just wait, it's coming! dddragon presents: Is Anything Truly Random?

Friday, September 30, 2005

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas ...

The catalog company that I work for sells many personalized items. For example, Treat Bags for Halloween. We sold out of them about a week and a half ago. The company transferred stock from the retail store inventory, so now we'll have two of the three styles for a couple of days.

The newest catalog was delivered about a week ago. It has a Halloween cover, but starting around page seven are some Christmas items ~ the ever-popular personalized quilted Christmas stockings!!

On Monday I was told that we sold over 800 Xmas stockings over the weekend. Then a supervisor said "oh, that was just one day's total!!" All week about every third call that I got indeed included at least one stocking, many have more than one stocking in the order.

So, now when people call in their orders, I jokingly say, "and nothing for Christmas?" People laugh and say that they're not ready for that yet. Then I tell them that we sold over 800 last weekend. Sometimes they'll talk about how crazy that is (and I'll agree with them) but others will take it more seriously - "You're kidding! Ohmigosh, maybe I should think about this ..."

Well, to be honest, it does help my RPC (revenue per call). Normally I don't think about trying to push the RPC. If customers want to hear about phone specials, then fine, but I certainly understand if they don't and I don't push. I'm not going to get fired over a low RPC. I'm a polite and helpful sales associate and many of my customers tell me so.

But I have to admit that after the first customer reacted to my "800" story and bought a stocking that I have continued with it. Is that bad? After all, not everyone buys. No one is forced into buying them. Part of my thinks it's funny. Part of me is feeling a tad naughty.

I had another take on this "story" today. A woman called to get a Treat Bag for her son. I asked if she had thought ahead to Xmas. She had not. I told her my little "we sold so many..." story. She said that she really wasn't thinking about stockings and such yet (ah, a practical woman...) but then she said that her son's birthday was coming up, would I mind letting her flip thru the catalog.

Well, of course not.

Then she found the train bedding. Ordered a full/queen size quilt and two matching shams for her son who will be three in December. So a $25 order became a $235 order. I can just hear my supervisor now "... now THAT's the way to increase sales!!!"

Okay, now I AM feeling evil ....

DON'T FORGET to vote for tanlucypez to be Doug's Wednesday Guest! See the blogspot poll to the right.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Vote Early and Vote Often

I have added a blogspot poll to the right. The question, as you can see, is whether or not we all think that TanLucyPez should be Doug/Waking Ambrose's Special Guest some coming Wednesday. (And we should note that it should be a sooner rather than later Wednesday, just to be specific.)

So, be sure to vote!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Random Photo

TLP Halloween 1980

I don't know why that old album is on the shelf above my PC, but it's got some FUNNY photos in it!

hee hee!

Take Home Exam

We got our first take home test last night. Instead of getting a start on it, I'll share a bit about the class.
Circle of Courage
Last week the instructor gave us a copy of this article. Essentially, it is about how Native Americans raised their children and how White Europeans messed them up. Now the Native Americans are striving to fix the problem. If you liked the first part of the article, see installments two, three, and four.

Then last night we saw a video "Beyond the Standards Movement" by Alfie Kohn. He contends that all these standardized tests that are given in schools today are actually making things worse. I don't remember him actually naming the "No Child Left Behind" legislation and I didn't see the videos date, but it sure does apply. Some highlights:
  • These tests focus on a child's performance, not what was learned.
  • Learning becomes a chore, instead of an exercise in satisfying a child's natural curiosity.
  • Children become focused on scores and attribute their self-worth or image to those scores rather than the effort they put into learning or studying.
  • Children do not learn to cope with failing scores and are devastated by failure.
  • Children chose the easiest path or task in order to get higher scores.
  • The quality of learning suffers. Kids are given answers to memorize, rather than learn to ask for help and to learn how to get to the answer themselves.
  • The point is to do well, not to learn how to learn.
  • Multiple Choice tests do not give a child a chance to explain their reasoning.
  • Timed tests test speed, not truly whether or not the child can answer.
  • Tests are given too frequently. Not all kids can be at the same place of learning or development at the same time. Also, these tests stress kids out.
  • These tests measure "forgettable facts" that most adults don't know - kids are coughing up answers.
  • These tests rank and sort kids; don't tell us what the kids truly know.
  • Kids are taught to the test, not to what they should know. Teachers may deny this, but most parents can tell you this is true.
  • The USA tests school children more often than any other nation on this planet.
  • Schools are directed by politicians rather than educators.

It's frustrating to take this course on Education and see how things COULD be. Our professor said that a large number (I think he said half) of teachers quit the profession after five years. Of course, no profession is perfect and all have their problems. However, our children are our future (not to be too corny) and we should take better care that we aren't churning out citizens that won't truly be able to take care of us (or themselves) when we are old.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Rock the Capital

PA Clean Sweep Sheep

This afternoon is the rally to Rock the Capital. Actonbell and I have made reference in past posts about how our legislators voted themselves a payraise, in the middle of the night last summer.

Well, maybe our lawmakers thought that we voters would forget about it. When we didn't, some of them tried to give reasons for it. Others tell us that they didn't vote for it, and that they refuse it (but we notice that they don't speak up against it, either!!)

