Thursday, July 28, 2011

Moving Right Along!

Well, well, here it is, almost the end of yet another week and things here -with the exception of the snake peeking in my dining room window on Tuesday -have actually been going quite smoothly.

Bet you didn't expect to read something like that from me, did ya?

But it's true, really it is!

Kurt has been to Vacation Bible School every day this week and with only one more day to go, he only had one meltdown and that was on Wednesday when he began to cry while the kids were watching a video of some type. When one of the teachers took him out of the room to talk to him and try to figure out why he was upset, she actually got an answer out of him that made sense! He told her the music was too loud and it bothered his ears. Now that was definitely one very big, also very positive step on his part since it required him to tell someone, using his words, speaking clearly too, what had happened to upset him. And the nice thing about this is that it was all something easily corrected too!

Maya had to miss two days of Bible School because she had play practice schedule on Monday morning and again today from 9 a.m. till 11 a.m. But otherwise, she was at Bible School Tuesday and yesterday though.

Yesterday also had another break through for both the kids too and this came at lunch time. The food yesterday was mac'n'cheese with raw broccoli, celery sticks, carrot sticks and ranch dressing plus jello wigglers. Initially I mentioned to one of the women serving the food not to go near Kurt or Maya with the jello as that has always been one of their foods that they wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. But surprise, surprise! Yesterday, they were each offered that and both took a jiggler and even ate 'em too! I was almost in a state of shock!

At supper last night, Maya was trying to tell us some of the things they have been learning this week in Bible School and one of the things has been that they have been learning sign language including a song which they can sing but also will be able to sign the song as well. Now that I really think is a fantastic thing to teach all these kids and both Kurt and Maya appear to have been paying a good deal of attention to the music and sign language aspect too as both of them were able to show us a few bits from the song.

Great job, Pastor Carrie and all the others helping to teach the Vacation Bible School classes along with the teens from our church and friends of theirs who are there helping with the younger kids too this week!

I've been trying since last Thursday to do a little bit of advertising sales work for our cookbook and thus far, while I haven't sold advertising in record-breaking numbers, I have made numerous contacts in the area and sold some ads in the process. Some are definites and have even been paid for too. A few are fairly definite that they will take out an ad but I don't have confirmation on them as yet but those who are in that status are pretty reliable so I think we will end up with a few more ads that will help to defray some of our publishing costs and thus allow us then to offer the cookbook we want to present for perhaps a little bit of a reduction in the sale price once it is done.

Yesterday, really made my day with the ad sales though as my first stop was at an assisted living home near here which is owned by a lady who I've known much of my life. Her older brother was a classmate for a number of years from first grade on through to high school -he sat directly behind me in first grade, that I remember quite well -and she is two years my junior. She and her husband have been running this assisted care home for 28 years now and I wish anyone who needs to have care on this level could have the option of living at their place! It is just beautiful! Inside and outside -lovely landscaping, beautiful interior, great, helpful staff, good meals -all of which makes it nice for their patients and gives them more a sense of being at home and not in an institution some where!

Anyway, when I met with her, within ten minutes of my showing her what we are trying to do, etc., she purchased an ad and it is for the inside front cover and she opted to get the entire page for their home!

And, to make things even better for me, as I was leaving I saw one of her patients who I know quite well and this particular lady just happens to have been a very important part of my life. She was my teacher for 5th and 6th grades and also, just it just so happens that she has, since that time, been my favorite teacher! She is now 90 and does have some mobility issues but mentally, she is still really sharp as a tack! And that, my friends, is what really made me feel great to talk to her and see that she recognized me immediately and also, that she knew my daughter, Mandy, who has been working off and on over the past month or so with her boyfriend, Ken, painting at the home!

It's days like that which really give me a wonderful glow as I go to bed at night, thinking about my experiences of that day and tying them back to things from my past -especially when they go way, way back to my childhood!

Today, I had to have my car inspected -one of those annual things, ya know -and when I went up to pick it up, I talked to the woman who owns the garage, along with her husband, about the cookbook and advertising, etc., and I came home having made an advertising sale to her too! Pretty good deal there, I'd say!

I'm sure you've all picked up by now on how psyched up I am about this cookbook but it's something I think will be a great thing for virtually anyone to have in that it is going to contain well over 500 recipes, for certain, plus it will be an attractive book to own and also, it will be a really great memento type thing too through which people can search through it and bring up memories of many, many people who have in the past or still are members of our church community and reminders too, the way some of these recipes have done to me as I've typed them into the data base of sights and even smells in my mind of so many things I know I've had served to me over the years -good food, no, not just good, but wonderful foods of many, many types!

And it is that, those memories that doing this brings back to me that really are making this project all the more interesting and all the more worthwhile to me -hopefully to those who will buy the cookbook when it is ready -too!

Happy cooking to you from me on what is yet another great day in Pennsylvania!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Slither, Slither, Don't Come Hither!

Boy, this summer -around this little burg -has really been one for the books. The Wildlife books that is, anyway!

On Memorial Day, my son had major excitement at his house when two -not just one, but two -black snakes got inside and made their way to his bathroom where they seemed to think his bathtub would be just a whiz-bang dandy place to take up residence.

They were wrong in thinking that and now, neither of those two creatures are among the living any more.

About a week or two later, my son and his girlfriend found another black snake out in their front yard. This one fared a bit better in that they were able to trap it and then, Mandy's best friend and her husband, Jenn-Jenn and Nick-Nick, came down and got that snake all bundled up in a pillow case and took it away to a new place of residence.

About a week or two ago, the neighbor's son who cuts my next-door neighbor's grass found yet another black snake under the pine and hemlock trees along Deb's house -between her place and mine -and well, that snake is now gone -to his great reward wherever it is that black snakes go, ya know.

But today, I sure wasn't prepared for the events here this afternoon!

Mandy and the kids had spent the morning at our church for second day of Vacation Bible and had just come home and Kurt's TSS (Miss Dawn) along with the kids' mobile therapist (Miss Randi) had also just arrived here for their sessions with the kids today too. We were -most of us anyway -just standing around the dining room, talking, when suddenly Miss Randi pointed to the dining room window and asked me "Uh, Gram, what is that on the window?"

I turned to look, pretty much expecting to see some humungous insect type thing or something along those lines, but I sure wasn't expecting to see a snake dangling there, on the outside (thankfully!) of the window from the window ledge there!

Needless to say, I'm surprised the entire neighborhood didn't come running, that someone didn't sound an alarm that there must be some mayhem of some type taking place at our house based on all the loud, shrieking that was going on here!

Yeah, one old woman, and three younger females between the ages of oh, probably 26 thru 35, all of whom are terrified, absolutely petrified of snakes, do scream a hell of a lot, for sure!

The window where the snake was, shall we say, sort of "perched" -for lack of a better term -was open but there is a full screen in it, so it couldn't get inside -or at least I figured it couldn't do that but the kitten we just acquired oh, about about two, maybe three weeks ago, was in the window sill, on the inside, trying her level best to catch herself some big fat blow flies that were buzzing around there and never, to my knowledge, even saw the snake as it was dangling there, much less when it slowly began to move and seemed to disappear completely.

Well, it did move enough to get out of my sight from my vantage point in the dining room anyway!

I went out on the deck to see if I could ascertain where it had gone and actually, it was still there -on the window ledge in the middle of the window, kind of coiled up in sort of a rectangular shape! Then it began to move some more and made its way across to the roof over our cellar entrance way and from there, it moved on further in on the roof to where it connects with the wall from the back side of the bathroom and slowly was slithering down across the roof there!

Meanwhile, as I was watching its progression along the roof, I was yelling for Mandy and getting absolutely no response from her. I wanted to tell her to pick up the phone and call someone, either our neighbor, Joe, across the road one house up from us, or Jim, our neighbor about two doors down and across the road or if need be, then call Daryl, the neighbor about 4 houses down on our side -I could have cared less who she called, who could respond, but please get one of those guys -hopefully -up here to get this damned snake off the back roof of my house and make the slimy little bugger just go away and do it NOW too, will ya please?

What I didn't know was that she had gone to our next-door neighbor -Deb's place -and asked Deb's boyfriend who is spending a few days here visiting, to come over and rescue two small children who by that time were, of course, extremely curious about said snake and do some big macho type thing to get rid of the unwanted visitor so the four original terrified females would be able shut up, stop screaming and also, stop shaking! By the time Rob got over here though and saw where the snake was, the number of women now lined up to watch the snake get taken out had also grown to five now too as Deb had decided she needed to come see Rob do his brave stuff and take care of this particular menace invading our little society here!

Eventually, Rob was able to get the snake moving along off the roof and to the ground but not before he slipped on one of the ladder rungs he was standing on while trying to shove the snake around and off the room with a shovel! Lucky for him when he slid and banged into this old rusted out wood burner type stove that Bill (the former husband of daughter, Mandy) had dragged home a couple years ago that Rob didn't really hurt himself because the potential of a serious injury certainly was there!!

