Back, I want you back

pexels-photo-209037.jpegPoliticians pontificate about the overwhelming, heavy public debt riding on each of our backs.  Well, today, my friends, I feel like I’m personally carrying all that debt myself on my aching back.

You see, my back is out of whack.  Really.  I’m talking literally.  My back’s been troubling me since last Thursday for no good reason.

I’ve tried recalling my recent activities in an attempt to figure out how my back got twisted up in knots.   Did I lift something heavy that strained my back?  Nope.  Did I fall?  Nah.   Stumble?  No.  Fail to bend my knees when I picked up my suitcase? No way.   So what the heck did I do to it?  I have no idea whatsoever.

I don’t have an achy-breaky heart, I have an achy-breaky lower back.  A back that impedes normal walking and screams in agony when I climb the steps (and oh, did I mention I live in a two-story house?).   My out of sorts back doesn’t want to ache alone, so now it’s convinced my hip to join in and if that isn’t enough, there’s this pain running down the side of my leg.  One day it extended to my knee, yesterday it worked its way down to the calf of that leg.   I suspect the sciatic nerve is pinched, bunched, generally in a tizzy, or something akin to that and tomorrow I have an appointment with a chiropractor.

But for now, as I sit in my easy chair with my best friend, ibuprofen; a solid pillow propped behind me; and  an ice pack on the afflicted area (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off), the only thing coming to my mind happens to be songs with the word back in them.   Songs like the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back.”    Back, it’s true!  Ooo, ooo, baby, I want you back.  I want you, my healthy back, back.

And then there’s “I’m Bringing Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake.  Well, right now, my back’s not bringing anything, let alone sexy.  I’d be ecstatic walking a normal gait instead of this shuffle, never mind a sexy swing.

Going the country music route, “Back Then” by Tim McGraw comes to mind.  Tim, I don’t just miss back then “when a hoe was a hoe, coke was a Coke and crack’s what you were doing when you were cracking jokes,”  I also greatly miss my back sans pain and the fact that this currently wacky back is preventing my evening strolls in the lovely fall weather.

And then there’s that Hall and Oates tune, “Baby Come Back,” which I would like to rename Back Come Back.”  Back, come back, any kind of fool could see, there was something in everything about you.  Back come back, you can blame it all on me, I was wrong, and I just can’t live without you.

I’ve even gone to the deep recesses of my mind’s song treasure trove with “Carry Me Back to Ol’ Virginny.”  Well, if this doesn’t let up soon, I’m not just going to need someone to carry me back to Virginia or anywhere else, someone just may have to carry me up the stairs!

So you can see, I’m feeling a little unhinged on Page 11, Chapter 10, in my book of Opportunity.  I can’t get my back off of my mind.  Seems like my back’s really got a hold on me…..oh wait, that’s another song, and I’d give anything to move like Smokey Robinson and the Miracles right now.

Copyright ©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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Just a different kind of pioneer

blogscan0001Now I believe I’m made of pretty sturdy stuff, but I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I never would have been a pioneer woman back in days of old.   Recently I read the poem, Pioneers, O Pioneers, by Walt Whitman.

“For we cannot tarry here,

We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,

We, the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend, Pioneers! O pioneers!”

 ~ excerpt from Pioneers, O Pioneers

Reading it reminded me of my non-pioneer ways and prompted me to write the reasons why, had I been given the opportunity to travel westward into the frontier early in our country’s history, I would have stayed at home in the East.

Ten top reasons why I never could have been a pioneer woman:

