Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pictures, Pictures - EVERYWHERE!

It's DONE! I sent Mandy to the store this morning to get me some more glue and while she has Miss Maya with her - up at my son' s place with her sister-in-law, getting ready for a yard sale they're having this weekend, and with the baby sleeping - I finished putting ALL the rest of the photos on the one poster board! Yippee Skippy! I was a little concerned this morning that I wouldn't be able to squish the remaining photos on to the one poster board, but I did it!

The total number of photos involved - 168! How's that for a grand sum?

As collages go - I guess it's not too bad. Not quite as organized in the arrangement as I would have liked, but what the heck. I wanted to be able to put a few extras in here and there too - little captions, here and there, but there definitely is no room for anything like that.

And, on the off chance someone stops by today and drops off some other photos, there's even a few smallish spaces in which I might even be able to manage to squeeze a couple more pics in there! As it is right now, this display has a picture of EVERYONE from our class who actually graduated. There are a couple pictures - older ones - of at least two girls who didn't graduate with us - one moved away right before our senior year and graduated from a school in the next county over (Centre County). But, she has also always considered herself to be a member of OUR class, almost always comes to our class reunions, keeps in touch with several of us from our class and she also brought me several photos of herself and a few others from way back along with a wedding picture and some of her and her son and grandchildren.

I have, I think, at least six wedding pictures on the board -one is of the first from our class to tie the knot. I can always remember their wedding anniversary for several reasons - one is she was my next door neighbor and two, they got married on St. Patrick's Day of 1962 - two months BEFORE we graduated. And, the neat thing is on every picture where either this bride or groom is on the poster board, you can always recognize both of them, almost immediately because their looks have changed very little over the years.

For anyone reading this who may have attended Cooper Center of West Branch Area School, the bride was the Cheerleading Captain and the groom was the Captain of the football team -1961-62. Darned good looking couple they made though, don't you agree?

Here's a little special treat - this photo is the oldest picture anyone from my class provided to me for scanning. I just thought it is such a really cute baby picture and I'm betting you'll all agree with that too. However, I won't tell who this is on this picture - gonna have to be at the Class reunion to find that out!
Now, I ask you - how precious is that photo? And, if anyone reading this is from my class, I will give you this much of a hint -the person in this baby picture has been to EVERY SINGLE ONE of our class reunions!

I just got a "special delivery" here about an hour ago now. My neighbor, friend Kate, our Class President/Valedictorian too, stopped by an brought me five more photos to add to my "collection." However, some of these won't go on the poster board, simply because they are too large to scan and snip down. So, looks like there will be a smaller, corkboard display going along then with the poster board to the reunion.

Here then is one of the photos Kate dropped off - it's of her Confirmation Class at the church she and I both belonged to back then - both still belong to the "same" church today as well. Somehow, although she and I are the same age, she was confirmed with a group of kids who were anywhere from one to three years older than us. Unfortunately, I can't locate the box of old photos or my old albums either, with my Confirmation Class photo. Wish I knew where in the heck the kids stashed that box away from me!
From left to right in this photo are: Ed Nadzom, Mary Kaye (Larson) Gurbal, Eugene Larson, Millie Glace, Rev. E. A. Lindgren, Gayle Glace, Bill Gurbal (deceased), Martha (Nelson) Ciprich and Kate (Nelson) Eyerly. This class was the last group of young people in our old church - First Lutheran of Grassflat - confirmed by Pastor Lindgren, so this photo is from sometime in 1956 as that is the year Pastor Lindgren and his wife left our parish.

So, there's another little peek for you at photos from my past, from the past of some of my classmates actually. Hope you enjoyed seeing these. No, I'm not going to be posting all 168 pictures I have on the poster board, but I'll probably pick and try to choose some others to share with you over the next couple of days or so.

And now - here's the Bushism for tomorrow - a day early - for June 1, 2007.
"I'm determined to keep the process on the road to peace." - Washington, D.C.; June 10, 2003.

Looking Back

Boy, it's been a loooonnnggg Day!

I wouldn't be posting this now but I had to cease and desist working on the photo poster board for my class reunion because I need more glue. I've been working since about 10 p.m. tonight on clipping, sizing up, pasting photos of my classmates and just emptied the third -and last - glue stick I had in the house. So today -when Mandy gets home from work, I'm going to have to have her pick up more glue sticks for me and hopefully, I'll be able to get the rest of the photos glued onto the poster board tomorrow afternoon and will have that project all done, neatly tucked away.

I was going to start with our graduation photos -placing them in a circle and working out from the center of the poster board but decided instead, to start with the oldest photos I had -one is a baby picture of one of the guys from our class and the other is one of my cousin and me taken when we were about 2-3 years old and put them in the center and then worked my way out from there, trying to do it in a "sort of" age type layout. So if someone starts at the center and works their way towards the top, bottom, sides, etc., it will be an age progression - if you use your imagination. I'm worried I will run out of space now too but we shall see how that pans out - gonna take a lot of "nips and tucks" on the photos I have left to paste on there, that's for sure!

The pictures I have left to work with are all ones of people from my class taken after graduation. A few wedding pictures, some that are just kind of "general" and photos I have acquired of a goodly number of classmates with their children and grandchildren. If need be, I may have to run to Walmart and find another poster board - but won't need a great big one like the one I've been working on tonight.

As I worked my way out from the center, using pics of various classmates from first grade up through our senior year, I then took the pictures that were our yearbook photos and by snipping them a bit, I was able to "ring" around the early childhood photos with our graduation photos and as it turned out, it was a perfect fit! Talk about a lucky streak I had going there, huh?

After that, I pasted up photos of our class reunions - group photos from three reunions and snap shots of various classmates and the two last reunions.

Earlier this week, I posted a group photo of our class taken at our 25th reunion and seeing as I am sooo alert ya know, I didn't realize until today that that particular photo has a date over the top of it saying it was our 1982 Reunion -which would have been our 20th reunion. However, I know for a fact that picture was taken at our 25th reunion which was held in 1987 so I must have put the date label on it at sometime or other and scanned it in incorrectly then. Sometimes, I am just sooo danged bright you know! Brother! How the heck could I have done something that freaking stupid anyway? Well, for me, it was probably pretty doggone easy!

Just for the heck of it though, here's some more photos from the assortment I have gathered up, starting off with the one that is the REAL one of our group from out 20th reunion - back in 1982.
That year - as shown above - I think we had our best turnout - if I counted correctly, there were 28 classmates who showed up for it. This one was held down at the Quehanna Motor Inn, just outside of Karthaus, and for entertainment, we had a "one-man band." Yep, one man who played several instruments - some of them if I remember correctly he played simultaneously! He was quite a "one-man show"!

Here's a picture now taken at our 30th Reunion. This was the first "picnic" reunion we had which was hosted by our classmate, Joe, at his house - out in an area near here that is very rural, I don't think there are any true villages in that township, but somewhere over the years, the area was given the name of "Pinchatooley." I have no clue whatsoever as to the origin of that name but most everyone around here just refers to it usually as "Pinchy."
At that reunion, shown above, we had 22 classmates present -which now seems to be about the norm for our group. This year, according to my neighbor, friend, our class president (Kate), we have 21 who are going to attend. There were 61 of us in our class when we graduated and our class was one of the largest to graduate back for that era. I don't remember - and I don't have anything around anymore either that gives the count of how many students there were in our class when we started out high school years -but it seems to me there were somewhere around 80 of us our Freshman year.

Since we graduated, we have lost six classmates - five of the boys and one girl who graduated with me are dead. The last of our class who passed away was Jim Wasseen and he died three weeks after our 40th reunion of cancer. I think the youngest member of our class to die was Lynn Gruendler, who took his own life on January 13th of 1976, which would have made him 32 years old at the time. That was a terrible time as two days before Lynn shot himself, my neighbor's son, Bobby, had also taken his own life too. Bobby was only 28 years old. I'd grown up with Bobby, my Mom had taken care of him and his mother when he was born (born at home back in those days you know and my Mom was a registered nurse), so he was like a little brother to me. Six years later, my cousin David also took his own life. Having seen the devastation the actions taken by these three young men on their families, the state of shock the entire community here was in when Bobby and Lynn BOTH did that, words simply do not describe the feelings that existed then - and still do -over those losses. And, I remember those events like it was just yesterday that it happened - suicide leaves such a void that is so much harder to accept the loss, even after these many years.

One of my classmates who brought some photos down to loan me for this poster board commented to me when she was here that this may very possibly be our last class reunion. I would hope it isn't the "end of the road" in that respect but I know Kate - our Class President - didn't want the responsibility this year of planning this event and I'm fairly certain she is going to request if we want a reunion for our 50th year, that someone else take over and do the work. It is a tremendous amount of work involved in a function like this, for openers. I know how much work goes into trying to plan our family reunion every year - which reminds me, I need to start working on the newsletter I send out to all family members to remind them of that event coming up here the last weekend in July.

The family who used to live in the house next door to me - the Little family - had their family reunion this past Sunday. It's such a contrast to see how many attend that function - they use the Cooper Grove paviilion - which is often rented for wedding receptions and such and probably holds at least 200-300 people in the dining room. The Little family though is anything but Little - there were 13 children for openers and I think there are 66 or 68 grandchildren (I've lost track now). And great-grandchildren - now great-great-grandchildren too -and they pretty well fill that building when they get together! One of the grandchildren is Charmaine of Jim and Charmaine's Restaurant here and I had to laugh at Charmaine's Mom - Helen Ann - who Mandy and I saw Wednesday afternoon up at the restaurant as she was talking to me about their family reunion and remarked about how many kids there were there this year - "All over the place" according to her! And I can easily believe that!

