Thursday, December 22, 2011

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas. There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."
The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."
"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.
"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."
Down rippled the brown cascade.
"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.
"Give it to me quick," said Della.
Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.
When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.
"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"
At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."
The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.
Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."
"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.
"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"
Jim looked about the room curiously.
"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.
Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."
White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"
And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."
Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.
"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

To Maryse

I feel out of sorts today because I received some very sad news yesterday. We had a woman living in town that was just the sweetest person you could know. I knew her from when my son went through the elementary school since she handled the main office for years.
Everytime I came in she would flash her lovely smile and greet me. Everytime I left I thought "What a nice lady, Maryse is. I would love to get to know her better." For years I have been thinking about this. We became friends on facebook and she took to reading this crazy blog every single time I posted anything on it.
Maryse became ill (from my understanding, the doctors do not know the cause of her ailment) very ill and spent much time in a hospital down in Mass. Everyone worried about her, including myself. Finally, she returned home and the glow came back to her face. I promised myself that I was going to get to know this lovely woman better.
I had heard through the grapevine of our small town that she had become sick yet again and was back in the hospital down in Mass. Then, yesterday, the news came by phone and facebook that Maryse had passed on, on Wednesday night.
I am so sorry for her family and friends. I recognized this woman to be someone special and now see that I wasted many years in thinking about getting to know her.
Dear friends, if there is something that means alot to you. Do it. Time does not wait for any of us.
To Maryse, I hardly knew you but will truly miss your grace, charm and lovely sense of humor. I'm sorry I never really got to call you friend!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

E. L. Gross Story Promo

Although my eyes are flitting about (I am reading que cards above the computer) here is a first draft that Harry and Jason helped me make.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sixteen Candles

For my son's upcoming 16th Birthday I wanted to share my favorite video again. It was made three years ago but it's still my favorite video and hope you enjoy it also. It does have music so turn on your speakers!
 
 
 

 Enjoy!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Christmas Wish

   About four years ago, my husband decided that a walk in closet should be added on to our lovely bedroom. Being a woman with many clothes and shoes, I thought this was an excellant idea. He dangled visions of racks to hold shoes, with rows and rows of shelving for sweaters. There would poles to hang dresses and shirts. Our large dresser would fit in the back freeing up space in our bedroom for two reading chairs. Then to put a cherry on top, a new bathroom would also be added so that we would have privacy from our own room.
   The foundation was laid that year and then, my husband received a job from a huge customer that has literally taken the last few years. Last year, hoping they would be able to work on the closet, his crew ripped off the back of my house and gave me the most wonderful of plastic walls. It really is a lovely green that ripples when the wind blows and DOES NOT insulate the bedroom from the cold.
   Our clothes, are in piles throughout areas of the house and our bedroom looks like a Goodwill Store. The three dogs love it. Everytime they rough house, they run into my bedroom, kncok everythin over and cover all my clothes with hair. It makes you want to scream!!!
  Yesterday, the men worked on the closet and the bathroom and announced that they should be done by the end of December. The bathroom with it onyx tile is almost complete and the exterior and interior walls of the closet are getting closer to completion.
  Seeing this, I decided to go through the piles and get rid of anything that is too small (which is basically everything) or anything that I haven't worn in a long time. Then I made nice neat piles.
   My green plastic wall is still up, but now that I have an actual structure on the other side the bedroom is considerably warmer. As of yesterday, I was informed that my green wall will be coming down within the next few weeks and to prepare for the moving of the clothes.
   So, my Christmas wish is that I am able to pick out a pair of shoes and an outfit without having to go through piles and tubs by the upcoming New Year.
   Oh and for World Peace!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Working Girl

   I can not believe that I haven't done any writing since the day before Thanksgiving. It seems that the last week has passed by so quickly and I have not had a chance to do any of the things on my personal list. Write, read some of my friends works, watch my Netflix movie and play a new game I bought awhile ago.
   Granted work has been extremely busy this week with the tax due date being this week and every Nov and Dec birthday trying to register their car way before Christmas. Also, my husband and I have done a lot of work around the home which takes up an enormous amount of time.
  Today, I am claiming it as my day. I will do laundry and make dinner but everything else will get in line behind the writing and reading. Yay!
   Well, I would love to sit and chat but it's off to write I go! Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Snow Days

   What a great morning! It is Wednesday, my usual day off, but I have a whole bunch of pluses today. My son has the next few days off from school and my husband has decided to stay in bed late today. This is better than a Sunday!

   Last night, Mother Nature dumped a good six inches of heavy, wet snow on us and the only thing we plan to remove is a large area for the three dogs to do their thing. You know, sell hot dogs, square dance, whatever their thing may be.
   The other big plus is that on Amazon.com, I was rewarded with a wonderful review of my short story "Last Bus to Nowhere", Yay!!!!

