Friday, October 31, 2008

It's 6:00 a.m., Do You Know Where Your Zombie Is?

Zombie Amanda 3 Some of you might remember that back towards the end of July I did an I've Got a Question - You've Got an Answer post wherein I asked "Are you prepared for a zombie outbreak or are you just going to wing it?" I'd been having trouble coming up with something creative for my post that evening and Amanda suggested the question. The question generated some great answers but I personally never gave much thought to the actual concept of a zombie outbreak and figured I probably wouldn't survive one were an outbreak to actually occur.

Turns out that one occurred right at my own house this morning and when faced with it I did the only thing I Zombie Amanda 1could think of - grabbed my camera and took some pictures! Luckily, the zombie seemed to like posing for pictures and it was appeased from attacking me. As a matter of fact, it was so happy that it allowed me to go back to bed while it went to school ...

It's been said to me that when Amanda does something, she's not half-assed about it and apparently that includes turning herself into a zombie which is exactly what she did this morning in celebration of Halloween. She said that they were allowed to dress up for Halloween at school today but weren't allowed to wear masks of any sort so even though she had originally wanted to go as a Plague Doctor and wear the mask that she had made for that costume, she had to fall back, regroup, and go in another direction.

This was the direction she took ... Zombie Amanda 2I haven't gotten any phone calls from Norwich Free Academy telling me to come pick up my zombie and take her home so I guess she hasn't attacked anyone else (no sense in acting the part while looking it, is there?) and wasn't pulling my leg when she told me that they were allowed to wear costumes.

Ah to be young again and have some fun with Halloween rather than having to be worrying that it might be crazy busy at work tonight!

Speaking of fun - I had Amanda strike a couple of "Thriller" poses while I was taking pictures this morning. She was kind enough to cooperate ...

Thriller Zombie Amanda 2 Thriller Zombie Amanda

Here's hoping your Halloween is a real thriller, too - in a good way, of course!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

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

Could someone please explain to me how it got to be the end of October already? And no, that's not my question - that's just my prelude to stating that tomorrow is Halloween but I've not quite figured out how that is already! Then again, time has definitely become relative for me in the past year or so and there's probably no good answer even if that were the question of this post, which it isn't!

The real question of this post is this ... - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
Personally speaking, my only plans for Halloween are to meet my mother for lunch - the treat - before I have to go into work from 3 to 11 p.m. - definitely the trick! The only thing I'm dressing up as this year is a 911 Emergency Medical Dispatcher but trust me, that can be pretty scary in and of itself from time to time!

So how about you? What sort ghoulish goodies do you have planned for tomorrow??

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Walk Through The Old Burying Grounds in Norwichtown

Back in September when I was spending some time with five of the nicest bloggers anywhere, I had the chance to show off the city I live in a little bit and part of that Tour of Norwich included a stop at a place I had never been to - The Old Burying Ground at Norwichtown. I knew it was there and had meant to go often enough but had just never gotten around to it. Since visiting it with the others, I've been back there quite a few times since and have taken more than a few pictures - but of course!

With Halloween just around the corner, this seemed like the perfect time to take the rest of you on a "walk" through Norwich's oldest cemetery. To that end I put together the video at the end of this post and I even dug up another Alan Parsons Project song that I'm sure none of you have ever heard of just like you'd never heard of last week's choice! "Old and Wise" seemed appropriate, though, as it's about death and dying and those we leave behind. I've heard tell that a lot of people choose it as funeral music. Note to Amanda - should I kick anytime soon, remember this song!

Anyhow, quick background on The Old Burying Ground ... it was established on January 4th, 1700 on land that was conveyed to the town of Norwich for the sum of 90 pounds by then Lieutenant Samuel Huntington whose tomb is located in the "newer" part of the cemetery. The land was actually his home lot and a portion of it was to be set aside for community burials.

For those who have never heard of Samuel Huntington, he was a Signer of the Declaration of Independence as well as President of the Second Continental Congress and later a Governor of the State of Connecticut. He's one of Norwich's claims to fame though probably not as well known as one of Norwich's more notorious native sons - the treasonous Benedict Arnold whose family lies buried in Colonial section of The Old Burying Ground.

The cemetery is divided into two sections - the Colonial section which contains headstones mostly from the 1700s located at the end of Cemetery Lane and another section that was used mostly during the 1800s. The back section can be accessed either via a small bridge which crosses a seasonal brook or through the old gates on East Town Street which are located right next door to some guy's house!

As was common during the Colonial period, the burying grounds were located on hilly land away from the local Meeting House that was not desirable for farming purposes and the graves were laid out in an east-west pattern with bodies buried with their feet to the east so that when Judgment Day dawned they would be able to sit up and face the rising sun.

Over the years, there were well over several thousands burials at The Old Burying Grounds but time and the elements have worn away at the grave markers and currently there are only about thirteen-hundred tombstones left to mark the final resting places of many of Norwich's earliest citizens. I was rather surprised to hear that there were that many there as it didn't seem like that many but I've yet to actually count them - maybe another day when I've got some time to kill I'll do it.

On a bright sunny day The Old Burying Grounds can be a pretty somber place so imagine how it might be in the dark of night ... yeah, exactly! My friend Amy, along with Amanda, Darci, and Cate, decided we needed to go check it out after our trip to Salem so one Saturday evening we 'took a walk' around the cemetery and took some pictures in the process. Funny thing was, we weren't the only ones there as there was already another couple with their kids in the cemetery when we got there!

Even though it was a bit eerie walking around amongst gravestones from the 1700 and 1800s by the light of a very pale moon, the thing I was scared about most was the cops showing up as cemeteries are officially closed after sunset in Norwich and I didn't exactly want an encounter of the law enforcement kind! I really do try to be a law-abiding citizen, it's the former police dispatcher in me!

Oh, and in answer to a question that was asked of me during our vacation trip and that I felt like a complete and total dope for not knowing at the time ... Norwich was settled in 1659 and incorporated in 1784. When you pride yourself on being a "junior historian" of sorts and then don't know the answer to something as simple as that, it's easy to feel a bit sheepish! I'll just use the excuse that technically I'm from Canterbury which was settled in 1697 and incorporated in 1703 and I'm no good with numbers!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Well shut my mouth and call me honored ...

I'm not exactly sure what I did to earn such a thing but Rob, a renewed blogger who hosts In Times and Out Goals, made an award just for me as a way of saying thank you for inspiring him to restart his blogging efforts. Apparently Rob used to blog awhile back on uJournal and LiveJournal but had stopped for awhile then, after reading my drivel for awhile, he decided to launch himself back into the Blogosphere. I guess he figured if I could do it, anyone could do it so he tentatively stuck his toes into the water and found that blogging had changed drastically since he'd last done any of it! He seems to be catching on nicely, though, and even did a great job with his very first meme that I tagged him with yesterday.

