Sunday, August 31, 2008

Holiday Havoc

First, let me explain -or describe -something to you here.

The road where we live is paved but turns into a dirt road several hundred yards down from our place. That dirt road leads down to the ghost town of Peale and beyond that, into old stripping cut roads and if you know your way around down in those woods, there is also a back road (dirt) that takes you through yet another ghost town area (Gorton) and ends in the village of Moshannon, on the other side of the mountain top area.

This region -the woods, the back dirt roads, filled with all kinds of little trails too, is a favorite place for people to ride ATVs. I would have nothing against that as a form of recreations however, I do object to the frequent heavy traffic on our street consisting of these four-wheelers zipping down to the real boondock area and then, zipping back up our street again. This happens at all hours of the day and even into the night.

During the day, some of these ATVers do slow down somewhat, do try to curb the noise level from their machines. At night, it's everyone for themself!

Last night (Saturday) was a very noisy night beginning around 9:30 and lasting until around 2 a.m. Four-wheelers -anywhere from five at a clip to as high as seven, running together, all speeding down this road and heading down into the woods. What was even more annoying about these activities last night was that within roughly five minutes, no more than ten, these same groups would come racing back up the road. Heading, I presume, to the local bar for a little more refreshment, a little more incentive to see how fast and how loud, they can travel along this road.

The thought did cross my mind last night to call the police and report this activity but I know from prior experience in these matters that about the time the police presence arrives, they are unable to catch anyone in the act. And how the heck can one try to get any type of identification on these vehicles to lead to their arrest then too.

Well, tonight perhaps the cruising by some of these people will have come to an end. Possibly a permanent end for at least one and for four others, who knows how long before they will be riding their ATVs again.

The reason? Well, there was an accident tonight about 1/2 mile or so from our house -on the dirt portion of the roadway. Reports so far vary, but three life-flight helicopters were called in for transport and there were four ambulances down at the scene, along with two fire trucks, one of the fire company's small buggy units (I can't think now what it is called) plus the state police.

I subscribe to a service that sends bulletins via e-mail of calls to the fire departments around the area for accidents, need for ambulance services or fires and tonight, I received bulletins for a traffic accidnet at 1 Peale Road -which is the dirt road just beyond our street.

At about the same time, Mandy was talking on the phone to her father-in-law, who has a scanner tuned into the emergency frequency and she could hear some of the reports as they were coming over the scanner. Five injured in this mishap, with the early report on the scanner that there was one who was DOA.

We watched the emergency vehicles rushing down the road, then heard the life-flight units flying overhead. Their landing spot is about two miles from our house -across the road from the restaurant (recently closed -Jim and Charmaine's) -in a big field there, adjacent to the local funeral home.

I don't know the identity of any of those involved in this accident, don't know if the was any truth for sure behind the early report of one at the scene being dead, but we did drive up to the intersection and parked by the restaurant where we watched the ambulances coming up and switching the passengers from the ambulance to the helicopters for flight to either Clearfield Hospital or to Altoona -most likely depending on the type of injuries will determine what hospital is the recipient of these patients.

While I am sorry that some people were injured, possibly even one life may have been lost, by the same token, I am not the least bit surprised that this has happened. I am surprised that something of this magnitude hasn't happened sooner though. I wish these people had been thoughtful enough to realize the dangers that are present when driving these things at a high rate of speed along a residential street and where there could be small children present too.

Because the state police were involved in the investigation, these ATV's will be impounded and that aspect DOES make me feel very good! Take at least those off the roads and possibly ticket the drivers too. I'm sure the investigation will show they were driving at unsafe speeds for the road conditions so please, throw the book at them if it is at all possible.

I'm tired, very tired, of having my eardrums assaulted by the noise of these vehicles and also the loud -very loud -buzz saw sound of the many motorcycles that chase up and down this street too. I'm quite sure my grandson would appreciate any lessening of this type of activity too as he has several sensory issues due to autism and loud -very loud, very annoying - noises such as what these type of units give off often awaken him and that really disturbs and annoys me and his parents then too.

Perhaps, in the aftermath of this accident tonight, this street and the dirt roads beyond here will become a target area by the local and the state police to try to stop people from simple disturbing of the peace to curbing the potential for another accident to happen down in this area.

At least this time, the police can't ignore what was going on this evening anyway.

I do pray though that the early reports of one rider being killed are inaccurate and hopefully, the others will recover from their injuries as well. But in the meantime, perhaps it will cause some to recognize the foolhardiness of their actions and maybe slow down, maybe even leave the riding to day light hours as well.

UPDATE: The opening story on the 11 p.m news broadcast out of our local station in Altoona said there was an ATV accident in a rural area near Grassflat and that two of the ATVers were killed as a result of this crash.

I'm a very sorry two people lost their lives in this accident and my heart goes out to their families, whoever, wherever they may be. But it also strengthens my resolve to learn if there is more that I -or my neighbors too -can do in the future to try to lessen the possibility of another tragedy like this happening again.


Remember These?

Who can possibly forget these wonderous comments by our fearless leader? Some of them, many would probably like to forget were ever uttered, others -well, see for yourself if any of these gems are "keepers" or not.

Monday, September 1, 2008 - 141 days left

"How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are stranded and homeless?!"
--A shopper at the Ferragamo store in New York City to Condoleezza Rice, several days after Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, September 1, 2005

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 - 140 days left

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
--To Michael Brown, the former director of FEMA who lied on his resume when he applied for the position, September 2, 2005

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 - 139 days left

"Security is the essential roadblock to ahieving the road map to peace."
--Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 2003

Thursday, September 4, 2008 - 138 days left

"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country."
-- Poplar Bluff, Missouri, September 2004

Friday, September 5, 2008 - 137 days left

"We'll let our friends be the peaceeepers and the great country called America will be the pacemakers."
--Houston, Texas, 2000

Saturday and Sunday, September 6/7, 2008 - 136 days left and 135 days left

"You know, one of the hardest parts of my jb is to connect Iraq to the war on terror."
--Interview with Katie Couric of CBS News, September 6, 2006

For me, the quote for Tuesday, September 2, 2008 is the one I think I will always remember of the many "lovely" things the DUBYA has had to say over the past almost 8 years of his terms in office.

Just change it to say "You're doing a heck of a job, DUBYA!" Yeah. Right. NOT!

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Don'T Come In Here!"

Any parent (or grandparent) dreads hearing a pre-school age child tell you "Don't come in here!" Because you know, deep down inside that you aren't going to like what you will behold once you do set foot across that threshold.

This afternoon, Mandy had to go to the Pizza Shop (where she is now gainfully employed) to pick up her pay check and being the sweet, loving mother she is -knowing if she doesn't take Maya with her Maya will scream bloody blue murder -she took Maya along.

After picking up her check, a stop at the bank, then the grocery store and before coming home, they went to the garage where Bill works to deliver a Mountain Dew to him and that is where the whole trip went south.

Maya wanted to stay at the garage and "help Daddy work." Bill wasn't in favor of that idea -neither was Mandy so Maya lost out on that request. But, the whole way home, Mandy says Maya kicked the back of the passenger seat in front of her, alternated between crying and screaming her terrible plight, announced loudly that she no longer loves Mommy or Gram or Kurtis or Katie -only Daddy. So by the time they got home, Mandy had heard enough and she carried her in, directly upstairs to her room where she deposited her. This was followed by about five minutes more of the screaming, ranting, wailing. Then suddenly, all was quiet.

When Kate came down ready to leave to go to school for the football game -she's a majorette in the band so for her to be at the game was a command performance, ya know -she announced to Mandy that Maya had been quite busy upstairs -tossing clothes, toys -whatever -out of her room into the hall.

When Mandy returned from taking Kate to the school, she went up to check on Maya -who by the way, was still very quiet upstairs. When she came down she told me Maya had been dragging clothes out of drawers, trying clothes on (hers and Kurt's too) plus she had two bandaids on her face -one on each cheek. When Mandy asked why she had the bandaids on her cheeks, Maya said it was because "My cheeks hurt from my tears." Talk about a pity party going on full-steam huh? Then Mandy noticed Maya had taken the blood pressure cuff from her little doctor kit and had it on her arm. "Why is that on your arm, Maya?" Because my arm hurts me, was her response to that query.

