Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holiday Wishes

Christmas Eve. NO snow.

Happy Yule (belated) to the Pagans, Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it, Happy Hannukah to the Jewish persuasion, Happy Kwanzaa to the African-Americans who celebrate it. I'm sure I'm forgetting someone's seasonal celebration, so just have a happy holiday - whatever it may be. If you don't celebrate anything then have a happy un-holiday.

On a coolness note: Grandma is going to TAFH's house for a few days after the holiday. Can we say "Vacation"?! I am going to be getting the Superman Boxed Set with my holiday haul, so after work, which will be a major pain in the Christmas-Clearance ass (Please people, buy clearance toys at Target. Stock up for next year's gifts. Buy for next year's Toys for Tots and angel trees.) I'm definitely going to need to unwind. Hey, maybe I'll actually be able to pull some overtime finally.

The current plan is that we'll have New Year's Day off, unless we want to make sure we get 40 hours, in which case we can scrounge hours as cashiers. Yeah, right - and I like getting my eyeballs plucked from my head, too. I'll live with my meager 32 hours for that week. I might even go out New Year's Eve. Anyone know anything about that whole First Night deal? I'll have two, count them, two three-day weekends in a row. How often does that happy occasion occur in a retail-lifetime?

Wait a minute. I was searching for the Superman boxed set to link to and it looks like I may not be able to get it. Apparently, Warner Bros. screwed up and Borders may not be able to order it for me. I have to call them bright and early on Tuesday morning and see what's going on. I have pinned my entire Christmas gift hopes on this one item. Stupid stupid stupid idiot - you know your luck. Well, I will report back on Tuesday night about whether or not I got it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

They're here.

My sister-in-law has arrived. Well, she got here early Monday morning, but it took until Thursday for Mom and I to have the kids - due to our work schedules. They have grown so much in the last few months. My s-i-l has already had to buy my nephew new pants for school. Apparently, the first batch ended up looking like high-waters on him. My niece is still skinny as a rail, but a few inches taller, too. What do they eat out in New Mexico? Plant food?

We get them tonight and tomorrow, too. Tomorrow we're taking them to a late showing of Happy Feet after we go to Schuylkill Haven to visit Grandpa. I'll be dead at work Monday, but who cares? I miss the little buggers.

Oh, I finally met my s-i-l's new husband. He seems nice, if a bit quiet. Maybe he was just nervous meeting me.

I'm currently searching out chameleon cross-stitch patterns for my nephew. That's what he wants me to stitch for him, so that's what he'll get. My niece's Mermaid will be finished in time. I'm ahead of schedule on John's Starbuck's logo. The ornaments just have to be given out and I'll start the bookmarks for my exchange after the Mermaid is done and the Calla Lily will be finished after I do two or three of the bookmarks. Then I get to start back on Kwan Yin, start the chameleon and the Temple design for the Art Show and I'll do some little projects in between them. Once I finish the chameleon and the Temple I'll keep working on Kwan Yin, finish a Santa and some ornaments I started a couple of years ago and finally finish one of my Charles Wysocki's. I'm hoping to clean out a bunch of the small projects in my WIP bag this next year, so I can make fresh starts on the projects running about in my brain.

Quiz - What American Accent do you have?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

Philadelphia
The South
The Inland North
The West
The Northeast
Boston
North Central
What'>http://www.gotoquiz.com/what_american_accent_do_you_have">What American accent do you have?
Quiz'>http://www.gotoquiz.com/">Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Logophile's Lament

I am a logophile. I love words. I love the look of words. I love the sound of words and the feel of them rolling off my tongue. (Try saying “squish” quickly a few times while letting yourself gently drag out the “sh” at the end. Total fun.) If I had synesthesia and words evoked a smell or taste when I heard them, I’d love that. I feel that words are to be treasured. They are the basis of all societies, whether they be spoken, signed or written (by letters or pictograph). Unlike a dragon hoarding his gold and jewels, words are a treasure that must be shared to be truly appreciated.

Words have their own appeal, whether it be visual or aural - both evocative of emotions. I hate (not just dislike) the spelling “gray” but love “grey”. I don’t know why it just seems so much better to me. I’m an American, so I get funny looks when I spell the word the British way, but that doesn’t stop me. Look at the word “hope”. Really look at it. Doesn’t it look funny? It’s only the emotion behind the word that makes it at all appealing. It has an extra letter it doesn't need and it's only that extra letter away from "hop" - a totally undignified action if I've ever seen one. Now say it. The ugly spelling goes away when you say it, but the emotion is there - an uplifting of your soul; a feeling that no matter what happens, we can be happy in this world. How about the old standard - “knife"? Kuh-niff-uh? Nope. You know, we really could just drop the “k” and the “e” and the meaning behind the word would be fine. It would also be extremely boring. The funky spelling makes this word. Just like kuh-nig-it. Wouldn’t Lancelot be proud? There is also the ever-popular expletive. These are usually extremely idiotic-looking words; but oh, so nice to have around when that one person you just can’t stand, but have to work with every day, does something to really annoy you.

I use "big" words in normal conversation. I can’t help it. I actually enjoy reading the dictionary (you nerd!) and have absorbed far too many words for them not to show up in my everyday speech. I was chastised (What a kind word for publicly humiliated.) today by my co-workers for yet again using the word “facetious”, which basically means using a word or phrase in a way meant to be funny. I was told to use English. Normal English. Idiot English, I guess. Am I supposed to break down my speech into one syllable increments to please people (Adults, no less!) who can’t be bothered to learn anything now that they are out of school? It frustrates me that I can’t even use what I consider normal speech in my everyday life. I don’t think learning a new word every once in a while will kill a person. I don’t think it’s that difficult to figure out what a person is saying by actually listening to the context of their speech.

All I really do know is that words and the concepts behind words are the only way for us to really communicate in everyday life. Body language alone (barring Sign Language - a true thing of beauty) is not sufficient for asking the price of the toaster you want to buy Aunt Mabel for her birthday. Mathematics are great for determining the nature of the cosmos, but binary number sequences and algebraic equations can’t be used efficiently to ask that gorgeous guy you just met out on a date. Can you imagine a newspaper article that was nothing but a long binary sequence zipping past your eyes? Ugh! Although, there is one concept that symbols spell out the best: #@*&!!!

Again, I love words. They encapsulate all that we are and can be in their sheer descriptiveness. They help a person teach. They can make a person cry or laugh. Words can make you angry like nothing else. It's untrue that "words can never hurt me". Words can hurt far more than any stick or stone ever can. Physical bruises fade; emotional scars never do. Yet, words can heal almost anything or at least make the wounds less painful. They can make enemies of lifelong friends and friends of lifelong enemies. Words can be used to tell a person what the weather is like, such a simple thing. Words can be used to tell the truth, lies and those little things in-between. Words are precious. Words tell people how precious they are to others. They say "please", "thank you" and "you're welcome"; the cornerstones of politeness we all learned at our parents' knees. Words are used to tell stories: stories of our lives, our dreams, our disappointments, our pains and pleasures. We are made up of words - words like cranium, epidermis, heart, foot. Soul. Without words, humanity is nothing.

Friday, October 27, 2006

National Sexual Offender Public Website

While researching bits of my last post, I came across this but forgot to include it. It's the National Sexual Offender Listing. In Scranton itself eight registered offenders either reside or work.

Wilkes-Barre's proposed sex-offender law

Alright, I'm going to get yelled at for this post.

On the radio this morning there was an article about Wilkes-Barre passing a law banning registered sex offenders from living within 1500 feet of any area children congregate. The law is still in the planning stage, but it follows two others in Luzerne County in a short time. The version in Wyoming Township literally bans all sex offenders from the city, since there is no place that they may live that doesn't fall within the forbidden zones. Apparently, this law will also ban them from living within 1500 feet of "any school, child care building, public park or recreational facility". I wonder what this will leave for them.

A pedophile will still be a pedophile, no matter where they live. They will still find a place to stalk children. A violent sexual predator will still be a violent sexual predator. They will still find a place to stalk the men or women they intend to attack. If these people have served their time for their crimes (even given the fact that such impulses are likely to persist) then can we keep punishing them? Doesn't this fall under "cruel and unusual punishment"?

I know someone will say I must have no idea how horrible these people can be and they'd be wrong. Very wrong. I have been very much impacted by pedophiles in my life. I am not soft on them. I know they cannot be cured at this time. I just worry about the civil rights issue. If they are so unwelcome, then they should never have been released by the prison system. Why don't we just set up modern-day leper colonies, shove them all there and be done with the fiddling and fussing. How about bringing back the internment camps that we stuck the Japanese-Americans in during WWII? Hey, why not go even further and set aside some land in each state and call it a reservation. We can stick them all in there, let them have some sort of industry so we don't have to support them through welfare and just forget about them. We can use Bush's pet border fence to keep them there, even.

