Tag Archives: budget

Dream A Little Dream…

thCABEB98MHmmm….where to begin… First of all, let me wish all of my BWB friends a Happy New Year.  Now, on to the important matters of, umm, me.  Yes, I’ve been giving the year 2013 a lot of thought and, basically, here’s the deal:  I’ve already decided that it’s gonna’ be a good one.  Mike will make his first million in the world of high finance, prompting him to turn his good fortune into a better fortune by producing Brian’s first blockbuster film, which will be the buzz of Hollywood with Oscar talk for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing (Best Screen Play?  I’m not sure what that one’s called.  I’m still learning, so cut me some slack) and, of course, (Pete, I haven’t forgotten you), Best Film Score.  Little sister, Mary Kate, will be proudly standing by her brothers as an assistant something or other.  Kidding, MK.  Everyone knows you’re already being projected to be a better musician than that other kid in the family, so, of course, you’ll be probably still an assistant something because, well, let’s be realistic, you’re only eighteen years old.   Let’s graduate high school first.  I mean, come on.  Anyway, back to me.  My children have been carefully groomed in the art of a great acceptance speech by Yours Truly: keep it short and sweet and, whatever you do, do NOT forget to thank Mom and Dad. 

So, there you have it:  my 2013 in a nutshell.  Not bad, really.  I mean, it could happen.  Mike does work in the world of finance.  Brian is getting his Master’s degree in digital film/screen directing.  Pete is an accomplished musician, loves composition and has collaborated with Brian during the early film years and Mary Kate is eighteen years old. 

It’s fun to dream, anyway.  And that’s what the New Year represents to us all, doesn’t it?  Dreams.  A new slate.  New possibilities.  Ooohhh, and a new dress for the after-Oscar parties.  I should probably start looking now.  Maybe once I get my balances down at Carson’s or Von Maur, that is…

P.S. May all of your wildest dreams come true

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They’ve Got Your Number Dad…

  I talk to my parents every day.  That might be more than the average person, but I do have the advantage of being able to strike up a conversation with them at any time, in any place.  As I have written before, my mom and dad were the best parents any kid could have and even though I lost my dad twenty-seven years ago (the day after our oldest son’s first birthday party) and my mom nine years ago (definitely does not seem that long), I still miss them terribly and need them.  I was an unabashed Daddy’s Little Girl.  Which is why I talk to them everyday.  I especially bombard them during difficult times.  And I’m sure they just love that…

But what sparked this post, was a sudden flashback that occurred while I was quietly sitting in the back seat of our car on the way to a movie (the position to which I’ve been relegated since the boys have been home), lost in my thoughts, when I noticed the license plate of another car one lane over.  My breath caught in my throat when I saw the number on the plate:  1526.  An ordinary number to most, but my eyes began to well-up at the sight.  I hadn’t thought of that number in years.  I immediately texted my brother, Paul, to confirm.  And, without delay, he responded that, yes, that was the number alright.  Fifteen-twenty-six was a venerated number in our home growing up.  It was my dad’s star number.  He was a Chicago Police Sergeant and proudly wore that star for thirty years.  After his death, my brother, Tom, had a necklace made for my mom with a CPD star pendant and, you guessed…it was star #1526.  Paul and Tom have since followed in our dad’s footsteps, honorably serving the people of Chicago.  And, devotedly worn on Tom’s uniform, is Star #1526.  My dad’s star.  I remember, when my dad would leave for work, he’d give me a kiss and I’d tell him to “get the bad guys.”  In his uniform.  With that star.

Death may separate us physically from our loved ones, but never in spirit.  And, sometimes, we even get a physical reminder of their beloved memory.  Love you and miss you Mom and Dad, but you already know that.  I tell you everyday.

As a post-script to this, I wanted to share with you, in the words of legendary radio personality Paul Harvey, “the rest of the story”.  My brother, Tom, retired from the Chicago Police Department in November of 2013, resulting in a temporary pause in the life of Star #1526. Until a few months later, that is, when a new class of police officers was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, including my younger brother, Paul. The star had been re-issued to another new Sergeant, but when she heard the history of that number, she happily surrendered it to him. So now,  that Star…that Number…lives on as the third Chicago Police Sergeant in my family proudly pins it to his uniform every day. And that’s the rest of the story. And a pretty cool one at that…

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So Much To Do…So Many Episodes Of Snapped To Watch…

Procrastination-3[1]So, I really should not be sitting at my computer right now.  I have a million other, important things I should be doing.  Those of you familiar with box wine musings might remember a post from last January about my failed attempts to prepare our house for the 2011 Christmas holidays.  That led me to make a rather bold, public New Years Resolution to clean my house from top to bottom so that I would be able to enjoy the 2012 holiday season, free of stress.  I think my exact words were, “No closet, cabinet, or drawer will be overlooked. Dust bunnies will be but a distant memory.”  Or something like that. 

