Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Well ... ARE We There Yet??

Yesterday marked either the end or the beginning of my 55th year on this planet (I can never remember if a birthday means you've just completed another year or you're starting another one!) and it brought to mind the question - "am I there yet?"  And where exactly is 'there'? Where better to contemplate that than on the blog I haven't updated hardly at all during this passing year!

I guess one of the questions a lot of ask ourselves when birthdays and such roll around is if we've managed to accomplish the things we had hoped to in life and as I look back over the more-than-half-a-century that I've been alive, I can only answer that with a 'yes' and a 'no'. Am I where I want to be in life now?  Not exactly.  Have I done the things I've wanted to do? Some - absolutely - while others are still in the hope-for stage.  Am I where I thought I'd be when I got to be this age?  Oh hells no!

First off, I have absolutely positively NO idea how I got to be in my mid-50s so quickly - especially when my mind is solidly stuck in my early 30s!  Not that I feel at all like I'm in my 30s when I try to roll my oftentimes achy self out of bed in the mornings or when my back starts twinging and my joints start aching if a storm is rolling in but for the most part, I don't feel like I'm as old as I am.  That said though, my memory has started to suffer from major lapses from time-to-time which I am going to solidly blame on menopause which I have the sneaky feeling I'm in.  I'm definitely at the right age to start wading through the hormonal changes that we women go through in our advancing years but it's kind of hard for me to tell exactly what's going on as I had that ablation a few years back and don't have the monthly indicator that so many other women do.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you, as I don't miss that at all but as I've only had the occasional "gee, it seems kind of warm in here all of a sudden" flash and the "oh my gosh, I'm going to bust into tears over that?" sort of moments, I'm just not positive where I stand with my hormonal levels. If not remembering why I walked into a room, being unable to think of the name of someone I've known for years, and not being able to grasp the right word even though it's on the tip of my tongue are any sort indication of those levels, though, then I've been in menopause for over a year now!

But advancing years and menopause aside - am I 'there' yet? Am I at a point in my life where I can say that I'm satisfied with the way things are going? That I'm where I thought I might be when I was a young kid of 18 or 21 imagining what my life might be like as an older adult? Nope as I sure the heck never would have thought that at 55 I'd be twice-divorced with two older daughters still living at home who bicker with each other every chance they get while working in a stressful job where there was no hope of retirement other than whatever Social Security would provide as I live paycheck-to-paycheck.  I don't believe that's exactly what I had in mind as I started down the path of adulthood.

That said though, life could be a lot worse and I am ever mindful of that.  I could have NO job like so many others in this country (including those two bickering daughters of mine), I could have never fallen in love and had children that may or may not drive me crazy from time-to-time, and I could have a lot more physical ailments than a couple of herniated discs that like to predict the weather and allergies that seem to get worse as I get older.

I have had a lot of opportunities that others haven't had including the chance to travel to interesting places where I've met some terrific people along the way who have become dear friends; I have had the chance to not only enjoy my hobby of photography but to share that with others; I have made some fantastic friends though the miracle of the Internet; and I have a decent roof over my head complete with electricity and running water and never go hungry.

Those are things that I am thankful for so even if I'm not 'there' yet it's okay as I'm still moving forward and maybe someday I actually will get 'there'.  Even if I don't though, for the most part, I've enjoyed the journey and I hope the good Lord gives me the chance to continue on it for a few more decades though guaranteed if I ever make it to 85, I'll be sitting there wondering how I got to be in my mid-80s when my mind is still in my early 50s!

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday yesterday, I appreciated every single greeting and gesture, and now if you'll excuse me, I do believe there is some cake in the kitchen that just might be calling my name! 

Friday, May 31, 2013

It Had Been Brought to My Attention ...

... by my youngest daughter that I hadn't written anything new on this particular blog in a very, very long time and by golly - she was right! It has most definitely been collecting digital dust but I guess with everything else going on like trying to write two other blogs and occasionally do some honest-to-goodness reading in addition to all of the time I seem to spend at work, I just hadn't even thought about updating here.  Besides, I guess I figured I really didn't have anything of any interest to say either.  Not that something like that ever stopped me in the past of course but this time it did!

