Saturday, December 31, 2011

Shopping for a Dress

     Well it has happened again. I have had to resort to shopping. I discovered that you cannot buy an outfit online when you are the mother of the groom. At least I can't. There are some particular issues about my body that make it difficult for me to find a dress that looks even remotely decent on me. Sweatshirts and jeans are fine but when you have to notch it up a bit and dress for your son's wedding, well... 

Not my style

Not me

  So I have spent days and nights surfing the internet. I found lots of wonderful dresses for MOG's (Mothers of the Groom) but all of them seem to have been Miss America hopefuls.

     Well I resorted to finding what looked like a perfect chiffon dress on E-Bay, brand new, in champagne color. Gorgeous and I was pretty positive it would fit. Today I repacked it to send it back to the seller along with the following note:

     I am very sad to say that I must return this item to you. I absolutely love it but I look like a stuffed sausage in it. It is tight around the top and I am basically shaped like a large baked potato so I look pretty horrible in it. If no one looks at me from the side, I am not too bad, but I don't think I can get through my son's wedding walking at right angles to everyone. I would certainly buy from you again if you were to come up with something that would fit around me.  Sincerely, JK

Are muumuus appropriate?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Flash Mobs for the Holidays

     Flash Mobs are the latest rage. And they are so much fun to watch, and, I assume, to participate in. Although no one has asked me. But I am available. I have here for your viewing pleasure, 2 flash mobs. One is just your average Food Court Holiday Flash Mob sung by an amazing group of people. The other is...well, a Target Flash Mob for Senior Citizens. I'd like to think I would fit into the first. I know that I probably look more like the second. Merry Christmas!

Merrry Christmas FLash Mob

Senior Flash Mob


Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Sniff Test

     I hope you are all looking for the funny in life. It is there all the time. I probably run into 3-4 stories a day that I could write about, showing my unique Jeanne Kraus perspective on them. But they are there, just waiting for you to reflect on them.
      My son, Jeff, and his fiancee, Shannon came over to visit today. Being that it is Christmas Eve, they are here for a few days, which makes me very happy indeed. Along with them came Abbey, Mutt Extraordinaire, who is the subject of many of our funny stories. 
Foot Pads or Fritos? You be the judge.
    Today's story came compliments of Jeff. 
    "Did you know that all dogs' foot pads smell like Fritos?" he asked conversationally. 
     He went on to tell us that one day at work, a number of years ago, one of his co-workers, perhaps after too much of some illegal substance, confided in him, "Yo, Dude, did you know that all dogs' feet smell like Fritos?" 

Fritos or Dog Feet? You be the judge!

     Now Jeff is the original Show Me and Prove it to Me or I'm Taking You Down kind of person. He went home, researched and stuck his nose into each one of Abbey's paws, and came to his own conclusions. He was right! We don't know for sure that it is every dog...but we haven't found one that doesn't pass the sniff test. Try it!

Sniff! Sniff!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

       My days of spending time at the doctor have dwindled down to maybe one out of every ten days. The latest thing I have noticed in some of the doctors' offices is that they move you around like cattle moving closer to the slaughterhouse. 

    The last 2 visits I had, I got called to fill out the forms, called again to bring my co-pay, called to go into the inner sanctum (YAY!) and put in a second waiting room. I can't complain because I got to watch the Ellen show in its entirety but really! Why so long of a wait? Last week was three hours' wait and it took so long that they were not able to do the procedure on me that they wanted because the nurse left at 5:00 and I had not been seen yet. So I had to come back the next day. 

     Different Doctor: Today the nurse once again ushered me into a second waiting room with a TV where I was able to catch an episode of Matlock, enjoying the 70's hairstyles. The major complaint I had about this room was that a gum-chewing woman came and sat next to me. A clicker and a clacker and a popper and a bubble blower, all infused with a uncharmingly fruity scent. Barf! I was relieved when they came to get me. 

