Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Duck Tale

A few nights ago, I took Max and Emma for their nightly walk around the pond.  The local residents of the pond are a quartet of black and white ducks.  This night, however, there was a mallard interloper in the pond!

As I watched, the quartet chased the mallard across the street to another pond.  Satisfied with their success, they returned to their home pond and proceeded to paddle their way across to the far side.  I continued walking the dogs for another minute or two.

The next thing I see is that same mallard coming back across the street.  But now he brought three of his mallard buddies with him!  They race across the street, down the embankment and start swimming away in the quartet's pond.

On the far side of the pond, I observe the quartet freeze mid-motion.  They saw the mallards invade their pond!!  Moving as one, the four reversed direction and headed full speed towards the mallards.

By this point, I had completely given up walking the dogs and just stood and watched the scene before me.  As I watched the two "gangs" of ducks tussle over territory, I swear I heard the music from West Side Story in my head!!

The mallards were chased back across the street once again.  I watched and immediately tried to decide which were the Sharks and which were the Jets.  I can't wait to see the next act!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What Would You Do?

I've seen this quote everywhere attributed to just about everyone.  "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"

The question itself opens a world of possibilities.  For some, it may be something of a personal nature.  For others, a professional goal.  There are hobbies and extreme sports that people would normally be too fearful to attempt.

The same question can be asked in another way.  "What has fear stopped you from trying?"  It sounds completely different but if you examine the two questions, you come to the same answers.  Does something come immediately to the forefront of your mind?

Today, take one small step to get past that fear.  With my recent divorce, circumstances have hurtled me past certain fears with no other option.  I've learned that you will survive the fear and it's never as bad as you imagined.

So what will you do?


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dinner for Less

With all the media attention on couponing, everyone is pretty familiar with that method of saving on your grocery budget.  Through time and experience, I've learned one sure-fire method for saving money at the dinner table.

Stop being a short-order cook!

A dinner menu for the typical American family should consist of two choices:  Take it or Leave it!!  The amount of extra expense and time spent in trying to cater to individual tastes is astronomical.

When did it become standard practice for a child to demand a separate menu?  Did I miss the evolutionary change where they became the parents and make all the decisions?  While they may not like everything on their plate, it won't kill them to try new foods.  In the end, a parent less stressed by trying to cater to children actually has more time and energy to spend with that same child.

Set your menu for the week.  Do your shopping according to that week's sales and your menu.  Stick to it!!  And watch your time in the kitchen go down while your savings go up.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

With a humble and grateful heart, I spend today in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Weekend Breakfast Treat

A favorite of my combines breakfast with their love of pizza!

Sunny Side Up Pizza


1 12 inch pre-baked pizza crust (I use Boboli)
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
10 strips bacon, fried and crumbled


Place crust on a greased pizza pan.  Using a biscuit cutter, cut six holes evenly spaced around the crust.  Make sure you stay about one inch from the edge.  Remove the circles and save for another use or discard.  Gently break an egg into each hole.  Sprinkle entire crust with bacon pieces and top with shredded cheese.  Bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until eggs are completely set.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Who Gets The Friends?

When you get a divorce, you split your assets, the cash, and the bills.  In some cases, you split visitation with kids and/or pets.  But what about the friends?

With my recent divorce, I actually had to de-friend a couple of people on Facebook.  Not for any reason that has to do with them personally, but the fact that their husbands regularly read their pages.  One friend's husband even goes so far as to post as her on Facebook without informing the other party it isn't her.  Her friends have tried to explain to her that the behavior violates just about every rule of on-line etiquette and is an invasion of privacy for the other person.  My personal assumption is that when I am interacting with you on your page, it is with you.  If I wanted someone else (husband or not) to know that information, I would tell them myself.  Not allowing me to make that decision as to whom I share information with is a violation of not only my privacy but our friendship.

That being said, I haven't heard from either of them since the divorce.  I guess that pretty much says it all.

