Monday, February 21, 2011

Great Weekend!

We had company over this past weekend and it was a lot of fun for Mandy and I to have a chance to have Amie and her little boy, Payton, here Sunday and until early this afternoon. This seems to becoming an annual tradition now -her visiting here, usually in late February or early March.

Amie and her son live just outside of Gettysburg, PA and she and my son had a long relationship -like seven years worth -that ended seven years ago this spring but they have remained very good friends since their break-up.

What's great about that is that way my girls and I can still easily maintain our relationship too with Amie!

Here's Amie and Payton as they were getting ready to leave to return home and there's Mandy, thoroughly enjoying the new coating of snow we received last night too!

Payton is one little cutie! He will be three in April and is small for his age -but then again, his mother is very small built too.

But he is so comical to listen to as he can chatter away, a mile a minute and uses big people words too in his speech! Quite the little conversationalist, he is.

What was really fun though was to watch him interact with Maya and Kurtis. The kids, overall, got along together quite well. However, at one point this morning, there was a little bit of a ruckus upstairs and Mandy and Amie went up to investigate to see which boy was having issues. (How did we know it was one of the boys? Easy! They were up there with Maya and rarely does she allow younger children to get the upper hand, ya know.)

When the Moms got upstairs, Payton informed them that "The girl hit the boy!"

Yep, ya see what I mean there? I knew it was Maya doing something not so nice and most likely it was to her brother too. Right on both counts!

Tonight, after supper, Kurtis was running through the dining room and tripped over one of his toys on the floor. (He is definitely his Grandma's offspring in that he doesn't watch out for obstacles that might be laying about, in his way so trips quite easily on things like that. Just like me!)

Anyway, he landed with a bit of a thud and Mandy and I both asked him the standard question - "Are you okay?" To which he let out a bit of a scream -short one though -and then, two short "WAH WAH" sounds. And that was it. But the way he did those "WAH WAHs" was just so comical to see and hear.

Later, he was having issues over something -who knows what -and again, the question was posed to him "Are you okay?" This time he gave us a very matter-of-fact response of "No." We asked him what was wrong and his answer to that was so revealing -"I don't know!"

Really gives a person a lot of information to go on, doesn't he?

Maya is going to have a very busy week ahead this week as she has play practice Tuesday and Wednesday evenings then, Thursday, it will be their dress rehearsal. The performances will be Friday and Saturday night at the elementary school up in Philipsburg of the play, "Cinderella."

I'm really looking forward to seeing how she does in this, her stage debut! She knows all the music and dances for her scenes as well as every other scene in the play and we think she knows 100% of the dialogue too now! Quite the little trooper she is, for sure!

Some of you may be aware that in addition to my blog, I am also on Facebook. If you want to friend me, just look for Jeni Hill Ertmer and if I know who you are, I'll be happy to friend you back.

One of the pages on Facebook that I am on is one called "Grassflat Grown" which, theoretically is for anyone who lived here in Grassflat or who has roots to this little village or has any interest in the place or the township too for that matter.

The girl who set up this page is from here originally but now lives around Chicago some place but since I am really interested in stuff like this page (photos and articles about the place, etc.) she gave me "administrator" privileges to it and as such, I've set up a couple discussion sites there for people to share memories or other things about Grassflat and/or Cooper Township.

One of the most recent things I started on the Discussions Page is to post obituaries there for people who lived here at the time of their passing or perhaps many years ago too.

Today, I had a very lengthy obituary to post there for a lady named Lydia (Lapps) Soder Anderson who died last week at the age of 99.

I knew Lydia back when I was junior/senior high age as she, along with Mrs. Louise Janke -from Winburne and Mrs. Betty Raymond, from Grassflat, were the advisors for the girls 4-H Group from this region. We girls had so much fun with those three ladies as we tried to learn bits and pieces about cooking and crafts, sewing and such. Lydia was one great leader of our group and such fun to spend time at our meetings with her because though she could dish out good stable advice, she also had a great sense of humor that gave us the freedom to feel we could talk to her about most anything.

She had moved away from this area back around 1986-87 or so and I had lost contact with her then so it had been many, many years since I last saw her. I wish I'd known where she was living as I would have loved to have been able to visit with her from time to time and remember all those fun times with the 4-H group and the hi-jinx we girls would often get into at them as well.

Rest in peace, Lydia. I will remember you and will try to tell my grandchildren about you and what a great friend you were to young girls like my friends and I were back in those days.

A Long Process!

Do you believe this but is has now been almost six months since my diagnosis of uterine cancer and five months have gone by since the chemotherapy began.

I really can't complain all that much about the chemo as I really didn't have a whole lot of issues that made me sick or very uncomfortable throughout the treatments. A couple, maybe once or twice where I either was nauseated or felt a bit of nausea and no major problems with fatigue. But then, I tend to be fatigued all the time -or so it does seem anyway -so how would I know what was causing what in that respect then.

My hair disappeared almost all of it, in one week -the week before Maya's 7th birthday and I had my head shaved completely the night of her birthday -October 18th.

