Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Conjure me a storm
Agitate the skies
Whip up the wind
Provoke the clouds
Inflame the heavens
Send the lightning streaking
Make it sizzle around me
Let the thunder crack as if the core of the universe is rending
Stir the ozone until it permeates every fiber of my soul
Have the rain pour forth in torrents
Flood my being with a tsunami only the likes of you can create
Wash away my pain
If you have horrendous weather for the next five days you now have someone to blame.
Monday, March 28, 2011
The main branch of the Reading Public Library is violating the city fire code regulation. And it has been since the building was built back in 1910. Why? Because there is no street number on the front of the building.
Simple. Just add it, right? Wrong! The library is located in the city’s Callowhill Historic District which means the original structure can’t be altered. It was proposed to replace a grill above the doorway but research seems to indicate that the grill in question was there from the beginning so it can’t be done.
The fire marshal contends that it is a code requirement and therefore, must be enforced. His argument is we might have a new firefighter who is unfamiliar with the city and not immediately recognize the building as the library. Hm, okay. That makes the assumption that the fire department would send one lone fireman out to respond to an alarm at a huge, half block-sized building full of paper stuffs. Actually, with the changes Act 47 has forced on the city’s services that possibility is not quite as farfetched as it should be.
That aside, let me tell you what’s on all four corners at that particular intersection. A nail salon, a yard full of trees beside a church, an abandoned building that is boarded up, and a huge, granite structure with a double tiered set of steps, pillars and oh yeah, “Reading Public Library” chiseled into the granite all the way across the front of the building. Yes, it truly is. Seems to me that any new fireman who can locate the 100 block of south Fifth Street should be clever enough to identify which building is the city’s main library, with or without a number out front.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Anyone doing anything thrilling this weekend?
Me? I’m feeling a bit destructive. No, not self-destructive. More of a search and destroy unnecessary things in my house kind of destructive. I don’t do it very often. In fact, I hate to sort through stuff. I bring it into the house, put it down and there it stays until I get into one of these moods.
I’m not a hoarder. I don’t keep things because I think I can’t live without them. I just can’t be bothered. Currently, I have a bunch of bills and pay stubs, things that really must be kept for a certain amount of time. Only I never seem to make myself go back and deal with them at the end of that allotted time.
A very wise woman once said to do projects like this in twenty minute increments. That’s enough time to actually accomplish something significant while not being so overwhelming that you never force yourself to begin.
So tonight, it will be the junk mail and books that have accumulated on the chest inside of my front door. Next, I’ll figure out what to do with all the stuff that was displaced to make room for the piano and three cabinets of piano rolls.
And I have all that I salvaged from my great aunt’s house when she moved into the home. Problem is she died and I couldn’t make myself look through the boxes to decide where in my house the things should live. Hmm, I’m still not sure if I’m ready to tackle that yet so maybe not.
All this is subject to change, naturally, if something exciting comes up. Unless anyone wants to come help? There’s an idea. Maybe I’ll turn this into a gathering. It’s always more fun to sort through someone else’s junk than it is your own. What is it you’re doing again this weekend?
Thursday, March 24, 2011
But first, some history. In 1993, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development deemed March 22 as World Water Day. The purpose, to draw international attention to the relation between freshwater and our lives. The cold, hard facts are that one in eight people worldwide still don’t have access to safe water, literally millions spend hours every day collecting water from faraway polluted sources, and 2.5 billion people live without toilets.
This year, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela made a speech, commemorating World Water Day. Nothing wrong with that, right? Perhaps. In his comments he brought up Mars. The planet, that is. Why? Because there is no water there. At least not on the surface anyway. Here are his thoughts on the matter. “I have always said, heard that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet.”
Okeedokey. So the inception of capitalism is the definitive explanation on why Mars is devoid of life as we on Earth know it. Wow, am I glad he cleared that one up for us! Now I can rest easy at night, no longer having to worry about whether or not there was once life-sustaining water on Mars and what could possibly have happened to it.
In truly important news, the release date for Condemned is pushed back one week to April 8. That means you have a just a little more time to finish reading the first two books of the series.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
One by one, each a little piece of my soul
Withered and dying, like leaves on a chilled autumn eve
Soon the cold, bleak and barren, will be all that’s left
There is no bliss
Joy, a thing of the past
Happiness reigns no more
I see the same echoed in each of us
And I weep for all we have lost
So much we will never know
My heart aches for what must remain undone
Where there was hope, now a vast emptiness
A wasteland that was once the garden of our combined dreams
Nothing left save sadness
Monday, March 21, 2011
I went to see Eva May in her school show Friday night. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Unfortunately, she doesn’t really sing so she had a small part but still, it was okay. The kids did a great job and they looked like they were having fun, which is what I think is most important.
