Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bonfire In the Works

It has been a very frustrating night here for me. From trying to change browsers, to trying to figure out how to convert an attachment sent to me in my e-mail and then, removing those things from my computer because I couldn't seem to get them to work properly -and generally getting very, very frustrated in the process, it's left me with the thought of wishing I could just take those stupid apps or programs or files -or whatever they are -and just toss them out the back of the  house and into the nifty little thing behind our deck -our fire pit.

This is a not too big area that my 2nd ex-son-in-law named Bill, who technically is still my son-in-law but through no fault of my daughter's as she's been trying for the better part of a year now to make it that he is officially my second-ex-son-in-law named Bill! Never thought it could be as much of a pain in the dupa as this has turned out to be too! (Mainly because he hasn't signed ALL the paperwork involved and by this stage of the game, probably hasn't even a clue as to where he put all the paperwork involved too!

Just makes a person want to scream ARRGH, doesn't it -along with a whole lot of really obnoxious cuss words too.

Besides this lovely thing he built specifically for burning papers and wood and that could be used to sit by it and warm one's self too on a summer night that maybe hasa teensy bit of a chill to it (unlike the summer nights we've had here recently which would do anything BUT give one a bit of a chill should  not be confused with a much larger area, further down in the back yard where we burn other stuff that we need to eliminate!

Sadly, I know of no way to get these things that frustrated the living daylights out of me for about the past 3 hours now -maybe longer -to the pit just beyond the deck and make sure they are finally disposed of for once and for all!

Yeah -just a bit of wishful thinking there.

But maybe tomorrow evening, provided it isn't raining, we can have a little bonfire in the pit and maybe even make a couple of little kids happy as they get a chance to toast some marshmallows over that blaze there then!

I'd be happy just to have that much of a thrill from burning a couple old newspapers then!

Rocket Scientist Needed!

It all began this evening when I was looking at a website from Sweden where one could purchase lovely needlecraft kits.

You all know how much I do love to embroider and also, that I happen to be 50 percent Swedish in my ancestry and I love things that are Swedish. Don't 'cha remember that? Gosh, I hope so seeing as I talk about the needlework I love, post pictures from time to time of items I have completed and also, how much I do (usually) enjoy doing research too from time to time about my Swedish ancestry.

Right? Certainly!

Well, my darling little granddaughter it seems had managed to find -all on her own, at the tender age of 8 years and having just completed second grade, how to get to a Google site where you can get things translated from one language into English. Now that's just what I needed since the website is totally in Swedish and about the only things I understand in Swedish is "How are you?" "Thank you" and "You're Welcome!" So I had to get Maya to show me how to get to the Google Translate site, which she did. And I was having a fine time copying text from the Swedish Website, pasting it into the Google Translate and then reading what the description about the items I liked said.

The trouble began early on though with the Google Translate when I happened to discover there was a place that I could actually surf when the text was written in one language and I could read it translated automatically (no copy/paste stuff needed, you know) simply by downloading a different browser.

That browser being Chrome.

Well, Chrome's been around a good while, that I know and a couple good blogger and Facebook friends have said some good things about it and it's supposed to (according to those friends) be much better, much faster and all those neat things we all want, than Firefox.

So off I went to try to download Chrome!

And what a mess, what a can of worms that opened up for me!

After having to change my password several times in the process of the download, mainly because I wasn't sure which e-mail address I have is really my e-mail address for my Google Account -which apparently has several different aspects to it and some use one e-mail address while others use my other address and be damned if I know now which does which!

Finally, I was so disgusted with getting the message about entering my e-mail address and password, after which I immediately would get a phone call with a number of about 10 zeros on my caller id, and a phone id number I had to immediately key in and then hit enter to verify I am who is really supposed to be using this account and so forth, inevitably it would ask for my password and I would enter the most recent one I thought I was to be using, only to get yet another phone call and on and on it went!

Finally, disgusted to the max, I uninstalled the freaking darned Chrome browser! Simplicity -thy name certainly is not anything to do with any kind of Google accounts!

After that, I saw I had some new e-mail and went to clear my inbox and handle those mails that needed attention and trash the rest of 'em there.

One that needed attention came to me from a lady from our church who has been working on a particular committee (and driving me slightly -or semi -bonkers with the list she's been typing up.

This e-mail when I opened and saw there was an attachment involved, and when I saw the extension on the attachment, I just knew this was going to make the problems earlier pale.

Why? Well because she had typed this list up using Microsoft Works and my computer isn't set up to recognize and accept WPS extension stuff! Nope. Because I use Word.

But then I thought oh shucks, this shouldn't be a problem because earlier this year, one of the ladies I am working with for our class reunion had sent me a file she had done  up on her Mac (and we all know how well, how nicely Mac files and PC files play together, don't we? Yeah, right! They don't! So at that time, a friend had told me how to download another file or application or program -whatever the Hell it is called -which would convert any files that were sent to me using an extension that isn't part of the normal repertoire on my computer!

So, when I went to do the conversion of this new-to-me WPS file, I was given the option of downloading either or Open Freely. Like the non-rocket scientist I happen to be I thought the Open Freely sounded intriguing and so I chose that one.

Of course, that meant going through all the rigamaro of downloading yet another program and then, trying to get it to work -which I couldn't seem to get it to that state of affairs -and finally ending up getting totally ticked off -again -and uninstalling then the Open Freely thing-a-ma-jig!

That's when I discovered that in downloading the Open Freely that also apparently was an Openly Free invitation to several other applications or programs or some such to come in and camp out on my computer! I was not pleased at all when I realized beside the Open Freely there were a total of five other items showing as having been downloaded via the Open Freely one to my computer! Actually there were six, but the sixth one, doesn't show up on my Control Panel where it shows me all the programs loaded to my computer.

But those that showed up there were these: K-Lite Codec Pack, Genieo, ASPCA Reminder, Qinstaller, and Default Tab. The one that doesn't show up anyplace on my control panel -Yahoo Toolbar!

I did manage to uninstall those five programs listed above -after a whole lot of time that could have been put to much better use, ya know, if it only took a click and zip, zip, zip, presto magic, the unwanted piece would be gone. But of course, you know I'm sure that's the last thing in the world that would happen when we inadvertently get these other programs slapped on our computers without our ever even having asked for any of them to be there.

I already have about two toolbars to many on my computer and the last damned thing I really need is one more and especially one from Yahoo too! But now it appears I am stuck with the Yahoo Toolbar along with the Toolbar from AVG -my anti-virus program -also one that doesn't show up on my control panel with a way to disconnect from that toolbar either!

So, if anyone of you, my blogger buddies, knows how to remove the AVG toolbar and also, the Yahoo Toolbar too, without having to add a couple extra programs I neither want nor need, please drop me a note with full instructions.

Just make sure the instructions are all written in plain and very, very simple English though as that is the only language I do pretty much understand -unless of course you communicate in the English version of Computerese -which is a language guaranteed to confuse me, probably more, than if you wrote instructions in Swedish and I ran them through the Google Translate thingy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Home Away From Home

With the 50th Reunion of my high school graduating class just around the corner now, there's still a lot of things I need to work on to get completed for that event.

I have a place set up where we can gather the night before the reunion now for anyone who wants to come out and kick back a little bit and have a chance to get reacquainted more fully that what we will be able to do in the limited time frame that just the evening of the reunion will afford.