Radio Personality Bob Durgin has helped to keep this issue in the news. Today he is delivering boxes of petitions to the Capital: http://www.whp580.com/Durginstuff.html

I went over to Harrisburg for about an hour. I've never seen so many people of so many backgrounds meet for a common goal - Republicans, Democrats and the other Parties, Older and Younger folk, religious folk, people in suits and people in worn-out jeans and t-shirts. It was really neat!

A friend of mine is involved in PA Clean Sweep, which wants to pretty much get rid of every single lawmaker and replace them with someone who has never served before.

lots of tv and radio journalists and cameras lotsa news trucks

a Joan Baez sound-alike people being photographed or taped or interviewed everywhere

more news vans - CH.3 is from Philly

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Just Gotta Brag

A while back on Goa'uld's blog I commented that I had a secret that I couldn't tell. I didn't realize that it would take quite so long for the truth to come out officially. Now I can spill the beans.

At Back-to-School night on the 13th, our school district's Director of Education told DH and me that the PSSA test results were back and that Goa'uld had gotten a perfect score on the math portion of the test. The only one in the school, apparently. (An upperclassman had gotten a perfect score on the reading portion.) Goa'uld's reading scores were also very good - she got an "Advanced" assessment on that as well.

Being a parent of twins can be difficult - the kids are so different, and the way they express themselves is just as different. (I wasn't one who tested all that well on these sorts of standardized tests.) The Director of Education didn't say anything about Bookworm/Tok'ra's score. This probably didn't mean an thing, but of course I wondered.

Well, heck, her math and reading scores were also "Advanced". Okay, there is one area of math that she could work on, but every other area was either high in the "Target Range" or in the "Advanced Work Range." Worryin' fer nuthin' Shudda known better!

They've been at the field since 11:00 am, practicing with the Band for their first Tournament of Bands competition. I can hardly wait to show them their scores.

I am so SO proud of my girls!!

Sewer Excitement, Part Flush

Our front yard, already small, was mostly lumpy dirt after the last visit of the plumber/digger guys (the way our property line runs, the front yard is pretty narrow, but is double that in the back). We have been careful about toilet use (oh, ain't that just fun?!).

Finally, after a delay of two weeks, the plumbing/digging guys came back. They lifted a section of sidewalk and dug a hole between the tree and the street. Put in another new pipe. Ran a camera/probe through from the other access pipe. Pondered whether or not there was another crack or leak under the tree (the tree is almost 60 years old and we'd rather not lose it, even if I am allergic to it). Called the boss man. Called the boro inspection guy. Conferred. Finally, they decided that it was good to go.

And we were good to go, too. wooo - finally!!

The yard is still all torn up. They have to come back and grade it and seed it. They trimmed down the access pipe, but not enough (and WHY did they feel it necessary to spray paint it neon green?). A new sidewalk section will have to be poured. And the guys told us that we'll probably have to call them once or twice a year to have the line under the tree cleared out. Turns out that they think that this problem really, truly, isn't permanent. But since we had bought insurance for this very thing, the insurance will pay for the clean-outs.

In case you are pretty darn bored, here are the earlier installments of this saga, with more exciting photos:
Sewer Excitement, Part Turd
Sewer Excitement, Part Poo
Sewer Excitement

Oh, and in addtion to this, we got a letter from the Boro telling us that they noticed that our trees were hanging too low over the street. Yeah, and so are 80% of the other trees in the borough, and a good many belong to the borough itself!! I stopped by at a house a couple of blocks away - they were trimming their trees. I asked if they had gotten a letter. They had, and they told me that they had noticed that boro employees were trimming the trees in the parks the day before. Trying to get themselves up to code, eh? And later at the game, a photographer friend of DH's told me he got a tree-trim letter, too. So, we figure it was a mass-mailing (not that we have a big town). I wonder how many trees gave their lives for the paper for those letters. Anyway, you can see the branches that DH cut in the above photos. At least it hides some of the dirt.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Band, Part Tweet

Warning: the Audioblogger recording just below this post is PRETTY LOUD. Keep your volume down to start with. Remember that this is recorded over a cellphone connection. And know that I was sitting WAY TOO CLOSE - I'll remember to sit further away next time.

And now, about the recording:

It was hard to catch a recording of the Marching Band tonight. It takes a little while to log in to Audioblogger. I tried to anticipate when they would start up, and then I’d be there eating up minutes on my cellphone waiting. Finally I decided to just catch one without the beginning of the song. Bookworm/Tok’ra later complained that I had picked her least favorite song.

Our football team lost, 29 to 17. They played very poorly. The Band played very well.

Tomorrow night is the Band’s first Tournament of Bands competition (TOB). They have a four hour practice in the middle of the day.

I’m pretty pooped. I was chaperoning and sat too close to the percussion section – oh, those drums didn’t help my headache. So I’ll take a peek at some of your blogs, probably just do some lurking, then head off to bed.

‘night, y’all!

The Band, Part Toot

this is an audio post - click to play

We Just Need a Sample, Please

Back when Chatham was at the vet's, I mentioned that I had a story about DH getting a urine sample from him on command, twice.

Well, it's now up to three times.

