I wrote this for a friend last year; I am sure he wouldn’t mind if I reposted it now.

A Christmas Toast

I raise my glass to Christmas, I raise my glass to love,

I raise my glass to angels who watch us from above.

To frosty breath, and tinsel. and cookies from the jar,

To our friends we know and love, both near and very far.

I call upon the memories of times so very dear,

Of all the joys we gathered with each and every year.

Once they were the future and now they are the past,

But times fly by, gone too soon, only memories at last.

So gather up the laughter of children, grown

and gone away.

And make this time a present that you’ll cherish every day.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

♥ ♥★*˚°。°*。°*。★*˚ °。°*。°˚°★*˚°。°* 。°*★*˚°。°*。°*★
˛°_██_*˚°。°/ \*˚°。°*。°*★*˚°。°*。°*★*˚°。°*。 °*★
˛. (´• ̮•)*.。*/ ♫.♫\*˛.*˛_Π_____ *˚°。*。°**˚°。°*。 °*★
.°( . • . ) ˛°./•’♫’•\.˛*./______/ ~\*˚°。°*。°*°*❤ ˚°*★
*(…’•’.. ) *˛╬╬╬╬╬˛°.|田田|門 |╬╬╬╬╬*˚°。°*。°* ♥♥


P.S. For a bit of comic relief check out this take on Santa by Matthew Inman.  Be forewarned…it’s not for the kiddies, but it is funny!

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WTH! Wednesday

Ok…ok…it’s the holidays and I am lazy as all get out!  No new posts–just pics of my equally lazy cat…her name is Peeps, she is a rescue cat and we love her mightily.  She on the other hand barely knows we exist, which is typical of cats so we forgive her.

I am sure you are all finding other things demanding of your time as well, so I don’t feel to bad about my lack of originality at this point.

The above picture is what happens when one of the many strays in the neighborhood discover that there is a gorgeous feline living just down the street! He is obviously mesmerized by her beauty, as she feels he should be.  This last picture is what happens when you mix a cat and a granddaughter with a mischievous sense of humor.  I just might repost this on Easter!

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Tales From The Weirdside…

“Man lives in a sun-lit world of what he believes to be reality but there is unseen by most an underworld, a place that is just as real but not as brightly lit.  A Dark Side.”

I was visiting my friend yesterday and (as usual) we started talking about our phones…I got an HTC Thunderbolt and one week latter she caved and bought one also.  Of course, the app market is irresistible, especially the free apps.  When we get together, we update each other on the latest thing we have on the phone.  She whipped out her phone to show me her latest download-Ghost Radar Classic.  I realize this is not all that new, but for her it is, and for me as well.

Now let me start by saying that despite having a Catholic school upbringing for most of my formative years, I am a big sceptic as well as very cynical. However, I have experienced many things for which I have no explanation, ghostly apparitions being one of those things. So it was with tongue in cheek that I watched as she started the app and a small scope (like a ships radar) swept around the screen.  Occasionally a few blips of different colors showed up on the screen.  The color is supposed to indicate the intensity of the ‘spirit presence’.  Every now and then a word was voiced as well as appearing on the screen. I wasn’t too terribly impressed but thought it might be fun to play with as a parlour trick.  We downloaded it onto my phone and I left.

After finishing my grocery shopping and assorted errands I finally had time to relax.  Thinking about the phone I turned it on and set it on the table.  It started blipping immediately, and a word popped up. “Basket”-now anyone who knows me, knows that I am a Longaberger fan; in fact I had a basket under the table the phone was resting on.  OK, I figured it was just coincidence and let it go.  But as I sat there the oddest feeling came over me and I went into the kitchen, I just stood there staring at the sink for awhile wondering why I was there.  I picked up a scrubber and cleaning spray and scrubbed the sink realizing it really was dirty, as I was doing so I heard another word come up on the phone.  I walked over to see the word “look” come up and then immediately after “soil”.  Had I been sent into the kitchen to look at my soiled sink?  Hmmn a clean freak ghost….picking up my laptop I sat on the couch and ignored the phone.  All at once my cat streaked across in front of me, my line of sight partly obscured by my Mac. Curious as to what had her spooked I got up to look and there she was still sleeping behind me on the back of the couch.   While I stood there pondering out loud just what it was that I saw another word showed itself…“shadow.”  During the course of the evening other  words came up that were very germaine to what was going on around me.

That was when I decided to go on line and see just what the skinny was on this.  There were several sites that “debunked”  it, but no one really gave a good explanation for it. There was a lot of anecdotal evidence, however attesting to how well it worked. I came to the conclusion (on my own) that this must be some sophisticated government data gathering application.  If all our social network sites were being tapped it’s possible the words would be pulled from our conversations.  But then…that doesn’t really explain the incident with the cat unless they also have my house under camera surveillance as well!  But being the doubter that I am, figured it was a hoax, even if it is a clever one. I mean, after all I watch The Mentalist and I know tricks can look pretty persuasive.  About the time I stopped my research and figured it was all a ruse, the phone went deadly still, no blips, no words, no data coming in at all.  Throwing caution to the winds I said boldly to an empty room “Oh what’s the matter-got your feelings hurt did you?”  It stayed quiet the rest of the evening. I went to bed.  Without the phone.

