Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Last Call!


No, I'm not giving "last call" in terms of shutting down the bar, no more drinks but this is my final TREAT handout -simply because I really ran out of time to do more with this that I wanted to do.

First, I want to thank these bloggers once again - Theresa, Hootin-anni, Cariboo Ponderer and Lifecruiser - to each of them for having given me this TREAT award. I hereby give it back to each of you, ten-fold. Through this little icon it gave me a chance to run through my favorites list and draw attention - hopefully - to the various bloggers I consider to be on my favorite reading list now - and even calling my attention to other blogs to read and most likely to add to my faves list too in the future. Just as soon as I have time! Yeah, right! Time, what's that?

Before I give out the last couple bags of TREATS here though, I have to apologize for something. That would be the appearance of the post below this one. When I signed up to do the "A View From Here" that Gene Bach at Turning the Pages of Life set up for October 20th, I had some plans then to take some specific pictures of some things in my area. However, I don't have a digital camera - not yet anyway (it's on my "to get someday" list) -and what I didn't count on was not being able to escape the house frequently enough to get my pictures taken in time to get them developed, etc., to use. So, yesterday when I finally got those pics developed I decided to revisit that post and do another one with some more pics.

What I DIDN'T count on there was Blogger though! Seems Blogger was in a state of flux and being very difficult, hard to respond, not wanting to upload photos, etc. Then when I did finally get the pictures uploaded and hit publish, the layout, as usual, didn't come out the way it looked on my monitor before I hit the publish button. So, it was back to work, trying to edit these pics, etc. and even that took forever with more blogger issues than you could shake a stick at! Finally, when I got it to the appearance it has now I just threw in the towel and decided not to mess with that post any longer. What is weird though is if you are viewing it using Firefox, the pictures are slightly more jumbled in the layout than they are if you view it with IE. Go figure that one too, will ya? Frustrating is the nicest word I have to say about that post which took me the better part of the past 24 hours to get it to the shape it is in now and as I said above, it's gonna stay that way too, forever and a day!

And now, on to the awards for today, OK?

First on my list tonight is Singing Owl, a great lady up in Wisconsin who just happens to be a pastor at an Assembly of God church there. Her posts are not relegated strictly to writing Biblical interpretations or sermons but rather her view on the world around her, about her faith yes, of course, but also about her family -and especially -since January of 2007 - her little granddaughter. (Yes, she and I have something in common there, for sure!) She talks openly about dealing with life and the sorrows it often brings to ALL of us as she is dealing with not just her mother's issues but also those of a sister who have Altzheimer's and how painful it is to watch the regression of once very vital loved ones from this terrible illness. And through her openness about these painful issues, her faith keeps shining through. Check out her blog and see for yourself.

Next on my list has to be Sunshine! Here's a busy young woman, mother of four, very active with work, community, family and who plans blog events for all of us (if we wish to participate) and puts out some terrific posts too about just about every topic from soup to nuts. Although her profile says "Sarcasm...It's like a second language to me" her blog is funny, sarcastic at times, but also filled with lots and lots of love for family, friends, for life, for living and giving. And the fact that she openly also discusses her brother, with so much love and adoration, for his accomplishments and his being autistic, just endears her and her blog all that much more to me! She also takes some great pictures and posts them to share with one and all. A great way to the Pursuit of Happiness is what I'd say!

Then there's this blogger - another lady I've come to regard as a darned good friend and a great blogger as well as being a Smalltown registered nurse up north in British Columbia. Actually, she lives on an island too - imagine that, huh? Her own lighthouse nearby her place is pretty darned cool in my book. Mary Ann writes a terrific blog too about her work, her family -husband, three daughters, two stepsons and the things they do together as a family. If you like looking at great photographs in blogs, this is a blog you'll really enjoy for that tool. The pictures she frequently posts of the gorgeous scenery up in her neck of the woods is fantastic - along with the pictures she often posts of her and her husband on some of their adventures too -such as their recent trip to Mexico and the places they visited there, the things they did. Really a great place to stop and visit and stay awhile! It can easily become a Place I Call Home.

My last bag of TREATS here goes to a lady down in Alabama who I admire greatly. She spent last year trying her best to succeed as a law student while balancing a home, two children, husband and all the work that goes with that. Her life has taken a lot of twist and turns in the past six months and she's still working on dealing with those things. Just returning to the working world, she's also taking some graduate level classes this semester too along with posting some truly awesome photos on her blog and writing pieces that really grab your interest. One thing she does from time to time is "Bloghopping" where she checks out new blogs and writes little summaries of them - pointing her readers in a direction to provide more great blogs to read. Many of those now on my favorites list came via Shelby's postings of new and exciting blogs she'd found! She's been a favorite blogger of mine since way back when she was just East of Oregon -which just happens to be where she would like to live. A nice lady, friendly, smart, with a great sense of humor too - yep, that would be the southern belle, Shelby Dupree!

Now that I've exhausted my TREATS supply for this holiday, time for me to (hopefully) retire for the night, provided a certain little boy is going to be cooperative in the going to sleep department pretty soon. However, judging by his appearance at this point in time, looks like its going to be another LOOONNNGG night here! Why the heck did my grandson have to pick Grammy's penchant for being a night owl as something he aspires to anyway? KIDS!

Oh - and since it is now officially October 31st, I guess I best say this to each and every one too - Have a safe Trick or Treat experience and a really HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Monday, October 29, 2007

More - "The View From Here," Part Deux

Remember a week ago this past Saturday, Gene Bach of "Turning the Pages of Life" had a little blog event where those of us who participated were supposed to put up photos of the area around where each of us lives. Although I did post several photos that day, some that I had taken with the specific intent of putting them on here for the "View From Here" were on a roll of film I hadn't been able at that time to get developed. Well, Mandy got it -along with pictures take of Miss Maya at her 4th birthday party all developed today so I figured I would post some of the photos here now - all for your viewing pleasure! Isn't THAT special now?

So, here goes!
Here's my home - built in 1903 by my maternal grandparents. It's nothing fancy - just a big old barn of a place to heat but not big enough to hold all the "stuff" that three adults, a teenager, a four-year-old and 18-month old have accumulated and of course, absolutely need. But it's been home to me for the bulk of my lifetime and I kind of like the old place. Know what I mean?




And, the picture on the right is what my front entrance looks like right now - except that orange cat there, checking out the little pumpkin isn't always outside. That's out "new" cat (had her since June now) and she likes to sneak out whenever she can. I don't like her to be outside because there's just too much risk that she will run out on the road and get hit by a car but she's a slick little so-and-so and very adept at sneaking out the door as soon as someone opens it.

Blogger is acting really strange the past couple of days.
Uploading photos and getting them to load for openers, then getting them to appear where you want them is not working the way it is supposed to do. Normally, I would be able to enter text beside the photos I have posted here but it isn't doing that today -at least not the text-entering part! Go figure, huh? And I don't know enough about how to go about trying to re-arrange things. So it looks like you're going to have to flip up and down to see what pictures I am talking about as I post them here then.


The picture to the right here now is the view
looking to the east of my house. So, when you
would exit my house and come up to the street
in front, looking to your left then, this is what
you would see. It's generally a very quiet road
- not all that much traffic here except on the
weekends -and of course, during hunting season
or in late March when they have the canoe/kayak
races on the Red Moshannon Creek, which is about
2 miles down the street from my house in the
ghost town of Peale.
Ok, let's try it this way - now that I got another photo posted here - right now, it is to the left of this text but who knows how long it will stay that way. LOL

The photo on the left here is the view of my street if you were to look to the right as you leave the house. Nothing spectacular there - just a quiet street in a little quiet village is all that amounts to, but what can I say other than that this is home, where I live. Nice view though of the garbage cans out in front of the house beside our parking pull off spot that will allow, normally for parking of up to six vehicles - usually. Right now, there are two cars parked out front that are not running - one, my son-in-law plans to use for parts for a car he and Mandy just got last week and the other, the son-in-law plans to work on, fix it up and get it running and then sell it. He usually manages to do that a couple times a year.

