Thirteen Things I Thought I’d Blog About..

But never got around to doing so.

1. Nearly 2 weeks ago I spent the better part of an hour driving around the town I work in looking for a UPS drop box to put a bag with a bra in (it had a UPS return mail sticker on it) I called UPS twice & was told three different options for drop boxes, I had ms 13 & mr 10 with me & we couldn’t find any of the drop boxes.

2. Last Friday I got sent home from work 3 & 1/2 hours early (they closed our center down that early on 2 Friday nights in a row, they’re talking about doing so every other Friday until further notice) Since I was out early I used my computer to look on the UPS website & was easily able to locate a UPS drop box myself, when I went to put the package in the box, I realized we’d driven by this box at least 5 times the night we were looking for it the week before, there was a tree on the sidewalk with ridiculously overgrown branches which hid the box from sight.

3. The being sent home early thing is a huge concern. They’re also closing another call center not that far from ours. Big worries for me as I fully expect & need to work there at least another 30 years ’til I’m 70 & can retire as gracefully as possible, I’m thinking right now that I need to step up my alternate plan of buying mega millions tickets for ever drawing.

4.  Also at work, they’ve done another shift shuffle, just got the word tonight that I got my first choice in a shift, working to close (not because I really want to- the thrill wore off right after school began for my kids in August, but because ms 19 hasn’t gone to get her licence & hasn’t done a thing about getting her car on the road, because she needs me to drive her back & forth to work I have to work nights) I got Friday & Saturday nights off though, which I prefer to Saturday Sunday as I’ve been working for the past 5 months or so.

5. Only 2 of my current co-workers are going to the same group I am, one I like & one I could do without, however, on a brighter note, my fairly new supervisor is going to  continue to be my supervisor & I like her quite well.

6. One of the drawbacks to working nights is that since the kids are at school all day (they get home an hour before I leave for work) I have little to no motivation to get up & do much of anything, the computer, tv shows I care about, reading, none of it trumps sleeping right now.

7. The house is staying clean though, I’m doing a bit every day & the kids are making extra effort to keep the shared areas clean as I get upset when they’re not.

8.  Mr 10’s room has been a big issue just lately & for all my threats, days where I took the smart card out of his satellite receiver & took it to work with me as punishment, I found the best thing to do. Last Saturday morning I was washing up breakfast dishes & I asked him to take a trash bag in his room & get started & told him I’d be in when I was through with the dishes & started a wash. His eyes got huge & he said “uh, no mom, I don’t want you to yell at me, I’ll just clean it myself” And he did! By Sunday night he had the room nearly immaculate, even under the bed!

9.  In other news, our dryer completely stopped working, it hasn’t gotten hot in months but I was still tumbling some clothes dry in it (the ones which don’t do well on the outside clothes line – like socks, underwear & jeans) now it sits there & hums, doesn’t tumble at all. I have to find a way to get $50 or so together at once to have the local appliance repair guy come see if it’s recoverable or what.

10. On top of that, my oven’s heating element is burning out, to cook something which needs to cook at 350 for 30 minutes I have to set the oven to the highest setting (475) & cook for 45-60 minutes. Not fun.

11.  One contributing factor to my never blogging any more is that the computer is so messed up that just going visiting other people’s blogs or checking email is a huge chore. the computer is very slow & sluggish, it’s not saving things correctly & the kids are actually pressuring me to go back to our circa 1994 model & to scrap this 2003 model I got for free from work. I don’t quite know what to do to tell the truth.

12.  I admit to an odd lack of interest in the internet just in the past 7-8 months too. I’m not sure why but it just doesn’t have the pull it used to.

13. Ms 13 is going to Washington DC for an overnight trip with her 7th grade class, it sounds like a huge inconvenient mess to me but she really wanted to go. They leave at 5:30 AM on next Monday morning, (it’s approximately a 3 & 1/2 hour drive from where we live) run around seeing sights all day Monday & Monday night, sleep in a motel Monday to Tuesday, see more sights all day Tuesday & are expected back here at the school at 10pm Tuesday night, I would not be a chaperone or teacher on that trip for love nor money.!

October Review

1. Photo of Me:  No pics, don’t want to scare the kids.

2. Current Candle Scents: We use a lot more incense than candles here, really loving the sandalwood this month.

3. What I am Currently Reading: I didn’t finish the book from last month until the 29th, but started An Echo In The Bone as soon as I’d closed the Templar Legacy.

4. Newest Music Added to my Playlists: Nothing this month, I’m still too suckered into the satellite radio in the car & I’m not online very much these days, there never seems to be time.