   Tomorrow, which happens to be the fine holiday of Thanksgiving, we will spend the day with family. This holiday has never been one of my favorites for some reason, which is odd, since I am a huge, I mean, HUGE food person. I love food! Thanksgiving though, I just want squash, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. That stuff I can cook every day of the week.
   To all of you who love and live for tomorrow. I wish you a very Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy your families and drive carefully! Have a Happy One!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dog Day Afternoon


   My son has always wanted his own dog. We have had two dogs for many years now and they love him very much but he wanted a dog that went nuts when he came home and slept in his room. He wanted one that mainly belonged to him.
   So last year, a friend told us that they had gotten a puppy and there was quite possibly one more available. I mentioned to the friends that if the puppy didn't have a home we would take him. The next day, I received a phone call at work from my husband asking if I told them that we wanted a puppy. I said "yes" and then wondered why he was asking. He then informed me that our friends had gone and picked up the puppy and brought him straight to our home. My son was ecstatic and the puppy was immediately named Butch.
   Butch is a cross between a Yellow Labrador and a Beagle. He has the lab length and muscle but has the height (little legs that are duck footed) of a small beagle. This mix gives him the appearance of being kind of like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
   He is one of the most loving, happy animals I have ever met but has the brain of a sunflower seed.
   I was working on the computer one day and Butch had gotten in to trouble for stealing rawhide bones from the other dogs. He kept trying to take the bones but kept getting into trouble. Finally Butch gave up on the bones and decided to find something that only belonged to him. He found the cone that he wore home from the vets when he was neutered. He walked around the house with it in his mouth for awhile and then disappeared somewhere.
   I got ready to go to work and wanted to take the dogs out before leaving. Out comes Butch, happy as a clam, with the cone on. I laughed so hard and then took the cone off and hid it. Later that day, I received a phone call from my son, asking if Butch was OK? I had no idea what he was talking about but my son explained that when he arrived home from school, Butch was wearing his cone.
   Now, if truth be told, Butch thinks he is a boy. He has no idea that he is a dog! He wants to spend every waking moment doing everything that my son does. Which is great, that is why we got the dog but sometimes it doesn't work out right.
   The other night, my son decided to go into the hot tub. Butch was outside running in the back yard. When he saw Harry in the hot tub he ran over to see him and then jumped into the tub. See, Very Smart!
   He is a good boy (dog) and as I said "the most loving and happy dog, I have ever met."
Have a great Sunday!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sims Medieval

  On Sunday, my son and I took all of our old games (DS, Xbox 360, etc) over to Game Stop and traded them in. What a great time we had! We were able to trade in over 60 games and made a small fortune in store credits.
   I made the mistake of buying the game Sims Medieval! Ever since I came home with the game on Sunday, I have put every free minute into getting through the tutorial. You can't turn the tutorial off, you have to play through it. So last night after work and dinner, I made it my quest to finish and actually play the game.
   Problem is, I haven't gotten anything else done. I truly wish I wasn't addicted to games! Will write more later, if I actually stay away from the computer long enough to clean my house. Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Water For Elephants

   One of my absolute favorite books of all time is Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. When I worked at Borders Books as a salesperson, this book was just the best pick for men and women alike. It was so easy to talk about because the story flowed so beautifully and made you feel every emotion deep within your bones.
   It is the story of a young man, who is studying to be a veterinarian during the depression. He has finally made it to the final exam when he is notified that his parents have been tragically killed in a car accident. Being so distraught, the young man, leaves his home town and hops on the first train that comes by.
   The train turns out to be a circus group full of wonderfully colorful people and amazing animals. He joins up with the circus and is asked to be the circus vet. The story is intricately woven delving deep into the hardships of this nomadic band of people.
   One great aspect of this book is how the story is told. It is narrated by the young man and the same man some seventy years later.
   I love this book so much that when the movie was released, I was afraid to go see it thinking that like most movies the director and producers would destroy the book. So this morning, as a treat to myself, I rented Water For Elephants on pay per view and was very surprised to find that they did a good job on it. They stuck to the story except for a few changes here and there and the actors did a fine job portraying the characters.
   I will stick to my opinion though, if you have not read the book or seen the movie yet, PLEASE, read the book first. It truly is a great story.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Golden Child

  Today is a very special day in my house, it is my son's birthday, and he will be fifteen at 11:17 am. Birthdays are always special occasions but I would like to tell you a little story about this very special young man.

  It truly begins in the town of Newton, MA where two young girls met and became the best of friends. They did everything together and were never apart. They were eight years old. One, was named, Lisa, who lived in a big house right by Heartbreak Hill (hardest stretch of the Boston Marathon) and the other was my sister Debbie, who lived around the corner. As I said, they never did anything apart.
    Sometimes, because I was a couple a years younger my sister would drag me (literally) with her over to Lisa's home where I met her youngest brother, Robert, her father and her mother. I never did meet the middle brother, Paul, but I had seen pictures of him and would recognize him if I saw him going down the hallway in school.

