Monday, December 25, 2006

Fishing on Christmas Eve Day?

I wanted to get out of the house yesterday and asked my husband if we could go get some coffee at Starbucks and drive out to Walnut Creek to see if anyone was actually fishing. Starbucks appeared closed but I got to see the downtown area. The park looked nice with it's lights, not overdone. We found coffee elsewhere and drove past numerous blow-up decorations (so tacky!) as we headed out to Walnut Creek. Only a couple of cars were there. But this was about 4 o'clock so people probably left to get back to their families. The water was up and running good and it was fairly clear. We saw a guy with a fish on above the bridge as we were leaving. The weather makes me want to go fishing. It's nice, no snow, no ice. We went out onto the deck last night with no jackets and looked out at the stars. Stars are almost a rare site in Erie.

Monday, December 18, 2006

General McLane Victory Parade Video

I took this video at General McLane High School on Saturday. They were treated to a siren salute and escort from the area's finest. Way to go Lancers! Congratulations on your victory!(Video taken with my small Olympus 720SW on movie setting.)

BE WARNED, the video may need volume adjustment. version (the best quality):

You can also see my video on at this link

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Toddler Hockey Fight- funny video

I came across this video on So this is where it all starts. Give it a watch, it is pretty funny. Mommy!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"A Christmas Story" the play.

My husband won some tickets to go see the play "A Christmas Story" (Ralphie wants that BB gun) at the Erie Playhouse.

The only play I have ever seen, outside the plays from back in high school, was a little "tourist trap" one-actor production in Washington DC about the assassination of Lincoln. That, actually, was a good production and I was surprised I kind of liked it. I always turn down a chance to go to live theatre, it's just not my thing. But we had free tickets and I knew it was a quality play from a classic book (and movie).

So we planned the day around being ready to see the play at 7:30 last evening. We didn't have a problem with finding parking. The inside of the theatre was nice, warm and comfortable.

The props were great! The actors were superb! The play, of course, was excellent. We both enjoyed it.

I wouldn't hesitate a second to see another quality play like this one.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hockey Goalie Boogie( Video)

Sunday afternoon we decided to go watch the NCAA Division 1, ranked #1, Mercyhurst Womens Hockey at Mercyhurst College. Because it was somewhat last minute, I didn't have my camera fully charged. Knowing I had only a few shots I decided to concentrate on the Mercyhurst Goalie. It became clear that with only 9 shots on her goal, I would have to find something else to shoot which ended up being the goalie's moves when not saving goals. It was quite interesting how different goalies are. The goalie from Princeton rarely even moved except to save a goal. But Mercyhurst's goalie, Laura Hosier from Sharon, Ontario (Toronto Jr. Aeros) has a routine she goes through at almost every pause in play which makes for an interesting watch. Mercyhurst played an awesome game. I also have to say that the goalie from Princeton, Brittany Parisi, made a lot of magnificent saves. Mercyhurst won in overtime with a shot from Canadian Olympian, Meghan Agosta. version below, under that is version. version below.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Steelhead 11-18-06 music video

I took and edited this video of people fishing at the Walnut Creek Access on Saturday 11-18-06. I've embedded them from and If one doesn't work for you, the other one may. Just click on either one. High Speed Connections only.

High resolution version on is fist. low resoltuion version

Watch the Video

Low resolution

Monday, November 06, 2006

But Can I Sing?

  • We decided to go out to dinner on Sunday at the Cracker Barrel on upper Peach as we hadn't tried it yet.
  • After ordering, an older woman that was sitting at a nearby table with her elderly husband got up and came over to our table. She said, "You look exactly like...." My brain was trying desperately to think of who she was going to say I looked like. "June Carter Cash. Your hair, you even smile exactly like her." "OH," I said. "HMM, I didn't know." I smiled but I almost died.
  • Now I know June Carter Cash was probably a very nice lady but I always thought she was kind of homely. I didn't understand how Johnny Cash was smitten by her. But now, I look like June Carter Cash. Well, my dinner was somewhat ruined. My husband just smiled. When the lady left and sat back down he said he didn't know if it was a compliment or not because he didn't remember what June looked like. I did.
  • My husband went to the restroom and when he came back he told me not to take the lady too seriously as he saw her zipping up her husband's pants outside the men's room.
  • When I got home I disappeared and my husband found me where he said he knew he would find me.....up here on the computer trying to find pictures of June Carter Cash. I couldn't see it. My hair was nothing like June's hair. Her's was worn mostly straight and parted in the middle with no bangs, kind of hippie-like. Her smile? Maybe a tad similar. When my husband saw the pictures of June, he said I didn't look the least bit like her. The lady was a nut. He didn't use those exact words.
  • Well, it was better being called a look-a-like for June Carter Cash than what I had been told before. About 10 years ago a truck driver came into the shipping office I worked at and told me I looked just like Flo, from the sitcom, Alice. Are you kidding me?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tearful Partings

After a 6 week visit my sister flew back to California today. I had so much fun while she was here. We took several trips to Pittsburgh and back while she was working on the house she is restoring there. I went with her and her real estate agent in Pittsburgh to several houses for sale. I fell in love with those Victorian beauties!

We took Debbie (who doesn't like any kind of sports) to some hockey games at Mercyhurst, mens and womens, and she got hooked on hockey. She loves it. She loves it so much she bought a Mercyhurst ballcap and a Mercyhurst Hockey shirt. We also got her hooked on popcorn we flavor with Pam and popcorn flavorings. She's returning home a different person, ha.

When I got back from the airport today to my empty house I just cried and cried. Yes, we got all our space back but it looks bare without her things in it. While Debbie was here, she befriended our cats and they befriended her. She'd let the old cat sneak upstairs into her space to sleep. He was scratching on the door today but there is no one to let him in. He's going to miss her. We'll all miss her.

Thanks, Debbie, we had such a good time while you were here.

Halloween Costumes at Mercyhurst Hockey Game

The Mercyhurst Mens Hockey team lost to Connecticut saturday night (10/29/06) after a win on Friday to Connecticut. But everyone there was having such a good time anyway. The students showed up in Halloween costumes and gave us a good laugh. I caught a little of it on video.

Watch the Video

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Halloween Trees -Don't Let Them Get You!!

I spent a few weeks In Jackson, CA in September and took some photos of "ancient" mountain oak trees on my sister's property. I put them together and using video effects made a Halloween video card.

