beyondpanic's diary

beyondpanic's Diaryland Diary

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Damn Yankees

Today I was heping a female member from South Carolina. I was asking her what her member number was, who the patient was, the date of service, etc...All of a sudden, I heard her say to her husband in a "stage whisper" "I'm talking to a damn Yankee. I was floored! I couldn't beleive it!

I quietly said to her, Mam, I may be a Yankee, but I can still help you with your claims. She told me that I wasn't giving her a chance to talk and that she would call back and speak to someone else. I told her that would be fine. I refrained from telling her that we were all "damn Yankees". Hey, what do yo expect when you're calling Pennsylvania?

8:16 p.m. - February 06, 2007
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If Nicholas Sparks can do it, so can I

I have some exciting news. I am writing a book with two other women. One is an old friend, one is a new friend. Both of these women are very intelligent, funny and attractive. They are both artists. They are both very spiritual and read non-fiction books. They float on clouds.

I have been asked to join this wonderful duo for "comedy relief". I look at everything with a crooked eye - I'm always looking for the joke, the giggle, the funny. I think they also asked me to help because I'm organized - oh, and I can type fast.

So, more on the book later - I may ask my blog friends to answer a couple of questions for my research - but don't worry, the questions will be fun to answer.

Wish us luck!

10:04 p.m. - February 03, 2007
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A chicken in every pot.

Today was a better day – almost one screamer, but I was able to make him happy before he revved up.

I made a chicken in the crockpot today. It turned out well and I have enough left over for tomorrow night. We’re supposed to be getting a big snow storm on Thursday night, so I’m planning to work overtime tomorrow night. Now I don’t have to feel guilty about the family not having dinner.

I’m trying to be more “productive” during the week and not just come home and veg out. If the schedule change goes through, I’ll be working 9:30 – 6:00. I always work overtime, so the later hour really doesn’t bother me and if I decide to do overtime, I can go into work early in the morning.

I’m craving my Starbuck’s chai. I try not to have one during the week – I only have it on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

8:22 p.m. - January 30, 2007
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Screamers

Such a horrible day at work today. I actually think today is the worst day I’ve had there since I started there on May 1.

I had screamers all day. I also had people who were determined to talk down to me. I asked one man if he had been transferred to my phone from another department and he snarled, “What, do you think I just dropped out of the sky?” He actually asked me why the company had hired me.

AAAGGGHHH! Times like that are times when I just want to quit and find some quiet library job.

We celebrated my Dad’s 80th birthday on Saturday. We really had a great time and so did he. Of course, my oldest son didn’t come up to PA, nor did he even call his grandfather. He should be ashamed of himself – he is the first grandchild – he didn’t have to talk to me – he could have just called his grand pop.

I made vegetarian tortellini soup. It was delicious and my strict vegetarian sister really appreciated it. Hub and I ate the leftovers for dinner tonight.

So, tomorrow is another day – those people had better be nice to me.

8:24 p.m. - 2007-01-29
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Yo, so what's wrong with Philly?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia
 

Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The Northeast
 
The Midland
 
The Inland North
 
The South
 
Boston
 
The West
 
North Central
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

You know what's really funny about this?

Sometimes, when I'm on the phone with a member, they'll ask me if I'm from Philly. When I say yes, they will say, Yep, I thought so, I can hear it. And I'll think, hear what?? You're the one with the accent!

When I speak with people from the South, they sometimes ask me to slow down. I always joke with them and tell them we talk fast in the North because we're always running to get in from out of the cold. They laugh and then my supervisor writes me up for being too chatty.

5:47 p.m. - 2007-01-27
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Shopping

The Hub and I went to the Mall last night and I bought two new coats and a pair of boots.

This morning, I start to put on one of the coats and yep, you guessed it, that damn kid left that damn security thing on the sleeve. Damn, damn, damn. I was planning on looking real cute today, but no, I had to wear my old coat.

The new high security coat is pink with black accents. I can just see me skiing down a Black Diamond ski trail – my speed accentuated by the bright colors. HAHAHAHAHHAHA. For those of you that know me personally, you know that coat will never be on any ski trails – or out in the snow if I can help it.

While I was trying on the coat last night, the hub looks at me and says, “Pink?”….just like that,“Pink?” Now, I’m in a bad mood because of Aunt Edna’s unexpected visit, and so I looked at him incredulously as if to say, “Are you fu$%ing kidding me, man? Do you not realize that I could fly across this store like a screaming bleeding banshee and rip your heart out ala Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?”

He must have read something in the look I gave him because he slowly walked away from me. He returned moments later with a pink hat, pink gloves and a pink scarf. I guess he got the message.

I had a difficult time trying on boots because “Jacquana” was blocking the aisle (forgive the spelling, I have no idea how it should be spelled.) Her mother pronounced it Ju-qwon-uh. 13 or 14 year old Jacquana (who unfortunately was about 50 lbs overweight and a mouth breather) completely blocked the boot display while she sucked on a Big Gulp. Every few minutes her mother would yell a direction to her. Jacquana gets me a size 10! Jacquana, see if they have this in a brown! Jacquana, gets me a size 10 wide in red! Jacquana, do you hear me, girl?! I said…….

When Jacquana was sure her mother was not looking, she would roll her eyes so far back into her head that I was afraid they “would stick like that”.

It wasn’t a relaxing night, but at least I got 2 new coats and a pair of boots out of it!

8:28 p.m. - 2007-01-25
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CHANGE THE CHANNEL!!

At 9:00 Eastern time, will it be immature of me to put my fingers in my ears and scream out loud at the TV, “La la la la la la la la la la la la.

That would be so much more fun than turning off the TV.

So, there was a reason for me to be so depressed last night. My Aunt Edna came to visit today. Damn you Aunt Edna! I’m going to be 50 in April – 50 not 16 or 39 or 33! 50! 50! 50! Aunt Edna, you are not welcome at my home again – never again! And now that I think of it, you didn’t visit for 5 months straight and now you show up two months in a row. Go away and stay away!

I felt guilty for sitting on the couch for the entire night last night, so I came home, cooked dinner and took down my Christmas tree – that’s two days early. I really don’t think the neighbors are allowed to talk about me until February 1. Unlike my crazy-ass neighbor that lives two doors away, I do not believe in tearing down Christmas on Dec. 26 and slapping up my Valentines.

Watching American Idol and getting ready for my 9:00 La la la la la la la laor should it be Li li li li li li li li li li li li.

8:00 p.m. - 2007-01-23
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Feel Sorry for Myself Day

I can tell my meds are not working as well as they were before I reduced my daily dosage. I changed the dosage because the higher dose was giving me rashes all over my body. So, I reduce the meds and my OCD has come back.

I’m dwelling on things again like the fact that I hate the new glasses I picked out and will the Dr. let me send them back.

I’m worrying that Elj will drop a college course and then become a “part time” student and then lose her health insurance.

And of course, the whole thing with my son is on my mind all of the time. I just keep remembering the message that he left on the phone, Mom, Do Not Call Here Ever Again.

So, tonight I’ve decided to just take care of me. I ordered a pizza and salad and I’m sitting on my butt watching Wife Swap. Totally mindless, but I need this. I think I’m going to increase my meds and see if the rash comes back.


7:48 p.m. - 2007-01-22
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Oh, cripes, lighten up!

I got in trouble at work on Friday…again.

A member called to inquire as to how we paid a dental claim for him. I asked him if he could tell me the date of service.

He wasn’t sure, but he said to me, “Well, you know, it’s been so long since I’ve been to the dentist, that I’m sure it will stick out like a sore thumb.”

I replied, “…or a sore tooth…that’s a little insurance humor.” He laughed, I laughed. I gave him the information that he needed and then moved on to my next call.

Well, girls, my supervisor came over and told me that that comment was too personal. Too Personal????? What the hell was too personal about it? It was a little humor between two adults. It lasted less than 15 seconds, and we were both smiling when we got off of the phone. Supr. told me that the member could use that against me and take the conversation to the Board of Trustees. I honestly still do not see what was wrong with my comment, but I sure as hell won’t do it again.

I’ve always made people laugh- everyone tells me that I’m funny. I know when it’s appropriate or not. I don’t know how long I can be this serious – it’s like I’m stifling a part of myself everyday.

