It was an ordinary day. Looking at a few breathtaking photographs that were forwarded to me by an old-time friend who lives on the other side of the U.S. Bill and I grew up together until his mother moved his family to another town and I didn't get to see much of him until fate got us together as cashiers at a local grocery store when we were seniors in high school. We stay in touch and he still makes visits to Lancaster, PA to see friends and always stops to see my wife and me during those visits. He sends me emails quite frequently, but being he is a staunch Republican and I am not, very seldom do I look at them for any length of time. Today was different. His email was titled "Stunning Storm Pictures - The Majesty of Mother Earth." Wow, what photographs. Wish I had taken them myself. Very seldom to I just cut and paste anything in my posts, but I enjoyed these photos so much, I knew you would also. So, here is Mother Nature in all her glory!! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.
Friday, June 23, 2017
Thursday, June 22, 2017
|Grandmothers's clock which stands in Hal and|
Jeannie's home in Lancaster County.
|The seven-foot grandfather's clock that|
Hal built for his daughter. Notice that
the top of the clock is slightly taller than
the floor joists in his home. The clock
will have to be tipped carefully to be
able to remove it from his workshop.
|Hal began each shop session by turning on his clock so he could tell how many hours it took to build the grandfather's clock. He began working on the clock January 4 of this year and spent 343 hours on it's construction.|
|Hal points out the moulding that was both interesting and tedious to make.|
|Here is a sample of how Hal glued three pieces of wood together after he had created the shapes he wanted.|
|This is one of the router bits he needed to purchase in order to form the moulding for the clock's bonnet.|
|A pattern Hal made to help him create the openings in the side access panels.|
|A view of the side access panel that is partially removed so you can see the face of the clock.|
|The center part of the fluted column mouldings was made by gluing three strips of wood together with paper between them, turning the moulding on the lathe and then breaking it apart. The bottom part was made with a router.|
|This is a tool inherited from his father that he used to place the small brads in the mouldings that hold the beveled glass in place.|
|If you look closely, about halfway between the top and bottom of the photo, you can see one of the metal brads that was put in place by the tool above.|
|On the other side of the clock face is "On" (chimes are activated at all times) and "Night Off" (chimes are activated except for hours between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM)|
|The phases of the moon will rotate in the face as the clock runs. Around the moving moon dial is a brass dial that runs from 1 to 29. These numbers represent the days of the moon's cycle around the earth. A full moon cycle is 29 1/2 days.|
|The decorative locking hardware is displayed in this photograph.|
|The clock was stained with a slight red cherry stain which was rubbed on and then four coatd of Minwax Tung Oil Finish was applied. After sanding with 400 grit abrasive paper, and polishing with 0000 steel wool, a coat of wax finished the job.|
|The proud craftsman locking the door on the beautiful grandfather's clock he just finished.|
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
It was an ordinary day. If the title of my story today has you wondering, I've got to tell you that I don't think anyone has ever been perfect in what they do, but today I'm talking about myself and the fact that I have never, ever, since 1968, produced a perfect high school, middle school or intermediate school yearbook. I strive to be perfect while producing the school yearbook, but it just seems to never work out that way. This evening Carol and I were attending a picnic at a friend's house who invited past, as well as present, teachers of Industrial Arts and Technical Education to gather for an evening of fun and friendship since the current school year has just ended. There were about a dozen current and old timers who gathered for fun, food and fellowship at Jim's house near New Holland, Pennsylvania. His beautiful home sat high on a hill above what is known to many as the "Garden Spot of America". The view from his rear porch was breathtaking as we looked out over miles and miles of Lancaster County farmland. I happened to be talking to one of the current teachers, Wendy, when I asked her if she had heard any comments about this years Middle School yearbook which was just distributed on this final day of school to all students and teachers.
She smiled and said she heard many nice comments, but a few saw that the same photograph had been used for both the field hockey and girl's soccer teams. Names were correct under their respective headlines, but the photos were the same. You can't imagine how awful I felt after viewing the pages when I returned home from the picnic. What to do? Absolutely nothing, I guess. It seems I have altered the history of the school once again and shy of doing the book all over again there is very little I can do. About thirty years ago my yearbook staff somehow misspelled the name of the star girl's basketball player under a great photo of her making a basket. Her parent were outraged that something like that could happen in a publication that at the time was done by students, but under my watch.