The drawback to getting the snake off the roof and on to the ground though was that Rob then had to sort of hopscotch around the back yard there, zig-zagging in between various toys of the truck variety of Kurt's that were scattered around the yard in that vicinity and as a result of that, the snake escaped and made its way under the deck initially and from there, it slid along under neath a bunch of heavy pieces of wood that Bill had put down on the ground to kind of make a semi-flat area there -kind of like a really red-necky, make-shift patio!

It was then, when the snake went slip-sliding away under those heavy pieces of wood that Rob gave up the chase, saying he wasn't going to move all of that stuff out of the way to try to capture the darned thing!

A little later in the afternoon, Ken arrived and moved that wood all around but no snake was there to be found. Then, Ken decided to check around my lovely garden -all full to the brim with various large leafy plants that make it virtually impossible for a person to see down to the ground if a snake might be hiding in there -which makes me have a lot of trepidation now about going down to the garden in the morning and reaching in there amongst those leaves to pick what new squash or green beans or snow peas might be ready to be harvested and wondering, worrying just what I might actually grab a hold of in that process then too!

So anyway, that's the saga of the snake at this house today. Lucky little so-and-so that it was to get away scot-free from anyone trying to capture it or even simply just to locate it and maybe re-route it to another area of town!

This evening, while Mandy had Maya in town for her play practice, Kurtis and I took Sammy for a walk up the road and we stopped to chat a bit with Shirley and Bo -my neighbors oh, about six houses or so up the street from us.

In telling them about the snake's visit, I came to find out they had had a visitor too earlier this week from a very unwanted guest too except their visitor was much larger, able to stand on its hind feet and reach up to pull down a big old bird feeder Bo had set up in their yard and managed to virtually destroy said feeder in the process as well. And to add insult to injury there, after having dined on all the food in the bird feeder, their visitor then also left behind a nice big pile of you know what as a friendly, smelly little memento of its visit too!

Yep! They'd been targeted by a big old black bear that apparently has been making its rounds too now along our street!

On the way back home from Shirley and Bo's, I ran into another neighbor on her way back to her house about 3 doors up the street from my place and she proceeded to tell me that they have been having rather regular visits to their place, in their back yard and even coming right up on to their deck as well from a big old black bear too. She informed me said bear has been sighted several times now, usually coming around about 8:30 to 9 p.m. -just before dusk/darkness and then too, also in the early-early morning hours around 5:30-6:00 a.m.!

Lovely, just freaking lovely, huh?

Snakes and bears in the middle of quasi civilization!

Oh and I almost forgot there's yet another little creature that decided my back yard is an ideal zone to camp out in too but this one, though I'm not overly fond of 'em and no, I won't touch 'em either, is really a pretty harmless little character.

And just what might that be, you ask?

Well, I think it's a descendant of "Sophie" the toad that always appeared here out every summer but it always showed up out front along the sidewalk there. I have no clue as to why my Grandma decided to call this toad Sophie, for openers, nor do I know if it was really the same toad that appeared there, year after year, but it was kind of funny that every summer, in virtually the same spot, this little toad would come and camp out there!

Ain't that all just ever so special?

Monday, July 25, 2011


If I thought last week was busy for me, the week ahead here looks like it's going to being really full, with lots of things to do and a whole lot of running around involved in it too! Hope my budget holds out and I can afford to buy more gas for my little jeep buddy and still have enough left over then to get the vehicle fixed a bit so it will pass inspection before the 31st of this month. Phew, that doesn't leave me much time to get that stuff done with all the rest of the things on the agenda.

This past weekend seemed to fly by but it was filled with some really fun, interesting things to do. As I mentioned in my earlier post, older daughter and her son and I enjoyed seeing the presentation of the play, "Peter Pan" by one of the youth theatre groups in our area on Friday evening. Saturday, I was lucky enough to be able to take a bit of a break from outside stuff so I spent a good deal of my time entering recipes for the cookbook. I now have 454 recipes entered and about 60 or so still waiting for me to tackle them. Yesterday though, I learned via an e-mail from a cousin of mine in Maryland -who just so happens to be a terrific gourmet-type cook -that she has a few more recipes that she will be mailing to me today and which I can also include in this cookbook project too! That's fantastic news to my way of thinking as the more recipes we can pack in there, the better! So send 'em on through to me, Rita!

Yesterday, I think I probably surprised -maybe shocked is a better word -a lot of folks who attend the same church I do when I managed to show up for services and on time, to boot! That makes three weeks in a row I have been able to rise and shine, drive to church, get there on time too, which is made a bit difficult for many of us who belong to that church because the bridge over the interstate, which is only about a tenth of a mile away from our church, is closed and in the process of being rebuilt or repaired -not quite sure which. But anyway, that necessitates a detour, which is only about 1 extra mile in all but driving on these little back roads doesn't always lend itself to punctuality, ya know. Now if all goes well and I can make it to church NEXT Sunday -for 4 Sundays in a row -I will have broken some kind of personal record then for my attendance! (Something I haven't done in a long, long time, you see!)

I barely had time enough yesterday after church to pick up the Sunday Pittsburgh Post Gazette -which I purchase weekly mainly for the great crossword puzzles and also, for their TV guide section too -which gives me a more complete listing for the channels available on our cable system -to get myself out the door in time to get to Philipsburg to see the other theatrical production this weekend by another Youth Theatre Group. But I'm happy to say that I did that and really enjoyed seeing "Les Miz" too!

This production was really fantastic! I'm not saying that just because one of the young men in the play is my cousin either because the kids involved in this play really did a terrific job with the play -very convincing acting and the music, the singing, was well, it was spectacular for sure!

Although I had gone to see this play by myself, and got there just in time to buy my ticket and head to the aisle to look for a place to sit, when I went into the auditorium, there was a lady standing in front of me, looking for a place to sit and as I looked at her from behind -kind of looking down at her hair because she was a rather short lady -I suddenly realized it was my cousin, Margaret Anne -whose grandson had one of the lead roles in this play -and as a result of that meeting her there, I got to sit with her and her husband through the entire play! Can't beat that with a stick now, can you? And after the play, I even got to see her oldest son who lives in Chicago but was here to watch his nephew do an excellent job as Marius in this play. Jeff looks the same as ever and unless you know how old he really is, he could easily pass for only being about 30! He's quite the active fellow -a bit of a party animal at times and I was teasing him that he and my son both could use one of the main songs from the Peter Pan play I saw Friday night as their own theme songs - "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" ya know! So anyway, it was a great time for me to be able to sit with Margaret Anne and Jack and also, to get a nice big hug from their son, Jeff, who I hadn't seen in many a year!

After that, I got home, checked my phone for any calls I probably needed to return and saw that my son had phoned so I called him back. I was surprised when he said he had been calling me to see if I'd like to go with him and get a bite to eat. For him to offer something like that is quite unusual but I took him up on the offer. (Never kick a gift horse in the mouth is an old adage I do like to use there.) Anyway, I zipped up to his house and got him and as we drove off to get some food, I then found out what was behind his offer yesterday. He was going to buy my supper, even put a few gallons of gas in my jeep too, if I would drive him up to where he picks up his big truck to begin his weekly work week -a distance of roughly 40 miles from here, one-way!

So we grabbed a bite at the Long John Silver's in Clearfield and then headed off from there on some backroads to where the trucking company he drives for is located. The roads we had to take to get there took us around and about some areas of the county where I'd never been to before and although it wasn't a difficult route to follow -and shouldn't have been difficult to remember how to back-track and get home, wouldn't you just know it but I managed to miss a turn and ended up taking another scenic tour of a few more back woods villages I'd never seen before! Good thing I do have a fairly decent sense of direction though or I could have been roaming around up in those hills for a long time, driving a sort of circular route indicative of being lost, ya know, and in the dark, too boot! But I made it, eventually found my way back to Curwensville -where I knew the roads quite well from there back to my home!

Once home, I was told by Mandy what to expect for the week ahead!

The kids both area supposed to have Vacation Bible School all this week at our church from 9 a.m. until noon and Mandy is supposed to take them there, of course, and also, she is slated to stay there too with them and help out where needed, most likely in the kitchen as our Women's Group is also providing nice little lunches for the kids, the teachers and such every day. Well, here's where things are going to get tricky though because Maya -who is scheduled to perform this coming Friday and Saturday night with the younger kids theatrical group in Philipsburg (they will be presenting Disney's "The Jungle Book Kids") - had to miss Bible School this morning because she had to be in town for practice from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. today so Mandy had made arrangements with the mother of another little girl in the play to meet her in Morrisdale and the other parent will take Maya to play practice and then Mandy and Kurtis can turn around and rush a bit to get to our church -probably be a couple minutes late though -for Kurt to be in his Bible School group. On Thursday of this week, they will have to repeat this meet-up too as Maya has play practice that day from 9 a.m. till 11 a.m. too!