    1. Wide open spaces as far as the eye can see scare me.  Even though I grew up in the country, I had hills, woods, and neighbors.  As a newlywed, my first experience on the prairie came in Oklahoma when my military hubby took me out on the range – you know where the deer and the antelope play?  Where seldom is heard….any kind of word.   We were in search of Geronimo’s grave and as I scanned the area on our jaunt, plains stretched out for miles and miles as far as I could see with no hills, no trees, no electric or telephone poles let alone houses, and I realized that’s what it looked like to pioneers traveling through – the original Oklahoma Sooners.  Those wide open spaces caused my heart to palpitate and a fleeting moment of panic to set in.
    2. Riding in covered wagons.   I’m not exactly the horse and buggy kind of person.  Too much jostling, and that hard seat?  Oh, my achy back!  Add three kids in tow asking, “Are we there yet?”  This Mama would lose her sanity!  I thought I was being a real frontier mom when I drove a station wagon full of kids not a Conestoga.
    3. Wild animals startle me.   An encounter with a snake slithering across my path left me frozen to my spot in shock as did my brush with that ol’ bear who moseyed around the corner of my house recently.  When I think of pioneering, my mind conjures up rattlesnakes, buffalo, mountain lions, bears, and many other creatures of the wild.   If the ride in the wagon hadn’t stiffened me up, the fright from wild animals would have.
    4. Packing issues.  I am one of those “pack everything you might ever need” kind of people.   Yes, I confess, I am an over achiever when it comes to packing.  What if it turns cold? Need a warm jacket.  It might rain.   Need rain gear and umbrella.  I never would fit all my family belongings that I deemed necessary for moving across country into one itty bitty wagon.
    5. Sleeping out under the stars.   Don’t get me wrong, I love to gaze at the night sky and view an array of brightly twinkling stars.  Sleep under them? Uh, no thanks.  My version of camping is a hotel with no room service.  Okay, not really, but you get the idea.  I’m not much of a camper.   Give me a comfy bed inside a cabin and running water with a hot shower and I can “camp.”
    6. Eating issues.  My dad hunted when I was a kid, so I’ve tasted deer meat and I have one word for it – eww!  I don’t like venison, rabbit, bear meat, or any other wild game.  The day my son shot a squirrel and my husband cooked it in a pan on my stove, I thought I would die gagging.  Heck, I don’t even like beef jerky! I suppose we could eat beans every day but that would bring another issue to mind and to my nose.   Ewww, again.
    7. Which reminds me….bathroom issues.  No rest stops back in those days.  No clean restrooms with flushing toilets, sinks with hot water and soap.   Digging your own latrine is definitely not my cup of tea, nor is squatting in the bushes.  Enough said.
    8. Summer heat and no ice cubes.  Call me a wimp, but I can’t stand hot temps.  When the thermometer climbs and humidity rises, this gal wilts. The heat, dust, no shade, AND no ice?  Since I must have ice cubes in my drinks even in the winter time, I’d be in a bad way unless maybe I was traveling through the wilds of snow-covered Alaska, and that might have a few problems of its own.
    9. Ruts in the trail.  I’ve seen portions of the Oregon Trail in person and the ruts made in the countryside are still there to prove how deep the trail got!  I can barely navigate the ruts left in my gravel driveway after a long, hard rainfall without groaning and moaning.  I can’t imagine traveling thousands or even hundreds of miles that way.
    10. Isolation.  Even though I like my alone time, I’m really a people person.  I probably could have managed the camaraderie of a wagon train, but once situated in a final destination, out there on the homestead without a town or any nearby neighbors, I shudder to think about it.  I may not like to keep up with the Joneses, but I still would like some Joneses around the corner or down the road.

I may not have been a pioneer back then, one who headed off into the frontier,  preparing the way for others to follow.   But I like to think that I do have some of the pioneer spirit described in this quote:

“There has to be this pioneer, the individual who has the courage, the ambition to overcome the obstacles that always develop when one tries to do something worthwhile, especially when it is new and different.” ~  AJ Meade

And today in my Opportunity book, Chapter 10, Page 3, I’m extremely grateful to be living in the 21st century and for a wee bit of pioneer spirit that keeps me forging ahead, tackling life’s obstacles, and attempting to encourage or inspire someone else.  I’m just a different kind of pioneer.

 ©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Must. Snap. Crackle. Pop.

pexels-photo-273011.jpegToday is the last page of Chapter One in my book of Opportunity and I’m giving you fair warning.

If you came to my blog today to read something inspiring, something that will touch your heart, or something that will make you contemplative about life, you might want to stop reading now.

Instead,  today I feel very silly.  Maybe it’s because it’s the last day of January.  February is such a shorty, so that means March will arrive soon enough and a hint of spring will be in the air by then.  Maybe I’m feeling lighthearted because the sunshine has been delightful today.  I don’t know – I just know I must write about something whimsical and fun.

