Monday, January 26, 2009

It's Time To Get Serious - Day 1

There's always a Day 1 when you get serious about something. The question is will there be a Day 2, 3, 4 ...? In case you are wondering what I am going to get serious about, it's regaining the body I once had or at least coming close.

For the past two years I've used every excuse around to not diet and exercise. You know, like working all day and too tired to walk when I get home. Or I'll walk after I rest a bit but gee it's dark here by 4 o'clock. I'll wait until Spring. Hmmm... Spring rolled around and Wow, I can't walk I have to fetch my mother and bring her down for dinner. I'll join the gym but I never go.

As for dieting, heck I'm getting older and may as well enjoy food now. After all when I'm gone there won't be anything good to eat but dirt. That' s because I plan to be cremated and sprinkled in some unsuspected winery.

All right, I don't know why today has become Day 1 but it has and I think my OCD has kicked in as well. I've been signed up with Weight Watchers Online for 4 months and used it exactly 4 days. So I went back and I'm on points and exercise. I've also bookmarked CalorieKing.com. It should be interesting to see if they have the same calorie counts. And for the ultimate in the face act, I'm using my daily calendar as a food journal as well as keeping track of my activities.

Next the kids have to show me how to use the Wii exercise thing. We have two programs I think. Now for timing of exercising. I shall continue to rise at 4:00 am. Fool around with my Firecrackinmamas Zazzle" stuff and have my coffee. At 5:00/5:15 am it will be Wii time and then get ready for work. At lunch time I plan to either walk with others or use small weights for extremity toning. After work, I'll fetch my mother and instead of getting my daily dose of depression by watching the news, I'll do my routine 2 mile walk. Hope my busted butt lasts.

I've never been a 3 meal a day person but my body is about to experience a traumatic change. I plan to use the new Momentum program with Weight Watchers. I'm full already from my breakfast. I packed my lunch and have planned dinner. I did exercise a bit this morning. Now for the rest of the day.

So stay tuned to see if this new "Get Serious" attitude does have a Day 2, 3, 4, 5... I'll end my Blog each day with an update.

Have a Firecrackin Great Day!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Only 170 Days Until Our Cruise!

Yep, I'm counting the days. My husband bought everyone who was going on our last cruise a count down clock so we've all reset them for our next big adventure!

The only thing left to do now is find some good airline prices and of course a hotel for one or two nights. We're flying to Long Beach, CA and catching the new Carnival Splendor for a

7 Day Mexican Riviera cruise from Los Angeles

Destinations include: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico ; Mazatlan, Mexico ; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Oh, Yeah!!!

I am ready!!! Not. Now for the work before the play - losing weight. Hmmm... I've managed to keep my fingers firm and thin - typing is good for that. I've kept my neckline in pretty good shape too - non-stop talking keeps the wrinkles from taking over. Now for the rest of this old body.

I've developed some motivators. Now I'm just hoping they'll work.

First off for work I've gotten my own time clock:



Then to keep warm and maintain warm thoughts I designed this hoodie. It can easily be converted to a long sleeve shirt or tee with a simple click of the button.



Of course work has to have some meaning:



Now I need something to carry my beach necessities:



At home I'm keeping track with



And again at work everyone knows from my full year calendar print



Now tell me that's not motivation. New pair of sneakers and I'll get busy on the fat.

Have a Firecrackin Great Day!

Boom! Boom!! Boom!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Two Cents On Change

Tomorrow there will be another historical event to add to my lifetime. I've been around for a long time too. Some days I feel like I'm older than dirt but then that would make my mother older than dust. I thought I might take a few moments to compare the historical events I have witnessed and then add to it the historical events she has witnessed.

I'll obviously have to start with the most recent and move to the oldest. For those of you who may be historians or from my mother's era, I'll have to count on you to provide comments for anything I may miss. Timelines will not be accurate so these events probably won't be in order. And last but not least, I'm listing the MAJOR events. Even I am suffering from some dementia. My mother was born in 1920 as was my father.