First, in case you've never had to get a urine sample from a cat, let me tell you how it's done. The vet gives you a sample cup and a small bag of plastic pellets. You clean out the litter box of everything. It is recommended that you use the litter bags; put this over the box as usual (or per instructions if you haven't used them before). Instead of pouring in a lot of litter, you pour in the handful of plastic pellets. The idea being that it's pretty easy to pour urine out of plastic - after all, it's not being absorbed.

The pellets are supposed to be a subsitute for the litter. Like a cat can be fooled into pawing at a few ounces of plastic instead of digging into litter. Yeah, right.

Chatham got really frustrated by this. He didn't want to pretend squat in pretend litter. So he yowled and paced and got in and out of the box. Finally, DH himself got frustrated, lifted Chatham's tail and said "Go ahead and pee already!"

To his surprise, Chatham peed. DH caught the stream in the cup. So now, when the vet wants to check Chatham's urine, DH just follows him down and waits for him to pee. Chatham doesn't seem to mind.

P.S. As I type this, DH tells me that this is not all entirely true. He sez he doesn't command Chatham to pee. He just does it.

And I'm lighting a cyberspace candle for my Aunt Doris, who was born on this day, and passed away almost two years ago.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Happy Birthday, Dad!

A VERY happy birthday to my dear ol' Dad.

When I was about 8 or so, I finished my Froot Loops and took my bowl to the sink to pour out the leftover milk. Dad promptly told me that I was not going to waste all that milk. I had to drink it.

Now, I like milk. LOVE milk - but only when it is cold and pure. Not warm and sweetened. Unfortunately, Goa'uld wasn't born yet, so there wasn't anyone that I could pass that yukky stuff on to. So I had to drink it. Hated every drop. YUK.

Fast forward about ten years. I am a college student at Penn State. I am eating dry cereal and taking a sip of milk with each bite. Someone asks me the reason I eat my cereal like that. After hearing my tale, they point out that my dad isn't around and I could waste all the milk I wanted.

I tried it a few times. Went back to eating dry cereal and taking a sip of milk. And here I am, 46 year old, still eating my cereal that way.

I think it's really funny. Oh, sure, when I was a kid I was really unhappy about drinking that yukky, warm, sweet milk. But this is one of the influences that Dad has on me, and that's okay with me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hurricanes & Pennsylvania

In 1972, Hurricane Agnes caused massive flooding in Pennsylvania. The above photograph is of the Governor's Mansion, which sits along the Susquehanna River. (This photo is from here.)

This photo is of the Market Street Bridge from our side, the western side, of the River. (This photo is from here.)

Normally the Susquehanna is a broad, shallow river. It has been said that if you knew where to go, you could walk across it. When the Agnes system reached the north Atlantic states, the cloud cover and rain was far-reaching. People here told me that it rained here for 39 days and nights - straight.

Agnes was remembered by the "older" folks a good bit. The local library had framed photos of the flooding in the area. Some has even created a website for memories of Agnes in NE PA.

We moved to PA months afterwards. The news from this flood was but a blip on the news in Los Angeles. I never heard of it (I was about 13 then) until we moved here. Mom and dad looked at houses in Harrisburg that still had marks on the first floor walls from the flood. The Farm Show Building has marks on the wall noting how high the water was (and the Farm Show is several blocks from the River). You can be sure that my folks made sure that they bought a house that hadn't been affected!!

If you'd like to see more photos of the flooding Agnes caused, here's yet another site:
Susquehanna River Basin Flood Forecasting & Warning System.


Well, I took it slow and made changes one element at a time. I think that I'll stop now before I really mess up again.

And no, Doug, I didn't steal the background from Goa'uld. I stole it from someone else. THEN I altered it.

I smell that my microwave Band french bread pizza is done.

Oh, and Hoss, I've added Lighthouse Links to my sidebar.


Well, I spent WAY too much time last night redesigning my template, ran into problems with it, and then I couldn't get it to save my attempts at corrections. So I finally gave up.

This morning I find it back to the way it was before I changed it. Goa'uld tells me that she checked Blogger.com last night and they said that they were having problems.

So, later today when I have time (that I can't afford to "waste" here!) I'll try to get my blog back to the cooler way it was looking last night.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Lighthouse Challenges

I married a man who became a Lighthouse Nut. Most of our trips, Before Children, were travels to lighthouses. I've been to around 100 - I stopped counting when I got to the 80s. DH has been to more.

Six years ago the New Jersey Lighthouse Society started a Lighthouse Challenge. A few years ago the Chesapeake (MD) Bay Chapter of the US Lighthouse Society started their own. And this year the Long Island USLS has their first Challenge.

What is a Lighthouse Challenge? The Societies set up a list of land-based lighthouses and participants have the weekend to get to them all. When you get to one you get a stamp on the paper or book provided. This year the Maryland group gave out wooden coins, each with the lighthouse's image stamped on it. If you finished all six then you got a bigger wooden coin that stated you "Saw Them All"

Yesterday, shortly before 3 pm, he asked out of the blue if I wanted to go to Havre de Grace. The Cove Point Lighthouse is there (where the Susquehanna River officially ends) and it's about 2 hours away. So away we went. Spent about an hour and a half to get there, 15 or 20 minutes at the lighthouse, then went to have a seafood dinner.

