Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and virtue." -- President James Garfield at the observance of the very first Memorial Day on the sacred grounds of Arlington National Cemetery on May 30th, 1868

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Stuff

Here we are smack in the middle of Memorial Day weekend and I've got the house to myself - well, more or less - I've still got to share it with Tesla but for the most part he seems to be behaving himself.

Yesterday afternoon I took Amanda down to New London to catch the train for New York City and all the fun that awaited her there.   The plan was for her friend Sami to meet up with her upon her arrival at Penn Station and from there they were going to hit up a couple of their favorite stores in Manhattan before heading off to see a movie.

Today is the big zombie crawl in Brooklyn and I'm sure they'll have a good time at that.  Amanda had one bag dedicated entirely to zombie fixin's including a couple bottles of homemade blood, about three feet of homemade intestines, and enough make-up to turn pretty much anyone into one of the living dead no matter how alive and perky you were prior to the application!

Amanda's train arrived about ten minutes late but she was able to get a seat to herself and even found one with an a/c plug so she was able to plug in her iPhone and watch a movie on her way down to the city.  I tell ya, times have changed since I used to catch the train from New London to take me back down to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey after a visit home!  Cell phones were still years in the future - never mind smart phones like we have now!  The really nice thing, though, is that I can keep in touch with her throughout her trip and as a parent, no matter how old your kid is and how many times they've made a particular journey on their own, you're always concerned until you get that message saying they've safely arrived.  Cell phones have alleviated a lot of that worry and concern and added another level of security that wasn't there back in 1978.

I'm sure Amanda's going to have a fantastic weekend and will hopefully have some pictures to share when she gets back.  Even though I have to work a double shift tomorrow I'm off today so the plan is to head up to my Mom's for a cook-out with my brothers and their wives and then get a few things done around the house.  I need to pick up some Grub-X on my way home to apply to the lawn as several folks have suggested the problem I'm having with the lawn is of the chinch bug variety and after Googling it, that seems to make perfect sense.

In the meantime, though, I've got this to deal with ...

Hope everyone's having a great Memorial Day weekend but don't forget to remember why we celebrate this weekend and those who died to give us the freedom that we enjoy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Five on Friday - Metallica

Time again for Travis' Five on Friday music meme wherein I get to go to, pick any five songs depending on my mood and train of thought, and then post them here to share with you.  Those are pretty simple guidelines and I love music so it's a great way to fill a Friday post as well as see what kind of music other participants have shared.  You should seriously pop over to Trav's Thoughts and play along with us some week - I think you'll like it!

My friend Mighty Mom left me a comment on last week's Five on Friday Rick Springfield edition that said, "sigh, one of these days you're going to pick songs I actually know....." so today's set list is for her as well as anyone else who likes a little Metallica in their lives. 

This week's set may seem like a bit of a departure from the music that I've posted here in the past but I've always considered myself to be quite diversified when it comes to what I'll listen to as I subscribe to the theory of "if it's good, I'll listen to it" whether it be rock, country, bluegrass, heavy metal, classical, alternative, or what-have-you.  With that philosophy in mind, all three of my children have introduced me to music that I might not have listened to on my own and that's the case here as it was my son Michael who first got me to listen to Metallica; as a matter of fact you could say that he and the band were formed at the same time as the group was founded the year that Mike was born - 1981.   Besides, if you listen to the set list, you'll hear that it's mostly Metallica's quieter stuff and not some of their louder head-banging thrash metal music.  Not that there's anything wrong with that as I personally think that a little head-banging every once in awhile is good for the soul!

With all that being said - enjoy, Sarah!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Driving Myself Crazy

Exactly what good does it do me to have a day off when all I do is hang around the house and stress? All things considered, I may as well have been sitting at work in the air-conditioning rather than sitting at home without air-conditioning whilst biting my non-existent fingernails.  Unfortunately that's pretty much what I did all day yesterday, though, as I can be one of the worst obsessive-compulsive worriers when I let myself and the whole thing I mentioned yesterday with Amtrak had me on edge big-time.

I waffled back and forth between waiting to see how much higher Amtrak prices went to debating on driving down (brief moment of insanity there!) to checking just about every airline price out there to worrying about Amtrak again.  Honestly, it was getting to be a bit ridiculous so I finally decided that I needed to make a decision and stop being indecisive! 

I was driving myself totally crazy so I shut off the computer, grabbed some blueberry-rhubarb pie that I made the other day, retreated to the love-seat in the living room, and hunkered down to watch Tuesday night's episode of Glee that was on the DVR.  Sometimes a little mindless TV is just what I need to disconnect from the other stressors in my life and get my mind out of that continuous loop of anxiety; luckily that seemed to do the trick yesterday. Thankfully Rachel's problems are so much bigger than mine!

Even though I really wanted to take the train with Jamie as I thought it would be a bit more of an adventure, I finally decided that there were other things that I wanted to do while in Florida and it didn't make sense to spend all of my money on a train ticket when I could get a flight on Southwest cheaper.  Add on the fact that it will give me extra time to do some of those other things I want do while in Florida and that finally seemed to seal the deal in my mind. 

I'm just going to have to save the train trip for another time and I've already got a pretty good idea where that train trip will be to.  Due to the fact that I'll be flying down now I won't be able to fit in the stop-over dinner with Mimi that I was hoping for so I'm thinking that a trip down to Bloggingham at a future date might be nice, especially if I can convince Princess Patti of Ansonia in the Valley to accompany me.  Perhaps she would consider a weekend of royal mirth and mayhem at some point in time wherein we could journey south and set loose the prisoners from the dungeon have tea and crumpets with the Queen.  Rumor has it if you buy your tickets about three months in advance on Amtrak, you can get a pretty good price (nice to know now, eh?) so maybe an autumnal sojourn would be nice. Definitely something to consider.

So, I'm still hammering out the final details of things but I've got a pretty good grasp of the what/where/when at this point and think I can relax a bit where the trip details are concerned.  Now if I could just relax about the other thing that's been stressing me out lately ...

Bare spots
See those brown patches?  They weren't there last year and they are driving me totally nuts!  I've put down lime, I've put down grass seed, I've put down Scotts Turfbuilder, and I've been watering the lawn faithfully due to the recent overwhelming heat we've had but so far what I seem to still have are brown patches with no little sprouts of grass to be seen.  My Mom tells me to be patient but I'm afraid patience has never been one of my virtues!  Anyhow, if anyone has any suggestions, I'm certainly open to hearing them; as the duly  appointed Keeper of the Lawn I must say this is very frustrating!