For "The Night Before" I have made arrangements that our class can go to the local chapter of the Moose where they can have food and liquid refreshments and a chance to talk without having to shout every single word to each other. Most of the other places where we could gather tend to have a very loud, very rowdy at times, and packed establishments too whereas this place would afford us a bit of privacy and the ability to hear the conversations at hand.

I'm going to suggest to the others in our group working on the planning of this reunion too about preparing a little booklet to give to each classmate attending as well that would include in it a little bit of information about all our fellow classmates too. Not just a listing by their name but also to include their address, e-mail address if available, date of birth, marital status, anniversary date, children/grandchildren too -if any.

Just a little self-contained address book with a tiny bit of other information about those we knew a long time ago such as where they are today and what their interests might be too.

Just something to keep us in some type of communication, at any rate.

Another thing too is something we didn't think of before but probably should have is information about places for people from out-of-town to stay -motels and such -in the area.

I've got a little listing done up now about those things and plan to send that out too in the near future. One place I knew about but didn't think of it until talking to one of our classmates who resides in Florida now and that is this bed and breakfast that is just about 4 miles from my house and I'm really impressed with this place. The lady who has this place graduated three years behind our class, her sister was a year behind us and one brother was a year ahead of us so people from our class would no doubt remember her but probably have no idea about this place since she just got it all completed within the past 2-3 years now.

But I think it is so beautiful I just have to share the website here and you tell me what you think about this place too!

Take a peek at the pictures of this B&B and tell me you wouldn't like to spend a relaxing weekend there!

Literary Giftings

My son's birthday is just around the corner now -next month, he'll add another year. So, I've been giving a little thought now and looking at various things he might like to get for his birthday.

He loves old things -but the old things he loves generally are old cars, particularly volkswagons or old pickup trucks.Now those are things totally out of my realm to tr to get for him. Can't afford things like that for openers, plus I would have no idea what to get him along those lines even if I did have the extra money.

And besides, he just acquired a new-to-him volkswagon about two weeks ago -one with no front windshield, no clutch and who knows how many other things that I'm pretty sure are vital to the operation of this buggy but which it came without!

I think I'll let the car restoration area completely up to him to get what he wants, what he needs there.

I know he likes various t-shirts and since he had served in the Army for a little over 4 years (from 1993 to 1998 or 1999 -can't remember exactly there -I thought about getting him an army t shirt -or perhaps something else denoting the outfit he served in or something like that.

But then last week when Maya and I were out prowling the community yard sales in the neighboring village here, I came across something else that I thought he might just find very enjoyable. At one of the sales, the people had books and books and more books -and all of them hard bound, very good books too for sale, absolutely dirt cheap! (Like for a quarter or fifty cents a copy, no less.) And I came across several I thought he might like but ended up selecting one by Kurt Vonnegut -titled Bagombo Snuff Box -which is a absolutely beautiful, like new, condition and I think this is something he will actually enjoy reading too.

Maybe later I can find a couple other books by Mr. Vonnegut -like Cat's Cradle or Slaughterhouse Five, either one of which I think he would probably enjoy too!

He's not exactly like his sisters or me with respect to reading a lot, but he does appreciate occasionally settling back and reading a really great piece of literature. Maybe I can help him start his own little library over time.

Monday, July 23, 2012

An Alternate Addiction?

I'm sorry to say that my latest attempt to stop smoking cigarettes seems to have gone down the tubes -at least for right now anyway.

I know I should quit but just can't seem to get the good incentive needed to do that embedded deeply enough within me at this point in time I guess.

I've been trying to think of alternatives I could try -like maybe checking out Davidoff and try weaning myself off cigarettes by switching to cigars. Maybe?

Probably not the best idea I've ever come up with, is it?

Or perhaps, I could try calling a lady who is a psychologist and who advertises that she does hypnosos for smoking cessation. That's about the only method I haven't given a shot to -well that and acupuncture is another way some people have succeeded in cessation of smoking.

If she doesn't charge an arm and a leg and the whole darned farm, maybe one of those route would be a good method for me to try!

Gotta do something, that's for sure!

Pending Visitor...

Next week -on Thursday, August 2nd to be precise, we will have a visitor coming here for a couple of days.

The kids -my kids that is -are all very much looking forward to this visitor and his stay, although it is only going to amount to 4 or 5 days.

Their Dad is flying in next Thursday from Nevada to see them and the grandkids -first time he's been back here I think in 4 years -or maybe it is 5 years -after that much lapse of time, I forget when he was last here.

Clate, his girlfriend and her three little boys and Mandy (along with, I believe her boyfriend) are planning a nice little getaway and going to take Dad down to Carlisle, PA for a big car show going on there next week. Now, cars -of virtually any type -and a big car show like this one is, well that's an adventure that will definitely be right up their Dad's as well as Mandy and Clate's alleys!

Yes, you could say my kids are car happy or rather addicted is a better term maybe -to cars. But they come by that very honestly as that's exactly how their Dad is too!

Maya and Kurtis don't have not been bitten, not as yet anyway, by that kind of car "bug."

And even though Mandy asked me if I wanted to go along with them to this, I told her there were a whole lot of other things I could think of that she could use in the gifts for parents -at least where THIS parent is concerned. Definitely I would be most appreciative of oh, some strawberries and say, a little chocolate too!

So, instead I will stay home with the two younger grandkids and pray for a peaceful two days and one night here alone with them!

With things the way Mandy and Clate have things planned out, this means I will only have to cook two meals then for their Dad!

Blessings in everything, aren't there?

Training -or Retraining -the Trainer!

After I got finished around noon with my general morning stuff, checked my e-mail, played a tiny bit on Facebook and then, cleared out all the posts waiting for me to read in my Reader, I had the kids get ready and we were going to take Sammy for a walk then, up the road to pick up our mail.

Maya wanted to ride her bike while I walked the dog and of course, Kurtis chimed in as he wanted to ride his bike too then. This meant that they would be riding their bicycles on the road and so, of course, had to be on the lookout then for cars going up and down the street.

Kurtis is still using a bike with training wheels and for that I am very grateful too as he doesn't pay a lick of attention to where he is going with that darned bike. He's too busy "star-gazing" in the middle of the day -as he has to keep turning his head and watching for anything and everything along the road, in people's yards and such!

After this walk with those two kids and their bikes, I think I need to look into signing into getting a policy for general liability insurance.

First, he almost wrecked as he started to bring his bike onto the road almost in front of the house because he was too excited and too busy looking all around him and not paying any attention to the fact he was pulling the bike off to the right and it started to topple over on him then as he put his leg over the crossbars.

Then on the way up to the mailboxes, again -not paying any attention to where his front wheel was going, he almost ran over the dog then! Actually, he did bang into Sammy's left front paw and Sam -poor baby, that he is -let out a yelp which in turn scared Kurtis and he almost fell off the bike again!

Finally, we arrived at the mailboxes and I got our lovely batch of junk mail (and only one bill) for the day and we headed back home.

On the way home, the kids saw the twin girls who live up the street from us -and one of them just so happened to have been in Kurt's class this past year at school, so of course, he goes into a bit of a showoff routine, yelling up to her that he's riding his bicycle and that it's a space rocket! Oh, brother! The boy does have a really vivid imagination now, doesn't he?

