Monday, December 15, 2008

The best 24 in a long time!

I just had the best 24 hours that I have had in a long time. It starts out with me going to my sister's house last night and buying a paper, to look at the ads. I bought my sister a pair of fuzzy cozy socks that I am not sure that she was thrilled with, but said that she loved them. Hung out there for a few hours then headed back to Pittsburgh.
Left and headed home, where I had a great night with the roommates, snow battling and laughing.
Somewhere in there (sorry I'm leaving all the details out but this IS the internet) I stumbled upon the ability to make a large purchase. Immediately plans began running through my head... what do I do with this new found equity -- and then I remembered my sister, her three children, and the pathetic digital camera that she has from 2002... You have to love it and squeeze it just to get it to take a picture. And then I remembered how much she loves my camera and always says how nice that it is. And so it was decided.

So as I began shopping for a new digital camera today, I started with the ones that were on sale to see if there were any deals. There was a nice looking Kodak for a good price, but I haven't used Kodak before and I wasn't sure if that is what I wanted. Finally, I settled on a Sony H10 -- just enough bells and whistles for her to learn, good quality, decent price. After visiting three stores and giving a nice older couple (headed to Alaska on a cruise) a quick 101 in digital camera information (they did decide on the Kodak by the way) I landed at Best Buy saying "pack it up I'll take it, and the memory card, and the warranty." **Always get the extended warranty on digital cameras**

Then, I was off to Shaler Middle School because my sister and her family were at a wrestling tournament there. But they weren't there... So then I was off to her house, which is about an hour away, because Lord knows that this couldn't wait. (I'm terrible at keeping presents a secret.)

So I finally get my sister on the phone and she sounds worried, because I have been trying to get ahold of her. We decide to meet at Sheets. I make her close her eyes in her car and set the camera in the box. I will NEVER forget the look on her face when she opened her eyes. After explaining how I came into being able to do this for her, I hopped in her car and we went shopping. Which was funny because we were both so dazed from happiness that we both kept running into things. Finally I told her - look, you need this stuff you have to shop! And we laughed. She called her husband and he was happy. We showed the kids and they were excited as I quietly whispered in my nephew's ear "It's better than my camera." So that he could understand it in 10 year old language - then he was excited. It was a little daunting because we had to wait for the lithium ion battery to fully charge (which felt like days) but it was SO worth it when the light on the charger went out and we got to play with the camera. My sister and I just had the best time in the world sitting on the couch taking picture after picture of the Christmas Tree, because the kids were long in bed by the time the battery was done.

Since I am the youngest in my family, often I feel like everyone is taking care of me. It was so great to be the one to give instead of accept this time. My sister, God bless her, offered to take my old camera and give me the new one, but I told her the truth. "Nope, you deserve the new, shiny, just-took-the-stickers-off-of-it camera. And she does.

There was enough happy in this day to last through 1000 bad days. It will make my day every time I think of her using it, and it will make her day every time she does. What a GREAT day... I am thankful for my family and for the opportunity to make them genuinely happy by being able to do it.

:-) Michele

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where's the Pause Button?

My friend Melaine tells me pretty often that more happens in three hours of my life, than happens to her in three weeks... I don't know if that is usually true, but in the case of the last 24, it is! I began yesterday morning feeling tired (because I got a second job that I like to pretend that I hate, but secretly love) and catching a bit of the news before dashing out the door to work. On the news, I saw a fire in Mt. Washington overnight... I paused for a second and then turned the TV off as I had to go, but not before I thought to myself, wow... I hope my friend from work is okay then nah... can't be. When I got into work I found out a different co-worker, sadly, had passed away.

Almost immediately after I found out my co-worker and friend (the one I had though of earlier) lost everything he had in a fire, but not the one that was on the news. Saddened and puzzled, because I was told "not to say anything" (Because sometimes that's how work politics go...) I was now upset for him but couldn't say anthing to him. Wierd...

Moving forward with my day, I did some late home visits and the mother that's never there, wasn't there again... no surprise and then over to my Dad's house to pick up some mail. While there, I called him to see where he was and he was on his way home from hunting. Like the good daughter I am, I said I would stay till he got home, and help him unload the car. Knowing that he would be exhausted and sore. However, there was some left over birthday cake on the stove, which seemed like a great reward for my good-daughter efforts, so I helped myself to a piece.

As I am eating the half-stale cake from my favorite bakery, while sitting in the recliner, watching the show House... I - began - to - choke! And what I can tell you is this, there are two types of choking, the type where you think to yourself "wrong pipe, arms up" and then there is the type that you think to yourself "holy shit, I'm in trouble here". I didn't know this until yesterday, but believe me when I tell you it's true, and the type of choking I was doing, was the latter! My immediate response was to run to the garbage can and cough... HARD. Finally...I threw up --- and pee'd, (which wasn't humiliating at all!!) but I still wasn't getting any air. I thought of calling someone but what would I say "Ehh Ehh?" So I threw up again alas and pee'd again :-( but then, I had air. My main thought though the whole process was "Oh my God, he's going to come home from hunting and find me dead, on birthday cake." And if you can't see the levels of irony in that sentence, I can't help you with it.

So me and my pee pee pants helped dad unload when he got home, went home, changed and went back out to the grocery store. While there I picked up a jar of marinara sauce for myself... and then I dropped it, and it exploded, and I was on the phone. So now, I'm that asshole in isle 5 who just dropped a can of spaghetti sauce while on my cell phone. Being the good samaratin I am, I went to the front counter, while asking another patron to "watch" the explosion I had left on the floor (as though someone could miss it!), and offered to clean up the mess. The woman was very nice and promptly asked someone else to do it. Not me, not her... that works for me. :-) So I slink back to the isle and try to look unassuming and innocent as I get a second jar of sauce (this time with no phone and a much firmer grip) and I proceed to the checkout line.

