Monday, June 30, 2008

Picturing New York City

Here are some more pictures of our recent trip to New York City that I wanted to share with you as there's still no time to sit down and write a post about the whole trip just yet. Darn having to work to make a living! Hey, Claire, if you're lurking let me know what places you want to see when you're here in September!

Times Square New York CityTimes Square

Columbus CircleColumbus Circle

Trump PlazaTrump Plaza

Fountains at Columbus CircleFountains at Columbus Circle just outside of Central Park

New York is for the birds!Being a statute in New York is for the birds!

The Brooklyn BridgeThe Brooklyn Bridge with one of the four waterfalls from the public art project designed by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. I would love to have seen this at night!

BrooklynThe view towards Brooklyn from Manhattan

Ellis IslandEllis Island - still on my list of places I want to go see (other than from Battery Park!)

The Statute of LibertyThe Statute of Liberty as seen from Battery Park (it was pretty hazy on Saturday so this isn't the best picture I'm afraid).

More to come another day ... like I said, I am going to get a lot of posts out of this trip!
Also, I will hopefully get back to visiting everyone else's blogs on Tuesday, I apologize for not having had the time to get to them since Thursday. Sometimes real life just seems to get in the way!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Taking a Bite Out of The Big Apple

No time for a long post as there is much to do before going into work this afternoon but I did want to let you all know that we have returned from our trip to New York City - safe, sane, and definitely sore! As soon as I get the time, I have a ton of pictures to upload and share but for now here's a few quick shots of some of our adventure -

Driving into the city on 34th Street - see the Empire State Building peeking out on the left? And yes, I drove in this traffic so I think I should get extra points for that!

Cate, Amanda, and Darci in Times Square shortly after our arrival. Don't let Cate's expression fool you - she had a great time but she refuses to ever smile for the camera!

Darci, Amanda, and Cate before heading to Terminal 5 where the Mindless Self Indulgence concert was to be held. Or should I say Kitty, Jimmy, and LynZ?

Friday night's event ...

Thank goodness I was up above all of this but Amanda and Darci are down there near the front of the stage. Yes, they are crazy and yes, I was worried. I'm too old for this kind of stuff!

Saturday afternoon's event ...

Even though it was a major culture clash from Friday night's concert - the girls absolutely loved the play and thought it was "practically perfect in every way"!

More to come later - for now I am practically pooped in every way because when you take a bite out of the Big Apple, it takes a bite of you, too!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Cat That Roared

Still in New York and I'd be willing to bet that I probably feel a lot like Dennis' cat!

Hey! You spend two days in New York City with three teenagers and see how you feel!

You can be willing to bet I'll generate a lot of blog posts from this trip
once I get home ...
safely and, let's hope, sanely!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pretty Pictures to Peruse

While I'm traipsing around down in New York City today I thought I'd leave you with a few more pictures taken by my friend Dennis for you to ooh and aah over. These were copied, with permission, from his photo collection on Flickr.

Someday, when I grow up, I want to take pictures as beautiful as these two!

Thanks again, Dennis!

Now ... the rest of you behave yourselves while I'm in New York ... I promise lots and lots of pictures when I get back!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hair We Go Again ...

With the big Mindless Self Indulgence concert coming up in New York City, there has been a lot of preparation going on around here between Amanda, Darci, and Cate because - heaven forbid - they just put on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt to wear to the concert. Nope - they have to have costumes complete with drawn on tattoos, make-up, and - of course - hair. Frankly, the whole thing has worn me down but that's probably because I'm old and never even went to a concert until I was over 18 and I certainly never went to one that inspired me to dress up like the band members. If the excitement of these three teenage girls could somehow be harnessed and used for energy, I wouldn't have to worry about an electric bill for a very long time!

Yesterday and today turned out to be the major prep days for the concert as yesterday was when my friend and trusted hair stylist Trisha was coming over armed with bleach, hair clips, scissors, and a couple tubes of hair color that will never see a shaft of hair on my head thank you very much! Trisha will happily bleach Amanda's hair for me but when it comes to applying her choice of outrageous colors she lets me take over as "it's just too messy". Gee, thanks, Trish!