So anyhow, here it is, almost the first weekend in June and we're going to be going from cold enough to have to turn the heat back on (again) last Saturday to our first potential heatwave of the year.  Ah New England ... I love you in spite of your lousy weather but I would have loved you more had we actually had a spring of some sort this year!  Alas, no such luck.

What makes it even worse is that I have a wedding to photograph on Saturday - an outdoor wedding in a lovely park on a hill in Manchester which is in a part of the state where storms like to gather.  Even though I get the feeling that it's going to be hot and humid enough to melt fondant (something that doesn't melt easily at all!), I just really hope that we don't get any big thunderstorms blowing through.  I've heard it said that rain on one's wedding day is good luck but I'm thinking thunderstorms are overdoing it a bit!

This will only be the fourth wedding that I've photographed so I'm a bit nervous about it but I've almost got myself talked into not stressing about it and just doing the best that I can.  The nerves come from not wanting to mess up someone's special day but considering that everyone and their brother/sister/aunt/uncle/cousin brings a camera to a wedding these days, even if I mess up some of the photos, there will be plenty of others out there.

I  think I know what my biggest problem is going to be though ... as I was looking through some other wedding images today to perhaps get some ideas for photos, I found myself starting to tear up more than once so I think I can pretty much guarantee that I am going to get all teary-eyed at least once or twice during Saturday's ceremony.  Sentimental fool that I am, I no doubt will find it darned hard to look through a lens with my eyes all watery but I could bet you right now that's exactly what's going to happen!  Guess I'd best make sure I pack tissues along with my other photo supplies!

Anyhow, I think that's it for now, I figured I should at least pop over here long enough to toss up a new post and clear out the cobwebs so that Jamie wouldn't question me anymore about my lack of new material.  Kind of funny how I used to make sure to blog everyday and now I can go weeks and/or months at a time and not feel the least bit of guilt.  Well, at least over here, I still feel guilty about being so far behind on posts for The Distracted Wanderer and Travels With Nathaniel!

Speaking of which, I gotta go ...! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good Teachers Should Be Recognized and Rewarded

Throughout the country parents, educators and community leaders are engaged in discussions about ways in which the nation's schools can best educate the next generation to take its place in the workforce and academia, as well as in positions of leadership and responsibility.

Suggestions range from increasing time devoted to specific subjects to adding (or subtracting) time allotted to sports education and the arts, school hours and extracurricular activities. Some professionals promote a particular curriculum while others encourage parents and other community members to become more involved in the students' educational process. The classroom atmosphere, relationship with the staff and even the physical structure of the classroom are subjects for discussion.

One issue for which there is no debate though concerns the importance of successful and concerned educators in the students' school environment. The impression that a strong, dedicated and influential teacher can make on a child's school career is immeasurable. Effective teachers are not only able to present the material in a way that engages and motivates their students, but they can stimulate and inspire the students to strive and achieve.

Throughout the country various initiatives have been created with the goal of recognizing the importance of effective educators as a major factor in providing students with a high quality education. One of these initiatives, the Milken Educator Awards, was co-established by Lowell Milken of the Milken Family Foundation in 1985. Via this award the Milken Family Foundation shares their vision of education as a vehicle that prepares students to succeed in life by providing them with needed knowledge and skills along with a desire to take their place in society.

The Milken Educator Award (MEA) provides public recognition to outstanding educators who teach in kindergarten through the 12th grade. The Award is granted yearly and alternates between elementary teachers and secondary school educators. Award recipients are generally early-to-mid career teachers who receive $25,000 which they can use for any activity that will allow them to further their personal educational goals. This, Lowell Milken believes, will inspire the teachers to continue their high quality work and will allow them to use their award monies to advance their careers, achieve greater successes and stimulate other educators to emulate their accomplishments.

