Saturday, March 31, 2012

The View From The Ivory Tower

The dispatch center that I work in is situated in a room that the road crews refer to as "The Ivory Tower" due to the fact that a) the building is white and b) the room is semi-circular in design.  Makes sense, right?  Even though we don't have windows that open, we do have a very big floor-to-ceiling window that looks out over the City of Norwich and sometimes affords us some pretty nice views.

I was clearing out files on myiPhone and it turns out that I had quite a few pictures that I'd taken from the window at work so not having too many other ideas for a blog post today I thought I'd go ahead and post the pictures that I had.  Why not, right?

6-9-2011 @ 5:45 PM - there was a bit of a storm moving in when I took this one
10-18-2011 @ 6:55 AM - looking towards the Laurel Hill section of the city over the harbor
11-15-2011 @ 6:38 AM - another sunrise over Laurel Hill
11-28-2011 @ 4:36 PM - evening starts to fall over downtown Norwich
11-28-11 @ 4:30 PM - meanwhile on the other side of the building, the sky was golden as seen from my boss' window
12-27-2011 @ 6:52 AM - early morning in downtown

1-22-12 @ 7:50 AM - one of our few snow storms of the season; those snow-covered cars are at the Police Department
2-24-12 @ 7:43 AM - another rare storm and of course I'm working again! 
3-29-12 @ 5:57 PM - the marina on a quiet March evening
Even if you don't have the view that we do from dispatch, wherever you may be today may your view be a spectacular one! 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Five on Friday - The Working Version

Arriving home late from work last night after 16 hours of overtime at the dispatch console, it dawned on me that I had yet to pick a theme for this week's edition of Travis' Five on Friday  meme.  As I kicked off my uniform boots the inspiration came to me - how about songs about working? Brilliant! A quick trip to and here you have it - five songs about working in one way or another with my personal favorite being "Money, Money, Money" by Abba followed closely by Kris Allen's "She Works Hard For the Money" - naturally! What's your favorite this week?

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Distracted Wandering Through Yosemite National Park

It took me awhile - awhile being almost two months in this case - but I finally managed to get my post written about my impromptu trip to Yosemite with Katharine when I was in California this past February. If you've got a moment, stop by The Distracted Wanderer and take a visit with us.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

And The Walls Come Tumbling Down ...

This past Saturday I went over to visit a friend who lives in the Laurel Hill section of Norwich not too far from the house where I lived for nine years before moving to my current humble abode three years ago.  After being given the Five Cent Tour of her house and enjoying a glass of wine, she asked if I wanted to take a ride over to the former Norwich State Hospital grounds and get some pictures before the old buildings were gone completely. Having taken lots of pictures of the abandoned property in the past, I said "absolutely!" and off we went.

For those who aren't familiar with Norwich State Hospital just a quick bit of history for you from an old blog post of mine: The Norwich Hospital for the Insane opened in October of 1904 with one building on a parcel of land on the Thames River just south of Norwich. Renamed as Norwich State Hospital in 1926, by 1959 it sprawled over 900 acres with an average daily population of over 2,700 patients and close to 1,500 employees, over 800 of them being nurses. The peak of the hospital’s use was in 1955, when 3,186 patients were living on premises. In October of 1996, the Norwich State Hospital closed its doors and for the longest time no one was sure what was going to become of the property that the State of Connecticut left in such a hurry that they left behind furniture and paperwork and a lot of asbestos among other things.

The Town of Preston eventually took possession of the property and then the fight was on to try to decide what to do with it.  Ideas came and ideas went and the once-beautiful buildings sat there neglected and rotting as it became a popular place for people to try to do some ghost-hunting in. As a matter of fact, the Ghost Hunters themselves came to town a couple of years ago and had the chance to film there. Personally, I think they did an absolutely horrible job with the show that they ended up airing as I think they could have done so much more but what do I know? I'm simply an amateur photographer and historian and love old architecture.

Anyhow, Preston has been working on cleaning up the grounds and tearing down a lot of the buildings and the place looks quite a bit different when I was there taking pictures in October of 2008 as I stayed on the legal side of the "No Trespassing" signs.  I thought I'd post a couple pictures from then along with a similar picture of what it looks like now.  Granted, I wasn't in the same place for the photos but I think it gives you a good idea of how much brush came down along with some of the buildings, too.