     But the good news is that I will be signing a contract for my third children's book with Magination Press. I am anxious to work on it...I love their books. That's the latest with me! What's up with you?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What Has Happened to Me?

     Hopefully SOMEONE has noticed that I have not blogged as of late. I think I am lost in gameland. I have gone totally crazy over "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" Although I never watch it on TV, I do enjoy the online version. I like trivia challenges, and you have to think fast, which I need to work on. Between that and "Words With Friends" I have been busy. The good thing is that I am off for 2 weeks for winter break. I am feeling back to my normal self now so am happy about that. I have a couple of things to share here on my blog. The first was a nice surprise. Google informed me that someone had created a book trailer for my first book. Big surprise to me, I finally tracked down the creator and it is a college student studying elementary education who liked my book. That was cool.

The second video is one to get you in the spirit of the season. I love it. I play it almost every day because it is so captivating. Happy Holidays!

P.S. This was filmed in a mall near where I grew up.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Spirit

The Wise Shopper!
     My spirit seems to be a little lacking this year, being that I am recovering at home. However, when I look at things going on in other places, I think maybe I'm not doing too bad. As I surfed the net to find Christmas presents for my family, finding some great bargains, I might add, I run across the story of the great Black Friday debacle.

Enter at Your Own Risk!
     I believe it was in a Wal-Mart where a woman stormed the store armed with pepper spray, which she used liberally, to get the video games on sale. People were dropping like flies. I was appalled. I do remember standing in long lines to get Cabbage Patch Kids, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but none of us felt inclined to incapacitate one another in our quest. The article went on to say that someone who knew her, was "proud of her."  Personally I feel that she should have those video games ripped out of her possession and make her shop again. I guess her golden rule is "Do unto others before they do unto you."

    The other interesting tidbit of information I found was one about an ongoing battle in Doylestown Station. Evidently the homeowner's association has decreed that only white lights will be allowed for outside decorating. Unfortunately, some of the homeowners want colorful lights. They can have their colorful lights, at a $10.00 per day fine. 
     So here I am in my Tamarac cocoon, healing nicely, watching the decorations go up on the houses on my block, and avoiding the pepper-spray laden crowds at the mall. Life isn't so bad after all!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm Back....Sort of!

     My last post was November 14, 2011. I can't believe so much time has gone by. I haven't been lollygagging. 

     My bronchitis morphed into pneumonia and I ended up in the hospital with all kinds of complications. I am home now, not able to work, with an IV still stuck in my arm. A nurse comes once a day to work the IV. One more week to go...

     Like all other illnesses, this one came at a bad time. I missed my trip to visit my kids in Kentucky, and Thanksgiving was non-existent. 

 With Christmas coming up, I know why Scrooge said "Bah Humbug." It is hard to get excited when you don't feel a part of the shopping, decorating, etc. 

     Not to mention the fact that I am out of sick days, so will not get paid for my days gone. Hmm. New wrinkle, one I was not prepared for. But this is where I always inject my Jeanne Kraus perspective. There are a lot of people who do not have jobs, homes and families right now. I am so grateful for my family and friends, my wiener dog and 2 kitties. The rest will all work out, maybe by even my next blog! So here's to 2012!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Neophyte's Guide to Travel Insurance

     I think that I have written on my blog that I am your basic travel virgin. Oh, I go places now and then, mostly then, but don't travel far and wide like many of my friends. So, to my credit, this was my first Travel Insurance experience. You can see by the picture of Ashlee and Cory, why I wanted to see them. They are adorable, are they not?
My Ashlee and Cory! Love them so much!