The photo on the right side of this page is Cooper's Bar and Grill and just beyond the bar there is a white house that used to - back when I was a young'un - house our post office. That house at one time was one of the finer homes in town too but over the past probably 20 or so years, the gentleman who lived in that house was more than a bit eccentric, frequently sat out in his front yard in one of those big wood Adirondack type lawn chairs in the nude. Not exactly sun-bathing because he always sat in the shade but I guess he just didn't want to be bothered with clothes. While he lived in the house though he had no heat, no running water either for a while until his father set up some kind of trust fund for him that he would have coal and could at least have heat during the winter months. But he paid no attention whatsoever to the yard, to bushes around the house or to any other upkeep type things with the house and today, it is very dilapidated, very run-down and it really is sad to see it especially for those of us who can remember how pretty this residence was for many years.
Ok - back to not being able to position text where I want it. So we'll have to make do this way. Going up the street from my home to the "mid-section" of the village, you will find these two establishments. These are the only things left in the town from its former life I suppose you could say. The building on the left below is the home of the Grassflat Moose now but once upon a time it was a hotel -back at the turn of the century. Today, it is basically just a bar -with slightly lower prices due to having to have a membership in the Moose to get in.


Moving right along here now, the next photo is of Jim and Charmaine's restaurant - a place you often hear me mention that Mandy and the kids and I have gone there for lunch from time to time. It is also the place that was the scene of an accident a couple weeks back where a truck ran off the highway, struck the marquee in front of the property and also a telephone/power line and disrupted our electricity for 11 hours! So the next photos will be of Jim and Charmaine's restaurant - which I might add is also for sale if anyone out there reading this is interested in buying a restaurant/bar with a motel (small) attached to it. I am also including pictures of the Penelec trucks there making the repairs to the power/phone lines after that accident.





As you can probably figure out, both photos were taken the morning after the accident while Penelec crews were busy making all the needed repairs -installing a new pole, etc.

The guy who was driving the truck somehow managed to escape uninjured -as a matter of fact, he walked away from the wreckage. Wish I'd been able to get up there earlier and get a picture of the truck being pulled out as the lady worker for Penelec who I spoke to said the truck was really very mangled up. Go figure, huh?






Now, if you were to stop at Jim and Charmaine's for lunch or supper and upon leaving would make a turn to the right and head north on Rte 53, after traveling about six or seven miles, you would find yourself coming down the mountain as shown here.
You would come to this bridge which goes across the Red Moshannon Creek after it joins up with the Black Moshannon Creek.




In the above photo on the right here, that is the Red Moshannon coming down along the hillside and in the left hand corner of the photo, that is the Black Moshannon Creek joining into the Red Moshannon. The Black Moshannon comes out of Black Moshannon State Park -over near Philipsburg but sort of behind the area where I live -about oh, maybe 8-10 miles or so. This creek which is actually a very nice trout fishing stream winds around back in the mountains, very rough terrain and wilderness that is also excellent for hunting enthusiasts -bear, deer, rabbits, squirrels, grouse, pheasants and wild turkeys in abundance in that region. There are even folks in this area who also trap fox for one thing. But, once the Black Moshannon enters up with the Red Moshannon Creek, the water from the Red Moshannon is still majorly polluted with sulfur content and other residue from the old slope mines that existed in this area from the late 1880's until the latter part of the 20th century.
This then is the Red Moshannon AFTER the Black Moshannon has joined up with it on the opposite side of the road of the photos above. From here it is just a short piece that the Red Moshannon travels before it empties into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. It is here where the Canoe/Kayak Race - called the Red Mo Race -which takes place the last Saturday of March, ends its seven mile journey through the mountains. That race has been happening for well over 40 years now and is rapidly becoming a big event in the white water racing circles across the country. Frequently, there are participants in this race who come here from the mid-west states as it is a fun time but also a challenging race too.

Now, we're going to turn around and head back to my house -perhaps sit and chat, have some coffee.

If you visit my house on a Sunday afternoon or evening -or Monday -you might be greeted by a sight like this - my son, with Maya and Kurtis - showing off on the hood of Clayton's lovely latest automobile addition - a 1969 Cadillac that could pass for the one Boss Hogg used on the old Dukes of Hazard show.










Or, perhaps this of Miss Maya pretending she is driving Uncle Clate's big Caddie!













Or, you might also see something like this scene too if you arrive just prior to Halloween!! Or maybe Kurtis, walking with Uncle Clate, to come out to meet you too!












And, if you should arrive on Halloween, you might find this friendly little dinosaur waiting to show you in as well. Or, maybe Maya will entertain you by showing off something she's been learning to do -all by herself -this past week now too!!!




















But there's also a possibility -if you should come when a certain person from Nevada is here visiting the kids and grandkids, you might have all these folks here to greet you. One big happy family, huh



Here's who might be here to greet you - Mandy, Maya, Kurtis Poppy (my ex), Alex and Carrie - the whole crew!!!


Which Way Did She Go????

Late Sunday (yesterday) afternoon, early evening, we had a bit of a dilemma here in my household. Seems somehow or other my daughter, Mandy, had become lost. No one seemed to have a clue either as to where she'd gone.

Here's how it all happened.

I was here - right where I am right now - assuming my "normal" position, hunched over the keyboard, or reading blogs and e-mails off the monitor in front of me. Needless to say, I was yes, in my own little world. The only things that generally disrupt me when I am in this place are the phone, loud cries from the playpen behind me at times, or the tugging of little hands on mine insisting on getting her a "chrink" (translated that means a drink of either "Strawberry milk" or some other substance -usually referred to as "the green" which means ginger ale, or her latest addition to the demands now being to go with her to the bathroom to see what wonders she has done. Ok, I interrupt my regularly scheduled programming for a while each day to cook supper too but at the time this took place, supper was history.

The phone rang and the 16-year-old answered it. Since she didn't come hand the receiver to me, I assumed (correctly too) that the caller didn't want to speak to me. After a few words, Katie asked me if I knew where Mandy was and I said "Not offhand but I'm sure she's here someplace." At that, I saw Kate head to the stairs, heard her go up the steps, come back down and tell the caller that Mandy wasn't here.

I asked her then who had been calling, looking for Mandy and she said it was her Dad on the phone. Hmmm. Now this sent red flags up to me that Kate hadn't been able to locate Mandy and had told her Dad that she wasn't here but that neither of us knew where Mandy was because, you see, Bill tends to get a little bit uptight if Mandy is out someplace and no one knows where she might be. Ok, I do too but not quite in the same manner or for the same reasons as he has to be upset. He isn't majorly jealous -it's not a really bad thing - but because he's been burned before he's still nursing a bit of a tendency to worry about those things although Mandy isn't prone to be out running around on him so he really doesn't need to think about stuff like that.

But anyway, that's a bit of digression there but still, it did stoke my curiosity because I couldn't remember Mandy telling me she was going anywhere and generally, if she leaves she shows me the courtesy of letting me know where she's heading. Because Bill had wanted to speak to her, I thought maybe he needed something and I should see where she was to let her know he wanted to talk to her. So I asked Kate if Mandy's vehicle was here.

No, it turned out Kate knew where Mandy's car was as her dad had taken it. Ok, then I asked if any other vehicles were missing and Kate said no, all the rest of them where all here, where they were supposed to be. So, that got me to thinking that perhaps Mandy had gone over to our neighbors, two doors from here, to visit a bit with her friend, Karen. So, I called and asked Karen if Mandy might possibly be there and she said no, she hadn't seen her. Now, this was strange and I'm wondering where the heck she might be but Karen suggested perhaps Mandy had just gone next door to talk to our other neighbor, Deb. So, I called Deb and she hadn't seen her either.

I asked Kate then if she had looked upstairs - Kate has that tendency that seems to affect all kids, especially teenagers, when you ask them to look for something, they look at the ceiling -for whatever reason, I have no clue, but that's what they do, that's where they will generally look.

Kate said she had called out for Mandy and I asked her where she'd been when she did that and she said "In the dining room." Now, the dining room is in the middle of the house and anyone who can hear someone calling their name in other regions of the house when the caller is in the dining room - well, they'd better have their radar turned up really, REALLY high or they'll never hear the caller!

