Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Best and Worst of 2006

At the start of each year, I look at the new calendar like a blank sheet of paper.. wondering what will be written on it. We all start off a new year with fresh hopes for a more positive 365 days. Upon quick reflection, I have had some great times this past year.. mostly thanks to my close friends and co-workers. My friends make my life a joy, and I am thankful to each and everyone of them... whether they live close by, or far away. 2006 had it's share of hardships as well, watching loved ones suffer with health issues, losing friends, and watching mounds of debt grow. But everything happens for a reason, the good and the bad, and it's important to look for what we can learn from all of it.

2006 at a Glance...

The Positives
- Getting a new(er) car
-Meeting Jason and having him in my life
-My college graduation
-Kristy's High School graduation
-Getting to know Sean, at least through internet and telephone
-Dinners at Bobby's with Dan
-Spending time with Anne and Vince
-Joe and Katie's Wedding
-Doing well in my two classes for the fall semester
-Getting to know Dave
-Having Toby in my life for another year
-Working with my wonderful co-workers, and surviving the holiday chaos
-Sean's Christmas "surprise"
-An AWESOME Christmas holiday

The Negative
-Car payments
-Poor advisement from UB, causing me to take an extra three courses before starting the teaching program or masters
-Grandpa's illness and death
-Anne's decrease in health
-The October storm and power outage
-The issues and problems concerning my youngest brother
-My father on strike for about two months
-The Tim saga

Dinner and Drinks

Today at work, the regional manager of the Portrait Studio, Cindy, also a good friend of mine, decided it was time for us to take another goofy pic of ourselves in the studio. Since we have had very little snow in Buffalo, I thought it would be funny for the two of us to have a mock snowball fight. The picture turned out nice, and Cindy has since added it to her album of idiotic Walmart moments. We do try to have some fun at work.. and often times are successful.

Went to Bobby's house last night for dinner with him, Dave, and Dave's friend Rob. I had chatted with Rob in the chat room a few times before, but this was the first time I met him in person. He is a nice guy, and had us laughing all night. One comment he made about what the squash looked like made Dave sick, and he lost his appetite as a result of it. That made me laugh my ass off. Like I said, Rob is a nice guy, and I enjoyed spending time with him... and he is rather cute as well. -- Though I must say, out of fear of attack, that Dave is slightly cuter. =-P

We stayed for quite a while, laughing and talking over the excellent food and drinks. We all managed to get a little tipsy by the end of the night, which made things even more interesting. Bobby always did say he wanted to see a drunken Bing.. well he got a taste of it last night. Oye vey! And let me tell ya, I was out cold as soon as I got home. Slept great!

Friday, December 29, 2006

New People

I finally got the chance to meet Dave, a young man I have had the pleasure to get to know via the computer and telephone. He is a friend of my good friend Bobby, and recently moved back to Buffalo.

He's a very nice guy, and pretty damn cute too. :) We went out to Niagara Falls, and walked around there, admiring the beautiful scenery... and freezing our asses off. After roaming around the Falls for quite some time, we went out for a bite to eat. We came back to my place and hung out for a while, talking over tea. We have some similarities in our past, at least when it comes to the poor decisions we have made in men and friends.

I really enjoyed spending time with him in person, and glad he enjoyed himself too... despite the fact he was mis-informed as to my character prior to meeting me.

In Memoriam

Today marks the 16th Anniversary of the death of my Grandpa Ed (Dad's father). I was in third grade at the time when he passed away, and remember very little about him, but the memories shared with me from Grandma L. and my father, remain with me.

It's hard to miss a person you never really knew, but I lament the fact that I never had the opportunity.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Requiescat in pace.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Snow Miser

One of my favorite Christmas songs is the Snow/Heat Miser song from Year without a Santa Clause. Below are links of variations of the video. The fist link has the original footage from the movie with my favorite band, The Big Bad VooDoo Daddy. The other link is a very odd, yet humorous version of the song. And is that Harvey Firestein as the Heat Miser??? Creepy.

Katherine Hepburn

I have ordered two books from Barnes and Noble which I expect to come in the mail any day now. I very rarely settle down with a good book anymore, and while school is in session, the only reading I do is out of textbooks. Since I received the gift certificate from my Uncle, I decided to purchase two books I have been interested in reading, both dealing with the gay social scene in America from the turn of the 20th century up through the 1940's. These books would come under the category of research for me, as I am unofficially doing my own study and "research" into the now growing field of homosexual social history. While I am eager and interested in reading these works, they are not exactly "easy reads".

While at Walmart I passed by the bargin display of books, and came across a biography of Katherine Hepburn. It is titled, Kate Remembered by author A. Scott Berg. I remember seeing it about four years ago when K. Hepburn died, and was interested in reading it, but never picked it up. Now on sale for about $5, I thought it was time to take it home.

I have always loved Katherine Hepburn, though I have only seen a handful of her movies. I love Desk Set, The Lion in Winter, On Golden Pond, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. I have yet to see Philadelphia Story from start to finish, but from the clips I have seen, it looks like an enjoyable movie.

