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!