March 1, 2015

Have any of you heard of this fabulousness?!

Back when I was in Texas.... I noticed one of these in a local parking lot...





and, needless to say, I was intrigued.

Of course that immediately lead me to the almighty Google...which led me to Better World Books.  And that lead me to see if we have any of these fabulous dropboxes in my area.  Sadly, the answer was not close enough.  This needs to be in every parking lot across the country.  I wondered WHY I lived in such a backwater, hick town that WE didn't have these in our local parking lots.

This program, according to their website:

"All books are transported to a local distribution center operated by Better World Books.  Our goal is to extend the life-cycle of the book through reuse.  Books in good condition are listed for sale online on marketplaces such as BetterWorldBooks.com or donated to literacy partners.  Books that cannot be sold or donated are recycled and converted into pulp for new products such as brown tissue, cardboard, or even new book covers.  We never send books to landfills."

As I continued to peruse the site, I discovered if you, or I, would like to donate used books but there aren't any convenient dropboxes that you can still donate those extra books that you'll never read again  (granted, there are those that we love and will NEVER get rid off, but there are always those that didn't intrigue you enough to keep) AND they will pay for the shipping.  How fabulous is that?

Of course, I was already weepy enough, but this whole idea brought a tear of happiness to this bibliophile's eyes - as I don't have the space to keep all of the books that I buy and knowing that my donation will help promote literacy...well, it left me verklempt. (am I the only one that remembers Mike Meyers doing "Cawfee Tawk"?)

Then the other morning, I was driving by and noticed one of those fabulous green boxes in a local parking lot!!

Hmmm, so maybe this little city isn't quite the backwater, hick town that I thought.  Apparently, we are "growing."  And, in this little way, the growth isn't so painful.  Now, if we are talking about the new highways that are going in everywhere and ruining the charm and idyll of the area...that is a little more painful.

February 27, 2015

Stupid Family Members, Facebook and an idiotic question....

We all know that I am not a huge Facebook person.  Yes, occasionally I will check in on my personal account; but it's rare.  My blogger account gets even less love.

But after my dad's funeral, in a fit of familial love, I "friended" a couple of family members.  And, for the most part, it's been fine.  Apparently, the majority of the people I "friended" (all of three) are about as diligent as I am about posting on Facebook; which means almost never.

But that "one" person...yeah.  I'm already regretting that friending.  And because of the familial relationship I can't actually "unfriend" him (unless he wouldn't know that I unfriended him?  Is that possible?).

So far, I've only cringed at one or two posts.  Until today.  Today, in less than one hour, I have seen two posts that have made me insane.  And the thought that other, sane people in my timeline are seeing this tripe that he is spouting is making batty.  Because, holy moley, I don't want people to think that I associate with that kind of insanity.  I mean, seriously?  How were we raised in the same environment?  And while we are in that vein of thinking, how can anyone seriously think that this kind of garbage is worth sharing.  Particularly when they start off the post with something along the lines of "It's Friday.  I'm going to get drunk.  I may offend.  But it's only in a sense of humor."  (First of all, that last sentence doesn't even make sense!)

Seriously?

So tell me, Facebook fanatics, is there some kind of secret way to hide his updates from anyone else who is a "friend"? I've looked all over Facebook's help section and, if it's there, it's not jumping out at me.  But there has to be a way to hide what he posts from the others who can see what's on my "wall".  God, this is so complicated.

Back in the day, you just avoided the person; and certainly NEVER allowed them around your friends.  Now, all their nastiness is out there, ready for all of your friends to see.

In all honesty, I'm *this* close to just deactivating my Facebook account.  It just seems easier.

February 16, 2015

A break-up and finding new loves

I don't know if I've mentioned it here (I'm sure I may have at some point along the way), but the only lipstick that I've worn for about, oh, probably the last ten years or so is/was CoverGirl Outlast Lip Color in Timeless Ruby (#528).

I loved every single thing about this lip color.  It lasted most of the day.  The color was amazing.  My dentist always told me that it made my teeth look SO white.  My dental hygienist loved that it didn't smear all over her gloves.  I liked the packaging.  It was perfect.  I could put it on in the morning and FORGET about it.  Like I said; perfect.

Late last year, I noticed that it was getting harder and harder to find this particular color.  And then, when I went to Houston, I was in dire need as I had exhausted my supply.  I searched high and low and could not find it anywhere.  So I did what any normal woman would do; I turned to the Internet.  Where my heart was immediately broken.  It has apparently been discontinued.  I was not the only one who was gutted, as you can see from some of the comments found in the link above.

