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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Yard Work

So, this morning I decided I would mow the paths in the wooded portion of our property. They cover about 3 acres, plus the big open area in the middle - it takes a couple of hours give or take. . David sighed - we have been arguing over this for a few years now. I mow the paths about 3 or 4 times during the summer, otherwise the growth quickly overtakes it. We have a small mower I use and he is very selfish with it. He goes on and on about how I don't watch where I'm going, and you're going to bend the shaft and then we might as well throw it out, you're just going to hurt yourself anyhow, blah blah blah. But he gave it up and brought it to the edge and then mowed the middle with the big ride on tractor since I've actually cleared enough for him to do that.  While he was doing this I got the front part done but then WHACK. Hit a stump - it died. So I trudled it over to a different part before David saw what I did and THUMP, hit another one. This one flung something right at my leg and really whacked it.

I have always bruised well, but since I'm on a daily dose of aspirin that has completely upped the ante. I got an instant raised area since it was most likely bleeding underneath which then turned red. Fortunately my shorts covered that particular sin so we didn't have to have that discussion. David came over and said in a very snarky way  I had bent the blade, so he had to take it off and straighten it, then put it back on. He said not to hit any more stumps or roots - THUMP. WHACK. sigh. After the third time he hit his limit since the other thing that annoys the crap out of him is I actually expect him to instantly fix all the things I break. Which, if you know me is a fairly regular occurrence. I announced it was not my fault and he responded he felt it was since I was the one touching the lawn mower. I also claimed I had no idea how that happened and I didn't think it was related to stump whacking but since the evidence was literally right under my feet that got me no where.

So, he fixed it ONE MORE TIME which lasted about 2 minutes, when I came out of the woods he just shook his head and ignored me. I dragged the mower quite meanly across the yard to show it what I thought of it and deposited in front of the shed where it remains with it's sad little bent up blades. David said you can only bend the blades so many times before you can't fix it and he didn't seem to care if I believed him or not. He's at Lowes now picking up a new blade which I may or may not have access to until Tuesday which is the day he designated he will be able to tolerate me doing any more yard work. My leg actually doesn't look too bad, I put some ice on and the swelling went down so hopefully the bruise will be under the size of a cantaloupe and will heal before Tuesday when I resume my yard work. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Summer Reading Program

This morning I got an email from Kobo Books - where I buy my ebooks from - that some lawsuit had lead to them sending all of their clients a settlement. Not sure why, they had sneaky overcharged for books or something - but I was not overly excited. Usually by the time they divide the spoils each and every customer ends up about 3 dollars richer. Imagine my squealy reaction to finding almost SIXTY dollars in my account this morning - and I instantly ordered the detective series I had wanted but was too expensive. I had to work this morning, so I got that done and headed home. I was thinking about a coversation Nancy and I had when she was here about the summer programs we had attended as kids. Now I can't believe we would get so excited about it - but we gladly and eagerly went, didn't we?

There was more than one program of course, we had swimming classes of course. Children that live on Eastern Long Island don't attend too long, after you learn the basics you're on your own. You start as a guppy sticking your face in the water, do a little dog paddle - and then you jump straight in the canal off the jetty and paddle like a mad thing back to the ladder, freaking out a bit because - well, if you've ever seen the canal it's self-explanatory. But I never remember anyone NOT finding the ladder back. The summer Arts And Crafts was much more fun, it was held at the elementary school and it was so weird going down the quiet, dark halls of summer. The whole school empty except for the art rooms where the program would be held, the only light coming through the windows as your sneakers and flip flops echoed. My mother and the neighbor's mother would sign everyone up at the beginning of summer. Us and the Palominos would spend a few weeks happily gluing the bananas out of stuff, decoupaging every cigar box we laid our tiny Modge Podge covered hands on, we paper mached balloons and then painted them with bright acrylic paints. We made candles all the time - they melted down squares of pafferin on hot plates with crayons tossed in for color, then we presented our empty milk cartons with a string tied to a pencils so we could make....square pafferin candles. Sand candles were next - bowl of sand you dug a hole in, wax poured and voila - you had a sand candle! This would be given to your parents to proudly display and  there would be a little puddle of sand everywhere they put it. Forever. 