So here goes! First of all, I learned some fascinating trivia about this day.  Did you know that famous composer Franz Schubert was born on January 31, 1797?

Go Google him if you don’t know who he was and listen to some of his music.  He is famous for his “Unfinished Symphony (No 8)” – unfinished because he died of typhus in his hometown, Vienna, Austria at the age of 31.

One hundred years later, a $10,000 prize was offered to anyone who could “finish” the unfinished symphony, but the offer was withdrawn when a huge protest broke out over the idea.   So Shubert’s unfinished business remains unfinished.

If classical music isn’t your thing, maybe you’d like to know that today is also the birthday of Justin Timberlake, the former lead singer of the pop band N’Sync (a group that my two daughters positively swooned over when they were much younger!).   Timberlake, who kissed his boy band career “bye, bye, bye” to become an actor and solo performer, was born January 31, 1981 in Memphis, Tennessee.

It seems to me that this young man, who turns 30 today and calls himself “more spiritual than religious,” has strayed pretty far from his roots as the grandson of a Baptist minister.  Perhaps he too has some “unfinished business.”

Here’s another tidbit to store in your trivia bank.  On this day in 1940, Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, VT, received the first ever Social Security monthly retirement check in the amount of $22.54.   Social Security was established in 1935 and Fuller only worked for three years under the Social Security program.

This one will slay you – she paid only $24.75 into the system, but she lived to be 100 years old and collected $22,888 total in Social Security benefits.  For her, “unfinished business” worked well, don’t you think?

And now for the pièce de résistance! (See, I am feeling whimsical today, I’m writing French, a language I know very little!)  Drum roll, please…..

Today, January 31, is “Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day!”  Oh yeah, according to Sealed Air Corporation (the company that makes the snap, crackle and pop packaging product), today is the day “to celebrate the joy that Bubble Wrap® brings to our lives. A day to learn the history and snapping etiquette and to gain a new appreciation of the country’s favorite shipping material (invented in 1960).  Also, a day to snap and share Bubble Wrap® with coworkers, classmates and loved ones.”

Now if that doesn’t rock your socks off, nothing will!  Apparently, I missed the 50th birthday celebration of this amazing product – it was last year.  But I’ll tell you, I think bubble wrap is the coolest thing.  I cannot see a scrap of it and resist popping every last one of those little air-filled bubbles.  It just calls my name, you know?

If I was younger, I’d even enter the “Annual Bubble Wrap Competition for Young Inventors.”  For real!  For the last few years, kids are encouraged to design products using bubble wrap for usage other than the typical packaging routine.  Past inventions have included a bubble wrap car door cover, a bubble wrap “cushy” wheelchair and a “Transformable Bubble Wrap Kite.”

But wait!  I have even more intriguing information to impart to you!  Sealed Air realizes that popping bubble wrap is a great stress reliever, so the company’s corporate offices actually have “stress relief boxes” filled with their product for employees to snap, crackle and pop.   I want to work there!!!

Maybe someone from that company will read my blog and want to hire me!  I’ve even written an ode to my favorite packaging product to show my devotion and help my cause:

I love you bubble wrap,

Oh yes I do

The way you  pop and snap

When I press you.

You are addicting,

It’s true.

Oh, bubble wrap I love you!

Admit it, now you want to go find a piece of bubble wrap so you can smash all those little fun-provoking bubbles.  Well, dear reader, since I am not one to burst your bubble, here are some websites to visit where you can virtually pop some air:

www.virtual-bubblewrap.com/popnow.shtml

www.snapbubbles.com

And whatever you do, don’t miss visiting www.bubblewrapfun.com   – the official bubble wrap site from Sealed Air Corporation.   There’s all kinds of snappy stuff there.

As for me, I have some “unfinished business” to attend to myself.  I’m pretty certain I squirreled away a piece of bubble wrap I found when hubby and I cleared out the chaos in the basement.

Must. Find. Bubble wrap.  Happy popping!!

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Beware! Fever sweeps the area!

pexels-photo-450301.jpegWarning!  A strange and infectious epidemic has quickly overtaken my neck of the woods.