Luckily, Maya's TSS is schedule to pick her up after play practice and they will then be going up to Bigler to take part in the Bigler Playground Center's Summer program so Brittany will have Maya then on those days from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. -but the drawback, of course, is that Maya will miss two days of Bible School too though.

This morning, as the kids were getting dressed, ready to leave for their various destinations, and as Mandy was hunting for Kurt's shoes, I noticed something about his feet though. At first glance, I though he'd not had his feet very well washed but then I realized the striping effect I was seeing -which really is pretty well marked out on his feet and to his ankles -is sun tan! Honestly, it is so predominant there that I betcha if one could use something like a cordless barcode scanner on him, it would definitely register! Trust me when I tell you this but those markings on his feet and up to his ankles from the straps on his sandals are really showing that boldly on his little feet!

So now, I'm here for the moment with older grandson -who Mandy picked up yesterday and brought him up here for a couple nights stay -and have to finally dig in and wash up the dishes I have now put to soak again -twice -that were left for me to do yesterday! That's how busy I was all day yesterday that I hadn't had time enough to get them washed up before I ran out of steam and went to bed! Once that's completed, then I have to hurry and get dressed and run out to church to be there at noon when the Bible School program is done for today and bring him home as Mandy has to leave there a little early since she has a doctor's appointment scheduled today over in State College.

And I was thinking -before I learned about her appointment and that I'd have to pick Kurtis up -that I was going to get ready and go in town to visit some more business places and try to sell some more advertising for our cookbook. Guess I won't be doing that today because I can't see trying to talk over Kurtis and do a presentation, can you?

Right now, it's been raining here a bit -thank goodness for that small favor for those (like me) who have vegetable and/or flower gardens because it's been really dry here for the past month so with this little bit of rain, perhaps it will help with that aspect. Only problem I have with the rain is that it is also doing a bit of rumbling and thundering so I'm hoping the rain doesn't come with a lot of electrical fireworks too cause then, since I'll have to be home, I might not be able to use the good old trusty computer to work on entering more of the recipes I have on hand here to do!

I'm still not sure if I'm on a list with our Women's Group to do any food preparations for the lunches they will be serving this week to the Bible School group -will have to check on that when I run out to pick Kurtis up, I suppose. If I am scheduled to fix something well, I'll just have to work that in to my schedule of things to do this week before Thursday night when Maya has the dress rehearsal for her play, then Friday and Saturday evenings will be taken up with attending the play so by next Sunday, if I'm really lucky, maybe somewhere along the way I will have been able to get a few trips in to try to get some more advertising sold, still be home in time to cook supper (and wash dishes then afterwards too, of course) and have a little extra reserve energy to get myself up and out of the house on Sunday to return to church!

Just a few observations of mine about my week ahead -all of which is also subject to change at a moment's notice too!

But you know what, the only other thing I have to take care of this week is getting my jeep worked on and inspected and that's the only part of the week ahead I'm NOT looking forward to doing!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Disappearing Act?

Baby, it is hot here!

Oh my, is it ever! Well, right now, this morning anyway, it does appear we are getting a tiny bit of a reprieve from the oppressive heat we've experienced most of this past week, and yes it is nice not to be dripping all day long in sweat!

Do you know how much salt must be in sweat and how much it stings when the sweat is dripping down your forehead and right smack dab into your eyes? Trust me when I tell you it hurts and if you can avoid it, do that, please!

I was out and about in the community a little bit both on Thursday and Friday of this week -out trying to sell advertising to local businesses that might be interested in helping us to defray publishing costs of our cookbook. (Yes, here we go again with talk about the "cookbook!")

And yesterday it was really, really, REALLY HOT here! The news reports on the TV last night said it reached 102 in State College and in Clearfield -which is on this side of the mountain -it hit 103! Actually from things I saw last night on Facebook -postings from some meteorology professional friends of mine, apparently it went as high as 105 in State College and I don't recall EVER hearing of temps that high in my lifetime in central Pennsylvania!

Yesterday, especially, with the high heat levels, I really felt like I could be losing some weight from all the heat and perspiration, etc. At home, with Kurtis, Mandy told me when I got back that at one point yesterday, Kurtis came over to her, touching her arms, legs and such and asking her "You just kidding, huh?" She didn't know what he was talking about at first so she asked him for an explanation and then realized how literal he can be at times in his translations of things we say. He told her then, "You not really melting?"

Seems she had made a comment in front of him yesterday to the effect she was "melting" and well, now we know that he at least understands the meaning of that word, don't we?

But you know, I do still believe that for all the sweat that was very much pouring off me all day yesterday, I'm thinking that had to be working every bit -or almost anyway -perhaps just as well as diet pills that work might do for a person!

I suppose a little bit of dehydration now and again does things like give a bit of weight loss in the process, doesn't it? Just don't do it to extremes and make sure to drink lots and lots of cold water on these really hot days!

Bravo! Bravo!

Last night (Friday night, for those of you who pay no attention to the dates on posts here), my older daughter, older grandson (Alex) and I went to see a play!

And I'm sure some of you are now shaking your heads and saying, "A play? And that is news?" or something along those lines.

But I do have to tell you a little bit about this event because it was something else to see. Really, it was.

This play, put on by the Student Youth Theatre of the Moshannon Valley, was in a word, AWESOME!

The group had opted to put on "Peter Pan" -the musical based on the Play by James M. Barre and which I'd be willing to wager many of us have seen sometime over the years too, as Disney Productions have done it several times and it's also been done on Broadway starting way back around 1954, when Mary Martin starred in that production as the illustrious Peter Pan.

First and foremost, I really do have to commend this theatre group in our area for all their hard work, for the excellent choices the directors made of the youth to portray all the roles in the play and for the youth themselves and their committal to doing such a terrific job with the music and dialogue involved. They were really great!

My next-door neighbor, Deb, and her daughter, Kylie, have been a part of many theatrical productions in our little region over the past decade, at least now. Deb teaches Special Ed in our local high school and also heads the Drama Club there and under her tutelage, our Drama group at our school has won numerous awards for the many different musicals they have produced there, year after year. As a result of the interest she has been able to spark in many local young people, several of them have gone on to college and majored in The Arts, or drama, or English -all variations of studies that their interest in those areas can be traced back to their participation in the school's Drama Club and often as not too, their participation also in this expanded Theatrical Group or one of the other Theatre Groups that now exist in this area.

Yesterday, during the day, I was out and about, trying to interest local businesses in supporting the production of the Cookbook our church women's group is putting together by getting them to sign up for some advertising in our cookbook and at many places where I stopped and talked with various people, the conversation often turned to the Theatre Groups that have sprung up around here and all have been very complimentary of the work the various leaders of these groups have done to offer ways for the youth to have something positive to do, a way to learn about so many different things life has to offer and providing excellent entertainment then to the community at large through their efforts. So many adults remarked about how they wished some activity like the theatre offerings had been available during their youth and how needed things like this were and are for the entire community.

And I concur completely with those thoughts and theories!

This weekend, and next weekend too, the area is almost on overload though with productions like this one. There are two productions going on this weekend with "Peter Pan" going on at our local (West Branch Area) school and in Philipsburg, the Ignite Theatre Group is doing the play, "Les Miserables" and next weekend, the Front and Centre Theatre Group in Philipsburg will be putting on "The Jungle Book Kids" and that's three productions I have wanted to see, for sure.

Well, I have been able now to see "Peter Pan" but trying to arrange so I can also get to go see "Les Miserables" is now the ongoing issue here. And it is a bit of an issue too because Mandy still wants to go see "Peter Pan" if possible but if she goes to see that tonight, I will have to stay home because there's no way that Kurtis can go see that, simply because of the length of the play and his inability to sit still for long periods of time and to do it quietly. That, plus the fact he is fearful of the potential for louder noises and he also doesn't like or understand that the lights will go down, spotlights will be used, and various other things that create problems of sensory issues with him. However, one nice thing though is that on Sundays, Maya and Kurtis both go to spend the day with their Dad so that might then open up a way that Mandy and I can go together to view "Les Miserables!" (We both really want to see that one too because the grandson of my cousin who lives in Philipsburg has one of the lead roles in "Les Miserables" and having watched Jamers (Jamison Robert Hill Monella) perform in many productions over the past few years, we definitely want to be able to go see him and watch how much he has grown over the past 5-6 years, at least, in his ability to sing, dance and act in all the productions he's been in!)

Next weekend is going to mean a little juggling again with finding someone to watch Kurtis because we (Mandy and I) both HAVE to go see "The Jungle Book Kids" because Miss Maya will be portraying one of the elephants in that play and no self-respecting grandparent can possibly resist the chance to go see their grandchild in a production on the stage now, can we?

