Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Helping Hand

Monday night, while watching the Evening News on the Johnstown Channel (WJAC-TV 6), my daughter, Mandy and I watched as a story unfolded that touched both of us very much.

A couple from the Johnstown area, Tammy and Mike Atterbury, were featured in this particular report about the impending addition due to arrive in their family. The Atterburys were expecting the arrival of their first child in June and just learned that they are not having one child, but rather there will be four babies - quadruplets!

My daughter and I were both really surprised at how cool, calm and collected both the prospective parents seemed to be, especially after we learned some of the issues facing them.

Relatively new to this area of Pennsylvania, they moved to Johnstown back in 2005. Mr. Atterbury is employed as a commuter pilot but the pay is so low that he had to take on a second job plus, with the news his wife is having quadruplets, the doctors have ordered her to be on bed rest which means losing her income. The financial factors are one thing to cope with but also, they have no family nearby to help with Mrs. Atterbury while she is on bed rest as both their families are in Kansas.

Anyone who has had ONE child knows all too well how quickly the expenses mount for baby items needed - bassinet, crib, car seat, plus gowns and sleepers, undershirts or "onesies" and of course, diapers - to say nothing of formula costs. Multiply that by four and you've got expenses rivaled close to the national debt!

The father had calculated with four babies, if each one uses 10 diapers per day, they will need 1,200 diapers a month. Car seats are necessities today too - required by law and are far from being an inexpensive item to purchase.

To assist this family, there is a fund that has been set up through the First National Bank - at any Johnstown branch -("The Quadruplet Fund") where donations can be made or, those who might be able to donate new or "gently used" baby items and who live near the Johnstown region can drop these off at the Galleria Mall office.

My daughter looked at me and said, "Twelve hundred diapers a month. WOW! That's a heck of an expense right there. Wouldn't it be nice if we could maybe have our church or some community organization sort of just "adopt" this family and have a baby shower, of sorts, asking people to donate a package of disposable diapers? If we could even just get 30 people to do that with a package of 40 diapers, that would cover one month's supply and would help a little, wouldn't it?"

My thoughts were that yes, that would be a tremendous assist there but we live roughly 100 miles from Johnstown so how could we possibly do something like that. However, the more I thought about this the more I thought why not give it a try.

So, my daughter and I decided with or without the backing of our church or any particular community action oriented organization, we're asking anyone who reads this and would like to help the Atterbury family be able to welcome home their four new babies later this year, to print out this posting and pass it on to those without a computer and internet service or to refer the information via blog and websites to ask for help for the couple.

Anyone wishing to participate in the "Diaper Shower" can send a package of diapers to us at our home and we will make sure it reaches the Atterbury family or, if you want to help but don't want to be burdened with shipping a package, our thought then would be to send a gift card from either Walmart, K-Mart, Target - any of the nationwide big stores like that - to us, in the name of Tammy and Mike Atterbury and we will see to it that they receive them also.

Or you can contact the WJAC-TV 6 news department online and request more information about the couple and their needs.

If you'd like to do a really good deed, for a couple in need you can contact us by e-mail, found by my profile or via the comments section on this posting.

Wouldn't this be a great way to lend a helping hand to welcome four little ones in to the world?

Maybe you have an organization in your region that would be willing to take on helping the family too - or perhaps your church. Why not see if they'd be willing to help out? Or, talk to friends, family, neighbors and see if they're interested too.

By working together, I think we can do more than just help the Atterburys meet their diaper needs for one month don't you?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Order Placed!!!

OK - I did it! I spoke to the guy at the Computer Shop near here today and we discussed my wants/needs in a new computer and prices, etc., and the order is in!

He will be putting it together over the weekend so it will be completed Monday and he will deliver and set it up for me next Tuesday!

Here's the spec sheet of what I will be getting:
AM2 - Athalon 64 3500
1024 MGS DDR2 (Dual Data Rate Ram)
250 Gig harddrive, 5 year warranty
DVD RW (Burner) Dual Layer
supercase - silver and black (no big deal there)
speakers, keyboard and optical mouse
17 in flat screen monitor
Windows xp home
They also install "Open Office" which has Word, Excel and Power Point - the 2003 version. I already do have Microsoft 2000, with those three programs, plus Access, Publisher and Front Page.
Panda Titanium Anti-virus
floppy disk drive (because I have a ton of floppies)
and a 3 year warranty overall.
And, he will transfer my family tree files, documents, etc., and get me started on resetting up my e-mail program too! (I hate webmail programs and have used Eudora since I got my first computer cause I can file so many things away relatively easily.)
If they EVER get the setup in this area for DSL, it will cost me about $160 more for the stuff that will be needed to get that hooked up then!

I don't know if this is the absolute best deal ever but it sounds like a decent deal to me compared to what it would have run me for a unit comparable through Office Depot or one of the other big box type stores and they wouldn't do any set up either! It would have been up to me to make sure I had everything connected in the right little ports and compartments, etc and that probably wouldn't be the best idea for me or the computer - or for the tender ears of my two little grandchildren to hear Grammy cussing all over the place because she is lousy at following diagrams and directions!

Any one care to comment - please, feel free!

But I am so excited! I can hardly wait to have a NEW computer!

What things are different for the user when you switch from having dealt with Windows 98 for 8 years over to Windows XP anyway? If anyone has any pointers for me there, feel free to drop them along my way as well.

Now, I'm wondering if I'll even be able to sleep tonight. Or, will I be able to sleep at all next Monday and Tuesday night once I get things set up, you know?

It's sort of a belated Christmas present feeling for me!

But before I close out for tonight - here's the Bushism for tomorrow, January 31, 2007
"Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat." - Washington, D.C.; September 17, 2004

Different Interpretatons

This is not meant to be a political entry - although some may deem it that way --but really, it's not. It's just my interpretation of some things that some folks don't particularly like to hear.

Let me explain a little background here first.

A group I belong to has been debating back and forth for several days now who would be a good presidential candidate next year. (This is not, by the way, a political topics group.) Some have said they like Hilary, others, Obama, or Condeleza Rice have been mentioned too. Then it sort of evolved off somewhat to the question of whether this country is ready, willing and able to take one of two giant leaps - either elect a black president or a woman to lead us.

Then, as an offshoot of those two discussions, some began talking about marriage and children - what constitutes a happy marriage, is marriage a necessary thing, are children the best thing since sliced bread, is someone who marries and has children selfish or is someone who opts not to have a child selfish. All really big questions for sure and some which can create some heated debate too.

For a while today, I was afraid the message boards were going to catch afire because one lady commented that some people choose not to marry because they don't care to inflict themself on another person. From what little I have learn through being in this group, I took that lady's comment as being somewhat directed at her own choices. However, another lady almost immediately took offense and fired back that people had no right to think her reasons for remaining single had anything at all to do with her "inflicting" herself on someone. Oh ho, I thought, this might just bring this house of cards crashing down.

Fortunately, the first commenter responded back that she had only been pointing that earlier comment towards herself (as I had suspected) but she also went the extra mile and apologized to the lady who had taken offense that she had never meant it as any being cast in her direction. And a little while later, the other lady posted back that perhaps, she might have been just a tad over in the "sensitivity" department.

How easily little things can be misinterpreted and blown way out of proportion. In this case, it was good that the one immediately apologized and explained her words better in the process. It was also a relief to see the second party finally accept the apology too.

Sometimes, I've felt at times from comments on my blog that I must have been too convoluted perhaps in my writing, that some one here or there didn't get the true gist of what I had been saying. And, I readily acknowledge that I can be a bit jumbled in what I am trying to express so it's understandable that my words could be misconstrued. And, for that I apologize and will try to make myself as clear in my meaning as I possibly can.

One point here is the Bushisms I've been posting. Yes, I know there probably are those who might read my writing who are mega Bush supporters and don't approve of my inserting those in here. Granted, I personally am not a big fan of Dubya but that is not why I post those things. I put them in there because frankly I find them humorous - some of them I find to be absolutely hysterical. Of course, part of my seeing humor in them may be based on my political leanings somewhat, but if it were a well-known democrat making the same statements, I would find the same humor in them then as I do in these. Anyone in a position of power, leadership, etc., who gets the English language that convoluted as Dubya does at times, in my opinion, deserves to have those things put out there and be made fun of.

Another thing that bothers me too which has to do somewhat I suppose with our government but pertains more to the history of this country - actually the history of the world, if you would, is how many opt to villify various people from the past because they did terrible things 200, 300 or perhaps thousands of years ago and therefore, those events should not be printed in history books today because the things done were "wrong" from a sociological standpoint of today.

I think history must be taken in the context of what people at that time knew, understood about themselves, about society, about science, etc. A professor I had in college told the students in this particular course (and I don't even remember what course it was now) that because Columbus came here by accident and turned the expedition into one of killing and maiming and capturing natives to take back to Spain to be sold as slaves, this then made him not a great explorer but a man of ill repute and because of his actions towards the natives where he landed, he should not be included in the history text books.

I am not saying the actions of Columbus and his sailors was a wonderful thing - to capture, torture, maim, kill or take people prisoner to be sold into slavery is not something I am endorsing - not by a long shot. But, one must remember that was the "norm" in the 15th century. It doesn't make it right to do that but the educational level of most of society at that time said it was acceptable and even expected behavior to do that. And, I believe it should be taught in that manner - they did these things - they were of the "norm" for that era but subsequently, society finally outgrew that mode of thinking. Well, for the most part anyway or it has tried, is still trying to "outgrow" ideas like that.

