Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to Moderating Things -AGAIN!

Well, unfortunately, after only a few days of having lifted the "Comment moderation" thing from my blog, I've reinstated that -again!

I really hate to do that as it is an annoyance for me to have to "publish" comments people wish to leave on my blog but then again, I really don't like having my blog comments section littered by some of the comments that were coming through either.

I don't mind people who do paid posts who leave comments behind because they also have a "regular" blog where they write about all kinds of topics -pretty much the same as I try to do. But the comments I'd been getting -if you clicked into the name on the comments, it would just take you to a regular old website, advertising this or that products -no story at all to lead into the website other than the inane comments the person who was/is leaving these spam comments on my post puts there.

What really sucks is that the last so many posts I had done and which this person or these people had commented on, I had previously marked as spam and deleted the comments. And today, those same posts received another visit from these same individual(s) and the very same comments were once again left and which I, ONCE AGAIN, deleted and marked them as SPAM!

Is there a way that we can notify Blogger or Blogspot or whoever is in charge, to have people who use/abuse our blogs in said manner removed? Probably not, I suppose.

I know -I dream a lot, don't I?

Yeah. I'm a big fan of that old thing called "Wishful Thinking."

Now, in another little bit of a rant here -this time about changes that have been made recently that are supposed to be an improvement for those of us who use Blogspot -and/or (I gather) Blogger -but frankly, I'm having a bit of a problem since those changes were initiated.

It used to be when I would be writing a post and come to the end of a sentence which was also the end of the paragraph, I would hit the enter key and be taken then to the next line (a blank one) down from the end of the paragraph.

Well, since the changes were done by the powers that be with Blogspot/Blogger, when I hit the enter key now at the end of a line/sentence/paragraph, sometimes it will register slightly and show the space indicating where my next paragraph "should" begin, but the cursor still remains at the end of the sentence I just finished typing. So, as a result, I have to stop and physically move the cursor down myself -meaning it does not go to the next line automatically like it used to do. It either does that or, if the cursor does move, it moves back to the first letter of the first word of the paragraph I just finished typing!

Now I ask you this -how annoying is that anyway? And also, how much sense does that make to then have Blogspot/Blogger tout this as a big improvement to bloggers anyway?

Or maybe I just don't see the logic they have utilized in coming to the decision to make blogging operate in this manner.  If that's the case and I've obviously missed their point, if anyone else understands the methodology in that, please do let me in on that bit of information!

Peace. Have a great day or night -depending on what time of day it is when you read this. And, again -I apologize for having had to reinstate the comment moderation thingy but if that jackwagon who has been leaving all these inane comments would kindly move on to annoy someone else, I wouldn't have to have that on my blog at all then, would I?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Great Stress Relief!!!

Yesterday and through this morning, it's been good to come by various blogs I follow of people who I know that reside in what was Irene's path and know, so far, no one has been hurt and only a few have experienced what would be probably classified as "minimal" damages! Of course, even minimal damages from water can still be a bit costly but that still much better to have than to lose everything, be injured even slightly or worse, lose life/limb of a friend or loved one!

So, that is a big stress reliever for sure, isn't it?

And, the fact that this morning I also received the needed information in order for me to ship the recipes I have labored long and hard over for the past 6-8 weeks now off to the publisher and that has now been done too! Saturday a.m., I got the paperwork needed to order the cookbooks all packed into a nice little mailer at the post office, sent it out via Certified, return receipt requested priority mail, and the postmistress guaranteed me that the publisher would have this packet there, waiting for them to open it by this morning! YAY, YAY! That was a huge stressor off my shoulders, for sure! Now, I just have to wait and see how many errors there are in my paperwork or the recipes and where we then stand on getting the cookbook published and returned to us by November 1st! Say those prayers that all that comes about in the time span we'd been promised!!!

Because of this cookbook project, my embroidery hobby got put on a big "HOLD" for the past few weeks but this past week, I finally managed to complete the project I had begun before getting totally engrossed in "Ye Olde Cookbook" project. It was a very easy-to-do set of pillowcases in a sort of mod cross stitch design that normally, should/would have only taken me 3-4 days at most to complete. However, it ended up taking me about 6-7 weeks before I finally was able to get the last stitches done on that, There's yet another bit of relief, albeit a rather smallish one.

I have however already begun work now on my next embroidery project -which will be a tabletopper that is done in cross stitch and is of Christmas Trees. Let the Christmas stitchery begin! I'm really way behind on getting more than a few projects done up in that department now so hopefully, I can begin to catch up a bit there.

Over the past couple of days, I had fallen way behind on my blog reading. Finally, Saturday afternoon I got started trying to get my reader cleared out. I had it down from a little over 300 posts to be read Saturday a.m. to fewer than 100 posts left by late Saturday night. So Sunday evening, I sat down again to work on cleaning house in my reader -getting those blogs read, comments made, etc., etc.

I had figured even with a few new posts that might have been done between late Saturday night and Sunday afternoon/evening, I would only have maybe 130-140 posts on my reader to go through.

Well, boy did I ever get a major surprise though when I logged into my reader and saw the total number of unread posts there read an incredible number -like 686 NEW UNREAD posts!

Say what? That just couldn't be true, could it?

As I scrolled down to see which posters had left new stuff there I soon discovered the culprit was one of my favorite bloggers -Terri Terri -who writes a great blog from her vantage point up in Minneapolis way! What the heck was going on here with her showing as having 500 plus new posts -in less than a day? Then I finally figured it out -she had transferred posts over to her current blog and those 500 plus -well, not for me to worry about them because I'd already seen, read and commented on them along the way! Then, this morning I saw too that she had put up a post -after I had logged in late last night -explaining what she'd done. That, after she'd just about scared the living daylights out of me though about 2 a.m. ya know!

So anyway, hopefully now my life will return to my being blissfully very lazy with only the embroidery and perhaps a few books I have laying around here that I had intended to have read by this time but just never had taken the time to do that either over the past several weeks and even months. A little catch-up in that kind of reading department needs to take place soon now too!

This week marks a big event in my house hold though as the kids -note that is plural there -start school on Wednesday of this week. Yep, both kids will be going to regular school beginning this week now. Maya will be in 2nd grade -already! And, Kurtis -well he is about to embark on the real beginnings of a whole new ballgame for him as he will start kindergarten -all day variety of that no less -on Wednesday too! Maya will ride the regular school bus again this year but Kurtis will be going to school on the special van and will be picked up directly in front of the house. This is the same procedure we followed with Maya when she started kindergarten two years ago and it worked very well for her so we're hoping this process will work equally well for Kurtis now too! He just isn't focused enough nor does he have the maturity level needed to ride the "big" bus with ALL the elementary students from this neck of the woods. Actually, I think if he were to ride that bus, with his big sister there, it would be really detrimental for him because you see, his sister is often his biggest nemesis these days! She would no doubt be the one most likely to bully him on the bus if he were to be there with her as she's not exactly prone to being a nice sister, guiding him along, keeping him out of harm's way. Sibling rivalry ranks quite high in her book, you see!

So this Wednesday will be quite a day for both Mandy and for me as we say good by and wish both kiddos lots of good luck as they begin the new school year. And, after we get them loaded on their respective buses and come back inside, I'm pretty sure we'll both be shedding more than a few tears -some of joy, some of fears -over seeing them off and realizing one chapter in our lives with them -well, Kurtis, in particular -will be coming to a close that morning as that van/bus he will be riding pulls away!

So, as the month of August draws to a close, September and fall is in close range, here's hoping things work all for the best for all of us in these days ahead!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Show Me The Way!!!

About a week or two back, I wrote a post relating a little bit about a former type of employment I had for several years and through that post, told a bit about my relationship with a whole lot of great people who work in a job that is often underestimated, frequently portrays these people in a not such a great light at times.

 That job I had was as a truckstop waitress and the people I came to know and appreciate very much were truck drivers!

Well, today I'm going to tell you a little story about one of those truck drivers.

For about 2 1/2 years, back in the early-to-mid-eighties, I was "seeing" a particular driver. Actually, it was a bit more than that as for a time I was even engaged to him but that's a story for another time -my "engagement" to that guy.

Now, because this guy lived about 120 miles from where I live, at times, with his work schedule and mine, it could be a bit tricky to find a way to actually see each other, to "go out" -have a date, so to speak, ya know.

So, sometimes if he was on a run, making a trip where he would be staying overnight at a location that was oh, maybe 90 minutes or as much as 2 hours away and if my work schedule was such when occasions like that happened, I would then drive to the town where he was being put up by the company to spend time with him there then.

Shortly after he had switched companies, he got sent to their terminal in Mechanicsburg, PA -which is about 100 miles from where I live, give or take a bit, and would be arriving there about the time that, if I left after my shift ended, I could arrive there at about the same time as he would -thus giving us a minimum then of ten hours to spend together.

So, he had given me the name and address of the particular motel were they would be putting him up and he also gave me directions then too how to get to this motel from my place of employment. (He also had given me a matchbook cover that had the name of the motel and their address and phone number on it, so I had that extra bit of information that way.)

The name of the motel escapes my memory right now, but I do remember that on the matchbook cover it said that this motel was located on the "West bank of the Susquehanna River, on Route 15 North.) Hmmm. I figured then, no problem, I can find this place because I'd driven to, through, past Harrisburg -on both sides of the good old river that runs through it, ya know, on a good many previous occasions and also, I generally have a very good sense of direction too -a talent that has always served me quite well over the years.

