Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cool Tech

Okay, now I think I have seen everything. Urinal based games have now been introduced in the UK by a company called Captive Media. An article in CNET, an online magazine on technology, highlighted a new gaming series where men can play games directing their urine stream left or right to put out fires, ski down a mountain slope, or other similar types of imagined activity. The urinal stands are in a trial run now in bars in the UK.

I guess the point to all of this is that one’s mind must be entertained at all times, but I personally think this is a bit much. There are those out there who are of a similar mind, as you can see from the comments posted at the end of the article. Too funny…

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

For the Love of Flowers

For the last few nights I have been reading a book that I found while doing my other favorite task (not); cleaning. It is an old book on perennials. There are no color pictures in the whole things except for the old faded one on the cover, which feels odd considering there are lots of pictures of different kinds of flowers through the whole thing. But back then it was cheaper to print black and white. Anyway, the book describes in great detail all the kinds of perennials, their colors, their Latin names, and their bloom times.

I have really been getting into this garden thing and I am really quite anxious to get my seeds started for spring. One of my coworkers graciously loaned me a seedling mat that will warm up the soil and help the seeds germinate faster. I brought it home yesterday and put it in the greenhouse. It barely fits, but it should do fine. One problem is that I have so many flats and only one heater so I am going to have to rotate them a bit. I have never bothered to find out just exactly how cold my basement is in the dead of winter, so this should be pretty interesting. I do know that seed like to be a 75 degrees and my basement is certainly not that.

Last night I dreamt about trees. I remember feeling so frustrated because I couldn’t remember the Latin names of the trees for all of my friends. It was weird, but I know that it must mean that gardening is definitely on my mind. So in the meantime I will continue to read my book, collect the seeds I want, and dream of the wonderful color that will be in my perennial bed this spring and summer.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I will be the first to admit that I am a lousy housekeeper. It is very low on my priority list and given the amount of stuff I do I would rather do that than clean my house. I really hate it. I like the end result, but I feel totally helpless with the amount of work that needs to be done when I am doing it. It just doesn’t seem to end. But sometimes I get into these moods and have to clean. It seems to me a matter of camouflage more than anything else. If it looks clean then I am okay with it. If it is tidy, then I am good.

So this weekend I got into one of those moods and started with the living room and ended up in the bedroom. The dust was so thick and it was everywhere. Just where does this dust all come from? My husband and I were discussing that while we buzzed around trying to get things looking halfway decent. I said that if it comes from humans; old skin cells, then why does an abandoned house have as much as a house that is lived in? We decided that it was pushed in from outside and left it at that. This morning I looked it up and lo and behold, we were right. I found an article that shows, indeed it comes from outside and some of it is not all that innocuous.

So maybe after reading this, I will clean more? Not.

Friday, November 25, 2011

End of Year Holidays

This year was totally different from other years.  I guess it was the fact my father is not around any longer, my son is not around this year, and I am not on good terms with my brother.  So I decided that my husband and I would stay home and I got some turkey and fixings at the grocery store when I was there last weekend.  Granted it was just turkey cutlets and not a whole turkey which would have been way too much for just the two of us, but was turkey none the less.  Anyway, at the last minute, two of our friends had invited us over to their house only to change it at the last minute and decide to go to the Holiday Buffet at a local hotel because it was too much pressure to cook at home.  I ended up cooking the turkey meal I had planned for Thanksgiving on Tuesday night so it wouldn't go bad and we went to the restaurant yesterday with our friends.

I will not do that again.  First it was expensive and second the food was so-so.  Finally it didn't feel like a holiday.  Granted they had a large variety of things including turkey and cranberries and all that stuff, but it was not the same as what I thought a holiday meal should be.  To me a holiday meal should be done at home.  Maybe I am just old fashioned, but that's just me.  It just didn't feel the same.