Biographies of people make for fascinating reads, but as with all books, I have to be really interested in the subject matter to want to even read past the forward of the book. So far, I have not been able to put this book down. The author tells the story of her life so informally, it's almost as if Miss. Hepburn is telling it to me herself over dinner. Her personality really shines through the pages of this work, and it is already well worth the $5 I have spent on it.

There have been a lot of rumors (especially since her death) that Miss. Hepburn was a lesbian. At first, I dismissed it thinking they label any man or woman homosexual who doesn't end up marrying, but listening to the references she makes in this book, I now wonder. I was struck by a comment she made about her older brother who committed suicide when she was only thirteen, "He might of had a break up with some girl, or even some boy for that matter." Odd, she hints her brother might even be gay. She even uses the term lesbian to jokingly refer to her housemate, who quickly denies the accusation as Miss. Hepburn sits in laughter. Supposedly there is some new book out that deals with the possibility of her being a lesbian, and perhaps some day I will pick up that work. So far, her sexual encounters mentioned in this work were not out of lust, but out of a showing of affection... a "lustless love" I believe was the term.

Whether she was indeed a lesbian or not, I have always found Katherine Hepburn to be a fascinating human being, and am currently enjoying reading about her most unique life and outlook.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The line between Pride and Arrogance

On Saturday I had a most unusual customer. He was a man in his mid to late 60's, white hair, on the heavy side, and wreaked of cigarette smoke. I can't imagine a time when this man would have ever been attractive, or even clean... he was just a mess. Now, his appearance would not have made him stand out in my mind.. after all, I do work at Walmart. I had noticed him once when I was walking past the return line at the Courtesy Desk the day before. He was yelling at an associate who was rightfully refusing his return because he did not have a receipt, and the product was damaged. He kept yelled "Do you see what's on my collar?? Do you??" On each side of his jacket collar was an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor pin.. we were dealing with a retired Marine. Usually I have a great deal of respect for our service men and women, both active and retired, but I had an instant disliking to this old jar head.. I knew his type. He thought the world owed him something, and that he was above the rest of us because of that pin on his jacket.

The next day, he was in my department. One of our older associates was taking care of him... a person who in all honesty had no clue about anything military. The old jar head was showing her a mug he had ordered, with a picture of some Marine base in Florida. Shirley was more concerned over the quality of the photo than the subject of the photo. He was rambling on about the base, and his trip there, and I could tell Shirley was only half paying attention to him. He asked if she saw what was printed on the mug.. it read "Semper Fi", but Shirley read it quickly as "Semper Florida".... in amazement, the old man corrected her. "It's Semper FI! The motto of the US Marines!!". "Oh", Shirley said, "what does that mean??" So I explained to her it was short for Semper Fideles, Always faithful. When this man heard she didn't know what Semper Fi meant, he flew off the handle. "I was out fighting for your freedom, and you don't even know what it means?? How can you call yourself an American?? How can you even sleep at night??" and shit like that. While he was on a Marine base, Shirley was taking care of 7 children with an absentee father, MAKING their clothes, and raising them the best she could on a limited income.. and that duty lasted longer than his four years in the corp.

Another man came into the department who was the same age. Some how, it was mentioned he was in the airforce when he was younger. The jar head went off on him too. "Aww, you guys do nothing.. just civilians in a uniform, that's all. God bless ya and all since you are a vet, but really, it's just the air force." I was shocked. What an ass hole. That poor man.. what made the Marine's contribution more meaningful than the airforce man's? I tell ya, I was much more impressed with the modesty of the airforce vet, than this loud mouth marine in front of me. There is a line between pride in something, and down right arrogance.

The man later asked to speak to our store manager, who is a former Marine (though this man would argue there is no such thing as a former Marine). I later caught John in the store, and asked if his "friend" had caught up with him. He laughed, and said yes.. he always comes to visit him. I told him that his "friend" was a pain in the ass, and treats the associates like shit. His little pins don't give him the right to belittle other people. I told John there are some former Marines who could take a page out of my Grandfather's book. Though he was a former Marine, he didn't walk around thinking he was better than everyone else, or spouting "Semper Fi" like it was "Heil Hitler", he used to say over and over again: "Self Praise Stinks!"

I do admire and respect the men and women who have and are serving our country in one of the branches of the military.. they are doing a valuable and commendable service to our country. But, I do not tolerate people who think their time in the service elevates them above the rest of humanity. Talk about pushing your ideals on someone. I looked at this man of advanced age, and thought to myself.. how sad to be his age, and the only thing of seemingly importance he has done with his life was a four year career in the Marines, completed before I was even born. If that is all a person has done with their lives, it's kinda sad. I picture him alone in his room at the VA home watching the movie Paten over and over again saying "Those were the days".
I wouldn't expect the president of the United States to act like such an ass, let alone those who serve under him.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Awesome Awesome holiday!!! -- Just wish I had a gift certificate for lipo suction. =-P

Christmas morning

It was quite an enjoyable drive to mass this morning. There was hardly any traffic out and about, so I was able to really take my time and enjoy the ride. I was listening to my Irish Tenors Christmas Cd... and just enjoyed the morning. I was surprised at the nice turn out at Mass. During the singing of the Gloria, which has been supressed since the start of advent (begins with Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax....) the altar boys started ringing bells, and rang them until the Gloria was finnished. It was quite a nice touch, the sound of the bells calling out the birth of Christ, and quite appropriate for singing "Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on Earth (etc)".

