Saturday, December 30, 2006

Black Doggie Visits Little Pond

There was a black dog waiting for me when I returned from work. She waited in the front yard, standing at attention. Then she came to the door with me.

When a strange dog visits after midnight, we are pretty sure she's a stray or runaway. The most unusual part of this was her submissiveness. She was extremely obedient and trusting, even allowing me to check her tags. The rabies tag was from our local animal hospital.

We called their 24 hour emergency service. The person who answered told us we would most assuredly be able to locate the owners. We waited for regular hours; the little lady slept on the carpet next to the sofa, and I pulled out the sleeper. She followed me to the bathroom each time during the night.

This morning we called the family, who were just arising, and didn't know she was missing. They came for her and our visit was over.

The night before, I had walked her right past her home, searching for her owners. Today they did not bring a leash to collect her. She ran up the street when they tried to lead her to their car.

She was a quiet, sweet dog. I hope they watch her a little more closely.

pb
Little Pond

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

No Prayers Left

The holiday did finally drain me: too much activity. And the emotional stuff. We saw many more relatives than we expected, and didn't have presents for them all. I always feel a little bad about that when it happens. Still, love and hugs make up for the lack.

However, the defining Christmas moment came not from gifting, incoming or outgoing.


Remember when I mourned Beirut? It came back to me Sunday, during a visit with a Lebanese-American neighbor. My sadness was nothing next to her very real fear for displaced family.

One can mourn the urban beauty and former glory. But this lady's siblings fled their home, and then their city, and have even spent time living in nearby caves. Our friend choked on tears as she explained that her packages no longer reach her relatives. She felt anxious and hopeless in the face of letters begging for her aid.

It still hurts to see the mess made of Beirut and even Bethlehem. Christian and Muslim, merchants and professionals, tradesmen and service providers, were all getting along, thriving side by side, for decades. It shames me to say that before Sunday, there was no real face to put in those neighborhoods being destroyed by the ongoing conflict.

Now there is. She told us she stands at the window facing East and rages against God and her own helplessness. She can do nothing to save her family from hardship and danger. She knows her tears are not enough, and she said she has no more prayers left.

So I promised to pray for her family. Her siblings are mine now.

I wish I could do more.

pb
Little Pond


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Gray and Rainy Christmas Eve

...in Little Pond. One daughter will take me to a Unitarian service this morning. We will also visit our neighbor's with a gift for her little doggie Holiday, and no, HuggaMutt is not invited. She'd been scratched a while ago for nipping the owner. In her own yard, no less. Directly afterwards to the In-Laws for Christmas Eve. Finally our other daughter will accompany me to Midnight Mass at our Oh!-so-conservative St. Casimir's Catholic Church. High Mass (fully sung) no doubt.

So, here's a quick round of links to all things Christmas. Another round tomorrow at the MSCompanion!

LaShawn Barber's Christmas Card

Rishon Rishon
Why not take lessons in our Our Savior's Sacred Language?

The Happy Catholic's Christmas Card

Cathy's Rants offers A lawyer's Christmas just for fun.

My Little BlogSister Pearlie's Christmas Poem is a real treat.

Shushan's Shore dedicates an entire site to her Santa Penguin!

My Journey With MS is experiencing a Blue Christmas...

One Crazy Chick's sweet little greeting.

Dreaming of a White One? Then you've got to go to Word Salad!

A blissful Christmas Eve to you all.

pb
Little Pond

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Floggers

Sometimes when I am on break at work, I check in with my blogs to read comments. A while back, I simply typed in the subject of my post, and brought up something similar to Pat's Pond.

They were paraphrasing the blog and using it to bring in Googlers to a site of junk links. I noted it, and forgot about it until a comment thread brought it back to me.

I googled the concept and came up empty-handed. No wonder. This week I turned to Yahoo! for a change of pace and found this.

There's a special circle in Hell waiting for those people. I can only hope that we are afforded a front row seat to watch them suffer, from eternity to eternity.

pb
Little Pond

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Done

No more shopping! Two giftcerts from the local Catholics schools and a trip to the postoffice for local shipment tomorrow. Both preplanned and budgeted and both easy stops.

Hope it's the same for you all.

pb
Little Pond

Friday, December 15, 2006

Five on Friday tackles stress

This is so very right now. Criminal Grace is posting about Stress Relief.

I'm in a mad rush, so here's the short version:

1--right now money is my worst stress-inducer.

2--if we don't count stomach and skin trouble, I think I handle stress rather well.

3--video games relieve stress for me by creating fictional stress.

4--relax? Does sleep count as relaxation?

5--until my recent allergy troubles, chocolate and cheesecake were my comfort food. But hypersensitivity is changing that. I don't want to think about it.

Gotta Go.

pb
Little Pond

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Final (Fantasy) Post:

If you've been to my profile, you probably know I am a Final Fantasy Fanatic. I don't play anything else. My apologies to anyone who hoped I would join World of Warcraft Online. So sue me.

After years of playing and replaying, and playing around with, Final Fantasy VII, I finally composed a story about my adventures with the game. For you non-gamers, this is known as a FanFiction, a story about the game's story, and not about gaming. Naturally it is in the first person, since I personally manipulated the controller in all those many, many, many hours. The product does not quite stand alone, although I provide a lot of backstory, just to help the continuity of my narrative. This means that if you find yourself lost after a few paragraphs, you may want to either invest in a Playstation and the Squaresoft game, or drop the whole thing.

