Thursday, October 31, 2013

If At First You Don't Succeed......

Yep! That title says it all for me tonight!

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

And you can bet your bottom dollar (or donate it to me and I'll add it to mine and maybe that will give me the winning combination) that I still need more HELP if I'm ever going to hit it big and win the darned Powerball Lottery!

Just keep on trying. Keep on playing too whenever I can.

I'm thinking positive thoughts only that by doing that I'll someday soon pick the right numbers and walk away a very happy camper then.

Just please, wish it could happen very, very soon!

Way too many things being added all the time to this year's products Avon has to offer and that I really would love to buy and give to various family members!

One item in particular they are offering now though is a doll -sells for $25.00 (okay -$24.99 but who's going to quibble over a penny?) and anyway, this doll is a Princess Sofia the First doll.

Seems my grandson -little Kurt, who is now 7-year-old -absolutely loves Princess Sofia the First -according to what Mandy told me when she went to my Christmas Sales meeting a couple of weeks ago.

So I have her now -a demo product for campaign 25 -and Kurt is going to receive that doll now for Christmas. I don't pay a lick of attention to buying toys and stuff for little boys that others will think is crazy maybe or just plain wrong! Who cares if it's a little boy who loves that character and wants that or if it's a little girl?

Sure as heck isn't me!

If he likes that and I'm able to get it for him, why not?

It's definitely not going to change him into something he's not, that's for sure!

And, even if it would, it's just like Seinfeld said "Not that it makes any difference."

Still would love you Kurtis no matter what others say,  think or do!

You'll always be my sweetest little Prince and all little Princes definitely should have their very own Princess too, shouldn't they?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


This week is rapidly beginning to look like seven days of non-stop activity for me! Today, I had a chance to go to lunch with several of my former high school classmates -seven classmates, one from a class three years below my class and another who is the spouse of one of my classmates and me -as the 10 of us gathered together for a delightful time of sharing news and loads of camaraderie as we told stories on each other and things like that. And we even had an added attraction today too as our friend, Jean, brought her little two-year-old great-granddaughter with her too! Sofie has been a guest at several of our lunch get-togethers and her presence always provides a lot of extra fun for the old-timers then, ya know!

 Definitely had a very good time!

 After lunch, I had to make a run to Milesburg to meet up with my daughter and give her the Avon orders she had taken for a few of her co-workers. I was supposed to meet her yesterday but unfortunately, those plans went down the tubes when I had the problems with the latch on my car door breaking on me!

 That kind of set the tone then for me for what may be a really wicked busy week ahead for me!

 This coming Thursday, I have a doctor's appointment with at my GP's office -just a routine six-month checkup -but that's going to use up several hours of my "delivery/sales" time with the Avon. Then, on Friday -I have to drive down to Milroy to meet Mandy and the grandkids there and we will swap cars for the weekend and also, she will drive back to her place in Middletown in quiet -except, I'm sure, for her radio or CD player blasting while I will drive back home listening to Maya and Kurt either talking incessantly during the 70 mile trip or else, they will be fighting, also probably incessantly, and I'll be yelling at them frequently to "Do not TOUCH each other!"

 Regardless of how well-behaved they might be (which is highly unlikely to have that happen) or how many times I have to yell at them to behave (which is probably what will take place most of the drive to my house), I'm still very much looking forward to having the kids here with me for the weekend anyway!

 Saturday afternoon, my game plan is to take the kids to this fund raising event in Philipsburg called a "Ghost Walk." Now, I know you're probably thinking but Jeni, Halloween will be over Thursday so what's the bit with a "Ghost Walk" then, anyway? Well, it's just a neat little way to give people tours around Philipsburg to point out to them where various businesses that used to exist in Philipsburg over the years had been located and to inform folks about what a bustling little town it was that used to exist there!

 The fund raising though is for a very special cause and one that is near and dear to my heart, for sure as it is to raise funds for the local Front and Centre Theatrical Group that has sprung up in the past 3-4 years or so in Philipsburg.

 This group has at its core the youth of the Moshannon Valley and gives the kids an opportunity to be part of some really great productions a couple times during the year.

 Maya participated in I think 3 or 4 plays they put on, perhaps even more than that as my memory sometimes gets things a bit mixed up ya know! But one thing I do know is what a great time she had participating in these plays and how much she learned with respect to singing, dancing, performing and she did great!

 The Theatrical Company is trying to secure funding to open their own place in town now though as they really do need a building that they can call home where they can practice and prepare for each and every upcoming production they have planned now. But the really great thing about the "home" they are trying to create for the group is that they have given it a name too. It will be called "Pappy Jack's Place" and that will be in memory of my cousin's husband -the late, John E."Jack" Weaver, who devoted many, many hours of his time to see to it that the sets for the plays and many of the other materials that were needed were provided to them by him!

 Jack was one really multi-talented man to have on the scene when trying to put together the plays the kids did! I told my cousin the other day that I couldn't think of any type of thing that Jack couldn't already do -be it carpentry, plumbing, wiring, costuming too! He was great at being the "Jack" of all trades, for sure and he loved doing it, donating his time and talents so these kids could put their best foot forward and do it all in style and class too!