It’s been wonderful, watching Eva mature as a performer over the years. She’s always loved being involved in such things. At the beginning, back when she was a small child, she was a bit timid. Now, she radiates with confidence. She’s comfortable with lines, knows what’s expected of her, is capable of compensating if needed and it shows.
I think she’s planning on auditioning for the summer show and then next year will be a play, not a musical so I’m looking forward to seeing more of her on stage. Whatever role she gets, I’ll be there, cheering her on as always and so proud to call her my friend.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thick and cold
Encasing my essence
No hush left in my wake
I make not a sound
As tears stream down my cheeks
Even my crying is muted now
My heart, shriveled and dying
Broken without a whisper
Wasted, unwanted, turning to dust
Blows away, unnoticed
I was always less than nothing
Now even more so than ever
My entire existence wiped away
As if I never was
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I know I’ve said before that one of the advantages of living where I do is that there is a nice bar on the corner that serves decent food. Today however, the bad part of living where I do is that there is a nice bar on the corner that serves decent food.
Not only is it St. Patty’s Day, it is also the beginning of the March Madness college basketball tournament. Oops, guess I neglected to mention that the bar has 32 wide-screen TVs and promotes itself as a sports bar. Uh huh.
A few years ago, the abandoned factory building across the street was turned into a 100-space parking lot so it wasn’t quite as bad today when I got home as it’s been in years past. And the Berks County Jazz Fest no longer overlaps with St. Patty’s Day as it used to which also helped since the Pike hosts events for that too. Yes, parking is now available within four blocks on days like this instead of the former six.
It wouldn’t have been so bad, had I been able to head home at my normal time. But not today. Oh no, not today. I tried to be nice and order daffodils from the American Cancer Society during their Daffodil Days which is going on now. The ordering part went just fine. It’s the retrieving part that I had trouble with. I thought I’d take a late lunch to go collect them. Um, nope. Not there. Come back later. Okay, change of plans.
After work I had to go to the car place. Howie needed a light socket and lens. I was there last week, same thing, only they had to order it. Got there today and part of the packet was missing. So they had to reorder it. Going back for the third time next Thursday. Yeah.
Back to pick up the daffodils. Um, nope. They’d been delivered. Somewhere else. Perhaps tomorrow because there’s no way I’m venturing out again tonight.
Have I told you that I have a headache from hell? Migraine season has officially begun. And, with the day I’ve had, I think the world is damn lucky no one got hurt.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Today was the special election in the 11th Senatorial District in Pennsylvania. At 5 PM I was voter number 80 out of a possible 962 in my precinct. How sad is that?
For those of you who might be local and admitted into my realm – if you didn’t vote, don’t complain. You’ll find yourself back out in the street if you try it.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Nearly every morning as I’m on my way to work, I encounter an idiot who feels the necessity to cut through a parking lot in order to pull out in front of the line of traffic that is waiting patiently to make a left turn. Said idiot races like a bat out of hell, trying to beat those of us driving legally. He then pops out onto the street bordering the other side of the lot, often without bothering to stop and look to see if anyone is coming. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed near misses.
Today was one of those days. There were tires squealing, horns blaring and I’m fairly certain, some choice words said. Had there been an accident, I would have stopped and called for help. But I also would have waited to inform the police of the event that would have been the cause of the accident. It’s only a matter of time until that happens. I feel very bad for the poor guy coming the other way who will inevitably be involved simply because he will be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I had the satisfaction today of ending up behind the parking lot racer as we turned the next corner. Guess what! The light at the end of that block was red so cutting through the lot served no purpose other than to move up in front of two cars. Woohoo!
My recommendation to the idiots who do this – leave home eight seconds earlier so you don’t have to risk anyone’s life with your stupidity. There’s never a cop around when you need one.
Friday, March 11, 2011
When I was a kid and my grandmother was still alive part of the traditional Easter meal was sausage stew. No, I don’t know why. Probably because my grandmother liked it. Oh we also had baked ham and the regular stuff that you’d expect. We just had sausage stew in addition to all that.
But it wasn’t just sausage stew. No, when she made it, it was stuffed into a pig stomach. That’s how she cooked it. On Easter anyway. The rest of the time it was made in a kettle, as you’d think it would be.
I can’t really say that making it in a pig stomach significantly changed the flavor. I don’t even know exactly how it was cooked, once it was in the stomach. In case you’re wondering, the stomach wasn’t solid. It was slit all over, open but not so much that the pieces inside would fall out. It was more of a casing, a bag almost that held the stew together so it was easier to serve than ladling out of a stew pot would be.
The point of this bit of nostalgia? I was given some very nice smoked sausage which set me to remembering. I’m using it to make sausage stew tomorrow. In a kettle, without the stomach. It’ll be ready mid-afternoon, I’m guessing. Stop by if you’re in the area. I’m sure there will be enough to share.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Unfortunately I don’t know Steve Martin.