The hardest part about writing this novella was keeping it PG. I am a grown woman, after all, and these are the adventures of a co-ed group of road warriors. Any follow-up will probably be even more difficult, because it will step outside the game's parameters and delve into interpersonal relationships. As in Man and Woman or, more accurately, Man vs. Woman.

Over a decade ago, I worked in video rentals, and it was necessary to write descriptions of sexually oriented videos, without resorting to any sort of graphic language. This became my forte for a few years. I hope to do that one better, and hint at the Great NoNo without taking the rating beyond that of its predecessor.

To those of you who've already published Final Fantasy VII Fan Fiction on the Internet, your place as pioneers remains unchallenged. I'm just another fangirl with broadband and a keyboard.

To the rest of the world, I guess this is an admission that I am, most likely, a game geek. And when geeks grow old, it isn't pretty.

pb
Little Pond

Monday, December 11, 2006

Satisfied Customer

If you are a Virgin Mobile customer, you may remember my posts regarding a dead cell phone. I'd been left stranded at the County Fair without service that had not been reupped when I did so. This is a very dangerous situation for me, because I am stupid and will run where angels fear to tread. In fine, I get myself into a lot of trouble when left to my own devices. My cell is my lifeline. I won't link to the posts, because all is forgiven.

At the time I left the thing live and continued to subscribe. But I tend to hold a grudge and expected to change over as soon as something better came along. In fact, I nearly went with the Cingular Go Phone, because a friend sells them at Sam's Club.


Again: All is Forgiven. Thanks to Terry of OurTeam who emails from Virgin Mobile USA
and to Stacy who works the 866 line, and hails from the West Coast. )Where they were reeling from the recent storms.)

Through Terry's advice, I began to monitor my service through the website. I never knew I could. There were charges I didn't remember, but guessed I must've signed up when I used a minutes card. Yep, that was the case, too. I fixed a few things here and there, but nothing happened and the stuff kept coming.

By the way, going through the online trouble-shooting manual turned up a "I have no service, although I topped up" selection that is now available to customers.

My next email suggested a toll-free number that gave me Stacy, and we walked step-by-step through all the various dark little pockets of my service. Located the problem, which was corrected. I work nights and failed to take that into account when I checked the online account manager. 12:15--AM--does not belong to the previous night, even though my body and brain insists it does.

But Stacy had a suggestion that had infinite appeal for my tired old brain. Automatic topping up is available, and can be had for as little as $15.00 a pop! Should I need more than the minimum of minutes--not usually the case, although the Wonderful Wedding Weekend came close--I can add them and that will cancel the very next topping up. Sounds like it should work for me.

She was very patient with me and double-checked every little detail. I am a very happy camper and now a satisfied Virgin Mobile customer.

Now if they could just get rid of that perky little twit that sends me junk voice messages to clutter my inbox...

pb
Little Pond


Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Night of the Long Knives

Walked into a very uncomfortable workplace last night. Coworkers were gone, and the remainder were spooked. The ax finally began to fall at the paper. Losses due to the changeover are having their effect.

The inhouse IT department was completely wiped out. Gone forever. We also lost our Marketing department, one of whom is a personal friend. Her office-mates from Specs were still crying when we came in. All were accorded severance packages. This go-around was not temporary.

None of my department mates (except for my immediate boss) has ever been laid off. They are all kids and cannot believe that we are expecting a second cut in February. This is quite common in advertising. After the Christmas rush, there is usually a round of temporary layoffs.

The last layoffs related to the changeover continued into the spring. At that point, the necessary personnel will probably be offered positions in Johnson City. Many will leave, because the last group was whittled down eventually by the 45 minute commute.

None of us are safe from the ax. Senior employees were included this time, and may be next time.

Update on the Venusian Virus.

pb
Little Pond

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Got an opinion on everything.

It's just the same one, regardless of topic:

Who cares?

I've got a whopper of a cold, and nothing matters.

Got my first night's sleep all week, but am still plugged up and sore.

Ultimately, nothing matters when I'm sick. Nothing, not even my children. What a terrible thing to think. But I sincerely tried to keep the girls away from me, because I didn't want to have to worry about them getting this awful cold.

Life still taste good, but it tastes less good.

For instance, it is much better to put tangy apricot jam on toast, rather than blueberry preserves, my usual favorite.

And Husband RJ brought me Red Velvet cake. I scarfed a piece and stopped. Better to save it for when I would appreciate the taste.

And while constantly changing and laundering clothes, pajamas and sheets doesn't ease the symptoms, it makes me feel less gross.

There aren't too many things grosser than Homo sapiens sapiens with an upper respiratory infection.

Back when I'm better.

pb
Little Pond

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Rodent Proof Seeds, My Foot!


Safflower seeds are specifically advertised to repel squirrels, blue jays and other nuisances. So we bought a brick of the stuff and a special feeder (with squirrel baffle).

We are the ones who are baffled. There is one squirrel who thinks we set them out just for him. Big, fat fellow, who is out there right now, even as I blog these photos we took the day before.

Hanging Around


After grabbing the seeds, he then hangs by his back legs, and enjoys the meal. No hurry. Expensive, too. And yet, the same seeds are being used successfully by my friend GolferGirl. We haven't seen a squirrel all summer at her feeder in Corning.

pb
Little Pond

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving


This is our sponsored son Luis Patricio. If you've ever sponsored a child, you probably recognize this: once they are no longer children, they leave the system. Luis is the only child we've ever seen to young adulthood. Many parents pull their children from school and put them to work. Once we got a note that simply said that the child's father had taken an interest in him. Luis loves to draw and play soccer. We are very proud of him.

pb
Little Pond

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Asthma time came early this year.