The Milken Family Foundation accepts nominations for the award from a blue-ribbon panel which is appointed by each state's Department of Education. The panel looks for teachers who exhibit exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices as well as by student learning results in the classroom and school, based on standardized testing.

In addition, the panel reviews the teacher's educational accomplishments beyond the classroom such as participation in extra-curricular school events or active involvement in professional or community groups. These activities, the Foundation believes, provide a model of excellence for the profession. The MFF aims to identify educators who offer strong long-range potential for policy and professional leadership, motivate their students and positively impact their colleagues and the community.

Once chosen, the award recipient is presented with the opportunity to join the Milken Educator Network, a select professional community that includes past recipients of the Milken Educators Award, top education officials and education think-tanks. This group continues to impact the nation's education at local, state and national levels by serving as a resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others who shape the future of America's education.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Adhering to the Rules When Using Someone Else's Images aka Giving Credit Where Credit is Due!

So there I was, minding my own business catching up on Facebook posts this morning when I came across one from a friend sharing the link to a post about the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem.  As it's one of my favorite museums I decided to go take a look-see as I'm always up for reading about what someone else's opinion is about places that I go to.

As I was reading the post and looking at the photos - of which there are many but that's quite alright as I'm a firm believer in 'more is better' in this instance - I had to wonder if the writer had taken all of the photos herself as some were definitely more professional-looking and from angles that I was pretty sure she wouldn't have had access to.  As some of her photos had image credit to other places/people I could only guess that the ones that didn't have additional credit were hers.

Finishing that post (which by comparison made some of mine look downright short if you can believe that!), I decided to check out her next post "The Steel-Gray Charms of Salem in Wintertime" as you all know how I feel about Salem and would live there if I could! There were some great photos of the city that I've come to know and love and then the author moved on to The House of the Seven Gables where I soon came upon the following sentence:
"Unfortunately, interior photography is prohibited, but I’ve been able to find photos online which were taken by less rule-adhering visitors than myself."
That was then followed by six of the photos that I had taken during my private tour of the house for a post on The Distracted Wanderer.

The Dining Room at the House of the Seven Gables
Doorway to the staircase behind the fireplace


 In my post from which the photos were taken, A Virtual Visit to Salem's House of the Seven Gables - Part Two, The Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, I wrote:
"Again I should point out that photography is not allowed on the tours - even non-flash photography - but I was invited to return to the house ... by Anita Blackaby, Executive Director of The House of the Seven Gables, and was given a wonderful private tour of the property by Alan Collachicco, the Deputy Director and Curator of the Museum. I was able to ask questions and take pictures to my heart's content so that I could share them with you here and give you a glimpse inside one of Salem's most historic and important treasures."
Obviously I was not "less rule-adhering" when I took the photos and had I tried to take them on a regularly scheduled tour, the guide would have no doubt reminded me rather sternly that photography in the house was NOT permitted.  How the author thought I was able to 'sneak' six photos that don't exactly look like they were shot from the hip is beyond me!

Even though I was less than pleased that my photos were used without permission and there was nary a hint of image credit, I think it just really got my goat that the author assumed I was "less rule-adhering" than she was because she was obviously breaking one of the simplest rules when it comes to blogging and the use of other peoples' images: provide image credit to the website that you got the images from!

Ideally, a quick email to say, "Hi, I found some images of yours that would go great with my post on blah, blah and I was hoping I could get permission to use them in exchange for image credit" is always nice and I've received many of them over the years.  My answer has always been "absolutely" and it would have been the same to this gal had she bothered to take the time to ask.  Barring that, if she had credited the images back to my blog and not called me "less rule-adhering" I would have been okay with that, too as I take the photos I do to share with other people.

Table and pianoforte in the Hall at the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion
Portrait of Susannah Ingersoll/

It's somewhat ironic that this came up at a time when I've been having numerous discussions with friends about image credit and watermarking and copyrights and all that fun stuff.  Just because it's on the internet doesn't mean that it's free and common courtesy calls for just that - a little common courtesy in giving credit where credit is due.  Sure, there are those folks who will ask for a fee to use their images but the vast majority would probably be flattered that you asked and be more than happy with a credit back to them and that's not a hard thing to do at all.