But I truly loved the Library Summer Reading Program, I have no idea why, but I did. Once a week we walked down to the library, took out a book - and read it. I think you got a sticker or something, you had to read so many books before you got your certifcate that proudly proclaimed- you had read books. I know! Dorky, but as a reader from the time I could do Dick and Jane by myself I really enjoyed it, and still do today. Not to say I don't read for pleasure all year long, but the summer - it's one long crap festival of reading. Trolls, murder mystery, Dragons, epic battles and just plain old no point to it stories.Macabre history - I have a very cherished book on Typhoid Mary, the history of Syphillis, the Black Plague.  So, you can see why I got so excited over sixty bucks unexpectedly appearing in my account. I still have about 25 dollars left but I think I'll wait a bit before doing any more giddy spending. My ereader is always with me of course, if you had to physically own the books on it - it would literally fill a room or more. David has given up reviewing my ebook bill with me (as if that would make me gasp I Can't Believe I Spent All That On Books and announce I would Turning Over A New Leaf - nope, I just realize there's more money in my bank account and order some more) - unless he watches me every waking moment I will order at (least!) one a week. You can never have too many books and, if you have a good book, you'll never be alone. 

Friday, June 17, 2016


So, Nancy is here for a few days, I took a couple days off from work to hang out with her. The last time she was here I took her the Krishna compound, the Indian burial ground, the Moundsville prison. This time around I decided we do the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum which is located in Weston WV. That's about 65 miles from here, but it's mainly highway travel at 75 mph so it's really not that far. We went out to breakfast first on the way. I decided to play it safe at Cracker Barrel as I'm not too familar with the area down there so I didn't know where  we could eat.  We got there a little early and walked around the little town, there were some antique stores and stuff to look at . I've been to the asylum before with my sister and her wife,  so I knew it would be a fun trip for Nancy. 
We decided to do the Four Floor Tour combined with the Criminally Insane Tour (NEW) - if you did the two together it was $40 a head. If you think that's pricey please keep in mind the two combined are almost 3 hours of guided tour and that does not include the time you can spend in the museum after or wandering around the premises. The staff is all dressed in nursng uniforms, the girls are wearing the white dresses and the nurse's caps, the boys in pants and suspenders. Our group was fairly large but the guide did a great job. I love that they stop many times and allow you to explore and take pictures before moving on. I've been on tours that you feel like you're being herded from Point A to Point B as fast as they can push you through. So we took pictures and peered in doorways, out windows, around corners and down stairways. The tours include the history of West Virginia, the civil war, architecture and medical procedures. It was a bit warm but not too bad as these old buildings are well constructed with soaring ceilings and rows of windows. 

It's amazing that it has only been closed since the mid-nineties, they were admitting new patients as late as 1992. They've added a new tour - The Criminally Insane tour in the building that was not open the last time I was there. It's a separate building that only housed criminals that were deemed insane - what a rough place! So, it was a pretty full afternoon, the two tours took close to 3 hours, then after you can tour the museum on your own. We did the patient art,but they've added quite a bit more. If you enjoy this sort of stuff, you'll love this. We drove straight home - we were both a bit foot sore by then and ready to go home for coffee. I was really glad we went and I know Nancy enjoyed it. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Arrgh. I left my last client's home in the afternoon around 5 - and ended up on 376 which sucks for a variety of reasons, but the big one is rush hour traffic. And construction. But driving around would have meant driving back so I finally made it to 51 which goes toward Washington. On the way there was an accident, one man got out holding his head with a facial wound pouring. I do usually stop, but I could see two people in scrubs jogging by my car with a few other off duty people so since my help was most likely not needed, I headed on. I hate making that decision because you always feel like you should have stopped, even though you know the ambulance is on the way and there's not much you could have done that three people are already doing. I hit more traffic, and some more. I just wanted to go home.
There's a heavy merge from the one highway to the other, with construction. You have to turn around pretty much to see on the oncoming traffic - there was a jeep in front of me that had started to go, so I turned to see if I could get into traffic - I could!- I hit the gas.....and then I hit the jeep. That apparently could not get out so he was still there. At that point would be when I whacked my face on the steering wheel, the parking brake got jammed, arrgh!! It took me a second to get it out of gear and pull over. I ran out to check to make sure the other driver was ok - he was upset, but fine and already taking pictures with his phone. I called the police who asked me where we were - I knew I was near Washington but who memorizes the exit ramps? Since there was no injury we exchanged insurance information and I limped home. I bonked the back of his car up but I really did a number on my car. The front panel is bent, the bumper is totally creased in, you can't even open the hood! We got one estimate this morning and David decided to bring it to Bortz in Waynesburg as they could do it much faster. My insurance covers a rental til it 's fixed and will cover the other car. I'm better today, so far no bruising but my face is still a little swollen and really hurts so it's rest and ice. No, I didn't go to the doctor because even if it is  a little fractured it would just have to heal on it's own. I'm still pretty upset, but I'm glad no one was really hurt - now I have to deal with the fall out. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Age Of Electronics