It was on the way home though that I realized Kurtis hadn't yet learned about this thing on bikes called brakes!

So, each time I had to remind him not to get going too fast or to slow down and pull over to stay clear of a car, he would immediately drop his feet to the road and begin to drag his feet with his toes agains the pavement! Not the best thing to do for one's feet especially if you are wearing sandels!

So I then had to show him how to position his feet on the pedals and how to place pressure on the pedals in the opposite direction he was using when going forward. Can't believe whoever has been trying to teach him about riding a bike hadn't bothered to show him about the darned brakes!

As we got closer to home, Maya was a good ways ahead of me and because she is more experienced at bike riding, she turned and began to ride her bike down the little hill down to our yard. I started to yell at Kurtis to try to get him to stop at the top of the bank in front of our house as I really didn't want to even think about him riding down that little bank there and down onto the grass because I just knew that would be the end of our safe trip up and back to the post office that was about to end with him laying on the ground and the bike being off to the side -or worse, maybe on top of him

But of course, little Mr. Independence, couldn't be bothered to stop and wait for me there. Nope! Away he went, playing a little game of follow the leader down the bank and in to the yard.

By the time I got to that spot, I saw his bike laying on its side in the back yard but since I didn't hear any screaming, didn't see him running up through the yard towards me with any bleeding cuts or other injuries, I breathed a big sigh of relief to be back home, both kids each all in one piece!

And I definitely did give some serious thought to popping open a nice cold relaxing bottle of Yuenglings but then, realized if I'd have had a beer now, it would have taken away the energy I will need to fix supper.

So, in the interest of feeding the family, I decided to save that beer for a later time -like maybe tonight as a nice little nitecap!

By the time that rolls around though, I'm liable to be in need of a whole darned six pack if these two kids don't soon stop their incessant petty fighting!


Something Good This Way Came!

After posting about so many things that have really bogged me down of late, depressing the heck out of me a lot of the time, I actually have something to write about that happened this weekend and, to my way of thinking, was really neat!

Surprised? I wouldn't blame you if you were but it's the truth. This Sunday was what I would describe as a really awesome day for me!

A while back, I was contacted on the Grassflat Grown Facebook page by a lady who lives in the Cleveland area, inquiring about an area between the village where I live and one of the neighboring villages here. She -in an honest error -thought the area of interest to her was also another little town here but it isn't -as I explained to her -as it is merely an area in between my hometown and the next village over. Truly, it is the epitome of the "Blink and you've missed it" kind of place.

But anyway, because the area of interest to her is where her mother was born and lived until 1929 at which time the family migrated west to the Cleveland, Ohio area -and she and her family were all very interested in trying to see where her Mom had lived, had grown up, etc., she had asked me to help her in that journey.

This weekend, she and her husband and three of their four children, plus grandkids too, had all come to visit in this region and we made arrangements that they would come down to my house after church today and we would then go out to the section of Cooper Township known as "Knox Run."

Because I actually know very little about Knox Run -the history of the area nor the families who once lived there -I had told her that I felt fairly certain though that I could hook them up with one of two ladies who do live in this region and who could most likely give them a whole lot more information than I ever could do.

So by the time they arrived at my house, I had made arrangements with one of these two ladies -who offered to  ride along with us as we made our foray out to Knox Run.

The lady I contacted is Mrs. Janet Rydberg Larson (widow of Raymond Larson, who was one of the bigger coal operators in this region for many years) and Janet also was my high school typing teacher. She also is one very knowledgeable individual where the history of the township where I reside is concerned. Fact is, there is probably very little that she DOESN'T know about this little township!

When we got up to Janet's home, she said she wanted to call her son, Alam, to see if maybe he would like to go with us as he, like his Dad before him, has worked around the local coal mining industry for many years now too and is also extremely knowledgeable too about the history of the mines, as well as people who once lived her too. (A case of the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in that respect, you could say, huh?)

And so, he became our "Tour Guide" you could say!

He drove his vehicle with his mother, Mary Ann Becca Soltis and I as his rapt audience and took us down to the area of Knox Run where Mary Ann's family homestead once stood. And furthermore, he also looked up information for her pertaining to the property, who had owned it, who still owns it, how much land had been involved in her parents' homestead area and lots and lots of other bits and pieces of information definitely of major interest to Mary Ann and her family!

Here's the two photos I managed to get of Mary Ann and some of her family -down in what is now a very wooded area but is where her family's old home once was located. I had wanted to get a photo of her with Janet and her son, Alan, too but we were all so busy talking about the way the land had been once upon a time and all of us learning little bits of history, I'm lucky I got these two photos to remember the day!

And I had one really fun time, also very educational for me too, touring this area and learning a good bit more about this tiny community that borders my home town!

There were a lot of laughs in this little adventure and Mary Ann and I explained to Janet how she had come to find me -via that  Facebook page and then, how a cousin of hers had found my good friend, Anne Lucas Ryba -who is originally from here but who also lives in the Cleveland region too and Anne had referred Mary Ann's cousin to me, telling him that I am an "expert" on things about this region! Boy, when Anne told me she had told Mary Ann's cousin Mark that about me, I howled laughing. Expert is far from what I am about local history, that is for sure!

But, I do give myself credit for knowing the right person to contact who, along with her son, really are experts in this stuff!

I wish there were some way I could do this kind of stuff more often though -show people from out-of-the area little high points in our region. Now, that kind of job would truly be right up my alley!

Of course, before I launch my "Tour Guide" business, I better get cracking and study up on a whole lot more historical data about the coal mines, the railroads, the lumber industries -all of which were the big employers in this region in the years since 1850, when the first settlers made their way to this region of Pennsylvania!

But boy, I sure would love to be able to do that!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Practice -The Necessary Pain!

Frequently, around this house, there are discussions that crop up and I wonder where in blazes whichever child it might have been who started asking questions about various things, came up with some of these issues that have been broached recently.

A couple of days ago Maya hit me with one of her marathon "Question and Answer" session starting out with what seemed like a fairly inconsequential question -"What's a French Horn?" So I tried to explain that instrument to her and then she asks me if I knew how to play one of 'em. Well, I told her that I had learned to play the French Horn, yes but not for very long. The next question -progressing along fairly normal here -was "Well, did you take lessons Gram?" followed by "Is it hard to play it?"

Hmmm. I was seeing a pattern starting here, ya know. I told her that yes, I had taken lessons and yes, it was hard to learn to play at first but then, ALL musical instruments are hard to play at first!

Then, she wanted to know if her Mom played any instrument(s) too and I told her yes, that her Mom had taken clarinet lessons for a while in elementary school and even played for a time in the elementary school band too. Then she wanted to know what other, if any, instruments I had lessons for and I told her I had taken violin lessons, also in elementary school for 3 years plus, at about that same time, I had also taken piano lessons as well. Yeah, the well-rounded musician, huh?

Then she started talking about how maybe she might like to take some kind of lessons to learn to play some instrument but she was trying to figure out which instrument would be easy to learn to play.

Again, I told her, with a little more emphasis on the ease of learning to play anything right means practice, practice, practice.

After which she switched gears here a bit and mentioned about the guitar her Dad had seen fit a few years ago to get for her older half-sister and that maybe she could learn to play that then?

Oh brother! Her sister and that guitar had been a bit of a disaster in that I think she may have picked it up and tried to follow her dad's instructions for the basics of the instrument for maybe about 10 tries and then, when she didn't sound like Eric Clapton or some other musician, that guitar was stuffed back into her closet, never to resurface again.