At the very least, when you use an image on your own website, add it via URL rather than right-clicking and saving the photo as your own or worse yet, if the photos are right-click protected, taking a screenshot and then editing the photos for your own personal use which is a more advanced form of thievery.  Once you've added the photo, take the time to also caption it with the URL of the website you found the image on.  Most of us are not going to mind the link back to our website at all - in fact, we like it!

And whatever you do, don't disparage the person that you stole the image from as that's just adding insult to injury!

Bedding in the Parlor Chamber
View of Salem Harbor from the Parlor Chamber

As for finding my own photos on someone else's website this morning, I left the following comment which last I checked was still awaiting moderation and may very well never see the light of day but which I hope the blog author would address now that her "mistake" has been pointed out:
"Great post about one of my very favorite places in New England however, just one thing … some of the photos you used for the interior of the House of the Seven Gables were not “taken by less rule-adhering visitors than myself” but by someone who had permission to take them for use in a blog post about the property during the course of a personal guided tour by the museum’s curator with the director’s permission. I know because I took them for my travel blog “The Distracted Wanderer”. I really don’t mind that you used them though image credit would have been nice and being referred to as “less rule-adhering” was a bit of sting but I guess that’s what I get for not watermarking my photos. Live and learn, eh? 
Anyway, all of that aside, I quite enjoyed your post as well as the one about the Peabody Essex Museum which is indeed a wonderful place."
I may be allegedly "less rule-adhering" but at least I'm polite!

Update: I took a look at the blog post in question today (Monday, 3/4/13) and am happy to report that the sentence containing the words "less rule-adhering" has been changed to "Unfortunately, interior photography during normal house tours is prohibited, but I’ve been able to find photos online which were taken by visitors who had special permission to take pictures." Additionally, image credit has been given below each photo with the words, "Photo courtesy of The Distracted Wanderer/Linda Orlomoski" There's no back-link to my blog but at this point, I am happy for the corrections to what I am going to chalk up as an oversight on the author's part in her original posting.

Yep, I am polite and gracious both!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times" - Yep, That's February!

Well, I've been back from Florida for over a week now and we still have snow outside which is highly disappointing as I gave explicit instructions for it all to be gone by the time I returned from Orlando! Perhaps I didn't say it loud enough as it's threatening to snow yet again tonight.  Enough already!

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At least I've got some warm memories of my trip south two weeks ago which included a meet-up with the on-her-way-to-svelte Barb in Saint Augustine where the weather was absolutely gorgeous! It was great to see Barb again even though it was a quick visit before she had to make her way back to Georgia and Morgen and I went in search of spiral staircases.

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We found our first batch of stairs - all 219 of them - at the Saint Augustine Lighthouse and Museum which, with a tower that's 165 feet tall, is a pretty good hike but we took our time and made it to the top for some absolutely gorgeous views of the area.

Normally I'm not keen on having my photo taken but I figured that climbing all the way to the top of my very first lighthouse was an auspicious enough occasion to have a photo snapped for posterity.

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After climbing back down those same 219 stairs and touring the rest of the museum and grounds, we made our way south in need of some lunch after working up a good appetite and then followed that up with a nice stroll along the beach.  The photo below is Crescent Beach which is a very, very wide expanse of sand!  It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be there and I wish we'd had more time to spend but there were more spiral staircases calling our name further down the road in Ponce de Leon Inlet.

On our way there we passed this guy who seemed to be having a good time advertising Mulligan's.  Hey, these days a job is a job so good for him for being enthusiastic about his! 

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Arriving at Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse - Florida's tallest at 175 feet - we knew that this one was going to be even more of a challenge than Saint Augustine was as even though there are only 203 steps, they are much steeper and narrower. But Morgen and I were there to climb to the top so climb it we did !

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It's a little hard to really get a good view of the stairs from this angle but this was taken from almost the top looking back down.  The higher we went, the narrower and steeper the stairways got but again, we took our time and managed to make it to the top of the tower without being too out of breath!