We left her upstairs with orders she was to clean up her mess and she told Mandy she would do that -"Later." Meanwhile, downstairs it was peace and quiet while I cooked supper and when it was ready, someone went upstairs and brought Maya down to sit up to the table.

I sit at the end, at the head of the table and Maya sits to my left -perpendicular, I guess you would say. I glanced at her and saw the bandaids still on her face and asked her why she had them on there -did she hurt herself. "Yes, I hurted myself when I was angry."

After supper, Mandy was doing up the dishes and we noticed it was quiet here again. Calling for Maya to appear in the living room, as I stood up to look for her, she came running out of the bathroom and stopped at the entrance to the living room, with her hand extended toward me in the traffic cop's gesture to "STOP!" Then she told me "No, no. Don't come in here."

One quick glance and I could see a shiny substance smeared on her legs so I asked her what she had on her legs. She tried to tell me "nothing" but I knew better. Even without my glasses on, I definitely knew better.

Maya walked towards the kitchen so Mandy could observe her appearance and Mandy -in a very frustrated tone of voice -told Maya to "Please stop messing around and smearing shit all over the place."

The response to that was "This not shit."

Yeah, very true -in the literal sense. How can you argue with logic like that?

Here's a couple of photos now so you can see how the afternoon into evening hours progressed here today.

Let the room trashing begin!
In this photo below, you can see Maya is in training now for future sessions in store dressing rooms -a quick study she is on how best to make yourself a favorite of all retail clerks!

Here we have the room of Maya's big sister -her mentor apparently!

Yet another view of Kate's room (that would be the 16, almost 17-year-old.) I guess this could be called "Heriditary Housekeeping" -right?

Here's the outfit Maya chose to wear for dining in style tonight. What you can't see under the skirt though are the little boys "superman" training pants (belonging to Kurtis) that she is also wearing. Oh, to have the lovely, very coordinated look, huh? Tres, tres, vogue!


Here's Maya, showing off the lotion she had smeared on her legs. Unfortunately, it doesn't glisten as much when photographed as it does "in person."
And here she is, showing the lotion she recommends for smooth skin, lovely legs. Also, you can see the remnants of one of the bandaids she had strategically placed on her cheek -you know, the ones that hurt from her tears!

Wealthy's Reward - Reprint

From January of 2004 until the fall of 2006, I wrote several articles for a small, local monthly publication - "The West Branch Review." Most of the pieces I wrote pertained to local history of Cooper Township -the township in Clearfield County in central Pennsylvania where I live.

There used to be a website about Cooper Township -said website no longer exists as the young lady who administered it took it down a couple of years ago now -but while she operated it and while "The Review" was still being published -the articles I had in "The Review" were posted on that site. Because some folks have lamented they didn't get or didn't save various copies of the publications, I have decided to post the articles I had written on my blog from time to time.

The piece I have chosen to post today pertains to the oldest church in the township. Since this church only holds one service a year and that takes place over the Labor Day Weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to re-publish, in essence, that piece here as we head into Labor Day and all the festivities that go with it.

Wealthy’s Reward
By
Jennifer Hill Ertmer
Published in August 2004 – West Branch Review
The story of the Sylvan Grove Church’s Annual Homecoming

Since 1936, people have been returning over Labor Day Weekend to the area and for many, to the church of their roots, in Cooper Township. The tiny Sylvan Grove Church has been holding a “Homecoming Service” for close to 70 years now, give or take a few since this event was placed on hold during World War II.

The land where the first church was built in 1850, making it the very first church in what was to become Cooper Township, was purchased from Edward and David Gratz by two of the Hoover brothers, Samuel and John. According to Janet Rydberg Larson, a great-granddaughter of John Hoover and his wife, Wealthy Johnson Hoover, these brothers then deeded an acre of their land to Morris Township School District and the first church built there was a log building used for both school and church purposes.

Janet’s great-grandmother, Wealthy Johnson Hoover, was apparently a woman who could speak her mind and get things done –her way! Originally, this area was called “Hickory Bottom” but Wealthy didn’t care for that name, believing it was unfitting for such a lovely area. Her choice was Sylvan Grove - truly a much nicer name and one quite befitting for the community.

Although there have been many churches in Cooper Township over the past century and a half, some have been disbanded with the members transferring to another similar parish in the community and a number of those buildings have since been purchased and converted to residential properties. Other churches have met with various misfortunes and were either destroyed often by fire or collapsed from sheer neglect.

The Sylvan Grove Church probably could have found itself meeting with a similar fate as some of these other churches if it weren’t also rich in being connected to so many of the earliest settlers of Cooper Township.

For those unfamiliar with Sylvan Grove, it is can be found by taking State Route 1011 out of Kylertown, towards Karthaus, and follow this for about two miles until you see the historic “elephant” landmark at the home of Don and Carol Roos Yontosh. This elephant was originally placed on the side of the barn built by John Hoover in 1889 owned by Carol’s grandfather, Allen “Benny” Roos, in 1899 and was for many years a directional point. It is now on a small shed on the same side as the Yontosh (formerly Roos) home. Just beyond that on the left is Church Hill Road and the church and cemetery are situated at the top of the hill on Church Hill Road.

Founding fathers of the original little log church were all four of the Hoover brothers (John and Samuel, George and Jerimiah) as well as Robert Daugherty and George Hess. Other early pioneer family names include the following: Sones, Records. Beam, Steinbach, Taylor, Dingey, Evans, Wilhelm and Routch.


The original church was replaced in 1870 with a new building across the road on land John and Wealthy Johnson Hoover deeded to the Trustees of the Methodist-Episcopal Church. The Trustees at that time were Robert Daugherty, George Hess, David Aldrich, Samuel Hoover and John Hoover. This building was then dedicated on June 25, 1871.

In the late 1800’s, churches such as this one were often on what was called a “Circuit”, consisting of a number of small parishes served by a pastor who circulated from one church to the next to hold services. Because the preacher couldn’t hold services in each of his churches every Sunday, a Class Leader would be appointed in each parish to stand in for the preacher.

Originally, this parish was on the Clearfield Circuit but by 1879, it became part of the Grahamton Charge with the Rev. J. Fearon Brown as Pastor and John Hoover serving as Class Leader. Mr. Hoover maintained this position for 35 years.

There were occasional Circuit changes and by 1897, the parish was then on the Wallaceton Charge –along with Centre Hill, Blue Ball, Kylertown, Allport and Wallaceton with The Rev. F. W. Leidy as pastor. In 1908, it became part of the Munson Circuit with The Rev. C. H. Campbell leading the members. The last regular pastor of the church was The Rev. Elmer Ritzman and the church ceased having services after 1918. The building was however, kept open for several years for Sunday School and from time to time, for funerals.

Basically, for 18 years, from 1918 until 1936, the parish was non-functional until a group of former members, led by The Rev. John A. Hoover, a grandson of John and Wealthy Hoover, organized the first Homecoming. Held the Sunday before Labor Day, the event consisted of three services –morning, afternoon and evening –with picnic lunches served in between. However, since 1955 the afternoon service is the only one that is observed.

It is hard to believe a church that has been around for 154 years has only one wedding known to have been performed there. This was the marriage of Eva Marie Hoover and Ray Zaner and was held after the morning service of the 1941 Homecoming with the bride’s father, The Rev. John A. Hoover officiating.

One couple, John and Lee Anne Resinger Walker, did choose to renew their wedding vows there in honor of their 25th wedding anniversary during the 2002 Homecoming. John is a great-great nephew of Guy and Zella Hoover Johnson and the minister was The Rev. John F. Hoover, a great-great grandson of John and Wealthy Hoover and grandson of the Rev. John A. Hoover.

In the cemetery are several graves with no stone markers and included in this number were six children of the Sones family who died within a three-month period during an outbreak of typhoid fever in 1904. Two Veterans of the Civil War are laid to rest in this cemetery –William L. Taylor, a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and Henry Heise, who served in Company K of the 84th Pennsylvania Infantry. Lincoln Johnson, a veteran of Word War II, is among those buried there too. The very first burial in the cemetery was Ai William Beam, infant son of Jesse and Susanna Beam and since the Beam family owned a farm adjoining the church property, their son was buried close to home. The last two burials in this cemetery were Barbara and Harold Roos.

With the original pews, a pump organ and potbelly stove, the interior of the church remains almost exactly as it was in 1900. Choir chairs however, were stolen from the building in 1989.