Now it wasn't a bad guitar but it definitely was not a guild f512 that he had purchased for her. But he couldn't get the message across to her -nor could I -that all great musicians tend to sound pretty crappy when they first start to learn to play ANY instrument and you have to work -really, really hard, for a long time usually too, before you can play even half way decently!

And I can see the writing on the walls here with Maya and the musical instruments too -as she is not only like her half-sister in her lack of wanting to put in the necessary work, but she also comes by that honestly too -from her Grandmother!

The Whole Thing!!!

I'm sorry to report -again -or should I say "As usual" that my attempts to get my blood sugar levels, my cholesterol levels and my weight all in sync are not working!

No matter what I eat -whether it be stuff that is very low in calories, or minimal carbs, if any, or items that are supposed to help keep the cholesterol in check, what it all boils down to pretty much is that my food intake then is relying pretty much on lettuce!

And even that is sketchy for what it does to my intestines in the process!

Yeah, as the old saying goes, "No rest for the weary or the wicked" and by golly, I guess I must fit in that slot now.

I'm thinking maybe is should just go to this website and tell the pharmacist to give me all that stuff they have as if I'm gonna have to give up eating (which is what it darned near does seem like I'll have to do) I better bloody well have something around to help me not miss food so much then in the process, don't 'cha think?

I know that's irrational thinking but dang it anyway, when no matter what I eat my blood sugar levels always go in the reverse of what the no carb, lo-cal stuff is supposed to do to those tests! Just can't get them to work out and behave the way they are supposed to do and frankly, it is driving me bonkers in the process!

What's Next?

It does seem that with every passing day the news just get worse and worse -especially around this area.

And after eight months of all this stuff, you'd think I'd have become accustomed -or inured -to the bad stuff, but you know what, it hurts just as much today as it did back in November with the charges and then the firings, followed by a diagnosis, death and now, the statue is removed.

Tomorrow, the NCAA is supposed to announce their punishment too of my dear old Alma Mater and by the sounds of things, that's going to really be a spike driven into the backbone of a whole lot of people -not those actually responsible for all this mess though.

If the predictions coming out tonight so far about the NCAA and the ramifications that could be in store for the student athletes, for openers and also, for the many people who have businesses in the area and who rely on those football games to make a little profit or even to just break even for the year, as well as for many people who are employed by the university and lots of other places -well it definitely ain't gonna help the economic structure of the area, that's for darned sure!

They may as well take out Beaver Stadium and put in this kind of college press box to replace the ultra large, fancy one that was installed there a couple years ago because there will be no need whatsoever for the one there now as there will be no media reporting anything there!

Yeah, I know -probably shouldn't say that but punishing those who had no pony in this race, is just as wrong, overall, as is what happened over the past two decades too.

And I'm tired, disgusted, depressed and overall, just sick of this whole blasted mess!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Speed is What I Need!

Ever hear that old expression, "The faster I try to go, the more behind I get?"

Well, if you hadn't heard it before, you're hearing it now. And that really does seem to describe my life, my days, much of the time.

Why is it that everytime I think I'm gonna get this or that taken care of, accomplished, finished, whatever, I end up more behind, dragging up the rear?

Right now, I need to get a little note typed up and into the mail to those of my classmates who do not have a computer, don't have e-mail if they do have a computer (or won't admit to having access to one) or if they do have e-mail, they have all kinds of fancy-schmancy filters built in that if I were to send this message to them at their e-mail account, they would never receive it because it would go into one of those doggone filters!

Listen up, people! I'm operating on a time table here and trying to get stuff set up and organized for our class reunion and you're really making my life even more difficult by doing that to me!

I thought maybe if I could get a tune-up on my computer and speed up my pc that might help the situation but as I see it now, that wouldn't bring me any relief in the end anyway.

Although, it might be better overall for my computer time and usage if I did look into doing that.

Nah! Not right now anyway because -well to be honest -I don't have time (or the funds either) to do that!

What's a Vacation?

Boy, I've been running around here like a chicken with my head cut off lately. All kinds of projects and more cropping up almost daily -or so it seems some days!

I have definitely decided that I need a vacation though. Technically speaking, one does generally have to have a job to get a vacation don't you so I guess that's why I can't take one of those va-ca things any more.

Not that back in my "working" days/years I got to take much in the way of a vacation because things like that were far and few between.

But you know what, I'm thinking I really do need, really do deserve one and I'm thinking something like some Sunset beach nc real estate would really do the trick for me. Well it looks good and it sounds good, even though it is, for sure, just going to have to be a virtual vacation for me!

Gonna have to go play that old lottery again and again, some more!

Very Well Hidden!

Boy, what a day! From about 10 a.m. Friday morning until almost 10 p.m. tonight, a very important part of our family here was missing in action!

Who was missing? Not so much who, but what was missing! It was the cats -Pearl, who is a little over a year old now and Tavia, the kitten that is supposed to be moving to live with my older daughter but somehow, I kind of think she'll probably end up living here!

But in the meantime, when I realized that both the grown cat and the kitten could not be accounted for, I was more than a little bit upset about this.

I hunted all over the house -upstairs, downstairs, basement -no cats. Went outside and looked all around the house, down to the garden and beyond that and still no trace of either, much less both of them!

We figured that they had both escaped via the window in my bedroom because that room, being on the first floor and Mandy had just put in a window fan there about 2 weeks ago which doesn't fit clear across the area of the window opening, thus leaving a corner section of the screen exposed and the cats being, well cats, ya know, had discovered the other day that the screen in that corner wasn't fitting tightly either so, one good push and they could have gotten out and taken off.

That's what we figured anyway.

Well it was about 9:30 or close to that, when Mandy -who was out in the kitchen -made a comment to the effect that Tavia, the kitten had just appeared there from out of no where. Considering that it rained here -off and on -the bulk of the day so even if it wasn't raining, the grass was continually wet -she was shocked to discover when she picked the kitten up that she was perfectly dry!

Hmmm. Now how'd she manage that if she was -supposedly -outside all day?

Well while we were still pondering that question, around 10 p.m., Pearl the grown cat then suddenly appeared -again, out of no where, ya know! And she too was bone dry!

Now the big mystery is where in blazes were these two fur balls hiding then for all that long a period of time?

Be darned if I know cause I sure didn't see them when I was virtually tearing the house apart, moving what furniture I could move and trying to think of other areas that would provide a good hiding place for a cat and a kitten!

Little escape artists are now back and probably right now are dreaming up their plan of attack for where they can hide, inside, and drive Grammy nuts!

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Little Obsessiveness

The other day, we went to State College to do some shopping, mainly trying to find bargains for back to school clothing needs for the kids. Mandy had scored quite well on Saturday at some of the local yard sales but on Monday, after taking a load of clothes the kids had outgrown over to a very nice consignment shop there and getting a good credit applied to her account followed by finding a few items there in the right sizes too, we went to a couple of the larger stores in the region.

At one store, I came across a really cute light blue (sort of a light blue denim look) tee-shirt that had one word on it, emblazoned across the chest.


And it was in just the right size that Miss Maya is currently wearing and I felt it was the most appropriate word ever to be on a tee shirt for her because you see, she is frequently obsessed with things!