Dare I say it? Careerbuilder.com, here I come?

7:07 p.m. - 2007-01-21
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Lunch in the 60's

My mom worked full time from the time I was in kindergarten; however, she always took time in the morning to make our lunches. Mom had a great assembly line going- she could have taught Henry Ford a thing or two. She would line up 10 pieces of bread on the table – 5 on top of 5. She would then add the ingredients like bologna and cheese, PB and J, cheese and lettuce, ham spread, tuna fish with hard boiled egg added to s-t-r-e-t-c-h it for five and my all time favorite, Mom’s egg salad.

The egg salad tasted great when it was fresh, but after it sat in my locker for 3 or 4 hours, it was absolutely fantastic. Of course, every sandwich was made on white bread - I don’t even think they made wheat bread back then.

When Mom ran out of “regular bread”, she would have to use the “noses” of the loaf to
complete the process. I hated the nose – I always felt gypped. At least she never gave any of us two noses!

Mom didn’t drive and occasionally she would run out of bread completely. We would then get P B and J on Saltines. That combination was pretty messy by lunch time because the top crackers had shifted during the trek to school and jelly would be all over the bag, but we still loved it.

My kids ordered their lunch at school every day. They munched on hot chicken fingers, spaghetti or cheese steaks. They devoured hot dogs, pancakes and macaroni & cheese.

There is no comparison between my Mom’s egg salad and cafeteria chicken fingers. My kids definitely missed out on something.
Thanks, Mom

9:02 p.m. - 2007-01-12
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Overtime

I've been working overtime this week - 12 hour days to be exact. We are 7000 claims behind where we should be and we have all been authorized to work as many overtime hours as we want.

I'm exhausted, but I have to do it. Hub's work has been slow and I feel that I need to pull my weight as far as our finances are concerned. I'm trying to hang in there, especially since hub is afraid to change his line of work.

I went easy on the chocolate today - yesterday's list really shocked me. I haven't felt "hungry" in a long time. I just graze all day like a cow.

9:05 p.m. - 2007-01-10
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Chocolate!!


I’m addicted to chocolate.
Over the holiday season, I consumed pounds of chocolate and I’m still going.
I ate the following kinds of Hershey kisses:

Regular

Almond

Strawberry

Cherry Cordial

Expresso

Mint

Candy-cane

I ate several “mini” Hershey mint and chocolate bars
I ate two cans of Plantation chocolate straws – (I also ate one can of Plantation peanut butter puffs, but I digress)
I ate one box of Russell Stover chocolate creams
I am halfway through a box of “Hershey’s Pot of Gold”
I ate brownies that I had made for New Year’s Eve, even though I usually turn my nose up at brownies.
I ate all of the chocolate chip cookies that one of hub’s Scouts made for him as a gift.

Ten years ago, my breast doctor told me that I should not eat chocolate because I have fibrocystic breast disease. I was good for a long time, but as you can see, all hell has since broken loose.

What shocks me is that I haven’t blown up – my pants still fit me. Jerry Springer has not arrived at my house, knocked down a wall , and had me removed by an ambulance helicopter.

When will it all end? When will I be able to walk past a bowl of candy without dipping in? When will I turn down an offer of a chocolate covered marshmallow Santa? When?! When?!!! (You should be imagining someone looking up towards the heavens wringing their chocolate smeared hands)

Valentine’s Day is just 36 days away!

8:06 p.m. - 2007-01-09
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Wow! for Wegman's

I used a PTO (paid time off) day today. It was great! I had planned to stay home all day and read and drink tea, but the best laid plans of mice and men…

I woke up around 9:30, took my shower and called one of my friends who does not have to back to work until Thursday. She does beautiful calligraphy and was meeting a customer that had contacted her through “Craig’s List”. She has to address 128 Bar Mitzvah envelopes for him. She met him at Barnes and Nobles and I went along with her for the ride

We then drove to Downingtown and ate at Wegman’s. That’s my first time at Wegman’s. It’s a lot of fun and they have some beautiful food. We had lunch there and then just wandered around the store. I had to buy scones – I can never pass by scones without buying them. I just love the dryness of them with a cup of tea – it’s heaven on earth.

As we were driving home, we both agreed that we had had a wonderful adventure. It’s so nice to do something unplanned on a day off. It’s nice to so something during the day besides go to work.

4:01 p.m. - 2007-01-02
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Survived the celebration

We had lots of fun last night. I bought WAY too much food, but what we had was delicious. It was nice to celebrate the New Year with my some of my closest and oldest friends! Pre-medication, I would never have planned and carried out a New Year’s Eve party. Once or twice during the week I considered canceling the party because I could feel a panic attack trying to surface, but I just let the meds do their work. I’m so glad I did.

I handed out hats, leis and horns at 11:45. Poured the champagne at 11:55. It was poring rain at midnight, so we all stood outside on my screened in porch and blew our horns. We probably scared the bejeezus out of the squirrels and deer in the back yard. I think the funniest thing about the whole night was looking at all of my guests (including the men) dutifully wearing their New Year’s hats.

I even purchased those tacky plastic champagne glasses at the Party Store – you know, the ones that come in a big plastic bag and you have to press the stem into the base. Well, I didn’t have enough glasses for my guests, and really, what is a New Year’s party without plastic glasses?

Everyone left around 3:00 and we got to bed around 3:30. I woke up at 10:45 to watch the Rose Bowl Parade, but I fell asleep again around 12:00 and slept until 5:00 p.m.

I took the day off tomorrow – I plan to do a Starbucks and library run and then sit on my butt the rest of the day! Yeah!!!!

Oh, God bless Dick Clark! I saw a little bit of the show last night – he seems to have come a long way. It must be so difficult to rehab in the public eye.

8:46 p.m. - 2007-01-01
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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of my blogging friends. I'm resting for a few minues before I go back to the kitchen - about 25 people will be coming around 9:00 to celebrate the New Year with my family.

Today at Church, we celebrated the feast day of the Holy Family. The priest recommended that if we hadn't made any resolutions this year, we should focus on our families this year. That is what my resolution will be.

My oldest son called me on Christmas Eve - we started arguing and I started to cry and I hung up on him. He called last night to apologize for upsetting me on Christmas. We had a good talk, but I miss him terribly.

Well, once again, Happy New Year, friends. Be happy and be safe!

5:44 p.m. - 2006-12-31
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Smile

Why can't the Hub just smile once in a while? Every day he does his best to bring me down, and every day, I refuse to allow him to do it.

Smiling is not that difficult - no one is going to think he's less of a man if he smiled.

He doesn't smile at me, the kids, his co-workers, the neighbors, his doctor,etc.

He became angry with me the other night because I refused to discuss some political situation with him. I told him that I just didn't want to discuss it - mainly because he doesn't discuss - he shouts and pounds and growls and embarasses me.

Now that I think of it, the only time he does smile is when he is being mean.

4:15 p.m. - 2006-12-30
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Too much tooth talk


I received my review for December today. I got a great review with one comment. “Sometimes you get too personal with the members and they might see that as condescending.” I know exactly what phone call my supervisor is referring to and I’m pissed!

A few weeks ago a 22 year old member called me with some questions regarding his dental insurance. I explained that he had a yearly max of $1500.00. He was upset because the dentist had just told him that he needed several thousand dollars worth of dental work. He told me that he was living by himself in Las Vegas and that he was hoping to save up enough money to see his family for the holidays

Last week, his call just happened to come to my phone again. I recognized his name and we started to discuss his dental claims again. He told me that he was still hoping to go home for the holidays, but that his bills were pretty high. He said that he had really bad teeth and I commented that he was awfully young to need so many root canals and crowns. He told me that he had been in jail and was not able to take care of his teeth then.

I told him that now he had a good job with good benefits and he should be proud that he has accomplished so much.

I guess that’s what she meant by being too personal. All I know is that I was talking to a young, lonely kid who missed his family and needed someone to talk to.

I was probably on the phone with him for about 10 minutes – 9 minutes too long for my supervisor, but 20 minutes too short for a kid living in a big town with no family at Christmas

6:51 p.m. - 2006-12-29
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Can you hear me now?