So I went to the stairs and called up the steps for Mandy. Lo and behold, I received an answer too. Seems she was upstairs, laying down in the dark on her bed, trying to rest a bit to avoid getting a big old nasty migraine so of course, being there, she'd never heard Kate's call for her and when Kate went upstairs, because the light wasn't on in Mandy's room, she never looked in there nor did she call out Mandy's name upstairs either!

So the mystery was solved but not without a whole lot of confusion too and a whole lot of head shaking because this kid just doesn't grasp the process of elimination when looking for anything - be it a person or an item either for that matter.

Ah, the joys of having a teenager in the house abound as much as does the fun of dealing with a four-year-old imp and an 18-month old who spends the bulk of his day where I KNOW where he is - safe and sound in the playpen!

Maybe I should just get one great big fenced in area directly behind me for all the rest of the family to camp out. Yeah, right!

A Plethora of Treats!!!


How time flies! Only one more day of handing out TREATS here before we get to give out all kinds of treats to those tricksters who come calling, dressed in all kinds of strange, scary and funny apparel. It seems like it was just yesterday when in fact, it was two weeks now since Theresa and Hootin-anni gave me my first two treats, following quickly behind by Vic Grace at Cariboo Ponderer and now, today, I received yet another one from Lifecruiser. So, I'm overstocked to the max right now and am going to try to give out as many as I can between today and tomorrow!

So, let's get on with the gifts now!

Here's a TREAT for Niki who's been waiting for several years now for her husband to come home and it now looks like his release will soon be taking place. She really needs big Sweet TREAT for being so patient and loving for so long while waiting for his return.

Then, there's Dortha, down in Kentucky, who's been receiving a few little treats here and there lately as her little guy, Conner, has started pre-school and is adjusting quite nicely, learning new things every day, and enjoying himself - something that makes all Mommas very happy the world over, doesn't it? I think she needs a nice Sweet TREAT all for herself.

Up in Norway is a mother with six children who, as I recall, started blogging maybe about a year ago now and shortly thereafter, she started doing paid posts for which she put up a ticker showing her progress on money earned through these ads. Interestingly enough, she's moving along nicely in her goal towards reaching her impressive goal. Ok, she has a ways to go but I remember when her earnings were really low so she's made some good moves along the way. Earnings like that should be recognized with a nice TREAT is what I say.

A new blogger added recently to my faves is this young man who writes some really good pieces, very introspective, very kind, considerate and also, very friendly. Stop by his "planet" and check out what he has to say as I think he definitely deserves a big TREAT not just today, but every day!

Here's one too for blogger buddy, Bobby, to thank him for all his words of advice to ALL bloggers as we plod along, plugging away at writing post after post, in hopes of keeping the interest of blogger friends and of finding new friends as we wend our way here. He does a great job and a sweet TREAT is a good way to say "Thanks for being a friend!"

Now, a nice sweet TREAT goes here to my favorite resident now of Italy but formerly from Pennsylvania (our lovely Keystone state). Stop by and check out the great photos she posts, enjoy some espresso, trade some recipes with her and maybe you might even come away with one of Stella's puppies that just arrived on the scene about a week ago! It's a visit you won't regret there, trust me!

If you're still thinking about going to a halloween party and don't have a clue what to wear, stop here and check out Terri's halloween garb she, her hubby and four friends of theirs wore this past weekend to a bang-up Halloween get-together they all attended! You can get a "blow-by-blow" description of all the fun they had too. Such originality really deserves a big Sweet TREAT too ya know.

Getting ready for a big event next week -election day? If you aren't you should be. But if you don't have much of a clue as to what's going on in the political realm of late, Tomcat here, has just the thing for you. Stop by and read his explanations and reports on what those folks in Washington - and those wanting to go there to work and live - are up to these days. For being so in tune with all this, keeping a watchful eye on this scene for us as he does, Tom really, REALLY deserves a great big Sweet TREAT today! (And everyday!)

Right after election day is another really important day in the Blogging realm - Blogging for Peace (Dona Nobis Pacem) and Noladawn has all kinds of information how to get a Peace globe for your blog, along with lots and lots of other things too. Stop and see her "tee shirt" will ya please?

And finally, a great big Sweet TREAT goes out today - a bit belated but better late than never -to help Dr. Sardonicus keep celebrating his 47th birthday! Hope it was a good one and may you have many, many more too -all here, with us, blogging the day away! Keep the good words flowing from the Pole Hill Sanitorium!

So, now go and pass on to others more Sweet Treats in anticipation of everyone having a good and Happy Halloween! OK?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Honors Abound!


Boy - I am shocked, really surprised, stunned and well, doggone happy tonight too. Seems Linda -the Blogging 911 operator thinks I deserve an award today and she's blessed me with this one - the Wonder Woman Award. Apparently I really have her fooled pretty doggone good cause compared to her schedule, the things she does every day, there's really no comparison to my dawdling around here, playing on the computer the majority of my day. Well, at least that's the truth on the days Maya is away from the house at her preschool! But I sure as heck won't turn this down, you can bet your bottom dollar on that anyway and I've already told Linda that the coffee is no longer "bring your own." (It might be self-service once you're here though. I'll provide the fixings, even make it, but in my house, after that, you're on your own cause my waitress days are far behind me now.)

Linda received this award from a very wise blogger friend of hers - Misty Dawn, from out Missouri way. (I kind of think Misty knew what she was doing when she passed this one on to Linda, don't you?)

And in accordance with the blogging traditions, when you receive an award, you should be willing to pass it on, pay tribute to others who deserve an honor like this so, with that in mind, here are the bloggers I feel should be the next recipient of being a "Wonder Woman" too!


First honor goes out to Hootin-Anni down in Texas for all her hard work especially the last couple of weeks as she passed out Sweet TREATS right and left to encourage bloggers every where, welcoming new folks, recognizing those who've been on the scene a good while too. That's who gave me the Sweet TREAT award first that I've been trying to remember to share with everyone too.

Then, next to another Texas girl - Shelley -who really is quite a Wonder Woman for sure as she is working so hard gathering up crocheted and knitted granny squares and having them all put together to make afghans for children who have cancer. The "Share a Square" project goes to kids at a special camp as a means to give not just the warmth that comes from a pretty afghan but the warmth that comes from sharing love and along with that, hope for recovery. Now that takes a lot of work, effort -and love to take charge of a monumental task like that, I'm sure you'll agree. Stop by her place and read all about this project and if you're a crafter, join forces with her to help in its success.

So many bloggers, so little time to pass this around to everyone who truly deserves some extra recognition.

Before I try to turn in for the night - that is if the grandson is going to be cooperative with me anyway -I have to share a little more "bathroom" humor with you. Anyone here who has raised kids or has small children now who are in the potty training stage or near it, will appreciate (I hope) my relating the little episodes that are coming at us all the time now that Maya has discovered using the bathroom in the somewhat proper manner. Yesterday, she totally took us by surprise when she went in there all by herself and used the commode which started a parade back and forth the rest of the day. The upshot of this yesterday was that she only had one accident. Today, was pretty much a re-run of the same procedure except that Uncle Clate got home today from his most recent run to California and Oregon and back and she was excited to show off for him her new found talent. Shortly after he came down here this afternoon for supper, she'd gone into the bathroom, done her thing, and when she came out, we told him to ask her what she'd done. She very proudly looked up at him and announced "I peed!" He asked her then if she was lying to him or if she'd really done that and again, she looked directly at him, hands on her hips and said quite firmly, "YES! I did it!" (To get the full effect of that, you have to insert just a tiny bit of a lisp on saying the "YES!")

However, this business of her going into the bathroom alone has some drawbacks as well. Anytime she exits stage left (that's the direction of the bathroom) and is gone for longer than we feel is really necessary, it generally means she's in there getting into things then. And sometimes, that's a very unwanted by-product of the progress we've been seeing. Case in point here being this afternoon, just as Mandy was getting ready to fix the mashed potatoes for supper when Maya disappeared and Mandy went after her. Seems she had managed to get hold of a big bottle of hair conditioner her big sister had left sitting on the vanity, within her reach, and had dumped a goodly portion of it on her head. So, dinner got delayed slightly while Mandy then had to wash her hair, a couple of times actually, in order to get the globs of hair conditioner rinsed out completely.