My own family reunion at the end of July, although there were 13 children in my grandfather's family and 40 grandchildren - I'm of the "great-grandchildren generation there - but we wil lbe lucky I suppose if we pull in 25 cousins to attend our reunion. When I was growing up and my grandparents, several of his siblings too, were still living, we usually drew 60-70 people back then for our reunion. But back then, most of those in the Eld family side of my tree tended to live in Pennsylvania, New York or Maryland - pretty much within a 3-4 hour drive to get back here. Today, the family is scattered all over the place - from one cousin in Hawaii, a few in California and Texas, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Vermont, South Carolina and Georgia and only a few of us in Pennsylvania and as close by as New York or Maryland! How times do change things that you grew up! And, to my way of thinking, seeing my family reunion dwindle down to those low numbers brings about the fear that soon it may disband for lack of attendance and interest. I just hate the thought of my grandchildren NOT being able to grow up and know who their relatives are regardless of how distant the relationship might be today.

And now - before I fall asleep typing or worse, get off on a really sentimental tangent and keep writing - I'm going to post my normal "Bushism" for the day and go to bed!

Thursday - May 31, 2007
"And if you're interested in the quality of education and you're paying attention to what you hear at Laclede, why don't you volunteer? Why don't you mentor a child how to read?" - Pierre Laclede Elementary School; St. Louis, Missouri; January 5, 2004.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gearing UP!

Ok, folks! The race is now on - I'm getting ready to do some really serious work here!

Time to start printing out photos I have been accumulating - thanks to many of my high school classmates - and get my photo display put together for my class reunion this coming Saturday.

I finally got off my lazy duff today -actually, the memory thing kicked into gear at an hour of the day when my former classmates wouldn't get upset to get a phone call from me - as opposed to when I tend to think about "oh, I should call so-and-so" and it's like 11 p.m. or way later than that sometimes. This aging thing and memory is not pretty to behold, truly it isn't! I'm lucky I can remember my name and trying to recall something that happened 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days ago, even 5 years ago, is darned risky although I can almost always recall things that happened 40-50 years ago with a lot of real clarity too, no less! Go figure THAT one out, will ya!

But I called several of my remaining classmates who live in this area today - got some more good responses from them too about the photo project.

The last one I talked to was my old buddy "Harvey." He's a trip! My son told me yesterday that he had seen Harvey and his wife up at one of the local "watering holes" in the area and that Harvey had even introduced his wife to my son. Then, of course, he has to do what he does best - try to tell stories about the old lady here to my son! John (which is actually his real name), or "Butch" which is one of his nicknames -and I go way back. We were friends in high school and have remained friends over the years primarily I think because years ago, when I first went to work in the D.C. area and Butch was then working and living down there too, I frequently hitched rides back home most any weekend I wanted to come home cause Butch's girlfriend was from the Philipsburg area and he generally came home almost every weekend to spend quality time with her. THen, after they married, started their family, they were living in the same apartment complex along with my best friend from high school and her husband too as I was. By that time, my Mom was living with me - Butch and his wife lived just around the corner from us and Mom used to babysit their two girls when they were babies/toddlers. My girlfriend and her husband and their little girl lived directly across the courtyard from us and Mom often babysat for their daughter in the evenings/weekends along with watching the little children of couples who were friends of Cheryl and Mitch's. She actually had a thriving little babysitting gig going on there for quite a while!

Butch, back in school, was just a really nice young man -and after we graduated and I was riding back and forth from D.C. to home with him, my Mom then and for the rest of her life, just thought Butch was the best person ever! Yes, he was - still is very nice, friendly, polite. In school, he was fun to associate with but was never a "troublemaker" type of kid.

However, there was one time though back in our sophomore year in high school when something happened in our history class that I really thought Butch was on the verge of going into cardiac arrest.

The classroom we had our history class in had a row of double-desks on each side of the room and then two rows of moveable desks in the middle. The double-desks were the old type that were bolted down to the floor. My girlfriend Cheryl and I shared one of the double-desks and Butch and another guy - Eddie -shared the desk directly behind us. We weren't any of us, bad kids, but we were pretty much bored with ancient history some days plus, that particular instructor didn't have much control over his classes so we devised our own entertainment method. The boys made a deck of cards and the four of us would sit in class and play 500 Rummy instead of listening to the instructor. No problem! That is until one day when Butch was taking his turn shuffling the cards and getting ready to deal out our next hand. Suddenly, the door to the classroom opened and in walked the principal -"old Birdie Ding-dong" which was our lovely nickname for the man who had the position of high school principal. As he started to stroll along the aisle where we were seated, Butch got so unnerved by the principal's presence that he dropped these hand-made cards - 52 pick-up - as they flew all over the floor under our seats! All four of us immediately ducked down, scrambling to get these makeshift cards picked up and neatly hidden away from sight so as to NOT get into any trouble for having been playing cards in school.

Can you believe that was really and truly about the extent of our acting bad during school back in those days? My kids -when I told them this story years back - were astonished to learn that was about the worst thing their mother had done while in high school. Sure didn't hold a candle to some of their antics!

While talking to Butch today on the phone, we got talking too about the upcoming reunion and remembering a few things from the last one as well. And we both had to laugh about the misunderstanding at the last reunion at which the staff at the place where we had our dinner, etc., didn't have the bar set up to be open for business until about an hour after our gathering time. This proved to be a bit disconcerting for a few of us dyed-in-the-wool beer drinkers, as you can imagine. Some were really put out that no one had thought to make arrangements to have the management see to it that the bar would be available as soon as people arrived there. But, in retrospect, as I pointed out to Butch this spring, poor Kate - our beleaguered class president is not a drinker in any way, shape or form and that would have been the very last thought that would have ever entered her mind! (Now, had Kate's husband had a hand in the arrangements, you can bet your bottom dollar that probably would have been one of the very first things he'd have seen to - Jim, like several of the rest of us - does like to indulge in some good cold brews from time to time.)

But, back to my photo project - which I am going to be working on this evening now to try to start getting the pictures printed out, ready to be displayed - I have at this point in time now around 130 pictures I have gathered up from several classmates. These pictures range from a few that are baby or pre-school era photos to some relatively recent snapshots too, some even including children and/or those wonderful little beings many of us are now blessed with - grandchildren! I don't think any of my classmates have great-grandchildren yet but it is entirely possible that some do and I just don't know who they are who have grandchildren old enough to have families of their own now too.

Here's a photo from our 25th Class Reunion - just to give you a little idea of what my classmates and I looked like then. Here's the names now too, of my classmates who were in attendance at the reunion that year: left to right -
Rose Little Wick, Hazel Ditty, Kathy Bloom, ME, Betty Samansky
Bernie Lucas, Susie Violanti, Carol Folmar, Kate Nelson and Lori
Bunyak -in the front row.
In the back from left to right - John Harvey, Herb Lucas, Jim
Wasseen, Charles Steele, Joe Bosak, Ernest Degrasse, John
Krasinski, Arthur Askey, Durvin Wick and Dennis Humenay.

At least two of those classmates pictured are now deceased. Den Humenay, who didn't actually graduate with us as he went to Milton Hershey School for Boys from our freshman year through till graduation died in September of 1988 - six years after this reunion took place - and Jim Wasseen, who died three weeks after our last reunion five years ago.

Now you know what we looked like as recently as 25 years ago but boy, many of us don't look the same today! Well, at least I don't - there's a whole lot more of me these days! LOL

And now, before I wander off here to the realm of what used to be - reliving past history as I look over these old photos and print them out, here's the Bushism for tomorrow - Wednesday, May 30th, 2007.

"I haven't had a chance to talk, but I'm confident we'll get a bill that I can live with if we don't." - Referring to the McCain-Kennedy Patient Protection Act; Brussels, Belgium; June 13, 2001.

Monday, May 28, 2007

What's New? (And what's not, too.)

