Sunday, December 30, 2007

Looking back at 2007

This message will self-destruct, yadda, yadda. Go for it!

And - Happy New Year!!!

Who Shared This One?

Because I am really majorly under the weather right now with this quite lovely, full-blown head cold, I did absolutely nothing today but try to sleep every chance I could.

I guess that really isn't true to say I did NOTHING because I did camp on the couch with a nice warm blanket and two remote controls - one for the tv, the other for the DVD player -and my video set my grandson Alex got me for Christmas on the table within my reach and I watched all four of the dvd's in the Season 3 set of The Office! So, from time to time there was a lot of very hoarse giggling coming from my section of the sofa as that program never fails to crack me up.

Mandy got me a bottle of the Mucinex DM yesterday so I've been taking that, plus some aspirin from time to time to relieve the headache side affects of the cold and today, she replenished my supply of cough syrup to sooth the old throat a tad now and again. Now, once my eyes stop watering constantly and I can see fairly clearly again -and the spigot that my nose has become closes up again, I hope I will be semi-back to normal - whatever the heck that is - by Monday. Not that I have big plans for Monday cause I don't - just camp out here at home, be safe, maybe enjoy a nice Black Russian drink around midnight and then, probably play on the computer.

Today though, I got very little done in the way of reading my favorite blogs - read maybe 20 blogs, if that. But one blog I did read I have to tell you all to be sure to click in and read the newest post on A Twist of Humor. The title of the post is "Uncle Albert's Christmas Tree" and I really think you would enjoy the story Mike Cook has written there. If you've never looked into his blog, do so - read back through his writings - you'll find some really good stuff there.

Mandy had big plans today - she rearranged Maya's bedroom, got her little child-size bed all set up for her and had figured on moving Kurtis upstairs then tonight, into the crib and Maya, out of the crib, into this toddler-type bed. There was a whole lot of noise upstairs for about two hours, then it got very quiet but I see the reason -or one anyway -for the quiet is that little boy is now, once again, sleeping nicely in his playpen, adjacent to Gram's computer desk. Apparently he wasn't overly keen on the idea of sleeping in the crib and Mandy must not have felt up to staying up all night listening to him wail and rant and cry either. Sometimes, the easy way out is really the best - at least for one's eardrums and nerves at any rate!

And I do believe I am going to head to my nice little bed now too and see how much more sleep I can get in now too.

But before I do, I'd really like to know who the heck is the guilty party I can blame for passing on this lovely head cold to me. Considering how many of my blogger friends all seem to be complaining of the same ailments I am experiencing right now, perhaps the internet has finally found a way to spread a "Real" virus online after all - and not one that affect the computer with code and stuff - just makes the owner/operator feel like crapola!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Check it out!

Ok - supposedly, this is the little video that Kate -the 16-year-old made last week of lovely little and bad Nina, the cat. Nina is in the window, directly behind the tree and ready to pounce on something - who knows what. That is what you should see here -provided this darned thing downloaded -or is this called "uploading" properly. If it doesn't work, then I just wasted a whole freaking 55 minutes trying to wait out the lovely dial-up or blogger or whatever is the really slow party involved here. And yes, to my cousin Ray, I am about ready to call the cable company and have them install the high-speed connectivity!

Friday, December 28, 2007

This Is Ridiculous!

Ok, I know dial-up is slow, problematic - very -in many ways, but are all these issues I've been having tonight ALL from dial-up?

I thought it would be fun to post a little video that Kate - the 16-year-old here - made last week with her new digital camera. It's just a cute little clip -about 5 maybe 10 seconds maximum of Nina, the cat, perched in the windowsill behind the tree and looking around, ready to make her attack on something. It's definitely not of the caliber of a 3-4 MINUTE video like a u-tube or something like that.

I have tried three times now to upload this little video to a post and ended up canceling the process each time because frankly, I got plain tired of waiting for it to load. This is using Mozilla browser and each time, it just sits there and says it is "contacting Blogger" and I am waiting and waiting and waiting -anywhere from ten to thirty minutes with no change in the message at the bottom of my screen. How the heck long does it take to "contact Blogger" anyway?

Just wondering if anyone else has problems of that nature with dial-up-blogger-firefox, etc.

So, for now, you won't get a chance to see Kate's film work in the video of Nina or also in the little video (about the same size) she did of Kurtis running around the living room the other night. It's not that either of them were ultra great -not material for the Funniest Home Videos or anything like that - just cute is all.

Add to those problems the fact I am not feeling up to par at all tonight - either have some kind of allergy, a sinus infection, or I'm getting an good old fashioned head cold but I feel like crapola at any rate. I'm not running a fever -not warm to the touch anyway - but I am cold - just can't get warm so I am getting these mini-chills but just in my arms. Go figure! I know, my system is just plain weird isn' t it? Add to that my left forearm up just above the elbow is stiff and very achy sore all day today too. And it's one part of my body that's never suffered any type of prior injury that could flare up -no old "football" wounds ya know! LOL

Guess it will just have to suffice to say I am truly getting old and decrepit, aren't I?

Hell of a way to go!

Time for me to pop another Mucinex DM tablet now and pray it begins to kick in and give some results so hopefully, I won't end up with a deep, nasty cough on top of all this stuff - something which also usually happens to me anytime I get a lovely little cold these days too.

I think I'll go dig out a big heavy old afghan, curl up with it on the sofa and put the DVD's in of "The Office" that my grandson (Alex) gave me for Christmas. At least Bill got the DVD player fixed and it's working A-ok now after Maya's little fun-fest a while back when she was feeding loose change into the dvd and vcr slots - her own form of "pay per view" tv ya know!

Nite All!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Friendship -Through the Years

Today I ventured out of the house - into the damp cold that makes my joints ache twice as much as they were already doing to me - for a special occasion though. I met up with three of my old friends from my school days for lunch!

Although I did take my camera with me, the girls stated very emphatically that NO PHOTOS today. Reluctantly, I conceded to their wishes for the time being. Perhaps at our next get-together they won't be quite as camera-shy.

Two of these friends have been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. Well, actually, one is my oldest friend. My friend Kate and I go way back -and I do mean WAY back there too! We grew up two doors apart and now, as adults still live two doors apart -except that she now lives in a house across the street and down from me.

My friend Rose now, she's been a part of my life since the summer between 1st and 2nd grade when her parents bought the big old house next door to my family's home. It is probably a toss up whose mother was more like a second mother to me - Kate's or Rose's -because I practically lived at both their houses when I was growing up.

Rose comes from a very large family - 13 children - 11 girls and 2 boys -and my kids are now related to some of Rose's nieces and nephews too as my ex-brother-in-law was married first to one of Rose's nieces. Kate's family was a bit smaller - only five children there. But for me, as an only child, I reveled in being around either of both of these girls when we were kids because of there being lots of other kids around most of the time then.

The third member of our group is Linda - who grew up in a small neighboring town - Winburne- which is about five miles from where Kate and I live. (Rose now lives just on the outskirts of the village where Kate and I reside.) Kate and I first got to know Linda when we were in elementary school through the summer Vacation Bible School programs we all attended for two weeks every year immediately after our regular school year ended. When we entered 7th grade though, we all then attended the same school - the old Winburne Elementary School. We went there for 7th and 8th grades and then, from 9th through 12th grades, we attended the old Cooper Township High School. However, at the start of our Sophomore year, our township school system merged with four other townships here to form a new school district - West Branch Area School -but the first class to attend the new school together didn't happen until 1963-64.

I thought maybe I could find some old photos -along with some that are a bit more current -of all three of my good friends -just to show you have much we have or haven't really changed over the years.

This picture was taken around 1954 -in the yard of Rose's family -the house you see in the background is Kate's family home. That's Kate on the left with the light colored hair and plaid dress and Rose on the right. Judging by their outfits, I think it is probably safe to say this was most likely taken on a Sunday afternoon because that would be about the only time you would have found any of us dressed like that back at that point in time. Most of the time, we ran around looking perhaps a bit like orphans with clothes that rarely were color-coordinated "play clothes" the way many kids dress today! A whole different era back then ya know!