Oh well, such is life in any household with preschool kids in residence, isn't it?

And with that story, I'm out of here for tonight to try to get the little boy to settle down and go to sleep soon cause tonight, Grammy is BEAT! (Some Wonder Woman there, huh?)

Ya'll have a great day and week ahead now - and watch out for any stray trick or treater's who might be coming your way too!

The New Week Begins...

Begins with what? Well, of course - more Bushisms, what else?

Here's the little quips made famous by good ole DUBYA himself.

Monday, October 29, 2007

"The march to war affected the people's confidence. It's hard to make investment. See, if you're a small-business owner or a large-business owner and you're thinking about investing, you've got to be optimistic when you invest. Except when you're marching to war it's not a very optimistic thought, is it? In other words, it's the opposite of optimistic when you're thinking you're going to war."
--Springfield, Missouri; February 9, 2004

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself -- not here at the hospital, but in combat with a cedar. I eventually won. The cedar gave me a little scratch."
--After visiting with wounded veterans from the Amputee Care Center of Brooke Army Medical Center; San Antonio, Texas; January 1, 2006

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 -- Happy Halloween???

"A submarine could take this place out."
--Surveying the Arkansas River while visiting the Clinton Presidential Center; Little Rock, Arkansas; November 18, 2004; as quoted in "The Guardian" (London)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

"He's kind of a--probably feeling his oats pretty good about that time."
--Describing the moment when Rabbi Mark Borovitz met his wife, Harriet; Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Conference; Los Angeles, California; March 3, 2004

Friday, November 2, 2007

"So please give cash money to organizations that are directly involved in helping save lives -- save the life who had been affected by Hurricane Katrina."
--Washington, D.C.; September 6, 2005

Saturday and Sunday, November 3/4, 2007

"I mean, if you've ever been a governor of a state, you understand the vast potential of broadband technology, you understnd how hard it is to make sure that physics, for example, is taught in every classroom in the state. It's difficult to do. It's, like, cost-prohibitive."
--Washington, D.C.; June 24, 2004

And there you have 'em - wonderful words full of wisdom. Right? Right!

And The Question Is...

One of my favorite bloggers is David McMahon -a great photo-journalist/author from "Down Under" and one thing he often does on his blog is ask a question for those interested to post a blog about and link back to his spot. Today, his question is "What is your favorite television addiction?"

I've had some favorite programs over the years - the kind that would compel me to make darned sure I was home, parked in front of ye olde tv at the appointed hour lest I miss that week's newest program. That was back in the days before the nifty gadget called a VCR, which - if you could figure out how to program it correctly -would record your favorite shows for you so you could watch them later at your leisure.

Back in the "dark ages" that my kids insist I have lived through - well, perhaps in terms of television viewing you could call it that since most people only had black and white tv sets and most programs were also taped in black and white too it was somewhat of a "dark" age then. But my viewing favorites of that era ran the gamut of anything from Lassie and Roy Rogers, in my really younger years to which I graduated to watching Ed Sullivan, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Red Skelton, Danny Thomas and his "Make Room For Daddy" and of course, "American Bandstand." What self-respecting teen in the late 50's, early 60's wasn't addicted to American Bandstand?

In the 60's of the mid-to-late variety, I really enjoyed programs like "Laugh-in" and the camp show "Batman" which many of the crowd I ran with at that time had to stop whatever they were doing to be sure to catch the newest adventure of the Caped Crusader in Gotham City.

In the early 70's, I got hooked the first time I saw "All In The Family" and to this day, I still love to watch the re-runs of that great show - and it really was a ground-breaking show as it touched on so many topics that had often been skirted around, considered taboo and by making fun of serious things -such as racism and ethnic stereotyping -it tried to raise the social conscience of our society. And, by and large, I think it was pretty doggone successful at doing that too!

Then, over the years there was MASH, Cheers, WKRP in Cincinnati, Taxi - to name a few that I really enjoyed. I also developed a liking along the way for various "Cop" shows too - "Hill Street Blues" was a big favorite of mine and if I could find a channel that carried that show today, I'd still enjoy watching it over and over!

My current favorite programs now are "Two and a Half Men," "Earl" and "The Office" as far as current shows but I also still love to catch reruns of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Home Improvement." Since I am a night owl I will often tune into Nick at Night to watch more reruns of Rosanne along with Murphy Brown.

I also enjoy finding "Third Watch" whenever possible, "Homicide-Life on the Streets" along with "DaVinci's Inquest" too.

But I think my all-time favorite program has really become "Law and Order" and I watch every version of it whenever I can - whether it be one of the current season's shows or re-runs from way, way back. I watch re-runs of this show Monday through Friday - when I can manage to have the tv to myself and not have to relinquish it over to Maya so she can watch her Bratz videos (now that her Dad got the VCR up and running again) and anytime there is a marathon of "Law and Order" shows running from morning to night, you can pretty much be assured the tv in my house will be tuned into that particular channel.

I don't know what there is about this program that I find so addicting - maybe it's the theme music. Who knows? I just know that I really, really like it!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Comings and Goings

Lots of things going on around here -today and over the coming week too - that will be keeping me moving a good bit.

This morning, Mandy, Maya and I went to the annual Fall Bazaar at the church in Morrisdale that my Dad's family has always been affiliated with. My cousin, Margaret Anne, had mentioned to me the other day as we were chatting on the phone about their bazaar today so we decided to go up and check it out. One thing we were hoping to get was some of Margy's husband's ham and bean soup! Jack makes a couple gallons every year for the bazaar of his special recipe Ham & Bean soup but today, by the time we got there, it was all sold out! He was lamenting a bit too about having cooked up two gallons of this commodity -"loaded it up too with ham" he informed us and then, he had to pay to get a bowl of it at the church but unfortunately, it sold out before even Jack had a chance to get a serving of it. They had -besides his Ham and Bean soup - Vegetable Beef, Chicken Noodle, Chicken and Corn and Potato soups available too but when we got there, all that remained was some potato soup. Fortunately, that's a flavor of soup that ALL of us like so Mandy got a quart jar of it to bring home for our lunch - along with some really tasty spice cupcakes, ahalf dozen red cupcakes too with whipped topping and a strawberry top it off top them off, some rice krispy treats and a loaf of pumpkin bread. All excellent, I must add. I got a large, hard-bound book, published by Vogue, on knitting as well as a packet of 12 old, worn a bit but still usable, Workbasket magazines with some great knitting, crochet and other craft instructions in them.

I also got a little folding chair -white, with a very pretty padded seat upholstered in a lovely pastel stripe pattern. There were four of these chairs - of a size for pre-school children and were manufactured by Samsonite so you know they are sturdy - very well-made. These chairs I already knew were going to be there because my cousin had told me about them the other day. They had been a part of the nursery Sunday School department for many, many years and were being thrown out now because the Sunday School had revamped the area of the church used for that purpose so Margy and her husband Jack had taken seven of these chairs, refurbished them very attractively and then, brought them back today to put them out for patrons of the bazaar to purchase for a mere $10 each! And, each chair has written in calligraphy on the bottom of the seat that it had been a part of the Morrisdale Methodist Sunday School room. Pretty neat, huh? I wanted one because although I grew up attending the Lutheran church where I live, I had on many occasions as a small child gone to Sunday School at the Methodist church in Morrisdale with my cousin, Ruth Ann, and no doubt had parked my little fanny on one of those chairs at some time or other. So I wanted one for the sentimental value and also, to put in our bathroom that Maya can use to sit on while getting dressed or we adults can use it too as a place to lay our clean clothes waiting to be put on after a bath or shower.

Then, this afternoon a friend of ours who lives up on the hill near my son, called to see if my son would be interested in a set of tables - a coffee table and two end tables - glass-topped, dark wood, very nice too that her neighbor had a her moving sale today but the tables didn't sell. She thought perhaps Clate would like them, could use them in his house. So, I sent my son-in-law up to pick them up, figuring if Clate DIDN'T want them, we could most likely put them to good use here. Bill returned with the chairs and said "We're keeping these!" They'll make a nice addition now to the living room I'm quite sure.