So now we move on to Christmas.  It's Black Friday and those crazy people are out and about shopping like fiends and spending all kinds of money on presents that are going to be given and received and then forgotten about.  I guess I have gotten a little cynical in my old days.  My step-father didn't celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas, the latter being a chance for him to even get out of the country, by himself.  Growing up, his father was a raging alcoholic and it brought back horrible memories.  He also felt that Christmas was something that people felt obliged to do when they should get gifts for their loved ones all the time, not just once a year.  I kind of agree that all this hoopla is phony and we should get back to the real meaning if we are going to celebrate anything at all.  I have told my mother I don't want anything and I am going to do home baked things for the people on my list, and I haven't decided if I am even going to be with my family this year for the big dinner.  We will see. I may just get drawn into the whole thing at the end but it's making my eye twitch just thinking about it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Over the last year, I have developed high blood pressure. My doctor gave me medication for it but I don’t want to take it as I don’t like depending on drugs. I have stopped going to that doctor anyway and am looking for a doctor that won’t pump me full of artificial things to get me out of the office rather than try to find the reason for it and fix that. Whenever I feel as if my blood pressure is too high I try to relax and think of something that is calming. Looking at pictures of flowers and plants helps. I tried to fantasize about some muscle bound hunk taking advantage of me, but I think that makes things worse.

Gardening really helps with the stress levels. There is something about getting among the plants and digging in the dirt that helps unwind the tight muscles and sooth the frazzled nerves. But it is winter and there is not much to do in the garden now, so I have to resort to looking online at various garden blogs and fantasizing about which flowers I am going to buy and what my garden could look like. That, and maybe a cup of herbal tea. Oh well, got to get back to work now.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


In a few days, you will be sitting down with your family and loved ones to celebrate a holiday that is uniquely North American – they celebrate it in Canada too, which I didn’t know until now. According to
Thanksgiving in North America had originated from a mix of European and Native traditions.[1] Typically in Europe, festivals were held before and after the harvest cycles to give thanks for a good harvest, and to rejoice together after much hard work with the rest of the community.[1] At the time, Native Americans had also celebrated the end of a harvest season.[1] When Europeans first arrived to the Americas, they brought with them their own harvest festival traditions from Europe, celebrating their safe voyage, peace and good harvest.[1] Though the origins of the holiday in both Canada and the United States are similar, Americans do not typically celebrate the contributions made in Newfoundland, while Canadians do not celebrate the contributions made in Plymouth, Massachusetts.[2]
Over time it has taken on a new meaning – the start of the Holiday shopping season. Santa generally arrives at the New York City Thanksgiving parade and the craziness starts with every store vying for your attention as you ponder which gifts to buy your loved ones. But I digress.

Giving thanks on one day is of course meaningless if you don’t really feel gratitude for the things you are blessed with. Some of us give thanks for our family, our health, the fact we have a job, or simply the fact that we are better off than others. We think of those less fortunate and perhaps dole out a penny or two to charities that provide meals for the poor and/or sick and feel good that we have done something, albeit little, to help. Many perform that little ceremony and go around the dinner table sharing what we are thankful for, sometimes shedding a tear when a wee one says something poignant.

What does it all mean unless we practice giving thanks every day? We should, of course and most of us do, but sometimes I think we tend to take things for granted assuming that we will continue in the lifestyle we have become accustomed to without realizing that all too often one event, natural or otherwise, can change our lives dramatically. But before I get into an even more cynical mood, I wish you are yours a Happy Thanksgiving; may you be blessed with all you hope for, for now and forever.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Raised Beds

I am very excited to start this new phase of my gardening. Over my break from my normal job to the campaign, I found a gardening system called Food4Wealth that advocated raised beds and creating an ecosystem for your vegetable garden as a way to effectively plant a wide variety of vegetables in a little space. Not only that, but the whole garden serves as a system which will work to eliminate the need for weeding and getting rid of pests. At least that’s the theory. I was very excited about this prospect because aside from the other benefits, the garden can remain all year round and allow me to plant things that I normally don’t like garlic and onions which have to be planted in the fall. In the past, we turn over the beds and start all over again in the spring and therefore disrupt everything.

So last weekend I started. With the help of my husband, we built the beds and got great compost and put everything together. I have to get the straw to go on top, but I was able to get my garlic and onions in the ground for the Spring. In addition, I purchased a small portable greenhouse and a grow light and set things up in the basement. I put together a calendar indicating when to start my seeds and have purchased a great many types of seeds to start – both vegetables and flowers. I figured in the long run we could save money and start the annuals indoors So, unlike most, I am anxiously awaiting cold, wintery January to start planting.

I also can’t wait until Spring when the real start of the garden will happen. Once the whole system gets started it should work to take care of itself including re-seeding many things. Even if that doesn’t happen and I learn how to use the seeds I end up growing, I am working for a garden that will give me endless hours of pleasure, help with our food bill, and provide fresh food for my family.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I am not sure I believe in ghosts, but I do believe that our soul does move on, but could be called back for some reason. As some of you know, my father passed away last month and yesterday some weird things happened to make me think that his spirit was passing through to perhaps comfort me, or remind me of something. When I was driving to work, my iPod was playing songs that were either about my father, or of my father – he was a pianist and some of the compositions on his two CDs are on my iPod. Weird how these things happen like that.