I tried a couple of different colors; but the results were disappointing to say the least.  Too pink.  Too orange.  Too brown.  Too shimmery. Too...something.  Too ick.

Then I did the unthinkable.

I tried different brands.  They were....okay.  It pretty much stayed on.  But I didn't care for the two different colors I tried.  I may try another one.  We will see. (Actually, I probably won't.  When I went back to the drug store this afternoon; this particular product was also conspicuously missing; discontinued maybe?)

Next up, I tried the Revlon Colorstay Overtime Lipcolor in Stay Currant.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

We may have a winner here! (As long as they don't discontinue it.)  Now, to be fair, I've only been using it for two days, but so far this one seems to last the longest and the color is just about perfect.  In fact, if the truth be told, I think I like it better than I liked Timeless Ruby.

My only complaint? (Ah, come on, you knew there had to be one!) With the CoverGirl product, you received two containers.  One with the lip color and one with the topcoat.  This worked perfectly for me in that I could put the color on in the morning; leave it at home (where it belongs) and carry the topcoat in my handbag.  With the Revlon product they've combined the color and the topcoat into one tube with each product on either end.  Which means that I have to carry the whole thing with me.  This is inefficient to me.

Theoretically, I shouldn't need to have the color with me at all times.  The only other thing I don't care for is the brush for the topcoat.  But that may just be because I'm not used to it yet.  And?  The topcoat is kinda goopy.  But again, that may be a "I'm not used to it yet" issue.

And since we are on the topic of beauty products...let me tell you about my latest discovery....Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish.  This stuff claims to give you gel-like results without the hassle of UV lights, salon visits, etc.  I used this last week to paint my nails and just yesteray I noticed one tiny chip.  That means for the first time ever an at home manicure has lasted me 8 days; without any extra maintenance!  Thanks to this stuff, I may actually paint my nails more often.

When I removed it using my acetone nail polish remover, it came off easily.

It's odd though, according to some of the comments in the Sally Hansen link, this polish didn't work for some people.  I don't know if that's because they didn't follow the directions, or if it is just something about their nails or if they just got a bad batch.  For me it worked fine.  Sure, it didn't go the full two weeks; but it lasted longer than regular polish.

While at the drug store today, I picked up two more colors.  I love this stuff.  It goes on easy and dries fairly quickly.  If this new manicure lasts as long as the last one, then I will definitely be a convert to using this polish pretty much exclusively.

So, what say you?  What is your new favorite find?

****
Disclaimer:  This is NOT a sponsored post; despite all the links.  All brands mentioned have been purchased with my own funds and every opinion is mine; mine alone.

February 8, 2015

The October List: A book review.

I love Jeffrey Deaver.  He writes the most delicious thrillers.

So when I happened across this book, I was excited.

And then I started to read it.  And to say I was confused is beyond an understatement.

Usually, when I read, I ignore the chapter titles.  It's a major flaw of mine, I will readily admit.  But after two or three chapters I began to pay attention...mainly so I wouldn't have to keep re-reading the previous chapter.

From the book jacket;

The shocking end is only the beginning...#1 bestselling author Jeffrey Deaver has created the most riveting and original novel of the year --  a race-against-the-clock mystery, told in reverse.

Yeah, somehow I missed those last three words.  It's true, this novel is written completely in reverse.  Once you catch on to that fact, it's an amazingly well written.

Again, from the jacket:

Gabriela waits desperately for news of her abducted daughter.  At last the door opens.  But it's not the negotiators.  It's not the FBI.  It's the kidnapper.  And he has a gun....

A mind-bending novel with twists and turns that unfold from its dramatic climax back to its surprising beginning, (again, I missed that part) THE OCTOBER LIST is Jeffery Deaver at his masterful, inventive best.

According to the Foreword (which is appropriately, prior to the first chapter - which is also the last chapter) Jeffrey Deaver got the idea to write a novel after listening to a Stephen Sondheim interview in which he discussed Merrily We Roll Along a play that began in the present and moved back in time.

It's an interesting approach and, I imagine, one that might be difficult to actually implement.

But, he pulled it off.  It's a fabulous book and one that I heartily recommend.  Just pay attention to those chapter titles.

January 29, 2015

Awash in nostalgia...

As you know, I recently had to fly home for my dad's funeral.

As awful as it all was, I was given a great gift; an AMAZING gift, while I was there.

I once mentioned long ago, I didn't get any of the albums after my mom passed; that I practically had NO pictures of my childhood.  (I might have been unduly angry at my brother for that.)  The rest of it, I didn't care about...but those pictures?  It broke my heart.