Somehow or other I have apparently been "invaluable" to Rob in his latest blogging endeavor and as such he has dubbed me as his benefactor. Wow. Yesterday I was Maddy's 'soft place to land' and today I'm a blogging benefactor. Too cool! You guys are going to give me a swelled head if this keeps up! Either that or I'm going to start gushing like Sally Field and start proclaiming "I can't deny the fact you like me. Right now, you like me!"

In all honesty, though, I look at blogging as more of a group effort than just an individual achievement and if it wasn't for the help and encouragement of so many others out there, my blog would just be the random ramblings of a woman with no real life talking to herself! The biggest difference between a blog and an online journal is that interaction is a major part of the whole process - something that I learned pretty quickly after starting this blog two years ago this past July.

I think that we are all each other's benefactors and I am thankful for each and every one of you who have become a part of not just my blogging life but my 'real' life, too. I hope that as Rob grows and becomes even more a part of the Blogosphere that he'll soon see exactly what I'm talking about here - that the people you meet through blogging are some of the nicest, the warmest, the most supportive, and the most real out there.

Rob's blog is still less than a month old but I'm pretty sure the training wheels are off - especially if he's coming up with great awards on all on his own! - so I urge to stop by, say 'hi', and welcome him to this big online family of ours. Tell him his benefactor sent you!

Creative Photography, Contest Week #14-4

3D Vintage NSH Admin Bldg

I went on vacation back in September and haven't entered Roger's Creative Photography Contest since then but thought I'd give it a go again this week with a picture that I took this past Saturday at the old Norwich State Hospital grounds (formerly the Norwich Insane Asylum). I know I've posted pictures from here before but the place is quite creepy and even more so around this time of year when the leaves are down and bare branches abound. I attempted to make this picture look closer to 1904 when the facility was first built rather than how it looks now in 2008 but I'm unsure if I succeeded or not.

I'd love to be able to explore the grounds a little more in-depth but it's posted all over the place with "State Property No Trespassing" signs and even if that wasn't enough of a deterrent to a normally law-abiding person like myself, there are security officers in little white SUVs that drive all over the place ready to pounce on anyone who steps a toe over the line. Unfortunately they are quite enthusiastic in their job performance.

NSH Grounds

It's aggravating because I'm sure there are some great photo opportunities if one could just sneak onto the property get a little bit closer to the buildings. Add on the fact that there's no way on God's Green Earth that I'd go exploring over there by myself due to the major league "creep factor" and for now I'm stuck just taking pictures from the side of the road. Let me find a big, brave accomplice partner in crime person willing to break the law with me adventurer, though, and maybe someday that will change!

In the meantime, be sure to check out the other entries at the Creative Photography blog where you can see some truly creative pictures from some truly creative people! While you do that, I'll try to think of some way to thwart divert sneak past persuade the security guards so that I can get some closer pictures of the State Hospital grounds! I wonder if chocolate chip cookies are good bribe??

Monday, October 27, 2008

I've Been Awarded and Tagged!

I am honored and humbled and beyond flattered by the recent award that was given to me by Maddy of Whitterer on Autism
and, even though it's a bit like bragging, I just had to share what she posted on her blog because it was just so darned sweet and I am just so thrilled (honest!). The award is the I Love Your Blog award as seen to the left and Maddy awarded it to myself and six other people. What she wrote was this:
"... Also to lovely “Linda” at “Are we there yet.” Sometimes it’s hard to put your finger on quite why you warm to a particular blog. Linda’s life and mine have little in common. She works full time and her children are older. She’s in a different State and experiences weather and seasons. It could be that Linda’s is one of the first blogs that I felt comfortable commenting upon. I know that whenever I turn up there I will enjoy what I read, what she has written even though her posts run the gamut. Linda is my soft spot to fall."
Wow. I am somebody's soft spot to fall ... I don't think I have ever been that before but I am honored to be so. Maddy is right in that we don't have a lot in common - she lives in California, is a native of England, and is mom to, as she puts it, "3 minors and a major, two girls, two boys, two with blue eyes, two with brown eyes, two with autism, two without." She cooks fantastic meals that are creative and healthy, draws some fantastic cartoons, and writes not just one blog but two (her other blog is Alien in a Foreign Field) with a fantastic wry sense of humor.

I, on the other hand, can't cook for beans anymore it seems, can barely draw a straight line, have trouble keeping up with this blog never mind another one, and obviously live on the other side of the country. I have no concept of what it's like to try to even raise one child with developmental difficulties so we don't have that in common either but Maddy fast became one of my favorite reads because even though she faces some very daunting challenges with her two young men, she has maintained a fantastic sense of humor and purpose of life. She lets you take a peek into her life and the trails, tribulations, and tee-hee's of autism and it helps me to understand perhaps just a little better that even though life can throw some real twists and turns at you that you can either stress over them or you can take them in stride and own them rather than let them own you.

In short, I admire Maddy tremendously. Thank you so much, my friend, for the award and recognition - I truly don't deserve it but I'm keeping it anyway!

Now, for the 'Tagged' part of this post ... first off, I was tagged by Daynger from the blog Dayngrous Discourse for what should be a simple meme but knowing me, I'll make it more complicated than it has to be! I'm not sure if I can think of that many but this is the ...

Ten Things You Probably Didn't Know About Linda Meme
  1. I have three memory cards for my digital camera but I've yet to ever fill up just one!
  2. I absolutely positively cannot sleep in a room with an open closet door!
  3. Vanilla is probably my all-time favorite scent.
  4. My middle name is Jean and I truly hate it. Put it with Linda and throw in a Southern twang and I may as well have been from Alabama rather than Connecticut!
  5. Even though I can't sing for love or money, I was in church choir for many, many years!
  6. My handwriting is so bad, I could be a doctor!
  7. My favorite color is purple; second favorite is green.
  8. I once worked at Sears Automotive installing tires and batteries for a living.
  9. I have never broken any bones.
  10. I once drove from California to Connecticut in a U-Haul type truck with just myself and my then 6-year old son.
Along with that tag, Joan, my favorite Erstwhile Librarian, tagged me for the Power of Four Meme - I would have preferred the Power of Three Meme but what's a blogger to do??