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Again I decided to forego that whole wrong-side-of-the-camera-lens thing and have my photo snapped while out on the balcony. It was a lot breezier there than it was in Saint Augustine and, with a narrower balcony deck, it was a lot skeerier, too! But again the views of the surrounding area were more than worth it as well as the chance to say, "I did it, I did it!"

Back on solid ground again once we had navigated the very steep stairs which were trickier going down than they were up, we had just enough time to check out the Fresnel Lens Exhibit before it was closing time.  I have to say that I was in Fresnel Lens Heaven seeing that 16-1/2-foot tall First Order lens in person!  What a magnificent piece of craftsmanship!

After our big day of climbing not one but two very tall lighthouses, Morgen and I took it easy on Wednesday and went to go see "Lincoln" at the local movie theater. I hadn't had a chance to see it yet and was so glad that Morgen didn't mind going to it again as I thought it was very well done.  We finished up our night with appetizers and dessert at The Cheesecake Factory which was quite delicious and a real treat!

On Thursday, even though the forecast was threatening rain, we went to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure where I had a great time getting turned every which way but loose on several rollercoasters, became totally drenched on the Jurassic Park Adventure Ride, and had a chance to glomp onto Iron Man a little bit! Our last ride of the day was a spin on the Caro-Seuss-el because I just can't pass up a carousel - even if there's nary a horse to be found!

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Unfortunately my time in Orlando seemed to fly by and all too soon it was time to come back to Connecticut and the realities of February which has included more snow, temperatures that are way too darned cold, and  all the other the things that make February a rather sad month for me like the one-year anniversary of my good friend Cyndi's passing on the 17th and the ten-year anniversary of my father's death which is coming up tomorrow.  I'm having trouble believing that it's been that long for either of them.

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Cyndi and I at Lake Tahoe in April of 1997
Dad and one of his radio-controlled models that he built
Then, as if February couldn't be sad enough, last Saturday evening one of Morgen and Eyad's beloved fur-kids - Peter Pete - threw a blood clot and passed away the following morning following emergency treatment that could only ease his suffering and not prolong his life. I was happy to have had the chance to meet the little fella before his untimely death but that just made it all the more heartbreaking as Pete had rather reminded me a bit of Tesla and I quite enjoyed watching his interactions with Little Isis.  Morgen and Eyad are both still hurting very badly from this sudden loss so if you've got a moment, please send them a good thought or two.  For my money, I've got no doubt that Peter Pete has found his way to Cyndi as she was quite the cat magnet and he'll be well looked after in heaven but I know the guys would rather have him home with them.

Photo Credit:  Morgen's Facebook Page
Finally, to end this post on an up-note, today I launched my very own photography website where I hope to maybe occasionally sell a print or two - hopefully at least enough to cover the nominal monthly hosting fee!  LOrlomoskiPhotography.com was designed by Eyad and I think that he did a phenomenal job!  It's very user-friendly for any potential customers and it's also easy for me to upload new photos and keep the content fresh.  Until March 3rd, I'm offering a coupon good for 20% off the entire purchase which includes free shipping in the United States - not a bad deal if I say so myself!  Should you find yourself over there and want to help a poor starving artist out (or at least help finance my next batch of wanderings!) use coupon code TAKE20OFF and I'll do just that!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to wishing that this month - and winter - was over already as I try desperately to get my hands warm enough so that I don't have to wear finger-less gloves well working on the computer!  I hope that your February has been good to you! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Goodbye Cold Weather, Hello Warm!

Hmmm ... last year at this time I was out in California visiting my good friend Cyndi for what, most sadly, turned out to be the last time ever as she passed away shortly after I came home. This time, I'm going to Orlando to visit Morgen with the hopes that it won't be the last time I go to visit a friend in a sunny climate during the worst of winter.