I called my yearbook rep and he suggested we reprint just the picture with the caption on adhesive paper and give the family twenty or so copies of the photograph. The girl could distribute the photo to all her friends and they could apply the photo over the incorrect one. Al gave them to me for no cost and I gave them to the player and all was fine again. Another time the date on the title page was wrong. Now, that was my fault since it occurred last year and I no longer have students on my staff. It's just me, you see! I reasoned that after all these years, they all start to fade together and I just forgot what year it was. Not a single person noticed it, or at least not a single person said anything to me. That mistake wasn't going to get changed no matter how many people complained. Too expensive to redo the book. As for this year's mistake, which I finally figured what happened, but will not disclose if I am once again to blame, it too will more than likely be forgotten. The book was distributed over a week ago and more than likely everyone has forgotten the mistake, unless they read this account of what happened. A mistake in any publication is a mistake and shouldn't happen, but s#%t happens. I have found mistakes in just about every eReader book I have purchased. Also find mistakes in the daily newspaper just about every day. Minor be they, but still mistakes. Heavens, there was a mistake in this year's graduation program. Now how can that happen? Wait ... that's right, I print that also. Oh well, as my story title says today ... I've Never Been Perfect." Of course you knew that, didn't you! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary gyu.
|The cover of the 2017 Middle School Yearbook|
|The cover of the 2017 Intermediate School Yearbook|
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
It was an ordinary day. Talking to my brother, Steve, about when we can get together again and visit a couple of antique shops or head to the auction to see if there might be something we might want to place a bid on.
Steve is five years my junior and I only got to know him real well a few years ago, since when we were younger we both had our own friends and own places to visit and never really went on vacation together after we were both out of high school. When I met my wife we used to go on dates to see Steve's high school basketball games. But then Carol and I began our family and Steve entered the US Marines. When he returned to Lancaster he became engaged and he and his wife began their family and we only seemed to get together on holidays and special events. Well, a few years ago Steve and his wife Kathy began to travel to the Jersey Shore in the fall for vacation and began to invite Carol and myself. I got to know my brother better than I ever knew him.
Then the four of us began to take a day once a month and head to the Chesapeake Bay for lunch and shopping at antique shops. I recently spent time with him teaching him how to make stained glass artwork. I'm going to try to get him to show me how to sell my old junk on eBay which he has been doing for years. Carol and I recently took our yearly trip to St. Martin after having some major medical problems and Steve and Kathy were both concerned with us leaving for the trip. And then wouldn't you know it, we both had to go to the doctor while on St. Martin due to bad colds. I had promised to send Steve an email after a few days to tell him how we were both doing while on vacation. My email did tell him of our visit to the island doctor. Shortly we got an email from him which read: This is Steve woods, hope you remember me, I told you to stay home didn't I and you both had to go and get sick and take foreign medicine again.
My poor brother I hope he managed to have a little fun with his sickness, I bet he misses me, will talk to you as soon as you return to the United States of America, hopefully this will be the last time we have to be worried sick about you two, mother would not have approved of all this. We laughed so hard it made us begin to cough again. Carol immediately returned the email asking him if this is one of those pfishing emails? Well, a day later he emailed back to us saying: No, this is your favorite brother in law who thinks it's time you two get home. I believe there is a kitty cat who is missing his mommy and daddy. Talk to you soon. Yeah, we were having a good time going back and forth, but I believe Steve was really concerned and was genuine even though he did it in a rather humorist manner. For all the years that I missed having a close relationship with my brother, I'm loving it now. If only our parents could be alive to see it .... It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
|This is one of the few photos I have where|
I am bigger than my brother Steve.
|Photo of my brother and me when we were showing off|
our new earrings at his sons wedding reception.
|Photo taken in Stone Harbor, New Jersey when we were|
both trying a see if we liked a new drink.
Monday, June 19, 2017
It was an ordinary day. Checking my blog as well as my Facebook page. Found that I had over 20 "Comments" and 40 "Likes" for the story I posted on Blogspot two days ago about Carol and my 50th Wedding Anniversary. We appreciate all the great comments that were posted as well as seeing all the names attached to the likes. Names I haven't heard for years or students I haven't seen since they graduated from high school. Carol and I felt all the love that was meant by the postings on Facebook and we truly are thankful for having so many great friends that enjoyed reading about our momentous occasion. Also thought I would give you an update as to how we shared our anniversary with the rest of the family. Our two granddaughters arrived from Maryland this past Wednesday to visit and stay overnight with the young girl I wrote about a few times on this blog, Kennedy. She is one of eight people in the world who share an extremely rare disease and who received, in 2014, the donation of part of a liver from a high school classmate of her mother Donya. She is doing well and has become attached to both Courtney and Camille, my granddaughters. They spent the night with her and her step-sister Mia and returned to our place on Thursday. On Friday Camille and I picked up my grandson, Caden, and the two of them helped me mulch my flower beds while Courtney helped my wife with shopping. Carol and I thought it funny that they just happened to set up the visit with Kennedy and the visit to our house a few days before our anniversary. Then our daughter Brynn, Camille and Courtney's mother, arrived Friday evening and told us to be up and ready by 9:15 am Saturday morning, since we were going somewhere. Ah, Ha! Told us we had to dress nice casual! Something was up. If you have been reading this blog you probably know that I have been going through some medical problems and was given four shots of Firmagon before a recent surgery. Some of the side effects of the drug are hot flashes, night sweats and the inability to control one's emotions. Which for me means I now tend to cry all the time. Carol keeps a box of tissues on the table next to our bed and when I wake in the middle of the night with night sweats and crying, I can count on a few tissues from the other side of the bed. I will trade all those side effects for my health any day, but the crying thing was going to make me look like a fool if a large group of people were going to meet us somewhere at 9:15 am. I should have known better since my three children knew of my predicament.
