Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Night Out


Sergio & I had a lovely night out last Monday. We went to the Make A Wish Evening with The Colts. We were UAW Region 3 guest. As usual, great company and great food.

I felt beautiful in a borrowed dress from Ms Sheri, who is wonderful about keeping me in the right attire. (Somehow I felt prettier than I looked).

When they started the 'Live" bidding, I listened to Dallas Clark tell us all how we needed to dig deep into our pockets, about how each "Wish" cost about $6,000, and he wanted someone to start the night off right with a $6,000 wish right now. About that time, I stopped paying attention and noticed a tickle where my bangs were brushing into my eye.

I made a fatal mistake.

I raised my hand to brush my bangs.

OOOPS!

Dallas points to me, says we have a WISH GRANTED! Thank you for your generosity! Please raise your bid card so we can see your number.

I froze.

Again he ask to see the bid card. I want to turn and ask Sergio what to do. I am frozen except for my heart which is beating like a scared rabbit.

Then out of the corner of my eye I see Mo stand (Sergio's boss sitting two seats from me), I hear his voice & turn as he is waving his bid card and tearing up about the Make A Wish Foundation.

I am so relieved! Dallas was talking to Mo not me!

I sat on my hands for the rest of the night.

Howe Block Party





Saturday night's Howe HS Block Party was a success. Although I left Sergio at home with his back out, I ventured out without him. I love any opportunity to see my sister Julie. Also, knowing that I would run into some old school friends was exciting. Just seeing others reconnect was the most fun. Watching my Sis with her girlfriends was a hoot. Hearing "Audio Diner" and "Big D" (schoolmates that play wonderful music) was a delight as always. I got to see some oldies that I will always love.

The night was beautiful, with a light crisp breeze. Several of the local shops stayed open for us. I of course was very grateful for Lazy Daze, as I am the biggest coffee fan. Tables were on the street. Police blocked the road, and the night was just wonderful.

I cut the night short. I was missing my Sergio, and feeling guilty. He was so looking forward to the night too. I got to see many of his oldies. He would have completely the evening. I am sure he would have enjoyed it.

We would have stayed late and laughed all night.

The Big Bailout

I am very concerned about our current economic crisis. It is difficult for me to articulate my feelings and discuss politics, economy and worldly issues. I have always been intimidated and fear not saying what I mean. But, I am pissed and want to say something.

I am watching the Today Show and something said struck a nerve. The question was..."why should the American that pays his Mortgage, debts and has not fallen into the credit mess, have to bail out his neighbor that LIED on his mortgage application and taken an advantage of the system?"

As a Realtor for the past 8 years, I can tell you first handed that I have seen this coming. Not because of people lying on applications but because of Lending Predators and misguidance. Dozens & dozens of times I have gone on Market Analysis and found that a homeowner owed more than the home value.

I have even been in a situation where when refinancing after an adjustable rate matured, the lender tried to get me to refinanced at 125%. Why would I do that? Well, if I didn't know better, this lender was pretty convincing. I can see where someone would, thinking that they could pay off loans, and recap on the interest of the home loan. Then sell the home later at the new higher value that the lender assures you it will be worth.

I had to take a break from the real estate profession. I am so depressed from it . Particularly the past couple of years.

I know of 10 families that have had to go into foreclosure or bankruptcy (or both) in the past couple of years. I know of 4 others that are on the brink of going into it. These are well respected people that for various reasons, fell into this tangled mess. These are well educated people that never saw it coming. It only takes one tiny error or hiccup that one did not calculate.

So, before you go putting down or blaming the neighbor, remember: unless you have walked in their shoes, you have no idea what how and why they are in that situation.

I don't have the answers. I just pray that we get better leadership and we work together to build this country back up.

My Princess




Homecoming has come and gone. Our Annie looked lovely and had the time of her life. Although she did not win the title of NPHS Homecoming Queen she had fun and enjoyed being on court.

All week she participated in events, dressed up in silly outfits and made memories that will last forever. She was a Ninja, a Tiger and a Superhero. She bravely wore costumes and participated in the Battle of the Classes "Tug of War". Seniors won, of course. She also participated in relays, tail gate parties and sleepovers. By Saturday, she was so tired she slept a good part of the day.