As you might recall, Amanda's had blue hair for quite some time now and wanted to change it to pink and green in order to match the jacket that we had made as part of her costume for the concert. The first trick was to get her hair bleached out so that we'd have a clean slate to work with when it came to the new colors but there was a bit of trepidation as to whether or not Trish would be able to get all of the color out. After a fashion she was able to get most of it and that left me with a blonde for a night as we needed to let Amanda's hair rest for a bit before putting it through the rigors of coloring.

In the meantime, Darci had talked her mother into letting her have a couple of pink chunks in her hair so Trisha bleached out two spots on the top front of her hair and two spots in the back so that when she puts her hair up in ponytails as part of her costume, the color chunks are in the right places. This was Darci's first ever foray into bleach and color so she was quite excited and in the end, her pink chunks came out very pink but very nice! Hopefully her mother will approve but if not ... uhm ... yeah, give it time and it'll fade out!

Fast forward to earlier this evening and my adventures with applying color to Amanda's hair. The pink side went on quite easily and was definitely the right shade but we ran into problems with the green hair dye as once we got it on part of her hair, it became quite evident that it wasn't really what one could call green at all but more like a dark aquamarine or teal. Amanda had her heart set on green so was pretty disappointed with the color but she eventually came around and decided that she was just going to have to deal with it. I really do wish that the green dye had actually been green as it would have matched her jacket better but in the end I'm sure it will be okay. Not perfect but okay. I think a letter to the manufacturer is going to be in order, though, as the tube is clearly marked 'green' and it was definitely not green.

Being that you weren't here to share in the "fun" I have put together a little slideshow for you to enjoy a shortened version of the whole process (a small pun intended for those who know hairdressing terminology!) ...

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm feeling somewhat harried (no pun intended there at all!) and there's still a ton of stuff to do before we leave for New York City in the morning and our great adventure. Myself, Amy, and three teenage girls take on The Big Apple ... this should be interesting! Especially considering I'm not wearing a costume to this concert and have no clue what to wear. Whatever it is, I'm sure I'm going to be quite blah compared to at least three teenagers I know!

The Return of the Youngest Child

Awhile back I had posted about the number of birthdays coming up this summer with a good number of them in June and Jamie's towards the end of July. When I wrote that post, I also was lamenting that Jamie wouldn't be coming home to Connecticut this summer to spend her 15th birthday here with me.

I was none too happy about that whole idea, especially considering that with rising gas prices I wasn't sure what airline tickets were going to look like come Christmas-time or next summer so what were the chances of her getting up here either of those times if she didn't come up this summer? Add on the fact that the idea of not seeing my youngest child for over a year was completely unacceptable to me and there was nothing for it but for me to find a way to buy a ticket for her to fly out.

So, what do I usually do in times of need like this? How does an almost-50 year old single mom handle these sorts of things? Easy - I picked up the phone and called my Mom and asked for her assistance in getting Jamie a ticket to come home! Sigh ... 50 years old and I'm still calling my mother to bail me out ... how pathetic is that?

I talked Mom into splitting the cost of a ticket with me for Jamie's birthday so she'll be flying up late next Thursday night in time for the fireworks here in Norwich on the 5th of July and staying through until July 30th. Which means she'll be here for her 15th birthday one month from today on the 26th of July. Yay!

I've been thinking about some fun things we can do while Jamie is here that aren't going to break what's left of the bank, one of which may be a trip up to Boston to visit Ms. Maggie Moo along with that duck tour we had talked about going on last time I was up there. I figure it's about time someone in the blogosphere met my other daughter and I'm pretty sure Mags can handle it!