That Maya has shown the interest she has in taking part in the plays with the Front and Centre Theatre group is wonderful as it has opened up a whole new way to increase her socialization skills. She has thrived in this atmosphere for sure and that has been a nothing but positive experience for her and for us, her family, as a result.

So for anyone reading this who lives in this area -what we here refer to as the Moshannon Valley Region of Clearfield and Centre County -and if you're wondering about what you might be able to do for some great entertainment, there are several choices you can make now and I would urge you to go see either of the productions this weekend -or both if you can do it (one on Saturday and another on Sunday afternoon) to see "Peter Pan" and kids flying through the air on the stage or "Les Miserables" -which certainly will be a very worthwhile experience too. And then next weekend, you can go see yet another production in our region with the "Jungle Book Kids" presentation at the Sixth Street School in Philipsburg!

The support your attendance will give to these groups and the youth will be greatly appreciated by the youth in our region and those folks assisting the kids in these productions and you definitely will be very well entertained then too in the process.

All of this makes for definite "Win-Win" situations and something you won't regret for your decision to support the Theatre Arts in the Moshannon Valley of Central Pennsylvania!

So make plans NOW to attend at least one, preferably all three of these events!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Still An Addiction!

Today was the day for this month's Monthly Lunch Group Get-together -you know, that little conflab that 3-4 of my girlfriends from way, way back in the dark ages of our high school years and I get together to enjoy a nice leisurely lunch and chit chat.

Normally, we would meet the last Thursday of the month but one friend had made plans that she and her husband were planning to go on vacation over next week and she would be gone then so we moved it up a week to today.

Unfortunately, it looks though like their vacation plans are going to be scrapped and she even had to miss our lunch today because last week, her husband took sick and was hospitalized and still is. Doesn't look like he'll be getting out real soon either which is a total bummer for them, for sure. He is, she said, doing better now though and that's a relief to hear that much at any rate.

A few months back though at one of our lunches, one of the "girls" in our group made a comment about how she loves chocolate and that, she has a piece of chocolate every single day! (Yes, I know how old we are but I still refer to these people as the "girls" from our class or at times, even as "the kids" too! And I recall about 30-40 years ago I used to make fun of my Mom for referring to the women who she went through nurse's training with back in the late 20s as the "Kids" too! Amazing how our vocabulary never seems to age us, isn't it? But then, would you really want to read this if I said I had lunch today with two other old ladies? Hell, no! And I wouldn't really want to write that about us either, so there! We're still the "Girls" or "Kids" in my book and I suppose, even if we live well into our 80s or 90s even, it will always be the same in that respect, won't it?)

So, now that we've clarified this age and word thing pertaining to age, let's get back on track here about what I'm really writing about here today.

And what is that exactly, you say?

Well, actually it is about chocolate and what I refer to as being my dear friend and her addiction to that substance too. She's very health conscious but I have, on an occasion or two, teased her about being addicted to chocolate. She doesn't think it goes quite that far but I'd beg to differ with her on that point. She's really lucky though that she does keep it under control and only allows herself one piece of some kind of chocolate every day. But then too, I read something a good while ago about how dark chocolate and a glass of wine a day was good for us to indulge in too -something about the dark chocolate has some kind of cleansing properties or some such stuff. But then maybe the author of that piece was just simply trying to make a case so she would have an excuse -and a darned good one that way -to have a piece of chocolate every day!

But anyway, back to my friend and her chocolate every day, I was thinking that wouldn't it be neat to get her -either for her birthday or for Christmas -a package of all kinds of pieces (small pieces, of course) of chocolates -enough that the package contained 365 pieces of chocolate, and make it quality chocolates too, of course -and she would have a nice surprise present that way, wouldn't she?

Of course, to get the right kind of selection for a gift like that, one would really have to do some shopping to find just the right kind of chocolate candies on sale but you know what, I'm thinking one of those assortments on that page would be a good start on a present to feed her addiction. Maybe not 365 pieces in there but a goodly selection none the less.

(On a side note here to my children -if you think Mom would like something like this, you're right, she would. But make mine sugar-free, would you please so I don't cause my Doctor to go in a mini-uproar with me over my sugar counts!)

Clothing Genetics!

So, this past Monday, Mandy went down to Milesburg and met my older grandson and his Dad there to do our version of the trucker's "drop and hook" -which translated simply means she picked up the grandson and brought him up here to spend the next two very warm nights under our roof.

Apparently all this typing I've been doing the past week -entering recipes into the publisher's data base for our potential cookbook -has inspired me to cook! On the hottest days of the summer, no less, here we were this week having three big dinners in a row! Monday, I made a nice little casserole that everyone -well those of us big enough to enjoy foods like what was in the casserole enjoyed it any way, even if some smaller people in the household decided to exercise their food fussiness side! Mandy, Alex (the older grandson) and I really appreciated the flavors in our Monday night supper of "Deep Dish Italian Hamburger Pie!" Some day, hopefully in the relatively near future, Kurtis will see the error of the way of his wayward tastebuds and take a shine to foods like casseroles. Considering that's what Grammy really likes best to cook and assuming he wants to not starve, one can only hope he comes around to that way of thinking fast!

Tuesday, we grilled pork chops that had a really good rub of rosemary, some Italian type seasonings and lots of garlic, plus we also chowed down on potatoes, onions and mushrooms cooked on the grill in a big old foil packet along with zucchini and tomato and onions, also cooked in the same way and the only thing that we cooked on the stove was corn on the cob! Scrumbdelicious! If I do say so myself.

Last night, we dined heartily on pork and sauerkraut with lots of mashed potatoes with the pork and kraut having simmered the bulk of the day in the crockpot.

MMMMM. Good meals! Easy to fix meals too and none that baked us out of the kitchen in this heat which, I might add has been in the high 90s this week and even hit 100 over in State College today!

Tuesday afternoon, older daughter -mother of older grandson -came up and had supper with us too, of course, plus she had the night off so was able to stay over then as well.

Yesterday a.m. though, conversing with her, she was lamenting how her work wardrobe needed replenishing, like really badly, but her funds were also a bit on the depleted side. I offered to try to get my sewing machine cleared off -from under the pile of rubble on it right now -and that I could maybe make her some tops, the scrub kind that medical personnel have to wear but she isn't keen on wearing stuff that is home made. Never has been one for that and at this stage of the game with her, I doubt she ever will go along with that idea.

So, I decided to do a little "window shopping" then on her behalf to see if I could find anything that maybe she can squeeze into her already pretty cramped budget. We've got Maya here who "shops" daily -for hours -on websites looking at Sketcher shoes so I thought maybe I could locate something that would be helpful to older daughter and her needs.

And, lo and behold, after a while, I think I did pretty good when I found this site where daughter could find some nice looking and brand, spanking new scrubs through Marcus medical uniforms! From what I saw there, the prices looked to be pretty decent and the selections looked very nice too. Now, all I need to do is point daughter in their direction and maybe she can clear up those problems and toss out some of her scrubs that are now getting a tad on the bedraggled side!

It really is funny how different each of my three children are with respect to their apparel. Older daughter is quite fussy, everything has to be just so, hair not a strand out of place, makeup always tastefully applied and her clothes -pressed just so, you'd think she was a member of the military with the creases being all crisp and such. Then there's my son who much prefers to dress in clothes from the 70s, polyester, pointed collars, strange prints and such or black or navy blue tee shirts with the logo or emblem of some rock band on them and raggedy old jeans. And Mandy -well she's a little of each element there! She prefers ultra casual clothes, yes but in a pinch, she can really -as the saying goes -"Clean up nicely!" Where older daughter prefers the more tailored look, here's Mandy who shows up looking quite often like a little gamin or an elf or something -very pixie-ish, ya know. No words can always describe my son and his very eclectic tastes!

And, from what I've been observing of Miss Maya here, I fear she's going to grow up in her Aunt Carrie's shoes and shadow with taste in clothing that could be perhaps called a bit on the "high-faluting" side -as it has to be the most expensive or not at all!

Dang those genetics after all, ya know!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up!

Well, it's now after midnight, Sunday Night -which means it is really Monday morning now and the weekend is officially over. History.

As bad as my memory tends to be about things that have happened recently -bad is a kind word to describe my short term memory, because in reality, I do believe it is pretty much toast!

But I'm gonna try to remember what happened this weekend and write about it anyway.

The past week I have been really, REALLY engrossed in typing recipes I have received from various folks for the cookbook our church women's group is putting together now. And I have to say I have actually been enjoying all this typing too!

The publishing company we will be using has some software that you can plug into and then, you can type the recipes you want to use in your book directly into this data base so, when you have everything all completed, you just send this to the company and that will give a quarter per book you order off the publishing price. So here I am, typing away like a mad woman, so we can qualify for that quarter per book discount. Hey! Every penny -and in this case -25 cents -counts up after a while, ya know.

