Monday, February 28, 2011

A Follow Up

It was a nice day yesterday and, since I was already out and about, I decided to stop by Bernhart's Park. I mentioned it before. Lead poisoned or not, it’s still a pretty spot. Well, mostly. There were some geese roaming the ice, though not nearly as many as there have been in other years. They’re fun to watch with how they appear to squabble back and forth.

The rest of the park was a tad depressing. Supposedly, the decontamination work is to begin this spring. There are many trees, mostly dead or nearly so, marked with bright orange x’s. I’m guess it indicates which are to be cut, hopefully replaced since more trees were tagged than weren’t.

Admittedly, the ground is in the process of thawing so it’s bound to be slightly soggy however the marshy patch of last year seems to have spread. They’ll need to do something about that. Perhaps they’ll create a channel to redirect the spring back into the stream that feeds the lake when they replace the top layer of the soil.

They’re still fighting about which parts of the park to fix. The battery company contends that the areas of highest contamination are on a steep slope that doesn’t need to be included. The only problem is there are paths crossing the slope. And the slope is almost, but not quite adjacent to the lake. Um, maybe someone should explain that water filters downhill? Won’t the lead recontaminate the flat part right along the lake if the hill is ignored?

Which brings up another question. The lake. I haven’t read anywhere that they are going to be dong anything about that. Of course I have no idea how contaminated the lake is although the no fishing signs make me suppose that it is to some extent. Will there never be any fishing permitted again? Or will it be catch and release only?

And then there were the ribcages, I’m guessing deer. There were several. Why? Don’t really know. Either the park has become a dumping ground for carcasses, a site of some sort of rituals or a place where critters come to die.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Uh Oh!

The weekend is just beginning and Beau is in trouble already. Have a good one!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How's This Sound?

I picked up my taxes today. I’ve been dreading the call, saying they were ready but I went and got them anyway. I suspect the financial guru who tends them for me was hesitant to contact me. Last year, I sat in his office and cried.

I arrived and the little boy who came scurrying to greet me went off to get my preparing along with my file so I’m guessing he’d be warned. Surprisingly, it wasn’t quite as bad as anticipated. Oh, it is still plenty bad. Bad enough that I’ve come up with a somewhat creative solution.

I’m going to pay the state and local folks what I owe, since the amounts to them are manageable. The federal is where the problem lies. I’ve decided not to pay them. I’m simply going to write them a letter explaining that since the world is coming to an end next year I prefer to keep my money and use it for the things I’ve been wanting to do that I’ve been putting off because I can’t afford them all at once. I will promise to pay them for last year, and this year as well since I will be withholding payment on those taxes too should the world not self-destruct on schedule. I will make installments throughout 2013 and 2014 to make up for it if need be. Hey, I’m holding back monies from two years so I should have two years to pay if it is necessary. Hmm, perhaps I’ll have my employer stop sending in any of the money they normally take out for me. Then I could really accomplish things on my list.

What do you think? Will they go for it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


At lunch today I read the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Yes, I use the term “read” loosely because there were very few actual words within it. Why, you might ask, did I bother? Because it was there.

First, let me say that the models are beautiful. I have no problem with the way they were photographed. What I do find annoying is how the magazine pretends to be promoting the swimsuits. They list the manufacturers and prices in teeny tiny print next to each pose. However, the suits are not visible in many of the shots. Nor are they always on the models. Sorry, if I’m going to spend up to $300 on a few little scraps of fabric, or someone is going to purchase it for me under the false impression that I will then look like the model in the magazine, I’d like to be able to see what it truly looks like on, not how small of a ball it can be scrunched up into when I remove it and hide behind the nearest palm frond.

Then there are the locations. They took the models to wonderful places. Fiji, the Virgin Islands, Singapore, Banff, Laguna Beach. Pretty places, all. Of course you’d never know that by the photographs. No, the majority of what they show could have been taken in a sandbox or a kiddie pool in my backyard. You’d never know the difference when all you see is a sultry smile, breasts popping out from behind strings, flowing hair and some sand on forearms.

