Sunday, September 30, 2007

Easy Come, Easy Go!

There's a really neat little piece under the "Sunday Scribblings" at Patois' place that initially led me to believe in my dotage now, I was gaining some power. I commented to that effect too on her blog. However, she commented back that since I may qualify by age but I am also dealing with a teen and two toddlers, my "power"has been diminished. If that sounds confusing, it won't be if you take a peek in and see what she really had to say on this topic. Quite a good piece, enjoyable and enlightening. I'm quite sure you'll all agree on that point once you read it.

On the homefront today, as always, Maya and her vocabulary can provide some interesting - to say the least -things. Sometimes, she says things which I have absolutely no clue what in blazes she is trying to say - really complicates life at times because when that happens and she can't get her "message" across to us, her patience level dwindles quite rapidly. So, when she comes up with a word or phrase that gets us all confused, we usually try to get her to show us, to point to what it is that has grabbed her attention.

Earlier this afternoon, she had been out in the backyard briefly with her two older half-sisters - Kate, the teen, and Sierra, the pre-teen. Kate had brought Maya back inside to a considerable bit of whining and complaining and then outright crying. All of that makes it even more difficult to interpret her words then. And, in the midst of her wailing, she kept saying "Wan' see the canaholpers!" Needless to say, I was totally at a loss as to what she was referencing. Finally, in desperation, I turned to Kate, asking if she had a clue as to what the heck these "canaholpers" could possibly be.

With a smirky look, Kate quietly replied to me "Sierra's playing with a caterpillar in the back yard." OKAY! Gotcha now and in Maya speak, it all makes perfectly good sense - Canaholpers - Caterpillers - works for me!

I just spied a news article from the Associated Press - published online on my sign-in page -in which I see that I -along with others who are in the poverty row column -are again going to be the ones who will be paying a really big chunk of the costs for the proposed $35 billion increase for children's health coverage. How's that happening you ask? Because they're going to tag the smoker's with this cost by upping the federal taxes on cigarettes.

I know, I know - you're going to give me the standard lecture about the evils of tobacco, cigarettes, even smokeless tobacco too I suppose - and I won't argue all your points there either as I know full well they are valid, true, accurate and I SHOULD definitely stop smoking. I know that all too well - don't need constant carping at me about it. And to be honest, the carping tends to shove me into feeling a need for just one more smoke too.

But anyway, that is a bit of a digression there from what I started writing about with this news flash. The article states that by and large, the poor people tend to smoke more than the rich. Gee, go figure that one! It's been about the only luxury we could afford for relaxation, and such! Oh -ok, shut up -that's not a valid argument there I suppose although I see it as one.

But ya know, I was just thinking about something that I'm betting these rich fat cats would never ever, not even in a hundred, probably not in a thousand years think of doing to help pay for some programs in the country today - and I'm not saying that this would fund the needed increase for the children's health coverage but it sure couldn't hurt any either - and that is why don't these blowhards in Washington - same applies to the jackasses often populating the state houses in every place in the nation too - start having to pay at least a portion of their health insurance instead of we - all of us (not just me and the smokers here) having to shell out to see that they have the creme de la creme of insurance plans.

Oh and while I'm thinking along these lines, why don't they turn the tables and have to pay into the Social Security plan too -same as everybody else does.

Just thinking there, ya see. And by now, as many of you are aware, it can be a strange post coming your way when I do start thinking, just a little bit.

Have a nice day now ya'll, will ya please?

Day to Day With DUBYA

I'm on time this week! Yay, Yay! Here's the coming week's Bushism's for your reading pleasure!

Monday, October 1, 2007

"This administration is doing everything we can to end the stalemate in an efficient way. We're making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end."
-Washington, D.C.; April 10, 2001

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"You see, not only did the attacks help accelerate a recession, the attacks reminded us that we are at war."
- Washington, D.C.; June 8, 2005

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"The trial lawyers are very politically powerful...But here in Texas we took them on and got some good medical-medical malpractice."
- Waco, Texas; August 13, 2002

Thursday, October 4, 2007

"They've seen me make decisions, they've seen me under trying times, they've seen me weep, they've seen me laugh, they've seen me hug. And they know who I am, and I believe they're comfortable with the fact that they know I'm not going to shift principles or shift positions based upon polls and focus groups."
- Interview with USA Today; August 27, 2004

Friday, October 5, 2007

"What I am against is quotas. I am against hard quotas, quotas they basically delineate based upon whatever. However, they delineate, quotas, I think, vulcanize society. So I don't know how that fits into what everybody else is saying, their relative positions, but that's my position."
- As quoted by Molly Ivins in the San Francisco Chronicle; January 21, 2000.

Saturday and Sunday, October 6/7, 2007

"But I also made it clear to [Vladimir Putin] that it's important to think beyond the old days of when we had the concept that if we blew each other up, the world would be safe."
- Washington, D.C.; May 1, 2001

Boy, there's some heavy thinking in them thar' words ya know!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Musings and Music

There's a lot of both of these - musings and music -in the air here right now.

They're both coming from a certain little Princess too as she flits about from room to room, from this toy to another, from insisting on watching Gram put the makings for spaghetti sauce into the kettle on the stove and from watching her mother feed the little brother too. She zips around sometimes talking about this, that and the other and at other times, she breaks into songs too.

So far today, we've heard one of her first musical offerings and one she knows the melody to quite well - along with usually getting almost all of the words in there too - the lovely "Twinkle, twinkle little star." Two songs she's added since starting school though are really cute but as yet, I haven't been able to pick out all the words to either one of them because she often doesn't sing these in the same "lets-really-belt-the-music-out-for-EVERYONE-to-hear" version as she tends to do with her old, original favorites. One of the new songs is about "My Friends" and so far I think I've figured out it is "One, two, three, all my friends are here with me" and then I gather you're supposed to point to people around while continuing to sing -"You're my friend, you're my friend." Cute, really cute and quite meaningful for an almost four-year-old who's just beginning to learn about having friends and who they are. The other song -we refer to the "Allo song" although it probably really is the "Hello song"- Maya sings it as "Allo, 'ow are you" while waving her hand in front of her face. It's enough there to see and listen to her going through that one that you can, in your mind's eye, envision seven small children, lined up in a row, singing that to each other now, can't you?

The musings though sometimes can be quite amusing too if one happens to notice and tune into what she's saying though. While her voice can take on some really high decibel levels when she wants to let loose, usually when she's playing and talking to herself, it's relatively low and soft. That's a good thing on one hand because she's not breaking anyone's eardrum but it's also a bad thing - especially for me since sometimes my hearing isn't what it used to be - and so frequently I miss some of the words when she's doing her little "musings."

Earlier, while Mandy was feeding Kurtis, Maya was in an "I want more attention for ME" kind of mode and although she wants nothing to do with the potty training scene - nothing that would be constructive anyway -she knows if she mentions anything at all about "Dry pants" it will most likely result in some kind of attention coming her way. So she had started with the whining about "dry pants, dry pants" but because Mandy was busy at the time and couldn't attend to the Princess immediately, she told her to come see Gram and that Gram would get her dry pants. That will work provided she thinks it is her idea to get me to do that for her and getting things to that point sometimes takes a good bit of wheedling around with her.

"Come on, Maya - wanna get dry pants?" and I wait to see if her head turns in my direction to judge a bit on how much I'm going to have to coax her into the bathroom.

She starts out defensive "Wan' see the bigga boy. Wan' see the Mom and the bigga boy." to which I tell her as soon as we go get dry pants on you can come back and see the Mom and the bigga boy. This gets repeated several times before she finally relents and away we head to the bathroom. While I have her minus the pullups I suggest casually that she might enjoy sitting on the potty and maybe trying to do some more there or even better to do some "poopie" while we're concentrating really, really hard and counting to ten on the potty. No way! Huh-uh. It's a give me the dragontails pullups and get me out of here and do it NOW, lady scenario today!

Yesterday, I did bribe her into going in and sitting on the potty though by telling her if she did that, just went and sat on the potty and counted to ten, I would give her "some pink" -translated that meant I would dab a tiny spot of lipstick on her top lip just for sitting on the potty and, if she sat there and actually deposited anything, I would put it all around her mouth. All that got me in the end was that she saw where in the medicine cabinet I kept those things of mine and somehow or other today, she managed to climb up on the vanity and get into the medicine cabinet and removed my lipstick along with my blush stick but where she deposited the blush stick now, no one knows! Oh well, I don't go out often enough that I really use the stuff that much anyway so I'm sure it will surface - someday!