Next week, I'm going to be busy doing some extra cooking - the occasion being next Saturday is the Fall Bazaar at our church in Lanse - at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. The ladies of our parish have this event every year, the first Saturday in November and the proceeds are put towards upgrading various things either in the Sunday School Social Room or in and around the sanctuary as need be. So far, I've been asked to fix a big pan of lasagne for the dinner the women have that day, bake at least one batch of the Swedish Limpa Rye bread I make and also, make a batch of fudge too for the "Candy Shoppe" part of the bazaar. Now, I just have to go on a "search and destroy" mission on my computer and locate the fudge recipe they want me to make! It's a white chocolate with chopped red and green candied cherries in it - very pretty to look at and also, pretty darned tasty too!

Sometimes, for our bazaar, I have in the past made different craft items and I think I will put a couple of the baby bibs I make - using either fingertip or terry-cloth tea towels with a neck opening that has a knit rib trim around it - either in a crewneck or turtle neck style. These bibs work really great for small babies as well as toddlers -even up within Maya's size range - because they cover virtually EVERYTHING and also, they launder up beautifully. As a result, they wear very well for several years worth of meals that are then pretty much as mess free as that can get when you're dealing with little kids! (Now, I need to find something to put on the floor under the chair where Maya sits as well as under the high chair. I'm thinking maybe a nice tarp would work for a drop cloth there! LOL)

I've also decided to take the plunge too and try my hand at pay for post work at home stuff. I'm hoping this will work nicely into my home routine - something I can do while attending to the grandkids, cooking supper, and of course, reading my blog favorites and posting my own stuff then to my blog as well. As you can see, I have my first post done tonight but I have no idea as yet if it is acceptable, if I did it all correctly. Hopefully it will pass muster and I can move on to selecting other topics to write about and gee, who knows, maybe make tons of money!!! Yeah right! Well a little extra moola sure won't hurt if it works out ok.

And finally, I have some news that to our family was really exciting. As a matter of fact, we're all pretty darned ecstatic about this recent development.

Today, the 16-year-old was in the bathroom, taking a shower so she didn't hear Maya come in the room until she went to get out of the shower and there sat Maya, on the "big potty" quietly doing her "business!" Yay, yay! Not only did she go then but she has returned to the bathroom on four more successful visits since then too. The only drawback to this new found knowledge on her part (yeah, you know there has to be a downside, don't 'cha?) is that every five or ten minutes now, she is coming to me, telling me she has to "go" and I need to come turn the light on, etc., etc. Plus, whether she does anything in there or not, each visit requires that she MUST flush the commode too.

There goes the water bill - skyrocketing over the next month or so till this process becomes old hat. Thank goodness we aren't living down in the Atlanta region where they are experiencing a terrible drought or Maya would single-handedly be rapidly draining the last reservoir there I'm afraid.

So, bear with me - a busy week ahead and let's cross fingers and toes that I manage to get myself well-organized and get this stuff on completed - on a timely basis - and without draining our water supply dry or the bill escalating too much, huh?

Too Much Month?

Since starting my blog 13 months ago, I've noticed many bloggers are adding items to sidebars and posts indicating these are advertisements the blogger is writing for pay. Some of these posts are serious, others have a humor vein but all appear to be of a high caliber showing the benefits of using a company’s services or purchasing their goods.

Unable to work outside the home, I’ve been trying to find a way to earn a little extra money as well as restoring a bit of self-esteem that comes from providing a service to an employer. After researching this type of employment, I decided to apply to one of the companies I found.

Smorty provides a means to bring several things together – an audience that can be specific or general to the firm wanting to purchase advertising. The best thing about this advertising is that it is not limited geographically but, through the internet, it is presented world-wide. Pretty cool, don't you think?

For those like me, who can’t get around easily or prefer to work from the comfort of their own home, it gives an opportunity to earn some extra money so that, depending on one’s level of ambition, you can end the nasty cycle of “Too much month and not enough money."

Think of the freedom a program like this has for companies who want specialized advertising of their products and services and for people who still want to enjoy the benefits of being employed – extra income, no need to venture out in bad weather, no added transportation costs, no need to try to balance hours of work with other family members, no childcare costs, and no new wardrobe needed do perform the tasks involved either.

In other words, it provides the best of the internet to all concerned. Why not check it out; maybe even give it a try and you could be working like me, maybe wearing just some perfume and a smile. Who knows?

Tag get paid to blog

Halloween TREATS - Right Around the Corner!

WOW! Five days till it is Halloween - that's counting today and October 31st - not much time left ya know. I bought a bunch of candy on Wednesday since I could get my big senior citizen discount at the local grocery store that day and I figure heck, may as well save a little money if I'm gonna be handing out treats Wednesday night to kids who will be coming from all over town, the little (and some darned big ones too) beggers anyway! There are very few children living on the street where I live - unlike when I was a kid and almost every house along this street was a family with at least 3-4, sometimes lots more kids living there. (Except for my house and one place about two doors from me -the boy who lived there and I were the only kids on this street who were "an 'only' child" ya see!

But I'm behind - again, as usual - in handing out the Blogger Sweet TREATS and if I'm gonna get that accomplished between now and Halloween, I'd best get moving, huh?

This morning - or tonight - however you look at it when you're typing at 4:15 in the morning and haven't slept in a few hours -I'm going to give TREATS to some bloggers who aren't "new" in the blogging sense but they are new to my list of Favorites so that makes them "new" to me.

First up - a really funny guy who also can post some insightful, serious stuff too - lots of things that are guaranteed to make you think -Curmudgeon - a great lawyer in the Windy City. Reading his blog requires no "Second Effort" from me as I really enjoy what he has to say.

The next on my list today is for a lady who really LOVES to travel and as a matter of fact, Bee and her spouse, Sarge Charlie, are currently enjoying a cruise! Imagine that! The Empress of the Seven Seas (well, that's how I list her on my faves list anyway) cruising all over the place and loving every minute of it too - unless she's lying to us in her reports from the ship every day! Go check out how her cruise is progressing and see all the pictures she's posting about each port they've visited. Makes you feel like you're right there with them!

My blogger buddy, Janey, right now is making renovations to her blog and it seems to be taking forever too! So, maybe if you all venture over to Westcliffe and say hello, look over her past posts and such and leave a comment, she'll get busy and get all that blog remodeling finished up!

A blogger who just returned to blogging not too long ago is my friend Sylvia. She's resettling out in Phoenix, looking for things for a new place there and just trying to get back into blogging once again in the process. Stop by and tell her hello and that you hope, her Life in General, is going along ok, will ya please?

Here's a Wacky Mom for you to check out - Ev - a great lady from down near Philadelphia way. She's a busy executive, along with running a home, with kids even, and has a lot of neat stories -and photos to share on her sight. Good visuals, good advice, lots of humor too. Go now, say hello! Tell her not to worry about old Murphy and his law.

You'll be saying Whee too - and doing it all the way home too - after you stop and visit Patois at her place here! From writing Haiku (and doing a great job of it too) as well as telling stories for the Sunday Scribblings she participates in, or talking about her life with her lively family - well, you just can't go wrong if you pay her a call! Trust me!

Well that gives you six bloggers to go check out, get a feel for each place, tell them hello and that I sent you by there too if you would please. Who knows, if you're not already familiar with their blogs, you might decide - like I did - that adding them to your favorites list will be a good reminder to you to keep tabs on each one of them.

Have a great day today now too! I'm headed to bed now since I see the little grandson has finally decided to bite the dust here for me! Yay, yay! That's what Miss Maya would say - well, actually she would tell us "Doyay, doyay!" come to think of it!

TAGGED!

A little while back, I got TAGGED - imagine that, me -and now, according to the tag and the MEME, I am IT! I am not really that big on the MEMEs as they always seem to ask all kinds of questions that I can never think of an answer for and I put off responding - then, being senile, I forget completely about them too most of the time. This time though I realized that my blogger friend Paige, who tagged me for this MEME, had tagged me a long time ago for yet another MEME that I forgot to respond to so I figured boy, I best get on the stick and do this one, or else! So, here it is - my response to the lovely Paige cause "I am IT!"

But I'm not tagging anyone else -mainly because I have no clue as to what other folks schedules are like and who likes to do MEMEs, who doesn't, etc. So if you read this one and like it and enjoy MEMEs, then pick it up and run with it! And, have fun!