Had a minor asthma spell in church this morning. But it was good to remind me that I needed to order my electric candles. Thanks to Sharper Image, electric candles are all the rage this year.

We were well ahead of the tide last year with this post and many others. They were ordered from Inspired Lighting, which was recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

You will recall that the oil lamps in the Lawrence Chapel were the starters for the season. Then the pretty hurricane lamps at the tables took over.

Shipping and handling seem a little steep for this year's order, but the item itself was reasonably priced, so it was a wash. Pillar candles are available in ivory and red. I had to have a red tall pillar to go with the purple and pink against the bright gold. And what goes with tort-tabby cat?

pb
Little Pond

Saturday, November 18, 2006

First Official



...Decked out home of the season. And that's not counting those homes that have the huge blow-up vinyl Christmas displays. They've been out since the owners took in the huge blow-up vinyl Halloween displays. This is, of course, a household with little children.

We are having a miserably cold, damp November, and that is keeping the early birds in. I expect to see more this weekend.

pb
Little Pond

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Preparations for Judgement Day

...are almost complete! Went to visit Cousin Robby to make arrangements. It was a pleasant visit.

The funeral home hasn't changed much since the last time we visited, as opposed to the last time we had to be there for an official function. They visited with us at the wedding, so we see each other enough.

We are set with them. They will facilitate the trip to the Upstate Medical Center, direct the memorial service and handle the caterers for the after party. The same caterers that fed our party-goers.

Now I must fill out the legal paperwork for the transfer and surrender of the body. Essentially paperwork for the Medical Center. And we are all set.

Except. There always is an "except."

Except that we must contact our doctors, to be sure someone can be called in to sign the death certificate. Doctors are allowed more time to sign the papers than we are allowed to idle in refrigeration. That is to say: they could sign the certificate too late for the body to be any use, legally speaking. It is important that our doctor be on the same page as we are. If they are against cadaver donation, they might deliberately sabotage the whole operation.

This here's the Bible Belt, partner. Not everyone agrees what is good for the cooked goose, so to speak. I hope that the neurologists agree with my point of view. They are next.

I'll keep you posted.

pb
Little Pond

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Armistice - And Irony

I can see them yet, as they marched away,
So debonair, so brave, so gay!
I can see them yet, as they turned to wave,
The smiles erased from their faces grave.
And as I stood there, turned to stone,
The sun's last glint from their rifles shone.

I can still see my Mother, with face so white
And my Father, standing so still,
Trying to think that all was right,
Trying to feel like it was God's will.
Yes, we all tried to be as brave as they,
As my husband and brother marched away.

After many a weary month and long
Came the news, more cheering than the happiest song.
The whistles were blowing, the bells were ringing.
Everywhere people were shouting and singing.
"The War is over at last" cried they,
And the sad old World became hysteric'ly gay.
We looked at each other through tears of joy
And Mother murmered softly, "My boy, my boy!"

Happy plans for their return we made.
I tremble even now, as these mem'ries fade.
"Killed in action", the telegram bore.
"Killed in action"; weary brain repeated o'er and o'er.
Yes, the bells were ringing,
They should have tolled!
The sound of bells will turn me faint and cold
Forevermore.
My brother had died the day before.

Josephine Abby Lamb Baker

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Seeding Democracy...

What are you doing reading blogs???

Get out and vote!


This is the end of the Halloween pumpkins in Little Pond. The microwaved shells are sitting in the fridge, waiting for me to scrape and puree. Or maybe just eat with butter spray.

Before we cooked the seeds, we took the HuggaMutt with us to vote. Then we celebrated our decisions with a walk down on the River Access/Flood Plain/Goose Hatchery. Ellie approves of Election Day.

pb
Little Pond

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Friday, November 03, 2006

HalloThanksHanuChristNew!!!!

Discussed this with a health provider this week, so Criminal Grace nailed it:

Early Preparations:

1-Roman Catholic. (Named after a Saint and the Blessed Mother, and I took the name of the Lord's Earthly Dad!)

2-Celebrate Christmas in late December??? Try starting in late November, day after Thanksgiving.

3-I send cards when I am well enough. No apologies when I'm not. By the way, religious cards to fellow Catholics, non-religious to fellow Christians, and Peace Season sorts to the rest. We include everyone, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Santeria and atheist.

4-The previous answer serves here, except that I usually include a quick catch-up note.

5-Any sort of card puts me in the spirit. Except once at college I got a mystifying nasty card sent by a dorm-mate who mistook me for someone else. I was able to learn who was the intended target but never figured out the sender. (Bothers me to this day. After all, what we say to one another in Heaven?)

On to Thanksgiving!

pb
Little Pond

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Let's Not Crow Just Yet

Kerry made an awful stupid mistake, but in my opinion, it was just a mistake.

Is it coming at a good time? Maybe. Maybe not.

Keep in mind that many, many people were surprised and upset over the last elections.

Sore losers? You bet.

Just a bunch of losers? I don't know.

Our system is "Checks and Balances." Most notably the two-party system.

George W. Bush has been in for two terms, and there has to be a change. Not negotiable.

Kerry is still the Dems most viable candidate. So they already have a basis on which to build. That alone puts them one step ahead. One step may be enough.

Can we provide a candidate with enough charisma, knowledge and experience to guarantee the presidency? One strong enough to beat Kerry?

I wish we did.

pb
Little Pond

Monday, October 30, 2006

Photos from MammaDog's wedding ceremony here. More soon.

It was a Glorious Night!!