Ready, here I go. ( I'm using FactMonster to help me out):

Event:
Firecrackinmama & Mom
2009 Obama Inauguration
2003 Iraq
9/11/2001
2001 George W. Bush 43rd Presidential Inauguration
1993 Bill Clinton Inaugurated 42nd President
1993 Space Shuttle Columbia explodes
1992 Soviet Union breaks up
1991 Persian Gulf War
1989 President Bush signs legislation to provide for federal bailout of nearly 800 insolvent savings and loan institutions
1989 George H.W. Bush Inauguration 41st President
1987 End of Cold War
1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explodes
1981 Sandra Day O'Connor is sworn in as the first woman Supreme Court justice
1981 Attempted assassination of Reagan
1981 Ronald Reagan Inauguration 40th President
1977 Jimmy Carter Inauguration 39th President
1974 Gerald Ford Inauguration 38th President
1974 House recommends impeachment of Nixon
1973 Spiro Agnew, Vice President, resigns
1972 Watergate
1969 Richard M. Nixon Inauguration 37th President
1969 First man on the moon
1968 Martin Luther King assassination
1968 Robert Kennedy assassination
1963 John F. Kennedy assassination
1964 President Johnson signs Civil Rights Act
1962 Col. John Glenn 1st astronaut to orbit earth
1959 Hawaii becomes the 50th State
1959 Alaska becomes the 49th State
1953 Eisenhower Inauguration 34th President
1951 Constitution limiting Presidents to two terms
1950-53 Korean War

Mom

1945 United Nations established
1945 Harry Truman Inauguration 33rd President
1945 FDR dies while in office
1945 End of WWII - First atomic bomb explosion
1941 Pearl Harbor
1935 Social Security Act
1933 Franklin Roosevelt Inauguration 32nd President
1932 First Woman elected to Senate
1932 Amelia Earhart completes first solo nonstop transatlantic flight by a woman
1931 Star Spangled Banner adopted as National Anthem
1929 Herbert Hoover's Inauguration 31st President
1929 The Great Depression
1927 Charles Lindbergh first solo nonstop transatlantic flight in his plane The Spirit of St. Louis
1923 Calvin Coolidge's Inauguration 30th President
1921 Warren Harding's Inauguration 29th President

Wow!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tried My Hand At

making t-shirts today. Since I started PODs I've wanted to create more t-shirts but for some reason the humor I can so easily give in real life just doesn't come through in a written format.

Today I tried again. I took several images and added some text to make it somewhat humorous. In an effort to make them unique I used different images on the front and back and of course different text. The problem is that you can only post one side or the other in your gallery. So only half the humor I guess is getting out to the public.

Here are some I managed to crunch out:

Vegas vs. Wall St. Shirt shirt
Vegas vs. Wall St. Shirt

Vegas vs. Wall St. Shirt shirt
Vegas vs. Wall St. Shirt

Then of course I had to be loyal to our Phillies:
This Is How We Play T-shirt shirt
This Is How We Play T-shirt

Philadelphia-City of Brotherly Love Shirt shirt
Philadelphia-City of Brotherly Love Shirt

Philadelphia-City of Brotherly Love Shirt shirt
Philadelphia-City of Brotherly Love Shirt

Plus more. Just check out Firecrackinmama's t-shirts.

I also felt the season called for some relief. It is down right cold here in New Jersey this morning so I decided to visit my Firecrackinmama's Tropics and make some tees there.

Planning, designing, uploading, sales and marketing takes a long time. I am certainly doing something wrong when I can't mass produce like some others but I do know that the quality of my things are top grade.

Have a Firecrackin Great Day and Go E-A-G-L-E-S!!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Life, The Dash Between Two Dates

When you get right down to it life is only the dash between two dates, when you were born and when you die and the time span is really as short as that dash. No morbidity here though just a small glimpse into the dashes of people who have helped put a dot on my dash.

It's difficult to put things in order so let's just go with the hodge podge as things come to mind. I definitely have to start with my parents and their undying love for each other.



You can see the love in their eyes. My mother is 88 now and relives her memories of happy times through all the photos she took over the years. Her short term memory sends everyone into a frenzy because the same question could be asked 50 times within an hour. We've resorted to giving her a sticky pad and putting the answer on there. It's not to be cruel but she becomes very upset because she knows she forgets. This way there is a small bit of independence. We can just give her a cue and she checks the sticky note.

