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Archive for July, 2011

69.8 million families, in this United States, live on Social Security and/or Federal Pension.  Those checks cover anywhere from one to —— people/adults and children in a family.

IF OUR government cannot get its act together, 69.8 million families will not get a check (and that includes the military) on the Third of August.  What will happen????

1. First, no direct deposit or card to pay that money.

2. No deposit, EQUALS, no money to pay the mortgage, utilities, doctors, gasoline, car repairs, house repairs, food, school clothing, book rental.  For one month, we will sit in our HOT homes (my husband has COPD and by the end of the month will most likely be in the hospital.) opening bank statement overdraft fees, and mortgage late payments, and, after the freezer is all melted, canned goods.  Not to speak of the student loan that I could not cancel the automatic withdrawal on in time.  That would certainly rank under the mortgage, if I could have.

3.  The end of the month will see us walking three miles away to have a free dinner at Mother’s Cupboard, well some of us.  My husband could not walk that length even in 70 degree weather.

4.  I will cancel the MRI for my possible crushed disc, in my back that is causing intense cyatic pain.

5.  We will not order medicine that we run out of.

6.  We already cancelled our land line but have a contract on the cell, so I guess they just turn it off without payment, but you still owe it.

7. What happens to your health and life insurance premiums?  I think I have two months before I am in default and lose my health insurance.

8.  Our income is already under $20,000 a year.  We have a nineteen year old with one more semester of high school, long story, he wasn’t being homeschooled when we took him, so he had problems.  One boy was just deployed to Afghanistan and one boy is working in food service and paying his own student loans and gas and food bills.

9.  Just wanted to give you a taste of our world.

MY PROPOSAL:

Every single one of those families need to write to every Congressman, senator, tea party, republican and democrat and send them a bill for the actual and mental damages when this happens.  Maybe that will wake them up.  Do you know a good Class Action lawyer?

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I am a big fan of murder mysteries, so it stands to reason that I would like Law & Order, and now Criminal Minds.  Sometimes you just have to get away from crime.  CNN is the answer in relation to the world now, but if I hear one more reference to the budget, I may have to shoot my screen.  So, for frivolity and the study of the totally warped human mind, I go for “Say ‘Yes’ to the Dress.”  I have no idea why I like it, and I often watch it covertly, so that no one in the house knows I watch it.

In fairness to me, I have been the object of comedy at my endless viewing of the Harry Potter Videos.  I try to turn the sound up and down, as they have a lot of very loud spots and then just talking.  I apologized to the youngest the other night if it woke him up, but he said that no, he liked to hear it as then he could mimic which spot I was currently in with the series.  This goes along with the false voices they ‘do.’  It also made me feel better that I was not irritating the rest of the family, but a source of comedy.  If I watch other movies, I WATCH them.  With Harry Potter, it just lulls me to sleep because, let’s face it, I think I have them memorized.

What would irritate them, besides my bridal gown fetish now, is the two times I have tried to watch things like “Beauty Queen Babies” or “Miniature Dancing Divas.”  I could only take ten and five minutes of each respectively and, OKAY, I cannot remember titles, but you get the picture.  Actually, it should be “Diva who could no more do a dance step than an acrobat one.”  I mean, that woman needs an assistant to demonstrate those moves.

What she also needs is a lesson in positive reinforcement.  She reminds me of one of those coaches who makes football players workout in full uniform in 110 degree weather, until they pass out dead.  These are little kids.  If your kid is that serious about dancing, find a teacher who does not take it into war drills, but who teaches it seriously and in a classy manner.  I applaud those mothers, and I don’t applaud them for much, but I do applaud them for standing up and telling her that those costumes were trashy and the dance was worse.

And, if my kids teacher turned around and said something about children never listening to parents because they don’t know … or whatever it was she said, I would go down to the floor, take my kid by the hand be out of there, and never return.

Which brings me to the wonderful mother on the show about babies in beauty pageants, who did say, at the end of the $10,000 award pageant show, that her daughter was going home and not taking part ever again because she wanted to teach her better values and that she had worth.

Don’t even get me started on “Ice loves Cocoa.”

I really need to go back to reading books.

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One of the things that I love about having the grandsons living with me is hearing them play video games (usually at 3am).  They use false voices and get VERY animated and act like normal five year olds.

The fact that they are actually 19 and 24 does not change a thing.

Beside doing the ‘voices’ at 3am, while playing video games, they also tend to do them on the car, on the way home from movies.  Last night, it was Deathly Hallows, Part II.