"What's new? How is the world treating you?"
I took a little break in the blogging since early (very early) Friday morning and now I'm back, just as brain dead though I think as I was before.
I got my bread all baked up Friday - and happy to note every last loaf came out fine and dandy too! Mandy got it out to church early Saturday morning for the bake sale and I managed to get up and out of the house - up to the bake sale by 11:30 in the morning too! The kids were pretty busy with the car wash, baked goods lined up across three long tables and doing a good bit of business with that. According the the stepgranddaughter, they took in over $400 for their combined efforts of the day.
Saturday afternoon, Miss Maya and I went up to the local nursery to get flowers for the graves. She actually behaved fairly well for me - enough so that I decided to stop and treat her to lunch out with Grammy.
Saturday evening though Mandy was a little bit tight-jawed at her spouse, at the step-granddaughter over something too. She had to go over to Walmart to pick up a prescription for her spouse (which is what had irritated her in the first place).
Why did that upset her? Because as she explained it to me, she has to keep track on any meds she has to take, when they need refilled, takes care of the other menial details here as well - like insurances, car registrations, driver's license renewals, expirations on some licenses the spouse has and when he has to renew them, etc., etc., and he can't tell her until the day he runs out of his imitrex - which he HAS to have to live with the migraines. Anyway, I do understand her point of view on this. It does get frustrating when everyone else -who may be perfectly capable of doing a few of these things for HIMSELF expects her to take care of her stuff, the kids stuff, and his stuff too! If she could have gone over to the driver's license center and had a picture taken for him for his license, he would have expected her to do that too. As it was, he forgot completely about doing that. Yeah, I'd be miffed too with a spouse that expected someone to take care of every stinking minor little detail that life brings along! (Actually, I think I was married once to someone very similar to that. P.S. I've only ever been married once - too ornery for anyone else to take that kind of risk with ya know!)
So anyway, after going over to get his prescription taken care of we decided to heck with going home and cooking and ended up going to the truckstop restaurant about 14 miles east of here - where I had slaved for seven years about 18 years ago now! I still pretty much know their menu by heart because, true to form as the truckers used to say about that menu, the only thing that ever changes on it are the prices. Still and all, it is a decent eating place - at least most of the time - and comparatively speaking, is relatively reasonable in price too. I was thinking on the way down there of what I should order - what items they served there that I really do like.
When we got in there as we walked in the door and I saw the sign with the "Special for the Day" posted on it, I had no doubt then what I would order. The special for the day turned out to be one of my most favorite of foods - Stuffed cabbage rolls! Boy, how I love those things! And, because the people who own/run that particular restaurant are of Slovak origin, make really good "stuffed piggies" or "halupki" - which ever nickname you might know them as, I knew that there was no question in my mind what I would order then! I did and relished every last bite of them too!
Sunday - Mandy, the little guy and I managed to get up in time to get to church. Coming out of church though, my neighbor three doors down from me told me something we both thought was incredible. She's president of our high school class and in charge of this upcoming class reunion and I've been trying to take care of doing a couple things here and there to help her out. Well, she told me the strangest thing had happened on Saturday in that she had sent me an e-mail message and it had been returned to her as "undeliverable, due to the recipient's inactivity." Say what? My e-mail account was inactive? When? How did that happen?
I then noticed I had a big drop in activity with my yahoo account for a group I belong to and checked on that. In doing so, I found they were unable to send e-mails from the group through to me because my main e-mail was marked as "inactive." So, I sent an e-mail to my provider inquiring as to how this could possibly have come about. The response I got back from them was a message taken verbatim from their explanation on how a person's e-mail account will be deemed inactive if there as been no actions on it over a 90 DAY period! That's right - a 90 DAY period! Mine has rarely been inactive for longer than oh say, 90 minutes at the most!
Needless to say, I was not a happy camper over this bit of information! I wrote back to them requesting that they please re-read my initial message and the questions I had and not for them to send me the quotes from their regulations area! Tonight, after a few more spells of apparent inactivity, I called my provider and they still were unable to tell me why it had been place on "inactive" status! A big Go Figure there, huh?
Yesterday afternoon though, Mandy and the little ones and I took the flowers we had up to the cemetery where my grandparents and several other relatives are buried and after that, up to the cemetery where my parents are both buried too. Mandy dug up the area around my grandparents' stone and as I was setting flowers out there, I asked her to please go up to my aunt and uncle's gravesite and get the ground around the stone there ready to put flowers on there too. No problem she said after asking me where their gravesite is. I told her too go up a few lots from my grandparents site and if she saw the grave of a cousin of my Mom's and her husband, it was right there, around that area. Off she went and I saw her then working away, digging, preparing the soil and then, setting flowers out.
When I finished and started to walk up to where she had planted the flowers, imagine my surprise when I came upon that aunt and uncles graves and stone and no flowers there.
"Mandy," I called, "I thought you put flowers out on Aunt Ethel and Uncle Butch's grave?" And, she called back to me, "I did!" Well, if she had, damned if I could see any trace of them! So we kind of argued back and forth a bit about this - hey, I could tell she hadn't put them on the gravesite where they should have gone but the question then became, whose grave did she plant the flowers on anyway? As it turned out, she had actually planted them on the graves of three of my Mom's first cousins - luckily for her, huh? But how she got the surnames of Gustafson confused with Skogsberg is one thing I still haven't figured out. They sure don't sound anything the same do they?
Today was pretty much a lazy day here too - although it too had some interesting spots. I've been after my son-in-law for the past couple of weeks now to check down in the basement and also, up in the attic here for a box of old photos that should be here someplace. When the stepgranddaughter floated in late this afternoon, she handed me a packet of photos that she said her dad's sister had found down at the storage place where Mandy and Bill have carted many of the items I had here in the house when he and the stepgranddaughter moved in here.
This storage place and how things got taken there is a bit of a sore spot with me because Mandy and Bill just went through stuff about 3-4 years ago and arbitrarily decided on their own - without questioning me about anything they decided to stick into storage - which items should remain in the house and which needed to be put in storage. Now, if he'd had his way, he would have boxed up all my yarn, fabrics, sewing patterns, craft pattern books, most of my pots and pans and dishes, etc., and slid them all on the pallet for the storage place! I did manage to salvage my yarns, fabrics and sewing patterns anyway because, as I explained to him, there was no way I was going to be able to run down to the storage facility when the whim (or need) hit me to sew or to knit or crochet! Count that as a partial victory for the old pack rat here then!
But, according now to Mandy's sister-in-law, he has stashed so much other stuff in and around the boxes of stuff that are supposed to be mine, that getting to any of my boxes is now apparently next to impossible to achieve! Wonderful! I am highly impressed, I truly am! NOT!
Most of the things my son-in-law does, I don't, as a general rule, have a problem with. But, when he gets on a bit of a cleaning binge, Katie bar the door and pass the ammunition! He goes crazy! And to prove that, let me tell you about how he managed to toss $100 in the garbage a few months back because he wanted to clear off some papers from the wrap-around counter between the kitchen and dining room and didn't bother too look to see what else might have been intermingled in with the papers he was in such a hurry to put in the trash! Yep! There was $100 in cash laying there - which Mandy was supposed to put up in a safe place but somehow she hadn't gotten around to doing that either and he, in his hurry to clean, just snatched up old mail, some newspapers and such - mushed it all together -with the $100 in the middle of all that - and kerplunked it into the trash! Nice work, huh?
Now, you'd think mucking up like that would teach some one a little lesson to "look before you leap" but nope, not so here! Ok, he hasn't trashed any cash lately but sure does have a big penchant for transporting stuff of mine, etc., to the storage bin without asking how frequently I need/use things and it's that attitude that does drive me slightly bonkers at times. I don't need any help in putting things up so I can't find them later - I'm notorious enough on my own for doing things like that - so I really don't need someone else who can be just as addle brained then later on and can't remember where he put things either!!! Let me lose my stuff on my own, will ya please? Eventually, I stumble across what I have put up in some kind of off-the-beaten track hiding place.
And there you go - a recap of my lovely lazy weekend!
Now, to start you off for the coming week, here's the Bushism for today!
Monday, May 28, 2007
"One of the common denominators I have found is that expectations rise above that which is expected." - Los Angeles, California; September 27, 2000.

Ah yes, how true, DUBYA!

And, since it is getting pretty close now to being Tuesday, May 29, 2007, I figure I may as well go ahead and post the Bushism for that day too - while I'm at it, before I forget. Right? Right!
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
"My job is to, like, think beyond the immediate." - Washington, D.C.; April 21, 2004.

Hmmm. Maybe DUBYA and the son-in-law have something in common here? D'ya think?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Busy, Busy!!!

Today - meaning Thursday - (even though, technically as I write this, it is Friday but until I go to bed and get up sometime the next day, it isn't really today then, it's still tomorrow and today, right now, is still Thursday to me. Make sense?) - was a busy day for me. One in which I actually got something accomplished to my needs, my way of thinking anyway.

And what was it I got completed that I feel this good about? I finished my re-transcription of the census report for 1910 pertaining to the area where I live, that's what I did! It was 40 pages of roughly 50 names per page to try to decipher from the cross between a difficult, at times, to read photocopy and the added problem of trying to figure out the handwriting and spelling of the person who took that census report 97 years ago now! Now, my next step will be to compare my transcription against the one shown on the Ghost Coal Mining Town of Peale -which is on my "favorites" list on my blog to see if I came up with some names the guys who did that transcription couldn't figure out and also then, to see which names they got that I couldn't make out. Maybe then, between their piece of work and mine, we'll finally have a more accurate 1910 Census transcription there for Cooper Township, Precinct 66. I hope so anyway! After I get finished up with the class reunion next weekend, I'm going to try to get cracking and work on the other 1910 Census report for Cooper Township. But, I'm gonna need a lot more time to do that one since it consists of 76 pages to struggle over the copy and the penmanship and the spelling! Why do I do these things to myself anyway?

Tonight, I tried to view the Spring Concert for the school in Chicago where my cousin's son, Jeff, teaches music. Now, there was a chore, for sure! Between the lovely ISP (dial-up) and the "poor reception" issues I had frequently with the sound, Kurtis banging the living daylights out of the floor of his playpen and alternating that with VERY loud squeals (the ear-piercing variety) and having to jump up every so many minutes to get after Maya to get out of whatever it was at the moment she was messing with, it didn't make for the best viewing experience possible, for sure. And, add to that a little over half-way through the concert, all of a sudden, my computer screen just went totally black - no sound, no picture, no NOTHING! And, I just about had a bodily function accident when that happened for fear that my sweet little new computer had just decided to suddenly crash and burn on me!