 And much as I am looking forward to taking Maya and Kurtis to this event, there is just one small problem lurking for me in the background though!

 I still have to find the time to get my Avon orders all delivered and hopefully, get lots and lots of new orders for Avon Products then as well and also, I still need to carve out some time to do at least a minimal amount of cleaning in the olde homestead here and cooking a couple of meals for the grandkids and probably my son and Katie (the step-granddaughter) who is currently living here with me! I'd also like to find some time to work on my latest embroidery project too but that might be pushing my luck, I'm thinking.

 Now, best case scenario, in my mind, to cope with all these things that will need my attention is to find a maid or at least something akin to house cleaning services in Raleigh NC

There's no two ways about it that my time is going to come at a premium for the next 6-7 days, for sure and the maid service -well, as nice a thought as that would be to me (with or without all the other things going on in my life), I rather doubt that one will come about.

But, then again, if perchance, I happen to hit it lucky -REALLY, REALLY lucky, ya know and hit the Powerball lottery tomorrow night, who knows what I'll be able to do then!

So how about giving me some help here by maybe shaking a rabbit's foot or wishing me some darned good, strong Karma that I would have to have come my way in order to get all the right numbers on my ticket!

That's really the kind of HELP that I do really, really need, ya know!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

When Irony Is a Good Thing!