This peculiar ailment seems to have infected a huge segment of the population here and few people are immune to it.

Word has it that this disorder actually has spread beyond our borders into pockets of communities all over the country as well.

A highly contagious fever accompanies this affliction and many appear to be defenseless against the insanity it causes.  Beware, or you too may be affected by this raging contagion.  It reportedly has consumed the air waves – TV, radio and even the internet, including email, Facebook and YouTube, are already infected.

This frenzied fever encompasses its victim’s mind and body.  It appears to possess people’s brain functions to the point of apoplexy where the fever is all one can think or talk about, so evidently, this condition has highly addictive properties.

In an effort to educate you about this widespread virus, here is a list of symptoms you should watch for:

  • Heightened state of emotions;
  • Excitability and/or delirium;
  • Fanatical thoughts about the game of football;
  • Obsessive behavior including the donning of only black and gold colored clothing;
  • Irrational and compulsive spending on non-essential trinkets, clothing, jewelry, purses, blankets, flags or tote bags with a particular logo emblazoned on item;
  • Compulsive desire to adorn your body, home, car, desk or anything within sight with black and gold paraphernalia;
  • Assuming the identity of a pro football player by the wearing of a numbered black and gold jersey with said player’s name imprinted on back;
  • Fixated thoughts about seven massive, elaborate rings;
  • Spontaneously bursting into raucous rounds of singing “Here We Go”;
  • Zealous preparation for hours of extreme tail-gating and/or party-going;
  • Propensity to spend outrageous sums of money to acquire entrance into an arena  packed full of frenzied people;
  • Entering a trance-like condition where you stand for hours in freezing cold weather conditions and/or snow to watch grown men engage in a game;
  • Uncontrollable seizures in which your arm starts wildly waving a “terrible towel” non-stop to the point of paralysis;
  • Intermittent fits of agitation and elation complete with intense screaming to the point of hoarseness or completely losing your voice.

If you display one of more of these symptoms in the next few days, you have indeed acquired the frenzied “Steelers Fever.”   There is no treatment; you must simply let the affliction run its course.

After Sunday, the fever either will dissipate and a state of depression will set in or the condition will accelerate wildly until February.

It appears my family has succumbed to this ubiquitous fever.  I’ll let you know the prognosis after Sunday.

For now, I must sing “Here We Go, Steelers!” and I have an uncontrollable urge to go find something black and gold in my closet.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Put that acorn down!

blog072Picture two squirrels hunkered down for the winter in a hollow tree.

Frosty, snowy weather suppresses their desire to leave the warmth of the tree and cavort around their two-plus acres like they enjoy doing in the spring, summer and fall.

Add the extra problem of shorter daylight hours in the month of January.   Squirrels’ dilemma – what else is there to do when the tree (nest) is empty, the weather’s too blustery to be outside for long, and evening comes on early but feast on their cache of acorns?

I don’t understand why winter time morphs us into eating machines.  It’s not like I need to store up fat for my winter hibernation.  I’ve got enough of that substance in my body to last several winters!

Chalk it up to the cold, the dark, the dreary weather, boredom….I don’t know but hubby and I have been digging into the comfort food lately just like acorn-ravished squirrels stuffing themselves until their cheeks explode.

We’ve been noshing on the good old-fashioned “mom style” home cooking.  You know staples like hot turkey sandwiches drenched in gravy with mashed potatoes on the side, meat loaf, chicken and dumplings, macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes, and a hand-me-down dish from my grandmother’s day called “ham and patches” (basically ham, potatoes and yes, more dumplings!).

Not exactly diet food, but then again, neither of us made any New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, so there’s a thought – we aren’t breaking any promises!  Actually neither of us made any resolutions at all.  However, if we keep this nosh fest up, we’re going to have to start shaking our bushy tails pronto to shed some unwanted poundage.

I’d reason this tendency to eat like we just purchased stock in a roadside diner provides us enough calories to maintain body warmth since it’s so cold in our house, but what excuse do I use for the ice cream we’ve gone through??

Maybe I could just blame it on global climate change.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Some homes look like “Better Homes and Gardens,” mine looks…lived in

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Not my house!