I know, I know the point of this issue is not the scenery or the swimming suits. I’m just saying… And why, in the pics where they've double photographed the photographer working, is he also half covered with sand?

Oh, I also “read” a GQ. There were 62 pages of ads before I got to the table of contents. If anyone’s seen the latest issue, please contact me. There are a handful that I haven’t been able to decipher what they’re attempting to sell and I’m curious. Perhaps you could explain them to me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Writer News!

I just received a brand new shiny contract for Condemned, book 3 in my Cosmic Connections series. Happy dancing in the street time. Feel free to come join me. My neighbors are used to me so we need to shake things up a little.

This is Brett’s story and boy, does he make a mess of things! Don’t know who I’m talking about? Go read the first two, Questing and Chaos, and you will.

Blurb –

Brett Hudson’s life is in shambles. An attempt to deny fate has left him wide open for an unscrupulous pair intent on ruining him completely. When the woman who is his destiny steps in to save him, Brett’s reaction only serves to make things worse.

Andrea Sloan knows she and Brett are meant to be together the instant they meet even though he is resisting the inevitable. Chance puts her in the right place at the right time to rescue Brett from the mess he’s become entangled in but his behavior in the process breaks her heart. Can he salvage what’s left of his life and prove himself worthy of her love before it’s too late?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Movie Time

A few weeks ago I decided I was going to sit down and actually watch the few classic movies I think I’ve seen but never have, start to finish. That weekend it was Casablanca, which as it turns out really is a good movie. Then there was His Girl Friday, entertaining. This weekend I watched African Queen. Sassy, probably risqué for when it was made, and well worth watching.

I still have Holiday Inn, An Affair To Remember, and Going My Way waiting. I don’t know why I’ve never bothered with Holiday Inn when I so adore White Christmas. Or perhaps it is because I do adore White Christmas?

There are other classics that I watch all the time. Inn of the Sixth Happiness. The Philadelphia Story. Desk Set. Bringing Up Baby. Holiday. Houseboat. And let’s not forget Harvey. I mean, what’s not to love when a movie includes a six foot tall invisible rabbit who enjoys going to the pub with you? I wouldn’t mind having one of them myself.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Visitor

Spring stopped by. Just for the day. A quick visit. Here for a few hours, gone sometime tonight. It was a rather nice time though most of it was spent with me inside at work so I missed a huge chunk.

I did have to drop something off in one of the other buildings so I had a few minutes of enjoyment. I was also reminded of why I so dislike the first few days of warm weather. It was reinforced throughout my journey home as well.

People simply lose their minds along with all their common sense. They forget why it’s not wise to step out in front of speeding cars. And that it’s easier for someone on rollerblades to get out of the way of cars coming in both directions. And how bicycles don’t stand a chance when up against a full trash truck.

Thank goodness winter is returning tonight. Perhaps today’s little near death experiences will make at least some of the people who had them think when the warm weather returns for real. I, for one, certainly hope so.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Want!

I was at the post office this afternoon and heard this odd noise as someone came up behind me. Not exactly a clunky shoe sound. Nor was it the flip-flop snap. No, this was something different so I turned to look.

The girl was wearing shoes with individual toes! White with lime green accents! Instant drool, let me tell you. She saw me looking so I just had to ask if they were comfy. Very! Oh yeah, I need me a pair of them. She also told me they were specialty running shoes that help with her posture which makes it easier on her bad knees.

Hmm, okay. That means expensive. When I got home I went searching. They’re made by Vibram and come in a variety of styles and colors. And, best of all, they’re not really outrageously priced. So I really could have a pair. And look, they come in camo too. Yay!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


My horoscope said I would get mistaken for someone famous today. Because I exude the kind of energy that screams ‘I am somebody!’ I am to let the masses lavish me with the attention I deserve.