We've gone through several phases of her obsessions -early on, she was obsessed with watching the Country Music Channel on TV -when she was about 2-3 years old -and she had a little toy guitar which she would hold in front of her, imitating various country musicians on TV with their style of holding the guitar, their movements and such and then, she would sing one or two lines of some of their most popular songs along with the videos as they played on the tv screen.

Then, she developed an obsession for dates -particularly paying close attention to the days/dates she heard her mother say that there was a doctor or dentist appointment lined up for her or for her mom -it mattered not which, because she would remember these dates and she obsessed about watching the calendar -which she had done a pretty decent job of learning to read that for a child of only 3-5 years of age!

She's had lots and lots of other obsessions too over these very formative years but one that has been with her the longest is one we really would like to get it to cease and desist as both Mandy and I -as well as her aunt too -have tried everything and anything to get her to stop with this one.

What might that be, you ask?

She obsesses over any kind of bug bite or nick, scratch, you name it on herself -arms, legs, face, chest -or on anyone else too who might have a limb or other body part that has a mark on it and is within her range and she will be constantly trying to scratch it open!

I think about the only thing we haven't done is to show her eczema pictures and use them as examples that this is what her skin is going to look like -marred and scarred up -if she doesn't stop with this obsessive scratching and digging at these marks!

Any suggestions of what we can do to get her to stop this one?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pretty Posies?

I envy so many of my friends and neighbors and blogger friends too, many who have gorgeous floral gardens around their homes and often have beautiful house plants as well.

Growing flowers is not something on my list of things I do well! Most definitely not! If anything, instead of having the proverbial green thumb (like my Grandfather had with all the different types of flowers and especially rose bushes too) to ply the soil in the itty-bitty flower beds still existing in front of my house that my Grandfather, then my Mom too, used to have filled with flowers of many types every year!

My Grandma was a flower lover too but her skills were generally applied to the many house plants she always had. There was always a big indoor wooden box that sat out in what was our sunporch when I was a kid and in it would be various lovely plants ranging from ivy to snake plants, to beautiful, large African Violets among others.

In the 30 plus years since I moved into this old house, I have had one house plant that managed somehow to survive and even thrive for a while under the loving care of my "Black Thumb!"

Generally speaking -and I think I have confessed up to this at some point or two -maybe more -in the past, but a plant that entered my house to live here was usually loving nursed till it died from my very unskilled nursing!

If I were to try to have some house plant -or heaven forbid -the plural -plants -in this place I would have to find some kind of plants that thrive on very infrequent care and extremely little watering!

If there's some horticulturist around who specializes in supply of succulents delivered nationwide that might be the answer to my lack of gardening skills.

Of course, I'd also have to figure out where on earth I could possibly even put even just one pretty little flower inside my house as every available space is pretty much currently in use!

Will the Era End Here?

As if my personal life doesn't get hairy enough -and all by itself too, it often seems -since last November there's been an ongoing thing all over the country but especially in this area that has had millions of people, far and wide, very upset.

And yes, I've been one of those who was confused by a lot of the information coming out of State College/University Park. I've been angry, hurt, depressed and probably had just about any and/or every other emotion you can think of enter my train of thoughts on most any given day too.

Of course, the issue has been none other than the things that led up to the trial and conviction of one of the former defensive coaches at my Alma Mater and if you don't know what university that might be, what trial I'm referencing here, you have to have been living under a rock.

But one thing I think that is for sure is this -that there won't be much need for the university to worry about purchasing football gifts from this year!

There's been talk that it is entirely possible that the NCAA may totally cancel the football program at the university here because of ramifications involving four men who were without a doubt, the four most powerful men on campus.

I'm not going to go into any major details about all of that happened. It's not that I don't have my own opinions about this mess, because I do, but the thought that the football program on campus might very well get closed down for at least a year as punishment aimed -theoretically -at one of these four powerful men, at the very least, well I'm not going to be quiet about my thoughts on that topic.

Frankly, should that be what is decided upon, I don't feel that would be fair at all to the student athletes who chose to attend this university, were good enough academically and had the physical prowess too needed to play college football to have them cheated out of their potential to secure a position after graduation with a pro football team. All over something someone else did -not them!

Do I have any ideas what type of punishment the NCAA could impose here? No, I don't -at least not at this point in time.

But whatever decision is made, let's hope it isn't something that causes the players to lose their potential to jockey for a good slot in one of the professional football teams once they finish college.

Committee Time!

Well, the Women's Group at our church -of which I am the lovely President (I'm being a bit cynical there, in case you needed an explanation) is undergoing some changes right now.

First off, at our last meeting, the lady who had pretty much single-handedly managed several different areas of work that function under our group header, announced she wanted to step down from these jobs!

I understand her desire to do this as she moved back to this area oh, about 10-12 years ago now and when she did that, she also returned to being a member of our church -of which she had been a member as a baby, child, teen and probably until she moved away from here or got married. And finding someone to take on the things she did -well, let me put it this way -my first thoughts were that it was going to be mighty big shoes to fill there!

She and another former member of our parish had organized and ran the "Candy Shoppe" that we have had as part of our Fall Bazaar -and trust me, it's one of the biggest draws to our bazaar too -for about 10 years now. I figured this would probably be the most difficult area to get someone to come in and take it  over. I was pondering the other evening about who I might be able to get to run this and finally happened to remember a lady, formerly one of my old Avon customers 20 plus years back who -with a girlfriend of hers -had begun making specialty candies in their homes. So, I got brave, called her and asked her if she would consider managing this "shoppe" at our Bazaar. After giving her a brief description of what was basically involved, to my surprise, she agreed to take on the task!

Wow! One call, one taker, one area resolved!

I was on a roll!

Handling the maintenance of the coffee maker, ordering coffee, the little nitty-gritty piddling things that come along with that job, we got a lady willing to take that job when she volunteered to do it at the meeting.

 Then there was the job of running the Rada Shoppe at the bazaar and another lady spoke up then that she thought she could manage that without too much disruption.

It appeared to me then that left only one area to find someone who could and would take over and run it and that's the task of taking care of securing, preparing and serving (and of course, also the cleanup afterward) of Funeral Dinners!

Now this area is one that is a very important deal -to be able to find out what the family of the deceased wants served, what kind of meal, how many people they would expect our group would have to feed and a kazillion little tiny things that also come into play and the person who handles the organization of a funeral dinner has to know all these little, bitty extra things that all come together to make this meal one that is nourishing on several levels for the family.

I thought that we had sort of resolved that at the meeting but unbeknownst to me, the next day one lady who hadn't been present at the meeting took it on herself to start doing what she felt needed to be done to get this all under control right away.

And the first thing she did was call several members and announce to them that she and the lady I thought was going to take the bulk of the responsibility for this job (based on what she'd said at the meeting) well, she and the telephone call woman would be co-chairs for this committee.

She made several calls (none to me at that point though) and it wasn't until she talked to one of the other older members of the group that that lady asked if she had spoken to me about all this organizational stuff she was doing. When she had replied "No" the other older member suggested that perhaps I should at least be made aware of what she was trying to do.

And that's when she finally got around to calling me and telling me, pretty much what had been said at our last meeting, stating it all to me in a way that almost sounded as if I hadn't even been present at that meeting at all!