Watch the Video

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sunday's Mercyhurst vs Dartmouth Womens Hockey

Mercyhurst Lady Lakers beat Dartmouth again!
Video highlights below.

Watch the Video

What You Missed Saturday - Womens Hockey-Videoblog

Mercyhurst Lady Lakers beats Dartmouth!
Some video highlights. Click below.

Watch the Video

Monday, October 16, 2006

Scenes From Her Times 5K - videoblog

I wrote about my experience on Saturday of participating in the Her Times 5K Run/Walk. You can read it if you click - HERE -.

Click below for the video. Give a minute to load.

Watch the Video

Not Competing Made Me Competitive

Last Saturday was the Her Times 5K Run/Walk. I half-heartedly trained for it, mostly because I didn't want to come in last. I hate when that happens.

I entered just to do it, not to compete. I didn't list my age because "what difference does it make if you aren't competing in an age category, I just want to participate."

The night before the race I checked the weather forecast. Not good, not good at all. I decided not to go. My husband gave me a reminder that I entered and need to follow through. This is Erie, you do things regardless of the weather or you wouldn't do anything at all. Alright, then. I'll go.

Through thunder, wind, rain, sleet and snow the girls showed up in droves. I couldn't believe it. I shook so much I hardly was able to get any video to use in my videoblog. After warmups I lined the end of the line. My husband came for support and was at my side. The announcer said "go". What the heck? How long does it take everyone to get going and get out of my way? Finally the back of the line starts to go. Umbrellas swinging in the wind. Colorful and electric, actually. My competitive juices kicked in!

My husband reached down to tie his shoe or something and I looked for him but he was way back there. He waved me on. Ok, then but I wondered what I was going to think about for 5K with no one to talk to. Oh, he had my camera. No video during the race, drat.

I started out too fast. Yes, you can walk too fast. My shins were bucking. Shin bucking, a horse term..... fitting because I felt like an old horse.

I finally got to a sign on the side of the road that had a number 1 on it. I had worked out the burning shins and was feeling pretty good and started to increase my pace. I thought I had only gone 1K. Man, 4K to go? I hope I can make it.

I started passing people. I was surprised. Then I started thinking I could maybe catch the group in front of me if I jogged up to them and then slowed back to a walk. I hadn't jogged in years. I didn't know what would happen if I tried to jog. A few steps into it and I started smiling. I could jog, a few steps anyway. I suddenly was competing. My body felt good. I walked and jogged and passed several group of walkers.

Then I saw the sign that said 3. I better conserve my energy, I'm barely over half way. But I saw the finish line and the light came on that the signs were "miles" signs, not "K" signs. WhoooHooo!! I started jogging to the finish.

I saw a 48 minutes and something seconds as I crossed in front of the sign. Apparently that isn't your time until they take your tag off. I stopped after I crossed the sign and was looking under my rain gear for the tag that they rip off. A man came to my rescue and found my tag and ripped it off and took it. I now figure that the time is when they take your tag to the computer because my official result was 49: something. Now I know to keep going and get that tag off to the proper people.

Not listing my age came back to bite me. Computers being what they are has me listed as 99 years old because the computer has to have an age entered. The up side is that it lists me as first in the 98 to 99 age category, ha. No, I don't get an award but I did get my really nice Her Times T-shirt and a ribbon for completing the race.

In two weeks there is an endurance challenge where you compete against yourself put on by the Erie Runners Club. I think I'm going to try and beat my time and maybe go further, just to see what I can do. I'm overweight, old, but doggone it shopping and catching those commuter flights at the airports have put me into some kind of shape! It felt so good to compete that I think I'm hooked.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Finally, I Saw It In Person.

Watch the Video

Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Where's Linda? Clue one (pic)

I'm having a great time these past few days and thought I would share a few photos. Here is one photo that someone may recognize that isn't far from our hotel. Can you guess where this was taken? Click picture to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I Entered the Her Times 5k Run/Walk

Today I turned in my application for the race.

My training program for the Her Times 5K Run/Walk on October 14th took a turn south and west when I went to California and hasn't got back on track yet. I mean there is no way I'm going to pass up Mel's Diner's (Jackson, CA) hamburgers. It is part of my past and one of the highlights of visiting my family in California . Sure, I did try to moderate my consumption but that pretty much consisted of leaving one or two fries on my plate just so I felt good about not eating the whole thing.

I'm going to try and walk everyday until the race. I know I'll finish the race. I'm not competing, just having fun. I'd love to have Toni Kelly join me on the walk. You don't have to worry about keeping up to me as I'm not a very fast walker! I'm hoping my sister can join me, also, but her plans for that date aren't set yet.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

My Photo of the Waterspout From Presque Isle

We took a late afternoon walk on Presque Isle and as we admired the beautiful clouds over the cityscape we noticed the tail of a waterspout.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Steelhead Run (shortened version) Videoblog

I'm not sure why my other video didn't get put on the blog roll. They (erieblogs or similar) have coded something wrong as someone else's blog is showing up under my name. FIX IT PLEASE !!! after all you are computer geeks, right?


I cut my video by a third to help those with dial up. :-) I hope it works but you'll still have to be patient as the file is 6.7 Mb. Click........HERE........for the video. or cut and paste this into your browser.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Steelhead Run - Videoblog

Click.........HERE.......for video.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Skunk and a Sister - Videoblog

Click play.

A day last week at Presque Isle.

Friday, September 15, 2006

One Day In CA - VideoBlog

Click here to play.
Between Channel Island Harbor, Oxnard and northern California.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Westward Bound

I'm leaving for California and I'm not ready as usual. I'm packing a lot lighter this time as I'm leaving all the toiletries at home and buying the stuff when I get there. (ha, that will save from bringing one suitcase!)

I'm behind schedule because I felt I just had to finish my cabinets in the bathroom...and I did. Nothing like last minute......
To see the cabinets you can go to my project website video blog here.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Her Times - 5K Run/Walk Training Video

Right from the shores of Lake Erie I have started training for the Her-Times 5K Run/Walk in October. 5K is 3.1 miles I was told. That gives me a little over a month to get in shape. Pet Peeve=those sweaty marathon people passing me like I was standing still (sometimes I was).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oh, Those Redheads!!

I decided to get brave and I just finished turning into a strawberry blonde (light red). I was getting into a big-time hair rut. I like it. I think my skin looks less ruddy against the red compared to the blonde. I'm going to get a haircut, too, but I thought that it would be fun to get my haircut in Jackson, CA. (then I can cry all the way home, ha). I have never come out of a hair salon happy. But I need a good hair style and my own haircuts fall pretty short of being good. It's time to catch up with the times.