This is the former Administration Building with the Salmon Building (the male forensic unit) to the right.  As you can see, things were a bit overgrown. 

This is the current view of the former Administration Building with the the brush gone as well as parts of the Salmon Building which is in the process of being torn down.  The Awl Building (the female forensic unit) to the right is coming down next.  I've been told that there are plans to preserve the Administration Building and I sure hope so, they don't build them like that anymore and it would break my heart to see it subjected to a wrecking ball. 

The Lippett Building at the Old Norwich State Hospital grounds.

The Lippett Building was where lobotomies were performed back in the early days of mental health care when doctors were essentially grasping at straws as they tried to figure out how to care for the mentally ill. 

The Lippett Building as it stands today with most of its vegetation cut down.  Surprisingly it's not behind the chain link fence that so much of the rest of the grounds are but it's also slated for destruction soon.

So ... things are definitely changing down at the former NSH grounds but I've got to wonder what exactly it is that Preston hopes to change them to?  It's really too bad that the state left the place in such a shambles as it would have been nice to see history - even the not-so-nice history of early mental health care in our country - preserved so that future generations could have seen how far we've come.  Plus I'd be willing to bet that lots of people would have been happy to pay for a ticket to tour the grounds but alas, it's all just coming down in yet another attempt to bury the past and cover it with the future.  What a shame.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Two For Tea

First off, please allow me to say that this post is in no way a compensated endorsement or advertisement for Adagio Teas; the thoughts expressed herein are strictly my own based on the fact that I love sharing great companies with terrific customer service with others who enjoy those same sorts of things, too!

I first heard about Adagio when Amanda received a gift from a friend in the form of a bag of peppermint tea that she absolutely loved.  She had apparently mentioned to her friend that she liked peppermint tea and lo and behold, a box arrived on the doorstep!  Isn't it great to have friends like that?  Amanda always raved about what a great tasting tea it was but not being a big fan of peppermint, I probably wasn't paying real close attention to be perfectly honest!

Recently though I paid more attention when Caitlyn, my first cousin once removed who loves all things British and who is a major - and I do mean major! - Doctor Who and Sherlock fan, was offering her friends on Facebook $5 gift certificates for Adagio Teas where she had purchased the Watson Blend that she said was positively wonderful.  Having become a bit of a fan of the show myself and fallen quite in love with Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Martin Freeman (John Watson) then boo-hoo'd quite a bit during Season 2's finale (The Reichenbach Fall), I decided that I simply had to try a cup of Watson myself and took Caitso up on her offer of a gift certificate.

Adagio offers all sorts of teas from black to chai to flavored to oolong to roibos and lots of others in between along with all sorts of blends that folks have put together.  Additionally, should you not find a blend that you're looking for or that suits your fancy, you can create your own signature blend and if it turns out to be really good, others may very well order it and make it one of their favorites, too!

It was through the "create your own blend" that the Watson Blend was born having been thought up by a gal named Cara Mcgee.  I have no idea who Cara is but I can tell you that she definitely knows how to blend her teas as in addition to ordering a bag of Watson Blend, I also purchased a bag of Tardis Blend as Amanda owns a Tardis mug that I got her when she was attending Montserrat and what better thing to drink from a Tardis mug than a Tardis Blend of tea?

I placed my order late Wednesday night for the two bags of tea shown above and had them in my possession Friday afternoon along with a nifty little gadget that I ordered called an "ingenuiTEA" which translated certainly must mean "brilliant device in which to brew your tea and not have to worry about spitting out leaves whilst drinking it" because that's exactly what it is!

The ingenuiTEA brew system from Adagio Teas

Rather than fumble around trying to explain it myself, allow me to quote the Adagio Teas website as to what exactly an ingenuiTEA is/does:
"The most convenient teapot you will find anywhere - we guarantee it. When tea is ready, simply place it atop your cup. This will cause a valve at the bottom to release: crystal-clear tea flows down, while the mesh filter retains all the leaves with one of the best infusers on the market. Super easy to clean and dishwasher safe. You will wonder how you got along without one."
And indeed they are quite right, the gadget is absolutely brilliant and makes a truly wonderful cuppa tea!  Or cups of tea depending on a) how big of a cup you like and b) what size ingenuiTEA you buy as they are available in both 16-ounce and 32-ounce sizes.  I got the 16-ounce one myself as I figured there was no sense in going too crazy!