Original Loopholes
     I must say I am rather confused. I thought that Travel Insurance would help if I had to cancel my tickets due to unforeseen circumstances. That is why I bought it. In case I could not fly to see Cory and Ashlee this weekend. Travel Insurance is the Land of the Original Loopholes. I did not pass the test. So for those of you who have not stepped into No Man's Land, let me remind you of what I have endured... Well we had to cancel our trip to Louisville this weekend. The powers that be were conspiring against us on this one. 
       First of all, I have been plagued with a major cough for a couple of weeks. I have been to the doctor twice, tried a number of medications and today I had a chest x-ray. It did not look good for the trip. 
Talking to Insurance People
     Secondly, my daughter-in-law, Ashlee :) had a death in her family. Her stepfather's grandmother passed away this weekend. Between my illness and the loss of grandmother, it just seemed like the trip needed to be cancelled. We had no doubt about that. But the insurance company, while very sympathetic, had no provision to help us with the fees we would incur from the cancellation of the flight.
     The customer service rep was lovely. She tried every combination of our situation but my wheezing and grandma's passing meant squat to the insurance company. I began to feel like George Costanza on the episode of Seinfeld where he tried to get a deal on a flight by getting a death certificate of someone he had never known. 
     Here is my advice if you ever plan to get travel insurance...
     1. Read the entire plan. Go over it with your attorney.
     2. Make sure you don't have an pre-existing conditions. (this leaves me out because I AM a pre-existing condition)
     3. If anyone dies in your family make sure it is a close relative and it would be helpful if the family you are going to visit lives out of the U.S. That is an advantage for your claim.
     I tried to do the right thing. We cancelled as soon as we could. 5 days before the flight so that they could re-book those seats. Ah well.
     I now have extra time to read all the paragraphs in the policy about "Exclusions." In the meantime I am sad we cannot go, but it is good for me to rest and get well.  I thought it was humorous at the end of my conversation with the customer service agent. She finished telling me that my policy that I had printed out was worth nada other than the ream of paper it took to print. I had just made my only snide comment of the conversation. "Now I can see how the insurance companies make their money."
     Then she asked me to complete a survey. I did.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Trading Places

     How many times have your watched a loved one who is ill and think to your generous and loving self, "I wish I could trade places with you right now, to make your life a better one?" That thought has entered my mind as my sister, Diana, has endured one setback after another in her quest to get to surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on her leg.
     The good news for her is that it finally seems to be happening. I am happy to report that her tumor seems to be responding to the radiation. Seems to be a little smaller and weaker in our professional opinions. And...she is back to being able to eat, a big worry for us, since she lost 10 pounds. It is great to hear her voice happier and stronger when I call.
     The bad news is that I, once again, am trying to one-upmanship her in the sympathy department. It seems that I have had an asthmatic condition for quite a while, which accounts for my shallow breathing. As the pulmonologist pointed out succinctly, "Your breathing is lousy." So I am taking some inhalation therapy to see if it helps. So far I am coughing like a...coughing person, I guess. In addition, my little toe somehow must have gotten jammed somewhere when I was not looking, and is turning bruised and purple. How do you get an injury like that and not know? Is there going to be a time soon when we are both healthy at the same time? Stay tuned. Meanwhile enjoy a funny little video that made me laugh.It turns out that it is the Voca People, who portray aliens ( I thought they were match-heads) and are quite a sensation.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shopping for Shoes

Shoe Lover Closet
     Well, I must admit that I am not one of those people that goes crazy over shoes. In fact, if I could, I would go barefoot all the time. The first thing that goes off on walking in the house is the shoes. (The second is the bra, if you don't know that already.) So shoes don't mean a lot to me.

Chinese Foot Binding
     My feet were never meant to be encased. They are rather odd looking. I am not sure what a doctor would say about them but they look as though I lived in the Chinese foot-binding culture for a period of time during my formative years. 

All I know is that when I visit a new doctor, he/she stops at my feet and looks at them again. Then they look at me and write something down on their chart. I have never asked what they wrote. Sometimes it's better not to know.
     I cannot wear heels and most shoes are uncomfortable on me. So when I find a shoe I like, I buy it in every color and wear it day after day until it begs for mercy. My latest pair are begging to be let go into that great shoe heaven in the sky, where all good soles eventually end up.
     So I headed out to the nearest store that carries my brand. I don't want to divulge the name brand but it rhymes with "fetch her." Those are the only shoes I wear for comfort. And there is only one model of those that I like. And it seems that everyone else likes it too because the stores never have it.