5. Movies I saw:  No theatrical trips for me this month, (I know, I’m terribly boring, that’s why I don’t blog much any longer, there’s nothing to say!) At home we watched a few horror movies, more me keeping the kids company while they did so really, I’m not a fan of horror movies since I discovered what sorts of real-life horrors there are in the world.

6. Something yummy I made this month:  3 Cheese Spinach Lasagna (also known as roll ups, but I just lay it out in lasagna form instead, it’s easier.) So good we’re planning to have it again either this Sunday or the following one.

7. The Last Place I Ate Out:  The kids & I picked up pizza at our local pizza place (called Aly’s) the weekend ms 19’s BF put in my new bathroom floor.

8. Something which made me Cry:  The general kindness & goodneBrandnewfloorss of my 19 year old’s BF for putting in my new bathroom floor. (if he’d just get the sink & the medicine cabinet in I’d be jumping up & down.) This was all without pay, when I muttered something about paying him back someday he told me he wasn’t looking for any money, we needed the floor & he knew how to do it, he also pointed out that I’ve fed him enough meals that he feels like he owes me. He doesn’t but it was sweet of him to say.

9. Something which made me Laugh:  ms 19 woke me up on the Sunday morning of the bathroom renovations saying “do you want the bathroom painted or not? If you do, come help me now” I got out of bed, threw on old clothes & she, I mr 10 & ms 13 all crowded into our 5 foot, 2 inch by 3 foot 11 inch bathroom & painted the walls red. redred walls It’s a very small space & we were very crowded, you can see in this picture, which really is just to show the color, that we weren’t very careful & got it on the ceiling. Ms 19 was determined that we should paint before the vynil went down on the floor & considering what the plywood looked like when we were through she was right.

10. Something that I looked forward to this month:  Halloween of course! This was my first year at home, 19 & the BF decided to take 10 & 13 out trick or treating, I got to take it easy & wait around for trick or treaters so that I could hand out our candy supply.

11. Something I am thankful for:  That we all had a safe halloween & that I had enough money to be able to buy the materials to replace the bathroom floor & to buy the melting chocolate & do the halloween chocolate pops for the kid’s classes & ms 19’s & my workplaces this year.

12. Something I want to remember about this month:  All of it was wonderful, we really had a great month, from the bathroom, to the chocolate pop making, to the game nights each Sunday to pumpkin carving on the morning & mid-day of halloween itself. Everyone really worked at getting along & being nice to one another this month it seemed & we really had a great month.

13. A Picture I took this month: This is ms 19’s pumpkin, eventually I’ll post the others but it costs to send pictures from the phone & I can take them off the memory card for free, but it’s time consuming & at 3:19 a.m. Well, it’s just not happening tonight!

Jackothelantern

13 Scary Stories

I do read a lot, I might not talk about it much & I am not much for best sellers or what’s hot, but there’s always a book or two within 3 feet of me most of my life, within easy reach if an available 5 or 10 minutes (hopefully more) opens up. Scary stories have been part of my life since I was a little kid. I was easily scared when I was young, but heavy exposure to Steven King novels from age 11 or so forward inured me to much of the creepy, gross stuff. Here are some of my favorite scary reads, both past & recent.

1. As a kid I received Cricket magazine for a lot of years, thanks to an uncle in the library biz. I remember a short story in there about the ghost of a boy, I don’t have the exacts I’m afraid, but it was a favorite of mine for many years.

2.  The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes, while not particularly scary was always one of my favorite books growing up & I read & re-read it every Halloween until I was much older than my mother thought I should be- reading this book.

3. Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck, Both funny & scary, I loved this book & all of Richard Pecks books (the ones which were written when I was still a kid that is.) Although ms 13 was given “A Year Down Yonder” this summer for a school reading program & I read it myself & enjoyed it very much too.

4. The House With A Clock in it’s Walls by John Bellaris. I discovered this book in the library all on my own (my mother often shoved books at me at the library which I sometimes dutifully read & sometimes didn’t) And my mother was amazed, the author was from her (& my adopted) Hometown of Haverhill MA. & my uncle the librarian knew him. More importantly (at least to me) It was illustrated by Edward Gorey & consequently was my introduction to Edward Gorey who continues to be one of my favorite artists.

5. I’m already seeing that this could be a real mess, I don’t want to list 8 Steven King books in order of my preference for them, but really, there aren’t all that many adult books which actually deal with real ghosts. (I remember being terribly disappointed in “Ghost Story” By Peter Straub as it was not anywhere near as scary as I expected it to be when I read it at 12.