This picture - while not the best - is one that is fairly recent -and from left to right are three of my classmates along with the gentleman who taught Pennsylvania and Ancient History when we were in high school. Pictured here are: Art Askey, Durvin Wick, my friend - Rose Little Wick (she is married to Durvin) and on the far right, our teacher, Thomas Wertz. Mr. Wertz also happens to be the older brother of our friend Linda, who met us for lunch today.

This photo was taken at our class reunion in 2002 and this is my "oldest" friend, Kate - my life-long friend is more accurate and probably sounds a little nicer to say it that way. In the background, you can see Rose on the left and the lady to the right of Kate is Romelle Turik (I can't recall her married name right now) but Romelle's older sister is married to a cousin of mine on my Dad's side of my family tree.

Although I knew I didn't have any photos of Linda from when we were in grade school, I thought I at least had her senior photo in my picture collections here. Well, I have it but something has happened to it in that the photo will no longer open for me. Bummer! But I do have this fairly recent photo of Linda and a former co-worker of hers. That's Linda on the right, with the dark colored vest and you can take my word for it that she has not changed but very, very little over the years!

And, lest someone see this and think -gee, why didn't I include some old pictures of myself too - hang on to your hats folks, I'm doing that here next! So brace yourselves for some shockers.

This would be me - in first grade! Now, isn't that just too cute though? And those who know me will look at that and wonder, what the heck happened to her over the years. Hard living, folks! That'll do you in every doggone time ya know!

I have very few photos of myself - for obvious reasons - I do not like to have my picture taken at all. So this one is a fairly rare one -and "relatively" recent too. The guy standing by me is one of my good and dear friends from the days I worked as a waitress at the truckstop in Snow Shoe - a long, long time ago! His name - Gerald Peter Pfahl - from over near Scranton. Gerry - or "Oink" as was his CB handle - drove tractor trailer for Consolidated Freightways until they shut down a few years back. He was one of the biggest practical jokers around too but just a heck of a nice guy, overall.

And, finally - just for grins and giggles - I thought I'd close out with this picture. See any resemblance there between this little girl and the first grader pictured just above? Yeah -this is my little Princess, Miss Maya, who does look a lot like me in many of the old photos I have here. And, for that matter -so does her Aunt Carrie and her cousin, Alex - you definitely can tell we are related and furthermore, you can also tell that it is coming through from my Dad's side of the family as well!
That's enough of a trip down my own little memory lane -and a bit of a future glimpse for you too!

Oh -almost forgot this - the"girls" and I decided we are going to make this a monthly event now - getting together for lunch on the last Thursday of the month at the "Key Largo Restaurant" near here. So any others from our class that might be reading this -mark that on your calendar and come out and join us - noon sharp that is - last Thursday of the month! We'll be there as the "Keeping In Touch" (KIT) Club!

Some New Things

What's one of the worst things a grandmother can possibly have?

One is a camera and the other -probably an internet connection and especially a blog!

Tonight, I'm going to entertain you with a few "Grandma" moments here --just a couple pictures taken of my grandkids mainly -with maybe a few thrown in of the kids, just for good measure. However, because my kids were very photogenic when they were youngsters, they don't seem to have quite as much picture appeal of late -or at least not compared to the grandkids right now.

The above picture here is, of course, my littlest sweetheart - Kurtis! And, if you look closely at this picture, you should be able to see the lovely mass of curls he has there. That was how he looked this past Saturday. But after tonight's bath, he looks considerable different because his Mommy cut off his curls! Those beautiful little curls are now history but, if his hair grows half as quickly as did his Uncle Clate's I'm sure they'll be back again sometime in the future.

Here's Kurtis now - without the curls - and believe me, trying to get a shot of him where you could see a bit of his cute little face and also see the absence of the curls was no easy feat for me! He's definitely a "mover and a groover" and just keeps bouncing all over the place.

You can see -I think - the curls are missing. This was about the best shot I was able to manage of him where you could see him, the little bit of a side view of where the curls used to be and that isn't just a blur from his dancing around while I was trying to take some shots of him. Mandy was amazed that as much as he does tend to bounce and squirm around, she was able to get the curls snipped of and do it fairly evenly too.

This is Christmas Eve - at the beginning of the "gift exchange" - note, the room is fairly orderly. The boy in the front is my older grandson, Alex, who is 10 -my now "big" little prince. Then there is Maya and Robert, who is my older daughter's fiance. In other pictures taken that afternoon -yes, we did our big dinner then gift exchange in the middle of the afternoon Christmas Eve because Alex had to leave just before 4 p.m. to meet his Dad to spend the rest of the day and Christmas Day with his Dad and his paternal grandparents.

This is my older daughter, Carrie - mother of Alex - leaning on the doorway between the living room and dining room on Christmas Eve as she watches the kids doing their "thing" -getting presents, opening presents, trying not to act like little animals too in the process. And this year, I have to commend all of the kids because they really did a great job in the polite and neatness department! Not that they didn't have a lot of trash and ripped up wrapping paper abounding, but it was relatively neat. A big improvement!

This is my son - what can be seen of him here anyway. Keep in mind, I am far from a professional at taking pictures and really even more of a novice with this lovely new camera I gave myself as well. My son got me a book on Photography for Christmas though -mainly because his roommate got him a nice little digital camera for Christmas and he figures we can learn "together" about taking pictures. Well, one can hope, can't we?

Here, the action was picking up a little steam - that's Robert handing out gifts to Sierra, Shane and Alex. Sierra and Shane are the two middle stepgrandchildren who live about six miles from here with their maternal grandmother. They will be moving sometime in January to Tennessee (sorry, don't know where in Tennessee as no town has ever been mentioned. So this will definitely curb the amount of visits with them here.)

On the right here is Kate - the 16-year-old in this household. She got a nifty little Kodak digital camera for her birthday which was on the 13th of December and has even figured out how to photograph mini-videos with her camera - something the instructions say I can do with mine but so far, I haven't tackled that job. She's on vacation this week - spending the entire week - until next Tuesday - in Clearfield with her mother.

This is Mandy with Maya and Kurtis on Christmas Morning as they opened their "Santa" gifts. The gifts received the day before were from "person to person" -if that makes sense. Christmas Morning, the gifts under the tree then were just for Maya and Kurtis and these were left by "Santa" during the middle of the night sometime. All of this is a variation of what Christmas was like here when I was a kid. There would always be seven children present, plus my grandparents, my Mom, two of her brothers and their wives -so at least 14 people and once in a while, my Mom's younger sister and her husband would come home for Christmas too. One year, 1961, all of my aunts and uncle were here but four of my cousins were already married then so they were not present. That year, there were 21 of us packed into this living room! This year, there were six children and seven adults for a total of 13 people in the room. Somehow though, when my aunts and uncles and their children were here, it seemed like so many more people present than it does with just my children, grandchildren and me - wonder why that is?

This is Maya on Christmas morning with Kurtis' combination motorcycle/rocker. It's cute in that you can leave the rocker base on it or take it off and the kids can ride it under their own "foot"power. Maya insisted that she had to wear her helmet though before she could sit on it and "ride" it - such a safety conscious little girl that she is.
Of course, she also doesn't want to concede that this motorcycle is actually her little brother's toy as everything - regardless of what it is, who it is intended for -as soon as it enters this house, it is now Maya's personal property you know! I think she finally decided though that this was better suited for Kurtis when the rocker part was off and she tried to ride it but found her knees were dragging on the floor! And, of course, that is the lovely Nina, the explorer cat here who has to check everything out too!

Here's Maya, after all the gifts opened -looks pretty tired there too, don't 'cha think?

And here, from me to you, from all my family here too, here's hoping everyone had a beautiful, joyous and blessed Christmas and that we all will enjoy the happiest of New Year's to come in 2008.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Let's talk! Ambivelence for openers, ok?

Boy, here's a mixture for you - great vibes from last night -kids, great dinner, beautiful candlelit church service, hearing one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs done in Swedish at our late-hour (10 p.m.) church service. Lots of gifts -if that is what your Christmas is all about (mine isn't but it's nice) and just lots and lots of good will, peace on earth feelings abounding.