Hmmm. Now, I do know this is pretty much this woman's modus operandi and while she is usually very organized, very thorough about all kinds of stuff along these lines, she also has a reputation for being a bit on, shall we say, the brusque side? Because she is very straight-forward, and blunt too, she often steps on a lot of toes when she gets on a roll. Not that I am "Miss Innocence" exactly because I've been known to tick a few people off here and there too, but I'm trying really, really hard to toe a fine line so I can keep peace within the women in this little group. Suffice it to say, I run the meetings a bit (some might say that's "a lot") on the loose side as it is such a small group that comes to the meetings, I don't get overly carried away with the way I preside over the meetings. Where one woman -the telephoner person -is quite adamant that all meetings are to be run using Robert''s Rules of Order, I use my own set of much looser Rules by good old Robert!

Anyway, it seems the thing this woman wants most is to have a committee to handle each little tidbit our group manages and frankly, with our membership (meaning those who actually take the time to attend our meetings) being so small -generally only consisting of 8-10 women who show up that doesn't leave many people to serve on upteen committees, does it?

But anyway, she's rocking and rolling away, calling everyone and their brother to come serve on the Funeral Dinner Committee so we can then get a list (from the lady stepping down) of everything she handles for one Funeral Dinner, putting it in writing and then, I have made it known that I want at least 3 copies of this directive when it is completed. I want one for in the President's guide book so the person who follows me in this office has a guide; I want a copy in the Church Secretary's office -in case the President's copy gets misplaced and I also want a third copy placed inside one of the cabinets in the kitchen area where anyone working in that area for a Funeral Dinner can look and do a check list to be assured that every little detail has been taken into consideration and done!

I have mentioned this several times in the past so many months but now, all of a sudden, the way this "telephone lady" is going on about this, you'd swear I'd never suggested anything at all, much less this set of directives!

So now, she has pretty much taken charge of this and I think -unless this has since changed -next Tuesday evening some of us from our group will be meeting to begin laying out plans for at least two menus from which a family in need of being served a funeral dinner can select what they want us to serve. We'll be deciding if we will offer trays of sliced cold cuts and cheeses along with maybe some pasta or potato salad type dishes and a dessert or, if the family wants some type of cooked meal, will we buy a big old beef roast, make meatballs in gravy, meatloaf or perhaps continue with what we generally have served which usually was a spiral ham!

For the most part, I really don't mind terribly that this woman is trying to get these directives in writing and so forth, but I do resent at times the way she is insinuating or implying that this is all something totally new and also, that no one but her has ever thought of doing things this way!

So, I'm sitting back, trying to keep a rather low profile on all of this and most of all, trying to keep a little bit of an eye on exactly who she is contacting too lest she call someone whose toes have previously been maybe only lightly bruised or, heaven forbid, really mashed!

It's all about playing my own little version of "Rodney King" ya know and soothing people a bit, saying "Can't we all just get along?"

 And that pretty much sums up the hunt for lots of committees and lots of prayers that things proceed as friendly as is humanly possible!

Wish me luck, will ya?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More from the Zoo!

Yes this place is as much -if not more -of a zoo here than ever!

For a change too, some of it has been fun and games of the nice type to write about. So far this summer, the kids have been able to go to DelGrosso's Amusement Park over in Tipton, PA -which is between Tyrone and Altoona and is a nice, clean, decent sized place to spend a day. Usually, it is that, anyway. The day we were there was hot, hot, very hot and for much of the afternoon, I really was convinced that I was surely going to melt away!

When we left the amusement park to go over, across the highway to the Water park, and as I was trying to climb up the rampway that crosses over that highway, my legs and back hurt so bad by that time that I seriously was thinking I might have to get down on my hands and knees and crawl up that to get to the level crossover part! But thankfully, I made it up, over and down the other side and while the kids and Kurt's TSS were cooling off in the big pool there, I camped out under a big canopy a little ways away from the pool area and did a little bit of embroidery work on the project I was trying to get completed then.

After that there was the parade in Osceola Mills on the 4th of July -Annual Fireman's Convention there, ya know -and Miss Maya and her Mom both marched in the parade as representatives of the play, "The Aristocats" which the Philipsburg-Osceola Senior High School's Drama Club presented then that weekend. Maya was in that play -her third appearance in the past 16 months or so with one drama group or another in the area.

Friday and Saturday -July 6th and 7th -was the play and the whole family here, plus older daughter and my older grandson plus a very close friend of Mandy's and his six-year-old daughter all got to watch this presentation. It was sort of an experiment for us in that Kurtis had never attended a play before so prior to the start of it, Mandy gave him one heck of a stern lecture on how he was going to have to sit still, be quiet, totally behave just as he would do were he in school!

And the experiment with him worked out fairly well too, in that he did manage to be on his very best behavior for the entire play. It wasn't until we started to leave the auditorium and got out into the lobby area where there were way more people than he was able to handle milling about and the meltdown started to surface. Thankfully, Mandy recognized the signs of that and grabbed his arm and hustled him outside, got him seated on the grass up against the building wall and told him then it was okay for him to let loose and scream, cry -whatever was needed -to regain his stability factors then.

After that, we celebrated the end of the summer play season for Maya anyway with a visit to the local Dairy Queen for some much needed cool refreshments!

This past weekend was the Community Yard Sale in the neighboring village of Lanse so Mandy, the kids and I went out there and hit as many of the sales as we possibly could, with all of us coming back home having spent not a whole lot of money but with lots of cool, neat little things we wanted!

Maya was given $4.00 to spend at the yard sales and I had her with me, while Kurtis went with Mandy. Much easier on all concerned to separate the kids and go in opposite directions, ya know!

I was really proud of Maya, watching her look over the many items people were offering and she checked the prices carefully, then, did the math in her head as to whether she had adequate funds in our pocket to purchase this or that and when she decided on something she wanted, she took it to whoever was in charge of collecting the money and had it all figured out how much she had to turn over to that person then too. She also knew exactly how much change she would get in return too! Pretty good practice for her to learn the ins and outs of "high finance" and budgeting, don't you think?

I spent around $9.00 in all I think and came home feeling quite pleased as I'd managed to snag about 10 or 12 books I'd not had a chance to read before along with finding a few items along the crafts lines plus a beautiful completed craft project of a cloth Christmas tree, trimmed with tiny red ornamental balls and some silver inexpensive beading looped over the branches! Mandy even found a good assortment of clothing that will work very nicely to provide almost a whole new wardrobe too for Maya when it's time to go back to school this fall!

Sunday was another excellent day with the service at church during which Kurtis continued on with improving his social skills -a whole lot, as a matter of fact that morning! For openers, he went up for the Children's Sermon along with his sister (and of course, had his special comfort item -"Bear-Bear" in tow too. This week he engaged in a fairly lengthy conversation during the Children's Sermon with Pastor Matt, answering a lot of the questions asked of the kids and giving some very descriptive answers but thankfully, not that had any potential to be the least bit problematic in any way! During communion, again with Bear-Bear at his side, Kurtis knelt and allowed Pastor Matt to put his hand on his head while giving the Children's Blessing and then, before Pastor Matt could move on to the next person, he offered up Bear-Bear so Pastor Matt was obliged then to bless that stuffed animal/pillow -whatever you want to call it -too! And, once again this week, as he did last Sunday, when it was time to do the Sharing of the Peace, Kurt's hand was offered up to anyone and everyone who was anywhere within his reach!