The Trustees have worked long and hard to keep the building in good repair. Over the last ten years they have put a new roof on the building, plastered a fallen ceiling and replaced the original painted wood of the exterior with new siding over the last ten years. Offerings taken at the annual Homecoming along with a special fund raising appeal in 1997 have made this possible.

The decision though to replace the old wood exterior with new siding was one that meant the church would then be ineligible to be listed on the National Historical Register and was one difficult choice the Trustees had to make.

All the Trustees are descendants either of early church members or married to a descendant – these people made strong decisions to insure the church continue to stand as a tribute to those people who first saw to its creation.

The first Trustees who initiated the first Homecoming Services were: Emmit Hoover, Harry Smeal, Oscar Hoover, Ira Hoover, Ellen Hoover and Zella Johnson.

Past trustees have included Allen B. Roos, Eva Rydberg, James Hoover, Voyle Hoover, Ivie Johnson, Blair Hoover, Vera Johnson and Dorcas Watts. The present trustees are: Chairman, Milton Roy Roos; Secretary-Treasuer, Verdabel Hoover and The Rev. John F. Hoover, Janet Larson, John Walker, Bernice Modzel and Roger Larson.

This year’s Homecoming will be held on Sunday, September 5, 2004 at 2:30 in the afternoon, with The Rev. Joel Zieders, pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lanse as speaker.

The service, as always, will be non-denominational and the Trustees extend a cordial invitation to the public to attend.

Come out and see this lovely piece of history, visit the cemetery and take in what could probably be called “Wealthy’s Reward” too for all the work done by the Hoover Family descendants in their refusal to let this lovely little church and its history die.

No Re-Runs Tonight -I Hope!

Last night, as I was writing my post here, Maya was still awake -laying in my bed, waiting patiently -supposedly -for Gram to finish up and come snuggle up with my little sweet angel girl for the night.

The keyword in the above paragraph as it turned out was "Supposedly."

While she was waiting for me, she apparently decided to slip out of bed and meander to the kitchen. I didn't discover this until I had published my post though.

When I saw she was out messing around -way too quietly too, I might add -and I began to get up and make my way there, she called out to me saying "Don't come out here!"

Now, as any parent knows (grandparents especially should be aware of this) when a child tells you something like that, and if they have been very quiet, downright sneaky about their actions, you just know there is something awaiting you that you probably won't want to see, won't be happy about dealing with the consequences either. Am I right? Yeah, you know I am, don't you?

And what I found when I got to where she was in the kitchen -well, it just proves the above paragraph to be the truth!

And as a direct result, that is how I came to have Maya in the bathroom at about 2:30 a.m., with her head hanging over the side of the tub and me, holding the shower spray in my hand and washing her hair!

For some reason of late, Maya has been reveling in smearing what ever substance she can find in her hair -one day it was hand lotion, another day it was gobs of the hair gel her big sister, Katie, loves to use. Last night though, it was the Comet cleanser -the kind in a squeeze container that is already somewhat liquified but still has a grainy texture to it.

Yeah, she had the top of her head just plastered with that stuff!

Needless to say, I hadn't figured on giving the kid a mini-shower at that hour but I told her we'd better get busy and get that stuff washed out because if it was there -really dried in too -come morning, Maya and I would both be on the receiving end of a ration of crap from Mandy -for sure! And I really wasn't in the mood then nor would I have been any more receptive come morning to getting my fanny chewed out from my daughter because I had managed not to realize her daughter was up, wandering around and getting into those kind of things!

So we got it all washed out and went to bed. Then, later this afternoon, I told Mandy what had happened and because I had washed it out, she actually saw humor in the entire situation.

Tonight though -I KNOW Maya is in bed and sound asleep and I am definitely ready to join her in about five minutes.

And I KNOW there will be no semi-shower in store for her tonight now either!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Commentary


Time to pass around some more awards -and keep them moving too, folks!

This one came to me today from Ann Clemmons of A Nice Place in the Sun. Ann says this award is for commenters who visit frequently, leave comments from time to time that often keep her going. Well, I may visit daily but I don't ALWAYS comment even though I probably should. But some days, if I don't comment, that doesn't mean I wasn't there, doesn't mean I agree or don't agree -it's more that some days, my brain and fingers just don't feel like talking I guess. Silence of the Pinkys strikes me every now and again.

Of course, considering the fact that I have been known on occasion to practically write my own blog post in the comments section every now and again, maybe we can all be thankful when my fingers do become quiet, can't we?

This week, I've been a bit on the quiet side for the most part. Been trying to squeeze in some more time to work on my embroidery projects and now, I have one side of the green table-topper tablecloth completed. I love working on this item because it only uses one color floss -white -so I don't have to constandly be looking at the chart to make sure I have the right color floss going into the right box on the design on the fabric. Even though I only work now with stamped cross stitch, I can still muck up a design by getting my colors and placement of stitches in the wrong holes!

I generally enjoy various crafts -sewing, knitting, crochet and yes, embroidery -but I am not necessarily all that good at any of those crafts. I can manage but am far from an expert, far from being the meticulous crafter that EVERYTHING has to be exactly right; perfect -know what I mean?

When my two younger kids were small, I took a course in sewing with knits -learning various secrets and tips about how to make patterns (a specific type pattern that is) from the "Stretch 'n' Sew pattern assortment and as such, for many years, I made a lot of knit shirts for the kids and for myself. When Mandy was a pre-schooler and even in her early grade school years, I made a goodly number of outfits for her -little jumpers, a few dresses, slacks and such. One year, I even made each of the kids their Christmas outfits -the girls got matching floor-length dresses of a dark emerald green velveteen and I made my son a three piece corduroy suit of a pale green shade. I have never been a big fan of putting zippers in clothing -still am not -as that kind of stitching really requires someone with a more steady foot on the pedal and a keen eye on where the stitches are being placed too. Neither of those things are among my talent range. Therefore, the pants to the suit for my son will probably remain on record as the only time I ever put in a fly-front zipper and the complexities of stitching on velvet or velveteen are such that those two dresses where the first and last I have ever sewn with that type of fabric too. Oh and one other thing -the jacket to my son's suit also had a "welt" pocket and that thing just about was enough to make me almost pitch the entire project into the "I may tackle this at some later date" box! Luckily, I did eventually get the damned thing in there but I hated every last minute of that task too!

Knitting - I love to do but it takes me forever to complete anything bigger than making scarves with the fancy fur-type yarns! I am not the speed queen knitter that my aunt was and I am also not the meticulous knitter she was either -plus, I have never been able to master knitting with four needles! I'm only a two-needle knitter. My neighbor and dear friend, Shirley, who I helped get started on knitting, called me a month or two after I had shown her a few things about knitting to tell me she was making a pair of mittens then -using four needles! I still envy her that ability and that was probably a good twenty years ago at least that I got her started knitting and in short order, she knew more about the craft than I did.

Crochet is faster for me to do but here again, I can't always follow crochet patterns very well. I can generally figure out most knitting patterns but crochet can really play head games with me. So as a result I never tackle any type of clothing projects in the crochet line -only baby afghans and once in a while, larger ones for the sofa or beds.

But the embroidery is something I discovered a couple years ago after making a small square tablecloth with a Christmas design on it along with a tablerunner of a really nice red fabric and the design -a Christmas design -was done all in white thread. I gave those two items to my older daughter Carrie, for Christma that year and learned that she actually likes those handmade things. This is the same daughter who wouldn't be caught dead in any clothing that is hand sewn or hand knitted (not by me anyway) but she does loves these type things so I'm kind of figuring that, depending in how many of these craft things I have on hand to embroider now that I can get finished by Christmas, she may find herself the recipient of one of these items then. Maybe. It all depends though ya know on how long my interest in the embroidery stuff sustains itself here too. It may last another week -a month -who knows, maybe from now until I pass on to wherever is my destiny -so I want to make sure I get as many of these things completed while the energy level is burning there!

Or my fingers freeze up and my brain goes dead or I go blind and cross-eyed from the fine stitching. Or if my fingers get pricked so many times that the skin is rough and snags the embroider floss which could also cause me to get pissed off at the project and put it too in the above mentioned "I'll do it later" box, ya know!