6. The Witching Hour & the rest of the Mayfair Family Chronicles by Anne Rice. I’ve read a few of the Vampire books, but Vampires aren’t my favorite thing really. (I understand the attraction, it’s just not all that appealing to me) I found the Mayfair Witches very entertaining though & it certainly has some very detailed descriptions of New Orleans which I enjoyed, never having been there & having heard all sorts of wonderful stories from my Grandmother who went there often when she was married.

7.  I also have spent a lot of time reading non-fiction books about ghosts, Hanz Holzer & others who spent lots of time chasing them long before people followed ghost hunters around with tv cameras.

8. Also in the Non-fiction category are books loaned to me by a co-worker a few years back: “Ghosts of Virginia” volumes 1 through 4 (I understand there are 13 or so now) were very entertaining although I was disappointed that there were no stories about my adopted home county. (we do have a ghost tour, one of these years I hope to get to go on it!)

9. I still stand by my statements over the years that Steven King is best in short story form. Most of my very favorite stories of his are from the short story collections. Room 1408 (the story, not so much the movie) You Know they got a Hell of  a Band, Crouch Lane, Uncle Otto’s Truck & Gramma are all stories which packed a lot more punch, a lot more scare for the words than The Stand or Carrie for me at least.

10. That’s not to say I don’t love some of the full length books too. The first book I read by Steven King was The Shining & I was 11, the librarian was dubious but my mother said I could take anything I wanted out & backed me when the librarian questioned it. I read it & it scared me, not a lot as there was a lot I didn’t totally understand, I’ve always been one to go with the flow when it comes to reading, I always assume if I don’t quite get something right away that it will be made clear by the end of the book. (It’s always worked, although with some books it took a couple of times reaching the end of the book for it to all  make sense!)

11. Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill (yes, Steven King’s son) I really liked this story & wish he’d hurry up & come out with more books!

12. Duma Key by Steven King, (I know, I know, way too much Steven King on this list, but this one was so good!) I listened to this one as a book on CD & really loved it. Lisey’s Story surpassed it but it wasn’t so scary, it was more fascinating generally.

13. The #1 scary book for me is Pet Cemetary by Steven King,  I haven’t read it since I was 15 or so & don’t intend to do so ever again. The reasons are more about my own superstitions regarding my kids than because the book specifically scared me. With my family’s history, seeing my parents go through losing a child when my brother died, I don’t want to have one of my kids precede me in death & so couldn’t hack trying to read this book again because of its subject matter.

Thirteen On An Issue Which is Heavy on My Mind.

1. I’m a big radio listener, I’ve had a radio on in my room, my car, my ear while walking thanks to early walk-man radios & even a few small transistor radios since I was about 11 or 12.

2. When I first became aware of satellite radio I thought it was a crock. I mean really, why pay for radio? There’s plenty of free music coming off the airwaves. Even here in VA, where the ex & I used to joke in ’93 & even in ’97 & ’98, that we had 18 presets on the car stereo & only 3 stations worth tuning to. It was enough.

3. Funny how cable & satellite tv didn’t seem odd, I guess it’s because it started early enough in my life that even growing up in MA where I had access, even before cable or satellite, to at least 11 different channels, plus, on the South Shore where I grew up, another 5 or 6 from RI, many more than people here in SW VA received or even now, receive without satellite.

4. When the DBS provider I work for entered into a partnership to bring some satellite radio stations in over a range of tv channels I was a little more interested, mostly because they gave cool t-shirt out to us. (At my job it’s all about the t-shirts) Beck2006085

5. You can’t read the t-shirt very well, it says:
Censorship = Off
Free Speech= On
Another nearby call center from my same company got a bunch which said:
Hate = Off
Love = On
I’ve tried over the years to get one of those too, I’ve also tried petitioning the Sirius folks to issue these shirts for sale, I heard there were others, though I’ve never seen them I’d buy one of all they had, espeically if they offered them in 3x, my 2x is, sad to say, a little small these days.

6. I was never going to actually have Sirius, (which is now merged with XM, the other company offering satellite radio. ) In an actual car though, I mean really, pay for radio? There’s enough radio stations around here now to fill my 12 presets. I don’t need any more than that.

7. And of course, my cell phone has an mp3 player, I’ve driven home many nights listening to songs on my phone through a single ear phone (I’m mostly deaf in the other ear, so it doesn’t matter about stereo or not to me) I know you’re not supposed to listen to headphones while driving, but it’s mostly just the deer & I out there after 1:30 when I get out of work & deer don’t make any noise so I don’t need to be listening for them.