Well that was true until this afternoon anyway. Ok, the bulk of the feelings remain the same and a few others good will ones enter in -like reading Bee's blog post and learning her son has checked himself into a rehab program. Amen to that. If that were all there is to it that is. Now, pray that Bee and Sarge's son has the right momentum going for him that this time the rehab is what he needs, what Bee and Sarge (and everyone who's been reading her or his blog) have all been praying for will take place. For all my obnoxious posts, my comments that at times linger on the side of not so nice, I am, believe it or not, a firm believer in the power of prayer. Just let me explain something here though. Prayer does work -it's just that it doesn't always get answered in the same time span as WE would always want it and it isn't always answered directly the way WE would like it to be addressed either! A prayer is answered in the Good Lord's own time and in the manner HE deems at that point in time to be answering his call and ou needs, simultaneously -which might not necessarily be jiving at that moment, you see. Well, that's my interpretation fo the way God answers our prayers anyway.

Now, on to bigger and better (maybe not in some instances here) things!

Christmas Eve was great! A little off-balance to my system perhaps -ok, backwards to my system to be blunt about it. Christmas is a time of not just tuning in to our religious beliefs, but also to things we have ingrained into our systems too as "traditions." And for me, my traditions, per se, were Christmas Eve SHOULD be (I put it this way as this is what I grew up with) a quiet supper consisting of a very bland meal - salted, soaked, cooked, boiled codfish, boiled potatoes with a dabble of butter, white cream gravy and peas in a white cream sauce. No color, nothing fancy at all to the meal as this is a pre-celebratory event. Family arriving, preparations to go to church at 11 p.m. for midnight services. After church, come home to a table set with various "treats" - jellied veal and vinegar, herring (or sill) in different sauces, pannakaka (baked custard), breads (white Swedish kaka and Swedish Rye), cheeses - sharp cheddar and Swedish Bondost -for openers -along with variations of nut and date filled breads and cookies, cookies and more cookies! Oh, ok along with that maybe a little bit of Mogan David Wine too! Hey, this WAS my family tradition, one that I grew up with. Today - not quite the same!

When I was a kid, the above foods came out after church at midnight. THe light meal was supper before Christmas eve church - the big Christmas dinner came around 3 p.m. on CHristmas Day! It -dinner - usually consisted of a big ham and potatoes, lots of veggies, etc., followed by cake, breads, pie, -you name it for dessert -whatever your tastebuds had a hankering for generally was present then.

Yesterday, my kids and I had our big dinner about 2:30 p.m. after which we had our gift exchange -something that as a kid never happened till about 1:30-2 a.m. Christmas morning -after church, after our midnight meal -then gift exchange. Priorities, people, priorities you know. Well priorities now are different. That was then, 50 plus years ago and this is now. Which consisted of baked ham (compliments of Mandy's winning it at bingo two weeks ago - my grandmother would roll in her grave thinking of food in her house -at a holiday like Christmas too -that came from "GAMBLING!" perish the thought! But, in addition to the ham, there was gravy, mashed white potatoes, sweet potatoes with pineapple and pecans, green bean casserole, succotash, coleslaw, watergate salad, homemade rye bread, blackberry-nut bread and date-walnut bread -and for anyone with a bit of space leftover and a sweet tooth -cookies galore -like about 8-10 different kinds of cookies. There was no "after-church meal" last night and today's food consisted of veggie tray with dip, ham and summer sausage, cheeses (sharp cheddar, pepper cheese and "Bondost" - a mellow, soft Swedish cheese (I love it), crackers, breads, cookies -all pretty much "self-serve" when you feel like nibbling. There was no big DINNER today! All was, as I said above, backwards. Why was that you may ask? Well, because for openers, my older grandson could only be here with us until 4 p.m. when Mandy had to take him to the interstate exchange about 4 miles from here to meet his dad there so he could be with his dad and his dad's girlfriend to go to church with them last night and spend Christmas Day with his dad and his paternal grandparents today. Then the two middle stepgrandchildren were here too until about 7:30 p.m. when they had to return to their home with their maternal grandmother as well. So, come time to go to church last night, older daughter had to go home prior to that because she works midnight shift and though she had last night off, she'd been up for well over 24 hours before hand and was, well exhausted is the word that comes to mind. But Mandy, Kate and I went to church for our 10 p.m. candlelight service and my son and his girlfriend managed to get there in time for the service too. Considering the fact my son has claimed to be a non-believer in organized religion, it seems a lot of that belief or non-belief also hinges on if he has a special friend at the time who believes or non-believes, which way the wind may blow in his direction. I'm not complaining there, just making a statement you know! I'm happy he was there regardless of what motivated him this time or the last time or the time before that in years of recent past! Hope for everyone ya know and take it when it comes too is my belief there!

Ok - a little bit of digression there - but not really -it all fits -eventually!

Fast forward to this afternoon and the phone call from the non-present-parent -good old dad, who can do a myriad of sins of the years and be immediately forgiven for them (or so it does seem at times) now that he got sober 13 years ago. Oh, and now that he also has notified all three children that he is planning on marrying again -for the 5th time, might I add -come spring -oh, sometime. Am I ambivalent there? Yes and now. Do I give a rip that he is planning to marry again - hell no because drunk or sober, he can still be the most obnoxious so-and-so on the face of the earth to live with -although sober is better.

So what the heck am I rambling about you ask? Well let me tell you. It is about lovely father who is feeling so wonderful, so generous, so full of the spirit that he and his "girlfriend" of the current time anyway -hey a lot can happen in Nevada between now and April ya know - because he and his girlfriend du jour did a good deed!

Seems, as he explained this to daughter#2 -i.e. Mandy -on the phone today, girlfriend works at a grocery store in "Nevada" -someplace (not to be specificall identified here) and a co-worker of hers who doesn't have a pot to whiz in, has a little girl who wanted some kind of Disney Princess car or some such, which the mother could no way afford to buy for the kid -but father/grandfather (to end all of course) and girlfriend decided to buy it, put this car together - I don't understand why it needed towing but according to the story line I got, it did -anyway, today Wonderful father and lovely current girlfriend, delivered said car to this well-deserving small child -amidst cheers and thumbs up and all that poppy cock and gee, how good father/grandfather felt because he did something so giving, so wonderful for some poor very poor, deserving small child somewhere in the Nevada desert.

Ok- now you see me in all my not-so shining glory! A very, apparently non-forgiving soul who can't forget how many years OUR children went without, how WE have three children, three grandchildren, three step-grandchildren too -who often don't get what is tops on their wishes for Christmas but you feel so super wonderful because you were able to give one child who had nothing, something. Do you all understand here why I have very ambivalent feelings about this whole transaction here?

On one hand, I am very grateful that 13 plus years ago you found it to your best interest then to get "sober" - to stop with the incessant indulging in alcoholic beverage consumption. Yes, that was a great thing and I AM, trust me, I am very grateful, very thankful that that happened. I do wish you could say the same about indulging in other things - smoking little items that are also a drug might I add. Ok, they aren't the same but well -they dull the senses regardless, don't they? 'Nuff said, I hope!

So what is it that annoys me about his benevolent gesture this Christmas season? Simply that he let 35 years go, slide right on by without a thought! And now, ok - a phone call here, a visit east for maybe a week once a year is supposed to make up for 35 years of being missing in action shall we say as a parent, now, as a grandparent and I am supposed to rejoice?

I do rejoice on one hand that maybe the dad I told my kids they actually had, actually existed all along -just not there for them when they really needed him! But you say - so do I for that matter -better late than never -true enough. But it still doesn't quite do enough for me to erase all the things our three children missed too over those yearsl. No, they didn't miss all that much with respect to materialistic stuff -they might argue that point here and there, but overall, no, they got as much as was affordable and what they absolutely HAD to have.

So, again, why did this news flash this afternoon totally tick me off? You tell me and we'll all know!

