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

Friday, March 31, 2006

A New MeMe

Yesrie has challenged me to a new Meme, one that asks you to list (only) five quirks about yourself.

Hmmmm . . .
1. I can't go anywhere without a comb in my back pocket or a Chapstick nearby. Especially the Chapstick. In fact, Goa'uld got me a little Chapstick holder, which I keep on my namebadge lanyard. Chapstick
2. I'm a packrat. I married a packrat. And I gave birth to two more packrats.
3. I'm addicted to sweets. I'd rather have slice-n-bake frozen chocolate chip cookie dough for a meal than steak or lobster or any of those "great" meals. I also eat candy corn until I'm almost sick.
4. I'm pretty darn easy to amuse. Just ask my family - I've had to pull over the van on the highway because they said something that just tickled my funny bone. They'll sit there and wonder just what and why until I stop. Actually, now that I think of it, I got in trouble in 4th grade for not being able to stop laughing over something (no, I don't remember what it was).
5. I'll latch onto a phrase and use it to death. Lately, it's been variations of the old "Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids" cereal commercial phrase. For example: "Silly Daddy, Jazz Band is for Kids."

Another one is this: if anyone says "Hey ..." then I'll interrupt with "Hay's for horses." And then I expect my family to respond with the rest of it: Straw is cheaper, Grass is free. Buy a farm, get all three. If the whole family is in attendance and not annoyed with me, each person will take a line each. If they are annoyed with me, then they will glare or announce that "I'm not saying it!"
6. And one more for good measure: I'm a champion procrastinator. (I take after my Dad.) I can't tell you how many birthdays and anniversaries I've missed (btw, Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!). I'll even have a card bought well in advance and somehow it won't go out in the mail in a timely manner. And I've quite a collection of sympathy cards that I bought and meant to send ... and never got around to it. Actually, I've amassed quite a few cards of all sorts. Got a box full of 'em.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Peregrine Falcons

Every Spring in Harrisburg, many people watch for the return of a pair of Peregrine Falcons. They nest on a ledge of the Rachel Carson building.

I frequently watched last year, as eggs appeared and then hatched. Children come to witness the weighing, measuring and banding of the fledglings. People express their concerns on the FalconCam Message Board when they don't see one of the youngsters for a while, or see something that worries them. Last year one of the young falcons got sick and died, despite being caught and treated (he had gotten some sort of illness that was probably from a pigeon he had eaten).

At the moment there are two eggs - they weren't there a couple of days ago. A third might come along soon. You can check out the webpage here. The FalconCam refreshes with a new view every two minutes. There are also informational links. If you go to the FalconCam Message Board page, you will find links to other FalconCams around the world.

In other news, the word is out that my sister AP3 is LBOS. That's one mystery solved for the Blogging World. Now there is another . . . Who is this Detective Poirot that was investigating LBOS's demise?!

btw, this is my 350th posting. Everyone have a cupcake on me!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Past Glory

Every year the State Museum of Pennsylvania has an "Art of the State" juried exhibit. Nod and some of his photographer friends try to enter every year, and Nod has gotten in a few times. (Naturally, not as often as he'd like!)

The one time I entered, I did get a piece accepted. Interestingly, it was a photograph, not a drawing or painting. I came across the photo in a drawer of my works the other day. It is titled "Chatham's Eyes". I think I was pregnant with my twins when it was exhibited, but I don't remember for sure. Chatham will be 19 in June.

To be honest, I don't have a clue why it was accepted. I think it's an interesting photo, and fun to look at ~ can't you just imagine what Chatham might be thinking of doing next? But truly, I don't think it's a great work of photography.

But at least I can say that I've exhibited in the State Museum!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Old Photo Sunday

Today's photo is of my husband's paternal grandfather. Joe emigrated from Lithuania when he was around 10 with his mother and some sisters. His father had come earlier. We found Grandpa's passenger manifest at Ellis Island in NYC. What's interesting is that the father is listed as the person responsible for these new arrivals to the USA, but his last name is already different than that of his wife and children. Their surname changed again after that. Good thing ~ I wouldn't have been able to pronounce either of 'em. (Kind of like Mr. Spock's mother, for those who are familiar with classic Star Trek.)

Grandpa was a very handy guy - Nod has his old Shopsmith and we've a bookcase that Grandpa built. Nod's mom's house had a wooden lamppost that was made by Grandpa, too, until it finally rotted away. Professionally, Grandpa designed machines that punched out cardboard into patterns so that they could be folded into boxes.