Joe and Katie came over and we opened out presents. I was spoiled. Most notable was a decoration from Department 56 of Charlie Brown and Linus at the Christmas tree lot... surrounded by the multi colored trees, and the one lonely real tree - a Crosley Cathedral radio (and CD player) for the living room - a Snoopy Snowman Hallmark ornament - and much to my great surprise, a Fossil messenger bag (not the leather one, but similar in style to the one I bought in NYC). I was very excited, and enjoyed it... as did everyone else.

What has really been a nice treat is the IM's, text messages, and phone calls from friends across the country wishing me a Merry Christmas. It has been so nice to be able to chat with my friends, both in the city and distances away. Makes it feel like they are all here with me. Nick had me laughing when I came home from Mass, and found this message on my computer: Merry Christmas Bingles. Notice I actually typed out Christmas for you, and not Xmas. I get credit for that! :-D I laughed so hard... and yes, he gets credit for actually typing CHRISTMAS, I can't stand xmas!!

I have been puttering around washing the Christmas china, and finding new homes for the stuff I got this morning. Now I am sitting in the living room, enjoying the tree lights, and listening to Christmas music on the radio.

Mom and Dad just left to go to the cemetary to pay their respects. I couldn't bring myself to go. I can't see that right now. I have been picking up a picture of them I have in my living room, and looking at it every so often. Even put in an old movie of a past Christmas to hear their voices. I miss them SO much!!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Tonight turned out to be a rather pleasant Christmas eve. Went to my Aunt and Uncle's as usual, and had dinner there. The food was nothing to right home about, but the christmas cookies and fudge were awesome!! If it wasn't for a headache, I'd probably have my ass on the treadmill to try and compensate for it all.

I was choosen to read "Twas the Night Before Christmas". My Godson Gavin (age 3) sat on my lap as I ready the story, as his brother Kyle (age 5) sat on the floor in front of me. They are the only little ones, and they enjoyed hearing the story. I helped them both open their gifts, and I found myself enjoying their excitement with the gifts they got. Kyle opened one gift and it was a pair of pants and a shirt. He turned to me and said "I hate clothes!! Grrrr!!" I burst out laughing... I don't remember when it was that I actually started to be excited about getting clothes as a gift, but I do remember pretending to be excited when I got them as a kid.

Toby got a gift from Aunt Laurie and Uncle Bruce. He LOVES opening gifts, and tore this one open like a pro. In fact, I can hear him upstairs munching on his rawhide now. :-)

Tomorrow is going to be busy, and will be the first time ever we won't be opening gifts first thing Christmas morning. Joe and Katie are coming over at 10:30 to open gifts with us, and I am going to 9AM Mass. I think I will enjoy starting the day off with Mass instead, after all, it is the real celebration of Christmas. Last year I missed it so I could spend more time at Tim's, and kinda was bummed I didn't attend.

Feels very awkward without the grandparents. This is the FIRST Christmas without any grandparents, or not going to Grandma's house. I'm trying to get used to it, but it's just not the same.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Jason came over yesterday, and we had our Christmas gift exchange. He gave me a package of different holiday teas, as well as a cute owl lantern. I have to tease him that it's funny looking only because I always tell him he has no taste in owls. Usually he picks out the most funky 70's style bird on the market, but this one I have to say is cute.

While stopping at the post office for Mom, I ran into an old acquaintance of mine from when I used to go to Thursday at the Square... Evan. He lives in NT, and it was nice to bump into him. He looked all festive in his pink tweed coat. :-)

Jason convinced me to join him and his friends out for a drink last night. I haven't been out to the bars since July, so I figured it was time to make an appearance. We went to Fugazi around 9, which meant it wasn't crowded at all... so we were able to actually MOVE. I really did enjoy myself, and it was nice to see some people I haven't seen in person for quite some time. I managed to have three drinks.. and I was feelin it!! HaHa!! I spent a lot of my time chatting with this cute guy named Tony... he is Italian (with a name like that.. what else would he be?), be he had the light colored skin, and red hair... heeheehee... even his big ears were kinda cute. We spent a good portion of the night flirting, and though no numbers were exchanged, it was really nice to get the attention from someone I considered to be attractive. I'm glad I went, and perhaps if money permits, I might go out a little more often.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Photo Post

These are a few shots of my living room decorated for Christmas. Click on the pictures to see the FULL size pic.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I went to Jason's yesterday for a visit. I haven't been there in a while, and went over to see his Christmas tree. I call it the Super-Mega-Uber Gay tree. It really is. It's TEAL for Martha Stewart's sake!! BUT.. it's cute. Jason did a nice job on it.