Finally, the hair is beginning to grow back in now -slowly yes, but surely. The question now becomes what color or colors will it be and will it be straight or maybe even curly? Who knows and who cares. Just give me hair! So at least with something covering my head again I won't be freezing at the drop of a hat -literally and figuratively in this instance!

The biggest problem I had throughout the whole chemo treatment though was the lectures from my oncologist about my weight losses!

Here I was thinking I was doing a good thing, trying to curb my eating to bring my weight down more to make my primary care physician happy, lower by blood sugar levels in that process and besides that, I was happy seeing the pounds come off when I got weighed at the oncology center every two or three weeks.

The weight loss actually was due more to the fact the chemo did have a nasty effect on my mouth though -those painful little mouth ulcers on my tongue and for about two or three weeks early on, problems with my sinus that was making it extremely difficult for me to chew and swallow -and not being caused then just by those darned mouth ulcers!

I suppose the only good thing about losing weight that way was that I didn't have to think about or worry my little head about taking any kind of weight loss pills during that time to lose any weight. The almost twenty pounds I dropped came about pretty naturally cause if you can't chew, can't swallow, odds are your eating is going to be lessened for sure as will your weight!

My mouth still isn't back to form yet. No, it's not near as bad as it was even a month ago but it's still not back 100% as yet. The mouth is still very, very dry which is annoying and makes most everything I eat still feel a bit like it has the texture of sandpaper -with ice cream being about the only food item that doesn't give me major hissy fits!

I still don't have the full taste sensations I used to have with my taste buds too and that, I do miss. Food I generally like and which may look really great sitting in front of me, just doesn't seem to have the right taste quality to it as yet.

And the really big issue with respect to food and beverage, as I have learned, is that any food cooked in a tomato based sauce are best served without a glass of wine or a bottle/can of beer to wash them down as the combination of those things tends to make my mouth and tongue feel as if someone had just lit a small bonfire there!

Now that is something I am hoping the return to normal of my mouth and tastebuds will soon cure cause one thing I did always enjoy -a lot -pizza and a nice cold beer!

Peace and have a good day!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Excuses, Excuses!

Some days just seem to glide along -like a sweet summer breeze. Then others are much more like a tornado -ripping through everything. Around here, often the days are a mix of both types of weather conditions.

Take yesterday for an example.

Mandy took Maya in to see the doctor early in the morning because she'd been running a fever Thursday night of around 101. It had dropped initially in the morning but then started to spike again before it was time for Maya to leave for school so Mandy decided to keep her home and to call the doctor, take her in there to be checked.

Maya was totally ticked off at being kept home from school! And Maya, totally ticked off, is not a good scene. But Mandy prevailed. Took her to the doctor where she was told Maya has a sinus infection as well as allergies.

Back home in time to get Kurtis on his van and off to school, and then Mandy left to run back in town and pick up the prescriptions for Maya. She got about 3 miles from home and ran out of gas! Talk about good luck, huh? So Ken rescued her and she got in town for the meds and back home again.

A little past 3 p.m. and a phone call from older daughter in which she tells about her fiance who had just called her to say he was on Benner Pike and that he didn't know what was wrong but he was having problems with his truck. Gee, seems to be out of gas! Imagine that. Seems to me the family had a bit of an epidemic this week with vehicles running out of gas.

Then, waiting to hear from Clayton as to what time he'd be in yesterday only to learn he was stuck, outside of Allentown, with two flat tires!

See what I mean about tornados vs summer breezes?

So Mandy decided she would fix supper last night -Stromboli, no less. As she was working in the kitchen with the ingredients and the prep work, Kurtis was messing around out there and got into some hot water with his mother.

I'm not sure what his initial offense was but Mandy yelled at him and when he decided not to listen but rather to keep on making a bit of a mess, Mandy gave him a tap on the behind and sent him packing off to the living room. He was supposed to go sit down, which he did -on the arm of the other recliner and from that perch, he proceeded to launch a full-fledged noise campaign -crying, screaming (alternating between the two) and shoving his fists in his mouth so as to possibly gag himself and then the result of that would be that he probably would throw up.

Wonnerful, wonnerful. Just what I always wanted, ya know.

And I was trying to get him to quiet down as he was drowning out the dialogue on the episode of Law and Order I was trying to watch.

After much heated discussion trying to get him to quiet down, he informed me he couldn't be quiet, couldn't quit fussing and I asked him why.

His answer: "I can't, Gram 'cause I has allergies."

Needless to say, the stern look on my face disappeared immediately as I couldn't keep from howling, I was laughing so hard at him and his latest excuse.

Could you keep a straight face if a 5-year-old gave you an answer like that?

Friday, February 18, 2011


This afternoon, wearing my lighter weight winter coat and surprise, surprise, no gloves for the first time since probably early December, Sammy and I set out for a little walk down the road.

Yesterday, we went along this same route but had to stop before we got to the Sewage plant building because of a huge puddle that stretched the entire way across the road and was too wide for me to stretch my leg to "hop" over it. Sammy does NOT like mud puddles, at all, and will go to all lengths to avoid them so that ended our walk yesterday.

Today, he got off into the snowy area still along the road and in the woods and found a spot with a little bit of brush peeking through the snow -which is the kind of stuff he likes to use when doing his business. (Yes, you could say he is a bit of a finicky mutt, couldn't you?)