Four places I go over and over
Work, work, and work!
The local Stop & Shop
Outside of the grounds of the Norwich State Hospital to take pictures

Four people who email me regularly
VistaPrint ... enough already!
Princess Patti of Late Bloomer Boomer
Morgen of It's a Blog Eat Blog World
Some guy trying to tell me I've inherited a marvelous fortune if I'd just send him all of my personal information!

Four of my favorite places to eat
Jack in the Box (but there are none on the East Coast!)
Cancun Mexican Restaurant (but it's not on the East Coast either!)
King Wah Chinese (it's not the best but it's cheap!)
Sunset Pizza (the best pizza place in Norwich!)

Four places I'd rather be
Visiting my best friend on the West Coast
On a cruise ship somewhere just kicked back and relaxing (I've never actually been on a cruise)
Visiting historic battlefields in Virginia
At lottery headquarters cashing in a winning ticket!

Four TV shows I could watch over and over
Cold Case
The Closer
The Big Bang Theory

Four people I'm tagging

If I didn't tag you and you want to play along, feel free to do so and just let me know as I'd love to see your answers! Thanks again to Maddy and even to Dayngr and Joan for thinking I'd make a good 'taggee'!

Manic Monday - Ghost

The word of the day over at the Manic Monday blog is "ghost" and I bet you think I'm going to do a post with pictures like this one -

orb in the Old Burial Grounds

Nope, that's not the moon hovering over that grave as the moon was somewhere behind me and up in the trees so we'll just have to leave what that really is up to our imaginations. And yes, I was actually out in the middle of the cemetery when I took this picture but that's a story for another day as, believe it or not, this post isn't actually going to be about ghosts per say but about a ghost of a different kind - The Ghost of You to be precise. Feel free to listen to the video while I expound a little bit and see if I can instill a little music appreciation here!

On June 8th, 2004, My Chemical Romance released their second studio album titled Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge which produced four singles - Thank You for the Venom, I'm Not Okay (I Promise), Helena, and The Ghost of You.

The Ghost of You is a song about loss - whether it be the loss of a love, a family member, or a close friend. On the fourth day of its release, the video for the song rocketed to number one on MTV's music-video countdown show Total Request Live and benchmarked the changes in My Chemical Romance's musical style, fan-base and overall image paving the way for their next album, The Black Parade.

There are those who claim that MCR "sold out" from their earlier alternative rock image to one that was more pop punk or emo but I really don't think that's the case. Just because a band finally reaches some form of commercial success doesn't mean that they've forgotten their roots completely. Mainstream popularity is not a bad thing though there are those who seem to think it is. Apparently those people are the same ones who also love the title "starving artist" and figure that no good comes of anyone who can actually make a decent living off of their chosen art-form. Anyhow, I digress ... back to The Ghost of You ...

My Chemical Romance - The Ghost of YouWhen MCR did the video for this song, they "shot a movie and just edited it to be a video" in Malibu, California over the course of two days. The video closely depicts the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan and the invasion of Omaha though most of the video takes place in a USO setting where the band is performing at a dance. In a scene at the bar, Mikey (the band's bassist) seems to be reassuring his brother Gerard (the lead singer) that he'll be okay and that there's nothing to worry about as they spend one last night out before heading into battle the next day, however that's definitely not the case. Many of the scenes are prophetic of what is going to happen during the invasion.

My Chemical Romance - The Ghost of YouAs the band members storm the beach, Mikey is shot and despite efforts by Ray (the band's guitarist) who plays a medic in the video, Mikey dies on the beach with his eyes wide open. Gerard stands in shock as he sees his brother die and then has to be restrained as he tries to run to him screaming - though, of course, you don't hear that, you just see him screaming. This is definitely loss of the highest order and it's hard not to feel Gerard's distress and pain.

Overall the video is very moving and the song is, in my own humble opinion, one of My Chem's best. Having a fan for a daughter, I've heard all of their songs many, many times over and even though their earlier music is good, I think they definitely grew as a band and as storytellers through songs like this. Now if they'd just put out a new album ...

While we're waiting for them to do so, don't forget to go check out the other participants in Manic Monday over at Mo's Manic Monday Meme blog and see what other ghostly-goings-on are going on!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Honoring Fallen Officers in Virginia and Arizona

Second Lieutenant Frank Stecco of the Fairfax County Police Department drowned on Tuesday, October 21st, while participating in a helicopter water rescue training scenario around 3:00 p.m.

Lt. Stecco had entered the waters of Pohick Bay wearing only a dry suit to role-play a victim but failed to resurface. An intense round-the-clock search was immediately launched but Lt. Stecco's body wasn't recovered until approximately 12:25 p.m. on Saturday, October 25th. According to police, the murky waters and make-up of the bottom of the bay made the search particularly difficult. Divers likened the search to dropping a quarter on a football field and attempting to find it by hand.

Colonel David Rohrer, Chief of the Fairfax County Police Department, confirmed the recovery saying, "My heart goes out to Frank's family; my heart goes out to his police family; and my heart goes out to the community Frank worked in and loved."

A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and 19-year veteran of the department, Lt. Stecco spent 11 of those 19 years assigned to the Mount Vernon District station where Chief Rohrer said Lt. Stecco was a highly decorated member of the department; he was awarded a Silver Medal of Valor in 1994, a Bronze Medal of Valor in 1997, and a Certificate of Valor by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce in 2000 for acts of bravery above and beyond the call of duty.

Fueled by his passion and dedication for serving the children and teenagers of the county just one month ago before his untimely death, Lt. Stecco opted to leave the Mount Vernon district and join the Fairfax County Police Department's Youth Services Division

Lt. Stecco, 42, leaves behind his wife, their three children, and his mother.

A 25-year old Phoenix , Arizona police officer was killed early Saturday morning when his cruiser was struck by a vehicle that turned in front of him while he was responding to a "shots fired" call.

Officer Shane Figueroa was responding to a call west of downtown Phoenix at approximately 1:22 a.m. on October 25th when witnesses state that a small white pickup truck with two occupants turned left in front of his cruiser. The impact spun Figueroa's vehicle and sent it crashing into a block wall. He was pronounced dead at St. Joseph 's Hospital and Medical Center .

The vehicle was driven by an illegal immigrant who was also wanted on four separate warrants. "He told officers at the scene that he was in this country illegally. He was also suspected of being under the influence of alcohol," says Phoenix Police Sgt. Andy Hill. "He does have, in addition, four warrants for his arrest under another name, which he admitted were his."

"This is a tremendous loss, not only to Officer Figueroa's family, but to the Phoenix Police Department and the community," said Sgt. Hill.

"This is a tragedy, not just for us," Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris said. "We will do everything we possibly can to assist his family." Harris said four Phoenix police officers have died this month, either from illness or in the line of duty.