   As the years, swiftly went by and the girls grew older each began their own separate lives but never lost contact. Lisa had married and had three beautiful babies and Debbie followed her career. One day they cooked up a plan to introduce Debbie's younger sister, me, to Lisa's younger brother, Paul.
   It was probably the greatest idea either ever had, because a year later Paul and I travelled to Aruba on vacation and became engaged. It was a wonderful and exciting trip except for the fact that I felt sick most of the week. Upon arriving home, we quickly found out that my sickness was the fact that I was pregnant.

   The wedding plans were moved up by many months, so that instead of the New Year's Eve wedding we had a huge lovely wedding in the middle of the August heat. It was during all this happy planning that I received a phone call from my Doctor asking me to meet him at the hospital. You see I have a blood problem and have a tendency to get blood clots. I went through two amniocenteses and it was discovered that a blood clot had already formed in the placenta blocking any and/or all nutrients from reaching the baby.
  I was then put on the High Risk pregnancy list and started receiving daily shots of Heparin, which is a blood thinner, hoping to break down the clot. We were told that I would miscarriage very early.

   Paul and I walked down the aisle, had the huge wedding and just prayed every day that the heparin would work. At the end of September, we were once again called into the hospital to meet with the queen of ultra sounds. She took one look at our baby and immediately told us to abort the child then she left the room. At that very moment, the child inside of me kicked. I looked at Paul and said that there was no way we were aborting; the baby just told me he was going to be OK.
  The Doctor said that if we did not abort, our child was going to be either stillborn or born with many, many hardships. They stated that he would be born blind, deaf, mute, degenerative bones, asthmatic, possible heart and brain problems and the list went on. He also told us that if we did proceed with the pregnancy that he would not be able to tend us anymore since this pregnancy was so high risk. I stuck to my ground that my child had just kicked and we were going forward.

   We were sent to the Beth Israel Hospital in Brookline, MA, where we were introduced to a female Doctor, who believed in the baby as much as we did. She arranged for appointments twice weekly and monitored the baby's' every move.
   At 25 weeks, we had an appointment with Dr. Wendy and she told us that she was being urged by her team to deliver this child. She also informed us that the baby at this point was 15 ounces and most likely would not make it. She did not want to deliver this baby yet and decided it was time for me to move into the hospital where I would receive intravenous heparin, twice-daily ultrasounds, and the heart monitoring for the baby. It was also decided that I would receive an experimental steroid shot each week to try to further the growth.

   Everything seemed to work and at 30 weeks, my son was born by C-section weighing 1 pound 7 ounces. He was the first micro preemie to be born healthy in this country and an absolute miracle. He stayed in the hospital for two months until he gained the hefty weight of 3 pounds and then was ready for the trip home.
   Today, on his 15 birthday, I would just like to thank Dr. Wendy for being patient and believing in my child. My son is very healthy, incredibly smart and an amazing person. He truly is a gift and one that we have cherished every day of his life. Happy Birthday to my favorite young man, Love Mom

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rent

   We own the most adorable little home in Vermont that we rent out. We have always had bad luck with the renters in that home but back in February, we had a young woman and her one-year-old move in. Her references checked out beautifully and we thought that finally we had found the right person.

   A few weeks ago, my husband contacted the girl to let her know he didn't receive her rent. She said that she was running a bit behind and would get the money to him by the following week. When that didn't show, he called her again and she stated she was going to move out and would get her stuff out by the following week. That never happened and when my husband drove over to the house, he found the place had been trashed.
   I went with him today with one other person to "clean up." I cannot believe that someone could do what this person did to our little home. When we entered the garage, there were piles and piles of rotten food, dirty diapers, and other horribly smelly things that we couldn't even get into the door.

   Upon entering the Kitchen area, I thought I was going to be sick. The same thing was in store for us. On counters, the refrigerator, the sink (which was toppling over with dirty dishes) and the floors was a disgusting mess. Everything was covered with rotten food and bugs. The smell, I won't even begin to go into the smell.
   Let's just say the whole house was trashed. Floors were ruined, walls also. The bathtub was full of dirty water that she first dumped orange paint into then dirty diapers and then when she had no more room in her kitchen sink continued to put dirty dishes in the tub.

   Did you ever see the movie "Pacific Heights" with Melanie Griffith, Michael Keaton, and Matthew Modine? Well, the movie is kind of, like what I have written about above. I just cannot believe someone would be so disgusting and disrespectful of a piece of property.
Well, I hope everyone has enjoyed his or her day! Have a nice night!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The first Snowstorm

I have been outside since 9:00 am shoveling a foot and a half of snow. I bet you can guess why this blod is not longer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Game


Alright everyone, it is time to play another trivia game. Post your answers in the comment section after the post and I will post the winner and the answers in a few days. Have fun!