Perhaps what I really need to do though is take a page from Tesla's book and just learn how to relax ...
Tesla Napping
... though I kind of doubt there's room for both of us on the dining room table!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Could It Be .. ???

My day off and the sun is shining??  Nah!  I must be seeing things as that never happens!  Hmmm ... nope ... that definitely looks like sunshine out there near the grass that needs cutting once again!  Guess I'm going to have to get out there and try to take advantage of the nice weather though I think the lawn mowing will need to wait a couple more days as I'm trying to grow some new grass in a few bare patches.  So far, it doesn't look like that's going so well though.  Sigh ...

Speaking of sighing ... I was looking at train fares on Amtrak again last night in preparation for my trip down to Florida and the darned things have really gone way up in price.  What the heck?  After doing some research I found that Amtrak apparently has what they call a 'tier system' or something like that where the prices go up depending on how many seats they've sold on a particular route.  The more seats they sell, the higher the price goes up so a ticket that I priced last week at $100 is now going for $175 this week - same exact times, same exact route, but definitely NOT the same exact price! 

Due to that I may have to change the plans I had to take the train down to Raleigh, meet up with Queen Mimi for dinner, and then continue down to Florida from there which totally stinks as I was really looking forward to seeing her again even if it was only going to be for a brief visit.  Right now I'm looking at possibly flying down to Jacksonville and still coming back on the train with Jamie but unless I can buy those return tickets pretty darned soon, the prices on those are sure to climb, too.  Matter of fact, the train that I was originally planning on taking back north has already increased by $37 for each person from what it was last week and will probably increase again before I can get the tickets reserved (payday isn't until next Thursday).  If this keeps up, we're going to end up flying back to Connecticut but I really wanted to do the train with Jamie as I thought it would be a lot more fun that way.  Thanks, Amtrak, for adding to my stress!

Speaking of stress, I'm sure that Miss Bee is undergoing her own sort of stress down in Florida right now as Sarge Charlie is in surgery for removal of part of his lung secondary to lung cancer.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers today for a successful surgery and speedy recovery.  I know they both totally appreciate the support!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some sunshine and a day off to enjoy.  Or try to at least!  Hope you do also!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Will You Look at That? There's a Holiday Weekend Coming Up!

As someone who doesn't work "normal" hours, it's easy to forget when holiday weekends are looming like, for example, this coming Memorial Day weekend.  While most people are out grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, eating watermelon, and relaxing with family and friends, I'll be at work for 16 hours doing what I do best - telling other people where to go!

Amanda, on the other hand, is going to be spending the weekend down in New York City visiting her BFF and brain-twin, Sami.  I'll be putting her on the train Saturday afternoon before I head into work and picking her back up Monday night.  She's really looking forward to the weekend away not just because she gets to hang out with Sami but because it's also time for the NYC Zombie Crawl and the chance for Amanda to don torn clothes, slather herself with fake blood, and lurch her way through the streets of Brooklyn while looking for brainssss!

This will be Amanda's third zombie walk or crawl or lurch or whatever you want to call it as she participated in last year's NYC Zombie Crawl with Sami as well as the Zombie Walk in Asbury Park, New Jersey last October that regular readers of this blog may remember.  She always has a lot of fun and must be a pretty convincing zombie being that she's the "poster zombie" on Wikipedia!  Gee, could a mother be any prouder??

So, what do you folks have planned for the long holiday weekend?  Inquiring minds wanna know!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Random Monday Musings

I made strawberry shortcake for dinner last night - just strawberry shortcake - does that make me a bad mother? Not that I heard Amanda complaining mind you! 
If a red sky at night is a sailor's delight, what's a pink and blue one mean?  Other than that it makes for a pretty view over the neighbor's rooftop that is! 
People always say that they slept like a baby when saying they got a good night's sleep but I'm thinking it would be better to say you slept like a cat as they seem to have sleeping down to a science! 
I was driving past the old Norwich State Hospital grounds the other day and just had to stop to take a few pictures - from the side of the road where I was not trespassing, mind you!
I still think it's a damn shame that these beautiful old buildings are sitting there going to waste like they are.  What is wrong with us as a society that we no longer value our past anymore?
Here's another shot of New England Central Railway engine #3847 as it entered the Village of Yantic last Wednesday. I like this one better than the one I posted on Saturday. By the way, if it looks like I was standing kinda close to the tracks that's because I was but not too close!
I'm still editing the pictures from Frank & Dawn's wedding; it's a slow process but I want to make sure I do it right.  This shot is one of my favorites so far. 
Okay, that's enough randomness for one day.  Everyone have a good Monday wherever you are and I'll try to do the same here!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Headache, Headache, Go Away ...

... and don't bother coming back another day!

Oy.  Woke up several times throughout the night with what most definitely felt like a sinus headache as every time I turned over my head was pounding and, not having had any sort of alcoholic beverages to speak of, I knew it wasn't hangover related!  I finally crawled out of bed, downed a couple of Advil Cold & Sinus tablets, and went back to bed to let them work their magic.  Several hours later I was back up and feeling a bit better though I'm afraid my energy levels match the weather today which is overcast and blah.  Gee, must be my day off!

Still, I need to work up some sort of energy/enthusiasm so that I can schlep down to Mystic and drop off my accepted entry for the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts 99th Annual Juried Exhibition at the Mystic Arts Center which runs from May 28th to July 17th.  Entries have to be in either today or tomorrow and today seems like the better choice as it's my day off.

I'm hoping that this particular show doesn't leave me feeling quite as inadequate as the (old f)art show up in West Hartford did but I guess if I'm going to try to dip my toes into the stream of juried art competitions that I'm either going to have grow a thicker skin or gain more confidence in my work.  Both would probably be good!

Truth be told, even being chosen to part of the exhibit at all is really quite an honor so I guess I should stop whining, get dressed, pile the picture and the kid in the car, and head down to Mystic.  After all, it may be an overcast day off but it's a day off nonetheless!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Distractions

Oy.  I've been spending my Saturday morning trying to get some stuff done around the house before having to go into work this afternoon at 3:00 but it's been one of those days where the Domino Effect has been in full swing.  I do one thing that I planned on doing which in turn segues into something I hadn't planned on doing which in turn leads to yet another thing I hadn't planned on doing which eventually ends up with me not doing the things that I meant to do!  I've got no doubt you've all been there and done that!