Always so great to see advancements of any kind, but especially those on the social skills level like these are, for either of the grandkids but especially so for Kurtis as he has frequently been more than a bit on the shy or standoffish side.

Monday, we all went to State College so Mandy could do a transaction with the local consignment store there (Kid-to-Kid) and build up her credit there for use yesterday and still have some leftover too for future purchases. I went to Michaels Crafts Store there to get information and then, from that info, was able to make a purchase of a nice pretty large-sized frame and mat so I can then frame the embroidery piece I completed about two weeks ago. I've never framed anything like this before so I had not a clue how to select a frame that was appropriate nor to pick out what color to get for my mat background for the piece too. 

Then last night I got to try out something I purchased last Friday -a set of special baking pans and equipment needed so I could try the fine art of baking cake pops!

One of my favorite bloggers -Mrs. 4444 (Barb) at Half-Past Kissin' Time - has been extolling the virtues of these things -cake pops -for quite some time now and when I saw this pan set on sale at a store near here for half the price all the other stores were charging, I decided, what the heck, give it a shot!

I had purchased a packet of Wilton's meltable candy/icing toppings at Micheals to use to decorate my first attempt at this project and realized once we got home, that from being in the bag in the trunk of the car most of the afternoon, those candies were already melted down so I'd best get busy then and do the required baking then!

I was going to try to get some snap shots of the finished product -which looks like a fat lollipop but is actually just a nice little ball of cake, baked in this pan and then, rolled or spread -whichever method works best for the baker -with the topping but apparently Mandy must have my camera in her purse as I couldn't locate it to take pictures today. But they turned out pretty decent for my first venture ever into this process and judging by the response I got from all three of my grandchildren here, this is something they've given me authorization to make again!

And it wasn't really all that difficult -only took me about 2 1/2 hours, start to finish (meaning clean-up too) for a yield of 18 cake pops, 3 cake balls (not enough of the sticks to put them on), decorating or icing all of that and chilling them! They aren't exactly the kind of food I should be eating as I can see my blood sugar levels going into sky-rocket mode but still, everyone needs a little sweet stuff every now and again, don't we?

And when the kids are happy, that generally tends to make the adults very happy too! So, call that a Win-Win situation!

And now, since Mandy will soon be home from work and after that, it will be time for supper, I best get busy fixing the pork chops I plan on cooking on the grill tonight! Or maybe not, since I just glanced out the window and what was when I began writing this post a beautiful, very sunny day, is now clouding over quite rapidly, looking more and more like we probably will get at least a brief shower, maybe a bit more. Who knows? Well, I know it most likely will rain now that I announced to the world -and the weather -that I had plans to cook out on the grill!

Murphy and his law invading my space yet again!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Done Deal!

Things are finally beginning to settle down -I think so anyway -with some of the things that have been going on of late with the women's group I belong to! Boy, do I ever hope things are calming down!

A decision was finally reached. A purchase was made. And, in two weeks from today, we will have a brand-spanking new refrigerator installed in the kitchen at our church!

At least now with this new piece of equipment -and certainly one would hope for the price we paid plus, that we are also purchasing a 4-year extended warranty for the unit too, one would hope that will keep us from having to worry about it falling apart much less that we might ever have to consider buying appliance parts online then for it!

We were supposed to have an event this coming weekend when the little village where our church is located has their community yard sale but sadly, that fell through this year! Normally, we have set up a canopy and some card tables and chairs and sold hot dogs, cookies and sodas or water to people patronizing the many yard sales on this particular weekend. But this year, not enough people signed up to donate food -or time either to help get everything set up and to run the hot dog and drink sales.  So, as a result, we decided we would have to cancel this for this year.

Actually, there have been so many other activities going on around here that have my mind in a dither much of the time -between Maya and her play that she was in this past weekend and all the running around to get meals finished earlier in the day so she could then be driven in to Philipsburg for her practices, then the play itself and well, so many other things on my mind too what with my upcoming class reunion and such, I'm a bit relieved that this was cancelled for this year!

At least this way, if we want to do anything on Saturday -like go roam around and visit some of the various yard sales -maybe find some good bargains in the process too -we'll be able to do that!

We do still have a big event coming up the end of July, beginning of August though and that's Vacation Bible School so for that week, it will be hectic here for me to get the kids both up and dressed and run them out to church and then, work in the kitchen to help get the lunch our women's group serves the kids who attend VBS, then get the kitchen cleaned up and ready to roll for the next day's classes -and of course, again lunch!

Expect me to be ready to fall over in a big crumpled up heap of flab by August 4th, folks!

Looking Things Over

Yeah, that's what I've been doing lately -looking things over. Where to go, what to do from here.

The past weekend was pretty much a total zoo here. The play -"The Aristocats" that Maya was in was this past Friday and Saturday night. I was able to go see it Saturday night and we took Kurtis to see it too. This was a bit worrisome at first since we weren't sure how he might react but thankfully, all went quite well during the play.

Of course, as soon as we got into the auditorium, he got a lecture on what he was going to have to do -how he would have to behave, ya know. Almost sounded a bit like the lecture both kids often get when we sit down to eat a meal and one or both of 'em will start complaining that they don't want this, don't like that and so forth. All that generally gets them is someone will tell them to "Sit down, shut up and EAT!" And that was just about what he was told at the play -that he would have to sit down, be quiet, no talking, no fidgeting, no crying, no whining -just sit down, be quiet and watch what happens on the stage!

And surprisingly enough, for the 40 minutes the play too from start to finish, he pretty much obeyed and did that! It was only when we started to leave, trying to get out of the auditorium and into a very packed lobby, that he went into a sensory overload and was about to let fly with a meltdown. Even then though, his mother got him by the arm and managed to weave and bob about in the mix of people milling about and got him outside where she sat him down alongside of the school and then, he let rip with the meltdown and crying.

So, all things considered there, I thought it was a pretty successful event then!

The drawback though was that I was so absorbed trying to watch the play and listen to the songs, catch the dialogue (which for me was often a bit hard to hear but maybe by the time there is another play, I'll have actually had to purchase those Belltones my kids keep telling me I need, and who knows, maybe I'll be able to hear that stuff a little better then. Better start saving my pennies now for one of those contraptions, I guess. Anyway, because of my trying to watch and hear, I forgot that I had my camera with me -matter of fact I had it dangling by the strap on my right wrist like a nifty piece of great jewelry, ya know.  And I didn't get but one chance, really, to use the darned camera!

Maya was a bit upset that I only got one picture -but heck, my little digital camera from where we were seated, just wouldn't focus well enough to get a shot of her. That is, not until the finale and then, as all the kids ended up in that number, all lined up across the entire stage, singing "Everybody wants to be a cat" I managed to get the close-up thing jacked up as high as it would go and panned across all the kids on the stage and that way, got a little shot of Maya where you can actually see her!

(She's the one standing sort of beside, sort of behind a girl a little taller than her who is wearing an orange shirt and blue shorts and that's Maya there, singing her little heart out and wearing the bright lime green shirt!)

I have to say that I did very much enjoy the kids and their performance as they did a great job and definitely was a lot of fun to watch them!

Wonder what the drama groups around here will do next?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Of Busy-ness and Bereavements

I know, I know -you're gonna say about my title "Here we go again" -more excuses. And it's true, I do have more excuses and yes, they do revolve around pretty much the same things of late, that is for sure.