Wouldn’t it be nice to come home from work one day and find your living space as calm, neat and uncluttered as all the home magazine photos gazing back at you from the grocery store check-out line?

I’m not sure why I get a primal urge to purge my household in January, but obviously, magazine editors believe most American women get the same impulse.

Pick up any women’s publication and you will be bombarded with “10 easy tips” to organize your space so it will look like a photographer’s dream shot.

Pristine counters.  Neatly organized desk.  Uncluttered family room.  Carefully cleaned closets where everything is perfectly poised on shelves.  Supposedly.

Organizing your home takes time.  I wonder how many women have time to properly clean their houses, let alone time to stash everything in neat little rows of containers.  And that’s another thing.  Who can afford all of those nifty, spiffy bins, boxes and binders that perfectly match your décor?

I recently read an article in Better Homes and Gardens entitled, “25 Ways to Declutter for the New Year.”  Organizing experts provided the tips; some were useful, some I thought lacked practicality (my middle name!).

One guru suggested setting up a bookshelf perched by your front door with labeled pails (yes, buckets!) “for each family member’s shoes and other equipment.”  Hmm, ever tried getting pairs of size 11 men’s sneakers and soccer cleats in a bucket?

Do you know how many buckets – excuse me – pails it would take to store shoes for a family of five?  And might I add, that’s certainly what I want guests arriving at my front door to notice – buckets of smelly shoes.  Here’s a novel idea instead.  How about everyone pick up their own shoes and take them to their respective closets?

Is it me or is this idea just plain kooky?  Another expert suggested you arrange two coffee dates with a good friend, apparently one at her house, then one at yours.  Forget about a relaxing moment of peace with your friend and your favorite beverage.

Nope, on this visit, you should clean out her kitchen cabinets and get rid of her clutter.  Then on the next “date,” your friend should clean out yours.   Yeah, that sounds like (major sarcasm here) fun. I don’t know about you, but I’m not up for snooping in my friends’ kitchen cupboards nor am I crazy about them checking out mine either!

To be fair, some ideas proved winners.  If toys threaten to overtake your house, “quietly tuck a few of them away in a box. If kids ask for a specific item, retrieve it.  After a month, donate what’s left in the box.”   When three rambunctious young children squandered their toys all over Mama’s Empty Nest back in the day, hubby and I employed this technique…sort of.

Of course, we didn’t do it quietly.  When our kids delayed picking up their toys, we yelled, grabbed up all the toys and dumped them into a garbage bag which was deposited in the garage.   And it stayed there, promptly forgotten, until we found the “lost” toys when we prepared to move a couple of years later.

I don’t have to contend with toys any more, but a stockpile of too much stuff still overloads our basement.  How pleasant it would look organized in tidy fashion with shelves and color-coded storage containers like all of these pretty magazine pictures.   Oh well….no photographer will be taking pictures of my basement anyway!  At least I hope not!

So in Chapter 1, Page 7 (January 7th) of my book of Opportunity, guess where I spent a good portion of the day?  You guessed it, cleaning out the basement.  Hey, I can walk through it now!

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Just a box of rocks

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Have you ever just wanted to smack yourself silly because you couldn’t figure out something?

I encountered that this week while I was working on some statistical end-of-the year reports and I just couldn’t get my numbers to jibe.  Turns out I had made a dumb, small error that threw everything out of sync.

When that happens, a few phrases always come to my mind.  Quirky little sayings like “Couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag.”

Some funny descriptive expressions exist to paint a picture of myself doing something stupid or when I think someone else is being truly dumb.  I’ve uttered those locutions on more than one occasion, (ok, I can be honest and admit it) especially while driving or when people don’t do their jobs correctly.

I started thinking about these expressions and could name quite a few because after all, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck!  Here’s a sampling of those I could recall:

  • A few bricks shy of a load.
  • Her elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor.
  • Not playing with a full deck.
  • A few french fries short of a happy meal.
  • Not the brightest bulb on the tree.
  • The lights are on but nobody’s home.
  • Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
  • One taco short of a combination plate.
  • A few sandwiches short of a picnic.
  • Not the sharpest pencil in the box.
  • The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

And my all-time personal favorite – “The gate is down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming!”   Yep, sometimes people just seem “dumber than a box of rocks.”