Anyhow, just wanted to pop in quickly and let those who didn't hear earlier on Facebook know that my ex has decided that Jamie can come back up to Connecticut with me from Florida on the train so that she can have the opportunity to visit with her family up here for a bit.  He's modifying his plans to come up in June to drive rather than fly so it will be easy enough for Jamie to go back down to Florida with them when they go.  I asked him last night if there were any restrictions as to where we could leave from Florida (i.e., did I have to bring her back to Tampa first for any reason?) and he said that no, he thought it might be easier for me to leave from the eastern side of Florida if I was going to be over that way visiting friends anyway.

So ... with that in mind, I've been thinking that maybe we will swing by Saint Augustine on our way down to visit Bee and Charlie and spend Sunday there seeing the sights before continuing south on Monday.  Right now I'm looking at taking the train back to Connecticut out of West Palm Beach on Tuesday morning so I think this plan just might work as long as I don't get too distracted by the history of Saint Augustine and a really cool lighthouse that I just found last night while fooling around on Google a bit. After all, I do love me a nice lighthouse!

I guess the question is:  how much can I fit in between Friday when I leave Connecticut and Tuesday morning when we leave Florida?   After all, I'll be able to catch back up on sleep on the train heading north so who needs it while I'm there??

Speaking of trains, here's a quick shot of a New England Central Railway engine that I took this past Wednesday morning while doing my hobo impression and hanging around the tracks up in Yantic for a bit. It was chilly and rainy and a lousy May day and this isn't one of my best shots but it's still a train, right?

NERWNE Southbound
Here's hoping everyone has a great Saturday - I've still got some things to do around here before work in two hours - provided I don't get distracted again! Oh hey ... what's that over there ... ??

Friday, May 21, 2010

Five on Friday - Rick Springfield

This week's Five on Friday set is brought to you courtesy of a song that popped into my head when I was telling Amanda why she had to go with me to help photograph Frank and Dawn's wedding a couple of Saturdays ago.  She wasn't really too keen on the idea of spending an entire Saturday at an event where she didn't really know anyone and had no internet access except for her iPhone; the thought of being cut off from her beloved PC was getting her edgy and she was a bit grumbly about helping me out.

As it turned out she had a fantastic time and helped me immensely however as we were driving to the wedding venue Amanda continued to whine at me asked me once again why she had to go when she wasn't a photographer and didn't know what she was doing and were we really going to be all there day and ... well, you get the idea!    My rather exasperated reply was, "Look, I do all sorts of things for you all of the time and it's about time you returned the favor!"  It was then that the words from an old Rick Springfield song popped into my head - "It's all give and take and you just take, I can't  take it you see ... I've done everything for you and you've done nothing for me." 

The song I've Done Everything For You (words and music by Sammy Hagar) became a hit for Rick Springfield, aka Doctor Noah Drake on the soap opera General Hospital, off of his 1981 album Working Class Dog.  The song eventually hit #8 on the Billboard Charts and obviously stuck in my head for many, many years! 

With that in mind, I decided to take five of Rick Springfield's songs and create this week's set list for Travis' Five on Friday.  I have to tell you, listening to anything from the early 1980's takes me right back to what now seems like another lifetime ago and certainly opens up a floodgate of memories but that's okay, even though the early 80's were kind of a turbulent part of my life there are more good memories there than bad so I don't mind going back down that portion of Memory Lane at all! Perhaps some of these songs will do the same for you.

Don't forget to visit over at Trav's Thoughts and maybe even join in on Five on Friday if you feel so inclined; it's a great meme and you can hear some great music! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Can You See Us Now?"

As I mentioned earlier this week, the company I work for is celebrating Emergency Medical Services Week which is always the full third week in May.  In a little less than a month, I'll have been with American Ambulance for seven years and I have to say that since I've been there, the company has always gone all-out to let their employees know that they're appreciated during this week set aside to honor the men and women who are First Responders.

I don't ever remember there being anything special during National Law Enforcement Week back when I was dispatching for the Cop Shop so for those who think that this is something that every company you work for does then think again as I know for a fact that they don't.  In all my years of police dispatching I never got a custom-made (by my supervisor no less!) omelet, I never had the chance to win great prizes in a raffle, no one ever bought us pizza for dinner, and I sure as heck never got a gift every year.  Those are just some of the things that AASI does for its employees each year during EMS Week and it really is nice as they could just as easily blow off the week like so many other places do but they don't - they make their employees feel special and appreciated and like we matter.  Not to say that American only does that once a year, mind you, but during EMS Week they put the spotlight on the heart and soul of the company - its employees.

This year for our EMS Week gift we were all given a very nice long-sleeved t-shirt emblazoned with the following on the back:

2010 EMS Week t-shirt

You may very well say "HUH?" but there's a very good reason behind their madness as the shirts are directly related to the four latest editions to our ambulance fleet:

New Ambulance Design

The design on our new Sprinter ambulances is known as Half-Battenburg Livery and if it looks like something you'd be more likely to see in the United Kingdom than the United States then you are bloody well right! The markings were designed by the UK's Police Scientific Development Branch (PDSB) in the mid-1990's to maximize the conspicuousness of police vehicles in both daylight and nighttime use. The goal was "to create a design which would maximize the visibility of the vehicles when stopped on scene both in daylight and under headlights from a minimum distance of 500 meters and which would also distinctively mark the vehicle as a police car."

During their research, the PDSB found that the human eye is most sensitive to blue/green shades at night and yellow/green in daylight. For this reason the Battenburg design typically consists of two or more rows of alternating retro-reflective squares or blocks usually starting with yellow at the top then the alternating color along the sides of the vehicle.

In Norwich, England the blue/yellow combination is used to identify the police but here in Norwich, Connecticut the blue/yellow combination is going to identify an ambulance - specifically an AASI ambulance and if you're one of the many people who never quite seemed to recognize that an emergency medical vehicle was right next to you or right behind you, you are most definitely going to know that now!  Not only do our new ambulances have bright fluorescent squares on the sides but they've got a very impressive array of lights and sirens that will most definitely get your attention!   Kind of makes me wish I had a video to show you just so you'd get the idea!

There are a lot of people out there - including some in our own company - who don't like the design but I'll be honest with you - I think it's great.  Now that could just be the Brit in me on my mother's side or all those years of watching Monty Python but I think it's brilliant!  That design - whether your eyes like it or not - is going to keep my road crews a lot safer than they are now and that's worth every single grimace the Half-Battenburg Livery design may induce.   Right now there are only four of the new ambulances but eventually the entirety of the fleet is going to be sporting that new look and that's going to make my job just a tiny bit less stressful as I'll know that yes, they can see us now and there will be a lot fewer accidents because of that.