But then, this all came about via a conversation with my son -after he had conversed with his dad, after Mandy had too -and one of two kids was really excited about Dad doing this and the other kid was "ok, you did a "feel-good" moment, you told me about it, and now, what do you want me do do with YOUR feel-good moment anyway." You guess which kid had the "I'm so happy for my dad being such a generous old fart" now and which one was saying "thanks for telling me about that Dad, but in the general pecking order of who ranked and who didn't -well, Mom came and still does come first?"

I don't know if older daughter got the same type of phone call today - and I AM NOT saying he shouldnt have done what he did -not by a long shot - but damn, is it just me or would you think too, as I did -still am for that matter - than hey, buddy, you have three children of your own, three grandchildren too, and three step-grandchildren as wel - don't you think maybe they might have appreciated a similar gesture then -or even now -from you? Or am I being selfish?

And, lest you-anyone- thinks I am being prejudiced based on the male sex. etc. let me conclude with this exercise in great mothering skills. The stepgranddaughter here was, at 11:30 this morning anticipating that her mother - the non-custodial parent here -would be picking her up -"momentarily" (yes, that is the quote from the 16-year-old) that would be her Mom coming to get her to spend Christmas day with her two half-brothers and her aunts/uncles, etc., etc/. Anyone care to make a wager when the "mother of the year" arrived to pick up said daughter? Try 4 p.m.!!! And, as testimony here as to how forgiving children can be too, that was fine and dandy with the stepgranddaughter because, after all, her Mom did come and get her and she will spend the next week with her Mom.

Excuse me if I go barf here but to me, something is wrong with this picture.

Am I somehow jaded in my approach? I can't say how I would have reacted to my mother had she left me waiting like that. I can say how much I cried as a child when my Mom drove off heading 100 miles north to where she was working and beyond where I was living then -without her -but with my grandparents and with my beloved aunt and uncle. I can't imagine my Mom taking any longer than absolutely necessarary for her to be with me -on any occasion and especially on Christmas. Just can't fathom what feelings, what emotions may have been going through the stepgranddaughter there today

And, as my son and I were discussing the issues about his dad and his feelings of generosity - well, as I so succinctly (I thought then) I put it - "F*** your Dad!" I apologize here to whoever my expression of my sentiments du jour may offend, but -to put it all another way perhaps "C'est la vie!" Yep, that pretty much does sum it up for me!

To Dad - yes I am happy you and your fiance or whatever she is to you at this point in time -not trying here to fe facioutious -but just giving dues, credit -and maybe perhaps a bit of responsibility due too where it maybe belongs -etc., ok, your kids although they are in their 30's and early 40's now too -are willing to be happy for you and your chosen other to do good somewhere along the way, would also like to see you willing sometime to endure a few aching joints and bones (arthritic stuff here folks) to be with them sometime over the Christmas holiday --maybe see that you also do believe too in some of the same principles that Grammy believes in too? Is that too much to ask?

My son informed me today that there is however a pecking order -that he, his sisters do appreciate what their Dad did felt good about, etc. this season but when push comes to shove, who was it wo told him, his sisters too long ago to "forgive, forget" what your dad did -or didn't do for your at this point in time.

And, ya know -I did that - I told them all along, don't be angry at your Dad for not being here, don't hold this or that or "whatever" against him because he was ill, very ill, for many years with an addiction. And now, at times, I feel my words to them have come back and are biting me in the ass! Yes, they are!

Anyone else here ever feel this way?

Please, feel free to express yourselves and how you would react, respond to similar circumstances too!

It makes me feel very angry, for openers, very sad too - that their dad after 35 years, suddenly gets the spirit, and felt sooooo damned good about doing something nice for a child he didn't know and yet, over that many years, never gave a thought to the children that were his -gives only fleeting thoughts it seems, to the grandchildren he coud so easily be enjoying, giving memories to them too for years to come.

Tell me -am I wrong in feeling very ambivalent there today -and sometimes, everyday too?

Bless you one and all - believe in the joy everlasting, peace (hopefully to come) now and forever! Amen!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Last Week

Here it is - Christmas Eve - and that means there are only eight more days worth of Bushisms to lead and guide us into the coming New Year.

So, I'm going to post all of them - from Christmas Eve straight through and including New Year's Eve today.

Monday, December 24, 2007

"It would be a mistake for the United States Senate to allow any kind of human cloning to come out of that chamber."
--Washington, D.C.; April 10, 2002

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 - Christmas Day!

"I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well."
--Washington, D.C.; January 29, 2001

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together."
--Bartlett, Tennessee; August 18, 2000

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"You've also got to measure in order to begin to effect change that's just more -- when there's more than talk, there's just actual -- a paradigm shift."
--Washington, D.C.; July 1, 2003

Friday, December 28, 2007

"First, we would not accept a treaty that would not have been ratified, not a treaty that I thought made sense for the country."
--On the Kyoto accord; interview with The Washington Post; April 24, 2001

Saturday and Sunday, December 29/30, 2007

"As far as the legal hassling and wrangling and posturing in Florida, I would suggest you talk to our team in Florida led by Jim Baker."
--Crawford, Texas; November 30, 2000

Monday, December 31, 2007 - New Year's Eve

"A lot of times in the rhetoric, people forget the facts. And the facts are that thousands of small businesses --Hispanically owned or otherwise --pay taxes at the highest marginal rate."
--To the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Washington, D.C>; March 19, 2001

And there you have it - more words of wisdom as always, straight from the DUBYA!

Take them, remember them as you celebrate this beautiful season - and hope for a better time ahead with words that will at least (hopefully) be grammatically correct, if nothing else. Right?

Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Oh Tannenbaum, Oh Tannenbaum!

Here it is - in all its lovely barely decorated glory!

This my friends is what a Christmas tree looks like after it has been beaten about by the cat, who not only like to knock it down as it travels from the window ledge to the floor, but also relished batting the ornaments about till they landed on the floor. And then, it wasn't bad enough to just knock the ornaments off the tree but it had to bat them all over the downstairs as well. One morning Mandy got up and there were five ornaments laying on the kitchen floor -and Nina (the cat) was hoving over them too!

There are somewhere between 15 and 20 ornaments no longer on the tree -pick any spot that looks barren (yes, I know -there are many) and that's where there had at one time been an ornament hanging there but five nose dives to the living room floor -plus Nina's gentle caresses to several of the more delicate ones, and this is what you are left with after ten days of having the tree "on display."

Now you can understand much better I'm sure, why I think our best tree bets for next Christmas would be to hang it upside down from the ceiling.

Not only have I personally been busy here with baking things but also with trying to remount the tree, stand and ornaments all together, to get it to stand upright again and then, gathering what ornaments survived the trip and finding places to put them to plug some of the many holes now present in this poor tree. Thank goodness it is not a live tree or there would be NO needles at all, I'm sure, left on it after having been knocked over so many times.

And this is the current leader in the "Let's destroy the Christmas Tree Contest" currently underway at our house. Nina -sweet, innocent (NOT), lovely little cat that she is has three completions in the "knock the tree down" aspect compared to poor little Maya, who now has a tally of two completions in that department. Hopefully, this contest will soon end -with one, preferably both of them deciding it's no fun to do this any more -at least not this season.

Friday, Mandy and I made a little deal - she stayed home with Kurtis and wrapped presents while I escaped for a few hours to do some grocery re-stocking and a little bit of last minute shopping for other things as well.

I came home with a lovely little present for myself from this trip. I broke down and purchased a digital camera - Kodak's M783 -with 8.2 megapixels and I can't remember now what the numbers were for the zoom feature but I think it is 3x optical and 5x digital. Now all I need is someone to explain what the zoom feature numbers mean - along with how to fully use this camera and all the little nifty features it has. The two photos posted here - the tree was taken with my new camera and the picture of Nina - much better photo than my tree efforts I must say - was taken by Katie - the 16-year-old, who also received a digital camera for her birthday last week. She's done quite well in picking up how to take pictures with her new toy - gotta give the kid a lot of credit for that, ya know. She even did a little video of Kurtis trotting around the house and she also did one of Maya out in the front yard playing in the snow the other day but last I checked, she hadn't taken it off the camera and put it on the computer as yet. I'll be happy as a pig in doo-doo if I can learn to take a decent photo with my camera from time to time.