Grandpa died in 1993 at the age of 99. He got his first tooth cavity and filling the previous year, and he always insisted that his habit of chewing on pork chop bones helped keep his teeth strong.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Other DD Dragons

Other DD Dragons?! How can that be?!!

Well, if you notice, there is a space between the first two DDs and Dragon. But if you Google dddragon, the DD Dragon Educational Organization comes up first. It was founded by a Western man and a Chinese woman, who came "together to put their knowledge of English education into practice."

My blog comes up second on Google. And this one comes up third:

It is the personal website for a young man who seems to be a teacher somewhere in Asia. I didn't go through the whole site. To be honest, I've got other things to do right now. Like finish this post and get on with my errands. (Like seeing what Doug's story is ...)

Friday, March 24, 2006

I'd like to thank all the little bloggers for making this possible ...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

And now for something completely different . . .

My dear Nod sent this link to me . . .

. . . enjoy!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Unitarians, Coffee and Discussions

A new visitor, Freethinker, commented on my Pi Day post, so I visited his blog. One of my friends at work is a freethinker, too (tho' he's more known in our area as a loud-mouth, obnoxious Atheist). Anyway, Freethinker says that he's a Caffeineaholic (his term). There is a picture of people worshiping a large coffeepot - an illustration I've seen associated with Unitarians. So, I segue to share a little bit about Unitarian Universalists.

UUs are big on discussions and coffee (and tea, too). There are many jokes about us concerning these two. These jokes are from http://stoney.sb.org/uujokes.html.

Once upon a time, there was a man who had no religion, but was a very good and honest fellow. At death, he found himself in heaven. A kindly looking gentleman was waiting for him. Said the gatekeeper of heaven, "What religion are you sir?".

The man said, "I have no religion."

The gatekeeper said, "Well, where would you like to spend eternity, then?"

The man shrugged. "What are some options?"

Together, they strolled through the halls of heaven, looking in different rooms. In the first, a great congregation knelt before a great glowing figure, their faces to the ground and their hands outstretched. The man didn't think that looked too good.

Next, they stood outside a large sanctuary where a preacher was preaching loudly, to many "Amens" and "Hallelujahs." St. Peter put a finger to his lips and said, "And at this door, we need to be ver-r-r-r-r-r-y quiet."

"Why?" asked the newcomer.

"Because," St. Peter replied, "Those are the Southern Baptists, and they think they're the only ones here."

In another, a great congegration knelt before a fellow hanging from a big cross. The man didn't think much of that either. And indeed, in every room, the man found less than satisfactory situations in which to spend eternity. So, finally the gatekeeper said, "Okay, there's one last option."

The walked down the hall, and the gatekeeper opened the final door, behind which were a great congregation dancing in a big ring around a huge coffeepot singing "Coffee, coffee, coffee!".

When the fire breaks out on church row, the churches are empty.

When the priest hears the news, he runs into the church long enough to bring out the consecrated wine and wafers. The rabbi rescues the Ark of the Torah. Of course the UU minister and the church council rushed into the church and held A DISCUSSION GROUP about what to save.

Eventually they emerged carrying the conference table.

A Unitarian Universalist comes to a fork in the road. The sign pointing right says, "To Heaven." The sign pointing left says, "To a discussion about Heaven." The UU will invariably head left!

It is show-and-tell day at school, and all the children are requested to bring in an item which illustrates their religious beliefs. David stands up and says "This is a star of David and I am a Jew". Dorothy stands up and says "This is a crucifix and I am a Catholic". Jimmy stands up and says "This is a coffeepot and I am a Unitarian".

And finally, here is a song, sung to the tune Holy, Holy, Holy

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
by Christopher Raible

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee,
Praise the strength of coffee.
Early in the morn we rise with thoughts of only thee.
Served fresh or reheated,
Dark by thee defeated,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

Though all else we scoff we
Come to church for coffee.
If we're late to congregate, we come in time for thee.
Coffee our one ritual,
Drinking it habitual,
Brewed black by perk or drip instantly.

Coffee the communion
Of our Uni-Union,
Symbol of our sacred ground, our one necessity.
Feel the holy power
At our coffee hour,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

There are lots more at the above website.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Old Photo Sunday

Here I am on my 9th birthday, August 29, 1968, with my new tent and sleeping bag. This was taken in South Pasadena, in the backyard of my favorite ol' house.