So, yesterday along with groceries we had to buy some replacement electronics after putting it off for awhile. David has an older laptop that finally gasped it's last battery powered gasp this week. It would refuse to come on, then would give you that rescue screen which is nothing more than a big tease. You push a button and then it has that dohickey that circles around, and around, then nope, goes back to the rescue screen. David went to the back up plan of Magical Thinking in which he would randomly peek at it hoping it had somehow gotten over whatever issue it was having and would be working. It would once again give him false hope and then proudly display it's little blue screen with the buttons on it again - so he did the seven stages of grief and gave up.  Our other replacement item was the printer - we keep it on the floor by the window. Apparently having two large hunting dogs standing on it so they can see the neighbor's cat better with frequent jumping up and down when the aforementioned cat appeared can be somewhat damaging to the internal workings. The last time we tried to use it all it produced was some horrifying clanking noise before dropping dead. 

We bought a wireless printer and David got a Flexbook 10 which is a tablet with a detachable keyboard, since he only uses it in the morning for laying in bed,drinking coffee and going on Facebook nothing fancy was needed. He plugged it in to charge and then went about setting up the printer. David will tell you he did not ask me for any help - this is true. Instead he makes very loud comments while asking me if I know where Manual One is which as far as I can tell, is probably back at the factory under a table or something. He continues this until I sigh, make a comment and start working on it. He then wanders in and out asking if I'm done yet and making pretend offers of help. There is nothing that that makes me more irrationally angry that setting up electronics. If there is a more difficult, convoluted, scattered way of doing things I'm sure they would have employed it - everything is diagrams that make no sense and three hundred steps. There is a Manual Two which says not to use it until you refer to Manual One which is AWOL. I googled and then slogged through online manuals, download,s the correct download, push the button, put in the router key....etc. and finally two homicidal hours later - sucess. I ordered two ebooks a reward to me.

While I was doing this, David was now mucking about with his new flexbook - that he couldn't find the manual for. It was not working of course, but the reason was more he couldn't wait and had unplugged it before it had fully charged. This morning it was not working AGAIN, but it actually needed to update and then he was having fun with it. I ordered another ebook as a reward from not chucking him out the window. That will be all the new electronics for now! And here's something I wish I had known before I started - if you go to Youtube and type in what you bought - there on online videos for EVERYTHING. Who knew!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Soldier On