This morning, after her Dad had gone to pick up the his other two children to bring them here to spend the day with him, Mandy and Bill decided to fix a cooked breakfast/brunch - whatever you care to call a meal near the noon hour -bacon, eggs, toast, bagels - but when it was ready to be eaten, Maya was totally engrossed in something else -looking at a book with all kinds of neat pictures -and didn't want to give that up to come sit at the table. So, again - a little bit of bribery comes into play.

"Maya, come and eat." brings an immediate response of "All done, all done. Wan' see the Bratz and the toys and all the other things." To which her mother tells her she can bring the book to the table and look at it while eating. It's then that I discover what book is holding her fascination so well - the J.C. Penney Christmas catalogue with page after seemingly endless pages of Barbie's and Bratz and all the accoutrements any little girl could ever possibly want for either of those doll types.

"Maya, show Grammy what you want for your birthday." and she point to something on the catalogue page - I glance at it and see it is a Bratz computer for kids for a mere $59.95. Right. I'll go running right to the phone and order that, I will, I will and I'll pay for it out of my social security raise -maybe over the next 3-4 years. I'm sure that'll work well. Then Mandy tells Maya "Tell Grammy who's going to get you the Bratz computer for your birthday." She lifts her sweet little face to me and in the softest, shyest voice possible she tells me, "Poppy!"

Oh ho. That's choice for sure. We have all of the next week to keep putting that question out to her about what she wants for her birthday and also, to show her various ploys she can use to get "Poppy" to look at that book and make sure he sees that picture of what she wants too during all of the five days he will be here visiting and getting reacquainted with his little sweetheart of a granddaughter!

My son, who happened to be here for breakfast too this morning began doing imitations then of how he perceived his Dad would receive this information -"Sure, Poppy will get you what ever you want baby. $60! What the .....(you substitute any four letter word of your choice here)? I ain't never spent that blankety-blank much money on anything much less a toy! Hmmph! Ok, baby, it'll be yours from Poppy, for sure."

Yeah and I'm betting right now when Miss Maya does do her begging routine to Poppy that my son's interpretation there will probably play out just about as he had said it would.

Poppy, you see, is a pushover nowadays!

She might have to do a rendition of "Mr Sun, shine down on me" to finalize that deal, but I have no doubt, she'll win the battle and be the proud owner of a Bratz 'puter before the month is out.

Maybe, just maybe, it will keep her little fingers from messing with mine then too. What'd'ya think of that as part of the solution?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Authority - Getting it Back

I'm far from an expert when it comes to anything pertaining to blogging -other than how to click on the "new post" thing and start typing. I did figure out how to put a sitemeter on my blog, joined the group as well as the Fuel My Blog that were both supposed to flood my site with readers. I've not seen much success from the Fuel My Blog -or maybe I didn't know some new lurkers were coming from that site because they never left a message but I have picked up some great readers off and on through the MyBlogLog - which shows up on my sidebar under the "recent readers" header, complete with a photo or avatar (I think that's what it's called) from some other bloggers.

One other thing I did do quite sometime ago was to "claim my blog" on Technorati. Again, I don't profess to understand any of the technical stuff to do with these things, but I did recently learn about the ping thing and how if I go to Technorati and click on my "favorites" it will give me a listing of what of my favorite blogs have a new post up and sometimes it can save a little time since I don't always have to go down the list and click on each blog, one by one, to see if they have a new post up. It's not foolproof, but it does help a good bit to save a little time now and then.

Today, one of my favorite bloggers posted about how every six months - or some such time span -blogs listed -or claimed - on Technorati have to be refreshed in order to keep one's authority with Technorati intact, growing or whatever. My Norwegian friend at Mum's Home is the one who said to do this little trick to refresh our blogs and links, keep them active according to Technorati.

According to Stine, all we need to do is a post like this in which you list the links to every blog on your favorites, post the blog and ping it and Technorati then does all the rest. And, if you do this every six months, it will be applied to your authority and refreshes those links. So with that in mind, here's all my favorite links:
Sasha AKA Billie Jo
My Favorite Autistic
House of Lime
The Bipolar Diaries
Janey's Life in Westcliffe
Norwegian Mom
Polehill Sanitarium
Field Lines Magnetbabe
Theresa's Life
Wade and Erika
Once A Brat
Burnett's Urban Etiquette
Politics Plus
Atlanta Attorney Dave
Are We There Yet?
Bruce in Eastern PA
Rinsem's Rink
Inner Dialogues
A Twist of Humor
Paradise Valley 2
On A Rainy Night
Bob's Odder Blog
Shelby Dupree's
Walking Blind
Memoirs of a Inmates Wife
Meloncutter Musings
Cariboo Ponderer
The Ghost Company Town of Peale, Pennsylvania
Today The Dragon Wins
Turning The Pages Of Life
Walks Far Woman
A Little Piece of Me
It's About Time
Skittle's Place

That's my list at this time - more to be added as soon as I get my fat self around to getting the layout page set up to do that minor little chore.

And, here's hoping six months from now, Stine reminds us all to do this all over again!

Strange Happenings

Something is definitely awry, amiss. I don't know what happened or when but somethings have been taking place for a while now and they've really frequently got me scratching my head.

Near as I can tell it all began ten years ago this past August - on the 19th of that month as a matter of fact. My attitude, my base personality began to take twists and turns and my reactions were frequently quite different than they'd been for many years before.

What was it that happened to me that day?

I became a grandmother!

My neighbor and darned great friend Shirley had warned me about this phenomenon - telling me she'd read this some place and adopted it as her own slogan too -"If I'd known grandchildren were so doggone great, I'd have had 'em first."

Yep! Ten years and two more grandchildren later, I do believe, I do believe!

There was a time I used to tell my kids that I couldn't wait, absolutely was looking forward with such glee they couldn't possibly imagine, to that day sometime in the future when they would present me with grandchildren so I could then get even with my kids. My goal was that I would teach the grandchild every doggone rotten trick his mother or father (whatever the case might be there) had ever pulled on me along with every dirty word I know (and they knew I knew quite a few and used them fairly freely too) and once I figured said grandchild had this all down pat, I'd promptly send the child back to his/her parents leaving them to deal with the aftermath.

One day when my son was probably about 14 or 15 years old, he came to me and told me that his older sister was afraid to get married and have children. I asked him why that was and he explained it was because of what I'd always told them I planned to do if/when I ever had grandchildren. He was expecting me to tell him comforting words that he could take back to his big sister and instead I looked him dead on and said "Clate, I fully intend to follow through with that threat." All he could manage then was a big gulp and a very quiet, meek, "Oh."

When my kids were little, there were certain expectations I had for them -their Dad usually had the same rules too -and they knew if they didn't follow orders, there was liable to be hell to be paid. No, we didn't beat them senseless or anything like that but the bottom line was that if their Dad or I said something, what we said went -no questions asked then. Depending on the offense, they might get a light lecture, or a really stern reaming out and occasionally a rap on the behind -it was all relative to the seriousness of the "crime" they'd committed.

My older daughter and I both remember vividly one day when their dad was walking down through the yard, just coming home from work and the boy was about four years old at the time, standing at the front door to welcome his dad back home from a hard day's labor. The kid pipes up to his dad with "Hi Frank!" His dad came in the house, collared the boy, and holding him at arm's length, glared at the kid with eyes that looked blacker than black then as he told the kid "Don't you EVER call me that again! You call me Dad! Got that?" And the boy, shaking in his boots -and thanking his lucky stars too that he didn't get a crack on the behind, nodded his head and shyly replied, "Yes, Dad!"

At mealtime, the children were expected to sit up to the table, shut up and eat! That may sound a bit harsh to many, but when you've got two kids who tended to take forever to finish their meal and allowing a bunch of conversation then could run the dinner hour as late as 9 p.m., it was done out of necessity. They were allowed to converse -some - but they were expected to pay attention to the work at hand, eating their meal, all of it and then, the oldest was to help out with the dishes. Each one in turn, as they got old enough was also expected to help with the dishes, with other things around the house too that they were big enough, old enough to do.

When I took my kids with me on my rounds delivering Avon, they had been taught from early on that when I took them into someone else's house, they knew they were to be seen there, not heard and the very idea of them perhaps wandering around, playing touchy-feeley with other people's belongings - knick knacks sitting out on tables, books, anything that belonged to that customer was strictly off limits for their sticky little fingers to be touching. There were a few customers I had who had children and at those homes, if the other children were there, they were then permitted to play with those kids but otherwise, they had to sit still and behave. And, they did that too without giving me a boatload of whining, grief and aggravation!

The standard line at suppertime too was that they would eat what was put before them on the table because I wasn't running a restaurant there -no separate meal for this kid and something else for that one. If what was put in front of them wasn't something that was a favorite dish of all or even one child, too bad, so sad, maybe the gods will bless your tastebuds tomorrow or another day but today, it ain't happening.

