Sunday, August 31, 2008

Color My World

Yesterday morning, I found this grasshopper sitting on the hood of my white rental car. I had to get a photo. I decided to take this as a good luck omen. In the Chinese culture, the grasshopper is a symbol of good luck and abundance. The color green also represents life, luck, renewal and prosperity.

Later that day we were going to buy our new mini-van. And no, it is not green! But color is a very important part of our lives. Perhaps more than we realize. Color to some degree affects taste. It also can influence our moods. We sometimes judge others by the color of their skin. Apparently this is also a prime factor in buying a automobile. Why else would it be one of the first questions you are asked by a car salesman. Especially if you are a woman!

Racism in the Car Industry

I am always blown away by walking into a showroom and once you establish that you are looking for a vehicle, such as a new mini-van, the next question is, "What color are you looking for?"

Not " what features?", "model?", "what price range?" but "What Color?"!

Color me stupid but does one color drive better than another? Does color effect gas mileage? What about amount leg room and amount of cargo you can haul?
Are Cars Like Popsicles? Does color really matter enough to be a TOP priority????

Anything but Silver

While there are some colors I would prefer such as Champagne or a light, nondescript tasteful shade, we decided on anything but silver. My last two vans were silver. Both were involved in crashes. Coincidence? I think not!

Silver has a reflective power that creates a "cloak of invisibility". Other drivers are not always able to see you until after it is too late. It is also a common color for cars and can be a challenge to find your vehicle in a crowded lot.

Dark colors such as Burgundy, Inferno Red, Navy or Black are also at the bottom of my list. They tend to show scratches and dings in better definition than lighter hues. You never know when a telephone pole, mail box or post might jump out and attack.

Good Features are also Key

More germane to our search were certain features. We wanted stow-n-go seats (the storage areas make for good penalty boxes), navigation system (so I can find my way home), security package and a good entertainment system. All we need now is a wet-bar & toilet and then we could pretty much make this our home on wheels. Price was also a HUGE consideration. Since a new car was not in our budget for this year, we did not want to break the bank.

The Search is Over!!!

After an exhaustive search (on my husband's part) we narrowed the field to three, 2008 Town & Country vans, and then went with the best deal. Which happened to be my favorite dealer. They offer Free Lifetime Car Washes, Free Oil Changes the 1st year and, get this, a FREE LOANER CAR while your auto is being worked on!

The only potential drawback is that our new dream machine is a dark blue, or Modern Blue Pearl. While I am not a fan of the dark colors, I am warming up to this Modern Blue. I am now in fashion AND I can easily find my "baby" in a parking lot.

Especially since we'll be parking in the far back, away from all the other cars!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Inquiring Minds

The Power of Knowledge

Acronyms are becoming increasingly popular in the blog world. I've been learning as I go. There really should be a class for T.S.L. (texting as a second language) with an emphasis on acronyms. I'm still not comfortable with using LOL and prefer *L*, have learned that MIL is mother-in-law, SIL - sister-in-law... you get the drift. A new one that's been bugging me is MILF.

I had seen this pop up a lot lately and I could tell from the context in which it was used that it was synonymous with being a "Hot Momma". I was a bit confused. If MIL is mother-in-law, what did MILF stand for? I HAD to Google it! Within seconds I had my answer.

EWWW! I'm not even going to tell you. If you don't know, do your own search. I wish I didn't find out. I now think of pimply-faced teenage boys fantasizing about their friends' moms. That is just WRONG!!! Now I keep hearing that song about "Stacy's Mom" playing in my head every time I see that stupid MILF!

It has been said that knowledge is power, but sometimes ignorance is bliss!

Target Message

I was in Target last weekend shopping for school supplies with my kids and saw notebook paper with a giant 3 letter logo that stopped me in my tracks...
O.P.P. (Other People's Paper) !

O.P.P. is also a song from 1991 by Naughty by Nature with a very different meaning. The last P does not stand for paper!

Does anybody else find this disturbing?????