I didn't get to spend the whole night out. At some point during the night, TLP came out and brought me back in.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Salem would like to wish everyone
a Happy St. Patrick's Day

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Capitol Appearence

About a dozen members of my church (including the four in the photo above) joined others to protest the state representatives' voting on the gay marriage ban.

This article appeared in yesterday's Patriot News.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Pennsylvania Ban on Gay Marriage

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives will soon vote on amending the Commonwealth Constitution to "protect" marriage by banning gay marriage.

On February 28, I sent this letter to our State Rep. Grell and Senator Vance:

I cannot tell you how appalled I am over the effort of so many state legislators to get an amendment passed to "protect" marriage by banning gays from the legal right to be married.

Marriage between heterosexuals doesn't need to be protected from homosexuals - most straight people screw up their own marriages quite well on their own.

Can someone explain to me why gays are expected to work, pay taxes and be good citizens, but not to be able to have the same rights as others?

This country really hasn't learn too much from history, has it? It hasn't been all that long since women were given the right to vote. It's been 143 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, and yet a 102 years afterwards the march from Selma to Montgomery, AL, had to take place.

The only "Gay Agenda" homosexuals have is the basic right to pursue their own happiness! It is incredibly mean-spirited and narrow-minded to deny them this.

I did not hear from Rep. Grell, but I did get a letter back from Senator Vance:

Thank you for your recent correspondence on the proposed marriage amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution.

I believe that the institution of marriage is only for a man and a woman. This is currently reflected in Pennsylvania law (23 Pa.C.S. ยง1704), which I supported when it was enacted in 1996.

Amending the Constitution is a serious matter and great care should be exercised in crafting amendments. I have not yet seen the specifics of Senator Regola's proposal. However, questions have been raised about additional language that may go beyond the protection of marriage and affect the rights of many citizens.

I am not interested in hurting people because they are different than me. I would be unable to support language that could be interpreted to limit the rights of unmarried individuals with regard to hospital visitations, medical decision making, private health coverage or contractual agreements.

Your input on this important public policy issue is very much appreciated.

I just sent a reply to her response:

In your response to me, you stated that "I believe that the institution of marriage is only for a man and a woman."

Lest you say that I am splitting hairs or arguing semantics, your use of the word "believe" speaks volumes to me. It is a Freudian slip, if you will, that clearly shows to me where your train of thought is coming from.

You were elected as a representative of the LAW, not a representative of any particular FAITH. Can you honestly tell me that you have a logical, legal reason for making such a statement? Or are you speaking from a point of view that originates from the Bible?

I do not think that you can do so. To me, the ban on Gay marriage is no different than the ban on black-white marriages of the past. It is discrimination, plain and simple.

I am a lifelong Democrat that has been voting for you for many, many years. I will do so no longer.

Unfortunately, the gay marriage ban is expected to pass without any trouble. Hopefully it will be challenged in a court of law and overturned.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Happy Pi Day

Goa'uld informs me that today is Pi Day. This is the day to celebrate that wonderful number 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582

There are lots of Pi websites, and here are a couple of links: Pi Songs and Pi Pages.

The photo is from here: http://www.brian1.net/daily/2005/03/

Monday, March 13, 2006

*Cough Cough*

Just when I thought that I was going to get through this winter without any real illness, I got sick over the weekend. Deep, hacking cough. Went to the doctor. I've got bronchitis.

geez, louise.

At least, that what the Practical Nurse thought (or whatever the "super nurses" are called - the ones that can write prescriptions). About six years ago I got what was thought to be bronchitis during the summer ~ how does that happen, anyway? After one week of medication, I had gotten sicker. Then a different prescription was called in. Another week goes by, and by then I'm sick in bed. Good thing my daughters are old enough to entertain and feed themselves (my parents did help out, too). FINALLY, a doctor thought that maybe I had pneumonia and sent me to have chest x-rays.

When I asked why the pneumonia wasn't thought of earlier, my doctor said that they can't go and x-ray every chest that probably only has bronchitis.

I ended up being in bed for two weeks. I've never been so sick ~ even when I was pregnant with twins I wasn't confined to bed.

*hack hack* time to take some drugs.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Old Photo Sunday

This photo ain't so old as the others, but it caught my eye this morning. It's a grey day with the promise of rain, and this photo puts lazy, bright days of summer in my mind.