So, today I was all set to start out delivering the Avon orders I got from my customers. It was a nice day -sunny, bright and yes, even pretty darned warm too by the time I got moving and left the house. A perfect day, really, to try to find people at home to present their order, collect -hopefully get a new order in return too on the next campaign book. Because I used to be pretty darned good at multi-tasking, I figured I could use my time today to do more than just deliver Avon and try to get re-orders, ya know. I just happened to have a folder containing about 10-15 posters done up that needed to be put on the cluster mailboxes around the neighborhood, some too up at the local grocery store and a few other places that would be within my reach to tack up the posters. (Posters being a little form of advertisement for the Fall Bazaar we ladies from our church group are planning to have on November 23rd.) So, I loaded up the car and headed off. First stop was at the Cluster boxes where I pick up my own mail and I was a little worried if the stuff I had brought with me to use to tack these posters up was going to work and hold them up okay. I had hunted in my various hiding places for a little ziplock bag I knew I had somewhere here containing thumbtacks to use to "tack" these posters up to the wood posts around the mailboxes but all to no avail as apparently I had found an ideal place to hide those things as I couldn't find any thumbtacks. So, using my good old fashioned Yankee ingenuity, ya know, I decided I would take a bag of the little needle thing-a-ma-jigs that one would use to prick your finger for a diabetic blood sugar test. Heck, they are every bit as sharp as a thumbtack so why wouldn't -or couldn't -that work just as well -do the job for me, ya know. And, I was really happy when I was able to get a poster up at the local cluster box and it appeared that my makeshift thumbtacks would work just fine and dandy. So, on to the next set of cluster boxes I went. It was up at that place in the western end of town where my problem of the day was to begin. After getting another poster tacked up, I hopped back in my car and when I closed the door, I heard a familiar noise and not a welcome one, at that. My car sometimes has had little fits, for lack of a better term there, when you close the door on the driver's side and it won't latch and it makes a hell of a loud banging sound that alerts me that I can't move from where I'm parked because my door won't shut, won't latch properly. So I get out and fiddle around a bit, trying to get the latch to release so it will then "catch" if I try to shut it again. Talk about a pain in the dupa job, that is one right there, for sure. After a little fiddling around, I did get the door to latch but then, it developed another problem for me -one I'd never experienced before -as it not only latched but locked and wouldn't release from being locked then. So there I was, the hot autumn sunshine beating down on me -as I sat there with my long-sleeved turtleneck on under my preppy-like crewneck sweater with my blue/purple plaid wool blazer on over top of those two other items and man, it was getting right hot in my car from those layers with that sun shining so darned brightly. And I had the car -including the front seat -loaded with boxes of Avon orders so I couldn't even get out by crawling (or trying to crawl) across the front seat to open the passengers' side door! I really have no clue what I did that finally got the latch to release but anyway, I was able again to get out and try to mess with the latch to get it operating okay. And, eventually, yes -I did get it to latch and off I went then up to that third set of cluster boxes on top of the hill here in town -on the south side of the village. I got my poster up and hopped back into the car to continue on my merry way, only to have the darned latch act up on me all over again but this time, I couldn't even see the latch hook thing in the door panel to try to work on it to get it loose! I happened to think then about Kate's brother, Shane, who was down at my house visiting his sister and his niece (sweet little adorable Lola Rae, ya know) so I called down to the house to ask Kate if Shane was still there and she said that yes, he was. So then I directed her to look on top of the china cabinet to see if there was a white spray can up there that contains some kind of lubricant stuff that my son had told me a while back to get and use on the latch to keep it working okay, moving in and out, up and down, etc., the way it was supposed to be operating but wasn't. Anyway, Kate confirmed that my can of this stuff was indeed there so I told her to give it to Shane and tell him to hop on his ATV and run it up the hill to where my poor little car was parked while I was trying, desperately, to get the latch to open up and work. By the time he arrived with that can of Lithium stuff, I had found the other can of the stuff that I had hidden under the seat in the car and had sprayed a healthy dose of that stuff on to the door's latch. However, another little problem here was that the screwdriver I thought I had under my car seat was not to be found and so, I asked Shane if he might happen to have a screwdriver in his backpack he had with him. Lo and behold, he did have one and he started to try to use that to get the latch to work. No luck with the Lithium spray or with him and his screwdriver either! So there I am -about a mile from my house with a car loaded to the gills with Avon orders and no way to get the darned door to close and latch so I could get moving and get my stuff done then. And, I was trying to figure out how the heck to get someone there who knows something about these things and could get the thing working for me when it dawned on me that I just happened to have, in a side pocket of my Avon demo bag, a business card for a good friend who just so happens to have a garage and junkyard about 3 miles from where my car was sitting! Now, naturally, because my Avon demo bag is generally pretty full with demonstrator (i.e. new products, you know) to show my customers, it isn't in the best form though for being organized so it took me what felt like was forever before I finally found one of the business cards I had asked that garage owner and mechanic to give to me a couple weeks earlier. Now, if you'd seen the look on his face back then when I asked him to give me some of those business cards -featuring the name and address of his garage and also, his cell phone number as well as his home phone number, it was more than obvious that he thought I was a bit wacky for wanting some of his business cards to carry with me. But,as I had told him then, frequently in the course of conversations with my customers, people talk about things with their cars that the should get worked on or need to get their car inspected or whatever but they don't know who to take the car to who would be a trustworthy mechanic, etc., so when that happens then, I had told him I could then give one of his business cards out and help keep his operations running. Little did I think though when I had him give me a couple of cards that I would be the person needing to use it to call him and have him come and bail me out of my little predicament! But anyway, that's how it happened that I was able then to call him and he apparently wasn't really wrapped up in some repair job at that time as he said he would be right down to see what was needed to get the door to close and latch shut again! He checked the door out and determined then that the latch was shot. Toast, if you will! And he would have to take a part of the door apart to fix the problem by installing a new latch in there! And so, that's how his wife happened to be the one then to drive me to my house while her husband gerry-rigged the door up to be able to drive my car out to his shop and put a new latch on my car's door! And two hours later, he returned with my car which now had a working door latch on the driver's side and I was then back in business. Except for the fact that I had to reschedule meeting up with my older daughter to deliver several Avon orders she had taken for me at the hospital where she works as by the time the car was fixed it was a little past 6 p.m. and that made driving the thirty some miles to where I was supposed to meet her today a little out of the question then so I had to reschedule that delivery then to another day. Hopefully, tomorrow -after I have a delightful lunch engagement with several friends of mine from high school, I will then be able to meet my daughter to present her with the orders so she can get them delivered there at her workplace. And, this week is going to be a rough one to make my deliveries too because I have several time slots already filled that will use up way more time than I really have available to do my Avon stuff in a relatively relaxed mode, you see. Tomorrow, there the lunch thing, then down the road thirty miles to meet up with my daughter and drop off the orders she will take care of for me. Thursday afternoon, I have a doctor's appointment -a regular scheduled check-up so that's going to use up at least 2-3 hours of my very valuable time then. And Friday, I have to drive to Milroy to meet younger daughter, Mandy and the grandkids there so I can do a "drop and hook" (to use trucker's vernacular there) and bring Maya and Kurt up here to spend the weekend with Gram! Actually, it's a dual purpose "drop and hook" as Mandy informed me that she will not only be trading with me to take the kids for the weekend but she will also be taking my car to make her return trip back to Middletown and I will get to drive her car up home here because her ex-husband then is supposed to take her car then on Saturday and put new tires on it for her! And, on Saturday, I'll be hard pressed too if I can manage to get at least 1 order delivered then as I had planned to take the kids into Philipsburg to a special event that will be happening there Saturday Afternoon. It's a fund raiser called a "Ghost Walk" in which people will escort visitors around the town of Philipsburg to show where some businesses used to exist there in days that to my grandkids will seem to be truly something that dates back to what they consider to be the dark ages -a long, long time ago, ya know! So wish me well in my endeavors to get my orders delivered and that I'm also -hopefully -able to pick up a whole lot of new orders too since this campaign and I believe only two more will be the last orders I will be able to take that will guarantee delivery by Christmas! Yes, of course, I am in the throes of what is the best season, sales wise, of the year as far as any and all self-respecting Avon Reps will tell you! So please, say a couple prayers for me and my upcoming work and travels that there is nothing else coming my way -ironic or not -that will impede me in my job getting done! Just another day in the life of an Avon Sales Rep during the Christmas "rush" ya know!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shop Around!