While I was out Friday afternoon, I was able to stop by the nursing home to see my aunt and cousin. Part of me is very glad I was able to do that and then, there is a part of me that almost wishes my last memories of my aunt would not have included seeing her in the state she is in now. So weak that she could barely flicker one eye open for a second and even then, it is highly doubtful that she was able to focus her vision at all. I sat and held her hands in mine - first time I've done that where her hands were actually warm as the last couple of visits when I would hold her hands, they were as cold as blocks of ice. The nurse told me she had been given an injection for the pain shortly before I arrived so that would make her ability to try to rouse even more difficult too. I hope this doesn't sound cold and callous but you know, I have to pray that her passing will not be something just lingers on and on with her in so much pain, not knowing anyone around her either. She has endured so much already in her lifetime that I do hope the end is as peaceful for her as it possibly can be.

My son-in-law had a busy day today - working on a van the guy he helps out part-time at the local used car sales lot had acquired took him almost all afternoon and most of the evening. Then he had to do some work on Mandy's car and finally, he had to take my van up and fix a tire on it that has been leaking for the past month or two. One his way home with my van, he had a run of bad luck in that three doors up from our house he hit a deer. When he came in and told me what happened, I asked him how badly the van fared in that collision and he said the front end is all covered with blood --but that there were no dents! He had come home to get the big flashlight and was going to walk up to the neighbors house and check around to see if the deer was mortally wounded and laying in one of the nearby yards some place. However, after he did that he came back empty handed so it may have made it away from the road and probably far enough that he wouldn't be able to find it in the dark -even with the flashlight. I think he was kind of thinking -and hoping -he'd be able to retrieve it and then clean and butcher it up thus filling our basement freezer with a good assortment of venison.

And that, my friends, is pretty much the extent of excitement that's been going on around my home today.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Apologies Around

My apologies to all those bloggers I normally visit -or at least try to -daily as today I barely got around to reading but a few of your posts.

Of course, I do have an excuse - one of them is that I was busy mixing up more cookie dough and I did get two batches of cookies baked as well. One of those two is completed - the other still has to be frosted but that will have to wait till most likely, tomorrow evening. So will the sugar cookies in the fridge waiting to be rolled out, cut and baked and the chocolate-pepperment cookies that are chilling -ready to be sliced and baked. I even have a batch of dough made up that -hopefully -will be date-nut pinwheels. Yes, I broke down and am trying once again to make those little suckers that so far have always bedeviled me, would roll out properly, wouldn't hold together to bake and if they did make it so far as the oven, then when baked would be so rock hard that it would take a pot of coffee to have enough liquid to dunk 'em in and make 'em edible. No, they are not my forte in cookie baking, that's for sure but I'm hoping since I had such good luck earlier with the molasses cookies and the sugar cutout cookies I made that this will be the year that the worm will turn - in my favor - for a change.

Today wasn't the best of days for me in other ways though. Lots of other things happening that created just a tad of havoc in my normally calm and placid life. Yeah right! Life with Maya is far from calm and placid - trust me -even on her really good days although on those days, most of her antics are just things that make you lose track of what you were doing because you just have to sit back and laugh.

The speech therapist was here this afternoon to work with Kurtis. She also had been the speech therapist who worked with Maya for two years prior to Maya's entering the pre-school program for autistic children over in Clearfield so she knows all of us in this household pretty well by now. When she arrived today, she had a Christmas gift for Kurtis as well as a little present for Maya - a most appropriate gift for her too it is. Maya absolutely loved it!

A Princess Magic Wand! Cutest little thing you'd ever hope to see. A nifty little wand with a star on top and this little button just below the star that when Maya presses it a cute little melody plays and the star twinkles. Really, it is very cute, it is! I loved it today. By midnight tomorrow night though, I might be singing a different tune after listening to Maya press that button probably non-stop all afternoon and evening tomorrow -again. But, if that wand and that little button to get it to play those few bars of music will appease Maya come 4 p.m. tomorrow when Mandy and Kate will have to leave for work and if it will appease her enough to ward off the meltdown she frequently has when they go to work, then trust me, I will never, ever, ever, ever bitch or complain about that little bit of music! Really, I promise I won't!

This evening, shortly after I had fed Kurtis his supper, he was in the playpen and had dozed off for a little snooze and I was trying to take a few extra minutes of a break to read some of my favorite blogs when things just went to Hell in a handbasket here. The crashing sound from behind me told me the tree had just been toppled over again!

This time, the culprit was the little princess -not Nina the cat! She just had to go over by the window that the tree is standing in front of to watch her dad plowing out the parking area a little better. Just HAD to do that ya know! Even though I had been telling her to please stay away from there, from the tree -nope, had to be there! Ok, I know she's only four years old and doesn't understand these things that well but still I am getting a little tired of uprighting the darned tree a couple of times a week now. The poor thing is a tad lopsided to begin with and all these trips to the floor and back up again - picking up ornaments, trying to find a branch where I can hang them again is getting very old.

So I have decided something tonight. Next year, provided we have a tree again, I am going to tell Bill to drill a couple of holes in the ceiling and we can hang the tree, upside down from the ceiling, in the same manner the Swedes of old supposedly did with their trees.

You never heard of that? Well, my neighbors three doors up the street from us always had a small hemlock tree (a live one) that they would hang upside down from the ceiling light over their dining room table, all trimmed with little ornaments and even candles! My grandfather said when he was a small child that was what they had for their tree back in Sweden too. With my family's track record with fire and stuff like that, I don't think I would want to try that with the live candles on a live tree but according to family folk lure, that's what they did way, way back then.

But I am thinking very seriously that to hang the tree from the ceiling would solve our decoration problems -between the kids and the cat -at any rate. Don't you agree?

Now, another thing tonight too and this one is going to be a difficult thing to deal with for me, for my immediate family as well as my extended family. My cousin phoned me tonight and told me she'd heard from our cousin who has power of attorney for our aunt -the one who, with her daughter, is in the nursing home about 24-25 miles from here. According to him, our aunt is deteriorating quite rapidly -almost comatose by the sounds of things - he can't rouse her, just sleeps and the last he saw her when she was awake, she no longer recognized him. So, in his interpretation, he feels it is just a matter of days.

This is something I know, from the reality of life, we all have to face the loss of family, close friends at various times and yes, it is difficult whether it is expected or a sudden death. It's never easy. And yet, with my aunt, as much as I do not want to say goodbye, a part of me says "Please, do not let this go on and on."

My cousin has asked that our cousin who lives in Phlipsburg (about 12 miles from me) and I please get together and he wants us to write an obituary for our aunt. He also wants us to put in it every accomplishment we can think of that she achieved in her lifetime because as he put it, if ever a lady deserved to be recognized for what she did, surely it is this beloved aunt of ours.

I couldn't agree more!

If only everyone had the blessing of having an aunt like ours - an "Aunt Mike" -could, in my opinion, make a world of difference throughout the lives all around the world.

She's been one of my staunchest supporters all my life and most especially since my Mom died. She's had faith in me when I was at my lowest points and feeling totally wrung out of what little bit of confidence I'd had. She's been an inspiration to me, to all three of my children - to any of her nieces and nephews for that matter.

She's tried to understand me as much as she could although we have had a few disagreements over the years on a few things - mainly politics and geneology. She has never been able to understand my interest in learning about our family tree. Her opinion about that has always been "What the Hell good does it do to go hunting for the names of a bunch of damned dead people?" But twice in the past 8 years I've been able to show her that keeping some of these records was a good thing after all -the most recent being about two years ago when she called me and asked if I had, in those family tree records, the name of the locations where she and her siblings each had been born. Yes, Aunt Mike -I'd told her, I have that information and she was happy then that I could tell her where all her 9 brothers and sisters were born. The other time was when I located a cousin of ours from her mother's side of our family who happens to live over in Clearfield -about 20 miles from where she lived. I had made arrangements with him to meet him one afternoon at my aunt's house -as a surprise visit for her.

