Monday, October 19, 2009

Odds and Ends

323 Days Left

The weather has been really lousy lately.  Except today.  Today was one of those glorious fall days that make you love the northeast: Bright sun, crisp air and such beautiful colors on the trees and bushes.  Sometimes you have to just go out and breathe deeply and relish the day.  It feeds your spirit.

It seems our dear beloved cat Homer is getting old.  It makes me very sad.  I have always loved that he sits with me and follows me around.  In fact, right now he is laying by my feet on the floor.  He talks to me, listens to me when I talk to him, flushes the toilet when he wants a drink and is generally the best cat ever.



He had a bout with diabetes the year we went to Alaska.  The vet says it was most likely caused by the stress of us being away for nearly a month.  We had to give him insulin shots twice a day for about 6 months.  Then his blood sugar went back to normal.  But his diet has been permanently altered.  He can no longer have dry food.  So we have a special canned food for him.  We add glucosamine to his food because his joints are painful to him. 

It doesn't matter if you are human or not, when you have good health, you have everything.  He is on my mind because we are leaving for a few days soon and he will be mostly alone.  Our dear nephew comes by twice a day to feed him and spend time with him while we are gone. But as we start packing our bags, Homer knows.  He parks himself on the side of the hallway and refuses to sit with either of us.  He is on alert - knowing we are leaving and he usually tries to run out of the house before we go.

He just came over to get petted and see what I'm writing about him.  His purr is really loud as I pick him up and put him on my lap.  Well, that lasted about 30 seconds! 

Now that he is gone, I can tell you that his bathroom habits leave something to be desired.  He is not as neat or as accurate as he once was.  And sometimes he decides he'd rather go somewhere else.  But I'd better not let him catch me talking about it.  All in all - I'm glad he found Steve those many years ago.  And I'm glad Steve coaxed him into our lives.  He has been a wonderful companion - and I hope he is for many years to come.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Gift From Bill

335 Days Left



He took this photo of me on Saturday at Muhlenberg.  Notice the official field pass!

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A New Skill

336 days to go.

In the last few weeks I have been going to sporting events with Bill and manning a camera.  By and large, I have been mostly taking up space.  I come home and view the photos I took and am sorely disappointed. 

Example 1:


Not bad composition - but IT IS OUT OF FOCUS!!!

Example 2:




In focus - but MISSED THE PLAY!!!

Then the ultimate faux pas

Example 3:





THE CAMERA IS SET WRONG!!!  I didn't change it with the light.  Doh!

So today I had another chance.  We had a JV football game and I thought I made some serious progress.  But the time between finishing the event and getting home and viewing the photos was long, and time enough to doubt.  So it was with some angst that I started viewing them. 

I am pleasantly surprised.  There are more good photos than before (notice I didn't say more good than bad).  And I actually photographed two series and kept the blokes in focus!  You have no idea what a challenge that is!

Here is a favorite from today:



Pretty cool, huh?

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

344 days to go!

Bill and I were coming home from a visit and just before our road we saw an all too familiar sight. There was a deer that had been hit by a car on the side of the road. It was just around the corner from our road and we had the "Who is responsible to remove road kill?" discussion. Is it the homeowner, do you call the police, is there a game warden?

Game warden - Reminds me of a situation when I was living in Maine. We were driving back home to the Air Force base on the only road between the radar site and the base. We came upon a crowd gathered across the road and expected to see a terrible accident. It was terrible - a caribou (imagine a cross between a deer and a moose - moose not mouse) had been hit by a vehicle. It was still alive but desperately hurt. By the time we got there, the game warden had arrived and the discussion was about how to get this animal out of its misery. Finally, Lew said (for any who don't know, Lew is my ex-husband) to the GW - "You have a gun, please, take care of it." The GW says, "I don't want to kill it - you do it" and he tries to hand the gun to Lew!! Mind you, he didn't know us at all! Lew puts his hands up and says, "we're outta here!". We got back in the car and I actually don't remember where we went - probably drove around the group and went home.
Anyway - back to my story. The next morning as I was going to church I looked to where the dead deer was and saw 15 turkey vultures sitting on the lawn. One was on top of the dead deer, the rest were pretending they didn't know what was going on. "Nope, I don't see anything. He's the one - we're just sitting here minding our own business" And for good measure, they hopped and looked away. I was amazed. In all the time we've lived here, I have never seen more than one turkey vulture. The one I saw was sitting on our neighbor's roof - resting one really frosty fall morning. By the way - they have a really ugly face! So I go on my way.

After church, I glanced over to the road kill and was shocked at what I saw. I had only been gone about 2 hours.