But after doing that, he continued walking along in the snow, not paying any attention at all to where I was walking and that the puddle we encountered yesterday, while still there, the width of it has decreased enough today that I could step over it. So when he finally realized I was moving on and he tried to get out of the snow-covered area, he found himself confronted with yet another good-sized mud puddle. This time, he had no alternative and ended up walking, oh so daintily too, through that water to get to where I was then on the road.
This is the big mud puddle yesterday. I liked the way the reflection of the bare trees along the road shows up in the water.

I didn't take any pictures of that puddle today so you'll just have to take my word for it that it was a tad smaller than yesterday.

I did get some shots down just a bit further though on Peale Road -where the road that used to lead back up over the hill and into the area where the old Grassflat Mines were located. This road is kind of steep and has been snow and ice covered for some time now. Today though, the ice was still glistening there but it was more slushy than ice right now. And the runoff from that road is creating quite a little stream going down along the hill from Peale Road down to the first bridge across Moravian Run on this road.
Here's the road that used to lead to the old mines up over and behind the hillside.

And here's what the runoff from that road looks like where it intersects with Peale Road!

Speaking of "runoff" though, yesterday while reading various blogs, one of my favorite blogs to read is written by a neurologist who calls himself "Dr. Grumpy." (Perhaps some of you, my readers, may also follow his blog too -very interesting stuff he posts. And yesterday, he was writing about pharmaceutical companies and things they do that keep us confused about various prescription drugs and their availability.

Too bad the drug companies don't make available to people something like the hydroxycut reviews that might give the general public a little more knowledge to determine what the heck kind of medicine they are taking and exactly what they are paying for then too.

And on a side note -with something that was caused by runoff, of a sort -you all know by now I am assuming that the "runoff" from the recent chemo treatments I had created a bit of baldness in me. When the hair began to fall out in huge clumps back in mid-October, I had my neighbor (Karen) come over and just shave my head so yes, I have been very bald, very naked in the hair department for the past four months today. However, in the past two weeks, a very new thing has come along and it is now fairly evident too that my hair has finally decided to make a return!

And, as proof of that remarkable hair growth, I offer the following two pictures!

The first shot is of the hair coming in on the top of my head and the lower picture is a shot from the side.

Nice, huh? Looks pretty dark right now -this new growth -so I'm kind of anxious to see if it will all be dark when it comes in a little more or if it will still have lots and lots of gray hairs intermingled in there too!

Time will tell, won't it?

Comparisons -and Other Things...

My blogger friend, Maggie Mae (of Nuts in May) posted yesterday about a small animated movie she'd seen and recommended it highly. The Movie -"Mary and Max" is one I haven't seen, which isn't unusual because my movie viewing is generally relegated to what ever is on the tv that I'd like to see -but anyway, this movie sounds really interesting to me. I can't, of course, not having seen it, really describe it but by Maggie's description it struck me that it's a lot like blogging can be. (You'll have to go read Maggie's write-up in order to grasp my drift here.)

Anyway, it made me think about blogging and friends. We -bloggers, that is -meet in this huge concourse called the Internet. We find each other by various means -just random hop-scotching around using the "next blog" feature perhaps or we find another blogger whose writing and thoughts we appreciate, or someone recommends a specific blogger in a post and before you know it, we've got blogs we follow and if we're lucky, maybe some bloggers even follow us too.

We write about all kinds of things! Family, children, good times, bad times, pets, work (or lack thereof) hobbies galore, books, movies, music -a virtual plethora of topics that can be found by reading others blogs. I suppose there are some folks who, in their blogs, write of things that put themselves out for our perusal as wonderful individuals who, in reality, they really aren't that at all. But, for the most part, we trust our fellow bloggers writings to be true, accurate (as much as possible) about their lives, their feelings and such.

And quite often from these readings of others thoughts, ideas, feelings, we come to feel a camaraderie with many of these people and yes, even to the extent that we say we are friends. Friends, sight unseen often unless one or the other of the "friends" or bloggers posts pictures that include themselves in those pics. But even then, do we really know that is what the other blogger looks like and yet, much of the time, based on what they say they like, do, eat, participate in, etc., we take them at their word and yes, we do become friends.

There are a few bloggers who I "met" back when I first started out with this blog and really wasn't sure what direction I was going to take with it, who still "follow" me and I, them. Speaking of the direction of this blog, it sure has become quite eclectic, hasn't it? Or perhaps a better description of this would be to say it, like the writer, has "no direction?" Maybe a little or a lot, at times, of both would be more accurate.

Whatever. It is what it is.

Yesterday, I ventured out again to walk the mutt, Samuel J. Muttley, as I refer to him from time to time. (When I first called him that, I didn't give it any thought. Just joking around to give him a full name, ya know. But Miss Maya later, at some interval, asked Mandy a question pertaining to my name and was wondering if my last name is "Muttley" too? Mandy was a bit confused at first as to where this question was originating until it dawned on her that it was from my calling Sammy by giving him a surname.)

See how quickly the direction in my posts can change? Just skip around with no direction at all in mind there, huh?