Why, oh why, does my hairdresser refuse to listen to me? Why does she appear to be listening to me, but then ignore my requests?

I asked for bangs – simple bangs. But no, she gave me a bang. Literally, one hair is cut bang length and the others are cut on some kind of angle. I have to keep pushing this one hair out of my eyes…type…push…type…push…type…push. Uggh – I may end up at the Hair Cuttery tomorrow.

Maybe she was mad because I forgot to bring her Christmas tip, but hell, she couldn’t have known that when she started clipping!

I’m telling you – one hair is bang length. Dammmnnnn.

9:05 p.m. - 2006-12-28
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Christmas 2006

Never, never, never allow your dentist to talk you into a root canal 3 days before Christmas…and when you google the word root canal, do not believe the web sites that claim there will not be any pain after the procedure. I think I’ve said enough.

On Christmas Eve, I had Mom and Dad and my daughter’s fella for dinner. The kid looked absolutely terrified. Now this isn’t some scaredy-cat looking kid who looks like you could blow him over with a sneeze. This kid is 6 foot something and he was the captain of his football team and wrestling team in high school. I tell you, the kid was terrified. Maybe he didn’t like what I cooked and was suffering trying to eat it, but, oh well, I did my best.

By the time my company left, I was in agony. I took 3 Advil and lay on the couch. Hub and Youngest Son had to bring all the presents down. I didn’t get to make my cinnamon bun ring, but I plan to make it next week.

We woke up on Christmas, opened presents, ate a little, then fell back to sleep on the couch for an hour. I woke up and ran into the kitchen and started cooking – my pineapple casserole, green bean casserole and turkey for hot turkey sandwiches. We didn’t go to Mass and I do feel guilty about that. If I don’t go to church, the whole family feels like they don’t have to.

We left our house to go to my sister’s at 1:45. We had a wonderful time – everything was delicious, we all received lots of great gifts and no one fought!! We figured my dad was ready to leave when he put his hat and coat on and sat out in our car! Subtle, he is not!

We got home, finished watching the Eagles/Cowboys game (Yeah, the Eagles won!!) and then my lovely day came to a screeching halt. My oldest son called and we started arguing. I ended up crying and hung up the phone and went to bed. He called back and talked to his Dad, but I didn’t bother asking my husband what he said when he called back. I’m too tired of the drama.

I’m at work now and we are pretty quiet. I did run out at lunch and picked up next year’s Christmas cards at ½ price. Oh I also bought 2 New Year’s Eve kits. They have enough hats, streamers, and kazoos, etc. for 10 people each. They were selling for ½ price also!

8:02 p.m. - 2006-12-26
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'Twas the night before the night before Christmas

I had a great day today!

Well, it didn’t start out so great. The dentist insisted I have that damn root canal. Hmmm, what woke me up from a sound sleep at 6:15 this morning??? Was it a toothache in that tooth? Why yes, it was. Was it that tooth that never gave me one bit of trouble until the damn endodontist worked on it? Why yes, I do believe it was.

I got up, took some Advil, turned the Christmas tree on and laid on the couch. The throbbing subsided and I fell asleep until 9:48!!

My two girlfriends and I then went to our local Irish shop. They really had some beautiful things there. We each bought some rashers. I googled the word for you.

Rashers - A European term referring to thin strips of cured pork that are most often considered bacon in the United States. The meat is served for breakfast and is available as streaky or back rashers. Streaky rashers have more fat while back rashers are lean and meatier with less fat.

I’ll be cooking the rashers for my Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow night. I making two different “quiches” – one egg and bacon and one egg, onion and green pepper. I’m also making oven browned potatoes and a fruit tray and cookies for dessert. I begged my Mom and Dad to come for dinner tomorrow night and my mom finally agreed. My daughter’s boyfriend is coming too. I know it sounds like an odd dinner to eat on Christmas Eve, but I’ve been doing it for years and my kids insist on it.

Well, after the Irish shop, my friends and I then went to Starbucks and sat with our Venti, non-fat extra hot, no foam, no water chai teas and solved the problems of the world. Well, at least all the problems in our little worlds.

I then went home and started the marathon wrap fest. I used a hint I found in a magazine a few years ago. I used to always sit on my bed and wrap and within a half hour, my back would be screaming. This year I erected the ironing board at the end of my bed, sat down and wrapped all of my presents on the board. What a great tip and a back saver! I watched the movie “Elf” with Will Ferrell and “A Christmas Story” by Jean Shepherd. It took me about 3 hours, but I got everything wrapped.

Then the hub and I went out Christmas shopping. He bought me another Santa to add to my collection and some sweaters. I did buy a few more things for my daughter and then we called it a night. It was fun to shop without any pressure.

10:50 p.m. - 2006-12-23
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Done - Finished - Fini!

Last night at around 6:45, I stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of T. J. Maxx and said aloud, “That’s it, I’m done”. I just could not shop for another thing. I decided that if I haven’t bought it, they ain’t getting’ it.
This happens every year. One minute I’m scratching through ornaments marked down 75% and the next minute I’m walking zombie-like out of the store to my car muttering, “must find car – can not buy another thing.”
I worked until 6:00 tonight – we got out 1 ½ hour early today. I work in the health insurance industry -people get sick whether it’s Christmas or not. It was nice to hear all of my co-workers yelling Merry Christmas to everyone as they left the building today. I use to work in the public school system where we would only whisper the words “Merry Christmas” to those people who knew the secret Christian handshake – we literally were not allowed to say “Merry Christmas”. Of course, we also couldn’t have Christmas trees, angels, baby Jesus’ or for that matter, menorahs or Kwanza straw. It’s nice to be able to celebrate.
Tomorrow is the dreaded day of wrapping. UGGH!

10:29 p.m. - 2006-12-22
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Re-gifter

I am exhausted! The Hub and I went out shopping tonight, again. I’m done – I just can’t buy another thing. I may not have gotten the kids everything that was on their lists, but I’m sure they’ll be happy.

Everyone has been very cheerful at work. I’ve received lots of cards and a few gifts. I gave everyone in my unit a small box of Andes mints and a card. I gave my immediate supervisor a John Lennon t-shirt – she just loves John Lennon.

I did something this year that I have never done before in my entire life. I re-gifted!! Several years ago, someone had given me a beautiful picture frame with Santa and a Christmas tree carved onto it. I have three kids and they never had their picture taken together with Santa, so I never put anything in it.

Yesterday, my other supervisor had shown me a picture that was taken this year of her son’s visit to Santa. It was the perfect size picture to go in this frame. So, I wrapped that sucker up and stuck a bow on it. I gave it to her today and she was thrilled. So, in one step, I got rid of clutter and made brownie points with my supervisor! You know, it really was fun to give her a gift that didn’t cost me anything! My mom has always been a re-gifter and I never understood why – now I do!

10:48 p.m. - 2006-12-20
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Blind as a bat

I went to the optometrist this morning for my yearly check-up. We talked about Lasik – I think I’m going to do it in the spring. My insurance will pay up to $2400.00 for it. I have to think about it. I would love to be able to see without glasses, but honestly, I like the way I look in glasses. Especially now that the wrinkles (or as I prefer to call them - laugh lines) are starting to show.

He dilated my eyes and I’m proud of myself for not fighting him off this time. I usually have to force myself not to claw at his hands when he sticks all those damn drops in my eyes…oh, and then the spotlight procedure is no fun either! “Look at the light”, he said to me. I’m thinking, “Light??? Do you mean that huge ball of fire that is searing into the back of my skull and frying my brains? That “light”??”

I left there and went to the thrift shop again to donate more Christmas stuff. That’s the last of it. Then I went to Starbucks with two of my best buds.

Then I came home and decorated the house for 4 hours with my daughter. WE ARE DONE! I couldn’t have done it without her! She had better not hide when it’s time to take all of this stuff down.

Hub and I are going out with some old friends tonight. My stomach is not feeling really great, so I think I’ll forego the mudslides and stick to water.

I hear Santa coming down my street on the fire engine. Hmm….I wonder if he’ll throw me a candy cane?

6:02 p.m. - 2006-12-16
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Christmas cavities

Left work at 2:30 to go to the dentist. After lots of drilling and sighing and shaking of her head, my dentist announced that I need a root canal and a crown.