I don't really do much in the way of "shopping" per se -at least not the kind where I take off and disappear for the bulk of a day and come back home loaded with purchases.

I do "shop around" though a bit. However, most of that exercise involved visits to the local Goodwill Store where I look for old plates or glassware, candlestick holders, or other small pieces that could easily be converted to use as a pedestal for in between plates when I put together 2-tiered or 3-tiered dishes for pretty little serving pieces.

These are photos of some of the various tiered dishes some of the members of our church's women's group has made and which we will be offering for sale at our Fall Bazaar on November 23rd. I like to look for unusual or pretty old plates that can be coordinated to make a nice tiered plate with them so I have made a few that I have in my house now too.

Aside from the old dishes shopping stuff, lately I have been shopping around in search of something I can use for something, some place, to organize my information pertaining to my Avon customers, their likes/dislikes, purchases and other notes along those lines.

Between looking around at local stores, I've also been checking out potential leads online too. I have found some really neat things online -mainly pertaining to kitchen type additional stores -like these cabinet organizers from ovis - many of which I really would like to incorporate in my kitchen (if I ever win the lottery, ya know) but these types of organizers were of no help to me right now for my needs with my Avon route, unfortunately.

The thing is, I have an idea in my mind what I need, what I want, what would work, but I don't really know how to describe it completely.

However, I do believe that if I ever see something that I think will work really well for me, I am of the opinion that I will know it when I see it but until something pops up in front of me, guess I'll just have to continue in my search.

Good thing I do enjoy "shopping around" though, isn't it?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Visits

I am not normally a morning person. For me, one of the most difficult things to do is for me to wake up early and get up as soon as I wake up and try to get moving.

Our church recently made some changes to the time of our weekly services and I'm having a bit of a tough time adjusting to them.

For many years, I have been accustomed to attending church at a service that began at 11 a.m. For a long time, we had two services at our church on Sunday morning -one at 8:30 a.m. for those early-birds and the second service was then at 11 a.m. and was pretty much for those in our congregation, like myself, who fight against falling out of bed way before necessary!

Well, since a few other things changed too recently in our church -mainly that we joined with a nearby church and share the minister, adjustments were made as to the times for our services and so, it was decided that for the first year of our new parish and minister, our church would have Sunday service at 8:30 a.m. and the other church would have the 11 a.m. time slot.

For the entire next year, that's how it's going to be and that means that every Sunday from now until the end of August of 2014, it's going to be a struggle for me to get up by 7 a.m. the latest, figure out what to wear, get ready to go and somehow also manage to make a pot of coffee and down at least one cup of that "go juice" (maybe even, if I'm really lucky) squeeze in enough time to also take Sam out for an early stroll (accident prevention at its finest there, ya know) and still be able to whiz across the 4 miles from my house to the church in time for the 8:30 a.m. start!

This morning, I surprised myself -in that I woke up about 7:15 and I did manage to get ready, have about 1/2 a cup of coffee and race out the door and across the hills to arrive just in time as the church bell was ringing!

But, boy was I ever glad that this morning I had awakened that early and that I was able to get there in time because, little did I know at the time, but there was a nice surprise seated in our congregation today!

Lo and behold, there was a gentleman and his wife and I hadn't seen this guy in well, probably 50 years or maybe more!

At first glance, I thought it was a bit of an illusion or just someone else who maybe looks a lot like him but by the end of the service as I reached for a good cup of coffee to sip on while doing a little after-church gabbing, he and I had a chance to talk a little bit. He really has changed very little in appearance and is still the nice, polite person I always remembered him as being way back when! He introduced me to his wife -who I'd say has to be the perfect match for him, as she too is open, outgoing, friendly and gave me that kind of feeling like I'd known her forever instead of some stranger I'd just met.

So anyway, that seemed to set the tone then for my day as, after having a chance to visit briefly with Tom and Janet Nelson, when I went to the grocery store to pick up my Sunday paper, I bumped into a lady from down home here that although she lives nearby, I rarely see her. So chalk up another nice but brief, friendly visit with Anna Frances.

And after her, there was a man at the meat counter in the store who used to belong to our church but has reverted back to his former church and who I hadn't seen in a long, long time too. Turns out this morning, Pastor's children's sermon was about Jacob wrestling in the desert all night and God changing his name to Israel. Well, Pastor started that out talking to the one and only little boy in church today about the name Jacob and whether the child knew anyone named Jacob. (Which brought a couple chuckles from folks in the congregation who know this little guy as his name is Jacob -and well, it just so happened that it was Jacob's grandfather that I ran into then at the grocery store and I commented to him then about Pastor's sermon and how he used his grandson, Jacob, as part of his children's sermon along with telling him what adorably cute both his grandsons -Jacob and his baby brother, Isaac -each are!