Look at the box of L'Oreal superior Preference 9GR-light reddish blonde. Unfortunately, I don't look like the girl on the box. My haircolor is very similar now but not near as shiny and my face is about twice as big as hers even without the recent 5 pounds I gained back from recently losing a bunch, rats! And she has a thinner nose and fuller lips. Actually, there is no resemblance at all.

It gets expensive to keep up even when you do it yourself. I have wrecked my hair plenty of times in the past. I once very much resembled Bozo the Clown when my hair turned green and frizzy after I gave myself a perm and a color. I cried in the locked bathroom for quite a while. I had to use a curling iron and practically burn my hair to make it curl and that was to get a frizzy curl and then had to cut my long hair short because it was breaking off in my hands. I actually had an old lady tell me that day when I went out to the store that she really liked my hair. I was dumbfounded.

I bought this hair coloring on the spur of the moment and decided I needed a change. I like it and I hope I don't shock my husband too much but he called home just after I applied part of it on my hair. I told him I was going for it. He gave me encouragement and said I would probably like it and that is what he cared about. I do.

So that is the first part of my make over. I'll get the hair cut when I'm in California and then I think I would like to walk in the Her Times 5K Run/Walk. I'll be lucky to finish just walking but I would like to have something to work for. I think I can get in some kind of shape by October to at least walk it if I start now. I think it would be fun.

Here is the link for the 5K run application

Monday, August 28, 2006

I"m Splitting

I'm splitting my blog into 2 blogs. My posts regarding the restoration of my house will be located at This Old Erie House. It should be on the blogroll soon. It will also be part of a houseweb ring. Most of that blog will be video using

My personal and travel blog will remain with this one. I'll start using more video on this one, too.

I'll be splitting for California in a week and half. I'm so excited. All my sisters, my brother and my dad will all be together at the same time. That doesn't happen very often. I wish my husband would have been able to get off work to join me but it is his busy time.

Yes, I'm concerned about the terrorist threat and the recent commuter plane crash. Flying out of Erie I'll have to take one of those type of commuter planes to get to Atlanta before the flight heads to Sacramento, CA. But I am more concerned when I have to drive up Peach Street to get to Home Depot.

The best part is that my youngest sister (from Channel Island Harbor) is coming back with me to Erie. She has never been here before and I can't wait to show her Presque Isle, Cook Forest and Oil Creek. She'll be out here for 6 weeks but will be spending the greatest portion of her time in Pittsburgh as she bought an 1860s Victorian house that she will be renovating as a vacation home. I'll be helping her when I can. Maybe she will be helping me, too. : -)

Time is flying!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Baby Beaver

I came across this picture of a baby beaver on the website. It was so cute I had to share.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Erie Bluffs, Why Hide It? video

With nothing to do last Sunday, my husband drove us out to "Erie Bluffs". It is a state park that has been in the news lately because someone wants to build a lodge there. We had never been there and I had never heard of it before the newspaper article.

Before I started writing this, I went to the DCNR website to see what directions they gave to getting to this spot, I wouldn't want to steer you wrong.

If you go to the website you can read these directions.: Erie Bluffs is north of PA 5 at Lake City, twelve miles west of Erie. That is all the directions they give.

You'd never find the place with those directions. Even after knowing the real directions from the newspaper article, I thought we were in the wrong place. Here are the directions. Take PA 5 (west) past the Elk Creek Access and it is the first dirt road (like a tractor path) to the right (north). Yep, it isn't a real road, there are no signs to guide you, and you will probably question whether this could really be the place. You may even argue about it like I did. This just couldn't be it, corn fields? Muddy puddled areas (but our car made it OK)to drive through? Where were we going? There aren't any signs, a state park would have signs. What if we were in a farmer's corner field? I had visions of being run off by a shot-gun toting farmer. Through the small ruts and field we went. We came to 3 weathered picnic tables but that wasn't a clue as they could be for the field workers. The road split to the right but the right was a dead end a few yards ahead. So we went left. It turned out to be the right place. At the end of the road there was a "no motorized vehicles allowed" sign. Still that was the only thing that would assure you that you are in the right place.

On the way out I filmed a small clip that shows part of the road you'll have to take.

The flies were awful, like something out of a horror movie. We were covered with them when we exited the car. I dont' know if this was a one day event or not. I suspect the farmer's use of fertilizer as the cause. A heavy application of Deet on our whole bodies finally took care of the problem. The hike was fabulous, the views awesome and the beach was rocky and interesting. We briefly saw a couple of other groups walking on the paths. It is pretty secluded.

You can see a brief video of the beach below the bluffs and what the road looks like that you have to take. Search it out, (someone please put up a sign). Bring your Deet.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Diet Coke and Mentos-Can it Kill You?

I stumbled across videos at that showed what happens when you combine Mentos (the mint kind) and a soft drink. Most of the videos used Diet Coke. Perhaps everyone knows not to eat those two in combination but I never heard of it or gave it a thought.

Now I did have an episode during my high school years. We were given brand new uniforms that the band boosters spent several years in fund raisers to get for our little foothill school. We were performing a Christmas concert in our high school gym and during intermission I ate a Three Muskateers bar and then drank some cola. It was like Old Faithful. I tried to hold back the increasing pressure. My cheeks bulged out, my eyes widened, yes, I ruined the brand new uniform. It has a similar reaction to mixing baking soda and vinegar. But what happens if you swallow the Coke first and then eat Mentos. Could the massive expansion in your stomach kill you?

Click here to see a list of the Coke and Mentos videos.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Slideshow of My Latest Project

I have been sweating in my bathroom for the past week. I still have about a week's worth of work left but I can see the finish line.
Here is a link to the second part of my bathroom makeover. In this project I am building built-ins into the wall next to original built-ins. Why not use wasted space?

Bathroom slideshow.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lowes, How Frustrating

I go to Lowes first and if I can't find something, I drive a few hundred yards to Home Depot.