Watson Blend brewing

For my first try using my new gadget I decided to give the Watson Blend a go and after dropping a few teaspoons of leaves into the bottom of the ingenuiTEA and then filling it with boiling water, I closed the lid and then stood back and watched as leaves of Cinnamon, Irish Breakfast, and Earl Grey Green steeped together to make one very aromatic cup of comfort. Four to five minutes later I took one sip and knew that Caitso was right - Watson was delicious!

Amanda, of course, was anxious to try the Tardis Blend which was described as "tasting bigger inside the cup" which if you're not a Doctor Who fan and know nothing about the Tardis you won't get but trust me, to a Whovian it makes perfect sense! Made with Earl Grey Bravo, Blackberry, and Vanilla tea leaves, the Tardis Blend smells quite wonderful as soon as you open the bag and apparently tastes even better after it has brewed. However, when asked if she could tell me what the blend tastes like, the best Amanda could tell me was that "It smells really sweet but it isn't but it's really hard to describe which is fitting for a tea called Tardis and I really, really like it."

Tardis Tea for a Tardis mug!

No doubt drinking a Tardis Blend from a Tardis mug adds to the whole tea-drinking experience! 

Now you see it ... Now you don't!

The collage of pictures above is my attempt to show you how the ingenuiTEA works as well as proof that it works on square mugs just as well as round ones should you happen to own your own Tardis mug!  As it turns out, the 16-ounce size was absolutely perfect as it gives Amanda a full cup of tea with each brewing - which of course means she doesn't have to share the leftover tea with me as there is none left over!  It's almost like the ingenuiTEA was custom-built for the Tardis mug! Brilliant!

Oh, and when I received my order in an extremely fast manner, in addition to my tea and other things that I had ordered there was a lovely little note inside, too:

It's little things like that which make me think that a company has learned the fine art of customer appreciation and isn't afraid to practice it and that makes it a company that will get my return business again and again.  The very reasonable shipping cost of a flat $3.75 for UPS Ground is pretty darned good, too and not cost prohibitive like a lot of other mail order places these days.  Trust me, I will be ordering from Adagio Teas again, especially considering that the Mycroft Blend has been calling my name!

So, if I've sold you on a good company with a great product and excellent customer service and you've decided you'd like to give Adagio Teas a try yourself, I'd be happy to email you a $5 gift certificate good for your first purchase.  Just leave me a comment saying you'd like one and if I've got your email address I'll send it right out; if I don't have your e-address, feel free to send it via the secure link in the right column up near the top of this blog and I'll make sure you get a gift certificate so that you too can enjoy a nice cuppa fresh and delicious tea whether you have a Tardis mug or not!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Who Are the People In Your Neighborhood?

Williams Street in semi-full-bloom

It was a gorgeous day yesterday so rather than spend it in the house, I decided that the Nikon and I were in need of a bit of fresh air and sunshine so we set out to take a walk around part of our neighborhood.  I had wanted to get some pictures of the local magnolia tree while it was still in bloom and before all of its pretty petals were lying all over the sidewalk.  

The Dogwoods are in bloom!

There we go - a semi-nice shot of the neighbor's tree!  

From there I decided to head my feet in the direction of Yantic Cemetery which is just a short stroll in the opposite direction of the Dogwood and see how things were looking over there.  As many times as I've walked around the cemetery, I still always find gravestones that I'd not noticed before and wonder about the lives of the people who are buried beneath them.  As close as they are to my house, I've come to think of them as my very quiet neighbors.

Austin and Elizabeth Bliss, date of death for both January 13th, 1892

This elaborately carved stone belongs to Austin Bliss and his wife Elizabeth Beckwith who was almost 4-1/2 years Austin's senior; obviously Austin liked older women!  They both died on January 13th, 1892 though I have no idea how.  Did they die in an accident or a fire or perhaps from some illness?  I guess the one good thing about dying on the same day is that neither had to mourn the loss of the other. 

The Rogers Family Grave Marker

This stone marks the grave of Caleb B. Rogers and his three wives - Harriet S. who died in 1847, Iduella T. who passed in 1849, and Eleanora H. who actually outlived Caleb by four years and died in 1875.  I wonder how Eleanora felt about sharing the stone with the two wives that had died before her and being at the bottom of the list?  Considering she outlived all of them, I'm thinking she didn't feel too badly about it! 