It took a few minutes to figure out exactly what happened to cause all that hub-bub in my life. It turns out my sweet little Princess Maya had decided to get fascinated with the surge protector cable thing for my computer and had discovered the "on" and "off" button on it and decided, just for the heck of it -or probably to see how quickly she could send me off into cardiac arrest - she had tripped it to the off position! ARRGH! Darned good thing for her that I love her to pieces, ya know!

Tomorrow, meaning there -Friday -is not going to be the easiest day for me either now since I have been pegged -or volunteered by my daughter, Mandy -to bake some Swedish Limpa Rye bread to donate to the bake sale and car wash the church youth group is having at the shopping center Saturday up in Kylertown. This bake sale/car wash is especially important to the kids from our church who are planning to participate in a trip to North Carolina a month from now - where they will spend a few days there helping folks do things that will help people there to get some work done around their homes, etc., to enable them to maintain their places - all that good stuff ya know. The stepgranddaughter is supposed to be going on that trip so Mandy especially wanted me to make this bread for her, for the group, etc., etc. And, because the family here really likes this bread too, I will have to make a double batch - eight loaves of rye bread gonna be coming forth tomorrow from my kitchen! I don't consider making the bread really difficult to do - but it is very time-consuming. It takes at least three hours to make a batch that produces four loaves - so that means my kitchen is going to be in bread-baking mode then for a good six hours! I think maybe I'll try to make some kind of soup for supper tomorrow night then since the fresh, warm, homemade bread, right out of the oven, really goes well then with soup and maybe a salad. One thing for sure, I know Miss Maya will be very happy once the first loaf comes out of the oven and it is ear-marked for her and Grammie to share, with a nice stick of real butter to slap all over each slice we will be pigging out on together. Darn! Gotta quit talking (and thinking) about food here cause I'm just making myself hungry now.

Somewhere, in between the bread-baking tomorrow and soup making too (maybe), I need to figure out a time when I can run up to Kylertown to the nursery there and get some flowers too - geraniums, petunias, marigolds, maybe some pansies as well - so I will have flowers I can then take on Saturday up to the cemeteries where my parents, grandparents, some aunts and uncles too are buried. Every year it seems though I think about Memorial Day well in advance - or "Decoration Day" as I tend to still call it (Old habits die hard you know) -the weekend always manages to sneak up on me and I'm always "last-minute Louise" trying to get flowers to transplant on the graves. Mark that on my calendar now for next year that I am going to get the brain in gear early, get that done with some time to spare. Yeah, sure I am! I'm just saying the same thing now that I said last year and the year before that and on back over the years to 1979 when my Mom tried to keep me on course a little bit with the flower purchasing and re-planting thing. (She died in October of 1979 -which is when my organizational skills with respect to this particular "holiday" went south in a big hurry too it seems.)

And now - time for me to go watch one of my favorite programs - yes, at 2 a.m. it comes on - "DaVinci's Inquest." If you've never seen this show before and if you like programs like "Law and Order" and the like, check this program out. Pretty neat it is - filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canadian actors, etc., and the Canadian accent too! Anyway, all rolled together, I really like the show!

So, with that in mind, here then is the Bushism for Friday, May 25, 2007 as well as the weekend one for Saturday and Sunday, May 26th and 27th! (A bonus deal there for all you "DUBYA" lovers! LOL)

"We need to counter the shock wave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates." - Washington, D.C.; October 4, 2001.

and this for the weekend -

"We look forward to analyzing and working with legislation that will make -it would hope - put a free press's mind at ease that you're noit being denied information you shouldn't see." - Washington, D.C.; April 14, 2005.

(I think the "free press" thing there is what happened and why my blog got banned at a certain local place that will not be named in public - at least not today.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The "Bababawoon Tree"

Some days, I wonder - really and truly wonder - what on earth I did for entertainment before my little Princess arrived here in my life!
The things she does and says frequently amaze me and, as often as not, often really amuse me and her mother too. Even when she is on the verge of going into a massive -or potentially massive -meltdown with a tantrum that could end all, some of her responses then, which usually are totally illogical just come out so doggone comical that you can't help but sit back and crack up laughing at her. And, every now and again, if you start laughing at her rants, sometimes it changes her mood fairly quickly and she comes out of the tirade syndrome relatively quickly then too.
Today though, the therapist was showing her a book with pictures of different things, most of which had the "MMM" sound in the word -either at the beginning or at the end - as she has a lot of difficulty differentiating between the MMM and NNN sounds.
And as they were going through this little book, there was a picture of a tree with fruits on it - but it was a tree and fruit she had never seen before, probably never heard of the word "Plum" as yet so, obviously, Maya had no idea what kind of tree or fruit this was.
After closely studying this tree and fruit, she told the therapist it was a "bababawoon tree"and the therapist was stumped then as to what she was saying. Finally, her Mom -Mandy -figured it out -she was calling it a "balloon" tree! Now, how appropriate a response was that for a kid who is only three years old and never seen a plum before in her life but to call that fruit a "bababawoon."
At supper tonight, her other two half-siblings were here and we were all talking around the table about a little bit of most everything - the normal type conversation you know - when all of a sudden, out of the blue, Maya began moving her arms and hands in a sort of wave-type movement - a bit like the kind one would see in a Hawaiian Hula dance of something of that nature, except she was waving them a bit faster and the whole time, was saying "Doctor, Doctor." Which just made me think of a song - done by who I have no clue "Doctor, doctor, gimme the news" -if that gives anyone the inspiration of what song I'm referring to please let me know the name and artist) and just the way she was moving and saying that, well I suppose it loses in the translation here in writing but it was so darned cute and funny and we all just roared laughing at her antics there.
After supper, while the three older kids went with their Dad up to my son's house to help him with some projects he' s been working on up there, Mandy and I took the two little ones for a walk. With Kurtis in the stroller and he's kicking up a storm - that boy is going to have pedal power like you won't believe if he keeps up at the rate he's going at now -and Maya walking with us, holding my hand or her Mom's hand and jabbering all the while, pointing to things, naming them, stopping to visit our friend up the street, Cynthia and her dogs, seeing an elderly neighbor futher up the road out on her porch in her wheelchair for the first time in maybe two years since she fell and broke her hip, then on over to the street where Maya's grandfather - her Dad's dad - lives so she could visit a little bit with old Pappy then too. It was good for both kids - the fresh air, the walk for Maya and it was good for me too that I managed to get a tiny bit of physical activity into my routine for a change. But, seeing the lady up at the intersection, out on her porch for the first time in a long, long time, now that made the whole little walk thing very much worthwhile! It's been a long, hard haul for Helen to get to this point where she is back home again after spending a whole lot of time in a nursing home, and to see that she recognized both Mandy and me too! Just from the big, broad smile on her face, you could see how much she was enjoying the mild temperature today and being able to be outside for a change.
At one point during our walk, a car was coming up behind us and we moved over to the side of the road, stopping till it went by but instead, the driver of the car stopped to chat a bit with us too. It was our neighbor, Jodi, from down at the other end of our street. She's a sweet young woman, very friendly, always has a smile and wave if she can't stop and chat a bit. But tonight, she and her son apparently weren't in a hurry and so, she stopped to talk to Mandy and me and to pay some attention to both Maya and Kurtis.
But the main reason she stopped was it seems she was still chuckling about having seen me, on Mother's Day, riding on the motorcycle with me son that day! And, I told her if she thought it was a sight to see me riding on that bike, it's a shame she wasn't around up at the house to see what we had to go through - dragging a step-stool out to the road for me to stand on -because I didn't have enough strenght, my leg joint was way to tight to lift my leg up and over the seat on the bike in order to just get on it in the first place! Yes folks, photos will be coming in the near future - provided they turned out ok - so you can see, first hand then, the entire process of me, trying to get up on a motorcycle! Boy, talk about really feeling your age! That was one day when I definitely felt OLD! A lot decrepit too, come to think of it!
And now, because I am feeling really full of myself tonight, proud as a peacock because I am posting now and putting in the Bushism for the day - for tomorrow, that is, slightly in advance. Hard to believe isn't it? It's my own meager offering to try to get myself a little better organized, a little better "on time" about things. Who knows, maybe it will set a precedence for me. Never can tell there, can you?

So now, here's the Bushism for Thursday, May 24, 2007
"The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady, in my case." -Pella, Iowa, as quoted in the San Antonio Express-News; January 30, 2000.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Doctor, Doctor!

One of the little "quirks" my Princess Maya has is her fear of the doctor's office. Ok, that's often a pretty normal fear for most little kids -probably a few adults here and there as well - but her's used to begin when we would pull into the parking lot and involved lots of screaming, a few well-placed kicks now and then, lots of rolling on the floor of the van or car as we would try to get her out, more rolling, kicking, screaming until we would get into the waiting room and then, sometimes, it would subside. That is until she heard the nurse call her name and it would begin all over again. It takes at least two, sometimes three people to hold her just so the nurse can take her temperature -and that's using the kind of thermometer that is put into her ear! Once in the examining room, she might calm down a bit, even play with the doctor's instruments if they happen to be laying out, but let a nurse and heaven forbid, the doctor walk in there and the screaming starts up all over again and then, it doesn't let up until we leave.