Now, if you'll excuse me I need to go back to practicing how to dispatch my new cars in a horrible fake British accent whilst sipping tea and nibbling biscuits!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Plans, Plans!

Having finally made up my mind that I am definitely going to Florida for Jamie's graduation in less than a month I seem to have found myself in major planning mode.  I spent a good part of yesterday looking at various Amtrak schedules and routes and trying to decide which would be the best way to go and come back.  I believe I have decided that I am most definitely doing the train both ways as even though it takes a little more time, the cost isn't bad and it would give me a chance to see more of the country than I can from the window of a plane hurtling through the skies at 600 mph - or however fast they go!

I have very fond memories of the one cross-country train trip that I took from California to Massachusetts back in 2002 and even though I'm not going to have the luxury of a sleeper car this time as that part of the trip is WAY too expensive, I'm still looking forward to journeying down the East Coast via the rails.  Obviously it appeals to the railroad lover in me!

Even though I've yet to hammer out all the details of the journey itself I've submitted my vacation request and  have made definite plans to meet up with several blogging friends - an activity which is definitely the best part of many of my journeys these days!  Not being able to see my West Coast blogging friends this year, I'm just going to have to make up for that by meeting some from the Deep South.  To that end, Jamie and I have been invited to spend the night at Barb's house in the swamp where we'll also partake of her mother's delicious lasagna and I'll have some Chianti while Jamie gives scritches to all the kitties.  Being a cat-kid I know she'll just love meeting Gandolf and Grayson and Whitey and Gracie!

Following that helping of Southern hospitality, we'll point the rental car in the direction of West Palm Beach where I'll have the privilege and honor of meeting Miss Bee and Sarge Charlie.  Sarge and Bee are actually some of the very first people to become regular readers of my blog way back when I first started it close to four years ago so it seems like it's way past time I got to meet them in person.  I figure I'm probably not going to be in Florida again anytime soon so this would be the perfect time to meet up for real hugs rather than virtual ones!

From there I'm not quite positive which direction things will be going as I received a phone call from Jamie's stepmother yesterday evening who told me that she was going to try to talk my ex into letting me bring Jamie back here to Connecticut with me on the train so that she could see the rest of the family and spend some more time with me.  Considering that both Deb and Al are flying up here on the 16th of June themselves and going back on the 21st, I think it would be very nice if Jamie could come back with me and then go back with them later.  I'm not sure how much luck Deb will have in convincing Al that it's a good idea but she said she'd do her best and let me know as soon as possible.  Needless to say, I've got my fingers crossed!

As for the leg of my trip down to Florida, I'm waiting on word back from Bloggingham Palace and Queen Mimi as to whether she might be available to meet up for dinner during a four-hour stopover in Raleigh on Friday afternoon/evening.  Alas, it wouldn't be long enough for me to go free the prisoners from the dungeon but an audience with the Queen would be a lovely addition to my trip and the perfect break in between Connecticut and Florida.  Hopefully I'll hear from Her Majesty soon.

So, there you have it - sounds like a pretty good trip so far and I'm hoping that perhaps Jamie and I can find some other interesting places to check out during our travels.  I'd love to discover The Fountain of Youth or go to Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine or the Bulow Plantation Ruins just a bit south of there but I don't want to drive the poor kid totally crazy with my love of history so I'll see what she wants to do.  After all, having been at the Academy for 5-1/2 months she may just want to go to the beach and relax for a bit and that would be okay, too, as long as we're together.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Decisions, Decisions ...

For the last week or so I've been sitting on the fence of whether to go or not go to Jamie's upcoming graduation from the Florida Youth Challenge Academy on June 12th down in Orange Park, Florida.  With Amanda's graduation from Norwich Free Academy only six days later on the 18th, there are some definite time constraints to consider but I also knew that I wanted to try to spend some time with Jamie after her graduation if possible.  It will be a year in June since I've seen her and I've really missed her even though I know she's doing something that will point her life in the right direction.

I was finally able to get her father to agree to let me have her for two days after the graduation ceremony though he was reluctant at first.  Whereas I understand that once she graduates from the Academy she still has certain obligations of the program to fulfill, I have also spoken to her cadre and know that it would be okay for her to spend time with me.  As a matter of fact, it would be okay for her to come up to Connecticut and spend some time here as long as she kept in touch with her mentor but for now that's not going to happen and because it isn't, I wanted some time with her in Florida. 

I'm afraid I got a bit overly emotional when speaking to her father about it initially when he said that he didn't think it would be a good idea but like I told him, it didn't seem to make much sense for me to go all the way to Florida to see her graduate and then turn around and come home.  His response was that I could spend time with her along with he and her step-mom but truly, I don't want to spend time with them - I want to spend time with Jamie.  She's my daughter, I'm not an evil person, and there's no good reason for him not to trust me with her for a couple of days. 

Thankfully he rethought it and decided that it would be okay for me to have her on Saturday and Sunday night and I can return her to Tampa on Monday before I head back to Connecticut.  It's not as much time as I would have liked but I know she's got a job lined up at the local McDonald's to hold her over until she either goes into the service or decides what else she wants to do with her life and I don't want to mess up that opportunity for her.  Still, you would think that a concession or two could be made considering the distance I am traveling to see her.

Anyhow, with all that said, now I have to try to hammer out the details including how I'm getting there, how I'm getting back, and where I want to go while I'm there.  I have vacation time so getting the time off of work shouldn't be a big problem (I know that my supervisor will do all he can to make sure I can be there for my daughter's graduation) but I don't want to use too much of that time if I can help it.  Right now I am leaning towards taking Amtrak down to Jacksonville on the Friday before Jamie's graduation, getting a rental car and driving directly to the ceremony, and after that Jamie and I can head down the coast or other points before I bring her back to Tampa on Monday. I've got a couple ideas of places I'd like to go and maybe - if I'm lucky - people I'd like to meet.

I'm thinking that I'll leave out of Tampa after I drop Jamie off but the biggest decision there is whether to take the train back or to fly back; I'm going to have to run some more numbers and see what would work out best time-wise.  As much as I would love to take the train back, too, there's a 6-hour layover in Washington D.C. that I can't seem to schedule around that wouldn't get me back to Connecticut until 5:30 on Wednesday morning.  The other connections are just way too close and I suspect it's not a good idea to book trains too close together just in case something goes wrong and I'm late for the next leg of my trip.  I don't mind flying but I'm just not sure I want to though it would save me a lot of time.  Perhaps Southwest will have a great sale sometime in the near future that will help me make up my mind!