And it was that paragraph directly above here that came to my mind last night as we sat at the supper table to eat and I remarked to Mandy that I was seeing something happen here that I had frequently sworn would never take place under my roof, would never come about via any meal I would ever cook and serve for my family.

A bit confused, Mandy asked what that was and I said "Cook two separate entrees to keep one child happy!"

Mandy smiled, put her hand on my arm and gently reminded me that I never had any children that were autistic either though. And, how true that is. How true it is that one little four-year-old can often dictate what will show up on our supper table these days!

Yesterday at about 3:30 p.m., Miss Maya had informed her mother that she was going to have "mac 'n'che" for supper and had brought out a box of the mix to make macaroni and cheese. One box wouldn't be enough to feed the whole family though so I figured well maybe I can cajole her into accepting another package type mix in place of the beloved "mac'n'che" she was demanding - after all how much difference is there, really, between what she said she wanted and my fixing two packages of the white cheddar and shells mix? Really now, aren't they both basically the same thing? I thought so but learned differently then and there that there was going to be no compromise forthcoming last night anyway from Miss Maya. If I didn't want a child laying in the middle of the dining room floor, kicking, screaming, crying for heaven only knows how long, then I better bloody well fix her the mac'n'che - or else!

Yes we had a lovely meal consisting of baked chicken breast that had been marinated in a lemon pepper sauce, white cheddar and shells, mac'n'che, green beans and applesauce! And Maya had three helpings on her child's plate of the mac'n'che before she finally polished off about 6 green beans and maybe three bites of the chicken breast her dad had so nicely cut up from the piece of chicken he had on his plate.

If anyone would have ever told me 20-25 years ago that someday I would wave a big white flag of defeat at the dinner table, I would bet them money big time on that idea and now you all know too that I would have lost my shirt don't you?

Yes, I realize that I do make concessions -more now than ever -due to Maya's being autistic. She has pushed my patience buttons somedays to a place where I think kiddo, there just isn't an extra ounce of patience left in me and yet, I've often given in - unless it is something that is so outrageously wrong that I just can't allow her to keep doing whatever it is she might be doing at the time - like maybe grabbing the sides of the playpen where her little brother is peacefully sleeping and shaking it a few times just to be mean and ornery! I don't really know that she does that just to be mean and ornery but there are times when I do think she does it for that very reason.

We're supposed to try to work on her in the potty training department and there are efforts ongoing along those lines as much as possible. But it's also another of those things where you "pick your battle" you know! If a suggestion is made about sitting on the potty and she gives off the slightest inclination to do that, ok, fine - go for it. But normally, when that question is put to her and if her immediate response is a really high-pitched, whiney "All done, all done!" then for the sake of whatever bit of hearing is still existing, to keep that last nerve from being stepped on, we concede defeat.

Another day, another time, when she learns just a bit more comprehension isn't going to mean the end of the world if we postpone it that long ya know. I wouldn't have said that 30 years ago but I firmly believe in operating that way now!

My son often will tell the teenage stepgranddaughter who frequently doesn't like some of my rules and regulations here that she should consider herself very lucky that she is dealing with me now because "that's not the same person in that body who raised me" is what he says.

And yes, he's so right there - I am not the same person who raised him or his sisters. Not at all.

And you know what, so far anyway, the house hasn't caved in, hasn't gone completely to pot, no stars have fallen from the sky, the moon is still in its proper place as is the sun and it also helps to keep my hair from being pulled out one strand at a time too until I might be completely bald.

It's not the end of the world as we knew it!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Search and Destroy!

There are some things in life I find very, very annoying. One is looking for things when I can't remember where I last had it, where I may have hidden it from myself. By the same token, some things that get put up, misplaced, (not always by my hand though) and can't be located when needed - now that really tends to annoy me.

But some things too, when I have a general idea where they would be found -regardless of who used said item last - and ask someone to take care of something pertaining to said item that person tends to expect the item to just jump out at her!

I should by this stage of my life be well acquainted with this syndrome - having raised three children to adulthood myself and now, there's a teenager here - along with the two little ones who aren't responsible for misplaced items. (Although --Maya did discover the little opening in the hearth of the fireplace here and figured out that the two plates there will open and reveal what appeared to her to be an excellent place in which she could stow away most anything from matchbox cars, blocks, shoes, socks, etc. We also learned once we realized she was putting things in there that quite often when asked if she put such and such an item someplace or in that spot, she would tell us, or lead us to it and point at it. Her Dad subsequently closed it up so that if she does try to stash anything in there now, it will only land about two inches from the opening and is then easily retrievable.)

However, back to my origin of this post - when my kids were growing up and I would ask them to go get such and such an item for me, they rarely were able to find the nose on their faces. I used to tell them to stop looking at the ceiling when hunting for things because the only thing that would be found there would be spiders and cobwebs - which obviously were never on my list of things I wanted them to look for either. And, if the did look up at the ceiling and see those type of things - the spiders, etc -unless specifically told to take something and wipe them off or dust them down, that idea would never have crossed their minds either. Direction - very STRONG direction was always necessary then.

Apparently it is something that all teens are afflicted with though - the lack of being able to see things, to search for things, to find things. Mainly this is caused -or so I believe - by the fact they don't want to do anymore physical things than necessary. And what they believe to be necessary there extends only to walking to said area where a missing item may be and then, just casually strolling around, perhaps lifting something here and there, as long as there is no extra movement required - like say, bending over, actually moving things a bit to find the missing thing.

As an example here, we have two telephone lines in this house and each line has two phones attached to it. With each line, one of those two phones is also a cordless phone and it's a difficult concept to remember that cordless phones also need to be recharged -sometimes frequently but usually regularly at any rate.

Now, the one cordless phone and the corresponding second phone to that line rarely get used unless someone has to make a long distance phone call. The reason being that my computer runs on that line and since my computer is generally on line almost all the time, that cordless phone rarely leaves its pedestal charger in the kitchen. This phone is generally referred to as the "White" phone -because -another difficult concept here - the phone is white. (The desk phone on that line is the "green" phone also so named because of the color.

Now my daughter Mandy's phone line is one that has no long distance service available and the one outlet for that line is in the basement - referred to as "the basement phone" and the other outlet for the cordless phone to that line is in Mandy and her husband's bedroom and it is the "Black" phone. There are times when it is quite difficult to locate the black phone simply because some people cart it around the house and leave it laying - face down too - in areas where one wouldn't always think to look for it - like in between the couch cushions is one particular hiding place some seem to favor - the bathroom vanity is another one -or just put it face down on the island in the kitchen, in between oodles of papers and dishes and stuff. When that phone is placed face down it also muffles the sound when it rings which can hinder locating the darned thing before the caller decides there is no one home and hangs up too - a habit that greatly irritates the living daylights out of ME!

This afternoon, I heard the teen coming up out of the basement and figured - since she has no other reason to go into that hinterland of the house - she must have been having perhaps a top secret phone call and couldn't use the black cordless phone and take it out on the deck because it is raining - also a bit of thunder and lightning too, I might add.

But I came into the living room and the black phone was laying on my desk and I happened to pick it up thinking I'd make a call but it was dead - deader than a doornail. So I called upstairs to her and requested that she, when she knows the phone is dead, to please put it on the charger in Mandy's bedroom. Her response was that she was going to do that earlier but she couldn't find the charger.

Now I will concede that finding things at times in Mandy's room can be a bit tough - she's got all kinds of stuff scattered about -hither, thither and yon. But the phone charger and being unable to locate that? That puzzled me cause it HAS to be in that room because that is where the outlet is for it.

I told her to look again because it has to be there - look on the floor by the door, as that's where Mandy had been placing it most recently. The teen's response was that it wasn't there; she'd already looked there and it was no where to be found.

I think I have mentioned on a few occasions that I try to avoid the stairs in the house at all costs - going up the steps creates more aches and pains in my back and going down steps, causes my knees to give weird painful sensations like they are going to go out on me. And, all things considered, one thing I don't need in my life right now is to fall and break a bone - any bone -but especially one that would hinder my mobility further.

But since the teen was unable to find the darned phone charger, and I know darned well too that it is in Mandy's room, I had to venture upstairs to find it. First thing I did was show the teen where the outlet is and the wires coming from that would lead us to where the charger was tonight. She protested that she had looked, really hard too, but imagine her shock when within five seconds of following that little bit of cord, I found the charger there on the floor with one little piece of clothing over it. Not really well hidden or anything like that -just that someone doesn't know how to pick anything up and look beneath things.