Any other thoughts for fun things that don't cost much? I'm open to suggestions!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Portraits from the Past

One of the Amanda age 2.5acasualties of a divorce, in addition to the really obvious ones, can be pictures of your family. In my own divorce back in 2002, that was most definitely the case as the ex-husband got custody of the vast majority of the professional portraits that we had taken of the kids when they were younger. Chances are good I have some of them stashed somewhere around the house but, old and addle-brained that I am, I'm not exactly sure where they might be hiding. No doubt I'll come across them someday but for now it was a treat to find some of them while I was up at my mother's house this past weekend. Amanda age 3.5

Those of you who are regular readers of my blog have seen quite a few pictures of Amanda, my oldest daughter, but I guarantee you that she looks nothing like the pictures of this little girl in these pictures. Of course I'm a bit prejudiced, but wasn't she just adorable? AmandaGrade3

The first picture above was taken when Amanda was a little over two years old, the one to the right was at age three, and the third one was taken when she was in third grade at Veterans School here in Norwich.

Time goes by so quickly that it's way too easy to forget what your children used to look like, especially when the child in question has taken to coloring their hair every shade except normal and, rather than a big smile, what you get most of the time is a surly teenage sneer. Sigh ... It's a good thing I found these pictures to help me remember!

Speaking of teenagers, Amanda isn't the only that I can lay claBaby Jamieim to as Jamie is most definitely in the same category when it comes to her age - though certainly not her hair! This first picture of Jamie was when she was only about 4 months old. The quilt that she's posing on was one that I actually made myself for my son before he was born so it's circa 1981 and the only quilt that I ever attempted to make in my life. Each child used it as a baby and now it's stored away in a box in the basement. Now that I think about it, I should have given it to my son for my grandson to use - d'oh! Jamie age 2 Guess I'll have to try to remember it for the next grandchild - if there is a next grandchild!

This second picture of Jamie was taken when she was two years old, very close to the same age that Amanda was in the first picture of her above. As you can see, at that time I had one blonde daughter and one brunette daughter but both were real cuties - at least in my own non-prejudiced opinion! Oh wait, I'm a mom, is there really such a thing when it comes to your own kids? Probably not!

Another picture that I found on Friday is this one of Jamie wearing a blue sunflower dress that I just loved. Amanda had a matching red one and they Jamie 2both looked so girly and cute when they posed for these pictures. If you look closely, you can see that Jamie has that devil-may-care gleam in her eye and even though she no longer has that dress, she certainly has that look! She was always my "spit in their eye" child while Amanda was more of the quiet child. The girls are only 13 months apart in age but miles apart in personality - they always have been and probably always will be. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that these two individuals have the same parents but trust me, they do!

Mike & the girls ChristmasLast but certainly not least is a picture that I had completely and totally forgotten was ever taken but I'm so glad that I have again. This Christmas picture was taken in 1993 when Michael was 12, Amanda was 1-1/2, and Jamie wasn't quite 6 months old. A redhead, a blonde, and a brunette and yet all three of them are mine. Quite the assortment, isn't it?

When your kids drive you crazy, as mine sometimes do, it's easy to forget what a gift they truly are but this last picture helps me to remember - at least for a few minutes - until they do something to drive me nuts yet again! Or is that more like a short putt??

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Arte y Pico Award

Arte y Pico AwardThis lovely statute is called the "Arte y Pico" award which was created to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creative energy and talents no matter whether it be in the form of writing, artwork, design, interesting material, or contributions to the blogger community. When a blogger receives this award it is considered a "special honor" and, once presented to you, it is to be passed on to at least 5 other bloggers who meet the criteria.

This past week I was given this award not once but twice by two bloggers and to say that I am flattered would be an understatement. The first person to give me this award, MamaFlo of the aptly titled MamaFlo's Place, stated that her reason for presenting me with this honor was "...because she so tirelessly remembers the fallen heroes that keep our streets safe. Her blog has a little of everything and she has a lot of heart." Thank you so very much for those wonderful words though I may have to debate that whole "lot of heart" part as my ex-husband might argue with you that I didn't have one at all! In the meantime, while I was still basking in the glow of MamaFlo's praise, Morgen of Captured by Gravity re-awarded me with the same award so how cool is that? They like me! They really, really like me!