This is probably the most outrageous case in recent history - I remain astonished as does the rest of the country how this man could rape an unconscious woman - with witnesses that  stopped him - and be granted 6 months in jail , 3 months for good behavior. His parents are even worse, if you read their letters to the judge they plead for leniency for their son - not one word of compassion or sorrow for his unwilling victim. This case has left women a little more afraid, hasn't it? I find myself turning over and over this - Brock assumed his victim was drunk but there's a lot more reasons to be unconscious, diabetic coma, dehydration, exhaustion - would the judge have granted a harsher sentence if that was the case? Or would he still excuse Brock since there was no way he could have known? And his parents - what if someone had brutalized Brock in that fashion - would his father have still excused it as "20 minutes of bad judgment" on behalf of the attacker? Would his mother have still felt that maybe Brock put himself in that position and there fore somehow deserved it? Two of the women who gave testimony stating Brock's good nature have recanted - I'm glad I'm not the one who sat in court giving him a glowing reference, arent' you? Sometimes it's discouraging, that we have come so far and yet, we as women are still blamed for everything that happens to us. It's our fault if we get pregnant, if we have an abortion, if the man we marry beats us - well, how could you NOT know that would happen? If you're stalked it's too bad - nothing the police can do unless he actually kills you  and if you're raped, well - what were YOU doing that caused it? Most women my age remember one of the first articles written on rape trials, there was a case in Wisconsin where a girl was gang raped by 3 of her classmates. The judge blamed it on her saying in court that if you dress like that you can't expect anything less. The reporter on the case found that the victim was wearing jeans, a turtleneck shirt and another shirt over that. To this day, I remember that. 
But you know what? It is changing, even though the judge made that horrible decision no one is standing for it.The victim's moving letter to the judge read in it's entirety on CNN, Joe Biden siding with the victim and his disgust at the judge, the articles clearly laying out the horrifying one sideness of this. The judge will  most likely going to be removed, he's had close to a dozen jurors dismissed as no one wants to sit for any of his cases - as one juror said what's the point? He'll just do what he wants.  And hopefully the judicial system will remain under the microscope until it does what it's supposed to do  - and it does work. Look at the Catholic Church - once they were exposed everyone just kept hammering. article after article, pictures of the perpetrators all over, no where to hide. Pope Francis was not an accident, he was the result of a thousand voices - if we can fix that, we can fix this. Even though Brock Turner did not get the sentence he deserved, he is certainly getting the treatment he deserves - hopefully the next time a judge decides a felon is worth more than his victim, he'll think again before he opens his mouth. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Far And Away

People sometimes ask me if I miss Long Island - no. Not one bit - don't get me wrong, I love the beach and kitschy stores but I can get that pretty much anywhere(for about a third of the price to boot). I have only been back there a few times since I moved away and every time I go back - it's like going through a year book. I remember where the roller rink was, where we ice skated all winter at Sears Bellows ponds, clutching a cup of hot cocoa in front of a roaring bonfire waiting for one of our moms to come pick us up. It's gone - all of it. No more ice skating, no more roller skates. Setsu and Mikio are gone of course, for years, their house is sold - all of our neighbors are gone too. 

When I was home a few years ago aside from my parents, my cousin and her family and a few old friends - everyone is gone. The neighborhood my children grew up in is unrecognizable and I know very few people. We are everywhere - my best friends are in Vermont, Oregon and Florida. My cousins? Virginia, Long Island, Nebraska - brother is in Georgia and my sister is at the far end of Pennsylvania. One son is currently in Kentucky but is moving to Louisiana and my son with his family are settled in Washington. My Uncle and aunt are in Colorado - it's like someone just put us all in a box, shook it and flung us out into space to land where ever we could. And it makes it so hard! I said to David the other day I would love to take a real vacation, one where we weren't running like crazy people to visit everyone. Because that's where it gets nuts - that is all of our trips. David went to LI last year to see his family, I went to see my sister. We drove to see Adam and Jackson. I flew to go to Brandi's baby shower and just came back from a week of helping them drive cross country. I tired to work in my cousin Thomas's - we were an hour from his house at one point, but I just couldn't make it work. 

Sometimes we talk about moving again, after all there is nothing aside from my job holding us here. I would like to live near someone I either know well or am related to - but that even gets hard -because my entire family is just as mobile as I am. There is nothing guarenteeing when we arrive at our destination that we will not be alone again. My kids pop around just as much as we do and so do our friends. We are still connected, I know who's graduating and who's shipping out - and who's shipping in. Who got a boy scout badge and what college was chosen. I have said many times thank goodness for Facebook as my entire family is on there so we can see pictures and know what's going with each other at least. I know part of this has been brought on by becoming a grandmother - it's hard to know I have two beautiful granddaughters growing up without us on the opposite side of country. I love where we live with the acres of open land around us and I do like my job (most days, other days not so much). But I get tired sometimes, of missing everyone.