Monday, January 29, 2007


Frank and I took a walk across the street this weekend. We live across from a school, and behind the school is a section of public park. A brook runs through the property -- we call it the Brook, ever since I was a kid, no name, just "The Brook."

From a distance, the land is a swath of green (more brown and gray in the winter) through a very densly inhabited neighborhood. Last summer, I was very excited when I saw an egret or heron flying back there, and I ran home and got my camera to take a photo. Usually, though, I don't get back there much. It's just nice to know it's there.

A few weeks ago, I saw a deer. I found it amazing. The wildlife in this area increasing in spite of the increase in humans. When I was a kid, we had squirrels and the occasional skunk, and that was IT. Now, I have seen rabbits, raccoons, and even a ground hog, not to mention the deer and the egret. So we took a walk with the camera. I was hoping to catch a picture of a deer where I never imagined a deer would live.

Instead, I found many birds, including wild ducks. And, as you can see, the most horrifying assortment of litter that I have ever seen.

From a distance, the litter isn't really noticeable usually. When you actually get down to the brook, though, it's unbelievable.

I'm going to have to do something about this.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

We're doing a Walkathon for Crohns

My dad and William did a walkathon for Crohns a while ago. Frankie was in no shape yet to walk; the whole hospitalization thing wasn't completely over at the time. So now, it turns out that there is another walkathon coming up, and this time, it's being held in Morristown. So -- with Frankie doing as well as he is -- ya know we gotta walk!

Many family and friends already donated for the one that Dad and William walked in. So please, don't think I'm trying to double dip. If you aren't able to donate, don't worry about it, or if you've donated already, no problem. But, if you do sometimes make charitable donations, and you are interested in donating to CCFA for Crohns and Colitis research, please click on this link and donate to our team...
Crohns & Colitis Walkathon -- Frankie's Guts Team

So you know -- I donated on line myself just a minute ago, but the website isn't showing my donation yet. It worked good with Dad's walkathon, so I'm not sure if it just takes time to show up, but it should be fine to donate on line. Or if you prefer, you can just send it to us the old fashioned way (snail mail).

And for those of you who don't know about Frankie's whole history - that was my previous blog - you can read all about it at this link: Frankie's Guts Archive
You have to scroll to the very bottom of that page to get to the "ancient history" part, about what actually happened to him last year. But the whole blog is months of entries, in case you haven't seen it already...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

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Spa Day

I'm having a party tonight (I tried to invite everyone I could think of who might actually be interested, and who lives close enough to come -- if I missed you, I'm sorry, please come anyway!)

It's kind of like a tupperware party, but instead of tupperware or candles, we're having spa stuff and snack stuff. (Is this only a New Jersey thing, or do women in other places do these kind of shopping parties?)

Personally, I like the spa products this lady is selling. I've used the stuff I bought, and I like it. I've tried to tell everyone, though, that I don't care if they buy anything or not. The reason I'm doing the party is because the whole spa treatment thing was fun when I went to a party at a friend's house a few months ago. We all soaked our feet, and she led us through a guided imaging ... ("Imagine you are on a warm, tranquil beach... the sea is lapping at your toes... the palm trees are swaying in the gentle breeze...") and then she let us try out a few other products, and then we had snacks. I'm going to make a huge amount of strong sangria, too.

I've made it even easier on myself by having someone who does snack parties bring her merchandise, too. So I don't even need to cook anything.

I actually feel a little guilty. About not cooking anything for the party. But considering the fact that I've felt pretty nasty for most of the week, it's been all I can do to just clean the house. So it's working out pretty well all in all, I hope.

I WOULD feel guilty about inviting my friends to what is basically a marketing presentation, but it is so standard around here, that I almost give up. Several years ago I tried having "hen parties." Just inviting the same women to a luncheon or whatever with no agenda other than hanging out and talking. It never seemed to catch on with anyone else. Also, it began to seem wrong to not invite the husbands, and that means the kids, and that means a complicated and large event.

Maybe I'll have to schedule a hen party brunch in the spring. You're invited if you can make it to New Jersey! Let me know.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hi again

Long time, no post!

