Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kissing October Goodbye!

This is the sight that greeted the kids this morning when they opened the front door to leave for school!

Boy, the sight of the snow resting on the treetops across the road from our house sure did provide a whole lot of excitement for Kurtis as he came running into the living room, practically shouting at me, "It's SNOWING, Gram! It's SNOWING!"

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not the first time I've seen snow and if I survive today, I'm pretty sure it won't be the last time I'll see it either. (Well, as unimpressed as I seem to be about the early snowfall, I do kind of hope that I will get to see snow again this winter season.)

I posted this photo and two others of the snow on the ground here this morning on my Facebook and that garnered a comment from my son which indicated his extreme dislike for this weather today! He actually compared my posting of the snow scenes (such as they are/were) as being akin to posting child porn! Imagine that, will ya? Of course, the fact that he's an over-the-road trucker may have a whole lot to do with his attitude though about snow, don't 'cha think?

This week has been one that has been really horrific for so many people along the eastern seaboard -especially New York City and the entire coast of New Jersey. Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut, Massachusetts, clear up to Maine have all been affected by this storm called Sandy and after seeing tv reports as well as reading newspaper accounts, looking at photos upon more photos on Facebook, I don't think any of us, regardless of where we live along the eastern part of this country, will ever forget the last days of October of 2012!

To look at pictures, to read about the damage incurred by this vicious storm system -most aptly nicknamed "Frankenstorm" - it is almost impossible to fathom how incredible, how catastrophic, the carnage is from Sandy. It does truly boggle the mind but it also gives one pause to think and to be thankful that the area where I live is among the fortunate places to live. Work and income may not be the best in this region but rarely do we get hit really hard by weather related events. Knock on wood that we stay safe, free from the really bad ravages of wind, rain, ice, sleet, snow and drought!

This past month as not been a good month in several other respects too though.

The Presidential Campaign is about to end with the election next Tuesday and the way it has been played out, it can't end a minute too soon to suit me!

The animosity, the acrimony, the sheer nastiness (as well as often too, the stupidity) of so many of the campaign ads playing on TV, the interviews, videos, articles written have all seemed to reach the bottom of the barrel now with respect to civility.

We had four debates -three between the presidential candidates and one between the two running for vice president. I didn't watch the first one but did watch most of the other three and if they were indicative of the amount of information someone could get from watching the debates, then in my opinion, getting voters who are truly informed of the stance of either candidate will be next to impossible! Who in blazes could understand any of the issues from watching the debates what with each one constantly interrupting the other and when you could hear their words, most of it was total double-talk, with nothing actually being stated in plain, simple English!

As far as informing the public, those debates were a waste of time and money. Which also reminds me of a question I have about the debates -who does pay for them anyway?  Is this paid for by the candidate from their funds, the party, or the government? Regardless of who foots the bill, I think they just threw a lot of good money after bad -down the drain -for nothing!

Amazingly enough though, I saw today that a voice from the past also resurfaced now too. Remember "Brownie" -the former head of FEMA under Pres. G.W.Bush, who totally mucked up the rescue and relief attempts over Hurricane Katrina? Well he came forward in an interview and accused President Obama of responding to reports of Hurricane Sandy "too early!" If that isn't an incredible thing right there, I don't know what is! And that, after New Jersey Governor Christi -a Republican who has not been known to be too generous in the past with his comments about President Obama -but who praised the President for his actions and reactions to getting aid and assistance as quickly as possible to the state of New Jersey where the coastline has been virtually decimated by the storm and that's just for openers on the level of destruction seen there!

Sometimes, I wonder if some people, especially those who apparently were not or never have been affected by any type of horrendous weather events, can live with themselves after reviewing their own words and actions -like good old "Brownie" here! Unbelievable, just totally unbelievable!

In my home, this past month has not been an easy one on other levels either. We've had a lot of issues -behavior problems -surfacing, then resurfacing over and over, in school with Kurtis. So many, and of a level that Mandy felt it was serious enough that she told Kurt he would not be permitted to go Trick or Treating this year! Now that's a severe punishment to a six-year-old! Well, this morning, she told me she had a terrible night -couldn't fall into a sound sleep as her mind was still rolling and reeling around, worried that perhaps she was being way to harsh on Kurtis, not fully accepting him for who and what he is and after mulling it over and over and praying over it as well, she had come to the conclusion by morning that she will relent on the removal of the trick or treating and when she gets home from work this afternoon, will scrape up some sort of costume for him and let him go out with Maya, door-to-door!

Hearing her say that was a big relief to me as I did feel terrible that the poor kid was going to miss out on the Halloween activities. Mandy is thinking that quite possibly Kurtis still doesn't fully understand the meaning of making "good choices"or "wise decisions." He still gets confused quite easily by many things and this is just one of those things that hasn't registered completely in his mind.

So this evening, when the kids start to arrive here begging for candy, it looks like I'll be passing that out by myself as my assistant will be out banging on the neighbors doors instead of helping Gram! Then again -with him, who knows but he may decide this evening that he's too frightened to go out with his sister and join the throngs of other kids all trick or treating.

Part of me kind of hopes that he decides to stay home and stay warm and help me. Soon enough, he'll be growing up and not be Grammie's sweet little helper guy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Alternates May Be Needed!

Have you been watching the news lately?

Finally, there is something occupying the broadcasts other than the same old, same old political wars that have been hogging the news for way too long now.

Although, I don't really consider the big thing on the news now -Hurricane Sandy -to be any solace, much less good news by comparison.

Most of the time, hurricanes do not bring their unwelcome winds and rains down on central Pennsylvania, where I live, but unfortunately, every now and again, one does come along and is strong enough to wreak a bit of havoc this far inland.

And from reading lots and lots of forecasts and viewing all kinds of weather maps too posted by my trusty source -AccuWeather -it does look like Hurricane Sandy is going to definitely make her presence known in our area too!

If things get really wicked here, maybe we should have been shopping for horse riding apparel instead of batteries, water and other general supplies! Of course that also would have meant shopping for a horse and doing a fast build of a barn too but that's just a minor triviality in life, isn't it?

Seriously folks, this storm -by the looks of things -is going to be a really wicked one to come through it unscathed, for sure.

At least, in this little area where I live, flooding isn't a concern as there are no streams here that can reach us. The little creek that runs behind our house is really just a small rill and the distance is far enough, along with being slightly on a downgrade from the houses too so it's never been a problem.

Trees however -now that's a horse of a different color, for sure! Branches are bound to be knocked down or ripped off and winds, with potential gusts of 60-80 mph -nothing to sneeze at either.

How I'm gonna manage to get out in this potential water-logged mess to walk the mutt -yet another problem too!

The bottom line though here is wherever you are, if you are in Sandy's path, please take care and stay safe!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Carve, Carve, and Carve Some More!

Halloween is just around the corner and tonight, Mandy and Jeff went out and bought three pretty good-sized pumpkins to let the kids carve -with more than a little adult assistance that is!

Here's Mandy, working on the pumpkin for Kurtis while Maya and Cassidy are busy doing their cleaning out of their pumpkins. I tried to take a picture of Kurtis actually touching the pulp and seeds from his pumpkin, all mixed together (sensory issues, ya know, and he hadn't wanted to even think of touching that stuff but he did. However, something went awry with that shot and my camera and it didn't take at all! Rats!)

But anyway, as I said -the kids didn't do the carving of the faces in their pumpkins. Mandy and Jeff took care of doing that. But the size of those babies -I was thinking perhaps they needed a really, really sharp implement like say a Martor USA box cutter. Lucky for them, the pumpkins are now almost finished but I haven't any pictures of the finished product as yet.

Considering the storm that is supposed to hit the east coast and inland area too come Monday, I don't think any of these pumpkins will see a candle inside it, much less a lit one as the wind will never allow for that kind of action, I sure.

Just hope we don't blow away or that the good old wind doesn't pick up one of these pumpkins and decide to fling it through my front window!


Boy, yesterday I was saved! By my good friend, Patsy, as a matter of fact.

I'm not talking about any religious conversion here but rather her advice that saved me a whole 'nuther trip to the DMV, a new photograph for my photo id-license and $13 and change for a replacement of my driver's license.

If you read my post earlier this week, you might remember I was rather upset because I couldn't locate my new driver's license, my hospitalization insurance card and I was also missing $12 from the zipper compartment in my purse where I keep my cards and what little cash I might actually have on hand.

The last time I had seen these two important cards was two weeks earlier when I got the new license photo-id as I renewed my license for another 4 years and after doing that, had to stop at the hospital to have some lab work done so the lady at the registration desk had to, of course, photocopy my photo-id and the insurance card -just to make sure I am me and the same person who used those two cards there a few months back, ya see.

Well when I discovered the cards were missing, trust me, I went on a major search and destroy mission -first with my purse and then, all around the house. All searches came up empty.