The same thing can also be applied to children, instruction and discipline. My son watches how I react today to my grandchildren and also to my 15-year-old stepgranddaughter. And he makes fun of the fact that what he sees before him is obviously a much different person than was the one he group up with. And, to a large extent, yes - I have changed.

But other things changed along the way too. For one thing, I don't have the same level of responsibility for my grandchildren as I had for my own children's upbringing.

My children were 12,6 and almost 4 years old when their father and I separated and divorced and that left me with the full responsibility of seeing to all their needs. Yes, I did receive child support - financial - but virtually no moral support in raising these three children. What manners, what ethics, what levels of responsibility they learned had to come from my trying to instill ideas in them by myself and trust me, that's no easy task for two parents who get along to agree on some times. And doing it alone is hard work, damned hard work.

My son noticed a week or so back one day when he was here how I was dealing with my granddaughter that day. Maya, as you've heard me mention many times before is three but has some developmental delays so at times, her level of comprehension is not at the same point where a normal three-year-old's might be and I have to take some of those circumstances into consideration when she becomes a little unruly, out of control now and again - or, just plain being bad or mischievious.

There are things that I know she now DOES understand and when after several warnings, she doesn't listen, Grammy does get a little stern with her from time to time. Yes, now and then, she gets a hard grip applied on her arm, is led from one area -away from what she was getting into and placed rather abruptly at times, on the sofa or in the playpen. Now and again, she might actually get a little tap on the behind - one that with all the padding there from her diaper, she isn't feeling as "pain" per se but yes, it does register with her that she is being forced away from doing what she wants to do and this causes hurt feelings as opposed to feeling that she was actually physically hurt. And no, I'm not apologizing for those actions either as she has to learn that she is not the person in charge - her parents or I are - we are the ones responsible for teaching her to learn decent behavior.

My son's point though was that when he and his sisters were small, my patience levels then were much, much thinner than they are today. He wasn't saying taht he felt he and his siblings had been abused, just that I put up with much less from them than I do from "Miss Maya." And, to that, I freely admit it is true. When she gets really contrary, I do find myself turning my face away so she won't see me laughing at some of the little tricks she tries to pull to get away with things. But, as I said above, although because we all live together and I frequently am the one caring for the two little ones - so by virtue of default I am the authoritarian/disciplinarian then - ultimately, it is up to her parents, their responsibility, to see too it she gets the proper amount of discipline, learns manners, rules, ethics, etc.

And then too, there one other thing that comes into play here.

For years, I told my three kids that I couldn't wait until they married, had children of their own because I had a game plan all laid out for my prospective grandchildren. I planned to teach them every rotten trick their parents had ever pulled on me, every dirty word I know (And yes, I know a good many of 'em too) and once I felt the child had mastered those thing, I planned to send or turn the child over completely for the parent to cope with!

Years back, when my older daughter was nearing time to graduate from high school, my son came to me and told me his sister was afraid of getting married and having children some day. I asked him why this was and he said it was because of the threat I was always making about what I would do if I had grandchildren, the things I would teach them, etc.

Wish you could have seen the look on his face when I told him point blank, that was exactly what I did intend to do someday!

But of course, how tough I am ultimately in disciplining my grandchildren now, compared to how I dealt with my children - well, that's subject to interpretation, I guess.

And, before I forget - since I'm late making my entry for Monday January 29th -and it's now actually January 30th - here's the Bushism for each day.

"It is not Reaganesque to support a tax plan that is Clinton in nature." Los Angeles, California; February 23, 2000.

And - for January 30, 2007
"This has been tough weeks in that country." - Washington, D.C.; April 13, 2004.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Something New

If you've got the general appearance of my blog memorized in your mind, you may have noticed there's something different about it today. I added a photograph to the upper right hand side here.

This photo - taken by a good friend of mine from up in Michigan, Jeff Feldmeier, by name - is of the Down River area of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River at a place known as "Miller's Landing."

The West Branch of the Susquehanna originates up around Cherry Tree, Pennsylvania, if I am not mistaken. From there, it meanders across the north-central part of the state down past Curwensville, Clearfield, on to Karthaus and from there, flows on to Lock Haven and beyond till it meets up with the main Susquehanna coming down from the New York-Pennsylvania border. This is not an exact description of the river - just an approximation so please, if you are a purist about geographic information, just accept this as my own description - sort of.

Miller's Landing though is a spot where the Moshannon Creek empties into the West Branch and as you can see - hopefully - from this shot, it is indeed a lovely scene as the river winds through the mountains near here and the two bodies of water converge.

The Moshannon Creek - well, there are two of these. One is named Black Moshannon and the other is referred to as the "Red Moshannon" - mainly because of the acid drainage from old mines and sulfur deposits which turned the water the reddish color over the past century or better. Again, these words are my explanations - not necessarily the exact and technical descriptions.

The tiny little run that flows behind the back lot of my property - Moravian Run - (referred to by residents here in this village simply as the "Sulfur Creek") empties into the Red Moshannon Creek down in what once was a booming little coal mining town from about 1884 until the turn of the century when mining work there began to dwindle out. This former "boom" town -now a ghost town - is called Peale and if you check out the website under my "favorites" listing, you will find a very informative site giving many details, along with old photos and maps of the town as well as the mines that once existed there.

Although I am far from being really knowledgeable about Peale, I do have a big interest in learning more about this village where my great-grandparents settled back in 1884. The village was actually begun by a mass resettlement of many of the immigrant families - primarily coal miners by occupation - who were living in another type community in Lycoming County about 90 miles east of Clearfield County. That town was named McIntyre and it was here that my great-grandparents initially had settled after immigrating here from Sweden in 1880 for my great-grandfather and 1881 for my great-grandmother and their five older children.

Right now, the area surrounding Peale is the focus of a big dispute in this vicinity. A company, based in York, PA (Resource Recovery) wants to put in a huge landfill which would encompass much of the land that was previously Peale. This is a pretty extensive amount of land that would be incompassed into this landfill in a remote, already heavily mined by either old slope mines or strip mines over the year. The conservationists in the region don't want a landfill in there because of various reasons - more destruction of the land, disruption of hunting, possibly of the Black Moshannon fishing stream and how it would impact the entire communities surrounding this by the influx of tractor-trailors hauling garbage in from around the state as well as from nearby states. There is also the rails-to-trails aspect that might be overrun by such a landfill and eliminating then the ability to retrace the trackage that was once a part of a bustling Railroad line - the Beech Creek Railroad. The Peale Tunnel - a railroad tunnel along the hillside known as "Tunnelside" in Peale is also at risk by the landfill being put in there and operating.

All this makes for a lot of dissent in the Clearfield and Centre County region. There is a need for a landfill - for landfills in general, which many do not want to accept as a necessity of life. I am not against putting landfills in remote areas where they can be accomodated safely and with as little destruction of wildlife and forests as possible. In some respects, this location is ideal for this type of industry. Note, I said "in some respects."

But just because this is a remote area, tucked away in the mountains and woods there, doesn't mean it has nothing else of value to offer than to be used up as a landfill.

If this could be done in a manner so as not to destroy the historic aspects of the area - the tunnel, the old railroad line, other aspects to that area that so many have come to love as part of our heritage, then I would say go right ahead and put the landfill in to put some of the land there to a useful purpose again.

What I don't agree with though is the mentality some in this area have adopted over the past 20 years or so though - the "NIMBY" syndrome of "Not in My Backyard." And, especially since many who have joined that faction have also been ones who over the years had no qualms about taking their garbage by the pickup truck loads and just dumping it alongside the old dirt roads, or back into old stripping cuts and such and leaving it open and exposed and saw nothing wrong at all in those actions, now they are often the ones who fight the strongest against a landfill. Many of them also became displaced workers back in the 80's when the coal industry around here began to recede considerably due to the high sulfur content in much of the coal in this region. And, when that happened many of these individuals frequently sported bumper stickers on their cars for years stating "Hungry and out of work? Eat an environmentalist."

Sadly, there is no easy answer to this issue.

It is a fact of life that landfills - the garbage dumps of today which take the place of the old burning dumps of years gone by in many areas, which also offer a better means of disposing of trash than simply carting junk out into the wilderness and dropping it willy-nilly along the back roads or in stripping cuts - are a necessity. Seriously, whether one likes landfills or not, they are very much needed in order for we, as a people, to survive. Some will argue they have nothing against a landfill for use by the local residents ONLY - just don't bring in big city's trash to dispose of it in our community. Well, sad to say, that too is a necessity. Where, in the middle of a metropolis like New York City can a landfill - or "sanitary" type mode of disposal for garbage - be situated?

Much as many would not agree with this analogy but it all goes back to the Bible and a simple question there - "Am I my brother's keeper?" And, perhaps as much as many in this area would not want to have that seem to be "Am I my brother's garbage keeper?" perhaps we are just that.

Society, back when the earliest settlements, now the cities of the nation, were being formed did not know, didn't understand then about disposal of garbage or sewage issues and as those regions developed and grew, no thought was given to what to do with those aspects of living. And as these cities grew, so did the problems from the trash but with no way to dispose of it within their spatial limitations but to take it out to the country and get rid of it.