Let me say first, that there may be a SPOILER or twenty here, if you have not seen the movie.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

I knew, within the first 3 minutes, of Deathly Hallows II starting, that this was going to be the best movie yet.  I actually cannot wait till it comes out on DVD so I can watch it again, and again.  I am not going to go into all the great things I liked about the movie because they far outway the maybe two complaints I had.  My ‘children’ however, nit picked all the way home and I wish I would have taken notes.  Because they had me in stitches all the way home too.

I think it started off with, “Why didn’t anyone act surprised when Hagrid dropped the dead Harry?”  I had not actually noticed this but I tend to view things through rose colored glasses and Harry Potter is one of those things.  Then, the boys go off using voices to pretend to be the different characters:

“What the f__k!”  Voldemort said in surprise.  “How many times do I have to kill you?”

“Opps!”  Hagrid said.  “It wasn’t me.  I didn’t drop Harry.”

“Great, one more wand for the fight.”  said someone on Harry’s side.

I then pointed out that Voldemort’s comment sounded a lot like Jeff Dunham and that led to a conversation of which puppet would be Voldemort.

Unfortunately, I cannot remember all the other spots that bothered them.  I do know that one thing that has always bothered me is how stupid Harry is to always lay his wand down.  He did it again, as soon as Voldemort left the room from killing Snape.  We have all decided that Harry needs to have a wrist strap on his wand.  In fact, I think they should be mandatory on all wands, as wands were flying in the air during the battle and the boys had quite a discussion about the perils of wands flying in the air during a battle and poking out eyes, etc.

Picture Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix doing battle and then realizing they had picked up each others wands from the floor by mistake, and had to truce for one minute in order to trade their wands back.  That’s sort-of our conversation in the car going home.  Just in funny voices.

Sorry, can’t give credit for this photo as it came up on Bing and, I really hate Bing, there was no credit to where Bing got it.

Everyone loved Bellatrix skipping along at Voldemorts side.  She always takes life so seriously!  While Helena Bonham Carter played the part great, as she always does, when she was Hermoine polyjuiced into Bellatrix, I wish they would have done just another few minutes of it, you know, Hermoine trying to act like Jack Sparrow.  There again, Jeff Dunham could have done a great job.

We also decided that Neville was perhaps not as bright as could be when he waited at the wrong end of the bridge they were going to blow up.  You never wait on the end that is going to blow up.  I would also advise him not to taunt bad guys.

NO ONE liked the “19 years later segment.”  In fact, the audience laughed at each “aged” face.  Seriously, it was lame and they should have left it off.  There ensued a discussion as to the fact that Gaffer has heard that Rawling did not even write that postscript. I am pretty sure this is some on-line urban legend, since it is in her book and not credited to anyone else.

All in all, I want to go back tonight.  It was an awesomely, awesome movie.  The Best!

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Ah, for the good old days.  You know, a simpler, gentler time when pulling your best friend’s hair at the dinner party was considered rude, and your mother always reminded you to stand up straight.

I came of age during the Leave it to Beaver era.  I never wore pearls or high heels while housecleaning.  What I did do, was try to be polite to other people and manage not to deck they during a dinner party.  I still remind myself to straighten my posture.  I rarely have to remind myself not to hit my best friend.

I am not a big fan of “bad girls” nor “Big haired girls from New Jersey.”  In fact, I am so much not a fan that I have no idea what the correct names of those shows are, but I’m talking about bad housewives too here.  I lean more toward crime shows, Law & Order and it’s varients.  Where the enemy is some ‘unsub.’  It’s certainly not gentler but you know the enemy and he has not usually been your best friend for twenty years.

I do not understand what America’s fascination is with watching obnoxious people berate their friends, fight at parties and be generally obnoxious.  Does it make all of us feel better that we would never treat our friends like that?  Or maybe just remind us how lucky we are that we have had friends for thirty years with whom we have never had an angry word, so we have to watch trainwrecks to see what that is like.

And, while we are on it, I would like to know just exactly what is it with the way these women stand?  These photos were courtesy of the television station’s website, which I looked up days ago and now don’t remember.

Okay, I get that short tight skirts are sexy.  Off topic, I will never understand what the attraction is with these shoes though.  I really do think they are just really butt ugly.  I cannot see one thing sexy about them.  They make you look like your feet are bandaged.

Several of the girls are standing in a manner that makes it look like they have to run to the bathroom.  Otherwise, this picture doesn’t show the ultimate “Bad Girl” stance.  The object of which is::::::::::

To throw your boobs out and enhance your butt.