But baby, I have been busy lately!

And, I even have a couple of pictures to prove it too, for a change!

First off, I was occupied for a great deal of my oh-so-valuable time between January and mid-June working off and on trying to complete a tabletopper I started a day or two before Christmas but didn't get it completed until June 18th! No, I wasn't working all the time in my spare time on this piece -mainly because for awhile, I was occupied with trying to get semi-caught up on my book readings and a lot of the time I could have spent working on the embroidery project was caught up in some problems with that piece along the way. First off, the company that puts out this particular kit, does not give any specifics as to how much thread (or floss) one needs to purchase for it and therefore, since this piece also used a type of thread I had never used before, therefore, I had no "stash" of thread to go to and pull out what I needed, instead I had to make special trips either to State College or Dubois to get the damned thread needed. THen I underestimated how much to buy so ran out of the colors I needed and didn't have enough cash to cover gas for the jeep plus purchasing the thread (which is much more expensive than the floss I normally use for embroidery projects.) so I lost time there. Then when I did get the required thread, I had to almost force myself to work on it and complete it as I was tired of looking at it. Eventually, it was the being tired of looking at it, laying here, uncompleted, that got me motivated to finish it!

And I finished it two days before my best friend's birthday so I decided to give it to her for her birthday because I knew if I tried to find a buyer for it, I would never be able to ask what would be needed to show any kind of profit on it because of the higher prices involved in the floss. And also, I wanted it to go to someone who I knew would care for it lovingly, and who would recognize as well as remember how long it had taken me to complete it and how much bitching I had also done in at least 3-4 of those months involved with it being my only project ongoing here.

So that brings me now to the picture I have of the piece. This is not a photo of the actual item but rather is a picture of the picture that came with the piece when I started it! Why? Yes, I normally do take a photo -or several -or my craft items when I get them completed but this one, I was in such a rush trying to find gift wrap (which I never was able to locate even though only 2 days earlier I'd had a big sheet of the stuff laying on the counter top, just waiting to be put to use) and I ended up just putting it and the card for Kate in a grocery plastic bag! Not very pretty, certainly not an ingenious gift-wrap, that's for sure but it did serve the needed purpose at the time.

The only thing that I have ever embroidered -I think in my lifetime -that took me longer than this piece did to complete would have been the very first tabletopper I ever did and that was one that I worked on periodically between the ages, I think, of 12 and 14, before I got that one completed. My best friend, Kate -to whom I gave this piece, had a tabletopper she too began at the same time as I started that one when I was a pre-teen, completed hers the summer we started those pieces. I was a very slow starter and learner way back in those days!

Then, another thing that's kept me moving -or sort of -has been the need for the dog to get walked and also, the need for me to keep myself walking too. I've been derelict of those duties now and again, but some days when taking the mutt for a stroll, I've had someone accompany me too. Kurtis has often been my walking companion and having him along often provides a bit of funny business along with a little frustration now and again too because of some of his strange fears and quirks.

This house -pictured above -is along one of the streets here in town that we walk when we do a longer walk -referred to here as "walk around the block" and it amounts to almost 2 miles from start to finish. Anyway, this house has this loveseat type chair sitting out front and the owner uses it mainly during halloween to put hay bales on the seat and perch some scarecrow type hay creatures on there too. For some unknown reason of late, Kurtis is terrified of this one chair! He calls it the "Scary chair" and the only way we can get him to walk past this house is to remind him to put his hands up to his face, covering or shielding his eyes and thus, not looking directly at the bad chair!
Here he is, walking past the scary chair with his eyes covered!

Although the area where I live is very near the woods and the woods here used to be really loaded with wildlife but the local hunters claim that isn't so much the case these days, but in any event, the nite of our last walk around the block we saw this rabbit sitting in the side yard over at Breezy and Jill's house in the Dobry Town section of Grassflat! Took both Maya and Kurtis quite a bit of eyeballing before they finally saw the rabbit I had been trying to call to their attention and then, it took a bit of explaining to them what that rabbit might have been doing there and why they couldn't just walk up to it and try to pet it too!

And then too, for the past two weeks, after completing the Nutcracker tabletopper for Kate's birthday gift, I began work on one of the kind of embroidery projects I generally steer clear of doing. That would be anything dealing with counted cross stitch but this time, I let my ideas about my abilities override my brain and knowledge of past experiences (not very nice usually) in dealing with counted cross stitch and I embarked on working on this piece shown here below. To my utmost surprise, I finished it -all 9x13 inches of it -in a day shy of two weeks time. That, for me, is pretty much record breaking time and also, I pleased to say, there weren't a whole lot of episodes where my vocabulary turned the air around my chair and me really, really blue!

Technically, this is still not fully completed as I need to matte it and frame it but, since I don't know how to go about doing that, I'm going to have to plan a trip to State College to the Michael's Crafts store there and see how much it will cost me to have it matted and then framed! But overall, I'm very happy with this piece,.one because I got it done fairly fast and two, it looks half decent too. Needs laundered and ironed too before I head over to Michaels with it but just wanted to prove that I have, indeed, been busy, busy, busy!

Earlier today, I was out in my garden, trying to pull some more weeds out and make it look better plus better for the stuff I have planted there to expand, bloom, be harvested eventually too.

I now have 5 tomatoes growing on one plant, along with at least 5 little yellow banana peppers forming and several green bell peppers are now just above being little buds! This week -actually about two days ago -I got up one morning to a sight that was really pretty to me consisting of more yellow-orange blossoms than I could count nestling amongst the squash plants of my little veggie garden! Today, those orange-yellow blossoms are actually starting to show that they are about to turn into beautiful yellow summer squash for our evening meals! Sadly though, today I spied a couple of those damnable ugly black Squash bugs that plagued my plants last year and now, they are beginning to return, earlier than last year unfortunately, and that will no doubt signify the end of the delightful  squash for supper routines Mandy and I both enjoy!

If anyone knows of something you can do, some topical solution to put on the squash leaves/plants to deter the destruction these darned bugs have in mind for my plants, please, please, please share it with me! (All I've seen is to not plant in the same place each years and to also, mix in some kind of squash bug deterrent into the soil prior to planting.)

And that brings me near the end of this post. But you're saying what about the "Bereavement" you mentioned in your headline. I'm beginning to wonder if someone somewhere has designated Wednesdays to now be the day of taking people from our midst here. Yesterday, July 4th, marked the 3rd Wednesday morning in a row that I learned terrible, sad news about the passing of yet another person from this area.

This time it was a young woman, a mother, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, only 41 years old, who succumbed to the ravages of cancer of the liver. Her mother-in-law also happens to be one of my lunch group friends, as well as having been a friend of mine since we were about 6 years old. I'm also good friends with an aunt of this young woman too and know the families involved on many sides there too. Life does seem so unfair at times and yes, I've known that for many, many years now too but it still does not make another loss, especially of a young woman such as she was, any easier to cope with, does it.

And now -to move forward, to take all that has happened of late and close doors that needed closed, yes and to remember too, in thoughts and prayers, all those who lost much, much more than I did when the recent passings from our community. I can but empathize and sympathize with their losses having also been in those same straits at times and yet, never having lost a sister, a brother, a spouse, a daughter or daughter-in-law, can I truly empathize with their loss after all?

And so it goes....