Shoal Bay East on the island of Anguilla
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
|Carol with her bib.|
|Wonderland Pier taken from atop the Ferris Wheel|
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
|Original 1978 Ewing Family|
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Prelude: This story was started early in the morning, while the family slept, during our annual visit to Ocean City, NJ. Part way through the story the wireless connection failed and the story mistakenly posted to my blog. Half a day later when I was able to access the Internet again I realized the problem with half a story being posted. Well, some of you may have read the first half of this story and can now skip to the second half, but in case you haven't viewed it before, enjoy the entire story. Sorry for the problem.It was an ordinary day. Walked a few blocks around our condo to pick up a newspaper this morning and saw house after house that brought back pleasant childhood memories, for you see the streets of Ocean City, New Jersey are lined with houses that have ornamental white wooden railings and roofs rimmed with colorful canvas awnings. When I was in my pre-teen years and living on North Queen Street near the Lancaster Train Station, my mom and dad always had a tan canvas awning hanging from the front porch roof. Also had one on the north side of the porch, but not on the opposite side since that side joined the neighbor's porch. Had many fond memories of playing and sitting with friends and family on the front porch and just loved when the weather started getting warmer in the spring and dad decided it was time to get out the metal porch furniture and put the awnings up. Carried the awnings from the basement, opened them in the back yard and scrubbed them using soap, bucket and the garden hose. Also had to carry all the cast iron metal poles that were used to support the canvas awning. Dad grabbed the old wooden step-ladder and attached the awning to the wooden rail under the spout with the same hooks that were a permanent part of the railing and fit into the grommet holes in the awning. Then he would slide the long metal pole into the seam on the bottom of the awning. On either end of the pole he would attach a threaded metal angle that then would accept a shorter pole that would travel through a sleeve on the side flap of the awning. These two shorter poles, one on either end of the front awning, would be fixed with hardware to the corner posts of the porch. Ropes and pulleys would finish the job and would be used to raise the awning in case of inclement weather to prevent damage to the awning. Pretty neat to watch and dad always made it more exciting with his yelling at mom and cursing at the awning. Then ........... he would have to do it all over again on the open side of the porch. Boy did our house look neat with that awning on the front. Looked like houses on the TV show "Leave it to Beaver." Most of the houses on the last block of Queen Street had matching awnings and added a touch of unity to the block. Back then there really was such a thing as a neat city neighborhood block; ours! Over time the awning would get damaged and maybe could be repaired, but eventually had to be replaced. This was a costly expense and took months of saving to be able to replace it. In the mid-60s mom and dad sold the house on Queen Street and moved to Helen Avenue in Grandview Heights, another really neat neighborhood, but one that had very few homes with awnings. I had graduated from high school by then and awnings weren't a big concern of my by then. Girls, cars and college, in that order, had replaced awnings on my priority list. But, every year, when we travel to Ocean City for the family vacation, I still enjoy walking through the neighborhoods admiring the many awnings that grace the neighborhoods. Green, tan, blue or what ever color as long as they are canvas, bring back the memories from my childhood. Something from my past that I will probably never see on a house that I own. Sad at times, since my kids never had the awning experience as I did! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
Monday, June 25, 2012
It was an ordinary day. My friend Bill, who lives in Arizona and who sends me something interesting almost daily, sent something today that is very relevant to all my age. Don't really need to know what that age is, but after looking at the following cartoons, you'll be able to guess within maybe 10 to 15 years how old that may be. Thanks Bill for the laughs. I always need a good laugh since it is supposed to help exercise all the face and neck muscles. Heaven knows I need all those muscles exercised as much as I can so they don't sag any more than they already have sagged. I was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
|Red Cap Richard|
Saturday, June 23, 2012