Anyway, the point is, I started out on a mission.  And, I succeeded in scouring every room on the first floor of my house from floor to ceiling.  I was pretty amazing, really.  Then, about two weeks later, I spotted an evil cobweb hanging about a hundred miles up from the two-story ceiling in our family room.   (Sidenote:  two-story ceilings:  a stupid feature in a house – refer to my post:  And Another Thing…Random Thoughts, 09/13/12, for other dumb ideas in home construction that seem really cool when you’re walking through the house….) Anyway, upon seeing the return of the enemy so soon after my heroic (a ladder was involved) removal, I threw in the towel.  I surrendered.  I figured, “Who was it hurting?”  And you know what?  It’s actually pretty easy to live with the dangling threads of dust if you just each mind your own business.   

But, now, as Christmas approaches, the trials of last year seem like kid’s stuff.  This year, I am faced with a real challenge.  My house looks like the “before” house on any given episode of Hoarders.  That’s because it has suddenly become a storehouse for:  unsold items from a recent family estate sale (some of which are travelling downtown on Saturday – ooohhh that’s tomorrow – when son, Brian moves into his bachelor pad), wedding gifts from other son, Mike and Laura’s wedding (that’s okay, guys – we don’t mind), and, of course, Christmas lights, strewn about in an orderly mess through several rooms.  Then, just for fun, throw in Thanksgiving when third son, Peter, spent the entire week home from school doing his laundry, leaving large duffel bags, hampers and any other vessel filled with his dirty clothing everywhere, and I became sort of paralyzed, falling rather easily into that familiar fantasy about having my own secret apartment (a thought I’ve actually done some research on, but that’s a story for another blog). 

 I’m not sure where to start, but I do know that priority one is getting Brian’s stuff ready to be packed into the rental truck we’re picking up in a few hours.  So, I really should be focusing on that.  I keep telling myself that once his things are together, and especially packed into the truck this evening, my house will start to resemble a normal dwelling place.  Then, I just have to move the wedding gifts into Mikes bedroom.  But before I do that, I HAVE to figure out how to take apart the marimba in his room (if you don’t know what a marimba is, look it up – it’s big) that we borrowed from school and were supposed to return by late October.  Sorry about that, Mr. Thurlow. 

So, I’m sure you can understand why I’m sitting at my computer instead of doing something constructive.  But, I really do need to go.  There are so many things to do:  check my Facebook, see if there are any Snapped episodes I haven’t watched yet (doubtful), oh, maybe buy Hoover some dog food, ummm….and some other really important things.

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Your Kid’s Majoring In What???

I just finished reading a great post from one of my favorite bloggers which I will reblog as soon as I’m done writing this great piece.  I can only do one great thing at a time, sheesh.  Anyway, in it, he poses an interesting question about the collective sanity of our culture in which we work decades at a job we usually just tolerate (if we’re lucky), in order to pay for all the things we consider important.  Things like, shelter, furniture for shelter,  indoor and outdoor improvements for said shelter, clothing, cars etc.  These are, admittedly, all important things.  But, at some point, we become the hamster on the wheel, frantically working to pay the mortgage, real estate taxes, cars, and credit cards, just to name a few off the top of my head, as we continue to require bigger houses leading to more stuff to put in them, cooler cars etc.  Add into the mix kids and, forget it, it’s all over.  Then it really gets crazy – more clothes, food, cars, insurance, food (those pesky creatures insist on eating every day), tuition and definitely a whole lot more alcohol (for Mom and Dad, that is).  We think of ourselves as a civilized people and, yet, our lifestyles turn us into crazed wheel-spinning rodents.  What’s that all about?