Our Tax Dollars At Work ( as heard on the street)

My friend, who lives in a not so great part of town, called to relay a quick but troubling story this afternoon. He was loading up his truck to make a delivery while a group of school-age girls passed him on the street. They couldn't have been more than 13 or 14 years old. One girl was pushing a baby carriage.

The girls were telling their friend with the baby about the first week of school. The girls were complaining about how much they hated their classes. Their friend looked at them and advised them on how to deal with their situation.
".... Just get knocked up and have a baby. Then your mom will let you stay home to take care of it!"

The power of knowledge at its finest! What the heck are we teaching our children??????

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm Gonna Be O.K. ( I think)

Yesterday afternoon I received a call from my doctor, the x-ray films came out "clean". No broken neck! (whew!) I can now make an appointment for a Medical Massage without fear of doing more damage.

Think I'll hold off on the pregnancy test. I was more careful with what I ate yesterday and my weight gain was lowered by 2 pounds. I think I will wait 7 or 8 more months to be "surprised" that the "baby" I am carrying is just a "food baby". I'll be so relieved that I won't mind having bought a new wardrobe for my expanding waistline. A few new frocks for me will be a heck of a lot cheaper than two headed sweaters for my non-existent mutant baby. And I won't have to leave my family to tour with my baby and the circus we would have had to join! See there is a bright side here!

More Good News

After a few nail-biting days, I found out that my car will be totaled. Which is kind of cool. To be able to add to the story, in a nonchalant way ".... Yeah, the car was totaled."
ONLY when you are involved in a wreck, that is not your fault, that you and your passenger can walk away from without a scratch! We'll just leave out that whimpy crap about sore muscles, tingling arm and high blood pressure. That stuff isn't going to up my cool-quotient.

I now have 4 days to buy a new Town & Country and take delivery before the dealer incentives expire. *deep breath* *taking a moment to recite the Serenity Prayer* (just the 1st 4 lines)

O.K. We can do this. And when I say "We", I pretty much mean my husband. He has been researching and reading all the important reports that one should read while looking for a new vehicle. He's merely pretending that I have options. I play along and give my opinions, as if they count! Thankfully he's a gadget guy and will make sure I get much more than I think I need.

Last time he made sure I had automatic doors that I thought excessive. Now I can't imagine doing without this feature. My stripped-down rental car is a daily reminder of how dependent I have become on this automatic-chivalry option.

Mail - Call

Another letter arrived in the mail from a concerned attorney. I also missed a phone call from yet another Chiropractic Group. I tell you, I live in a very caring community!

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school for the boys. Everything seemed to go off without a hitch. I will count that as a Good Day. I have decided to ask my oldest & baddest boy on a daily basis if he was "Nice" Today. (see yesterday's post, Manic Monday). I just asked him and he gave me the thumbs up sign that he was indeed "nice".

Yesterday I had my oldest son at work with me and he helped me buy a carload of goods at Sam's Club in record time. I had made a list ahead of time and put it in order of the path we would travel. We came up with a new slogan that I will recommend the Principal add to her short list.
"It's Good To Be Organized"
I think this is more relevant to academic ( and domestic) achievement! Bill Gates didn't get where he is today by being "NICE". (my name isn't NICE Momma). I may have to join the PTO and lobby for a new slogan.

Speaking of being organized, I need to hop off my computer, hop into the shower and then off to bed. I have a full day ahead tomorrow and need to be ready! It's been "nice" catching up with you!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Manic Monday

I went to my doctor to get checked out. I probably have a slightly pinched nerve but I've been told that it's possible to have a broken neck or damaged vertebrae or injured disk and not realize it. After a week of a slight tingle in my right arm I decided better to play it safe.

What? Me Stressed?
The nurse took my blood pressure and started to say, " Mmm, your blood pressure is a little..."
" I know, I've always been a bit low..."
She went on to say "...high."
"What??? You're kidding me. I've always been a bit low. I've never, ever been told it was high!"

I made her check again. Same results. I had her look at my records. I was about 20 points higher than normal. When my doctor came in, I had him re-check my pressure. In both arms. Same slightly on-the-high-side results. Apparently stress can do that. Not that I had been feeling particularly stressed. Except for the drive over. It still feels like I'm driving a giant magnet. Passing cars and trucks appear to gravitate toward the yellow line that separates us.