Cove Point Lighthouse

Because our town now has an arts'n'craft festival on the same weekend, my DH has missed the MD Challenge (but he did it in earlier years). He plans on doing the new Long Island Challenge this year. He'll probably miss the NJ Challenge because of our Kid's Band appearances.

Plaque for end of Susquehanna River to the Chesapeake Bay Cannon used in battle w/ John O'Neill

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Friday Night Football

We (TLP, dad, Uncle Owen and I) were at the football game last night. We played the high school that dad and Owen's eldest brother graduated from, as well as two of my cousins. Probably other relatives, but I don't know.

Anyway, we murdered them. The final score was 49 to 6. And they scored right at the end, then lightening flashed across the sky and that was it - when lightening appears, game's over.

Our band sounded good, theirs was even smaller than ours. If the game hadn't been called for lightening there would have been a battle of the band because they repeated a song that our band had just finished and our drum major got peeved for some reason.

We all ran for the cars as the rain got harder very quickly. Luckily I was parked very nearby. I'm sure that TLP, dad and Owen got soaked to the bone. The rain was so hard that I could barely see to drive home. My folks live just a few blocks from the park with the football field, I'm maybe a mile away.

Our town is having an arts and craft festival today, and DH is already out there setting up. I'm about an hour behind, the wonderful guy let me sleep in. Someone had to be around to get Goa'uld and Bookworm/Tok'ra up, anyway. It's Band Booster Day and they've their own thing to do this morning.

Later, y'all!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Chatham's at the Vet's

Chatham at 10 weeks, 10 years and 17 years.

Chatham is at the vet's today. This morning I saw the symptoms of urinary tract blockage and/or infection, so I took him in right away. Urinary problems can kill a cat pretty quickly. He had his first trouble with it around 11 years ago and we monitored it for many years. It seemed like he was over it, but, alas, he's got it again. The vet says it was a good thing that I suspected it and brought him in, because later today Chatham would have been in dire straits.

Since he's 18 years old, we want to try and avoid anything that would lead to anesthesia. The vet was able to do a bit of manual "rotor rooting" (doesn't that sound awful). She'll keep Chatham all day and tomorrow, unless he seems too stressed to stay overnight, then he'd come home. She wants to see if he can urinate on his own.

Keepin' our fingers crossed, but I think he'll be okay since we caught it this early.

ADDENDUM: The vet called to say that Chatham "gave" her a good stream with lots of volume ~ lol ~ so she'd like him to come home tonight. Apparently he's been growling all day and she doesn't want him to be stressed any more than necessary. The last time he growled for hours he lost his voice. So, it's a new diet and more pills for the old boy for awhile. We'll have to keep an eye on his use of the litterbox. Since we've two cats, this is a challenge.

Remind me, if I haven't already, to tell y'all how DH got Chatham to give a urine sample on command. Twice.

ADDENDUM to the ADDENDUM: Chatham has spent most of his time home again under our bed, growling in a very low, very angry, very menacing manner.

Oh, yeah, Chatham left a little poopy gift on our bed. Doing laundry now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Laughing All the Way

First, in case you haven't already, visit TanLucyPez and catch up on what she was up to on Monday.

I've posted in the past about our groundhog woes. We caught one earlier this year after leaving the "have a heart" trap for a week. In the past we've always caught them and then taken them to a large park that has a semi-wild section that borders the Conodoquinet Creek.

We found that another one had moved in under the shed out back. The shed seems to attract 'em just about every year, but this year they have proven difficult to catch. The first one we caught this year would actually spend long periods of time sitting right next to the trap, taunting us. Like that.

This one wouldn't go near the trap. Even when my DH would seem to block every hole around the shed and leave one open that would lead into the trap, that darn groundhog would avoid it somehow.

I just spotted it eating the seed mess that the birds leave under the birdfeeders. He's lookin' pretty fat. He's got a good thing going.

Gus the Groundhog for the PA Lottery

And if you'd like to get a good thing going, visit Gus, the Groundhog Spokeshog for the PA Lottery. He's on tv commercials that show fairly frequently around here.

Scratch away!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I know somethin' y'all DON'T know . . .

. . . and I'm just dying of laughter!

Monday, September 12, 2005


Hey, Fred, this is a Distelfink. They're good luck signs.

You Know You're From or In Pennsylvania If . . .

A friend sent these to me - since I wasn't born here, not all apply to me. However, I do understand them all ~ and that's scary!