Officer Figueroa, who served less than three years with the Phoenix Police Department, is survived by wife and three-month old daughter in addition to his father, who is a retired officer from the Phoenix Police Department and currently serves as an officer in the town of Maricopa , and his father-in-law, a lieutenant with the Mesa Police Department.

Comments on Comments

Somehow or other it's Sunday again already and time for this week's edition of Comments on Comments. Did you make the post this week? Read on to find out!

I began the week by posting some pictures of the Norwich Free Academy Foliage that could be found at Amanda's high school and in my post I mentioned that I wasn't sure what the foliage was doing this year as some was at peak, some was way past, and even more of it hadn't done anything. That prompted the following comment from my nut of a friend from Scrappin' ... With Life -
Callie Ann said...
I guess the tree's are like people
You have your early birds.
You have your ones that go with the majority.
You have your lazy butt ones that just wanna hang out.
Hmm that is kinda funny to me.
It was kind of funny to me, too, but it made perfect sense!

This week's Manic Monday - Bite post was a short review of the books I had just finished reading, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn - both part of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series - as well as my thoughts on the benefits of becoming an immortal - were one actually able to ever do that! Vampires are quite the hot commodity these days so I'm sure I'm not the only one who's given some thought to being bitten on the neck but Travis made a very good point in his comment -
Travis said...
Well, I guess it all depends on which of the vampire legends or mythologies you follow. The trend in urban fantasy is to make it into a lifestyle.
But don't forget about the Dracula legends and the Nosferatu! Those are some skeery monsters!
Travis is right, depending on which Dracula legend you're reading he's definitely one scary bloodsucker and as for Noseferatu ... shudder! There's definitely no Edward Cullen there, that's for sure! I wonder just when it was that vampires became sexy and not scary??

On Tuesday I was Finding Fantastic Fall Foliage and a few crows in the local cemetery. Personally I find that the crows tend to creep me out a little bit but Amanda likes them as do some of my other readers including Airhead 55 who lives about a little over an hour west of me here in Connecticut and who also happens to be Prince to the charming Princess Patti!
Ralph said...
Wow! The foliage in Southeast CT is as colorful as in Southwestern CT (quite a revelation in such a small state!)
The crows on the headstones aren't that creepy. I think they are dressed in black for mourning - NOT! They add character to the somber location...
Regardless of what character they add, I still think they're creepy! It's probably those little black beady eyes of theirs that does it!

A second post on Tuesday, Protecting My Eyes and My Pocketbook, had a lot of people letting me know that it isn't just green eyes that are sensitive to sunlight and require sunglasses for protection. Even though she lives My Wonderful Life, Mighty Mom has one-upped me in the need for sunglasses -
MightyMom said...
Ha, Ms Green Eyes, try blue eyes with contacts in!! yikes! talk about GLARE!!don't leave the house without my sunglasses...but as my hooligans and especially my hooliganette LOVE to play with them...I stick to the $7 a pair rack at WalMart, thanks.
I tend to buy my sunglasses from the $5 rack at WalMart, though, and I don't have anyone playing with them! I just kind of lose them on my own ...

On Wednesday I went off to work for 16 hours but not before I was Sidetracked By a Song by one of my favorite songs from The Alan Parsons Project circa 1979. Apparently most people who read the post had never heard of the song and some of them even came up with some pretty lame excuses as to why not. For example, my friend Tisha left this one -
crazy working mom said...
Nope, never heard of it ... BUT this might have to do with the fact that I wasn't born 'till 1977.
Oh sure, just because you were only two years old at the time doesn't mean you couldn't have heard it between now and then, Tish! Oh well, guess I'm just going to have to continue to try to teach you younger people some music appreciation!

I hadn't asked my readers a question in awhile so on Thursday in I've Got a Question, You've Got an Answer I asked readers "What scares you the most?" Some of the answers like this one from Ivana at Communiqué by Ivanhoe made me laugh -
Ivanhoe said...
S.p.i.d.e.r.s. I run like a little girl when I see one :o)
Uhm, Ivana? You are a girl so it's okay to run like one when you see a spider! Now if you're a guy running like a girl from a spider then we need to sit down and talk!

In another comment, Mags at Ms. Maggie Moo Talks 2 You hit the nail exactly on the head as far as things that I am scared of myself -
Mags said...
What scares me most of all is not a "thing" but a possibility. It's that I'll always be alone.
Even if I don't admit it to myself very often, I really am scared of being alone for the rest of my life as I know that at some point being an independent woman is going to get old and I'm going to want someone to spend my declining years with. Boy, doesn't that sound horribly romantic?!? Well, you know what I mean - right? I don't know what scares me more, though - being alone for the rest of my life or trying to find someone to spend it with.

I traveled almost 275 miles in order to have a post to write on Friday, Taped Before a Live Studio Audience ..., which covered my solo adventure down to New York City to attend a taping of the gameshow "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" I want to be a millionaire but apparently I'm not smart enough to be one as I still can't pass that darned audition test (darned 30 questions in 10 minutes and they won't tell you how many you can miss to make the cut-off - $%&^!!!) What seemed to impress people the most was the fact that I drove to New York City by myself as evidenced by this comment from Star at ... All Things Work for Good ...
Star8278 said...
You rock, just for trying. I would never be able to drive into that city let alone go there for that. You're awesome!
It really wasn't that bad though; New York City is just a bit over 130 miles from here and the streets in the city make perfect sense - unlike Boston! Driving through Manhattan itself doesn't bother me, it's the traffic on Interstate 95 going home that gives me a headache from clenching my jaw as you might be able to imagine from this picture!

On Saturday I shared a recipe that I came across recently; in Who Wants Pie? I posted the recipe for a Struesel-Topped Apple Custard pie that I made and took into work the other day that turned out to be quite tasty; the pictures I posted didn't do it justice! I also posted a few more foliage pictures because I've got so many of them and need to stick them into posts wherever I can but that seemed to be okay with most folks, or at least a couple members of the Cat Blogosphere ...
Gandalf and Grayson said...
Mom has 2 words.... mmmm, pie!
That last foliage picture is amazing!
If the kitties like it, then I figure I must be doing something right! We all know how finicky cats are, don't we?!? Thanks, guys!

And Just Because I Can ... I put up another post on Saturday for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Matter of fact, I thought it was so cute I'm going to post it again here along with my favorite comment from my favorite British comedienne (or wanna-be comedienne anyway) ...
Claire said...
Q: Why do squirrels swim on there back?
A: to keep their nuts dry.
Da squirrel for Breast Cancer Awareness

Aw nuts! Everyone have a great Sunday and thanks again for not only reading but for commenting! As always, I appreciate them all and who knows, maybe if you leave one, you'll find yourself in next week's Comments on Comments post!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just Because I Can ...