     Anyway the store was wild today. You would have thought it was the week before Christmas. I spied one salesgirl who was being "owned" by a needy woman who wanted to tell her about her trip to Disney World. So I proceeded through crowded aisles, trying to move through a sea of people, many of whom were on cell phones not talking about shoes. Since there were no sales people, other than the trapped one, visible, people were getting creative to get help. One man was lifting his little daughter by the legs way up high and she could reach boxes off the high shelves. I wanted to rent her for a bit but she was in high demand. Another lady started to climb a ladder and lo and behold! A sales man appeared to tell her not to climb the ladder.
     "Only the sales staff should climb the ladder!" he exclaimed.
     "Fine!" she said. "Find me a salesman." Message received: If you want to get a clerk, start climbing a ladder. If you have a crutch or cane with you, carry it up the ladder also. You'll get help darn fast.

Soles for Shoe Heaven
     After a few more minutes of aimless bumping into people, we left. I came home, found the shoes on sale and ordered them online.  Once I ascertain that they are truly the ones I want, I will order them in every color and I am set. My current pair will make their way to Shoe Heaven.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My AARP Comments

     I like to look through the AARP little newspaper thingy. There is some pretty good information in there, in addition to some heavy reminders of why I, Jeanne Kraus, am receiving this in the mail. After all, I am not a spring chicken any more. But, rather than write in and respond to AARP, I think I will make my comments online.
     The first thing that caught my eye was very interesting indeed. There are now companies that will send someone to fly with you if you are not as agile as you used to be. You can pay someone to be your companion to fly with you. They can even help you check into a hotel and make sure you get to your destination. But the article does not mention what happens at the end. Do you send them on their way with a merry "Thanks for the memories!" or do you offer them your body as a thank you. Oh, wait, these are senior citizens we are talking about. So I guess the companion just goes on back home.
     I think for now, I will stick with my husband George. He is free and is good at carrying the luggage. He doesn't talk much but I think I would rather travel with him.

This is an unidentified sunbather in a Speedo. 

The second article I read was just an outrage. A man, 61 years old, lost his lifeguard job. According to him, he lost it because he refused to wear Speedo type swimshorts. He wanted something that covered a bit more. I say, Good for you, mister! No one wants to see a 61 year old in a Speedo. I hope he keeps on fighting the fight.
     AARP does not tell you, that because of these hazards of vacationing, you should stay home in your senior years. Eau contraire, they advertise such active senior activities as zip-lining and rapids rafting and bicycling. Just watch out for the men in Speedos.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Humor in the Written Word

I think this is my favorite sign. Always read the small print.

Makes me want to stay out of areas where mountain lions hang out.
Adds new meaning to the word Heavy.
Is this across from a bar? A government building?
I always believe in taking care of the animals.
     Seems like a good time for humor. It's Friday night. I have been surfing the net looking for some humor ideas to tickle your fancy. I ran across some cute "Funny signs" from I love odd signs on the side of the road. I especially like them on the computer so that I can read them and enjoy them without fear of running off the edge of the road trying to read the small print. I hope you are enjoying them.

To be paid by the estate of the deceased. I guess.  


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


     I am intrigued by how much the world seems to have, and how much less I seem to have. Today I saw "unwrapped" the Victoria's Secret 2.5 million dollar fantasy bra and the lucky woman who has been chosen to wear it in the Victoria's Secret Fashion show.

     I am intrigued that she will be wearing a bra that costs 1.25 million a cup. I am intrigued that this has been her dream for a long time. I am intrigued that a woman could parade down a runway with everyone looking at her chest and no one laughs. I wonder...if a bigger busted woman would have cost them more to make the bra. Certainly it must be more expensive, more boob size, more diamonds. So that is why they picked someone so petite and trim I guess.