I started a bathroom built-in project and am ready to build the boxes into the wall that will be my shelving cabinets. I searched through the "top grade" pine lumber and spent a long time finding just the right boards, not split, or bowed, or flawed. It can be quite frustrating to have to paw through all the bad boards to find a good one, even when you are buying the best-quality-priced boards. I loaded up my lumber cart and headed to the back of the store to have an employee cut them in half as I can't fit 8 ft boards into my Geo. To my horror there was a sign on the machine that said "out of order". NO, NO, NO!!... I stood there a minute or two, to get my composure back (I actually broke into a sweat) and saw three guys coming through the back door where the forklifts are. I flagged one down to ask about getting the lumber cut because I can't fit the lengths into my car. He replied that I could buy a handsaw and cut them. Thanks, guy, nice. He didn't say it rudely, more like stupidly helpful without offering to help, like he had a solution for me. I told him "Thanks, I'll just be leaving this lumber here, then." And walked away from almost a hundred dollars in lumber and a good portion of my day wasted.

I found what I needed at Home Depot. Their lumber prices, for what I was looking for, was about a dollar more for each board but the quality of the board was much better and I didn't have to search through so many bad boards to find what I wanted. But I have been totally ignored by sales people there in the past so they aren't high on my list, either.

I should have gone to Kraft Lumber on Peninsula Drive for my lumber projects but it was too close to their closing time (early closing times are a drawback compared to the big box stores). I've never been disappointed by service or lumber there and I like supporting the non-big-box stores when there is a choice.

I'll be posting my progress for my built-ins via picture slideshows (how I did it and before and after)soon. It isn't that I think my bathroom is great (because it isn't, it is small and pink) but that it might help someone else thinking of ways to improve their bathroom and make it more efficient or give them some ideas, too. I like to search the internet to see others' projects and how they did them. That is how I learned to take apart our double-hung windows and restore them. I don't like replacing things instead of fixing them. I like original if I can but it is a lot of work. The old-growth wood is so worth saving. If I can't save something I want to at least stay true to the style of the house. I'm working now on my personal website. It will feature all my before and after projects. Digging up all my pictures I took along the way is time consuming. When I'm done setting it up, I'll be joining the webring.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Otters Spotted? (pics) update

(In regards to the first comment below about a better resolution photo)
Here is one of the raw-data photos and if you click to enlarge it you can see the full size and maybe can enhance it a bit with a good photo program. I enlarged them and cropped them and lightened them a bit to get the close up images in the photos at the bottom, the top photo is right out of my camera. Maybe they are beavers and from the side the tails looked round and furry the way the light was coming from the side, I can't say as I didn't see the tails, just my husband did but we weren't all that close. But they didn't act like the beavers we've seen before, the way they were swimming around together, diving and coming back up. We often see beavers at Presque Isle so we know what they normally look like, these just didn't act like it but maybe they are young, frolicking beavers.
Sunday we headed to Presque Isle with our canoe. We launched at the lagoons and our canoe slipped quietly into the magic land that only Preque Isle can deliver. The amount of wild life that you can see up close is amazing. We fished for a while and caught some small bass and sunfish but the real show was the swallows (maybe they were purple martins). There were so many of them. Huge flocks dove into the water with splashes like dive bombers. It was an amazing sight.

We also saw a pair of what we think were otters. They didn't have a beaver tail and they dove and swam like an otter. By the time the camera turned on, they would dive again. You could see minnows and small fish jumping where they were swimming under the water. I did catch these somewhat fuzzy pictures (not unlike the bigfoot photos, ha) of the animals when I enlarged the pictures. I didn't see the tail but my husband did and said it had nice fur, not a beaver tail, plus the heads were not course like a beaver. Maybe it is common knowledge that otters live in the lagoons but I never saw them there before. I've seen them at Oil Creek but not here. See photos below.

Also amazing is a drive after dark in Presque Isle Park, you should try it. I think the road doesn't close until 11:00 pm. Drive slowly so you don't hit any of the night-time creatures. You will see raccoons, deer, rabbits and animals you probably can't identify. The park belongs to the animals after dark.
Photos taken in late afternoon/evening on the lagoons of Presque Isle State Park. Are they otters? I'd like to hear if you have seen them there or if you think they are otters.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Blues and Jazz - Sunday Afternoon (pic)

We drove by Frontier Park on Saturday but just kept driving. Too many people. I don't like crowds. We had tickets for the VIP tent and each year something comes up and we don't go. So Sunday afternoon we braved the crowds and parked at Strong Vincent High School and walked over to the festival.

The crowds weren't bad but really started thickening up by 5 pm, about the time we left. I guess the best acts were in the evening but I thought the ones we saw were good, too. We thought the girl drummer was really good.

We saw some strange sightings at the festival. One kid on a "low rider" bike was wheeling around the crowd. He looked like something out of the X-men. Some guy had a fake skunk that was drawing a crowd and some lady had a bird on her arm. Erie has its share of interesting people.

Below is a collage of the festival from just the short time we were there on Sunday.
Click to make it bigger.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

LL Bean's Coastal Clogs, Happy Feet and a Klutz

Above image is from Crocs similar to LL Bean's coastal clogs.

I needed sandals before I went on our vacation and when we received the LL Bean Fall catalogue in the mail I saw some sandals called "coastal clogs". I decided to wait and buy my sandals "in route" to Maine as there was a LL Bean outlet store in Freeport, ME. I found a neutral color that would match just about any outfit and it was in my size.

They are, by far, the most comfortable shoes/sandals or any footwear I have ever worn. sells some that look very much the same and I have read reviews that they are super comfortable, too. They come in so many colors!

I did get a couple of blisters when I first bought them but we hiked a lot and climbed over the rocky coasts of Maine. But I would have gotten blisters barefoot, too, as I'm a tenderfoot. I didn't even feel the blisters but saw them at the end of the day. No problem.

I hate wearing any kind of shoe in the house, I'm a sock person, not a slipper or shoe person. But these, well, I'd rather wear these than go stocking-footed. That is how comfortable I think they are.

A few times climbing over the rocks on the coast I stubbed by toe, but these clogs have an enclosed toe so I was saved. Phew, I'd say, that would have been painful, man I love these shoes!

All was well until I got home and went to Target. I don't know why but I became a total klutz in these coastal clogs when I was in Target. I stumbled several times making that "ugh" sound and catching myself as I'm falling forward. Total clod. I was so embarrassed! I'm just glad I didn't hurt anybody or break anything. For some reason my toe was grabbing on their floor in these shoes.

Then today we went to Quality Market and again I looked like I was some kind of spastic as I'm stumbling 4 or 5 times in there. So there is something about the floors in these kinds of buildings and these kind of clogs that make them catch.