This summer promises anything but lazy, however.

My girls will be in Mexico for two weeks in July on a Girl Scout trip. August brings marching band camp. They both want - ahem, NEED - to take a driver's education course at some point. Bookworm might help with a kid's theater camp. There are a couple of other things that Goa'uld might do this summer. (A visiting caricature artist visited her art class last week and said that she should apply to be a caricature artist at Hersheypark this summer.)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Pajama Game

This year's musical at the high school is The Pajama Game. My two kids are in the orchestra pit (or, as we've been calling it, The Pit). They've been practicing for a long time, and this week it's been every night until almost 10 pm.

And last night was the first performance. The kids on stage did a fine job. However, the evening started off badly.

Just before The Pit was due to file in, the sound board blew. After 45 minutes of updates on repairs, thanks for being patient, and luck that a former school board member owns his own electrical business (and perhaps that another school nearby had a subsitute board), the play finally got going. Even tho' there was a hasty microphone check, it took the guys in the back awhile to get all of them settled. The sound quality wasn't so hot as speakers cracked and volume went up and down, and there were lines that were heard at all. Poor kids. But they were troupers, after all, and it sure was a lesson in the show must go on!

During the intermission, a local citizen was honored.

You see, G.P. has offered the school district $15 Million dollars. The money is needed - we've got real issues on aging buildings and a student population that is vastly different than it used to be.

(At one time there were four elementary neighborhood schools and almost everyone could walk to one, and one high school building. Because of the decline in student numbers, Lincoln was no longer used, and eventually torn down for the new public library. Eisenhower holds only the kindergarten, leaving a building mostly empty. Schaeffer has the first and second grade, Hoover has grades 3-5, and now the high school building is 6-12th grades. )


The problem with G.P.'s offer is that it stipulates that it be used to enhance performing arts programs at Eisenhower.

That money sure would go a long way to create more efficient classroom configurations and building updates.

Don't get me wrong ~ I certainly believe that the arts play a very important part in a child's developement. Art and music should always be available and encouraged.

But our town DOES support and encourage the arts. In a school district of 1100 kids, we have about 300 in the bands (elementary thru HS) and over 200 in the different levels of choruses. Our school district has been in the "Best 100 Communities for Music Education in America" for the last three years.

So, here was an 80+ widow, whose husband made a ton of money because he was one of AMP's first employees (AMP was purchased by Tyco and "assimilated"), tangling $15M in front of us. One school board member had told me that it wasn't a done deal, but every school board member and school district employee in the building was literally at her feet last night. (well, that's not fair. She is frail and getting up and around isn't easy.)

Needless to say, the play director (who is also an elementary school teacher here) was teased about planning the sound board failure.

I'm torn about all that money. It sure would be neat to have Eisenhower turned into a theater (that was another stipulation - she wants that building saved. Her kids apparently went there.) with modern equipment and so forth.

But I also see all the other things that need to be done. As one board member was quoted in the local paper, "We are still looking at the same needs."


You might ask why G.P. is so fond of the Arts? It's because she danced in Broadway musicals in the 1930s and 1940s and later worked as a model, appearing on the covers of magazines such as Vogue and Good Housekeeping.

This photo is of The Pit playing after the performance is done, as the audience departs. Goa'uld is playing the trombone, and Bookworm is the trumpet player behind Goa'uld's music stand. Throughout the performance, I wondered if the trumpet player in front of Goa'uld (and slightly to the left) was bothered by the trombone slide going back and forth just beside her like that.

Afterwards, the Crew, the Cast and The Pit went to a party at the home of one of the actors. Until 1 AM. Lucky me got to be the driver - but Nod gets to be the driver tonight (yes, two performances, two parties).

And finally, be sure to visit Doug today. You might recognize the characters of this weekend's story.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Call Center - is there a full moon coming?

It was a wacky morning. One woman gave me the size of the window rod she wanted to order. Then she asked if it was the right size for a double window. I paused, wondering if she was serious.

"Ah, I can't say since I'm not there . . . I can wait if you'd like to remeasure the window."

"Oh, my husband measured it last night. This is the size he told me we needed."

hmmm . . . "well, as long as the measurement of the window from the left side to the right side doesn't exceed 88 inches, then you're fine."