The receptionists are both aware of how she is going to react; so are the lpn's, the nurse-practitioner and the doctor. I hope by now they all have ear-plugs that they can pop in as soon as they see her name on the roster of patients for the day cause heaven knows, they'll need 'em!

Saturday night, Mandy had gone over to Barnes and Noble to look for some books on Autism and while there, she saw this book for little kids written about going to the doctor's office and in story-book fashion, it tries to show that a doctor's visit needn't been all that scary. Since Maya loves books -will look at them, name letters, let us read to her too now -Mandy thought perhaps this might be of some help for her - and for all the rest of us who have to endure her panic attacks and subsequent meltdowns too.

She seemed interested in the book, repeated a few things from it after Mandy read it to her and even wanted to take it to bed with her Saturday night. Sunday, when we went to Indiana, PA to visit Mandy's girlfriend and our cousin, Maya insisted on taking that book along and sat nicely in her car seat for a while, looking over it.

But, when we made the turn from the Clearfield By-pass onto the road that goes into Curwensville - which is also where our doctor's office is located - we figured out then that not only does Maya recognize the parking lot at the Doctor's office, but she also is very aware of what roads we travel to get there too! She began first to just whine a little. That quickly turned into a whimper and by the time we were driving through Curwensville, past the Doctor's office, she was wailing, big time and that didn't subside till we were almost to Grampian!

Yesterday, when Mandy was in town, she stopped by the Goodwill Store - one of her favorite "haunts" and lo and behold, what did she find there in the toy section but a really cute little "doctor kit" - complete with a toy stethoscope and a few other "play" instruments as well. She brought it home, showed it to Maya and played with the instruments with her to get her used to them. I don't know if this will work when the time comes for her next doctor visit to alleviate her fears, but it sure has turned out to be a toy she really likes. She carts that stethoscope around, hanging around her neck, goes up to all of us, regardless of what the person may be doing, and begins putting the stethoscope on an arm or back, leg - whatever limb or body part may be handy. Holding it there for maybe 5-10 seconds, she then removes is and in a very serious tone of voice she says either "It's okay," or "You're Okay now!" To cute, really it is, to doggone cute!

Today was a bonus day in the photo collection department pertaining to the display I'm planning to put together for our Class Reunion - which will be a week from this coming Saturday as a matter of fact. So I better get my act together and get this project completely organized so I have it ready to go next weekend! But today, one of the girls from our class sent me six really terrific photos -including one taken in first grade at the school where she attended and it includes several of the kids from our class. How cute to see what these folks looked like when they were between 6-7 years old! Another classmate had brought me a group photos - among some others - on Sunday morning too that included a picture from that same school but taken around 3rd or 4th grade perhaps.

Then, when Mandy brought the mail home, there was an envelope with about six more pictures - sent by the wife of one of our classmates! Terrific shots too, these are and once I get them -along with the ones I received on Sunday all scanned in, I should have close to 130 pictures with which to make a really neat poster board display of how we looked when we were really youngsters, some of how we were in high school along with a good many too of us over the years since graduation. I hope it looks good when I get finished with it and provides a good bit of entertainment then for the troops too!

And that's the way my day went today! So now - on to the usual, the Bushism of the Day for Wednesday, May 23, 2007.

"First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill." - Washington, D.C.; May 19, 2003.

Now, aren't you happy as a clam to learn that little tidbit? Especially if you're on the lower end of the economic scale, it should be some sort of a comfort to know we poor folks aren't apparently as ready and willing to kill as the rich must be. Wonder why that is now though, don't you?

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Merry Monday

You always hear about "Monday Blues" or that Monday is "Wash Day" and although today, with automatic washers and dryers, "Wash Day" is a whole lot different from what it was when I was a kid and even more so from what it was when my mother was a child.
In my Mom's day, my grandmother had my uncle haul water from a well, to fill her tubs on the coal stove so she could heat the water to boiling then just to get the process started. When I was a child, my grandmother still did the bulk of the laundry for our family which consisted of my Mom, my grandparents and me. However, we did have running water into the house by that time and a washing machine although it was probably at least 25-30 years old then and was an old wringer washer.
Mondays though were always "Wash Day." Grandma would begin by emptying the hamper in the hall upstairs. Then she would strip all the beds and the sheets and pillow cases were the first things to be washed. After that, it went by color what got washed next. There was no dryer though other than the clothes line in the back yard and by late morning, she always managed to have everything out on the line and if it was a nice day, by the time the last load was ready to hang out to dry, the sheets and pillowcases were usually ready to come down.
All the clothes were then "sprinkled" and rolled up, placed neatly in the clothes basket where they would sit over night for her to begin the next phase in the work of keeping clean bedding, towels and clothes for us as Tuesday, she always ironed.
Although I have a very nice steam iron, to be honest, I don't know where the ironing board is now as it has been what seems almost like an eternity since I ironed anything, much less everything. Grandma ironed sheets, pillowcases and even the towels and washclothes as well as all the clothes we were back then. Since that was back in the days before spray starch too, making sure the clothes had a nice stiffness to them meant they also got treated to an extra process while being washed as well. Oh - and I almost forgot about the "blueing." She always had a large basin of water with this blue stuff she poured in there which I guess was a type of mild bleach or whitener of some type too that certain items of our wardrobe also always got a dip in the blueing solution before being rinsed out, put through the wringer for the last time that wash cycle and hung out to dry!
I can't imagine even going back to doing laundry today with all those steps to the process, plus the wringer washer and hanging everything out on the clothes line to boot, can you?
And I sure can't think of Monday in my grandmother's day as being anything but a long, very drawn-out, hard-labor process called WORK, can you?
Now, laundry is generally done every day of the week in our house. My daughter handles the laundry process now because I can't balance a basket of clothes to carry it down the cellar steps since there is no handrail there and my legs don't deal too kindly with lots of steps unless I have something to hold on to - for dear life too!
Today though became -for our family - a "Merry Monday" though not because of laundry and housework; cleaning, and stuff like that but rather because of an e-mail I received today that contained some very exciting news. It also had three photographs in it too.
My cousin Becky - who is the youngest of the grandchildren on my Mom's side of my family - had forwarded an e-mail from her niece's husband with the announcement of "It's a Girl!"
Beck's oldest brother Ken and his wife Laura's older daughter had given birth this past Saturday morning to a 7 pound 6 ounce, 19 1/2 inch little girl. Their first grandchild! I've been teasing Ken for the past couple of years now about the day he and Laura become grandparents and now, that day has arrived. Their son-in-law - Wade - had included three photos of the little one - one with her Momma, Erika, one of little Victoria Marie - or Tori - as they plan to call her and the third was of a very, very proud father, holding his firstborn. And what a beautiful little girl she is too!
What made me think of laundry days of old -of my grandmother's era- and this new life coming into our extended family? Maybe just the differences this little girl will experience in her lifetime to those her great-great-grandmother had to deal with as she raised six children under some really rough conditions not quite a century ago. I honestly don't know how my Grandma did it - all the work of keeping up with her own family and she also took in laundry for people around the little town where the family lived then as well as sewing almost all the clothes for her own family, she also did sewing for others too.
With all that, plus the regular housework, cooking meals with no microwave, just an old coal cookstove - no refrigerator either - somehow she managed to fed, cloth, clean up after, wash clothes for, bake her own bread too and still had time left over when she sat down in the evening hours to either keep her hands busy crocheting fancy doilies, even a huge formal sized tablecloth that was her pride and joy for many, many years but she also made quilts -cutting and piecing the squares and triangles and other shapes meticulously cut-out from scrap materials, into beautiful designs that she then labored over, placing stitch after perfect stitch in place to quilt the top to the batting and backing and produce some remarkable pieces of handicrafted work.
And, she continued doing the quilting, as well as some of the fancy crochet until about two years before she died at the age of 82 in 1963.
It's just something that amazes me - the life my grandmother led to the life her little great-great-granddaughter will be able to live in the years to come. And, I think how grateful I am that little Tori as well as my granddaughter, Maya, will not have to endure the hardships their great-great-grandmother had to deal with.
How about you?
Isn't it amazing how much easier we have things today and yet, although we have all these time saving, labor saving devices to use, how many of us get as much accomplished in a day's time compared to what our grandmother's before us were able to do under much, much, MUCH harsher conditions.
Remind me never to cry or whine about having too much work to do ever again!
And now, to remind everyone of what we do have today - here's the Bushism for Tuesday, May 22, 2007! (I'm trying to get ahead a bit in the work I have to do - therefore, I'm posting the Bushism a little ahead of time. LOL - That theory will last perhaps till midnight tonight before I am behind again!)

"I understand there's a suspicion that we -- we're too security-conscience." - Washington, D.C.; April 16, 2005. (And by the way - the last two words of the quote is not a misspelling or typo - that's the correct quote for the day.)

Visiting and Visitors

Lots of neat things to tell about from Sunday's events!

Mandy, the two little ones and I took a little jaunt down to Indiana, PA Sunday afternoon. The purpose of our visit was two-fold. One was to have a chance to see Mandy's best friend - since Kindergarten and her husband (Missy and Matt) and to have dinner or supper - whatever you care to call it - with them. The other reason for our trip was to have a little time to visit with a cousin of ours.

