I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I last posted here.  Facebook has been satisfying my need to share some of life’s tidbits, and affords me the opportunity to do so with very little effort, which is something that appeals to me more and more these days.  Besides chronic pain, the extreme heat has sapped me of whatever little bit of energy I might have left over when I get home from work.  Temperatures have been holding steady at around 88 degrees for several days now, and I’m not liking it one bit.  It’s much too early for this kind of heat.  Actually, as far as I’m concerned, there’s never a good time for this kind of heat.  I have a feeling it’s going to be a looooooong summer.

Speaking of summer, this will be my first without having at least one of my daughters around (since Rebecca was born in 1986).  Leigh is spending the next couple of months with Becca, and will be waitressing at Matt’s restaurant.  (Matt is Rebecca’s boyfriend, and proprietor of an Outback.)   At the end of August, she’ll be heading to SUNY Binghamton to complete her Bachelor’s Degree.  She just graduated from SUNY Delhi with an Associate’s Degree in their Veterinary Tech program, and earned a 4.0, which is especially noteworthy considering that she had an extra heavy course load (19 credits).  I’m so proud of her, and of Rebecca, as well, who earned her Bachelor’s Degree a few months ago, and is taking some time off before going on for her Master’s.

There’s not much else of interest to report… I applied to work summer school and am pretty certain I’ll be assigned to the position.  Once again, there won’t be any vacation for me.  I’m deeply disappointed about that.  I so look forward to getting away, but haven’t been able to afford to do that for the last couple of years.  The drudgery of life is really wearing thin… Oh well.  I guess I’ll be spending much of the summer in my favorite spot at home – on the front porch.

Song of the Day:  Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly and the Family Stone

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Protected: Hello, I Love You

February 24, 2010

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And the Award Goes To

April 5, 2009

A few days ago,  Jim surprised me by picking me as one of his selections to be awarded a Premio Dardos Award.  Thank you, Jim!

Premio Dardos means “prize darts” in Italian and is awarded for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary and personal values in the form of creative and original writing. The rules are:

1. Accept the award by pasting the graphic on your blog along with the name of the person who granted the award and a link to his/her blog.

2. Pass the award to another 15 that are worthy of acknowledgment, remembering to contact each so they know they have been selected.

Many of the online journalists/bloggers I read have already been chosen for this award.  So I am just going to refer you to my blogroll, which can be found at the bottom right of this page.  They are all good reads.

In other news, Friday was my last day at work until the 13th.  Spring break came just in the nick of time.  Work was sucking the life out of me.  I was beyond exhausted, and the pain has been very bad.

I’m hoping this break will be regenerative, although I haven’t been taking it easy so far.   Yesterday I spent the whole day cleaning the kitchen, including the refrigerator, which was pretty gross.  I was in agony by the time I said to myself, “Enough is enough.”

Today I hope to get some yard work done, since the weather is nice for a change.   The locals seem to have mistaken our front lawn for the city dump.  There are bags and food wrappers all over the place.  Grrrr.  I also have some spring bulbs to plant, and some yard debris (the natural kind) to clear.

According to the 10 day forecast, except for Thursday and Sunday, it will rain every day of my spring break, so I’d better get out there while the getting is good.

Song of the day:  Spring by Tracy Chapman

She Had a Good Run

March 2, 2009

Before I get to the topic for this entry, I’d like to address a comment.  Fay asked if I meditate, or do any sort of ritual de-stressing each day.  Good question!  I have tried to meditate, but can’t seem to shut my brain down.  As for ritual de-stressing, I’m open to suggestions.  I’d also like to thank Sheryl for her comment.  It’s always good to hear from someone who has firsthand knowledge of what chronic pain sufferers have to live with.

Moving right along… I’m in a hurry because we have a snow day and I want to go back to bed.  I should probably stay up and tackle the multitude of things I have to do – taxes, FAFSA applications, clean the kitchen, etc., but this untreated sinus infection (I don’t believe the nonallergic rhinitis diagnosis is accurate.  The mucus is yellow, for crying out loud!) is getting the better of me.  Anyway, this is an excerpt from an entry I posted on January 8, 2006 on Diary-x:

Centenarian Coquette

Daniel and I went to a party for a friend’s grandmother who just turned one hundred years old.  You’d never guess her age. She gets all dolled up, and looks amazing. She’s sharp as a tack, too. Incredibly, this woman worked until the age of 94!