Since getting this award I have been wracking my brain trying to decide who to pass it along to. There are so many special bloggers out there who deserve an award like this and to have to limit my choice to only five out of the many that I read is tough. Even though I was tempted to just close my eyes and randomly pick out five blogs, I gave it a lot of thought and would like to pass this lovely Arte y Pico Award on to the following five bloggers -
  • Jamie @ Duward Discussion - Jamie is an historian and her posts are well thought out and enlightening. She writes them from a historic standpoint and passes along little known and interesting facts about our world that will either make you sit up and say, "hey, I never knew that!" or "ah-ha, so that's where that comes from!" I always learn something new at Duward Discussion and to learn something new each day is a great thing.
  • Travis @ Trav's Thoughts - If you've ever stopped by the den of the handsomest wolf in the blogosphere, then you already know what a creative and entertaining blog Travis writes. His review posts of dancing shows and American Idol are absolutely phenomenal and if you're a sports nut, he's got lots of good stuff for you, too. Add in some of his own beautiful poetry and this blog is a work of art unto itself.
  • Debbie @ New England Lighthouse Treasures - I have always loved lighthouses and the history behind them (that must be the New Englander in me!) and at Debbie's blog you can read about all sorts of historic lighthouses, lighthouses that are vacation spots, or lighthouses that are even for sale should you have some disposable income sitting around and always wanted to be the keeper of your own lighthouse! Beautiful pictures and details accompany each post.
  • Pinky @ Cheese In My Shoe - Pinky is not your conventional mom of toddlers ... Pinky has a hot pink iPod and beautiful purple hair! She writes from the heart and her posts are thought-provoking and heartwarming. She also makes beautiful aprons and posts some mouth-watering recipes complete with pictures that will leave your stomach growling!
  • Jeni @ Down River Drivel - If I had to guess, I'd have to say that Jeni has a heart as big as Pennsylvania - the state she calls home. As a grandmother who two autistic children in the household you know she's got to have her hands full and yet she writes posts that could not only put War and Peace to shame for their length but for their content! Jeni's drivel is definitely down home and reading her blog is always like sitting down across from an old friend and having coffee while you gab and gab and gab and ... !
All of the above bloggers are tops for creativity, for interesting material, and for their contributions to the blogger community. If you haven't had the chance to read their blogs, may I suggest you check them out - I think you'll like what you find!

Thank you again to MamaFlo and to Morgen for presenting me with this beautiful award; I hope that those I have bestowed it upon here will like it as much as I do!

To read more information on this wonderful award please visit Arte y Pico, the blog where it originated. However, if you don't read Spanish you may need to use Babel Fish to translate the page like I did!

I've Got a Question - You've Got an Answer

Ah, Tuesday - my day off after working a 16-hour shift on Monday. The day that I try to use to catch up on my housecleaning, my errands, my blog reading, my ... well, you get the idea - the day I use to try to catch up on pretty much everything! Sometimes I get caught up on a lot and other times I get caught up in a slump and get absolutely nothing done!

This morning, before I open my Google Reader and have a mild coronary looking at all of the posts I need to catch up on, I've got some things to do outside of the house and away from the computer but before I go I feel duty-bound to leave you folks with a new post to read. Not that there's anything wrong with yesterday's post as I think the night pictures of Norwich that I used for my Manic Monday post were quite nice but still ... what kind of hostess serves leftovers to her guests the next day? My point exactly ...

Having not picked the brains of you, gentle readers, with a question for awhile now I thought perhaps it was time to throw another out there at you. This time it's a question that popped into my head while I was lying in bed this morning debating with myself about actually getting up and facing the day. During the course of the debate (which was strongly leaning towards "stay in bed till noon!" before it was lost), I was trying to decide what to do a post on this morning before heading out into the world and I got to wondering how it was that other people came up with their post ideas and for that matter -

Why do you blog and how do you decide what to blog about?
As for me, I blog because I can't make a living writing professionally even though every great once in awhile I think I write something that's amusing or informative or moving. It's a creative outlet of sorts for me and even though I'm more Erma Bombeck than John Steinbeck, I enjoy it; I'll just never be able to give up my day job for it!