My neighbor and good friend Kate, stopped by Friday afternoon/evening to bring me some things pertaining to the cookbook. One of the items is a little cookbook, of sorts, that her middle daughter put together as a Christmas gift for members of her family and it contains about 16 different recipes (or thereabouts) that were among the best of her Grandma's recipes. And trust me when I tell you this, her Grandma, my friend Kate's mom, was one really terrific cook and baker.

Kate's older sister, Shirley, had shown me this little cookbook a couple weeks ago when I had stopped in at her place to show her whatever it was I'd just finished embroidering and I really enjoyed looking at this cookbook. I was especially taken with the recipe in it for Swedish flatbread -or as we call it around these parts - caka bread. (Actually, I'm not sure if I should spell that "caka" or if it should be "kaka" but either way, anyone who's ever had the kind of bread I'm referring to here probably will know exactly what I mean when I say it is the absolute best homemade bread! And the recipe, the way Kate's daughter had written it up, was so darned cute and comical too -but so true!

And to prove it to you, here's a copy of that particular recipe.

And every bit of the notations in this about praying is true too! Ask most anyone who makes homemade bread if they don't do that as they are mixing it up, waiting to see if it rises correctly, bakes up the way it should and tastes the way you want it too! The writing of this recipe plus the fact that she also has the page it is printed on edge in a border of little Red Dala Horses which really added to the charm of the recipe. Plus the main fact that no one around here, in my opinion, made bread, kaka or caka bread anyway, as good as "Little Grandma" did! ("Little Grandma" is what my three kids all called Kate's mom, by the way.)

So anyway, that's just a teensy sneak preview of one of the recipes to be found once our cookbook gets put together and published -hopefully finished and back to us by the end of October so we can then have it to sell when we hold our annual Fall Bazaar in early November!

One thing that the women in our group had talked about at the first meeting we had for planning this cookbook venture was a discussion about if maybe we'd be able, somehow, to acquire any recipes that had belonged to another lady -now deceased -from our church. This particular woman, Grace, had also been a spectacular cook and baker too but no one from her family is a member of our church now. However, I am friends with her son -who graduated a year ahead of me in high school and as such, I'm lucky to have his e-mail address, so I wrote to him and asked if he and his wife might possibly have any of his Mom's great recipes and if so, if he would be willing to share them with us for our cookbook.

Well, I heard back from him about two weeks ago now and he informed me his sister had compiled a little family notebook of her recipes along with lots of their Mom's recipes and he's just located his copy of it. However, he said, rather than him going through it and trying to pick and choose recipes to send me, he offered to loan me the booklet his sister had done up and that way, we could select what recipes we really wanted to use. Okay, that idea was fine with me, for sure. He lives about 40 miles from here though but his sister still lives around here and he said he and his wife would be coming up here soon so he'd bring the book with him and loan it to me then.

However, that plan got scotched when, the evening they planned to come up, his sister and her husband had other plans so they weren't coming over the mountain then after all. But he said he'd talked to his sister and she had said not to worry that she would e-mail me recipes from it.

True to her word, about 11 p.m. last Monday I received an e-mail from her with a document attached saying "Recipes." And when I opened it, boy did I ever get a huge surprise!

She had e-mailed me the entire contents of the booklet she had done up for their family -all 83 pages of it! Some pages held one recipe but many pages had 2, sometimes 3 recipes on them and there were his sister's favorites, his Mom's favorites, as well as some that had been his Dad's sisters (also an excellent cook/baker) and in addition to those, there were also recipes from his brother-in-laws family as well! Talk about hitting the jackpot, I sure scored big time in this acquisition!

As a result of getting that booklet with all those pages packed with really top-notch recipes, I now have over 320 recipes logged in for our cookbook and that only includes about half of those in that 83 page packet! My goal all along was to shoot for at least 500 recipes in this book and if things continue the way they have been going, we should definitely be able to reach that total and maybe even a bit more than that!

Friday, I received a letter in the mail from a Facebook friend who sent me some of her favorites and Saturday, I received some more recipes, along with some articles about our church and photos of that lady's grandfather who had been our pastor from about 1943 until 1956!

So yes indeed, I am psyched up, big time, about this project of ours. Wouldn't you be too, if you were me?

Saturday afternoon, Mandy had to take Maya into Philipsburg for the Heritage Days Parade because the theatre group Maya belongs to was going to have a float in the parade and Maya was expected to ride on the float and thus, participate in this parade -as the kids had done on the 4th of July for the Osceola Mills Fireman's Carnival Parade. Those poor kids though just about had heat stroke as it was hot, very, very hot and their float was about 3rd or 4th from the end of the groups participating. Mandy had to have Maya there at 1:30 to line-up and it was well over 2 1/2 hours later before Maya's group and their float passed by and got to the end of the parade route!

Since the Church Council had also planned to have their "Family Picnic" too Saturday even, plus the fact that we had decided that I would stay home with Kurtis to avoid another upsetting time for him with his fear of fire engines and sirens, I also was the one nominated to cook our stuff to take to the picnic as well.

So I fixed the apricot-rosemary chicken breasts that I'd made a while back for another church dinner, and a big casserole dish of macaroni and cheese (to make sure there was at least one item on the pot luck table there that Kurtis would eat (and Maya too although she ended up not coming home and therefore, not going to the picnic with us. And I also fixed a really yummy fluffy-kind of chocolate dessert to take as well. And trust me when I tell you this too, all three of these items are definitely the type of food things that make anyone look like what I call a "Marshmallow treats" kind of cook too! All three are very simple to fix, look good when ready and taste great as well! Now that, people, is MY kind of cooking!

All went fairly well too at the picnic as Kurtis dug in to eat the piece of meatloaf Mandy had put on his plate, some spaghetti and of course, Gram's home made mac 'n'cheese. The surprise came though when after he took a bite of the mac 'n'cheese, he didn't want to eat any more of it as he said he didn't like it and it was "spicy."

Darn it anyway! He caught me in one of my little tricks of trying to get the kids indoctrinated to occasionally having some foods that do have a tiny bit of extra flavoring in 'em and when I'd made the cheese sauce for that macaroni dish, I had added 1 green onion, very finely minced (VERY FINELY, at that) along with a teensy bit of red pepper flakes! And wouldn't you just know it, the first bite he took, he ended up with a tiny bit of red pepper in his mouth apparently!

We tried and tried all kinds of bribes and trickery to get him to eat that mac 'n'cheese but he wasn't doing it and that was that. I told him it was Gram's mac 'n'cheese, just like he always eats at home but his response to that was, "No Gram. I like Home Mac 'n'cheese but I no like 'Church' mac 'n' cheese."

Guess he told me, didn't he?

Sunday morning, I actually got up and ready and made it to church on time -which made it two Sundays in a row I've been able to get up and get ready and get there before the service started! I'm on a roll here apparently even though I now have to leave a bit earlier than usual because the road I normally would take to go to our church is closed as they are repairing a bridge there across the interstate so we have to drive around, about a mile further or so to get to our church while the bridge is being worked on and that extra mile takes a few minutes longer then to navigate then!

And that is pretty much all the excitement in my pretty much usually boring and quiet life here.

Tonight, I decided though to scrub my kitchen floor as it was looking very shabby but I didn't start doing that till about a little after 11 p.m. But I had a good reason, I thought, to wait till that late at night to do that.

One reason was I figured the temperature would be dropping by then and therefore, it wouldn't be all that warm when I did the job and secondly, by waiting until that late to clean the floor, I figured that way the floor would at least stay clean for about 8 hours anyway-until the kids get up in the morning and start messing up the kitchen floor again, ya know.

Well I was wrong though about my idea of it being cooler that way because it was still pretty hot once I dug into to the task at hand.

But the other part of it being clean and staying that way for at least 8 hours now -well that is holding true anyway!

Now, time for me to call it a day, I do believe!

Or maybe I'll check out some cookbooks and recipes here to try to get an early lead in my mind as to what I might want to fix for Supper for us now on Monday evening!

Decisions, decisions, ya know!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lions and Tigers, Oh My!

Okay, let me say this up front, don't let the title here fool you. This is not going to be a post about lions and tigers, per se. But rather, something a bit different but maybe are things that have us saying -before or after some of these encounters -"Lions and Tigers, Oh My!" (I'm pretty sure Dorothy has a few more words in that line from The Wizard of Oz but to my way of thinking today, what I'm using of her dialogue is all I need.)

Anyway, life really does have a funny way of introducing us to lots and lots of different things, doesn't it?

I've actually, if I want to be really, really honest about it, had a very full life. Maybe not a lot of it involved things I really wanted it to hold, but it's funny that way too how things crop up and you think, Sheesh, how the heck am I going to handle or manage or endure or okay, lots of times, even enjoy, this or that? But, when things do crop up that get thoughts like that rolling, for the overwhelming majority of us, I think we just muddle through and do the best we can with whatever we have to deal with on those occasions.