But my good friend, Patsy, sent me a message to be sure to look in the seat of my car as she said she just had a feeling that they had fallen out of my purse and were probably in the seat of my vehicle.
Someone else also suggested I check the glove box -which I had -but that too came up empty as far as the cards were concerned. (It was actually stuffed full with a bunch of cassette tapes though.)

Oh and the massive search I did on my purse coughed up the little plastic holder thing I have that I keep my car registration card and my car insurance card it -something I hadn't been able to locate since July back when I took the jeep for its annual inspection!

But anyway, I was all prepared Friday morning to go over to Clearfield and take in a notarized form to get them to give me a new photo id -for a mere $13 and change. Before leaving the house though, I took the dog for a walk and on the way back into the house, I decided to take Patsy' advice and check the seat.

No, the cards were not there in the seat, but while I was rooting around, I decided to run my hand UNDER the seat and alongside of the seat and console and guess what? That's when I located both the cards -stuffed in with some junk mail and wedged in there.

That was a nice surprise for sure! But an even bigger surprise was that the money I'd had in my zipper compartment had been a ten and 2 ones and what did I find in the money way in the car? Why ten ones!

Now isn't that amazing how the cards finally popped up as I did what I would call a "fluke" search but also, how the money had had morphed from a ten and 2 ones into ten ones?

Never the less, I count this as a miraculous event and I was saved from having to shell out anymore coins to the Department of Transportation!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Medical Tests

This is probably risky business for me to write this post but considering its now been two years since I had any kind of major medical issues, maybe, just maybe, I'm feeling a bit cocky about it or maybe, just maybe, things have sort of plateaued out for me. I'm hoping it is the latter that has happened and maybe I'll have a bit longer stretch of good fortune with now repercussions of any type for a while.

One thing for sure that I don't miss and that's when I have to have those darned stress type tests with the ecg machines. It's not that the test itself is so bad -at least the ones I have had haven't been all that terrible, test-wise (although I have heard some say they had a bad reaction to them. No. What I hate about having one of those tests is the fact that you are supposed to not have any caffeine or nicotine for 24 hours prior to the test and that, for me, is pure torture!

So, everyone cross your fingers and your toes and hope nothing crops up that I end up having to have one of those stinking tests -or any other kind for that matter -in the near, or even in the far-off future!

Quick Recovery

So, yesterday morning when Mandy woke Kurtis up to get ready for school, he sounded really rough -speech was affected, obviously, by being very stuffed up and his voice was reflecting that. He said he thought is "Throat was scratched!" Because he didn't sound very good, we decided to give him a little break and let him stay home. He'd been fairly congested the night before too so before Mandy left for work, she gave him a dose of children's cold medications. About 5 minutes after the bus went up the road and had picked Maya up, Kurtis came to me and said "Gram, my throat feels much better now!" First grade and already learning little ways to manipulate people in charge and finagle ways to stay home? Maybe. But, in all honesty, with some of the social problems he's been experiencing lately, inability to make wise choices with respect to his peers in school, maybe he really needed the day off and away from those kind of stressors. Today, he seems to be all sunshine and roses, no noticeable congestion and in a very pleasant mood too when he came in from school this afternoon. Now, if only Maya comes home from school in an equally good humor! That will make it a good day for me!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Infractions and Choices

Autism brings with it so many variables, many in the behavior and social skills lines, that sometimes things happen that pretty much just seem to make a person's head spin.

What causes this or that -is it from the autism or dna or nature vs nurture? Some things can really be very mind boggling at times.

At home, we frequently have problems with Miss Maya who seems to think because she is the older child, she is the most knowledgeable about, well in her mind, just about everything! And as such, she also often becomes more than a bit of a bully to Kurtis -shoving, pushing, tripping him, and yes, even punching or slapping him or kicking him. Any and all of those things do tend to erupt from her and often on a pretty frequent basis.

But at home, Kurtis is generally relatively docile and when Maya begins to pick on him in whatever manner, he very rarely tries to retaliate. Mostly, his reaction is just to wail!

In school however, these two are pretty much then like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde! Maya is as a general rule, very well behaved in school, on the quiet side and pays very good attention to the teachers and what is being said whereas Kurtis thinks his job in school is to provide entertainment as the class clown, he is very disrespectful of other people's space and often recently has become aggressive with other kids in his class and punching kids with nothing having been done to provoke these actions.

Academically, he seems to be doing very well -his reading skills are improving all the time and his math skills are very strong.

But behavior-wise, it's becoming a really frustrating thing not just for us here at home to deal with for 6-hours a day, five days a week.

It does get old, ya know.

Recently, Mandy was told that supposedly her former (now deceased) mother-in-law had Fragile X syndrome which, it is my understanding, is a genetic illness. I'm not very well-versed on this topic but wonder if perhaps some kind of genetic testing -like maybe mycoplasma rapid test -or some other tests would be helpful to figure out things that may be creating the issues we are now seeing emerge in Kurtis.

I wonder too if perhaps the fact that Maya is pretty bossy and a bit of a bully at home with him and he doesn't usually retaliate when she does things, that maybe he's building up aggression then and taking it out improperly then later with his peers at school.

I dunno right now really what to do to get this to begin to at least subside, nor does Mandy.

But I sure do hope that soon he will comprehend better the difference in making Good vs Bad Choices and not come home with any more "infraction sheets" from school!

Driving Dilemma

Talk about a rude awakening, yesterday I had a big one!

I'd gone up to the local grocery store with the intent of posting one of our posters advertising our upcomng Fall Bazaar at our church and realized after I got there that I was going to have to go in the store to see if I could bum a couple pieces of scotch tape from the cashier in order to get our poster up. Seems the bulletin board there is an extremely hard, metal-type, substance that you can not use thumb tacks or items like that to hang announcements with.

So, since I had to go in the store, I figured I would also get change from the cashier so I could pick up a copy of yesterday's current newspaper too. No big deal -or so I thought.

However, when I reached into my purse into the zipper compartment where I normally keep any cash along with my bank card and a few other very important pieces, I realized the cash I thought I had was no longer in there!

What the heck? (No, that isn't exactly what I said to myself, but rather it is the clean version.) I hadn't been anyplace where I needed to use what little bit of cash I had and by my calculations I figured I should have had at least $7 in cash or maybe, as much as $12. But instead, I had nothing. Zilch. Nada.

So, I figured, much as I hated to do it, I was going to have to write a check so I could have some cash.

And that's when I realized I couldn't even do that because I had used the last check in that book on a recent purchase and had forgotten to put a new book of checks into my wallet.

Those few little events were nothing though compared to my reaction when I put my hand in my zipper compartment and realized that something besides cash was missing in that secluded little area of my purse.

Missing was my driver's license and my health insurance cards!

Say what?

Oh yeah, you read that right -my driver's license, which is a photo id (and which I HAVE to have in my hot little hands too next Friday when I am scheduled to have a very important job interview and which item I had just renewed a week ago as well.

The only time I had occasion to pull out my driver's license and my insurance card, simultaneously, was last Tuesday when, immediately after renewing my license and getting my new photo id, I had gone up to the hospital to register for some lab work. And, to do the registration there, one has to show their driver's license along with their insurance cards so I know that I had both of them then at that point in time.

But now -where the heck were they? Both missing and both having been displayed at the same time the last I saw them made me think perhaps the clerk at the admissions desk had forgotten to return them to me or that maybe I might have laid them on the counter and forgot to put them back in my purse. Or, another scenario could have been that I had just stuck them in my jacket pocket, in a hurry, and forgot they were there.

So I came home and went on the first of several search and destroy missions in the house -checking jacket pockets for openers and then, emptying and cleaning out my purse and my wallet, not just once, but twice! I even called over to the hospital in hopes that someone had found them on the floor there and turned them in to "lost and found" only to have the person who answered the phone tell me she didn't know who to give my report to as she was a "newbie" in that department and didn't know if they even had a "lost and found" area or if she should perhaps contact Security!

That wasn't exactly the response I was hoping to hear!

So now, I have paperwork filled out to take over on Friday to the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Clearfield to get a new photo id processed there so I won't be driving illegally and will have it then too for my interview as well as having it if some fool on Election Day decides to ask me for a photo id -even though the state has now said photo ids will NOT be required of the voters this November after all.

But you know what the real irony of this whole mess is?

That photo ID I had just purchased a week ago just so happened to be the first time since Pennsyvania started doing driver's license with a photo id that my picture on it was one that was actually relatively decent!

Now that does figure, doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Way Ahead!

My last post, I mentioned about my little sweetheart's birthday as Maya turned nine years old last Thursday. I also posted a photo of her in her cheerleader's outfit taken at the football game a couple weeks back when ALL the kids -high school as well as elementary students, were recognized at the game by being called out to the field.

Although Maya is not fearful of being in front of crowds, or an audience -as he has had practice in doing that through the different plays she has been in over the past two years, I found it rather comical in a way, that she was actually a bit, shall we say, "gun shy" when it came to going out on the football field to be recognized for her participation in the Cheerleader Team program. She did it but she said before and after too, that she really didn't like doing that.