Now most people may stop wearing something that would cause them potential harm but I'm not most people. I'm not giving up on something that has changed my life. If you are in the store and see someone "high stepping" while pushing a cart around, that'd probably be me. I found if it tilt my toes upward and lift my feet a little higher than normal, I can manage to walk in the upright position and still wear my favorite shoe. : )

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Name the Painting, Artist (pic)

Click here for the answer.

Can you guess what painting this house is featured in? It is a pretty famous painting from the late 1940's (hint - Cushing, ME). Click on the picture for the answer. We were lucky to have the artist's granddaughter, Victoria, be our tour guide at the William A. Farnsworth Library & Art Museum, Rockland, ME. The painting I'm referring to was not on display at the Farnsworth but many of his other paintings were. It was quite interesting.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Berry Manor Inn - Interior Slideshow

The pictures don't do the bed and breakfast justice. I'm working on the rest of our vacation photos and will, in the coming days, post those, too.

For the interior slide show click here.

To read about the Berry Manor Inn and see a slideshow of the exterior, click here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Berry Manor Inn - Rockland, ME, Slideshow #1

I think the main reason we had such a wonderful vacation was the bed and breakfast we stayed in in Rockland, ME. I fell in love with the Watson-Curtze mansion in Erie when we toured it a couple of years ago during a Christmas tour. I wanted to find a place to stay in Maine that was similar and boy did I find it. It was like stepping back in time to a place of grandeur and opulence. What I found was a Victorian mansion called The Berry Manor Inn.

The breakfasts were served with fine china in a beautiful setting. The food was exquisite and rivaled top restaurants! Ricotta stuffed french toast drizzled with fresh raspberries and raspberry juice was just one such dish. It was unbelievable!

There were common rooms that all the guests could visit and relax. The inn-keeper's mothers baked delicious homemade pies that were set out every evening for evening snacks. (I gained 5 pounds during our 7 night stay there but it was worth it!)

The bedroom's decor is gorgeous! We stayed in room #9 in the restored carriage house. It was beautifully decorated and very plush. When you enter the bathroom, however, the decor was that of Victorian times but it was outfitted with a huge body shower with 6 pulsating spray heads that relaxed every muscle in your body. The bathroom also had a nice deep jacuzzi for two. Luxury, I didn't want to leave the bathroom, ha.

It was also the little touches that the innkeepers, Cheryl and Mike, did so well. Late in the afternoon they'd come back to your room and turn on the radio to soft chamber music like you'd have heard playing during the Victorian era. The bed was turned down and a silver plate with Hershey kisses welcomed us when we returned in the evening after a long day of sightseeing. And, of course, a new freshly-baked pie graced the common-room counter.

I read the reviews from travel agents, etc about the how great the Inn was but took that with a grain of salt as many times reviewers get a "freebie" so I question the validity of some reviews. It makes a difference if you have to pay hard-earned money for something. We did and it was worth every penny we spent. Great job, Berry Manor Inn!
Click here to see slide show of the exterior.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Holy Cow!

Yes, we are back from our vacation to Maine. This was one of our best vacations ever. The first night we encountered this cow parked at our hotel. That is a full-sized truck so you can imagine how big that cow is. What a spectacle it would be going down the freeway!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Wheels Falling Off Hummers?

I monitor the Sacramento Bee for stories that interest me and came across this one. Something to read if you own a Hummer or want to buy one used. The models are before 2004. May require free registration.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

First Pictures from New Camera

I haven't had time to play much with my camera but I did take a few pictures of my flowers. I left them as raw data but reduced the size to 50%. Blogger will reduce them even more but click on them and see if they will enlarge for you. Full sized they are sharp and clear and very large and could make a good framed print (not these pictures but the size that it can enlarge to when not reduced).

The 7.1 megapixel lets me enlarge quite a bit. The bee in the flower was taken with the camera moving. I quickly brought the camera close to the flower and clicked quickly. I cropped that one. It isn't as sharp as the others but it was in the shade and I was moving the camera.

The camera is the Olympus Stylus 720 SW.

I didn't have any real problem with viewing the LCD screen in outside daylight (it doesn't have a viewfinder) so that was a relief.

The software is very hard to use at least until I study it a bit more. More instructions to go through, bummer.

Click on these to see the larger, better size.

This is my black/red hollyhock. It has a beautiful dark red color.

See the pollen grains on the bee's legs? I should have stayed back a bit and zoomed in on him and I think it would have turned out better.

This is my balloon flower. The plant is gorgeous and a real performer! I love the shape and color of the flowers. Reports Mother Comes Forward!

I just read the breaking news on that the abandoned baby's mother has come forward.! I'm glad, I'd like to see a happy ending for that darling little baby.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Woohoo or is it Yippee?

Regardless, the noise I'm making is similar. Last night my husband bought me a new digital camera (I have finally outgrown my beginner Cool Pix 2.1). The old camera missed too many shots with that long delay after you press down. I took many of what should have been great shots of my husband getting dunked in the dunking booth for a youth charity last weekend but instead they were pictures of just water as he had already disappeared to the bottom of the booth by the time the shutter clicked. Well, no more!

It was a tough decision on which camera I wanted but the deciding factor was the fact it was waterproof. It is also shock proof (necessary judging what my cell phone goes through) and has image stabilization (very necessary as my hand seems to move when I press down on the buttons).

We fish a lot and want to get back to using our canoe. We may take up kayaking, also. They make some great fishing kayaks now. I had a close call with my other camera when I was taking the camera out to take a picture of a fish and it fell into the water. Luckily, I hadn't taken it out of my ziplock bag yet that I carry it around in when we fish. So those things do happen. Now I won't be afraid to take it along (like in my float tube) and I'll be able to get some great shots.

The camera is the Olympus Stylus 720SW. So far I just love it. The sound video it takes is really nice and of great quality at least as compared to my cell phone's video (I haven't transferred any to my computer yet but it looks great on the camera screen). The digital is 7.1 Megapixel and has 3X optical and 5X digital zoom. It's so small! I'll be able to take it everywhere. I can take pictures of fish underwater! What may be the only drawback for what I'll be using it for is it doesn't have a viewfinder to use if it is too bright out that the LCD doesn't show up well. You can adjust the LCD screen so hopefully that won't be a problem.