It was an ordinary day. Just finished one of the biggest matting and framing jobs that I have ever done. My brother deals in sports collectibles and knows I enjoy watching baseball on TV and that my favorite team is the Phillies so he gathered together a poster, autographed cards and simple signatures of everyone associated with the 1980 World Series winning Phillies team and asked if I wanted to work out a deal for them. Didn't take long to work out the deal and then I had to decide how I was going to mat and frame everything. Took some time to take all the measurements and do the layout, but I was able to get everything on a 32"x40" regulations sized mat board. Decided to do a double mat and the colors naturally had to be red and white, the Phils colors. I layed out the job on the computer at Grebinger Gallery where I work and cut the white top mat and the bottom red mat in no time. Bought the mats, foam board, glass and frame from Keith, the gallery owner and took everything home to put it together. All the autographs are documented so I had to be careful that I didn't damage any cards. I cut pieces of acid-free paper the exact size of the baseball cards and used them on the rear so any tape I would use would not damage the cards. The poster fit into the center of the mat with two rows of cards on the left and three rows of card on the right. The autographs that were not on any baseball card went along the bottom. One item that was autographed was an envelope with a photo of the Vet on the left and Pete Rose's autograph on the right. Another large card bore the name of Harry Kalas and another post card had the names of three of the pitchers on the team. Three cards were meant to run horizontal, but I couldn't figure how to do that so I placed the in a vertical position. I don't believe anyone will comp[lain about that. I dry-mounted the poster, but hand-mounted each card individually into the openings I had created. Took quite a few hours to complete, but the final result will look great above the desk. Called my brother Steve who stopped to look at it and gave his approval. Said I could get big bucks for it, since it was presented in such a nice manner. Hey, that's my job, matting and framing. I've looked at it for quite some time now and I think I would have done it differently if I did it over again, which I'm not going to do. All the player's cards on the left I would chose players who were looking towards the poster and the player's cards on the right would feature players who were looking the opposite way and in to the poster. I know this is a minor change, but would have looked better. I love the way it turned out and may have to do one for the 2008 Phils. May be a long time before the World Series trophy returns to Citizen's Bank Park again. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
Attaching the cards into the mat, one at a time
Finished foam board with poster on it and mat with autographed cards.
Had to tie sides together with wire so the frame wouldn't break.
The final result!
Friday, June 22, 2012
It was an ordinary day. This past Sunday was Father's Day and if that's not important, how about adding our anniversary. Yep, Carol and I celebrated 45 years of wedded bliss. Wedded bliss! Exactly what is wedded bliss? Naturally had to "Google" it and found page after page of answers. Found out that there is a Wedded Bliss Foundation based in Washington, DC and you can register and take courses there. For what I'm not sure. Then I found this: Wedded means "married." Bliss means "great joy or happiness." Put together, it should mean being married has brought great joy to the happy couple. Sounds good to me. The night before our anniversary I laid in bed thinking about 45 years. Holy Cow, 45 years! That's 16,436 days, taking into consideration leap years. And I don't think we have been apart for more than a dozen days during that time. Any problems during all those days. Nah! Well, maybe a few, but probably could count them on the fingers of one hand. Then I started to think about how many times I mowed the grass during those 45 years and how many movies we went to during that time. How many vacations did we take and how many pets did we have. Then, I fell asleep!! Every year we agree to not buy each other presents, but then the day arrives and if I wouldn't have a present I would look bad because she always has one for me. This year I got Carol two beads for her Troll bracelet. Found them at The Silver Moon Gallery in Park City Shopping Mall, Lancaster, PA. Looked and looked for the one I found she had "pinned" on my Pinerest account, but they didn't have it, so I searched the store for something similar. Found an entire display made by Kelly Gallagher who is an art teacher in high school and is married to Jim whose art classroom was two doors from my classroom when I taught school. Jim and I were co-advisers for the high school yearbook for over 25 years. I knew Kelly did papier-mache molding, but didn't know she did glass work. Great beads, and they have some local flair to them. Carol bought me a Apple iPod Nano. Know what that is? Something that I can load my favorite songs on and listen to when I go to the beach, fly on a plane or run the printing press at the high school. I'm actually callinig it my Nannan, since that is what I used to call my one grandmother. Always loved her and this is how I can honor her. Least I can do, huh? Took me an hour or so to figure it out, but I finally have loaded about 100 or so songs on it. Mostly "oldies", but a few reggae and country songs. Can't listen to any music unless there are a few Jimmy Buffett songs included. Downloaded all the songs onto iTunes on my iMac computer, plugged the Nannan into the computer and presto! ....... the songs instantly went into the Nannan. Actually, I'm listening to "Blueberry Hill" as I type this. Pretty neat gift and I must admit it is neater than a couple of glass beads. I'll have to do better next year or I might not make it to 50. Got any ideas for #50 for me? Got to be something GREAT, you know. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