On the flip side, I have friends who were so amazingly supportive that I am in awe of these women.  In particular, two friends showed up at my house repeatedly to help me pack and to support me.  They took time out of their busy lives to be there when I needed them.  Another flew to Texas just to help me drive to my new home, taking off work and accruing the expense of time and travel.  These women will always be in my heart and there are no words adequate enough to thank them and express what that meant to me.  Especially in light of those who couldn't make the time in their busy social calendars to even bother.

It's when you're down that you truly learn who is standing beside you.  Who got the friends?  In my estimation, I am the luckiest woman alive...I always had them.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Me and My FMP's

I love my stilettos.  Even at the advanced, decrepit age of 50...nothing makes me feel more feminine than putting on a pair of high heels.  It's a girl thing.

Yes, I know what wearing high heels does to you.  I don't wear them 12 hours a day every day.  When I do wear them, I'm willing to pay the price of fashion.

What strikes me as funny is that high heels are not the most wanted villain on a podiatrist's list.  Surprised?  They actually aren't the type of shoe that causes the most damage.  Can you guess which shoe is?

The flip flop.  Yep, the common stand by for most people actually causes the most damage to your foot.  I've actually heard a podiatrist say they should NEVER be worn unless you're in a public pool or shower.  Tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures are frequently seen results of flip flops.  Because there is no support for the back and sides of your foot, they also lead to sprains and falls.  The flip flop.

So before the smart remarks about the dangers of my high heels, look down.  What's on your feet?

And those are my random thoughts this morning...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Widow's Point of View, Part II

A few more things my friend wished to share.  Some of these I knew to do, others never crossed my mind.  I admire her strength and her willingness to share what she's learned during this difficult time.

1.  If you have a safety deposit box, where is the key?

2.  Take index cards and notate what goes to whom around the house.  Include a picture.

3.  Make sure your living will is on file with both your doctor and your local hospital.

4.  Where are the titles and deeds to the house and cars?

5.  Sit down with your family member and review all the bills if you're usually not involved in the process.  Make sure you know what's coming in and going out.

6.  If you've lost your birth certificate...immediately get a copy!

7.  Discuss funeral arrangements ahead of time, particularly open or closed casket.  Your loved one may disagree with you on how they wish to remember you.

8.  Make a DVD of valuables in your home.  Include personal photos you would hate to lose, and copies of your driver's license, birth certificate, marriage license, and Social Security card.  Store in your safety deposit box.  If you don't have one, store with a friend offsite in case something happens to your home.

9.  Women...make sure your Social Security card shows your married name.  This is vital is something happens to your spouse!!

10. Make sure bank accounts state "Mr. OR Mrs."  not "Mr. AND Mrs.".  This will prevent the account from being frozen in the event of a death.

11. If there is a family plot, discuss the exact location and have a record of it along with the cemetery phone number.

12. Wait before calling credit card companies after a death.  The accounts will immediately be closed and it may take quite a bit of time to get a single account re-opened.

13. Decide on cremation versus burial.  There is a huge price difference between the two and some have religious objections to cremation.

14.  Cremated remains are not considered hazardous material and can be mailed via the USPS.

15.  Make a list of passwords and store with a trusted friend or with your attorney.

We hope this list helps and perhaps contains some things you need to take care of.  Do it sooner rather than later!  If you have more to add, please comment!!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Doofus Kind of Day

It rained here last night.  As I went outside this morning to have my coffee and a cigarette...I sat down on the patio furniture and got comfortable.  About a minute later, I realized the error of my ways.  The wet butt was the giveaway.

And that was just the beginning.  I've already misplaced my coffee cup three times.  I'm in a one bedroom does that even happen?  I realize I'm a blonde but this is ridiculous!!

Have you ever had one of these days?  I swear I don't know where my head is at today.  I do have a bit on my mind but I didn't think it's to the point that I've becoming a blithering idiot!  Somehow, I need to get my head back in the game and my brain back on track!