After I got home, I got the dog's walk in and got the two containers of soup from my fridge into a little box along with a couple other things my older daughter had requested and headed off to State College to deliver the soups to her for her (and her co-workers) to enjoy for their lunch or supper today. Then, while at the hospital, I stopped by to visit my cousin, Larry, who has been a patient there for the past week now and tomorrow, will be having surgery to remove 3 toes on his right foot due to infection and to prevent -hopefully -catching the infection in time so that he won't have to lose his leg at the knee! All this caused by a diabetic ulcer that Larry didn't get to the wound doctor early enough to try to stop the infection before all this happened! (So to all my family and friends who deal with diabetes, please be especially careful about taking care of what seems at first to be nothing but can easily -and rapidly too -grow into something much bigger and something VERY unwanted too!

On the way back home, I stopped in Philipsburg to pick up a couple things at a little store there and who was in line in front of me but a girl who graduated in my class in high school but with whom I never actually physically attended school with her!

How can that be, you ask? Easy, I say! Back then, the school she attended and the one I went to had been backyard rivals forever but finances had come calling and dictated that the two schools join together, along with three other local townships here and form one big school. So, although she and I attended different buildings -about 8 miles apart -we were both part of the Class of 1962 from West Branch Area High School of Morrisdale, PA. She and I often run into each other at the local grocery store on Wednesdays -which is her day, as it is mine too -when we like to shop for the specials at that store so we can qualify for our big 5 percent senior citizens discount. Yes, it's just a little joke between Sally and me although it is the truth too. Today, I teased her though that I saw she was gambling again, buying lottery tickets. And she knew too, that I was there to pick up my own "fix" of a couple packs of nicotine -which she and I have both been struggling to quit  for several years (to no avail) although we've both managed to cut down our intakes considerably. Small victories count too ya know!

And then that was it for my day of surprises and opportunities to greet people I haven't seen in ages along with some I may see here from time to time, but very infrequently all the same.

And that, to me, makes for some very nice, very enjoyable, Sunday visits!

New Friend in the House?

Well, fall is definitely here and by the way the temps have been falling, more and more now, winter is hot on Autumn's tail, for sure. In case those folks who read my blog aren't aware of this, the forecast for this week actually includes a possibility of snow in our area.

 Now that, I'm definitely not ready to see happen just yet but the fact remains that ready or not, it could be here sometime this week. (I'm really hoping whichever forecaster made this prediction that they were wrong!)

 And today, if there were any other doubts in my mind about fall being here, what I came home to this afternoon definitely cemented that in my mind.

 I'd gone over to State College to the hospital where my daughter works to take her (and her work friends) two containers of home made soup I had made and of which we had a good bit leftover. One was a container of Stuffed Pepper Soup, which Kate and I both really like and the other was a decently enough flavored chicken noodle soup. Normally, I'm not that big on making soups but for whatever unexplainable reason this week I decided to make two different kinds and make each one completely from "scratch" too! Considering our Church Women's Group has decided this year for our meal at our Fall Bazaar we are not going to serve Lasagne as we have done for many years in the past but instead, we will be offering "soup and a sandwich" Just a little bit of a change of pace there. Not fully sure what for sandwiches we will have but I think we'll be serving choices between ham salad, egg salad and possibly tuna salad on croissant rolls. And as to the soups, I'm not really positive on what flavors we will have of the soups either but I think Vegetable Beef, Chicken noodle and split-pea with ham. I don't know how we're going to handle getting enough soups made for this event yet either along with kettles or crockpots too but I'm sure it will all come together eventually!

 But anyway, a bit off track there about the soups and sandwich issues and back to what happened to me when I got back home this afternoon! When I walked in the cat, good old Pearl the Purrball, was racing and chasing around the kitchen at a speed that made a person think her tail must be on fire. Then I heard a noise of her hitting at something followed immediately by her batting at something that seemed at first to be some object rolling around the floor. (A game she dearly loves to play with ANYTHING she finds on the floor ya know.)

Well this time there was something else on the floor alright but it wasn't moving because Pearl was hitting it to make it move. It was moving and very quickly too, weaving in and out and around, trying to get clear of Pearl!

 If you guessed the "guest" in the house was a little gray field mouse, you would be the winner of the prize for the day, whatever that might be.

Let me tell you, that little mouse kept Pearl quite interested for at least 3 hours this afternoon and she chased it, cornered it, batted at it on numerous occasions but never was able to catch Miss Mousie! (I suppose the fact Pearl is declawed has something to do with her inability to actually snag and snare the mouse though.) Finally, a little after 6 p.m., Kate saw something on the floor near the cellar door and called to her boyfriend, Josh, to look at it and there was the mouse, sitting very quietly -perhaps playing opossum -and having somewhat of a stare down contest then with Pearl! It was too comical for words when at one point, the mouse (which Josh initially thought was dead because it didn't appear to be moving at all) did move and it scooted over and up against Pearl's thick, long furry coat, snuggling right up against Pearl's side! Incredible, you say! Well, I can't prove that as I didn't have my camera handy when that happened but I did get a picture of that action. I did however manage to get this shot of the cat and the mouse having more of the stare down action and here that is as living proof too!
That little round object on the floor, in front of Pearl, is -yes -the mouse! We think Pearl chased it so long and hard that the poor thing was just totally exhausted.