The cousin - Arline - is a first cousin of my Mom's. Her mother was my grandfather's baby sister I think my Grandpa was 20-22 years older than Arline's Mom - somewhere along that kind of timeline anyway. Arline will be celebrating her 80th birthday on Wednesday of this week and because she is really one very special lady we wanted to have a chance to take a card and a small gift to her to honor her on this auspicious occasion. She always amazes me - the things she does, the things she is involved in too -always busy! And, she is sooooo very much like her mother too -my great Aunt Elin. When I was a kid, we generally would stop to visit Aunt Elin and her husband either on our trip down to Monroeville to visit my uncle and his family - or else, on the way home. And, the way Aunt Elin operated always amazed me as a kid and still does today when I think back on those visits.

Usually, when we stopped at her house, she had no idea that we were going to drop by but within five minutes of our entering her house, the coffee pot would be on and brewing and she would be busy, digging around in her refrigerator and pulling out this or that or something else and within a half hour - 45 minutes tops - she would have pulled together a meal fit for a king! Where on earth she had all this food stashed and at the ready to pull together the way she could do is beyond me! And, I never ever had food that wasn't really good and tasty at Aunt Elin's house; never ever walked away from there hungry either!

The same type of treatment is the norm if you ever go visit my cousin Arline too! Sometimes, I hesitate, almost hate, to call her and let her know we are going to try to take a quick trip by her place because it is inevitable, she will have a spread on the table. But, if you don't call and make sure she's going to be home, then you run the risk of missing her completely cause she's always busy, got lots of friends, does things for her church. Two weeks ago when I tried to contact her to tell her about the four people coming here from Sweden, I couldn't reach her. She called me back the day the Swedes were to arrive here, telling me the reason I couldn't get in touch with her was because she was on a cruise to Jamaica and Haiti! Now, if I were to call her a couple days in advance, there is no question in my mind what she would have in store when we'd arrive at her home - all kinds of entres - lasagne, meatballs, lunch meats, cheese, breads, cooked vegetables, salads and always some type of dessert too! And today, since we knew we didn't have that much time to visit, I really didn't want her to go to a bunch of trouble and fixing anything. But, when we got there, the table was all set, coffee was made and we had a really yummy pasta and vegetable salad (tortellini with pieces of zucchini and yellow squash, grape tomatos with a light, very tasty Italian dressing on it, a fruit salad of honeydew and strawberries, components to make either ham salad or egg salad sandwiches (or combine the two) and cookies! All really delicious!

If you were to meet Arline, I am betting you would never know her age because she sure doesn't look like she will be 80 in three days and she definitely doesn't act that age either. Although, I don't know now exactly how or what someone who is almost 80 is supposed to look like or act like. Well, suffice it to say, this is one lady - in every sense of the word - who has never lost her looks, still has loads of appeal. Must be some pretty good genes at work there, don't 'cha think!
Here's a picture of Arline -taken quite a few years ago, probably in the early-to-mid 50's. And then, to the right is a picture of her and some members of her family taken I think around 2001 at her home around Christmas of that year. You have to admit now that I'm right in what I've said about her appearance and hiding those years pretty doggone good, don't 'cha now?

If I have the identification correct on this photo, in the back row, a niece of Arline's, then her daughter, Sandy. Next to Sandy is her brother Carl's wife, Eleanor, a nephew-in-law (I think) and her brother, Paul. In the bottom row, is Paul's wife, Melda seated beside Arline.

Just a few members of my extended family to share with ya'll today.

On the way home from Indiana, we had to stop at the local Walmart to pick up a few things. Mandy had the baby with her and I had Miss Maya in my cart and Miss Maya was not exactly in the ideal humor today at that time. She probably was a little bit whiny and crabby from being tired of riding, etc., but she was definitely exercising her vocal chords telling me, over and over, what she wanted. "Wan see princesses, wan se Bratz, wan see" this, that and everything imaginable. The funny part though was when our cart was side-by-side with that of a couple who had a little guy -maybe 8-10 months old, sitting in the cart and Maya told me "Wan see baby?" She was, of course, meaning the baby in this adjacent cart but was is comical about that request is that she has a little brother, just turned 13 months last Sunday and who she barely even acknowledges that he exists most of the time. Go figure with kids, huh?

Tonight though, I got an e-mail from a fellow blogger - who shall remain unidentified at this point in time - telling me that there is a very good possibility she and her husband will be coming through the area where I live tomorrow - actually sometime today now - and that they are going to stop by and we'll have a chance to meet in person, visit a little bit. Now, how cool is that? I won't tell you who this surprise visitor will be so that when I get pictures (that I intend to take - provided of course the Altzheimer's doesn't kick into gear and I forget to TAKE some photos) developed I can post them on my blog for you all to see my surprise visitor!

And now, enough of my ramblings about family, friends, trips, the future, etc. Time for me to go to bed now I do believe. So, I'll leave you now with the Bushism for today, Monday, May 21, 2007!

"Just remember it's the birds that's supposed to suffer, not the hunter." - Advising quail hunter and New Mexico senator Pete Domenici; Roswell, New Mexico; January 22, 2004.

(Obviously this is prior to the now infamous hunting trip of our VP who our blogging buddy, Tomcat, refers to as Deadeye Dick, isn't it?)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tangential Thoughts

While I was posting a comment on another blog (Skittles Place), in response to her "Friday's Feast" meme she always participates in, remembering some things there is what inspired me to post along the lines below here today.

The question was have you ever written to someone famous?

And, I have done that a time or two in my years on the planet.

Two years ago, when I was exceptionally upset, very angry with our state politicians over a truly obnoxious and outrageously huge pay raise our legislators had voted for themselves, for the judicial branch and some elements of the executive branch of our state government, I wrote a letter to my state representative, my state senator and to the Governor - Ed Rendell -or "Fast Eddy" as he is often called in many circles. I got no response whatsoever from the senator or representative but I did get a "lovely" letter from the Governor. However, it contained no answers at all the questions I had posed and consisted only of a lot of political ramblings that his staff felt expressed what an excellent governor he is to all of us here in this fine state.

But about 20 years ago now, not quite that long -maybe 17 years ago -after a meeting with the guy who was my "support officer" at the local domestic relations office in our fair county, that gentleman had suggested if I really wanted to write to someone, vent a bit, that I take my case to the top and write to the First Lady of the Land. I don't think that guy had a true clue as to how obnoxious I can be, especially when I am really ticked off about something, as I have been known to go on "search and destroy" missions to track down telephone numbers and try to contact powers that be via the telephone on several occasions to vent my wrath. Writing a letter - well, as long as it didn't have to be handwritten, in cursive, and provided I stayed the course of my anger long enough to remember to find an envelope, stamp and actually drop it in the mailbox, I had no problem with that alternative form of action.

So I wrote a letter to Barbara Bush and brother, I let fly! No, I didn't use any four-letter words in it - although they were in the back of my mind, ready to leap out if need be. In my letter, I reiterated many of the problems I had experienced over the years in trying to deal with our local domestic relations office, as well as some other of their counterparts in various states where my ex-husband had resided since our divorce. At the time I wrote this masterpiece, he had just recently then moved to Nevada - living in Clark County - and I was experiencing some issues in getting my support order transferred over to that county.

I never really expected any response from Mrs. Bush but I got one. In her letter (she) informed me (or most likely her "staff" informed me) that she had contacted someone in Carson City, Nev. on the state level who worked with the Domestic Relations offices and that I would be hearing from that person in the near future. And boy, I did too! The lady called me on the phone, took down all the information I could provide to her and in short order, I got my court order transferred, including even a raise in my child support! Needless to say, I was impressed, big time!

But even after that, the lady in Carson City would write me a letter, usually at least once a year till my youngest was no longer eligible to receive child support from her dad, inquiring as to my status within the Clark County office and if I was having any problems with the staff there, etc.

Never let it be said that it doesn't hurt to go directly to the top to get action on things!

Someday, maybe I'll blog about "issues" - as I see them - with Domestic Relations. Now, there's some fodder for a BOOK - for sure!

And, on another note - slightly different though (slightly?), I had a visitor at my home this morning. It was my life-long friend, the girl who had grown up right next door to me and classmate. She brought by some old photos she had dug out of her stash for me to use in a display I'm working on putting together for our 45th Class Reunion -now less than two weeks away.

Among the goodies she brought - a group photo from her First Communion class, a large (8 x 10) group picture taken in the old Kylertown Elementary School when the kids of our age range were probably 8-9 years old perhaps. This photo is absolutely priceless! It includes many of the kids who graduated in our class as well as kids from the class a year ahead of ours - and soooo very cute! She also included a great snapshot of herself with our other classmate who grew up on the other side of Rose, the friend who brought these pictures today. And, of course, a picture of Rose and her husband, Durv., on their wedding day! Their 45th Anniversary was this past March - on St. Patrick's Day - and is one of two wedding anniversary dates I can remember of my classmates! Rose and Durv's is easy - St. Patrick's Day and of course, the year is equally easy too since it was the year we graduated from high school - 1962. The other date I remember is that of my best friend in High School and who is still a very close friend to this day, Cheryl and her husband Mitch's wedding - August 13, 1963 and I remember that one because I was their maid of honor. All the rest are kind of all jumbled up in my mind and sometimes, even my own wedding date gets tossed in that mish-mash pile too!