She will always be our Princess. She has had her own tiara for several years.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Friends Leave Footprints

~I believe this is a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt~

"Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends leave footprints in your heart.
To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.
Anger is only one letter short of danger.
If someone betrays you once, it is his fault; if he betrays you twice, it is your fault.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
He who loses money, loses much; he who loses a friend, loses much more; he who loses faith, loses all.
Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.
Learn from the mistakes of others. You can not live long enough to make them all for yourself.
Friends, you and me...you bring another friend... and then there were three.. we start our group... our circle of friends... and like that circle... there is no beginning or end...
Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why they call it a present."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Foreign Exchange Students


This is a photo of Sheri, a foreign exchange student, and me. The Exchange student is in the middle (that big hair girl is Sheri). I can't remember the Exchange students name. She stayed with me for a few nights during something we were involved with in Student Council. She was a very interesting girl. Strange to us, but interesting.

I remember trying to talk my folks into getting involved in an exchange program hosting a student for the year. This was a sample if you will. The girl kept talking about sex and kindof freaked us all out. I never asked about hosting again.

Sheri & I had several friends that were foreign exchange students. We befriended a girl and "Americanized" her having her pierce her ears. She said she felt like a cow, where I come from this is how we mark our farm animals! Sheri and I still laugh about that.

My niece is enjoying her year in Germany. I read her blog and love hearing of her adventure. I could never go so far for so long! Michelle is picking up the culture and adjusting well. Reading her blog reminds me of us back in the 70's taking our exchange students everywhere with us embracing them into our lives.

I hope that Michelle is emerged into friendships as well as the culture. I have lifelong memories with the friends I made so long ago.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Time To Change The Background Again!

As much as I LOVED the background on the previous blog post, I must say Bye Bye to that pretty swirly background with the strong colors. Apparently, my number one fan just can not read it. The faint print behind the font makes it difficult for her to read my entries.

Yes, I changed it once before for her. My original Blog was stark black background with light fonts. It gave her a headache. Begged me to change. So I did. She LOVED the blue background that I briefly had. But it bored me. Then I discovered "The Cutest Blog on the Block". I really loved that last background. My #1 fan thought it was very pretty but just couldn't read through it.

SO... I love this fan more and it had to go. Seriously, she is my biggest Cheerleader ( with the littlest butt..sorry, inside joke).

Whatever she wants, I will try to give her. With resistance, but, I usually cave. I value her opinion more than anyone and she always sets me straight and looks out for my best interest. Darn Best Friend! I would also do this for the other Best Friend, but she is more reserved with the complaints. She's my other biggest Cheerleader, but with a more "normal" butt. I promise to explain D.M!

Please, let me know if this meets with your approval Ms Riley Girl. I tried to pick a happy medium. Notice the crisp background where the Blog writing goes? I expect you to comment soon.

I love You!

Friday, September 19, 2008

September 11th

September 11th marks more to me than the anniversary of 9/11. First and foremost it will always be my Grandma Kitty's Birthday. I think of her first.

Second, my cousin and her husband worked at the Trade Center. So my concern that tragic day was very personal.
I remember calling Sergio in to the living room and watching it together, holding hands.
Our conversation went like this:
Sergio: Are you sure Janet & Patrick work @ The Trade Center?
Me: Yes, A large accounting firm around the 70th floor.
Sergio: Honey, I am sure they are fine.
Me: Look at it burning!
Sergio: They will get out. We don't even know if they work in that building. I bet they are in the 2nd bldg.
Me: Oh My God! It's collapsing!
Sergio: Janet's not in that bldg.
Then, as you know, the second building collapsed.

It would be hours before I would know their fate. I had to go to the office as I was in charge of our Real Estate Office, with our Broker out of town. There, my friend Carolyn & I held on to each other in fear with the rest of the country. Her son was in the Army stationed in Europe. She was terrified for him. We stayed tuned to the television.

I soon found out that Janet was fine. She had just transferred out of that office weeks earlier. It would be another four hours till we found out about Patrick. Luckily he was on the first floor Starbucks at that fatal moment. He was unable to reach Janet though for several hours to assure her he got out. I can only imagine.

It is so unbelievable how vulnerable we as a country were. How horrific we lost so many lives and not just in one location. Lest we forget the two planes that crashed in the Pentagon and Shanksville.

I agree with Sergio about his thoughts on the memorial site in NY. Rebuild the Trade Center Buildings. Honor those who died showing we can not be torn down.

I pray that we never ever see such tragedy in America again.