I went down to see him one night very close to the time he died. My iPod which I keep at the random setting, played several selections from his CD on the trip down. I kept thinking that it was because he was thinking of me and trying to tell me that things were going to be okay. It has been several weeks since he died and none of his selections have come up on the iPod. Yesterday they did along with My Father’s Eyes and In the Living Years. I know most of you are saying that in all probability it’s just that the random setting came around to those songs, but I refuse to believe that.

I believe that things happen for a reason. We may not know what that reason is at the moment, but eventually we will. There is some reason why those songs came up like that; in that particular order. I believe that my father’s spirit is trying to tell me something that I need to be open to what that thing is. Maybe my iPod will speak to me again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I was away for a relatively short time from my regular job to participate in a campaign that turned out to be pretty historic. I am very lucky to work at a company who allowed me to take a leave to do this and yesterday was my first day back. Like anything else you engage in for a long time, coming back felt like I never left. My employer felt differently I guess as my security badge didn’t work and I had to wait in the parking lot for about 2 hours until my supervisor came in and I could walk in with her and be her “guest”. It was kind of annoying to be thought of as a threat to security and not be allowed to enter the building after working with this company for 28 years.

It took a day after coming back after five months to get back a sense of familiarity of my job for me. Some things haven’t changed and some others have, but in really small ways. They had someone take over for me and that person made some small changes that now I have to transition to, which is kind of weird. It was nice to know that I was missed but it was annoying at the same time. People kept coming by and asking me about my leave and saying “welcome back”, and it was hard to concentrate on what I had to do.

I couldn’t remember my password to get my voice mail and I was forced to change my password for the company network so I had to remember my old one – fortunately I wrote that one down – but it took me several tried before my fingers remembered the voice mail password. All in all, things are pretty much the same.  I guess this old brain can adapt somewhat to relearning the same things.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I have a cold.  One week before the end of the campaign when I have to be at my sharpest, I am feeling yucky with a runny nose, a congested head, and sneezing.  I have been shooting vitamin C, oil of oregano, slippery elm oil, and Zycam for the last two days to try to head it off at the pass and this morning I still came down with worse symptoms that yesterday.  I wish I could crawl into bed and sleep, but that is not going to happen considering I have even more hours to put in these last few days.

So here I sit with my head feels like a wad of cotton and my hearing is reduced with all the junk in my ears.  What’s that you say?  I just hope I don’t infect anyone else but it is likely to happen.  Maybe they will get sick after the election rather than before.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


If you live near or work in Norristown, you were probably screaming your head off out of frustration driving around this weekend and last few days.  Well, thank you local administration and the Pennsylvania Railroad Commission for your aggravations.  Apparently when they come in to do a job in an area they have the say, and the local municipality is to do what they say.  I suppose since it was a temporary weekend thing it was considered a minor inconvenience. But since we got a freaky snow blizzard in October, it didn't turn out to be a weekend thing. But the question remains, why on earth would they close two major thoroughfares through the town at the same time? 

Because it’s Norristown, that’s why.  Would they do this in Narberth?  NO!!! Why? Because they respect the people over there.  In Norristown they think we are all lowly peasants who don’t work and hang around getting high living on public assistance.  We don’t need to have our houses saved if they catch on fire and the fire company can’t get to the fire because of the road closures, because some wealthy landlord owns them all, and has insurance.  We don’t need to catch criminals because the police can’t get to the scene of the crime because of the traffic that is piled up on the back roads because it's good riddance if one of us gets shot.  It’s just Norristown and they don’t have to be considerate of our feelings because animals don’t have any feelings.

When I was on Council, SEPTA came in and talked to us about expanding the parking lot at Elm and Markley for the Elm Street Station.  Eventually that station is going to be closed down, so I guess they thought they could save some money and instead of paving the lot, they were going to put stone in the lot and actually paint the parking lines on the stones.  My major question to them was would you do this in Narberth?  And if you would not do it in Narberth, you won’t do it in Norristown.  They looked at me like I was crazy.  Maybe if we were treated like we live in Narberth, people might start acting like we lived in Narberth.