Sunday, October 30, 2011


In October?

Yes, really.  And at least 6 if not 8 inches at my place by the time it was all said and done.  What was supposed to start out as rain, turn to snow and give us 3-4 inches and then turn to rain again, started out as snow and stayed snow all day.  I honestly thought it was late November or December this weekend...

Anyhow, despite the snow throwing a monkey wrench into some plans, it was still a pretty good weekend.  (I just wish I'd gotten around to getting me a new winter coat as my old one fell apart and was two or three sizes too big anyhow... and made sure we all had gloves etc.  At least the boy had a new coat, mittens and boots!)

Yesterday went more or less according to plan.  I ended up spending 2 hours in the grocery store with Kat and Zoe picking up stuff (with the power on generators for most of the time...) because we both needed things that were buy one get one free, but didn't need two... And the power went out right as I was about 80% of the way through browning the meat for chili (but there was enough residual heat in the pan left to finish cooking it off).  Thankfully the power was only out about an hour or so and I was able to get the chili in the crockpot on and ready for dinner.  Gak had all kinds of fun with stuff at work.  And Kat's mom ended up spending the night here because there was no way she was going to be able to get home even if they had power with all the downed lines and trees as well as the 7 or 8 inches of snow.

Today Kat and I were supposed to join Steve and Shelby for a 5K run/walk/jog at Peace Valley Park to benefit the SPCA.  Unfortunately, there were a lot of downed trees and things along the trails and it was deemed unsafe.  Hopefully it'll be next Sunday.

We ended up meeting up with Kat and Zoe at the laundry mat this morning because I had moved the car over there when the landlord was plowing and they'd come in to town to do wash.  We were originally going to head to Target to get out of the house for a bit, but instead the kids played and we hung out until the wash was in the dryers and then we went to lunch.

The biggest event this weekend was this evening though.  Steve was hosting a get together for everyone over at the local pizza joint.  You see, Steve heads to Afghanistan either Tuesday or Wednesday.  He'll be there for a year or so.  I should be used to this.  This is the 4th or 5th time in the last decade that he's been deployed to the Middle East, usually to Iraq, but to Afghanistan this time.  But, I'm not used to it.  I don't like it.  I understand to some degree why he stays in the Army.  I accept that it is who he is and what he does.  I even understand why we keep sending people over there, at least on some level.  But that doesn't mean I have to like it.  That doesn't mean that I won't be worried at least on some level until his plan lands state side again.  I may not have known Steve as long as some of the guys, but I've known him long enough and care about him more than enough to worry.  And besides, the way he honestly and truly cares for my boy, I have to worry.  Boo loves his Uncle Steve and wants him to be around as much as possible.  (Steve has this magic way with the kids, it's amazing.  Of course, I think it's because despite it all, he's still about 80% kid 90% of the time himself... sure he's as responsible and more so than anyone when he has to be, but he'd rather be playing with the kids any day of the week.)

So, it as usual it was good to catch up with Steve.  I just wish it wasn't because he was heading out of the country.

And speaking of heading out of the country, I realize that I never did post about last weekend.  Last Sunday we headed down to Baltimore to hang out with Michelle at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.  Which is a really awesome little zoo.  We had a great time.  We all loved the chance to spend the day together.  We don't get to do that often enough.  It turns out that we were lucky to get a chance at all to catch up with Michelle this time she was home.  She'd been in Afghanistan for about 5 weeks back in August and then home again.  (Of course, she was supposed to be in Pakistan for the year starting in August, but they're not really issuing visas much right now...)  Michelle still isn't sure exactly what's going on with her posting, but last Monday she left to go back to Afghanistan, for anywhere from two weeks to two months.  Yep, could be two months.  She's subbing for the person who was supposed to be there because when they had their physical, they found something that needed a minor out-patient operation.  So, until they get cleared to travel, Michelle will be filling in for them in Afghanistan.

At least both Michelle and Steve will be in the same country.  I feel a smidge better knowing that Steve will be there when Michelle is.  I know they'll more than likely never run into each other, but just knowing they're in the same area of the world is somewhat comforting.

Anyhow, it is well after 9:00 and I have to get up in the morning for the last day of the reporting month.  I'm not really looking forward to it.  It's Halloween though, so that'll be fun.  I'll be wearing my Faire garb that I haven't worn since before Boo was born.  And actually, I'll be wearing the bodice I haven't been able to wear for about a year or so prior to that because I was just too big.  Of course, the Irish dress that I bought about 8 or 10 years ago now is now about two sizes too big.  Which is both amazing and saddening at the same time.  I love that dress, but I've gotten more than my money's worth out of it.  Most of the guys in the office haven't ever seen me in it, and I can't wait to see their reactions...