What to write about each day can be tricky, though, especially as I try to post something new everyday. My life, in and of itself, is not all that interesting but I try to find the parts of it that I think other people might enjoy. I've made a lot of friends since I started this blog almost two years ago and when I write a post, I try to write it like I'm sharing something with those friends over a cup of coffee or non-free refills of iced tea at a local restaurant! Do I always succeed? Well, let's put it this way ... have you ever been talking with a friend and they start telling the same story you've heard six times already but you don't have the heart to tell them that but instead you just kind of roll your eyes and go with it as you smile and nod your head in the right places? Yeah ... sometimes I think that happens here, too!

So, how about you? What is it that inspires you to sit in front of a computer screen and journey out into the Blogosphere? I really want to know and I will be looking forward to reading your answers once I get home.

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Night" Falls on Manic Monday

When I saw that Morgen at It's a Blog Eat Blog World had declared this week's Manic Monday theme to be "night", I actually did a small happy dance as I had just gone out the night before and taken some pictures around town which I planned on using in a post at some future time. What a delight that I was able to use them so soon and for Manic Monday no less!

In addition to the pictures that I had taken (like the one of the flag outside of dispatch), my friend Dennis had uploaded a few to his Flickr account that he had taken from the roof of American Ambulance, where we work. Night photos all around - woohoo! Morgen, you couldn't have chosen a better theme for this week - thank you!

The three pictures below were taken by Dennis with his Nikon D3 and show the view of the Marina at American Wharf as well as downtown Norwich from the building where we work. Dennis told me he took these pictures around 11:00 p.m. or so and in the second two you can see the Strawberry Moon that had risen over Norwich. That moon was the reason I had been wandering around Norwich in the dark, too, but I wasn't able to get any shots of it myself. Oh, and just to show what a short commute to work I have, my house is located almost exactly below that moon!

A shot of the Marina at American Wharf and downtown Norwich by Dennis
Strawberry Moon over Norwich by Dennis
Strawberry Moon over Norwich by Dennis
So, what was I taking pictures of while waiting for the moon to rise that night? First off Amanda, Darci, and I stopped by the Hebrew Cemetery in Preston which is located just outside of the old Norwich State Hospital grounds. Even though I used to be scared to death of them when I was younger, cemeteries at night don't bother me in the least anymore and I actually like to take pictures of them to see if I can capture any sort of phenomena on the pictures - like orbs. If you look closely at these pictures, you can definitely spot orbs in places and they aren't reflections from a flash as I was using the camera on night landscape mode and there was no flash.

Just as a side note, when I took those pictures I was standing outside of the cemetery wall so don't think I was wandering around in there aimlessly at night. I'm not that brave or that disrespectful.

After deciding that the moon was apparently not going to show up in the sky anytime soon, the girls and I climbed into the car to head across town in an effort to see if we could see the moon closer to the river. While en route, Amanda decided to play around with the camera a bit ...




Unfortunately, once we got to where we were going by the side of the Thames River, there was still no moon so I ended up with just this one shot of Norwich as you view it looking up the river towards the harbor and the marina. The white tower is Norwich City Hall which actually looks quite nice lit up at night.


Chances are, that picture would look a heck of a lot better if I had Dennis' Nikon D3 but sadly, the best I could do was my own Kodak EasyShare Z712 IS. All things considered, I think it does okay though I think from now on if I need a night shot or two, I'm going to ask Dennis to get them for me!

If you'd like to see what other people are doing in the night, be sure to check out Morgen's Manic Monday Meme at It's a Blog Eat Blog World where each week it's a different word for us to play with. Go ahead and join in next week - you know you want to!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Best Deal of the Yard Sale

I may have only raked in a measly $18.50 at yesterday's yard sale but that doesn't mean that I didn't come home with a couple of things that I didn't have before - like a George Foreman style grill that didn't sell which my sister-in-law was just going to send to Goodwill and a couple of pretty blue kitchen cannisters.