I can’t say I had a good time at the party, but it wasn’t bad, either. There were at least fifty people there, and I didn’t know any of them except for the host and his wife, so it was a bit awkward and uncomfortable. We don’t like to leave Ellie in her crate too long (but can’t leave her unsupervised, either), so we had a good excuse to leave early.

One thing we did enjoy was the barbershop quartet that serenaded the 100-year old birthday girl. They were pretty good, but what made the experience even better was watching The Coquettish Centenarian’s reaction to the men as they sang to her. It’s good to know that a person can still be flirtatious even at such an advanced age. More power to her!

Yesterday, Daniel and I went to her wake.  Rest peacefully, Mildred.

Song of the Day: Coquette by Paul McCartney


January 16, 2009

Our schools are closed today, and I can’t figure out why.  Unless pipes are frozen, or something like that, this was a ridiculous call.  It’s zero degrees, so I can see having a two-hour delay.  This is a walking district, and some of our students have a two mile hike.  But closed?  This means that we’ve used three of our five snow days, and it’s only the middle of January!  I don’t want to give up any of our spring break.  (One year, we lost the entire break!)  Grumble.

I wish I had known about the closing before I had already been up for an hour and drank two cups of coffee.  Getting up was very difficult for me this morning.  After work yesterday, I went to the Ikea in Paramus, NJ, and didn’t get home until 9:00 pm, which is past my bedtime.  To make matters worse, I had a bad night (which always happens when there is any deviation from my usual bedtime routine), and woke up just about every hour.  I’ve been dealing with a flare-up of severe pain (which is one of the reasons I’ve been so quiet here), and nights like last night sure don’t help.  It would have been wonderful to sleep a bit later this morning.

My Friend and I are going to try to get an appointment with the chiropractor, then go to lunch, followed by a trip to Sam’s Club to return the red pea coat I bought Leigh for Christmas.  Even though it’s a size small, it’s way too big for her.   It’s too big for Rebecca, as well.  So back to the store it goes.

Before I head out, I’d like to share something that Sasha brought to my attention. Performing artist, Neko Case, and Anti record label will donate five dollars to Best Friends Animal Society for every blog that reposts Neko’s new single.  Click on the link below (under the Song of the Day) for this free downloadable mp3 and please visit Antilableblog and Best Friends Animal Society for more information.

Reading:  The Three Junes by Julia Glass

Song of the Day:  Angel by Sarah McLachlan (I can’t watch that animal cruelty commercial without crying, so I don’t watch it at all.)

People Got A Lot Of Nerve by Neko Case


December 20, 2008

On November 18th, I received an email from a local company I’ve been doing business with for the past few years.  They make the best toffee I have ever tasted.  The email advertised free shipping, and informed me that I could pick a date for receipt of the shipment.  I wanted to give toffee to some of my co-workers, so I submitted an order the same day I received the email, and chose the delivery date of December 17th.  It did not arrive on that day.  I sent this email to the owner:

December 17, 2008 6:02 PM


I was supposed to receive my order today (December 17th), but I did not.  I really need to have this order by tomorrow at the very latest.  Please advise.

Thank you.

This was the response:

Sent: Dec 17, 2008 7:03 PM
To: Stephanie
Subject: Re: Order Confirmation No: 359


Thank you for your email.  Looking at our records, your order was shipped last evening.  You can expect it no later than December 18th. (Yeah, right.) Your desired delivery date is not guaranteed as stated on our website.  “Selected delivery date is approximate, not guaranteed.” (For the record, the email neglected to mention that fact.  Also, why would they mail something the evening before the requested delivery date??)

Unfortunately, we do not have control over your package once it leaves our hands.  (Excuse me, but they do have control over when the package leaves their hands, which is the issue here.) We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.  We ship hundreds of packages during the holidays and the best we can offer is an approximate arrival date.  For future orders, just write us a note in the comments section at checkout and we would be happy to fill and ship your order sooner.  (Why should I have to write a note in the comments section?  Common sense dictates that you don’t ship a package the evening before the requested delivery date!) We appreciate your business and wish you a very Merry Christmas.