I definitely agree that something must be done to find a way to reduce the number of sexual predators out there. We need to find a way to treat such pathological behavior and end it. We need to find a way to protect both children and adults alike from these jerks. I just don't know if laws like this are going to work. Already sex offenders are skipping out on the registries for fear of being driven out of the homes and jobs they've found.

Do we stop convicted bank robbers from ever stepping in another bank? Do we have a law legally separating victims and domestic abusers? What about people convicted of other violent crimes? Do we forbid them from ever going near other people again? No. We put them on probation for a while and then cut them loose when that probation is finished. Where do we draw the line? Sex offenders need to be monitored, yes. This is why laws exist to track them. Parents and families also need to monitor their children and surroundings. Responsibility does not only lay with the law and government.

However, and this is where I look past the things done to me and slip on my rose-colored specs, I think we must also give those offenders who have truly rehabilitated a real chance at another life. I would hope they use that second chance wisely and well, just as I hope for the same with all criminals released from prison.

Another thing, this only deals with those sexual predators that have been caught and successfully convicted. So, this will just force them to roam further afield than before to find victims. It doesn't even cover those we've not caught or convicted.

On a side note, Dunmore also has one affecting sex-offenders moving into the area. They passed it on October 24th. It allows those who already live there to remain, but no new sex-offenders can move in at all because this one "prohibits a person listed on the state sex-offender registry from living near (within 2500 feet) any 'school, child care facility, open space, community center, public park or recreational facility.' " Throop is considering following their lead.

This is being played out nationwide. Here's the one garnering most of the attention, though. Check it out, folks. By the way, read the text of the law. It's given me fodder for an entirely new post.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I grieve with thee...

To the family of Jane Wyatt, I'm sorry that such a classy lady is gone. I'm not old enough to have known her in her most famous role, but she made one hell of an impression on me as Amanda Grayson. Spock's Mom was just so cool. She was graceful and elegant and at the same time could totally put her son and husband in their places. She may have tried to control her emotions a little more than most humans out of deference to her husband's culture, but she was certainly not averse to letting them show when needed to make a point.

Amanda Grayson could have been a two-dimensional, silly character were it not for Jane Wyatt's splendid portrayal of a woman standing in two ver different cultures, respecting both and respected by both. Ms. Wyatt's acting skills brought Amanda Grayson to life. She brought her into my home and heart. Amanda has always been one of my favorite Star Trek character, even if she had such a small onscreen time comparatively.


Thank you, Ms. Wyatt.


IDIC

Sunday, October 15, 2006

And now for something really special...

Well, utterly absurd anyway. Watch it without any sound and it's even stranger.

Disney Orgy - Minnie, Goofy, Mickey and a few others getting a little frisky before showtime. The actors have, of course, been fired.

*hiccup*

Does anyone know of a way that a person allergic to alcohol can get mind-numbingly drunk? If so, let me know. Please.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Quick update on Grandma

Just a quickie.

It appears Grandma is not eligible yet for the Waiver program because she actually has too much money. She has about $4000 over the limit of liquifiable assets. TAFH found a funky insurance policy/investment from MetLife or something like that that has a cash value and Grandma's regular insurance policy (intended for burial costs) is considered part of her assets because she could cash it out. So, we're going to try the whole paying for the burial in advance thing and then cash out the MetLife thing. This will give us working capital to pay Bea for a bit, then apply again for the waiver once Grandma gets under the limit. The program will supposedly pay for someone to come in while Mom and I are at work - not Bea, but that's not my problem.

At the moment, we're doing Option #2. Mom's working six days, all weekend. Since she's working that schedule, she gets out of work at either 3pm or goes in at 2pm during the week and works all day Saturday and Sunday. This means no weekends off for me, but we are arranging with the oldest aunt to let us have an upcoming Sunday night to ourselves to visit Roba's.

At least now we aren't, as TAFH put it before she left (after actually having been sort of nice the entire weekend) "using 'Bea' like water."

Pink Lady Hell

Have you ever thought something was going to turn out really nice and when you finished creating it started to shake in horror?

That happened to me today. I was trying my hand at designing a biscornu and decided to go with pinks for Spring. Big mistake. It went from bold to light pink and when I was done with the design I could only stare at it. I'm not a fan of pink to begin with but this was just horrible. It's almost worth stitching up just so I can show you how pink the design actually ended up.

I changed most of the pinks to purples and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Here's a way you can get an idea of how pink we're talking. Go to this page, click on the first color card and look for the run of colors starting at 605 and going through to 3804. Those were the colors I used at first. I ended up only using 603, 604 and 3806, plus the purples I saved my sanity with.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Small Steps Back and Forth

Well, a solution to one problem has been found. Of course, it is going to create another big one for Mom down the line, but we can't worry about that now, I guess.

TAFH is coming in this weekend (Friday through Monday! Ack!). Since she is going to be very ticked off at everyone in this household, I will be avoiding her like the plague. Long story short, she was yelling at Mom over the phone and Mom hung up on her. We then refused to answer the phone the next four times she called and she refused to leave a message. She hasn't called back. So, when she actually gets here, she'll have been stewing about the fact that Mom grew some cajones and actually stood up to her little sister. (I was so proud of my mother!)

I'm going out with a friend on Saturday and staying away from the house for as long as humanly possible. I'll help my friend move, we'll watch a movie and TAFH can glory in telling Grandma what horrible care-takers we are.

As for Grandma, she just went to the doc and he gave her as good a bill of health as she can expect with her numerous ailments. She "forgot" her purse, so Mom paid the co-pay and the meds. We have a feeling she's going to keep doing this. We're taking over the rest of the bills so she only has to worry about spending her money on paying "Bea". She stopped paying for any groceries over a year ago. Since Mom and I tend to eat at work or on the way to or from work, this means we've been buying all of her food. Not that she actually eats what we make her. She usually tells me she doesn't want it after I make it and I go through about two or three things before she agrees to eat what I make. Then she tells you that you should have asked her what she wanted in the first place. When you do ask her first or ask her after you've attempted something already, she always says, "Nothing."

Don't I sound greedy? I'm not. I just get annoyed when the relatives say that Mom and I live here rent-free, trouble-free (Hah!). We pay for all of the food. We did pay half of the bills, now we'll be paying for all of them. We pay for Lifeline. The only thing we won't be paying for (at this time, anyway) are her meds, Bea and the property taxes.

Anyway, the current monetary emergency is settled. TAFH is coming in because she scheduled an assessment for some sort of waiver program. No, she never bothered to warn us that she was doing this or when she scheduled it. She never asked us if we had plans with Grandma on Monday. She scheduled it when it was convenient for her to be here and simply "knew" that everyone else would fall into step with her. We don't even know what this waiver program is or does. Is it a state program? County? Federal? What services could it provide: day care, bathing, monetary assistance? TAFH hasn't bothered to enlighten us yet. Maybe she will on Friday if we're good, little children and do exactly what Mommy Dearest says.

I just called the other Aunt, asking her if she knew what the waiver program was and she told me she had no idea, either. She did, however, tell me that she went to Grandma's doc and got a paper today that verified that Grandma can't be alone. Dr. G didn't tell Mom about this when they were there. This means that if we can't pay Bea, then either Grandma gets institutionalized or I get to quit my job and stay home 24/7. We really can't afford either option. Keep your fingers crossed that this waiver thing will pay for a home attendant.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Smile

I have a fool-proof method of cheering myself up. All I have to do is turn on the movie 1776. I have almost the entire movie memorized and can recite most of it verbatim.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Life Sucks...

This might come off as a stream of consciousness exercise, but I'm trying to get things together in my head.

Grandma is broke. Her accounts are pretty much drained dry from paying "Bea" to watch her. We've been paying her $10 an hour under the table. The last check, which bounced and led us to this revelation, was for almost $400.

So, our options stand thusly:
1. Somehow we convince Bea to accept less money.
2. Mom works six days a week, the 3-11 shift so that when I'm getting home, she's just leaving. She would schedule herself off every Wednesday (or whatever day is before the truck arrives at her store).
3. We somehow convince Grandma to go to a day-care program.
4. She goes in a home.
5. We win the fucking Powerball and never have to worry about how to pay for a thing.

