Saturday, November 29, 2008

Get That Index Finger Ready!

Ah, Cyber Monday.  How I love it so.

I love to go in stores and shop.  I prefer to touch and feel items before I purchase them. 

However, there are a few reasons that I will do the majority of my Christmas shopping online, and much of it today.

The first is that the items I am buying are things like DVD’s or toys I know are wanted.  Also, clothes someone picked out of a catalog.  Easy enough, right?  They chose it, so I don’t worry about whether they will like the fabric or not.

The second being the free shipping.  I would not be likely to do any shopping online if not for the free shipping.  Sure it would save me gas to do so, but gas is below $2 a gallon and the mall is less than a mile from my house. 

The third, and the biggest reason, is the sales tax.  Most online companies do not charge sales tax.  For many, this may not be a big deal, but for me, it is huge.  The sales tax here in Chicago is 10.25%.  10% in the surrounding suburbs.  That is a significant savings. 

Combine the sales tax savings with the free shipping and discounted items and you can see why I cannot pass up Cyber Monday

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'd Rather Be Sleeping

I’ve never been one to get up early to do the whole Black Friday thing. 

First, I am NOT a morning person AT ALL.  8:00 am is hard enough, so forget 4:00 or 5:00.

Second, I cannot stand large crowds.  The pushing and shoving and overall invasion of personal space irritates the hell out of me.

Put the two together and it makes for one extremely crabby Kelly.

I do not like people to talk to me for at least an hour after I wake up, so multiple voices, let alone massive crowds, is like an assault on my ears.

I have gone to a few stores later in the morning or early afternoon once or twice in the past, but it’s not a tradition for me.  It’s only if the ads that come in the huge Thursday paper have something I am planning on buying at an incredible price.

My mom and step-dad have made it a tradition for the two of them over the last few years.  They got up at 4:00 am today to be at Sears at 5:00.  They went in, got in the line and were out by 5:30 with a 42 inch LCD HD TV at an insane price.

Then they went to Kmart, IHOP (they needed to refuel) and Target and were home around 9:00.  They did their part to help the economy.

Later, around 1:30, my mom and I ran to a few stores, but nothing major and it was not crowded then. 

While not many things in the ads blew me away as far as doorbuster prices, there were a few good deals.  Still a lot of Christmas shopping to do over the next few weeks.

How about you?  Did you venture out on any Black Friday adventures?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanks and Gratitude

My sister and her family were here Saturday, which kind of helps not miss them as much since they won’t be with us today. 

My niece, nephew and I were in the kitchen munching on some snacks and my niece started to tell me that they were talking about things to be thankful for in school while discussing Thanksgiving.

She was very annoyed because when she had gone home and told her mom and brother about it, her brother, my 3-year-old nephew, said he was thankful for his Lightning McQueen car.

She said that you are supposed to be thankful for things like your house.  She said that is what she is thankful for because it keeps her safe and warm.  The 40-year-old 6-year-old told me that. 

I smiled and said that she was right, you should be thankful for things like your house, your food and your family, but it’s ok to be thankful for things like your favorite toys too.

She said, “well, I’m just thankful for my house, that’s it.”

She is such an old soul, smart and wise all at once, but also so young and innocent.  I love it.

This year, I am thankful for the roof over my head, clothes on my back, food on my table and, of course, my family and friends (including my blogger friends).

I’m also thankful to have a car that runs, though it is suffering from issues like windows that don’t roll up or down but fall down on their own, wipers that work temperamentally and tires that leak sporadically.  It takes me where I need to go.

I’m thankful for my health and the health of my loved ones.  With the breast cancer scare, I am extra aware of the gratitude for good health.

I am thankful for my mind and the ability to think freely.

I am thankful for my freedom and my rights.

I am thankful for the men and women that sacrifice of themselves to keep my freedom and those that have fought for those freedoms in the past.

I am also thankful for the little things, like my nephew.  My laptop, my cameras, my books, my TV, my CD’s.  Things I COULD live without, but whose presence makes me happy.

How about you?  What are you thankful for this year?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Table For Four

This Thanksgiving is not going to be as fun as it could be.

My sister and her family alternate between spending Thanksgiving in Chicago with us and going to southern Illinois to spend the holiday with her in-laws.  They do that with Easter too.

I really can’t complain because we get them for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day every year, no exception.
It is boring, though, without them.  When they are gone, it is just my mom, step-dad, grandma and me.  My mom takes dinner to my uncle and his kids because my uncle is only mobile via an electric scooter and he cannot get into our house because of the stairs.

Frankly, that part is fine with me.  I’d rather not deal with my uncle’s family and their drama.  But my sister’s family makes it fun and more like a holiday. 