It was an ordinary day. Just got off the phone with the nurse. Had to make another appointment to see the doctor about this crazy case of shingles I still have. Got them back at the end of April, two days after arriving in St. Martin for vacation. Started first with a tingling sensation in my thigh. Thought it may be too much sunburn from a day at the beach. Then the next day I got a blister like rash on the rear of my left knee. Both Carol and I thought that also was from too much sun. But, I put 65 SPF lotion all over my body, so it had to be something else. Then the next day it started to spread up and down from behind my knee. Another day saw it reach my left rear butt cheek and down to my calf. Big, no make that BIG, sore-like blisters that were really ugly. Didn't hurt or bother me too much until they reached my butt and I had to sit on them. By now Carol realized it was a full blown case of shingles. We went to Philipsburg, the capital of Sint Maarten (Dutch side of the island) to find a pharmacy to see if they had a cream to use on it. Didn't, but the pharmacist asked to see them and said I should have a doctor look at them. She made an immediate appointment for me at a clinic about two blocks away. Told me they were waiting to see me as soon as I could get there. Doctor told me that if he had seen me within the first 72 hours he could have given me an antiviral medication that would have stopped the virus from multiplying and would also have helped speed the healing of the skin lesions and reduce the severity and duration of the pain. Too bad I missed it!! The doctor told me there is nothing I can do but wait until the virus has worked it's way out of my body. He continued by telling me that about 10% of those who get shingles develop postherpetic neuraligia which is a condition where people keep feeling pain and or discomfort even after their rash goes away. Sometimes for months or even years. Also told me the rash and resulting blisters travel along the nerves in your body. Great, just GREAT!! I'm telling you this in case you ever get anything that closely resembles shingles and can get to the doctor right away. Don't delay. This is HELL! I made sure it didn't ruin my vacation by ignoring it as much as I could. Had no trouble on the beach, since everyone who saw me steered clear of me. Then the scabs started to develop. Well, it's been a week shy of 3 months now and I still have trouble walking because of the pain in my foot. My foot is partially numb and the part that isn't numb makes walking feel like I'm tramping on small sharp stones. Socks feel like sandpaper when I have them on. Did I mention that this is HELL! Last Monday I went to one of my grandson's baseball games and my daughter-in-law's step-father told me that he is taking a drug to relieve nerve pain in his legs. Told me he read that it is also good for shingles. Called my doctor Tuesday morning and asked about it. His nurse returned my call early afternoon telling me they had called a prescription into the pharmacy for me. Shortly I stopped and picked up the pills. Popped one in my mouth when I got home. Supposed to take two a day. Wednesday morning I took another one and went to work at the high school where I used to teach school and still do the in-house printing for the district. By 11:00 AM I started to notice something strange happening. Not sure what it was, but it was strange. Seemed to be floating. I told the fellow I work with that I wasn't feeling well and headed home. By the time I got home I was getting dizzy and lite-headed so I parked the car in the garage, sat in my favorite recliner and woke almost 3 hours later. Wow! Called the doctor's office and reported my reaction to the drug. Told me to only take the one in the evening, but I opted to stop it altogether. Heading back to the doctor this afternoon to see if he has any other suggestions. I'm taking a list of allegedly effective treatments that my friend Just Sue from State College mailed me after seeing it in her local newspaper. Some of the treatments are: a numbing patch, antidepressants, anti-seizure and anti- ...... wait, that's just what I stopped, topical anesthetics, acupuncture, steroid injections, intercostal block and capsaicin. Maybe just one of those might work so I can walk the boards on the Ocean City boardwalk next week when we travel there with our children and grandchildren for our annual week at the beach. I'm sure that something will work or I'll just have to ignore the pain for the week like I did when I first got the virus. Hope it works soon, because this is HELL! Oh, yeah, I think I mentioned that, didn't I. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
It was an ordinary day. Thinking back a few nights ago to when Carol and I enjoyed having friends Barry and Karen over for a meal and to see the photos from our latest trip to St. Martin. I know how much some people hate to see their friends vacation photos so I made my favorite 228 photos into a slide show with music that lasted slightly over 12 minutes. They still seemed interested in our trip when the show was over, so I guess they weren't bored out of their minds. I should tell you that they traveled with us to St. Martin over a year ago and they were anxious to revisit some of the same spots again through the slide show. Made the slide show an easy go for me. Carol prepared a meal for the evening which included mostly grilled items so that we could talk while we sat near the grill. Most of the time I kept turning the Romaine lettuce and steak over and over. Did you know that you can grill Romaine lettuce? Hey, there are many items that I didn't know could be grilled until I read an online article sent to me from Reader's Digest. You may find some of the items to your liking so I will give you a few photos and how you can grill them. Happy eating! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
Carol cut the Romaine lettuce "stalks" in half and I placed them on the grill for a few minutes on each side. May get some burning on the ends, but the flavor with olives, small tomatoes and feta cheese is great.