Problems:
1. This is Bea's livelihood. She will neither want to work for less nor will she be convinced to leave early to save some money.
2. Mom and I will be totally burned out. (And this is different from now, how?) Also, if Mom is actually offered the regional manager position she'll have to turn it down.
3. Grandma refuses to go and they don't even start until 7 or 8 AM anyway.
4. Grandma would hate Mom for putting her away. Also, Grandma never put the house in anyone else's name (Mom and I don't give a rat's ass about whose) so if she goes into a home it'll be taken to pay for the care. Theoretically, we could live here until she died, but after her death the state would give us first refusal. There's also the fact that, while she needs help with certain things, she's not bad enough yet to need other things. Assisted Living is too independent for her, but she's not yet in need of a true nursing home.
5. Well, except for the fact that I have no way of intuiting the numbers, I see no problem with this solution.

Mom thinks TAFH jumped the gun with the whole "Grandma can't be alone" thing. I thought it was a doctor who said this, but Mom says it was one of TAFH's proclamations. There have definitely been times Grandma was well enough to be on her own and definitely times when she's been unsteady, so who knows? If it's the case that TAFH/whoever jumped the gun, then we could have held off having a constant companion for a little while and the money would have lasted a bit longer.

Mom and I really didn't think she'd last this long. I know that sounds horrible to admit, but we never thought the situation would end up like this. The way it looks, Mom's going to turn down her dream job (if it's offered to her) and work six days a week. Neither of us will have another night out again, unless one of the relatives is kind enough to offer to to watch her on a day neither of us will really have the luxury of taking advantage of. If Mom's day off is during the week, I can't go out because my work starts at 4AM. If her day off is on a weekend, we might have a chance.

One of the things that's really bugging me, though, is that it means putting off college once again. I really thought I could manage to enroll for this Spring. This means we'll have to take on not just more of the bills (which I really don't have a problem with) but all of the bills. I'm going to keep my layaway for my new mattress. I have to. I can't sleep on this one very well with all of the springs poking me. Mom is not going to be able to start a new computer payment, so yet again, I get shafted that way. She has a nice laptop, I get to use it on occasion and have to use the dinosaur as my computer. (How petty that sounds, not sorry one bit.) I'm going to stop the iPod layaway at Wal*Mart. Mom doesn't really need a 30gb iPod when she hardly listens to music outside the car.

We're going to start looking at apartments, just in case, but I really think the only choice is going to be option 2 and just hope that my stupid relatives see that we're burning ourselves out and actually help us like they fucking said they would when we took on this responsibility.

Did we make a major mistake agreeing to help her out when we moved back here? There have been a couple of times that she would most likely have died if one of us wasn't here. But is the life she has now really a blessing? Yes, she has enjoyed seeing the great-grandkids and my cousin's wedding (which came after one of the more serious incidents that I caught), but her life is simply this: she sleeps on a bed downstairs after having been told she can no longer go upstairs in her own house. When she wakes up after 10AM or so, she moves to the couch in the living room and sleeps there all day as she watches a little TV. Sometimes she sits on the porch. She argues with Mom and I about everything she eats.

Speaking of, I will now no longer give her bread. After a bit of heated conversation today she has decided she never wants bread again. So, from now on, I won't make her sandwiches (Shit! Now what do I feed her?) and any hot dogs she gets will be sans bun. If one of the relatives makes her something with bread, I will kindly inform them she doesn't like it. If she argues and says she wants the bread from the relative, then so be it and I will again serve her bread, reminding her ever more that she can't refuse it from only me. Yes, I will be a bitch about it. :)

You know, reading this back I feel like I am one of the most selfish people around. I know it porobably sounds like I hate my grandmother. But I don't. She is one of the strongest women I have ever met. She is intelligent and smart. She did more when faced with major adversity than obviously I am capable of. When my grandfather died she finished raising three kids (my oldest aunt was already in college) by herself. The youngest was six years old. Until the last couple of years, she was involved in her church in every way she could be. She was an amazing card shark whom you dreaded/adored playing Rummy with. She used to joke and laugh.

I just feel like I lost my real grandmother a few years ago when she started going downhill. She doesn't joke anymore. She doesn't play cards or sing with the choir. She doesn't go anywhere. She just sleeps. She just exists. And Mom and I have an existence that revolves around her existence. So, yes, I am selfish. I want my real grandmother back. I want to be able to go back to college and actually make something of myself and my life. I want to date. I want to have more than one or two friends again. I just want everybody to be happy. Is that really so much to ask?

Monday, September 18, 2006

After a "brief" hiatus...(long)

Okay, so it wasn't so brief. I've been in a funk, I admit it.

Mom and I managed to go on our vacation. We went from Scranton to Corning then Rochester; Rochester to Lockport then Niagara/Buffalo; Buffalo to Niagara (Canadian side) then Burlington; Burlington to a few shops between there and Toronto, one verrrry long street in Toronto then Kingston; Kingston to Gananoque then somewhere between Gananoque and Syracuse; somewhere near Syracuse to Lafayette, then Ithaca to Corning to Big Flats; Big Flats to Gilbertsville then Oneonta to East Meredith and back to Scranton.

Phew! Yes, we did all of that in a week - Sunday morning to Saturday night. At Corning we made glass beads (Mom's turned out nicer. *pout*) which we picked up on the way back. We also took in the Ansel Adams exhibit that was at the Rockwell Museum of Western Art. *DROOL* We thought we'd see something at Rochester, but ended up just going to Lockport, where we toured a cave (man-made with some cool growths starting) and took a cruise on the locks of the Erie Canal. Then we hit Niagara on the American side. We went to the Cave of the Winds (which you actually can't go in anymore) and I got drenched. Mom managed to get a picture of me about to be washed away by the Bridal Veil Falls. At the end there's a place where you can donate the sandals they give you to a third world charity. We did. On our quest to find a hotel room for the night we stopped at the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine and lit candles for my brother and a few others we know. We also took pictures of any saints that had bearing on our names, except for my nephew's saint who was conspicuously absent. I guess no patrons have liked Christmas yet.

Tuesday we crossed into Canada. We exchanged a good bit of our currency, since we didn't want to use the check card unless we had to. We went on the Maid of the Mist, a suspended car over the Whirlpool, a walk past the Rapids and saw the Flower Clock and the Butterfly Conservatory. You know, for sheer size and the mist it gives off, Horseshoe Falls is impressive and dramatic, but I think Bridal Veil Falls is just prettier. It has different layers and more happening in a smaller space. But I was most impressed by the Butterfly Conservatory, if that makes any sense at all. As we were taking the shuttle to it, we met a family with ties to this area and the daughter and I started talking books, of course. (Just when you thought you were safe from nerds...) When we did get in, a Blue Morpho landed right on Mom's glasses. Unfortunately, she had the camera and I was unable to get a shot of it, but it was cool. I think we spent an hour there, just marveling at them.

Wednesday we used as a shopping day. There wasn't really anything we wanted to see in Toronto that we couldn't pass on, so we went to a genealogy store (Heaven!), two quilting shops and spent about an hour traveling down one mile of Yonge Street (Toronto's seeming equivalent to Broadway) to get to a needlework shop, where I made out pretty well - bought this in chart-form. YES! Thursday was mixed. We went to a few shops in Kingston, where both of us cleaned up and I got some very good advice about needlework. Then we went to Gananoque and took the three-hour 1000 Islands tour. I relaxed and stitched through most of it. I did fall madly in love with one of the houses on the lake. When I get the film developed, I'll post a picture of it. Mom and I crossed back into the States after that, much to the amusement of the Border guard, I think. When asked if we had anything to declare, ditzy me asked if a Wendy's salad counts. He just shook his head and passed us through. Oh, cool tidbits, we bought my aunt some GF beer called La Messagere and Wal*Marts in Canada sell KinderEggs at the registers!

Friday we picked a bushel of apples (Paula Reds, absolutely delicious) at Beak & Skiff Apple Farm (oh, their caramel apple fudge is to die for!) and on the way to Ithaca to see the Falls (lovely as they were) we lost our damned muffler! Of course, being so close to Syracuse, we had to wander into the garage of a G-Mac fan. I can't get away from that kid for anything! Mom and the mechanic had a fine time talking about him, his prospects and his personal life. I just wanted him to look at the darned car so we could go. *sigh* He ended up taking the muffler (the big tank part) off and we rolled it in one of the ponchos we had gotten at Niagara and stuffed it in the trunk. Then we went to Ithaca and Corning, where we picked up our beads. I guess it's only fair that hers turned out prettier. We both liked my flower better last time.

Oh, and a very important thing happened at Big Flats, beside us getting "all lost and confused". I finally got to go to a bookstore! Let me tell you, I will never ever ever go an entire week without reading at least one book again. I swear I was suffering the DT's.

Our last day was spent in Central New York. We hit another quilt shop in Gilbertsville, the Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta and Hanford Mills in East Meredith. We had time on the way home, so we went to Cinemark and took in a movie (WTC - kinda depressing, but what else can you expect?) . Then we went home.