But anyway, Sam and I went for our regular length walk today -about 1/2 mile, round trip but got stopped near the end of our walking turf because of the snow melt that had created a mud puddle that extended from one side of the road to the other. This was on the beginning part of the dirt road down the street from my house. So we didn't get the last 75-100 foot of our walk completed unless we would have walked through this mud puddle. And Sam was definitely not up to doing that nor was I. Out in front of our house, at the top of the steps as you come down to our sidewalk, the snow melt always creates a good-sized mud puddle there which, unless you want wet feet, you have to side-step a little to avoid it. Thankfully, there is a spot to the right of the puddle to allow you to do that. And Sam, went he heads up those steps always does a nice little side-step there to avoid getting his dainty little paws all wet and muddy there.

Unlike two small children who dearly love to get to the top of those steps and raise a foot to bring it down, squarely in the center of said puddle! Ah, the things that do entice little children though, huh? When they do that, it always makes me think that it is because my Mother, wherever her soul is out floating about, is nudging my grandchildren to make darned sure they do manage to slop about, even with one tiny footstep in the puddle, as her way to get even with me for the many times I came home with wet feet, muddy shoes to the max, after having made sure my feet had hit every possible mud puddle there was along the road on the walk home from school, way back when ya know.

Ah, how some things never really do change though!

And tonight at supper, I heard myself again, the voice of me back when telling my Mom or Grandma some cockamamie excuse why I couldn't possibly try this or that vegetable or sauce, or whatever I had decided I didn't want to try. Tonight, with Maya and Kurt, the evil food item was apple/carrot/raisin salad which created the return of my own child's voice to me. It took a whole lot of doing, of wheedling and coddling these two, of all kinds of reasons why they should "just taste one tiny little bite" of the apple salad because there was not a thing in there of any substance they -either one of 'em -hasn't ever eaten before and also, they were things that separately, they each also liked.

Eventually, we did get them both to take just one tiny, teeny bite of a piece -the smallest pieces that I could find. Oh the price of success at the dining room table. Of course, that was all either of them would ingest tonight though -just that one teensy-tiny little piece although I was hoping one or possibly both of them would have this taste explosion in their mouth and then, start asking for a helping of the apple salad. But, alas, that wasn't to be. I was just happy by that time to have gotten the one lonely little bite of the food into them!

Now, I can start trying to think of what to fix for supper Friday nite -tonight, that would be, ya know.

Maybe if I try to get my mind geared early enough I can come up with some meal plan that will suit both kids and that won't be their usual request either -mac 'n'cheese!

And now, I think it probably would be a good idea if I ventured out to my little room, spoke sweetly and softly to my little bed buddy there to get her to move over a tad and give me some room to get into bed and get my tired out old self to sleep!

To sleep; to dream. Yeah, sounds good to me!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Yes, I seem to be stuck -- in a rut and can't get up.

Don't ask me why, cause I haven't a clue. Just feeling that way today and I'll probably just wait it out, hoping for some unknown light-hearted thing to blow into my life -soon -and take this feeling away then.

I'm not going to pontificate on the various types of feelings of stuck that sometimes wrap around me mainly because I still don't understand, at my ripe old age, what brings these feelings on. Why somedays I may wake up with that feeling and other days, it appears suddenly, out of the blue, at various times of day too. Just very unpredictable is the only thing about it that is true.

But I am going to tell you a bit about some other folks who are stuck today or have been recently.

Mandy and Ken were out and about for about two hours and when they came home, Mandy was in a rush to make a phone call to Pastor Carrie -our minister -with an offer of assistance to her.

Seems as they came down the hill, past the parsonage, there was Pastor Carrie's car, stuck in the driveway there. So Ken had told Mandy to try to get in touch with her and tell her he'd be happy to come up and pull her car out for her. However, Mandy was unable to reach her at that time and thus far, she hasn't called back either. We have, of course, no idea when she got stuck there but our concern was that if it was this morning some time, it may have interfered with her getting to the funeral home on time as she was to officiate at a funeral today.

Now, for yet another little story of someone getting stuck.

Sunday evening, when my son had to leave to go to work, it was decided that his girlfriend would go along with him to where he gets his truck and by doing that, she would then be able to bring my jeep back and that way, all week while he's on the road, my jeep isn't just sitting up at the yard where he parks his big truck over the weekends. This way, if his girlfriend needed to go someplace, she would have a means of transportation and also, if I wanted to go somewhere, I wouldn't have to rely on Mandy to ferry me about either.

We thought it was a darned good plan.

Well, Sunday night -around 11 p.m. -I got a phone call from my son, telling me he needed to get in touch with his girlfriend because he had inadvertently left his cell phone in my jeep. He was calling me from one of the little convenience stores around here somewhere and had to borrow a cell phone to use from some nice young lady who he didn't even know! He couldn't call his girlfriend though because he couldn't remember her cellphone number so instead, called me because she was supposed to be coming back here to our house after having dropped him off.

She hadn't yet arrived here when he called though but said he would call back in a while to check in with her, let her know where he would be and where to meet him then to bring his cellphone to him as he needs to have it with him in his job, ya know.

At no time though did he mention to me where, exactly, he was then nor where she could come to meet him.