My oldest daughter, a scientist who is definitely not dumber than a box of rocks, used to keep a box of rocks.  When she was younger, she would pick up stones wherever we roamed and find something that appealed to her about them, enough to want to squirrel them away.

She stashed them in a box in her closet, and that box always accompanied us on our moves cross country.  Matter of fact, I suspect that it still takes up residence with some of her other girlhood mementos on that closet shelf.  (Note to oldest daughter:  You forgot to go through your “too much stuff” when you were home.  Just a reminder from here:   https://mamasemptynest.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/391/)

Some of the rocks were shiny, polished and even brightly colored, ones that she purchased with her souvenir money on our vacation trips.  Others were rough and ordinary looking, but in her eyes they must have been treasures.  I often wondered why she was so fascinated with those pebbles and stones.  Of course, to me they were just a box of rocks, and a heavy one to boot.

I was reminded of this yesterday while I was fighting with my column of numbers.  During my frustration, I glanced at the inspirational flip calendar on my desk.  In Chapter One, Page 5 (January 5th) of my book of Opportunity this was written:

“Rough treatment gives souls, as well as stones, their luster.  The more the diamond is cut the brighter it sparkles; and in what seems hard dealing, there God has no end in view but to perfect His people.” ~Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, writer/philosopher

When we encounter rough patches in our lives, we may think that we are dumber than a box of rocks, but God sees a diamond in the rough when He looks at us.  Often we have to endure the hard times because they give us the opportunity to really shine.

And I think my oldest daughter must have known this as a very little girl.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Do I hear bells?

pexels-photo-210528.jpegI’m thinking about going old school, turning back time, going retro.

I’m checking out my options, not rushing into the most available, most convenient, flashy item sitting somewhere on a shelf in the local discount store.

I’m talking about alarm clocks.  The latest time change into DST (daylight savings time) rendered my bedside clock incapable of keeping up with the zones.  My clock was a small, non-distinct, black, digital clock radio, actually a hand-me down from one of my kids.

Crazy clock had a history of acting up, getting its little circuit innards tied up in knots.  That’s why middle daughter abandoned it; she couldn’t deal with its unpredictable attitude of running like clock-work some days but then being totally unreliable on others.

After I inherited it though, little Blackie with his red light up digital numerals seemed to tick off the hours and minutes of the day and night just fine with few misfirings.  Oh, every blue moon or so, it might have a little hiccup and get stuck, but a good shake seemed to set it right again.

But alas, the night I reset it back an hour, it apparently was just too much for its little ticker.  I couldn’t seem to sleep that night, and every time I turned over to look at my little buddy hanging out on my nightstand, it was going crazy.

It seemed to be ticking off the hours instead of seconds.  That’s why at what had to be 2 a.m., its little red numbers informed me it was 6:37 p.m.  Poor little guy definitely had its wires crossed!

It continued its wacky ways for a full day until I gave it a good smack (please don’t report me to the clock radio protective services people).  I didn’t really hurt it, because it started telling time correctly again for a few days after that.  Obviously, I thought it had just needed a little reprimand to straighten up and tell time right.

But its time was obviously coming to a quick and abrupt end, I just didn’t realize it.  The other night as I was turning in for a good night’s rest, I glanced over at Blackie.  It was obviously deranged because its red digits were totally messed up and didn’t look like numerals at all, but rather some strange hieroglyphics…from a very foreign land…or some galaxy far, far away.

I confess I shook it and smacked it once, unplugged it,  waited a couple of minutes and plugged it back in again, hoping the electrical shock Blackie received would re-jump its clock heart and get it going once more.

It didn’t move, not one minute, instead just stared at me with those listless strange markings on its face.  Then it became quite apparent that its days had been numbered and its number was up!

For days now, I’ve been without an alarm clock.  Oh, don’t worry, I haven’t overslept.  I actually have an alarm clock that awakens me every morning.  It’s called my husband.  He, ever the early riser, is almost always bounding out of bed ready to face his day long before me.  And when he gets up, I wake up.  Sometimes I doze back to sleep for a few more winks, but usually my internal clock reminds me the exact time I need to arise and get going.