After Rose left today, and as I was showing Mandy the photos, pointing out to her this or that person that she either knew or knew of - when I pointed out one guy from my class that she knows, she laughed and said "That figures! He still has that same "possum eating s**t grin that he has to this day!" Yep - Harvey does still look that way!

And that's the way things were thus far today!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Oops! Another Meme!

The complete rules:
1. Link to the name of the person who tagged you.
2. Include the state and country you’re in.
3. List your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location (locally).
4. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they’ve been tagged.

Vic Grace tagged me.I am in central Pennsylvania, in the good old U.S.A.
My favourite places to eat:
1.Jim and Charmaine's - about 2 miles away.
2. Filippo's in Clearfield - if it's still in operation (not sure there)- 23 miles.
3. Red Lobster, State College, PA - 37 miles
4. Hedges in Clearfield, PA - 23 miles.
5. Any "pot luck" dinner our church has! Especially the St. Lucia Festival Dinner!

I'm supposed to tag five others here. However, since Vic already tagged two of those on my blogger list and I've pretty much "tagged" everyone out in the past week or two, I'm not going to "tag" anyone. However, if you read this little meme and like it, feel free to steal it from me and use it to your heart's content then too!

In addition to the above places - I also liked to go to a place out in Phoenix, AZ -I have no clue if it's still operating as it was 35 years in October since I was in Phoenix last - but I think this place was called "Crazy Ed's" - maybe not though. Anyway, the place I'm thinking of was in Scottsdale actually, up on a hill and the main theme was if a guy entered wearing a necktie, the staff immediately cut the tie off and it got hung up from the ceiling I believe. "Crazy Ed's" might actually have been a place out of Black Canyon Highway (heading north) where the drinks were served in mason jars and they did comedic routines there of a sort of hillbilly variety. But the place where they cut the neckties off - I do remember the food there back then as having been VERY good!

You can tell by my eating places of choice today though - I don't get out to eat very often these days! LOL

Banned, Closed Up, No No, Off Limits, Taboo, Verboten.

Would you believe those words apparently a being applied to my blog?

I learned today, in a round-about manner, that a certain place in a small area nearby to me, has apparently placed my blog as being "off limits."

I know from time to time I do rant here. Yeah, every now and again, I may let fly with a few off-color words but I don't think I've used any vocabulary -in print - that is really foul, vulgar, nasty, dirty words, have I? I know I've never advocated either hard or softcore porn either. I'm against child abuse too. (Though my kids like to tell different stories from that one now and again -I guess "abuse" is in the eye of the recipient at times, isn't it?)

Apparently, I made some posts that some powers that be in a certain organization have taken offense to and as a result, they have taken steps to see that my blog is not accessible.

When my daughter got home from work tonight and I told her this latest bit of news, she got a really mischievious grin on her face and asked me if I had already blogged about this. No, I hadn't done that, not then anyway.

But I am now. I'm just not identifying any thing relating to this little deal.

Why? Because, quite frankly, I think it is quite humorous that this place would deem my blog as apparently having "dangerous reading material" in it and feel the need to stop those using their computers from reading it.

Sometimes, you really do just have to sit back, take a bit of a chill pill and laugh.

If this is all some people have to do is ban others from reading my blog, someone is being grossly overpaid, even if they are only earning minimum wage.

And now - for the Bushism for Saturday and Sunday, May 19/20, 2007:

"We thought we were protected forever from trade policy or terrorist attacks because oceans protected us." - Speech to business leaers at APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit; Santiago, Chile; November 20, 2004.

And, I thought we also had "freedom of speech and of the press too. Imagine that?

It's Happening -Again!

Dang! Here I go again! I start out with the best of intentions and somehow or other, end up running way behind in my projected "timetable" for the day! Darned good thing I posted the Bushism last night (or early this morning) for both yesterday (Wednesday) and today (THursday) then or I'd be way late getting Thursday's Bushism in here now wouldn't I?
And just exactly what did I do with my very valuable time anyway that makes me so far behind?
Damned if I know!
I did get behind this week because I didn't read any of my favorite blogs on Monday -none at all. Plus, I was a little behind from Sunday on the readings too and from there - well, it all apparently has done that "mushroom" thing cause now, although I think I am almost caught up with my regular blog reads, I'm still behind on reading those I just have bookmarked -not yet added to my blog list - and oh geez, I am just getting way too slow about EVERYTHING it seems these days.
Maybe my problem is one my friend Sylvia - over here - has been writing about - I'm getting old and it's, well it's just what it is -because!
But at times, I must confess it does suck - big time - this aging process. My mind tells me I can do this, that, some other things and I think, yep, sure I can until I start trying to re-organize my lovely undisciplined lifestyle and find no, I can't quite operate that way. Too doggone many variable it seems that crop up and totally do me in.
Like today - I'm still stiff and sore from the little bit of work I tried to do yesterday in an effort to help my daughter out a bit around here. I swept and mopped up the floors in all of the downstairs of this old house - kitchen, dining room, living room and the entrance way to what used to be the sunporch. By the time I had finished all that, the lower back was aching like toothache and it still on the stiff and sore side today. Well, for as long as the clean floor lasted though, I was happy I'd been able to do that much to give a little bit of a helping hand.
Seems my son and son-in-law are both on a roll this week with the local police though.
Tonight, my daughter told me the son-in-law got pulled over here in town for driving this old motorcycle he acquired from some place (heaven only knows who he finagled it from) but it has no license on it, no registration, no insurance - all those good things - and he is just darned lucky he knows the local cop because the guy just gave him a warning.
Tonight though, my son was on his way home from work -from their Harrisburg terminal -and in a hurry to get home because he wanted to take a bath -said he really needed it after being on the road for the past three days - and he got pulled over in a nearby town to ours by the same local cop, no less.
When the cop asked where he was going in a hurry, he told him he wanted to get home fast because he very much needed to go to the bathroom - which sonny boy said was actually the TRUTH of the matter too - and the cop took his papers, etc., took his sweet old time with them too and when he brought them back to my son, he had written him up for not having signed his registration card - which at least is a non-moving motor violation so he won't get any points against his license anyway.
His sister, after listening to "sonny boy" tell about this whole episode told him what he should have done was while the cop was looking over his license, registration, etc., she said he should have conjured up one of those big fat, really smelly things he manages to get to materialize on command (and which Melloncutter frequently talks about on his blog too -so you'll have to go check out Melloncutter's blog to verify what I am referring to) and that way, the cop would have know for sure he wasn't lying to him about being in a hurry to get home and use the bathroom!
So much for that story - on to other things!
What other things? Darned if I know. I had some things in mind at different intervals today that I thought would make for a neat and nifty -or even thoughtful -post tonight and now, here it is almost 12:30 a.m. (Friday morning, already) and I'm rapidly drifting off into that braindead land where I can't think of a single thing that is really of interest in my life today!
And that, my friends, really is downright depressing!
So I'm gonna leave you for another night/morning -whatever it is wherever you are now -with the Bushism of the day for Friday, April 18, 2007 .

"I want everybody to hear loud and clear that I'm going to be the president of everybody." - Washington, D.C.; january 18, 2001.

Well, all right then! Now that that is settled for once and for all, DUBYA!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Some Results!

Over the past several months now, I have made mention that my little Princess - Miss Maya - has some problems. She was evaluated two years ago this coming June by a team of therapists who determined, at that time and with their training, that Maya had developmental delays. They also acknowledged then that she could possibly be autistic but evaluating her for that was out of their training and domain.

After a year of therapy with two different therapists (one for behavior/play and the other for speech) in which each therapist would come into our home once a week and work with Maya for approximately an hour each week, their recommendation was, along with our family doctor, that Maya be evaluated specifically for autism. This requires the child been seen by either a psychologist (clinical type, with a doctorate degree) or a psychiatrist.

It took us almost a year to get the evaluation set up with a psychologist but he came last Wednesday, spoke to Mandy and me about Maya, observed Maya somewhat as she interacted with us and then, stayed to observe her interaction with the behavior therapist. When he left, he had given Mandy a bunch of papers - questionnaires - to be filled out of our observations of Maya in various settings, when she learned some things, behavior skills, etc.

Today, he came back and spent roughly 90 minutes or so observing Maya and then working with her, one-on-one. When he finished, he told us something that had Mandy been given this diagnosis two years ago, maybe even a year ago, I am not sure she would have handled it as well as she did today.

His determination - Maya is definitely autistic. The term he used is the umbrella term - PDD-NOS - Pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified. He also added that she is very high functioning and it is his opinion that if we keep on having the therapists work with her weekly, she most likely will be able to begin a preschool class room setting as early as this fall with other children who have similar issues. He feels too that when the time comes for her to start regular school, she should be adequately prepared, socially adjusted and he doesn't anticipate she will have problems with the base learning in school.

Her main issues right now are more behavioral with respect to socialization skills, interacting better or appropriately with other children, with adults too.

As I said above, two years ago, even a year ago, Mandy did not want any of us to even mention the possibility that her baby was autistic. Since then though, she has come to the realization that yes, she does have some issues, does learn things differently than the "norm" and does have problems in certain settings that can cause not very pleasant reactions at times for all of us and for others too at times.

But, she has also learned that these things can all be worked on, worked through and for the most part, Maya is still the beautiful little girl, inside and outside, that we love and cherish dearly. She just has her own particular little idiosyncranciatic behaviors here and there that we -and she - will need to learn to work out or learn to live with in some instances too.