Now it is time to learn how to use it. 83 pages of instructions, ouch! Luckily, most of it is appears to be similar to my old camera and my cell phone (as far as figuring out how to move around the different modes.)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Pittgirl (the burgh blog)

Since my sister bought a vacation home in Pittsburgh, I have started checking that city out for things to do. My husband graduated from Pitt so he knows the area but not being from this area I really don't know it from a hole in the wall. In my research, I came across a funny, light-hearted blog put out by someone with the screen name Pittgirl. The Burgh Blog

Check out her archives, too, some great entries to make you smile.

In one of her blogs she linked to a website called the sloganizer. I put in some key words just to see what would come up. The results are below. (you can keep hitting enter to get different slogans) The first words are what I entered., where success is at home.
Erie.......Where's Erie?
Erie...Erie, your family will love you.
Erie....Always the real thing, always Erie.
Erie...Erie, we build smiles.

When I started to get repeats I found faqs that they only have 320 slogans in their data base. They could certainly use a lot more or everyone will be using the same slogans!

I used spellcheck on this post and of all the words the spellcheck says is spelled wrong, the word blog is highlighted. This is the blog's own spellchecker and blog isn't a word? I suppose it should be added to the official dictionary soon if it hasn't been already.

Don't make the mistake of getting too quick at your accepting the spellcheck's recommended words. I wrote a letter to my family that I spellchecked and caught it before I hit "send".

I must have had my pointer on the replace instead of ignore because I had an email that didn't make much sense and actually was insulting. This was with the Netscape mail program. For instance Vernon got changed to vermin. Janice got changed to Junco, Presque Isle to personae Isle, Behrend to behind. The spellcheck doesn't recognize common names like Vernon, Janice as real words? I kind of like Personae Isle, though.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Corn on the Cob for Breakfast, I Say Why Not!

I'm still trying to lose weight. I gained 4 pounds over the long 4th of July weekend (my eating celebration lasted the whole week, though.) It is that delicious Romolos chocolate, it is too addicting. If I added up the cost of all the chocolate-covered strawberries and chocolate-covered cherries I bought there last week, I could have bought that light sconce I have been eyeballing. If you set that sconce (which I really want) and a plate of chocolate in front of me, the chocolate would always win out. I think a body really needs chocolate.

Soooo, here it is..I lost 34 pounds but put back on 4. I'm still not at my goal.

In the refrigerator is corn on the cob. I'm back on my "eating right" plan. I love corn on the cob but to add it to a regular meal makes me go over my target calories. So why not just forget what I usually eat for breakfast and eat something I really want in the first place? Because I know, with it sitting in the refrigerator, I'm going to eat it at some weak point in the day. So just go for it now and get it over with. I'll save calories in the long run.

It was delicious, I'm happy and satisfied and the calories are about the same as the egg white-sandwich wrap that I normally eat for breakfast. I think I'm onto something here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Block Party

This Saturday is our neighborhood's block party. We have only been able to go to 2 of them since we moved here. We live in an area of older houses and most everyone on the block has fixed up and/or restored their houses in some way or another. There seems to be a real upgrading going on with backyards, too. Good, I like to see we are in an improving neighborhood and not one that is on its way down. As different as we all are, we have the common bond and stories to tell of living in an old house.

When we first moved in and I started renovating I came across many things that were upsetting. Like all the woodwork that had the original shellac on it had been coated with poly and was peeling off. If the top coat of shellac wasn't dewaxed, poly probably won't last long (I read this in a book) and it didn't. It was peeling like dried egg whites. I tried to remove it but ended up having to strip all the woodwork downstairs. A job I'm still not totally done with. Being new to the block and with a need to talk about something, I brought up the woodwork and how the "handyman" the older ladies that owned the house before us had hired, had ruined the woodwork by using poly over it. There were many other things I complained about that the handyman had done, like just painting over chipped old paint instead of removing all the old paint first (at the time I didn't know how difficult that is to do). I was on a roll and there were hours of conversation to fill. We had fun at our first block party.

Weeks later when I happened to strike up a conversation with our very nice next-door neighbor, Cindy, she managed to nicely add that I may want to know that the person I was sitting next to at the block party was indeed, "that handyman" that the women used to fix most of the things in the house. Oooooh. Nooooo...

Can you imagine how he must have felt with the whole neighborhood listening to me babble on? He lives one house down from us and I just feel so terrible every time I think about it. Especially since I guess everyone in the neighborhood knew who the handyman was. I wave and say, "Hi" whenever he is out in his yard and he actually has always talked to us and has been friendly even after the comments I had made. What a nice person. I'm sure he helped those ladies and probably barely charged them anything for his time. Shame on me.

I'm suppose to bring pasta salad. I rarely eat pasta of any kind and I don't think I have ever made pasta salad. And I won't start now. I'm going to run to Wegmans and get their pasta salad that people rave about (I need a peace offering). Then I need to read the paper a couple of times so I can be informed and carry on an intelligent conversation that doesn't have anything to do with my house lest I stick my foot back into my mouth.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Float Tube

How I love my float tube! One of the best Christmas presents I ever got. When the weather is perfect as it was on Saturday (and that means the wind isn't blowing) flyfishing in a float tube can't be beat as a way to spend the late afternoon or evening at Presque Isle.

There isn't much effort to using a float tube, especially when my husband carries the thing to the water's edge. I carry the fins. Once I'm in the water, I'm free. Free to fish anywhere I see the fish jumping. But I suspect my husband feels free, too. Free of my jabbering and bad casting.

Oh! The big ones are jumping out there, I can see them and I'm heading that way. As soon as I get there and start fishing, I see the big ones jumping back from whence I came. Hmmm.

My float tube is equipped with a pillow to lean back on, a netting in the front to lay your fishing rod onto so you can put on your lures with ease and many pockets for all your stuff. It is quite efficient and comfortable. I wear my chest high waders with a snug belt as not to fill with water. It all keeps those creepy crawler things, if there are any, off my legs. You never know.

By not paying attention, I managed to get my self tangled up in thick, strong weeds out in the middle of the bay. I kicked and tried to turn. I was thrashing. I was afraid of leaning forward in case of a flip over onto my face. I'd be a gonner had that happened, I suspect, even though I was wearing a life jacket. I was strapped into the tube (there are quick releases if you have your head about you, which I didn't, but being off the tube and tangled may have been worse.) No one else was around except my husband and he would have had no way to get out that far and rescue me especially in the weeds. So I panicked. My heart was beating so fast and I had the frightful feeling like I was being attacked by a shark. My husband yelled for me not to panic and when I settled down and leaned back and made smaller kicks I finally freed myself. A lesson learned. Stay out of the weeds and don't go out so far, and maybe bring along a cell phone in a water tight bag for those "emergencies". On windier days I have been blown to places not intended but you just get to the closest shore in the direction the wind is blowing and find some way to walk back.