  1. You've never referred to Philadelphia as anything but "Philly." And New Jersey has always been "Jersey."
  2. You refer to Pennsylvania as "PA" (pronounced Peeay).
  3. You know what "Punxsutawney Phil" ( a Ground Hog ) is, and what it means if he sees his shadow.
  4. The first day of buck and the first day of doe season are school holidays.
  5. You can use the phrase "fire hall wedding reception" and not even bat an eye.
  6. You can't go to a wedding without hearing the "Chicken Dance," at least one Polka and either an Italian song (sung in Italian,) or "Hava Nagila."
  7. At least five people on your block have electric "candles" in all or most of their windows all year long.
  8. You know what a distelfink and a hex sign are.
  9. You know what a "State Store" is, and your out-of-state friends find it incredulous that you can't purchase liquor at the mini-mart.
  10. You own only three condiments: salt, pepper and Heinz ketchup.
  11. Words like "hoagie", "chipped ham", "sticky buns", "shoo-fly pie", "pierogies" and "pocketbook" actually mean something to you.
  12. You can eat cold pizza (even for breakfast) and know others who do the same.
  13. You not only have heard of Birch Beer, but you know it comes in several colors: Red, White, Brown, Gold.
  14. You know several places to purchase or that serve Scrapple, Summer Sausage (Lebanon Bologna), and Hot Bacon Dressing.
  15. You can eat a cold soft pretzel from a street vendor without fear and enjoy it.
  16. You know the difference between a cheesesteak & a pizza steak sandwich and a Primanti's, and know that you can't get a really good one outside PA. Also, it's not a Philly Cheesesteak, it's just a Cheesesteak.
  17. You live for summer, when street and county fairs signal the beginning of funnelcake season.
  18. Customers ask the waitress for "dippy eggs" for breakfast.
  19. You know that Moon, Paradise, Intercourse, Mars, and Slippery Rock are PA towns.
  20. You know what a township, borough, and commonwealth is.
  21. You can identify drivers from New York, New Jersey, Ohio, or other neighboring states by their unique and irritating driving habits.
  22. A traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a horse-drawn buggy on the highway in Lancaster County. Also, the sound of clip-clops does not bring you running to the window.
  23. You know several people who have hit deer more than once. (I haven't hit a deer, even once, but have seen plenty of dead deer along the road)
  24. You carry jumper cables in your car and your female passengers know how to use them.
  25. You still keep kitty litter, starting fluid, de-icer, or a snow brush in your trunk, even if you moved to the south.
  26. Driving is always better in winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
  27. As a kid you built snow forts and leaf piles that were taller than you were.
  28. Your graduating class consisted of mostly Polish, German, & Italian names.
  29. "You guys" and "ynz" is a perfectly acceptable reference to a group of men & women.
  30. You know how to respond to the question "Djeetyet?" (Didyoueatyet?)
  31. You learned to pronounce Bryn Mawr, Wilkes-Barre, Schuylkill, Bala Cynwyd, Conshohocken, and Monongahela.
  32. You know what a "Mummer" is, and are disappointed if you can't catch at least highlights of the parade.
  33. One of the highlights of your life was a field trip to Penn's Cave and Horseshoe Curve.
  34. You know exactly what to do when your mother tells you to "red up" your room.
  35. You don't think people from Philly or Pittsburgh talk funny. (i.e., in Philly, Coke is "soda" and in Pittsburgh it's "pop")
  36. You have an uncontrollable urge to buy bread and milk when you hear the word "snow."
  37. You can stop along the road to buy fruits, vegetables, or crafts on the "honor system."
  38. You live within two miles of a plant that makes potato chips, corn chips, pretzels, candy, or ice cream, or that packages turkeys, beans, or bologna. (York County Factory Tours)
  39. You say things like, "Outen the lights," "I'm calling off today," and "They're calling for snow."
  40. School closings due to snow take the radio and television stations a half an hour to finish, because just about every town has its own school district. And if you leave the room, you might miss your district and have to listen to the whole list again. (This is TRUE! Thank goodness for the internet, it makes it much quicker to find out if our school has closed)
  41. Elect pro-life Democrats and pro-choice Republicans for Governor.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Happy Birthday, Granny

ddd, Granny, Nivek and Actonbell
To answer Fred ~ Left to Right: ddd, Granny, Nevik and Actonbell.
AP3 wasn't around yet when this photo was taken.

Today Granny would have been 95 years old. She passed away four years ago, and I miss her a lot.

When I was around six or so, we lived around the corner of a long block from my Aunt Mary and my cousins Tommy and Fletcher. Fletcher was always in trouble, and this time he got me in trouble, too.

They had a large black dog named Cindy, who recently had puppies. Fletcher convinced me they needed a bath and he filled the wheelbarrow with water. I guess that I was ignorant enough that I didn't realize that puppies - their eyes were still shut - didn't need us to keep them clean. So we put them in the water and they yelped and doggie-paddled away. Aunt Mary came out and started yelling.

Fletcher and I ran like the dickens. We hopped on our tricycles - we had just gotten them for Xmas and they were identical (except HIS had fancy tassles on the handlebars and MINE didn't) and we pedaled like mad to get away.

For some reason, we didn't turn left to go up the slight incline to get around to my house. We turned right, which meant we would have to go around most of the block. But that's what we did. I remember pretty vividly being about half way up the other side of the block and turning around to find that Fletcher had fallen behind, and beyond him, in the middle of the street, was Aunt Mary, waving the flyswatter (that's what was used across the back of the legs) at us. Mary was a pretty good-sized woman, but she was gaining ground on Fletcher. I was scared and pedaled faster.

I reached my house, where Granny was with Actonbell and infant Nevik. I ran into the house, screaming that Aunt Mary was going to kill me, ran to the back of the house to my room and slammed the door shut.

I sat with my ear to the door, heart pounding so hard that I could barely hear. I could hear Granny speaking with Mary, and that Mary was angry.

Then it got quiet. I cautiously opened the door, and then crept to the front room. Granny looked at me. "Didn't you know that those puppies didn't need to have a bath?" she asked. I mutely shook my head. Granny sighed. "Well, they didn't, you could've drowned them. But they're okay, just don't do anything like that again."