  1. Which Broadway and Silver Screen star played the mother on the 1970's show The Partridge Family?
  2. What 1976 hit song was sung by 10cc and had the memorable chorus of "Like walking in the rain and the snow when there's nowhere to go...?
  3. What is believed to be the first disco song released in 1972?
  4. What were the character names of each of the six kids in the Brady Bunch that aired from 1969 to 1974?
  5. What year did the Senate committee begin the Watergate hearings?
  6. Which movie won the Oscar for best picture in 1970?
  7. Which song was #1 in the top 10 singles for 1975?
  8. How did Walter Cronkite end each newscast?
  9. In 1975, which TV show had the highest ratings?
  10. What became a worldwide phenomenon in May of 1977?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil

   Just came back from a selectmens' meeting where it has been decided that they are moving our town offices into another building due to mold spores. Some people were so angry they actually got up and left. I work in the building and truly feel that if they can fix the problem without moving us great, if not not then it's off to a new building we go.

   I am just amazed how upset people get especially when it doesn't even effect them. They do not have to pack up their office and move it. They just have to go to a different building temporarily. Once the problem is fixed we move back to our lovely clean building.

   Anyway, today was tax bill day and I have been working on them with my boss since 7:30 this morning. So goodnight all!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Horrible Bosses

   Yesterday, I woke my 15-year-old up at nine o: clock am and asked him to get dressed and help his dad fix the horses' broken fences. Well, if you know 15 year olds at all you know that nine o: clock is excessively too early to wake one up. He complained and complained, but I got him to get dressed by offering my services in fence fixing also.

   We headed down to the barn where my husband was cleaning out the corral with a York rake and proceeded to finish cleaning out the horses' stalls. Paul (my husband) was so happy to have our help that when we were done with the stalls he put us to work loading firewood into the bucket on the tractor so he could drive it up to the house. Every time he disappeared with the tractor, Harry and I would just groan about the manual labor we were doing.
   My husband is a work horse. He never stops going, or fixing things, he believes that if there is work to be done that it all has to be done that day. Harry and I on the other hand believe that one job a day is enough and the weekend is for relaxing. So in essence, we did a whole lot of grumbling.

   After the wood was done, we finally got around to fixing the many fences in the field. This means you have to carry the planks of wood up the hill to wherever one is broken. The planks are not light and are extremely awkward to carry with their length. While we were getting one in place, Paul noticed a gravel truck was pulling in down by the barn to drop a load off. He told Harry and I to get the last nail in and bring the stuff down. Not a smart move on his part. We could not get that nail into the wood. It must have taken us about fifteen minutes to hammer the one silly nail and in that time Paul had the gravel truck go into the corral, dump the load and sent the truck on its merry way.
   Harry and I were heading back to the house when we heard Paul shout out to us. "Hey, where are you two going?"

   We laughed and laughed because we thought it was quitting time. Little did we know, Paul wanted us to do more fences and then cut down the entire section of Sumach trees and have us drag it down to the barn. We are under the assumption that he was trying to kill us with labor. Thank God, he is cute and lovable.
   Today is cooking day, so I get out of outside work. Yay!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Wedding


   I felt like doing something a bit different today. My in-laws are up from MA again and last night I showed them my wedding video. They were all excited since they had never seen it and we watched it with a lot of oohs and aahs.
   My darling husband then announces that he has never seen our wedding photos or the video. Fifteen years and he hasn't seen the pictures. So this is for my sweetheart who is so adorable in this video.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Last Bus to Nowhere

   It is with great pride that I am announcing the release of my newest short story "Last Bus to Nowhere."
It is available as of today on smashwords.com in many different formats. Just click on the cover picture to the left and it will take you directly to the link.
 
  Amazon.com is in the process of publishing it for the Amazon Kindle and should be available by tomorrow afternoon.

   Thanks to all who helped me with the final copy. Special thanks to Robert and Stephen who gave me their time and knowledge.

   To all of you who purchased my first short story "The Hand That Beats Thee", I just love the fact that you read it. Hope you enjoy my second story.

The X Factor

I do not watch the X Factor, but somebody posted this today on Facebook and I just wanted to share it. He is amazing!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cats And Dogs

   It is always nice to go away, but it is much better to come home. As Dorothy said "There's no place like home." I left North Conway at 6:45 am this morning and thankfully beat the rain. Last year when I left the conference, it was a monsoon outside and the drive was horrible.

   My three dogs, I believe, are very happy to see me because they are running around moving the rugs, barking, playing continuously while bumping into everything. I go down stairs to switch the load; they follow and try to steal the laundry. I try to strip the bed and put fresh sheets on it, they jump on and off while I yell at them. I try to empty the dishwasher; they all hang at my feet and trip me.

  Three different size dogs, ranging from large to small. Three different personalities but all on the same wavelength today. How can we possibly get in her way?

   The cat on the other hand said, love me, feed me, now go away!
   I have not seen my family yet but they should be straggling through the door shortly. I miss them!

   There really is not anyplace like home!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Colors Of The Mountain

Yesterday, I drove up to North Conway,NH to attend a tax conference. The three hour drive was fantastic and gave me time to listen to my audio book "Shanghai Girls". This is a very good story about two Chinese sisters trying to make a life in 1937 China.

After checking in we began our day in classes and finished around four o:clock. It was very interesting, Bernie, the lawyer for the N.H. Tax Collectors Association really delved deep in to many topics.