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And boy howdy did we get the worst of winter the other day when Storm Nemo decided to make its way into New England! In spite of all the references to Disney's Finding Nemo, the storm was actually named for Captain Nemo, also known as Prince Dakkar, a fictional character invented by the French science fiction author Jules Verne who appears in two of Verne's novels; Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) and The Mysterious Island (1874).

The character of Captain Nemo is what's considered an antihero who simply roams the depths of the seas in his submarine, the Nautilus, and personally I would have preferred he remain doing just that rather than coming to the surface and landing in our backyards where in Norwich, Nemo deposited about 25 inches of snow.  Ugh.

Granted, it was quite pretty in places when all was said and done but dang, was it ever a bear to shovel and some folks still aren't dug out.  Needless to say, road crews have been overwhelmed and it's been a real mess but alas, 'tis New England in the winter and sometimes these things happen.

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Of course, I would have been happier had it happened after I got on my flight to Orlando so I could have missed all of this but no such luck. The storm actually ended up pushing my flight back a day so rather than winging my way to sunny Florida last evening, I'll be leaving tonight instead.  In about three-and-a-half hours as a matter of fact!

I was going to leave my Nikon home this trip and just use my iPhone for a few photos here and there but when Morgen made mention of the fact that there were a couple of pretty cool lighthouses not too far from his home, that plan went right out the window.  Tomorrow we'll be driving up to Saint Augustine to spend the night there and as an added bonus we'll be meeting my friends from Massachusetts, Walt and Juli, for lunch at The Floridian before they catch their delayed-flight back to Boston.

As an added, added bonus - Barb is going to drive down from Valdosta and not just join us for lunch but she's booked the room next to ours at the Casablanca Inn On the Bay and will be spending the night also!  I predict there will be some wine-drinking on our balconies and lots of laughter to go along with it!

I've got to say that it's pretty darned cool that I get the chance to visit a friend and add in even more friends while enjoying some warmer weather all at the same time.  You can't beat that with a stick or - as the case has been the past few days - a snow shovel!

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Hopefully by the time I get home on Friday, all of that up there will be gone or at least reduced to a more manageable level!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to finish packing and then I am outta here!  Oh ... and don't let me forget some sunscreen! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blowing Through Briefly

Yep ... I reckon that's about how things seem at this here blog but it's certainly not because I haven't been blogging as I've been writing about all kinds of things over at The Distracted Wanderer and Travels With Nathaniel.  I'm finally starting to catch up on some of my adventures with Claire this past fall and as I took SO many photos, it's taking a lot of time to get 'er done.  That and having multiple blogs is harder than it may seem!

So, things'll just continue to be quiet here I reckon until - at least for awhile longer but at least I'm providing a home for a lonesome tumbleweed or two!

Monday, January 14, 2013

What's New In Connecticut?

To be perfectly honest - not a whole heck of a lot! Well, except maybe that earlier the temperature gauge in my car looked like this:

Unfortunately, the tiny bit of sun that we had to go along with it went buh-bye a bit ago and temperatures are going to steadily make their way back down to where they normally are in January.  Hiss!  Boo!  Actually, a big "Hiss! Boo!" to the local weathermen who had said that the whole weekend was going to be sunny and mild and it ended up being foggy and drizzly.  How is that no one has sued a weather forecaster yet?  Surely there must be some sneaky lawyer out there who can build a case for dashed expectations and mental anguish for when nice weather is predicted and it's a total bust!

You would think that with all of their fancy-dancy Doppler radars and such that predicting the weather would be more of an exact science these days but alas, that does not seem to be the case and the best indicator is to still look out your window or - better yet - poke your head outside! And even then, there are no guarantees as Mother Nature is surely a fickle wench if ever there was one!

With the forecast definitely falling short this past Saturday, I set out in the drizzly fog to drive my cousin Amy and her niece Caitlyn up to Lexington, Massachusetts to see a bluegrass concert that Amy thought perhaps I would like. Based on the weather forecast, we thought it might be a good day to take a walk around the Lexington Battle Green so that I could get some photos for one of the other blogs I write (Travels With Nathaniel) but alas, it was like walking around in the tule fog out in California that sends a shiver down my spine whenever I think of it!  Of course, I think tule fog tends to be thicker but I'm sure Sandee knows what I'm talking about!