But the charger at least had been located and the phone placed on it so it will soon be usable again.

Moving on to other lost and found things, about ten minutes later the teen asked if we were having leftovers for supper tonight, to which I replied yes. I told her there was roast beef along with the kluski noodles and gravy leftovers from supper two days ago in the fridge and she could heat some of that up. Off she headed to the kitchen and within less than two minutes, she was complaining that there was no meat, no noodles to be found.

Again, I knew it was in there and restated that fact to her -adding that she might actually have to bend over a bit, move a couple things around to locate it but it was there. More whining, complaining, statements that it was not there and yes, that she had moved things and looked.

Off to the kitchen, move on beverage pitcher aside, move a gallon container of milk to the left and presto magic, can you believe it, but there was the container full of the noodles and gravy -right beside the casserole dish containing the left over roast beef too.

So much for the teaching of a teen how to go on a search and destroy mission for tonight!

A New Game

First off, if my post yesterday may have offended anyone -I was more than a bit angry, hurt, very, very upset and irritated - I apologize for that. I may rant from time to time but usually it is about the inequities that I see, from my viewpoint, that exist in society, overall. I don't usually do that and get down and dirty and personal in my rants and I did that yesterday. I am still quite upset as it will take a while for the feelings I have over this episode to dissolve and evaporate but I should have tempered my words a bit I suppose.

With that in mind though, I'm going to share something here that a friend of mine sent me this morning. This friend lives about 50-60 miles from me and I haven't seen her and her husband in over six years now - not since I quit the job I had back then at the Plaza about 30 miles from here. She knew nothing of the turmoil in my life right now but always seems to have a sixth sense about things and somehow manages to send me little things via e-mail that can point me in a different, perhaps much more positive direction.

If you don't like things that have a strong religious aspect to them, then I apologize in advance to you for this piece. But it was something I liked especially and can use portions of it in the way I operate my life perhaps. Who knows, maybe someone else will read it and feel it impacts them the same way it did me. I don't know who wrote it, where it originated, so I have no means as to who to acknowledge, to give the credit where credit is due for the piece. Hope I don't get in any deep doo-doo for not having that information to post with it too. Wouldn't that be just about my luck too though?

But anyway, here it is and here's hoping it helps fill a little bit of a void in someone else as it did for me today.


Freddy and the Lord stood by to observe a baseball game. The Lord's team was playing Satan's team.

The Lord's team was at bat, the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate named 'Love.'

Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because "Love never fails."

The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith works with Love.

The next batter up was named Godly Wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch. Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass:

Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked because he never swings at what Satan throws.

The bases were now loaded. The Lord then turned to Freddy and told him He was now going to bring in His star player. Up to the plate stepped Grace. Freddy said, "He
sure doesn't look like much!"

Satan's whole team relaxed when they saw Grace. Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen! But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by.

He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on the head and sent him crashing on the ground; the roaring crowds went wild as the ball continued over the fence . . . for a home run!

The Lord's team won!

The Lord then asked Freddy if he knew why Love, Faith and Godly Wisdom could get on
base but couldn't win the game. Freddy answered that he didn't know why.

The Lord explained, "If your love, faith and wisdom had won the game, you would think you had done it by yourself. Love, Faith and Wisdom will get you on base but only My Grace can get you Home: 'For by Grace are saved, it is a gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast."

Psalm 84:11, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly."

And there you have it - just some good words to think about in how we may chose to run our own "ballgames."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Weary - Just Weary

The past few days have been quite full here.

Full with activities around loss - with the passing and funeral for a good friend. Full with the loss too of our pastor but is tempered too by knowing he felt the need to move to a different parish, to work in a new setting, perhaps be of more or better assistance to others. The loss there to our church comes from the difficult we often have in trying to "lure" a pastor to this little village, to a church not large by a lot of standards but a beautiful congregation all the same. This area is somewhat isolated I guess you could say - not really that close to larger areas that offer many attractions to people.

But that too would depend on what type of life someone would want, I would imagine. If one absolutely can not live without lots and lots of hustle and bustle of a city or the 'burbs, then to take on the responsibility of this parish would definitely not be a good match. Clearfield County - the entire county - doesn't really have much to offer by way of what would be considered "city life." But if someone is interested in living in a quiet, lazy little village in a home that is adjacent to a little wooded area, with space where a good-sized vegetable garden can be planted, as well as plenty of places to plant flowers and more flowers, then the parsonage that comes with our church has a lot to offer to potential occupants - a potential pastor and family.

However, life in this area also brings with it other things too - some of which are issues that are difficult to break through, to try to bring about change to the community.

The area has a history of having had a lot of bias and prejudice -not in the manner one usually thinks of when you think of those two things though. Being out in the middle of nowhere in this part of Pennsylvania, it is very much a very "white" area. I don't know why very few blacks ever settled here, but there aren't that many in the county although Dubois and Clearfield do have black residents, I would estimate they are still very much in the minority. In the village where I live, we have one resident who is black - and she just moved here about two years ago when her husband, who is white, accepted a job at a nearby prison facility. I worried at first at how some folks around would react to her, to them, but thankfully -and I think this is due more to her open, bubbly, friendly nature, I not seen nor heard of any derogatory comments about either of them.

But for many years, there was heavy bias and prejudice that existed here. However, it was based on ethnicity and religion. It was caused by ignorance, by fear, by perceptions that because this person was of a certain ethnic background and worshipped at a specific church, they were different, therefore, bad. The language differences that came with immigrants from certain areas of Europe and lack of the ability to communicate, to make each other understood, contributed very heavily to this issue too.

The basic ethnic and religious composition of the village I call home were Swedish and Lutheran or Slovak and Roman Catholic, with a few other groups scattered about too but the bulk of the residents in this village were comprised of immigrants from those two countries, people of those two faiths.

In my mother's day, there was very little intermingling between these two groups. Often, the parents of my mother's peers either spoke very broken English or, in many instances, no English at all. Although between the time my Mom went to school here and I began school, a lot of the language difficulties had somewhat disappeared, the base prejudices from early years still existed. When I was a child, I was expected to stay along the street where we lived and not venture beyond it to play with other kids. I was taught then to venture into one specific area in the village which was heavily populated with people who were Slovak and Catholic too, was a taboo thing. "Don't go over into Dobry Town" was the instructions I received from the time I started school. We kids met in the classroom, associated there, but once classes were over and we made our way back home, our paths rarely crossed because the kids who lived over in "Dobry Town" were also given pretty much the same rules - "Don't go over to West Clymer and don't play with those Swedes, those Lutherans." The ministers then as well as the priests reinforced this prejudice too.

Thankfully, as I grew up and got to know my classmates of various ethnic backgrounds, other faiths, I grew to know and like them but still this edict was there in the back of all our minds and we still didn't associate much then -other than to know which houses various classmates lived in, we didn't grow up having any other knowledge of each others homes, families, much less traditions, etc.

By the time I returned here to live - having spent about eight years working in the D.C. area - and my children came along, and thanks to the minister at our church then and a man who had grown up here, who had chosen to become a Catholic priest as his vocation, our pastor and that priest met, formed a friendship and began to quietly work to bring the community together - to escape those early biases that had divided the community for so many years. Today, most of the residents here, while they still acknowledge their ethnicity and take great pride in being either Slovak or Swedish or German, Irish, English, etc., it is a shared thing now and not a means to ostracize as it once had been. And that is how -as I see things - it should have been but just took a long, long time to eradicate that from the people.

However, if one chooses to live in a small town -such as this is -there are still other issues that make their way through day-to-day life that someone coming here from "the outside" or from a city-type background may not realize and they can make the transition problem difficult at times.

The area is rather a bit on the "red-necky" side at times. With not much in the way of entertainment available - simple things like shopping requires travel of t least 4-5 miles and usually means driving anywhere from 12 to 22 miles to a larger store with more commodities available and often at somewhat lower prices then too. There are no movie theatres here - closest one is 12 miles away. Bowling or roller skating - also a drive of 12 to 22 miles too. Even dances are something that often requires the same drive. Although occasionally the local Moose here in town may have a dance with a band - usually the Saturday night prior to the first day of deer season or on New Year's Eve -maybe once in a blue moon in between there might be some occasion where they will sponsor a dance. Karaoke is something that pops up here at a couple of the local pubs or occasionally one of those bars will have a disc jockey from time to time too but that pretty much is the extent of the entertainment available. It often becomes a culture too that one either drinks to have "entertainment" too.