Anyhow, that's how things stand currently.  I've been trying to figure out where the train station is in relation to rental car places and the cost of hotels in the places that I'd like to go and all of the other logistics of the trip but at least I know that my mind is made up TO go.  It's Jamie's graduation after all and it wouldn't be right not to be there if there's any way possible that I can be.  I just wish it were a little easier.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Little History and a Recipe

As I had briefly mentioned last week, my friend Rhonda gave me a big bag of fresh rhubarb as well as some strawberries so that I could pretend I was Betty Crocker for a little while and bake a strawberry-rhubarb pie - something that I have only done once over the course of my lifetime but which turned out to be a big hit at work.  Rhonda's timing couldn't have been better as a fellow co-worker had been asking me just the night before when I was going to make "another one of those delicious pies"?

After mentioning the rhubarb in my post, I received the following comment from a fellow blogger who lives on the West Coast:
Travis Cody said... 
I've never had rhubarb. In fact, I didn't really know what it was so I looked it up. So it's a tart botanical veggie that gets used like a fruit?
That pretty much sums it up, Travis, as rhubarb sort of looks like red or pink stalks of celery, however; to elaborate just a little further I found this great bit of information at
"Originally the ancient Chinese cultivated rhubarb for its medicinal properties. Used for a laxative effect, rhubarb didn't gain acceptance as a food in the United States until the late 1700s and only after the truly brave experimented with its seriously tangy culinary attributes. In 1947, rhubarb was legally classified as a fruit even though botanically rhubarb is a vegetable. It was the United States Customs Court in Buffalo, New York, that ruled rhubarb to be a fruit since it was used mainly as a fruit. This cost-effective act allowed imported rhubarb to pay a smaller duty than if it was a vegetable. Dubbed "pie plant", pie was the only dish this tart treat was used for in early days. The good news is that today's innovative chefs are reinventing rhubarb and creating superb rhubarb specialties from yummy soups to rhubarb compotes. Quite famous in Britain, Brits love their traditional rhubarb crumble treat. In the United States, Washington State leads in the production of rhubarb with Oregon, Michigan and California following close behind. Holland also generously contributes to the rhubarb supply."
As a kid, I can remember my grandfather had three very large rhubarb plants that came back every year in the spring that my cousins and I would break stalks off of and sit on the stone wall chewing on while I'm sure we made some rather amusing faces from the tartness!   To be honest, rhubarb pie was NOT on my list of favorites but as I grew older and my tastebuds gained some maturity, I discovered that if you added strawberries in with rhubarb you got one very tasty pie - especially if you went one step further and made a "custard" that went over the top of the fruit before you baked it.

Being that I had promised to bring a pie into work with me today I took the time last night to make two strawberry-rhubarb custard pies using the following recipe that I modified just a bit as the pie plates I own are 9-inch deep dish pies that require more filling than what is called for here.  Luckily I'm good enough at simple math to know how to halve or double a recipe!  The basic recipe is:
□ 2 (8") unbaked pie crusts
□ 2 c. rhubarb, cut into 1" pieces
□ 2 c. fresh strawberries, cut in halves
□ 1 1/4 c. sugar
□ 3 tbsp. butter, melted
□ 3 tbsp. flour
□ 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (or more to taste)
□ 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Place strawberries and rhubarb on bottom crust. Mix all other ingredients well; pour over top and spread around fruit. Top with solid crust or make a lattice weave for top crust; flute edges. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Turn down to 350 degrees and bake pie for 35 minutes or until rhubarb is soft.
The other difference is that I put half of the fruit in the pie plate and topped it with half of the custard and then put the rest of the fruit in and topped it with the other half of the custard.  Layering seems to work just a little bit better especially considering that I use a crumb crust on top rather than a full top crust or lattice crust.  The crumb crust couldn't be easier - you just use 1/3 c. softened butter or margarine; 1/3 c. flour; and 1/2 c. sugar and cut it together with two knives (or a pastry blender) until it forms a crumbly consistency.  Sprinkle it over the top of the pie, put it in the oven, and voilà!

Oh, and as for the baking time, I had to adjust that, too, as 35 minutes was nowhere near long enough for these pies to cook - it was more like an hour but I kept a close eye on them during the baking process.   The other thing to watch out for is that the filling will probably run over a bit so you might want to put a piece of foil underneath the pie plates unless you like cleaning the oven!

Having not used this particular recipe before, I figured it was my duty to taste-test a slice of pie before bringing one into work with me this afternoon so guess what I had for breakfast?

Sorry for the quality of these pictures but they were taken with my iPhone as I was just in too big of a hurry to get a bite of pie to take the time to dig out my Nikon for a better shot!  As for how it came out?  I'm happy to report that it is delicious!  I'm sure the folks at work will be pleased as will Amanda who had to suffer through the wonderful aroma last night while they were baking but hasn't had a slice yet as they were still too hot when she went to bed.

In conclusion, Martha Stewart you've got nothin' on me - at least not when it comes to baking!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Scramble

I'm still not quite used to having Sundays off and had to lie in bed for a few minutes this morning trying to figure out what day it was!  Come to think of it, I have to do that pretty much every morning - I wonder if this is going to be a 'rest of my life' kinda thing?  Anyone else have trouble remembering what day it is when you wake up in the mornings?

Thank you to everyone for your words of encouragement for Amanda after Friday night's disappointing awards ceremony.  Thankfully Amanda bounced back yesterday as I knew she would and isn't going to let it get to her like she did the other evening.  Sometimes in life it just helps to have a good cry before you move on.

Speaking of moving on, a very big congratulations to Ralph and Patti as their oldest child walks across the stage at the University of Hartford this afternoon and accepts her diploma.  Allegra is moving on to the next stage of her life beyond college and though I'm sure it's got to be terrifying, I've also got to believe that it's pretty exciting, too!  I'm pretty sure I'll be able to see the glow of proud parent smiles all the way over in Norwich!

Today kicks off the beginning of EMS Week - a time to honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine's "front line."  I work with a fabulous group of Paramedics and EMTs and they are all to be thanked and admired for the jobs that they do.  There's a reason I work behind the radio and that's because I couldn't do the things that these fantastic men and women do out there in the field - not without passing out, throwing up, or both!  Hopefully neither you nor any of your friends or family ever need EMS services but if you do, you can rest assured that the men and women who have chosen to work as Emergency Medical Service providers are dedicated, compassionate, and caring professionals who never seem to get the thanks they deserve outside of maybe this one week.  A big THANK YOU to all of them and I hope they have a wonderful week!