The next day, I sent this email:

Dec 18, 2008 2:29 PM

I just wanted to let you know that I still have not received my order, which means I spent an awful lot of money on boxes of toffee I won’t be able to give to the co-workers for whom I bought them, since tomorrow is our last day of work before the holidays.  This is a most distressing (and costly) situation.

The response:

Date: Dec 18, 2008 11:54 PM


We hope you receive this email in a timely manner.  Our suggestion to you is to check with your local PO first thing in the morning (before your postman leaves for his daily run) if this is at all possible.  I’ve seen cases where the postman does not deliver the package the day it arrives and we have found that our customers have found their purchase sitting at their local PO.  This does not happen often but has happened.  It has got to be there…It was shipped out the evening of the 16th.  We apologize for your inconvenience and please notify us that you have received your package.

This is the email I sent on the 19th:

Sent: Friday, December 19, 2008 2:22 PM
Subject: Re: Order Confirmation No: 359

I received my order today (December 19th).  For the record, the package was postmarked December 17th, the day I was supposed to receive it.  (You say it was shipped the evening of the 16th.  That was too late to ship an order that was supposed to be received by the 17th.)  I’m really disappointed due to the fact that,  as I mentioned before, I can’t give the toffee to the intended gift recipients because I work for a school district, and we are out until January 5th.

The response:

Sent: Dec 19, 2008 3:42 PM
Subject: Re: Order Confirmation No: 359

Once again, we are not responsible for the length of time it takes the post office to deliver a package that is 10 minutes away from our bakery. (Huh?  WTF does that mean?) It clearly states on our website “A desired delivery date and not a guaranteed one”.  We do our very best to estimate timeframes and get our packages out in a timely manner and do not want any of our customers disappointed with our service. We have shipped hundreds of packages this holiday season and have had no delivery issues with our customers.  Something we pride ourselves on.

In saying that, please feel free to return the unopened package for a full refund.  Once we receive it, we will issue your refund.  Have a Merry Christmas.

My response:

Dec 19, 2008 6:57 PM

Of course, I already opened the package.  So, instead of a refund, all I want at this point is an apology and acknowledgment of an error on your part.  You yourself said that the package was shipped out the evening of the 16th.  Surely you have to admit that a package that was shipped the evening of the 16th could never reach its destination by the 17th.

It was not my intention to make such a big deal out of this, but there was something in the tone of your latest email that bothered me.  It was not necessary, for example, to tell me about the hundreds of packages that have been shipped without delivery issues.  The fact remains that there was a delivery issue with my order, regardless of the timeliness of your other deliveries.  There is also no need to defend the integrity of your business.  I never suggested anything to the contrary.  I merely expressed disappointment over receiving my order too late to give the toffee to the intended recipients, and pointed out that the package was shipped too late to be delivered in time.  The post office cannot be blamed for that.

I really like your products, and have enjoyed doing business with you in the past.  It would be a shame to have this incident leave us both with hard feelings.

Merry Christmas to you, too.

Is it me???  Am I turning into a Scrooge?? Or am I justified in feeling frustrated by the owner’s refusal to assume responsibility for the late delivery?  I just want her to admit that it was her fault, instead of blaming the post office.  The package was actually delivered in a timely fashion, considering that it was brought to the post office on the evening of the 16th.

Oh well.  At least it looks like we’ll have a White Christmas.

Before I go, I want to share a couple more photos with you.  This happened the same night we had the torrential downpour (and the leaking roof).  And we don’t have a chainsaw.

Oy gevalt.

Song of the Day:  Scrooge by The Muppets

Five Golden Rings

December 19, 2008

Schools are closed today, in anticipation of the big snowstorm that’s headed our way.  This means that I won’t get my last gift, and my Secret Santa won’t be revealed until we go back on January 5th.  Aww, isn’t that a shame.  NOT.

Actually, I am kind of curious to find out who would give me such crap.  I finally began to receive gifts on Wednesday, when I found three presents in my mailbox.  I guess the person was absent on Monday and Tuesday, or else they just plain forgot. Anyway, after opening the first four gifts, I have to say that I was better off with nothing.  Everything I’ve received has gone straight into the garbage.

It is very obvious that I am a victim of re-gifting. For day one, I got an ugly makeup bag.  It looks like one of those freebies you get when you make a purchase.  Day two: a sample size of stinky body wash.  Day three: a sample size of stinky body lotion.  Day four: a sample size of stinky body spray.  I imagine that day five will be a sample size of stinky bubble bath, or something like that.  Everything is from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  What I think is that my Secret Santa received a gift basket of all these items last Christmas or for a birthday, and is giving it to me, piece by piece.