So, peace (please) to everyone and may your weekends be full of fun, and your friends and family safe and sound.  (And don't forget to thank the service men and women and all the various support staff from the various departments who keep it that way...)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So It Begins...

Well, it looks like we're finally on our way to having our own Girl Scout troop.  Kat and I are both trained up.  We've been "approved" by the woman who handles membership in our service unit (who used to be Kat's ledader...).  (Don't get me started down that path...) We now have our official troop number from Council.  We also have at least one girl who wants to be a part of our troop!  Tonight I'm heading over to the church where we've been told we can meet and see what rooms are available since there are several other troops meeting at the same time.  There are some older girls meeting as well at the same time and I hope this doesn't cause a conflict.

OK.  I was going to let sleeping dogs lie, but I guess I have to explain that last comment at least a little.  You see, I'm beginning to feel a bit used and the pawn of some service unit politics.  It's not Loretta's fault, she was just going with the flow.

I had been told that there was a need for older girl leaders in our service unit by Loretta (who runs/owns the daycare that Boo goes to and who's daughters were in Scouts with Kat).  Me, being me, said "sure!".  Loretta said that there was a want for a 6th grade only Cadet troop.  Ok by me, I like that age.
Anyhow, at the first leader's meeting I went to for the service unit there was much cheering by everyone when they introduced us new leaders and they were told I was starting the 6th grade troop.  Fast forward to last week's meeting when Jane (the one in charge of membership) and Loretta (the go-to woman for older troops in the service unit) were both out.  Well, to say that my opinion of Jane from when I was a girl member was accurate is a true statement.  And Kat and I aren't the only ones.  Anyhow, it seems that the older girl leaders are mixed on the idea of a 6th grade troop and some are actually hurting for girls themselves.  So, yeah, I'm feeling a little bit played, but I'll make the best of it.
Kat and I are good at going with the flow and doing it our way within the system.  If it turns out that by the end of the year we merge with another troop, that's fine.  If we end up with a great group of girls, I want to keep them until they graduate, and add more 6th graders as they come along.  Then we won't be just a 6th grade troop any more, which makes some of the younger girl leaders unhappy.  Oh well, tough nuggies.  I'm not going to spend (what's left of) the year bonding with and growing with a group of girls, only to have to find them new homes come next fall.  Nope, not the way I do things.  And Jane can just deal.

Despite how negative those last few paragraphs may sound, I'm actually very excited about all of this.  I'm really looking forward to having something to do and somewhere to go and something positive outside of my family.  As much as I love my boys and we have a fairly comfortable routine right now, I need to do this for me.  I need to be doing something other than just work, work, work and family stuff.  There's not enough family time as it stands, but there's also not enough "me" time either.  This is something that I truly enjoy and will keep me happy.  And as everyone knows, if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  (I try not to inflict my crankiness on the world, but, I don't succeed very well...)

So, as exhausted as I am from work right now (we've had record numbers of both opened and closed cases the past 2 months) I really am quite excited about this.  I may not like some of the program things that have come out from council in the past year or two, but like Loretta said, just wait a few years and it'll all change again.  And since I have a long enough history with the program, I have no qualms about pulling stuff from the "old days" and doing it in addition to or instead of the "new" stuff.  (I'm not a fan of making my girls do a program or activity just because council or national says we have to... we'll do what the girls want and if they want to spend a few months learning new crafts than so be it.  I may try and figure out how to tie it in to the "new" stuff, but you know what, only if the girls really want to.)

So, now that I've rambled on way longer than I intended to, I'm going to sign off.

Peace to you all and may your undertakings be both grand and fun.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Weekends and Work

It's been a busy two weeks for me.  Mostly work stuff.  Ok, about 99% work stuff.
Let's see here, last time I posted I was "complaining" about having start-itus and having lots of projects in the works.
I'm happy to report that Boo's Halloween costume is done and ready for the big day.  I have also finished one of the blankets.  I thought the deadline for that one was the beginning of next month, but no, I needed it done by Monday.  You see, it was for my good friend at work Cynthia.  She's pregnant and due with her first baby, a girl, at the beginning of January.  This has been a very, very rough pregnancy and she's been working from home a lot.  Her doctors are strongly suggesting that she work from home all the time.  Her husband agrees.  So, instead of having her baby shower at the beginning of November, we decided to push it up to this week, whichever day she was able to come in.  It was a total surprise for her.  I was the one who ended up doing most of the planning, purchasing and coordinating in general.  Mostly because everyone kept asking me when we were doing something, or to let them know about what we were doing.  Therefore, I took the reigns and ran with it.  I have to tell you, the people in my office are very generous and caring people.  I don't think I've spent that much at BabiesRUs in one fell swoop, including when I was buying stuff before Boo was born.  Well, maybe I did... I know I spent well more than that there over the course of my pregnancy, just not all at once.
We held the party on Tuesday and Cynthia was very surprised and loved it all.  Her husband was equally surprised.  She received two hand made blankies (mine and one from Ellen, who also made Boo one before he was born).  She received all kinds of goodies I picked up for her as well as some that others picked up on their own.  Over all, it was a wonderful excuse for a little break from work.