By the end of the day, there was nothing but bones. Amazing! (No, I didn't take a photo of the cleaned bones. Actually - I didn't think of it!). Nature at its finest. Reuse, reduce, recycle.

You don't believe me that a turkey vulture is ugly? Like the saying "so ugly only a mother could love ...." Beautiful bird - one ugly face!



The whole thing was too cool!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fatness

349 days left

I can't figure out why I am having such trouble finding something to write about. My brother (whose birthday I forgot) nudged me about not writing today. The big 59 day came and went without any angst. So it isn't that. I think I've just been busy with stuff - and when I am, I don't spend time thinking about anything. I'm busy doing.

Part of what I'm not thinking about is losing weight. Actually, it is almost all I think about. I HAVE TO LOSE WEIGHT!!!!! My fatness is driving me crazy. It has been about 4 years since I really started putting on the pounds. At least I think it is 4 years. Wow - maybe it is longer..... Anyway, I am planning a new regimen, and am working a part of it already. It is important that Bill and I do this together. Why, you ask? Because we both have health issues that will go away if and when we lose weight. I have a fatty liver, he has high blood pressure - YUCH!

Bill is bicycling! Or he will be when he finds a bicycle that fits him.

Notice the One Way sign! He is so cute.....

So - we have serious, significant weight to lose. I may work my way into bicycling, but at this point I have it in my head that I'm going to fall and rip all the skin off my arms and legs. At some point when that fear dissipates, then I can ride. For now, I am walking outside. I was using the treadmill until we had our basement floods and leaks. Always, always, always the leaks are over and around the exercise equipment (giving me a good excuse to take a break). We can no longer be cavalier about our commitment.

Now we embark on our journey to healthy bodies! I wonder why it is so difficult......

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Friday, September 4, 2009

September is Special

368 days left

I love September - school starts, flowers and vegetables are bursting out of the garden and the leaves turn those fabulous autumn colors. But what I like best about September is the crisp air, fall sports, apple harvesting and school supplies. Did you know that almost every September day is a celebration day? We celebrate the newspaper carrier day today. In case you missed it, Wednesday was National Blueberry popsicle day. And tomorrow is National Cheese Pizza day. Bill is so happy that we didn't miss pizza day......

The whole month is incredibly important. Where would we be without the special remembrances that fall to September?
•Baby Safety Month
•Better Breakfast Month
•Cable TV Month
•Children's Eye Health and Safety Month (not to be confused with BABY safety)
•Classical Music Month (competing with cable tv - tough one)
•Library Card Sign-Up Month
•National Chicken Month (do chicken really need a month? )
•National Courtesy Month (you're welcome)
•National Honey Month (food or people?)
•National Pediculosis Prevention Month (WTH? - this means HEAD LICE!!!!)
•National Piano Month
•National Rice Month
•National School Success Month
•National Sewing Month
•Read-A-New-Book Month
•Women of Achievement Month

There are so many family birthdays and anniversaries in September, I thought I’d match them to national days.

Jackie’s birthday – Sept 6 – Read a Book Day (bookworm 1)
Katie J’s birthday – Sept 8 – International Literacy Day (bookworm 2)
My birthday – Sept 8 – Pardon Day (think Richard Nixon – Gerald Ford, argh!)
Andy’s birthday – Sept 9 – Teddy Bear Day (aw…… reminds me of orange bear)
Pam’s birthday – Sept 10 – Swap Ideas Day (Freecycle alive and well)
Pam & Brian’s anniversary – Sept 10 – TV Dinner Day (‘Nuff said – LOL)
Dave’s birthday – Sept 11 – Make Your Bed Day (OR how to be a great husband..)
Bryan’s birthday – Sept 12 – National Chocolate Milkshake Day (great day)
Beverly’s birthday – Sept 14 – First Department Store opens (if you know Bev..)
Dann & Lisa’s anniversary – Sept 16 – National Working Parents Day (always working)
Katie B’s birthday – Sept 17 – National Apple Dumpling Day (mmmmm)
Someone should have this birthday – Sept 19 – Talk Like a Pirate Day (arrrrgh!)
Jim’s birthday – Sept 20 – First Railroad Station Opened, Sophia Loren’s birthday (Va-va-va-voom)
Nathan’s birthday – Sept 21 – Miniature Golf Day (can’t wait to take him)
Evan & Donna’s anniversary – Sept 24 – National Bluebird of Happiness Day (so sweet!)
Amanda’s birthday – Sept 29 – Scotland Yard was formed (this fits you Amanda!)