Don't these look great. Watermelon or even cantelope can be used for grilling. Make the pieces about 1 inch thick, brush them with olive oil, season to your liking, and grill for about 4-5 minutes per side until the fruit carmelizes and begins to dry out.
Did you know you could grill cheese. Put the cheese directly on the grill until it gets char marks. Different varieties of cheese require different times, so watch that you don't melt it. Don't make you pieces too thick and use a medium-high heat.
Place the entire sweet potato on the grill until soft, slice and drench in butter and brown sugar. You know, any potato would taste great with butter and brown sugar on it.
Put slices of bacon on a skewer and grill. You must be careful that the fat doesn't cause the grill to flame-up too much. Use the grilled pieces for salads, burgers, or add them to grilled pineapple as an appetizer.
You can grill avacado halves, scoop the flesh into guacamole that's extra smoky and savory. Never did it, but it sounds good.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
It was an ordinary day. Carol and I are taking a walk through Overlook Park which is adjacent to our neighborhood. Great walking trails with plenty of wildlife to observe on our walk. As usual, we talk about almost anything that comes to mind. She was telling me about a couple that were living next to her boss who were having a bad time. Seems that the wife had died from cancer as well as one of their children and now the husband has been diagnosed with cancer. Wow, talk about bad luck. Carol told me that she asked her boss if the couple had been living near Three Mile Island (TMI) at the time when they had the nuclear reactor accident in 1979. Her boss had no idea, since he had just moved to the area a few months ago. I have written about TMI in a few other posts, but just to refresh your memory: On Tuesday, March 29, 1979 at 4 AM, EST, the #2 reactor suffered a nuclear meltdown. It was the worst accident in US commercial nuclear power plant history and resulted in the release of small amounts of radioactive gases and radioactive iodine into the environment. 28 hours after the accident Lieutenant Governor William Scranton III held a press conference saying that all schools within a 5-mile radius of the plant would be closed, residents were to stay indoors and farmers should keep their animals under cover and feed them stored feed. Then, on Friday, Governor Richard Thornburgh said that the area had been extended to a 20-mile radius. Wow, we were right on the border line. Pretty scary. But, my story goes beyond that. Seems that our oldest child's 8th birthday was on March 28. Something to help him remember his birthday in the future. But, we had scheduled a birthday party with eight to ten of his friends from Schaeffer Elementary School on the Saturday after the accident at TMI. What should we do. Everyone was extremely concerned, but we made calls to the parents telling them we would still have the party and if they felt their child should not attend, we would understand. All showed up and we kept them inside at 925 Janet Ave. At least for an hour or so, then, since they were all young boys, we felt a great need to get them outside so they could work off some of their energy. What to do! One of the boys' father was a doctor at the Lancaster General Hospital. A radiologist matter of fact. So we called the hospital and asked to talk to him. Asked if he felt it would be safe for the boys to go outdoors. He said that they had a meter on the roof of the hospital that measures radioactivity and they had checked it about an hour ago and it did not register anything out of the ordinary. He felt it was perfectly safe for the boys to be outside. He also was sympathetic about our need to be outside. Well, the party was a success and everyone made it home safely. But, we still wonder, after all these years, about the amount of radioactive gases that were released into the air, especially around the TMI plant. We have heard about many cases such as the one my wife told me about during our walk and still believe that it may have been caused by the accident. I guess we will never know. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Prelude: Today I will enter and post my 1000 story!! I find it hard to believe that I have written 1000 daily stories about my life, or at least something that interests me in my life. Thanks for sticking with me through all or most of those stories. I must tell you that about a half-year ago I wrote what follows and what you are about to read. I thought I had run out of stories, but then someone called and asked when I was going to write about ......... and so it goes. Well, I filed this story in my "draft" box and thought I could use it when I was totally finished writing. Didn't happen yet, but here is the story I wrote anyway.....