This greeted our guests on their way into the banquet. Candy and caramel apples, mostly made by our bride and sister. The number after the name indicates the table. This permitted her to strew her friends tables among the various families. Very few people sat the entire night.

The Bakers were in from Massachusetts! That meant dancing from dusk til closing.

The geeks and the smokers formed their own little havens outside in the breeze. That meant breaks away from the noise and promises to play Final Fantasy with other like-minded individuals.

Conga line snaked its way through the tables, and the Music was provided by parents of friends of the bride and groom. We also did some strange little dance where everyone switched jackets and shoes and partners. A very good time for all.

Ziggy, if you're reading this, we will have to play sometime. I'm looking forward to learning WarCraft!

As expected, most people left around eight or nine, while the youngsters partied to midnight. All the wine and beer was consumed, if you're wondering. We are, after all, New York Upstaters and Northern Tier Pennsylvanians.

pb
Little Pond

Sunday, October 29, 2006

MammaDog and PappaDog's first kiss as a married couple. Little Pond is quiet this morning. We have over 100 raw photos to process and are expecting hundreds more from the party-goers.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Wedding Weekend 2006/Minor Crisis

MammaDog as a bride for Halloween, 1986.



Please help me by saying a prayer for all our travelers. We have been attached before to weddings that were accompanied by tragedy on the highway. One of the reasons we are restricting alcohol at the banquet. Those who remain to party are staying at the Fontainebleau Inn.

Check also the MS Companion.

A Minor Crisis:

BabySister and her hubby each thought the other brought the heart medicine for their lhasa apso, Teddy. Now it must be Fedexed from Massachusetts and won't arrive before Saturday Morning. They could take him to a local vet, but as an emergency visit, it would cost $100.00, and go uphill from there.

Teddy has a heart murmur. Any herbal remedies or ideas? We are currently just keeping him calm and happy, but that will change Saturday, when we all leave for the wedding.

Any input would be appreciated.

pb
Little Pond


Monday, October 23, 2006

It Goes Whooosh!

That's the sound of money during the last week before a wedding.

We paid a costly visit to the caterer, Sweet N Saucy. But the ladies are pros and did what I could not. They calmed my daughter down enough for her to eat. She's been unable to eat since yesterday's lunch. We fed her a "Dolly Parton" salad. (With two great big chicken breasts-HeeHee!) And I had a lovely cream of spinach soup. The ladies will handle some minor floral arrangements for the cake (we do floral, not figurines) and lighting for the tables. These were all impromptu arrangements that will be included in the bill. But out of our hair.

Looks like I will need to attend some sort of rehearsal and dinner. Since we are paying for them, may as well, but I hate the extra travel. We are carrying the burden usually carried by the groom's family, but they are simply not offering. We will be lucky if they don't carry on their feud during the kid's big day. Frankly, if they do start anything at all, I will pummel them with my walking stick. Literally, I will throw them out of the church or reception. And if anyone tries to interfere, I will beat them senseless, too. A la Friar Tuck. People will talk about it for years.

Just a little pumped up on adrenaline, is all.

We are all getting touchy this week.

pb
Little Pond

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The article was called “Cover Story.”

It was about non-Muslim head-covering for religious reasons. The Twin Tiers is Mennonite country, and we see it all the time. Generally, both men and women cover their heads.

I can remember the early days after the Vatican Councils. We had a die-hard pastor who couldn't let go. He sermonized on the "fine, old tradition of women covering their heads." He had tears in his eyes, begging us.

Was he mourning the loss of formal Sunday clothes? If so, he was right; it probably was the first death knell of the Sunday parade of fashion.

Was he mourning the loss of women's secondary status? He seemed the epitome of the Pauline cleric, so I would guess this was his grief. We resented it. He would stop a bare-headed lady on her way out after service, and publicly chastise her.

So this trend toward ladies once again covering their heads makes my lip curl.

There are ladies who come to services with what is obviously a chapel veil. If they are being old-fashioned for the sake of being old-fashioned, I don’t get it. Was it a wonderful thing to be subservient?

Some are probably using their veils as a sort of habit. That I can understand. It falls in the same category as the Mennonite, Amish, and any religion that insists both sexes cover their heads.

But: Roman Catholics were given to understand that women no longer wear head coverings because we are all children--and heirs--of our God. For a person to decide to cover his or her head on religious grounds is fine with me, as long as it is an outward sign of something other than sex-based subservience.

I personally wear hats year-round, and could easily expand my wardrobe to include fancy hats for church. But like men, I tend to remove them inside. The showier ones would obstruct the view of the people behind me. It would not surprise me to learn that (going back in time) that’s the reason men are required to remove them, also.

But ladies didn’t. And that’s the point. Ladies were required to cover their heads in church. After all, we ate the apple that caused all the trouble, and somebody had to pay for that. How convenient that the stronger sex decided to impose it on the weaker! Interesting that the weaker sex is beginning to wear the imposed symbol again.

What could have caused these ladies to take a giant step backwards into the dark ages?

pb
Little Pond

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Got Heels?

When I blogged my shopping trip last month, I deliberately avoided mentioning the shoes and purse. Why open that can of worms?

Here's why: Got Myelin's foray into the world of shoe-shopping is very similar to my earlier trip in the late spring. Back then, I came home with two pairs of high heels. (Two inches high!) And this time around I purchased a pair of metallic-champagne Nine West two inchers.

How? How do I tromp around on high heels, do you ask? Okay, medium high heels.

Well, I don't, not really. Not much anyway. Not without support, ever. That's a lot of nots.