Okay, I'm totally amazed/amused. I was looking on Yahoo! for a map so I could make sure I wrote down all the places we hit in Canada and found out that you can view a satellite image of an address. I just had to put in my home address. I can see my house! You can see the park and ball-field right across from me and the culm banks with the idiot construction across the road from me and even the place at the crick that I hang out at.

Anway, that's my vacation post, about two weeks overdue...

Cheers!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

La-dee-da-dee-da

Okay, I am alive. I've been playing with my niece and nephew (they've gone home now) and working on a stitching project I have to finish as soon as possible. It's on 24 count fabric stitching over one and driving me absolutely berserk.

Anyway, I'm really not online a lot lately. I had 583 emails the other day. Yipes!

I have finally updated History's Shadow. Forget Elvis, I have someone much more fun in mind.

Oh, and I'm going through my books and sorting out those I can part with. I have over fifty posted on Paperbackswap.com already. Of course, the fact that the bookshelf my uncle put up thirty years ago finally gave in to the weight of the approximately 300 books I had shoved on it and collapsed had something to do with me actually getting off my butt and starting the sorting.

So, see you in a few days. I will try to keep up with History's Shadow, most likely updating every other day or daily if I can carve out the research time. Does anyone know how to add a few hours to every day? I could really use about three more per day, four would be better. I might get sleep, then.

Cheers!

Friday, August 04, 2006

She's Here! She's Here!

Okay, anyone reading this for a while knows I'm Pagan and desperately want to be a librarian. So, what could be more fitting than to actually find out who the Goddess of Librarians is, right? Well, her name is Seshat. She was worshipped as a counterpart to Thoth by the Egyptians. She is patroness of libraries, scribes, architects, mathematics (ugh!) and geometry.

Thanks to the wonderful talents of Kelli from Dancing Goddess Dolls, I now have my very own Seshat doll to add to my altar. She's stunning. She's so soft. I now need to decide who to order next. Medusa sounds great, as do about twelve or fifteen other goddesses, but I think it'll be the Green Man or Thoth. I should probably find a god to go with Her. For now, She'll be sharing space with Merlin, Buddha and the Lady.

Check out Kelli's stuff. It's absolutely beautiful. She makes god and goddess dolls, altar cloths, quilt tops, cards and a ton more. Kelli makes everything by hand, so her art is not cheapo, little throw-away junk. They are all well-worth the prices and the pocket goddesses are really neat! I want Cailleach and Hecate! Oh, who am I kidding? I want them all.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Gluten-Free Beer in NEPA/Scranton

Okay, if there are any Celiacs from the Scranton/NEPA area reading this, I found a GF beer that's sold in our area. It's Ramapo Valley Brewery's Gluten Free Honey Beer. It's sold at:
Cadden Brothers Beer Distributors 634 Luzerne St. Scranton , Tel: 570-346-6578

I called them and they quoted me the price of $31.99 plus tax for a 24 count case.

Slainte!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tyrannosaur running with scissors

Have you ever felt like you have no control over anything? That the world is just spinning and spinning and if you let go you'll go hurtling off it's surface into some black hole?

I'm tired. I have no energy to do anything. I just want to sleep for a whole day and not have to take care of anyone or anything that day.

My brother just called. He's going to Iraq in September for at least four and a half months. I say "at least" because he just told me he wants to stay there for eight months. If he does, then by the time he comes back all of his debts will be paid off and he'll have money in the bank. I'd rather make sure he's alive and well in the States than worry about his flipping debts.

It may not be totally apt, but I keep thinking of a quote from Jurassic Park: "The world is changing so fast, and we're all running to catch up." No, I'm not Dr. Grant being chased by genetically engineered dinosaurs, but it seems like everything is changing around me and I'm out of sync with it all.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Overheard at the bus stop

"Pennsylvania doesn't do anything for seniors." This came out of the mouth of a senior citizen. She was using a bus pass only given to seniors and complaining about a lot of other stuff.

If she hates it here so much, she can move to Florida and let the lottery proceeds be divided fairly among the needy demographics of the state. I think using the proceeds from the lottery, as Colorado does, to keep tuition at state universities at a reasonable price would be a good first step.

So there!

You wouldn't know it by my last two posts, but I actually do like most senior citizens. I consider them to be often-wise individuals who have seen a lot of life and deserve to be listened to. I just wish they would treat younger people with the same respect we were raised to treat them with.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Dirty old men need to be scrubbed from the planet...

Okay, today I was really creeped out. An older man wanted my help, saw my name badge and grabbed me under the chin and repeated it a couple of times. I forgave this because he only held my chin for a few seconds, even though it hurt when he grabbed me. He then wanted help with portable DVDs. When I couldn't find one that was cheap enough for him he was fine with it, I guess, because he put his arm around my shoulders and kissed my cheek. Now, okay, if we were talking about a gorgeous, young stud, I wouldn't mind, but he was definitely not. Basically, I was molested today and it happened so fast I couldn't even react. I should have kneed him.

Let me tell you, if I see this dude again I am running for the damned hills.

Oh, and he was also complaining because we don't offer a senior discount. We are apparently a selfish company.

*shudder*

Sunday, July 16, 2006

What's so honorable about this?

My disturbing news of the day:
Honor killings in Turkey will get the murderer a life sentence and Turkey not accepted in the EU, so conservative Muslims are driving their daughters to suicide instead to restore the family name. This is progress?

It used to be so simple. A girl would dishonor the family by being raped or wanting to go to the movies or looking at a cute boy so the family would have a younger son kill her. Because of the age of the murderer and the fact that the family was forced to kill the girl, the boy would get a light sentence. Now the EU and UN are pressing Turkey to actually progress in their treatment of women. This means that the former light punishment for honor killing is jacked up to an automatic life sentence, regardless of the age of the murderer. Since this means the families would lose two children, including the all-important male, families are making the daughters commit suicide or covering up a murder by staging it as a suicide.

A quick Yahoo! search led me to this page which confirmed what I thought. Suicide is against the teachings of Islam. So is the killing of innocents, but then, I guess if a girl has eyes and happens to admire the form of a handsome young man she is no longer innocent. I guess if she's raped by a stranger or family member she is no longer innocent. I guess if she wants to go to the theater and take in the latest movie she is no longer innocent. I guess if she wants to wear a pair of jeans she is no longer innocent. And I guess that she is not going to go to the Islamic version of Hell for suiciding because the Qur'an didn't plan for a situation where the family might have to lose their precious sons if the girl didn't commit suicide.

What do I know, though? Hey, it may be honorable in some alternate dimension where the grass is red (not only from the poor girls' blood), parental love is measured only in what a child can do for them and that child has no independent thought.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I love my Grandma!

Mom was talking about possibly getting tickets to see Toby Keith when he comes in for her and my brother. Backstage passes would be really cool if she could actually get them.

Grandma's response: "Who's Toby Cease?"

I love that woman!

The typical good news, bad news and GREAT news...

Good news:
Public Schools perform near Private ones in Study

Bad news:
In Nebraska and Tennessee, More Setbacks to Gay Rights

Great news:
My brother is coming home for a visit before his deployment back to Iraq. He's coming in on the 29th. He'll be driving from Alamogordo, New Mexico to Scranton, Pennsylvania. It's a two-day trip: complete with dog (who will be staying with his ex father-in-law. LOL) and (drum roll, please) my niece and nephew!!! Yahoo!!! I love the little monsters.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Numa Numa - Our Fighting Men At Play

I'm sorry, but I simply must share this one. It's just too good to not pass on.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stitching Habit Feeding Time

Well, I finished Elements/Rainbow a few weeks ago. I'll post a few pics of it. Now I have to finish Kwan Yin for Ami and Dan's baby. I figure the munchkin will get it for Yule. It'll be a good Turning of the Year present.



Sunday, July 09, 2006

"She's a User, an Abuser..."

I have to laugh. My grandmother's friend just came over to talk to her.

The two of them used to go to Red Baron games every year. Mom and one of my cousins would get Grandma $50 ticket-books. Grandma would give them to *Mary* to turn them in for actual game seats. Mary would then come back and tell Grandma what days they were going. They would split the tickets that we bought for Grandma. Mary would always upgrade their seats a bit and tell Grandma how much it took to upgrade and Grandma would pay all of that. Mary would pick Grandma up for the games and pay the $2.00 parking fee. Then she and Grandma would leave around the sixth or seventh inning (Mary rarely wanted to stay for a full game) and they would drive to Mary's house close by, where Grandma would call Mom r one of her sibs to drive out there and pick Grandma up. Supposedly she has a problem with night driving. Of course, she leaves our neighbor's house after dark every Sunday she visits, which is nearly every Sunday...

So, for the price of $2.00, Mary used to get $50 plus worth of baseball games and didn't even have to drive her benefactor both ways.