Da squirrel for Breast Cancer Awareness

Don't be a nut - get a mammogram!

Who Wants Pie??

Across the Thames River

Anyone tired of looking at foliage yet? No? Good, neither am I! I took this picture on Monday while out running some errands and even though this post is about pie I figured it couldn't hurt to also throw in a lovely New England landscape just for good measure! This is the Montville side of the Thames River; I took it from Stoddard's Wharf on the Ledyard side of the river. Very pretty, isn't it?

So, as I mentioned, I was out running some errands one of which was a trip to the grocery store so that I could pick up a few of the ingredients I needed to try out a new recipe that I had come across for a Struesel-Topped Apple Custard Pie that sounded quite tasty. As you may have guessed from previous posts, I love a good apple pie and think I make a halfway decent one but occasionally I like to try something with a bit of a twist.

I found this recipe while looking for a pumpkin cheesecake recipe (which I might be trying out today if I get inspired) and it's not only easy but it's quite tasty, too! The hardest part was peeling, coring, and slicing all of the apples but if you've got one of those fancy-dancy gadgets that they make that almost does that for you then you're home free. If not, then you'll have to do what I did and do it the old-fashioned way! Other than that, the recipe is easy-peasy!

Struesel-Topped Apple Custard Pie
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
about 4 cups of all-purpose apples, pared and sliced
2 eggs
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash ground nutmeg
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup cold margarine or butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange apples in prepared pie crust. In medium mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add sweetened condensed milk, melted margarine, cinnamon and nutmeg; mix well. Pour over apples.
In medium mixing bowl, combine sugar and flourl cute in margarine or butter until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle over pie.
Place in bottom third of the oven; bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Refrigerate leftovers.
I didn't have any nuts in the house (other than myself and Amanda) so left that part out of the recipe but it didn't seem to affect it at all. Also, I used a lot more apples than four cups but that's because I used a 10-inch deep dish pie plate. Using the actual size called for may affect the custard a bit but I'm not positive.

Not having ever made this particular recipe before I wasn't too sure how it had eventually come out even though it smelled and looked good so I took the pie into work with me on Wednesday and used my co-workers as taste-testers. The verdict was that it was quite tasty and that I was free to "experiment" on them anytime so I'm going to chalk the recipe up as a success and may very well try it again sometime - perhaps using nuts and the 'right' size pie dish!

Of course being the good Mom that I am and not wanting to leave Amanda with no dessert of her own, I used some of the extra apples I had and made her an apple crisp using a slightly different recipe than I normally use but it seemed to come out quite good, too.

She must have liked it as I found the very empty dish in the sink this morning and never heard a single complaint! Either that or it was horrible and she didn't want to hurt my feelings!

Let me know if you try this recipe out, I'd like to hear how other people liked it. In the meantime, I'm going to look at some more pretty foliage. Have a great Saturday wherever you may be!

Bright Yellow Leaves

Friday, October 24, 2008

Taped Before a Live Studio Audience ...

Confession time - I have always wanted to go on a game show. Not the kind of game show where you scream and jump up and down and act like an idiot but the more dignified type of game show like Jeopardy! or Password or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Not that I think I'm smart enough to ever go on Jeopardy! mind you but I use it as an example that I would rather try to use my brain rather than squeal and be all bubbly in order to win something. I don't do squealing or bubbly very well to be honest.

While we're on the whole confession thing, I should probably make mention of the fact that I took the written test for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? twice in the summer of 2005 and managed to fail it both times. To this day I cannot bear to hear Gwen Stefani singing Hollaback Girl and in particular the lyrics "b-a-n-a-n-a-s" as that's one of the questions I missed. I'd never heard the song before so how should I have known what sort of fruit she was spelling out?!? Ah well, I figured it was worth a try at least but obviously I wasn't smart enough to be a millionaire no matter how badly I might want to be one (though I do great on the show when I watch it on TV!).

At any rate, for some unknown reason I got it into my head a little while back that it might be fun to attend a taping of the show and - sigh - give the audition test another try. After all, it had been two years since I had embarrassed myself by being one of many who couldn't get past the written test to the interview to swimming in the contest pool so perhaps the third time would be charm. Plus, I'd get to be part of the studio audience and how cool would that be? If I couldn't sit in the hot seat myself, perhaps I could root on the person(s) who was? To that end, I ordered a ticket on-line a couple of weeks ago and planned a solo trip down to the Big Apple as I couldn't take Amanda (you have to be 18 or older) and couldn't think of anyone else who might want to make the trip (though in retrospect I should've asked Amy, I bet she would have loved to go!).

95SouthboundThursday morning dawned and I set off down the turnpike still not sure whether I was going to drive all the way into the city or try to catch the train either in New Haven, Stratford, or Bridgeport. I was more or less playing it by ear as I just hadn't been able to make up my mind which would be a better way to go. I got a slightly later start than I wanted and, even though the roadway looks clear in that picture above, that's not at all what Interstate 95 through Connecticut normally looks like. Normally it looks like this -


and that's exactly what it looked like once I got further on down the road after I had already decided that there was no way I was going to catch the train on time in New Haven so I would have to see if I could get ahead of it and catch it in one of the other towns along the way. The traffic back-up between exits 15 and 13 that crawled along for three miles was the deciding factor that had me driving into Manhattan a little while later because it just seemed easier to deal with traffic and parking in one of the biggest cities in the world rather than run for a train. Well, that and I was enjoying the music on the CD player! How's that for an excuse to drive into Manhattan or all places?!

The traffic in New York was much more cooperative than it was in Connecticut - go figure! - and I had no trouble finding my way to ABC Studios on West 67th Street. After parking in the garage at The Lincoln Center I made my way back over to the Studios and took my place in the queue of people waiting to see the show.


Waiting wasn't too bad as I had my iPod with me and also had the chance to talk to another lady who had been to see several tapings before. When I wasn't listening to my iPod or her, there were three guys standing in line behind me (cousins from Brooklyn) who talked non-stop, rather loudly, about their new PS3 and dropped more celebrity names than I had heard in a very long time. In addition, one of them, who looked like he couldn't have been more than 21, talked about being on Jeopardy! and how taking the audition test for this show was going to be a snap. I tried to tone them out as much as possible but because they were from Brooklyn they weren't real good at keeping the volume down and I kept having to crank up the volume on my iPod. New Yorkers, I tell ya!