In the morning I was talking to someone about my ex in laws, as my former MIL recently had surgery.  Earlier I had the phone on but was ignoring it.   All of a sudden it lit up again, and on the screen…the name of my former brother in law. Followed by a couple other words that were descriptive of him…nothing bad just accurate.  Again thinking that somehow this was all a result of too much facebook (and NO I wasn’t smoking anything funny or hitting the rum) I pretty much dismissed it.

And then shortly after that my granddaughter texted me, but I didn’t turn off the app- just switched the screen momentarily.  After I was finished texting I switched back to the radar. The proper noun popped up that floored me.  When my granddaughter was born I had wanted to give her a particular nickname but never did.  No one else knew of it, but always in the back of my mind that is how I thought of her.  So when the name “Sally” appeared on my screen I really had to rethink what this is all about.  I don’t want to believe it is true but…..

So if you have had any coincidences or occurrences please let me know, but in the meantime I am keeping an open mind.

“The Darkside is always looming, waiting for us to enter.  Waiting to enter us.  Until next time try to enjoy the daylight.”

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Do You See What I See?

It was the typical holiday bustle, crowds rushing from one store to the next, hurried last minute shopping still to be done.  The night was clear and cold with stars twinkling through a velvety blue blanket of sky.  Store windows were brightly lit with every clever display you could imagine, and if you were a child you just gasped in the wonder of it all.  Groups, gaggles of people, like geese were downtown for the holiday festivities.  Families crowded around Fountain Square, itself lit up and sparkling like the rest of the Queen City.  Boys and girls decked out in their festive best. Wonderful smells from hot cocoa and pretzel vendors wafted along the light breeze. Truly a magical night for this Christmas season.

Our family had come to see the annual train display; a Cincinnati tradition.   My husband was driving, so as a passenger I could gawk at all the lights and sounds along with our kids.  I was pointing out various displays to them, but it became overwhelming so I left them to look at what they wanted, and I let my gaze wander over the buildings interesting architecture. As I did so my eyes were drawn to an alleyway, starkly dim amongst all the lights. In the alleyway was a man in tattered clothes climbing into a dumpster.  It was a quick vignette and then we rounded the corner, my vision once again obscured by the lights and crowds, but in that moment was a sight that I haven’t forgotten for 35 years.  I doubt that I ever will.

In the years since that outing I have had good years and lean years, years with family and years where members were absent.  But somehow in the middle of all the rush that is this time of year, there is always a moment somewhere that the vision from the past stops me in my tracks.  It has a way of letting me know that I need to slow down physically and economically and just appreciate and be thankful for my good fortune.  So instead of twinkling lights and nativity scenes, the vision I am sharing with you is of the man in the dumpster.  He is us all.


The Dating Game

…Or why I hate

Ok, I know I will never be Cindy Crawford or Heidi Klum, but then I was not looking for Richard Gere or Brad Pitt…maybe  Johnny Depp but I digress…

When I was newly single I decided to try online dating.  I saw all the lovely couples on eHarmony and going out for dinner, having fun at Six Flags and  attending wine tastings.  Having been dumped is pretty deflating to one’s ego so I thought I would stick my toe in and test the waters; after all my friends told me there are “plenty of fish in the sea”.  I took eHarmony’s online test but I think it was too soon after the break-up. My results said I had an “over-developed sense of loyalty”, and took “fairness” to an extreme! Ok yeah, ex’s shouldn’t be drawn and quartered-I get that…now. They recommended that I perhaps wait; I did.  But then I put my pic on to see what fish were in that ocean.  Oh my!

First off, I tend to be pretty honest so I didn’t go for “beauty shots” at the local Olan Mills, just tried to take an accurate picture.  As I said I don’t look like Cindy Crawford but neither do I look like Mrs. Doubtfire. Plus people have told me I don’t look my age, it’s true but that is mostly because I don’t act it. So I was honest and put my own age out there…well I shaved off 2 years…not so bad.  So once I got a few photos that were reasonably representative it was time to write my profile.  Oh Gawd, what a joke!  Well, again you are supposed to be honest, but I did look to see what some of the guys were looking for, and that was all over the place.  So again I was honest.  I have a tattoo, but you can’t see it, so I decided that was for further disclosure. I do ride my own Harley but am definitely not a “biker chick”….as I love the opera, and live theater. I like a lot of different things and it is hard to pin it down into one category.  So anyway I put all this into my dating resume` and eventually picked a few…ahem…winners.