      In fact, this story so intrigued me, the person who buys all her bras from J.C. Penney during "Underwear Days" at a price of 2 for 1 or something like that. Once a year. Requirement for them: they have to fit. That's all. Not decorative, because after all, there is no runway for me to parade down. No adoring audience. I get off cheap. 
     Then I found out that the same company also makes the most expensive purse in the world. Again, I rank poorly in this area. I buy a purse on sale, carry it till it falls apart or something sticky gets all over the inside, and then I buy another one or wait to get one as a gift. Hmm. It's good. Wouldn't I look foolish with a 2.5 million dollar bra and a "pleather" handbag from Target with food stains all over it. At least I match.

World’s most expensive purse worth $3.8 million

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Life in the Fast Lane

     Well, once again I am behind in my blog. No, I did not say my behind is in my blog. Get that out of your mind. It is just that an interesting thing happened today that I have to tell you about. Reminds me of my high school days. I was riding shotgun in the front seat of a car driven by a PTA mom in our school, with a spare mom in the back seat. A car pulled up with an entirely evil looking lady in it who addressed a comment to me.
     "You really scared me, you know. That was terrifying. I thought something terrible had happened."

     None of us had a clue what she was talking about so we maturely started to giggle. Finally she said, "The could really scare somebody." 
     Our driver confessed that she had one of those Halloween decoration things sticking out of the trunk of the car. This of course, caused us to burst into peals of laughter, much as we tried to swallow it down. 
     She rode alongside of us for a while, giving us evil and mean looks and muttering curses under her breath. (I am sure they were curses.)

     Is this true? Would someone really think those rubbery hands are real? Does that happen anywhere except on Law and Order?

Legs are humorous!
This is quite a bit more advanced than the model we sported.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Better Late than Never

     Well I have not fallen off the earth, just off my blog. Some persistent health issues plagued me, then I had to make a trip up to Illinois to see my sister, who is dealing with a sarcoma in her leg. I know she is going to be okay but it is hard to see a family member going through all of the issues she has experienced.
      Diana has always been a healthy person, whereas I got the short end of the stick in the health department. My first health problems probably started around 2 years of age (I had a seizure, called convulsions then, scaring my family) and had to start wearing glasses. Throughout out my life I have had back troubles, knee troubles, and odd looking feet that doctors always look amazed at. I have had several hospitalizations, allergies and various surgeries. Hospitals have been my home away from home.
      Diana, on the other hand, has been annoyingly healthy all throughout my life. Other than braces, I can't think of a problem at all. Until she hit the magic age of after 50. Quite a bit after 50, in fact. Not only has she had some health problems but none of them seem related. It is like the warranty on some of her body parts has expired, where, in my case, probably my mother should have invoked the Lemon Law and sent me back for a newer model.
Spoon Antics by Diana
   I explained to my sister that you are not supposed to store up all your health problems but gradually release them at around, say, age 2, so that you space them out nicely during your life. At any rate, we are there for her for whatever she needs. Right now, she is suffering extreme boredom along with the pain. (See picture)
     Of course, for the trip, George had to accompany me, because while I was helping Diana he needed to be there to make sure I did not fall down any stairs, or get stuck in any car back seats or trip over one of her cats. What a pair we are!
George B.S. (Before Staples)
     Now that we are home, we have been very busy. Of course, George had to get into the act and garner a little sympathy for himself. He hit his head on an awning and put a nasty open gash on his head. Off we went for staples in his head, which I could have done for him at home with my Swingline.

Darn Map!

     Last night, going to a party across town, we discovered that if you print off a map on Google, don't forget to enlarge it. We got to the neighborhood. I was squinting at the map.
     "George, I can't read this."
      George asked, "What can't you read?"
Google or goggle? You be the judge.
     "The whole thing," I said, squinting more. I turned on the inside light. The only word I could make out was Google.