She was so worried about the tooth acting up at an inoportune time that she made her secretary make my appt. with the endodontist immediately. I have to go next Thursday...no, I can't wait until after Christmas...damn.

Now for the BIG announcement. I think I am finished Christmas shopping. I shopped after the dentist appointment, then went out for pizza with the family, then went shopping again with the Hub. We got home at 10:50. I'm tired, but I do think I am finished. Wait, I still have to buy presents for the two dogs (Sam and Oscar) who live next door. Then, I'll be finished.

11:11 p.m. - 2006-12-14
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Charity


Do you know how difficult it is to give to charity?

In October, I went through my closets and gathered all of my unwearables. The pants that I will never fit into again and the spiked heal shoes that looked great on me, but hurt like hell. The orange Halloween sweat shirt and the red skimpy nightgown that I bought for Valentine’s Day about 8 sizes ago. The corduroy skirt and brown flats my Mom had given me. Note to Mom – have you ever seen me in corduroy or flats??!!

The next week I went to the Children’s Hospital thrift shop on my lunch hour. I struggled to get the heavy bag of clothes out of my car and into the store. I’ve noticed that Thrift stores are usually run by angry Senior citizens and today was no exception.

I was stopped abruptly at the door with a snarl. “We’re not taking donations today”, growled a pair of blue eye-shadowed eyes. That’s all I saw – blue eyes – oh and red rouged cheeks – and I mean RED rouged cheeks…and wrinkles, lots and lots of wrinkles.

I caught my breath and calmly said, “I beg your pardon?” Blue-red glared back and me and declared, “I said, we are not taking donations today.” She looked like she was ready to say, “Put up your dukes”.

I figured I’d be nice – you catch more flys with honey than vinegar – so I smiled sweetly and said, “Oh, I have some really nice things here and I know I won’t be able to get back for a few weeks."

Blue-red turned to her co-worker (I’ll call her Green-red – same look, different palette) and rolled her eyes. I swear I heard her mumble, “Get a load of this one, Mabel”. She turned back to me and said – this time much louder, “I SAID, WE ARE NOT TAKING DONATIONS TODAY!”

Do you believe it?? Blue-red was yelling at me because I was trying to donate articles of clothing so that they could make money for children with cancer!!!!

I suddenly became aware of movement and realized that Blue-red and Green-red were slowly moving toward me with gnarled fingers pointing towards the door. I swear, it was like something out of a Stephen King novel. Their eyes rolled back into their heads and saliva oozed from their mouths. Their fingers sprouted talons and their hair stood out from their heads in white wiry spikes.

"GGGGEEEEETTTT OOOUUUTTT!!!", they screamed at me as I started to back away. "GGGGEEEETTT OOOUUUUTTTT!!!"

"OH MY GOD", I screamed! And then I did the only thing I could do in that situation. I GOT OUT…and left the heavy bag behind me.

7:27 p.m. - 2006-12-11
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Decorating



What did I do Christmassy yesterday?

My two sisters, my niece and my mom went to a little tea shop in the area called A Taste of Britain (http://www.easyelegance.net/) We had “High Tea”. It really was lovely and a nice way to get together before the holidays without too much stress.

We then went to Waterloo Gardens (http://www.waterloogardens.com/). Christmas, Christmas, everywhere! I purchase a beautiful Santa Clause. He’s wearing a white felt coat with white boots. His coat has two brown felt bears on it. I LOVE HIM! I also purchased a Christmas cactus. It’s so special to have flowers in your home in December.

When I got home, I was looking forward to sitting on my butt and relaxing. My daughter; however, had other plans. She insisted that we decorate the Christmas tree. I tried to hide from her, but she chased me down and drug me out from behind the couch. I also decorated my dining room étagère with all of my Snowbabies. I wove tiny white lights around it for extra light – it looks great.

Today, I went to Mass, stopped for Starbuck’s and then went to T.J.Maxx. I purchase some beautiful ornaments and another Santa Clause. He’s about 2 feet tall and is wearing a red felt coat with red and green felt flowers on the coat. I love him!

I decorated my long living room shelf today also. One section is all Santa Clauses, the center section is my Mom’s nativity Set and the other section is all of the decorations that I have collected from the 1950’s along with my childhood stocking. I wove lights through the whole thing. It looks really nice.

Again, I have to say, it is so weird for me to be doing this. I haven’t “celebrated” Christmas in years – I’ve “endured” it. I’m exhausted but satisfied with all that I have done.

Do you know that I actually saw people eating at Taco Bell yesterday. ARE THEY CRAZY!!!??!!

6:23 p.m. - 2006-12-10
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Army - Navy game

The Army-Navy game was held in Philadelphia at the Lincoln Financial Field last Saturday. Navy won!!!! (I’m from a Navy family like you, m-lewis!)

Last Saturday night the hub and I ate dinner at Panera’s, an inexpensive sandwich shop. I always order the potato soup in the bread bowl. I didn’t last week because of the Christmas party mudslide overdose. I had chicken noodle – not as delicious, but still very good!

So, while hub and I were eating, I noticed two very young Naval officers enter the restaurant, one female, and one male. They looked fresh and beautiful in their uniforms, even with their ruddy cheeks from the raw Philadelphia winds! She went into the ladies room and he stood in front of the order board trying to decide what to order. I saw him open his wallet and count out his money and then study the menu some more.

I started to panic. First I thought that maybe he didn’t have enough to buy his dinner. Then I thought that maybe he wanted to treat her and didn’t have enough money to do that either! I couldn’t stand it. I reached into my pocket and grabbed the $10.00 bill that I had stuffed in there before we left the house.

No one else was at the counter, so I quickly walked over to him and said, “put out your hand’. He looked confused but started to shake my hand. I turned his hand over and slipped him the money. He got a big grin on his face and he immediately tried to hand it back to me. “No, no”, he said, “ I can’t take this from you!” I just grabbed his arm, said, “thanks for everything you’re doing”, and ran back to my seat, before the girl came out of the bathroom.

Hub and I finished our dinner, and when we left, I glanced back to see the two young heroes sitting at a table totally engrossed in each other. I know $10.00 wasn’t much, but I hope I helped them out a little.

It was the least I could do.

10:36 p.m. - 2006-12-08
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December 7

Christmassy things done today.

I bought the December Good Housekeeping magazine. I must always purchase this every year - another tradition.

Had my manicure - bright red nails. They look great.
I've been working so much overtime - I am absolutely exhuasted. I'm going to bed.
God bless all those men who died on December 7 at Pearl Harbor.

10:51 p.m. - 2006-12-07
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Shopping

Christmassy things done today:

I went to Pier 1 and bought three Christmas ornaments. I love to visit Pier 1 at Christmas time - it's fun to buy sparkly new ornaments to hang with the old traditional ones!

I then went to the mall for some power Christmas shopping. Hub was with me to carry the heavy bags and walk the stuff to the car. I put a nice dent in the shopping, but I still have a lot to do.

Oh, by the way, the Joan sandwich? I was talking to one of the guys in the office that hadn't attended the Christmas party. After I told him about the Joan sandwich, he told me that if he had been there, he would have made it a "club sandwich". Girl, when you got it, you got it. hee, hee, hee.

10:10 p.m. - 2006-12-06
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Short and sweet

What did I do Christmassy yesterday? I did some online Christmas shopping.
What did I do Christmassy today? I sent a Christmas card to Hub's sister who we haven't seen in over a year. We were never invited to any of her kids' baptisms, communions, etc. Long story for another time, but this was definitely an ice breaker.

9:22 p.m. - 2006-12-05
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Christmas Party

Weekend Wrap-Up

Christmassy thing on Friday 12/1/06 – Went to office Christmas Party

Christmassy thing on Saturday, 12/2/06. – Recovered from Office Christmas Party

Christmassy Thing on Sunday – put red Christmas sheets on the bed!

I had a lot of fun at the Christmas party. Note to self for next year’s Christmas party - do not allow guys from mail room to make a Joan sandwich and dirty dance in front of the owner of the company.