When I am dressed to the nines, I am usually with Husband RJ, or with my daughters. When there's trouble, and I would be lying to pretend there never is, I can holler for help. By the way, I am not shy about grabbing handrails and other woodwork, either.

Same as everyone else, including people without MS. I also dress for church in heels. After all, my outfits look better with the proper heels. But in church there are pews. At the end of the pews are raised knobs. Just the right height for grabbing, and I did not learn this from experience. I learned by watching how the seniors navigate.

Do I look like a senior? Okay, no spring chickie, but not much older than my age. Nothing wrong with looking my age. How old, you ask? None of your darned business, Sonny or Missy. It's not polite to ask. Let's just say I earned those gray hairs.

So, take that, Got Myelin? ! Buy the darned things and curtail your activity. Or not.

And by the way, there are Capezios that make a great shoe for dancing, and they come in all heights, designed to be orthopedically sound. Something to purchase just once and keep forever at hand for dancing. And really great deals on mark-downs. Dancers are notorious for wrecking their feet, and wear very comfortable shoes whenever they can, switching to the painful ones only when necessary.

Seriously, professional dancers taught me to buy the most comfortable I can find, not be afraid to trim wherever they hurt, and keep them forever at hand. (And find a leatherworker who dyes shoes!) I keep shoes handy that don't hurt, even when I'm dressed to the Nine Wests. You should envisions them in metallic champagne color.

And Macy's is where I got them. Bring your husband and make him help you get around. Most guys are happy to see their ladies in heels.

And happy to navigate for them while arm-in-arm.

Because I've been busy with the wedding, I put this in Little Pond. But a more technical follow-up is to be found at the MS Companion.

pb
Little Pond

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mideast Politics, Men and Women

It is gratifying to see verification (Courtesy of my Everloving Blogmother, Sissy) of the success of our efforts to fight terrorism by going to battle in the Mideast.

Not only do we owe it to our allies in Israel, but we are securing a portion of our own relative peace by fighting the terrorists in their homelands. If we were not fighting them there, we would need to fight them all the more, here in the US.

And the fact that they shake their fists and scream how the hate us? So what else is new? Mideastern hyperbole has been a daily diet on the news since the early 1980's. Look closely at the next thunderous "Kill the American Satan!", fist-shaking, flag-burning broadcast. Notice anything about the sex of the participants?

Lock several dozen Israeli, Muslim, and American women in room together, and within two days they would be serving one another meals and exchanging recipes. Their male religious leaders collect men together for those demonstrations. They tell them what to holler and give them the props for their little show. And the MSM dutifully record the whole thing and want us to believe it is spontaneous. Talk about dhimmitude? Spell it "American Networks."

Mideastern women are too busy keeping the family alive, clothed and fed to waste time with silly public performance-art directed by men who won't allow them even to enter their own house of worship on "those" days of the month.

pb
Little Pond

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Blogger Troubles?

Anyone else having problems publishing?

If this has posted, it must be a miracle by the Internet Goddess. Earlier I posted a new chapter to my FanFic blog, and it still isn't showing.

The Help bulletin boards seem to agree on only one thing; Blogger is no help and frustration is rampant.

What Hey, Fellows?

Never mind. I'm a dumbass. I won't allow archiving, and I didn't allow enough posts on the main page. All Better.

pb
Little Pond

Friday, September 29, 2006

Cover your mouth!!!!

Run for cover!!! It's flu season, big time! Criminal Grace has the poop.

Chicken Soup for the Friday Fiver's Soul

1. I can count on one pretty good cold each year, but my lousy immune system sets me up for many little bouts. I'm in one right now. The walking wounded, I am...

2. Obviously, with Multiple Sclerosis, the flu is just dangerous. So cover your mouth and wash your hands.

3. Immunization is paramount. Flu can kill.

4. Preparing soups and hot drinks are the best pro-activity. I also buy OTC remedies targeted specifically to the symptoms and lots of them. Suffering in silence is not my forte.

5. Sick days are for emergencies only. If I can work with Multiple Sclerosis, all those young folks who take tons of sick time are malingerers. Just kidding, but honestly, my boss really thinks that way. He knows that a sick day for me means business. No questions asked. Same for him. In fact, if we've been out sick, we look it when we come back. Gotta laugh when a newbie crabs about feeling lousy on Thursday after Thursday after Thursday.

So wash you hands, cover your mouth, and avoid face to face conversation. Avoid those "glazed donut" faced kids at all costs. And keep two ten-foot poles handy for those drama queen/king cougher-sneezers.

pb
Little Pond

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Performance Art

The little city of Elmira, New York has a rather large, visible gay community. Despite being a very conservative area, the city is largely gay-friendly for those who want to be homeowners and wage-earners. It was startling at first, but one gets used to it quickly, especially when the nice fellows next door are also good neighbors, and your coworker and her girlfriend are sweet and lots of fun. I should mention that gays here behave themselves in public, same as everyone else.

Last night I enjoyed a gay revue here in town with some coworkers. All procedes benefited local HIV education. By the way, I can't tell you how relieving it is not to lose friends and acquaintances to AIDS. The late 80's and 90's were wrenching times, when coworkers and around-town acquaintances would sort of just disappear forever. We must be doing something right.

I'm a fan of our local Drag Kings, but not so much of the Queens. Don't ask me; it's complicated. The music was way too loud for the size of the place: it messed with my hearing, so I kept zoning out, and itched to leave.

I greatly prefer a real performance, and the lip-synching leaves me dissatisfied. I'd rather hear the person sing it than sync it. I'm trying to understand why it's synched and not sung. Is there a history to this?