The best thing, though, wasn't in the yard sale but was found in my Mom's house while we were gathering things up to put in the sale - this circa 1950 picture of my Mom when she was about 16 years old, the same age Amanda is now. You'll notice she doesn't have pink or blue or green hair, though!

She said that I could keep it and I've got to say that's worth a lot more than $18.50 any day of the week!

A Sweet Thank You!

Amanda's friend Darci has been visiting us from New Jersey for the past week or so and even though she's a very nice girl with manners that I wish my own daughter had, it's been a little overwhelming at times having to deal with two goofy, giggling, soda-guzzling girls with apparent bottomless pits for stomachs. Peace, quiet, and food in the house has apparently gone the way of the Dodo for now!

Having a house guest is not always a bad thing, though - especially when your house guest's mother is nice enough to surprise you with a box of gourmet chocolate-covered strawberries and half-dipped cookies as a thank you for letting her daughter come up and visit! Did I mention that it's okay for Darci to come up anytime?

Of course the trick now is to make sure I actually get a taste of these sweet looking treats before the two bottomless pits descend upon them!

No Wind in Our Sale

Alas, yesterday's yard sale turned out to be more like a boat beached upon the shores rather than a glorious sail on the high seas despite the fact that it was advertised in both the local newspaper and on Craig's List.

Personally, I'm going to blame it directly on the lousy economy that we are suffering from in our country. With the cost of gas being well over $4.30 a gallon here in southeastern Connecticut people are more apt to stay home then drive around to yard sales looking for great buys on secondhand merchandise no matter how beautiful the day is and how good the bargains might be.

In the past, when we've had yard sales, there have been times when there have been droves of people jockeying for parking spots and swooping down on the merchandise laid out before them like kids in a candy store with money burning holes in their pockets.

Such was not the case at yesterday's sale as the best we could boast for a crowd was maybe five or six people at one time. In the end, I ended up netting a whopping $18.50, my mother made $40.00 and change, and my youngest brother and his wife who had the majority of the merchandise in the sale managed to pocket $180.00. My oldest brother and his wife didn't make a dime. By yard sale standards, those were some pretty paltry proceeds.

Oh well, at least I cleared a few things out of the house but in the end my golf clubs came home with me so I figure that's either God's way of telling me not to give up on the game just yet or perhaps I should place them on Craig's List and see if I can do better there.

Oh, and as for early birds and free coffee - the two people who showed up right at 8:00 said that they thought the ad was hilarious and almost came in with a cup in hand. They also ended up being two of the best customers of the day spending $25.00 on assorted stuff. See - sometimes a sense of humor does pay off!

Deadly Month for Law Enforcement Continues

Three more deaths in the law enforcement community across the country bring the June death toll up to eleven officers since June 2nd, making it the second deadliest month of the year so far. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it doesn’t pass January’s total of fourteen officers lost.

Det Sgt DeichmanOn Thursday, June 19th at approximately 3:00 a.m., Detective Sergeant Robert Deichman of the Youngstown Police Department in Ohio was killed when his patrol car struck a truck which was hauling a water tank that had backed out of a business driveway and into his path. The Detective Sergeant was on call and driving an unmarked car near his home at the time of the collision.

Police Chief Jimmy Hughes said Deichman, who worked in the accident investigation unit, was given the vehicle during off-duty hours in case he was called to the scene of a crash.

A nine-year veteran of the Youngstown Police Department, Sergeant Deichman, age 40, is survived by his wife, Lori; two daughters, Jenna and Juliana; and his parents.

At the United States Federal Penitentiary in Atwater, California located in Merced County at the site of the former Castle Air Force Base, Correctional Officer Jose Rivera was stabbed to death by two inmates on Friday, April 20th. The inmates stabbed Officer Rivera with homemade knives as he was locking cell doors in preparation for the 4:00 pm headcount.

Other officers immediately responded to the location and restrained both suspects while Officer Rivera was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds several hours later.