It made me laugh. First of all, I am somebody. Me! Exuding energy or not, which today I am definitely not because I haven’t been sleeping lately, I am still me. I may not be famous and frankly, I prefer not to be, but I am and always will be me, which is not such a bad thing to be. I’d rather be me than you as I’m sure you would choose to be you instead of me. I know how to be me. I’d have to work at being someone else whereas being me comes naturally. I’m good at it.

As far as the masses lavishing attention on me? Um, yes, I do deserve it but no, thank you. If you know me at all, you know that’s not me, though I do enjoy occasional attention from those closest to me. I’m much more a behind-the-scenes type than a center-stage person. Well, most of the time. Even I have my moments but that’s fodder for another day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's That Time Again

The time of year when everyone’s fancy turns to kites. What? Not what you were expecting. Well it should be.

I received my Into the Wind catalog today and will spend several hours over the next few days happily paging through it, drooling over all the fantastic kites contained within. I want them all!

I didn’t grow up in a kite flying family though they’ve always fascinated me. I used to attempt to make my own out of sticks and newspaper. Never once managed to get one off the ground before it was destroyed. Yeah, they were very pathetic I must admit.

Then, about 20 years ago, I stumbled across an Into the Wind catalog. I purchased myself a Hata kite. Not very big but they come in the prettiest selection of colors. More importantly they are extremely easy to fly. All you need to do is give them a toss and off they go soaring.

And the small size has the added advantage being no trouble to store in your car so you can hop out and fly them on any nice day. Like say, oh this Friday perhaps. It’s supposed to be 60 and sunny here. I was looking today and there’s a parking lot close to where I work without any wires crossing it. Yep, you know what I’ll be doing at lunch.

In the meantime, I think a viewing of Mary Poppins is in order, to set the mood.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Concern

Last week there was an explosion in nearby Allentown that left five people dead and damaged 47 homes, eight of them beyond repair. It’s speculated that the explosion was caused by a natural gas leak though none were reported in the area. Natural gas has no odor on its own. Gas companies add a compound to make it detectable, giving it a rotten egg smell.

There are over two and a half million miles of gas pipelines in this country, many of which have been in place 40 years or longer. The older pipes are corrodible steel which have a life expectancy of approximately 50 years. The pipe section in the area in Allentown that exploded was 83 years old. It’s being dug up and sent for testing to see if it was broken before the explosion or if the explosion caused the break. I heard on the radio this morning how expensive it is to inspect and replace such an extensive infrastructure. I’m not disputing that. But when is the cost of something worth more than human lives?

Pennsylvania is now producing some of its own natural gas. Good in that the revenue stays here. Bad in that the moisture content is higher than other sources of natural gas which means it will be harder on pipes that are already weakened due to age and weather conditions. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Am I suggesting that we should all now spend our lives worrying about possible gas explosions? No, of course not. That would be an incredible waste of your time. Worry about the things you can control or change. Hope for the best with things you can’t. Just please, be aware. If you think you smell a gas leak, report it. Better to have someone come out and check than to risk blowing up your, or my, neighborhood.

Friday, February 11, 2011


...has the right idea. So tired. I think I'll join her.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

An Ending

I realized earlier that today is the day I would have mailed my great aunt’s Valentine’s card. We exchanged cards every year since I was able to hold a crayon and draw something which, to my small child’s mind, resembled a heart. Yes, every year, without fail. There’s no one else I can say that about.

Cards for occasions were important to my great aunt. She never missed one. Not for me. Not for any of her friends. She always kept one of those address books with the date trackers in them. And she referred to it often. She’d check it, then go out and select appropriate cards so they were there, ready and waiting for when they needed. Each one included a personal note from her as well.

I’m going to miss getting those cards from her. Why is it that the sweetest memories are also sometimes the most painful?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Have a Vice

Want to take a guess as to what it is? Hahaha! Perhaps but that’s not the one I’m referring to this time.

No, today’s vice is Ghirardelli hot chocolate. Have you tried it? You should. C’mon. What are you waiting for? It's beyond wicked! Amazon has it on sale at the moment. Yay! Trust me though. It’s worth every penny, even at full price. Being on sale only makes it possible to collect more at one time.