In my day, you stuffed your bra with kleenex if you wanted to enhance your boobs and no one that I knew wanted to make their butt’s look bigger, so that was not an issue.  Nothing explains these shoes.  Bondage maybe????

I see one commercial for one of these shows, in which the girl sort of does the above stance and then another move and throws her boobs one way and her butt another and I’m thinking there is a whole generation of women whose backs will be so damaged by striking this pose that, by the time she is 50, she won’t be able to walk at all.

Is there really any man who finds this sexy???  I suppose there is something for everyone, so there is, but I would love to know if there is actually a man who thinks these shoes are sexy; pose or no pose.

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It has been a busy week; a tiring week; an exhausting week.

On June 26th, Sunday, we held a (F)UN birthday party to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday.  Her birthday is actually in January but no one wants to travel in January.  It was quite a success, with my sister flying in from Arizona, my neice and two daughters driving down from Michigan, my daughter from South Bend, along with one of her sons and his adorable girlfriend, and nephew and his fantastically funny wife coming down from Wisconsin.  The rest were from all over Indiana.  Mom was dully surprised.  When daughter brought her down from her apartment, to the building’s common room, she couldn’t figure out why I was taking a picture of her and who was that woman who looked like her granddaughter standing next to me also taking her picture, until she realized it WAS her granddaughter from Michigan.

Picture of my daughter, mom, greatgrandson and his girlfriend.

It was fun watching her wheeling around in her power chair going “Oh, you too!” as she spotted her sister-in-law, sister, and old friends.  Some of the food (mostly that made by my husband) was a big hit.  My potato salad needed doctoring.  The cake from Sam’s club was great.  People didn’t just eat and leave and that made it nice to talk with everyone.

Sheryl, Mom and sister, Eve.

Sheryl, Mom and sister, Eve.

I, and my daughter from So. Bend, had been planning the party for three months.  We even had blue grass music compliments of Dan Cantwell, of Travis Creek Band, from Nashville, Indiana and our boy, Jacob Wells, who sings with the band occasionally and threw in some country music. My family is an artistic family and used to my uncle playing guitar in the background, so it reminded the relatives of him. I have movies of Dan and Jacob up on Youtube. My Youtube name is SAVanVleck. You could also search for Jacob Wells. He gets good feedback on his singing. I’m trying to link it but ……. haven’t got that down.  I think I have to upgrade to link a movie?

I would love to say that the band in front of the window was a wonderful cinematic affect, but I’m afraid the shaky camerawork and the one place of missed lyrics will make that a true lie.  I plan on rerecording this song when I can and have my tripod with.  I am afraid I am developing a family tremor.  I used to shoot 35 mm photos at f-stop15 with nary a shake, now I can’t hold it still at any speed.

Now, the bad of the week: A few days before the party we found out that my mom is in Stage 3 heart failure. With that, and other problems, the doctor has decided to have Hospice come out to her apartment. It is really a blessing. It will help ensure she is getting the best of care and take a load off of me. I suspected last month, as I purchased only a small amount of food for her that she wasn’t eating right. This month, it didn’t seem as if she was eating at all. Turns out, she is too tired to eat and they will figure out what to do about this, and send people out to help her with her personal needs and her house cleaning needs.

Today, when I went to her apartment to give her a shot (of blood thinner) and take her for blood work and meet her new Hospice nurse, she met me with: “I’m not stupid.” I told her I knew that and asked what was wrong. She decided that she only had six months to live and I was trying to hide it from her and that was why we had the party and Hospice coming out. While it is true she could only have six months, it is also true that she could have only one week or she could have two years, and we started planning the party months before I found out. I think she finally believes me but I am pretty sure that I will have to settle the matter several more times before she moves on to something else.

I have always wondered at older people saying they have no one left alive (no mate, no children, no friends) and so they are ready to die. I miss people who have died, but I do feel that life is a blessing to be lived to the fullest. Yet now, as I look at the photo of my dad’s family that I posted two months ago and realize that there are only two people left alive in that picture: my cousin, Richard and my sister, Evelyn. There is something that sets you adrift when you realize you are so close to being that alone. I mean, I have a family other than dad’s family; husband, daughter, grandsons, but not so many of those people who were there when I was born. It’s just strange.

I’m limping from sciatic nerve  leg pain, tired from everything, including taking steroids for the leg,  and probably boring, but meeting all the Hospice people makes it all so real.  Thanks for listening.

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