Sunday, May 31, 2009

Inspired...

Wow! Between tears is all I could muster.....


Gina Marie Incandela was diagnosed with autism before the age of 2 and could not speak until she was 3. Her parents sent her to a school for special needs children where her teachers realized that music helped her with her language skills. Now she is 7 years old and singing the National Anthem.

Little Gina Marie is an inspiration to us all.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stuff, stuff and more stuff...

I went over to mom's house today to hep her clear out some papers she's been saving for years. Old bills, statements, and things like that. Time to go through her desk drawer and the stuff on her desk and shred everything that wasn't current.

About five hours later and some major piles, we'd done pretty good. Gone through old medical bills, mortgage and bank statements, electric bills, phone, etc. Since everything related to dad's final hospital visit was finally paid by insurance, we were able to put those to rest too.

Which brings up something I have to mention. North Florida Regional billed Blue Cross & my folks $100 for discharging dad on the day he died. Well, shit he died at the hospital, what--did they discharge his body? That just gave me the creeps. You have to be kidding--$100 discharge?

I also saw charges for interpreting one of his tests, no, not just the test itself, but the five minutes it took to interpret the result.

It was hard to look at all the paid bills from dad's hospital stay on March 10-11 because it just brought back so much sadness. After I got through that, came the anger on the charges. Just unbelievable!

One of mom's medical statements from her iron infusion back in January (she has Crohn's and has to have infusions every so often) listed some $3100 for drugs. Hmm, is that the iron? We wondered because that's the only "drug" she was given. Also on the statement were charges listed as "other charges" and we both were thinking that hospitals and medical facilities should be REQUIRED to itemize every single charge. I don't think that's too much to ask. This way patients can review the bill and dispute if necessary. I think dad told me once that after before or after his open heart surgery in 2004, some doctor came into his room for a moment, then left. And dad was billed for it. The guy didn't even do anything.

Well I don't want to turn this nice post into a rant so I'll move on.

Anyway, it was a nice day. Driving over to mom's house passing the neighboring farms, the homes of the parents of kids I went to school with, just reminded me what it was like to drive that highway with my folks when I was a kid. My how things have changed. A few more homesteads up, land cleared, and in some areas the old folks moved and new folks are there now. It kind of made me sad as I drove up to the house, I paused at the edge of the long driveway to the house and shed a few tears. I know that when I drive up there, Buddy won't run out of the house to greet me and dad won't be there waiting.

We went into dad's workshop and I cried again. Everything was as dad left it. I remember how many thousands of hours he'd spend out there just piddling around, doing stuff. There are tools and toolboxes in there that go back almost forty years. Just being in that shop brought me back to the days when I lived at home and dad worked in his shop from sunup to sundown on the weekends, building and fixing things, or just cleaning it up. I don't want to touch anything in there because everything there is as he left it. Changing it would be too hard. I guess this is normal?

Mom had cleaned out the carport dad had built right in front of his workshop. It had sawhorses and things dad would use daily. I kind of liked everything there because it was like he was coming back to use it. Only the truth is, and mom knows this all to well, he isn't coming back to use any of it, ever again. Just thinking about it makes me sad. I told mom just when I thought I was handling this, the grief hits me all over again. If I think I miss him, imagine how much Kim, Dave, mom, Aunt Jo Ann and grams miss him. Think about how much dad's mom and sisters and brother in law miss him. Think about how much his friends--Mr. & Mrs. Griffis and Eddie and all the others who loved him miss him. I'm not the only one going through this.

Now I think I know how mom felt when gramps died, how dad felt when papaw died three years ago. When you lose a parent, it's like a part of you dies too. Your parents link you to your past, the life you had with them, the person you were once before you became who you are now. That person is still a part of you always, it never goes away. Having your parents around keeps it all alive.

We've just got to hang in there.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy 92nd Grams!

One of my coworkers came running down to my office earlier today and said "are you allright?" and I said "well, yes" and asked why. Another guy in our department was with her and said he'd run into a former coworker of ours who is now in another department. Apparently the paramedics and campus police had been at our building and asked him where such and such office is located, well that office number is MINE! But I'd been in my office all day long, with a potty break or two and hadn't gone so far that I would miss the action.

Isn't it weird? Must have been for my doppleganger in a parallel universe....


On another topic, and the reason I'm really here---today is grams's 92nd birthday. You heard it! Yep, 92 years ago today Thomas Gaetano Mangiere and Giuseppa "Josephine" Sanna Mangiere brought their firstborn daughter Michelina "May" into the world.

And so in honor...here's the matron of the family over 9 decades....