I woke up early this morning and was greeted by the most beautiful site. The mountains were the color of a very ripe tomato. I took a picture with my phone but have no way of getting it on to this IPad.

I have to get to class now. If there are spelling mistakes on this blog, I will warn you that the IPad likes to fill in it's on words sometimes.

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Dinner With Andre

   Last night we had the pleasure of joining our dearest friends out for dinner. This couple and their daughter are like family to us. We have Sunday night dinner together, we play family games together, and we go shopping together.

   However, last night, we went out, just the adults, to a great restaurant. Our friend chose The Common Man in Claremont, NH. Paul and I love finding new restaurants especially golden treasures. This was one of them.
   The atmosphere was fantastic. Situated in an old mill building, they totally renovated the structure mixing brick walls with gorgeous wood floor and beams. They had lovely dim lights and lanterns on each table.

   The menu was fantastic, the meal even better and to top the whole thing off, great martinis. The best part was we had quality time with the best people in the world. The whole night – Priceless!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Social Network

   Why is it every time you finally get used to a program the developers decide to switch everything. Take Yahoo for instance. Nice homepage, easy to use, no problem saving all my links. When they updated a few weeks ago, my maximize and minimize buttons have disappeared. I can no longer download certain things. Actually right after I ran the update all my favorites disappeared. What a friendly letter Yahoo received from me.

   Today we are trying to do home sharing with two computers, and IPod and an IPad from ITunes. A lovely message keeps popping up that we are only able to share with five computers. Maybe math has changed since I went to school, but I only come up with four gadgets.

   Facebook that is another one who changes their format every other week. I realize they are just trying to make it better but even my 15-year-old son and his friends are complaining about it.

  Well, I think I am going to have a lovely glass of wine with my husband and watch a movie. Hope everyone has a relaxing weekend.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gnomeo And Juliet

   You know how Travelocity has the Roaming Gnome, well my darling husband brought home a gnome a few weeks ago, and now he sits and watches over me as I write. Here's the thing, I have always had this giant dislike for gnomes. Nevertheless, there he sits everyday watching me.

   His name is Norman. My husband gave him that name and it seems to fit the little bugger. Now you may enquire, "If he bothers you that much, why don't you move him?" I have many times and out of the blue Norman the gnome reappears on the table next to my computer.
   Maybe he will bring me good luck in my writing and have lots of people buy my books or maybe he will just sit there and do absolutely nothing. If he does not bring me luck then poor little Norman is going to become a piece of firewood.

   Enjoy your evening. My son will. He has requested grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for dinner. Last night I made Veal Marsala with pasta and cauliflower sautéed with garlic and onions. Well, now I'm hungry, Gotta Go!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rebecca

   When I did the movie trivia blog the other day, there was one movie that many did not know of, Rebecca. This movie, is based upon the book (of the same title), written in 1938 by Daphne du Maurier. Rebecca is the story of a young naïve woman who works as a companion to a rich American woman. They are vacationing on the French Rivera when the young woman (who remains unnamed thru ought the book and the movie) becomes acquainted with a wealthy Englishman, Maximilian (Maxim) de Winter, a somewhat older widower. After having spent a few days with him, he asks her to marry him. After they are married, she accompanies him to his mansion, the beautiful and huge country estate of Manderley.

  At Manderley, she meets Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, who was profoundly devoted to the first Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca. She continually, psychologically undermines the second Mrs. de Winter, suggesting to her that she will never attain the knowledge or charm that Rebecca possessed. Lacking self-confidence and overwhelmed by her new life, the young woman is convinced that Maxim regrets his impetuous decision to marry her and is still deeply in love with his first wife, the seemingly perfect Rebecca. I can't tell you any more than that.
   Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, turned it into a fabulous movie in 1940. In fact, it was the only film that Hitchcock did that won an Oscar for best picture. The movie stared Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson (who is pure evil), George Sanders (one of my favorites) and Nigel Bruce.

   If you are looking to watch a GREAT suspense movie, please watch this one! Hitchcock loved this author's work so much that he turned two more of her stories into movies, one of which was The Birds.

   Rent it today and tell me if I'm wrong!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Shortcut To Happiness

   I am extremely happy. I spent the better portion of this day working on "The Last Bus to Nowhere." As of three minutes ago, I finished this short story. Now, I need to proofread and have it edited. That was a long day of typing but what a great feeling.

   This is going to be the shortest blog ever since I can barely see my computer. So I hope everyone has a great afternoon. We are taking the boat out for its very last trip of this season tomorrow. Then off to storage it goes. Enjoy Columbus Day.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

On A Clear Day

   What a wonderful day today was. I started my day out the best way possible, with a yummy hot coffee with Crème Brule flavored cream. Then being determined to have at least four hours on the computer, just for typing, I put on the blinders and stayed clear of any and all games. If you know me at all then you will know, that yes, I am a gameaholic.