But when he had called and given me driving directions, he had told me to "Go across the bridge north of Harrisburg -can't remember the name of the little town there but it was some kind of "Ferry" in the name of that town -and I was to drive down along the river into Harrisburg where I would then, cross the river again, pick up Route 15 there and go north then oh, about a mile or two and I'd see the motel then easily.

And after he hung up the phone, I got to thinking about his directions. Why would I have to cross the Susquehanna river even once, much less two times, if this motel was located along the "westbank of the Susquehanna on Route 15 North" anyway?

I figured all I had to do was head down Route 322 East till I came to Route 15 -just before that first bridge he mentioned, just before that little place with the "Ferry" as part of the name, and I would exit there and go south on Rte 15 till I came to that motel. Easy peasy, right?

And just to be sure I was right, I even showed one of the other drivers I knew -from another company that I knew often routed their drivers to Harrisburg or Mechanicsburg or Carlisle -and asked him if I was right in my planned route and he agreed with me!

So, off I went and I arrived at said motel within about 10-15 minutes after my former fiance had arrived there.

He asked me if I had any problems finding the place and was stunned when I told him I'd had no problems whatsoever and what's more, that I hadn't had to cross the bridges over the old Susquehanna at all and certainly didn't have to cross two bridges to arrive at this destination.

I wish I'd had a camera so I could have taken a picture of the surprised look on his face because he couldn't figure out how on earth I had managed such a feat as that!  Another driver from the same company as my fiance's happened to be there as I explained how I'd traveled down there that evening and he agreed with me too then, telling my boyfriend that my routing was actually the better way to travel.

I thought the whole episode was downright hysterical because here was a guy who made his living driving all over the place and one would think he, of all people, would have been able to see the folly of his directions simply by looking at a road map, ya know. (I hadn't looked at any maps, but I knew just by the directions on that matchbook cover, I sure as hell didn't have to go across the bridge, drive into and through Harrisburg, go across another bridge and then, back track, going north on Rte 15 when I could take a much more direct route!

I've often wondered over the years since I broke up with that guy if he eventually bought himself some kind of garmin trucking gps set-up so he could find his way around the country when driving his big rig!

In my mind, he was definitely the kind of individual who really, really, REALLY needed -or needs (if he's still trucking today) one of those things.

And if not one of those systems, at the very least, he should buy a darned good Atlas trucker's map then and learn how to read it!

Just proves to me the old adage about men and driving directions in that rarely do they really know where the heck they are, where they are going and that they really dislike asking for directions too, don't they?

Moderation of what?

I've got some questions today and am looking for suggestions -about blogging, Blogspot or Blogger and what some things mean.

A while back, I was getting a lot of comments from an "unknown" blogger -unknown to me, anyway -and although that blogger didn't sign his/her comments using the anonymous button, but rather with a link that went back to his/her blog, several things were quite obvious. One, judging by the grammar being used, it was obvious the posts were not being done by someone whose native tongue was English. And second, the blog(s) this or these people were supposedly writing were nothing but advertising/sales sites. I don't normally have a problem accepting comments from people whose English is not very good, as long as it can be seen that the person actually read and understood my post in the first place. OK, now maybe I need to clarify that a bit because I know I do tend to ramble -a lot -and sometimes my writing as well as my thought processes can be more than a bit convoluted too, so I try to allow for that when reading comments on my posts.

But after a few of the comments that were being left appeared to me to just be the work of a spammer, I then opted to put comment moderation back into use on my blog. I know a lot of other bloggers get really irritated by comment moderation, but I tend to get really agitated too when I start getting lots and lots of comments that make absolutely no sense and if I click into that blogger's link, I don't get taken to a blog with interesting posts. Frankly, I see nothing whatsoever interesting at all in looking at nothing but pictures and advertising for sunglasses or make-up or other things that are of no interest to me whatsoever.

I'm not crazy about putting the comment moderation into action on my blog because it does require a bit more work -sort of -on my part, to click on whether I want to accept and publish a particular comment or if I want to send it to the spam bin.

But now, I see something else from my comment moderation move that really confuses me to no end.

After I click on to publish a particular comment -or comments, as the case may be at times, the "publish" action then takes me to a page that I thought would take me to yet another page pertaining to the comments but instead, it takes me to a Blogger page that says this:

Your current account (my e-mail/g-mail address here) does not have access to view this page.

here to logout and change accounts. 

Now seeing as the e-mail address showing up in this lovely announcement is the one I have to use to log into my blog and seeing as the comments I am moderating were left on MY blog, wouldn't you think I would or should have access to view this page ?  And why would I want to go "Here" to logout and change accounts then anyway when the only account I have pertaining to my blog is this one?

If anyone out there can explain this lovely phenomenon to me, please do so, will ya?

I have a more than adequate amount of confusion in my life, generally created by myself or the grandkids -or occasionally by my kids too -and I really don't need Blogger sending me a message like this that totally confuses the living daylights out of me!

I would try to pose this question to Blogger but, having done that in the past with their forum methodology of solving problems and getting no answers to questions about blogging problems or reader problems or other things of a computer-related origin, I figure why waste my time sending a question to a forum that as far as I am concerned, doesn't really exist to help folks!

In case you haven't picked up on this, my attitude towards Blogger and especially to this response I get when I do moderate the comments left on my blog, it doesn't exactly leave me all smiles and ultra happy but does tend to bring out the really sarcastic, cynical side of me and sometimes that's best left covered up as much as possible!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Return to Normal?

Well Folks, it's over! Or, I should probably say "It's almost over!"

What's that, you ask?

The COOKBOOK, that's what!

At least the order is filled out and almost everything that is needed for the publisher to start work on our Cookbook is now safely enroute to Kansas, via the good old U.S. Postal System as of about 11:30 this morning anyway.

And baby, am I ever relieved!

Now, maybe I can go about returning to my so-called "normal" and fairly lazy way of life -wiling away my time, eating bon-bons and embroidering!

Well, at the very least, I know I won't be sitting here, stressing out, considering pulling what few hairs I do have now (that just started to grow back in about 2-3 months ago, after spending the previous six or seven months in a state of baldness.) One thing's for sure, I won't be needing to look into getting either a new curling iron much less hair straighteners -and that's a big relief!

I don't know if I mentioned anything before in any of my posts about my hair and the regrowth I'm seeing these days. But it's been quite an interesting experience for me, that's for sure!

If you weren't aware or don't recall this, from the chemo treatments I had last fall, I lost all my hair! Yep, pretty much every last strand fell out by mid-October of last year and on Maya's seventh birthday, I had my next-door neighbor come over and shave off what little bit of stragglers were left behind. So, as a result, I spent the winter totally bald and shivering a good deal of the time then too. You have no idea how much warmth one's body does receive from the hair on your head until it's all gone. Just take that little tidbit of wisdom from me to the bank, ya know!

But the really, truly upside for me with this hair situation came as a total surprise to me. When my hair finally began to re-appear, back in early April, it was almost the equivalent to growing a beard I think you could say -just a teensy bit of stubble. It really wasn't till about mid-June that the growth really was becoming noticeable and one day, while I was in the bathroom, I happened to glance into the mirror and was really very shocked with what I saw.

There, in my own reflection, looking at the way the hair on my head was coming back in, all of a sudden I realized I'd something else too. I'd seen someone, somewhere, that looked like I looked at that time, with the way the hair was growing in and it dawned on me that OMG! -I looked very much like my dad -or my hair did anyway!

And that feeling I got from that realization was quite the shocker to me.

After all these years that I've been around, it was the first time I actually felt a true, physical kind of connection then to my Dad!

He died of cancer when I was not quite 3 weeks old, therefore, I had never had the opportunity to know him at all -nor him to know me. I'd never had any kind of feeling of being connected to him growing up, much less as an adult because I didn't know what he had been like, ya know. I never thought that I looked like him either over the years because, well let's face it, I really didn't see much in the way of resemblance to him from photos I've seen over the years.

But about a year or two ago, a cousin of mine had sent me a photo -one of the few I've seen, much less that I actually have now -of him, and it was him holding a baby girl -who happened to be the cousin who sent me the photo and the view of him on that picture is sort of a side view, but it shows very nicely the way his hair grew. Okay, maybe that sounds a bit weird or odd to say it that way but really, it does show up so well on that photo that his hair grew and just sort of rolled back across the top of his head in these nice gentle waves and that, my friends, is just exactly how my hair began to appear once it was really growing back in for me!

And it gave me a sense of peace, of being really his daughter after all because now, all of a sudden, I have this wavy hair that looks pretty much identical to how his looked -except for the fact that mine probably has a bit more grey hairs interspersed in it than his had back then, about 68 years ago!

I was going to post that picture on here so I could show you what it is I'm rambling on about but be darned now if I can find where on earth (on the computer) I stored the darned thing!

Oh well, for now, guess you'll just have to take my word for the hair regrowth thing.

But but now, I'm gonna do a good bit of relaxing, unwinding from all the mega stress that's been hitting me big-time this past week with this cookbook project and get back into doing some embroidery once again.