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night? My grandkids - Miss Maya, the little Princess and her brother,
Kurtis, the "Duke."
2. What were you doing at 0800? Sleeping, oh so peacefully too.
3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Reading blogs, trying to comment on the ones that would let me do that!
Darned Blogger/Mozilla/Internet Explorer - whatever!
4. What happened to you in 2006? I became "Grammy J" for the third time with the arrival of little Kurtis!
5. What was the last thing you said out loud? "You better lay down and go to sleep, little man." (to Kurtis!)
6. How many beverages did you have today? Coffee and lots of it!
7. What color is your hairbrush? Black with a red handle.
8. What was the last thing you paid for? Lunch on Thursday at Jim/Charmaine's for my daughter and myself.
9. Where were you last night? Here, parked in front of the computer - of course! Where else would I be?
10. What color is your front door? Grey - as in primer.
11. Where do you keep your change? Usually in a side pocket of my purse but also on my desk, on my dresser too.
12. What’s the weather like today? Kind of misty most of today here.
13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Vanilla with Raspberry swirls and chocolate chips -can't remember
the name but it's made by Hershey and is so very yummy!
14. What excites you? All kinds of things from my grandkids to new projects, more yarn, new topics to blog about.
15. Do you want to cut your hair? Needs a trim - also a perm - right now! Thanks for the reminder.
16. Are you over the age of 25? Just don't ask by how much!
17. Do you talk a lot? Depends -if you count talking to myself, then a lot! Talking to an 18-month-old and a
4-year-old who don't really comprehend - does that count? Talking to my kids who don't usually pay a lick of
attention to what I say probably wouldn't count either, would it?
18. Do you watch the O.C.? What’s that?
19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yes.
20. Do you make up your own words? I used to - now I leave that up to Miss Maya -hers are much more original.
21. Are you a jealous person? Not normally.
22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Anne, Aimee, Arline, Arlene, Angela, Amanda
23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K'. Katie, Kate, Kerry
24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? Don't have that.
25. What does the last text message you received say? No cell phone, no text messages.
26. Do you chew on your straw? Don't use straws often and pitch them when the drink is done.
7. Do you have curly hair? Wavy, naturally - curly via the perms
28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? TO BED!
29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? Best not name names here or I'll get in trouble! LOL
30. What was the last thing you ate? Fresh fruit crisp made with apples and blackberries - YUMMY~!
31. Will you get married in the future? NO. Why ruin a good friendship?
32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? Haven't seen any in the past two weeks or past
two months either come to think of it.
33. Is there anyone you like right now? By "like" is that regular friends or a "special" friend?
34. When was the last time you did the dishes? They're soaking as I type.
35. Are you currently depressed? That's kind of a constant but I'm used to it after so many years now.
36. Did you cry today? No, and darned glad of it too!
37. Why did you answer and post this? Because my blogger buddy Paige tagged me to do this and I never got around to
responding to the last tag she hit me with so I figured I'd best get on the stick and answer this one!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pay Per View TV

Do you have the Pay Per View TV or Direct View or any of those services that you have to pay extra just to view a particular program or a movie?

We don't have that with our cable here - although my daughter Carrie has it available with her cable service.

However, apparently Miss Maya - ever the little Princess that she is - must be thinking we have that service and that it is accessed simply by putting coins - nickels, dimes, quarters, etc., into the video carrier portion of our VCR/DVD player cause that's what the 16-year-old found in there today. As a result, the machine won't function at all now, thanks to Maya's version of Pay Per View TV.

Looks like we'll have to add a new DVD/VCR player to our shopping list in the near future, doesn't it?

TREATS for a Thursday's Readings


My apologies here. I have been very remiss, neglecting my promises to give out TREATS to bloggers who really do deserve 'em. I meant to do this Tuesday night but got waylaid when our power went out - again! And then, it kept going out, coming back, going out, brown outs, etc. till almost 3 a.m. I have no clue what the reason was for this outage but we had it none the less.

And so, without further ado, here's some more very well-deserved TREATS.

Today, I'd like to take everyone in a different direction via bloggers - to honor several of my favorite bloggers who are - legitimately - authors, writers, and/or photo-journalists! A few I've found via other blogs and such but some of these are also members of a great writer's group I joined about two years go. Some are writers in the writing stage, others have actually had books published as well, but all really deserve a great big Sweet TREAT for working diligently at this craft.

For this blogger - Authorblog - Australian, David McMahon, an award winning photographer/journalist plus he has one book - "Vegemite Vindaloo" that was on the best-seller list for several months in 2006 and has just finished writing his second book, "Muskoka Maharani," a big, big TREAT. David also has a great blog full of his photos, lots of quips from around the world and often mentors writers/bloggers as well.

The next stop is James Burnett's blog - Burnett's Urban Etiquette - where this journalist, a writer for the Miami Herald, discusses various behavior patterns within society. A great place to read his take on all kinds of topics plus get a chance to read many of the articles he writes for the newspaper. Stop and read his posts and get to know a real gentleman in the process. A big TREAT for you, James!

This young lady from Oklahoma is a budding author - has two books she's currently working on, writes some great poetry too and organized writer that she is, just returned from a four-week stay at Eureka Springs working strictly on her craft of writing. In addition to being a great writer in the making, she is also very talented and makes and sells - to order - jewelry! Way to go Jen Nipps who gets the Third TREAT here today!

Number four getting a Sweet TREAT today is blogger/writer/mother Heather Armstrong and her blog, the very popular Dooce. One of Heather's "claims to fame" is that she was I think the first person fired for blogging about her workplace. Today, she writes/blogs from home and if you've never read any of her work, brace yourself - don't risk trying to drink coffee or soda or anything else, while reading her work is one warning I will put here about her blog. She is at times outrageously funny but also, a devoted wife and mother who also can write equally well about that aspect of her life. Check it out; see for yourself!

A great member of the Writer's Life group, Laura Crawford, has her own Writing Service, participates in the Write a Novel in a Month group and is just a darned nice writer to get to know. She's been working on editing/polishing up the novel she wrote for last year's competition and getting ready to have another go at writing another next month.

The Sixth member of this elite group is Marilyn Celeste Morris - who has a book about the disease Lupus as well as three other books to her credit - "Sabbath's Room," Once A Brat" and "The Women of Camp Sobingo." Marilyn draws very heavily from her own life experiences for all of her great works, plus as a member of the Writer's Life group, she's a big help to other beginners in the writing trade.

This young lady, Sandy Lender, is accomplished in many areas - writing as well as editing - and just had her first novel - of the epic fantasy genre - "Choices Meant For Gods" published this past spring. She frequently posts lots and lots of tips about writing, including occasionally having a "Word of the Day" feature too plus being bright, adventurous, funny and very, very good at her craft too. You can get her book through Amazon, Barnes and Noble too - for openers as well as ordering it from other book stores if they don't already have it on their shelves. Stop by Sandy's place and tell her Jeni sent you there.

Finally, Dorothy Thompson has this blog -"The Writer's Life" with loads and loads of information in it about many things pertaining to writing, blogging, publishing, advertising books too. Dorothy is one very busy lady who wears many hats and also has the Yahoo Writer's Life writing group that is very helpful for those who are published writers, aspiring writers or people who just enjoy writing and might someday want to try their hand at doing it as their true calling in life too.

The above bloggers currently on my favorites list are just a few of many writers who also indulge in blogging. They work very hard at their craft and all are very good at what the do too. And, I probably could include everyone on my blog favorites list as a "writer" too because after all, that is what we all do too, isn't it?

Enjoy the Sweet TREATS for today and thanks to each and every single one of these folks for providing some great reading materials for the rest of us to enjoy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Drum Roll, Please!

Captain Lifecruiser is having a Scary Story post fest at her place tomorrow - that would be Thursday, October 25, 2007, I do believe. (If my pea brain memory of the shorter term variety is functioning at all, ya know!) So, in conjunction with her request for posters to submit some type of scary story for that event, here then, is mine. Go! Check out her site now!

A Drum Roll, Please!

