‘Round We Go

In December, we had a show-down with some unwanted visitors (you can read about that here.)  We thought we won but surprise, surprise- they’re back!

Last week, I got a call from my younger son’s school, which is never a good thing.  They never call simply to say you have a wonderful child, or to let you know they have a spa treatment gift basket waiting for you in the front office.  Perhaps they should start doing that to really mess with parents’ heads…

As I listened to the school nurse, my blood went cold.  Lice.  My first thought was, “Oh, crap.  Not again!”  My second thought was, “Oh crap, he slept in our bed two nights ago!”

03-02 WeaponsOn the way home from school, we stopped at Wal Mart to purchase the weapons… um, I mean lice treatments.  As I walked to the checkouts, I had a déjà vu moment.  I was sixteen again, buying feminine products:  no matter how I held the boxes, I couldn’t conceal the contents, and it felt like everyone stared and judged.  As the cashier scanned our four lice-related items, she pretended not to notice what they were.  I wondered if she fought the urge to scratch her head as much as I did.  If she didn’t, I bet right after we left, she at least changed the latex gloves she wore.

If I even think the word “lice”, my scalp itches and I swear I can feel things crawling on me.  The temptation to shave my head is high, but I remind myself if I did that, I’d look less like Demi Moore in GI Jane and more like a cancer patient.  The fact that I’m so susceptible to suggestion is funny to me, because I’m not the hypochondriac- my husband is.

In hubby’s defense, he comes from a long line of hypochondriacs.  His mother has been dying of something since I first met her nearly twenty years ago.  (She’s still alive, by the way, but was just in the hospital for chest pains.)  It’s interesting that my husband can swear he’s caught a cold if someone sneezes twenty feet away, but he was the only one not scratching his head!

We’ve endured the shame of diagnosis and shopping for the cure and we’ve seen different shades of hypochondria.  We’ve survived the lice treatment (though we’re scheduled for a follow up this week) and I’ve almost recovered from the sixteen loads of laundry.  As I ponder the events of the past week, I search for any nugget of enlightenment I can find, just as I always do when I go through an adverse situation.

I’ve got nothing.

Maybe I read too much into my experiences.  Perhaps I’m supposed to learn to accept that sometimes life sucks… just because it can.

Seasons of Friendship

Tis the season...for lights and friendship
Tis the season…for lights and friendship

Not all friends

Stay with us for life;

Some appear when we need them

Only to drift away again.

They see us through seasons,

Like angels,

Give a shoulder or a hand-

Strength when we need it.

When a season passes,

And our friend is gone,

We might not see through the sadness,

The possibility of a new dawn.

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I got the best Christmas gift ever this year.  It doesn’t fit in a box…didn’t cost a dime…can’t be shopped for at the store.  I bet you’d never guess in a million years what it is.  We survived the Mayan apocalypse, but I’m fairly certain none of us will be here in a million years, so I’ll just end the suspense now:  I am back in touch with a lost friend.  Not just any friend:  Holly- the one credited in my ‘About’ page with introducing me to poetry (which has led to story and novel writing).

How it happened is so crazy, I still can’t believe it.

Someone recently left a comment on my blog that made me question if I knew this person.  Curiosity prompted me to channel my inner cyber-stalker and I emailed him a few questions.  He responded and his answers proved this was someone I knew in high school – over twenty years ago!  It turns out that he stayed in contact with Holly, and passed my email info along to her.  She emailed me right away.

Since that day, Holly and I have sent a flurry of emails back and forth, exchanged family photos, reminisced, and tried to catch up on over twenty years of life.  Neither one of us can remember why we lost contact- there wasn’t a falling out of any kind.  She lives far away from me, but we plan to keep in touch, at least through email.  We hope to manage a visit into our schedules (and budgets).

This whole thing is so amazing to me because I don’t have a strong online presence.  I don’t do Facebook, I don’t Twitter, and it’s not like this is a mega blog viewed by thousands.  If my old friend had not stumbled upon my blog or commented using his real name, none of this would have happened.

But he did.  So this Christmas, I have been re-gifted not one, but two old friends!  Yes, I have two more blessings to count today.

What was your best Christmas present ever?  Do you have a gift you wish you never would have received?  Have you been reunited with old friends through your blog?