The day before the viewing, my brother called and asked me to follow him home afterward.  He had been able to get his hands on quite a few of the albums before my mother's husband changed the locks.  Again, the bastard.

(WHY, it has taken him SIXTEEN years to let me know that he's had these treasures in his possession is beyond me - but whatever.)

Unfortunately, I was only able to carry three home with me on the plane.  But my brother has promised that he would send the remainder to me so that I can scan the pictures so we can share them.

Upon arriving home, I began to pore over the albums.  As these three were some of the earliest albums I don't remember much about those years (as they span the year before my birth and up to the beginning of my second year), but I do remember seeing these pictures later on in my childhood.

I have spent hours upon hours, sometimes tedious hours, removing the pictures from the albums, scanning, cropping, naming and saving pictures - all while reminiscing over days that are so far gone.  Gazing lovingly on people who were once a huge part of my life.  Others, while not part of my daily existence, still hold a special place in my heart.  Even others who have been out of my life for years - either by their will or God's - but still have a piece of my heart.

As you know, my parents were divorced.  If I'm recalling correctly, it happened when I was about 10?  Maybe 11 or 12.  Either way, old enough to remember all the ugliness when it went south.  Looking at these pictures reminded me that they had once been in love.  And that they'd loved each other a lot.  And us.  They loved us a lot.  The evidence is in the pictures.  The pictures tell a story.

Like this one...


My mother was quite the shutterbug.  That damn camera was ALWAYS in her hand.  Good times or bad.  I told the Husband just yesterday - in the midst of the scanning, cropping, naming & saving of pictures - that my mother would have been in hog heaven if she had been around to experience the digital camera!  Think of the money she would have saved if she hadn't had to have every single roll of film developed.  And although, I sometimes despised her having that camera at the ready at all times, now I'm grateful she did.

In all the albums, except one, my mother was quite proficient at adding all the names, dates & purpose of the pictures.  And that one album is the one giving me grief.  The one conundrum I am wrestling with is what is the best way to identify those vague people that I know are family but aren't quite sure who they are.  My brother might know some of them.  My cousin would know more.  But I certainly don't want to over burden anyone with the task of identifying people from so long ago.  I am not using the words "over burden" lightly - each album contains at least 112 pictures apiece.  In the one album, I would say 90% of the people are vague to me.  In the other albums, I would say there might be about 20% that are vague - if not downright impossible to figure out how they fit into the scheme of things.  So this is something (else) for me to chew on for a while to figure out the best and easiest solution.

So while I wait for the next promised box of albums, I shall continue to pore over these.  Treasuring them all the while.

****

As a quick side note - if you, or loved ones, have the old magnetic albums from the 60's & 70's pull them out and start removing those pictures!  Apparently, the glue used back then will eventually make those pictures difficult, if not impossible to remove.  I resisted going the chemical route at first, but after one ruined picture I headed to Michael's and bought this miracle product called Un-du  (thank you, Google!).  Although it's kind of a pain the way the applicator is positioned, this stuff works miracles!  Once I bought this stuff very few pictures suffered tears...unless I got in a hurry.  Unfortunately, I had one whole album where every single picture was stuck - and it took hours and a lot of patience - but it's done.  Until the next batch of albums arrive - hopefully, soon.  And, as always, I was not compensated for this recommendation.  I bought the product and my opinions are my own

January 22, 2015

Today my anal-retentiveness kicked into high gear for no good reason after all.

As I was running ahead of schedule this morning, I decided I would get a head start on TOMORROW and wrap my friend's birthday present.  Her birthday is actually on Saturday, but my plan was to wrap the gift today, bring it to the office tomorrow and take her to lunch to celebrate.

But, as we all know, the best laid plains, etc., etc.  Which is the long way of saying that plan fell to pieces from the get-go.

As I wrapped the gift, I realized that the paper I had thought was pink and white when I bought it was actually red and white.  This was a disappointment in that the ONLY ribbon I had that would match the paper was Christmas ribbon.  This would NOT do.

So I resolved, that I would work my lunch hour around the fact that I would need to run to Michael's - with my fingers crossed that they would have what I would need - to pick up white, satin ribbon.

With that pesky problem semi-solved, I decided to write out the card so that all I'd need to do tonight was tie the ribbon.  And then I discovered (oh, the horror!) the color of the envelope was a bright blue.  Definitely would not do!

