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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jeez, I've been really busy.

My friend Iris let me borrow her car this weekend. I haven't been out of the house in weeks, so nothing much has been done. The chores kept piling up and most of them required a car. We did Marshalls, Supermarket, laundramat, picked up the remainder of Gem's stuff from a friend's house (twice) and CVS. I had to park the car overnight on our street, which is barely plowed. That meant taking a spot that someone shoveled, which is very bad form. The spot was less than a foot larger than the car. But I made it in with a lot of finagling.

Our grocery store was having a big weekend sale, and I planned my trip ahead of time to take advantage of the savings. Careful shopping netted me a savings of $68.64. That isn't chump change.

We returned the car at noon, and now we are putting away the food and straightening up the kitchen.

I took a real shower standing up and everything. I swear it, I was filthy, even after a zillion birdbaths. Graham took a shower while we were out. He's been on top of the showering for months now. One less thing not to fight about.

We only have 4 towels. A black one that I took with me when we moved and 3 white ones I bought at Marshalls marked down to $ 3.99 ea. All the rest of our linen closet disappeared. As did the glass on the coffee table, and various other things like my hair dryer and 2 hair straighteners.  I figure that almost half of our belongings are lost.

That is pretty much all I've got.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

The Middle East is roiling

First, some bizness. I have turned on comment moderation on due to a sad hater that cannot seem to leave me alone. I won't block him (and yes, it's HIM again...18 months later and still the man is obsessed with me. How pathetic is THAT?) but he has no chance of commenting, and his comments will remain unread, so the only person that ever gets to see how sad and pathetic his fatness is, is the Titular Tub of Lard himself.

Now with that out of the way (wiping the filth off my hands) I've spent most of the day today watching Al Jazeera in English.It is really remarkable coverage of the rioting in Egypt, especially since the internet has been declared off by Mubarek's government. If you're not watching, take a peek are the stirrings of democracy in the mid-east.

What worries me is the fermenting anti-Israel comments that I see popping up because honestly, this really isn't about the US-Israeli relations, nor is it about the Palestian problems. First in Tunesia, then Egypt, and now Algeria, Jordan and Lebanon are all about democracy and freedoms that are not currently possible to these citizens. For many years the middle-east has been moving to very conservative lifestyles. As Sharia law started to take hold in Iran after the ousting of the Shah, other countries in the area started to move to women wearing the veil, women not allowed education or civil rights, and groups like Hizbullah in Lebanon offered a corrupt governmental style coupled with more and more repression. At some point people get angry about governmental repression and make it plain by taking to the streets demanding change. They want more choice in their government. They want free, anti-corrupt elections. They want human rights. These have nothing to do with Israel. They want democracy. They deserve democracy. I support them wholeheartedly as long as Israel isn't endangered. Freedom is something that I strongly believe in. And if a populace has to take to the streets to get it, I say "Go for it" as long as the protests don't become violent.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Do you love yourself?

Today I heard someone say that they couldn't love anyone until they learned to love themselves. I thought about that statement for a long time, trying to make sense of it. How do you know when you love yourself? Do you fall in love with you? Does it mean that you like everything About yourself? Does it mean that you are confident in your choices? What does it mean to love yourself?

I think it is sad that at 58 I am pondering this question. Maybe it is because it never came up. More likely it is because I'm out of touch with who I am anymore.

I would guess that being housebound for weeks at a time doesn't help me, mostly because I get very little feedback on who I am and how I behave. I do know that the last time I got close to someone, she turned on me because she decided I am a terrible mother for allowing Graham to reside with me after he turned 18. This wasn't a mommy disagreement, it was an all out war on me and it shook me to my core. I lost sight of what Graham's needs were because my former friend had me questioning every word that sprung from my lips. Months later and a lot of distance has allowed me to step back and regain the confidence that I had temporarily lost.