Celebrate the month (head lice? I think not), buy some pencils and pick some apples. That reminds me - it's time to make applesauce.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quotes

373 days left

Quote (from Mad men) that if you use it will get you in trouble:
  • he says "I don't want to have a fight right now."
  • she says "Then stop talking."
I think my favorite movie quote is from Gone With The Wind:
  • Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

Lots of quotes don't even need to to be sourced. How about these:

  1. Bond, James Bond
  2. Go ahead.... make my day.
  3. You can't handle the truth
  4. I'll be back
  5. Here's looking at you, kid
  6. May the force be with you
  7. There's no place like home
  8. I'll make him an offer he can't refuse
  9. ET phone home
  10. Show me the money
  11. You had me at Hello
  12. Yo, Adrian
  13. Elementary my dear Watson
  14. I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.
  15. Play is again, Sam.
  16. Fasten your seat belt, its going to be a bumpy ride.
  17. What we have here is a failure to communicate.
  18. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
  19. You talkin' to me?
  20. They're here.
  21. Wax on, wax off.
  22. That's classified. If I tell you, I'd have to kill you.
  23. Houston, we have a problem.
  24. Stupid is as stupid does.

I get on a theme and sometimes can't let it go. So I'll stop my list here.

Which is your favorite? Can you guess all the movies? If you get stuck - email me.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wheels of Time

374 days left.

Every year there is a show in Macungie where car collectors bring their old, fixed up "beauties" and drive them around the town. Some are really fun and others bring back a variety of memories. Most of the cars are 40+ years old.

It got me thinking about memorabilia, collectibles and antiques. What do you suppose will be the collectibles from today in 50 years? I've got this list of things that I just might squirrel away in the hope of future value. At least I would if I had any of them. How about the original Ipod? VHS tapes, Pfalzcraft white dishes (the original thick ones, not the current thin ones), "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" first edition, "Eragon" first edition, maybe any printed books, Original Igloo cooler, film cameras, Bill's Pathfinder, silk flowers, IPhone, Wii (or any current game system). Will the pen and pencil be gone? Will everything be digitally rendered? What other new technologies will blossom from the Internet?

I've started taking pictures around town to record the way things are now. In the 15 years we've been in our house, the landscape has changed from farm land to developments. Strip malls are now along Rt 100, fast food chains within 3 miles of our house (which used to be in the middle of nowhere), three new schools built, Walmart, etc. The point is as we go about our day to day lives, big and little changes happen and before you know it, you don't recognize the place. Ten years ago (or was it 11?) we went to Minot Air Force Base for a wedding. I lived there in 1974-75. In roughly 25 years, even the base had changed that I couldn't find the house where we lived.

Most things that are collectible today, I have no interest in collecting - but I do like to see them. One fun collection is lunch boxes. I don't know if you had one, but I had a red plaid metal lunch box with a matching thermos. It fit inside the square body of the lunch box and was held in place by a metal hook. The inside of the box was all white and shiny. There was room for a sandwich, Tastycake and an apple. The apple always smashed the sandwich and the Tastycake. The sandwich was in a wax paper bag. It was usually Lebanon bologna and Miracle whip. There was milk in the thermos (luke cold).

I can still smell it. I didn't like the smell then, I don't like it now!!! I would never have believed that anyone would collect lunchboxes. So I ask you again what will be collectible in 50 years???

I really have no vision - or I would have collected Pez dispensers!

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Facebook, Twitter, My Space, etc.

379 days left.

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace - I've tried them all including the 'professional' one LinkedIn. With both Twitter and MySpace I ended up with these strange and weird people following me or asking to "talk" to me. Okay - maybe they aren't weird: what do you think about names like "hardbodier55r" and "actressgirld33" and "xoxolauren13737"? I'm holding out for strange at least. I suspect their goal has to do with the number of people following them. Sorry, not interested.

LinkedIn is different. It is a sort of online resume where you and your business associates connect, find out who is hiring, and you can find out who knows who (or is it whom?). Get it? You're linked in! The really funny part is that people swap recommendations. What I mean is, you'll see a dynamite recommendation FOR Mary by Tom - and on Tom's page you'll find a terrific recommendation BY Mary. It has been fun connecting with former colleagues, finding out where they've landed and how they're doing. I think you can do much harm on all these sites if you ever forget that your information is floating out in cyberspace and available for all to see.

To date, my favorite is Facebook. Our family is quite scattered across the world, and Facebook helps us keep in touch. You don't have to make 10 phone calls to share daily news - and frankly you're likely to not make those calls about soccer games, books you finish or fun you've had. I've found high school friends! I get to share photos and videos of our life and get to see how their lives have turned out. But things move through so quickly that it is easy to miss fun or important news.