But one thing that has always existed here -regardless of the biases, etc., is that in a small town like this, everyone frequently knows everyone else's business too. There are times when that aspect of "country life" is not a bad thing. I believe very strongly in Hilary Clinton's premise in her book "It Takes a Village" because when I was growing up, the residents of this street - and along the other streets, roads, alleys of this village all did tend to look after each other, especially the children. I may have been an only child but I had playmates galore and their parents had no qualms about disciplining me, right along with their own children back then too. Not by spanking but by stern words, admonishments -and at times too if a kid was really misbehaving, the other parent might take that kid by the collar, lead the child home and give a blow-by-blow description to the kid's parent(s) then too of what had happened to require that action.

That's the good side there of the small town, everyone knows everyone and their business. The bad side though is the gossip.

Now, gossip by itself can cover many things. It can be simply sharing news about this person is going to have another child; this family is having a rough time because of employment - low paying employment or layoffs, things like that. Or, gossip often also amounts to sharing information of others who have medical issues - sometimes minor things, maybe an accident, broken bones, or perhaps passing along information that so-and-so has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or is considered to be diagnosed as "terminally ill" and in those things, most of the time the community does come together too - through kindness extended, prayers and such.

But there are times when gossip - especially if it is of what is considered to be a "juicy" nature, and if the person -or persons -spreading this stuff also like to add a few bits and pieces to the words being shared and it then often takes on a life of its own. Frequently too, those who spread gossip like that do not take into consideration how this crap may possibly affect others lives and they just go on adding more and more - tossing more wood onto the fire as it were ya know.

Over the past several months, this is something that has been going on around here. Someone has started some rumors by taking innocent comments and adding to them, professing these things to be truth, when in fact, they are far from the truth, making assumptions about things they don't comprehend at all and spreading these pieces around.

Remember as I said earlier, this area is pretty much a "red neck" type community - hunting, fishing, motorcycles, four-wheeling, and of course, drinking being the main staples of life. Ignorance too about issues -things that really shouldn't be an "issue" per se but often are -such as homosexuality for an example, are often blown way out of proportion. If someone doesn't fit exactly into the mold some others feel is the ONLY way to live, often that person gets "earmarked" or branded, frequently incorrectly too, because of their difference as being "queer," "gay" a "Homo" - you know the way something like that can take on a life of its own.

And when some people take things they are incapable of comprehending fully in others and places labels like that on others, the damage it can do to people is often beyond comprehension too.

Recently, this has been an issue and it has come to affect some people very, very close to me - who I love dearly. It has been a very hurtful time for that person to hear others making comments that, oh my goodness, so-and-so is gay when in fact, that person is most certainly not.

I keep thinking of that one particular episode of Jerry Seinfeld in which he and George inadvertently get labeled as being homosexual and then, biased, etc., and the tag line through out the program was "Not that there's anything wrong with that." One shouldn't have to have incorrect labels attached to them to begin with. And even if the label were to be attached and would be true, it should not be something that inspires others to do stupid, weird, and mean things like come to a bar to see if some "faggot" is there and announce to the other patrons that such people should be given a good beating or whatever.

It does give one cause to question the sanity levels of some people, ya know!

I hesitated to mention anything along these lines on my blog for various reasons. One of which though is that I know a certain party in the community who has been quite responsible for spreading many rumors of this nature reads my blog. I also know that person apparently has a rather low comprehension level of the written word too as in the past, some things I have blogged about here that were quite innocuous have been taken and misinterpreted and mountains made out of molehills, in essence, because that person did NOT read what I had written correctly.

The party has been confronted too about the latest string of rumors that have been traced back to the individual and said party has also denied, up one side, down the other, that NEVER has that person EVER made such comments. To which I will say here and now - YOU ARE A LIAR!

The overall effect this has had on some individuals has had a terrible impact on that person's life at this time. Hopefully, it will be corrected through counseling and other care and the person will be able to pickup, continue on to lead a good life, and others will recognize the fallacy of the rumors, the damage, hurt, pain that these things can create in others.

I'm generally of a very accepting nature but I do not tolerate fools and idiots who do things like this well, if at all.

My advice here - if you're going to say something about someone, first make damned sure you know what the blazes you are talking about is true, then also, THINK about how spreading something -truth or not - can impact on someone else's life. And, if you do continue along the old vein of making up lies and spreading them, then you should just plain be very ashamed of yourself for your actions!

I, for one, am as my title of this post states, just weary of the crap that constantly seems to come from your own issues and inability to adjust to having a "normal" life that you have to try to find ways, whatever means possible, to bring others down into your own pig sty existence.

'Nuff Said? I hope so.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Better Late Than Never

I've probably used that title before or close to it anyway, when posting the Bushisms for the week or for a specific day and when I'm behind schedule in doing that.

If you read the two posts below this, you'll realize why I forgot to post these yesterday when I normally would have put them up here. I was just a bit pre-occupied with other things and then, just too doggone tired to even read last night much less write a post with these things!

But here I am today to put them up here for your reading pleasure and hopefully, provide a bit of entertainment too in the process of the silly things the wonderful Mr. DUBYA often has said. Gotta love him for that much at any rate I guess.

Monday, September 24, 2007

"Think about that. Two hundred and eighty-five new or expanded programs, $2 trillion more in new spending, and not one new bureaucrat to file out the forms or answer the phones." - Minneapolis, Minnesota; November 1, 2000.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"There's nothing more deep than recognizing Israel's right to exist. That's the most deep thought of all....I can't think of anything more deep than that right." - Washington, D.C.; March 13, 2002.

Wednesday, September 26 , 2007

"They said, 'You know, this issue doesn't seem to resignate with the people.' And I said, 'You know something? Whether it resignates or not doesn't matter to me, because I stand for doing what's the right thing, and what the right thing is hearing the voices of people who work.'" - Portland, Oregon; October 31, 2000.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Unfairly but truthfully, our party has been tagged as being against things. Anti-immigrant, for example. And we're not a party of anti-immigrants. Quite the opposite. We're a party that welcomes people." - Cleveland, Ohio; July 1, 2000.

Friday, September 28, 2007

"Neither in French nor in English nor in Mexican." - Declining to answer reporters' questions at the Summit of the Americas; Quebec City, Canada; April 21, 2001.

Saturday and Sunday, September 29/30, 2007

"We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans." - Scranton, Pennsylvania; September 6 , 2000.

There you have 'em folks. I didn't make these up, he actually said these silly things! Hard to believe, I know, but true!

Small World

This is the kind of story I love to hear, love to tell about too, for that matter.

I got a telephone call yesterday from my good friend and neighbor a few doors up the street from me. My life-long friend, Shirley!

She's a very upbeat, VERY bubbly person, rarely without a smile and always a friendly word to whoever she meets. Her youngest sister, Kate, is the same age as me and Kate and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. Kate's my oldest friend in terms of how long she and I have always been "best of friends" but I tease Shirley that she is my "oldest" really close friend since she is 8 years older than Kate and I and Shirley and I have, over the years, evolved into becoming very strong, close friends too.

But I digress. (I know, what the heck else is new, you're probably saying.)

Shirley had to call and tell me that she'd just had a phone call from her older daughter, Kathy, who lives somewhere down in the Philadelphia suburbs - don't know which town, just know she lives down in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Kathy had called because she couldn't wait to tell her mother what had happened to her at church yesterday. She said when it was time for the "Prayers of the Church" during which the minister prays for everything and anything, one of the things he mentioned was that a parishioner there had requested that the members of this particular church offer prayers for the family of Erling Young, who'd passed away earlier this week.

When Kathy heard that, her immediate thoughts were "Now, just how many people can there possibly be with the name of Erling Young?" Because their minister had given the name too of the party who requested this prayer, after the services, Kathy walked up to the lady and asked her where she'd been on Saturday.

THe lady was a bit surprised at Kathy's question but she answered her by saying she'd been to a funeral in Lanse, PA at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church to which Kathy had then informed her that church just happens to be her home parish! Imagine the look of surprise on the other lady's face to learn that this young woman -who she'd seen at church but didn't know a thing about her -was from the area in central Pennsylvania where her ancestors had lived years and years ago!

Shirley, true to her form, told me she could hardly wait to get off the phone with her daughter because she HAD to call and tell me about this, knowing me as well as she does, she just KNEW this was the kind of story I would really revel in. And you know what? She was right!

Ever since I got interested in researching the local history of the township where I've lived almost my entire life, I've become fascinated too upon transcribing old newspaper reports and especially old obituaries to learn what families are interconnected as well as how many folks I've read about in these old newspapers I've been researching have roots back to the ghost town about a mile or two down the road from my home.