It is not an illness, per se - nothing that is life-threatening to her. But, without proper therapy, could make her life, her ability to adapt to various things now and throughout her life, much more difficult for her as well as for others around her too at times.

In the past year, Mandy has come to accept this not as a bad thing, not as a vile, evil, dirty word and not something to be feared either. She's been, for the better part of the past year now, trying to learn as much as she can, to absorb many things that are often part of the "norm" for kids with this disorder and how to work with her to lessen the effects of those things on Maya, on the rest of the family and to try to show others too what a wonderful little girl Maya is in the process.

And all of this makes me really proud of my daughter as well as making me feel additionally blessed to have Maya for my special little princess that she really and truly is.

Now, with the evaluation basically completed, knowing that this is what the professionals see is present there, we all can take the necessary steps to help her continue to grow - not just physically but mentally, emotionally and eventually be able to teach her how to grow spiritually as well - and she will be fine, able to function with any other kids her own age then and have a very normal life - whatever "normal" may be.

And now that I've shared the news -probably the most important news our family will receive for now -here's the Bushism for two days - Wednesday and THursday, May 16 and 17, 2007 - cause I was late doing a post for Wednesday and am trying to get myself organized (yeah, right), back on track to get things accomplished here now too. I hope!

May 16, 2007
"One reason I like to highlight reading is, readin g is the beginnings of the ability to be a good student. And if you can't read, it's going to be hard to realize dreams; it's going to be hard to go to college. So when your teachers say, read --you ought to listen to her." --To students at J.C. Nalle Elementary School; Washington, D.C.; February 9, 2001.

and for May 17, 2007
"I'm going to spend a lot of time on Social Security. I enjoy it. I enjoy taking on the issue. I guess it's the mother in me." - Washington, D.C.; April 14, 2005.

Ah, as usual - such wonderful points there, DUBYA!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Catch Up Blogger

I'm doing a lot of catching up today - skipped doing any blog reading yesterday completely. All I did with respect to blogging yesterday was make my post and let it go at that. I had lots of other fish to fry.

A former classmate and good friend of mine stopped by yesterday, bringing with her a lot of old photos from her childhood as well as some newer ones too that include her son and grandchildren. Just the exact kind of photos I'd like to be able to acquire from as many from my class as possible to make up a display that - hopefully - will kind of document where we've been, as children, teens, young adults and now, shows us as the wise sage people we have morphed into over the years.

Ok - you through choking now on the "wise sage people" comment? If so, we'll leave that alone and move along to other things.

After she left, I went on a search and destroy mission, trying to locate the many, many OLD photos I know are lurking somewhere in this house. I did find two boxes of photos from the relatively recent past, although I am still in the dark as to where some other more recent (like within the past 20 years) photos may have been stashed. I didn't come across the big box that should have been in the basement - it was the last time I looked at them - which contains the old pics, not already organized and placed in albums from my way, way back in the dark ages past.

And, once I got the two boxes I did find upstairs and went through them, unfortunately I ended up having to pitch a stack of pictures about two inches thick because the box they were in had either been sitting on the floor and got wet, which in turn moistened up this particular group of pics but it seemed more like perhaps something had been spilled on this group of pictures and ruined them. Sadly, the bulk of these pictures were mainly from family reunions and of course, with the losses in our family tree over the past 20 years, having to pitch those photos was like tossing out a whole lot of history and wonderful memories of those who have now gone to the great beyond.

I did however, get a goodly number of pictures to use for my class reunion display. I got them, along with the other photos two other classmates had loaned me all scanned in and saved in a special file just for my class reunion pictures! Ah, the joy of trying to get semi-organized, huh? Any form of organization, when it occurs in my very disorganized mode of living, is a really good thing and should be celebrated - shout it from the highest mountain top if you will, please!

Yesterday was a bit of a wicked day though in other respects. For one thing, I think Maya must have been drinking some special potion or something that gave her ultra energetic powers and she must have shared it with her baby brother too, because a whole lot of the day was spent between trying to scan these photos, trying to keep her out of mischief and the baby happy so he wasn't letting out these ear-piercing yells from his playpen directly behind my desk and chair where the computer sits! Neither of them napped - not even for 10 seconds - yesterday and as such, both were quite wound up - tighter than a drum!

The counselor who works with the granddaughter to help her manage to pass her classes this year - assigned to this counseling routine mainly because the kid had been absent as well as tardy so many times, she was on a form of, I suppose you could call it, probation. The session was not going any place, not making a lick of progress as I could see the kid's eyes were glazing over - indicating she was not absorbing a darned thing. All the counselor was doing was rehashing, over and over and over, how the kid is not really a bad kid, just having a rough spot, yadda yadda and looking for attention from her dad, who is either working at his full time job and then several nights a week, he often works at a part-time job too. And, when he isn't working at the second job, he's busy with other things.

Why is it that kids today seem to think that because a parent is busy, working to make enough money to make ends meet, or doing things around the house or other stuff, that means the parent doesn't care for the kid? Geez Louise! Give the parents a break here will ya?

When I was a child - yes, here we go, waxing on the dark ages and life back then - my life was a bit in the reverse order that my stepgranddaughter's is. She has two younger half-sisters, two younger half-brothers via her Dad and an older half-brother and younger half-brother via her mother. The half-siblings through her Mom live with their mother, the two youngest half-siblings of course, live here and the two in the middle, so to speak, live with their maternal grandmother. There's a 12-year gap between her and Maya and 14 years between her and Kurtis and them being that small, of course, means they don't make for someone enjoyable exactly for her to hang out with. With me, my daughter and son-in-law and the three kids here that makes three generations with some really large "generation gaps" there ya know! And, when I grew up, it was pretty much the same but in reverse as I was an only child, my mom was close to 50 when I hit my teen years (a really 'dumb' time of her life in my opinion back then) and my grandparents were 64 and 70, when I was born. Plus, they had all gone through the "Great Depression" which really had drastic affects on their thoughts, their methods and ways -along with the regular differences all kids and adults have always probably experienced I suppose.

Growing up, I knew automatically not to come and try to demand more clothes, more toys and never thought of wanting "more time" with my Mom or grandparents. Today, I'd give my right eye tooth of course, to have the opportunity to spend that valuable time with them and let them tell me all about their lives as they had lived them! But how many years did it take for me to come to that realization? Way more than I can even begin to think about!

But, I always -or almost always - found something to do to entertain myself when I was a kid. Most of my time was spent either at the neighbors' next-door or the family on the other side of the ones directly next door to me. And most of the "play time" that took place also happened outside at those houses, I might add. Rarely did we kids play indoors unless it was a really yucky rainy day or bitter cold, freezing rain type wintry day. Snowy days didn't keep us inside as we were out on the hill across the road from the houses, sled riding, or building snowmen, snow forts, making angels in the snow! Cold and nasty winter days, rainy days that were the cold type rain that does keep one inside, I usually spent either curled up reading a book or playing with what often was my favorite pasttime as a kid, paper dolls or just "dolls."

This kid does little along those lines. She comes home from school, flops on the couch, ignores the book she may have brought home and the homework assignments, ignores the two little ones most of the time, talks on the phone and now and again, she will read a book - and no, I have no complaint about reading a book, most definitely not! But, when the weather is nice in the spring, summer, fall - gee, take advantage of that and go for a walk, explore; ride a bike or if in a bind, there's always something that a 15-year-old could do to help out around the house or yard too, ya know! Instead, the majority of the time she does nothing productive and when she does speak, it's usually to announce that she is going to do this, that or go here or there - all things you can bet your bottom dollar will cost a few if not several bucks - and the thing that gets me there is that she does not give any consideration AT ALL that people don't all always have a couple bucks to toss out for entertainment type purposes all the time. A question posed as "Could I do this" or "Would it be ok" would be such a breath of fresh air but might send me into having a coronary due to the shock on my system!

I suppose one reason I am such a hard-nose over this attitude harks back to my own upbringing as well as how my kids were raised too. They learned, early -very early on - that Mom had to work two jobs, that money was tight so don't ask for it unless it was absolutely a necessity of life. Don't expect me to hand you things constantly was pretty much the litany when I was a kid and with mine as well. When I was growing up there were a couple things I asked for at Christmas or my birthday (the only times when asking or suggesting something was allowed -lol) that I wanted: 1. a brother or a sister; 2. a tv set; 3. a record player and 4. my driver's license when I turned 16! Obviously, since my Dad was dead, the number one item on my list was defintely out of the question, we did get a tv when I was about 10 or 11, I bought my own record player after I graduated from high school and the driver's license - I got it too, on my own though, after I turned 18 and didn't have to have anyone sign for me to get it!

My kids were allowed to get their driver's license provided they had a job lined up or were already working and had taken steps -on their own - to have transportation available that they found, secured, not that I arranged for them -and they had to be able to pay for their own coverage of a vehicle although I would allow it to be on my policy. If they had no intention of locating a part-time job to pay their gas, their own insurance, there would have been no car, no license - pure and simple.

Well, enough of my lecture, my grumping - time to go since Mandy and the kids are home now and do my patriotic duty and vote! And, if it's election day in your part of the country, here's hoping you did or will do the same too!

And, the Bushism for today - Tuesday, May 15, 2007 is...
"I'm so pleased to be able to say hello to Bill Scranton. He's one of the great Pennsylvania political families." - Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania; September 15, 2003.