I don't want to be plagued with mommy guilt, nor do I want to define myself as just a mommy. That makes me uncomfortable and sad, but right now, with nothing else going wrong with my life, I feel a bit lost. I'm not sure who I am anymore, so loving myself seems like a foreign concept.

I need more in my life. I need to do something that makes me feel good. I need to be happier, the first step to loving myself. But I'm not sure how.

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I never thought I would see this day

Out of the blue today Graham said that he wants to go back on his ADHD medication. Praise the Lord, this is miraculous news. I was told by many people that I was a bad rotten mother for not forcing him to take his meds and to keep him at home. Despite the cruelty of some of my former friends over this, I felt in my heart that forcing him to do anything would backfire. I know this kid and despite what it looks like from the outside, I trust that he WILL grow up and start making better decisions. It is going to take much longer than most kids his age, but realistically, those age peers are freshmen in college or seniors in high school. Just because he graduated 2 years early doesn't mean that he is going to mature 2 years earlier than other boys.

I adore this kid with all of my heart, and I continue to have faith that he will mature and do good in this world. It apparently is going to take longer than other kids, but I'm OK with that.

If only he would learn to wipe the counters after he makes a meal or a snack. Now that would be a real step forward!

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Decorations that make me weep

It is rare that I feel deprived. I feel sad and angry about being so poor, but not deprived. I have a nice comfortable home, albeit a complete sty right now. I have plenty to entertain me. two delightfully quirky kids to make me insane, and two fluff balls to cuddle with when they let me. Deprivation rarely enters my head.

But the I stumble on a web site that has the cutest decorating stuff ever and I just WANT it. I know I'll never have it, but damn... this stuff is cute.
Not the guy. He's cute, but look at that Boston Terrior. To die for!



This clock just screams my name. I think it should go right over my vast collection of royal memorabelia, which I plan to display once I find a display case the cats can't get into.
These polar bears are so cute. I wish I had a bright red sofa to put them one. But I don't So I can dream, right?

This pair of pillows should be in my house. They go with my black cats I have on the door frame of my dining room. Don't you just LOVE that pink ball. I can see the kitty playing with itl  So cute.

This hot dog is perfect. What is there to say about these two pillows except dying for the total sweetness.

I am not affiliated in any way with this company. I wish I were, because free pillows? I'm IN.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ding dong

We live very close to the Russian Orthodox Church. We've certainly lived near many other churches of many other denominations, but none of those have wormed their way into my heart like the Russian church. We can see the onion domes from Graham's room, and they are pretty spectacular. However, what moves me are the bells.

They start with a series of single bongs a few seconds apart. As soon as the first bong rings, I stop what I'm doing because I know what is coming. After the series of single bongs, the bells play the most beautiful song. It lasts for a couple of minutes and then I go back to what I'm doing. Usually the bells ring only once a day, but this weekend is Epiphany, and that means more bells.

It is obvious that the bells are recorded, but even so, the music is beautiful and joyous and I feel lucky to hear them whenever they play. You couldn't miss them if you tried, because they are L O U D but even when I'm doing something quiet, that first bong reminds me to count my blessings, for these bells are indeed a blessing.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Who has it worse?

A well-known and much- loved blogger had a series of strokes last year that left partially paralyzed on her left side. After month and months of rehab, she has been home and recovering, She still blogs, tweets, and facebooks all day, and she is sharp and funny as she ever was. I like her a lot, but occasionally her sense of humor leaves me totally confused. I don't mind when it is self-deprecating humor. I'm right there with her seeing how absurd it is to be young, disabled and forever tired. But sometimes she makes really light of being disabled, and that gives me that ouch feeling. Like this one.  I don't think it is funny at all, but maybe I'm too sensitive. I don't find my life all that funny. I just do not joke about what it means to be so restricted. I don't think being housebound is humorous at all. Sitting for hours watching mindless TV was never my idea of a swell time.