For Christmas I made her, what I thought was going to be one album, of her children from birth to 1960. It turned out to be 3 printed albums that she cherishes each and every day. I didn't realize how much it affected me until I was almost done. I never realized how poor we were materially but we were anything but poor emotionally.

I think it is safe to say we were a Donna Reed type family. It was a good safe feeling. Today I work with children who carry so much baggage and are clueless to the feelings I knew as a child.

I was the fifth generation to be born and raised in our town of Woodbury, New Jersey. My husband hates it when I tell people that but I'm proud of it.

Woodbury has changed though since the days I grew up there. I know for a fact that people who travel on Logan Street and come to the intersection at Morris Street can't read. They never stop at the stop sign. I also know that drugs are prevalent throughout the neighborhoods. That's because the guy in charge of the neighborhood watch told me and on my mother's street there is quite a bit of activity.

So I think I'll stick with the happy memories I have of a great little town that I knew.



This was my mother's second cousin and the owner of the first car in Woodbury. She is parked out front of the original Newton Hotel. It's long gone now. She had a very interesting life as her family was very wealthy. I guess they had to be for her to own the first car. Even better though she married a very prominent doctor in town and they literally traveled the world. Eventually they moved to Philadelphia where we would visit them a couple of times a year.



They were very much in love but her husband learned that he had hardening of the arteries and committed suicide. I was too little to remember any of that. However my Granny Grimes, as we called her, continued to invite us a few times a year for dinner. Oh, what memories!

We had to dress to the nines and be on our best behaviors. Every manner we had been taught was to be used. My mother was better than Emily Post.

North Philadelphia back in the day was a very nice place to live. Across the street from their place was a restaurant called Fishers or it was Fischers; I don't remember. However when we arrived at their eloquent glass front door that had to be at least ten feet tall, we were greeted by their house maid, Anna. I loved her. She had a laugh that made everyone laugh and she took good care of my Granny Grimes.

We would sit and chat for a while and Anna would serve drinks and h'orderves. It always seemed that we just finished everything when Anna would come back in and announce that dinner was ready.

The dining room was gigantic with the largest table I ever saw. Once seated and napkins placed in our laps Anna would enter with the first course. We would no sooner be finished with that then she would come in clear the table and bring the main course. Again once finished she somehow knew when to come back, clear the table and bring dessert.

I don't remember how old I was but this really puzzled me and I must have asked "How do she know?" :) The trick was that my Granny Grimes had a buzzer under the rug by her foot and when we were finished our courses she would buzz Anna. From that time on I was allowed to slide to the floor and push the buzzer.

Isn't it amazing how you remember the little things in life?

I've been really pressing my mother lately to identify and tell us about our pictorial family tree. Fortunately her long term memory is still pretty much in tact. The kids played Continental with her the other night. It took a little bit but she remembered how to play and kicked their butts.

I'm getting ready now to make her birthday gift. The first DVD I ever did was a slideshow of her military years with my father. She always claimed that was the happiest time of her life. Since she doesn't know how to use the DVR I'm going to make her another book.



My father was a bombardier and my mother traveled with him. Below was his best friend. Oh the stories that go with that friendship that lasted forever.



Pipes were the thing back then. I don't recall ever seeing them without their cherry tobacco and pipes.

Time to take a break from this short trip down memory lane. Oh, I did make this card from one of my father's pictures. It was great when the gas prices were so high. Check out the price it was back then.

Gas Pump Thinking of You Card card
Gas Pump Thinking of You Card

Well, have a Firecrackin Great Day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Should I or Shouldn't I?

I'm wondering if I should open another Gallery. I just converted my Firecrackinmama's Party from the Online Christmas Party. It didn't do real well so I decided to convert it to exactly what it says - Party! However I haven't really worked on it and must do so immediately. Pressure - I'm not good with that any more. When it loses it's fun it becomes work and I certainly don't want this to become work. So I'll work on it when the Spirit moves me.

What I would like to do is start a Gallery that has only prints. Pictures that can be purchased framed or the customer can frame it. I'm also thinking of using the photos on postcards and a few other items in which they might look neat. The point of this gallery though is not to manipulate any of the photos except to make them fit the item.