It is a quandry, no doubt about it. I wish there were an easy solution that would satisfy all factions here. But unless technology develops another method of making trash just evaporate into thin air, unfortunately I think we have to accept that our space has to be used in this manner.

Perhaps we do have to resign ourselves to becoming the trash keeper for our brother man. But if that is the way things have to be, can it be done without destroying the historical aspects of the region?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Dull Day

I've been waiting patiently all day here for some topic to spring forward in my mind - that I can write about for my posting of the day - but thus far, nothing has made its way to the front here. Guess that's pretty much because it's been a relatively quiet, calm - yes, a dull day overall!

Mandy had work today from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. - the baby didn't wake up till about 10:30 a.m. - but then again, he had his dad and I both up about 3 a.m. because he was fussing about something. I ended up rocking him for about 10 minutes, patting and rubbing his back till I could feel him relax against me and knew he had gone back to sleep.

Miss Maya didn't get up till about 10 a.m. today too so that was good - a little extra nap time there for me.

Last night, my ex-husband phoned to talk to Mandy and as she does when he calls, she times the length of the conversation. Normally, he is not one to talk all that long on the phone but last night pretty much broke a record - 13 minutes and 53 seconds! And, to polish all that off, Mandy gave the receiver to Maya and she actually spoke to "Poppy" on the phone - recited (or sang) "Twinkle, twinkle little star" for him!! To my knowledge, that's the first time she has ever spoken to anyone on the phone. Mandy said after that happened, her Dad had to hurry and sign off then - she figures probably because he was crying! He tries really hard to have this "tough as nails" personna but the kids and I all know underneath that veneer, he is really a big blob of tears waiting to happen!

My son called this morning and then again early this evening. This morning he was on his way to Salt Lake City, coming from Denver and tonight, they were in Wyoming, heading to Nebraska with their ultimate goal being Kansas City. After that, they head to Columbus, Ohio and he's hoping from there they will get to either Hagerstown, MD or Harrisburg, PA - so they can take a day off and come home!

And now, here it is not quite 11 p.m. and I am really whipped so I think I will end this post for the day - just signing off this week's posts.

If I go to bed now, maybe I will be able to wake up in time to go to church in the morning! Think positive thoughts there cause it could happen, you know!

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Neat Idea!

Reading through my favorite blogs today, I came across something that sounds really interesting - a great way to get more traffic over to one's blog site, perhaps.

Here's what you need to do to find out more about this fun idea.

First, go over to Mau's blog (It's About Time) and follow her lead there on to her sister-in-law's blog.

Ultimately, you will end up a the Fuelmyblog site - and read through the FAQ's about how to pick a square - claim it for your own and get your blog up there on the Great Wall of Blogs!

Sounds like a pretty neat deal to me!

And, when you've done that, go back and take a peek at some of the postings today on some of my other "favorite blogs I like to read." Lots of good things being said out there today!

And, now - I'm off to take a little run perhaps into Philipsburg to the Computer Shop there and see what that guy can set up for me in the way of a new computer. Sounds like - at least from what he said on the phone -he can get me a brand new unit with the things on my "dream" or "wish" list for a fairly reasonable price and even do the transfer, set up and coordination through some kind of network thingy so I can hook a new unit up with my old computer here! Sounds darned near too good to be true so I guess I'll have to go check this out in person!

Enjoy the visits now to the other blogs! Who knows, maybe we'll be neighbors on the "Great Wall of Blogs!"

Gone Shopping!

Today was supposed to be my big, fun, shopping day! But, like yesterday and the car purchase/bank transaction, today left me kind of hanging too!

Mandy and the kids and I left around noon to head to State College - destinations Office Depot, to check out a computer they had advertised in the Sunday paper.

Well, we got there and really had a big disappointment then. Not only did they not have the model they'd had advertised in the paper on Sunday but they had NO desktop pc's at all! Not a one! Well, none on display anyway!

According to the clerk I spoke with, not only did they have no pc's right now, but neither would we find any at Best Buy or Circuit City at this point in time either. Oh, he did confess that they DO have new pc's in the back, in the stockroom, but they are not permitted to put them out on the floor and sell any of them until January 30th! Brother!

Of course, according to him, this all has to do with making sure all the units they have in stock will now force customers into purchasing a computer that has the new Windows Vista operating system in it!

I don't know why but this entire deal - that this store and the three other major sales points in the area of computer - none of them have any pc's available, seems a bit like coercion of the customer to me.

Had Mandy not needed to make some purchases at the Target store in State College, the day could have been a total bust - a 70 plus mile drive (round trip) for nothing. Well, I made use of the trip too by picking up some of my favorite product along the addictive substance lines while in the area and where I could get it at a slightly lower price than it would run me at the local grocery store here. Ah, ever the bargain hunter, huh?

Tonight, I went online and looked at the website of the brand computer I had been considering purchasing - a Lenovo - and according to that site, I could still order a computer there with the Windows XP but with an option to upgrade to Vista. I can also order a computer there that they would put together for me so I could have accessibility of a floppy disk too. Something you won't be able to purchase from a store model and since I have a couple boxes of floppies here with writings and photos stored on them but also, since this computer doesn't have the capacity to burn a cd, I had no way to transfer them over to a cd except to have my next-door-neighbor's son take my floppies and do that for me. So, for that purpose, I really want/need to have a floppy disk thing on any computer - either installed or an external unit. (Of course, I could get the external unit at Office Depot or any other store too but..... )

Well, anyway, I priced out a Lenovo online with the components I think I want/need - it would run me about $850. A Dell, with basically the same equipment would run me over $1,100 - I don't recall the exact price of the Dell. The unit I was interested in buying today - was priced (on sale of course) at $599 - a bit more in line with my finances! Last week though, the same unit I priced today was available via special order for $699 through the company's website. And I wasn't being forced into going with a new operating system they are touting as being WONDERFUL but which hasn't really been proven out to be all its cracked up to be from what few things I've read about it.

All I know is now I am relegated to making yet another trip to State College next week to see if I can find a computer within my price range and with as many of the extras loaded into it that I'd really like to have! I want one with 250Gig, at least 1G processor too, cd/dvd read/write and either a pentium 4 or Athalon - not sure which there as I don't understand enough about these things to know which would really be the best bang for my bucks! A nice flat screen monitor would be wonderful to have too, ya know!

Once I get this computer thing taken care of, my next major expenditure will be a trip to the eye doctor and some new trifocals so I can see properly once again!

My son called home tonight - he left last nite about 2 a.m. to go back to work - and told his sister he and his partner are enroute now to Denver. I really envy him - although I am perfectly aware that driving a tractor trailer for a living isn't quite the same as sight seeing - because of all the places he has been able to go to in the past 6 weeks since he started this job. So far, he's been to Atlanta, Dallas, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Reno, up to Wyoming, Nebraska, Tennessee several times, through Missouri and a few runs in between to Toledo, Ohio too! On their way home from one of the runs to California, they drove almost within "waving" distance of where my ex-husband, Clate's father, lives now in Laughlin, Nevada. I asked Clate if he'd phoned his dad as they were whizzing by there but he said he didn't feel right calling when he was driving that close by and yet, not stopping even for a cup of coffee. When his driving partner found this out later in the run, he decided that in the future, when they run past Laughlin, they will figure a way to take a break and stop so Clate can call his Dad and maybe have a brief visit with him.

And, that idea really makes me very happy, indeed!

It's a big relief to me that now my son and his dad can communicate, openly and freely again. And, in that respect, I'm very happy that both my daughters have good lines of communication established as well with their Dad. Whether their father and I get along is immaterial as long as they can talk to him, visit with him comfortably when he takes a week's vacation and comes back here to see them. And, actually their Dad and I can talk now too - usually can carry on some good conversations now and compare notes and ideas too in the process about our grandchildren, other things going on with our kids too! We even discuss our current medical issues and compare notes there as well without thinking the other might be trying to plan ahead wishing for an early exit from the planet for each other!!! LOL

So, I'll be here over the weekend now, trying to hone up on computer knowledge and pricings so that next week, when I try to go shopping again, I'll be much more in tune with what I want, what I need in that department!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

One Down - Almost!

Today was my big day to get the "new"-to-me vehicle all purchased, transferred over and all that happy poppycock.

And we did that all - well, almost.

Because the guy selling the minivan to me is a friend of my son-in-law, he didn't want a check - "cash only." Ok, fine. I had deposited the check from the insurance claim to my account last Friday so all I had to do was go to the bank today and make a withdrawal from my account for the amount of cash the guy wanted.

Time constraints - always time constraints, don't 'cha just know it. The question this morning became did I have to personally go to the bank, make the withdrawal etc., or could my daughter, Mandy, do this since her name is on my account? To find out, she called the bank and asked about this. They told her all I had to do was write out a check to my daughter, she could bring it up to the bank and they would cash it. The lady at the bank even checked my account while Mandy was on the phone to make sure the money was there - which it was - so, no problem. Right?


Mandy went to the bank, presented the check and was told they couldn't cash it because the bank has a rule that the money must be in their holdings for three working days before withdrawals can be made against it. Lovely! I wish I could count the way the bank does though. They saw three days and the check was deposited last Friday - there's day one, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (today) - gee, that looks like four days to me but nope, the bank doesn't count Friday as the first day. Started counting with Monday! Even so, this would still be day three, but nope - come back tomorrow please as it "should" be recorded then. Gee, if it already shows up on my account, then what is the problem here folks!