After driving around a few wrong streets, on purpose, Brynn pulled into the Eden Resort in Lancaster, Pennsyl- vania. We walked from the parking lot into the main entrance than to the resort's restaurant where we found our son Tad, son Derek, daughter-in-law Barbara and grandson Caden. I instantly relaxed and knew I was going to enjoy our 50th Wedding Anniversary. A big basket of "goodies" awaited Carol and me from my favorite fruit slices and cashews to a gift card for Carol to have her nails done. Naturally a few bottles of wine and a bottle of Champagne were found in the basket. We enjoyed the fabulous buffet and a few fun stories from our years of wedded bliss. A perfect day with the people who mean the most to us was had by Carol and me. Now, I could go on and on about the family, but the tears are filling my eyes as I type, so I will end my story. Thanks again for all the nice comments and likes. They were a fun part of our anniversary! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
|From left-right: Camille, LDub, Carol, Brynn, Tad,|
Courtney, Barbara, Caden and Derek. The Woods Family!
Sunday, June 18, 2017
It was an ordinary day. Reading a few stories in the local newspaper as well as online about nearby Three Mile Island (TMI) closing in a couple of years. Seems they haven't been able to sell the power they make due to the lower cost of natural gas in Pennsylvania. Exelon Corporation has threatened to close TMI and idle 675 workers if the state of Pennsylvania doesn't come up with some support for the losses. $800 million has been lost over the last five years and Exelon says it has to stop the bleeding or close the 43-year-old facility at the ed of September 2019. Out of those 675 workers, slightly over 200 live in Lancaster County while the rest live in neighboring Dauphin County. You may remember a few years ago I wrote a story telling about our oldest son, Derek, having a birthday party scheduled for his 8th birthday in 1979 when all of a sudden a few days before the party was to be held, TMI's #2 reactor suffered a nuclear meltdown.
It was the worst accident in USA commercial nuclear power plant history and resulted in the release of small amounts of radioactive gases and radioactive iodine into the environment. Being that we live within a 20-mile radius of the power plant and there being an alert for that 20-mile radius area telling residents to stay inside and to keep animals under cover, we weren't sure if we should have the birthday party a few days after the meltdown took place. One of Derek's friends who we had invited to the party had a father that was a doctor who was a radiologist at the local Lancaster General Hospital. We called the hospital and asked him if we should cancel the party since it would be tough to keep all those rumbustious kids indoors during the party. He said they have a meter on the roof of the hospital that reads the amount of radioactive gases that were released into the air and it was reading normal amounts. He saw no reason at all why the children couldn't be outside for a short time. So, based on his judgement and the readings of the equipment at the hospital, we held the party and after a time in the basement with more than half a dozen boys we had them go outside to play in the back yard for the remaining half hour of the party. We wondered for years if we had made the right move, but we were told it was safe to do so.
That was 38 years ago and for years reports and studies have reported no increase in thyroid cancer which would be the most likely cancer one would get from the radioactive gases and iodine that was released in 1979. Now we find that researchers tell us there may be a possible link between TMI and a rise in cancer in the area. They say all those other studies didn't wait long enough for the latency period of cancers to kick in. They tell us now that data supports the possibility that radiation released by TMI altered the molecular profile of thyroid cancers in the population surrounding the plant. Researchers tell us they don't want to alarm anyone, but that the accident may have caused biological changes in nearby residents due to the exposure they received. They had recently examined 44 patients, mostly women, who were treated at nearby Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for thyroid cancer. These patients lived in at-risk regions, including Lancaster County, in 1979 and had developed thyroid cancer. Similar studies done after the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986 found similar results to what was found in the TMI study. I wonder how long it will be before they finally decide that TMI was responsible for the many thyroid cancers that have developed in the recent past. I guess time will tell. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
|Three Mile Island in the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, PA.|
|Pennsylvania road marker telling of the nuclear accident|
at Three Mile Island in Dauphin County.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
|The happy Bride and Groom|
|The bride with her parents Grace and Charles|
|The groom with parents Paul and Dorthea and brother|
Steve who my granddaughter Courtney say looks like Zac Efron
|The wedding party|
|The bride in her gown|
|Heading for the car|
|Great shot of the bride and groom entering|
the parish house
|Cutting of the wedding cake. The cake topper is the|
same one used by our daughter when she got married.
|Original and correct version of our invitation|
|My favorite photograph of my wife|
|Church photo taken perhaps 15 years ago|
|One of our favorite vacation photographs taken by good friend Sue|
|The wedding led to this! Taken three years ago in Ocean City, NJ|