Deputy Tom MacKenzie with the Merced Country Sheriff's Department called it a real tragedy. "Our hearts go out to the family. God be with them. That's a hard thing to go though, especially with someone that's 22 years of age."

Officer Rivera had served with the Federal Bureau of Prisons for only 10 months.

Officer Nicholas HeineIn Colorado, the Pueblo Police Department is mourning the death of an officer who collapsed and died while responding to a disturbance downtown. Police Officer Nicholas Heine and several other officers were attempting to break up several bar fights when he complained of feeling short of breath and collapsed.

Other officers rendered medical aide performing CPR until Officer Heine was transported to Parkview Medical Center, where he died a short time later of an apparent cardiac arrest. “This has been devastating to the whole department but more his own crew than anyone else because they were so tight," said Pueblo Police Chief James Billings.

Officer Heine, age 30 and a picture of good health, had been with the Pueblo Police Department for nine years. His mother Patricia, a detective with the department, pinned her old badge on him when he joined the force. "He was everything you hoped your kids would grow up to be," she said.

In addition to his mother, Officer Heine is survived by his wife and two daughters, Nichole and Rebecca. "They're having a hard time with this," said Pat Heine. "They keep expecting daddy to come home and he's not going to."

For too many families lately, Daddy is not coming home.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Setting Sail for the Sale

Rather than sitting in dispatch this Saturday morning, I'll be sitting at my mother's house in Canterbury just waiting for hordes of eager buyers to arrive with their pockets overflowing with money with which to buy some of the marvelous merchandise we have set out for their perusal. After all, hasn't it been said that "one's man trash is another man's treasure"?

In order to draw the crowds in, I placed the following ad in the Norwich Bulletin:
CANTERBURY: Sat. 8-2. Old Plainfield Road. No early birds unless you bring coffee!
Just as sure as God made little green apples, I have no doubt that people will arrive before the designated start time of the sale but I would also be willing to bet that none of them arrive bearing coffee! If any do, I shall be sure to take their picture and let you know because that, my friends, is the stuff that blog posts are made of!

Everyone have a fantastic Saturday - I'll be back tomorrow after I'm done counting the loot from my haul!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Semi-Sky Watch Friday

Sunrise Over Plain Hill
Originally uploaded by cole_photography

A lot of bloggers participate in a meme called "Sky Watch Friday" and even though I love looking at all of the pictures they post, I just haven't had the time to add a regular meme to my somewhat hectic schedule. Still, I have been fascinated by the sky lately and as Amanda says, have had my head in the clouds when it comes to a lot of my picture-taking recently. As a matter of fact, I took some yesterday that I will probably be sharing with you soon but for today, I wanted to post this picture that was taken by my friend and co-worker at American Ambulance, Dennis.

Some of you might remember Dennis from my post An Award for a Friend - he's the kick-ass paramedic who makes some equally kick-ass hot wings! Turns out he also takes some kick-ass pictures but that's probably because he owns a kick-ass camera - a Nikon D40 which he recently upgraded to from his Nikon D3. I swear, he's got all the cool toys that I'd love to have if I were a) younger, b) made the money he does, and c) didn't have the bills that I do!

With Dennis' gracious permission I will be using some more of his pictures for next week's Manic Monday Meme - the theme of which is night. Hopefully you can stop by then to check those out!

Put Down the Mouse, Step Away From the Blog and No One Will Get Hurt

Tomorrow we're going to be having a yard sale up at my Mom's house in Canterbury and I'm supposed to be searching the house high and low for items to put in it that might actually prove to be of value to someone else while they just sit and collect dust at my house. Yard sales are actually a pretty good way to make a little extra pocket cash (which I could really use with next weekend's upcoming trip to New York City with three teenagers!). The problem is, I don't seem to be too motivated to get stuff together and have been putting it off all week. Truly I have become The Queen of Procrastination! Hopefully Queen Mimi doesn't mind that I have declared myself queen of something; after all, I'm supposed to be Linda, Duchess of Norwich Upon the Thames and not Linda, Queen of Procrastination but in this case, it seems more appropriate!