8. The new car has Sirius XM for free for the first year. It is wonderful! I love it, I have the option of setting 12 presets for radio & the same 6 buttons twice again for satellite radio too. I’ve got all my favorites set up on there. First Wave Alternative, Hair Nation, Lithium & Octane are my favorites, but I had no trouble filling up all 12 presets.

9. Especially insidious for me is the 50’s on 5, 60’s on 6 up to the 90’s on 9. I run through them all on my way to work & then on the way home at night. I have a really wide ranging taste in music (as long as it’s rock/pop, no country or hip hop for me thanks) & so can listen to most anything from the 1950’s forward.

10. Then there’s the talk channels, I’m not a fan of talk radio & get enough news daily between local, national news & the Daily show when it’s on, so I stay away from the politics & pop culture leaves me cold, I don’t care in the least what Lindsey, Brittany or anyone else who doesn’t live in my house or call or text me regularly does so I don’t care about those.

11. However there are 4 comedy channels, I find myself often times tuning to these on the way home at night, just to take my mind off the awful, rude, slacking calls I’ve been taking all night long. Laughter really is the best medicine.

12. I keep feeling guilty & tuning back to the radio at least once a day, I run through the 12 stations I can pull & seldom find anything worth listening to.  Music changes rapidly & my listening to my insular, commercial free genre specific satellite radio means that I’m not hearing the new songs being played on the radio daily, I’m going to be 41 in just over a month, but I still listen to new music, giving that up is not something I feel ready to do, but I’m already slipping off the new music cycle. Often though, it’s the commercials that drive me back to the satellite radio.

13. I have 11 months & 1 week left with satellite radio, the salesman told me it’s $15 or $20 a month to keep it after the free year. I’m already debating with myself whether it’s worth keeping. I fear I may be so addicted by then, that I won’t be able to live without it!

Thirteen Quick Thoughts

1. According to my weather info on my msn home page, it’s not going to be above 50 at all for the next 4 days & it’s going to rain. This is a very bad thing as I have not even dug out the heater & don’t really have much money for kerosene right now.

2. I have to go see mr 10’s teachers tomorrow for a conference, in the first marking period he got some really worrisome grades: A- B, C, D & an F. The F was in english, the B in math, which is totally him but still not good.

3. Ms 13 is applying herself for the second year in a row & received 2 As & 2 Bs.

4. Every evening lately, I come home from work & go online to play mahjong, I pull up this site & most nights I pull up the option for a new post, then I consider what to write, I really do want to write but then I think of all the things I hate about work & can’t put down for fear of  losing my job, I think of all the things I’m worried about in general & don’t want to bore people with & so I often don’t write (obviously, I’m down to Thursday Thirteens only this week).

5. There’s also the added concern that the ex has located me on Facebook & so we’re “friends” now there. I’m worried he’ll find me on My space next & locate the link to this blog.

6. I haven’t actually been to myspace to take the link down yet however, not sure if that’s being stupid,  lazy or just assuming he won’t take the initiative to bother looking there. He claims to not have time or interest in these sites.

7. I was a little appalled the other day when ms 19 pointed out that my myspace status still read “eagerly waiting to go on vacation” We left on vacation at the middle of July. I hadn’t been back on myspace since before that!

8. Obviously I’m not a big fan & don’t have the time or interest to maintain these sites either.

9. Same could be said of the blog just lately, it’s more about not really knowing what to write, if I complain about conditions at my house, well that’s boring & upsets certain residents of my house.

10. I’m especially under strict gag orders on ms 19 & ms 13 both of whom are annoyed that I have a blog at all still. “That’s so 2005 mom, get on twitter or get over it”

11. Did I mention I’m playing a lot of Mahjong lately?

12. New boss at work is pretty ok. I can’t say cool or great, but she’s not bad. It’s kind of nice to have a normal female boss (as opposed to the last female boss I had who seemed to be trying to prove she was even less sentimental, kind & human than the male bosses)

13. Ms 19’s BF’s birthday is this weekend, I’m using it as an excuse to make a cake!

September Review (a little late this month)

1. Photo of Me: Not a one was taken this month (or at least, not one survived my delete button, you’re not missing anything I assure you)

2. Current Candle Scents: Incense is burned more often in our house I admit, but this month the scent I smell the most is Yankee Candle’s car freshener in “autumn leaves” scent – I love it!