It was an ordinary day. I sat down in front of the TV around noon yesterday and my wife had one of my favorite movies on the screen. "Julie & Julia" is based on the book by the same name, which is based on the true story by Julie Powell about "The Julie & Julia Project". Julie (Amy Adams) is a government employee working in New York City in the year following 9/11. She, her husband Eric (Chris Messina) and their cat live in an apartment above a pizza parlor. All of her friends are successful in their careers. Julie is not. Of course, we all know who Julia Child is! Meryl Streep was a fantastic Julia Child, who started out as a bored housewife in Paris looking to fill her time and ended up being a major influence on American cuisine. One evening, while bemoaning the lack of meaning in her life, Julie picks up Julia Child's cookbook and decides to cook all 524 recipes in the book in a year, while blogging about her experience. At first, no one is interested, but as time goes by, Julie gets more and more followers of her blog. If it had not been for this movie that we saw in 2009 with our friends Jerry and Just Sue in State College, you may not be reading this today. After leaving the movie theatre I told Carol, "I'm going to write a blog just like Julie did." She naturally asked me about what and I said, "About me!" "Won't take too many days for that," she replied. She was kind enough to help me set up the blog on Blogspot, just like Julie did, and after 874 stories I am still writing. See why it is one of my favorite movies of all time! And last I checked the counter telling how many times someone has pulled the site up on their computer was 20,446. That is just mind-boggling to me! Thanks for reading along!! I am now finally out of ideas, but check back every so often and I may have a few more tales to tell. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
So, you see how it all began. As of today I have posted 1000 stories and still goin' strong. Hits number over 29,000 and some days over 100 or more of you check in to see what I'm up to. Hey, thanks for letting me share with you my life. Last week I went to work at the high school where I used to teach and encountered one of my former co-workers. As soon as he saw me he said, "Hey, LDub." I immediately knew he had tuned into my blog. Said he found it while googling some topic and found I had written about it. I hear stories all the time from many who have happened on the site while looking for something else. Glad you were able to find me. See you tomorrow. It was another ........... you know by now!
Sunday, June 17, 2012
It was an ordinary day. Yesterday, after the mail arrived, I opened a letter with my name handwritten across the front of the envelope. Didn't recognize the handwriting, but still excited to see what is inside the medium sized envelope. Inside I found a hand-made Father's Day card. The outside of the card stated "Couldn't let today go by without wishing you a very Happy Father's day!" it proclaimed on the red and black front. Inside was just the greeting "Happy Father's Day" in large black type on a light red background and it was signed "Love" Mom! Pretty neat! My mom is a resident of Moravian Manor retirement community in Lititz, PA and she loves it there. I try to visit at least once a week and sometimes manage to get there more than once a week. The nurses that work in her area are all great people and love her as much as she loves them. They are always trying to do something with the residents to make their quality of life better in their waning years. The card is one example. I'm sure that most guys who have a relative in the unit where my mom is and who are a father received one of these cards. Included with the card is an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper with a quiz to take. Titled "Famous Fathers & Sons", it lists on the left 25 fathers and on the right 25 sons. My job is to match the fathers with the sons. Easy to match Ozzie with David and Ricky, Henry Mitchell with Denis, George Bush with George W., Ward Cleaver with Beaver, and Bobby Bonds with Barry, but then it got harder. Who would you match with King Solomon, King David, Polonius, and Bruce Lee? I know, if you had all the names across from them you might know, but for me I was stumped on all the rest. And, after cheating and looking at the answers on the reverse side, I still did recognize the names. But, it really doesn't matter because the most important part was that my mom sent me the card to wish me a Happy Father's Day. And, I have a few of her guardian angels to thank for that. Will give her a call tonight and thank her for the card. She may or may not remember making it and sending it to me or even that today is Father's Day, but that's OK. She did remember that I was a father and that's all that matters. Happy Father's Day to all of my readers who are fathers on this special day of the year. Hope you got a special card, also Enjoy! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