Here is something I don't want you to miss. I want you to see my video. It is 25 seconds from our lives. Nathan and Pop-pop were having a silly time with blocks. Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday

383 days left

Yesterday was Wednesday. I used to think of it as "hump day" - the day that once complete meant there were just two days left to the weekend. Then we would be off work, could live our life, have fun, do stuff. Now I think of it a little differently. More like "Oh, dear, another week gone!"

I really haven't been very successful at accomplishing things. I used to be better at motivating myself. The "to do" list that I created when I was laid off most likely is intact - I'll let you know when I find it. I'm developing a Margaritaville mentality - not like wasting away - more like - trabajar manana.

I get sidetracked with things that are so much more important. I get email letters from distant loved ones to answer. Then there are phone calls from friends and family. And if I'm really lucky, we visit or get a visit from someone (especially love when it is our grandchildren!). And there is that book I'm reading, my sudoku puzzle..... Now with all those interruptions :) how am I to get things crossed off the list I can't find?

And with a new day comes a new resolve - I plan to find my list and get cracking on it tomorrow. I really mean it. (Picture the Cheshire cat.....)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Where All The Children Are Above Average"

387 days left.

Recently I thought about a favorite quote - from Garrison Keillor about Lake Wobegone people.

"...where all the women are stong, all the men are good-looking and all the children are above average." It makes me chuckle every time I hear it. Isn't that how we view our families?

Between Bill and I we have a huge family. There are 6 brothers and 5 sisters, 6 sons and 1 daughter, 4 grandsons and 3 granddaughters, 1 great grandson. This is not including our beloved in-laws at every level either (11 sib in-law, 4 child in-law and 1 grand in-law). I won't even attempt to count up the children, grands and greats of our siblings. However, I can honestly tell you - all the men are good looking, all the women are strong (and good looking) and all the children are above-average (and good looking)!

I am crazy in love with all those people - including the children, grands and greats of our siblings. They are all so smart, so handsome / beautiful and so clever and dynamic that I prefer spending time with them (and there are a lot of them!) than most anyone else.

The older I get, the more I marvel at those I love. There are engineers, sales people, entrepreneurs, plant managers, vice presidents, military people, nurses, psychologist, laborers, students, soccer stars, guitarist, pianists, ballerinas, runners, baseball players, softball players, athletes, and little ones going about the business of growing. There are PhDs, MBAs, BAs, BSNs, RNs, LPNs, etc. So diverse, yet there is one thing in common - I love them all!!!

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Always Weird or Newly Weird?

I find that the older I get the weirder I am. Or maybe I'm just noticing things that were always there.

Take tonight for instance. We have tickets to the local AAA baseball game. I usually carry a backpack with ponchos, an umbrella, suntan lotion, binoculars, a camera and other silly things "just in case I need them". As we rode in the car to the game, I decided to remove the ponchos, lotion and umbrella and leave them in the car - after all it was a 7:00 game and the sky was blue.
(Sidebar: There was a player for the other team that Bill photographed at Messiah College a few years ago. He hit a home run!)

So as the game progresses, I notice the sky getting darker and darker. I check the weather map on my phone and the storm is coming our direction. I am now convinced that lightening and heavy rain are on the way and we have to leave. Bill is a good sport and I am the baseball fan - so he's fine if I want to leave. So we did.

You can guess that the storm never happened and golly - could the sky have gotten darker cause it was NIGHT???

I told you - I'm getting weirder all the time.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tech No Savvy

Last week my big computer flat screen died. The worst part is - it had the speakers for my computer. I went soundless for a few days but then today I found Bose speakers for $60 and they are GREAT! But good grief, it took me an hour to connect two plugs (had to read all the directions). While I was at it, I got a webcam. I couldn't understand why everything is out-of-focus. I was ready to box it up and return it. Turns out - it is manual focus! Doh!

I keep trying to keep up with all the technology changes. Part of me wants to be "hip" or "cool" - but trust me, I know better. I find that technology is not keep-upable. I lag the market and at some point catch up to the rear.

Reminds me of a shirt I saw. It said "I handle wild animals for a living. If you see me running - KEEP UP!"

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What am I doing???

I thought it might be interesting or at least fun to document the last year in my 50's. Yikes! I'm turning 60 in 13 months. That's just next year!! Just writing that surprises me. And all my thoughts why are nothing short of ordinary.

1. Where did all the years go? It doesn't seem like so many have passed by.
2. I don't feel any different than I did when I was 20. (Partial lie).
3. I thought being 60 would mean I was comfortable with myself.
4. There should be so many more things I know how to do.
5. When did I stop playing touch football?

I don't know exactly how this will turn out. I'm not crazy about a daily journal or the reporting of inane "I" thoughts and feelings. I'm hoping this blog will help me relish the beginning of my new decade.