So, when she did arrive back here a short time later, she and I ended up sitting up till after 2 a.m. waiting for him to call us back.

When he did finally call back, he said he'd been over in Clearfield all that time, just waiting for her to show up. Pretty hard for her to have done that when he didn't give me any specifics though ya know. But then, that's also pretty much typical behavior for my son to expect mind-reading, ya know.

So she left then about 2:15 a.m. or so to make the run over to Clearfield and get his phone to him.

All seemed to be working out fine and dandy.

I waited for her to return, staying awake till about 4 a.m. or shortly thereafter when I finally gave up the ghost then and went to bed. I thought perhaps she had decided not to come back down here after all and instead, to just go to my son's house and stay there.

Boy, was I ever wrong on that theory!

When I got up later that morning about 9:30 or so, I asked Mandy if the girlfriend had ever got back here and she said "NO! That poor girl!"

That's when I learned what had happened to her.

Seems that on the way back down the interstate, the old jeep had run out of gas about two miles from our exit. She had tried to call here but unfortunately, once I go to sleep in my room, I can not hear the phone ringing in the living room unless I have just begun to doze off and am not in a sound sleep.

So, I hadn't heard the phone ringing with her calling to tell me of her plight then.

So, she got out of the jeep and disconnected a few things -things one has to do with my old buggy in order for it to start at a later time, ya know -and had begun walking the two miles between where the jeep was to the exit off the interstate. A trucker came along and gave her a ride from the exit up to the truckstop where she again tried to reach someone here at the house to no avail.

Finally, she made her way home to my son's place -a nice long walk at 5 a.m. in the cold and dark of about 4 miles!

She later told us as soon as she got home, she began filling up the tub with water as hot as she could stand it and then, she soaked in the warmth of that hot water for a good long while to thaw her feet, hands and of course, the rest of her body out.

What an ordeal for that poor kid to have to contend with! Lucky for my son, for us here at home too, she's a pretty good-natured individual and by the time she came down here then later in the day, she was seeing things in a very humorous light.

Mandy and Ken took her up to the truckstop where they got a new gas can, got about two gallon of gas in it and then, the three of them drove to where the jeep was parked and managed then to get it running again and back to the truckstop where they got about 10 gallons of gas then so she won't run out again hopefully, anyway!

The problem with the running out of gas is that the gas gauge on my jeep doesn't work. Or if it does, it doesn't always register correctly as it does seem to have a mind of its own. And, in the past, we have been trying to rely on the tripmeter on the dash to judge how much gas may still be in the tank but for the past 2-3 weeks now, you can't even do that because there's some other kind of problem with the jeep -my son says its something somewhere in the wiring I think he said that is causing the battery to drain when the jeep is shut off but once it is running, it's fine and charging okay. So, when you shut the jeep off now, to keep the battery from draining, you have to disconnect the battery and then, reconnect it when you need to start the vehicle and each time that is done, it disconnects the tripmeter so it doesn't register then how many miles you have gone on whatever amount of gas you just put in the tank.

So there was really no way that she had of knowing how many miles had burnt off how much of the gas in the olde tank, you see.

Anyway though, as the old saying goes, "All's well that ends well" and in this instance, thankfully it all did end well. She got back home safely. The jeep got rescued. My son got his cellphone delivered to him and once she got completely thawed out, everyone was then happy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Juggling -past vs present

Yesterday, I blogged about the funeral for a dear lady who had always been a very good friend to me. I said I try to use her as a role model for my own life.

And, I do. I try.

Don't always succeed very well in that quest though, I must confess.

Although I'm quite sure there probably were many times, many things, in Betty's life that angered her greatly or hurt her a heck of a lot too, but somehow, she always seemed to rise above things like that.

And it's that aspect about her that I'm struggling with right now.

My daughter informed me the other day that some things are going to be changing here in this old household -in the very near future -and I know that those things -when they happen -are going to make my trying to deal with life, with other people, people who tend to really bring out the worst side possible in me - very, very difficult.

I'll not go into details right now as to those changes that are coming. I've dealt with it before and so, here it is once again, on my plate. I'm not happy, not in the least about this but at the same time, circumstances being what they are, I also know there aren't any alternatives but to allow this individual back into our lives, into my life.

So I am trying to work on ways -to find ways I should say, I suppose -to at least tone the anger I feel down as much as possible.

I find it very difficult to deal with this person because no matter what I say, what I do, the response I will get back is one of indifference and a reaction to my words to the effect that I don't know diddly squat about that which I speak.

Uh huh. Go ahead and tell me that.

I'm not a genius -that much is for certain -but I do have a certain modicum of intelligence. I also have many years of experience in life -way more than this person has -and I do know from that alone a heck of a lot then.

But in order to keep some even small bit of peace, I'm really gonna have to be biting my tongue.

Look for me to be talking with a very severe lisp in the near future -all caused by the big hole(s) I'm gonna be sporting in my tongue to try to be civil!

And if you have any suggestions as to how to tone one's anger down to a very dull roar, keep resentments from flushing through my system -please, feel free to pass them along to me as I'm definitely gonna need all the help I can get!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Saving Goodbye...