And now, I have to end this post because Miss Maya had been up in her bed, supposedly sleeping (we thought) but then there was this wild banging noise coming forth and pretty soon Mandy brought her downstairs, looking a bit frightened, so she is now out in my room with the tv on, in my bed, wanting Grammy to come lay down with her. And if I do that now, I will most likely then also fall asleep and won't be in any shape then to come back and finish this post later so I'll polish it off now!

To end this -since I went from the award thing to the craft thing but didn't award the Commenters Award as yet to anyone, I'd best do that now too, shouldn't I?

So to those of you, my readers, who I consider to be the most loyal of the commenters, please take this award and pass it on to those who you feel are most deserving of that recognition too.

Keith at Ten Years Running Blind

Fermicat at Cosmic Cat
Beth at Around the Funny Farm
Rick at Palm Springs Savant
Jim at Suldog
Theresa at Theresa's Life

Now it's time for me to go see if a certain little girl and I can put each other to sleep!
Sweet dreams to one and all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Word Confusion

Let me start this by explaining something first. In case you haven't figured this out by reading my blog, there are times when I confuse very easily. Sometimes, my mind thinks it knows what's going on around me and as it turns out, what is being said is something totally different from what my perceptions might be.

Take for instance, the other day, my son was here and he and my son-in-law were talking out on the deck. I was in the kitchen messing around -the normal thing, ya know -and I overheard some bits and pieces of the conversation between the two guys.

You have to know, first and foremost, the topic of conversation between these two is almost always something pertaining to cars and my knowledge (and interest) in that subject is not very high. But when I heard my son mention something about being thankful that he doesn't have to worry about acne treatments, the last thing I thought about there was anything pertaining to cars!

So I questioned him about this and as it turns out, older vehicles that have been revamped a bit -classic type cars or trucks -sometimes, the paint jobs get a sort of pitting effect to them and that's what my son was referring to -not a skin condition.

See -learn something new every day after all, don't I?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blended Friendships


See this photo above here? This is yet another award I received today from my Blogger Buddy, Dianne over at Forks Off the Moment. In her post today, Dianne said some really, really nice things about me, her perception of me and probably the part that was really true would be where she mentions that I was one of the first people to "find" her and her blog.

That part, I will agree with! I do remember finding her, but now, I have no idea HOW it was that I came across her blog and her first two-three posts. But what I do remember about it was reading these pieces on her blog and just knowing, then and there, that here's a lady who speaks her mind (oh, most definitely, she does that,) someone who is right up there with my dear late Aunt Mike as what I would call perhaps a rabid animal lover, a very hard-worker, a devoted mother/mother-in-law and most importantly to me, someone who has great intelligence and a fantastic sense of humor -both of which she employs quite generously in her posts too I must add!

If you've not yet read Dianne's blog, go now, do that and enjoy. Trust me! You'll love it -and her too!

I think it is now safe to say something again about my "Reader" that I use to help me keep up with the sheer volume of blogs I check in on -usually daily -(but I had to take a two day break this weekend due to having to run the yard sale Mandy had set up here at the house over Friday and Saturday.) I "think" (translate that to "I hope") I finally have my Reader operating on the up and up now. Now, with that reader, I keep tabs on roughly 160 plus blogs and some of those bloggers have been with me, so to speak, since shortly after I started my blog almost two years ago now. Over the months, years now, that I have been blogging, there are more than a few fellow bloggers who I have come to feel that I know them almost as well as I know some of my neighbors and friends.

Sadly, one of my favorite bloggers died suddenly last year -Bob Johnson who used to write several blogs - Letters I Wish I'd Sent, Rotten Robert, Bob's Odder Blog, to name a few -and let me reiterate here and now that when I learned of Bob's death, it hit me every bit as hard as if he had been my next-door neighbor because of the relationship I had formed with him, strictly through our blogs. Many times since then I have thought of something -a bit of humor, a political thing, a question about computers or blogging and thought, "Gee, I'll have to tell Bob or ask Bob about that" and then realize he is no longer with me, with us, in the blogging community. I tell you this now to explain this is the type of relationship one does often develop through this thing called blogging.

So, with that in mind as a guide, here's how I am going to pass this award on to other bloggers:

First, to the very first three bloggers I "met" and who have stayed with me over time.

Paige at Paradise Valley2
Barb of Skittles Place
Shelby at Time With Shelby

A few other bloggers who I have from time to time exchanged not only comments on each others posts, but also have become comfortable enough to share e-mails with on more than a few occasions. Some are -like Bob Johnson was -now comfortable friends, each in different capacities and interests, but who I look on and classify in my "friend" department.

Keith - Debo Blue - Mary Ann - Linda - David - Terry - Janey - Paula - Eric - Dave - Danielle - Gene - Singing Owl - Terri and Linda - Trav
Each of these bloggers and the various communications I have had with them have become friends to me over time, sharing information as well as comments with me that often helps me to answer many questions on lots of things besides blogging.

Then there is a blogger, down in Georgia- the Produce Man better known to many bloggers as "Meloncutter" who I rely on to give me a dose of humor most every day. We've also often conversed in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning while he's waiting on his morning coffee to brew and I've often still been up and awake for various reasons -that I am a night owl, for one, or when I was unable to sleep much thanks to a nasty bout with Shingles and nights too when I was still up because the grandson was up, wide awake and fussing! On many occasions, the little chats on the messenger was nice to have with him as it made me feel not so alone here then.

And then there are these ladies too who I have come to regard as friends -those with whom I share even more with than just our posts and comments. Those who I read their posts, comments, e-mails and we tend to have much in common. I definitely can't over look them as I frequently sit here, coffee in front of me, reading their words of wisdom, their sentiments, advice too from time to time, and always feel that I am sitting across the kitchen table, talking to them.

Vic - Sandi - Mary - Maggie - and Pat

If you were to go through all the blogs on my reader -which is my "Blogroll Favorites" -you would find quite an eclectic collection of folks there. Many different personalities, many different age groups/generations actually, represented there. People who I connect with through shared beliefs of many types, interests, levels -from grandmothers, like me to young mothers with small children, people who are deeply religious, others -maybe not quite so much but with a strong sense of interest in social problems, politics, and especially people who I found and linked in to and stayed there because of autism and the effects the disorder has on someone near and dear to us. Many things drew me to these bloggers, just as many things keep me coming back to them, connecting on various levels from time to time, to provide humor, friendship, information and dare I say it, even love.

A long list of people I want to give this award to as a way of thanking them for providing me with many different opinions, and keeping me motivated, moving, enjoying not just blogging, but life a little bit removed from my home and family -and yet, not really removed as they seem to me to be part and parcel now of my family.

To equate the way I think of these folks especially along with all the others on my favs list, it's like the two ladies -my real neighbors and life-long friends, Kate and Shirley -who I mention both of them in my posts from time to time. These two ladies are sisters and I grew up two doors from them. Today, I live about six doors down the street from Shirley's house and two doors up the street from Kate's. We share many common interests besides having grown up on the same street and being friends all our lives -church, family, kids, grandkids, crafts -a lot of things.

Over the weekend, with the big community yard sale, Shirley stopped by my house to chat and visit both days; Kate managed to get up to my house on Saturday for a short visit. And yesterday morning as Kate and I were walking into church together, she informed me that her sister, Shirley, was in the hospital -having fallen Saturday evening as she was leaving Kate's house and she had broken her hip. Terrible news to hear, you know.

Kate told our pastor prior to the service about Shirley's fall and being hospitalized and when before the start of our service, the pastor announced this news to the congregation. Shirley is very well known in our church -as well as around the community -and as soon as the pastor said what had happened to her, there was a very loud gasp from those in attendance there!

And I feel very much about those on my blogging list, those named above, as I do about my very good friends, Kate and Shirley. Comfortable to talk to each of you about many, many things and worried, upset, hurt too at times, when I know some of you may be going through a difficult patch in your life.

Friendships grow on from many types of seeds and progress on many levels too over time. And truth be told, each of the bloggers on my list should also be given this award because each of you has welcomed me, listened to me ramble and rant, loud and long from time to time and kept coming back to me, inviting me back to hear you say more too!

And, that's the way it should be whether it is in real life or a "virtual" one we form via blogging, don't 'cha think?

Peace, my friends!

Yard Sale Weekend

Ok, that's kind of a dumb title for this piece, I suppose, but let's face it, that's what it was, so I may as well call it by the proper name then. Right?