Makes you wonder doesn't it then how she can learn some of the songs and the dance routines too that she had to learn for the plays she was in and that aspect of being on stage and performing didn't bother her in the least!

Go figure.

But it does make me wonder too how she would react if she were to receive some cheerleading trophies at

With Miss Maya, finding the logic behind some -actually behind many things -with her is quit an ordeal!

Like tonight, when we were having lasagne for supper and she refused to eat it because as she announced to us "I don't like lasagne!"

Hmmmmm.  Wonder when this change took place because the last time we had lasagne, she scarfed it down in record time!

Oh well. As I said above, Go figure! And the cheerleading awards -well, we've still got a long road ahead about those things, don't we? Plenty of time for her to get over the shyness and enjoy the praise!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Walking -not Running -Behind

Okay -I have wanted to write a post for several days now but seemed every time I had the time available, someone else in the household was camped out at the computer. I know -supposedly it is my property but I still don't like to go up to someone and say -"Hey! Get off the computer NOW!"

But anyway, as a result of that problem and compounded by some other things I was doing -like trying desperately to finish up this danged tabletopper I had been working on for over six weeks -and trying to squeeze in some extra sleep as well, here it is now -Monday morning and I am four days late in trying to write this post.

The topic is one I have written about on numerous past occasions as it is one of my favorite things of all to write about. Can you guess what that might be?

Well if you have no clue, I won't play any guessing games here as I'll tell you right up front it is my granddaughter -Miss Maya!

Last Thursday you see was her birthday.

We had a little family "party" in celebration of her birthday a week ago Saturday and that turned out very nice with my older daughter and grandson able to be here as well as my son and a few friends too. So that all turned out very good for all concerned. Didn't have any meltdowns this time as Maya was too occupied with the whole thing to stop and recollect how many presents Kurtis may have received on his birthday back in April as compared to how many gifts she received now for her birthday. (Yes, the girl is obsessed by things like that and in the past, birthday parties have been a bit of a nightmare at times with her citing the gifts Kurtis got -and keeping the count of them -and the gifts she received too and boy, he best not have been given one matchbox car more than some equivalent gift she received or all hell would break loose -and frequently did break loose too!)

But anyway, be that as it may -the Saturday get-together was good for her -and for the rest of the family as well.

That left us then with this past Thursday -the actual birthdate celebration -which we had then too! This time, older daughter and grandson -again -made it up for that although Aunt Carrie couldn't stay as she had to get home to rest a bit before heading off to work Thursday night but Alex spent the night here since he didn't have school on Friday and that's always fun to have him around if only for a short overnight stay!

Maya decided she wanted pizza for her birthday dinner -a request that Mandy and I both enjoyed because it meant neither of us had to do a bunch of cooking! Yes, we both really LOVE deals like that, don't you?

But anyway, all this birthday celebrating has had me waxing very sentimental now about my little princess who is rapidly growing up and before long, she'll be a big, for real, princess. All this has been happening before my eyes too as I have had the honor, the privilege, the fun, of being present to observe first hand, every day of her life -or darned near every day of her life to date, with the exceptions being those couple of trips I had to make to Pittsburgh to visit some doctors (and operating rooms) there!

And I remember vividly the first time I met Miss Maya and the feelings that coursed through me as I held her the day after she was born! I've said this time and time again, but it's the truth and nothing wrong with repetition of the truth is there, but the first time I held her, looked at that beautiful little face and her eyes were wide open, as if to let me know then and there, how she was surveying me too, I felt a bond, a kinship to her -a magnetism, perhaps -if you will. But my initial thought was that this baby, this beautiful little girl, needs ME!

And after the year I had been through just prior to her birth, it was actually a very good feeling that someone actually needed ME!

I can't fully describe the joys that the first year of having Maya with us brought to me -just that I knew I had been blessed, very, very blessed, by her presence here and that she had brought with her a gift that no one else could have given to me and that was a desire to regain some control over my life -over the medical issues I had been facing and a determination that whatever came in the future, I would have to be able to handle it simply because I had to be able to be here to help guide my little princess on with her life!

There are a whole lot of people around me today who say that about both Maya and Kurtis -that they changed my life and gave me a big reason to go on living. To that, I have to agree as it is true -that's exactly what did take place for me!

It has not always been an easy road -this process of being with my little sweetheart and watching, teaching her how to manage life and all its ups and downs. Autism can be really difficult to contend with at times, but thankfully, we have been very fortunate to have had the help of some terrific people -trained therapists -how have come into our home, worked long and hard with Maya and then too, with her little brother, to get them off to a much better start in how to cope with all the things that the rest of us generally take for granted.

Those days -many of them are behind us -but there are still areas in which there is a whole lot more work yet to be done -and those therapists keep forging ahead, finding new paths that take Maya better forward in school as well as with learning more and better social skills.

She turned nine this past Thursday and this year -along with bringing more abilities, more learning in school, she is also a member of a group of elementary-age girls who are training to become cheerleaders! Third grade and into cheerleading? Holy rip! What the heck is this world coming to was my initial thought about that group but after seeing what the girls are learning -how to synchronize their movements, timing, vocal skills -I changed my mind and thought this is a good thing. Not only is she learning dance movements and control of her body, but she's learning more about how to blend in and make friends with more girls her age and some who are a bit older than her as well!

And she's doing great in that group too! The leader of the group has mentioned to me on numerous occasions when I have taken Maya to practice about how great she is doing, how easily she picks up the routines and her willingness to learn new dance moves too! Ah -cooperation -one of those skills that sometimes doesn't seem it was ever going to land on our doorstep with respect to Maya has finally decided to pay us a visit and for that, I am very grateful!

I haven't posted many photos of late of Miss Maya but there is one that was taken of her the night of the football game at the high school where all the students who participate in any type of athletic type group were to be present and if they were, they were each called out onto the football field for a little honor then of their participation. So Maya was there and yes, she was a bit embarrassed at first at having her name announced over the PA system and then, having to go out on the field to join the other girls in the Cheerleading group, but she did it! And here's the photo of her at that event that shows her excitement over the whole process!

That's my girl -my sweet, brown-eyed, beautiful little granddaughter!

She never fails to amaze me -sometimes it would be more honest to say she "confounds" me because yes, there is a streak of the stubborn side that can be really, really extreme and hard to contend with from time to time. But one smile from that sweet face can also pretty much erase the memory of those events of being so bloody bull-headed you are left with very few good thoughts and a lot of aggravation at times!

She's doing very well in school -reading and math -both seem to come easily to her and she enjoys them too, which to me, is even more important! She adjusting quite nicely to the third grade and learning more and more about the world around her too.

She has a girlfriend here in town who is her age and who she goes to that little girl's home from time to time for play and has even had a couple of sleepovers there too. According to that girl's great-grandmother, Maya's been very well behaved there each time she has visited. (Now, just wish some of those actions would surface a bit more at home with respect to her brother! Oh wait. That would be sibling rivalry and something I, as one who was an only child, have no experience with, wouldn't it?)

I worry now though about what I will do at some point in the near future, when Miss Maya, her brother and their mother will be leaving here and moving about 120 miles or so from my home. Whatever will I do without her to be here for me to watch her progress from a sweet little girl into a teenager and then, an adult? Who knows if I will be around that long to begin with to watch all that but I know one thing for sure.

As long as I am here and she's still with me (along with her brother, of course) I am going to take every moment and try to make it last as long as possible to increase the memories I'm gonna need to fall back on of my beautiful Miss Maya to help me make it through, day by day, without her being around here in person to make my days and my life, complete!

Love you Maya more than words can possibly ever say!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Seen From a Different Light

This morning, shortly after the kids left for school, I decided to take Sammy -the lovely mutt -for an earlier than usual walk.

Apparently it had rained earlier this morning as the road and sidewalks were wet but I didn't detect any good old raindrops falling on my head. A bit of a bonus there as it was still a tad on the chilly side.

As we walked down the road, heading towards Peale, I was looking at each of the houses along the way and remembering various things about each of those homes.

Things like how much I miss that the house two doors to the right of my place is now empty and how, when I was a child -through my teenage years -I spent many, many hours in that small house that was home to my best friend, her parents and siblings.

At home, I hated to wash dishes. (Still am not a huge fan of that chore, but sometimes one does have to bite the bullet, ya know. But when I was in high school, I could almost always be found over at that cozy little house, in the kitchen, dish towel in hand, and positioned in between my friend and her older sister as they worked to wash the dishes while tossing barbs back and forth, snapping towels and/or dishrags too, at each other and at me too as I got into the middle of that fray. I doubt I ever mentioned to my Mom the appeal of spending the early evening hours over at that house as I don't think she'd have believed I could have been telling the truth about enjoying that.

But, I did!

One reason I hated washing dishes at home was that it was boring, boring, boring to be responsible for washing, drying and putting dishes away all by myself. No one to pick one, no one to share a joke with or a special secret or just some gossip about others in school or elsewhere.