Some of the things that come into my mind now though, that I think about, that sometimes I worry about too, are things that probably would never ever have entered my mind when my kids were growing up. Some things just weren't available back then -and remember, those days are not part of the time element I refer to now as my "dark ages" -those years way, way, back when we barely had fire, much less the wheel -or so my kids probably believed for a goodly period of time about the years of my childhood.

But anyway, here I am now, almost 67 -well, I will be that age in about 3 more months ya know -but once again I'm dealing with things pertaining to kids' needs and not just the regular needs of food, clothing that is adequate and shelter either.

When my kids were in school, there weren't some of the activities available today around back then!

Just for openers, there definitely was no theatre group in the region that catered to plays for children from pre-school age up through high school! And not that I have a problem that there is such a group now and that my granddaughter is a member of this theatrical company too and going to be in her second play now at the end of this month. No, not at all, do I look at this as being problematic -even though some days it is a little hairy and hectic trying to remember what time she has to be in Philipsburg for play practice and to balance the timing of getting supper ready so she -and the rest of the family too -can have a meal that is maybe semi-balanced before she has to leave. And yes, there are also the occasional required fund raising activities too that come along with activities like this which, along with other organizations around the region now, often means we are eating hoagies a couple days a week purchased to support this or that or some other group. Sometimes, it's also pizza though or cookie dough. A myriad of things being sold, ya know.

But, nowadays, there's also a group that caters to young girls from our township and the neighboring township as well to teach little girls twirling and marching in cadence skills -little girls from about age 3 up through the early teens -and these kids then get to march in various local parades too, just like the high school kids in the school band do! Those kids also require another couple of hours on a specific afternoon/evening each week, plus really specific clothing needs guaranteed, of course, to put a fairly large dent into one's budget for children's clothing too.

And then, now when kids begin elementary school, there are also all kinds of athletic groups -teams -that the child can go out for and if they want to participate, there again comes the need for more specific clothing and also, equipment requirements as well!

We sort of started down this path a few years back when my daughter's oldest step-daughter was living here with us as she would always, at the beginning of the school year, express an avid interest in some sport or other and always, it seemed anything she thought she wanted to partake of involved really specific needs -such as special shoes or boots, for openers and also the perfunctory physical needed to have the doctor sign off that the child was physically fit for whatever sport it was.

AsI recall, one of those sports she showed a big interest in back then was soccer and the stuff that was mandatory for her to be involved in that sport, that I recall anyway, special shoes, special socks too, plus special attire to wear in the way of a quasi-uniform for practice and then too, for games -well wow, darned near made me think a small business loan was going to be on the agenda next.

Now, in all likelihood, we may be on the verge of reliving some of that stuff again as Maya will go into second grade this year and who knows what activities will be available to her at the ripe old age of 8 years, ya know.

I rather suspect though that like her older half-sister, Maya may get an idea that she'd like to play soccer. She's been learning a bit about that sport since she began having phys ed already in elementary classes -first grade and even a little bit in kindergarten too. And that's a good thing! Kids should be afforded the opportunity to learn, to play, sports like this and many others -something that definitely wasn't part of my early education, for sure! (We were lucky to know about baseball or softball and for the boys, yes, of course, football, but that was pretty much our exposure to sports then.)

Kind of in anticipation of the things to come though, I was looking at some information about soccer -since I do know it's a sport Maya seems to like to participate in now anyway -and some of the things that might be needed should she really get involved in it that would be over and above stuff her sister had needed. (Her sister dropped out of that sport about a week after Mandy had purchased the mandatory shoes and the special shorts and socks and she'd had the physical exam too -so we didn't know the full potential of things that probably would be needed had she continued. Things, for example, like soccer ankle braces, just for openers!

Wow! Looking at the price tags on some of those things and other stuff, I think Mandy had best set up a slush fund now and start putting regular contributions into it, designating it to be for any and all special athletic equipment and/or clothing Maya will need in the next couple of years!

Or, maybe, if we're lucky, she WON'T get that interested in partaking of team sports until she has grown to about her full potential and if she does need any of these athletic support type items then, once she is finished using them, she can always pass some of them on to old Grammy to use, cause heaven knows, I can take -and use -about anything made these days that would provide added support to my weak joints, ligaments and muscles!

Kill two birds with one stone that way is my thought on that deal!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Boy, lately I think I'm a bit like the old steam engine trying to pull the train uphill and running out of coal or wood -whatever it was that fired those things up -and the train runs out of steam.

Or maybe my engine is just starting to show more and more wear and tear -that stuff that happens to all things, whether it be engines, or car bodies, or a house roof or people. Age does take its toll sooner or later I guess.

Right now though, I have to say that although I have now received a few more recipes to be entered for the cookbook the women of our church is working on, putting together, etc., and I now have over 160 recipes in the file for the cookbook, doing that work isn't really that tiring.

Actually, I do find reading and typing these things as being a bit on the rejuvenating side of life. Kind of like maybe I have a battery inside that I can go and get nimh rechargeable batteries online for it (via the recipe data base, ya know) and then, presto magic, I'm all set, ready to type, ready to roll with the project again!

Late last night I got a tremendous windfall via an e-mail from a local lady whose parents were both very strong members of our parish and whose mother was one of the best cooks around these parts for many years. Joan had, a while back, compiled a little cookbook for her kids and other family members consisting of a lot of her favorite recipes, some from her husband's family members and a whole bunch of recipes that her mom had been known for too and she e-mailed the booklet to me so now, I have all of those great pieces to pick and choose from to put into our cookbook!

That's 83 pages worth of great recipes, folks!

And that puts me in seventh heaven, for sure!

As I scrolled down through the file last night, I saw so many recipes there of her Mom's and it brought back lots and lots of memories to me too as I could envision her Mom's great breads and especially the delicious coffee bread she was known for bringing to bake sales or special dinners at our church.

Food definitely is a memory maker and it's neat that after so many years, when I read many of these recipes, I can recall the flavors, anticipate savoring the tastes of so many of these things now too!

And I can't wait to make so many of these dishes now, myself, for my family!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Peace and Quiet

Here it is, a little past 11:30 on a Saturday night and I'm sitting here, at the computer (which many would say is my "normal" place to sit) and it's quiet here.

Well, not totally quiet. My house is rarely ever TOTALLY quiet because the TV generally is on day in and day out. It's like my own private clock in some ways because just as a clock lets us know the exact time (or is supposed to do that) my TV is what I normally use to tell time. I go by what program is playing at most any given time.

But the house has been quieter than normal this evening because the two younger family members are both away -spending the night down outside of Howard with my older daughter -"Aunt Carrie" to the kids -and her family.

And frankly, I don't like it this way here!

I know when the kids are here there are many, many nights when I am praying -really hard too -for the 7:30 to 8 p.m. time to arrive when I can tell Maya and Kurt it's time for them to get their jammies on and get ready for bed. Or tell them to get their jammies and it's time to get a much needed bath and then, dressed and ready for bed.

A lot depends on how rambunctious they've been on any day. How many arguments Maya has started with Kurtis -or with me or her Mom. How much crying, whining or yelling has been happening too.

And usually they are in bed by 8:30 to 9 p.m. and it is quiet here then till morning -unless Kurtis has a restless night and is fussing, giving orders to Mandy that he needs "Chocolate milk" ya know and she has to come down and fix him some of that to get him to go back to sleep.

It's a nice peaceful quiet once they are in bed though and that's how I should look at the peace and quiet here tonight too but when they aren't here, it always seems to be a different quiet and it's one I just don't like!

Funny isn't it how much you do miss something that can often be really, really obnoxious, irritating, frustrating and a whole bunch of other adjectives that my mind is just drawing a blank on right at the moment or I'd be listing them here.

Guess it is much truer than we realize about how much we miss things -or people -when they are gone!

At least the good thing tonight is that they are due to be back home tomorrow night and things can then revert back to their normal kind of peace and quiet.

And I won't be here all alone then too!

Busy! Busy!

Boy, it's been a busy week here. So busy in fact that I don't even remember all the things I've been busy doing either.

Let's see -Monday, there was the Fourth of July Parade in Osceola Mills to herald the beginning of this year's Fireman's Carnival there. Maya was in the parade and got to ride on a float representing the theatre group -Front and Centre -that she belongs to and the play those kids will be presenting in two weeks now -The Jungle Book Kids!

Tuesday, Kurtis went back to school after having about three weeks of "vacation" time from his pre-school program. He will have classes now thru the 22nd of July and then, there will be about a month's break before regular school starts and for him, that will mean a big, big change. He's going to be going to all-day Kindergarten this year and lucky for him -and for us too -he will have the same teacher, Mrs. Koleno, that Maya had for Kindergarten. I hope he bonds as well with her as Maya did and does as well in class too!