Anyhow, to that end I am going to put up one last post after that this, remove myself from the computer and gather up my old golf clubs that I will sadly never use anymore due to my bad back, dust off my old bowling ball that I shall never use again for the same reason, load up the other assorted goodies I have around the house that are in need of a new home, and venture north to Canterbury to prepare for tomorrow's big sale. I shall return to the wonderful world of blogging after I have raked in phenomenal riches from selling all of my cast-off worldly possessions ... or not!

Everyone else have a great Friday and as Arnold says, "I'll be bach!"

Mona Lisa Smiles!

When it comes to nice restaurants in Norwich that don't fall into the "Pizza Parlor" category, the list is painfully short. Unfortunately, Norwich is just not the restaurant mecca of southeastern Connecticut but I am now happy to say that I have found one more place that serves some excellent food in a nice atmosphere complete with friendly waitstaff - Mona Lisa's Restaurant & Lounge!

During EMS Week last month, I was lucky enough to win a trivia contest and receive a prize in the form of a $100 gift card to Mona Lisa's. I had never been there before so wasn't sure what the food was like or when I was going to use the gift card but I was pretty sure that $100 would buy one heck of a nice meal; I just wasn't sure when I would have occasion to use it. It dawned on me that perhaps Amanda's birthday would warrant the perfect occasion to make use of that particular windfall but when I broached the subject to Amanda and Darci after getting home from work on her birthday neither of them wanted to go! Apparently they had feasted on chicken fingers and fries just before I got home and they just weren't hungry. Oh ...

Still, better late than never as far as birthday celebrations go and we decided to go Thursday evening instead. The girls were told with ample time to plan ahead so as not fill up on anything else and after a brief stop at the Yantic Cemetery so I could take some cloud pictures (yes, more cloud pictures!) we got to the restaurant with plenty of time to beat the dinner rush.

After we were seated and had menus in hand, I told Amanda and Darci that they could order whatever they wanted including an appetizer or two. Amanda's eyes grew big as that's not generally something she hears from me - usually it's more like, "don't go overboard because I'm not made of money! " Given carte blanche with the menu, she was free to choose something she really liked but might not normally get the chance to have. Unfortunately they didn't have her all-time favorite - fried shrimp - on the menu but Amanda loves all sorts of seafood so she decided on the Broiled Seafood Platter. Darci chose one of the evening's specials, Chicken Kiev, and I decided to treat myself to the Surf and Turf with a 12-oz New York strip steak and broiled swordfish - which is one of my all-time favorites!

When the mozzarella sticks and stuffed potato skin appetizers the girls had chosen arrived at the table they immediately dug in but I had to interrupt and tell them to hold up, I needed to take pictures! Darci looked at me a little funny but Amanda, who has been the daughter of a blogger long enough to realize that everything gets photographed, told her that it was okay, it was "a blogging thing and just go with it." In that respect, I believe I have taught her well!

We had a lovely dinner - the food was quite excellent and the portions were more than ample, the waitress was very attentive and offered free refills (take note of that, Mr. Gus!) of our drinks, and the girls really seemed to have a good time even though we weren't at Burger King or the local Chinese buffet or wherever else it is that teenagers like to go!

All in all, it was a lovely evening and I wouldn't hesitate to go back to Mona Lisa's again should the occasion warrant it. Of course, I probably won't have the benefit of a gift card at my disposal the next time but it would be worth paying out of my own pocket! I'd be more than happy to recommend the restaurant to anyone who might be in the Norwich area, too - I'm sure Mona Lisa's could make anyone smile!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pondering the Possibilities

We had Chinese take-out for lunch at work on Saturday and this is my fortune cookie from that meal (I was playing around with the macro zoom on my camera!). Unlike some of the fortunes that you get in a cookie, this is the kind of fortune that I like to get as it lends itself to all sorts of possibilities and wonderings.

What sort of chance will I take? Will that chance pan out or fail miserably? And should I try playing those lucky numbers? The possibilities are endless!