The thing is, this blogger is the honorary spokesperson for the disabled on the mommyblogger scene, and she treats her medical issues very lightly. Which doesn't bode well for the rest of the disabled bloggers.  See, we're all whiney complainers compared to this blogger. Which makes her a more valued blogger when people ask for input. Believe me, disagreeing with her is simply not done. No way, no how.

But... she is well enough to travel to every freaking blogging conference there is. And well enough to go shopping often. And all sorts of other activities. That kinda ticks me off, not because she goes, hell if she can stand crowds of drunken speshul sunshine moms, more power to her. It is the appearance that blogging's number one disabled blogger can do it, so you should be able to. To anyone else, handicapped people are all different from each other and what she can do has nothing to do with what I can do. It reminds me of the old Jewish adage that you should never do anything that might lead someone to assume you are doing wrong. Like if you keep Kosher nobody should ever see you in a McDonalds, even if you only order a drink.

By attending every blogging conference that will sponsor her, she gives the appearance that the disabled can just hop on a plane, stay in a hotel, get all her meals, and drink with abandon.  She probably has never thought of this, but there you go. I do. This is exactly the kind of moral dilemma I love to ponder.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why is grey controversial?

I did it years ago.Friends of mine are doing it now. And the talk of women bloggers lately are talking about it as a radical feminist act.

I call bullshit. I just don't get it. Radical feminist act? I don't think so.

So what is all the blather about? Going grey. Not coloring your hair. Being au natural.

I've been grey for years. I can't even remember the last time I colored my hair, but it must have several years ago, because my hair is past my shoulders and there are no dark tips to be seen. I stopped coloring my hair when I became poor. I do remember the reason clearly. I couldn't justify spending money for colorant every month. Like everything else, I consider eating as more important than having drab dark brown hair.

My hair is now totally grey. I have a lighter, almost white, strip in the front, but the rest is salt and pepper. I'm so used to it that I don't think I'd even recognize myself with dark brown hair. I like being grey. I don't view it as a feminist declaration. I didn't know that I would be on the cutting edge of fashion by being too cheap to color my hair, but there you go.

There are a couple of things about my grey hair that I don't like. The grey makes my already unruly hair even more unmanageable with the spiral frizzies sticking out like antennae. And because I shed more than a whole pack of Olde English Sheepdogs, long white hairs litter every piece of furniture and every dark colored outfit I own.

So from this radical feminist, let it grow out. It looks really sexy being grey.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Head...Wall. Meet each other

I'm not a particularly patient person. I'm way more patient than a couple of my friends, who just can't see that the world isn't out to screw them out of 3 minutes. But I'm not patient. Nobody is ever going to accuse me of being serene in a trying situation.

I am, however, uber sarcastic. When someone or someplace acts stupidly, I'm going to pop right up with some sort of rapier wit and let them know I'm annoyed. I like sarcasm. It works for me.

Last night I did some paperwork that needed to be done, including filling out our yearly medicaid/Mass Health eligibility forms. What they do is cut off all the people who were on last year until you fill out this stupid 9 page form. Believe me when I tell you this form is beyond the pale, but like a little Do-Bee I filled out all 9 pages. I poked into the original envelope to pull out the return envelope. The envelope that was not there. I looked under my bedside table and all over the floor but alas, no return envelope.

No problem. I have a stack of blank envelopes atop my file cabinet. I grabbed one and started to address it.

BUT...there was no address on the form. I read every single line several times. No address. So I use my handy dandy brain and go to the Mass Health.gov website, and head right over to their "Contact Us" page, where is, wait for it, NO Address. Puh-lenty of phone numbers, but no physical address.

Now, I am not a glutton for punishment and we've had Mass Health for 9 years so when I say there is no way in hell that I will deal with their phone system without a gun to my head. They put you on endless hold or disconnect you willie nilley. My momma didn't raise no fool.

I poked around the site and other government sites until I found the email of the department head, and then shot her off a totally sarcastic email about osmosis not working for me today.

Will I get a response? Iffy at best.