I do still have some uploading I have to do to the publisher - photos and a few other things, plus I still have about 200 recipes that I have to "verify" too before I can send the recipes to the publisher. Guess I better get on the ball about that since without those recipes there will be no cookbook regardless of whether I got the paper work completed and sent off to the publisher in time!

I may even do a bit of extra celebrating later this evening and kick back with a cold brew or two.

Hey! I think I deserve one for all this stuff I finished, don't you?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bugs -and MORE Bugs!

Bugs! I hate 'em!

Computer bugs are a royal pain in the dupa to contend with and learning how to operating a new type of software fills my pea brain with loads of bugs! First it was trying to figure out how to operate the photo software my neighbor told me to download so I could start working on extracting pictures from various other photos I have on my computer or that were given/loaned to me to use for the special dedication page we want to have in the cookbook I've been working on.

Then, it was learning to work with Publisher's software -since I have the new version of WORD which comes with Publisher. Ah, more fun and games, for sure. Thankfully Pastor Carrie arrived to bail me out as she knows a whole lot about working with Publisher as well as how to lay photos out too -so they are more eye-appealing and offer some better asthetics that way to our page.

She got the Dedication page up to a point where I could submit it as a test piece to the publisher -to ascertain -hopefully -that what she had done would be acceptable with their formats, etc., etc.

But to upload it to the cookbook publisher, I first had to compress the files so I did that -or thought I did that anyway -and it clicked it into the upload and roughly 45 minutes later, I was able to use my computer again after the upload apparently went through! Yes, it's a large -very large -file!

One of the things the upload page says though is that the best -and safest -method to send files to them is if they are prepared with PDF format. Hmmmm. I think that requires Adobe to do that and I think I only have Adobe reader on this lovely little old computer. Anyone know how I can convert files -from say Publisher to PDF? Is there a freebie program I can download to be able to do that?

So, I'm dealing with those bugs doing free-floating -or maybe it is free fall -in my brain but I also realized over this past weekend that I have another type of bugs I have to contend with now as well.

Except these bugs are of the real bug kind. The ones that are alive and way, way too well for my liking and they are living in my garden, feasting quite heartily on my yellow squash plants!

YUCK! Judging by the look of the leaves on many, many of my yellow squash plants, there must be a kazillion ugly little old squash bugs that are dining there, as I write this!

I tried a very generous sprinkling of lime around the plants and on the leaves and maybe I slowed down the progress of oh, at most maybe 10 of these little buggers but apparently the only way to deter them is to treat the ground around the roots of the plants early on in the growing season. Wonderful. NOT!

Right now, if there were such a thing available like an online life insurance policy for plants, believe me, I'd be right there, signing up for something like that as that apparently would be the only way I could then "collect" -shall we say -on the demise of those poor baby plants! Unfortunately, I think those things only apply to people, don't they?

There goes my idea of having lots and lots of yellow squash for supper frequently throughout the rest of this summer. Luckily though, according to what I read online about these ugly bugs, they don't like zucchini squash or acorn squash plants either so hopefully the few acorn squash plants I do have growing and that do have some acorn squash on 'em now will be safe from the muching and life juice sap sucking of these vultures in the vegetable world!

Anyway, needless to say, I do really, really REALLY HATE bugs!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Where Were You When.....

I meant to start writing this post about an hour or better ago but got delayed because I had a little battle here I got engrossed in for a while with, of all things, the stinking printer!

I still haven't figured out what's wrong with it but well, it won't print! And actually that's not completely true as it will print out one of those tester papers -ya know those things that are supposed to let you know if it is all lined up properly -but it won't work if I try to get it to print out anything else!

Clate's girlfriend was here last night and had printed some stuff and she had mentioned to me at that time that it quit working for her but this morning, I tried to get it to print and it worked just fine and dandy. But tonight, when I wanted to print out a test copy of the photo collage page that Pastor Carrie and I had spent all afternoon on Thursday working on, trying to get a bunch of pictures all set up, organized and such, then it decided it wasn't going to cooperate with me.

I did one of those troubleshooting things and it keeps telling me that the printer isn't turned on, but it is -I can see the light flashing there like it does when it's getting ready to print! But it's being really obstinate apparently and something isn't telling something within the printer someplace not to print! So I sent a message to my neighbor -my real troubleshooter -to see if he can come over sometime in the near future and see if he can find the problem. I know he's gonna mention to me again about getting a new printer but right at this point in time, that's not in the cards for a week or so according to my checkbook!

But anyway, that isn't what I was originally going to write about here tonight. I had something totally different in mind before I sort of lost my bearings and got off track with this printer problem crap!

I was gonna ask if you can tell me where you were on a specific date and year -like 14 years ago today on August 19, 1997?

Sometimes, I can't remember where I was yesterday but baby, I definitely do remember where I was and what I did and what I wanted to do too that day!

And it all had to do with a baby too!

Because a little bit after 7 a.m. that particular morning my other ex-son-in-law -also named Bill too, I might add, had phoned to tell me that I was officially now a GRANDMA!

My daughter had been admitted to the hospital shortly after midnight and at 6:30 a.m. that day, my first grandchild, my older grandson, Alexander William, came into our lives!

I was in the process of getting ready to go to work when "Big Daddy" (which was and still is our nickname for that particular son-in-law, phoned Mandy and me with what was the most exciting news -ever -for both of us! My grandson! Mandy's nephew! And both of us were hugging each other, crying tears of joy, dancing around and laughing -all at the same time!

I hurried up and finished getting dressed and before I left for State College, I phoned the office where I was a part-time employee at the University and told them I would be in sometime that day but at that point in time, I just couldn't say exactly when because I planned to stop at the hospital before I went on to work so I could be one of the first of the family to see this little guy!

Actually, he wasn't very little as I think -if I remember those details correctly -he was very long -like 23 inches in length -and he was a big baby weight-wise too as he weighed in at very close to 9 pounds. (The weight I don't remember offhand tonight probably because when I think about that morning and how excited I was, I still get lost a bit on those details even yet today!)

I got to the hospital then shortly before 9 a.m. and there he was, all wrapped up so tightly in those receiving blankets with this little hat on his head and his eyes shut as tightly as he could possibly get them!

Big Daddy had just laid him back in his bassinet but immediately went and gathered his son -my grandson -up and handed him to me saying "I know you're just itching to hold him and here he is!"

Boy, was that ever the truth too! I'd only been anticipating this big event for over the past 8 months ya know as Carrie had told me about the "big news" on Christmas Eve and that made that the best Christmas present ever too!

I remember too the day in April when Carrie had the sonogram that showed what my first grandchild was going to be -a boy or a girl -so we'd known then for the past 4 months that it would be a boy. Carrie, I recall, was a tad disappointed at first because she had really been hoping for a girl but I tried to appease her by saying "little boys are awesome too, ya know." Her response to that had been "But I really am into bonnets, Mom!"

By the time he was born though, she had enough little boy outfits to clothe him in a whole new outfit I think several times a day for at least the next several months and I figured he'd probably outgrow many of 'em before she'd even get a chance to wear them on him -cause yes, I thought she must have that many outfits stashed in the room for him!

We laugh about that first day with Alex still today though because after I'd held him a good bit, Big Daddy's father showed up and I figured it was only fair that I relinquish my hold on this gorgeous little fellow and let his Grandpa have a turn at him too then.

But I just sat there the rest of the morning, just staring at him, in a bit of a state of shock I think.

I just could not take my eyes off him!

I sat there and kept putting off leaving to go to the office because I kept telling Carrie and Big Daddy that I was waiting for him to open up his eyes so I could really get an even better look at him! But he absolutely refused to do that!

And the funny part of the waiting for him to open his eyes didn't end that day either!

Every chance I got to stop by their place for a quick visit with my "Little Prince" -which was my pet name for him then -and still is to this day even though now he's not a very "little" guy (but he's always gonna be my Prince, ya know), he always had his eyes shut when I would stop in!

Finally, when he was three weeks old and I had made a quick stop to have another "look-see" he actually did then open those eyes and looked straight at me!

We still joke about that to this day that Grammy had to wait three whole weeks to see him with his eyes wide open!

So anyway -it's now a day after his birthday -his 14th to be exact -and when I think back to this time back then, it's so hard to believe how quickly those 14 years have flown by and especially how big he is now too!

He's now taller than I am and I'm 5 ft 6 but he's also now taller than his mother too and she's close to 5 ft 9 inches tall! His dad is tall too -about 6 ft 2 or 3, at least and big built and I think Alex is going to be built very much like his Dad is. He looked so much like his mother when he was a tiny baby and in most ways, even today, he still looks very much like her but yet, from different angles, he looks a lot like Bill too! And that's definitely not a bad thing that he resembles either of his parents because my daughter, Carrie, is a very pretty young woman and Bill is quite a handsome man too!

Those 14 years now have whizzed by so fast, it just makes the head spin and so hard to believe he is this old -already!

He's also a really good, very nice young man too -easy to be with, funny too as he has a great sense of humor. He constantly is an amazement to his mother too with respect to school and his grades as he is also an honor student at his school, did play in the elementary school band (trumpet) and on several occasions, even had solo parts at some of the school concerts. A boy scout -he's very into working on the various stages of scouting and this weekend, he's away -on his birthday, no less -at a special boy scout camp!