I really enjoyed my visit with him. He bought some cookies, which I devoured, and we had tea. We even played a DVD version of Trivial Pursuit, and despite what he says, I kicked his ass. Well.. we both sucked, but I answered more questions right. =-P

He is coming over on Friday, and we will celebrate Christmas then, and exchange presents. Yay!!

Managed to finish the sugar cookies, and bake peanut butter cookies. The peanut butter cookies are HUGE, but tasty. Four dozen of each SHOULD be plenty... though I might make one more kind. I'm not feeling well again, and have been rather busy, so I haven't had the time to really get motivated.

Finally have all my shopping done. I'm looking forward to giving Uncle Vinny his gift. I had no idea what to get him. He is rather lonely in NC, and has been after mom to make copies of old pics for him. I bought a collage frame that holds eight 4x6 photos, and re-made some great old pics of his parents (my grandparents) through the years. I think he'll really like it.

The government is now putting some pressure on Goodyear to settle the strike at Dunlop. This might be a good thing. Dunlop holds an exclusive contract with the US Army to make the tires used on vehicles in Iraq. They are eager to get things running at full production again.. so hopefully that means my dad has a job soon (with continued medical coverage).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Christmas Surprise

The mail lady delivered a package to us yesterday. My father handed it to me, and at first I assumed it was a gift I had ordered for someone. Then, it dawned on me that all my christmas shopping was done. Who was sending ME a package??

I looked at the return address, and saw that it was from my friend Sean. I figured he found some kind of plush animal or something for me, and wanted to send it to my for Christmas. I was already feeling slightly guilty at that point that I had not gone with my initial idea to send him a Christmas gift. I opened the outer box, and there inside was a nicely wrapped christmas gift. I thought I might wait until christmas to open it, but I needed some excitement, so I went ahead and opened it.

When I saw what he sent, my jaw dropped. I just starred at it in disbelief of what I was holding. Back in October, I had gone to Gennesee County Historical Village (just after our big power outage), and found out about a type of nautical oil lamp (a berth lamp) that I just fell in love with. I had mentioned it on my previous blog site, but soon blocked the idea of the lamp out of my mind because it just wasn't in my budget. Sean remembered, and sent me the lamp. I was over joyed, touched, and immensely happy. I normally say it's the small things that make me happy, but this was a tremendous gesture of kindness and friendship.

Yes, I needed a little Christmas excitement, and I got it from a long distance friend... who in many ways has always been a light in the darkness of life.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It was a nice relaxing Sunday morning. I enjoyed mass, as well as the drive to and from. It's really warm for this time of year.... I stepped outside with my topcoat, and had to run in the house and grab the trench coat... I can't believe it's Decemeber and the temps were in the 50's!

Chatted with Sean M. on the phone for a little over an hour. He's such a great guy.. figures he lives states away. All the good ones live else where.

Went out with friends from work for our annual Christmas get together. Some of us still work in the lab, some no longer do.. but we all make sure we get together for Christmas. Went to the Outback Steakhouse, and we had a blast!! Stayed for three hours. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard and so much -- and let me tell ya, I LOVED it!! Oh, and strawberry daqueries (sp?) are AWESOME!

Got an e-mail from Anne today. Her health seems to really be fading. She has me very worried. She is going to call the doctor, and for her to actually call and make an appointment out of no where, she must really be feeling sick. I'm scared.. really scared. I can't lose anymore people close to me... not again, and not so soon. Seems like everyone I care about is leaving me.. one way or another. One by one.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Went to visit Anne and Vince last night. Anne has been having a rough week with her heart. She said she was on the couch most of the day because her heart did a few "flip flops" as she calls it. I could tell by her face that she was rather drained. She perked up for the visit though. I helped her put together some crafts for the children she teaches at her parish, and I actually appreciated the busy work.. keeps my mind from wandering.

I had baked a chocolate bunt cake to bring over, so we ate that with tea, and just sat around and talked. We exchanged our Christmas gifts knowing we would probably not be able to get together before Christmas day. I ended up getting her a tart burner from yankee candle, and two scented tarts. Had no idea what to get her, but she seemed to like it. She bought me a package of green tea... that new pyramid bag kind. She also gave me a set of 4 pedestal tea cups, with holly leaves on it. I was so excited!! LOL I was just thinking I didn't have any holidays "tea cups" to use when visitors come over.. and now I do. She always thinks of the neatest little stuff to get me which makes me all excited. Guess the old saying is true: "Small things amuse small minds."

Dad told me that union leaders are going in for talks Sunday. I hope and pray this strike with Dunlop will come to an end soon. These poor workers have been on strike for months now.. it's pretty damn scary. Thankfully we are still getting some checks from workman's comp because of Dad's surgery, but everyone else is not as fortunate. If things aren't resolved soon, my family will be losing their medical coverage. :-(


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Picked up the new elliptical machine from work today. Our garage is a DISASTER, so I cleared a small spot for it, and attempted to assemble it. There are around 500 pieces in that damn thing!! I would need a lot of room to empty all the pieces out onto the floor, preferably in numerical order. So, I put the pieces back in the box, and went for a bike ride instead. :-P

Jason stopped over today, and hung out for a while. Always a great treat for me to have company. Was really nice to see him again, and catch up on life. I found out yesterday that his bf Nick had to have his cat put to sleep. She had a lot of medical problems. I certainly feel for him.. loss of a loved one (and yes, pets count) is never an easy thing.