Luckily, Mandy called the guy who was selling us the car and asked if we could still go to the notary and get the tags and title transferred, etc., and she will bring him the cash tomorrow or Friday if things run that slow in the bank's methodology. And he agreed to do that.

Tomorrow, we're off to look at the computer I think I would like to purchase. Anyone have any input they'd like to convey about Lenovo computers - good, bad, indifferent? Please feel free to slap them on me!

I drove the van home, stopped along the way to put gas in it and filled the tank. Now, it's going to be a bit to get accustomed to having a vehicle with a larger tank. My old car only held about 11 gallons total whereas this one holds about 18 gallons I would guess. It cost me almost $40 to fill the tank today!

Time, I do believe, for me to go rest on my little bed after a big, exciting, tiring day!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Senility factors

Ok - I'm making this a separate post - mainly because yesterday I forgot to include the Bushism for the day in my post and I forgot it again for today too!

So, with that in mind, here both of them!

Bushism for Monday, January 22, 2007
"The march to war hurt the economy. Laura reminded me a while ago that remember what was on the TV screens -- she calls me 'George W.' --'George W.' I call her 'First Lady.' No, anyway -- she said, we said, march to war on our TV screen." - Bay Shore, New York; March 11, 2004.

And - for today, Tuesday, January 23, 2007
"I was raised in the Wet. The west of Texas. It's pretty close to California. In more ways than Washington, D.C., is close to California."

And, there you have it now. All caught up for yesterday and today. But, considering the things going on in this household tomorrow, Thursday - maybe even the rest of the week, who knows, I think I will just go ahead and get a jump on things and post the rest of the Bushisms for the next day or two while I'm at it!

For Wednesday, January 24, 2007
"He was a state sponsor of terror. In other words, the government had declared, you are a state sponsor of terror." - on Saddam Hussein; Manhattan, Kansas; January 23, 2006.

Thursday, January 25, 2007
"One of the most meaningful things that's happened to me since I've been the governor - the president - governor - president. Oops. Ex-governor. I went to Bethesda Naval Hospital to give a fellow a Purple Heart, and at the same moment I watched him - get a Purple Heart for action in Iraq - and at that same -- right after I gave him the Purple Heart, he was sworn in as a citizen of the United States - a Mexican citizen, now a United States citizen." - Washington, D.C.; January 9, 2004

The words for Friday, January 26, 2007
"I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun." St. Louis, Missouri; October 18, 2000.

And, finally - aren't you happy about this - for Saturday and Sunday, January 27-28, 2007, here's this:
"I'm hopeful. I know there is a lot of ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure." - Interview with the Associated Press, January 18, 2001.

Nite, now!

Next Few Days

By the looks of things, the next couple of days are going to be full - very full!

Tomorrow, Mandy and I go up to meet with a friend of her husband's to purchase a Ford Windstar minivan - 1996 model - at a pretty reasonable price. The guy had bought it from the original owner when it broke down and he put a rebuilt engine and rebuilt transmission in it and now, it runs fine - according to my son-in-law, my son and also my daughter, Mandy. Ok, that will fix part of my latest run of problems here to have the third vehicle available if we need it - or if I want to go someplace and Mandy doesn't - then I can go off on my own!

Thursday, Mandy has that day off work too and we are planning - provided the weather doesn't turn really yucky on us - to go to State College so I (we) can check out the possibility of purchasing a new computer. The unit I'm considering - saw it in the Office Depot's ad in the Sunday paper here plus my cousin e-mailed about it too as he saw the same ad in his Sunday paper in Indianapolis. THe brand is Lenovo and my cousin, who is an avid follower of Consumer Reports, says it has a very good rating with that publication. He saw it has just about everything I had said I wanted in a new model computer too! So, hopefully, things will pan out and we can come home with a new computer! Maybe they even do an install and hook-up, etc? I don't know but that would be nice as I'd like to see if I can still use this computer perhaps in conjuction with the new one. I don't know if that is possible but a fellow blogger told me she thinks it is a doable thing. Will have to find out for sure about that I guess.

I'm also going to be scheduling an appointment for myself with the eye doctor too - get my eyes examined, new glasses. Something I have been in dire need of for sometime now. Boy, it will really be nice to have a vehicle again, glasses to enable me to read and sew easier than I can do now and a new computer to play with. Nice. Very nice.

But, there's a thorn in all this packet of "nice things" right now too.

Tonight, my son-in-law's sister called to let us know that she was at the emergency room with their Dad. "Pap" had a problem with some bad rectal bleeding and when Kath took him to the ER, they did a CAT scan, said he has an infection of the colon (diverticulitis) as well as that a mass the size of an orange showed up on the CAT scan too in his colon. So, tomorrow morning he is scheduled for a colonoscopy to be followed immediately by surgery to see what they can do to begin the repairs needed. Pap is 69 years old, had open-heart surgery about 2-3 years ago and, as my ex-husband would say "He's ornery as cat crap!" My ex-husband has such a way with words, you know!

So, right now, things here, as you can imagine, are more than a little bit tense. Pap is ornery - for sure - doesn't like to pay attention to anything doctors tell him, for openers. Also doesn't pay attention to a lot of things along with not always understanding a lot of stuff too. Although they say he has a mass in the colon, they haven't yet done any lab tests to get any kind of determination as to whether it is malignant or not - that will come about with the colonoscopy in the morning. Once they get some type of determination from that, they will have more idea then what they are dealing with and can go from there.

Much as my son-in-law's dad tends to irritate me at times - particularly with his nosiness about everything my son is doing, does, did - and making up stories about him too by not getting all the details about things he hears or thinks he sees, he's still my two little grandkids' "pappy" and pain in the behind or not, I still have to think of some of his antics from the attitude that he means well - just doesn't always go about expressing that all that well!

So, if you're one who believes in the power of prayer and are reading this, how about putting in an extra word or two - or three or more - for Maya and Kurtis' Pappy. I guess one has to remember he is an ex-marine and maybe that's where some of the extra dose of "ornery" he has comes from!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Reading Along

Normally, I am a pretty voracious reader. Normally, that is. However, the past couple of weeks/months I have kind of slid a bit on one of my favorite pasttimes but I'm going to kick it into gear again and try to get up to speed.

My older daughter got me a new book for Christmas; I got my younger daughter two new books for Christmas and last week, I ordered two copies of a book by a lady I learned about from reading an interview with her on one of my favorite blogs - Over the Hill Boomer Chick's Musings.

I'll start with the book I just purchased last week. The name of it is "Myths of the Fatherless and the author is a Kathy Holmes. Although this book does deal primarily with issues that affect women who, for whatever reason, grow up without a father present at all or perhaps only sporadically, it also has many aspects that are applicable to men who are raised under the same circumstances. Men, frequently have many of the same emotions when raised in these circumstances as do women.

Because all three of my kids grew up not really knowing their Dad very well and I never knew mine at all, I bought two copies - one for my younger daughter and myself (and which will be available for my son to read if he can pull himself away from his Volkswagon magazines long enough to peruse it) and the second copy will go to my older daughter.

This book is especially relevant for my older daughter because she actually has "two" Dads, you could say. She has the one she grew up with for roughly 8 years who is her stepfather - my ex-husband - and she has her biological father who has never seen her. She was five years old when I married her stepfather so he is the only male parent she has ever "known."

However, about three years ago, she found her biological dad. I never hid his name or details about him or our relationship from her - she always knew as much about him, basically, as I did. Having located him a couple years back, she even took the big step to call him and introduced herself to him over the phone too.

Not normally prone to striking up conversations casually, for her to make a move like that - to up and call him - was really a very big and a very scary step for her too. Fortunately, he was very nice to her on the phone and since then, they do talk from time to time on the phone. He lives about 2,000 miles from us so she still has not met him but she says he wants her to come out where he lives, hopefully, this fall, so they can met in person and get a little better acquainted. Her biggest fear about this possible meeting now is how her stepfather might react to this piece of news. She's very worried he will be upset and hurt and even feel she is abandoning him - which she isn't doing - but she does feel the need to meet her biological father and I can readily understand her wishes in that respect. It's always been one of the biggest regrets - if not the biggest - of my life that I was never able to know my dad. I knew his name, his family and such, but because he died when I was less than a month old, I never knew him, what he was like, his interests, his voice.

I've already read the copy I purchased for my household here of Ms. Holmes book and for anyone reading this blog - if you grew up not really knowing or not close to your biological father, I would very much recommend you get a copy of it and read it. It does explain a lot about the inner emotions that apply strongly to anyone who lived in those type of circumstances.

I'm now about 2/3 through the book my daughter gave me now too. It's title -"Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" and is by David Sedaris. If you've never read anything by Mr. Sedaris, give some of his writing a shot. Definitely shocker type material at times, but also really, really funny stuff to read about his life as an adult interspersed with stories from his childhood and his very dysfunctional (two parent too) family! I'd highly recommend any of his works!