Finally it was my turn to go through security and make my way to the studio which was a lot smaller in real life than it is on TV but still pretty darned cool! There it was - the famous hot seat ...

The Hotseat

where lucky contestants get to sit across from Meredith Viera and work their way up to potential Big Bucks.

Sebastian, one of the crew members, seated me in a spot directly behind the Hot Seat in the second row up next to a group of seven people who, it turned out, were friends of one of the contestants who was going to be playing later on. How exciting! I had the chance to talk to them a little bit and find out that their friend Jim was quite the movie fanatic and, this being "Movie Week", they thought he had the chance to do really well. I told them that I hoped he won big as it would make my blog post that much more interesting!

Shortly after entering the studio and before the taping began, I was able to take a few pictures of the studio but I'm afraid that they're a little on the blurry side as no flash photography was allowed and I had to have the camera set on museum mode, which doesn't always guarantee the clearest picture unless you hold the camera really, really still. One of Jim's friend offered to take a picture of me and even though it's quite blurry at least it proves that I was actually there and not just making this up as I go along!

Shortly afterwards, a comedian named Paul (I can't remember his last name) came out and got us all warmed up to hoot, holler, clap, and cheer. He was pretty funny while explaining our part in the show; we were to keep an eye on him and take our cues from him as to when to do what - and with what degree of enthusiasm. He explained that the audience was a vital part of the show and it was up to us to try to keep the contestants as relaxed as possible. I figured I was up for the challenge, especially sitting right next to people who actually knew one of the contestants.

Next thing I knew Meredith Viera had entered (she's very, very pretty in person) and taken her seat along with the contestant who was still playing from the earlier tapings (they tape twice a day, two shows at a time). She was a nice lady from California and managed to get to $50,000 before calling it quits. I was excited to have known the right answer during the "Ask the Audience" lifeline and was even more surprised that I knew the right answer to the question that she opted out on, especially considering I don't know that much about movies! During the break before Jim took the Hot Seat, Paul came back out and asked if anyone had known the answer and when I raised my hand he asked me if I knew a lot about movies to which I replied, "virtually nothing!" but he didn't seem to believe me! But it's true, I know very little about movies! Oh well, $50,000 was nothing to sneeze at for the first contestant we saw and I was happy for her.

Next up was Jim from St. Louis and when his friends said that he knew movies, they weren't kidding - he really knew his movies! He breezed through most of the first questions without even batting an eye before asking the audience for help with a question that I had absolutely no clue about. Apparently not too many other people in the audience did either as the top two choices were only 39% and 44%. Jim then opted to use another lifeline, which was to ask the experts that they had lined up. After debating it, they gave him the answer that matched up with 44% of the audience which turned out to be the right answer. Lucky for Jim!

At one point, the camera was turned on the section where his seven friends were sitting (all of whom had gotten a quick make-up application during the break between shooting the end of the first show and the beginning of the second) and I'm pretty sure I could see myself sitting next to them in the monitors. Ew! Oh well, maybe they'll edit that part out before the air-date which won't be until March 12th and 13th but if not, I guess I'll make my national television debut by default of the fact that I was sitting next to the contestant's friends!

Jim played an excellent game and it was really easy to get excited for him and caught up in the show. He was confident and funny and darned smart when it came to movies and the time just absolutely flew by. By the time the game ended, Jim had wracked up an impressive quarter of a million dollars and that's where he stopped as he just wasn't positive about the $500,000 question. A smart move and his friends couldn't have been happier for him - neither could I and I didn't even know the man!

All in all, the taping was a lot of fun and I would love to go again sometime. I would really love to go as an actual contestant but alas and alack, when I took the audition test after the show with a lot of other audience members, I managed to fail the darned thing for the third time. Argh! Talk about frustrating! A couple of the studio people told me not to be discouraged, that most people have to take it over and over and over again (which is why the only limit to the amount of times you can take the test is once a day). I guess that should make me feel a little better but still ... it would have been a lot nicer to pass and at least get an interview to see if I could make it into that coveted contestant pool. Oh well ... maybe someday.

After calling Amanda and letting her know that her loser of a mother would be on her way home, I reversed directions and headed out of the city back to Connecticut in much worse traffic conditions than I had going in but that's typical for New York City at 6:30 in the evening.

Heading Home

I made it home around 9:30 which wasn't too bad and even though I'd failed that darned test once again, at least I had a good time and got a blog post out of the deal! Maybe one of these days I can have a post that says I passed ... one can only hope! Oh, and I also got a 3-month subscription to NetFlix along with everyone else in the audience being that it was "Movie Week" and they sponsor it. Pretty cool, eh?

Oh, I almost forgot - the three hotshots from Brooklyn who seemed to think that the audition test was going to be a piece of cake ALL failed, too, so I didn't feel so bad when they were walking out the door talking about what a joke it was and blah, blah, blah. For someone who had supposedly been on Jeopardy! before, I guess he wasn't as smart as he thought either! I guess when it comes to getting on the show he can fogetaboutit, too!

Fatal Accident Claims the Life of Maryland Police Officer

Another October line of duty death occurred shortly before midnight on Wednesday, October 22nd, when Police Officer Richard M. Bremer of the Frederick City Police Department in Maryland lost control of his cruiser and crashed during the high-speed pursuit of a driver who fled from a traffic stop.

The crash occurred after only nine blocks along a wooded area near a path where Officer Bremer was chasing the suspect who was driving a dark pick-up truck. His vehicle left the road and went down an embankment. Shortly after dispatchers had lost contact with him, back-up officers found Officer Bremer's cruiser and after extrication he was airlifted to Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown where he was pronounced dead.

Following the fatal crash, Frederick police and Frederick County Sheriff's Office deputies searched numerous locations in search of the suspect vehicle which was found on the west side of Fredericksburg with the driver located in a nearby motel. The driver has been arrested and faces 16 charges including a charge of fleeing and eluding a police officer resulting in the officer’s death. That offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

"Obviously we're heartbroken. This is a member of our family we've lost, so it's tough," said Lt. Clark Pennington.

A five-year veteran of the FPD, Officer Bremer, 39, was assigned to the Frederick Police Department's patrol division where, according to his father, he "enjoyed his duties as an officer so much, he would have worked for free."

Police Chief Kim Dine said Officer Bremer, a native of Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, was a hardworking officer who loved his work and had made more than 270 arrests since 2005. “He loved being out on the street, and that’s what he died doing. It's a huge loss to the citizens of Frederick and the Frederick Police Department," Dine said.

Officer Bremer leaves behind his wife and three children as well as an entire Department that will mourn his loss and honor him Friday at the Frederick Police Department’s 150-year anniversary gala. “Obviously, this tragedy is part of our 150 years,” Chief Dine said. “Clearly this will be about him and all the men and women of this department.”