Morgan Grave Marker

Looking more like a church steeple than a gravestone, this is the Morgan Family plot.  As cool of a grave markers as it is, it's not the only steeplesque onee though as there's another one right near it. 

The other steeple-like stone belongs to the Williams Family but it doesn't say much more than that.  Apparently they are neighbors who like to keep to themselves! 

Good fences make good neighbors?

The Emmons Family obviously believed in the old adage "Good fences make good neighbors" even though I'm afraid their iron fence is starting to fall apart after all these years! 

The Carter Family Plot, each stone reads

Meet the Carter Family - Sarah Elizabeth Davis who was the wife of Joseph Carter and her children, Sarah Elizabeth Carter who passed in 1901, Joseph Witter Carter who died in 1921, Josie Davis Carter who met her demise in 1935, and Hattie Louisa Carter who lived until 1944.  I'm not exactly sure where Joseph Carter himself is buried though it seems odd that he's not with the rest of the family.  One of the things I like about these stones, other than that there is an identical one for each member of the family, is that they all say "At Rest" at the very bottom of the inscription.  I think it's a lovely sentiment.

Sheffield Family Grave Marker

Father, mother, and daughter share the Sheffield Family stone and what caught my eye here is mom's name - Adeliza Jayne.  I think that's quite the lovely name even if it is a bit old-fashioned! 

Sidney Benjamin, Civil War soldier who died on May 7th, 1863

Not too far from the Sheffields are the Benjamins - Sidney Benjamin and I'm going to guess his wife Elizabeth who remarried after Benjamin's death as her name is listed as Elizabeth B. Benjamin Colyer.  Benjamin was a member of the Connecticut Volunteers serving in Company C, Regiment 21 during the Civil War.  Based on his date of death - May 7th, 1863 - I'm going to guess that he died during the war though I've obviously got no idea as to where and how. 

Brothers James and George McDavid

Another family with ties to the Civil War are the McDavid Brothers whose stone is pictured above.  James S. McDavid died on August 23rd, 1864 at the age of 17 years and 9 months while his brother George H. died on March 27th, 1871 when he was only 22 years and 5 months.  As James was the older brother by 2 years, I'm going to guess that the flag at the grave is for him and tha he died as a result of the war at a very young age.

Corporal George W. Swain, Civil War Soldier

Corporal George W. Swain was a member of the Second Connecticut Infantry, Company B, and it looks like he's another neighbor who fought in the Civil War and never made it home alive again.  Again, I wish there were more information on his stone but it's standard military issue and tells no tales I'm afraid. 

Jennings Family Stone in Yantic Cemetery

Finally, this last stone belongs to the Jennings Family and upon closer inspection, it seems to tell a pretty sad story.

William Jennings, taken prisoner at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia on October 19th, 1864 and died at Salesbury Prison in North Carolina on November 2nd, 1864 at age 39.

On one side of the stone is the inscription for William Jennings who was a member of the Connecticut Volunteers, Company K, 12th Regiment. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia on October 19th, 1864 and on November 9th of that same year, he died as a Prisoner of War at Salesbury Prison in North Carolina.  He was 39 years old.

Annie Coleman, wife of William Jennings died December 16th, 1862 aged 33 years.

Depending on when William marched off to battle he either left no wife waiting at home and worrying about him or she passed on shortly after he left as his bride, Annie Coleman, died herself on December 16th, 1862 at the age of 33.

John Arthur Jennings, son of William & Annie died on July 19th, 1857 aged 2 year and 28 days

And just to make this marker even sadder, on the opposite side of his father's is the inscription for John Arhur Jennings who died on July 15th, 1857 at the age of 2 years and 28 days. They say that there is no greater loss than that of a child but when William Jennings answered the call to duty and fought with the Connecticut Volunteers, he was a man who had already lost his son and his wife both.  I wonder if there was anyone to write him letters from home telling him that they missed him and wished him a safe return or if he was a man alone in the world?  Did he join the war because he was a man with a broken heart or did he learn of Annie's passing in some distant camp far from his beloved?  No doubt as he lay dying at the Confederate Prison in North Carolina, his thoughts were that he would be joining Annie and John Arthur soon and I'm sure that brought him a certain measure of comfort and peace. Or at least that's the story that I'm telling myself as to believe anything else would just really be too sad.