I seem to have so many great prints spread all over my four galleries that I think for my own sanity it would be better to just keep them in one place. However I did try that with opening a niche gallery FCM_Christmas and found that when I made copies and placed them in my Firecrackinmama's Zazzle gallery, I sold more from my Firecrackinmama's Gallery.

Everyone is so connected to my Firecrackinmama name that that's where they go. So maybe I should just stay with what works. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Some of my favorite prints are located in my Firecrackinmama's Tropics Gallery. However I need to load even more prints then the few that are there. This is the perfect time of year to show them off. So I will.

Blue Hawaii Poster print
St. Thomas Sunset

This photograph was taken by my sister-in-law while vacationing in St. Thomas last winter. It is a beautiful sight and makes you want to be there.

Then I have plenty of gorgeous images in my Firecrackinmama's Gallery that I believe go unnoticed. One of my favorites is of Snow Mountain in Colorado. My daughter and I were on a cross country trip. She was returning to the University of Southern California and took me along as a buddy. I've enlarged this print several times and framed it myself. The sun reflecting off the snow is just beautiful.
Natural Beauty Print print
Natural Beauty Print

Another of my favorites is this image taken by my husband while on our first cruise. It's a lucky thing he didn't fall overboard as I'm sure I might have been blamed. I've enlarged this print as well and it comes out beautifully.
Quiet Night at Sea print
Quiet Night at Sea

Well, I'm off to my real job now and I have to say I do like it. So is it a job if it's fun? This one is as it does have a very serious side to it.

For now have a Firecrackin great day!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

With The New Year Comes New Hopes

Anyone who has a Blog has to be sure to post on the first day of the New Year! It is however a bit difficult after staying up into the wee hours of the morning. In the old days we could stay up all night celebrating and going over to our neighbor's for an eggs Benedict breakfast. Yum!! Not anymore though.

New hopes... Hmm... Let's see I know the first hope is that my family remains healthy, safe and happy. That's a no brainer. My second hope is that we all keep our jobs, health insurance and the now imaginary retirement plans.

I hope that Barack Obama will bring the change needed and promised. Naturally not everyone will be happy but let's at least hope the majority of people will.

I hope that the world becomes more "green" minded.

I hope our troops come home soon.

I hope elected officials will stop insulting our intelligences thinking we believe their lies.

and I hope people will become more understanding, accepting and nice.

Now for my selfish and self-serving hopes:

I hope I can continue to be successful with my Firecrackinmama.com site and my Firecrackinmama's Zazzle Galleries.

I'm planning to once again redo my Firecrackinmama.com. It's an exercise I do almost routinely. One day maybe I'll get it to where I'm happy. As for the Firecrackinmama's Zazzle Galleries, I'm having a great time creating new designs and putting them on multiple items. Surprise, Surprise! Others like and buy my creations. Some are pretty bizzare too.

I hope I can learn Spanish. My daughter gave me "Spanish Phrase-a-Day 2009 calendar". It started today with a phrase I already know but not only does it give the phrase, an interpretation and an image, but it also provides the pronunciation that I can understand! So I'm really contemplating purchasing Rosetta Stones Spanish and looking into a community adult school that may give a beginners course. I have a lot of trouble twirling the "r"s.

I hope I can lose weight. Never have I weighed so much. After 3 surgeries within 4 years I have gained weight and the latest is that I probably have Osteoporosis. So day 1 I am now officially on my diet. HELP!!! I think I'd better wait until tomorrow: we have wings for the Penn State vs USC game. Although I'm from NJ I'll have to cheer for USC, my youngest daughter's alma mater.

I hope I'll go to the gym regularly - looking into the aquatic classes.

I'm hoping I'll win a big lottery this year so I can first give to my favorite charity - the family- and then to others less fortunate.

I'm hoping I'll get back to my routine 2 mile walks.

And finally I'm hoping that I keep up with Blogging. I now have three Blogs:

Firecrackinmama's Zazzle Blog that provides the latest discounts and ideas for those unique gift giving ideas. Also encourages everyone to "use your photos, don't abuse them" by burying them in drawers, albums or lost files on the computer.

Then I have Firecrackinmama's World of Education Blog - it really needs to be updated. That's definitely a New Year's Resolution.

So for now I'm wishing everyone a Firecrackin Great New Year!

Happy New Years!!!