I can not drink. When I was in my teens and 20’s, my friends were all learning the ropes of drinking. I didn’t drink because of the rampant alcoholism in my family. I didn’t want to turn into my Aunt Joanie or Grand mom Primrose who called our house and cursed at all of us whenever they “tied one on”. That was at least twice a week – it was always a lot of fun when they were tying one on together – they would fight over who was going to hold the phone. The best part was that Primrose had a thick Welsh accent and Joanie had a fake Boston accent. You really didn’t know what they hell they were saying, you just knew they were really pissed about something!

Then there was PopPop – he slowly sunk into alcoholism and he was a mean drunk. My sister helped take care of him at the end and she told me that when he died, she found a bottle of booze and a coffee can under his bed. One he drank out of, the other he peed into. Nice.

So, you can see why I didn’t want to follow in my ancestors’ footsteps. At the parties, I was the designated driver, the head holder, the shoulder to cry on. Some of the people would make fun of me when I was at a party and didn’t drink or smoke pot, but I didn’t care – I didn’t want to turn into Primrose or Joanie or PopPop or anyone else in my family that I had seen drunk.

Now, that fear has passed – I’m almost 50 – I think I would have “turned into” a drunk by now. The problem lies in the fact that I didn’t have all of those practice years – two drinks and I’m loaded, three drinks and I’m making a Joan sandwich with the guys from the mailroom. SHEESH!

6:21 p.m. - 2006-12-04
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You can teach an old dog new tricks

What did I do Christmassy today? I went to the local Hallmark store and bought my Mom and Dad’s Christmas card. I never send them a box card – I always pick out a special one for them. This one has a Thomas Kincaid print on the front with a mushy saying inside. They’ll love it. It's hard to feel the Christmas spirit when it is 70 degrees outside!

I learned something new today – health insurance scares some people. Not me - I’ve worked with health insurance for years. I worked for a Dr. for about 7 years and billed all of the insurances. I also worked in a mental hospital (yes, I said worked there – not admitted there) for about five years and was responsible for all of the insurance billing.

I’ve billed Medicare, Blue Cross, Medicaid, private insurances and every HMO plan known to mankind.. I can find a mistake in an EOB (Explanation of Benefits) in two seconds flat. I am familiar with the words Provider, date of service, contractual adjustment and patient liability.

So, this afternoon a man called me regarding his health benefits. I started giving him my “schpeal” …active for the month of November…blah, blah, blah…300 individual deductible..blah, blah, blah, we’ll pay 100% of the contracted rate, blah, blah, blah. He suddenly stopped me mid-drone and asked me to slow down – he wasn’t sure what I was saying. I slowed down and started again and I could tell he was getting mad. He stopped me again. He finally said in a somewhat nasty voice, “You know, some people are not comfortable talking about insurance – some people get very confused by it.” I was sort of taken aback and so I spent even more time trying to explain everything.

Although I was a little miffed that he hollered at me, the incident really taught me a lesson. I need to be more patient with our members. Most of these guys are blue collar workers who have busted their backs and knees trying to do a good job for their companies. They just want to get the most out of their health benefits that they pay a fortune for and they deserve to be treated with respect. If I have to spend a few extra minutes on the phone with some members, so be it.

Maybe it will earn me a few points toward heaven.

10:32 p.m. - 2006-11-30
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Dinner is served

What did I do Christmassy today? I went to the post office on my lunch hour and purchased snow flake stamps to mail out my Christmas cards.

I worked overtime last night and tonight until 7:30. Because I’m working so much overtime, I’ve asked the kids to each make one meal a week. My 17 year old son made dinner tonight! I came home to pasta with garlic, oil and cheese. He added steamed broccoli and his dad put a loaf of garlic bread in the oven. I’m telling you, it was the best darn meal I’ve had in a long time! It was so nice to come home and see that dinner had been made.

I’m still in shock over the whole scale thing. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve thought about joining a gym again. I’m going to start making some phone calls.

8:35 p.m. - 2006-11-29
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DeMille


“Christmassy” things done yesterday – wrote out most of my Christmas cards

“Christmassy” thing done today – I am wearing my Old Navy winter pajamas – red knit top with cream bottoms decorated with ice skates…and of course I played Christmas carols all day to the dismay of my co-workers. Hee hee hee.

I went to a “Book Club and Signing” by Nelson DeMille last night. Am I a fan of Nelson DeMille? No. Have I read any of his books? No. Then why did I go? Because my husband is a fan of his writing and has read all of his books. This was a gift to him and I knew he wouldn’t go if I didn’t go with him.

Mr. DeMille is really short – maybe 5’4 –not how I pictured him. He’s balding and has a raspy voice. He said he writes every day from 12:00 – 6:00 or 7:00. He handwrites all of his books with pencil on legal tablets. His office has a table, a chair and a coffee pot – no phone, no computer. His secretary can only disturb him for an extreme emergency. His last book “Wild Fire” took him about 90 days to write. He does not write his books with a screen play in mind – he said that screen plays are hard to write. He has talked to Bruce Willis about playing John Corey, the hero of several of his books. There, that’s what I learned. I will say the country club did serve some wonderful cakes and cookies.

Speaking of cakes and cookies – I went to the allergist yesterday – more on that later. The damn nurse insisted on weighing me. AAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHH!

9:01 p.m. - 2006-11-28
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28 days until Christmas

What did I do "Christmassy" today?

I rearranged the furniture in the den so we can put the tree up this week.

I printed out my Christmas labels.

I went to the mall and bought a beautiful gold blouse and gold necklace and earrings to wear to the Christmas party on Friday.

Non-Christmas...I made bean soup and it was delicious!


9:22 p.m. - 2006-11-26
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Turkey sandwhich


Survived another holiday with the family. My sisters and mother were concerned that I was going to be suffering from the after effects of a panic attack, but lo and behold, I avoided making any decisions and therefore, avoided the panic attack. Voila!

I actually think they were all a little disappointed and angry that I wasn’t freaking out. I guess they figure I got out of having the dinner at my house. Yeah, that was my plan…

I had my annual turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce sandwhich on white bread with mayo yesterday. You just can't eat that kind of sandwhich on anything but white bread - it's just not American!

Hub put the lights up outside today and I cleaned and tossed inside. He spent over an hour checking bulbs where part of the strand was out. I finally couldn't stand it any more and insisted that he go buy a new strand at Home Depot. He looked so defeated, almost as if he felt that the strand had won the yearly battle he wages with it.

I told him that we have to do something holidayish every day between now and Christmas. Again, I have to marvel at how my meds are helping me see the holidays as a good thing. This is the first time in my life I have felt this way. I used to just stress and freak out about the holidays – now I actually look forward to them... I am actually going to mail Christmas cards this year – I haven’t done that in a looong time.

Got a free venti, non fat, extra hot, no foam chai today! I went into one of the local Starbuck's for my daily chai and I happened to see one of the barista's from the Edgemont store. As we walked in, I said to him, "hey, can you teach these guys to make a good chai tea? The tea here always tastes watered down." He whispered something to the manager who then turned to me and said, "Your tea is on the house today - I'm sorry we haven't been satisfied with it. We want out customers to be happy." I started to protest, but he wouldn't listen. Now, that's what I call good service.

I‘m going to the allergist on Monday to find out if this rash I’m experiencing is from the meds or not. If it is, can they put me on a stronger anti-histamine? I really do not want to go off this medication.

Have not done any Christmas shopping yet – I HATE TO SHOP – any kind of shopping like food, clothes, shoe, car, tire, curtain – I HATE TO SHOP. My husband is lucky that way! I don't feel that there's anything wrong in being the aunt or mom or sister or daughter who always gives out gift certificates. Hey, I always go for a nice round amount on the certificate - I probably spend more on them that way - they should be glad!

5:04 p.m. - 2006-11-25
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Women are Great

My 4 girlfriends and I went to see “Menopause, the Musical” last night at the Society Hill Playhouse. It was FANTASTIC! There were 248 women and two men in the audience. We laughed, screamed and cried. I figure I’m just about finished with the Menopause thing – I hope.

Women are great. They’re smart and funny and loving and caring. We can laugh at ourselves with the knowledge that we are all going through the same thing. We've all forgotten things and burst into tears over a holiday Maxwell House commercial. We've worried about the scale and eaten a hidden piece of chocolate late at night. We've agonized over decisions and relaxed when we've decided not to make a change right now.