Now, she's saying she hasn't gone to any games this year. Grandma has only gone to one and that was with Mom paying (July 4th for the fireworks mostly). Mary just told Grandma that if Mom had any extra tickets, to let her know so she could use it. The noive! I can't wait to tell Mom this one. Although, her blood pressure might go up high enough to explode. It did when she finally found out that our Christmas gifts to Grandma were paying for Mary's games. Maybe it would be better if I didn't say anything.

By the way, this is the friend whose beliefs about early popes not being married I simply had to refute. She actually believed that celibacy had been a requirement for priests since the very beginnings of the RC church. Given her age and generation I should have shut up, but the Historian in me wouldn't allow it. Besides, she was being so damned snarky/sanctimonious about it. She didn't stay long that night. Sorry, Grandma.

She didn't stay long tonight, either. Oh, well. I wonder if Grandma will insist on leaving the light on for her, when she makes sure she turns it off each night before Mom gets home...

World Cup is over for 2006

I finally watched a full World Cup game. I wanted France to win, but Italy played a damn good game. Actually, I wanted Germany to win since the USA was eliminated. Since Italy beat Germany I was ticked at them and happy that France had beaten Brazil. So I was rooting for France. How is that for circular logic?

What the hell was Zidane thinking - head-butting Materazzi like that? What a way to finish a great career, to not even be able to stand with your team to accept the second-place award on your last game ever. He had one hell of a goal, though. I didn't even think it went in at first.

LOL. One of the Italians just put an Italy funhat on the trophy. I don't think the players are ever going to let it go. The official handing out the trophy gave him a funny look and took the trophy away to actually give it.

I love soccer.

What Century Do We Live In?

Alright, any of my friends will tell you that I get up in arms over certain political issues: religious equality, gay rights, environmental issues and anything the Shrub does that I disagree with. Well, here are two that have gotten my goat lately.

Family Disowns Indian Prince For Being Gay

Honoring Sgt. Stewart: Wiccans are Americans Too

Isn't it silly that such things are even an issue these days? A man comes out of the closet to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS issues in India and his parents disown him? A soldier who gave his life fighting where his country told him to go cannot be buried with the same gesture of respect that his fellow soldiers can?

"Where is the love?"

Monday, July 03, 2006

Why? (A Long Grandma Update and Rant)

I have to wonder why we do this. Why do Mom and I subject ourselves to this mental abuse? We love Grandma, but it's getting harder and harder to deal with both her and the family's attitudes.

TAFH was in this weekend. She immediately turned off the air conditioner. She saw that Grandma had her sweater on (and shorts) and made like it was too cold in the house. It was 76 degrees. TAFH was cold, after all, and there's no reason for Grandma to wear a sweater if she's chilly. Never mind the fact that it's simply habit for the woman to pull the afghan over her when she's not even cold. Especially never mind the fact that when TAFH comes in and other time the thermostat MUST be set at 68. "Just put on a blanket, Mom." But it was too cold and we had to open the doors. She's a cheap little bitch. I apologize if any minors are reading this, but that's the nicest way I could put it. Grandma just backed her up and told me I was wrong when I stood up for Grandma. I was then chastised for not having read the owner's manual of Grandma's air conditioner.

That was just for starters. There was the strawberry-picking adventure, the Chinese take-out fiasco, the cutting remarks and the pure illogic of the woman. Coming back from Pallman's Farm, where we pick the strawberries, she had to pick up sugar and gelatin. We were going to pass right by Gerrity's and both Grandma and I were perfectly amenable to wait in the car for the few minutes it would take her to run into the store and get the stuff. We actually even agreed that it made more sense for us to do that. Of course that wouldn't fly. We had to drive right by Gerrity's, go home and unload the entire car, then TAFH went back to Gerrity's. *sigh* She'd make a terrible Vulcan.

The best was at the very end. Apparently, Mom and I chose the worst week for everybody else as our week to take our vacation, even though it was literally the only week we could take given our schedules. Oh, and two months notice isn't enough time for all of them to figure out who is going to take care of Grandma when. She actually told me that we don't have to schedule our lives around them, but that's what it sounded like to me. None of them ever ask us about whether or not their vacations, dates, book clubs, nights out with friends (What the hell are those anyway? Not friends, but nights out...) might be happening at a time inconvenient for us. They rarely (practically never) offer to help us with Grandma.

Aunt L comes over every Saturday, early in the morning to bring over some fruit that she picks up at Aldi's and check to see if there are any bills to be paid. She does this early enough that Grandma and I are still both asleep so she doesn't really visit with Grandma or give me any time to myself. Uncle B occasionally asks her over for dinner. Both of them will come over and watch her if we absolutely need them, but we're nearly always made to feel guilty for asking. Like tonight: B, the lady who watches Grandma during the day, told Mom this morning that she's off tomorrow because she doesn't work holidays. This is news to us, by the way. No one ever mentioned this. I had to call Aunt L and she was quite grudging about it. I can't afford to lose a day's pay. Neither can Mom. Aunt L's a teacher. I'm sorry if she had plans, but this is for her damned mother!

And then there's TAFH. This charming woman does give us time off when she's in, but is it really worth having one night out every month or so, to have to put up with a near-constant stream of negativity and belittling? If she doesn't have something to complain about, she's not happy. I swear the woman is pure poison. I'd say she's clueless, but I think she knows precisely what she says and takes pleasure in the fact that at least one of us (me) can't say "boo" to her, no matter what she says. I deserved a medal for my silence in the Chinese take-out fiasco.

I was going to order salads for Grandma and I before TAFH got home. She didn't want salads. She preferred Chinese. Grandma doesn't really like Chinese, but she agreed to get it anyway. TAFH, of course, had to tell me that Mom and I were wrong about the spring rolls. They apparently "don't have just a little bit of wheat, they have a lot." Fine, we were wrong. We've never had a problem with them, so we'll look out for them from now on. She was a snot about it, though. Then the air conditioner thing happened and I retreated upstairs. When the food finally arrived, she wanted me to give her ten dollars to pay the delivery guy. I told her I'd put it on the credit card. She apparently thought I was saying that I would put it on the card. I kept repeating that I put it on the card, but once something gets in her head, she's unstoppable. She only stopped paying the dude when I asked her to make sure my card wasn't charged. Of course, as we were unloading the food she had to give me a grammar lesson and tell me I spoke unclearly and was wrong. Hello, this is the woman who is such a bad writer she can't get published on her own. She's a professor going for tenure, so publication's a big thing. I am the one that has had articles printed under my byline in a newspaper. Granted, it was local paper and small, but I was still published, paid and asked to write an article for them. I was editor of a college 'zine. I was copy editor at my college newspaper. I think I know something about grammar and proper usage of language. Snide, pompous pain in the arse.

Oy! Toss in my father's side of the family and we have the true dysfunctional American family.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It's Alive! (Sorta)

I am alive, I promise. Or this is a zombie typing right now. Take your pick. Real life is just really intruding right now.

Now to quickly check my email and get back to non-computer work.

Sorry.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Busy week and a great site!

This is the first time I've had to really play on the computer since Monday. I worked overnight Tuesday and Wednesday, my regular schedule Friday, had a wedding Saturday and slept most of the other hours except for a few where I got together with some friends on Friday night.


Basically, this post is about a new site I found thanks to a fellow member on the Tall, Dark and Wickedly Handsome group I belong to. It's a book swap service. You pay $1.59 postage and mail a paperback that you have posted to a person that has requested it. You get credit and can then request a book from someone else. They pay the postage and mail it to you. So, for $1.59 you get a new (used) book. How cool is that? I've already mailed two and received two. I'm liking this. The books I've marked for future trade are all OOP and necessary to complete an author collection! Anyway, the website's address is this:

http://www.paperbackswap.com/

If you are an avid reader, check it out. If not, but you still have books to get rid of, you might want to look at this page on their site:

http://www.paperbackswap.com/misc/hurricane_katrina/index.php

Cheers!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Well, today I turn thirty years old. Actually, I've been thirty since 4:10PM.

Funny, I don't feel older. Not really.

I guess I should take stock of the things I still want to do with my life. This list is in a tentative order, except for the first three. I think they are the most vital and I must accomplish them.

1. Lose 100 pounds (at least) and get back down to a size 12. (And stay there for the rest of my life!)
2. Go back to college and get my degrees in History and Library Science. Once I get them and get a decent career I can go back for another degree like Anthropology.
3. This isn't really one I want to do, it's more like I have to: Learn how to drive a car so I can get my motorcycle license and a scooter. A motorcycle would be preferable, but a scooter would be sufficient for my purposes.
4. Learn how to speak ASL, German and Latin.
5. Have something published, even if it's just my stitching patterns.
6. Visit Ireland, England, Germany and Egypt (Along with every other country in the world and Antarctica! I'll just list those four as the major goals right now.)
7. Learn how to fly a small plane.
8. Learn sky- and scuba diving.
9. Get a cat and some frogs.
10. I guess I should add the old standard of a long-term boyfriend/husband and adopting kids even though I'm not sure they really are one of my life-long goals.