So after four-and-a-half years of basically no contact at all, Amanda's father has decided that he wants to come to Connecticut for Amanda's high school graduation next month.  Why he wants to do that I'm not sure but he and his wife have plans to fly to Boston on the 16th of June and be around until the 21st.  While part of me thinks it's a good thing that he wants to 'reconnect' with his daughter, the other part of me thinks it's pretty damned presumptuous of him to think she even wants him around after he couldn't even be bothered to send her a birthday or Christmas card since October of 2005.  Needless to say, it's added some stress to what should be a really happy occasion. 

As for Jamie's graduation from the Academy on June 12th, I'm still not sure whether I'm going to be able to get down there for that or not but I know I need to make up my mind very soon.  While I really want to go, the timing isn't good at all what with Amanda's graduation right behind it on the 18th as that doesn't give me hardly any time at all to spend with Jamie whom I haven't seen for just about a year.  Part of me thinks it might be better to skip the graduation and take a trip down there in July to spend some time with her when I could stay for awhile and spend some quality time with her.  I even went so far as to look at cruises out of Florida as I thought it might be a nice way to celebrate her graduation - jump on a ship and sail around for a few days just the two of us - but even though prices are supposed to be great, it's more than I can afford right now.  Where are those darned winning lottery numbers when I need 'em??

While on the subject of trips, I was talking to my cousin at lunch the other day about a possible road trip to Nashville at the end of September or so.  She wants to go to the annual International Bluegrass Music Association conference that's held in Nashville at that time and was thinking perhaps I'd like to go along for the ride so we could fit in some Civil War sites along the way.  It sounds like a great idea to me so we'll be kicking that one around a little bit and see what shakes out.  Thankfully my cousin is just as much - if not more - into history than I am and I'm sure we'd have a great time!  It's been a long time since we did our last trip down to the battlefields of Virginia in 2000 so we are way past due!

Finally, I'm very frustrated with the yard here at the house lately as there are several very large dead spots that weren't there last year and I'm having a deuce of a time getting grass to regrow in them.  Having tried fertilizer and reseeding, I'm now trying an application or two of lime to see if there's an acidity problem with the soil.  I guess this is the part where it would be nice to have a man around as men seem to have a natural ability to fix lawns - rather like they do cars! - but alas, I'll have to figure it out on my own.  I do owe a big thank you to my friend Andrew, though, who picked up the bags of lime for me and dropped them off at the house as they're pretty darned heavy.  Andrew is a real peach and a good friend!

Anyhow, enough rambling and scrambling here today - the sun is shining on my day off for a change, it's a beautiful day outside, and there are things to be done that require me to get dressed, put my shoes on, and get out the door.  I hope you all have a beautiful Sunday no matter where you are!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Heartbreak of Disappointment

It's always depressing when a day that holds so much promise ends up being a day that holds disappointment instead. Today was one of those days for Amanda and I'm left not really being able to tell her anything that's going to make her feel better. I know that eventually she'll get past it but for tonight she's sad and depressed and I can fully understand why.

A couple weeks ago Amanda had received notice that she was going to be getting an award during the Norwich Free Academy's 120th Norwich Art School Student Exhibition and Awards Program which was held earlier tonight in the Slater Auditorium.  She was actually pretty psyched about it and who wouldn't be?  Getting an award is a pretty cool thing as it validates your efforts in whatever it is you're doing be it writing or painting or drawing or music or dance or what-have-you.  A lot of time people say that they don't want recognition but if you're creative, I think that deep down you really do - especially when it comes to something like artwork because you're always a bit worried that others won't find it good.  It takes a tough-skinned artist to not care what others think about your craft and Amanda is not tough-skinned at all. 

Anyhow, we went over to the school for the 7:00 ceremony and after a little talk by one of NFA's more successful Fine Arts graduates they launched into the awards - of which there were quite a few.  Amanda was asked to stand for a round of applause as the winner in the 2D category in the Young at Art Competition that was held in Mystic awhile back along with the other two students who placed in the show and then winners of other shows were also asked to stand for a round of applause also.

Following that when it came time for the actual giving of the awards, Amanda was called up along with six other students to receive a Faculty Choice Award (the Director of the program proceeded to mispronounce her name wrong for the second time that evening) and then for the next half hour or so a bunch more awards were given out in various and assorted categories - none of which Amanda received.

After the program came to a close I met up with her and asked her what she had gotten and that was a sketchbook and pencils.  Okkkaaayyyy ... not exactly the award that she was hoping for especially when everyone else seemed to have received a cash award of some sort.  I have to admit, I was pretty disappointed for her, too and I probably could have been more enthusiastic about it but what I had noticed during the presentation of the awards was that pretty much every other kid who got an award was of the cookie-cutter teenage variety type whereas Amanda really doesn't fit into that particular mold at all.  Her artwork is also glaringly different from that which I saw in the exhibition and of a style all her own which is not a bad thing at all but perhaps not the type that garners accolades from aging art teachers.

I don't know ... all I know is that she got more and more depressed as the evening went on and something that should have been a happy occasion turned into a feeling of "I wish I'd stayed home" from her.  She said that being given a sketchbook and pencils felt more like a "thanks for coming" sort of award and not a real award and her confidence in her artwork was totally shot to hell.  It didn't matter what I said, she'd been judged against her peers and - in her eyes - came up lacking.

It hurts me to see her doubting her own artistic talents and abilities but I really do understand how she's feeling.  There's nothing worse than getting your hopes up and having them dashed on the pavement while others feel validated and happy that their work has received some sort of an accolade.  Artists are temperamental at best anyway and walk a finer line than even the rest of us - a very fine line that separates confidence and despair.

Tonight Amanda is on the wrong side of that line and I can only hope that tomorrow she'll be able to shake it off and determine that it doesn't matter whether she received a cash award in recognition of her skills and talent as an artist - that her art comes from her heart and if it's not the type that a mainstream group can appreciate then too bloody bad.  However, until then, I'm going to shed a tear or two for her as even though I'm a lot older than she is, I can still remember the sting of disappointment when an award I was hoping for never came through either and the feeling of inadequacy that comes along with that.

Today really could have ended better.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"The best laid plans of mice and men ... "

It had been my well-meaning intention to actually do some blogging on Wednesday and get caught up with everyone but whereas I was able to remove myself from the computer and resist the call of the Photo-Editing Sirens (who have a very alluring song I might add!), I didn't get any blogging done as other aspects of life got in the way.