Simple Rules

Okay. I try not to be anal. I try not to be controlling. BUT there are some simple RULES OF LIFE everybody should just get. Can we give out instruction manuals? Here is what I am complaining about:

IN PUBLIC:
1. You are not allowed to touch yourself inappropriately. I don't care if you have an "itch". Go to the restroom in do it in private.
2. Stay out of my personal space. Especially if you are a stranger. ARMS LENGTH. Get the hell back!
3. Get off my Ass. That personal space goes for driving too. Don't tailgate me. I am liable to slam on my brakes just because you are pissing me off.
4. You are not ever ever ever allowed to clip your nails in public. To me that is like picking your nose. I don't want to see your clippings flick ever where.
5. Cashiers, please don't flip through my magazine I am purchasing. That isn't for your pleasure. And frankly I am not interested in your opinion about who is on the cover.
6. Parents, take your whining, crying child out of the restaurant. I didn't come out to dinner to hear this. If I could teach manners to my children, you can too. Going to eat is a treat, lets keep it that way for ALL of us.
7. Co-workers, neighbors, & acquaintances. stop gossiping. I don't care nor need to know this information about others. It just makes me wonder what you talk about me to others.

AT HOME:
1. Pick up YOUR stuff. If you put there, you pick it up. We do not have maid service here.
2. Please close the toilet lid. The pets think they can drink from it & there is a cleaner that can make them sick in there.
3. DON'T use my towel.
4. If you can rinse a dish off and set it on the counter, why can't you set it "in" the dishwasher?
5. Empty water bottles go in the trash can, not where ever you finished drinking it.
6. Wipe down the sink when you finish using it.
7. The pets would love for you to feed them & clean the liter box. They think Mom shouldn't always do it.
8. Make your bed!
9. Turn things off when you are done.
10. STAY OFF MY COMPUTER

These are just a few simple rules that Everyone should live by. Got any to add?

Suicidal

adj.1. inclined to commit suicide 2. of suicide. 3. self-destructive; rash. from the Pocket Oxford Dictionary

I don't think that is the best definition, but it comes from my dictionary that is always by my side.

Suicidal. Scary word. Familiar word.

I come from a family that has many suicidal attempts, few "succeed". I think suicide is often more of a cry for help not a reach for the end. I guess I feel that way because of the history I know.

Without identifying these family members here is what I have known.

A was so unhappy with her life she sat her daughter in the bathroom with her. Sat up against the door and slit both wrist. The terrified daughter couldn't stop her Mothers bleeding and escaped out the window to get a neighbor's help. She survived.

B was so overwhelmed when she was told that her son was arrested for selling drugs at a grade school, she felt responsible and took a knife and sliced up her pain in her gut. She survived.

C was overwhelmed by her life unraveling. She couldn't take it anymore and overdosed on anxiety medicine. She survived.

D takes the prize. One time, D was so frustrated with his broken body, his broken spirit and his feeling of inadequate. He overdosed big time. But, in an afterthought, he realized his young daughters would find him first. He was able to call 911 before collapsing. Another time, D was frustrated again. This time he tried to hang himself. The shower pole at the motel snapped. A third time D tried the overdosing again, didn't work. Just made him very sick. The last time D attempted. He first made a call to one of his adult daughters. Told her how horrible she was and how much pain she caused everyone. He then told her that she was responsible for anything bad that would happen to him. He then drove his car into a train trusses. he succeeded in only mutilating his body more and causing him more pain. He wife shared the pictures of the bloody car with that daughter during his surgery. He succeeded in hurting the daughter more than he could ever imagine. She knows he didn't mean those words. She knows he was sick. But the words haunt her today.

E Sweet loving E. Always the lost child. Just looking for some love. Tragically it did not come from his parents. The rest of the family could never replace what was missing in his heart. His one and only attempt, left him in his front yard with a terrified wife & son behind a closed door. He shot himself in the chest with a riffle, and bleed to death a horrific death.

I could go on. More family members and friends too. I sadly miss. I wish I could have made things better. I understand.

Suicidal thoughts come easier for some than others.

Visions of cutting into ones wrist. The feel of a gun in hand. The thoughts of how easy to just sharply turning the wheel and crashing your vehicle. Thoughts of mixing bleach and ammonia to that potent mixture.

The feeling of making all the bad go away. Feeling spent.

Luckily, some that do feel this way also feel the joy of love. Have family and friends that show they care as well as say it. Having faith and religion can make a difference.

I do think that often the suicidal is about, "Hey! I need some help here! Not Goodbye cruel world!"