This past Friday and Saturday, there was a community yard sale here in Grassflat. And, as Mandy loves yard sales, needed to try to clear out some of the kids clothes as well (gotta make room for more stuff, ya know) then what better way to accommodate all of those things than to participate in the community-wide yard sale.

Here's some photos of the tables (and more tables) of clothes once worn by Maya or Kurtis (or Mandy's friend Nancie's two little guys) that we had for people to pick through last Friday and Saturday here in our front yard.
We had four tables lined up and the far end, pictured here, held mainly little boy items sizes 12, 18, 24 month, sizes 2T and 3T. Mandy priced the kids clothes very cheaply -50 cents per item - and this was what the table looked like late Saturday afternoon. We did have a lot of people stop by and look at things, many purchased items too, and when we started out Friday morning, the clothes on this table was piled about twice as high as shown here near to when we were done Saturday. We didn't make a fortune on this yard sale but the girls sold a good bit of stuff and what is left of the children's clothing is going to be donated to the Women's Shelter over in Clearfield in the hopes that maybe some other children will have clothes that are in very good condition -"very gently used" is probably the terminology.

I spent all day Friday sitting out in the front yard by the tables and to keep myself occupied, I was working on a table runner I started embroidering a week earlier. I finished it late Friday night and here's what it looks like. (It has this design on each end of the runner, obviously.)
Here's another shot of it -a little bit closer up. This also is supposed to have four napkins to match the runner but I ran out of the thread in the light yellow here so will have to wait a while now before I tackle the napkins.

Saturday -another bright, sunny day -brisk breeze that kept the temps from going sky-high -and again, I was in charge of the tables. Since I had completed the blue table runner the night before, and didn't have enough yellow floss to start working on the napkins, I embarked on another embroider project. This one is a table-top square tablecloth -about 35"x35" in size. It's a Christmas cloth -green with white embroidery -so with not having to worry about where this color went for this stitch and another color for these stitches, this area, etc., work on this item proceeded a bit faster. Here's what I got completed on this tablecloth on Saturday.
This is about half of one side that I got completed on Saturday. I had hoped to work on it more yesterday but didn't get around to that then nor have I had time to mess with it today but will be starting in on it again this evening.

I ordered several items from Herrschner's - a craft store, online -and these are two of the items I had ordered. I have 7 other table runners and two other small table cloths (35"x35") to work on now and all but two of these are Christmas designs. Think Christmas gifts if I can keep myself working on these things.

I had to order embroidery thread too from Herrschners because the closest place to where I live that one can purchase embroidery floss is a 37-mile drive to State College to the east or a 41 mile drive to the west to Dubois. The wonderful world of Walmart, in its infinite wisdom, has now completely eliminated any embroidery products in the Super Walmart store located 20 miles from here in Clearfield.

This really disgusts me and two of my neighbors and close friends, Shirley and Kate. For them, especially, this is a disappointment because they both like to do the stamped embroidery (which is what I do) but they also love to do the counted cross stitch which I do not even begin to try to mess with because it drives me absolutely bonkers. Makes me blind and cross-eyed, at the same time, and my workmanship shows those issues too with the counted cross-stitch! Messy! So, as much as I love the stuff that can be made in counted cross stitch, it will not be forthcoming from my fingertips!

What really sucks ya know, about Walmart's no longer carrying the embroidery stuff, is that that a few years back, they also cut back on the size of their entire crafts department. They used to carry a very nice selection of fabrics, yarns, other kits and craft items too. That is, until the Joanne Fabrics store that used to be located in Clearfield closed up and that's when Walmart began to cut back on their fabric and crafts department. A move that many of us in this region felt was really underhanded of them as well as unfair to the crafters in this region as it forces us to have to travel twice as far now to purchase any type of fabric or crafting supplies. Frankly, when the Joanne Fabric store closed down, I woiuld have thought perhaps Walmart, with no competition then in these items, would have at least kept this department at the size it was then, maybe even expanding it a little bit. But instead, they have been gradually trying to completely phase out any craft type things it seems.

People wonder why some of these hobbies are becoming a "lost art" and if Walmart's cutbacks on these products is any example, it's no wonder it is quickly fading into a craft of the past. What a shame too because any type of hand-crafted item can make such a pleasant way to relax, do something worthwhile and make a useful and pretty product that others may very much appreciate in years to come simply because it was hand-made -perhaps even specifically for the person who receives such items too.

By late Saturday afternoon, the little boy in the house had been running around the yard most of the day -in his bare feet, no less -and after supper, he looked like a regular little piggy -food smeared all up and down his body, dirt encrusted on his feet, legs and arms so Mandy brought him outside after supper -still fastened into his booster chair on one of the chairs to our dining room set -and she gave him what she calls a "redneck shower!" Here's Kurtis, enjoying getting the dirt, food and general grubbiness, sprayed off him as he sat in his seat!

What Mandy and I find really funny about his enjoyment of being "hosed down" is that in the house, in the bathroom, he hates the shower! He does however very much love getting in the tub and getting a bath though -has a field day splashing all around then!

After Mandy finished hosing him down, she turned him loose again in the yard except this time, he was naked but she just let him run a little bit, letting it "all hang out" and he was having himself quite a good old time.
Here's the little trash picker bending over, rooting in a big bin that Mandy had filled with toys the kids no longer play with. Apparently, she hadn't asked his opinion about which toys to get rid of, I guess, cause he was having a high old time, digging away, and playing with toys he'd previously been ignoring!

And finally for today, here's a picture too of my "new-to-me" 1998 Jeep that my son-in-law located for me and we arranged a reasonable trade-off of my old van with the crappy transmission for this fine unit. Bill did have to do some work to it but it was only a little bit of body work on the front of the Jeep as engine-wise, it runs fine and dandy! I'm very pleased with my new means of transportation anyway and I figure that's all that counts. Isn't it?
Oh yeah, and one other thing -if you noticed there are no pictures of the yard sale with Maya in them, that was because we sort of pawned her off for two days and two nights to one of Mandy's good friends (Jen-Jen) because if we'd have had her here while trying to do this yard sale, we would have been completely, stark raving mad, I'm sure, by Saturday night! But just to give you a little "fix" of a Maya picture, here's Maya last Sunday trying on one of her big sister's "back-to-school" purchases. Hope that Kate doesn't plan to wear this item in the same manner that Maya is modeling it, don't you?
That's it for now, folks!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mysterious

Well, my faithful few (readers, that would be) it looks like there is a phantom loose in the house and it has struck again -taken the "Monday" page for this coming week's Bushism's! I have question everyone in the house (except for Maya and Kurtis) and no one has ever even thought of touching my desk calendar, much less taking a page off of the darned thing. I know it can't be the ghost of my mother coming through and doing this because she was a closet Democrat so would enjoy the humor of these sage sayings. As a result, this week, Monday will be a "make up your own Bushism Day" then. Unless of course, your week begins on Tuesday and if that is the case, then you're ok and here's the upcoming week's supply.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 147 days left

"Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness."
--CNN online chat, August 2000

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 - 146 days left

The national poverty rate reaches 12.5 percent, and 45 milion people are without health insurance.
--August 27, 2004



Thursday, August 28, 2008 -145 days left

"And I suspect that what you'll see, Toby, is there will be a momentum, momentum will be gathered. Houses will begat jobs, jobs will begt houses."
-Gulfport, Mississippi, August 28, 2006

Friday, August 29, 2008 - 144 days left

"I said I was looking for a book to read, Laura said you ought to try Camus. I also read three Shakespeares.. I
ve got a eck-a-lec-tic reading list."
--Interview with Brian Williams of NBC News, August 29, 2006

Saturday and Sunday, August 30/31, 2008 - 143 days left and 142 days left

"It's totally wiped out...It's devastating --it's got to be doubly devastating on the ground.
--From Air Force One above New Orleans, August 31, 2006

Hopefully, next week will be 7 days worth!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rings on my Fingers, Bells on my Toes

When I was in my early twenties, I decided I wanted to get my ears pierced. This was something my grandmother had always been adamantly opposed to and so when I mentioned this idea to my mother, I was surprised to learn that she liked pierced ears. Furthermore, she even helped me to pierce my ears myself.

Fast forward several decades and today, it is very common to see both men and women sporting all types of body jewelry - pretty much the sky being the limit there now.