Today was a day of very mixed emotions as well as mixed blessings too.

Some people might think the circumstances of the day would hold only sadness and can't see the blessings that can be experienced within attending a funeral.

But to those people, I would have to say that's because you never knew the lady from our church parish who was laid to rest today.

She had to be the most -or one of the most -positive people I have ever known.

I've known Betty since I was probably about 8 years old -when the church my family belonged to then merged with the church on top of the hill here in this little village. By the time I entered my teens, I got to know her better because every year, either Betty and her late husband or her sister and her first (now deceased) husband always were the choices for advisors for our church's young people's group -known then as the "Luther League."

By the time I was in high school, I often babysat for Betty's children then too. They had two girls who started out with them as foster children and I know they adopted one, possibly both the girls. In addition, they had four sons of their own too.

Betty's attitude towards life in general, towards church, her faith -all came through to her from her mother who was also an extremely positive person -so the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

She was a registered nurse by occupation and I recall her telling those of us in the Luther League back then about a man who had been one of her patients and how he, in particular, had changed her outlook, her overall perspective about life, family, friendships, and yes, even about death too. He had been a minister and his basic words to her were to accept all things that came to you -good, bad or indifferent -as blessings (just that some of the sorrows might not seem to be that at the time, but eventually, they too would become a blessing to life.) And to not fear death.

And from that time forward, that's exactly how she chose to live her life.

From my own memory bank about her, the thing that stands out the most to me is that I've never seen her meet a baby, toddler or small child, and not believe this little one wasn't the best, the brightest and yes, the most beautiful baby, tot, child ever!

She absolutely loved and adored children from the bottom of her heart! Her children, then her grandchildren and of late, great-grandchildren and even a great-great-grandchild -all were superb to her! And ya know, at least what I do know about her children and their lives, that was pretty much an accurate description too of how those six individuals turned out -each and everyone of them picked up the great traits and habits of their mother.

When she first met Pastor Carrie -our current pastor -one of the very first things she told her was that she regarded Pastor Carrie as now being HER pastor and asked her then if she would "do her funeral?" too! Yes, she was like that -doing a little planning ahead.

Two weeks ago, Pastor Carrie said in her sermon today that when she went to visit her at the nursing home where she'd resided for the past 4 years, that she had told her on that occasion exactly what she wanted Pastor Carrie to say about her at her funeral. Nothing that would be construed as bragging about herself but rather just honest expressions of what life had meant to her. Above all, she stressed that she had had a wonderful life -not without pain and sorrow -but still and all, throughout the good and the bad, she considered herself then and now to be blessed.

She loved Bible study and she also loved music. She participated over the years in virtually every church activity possible and worked long and hard for our parish to be successful.

She rarely could be seen frowning. Things had to be really difficult for her to do that so most everytime you saw her, she was sporting a big, wide smile and her questions to anyone always showed her genuine concern for everyone she knew, everyone she encountered then too along the way.

She often told people after going to live in the nursing home that life there was wonderful. She had everything she needed and didn't have to do any housework, didn't have to cook, people took care of her every need and where could you find a life any better than that?

At the service itself today, the music was all songs that I knew would be hymns that so described her outlook on the church, on life. And strangely enough, as I looked at the names of the hymns selected, I realized almost everyone of them were the same as the ones I had told our previous minister I wanted sung at my own funeral at some time in the future. I guess in a lot of ways she and I thought a lot alike but if that's so, then I also know that was because of what I learned over the years too as a teen, a young adult, a young mother and now, as one who also qualifies today as a senior citizen and much of that came through to me from her -from her "lead by example" methods.

She was 18 years my senior so over the years she held different roles for me -teacher, advisor, mentor, and above all, my good friend.

At the funeral dinner, having a chance then to talk to various other members of her family, many of us from our women's group who were working there, serving the meal, remarked afterward how the day, the chain of events, all came together to be just exactly the type of gathering she so much would have appreciated and yes, enjoyed to the fullest too.

The day was very much full of her presence in the way we all remembered her, loved her for her ways, her thoughts, beliefs and her love for all of us then too.

Most definitely, Betty was there and will always be there for those of us who knew her -a rock to sit back and rest against at times, to draw on for comfort and strength in whatever might come our way at some point in time too.

I hope I can pass on her spirit and her faith to my children and especially now, to my grandchildren as well.

It will bode them well if they adopt it as their own.

Peace, my dear friend. Peace eternal -may it be yours.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Justice - 1917 Style!

Tonight, while researching the old newspaper files from the Clearfield Progress, I came across this piece that I found interesting. Apparently, back in 1917, the law took complaints of domestic abuse and violence quite seriously after all.

Here then, from page 1 of the November 6, 1917 issue is the story of the arrest of one such individual.

Lands in the Arm of the Law and Now a Guest of the Sheriff

Ed Raymond, a Cooper township citizen, got so strenuous and full of the devil, that his wife could no longer stand it to live with him and being in fear of her life made information against Raymond before Squire Divinney at Winburne. THe warrant was placed in the hands of Constable Tom Barr of Winburne and he soon haled the offender before the Justice.