     Or maybe it said Goggle. Even with my high power glasses on, I could not read anything on that map.
     George took it from me. He examined it closely. "Well, let's just drive around the neighborhood until we see a house with a lot of cars at it."
     Good plan. The first house we found had a lot of cars but we did not recognize any of them. The second house, VOILA! We saw our friend, Joe's car! Who needs a map?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Traveling Part Deux

     How do people afford to travel? Here we are, not on a pleasure trip but on one to support a family member and it costs an arm and a leg to fly, rent a car, go out to eat and last but not least, pay for parking at the hospital. Now, mind you this is an impressive hospital. Loyola near Chicago has a great reputation. The building is huge, a series of buildings, really, beautiful and well taken care of. Each building has a really nice coffee and food bar located in it, beautiful waiting rooms, gardens, etc. Well, no wonder.

     My sister had to go to 4 different buildings today. They are quite a distance apart and the day is cold and rainy and she has a very painful leg. Obviously we don't want her walking. So George drops off her and I at the building and he goes and parks. Then he comes and finds us and we finish at one building. He goes and gets the car and drives us to the next building. Etc. The catch-22 is that you pay 5.00 each time you park. So for one day of tests, we run up a parking bill of 20.00. I know where they get their funding.

     My day was very interesting though. People watching is my favorite hospital activity and they were out in full force today. My favorite person got out before I was able to sneak a photo of him, much to my dismay. I am always amazed by the young men who like to wear the falling down pants, some down to their knees, with their boxer shorts showing. Well this guy did something I had never seen. He had cut out the entire seat of his pants so that there was a giant hole in the back with his butt showing. (He had boxer shorts on though). It caused quite a stir in the MRI room, I can tell you that. I am sorry not to have photos but I can give you the flavor of the moment...

It was nothing like these. Darn!
The rip was bigger than this. But he had boxer shorts.
The hole was bigger than this. No guy's head poked through it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Traveling With George

     A you read this, consider the fact that I am now 1500 miles north of my usual home in South Florida. We flew up yesterday to Chicago to visit my sister. Diana is undergoing surgery on Wed for a leg tumor that is cancerous. We are hoping all will be well with her and came up to be with her for the week.

     I have to say, I don't know how regular travelers do it all the time. By the time I got all the reservations made, I was almost too exhausted to travel. It has been a while since we've flown. We got through the body search (I was wondering what they were imagining on seeing titanium rods in my back!) and headed for the gate. Using a shoehorn, the stewardess spring-loaded us into our seats, which were so close together, we had to take turns to buckle our seatbelts. I had brought a variety of things to do on the plane but with the cramped space allotted to me, I decided to forgo reading or computer work in favor of breathing and sitting. 

     Finally, I decided to ask George to get my book out of the carry-on bag. This bag was chock-full of everything we thought we would need on the plane. George gave me what he was holding on his lap and started to search through the disorganized bag. Twenty minutes passed and  he had still not found it. I told him to give up. He did, gratefully. Stuffed like sardines, we just sat in our seats and waited to land. It was all we could do.

     But land we did. We were there. All we had to do now was get our luggage (easily accomplished) and grab a shuttle to our car rental area. We stood outside. Damn. It was colder in Illinois and we were  not prepared. We stood on the curb with a bunch of other people all awaiting our rental shuttles. Avis....Budget...Hertz...National...Dollar...No one was getting on. Could it be that all these people were waiting for our rental shuttle? I was determined. No one was going to edge me off this shuttle. I stepped forward determinedly, pushing past the elderly couple that had barged in ahead of me. I used my suitcase as a wedge against them moving up again.

     At last, 20 minutes having gone by, our shuttle appeared. We moved forward en masse, like a sea of stranded travelers moving with the tide. We all managed to get on, the final leg of our travels behind us. Little did we know that there were more adventures to come!