I haven’t rushed out to buy a new clock yet.  I’m seriously considering getting a real alarm clock – the old fashioned analog kind I had when I was a kid,  the kind you wind to keep going.

Why?  First of all, electronics just don’t seem to be as well made as they used to be.  That’s why my hubby’s 30-year-old clock radio still works and my 5-year-old one is deader than a doornail.

Secondly, a wind-up clock won’t let me down when the power goes out, which occasionally happens, or ever need new batteries.  I never used the snooze button on my old clock and I don’t need a radio because I don’t prefer to wake up to music.  (That’s another post that I’ll write about later), so those are features I won’t miss.

It will be just me and my new little buddy.  All I need from it is to ensure I’m awake when I need to be and to show me the correct time during those nights I wake up and wonder what time it is.

The only thing my clock will need is me to wind it.  I think I’m up for the challenge and I’m wondering if the steady and hypnotizing tick-tock of a wind-up clock might put me into dreamland a little faster.  Time will tell.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Would you believe?

blog327You may have noticed I didn’t post an entry on my blog yesterday.  Would you believe I was kidnapped by a secret anti-blogging organization?

No, you don’t believe that?  Would you believe I was kept captive by a wild herd of kids?

No, you don’t believe that one either?  How about I spent the better part of the day in Babies ‘R Us?

If you’re too young to get my drift in the first paragraph, let me explain.  Back in the old days, (the 60’s) there was a comical television show called “Get Smart,” a satire on the secret agent genre that was popular back in the day.

An actor named Don Adams played a bumbling, tall-tale telling agent named Maxwell Smart.  Even though he was pretty inept as a secret agent, he always managed to save the day with his sidekick, beautiful lady agent, Agent 99.  “Would you believe….” was one of the catch phrases from the show.

So believe it or not, I really was captive for quite some time in a store I very rarely visit, Babies ‘R Us.  The last time a new baby joined my family was about 11 years ago, I think, when my last great-nephew was born.

But there’s a new little miss soon joining the ranks of our clan come December.   My nephew and his wife are awaiting their first bundle of joy and the baby shower is fast approaching.

So armed with pages and pages of baby gift registry entries, my sister (the proud grandma-to-be) and I embarked on a shopping excursion with most of our time expended at the big box store for babies.  Meandering up and down the aisles, my eyes beheld baby items I never knew existed.

That store sure knows how to hit your sweet spot for spending money on the endearing little creatures entering your life.  We oohed and we aahed all over the place, perusing one aisle of baby goods after another, not to mention all the time we spent searching for items on the gift registry that weren’t in the store.

Since I was shopping for a joint gift from both my daughters and myself, I thought I had a hefty amount of money to expend.  Thought being the operative word there.  Baby items like strollers, car seats, etc. cost a whole lot more now than I remember them costing.   “Missed it by that much.”  (Another “Get Smart” catch phrase.)

And then there’s all those items to choose from, things called boppies, or floppies or moppies, oh, I don’t know.  It was mind-boggling.  The nursery for the little one is decked out in fairy tale princess décor, and believe me, there were a lot of items that befitted a princess!

Would you believe I actually got lost between the baby furniture and the binkies for the entire day?  Ok, maybe not.  Would you believe I got a good daily workout just rambling around Babies ‘R Us searching for just the right baby gift?  Naw, I didn’t.

How about getting suckered into purchasing a pink “soothing spa and shower” baby bath and an adorable pink and lavender flowered and butterfly adorned baby bouncer with seven soothing lullabies and a calming vibration mode to entice baby to sleep?  Oh yes I did!

I just couldn’t resist them.  At least I didn’t succumb to the princess potty chair like my sister did.   Oops! I let the cat out of the bag…. “Sorry about that, Chief!”

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

The truth about cats and dogs

blogdscn0484Yesterday I learned the truth about cats and dogs.  In a hospital waiting room.  In between bouts of trying to avoid stranger danger.  If you’re totally lost by this, read my post from yesterday.

Even though I am not a medical professional, for some reason I enjoy reading and learning about issues in the medical field.   Yesterday hubby said the doctor informed him he had some…thing…, but hubby couldn’t remember the medical term.   I supplied it for him, and sure enough when the doctor stopped by to release hubby for discharge,  I was correct.