Tuesday night was our monthly meeting of our WELCA group at our church. WELCA stands for Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and our group has a project in the works right now -of which I am supposed to be in charge -and that's to put a cookbook together of favorite recipes contributed by members, former members and friends of our parish. I'm so psyched about this project that you just can't imagine! But I'm thinking by the time the cookbook is completed, you will all probably really be sick and tired of reading about this cookbook and all these recipes, and so on and so forth.

Wednesday and Thursday, I was really busy entering recipes into the database that our publisher provides which makes it quite easy to enter any recipes we acquire and then too, if we enter all the recipes for our book ourselves, we will receive a discount on our publishing price on the first 200 books we order! Hey! Every little bit of savings helps ya know!

Friday, I baked! Boy, did I ever bake!

I made four batches of those lovely Bourbon Brownies and made the Praline Icing for them too, which this time around, I got things squared away and put confectioner's sugar into the icing, not whole wheat flour like I messed up the other day and put in the icing I was making then! What a ditz I can be at times! It's been a long, long time since I screwed up a recipe that much but things like that do happen even to the most experienced cook/bakers among us. Right?

In addition to the Bourbon Brownies, I also made up two loaves of Pineapple-Banana Bread too. The bread and half of the brownies were for a bake sale a young lady is having today up at the grocery store in Kylertown. It's for her senior project (needs a community project before she can graduate) and the proceeds for her project are ear-marked to go to the Autism School over in Clearfield. This young lady's little sister is a student at that school so that, plus the fact, as you know, both my two little grandchildren -Maya and Kurtis -are autistic so you know don't you, that Mandy and I would be very supportive of her goal.

Today is also the Community Yard Sale out in the neighboring village of Lanse too. And every year when they have that yard sale, our WELCA group sets up a tent with a little sort of concession stand where we sell hot dogs, sodas, coffee and cookies or muffins. A couple of small card tables and folding chairs are also set up on the church lawn and folks wandering around town, visiting the various yard sales, can then take a break and get a quick bite to eat and in the process, our WELCA group has a chance to earn a few bucks for our treasury then too!

Kurtis and I had to take the brownies and bread I had made up to the store in Kylertown so Kayla, the girl running the bake sale (and also, Chinese auction at the sale) could get the stuff out on the table, ready to sell.

After we dropped that off, we went by our little concession stand out in Lanse and we each had a hot dog, some cookies and something to drink then.

I don't know what Kurt's issues were -or maybe still are -today but he was not being very sociable, for sure, at the store or as we got hot dogs either. Wouldn't speak to any one there, not even to my neighbor and good friend, Kate, who he knows quite well! He informed me today he doesn't know her name! To that, I say B.S.!

But I did get a couple pictures of our food stand and even of the yard sale going on across the road from our church to share here with you.
Here's the sign out front of our stand that tells everyone what we've got to offer there today!
And here's our bread (or rolls, I should say) and the roasters with the hot dogs as well as one with sauerkraut if folks want that on their dogs too! (That's what I had -a hot dog with kraut -and boy, was it ever good!)
This is Kate -our Treasurer for our group -along with Mary Kaye Gurbal, our President -as they were manning the hot dog and beverage stand from 9 a.m. till 11 a.m. or noonish.
A little view here of about 1/3 of the table holding the cookies, brownies, muffins and goodies along those lines that folks could get to munch on while looking over all the yard sales in town.
These two folks as you can see are hard at work here -holding down the fort of handling the money transactions for the snacks. This is Amy Merritt and Matt Frye, looking super interested too in the task at hand too, aren't they?
Two patrons, sitting at a table, taking a break in the shade from the hot sun to enjoy a little early lunch and maybe discuss their plan of attack at the various sales going on around the village.
They won't have to venture far to get started either because this sale is directly across the street from our stand in front of our church -over at the Hudish home. Kurtis and I looked around there a bit -trying to see if they had anything along the lines Mandy likes to look for -which means mainly clothes for the kids, sometimes a bargain on a particular toy and even clothes for herself too. From what I saw at this sale, someone could definitely haul in some super good buys, including even some gorgeous evening gowns that someone with a teenage girl planning to go to a Prom next spring might be able to corral for a mere $4 or $5! Yes, that cheaply! Can you believe that?

Kurtis and I also made a run back up to the store though to check out the bake sale there and came home with a big, big loaf of Swedish Kaka Bread, a pan of home-baked lovely cinnamon buns, four slices of scrumpdelicious pumpkin roll and two packets of home-made fudge too!

After scarfing down some of the fudge today, plus the hot dog and one of the chocolate chip cookies from Kurtis little bag (with white chocolate chips and nuts) along with all the extra calories I've probably packed on and which has been converted, of course, to fat by now -not energy, I know one thing I'm really gonna need now is probably gonna be some Diet pills that work fast to help me get rid of what I've probably gained in the past 2-3 days alone!

All these goodies, along with reading all the new recipes too as I enter them into the database is gonna wreak havoc for me, I'm sure!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Crying Wolf?

So, here I am this morning, sitting at the computer, reading blogs with new posts according to my Reader. Sometimes, when I'm doing this, I can get pretty wrapped up in the reading and don't always hear things right away -takes a good bit to cut through the fog some days, ya know.

But anyway, it's just me and my littlest Sweetheart here this morning -just Kurtis and me -as Mandy is busy two doors up the street from us, cleaning and painting in that house so the owner can get it ready to put it on the real estate market as quickly as possible.

And Kurt generally is fairly easy to deal with -especially when he is by himself as he is this morning. No big sister here to antagonize him, to push him around, boss him and get him to whining and crying. He's been very busy and very content too this morning, alternating between coloring in a big, big book on the floor or playing with this racetrack thingy Mandy found for all of 99 cents at the Goodwill Store the other day. (It sells for around $30 new at Walmart, her friend Jenn got one of these last month at a yard sale for $5.00 and Mandy, being the bargain hound she is at Goodwill, takes the prize though for reeling this in for only 99 cents!

Kurtis has however made a couple interruptions to his play time downstairs this morning with a few trips up and down the stairs to his room, then back down her and back upstairs again. I think he did that mainly to have a TV set on and have it tuned in to his favorite channel with the cartoons and that way, Gram can have the Today show playing in the background to my surfing time, ya know.

It was during his last little foray to the netherlands of his room though that my thoughts were rudely interrupted as I heard him whining and sort of crying. Initially, I ignored that because I figured he was playing with something and it didn't go quite the way he wanted it to and that tripped his short fuse with respect to being patient about things like that.

But then, the volume of his crying picked up and as I called up to him, asking what was wrong, it really elevated. Then I got concerned that perhaps he'd accidentally done something and had really managed to hurt himself so I started up the steps to check things out.

As I was going up the steps, by that time, he was then calling, loudly, "Grammy, Grammy, GRAMMY!" This interspersed between sobs!

I got to his room, opened the door and the crying stopped immediately!

I asked him what was wrong and his response to that was "Grammy, I don't know everything."

Hmmm. Where was that answer coming from anyway?

He'd been yelling and crying so loudly that his mother even heard him two doors away and she'd come home then to see what his problem might be. When I told her what he'd told me about not knowing everything, she laughed and said that neither did she but that "Only Maya knows EVERYTHING!" Yeah, and don't we all just know that for sure here too!

Mandy and I both continued to ask Kurt questions to see if we could learn a bit about what had gotten him so worked up and crying so loud but all to no avail as he was now quite content, no injuries showing, and all he wanted then was milk!

He came downstairs then, Mandy got him a cup of his beloved chocolate milk and went back to her job, painting, and he's busy, busy once again here in the living room, playing with this racetrack thing!

I finished reading the posts on my reader and in the process, discovered yet another "small world" kind of thing too!

One of the blog I follow faithfully is this one - Older Eyes and true to form, today Bud was writing about things like whether or not our blogs are maybe some kind of a legacy we are leaving behind for our descendants as well as how sometimes, some of us pick up a topic on which we then write a post for our own blogs based on the thoughts of another blogger friend.

Well this morning, Bud also had referred to some other bloggers in his post and one blogger I noted the man's name -Rick Gleason -and I thought to myself, Gee, wouldn't it be funny if this blogger, Rick Gleason, might possibly be the same person whose name I see fairly frequently on some of the family tree and places I visit. Okay, curiosity got the best of me and when I had completed my reading, I clicked into this Rick Gleason's blog to check things out.

Well, lo and behold, he had a link there under his profile to some places he visits for his family tree research and amazingly enough, I discovered this guy belongs to the same local family tree/county historical group online as I do!

Now is that incredible or what? I don't know this man -he lives in Washington state -nor do I know anything about the names he is researching from our little county here in central Pennsylvania -(other than the guy who is the fearless leader of our online historical society group) but now, I do know that he and I read the writing of Bud on his blog and I find that to be quite interesting.

Wouldn't you?

So I picked up Rick's blog now and added him to my reader too! Just what I need I know, another blog to add to my reading stuff, but hey, why not, huh?