What do you do when you're scatterbrained?  Share your tips...I need them!!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Worth A Do-Over

I had a conversation this weekend with one of my best friends about the importance of these words and always saying them before you separate from someone whether via text, email, chat, phone, or in person.  With that in mind, I thought it worth it to re-post this blog from last month just to emphasize the importance of these three little words.  Enjoy the read!

My Last Words

Ever since I lost my best friend to breast cancer, I have made a conscious effort to change how I end each and every conversation.

Whether in a chat box, text, email, or phone conversation...I end each conversation with "I love you".  It doesn't matter if it's friend or family.  It's important that anyone I have a relationship with knows that they are in my heart.

Each conversation and each interaction may be my last.  I'm not being morbid, that's just reality.  I want the last words anyone remembers me saying to be "I love you".  Those are the words I want to be echoing in to whatever void my absence may leave.  Any conversation where I don't say it is a missed opportunity.

So whether it is just for now or whether it will be last words are now and always will be...I love you.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's Hot!!

As the weather heats up outside, it's the perfect time to utilize your slow cooker.  No excess heat from having to fire up the oven and it can be cooking your dinner while you spend the day outside!  To get you's a quick and easy supper guaranteed to fill you up!

Chicken Stroganoff


1 lb chicken breast, cubed 1/2 inch
1/2 lb chopped onion
1 4 oz can mushroom stems and pieces
2 tsp minced garlic
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups medium egg noodles
1 cup sour cream


Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Stir the chicken, onions, mushrooms, garlic, and chicken broth together until well mixed.  Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.  You can also cook on high for 2 to 3 hours if you're rushed for time.  If you cook on low, increase the temperature to high before adding noodles.  Stir in noodles, cover again, and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until noodles are ready.  Stir in the sour cream directly before serving.


Friday, May 18, 2012

On My List

There are a couple things on my bucket list that I would like to accomplish before too long.  They are nothing fancy, but are things I've always wanted to learn.

I want to learn to spin.  Yes...with a spinning wheel...think Colonial times.  I want to learn to card wool, spin it, and actually create something from the resulting yarn.  Spinning has always fascinated me and the women who still practice it seem to be getting fewer and fewer.  Why did I mention the specific details?  To differentiate between spinning yarn and being one of those people who go to the gym and pedal as hard and as fast as they can to go nowhere.  I'm definitely not one of those!!

I want to learn the art of stained glass.  I want to create beautiful windows and lamps.  I don't aspire to Tiffany quality but I would love to learn the process.  I love to see the old Victorian homes with the beautiful windows. To be able to have the sunrise come through a window I had created would soothe my soul.

Ok...I just took a short break and looked up spinning wheels on ebay.  Wow!!!  I obviously won't be taking up that art form any time soon!!  Who knew they cost so much????  Oh well, maybe I can get a book and read up on it until that someday when I can actually afford one.  Or maybe I need a more affordable dream!

And those are my random thoughts this morning...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Weight Has Disappeared

With everything that's gone on for the last year, my weight has disappeared.  We're talking under 120 for a woman who's 5'9".  And I don't know how to get it back.

Part of the problem is, that even for all my brave talk about my new adventure, I'm still feeling extremely unsettled and insecure.  Normal feelings, I know, but they go directly towards my weight.  I'm one of those women who stop eating when stressed or upset.

I wish I could be one of those women who eat their pain, grief, and stress away.  No such luck.  I've even lost the craving for chocolate.  Yes, chocolate!!  We are talking a dire situation, my friends!  I've been trying to force myself to eat but I seem to have lost my enjoyment of food.

Hopefully, as time progresses, my love of chocolate, bacon cheeseburgers, and fried shrimp will return!   I saw a post on Facebook recently which read "If stress burned calories, I'd be a supermodel!".  Well, in my case, stress does seem to burn calories but I'm more in danger of disappearing completely!

Off I head now to the know what they say...Try, try again!!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Deja Vu

Is it Monday again?  Nothing is going right today!!!

I hung a mirror...crooked...twice.

I printed two pages...printer jammed...twice.

I took the dogs for a walk.  For the first time, they showed interest in the ducks at the pond.  I'll be putting my shoulder back in place later.