At various times, during Pearl's little game with Miss Matilda Mouse, Sam even joined forces with her and was helping to ferret the mouse out and chasing it too!

It was almost as if the cat and dog were comrades in arms in this chase. If they knew anything about being comrades and if they knew what is a challenge coin they could have had a high old time then, I think. 

Josh, Kate's boyfriend, rescued the mouse from its precarious pose here -got it into a medium-sized plastic storage container and then, gently carried it outside and released it in the front yard. 

Considering how cold it was tonight now when I took Sam out for our nightly walk, I almost felt sorry for the poor little mouse having to find shelter from the elements now! 

Then again -no, not so much as I really don't like the idea of holes chewed in everything and anything and mouse dirt all over the place. As it is, since I have no idea how long this little thing has been inside, I suppose we'll have to keep an eye out now for more mice and maybe even little "meeses!"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Recuperation -A Good Thing!

Well, the birthday has come and gone but I didn't feel any older until this past Sunday. That day, I felt like I was 85 years old, going on 300! Not sick, mind you -just seemed to have every darned joint in my body as well as ligaments and muscles and tendons all in a uproar at the same time and I ached, boy -did I ever!

I really think the main cause of this was that we had like three days of constant moisture -either in fine misting rain with some occasional showers that weren't really heavy, just enough to put a damper on any outdoors activity.

The grandkids were here with me this past weekend too -a sort of belated birthday present for me to have them here from Friday afternoon thru Monday afternoon. I made arrangements to meet Mandy and the kids on Friday in Mifflintown and picked the kids up there and then, Monday we met again at the same spot so I could return Maya and Kurt to their "owner.

Despite the weather -and my aching joints and limbs -it was a good weekend overall. Late afternoon Saturday, the kids and I had a surprise when my older grandson, Alex, and his Dad (aka "Big Daddy) showed up here.

It was really nice to see Big Daddy again as I hadn't seen him in probably about 3-4 years now. We had a very nice visit which came about because Bill (that's Big Daddy's given name) and Alex were out riding around with Alex doing the driving now that he has his Learner's Permit. Just doesn't seem possible he is that old already but boy, one look at him and you'd maybe think he was older than just 16. The boy is now 6 foot 4 inches tall -about 2 inches taller now than his Dad and a good 3 inches taller than his Uncle Clayton too -and his weight -209 pounds. He's a big boy, yes indeed, but just very solidly built. He's also one of the most polite young men in his age range that I know too, along with being a good student, well-rounded in his activities and very involved with Boy Scouting. Plus, he also works part-time for a guy in his area that runs concession stands at various county fairs and such, so seeing him this past Saturday was the first I'd had a chance to see him since late June when the fair season got underway. I think he worked at 3 or 4 county fairs around the state along with the Grange Fair too in late August down in Centre Hall.

If I know Alex, the money he has been earning is probably earmarked now to go towards the purchase of a car for him sometime in the near future. He definitely does make me very, very proud for his ambition, activities and achievements! Keep up the great work you've been doing Alex!

 After last Sunday (October 6th) and our apple picking, my neighbor down the street also brought up two buckets of apples she gathered off the ground from the two apple trees in her backyard and I spent all my spare time last week peeling apples and cooking up applesauce. I put the cooked applesauce into quart ziplock bags and then freeze it but on Sunday, we had two different "flavors" of applesauce with our dinner. One was cooked with brown sugar and cinnamon in it and the other was just plain applesauce (white or very light beige in color) with only a little bit of white sugar added to it and both went over quite well with Maya and my son too. Kurtis -not so much into wanting to eat applesauce at all this past weekend. As he looked at all the applesauce I had made up and saw too the other bucket of apples waiting for me to peel and cook up, his reaction to all that was that "We're going to be eating applesauce for the rest of our lives!" Well, not quite that long but for a good while, that's for sure, once I get this last batch of apples prepped up and cooked!

 HOwever, all the work peeling those apples has left me with another little problem of sorts. My right index finger is now stained almost black from the peeling process and no amount of scrubbing my hands, even with bleach substances or baking soda, does much to make my finger look clean again! Any suggestions as to how to get my hands back to being lily white once more?

I think I mentioned in my previous post about some of the women from our church group getting together and making some items in preparation for our annual Fall Bazaar to be held on November 23rd and we got 15 sets of 2 and or 3-tiered plates put together along with 3 pedestal cake plates too.

On Sunday, after church, I had planned to take a photo of these plates, all lined up nicely in our church social hall and ready to be sold (hopefully anyway they will get sold) but wouldn't you just know it but my camera wouldn't work as it needed charged. I'm going to try to take a little visit out to the church either a little later this morning (after I have enough coffee in me that I am fully awake) and take some snapshots of these dishes and then, be able to post the photos on my blog and also, on Facebook.