In the checkout line I get behind a man who is suffering from a severe handicap. My first response was to get out of line because I knew it was going to take forever (it was the self check-out) but then I thought to myself, "people must do this to him all the time... no, I am going to stay." I considered asking him for help but then I thought, well maybe he doesn't want help... since he got in the checkout line. Determined not to look annoyed... I stood there, glancing at magazines, offering help at two points (once I was wrong!), and being patient... for 45 minutes. Just long enough to hear the unfortunate soul who had cleaned up a whole jar of spaghetti sauce that some idiot dropped, return to the front of the store and vocalize his displeasure with it. I was done with the good samaratin act at this point, I finally changed lines as the man in front of me was packing up his groceries.

I headed home and cooked some cheese sticks for myself (with spaghetti sauce for dip) and in the process I burned my hand so bad that it didn't blister, it just melted off. Awesome. Fell asleep on the couch, missed Boston Legal, woke up when it was over and then couldn't fall asleep until 3 am. Man... am I glad yesterday is over!

Whew! Sorry for the long post! ~Michele~

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cue the Holidays

Somehow, Thanksgiving always symbolizes the start of the Holiday's for me. Working at the mall, one would have thought that Christmas follows Halloween directly, and that there are not two months between the two holidays. I am excited that I only have a three day work week this week. Somehow having days off at the end of the week makes the week seem shorter but alas... having a day off at the beginning of the week always seems to make the week feel longer when you finally get there.

I love Sundays :-) It has fast become my favorite day of the week.

I have some personal traditions to go along with the family ones, that I try to stick to every year. On Thanksgiving, I go to the bar the night before and see everyone from high school who is in town... on Thanksgiving I eat with my family, tell the same old stories, and sometimes play cards. As the night gets later I meet up with friends "my other family" and go to see a movie, late at night. This year's pick is going to be the movie Twilight, the new Vampire movie. On Friday morning it's time to get up out of bed and go shopping. I rarely buy anything on Black Friday for some reason, but I love being out in the hustle and bustle of it all. I think it's funny how upset and crabby people get... who wants to feel like that while they're buying gifts for loved ones in the spirit of holiday cheer?

What are your holiday traditions? What's your favorite part?


Monday, November 17, 2008


So they say that cleanliness is like Godliness... in my family, this is true. So, as I prepare for my Tastefully Simple party tomorrow, I am both exhausted and satisfied. My house is clean. If you drop something on the floor, feel free to eat it anyway... really! My roomates are pretty sure that I suffer from OCD when it comes to cleaning, and I'm sure they're greatful for it. I think it is something else though, I think I am finally growing up. I recently moved out of my parent's home and though it may sound silly, it feels good to clean. This is my house, my sanctuary, the place that I pay for, cherish, and value - and I like it clean. :-)

What else I think is funny is that I don't have any readers yet. I have one potential reader, but I keep not telling her the website. I think I'll fess up tomorrow.

Good night

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Car

So... I recently moved out of my house, into an apartment, bought a car, and finished getting my master's degree. Now, I don't have enough income to go any further until I catch up a bit and that leaves me feeling a little stuck. The upside is that I love the apartment that I live in, the roommates are good, and the freedom is amazing. Finally, I am starting to feel like an adult in the world. Someone who contributes things that are worthwhile, rather than just drifting from one mindless activity to the next. So... here's to being an adult... I have to go, I have laundry to do!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

First Post

A marble jar is where I keep my marbles... so that they are not lost.

To 'lose one's marbles' is to lose one's mind. This late 19th century American meaning has now been superseded by the many variants of 'one brick short of a load', 'the light's on but there's no one at home' etc. In those later expressions the literal meaning of 'load', 'light' etc don't have any special significance - the point is that the person in question has, as in another earlier variant, 'a bit missing'. Perhaps though 'marbles' meant 'mind' or 'wits' before 'lose one's marbles' was coined. That's worth investigation at least, so let's have a go.
The word 'marbles' has had many meanings. Of course, marbles are the little clay or glass balls that children use to play the eponymous game. From the mid 19th century 'marbles' was also used to mean 'personal effects', 'goods', or more generally 'stuff'. This derives from the French word 'meubles', which means 'furniture'. From the 1920s onward two US expressions have become established - 'to pick up the marbles' and 'to pick up one's marbles'. These mean 'to carry off the honours or prizes' and 'to withdraw from activity or game and cause it to cease' (like the UK variant 'take one's ball home'). 'Marbles' also meant testicles and has been used that way since at least the mid 19th century.
Despite these many meanings, there doesn't seem to be any reason to connect any of them to the 'losing one's mind' meaning. It has been suggested that the expression derives from the Elgin Marbles - the collection of sculptures, some from the Parthenon Frieze, which were taken from Athens by Lord Elgin in 1806. The supposition is that the expression derives from the loss of the artworks by the Greeks, or their subsequent loss at sea when the ship that was transporting them sank - although they were later recovered. Again, there's no evidence to support this idea.
It's more likely that 'marbles' was coined as a slang term meaning 'wits/common sense' for no particular reason. This uage begam in the us in the late 19th century and the Ohio newspaper The Portsmouth Times, reported a story in April 1898 that used marbles that way:
"Prof. J. M. Davis, of Rio Grande college, was selected to present J. W Jones as Gallia's candidate, but got his marbles mixed and did as much for the institution of which he is the noted head as he did for his candidate."
By 1927, an edition of American Speech defined the term unambiguously:
"Marbles, doesn't have all his (verb phrase), mentally deficient. 'There goes a man who doesn't have all his marbles.'"

Welcome to my marble jar - Michele