In default of a proper surety of the peace bond, Raymond was ordered committed to jail and there the fun began. He objected every foot of the way from the Cooper Township capital to the county "Stone pile." The constable was forced to employ two deputies to assist him in getting his prisoner to jail.

It was an amusing sight to see them negotiate the long high steps at the jail entrance. The doughty constable got in front and the two deputies came behind as "pushers" and between them after much grunting, sweating and swearing the top was reached and the doors then clanged behind the prisoner. When searched at the jail Raymond was found to posses several hundred dollars in cash.

Constable Barr is fast becoming a terror to evildoers and is one of the most efficient peace officers in the lower end of the county. He recently landed Joe Kulla, the Curwensville man who deserted when called for Camp Lee. Constable Barr by a clever piece of detective work located his man in the wilds in the region surrounding Gorton Heights and placed him under arrest.

The descriptions the writer/reporter uses in these pieces are so different from the writing -and reporting -styles used today and sometimes, that's what really appeals to me when I read and transcribe these pieces.

The newspaper today rarely prints the names of people picked up for various offenses -unless it is something of really horrendous doings. Makes me wonder if, 50 or 75 years or more from now, someone like myself decides to do research by using old newspaper archives will find the newspapers of much value then.

Sure as heck won't be of any help to people trying to do family tree research, will it? Maybe, if newspapers reverted back a bit to publishing ALL the news with an eye on the fact that they are recording history not just for history's sake but for people with an interest in learning about their ancestry, it might just increase their readership a bit.

And, if they were to write the news and actually make it come alive -add a bit of color to their descriptions, as well as a twinge of humor too, it sure couldn't hurt anything. (Other than I suppose bring some folks out of the woodwork to sue over breach of privacy of some such thing like that.)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Good Old Days....

The people who know me really well -my friends and neighbors and a few other local folks -all know I love to learn about the history of the village where I was born, raised and still reside as well as the history of the Township here too.

One of the ways I use to learn various things about the area is via a subscription I have to which I use for some family tree research but mainly, my bigger interest in that subscription comes from searching and reading the archived pages from the local newspaper -The Clearfield Progress.

I had bunches and bunches of clips I transcribed from The Progress over a couple of years -all saved to floppy discs (because my other computer didn't have a read/write capacity for CDs, you see) and now, the A drive on this computer -for the floppies -won't work, so I can't access any of those many, many files until I get a new disc drive for this computer!

So, I started researching again on recently but using a different search term than I had previously used and right now, for the time being, I'm transcribing clips and articles I find over to Notepad files and will then later save all of them to cds.

I love to read these old articles -mainly for the way the reporters wrote way back when!

Here's an example of a piece I came across tonight. This was a front-page article in the newspaper here back in February of 1923 about a bootlegging operation that was "busted." I can't imagine a report like this being published today although I do think if more pieces were written like this, it might just stimulate a lot more people into returning to reading newspapers again!

Read this and tell me your thoughts about this piece. I saw a whole lot of humor in it when I read it and transcribed it, for sure!

This is all taken from the February 23, 1923 issue of The Clearfield Progress as found on's old newspaper records and files.

February 23, 1923 - page 1
Drifting Distiller and Grassflat and Winburne Retailers Caught by State

Police Squad
Officer Buys WHisky at Adamitz Hotel at Grassflat; Distiller's Wife a

Match for Dempsey.
During the European war the Germans always declared that Metz could not

be taken. Something of that spirit and belief was held by a lot fo

people with regard to the moonshining and illegal liquor selling in and

about Grassflat and other points in Cooper Township. But both Metz and

Grassflat have fallen and the banner of Mr. Volstead, the victor, has

been unfurled to the breeze on Knox Run Heights.

State Police officers, Working incognito, have been in the Cooper

territory for several days, during which time they secured evidence

sufficient to secure warrants for at least three malefactors. The first

crafty tactician to fall in the defense of personal liberty was Dan

FOlmar of Drifting whom the officers found presiding over a steaming ten

gallon still in his kitchen. In spite of Dan's protests that he was

"just makin' his own" the officers cruelly took the position that he was

manufacturing hard stuff and must make amends. They reasoned that Dan's

personal capacity must have known no bounds since the barrel the stuff

was flowing into was a forty gallon capacity and his cellar was full of

flasks ready for use.

The second font to fall was the Grass Flat Hotel, owned by Otto Adamitz,

now sojourning in Florida, while his son Russel, a youth under age,

operates the hotel. Young Adamitz sold the officers a quart of liquor

reported to be the real stuff at $12 per quart.

Then coming over to Winburne they made the acquaintance of Sandy Black

who slaked their thirst for a cash consideration.

After securing the evidence on the men complained of in numerous

complaints with the prohibition officials, the officers left the

territory. On Wednesday they returned to the field of their labors and

gathered in the violators. State Troopers H. W. Rodney and P. L. Boyer,

accompanied by County Detective Snyder and Constable Lee Sunderlin, went

first to the Folmer home but could neither find Dan nor get any

information as to his wherabouts. Later in the day they found the object

of their search in a mine hiding, after which they took him to his home

for a change of clothing in order that he might doll up as becomes a

prosperous moonshiner. His wife, however, was an unair obstacle in the

path of the officers. She bitterly attacked the officers and later

resorted to the use of her fists to prevent the arrest of her husband.