Between the hours his mother works and the distance from where I live to where they live, I don't get to see him all that often, but during the summer vacation, we do try to arrange overnight visits whenever possible.

Alex is -and always has been -very good around Maya and Kurtis and watches over them to keep Maya from beating on Kurtis at every chance she gets. For an only child, he's very well-grounded and only slightly "spoiled" since he's the only grandchild on his Dad's side of his family and lives closer to those grandparents so they have had more opportunity to do more for him and with him from day one.

But the bottom line in all this is that he is one very special young man in my life -just as he was that bright morning 14 years ago and his Grammy J is extremely proud of him!

Yep! Best thing ever since sliced bread -or as my neighbor and good friend up the street always says, "If I'd known grandchildren were so darned much fun, I would have had them first!"

Truer words -never spoken!

Happy Birthday a bit late Alex and hope you and old Gram get to celebrate many, many more too!

Push or Pull?

Boy, talk about a bit of a fright, there was one here the other day when Ken was here, using the riding lawn mower and trying to get the grass under control.

Technically, he was using HIS own riding lawn mower which he brought down here earlier this summer for us to have to us -just wanted to clarify that.

But anyway, he had just come around the house, past the kitchen and deck area and I heard this really bad, very loud, very clunky kind of sound. I looked out the back door and there was the lawn mower slowly sputtering and then shutting off. I thought man, I'm sure glad he was the one riding it and cutting grass if those noises I'd heard meant what I thought they might -like that the mower was broke down!

But more than that, it was where it had come to a stop that REALLY worried me because there are several spots in my back yard that are more than a bit on the swampy side and it looked from my view like he had the wheels located at least pretty darned close to one of those areas.

All I could think of was if that was the case, to get the mower out of there would probably required something powerful to use to pull it with his truck -like some kind of super-duper atv winches or something along those lines, ya know!

He came walking up through the yard then, carrying what looked too at first glance like a big old black snake but then, I got my glasses cleared off a bit and saw it was just a big old piece of black rubber kind of stuff and figured out then that a belt had broken on the thing. Yep! That's what caused all the racket with the mower when the belt broke and he had lucked out too and got it to come to a stop where it wouldn't sink into that really wet area and didn't swamp the old thing after all.

He and Mandy made a run to town that night then and picked up a new belt and today, he got it on so it's up and running fine and dandy now again!

Sometimes things do work out okay after all.

And, it sure does help to have someone around who can fix things like this too!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Taking My Lead...

Remember earlier this week I posted about writing lengthy comments on others blogs and then, grumbling that I coulda/shoulda used that as a lead to my own blog and some posts because I have often left comments that could have easily -very easily in fact -been used as a full blog post which I often have said the mere thought of doing a post at times sends me straight into the realm of being totally brain dead!

Well guess what? Today I'm sorta gonna do that -take my lead from posts I read today!

I'm gonna start with my blogger friend, Bud, over at Older Eyes whose posts I thoroughly enjoy. Today, he mentioned his age -which I won't mention here but you can find it when/if you go visit his place -and that age is almost the same as mine but I'm not quite there yet, within a bit under two months of attaining that level though. And with the mention of age, he points out that being "on a roll" at this stage in one's life often doesn't last all that long. And that caused me to laugh at the truth of that statement but also to think about how, for the past couple of weeks now, I have been on a proverbial "roll" so to speak. All this work I've been doing, all the time I've been putting into trying to get this cookbook ready to submit to our chosen publishing company, has had me on a high that has been almost the equivalent to some one bi-polar being on a manic high. Yeah, I've been on a really good roll there, folks. And ya know what? It's been so nice to have a feeling deep inside that I am finally doing something that is, yes, really worth the effort! The pay does suck on this job -no two ways about that, since it is all of a volunteer nature but so much great stuff has come to me through the work and effort I've poured into this project. It's been a long, long time since I did something that made me feel like I had some value to put out there -towards our women's group, towards this project and yes, for myself, as things slowly began to come together a little bit more each day.

Actually, the last time I did something that left me this excited and happy to be doing something I felt was really worthwhile and which even a few other people thought good things about my efforts too, was a few years ago when I was involved in doing some writing for a now defunct little local monthly newsletter publication. Boy, writing the pieces I did for that thing really gave my ego one hell of a wonderful boost as often people would stop me at the local grocery store and compliment my efforts in this or that piece I had written.

A little bit of stroking folks does indeed go a long, long way, ya know!

So anyway, one of my other favorite bloggers is a guy who is new to my reader list and one who I met via a really "Small world" type situation and gee, believe this or not, I met this guy and "picked his blog up" via the aforementioned blogger, good old Bud!

Now if you've been reading my drivel here for any length of time, you'll probably remember on several occasions I have mentioned and also blogged about one of my all-time favorite things which is those things that happen and we label them as being in the "small world" category. But that is exactly how I came to pick up Rick's blog through Bud's place.

It happened one day not too long ago when I went to leave a comment on a post Bud had done and a comment left earlier on that post said it had been left by a blogger named Rick Gleason. Now, I had just, not too long before that, seen the name Rick Gleason on several messages that were showing up on the Clearfield County Genological Website so just for the heck of it -after all what were the chances that the Rick Gleason the blogger would be the same person as the Rick Gleason, the researcher of family tree stuff from the same county where I live -but I clicked into Rick's blog that day and lo and behold, to my surprise, here he was, the same person as I'd read queries that he'd posted to the local geneology site! I read more of his blog, liked the style with which he wrote and added him to my reader then and there.

And this morning, when I logged into my reader and it wasn't operating the way it should -which is nothing really new for me because it's been doing strange things to me for quite some time now but I have learned to adjust to those weird things -there by Rick's blog it said that he had thirty -yes, you read that right -30 new posts on there.

Needless to say, I was more than a bit shocked to see a figure that high. I know I had been lax the past two days because I've been so busy, so wrapped up in stuff for this cookbook, that I hadn't been checking my reader but 30 posts, in no more than a 2 day period? Well that was crazy, just plain crazy in my book.

But I clicked in to his blog and then I saw why the number was so high. Seems good old Rick had just transferred 30 blog posts over to what is apparently his current blog and I decided after being intrigued by the first of those 30 posts that I would soldier on and read all those posts before continuing on trying to clear my reader for today.

Seems that good old Rick had, a few years back, taken training to become a long-haul trucker, studying for that necessary CDL license, going through the driving training involved and well, the whole nine yards to make a career change in his life.

And, reading his words about that time, the training, the tests, then driving with a co-driver for about 6 weeks time and finally, getting on the road with his own truck, really brought back a lot of things in my own lifetime to me.

No, I was never a truck driver but I sure have known a whole Hell of a lot of drivers and most of those acquaintances came about during the seven (7) years I worked as a waitress at a truckstop about 14-15 miles from where I live!

That truckstop/restaurant back in the 80s was known quite well by most of the truckers who then traversed Interstate 80 through Pennsylvania! It was frequently referred to by truckers -usually on their cb radios -as being "The Shoe" and it is still operating although on a somewhat smaller scale now than it was when I worked there. Back in those days, they ran a 24/7 operation and closed down only (if I remember correctly) at 6 p.m. or thereabouts on Christmas Eve and reopened then the day after Christmas and the same thing also then applied to New Year's Eve too. I think the last year I worked there they changed and stayed open on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day too.

There were times when I worked there and some things that were regular happenings or events, that I absolutely HATED! I despised deer season -especially the first day of deer season!

Why would being in that job cause me to develop this strong emotion about deer season you ask?

Well, because for openers, when I started working there and for about 3-4 years of my time at that place, I worked the midnight shift and that meant from about 3:30 a.m. on in the morning of the first day of deer season, every freaking hunter -or darned near that many it seemed -would be coming into our establishment, each one probably carrying a thermos bottle they wanted filled with coffee and each hunter's thermos also seemed to be one they had bought to compete with every other hunter's thermos to win the award for the largest thermos bottle ever made title, you see. In addition those people who lined up with their thermos bottles at the counter area, there were also deluges of other hunters who came in, more and more at a clip too as daylight approached, and those guys all would sit in the dining room, filling every available table, ordering breakfasts -usually big, hearty breakfasts too -and each one wanted their food ready and delivered to their table in a matter of five minutes, at least, before they had actually arrived there!

To say they could be a really super demanding lot of people would be definitely a bit of an understatement. Actually, probably the understatement of the year would be more appropriate.

The last 2-3 years I worked at that establishment, I came to hate deer hunters even more when they returned from their hunt each day because then, there were specific groups that came to the area, year after year, and I would have sworn some of those guys must not have bathed very well too from one year to the next based on the smell they usually had when they came in for supper! I eventually learned those guys were the ones who must have been spraying deer urine on themselves as some kind of a weird drawing card to let them get closer or some such to the deer and thus, hit it lucky for themselves or for the group from whatever camp they were affiliated with at that time.

Anyway, I really disliked waiting on those people -or the majority of them at any rate.