Eleven Questions from Jeanne

I hardly ever participate in the blog awards that go around, mainly because I get headaches after scraping the barrel bottom to come up with mildly interesting facts about myself.  Most recently, I have ignored didn’t participate in awards from Debbie at Musings by an ND Domer’s Mom and Becca at Lady or Not…Here I Come.

Sorry, guys.  I am a loser.  There.  I admitted it!

I don’t post the award badges on my blog, either.  I’ve maintained that it’s because I enjoy writing and people reading and commenting is enough for me.  It’s also true that I’m too lazy to add another widget to my sidebar.  Besides, I don’t want to get a big head, thinking I’m better than I really am.  Once I realize my greatness, I’d have to turn my blog into an exclusive club where only members could read my too-good-for-the-public posts.  (For those who are new around here, that last bit was complete sarcasm and expresses the views of my son’s cat.)

On a pedestal looking down?  Not me...that's Lizzy!
On a pedestal looking down? Not me…that’s Lizzy!

I’m skipping the Trifecta weekend prompt because I can’t commit the time to read everyone’s posts and vote this weekend.   Instead, I decided to play along with the Liebster Award that Jeanne at a nola girl at heart recently named my blog to receive.  She made it easy:  all I had to do was answer eleven questions.  I’d like to thank Jeanne now for recognizing my blog and for picking such fun questions to answer.

I’m not officially accepting the award because I couldn’t possibly narrow down 11 blogs to pass it along to.  I read many more than that and they all have something I think is worthwhile.

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1. What happened today that made you smile?  My friend’s plans changed so we can meet earlier tomorrow.  I got a close parking space at Costco tonight (my smile faded by the time I squeezed through the doors, though.)

2. What is your favorite all time movie?  Tough one.  My favorite ‘old’ movie is It Happened One Night.  My favorite color movie…there are several that never get old….but I’ll go with Sleepless in Seattle.

3. Do you have a favorite dessert?  Anything with chocolate…extra chocolate (no nuts)

4.  If you could retire anywhere in the world where would it be?  Somewhere near water.  After spending most of my life in the desert Southwest, I’m dried out!

5.  Are you a winter or summer person?  It depends on where I am.  In Arizona, I detest summer because it’s too hot to do anything.  Here, I prefer fall – it has the best temperatures of any season!  If I lived in a ‘normal’ place, I suspect I’d like summer best.  (Did you see what I did here?  I turned a simple one-word answer into an entire paragraph with extra useless information.)

6.  What’s the last book you read?  The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.

7.  What’s your favorite book?  I couldn’t possibly pick just one.  I like most of Mary Higgins Clark’s books, though.

8.  Do you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?  Merry Christmas.

9.  What’s the longest vacation you have ever taken and where?  In college, I spent a month in California with friends and we spent a week in Hawaii, too.  There was an earthquake the day I left CA to come back home.  It scared me enough that it took six years for me to visit there again.

10.  Are you still friends with any of your childhood friends?  Not really.  I do exchange Christmas cards with one friend from seventh grade, but we don’t talk or write other than that.

11.  What’s the weather like where you live today?  Some people in the U.S. might hate me for this right now (namely the ones buried in snow) but it’s sunny with a high of 78 degrees.  (We survived 110+ degree days in the summer, we deserve a break!)

Enough about me…can you relate to any of my answers?  How would you respond?  I’d love to know more about those who read my blog, so I hope you’ll leave a comment to share :)   Have fun!  

Dishwasher Ed 101

I’ve had a dislike-hate relationship with my dishwasher for over fifteen years.  It’s the dishwasher the builder put in the house (translated:  it’s the cheapest thing they could lay their hands on.)

Almost vintage?

My parents offered to lend us money in 2003 to get a new dishwasher, but I didn’t take it.  I couldn’t replace an appliance that still worked…it seemed wasteful.

My definition of “working” might be a little skewed.  Yes, the dishwasher runs, but we’ve always had to pretty much clean the dishes before loading them (i.e., not one speck of food left.)  You may think I’m tolerant, but the fact is, I’m just cheap.

Finally, this dishwasher seems ready to kick the bucket (or perhaps that bucket was kicked long ago.)  Our pre-cleaned dishes come out dirtier than when we rinsed them.  I’m leery of the dishes that look clean.  It’s time to replace it.