My other daughter finished one of the two books I got her for Christmas now too - both by Jodi Picoult - who has become high on both my daughter's and my list of favorite writers. The book I gave her that she finished last week and plunked down on my desk with instructions to start it as soon as possible is "Second Glance." So, as soon as I complete the Sedaris book, that's what I'll be reading next. The other book - sitting here, waiting patiently in the wings by Ms. Picoult is "The Pact." I figure if both these books are as good as the other ones she has written that we have also both read, they'll both be good, interesting readings for me!

Since my younger daughter's birthday is coming up in about three more weeks, and since I found out too how easily I can order books online from Barnes and Noble and receive them very quickly too, I'm going to be ordering at least one, maybe two more of Ms Picoult's books for her, for her birthday present.

But, I have also decided I will be making yet another book purchase - from another author whose blog appears on my favorites list here - "Reading Rucker."

I'll be making a purchase of Linda Rucker's book "Dark Ridge." I'd like to recommend others consider purchasing Linda's book too not just to support her but also, in doing that, it will be giving support to the W.H.A.T. movement which is being set up to receive 40 percent of the proceeds of any sales of Ms. Rucker's book. The W.H.A.T. organization -organized by Ms. Rucker and author Michael Witherspoon, stands for Writers Helping with Aids Treatment is geared to assist anyone with AIDS and, in my opinion, a very worthwhile organization.

For more information on the W.H.A.T, please check out this website to find out what's being done, what's being planned for the future. And please, pass this information along to everyone you know too. Who knows, the life of someone you know might just depend on it!

And that's my say for today! Let's all just keep on reading now!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Diddy Bopping Along

I don't know if I mentioned anything about this in any earlier posts, but if not, I'll drop this tidbit on you now then.

I'm playing online with a few other people gathered together by another blogster here and we're trying to collaborate and put together a novel.

Sound exciting? Sound like fun? I thought it might be that when I decided to take this plunge. At the least, I figured it might help me begin to learn a little bit perhaps about writing dialogue - something I've never had to conjure up before in any pieces I've ever written. I knew there was a darned good reason I liked writing articles and essays!

I HATE trying to write dialogue! I SUCK at that too! Trust me, I really do!

I don't have that much problem finding words to pull together in the other type of stuff I've been writing but tell me to put something together that indicates a conversation and I am dead in the water!

I suppose a lot of that stems too from the fact although, in general conversation, I can pretty well hold my own, but that is also very dependant on the circumstances too. How well I know the person I'm conversing with is a big factor. And, if we are just "gabbing" - talking about bits and pieces of things weighs in too. Often, my conversations have a tendency to go off in several different directions and rapidly too. And sometimes, some folks I end up talking too can get me off course quickly as well simply by interrupting when I am in the process of speaking, asking a question or in some instances, several rapid-fire questions and poof - my train of thought immediately flies out the window! Frustrates the living daylights out of me that does!

And, heaven forbid that my conversation be with a male, especially one I'm maybe just trying to get acquainted with! Talk about dullsville! You got it for sure then and there, baby! I may as well crawl into a cave, curl up and write that off as a dismal failure then.

Ok, now that we know if I ever should seriously try my hand at writing fiction, it sure as hell isn't going to be one with any potential for romance. That's totally out of my league since I can't even, in my real life, carry on a worthwhile conversation with men, you know damned well I'd never be able to write any wild, steamy prose of bedroom activities now don't you? And, isn't that often the big draw to fiction anyway? Ok, so there's no steamy sex going on in "To Kill A Mockingbird" - probably not in many other great novels that have been written too but that one comes immediately to my mind. But, I also don't have the imagination needed to think of characters, plot, conversations these folks would have to drive my plot - all that good stuff.

So, just so you are aware of it right now, we can rule out that I will never achieve a high faluting goal of writing the Great American Romance Novel - or probably any other piece of fiction either for that matter!

Is this writing project fun though? Well, yes and no. It's fun in a way after I do manage to struggle - and boy, I do mean struggle too - to get my segment completed when it comes around to me.

Is it exciting? Yes, that I have to say it is. It's exciting to me to see what other people can pull together from maybe a few tiny things I tossed out there or someone else put into play. It's exciting, even though we are really early on in this project - only into Chapter 2 right now - to watch things surface and to be a part of this.

When it came back to me today that I was up, my turn to write, you know, I'd been thinking about this off and on all this past week, knowing it was around the corner but I figured I'd have a bit more time as there was a lady ahead of me. However, as circumstances often happen, her computer fritzed out on her yesterday - damn, how convenient was that to have happened? and it bounced down to me. Yeah and here I was totally unprepared, actually totally BRAINDEAD, I think!

But, I managed to insert six pages into that chapter tonight. Took me roughly seven hours - give or take having to stop and feed my grandson, get Maya ready for bed, try to convince Maya to pick up her toys and a phone call from a distant cousin that took me away from my trying to concentrate and write this bit.

However, once I got through a pretty drawn out dialogue that I felt was pretty dead and dull on my part too for much of it, I saw something else coming through. I think I may have succeeded in laying down some seeds for those picking up after me to be able to swing this project out in a couple different directions for future events. I didn't speak out directly on anything - just alluded to some stuff so now it's up to the next couple of folks to see if they pick up on any of that and where they take it from there.

Here's hoping by the time it comes back my way, I'll have my head working a little clearer and maybe someone else will insert some little tidbits too - pave the way for me then to roll a little better with the flow as time - and chapters - continue to roll by me!

Wish me luck in this endeaver please! Actually, you better wish Gene, Marva, Sarge, and the others in this group - sorry but my brain just went back to sleep on me on the names there - lots and lots of luck in trying to figure out what the hell did she just say you see!

And now Gene - back to you for the rest of the story!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Spice It Up!

While reading one of my favorite blogs today (East of Oregon), I see she mentioned liking Chinese food and commented on the spiciness of many of the dishes in that cuisine. That brought to mind a few things about cooking - mine in particular - and spicy foods.

Back in the mid 90's, I was working for "the world's largest private weather forecasting company" and frequently, a couple of my co-workers and I would bring in food we had fixed at home and would share it with whoever happened to be on shift that day.

One young lady I worked with for at least a year, was from Korea and every now and again, she would fix some Korean dish to share with me and our supervisor. One day she fixed Chicken and vegetables - a very spicy concoction - but since I love spicy food, it struck a chord with me and I wanted to try making it. So, she told me how to fix it and it was relatively easy to follow her recipe and instructions. I tried it out on my kids - the two younger ones were still at home at the time - and they both really liked it too. Ok, I had a keeper recipe for my notebook of recipes.

About a year later, a young man from down in the Philadelphia area whose family owns an old house a couple doors up the street from us decided to transfer from a Philadelphia area campus of Penn State up to the Main Campus. HIs idea, which his Dad had approved of was that he would live in the house here that the family used as a hunting camp and that way, it wouldn't be as expensive to them as it would have been if he had opted to live on campus or to share a place in State College. This idea made sense to me and my kids loved it because they were both good friends with him as well as with his younger sister. And, I had told him he was welcome to join us anytime I was home and cooking, for supper! At that time, I was also a student at the University and working hours which generally entailed afternoon/evening shift so I wasn't always at home to cook supper for my kids, much less to invite him down. It was a kind of hit-and-miss proposition.

But, one week, when Mandy knew I would be home in the early evening -thus cooking supper - she invited this young man down for supper. He had said he was not a picky eater and considering he was of Italian descent, I just sort of figured he would probably be accustomed to fairly spicy foods so I decided to fix the Korean Chicken and Vegetables dish for supper the nite he was to join us.

Now, if you ever come to my house for a meal, you really have to act like family and speak up if you want/need something to drink or bread or whatever. Apparently, he was not comfortable with that environment though. I asked him at the beginning of the meal if he would like something to drink - milk, coffee, iced tea, water - and he refused all offerings.

We sat up to the table, my kids and I dug in - as did he - and all seemed to be fine. It wasn't till a couple years later that they kids told me our young friend, too shy to ask for a beverage of any type, had felt like his throat was being burned up by the hot tobasco sauce used to fix the chicken and vegetables in this particular dish! Poor kid! He's probably terrified that he might some day get invited here again for a meal and be fed some other concoction along the hot and spicy lines and get his throat feeling like it needs relined again. Hopefully, he would, should this ever occur, have enough sense, nerve, whatever, to speak up and at least ask for a drink of water.

My son-in-law here is slowly getting a bit acclamated to my use of hot spices but it hasn't come about easily for him either. His taste buds still run pretty much along the "bland" flavoring lines.

But one weekend almost three years ago - shortly after my son had moved back home - his former girlfriend had come up for a weekend visit and she had thought as a surprise to my son and to me, she would prepare some Thai dishes that she does a really bang-up job on. Now I've not eaten all that much in the way of Thai foods, but what things she had cooked for me before, were all pretty heavily seasoned - very, very spicy. But she knew these things she was going to bring were also dishes both my son and I loved so she figured there would be no problem.

She set the dishes out on the table for a nice lunch and my son, daughter Mandy, the former girlfriend and I all dug in and boy, really good stuff! All of it was the type of hot food that you don't taste so much on your tongue but it gets you after you begin to swallow -in the back of your throat. This nice biting sensation of flavor.

My son-in-law wasn't present when we first began to eat but popped in on us about mid-way through. Saw all this food on the table and grabbed a plate, silverware and sat down at the table and began to ladle out servings for himself to his plate.