I met a couple clowns, uh gentlemen, and if they were an accurate sampling of the “fish” that were available, I am swearing off seafood.  The first one did nothing but talk about how great he was and ask me if I thought he was everything I hoped for, thank goodness I drove myself to the rendezvous point, so I could get out without my head exploding.  The second “date” was for drinks at a local casual restaurant where my date declined to order anything for himself, except a water. I decided to go with coffee rightly figuring I needed to stay alert for this one.  The evening drug on for about an hour and a half, while I tried to keep a normal conversation going, and the waitress hovering round asking if we wanted to order a meal.  Finally feeling bad for her and realizing that this person had all the personality of a nine iron (he showed up still dressed from his earlier golf outing BTW) I said I thought we should call it an evening.  He agreed and got up to leave when the waitress put the bill for my coffee on the table.  I certainly didn’t mind paying for my coffee but when I came back from the cashiers to leave a tip for the waitress he got all blustery!  He actually had the nerve to call into question why I was leaving a tip for this waitress; never mind we took up her table and didn’t order food.  As he stood glowering in the doorway I left a tip and joined him outside.  The last thing he said was “Well, I guess we won’t be going on a second date.”  Huh! Yah think…?  Resisting the urge to tell him what to do with said nine iron I simply turned and walked away.

So back to the drawing board to see what other jerks prospects were available.  What came up was the usual assortment of broken down old men looking for someone to do all the things the ex-wife did before she got fed up and left.  Then the profile to end all came up and it was at that moment I decided my chances in the local supermarket were better than online.  Why the computer matched me with this person I will never know, nothing in my profile would indicate that I had the slightest interest in this…but there it was nonetheless.  The picture showed a man approximately my age, fetchingly dressed in a lovely floral frock, blonde wig, and assortment of jewelry accessories.  The computer had freakin’ matched me to Norman Bates!  Fascinated the way a snake is with a mongoose I continued to read his profile, wherein he stated that he was looking for the perfect woman to help him with his interest in women’s clothing, and to help with style tips!  And no this man was not Dustin Hoffman researching another Tootsie role (pun intended).  Now if that is your thing…go for it. But what I didn’t understand was how that got matched to me…did my picture have “secretly wants to share clothes with man” written all over it?  So it was at that point I decided a cat, a bubble bath, and a hobby were not all that bad.  At least I didn’t need to share my shower cap!

*If you are without a sense of humor, or were one of my “dates” get over it and watch Full Metal Jacket or something equally macho.


WTH! Cooking

So I cook with the same philosophy that I live life…wth!  I like soups and stews best as they lend themselves to the “what the hell” lifestyle…throw in whatever you have!   Once in awhile though I do follow a loose recipe or outline, and the following soup is one of those recipes that I fix often in the winter months.  It is a good dish to fix on mondays after you have made a large pork roast on sunday.  On occasion, since there is often only me, I will make the roast anyway and freeze the left-over meat for soup.  So here is my outline, notice I say outline, and not hard and fast recipe.  You can adjust this as you like.

3 14 oz cans of chicken stock

3 cans of water (using the stock cans to measure)

1 dollop (eyeball it) of chicken base (McCormick)

1 cup each chunky cut vegs- carrot, celery, mushrooms, and leeks

2 cups leftover pork roast-also cut into chunks

The leeks are something that gives it onion flavor without being overwhelming,  this is a delicate soup, full of flavor without hitting you over the head.  I don’t use big round onions much anymore and instead use scallions or leeks. Those are the things that look like scallions, or spring onions on steroids. It’s funny but most of the young kids at my grocery don’t have a clue what leeks are, and forget about parsnips, turnips and rutabaga! I can’t imagine what they eat!

I don’t add salt to this soup as the chicken base has some in it, and I taste as I go and adjust accordingly.  When I serve it I let people add salt and pepper to their taste.  Once in awhile I will add a little brown rice to the recipe if I have some leftover.  See what I mean, if you got it throw it in!  And there you have my WTH! Pork Soup Outline.  Pair it with a nice Asiago Cheese bread and some wine and you have a filling, comforting and easy winter meal!  Happy WTH! Wednesday!


Not A Ken In The Bunch

I decided to teach my granddaughter about the joys of thrift shopping at my favorite thrift shop Valley Thrift in Evendale.  It was insanely crowded, taking us quite awhile to find a parking spot. But I thought it was worth it just for the weirdness discovered there.

We quickly checked through the purses (I once found a mint-condition Kate Spade for $4), then through the household items; Sarah finding several good deals on Christmas ornaments.  And as I rounded the corner this came into view!  I was speechless! The whole aisle was festooned with naked Barbies hung up by their hair!

I took out my phone and got several shots and as I turned around I saw some guy looking at me and edging away… I don’t even want to know what he was thinking. Obviously he thought I was stranger for taking pictures of the Barbies than it was to have a whole aisle of naked, hanging Barbies.  I’m sure if I tried I could come up with some relevant social commentary, but I just love it for the sheer bizarreness of it all. It’s all relative I suppose, but it did give me my tiny dose of freakiness to offset the holiday hysteria.