You're all probably familiar with the game made popular several years back "Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon" (or a name similar to that in case I have a word listed incorrectly there.) Well, since doing this research I have developed an opinion that if you talk to people and get them to dig back in their families' roots far enough - maybe 8 or 10 degrees is needed to play my game - you'll very often find a link there back to this little ghost town that only really existed for roughly 30, maybe 40 years tops, just before the turn of the century and shortly thereafter.

It's something that never ceases to amaze me what a small - very small -world we do actually live in ya know!

Think about that awhile now and mentally try to track back where your ancestors - especially if they were Swedish or Slovak and came to this country in the late 1800's and perhaps were coal miners - that quite possibly they too may have a link to this little ghost town near to my home.

It could happen you know and you might just be surprised at learning where you ancestors once lived, what that area was like then, what it's like now.

All things that truly do fascinate me.

Now, with that song "It's a Small World Afterall" playing like a big old earworm in my head, I'm off to the kitchen to try to figure out some type of meal to feed the family for supper tonight.

Any suggestions are welcome in that department too!

Changes of Scenery

Yesterday was another really long day here.

I was up until almost 2:30 in the morning Saturday night/Sunday morning - cooking. Yes cooking a casserole dish at that hour! The reason being yesterday was the last Sunday the pastor we've had for the past 4 1/2 years would be at our church as he has accepted a call to another church - in Bloomsburg, PA - and he and his wife are moving today and tomorrow to that town.

So, after church yesterday - as is the tradition of our church whenever there is some big event taking place - we have a pot luck dinner. This time it was to wish Pastor Joel and his wife Ruth well in their new home, in his new post as the pastor of the Lutheran church in that community.

The church service itself was very nice; all went quite well until the closing hymn which was "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" and considering the fact many attending the service had been present the day before when our good friend, Zippy, had been laid to rest plus the fact that most of the parishioners liked this minister and his wife, so it was a song that definitely brought forth a lot of tears, a lot of hankies and kleenex, clearing of throats, stiffling sobs by some who were extremely close to the pastor. But we managed to have a very nice dinner after the service, still some teary eyes here and there, but a more uplifting feeling though as we know the odds are that we will still see Pastor and Ruth again perhaps from time to time.

Saturday afternoon, as I was trying to figure out what I should fix for the dinner yesterday, my daughter was kind of pushing me to make a casserole dish I frequently make and take to these events - ham and bean potpie - which is sort of a Pennsylvania Dutch type thing but it always goes over quite well at these affairs. Mandy reminded me if I don't make that H&B potpie thing, our neighbor across the street is going to be really miffed with me cause he loves it. I was kind of leaning towards fixing a new recipe I'd just tried earlier this week and which I'd found at one of my favorite blogger's site - Lazy Man's Pierogies, I think is the name of it. So, to help me decide what to make, I had Mandy call the neighbors to see if they were going to be at the dinner and when they said no, they weren't attending this one, I decided then not to make the potpie dish. However, I didn't use the new recipe I'd found either but sort of revamped another dish I really like - fried cabbage and noodles!

The cabbage/noodle dish is something I'd never had until I worked at a truckstop in Snow Shoe, PA and the family who owned/ran that restaurant we of Slovak ethnicity often served the cabbage and noodles as a special from time to time. I'd requested the recipe for that from Marian, the owner of the place back in the 80's and after the first time I had ever fixed it for my kids, it became a big favorite in this house. Same thing too with the H&B potpie - I'd never had it before until I worked at the Plaza truckstop in Milesburg, PA and they often ran that as a special there every THursday for many years. WHen I fixed that for my kids, they also loved it. I've since then made the H&B potpie for church dinners as well as often taking it to our family reunion as well. I'm happy to report that the fried cabbage and noodles (I used spiral pasta in it this time though) was a big success and there was none of it left to bring back home when the dinner was over!

Yesterday afternoon, I had to run up to the parsonage to take the card my kids and I had to give to Pastor and Ruth -with our little "going-away" gift in it (I forgot it in my rush to get out to the church before the dinner began) and when I went up there, I took Miss Maya with me in hopes that maybe a little brief outing might settle her a bit since she was being a lot on the crabby side at home. She was fine in the car while I talked awhile with Pastor and when we left there, I decided to take a little drive around the community. In doing so, as I passed by the Covenant Free Church, I noticed one of our township supervisors, his wife and grandchild were there and they were letting the little granddaughter have some quality playtime on the playground that church has adjacent to their parking lot. So I turned around and pulled in, figuring maybe Maya might enjoy the playground a bit too. Plus, I wanted to thank the supervisor himself, as he is a long-standing member of our local volunteer fire company, for the firemen and their display of respect the day before to Zippy.

While I was talking to him and trying to keep an eye on Maya too -out of the corner of my eye -she and the other little girl had decided to get on the merry-go-round at the playground. Now this is not the kind that you might be thinking - not horses, not musical, not that kind of thing but just this big thing that the kids sit on and it revolves from a little bit of a push. Well, Maya was on it and the other little girl was pushing it but she of course, was unaware that Maya doesn't comprehend things very well. She got it moving pretty fast and Maya decided she wanted to get off and in trying to get off while it was still moving, you can imagine what happened there, can't you. I glanced over just in time to see that thing almost whizzing around and could see Maya trying to get down before any of us could possibly get there to stop it and she ended up rolling off, into a bit of a ball in the dirt path around it. Scared to death! And that was just my reaction! Maya, picked herself up, and was crying as I got to her, picking her up to soothe her, brush the dirt off too cause yes, she did get pretty dirty in that fall. But in looking her over as I was cuddling her, I could see she wasn't drastically hurt - no cuts, no broken bones or anything like that - and before I knew it, she was scrambling to get down and be off, running again with the other little girl.

It was then that I was certain this hadn't been a good move - taking her to this little playground because I knew - boy did I know this - that when it came time for me to get her to go back to the car, to leave, she was going to throw one royal meltdown fit with me. And yes indeed, she sure did that too!

I had explained to the supervisor and his wife that Maya has issues, doesn't always comprehend things properly, and also, that she really doesn't understand how to play with other children as yet. They both nodded in understanding as I explained that she has autism and then I remembered, his wife is a school teacher (teaches elementary kids) plus his brother's younger daughter also is autistic so they are more familiar and understanding then of how kids often react/respond when they have this disorder. If Maya would have had her way, when it came time to leave, she probably would have been really peaceable about it if she'd been leaving to go with the "mom and the dad and the kid and the puppy, Snowball!" That's what I had to listen to the whole way home from the playground to the house - her crying over and over, "Wan see the Mom and the Dad and the kid and the Snowball!" You can bet your bottom dollar though the next time she sees the supervisor out someplace, she's gonna remember him and want to go see "The Snowball."

Last evening, Mandy decided she was in no mood to cook -not really a big surprise there as she and the kitchen don't generally operate on really friendly terms (translated - she doesn't like to cook, at all) and I really didn't feel much like cooking either so we all piled into my van and headed up to a little restaurant about six miles from home - The West Branch Dairy Diner - also generally referred to around these hills as "The Pumpkin House" since the building is painted a bright orange. The food there is nothing fancy but it's good and the prices are relatively reasonable too.

Just trying to keep Maya seated was a challenge in and of itself! She wanted to sit in a booth, then she wanted to sit at a table for two, then it was a table for four and she didn't want to come sit down by her dad at the larger table where we decided we were going to sit. Finally bribed her to come sit down by showing her the zip-lock bag of crayons and the Bratz coloring book Mandy had brought along for just such purposes! Thankfully, we managed to order, eat and even had a little dessert before her patience level and interest in coloring ran out! Just in the nick of time that we were finished and ready to leave, that was!

Even when she is fairly well behaved though out in public, just being on edge with her to keep her fairly well occupied and contained is quite a draining experience at times so by the time we got back home, I was totally whipped and to the amazement of some of you readers who have asked me on occasion "when do you sleep" (because I am often online in the middle of the night sometimes to the wee hours of the morning), I went to bed at 9 p.m.! And apparently my system was saying something to me too that I really needed sleep and lots of it too, because I didn't get up until almost 8:30 this morning!

Now, for me, that really is quite a change of scenery!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Day's End

It's been a long, long day today. A VERY long day! A day filled with things I really wish hadn't been a part of my life, but they are, they were, and much of what I'm about to write about didn't make today one of the better, nicer, days I've experienced. But, sad to say, they happen and they make life what it is - sometimes nice, good, cherry and sometimes, just plain sad -sorry to say.

This afternoon I finally got a chance to watch MY team - Penn State -play. Yes, the game today was televised in our area - a big game for them too against Michigan. And I'm really sorry to report in -in case you haven't already seen the scores - that my Nittany Lions got handed a defeat today. It's like we are totally jinxed every year anymore when we play Michigan. I was really hoping that with the three wins going into today that the team would have a full head of steam and go great guns, really make old Joepa -and me - very happy with a nice, big, fat old win. But it just wasn't in the cards again this year.