My mom makes homemade stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, rolls and, of course, turkey.  She also makes chocolate pudding pie, pumpkin pie and Dutch apple pie. 

I act as her sous chef preparing things like the pie crust, chopping the onion, peeling and chopping the celery, cutting the bread for the stuffing and that kind of thing a day or two ahead of time.  The pie crusts and onions were done yesterday.  Today is celery and bread day. 

If it weren’t for those special dishes and desserts that are only made at this holiday, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it would really feel like just another day (just without mail).

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for everything I have (of which I will post tomorrow), it’s just not as enjoyable without my little nuts. 

What about you?  What do you do for Thanksgiving?

A Son For Thanksgiving!

I woke up to a text message from my best friend’s husband.

It said “Water broke at the hospital still dialating.”

When I talked to her yesterday, I asked what she was doing for Thanksgiving.  I didn’t know if she would be going to her sister’s or her in-laws.  She said she was hoping to be at the hospital.  Thanksgiving is her due date.  Just as it was with her 3 year old.

Her daughter was late by a few days, so she was just praying her son would be on time, but it looks like he will be early.

The last report was that she was sleeping.  I told him to let me know if anything changes or if she wants some company.  With her daughter, there was a brood of us in the room waiting.  After a while, I had gone home. 

She was in labor for hours, so I am guessing she will be again this time.  I went to the hospital that night to see my goddaughter and, unless she tells me not to, I will go see her son tonight (assuming she won’t be in labor through the night).

I hope she has an easy delivery again and that she and the baby are okay. 

Just one more thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Vampires Sucked Me In

The other day I posted about the movie/book Twilight.  I was only about 130 pages into the book at that time and I said that I did not want to stop reading but, I didn’t feel the need to rush back to it to read more.

Well, that has changed.

Not only am I still not wanting to put it down, I am eager to get back to it to find out what happens next.

I have been reading at night when I go to bed, which is always a bad idea because if I like the book, I end up going to sleep at midnight instead of 11:00. 

Not with this book. 

I have been reading since Tuesday; starting Thursday night, I have been so intrigued by the story that I have been staying up until 2:00 am.  Last night it was about 2:30 when I finally fell asleep. 

Of course, I don’t allow myself to sleep past 9:30, so I am pretty tired.  I am itching to get back to the book and am intending to buy the second book in the series today or tomorrow. 

I am not going to discuss the details of the book because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who might want to read it, so I will just say that initially it was a good story with a lot of interesting dialogue and it was very sweet.  It has become very exciting and currently is suspenseful. 

If you like romance and suspense, I think you will like this book.  Thus far (about 400 pages in), it is not a vampire story like we are used to, so if you are squeamish or not into scary stories, I think you might still enjoy this because I don’t like scary stories either.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gift Card Found 10 Years Later

I was cleaning my bedroom and going through a bunch of boxes recently.  I found a gift certificate for Carson Pirie Scott (known as Bergner’s and other names in other parts of the country).

I had been given the gift certificate 10 years ago.  Yes, a decade ago.  I had been working in a daycare while in college.  The parents always gave Christmas gifts to the teachers and the assistant teachers.  This was one of the gifts. 

It is only for $10, but that’s still a lot of money toward something.  I knew I had the gift certificate and that I lost it, but I thought it was gone forever.

I went in the other day and asked if it was still valid.  They had to do a transaction to change the paper gift certificate for a gift card, but it is still valid for the full dollar amount!

We hear so often about gift cards only being valid for a certain time or losing value after a year.  I was surprised and impressed that they honored it for the full amount.

At least customers are still valued at some stores.

I heard a report that said regardless of the economy, gift card sales for this Christmas will be up from last year and one that said it will be equivalent to last year.  I then heard a conflicting report that said gift card sales will be down because people feel they will get more value for their money buying items that are drastically discounted due to the slowing economy rather than the flat value of the gift card.

What do you think?  Will you be buying discounted items or gift cards?

Be cautious, however, when buying gift cards this holiday season.  With so many stores going out of business, the cards may end up being a complete waste of money.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ramblings: Update on Biopsy & Other Happenings

I got my bill from the hospital for my ductogram and biopsy. 

Over $10,000.  I knew it would be a big bill.  I figured around that much, but it was still painful to see on paper.  Starting with my first appointment inquiring about the issue of concern that ended in the biopsy, the bills were over $15,000. 

I checked with my EOB online and it looks like they are paying the entire hospital bill.  Thank GOD!  It seems I will only have to pay about $450 of that $15,000.  What a relief.  Thankfully, I have good insurance.  I pay for it myself, so I chose a plan that has good coverage with a low deductible. 