Anyway, one, two and three must be accomplished within a year. The rest I have time for. Four depends on number two. Seven and eight are contingent on number three, unfortunately. Number ten, well, if I get around to it, then I get around to it. Five, six and nine, well, they'll happen in time.

Stitching Addiction

Besides books, music and genealogy, I have one more addiction. I love stitching - specifically cross-stitch. I'm fascinated by the play of the colors of the threads and how using only the simplest of passes by a needle a work of art is formed. Here is an example of one of my desgins. There are many more, of course. I just haven't stitched most of them.


Also, here's a Blackwork Celtic Cross I designed and stitched for Mom. I just have to frame it. I'm including a detail picture of the stitches that make up the cross and circle. I'm sorry they're a little blurry. I've never had the steadiest hand with a camera.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Taxis

While surfing for information about a date for my history blog, I came across this blog: New York Hack. Well, actually I was taking a break from searching and reading Peter's blog. This one is written by a young woman who drives a taxi in NYC. It's good. Some of the stuff that happens to her is simply absurd. Check it out.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pictures from Memorial Day Weekend


Relatives and friends paying visits. The first picture is of our cousin and his fiancee. They used to date as kids but married others. Now they've hooked up again! Talk about cool. Grandma's in the middle.

The brunette with Mom is her friend from high school. They are planning a reunion for Central High Class of 1971. (If you graduated from or know anyone who graduated from Central High School in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1971, email me.)

A cool carved head at the front of the Rockwell Museum. Just for shits and giggles I got a closer pic. It's not quite shooting up his nostrils.








Inuit sculptures with artwork on the walls. The serpentine sculpture is of a narwhal. The painting in the middle is of a creation story. The group of sculptures are also made of serpentine, except for the little rockpile one. I forget what it was made of.


Mom and Grandma on the way out of the museum. It was a nice trip. LOL. I actually got a butt shot of them before this, but have been threatened if I show it. It's actually a sweet picture of two old broads (nyah nyah, Mom) walking together. Maybe I'll smuggle it on here one day.

Monday, May 29, 2006

I thought I was done for the night. I just read about two deaths that I have to pass on if people missed them.

Desmond Dekker - my favorite Reggae artist, died Friday of a heart attack.
Paul Gleason - the vice-principal from The Breakfast Club, died Saturday of cancer.

Since this is Memorial Day (observed), here's the latest tally of deaths in Iraq.

Memorial Day Weekend

Okay, we missed the Irish Festival at Jack Frost. Everyone else in the family was too busy to watch Grandma on the one weekend Mom and I plan away every single frickin' year. So we missed the two bands we've been begging and lobbying the ICS and Jack Frost to get up there: Seven Nations and Blackthorn. Seven Nations has two more appearances in Pennsylvania this year. Maybe we can get to one of them. I spent much of Saturday doing something I don't remember. It must not have been too exciting. Oh, wait, I was working on my blackwork stuff. That's fun, at least.

On Sunday I updated poor, neglected History's Shadow. I did some today too, but haven't finished the posts, so they're hiding out as drafts. Sorry. Then I went to see X-Men with a few friends. I liked it, even though they surprised me by killing off *** (Hah! You thought I'd spill the beans about poor, um, never mind.). Yes, they did manage to set it up for another. After the movie and nibbles we went to one of the group's house and played a game I rather like: Settlers of Catan. I have a feeling I'm going to buy this game. Let's just see if I can convince some family members to play this instead of Trivial Pursuit (at which I rock!) on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Finally, today. Mom, Grandma and I went for a day trip to Corning, New York and this time we hit the Rockwell Museum of Western Art. As usual I was most impressed by the landscapes and the sculptures. I really liked the Inuit sculptures and some field studies by an artist whose name I'll have to get back to you on. They're going to be having an Ansel Adams exhibit starting June 8th and running through the beginning of September, so Mom and I are going to stop there on our way back from Canada. We had intended to go to the Corning Museum anyway to do some more glasswork, but miss Ansel? Never!

The trip was actually nice. Grandma was nice and joking. She even paid for lunch! My only beef is the fact that it's just too darned hot. At the moment I'm typing this my room is 86 degrees with the fan sucking in any cool air that might actually exist outside. We passed a thermometer on the way home and it said 96 degrees at 5pm. Ugh! Summer is definitely here.

Once we download (upload?) the photos from the camera I'll be able to share them here.

So, all in all, even with missing the festival, the weekend wasn't too bad. Some moments were very fun, in fact. Although, if we miss the next festival, some heads are just going to have to roll. Especially since I just noticed that we missed the Glengarry Bhoys, too. Argh! My aunt better have won a hell of a lot of money in Atlantic City this weekend. *grumblegrumblegrumble*

Since I missed my yearly Irish music fix, I'll have to settle for this:
One of Marc Gunn's many wonderful Irish music blogs.
Another one of his.
Source of free British/Celtic free mp3 downloads (along with all other genres, too. Great indie sounds here.)
A version of one of my favorite songs, The Sick Note.
Here's my absolute favorite Irish song, The Minstrel Boy and the Wikipedia entry on it. A sharp-eyed reader might see where I was first introduced to it. ;p I'm such an Army Brat.
Just for giggles, a funny blog entry about The Minstrel Boy.

Have fun, all.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Courtesy of Kim:


Which Character Are You? Find out Here!


I seem to have some Sage-thing going on lately. I guess it's a good thing they are my favorite types of Gods, eh? Although, on further investigation of this guy - I really don't turn into a monster. Honestly, I don't, excepting of course, one full week of each month...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Doctors and compliments (A Grandma Update)

Mom and I took Grandma to the doctor yesterday. Mom spoke to him about her behavior. He agrees with us that the dementia is really grabbing hold of her.

When Mom asked him about the fact that Grandma treats us so differently than the other relatives, he told us it's actually a compliment. Supposedly, since she feels comfortable enough with us to tell us the truth (or what she perceives as the truth) and not hide anything or put up a front, this is a good thing. She apparently doesn't trust the others as much.

I just feel so privileged.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Super Mario Bros. Live

No, we're not talking the cheezy Bob Hoskins movie. This is even better. Students from Gordon College put on a live skit of the entire first level.



Enjoy, all you Nintendo nuts out there.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Grandma and the load of laundry...

Well, if you ever forget to hang a load of laundry out to dry for a few days and have to rinse it again - muzzle your grandmother first.

She has this habit of washing an outfit, yes, I said outfit - one shirt, one pair of pants, sometimes socks and underwear - as an extra-large load. When I do laundry, I wash an entire extra-large load of my clothing. I tend to do about three loads per two weeks. Reds and darks, my khakis and lights, and a mixed-up load somewhere in between the main loads. Well, yours truly did a load of reds and darks last Sunday and left it in the basket until Mom put it back in the washer to be rinsed again sometime between last night and this morning. I had enough red shirts for the week and didn't miss them. (One of which has to go since I can now put my entire hand through the hole at the bottom - but if I tuck it into my pants you never see the hole. Hmm.)

Grandma is actually the one that told me about the load being in the washer. She told me this about three hours ago. I put them through the wash again and they were finally done about an hour and a half ago. She started on me about washing a load twice and I admitted that I screwed up. I admitted this to her. Well, she kept at it about her water bill so I, being fed up with her snarkiness of the last few days, told her off about her extra-large loads of one outfit and the fact that we pay for the water too. I ended up telling her that unless she actually washed full loads she can't say a thing about laundry to me. I got the last word! Until...

Well, it's too late to hang them according to what Grandma usually says, but she's nagging at me to hang them out anyway. (Besides, it's been raining off an on all day!) I didn't. I brought them upstairs to hang on the drying rack. I only hung a few things up since the rack is on it's last leg and fading fast. I figured to dry things out gradually on it. Ninja Grandma decided she was going to take a walk upstairs and see what I'd done so she could find something wrong with it. She did. "So, you're going to leave them in the basket until you have to wash them again!" "No, I'm drying some of them now and will hang the others out later." I made the mistake of saying "out" instead of "up" and she immediately pounced on my poor phrasing and got on me about the fact that it was too late to hang them out.

Oy! I'm really trying to be patient and kind and understanding. Really, I am. My tongue is riddled with holes. LOL. Mom just bought a nice, big bucket of margarita mix and some tequila. I get the cool-looking bottle. Personally, I've been making inroads into my Easter candy stash. The Dove chocolate bunny got it last night.