So, that's my story of how Granny Saved Me.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Random Shot

Earlier this year, Goa'uld and Bookworm were confirmed at DH's church (they've been attending Catholic and Unitarian churches since they were preschoolers). I had Goa'uld's camera, but I had never used it before - and here you can tell. I never got a shot that I meant to.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Let Us Have Wedding Cake

the cake was actually many - one small cake and many many cupcakes

In light of the recent stupidity coming from various corners of this nation, I would like to take a moment to recognize and celebrate my sister AP3 & Em's wedding 15 months ago.

So, when you have something sweet today, think of them and wish them many years of legally wedded bliss.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Cheaper by the Dozen

The High School's Fall play is Cheaper by the Dozen, and Bookworm has made the cast. Not all the roles have been determined as of this time.

The Marching Band makes its first home field performance tomorrow night. DH and I are chaperones (every parent has to chaperone at a game or a Tournament of Bands event twice during the Fall season).

Mom sent a email showing what Mona Lisa does when no one is looking. It's quite funny, but it seems to be a protected animated gif file. Can't save it. Drat.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Hear the Band

this is an audio post - click to play

The quality ain't so good - it IS a cellphone, after all. In the beginning there isn't any music - you can hear me say so! - and the sound of the tempo keeper is pretty loud. The kids are moving the whole time. I'm not very close, either (complain, complain, don't I?). There was a good bit of stopping to let the director or staff give direction or say something to the kids.

Today Goa'uld was the first to reach "Second Tier" for Ode to Joy, which means that she knows the music and movements by heart. Mr.Z was very pleased and came outside to tell me the news (I was in the van waiting for the end of school.)

When Goa'uld came out later and I told her about Mr.Z, she said, "yeah, a trombone player was first!"

I said "hey a freshman beat the seniors!"

"oh, yeah" she laughed.

Sewer Excitement, Part Turd

Well, I went out to get another plunger this weekend, so that we'd have one for each bathroom. Then I decided that the other one was old and overly-used, so I got two. Aren't they nifty, newfangled things?

Why, ask you, would dddragon need another plunger? Didn't she and her family already have this problem solved? (Sewer Excitement and Sewer Excitement, Part Poo).

AHHH, but we are NOT DONE!

Both toilets continued to need plunging all the long weekend. DH called the plumbing company again and they have investigated -- we have another break in the line. So, the line is cleaned up for now, and should last us a little while.

We may ultimately lose one of the two trees in the front yard. I hope not, I really like them, even if I'm allergic to them (I'm allergic to grass and Maple trees. Which are ALL over Pennsylvania.)

So, the Saga Continues. Stay tuned.

BTW, this is what our front yard looks like now. If you click on the picture to enlarge, notice the bare spot to the right of the house, next to the bushes. A couple of years ago, our backyard neighbor's toilet backed up and the plumber's camera showed an old tool blocking the line. That's when the boro discovered that there was an access going upwards. So they came and dug up our side yard to install a manhole cover.

Mind you, these houses and sewer system (terra cotta, mostly) were built in the late 1940s. So we've had that manhole cover there, not quite sure what to do with it. Also, just never getting around to it. (We'll probably put brick or fieldstone there.) We always wondered how often will someone actually need to open it up? Answer - two years, because when this Sewer Excitement all started, the plumbers opened it up again. I got to look down - it goes down 14 feet.

(And those poor, wimpy bushes. Planted them a year ago and they still aren't getting any bushier.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Got Nuthin' To Say

But they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a picture fer y'all.

left to right: me, Aunt Doris, Mom, Aunt Bonnie. Around 1964.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Eye Glasses & Other Stories

Thanks to Jamie Dawn for the inspiration for this story:

When I was in fifth grade the school nurse sent home a note saying that the school eye test warranted a visit to the eye doctor. Mom didn't really believe it - after all, how could HER daughter need glasses? (never mind every other family member wore glasses.) She thought that because some of my friends had gotten glasses recently that I also wanted them. But finally an appointment was made.

The doctor is peering into my eye with that little flashlight-kind of thing and asked me to read what I could from the Eye Chart.

I said "what chart?"

Mom sez "oh, dddragon!!"

The doctor turns to her and sez, "no, she really CAN'T see the chart."

For the first time in my life, my mom was speechless.

I'm pretty darn nearsighted, and it gets worse every year. Good thing lenses come in plastic, otherwise I would have pretty deep impressions on my nose. But I don't remember giving any thought about what glasses would do to me socially as I grew older. This was probably because I wasn't ever part of any "in" crowd. But then I really didn't care much - the whole Jordache and Sassoon jean thing seemed dumb to me. I had my group of SciFi/Trekker friends and we were cool together.

I can remember the first new pair of glasses that I got after we moved to Pennsylvania. We were driving along Front Street in Harrisburg, which borders the Susquehanna River. When I looked across the river I could see the windows on the houses over there. That made an impact on me that I can still remember.

Hoss posted an, ahem, interesting photo on his blog. The one of the little dog and the big dog.

oh, gawd, that reminds me that I was present at a stable when they were mating an Arabian stallion with a Thoroughbred mare - it was a similar situation.