Next I went to the building next door for neck x-rays. Right before the x-ray techs took several pictures of my neck, they asked if I was pregnant. Apparently the fact that I have gained five pounds to my mid-section, had nothing to do with the query. It was a standard question.

"I'm 49 years old, so I hope not!" I answer

"We have to ask that of women up to age 60" was the response.

Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards

Oh crap! Maybe I'm not going through menopause and my sudden creeping pounds have nothing to do with recently cutting back on activity as to not further any possible injury. What if the extra-helpings of ice cream, pie and snacks before bed had nothing to do with my expanding waistline???

My mind flashes back to my shopping trip on Saturday at Sam's Club. There was a woman pushing a stroller with TRIPLETS! She is 44 years old and has a teenager and a 20 year old at home. She also thought she was in menopause!!!!

I go ahead with the x-rays and try not to think about my future 2-headed baby. Gotta keep my stress levels in check.

Ice Cream Social

Later in the day, I took my 6th grader to an Ice Cream Social at his middle school to check out his new school and classrooms. We saw our neighbors that live a few doors down from us. They have a girl the same age as my son. I decided to forgo the ice cream and catch up with my neighbor.

She asked about the car. Apparently her daughter had come home with some crazy story (which she knew couldn't be right) about what happened to it. Something she heard on "the street. It wasn't my imagination that the children in the neighborhood were avoiding our house. And scattering like cockroaches when they saw me round the bend in my rental car.

We swapped stories and I told her about my "Magnetic Car" theory. My neighbor agreed. She went though a period in her life where she was involved in a series of car crashes. NONE of them her fault.

In one "Hit & Run" she was rear-ended and knocked out by her steering wheel. When she awoke, a police officer was at her side, asking if she was o.k. and she discovered her purse had been stolen!!!!

Another, she was hit by a driver who left his license plate stuck in her door as he drove off. When the police arrived and asked if she got the other driver's information. She handed over the plate and asked, " Does this help?"!

Turns out the guy was a pimp who had been under police surveillance. He later got in touch with his victim and tried to persuade her to get her car fixed at his shop. Gives a whole new meaning to "Pimp My Ride"!

See, my crash could have been so much worse!

Wild Ride Ahead!

After the half-hour social we moved on to the auditorium for the program. I made sure to follow a few paces behind my son, pretending not to know him so he could catch up with his friends. I sat with some other parents that were doing the same.

We heard from the Principal, the President of the PTO and were introduced to the teachers. We were told the most important, daily message that our kids will be given is to " BE NICE".

"Be Nice"????, not "study hard", "try your best", "never give up" or some other inspirational psycho-babble, but "BE NICE"!

We were also told in many different ways that this will be a challenging year ( I believe the term "wild ride" was used once or twice!). The PTO lady also stressed the importance of making sure you were involved in your child's life. Also to get to know all their friends. And the parents of their friends. This was the most important mission of the PTO.

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO! What kind of "Wild Ride" lies ahead????

O.K., calm down..... Gotta keep those stress levels in check...... Broken neck, mutant baby and hypertension to worry about!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sumary Sunday

It's been a whirlwind of a week. After my auto accident last Saturday, I have been busy getting my life back in order.

Sunday -

Started looking at new Town & Country Mini Vans. The boys are very excited. They think they are the decision makers. ( secretly I think they are!) After sizing up our family, an astute salesman found some keys for a 2008 model with Sirius radio/TV & dual DVD system. Not sure how wise it was leaving 3 young boys in a running vehicle, but they were glued to the SpongeBob cartoon that was on the car's multi-screens.

They were ready to buy it right on the spot!

Monday - I was set up with a rental car. I was able to get a van, a Chevy Uplander. A stripped down van with a broken middle passenger seat, a bit dirty inside and smells like an ashtray. As much as I did not think automatic doors mattered much, I am missing mine. A lot! Also miss my navigation system, DVD player and radio system, leather seats and my familiar dashboard.