It’s not cheap, but not as expensive as a lot of insurance.  Having dealt with the insurance side of things at my old job, as well as handling their Cobra, I know it’s pretty inexpensive in comparison to a lot (including their Cobra).

My bruises are finally fading.  The one on my hand from the IV is almost gone and those around the incision are starting to fade as well.  Yesterday was the first day in about 2 weeks that I wore a real bra rather than a sports bra.  The doctor had me wearing a sports bra 24/7 (except for showering).  The reason being that it helps with the discomfort.  It is still somewhat painful with any jiggling, so I have been wearing the sports bra. 

I went to my goddaughter’s 3rd birthday party yesterday, though, so I thought I should wear a real bra.  I decided to start wearing it more often to get used to it again…it felt weird to wear one after wearing the sports bra.

My poor goddaughter has pneumonia.  They went to the ER this morning because she has had cold-like symptoms and a high fever for a few days.  She is in good spirits during the day, but at night is so pathetic.  She woke up in the middle of the night sick and my friend decided to take her to the ER because it had been going on for so long.  She had called the doctor Friday and they said as long as she wasn’t having neck pain or any other symptoms that it should be okay. 

She felt guilty, but the ER doctor said the pneumonia was barely noticeable so they may not have seen it if she brought her in any sooner.  Poor sweet pea.  My friend is pregnant with baby #2 due in 2 weeks, so she is miserable too.  Good pair, huh?

I have not been posting much, at least content wise, because I have been on other people’s computers or on my desktop, which is so slow.

I had ordered an adapter for my laptop, but it does not connect the way it should.  I have had to sit and hold it at certain angles to get it to charge the battery.  It took days because I can’t sit there all day holding it, but finally, today, my laptop successfully turned on.  I am using it now. 

It’s been almost 2 weeks!  I was getting really antsy because there are documents on my laptop that I can’t access anywhere else.  Phew! 

Therefore, with my laptop back, I should be posting more and about things I’ve been wanting to write about but didn’t really get to write about until now.  Woohoo!!!  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pet Peeves

Why do they call them PET peeves?

Pet peeves are thing that you can’t stand.  Aren’t pets usually something you enjoy?  If you have a pet, you picked it, brought it home, cared for it and loved it.  You chose to have the pet.  It might get on your nerves sometimes, but you chose to get and keep it, so, why call it a pet peeve?

The term teacher’s pet suggests favoritism, so why a PET peeve? 

I’ve done a search to try to figure it out.  Wikipedia,,, etc all give the same basic definition.  Something that irritates you as an individual; something that drives you crazy that may seem irrational to others.  Okay, well, we knew that. 

But why is it called a PET peeve?  The best understanding of it I can muster is that among all the things that annoy you, this one particular thing annoys you the most, meaning it is your favorite, or pet, annoyance.

While I grasp the concept, it still seems like an oxymoron to me.  Your favorite annoyance?  Really?  Wouldn’t it be your least favorite?  If it annoys you the most, it is the one you like the least. 

While searching the term, it is listed as an “Americanism” which, as much as I love my country, explains a lot.  We have a lot of terms that have been entered into the dictionary as words and phrases that just do not make sense or hurt my ears. 

Perhaps it’s the English degree, but these types of things are, well, my pet peeves.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

He Called Me Mom!

Well not really. 

I went to the pharmacy today to pick up a prescription for my grandma.  At the end of the transaction, the pharmacist said, thank you mom.

Actually, he said, “thank you, mum.”

I think he meant to say ma’am, but it came out mum.  Ma’am is not much better.  I’d prefer “miss,” but having worked in customer service most of my life, I know that “sir” and “ma’am” are the usual ways to address someone.

However, these can be tricky.  Not only are there people like myself that don’t particularly enjoy being called ma’am, it’s not always easy to determine if you are addressing a ma’am or a sir.

Some physically have SNL’s “Pat” syndrome.  You know what I mean; they could pass as male or female.  Some have the “Dude Looks Like A Lady” thing going on or the reverse, lady looks like a dude….  Both of which can make the way you address someone dangerous.

If you have dealt with people over the phone in a customer service setting as I have, you will know the same applies to the voice.  Some voices are just very misleading.  I personally have learned that it is better not to address some people as sir or ma’am.  

Just ask their name and use that because the voice may sound feminine or masculine and it is not matching the gender of the person.  Sometimes the name is ambiguous as well. 

What is the lesson here?  Do not address people by anything but their name unless you are 100% certain of what their gender is, especially if you are on commission.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Funny Little Nuts

My 6 year-old niece called the other night and left a message. 