Update #1


Thank you for sending an email message to MassHealth Customer Service.

We are in the process of researching your issue.  You may expect a response regarding this matter within one (1) business day.  

Thank you for your patience while we assist you.  

MassHealth Customer Service


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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Golden Globes

I'm watching the Golden Globes and twittering my comments. Follow my comments @margalit.

Lost the table and chairs and washer and dryer because I had 3 separate movers flake on me. I am beyond angry. I really can't even fathom why people in this economy would just walk away from money, but then I'm from the generation where people worked for a living.

We did a good amount of cleaning today. The house is still a shambles of garbage bags filled with wrapping paper and boxes half empty, but more floor appears every day.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's one of those days

The guy that was supposed to pick up the washer and dryer flaked on my. I spent half of the day trying to find a very last minute mover and finally found some guy that is hopefully going to do it tomorrow morning. I gotta admit, dealing with movers is getting on my last nerve.

Gemma and Eric are off driving back to Miami. I'm not thrilled about her leaving so soon, but she's running her own life, as she has told me about two thousand times. Every time she tells me, I remind her of all the money I've given her in the past three months, which usually shuts her up. She likes to think she is self-supporting and financially on her own, but the truth is, without me and Eric she would be starving on some stoop. It is nice to think she is independent, but it's also nice to get a bit of reality thrown in.

I am still sick and it's getting to me. I hate the malingering part of illness, when moving from the bed to the sofa feels like a major accomplishment. Normally I would plop my butt onto the sofa with the remote and a huge glass of water and watch trashy tv all day. But since we don't HAVE a sofa right now I've been hanging out in bed, far from the tv. I want to reiterate that as a tv addict of world reknown, it absolutely sucks to be sick and not have a comfy place to watch hours of HGTV and Law & Order.

I finally convinced Gemma and Graham to walk to Roslindale Village, which is a half mile from our house. They came back all excited because there is a market there, as well as a dollar store. For all the bitching they did about moving here to the "middle of  nowhere" they have both admitted that this is a great neighborhood with plenty to do, places to work if they would ever LOOK for a job, and places to hang out. What is really interesting to me is that Gemma walked away from Newton last summer and really hasn't looked back. She doesn't hang out with her old Newton friends for the most part (which thrills me no end) and her new friends are older college kids, which makes her interested in attending college eventually. She hasn't applied for next year, but she WILL go to college. She wants to, and she's just not ready to sit down and figure out where and what she wants to study. Her brother? Don't ask.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Blackberry isn't working

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Simple joys, simple annoyances

I love watching Gemma dance. She can be so be so silly and free with her body, and it is joyous.

I could watch the cats all day long and not get bored. They are like free TV and so much cuter than those Real Housewives.

I like how on Facebook when someone is being a jerk, especially in the political posts, people aren't afraid to say something to the jerk, unlike on blogs when you know if you say anything negative and disagree with a blogger, you get ganged up on by a mob of mean girls.

I love the immediacy of Twitter, where news flies by all the time.

I do not love it when Graham orders me to go to bed. At All. Ever.

I can't stand it when people are entitled and think that everyone should get out of their way.

I get ticked when people repeat the same things over and over thinking they are helping instead of simply asking "What can I do to help?"

I despise people who are uninformed, stupid, uneducated, or all of the above and yet spout off on something they heard Glen Beck or Sarah Palin said without fact checking.

Cliques make me angry.

I love my old online friends, It has been almost 20 years since I first hit misc.kids.

I love chocolate but am even more in love with fruit.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Unbloggable

Don't you find it irksome when some blogger teases with news, good or bad, and then tells you that it's unbloggable.Especially when there is no hint of what's going on other than "changes ahead". Yup, it is annoying and right now I'm about to annoy you all because  I have something unbloggable going on. It is one of my mindfucks that comes up whenever there is something in the news that triggers such stuff. Like many moms of older teens and young adults, especially those with emotional and mental disturbances I tend to go to a very dark place when there is such a violent tragedy in the news.