I tried to change my address online for an insurance policy.  It can only be done by phone.  Of course!!

I'm having a Monday all over again.  Hopefully, tomorrow will bless me with an extra Friday!!

And those are my random thoughts this morning...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Change In My Nest, Part II

I've received a lot (read: a ton!) of questions from friends and family as to why, how, etc. did the divorce happen.  The truth is, and as I've said from the beginning, is that I honestly don't know.  It was not of my volition and the only answer I ever received was "You're my best friend but I want a change."

So what do you do with that?  The answer is let it go.  I'll never know any more than that.  I know it frustrates everyone when that is the only answer I give but it's the only answer I have.

So why?  I don't know.  But does it even matter at this point?  No.  What's done is done.  I've let it go.  Don't get me wrong, I'm no superwoman.  Sometimes it still hits me like a Mac truck.  Feeling not good enough is a painful thing.  I'm only human and I feel that pain.  I'm too old to live in it and let my remaining life pass by.

So now you know as much as I do about the why.  To those who are still frustrated and whose curiosity still isn't satisfied?  Sorry...nothing more I can do for you.  For those looking for something juicy to gossip about or use to attack...Sorry, nothing I can do for you, either!  It is what it is.

Onward I go.  This is definitely a journey and I choose to view it as an adventure.  I've heard all my life that everything is a matter of perspective.  I stand here as living proof.


Monday, May 14, 2012

My Mother's Day Gift

Posted by my youngest on Facebook:

I know I'm late but...this is for my mommy.

know I'm a day late but here it goes.  
The day kept getting closer and closer and due to circumstances beyond my control I didn't get anything for my mom.  I know I'm a terrible person.  I tried to think of something that I had previosly given her that made her laugh, cry and extrememely happy to be my mom.   A coupon book saying she could get a free dinner or a free hug? No that went out when I turned 12.  Macaroni box? No..I'd only eat the macaroni.  So as I kept thinking back I came across a status from her birthday with me pouring my heart to her about how much I loved her.  So why not do it again?So here it goes. 
My mom has a superwoman cape in her closet I swear.  She may not be taking me to school or making lunches or going to boy scout meetings anymore but that doesn't mean that cape is any less used.  She is not only a mom to me, but a mom to a lot of older and younger people.  She has been their for them emotionally and in some cases financially. Plus she beat breast cancer.  And I definetly saw the re payment of that after the life event she had moving to another state.  I saw friends come from all over even some from different states just to help out.  Herself she can only claim by blood 3 kids, but when I look at her facebook or catch up with her weekend, that number gets near 100.  She is dependable, heart full of love, selfless behavior to help out another person first.  I don't know anybody that has a bad thing to say to her.  Even though she is miles away from me and them now, she is still trying to be "mom".Now on to what she did and still does for me. Not only did she make sure I was on top of school work, no matter how hard I tried to avoid it, she personally checked to make sure I went to school.  Yeah I was a rebel.  But in the end she found out the best chance for me was to go to a boarding school to get on the right track.  I ended up graduating with a 3.7 gpa and a scholarship.  If it wasn't for her I probably never would of graduated high school.

Days past adolescence.  I was in college but I didn't really know how to act.  In high school I didn't have that many friends.  So I hit up the mom on facebook (which I got her addicted on) for some social help.  I ended up having a great time in college minus the bad relationship break ups to which I went to mommy again for.  When I started living on my own and was in between jobs she was there with my part of the rent.  When I needed to come home and get a fresh start she was there with a bed.  Once again.  My mom has a cape in her closet.  I hope one day she can put it away and just let me do the rescuing and helping.  She means the world to me.  She has been my number 1 fan in anything I do.  If you have a mom like this, hug her and kiss her.  If you can't, make sure you tell her so she knows it.  It doesn't matter that it's not Mother's Day anymore.  For every day that she has been there for you, should be a day you tell her you love her.  So to my mom.. I love you.  
me and my mom at the race for the cure. I ran for her because she was a beast and beat breast cancer.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the moms of every type, to all the aunts, best friends, and babysitters who stand in for Mom, to all the grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and great-great-grandmothers, to all the moms no longer with us, to all the moms of furry ones....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Recipe

I strained my brain trying to come up with the perfect Mother's Day recipe.  But there are so many different types of moms, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, etc., that it was impossible to narrow it down.  Then I had a flash of inspiration and came up with the perfect recipe for Mother's Day!  Ready?  Here it is!!