Keep in mind, I had never met this man before -never knew he existed until about 5 years ago as a matter of fact but when he came to the kitchen door at her house, I was amazed at how much he looked like my Dad's next older brother, my Uncle Alex. Same shape of the face, same way he combed his hair -which was snow white then just as I remembered Uncle Eck's was and also, the same ice blue sparkly eyes like my all my aunts and uncles on my Dad's side had! After he introduced himself to Aunt Mike, she remembered then which of her uncle's families he was part of and got out boxes and boxes of old photos to go over with him -a very enjoyable afternoon for her, for me and hopefully, it was for him too. After he left, she looked at me and asked if I'd had a part in getting him there that day. I said yes, I'd done that. And then, because I am ornery -same as she was too -I said, "See, something good does come from searching for the names of a bunch of damned dead people, doesn't it?"

She shot me a look that at first I thought oh, boy - she's gonna let fly on me and then she smiled and said, "I guess you're right."

The political thing, I was raised with my Mom's parents and my grandfather was a staunch democrat, very much a union coal miner too - his idols in life were Franklin D. Roosevelt and John L. Lewis. My Dad's family on the other hand were very much the opposite -I used to joke that most likely none of them had ever heard of a split ticket and had probably all voted straight Republican all their lives. When I was a child, my Mom used to warn me every time we went to my Dad's family homestead that if anyone said anything at all about politics I was under NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER to say, repeat anything I heard at home! It was a creed I taught my kids too when they were growing up - DO NOT REPEAT ANYTHING I SAY ABOUT POLITICS to your aunts or your uncle there!

And for many years, all went smooth as glass. Oh my uncle did figure out back in 1976 that I was not a registered Republican but he did kind of brush that off because heck, at least I was registered to vote and well, the democrats were in that year in PA politics so he thought it might help me in my job hunting a bit then. (No, it didn't but that's a whole 'nuther ball game I suppose.)

But four years ago this fall, I had stopped at Aunt Mike's -popped in for a quick visit and as I was getting ready to leave she said something about good old DUBYA and I don't know what came over me, what possessed me but when she asked me what I thought of him I blurted out "I just don't like the man!" WOW! Was that ME who had said that? It was one of those moments in time when as soon as you've said something you can feel your hands wanting to reach out and grab that one word or the hole bloody sentence -in this case, the whole sentence -and stuff them back in your mouth if it were possible to do that. Oh yeah -eat those words, baby!

She flashed me a look that said there was fire in her eyes and her whole system was on high alert! "And JUST WHY don't you like HIM????"

Not wanting to argue politics, platforms, party lines, etc., just wanting to escape, make a speedy retreat, get out of Dodge fast ya know, and to maybe placate her a bit, I told her I just can't handle the way the man talks. That, you know, I betcha his wife has to cringe every damned time he opens his mouth, with her being a librarian, educator, etc., and that I figured Aunt Mike, as a teacher herself, would perhaps see the logic there in my line of thinking.

She kind of harumphed a bit and I did make a really fast exit -breathing a sigh of relief out in my car that I had escaped with my life and limbs intact after that gaffe you know.

That happened on a Thursday afternoon and the following Sunday - a mere three days later - as I was cooking supper for my older daughter and her fiance, the phone rang and Carrie answered the telephone. I could tell right away who she was talking to but thought nothing of it till Carrie handed me the phone and whispered to me "What the heck did you do to her now?"

When I got on the phone my aunt says "You remember when you were here the other day and you said you didn't like President Bush? Well, I got to thinking about that and I've made a list here of several reasons why you should like him" and yes, she proceeded to read off a list of about 10-12 or so reasons why, in her mind, I should be happy to have the DUBYA as our fearless leader.

Obviously, for those of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time now, you know her reasons were not enough to sway me from my original line of thinking though, don' t you?

I tell these stories -little ones about her - to keep alive the memories in my mind of how feisty she -and her older sister could be at times. Both of them -tiny as all get out (always made me feel like a giant and more clumsy, awkward than my normal when I was around them because they were both so petite. Not that I am THAT tall - I'm only 5'6" but Aunt Mike was only about 5'1 and Aunt Lizzie, my older aunt, was only 4'9" so next to them, I was tall. But they were both so much taller than me in so many other ways - both of them overcame so much, were both very intelligent women although Aunt Mike rarely would admit that -she always felt she was not smart at all. Both were strong - fighters in their own way - stubborn too, as the day is long. Ok, in that respect I guess I know where I acquired that trait -as did my kids -although I do blame their stubborn streak on their dad, not just me. Both my aunts were teachers - elementary teachers - Aunt Lizzie taught first grade for years and years and Aunt Mike taught second grade for many years at the same school as Aunt Lizzie. The things they would do for their students - above and beyond the call of duty really -well, by today's teachers standards and regulations they did go all out anyway. But they cared, they really cared about the kids that entered their classroom.

One boy in particular, they both took a shine to - felt terrible because he didn't have clothes that were decent, that fit, that were warm, weatherproof and they bought him coats, jeans, shirts, boots, shoes -took him home with them for supper and eventually Aunt Mike took him into her home and raised him like a son. One would think a story like that should have a happy ending there wouldn't you? But in this case it didn't. I don't remember now how long ago it's been -but somewhere in the late 80's or maybe early 90's he got married and his wife, for whatever reason I don't know, apparently absolutely hated Aunt Mike. I'd say it's been at least 10 years -probably longer than that since he has seen Aunt Mike. And that, I know for a fact, hurt her very, very deeply as she loved that kid with all her heart!

If you're wondering why I'm writing these thoughts, memories now - I have to do this. I have to start to clear my mind, to remember how she was, what things she did for me, for others in the family, for my cousins, our children - and especially what she did for her own daughter too -when the doctors all told her that she would be so much better off if she put her in an institution. That was 50 years ago and she never listened to a word they said but went on to fight like the tiger or she-bear she could be when she got riled up over something.

Her daughter was born severely handicapped - mentally and physically challenged. Although my aunt would place the blame on the physician -with some degree of truth to that -but in reality, the cause of my cousin's problems was the RH factor blood type. She was conceived prior to the development of the drug, Rhogam, which is injected into a mother who has been pregnant and either just delivered a baby or even if it is a miscarriage -to prevent the antibodies that develop because of the RH factor and blood type incompatibilities in subsequent pregnancies. My aunt had lost a baby prior to having my cousin, so the antibodies had a chance to build up and attack the fetus. That, plus the fact there was a foul up with her medical records and the doctor did NOT have her listed as RH negative which didn't surface until later, after my cousin's birth so she was not automatically given a blood transfusion immediately upon delivery. Although it is doubtful that transfusion would have changed everything in my cousin's life, it might have made a slight difference -but that's the unknown factor there too and one that my aunt devoted the rest of her life to caring for her daughter.

As my ex-husband always said, if a child has to be born with the issues that Jane has, it is a shame they can't all have a mother like Aunt Mike. And I so agree with him on that!

So bear with me please. I've got a lot of things left to do to get ready for the holiday - probably no more than any of the rest of you but for me, well I'm operating at a bit of a disadvantage now in that my mind is more distracted than the norm. I may get around to everyone's blogs -I may not - it just depends on a lot of variables. But if I don't, I will get back to you eventually -just want you all to know what's going on here and that I haven't forgotten anyone - just may be somewhat preoccupied by a lot of other things for a while.

And in case I don't get a chance to post much between now and who knows when -I don't want to forget one thing here.

I'm wishing each and everyone of you reading this post tonight that you have a joyous and blessed Christmas -celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and not just Santa and the gift thing - but sharing the love, the spirit of the holiday with your own families near and far -wherever they may be. And that come the New Year -that it's the happiest one ever!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Late Post

I had planned to post this on December 7th - you see how much attention I pay to dates now don't you - and I don't remember what happened but I didn't get it done then. But I thought about it again today and decided since it wasn't exactly a patriotic post it wouldn't hurt then if I put it up now, like almost two weeks after the anniversary, would it? I certainly hope not.

This is a true story - couldn't have made this up if I'd tried ya know.