Another trait they tended to have too was that all too often many of those hunters would also come in late at night -at the tail end of the afternoon-evening shift or in the beginning hours of the midnight shift and then, frequently many of them would be pretty darned inebriated too and for some reason or other, large numbers of those same individuals coming in to eat at that hour and in that state, often thought it would be a wonderful idea for the whole group of them to order stuff involving ice cream -milkshakes, sundaes or heaven forbid, hot fudge sundaes or banana splits! And I absolutely loathed, abhorred and despised getting one order involving ice cream much less orders from anywhere from 6-10 (or sometimes more) people at the same table all order ice cream stuff. (Most waitresses in restaurants such as this one was, which is to say truckstop/family type food/service, will tell you more often than not the same feelings apply to them as I mentioned here pertaining to those kind of food requests. They are things the waitress has to prepare by herself and are, for just one type of those things, quite time-consuming but to have to fix that many of those things at once, you're off the floor and busy in the back for a good 10-15 minutes and that's time that people will, thanks to Murphy and his law, coming flitting in and sit at a table in your station--usually a table that has just been vacated and not cleaned up and reset too -and they will be highly jacked because no one was there, standing over that table to greet them as they would sit down!)

I tended to be a really picky waitress when it came to the customers I preferred to wait on, you see. (That doesn't mean I wouldn't wait on the people or types of people I disliked as customers, just that I would do one hell of a lot of bitching about them to the rest of the staff though.)

I did however, generally, get along very well with the majority of the truckers who came into that place and I knew oodles and oodles of them too! If I didn't know them by their first name (often I knew their full names, what company they drove for, and a lot of information about them too) I knew them by their cb handles. At one time, I remember just for the heck of it, I took the time to sit down (at home) and made a listing of every single driver that I could put a name or cb handle to their face and had that listing done up by every trucking company -of the major freight haulers that frequented that place and I had well over 1,000 different drivers that I could identify by company, by name or CB handle and usually by all three of those categories.

That was back in the day when I could actually remember things though -including my own name, every day, then too! Ah, the good old days, ya know!

I usually had a pretty good rapport too with many of those drivers as well and for some reason or other -I don't know to this day how this came about -but many of them would come in and tell me all kinds of stories either about themselves and things that they did or pranks they pulled or stuff they knew or saw about other drivers too. Yeah, it could be a big-time gossip fest on plenty of occasions at that place.

I remember though one night, I was grumping to a few drivers about what kind of customer I liked and what kind I disliked and I gave those guys my little litany about that subject, telling them I didn't like the deer hunters, especially on the first day of the season and also, I disliked waiting very much on most women, didn't like to wait on families with small children, ruled teeny-boppers and college-type kids out as good customers too, and the faction I disliked the utmost though -even more than hunters -was DRUNKS!

One of the drivers looked at me when I finished up that little diatribe and explanation of why I disliked those in each of those groups and asked, "Well, Jen -that pretty much rules out most everyone. Who DO you like to wait on then?"

My answer to that was "Just give me truck drivers cause I can handle them!" And for the most part I could too mainly because I knew so many of them, often even knew what they would order to drink, sometimes even what foods they would request as well and I knew too which ones would be uber-demanding, wanting things there ASAP and which would give me a smidgen of extra time, breathing room, as it were, to keep pace with everyone, everything.

Knowing so many of those company drivers, I have to say many of them I came to know and care about to the extent they were about like dealing with my next-door neighbors as I often knew which ones were experiencing family problems -spouse or children or other family members on their home fronts, which ones to be careful with because left to their own devices they would try their darndest too to catch me or other waitresses as well, in all kinds of crazy, zany practical jokes and stunts too.

All of that made for some really interesting shifts, some that were downright hysterically funny too over the years I worked at that place.

One thing Rick had mentioned on many of these posts I read this morning though was how lucky he eventually felt he was to have the job as an over-the-road, long-haul trucker in that he was able to see so much of this beautiful country of ours. And that reminded me of one of the Roadway drivers I was good friends with back in those days. This guy was often referred to as "Roadway Ralph" but his actual cb handle was "Twinstacks" and he was out of the Roadway Terminal in Toledo, Ohio. His true name was Fred, but I won't go into his surname as that might identify a bit too much about him although I know he is now retired and hopefully, still living too for that matter. But Fred had a really terrific sense of humor -not one who looked for ways to pull all kinds of practical jokes on me or other staff, but he could come out with some super funny stories and almost always had a quip for just about any occasion too.

But one of Fred's favorite things to tell people was that regardless of how he might feel on any given day about his job, he still thought he was ultra lucky to have a job that paid him to be a tourist in a sense, or able to view so many sights, see the country and get paid to do it by being a truck driver!

Although I don't know Rick -not personally anyway -but after reading his blog for the past several weeks now and especially after reading through his posts today about his work driving a big rig, I like to think that maybe he's a lot like my old friend, Fred -or Roadway Ralph or Twinstacks -whatever name anyone who reads this and actually knows him by if in fact, someone does ever read this piece and knows that Big R driver of which I have just made mention here.

It also reminded me in reading Rick's posts today too just how much I do still miss at least certain segments of those days, of working at The Shoe and all those crazy drivers (and a few sane ones too) but especially, the camaraderie that evolved from knowing so many of those guys back in the good old days.

There, I've waxed really sentimental today now and maybe someday I'll revisit The Shoe in my postings and talk about some of those crazy things that once took place there. One driver in particular better be careful because this could then perhaps end up being my equivalent to the book I told him once that I was writing about all the truckers I knew and was going to give detailed exposes on all the escapades I knew about for many of those drivers too!

Needless to say, he was shaking in his boots, so many of the other drivers out of the barn he worked out of, told me and for well over a year too even after I left that job behind me!

Ah the power that can come from the threat of spilling the beans, huh?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Wow! What a lot of stuff I HAVE done, have completed over the past 3-4 weeks with this cookbook project! I now have 578 recipes gathered and entered and six more sitting here waiting now for me to enter them. (I just had these six given to me this morning!) Just really glad that someone else took the time to dig these recipe cards out and loan them to me for my transcripting purposes!

I'm still majorly confused though as to what I can and can not do when dealing with the photos I have available now to select from for use in our cookbook.

One of our ideas from the get-go of this project was to set up a page -preferably with a collage of pictures focusing mainly on women who were once very strong leaders and workers without our parish community and who have passed on. However, there are a goodly number of other women still with us, many who are advanced in years now too, and who are equally deserving of recognition of some type for all their efforts too. So, how to do that -where do I or we set a line of demarcation? Right now, I'm thinking maybe anyone who is above the age of 74-75 and, if we have a photo of that person, they should get this little bit of recognition paid to them too. That proverbial "Time in the spotlight" I suppose you could say. I have a meeting coming up here, at my house, in about an hour with our Pastor and another lady from church -from our group- and we will no doubt make that decision at that time.

But another aspect that still has me very worried as well as confused is how I am to work/deal with the advertising. How do I prepare it to send it to the publisher anyway? How to I do it by uploading it to them and will the information as I can prepare it on my computer gel then when it arrives at the publisher or will it not function properly due to potential issues because of what type of setups I have on my computer? I don't understand near enough about things that are of a computer technical nature at all to grasp all this stuff and baby, it really scares the living daylights out of me.

Sometimes I do think what I need here is some kind of document management system that might make working with all these things, all the variables and such manageable for me. I suppose my needs right now are not such that it would warrant that type of setup but maybe, if I had my wits about me, all gathered into a little bundle, so to speak, I could then break it apart and put it into files/folders on my own that would serve the same purpose. Don't get me wrong, I have been trying to do something like that here but just don't have it all as coordinated as I'd like it to be or as I think it maybe should be.

And then again, maybe I'm just being one great big very nervous Nellie about this whole kit and kaboodle and who knows, maybe I understand more about what I'm supposed to do, how to do it and all that, than I realize too.

Hey! It could possibly happen that way! I just hope and pray that it does, that's all!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What To Do?

I'm in a bit of a pickle here -maybe. Well, actually maybe not but I've come to a startling conclusion here of late with respect to blogs I follow and read.

It has to do with commenting on others blogs and the dilemma I frequently have of becoming brain dead as soon as I think about writing a post of my own.

One thing I don't do very often when I do get around to writing a post is to do a whole lot of referencing to other people's blogs to acknowledge getting the idea behind a particular post from this or that person.

Why is that anyway?

Well, it's mainly because of something I have a tendency to do while reading and then commenting.

I just recently realized if I just left a message to acknowledge I'd visited this or that other person's site, and not leave the long, long comments I am totally known for by those favorite other bloggers of mine, I could -provided I stopped right there in my tracks and headed to my own blog and clicked on "New Post" write a full post of my own, probably done without near as much of my normal meandering around with my own words too -also a trait I am pretty much known for -and that way, I'd not be suffering near as frequently from being in the "Brain dead" status with respect to my own posts.

Make sense?

It does to me but that doesn't mean I will necessarily be able to remember that and adhere to that theory then too.

Odds are I'll still continue with the long-winded commentary and I'm really not sure why I do that. Probably because to do otherwise would make my life, I think, immeasurably easier and sheesh, I sure as hell don't want to do anything quite that drastic, ya know.

But, speaking of making my life easier, I do have one thing to say about that.

I'm still playing with all the various things involved in this cookbook preparation for our church women's group.

Although I had set a deadline of some unrememberable date in July for accepting recipes, it is now known to those straggler contributors of recipes that I will take recipes up until the day before I am ready to ship this cookbook off to the publisher. (I'm also still accepting ads and copy, etc., along with checks for that too even though I had set a deadline for that as August 10th. But those deadlines were actually just "preliminary" deadlines for me in an effort to maybe get people to get up and move and provide me the information I needed.