Tuesday - The Insurance Estimator came to inspect my vehicle and after 3 1/2 hours determined there was $9,100 damage ( using salvage parts). Estimated time in shop is 30 days.
The adjuster is anxious for us to get the car into the shop as the "clock is running" and at $38 a day, the rental car adds up.
Some lady who "heard" about my accident called our house to see how I was. She works for a local chiropractor and wanted to offer a free consultation.

Wednesday - The medical claims adjuster came out to start the paperwork. I have some muscle soreness and very, very slight numbness in one arm which is understandable due to the circumstances. I decided to open a claim as a precautionary measure and have two years to close it out.

When asked about my son, I told the truth. He was fine and no he was not traumatized by the accident. He's a true boy. He thought it was "cool"! He was merely disappointed that we didn't make the 6:00 news and a little upset that I wouldn't let him inspect the damage and shiny parts of the wreck up close. I guess the fact I screamed at him every time he inched within a few feet of my car might be considered trauma but I don't think I'll file a claim on his behalf.

I was warned that now that my police report is published. I will start getting phone calls from Attorneys and Chiropractors.

Sure enough later that day, there were more phone calls from concerned citizens. I had no idea how many "caring" lawyers and chiropractors were in my community. Also car salesmen! Once it is known that you are in the market for a new car, these buggers can be persistent! Do you think that "Pain, Suffering and Loss of Income" applies to the amount of time spent on the phone with these folks?

Thursday - My poor car was towed to the garage. Gone is my daily reminder of how "lucky" we are. My husband had to sign a release form for the dealership garage so that they can "dissect" my vehicle. He was told that it would take at least 45 days to repair and that there was most likely a bit more damage.

After dinner we went to another dealership to take some test drives. My boys inspected every car in the showroom. I took two cars for a quick test spin to see if engine size really matters. I came to the conclusion: not so much. We were offered an extended test drive for a few days and I politely declined. I am still a bit "twitchy" and not keen on driving a brand new car so soon. It still feels like all the drivers on the road are gunning for me. The boys were disappointed. They fully expected we would leave with a brand new car.

Sorry guys! It's not like shopping for a new pair of pants... You can't have one for every day of the week!

Friday - The phone calls have momentarily died down, although I did get a nice letter with a copy of my police report from a local high-profile, personal injury attorney. While I'd love to appear in his next ad campaign, ( I think I'd look HOT in a neck-brace) I think I'll pass.

I kind of goofed up anyway. I was supposed to call him first BEFORE I spoke to anyone....Oh well.

Saturday - First day I had passengers in my rental car. I took two of my boys on a shopping trip for school supplies, clothes and groceries. While I am a bit more comfortable in my temporary transportation, I still feel like a giant magnet that pulls oncoming traffic into my path.

I also get confused on finding my car in crowded parking lots. It's hard enough to find my "normal" car in a crowd of look-alikes. Imagine keeping track of a vehicle I am not familiar with.

Sunday - We won't find out until tomorrow ( Monday) about the status of my car. I decided to take the rest of the weekend off from worrying about the next steps.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Almost Wordless Wednesday - How to Help The Economy

Front View

Back View

New View

Check from at-fault driver's insurance company for estimated repair costs - $9,100 (using salvaged parts)

Rental Car while car is in shop - $39 a day ( for approx. 30 days)

Approximate Cost of New (2008 Chrysler Town & Country) Car - $30,0000 ( after dealer incentives, before taxes & trade-in )

Look on our neighbors' faces when they saw my wrecked car in our driveway - Priceless!

Monday, August 18, 2008

We're Moving to Nebraska!

I just heard about the new safe haven law passed in Nebraska.

"Nebraska this year became the last state in the nation to pass a so-called “safe haven” law designed to protect unwanted infants by allowing parents to legally surrender them at a hospital.

But the law, which took effect July 18, is unlike any other. It allows parents to give up a minor of any age — possibly an unruly teenager — instead of just infants.

Passed in February by the state's nonpartisan Legislature, the law specifies that no person can be prosecuted for leaving any child in the custody of any on-duty hospital employee. While other states set a much lower age limit for children to be left under safe haven laws — the oldest is a year in North Dakota — Nebraska law defines a “child” as anyone up to 19 years old. "

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday - A Few More Blessings to Mention

P.S. I forgot to mention 2 more big blessings this week.

