able to make money and still be home with my children. Does this lower my professional integrity? Working for a company that sometimes makes unpopular decisions with their customers? Maybe. But my personal integrity meant more to me. There were many people, though, who faulted me for staying at my job. I still don't understand that.

So, fast-forward to last Tuesday. Which, by the way, I have seen mention of the day actually being referred to as Black Tuesday.

So everyone gets up in the morning and goes to update their journals. To their surprise, they're greeted by Bank of America trying to give them a loan at the top of their journals, when all they want to do is update them.

Then comes Surprise Number Two. The Save Entry buttons aren't working.

I saw a couple of New Entry alerts in my e-mail alerting me to the issue. Y'know what my first thought was? I thought, "I would hate to be John Scalzi and Joe the Journals Editor right now." So I took a little hike over to their journals.

<FONTFACE=VERDANA size="3" color="#a6a6d2">Oh my God, you guys are vocal! But, rightfully so.

I saw some comments in these guys' journals that ranked right up there with the ones I'd gotten myself. Luckily, the really bad ones were from screen names that I'm not familiar with. I'm so glad that my friends are showing some class with this. Don't get me wrong -- I never, ever thought any of you would be anything less than mature and rational. I just know that even the person with the most class in the world can lose it when they feel like they've been wronged.

I was glad to see that everyone is expressing how they feel about this. I really admire you guys for standing up for what you feel is right. I mean that.

One thing that is bothering me is that the comments are still trickling into Joe's and John's journals. There has been an e-mail address set up specifically for complaints about these banner ads. But, Joe and John are still getting nasty comments. Most of them have begun to die off, but there are some persistent little buggers.

Let me interject here that I have never met John Scalzi, nor have I ever had any direct contact with him. I occasionally read his journal. I don't even have him on Alerts. That's the extent of my relationship with him. Joe, I think I met in passing one time at an AOL conference a couple of years ago. If he's who I'm thinking of, he seemed like a nice guy. But I've never spent more than maybe 20 seconds with him.

I'm stressing that because I don't want anyone to think that I'm just saying what I'm saying because I'm sticking up for friends. I don't know these guys. I've simply been in their shoes. And those shoes may as well be three sizes too small with 8-inch stiletto heels and no arch support. They hurt that much.

Anyway, my point is this: I feel so badly for them, because they are catching the heat from a decision that I suspect they had no part in making. I know many of you are aware of that because I've read several comments in their j's to that effect. And I'm seeing more and more like that every time I read their comments. Thank you for realizing that.

If youhaven't already, please write an e-mail to the address they've provided. That is the appropriate measure to take. I can assure you that when I was manning an e-mail complaint box, I copied and pasted every last email into a Word Document and forwarded it to my boss, who forwarded it to her boss, who forwarded it to her boss, who forwarded it to her boss, who forwarded it to her boss, and I am confident that it got forwarded beyond that. They did get passed up the chain.

Whether or not that will get those ads removed from the AOL Journals, I don't know. And I don't want to speculate on this one. I just want to do my part to get people barking up the right tree.

On a similar note, I do feel a need to stand up for John Scalzi on another issue. He's taking a lot of heat for making a statement back in May. He said then that AIM members would be able to start journals, and that the difference between AIM and AOL-paid journals was that AIM journals would have banner ads.

Scalzi wasn't "lying" then, as some people have accused him of doing. At the time, that was the difference. And I'd be willing to bet that he had no idea that this would change when he made that statement. I strongly feel that neither Scalzi nor Joe has misrepresented AOL. 'Nuff said there.

The biggest issue that I'm having with this whole thing, though, is that I'm seeing the community being divided. I'm seeing friends turn against friends. I'm seeing name-calling and fighting. And I don't like that.

Until the day I die, I will think that everyone has the right to their opinion about anything. I think that people have every right to speak out on it, if it's done appropriately. I think that no one has the right to make something like banner ads in journals personal and to fault someone else for doing what they feel is right.

I'm seeing people calling other people names because they're leaving AOL's J-Land, and I'm seeing people calling other people names because they're staying. And, I'm seeing people blaming AOL for causing it.

I'm sorry, but AOL is not responsible for someone calling someone else an "ad-whore". That is the immaturity of the name-caller. If anyone truly thinks that AOL is causing all this animosity, then it's only because J-Land (as a whole -- not anyone in particular) is letting it. Seems to me that no one is happy with these banner ads. Yet somehow, people aren't sticking together. It takes an army to battle a giant. I think that army should be on the same side and not bickering amongst themselves.

I truly hate that this once-strong community is now divided. I hate that friendships are being destroyed over something as silly as an advertisement. Honestly -- is your friendship with someone seriously less important than the 1-inch space it takes to put up an ad? If anyone is faulting someone over 1 little inch, then I don't know that they're that much of a friend to begin with.