   By midafternoon, my husband was bugging me to leave the keyboard and spend the rest of the day with him. I had gotten so much writing done that I felt a break was well deserved. After a bit of makeup and some new clothes on, we headed up to Mount Sunapee, where there was a small festival going on.
   We rode on the ski tram all the way to the top and then just stared out at the beautiful views that surrounded us. We could see all the way to the Presidential Mountain Range up north. Then we had some fair food and listened to a fantastic Blues band. Dr. Harps Blues Revue. The lead singer plays an amazing harmonica and I believe you can check them out on MySpace.
   We stopped to check on our boat on the way home and decided to go have a martini across the street. Ladies, if you ever need your husbands to do something they hate. Give them a martini. My husband HATES Mexican food but after the martini we headed off for a fantastic Mexican dinner. He even bought me an ice cream on the way home.

   We had such a nice afternoon. Tomorrow, after we pick our son up at his friend's house, I believe we are going back to Mount Sunapee to ride the tram again.

Adios Muchachos!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

17 Again

   I just finished cleaning the house and feel exhausted. It should not take all your energy to vacuum or dust and clean the bathrooms. Granted we do have three dogs that love nothing better than to shed but really, I just did the house from top to bottom on Friday.

   I am still in the process of getting all the beds finished. I am just waiting for the blankets to dry so I can get them back onto the beds and I am wiped out. Wish I had a genie to grant me the wish of a house cleaner so I could sit back with a box of truffles and watch movies all day.
   I do not get where that everlasting amount of energy that I used to have disappeared to. Wherever it went, it took my metabolism with it. I watch my body and skin taking on all these new textures, shapes, and wonder who in God's name is that looking back at me in the mirror. Even my brain seems to be forgetting why I walked from one room to the other, which is weird because in my head I still feel twenty. What happened?

   There was a time when I could go to work, come home, clean my house, cook dinner, and then go out with the girls all night. I ate everything I wanted, weighed nothing, and still had it in me to get up before the sun the next morning and make it to work earlier than need be.
  I love my family and animals tremendously but boy, I would love to have my old mind, body and energy back for just one day. One hour of younger woman to go please!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Winning Season

   Good Morning to everyone who has read this blog including my friends in Russia and Germany. It is wonderful to see such a response come through when I log in to my blog.

   The Quiz Show blog was a huge hit and I would like to thank everyone who posted answers. Barbara G. obviously likes her movies as much as I. She answered almost all of the questions correctly. Barbara G. is a smart cookie. Here are the answers for all the other inquiring minds.
1. Caddyshack – 1980, starring Chevy Chase and Bill Murray. What type of candy bar was mistaken for a poop in the pool? A Baby Ruth

2. It's A Wonderful Life – 1946, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. What is the last line of this movie? The actual last line to this movie is "That's right, that's right, Atta boy Clarence."

3. The Shining – 1980, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. What was the name of Danny Torrance's imaginary friend? Tony

4. The Wizard of Oz – 1939, starring Judy Garland and Ray Bolger. What was Dorothy's last name? Dorothy Gale

5. The Princess Bride – 1987, starring Robin Wright and Cary Elwes. Inigo Montoya was searching for the man who killed his father. What oddity did the man who killed his father have? He had six fingers on one hand.

6. Twister – 1996, starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton. What was the nickname of the instrument used to gather pertinent data the storm chasers were trying to launch? The machine was nicknamed Dorothy.

7. Rebecca – 1940, starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. What is Joan Fontaine's character's name? Her name is never mentioned in either the book or the movie. She was known only as the second Mrs. De Winter.

8. Young Frankenstein – 1974, starring Gene Wilder and Teri Garr. What happened every time someone mentioned Frau Blucher's name? The Horses whinnied every time her name is mentioned.

9. Titanic – 1997, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. What was the name of the necklace given to Rose DeWitt Bukater? The Heart of the Sea/Ocean.

10. Monty Python And The Holy Grail – 1974 starring Graham Chapman and John Cleese. Finish this sentence; We are the knights who say …? We are the knights who say "Ni."

           Today will be my first time in two weeks that I will finally have a chance to sit and work on my stories and I am very excited. My little brain cells have been working very hard to remember everything I want to get down on paper.
    Have a great day (it is not raining yet) and keep a look out for the next trivia quiz on some of the classic books we all know and love. Take care!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quiz Show

One of my favorite things to do is watch movies. You may have noticed that almost all of my blogs are named after movies or famous lines from movies. Since today is such a wonderful chilly, rainy day I thought that instead of my usual blog I would give a small movie trivia quiz. If you know, some or all of the answers then below the post is a button to click for leaving comments. Leave your answers and your first name and I will post who did the best.

1.       Caddyshack – 1980, starring Chevy Chase and Bill Murray. What type of candy bar was mistaken for a poop in the pool?

2.       It's A Wonderful Life – 1946, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. What is the last line of this movie?

3.       The Shining – 1980, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. What was the name of Danny Torrance's imaginary friend?