Women are great.

8:50 p.m. - 2006-11-20
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Silence

...not writing this week - involved in a huge decision - don't want to bore you guys with the details. I'll be back.

8:19 p.m. - 2006-11-15
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Starbucks red cups

The Starbucks red cups have arrived! The stores are all decorated. Ladies and Gentlemen, your Christmas shopping can begin!!!!

9:06 p.m. - 2006-11-10
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Hungry?

Left work at 1:00 today as Hub and I had his appt. That was cancelled, so I had a scheduled "early dismissal" and I decided to take it.

I first went to my old place of employment to visit some old friends. I was an office manager in my previous life. I ran a middle school while the principal received all of the kudos. When I entered the office, one of the women that I worked with every day, who sat less than 6 feet away from me for 3 years did not recognize me. Yeah right. My hair is longer, and I probably appear more relaxed, but not recognize me? - I don't think so! How rude can you be? I was so glad to leave that office and visit my other friends.

I then went to the local nail salon and had a pedicure. The employees there are all from Vietnam and they all weigh less than 100 lbs. I’m not kidding – less than 100 lbs. Perhaps that is because they snack on fruit and vegetables. Isn’t that crazy? THEY SNACK ON FRUIT AND VEGETABLES!! No candy, cookies or Tastycakes. No pretzels, potato chip or nachos. One day I actually saw one of the women eating a cold ear of corn for a snack. I said, A COLD EAR OF CORN!!!! I’ll eat cold Halloween candy corn for a snack, but not a cold ear of corn. It’s crazy!

Well, after watching those waifs wander around the salon, I feel fat, but my toes look as cute as a button.

4:04 p.m. - 2006-11-09
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Goodbye Mr. Rumsfeld!

Same to you Mr. Rumsfeld...same to you. America spoke!!!Changes came quickly! I am proud to be an American.

7:55 p.m. - 2006-11-08
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Time to change!

Today, I strode past all of my old Republican friends and voted straight Democrat. My husband shook hands with all of his old Republican friends and voted straight Republican.

We may have X'd each other out, but it sure felt like I was doing the right thing! The polling place was more crowded than I have ever seen it. Democracy in action. We need a change.

10:05 p.m. - 2006-11-07
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One ringy-dingy


I work as a Member Service Representative for a nation-wide health insurance company …no, not Blue Cross. I talk to people on the phone all day – members from Alaska to Florida, from California to Hawaii. Today I logged in 145 phone calls. I enjoy my job most of the time. I like knowing that I’ve helped an elderly man understand his dental deductible. I get satisfaction telling a young mom that she has won her appeal and we will now be paying for that goat’s milk formula. I enjoy helping others.

There are a few things about this job that I don’t like. Consider the following conversation:

Me: “Good morning, Mr. Smith, how can I help you?”

Member: “I want to know how much my dentist charged you for my false teeth.”

Me: “He charged us $3,000.00.”

Member: That god damn lying S.O.B! He’s a thief, a liar! Do you know what else he is?”

Me: “Mr. Smith, perhaps I…

Member: “He is a rag-head, that’s what he is!!. A RAG-HEAD!!! Do you know what that means?? Do you, do you??”

Me: Silently to myself I say, well, I believe that means you are an ignorant bigot and probably a Republican (I can say this because I am a registered Republican)

But aloud, I say, “Mr. Smith, I have heard that expression, but….

Member, (shouting now): “A RAG-HEAD MEANS HE’S AN A – RA – BI – AN!!!! He says it real slow – just to make sure that I hear him clearly. I don’t think he’s talking about a horse or Lawrence. HE CAN'T BE TRUSTED! I DON'T WANT YOU TO PAY HIM ONE PENNY, NOT ONE PENNY, DO YOU HEAR ME??? THESE TEETH DON'T FIT RIGHT - I CAN'T CHEW ANYTHING. NO, I HAVEN'T TAKEN THEM BACK TO HIM. HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THEY DIDN'T FIT RIGHT. HE PROBABLY DID KNOW AND HE'S PROBABLY LAUGHING AT ME RIGHT NOW!!"

No wonder I come home with headaches.

9:24 p.m. - 2006-11-06
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Where's that back scratcher I bought on the boardwalk?

My parents were married for 56 years on Saturday. 56 YEARS!!!! AAAGGGHHH! God bless my mom because my dad is a number one curmudgeon!

So I've been on this wonderful anti anxiety/anti depressive medication for about 9 months. About three months ago I started to develop hives all over my body - especially my legs, back and stomach. Lately, I've been waking up with the body hives and swollen lips (on my face). I went to my family doctor on Saturday and he agreed that I am probably having an allergic reaction to the wonderful med. and I might have to go off of it. He has referred me to a dermatologist.
This is the med. that has helped me take another job, look forward to holidays without worrying about the stress, smile instead of glare at my husband. OK, I still haven't gotten a dog, but it has empowered me in so many other ways. I don't want to go off the med. and I could handle the rash if it was just on my legs and back. The lips scare me. My lips were so swollen the other day - Angelina Jolie would have been jealous.
Hub's nerves are completely shot - not looking forward to Thursday.

7:18 p.m. - 2006-11-05
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Butterfinger, anyone?

Stepped out of my “box” last night. Instead of giving out candy from my house I sat outside with my next door neighbor. Her hub built a bonfire and we just sat next to the cozy fire, chatting and “interrogating” the Trick or Treaters. Lots of cute costumes this year – the kids looked great, except for one kid who was really too old to be out. He had a blanket wrapped around his shoulders. I good-naturedly ribbed him about it and he walked away with candy and a laugh.

I bought the dogs, Oscar and Sam a bag of dog treats – they loved them, of course! I know this sounds crazy, but I believe that I need to “expose” myself to dogs for longer periods of time – kind of like allergy shots. I really think that this will help me get used to them and then I won’t freak out the next time I plan to get a dog. Yeah, that’s right, I said, “the next time I plan to get a dog.” I’m not giving up on this. Listening to the tapes that my co-worker gave me helps too.

Today is my 6 month anniversary at this job. Who would have thunk it?

8:18 p.m. - 2006-11-01
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Happy Halloween

While sorting through the Halloween decorations yesterday I found Mom’s orange paper “honeycomb” pumpkin decoration that went over the lamp in the living room. The cardboard eyes, nose and grimace are a little worse for the wear, but once I assembled it on the lamp, my childhood memories of many wonderful Halloweens came rushing back.

I remember:

Rushing through a dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup – “Mom, we don’t want to eat anything!’’

The yearly picture of the costumed kids lined up in front of the banister

Mom’s black and orange treat bags filled with chocolate, candy corn, ginger snaps and lots of love

Mrs. Weidman’s popcorn balls and apple cider

Mrs. Gentile’s TV tray with “full size” Hershey bars

Mrs. McCook’s (local public school nurse) apples. What the FU*&!

Making our way to the “rich people’s house” for containers of orange juice

Halloween bags breaking

Rushing home to empty our (now non breakable – my momma didn’t raise no dummy) pillow cases so we could run out and get more candy and then trying to get past the huge crowds at our front door

Answering our neighbor’s question, “Do I know you?’ with the answer, “I’m Joanie!” The neighborhood was small enough and everyone knew who “Joanie” was.

Counting and lining up our candy on the living room floor

Mom insisting we “put it all in one big bowl” while ignoring our outraged howls

Searching for, finding and stealing from my siblings’ bags

My own children are too old to Trick or Treat and I could opt to turn off the lights and not celebrate. Not me! I’ll be sitting in my living room tonight in the same old neighborhood with my “cauldron” of candy and my paper lamp asking the elves and princesses, fairies and hoboes that age old question, “Do I know you?”

9:35 p.m. - 2006-10-31
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Simplify!

The girl I work with picked up her dachshund puppy this weekend. She said the puppy woke up every two hours last night. AAAAGGGGHHH! When she was leaving work this afternoon, I started to panic for her – knowing she was going to have another rough night. Now mind you, she wasn’t panicking at all – I was panicking for her. I am a crazy biotch!