My son, knowing how spicy this stuff was and how much my s-i-l DOESN'T care for hot spicy stuff, told him in a little cautious word to the wise that it was pretty hot and he might want to take it easy on it at first. Bill replied that it would be fine as he was famished, it looked great and he dug in - jumped in, you might say, with both feet!

The rest of us just sat there kind of dumbfounded as he took a bite of one thing, then another, chewing it all together, making a few comments that this was really good stuff - all this though before he had begun to swallow any of it.

And when he did swallow that first mouthful, the look on his face was something else! His mouth flew open, he was fanning his tongue as he leapt from the table and ran to the sink to draw a large, very large, glass of cold water to try to cool his throat down a tad!

"Phew!" he said to us, as he returned to the table. "You weren't joking about that stuff being spicy, for sure!"

Well, buddy boy, it's not that anyone didn't try to warn you. We weren't out to play a dirty trick or anything like that on you either.

Since then, he has been pretty cautious about how much of a new dish he puts in his mouth before loading up with more.

And, I do try not to get tooooo carried away with the spices and amounts I use in the foods I fix now as well. It's kind of hard though when some recipes are meant to be really sharp, tangy, with a lot of bite to them and you have to back off for fear of burning his taste buds and throat clear down to his stomach though.

But, the look on his face that day, is etched in my memory bank forever!

Friday, January 19, 2007

"Your Government At Work" - Indeed!

Tonight, a gentleman who is a fairly frequent poster to the message boards of a Grassroots organization I have been somewhat affiliated with for the past 18 months, put this article up for all to read.

I'm no political scholar, no scholar at all, if truth be told, but gee, reading this kind of gives me the heebie jeebies! If my interpretation of this potential piece of legislation is correct, then little people, such as myself and others, would have to report even blog postings of a critical nature pertaining to the legislature to some agency or fear retribution by the law.

Is it just me or does this say it is taking my first amendment rights away? Does this mean then I would no longer have freedom of speech?

I don't normally go around seeing shadows and form behind every bush and rock, etc., but boy, something like this could/would stir up mass paranoia and pandemonium, I would think, across the board from the media - right or left - and should alarm the heck out of the everyday citizen who just wants to write a "letter to the editor" of the local newspaper.

The potential for a bit of legislation like this to exist scares the heck out of me!

Congress preparing to criminalize critics?
Senate bill would 'create most expansive intrusion on First Amendment
rights ever'
Posted: January 17, 2007 5:00 p.m. Eastern
© 2007
The Senate is considering legislation that would regulate grassroots
communications, with penalties for critics of Congress.
"In what sounds like a comedy sketch from Jon Stewart's Daily Show,
but isn't, the U. S. Senate would impose criminal penalties, even
jail time, on grassroots causes and citizens who criticize Congress,"
says Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of
Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill before the Senate,
would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to
500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and
report quarterly to Congress, as lobbyists are required.
"Section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating
the most expansive intrusion on First Amendment rights ever,"
Viguerie said.
For the first time in history, he stated, critics of Congress will
need to register and report with Congress itself.
"The bill would require reporting of 'paid efforts to stimulate
grassroots lobbying,' but defines 'paid' merely as communications to
500 or more members of the public, with no other qualifiers,"
Viguerie said.
The Senate passed an amendment on the bill Jan. 9 to create criminal
penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone "knowingly
and willingly fails to file or report."
Viguerie said the legislation regulates small, legitimate nonprofits,
bloggers, and individuals, but creates loopholes for corporations,
unions, and large membership organizations that would be able to
spend hundreds of millions of dollars, yet not report.
"Congress is trying to blame the grassroots, which are American
citizens engaging in their First Amendment rights, for Washington's
internal corruption problems," he said.
Christian leader James Dobson -- along with Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer
and Don Wildmon -- spoke out about the provision on a recent "Focus
on the Family" radio broadcast.
"The Democrats, and a few Republicans are trying now, very, very
quickly, to insulate themselves from the public and to do it by
muzzling people like us," Dobson said. "It's a complex piece of
legislation and not everything in it is offensive. But the provision
that we cannot accept would require organizations like Focus on the
Family to report every contact with anyone in the executive or
legislative branches and any effort to try to influence grassroots
response, even if it doesn't include a call to action. In other
words, they are trying to muzzle us and many other organizations."
Last weekend, Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, introduced an amendment to
remove the bill's controversial section.
CBN News reported a senior Senate aide said the effort to remove the
disputed section is garnering wide support.
"Virtually every single American is represented by a lobbyist," Sen.
Bennett said while introducing the bill. "Every single American has
someone lobbying in behalf of his or her interests, whether he or she
knows it or not."
Bennett argued, according to CBN News, that if the Senate does not
remove Section 220, "we will do damage to the constitutional right --
right there in the first amendment, next to freedom of religion and
freedom of speech -- the constitutional right to lobby."
"Even though the people who broke the old rules were caught under the
old rules, convicted under the old rules, and sent to prison under
the old rules, we need to be looking ahead and recognize that in a
world where virtually everyone is involved, in one way or another, we
need to do this right," he said.
Co-sponsors of Bennett's amendment are Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and John Cornyn, R-Texas.

And now, I'm going to give you the Bushism for today - which somehow almost makes me feel like it is a part of the above writing - and after that one, I'm doubling up this morning and putting the Bushism for Saturday/Sunday up too.


"We ended the rule of one of history's worst tyrants, and in so doing, we not only freed the American people, we made our own people more secure." (Crawford, Texas, May 3, 2003) (Bushism for January 19, 2007)

And - for January 20 and 21, 2007, there is this:

"I think there is some methodology in my travels." (Washington, D.C.; March 5, 2001)

Well, alright then! 'Nuff said for this time period!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Settling Accounts

Over the past 18 months, I have managed to accrue a large number of doctor and hospital bills, along with lab fees, etc. Way too many for me to be pay off at one clip, that's for sure!

Add to that mix, some problems my daughter, son-in-law and I experienced last month with the mortgage on the house, then my son wrecked my car, totalling it, on Christmas night, and I was really in a quandry.

Well, until today that is. The lady from the insurance company came by and gave me the payoff check for my car. I decided before I go car shopping, I'm going to pay off a few of the smaller doctor bills, lab fees, at least get that much accomplished, then I plan to make an appointment with the eye doctor and get myself some much needed new glasses so I can once again see where I'm going, be able to read better again too. After that, I'm helping my older daughter and her fiance to get a few things straightened out with their finances, which have been very rocky of late.

And when I'm done with that, with what is leftover, I hope to be able to have enough to get a much needed computer along with an also much needed replacement vehicle.

The car won't be a new one, just a new one to me. There's absolutely no way I can take on a car payment - not now, not ever again. I don't need a brand new car, just one that will endure well enough for me to get around from home to town, occasional jaunts maybe, but not one that would have to take me to and from work, over a long haul daily like I needed when I purchased the car (new) that my son wrecked.

The computer - that I really do need! This one is way too small - not enough G, not a fast enough processor, no cd/dvd read/burner either and I really do need something with those three things plus maybe a few more new, slightly extravagent items as well! LOL. The first three mentioned should be adequate to keep me in good shape!

And watch, as soon as I get something like this, within a year - maybe even less than that - it will probably be outdated and too small already! Well, I would hope I can get one with enough G that it won't be too small for my needs and purposes quite that quickly!

Anyone care to share the type of computer you have or would like to have, how much space it has, processor speed? Anyone care to give out recommendations for a computer - brand, size, etc? Feel free to do so as I am the most computer literate of the three of us in the house who use this one and that sure doesn't come close to making me "computer literate" much less half way knowledgeable about computer brands, components, extras, etc.

Nothing Much

I was sitting here tonight, watching the Tonight Show, and suddenly it dawned on me! I'm behind in my posting! More importantly, I neglected to post the Bushism of the day for Wednesday and here it is now, Thursday already!

Geez, where does the time go? Just flies right on by us, doesn't it?

Anyway - for those of you who enjoy these little jabs at "Dubya" I'll give you a double treat now - one for Wednesday and one for today, Thursday, January 18th. Then I'll move on to other unimportant things. For those of you who happen to like Bush, I do apologize. But, I just can't resist these quotes from him - so silly, so stupid, and ok, I love them! I know, I have a weird, warped sense of humor I guess. Blame it on years of associating with strange truck drivers, maybe.

"Will the highways on the Internet become more few?" (Concord, New Hampshire; January 29, 2000) (quote for January 17, 2007)

and - for January 18, 2007
"I want to remind you all that in order to fight and win the war, it requires an expenditure of money that is commiserate with keeping a promise to our troops to make sure that they're well paid, well trained, well equipped." (Washington, D.C.; December 15, 2003)

And, that's it!

I suppose one reason I am late posting for Wednesday - early for Thursday - whatever - is I really didn't have much of anything going on today to get into and talk about. Pretty quiet around the house.

Well, except for my sleep patterns that it! Last night, I went to bed around midnight, fell asleep fairly quickly too, but almost as if they have an alarm clock in my body, shortly after 4 a.m., they were back. Darned shingles alarm went off and woke me up. I lucked out this time and managed to get them to calm down enough just by massaging the muscles in my side where they were acting up and got back to sleep till about 6 a.m. when I was awakened by a noise behind my bed.