While she was planting a few stiff elbow hooks to the trooper's jaw, Dan

coached her with an "atta boy, good work, keep it up." It was **** Dan

was hustled in the waiting car that the round ended and the poor trooper

was able to massage his jowl and cheek. He was taken to Philipsburg for

a hearing after which he was remanded to jail in default of $1,000 bail.

Young Adamitz was the next man arrested but in his case was easily

procurable and he will have his liberty until the next term of court.

The arrest of Black was made in Philipsburg as he was about to board a

street car for Winburne and he too will have his mail directed to Fort

Lowell for some time to come.

These arrests are about the first relief that the Cooper Township

section has had under the prohibition law and this section was vieing

for first honors with Bigler Township. Mandy accepted the belief that

prohibition could not be enforced simply because no effort was being

made to enforce it and the men arrested all expressed themselves as very

much surprised at how easily they were taken across by the capable

officers sent to "get the goods"on them.

Many places in Grassflat particularly were under suspicion and it was

expected that the haul there would be much greater. There must be some

truth in the statement of one Grassflat citizen made some time ago when

he was directly accused by an officer of dealng in wet goods. He at

first denied that he ever sold any liquor but later told the officer

that in the early days he sold moonshine, as did others in the village,

but that there was one place where the thirsty traveler could get the

real stuff and he had to depend on home brew and the place selling the

real stuff put them all out of business.

Young Adamitz is under age and in charge of the hotel of his father Otto

Adamitz, who is spending the winter in the south.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Expensive Disparities

There's an old expression that I've used a time or two -sometimes with Maya when she whines about things we tell her she has to do -about there being only two things in life one really HAS to do and that's pay taxes and die.

I do think that's a pretty accurate assessment of stuff -much of the time, anyway.

However, there's something else we have to do -at least in most states, it's a requirement-and that's purchase car insurance if you own a vehicle. Some states do not require this but Pennsylvania does.

I can accept this as a necessary fact of life and truthfully, I wouldn't want to NOT have car insurance on my vehicle, on other little things it covers too. It's something that has definitely come in handy on a few occasions for me, that's for sure! (Like on the old Subaru Justy I had back in the mid-to-late 90s and I had the misfortune of hitting a deer not just on one occasion but three different times! At one point, the only area of that poor car that wasn't damaged from hitting some relative of Bambi's was the roof!)

What does annoy me about car insurance though is the disparity that often exists from one insurance company to another. I realize sometimes the reasons for this are based on differences between various drivers - young drivers get nailed for their youth is one example -or someone who has had lots of tickets and accidents or other issues may have to pay a higher rate then too.

We've all seen those advertisements on television about this company or that company offering the best coverage and having the cheapest car insurance available, but sometimes I wonder how true those ads really are, don't you?

A very good friend of ours has insurance on his vehicle with a different company than Mandy and I use and for his vehicle, he pays more per month than I do and I have full coverage on mine whereas he only carries liability on his.

Now, I don't know about you and your insurance rates, much less how each company actually operates, but I think if it were me paying more for straight liability than someone paying less and having both liability AND comprehensive coverage, I'd sure as heck be out shopping around for a better deal!

Wouldn't you?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Bring on the Next Project!

Okay, it took me three weeks and one day to do it but the 52 x 70 inch tablecloth I've been working on is now completed!

On the off chance the person who will be receiving this might possibly read my blog from time to time, no names will be given here -until after it has been presented and hopefully, accepted as being an okay item too!

Here then are the pictures I took of the finished item. My dining room table is not large enough to spread the cloth out there and get any half-way decent photographs so these are taken -by sections of the cloth -with it laying on the cedar chest/coffee table in the living room. Still not an ideal way to get pictures of something like this but it works better than the dining room table.

The above photo shows the center part of the tablecloth with two sprays of tulips on display.

This is a shot of one of the long sides of the cloth -actually it is the middle portion of one of the long sides.
And here's a view of one of the corners of the cloth.

You'll have to use your imagination now to envision what the whole piece, spread out before you, looks like.

The first time I did a tablecloth of this size was two years ago this winter. I made that one as a gift for my older daughter's birthday and it took me 6-7 weeks to complete it.

I was worried about how long it would take to do this item -as I wanted it done long before 6-7 weeks from when I began work on it and thankfully, I must have picked up a bit of speed in my stitching over the past two years -or maybe this cloth didn't have as many intricacies in the stitches required -like tons and tons of French knots which can take a heck of a long time to complete if there's a lot of them scattered about in the design. This piece had NO French knots and for that, I am eternally grateful!

This piece is done almost entirely in cross stitch with the only exception being the leaves/greenery and the ribbon which are done in a stem stitch.

Now, I have a couple very small projects next up on my agenda with a set of pillow cases I have to finish up too. Then, I get to tackle yet another 52x70 tablecloth -this one will have as its central theme -Pansies! Love those little flowers -to see them anyway. How much love I will still have for the lowly pansy when I finish the next tablecloth -well, that remains to be seen, doesn't it?

Happy Stitching!