If I did, I’d have him stop by to sing Running Bear to me like he does in that movie. You know the one. A Simple Twist of Fate. I love that movie. Haven’t seen it in years.
I don’t own it. I wonder why. I’ll have to see what I can do about that. Just as soon as I can muster enough energy to go search used dvds on Amazon.
Amazon is the coolest. If they don’t have something, then you don’t really need it. That’s what I think anyway. Or I do on days when I can be bothered to think about such things. Sigh.
Yep, I have ennui.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
In 2008 Pennsylvania passed legislation regarding puppy mills. The law required larger cages in commercial kennels, solid flooring, temperature, ventilation and lighting standards, and annual veterinary examinations for the dogs. It also prohibited anyone other vets from euthanizing animals and the stacking of cages.
Recently, a resolution, co-sponsored by local politician, Jim Cox, was introduced that could reverse this legislation. The reasoning – eliminating puppy mills, which neighboring Lancaster County was well known for, also eliminated state tax dollars as well as numerous jobs.
Yes, I know economic conditions in Pennsylvania are not good and we’re in need of a financial boost. I agree, people need jobs. However, welcoming back puppy mills, with their horrendous conditions and inhumane treatment of animals is NOT the way to go about it.
I am the first to admit that I am not very political though I do make sure I vote. This, however, is so wrong that it could cause me to become more involved.
Oh, speaking of voting, there is a special election in this corner of Pennsylvania. Tuesday, March 15th. It’s to elect the replacement for long-time State Senator, Mike O’Pake, who passed away in December after more than 40 years of representing and doing very good things for this area. So, if you’re local, make sure you get out there and vote!
Monday, March 7, 2011
Howie, that is. I needed to have the oil changed and I admit, I’ve been putting it off. I haven’t really felt like hanging out in a garage type place for however long it took and it’s still too chilly for me to sit outside while I wait. Saturday, for reasons I don’t quite understand, I was up and moving at the crack of dawn. Yeah, way earlier than I’d hoped but, since I was up, I decided I might as well deal with it.
Off we went to Jiffy Lube. There’s just something about the lounge areas those places provide that I don’t find appealing so, armed with my book, I convinced myself that I could stand having a hot chocolate in the McDonald’s that is located next door while I waited.
But a funny thing happened. We got there and the bays were empty. No waiting! At 9:30 in the morning when, according to them, they are usually swamped. They pulled Howie right in and all four employees dove right in tending to him. Eight minutes later, with fresh oil, other fluids topped off, floors vacuumed and clean windows, we were out and on our way. I didn’t even have time to open my book.
Gotta love that little car!
Friday, March 4, 2011
…has a release date! March 31st. Yep, THIS March 31st. As in the March 31st that’s only 27 days away. How cool is that? Happy dance time. Come out and celebrate with me! You know. For Condemned, releasing March 31st.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Most days, I could use more of it. There are so many things to do that I don’t seem to be able to fit them all in. Like most of the world, I’m not independently wealthy so I work full time. I have all the standard chores, same as everyone else, house, laundry, food foraging, routine car stuff.
In addition to that, I write. Or I try too when I can find an uninterrupted chunk of time. It’s difficult, though not impossible, to create full-length novels one or two paragraphs at a time. I blog, generally four or five days a week. Admittedly sometimes, like today, I just ramble but other days I actually do a little research.
I read. It takes forever to read books when you can only manage a few pages here and there. I’ve been knitting. I just designed my very first sweater so I’ve been working on that. It’s fun, watching the pattern develop.
I have friends both near and far that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. I want to travel. I was very fortunate during the first chapter of my life. I got to do that more than many teenagers and I miss it.
It’s getting warm again so my thoughts are turning to gardening. And since it is almost spring things all over will be coming back to life so I’d like to go roaming with my camera. Boy, talk about things that can eat up chunks of time! Ooh, and I’ll take my kite with me too while I’m out and about.
There are a million other things I could add to this list but I’m sure you know what I mean. Hmm, seems like I’m missing something major though. Oh, yeah. I know what it is. Sleep. But I don’t do that very well so perhaps that’s what will have to go in order to make time for something else.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Last weekend there were dozens and dozens of birds found dead along a local highway. European starlings. The Pennsylvania Game Commission was notified. Today, they announced their findings.
The birds were poisoned. Legally. By a local farmer who used a poison called Starlicide, which is designed specifically to kill European starlings. The Department of Agriculture considers these birds to be an invasive species so it’s okay to thin them out. In fact, they do it themselves in problematic areas. The stuff they use however, is stronger than that which farmers are permitted to handle so the birds they poison die on-site instead of flying away first.
There are an estimated 200 million European starlings nationwide and it is proven that they cause massive amounts of damage to farms since their introduction to this country in the 1890’s. I understand that they need to be controlled but I’m still not comfortable with the thought of hordes of them dropping from the sky on top of me.