I'm thinking -and I'm sure I have this only partially right -but doesn't it say something in the Bible about God loving a cheerful worker? Well, something to that effect anyway and let's face it, doing a job that leaves you completely alone to your own devices for entertaining is far from being an enjoyable task.

In my mind's eye, I could see my friend's parents again -moving about, talking, laughing -rarely was one ever in that house but what there wasn't at least one or two -generally a whole lot more -loud, hearty laughs that came from the parents there. Joking, teasing -either one or several of their own children and me too.

All the kind of interactions that rarely took place in my own home, except when one of my uncles and family would come home for a weekend and then, our house bustled with activity and a lot of it was humor from whichever of my uncles was present and whichever of my cousins was there to share in playing a myriad of games.

My Grandma loved it when one -or several -of her children would come home. She reveled in the kitchen, working with my Mom and my aunts to prepare meals for the tribe. She prayed each and every week for one of her sons, or daughters to come home for a weekend visit and then, by late Sunday afternoon, she was praying too for them to hurry up and leave so the house would again return to being peaceful and quiet!

Moving on farther down the street, as I looked up at the houses along the hillside there, I could see, once again, the former occupants that I knew as a youngster. Axel and Freda -the brother and sister who lived in their family homestead. Both quiet, unassuming people -who had two things I dearly loved. One was that they had a telephone and would allow me to come in sometimes and use their phone to call my uncle who lived up in Morrisdale -my Dad's brother -just because I wanted to say hello to him. Freda never denied me access to their phone and never questioned why it was important to me to talk to my uncle. She just always seemed to know, to understand, it was -well it was "just because." The other thing Freda always had too was catalogues -all kinds of catalogues from Sears and Montgomery Ward, Spiegals and Aldens and I loved to look at those catalogues and dream of someday having some of the outfits pictured in them. When those book were outdated, Freda would give them to me so I could then cut out clothes and make them to "fit" my paper dolls so they would be dressed to the nines!

Just beyond Axel and Freda's house was the home of an elderly couple who were very close friends of my Grandparents. I didn't know it as a child -learned this when I started to work on family tree history stuff -but it turns out Elizabeth was actually a cousin of my Grandfather's! Seems my great-great-great grandfather had four wives -not all at the same time -but he had four children to the first wife and one daughter with the second wife, and Elizabeth -our neighbor -was a granddaughter of his via the second wife. Why my Grandpa never ever had mentioned this relationship fact at any time while I was growing up, is beyond me as I'm sure he had to have realized they were cousins. Go figure that one out, huh?

But anyway, Elizabeth and her husband Axel lived in this big old gray house with a great big front porch, complete with a lovely swing where one could sit and enjoy the view overlooking the mountains across the way and watch the people along our street busy themselves with lawn and garden work from spring through fall.

These two people provided a much needed break in the somber atmosphere that pretty much permeated my own abode. They each had a very good sense of humor and both always enjoyed "visiting" with small children, letting the children entertain them and in turn, they frequently entertained me very much when my Grandparents, Mom and I would go down to their house for an evening visit. Elizabeth loved to collect clippings from various newspapers which she found humorous, along with copies she made of many epitaphs from tombstones she had seen when as a young woman she worked as a maid in Philadelphia. She would, at some point during the evening visit, get out her clipping book and read from it these things, laughing all the while she did that!

I don't recall ever going to their house but what, when it came time to have a "bite to eat" -a typical later night Swedish snack tradition -that she would always have these huge molasses cookies, each with a solitary raisin perched in the center as well as some kind of cake to go with a cup of coffee , of which I was also permitted to partake. (Yes, I've been a coffee drinker since early childhood!).Frequently, her cakes would be big, high, springy-light and airy sponge cakes that melted in your mouth too.

I remembered today too as I passed by their old home -which doesn't look quite like it did back then as it has had a good bit of remodeling done to it -the time we were just coming home from having spent a few days at my older aunt and uncle's home up in Jamestown, NY and when we pulled in -in front of our house -the neighbor across the street and brother to Axle -met us, telling us the news that while we were away for those two days, his beloved brother, Axel, had passed away. I think that was the first time I actually saw and that it registered in my mind, an adult man cry -sob, actually.

Axel had previously had a heart attack and was on a very restricted diet -very low salt. And he had been a big fan previously of salt so food with out that substance just caused him to totally lose his appetite. So, in a move to try to perk his appetite up, his doctor had prescribed that he be given a bottle of Porter daily -at least one bottle of a substance that prior to that, had never been permitted in their house, had never before crossed his lips. It was something that didn't build his appetite up greatly but sure did work to make some of the conversations at the "late-nite" coffee/snacks even more fun! (My Grandpa it turns out, very much enjoyed those occasions even more once the Porter was added to the mix!)

In my mind's eye, as I walk past these homes, I can still see the various occupants, I can still hear them -the lilt in some voices, the gruffness in the voice of one elderly lady who lived about 3 doors down from us and of whom I was absolutely terrified! She spoke very little English for openers plus, her voice was very low, very gruff and when she would try to speak to me, it was a mixture of a couple English words, but mostly Slovak, and it came out very gutteral sounding to me. All she had to do was look at me and say "Hello" and I would turn tail and run home in a bit of a panic!

I can still see the smile that the lady who lived at the end of our street, across the road from my great-uncle's home, always seemed to be sporting. I can still see her walking through her yard, slow deliberate steps and that smile as she would call out a friendly "Hello, there!" She was so pleasant, outgoing and always had something nice to say to anyone passing by that you just knew automatically then that God was in his heaven and all was right with the world.

The older I get, as I walk down this road and look around me, more and more, these things come to my mind as I remember things from my childhood and see them once again today.

And all of it makes me so glad I had the opportunity to grow up here, in the house where I live today, with the people who were our neighbors then as well as those who are my neighbors now.

Seen from the light of my memory's eyes, it was then and still is indeed, a beautiful and wondrous sight to behold.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Surprise Site.

Playing around on the computer the other day, doing random searches for random things -just because I was bored -totally bored as a matter of fact -and knowing a cousin of mine is a big, big fan of those Buffalo Bills -I thought I'd take a look for some stats on how that team is doing this year.

However, to my surprise, look what happens when you key in
I just thought that was quite interesting in that this website has nothing whatsoever to do with the Buffalo Bills at all or to Buffalo either.

Although, I thought it a cool site on its own because I used to love to put jigsaw puzzles together and would still enjoy doing some of the puzzles I saw on their site except for the fact that there is no where in this house that one could put a big old jigsaw puzzle together, unless of course, one were to put all the pieces on the dining room table but then, where the heck would we eat?

No Winner Here!


My kids ask me the same question three times a year -in May, in October and again, in December.

"What do you want for (Mother's Day, your birthday, for Christmas)?" Pick any of those special occasions and I guarantee you they will each ask me that.

And they know too that my standard answer for each one of those events is going to be the same thing.

"A winning lottery ticket!"

Yep! That's all I want for Mother's Day, for my birthday or for Christmas.

And after that is said, they also know my next response is always gonna be "Make it a big winner though, please, so I can finally go buy that big old Winnebago Wagon I've always wanted!"

And every now and again, one of 'em will actually go out and buy a couple lottery tickets then for me.

Mandy did that this past Monday. She came home with several of the "scratch off" cards which yielded a win -of sorts -"a free ticket."

She also bought a ticket for the Cash 5 and the Match 6 and both of those were total duds -Nada!

I didn't find that out until tonight though the drawing was on Monday for the tickets she purchased for me.


Well, because -of all things -I forgot that we had those two tickets here for those two drawings until tonight, when I finally remembered, went on line, got the winning numbers and then, got around to the dismal task of checking for a potential winner.

Oh well. Who knows but I may have a winner in disguise if I remember now to take the "free ticket" up and redeem it.

Maybe I'll hit it big after all!

But what the heck. The PA Lottery, you know, supports the Senior Citizens so by investing in those few tickets, I just paid myself a little something towards whatever it is that the lottery is actually supporting for me.

Or -look at it this way -I had some fun scratching of all those non-winners and one can always dream.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cold, Colder, Coldest?

Okay -the weather the past week as begun the down turn in the temps and fall (or autumn if you wish) definitely has arrived!

This may be one of the most beautiful seasons of the year -no doubt about that and no argument will be given by me as to the lovely blending of colors -from deep, dark burgundies and cranberry shades down the gamut of oranges and golds as well as probably every possible shade known in the greenery category.

I love the fall foliage in all its splendor.

But boy, I sure to dislike how the days lately have been seeming to have so much more gray in the skys and a lot more chill and briskness as well as dampness or just plain hard rainfall than I wanted to see this early in October!

On Monday -the house was like a barn -very, very chilly. No, more than that. It was downright cold.

I took Sam to go for a walk and boy, believe me it was a very brisk one too because in no time, even my nose felt like it was a little block of ice cubes!