Right now, I've been working -struggling is a more accurate word there -with the technical parts of this cookbook -setting up special pages in it. One of these special pages is intended to be a dedication page to many of the women who served our church, the women's group, and served in long and well for many years. To do that, the idea was to make up a collage by gathering as many pictures as we could of as many of those grand ladies of our past as possible and arranging it on a specific special page.

To do that also required that I try to get some knowledge, working ability to find and deal with some kind of photo software -akin to Photoshop- ya know. My next door neighbor's son, who is quite the computer geek/nerd (if you will) had told me he doesn't have Photoshop due to not having approximately $700 to lay out to purchase it but he highly recommended that I download a free software program called GIMP -which I did.

Now, you wanna see someone brain dead, unable to think, much less write, you should have seen me the other night when I tried to work with this GIMP program for the first time! EGADS! The air in my living room was not just a pale shade of blue but nearing to turn to NAVY blue thanks to my airing my frustrations by using a whole hell of a lot of four letter words that the grandkids would have been shaking their fingers at me and screaming "Red Word, Red Word! Grammy used another Red Word!" (Their terminology for any of my curse words which I do try somewhat to keep at a dull roar when they are present because both of them, but especially Kurtis, tend to become big-time parrots with respect to that kind of vocabulary. Talk about leaving me with a very limited vocabulary, that really does it to me a times!) But anyway, thankfully they were both in bed, sound asleep, when I started trying to figure out how to work with this GIMP software.

After spending 5 hours, fiddling around, cursing a whole lot, and only having managed to get a grand total of 7 pictures manipulated to show only a head shot of the person I was focusing on in those pictures and moved across to a separate page to build my collage, I came to the conclusion that the reason those software engineers, in their infinite wisdom, had named that program GIMP is because trying to learn how to use it does indeed make one's brain go completely to mush and therefore you have a GIMPY brain -with little to no function!

Thankfully, yesterday I did play with the lovely GIMP program again and for the better part of the day and I did manage to develop my own methods of working with said program too that enabled me to end up with a little over 50 pictures that I manipulated into just head shots and saved over to my collage page! Progress does take infinitely much longer to occur when one is old and borderline senile! I'm just thankful though that the software the publisher of our masterpiece provides to clients to use if they wish to enter the recipes themselves was extremely easy to master for me -mainly because I have worked in data entry positions for a great deal of my former worklife and the abilities I had in that type of employment really were a tremendous asset for me to realize they still existed in my skills area! Translated that means I managed to enter what is now nearing 600 recipes with only a few times when I maybe uttered one or two curse words. Yeah, that's how I measure difficulty in just about anything I tackle -how many times I curse while doing something!

So now, I'm going to have to try to learn how to deal with advertising copy and how to work with that on my lovely computer too next. It's going to be a bit more on the ordeal side for my mind to work on that stuff and it won't be helped by the fact that tomorrow, our minister is going to be here to try to help me figure out how to work with those ads and copy and such.

Well, there goes my release valve then I suspect!

I'm liable to end up with a coronary or in old time medical terms, suffering from apolexy -can't even spell that now but it's a word I picked up a few years ago from reading many, many gossip-type columns in old, old local newspapers for a research project I was working on back then. I think it actually mean when they used that word that the person had suffered from a massive stroke.

And if I don't return -don't come read your blogs, leave my trademark of the lengthy commentary on your posts, or don't resurface again with any new posts of my own, you'll know, understand then, that I was done in -totally -with an apoploptic fit brought on by not being able to curse and let off my frustrations of dealing with the brain dead side of my being!

But if that happens, just remember this, I really did enjoy reading and leaving all those comments and semi-blog posts at your place!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Good, Bad and Ugly?

Ever wonder about when things in our lives are really going to come together an gel?

Or, are we always gonna be plagued -or so it does seem at times -with those three things -good, bad and the ugly?

I grump and grumble about things -particularly those involving good old Mother Nature -at times, I know and really, since I chose to live where I live -no one is twisting my arm to stay here -I should be much more appreciative of the fact that I do live in an area with a climate that does have four seasons. And, most of the time, I really do like that aspect of my life here.

I do actually think winter is beautiful -snow-covered ground gives such a crisp, clean appearance and unless the wind is blowing it around, with a ferocious bent to it, I do enjoy sitting inside and taking the pretty scene in. Note of course, I did say "sitting inside" though, didn't I? I don't appreciate all that much going outside when the weather is really cold, rainy, icy, all those kind of rather negative things. But inside, looking out, yep, there are a lot of times when I do love winter.

Fall and spring though -I'd hate to not see those changes if I lived in a climate where there's pretty much just one basic type of weather available -all year round. Nope! I like watching spring arrive and seeing how the colors change from the whites and greys and brown shades to the various degrees of color variation there are to greens! I love watching the trees as they begin to come to life again, year after year and the flowers springing up with their beautiful blossoms.

The fall colors though I do believe are the ones I actually enjoy the most -maybe it has to do with the fact that they blend so wonderfully from the light yellows to golds, oranges, reds and even burgundy-type shades too on some leaves and I don't even mind the beiges and browns of color then too. I even like the smells of autumn -those familiar aromas as folks rake the piles and piles of leaves (and watching kids jump in them and having a high old time) and then, adults burning off many of those leaves as well -a very distinctive smell of fall fills the air.

Summer though I enjoy! Always have loved summer but for different reasons of course, over the years. As a kid -no school meant summer fun, for sure. It was also a time when I left my quarters here and traveled to spend several weeks with my Mom's older sister and her husband in Jamestown, NY and then, over to Corry, PA to spend at least a week, usually more, with my Mom's younger brother, his wife and their FOUR children. (The latter spot was the closest I ever came to enjoying what life would be like had I had siblings so you know, I totally loved going there!) Summer was easy-livin' and fun to me then and even though over the years I've had to accept the fact that those days are long gone -for me -but they are here again now as I watch my grandkids play in the backyard, enjoy the warmth, the bright sunshine, all those great things that do come with summertime.

One thing though that, as an adult, I never appreciated about summer -see how it is each season does have those darned drawbacks, don't they -was grass and the cutting thereof!

My house and property here, when I was a kid, had a very large yard. And I do mean VERY large too! Roughly two acres worth! And, back when I was junior-senior high age -roughly 12 or 13 until I left here at age 19 -it was often my job to run the lawn mower we had across all that grass and keep it looking half-way decent. The lawn size stayed pretty much that large until the time my ex-husband and I built a house on a side lot to my current home but the grass-cutting job was still there for both properties then. And still with a power mower, yes, but the push-type. At one point, my ex did find a great deal on a nice bit riding lawn mower and we had that for maybe a year until he -in his infinite wisdom -did a fantastic trading job with a friend of his and he gave that friend our nice big riding lawn mower in exchange for that guy's smaller riding lawn mower but which also had a fitting for a snowplow blade on it whereas ours didn't come equipped with that! Unfortunately too, that lawn mower that he traded for only lasted maybe one summer then for us and of course, that meant there would be no use for it to plow snow with it come winter then either!

So, back to the self-propelled push rotary mowers it was for me then from then until -well until this summer!

When, lo and behold, Mandy's friend, Ken, brought his riding lawn mower down here for us to use! Not a really new model, by any shot and so far it has held up with no really way-out there expenses to keep it running but it's shaky how much longer it will hold up and I can tell you this much for sure, that there is no way I can even consider going back to using a push-type mower no matter how big an engine it may have and I know too, if it comes to us returning to that kind of lawn care, Mandy is going to be hiring a local kid then to tend to the grass-cutting job around this place.

Makes me dream about things a lot then as I consider the potential uses we could/would have were we ever able to make a nice investment then of something from the ariens mowers line of tractors and riding lawn mowers and such!

Oh the joy that would hold for me! To be able to have something nice and comfy to sit on while cutting the grass -for openers -and also, something that maybe could even have some type of plow thing to attach to it to turn over the soil for my garden and a regular snowplow attachment too for it so we could welcome the heavy snowfalls when they come and be able to get our parking lot (which is almost what the parking area in the front of our house resembles) when winter comes calling.

Makes me think too about something else and that's if I want to ever have these things, I'd best get busy and buy more lottery tickets too cause near as I can calculate, that's about the only way we'll ever get the coins to buy all these things I dream about these days!

Pre-Season Blues

The simple fact that I am even going to write about this topic is, to me, more than a bit depressing.

And no, I'm not discussing Pre-Season football -pro or college -either.

Picture this, if you will. About 2-3 weeks ago, it was so bloody hot here -and I think over the greater part of the country too -with temps that reached record-breaking highs of 102, 103 even, I believe one day it was supposed to have hit 105 over in State College which is a mere 33 miles (as the crow flies) away from us. Phew, Baby! That's hot for this area! (And, it was the nasty hot with tons of humidity accompanying it too.)

And yet, just two evenings ago, when I went to take Sammy for a walk, before leaving the house I threw on a nice warm sweatshirt so as not to freeze my butt off while strolling down the street with him!

And, I've been wearing that sweatshirt almost daily since then too -at some point or other during the day and especially in the evening hours. Because it was -to my body anyway -downright nippy here.