I’ve spent the last two weeks obsessing over reading Consumer Reports reviews.  I’ve been frustrated to find that Consumer Reports’ highest rated often have low customer reviews.  I’ve read some of the customer reviews.  Almost every dishwasher has several reviews urging “not to waste money.”

After several days, I left the computer and hit the stores.  I feel like I stepped out of time machine.  My dishwasher is white and black.  It has knob (yes, a knob) for the wash setting (normal or light) and a switch for air or electric dry.  That’s it.

My dishwasher wants to know what happened to rotary telephones

I’m amazed at some of the features they have in dishwashers now:

  • 5 or 6 different wash settings and a heavy scrubbing feature
  • Foldable tines (the tines in our dishwasher don’t fold…the kids just bend and break them off when the dishes don’t fit :))
  • An adjustable top rack (right now, Dawn cleans the dishes that are too big for the dishwasher)
  • A cute little light that shines on the floor when the dishwasher is running (I adore this because I can’t imagine a dishwasher running without me and all my neighbors knowing it.)
  • There is one that touts being able to clean a pan with the cake still in it.  Call me crazy, but I want to try this just to see if it really works!
  • Then there are the choices:  plastic vs. stainless steel tub, 46 vs. 55 decibel, hidden top button panel vs. front buttons, $499 vs. $1,800 on up.

Whoa.  Hold it.  A dishwasher costs HOW MUCH???  And that doesn’t include delivery and installation.  Can’t.  Breathe.

The frugal side of me has trouble digesting the price of all the niceties that make a dishwasher desirable.  The value side of me is looking for best balance of features and cost.  We spent several hours on the computer last weekend researching dishwashers we looked at in stores.  The one my husband liked, because of its great sale price, had several comments about the circuit board shorting out after a couple months.

That makes me nervous.  I wonder why they didn’t stick with knobs.  Those don’t short out.

Sometimes less is more…in this case, “less” is less electrical repairs

I left the computer with a giant headache and one solution to my inability to make a decision:

Can be carried by one person…just bend at the knees

Dawn doesn’t need costly repairs.  Dawn takes grease out of the way.  (She works on grease stains on clothing as well.)  Dawn is easy to use- no complicated manuals.  Best of all, Dawn is relatively inexpensive.  A bottle from Costco lasts for years.

Too bad the kids’ washing reliability rivals that of my dying (dead?) dishwasher.

Picture That

I mentioned in my Sunday post that I am in the process of removing all images from my blog that are not my own.  Many of them are mine, but I do have a fair number that were found on the internet (mostly photobucket, Flickr and Wikipedia) or Word Clip Art.

At any rate, I have 400 posts to review, which is time consuming enough that I’m tempted to procrastinate. The only thing that keeps me from procrastinating? Paranoia Cautiousness.

Recently, a friend forwarded a blog post to me that opened my eyes to photo usage.  Roni Loren wrote about her own experience.  If you have a blog and use pictures found online, I encourage, no urge, you to check it out.

I was too late to catch the rays of sunlight on this picture…I hope I’m not too late to fix my picture-posting ways!

I am an honest person; I don’t download free music, I don’t claim all of my charitable donations on my tax return, I tell a cashier when I get too much change back, well, you get the idea.  I certainly don’t steal stuff.  After reading Roni’s blog post, I was bothered that I could have been stealing and didn’t even realize it.

Being sued would be even worse.  The chances of being sued are probably low.  Then again, I figured the IRS would never flag my small dollar tax return for review.  (Although the reason for review was because of pages missing, which wasn’t my fault.  Thanks a lot, e-File.)

While many things are unlikely, all things are possible.

Word Clip Art is licensed for personal use, but cannot be used on advertisements or for publications for monetary gain.  If (when?) I become a published author and I write about my book on my blog – would my blog then be considered as used for monetary gain?  It’s a gray area for me, so Clip Art is gone, too.

So, this is why I decided to use only my pictures.  I’m leaving many of my old posts pictureless, unless I happen to already have ones that will work.  I’m updating posts that have a photo credit on them, since the photos are no longer there.

Life is already complicated enough; that is why this blog must be simple :)

Did Roni’s post tell you anything you didn’t know?  Does it change how you think about online pictures

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P.S. I’m having some computer issues, along with changing the email associated with this blog.  It might take a few days, but I plan to catch up on reading!