Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good ol' Halloween

Oh, for the days before everyone and everything had to be “politically correct” in every imaginable way.
Including Halloween.
Way back when I was in elementary school, we had great Halloween parades and parties in school each year.
You decorated your classrooms with mostly handmade ghosts and ghouls. You chattered on about how much candy you’d be snagging when you went trick-or-treating.
And you plotted out what you would be wearing that year.
Few of us actually had elaborate, store-bought costumes. Most of us would opt for something like a hobo, and wear any old clothes we could find; or perhaps a princess, and use a fancy Sunday dress with some costume jewelry.
Or maybe you chose to be a cowboy, because flannel shirts and dungarees — note, they weren’t called jeans — were readily available.
If you were more inventive and could fashion something out of cardboard boxes, you might become a robot; less ambitious, perhaps a ghost, using an old sheet.
But no one really cared. It was just fun to pull together a costume of some sort, bring in some wickedly sugary treat your mom had baked and then parade through the school so everyone could ooohh and aaahh and giggle at their friends.
After that, everyone could dive into the treats, eat way too much and be sent home on a sugar high to the delight of their parents.
But they didn’t care, either. You just were sent outside to play to burn off the extra sugar.
Problem solved.
Today it’s not that easy.
Some people think Halloween is much more dangerous and evil than just kids begging for candy in weird outfits.
Others don’t want their kids ingesting anything that isn’t a fruit or vegetable — and let’s face it, getting a small box of raisins as your “treat” isn’t exactly what most kids have in mind.
Some schools skip the whole thing entirely, figuring it’s the easiest way to avoid any parent’s ire.
Others find “creative” ways around it, dubbing it a “costume celebration” and allowing children to dress up in whatever the “in” costume may be this year, while serving only wholesome, nutritious snacks.
I feel sorry for those kids. They miss out on the simple joys of being totally silly and indulging their sweet tooth, just because we have to overthink everything, it seems.
Our costumes may have been a lot simpler and not at all stylish, but we sure had fun.
And that was the best treat of all.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Suicide help

Having lost my husband to depression and suicide nearly five years ago, I thought it was important to post this.
You may also want to check out, which is updated every Sunday.
And locally, if you have lost a loved one to suicide, you may want to check out this group, which helped me immensely:
Survivors of Suicide‚ a support group for those who have lost a loved one to suicide‚ meets at 7:30 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of each month at Pyramid Rehab Centers‚ 2705 Old Bethlehem Pike‚ Quakertown. The group is for ages 16 and older. Contact Anne and Craig Landis at (215) 536-5143.

Don't forget, if you suffer from depression, seek medical help, talk to others, don't keep it a secret.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

you betcha!

Come on, you gotta have a sense of humor!

customer service?

I had the great misfortune of having to go to the store today... you know, that huge, spanning across the continent "discount" store that everyone loves to hate.
The one that has forced all the other businesses that used to be here to close.
You get it.
I went back today because I've been TRYING to buy cat food for my many kitties. So it makes sense to buy it where it may be a little less expensive.
I've already been irritated because they stopped carrying "normal" size bags... you can either buy tiny bags or HUGE bags, which are a little difficult to handle when you have two herniated discs in your neck.
But I digress. I've been buying the big bags and learning how to handle them. But for the past two weeks or so, it's been practically impossible to find even those bags.
So today I stupidly decided to ask for the manager.
Well, on a Sunday, no managers work, of course. So customer service paged what was supposed to be an assistant, or something.
First, the walkie-talkie was going to have to be good enough. But it was a little difficult to get an answer when they were also trying to provide an answer to someone asking why they didn't have a popular toy.
In the meantime, they were trying to tell me that perhaps there had been a recall of my type of cat food. Funny, when I can buy it elsewhere.
Finally the assistant manager, or whatever she was supposed to be, deigned to show up at the customer service desk.
And she didn't know anything.
Except to tell me that they get deliveries of things every day ... they just don't know what will show up.
Believe it or not, apparently they don't take stock of what they need, what people want ... she says THEY NEVER ORDER ANYTHING. THEY AREN'T ALLOWED TO...
So, this store that cares so much, actually cares nothing at all, if she is to be believed.
They don't care that something has been out of stock for weeks.
They don't care if a customer has been asking for something.
They don't care ... whatever shows up is what they sell. And if shelves are empty for weeks, who cares.
Personally, I'd rather have no greeters and actually have the shelves stocked and cashiers at the checkouts.
And a store that will keep track of what is depleted AND ORDER IT.
What a concept!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Time to laugh

OK, everyone knows that this is just a photoshopped giggle showing the political candidates merged with "dancing with the stars" bodies, but it's Friday and we can use a laugh, can't we?
Don't read anything into this, don't get your knickers in a twist.
Just use it as a chance to forget the seriousness of everything for a few seconds and allow a laugh to escape.
It's good for the soul.

make a wish

I saw a shooting star while I was on my way to work earlier this week. Yes, the sky IS still dark while I'm motoring from Upper Salford to Lansdale.
It took me by surprise to see the bright light zip through the sky and I felt fortunate to be looking at just the right spot at just the right time.
No, this photo is NOT the star I saw, but I thought you might enjoy the photo as much as I did.
I was always told to make a wish when I saw a shooting star.
I did.
I'm not telling what the wish was, but I'll keep hoping it comes true.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

walk facing traffic!