This is not to say that the performers weren't entertaining. They were well over the top, and some were amazing ringers. When they spoke to us, a few had very pleasant voices. Elucidate, someone?

pb
Little Pond

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Littermates

We have several photos of VeggieGirl, asleep with one or the other of our varying managerie. Accumulated over the years, the message is plain.

The kid feels kinship with critters. She loves animals.

Today we were supposed to visit a store pretty much dedicated to 1) Halloween 2) Thanksgiving 3) Christmas and, believe it or not, 4) Easter. In that order. Something like a progressive bazaar. It is an auction house, flea market and general store. The VeggieGirl and I love the place.

A strange thing happens to those who publish a daily. By the end of each week, the disorientation in time becomes overwhelming. Much of our work is aimed to the future; it's called "Advance Work."

Advance Work let me know that the holiday wonderland known as "Sheddens" (in Gillette, Pennsylvania, just below the New York border) would open over the weekend. We made plans for our first visit of the year today. The Girl was asleep upstairs, and I cleaned house in preparation for a busy shopping morning.

Then the call came: Husband RJ goes to Sheddens also, to buy cigarettes in Pennsylvania, where they are appreciably cheaper. He called to tell me that the Holiday store portion would not open until next weekend.

No matter, I thought. I finished cleaning the kitchen and got myself together for a walk. Leash, check. Collar, check. Greenies, check. Phone, check. Maybe we'll go to the Chemung River before the rains make it dangerous.

Then I looked for the HuggaMutt. She should be waiting for me each day around 9 or 10 AM. Had she returned to Da Glow with MammaDog?

Nope. A quick look upstairs showed VeggieGirl, the cat DeeDee, and Ellie, all sharing the same bed. All snuggled together in a litter-like clump.

Didn't have the heart to break them up. Thank goodness there was no need.

pb
Little Pond

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Life in Music

Do you dream in music? I do. Yesterday I woke to a fully orchestrated "Roseanna" playing in my dream. With all the lyrics and the complete arrangement. Happens all the time to me. Even when I can't really recall all the words in the waking world. I don't even play an instrument.

That was the omen. I'd been tagged by my BlogNephew for 7 songs I'm into right now.

I'm old. At 52, I have a lifetime of music rolling around in my head. I'm one of those crazy people who sing along with the radio, except the one in my car doesn't work. So other drivers see me "talking to myself" while driving. Okay. Maybe I do talk to myself, but it's much more likely that I'm singing to myself.

I tried to put together seven songs that are among those I've been humming or singing lately. Because a younger person may be interested, I've included links to the lyrics (and some sound links) to the mouldy oldies.

Herewith, in no particular order:

1-You Sang to Me It's just so wistful and worshipful.
2-At Seventeen It really burns my butt when oldsters call the teenage years the "best years of our lives." They were agony!
3-Somewhere from West Side Story. Always makes me cry. Sometimes things just don't work out. Love definitely doesn't conquer all.
4-Tonight from West Side Story. Husband RJ and I used a lot of WSS soundtrack at our wedding.
5-Fourth of July at Asbury Park, also called Sandy. Evokes summer nights at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. I was young, and it was evident that a bikini made me stand out in a crowd. Quite a message for a girl with brothers who made me feel ugly most of the time.
6-You Don't Bring Me Flowers. Did I mention that love doesn't conquer all?
7-Touch Me in the Morning. It doesn't even conquer some. Hell, love sucks.

That's it. A bunch of oldies, although I am pleased to note that a few have new life with recent covers by the latest artists. I should mention that I won't pass along tags and memes anymore. They are still fun and I don't mind answering them.

Speaking of taggers, my Baby Blogsister's hosting a roof-raising! You should stop by and see the progress on Pearlie's house!

pb
Little Pond

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tagged by my Blog Nephew

Been tagged by My Baby BlogSister's kid. Seven songs I'm into now? I don't listen to music much, what with the hearing problem. But I remember. More Later, when I find the links. Should I 'fess up and list all the music from my video games that play constantly in my head?

pb
Little Pond

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Be ye with us??

Avast, ye scurvy bilgerats! Strike the colors and hoist the Jolly Roger.

Today all landlubbers get to talk like a pirate.

Grab some eyeliner, braid your beard, and gold-cap a couple of teeth to celebrate!

We can barely fit the galleon in Little Pond. Aaaarrrr!

pb
High Seas

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Did You Mark My Words?

So now the religious psychotics are demanding the head of Pope Benedict. What's next? The destruction of Vatican City???? Please don't back down, Papa Ratzi!!!

Not only do we "belong" in Iraq, but we should have gone there decades ago.

Not only should we support Israel, but we should be there, shoulder to shoulder with their Army.

Not only should we be in Iraq and Israel, but we had better look to the other fronts. We will be there eventually.

This is not Viet Nam. It's worse. This is not like fighting Communism. It's worse.

In Viet Nam, we were fighting a land war. Now we are fighting religious psychotics for nothing less than the planet. The Communists wanted, and won, land in Southeast Asia. The religious psychotics want nothing less than our total annihilation.

Dominoes falling? It's worse.

Try Twin Towers falling. Others will, too.

pb
Little Pond
(For the record: Little Pond is totally polarized on the war on terror. )

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

No More Shopping

Finally finished collecting my mother-of-the-bride outfit. Or getup. Or whatever.

Not a dress. My Mum called to tell me she was wearing a suit. I assumed she meant pantsuit, and I thought that sounded like a great idea. Now she's talking skirt, but we'll see. I'm sticking with pantsuit. RJ's wearing navy pinstripe, with a bright, fallish tie, and maybe a pocket square.