Back in October of 1979, my Mom died. My ex-husband and I were separated at the time and I decided I was going to move into my Mom's house, which had been put into my name about 13 years earlier. My Mom's house -which had also been my Grandparents' home - was right next door to the house my ex-husband and I had built so as moves go, it sure wasn't that much distance to be traveled.

But, considering all the things that went wrong, I sure am glad it was as short a piece as it was too.

Prior to moving into the old homestead, I had an electrician come in and do some rewiring work - adding outlets in the bedrooms, the living and dining room, sunporch and kitchen . I had him put in special outlets too that would handle the larger refrigerator I had, my freezer and the electric stove I planned to get to replace the old gas stove Mom and my Grandmother before her had used for probably at least forty years or more.

The kids and I started moving clothes and stuff over, drawer by drawer, bags, boxes - you name it for about a week prior to when I actually planned to move in here. My former next-door neighbor, Susie (whose older sister was married at that time to my ex-husband's brother) came over and with her and my older daughter helping me, we moved the furniture over here and put Mom's old furniture in the other house.

I set the date when we would actually physically move in here to be December 7th, 1979 and the day before that, I had a delivery of fuel oil set up to fill the tank so we'd have a full tank of heating fuel to begin our residency here. The 7th of December I had all kinds of things scheduled to be done - the cable guy was to come and install the tv cable line. I had purchased a new refrigerator from a local furniture store which was to be delivered on Dec. 7th as well as a new stove from Sears, also to arrive that day. The sales rep at Sears had assured me their delivery personnel would remove and totally disconnect the gas stove and tanks and install the new stove for me.

The first item to arrive was the refrigerator. It was slid into place beside the freezer I had managed to get moved over -thanks to my daughter and the neighbor's daughter -plugged in, no problem. Then came the guys from Sears. They quickly disconnected the old stove and the tanks, put the new stove in place and turned to me asking if I had a "pigtail."

"A what?" I asked, unsure I had heard them correctly. They explained to me that an electric range needs to have a "pigtail" which is a heavy-duty electrical cord to connect the range to the 220 volt outlet I had had installed.

I was still confused.

"You mean to tell me that the stove has to have this type of cord to operate and yet, it doesn't come with said cord attached?"

The deliverymen both grinned at me and with a tad of cockiness in their voices, said "Nope, you have to order that and purchase it separately."

Great, just great! Here it is too late in the afternoon to get over to the Sears store and purchase a pigtail but then, a flash of genius hit me. "Does it have to be a 'Sears' pigtail or will one attached to any other stove work too? I asked them. And, I was told that would not be a problem if I happened to have a pigtail lying around, they could use it to hook things up.

So, I went next door to the house I was moving out of and removed the "pigtail connected to it, brought it back to the house and the guys hooked it to the stove and plugged it in.

I turned the stove on to check it out and to my surprise, nothing - not one single thing happened. What the heck? A brand new stove, old pigtail, but no current apparently. So I called the electrician to explain the situation to him and he said he'd be right down.

Meanwhile, as all this was going on upstairs in the kitchen, the cable guy (No, his name to my knowledge was not Larry) was down in the basement running the cable wire to get that installed for the kids and me.

All of a sudden I heard him mutter "Uh oh. I think we have a problem." and I ran to the cellar door to see what was going on there and the smell of fuel oil was wafting up the steps to greet me.

Another What the heck moment as I descended the stairs to see fuel oil running out of the one branch of tubing that hooked into the furnace. Seems the Cable guy had accidentally stepped on that piece of tubing which in turn, had snapped off, right at the hook-up site into the furnace. Oil was rapidly running across the basement floor and down into the drain in the next room over of my cellar.

So, I had to rush upstairs and call the furnace repair guy who came down, looked at the situation and announced he didn't have a valve with him or at his shop to use on the tubing -he would have to order it and it wouldn't be in until at least the next day. He ended up grabbing a five gallon bucket, let it fill with almost five gallons of fuel and then rigged up a hose from the bucket to the furnace so we could have heat for the house as well as hot water till he could get the part and get it put on there the next day.

The Cable guy called his boss and explained to him what had happened. By that time, over half of the fuel oil I'd had delivered the day before was gone - down the drain. The entire house smelled to the high heavens of fuel oil too. But the owner of the cable company assured me he would pay to have a full tank of fuel delivered to me at his expense.

The electrician then finally arrived and it turned out the only problem was that when he had installed a new circuit breaker box and put in the new outlet to accommodate the range, he had neglected to turn the power on to that breaker switch - a minor problem, corrected in about five minutes.

But that's house my first night back in my homestead, the house where I'd made my entry into the world 35 years before, began!

It was, for me, kind of like Pearl Harbor on a smaller scale, all over again!

And now, with these two little grandchildren here, getting into all kinds of things all the time, there seems to be a revisiting of Pearl Harbor on some scale or other almost every day!

And ya know what - I wouldn't have it any other way!

Monday, December 17, 2007

What the Heck?

Alright! Time for some answers here.

What's going on with Blogger and Firefox?

If I open my blog in IE, it opens up with all the items in my sidebar that are supposed to be there.

If however, I open it in Firefox, at least six of my "major awards" (No I haven't received a centerpiece "woman's leg" floor lamp yet, but you all know what I mean there I figure.) will not open properly. It will display the name of the award and perhaps who gave it to me and the date but no picture!

Now what the heck causes that anyway?

I find it very, very annoying and I'm betting you would too if it happened to you.

Any suggestions how to correct this situation and also, any ideas who to go to and complain up one side and down the other about it. I don't have the time to go fiddling around -especially not with dial-up and its lovely snail's pace for openers -to get all of these fixed. There are at least six of these awards that are not showing up when I use firefox but, as I said, they all come through in IE.

Thanks for listening to me grump, grumble, piss and moan.

Closing to the End (of the Roll)

Only two weeks to go and 2007 -and the lovely Bushisms of the day will be history -in all respects. Unless one of my dear sweet children is kind enough to get me another Bushism's of the Day calendar for 2008. Now there's a thought kids. Keep that in mind that Mom doesn't have any aversions to a nice handy little gift like that!

So, with all that said and done, here then -for your reading pleasure of the week ahead's wonderful pieces of wisdom spoken sometime, somewhere by the loverly DUBYA -a week's worth of the Bushisms!

Monday, December 17, 2007

"The best way to relieve families from time is to let them keep some of their own money."
--Westminster, California, September 13, 2000

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

'I know there's a lot of young ladies who are growing up wondering whether or not they can be champs. And they see the championship teams from USC and University of Portland here, girls who worked hard to get to where they are, and they're wondering about the example they're setting. What is life choices about?"
--Washington, D.C.; February 24, 2003]

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease."
-- Gothenburg, Sweden; June 14, 2001

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"The United States and Russia are in the midst of a transformationed relationship that will yield peace and progress."
--Washington, D.C.; November 13, 2001

Friday, December 21, 2007

"I'd rather have them sacrificing on behalf of our nation than, you know, endless hours of testimony on congressional hill."
--Fort Meade, Maryland; June 4, 2002

Saturday and Sunday, December 22,/23, 2007

"We're still being challenged in Iraq and the reason why is a free Iraq will be a major defeat is the cause of freedom.
--Charlotte, North Carolina; April 5, 2004

Now, don't you just feel so much better knowing our country, our security, our economy -why, our "everything" is just in such capable hands - and held by one with such a stunning vocabulary too?

I know I sure do! Yeah, right.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Worship at the Chocolate Altar

Boy, what a lazy day here!

I woke up about 8 a.m. - actually fairly wake anyway considering some of the hours I tend to keep. I think I went to bed around 2 a.m. last night - quite early an hour to retire if one looks at my usual hours and sleep patterns. (I know - sleep patterns? You have sleep patterns?)

What woke me up at 8 a.m. though was the phone ringing and by the time I managed to get up and out to the main house to answer it, Mandy had already arrived. Phone calls that early in the morning, when the weather is crappy, when my son is still on the highway someplace, who knows where with his big truck, are a bit scary until I learn it is Deb, our next-door neighbor. She wants me to print out some information she e-mailed me yesterday so she can take it to church, print it out there and pass it out to the Youth Group for their upcoming program sometime in the holiday season I guess.