Walking is great exercise and it's also a great way to save gasoline -- skip the car and walk where you need to go.
I love walking. But I also know that there are rules to follow ... such as WALK FACING TRAFFIC; BE SURE YOU ARE VISIBLE; BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS.
I wish more people would remember even those simple rules.
Including the person who was walking on Forty Foot Road this morning, just ready to make the turn down Welsh Road toward Lansdale -- on the wrong side of the road at about 6:40 a.m. in the dark, wearing dark clothing.
The person was lucky that no one had hit him or her yet. I hope he or she made it to his or her destination.
But I often see these, regardless of the time of day.
People are walking or jogging on the wrong side of the road, not facing traffic, headphones in place.
They can't see or hear oncoming traffic.
A disaster waiting to happen.
Please, don't give up walking. Just walk more safely!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Breathe deeply

It’s a good thing that autumn is my favorite time of year.
Because the change of seasons, the crisp nights, the spirit-lifting scents of fall and an overall feeling of comfort that it brings to me is sorely needed this year.
Let’s face it, these are the times that try men’s — and women’s — souls.
The war in Iraq staggers on and we continue to lose valiant men and women who have been sent into battle on less-than-truthful premises.
Terroristic threats always hover at our shoulders.
The dangerous, pointless name-calling and fear-mongering being espoused by some of our candidates running for the top positions in our country foment some people to a state where the unspeakable could occur.
Just watch some of those rallies where yahoos are yelling such things as “kill him” and “terrorist” when references to actions of more than 40 years ago are spewed in an effort to link a candidate, somehow, to those days — and then tell me if your blood doesn’t run a bit cold.
I don’t care how much you wink and smile; those types of attacks reveal an ugliness deep inside.
It doesn’t matter which party stoops to such levels; either should look hard into the mirror and see how despicable they’ve become.
Beyond the theatrics of the election, you have more immediate worries these days.
Will my job be there tomorrow? Can I stretch my paycheck enough to pay all of my bills? If I fall ill, will my health care actually cover all of the sky-high costs? Will I lose my home?
Is there anything left in my 401(k) and other investments that I thought one day would allow me to retire? Will there be any Social Security by the time I get there?
Forget about taking a vacation or splurging on even a small “extra.” You find yourself praying that your car keeps running, your appliances don’t give up the ghost and your home doesn’t need any major repairs.
You hold your breath when you open your utility bills and you wonder how you’ll heat your home this winter.
And, of course, the holidays are approaching.
OK, I’ve depressed everyone enough. I’ll stop.
But that brings me back to autumn.
For me, it’s that special season that’s not too hot and not bone-chillingly cold. It’s great for taking walks, sitting outside by an open fire and putting up Halloween decorations.
You can walk on one of the many area trails, drink in the beauty of the changing leaves and breathe in the spice-like air.
It’s a time that I find I can clear my mind simply by being outside and taking stock of what’s truly important.
Autumn provides a respite from the heat and humidity of a long summer and slowly preps us for short winter days.
It’s the perfect refresher, restorer and rejuvenator.
And it couldn’t come at a better time as we try to find our way through these stressful, uncertain days.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

No worries...

OK, our savings have all melted away like tiny snowflakes in winter.
Job security is a thing of the past.
The war rages on in Iraq.
Terrorism is an always-present fear.
And the presidential candidates are too busy conjuring up ghosts of the past to concentrate on REAL, specific details on how to right our country.
What to do, you ask?
How about taking a nap ... and thinking of fluffy little kitties?
Hey, it may not change anything. But it just may save your sanity.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hey mavericks!

... and Joe Sixpacks and even those who hate droppin' those G's...
For a real hoot... here is the REAL debate!

Friday, October 3, 2008

a wink and a smile

OK, all else aside in the Biden/Palin debate, and without taking any sides, can someone just tell me who she was winking at and why? If that was supposed to be winning me, as a woman, over to her side, it failed.
Maybe the men out there were impressed?
Or maybe she just has an eye infection...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Just waiting...

So tonight is the great debate. I wonder what we'll all be saying about it tomorrow?
Or will we even care, as we watch to see what the House does with the bailout bill and all of our retirement savings go into the minus hole even further.
I used to have dreams about retirement, not nightmares. Now I don't even entertain the thought of never working.
But back to the "debate."
I figure at least it will provide some entertainment tonight. As for winners ... I think there are only losers.
The American public.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Countdown to 'terror'

Yea! It's October first!
Autumn is here, it's been a bit rainy and dreary ... the perfect type of weather to start the countdown to terror!
No, not the election... that's a real terror.
I'm talking about Halloween... I love this time of year the best and Halloween is great. Although it's been getting much too commercialized in recent years.
I love it because you can dress up like anything you want, get lots of candy, there's no obligation to buy presents and the decorations are truly cool.
So let's keep it this way!
Christmas has long been ruined from its original intent...
So please, let's have this one day where we can eat too much chocolate and scare ourselves to death ...
Hmm... guess it IS the perfect prelude to the elections!