It was an ordinary day. Reading about all the uses for WD-40. Seems that there are so many uses for the stuff, other than the regular use of getting stuck bolts and nuts loose. I have already tried a few and found that they really do work well. I sprayed the stuff on some of my old license plates that I collect from islands where I have been and it really does remove light surface rust and hopefully will keep them from getting rusty again. I have the plates wired to the front of my Tiki Bar on the back deck and they are constantly in bad weather all the time. I have also used WD-40 on the top of my bird feeder and on the post of the feeder to try and keep the squirrels from taking over. Funny watching the squirrels jump off the trees right behind it and slide down the roof. One more thing I read about and tried was cleaning the toilet with WD-40. Spray the toilet bowl with it, wait a minute and use the toilet brush to wipe away all the stains. I even noticed that it removed a few lime stains I had on my shower stall. Maybe it will make the toilet bowl slippy enough that nothing new will stick to it. Maybe I should spray the seat of my first floor toilet with it and see what the guests say when they try to sit down on it. After reading some more I found out many other uses for the stuff that has it's own distinct odor. Here are a few of the many uses:
(1) If you happen to tramp on dog poop, spray the bottom of your shoe with WD-40, use as small brush, such as a nail brush or toothbrush, and the stuff will scrub right away.
(2) Now, I haven't tried this yet, since winter never arrived this year, but if you spray the outside of your windows with WD-40, snow will not stick to the glass.
(3) You can also spray your boots and shoes with the stuff and it'll act as a barrier so water can't penetrate the material.
(4) If your ring is stuck on your finger, instead of using butter to try to get it off, spray it with WD-40.
(5) Chewing gum stuck in your kids hair? Just spray the hair and comb it right out.
(6) You ever have scuff marks on you linoleum or tile floors? Spray with WD-40, wait a few minutes and wipe the scuff marks away. Works also on tar that the kids may drag in after your street has been tarred. May want to open the windows or circulate the air to get rid of the smell.
(7) Sometimes when I put the glassware into our cabinet, I stack it on top of each other for lack of enough space. If they ever get stuck together, you can squirt some WD-40 on the glasses, wait a few seconds and gently pull them apart. Hopefully you won't break them, bit I think I would re-wash them before I used them again.
(8) One use that I will be trying it for soon is spraying it on window sills, door frames and screens to keep insects and spiders from entering the house. Not sure if it would work on stink bugs, but I certainly will try it. Don't inhale the stuff and I read that if you have young children, don't try this at all. Also, if you get bees and wasps every summer, spray their usual nesting spots with WD-40 and they won't return.
I have read a few more hints, but I don't think they would work so I'm not going to suggest them to you. Right now I'm thinking about spraying my BBQ grill with the stuff to keep my burgers from sticking, but my wife tells me there's no way she will eat anything off the grill if I do that. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
Friday, June 15, 2012
It was an ordinary day. One of our cats is lounging on the picnic table on the deck in the sun while the other is napping in his swivel chair by the TV. Creamsicle, the cat on the table, is our outdoor cat who will come in to visit, but not for long. He was dropped off in our neighborhood and kind of adopted us as his owners. Otis, the cat on the swivel chair, will be 19 years old soon and spends most of his day sleeping or begging for treats. The two cats have met each other with mixed emotions. Otis knows that he is the master of our house and even though he will touch noses with Creamsicle, he really doesn't want anything to do with him. I read that the nose-to-nose greeting is unusual, but it is done to gain information about the other cat; where he has been and what he has been doing. I'm sure Creamsicle didn't get much from Otis's nose. But, there is one thing that they both do equally well, and that is PURR. While reading I found out that purring usually indicates contentment, however deep purring can also indicate pain. Cats start to purr at one week old and purr in a monotone when young. Kind of like how some people sing. When they age they can purr in two to three resonant notes. Kind of like harmony. Scientists still don't know exactly how the purring sound is made, although some believe that it originates in the cardiovascular system rather than the throat. A few other facts about cats are they can die, as dogs can, from eating chocolate; cats blink and narrow their eyes when they accidentally make eye contact; a cat's pulse is between 160-240 beats per minute; cats cannot understand punishment as humans do; giving a cat a raw strip of meat everyday to chew on will keep his gums and teeth in good condition. Hey, works for me also. And the final fact that we see more and more in Otis as he reaches really old age is that he likes to nap more often, and when really relaxed, can enter a deeper sleep. When he does that he actually produces the same brain wave patterns that we do when we dream. I do notice his paws will move and his ears and tail will twitch when he is in a deep sleep. For years I was the old man of the house, but Otis has surpassed me and I now look up to him to show me the proper ways to nap and sleep. I think I'm getting it right. At least my wife tells me I am. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Creamsicle on top, Otis on bottom