1. Last night, after the accident, my 7 year old son ( the one in the car with me ) finally learned to ride a 2 wheeler bike!

2. One of my posts was picked up on Friday over at Blogger's Annex. It was the one entitled, Antidote for Holiday Hell, which I wrote last year right before Thanksgiving. This post was written as advice to a fellow Mom Blogger who was complaining about MIL drama ruining the Holidays.

Blogger's Annex is a new site that promotes the idea
"that only the best posts will be published. Our hope is that it will feel like an honor to have something published here."

If they let me join, I'm pretty sure anyone can. Only one post is published per day. My advice is join early so you have a better chance of being "published". If you have a chance, visit and / or join Blogger's Annex

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Good News / Bad News / Good News - Count Your Blessings - Saturday

I was going to originally post a summary on the 6 week - Faithful Friday-Count Your Blessings- that I took part in. However on the way home from work, I was given some more things to be thankful for.

First for some Good News: Looks like I may be getting a brand-new car!

Now for some Not So Good News: I was involved in a car crash and my mini-van has sustained some pretty serious damage.

Back to some Good News: No one was hurt. And it was NOT my fault!

This morning, I took my youngest son to work with me for a couple of hours. I wanted to do a bit of paperwork to get caught up for next week. On the way home, as I crossed an intersection, where we did not have to stop, I was smashed into by a car that failed to notice the stop sign he was supposed to stop at. In a split second I saw the car coming at me, but did not have time to do anything but yell out to my son in the backseat.

I was hit so hard my car spun around, hit a telephone pole and a telephone box before stopping at an 180 degree angle and facing back towards the way I had come. As I came to a stop, I made sure my son was o.k. and other than being shaken up, I was in one piece!

I got out, made sure the other driver was o.k. which he was, other than a leg that was scraped up by his airbag. We began the one & a half hour process of police reports and insurance company phone calls. I was less than 2 miles from my house and my husband was able to come quickly to help out.

It may be a few days to find out if my car is "totaled". Which means I will be in the market for a new car. It will cost me some $$$ for this privilege but I guess it's only money....

No sense getting worked up over what I can't change. I am very grateful that no one was seriously hurt. Property can be replaced; hopefully the insurance company will be reasonable.

As I write this post, I realize the influence Count Your Blessings has had on me. I could have looked at this event and only seen the bad. Instead I chose to see the positive!

Sometimes you just have to Count Your Blessings ......

Friday, August 8, 2008

Faithful Friday / Count Your Blessings - Week 6

This week the blessing I am giving thanks for living in the moment and delighting in life's little details.

Last night I took my eldest son on a shopping trip. He will be starting middle school in a few weeks and is getting his own room. He will be on a slightly later schedule than his brothers so my husband decided to shuffle boys, furniture and rooms. Because of the new arrangement, my 6th grader had to give up his bed, comforter & sheets to his youngest brother.

Most kids would be thrilled to have a chance for new bedding. He was not. Funny thing is, his beloved bed set was over 25 years old! The bedding came from my parents' house. Old, yet comfortable.

At first, my son was inconsolable when told he needed to replace his bedding. Last night he agreed to come shopping with me. Just the two of us. Some quality mom and son time. It was an enjoyable outing.

Thirty Minute Vacation
We went to a nearby shopping center and after finding a new comforter set at Bed, Bath and Beyond we ventured over to the upscale portion, Easton Town Center, and stopped for dinner at Cosi. We dined outdoors and pretended we were in Los Angeles, California on vacation.

The weather was perfect, sunny, warm and breezy. As we sat among the upscale shops on the shaded patio, we watched the stream of pedestrians who passed by. This center has an international draw and in a short time many nationalities passed by speaking a variety of languages. People in all shapes and sizes. Some well dressed, others not so much. Some carried shopping bags from the surrounding chain stores. There was a faint whiff of cigar smoke in the air.