I had even pulled out my winter jacket which comes down to mid-thigh and has a big fur-trimmed hood and wore that with a brightly colored multi-colored striped scarf that I had wrapped around my neck and so it came up and sort of touched the tips of my ears to keep them from getting a touch of frostbite!

Seriously, as cold as it felt to me, I was thinking if I could have found one of those rocky mountain trail outdoor Jackets -like the type I see a lot of the hunters in this region often wearing -I would have been wearing that kind of coat!

Did I mention that I freeze easily?

Well, I do! So there!

But the funny thing about the whole walk in the cold and the frozen exposed extremities and the fact that the heat in this house has not yet been turned on is that when Sam and I came home, and as I walked in the front door, the warmth of the house that hit me full-on in the face made me go immediately to a radiator and do the hand test to see if the furnace had suddenly been turned on!

It was absolutely incredible how warm the house felt and no, there was no heat running through any of the radiators.

None. At. All. And yet, that excursion out to the cold outside had changed the psychology of my mind apparently to make me think it was actually warm inside here!

Now I'm wishing things like that would happen throughout the winter to where the heat might actually be turned on but at a very low setting and still fool me into thinking it's all toasty warm here.

Just think of all the oil we could conserve that way, huh?

Resume or Re-zoo-may?

Well, it's done now!

It took me several days of searching but almost a week ago I finally found a hard copy of my resume.I thought I had at least a couple of copies of my various old resumes on my computer, scattered hither, thither and yon, but after a big search and destroy mission for them, I came up empty-handed.

Then I finally found this hard copy one which actually was probably one of my most recent of my old resumes anyway, so I used it then to rewrite and revamp -or try to do the revamping -of the resume.

I truly do hate writing these things! To me, they are like all the obnoxious political ads we see all the time on the TV, hear on the radio, read in the newspapers!

They are, in my opinion -all to often -just overblown words about what wonderful people we job searchers are and how we can do perform just about any task under the sun with grace and aplomb.

Well, for someone who has tons and tons of ego and self-confidence, I suppose to their manner of thinking these written things are 200% accurately describing their abilities.

For me -not so much!

For openers, I won't even think of applying for a job that I don't think, given the proper training with the employer as to their demands and expectations, that I wouldn't be able to perform the job. I don't care to waste my time and energy on writing a cover letter and trying to tweak my resume to fit, notch by notch, everything they list and to absolute perfection only to have them either totally ignore my application and not at least respond to my letter of application. I don't do that to conserve my own energy as well as that of the person who will read the letter, review my resume and hopefully, find something of promise in my capabilities.

When I got hit with all the medical issues -or the beginning of them -almost ten years ago, I was pretty much ready to call it quits in terms of job seeking then. Ten years almost of applying for job after job after job -virtually every job I saw/read about via one source or another that had requirements I felt I could satisfy and rarely getting even a response of "Thank you, but no thank you" much less an actual interview had by that time, left me really depressed and very despondent along with being extremely worried about having any kind of employment potential.

Enter then cancer, many other issues that followed the first round of cancer but mainly involving my back, herniated disc another "blockage-type" issue and on and on and culminating then two years ago with yet another round of cancer and chemotherapy.

But now, finances do dictate that I should at least look for something perhaps part-time, that doesn't require constant wear and tear on my legs and back and maybe that would be enough to stabilize the income needed. Also, there is the aspect that I think I really do need to try to find something simply to get me out of the house, back into the public to keep my mind active too!

Embroidery is great in that it does relax me -a lot -and does give me something in the way of an achievement I can look at and usually be very pleased with what I have produced. However, it is not something I would recommend as giving any positive results in terms of profits! 

So anyway, today I did get the old resume doctored up a bit -well, at least I have the most recent employment information in it -such as that is. And, I also got my nerve up and even wrote a cover letter and sent that, along with the glorious words in my resume to apply for a position advertised locally.

I won't go into the details of the job, the company or any of that, but suffice it to say, I do believe I am crazy enough to be able to handle the work it would involve -should I be granted an interview and miracle upon miracles, who knows, maybe even hired.

It could happen you know. It could happen.

I keep telling myself that in the hopes that the power of positive thinking will take over and will the human resources person or persons to deem me as qualified as I do see myself!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Absurdities of Job Searching...

I'm trying to reintegrate myself -if at all possible -into the work force after not having any employment for almost 10 years. (It will be ten years in December.)

After I lost that last job, I had numerous medical issues -some of which are still with me and yes, do annoy the living daylights out of me at times - but I'd like to at least try to find perhaps a part-time job anyway to see if I can handle that anyway. I really do need to find something just to give a much need assist in the financial department here and also, in my opinion, I think I really could use at least a part-time job just for something to get me out of the house and back into living as a much more functioning member of society.

However, searching for work in today's job market is far from an easy prospect and even more difficult here because of the type of jobs that are available -which aren't very much in good supply!

But anyway, I was looking online for employment opportunities a couple weeks ago and in order to see some job ops available in this region, I had to go to a particular job help site - called "Job Rapido" and I could then look at what jobs were posted as being available in my region.

Over this past weekend, I got an e-mail message from this company telling me that they had new job opportunities in my region so I went to the site to look at them and just about fell on the floor laughing about one job opportunity that was listed as being available to me.

It says there are 9 job opportunities available to me within a 10 mile radius from my home. Wow, that's nice -also very interesting too.

But the one that totally cracked me up is one listing for a position as the Director of Development at the Gorton Community Center. Holy Rip! I had no idea whatsover that there was a Community Center located at Gorton! That's totally amazing since Gorton -the Gorton located near here -is just a railroad crossing (or used to be a railroad crossing anyway) and that area is all woodland -definitely does not have any thing in the way of a potential workplace there.

Upon reading the job description a little more I see that the job apparently does actually exist except the GPS system this job opportunity listing must be using is really out of whack since the address given in the ad is Gorton, ILLINOIS -not Gorton, PA!

Oh and in addition to the good laugh I got out of the job at Gorton, I see there is also one listed for this position Critical Care Access Pharmacist too and according to the site, it is available in Lanse -the little village about 4 miles from where I live. Amazing since there sure as the dickens is nothing like that in that little place! Turns out, that job is available apparently in L'Anse, Michigan!

What a bunch of hooey-balooie this job search site is then!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Search and Destroy Missions

I don't know about anyone else, but around here, things that I think I have or know I have -someplace but where -often become really difficult to locate at times! I put stuff up somewhere where I think I know I'll have them and then, when i need or want them, can't remember where the heck I put 'em?

Of course, it doesn't help matters much either when people put their things that they want or need to keep organized in the middle of my things I think are organized (if you can call any of my systems to be anything along the "organized line" and today was a prime example of wires getting crossed in that respect.

In May of 2011, a very good friend of my daughter's got married. No big deal about that, I know -people get married all the time. But their wedding was down in North Carolina, on the Outer Banks, if I remember correctly.

Well dear daughter had several photos of her girlfriend and her husband taken at the wedding and which her girlfriend had sent her and today, for some reason or other, Mandy was hunting for those pictures. And she was upset at me because she thought I must have moved them, put them in with my "organized" stuff or some such. To my knowledge, I don't believe I touched them and certainly not to put them with my pictures and such. But she was convinced I must have. To top it all off, she was looking for two pictures in the mix that she especially wanted to locate and I don't even remember having seen these.

So there she was searching high and low, all the while telling me these two pictures were different from the rest in that they weren't the standard pics one usually takes at special occasions with a little camera ya know. So she's trying to describe them to me and all she could remember that set them apart from the other photos was that somewhere on them it was marked wedding photographers Raleigh NC.

If, in fact I even saw these pictures, I do think I'd remember if it had something like that on 'em but, I don't recollect seeing anything that was other than just regular snapshots of the wedding.

Why the heck she is interested in those pics and that photographer though is more than I can figure out at this point in time. And when she goes on a "search and destroy" type mission like it was today, I don't question the logic of her actions at all because who knows what kind of response I'd get then!

Wise Choices

Wouldn't it just be loverly -for all of us -if every choice we made in life was one that had good results?

I know, for myself, I wish I could say that I've made wonderful and wise choices throughout my life but I know -oh how well I know -that is really quite far from the truth. Actually extremely so!!!

But those words -" wise choices" are words that we along with Kurt's TSS and other therapists who work with him are constantly trying to remind him to try to make "wise choices."

This week has been a really bad week for the little guy as each day, the reports that came back to us from school, from his main TSS, from his behavior specialist as well as his therapist, Miss Randi, increased daily with a rapid shift from mediocre to bad to worst scenario!

Wednesday, the report really agitated his mother as she reached into her mind to try to find something to use to reprimand him that might stay with him in the next day to prevent a rerun of the bad reports. So Wednesday night she told him if she got one more bad report on him this week, he would lose the privilege of having the tv set in his bedroom -which serves really as a night light and to provide the "white noise" you know that he wants to soothe him to sleep.