Sorry about that.

Lately, I haven't had much to say. I haven't felt too well for the past few days, so that hasn't helped. I have a head cold and my whole brain is foggy.

That's the only way I can explain the ghost ...

Yesterday, I took some cold medicine -- no more than usual, nothing new -- and fell asleep on the couch after I took the kids to school. (I hardly EVER go back to sleep in the morning.)

While I was laying there, I had the strongest sensation that I was not alone. I didn't think I was sleeping, exactly, but I wasn't really able to move. Then, I felt the back of the couch shift -- exactly like it does when one of the kids looks over the back of the couch (it's not against a wall or anything). I thought to myself -- NO ONE IS HOME. I was freaked out, because I was certain that someone was looking over the back of the couch at me... but still, I couldn't move. I felt paralyzed. I couldn't look around to see what was there. Then, the back of the couch felt like it shifted back to normal, and I could "hear" someone moving away through the dining room. It wasn't exactly like hearing footsteps, but like the movement of a person through space, more like a whisper from their clothes or something...

I laid there pretty freaked out for a while, but I was still unable to move. My mind kept going over what happened, and I wanted to get up, but it took a while for me to be able to make myself move.

I didn't have any sense that I needed to be afraid. So I guess if it's a ghost, it's a pretty friendly one. And I've lived here my whole life, with no ill effects, so I guess any ghosts who live here with me don't have a problem with me...

When I told Mom about it, yesterday afternoon, she said that the same thing had happened to her when she lived here and I was a baby.

What do you think? Paranormal experience, or too much cold medicine?

Monday, January 15, 2007

A pleasant Sunday Drive

Yesterday, Frank and I and Nicky decided to take a nice drive out to the country.
Unfortunately, it was a rainy, dreary day, but it was nice to get out for a while. Frank knew I was SICK of watching them watch football. (Frankie is off skiing in Vermont with his friends...)

Nick brought his PSP, of course, and Frank had to focus on the traffic, so I probably was the only one who really enjoyed the drive. I didn't take a lot of photos because of course my battery died the minute we left town. So I'm posting this one rather sad photo. It may be the only picture taken of the cell tower that is disguised to look like a pine tree. Can you tell?

We made it as far as Lake Hopatcong, but there was so much development around the lake that we couldn't find access, and it was raining anyway. So we had a nice lunch in some restaurant that claims to be haunted, and then we drove home.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rayne had asked on one of her posts about songs that are important, songs that encourage you. This is a song that is important to me. (Yes, Thor, it's PEARL JAM...) It's pretty long -- because it has the story and then the song, it's almost 9 minutes I think.
Pearl Jam's Alive on VH-1 Storytellers
It's Rock, so if you hate rock music don't bother.

The song, Alive, is really about stuff that the lead singer was going through. He explains it in the storyteller bit before he plays it.

The chorus, "I'm still alive," is what really resonates. It's like an anthem.

I think it's because EVERYONE has to go through SOMETHING that they are glad to be able to survive, mentally, or physically. So it goes beyond the song's story to something everyone can relate to. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

There could be an infinite number of lyrics to this song, a different set for every person in the world. Just as long as the chorus continues with "Ohh, ohh, I'm still alive..."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Reading and Writing

Hi all
I've been reading a lot over the last day or so. I'm reading a book called "Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books." It's very interesting, about a female university professor in Tehran during their cultural revolution as they became the Islamic Republic of Iran. She relates the lessons of the classic literature that she reads to what is going on around her.

I began reading it because I wanted to experience a memoir as a reader, because the memoir I'm working on of my own is lagging a bit. I needed to hear another memoir voice, you might say, to compare what I'm doing and what other people have done. I started writing this memoir, as you may recall, during Nanowrimo... well, it's still a work in progress!

"Reading Lolita" is slightly above me intellectually. Part of the problem is that I didn't follow the details of the political issues at the time, so it's somewhat new to me; and also, she is discussing specific classic literature that I haven't read or that I've read too long ago. So I suppose that the next thing I have to do is find all the books she refers to and read them, and then read the book again!