Yeah, behind my bed! Now depending on how you look at the layout in my bedroom, that's fairly easy to explain - something behind my bed. But then too, I don't have my bedroom furniture exactly laid out in the most common "design" shall we say, so maybe then it is a bit unusual.

I have the head of my bed situated so there is a pathway between my bed and dresser. The foot of the bed is under the windows, against the wall. And the noise I heard moving behind my bed at 6 am. just happened to be Miss Maya, my little princess three-year-old granddaughter!

What was unusual was for her to be up and wandering about in my room at that hour though. I stumbled out of bed, didn't see any light on in the dining room and only the light over the sink in the kitchen burning, didn't hear any noise of anyone else being up either. When I finally woke up enough to focus my eyes into the kitchen, there sat my daughter at the counter reading the book I got her for Christmas.

Kind of dumbfounded still, I asked her what the heck she was doing up at that hour. And, by the tone of her voice when she told me she'd been up since 4 a.m. and a nod in the direction of Miss Maya, as she said "with HER!" I knew this wasn't a happy camper sitting there before me.

I asked if she had made a pot of coffee and she said no, she hadn't figured on still being up at this hour but she guessed maybe since it was now 6 a.m., she should or could probably do that. Which she did and which I enjoyed the fruits of her labors immensely then!

Other than that, the day proceeded in a fairly calm manner. No major problems, no major exciting events - pretty much a very blah day really!

However, because I have been really neglectful for oh, maybe about two months now of my "research" on the local towns here and history of them and former residents, etc., I decided since things were pretty quiet I would try to get back to work on that. And I did that. So as of this time tonight (or this morning) I have now gone through old Clearfield Progress reports thru May 11, 1964! Yippy skippy! (Actually, I haven't truly gone through ALL the Progress papers from 1913 to 1964 (May 11, to be precise) because there are several years in which the database I am using is missing issues of The Progress. Mainly the War years - 1942-1945. Unfortunately there, I really will need to research those issues somehow - probably will have to breakdown some day, leave the house (and nicotine behind) and head to the library over in Clearfield to see if they have copies there of those particular years so I can research them. I really want to see if there is anything in any of those War years issues pertaining to a cousin of my Mom's who was killed in France or of a man from home here who was missing in action for a considerable period of time. You might know, two events I really wanted to find data about and those YEARS are not in the database! Figures!

The story of the guy missing in action is one that very much intrigues me. He is the uncle of one of my closest friends and I never knew until I started doing this research that he was ever missing in action. Not till about a year ago that is when I came across in one of the few issues on the database during the period between 1942 and 1945 of when some top honcho with the Armed Services came to the village to present a medal -for my friend's uncle - to her grandfather.

This summer, I met this gentleman and three of his daughters when they came to town for a day to visit with his two nieces living here. I had asked the one daughter, who I had just begun to correspond with via e-mail if perhaps her sisters could talk to their Dad and jot down his thoughts, memories about that experience and have the daughters e-mail it to me. I could give them questions perhaps to ask him and let them get his answers. He agreed that he would be willing to talk to them or to me about this but unfortunately, he lives in Cleveland - a 4-hour drive from here and I can't zip around that much to get this information.

The crux of the story, if I remember it correctly though, is that he was a bombadier and the plane was shot down over France. He was injured in the crash - both shoulders broken and his parachute was dragging behind him - leaving a pretty obvious marker as to his location - but somehow he managed to drag himself to some place to hide and some French underground people tracked him down and took him into their homes, hiding him until he healed enough that they could assist him in getting across the border to Spain and make his way eventually to a base and back to England.

During his time in France, with the family who cared for him, he learned a good bit of the French Language and when they escorted him to the mountain range separating Spain and France, he had to walk over those mountains. One comment he has made about that trek was it was a good thing he was raised in the country, used to running about in his bare feet too, just used to walking a lot as well, because that was one thing he felt saved him.

I find stories like this - especially when it involves someone I know or at least am very familiar with the family - extremely interesting. I also find the story of this man really awesome though. Because, when he actually made it HOME to this little village, his father still did not know he had made it back to England much less to the States and as he was walking down the street (the street where I now live) towards his family's home, his father was out in the yard either mowing grass or raking and out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone walking, carrying a backpack and he heard the man walking whistling. THen, he stopped what he was doing and looked again --long and hard this time - and realized it was his son who had been reported many months I guess before to being missing in action. The father was so overcome, he fainted on the spot!

I vaguely remember this elderly man - the father - my friend's grandfather. I think I was 5 maybe 6 years old when he died. And, what I remember of him, he was short, rather chunky in build. And also, he -in my memory - was a quiet man, not all that prone anyway to chit-chat with little kids at any rate. But, knowing many of this particular family, I can well imagine him being completely overcome by the shock of seeing his son, thought possibly to be lost completely to him - the baby of the family - walking towards him.

I probably would do the same thing if it were me under the same circumstances.

How do you think you would handle a shock like that?

Nite now.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Busy Day!

Boy, it's been one heck of a day! A darned busy one!

In my last post, it was in the wee hours of the morning and although I had gone to bed around 10 p.m., I was back up and awake by 11:15 and the pain pills didn't take effect enough to make me sleepy till about 6 this morning. So as Bill was getting ready for work and Kate was leaving for school, I was finally able to drift off to sleep and even slept till about 10 a.m.! Man, that was heaven to get that much sleep - 4 straight hours worth!

From my post last night, I even got a suggestion from Melloncutter for a pain medication he had used when he had the shingles a year ago now. Sure is nice to know I'm not alone in coping with these things nor is my attitude any different from others who have had to suffer from these things. I'll have to give my family doctor a call and see if maybe I can get a prescription for the patch he told me he had been given. I'd try just about anything right now!

Last night, I pulled the turkey out of the freezer to start thawing it -figuring I ould cook it tomorrow to serve for supper when my cousin Eric and his family came to visit. However around 1:30 this afternoon, those plans changed quite quickly when I received a phone call from Eric telling me they had finished up in the Poconos and had been down to Hershey, PA for that part of their trip and were now out on Rte 322, heading towards our neck of the PA woods!

They figured they would be here at the house shortly after dark.

And I was about to panic because that turkey was the only thing I had in the freezer that I knew would feed that many people and geez, it was still thawing.

I checked on the status of the turkey thawing and decided it was almost completely thawed so hurried up and stuck it in the oven. The I set about to fix a pan of apple crisp, corn pudding, peeled a bunch of red potatos and made coleslaw for our supper.

The nice thing about their timing changes was that Carrie was scheduled to work tomorrow night but had tonight off, plus she had Alex tonight too so she was going to try to come up then, bringing Alex with her so he could meet one of her favorites cousins from the Eld side of the family, along with his wife and their four younger children.

They got here shortly before 6 p.m. so that gave his family a little time to adjust to me, Kate, Maya and Kurtis anyway. Eric and his wife have four children of their own - Anna, age 13, John age 11, Alexis, age 7 and Alyssa, Age 5. They also were raising his sister's son, Stefan, but Stefan, at age 17, decided he was homesick for his friends and classmates back in the Houston area so he went back to Texas and is living with his grandmother, Eric's Mom, there! Sure would have been great to see him again too but, just wasn't in the cards today.

After supper, I hauled out some old albums with a mixture of really, really old photos plus some from when Eric, my Carrie and Eric's sister, Caroline, were little taken at our family reunion and he really reveled in showing his children snapshots of himself, his sister, parents and grandparents as well as his mother's sisters, who lived down the street from us when my kids were growing up.

Seeing him again took me back in my mind to days when I was growing up and Eric's dad usually came up here most every summer from Pittsburgh to spend as much time as he could with his aunts here. Carrie commented to Eric tonight about how they used to play in the old barn at his great-grandfather's old house and how much fun they had there. Eric agreed with her saying it was the ideal place for kids to play and really have a fun time.

The thing that really resonated with me was when Carrie pointed out how much "The Aunts" really spoiled her, Eric and Caroline rotten! Oh yes! So very true!

"The Aunts" - Edith, Helen and Hedvig - were sisters of Eric and Caroline's grandmother - Esther Eld Sabolsice. And yes indeed, they certainly doted on their great-niece and great-nephew as well as all three of my kids!

Kathy, Eric's wife, while looking at very old reunion pictures, was able to immediately pick Eric out in one shot which was of him, taken from behind him. "How the heck did you know that was me," he asked her. The answer: "From your butt!"

Eric and Kathy have four of the best-looking kids - really, really pretty children they are and also, very well-behaved too! When they first arrived, Kate was seated at the dining room table coloring with Miss Maya and she went to the cellarway to get out more crayons and coloring books so in no time all the girls were seated there, coloring away and maybe even talking ever so slightly.

Eric was determined to refresh his memory about things he remembered from summers spent here in the 70's and early 80's and was really proud of himself I do believe when he realized how much he actually does still recall of those days. A totally different era from what things are like here today.

All in all, it turned out to be a very nice visit and one I'm really happy we were able to have.

Eric's grandparents sure would be proud and pleased as punch to see what beautiful great-grandchildren they have and also, to know how well their grandson remembers so many of the Swedish food traditions his grandparents always observed too.

Safe travel back to Florida guys and as soon as Carrie sends me some photos of the ones she took tonight, I'll be posting them so any of my Eld family cousins can also see just what a bunch of good-looking folks the Eld clan has turned out to be!