I think these dishes turned out very nice and if we're lucky, maybe a lot of other folks will like them too then! (Keep saying that, over and over, and maybe it will all come true, ya know!)

So now -I need to get my self dressed and motivated to go do the picture taking and then, hit the roads around here to deliver my current Avon orders and hopefully, get lots more orders from my current customers and maybe even be lucky enough to find a couple new customers to add to my bi-weekly visitations!

It does get a bit hectic at times when I have my order here waiting to be delivered, trying to find time to make each stop and be able to "visit" a bit then too. Unfortunately, I do have a couple customers who don't realize I have several other people I need to call on and I really don't have the luxury then of spending a minimum of an hour and often, as much as 2-3 hours at each stop I make! I'm taking suggestions too on how to delicately be able to end a sales visit and get back on the road quickly to the next place so if you have any ideas on that, feel free to give 'em to me! (I know -one would be to just not talk so much but man, that's a hard road to follow, ya know!)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Dressing Preparedly

This past weekend, the grandkids and their mother were here for Saturday evening and thru Sunday afternoon. We actually made it to church Sunday morning -surprise, surprise that I woke up in time to be able to get dressed and attend to some of the morning routines that are necessary for me to do before getting on with my day. That, my friends, for me can be a minor miracle!

Sunday afternoon though, be darned if I can remember where Mandy went but the kids and I took the dog for a walk and took some plastic bags along with us so that maybe -with two helpers in tow- it would give me a chance to get some of the apples I've been watching develop for over the past 2 months or so and which now are nice and red, ready for the picking.

Well, first thing we had to do when we got down by the trees that produce these really good cooking apples was to figure out a way to sort of tie Sammy up so he wouldn't take off and pester the neighborhood, thus getting me in trouble then with the dog law officer, ya know.

So what I did was to loop the handle part of his leash over a roadside sign -the upper part of it -and that gave him plenty of lead to stroll around in the grass along the side of the road and still be close enough to the kids and me that he wouldn't start to cry or howl, thinking he was being left behind.

Then I gave Maya and Kurt instructions that I would take this big piece of dead  branch I found in the woods by the road and try to hit at the branches where the apples were most plentiful and they -Maya and Kurt -would be in charge of "chasing" down the apples and putting them in the bags we'd brought with us.

Good idea in theory except Maya refused completely to walk out into the grass under the trees as she couldn't see what was under the grass (which was a bit longer than she is used to in our yard) and besides, she had her flip-flops on and they wouldn't protect her feet to do something like that. So, Maya was put in charge then of holding the bag and trying to help give Kurtis directions as to where the apples had landed on the ground that I (Grammy) had knocked down from the tree! Good plan in theory except that I forgot following directions of that type definitely is not one of Kurt's strong points.

It too a while to accrue enough apples to have made our venture worthwhile but finally we went home with about 30 nice little cooking apples for me to peel later Sunday night and cook up into a decent sized batch of applesauce which I plan to bag in quart-sized zip lock baggies and then freeze for use this winter!

Nice way to set some good, slightly warmed up applesauce on the table with a meal that way and very inexpensive then too!

Well, later Sunday afternoon, I got my son to come down with his truck and go do to those apple trees again because to reach the really nice, bigger apples and knock them down, I needed a few more inches of height on me and I figured if it hadn't happened in the past  69 years, a growth spurt sure as heck wasn't about to show up in me now!

Well, if we didn't look a sight though with him standing on the bed of his truck -all 6 ft 2 inches of him -holding on to this branch I'd found and swatting crazily at the tree branches to send a bunch of apples flying off into the high grass beneath the tree for me to go and root and pick up the apples and put them into another plastic bag to take home.

We did manage to get a few more apples that I got earlier and once home, I counted 'em and there were 50 apples in the container for me to peel and cook down into more applesauce.

Last night, I did that but only got 25 of the apples peeled and cooked up. The other 25 apples are going to have to wait a day or two for me to get to making applesauce with them as I have a bunch of other things that I have to get done first.

And tonight, my neighbor down at the end of the road stopped by and dropped off two nice sized buckets of apples from the Red Delicious apple trees she has in her back yard and these babies were larger -much larger -than those from the other trees Clayton and the kids and I had raided. So now, I have probably 50-60 MORE apples to peel and cook up, just waiting for me to get the time needed to do that.

If this keeps up though, all this cleaning, peeling, cooking, etc., with these apples, I may have to invest in some protective clothing to wear while gathering and then getting the apples all cooked up. Maybe something like a pair of tyvek coveralls would be a wise investment for doing chores like that.

Although, if we had something like that to wear -especially my son -and with him standing on the bed of his pickup truck swinging a big tree branch at a tree, I'm thinking some passersby might get scared and think it was some invader from outer space come to earth to steal apples! Cause boy, as tall and skinny as my son is in coveralls all white like those are, he sure could look that part I think!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Wonderful Weekend!

Ever have one of those times  when you really wish you could replay the entire event?

I have to say that this past weekend was, for me, one of those times.