It was Saturday night, late –about 10:30 – and cold, bitterly cold with the temperatures hovering around zero and my granddaughter, Katie and I, were curled up and covered with a blanket or afghan and each of us reading a book. The only other member of the family at home was the cat, who does nothing but eat and sleep. The TV was on but neither of us was really watching it –just force of habit that I keep it on and tell time by it with an occasional glance in that direction.

Suddenly, the relative quiet was shattered with sounds coming from the sun porch. The children’s drum set there began to give out sounds in a perfect rhythm pattern.

Katie, who is 11, looked up at me with a half-scared, half-questioning look and we both cast our eyes in the direction of the sun porch, then back at each other. I shrugged my shoulders and thought I would go back to reading but Katie was shaken and wanted to know what that sound had been.

So, being the adult and supposedly brave –all that stuff – I went to the doorway between the sun porch and dining room, parting the curtains hung there to try to keep the icy drafts from that particular fuel oil money pit of the house from the warmth of the living room and looked around. Nothing was out of place, no one or no animal was present in the sun porch and I returned to my spot on the sofa.

Katie though I should explain is a bit on the superstitious side, probably has to do with her age and she believes in things like ghosts, apparitions, interpretations of dreams and nightmares, things like that and as I started to sit down, she spoke to me in very, very hushed tones.

“I think your Mother’s here!” She said in a voice barely above a whisper. (My Mother died 23 years ago.)

I just laughed at her.

Then she asked me if anyone had ever died in this house and I explained, quite matter of factly, that yes, both my grandparents had passed away in this house. It had been their family home and I explained to her that was a very normal thing and nothing to cause concern.

Although Katie was somewhat satisfied with my answer and went back to reading for a little longer, when she decided shortly thereafter to go to bed, I knew she was still just a trifle unsettled over what we had heard but was trying to accept my explanation, which was that I had no explanation. Sometimes old houses just make noises for no reason whatsoever.

About 1:30 a.m., my daughter arrived home from work but strangely enough, she didn’t come running straight into the house, as is her normal pattern. When she did come in, she was fuming. Visibly upset, she began ranting to me that the house had been paintballed.

I had heard of this type of thing happening around the area but my reaction to her announcement must have made her think I didn’t believe her and she insisted I put my shoes on and go outside to see for myself. Which I did.

Sure enough, there splashed all over the siding and windows in the sun porch where huge splotches of purple, hot pink and even a couple traces here and there of an orange hue.

As I came back inside, I remarked to my daughter that I thought this answered the question about the ghost’s appearance earlier that evening.

Now it was her turn to be puzzled. I casually explained what noises we had heard, my thorough investigation of that and Katie’s responses. Mandy and I both had a good chuckle over Katie’s comments.

However, Mandy, still up in arms, called the local police to report this incident and about 2 a.m., the officer on duty from the local police force showed up to take a report and do a little on-scene investigation.

He told us he had found some tracks in the snow and that he believed whoever had done this had been on foot. He also told us he had a good idea too who was responsible and said normally, this stuff washes off fairly easily but considering the weather conditions and extreme cold, he wasn’t sure if it would stain the siding or not.

Proving the suspected person had done this would be difficult but a few days into the next week, Katie overheard some kids on the school bus talking about this and one of the kids had commented that he had paintballed our house. She came home and reported this to me and well as stating quite vehemently that she hoped that person would be forced to come here and scrub all that paint off the siding and windows too.

And now, having informed the officer of what she overheard, we are just waiting for him to resolve the case in the near future.

However, there is a part of me that still wonders about how this created the perfect rhythm Katie and I heard on the drum set that night. I have, in the past, often blamed things that went wrong here, breakdowns that happened to things in the house, on my Mother by saying she was just trying to get even with me for real or imagined past sins I had committed.

Now I was kind of wondering too if maybe she did have a part in this and was showing us just a touch of her musical side but I had never known her to play the drums!

"Can You Hear Me Now?"

Yesterday was pretty much a "lost" day for me. About the only thing I did get accomplished in a reasonable time span was fixing supper. Otherwise, I'm not all that sure what I DID do with the rest of the hours at my disposal -with one minor exception - and I KNOW I wasn't on the phone all THAT long!

My day began its downward descent when my telephone bill for the past month appeared in my inbox here. I opted a few months back to receive my phone bill via e-mail and then, pay it online too. No big deal, right?

Except that because of some changes I made to my account back in August, I received no bill that month but in September, the bill was a two-month total. Ok, not really a problem with that either except that I felt it was not in line with what I'd been expecting in the amount due column. But then, my phone bills have NEVER been of an amount of what I was expecting to have to pay but rather of amounts I really DIDN'T WANT to have to pay. I intended to contact the phone company and ask for some explanations about the bill but well, because I do procrastinate a lot - also forget about a lot too - I never got around to doing that. But, because I thought I had a good idea of what my phone bill was supposed to run now each month -after having made these changes back in August - the amount due now (on the bill I received yesterday) was not quite in line with what I had anticipated - not at all!

So, that set my course for the day.

I pulled up my bill, nosed around all over the place with it and finally, managed to find where I could view my previous bills in full online but to do that, I had to print out a copy of each bill I wanted to see and compare. No problem there, you're thinking I suppose. Oh, but I beg to differ with you on that one. The speed of maneuvering through the online maze that is Verizon's website is more of a snail's pace - and add to that my dial-up service slowing everything down even more - well, this was a lengthy, time-consuming project, to say the least.

Then, once I got the last three month's bills printed out, it is really frustrating, very, very confusing to try to figure out what the heck one is actually being charged for by the olde phone company too. You really do need a degree - advanced one at that - in accounting I think to interpret all the phone companies various little charges here and there.

What started all this in the first place came about via a phone call back in July to a cousin of mine. She lives about 100 miles from me so obviously, this meant a long distance phone call for me. The set-up I had on the phone prior to August was a "deal" (that's what Verizon had told me it was back a few years ago when I enrolled in that particular plan anyway - a "deal" - as in "such a deal we're giving you!") That "deal" was their $29.95 plan that gave me caller id, star 69 and some other capacity which I don't rightly recollect now but was something I didn't use either - obviously -plus the 5 cents a call for long distance junk. Yadda, yadda. All guaranteed to help me actually lower the cost of my phone service. Believe that one and I've got a bridge for you too up for sale!

Because I didn't have a long distance carrier, in order to dial long distance on my phone I had to first plug in a series of numbers - code for a l.d. carrier ya know - then the "1", the area code, and the number I wanted to call. Anyway, the phone company told me - erroneously I must add - that this method would create many savings for me on my phone bills but the bills which prior to that sign-up had been averaging between $30 and $34 a month then increased up to on average, around $48-52 a month and often between $62-$70 a month. I know, pocket change to some, right? Well, not on my budget but every doggone time the phone company made me an offer they said I shouldn't refuse, I should know by now it is going to be full of empty money savings devices and full of extra charges to my bill.

I was disgressing a bit there. Ok, ranting is more accurate. Whatever!

Anyway, back to calling my cousin - she informed me in the course of our conversation that she had switched her phone over to what Verizon calls a "Freedom" plan and it gave them unlimited long distance dialing and also set there bill at a rate that was consistent then month after month. Now that idea I liked and also, when she told me this plan ran just under $40 a month, before taxes of course, but with that added in, their total bill she thought ran them around $46-48 a month. Gee, I thought then, I could live with that as that was less than what my phone was running me with us trying to keep the long distance calls down to a bare minimum, essential calls ONLY. (Of course, my idea of "essential long distance" and my daughter's visions there have NEVER corresponded so that was a problem area right from the get-go ya know.)

But nevertheless, I decided to contact the phone company, find out more about this great cost savings plan, etc., which I did and they did a bang up job of convincing me that yes indeedy, this was the Godsend I was looking for, most certainly, for sure! So, I signed up for it.

Of course, to qualify for the actual "savings" I had to relinquish my "star 69" service, the caller id too and the other item whatever that may have been. No problem! I lived many a year with a phone and no caller id so I could easily go without that convenience all over again.