I sorted through all the Halloween decorations tonight and found a bunch that the kids had made when they were little. I could not throw them away – they were just too cute! I purchased one of those big orange crates from Target to store all the Halloween stuff in.

I’m going to go through the Christmas stuff soon and donate all the decorations that I haven’t used in a long time to the local thrift shop. I’m trying to SIMPLIFY!

8:56 p.m. - 2006-10-30
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Pleasant Valley Saturday and Sunday

This weekend was the most productive weekend that I have had in a long time and I feel great about it. What did I do, you ask?
1. I cleaned my bedroom from top to bottom – changed the curtains, vacuumed from floor to ceiling, threw out stuff.
2. I went to the library’s “White Elephant” and got more stuff like a crystal ashtray – a beautiful piece of heavy crystal that no one had better use for an ashtray! I also purchased five in-boxes for my husband’s desk and a small framed still life. Someone had cleverly inserted a mirror into the rear of the frame - I’ll use this at work. I also bought a gold Christmas pin (my daughter looked at it and remarked, “Yeah, Grand mom, it’s pretty.”) - my mother loves Christmas pins. Oh, and I had to buy a juice glass. My neighbors had this kind of drinking glass when I was a kid. They had like a rubberized swirl design on the outside – kind of like this.
They were a biotch to clean and they always felt a little slimy! I hated drinking out of them – but damn, if I didn’t have to have the glass when I saw it. I don’t know if it’s safe to drink out of it – I’ll just stick a plant in it or something.
3. Had a Starbucks Venti, non-fat, extra hot, no foam Chai with a pumpkin scone on Saturday and a maple nut scone on Sunday.– my only addiction.
4. Went to the library and read PEOPLE magazine and checked out 5 books.
5. Planted 50 tulip bulbs in my front gardens and cleaned out the Blessed Mother garden. I don’t have a “Mary on the half shell” as my friends like to call the statues with the blue backgrounds. Mine just looks like this.
6. Cleaned out the shed
7. Did wash
8. Cooked a chicken for soup
9. Sat in the park with hubby for an hour and pet some strangers' dogs – with their permission of course.
10. Sat on my neighbor’s lawn and played with Oscar - their dachshund for an hour – I had to- every time I got up to leave he barked at me and I didn’t want him to get in trouble - well maybe he wouldn't have gotten in trouble, but he may have - his owners don't like him to bark. I swear, really!

Compared to laying around all weekend beating myself up for not getting a dog, I think I did pretty good…however, I still want the dog.

6:39 p.m. - 2006-10-29
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Spring!

What stopped me from driving out to see the dog? My hub – and he doesn’t even know it. On Wednesday, he asked me what we were doing this weekend. I started to say “how about we drive up to meet the breeder?” when he blurted out,” I just want to have a quiet weekend –I don’t want to talk about dogs and I can’t go through another weekend watching you go through a panic attack.”

So, that was that! It was probably a good thing – cause we all know that I would have freaked out and ruined another weekend. Here’s another good thing, my coworker who is picking up the puppy from the same breeder gave me a set of CD’s to listen to. They’re all about anxiety and depression. I’m hoping that after I listen to them and absorb them, they will help teach me how to stop a panic attack. I always say that once a panic attack starts, I’m along for the ride and I can’t get off.

Maybe I’ll be able to conquer these unrealistic fears then.

So, Spring seems to be a good time to get a dog, dontcha think?

9:28 p.m. - 2006-10-27
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Eagles lose

I firmly believe that a football team should not be permitted to win a game by a field goal. Stinkin' field goals.

8:27 p.m. - 2006-10-22
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Reruns

RERUN!!Son of a biotch, I did it again. I emailed the breeder and told her that I wanted the dog. I give Elj and Seamus the charge and tell them to go pick out a collar and leash. I was even in the Hallmark store looking for Christmas cards with dachshunds. I was absolutely fine – fine – fine. And then…..PPPPPPAAAAAANNNNNNIIIIIICCCCCCC! It didn’t sneak up on me this time – it landed on me like seagull shit on the beach. One minute I’m thinking about dog food, the next minute I’m trying to decide which bathroom is closer.

Of course, I’m on the late shift – it was Friday. I’m trying to explain to some guy what the difference between the words a deductible has been "met" and a deductible has been "paid" and all the time I’m thinking, if I don’t get to the bathroom in about two seconds, this cubicle ain’t gonna be pretty.

I knew I couldn’t call my family because I had already told them that no matter what I said, they were not to let me back out of getting this dog... and they would have reminded me of that. So, I called my best friend. She called the breeder and the kids and the big D. I turned off my cell phone, clocked out at 7:30 and went to MLR’s. Thank God I had somewhere to go - otherwise, I would have sat in the Acme parking lot bawling my eyes out.

The breeder must think I am frickin’ nuts. I slept all day yesterday – I was so ashamed that I had once again gotten the family’s hopes up and then drug them down again.

The worst, scariest, craziest, sickest part about this??? – I still want a dog!!!

I honestly do not know what to do. The therapist has helped me in every other aspect of my life except this one.

Maybe I really don’t want a dog – I have to be honest with myself – being responsible for another living thing does scare the hell out of me. I could get a fish – but any fish I ever owned always develops a third eye and then dies.

Maybe I’ll get an animated stuffed animal – I’ll just have to make sure I keep the batteries charged. – that I can do… but will it look good on a Christmas card?

6:49 p.m. - 2006-10-22
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Electronic leashes

Dating was SO much easier 29 years ago! I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 29 years – we dated for three years before we got married – yeah, yeah, I know – ain’t that sweet…that’s another entry.

Soooooo, I sit next to a 28 year old guy at work and this is what I hear from the other side of my cubicle all day…
Why didn’t you answer your cell phone – I’ve been calling you for an hour.
Did you get my text message?
Who is that guy on your “My Space” page? Why is he writing to you? Why haven’t you invited me to be a friend on your page?
Did you get my email? What did you mean in that last email that you sent me?

We get along well and he asks me for advice sometimes. I peeked around the side of the cubicle today and said to him, “Do you realize that when I dated my husband, we didn’t have cell phones, text messaging, computers, email and My Space? There were no electronic leashes. If he had wanted to spy on me, he couldn’t have. He wouldn’t dare call me at 3:00 in the morning because he’d have to get past my father, the retired policeman. If he mailed me a message, he’d have to stick a stamp on the letter and take it to the post office.

You know what he said? Damn, you guys had it so much easier! I agreed.

8:20 p.m. - 2006-10-18
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Hey! Did you read my diary?

So why did I start writing an online journal? Well, as I said in my profile, I've kept a journal since 6th grade. Of course I talked about boys -what boys did I like, what boys was i going to cheat on - what boy was I going to marry. Deep, deep thoughts...

As I got older, I wrote about my job search and my kids' births and my panic attacks, etc. I just kept writing and thinking that some day I might write a book - definitely fiction!

I signed up for a writing class at the local night school. The first night, I looked around and saw that I was in a room full of men - scary, science fiction writing men, wearing thick, black glasses and carrying grungy, heavy backpacks. They were speaking a language I didn't know - using words like talons and planets and furry teeth. I excused myself from the class by signaling the Vulcan hand sign to everyone, ran down the hall to Registration and signed up for a journal writing class.

This is where I learned about May Sarton (May 3, 1912-July 16, 1995) - an American poet, novelist and fellow diary keeper. This is where I learned you don't just have to write about what you did today - you could write about what you thought today or smelled last week or baked last Christmas. You didn't have to follow Oprah and write a "gratitude journal" - you could write about your meds and your friends and your hormones and your grey pubic hair.
May Sarton's journals opened up a whole new world for me - they changed my life. I started looking for journals in the book store and on line.

Journals on line - oh my God there were a million different kinds! Exciting, funny, crafty, gossipy, feel sorry for me, happy, sad, depressing, etc., etc. I've read a zillion, adopted some as my favorites and then stopped reading them three weeks later. I started reading the journals of my favorite journalists and added more to my daily list. So many have influenced me - helped me make decisions - helped me see that I am not the ony one who suffers from panic attacks, or loves chocolate or has fat pants. Some of my favorites that are not on Diaryland are:
...and another thing at www.stefanitadio.com
Footnotes at www.secraterri.com
journal of a writing man at www.oldgreypoet.com
The Dog's Breakfast at thedogsbreakfast.blogspot.com
The Year in Red at gretchenstahlman.blogspot.com/
These are just some of my favorites. I've learned so much from these writers and my other favorites on Diaryland. Thanks so much to all of those who inspired me - I may be the only one who reads this, but it's a wonderful daily brain exercise - better than sit ups!