While trying to watch the game, I decided to try to get something else started too - something I could easily do while paying attention to my Lions try to roar. I had this really snazzy yarn - sort of a plum shade with pink metallic like speckles in it - an eyelash (or fuzzy, furry yarn in other words) that I had started making a scarf with it a few weeks ago and over half way through the project, I had to lay my work down to finish fixing supper and much to my chagrin, when I returned to my knitting about two hours later, I discovered that a certain little busybody here had removed my needles from my work. Now, trying to pick up lost stitches with this particular type of yarn is virtually impossible, so I had placed the yarn and the remains of the scarf project up until I had time to unwind the knitted stuff and start all over again. Seemed like a good thing to do today as it would keep my hands busy, do something productive, while watching the game. I even got restarted too on my scarf project. I had about ten rows completed and had to put it down for a minute to tend to the baby and don't you just know, when I came back from doing that, the little busybody had struck again and pulled the needles out of my work. Talk about adding insult to injury, this kid really knows how to do that to me. I did manage to get that small amount of work ripped out, re-started for the third time and now, as I type this, I have my work placed in a safe place - high above my computer desk, well out of reach of the sticky fingers of a mischievous little almost four-year-old!

But those two events - the game, the knitting - depressing, upsetting as they were - had no comparison to what Mandy and I had to do earlier today.

We had a service to go to at our church - the funeral for my next-door-neighbor's father who died this past Monday night.

My older daughter and her fiance had come up last night to go to the viewing as his daughter, my neighbor, is one of my daughter's closest friends. Carrie had called me as they were on their way home, telling me the funeral home was so packed with people coming to pay their respects that they had to stand in line for close to an hour and a half before they even were able to get inside the door. Hearing that didn't surprise me in the least though because he was the kind of guy that I don't think he ever met anyone who didn't then almost immediately come to regard him as a friend. (I couldn't get up to the viewing last night because Mandy had to work and the son-in-law had several projects he was working on too so I had to skip that to stay home with the two little ones.)

I was really thinking this morning after we got to the church, had gone through the last viewing there, spoke to his children and widow, that I had a good handle on my emotions today. I really felt strong about this that I wasn't going to dissolve into buckets of tears.

Well, I may have thought that for a while, but I was wrong.

The first thing that really "got" me was when a group of ten men, all members of our volunteer fire company here, walked in together and sat in the front pews on the right side of the church. You see, they had all come not just to pay their respects, but also to serve as pall bearers for the man who had served many, many years in our fire company and was the head of the company at the time of his death. They even brought one of the fire trucks to the church and when the time came to go to the cemetery, eight of the ten firemen stood at the back of the truck in position as the truck led the hearse to the gravesite. Let me tell you this, I've never before been to a funeral where the procession was led to the cemetery by a firetruck, with the lights flashing, but it is quite a moving thing to see that kind of respect paid to this man.

The pastor's sermon too was exceptional. His comments about the type of man Erling had been were so on target as he mentioned Zippy's devotion to his wife, children and especially to his grandchildren; his humor - quiet, laid back, ever present; his rock solid presence in the church itself -if anything needed to be done, Zippy was generally there to give a helping hand. And, of course, as I mentioned above, the work he'd always done for probably over 50 years -since he was just a teenager - with the fire company and his dedication to it along with just being a hard worker all his life, and a darned great neighbor but most of all, just a really good friend.

Now I'd known Zippy since I was probably about seven or eight years old -from church. I knew his parents too, quite well, over the years as well. He and his wife Elsa had made a special point frequently over the past 15 years or so to thank me many times for my having pressured their daughter into taking a really big step in her life - to go to college. She's an exceptionally smart young lady and when she first moved in next door to me, I was really upset seeing her struggle trying to keep afloat with two small children, in the process of getting a divorce and wasting her talents in a really dead-end job cooking at the local truckstop. Yes, I did pressure her - every time she came over to use my phone that she really should consider going to college and for every argument she gave me why she couldn't do this, I was able to counter her notions and prove to her that she could and she should go to college - get that degree. And, she did that. And, at the end of those days, I'm really glad I did that to her - pushed her, prodded her, gave her information that she would have blown off had it come from her parents but she was brought up to be respectful of people older than her so when I would lecture her about doing this, she came to realize that what I was telling her was true -and right. Today, she's a excellent teacher - special ed - in our local school district after having graduated from Penn State as an honor student I think every semester she put in there. Something her parents knew she could do but couldn't convince her of that and since I had a shot, I took aim at her and managed to make the shot count you could say I guess. Today, her two older children are now both enrolled at Penn State - her alma mater too!

But the thing I'll always best remember Zip for is the night things went really awry in my life when I was at probably the lowest of low points ever. My Mom had died in October of 1979. My ex-husband and I had separated two months before Mom's death and he was giving me a lot of hassles that fall and into the winter months and I was, to say the least, not handling things very well at all. Add some alcohol into that mix plus some anti-depressants and one Sunday night, my older daughter was in the midst of what, thankfully, was an unsuccessful attempt to put an end to things. She called the family next door, who called the EMT's and Zip was one of those who arrived, with an ambulance, trying to take me to the hospital. No, I hadn't taken enough pills to really need to go have my stomach pumped or anything and because I was able to talk, to accept or refuse the ambulance ride (which I politely turned down), they couldn't force me to go to the hospital then. But I'll always remember as the EMTs left my house that night, Zippy was the last to go out the door but not before he turned to me, put an arm around my shoulders and told me then and there if ever I needed someone to talk to, he'd be there to listen. I heard him then and I'll always remember that he said that to me and know, he meant it too. (I did end up in the hospital the next day when my aunt and uncle came down after the neighbor had my daughter give her their phone number and they called and told them what was going on. My uncle phone my doctor who, so I was told, said the best thing they could do was tell me he was ordering me to go to the hospital. So I spent a week under lock and key in the mental health unit but seeing others there pretty much shook me to the core and made me realize I needed to get my act together!)

And Miss Maya today -well, she wasn't exactly being the little angel she can look like as she merrily went about misbehaving right and left - from finding a pair of scissors and using them on some pages from her coloring book to make a mess all over the living room floor, to having a tantrum and pushing her little brother over on his face in the playpen, to sprinkling the powdered flavored creamer stuff I love all over the kitchen floor, to trying to drag out as many books of hers from the bookcase and throwing them on the floor. Suffice it to say, I had several "why me" moments with her this afternoon and evening.

But then tonight as she and her dad and I sat eating supper, suddenly she began to sing some little songs we'd never heard before and we figure she must have learned them at the school she's going to now. Considering two years ago at this time, she had no vocabulary at all - it wasn't until Feburary of 2006 that she finally said her first word - "Two" in response to our questions of "How old are you?" and now, thanks to all the work of her therapists, she has a fairly large vocabulary. In truth, she's turning into what my grandfather often called me when I was that age - a chatterbox! (Gee, imagine that, huh?) He said it in Swedish - which I can't spell the word but it sounded like this - "Snatherbutta" - and you know what, at the end of the day now, just hearing her voice, as she rattles on and on, annoying as it can be sometimes when she launches into a boatload of echolia, it is also oh so gratifying to just hear her finally able to speak.

And the loss of Penn State to Michigan - as disheartening too as that was today - well, regardless - win, lose or draw - they're still the best team in my book and besides, there's always next year isn't there?

But as to Zippy - as we left the church today to go to the cemetery, I was walking alongside a fellow church member - a lady who'd graduated from high school with Zippy 50 years ago this past May and she remarked to me about this being a very sad day. Yes, I'd agreed with her, indeed it was. We went on to talk briefly on pastor's eulogy and what a wonderful job he'd done, how well he'd shown who Zip had been. And we both agreed that the thing about Zip wasn't that he talked a lot, cause he really didn't do that. He was a friendly man who would talk to you but he wasn't a "pusher" in that respect. He was solid, respectable, caring but most of all, the one word we both felt that described him best, he was just "There." Always there!

So it is with my beloved Nittany Lions, my not-so-angelic granddaughter and with my good friend, Zippy - how glad I am though that at the end of the day, each in their own place in my life, are or have been -There!

This post -such as it is - my own ramblings about a good man, a good friend - is dedicated to Erling Gilbert "Zippy" Young, 1939-2007.

Keep Smilin'

Wow! It's happened again! This time, my Canadian friend, Mau, has given me the "Smile" award too.

And, after the day I had today, to open her blog and read that - well, it made me smile. Also made me feel a whole lot better too. Many thanks go out to you tonight, Mau.