When my son came home on leave from his tour of duty in Germany, I was somewhat shocked to learn he had his nipple pierced. Later, when he was in a relationship with a very nice young lady but who his Dad disliked immensely, his Dad told him he should have had his nose pierced and the ring put in there.

Whether I like this fashion or not, my feeling is that if you're gonna have it, get the best product you can buy then.

Miller Time

Reading through the blogs I follow tonight, I came across a post that really stirred up a lot of memories for me. The title of this post is Carp-e Diem and was written by Terri, of Terri Terri Quite Contrary. If you go over to her place and read this post, you'll then understand (after reading mine, of course) why this piece hit home for me.

This event in my life took place 27 years ago this week, as a matter of fact. It was, I think, the only time when my kids were growing up that we were actually able to take a whole week of vacation -just my three kids and me.

I'd financed this lovely get-away for us by having a huge yard sale and had sold off bunches and bunches of "inventory" I had stockpiled away of Avon products I had purchased to use as "demos" for my customers. The yard sale had gone over quite well so I was, relatively "flush" then you could say. (Probably the one and only time during those years that I was in that type of financial state too, come to think of it.)

But anyway, I had made plans for us to go to several places during that week. First we went down to D.C. and spent a day with my best friend there and I had a chance to have lunch too with a few of my old work buddies that way. Then, we headed away from D.C. and up to Annapolis where we rounded up another old friend -Louis Seneci -who had been the boyfriend of one of my former roommates. With Louis, we headed to a restaurant out by the Chesapeake Bay where he and I feasted on hard-shell crabs and my kids -cowards that they were -ate hamburgers as they thought the crabs were just too gross. (Actually, my son did try some and found they were pretty good but he was already locked into the burger and fries he had ordered to begin with.

From there, after dropping Louis off, we headed back home for a day -so I could get my Avon order sent in on the required date. (Avon sales stop for no one ya know.) When we left Annapolis it was about 11 p.m. and I headed north towards Route 70 -knowing I could pick that up around Baltimore and once on Route 70, I could find my way back home almost blindfolded. However, of course, I had no map with me so I was just sort of flying by the seat of my pants, heading north and west and figuring eventually I would come upon Route 70. What I didn't count on though was getting into Baltimore -my first time ever in that fine city -and I hadn't a clue as to what each part of the city was like -good neighborhood, iffy or down right rough and scary. And so, at about 1 a.m., I had come upon Route 40 (another route I knew would lead me in the right direction) but Route 40 then, traveling through Baltimore took you through some pretty rough sections of the town and needless to say, I told the kids to lock the car doors and just be quiet as I didn't need them chattering at me, asking tons of questions and making me just a bit more nervous than I already was.

We survived that part of the drive, got on track then -route wise -and arrived back home here close to 5 a.m. that day. A little sleep, got my Avon order all ready to mail out and by early evening, we headed west on I-80 to Toledo, where I had made reservations at a motel to spend the night there.

The next morning, we called a lady who I had waitressed with a few years earlier at another truckstop here and who was then married to a Roadway Driver, picked her up and she went with us then to Cedar Point Amusement Park for the day.

The kids had an absolute blast at this park! Carrie tricked Clate into going on the "Blue Streak" with her by lying to him and telling him it was not a "rolly coaster" (as he called them then) and they stood in line for over 40 minutes to get on that ride, with him jabbering away to whoever was standing near them about how he was going on this ride and how it so WAS NOT a rolly coaster. Carrie told me when they returned from this ride that he was find as the car was pulling up the first hill until it peaked and then the rude awakening hit him that he'd been duped by his sister. She said he screamed at the top of his lungs at her, "You LIED to me, Carrie! This is a Rolly Coaster!" We still tease him to this day about how scared he was of any rides like that.

Mandy spent a good deal of the day rather ticked off though because she was much more daring than her brother but unfortunately, she wasn't quite tall enough to be allowed to go on some of the rides she wanted to check out. And, with Mandy -then as now -you don't want to tell her she can't do something!

After leaving the park and dropping my friend Helen off back at her house, we then started driving west again -this time to Stockton, Illinois -and the home of my kids grandparents -my ex-husband's parents and his hometown.

I drove all night and arrived at Grandma and Grandpa's house at about 7 a.m. Just in time Grandpa said as he had big plans for us that day.

The grandparents had a little tiny old travel trailer on a lot down near the Mississippi River and Grandpa had a boat -not anything fancy -just a boat with an outboard motor for fishing purposes -and he wanted to go to their camp, spend the day and night there.

That date also happened to be my son's 8th birthday so Grandpa had special plans for him and his grandson to observe the boy's birthday.

Once we got do their camp, the first thing I did was head to the little bedroom and crash!

While I slept, Grandpa took all three kids down to the river and gave them a ride in his boat. Then he brought the girls back to shore, leaving them with Grandma and he and Clate set out on the river to do some serious bonding and fishing.

Along about 1 p.m., I woke up hearing a familiar voice yelling "I caught a fish, I caught a fish!" I knew right away it was Clate so I managed to drag myself out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and outside I went to join Grandma and the girls as we watched Clate running up the lane from the river, and a more excited 8-year-old boy you would never have seen than what he was that day!

He got up to where we were standing, waiting for him and for Grandpa, bringing up the rear and Clate was pointing excitedly to the fish on a rope of some kind that Grandpa was carrying and all the while, Clate was yelling as loud as he could, dancing around and telling us he'd caught these fish -all three of them -and Grandpa was really anxious to tell us all about their great fishing adventure.

Seems the kid had caught three fish alright -a sunfish, a perch I believe and also this huge fish that has to have been the absolute ugliest fish I have ever in my life seen too!

By that time, Grandpa had caught his breath and began to relay the story of the catching of the carp.

Seems that when this old carp hit on Clate's line, it really shook the kid up. After all, he was just this skinny little kid who had never ever been fishing before, much less on a boat on the mighty Mississippi River too. So when the fish hit and took off with the hook and bait, the old reel was spinning around like crazy and at first kind of had Grandpa afraid Clate would end up with a broken thumb until he finally got his thumb out of the way of that contraption.

Grandpa said it took the two of them a little over 20 minutes of fighting this creature until they were finally able to land it in the boat. And, as soon as they got that accomplished, Clate kind of laid back in the corner of the boat, arms spread out and announced to Grandpa, "Let's go home. I'm all fished out and it's Miller Time!"

Grandpa's first question to me about Clate's words there were to the effect of wondering where he'd picked that line up from. I told him not to look at me as I was a Genny girl then and it was the kids dad who was a Miller Man!

Clate was still all wired for sound from this expedition and he then told Grandma that he had already decided too what he was going to do with this fine specimen of a fish. He was going to bring it home with us and have me freeze it, "real, real hard" and then, he planned to mount it on a piece of wood so we could then hang it on the wall in the living room.

When Grandpa heard Clate's ideas of what he wanted to do with this fish, he turned to Grandma and said "Eileen, quick! Go get a shovel and dig a whole behind the trailer and bury this damned thing!"

So, that's where the fish ended up -in a whole behind Grandma and Grandpa's camping trailer.

But after we got back home and my ex-brother-in-law had stopped by the house to get all the details on our trip to Stockton and back, when Clate told Uncle Tom about the fishing trip and catching this carp, Uncle Tom then informed him about how you have to fix carp if you are planning to cook them.

According to Uncle Tom, you have to have a big old pine board and you put the fish on that and bake in the oven for a good while. Once it's done baking, you take the fish out of the oven and throw it away and you eat the pine board.

I wish I could find the photographs that Grandma and I both took of Clate that day as he proudly held up those three fish for us to capture the moment for posterity. I have them around here someplace -I think -unless they may have been burned, by accident, the night my son managed to catch the house on fire!

That's a story for another day though. And now, like Clate was that day, I'm all tuckered out and I'm heading to bed. Unfortunately, without either a Miller's Lite or a Genesee or a Coor's Silver Bullet to my name.

And that's my Fish tale for the day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Special Day!

This date, August 19th, marks a very special day in my life.

Eleven years ago today, one of the best things ever to happen to me took place.

It's the day, back in 1997, that I became a GRANDMA for the very first time!

Although I do have lots and lots of pictures of my grandson, Alex -My Prince - I have most of them on floppy discs and my A-drive is non-functioning so I can't go in and open them.