Well apparently that threat didn't take hold as Thursday there it was -yet another bad day, another bad report and so, when it was time for him to go to bed last night, his room was sans the tv.

And yes, he was upset.

But it was hoped that soon these admonitions to him to make wise choices would catch hold in him however, today -once more -was a really dismal disappointment.

Today, he came home with the dreaded blue piece of paper which indicated he was being punished by his teacher and in essence, by the school, as he had been given a "Level 2 infraction." This means he had broken at least one of the schools cardinal rules and this would go on his school record.

When you first think of the infraction program they use at our school, it can seem to be a bit on the harsh side when it is applied to a little guy just in the early part of first grade. However, considering all the problems that crop up in the schools as the teachers and administrators try to find ways to guide these children in the right direction it has to begin this early in their lives. (Actually, it began last year but his classes in kindergarten did have a bit more elasticity to them to kind of allow for a bit of a more gradual influx of the infraction program.

Although, I know he understood enough about it to realize and often to remember too that an infraction was a very bad thing, to be avoided at all costs.

And yet, this year -thus far -that thought process seems to have decided to go on vacation within him.

This blue paper that my daughter has to sing and the discussions that came about at the supper table between him and me, then the quiet calm questioning and lecture that ensued with his mother when she got home from work, as well as the stern lectures he had received today from his TSS too didn't seem to really sink in to him.

However, perhaps when he finds out what his mother has in store for him this Saturday now -the punishment for not paying attention, not listening, not behaving properly at all -for having hit a little boy in his class because, as he told me and his mother, he "Didn't want that boy to be 'student of the week."

I asked him about why he didn't want the other kid to be student of the week and had then proceeded to hit the other child and he said it was because he wanted to be that! Then his mother explained to me that each child has a specific week assigned to him or her during which that child is then "student of the week" and Kurt's time will come -eventually -but since they go in alphabetical order of their last names, he's at the bottom of the barrel on that list alphabetically speaking!

We -his mother and I -both tried the old method of asking him if he would like it if other kids hit him and of course, his answer was no. He does understand that, somewhat, anyway.

But anyway -after mulling this over tonight, his Mom decided that she would make arrangements for a friend to come by here Saturday afternoon and pick up Maya and take her with her little girl to a Halloween party that the local Moose will be having for the children in the area. Remember, I said the friend will be picking up and taking Maya to that and Kurtis will find himself left behind to spend the entire afternoon with Gram on his case!

I'm quite sure there will be a lot of wailing and whining, crying, pissing and moaning -all that not so nice stuff coming from any 6-year-old for sure -but perhaps a step this sternly administered will bring home the point that when you act like he has done this week, this is what happens!

Normally with him and school work, when new things are introduced, it can sometimes seem to take a long while till he grasps things but when he does understand something, as his TSS puts it, "When it clicks with him, it's there and it is like it is locked in, a permanent fixture then."

I really do hope this plan to deprive him of attending this party will be the move that sinks that nail deeply into that hole and he will then "get it!"

Pray that this has been a wise choice, please!

Relief, Release...

As nice as some things were this past week for me, there were still a whole lot of ups and downs in my life then and especially over the 2-3 weeks prior.

Tension within me was high -very high -and I could feel so many bad feelings racing within my mind, my body, each trying to get the upper hold/grasp on my last nerve for sure. The result of all the turmoil I was experiencing really hit its peak -or so I thought -last weekend and the damned depression issues I've dealt with off and on over the past several decades now, was the emotion that finally won out.

If you've never had to deal with depression, I will pray for you that you never do have to experience that as it is one horrible thing to contend with, for sure.

I spent 95 percent of the weekend in a constant state of tears -not a good way to feel and to try to pull yourself out of the pit that it does feel like has become your permanent residence.

I felt like I really could use a whole building full of chairs4worship in the hope that maybe at least one of them might contain some really strong magical potion that would free me from the tumult attacking me from the inside out.

It has not left me completely yet, but does seem to have lessened somewhat -at least for the time being. I'm sure it's far from having run its course this time but these episodes -when they hit -don't really come about overnight but build quietly, sneaking along, permeating in little ways sometimes over a very long period of time so, with something that is so surreptitious in the way it builds up, isn't going to just up and disappear completely in the blink of an eye.

I know that from past experience but it is what it is -just something that is apparently an inane part of me and I'm still learning albeit it very slowly, how to deal with it.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Monday, Monday!

Rainy weekend ahead for Saturday and Sunday -so they say. Hopefully Monday will be at least clear. I know we always need rain but not several days of rain and gray in a row, please.

This coming Monday is one of those days that comes around every year and which I'd kind of wish it would skip a year now and then. But it won't so I have to face up to the fact that, provided I'm still above ground this Monday, I will be another year older. Doubtful that I will have acquired any in the way of skills, learning, etc., just will be another year older and probably just that much deeper in debt. (as one good old song from my era of music says.)

Monday is also my cousin, Joan's birthday too -a little thing she and I share and Thursday is her brother Ray's birthday  (same year as mine but I was the lucky one who arrived first I guess) and then, next Sunday is my cousin Barb's birthday (would also have been my late cousin Dave's 66th day had things gone differently than they did) and after that, next Thursday -the 18th -is my granddaughter's 9th birthday, which is then followed by my niece's 9th birthday on the 22nd and my favorite Red-Headed cousin adds another year on the 23rd! Boy -a whole lot of libras there, aren't we?

Monday of this past week now though was a special day for me too -my good friend and former classmate who I refer to often as "Bella" had a birthday and a couple days after that -not sure of the date though -it was my late uncle's great-nephew's birthday (we call each other cousin but technically, we aren't -unless you count what I call a "backdoor" relational status as being a "cousin."

Yeah -a whole lot of years packed in there this month.

But this past Monday was a special day for me thanks to the last "cousin" I mentioned who -along with his parents -were here visiting for a few days.

And while they were here, that cousin Eric and I -as I wrote the other nite -went exploring, grave marker hunting here.It was a nice day and also was successful in that we were able to locate his great-great aunt and uncle's gravesite and marker.

Before Eric and his parents left to return to their motel room down in Indiana, PA -I told him if he had a chance to look at a telephone directory down there, to look up another cousin's phone number and tell her who he is and what he family he is researching. Told him, if he's lucky and finds her at home, that she would definitely recognize many of the names in his family tree.

And as things played out, Wednesday morning, with my cousin's phone number and address in hand along with directions to the street where she lives from someone on the staff at the motel where they were staying, he went for a short drive, located the street where she lives as well as the house number and decided to "live dangerously" and go forward and introduce himself to her.

I figured out that he met her when he sent me a message saying "Your cousin sure does get an early start on her getting out and about as she was ready to roll out and do things for the start of the day around 8 a.m. and he added this, "She sure is a heck of a darned good baker too!"

The quip about her being a good baker told me that he had definitely met her!

I laughed and wrote back that I certainly would never argue that point with him as she is,truly, a great bakers! Just a great all-around cook she is! And, she operates exactly the way her own Mom did when someone unexpected visitor would come knocking on the door.

In this case, with my cousin, she had no clue who this guy was standing on her doorstep but for some wild and crazy reason, she opened the door and ended up inviting him in. And after that, she even fed him and sent a package of rolls she had baked back to the motel with him for his parents! Like her mother before her, I can envision that she probably was able to pull a 5-6 course meal out of her refrigerator at the drop of a hat, have it all heated up, perfectly, and on the table in front of him in 45 minutes or less! And then, she probably swooped down and around him, passing plate after plate to him and telling him, "Here, have some of this; try that and just a taste of this, maybe!"

Yeah, that exactly how my aunt would have done and it's the trait I remember best about her too! It's that trait in her daughter that my kids know oh so well and could never pass on anything she passed under our noses either!

After hearing of his successful meeting with this cousin of mine, I told my daughter I was going to have to call her and talk to her about that visit but last night, before I even had a chance to pick up the phone and call her, my phone rang and a glance at the caller ID told me it was her calling me, and I figured correctly too that she would be laughing and telling me all about her day when she answered his knock at her front door, surprised her with his questions about people she knew from way back when and hadn't probably thought about in many, many years too!

I so enjoyed hearing her talk about their visit and she told me too what things she had also sent to the motel with him for his parents -more freshly baked rolls that she had, along with cheese as well and a few other things.

Sure made my day to read about this from him and to hear about their visit from her.

Gives a body renewed hope then that Monday, Monday isn't a bad thing after all, is it?

Work Wanted...

This week, I did something I really hadn't thought I would have to do again -ever. I went searching on my computer for copies I had on file of my resume.

I had to retire via disability back in 2004 (actually that dates back to March of 2003, but what difference does a couple of months make. Right?

Anyway, because of the health issues I have had over the past 9 years now, as well as now being of an age when I am considered to be "retired" and no longer collecting disability but rather regular retirement social security, apparently I figured I would never again have to update my resume because if there's nothing changed on the old one, no need to upgrade it.