Friday, May 11, 2012

Lost Traditions

I'm a pretty old-fashioned girl.  Not I do have an independent streak a mile wide!  But there are some things I do that are a throwback to another time.

I enjoy needlework.  I crochet, cross-stitch, needlepoint, hook rugs, and make jewelry.  I enjoy giving something to a friend that I've made with my own two hands.  On a quiet evening at home, sitting with a project brings me contentment.

I still sometimes wear an apron while cooking.  It makes me feel feminine.  And admittedly, I am not the neatest cook!!  There was a reason aprons were invented and I'm pretty sure I'm one of them!  An apron is a must for me if I'm wearing anything nicer than housecleaning clothes!

I pretty much adhere to the standard division of labor.  He takes care of the outside, I take care of the inside.  That varies, of course, depending on the specific task but I've found it usually works pretty well.  Why mess with something that's worked for generations?

I believe children should address adults with Sir and Ma'am.  I address my elders this way.  I also use the term of respect for any military personnel and any store clerk etc. that I interact with.  You can't lose when you start out being respectful.

I will let a man hold the door for me or open the car door for me.  I still believe in chivalry.  Of all of these, this may be the fastest dying tradition.  That is sad.  I remember quite a few times when my boys were young when I stood outside a store door waiting until they remembered to come back and hold the door for me.  The lesson took!!

What do you still do that you think is a lost or dying art or tradition?  What would you like to learn to do?

And those are my random thoughts this morning...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Did You Know?

If you're on Facebook, have you liked my fan page?  You can find it here:  Jerri's Empty Nest .

The advantage?  With the new timeline format on Facebook, you can directly message me from the fan page.  With that option, you can speak to me privately if you have a question or comment you would rather not post in a public comment on the blog, fan page, or BlogHer.

Sometimes I post on sensitive subjects.  They are personal to me but they frequently touch other people.  If you'd like to discuss something further but in private, please feel free to message me!  I love to hear from my readers!!

So head on over to Facebook and give my fan page, Jerri's Empty Nest , a "Like"!  You never know when that one blog post will pop up that you absolutely have to message me to discuss!

I can't wait to hear from you!!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Missing My Books

Well known to the readers of this blog, I am an avid reader.  With everything I've had going on and moving, I've had very little time to just plant my butt and read.  I miss it.

I'm in the middle of a thriller.  When I attempted to read the other night, I had to stop and put it up.  I was mentally, physically, and emotionally too exhausted to pay the attention needed to the details of the story.  Perhaps this isn't the best time for that type of book.

I do have some "fluff" downloaded.  Perhaps I should skip to one of those until my head is in a better place.  That's exactly the reason I download them.  Something easy and quick to read when I don't want to tax my brain too much!!  Some romances, some shorts...I'm thinking one would be in order right about now!

I can't forget my reading goal for the year, either.  I'm still on track to reach 121 books read.  There's nothing that says they all have to be top of the line, intense, thought-provoking books!

I'm off to read now...something light, easy, and fun!!  You do the same!!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Change In My Nest

My posts have been sporadic for the last few weeks and I sincerely apologize for that.  After a year of turmoil and pain, my divorce from my husband is now final.  I have moved to a new state, a new relationship, and a brand new life.

For the first time in a very long time, the horizon doesn't always look pitch black.

Over the next few weeks, I'll share my experiences.  Those posts will be interspersed with my regular posts for a couple of reasons.  One...It would be too depressing!  And two...I don't want to bore you to death!