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Forget The Whirlpool, Give Me Closet Space

Not sure how this one got by me, but in my last post, I touched on a few of the worst ideas in home construction that seem cool when you’re walking through a model.  In my opinion, anyway.  And, this morning I realized I’d forgotten a biggie:  the whirlpool tub.  Seriously, how many of you soak in a bath tub these days?  I know the idea sounds relaxing, but I’m pretty sure the only time it happens is on reality TV or television commercials (“Calgon, take me away”).  It really hit me recently when I was in a house-cleaning frenzy and decided to give my bathroom a real scrubbing, instead of the usual quick toilet, sink, floor going-over.  No, this time I was going to tackle that porcelain monster – the whirlpool tub.  The tub, which, by the way, hasn’t been used for bathing in years.  The tub, which now serves as a very large valet for my husbands clothes – his gym clothes taking up one corner,  yard-work clothes in another and shirts to go to the cleaners in a bag inside the tub.  So, it does serve a function, I suppose.  But, bathing?  Not since our kids were little and we’d fill it with bubbles and turn on the jets.  That’s a sure-fire way to get kids in the tub.  These days, though, when I take the time and energy to make it look like a tub and not something you’d see on Hoarders (in case a guest might need to use our bathroom, which I don’t think has ever happened), I actually find myself dusting the tub instead of trying to remove soap scum from the sides.  It’s just a really dumb attempt at a luxury feature.   You know what would be real luxury for me?  Lots and lots of closets.  And a huge laundry room large enough to comfortably spread out to do the laundry and accommodate shoes and jackets, etc.  THAT’S luxury.  And, I’m sure that losing the ginormous soaking tub and incorporating my ideas instead, would be HUGE selling points in a house.  Am I right or am I right?  Yeah…that’s what I thought.

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And Another Thing…Random Thoughts…

In an effort to renew my creative juices, I’ve decided to write down some random thoughts that have passed through my brain these last few months.  So…here they are:

SOME OF THE WORST IDEAS IN HOME CONSTRUCTION THAT SEEM COOL WHEN WALKING THROUGH A MODEL:

SKYLIGHTS – Have you ever been in a room with skylights during a storm?  It’s the worst.  We have two  in our family room, and, no kidding, you have to set the volume of the television up to ear-bleeding levels in order to be able to sort of read the actors’ lips.  We also have one in our master bath, which would be awful if we didn’t employ the use of a fan to provide white noise during the night.  The worst.

TWO-STORY ROOMS – Yes, they can have a dramatic effect, but have you ever thought about the cobwebs that collect waaaaay up there?  I find I’m absolutely obsessed if I notice one hanging when friends are over.  Sometimes, the light shines juuuuussssst right to illuminate the hanging dust bunny.  And speaking of illumination…whose idea was it to install recessed lighting on a ceiling that’s 20 feet tall?  Seriously?  This is kind of like two construction pet peeves in one.  We have so many light switches on the walls for the various lights, ceiling fans, etc. that, to be honest, after twelve years of living in this house, I still have to flip about three of them to get the one I want.  But, the one switch I know for sure I never want is the one which controls the recessed lighting closest to Venus.  It doesn’t really matter, anyway, because the bulbs burned out about eight years ago.  Oh, and another thing…have you ever tried to paint a two-story room?  If you’re smart, you’ll say, “Are you crazy? That’s what professionals are for”  And, let me tell you, it is so worth the couple thousand dollars to hire someone to do the job.  I know you’re thinking, “Wow, she must be really rich, to which to which I would answer, “Rich as in wealthy?  No.  But, rich in friends and family?  Yes.  In other words…depressed as hell.”  Anyway, back to the painting…my sons recently painted their grandparents’ two-story living room and they learned that they never, ever want to be painters.  Ever.

THOUGHTS THAT OCCUR WHILE AT SUNDAY MASS:

One day, while in church, I noticed a man with enormous ears sitting in front of me.  He was an older man, so I thought, you know, he’s old, what do you expect?  Old men have big ears.  But, then, one thought led to another, and I wondered…do ears continue to grow?  And only in men??  I suppose I’ve seen old women with big ears, but as I searched the pews, I couldn’t spot nary a one.  And then, I thought…well, they must continue to grow because in my search for a humongous eared old lady, my eyes spied several teen boys and young men and they all had normal-sized ears that seemed to fit their heads quite nicely.  So, I guess I’m just left with…what’s that all about?

There are other odds and ends rummaging about in my brain, but I just thought I’d share these with you.  And include in this post an equally random picture I found amusing.  Your welcome.

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I’m Back…What Do You Mean You Didn’t Notice I Was Gone?

Well, as promised, I’m back.  In my last post, I apologized for getting lazy with my blogging and told people to stop nagging me, which prompted the question from my son, Brian, “Wow, Mom, are people really pressuring you to get back to work?  I didn’t realize your fans hung on your every word.”  Wise guy.  Okay, I admit, no one was nagging me, except myself.  I’m sure no one noticed that I hadn’t written anything in a while.  Ouch.  But, truth be told, I’m aware, understand and fully accept the fact that people have lives that do NOT revolve around me and my fragile ego.  Now that I’ve addressed the elephant in the room, let’s get back to me.