With her mother Giuseppa "Josephine"
Brooklyn, 1917























Age 3, Brooklyn, 1920






















Big sister May with little sister Jeanine
Brooklyn, 1928























May, circa late 1920's























At age 19 in 1936























With daughter Joan, 1941























Brooklyn, 1942























With gramps in the Poconos, 1944























Grams (holding daughter Joan) with her parents Thomas and Josephine
and sister Jeanine. Poconos, 1944























With Josephine (we called her "Nonna")
in Brooklyn, 1950's























At the house in Miami, 1961






















Holding me with big bro Dave, 1969























With gramps, early 1970's























On her moped ready to go! Here in the country, 1982






















With little sis Jeanine, 1995


















A joyful reunion in 2002 with her cousins Mario Viggiano (left)
and Mario's brother Ugo. They were best friends and grew
up in Brooklyn together!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why US companies fail #2

This morning I called Bell South Internet Service AGAIN. Was put on hold for an hour. I was just listening to muzak while doing my work. I got disgusted again and called the regular Bellsouth customer service line at 757-6500. The girl told me she can't help me BUT will actually call the number and find out how long till someone gets back to me. She came back and said the wait time was TWO minutes. I was like "yeah right". She stayed on the phone with me. Five minutes later FINALLY someone comes on the line to help me cancel my service.

I bet you right now that if I called that internet service number and again followed the prompts 4, then 1, I would NOT reach a customer no-service rep.

I still stand by my original stance that you people SUCK!

GM bankrupt within five days...

which means the federal government will pretty much own General Motors. Our tax dollars hard at work eh?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

RIP Buddy Bean, June 1998 - May 2009

We loved you so much Buddy! You brought great joy to our lives. You will never know how I treasure the memories of you. You were a great friend to me. You listened to me when I ranted and raved, you licked the tears from my face, you were there for me and never once asked for anything but love.

Now "Tater" you are with Pa in Heaven and he's spoiling you rotten with chewies and you are laying in his lap watching TV! Someday we'll meet again....

Why US companies fail #1

In a nutshell---their customer service SUCKS!

I called Bell South today at 1-888-757-6500 to make changes to our residential plan including downgrading our long distance plan and cancelling our dialup internet service. When I talked to the customer service rep I said "I want to disconnect my dialup and make changes to my long distance plan". Without hearing me out or attempting to assist me with what she actually could assist me with (my long distance) she transfers me to the dialup folks. I waited on hold for thirty minutes, nobody came to the phone, I hung up.

An hour later, I called 1-800-436-8638 which is the direct line for BellSouth internet service. The prompts were simple, English press or say 1, so on and so forth. I'm also told by the automated customer service that I need my account info, which I have. There I sit, working while waiting on hold. I was on hold nearly an hour, nobody picked up.

An hour later, I called the above number again. Once again I entered my info, once again I waited. Nobody picked up.

So far, I've spent almost 3 hours on the phone today and haven't been able to get a f*cking customer service person in any of a dozen third-world countries to do something that would take maybe two whole friggin minutes---CANCEL MY DIALUP PLAN!

I could write the CEO but you think these people give a damn?

It's a shame because dad worked with Southern Bell for almost 30 years. He put a lot into that company during a time when they actually cared. In later years, they began outsourcing their customer service and then the whole damn thing started going downhill.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Oh man this is so not PC...

Blank

I'm sorry I just had to go there you see because I love this line and nobody can say it like Cleavon!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dreams do come true!

It's not quite justice, but it's close enough for me and many people I know who have waited for this moment for a long time!

You see, it all began when someone, hired into a position of high authority way back when, had many people snowed into thinking she was going to be great ans so she was hired. Turns out she really a backstabbing, conniving bitch. Nothing worse than that kind of person (especially a woman) in a position of power. She hated other women who used their brains, especially my friend and me. My friend was eloquent, well-dressed, well-spoken, educated, professional and well-liked and respected. This woman hated that and hated the close working and personal relationship my friend and I shared. So one day she sticks her nose where it didn't belong and went very high up in an effort to stir up shit where there was none. Really, there was NONE but that didn't bother her, she was on a witch hunt, prying into our personal business on personal time in an attempt to get my friend fired and me along the way.

This woman was so mean and manipulative that over the course of just a few years, at least fifteen people who worked for her sought jobs elsewhere and all were successful in finding them. She may have had the higher ups fooled for awhile, but the good thing is that didn't last. Even they realized who she really was eventually she left the position (rumor has it she was forced down) and relocated to another department.