This reporting month has been one of the most stressful we've had in several years.  There was a regulations change that took affect at the end of last month.  This required software changes both on our end and on the EPA's end.  Oh, and did I mention that the customers had to supply a bunch of information?  Well, we've been at reporting month levels (and higher) for the last 6-8 weeks.  The good news is, we've been keeping up and even excelling with the work load.  The bad news is that everyone's tempers are getting a little frayed and we're all feeling the pressure.

But, that's work.  And thankfully I have weekends.

This past weekend Gak had the suggestion of going to a corn maze.  He'd found one that looked kinda neat and only about a half hour away in Berks county.  Fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be, we ended up at the big maze across the street from the one we thought we were going to, even though it was run by the same farm. So, instead of the kid friendly playground and small corn maze, we end up at this neat big one that's three actual mazes, including one that had a "Clue" like game of F.S.I..  In each of the three mazes there were 6 "checkpoints" (I'd call them controls thanks to my orienteering background...).  The short maze also had 7 other posts with a picture of a "scene" at the farm.  This let you eliminate a location, suspect and weapon from the list of possibilities, just like with the game Clue.  We all had fun wandering through the maze and finding the signs.  We only did the short part of the maze because Gak's knee wasn't happy with the uneven ground and Boo was done walking (and I didn't have the pack...).
Anyhow, we found the other area across the street, but was not about to spend another $5 or more when I'd just spent $17 on the other side.  I did get a few pumpkin shots of Boo and Trey.
We then headed back towards home, got a mile or two up the road and found a big farm stand (where I picked up some very yummy pumpkin bread and a lot of apples waiting to be turned into sauce...) and a yummy dinner for some lunch.  (Don't remind me about the totally delicious peanut butter chocolate pie the three of us shared for desert...)  Anyhow, it was a nice drive home along the back roads.  Boo never did nap and we got a nice, if short and very windy ride in and had a good day over all.

Hopefully this weekend we're catching up with Michelle down in Baltimore on Sunday.

Anyhow, enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


I have had a horrible case of start-itus in recent months.  Now, I've actually gotten many of my projects completed, but I've got so many going right now, that I'm not sure I can keep them all straight.
This tells me that even if I'm stressed and under a lot of pressure, that mentally I'm doing just fine.  I'm feeling good enough to be creative and want to play with yarn or fabric or any number of other things.  That and I've actually managed to find time to squeeze in some reading for enjoyment too.  So, yes, I'm a bit frazzled and stressed, but I'm feeling pretty good about life in general.

So, let's see here, I have 5 crochet projects on the hooks (one of which I just started this evening despite promising myself I had to get one of two important ones done first...).  There are two blankets, one sweater, one scarf and one shrug at various points of completion from just started to over halfway there...  Yes, at least two have deadlines, one self-imposed, one because it's for a friend at work who is having a baby at the end of December or early January.  (We're hoping she makes it to January, this has been one very, very rocky ride for her...)  I'd love to have the sweater done soon for the cooler weather that's heading our way, but I'll be happy if that one gets done by spring.  The shrug will be great for spring and summer, but since it's a bit too light for winter wear, I'm not going to push too hard on that one yet.  And the scarf, the one I just started tonight, well... again, I really want to get it done now, but will be happy whenever it gets done.  Oh, and there are the snowflakes I want to crochet and the new lanyard I need for my badge for work... and the boys and I all need new hats and possibly scarves....

And that's just the crochet I have going.  I also have a little cap-sleeve jacket/shrug I want to sew, but need to find fabric for first.  And I'm currently in the middle of making Boo's Halloween costume.  No, I'm not telling you what it is, just that it'll be really cute and I'm being able to get all the fabric I need from scraps from old projects.  I was supposed to be working on that tonight, but my new yarn was calling my name and I caved.

I also want to get a photo book done for this year, or at least to remain on top of the photos in posting to Flickr for the rest of the year.  Oh, and I want to get the New Year's letter done so it might actually make it out the door this year (as opposed to the last two years where the letter is written, and on my hard drive but has never been printed or sent to anyone...).