I know that I can't change things just because I want them to change. I know that things are improving very slowly, but they are still going in the right direction. I get that for kids in that age group that have made the mistake of not attending college, the future looks dim and hopeless. The economy has tainted so many kids that had wants and desires to do stuff that is no longer available to them, and that sucks. The feeling of hopelessness can manifest into something dangerous like violent acts. Especially if mental health services fall apart for kids over 18. There isn't anything for them outside of the private arena of the very rich.

All of this, as it pertains to me, is what is unbloggable, but I'm guessing that you get it even if I can't really talk about it.

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Decor questions

I am stumped by our bathroom, which is due to the fact that the entire room needs an upgrade. An upgrade that is largely not gonna happen.

It is a good sized roo. with enough space for more than one person to be in there. It has a builder grade vanity, single sink in a molded white vanity top. There is a horrific medicine cabinet that is divided into three separate mirrors. A white two piece toilet and a white tub.

Now here is the hard part. The floors are a green ceramic tile that looks a lot like green slate. Grout is a dark gray. The walls are a yellow based sponge paint faux but homemade that is supposed to look like stucco. Below the painted walls is incredibly cheap beadboard that has not been painted so it looks like oak and it is trimmed with plastic oak trimboard.  Around the top of the walls is a mural-type border in maroon ans stucco colors that is supposed to be Tuscan. It is peeling off around the shower and I'm going to rip it down because it is FUGLY.

What I want is a dark gray and white bathroom with yellow accents. I want to paint the beadboard white with enamel. I want the walls to be a light gray, and to have slate and yellow accents in shower curtain and accessories.

But the floor, the floor she is green. A gray-green, but green. Will that ruin my idea, which is stolen from Sarah on HGTV?

Suggestions, ideas, etc. are welcome.

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

When are going to accept treatment for the mentally ill?

We pretend that there is parity between a physical illness and a mental illness, but we are lying to ourselves and each other. Twenty two year men don't go out on a shooting spree and shoot 19 people. Not unless they are mentally unstable and left to fend for themselves. I assume that as the details come out about the shooter we'll find that he had half-assed treatment at best. Those of us that parent a kid with a mental illness know that there really isn't help unless you're a millionaire and can afford private treatment. Public treatment is stabelization and release, two weeks maximum. When you have a kid that collect guns and publishes plans on the internet, nobody will listen to you. When tragedy strikes, we pass around the blame.

The real fault in such tragedies is held be health insurance companies that deny claims and Republican idiots that don't believe in health care of any kind.

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Friday, January 07, 2011

Aha! Sick, not just crabby.

At 58 I should be able to know the difference between plain old crabbiness and getting sick, but the reality is that I can't. Probably because I'm too crabby for introspection and need to get real physical symptoms. Nobody has described me as a self-realization expert for obvious reasons.

So guess what? I'm sick with the disease that has passed from child to parent all over the world. And like most adults that are sick, I waited until the illness actually felled me and I had to crawl  into bed admitting defeat. I'm awesome when I'm sick.

Because I am sick I did nothing today but sleep and read. Both admirable tasks when one is sick. I continue fighting with me two biggest nemisis's: Bank of America and CVS. Since I'm sick I gave myself a break and did not call them today to scream about there incompetence, but I'll return to harassing them tomorrow.

Graham is also under the weather. He in my thyphoid Mary, drinking out of the carton and spreading his germs.

I have to ask the all important question. Does anyone have some baking soda so I can make some Toll House cookies? Can you drop it by?

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Crappy mood, 1 more box unpacked

Unpacking is not going well. Big surprise, huh? We got all of the important stuff unpacked and put away, but then we just got sick if it and pretend that it is normal to sit around with little furniture and many open boxes. The cats love all the boxes. Me, not so much. I've made some progress on all the clothes, but we have no washing machine so everything is dirty. I need to get a new used washing machine and gas dryer. Plus, my closet has no bar to hang anything up and it has wooden blocks to make into shelves, but again, no wood.