Be good to each other. You never know when someone is hurting deep inside. If you are hurting, sharing your feelings with a loved one is way better than sharing the pain when it's too late.

Go Baby Girl!



This is my sweet Baby Girl Annie at around 5 years old. Her version of a Princess. Notice she has a little bit of everything going on. The Mouse ears, Ballet leotard, Dalmatian socks, pink heels, denim purse, and a magic wand. Oh, and you can't forget that incredible smile.

Fast forward thirteen years to today.

She just texted me. She made Homecoming Court.
She is thrilled to be on the court. A couple of weeks ago she mentioned several friends trying to get each other to nominate themselves to court. I asked Annie, "what about you?". She said, "I would love to be on court! But not because I had to tell everyone to nominate and vote for me. I would rather get it without trying to sell myself."

She is at the top of her game. She is a Senior. She is turning 18 next month. She is on the Golf Team. The Tennis Team. She is VP in Student Council. Editor of the Yearbook. SADD. She is applying to colleges.

I hope she wins Homecoming Princess. She deserves the crown. But it is wonderful knowing that even if she doesn't win, she is honored to be a part of it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Favorite Iris


Isn't this splendid? I grew it at the old house. It took me about 4 years to get it right. I got some iris' from two friends flower beds. I tried to blend them to get a new color. It started with liking the colors purple & yellow together. I also planted white ones in the same bed. This beauty and a couple more sprouted this year.

I just finished transferring some into a new spot at the new house. I am hoping that I will get this blend again. I left most at the old house, just thinned it out for better growth and to take a bit with me. I have my fingers crossed that they will bloom bi-colored again. (At least some of what I transferred!)

Iris' have always been my favorite flower. They are so delicate and fragile. They do not have a lovely fragrance. They just have such a beauty I am drawn to.

Still Trying to Remember to Breathe

I have had a hard couple of weeks. I have much to write, but haven't had the time (and courage).

I am going to make more time for myself. This writing is so soothing. Actually, seeing comments is exhilarating. It makes me feel connected. I am going to try to start writing at least every other day. So, bare with my silly thoughts. Let me get back in the swing, and I will get better.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tough Guys


This is one of my favorite pictures of my Dad. He is the skinny guy on the far right. This was taken in Yokota, Japan in 1956. Dad was just barely 18. He joined the Navy before finishing high school. That's what they did back then. He as well as thousands of other young men served their country and protected our freedom.

Sometimes I think that every young person should go into the service or The Peace Corp. If they were put in a position to see how others live and understand how precious our freedom was they would be much better citizens and live more productive lives. I hate the thought of either of my daughters going into the service but I do wish that they would chose to be involved in some kind of mission work, at least giving up one spring break or summer to give back.

This is a very naive and spoiled generation. We work so hard to give our children a better life but have we taken something away by giving them so much?

I am proud of my daughters. They are wonderful young adults. But, I fear for them and their generation. It is a scary world out there and I don't think they are prepared.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Chaos

Sorry I have been MIA. My life has been complete confusion. I have been chasing my tail trying to complete too many tasks.

We have pretty much moved. I have been sleeping at the new house for two weeks now. We still have a "shitload" of stuff at the old house & I am befuddled at how to get this finished. I have stuff I want to keep, but no where to store. Stuff to give to Goodwill, but hate to give it away. Also I have way too much that needs to be trashed. Alot of clutter. And I really need to CLEAN! The dust bunnies from behind furniture that hasn't been moved in 10 years are more like dust puppies. Hair and all. The Banton house is stuffy & stinky from being closed up without the air on. There is also the sentimental attachment, we have ten wonderful memories raising the girls in this house. I have gotten more emotionally then I expected.

The new house is coming along quite nicely. We still have many updates and corrections to make. Everyday I find a new problem. It is starting to look like home now though. It has been fun trying to find a place for everything, improvising and decorating. I have a ton of stuff stacked in the garage and I can't find several things in the stacks. Slowly it is getting there.

My allergies are killing me! The pollen is bad this year. I have sneezed so much my nose is sore. Plus, the double sneezes make me pee a little! My face itches, and my throat & ears tickle. I am miserable. At least it makes me less focused on the depression. I can't wait for the first frost. That always makes the pollen go away.

I am glad to have my Internet up and running. I have lots to write about but little time. In fact, I must sign off for now, but will try to finish playing catch up this evening.