Speaking of animals, I stopped at the vet's office to pick up Toby's pills. As I waited, there was a 5 month old mini Colly. His name was Duke, and he was do damn cute!! He was all bouncy, and loved giving kisses. Friendly little pup. Seeing puppies is always great.

Got a Christmas card in the mail from Sean today, which was nice treat. I was actually very surprised when I pulled the card out of the envelope. Sean is anything but a fan of Christianity, and yet he sent me a religious card, with the Madonna and Child on the cover. When I saw the design, I actually double checked the return address to make sure it was from the Sean I was thinking. It was a really sweet gesture of him, and a very kind sign of respect for my beliefs. That simple act of respect and kindness made me so happy!!! It's the little things ya know?

Managed to do some more Christmas shopping, and am almost done. I have to get a gift for my godson, and for Anne and Vince. Wrapped all the stuff I do have already, and I am running out of room beneath the tree. That means Christmas is almost here!! wOOt!!

Walmart managed to really piss me off today. When you celebrate your 5th year (and Christmas season) with the company, they give you a holiday bonus. If you are part time, you get $25, if full time, $50. Well, this is my fifth Christmas with the company, and will be six years total in January. The company cut out the holiday bonus for the new associates eligible as of this year. So basically, anyone who received it as of last year was grand-fathered in, while the rest of us do not get one. How cheap can you get?!? Ugh!! Figures they would stop just when it was my turn to cash in.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tuesday part two

So apparently after just one meeting, Bryan went running for the hills. I have my theories, but not worth the effort to even type them. Oh well, just another name among many... time to try again.

I really wish someone would explain to me just what it is that I'm lacking that I do so horribly when it comes to men. Perhaps I'm more out dated than I thought.. who knows. They seem really interested in me at first, then nothing... or what I really love.... we become just friends. My buddy list and e-mail address book is filled with guys who I had hoped for something deeper than just the occasional visit or going out for a drink.

Maybe I'm just gay-PMSing, but this shit is really REALLY bothering me. There are a few people like Anne, Jason, and my friends at work that think I'm such a good person, and really value my presence in their lives -- which is awesome. But there is a whole slew of other people that I became so attached to, who in the end I couldn't cut it with when I really started to vocalize who I was, and how I feel, and the way I see life. People I considered family, and close close friends... all gone because of me being me. My friends from church who turned their backs on me.. people I was GREAT friends with for four years.. worked so closely with, went to dinners at their homes, spent holidays with, called on the phone... The Grecos, the Trainors, "Aunt" Ruth... all gone. Now even Tim.

I was lucky, with people like Anne and Jason, it just clicked... and we love each other, faults and all.. and can respect each other without a word being said. But when it comes to other people, I've learned to keep my guard up, and keep them at a distance.

Tuesday part 1

Finnished the last of my Christmas cards.... and even got a few in the mail. Made another double batch of sugar cookie dough, and even got some more christmas shopping done. I'm almost ready for the 25th. LOL Anyone else want to come and have dinner here?? Let me know now so I can make even MORE cookies. =-P

Mom and Dad are buying an eliptical machine. yay! We just need to make room for it in the disaster area that is our garage. Can't wait to get it set up and start working out on it. Will be a great alternative for a work out other than just the treadmill.

Been pretty bummed the last few days... and diving into the holidays isn't helping as much as I would have hoped. Seems everytime I try to resolve problems that are really bothering me inside, they end up a million times worse. It's not a fun pattern.

tick tick tick tick tick....

Monday, December 11, 2006

I brought my Grandpa's mantel clock home from the repair shop... again. A week after I brought it home the first time, I had to send it back for more repair as it didn't keep the correct time. Almost three months later, it's back where it belongs.. in my living room. I've said it before, it is not by any means a great looking clock, but it warms my heart to see my Grandpa's pride and joy in working order again.

Had a chance to talk to Sean from Minn. last night.. was nice to chat with him again.

Jason called me today unexpectedly. He and Nick were in the area, and were going to stop by for a visit. Shame I had to work, would have been so great to see them. They both went to NYC this weekend for a quick visit... and I can't wait to see the pics. Always wanted to see NYC at Christmas time. Maybe someday I'll get there. I look forward to returning there again, though the possibility of a trip any time in the near future is highly unlikely.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Just for the record, Splenda is EVIL. I baked some cookies from the dough I made with splenda and they tasted SO nasty. I had to throw the whole batch of dough out. So, I used the other bowl of dough that I used regular sugar in, rolled it out, and baked the cookies last night. I will have to make up another double batch of dough sometime this week.... those cookies are always the first to go.