We have no sofa in the living room. Graham is using our former sofa as a bed until I can get both he and Gemma new beds and mattresses. But the sofa has long passed its expiration date and we need a new one.

The bathroom is not fully functional as we need a shower curtain. And a plunger.

I've had to replace so much stuff that just disappeared in the move. All our cleaning supplies, stuff to make the kitchen functional like a can opener and vegetable peeler. The glass in our coffee table and sofa table is gone, and quite a few pictures have broken glass as well.

It feels a lot like we are camping out in the city. I wish we had more places to sit down in the living room, but I have some ideas of how to get free furniture, because I sure can't pay for it.

Yesterday I found an online store that carries seconds of All Clad pots and pans. Even with their much cheaper prices, I would need about $800 to replace what is gone. Plus, and this is the real kicker, some kind person or persons ordered me some stuff off my wish list, but it got lost someplace and I can't track it because it was a gift, and they won't track it without a complaint from the purchaser so I'm out a bunch of stuff again. Does that suck or what.

So it seems like 2011 is off to a very rough start when it comes to me.  What a shock!

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Hello! Customer Service?

Who hasn't been there? You have a question about your account so you pick up the phone and dial the customer service department. Thus begins your voyage into phone mail hell.  It's a simple question but it does not match any of the preselected problems the company has assembled into the phone mail FAQ. You start pressing zero with abandon while yelling "associate" or "customer service". Along comes some bland music, usually classical, that lets you know that you are on hold. You might get a cheery voice telling you that your call is important to the company. The music stops and you hope to hear a human voice,but there is just dead silence. They have disconnected you

Time to try again. You repeat all the steps, and are finally connected with "Mary" who has such a thick Mumbai accent that you cannot understand a word she says. You spell your name for her and she gets it wrong 6 times. You give her your address and she says it is incorrect, so you try to remember what address you had when you opened the account 11 years ago. She gets the pronounciation of every street name wrong. Kennedy becomes Canada. It is worse than autocorrect on your Iphone. You feel the heat rising in your face as you become flushed with annoyance.

You ask to speak to her supervisor. She disconnects you.

You call back and get a man this time. His name is "Gary" and his accent is distinctly African. You begin to tell him your story and he keeps saying "Hello, this is Gary. Thank you for calling Company Name." and it dawns on you that he cannot hear you, so you hang up.

You call back and this time you never get connected to customer service at all. You give up because you are so frustrated you are sputtering. You think you might try email and go onto the company web site to find out the contact information. You search high and low, and it takes a half hour before you find it buried so deep in information you feel very accomplished.

You write the email, asking where your package is that was misdelivered.

A response comes within an hour. "Hello,

I've checked our records and see that the items was purchased from your Wish List by another Amazon.com customer; however, it was shipped to an address other than your Wish List address.  This can happen for the following reasons:

- The customer wishes to present the gift to you personally at a later date.

- The customer ordered the item for themselves, and did not realize it would come off your Wish List.

Because of our account confidentiality policies, I am unable to disclose any more information at this time.  I apologize for this inconvenience.

You may certainly add this item to your Wish List again if you don't receive it soon.

If you still need any assistance regarding this, you can also call our customer service department so that one of my colleague will assist you regarding this.

Here are our customer service phone numbers:

— U.S. and Canada: 1-866-216-1072 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-866-216-1072      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
— International: 1-206-266-2992 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-206-266-2992      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."

Head plant into table. You now don't think you will ever see the package you are expecting. You start searching for chocolate. You need a fix.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Let's talk HGTV

I am addicted to watching HGTV. It's my dirty pleasure and I take it very seriously. There are a lot of shows I don't care much about on HGTV, but House Hunters and House Hunters International are not amongst them.  Those are the shows I could watch over and over again. What is it about those two shows that attract me? The bizarre, materialistic spoiled bratishness (yes, that IS a word) of the actual househunters is the big attractions.