We could have been dining alfresco in any number of cities. I tried to take note of every minute detail and burn a picture in my memory. Quality, one on one time with my son is infrequent, if not rare. Something to reflect on during more trying times, where I for a brief moment want to strangle him!

Living in the moment is not one of my strong suites.
I tend to be a multi-tasker, taking on many tasks at once, yet not accomplishing as much as I should be able to. Many times my mind is so cluttered, I will go from point A to point B and not remember the journey in-between. On these days, you don't want to be on the road with me!

Lately, I have been trying to slow down and pay more attention to the little details that I often overlook. I am rewarded with reminders of life's little blessings.

Even the smallest detail can have great significance.

Tonight I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. 15,000 Chinese performers took part in this ceremony of epic proportions. The attention to detail was incredible. Hand gestures, costumes, color and graphics. Nothing was over-looked. So much beauty and symbolism. There was one portion where a single dancer was performing on a platform that was supported by hundreds of participants beneath her. This was to illustrate the point that "The accomplishments of one are made possible with the help of many."

Some of the many blessings this past week:
  • Friday night of this past weekend we had friends from Florida come visit and my husband hosted a dinner at our house in their honor.
  • He bought too much food and on Sunday night, we entertained another set of friends and their 10 year old son.
  • After coming home from a successful shopping trip on Thursday night, I found out I won a contest at Dishing with Debbie for a comment I made several days ago. Ironically enough it was about saving money at Macy's and I had just come home with more "savings" from Macy's!
  • In addition to finding a comforter set for my son, I "found" a cute Jones New York summer dress and a cute knit top on clearance sale! Once again I "saved" my husband tons of money!

In conclusion ( finally!)
As I make a concerted effort to slow down and savor life's little moments, I am reminded of one of my husband's favorite quotes.
Slow and Steady wins the race.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - What No One Seems To Notice....

Eyes Right Before I Leave The House

Eyes A Few Hours Later

Friday, August 1, 2008


This week the blessing I am giving thanks for is that of my blog.

Last week, as I went for a walk with my 7 year old son, I stopped to acknowledge a neighbor with a friendly dog. As we continued on our way, my son asked, " Do you know that woman?".

I answered "No." and he remarked, "She looks like a blogger."

He thought the lady might be a blogger because she was friendly even though we were strangers. Just like in the bloggy world. .....

I started my personal blog last year to see what "Blogging" was all about and to see if it might be useful for my business. I found the blogosphere to be so much more. It has been a wonderful outlet to archive my family stories. Sort of an electronic scrapbook, that allows me to keep track of everyday life and other minutia. My blog has brought me so many blessings.

Once again, I have friends!
I used to have an active social life. Then my friends and I grew up. We got married, had children and spread out all over the country. Friends that I used to speak to weekly now communicate in yearly Holiday Newsletters. Between work and daily family duties, there is very little "me" time. Schedules are hard to match up and get togethers with friends are difficult to plan.

As I became more active in posting and commenting, I started to "meet" other bloggers and make new friends. I sometimes feel that I live in two universes, "The Real World" and "The Blog-World". Two of my blog-friends, Tara & Tena, have written about the confusion that takes place when we relay "blogosphere friend" stories to those in real-time. Both worlds contain valued camaraderie.

I am very grateful for the friendships that I have made through blogging and blogger networks such as Cre8Buzz. I can now have conversations with friends when I have the time to log on to my computer. No worries about interrupting meals, activities or sleep.

By tracking my life in bit-parts and sound bites, my life seems more memorable and dare I say "interesting".
I have found that daily life seems more exciting in print. I am much more aware of the little, often over-looked details of daily life. Now that I am constantly thinking about my next post, I am more appreciative of events that could easily been missed. My life seems so much more full.

I am now a scrap-booker of sorts!

Sometimes I will refer back to older posts and smile. I have never been much of a archivist and never kept a journal. Somehow it has been easier for me to post my thoughts and stories electronically.

I guess the pressure of knowing that someone will notice if I cease to keep up, is a great motivator! My blog-friends are like workout buddies.... without the sweat and pain..... That's what the "Real World" is for! On that note, it's time to break for fresh air.

And the search for my next post!