3. What I am Currently Reading: The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry. (looking forward with great anticipation to Diana Gabaldon’s newest book in the Outlander series, my mother is reading it & is going to send it on to me when she’s through)

4. Newest Music Added to my Playlists: Not a one.

5. Movies I saw: In the theaters: none, ms 13 & I watched Same Time Next Year which I had never seen but that came highly recommended by my grandmother many years ago. I liked it.

6. Something yummy I made this month:  We had a yummy Chicken Divan a couple of weeks ago.

7. The Last Place I Ate Out: We had Red Lobster & then Red Robin back to back when I got the loan money from my 401k, this was partially a bribe for ms 19 & her BF to come with us so we could use his truck to help bring the new bathroom floor & other needed items for the bathroom back home after we picked them out.

8. Something which made me Cry:  the news that my wonderful, never been a moments worry, jeep compass was in need of a rebuild on the engine, something I couldn’t afford to have done along with the car payment & all my other bills.

9. Something which made me Laugh: My mother had to co-sign the replacement car, that’s not particularly funny, but they fed-exed the paper work to her with a return label to use to send the papers back overnight, the car dealership guy who was setting this up asked me if my mother’s town had a fed-ex or ups place so he’d know which one to use, I assured him they have both. It always amuses & amazes me how so many people have no clue how different MA is from rural VA, when I told my mother this story, she laughed & said she could think of 10-15 drop boxes for both ups & fed-ex within 10 miles of her place, not just in her town! (conversely, here in VA where we drop things for fed ex & ups is a video store, they just hold the boxes there for the truck drivers!)

10. Something that I looked forward to this month:  Not driving the compass any longer with the bum cylinder banging & rattling.

11. Something I am thankful for:  That although I had to put money I really couldn’t afford down & my mother had to help, I do have a reliable (brand new) vehicle with a lifetime power train warranty on it. (got another jeep)

12. Something I want to remember about this month:  When the check engine light comes on, go directly to the dealership.

13. A Picture I took this month:  1939 Dodge1939 dodge for sale at the local car dealership, isn’t it lovely? They don’t make them like that anymore!

13 Thoughts, few of them positive (fair warning)

1. I am in deep now, I took a loan against my 401k to catch myself up, pay a few large, not worthwhile bills off & re-floor my bathroom.

2. Today I took my car in to get an oil change & determine why the check engine light was on, being the ex-wife of an auto mechanic means I take things like this fairly lightly, I thought it would be the EGR valve or some such thing which would be fixed & I’d go on my way.

3. Underneath the above whistling in the dark I knew that the check engine light blinking while I was driving & the choppy performance of the car since Sunday afternoon were bad signs though.

4. Sure enough, my #4 cylinder is mis-firing & lacks compression, the garage where I took it wants $68. an hour to tear down the engine to determine why this is going on.

5. Yes, I said to determine why, fixing what’s wrong with it will be additional cost.

6. Still not laughing at the salesman’s comment, after I heard this news, that if I wanted to trade it in he’d love to sell me a new car (I still owe in the 5 figure range on this car- putting another car on top of what I owe on this one would make my car payment something near my mortgage’s monthly payment.)

7. Of course, we bought all the stuff for the bathroom floor & re-do last weekend, I’ve already mailed off my catch-up payments & after the oil change & spark plug replacement I did today I have about $70. of the loan money left to my name.

8. Which means I’m still going to be late on many bills because fixing the car is going to have to come before anything else, because if I don’t have a dependable, working car I will lose my job & be even less able to pay all my other bills. What a mess.

9. All is not lost, ms 19’s BF’s best friend & his dad run a garage just a few miles away, they charge $40. an hour for repairs so I can save over $100. Just in having them tear down the engine & determining what is wrong with it, then I might be able to cover fixing what’s wrong along with determining what’s wrong!

10.  This is what I get for buying American & driving 27+ miles each way to work daily (not to mention 44 miles each day on the days I have to take ms 19 to work on top of my daily work drive)

11. Big kudos to Chrissie who’s taking ms 19 to work tomorrow (& probably Friday) so I don’t have to drive my car so much while it’s misfiring.

12. I am torn about calling the garage tomorrow because if they can’t finish the work before Friday night I don’t even want them to start until Monday because this is a grocery shopping week & I can not be stranded at home all weekend.

13. Thanks will also be going out to the 1 co-worker I have who lives even further out than I do, he drives by my road every day on his way to work & just 2 weeks ago he ended up on my team & my exact schedule & so he’s agreed to pick me up for work on which ever work days the car is in the shop getting fixed.