I can't believe it. I found the perfect picture at the U of NC Greensboro gallery page. This is how I actually feel. I was looking for a picture of a person hung up on a clothesline but found one better.

Mom, look! It's Bearie! (Turning thirty and I still have a teddy bear that I won't let my niece run away with even though she's tried.)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Government Stupidity

Someone remind me why I actually watch the news. The Shrub was just on ABC about illegal immigration and made sure he mentioned the USA as "One Nation Under God."

Oh, jeez, and as I watch the Senate Committee just passed that effing amendment that would make same-sex marriage illegal. Granted, people say the amendment would never get the two-thirds vote necessary, but you know what, I wouldn't put it past our Senate to do just that, even the Demmies. Just to stay in office.

Sometimes I hate my government.

Final thought: Neveah. How heavenly. Not! I wonder how many women are going to be changing their names when they hit the age when they enter the professional workforce?

Yoda!

Okay, I had to try this one after seeing it on Scott's blog. It won't let me paste the results, but I do like them!

Which Sci-Fi Character Are You?

I am Yoda! Yes! Yes!

A venerated sage with vast power and knowledge, you gently guide forces around you while serving as a champion of the light.

Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not - for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminescent beings are we, not this crude matter! You must feel the Force around you, everywhere.

Oh, and I love the website's name: tk421.net. I think he/she might be just a tad obsessed with Star Wars, don't you?

Cheers...er...May the Force be with you!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Grandma (nice), food and flowers

We took Grandma out to dinner last night. It was actually nice. She was Grandma for the night. *crossing fingers* Let's hope it lasts.

We went to Applebee's where Mom and I had mostly GF food (at least until desert - order the Apple Chimicheesecake!). We had the waitress request shrimp with not a blamed thing on it for Grandma. She demolished it and the apple pie ala mode. Mom and I had the Asiago chicken. Yummy! I also tried Mom's margarita. Ugh! I, of course, lasted about ten minutes before the alcohol had worked its way through me. Well, at least Mom and Grandma were amused.

We got our flowers from the Corning Museum. I really like them. Mom's not too happy with hers, but I think it's beautiful. I think they both are, if I may be immodest. Our first glass creations! Yay! Since we joined Corning as members they will definitely not be our last.

Mom's flower is the purple-tipped, clear-petaled, lavender-stemmed one. Mine is green-stemmed with red glass inside clear petals. LOL. The stem of Mom's flower has a hole tubing down its length that you can blow through. Mine is sealed. Darn!

Cheers.

Four absurd articles...

Apparently, the king of Saudi Arabia feels that showing pictures of women (all dressed appropriately, of course) could lead young men astray. He has "requested" that editors of the state-run/guided media refrain from publishing such pictures.

http://apnews.excite.com/article/20060516/D8HL1T7O1.html

And on the homefront, a homeowner in Florida who shot an alligator that had been in her house, attacking her dog, was given a citation for hunting without a license.

http://articles.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20060517104309990006&ncid=NWS00010000000001

Just to make the world a little creepier, two more articles:

A couple in Missouri were denied an occupancy permit (you need one in the first place?) because they are unmarried and have three children. The town's ordinance says no more than three people may live together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." One question about this: does this mean that the kids each have different blood (Does one have purple? Another green and yet another blue?) than their genetic parents and don't qualify as the connector between the two adults?

http://news.findlaw.com/ap/o/632/05-17-2006/54ea00091d9bd642.html

When we get a little extra money, we pay our bills down right? Well, not unless you want Homeland Security tapping your phoneline.

http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=RAISEALARM-02-28-06

You just can't make this stuff up...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Soapbox - Advanced Reading Copies

Okay, all of you know I'm something of an obsessed reader. Hell, my dream job is a librarian. So, lately the talk on some of my authors' blogs has been about Advanced Reading Copies (unedited proofs sent to reviewers and interested parties prior to a book's release). A lot of these have been turning up on sale sites like eBay and Amazon. This is illegal! These books have not been purchased. The authors have not received credit for sales.

Sometimes authors will give an ARC away as a contest prize. I'm craving one from Julia Quinn at the moment, actually. This is fine. The problem only occurs when the book is sold.

Please, if you see an ARC for sale somewhere, let the author or their publishing company know. It's like buying books without covers (which I did before I knew better, I will admit).

Now, before anyone refers me back to my publishing rant a few weeks ago, I consider buying books at used bookstores totally different than this. That was a case of buying a RE-sold book. Feehan and Coulter at least received credit for one sale from them. This is a case of buying a book that has NEVER been sold - basically, the book is stolen merchandise.

There are at least two eBay sellers that have special sections for ARCs in their stores. They are citing them as collectors' items. There is currently an ARC of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on eBay with an asked-for opening bid of $800.

To be honest, I would probably be a little more lenient if the ARC is of a book older than, say, four years. These probably could be considered collecters' editions. Theoretically, the person buying it is a huge fan trying to collect everything the author ever published and would have already been buying the books normally as they come out. There's still the issue that it was never paid for in the first place, though. So, someone is getting paid for something they had no right to sell. (hot! hot! hot!)

Okay, I guess I've made my point - time to pack up the soapbox.

Um, anyone know how to fold these things? I can never figure them out. They're like maps.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Trip to Corning tidbits

On the way home from Corning my brother called to tell us that he's being redeployed to Iraq in September. He'll be gone for four months again. I think he'll have two more tours like this in the next two years. He wanted us to take care of his dog for him, though. Ugh! She's nice, but she's a huge black dog. We politely avoid each other when I'm visiting. I don't think we can take her, though. Grandma would have not just one bird, but an entire nest! I mean, really, I can't even have fish!

Anyway, something funny happened. In June I'll be going up to Big Flats to help set up a store there. We passed it! Mom looked at me and I looked at her and we smiled, then she pulled off to go find it. LOL. It's going to be huge. At least I can tell everyone how to get there when we go.

That's it, really. We had fun. Tomorrow we're going to see Poseidon. Ebert didn't like it, so Mom and I will love it. Any movies he likes, we think they suck. Any movies he hates, we love. So much for the critics, eh?

Oh, and Mom should be bringing home some Kinder-eggs tonight from a place near her new store. Mwa-ha-ha! Toys toys toys!

Corning Glass Museum (long)

Okay, Mom came into my room around 11:30 on Wednesday night. I was nearly asleep and pretty much out of it. She asked me if the Corning Glass Museum sounded cool. Sure, sure, whatever, go away and let me sleep, it's not pouring cement...

Anyway, I managed to get up early enough to write my Deep Blue entry for the history blog. We left around 9 AM and got gas. Then came back because yours truly had forgotten her silly asthma medicine. Then we left (again) around 9:30. I stitched the whole way up.

We got to the parking place and saw a beautiful glass building. Um, but it was kind of small. Phew! It was only the Visitors' Center. The museum is a short shuttle ride away. There were some neat purple flowers going up its driveway, but I didn't get a chance to look at them. There's a highwater mark from some flood in 1972 about 4 1/2 to 5 feet up the windows in the main entrance. The museum is set up on a small hill, so I can't even imagine what the true depth was. (I love the internet: here's a link about the 1972 flood.) We paid for a membership so we can go back again and bought our tickets to make our glass flowers.

We did that first. It was cool. I chose green, clear and red glass, while Mom chose purple, lavender and clear. Of course, the teacher helped me and did a lot of the work, although I wish I could have been the one doing it all! If it goes as planned (we have to wait a week or ten days to have them mailed to us) mine will have a green stem, clear petals and red stamen-like dots on the interior of the flower. I will, of course, post a picture of our first attempts at glassmaking.

After a visit to the Carder Gallery and lunch we started the actual tour. It's self-guided and they have a carpet/arrow motif keeping you going in the general direction you're supposed to go. It's easy to get confused, but fun. We saw two sculptures in particular that I want. I truly truly want them. The first was Susan Plum's Woven Heavens, Tangled Earth: a sphere of flameworked glass woven together, layer by layer. The second I don't recall the name of the artist or work, but it was so relaxing. The artist (female, I think) suspended three glass plates in front of three pieces of fabric with brushes and motors behind the fabric. The motors and brushes keep the fabric in constant motion, creating patterns behind the glass. It was great.

We also saw glassworks from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Israel all the way up to modern times. I really loved the trick glasses and goblets. The Germans seemed quite fond of making them. There were mini-mosaics - moaics so small the details were only clear through the aid of a magnifying glass. Can you imagine piecing them together?