Nite all!

Head start on the day

Since I can't sleep - again - same issue as I've been having for the past 4 1/2 months now, called "Shingles," I figured I would get a jump on things today and do the Bushism of the day really early - like 3 a.m.

"Recession means that people's incomes, at the employer level, are going down, basically, relative to costs, people are getting laid off." (Washington, D.C.; February 19, 2004.)

Gee, George - do ya think? No lie, people are getting laid off, huh? How long did it take the government masterminds to figure that one out?

A bit off topic from the Bushism of the day now - according to the news at 11 p.m. tonight, it looks like maybe we will be receiving a bit of regular winter weather - complete with snowfall - by early morning today. Trust me, I'm not the least bit impressed with that forecast!

I tell everyone I hate snow and yes, with respect to the havoc the least bit of snowfall can create on the highways, I do hate it or at least dislike it immensely.

But, on the other hand, if I've no where to go, know we have plenty of fuel oil in the old tank and it's not coming down in the form of a blizzard, I do appreciate the beauty of fresh falling snow. I can even appreciate the wonderous feeling one can get if you are able to go out and walk around during a snowfall with the huge type of wet snowflakes but also, without a driving wind pushing you back and really, really low temperatures too. I like snow when it is relatively "warm" perhaps one could say. Yeah, I know it has to be cold to some extent to snow in the first place, but some snowfalls are warmish, for lack of a better description, to me.

Maybe I should contact some of my old weather forecaster buddies over at the World's Largest Private Weather Forecasting Company and ask them if there is a technical term perhaps for the type of snowfall I'm trying to describe there? I think I'll wait and see if one of 'em maybe sees my blog and decides to answer the question for me.

This evening, having my son home for a couple hours today - down here doing his laundry, then sharing the evening meal with us, was - as it almost always is when he is he - a fun event. He has such a great sense of humor and even excels at imitating people - sometimes it may be a celebrity, other times, it could be different people from around town or the nearby vicinity. And frequently, I am the one he imitates too - or his dad - he does a very good job on his dad's voice!

Maya was quite entertaining tonight as we ate and after supper too - pretty wound up she was - running all about the living and dining room, into the kitchen to snoop around, then out to my room to try to gain access there. All this amidst fairly frequent requests, nicely made, then put forth in a much sterner voice telling her "Maya! Get in here!" Sometimes another order would accompany it too - "Get in the room and sit down! NOW!"

Following orders is not something high on her priority list though. Although, she would usually come running back into the living room and make some comment -"Lay down, Un Clate" or "Lay down, Gwam?" And sometimes she would even go crawl up on the end of the loveseat at Uncle Clate's feet and bounce around there for a few minutes before taking off on another run through the house until someone would call to her to come back in the living room and SIT DOWN! She seems to have magnets in her fingers - or some type of homing device - that always manages to allow her to find and pick up only things that you really don't want her to grab! Photos are big on her list of things to pick up but unfortunately, she also likes to find pens or crayons and scribble all over them too if someone isn't paying close attention to what she's doing!

Another of her favorite items to grab is the powdered flavored coffee creamer Mandy and I like to use. Usually, her favorite trick with that is to latch onto a container of it and sprinkle it, always quite lavishly too, all over the countertop by the coffee maker and on the floor in front of the coffee maker too. Not a fun thing to try to clean that stuff up either, I might add. But her best trick by far with the powdered creamer was the day Kate, her oldest half-sister caught her sitting on the living room floor, spoon in one hand and the pot part of her potty chair in her lap, in which she had poured a good bit of creamer and was proceeding to take aim on it with the spoon to eat it! I thought Kate was going to have a coronary when she saw what her little sister's plans were!

That's enough of my Maya stories and my Bushism comments now for one day! Time to take another pain pill and go back to bed - again - maybe to sleep another hour or two before daybreak! I had gone to bed very early tonight - 10 p.m. - but as happens way too frequently, my sleep lasted only just over an hour before the shingles came alive and woke me up! Normally, they will let me sleep about 2 hours and then stab me awake, but tonight, they must have been impatient to get started making me miserable for several hours!

If anyone has any suggestions of what to do to alleviate the pain that is left behind in the nerve endings after having had shingles, please, please, let me know what it might be!

Nite now!

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Really "Off" Topic

Tonight, the topic will be something I normally wouldn't discuss here - although none of my kids, certainly my ex-husband too, would have no qualms about discussing this either. But, my son, home for the day from being out on the road for the past week, told us a story of what happened to him, while sleeping in the bunk of the truck he runs with his boss and shortly thereafter, I happened to be reading one of my favorite blogs and as it turns out it was the "topic du jour" at Meloncutters Musings today.

That subject, normally taboo for polite discussion, none other than flatulence, or more commonly known as "farting."

If you go to Meloncutters Musings, you'll see he has given a list of rules of etiquette for proper farting - all of which, when I read his list off to my son, met with his utmost approval too. Just goes to show you no matter how hard one tries, you can't always guarantee your kids will learn a silly little thing called "couth."

The story my son told us - my daughter Mandy and me - went like this though.

He was in the sleeper of the truck -his boss was driving, moving nicely down the highway and Clate was sleeping every so nicely, dreaming sweet dreams as they say.

In his case, he said he was dreaming he was farting for the entertainment or teasing (take your pick there) his sisters and the more that they laughed in his dream at his farts and the noise, the louder they got too. So loud in fact, that they woke him up as he realized he wasn't dreaming about farting, was doing just that in his sleep!

He pulled the curtain back that separated him as he slept from his boss, working, driving along and apologized to him for any undue noises, etc. and explained what had happened in his dream.

Fortunately, the noise of the truck drowns out sounds like that and his boss got a little giggle out of Clate's initial embarassment.

However, we - his sisters and I - and anyone else who might happen to be around, for that matter, all know it won't stop him from doing what he loves so much to do - exercises in flatulence, you could say.

But, I guess since he agreed with everything Meloncutter had to say on this topic, he must already have the Rules of Etiquette with respect to Flatulence all down pat!

And that folks, is all I'm going to say on this "topic of the day."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Best Laid Plans

To start, and by trying to keep everyone current, here's the Bushism, actually on the calendar for tomorrow, but I'm giving it to you today.

"I want it to be said that the Bush administration was a results-oriented administration, because I believe the results of focusing our attention and energy on teaching children to read and having an education system that's responsive to the child and to the parents, as opposed to mired n a system that refuses to change, will make America what we want it to be - a literate country and a hopefuller country." (Washington, D.C.; january 11, 2001)

I really wasnt' aware of it when I started this post, chose my title and then put that blurb (i.e. Bushism) in there how much it fits with my title. Yes, really it does.

My thoughts today were that quite often we make plans, think we have a good thing lined up and then, it all falls apart. Just makes that old adage about the best laid plans of mice and men tend to go awry really the truth.

And, if you read this quote by "Dubya" you will see (I think) that he starts out with a really good concept and the words seem to be flowing along quite well, even making a lot of sense, until the end and the literate and hopefuller country he thinks we will have. What the heck kind of literacy does that point to from a Yale graduate - hopefuller? I would think - and I've said this on many occasions to lots of family and friends - that Laura has to just cringe every time this man opens his mouth! Must have flunked "Good Grammar Concepts 101" is my theory.

But back to my reasons for the "best laid plans" - you've probably got it figured out by now that I made plans for something and it all blew up on me. If so, you would be very, very correct in your line of thinking.

In my post last night, I mentioned we would try to get things together this morning so Mandy, the kids and I would get up in time to get ready to go to church and to the special dinner following today's service. I even got the cabbage and onions all nicely sauteed so all I needed to do today was to cook the noodles up, re-heat the onions/cabbage mixture and presto magic, I would have a big casserole dish of fried cabbage and noodles (a family favorite item here I might add) to take to the dinner.

I even went to bed early - well very early for me anyway -crawled into the bed at 1 a.m. and even was able to fall asleep quite quickly. (Sometimes, when I try to do that, go to bed early for a reason that I need to get up early, things work ok like that for me - sometimes!)

But at 3:30 a.m. the freaking shingles decided they would take charge of my system then and they have been wielding complete control since then too I might add.

They woke me up with this lousy stabbing pain that I couldn't shake off and I went and took a pain pill which didn't want to kick in apparently - or not quickly, at any rate, and thus I ended up awake till about 8:30 a.m. which was when I should have been getting up but then couldn't stay awake because the pain pill was doing its thing and making me very groggy. So I hit the sofa and slept then till about 11:30 - something like that - at which time, the shingles again resurfaced, more stabbing pains and I ended up having to take another pain pill just to be able to sit, move around then, half way comfortably.

The good thing that came out of this is that I still have the cabbage and onions fried up, ready to mix into a batch of hot buttered noodles and just had to figure out what kind of meat to fix to have for our meal du jour! Seeing that Mandy had bought one of those already roasted chickens they sell in the deli section where she works, I decided that would be the perfect item to heat up and serve for us for supper this afternoon. And the best part about it is that it's really going to be a low work scale effort needed to pull it all together!

And that, for me, is a good idea on any day - a low-work level meal that is good and tasty at the same time. And especially so when these centipede-like darned shingles decide to harass the living daylights out of me and make me feel miserable for hours on end - or so it seems.

Hope your day is one in which your plans all come through in the manner you had intended.