As a side note, I generally don't have these issues with gifts for office friends.  Usually I just use a gift bag, tissue paper and toss the card in.  But since I've perfected my ribbon tying skills over Christmas, I thought I'd present a token gift in a beautifully wrapped package.  Again...all part of that infamous plan that is typed out up there. *sigh*

Now, I was quickly running out of all that extra time I had started out with so, I just left my sad, little, un-ribboned package on the table, grabbed the card and headed to work; all while wondering if I'd have time at lunch to run across town to the local stationery store to find an envelope that would fit AND Michael's...

Of course, that would have been the height of insanity.  So, while driving to work, I resolved that I would somehow manufacture an envelope today.  And what can I say except thank God for Google & WikiHow?  I found a quick and easy tutorial.  Except instead of plain paper, I used a heavier weight stationery and a glue stick and, what do you know?  It WORKED!  Now, I was in possession of a beautiful white envelope to match the pretty red and white paper.  All that was left was to obtain the white, satin ribbon.

I may or may not have literally inhaled my food in order to make it to Michael's and back during my lunch hour; I'll never tell.

Then, as I was patting myself on the back for everything falling into place, my friend came over to chat for a minute this afternoon and casually mentioned that she'd be out of the office tomorrow.

BOOM!  Just like that all my scrambling was for naught.

Well, not really.  It just extended my deadline.  So I'm going to look at it like this...it's one less thing that I'll have to worry about this weekend.

Now let's just hope I remember to bring it to work on Monday.

****
I know I've been MIA for over two weeks.  I've dithered over what to post after my last post.  And then I realized.  I don't have to pick at that scab just yet.  

But, I did want to thank you all for your thoughts, concern and love.  In my last post, I had wondered who would hold me up during the funeral and I now know that YOU, my friends and family were there for me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Love you all.  xo







January 4, 2015

He's with the angels now....


Today has been a rough, rough day.  And only four days into the new year.

On Christmas I discovered that my dad was in the hospital.  I had called to wish him a Merry Christmas...but the phone went straight to voicemail.  A couple of hours later, my brother called and told me that he was in the hospital.  They wanted to replace his heart valve.  Why my brother hadn't called me earlier, I don't know.  He said that my dad had lost his voice due to coughing so much, that I might want to wait to call until he could speak, and that they were going to do a CAT scan (MRI?, I can't remember) to see if there was anything else that needed to be repaired.

He called me a few days later to tell me that the test had revealed a large mass in my dad's lungs.  They scheduled a biopsy.  It was either cancer or it could be an infection.  The next day I was told it was cancer - and terminal, because his heart was in such a fragile state that it couldn't withstand surgery to remove the mass or any kind of treatment.  My brother warned that it would be days or weeks; but to prepare myself.

I prayed.  I prepared myself to let him go.  I thought I was ready.

I was wrong.

I received the call this morning.  As I was on the road running one of the many, many errands I had planned for today.

So, I stuffed the grief far, far down.  After all, I was ready to let him go.  And I had a lot to do.

You know what happens when you stuff the grief far, far down?  You end up with a headache.  And your throat hurts.  And your chest is tight.

Maybe that also happens when you don't stuff the grief down.  I don't know.

But, eventually, the tears work themselves to the surface and the nerves are raw.  Especially after you steel your spine to make the phone calls.  Once the words, "he passed." cross your lips.

I do know that this is much harder than I expected.

I feel guilty.  I had planned to go to Houston this past Spring.  But, for whatever reason, I didn't.  Then I planned to go this past Fall.  But news about my company made me nervous, so I didn't go.  All that equals guilt.  Major guilt.  And now I'm about to take the trip I should have made last year.  But this time to say goodbye to him forever.

When my mother died, I had been expecting it.  For years.  I was heartbroken but prepared.  And my dad was there to hold me after the funeral.  Who is going to hold me at his?

Once the word has spread, the phone calls and texts are coming in - and I'm crying with every one.  I've even heard from family that I haven't thought about in years.  Apparently, even years after my parents divorced, he is well remembered and well loved.

As one aunt recalled - he was a handsome cowboy that loved my mother with all his heart.  She, obviously, was remembering when she first met my dad.  Did he still love her when he died?  Who knows.  Possibly.  My mother once told me that she would always love my father but that she couldn't live with him.

My childhood memories of him recall a kind and patient man.  I think my mother was pretty much the only thing that could provoke his anger.  His idea of punishment was tell me to sit right "there" (somewhere off to the side) as he worked on whatever project he was working on until "he got tired."   I don't recall sitting there very long.

Despite the fact that we weren't as close as I had wished in these later years - blame to be placed on both sides of the fence - I loved him dearly and I know he loved me.  And I know that the world has lost another wonderful human being.  And it makes me cry.