So those are just a few of my quiet neighbors who reside - nay repose - down the road from me.  As you can tell, I have a soft spot in my heart for those who served and fought during America's Civil War and I only wish that I knew more of their stories as even though what simply remains now are inscribed pieces of stone, at one time those whose names are etched upon them were living and breathing people that had families and friends and neighbors of their own.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five on Friday - The Linkin Park Version

For this week's Five on Friday - hosted for the past two+ years by Travis - I'm using five songs from the band Linkin Park, an American rock band from Agoura Hills, California that was formed in 1996. The band has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and has won two Grammy Awards - one in 2002 for their song "Crawling" which was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance and then again in 2006 for "Numb/Encore" (with Jay-Z) as Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Personally I like "Numb" just as it is minus the rapping part but whaddyawant, I'm old!  That's not to say that there isn't some rap out there that I like but sometimes I just find the language a little too offensive even in this day and age.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Could Use Your Opinions on a Dilemma Please!

For the past few days I've been trying to decide whether to place a phone call or not and not having been able to make up my own mind, I thought I'd see what public opinion thinks.  So ... here's my dilemma and I could really use your thoughts on this.

Back on March 7th I wrote and submitted an entry for "What's Your Connecticut Story?" which is being put on by Visit Connecticut , the official website for the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism.  You may remember all that from the post that I wrote here but if you're new to the blog, the gist of all this is that the contest is asking people to submit and share their favorite people, places, and experiences that make Connecticut special in a short story which I did when I wrote about my grandfather, my cousin, and a really fantastic rollercoaster at Lake Compounce. Once you submit your story, if you want to win the Grand Prize you need people to vote for it and so I have made sure that I've asked every day via Facebook and Twitter and word-of-mouth and email and all other methods of nagging cajoling possible to get people to register and vote which they've done.

When I first started the contest, the only way for people to be able to vote was to go to Visit Connecticut's website, register with a user name, wait for a verification email, and then go back to the website once it was received so that users could then log-in and vote.  Once you went through the process you could vote once per day.  There were a few hoops to jump through but people were nice enough to do it and I was getting a very respectable 20 to 30 votes per day and within about five days I moved into the lead.  "Yay me!" -  right?

So, what's the problem you ask?  Well, on March 14th I noticed that there was a third place story that had literally come out of nowhere and was gaining ground fast on my own story.  The story had originally been posted on February 22nd but I hadn't noticed it as it had been pretty far in the back of the pack but I sure noticed when all of a sudden it was gaining on my story and just two short days later it had caught up and passed my story by.  On Facebook I lamented that perhaps I should have written about a deli rather than my grandfather and was a bit discouraged but then I decided that I wasn't going to go down without a fight so I mustered the troops and got friends to get their friends and family members to vote.

On Sunday evening, the 18th, I had finally gained some ground and caught back up to the first place story but just as I moved into first place again, I watched in amazement as all of a sudden my story had dropped back 5 ... 10 ... 15 ... 20 votes again all in the space of ten minutes!  Now, I know you're going to think that I'm a bit obsessed but the reason I know this happened is because I kept hitting the refresh key and watching my story fall farther and farther behind in votes with each click.  What in the blue hell was going on?!?

As I sat there trying to figure out what the heck had happened so quickly, another co-worker came in and offered to sign up and vote.  When he signed up though, instead of a message being sent to his email for validation, he was able to just click on a story and vote once he had a user name and password - no validation was required.  Huh?  When had that changed?  So then we tried something else and another co-worker registered to vote but he deliberately put in a made-up email address and sure enough, he was granted access to vote - with an email address that didn't even exist!  I should mention that he didn't use the made-up name to vote as that wouldn't have been fair but it sure made us all wonder what the heck was going on and why the registration process had changed from needing a validated email address to be able to vote to just faking it and gaining access.

Feeling frustrated but resolved that I wasn't going to just throw up my hands and give up, when I woke up Monday morning I once again implored everyone on Facebook and Twitter to please vote to try to close the 20-vote gap and friends and family answered the call and voted throughout the day and we rallied to within just a few votes of the lead but then just like before, something happened and the lead story took off and gained a 28-vote lead between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m.  Once again I thought it was downright odd and like something was really wrong but what was I going to be able to do about it?