It's such a depressing thought to me because for openers, spring seemed to never want to get here fully this year and summer was equally slow in showing up then as well. My garden was drenched early on, then over the past so many weeks of heat and little to no rain, I was worrying it was all going to dry up and die on me -what few things I did have growing out there!

And the wearing of a sweatshirt now, in mid-August, in the evening, or even to bed too, wearing a sweatshirt during the day now as well, smacks to me of a full-fledged warning of what is ahead for us.

Just around the bend, weather-wise, that tells me to get ready, be prepared, because not only will Jack Frost be nippy at noses and toes, but Mother Nature will be redecorating the scenery in shorter order than I really do want to think about with the other weather that I don't fully appreciate at. all! Snow, ice, freezing rain, sleet -all those things will soon be on their way and along with them, fuel bills out the wazoo too, ya know.

I don't LIKE to drive in winter conditions but if I have to go out, I will and I can manage fairly well too with the little jeep. Old as my little buggy is, it does have four-wheel drive and it generally is pretty good to me if it is necessary to venture out. But unless I absolutely HAVE to go someplace, when the weather is bad, snowy anyway, I try to avoid driving then. Ice is a whole different ball game and I wouldn't venture out in that kind of driving issue unless it was an absolute, life and death type situation! Mainly because I don't care how good a vehicle with four-wheel drive may be, on ice, it is a totally different ball game!

What does worry me though now with winter just around the corner is Mandy, who is looking for a job -at least a part-time job, preferably one though with full-time hours and of course, those all important benefits too.

However, around this area, with her skill set and experience, there aren't very many job opportunities available at any time and definitely not much at all here now with the economy tanking so much. So, she's probably going to have to resort to heading over to State College to look for better employment potentials and that means driving over two mountains, both with roads that can be treacherous during the winter months.

Her car isn't the best for those conditions either as it's a small car, and no four-wheel drive of course either. Much as I don't want to think of this as an option, should she find a job over in that neck of the woods, I think she'd also best give considerable thought to the idea of having a snow chain set up available for her tires -just to be on the safe side, ya know.

I know if I suggest something along those lines to her she's going to have a bit of a hissy fit with me because she's never utilized anything like that thus far in her life and, for that matter, with close to fifty years of driving under my own belt now, I've never resorted to carrying chains either. But a lot of my driving in horrendous winter conditions I also did have a vehicle that I was able to put various things into the trunk area that gave me a whole lot of added weight which also then provided a good bit of extra traction for me then. Her truck set-up on her vehicle might not be amenable to doing the things I was able to do with my vehicles in the past -my little Chevy chevette or my Subaru Justys -both had a trunk area that I could easily have some put put in this big flat piece of metal in my cars. (I think my ex-husband said itwas a portion of some kind of blade from some piece of heavy equipment -it weighed around 300-400 pounds any way so it took a couple strong men to lift it in and out of my truck areas) Whatever it was, whatever the weight was too, all I know is that it worked pretty doggone good for me over those years.

Anyway, it is a bit depressing to think that summer is now starting to move out on us. And I, for one, do hate to see it leave after such a brief visit as it's been -or seemed to be -this year. And, I suppose since there's not diddly squat I can do to change that, it won't hurt to think a bit ahead, to get prepared, will it?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Absolutely Awesome!!!

I like to read -pretty much all kinds of things from the newspaper, to magazines, to books.

No, that statement is actually incorrect. I LOVE to read! But if you'd see the list of books I've read over the past two years, you probably wouldn't believe that sentence about loving this pastime, but it is -or at least -was the truth. Up until about 2 years ago when I got so wrapped up and involved in this embroidery thing that I virtually forgot all about -or almost all about -my first love, which has since I was a young child, always been books!

I've always attributed my love of reading to my Grandpa because he totally loved reading and anything he loved, I took on as my love too. Throughout my school years, I always had a book around that I was reading -often much to my mother's chagrin as she would frequently chastise me about how I read so much I was going to ruin my eyes and when, at the age of 12, I had to get my first pair of glasses, she began pointing out to me how accurate her prediction of oncoming blindness was. When, by the age of 17, the eye doctor told my Mom and me that my vision in my right eye was so bad that it was virtually on the edge of my being blind as a bat in that eye, she couldn't wait till we got in the car to come home and tell me "I told you this would happen!"

In later years, I was informed by a psychologist brought in to test my older daughter for problems because of her issues with reading and how difficult it was for her to do, that I was her problem because I expected her to read the way I had. I was furious and told him in no uncertain terms that he wrong there as I didn't expect that from her. All I wanted was for her to be ABLE to read, hopefully to read well enough to understand the enjoyment, the pleasure of a good book and not regard it as a hateful chore to be done. My ex-husband and I both shared the love of reading a good book and we both tried over and over to emphasize this to her, telling her she could take a trip around the world and never leave the comfort of being curled up in a good chair in the living room by simply reading a book! It took several years of prodding before she finally did begin to see the logic of that statement and today, she is an avid reader, albeit still a slow one and one who often calls me to ask how to pronounce a word, or what does this or that word actually mean. Not that I am a walking dictionary, but she does know and respects that I do have -or at least I used to -a pretty extensive vocabulary -much of which I attribute to being a lover of reading.

For many years some of my favorite books have been "Gone With The Wind, To Kill A Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, Catch-22" for openers. In the past couple of years now, my daughter (Mandy) and I have both become addicted to books by Jodi Picoult and we've both read every book she's had published thus far. As a child of nine, I read "Not As A Stranger." Have you read that book and seen how many pages are in it? Do you have any idea of the story line in that book and how much of it would be comprehended by a nine-year-old child? Not all that much but I read it and I loved it. I also re-read it two more times after that by the time I turned 17 and it was absolutely amazing just how much more I understood each time I read it and how much I still loved the book too. Same thing with "Gone With The Wind" which I first read when I was about 14 or 15 and polished in off in about 2 days flat!

About 6-8 weeks ago, I picked up a copy of the book "The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" and read it in about two days. Shouldn't have taken that long to read it because it's not near as large as many other books I've read, but I had a lot of interruptions in that reading but I totally enjoyed the book. Excellent piece of work was my opinion of it and I've subsequently loaned my copy to a couple of my friends too.

But no book had captivated me near as much, not as quickly, not as completely, as the book I purchased yesterday and started reading around 4 p.m. I finished it today shortly before noon! With the exception of the time it took me yesterday to cook supper and eat, I read for about 10 hours before my eyes finally told me around 4 a.m. it was time to give up the ghost and go to bed. I got up around 9 a.m. this morning and picked the book back up and began reading again but this time, I didn't stop, didn't put it down -because I COULDN'T put it down -until shortly before noon when I finished it.

And what book might that be, you ask?

I was "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. I had seen part of an interview a few weeks ago on either Leno or Letterman with one of the actresses who has a lead part in the film based on this book -wasn't really paying attention at the time so I couldn't even begin to tell you who the actress was but the film's trailer they showed did pique my interest a bit. Then last week, a cousin of mine told me in a phone conversation to be sure to find and get this book. Earlier this week on of my best blogger buddies - Terri-asked for some book recommendations and some one had posted back to her suggesting this book too.

So, yesterday after my appointment at the Cancer Clinic to have my port flushed when I stopped by Wal-Mart and saw this book on the shelf there, I picked it up and put it in my cart and bought it. I only debated about the purchase a few minutes mainly because I knew I probably shouldn't be buying a book right now because this month is going to be more than a bit tight on my budget but then, I decided to take my chances and cut back on a something else between now and September 3rd, when my next check arrives!

Having now -obviously -purchased this book and read it -cover-to-cover -in less than 20 hours time is a purchase I can say here and now I will never, ever regret! It is truly the most awesome book I have ever -and I do mean EVER -read!

What is this book, you ask, that has me so hepped up, so excited I am practically hyperventilating as I try to tell you a little about it?

Well, it's this one! "The Help!

And if you don't believe me, don't take me at my word, then just go here to this website to read this review about this book!

Trust me when I tell you this, you WILL. NOT. REGRET. IT!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Days Ahead?

It's been a very busy week here this far and almost the weekend now. Since I haven't posted in almost a week -although I've had numerous topics rolling around in my mind -I figured I'd best get busy and at least get a post done today before the weekend actually hits, ya know, cause who knows what that might bring.

At least, for the time being though, things have calmed down a bit for me with the cookbook work -entering recipes and trying to coordinate advertising, what little bits of that stuff that I have. The advertising and special pages we're going to do have been driving me slightly bonkers for most of the time this week, mainly because it's been well over 40 years now since I did any work involving copy and getting things readied for printing and such and what little I had learned then is pretty much out-dated and irrelevant in today's market, so I'm pretty much starting the learning process all over again with that stuff. It's easing up though as every now and again, something I learned back then comes back to me and as long as I can find something of today's work that is comparative to that of 1970's era, I can grasp it a bit better.

Yesterday, Kurtis came up with some things that first of all, cracked me up and his second thing, was something that pretty much surprised his former TSS who is now the BSC for both kids.

First, yesterday a.m., I was doing stuff on the computer -e-mail checking, looking over Facebook and such and he pops up right beside me, with his little face almost on top of my face as, very excitedly he announces to me that "Spiderman is going to save the world. He's gonna kick the monster's butt!" Imagine my surprise at learning that wee bit of wisdom! I bet you all feel much better knowing that we are all safe now thanks to good old Spiderman, don't you?