4.       The Wizard Of Oz – 1939, starring Judy Garland and Ray Bolger. What was Dorothy's last name?

5.       The Princess Bride – 1987, starring Robin Wright and Cary Elwes. Inigo Montoya was searching for the man who killed his father. What oddity did the man who killed his father have?

6.       Twister – 1996, starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton. What was the nickname of the instrument used to gather pertinent data the storm chasers were trying to launch?

7.       Rebecca – 1940, starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. What is Joan Fontaine's character's name?

8.       Young Frankenstein – 1974, starring Gene Wilder and Teri Garr. What happened every time someone mentioned Frau Blucher's name?

9.       Titanic – 1997, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. What was the name of the necklace given to Rose DeWitt Bukater?

10.   Monty Python And The Holy Grail – 1974 starring Graham Chapman and John Cleese. Finish this sentence; We are the knights who say …?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love

  I have not written on my blog or worked on any of my stories since Saturday and I feel as if I have let myself down. For those of you who read my last blog you will know that my in-laws were up visiting for awhile, well they have since left but then we had my favorite Jewish holiday to prepare for.

   Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) started on Wednesday night of this week and we had seven people (was supposed to be ten but a few people didn’t make it due to illness) in all for dinner. My dearest friend came over and we spent the day cooking for this wonderful holiday.

   The menu started with appetizers, my husband’s favorite, chopped liver and crackers, pastry puffs stuffed with sausage, peppers, onions and cheese and scallion rice pancakes served with a cucumber yogurt dip. The main meal was two roasted chickens which I had koshered for 24 hours ahead of time. This makes the bird so juicy and delicious. Skirt steak pinwheels that where rolled with a garlic butter, spinach and provolone cheese, scalloped, cheesy potatoes, a brussel sprout hash with bacon pieces and onions all sautéed together, spatzle which is kind of like a German gnocchi and we added Swiss cheese and sautéed onions and of course dinner rolls.

   For dessert, Renee and I made a torte consisting of layers of ginger cake with a pumpkin, cream cheese filling and whipped cream. We topped the whole creation with very thin ginger cookies and were amazed at how beautiful and delicious this came out.

  The meal came out fantastic and everybody overate.

  Yesterday we went to Temple for the Rosh Hashanah service which was very enjoyable. We do not attend temple very often but we are always left with such a good feeling when we do attend.

  Gosh, I love food! Have a great day and if you’re hungry I still have a few leftovers!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

   This weekend we have my in-laws up for a visit. So many hours will be spent in the kitchen cooking. My mother in-law and I work well in the kitchen together and have many creative ideas together.

   My mother in-law, Louise, is 88 years of age and just a little bitty Sicilian woman. She is the sweetest person in the whole world and an amazing cook. She wakes up every morning at about 4:30 am and goes straight to the kitchen where she spends most of the day cooking.
   Now my father in-law sits in his chair the whole day to catch up on the daily events and yells, "Louise, Louise, get me something to drink." or "Louise, Louise, get me something to eat." This tiny woman who stands about 4 feet 8 inches then gets his food and drink and shuffles all the way to their family room. When I say shuffles, I mean shuffles. Her steps probably measure at one inch at a time.

  One day, we received a phone call from Aaron, my father in-law, saying that she had lost her mind. Aaron said that Louise was upset with him and was chasing him around the house with a kitchen knife. Chasing was the word he used. Paul and I just looked at each other. "Really, she was chasing you?" However, he sticks with that.

Have a great Saturday

Thursday, September 22, 2011

All The Pretty Horses

  Last night at about 2:30 am, our dog Butch started growling. My husband told him to be quiet since our dogs have a tendency to growl at every leaf that falls off a tree. Then Butch started barking. My husband got up and looked out our window, which overlooks the driveway. He saw a large black shape and told me to go turn on the spotlight quickly.

   As I was running to the outdoor light switch, I heard the clip clop of hooves beating on the asphalt. Stupidly, I thought, there must a moose in our driveway. Then it dawned on me that moose do not wear shoes. At the same time, my husband yelled out that the horses had broken loose.
   Throwing on some clothes, I ran downstairs and started turning on all the outdoor lights. Paul was still upstairs trying to get dressed and find a large flashlight. We were trying to figure out if we had a rope that we could use as a lead when I saw the four-foot dog leash hanging on the bench.

   Now let me explain something before I continue. We have two Percheron horses. They both weigh over 2400 lbs. and stand at the withers (the highest part, at the back of the base of the neck) at about 6 feet tall. So, here I am, standing outside with a four-foot dog leash and watching my two gentle giants eat my front lawn.
   I walked over to the first one (whom I prayed was Bart, since he is the easiest to halter) and slipped the loop of the dog leash over his big fat neck. Paul came out and saw me standing there with less than two feet of leash left and laughed. Hey, it worked.

   Paul then led Bart down the driveway towards the barn. I kept close behind but not to close because I know Chief was going to stampede his way back to the barn. Chief is the youngest (the troublemaker who broke the field fence and climbed through) and has to be right up his brother's you know what. He did his full gallop, so much so, that we could see the sparks from his shoes hitting the driveway.
   Overall, got the boys back into the coral, fed them a ton of food shut the gate to the field and then for good measure turned on the electric fence. That will teach them.