Again last night, during the same time frame as Sunday evening, the lead story started racking up vote after vote until they were now 38 votes ahead.  When I woke up this morning, in spite of the fact that some of my co-workers who do the overnight shift voted, I was a big 40 votes behind.  Still not quite ready to admit defeat yet but seeing the Grand Prize getting further and further out of reach, I once again put a call out for votes before going into work for the day and even though the call was answered and it was a great response, as of this writing I am now still 37 votes behind again.

At this point all I can think is that something is going on in Westport and that somehow, this story that sat practically unnoticed since February 22nd either miraculously found a major following that casts huge amounts of votes each day - sometimes all at the same time - or that they found a way to manipulate the system and are cheating.  Of course, I can't prove any of that and that is what has kept me from picking up the phone, calling the Department of Tourism and asking them what the heck is going on??  I came very close to doing so on Monday but then decided not to as I didn't want to come across like sour grapes that I was no longer in the lead as I'm sure that's how they would have taken it because again, I have no proof that anything shady is going on - just a very strong suspicion.

In my gut it sure feels like something is not right and I have become quite depressed about the whole thing.  I entered this contest thinking that it was a great way to promote the State of Connecticut with the spirit of the contest being one of state or hometown pride but after reading a lot of the other entries it seems like it's become more a great way for people to ask for vacations (like this story here) or promote their own businesses (like this story here) and there was even one person who had submitted twelve different stories with links to her photo galleries which was clearly in violation of the rules that state there can only be one entry per person and that there should be no weblinks in the story either (though lots of stories contain them).  I've noticed that her stories are gone - as they should be - but so should the ones that contain weblinks as they are in clear violation of the rules.

My complaint though isn't with them though other than the fact that they aren't following the rules (what can I say? I'm a rule stickler!) but with a story that I am now 53 votes behind as it managed to accumulate another 16 votes between this paragraph and the one above when I was 37 votes behind.  (I spent a little more time doing screen refreshing and counted one more vote with every two refreshes until they were 53 ahead.)

So here's my dilemma - what do I do about this?  Is there anything that I can do about this?  Do I call the folks running the contest and ask if there is a way that they can investigate the voting without sounding like I'm whining because I'm in second place or do I just walk away and try not to let it bother me that someone possibly found a way around the system in order to win the Grand Prize?

This contest goes on until May 25th which is a darned long time for me to fret over this so I need to make up my mind and either admit defeat or try to do something about it but I just don't know if anyone is going to believe me when I tell them that I feel like something is rotten in Westport being that I have no proof other than what I just related here.  At this point it's not just about losing the Grand Prize though that would have been nice - it's about fairness as I don't mind losing as long as I lose fair and square. I just don't like feeling like I - and the rest of the people who entered this contest as well as the State of Connecticut which the contest was promoting - were cheated.  But right now, that's exactly how I feel and it's leaving a very sour taste in my mouth.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Well shoot ...

Memorial Cannon ... those four days off went by in a blur!

Sunday morning and that means it's time for me to head into work for 16 hours and thank goodness that I'm finally feeling better because I know from experience that sitting in dispatch for that long when you aren't feeling well makes for an even longer day.  I must have managed to pick up the latest flu bug that was going around as shortly after I got home from a dental cleaning on Wednesday I definitely felt like Death eating a cracker.  It started with a sore throat and then progressed through a fever and chills and such while I spent way more time in bed than I would have liked. That much time in bed gave me a lot of time to read so I managed to polish off an entire book which makes two for the past week which is unusual for me but a good thing!  Perhaps being sick had its advantages?

I finally felt more like myself yesterday and even took the Nikon downtown to get some updated pictures of the Buckingham Memorial so that I could write a post for The Distracted Wanderer on a couple of local Civil War spots. For those who might not remember the original posts from back in 2008, I wrote a combination post about the Sedgwick G.A.R. Post #1 and the Andersonville Gun Memorial which you can get to via the link above should you be interested.