Coffee made, I sit at the computer, check my e-mail and a few other things. I try to read a few pages in the book I started reading last night then - "The Last Promise" by Richard Paul Evans. So far, it is pretty much a nice, fairly easy read and I hope it continues along in that direction.

Looking out the window this morning it looks not very inviting there. It's obvious by the appearance of the snow that fell over night there was also some sleet or freezing rain involved too because you can see the hard crust glistening atop the snow, on the vehicles all parked out front too. There's no evidence of the township plow having been down our road as yet either so no way am I going to venture out and see if I can make it out of town with my vehicle. I didn't lose anything anyplace that makes it imperative I try to manipulate a car on roads like this.

As the morning progresses - one by one, the rest of the family wakes up and ventures downstairs. My son calls to check in and let us know his progress returning to his home terminal from his trip this week to Denver. He was in Indiana then - about 30 miles from the Ohio line and anticipating he will be "home" around 9:30 this evening -provided the road conditions don't deteriorate any more. It's going to be a very short day off for him if he does get home by 9:30 tonight as he has to be back to the terminal by 7 p.m. tomorrow to begin this weeks' runs then. Hard work but it beats the hell out of unemployment!

By 11:30 I decided I needed a bite to eat so I fixed myself a scrambled egg sandwich which, in turn, had the affect of putting me into a need for sleep mode so I decided to oblige that need by going back to bed and then, proceeded to sleep most of the afternoon away. Well, I needed that big old snooze as I'd gotten the short end of the sleep component for the past three days in a row so was making up for lost time I guess.

This evening Mandy and Bill are to go out to dinner in State College with his boss and the boss's wife. Frankly, I think they are nuts to venture that far -across Port Matilda mountain and then up and over Skytop to get to State College. Port Mountain highway (Rte 322 here) has a reputation of not always being that nice to traverse in wintry weather conditions so let's hope they've done a fairly decent job of clearing it.

Mandy tried to slip off and go get a shower -alone - but alas, the power that is Maya wasn't about to allow that to happen. She hears the sliding doors to the shower and she's there, ready and willing - waiting - to hope in the shower with her mother. Good thing she likes bathtime isn't it? Sure is a switch from how a lot of kids her age can be about that subject too!

So she insists then on getting dressed - an outfit of her choosing - which this time is a really cute little dark blue print number, gathered skirt under a high bodice to which she insists on adding patterned knee socks in an aqua and pink color scheme. Ah yes indeed, she does have a "passion for fashion."

Then, her Dad decides it is his turn to lock himself in the bathroom which works for a while until suddenly Maya is banging on the bathroom door, hollering "Daddy, Daddy! Help me, help me, help me!" Finally, he opens the door and asks what she needs help with and she says "Open door, I has Pee!" Well, okay now! Sounds like a good need and reason to call for help to me!

Mandy and Bill by this time are ready to leave and now comes the crap shoot of whether Maya is going to accept their leaving the house and be nice or if she is going to go bonkers and ballistic with me, screaming, kicking, going into meltdown mode. One never knows how she's going to respond so I was on pins and needles for a little while when they left but seems now the storm is going to by-pass this house tonight as she cried very briefly, came and sat in my lap telling me how she needed "chocolate, Christmas chocolate" no less and that seemed to be the item that turned the tide there too -averting potential disaster here.

And for that substance, yes indeed, I am now and will be forever grateful!

Maybe this evening would be a good time to bake some more cookies - I've got my eye on a recipe that has a maraschino cherry buried in the dough and then the baked cookies are (which is a chocolate batter by the way) are dipped in chocolate, not once, but twice.

Sounds like it might just be the ticket to have something like that on hand for future use when "Mommy and Daddy" have to leave a certain little girl with me, don't 'cha think?

I hope so anyway!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Question?

I have a question for anyone who might have had a link on their blog to a poster known as "Walks Far Woman" and whose blog was called "Kissing The Dogwood."

Anyone know what happened to her?

She hadn't posted in a couple weeks I think it was and then, the other day when I was making my rounds and came to her blog, it was gone! All that is there now is a message that the "Authors have taken the blog down."

Boo Hiss! I really enjoyed reading her writings, understanding her position on so many different things and now, poof, she's gone.

If anyone has a clue as to why she stopped blogging, I sure would appreciate any explanation there.

Thanks -and here's hoping she decides to pick up and start in again because she had a really great blog.

The Latest!

This past Thursday was a big day here as the stepgranddaughter celebrated her 16th birthday. Ah, yes -now the problems begin big time I suppose as she is taking Driver's Ed, plans on getting her own car with earnings from washing dishes and learning some cook duties at the restaurant in Clearfield where Mandy works (Daniel's Fine Dining.)

Mandy and Bill went together with Katie's great-aunt, Cindy, to get her a digital camera for her big day. So, she now says the camera will be close at hand for at least the next month as she experiments with it. She downloaded the photos she took on Wednesday and Thursday to the computer and I have taken the liberty to steal two of them and post them here. This one is, of course, the little Princess Maya.
I think those couple little dots on Maya's chin were either droplets of chocolate milk or maybe some crumbs left behind of some cookies she had prior to going to bed.

And here is a picture Katie took of Kurtis. He was in his playpen, looking up at her when she took this. I cropped it out and used the "Spotlight" feature on the Kodak easyshare software. You gotta love those big, big blue eyes of his though, don't 'cha now?

He has to be just the snuggliest baby ever! As soon as you pick him up, the first thing he does is to try to burrow his head against your shoulder and just cuddle up to you. Then, while in that position, he scans the area around him until he zeros in on something that apparently looks appealing for him to get into and the squirming begins till you let him down and away he goes -toddling off, looking for trouble!

If you recall, two weeks ago after a trip to see the ear/nose/throat specialist in Dubois, the doctor could not do a hearing test on him because he said his ears had a lot of fluid in there. So he was put on some antibiotics to clear that problem up and also, was sent for an x-ray of the nasal-sinus cavity plus he had to have blood work done to run the first allergy test - just to see where he was on some allergy scale.

Well, yesterday, Mandy had to take him back to the specialist to see if they could do the hearing test. It was you could say at least partially successful -they got it done anyway -but the results weren't all that clear because of difficulty getting him to focus.

The upshot of the visit though was that come Monday morning now - December 17th -Mandy has to have him over at Dubois Hospital around 6 a.m. and they are going to insert tubes now in his ears. According to what the doctor and technician working with Kurtis Friday morning told her, his eardrum is not formed correctly -where it is supposed to be at least rounded or peaked, his is flat and apparently that is what they believe is causing some of his issues with the hearing. And I'm thinking if he has that much problem there with excess fluid in his ears, perhaps that also causes some of his balance issues. He walks, tries to run, and for a little guy, he does fairly well but yet, for as long as he has now been walking -about 4 months - he is still often very bumbly and kind of doddery -if you follow my descriptions there -so perhaps this ear fluid has some bearing on the balance issues he seems to have too.

Let's hope it clears up at least a few things for the poor little guy!

I know one thing for sure, the last prescription for the antibiotics he was given, we noticed a change in his sleeping habits almost immediately. He started falling asleep easier and fewer times throughout the night too where he would wake up - and wake me up too (of course), fussing like crazy. So we've both been sleeping a bit better anyway.

I just wanted to share these pictures Kate took of her two youngest siblings. I thought she did a pretty good job with them considering she'd only had the camera less than 24-hours at the time she played around and took these two photos. Now, if only Santa would bring Grammy a nice digital camera for Christmas too - wouldn't that just be loverly!???

Now I have to go as a certain four-year-old is about to drive me bonkers, getting into all kinds of things in the bathroom from the hair "tangle-free" spray, to body lotion to some kind of glitter stick (I have no clue what that thing is for but it looks capable of making one hell of a big mess) and try to keep her occupied without destroying the first floor of the house between now and when it is time for her to go to bed. If she gets too contrary, she may just find her bedtime hour has changed from 9:30 to 7 p.m.!!!

Later, folks!