Mandy and the grandkids -Maya and Kurtis -arrived here Saturday afternoon. Saturday evening, Mandy and I went to Tofttrees in State College for my "Celebrate the Season" Avon sales meeting. Sunday morning, I actually woke up early enough to be able to get ready to make it to church after which, we came home and Mandy fixed breakfast (bacon, scrambled eggs -for those who wanted eggs -and French toast) and then, after she and the kids left to go back to Middletown, I had a great time with my son as I rode over with him to pick up his big truck to be ready to start his work week early-early this morning. On the way over to his workplace, we stopped in Clearfield and had a great supper at the Panda Gourmet Buffet and then, I got to ride in a big 18-wheeler coal bucket!

It was so nice having the grandkids here, even if it was only for about 24 hours. Both kids seem to be adjusting very well -so far anyway -to the changes with their moving to Middletown. Kurt is having some issues that are going to have to be checked out though. His teacher was very concerned in that he appears to be "zoning out" frequently in class and she's wondering if perhaps he might be experiencing some type of petit mal seizures or something like that. So Mandy's going to have to look into this and get it checked out.

Maya had testing done in school this year (as did all her current classmates) for musical aptitude and she tested that a clarinet would be a good item for her to take lessons and learn to play. Lucky for her, Mandy's boyfriend's father played the clarinet and happened to have one which he loaned to Maya to use to learn on it.

She brought the clarinet up here with her this weekend but unfortunately, had a lot of difficulty trying to show me what she had learned about the instrument -other than she had learned how to put it together and all the little quirky, maintenance type things one has to do when putting a clarinet together. She tried to demonstrate her ability to get a note out -kind of is a "Johnny-One-Note" musician in that aspect right now, ya know -but she couldn't get the mouth and the instrument to coordinate and cooperate. That upset her to the point then that she was whining about how she wished she could have taken flute lessons or trumpet lessons because trumpets only have three buttons to push, ya know. And on and on about how terrible the clarinet is, so difficult, and how much better ANY other instrument would be for her. A typical obsessive type rant for her when she doesn't want to do the work involved in learning something new!

Before they left, I told Mandy to be sure NOT to let Maya win the battle of whether to keep trying with the clarinet or not because each time a concession is made to Maya because whatever it is she is to be learning is a bit of work to get the hang of it, the more she will try to always take the easiest route and not have any real ambition then to learn a multitude of things as she grows. All kids, I think, tend to be like that and those with obsessions (like Maya has a bent to do) use it perhaps even more to get out of things.

But anyway, aside from all of those things with the family, there was something else that happened on Saturday that made that day ultra-ultra special for me!

As Mandy was pulling up in front of the house in our parking area, a nice new gray Honda pulled up and the driver called out to Mandy, asking if she could tell him where "Jennifer Ertmer lives?" Mandy pointed to my house and told this man, "Right there!"

So, he pulled into the parking area and Sammy -the mutt -was by that time, alerting me there was an unknown vehicle by our place. I happened to look out the front door just as the driver of this car got out and stood up and my mouth dropped as I recognized the man IMMEDIATELY!

It was a guy who graduated high school two years ahead of me but who had been a member of our church back then and also, had been organist and choir director at our church for about 3 years back in the good old days ya know. He and my neighbor down the street (Kate) and I -along with Kate's sister, Louise, her brother Bob and I were frequently together for church activities. Plus, his senior year in high school, he had study hall with about seven other girls from my class and me and he was really quite the entertainment for us back in those days too.

Who was this "mystery" visitor to my life, you ask? Well, I was so excited to see him, I did something I very rarely do. I asked Mandy to go get my camera and to take a picture or two of me standing with him! (I hate having my picture taken so this was quite the leap for me to take, trust me!)

And anyway, here -for your viewing pleasure - I will share the pictures of my brief visit here with the notorious Eugene A. Larson, formerly from Lanse, PA, graduate of West Branch High School class of 1960, graduate of Grove City College and now a resident of an island off the coast of the state of Washington in the Seattle area. (At least, I think it's the Seattle region.) And, trust me when I tell you, Gene looks very much the same today as he did 53 years ago too! Personality-wise, he hasn't changed either -not a whit!

The lady who was with Gene Saturday, is his cousin, Gertie -who is a very good friend of mine and who lives about two miles from my place. She keeps in touch with him and then tries to keep me semi-informed too as to what's going on in his life out in Washington. He's been married for close to 50 years now, has three daughters and several grandchildren too. That much I do know. I think I've seen him only maybe 2, possibly 3 times, since about 1964 although he hasn't lived out on the Pacific coast all that length of time but just that the times when he was home visiting his Dad and when I was around home too back in the 60s just rarely jived.

But at any rate, it was something that totally made this weekend complete for me on the happiness scale! Having my grandkids here, sharing some quality time with my son, the holiday sales meeting for Avon where I lucked out and won a beautiful red fleece blanket with an extra soft, plushy lining, along with a couple other little goodies in the Avon product line too -and then, having had the surprise visit with Gene.

Can't really get very much better than that!