But all things considered in my life today -like it or not -whether I am actually capable of handling either a full-time or a art-time form of employment, my income and budget is such now that applying for employment regardless of the number of hours offered, all too many of the jobs advertised in this area either involve more physical labor than mental -it seems -and to be honest, I'm really not sure if I can handle employment now after being out of the job market for close to 10 years now.

However, my budget dictates that I need to at least apply, hopefully be granted an interview for pretty much any position.

Recently, I was told of a position open within an agency here that works with clients who have issues along the mental health lines and I was also told that this company doesn't actually need more than a bachelor's degree in some type of counseling -which is the area of my major -and so here I am now needing to update my good old resume.

Apparently, I had figured I wouldn't need a resume ever again though but at least it does look like those thoughts were of the incorrect because to apply for the above position, I have to submit an application for employment along with that dreadful thing called a resume.

Frankly, all I really want to be able to do now is to find some type of employment that would possibly, preferably use my resume and what qualifications I think I still have and not something like washing dishes or perhaps ringing up sales for various little convenience type stores in this region.

Truthfully though, all I really want is the opportunity to once again be in a position whereby I have to fill in employee attendance forms that would indicate I am once again gainfully employed some where in some capacity!

And if that employment happens to be with this particular counseling agency, that would make me one very happy camper.

Now, how can I word things on my resume that would create a believer from that agency that I can still be a good employee, that I still have knowledge and ability along with wisdom and common sense to be able to secure employment with said agency?

I hate resumes and trying to word them in a way that -in my mind -does nothing but overglorify the work a person has done and doesn't take into consideration the things a person has learned without the good old  job force. I mean really now -how can you word the duties required of what you did as a waitress in such a way as to show the inner workings of that type of work and portrays them as having significance in the working world as we all know it? That hits me pretty much like listening to political candidates bragging over and over -often lying over and over too -about "see me, what a great job I did and how difficult this work is" as being the bottom line.

But, I really do need a job and this one does seem very much like the kind of work I wanted to do all along with my particular degree and my course of study. So, please, give me ideas as to how to word this thing -the resume -and my previous work experience in such a manner that my kids can say too, "yeah, my Mom did that -or this or something else.

Any and all offers of assistance in the art of writing what in essence would probably turn out looking like a "snow job" for the employer I am asking nicely to at least grant me an interview and hopefully -actually see that I am indeed, a very viable potential employee.

Yeah -I can see that working! Can't you?

Thursday, October 04, 2012


I'm pretty sure I have mentioned at least one or two times on my blog that I am into Family Tree Research stuff, haven't I?  Well if you missed those posts or skipped them or whatever, I do enjoy family tree research very much. I'm not a true fanatic with it, but I like to learn things about my own roots whenever I can and also, I do enjoy helping others find information about their roots as well.

A few years back now, a very nice young man -well a good bit younger than me, he is anyway -"found" me and introduced himself to me as being the great-nephew of my older aunt's husband! This through the miracle of the internet and!

Now that particular uncle of his (and mine) and my aunt lived all their married life in Jamestown, New York and for a time, back in the early 50s, I lived with them while my Mom lived up in Niagara Falls, NY with my younger aunt and her husband. From October of 1951 until the spring of 1952, my grandparents also lived with my aunt and uncle -and me. But by May of 1952, my Grandpa was antsy as all get out to return home -to his house -the one I live in today -here in Pennsylvania. He wanted to be here near to his older brother and to the soil he loved and to getting his garden dug up, harrowed and planted! And when my Grandpa made up his mind about something like his vegetable garden, people better follow through and get him back home when he said he needed to be here!

The whole deal about Grandma, Grandpa and I going to Jamestown came about because my Mom wanted to try to rebuild her life, to make a life for herself and for me, independent, on her own but her siblings didn't approve of that idea, nor did my Grandparents. So the summer of 1951, when she actually went to the Falls to begin working there, living with her younger sister and her husband, my Grandparents felt that wasn't a good idea to take me there too and insisted I stay behind with them. But as fall rolled around, my aunts and uncles didn't feel my Grandparents were strong enough to handle being in charge of their old house -and me -what with the rigors of a coal-fired furnace, taking out ashes and general maintenance at their ages then so it was agreed that we would go to Jamestown to stay with their oldest child and her husband over the winter months, at least.

And so,for the next year then I ended up living with my aunt and uncle. And in the process of living with them, I also got to know almost all of my Uncle Butch's family -his brothers, sisters and many nieces and nephews of his too, many of whom had migrated up to Jamestown to make their homes there.

I mention this to explain how it came about that I knew a good deal then pertaining to Uncle Butch's family tree and the thing is, I still remember much of what I learned about his family then to this day.

And so when Uncle Butch's nephew Eric initiated contact with me, I was able to explain help him a good bit as he was working on researching his great-grandfather and a whole lot of other ancestors on that tree with him. Since we first met via, it seems more like I've known Eric virtually forever although I think it's perhaps only been 6 or 7 years or so but he lives in Phoenix -I'm here in Pennsylvania -and he has been here to find his roots and such on several occasions now during which visits we have gotten together to try to track people down from his family trees.

So for me, when he had contacted me about 2-3 weeks ago to tell me he and his parents were coming to PA for a short visit, and when he said he wanted me to go exploring with him in search of a sister of his great-grandmother, I knew exactly where he meant we would be heading with that search.

Of course -to the local cemetery affiliated mainly with the church I belong to -Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran of Lanse, PA!

And yes, I was quite right about my assumption there too!

Now there are a lot of other relatives of Eric and my Uncle Butch's too who still live in these parts but they are all people who Eric has never met before too. And it just so happens I know a lady who is related to Eric and who I had connected them up via e-mail and Facebook but they had never had the opportunity to meet. And, because I also know this woman is like Eric, very interested in family tree research, I contacted her and asked her if she would be interested in meeting him.

You'd almost have thought I had just given her a small fortune when I asked her that questions. Sure, she most certainly would love to meet him and so we made arrangements then and there that she would join Eric and I in our search at our cemetery to see if we could then "find" his Aunt Justina.

And so, that's how Eric, his cousin Jean and I spent this past Monday afternoon -walking through the cemetery in search of a marker somewhere there for his great-grandmother's sister, Justina Swanson!

For quite a while, Eric was getting a bit worried that this was going to be a futile trip and search as we weren't have any luck in locating a marker for this woman at all. Then I asked Eric if he knew what year her husband had died and he told me "1900" so I said then, if he died that long ago, I thought we'd be better off walking/searching in the lower quadrant of the cemetery -referred to as the "old" section of the graves. And so, we three grave searchers started in that specific area, checking markers, old headstones of all types and all of a sudden, we found the marker indicating it was for this woman's husband!  But, there was nothing on that marker for her! Oh rats was pretty much our initial reaction until someone spied a smaller and flatter -newer type of stone and there it was, with her name on it and the date of her passing -1949!

Here then is a not so good a picture of Eric between the markers for his great-great uncle to his left and his great-great aunt to his right! I do think though you can see by the big smile on his face how happy he was to have found these markers can't you?

After our success with finding those markers, we continued walking around the graves as I pointed out many stones to him who also were markers for other people from the past who I knew had various connections as well to his family tree.

Then, as it was getting late and I needed to leave to get home to be there with the kids when they returned home from school, we stopped an took ta couple of pictures then too of the marker for Eric's great-great-grandmother too. I'm not very knowledgeable in the Swedish language however I can read enough of the words to understand that it says, basically, Anna Gustafson -born in Frandefors Sweden, and her birthdate is shown there and that she died here in May of 1910 The wording across the bottom though is way beyond my level of understanding however, a lady I have met and who works in a museum in Mellerud, Sweden as a geneology researcher is going to be visiting here, probably on October 16th so I am going to try to be sure to show this stone to her and get her to translate the bottom lines on it then too for me -and for my cousin, Eric, for his family tree research!

After Eric and Jean left I then tried to figure out where, in this little village, his great-great-aunt had lived but for some reason, he had it that she had lived in Lanse and any of the people I know from that little town who might be old enough to possibly remember her had not recollection whatsoever of a woman by that name living in their little town.

So I went to good old and began trying to find some other type of records for the aunt and finally Tuesday afternoon I managed to come across the obituary for her published in 1949 in our local newspaper. Lo and behold, she hadn't lived in Lanse at all but rather had resided in the upper section of Grassflat, where I live. Through that obituary I was able then to learn she had a son, who in 1949 was living in Corning, New York and with whom she had been living apparently for quite some time.

So between the searching at the cemetery, then in the old news papers records and finding her obituary, Eric can now work on finding her son and if he had any family -children, etc., perhaps build onto his family tree line and who knows but what he may then be able to locate more relatives, some who may even be living  today!

Now isn't that fun to learn who the people were who lived at the time of your ancestors coming to this country and also, to learn that there is a possibility of even maybe some day finding a current descendant from those people in their family tree?