Now, in case you don't already know, Arabians are small horses. Big on nobility and beauty, short on stature. Thoroughbreds are tall horses. You already getting the picture?

Well, this stallion was ALL excited about the mare. She couldn't care less. Just stood there chewing her hay. That little stallion could not reach her, no matter how hard he tried (no pun intended). Finally, the stablehands had to help. Locking arms behind the stallion's rear, they attempted to leverage him high enough to consummate.

Unfortunately, the mare, in her disinterest, took this opportunity to empty her bladder. Do you have ANY idea how many gallons a horse can pee? What must've been buckets of urine splattered everyone around.

All I could do was laugh. Then my ride was leaving, so I don't know if they ever got a successful mating.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Giving What You Can

DH and I have been discussing how to help with the Katrina relief. We're not flush with money and we always seem to have bad luck with appliances and cars (see my earlier posts: Sewer Excitement Part One and Part Poo, tho' we actually have insurance coverage on something for a change). Anyway, what with it costing $50 dollars to fill the van (no sh**, that's what it cost for 15.629 gallons!) and two kids, etc., we were discussing how much to send and to which organization.

Well, another opportunity has arisen. DH is a part-time photographer and one of his professional photo buddies, Charlie Smith, contacted us. Charlie is organizing a photo exhibit at the Midtown Cinema in Harrisburg, with photographers donating outright their framed photos and purchasers writing the checks out to either the Red Cross or Habitat for Humanity. I have some framed photos that I took a photography course at Penn State, so I'll also donate one. Not sure which one yet - I did a series based on trips to a local flea market.

skates for sale at flea market by dddragon

Oh, and I see that I've broken the 1500 milestone on the site meter! As Schnoodlepooh notes, some of us like to see comments and counts on our blogs!

LATER UPDATE: I have been the editor of newsletters for non-profits for some time now (I actually got paid for one for awhile!), and it will soon be ten years of editorship at my church. ANYWAY ~ my DH signed me up as a member of the local camera club so that I could become their newsletter editor. Three years ago he entered one issue into the Photographic Society of America's Bulletin Contest and I/we won Honorable Mention, Small Club division. Last year I won Second, and I just found out that I have again won Second Place. Yippee!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

States I've Been To

Ol' Hoss posted about a site where you can create maps of places you've been to. A bit of fun, eh?

dddragon's states

I visited Lousiana only "technically", since I was taken to New Orleans as an infant by mom. All these states were visited as we drove from southern California to Pennsylvania when we lived in the 'burbs of Los Angeles. And vice versa when we moved to PA. I'm not sure if we didn't go thru some extreme southern part of Idaho.

But it is a great way to see the country. Since it was before the current Gameboy and personal CD-player or ipod era, we truly did see the country roll by and experienced things each time we stopped.

I remember that Michigan was accidental. We got off the highway to find a McD's for lunch and when we returned to I saw a sign that said "Thank you for visiting..."

In DeMoines, Iowa, we stayed at a Holiday Inn. They used to be quite reliable and predictable. This one wasn't so great (did I remember that correctly, mom?). But the really memorable thing was that the lifeguard had gone to the same elementary school that AP3, Actonbell and Nivek Army Ranger Pez were going to in Pennsylvania.

I collected the paper placemats at restaurants, since they had the name and place printed on them, to serve as a bit of memoribilia. I've got several interesting rocks that I found at various rest stops in the desert areas. The first Dunkin' Donuts I ever saw was in Oklahoma City (in southern CA we had Winchells Donuts). OK City was also the last place to get a decent Mexican meal as we headed east. I also collected patches and sewed them on my jacket (if you caught the little movie that Doug created for me, you saw me in my yellow patch jacket at the end.) In fact, I still collect patches of places I've been to. I also collect Girl Scout Council patches.

On one of our trips heading east, we got caught in a flash flood. We followed in the wake of a Greyhound bus. The water just rolled off the hills. I think we were still in California, but perhaps we had just crossed over to Arizona. After driving a bit the water did recede, and I saw a couple of drowned cattle just off the road.

I remember NOT stopping at the Meteor Crater in Arizona. Not once. In ALL the times we passed the exit. Mom and dad DID visit it on their last vacation. So now I DO have a T-shirt from Meteor Crater.

Penn State Oh, and Penn State beat South Florida, 23-13.


The Band

Here is the brass section of our high school band. (It's about 7 pm at this point.) We're a small school district - last I heard there were about 1100 students K - 12. Goa'uld & Bookworm's 9th grade class is considered huge at 108. (Mind you, I graduated from the same school in 1977 and my graduating class size was 148. AP3's class was in the 80s when she graduated in 1986.)

There are 81 high school musicians and guard (flags, rifles, batons, etc.) plus the support staff and student managers. It seemed like the other school's band and football team had twice as many people as we did.

As I sat and watched the band and the game (more band than game, admittedly), I began to notice the large number of kids from the local town/school walking a circuit around the field. (The football field was surrounded by a four-lane track and then a chain link fence.) 'Round and round these kids went, during the whole game. After awhile a few turns it got so that we'd recognize many of the kids and I realized that I was seeing the same kids. Three hours of solid talking, mingling, cell phone chatting (it was so loud, I don't know how they heard the person on the phone) and eating. Quite the social event, it appears. This was way out in farm country, so all those John Deere hats were the real McCoy, not some fashion statement a city kid bought at the mall.