The best part of using a float tube is leaning back and looking up at the sky, watching the clouds go by. Reminds me of being a kid when I'd go kite flying in the field overlooking our foothill town. I also like to watch the shoreline for the ever-spectacular bird sightings that you see only at Presque Isle. A deer came out to graze along the reeds on the far side of the bay. My blood pressure quickly dropped below normal.

There is a danger of falling into a semi-conscious state while you are relaxing with the rock of the waves. When this happens you often wake seeing dozens of little round "objects" surrounding you, almost within reach. Turtles, some of them snapping turtles. Then an "object" was spotted out of the corner of my eye right next to me and I gave out a scream. But it turned out to be the edge of my black flipper poking up through the water. This is good exercise for my blood pressure, up, down, up, down.

Needless to say, I don't get too much fishing done when I'm in my float tube. Though I did catch many panfish and a bass, when I'm in my float tube my heart is into watching nature.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I Guess I'm Bilingual.

I must be speaking a second language because everyone I called today just didn't understand what the heck I was talking about. I guess it is East meets West.

I thought everyone knew what sun shade screening is. You just take these things for granted. I thought it would be nice to be able to cover the pergola with a sun shade screen or shade cloth (as it is also called in the west). They make it with 50% shade or you can pick 70% shade. It is a mesh-like tarp, usually black, that you see everywhere in the west. You hang it over the dog pens, horse paddocks, picnic areas, garden areas where you may want shade loving plants to grow. It lets some light through but it doesn't burn the plants. It makes it tolerable to sit out on the patio yet lets air through which makes it better than just an ugly tarp.

I called Lowes, Home Depot and even that Custom Patio Rooms store that I see advertised on They just couldn't understand what I was talking about. I got transferred to the paint department for heaven's sakes. Then they thought they knew what I was talking about and put me through to the shades and blinds department. NO, I said, give me the garden department, which tried to transfer me back to the paint department. Then the Custom Patio place said they didn't have the shade screens but they have retractable awnings (that would be really better but I wasn't looking to spend much). Oh, well, I can buy it online and have it shipped. But our summer, as short as it is, will be over by the time it gets here. But that isn't the only thing I had trouble locating today that I will probably have to buy online.

I have several potted plants that I keep on the front porch and back deck. To leave on vacation is troublesome because my plants need water if it doesn't rain at least every third day and I have a lot of money tied up in those plants. That's when I have my in-laws water. They already take care of the cats everyday and I hate to have them spend all that time watering. When I lived out west I had drip lines. Everyone has them. You almost can't live without it out west if you have any kind of landscaping. I told my husband I'd like to get some spaghetti line for my potted plants and he hadn't a clue what I was talking about. Well, neither do the stores. I'm sure someone has them somewhere, I mean surely they do. You get the pressure regulator and hook it to your outdoor faucet, then attach the pvc 1/2 flexible hosing to the regulator. You cap the end of the hose and bury it (or you can just run it above the surface of the dirt) and attach emitters to the trunk line hose at each plant. For potted plants you get the spaghetti 1/8 inch line that attaches to the emitter and hang it over your potted plant and clamp it onto the pot. It drips at a specific rate (gallons per hour) that you control by the size of the emitter that you attach the line to. You can even put them on timers so you never have to worry. It is FREEDOM in the west.

OK, I can see there isn't a big demand for that sort of thing here where it rains a lot and the sun doesn't shine much but when it does you really could use a sun shade screen.

Monday, July 03, 2006


For the past few days we have made an evening drive out to Presque Isle to watch the sunset and dusk approach, and to watch the animals come out. The first day we almost hit 2 deer driving out. It was quite a surprise to have them run out in front of you as they hide pretty well during the day. Right after the deer episode we came upon a skunk as he was scurrying over the bridge as fast as those little feet would carry him. The fireflies are thick at dusk and it really turns magical. Then we spotted a baby skunk along the road and he was cute as could be.

On Friday early evening when we drove into Presque Isle we spotted a blackbird jumping around and something was a couple of feet away. As we got close the "something" started running towards the brush. It was a mink or weasle and it had a little blackbird in his mouth. This was right past the office. Poor mother blackbird couldn't do anything to save the little one.

Yesterday afternoon we thought we would take in a movie but when we got to Tinsletown it was jammed packed with everyone thinking the same thing. We didn't even try to find a parking spot. Forget it.

Today we tried again but this time went around noon to go see Superman. Very few people were there as the weather was pretty nice outside. The movie was better than we thought it would be. I hated the Superman with Kidder and Reeve, I don't know why but I just didn't like those two even though it seemed everyone else did. But I do like the actor/actress in this movie.

Well, I don't know what tomorrow will bring. It all depends on the weather and the only way to really know what the weather will be is to wait until tomorrow and look out the window. You just go ahead and do what you want to do until you smell rain in the air and then run for cover.

I'm hoping we can do some fishing. I really love to go out in my float tube. A couple of weeks ago I used my float tube in marina bay only to have some rude (I'd like to kick their butts) guy and girl show up and decide they wanted to fish where I was fishing and cast right on top of me. Those great big lures were plunking in the water next to my flyfishing float tube. Those two won't last long in the fishing world. I had forgotten my lifejacket at home or I would possibly have attempted a grab at their line as it whizzed by my head and cut it. Imagine the absolute immense satisfaction to cut those jerk's lines........they'd have probably retrieved a shotgun from their redneck truck. So much for that idea but I can dream can't I? With so many jerks and idiots we have been encountering lately around here I dream a lot.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Gold-Medal Olympian to Play for Mercyhurst !!

I just saw the update about the gold-medal women's hockey player from Canada. She signed a letter of intent to play for Mercyhurst. That is HUGE!!!! She led in scoring for the gold medal women's hockey team at the last Winter Olympics. Read it here. I'll probably go to every home game!

Friday, June 23, 2006

It Was Cheese, a Meeting and an Anniversary

I was having problems with my "a's" when typing. For some reason they didn't show up. I'd hit it pretty hard but when I got up to speed, they stop showing up. I couldn't take it anymore. I turned over the keyboard and banged on it and threatened it with bringing in the Kirby. And there it was, a piece of cheese stuck under the button. I can't remember when I ate something with cheese on it recently and I wonder what else could be lurking under there (I suspect some pepperoni, too).