Well it sure makes for a very enjoyable day for me anyway!

Bold Little Thief!

Poor Kurtis!

The little guy has been having a tough time lately, trying very hard to make "wise choices" as his TSS, Miss Dawn tells him over and over -and OVER again, daily. It's hard to remember exactly what wise choices are though sometimes for all of us, but especially when you're only six years old and also, very excitable at times. Okay -change that to most of the time!

He apparently has been having a string of bad days this week at school. Not paying attention. Trying to outdo other kids as the class clown of the day. Making messes in the bathroom at school with a couple other kids from his class/age range. All kinds of little tricks he's been trying and also, getting caught at them too.

I think Miss Dawn has either sent notes home to Mandy about his homework (instructions) or text messages to her daily since Monday about his behavior and needless to say, all this leaves his Mom in a not so very good mood.

Tuesday night, he was warned by Mandy that if she got any bad reports today on him, he was going to lose the tv set in his room. The only thing that would be considered worse -in the punishment lines -to Kurtis would be if Mandy told him she was going to take Bear-Bear -his very special bear rug shaped pillow that serves as his major comfort zone. And, let's face it -only someone who was looking to inflict cruel and unusual punishment would ever even think of taking away a child's comfort zone.


Well, the tv set in his bedroom is also a comfort thing for him too -soothes him gently off into dreamland, ya know.

Unfortunately for Kurtis, his actions today at school -for which he got reprimanded not just by Miss Dawn but also by Miss Renee, the therapist who was his second TSS and who is now the behavior specialist who is over Miss Dawn in setting up goals and plans for Kurt's progress! Now Kurt loves Miss Dawn -no two ways about that. But she is with him every day in school and she is the one who generally administers the punitive stuff on him when he's acting up where he should be working, reading, studying. Miss Renee, on the other hand, he sees maybe in passing throughout the week and he knows her quite well, but he also loves her too. And since she isn't usually the one responsible for reprimanding him, he kind of wants to appear to be the sweet little fellow to her and not the grumpy (somedays) and rebellious little boy he often is with Miss Dawn. So when Miss Renee caught him doing something he shouldn't have been doing today, at school, and the word got back to his Mom about that this afternoon when Miss Renee arrived here before Kurtis even got home from school, he knew, I'm pretty sure, that he was gonna be in big trouble!

And so Mandy reprimanded him and then, reminded him very quietly, very calmly too, about what she had told him last night -one more bad report from school and he would be losing his tv in his bedroom.

She told him her bad news for him while Miss Renee was still here today and you could see the hurt in him as his expression changed with the news. Initially, she told him she was removing the tv "for a while" and he had to ask then if that meant "for a day?" And she told him she wasn't quite sure yet just how long but he had to push that envelope some more and then she said probably for a week.

His response to that was "Till tomorrow?" No, buddy -a week, seven days.

"For a long, long while then?" was his next question and she nodded that yes, a week is a long, long while -seven days, seven nights, start counting 'em off, Son!

He willingly went upstairs to go to bed tonight but once in his room and the realization hit him that tv set was missing, the tears, the crying then began. It lasted a little while, then finally was quiet.

But close to 11:00 p.m. I heard the unmistakable sound of him, coming down the steps and then, into the living room where he announced "I'm thirsty!" And Mandy told him to go out to the kitchen and he could get a drink of water.

Katie -his oldest sister -happened to be out there and was in the process of getting herself a big glass of ice water so Mandy told her then to get him a drink while she was out there. She sat her glass of ice water down on the counter while reaching for a cup to get water in it for Kurtis and just that fast, when she turned around to get an ice cube for hm, she saw him standing there, nice as could be, draining the glass of ice water she had just got for herself!

It was in the blink of an eye and the Katie's glass of ice water was gone and he was on his way back upstairs, back to bed too. And nary a thank you to her for that cool drink either!

Let's face it. When the boy wants a drink, he means it. And if he can make that disappear that fast, just think what he'd be like in oh, 10-12 years from now if he would happen to ask for and would receive a debit card for teenagers! Boy, at the rate he went through that glass of water and with the idea then that money flows easily with a card like that, he'd have it drained in nothing flat then, wouldn't he?

Monday, October 01, 2012

A New Bride!

This past weekend, my Facebook was all a buzz, big time, with wedding pictures taken of a cousin of mine on my Dad's side of the family as she and her fiance tied the knot on the sandy shore of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. From the photos everyone and their brother was sharing of Bev and Don on their wedding day, it was a simple yet very beautiful ceremony! Made me wish I could have been there to share in the joy of their wedding day for sure!

But, it also got me to thinking of some other things too. And you know by now, when I start thinking, well who knows what I'm liable to come up with. See first off, I've never been to any of the beaches on the Atlantic coast except for Rehoboth (in Delaware -which was my favorite beach back in the 60s) and I've been to Ocean City, Maryland and also to Atlantic City, New Jersey -but those escapades were all a long, long time ago, in my much younger, very carefree years.

I'd love to have a chance some day to visit some other beaches on the Atlantic coastline and especially those in North Carolina and South Carolina -mainly because I do have a cousin who lives in South Carolina and it would maybe open an opportunity to visit him and his wife for an afternoon or so and a very good friend of mine from high school lives in North Carolina so I could also use a trip south to include visiting her and her husband too.

 But, here's what I really was thinking about! My cousin who just got married this past weekend -well she and her new groom along with a lot of other cousins on that side of my family are very big into going to the shore every summer -usually doing it as a pretty large family-type affair at that. Plus, she just fairly recently got her license to be a Real Estate agent and taking that into consideration, maybe she could be convinced to think about the idea of her and her husband -with their love of the Atlantic shorelines -to consider looking for houses for sale in outer banks and finding a good deal that they could buy for their own usage (of course) but also, one that they might then consider letting family rent it at oh, maybe a bit of a reduced rate that some of us poorer ones in the family might actually then be able to afford and have the opportunity to enjoy the luxury of at least a long weekend sometime in that area.

And for me, well that would -as I think I laid out in my above words -would offer me the best of all worlds, wouldn't it?

Rant Hall of Fame?

One of my good Blogger friend, Jim -AKA Suldog -sent me a comment this morning in reference to a comment I had made to his post late last week. Doing what I'm known for doing from time to time, I exercised my option to do a mini-post on his post in the form of my comment. His response to me was that my comment to his post really should go in the Rant Hall of Fame! Well, I don't know if any such place exists but if it does, I'm sure Jim would be one of the first who would qualify, hands down, for many entries into such a place because when he decides to state his mind about things, he lets fly and Katie bar the door then! So, anyway, I decided to take him up on his suggestion to share my little rant-comment here with everyone! Meaning maybe Jim and the 3 or 4 others who still read my drivel! Jim's post -titled Troglodyte -is about his wife's recent purchase of a cell phone and his thoughts/theories on that subject. I do recommend you read his post before moving on to reading my comments on that post though -things will make a lot more sense that way. My comments constitute my opinion about cell phones which isn't really something I love and adore! Cell phones and I are not best buddies! I have a cell phone now and I think in the year since it was given to me (by my son and his girlfriend for my birthday last year) I think I have made maybe 6 phonecalls at the most on it! They got it for me because they thought it would be a good thing for me to have so if my car breaks down -or I get lost someplace out in the boonies around here -I can call someone for help! Fat joke that is! For openers, if I were to get lost out in these boondocks, odds are generally NOT in favor of my being able to call for help because ....Verizon needs to do a whole lot more of the "Can you hear me now?" work in this area. If I were to need emergency help at my house, I would have to drive my jeep out of the village -up the hills and over the creeks to Verizon's service available site you know in order to call for an ambulance or whatever! And to reach one of my kids via their cell phones? Oh pleeeaassee! Give me a friggin' break as they always are having one problem or another with their cell phones! (BTW, my son got my phone as a freebie, offered to people of a certain age and up -as an emergency convenience. I get 240 freebie minutes per month and right now, my available number of minutes available for my usage is around 1500 minutes or some such equally obscene number. And don't even think about trying to tell me how much cheaper it is to have a cell phone than a land line either! I've seen my daughter's phone bills (cell type) as well as my son's) and no way did my phone bill come close to what they pay each money since younger daughter got caught having run my landline bill up with over $90 in long distance phone calls back in the day when there was no such thing as "free long distance calling coast to coast." (I told her to please get an f'ing friend whose number did not involve dialing "1" at the beginning of the call -not that it worked exactly, but the calls she made did subside a little bit anyway! A really long story -maybe even worthy of a blog post on that topic provided I remember having mentioned this here tonight as I'm trying to medicate my nerves into sleep with my second triple shot of Kaluha on the rocks! Also another long, long story which doubtful that it will be post worthy -ever! Oh and if you ever do get a cellphone of your own, with text capacity, be very careful of what you choose to use as your signal that you have incoming text. Daughter's phone gives out with a whistle that had me thinking every freaking time I heard it that our neighbor was out in the yard whistling for their dog to come home!