It comes in several varieties. So far I’ve tried the double chocolate and the peppermint. Both excellent. I just got some chocolate hazelnut and mocha. Haven’t tried them yet. I’m attempting to maintain an iota of control and not allow myself to inhale them instantly which is what I truly want to do. We’ll see how long my restraint lasts.

Seriously, if you’ve never had any, you don’t know what you’re missing and you should correct the situation immediately. Wait, I’ll have some with you.

Monday, February 7, 2011


My hands hurt. Really bad. Unfortunately, it’s something I just have to live with. There’s arthritis in all my joints but currently, my hands are the worst.

They kept me awake Friday and Saturday nights. Yes, they really do hurt that much. Usually an Aleeve is enough to calm things down but not last weekend. The weather changed too rapidly for it to keep up as it’s to continue doing the beginning of this week. If it would just stay cold I wouldn’t have to deal with this.

Today, my thumbs are sort of moving on their own. Not cramping up exactly though it kind of looks like that. It’s more like twitching. Or visibly throbbing. And they still hurt. This getting old nonsense is not fun.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Every morning, after I get dressed for work, I pull up the blind in my bedroom so the cats can look out during the day. Generally, and I have no idea why, I do this before I put on my shoes. Probably because by then, one of them is swatting at the bottom of it as if to say get this out of the way.

It finally registered this morning what the pretty colored lights are that I see shining out of a window in one of the houses across the alley from mine. Christmas lights. Arranged in a tree shape so my guess is they haven’t taken down their decorations yet. Or perhaps they’ve turned it into a Valentine’s tree, as some people do.

It set me to wondering. I know absolutely about those people except that they live below the people who have constant loud arguments and have colored lights that are on before 6:00 AM. Having the imagination I do, I can come up with all sorts of explanations for this in addition to the obvious listed above. My question is this. What does the tiny glimpse of your life that’s visible from outside say about you?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I was doing some surfing last night. I wanted to check the forecast to see if anything had changed with the prediction of an ice storm. It hadn’t and, looking at the radar, it seemed imminent.

I also came across a list of closings. There were already 90 at 7:00 PM. Being curious, I looked to see if there was anything unusual. There was. The Berks County Prison had closed. I don’t know about you but that stuck me as just too funny. Yes, I do know they meant non-essential personnel shouldn’t report but the instant image that formed was of the inmates being tossed out in the ice and left to fend for themselves in the middle of nowhere, since that’s where BCP is.

It was fairly bad here this morning, though I’m certain not as bad as it could have been. There were many downed trees reported and pockets of power outages, though not nearly as many as there could have been. My lights flickered a little but things at my house are just fine. Work however, is a different story. The pretty tree outside my window toppled over. Again, bad because it was such a lovely little willow but not awful otherwise. It ended up resting against the side of the building without pulling down any wires or breaking any windows. Still, I’m going to miss watching the squirrels playing in it as I eat my lunch.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Dr. Seuss. "The storms starts when the drops start dropping. When the drops stop dropping, the storm starts stopping." Get ready. The drops will start dropping again on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Chosen

Lurking beyond the shadows
Betrayers to the darkness
Those that are incapable of understanding
They mill about, waiting to pounce
Seeking to destroy the delicate balance
To turn us against our own
Making our exquisite wickedness into something ugly
Sordid instead of beautifully evil
They shine a false light that taints all it touches
Unable to leave us in the gloom that brings us peace
They fear our serenity, our power that radiates from within
Deeming us monsters when in truth it is they who are barbaric
We are the Chosen
And they can’t abide that
Their jealously torments, sickening their putrid souls
They cannot rest without attempting to eradicate us
Impossible but they are so blinded by hatred they do not realize until it is too late
Yes, we are the Chosen, the True
Try as they might, they cannot infect us with their poison
We are individually unique yet we are one
We stand alone yet united
We are connected by silent communication that binds us tighter than their words ever could
We are solitary yet indivisible
We are universal
Unfathomable save to each other
And we will not be denied