He was such a beautiful little guy the day he arrived in the world and today, he's such a handsome young man. I'm so proud of him for so many reasons. He's intelligent, a very good student (something that totally amazes his mother at times), is learning to play the trumpet and doing quite well with that, has a terrific sense of humor (obviously he got that from ME,) and for an only child, he is actually not very spoiled too! Just a little bit, just enough spoiled as that stuff goes, ya know!
This picture is the earliest one I could locate on my computer and was taken before Christmas of 1998 when he was about 16 months old. The two little girls posing with him are the daughters of Mandy's then boyfriend. He was such a happy little guy, can you tell?

These pictures above were taken around the Christmas holidays and that's my son, Clate and older daughter, Carrie, in the upper photo and Alex and me, taken at the office where I used to work back then -at that "world's largest private weather forecasting company."
This was Thanksgiving Day, 2003 -when Alex was six years old, seated with Katie (the stepgranddaughter, then 11, and Maya, who was just a month old. This was at the home of my Dad's youngest sister -my Aunt Mike and great-great-aunt to Maya and Alex.
This picture of Alex with Aunt Mandy (doing her most favorite thing in the whole world -washing dishes -NOT) and was taken in 2005, when he was eight. You can get a little idea here perhaps about what a tall boy he was -still is -because Mandy is almost 5 ft 8 inches and he was already up to her shoulder on this shot.
On this photo, taken after the funeral for my Dad's other sister, Aunt Lizzie, the little lady in the center is our Aunt Mike, who was 89 years old at that time and she's surrounded by her nieces and nephews who were present for our aunt's funeral. Aunt Mike specifically requested that Alex come stand by her for this picture though as she thought the absolute world of him and he worshiped her as well. Present here are: Bessie Ann, Alex, me, Aunt Mike, Isabel, Skip, Mike and Margaret Ann.
This is Alex and his Mom, Carrie, taken the end of the school year of 2006. Again, you can see how evident his height is as his mother is 5 ft 9 inches tall. (His dad is about 6 ft 3, I think, so he does come by this quite honestly!)
Here's Alex with his other Grandma (Marge), his stepgrandfather (John) and me -after the special program held at his school in the spring of 2006.
Here's our team for the 2007 Autism Walk and that's Alex in the middle in front!
This was taken at the Sears Studio when we had pictures taken of all the grandkids and I loved this picture of Maya, holding on to Alex. She adores him and he does quite well trying to entertain her, keep her occupied and happy whenever they are together.
At this year's Autism Walk, that's Alex, his Mom (Carrie) and she's holding Kurtis. By the way, our team raised $2,728 for the benefit of the Autism Now organization!
June 3, 2008 -Me (Grammy J), Maya and Alex -after his school's band concert in which Alex had a trumpet solo -and did very well with it too, I must add! My Aunt Mike had to be watching him from heaven and being just as proud as punch -just as I was -because she had taught music for many years, to say nothing of him being her "pet."
And here he is -in one of the portrait pictures done of him this spring. Now you have to admit, he is one heck of a handsome young man though, isn't he?

The morning he was born, I bypassed going to work that day till after lunch so I could go to the hospital to see him and his mother. It was the most remarkable thing ever for me because although I had three children of my own and knew the fascination of one's own newborn child, seeing him for the first time was I think even more special. I couldn't take my eyes off him! I could have sat there in the room and just stared at him the whole day if I hadn't had to make an appearance sometime that day at the office on campus where I was working! Guess grandchildren do that to us though, don't they?

So there's my birthday boy -Grammy's Prince Alex -who will always hold a very, very special place in my heart as my first grandchild, first grandson too, and here's hoping today was a special day for him as he celebrated the first of a couple gatherings in honor of his eleventh birthday!

Whenever you get up here to Gram's house, Alex -your birthday present is waiting for you!

Love you, always -my most special young man -Prince Alex, you'll always be to me!

Grammy J

Powerball Lottery Meme

I don't normally like to do memes and most of the time, will tend to avoid them at all costs -especially the ones asking me to list a number of things about myself that are strange or unusual or of that ilk. But today, while reading blogs I subscribe to on my reader, I came across this one -a new one, made up by one of the bloggers I like to read - Hammer -and it struck a bit of a chord with me. Since I am always saying what I would do if ever I were to hit the lottery and a huge powerball one, at that, I figured I'd copy this one and do it for a change.

Like Hammer, I'm not going to tag anyone with it so if you'd like to participate, feel free -no obligation save perhaps linking it back to Hammer and to me.

With that said, here's my take on what I would do if I ever won a huge powerball jackpot!


You just won the mega powerball jackpot to the tune of 150 million dollars (after taxes)

1. What would be the very first thing you would do? Pay off all my debts, help my kids with their bills and build a large garage to accomodate my son-in-law and my son's desire to have a garage where they can do whatever kind of automotive work their pea-picking hearts' desire!

2. Where would you choose to live? Same house -it's been my HOME for 64 years and I love it here although I'd try to finish the remodeling work needed.

3. What kind of house would you live in? I'd build on to this house -an annex type thing, with a room large enough for a bedroom for me, plus a crafts/activity room for my computer, sewing machine, storage for my fabric, yarns, embroidery material and a huge bookcase with a tv and steroe system built-in to it. Also, room enough to put my organ in there too! This would also facilitate two more bedrooms upstairs and an additional bathroom to better accomodate the kids and all the grown-up folks in the family.

4. What kind of car would you buy? A new van-type vehicle that would hold everyone in the family as right now, all our vehicles will only hold a maximum of four and there are six of us here.

5. Where would you vacation? I would travel the U.S. in a deluxe motor home.I'd also plan trips abroad to visit the countries of my ancestors -Sweden and Scotland first, then go on to travel wherever I could that looked interesting to me to see -and I'd arrange to take my family with me too so they could enjoy the opportunity to see more than a few places in the US.

6. Would you have anything on your body fixed? I'd find a good liposuction surgeon first, then maybe think about fixing a couple other assorted body parts.

7. What kind of hobbies would you engage in? Take some classes in computer stuff -like HTML, plus learning how to work with other software, then set up a fabric/crafts store with classes available for others to learn (and me too) how to do a wide variety of crafts.

8. What charities would you donate to? Anything to benefit autisic children and their families! The Cancer Society would be another charity as well as the SPCA. I'd set up a foundation that would help people with needs that can't be met via the regular agencies -like someone gets hit with car repairs they can't afford but yet, can't afford NOT to have the work done or emergency funds to help people cover fuel costs, small potatoes to many but for those already living on the edge, it can make the difference between surviving or not sometimes. I'd donate more towards my church and various charities it supports.

9. Would you give money to your relatives? To some extent, yes. I'd help my kids, my grandchildren too by setting up separate accounts or trusts for them to see to it that they are able to manage their lives better down the road.

10.Would you run away from your current life? Nope. What would be the point there? You can't run away from "life" and its inner problems because unless you deal with them, they'll always be with you.

11. Would you continue to work? Since I'm considered "retired/disabled" now, I'd just continue with what things I am able to do.


12. Would the money change you in any way? Hopefully, it would make me more generous simply because I could afford to do more for others and I could be more open to things I currently can't participate in due to limited funds.

What would you do if you had a windfall of a great deal of money?

Million Dollar Friends

"You are never a burden.. don't ever think that. Friends need each other to pick them up when they are down and I would do nothing less. "
Dawn Drover~


This phrase was written in an e-mail received by Ann Clemmons at what she says was one of her "lowest moments, " and was sent to her by her dear friend Dawn Drover from Twisted Sister in response to a comment she had written to her in an e-mail.

This all inspired Ann to create a new award -the "Million Dollar Friend Award shown here.
If you have some million dollar friends you would like to pass this award to be sure to copy and paste the following paragraph with a link to Twisted Sister to acknowledge her words that touched me in my e-mail and I'm sure touched you.

Also include a link to A Nice Place In The Sun where the award originated. I have included both the links to Twisted Sister and A Nice Place In The Sun within the paragraph to go along with the award.


In addition, if you would like to include what a million dollar friend means to you, please feel free to do so, it will make each bloggers post interesting and exciting to read.


To pass The Million Dollar Award to your million dollar friends, copy and paste the award image along with the original paragraph below~ (click on blog names for the links)

Start Copy---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"You are never a burden.. don't ever think that. Friends need each other to pick them up when they are down and I would do nothing less. "
Dawn Drover~ Twisted Sister

A Million Dollar Friend is the
kind of person who instinctively knows what it means to be a good friend; this kind of person makes you look forward to the days ahead and fondly remember the days that have passed.