   That was our fun night, what was yours? Please feel free to leave comments at the bottom of the post.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ghost In The Machine


   It seems that my new computer is being a very bad boy. I have spent the last five hours trying to get my desktop back to normal after my computer decided it was going to change the whole screen. Then I decided to run my anti-virus that Best Buy convinced me was the best. Turns out the anti-virus that took hours for the company to load has also disappeared.

   I am so ready to throw the machine out the window. I can not believe I used to program these things. Now, I just wish I had a heavy mallet to on the little cherub. I could then take it to the geek squad and tell them the sad story of how the computer exploded right before my eyes.

Oh well!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Working Girl

Monday, what a horrible day, it just messes up the whole week. I am lucky in one respect that I do not have to be in work until 11:30. On the other hand, though, I will not be leaving work until 7:30. At that point, when I get home it is too late to have dinner.

  Tonight starts off the new fall season of certain TV shows and I am looking forward to catching Two and a Half Men. I am sure the show will be just as funny without Charlie. We will see.
   For now though, I have to get back to my computer and do some writing. This is only time I will have until Wednesday to get anything done. Tomorrow, I am at work by 6:30am.
   I am at a great place in "Last Bus to Nowhere" and truly enjoy creating this story. Too bad that work messes up a good week.
   Hi Ho, it's off to work I go.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Four Seasons

   After vacuuming the house, I went outside to sit for a moment and what a glorious sight lay ahead of me. The leaves are starting to fall. Then I actually took notice of the mountain peaks that we view from our porch. The wonderful reds and yellows are beginning to peek through.

   I love this season and am so happy that summer is finally over. My son loves the summer but give me the fresh, crisp air of fall, winter, and spring. Does anything beat layering clothes and sitting by the fire. Chilly nights also make the best sleeping weather.
   This also means to take out the crockpot and start making those heavy stews and delicious soups. The kind of meal, which when served with a fresh loaf of bread makes the perfect dinner and leftovers. Love this time of year.
   Enjoy the day!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Kids Are Alright

   Today being Saturday, you would think that it is a time to relax. That's what I plan to do right after I finish doing the laundry, clean the kitchen and the bathrooms. I have this silly cold and wanted to sleep in late but at 8:00 sharp, the sound of new roofing being attached to my bedroom rang throughout the mountains. Then every few minutes either my husband or Rocko (our employee) would throw something from the roof, which if you have never heard this, does make quite a noise. Of course, this set all three dogs into a chorus of barking.

   I just finished making the three boys breakfast, striping and remaking their beds. Boys are so unaware that they are existing in a mess. You literally take your life into your hands just walking into the room. Why does it always smell of feet? Aired that out and sprayed half a bottle of Febreze. Febreze take me away! Upon leaving that room, I then realized that I had collected so many towels, shirts, socks and shorts that, Yay, I could run yet another load of laundry.
   Sorry, had to leave for a moment, my son decided that since the dishwasher was running he would just leave the dirty dishes (these are extra dishes, I already did the breakfast dishes) in the sink. He told me people do not wash dishes with a sponge they put them in the dishwasher. Then why do we have a drain board?

   College is in five years. Oh dear lord, I am in trouble. Well, God did say go forth and procreate but he forgot to mention the maid/short order cook you need when they turn into teenagers.
  Have A Great Day!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trip to Bountiful

   Today was an amazing day. I was able to get "The Hand That Beats Thee" on to another eBook store so now it is available in many different formats. I was so excited to find this website and have the rights to do anything I wanted with my short story. Nothing worse than being locked into a company and not have control over your own work.

   I sat down early this morning to work on "The Wolves of the Iniakuk" but did not get much done. There is situation in the story that is not sitting well in my head so I need to figure this out before I can continue with it.
  So, while I contemplate the ins and outs of that scenerio, I worked on another short story that I have lying in wait for some attention. This one is called "Last Bus to Nowhere" and that is call I can say about that for now.
   Have to go, a short story is screaming for me to work on it. Toodle-oo!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Burlesque

  Dragging my rear-end after two hard days at work, last night I treated myself to climbing into bed early and watching a movie. The brain cells were not working all that well so I chose something light, Burlesque.
  Here is a movie that is simple yet enjoyable. It does not rank right up there for best script or even acting but if entertainment is what you are looking for then definitely watch Burlesque.
  Christina Aguilera stars as Ali, a young woman from Iowa who wants nothing more than to be on the stage. She finds herself in Los Angeles outside a club. The glimmering lights and exotic costumes of the club Burlesque lure her in. After watching one show, she begins to wheedle her way into Tess (whom is played by Cher), the club owners heart.

  The music is upbeat and fun. Cher sings a couple of songs, but it is Christina Aguilera, who carries this movie. That girl can belt out a song!
  Even if you do not enjoy either one of the stars, take a stab at Burlesque. Very upbeat and very entertaining.