Dark green pantsuit with bright, satin camisole, metallic champagne shoes and purse. Done. Sick of the whole subject. Trying on clothes didn't do a thing for my temperament. Size 10 top; 14 pants, purchased separately. Ghetto booty had better still be in style.

Went to the opening at Macy's. Got caught in the crowd and began to panic. I whimpered that I thought it was supposed to start earlier, at 9:30, and several others agreed that that was the original time. After a damned marching band blew out my nerves, I decided I'd had enough. I pushed my way out of the crush and wandered to the tapering end of the crowd. Found a bunch of friends from work and joined them.

When we got to the door, things were still too crowded, so I bolted again. Went to Burlington Coat Factory and found four very nice silk ties for RJ for under $30. I mentally noted two tops for me and returned to Macy's. The greeter handed me a gift card for $10, which I took as a good sign.

In Macy's the Juniors section was pretty empty. Some white satin caught my eye: a lovely camisole, all shiny and simple. With the gift card, it was less than $30. A little steep for most kids, so the selection was good. If money were no object, I would have bought one in each color; deep cyan, ruby red, cream and white. Sadly, money is definitely an object. I took the cream one.

No more shopping. At least until I start the Christmas list.

pb
Little Pond

Monday, September 11, 2006

It still hasn't stopped hurting. Nothing has remained the same.

The fall of the two towers and the deaths of so many Americans is first in everyone's thoughts today. I mourn all that we lost five years ago.

Husband RJ called to say, "You'd better turn on the TV." I don't remember the rest of the conversation. A crystal-clear morning backdropped the burning horror ruining the overhead view of Manhattan. The same view I loved when flying in and out of JFK or LaGuardia.

The phone rang again. A coworker called to tell me our beloved supervisor, Carolyn Myles, had died the night before of asthma.

Then the first tower went down. I said, "Oh, no!" over and over, as thousands of people died in the falling floors. I went to the paper. Things were already busy, and there were grief counselors padding softly up to one person, then another. I waved them away. Carolyn would have done just that, so I did.

My coworker, Lisa, was saying that her upcoming wedding would be postponed. I turned to her and said (perhaps a little too angrily) "Then whoever did this will have won! Don't cancel the date! We need your wedding to help us carry on!"

It took me three days to locate my college buddy Elinor, a lawyer working on the edge of the financial district. She'd been out sick, and was okay. I could stop worrying.

Heaven keep the 9/11 dead; Carolyn, we still miss you every day; Lisa, thank you for your wedding, with its moment of silent prayer for the dead. We did carry on.

I wasn't going to blog at all about 9/11, because it hurts too much. But it hurts too much not to blog it. It just plain hurts.

God Bless America!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Is this weird?

Or have I simply not noticed?

When cooking in the Little Pond, it is necessary to make a vegetarian version of just about everything. So all my recipes start without meat. I know this is backwards from the norm, but, it's what I do.

Husband RJ's garden is overproducing. We have sweet frying peppers and tomatoes up the yinyang. So chili was the order of the weekend. A huge pot, vegetarian. Starting with pesto, since VeggieGirl loves garlic and basil. She ate it Sunday night.

This morning I portioned out a potful just for her. Then I browned crumbled hamburg separately for the remainder. Fresh new hamburg, 97% lean. Nearly threw up into the skillet. I briefly left the kitchen and returned to throw it away. Everything smelled normal. Delightful even. The way ground sirloin should smell.

What was that all about? Is that how it smells to vegetarians? And no, I am not pregnant! Praise God.

Any ideas? Anyone?

pb
Little Pond

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Late post on this one, but hey, we've got a long weekend.

Five on Friday: In Labor:

1. Labor Day weekend traditionally marks the end of summer. What will you miss most about summer? --Actually the summer stifles me. Multiple Sclerosis worsens in the heat, and I can count on an exacerbation each summer. This year was no exception.

2. What are you most looking forward to this fall? --I am hoping to branch out, looking for a simpler, lower-powered job. Perhaps the loss of cheap, summer labor will open an opportunity for me.

3. What are your plans for Labor Day weekend? --This Labor Day weekend, I will indulge in some alcohol. More than one drink at a time. Being a cheap drunk makes this easy and simple. A couple of beers, and a lovely nap await me Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The only thing remotely related to Labor Day will be a tribute to St. Joseph the Laborer during Mass. I mention this because he is my patron saint, appropriate for a woman who's been working all her life.

4. Labor Unions were the driving force behind the creation of Labor Day. How else have they impacted your life? --"Pretty much a blue collar childhood" describes growing up on in Auburn, Massachusetts, a bedroom community of industrial Worcester, next door. We knew all about unions, and hoped to join them as adults. I was briefly a member of two teacher's unions as a young woman. Unions have long been removed from the paper where I work.

5. Natural labor or fully medicated labor? --Both. With each of my babies, I bravely began without drugs. The first delivery took less than three hours without them, badly tearing me; the doctor gave me a shot of morphine for the repairs. I took some mild something or other for the second birth; she arrived in 45 minutes.

Did I ever mention that I can't stand to be kept waiting?

pb
Little Pond

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Katrina Pets

I've been watching and reading Katrina follow-ups, and they all say the same thing: this is going to be a long haul. Except this one: the Elmira Star-Gazette offers a very hopeful Katrina pet story.