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After our foggy stroll around the soggy Battle Green, we took a drive over to Saugus so that I could check out an enormous Chinese place that I'd driven by numerous times and never stopped at.  The Kowloon Restaurant has been a North Shore go-to place since 1950 - Barb can reminiscent about it with the best of 'em!  The food was okay though not good enough to make the drive up there for it alone - unlike the clam chowder at Newick's Seafood House in New Hampshire!  It might be worth a second try another time I'm up that way but we'll see!

After sharing a Pu Pu Platter, we made our way back to Lexington where the Gibson Brothers concert was being held at the National Heritage Museum.  The show was sold out but the venue has great seats all the way around and we found some good ones in the back of the auditorium where I could record a few songs with my iPhone and snap a few photos and not disturb anyone. Not that it makes for the best visual quality mind you but the audio is pretty good!

This song that I'm sharing was the last one that the reigning IBMA 2012 Entertainers of the Year played at the concert, a Loretta Lynn and Shawn Camp song called "Dying For Someone to Live For". It was their first time playing it on stage and I thought they did a mighty fine job with it. See? I've gone to enough concerts now that I'm starting to pick up the lingo!

All in all, in spite of the not-so-great weather it was nice day and at least I wasn't driving in a blizzard or dealing with sub-zero temperatures!  We usually get plenty of both in January so today I greeted the 56 degree reading on my car dial with a big smile and the knowledge that spring will eventually be here to stay - I just need to have some patience ... and the occasional hot beverage ... until it does! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

This, That, and a Couple of Other Things

First off, I am very pleased to announce that Officer Jonathan Ley was released from Yale-New Haven Hospital today and received a wonderful police escort home.  Law Enforcement truly is a band of brothers and I'm sure that the support and encouragement will go a long ways towards Jon's healing and rehabilitation.  Thank you to everyone for your prayers and best wishes sent his way!

It's an unusually mild and sunny January day here in Connecticut and as I look out the window and see the snow melting, I can't help but smile a bit.  Don't get me wrong, I don't totally dislike snow and think it looks absolutely beautiful when it first falls but after it's been around for awhile, it rather loses a lot of its beauty and just needs to go!  With a warm rain predicted for tomorrow and a weekend with temps in the high 50s on the way, most of what's left should be gone.  I suspect we'll get more at some point unless we're going to have another unusual New England winter but we'll deal with that when the time comes. In the meantime, the sunshine makes me smile!

Last weekend I took a trip up to Salem so that I could then take a trip up to Kennenbunkport in Maine with my friend Juli, Amanda, and Juli's friend Anita who was a real delight to get to know.  We were supposed to originally make the trip when Barb was up for Christmas but alas, the day that we were slated to go was windy and rainy and snowy depending on what part of New England you were in so we stayed in Salem and went to the movies instead.

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This past Saturday was a beautiful sunny day so we took advantage of that and ventured north in search of hats and lunch!  There's a small shop in Kennebunkport called Dannah that Juli had discovered this past summer and they were having a 50% off EVERYTHING in the store sale so who could resist?  Amanda got a few things and I also picked up a nice hat for myself as well as a fascinator which I plan on wearing for tea at the Hawthorne Hotel should they decide to host a "Duchess Tea" for us older folks sometime in addition to the "Princess Teas" that they already do for youngsters.  I quite love the whole concept of tea and what better place to wear a fascinator?  After all, I can't quite wear it to work with my uniform!

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Even with the trip up to Salem and Kennebunkport, I still managed to watch the rest of Season 2 of Downton Abbey so that I was ready and waiting with the rest of the country for Sunday night's Season 3 premiere.  As a rule I don't watch a whole lot of TV but everyone kept telling me that I would totally love DA and after watching both seasons - thanks to a lovely Christmas gift from my cousin Amy - I can say that they were right and I do! I just hope it doesn't take that long to release Mr. Bates!