Dave stopped by on his way home from work today. Was nice to have some company, though we both ended up passing out and taking a nap... still, was nice to have someone here.

There are some great lines from one of my favorite movies: The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood that keep ringing through my head. Basically, one of the themes of the movie is a mother and daughter get into a huge fight because of a misunderstanding. They do everything they can to brutally attack the other, and know just what emotional buttons to push. If you've ever seen that movie, I am the embodiement of Vivian Abbott Walker: "You know me, I take a problem and chew on it till there's no flavor left.. then I wear it in my hair for all to see." Another line I keep remembering is: "She's trying to hate you. You just dealt her a swift blow to the ego."

I have a gift for taking a bad situation, and making it even harder on myself. You mean to tell me I'm not supposed to add lemon juice to the wound? Damn. No wonder it hurt so fuckin bad.

Quote of the day: "Bitterness is hardest on the person carrying it."

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Santa II

I had to do the Santa gig again today. I really wasn't in the mood to do this at all, it's been a really shitty two days. BUT, I didn't have a choice, so I did the best I could. Four hours of weaing that get up again... ugh, if I volunteer to do it again next year, someone please smack me upside the head!

Anyway, the kids did brighten up my day a little, and bring my thoughts to a better place. The babies were so adorable.. one was only three months old, another seven months old. Looking into their innocent little eyes, I saw a glipse of hope, and of love that I so badly needed to see.

A person with down syndrom wanted to have his picture taken with santa. He is 26 years old (older than me), and shopping with his Mom and Grandma. At first the Grandma didn't want him to "bother" me, but I motioned for him to come over. He was so excited. I couldn't understand a lot of what he was saying, but his mom would repeat everything he said. He was a big Sabres fan, so I asked him who his favorite players were, and things like that. There were no children around at the time, so I talked with him for a while while his mom shopped near by. He was so loving, and so very polite! He wanted books for christmas. I asked if he wanted his picture taken, and again, he got all excited. He went to sit on my lap, and his mom yelled out "No, you're too big to sit on his lap!" I assured her my lap is plenty-wide, and would have no problem holding him up. He posed for the picture, then gave me the biggest hug I've had in a while. The picture was free, and when we gave it to him, he was jumping up and down all excited. His Mom came over and thanked me, and the Grandma told me I made his Christmas!! My eyes teared up. What an awesome, and humbling experience. I was honored!

Friday, December 8, 2006

Sometimes feelings and emotions can hurt much more than even the deepest flesh wound. There is no advil or tylenol to take to make the pain go away, and no bandage and neosporine to make it heal faster. All there is, is time.

I have to believe right now that things happen for a reason, and that with each ending comes a new beginning.

For now, all I have is time.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

I can't wait for my poli-sci exam to be over with! I have been studying my ass off, and will probably still do lousy. It's at 9AM sharp.... All I want is a C+ *crosses fingers*

It's been a long day today. I worked a short 8-12 shift, but I had other things on my mind, and time dragged. Shirley said I looked liked a caged lion pacing back and forth in the lab most of the morning while it was slow. I managed to pick up an extra 5 hours yesterday by going in my day off.. doing the best I can to make a little extra money.

Dad is still on strike, and we are all very worried. He came back from a specialist today, and he will have to have surgery on his shoulder now. Poor guy is falling apart. There is a good chance that my family will lose their medical coverage in January if the strike continues. Needless to say, we are all very scared at this point. Hard to really settle down and enjoy the holidays.. you're always afraid of what's going to happen next.

It will be awesome when school is completely done for the semester. I look forward to actually leaving the house and visiting with friends. Haven't seen Anne or Jason in ages, and miss them both. I have to get my ass in gear and start my Christmas baking too. :-)

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

End of Semester

This semester is rapidly coming to an end. My last class is Friday, which is also the final exam. I can't wait till Intro to American Politics is OVER. I hate that class!! Was never a fan of politics. I have been studying my ass off for the exam, as I did lousy on the last two. Thank God for the attendance points. When I study the text and lecture notes, I learn the main ideas and concepts.. but on the multiple choice exams he gives, he picks some of the most minuscule fact presented in graphs or examples. Grrr. Anyway.. here's hoping!

I'll miss my American History class. It was a rather laid back environment, and I actually looked forward to the lectures, and enjoyed the reading assignments. I am not a fan of reading, so that's saying something about the material the professor chose. Actually, it's the professor who made the class awesome. He's a young guy from South Carolina, who has a one year position in UB's history department. He's awesome, and I wish they would keep him on. He doesn't have that southern twang going on, but he is so laid back and casual, like he belongs on a porch swing drinking a mint julep. He looks like Toby McGuire too.... mmmmm... he's SO damn cute. Yea, I'll miss seeing Dr. Hart twice a week too. =-P

I'm being forced into a science class for the fall semester, one that has a lab to meet the requirement for the certification program. It might prove to be a tough course, but since it will be my only class next semester, hopefully the extra time I'll have will help me to compensate. I'm not looking forward to it, but provided I get a C in Politics and Science, I'm on my way to the certification program. *crosses fingers*

Monday, December 4, 2006

Let it snow

Here is a picture of what I looked like when my suit was "stuffed" so I looked more like Santa. Men in uniform are hot aren't we??? =-P

It started snowing today.. only in Buffalo could a person mow their lawn one week, and snowblow their drive way the next. It came down rather hard at first, then tapered off. Some areas can see as much as a foot of snow by the morning. YUCK! A light dusting is nice, but let's not over do it.