And now she's leaving! Leaving the city, the state, forever!!! I couldn't be happier. In a way I wish I'd had the chance to tell her to go to hell. I've had run-ins with her over the last couple of years and I just hated talking to her. She would be so nice and all that but I knew she was a fraud. I told people they should not be surprised if one day she just crosses the line with me and I tell her to go to hell. I wasn't afraid of her, who was going to touch me for saying to her what so many others wanted to say? I'm sure if I had, a large number of people would have been fighting for the chance to take me to lunch for it!!

To her I say sayonara, so long, arividerce, farewell, don't let the door hit you in the ass, don't write, won't miss ya, kiss my ass, buh-bye bitch.

Ahh it does feel better doesn't it?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Me: 1 Squirrels: Zip!

Finally, I got one up on the squirrels! Yes, me! I rock!! Oh yeah!

Isn't it awful I get so excited about something this silly? As anyone who lives in the country knows, you can win the battle but not win the war. The war is still on you see...however, for now Jess won this battle!

You see, for many years the skwirly skwirls have gotten the best of me. It doesn't matter how much I skwirlproof my birdfeeders, the sonsabitches always get in there. But...he he he, I got them. Oh yes, I outwitted not just one or two skwirls but the whole stinkin rotten bunch of 'em.

All with just one simple feeder that I paid $20 for at Lowe's. It's one of those long hanging feeders with different feeding stations on it that fills through the top. If something heavier than say a cardinal jumps on it, the entire outside piece goes down, covering the openings to the stations. There is no way in hell a skwirl and his partners in crime could possibly get seed out. I watched them today and the last two weeks try like hell to get in there and nope, they finally gave up. Several times today they tried and every time they failed.

I feel triumphant. Man I must be getting old LOL!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Proof that I once had a life!

A longtime friend of mine who has known me since ---well let's just say a long time---commented to me today that there isn't a single picture in existence of me drinking beer. I wasn't quite sure what that meant I mean I never claimed to be a teetotaler! Although you'd think that I would have become one the night of the big party in Joe and Tracy's room at the barracks in Hawaii where I drank one too many screwdrivers and wound up puking over the fire escape of the second floor...

Actually I didn't need beer to be wild, I loved to be the life of the party back then. I just loved to be funny and make others laugh. I had my wild moments---and when I say wild I don't mean Girls Gone Wild wild, although there was that one time when Mike and I went to New Orleans but that's a story for another day! I'm just talking about open, hysterical, fun-loving, life of the party Jess. Umm...yeah, I knew how to have a good time, and I have proof...I've got plenty of old friends on facebook who knew me "when" who can attest to that.

In an effort to find one of the uh--let's just say less incriminating pics, I dug up this rather innocent picture my pal Mike took when we spent a birthday weekend in Key West several years back. For the record, you'll notice the half crumpled beer can on the table behind me, the empty can on the floor and yes---the ACTUAL real live beef in my hand. Not sure but I think we were drinking Miller Lite. Yeah yeah, I was working out a lot in those days LOL.
























And then there's this one. We're at the bar having mixed drinks and there's real live cold beer in the bag. I know...who goes to a bar to buy beer in a bag? LOL we did. This was "beer to go"... a great concept!















So you see, yes, I have actually consumed alcohol. WOW, I know some of you who know me are thinking, holy shit, she really did LOL! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lessons to be learned...

Tonight I finished reading "Under a Cruel Star" by Heda Margolius Kovaly. Mrs. Kovaly is a Czechoslovakian Jew from Prague who escaped a concentration camp, lost her entire family and most of her friends in the Holocaust, and after her escape, went on to live in Prague under Communist rule.

When she returned to Prague, many people she knew in her former life, turned their back on her, only a few friends offered her food and comfort. She describes the way in which many people lived, very lavishly, their homes richly decorated with the possessions of their former friends taken to concentration camps. When some of those survivors returned, the friends conveniently forgot who they were or denied they'd ever kept property for them.

Later on, when she was married to Rudolf Margolius, Heda and her husband both became members of the Communist party because the party ideology at the time looked good, it appealed to working people, it appealed to people who wanted a better life, a better country. Heda didn't want much to do with politics but she and her husband could not help listening and becoming involved. Her husband was appointed (he tried to reject but was not allowed) to a high office in the government, and in time Heda became suspicious of what would happen when it came time for the government to find scapegoats. Sure enough years later the government murdered her husband under the guise that he was a traitor, which of course he was not. Mrs. Kovaly describes in detail the promises of the Communist party and how they slowly but surely gained control of the government. In the end, they owned everything and everyone. Once they owned you, that was it, you could not get out until they let you go. And usually if they let you go, you wound up dead.