Scene: Couple and their RE agent are looking for a house. They drive up to a suburban mini-mansion with vinyl siding, a pretty lawn, and a 3 car garage.

Wife: Oh, nice curb appeal.
Husband: Grunt

They enter the house and are immediately thrilled by the two-story entrance.

Wife: What haa nice feature.
Wife: Oh but there is WALLPAPER. It goes all the way up the stairs.
Husband: Grunts
RE Agent: And here's your formal dining room.
Wife: Honey, do you think my piano would fit in here?
Husband: Grunts
RE Agent: Lets go look at the kitchen.

They enter a room larger than most NYC apartments. The kitchen has oak cabinets and corian countertops with a laminate wood floor.

Wife: Oh, we would have to gut the kitchen. No stainless steel appliances, no granite, and the cabinets. What is this, 1990?

RE AGENT: This kitchen was redone about 5 years ago

Wife: Oh, it needs total updating. The appliances are OLD and I can't use them. How much do you think it would cost, honey, to replace the whole kitchen?

Husband: Well, we could live with it as it is for a while.
Wife: NO WAY. This kitchen is disgusting and outdated. I want a glass backsplash, a professional grade stove and a sub zero 48" fridge, real wood floors, and high grade granite. This countertop is (horrors) builder grade.

RE Agent: Do you want to see upstairs?
Wife: This house has too much work to do. We would have to upgrade all the bathrooms, the kitchen, remove the wallpaper and paint before we could move in.

Husband: Let's go see another house.

Best part of whole show? Obnoxious greedy couple are currently renting in some shithole with a galley kitchen and one bathroom, but they believe their first house should be perfect, done exactly to their taste, with no problems and no work. They are delusional.

Now in the International version, people from the US, Canada and especially the UK go looking all over the world for second homes or places to retire to. They all seem to have plenty of moolah. They want US-style homes in Argentina, France, and Costa Rica. The foreign builders are building remarkable US-like properties with all stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, but the spoiled rotten buyers find nothing but complaints. They can see the neighbors. It is too far from the beach. There isn't a garage. The ceilings are too low. The rooms are too small to fit a California king bed. NO AIR CONDITIONING!!! The horror of it all, expecting an American home in Fiji.

Now, let me admit right now that my parents had a vacation home in St Croix that was not only right on the beach, but had a pool as well. And it only had one bathroom which drove my father crazy, so they built a second bathroom out of a closet and imported all the fixtures from Florida. So I am not foreign to spoiled. They also had an vacation apartment in NYC with a galley kitchen that was tiny and not one bit fancy. I understand the lure of a vacation home. But to me, if you're going to live in a foreign country, the specialness of looking for a home is wanting to live like the natives of your chosen local live. What is the point of living in a European country and not taking advantage of an old cottage or row house? How will you get the experience of living another lifestyle if your new home looks like you just pulled it up from Dallas Tx?

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Lazy day, lazy me

I have no daily schedule. I go to sleep when I'm tired, I wake up when I've had enough sleep, I eat when I'm hungry, nap when I'm tired, do household chores when they need doing. I'm never on the clock unless I have someplace to go during the day. Often I have no clue of what time it is, more often I'm not sure what the day and date are. More than once I've harumphed at not getting mail because I thought Sunday was another day. I float through time and space, keeping track of my day by what is on TV.

Is this what retirement looks like? I don't think of myself as retired. I still do some freelance work. Can you work and be retired?

It sometimes bothers me that my days are so unstructured. I feel as if I'm doing it wrong, that most people get up and go about their daily business starting early in the morning and end it with the news at 11.  I lived that way for years. I remember feeling tired and out of sorts from lack of enough sleep. I hated getting up in the morning. The commute to work was brutal.  In the afternoon I would be so tired I would take little naps at my desk. I remember being so wiped out one day that I fell asleep on a sofa in the hallway at work and slept soundly for hours with me colleagues laughing at me as I snored and drooled.