And meanwhile, my own memoir sounds... well, less literary than hers, but pretty true to my own voice. I still have a lot of work to do on it, but it's going quite well!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Good Night


I started off the day with a sunrise, but it's quite a beautiful moonrise tonight as well, and I'm rather partial to the moon.

Taking photos of the moon through the trees reminded me of Niall's amazing painting -Hope 17 - check his blog to see it! Click here on Dancing for beginners

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Good Morning

It's quite early -- at least it was when I took this photo. I've given myself enough time to really wake up now, and it's after 8:30 AM.

The last time I saw the sunrise this often was when I was in High School. I took a similar picture of one of the sunrises then.

Now, I'm getting up this early because Frankie is in High School.

My house is oriented more towards watching the sunrise instead of the sunset. It's a better view. On the other hand, it's also less likely that I see a sunrise -- I personally am more oriented towards SLEEPING that time of day, if at all possible.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I'm trying really hard here...

...Can you tell?

I just read somewhere that in order to be truly happy, you must DECIDE to be happy. It has less to do with circumstance and more to do with your state of mind.

My state of mind keeps sliding back into unhappy. But I'm still trying. I'm working really hard at staying happy. Even though my thoughts keep wandering backwards into nasty little thoughts. I keep erasing them from my mental blackboard and trying to replace them with positive thoughts.

So I now will list 5 positive things. Things that I can concentrate on, to stay on the sunny side of life.

1. My family and I are all very healthy right now. Thank God. It means a lot, especially after last year.

2. I am approaching broke, but not quite broke yet. Which means I still have plenty of options -- like using coupons and spending less instead of getting a job. And by acting now, I can probably prevent it from sliding into really broke. I'm being PROACTIVE. I'm not going into debt.

3. I have a lot of freedom to persue my creative side. I can practice my violin, and paint, and write, as much as I like. After I go to Shop Rite and pick up the groceries.

4. My husband and I are still getting along pretty well. Our anniversary is on Valentines day -- we'll be married 19 years, is that right? I don't do the math very well. And we haven't killed each other yet. In fact, we still tolerate each other quite well. Usually.

5. It's been quite nice out. It might be nice if it snows once, but I'm really liking this warm weather!

See, that wasn't hard. That's a lot of things to be happy about. I have to try to stop the evil voice in my head from the nasty comments that make me unhappy.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy Disney Princess Day!

I'm not sure I want the holidays to be over. There is a lot less to look forward to in January and February, and it can be a little depressing. (I'm done having parties. I'm just not completely done having FUN.)

So I officially declare today to be Disney Princess day in honor of Sabrina and Kelly, who I got to play with this morning.

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Celebrate Disney Princess day with me. Put on something sparkly, maybe a tiara if you have one laying around, and have a cup of tea with extra sugar from a little tiny cup.

Sabrina and Kelly are really adorable. They are twins but completely unalike. I can't believe I never had girls! Boys were fun, but girls get to play with tea sets and princesses.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Chasing a cloud of starlings

Happy New Year 2007!!!

In the words of Frank, as he did a shot of Jagermeister,

"Here's to 2007, because 2006 really sucked."

It was a really hard year for a lot of people, not just us. But everything going forward looks new and shiny and optimistic and happy and clean... for us, anyway.

My resolutions for the new year...
Well, I don't usually write them down because then somebody might hold me to them. But maybe that's what I need to do. So:
1. Write more.
2. Not necessarily diet, because I don't like to make resolutions that I know right from the start won't happen; but maybe I can resolve to drink more water, eat a bit less junk, and try to exercise more.
3. Be nicer.
4. Try harder.
5. Worry less.
(I think I am biting off a bit more than I can chew, but it's worth the effort to TRY to keep these resolutions.)

Today is a day of rest for me... I've had two parties in two days here at our house, and I have worked my BUTT off trying to be sure everything was ready. I think both parties went reasonably well. Everyone seemed to basically enjoy themselves. There seemed to be enough food, although I'm still not good at timing food or judging quantities of food. The house was clean enough and looked decent. So I did the best I could.

I'm done with parties for a little while now. It's time to hibernate, I hope.