7:53 p.m. - 2006-10-17
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Tea and poems

Pour me a cup of tomorrow.
Don't make it too dark or too light.
I want it just right.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
I dreamt this poem when I was twelve years old - I swear - I woke up and wrote it down - and yes, I am addicted to Starbucks - not coffee - their Chai tea. To be exact, I love the venti, non fat chai, extra hot, no foam. Always ask for no foam - you'll get a heavier cup. Oh, oh, the red Christmas cups will be coming soon!!!! I can't wait!

I also played with this one.
Who has seen my socks?
Neither I nor you.
But when my shoes bow down their heads,
My socks are passing through...borrowed from

Who Has Seen the Wind? by
Christina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing thro'.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.

9:40 p.m. - 2006-10-16
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Cheer up

Uggh. That previous post is so depressing! ugggh ugggh. That's how I get sometimes and fortunately I have a family who understands. Well, my one sister gets pissed off - she's one of those "pull yourself up by your bootstraps and go shopping - that'll make you feel better!" Not me - I tend to mope for a while - once I get back to work tomorrow I'll be fine.

Hub did drag me out of the house yesterday - we went to a great garden center on rt. 30. I got a zillion tulip bulbs and bulb food. Now when the hell am I going to plant them? No, I'll get them planted this week. I also bought two little African violets to replace the twisted one in my African violet pot. I guess I should just stick to feeding birds and plants - they don't give me anxiety.


12:09 p.m. - 2006-10-15
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No dog - hub's mad.

Couldn't do it - I chickened out - no dog for us. Hub's mad, but I'm relieved. I WILL NOT BRING THIS UP AGAIN.
Elj reminds me of my family history with dogs. My mom never wanted a dog -we always did. So Dad would occasionally get a dog from the pund or wherever and attempt to incorporate that dog into our family. Of course, there was no crate training back then, so the dog would crap and pee in the kitchen all night and then Mom would come down and all hell would break loose. She would basically tell my Dad "It's either me or the dog" and then that would be the end of the dog. I guess I just never had any "normal" experiences with a dog. Let's see, Dad got rid of Frenchie, Candy and Murphy. He told us Candy ran away and we searched for her for days. Only after, of course, did I find out he took her to the pound.
I'm not retelling this story for sympathy - I just have to get it on "paper" so that I can understand where this fear of getting a family pet comes from. I've given up - it just won't happen. I will not bring this up again - I'm really sad and hubs mad. We'll get through it.

9:06 p.m. - 2006-10-13
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Chad Vader

Oh my God - check this out - My stomach hurts from laughing.

10:00 p.m. - 2006-10-11
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The addiction was too strong

Saw a bit of Mel Gibson on GMA this morning. Something he said has stuck with me all day. To paraphrase, he said that the addiction (to alcohol, drugs, etc.) is stronger than the shame that you feel when you have disappointed your family and friends. Wow – that certainly explains a lot for me. Why couldn’t the people in my life who had addictions that were hurting me change? Why couldn’t they see what it was doing to our family? Because the addiction was too strong.

Three of my four grandparents were alcoholics – my mother’s parents were such addicts that Catholic Social Service swept in one day and took all of the children (I think it was four girls then) and put them in a Catholic orphanage. My grandmother would visit them once a week. My mom said she used to sit on a step every Sunday just waiting for her Mom to visit her. Primmy’s addiction was so strong that she couldn’t even control it to get her children back – my mother’s tears made no difference. Wow, I didn’t realize I was going here tonight – sometimes, the truth hits you like a ton of bricks.

Oh, by the way…still haven’t made up my mind about the dog

"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy which sustained him through temporary periods of joy" William B. Yeats

8:02 p.m. - 2006-10-11
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Judge me?

Still haven't made up my mind. The breeder sent me some great pictures - the dog is adorable. Hubby wants me to get the dog - of course kids would love her - I know I would love her, but I have to get past the panic. Panic that I haven't experienced in a LONG time. UGGHH. I hate it.
Don't you just love Judge Judy I love that sentence that she uses..."But for the fact..." The people stand in front of her saying "what...what in the heck does that mean? - Momma, what is she saying???" Well, but for the fact that I have had a zillion panic attacks that make me want to run and puke, I wouldn't be agonizing over this dog business.
LOST is tomorrow!!!

11:06 p.m. - 2006-10-10
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Puppy panic

Here we go again? I want a dog. I want to walk a dog and feed a dog and pet a dog and put a crazy hat on a dog and take a dog to a football game and enjoy a dog. But my crazy f@#$ing insanity is keeping me from this.
So, through Michele at work, I find a great breeder with adorable dachshunds. I email and call the breeder - she's great and the puppies are beautiful.. I pick out the puppy and email her to tell her I want him. I immediately go into "Defcon 4" as Rich says and then I have to run to the bathroom and I can't focus on work and I just want to cry. I call the therapist and talk to Don and Cindy and Michele and Darlene and Colleen and Chris T and anyone else who would listen...and my mind went blank and all I could think was Warning, warning, warning, Will Robinson!!! CANCEL IT - CANCEL IT - CANCEL IT!!!! You're making changes in your life and that's not good. Change IS NOT good!!!
So, of course I cancelled it!
Then this weekend I went to a yard sale run by a dog rescue organization. I spoke with some ladies from the shelter and they suggested I get an older dog - this is something I've ben thinking about for a long time. Then today I emailed the breeder and asked her about older dogs and she told me about a six month old red female named Rosie that she might be willing to sell. So, we'll see what happens - I've only had to run to the bathroom once today

8:18 p.m. - 2006-10-09
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Why not shave?

Had the mammogram, had the aorta ultrasound - results? Everything is OK!!!! So, that's behind me now. The best part was the fact that I didn't puke and crap and cry, etc. before the visit. I was a "normal" person with normal felings. How wild is that? I have never been like that in my whole life...I used to walk into the office like I was going to be executed. It really is funny, when you think about it.
Had a discussion at work...shave the pubes or not. Why do some women seem so shocked by it? Move into the 21st century, ladies! I read in Cosmo that it's nice to have a welcome mat for your mate - not a landing strip. I also agree with Samantha on Sex in the City - if you don't wax or shave, you see the greys!

8:59 p.m. - 2006-09-20
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miss him

The big guy is camping this weekend, so I'm just chillaxing...watching movies, coffee with the Babes, etc. I'm feeling restless, I miss him...probably for the first time in a long time.

The meds have changed me and our marriage. All those years were wasted on arguments and screaming and insults,etc. God, if I could do it over...if I had realized way back when that I needed meds, our lives would have been so different.

Of course, I can't get those years back, I can only move forward and make our remaining years together happy and exciting. So, I scheduled my mammogram for next Tuesday. Am I terrified, you may ask? You're damn right, I am fu$#^ng terrified. I'm trying to stay calm; however, I have some crazy symptoms that kind of scare me. Of course I googled it - people who are on tranquilizers or anti-depressents have been known to have these symptoms. OK, so let's not worry. Thank God for the big E - what would I do without it. It is keeping me from diving off of the deck. Oh, I'm also having the ultrasound of my aorta to rule out an aortic aneurism...it runs in the family...Dad had one that they discovered by accident.
Been working alot of overtime - I have to figure out some kind of routine. Of course, I can't get up earlier - no I can't so don't try to force me. But really, maybe I should just do a 5:00 - 7:30 on Wednesday night and leave it at that. That would bring me to 40 hours at my regular pay. Not a whole lot of money, but I won't be screwing up by not cooking dinner every night either.

1:53 p.m. - 2006-09-16
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mammo

So, I scheduled my mammogram for next Tuesday. Am I terrified, you may ask? You're damn right, I am freaking terrified. I'm trying to stay calm; however, I have some crazy symptoms that kind of scare me. Of course I googled it - people who are on tranquilizers or anti-depressents have been known to have these