It is possible to give tasteful gifts on a low budget.  I am living proof of that, having spent less than twenty dollars on the five presents for my co-worker.  On day one, I gave my gift recipient Crate & Barrel snowflake soap; six soaps individually wrapped and stacked in a clear box.

Day two: Pirouline rolled wafers filled with cocoa and hazelnut cream.

Day three: A Crate & Barrel twig kissing ball

Day four: Stefani Tadio’s popular sticky notes (That link doesn’t take you to an active purchasing site, but it does show a good sampling of this terrific item.)

Day five: A ceramic bowl with decorative potpourri

Last year I had a wonderful Secret Santa.  She gave me a really cool holiday candle, a gourmet candy apple, and pretty earrings. (I can’t remember what the other two presents were, but I do remember that I was pleased with them.) Oh well.  Maybe the real Santa will bring me something nice to make up for this year’s disappointing Secret Santa.

I know it’s supposed to be the thought that counts, but thought was most definitely not involved in this fiasco.  Bah, humbug.

Song of the Day:  The Twelve Days of Christmas

They Run and Hide Their Heads

December 12, 2008

I hadn’t planned on writing an entry today but I’m feeling pretty depressed this morning and need to unload.

It’s the rain.  You see, the weather forecasters got my hopes up yesterday.  According to them, conditions were supposed to be very icy this morning.  That would have meant that schools would be closed, and I was really counting on that happening.

My house is an unholy mess, and, since I’m hosting the Christmas gathering this year, I need to get this place cleaned up before then.    I don’t know how I’m going to get it done.

Weekends have been, and will continue to be, spent away from home for large portions of the day. I’m in too much pain and too exhausted to tackle the mess after work.   That’s why I was desperately hoping schools would be closed today.  My heart sank when I woke up and saw nothing more than pouring rain.

There’s a much bigger reason the rain is depressing me.    I was in bed last night when I heard Daniel utter the dreaded words, “There’s a leak.”

I went to take a look and saw a steady drip coming from the attic access on the ceiling in the small bedroom.  There was a large puddle on the hardwood floor.   Daniel brought up our biggest pot and I put it on the floor under the spot that was leaking.

I can’t imagine what we’re going to do about the roof.  We don’t have any money.

This gives new meaning to the adage, “when it rains, it pours.”

Song of the Day:  Rain by The Beatles

Heat Rave

June 10, 2008

A couple of you mentioned Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One in yesterday’s comments. That just happens to be the book I bought in the thrift shop a couple of weeks ago. I read the book when it first came out in hardcover (about 18 years ago), and loved it. So I agree with Sunshyn and Michael. And, Mary, thank you for your recommendations. I’ve added The Once and Future King to my list. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a great movie. Is the book even better? Does anyone else have any recommendations? (Other than Mad magazine, my dear LA!)

In other news, I saw the new pain management doctor yesterday. She prescribed Lidoderm patches, Cymbalta (anti-depressants taken in small doses have been found to be helpful for pain), and the anti-inflammatory, Naproxen. The pharmacy bill for these meds came to a staggering $65. That might not seem like a lot of money to some of you, but it sure is to me, especially considering that I won’t be earning a paycheck over the summer.  The potential side effects are pretty alarming, as well.

Besides the medication therapy, I also have to go back for trigger point injections.  Dr PM could have performed the procedure yesterday, but said she will only do the injections if someone is there with me.  I explained that I didn’t drive, and had taken the Dial-A-Ride bus, but that wasn’t good enough for her.  She insists that someone has to accompany me when I have the injections.

I don’t want to take any more time off from work (other than on the 20th, when I am scheduled for the second series of Epidural Steroid Injections), so I’ll go back for the trigger point injections after school gets out.  (June 27th is our last day.) However, the way my back feels (it took a turn for the worse yesterday), I don’t know if I’ll make it until then…

Speaking of work, school will be dismissed at 11:30 this morning because of the excessively high temps. I’m hoping to catch a ride home with My Friend so I don’t have to walk in this god-awful heat.

Song of the Day: Too Darn Hot from Kiss Me Kate