I know. It's the principle. But if the old saying is right, that you have to choose your battles, then choose the right battle. I think that your battle should be with AOL. Not with each other.

I wish that everyone in J-Land would call a truce. This is silly to fight each other over something that you're all mad at AOL for. Personally, I don't fault anyone for staying at AOL, and I don't fault anyone for leaving. This is an individual decision, but there is no unilaterally right or wrong decision to make. It's a personal one, and what's right for one person might be wrong for someone else.

*EDITED TO ADD:  Ya know, I've had a few hours to think about this some more, and something just occurred to me.  People are upset about having these banner ads because they detract from the content in their journals.  But the more that I think about it, the more I think that this uproar is causing even more attention to the ads themselves.  Doesn't that defeat the purpose?

I might be off-base, but I want to add that little bit of food for thought.

OK, having gone through all of that, I do have a personal opinion on the banner ads. They suck. I chose not to put banner ads on my blog. I paid extra not to have banner ads on my company's web site.

However, I don't not visit particular web sites simply because they have banner ads. They just aren't that big of a deal to me. It takes me a lot less time to scroll past a banner ad than it does to sit through a commercial on TV. And I haven't stopped watching TV either.

I don't think that everyone who has a Kodak ad on their journal necessarily endorses Kodak. That, to me, is like saying that everyone who pays to get on the subway endorses Company X because Company X advertises on the subway.

I know it was a shock to see these ads suddenly appear on journals, but I seriously doubt many people are clicking on them or even paying attention to them. My opinion is that this shouldn't be taken personally.

I've just re-read this entry and realized that it sounds very pro-AOL. I can't get into particulars, but I can assure you that I'm not pro-AOL. Nor am I anti-AOL. It just is what it is.

When I parted ways with AOL being my employer, I certainly had the opportunity to keep an AOL or AIM journal. I didn't do that. I still have the opportunity to open another AOL or AIM journal. I won't be doing that either. I have my reasons for keeping my blog off AOL. I'm not going into the whys, but I hope everyone can respect my decision, just as I respect everyone else for the decisions they have made.

This is the only entry in my blog that I plan on devoting to this subject. (Never say never, ya know.) However, I don't mind talking about it in e-mail, should anyone want even more of my opinion on it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Only because a friend needs it...

I know I said I was not using this place for personal writing, but tonight, I need to make an exception.   I just got an email from Stacy (Djzgirl71). 

Her Mom is in the hospital in Texas right now.  They believe she has had a heart attack, as she had all the symptoms.    They are doing an EKG and Stacy will let us know what they find.  

She is asking for prayers, well wishes, and thoughts for her mother.   It is enough for me to put my differences with AOL's ads aside for my friend. 

Please drop her a note at her new journal or via email.  

Thank you all, it means so much....

My thoughts are with you, your Mom, and your family, Stacy.  Keep me posted when you can.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

And the beat goes on....

Protest against Ad Banners, Article #2.....  

November 19, 2005

Angry AOL bloggers now push boycotts Stephen Baker

The anger over banner ads on AOL Journals is reaching a fever pitch. Bloggers are organizing boycotts of advertisers, presumably including Bank of America, whose ad appears on the Journals I've seen today. One even features flash art.View image I'm still not seeing any response from AOL.

Some Journal bloggers, of course, are less bothered by the ads. Here's a very funny post from an AOL blogger who shrinks from the idea of migrating to Google's Blogspot.

eww, I simply refuse to post an entry on something called "blogspot". I think I had a blogspot once...

Update: I originally posted the image as an art element on the post. But on second thought, I didn't think it was right to post ads as art (especially on a post about people rebelling against ads). So I changed it to a pop-up.

12:54 PM

The link.

Now, I know that not everyone minds the ads, or are against fighting to have them removed.  However, I feel that making light of this is not going to get us the type of press we need right now.  (I'm not saying you cannot have your own opinion, I am addressing the writer of the article... don't go hatin')

Still, just to have the issue still being discussed counts for something :)


Something useful, for a change....



Anyone who is trying to follow journals outside of AOL can sign up for Changenotes. 

It operates similar to alerts.  Just add the url to your watchlist and you will be notified when the page updates.  

I am sure there are others out there.  This one was recommended by a good friend and former fellow Jlander  ;)  Thanks!  

The downside is, it only notifies once a day. 

But hey, it beats not knowing at all, doesn't it?  

I understand how big of pain in the buttocks this is, believe me.  I also understand how many people don't read if there are no alerts ;)  And it is better than sending out emails to everyone for each entry....  

Ok, I tried.....