I have made out my grocery list to start making Christmas cookies soon. I don't make nearly as many kinds as Grandma did, but I make sure the favorites are all there. So far, I plan on making: Dark Hermits (rasin cookies), cut out cookies, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, peanut butter fudge, chocolate fudge (if I can get my Grandma L's recipe from my Aunt), date and nut bread (Anne's recipe), and I might attempt to make poppie seed loafs. I wish I had a bread machine, I'd love to try and make Panettoni (Italian Christmas fruit cake). This is a lot of work, and about half of what my Grandma D. would make each Christmas.

Sunday, December 3, 2006


I did the Santa thing yesterday, and it was rather fun. The kids were ADORABLE! Some of course were to shy to come over to me, but some would come running to me, and give me a big hug. This one little boy saw me when he came into the store, bolted down the isle, and literally jumped into my arms.. I'm glad I caught him. Once he caught his breath, I asked him what he wanted for Christmas, and he said: "Umm... umm.. umm.. now I forgot." It reminded me of that scene from the movie Christmas Story, where Ralphie gets so excited to be talking with Santa, that he forgets what he wanted. I was tempted to ask the kid How about a nice football?", but I told him to send me a letter when he remembered what he wanted. The cutest thing was this little girl who is four years old.. she was so shy.. but I won her over, and now she thinks she and Santa are best friends. She waved to me on the way out of the store and yelled out "It was nice meeting you!!"

The not so fun part of the whole Santa gig was the costume. The beard was annoying as hell. Santa needs to update his look and go clean shaven.. or maybe a goatee. We kept getting comments from people that Santa was "too skinny". A father even went so far as to say "Instead of milk and cookies, this Santa only seems to like skim milk and rice cakes". Nice for my ego, but bad for the Santa image. So we got a huge roll of this cotton bunting material, and stuffed the jacket part of the costume. -- Brought back memories of when I was that big! LOL I sat down, and couldn't see my knees anymore... and let me tell ya, that shit made the costume like a sauna!!! Ugh.. and I get to wear it this up coming Saturday too.

Yesterday evening I went to my good friend Bobby's for a pasta dinner with our friend Dan. That Dan is a riot, and a great story teller... and he gets better looking each time I see him. Bobby's house is by far my favorite "restaurant" in town. He's an awesome chief. We always have such a great evening together, like a mini holiday in and of themselves. Good times!!!!!!

Ended up going with Mom to a candle light memorial/prayer service (not a mass) held at the cemetery where my Grandparents are, sponsored by Hospice. I had no desire to go, but Mom REALLY wanted to, and there was no one else to go with her, so I went. It was a nice ceremony, and there were a lot of people there, of all age groups. Wasn't my cup of tea, but Mom seemed to feel better.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Finally went to the doctor's office today. Was hoping I would get better without having to go, but no luck. I have tonsillitis, so I was put on a stronger anti-biotic. I went to get the Rx at the pharmacy at work, and almost died when I got the bill. $45 for 7 pills!! There is no generic for it, so Univera didn't cover it. I was so tempted to forget it altogether, but I can't allow this infection to keep going.

Looking forward to being Santa tomorrow for the kids. From 10-2.. it's gonna get mighty warm in that suit! The kids always have a ball with it, and I like interacting with them. I was told by management not to promise the kids anything crazy, like a puppy or anything like that. Wii's and PS3's for everybody!!! =-P

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Funniest thing I heard today: Goldfish have a three second memory. What do they do all day except swim around their bowl saying: "Oh look, a castle. There's that castle again. OH MY GOD.. A CASTLE!"

Hustle and Bustle

When I was a wee tot, what I used to look forward to most on Christmas was going to both Grandmas' houses, and the visit from Santa Christmas morning. Nothing topped Grandma L's chocolate fudge (that she only made once a year), and Grandma D's Christmas cookies... not to mention the piles of gifts waiting for use at both homes, AND what Santa left for us under our own tree. As I have grown older, and perhaps a little wiser, I have come to get excited about other aspect of the season. Writing/sending/receiving Christmas cards, Christmas shopping for my friends, and wrapping gifts. I look forward to the last day before Christmas celebrating and laughing with my co-workers -- hugging, exchanging small gifts and cards, and wishing each other Merry Christmas before going home for the holiday.. Christmas Mass and singing the beautiful hymns (especially Adeste Fideles), having a meal with my family, seeing friends, and kicking back and relaxing.. and maybe indulging in the Christmas cookies I now make.