Because most pets are not so very long-lived, these stories are not often open-ended. We blogged a few times on this, here and here. Granted this is not as complicated as assisting the displaced people, but in many ways, because their little lives are shorter, the displaced pets needs were more immediate.

Please remember your local animal shelters with your donations. Their job is never done.

pb
Little Pond

Went to the Moving Wall today. If it comes to your area, you should visit.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Extraordinary Posts

...on (usually) mundane things. A captain's log on the day-to-day voyage of two extraordinary people. These podcasts are short and to the point. Some make me smile, others bring tears to my eyes. All in a lovely, rich, broadcaster's voice.

I don't know if this is a first, but it's the first blog that is almost exclusively podcast.

Enjoy.

pb
Little Pond

Friday, August 25, 2006

Late Summer Sadness

Criminal Grace inaugurates the season with: Back To School Blues

1. When you were a kid, did you do back-to-school shopping? No. Because our family was big--seven children--back to school was pretty much a couple of skirts, a couple of tops and a pair of shoes. Not of my choosing, and the rest were always hand-me-downs. Until I got my own job, it was pretty much a disappointment.

2. Do you still peruse the back-to-school aisles now that you're grown up? Not since my kids have grown, thank the Lord.

3. What back-to-school item did you just have to have, only later to find out it wasn't as useful as you thought? When I began working, in Junior High School, I bought a fancy notebook that was quickly stolen. I replaced it with a cheaper one.

4. What is your favorite TV show about school? Mr. Novak, because I thought James Franciscus was dreamy.

5. What was your favorite and least favorite part of going back to school? In my family we were rewarded for doing well, but I was always unhappy over the regimentation and discipline. Not doing well was asking for really big trouble at home. At school, kids could be hit, so that made the adults especially scary. I never realized how much it upset me until I became a teacher, and went into an awful depression over the classrooms, the corridors, the very smell of all the lacquer and paint chalk dust, etc.

Hated it. Still do. Glad those days are over. I should note that I didn't feel the same about college, although when I had to go for my "teaching career" I hated it just as much as the rest of the mess. Compulsory education sucks for anyone with any sense of self.

Now September is just a cooler version of the rest of the summer. I like it that way.

pb
Little Pond

Thursday, August 24, 2006

So close and yet so far...

The IAU members gathered at the 2006 General Assembly agreed that a "planet" is defined as a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

This means that the Solar System consists of eight "planets" Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. A new distinct class of objects called "dwarf planets" was also decided. It was agreed that "planets" and "dwarf planets" are two distinct casses of objects. The first members of the "dwarf planet" category are Ceres, Pluto and 2003 UB313 (temporary name). More "dwarf planets" are expected to be announced by the IAU in the coming months and years. Currently a dozen candidate "dwarf planets" are listed on IAU's "dwarf planet" watchlist, which keeps changing as new objects are found and the physics of the existing candidates becomes better known.

More on this later.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Welcome Old Friends! New planets!

Surely the MS Companion is the place for the latest news on the Solar System.

Not a health-related article.

Rest in Peace ...

... Patsy and Jon Benet. Your vengeance is in sight.

It was never a question of Patsy being a suspect, the woman was living for her little girl. Even if it may have been in any way selfish, well, what parent doesn't have some vested interest in their kid?

But I never could figure out why the police considered her suspect. When Patsy accused them of incompetence, this rang so true and so very "not guilty" to me. But why didn't the police come forward with the information that would vindicate her?

Of course, at the end, Patsy cooperated with them, as much as she was physically able, in their further investigations. She knew she was innocent, and let's hope that was enough. At least they are together again.

Rest in peace, ladies. Maybe you can forgive a prejudging world?

Wonder if John Ramsey can?

pb
Little Pond

Friday, August 18, 2006

Customer Service

Criminal Grace offers "Return to Sender" as this week's meme.

1.--At least once or twice a year we can expect mail "returned to sender." To be fair, it is usually our fault and not the postal service. I should point out that a great many bills sent out at least a week in advance still arrive late. More and more we are using online payment because of this. The worst city is Baltimore. More than half of all our payments arrive there late or just barely on time. I regularly check.

2.--Husband RJ almost never returns defective merchandise. I almost always do.

3.--Gifts are sacred and not to be returned. However, if it doesn't fit, and I can exchange it, I do.

4.--Library books are always returned on time. This is especially important because I browse the "New Books" area. It's not fair to others if I keep them to myself. Library fines are negligible in Elmira, but it's better to just be considerate. Common courtesy is common sense.

5. Not only do I believe Elvis is dead, I believe he is in heaven. If he were Catholic, he would be considered by many to be a saint. We Catholics especially love our saints to be totally human, warts and all.

Speaking of saints, one of my favorites is Francis, because of his patronage of animals before and after his death. He considered himself the brother of all beasts. I often feel rather catlike, and sometimes catty, myself. This piece by Granny J seems extreme, but I can't help but approve. I sometimes think my neighbors think of my place that way. My own father, even, once called it the Cat House.

pb
Little Pond

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Summer Sunday Morning

Woke to a busy Little Pond today. Dressed for Mass, and took the car a few feet.

And parked it. Flat tire.

Mr. Policeman was taking depositions. The neighbors were all clucking.

Slashed tires. Saturday night/Sunday morning pranking, up the one street, around the cross-street and down the other

Husband RJ rankled to think of the vandals snickering at the thought of our Sunday morning ruined.

I couldn't help but notice how nice everyone was to each other. We were all in it together. Met a few neighbors that were new to me.

It's ironic to think that this evil occurrence will probably make for a nicer neighborhood.

Too bad about the tires, though.

pb
Little Pond