Well, imagine my surprise then last month when my bill came in and there were long distance calls listed on it! But, at that time, I couldn't locate the page on their website to pull up a full copy of my bill to see exactly what those long distance calls were either so I was doubly confused. (And yes, I know - confusion is a constant state of mind for me most of the time. I know that, you know that too by now I'm sure.) But even so, my total two month bill for the first two months of this free long distance plan came to almost $119 - a far cry from the bill I had anticipated getting which I thought for two months would run me in the neighborhood of oh, maybe $92-$100.

Well, imagine my shock then yesterday when the newest bill was tacked on to the previous two-month bill - adding almost $66 more to the amount I owed Verizon for three months services. I was really ticked off then.

Finally, by about 2:30 in the afternoon, I called Verizon and spoke to a rep. I was polite - strangely enough - didn't rant at all. I did tell him though I was just very confused, very frustrated with their billing process and why did every package I opt for that they guaranteed would lower my bill always seem to increase it by at least $12-15?

After a very lengthy discussion - all pleasant though as this guy actually displayed a sense of humor and I could make wisecracks to him about the phone company, my problems with my bills, etc., and he didn't get ticked off at me - I ended up getting a commitment from him that henceforth, my bill will run me $48.63 per month, guaranteed. Ok, money wise, I'm happy with that figure. In the process I do get the free long distance calling plan - which is nice in that the ex lives in Nevada and my daughter does call him frequently -and it is long distance for us to call the older daughter too so we can do that "freely" too now. And, it is still less that what my bill previously had been running, on average, so yes, I do see some savings annually then with this plan.

During the course of our conversation though, I did get a bit of the bitch-fest I had on my mind out and aired to the phone rep.

Do you know if you pull your Verizon bill up online and opt to print it out, it will use a minimum of nine - yes nine (9) sheets of paper to print out and in some cases, will require eleven (11) sheets of paper? That is ridiculous! Ok, your bill, if you receive it via the regular postal service is usually about 6-8 pages, printed on both side - in print so small too you need a damned magnifying glass at times to read it too -but that's another issue. I pointed this out to the rep though - although I know he had no control over the way the bills are set up but, my logic is that perhaps Verizon has suggestion boxes and maybe he or other employees could suggest that instead of Verizon listing every single little line item out on their bills they could simplify them a bit, thus saving paper. My theory there was that by doing that - it would work kind of like the airline that eliminated one little olive per salad served to their customers in flight and thus had saved that airline hundreds of thousands of dollars per year by eliminating that one lowly little olive. And, by cutting back on the amount of paper used by Verizon in printing up our phone bills, they too could save kazillions in the cost of paper, to say nothing of it being a major conservation effort - can you say "Save a tree?" -ya know. Just my wonderful logical brain at work there, folks -for whatever that is worth.

But seriously, why do they have to list two separate lines of federal taxes, two separate lines of state taxes too - when by simply combining these tax totals (use the computer to add them together is my theory there too - why do I have to know that there are two separate federal taxes and two separate state taxes that apply to my bill anyway), then to lump these other charges under a "Basic fee" -not line item them cause what the hell do I know about what each of these fees is actually meaning anyway - it would save more space on the printed form there too - plus be less confusing to the recipient then of said bill as well. I could go on and on there about other things they print out - in duplicate it seems or maybe it is triplicate - on the phone bill, but it is repetitive, suffice it to say, and a simple print-out showing the phone company has billed me "x" amount for basic services, x amount for this additional plan, x amount for fed taxes, state taxes and the total amount due this month is this figure and it could all fit on one piece of paper, two at maximum and still serve the correct purpose. Furthermore, by saving all that money on paper/printing costs, it would free up more money for Verizon to give higher wages to their employees - I told that to the rep to keep his attention focused that this was really a GOOD PLAN I was presenting to HIM - and maybe too, they would have the funds necessary to complete the installation of the VERIZON's DSL they've been promising will be available where I live for over two years now.

At the moment, the DSL is within 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile from my home - been that way for two years - but for some reason or other, they don't seem to want to make it available to ALL their customers. I would jump on their current offer of $14.95 for verizon DSL internet for life just by signing a two-year contract now with them if it were available to me! I'd be on that like flies on you know what, don't 'cha now!

I might even someday consider getting a cellphone too - that is provided I could actually get reception from where I live to dial out - or to receive calls here too on a cellphone. Kind of does go with customer expectations there don't 'cha think?

So, with all that in mind - my question to Verizon is their question to their customers - "Can you hear me now?"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Who, Me? Again?

First Linda, now Theresa have decided I should be given a "Community Blogger" award. I am flattered, really flattered that they think I deserve such an honor. I very much appreciate their votes of confidence but really, I just like to try to find ways to put the spotlight on other bloggers and their posts and what better way to do it than to point these things out to everyone else for all to see, to read, to enjoy. And, here's hoping those of you reading the posts in which I lead you to other blogs will follow through, click in and see what interesting and fun things are available through these bloggers.

A couple of things I've been meaning to point out to all here - one is an article that I read the other day posted on another blog - Wade and Erika's - that I found very touching. Titled "Ray of Hope," it's a tremendous, heart-warming story of a young man's gift that touched several others. I can't go into details here as that would ruin the story for you, but I do recommend you take the time to read it and who knows, maybe someone else will take the same steps this extraordinary young man too as a means to provide the most precious gift possible.

I've also debated about sharing some other information pertaining to my family here. And, one thing or another seemed to crop up and I put off writing about this but I think there's no better time than now to talk about this development.

As you know, I've mentioned my little Princess, Maya, on many occasions in my blog. And, I've also explained that she is special - very, very special to us not just because she is so doggone pretty, mischievous, smart, lovable in all respects but also because she is autistic. We have been very fortunate in that through an agency in our area, she received two years of therapy for play/behavior and also for speech and now, is enrolled in a special school where she will get even more instruction that will enable her to transition into kindergarten two years from now - along with other children her age. She's doing very well in this program, has adapted quite easily to the routine of riding the van to the school with "Mr. Fred" as her chauffeur; to the class where she is with six other children also on the Autism Spectrum, and especially to her teacher, Pam, and the aides in her classroom. She loves going to school - asks as soon as she gets up each morning if she is going to go to school that day and I just wonder now if a few years down the road she will still have that same degree of enthusiasm for academics. Hopefully, she will, but only time will tell on that idea, won't it?

But Maya also has a younger brother, Kurtis, who is now 18 months old and for some time, his mother, aunt and I have noticed many similarities in his actions to signs we saw in Maya early on that led us to believe he too may be autistic. Mandy, my daughter and mother of these two little ones, called our family doctor's attention to some of these markers about two months ago and the doctor referred him over for testing for the Early Interventions Program - the same program Maya is still in and two weeks ago, a team of three specialists in early childhood education came to the house and tested Kurtis to try to determine if he, like Maya, needs the specialized therapy this program offers.

Last week, the team returned and gave us their report. Yes, he definitely needs therapy for behavior/play, speech and also, occupational therapy.

I know, it sounds kind of strange to say that an 18-month-old will be receiving "occupational therapy" but this is a form of physical therapy but a bit more specialized for his needs.

I don't know who the therapist will be for the occupational (physical) therapy but lucky for us, he will have the same two therapists for behavior/play and speech that Maya had. And, if they are as successful in working with him as they were with Maya, I'm confident that Kurtis too will have an excellent outlook from their application of their skills with him.

Autism is a strange disorder but something I do want to stress here is that it is not an automatic guarantee that a child diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum will be unable to do anything, unable to learn, to function properly. I'm not saying that there are not cases were that does indeed happen. Sadly, yes it can be a very difficult disorder for all concerned - the child, the family - to deal with. But, one thing that seems to be a key to getting the ability to move with the best foot forward is to get therapy - whatever type is deemed necessary - started as early in the child's life as is possible.

So, if you have a child and you think he or she is not achieving what are considered to be the normal things in a child's developmental process, please for the child's sake, as well as your own, do not be afraid to ask your physician about these things. Request a referral as soon as possible to have the child tested for developmental delays, for indicators that could be early signs of autism. And, if your doctor -unlike ours - pooh-poohs your concerns and you still have a "gut" feeling something isn't right, don't be afraid to push - shove if you have to - to get the help that is available for the child to have the best help possible.

Find literature to read, videos to watch, inquire about what programs ARE available in your area.

Trust me, you won't regret it and neither will your child.