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In the Meantime…

 
Okay, I know I’ve been slacking a bit on the blogging lately (so stop your nagging, already. I mean it).  I feel like I’ve got a lot going on right now – making sure my son, Brian, has all his financial business in order for the start of his graduate program at De Paul in a few short weeks, taking my daughter, Mary Kate, on various college visits, getting my other son, Peter, ready to move into his apartment in Iowa City in a couple of DAYS, squeezing in a trip to Door County, WI to relax and attend concerts at Birch Creek Music Performance Center to see Mary Kate perform in concert, planning my OTHER son, Mike’s, wedding rehearsal dinner (which, I know, shouldn’t be a big deal, but, believe me, it’s become complicated), buying a dress for the wedding (I’m starting to stress a little about that, but I know I’ll have a great dress that day – somehow), working, and, of course, juggling bills, bills, bills (something I’m sure everyone can relate to, right?).  Anyway, once my brain gets cleared, I’m confident that I’ll be much more prolific.
But, in the meantime, I came across this fun poll and thought I’d share it with you.  Enjoy…
 
WHAT EVENTS ARE YOU LOOKING MOST FORWARD TO AT THE 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS?
 
Swimming. Phelps is going to put the pot aside for a couple weeks!
Volleyball. Kicking my girlfriend out and throwin’ on the sweatpants!
Rowing. I’m not from the states.
Gymnastics. I dream of meeting a girl that limber someday…
Basketball. The NBA playoffs just were not enough for me!

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Welcome To My Home…Pardon The Dust Bunnies

Alright, folks…here it is:  today is June 27, 2012.  This date marks almost exactly six months since I  stuck my neck out with my very public New Years Resolution.  You regular readers of this post might remember in early January when I posted my rather ambitious resolution for the new year.  It wasn’t the usual litany of losing weight, going to the gym more, or any other pedestrian reform.  No, mine was a year-long project to get organized and scrub my house from top to bottom – every floor, every room, every closet, every cabinet.  No corner would be overlooked in my frenzy.  I was determined to create a completely dust-free, clutter-free home.  The goal I had set for myself was to simply be able to enjoy the Christmas holiday season when it rolls around again (which I’ve come to realize, happens at the same time every year – so why does it always come as such a surprise?).  Continue reading

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I’m Stuck In An AOL Time Warp And I Don’t Care!

YES!  I admit it…I still have an AOL email address.  I get.  I’m a loser.  Now, leave me alone and stop snickering when I’m asked for it from various stores.  I’m usually torn about giving it.  In fact, way back when, I used to think, “No way am I giving you my personal, private email address.”  But, then I realized that, by refusing that method of communication, I was telling them I’d prefer to talk to them on the phone.  I figured out fast enough that was NOT what I preferred.  Plus, when stores ask for my email, it’s so I can get coupons and discounts.  Print them out at home.  At my leisure.  I’ve never been one to clip coupons from the newspaper.  Not because I haven’t tried.  But, it became so much work and I never had them with me when I needed them.  And, I’m pretty sure the rare times I remembered to bring them,  I could hear every person in line behind me sighing as I’d open my handy coupon holder to extract necessary clipped savings, only to be told that the item I plucked from the shelf was not the right size or brand or, showing me the small print, that I needed to buy six of them to get the seventh half-off. 

What I do like, though, is extra savings to be had from stores like Kohl’s, JC Penney, Barnes and Noble, Harry and David, Famous Footwear, etc.  So, yes, when asked, I quietly whisper my lame AOL email address.  I whisper, not because I care about the looks of disdain from the cool high school/college aged cashiers, but because my kids are horrified that I would just blurt it out without any care to their emotional well-being.   I mean, there may be people they know lurking about.  They have begged me for years to get a g-mail account.  To get with the times.  It’s not the nineties anymore, for God’s sake.  “I’ll set it up for you, Mom.  It’s easy.  It doesn’t cost anything.  Can’t you ever think of anyone besides yourself?”   But, I feel like I everyone I know has my AOL address (and as far as I know, have not “unfriended” me on Facebook or shunned me in public).  It just seems like such a hassle to change it.  And, besides, I have a feeling that AOL will make a comeback.   And THEN who will be the cool one, hmmmm??  I can see their eyes rolling.

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