Wednesday was my monthly get-together with my friend Rhonda so I had to get out of my warm and cozy bed way too early for my liking to meet her for breakfast and the chance to catch up on our lives over coffee.  I like it so much better when we do lunch rather than breakfast!  Regardless though, we had a nice time and she even brought me a bag of fresh rhubarb and some strawberries so that I can make a strawberry-rhubarb custard pie provided I can find the recipe I used last year!  Her timing couldn't have been better as one of the gals that I work with had just asked me on Tuesday when I was going to make another one and bring it into work with me.  Right now I'm shooting for Monday for that task if all goes well.

Today will be my usual 16-hour Thursday so I'm afraid there will be no blog visiting today either and if memory serves me correctly, I think I am meeting my cousin for lunch on Friday (though I could be wrong).  Friday evening I'll be attending an art show/awards ceremony with Amanda at Norwich Free Academy where she tells me that she's getting some sort of an award.  Very cool!   Perhaps I can fit in some blogging in between Friday's activities as long as I can avoid the call of those Siren again!

Sometimes it just seems like life gets a little out of control where I've got all sorts of things going on at once but fortunately those are usually surrounded by periods of time where there's not much going on at all.  With any luck I'll get one of those soon so I can catch back up with all of you.  In the meantime, I haven't forgotten you - honest!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Send in the Clones!

Here's a familiar lament for everyone - "so much to do and no time to do it"!

I think that's going to be my theme for the week as I try to juggle work, tasks around the house, massive amounts of picture editing, and the overwhelming need to sleep from time to time.  I mean seriously, if I don't get outside and mow the lawn here pretty soon the city is going to think there's some sort of a wildlife preserve that has taken over part of the street I live on and if I don't get to the grocery store and restock the cupboards, there's going to be some very hungry and cranky wildlife (both two and four-footed) right here in the house that is going to be none too happy with me either!  

Sigh ... I could really use a clone of myself so that one of me could go to work and the other me could stay home and get the myriad list of other things done - which includes reading everyone else's blogs and occasionally updating my status on Facebook while getting my virtual behind kicked by various and assorted friends in Lexulous!

Ah well, considering that isn't going to happen I'd best rustle up some ambition and try to at least get the lawn mowed and then make a quick run to the local Stop & Shop before I drag myself back into work later this afternoon. It's tough, though, as the draw of wedding picture editing is strong and hard to resist (hence the reason I found myself editing pictures in bed last night until 2:15 in the morning!) but like the Little Engine that could ... "I think I can, I think I can, I think ... oooooh, cake!"

Friday, May 7, 2010

Five on Friday - The 1981 Version

This week for Travis' Five on Friday meme I've chosen five songs from 1981 - the year that my oldest child was born.  This Sunday - Mother's Day - Michael turns 29 but I'll be darned if it feels like it was that long ago that I brought him home from the hospital, sat down with him in the rocking chair, and busted out into tears as I knew that he'd be grown and gone in no time flat.  Ah, hormones!  But I was right ... it did seem like no time flat and he was graduating from high school and having a family of his own.  Would someone like to tell me where all of those years went?

Anyhow, for your listening pleasure I present to you five hits from 1981 - it's good to know that all these years later they can still make my toes tap and I even remember the words!  I may not remember what I had for lunch yesterday but by golly I remember these songs - I hope you do, too!

If you'd like to join in on Five on Friday please click on over to Trav's Thoughts and join in - it's easy, it's a lot of fun and it brings back a lot of memories - at least for me!

And lest I forget a very happy birthday to my oldest a little early!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Practice, Practice, Practice!

As I mentioned the other day, I'm going to be photographing my first wedding this Saturday and as in anticipation of that I have borrowed a couple pieces of camera equipment from friends to supplement what I already have.  One of those pieces of equipment is a 50mm prime lens that is supposed to be the lens to have when shooting weddings as it's a great portrait lens.  The only drawback is that it's not auto-focus on the type of Nikon I have so I have to do it the old-fashioned way and focus it manually.  That called for a little practice by both myself and Amanda so I thought I'd share just a couple of the pictures from our practice session that I also did some editing on to improve the subject matter.  I'd be happy to hear what you think!

A classic black-and-white Amanda with just a hint of a smile! Perhaps this is her Mona Lisa look?

A picture of myself that I actually like for a change! Normally I'm not at all comfortable in front of the camera but I think Amanda did a very good job.
And as for this last one ...

... no, I'm not getting ready for a picture to post on an internet dating site - I'm sporting the customized paintball mask that Amanda just did for one of the guys at work! He wanted his face mask painted to look like Ghost from the video game "Modern Warfare" and I believe that's exactly what he got.  He seemed real happy with the end result so Amanda's hoping that word of mouth will get her a few more commissions which would be really nice and give her some money of her own.

 I don't know though, I think it's kind of a good look for me ... !

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Las Memorias de Mayo

Today's Cinco de Mayo pictures are brought to you courtesy of last year's trip to California where I had the extreme pleasure of getting together (again) at my favorite Mexican haunt in Stockton with blogging friends Katherine and Sandee along with Sandee's handsome hubby.  Zane, as the designated photographer, took the picture below as we were relaxing at the bar after Katherine and I had driven up from Santa Cruz where we had spent a wonderful day exploring her town.  Such happy memories that picture evokes!

The Cancun Mexican Restaurant is nothing fancy but it's been a favorite of mine ever since I lived in Stockton long, long ago in what now seems like another lifetime. My friend Cyndi and I visited there quite frequently and it was even one of the most popular places for take-out when hungry 911 dispatchers at the police department were in need of a meal.  It's so much easier to dispatch emergencies with a full tummy and would have been even easier had we been allowed to sip on a margarita like the one to the left but alas, the line had to be drawn somewhere! 

Since leaving the Stockton Police Department and California behind, Cancun has still managed to become a place where I have very fond memories of good times with new friends that I met through the wonder of the internet and this little thing that we call blogging.   For those of you who haven't had the extreme pleasure of meeting Katherine or Sandee in person, you've got no idea what you're missing as two nicer ladies (as well as their significant others) can't be found on either side of the country.

I'm hoping that someday I'll have the chance to get together with them again and share laughter and our lives over a margarita or two as well as a big ole' plate of really, really good Mexican food - the likes of which I'm never going to find here in Connecticut!

Honestly, it makes the really, really long plane flight more than worth it as you just can't beat the combination of good food, good friends, and good times.  ¡Le falto, señoras!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Of Weeds and Weddings

While out and about with the Nikon the week before last, I decided to play around with the aperture setting a little bit in a poor attempt to learn how to do bokeh shots like my friend Lisa who is an amazing mom and photographer and person in general. If you haven't looked at her photography, you don't know what you're missing - especially her flower pictures which are so beautiful you could swear you can smell them just looking at them!