This is the first time she left me a message; she said, “Hi Aunt Kelly.  Me and my brother did something we wanted to tell you about and he was crying and crying.” 

They always call when they have something remotely traumatic happen, especially if it involves tears. 

She said she walked into the wall and hit her face.  And my 3 ½ year-old nephew hurt his finger. 

My sister got on the phone later and told me what actually happened. 

You know how a dog will run on hardwood or tile and slide right into the wall? 

That’s what my niece did.  She was running through the house into the kitchen and slid across the floor smack into the wall.  Which sent her into tears saying, “I hit the wall!” 

My sister was cracking up telling me this, and so was I because I could envision the little nut doing this.   

While my sister was comforting her, my nephew started screaming bloody-murder running into the kitchen holding his finger in the air yelling, “my finger, my finger!” 

He looked so silly it distracted my niece enough to calm her down. 

My sister got out of my nephew that he was running his hand down the paneling in the family room and got a splinter.  She told him she had to get it out so it wouldn’t get infected, to which he continued to scream and run like a mad man. 

She had to tackle and straddle him coming at him with tweezers.  He was still screaming, but now saying, “don’t touch my finger, don’t touch my finger!”  She managed to pin him down long enough to extract the large splinter.  He suddenly stopped screaming and calmly said, “my finger doesn’t hurt,” very shocked at this concept. 

Later, while talking to my sister, she goes to check on him and see what he is doing.  She walks into the family room and sees him on the floor.  He looked like he was trying to crawl under the raised footrest of the recliner. 

She walks in further to get a closer look and she starts laughing and asks what he is doing.  He says, very matter of fact, that he is trying to close the chair….with his face.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy, Dopey, Sneezy...Nope. Grumpy It Is!

I have a headache.

I’ve had one for about 48 hours.

I have always been prone to headaches, including migraines.  I used to be able to tell what kind of headache it was too, but this one, I am not sure.

It just came out of nowhere the other day.  It’s the type that has a bit of sinus pressure along with neck pain, but if I move, it starts pounding. 

I try not to move, but that’s just not realistic, now is it?

This combined with some other unpleasant events which have me extremely aggravated have put me in a foul mood. 

Y’all are lucky you encounter me via blog post rather than live communication.  You would probably run away very frightened.

I’ve tried Tylenol and Advil (not together), but neither do the trick.  I have tried drinking water and coffee (some headaches are from dehydration or caffeine withdrawal), but neither works.

I think it might go away, but someone comes along to do something that irritates me and it gets worse. 

I would like to just hide away from the rest of the world for the remainder of the week.  Unfortunately, that is not realistic either. 

Maybe I will try a shot of tequila….

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thank You!

I wanted to take today to stand and salute our soldiers, present and past.   

Without our soldiers, we would not be here.  We would not have the freedom we have, the luxuries we have, the language we have, etc. 

Every Veteran’s Day, we think of the soldiers of World War I, World War II and Vietnam. 

They, of course, deserve their due respect.  However, there are other wars we often forget about. Wars for which all the soldiers are no longer with us, like the Civil War, but also wars for which there are many soldiers still walking proudly for serving their country, though they do not get the recognition. 

I am talking about the Korean War, the forgotten war.  

If you are like me, you know someone, either family or a friend that has served in every way in the last century up to and including the current war in Iraq.   

Today, let’s all give a big thank you to are veterans. 

Thank you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Itching & Halloween

I am recovering well from my surgery.  In fact, I forget on occasion that I had surgery.

I have to remind myself that I have stitches when I go to do something I am not allowed to do like drive or lift something heavy.

I can’t drive until after I have my follow-up with the doctor Wednesday.

The only issues I’ve had from the surgery are that I am really tired and itchy.  I get sleepy suddenly.  I normally do not take naps unless I am sick, but since the surgery, I nap at least once a day. 

The area around the incision is so itchy.  I know it is from healing, but it still makes me crazy because I cannot scratch like I normally would.  I have to be gentle because the area is swollen and bruised. 

I went by my sister yesterday afternoon to see the kids in their costumes and trick or treat with them a little.  I had to be physically distant and only give light hugs with them.  I know they didn’t understand that, but I couldn’t chance hurting myself.

They were so cute in their costumes.  My niece was Mulan and my nephew was Buzz Lightyear.  They had a ball.  We went up and down the street with them for about an hour and then came home. 

We never get many trick or treaters.  Our house is on a dark street near woods, so we get 15 kids at the most.  I was surprised they didn’t come later being it was Friday and warm, but they stopped about 8:00.

I hope everyone had a nice Halloween!  And don’t forget to set your clocks back (for daylight savings).

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