I really enjoyed the book though it was extremely depressing. Mrs. Kovaly did inspire me though. With all she endured, her spirit persevered, even during the worst times when she was at death's door, she kept going.

Mrs. Kovaly's story is important for many reasons. The most important is that here in America, we pride ourselves in our laws, our justice system, our system of checks and balances, and our freedom. But day by day our government proposes ways they can do for us to make our lives better. In tough times the government puts its hand out and says "I can help" but really only make things worse. The Communist Party rose in Prague at a time when the people were at their worst. Of course the promise of a better life was appealing to all. It was only when the party took over every aspect of people's lives that they realized what they had sacrificed, but it was too late. Here in America, we think it can't happen to us, but we need to be careful. The ideology already exists at high levels of government.

I emailed Mrs. Kovaly and thanked her for her story. I heard back from her son Ivan, a very nice man, who told me his mother is not well, she has had Alzheimers for several years now. But he thanked me for my interest in her life and recommended another book he wrote which picks up the story where his mother left off.

We all could learn a great deal from their experiences.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I thought it was "Buy American" but I guess not...



"we're talking about ways we can give back to our community"

"african americans face a unique set of circumstances"



I thought it was more important to be an American than it was to be of any particular race. Guess I was wrong.


At least I can say proudly that when I buy goods or services, the one thing I don't pay any mind to is the race of the individuals who own and/or manage the business.

But that's just me.

Friday, May 08, 2009

What a day!

Today was a good day. I am so damn tired though. My back hurt from all that carpet shampooing and repotting of plants I did today. It was a busy day, began with Lowe's. You see, I only went there to get mom's sink after which I was to do my grocery shopping at Publix. But while at Lowe's I spent over an hour perusing the birdfeeders, plants, and hanging baskets aisle and walked out with a bunch of flowers, some caladiums, birdfeeder and pots, then when I got it all in the car (it took me a good 15 minutes to arrange everything just so) then I realized "oh shit I have to get the sink and still go grocery shopping". No problem I say, I can make this work. I mean after all, I once learned how to pack everything I ever owned into a seabag, I know I can do this.

I went into the store, get the sink and then upon getting it out to the car, I realize I have to take everything out of the trunk, none of which is mine by the way. Let's see there's the battery recharger that Vin put in there which has never actually worked when we wanted to help someone start their car. Then there's the backpack full of survival gear which is supposed to be in the car at all times. This you see, is in case a nuclear bomb hits and we have to walk home, we'll have the necessary provisions to make it home. Then there's the kitty litter container which doesn't contain kitty litter, but actually contains things for the car like oil, power steering fluid, etc. And then there's the toolbox with all kinds of---well---tools. So you see, with all that stuff, it's a little difficult to just throw this huge box in there. So there I am in the Lowe's parking lot, taking everything out of the trunk, putting this huge box in there and then attempting to place everything back in the trunk where it would fit. Surprisingly it did.

It's kinda funny because people have said "damn Jess you got everything but the kitchen sink" but this time I really did get the kitchen sink. Ok, bad attempt at a joke but what can I say?

I finally went shopping and figured the lack of space in the car, which was essentially down to the front passenger seat, would encourage me not to spend so much at Publix.

Wrong. Somehow without even buying much I spent $222 and change. I bought stuff for breakfasts and lunches and a few snacks and a few things for dinner. No sweets, fatty foods or processed stuff and still I walked out spending only $30 less than normal.

When I got out to the car I looked at the empty front seat and then the ten bags in my basket and thought "how in the hell....?" but the young guy named Daniel who had been singing in Hebrew in between choruses of "If I were a rich man" and "Matchmaker" from Fiddler on the Roof, while bagging my groceries,....by the way WHO whistles the tunes from Fiddler on the Roof anyway? I didn't say anything because I wasn't sure what he'd think of me in that I recognized them. Everyone else probably thought he was just loony.

Anyway, Tevye...I mean Daniel, managed to get everything in the car for me and then me and my car full of groceries and plants and oh yes...the kitchen sink, headed for home while I hummed loudly a tune or two from...you guessed it...Fiddler on the Roof.

My mother would be proud.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Difference between gov't & armed criminals

...is that the government uses the law, and not guns, to steal your property from you.

There's no difference between a criminal invading your home and taking your property by force and the federal government taking your land for their own use.

Case in point:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090507/ap_on_re_us/us_flight93_memorial

First off, anything the government gets their hands becomes this huge big fat bloated pile of crap. Who needs a $58 million, 2200 acre memorial to a plane crash?

Do the victims families need this so bad they are willing to be part of a plot to take private property away from their fellow citizens?

Apparently so. And so my sympathy for them just went *poof* out the window.