In all honesty, I think every single blogger on my list of favorites usually makes me smile somewhere along the lines of their posts -even when it is a really serious topic, they can turn a phrase that will make me smile in agreement at times, at other times, smile at the humor they've written into their post of the day.

So to everyone of you reading my blog - take this smile award, put it on your blog for all the world to see if you're so inclined or just know, at any rate, that I think you're all one super bunch of folks, all deserving of getting a great big smile from me today!

Wear it in good health, please.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Waking and Waiting

I'm fairly wide awake -actually, surprisingly, I am. I should be. I've been up since 4 a.m. and it's now just after 7 a.m. on this really foggy Friday morning. Well, it's foggy as all get out here in my neck of the woods. How's it looking out your window at your place this morning?

I was really, really tired last night - although I'd had a good afternoon nap, done nothing overly exerting. I know - before older daughter pips up here -"When do I do anything OVERLY exerting" - anyway, at least not much of that kind of stuff going on with me any more. So, last night I hit my bed pillow REALLY early - like 10 p.m., cause I just couldn't keep the eyes open, the neck, shoulders, back and legs were all giving me the ache that said "I am really tired, please take me to bed so I can get some rest." I think it was all a culmination of things at play there. Shoulders, neck and upper spine were sore from all the darned hacking I've been doing with this lovely cold and the system in general was dog tired from a build up caused by the cold pills and the extra strong cough syrup Mandy got me too. Anyway, the good thing about telling you this is that I actually fell asleep and slept longer than 2 1/2 to 4 hours straight thru! Can't believe it! It's been ages since I had a sleep that lasted THAT long! Impressive, it was too.

So, I woke up at this early hour and nothing much on the boob tube that I wanted to pay particular attention to so I turned to the old faithful computer. Oh heck, who am I trying to kid. I'd turn to the old computer before paying attention to anything on the tv regardless. Yes. I. Would.

A quick check of the e-mail, deep sixed a lot of that stuff. Browsed around my favorite blogs -found a couple who'd done a new post since I'd retired for the evening. And one I found was celebrating his first blogoversary! This ONE - go check him out, say hello and Happy Day to HIM. Reading his anniversary post I discovered something nifty. He'd gone to all the work of listing everyone who'd made a comment in the year he's had his blog and thanked each and every one of them. Then, when I clicked open his comment section, his first comment there today was from a blogger who's been on my favorites list for a long time now too. And it was through HER blog HERE that had led me to THIS blog HERE which had in turn led me to the blogger celebrating his anniversary today! Now, isn't that just cool as cat s**t? (That's one of my ex-husband's many little expressions. Old habits do die hard ya know!)

I don't remember now how I found Debo Blue's blog - if I found her or she found me - but we found each other somewhere along the way over the past year at any rate. She lives out in Phoenix, is a very busy working lady, also very strong in her faith in Christ too along with being a devoted daughter to her Mama and a loving (and spoiling too -dare I say that, Debo) Aunt to her many nieces and nephews as well. I see by her post this morning that she just became an "auntie" again yesterday and that all is well with her niece, the new mother, as well as with the great-niece -the new baby too! Congrats to you Debo and to the new mama and welcome to the little one! Always a great day when we can say we have another new member added to our respective families, isn't it?

And one night a month or two back, when I was awake in the wee hours of the morning, bored, looking for something new to read that I decided I would explore the blogs listed as "favorites" on blogs I had listed in my favorites. The plan then was to go down through each of my faves and read all the blogs showing on each one of their lists. No, I haven't done that the whole way through as yet. So far, I think Debo's is the only one I've managed to surf over everyone on her faves list. But anyway, in doing that, I stumbled on to the guy I have listed on my faves as "Dave - the Atlanta Attorney" but whose blog name is actually "Rather Than Working."

Now, I know back when I first added his blog to my favorites list, I mentioned it -along with I think five or six other blogs I'd found that I liked and that I'd added to my listing. If you didn't go read Dave's blog then, do it today or sometime very soon. I'm betting you'll be pleasantly surprised by the variety of posts he puts up as well as the tone, the time he puts into his thought process of his posts and his problems from time to time dealing with this lovely technology known to all of us here as blogging. As it turned out the day I first hit on Dave's blog, he and the anniverary guy and another blogger - this one here - (labeled simply "Bruce in Eastern PA" on my faves list) were engrossed in a big discussion about baseball and to figure out what they were talking about, I ended up that night visiting all three of those blogs and finding myself really happy that I'd discovered these three guys and their chatting back and forth, arguing points of view, etc. Check out Bruce's blog too - definitely a "try it, you'll like it" kind of place to go visit.
Don't just peek in on these folks and read one post - scroll through and read a goodly number of their pieces to get a really good grasp of the reading advice I've given you here.

Why now you may be wondering did I decide to do my daily post here at this hour when generally I tend to read through what everyone else has to say before putting a piece up here? Well, one of the comments I received from one of my faves - THIS ONE HERE - who remarked about my post yesterday on my column I was supposed to be writing that went down in flames or up in smoke or just plain fizzled out anyway - take your pick there of what you want to call what happened to it -and Latte Girl had told me that since I wouldn't be doing the column she could still then count on me to have something new for her to read when she gets up every morning. So I figured well, if she's looking to me for something to read over her morning coffee (or is it tea? She's Canadian ya know so you can never be too sure about those folks -coffee or tea.) then I'd best get my fat behind in gear and give her something to read bright and early this morning as she's trying to wake up.

I forgot to tell you all the little Maya story of the day yesterday too though. When Mandy went out to meet her as the van brought her home from her fun day at school, as she was walking into the house, Maya kept patting the decal on her tee shirt and trying to tell Mandy something pertaining to it. At first, Mandy couldn't figure out what she was saying - had to have her repeat it all several times before she understood Maya's words. The decal was an angel and Maya was pointing to it saying "Angel. That's me!" I don't know what misguided person at school had to have said that to her because trust me, she is far from being an angel in her actions at times but yet, at the same time yes, she is indeed, an angel. Well, ok - at least to old Grammy's eyes she is that anyway!

And, really too - aside from wanting to share the blogaversary of Pole Hill Sanitarium and telling you how I found his blog, how I found Debo's and Dave's and Bruce's too and making sure Latte Girl has something to read when she gets up today -oh and sharing the angel story about my little Princess Maya with you all - I was just writing this while waiting for my morning coffee to finish brewing too!

Now, everyone go get busy, get to work, get to reading, writing, posting to your blogs - whatever it is each has to do today.

And while you're at it, be sure to have a good day too!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Out Before It Was In!"

Apparently my budding journalistic career has already become a thing of the past - before it even got a true peek into the printed realm, no less. Such is the fate I suppose of many budding writers though so why should mine be any different?

For anyone reading this for the first time, I suppose I should explain - well, maybe some of my regular readers may have forgotten about this too, so I probably need to bring everyone up to speed, don't I?

About a little over a month ago, I wrote about having received an e-mail invitation to write a monthly column for a local weekly publication here. It was my interpretation that the editor wanted me to write about things that sort of "hit" me in my "travels" out and about and around or whatever you want to call the meanderings of the mind. I was ecstatic about the offer even though there would be no financial gain -translated, this was a freebie on my part -for me in the process.

The first column was to run this week in the edition that will be out tomorrow but this morning I received an e-mail from the editor telling me although the piece I had submitted for my "intro" column was very well-written (his words, not mine), it wasn't quite the angle he had been looking for in this particular column. Apparently I misinterpreted his ideas about this column. Apparently he was more interested in something that focused on current things happening in the region where I live and not my ruminations about life in general in the area where I live.

Because I am somewhat of a recluse - really don't get out of the house very often at all most of the time (two trips for groceries to Walmart per month and maybe a weekly jaunt to the local grocery store 4 miles from the house, maybe church on Sunday and that's about the extent of my physical wanderings in a month's time) -anyway, I don't really get that much input then as to what is really happening around here to try to formulate something of interest for others to read. What things are going on around the area that I DO have a little information about tend to be things that I also have very strong - VERY STRONG - opinions about and they probably would not go over very well in the column setting he wanted to run - especially not if my column were positioned next to the one the local representative from our area to Harrisburg writes each month since I happen to be adamantly opposed to that man theories and principles.

So, it looks like my writing will be relegated completely to what ever I can come up with to talk about here on my lovely little blog. Unless something else might some how magically appear into my life in the near future - which I doubt will happen mainly because I don't believe in fairy godmothers and poppycock like that.

Translated - looks like ya'll are stuck with me and my ramblings for the duration. Hope I don't bore you to tears too frequently. I'll try not to do that anyway.