Thursday, October 23, 2008

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

Sometimes it's fun to scare ourselves. We go to scary movies, we read scary books, we sit around campfires telling scary stories, we look at our dwindling financial statements, we check in the mirror for gray hairs, we step on the scale ... well, some of those aren't so fun but I'm sure you get the idea! There's a lot of stuff out there that scares us with fears either real or imagined so I thought I'd make that the topic of this post and ask you ...

What scares you the most?!?

The answer can be something that scares you for fun like bungee-jumping or slasher flicks or rollercoasters or it can be something that scares you for real like spiders or heights or visits to the dentist - similar to the one that Amanda was going to in this picture here where she's still smiling because the dentist hasn't come in yet with that needle full of Novocaine!

Whatever it is, whatever that gets your heart beating a little faster or your palms to break out in a sweat or maybe your feet to start running in the other direction, let me know by leaving a comment - you're not scared to, are you?!?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Three More Lives Claimed in Line of Duty Deaths

On Monday, October 13th, Officer/Paramedic Bruce W. Harrolle, 36, was killed in the line of duty while performing a search and rescue mission for two stranded hikers on Bell Mountain in the Bell Rock area of Arizona .

The incident occurred after the Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter based out of Flagstaff responded to a request from the Sedona Fire Department and Yavapai County Sheriff's Office to assist the search for the stranded and dehydrated hikers.

Officer/Paramedic Harrolle had loaded one hiker into the helicopter and was assisting the second patient in when he was struck by the helicopter's rotor blades and was fatally injured.

A nine year veteran of the Arizona Department of Public Safety who was described as "a loving husband, father, and hero" by DPS Director Roger Vanderpool, Officer/Paramedic Harrolle leaves behind his wife, Angela; daughter, Addison and son, Justice.

On Sunday, October 19th, Deputy Sheriff Sarah Irene Haylett-Jones of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Indiana succumbed to injuries sustained two days earlier in a motor vehicle accident.

Deputy Jones, 27, was directing traffic in an area where a wrecker was removing a stranded vehicle from a ravine in Bloomington when she was struck by a motor vehicle at approximately 10:30 p.m. She was initially transported to Bloomington Hospital and later transferred to Method Hospital in Indianapolis via airlift.

A veteran of the United States Air Force, Deputy Jones, had served with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office for just eight months; prior to that she was a member of the Montgomery , Alabama Police Department for 1-1/2 years. She leaves behind her husband.

A Northern York County Regional Police Department Officer died Tuesday, October 21st. as he was setting up to help re-create the scene of a fatal weekend accident in which one person died and six others were injured

Officer David Tome, a traffic re-constructionist, had just finished setting up several orange warning cones in the right lane of the highway in the area of the fatal crash that occurred on two days earlier in Franklin Township, when he was hit by the right front fender of a Saturn Vue that caused him to be thrown into the air, over a guardrail, and down an embankment before landing in a wooded area. Officer Tome died instantly.

"It's a very, very tragic accident," said Lisa Wingert, chairwoman of the Manchester Township Board of Supervisors. "Our prayers and thoughts are with the family and the other officers."

Officer Tome attended Harrisburg Area Community College 's Police Academy in 2002 and was hired by Northern Regional in 2003. Police Officer Kyle Hower, who attended the academy and was hired at the same time as Officer Tome said that the quiet and reserved Tome took pride in being a police officer and possessed "possibly the most polished pair of boots I've ever seen!"

Described as a devoted family man, Officer Tome, 31, leaves behind his wife and two young children.

Sidetracked By a Song

This is not the post I was originally going to write but I came across a song on YouTube and my head went totally in a different direction than I was originally going to go. Guess that means I save the other post for later and go with this one, eh? Funny how music can do that to you sometimes!

Anyhow, way back in the mid-1970's when I was a young airman in the United States Air Force and able to listen to whatever music my little heart desired, I became enchanted with The Alan Parsons Project. More than just a joke in an Austin Powers movie, The Alan Parsons Project was founded in 1975 by none other than Alan Parsons, a British engineer, producer, and recording artist; and Scotsman Eric Woolfson who was a songwriter and composer. Together the two combined their respective talents to produce eight albums from 1975 to 1990 that were designed primarily as a forum for a revolving collection of vocalists and session players to interpret and perform their conceptually-linked, lushly arranged and orchestrated music.

Whatever it was, I loved it and was hooked right from the beginning with their Edgar Allan Poe based album - Tales of Mystery and Imagination -in which they brought to life such works as "The Raven", "The Tell Tale Heart", and "The Fall of the House of Usher". I owned it and I played it death and bought every subsequent album I could as soon as it came out. I have always loved music with a lot of orchestration so that may account for a lot of why I love their music. Well, that and the lyrics really tended to hit home from time to time.

I guess I can actually thank my first husband for introducing me to The Alan Parsons Project as he was the one who got me listening to them (thanks, Mick!). Even though I've tried to get Amanda to listen to some of their music she says it's just not her cup of tea and I guess I'm not really surprised though it would have been nice had she said "Wow, Mom, this stuff is great!" No such luck, though! It seems I'm more apt to listen to her music than she is to mine.

The song that derailed my original post idea and that is at the top of this post, "Damned If I Do", was from their 1979 album Eve, the only album to feature female lead vocalists which makes sense as the concept for this album was a woman and her effect on men. The song was a minor hit off of the album and one that I have always liked probably because there have been times in my life when I've felt damned if I did and damned if I didn't when it came to love. Come to think of it, I still feel that way from time to time (thanks, John).

So, that's the direction this post decided to go - let's see if I can get back on track with the other one later! As long as I don't come across any other songs from my past while perusing YouTube I should be okay ... maybe ... there's an awful lot of stuff on that website that takes me down Memory Lane.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Finding Fantastic Fall Foliage

Yantic Leaves 5 Sometimes you find the most fantastic foliage in somewhat unlikely places ... like in the middle of your local cemetery!

I've known for several years now that some of the prettiest colors can be found on the trees at the Yantic Cemetery here in Norwich and this year has been no exception as you can see from some of the pictures that I took there the other day when Amanda and I stopped by after I picked her up from school following her banner-painting session with the Gia Club.

I had a feeling that even if I couldn't find some eye-popping elsewhere in the local area that I would be able to dig some up at one of my favorite haunts. Sorry, little bit of cemetery humor there - yeah, yeah, very little - sorry!