I've learned a lot in the last year.  I've learned how much strength I truly have, both physically and emotionally.  I've learned what a true friend is and that someone who thinks it's all about them never really was a friend.  I've learned that after two decades of being a mother bear protecting my sons, the tables have turned.

So a heads up on what's coming down the pike.  I hope my journey has some lessons, some laughs, but no more tears.  I've had enough of those!!


Monday, May 7, 2012

A Widow's Point of View

This post is written to reflect the thoughts and feelings of a dear friend who was recently widowed.  The statements are hers with some minor editing on my part.  Not every sentiment expressed applies to every widow or widower or to every situation, but they are all reasons to stop and think.

She began her message to me with the words:  "What NOT to do when a friend loses a spouse."

1.  Don't start out by asking how he died and especially not where he died.

2.  Don't assume that someone always uses e-mail.  A phone call and a friendly voice are nice.

3.  Don't start diagnosing what was wrong with him.  It doesn't matter anymore.

4.  Don't say "If he had just quit ....."  It's beside the point, he's already gone.

5.  Don't start asking what I'm going to do with his belongings before he's even in the ground.

6.  When the obituary says "In lieu of flowers" attention.

7.  Don't ask what he was wearing when he died.  Really??

8.  Do bring food and sweets.  Do use disposable containers.

9.  Don't ask for something to remember the person by.  The widow/er have already lost enough.

10. Don't post pictures of the deceased on social media.  The surviving spouse may not be ready to see them.

11. Don't ask what you can do.  Pick up a spare pack of toilet paper...the question is too hard to think about or answer.

12. Don't ask the widow/er to find photos for you.  They already have too much to deal with.

13. If you had issues with the deceased, now is not the time to discuss them.

14. Do share wonderful, funny stories.  The widow/er needs to hear them.

15. If you're going to fall apart, do it away from the widow/er.  They are trying too hard to keep themselves together to have to worry about you.

16. Do give helpful, small gifts.  Thank you notes, stamps, snacks, notepads.

17. Respect someone's space when their loved one has passed.  Everyone grieves in their own way.  Don't assume you know what is best for them.

18. Make yourself available and let the surviving spouse decide what they need and when.

19. Offer to make phone calls if the widow/er has no close family nearby to assist them.

20. Call and say you are heading to the grocery store.  Is there anything you can pick up while you are there?  If they are unable to think of anything specific, grab some basics for them.

My friend and I are in different states.  This was the thing I could do for her.  I know it helped her to be able to get it out there.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Raspberry Naughties

This recipe was posted on Yoplait's Facebook page yesterday and was just too delicious sounding not to share!

Ingredients: Raspberry Cordials/Naughties

1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Light Fat Free red raspberry yogurt
1/3 cup raspberry liquer
18 chocolate cordial cups
18 raspberries

1. In small bowl, combine yogurt and raspberry liquer.
2. Spoon mixture into cordial cups.
3. Top with raspberries.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Frugal Dining Out

I'm cheap.  Call it frugal, cheap, inexpensive...just not miserly.  I enjoy life and I don't take saving money to the point of pain.  As far as I'm concerned, that defeats the purpose.  I save so I can enjoy more things, experiences, and time with my loved ones.

A pleasure of mine, and of every mother and grandmother out there, is dining out.  Dining out as in we don't have to cook.  Period.  I'm not a huge fan of buffets because if I'm paying for a meal, I want it served to me.  Don't make me get up and get my own food.  The pleasure comes with someone waiting on me for a change.

But I am the Queen of Cheap...I need a way to dine out and save money at the same time.  That's where the website comes in.

This website lists deals and coupons for chain restaurants around the country.  Deals like the days that kids eat free or the 2 for $20 deals.  If there are coupons available, the coupon will appear and you can print for your deal.  Every penny saved counts!!

Now this website is for national chains.  For local deals, sign up for Groupon or Google deals for your city.  These will include deals for local restaurants that you can't find elsewhere.  And as always, make sure you follow your favorite spots on Facebook and Twitter as they'll post deals there that you can't get anywhere else!


Jerri's Empty Nest