Of course now I have to wait patiently and watch each new episode when it comes on as I'd really rather not watch them online and skip ahead so far that it will seem forever before Season 4 comes out - as tempting as that may be!

Let's see, what else?  Hmm, I got my hair cut today but am less than pleased with it as I really wasn't going for the Dutch-Boy-on-the-paint-can look but that's kind of what I ended up with.  I told the gal cutting my hair that I needed it up off of my collar for uniform policy reasons but I don't think I meant THAT far up off of my collar! Thankfully it still grows fairly quickly and through the wonders of mousse perhaps I can make it look a little better but ew ... maybe it's a good thing I bought a hat in Kennebunkport along with my fascinator as I think I'm going to need it!

Ah well, speaking of work, I'm in for the evening shift today so had best think about getting some lunch and getting going.  I switched shifts with a co-worker so that I could get to my allergy shots on Thursdays as I'm supposed to have them on Mondays and Thursdays but so far the process hasn't gone very well as the shots seem to cause me some wheezing and fatigue so the doctor is having to reevaluate the regime.  With as many things as the testing indicated I was allergic to, I guess I'm not surprised - unfortunately.  Truthfully, though, I'm kind of enjoying only working one 16-hour shift a week now rather than the two that I had been doing. Once you've done 16's, 8's are a real breeze and I still have three days a week off - not a bad deal at all!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Remembering and Praying For a Norwich Police Officer

It's been over ten years since I wore those things pictured to the right but when I turned in that badge and put the tie clip and name tag away for the last time in August of 2002, I didn't put away my concern and feelings for the men and women that I once dispatched at the Norwich Police Department.  Because of that, when I caught the news clip tonight declaring that a police officer had been shot during a stand-off at a Norwich residence, my blood ran cold.

At first it seemed rather unreal, like I had somehow managed to teleport myself back to Stockton, California where I first became a dispatcher and officer involved shootings were - sadly - quite common but the world has become a different place and things like school shootings, mall shootings, and officer-involved shootings can obviously happen anywhere. There's no such thing as "it'll never happen here" anymore as unfortunately it does and does so more frequently these days.

Photo Credit: Groton Police via Facebook
As of this writing, a stand-off is still underway at the location where a mentally disturbed man pumped five bullets into a young man who I fondly remember from his rookie days at NPD and beyond.  Others know him as Officer Jonathan Ley but I always think of him as "The Monkey" as that became his nickname shortly after he came on duty.  He was quick, he was smart, he was a decent bowler, off-duty he wore some pretty outlandish Hawaiian shirts, and he had a great sense of humor which you have to have if you're going to be a law enforcement officer.

No doubt, Jonathan is still all of those things and more - still a member of the Coast Guard Reserve, still someone with a great sense of humor, and still a darned good cop while also taking on the role of father to a son who no doubt idolizes him and who's going to wonder why daddy hasn't come home from work this evening and why somebody would want to hurt him.

Since I heard the news and found out who the officer was that had been shot, I have been hoping and praying that Jonathan will recover fully from his injuries; I've been hoping and praying for all of the men and women at Norwich Police - those I know and those I never met; and I have been hoping and praying that those who were sitting on the other side of the radio and heard those horrible words that we as dispatchers never ever want to hear are holding up okay.  People always seem to think that this sort of stuff doesn't really affect the dispatchers like it does the field officers but I can guarantee you that it does - more than you will ever know.

Finally, I am hoping and praying that the world somehow manages to stop the downhill slide that it's on as this is not the legacy that we want to be leaving our children and grandchildren. And it's not just about gun control, it's about people who are mentally ill getting the help that they need - help that works and doesn't just put a band-aid on a serious injury.

God be with you, Monkey, as he watches over you, heals your wounds, and brings you home to the family that loves you. I may have been gone for ten years, but I've never forgotten. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I do hope you all remembered to say "Rabbits! Rabbits! Rabbits!" out loud first thing this morning to not only insure a great month but a terrific year, too! 
 I did!