Then, later in the afternoon yesterday, my son's girlfriend and her little boy, Ryan, were down here. Ryan will be 3 next month and trust me when I tell you this, but he is quite the little character -leaves no stones unturned, believe you me! But anyway, Ryan was down in the back yard as was Kurtis when "Miss Renee" -Kurt's former TSS -showed up. He made a bee line for the front yard in order to be the first to greet her and then he asked her, "Have you met Ryan yet?" Yes, that formal he was with his speech which pretty much took Renee by surprise but then after she said no to him, he went on to say, "Let me introduce you." So matter of fact he was. So they went around the house to the back yard where Ryan was busy playing on the swing set and then, apparently Kurtis forgot the last step in this configuration, which should have been for him to take Renee up to Ryan and tell Ryan her name and formally introduce them because it was at that time that Kurtis took off for the swing set too, leaving Renee standing there in a small state of shock.

It does really make one wonder though how he learned that procedure or who taught him to say those things at any rate. But isn't it neat though to realize he is picking up proper methods at this age? I was quite amazed at that little conversation along with Miss Renee and Mandy too!

Today, I had to go over to the Cancer Center in Clearfield for my monthly visit there to have my port flushed out. For those of you who may not be familiar with a "port" it's a little item that a surgeon inserts just under the skin line, normally, as I understand it, in the upper portion of the chest and it is used especially in people who don't have very good veins (a problem with which I have to contend -or the nurses do, whatever) and it is used then for a place where they can insert needles to run IV's and especially to use in administering chemo too. But since I am, at this point in time, no longer receiving chemo, it still has to be maintained and kept cleaned out, hence the "flushing" of the port.

After that was done -which takes all of about 5-10 minutes tops, usually, I headed up to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things I needed. Two items of particular importance -birthday cards for two of the most important men in my life -my older grandson who will be 14 next Friday and my son, who will be -dare I say it here -39 a week from this coming Monday! While there I also found a book for the grandson which I hope he will enjoy -a humorous book about Middle School -which though a bit away from the type of books I normally get him, I thought maybe a change of pace was a good thing.

However, I really didn't have a chance then to look for anything for my son, but when I got home, I went online -my normal thing there -and did some snooping around on a site where I found some personalized birthday gifts. One that really caught my eye was a coffee mug that says how many days old the recipient is and that, for him, would come to around 14,244 days if my calculations are correct. I was thinking he might actually get a chuckle out of something like that. Birthday gifts within my family often to lean towards finding something that is a bit on the harassing side -especially where my son is concerned. So, we shall see if I break down and order that for him. It is very tempting, believe me!

And speaking of my son, he just showed up here to do a quick "band-aid and baling wire" repair job on his 1971 pickup truck. Seems the exhaust was loose and he didn't get around to correcting that problem over the weekend but today, the tail pipe fell off and the muffler was dragging on the ground, so his girlfriend had brought the truck down here and parked it and then, borrowed my jeep to drive herself to work. Then, when he got in tonight, he had to come down here and gerryrig the thing up so they can run it until he can get an appointment to have the exhaust totally redone/repaired.

Always something, isn't there! And once you purchase your first vehicle, and from that time forward probably until eternity, it does often seem like it's a never ending litany of problems that have to be fixed -along with paying out the yazoo too for car insurance -that keeps a lot of folks in business and a whole lot of the rest of us poor as church mice then too!

But you do what you have to do. We don't just have to like it though, do we?

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Another Day. Another Adventure!

Another busy as well as exciting and also challenging day today!

I had an appointment marked in on my calendar to go meet with my insurance agent at 1 p.m. They called me yesterday to confirm said appointment, and because I was rather proud of myself for having actually penned in the time of the appointment on my wall calendar by my desk here, I joked with the agent's receptionist that "Yep! I've got it all marked right here so I'll be there!"

I got up this a.m. around 9:30 -got my first cup of wake-up juice and sat down at ye olde computer to read -and possibly to write -away! I went through most of my morning stuff -computer things I check, read, do, etc., -still sipping away on the caffeine but I lost track of time and suddenly I realized it was noon and I hadn't yet showered and I was to be in town at 1 p.m. for this appointment!

Boy, did I pick up and move -and fast -which is really quite the site, seeing me trying to move fast with joints that need the Tin Man's oil can some days to get them functioning properly, ya know!

But anyway, eventually I did get ready and out the door and on my way! Met with the insurance guy and ended up adding a little more expense to my monthly budget but in the long run, I do believe it will be the best move I could have made. And, in the process of our meeting, the agent also purchased an ad to go in our cookbook too -so guess the whole things was beneficial on a couple of levels then, agreed?

I made a couple other stops too before coming back home, dropping off some ad information at a few other businesses in the area. Sure would be nice if even a small percentage of those places where I left ad information would call or e-mail me and tell me they are taking out an ad now though! Wish me luck, OK?

So, back home and Mandy and I were talking, reviewing a bit about how her day went and mine when the phone rang. Mandy picked it up and then, the next thing I knew, she was asking me if I could run into where her best friend here, Jenn, lives and take her over to the emergency room because Jenn, it seemed, had hurt her foot and thought she may have broken a bone there. So, off we each went! We both got up to Jenn's and it was obvious she had buggered up her foot a bit -looked like there might have been a broken bone but you know how it is with things like that, only an x-ray will tell you for sure. We ended up then that Mandy took her to the E.R. and I brought the kids back home with me, to fix them supper, get them ready for bed, and in general, just ride herd on those two till she got back home.

Some of the things that go back and forth between Maya and Kurt though are really mega entertaining to listen to at times.

We had to stop at the grocery store in Kylertown to pick up something to fix for supper and Maya, as we were walking in to the store, was pointing out to Kurtis the building on the Truckstop grounds that the car and lunatic yesterday had driven into -smashing up the front of the building to the extent that it virtually has to be rebuilt now and the length of time that gas station will now be closed -"indefinitely!" That's what was said on yesterday's news broadcast anyway! But anyway, little Maya was really busy explaining the whole accident to Kurtis although I'm not quite sure how she acquired all her knowledge about this event. (I know she sure didn't get it from our local newspaper because they -thus far -have yet to publish ANYTHING in the newspaper about this guy, the incident, damage, charges to the driver -Absolutely Nothing! Frankly, I find the local paper's coverage of things like this is appalling!)

Anyway, we picked up some hot dogs and buns, plus a couple other minor necessities and came home to grill the hot dogs for our supper. I fixed a package mix of pasta salad -mainly for me because things like that rarely go over well with the kids -but tonight, Kurtis shocked the socks off me when he ate a hot dog, almost all the bun and also had not one, but two helpings of the pasta salad! Okay, so he politely pulled the couple little bits of chopped tomatoes out of the salad and had them nicely moved to the side of his plate but the mere fact he ATE what he did, was something great to see from him.

During supper though, Maya was maintaining a conversation with me throughout our meal and some of the remarks she made tonight really were -for me -a tad mind-boggling. Sometimes, I really do wonder where on earth she comes up with some of the things she says!

Like this tonight -out of the blue, she announced to me that "When I have my baby, I'm going to go to the hospital in Pittsburgh!" Hmmmm. The kid's not even 8 years old yet and not only is she planning to have a child, but also, what hospital she will be in to have it too! But right after saying that, she then told me "Well, either Pittsburgh or Brookville." Say what? Brookville? Why Brookville anyway? I told her Pittsburgh's quite a distance away but then too, so is Brookville, so why Brookville? Her answer to that -"Well, I've never been there before!"

She also proceeded to tell me all about what will happen when she has her baby too -for openers, she will be age 30 and then too, she will have labor and labor pains, probably a lot of labor pains! No lie, kiddo! Ya think!???

With all this pre-planning on her part, I'm wondering if maybe I should be looking for specific things for my great-grandchild-to-be -like christening gifts for boys -or some other type baby gifts?

Needless to say, I was doing a whole heck of a lot of chuckling during our evening meal, that's for sure!

But the fun didn't stop there either. I was trying to get them both ready for bed -give them their meds and such -and Maya was giving me instructions as to which pills, exactly, she was to take and which ones, Kurtis has to take and was I sure I gave him the correct pills? Nothing like having this almost 8-yr-old explaining the dosages of her meds along with those of her brothers, is there?

After the medicine thing was completed, Maya then told me that she and Kurtis were going to have a "sleepover" tonight too. I told her that a sleepover doesn't usually involve one's sibling but rather is when you have a friend come to spend the night with you. I'm not sure where this idea originated but maybe it's from the fact she spent a couple hours last night and again this afternoon, up the street at the home of a little girl who is also going to be in second grade too this fall and maybe that little girl might have made mention to Maya of them having a "sleepover" sometime or other.

However, as the sleepover thing was discussed a bit more between the kids, it was eventually discarded for tonight because they couldn't come to an agreement as to whose bedroom they would sleep in -hers or her brothers!

Just for the record -Maya is where she usually sleeps, which is in my bed, in my room, and Kurt -well he's nicely snuggled into his own bed, in his own room tonight.

And it's quiet, both kids were sound asleep within about 5-10 minutes after they went to those respective room.

So, you see -all's well that ends well. Right?