And then there are the books.  I'm getting near the end of the third book in a series (the 4th will be out soon-ish) that I'm enjoying quite a bit.  And there's another somewhat "self improvement" kind of book I've been wanting to really dive into, but it is not bedtime reading.  And the new Rick Riorden (sp?) Heroes book comes out next month (I think).  Oh, and there are about a half dozen other things I want to read.  I may just have to start up my Audible account again and start listening to them while I play with yarn and/or fabric.

So, as you can see, I've had a huge case of start-itus that began sometime this summer.  I'm very happy to have my crafting bug back, it had taken a bit of a vacation for a while last year with all the stress of the move and life in general.  I'm also happy that I've been able to figure out how to squeeze it in to my day.  (That and time just for me to swim, bike or otherwise get some sort of physical activity in...)

It's just about 9 and if I want to get my swim in tomorrow morning, I'd best wrap this up.  I'm off to play with yarn for a few more moments and then crash into bed.

Peace to all and may the creativity bug bite you, but not to the point where you "suffer" start-itus!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Crayola Adventures

Today was a rainy and gray day, but Boo was awake and bouncing off the walls.  So, I finally got around to taking him up to Easton to go to the Crayola Factory.  I'm kinda glad it took us until recently to get up there.  Boo really wouldn't have enjoyed it even 3 or 4 months ago.  Sure, he loves to color, for about 5 minutes and only when he wants to.  He does not like anything squishy or icky or to get his fingers dirty.  That eliminates clay, painting and a whole bunch of other fun things.

We did have a lot of fun.  We got to color with both crayons and markers.  We got to cut with scissors and glue things and did I mention color?  We also got to watch a little demo on how they make both markers and crayons and Boo got a freshly made crayon and marker from that.  (As well as two samples of Model Magic, which will be mine.)  We also got tokens to put in machines to get crayons, markers or Model Magic.  Yep, they even give the tokens to parents.

I think we played for about 2 hours there.  We also got to visit the canal museum and see a little thing on trains as well.  It was well worth going.  I think Boo's favorite part was either using scissors or playing in the little play area.  I just loved being able to spend a couple of hours playing and exploring with my boy-o.  (Gak didn't go with us, he was really wanting a little down time, and I don't blame him with how busy we've been all weekend.)

On another, related, note Amma gave Boo her old camera on Saturday.  I've posted a bunch of the pictures that Boo took on Saturday.  Yes, two posts in two days AND I've posted pictures within 24-36 hours.  No, don't expect this to become a regular feature, but I'm going to try and post more, and more quickly.

I'm going to wrap this up here since it is October, and anyone who's been reading this for any period of time knows that October is one of the busy months at work.  It's not being helped by a regulation change that took affect last Monday, so yeah, I probably won't be posting every day in October.

Peace to all and may your adventures be many and fun.

Saturday, October 01, 2011


Today was a wonderful day.  Today my brother and his love joined their lives together now and forever, creating their own family.
To say I wish Jon and Becca nothing but happiness is an understatement.  I love my brother very much.  He and I have always had a pretty good relationship.  I love Becca almost as much.  She is a wonderful woman and the best match I could ever want for my brother.  They will make each other happy (and drive each other nuts) for a very long time.

The wedding was beautiful.  The weather cooperated and while it remained overcast, it did not rain on us.  The ceremony was held at Great Valley Nature Center.  PA is a unique state in the fact that due to our Quaker heritage, we can actually self marry in the Quaker tradition.  This means that Jon pledged himself to Becca, and Becca to Jon and with two witnesses to sign, the marriage is official and binding.

Once we all gathered at the center we walked over to where Jon and Becca had decided to hold the ceremony.  It was under a pair of trees at the edge of where the outdoor animals used to be.  Jon and Becca handed out envelopes to everyone who could read.  On each one was a special vow for that person to read.  For example, mine said "Jon and Becca, do you promise to continue to have adventures with each other?"  There were some that were silly, some that were serious, and all of them reflected the personality and relationship of those reading the vows to Jon and Becca.  They then had their own vows to each other and exchanged rings.  It was such a wonderful and happy moment.

After that we all adjourned down the road to the Cedar Hollow Inn for lunch and socializing.  Everything was wonderful. Our families mingled.  The four boys played.  Boo has a new friend in Jed, Becca's cousin.  They only live about an hour away in New Jersey, and we will hopefully get together again.  After "lunch" was done around 4, some people left and some people stayed for the social gathering of some local friends.  I took Boo home to Amma and PopPop's to hang out for a bit while Gak and I hung out.  It was nice to catch up with Greg and Ian from high school (and earlier).

We really had a great time.  But, I'm exhausted now, and am going to wrap this up.  I just wanted to post something, including this wonderful picture at the top before I crashed.

Peace to all and my your gatherings be happy and the ties that bind us be strong and full of love.