Yantic Leaves1
In addition to there being very colorful trees, these are also some very large Yantic Leaves 4trees located in the Yantic Cemetery but chances are that's because they go back to at least 1844 when the cemetery was first established - if not a lot further. They really are beautiful and it's one of the reasons that I really like this cemetery even though it isn't the oldest in town.

As I've said in the past, reading the names on a lot of the stones is like reading a "Who's Who" list of people from Norwich and because a lot of the stones are from the Victorian Era they have a lot of character. Gravestones had become more of an art-form by the time this cemetery was established and some of the stones and markers are truly beautiful in their craftsmanship.

Yantic Leaves 2
Along with the gorgeous foliage that we got to see while driving through the cemetery we also came across a few feathered visitors that Amanda insisted I take some pictures of and share here as she thought that they were pretty whereas I just find crows to be downright creepy.

Yantic CrowCrows
Crows 3
Crows 4
Ah well, as they say - "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and I guess I'm just not surprised that Amanda thinks that crows are beautiful birds. The kid does seem to have rather macabre taste at times I'm afraid! Then again, she does spend a lot of time exploring cemeteries with her mom so I guess it goes to figure!

I'll be at my second job at the Tribe for awhile today but when I get done at noon I'm hoping to get some foliage pictures down near Fort Shantok which is the place where the Mohegan tribe first settled with Sachem Uncas in the 17th Century and very close to here. I'll let you know how that goes!

Protecting My Eyes and My Pocketbook!

As someone who has green eyes, I have learned -sometimes the hard way - that it's not a good idea to go out into bright sunlight without a pair of sunglasses on. Without them I can barely keep my eyes open - never mind actually see!

A lot of people wear sunglasses because they think it makes them look cool - like my wanna be rocker of a youngest daughter over there! - but for me, it's most definitely a necessity rather than a fashion statement. However, just because I need to wear sunglasses for health and safety reasons that doesn't mean that I don't want a nice looking pair rather than something that's just functional!

The sad thing is, I don't exactly have the kind of budget that allows me to go out and buy designer women's sunglasses no matter how much I think they might make me look like a woman of sophisticated mystery while keeping me from squinting like Mr. Magoo! However, just because I'm relatively broke doesn't mean that I can't get a nice pair of Ray Bans or Body Glove sunglasses at a great website like Sunglasses Online. Not only do they have a great selection to choose from, they've got some great prices that even a single working mom like myself could afford.

From performance sunglasses to womens and mens sunglasses to unisex glasses to more there's a great selection and there's even a terrific clearance section - and let me tell you - I am all about a clearance section because nothing makes me happier than finding what I want at an even better price than I was hoping for. I think it was my mom that taught me that one!

At Sunglasses Online I can save my eyes while I'm saving money and who could ask for more than that? Certainly not me!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Manic Monday - Bite

How convenient that Mo picked this week's Manic Monday word to be 'bite' as it gives me the chance to do another post on the series of books I just finished reading. After all, the word 'bite' regularly comes to mind when thinking of vampires and regular visitors will know that I've been reading the very popular Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer; the young adult books which tell the love story of Bella Swan, a mortal teenager, and Edward Cullen, a teenage vampire in the small town of Forks, Washington.

After more or less plowing through the first two books in the series, Twilight and New Moon, I jumped right into the next two books, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, finishing the last book yesterday evening. I think I got to book four as fast as I did because Bella managed to annoy the heck out of me once again in book three and I wanted to make sure that things worked out right in the final book! I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing when you want to reach through the pages of a book and strangle one or two of the characters but I was ready to do that with both Bella and Jacob constantly throughout book three and wasn't sure which one I was more irritated with! I don't know how many times I told Amanda that Bella didn't deserve Edward while she complained to me that Edward was too perfect. Huh? Too perfect?!? Is she nuts?!?

As I've said before, though, I don't want to give too much away to those who haven't read the series yet but are thinking about it even though I feel like I was probably one of the last people on earth who hadn't read it! I'm sure there are probably two or three people out there who haven't read the books but that's hard to believe when you look at the amazing fan-base for the books and the number of people who are chomping at the bit for Twilight the movie to be released next month. Yeah, yeah, you can count me in on that one! I am intrigued to say the least!

It's funny, I had never given much thought to vampires until I read these books as I was never a big Anne Rice fan, but now I'm beginning to think it might not be the worst thing in the world to be bitten by a vampire and become an immortal. After all, they have incredible strength so I'm sure I would no longer have back problems; they don't eat per say so that would cut way back on the grocery bills as well as time-consuming trips to the store; they're incredibly beautiful which would be nice to be for once in my existence; they can run like the wind and never get one of those annoying stitches in their side or feel like they're sucking pond water after about an 1/8th of a mile; and they don't need sleep so I wouldn't be tired all the time and would have a lot more time for blogging! Granted, there are a few downsides like that whole bloodsucking thing but there are apparently ways around that. Overall it sounds to me like the advantages outweigh the disadvantages!

Of course, the biggest advantage to becoming a vampire would be the possibility of finding my one true love and soulmate and sharing a bond that could never be broken. That would certainly be worth a bite on the neck, right? Though with my luck when it comes to love, I'd probably find myself wandering eternity all on my own wondering where that soulmate was and how to find him. Hmm, I wonder if vampires have their own sort of eHarmony or Perhaps Vampire Singles Dances?

I don't know ... maybe this is sounding too much like my current mortal life ... do I really want to do that for all of eternity even if I could leap over tall buildings in a single bound? Hmmm ... Well, there is still that 'more time for blogging' thing to think about!

Don't forget to see what other people took a bite out of over at Manic Monday while I see what else the library has in stock for other vampire novels. Now that I've been bitten by the vampire bug I need to read more - but no Anne Rice, please. Her books scare me!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Norwich Free Academy Foliage

Amanda stayed after school this past Thursday to help out with the Gia Club's banner for this weekend's homecoming dance and being that I was smart enough to take my camera with me when I went to go retrieve her, I got there a little earlier and took the time to take some shots of the foliage around some of the campus.

I'm not exactly sure what the foliage is doing this year - there are some trees that are absolutely glowing with color, others that have already gone completely bare, and even more that haven't done a darned thing except sit there and seem to say "What're you lookin' at?"

Oh well, some guy on the news this morning said that next week is supposed to be peak week for southern Connecticut so I guess we shall see and hope for some sun to get a nice blue sky to go with the pretty colors. I'm afraid there wasn't much to speak of when I took these shots but I hope you enjoy them anyway!

NFA Leaves

In front of the Administration Building

Leaves in front of NFA

The Cranston Building Clock Tower

NFA Leaves

View from the back of the planetarium with the Slater Museum Tower behind it