Thursday, June 14, 2012
It was an ordinary day. Read in the paper a few days ago that commuters riding the Amtrak train from Lancaster, PA to points west and east had to walk around the train station, cross the tracks and climb the steep stairs to get to the platform in order to catch their train in the early morning. Wow! How dangerous is that? The commuters were locked out of the station which is in my old neighborhood where I grew up as a young boy back in the 50s and early 60s. Spent many a day at the station back then with friends or by myself sliding down the brass railing inside the station, sitting on the benches of Platform #1 or #2, waiting for the trains to arrive so I could talk to the conductor or engineer. Back then they would actually take time to talk to you. Even crossed the tracks to sit under the platforms and watch the trains fly by directly in front of me. But, that was way back then and I was not supposed to be crossing the tracks anyway. This morning dozens of commuters had to do that in order to catch the train to head west to Harrisburg or east to Philadelphia to their jobs. Seems that both the workers who were supposed to open the doors to the station at 5:00 AM didn't. One called in sick and the other was late. Only half an hour late mind you, but that was the busy morning rush hour and that's not acceptable. This morning I read in the paper that US Senator Bob Casey really gave it to Amtrak. See, this isn't the first time it has happened in recent months and the safety of rail travelers is in jeopardy when they have to venture across busy tracks that are in constant use. Sounds like a law suit if someone would get hurt. Casey called on Amtrak to immediately take corrective action and asked for a timely written response that outlines its plans to prevent the mistake from ever happening again. Pennsylvania is trying to push mass transit and this certainly doesn't help the matter. After reading all this and realizing I had nothing to do today, I thought it was time to visit the old stomping grounds and take a few photos. Renovations have been taking place over the past few years to the tune of almost two million dollars. Seems like I should be able to tell the difference when I visit. When I arrived I noticed the new parking lots in front of the train station. Always tough to park in the neighborhood and this will be a big help. Pulled into spot #14 and read the sign that I was supposed to head to the toll booth to pay for the parking. That I did and I found a sign that said "Booth closed". As soon as you arrive you notice the new overhanging protective shields to make it easier to arrive and unload without getting wet on rainy days. Only thing is, they don't match the architecture of the original train station. I snap a few photos and head up the stairs. The long brass railing heading upstairs is still as shiny and beautiful as it always was. I reach the top of the stairs and look around. Ticket window still remains on the left as it was years ago. Took a few shots of the grand lobby and headed to the long windowed hall that leads to the platforms. Shot a few pixs from one of the open windows of the tracks below and was confronted by the Porter/Red Cap. Guy wants to know why I'm taking photos. Reasonable question so I share my story with him. Instantly, he becomes my best friend. Tells me about the ongoing renovations or lack of ongoing renovations. Not hard to see the peeling paint and plaster on the floor from the deterioration of the walls. Where did the millions go? I ask for the next arrival time and head for Platform #2. A few more photos and I'm ready to leave. Looked at some of the spots that I used to frequent almost every day during the summer when I was younger and headed back to the main lobby. Stopped at the top of the steps and wondered what people would think if I slid down the brass railing. Took a few parting shots and walked down the stairs. Didn't want to chance breaking something if I should fall sliding down the railing as I did many times years ago. Memories upon memories of the old neighborhood flooded me today. Must return soon, I thought to myself. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
|Lancaster, Pennsylvania Amtrak Railroad Station.|
|Brass railing leading to the lobby and trains.|
|Lancaster Train Station Grande Lobby.|
|Yep, to the trains.|
|Red Cap giving me the arrival time.|
|Rails with concrete ties.|
|Westbound train leaving the station.|
|Slide or not to slide .......... I walked!|