A holiday to me is simple.. having a good time with people you care about. My family doesn't make things easy, and this Christmas is no exception. I was never a fan of a gift exchange between my siblings and myself. Let's face it.. we don't like each other most of the year, why fake it now for the sake of a holiday? All of us are financially suffering, so why burden ourselves with spending more?? When I told Mom that I wanted to cut Joe and Katie out, I got that look that she works so well. Joe came over for dinner (I swear he never eats at his house), and Mom told him sarcastically that I did not intend to exchange gifts. "Of course not, Mike won't do anything fun." I told him how broke I was, and that I have even been looking into working extra hours at Sam's Club just to get more money for gift shopping. That's absurd to have to work longer hours at a different store just to buy someone I don't even like a present. I told him to take the money he would spend on me, put it into his house, and we're good to go. Didn't work for him.

There was one Christmas that Katie was so broke with school that she made everyone chocolate-peanut butter balls as a gift... a nice, CHEAP gift. Why was it ok for Katie to skip out of the exchange because she was broke, but not me? Again, Joe didn't see any kind of relationship between the two examples.

It frustrates me to no end that my family can be so difficult. Can't we just enjoy a meal together and enjoy that? We exchange gifts with our parents, exchange with our spouses/significant others (those of us who have them), and exchange with our close friends. Isn't that enough? Why does the list have to be longer? My grandparents were happy with an orange and some nuts in their stockings.. why do we need $300 worth of crap to enjoy a holiday? Don't people remember Christ was born in a stable because they couldn't afford anything else?? Leave it up to my family to take something fun and enjoyable and make it into a match to see who can out do whom.

In an attempt to not turn into Scrooge, I agreed to play Santa at walmart this Saturday. I think I have to play the part for about two hours or so. It's a free event we do for the kids, getting a free picture taken with Santa. The assistant managers promise me they are going to get my store manager (drooool) to sit on my lap. I think I have a better chance of hitting the lotto! My friend Lenny from the hardware department (whom we all call Papa Smurf) said to management, "Why the hell didn't you let him play Santa when he was fat? Now we have to buy a pillow to put under the suit." He made my day! lol

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Check please?

It's not easy being so limited on funds... I cut back dramatically in my spending, and have still come up short on this month's bill. Hopefully now with the holiday season, and the semester ending soon, I can pick up a few more hours. I am also looking into some options as various side jobs to get a little extra money, but there aren't too many available.

Living on a tight budget isn't easy, but having a tight budget and Christmas shopping is nearly impossible. I have already made it known that I won't be exchanging with Kristy and Scott, and neither of them had a problem with that. Being in their teens, and Scott not having a job, it's less money out of their pockets as well.

It's not that I have a problem with the idea of giving gifts, or feel obligated to do so.. it's something I enjoy doing, and want to do. There are so many people in my life I wish I could be more generous too, and it bothers me that I don't have the means to do it. So far, I have managed to find some good sales, and have done rather well.

Mom and Dad invited me to go with them to East Aurora for the day. They go every year at Christmas time to shop, have lunch, and admire the scenery. At first I was going to go with them, but I think it would be nice for them to do something together as a couple, and enjoy the outing themselves. Besides, going to all those stores would only tempt me to buy things for myself I don't need. Avoiding temptation is a good way to not give into it.

Most people I know are going crazy trying to get wii's or PS3s. I don't quite understand all the hype around that. Why wait in line and go through all that aggravation for something you'll easily be able to get in February? People were camping out at Walmart for the release of the PS3 for two days. They were offered $2,000 just for their spot in line!!! I think the next time they release another game system, I am going to stake out a camp site in front of some retail store, just to sell my spot!

I guess I shouldn't talk, I go nuts for ridiculously priced things as well. I asked Santa for a leather "chopper mailbag" (messenger style) from the fossil website that is $148. Mom laughed at me. =-P I have a thing for bags, and am still grieving for the one I returned from my trip to NYC. I have a few relatives that give me cash or gift certificates (all two of them), so maybe if I'm fortunate, I'll throw that "loot" towards the bag... maybe... it's one of those things that I'd love if it was free, but I don't need. Damn this rational spending!!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Not so "Happy Feet"

If there is anyone out there who has been pondering seeing the movie Happy Feet, Don't. That was the worst movie I have seen in a long time. Kristy wanted to go, and I have to admit I did too.. the commericials looked funny. There were a few laughs, but not nearly enough to justify the $9 I spent on it. I feel robbed!! We didn't even stay for the very end of it.. I couldn't care less if the penguins in the movie all died.. it just needed to be over.

Robin Williams did a good job as a voice over, and his character was funny, but that was it. SAVE YOUR MONEY!!

I did get excited when I saw the preview for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix I can't wait to see that one!! And let me just say.. Harry is growing up to be cute as hell! The movie doesn't come out till July though... grrr.


Welcome, welcome, welcome! You have entered the world of the Bingles... and what an unusual world it is too!

I have decided to make the move from LiveJournal to Blogger... because it's easier and has more bells and whistles. To all my loyal fans from LJ - I'm surprised you have followed me this far. =-P

Hope you like the new format... same ramblings, new lay out.