Anyhow, Lisa does this really cool effect where the background is blurred and the foreground is crystal clear and pops right off the page.  It's a matter of fooling around with the aperture setting on the camera and a few other technical thingies that I won't bore you with (as well as not really being able to properly explain) that then produces either good bokeh or bad bokeh - not that to the untrained eye you can really tell the difference between good and bad bokeh but trust me, there's a difference according to all of the websites I've looked at!

As it turns out, I didn't manage to get either good or bad bokeh as I got no bokeh at all - just a soft or blurred background that I actually rather liked.  The picture below is a weed - I think - but I rather liked the shape of it so I decided to try snapping a picture on aperture mode and then fooled around with it a little bit to turn it into what you see below:

A Weed

Not knowing what kind of plant it really is, I'm going to call it a Starburst or a Fireworks Weed as it sort of reminds me of the type of fireworks that blow out from the center and then little bursts of light waterfall down. Oh, and that white blur in the background?  That's my hand holding the darned thing still as it was pretty windy while I was trying to get the picture and the poor plant wouldn't hold still!

The reason I was playing with this weed and trying to see if I could get a bokeh effect is that I'm going to be photographing my very first wedding this coming Saturday for a couple of friends and I want to be able to get some shots for them using the blurred background effect as I see a lot of those on wedding photography sites and they always look really, really nice.  I know I'm not a professional by any means and don't claim to be but the last thing I want to do is mess up the photography at a wedding - one of the most important days in a couple's relationship - however by the same token I don't want to produce simply the same-old same-old shots.  Wedding pictures should be more than that.

I seem to do okay with landscapes and stationary objects but on Saturday I'll be taking photos of a couple in love on their special day and I want the pictures to reflect that so when they're celebrating their silver anniversary and beyond they can pull out their pictures and easily recall the moments when they said "I do" and became husband and wife - united in love and faith in each other.

Of course, it would be okay if they forgot the fact that I practiced for their wedding day using weeds!

Lastly, if I could ask you all a big favor ... right now the weather forecasters are predicting rain for Saturday which is totally unacceptable - especially consider Frank and Dawn are having an outdoor ceremony - so I was hoping I could get you all to send up good thoughts for good weather on Saturday.  Maybe if there are enough people wishing for the same thing, Mother Nature will cooperate and send sunshine for the happy couple.  Thanks in advance!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Take This Tune - The Things We Do For Love

I think I inadvertently ended up turning a favorite song of mine by the British group 10cc into this week's prompt for Take This Tune after Jamie had left a comment on my post about taking Amanda down to New York City last Saturday so that she could meet a favorite artist and spending 5-1/2 hours waiting for that to happen.   Jamie had said that I was a good mom and I guess I responded back that it sort of fell under the category of "the things we do for love" rather like in the song - though truth be told, the song is about romantic love and not parental love but when it comes down to love it seems like sometimes we all end up doing things that we might not do otherwise. 

I've heard from my mom on more than one occasion that Amanda is spoiled and it's not really something that I can argue about as yes, she is spoiled (though like all spoiled kids, she really doesn't think she is).  I guess I'm not really very good at saying no when there's something that Amanda really wants to do but I'd like to think that it's more an act of love than just giving into her wants. 

I can see where taking her to concerts or driving down to Baltimore a couple of times to meet a favorite illustrator and attend the funeral of a really, really dead author or hanging out with zombies in New Jersey or waiting around for 5-1/2 hours for her to meet another favorite illustrator or driving up to Massachusetts so that she can hang out with her brain-twin Sami or a myriad of other things might be considered spoiling her but that isn't what I've been trying to do. 

I guess it could be thought that what I'm trying to do is make up for the fact that her father hasn't really paid any attention to her at all over the years or that I'm trying to relive my teenage years through hers but I don't think I'm doing either of those things either.  I think what I'm really trying to do is give her some good memories to take with her into her later years - memories where she isn't thinking "wow, my mom never did anything with me" or "wow, my mom never understood what was important to me".  

Or maybe what I'm really hoping is that someday when I'm old and infirm (in another five years or so!) that Amanda will remember all of things that I did for her because I loved her and she'll want to do a few for me because she loves me.  We've had our rough moments, don't for a minute think that we haven't, but I'm hoping the things I've done for love haven't just spoiled her but they've made her appreciate the opportunities that she's had. 

That's the plan at least - time will see if it works!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Post From the Past

So ... where was I a year ago today?  On my way to get some good Mexican food and to spend time with some West Coast blogging friends, that's where!  Today I'm just off to mow the lawn and there's no Mexican food in sight.  Sigh ...

It's way too early for a Saturday in Sin City but it's time to leave Vegas behind and start on the second half of my trip.  I am hoping the flight to Sacramento is fairly empty so we aren't doing the flying sardine can imitation that the flight out here was!  Besides, who goes to Sacramento anyway?  Vegas was a'ight but I wouldn't go out of my way to come here again.  Other than the conference itself, Hoover Dam was the best part of the trip - the rest of it is too much glitz but not much glamour.  At least in my own humble opinion!  Now onward to California and all the Mexican food I can eat!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy May!

This was the temperature here in Norwich yesterday around 12:30 in the afternoon.  To me, that's just about THE perfect temperature which would be ideal year round with a nice light breeze blowing.  Jamie in Washington totally concurs with me but alas, neither of us live anywhere that provides that sort of year-round comfort.  Ah well, it's still nice to see and feel when it gets here!

Rumor has it that today is going to be in the low to mid-80's but the only thing I'll be able to do is look at it longingly from the window in dispatch as today will be shift numbers 7 and 8 in what has been a pretty long week.  That's okay, though, as I needed the extra money for the deposit for Montserrat for Amanda; I guess you could call it one of those "things we do for love". 

Speaking of which, this Monday over at Take This Tune the musical prompt is the song The Things We Do For Love by 10cc - come on over and play with us if you've got some free blog space and are looking for inspiration for a post!

Oh, and I neglected to say "rabbits, rabbits, rabbits" again first thing this morning due to the fact that instead I said "Tesla, get out from under my feet!"  Hope that doesn't mean I'm going to have a messed up month ahead of me! 

Here's hoping the day ahead for you is a grand one as we begin the fifth month of the year - just remember, there are only 245 more days until we start another year and I'd be willing to bet they go by fast!  Make the most of each one of them!