And now, time for me to dig into some other things going on in my life these days. I'm taking a short breather right now from the embroidery and crafting to work on, among other stuff, recipes for the cookbook our women's group at church is compiling this summer. Last night, I finally managed to get around to finishing entering what recipes I had received so far for that project and right now, our cookbook has 106 recipes that will go into it!

I'm hoping that between now and next Friday -which is the deadline I set for people to turn in their recipes to me so I can type them up and get them entered into the publisher's database -that I will receive a whole lot more of these things and this will, hopefully, make our efforts worthwhile and we end up with a nice little cookbook as well as a little history about our church and some of the great cooks that have been part of our congregation over the past 100 plus years our congregation has existed. We still have to decide what to call our cookbook and what photos we want to use for the cover and for the separator pages between categories and stuff like that but there are several ideas floating around about them right now. (Because the stained glass window behind the altar in our church is one of Christ, the Good Shepherd, I had mentioned to Pastor Carrie that I was thinking it would maybe be appropriate and also neat to name our cookbook something like "Feed My Sheep" or perhaps, "Feeding the Flock" and then, use a photo of that stained glass window for the cover of our cookbook. When I mentioned this idea to her, she thought about that for a minute and then nodded, saying "That could be pretty cool, ya know!" Well, that's one in my corner maybe then for that being our cover and name of our cookbook!

So now, I'm off to the mundane stuff here -wash the dishes, look through the many cookbooks I own to see if I missed some of my own favorite recipes to put in this cookbook venture, get Kurtis off to his preschool program for the day, figure out what to fix for supper tonight and make time to take Sir Muttley (Sammy) for a good walk in the hot July sunshine abundant today too. Who knows too, maybe I'll find something else to pique my interests and send me off in yet another direction too.

Sometimes, the least little thing happens and does that to me -gives me a whole new path to explore, ya know!

Hope your day is filled with things that interest you, fun things, exciting stuff and it all comes together as being productive.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Everybody Loves a Parade!

We've all heard that line a time or two, haven't we? Everybody loves a parade! Sure they do.

Well, almost everyone does enjoy them and yesterday, we -Mandy, Ken, Maya, Kurtis and I -went to Osceola Mills (a town about 15 miles from here) to watch the Fireman's Parade there.

Okay, I confess we did have an ulterior motive for going out in the noonday heat to stand on concrete (or sit on a nice big slab of hard, cool concrete too, as I was lucky enough to do for part of the time) and watch all the display go by us.

Our motivation was that Miss Maya's group from the Youth Front and Centre Production Group was going to have a float in the parade which meant Miss Maya got to ride on the float and of course, for her to get there, we all had to go along for the ride.

We watched with patriotic pride, for sure, as an old truck with about 5-6 older gentlemen were standing in the back of the truck and the banner stated that they were Vets from the Korean War of 60 years ago.

And we enjoyed seeing some of the local high school bands display their musical -and marching -talents too. The band from our high school -West Branch Area -won first place in the Marching Band category but sad to say, we'd been out in the hot sun for almost 2 hours by the time Maya's float came by and since the parade ended just down the street from our vantage viewing point, we gathered her up and headed for hom before the West Branch Band came through. But we did see the bands from Philipsburg-Osceola as well as the Black Knights from Moshannon Valley schools -both quite impressive, for sure.

And we also saw the girls' softball team from the Philipsburg-Osceola High School who won the state championship about 2-3 weeks ago too! Those girls may not have hailed from our school district but let me tell you this, if everyone else there felt as much of a sense of pride in their achievement as I did, then those kids have one hellacious big fan club!

Lately, it must have been my time in the bucket for screwing things up though -first the icing for the brownies I made -great brownies but I messed up on the icing recipe so they got served "naked." And then, yesterday, I didn't check my camera when I began to try to take some memorable photos of various entries in the parade therefore the first 3-4 pictures I thought I was taking actually were about 15-20 second videos of -well, pretty much of nothing!

Fortunately I caught my error and corrected the setting on the camera so I did get a few decent photos to remember this year's parade for posterity.
This was one of the first floats to come by us and I just thought it was neat that someone thought to pay homage to Civil War Vets on the 150th Anniversary of that war.

And, of course, as is the norm for any
parade on Independence Day, there
has to be an appearance of virtually
every local politician running for some office or other too. In these two pictures, the main focal point for me was one of the candidates running for County Commissioner and that's because the young man -kind of in the center of the street on the right hand photo just happens to be my cousin! He's quite the politician too and I do admire him and his efforts greatly. He's young -oh my yes, just turned 18, just graduated from high school last month and will begin studying this fall at Penn State University but he is also one hard working, determined and very knowledgeable young fellow too. If the voters don't look at him and then rule him out immediately because of his youth but just listen to him speak, to see how genuine and sincere he is about wanting to do what he can, what he believes to be right and best for our county and vote for him based on that, I think he's got a darned good shot at winning this race!

So, go Pj! (Paul Monella Jr -from Morrisdale, PA). You ROCK! And I'm really, really, really proud to claim you as part of my family!
This is the drum major for the Moshannon Valley School's Black Knights band as she led them down the way. She and the whole band looked really sharp all decked out in their spiffy uniforms and the music they played along the way sounded pretty darned good to me too! Just really sorry though that I missed our school's band because that's one area in which our school district almost always shines and since I did learn that our band took first place -well, shame on us for not hanging around a bit longer to see their appearance, huh?

These young ladies are members of the
Morris-Cooper Townships Mini-Majorettes -which for anyone not familiar with the area where I live, that means these kids come from our school district, from two of the townships that compose part of our school system. The kids in red are the younger members and those in blue, are a bit older. The little girl in blue with her hand to her face I think is the oldest daughter of a lady I used to work with about 10-12 years ago.

There are three dramatic productions going to take place in this area over the month of July and this float -which my "zoom" thingy didn't bring in close enough to get a good shot is the kids who will be putting on Peter Pan -I think the weekend of the 15th-16th, if I'm not mistaken. The director of this group is my next-door neighbor, Deb, and she does a superb job of pulling these kind of productions together during the school year and now, the past couple of years, she's been involved in directing summer productions.

These kids are in the cast of the second production -scheduled for July 22nd-23rd and the young man in the center here is also a member of my extended family! That would be the actor of the clan -Jamison "Jamers" Monella -also the younger brother of the young man you saw earlier here who is running for County Commissioner! (Their Great-grandfather and my Dad were brothers and another brother of my Dad's was heavily involved for many, many years in county politics and served a couple of terms as County Commissioner too, as well as Prothonotary. Bet your bottom dollar that Uncle Arch is watching Pj and proud as a peacock of him in his efforts too!)
Here's the float for the production Miss Maya will be in as she will portray and elephant in Disney's "The Jungle Book Kids" on July 29th and I think, the 30th too. However, this is not a picture of Maya as she was seated on the other side of the float. (Aren't these kids just too cute for words though?)
And finally, here's the Jungle Book float from the side where Maya was seated. That's her in the center of this group!

Now, to return to my title of this post about everybody loving parades. Well, that's almost true but for my younger grandson, little Kurtis, unfortunately he's not that big a fan of parades after all.

He was so psyched up as we headed up to Osceola Mills in the truck, jabbering over and over about all the fun things he (and we) would see and especially, he was so very excited over all the fire engines that would be there! He really, really was anticipating those things most of all.

However much Kurtis loves to look at Fire Trucks and admire them and however much excitement he had deep inside as the parade began to come down the hill towards our viewing point, there was just a few major points that he forgot about. One is that much as he loves these things, he is also afraid of fire trucks! But that can be worked around a bit and he can be soothed by simply being told it's really just a big, big truck, ya know.

But, unfortunately for Kurtis, he has sensory issues and one of those sensory issues happens to involve loud sounds and very shrill noises and you know, when they set off the sirens on those big old fire trucks and then, let the darned siren blare from the intersection a block and a half up the street from our point along the route till after they passed us and the end of the other spectators there too, poor little Kurtis was a screaming mass of tears!

He ran for his mother immediately on hearing the first blast of the siren and tried to climb up her leg so she ended up picking him up and holding him, trying her level best to soothe and calm him but it was all to no avail.

Sad to say, but Ken then had to take him back to the parking lot where his truck was and they spent the next almost two hours back there in the truck and not being able to see any of the rest of the parade.

Not to be deterred though, Kurtis announced on the way home that he has big plans to go next week to Philipsburg to watch the Heritage Days parade there -which Maya will also be participating in too. Mandy however informed me last night that she hopes I don't have plans cast in stone to attend that parade because she anticipates that Gram will be staying at home with Kurtis, doing something here equally enjoyable -like watching TV, embroidering most likely for me and probably sleeping for him!

And that's the big event from my 4th of July here in Central Pennsylvania. My neighbors up the street had their normal display of fireworks last night but none of us saw them and I barely even heard them going off.

I think I really must need some Beltones cause that's pretty bad when you don't even hear the firecrackers isn't it?