So now I float. I have plenty of sleep at night, I sleep in every morning, I mostly do what I want to, not what i need to do. It is a more pleasant way to live.

So why do I feel so guilty? Why do I feel the need to apologize for my rather relaxed to the max lifestyle? Why do people judge this better, kinder way to live? Is it jealousy or is it the whole puritanical thought that everyone should toil their entire lives? Am I just lazy, too lazy to dust off my pants and get back to a scheduled busy life? Or am I now living life the way it should be lived?

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Yellow and blue

From my bedroom window, as I lie snuggled in my bed, I see only the roof of the house next door. It is a yellow house, the roof is a triangle with three windows, one on the second floor, two on the third. I have never seen anyone from the windows, but I know when they are home from the lights shining through the rectangles.

On a cloudy day like today, the house seems to be the color of whipped butter. Not quite yellow, not quite beige. But on a sunny day, the house turns the most magnificent color, a bright sunny yellow against the brilliant blue sky.

I only see a small triangle of the house, a portion that I have grown to love. There is no action, there is no sound, only a triangle of yellow outlined in bright white against the sky.
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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

As you know, I've been as far off the grid as I could be over the past 18 months. I've learned a lot during that time, and I'm hoping that this blog will reflect the changes. By the time I left blogging I was feeling bitter and angry about blogging in general, and with a few of my readers in particular. You all know. I don't need to go over it again.

My kids are adults now, and no longer can I or will I blog about them except in very general terms. Things continue to improve with them both since they graduated from high school and are no loner immersed in the pressure cooker of high school. There are very positive things, and some less positive things I can say, but the challenges of everyday life has greatly improved over the past year.

The biggest news is that we left suburbia once Gemma was out of school and moved into the city. In all the years that I've lived here in MA, I've never actually lived in the city. It is quite the learning experience dealing with the city and it's rules. My car was towed during the snow because I was stupid and didn't keep track of the news. Now I know that a snow emergency means "get your frigging car off the street." Lesson learned.

When we first arrived here both the kids whined about how far it was and how impossible it was to get back to the old neighborhood. I kept telling them that the bus was really close by, but what do I know? And then they discovered that the bus is literally 4 houses away and their friends started arriving every night. Another problem solved.

The hardest part of the move has been all the things that got "lost" during the move. Our whole kitchen disappeared. But that's not all! Every waste basket we owned is gone, every bit of cleaning supplies including mops, brooms, dustpan, etc. The glass inserts for the coffee tables are gone. It just goes on and on and on.

Unpacking has been difficult with all the missing stuff, and we're living with boxes and cartons half packed waiting for shelves and furniture to put the stuff in, I've become a big fan of freecycle and craigslist but that has it's own difficulties. We'll get it done eventually, probably once Gemma returns from Bolivia.

Graham is way to ADHD to be a good helper, but he amuses me no end as he starts something and then gets distracted within minutes. He sees the humor of it as well, and we end up laughing our asses off as he wanders around totally confused. Thank goodness we both have good senses of humor.

Since I last blogged we lost Worthless Pet and got two teeny kittens a year apart. First was Pepper, a female tiger who is the love of my life, next was Spot, a black and white male with a misanthropic personality. He spends way too much time being grumpy and stand-offish. But we love him anyways.

The past year was a real low point regarding my health. I had a 9 week stay in the hospital and almost died twice. I had two visits to ICU, had my heart restarted three times and ended up in a-fibrillation all the time. But since that time I've been exceedingly careful and feel better than I have in tears. I've accepted that I can't do some things without help, which means that I now used motorized shopping carts. The first time I used one was in Lowes and it was the most liberating experience. Shopping went from a total chore to an amusement ride like bumper cars. If you've ever wondered what the experience of riding those carts is like, totally awesome fun.

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