Waiting for the hot-glass show I played around with an interactive display on how to make different colors of glass. Did you know that the addition of gold to the glass formula actually turns it ruby-red? And Pyrex was a happy accident? Some glass was left in an oven overnight and had crystalized differently with the higher heat. Mom and I also tried out some weird egg-shaped glass room suspended from the ceiling. You can whisper on one end and the person sitting directly across from you can hear you clearly.

The hot glass show was neat. I've seen glass being blown before at Ren Faires, but what made this one especially cool is a camera that shows the glass being heated up in the glory hole (the heating oven that does not have the molten glas in it). The oven has a small window of the glass used on space shuttles in the back, with a camera aimed through it. You can actually see what the glassblower is doing in the oven.

The whole experience was great. We're planning our next trip already.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The 36-Hour Day (A Grandma Update)

Grandma was gone when I came home from work today. I walked into a silent house with no television blaring obnoxious soap operas. Except for the lamp I forgot to turn off this morning, no lights were on. The suitcase of clothing that was the cause of the blow-up on Saturday was gone.

(Until this very moment no phone calls - I hate the phone...)

I called out her name, just making sure she actually was gone. I called it a couple of times, actually. Then I walked over to the chair in the living room and just sat down with a whump! It was like all the air just let out of me. I'm able to be downstairs and not have to watch her shows or feel her staring at me. Or, staring in my direction, as other people say she is doing. Funny, it feels like she's staring at me.

I'm reading The 36-Hour Day. It's a book for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's or Dementia. Grandma's strokes have caused brain damage that qualify her as having a "Dementing Illness". Apparently, her little habit of forgetting an argument after an hour is normal and not maliciously intended. According to the book. Also, when Mom and I argue instead of just deflecting her Mrs. Hyde moments we're making the situation worse because the person with a dementing illness knows something is wrong but can't quite understand what's wrong with them. We're supposed to be supportive and understanding about her situation and what she's having the specific problem with. Logical reasoning apparently doesn't work. (I'm screwed, then. I try to use logic constantly.)

I was talking to one of my venting people about it and her advice was the same as the book's. Basically it boils down to what we were doing for the longest time - when Grandma gets nasty, hold your tongue and pretend you're somewhere faaaaaaaar away. But it got worse while we were doing that. That's why we actually defend ourselves now. Maybe it's just that the more strokes she has the worse she gets. The only problem is that sitting quiet while she spews vitriol is damaging our admittedly low self-esteem levels. She can say everything she likes but we can't defend ourselves? There's just something fundamentally wrong with that. It goes against a human being's very nature. However, everyone and every book says the same thing. It's not her. It's the disease and she can't control it.

Even the good/bad kid thing is explained by the disease. It's her perceptions that are thrown off. Child A may be the caretaker/giver and treated like dirt, but Child B who comes in once a year is treated like gold, while Child C is just not even thought about either way. Apparently, this is part of the disease process and caused by brain damage to certain parts of the brain.

So, how to get Mom to believe this? Do I even believe it all? I understand the brain damage and that brain damage can have profound effects on behavior. It would be nicer to think it's her brain damage rather than me being less important or good than my cousins that make me the bad one in my generation. I am going to need major counseling when this is over. Mom needs it right now.

Oh, Grandma doesn't come home until Sunday and I took tomorrow off so Mom and I can go do something fun for once. Wish me luck in convincing her that pouring a sidewalk is not fun. Better yet, wish for the downpours predicted to come, because that would make sure we can't do it tomorrow!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Totally oblivious to the world...

Learned something new today: George Takei "came out" last year. Apparently, it was an open secret with Star Trek fans. Does this mean I have to give back my Trekkie pin?

Cheers

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I spoke too effing soon (A Grandma Update)

Well, Mrs. Hyde is back with a vengeance. I guess being nice for a few days was too much for her to bear.

Grandma is going to TAFH's house this week. She needs to find a certain pair of shorts that my other aunt gave her. Well, she broke for the stairs and made it up without anyone hearing her. We had boxed up the junk on the floor and moved the computer in there. It's organized and neat. Her clothes that were on the floor or hanging about went itno boxes, too. This wasn't just our doing, but on consensus from all of the family. TAFH even put up the first box/suitcase. That was okay, but now with her selective memory it was all Mom who did it.

When she realized Grandma was upstairs Mm went up there and asked her why she didn't tell one of us she was going up. She never does and still thinks she's going to move back up there. She got huffy and made a remark about that. Mom just told her to talk to her other kids. Well, in the space of about fifteen minutes, Grandma managed to pick at Mom so badly she reduced her to tears.

Grandma actually said we want her dead. I got in her face and tld her VERY strongly that the reason we are here and everything we do is to keep her alive. She didn't say much to that, just harped on her usual: "The clothes should be upstairs. The dresser should never have been brought downstairs. You move my stuff all the time. Yadda Yadda. We're always wrong."

Oh, shit. They're downstairs right now and Mom is asking her if she even loves her.

I'm crying. I don't know what to say. Mom just stormed out in tears, sure her mother hates her. Grandma and I had it out, sort of. She and I both said things. She's insisting she doesn't hate Mom, but that when Mom asked her, she just didn't want to answer her. She's that spiteful. She thinks I want her dead so I could have the big room. She said that everything I do says that. I guess making sure she doesn't fall, making sure she eats right and making sure she gets her pills is evil. I asked her if she realized that Mom cries every night? SHe doesn't care as long as we don't move her stuff. There was so much more said, including me cursing at her and her telling me to get out, I told her no. She said I took care of her only when I wanted to. I told her if I did that then I'd be gone right now, but I'm not. I made the mistake of mentioning that I'd be out with my friends more often and her reply was "What friends?" I told her I have more than one and she scoffed. And I do. People at work have invited me out, but how can I go with noone to watch her?

I'm shaking. Aunt L is coming over so I can go out for a while. I want to get some shopping done. I wish I could get stinking drunk. I hope Mom's okay. Driving and crying don't mix well.

I asked Grandma at the end of our confrontation (with me in tears) if she would just tell Mom she loved her. I told her I don't care if she doesn't love me. I already have that from Dad, but Mom shouldn't have to feel that. She had a tear in her eye, maybe it did some good. I hope.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Grandma's Home!

She's joking! She's being nice. I'm having a heart attack.

I bought a new t-shirt today. I never wear tees with slogans on them, but I had to buy it when I saw it. It's blue and says this: If you choke a Smurf...What color does it turn?

Mom saw it and just groaned. Grandma stopped with her hot dogs and stared at me. I was wondering what the heck she wanted. Then I heard her reading it out loud. She laughed!

And in the last two days, she's demolished hot dogs. Three last night and four tonight. She's eating and being nice to me. Yeah, she picked at me about something stupid last night, but she's been really nice to us, basically. Obviously, I'm going to take advantage of the situation while it lasts.

BTW, I'm buying the Yoda tee next. It has a picture of Yoda pointing and says "My finger, pull."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cool or Weird Webcams

Okay, so I was bored but here are some really cool webcams:

My lady: The Statue of Liberty
This is of the nest of a Peregrine Falcon with a chick/nestling.
Deformed Frog Cam - Northern Leopard frogs cared for by the Minnesota Polluton Control Agency.
Killer MutAnt Space Ants - an ant farm *shudder*
Of course, we must have this one: NessieCam

Sites to find more webcams:
Earthcam.com
Webcam.com

Grandma and my multipersonality disorder...

Grandma's cast is off. The doctor and nurse were surprised at how well she'd healed up, given her diabetes and by the range of motion in her arm. She'll be starting therapy soon, so we'll see what happens.

She's going to visit TAFH next week (who is still being surprisingly nice). My aunt and uncle got tickets for a Phillies game next Wednesday. Granda is going down Tuesday night and staying until Friday at least. I hope she has fun and the Phillies win. I intend to make the most of it and find some way to get out those days, even if I have to call off work one of them. We'll be slow next week anyway...

Argh! The pain of having that stupid work ethic drilled into my head.

Conscience speaking: "Now, now. You know you can't call off work unless you're ill."
Id speaking: "Yeah, Yeah. Whatever, C. So, where do you wanna go on our "day off?"
Paycheck speaking: "You want me to be nice to you, get your butt in here!"

I think Paycheck might win, forget Conscience and definitely forget Id (he just gets me in trouble, anyway). Practicality and not eating ramen beats just about anything on any given day.

Cheers from the Psych Ward

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Leggett's Creek

After going to a retirement party for my uncle I went to Leggett's Creek to take some pictures with Mom's new camera, which we both adore. I went to my usual spot and took this one:

Then I went to the lower part of the creek. I haven't been down there in years and forgot where the deep parts were, so I came home soaked to the knees. The shoes I didn't give a fig for; they're already pretty much dead anyway. This is one of the pictures I took down there, making me remember why I like the upper part so much:

Why do people do this?