"I'm just not sure now. I'll have to have him measure it in front of me when he gets home tonight. I don't trust him."

okay . . . she doesn't trust his measuring, but won't do it herself?

And then I had a woman asking if an item had been marked down any further. It was a holiday, seasonal item. We get these kinds of calls, no big deal. The item number she gave me already had a sale prefix that told me that she already been looking for a discount (we're not supposed to give out those sale prefixes!).

I accessed the info and told her that we were sold out of the item - all gone, no longer available. Something similar would appear next year.

"Oh, so that means that there won't be any further markdowns because it's no longer available?"

H-E-L-L-O . . . it's gone. We ain't doing ANYthing with it anymore this year. And when it comes back, it'll come back at the regular price. Holiday items don't usually start with sale prices!


On another note, Blogger has been giving me alot of trouble lately. What a pain in the butt. Tried commenting on your blogs without success sometimes. My Monday post took three tries before it took.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Chatham gets a manicure

Both of our cats give me a hard time about trimming their claws. Nod and the girls won't even try to do it. So I sneak up on them during naps and trys to clip one or two at a time. Doesn't work very well with either one.

But last week I discovered that I had missed one of Chatham's dew claws. (I call it the thumb claw.) I thought that the claw had started to grow into the pad, so I made an appointment to have the groomer at the Vet's do it. (No, he hadn't been limping.)

Boy, Chatham HATES going to the Vet's!

I handed him over to the Groomer, and I stayed out in the waiting room. I could hear him growling and meowing angrily. Then the Groomer came back out front to ask the Assistant to come back and help her. A woman with a large dog in the waiting room wondered what was going on because of all the noise.

The groomer said that because Chatham had "thick, old cat claws", the dew claw pad wasn't too badly hurt. Some ointment was put on it and we're keeping an eye on it.

I've been bragging to people that it took two people to trim the claws of a cat nearly 19 years old. Grumpy old man-cat.

TOO funny.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Old Photo Explained

My husband Nod sent this email from work this morning:

I read your blog this morning. I decided to use my deductive reasoning and analytic skills. Well, the mystery photo was taken at Jones Beach State Park in New York. My family (before I was born) used to spend a significant amount of time there. They used to have an Indian Festival on the beach. The structure in the background is just a water tower. Actually, in this photo it look like they're in from the beach.

And he sent this photo:

Photo by Bill Kinney

So I Googled Jones Beach New York and found this image of the top of that tower:

Not nearly as fun as what you guys were coming up with.

PS: Blogger is giving me trouble and I can't get the words to look normal sized.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Old Photo Sunday

This photo was among other oldies from my In-Laws. Nod has been going thru boxes as his mom's house, looking for family tree information and stuff. Many photos and letters were just stuffed in bags and boxes.

There isn't anything written on the back of this photo. I'd be curious as to where and what it was.

What do you think?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Brain Farts

Well, this morning I had something to post about, but I didn't have time.

Now that I do, I can't remember what it was.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

This 'n' That

Just a few notes before I head out this morning . . .

Got an email from Nod this morning already:
Boy... I really supported the fleet this morning. I received a call from my old boss Jonathan who is in Afganistan. He needed some information on a weapon we control at the ICP. I was able to gather the information from different sources and send him the information via email.

We were supposed to get snow and ice this morning. Got neither. Everyone was all in a dither yesterday with the forecast. Rained a little so far about about half an hour ago.

Yesterday a woman calling from Missouri told me that the utilities are trying to get the state to allow them to tack on a surcharge on to bills of customer who don't use enough energy. Is this for real? I can't believe it ... and yet I do. Scary.

(This same woman talked to me for 50 minutes about her daughters and grandkids.)

And for the first time in ages I actually went out to the Y and exercised. Walked the treadmill for half an hour for a total of 1.2 miles. A whole 158 calories. (geeeez)

That's all folks for now.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rabbit Rabbit

Yes, dear Readers, another month has gone by and it's time for RABBIT RABBIT! This photo reminds me that Spring is coming, and with it, allergies. I didn't even know that I had allergies until we moved to Pennsylvania from California. Turned out that I'm allergic to several plants, including grass and Maple trees. Guess what grows nine months out of the year? And we've two large Maples in our front yard. (I don't mow, in case you're wondering.)

If you are a new visitor and wonder what this Rabbit Rabbit thing is all about, go to "What's with all the Rabbits?" Make sure that you visit all the Pez family members, too.