Update: And it's always great when you win! Score 28 to 27!


My previous post was courtesy of http://www.audioblogger.com/. You use your phone to record the message. I entered my cell phone so that I can post anywhere. Registering takes just a few minutes. Basically it entails entering your blog name and password and a phone number and picking a PIN number. An email will be sent to you with further instructions, which are the phone number (long distance, so you have that cost) and how to use.

It was my plan, and I did attempt, to record from the game. It was so loud there at times that I had a hard time hearing the prompts, and then I apparently didn't really press the # key to finalize the recording. I'll have to try again some other time.

BTW, the band looked and sounded great, and our team won the game 28 - 27. In the last 1:54 minutes, the other team intercepted the ball and scored but MISSED the kicked fieldgoal. Then we simply kept the ball and ran the clock out.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Testing, Testing

this is an audio post - click to play

Penn State on my mind

My dear sis AP3's stepdaughter is off to college today, which got her reminiscing about her first arrival at Cornell. Other sister Actonbell commented on it, too. Even Hoss has a college theme today.

Old Main, Penn State And to top it off, today's newspaper here had an article about college students from Mississippi and Louisiana calling Penn State (my alma mater) and other school to enroll, since their schools are obviously not going to be having classes for awhile. A local girl who had just flown down to Tulane was told by the basketball coach to leave; she said that she is currently waiting, hoping that Tulane will open sooner rather than later.

Penn State ready to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina

On a related note, regular gas in our area (this morning) is at $3.19. It jumped 60 cents in a week. I wish that I had filled up at $2.79. Foolish and stupid me couldn't believe that it was going to go up and I kept hoping that I would find it at $2.59 again. I heard Governor Rendell say that there was "plenty of gas in reserves" and that we were not going to run out. And then he went on to say that people were going to have to carpool. A friend is reconsidering visiting her brother for his 50th birthday because of the distance she would have to go, and her goddaughter's wedding shower next week is also far away. I know that DH are wondering about our travels, too. We've tickets to a game at Penn State in a couple of weeks and it's a 100 mile trip one way. Our Kids have football and Tournament of Band competitions that are sometimes that far away. We may only go to the home games and TOBs that are nearby. Maybe the band parents will set up a car pool (considering that our town is considered affluent and many like to keep up that image, maybe not).

On another note, we will indeed be driving two hours to and two hours back to witness Goa'uld and Bookworm's first foray into the Marching Band world. Photos may follow. (BTW, Bookworm's PC was in the shop for the past week, and DH needs to reinstall everything.)

And finally, notes from the Call Center: the surname of the day is Smychynsky. The street names of the day are Lois Lane (I'm NOT kidding!) and Amber Wave Drive. When I confirmed the latter name, I said "as in Amber Waves of grain?" and the woman said that all the street names in the developement had a patriotic theme. Oh, that reminds me. Some time ago I took an order for Lovers Lane, Roswell, NM. Go ahead, check it on Mapquest.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans on Our Minds

I did a bit of "Next Blog" navigating. A large number of the random blogs that came up had posts about the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina.Many blogs have links to the Red Cross, the Humane Society and other organizations for the support and rescue of humans and animals.

All of them were angry at President Bush and FEMA. Some of you in my blogsphere have also posted about it. All seem to agree that things are not being done right.

Several covered this incident:
FEMA Director Mike Brown just stated on CNN that "the federal government only learned of the people at the Superdome today [September 1]."

I missed this news conference - did any of you see/hear it? Is this true? Those people have been there for three or four days and just now FEMA learns about it? An expert (I need to start noting names) said "if your journalists can get to these places to do your reporting, why can't [the military, FEMA, etc.]?" A woman in the Conference Center in New Orleans said to a reporter "we can drop food and water to people in Iraq, but we can't take care of our own people here?" She certainly has a point.

All kinds of Katrina-New Orleans images are on these blogs, too. I came across a few in other languages, too. Some go on for awhile, some just mention quietly how sad it all is. One simply said FIRE GEORGE BUSH!

I went thru quite a few before I thought about actually saving the addresses. In case you're curious:


AND I discovered that today is Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Day. I didn't realize that. At that site there is a long list of blogs that registered for the event. I did know from doug's blog that a4g was having an Offend-a-thon to raise funds for relief.

Rabbit, Rabbit

Benjy Bunny and the Beaver Brothers by dddragon

It's such a bunniful day today - the wild winds of the past couple of days have blown away the clouds and the sky is a brilliant blue.

Yesterday the Kids and I saw a fat, short bit of a rainbow as we drove east, shortly before sunset. It was really low, pretty much right on the horizon. The sky was full of clouds of every shape, size and texture; some were puffy and some were smooth like they had been spread with a knife. Some were bright white where the sun struck, others were an angry and dark blue grey. As the sun set the whites turned to peaches and pink. It was amazing how many different layers there seemed to be - some so low, some so high and many layers in-between, frequently blowing by at different speeds.

Meanwhile, on a completely different note: at the Call Center, the surnames of note today are Hidayatallah and Liljenquist. I actually pronounced the latter correctly, didn't even try the former.

Sometimes I'm sayin', sometimes I'm not just sayin'.