I mentioned my interest in medical jargon to hubby and that I probably could have made a decent nurse, except for that regurgitation thing that sick people do.  Yeah, I can’t stomach seeing, hearing, or smelling someone throw up.

But that’s another story and let’s not go there or I will start gagging while I write.  Let’s just say that while raising three children, hubby was relegated to “sick duty” and my kids were forbidden to be even nauseous when their dad was away on business and we’ll leave it at that.

So by enlightening you about my fascination with all things medical, this explains why, out of all the magazines in the hospital waiting room, I would pick up WebMD magazine first to read.  There was a small sidebar article in the periodical that was entitled “Surprising Things About Dogs and Cats,” but it listed a website you needed to visit to peruse (as Paul Harvey would say) “the rest of the story.”

Of course, I plugged it into the search engine on my computer and read the article – and that’s when I learned the truth about cats and dogs.

The first thing I read, I already knew – dog kisses can make you sick.  Some people believe dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans.  Wrong.

Now, I’m not overly fond of pooches, but they love me (click on this link “Why Do Doggies Sing Me Love Songs” to read about that). Doggies always want to jump on me and they would kiss me if I would let them, but whoa, no way am I going to allow a dog to lick my face, let alone my lips!

Experts (veterinarians) say that dogs’ mouths are “teeming with germs like salmonella, campylobacter, and cryptosporidium,” which when passed to humans’ mouths cause nasty cases of diarrhea.  A canine harbors those germs in his mouth from eating spoiled food or “when he uses his tongue as toilet paper.”

A-ha!! See right there is exactly why I would never willingly permit a dog to lick my lips! Seriously, you don’t know where that dog’s tongue has been!  Ewww.

The next fact about dogs that I already suspected is that they have a look of love.  You know that old song, “The look of love is in your eyes…”  Totally written for dogs.

The article declares that when your dog locks eyes with you it “may genuinely be a look of love, and not simply a form of begging.”  I’ve seen that look in dogs’ eyes.  Frankly, it frightens me; I don’t want to be loved by them that much.  I could accept them wanting my dinner much more readily than wanting to love me.

Since I am a cat owner, you would think I’d be more knowledgeable about those creatures than dogs, but a couple facts about cats were new to me.  Apparently, they can love too much.  This sounds very ironic because most people think these furry animals are aloof and don’t really care about humans that much.  Not true!

According to this article, animal behavior experts believe felines experience separation anxiety when they are apart from their favorite person.  They can act out, vocalize loudly, block the door when their loved one is attempting to leave, pace, vomit (oops, don’t go there), or be so worried, they can’t eat.

I know of one case in particular where this can be documented.  Oldest daughter’s kitty Jack.  He adores her.  And when she is gone, he chews her carpet, actually eating it until he throws up.  Major ewww.  Okay, there is getting to be way too much talk of throw up in this post!

Moving on quickly to the next point, cats kiss with their eyes.  Awww, isn’t that sweet?  They don’t try to lick your mouth and give you their nasty germs; they just blink at you to say,  “I love you, my human.”

At least, that’s what feline experts say.  A slow blink aimed at other kitties is a peace sign “meant to put other felines at ease.”  When they blink at a person, it shows affection, even love, so experts recommend we humans return the love by giving kitty cat a long gaze and then slowly blinking to “blow a kiss back in cat body language.”   Evidently, this works for house cats, feral cats, and even wild cats like tigers, so they say.

But if a tiger heads in my direction, I don’t think I’ll blow it a kiss by blinking at it!  I experimented with this method of demonstrating love to my adorable ball of fur last night.  She just stared at me, unblinking,  as if to say, “What the heck are you doing?”

And she didn’t blink back, no matter how many times I “kissed” her in “ze language of amour.”  I felt like the cartoon skunk Pepé LePew being rebuffed by the object of his affection, Penelope Kitty, as my own kitty turned and actually walked away from me.

Sacré bleu!  Maybe she doesn’t love me after all! 😦

Check out the site if you’re interested:

http://pets.webmd.com/slideshow-surprising-things-about-dogs-and-cats

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com