A Nice Place In The Sun

End copy------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, post your nominees and what a million dollar friend means to you. And that's it.

First off, I'd like to thank Ann for giving this award to me as well as numerous others she feels have stood beside her during some hard days she's had recently. I can relate fully to feeling very grateful to the many folks I have met and the friendships that have formed through blogging. It's such a great community -one that generally is very willing to come forward and try to help others in whatever way possible.

I'd like to pass this award on to all those folks on my Reader list but to sit here and list them individually (there are only 165 bloggers I subscribe to) would take me the better part of the day) so I'm just going to address this to everyone shown on my list in my sidebar. If your blog is listed there, then this award is being given to you because each of you, in your own special way, has become a "million dollar friend" to me!

And anyone else reading this post who feels their friends also deserve this recognition, please feel free to spread the friendship and love a bit further. Just follow the above information as provided by Ann to link it back to her and to Twisted Sister

Now, go forth and multiple in the name of friendship!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fear of Riding

The question is: Are you a nervous traveller?

That's this week's question posted by David McMahon over at Authorblog. Every Sunday, he posts a different question and then asks anyone who wants to respond to do so and to link the post back to his site.

I've not been a world traveller, not by a long shot. I've never travelled by train, flown on three occasions so not too much to write about fear of travelling in that respect.

On those three airplane flights -two being coast-to-coast and the other, just a sort of "puddle jump" type flight from the old airport that used to be located about 12 miles from here to Philadelphia where I then changed planes to complete my trip to Washington, D.C. -I don't recall being really fearful on any of them. Yes, on the first flight -the one to Philly and ending at D.C., I was a bit anxious since it was my first flight ever and I really had no idea what to expect. Would I get sick was probably my biggest worry. I do have a fear of heights too so I was initially concerned about that but once the plane took off, I found myself fascinated as I looked out the window at the earth, far below me and it didn't frighten me the way I had worried it would.

I do love to travel a bit when I can, by car. I don't now, nor have I ever really had any opportunity to take any long automobile trips but I always liked to drive so any trip could be classified as an adventure of sorts for me.

However, there is one area where I often become quite afraid when it comes to travelling in a car and that involves riding with my older daughter. That girl has the capacity to definitely put the fear of God into me, ten-fold!

She tends first and foremost to have a bit of a lead foot. That's kind of putting it mildly at times. She can also become very stubborn about slowing down too. Tailgating is another thing she often does, which scares the heck out of me as well. And now, since she has a cell phone, it's just one more distraction for her and one that really sends me straight up the proverbial wall.

Two years ago this past January, I had some health issues that the local doctor sent me to Pittsburgh to have a "needle biopsy" -something our local hospital no longer has staff and equipment to provide here -and so, older daughter said she would drive me to Pittsburgh. Mandy normally is my transportation provider on long trips particularly those involving medical issues and she was six months pregnant at that time so she really didn't want to be driving that far.

That particular trip was especially difficult for me as it seemed every 10-15 minutes, the cell phone was ringing and it was her fiance calling to check in on us -how far we had travelled since his previous phone call, asking all kinds of petty questions ya know, and just enough conversation to be quite distracting for her while driving. (In my opinion, anyway!) At one point, on the Parkway, coming out of Pittsburgh and near Monroeville, daughter was zipping along, yakking on the phone, etc, and not paying attention to the traffic (rush hour, no less) in front of us that had come to a standstill and we almost rear-ended a nice big SUV and could have created a hell of a chain reaction accident too but thankfully, providence was with us.

That, and a few other episodes on that trip caused me -when I got back home -to tell Mandy to PLEASE, don't ever make me ride to Pittsburgh ever again with her older sister at the wheel!

Another thing with that daughter and her driving is she has absolutely no sense of direction! On that trip mentioned above and all subsequent trips we've made together to PIttsburgh, without fail, every time we get off Interstate 80 at the Brookville exchange, she has to ask me which direction should she now take -east or west! My standard line to her has been for her to follow Horace Greeley's line and "Go West, Go West young woman." (Ok, his line is "young man" and I changed the sex there.)

Truthfully, I think my older daughter knows that she holds this power over me to make me nervous and rather fearful when riding with her and she loves nothing better much of the time than to do things simply to bedevil me. So I think many of the things she does while driving are done for that purpose -just to see how far she can push the envelope and scare the living crapola out of me in the process!

Kids! They never do stop testing their parents' patience I guess, do they?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Irritating, Aggrevating but yet Strangly Funny

I know, by now, listening (er, reading) to my rants about this freaking blogger reader is probably getting really old to many of you but for me, it is not just irritating any more, but it is downright aggravating. On another level -to be explained shortly -it is also somewhat funny, in the strange sense of the word "Funny."

Two weeks ago this past Friday, my reader went wacky on me. Wasn't working properly at all. Only updating a very few of the blogs I have subscribed to on my reader and also, it was not updating my own posts on my reader either.

I worked on trying to straighten this messed up thing out for like 4-5 days. E-mails going back and forth with a friend of mine who uses Reader too but even she -and she can understand most of the weird instructions in the reader "help" section too. For me, all they seem to do is totally confuse me as they use beaucoup jargon - what I refer to as
computerese -and that's a language I do not know at all!

Well, I did get the reader to work -but it was a very short-lived affair. It lasted maybe through one post I wrote and then, zapped out on me again. So, back to the help desk files, reading more, getting more crosseyed than my normal and I got it to work again. That lasted a little longer but then, it too zapped out on me last week one day. The last time I got it working, it held up for almost a week before, once again, dying on me now.

I've written several posts in the past week and until this morning, my blog was showing that it had been updated after each of those posts. Granted it took a long time for my blog to show that it had been updated -like 6-7 hours before it would update but at least, it was updating.

Or so I thought until this morning when I saw it had not updated on me overnight and I had put up a post late last night that should have been showing up long before 7-8 a.m. today.

When I clicked into my blog on my reader, imagine my surprise then where it shows my last post as being done on Monday, August 11th! Hmmm. Now it was no longer updating -again -but also, it was picking some date out of the bloue to show as my last update to my blog too.

Go figure.

So today, after I got home from church, had another cup of coffee, read the paper and tried to do the crossword puzzle (not much today though as I think my brain is really totally fried now and I could barely answer any of the clues today.), I started to try to work on this stinking reader/feedburner issue again.

First I came across some instructions that said I should go to the Feedburner page and "ping" my blog. Ok, I did that and it told me to "hold my horses as this blog had just been pinged a half-hour earlier." Now how the hell could that be? I hadn't pinged it!

Then I found another piece of instruction that said if pinging it didn't work, to go to the Feedburner site and on their instruction page, to click on the "Resync" button. Well, apparently whoever in my house is ripping off a goodly number of the Monday pages from my Bushism desk calendar is also pulling things off the Feedburner site because I have yet to locate anything that looks remotely like a place to "resync" my blog!

The last instruction blurb I read said that possibly my blog has lost its validation and I needed to go to the Blog Validation page, key in my url and hit enter and it would validate my blog.

Imagine my surprise when I did that and the blog that it said it validated was one with this text in the url -- "Autistic Dad". Now, look at the url for my blog and tell me, do you see anything in my url that comes even close to resembling "Autistic Dad?"

That's what I meant about this being funny now, but in a strange sort of way.

So now, I am back to square one once again.

I've posted several questions on the Blogger forum sties over the course of the first week of these problems as well as posting questions on the site feeds forum and another forum referred to me by another blogger. So far, I have yet to receive any response to any of my queries about my problems.

Now, granted I may not post every single day -although I do try to do that -but I don't think in the almost two years now since I started my blog that I have gone a full week without posting except perhaps the week in October two years ago when I was in the hospital in Pittsburgh for a week!

Thankfully, some of my really loyal readers do realize that and also, since I've tried to make as many of my readers as possible aware of the updating problems I am having when they don't see new posts, they try to remember to click into my blog to make sure I don't have some new "stuff" there.

But let me just say this, when you read that installing Feedburner is as easy as pie, "one, two, three" and presto magic, you're off to the races, don't believe them, not for a NY minute!

Why? Because they lie!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it too - mainly because it is true -every last bit of it!