Amanda had her final two wisdom teeth removed Wednesday morning and even though they "popped right out" as the dentist said, she was still pretty loopy most of the day and remembers nothing following the procedure or for about the first couple of hours at home.  She especially doesn't remember the conversation in the car on the way home where she was lamenting that she couldn't keep her teeth and why not??  I'm pretty sure we had that same conversation when she had her two bottom ones removed a couple of years ago but she says she remembers that one.  Hopefully with these last two bothersome teeth removed she'll stop having the nasty migraine headaches she's been plagued with. Vicodin has kept her pretty pain free for the past few days but she said she feels like she lost an entire day or two in there somewhere.

So, Saint Patrick's Day has come and gone and I had nary a smidgen of corned beef as I just wasn't feeling up to cooking a big meal.  Guess I'll have to cook one up later on in the week should I happen to find one at a reasonable price.  I quite like corned beef but I have to say that I don't quite like the price!  Oh, and speaking of not liking prices, gas here in Connecticut is $4.00 a gallon and over - how is it in your part of the world?

Finally, before I head out the door to go to work, I just have to say that it's been a month since my friend Cyndi died and I simply cannot believe that a) it's been that long already and that b) she's really gone.  I think that having the distance between us makes it harder to grasp on to that fact as I've caught myself going for the phone so many times that it's pathetic.  Cyndi was always my go-to-gal when I needed or wanted to talk to someone and it's kinda hard adjusting to the fact that I can't just pick up the phone and do that anymore.  Needless to say I've had a lot of one-sided conversations with her and even though she's not talking back, I get the feeling that she's there and listening.  Her Memorial Service is set for April 14th back in Stockton and even though I can't be there in person, I will definitely be there in spirit as her friends and family gather to wish Cyndi a final goodbye.  Maybe then I will finally catch on to the fact that she's gone but somehow I doubt it.

Anyhow, time for me to get a move on if I don't want to be late!  Everyone have a fantastic Sunday no matter what your day may bring whether it be leftover corned beef sandwiches or Bingo with the Biddies or just a nice day to rest and relax!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Five on Friday - The Jo Dee Messina Version

Driving to work the other day, the first song in this week's selection of songs for Five on Friday  came up on my iPod and the thought occurred to me that I may have just stumbled across the inspiration for this week's set of songs for Travis' weekly musical meme. I listen to such a wide range of music that sometimes I forget about artists that I quite like and that was the case with Ms. Messina, whose voice I have always enjoyed. It was once said that her voice has a bit of Reba and a bit of Dolly in it but no matter who you think she sounds like it, I've always enjoyed her voice! I hope you do, too!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Few Kind Words From a Friend

Way back in the glory days of blogging - before that young upstart Facebook ever came around or people started Tweeting all the time - I had the extreme pleasure of coming into contact with a gal from a small town in Pennsylvania who not only wrote a darned fine blog but who was also working on her very first novel. That blogger was funny and gracious and thought-provoking and just an all-around nice lady who did eventually go on to write and publish a novel based in the world of opera called "Don Juan in Hankey, PA". It wasn't the novel that she was working on when I first cyber-met her but it's a darned fine and fun read - one that perhaps even a great American author like Nathaniel Hawthorne might enjoy if he had a decent sense of humor!

Hmm, doesn't look like he has much of a sense of humor at all if the look on his face in this statue is one that  he wore in real life but I guarantee you that Nathaniel would look nowhere near as stern as this if he'd had the chance to read Gale Martin's first novel!

Speaking of reading something Gale has written, I am very honored that she chose to write a post about yours truly that appeared in her personal blog on Tuesday. Blog in the Spotlight: Linda Orlomoski's "The Distracted Wanderer" is a lovely little article about my travel blog complete with a bit of Q&A and a couple of my favorite travel photos.  With Gale being a published author who is now working on a companion book to "Don Juan in Hankey, PA", I am very flattered that she chose to write about my little ol' excuse to go gadding about the countryside and take lots of pictures! Someday when Gale is working the national TV shows and touting her books along with the movie-in-the-making, I'm going to be able to proudly say that she once wrote about me as I ride her coattails for as long as I possibly can!

In all seriousness, though, thank you Gale for a lovely write-up and the nice compliments that you paid to me; you have been a class act for as long as I've had the pleasure of knowing you and I wish you nothing but continued success in your writing career!  As for those of you who have yet to read "Don Juan in Hankey, PA" - what are you waiting for?!?