I'm in the middle of painting and wiring my bathroom and I ran out of wire nuts and pigtail wires yesterday evening . I told my husband I needed to quickly run up to Lowes so I could finish. On the way back he pulled into Barnes and Noble. Oh, good, I can thumb through the magazines. I found a nice new magazine I hadn't seen before called Arts and Crafts Homes.

While thumbing through the magazine I looked up and saw a lady thumbing through some magazines and she looked kind of familiar. I saw the magazines she was looking at were watercolor art magazines. So I looked down at her shoes. She wasn't wearing those very artistic painted shoes but I was quite certain from one of her posted photographs that it was Toni Kelly, a local blogger that I read all the time.

I debated introducing myself as I have been working all day on my projects and was a mess. My hair was pulled up and falling down, my knuckles were scraped up and full of plaster and paint that I couldn't get off before we left. I had grabbed and changed into a non-paint shirt just to run to Lowes and realized when I got there that it was missing a button and was pretty wrinkled. But hey, no one knows me. OK, I was about to make a bad first impression, ha.

I couldn't help it, I finally asked, "Are you Toni Kelly?". She looked up and replied, "yes". I said I was Linda.......eriesargonaut.

So we talked and talked and our husbands quickly exited and went their own way through the store. When my husband and I left I thought, oh no, it was their anniversary night out and I talked her ear off.

Happy anniversary!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

No Service, part 5

To read part 1, click here.
To read part 2, click here.
To read part 3, click here.
To read part 4, click here.

Visualize, if you will, a man, 6' 4", crammed into my Geo Metro. Visualize the movie, "The Incredibles" in which you see that superhero hunk come out of that tiny undersized little car. That is my husband in my little Geo.

Say what you will about those Geo Metros, mine hasn't given me a lick of trouble except a little windshield wiper water squirter motor gave out once and I had to replace a muffler for a safety inspection. It is a 1996 but runs great, only has 79,000 (mostly California, no salt) miles on it and it is always there when we need it, and we needed it. I call it my glorified motorcycle. We ran all over town on Sunday and went out to dinner with the family for Father's Day. I drove the Geo Metro LSI and my husband sat in the passenger seat with his head bent slightly forward to keep from hitting his head on the roof. His knees were up into his chest but he didn't complain. He was taking all of this in stride.

To our surprise we got a phone call with an estimate at 7:30 AM on Monday and they said they would have the Subaru fixed by that afternoon. Now that is service!!! It turns out that the alternator went out and it killed the almost new Sears battery while it was at it. So what is a few hundred more dollars, we almost have a rebuilt car by now. My husband said he'd come home from work early and we'd drive to Warren in the Geo, pick up the car and each drive our own cars home. On the way we passed a Subaru on the side of the road with people inside. I said we should stop and help them if they are stranded, my thoughts of repaying the kindness given to us. But just then the car pulled back onto the road.

Maybe you have to go to the country to find nice, helpful people like the ones we encountered on Saturday. Maybe it is because they haven't been corrupted by the hustle and bustle of city life. I think we all get so caught up in being in a hurry that there are few that go out of there way to help someone. It is all about US and get out of OUR way mentality of people. When someone does help it is such a big deal that the person will write a thank you letter in the newspaper (or as in this case, a blog) . We wondered if we had driven by someone sitting on the side of the road where we had been stranded, would we have stopped to help. I'm ashamed to say I don't think we would have. I always think there is too much danger in it. Those two girls took a chance on us and I hope to be able to help someone someday like they did.

We decided to go to Kinzua Reservoir in the first place because we thought it would be a nice drive and we would be back in time for game 6 and what we thought was most probably the final game of the Stanley Cup. We missed it. As luck would have it, not only did we have a great day on the day we broke down, but the Stanley Cup went to game 7 and we were back in time from picking the car up on Monday to see it.

PS. Last night we went car shopping. : -)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

No Service, part 4

To read part 1, click here,
To read part 2, click here,
To read part 3, click here

My husband jumped to his feet and went over to greet the driver. I stood up not quite ready to say goodbye to these nice people and this out-of-the-way place. The hour it took for the driver to get there had flown by. But we needed to get going, still unsure how we would get home.

My husband jumped up into the cab first and I followed. I struggled to put on the one passenger seatbelt in the cab leaving my husband without one. As the truck started moving and bouncing to get up onto the pavement my knuckles clinched the open window frame. I glanced at my husband who gave my leg a little pat of assurance. The truck started moving but was geared so low that the driver had to shift gears every few seconds until we started building speed. Each gear change made an obscene grinding sound.

The tow company was from Mt. Jewett which I had never heard of before but my husband knew where it was as he is a native of Erie. I tried to size up the driver. He looked like a tow-truck driver. He was a heavy-built and rustic-looking man. He wore a hat, jeans and a long shirt left hanging to the outside. My assumption was that he may be one of those redneck types. Then we all started talking and asking questions. He wasn't at all like I thought he may be. He was very sweet and seemed like a real gentle soul. He knew the area inside and out.

We headed back into the woods for miles and finally came to the spot the car gave out. Funny how our car doesn't break down closer to home. With his expertise, the driver loaded up the useless vehicle and locked it down. He took us to the town of Warren to the Subaru dealership. I was afraid it may be quite a ways out of town and we'd have no way to find something to eat but it was adjoined to the local mall. When the truck came to a halt, I had to pry my fingers off of the door frame. I had been gripping it with white knuckles the whole 20 plus miles of curvy road since picking up our car.

As the driver was unhitching our car from the flatbed tow truck my husband saw his cell phone now had service and he called his parent's house in Millcreek hoping someone would be home. He figured if his dad couldn't come then maybe his sister's husband could. Turns out his sister and husband were out of the state for a few days but his dad said he would come pick us up. Half an hour later and he would have been gone attending a party and we wouldn't have been able to get a hold of them until the next day. We felt terrible asking him to come all that way especially right after he got off work and Father's Day being the next day and making him miss out on a gala event.

We thanked our nice tow truck driver and locked up our car. We walked over to a mall restaurant and had dinner. We were gonna miss what we thought was the Stanley Cup final game. As we were eating we both commented how lucky we were to be sitting down and eating right then. How things could have turned out so much differently. And that we both had a really good time. Weird, especially with the thought of a big repair bill hanging over our heads and after just forking out over $4,000 in repairs just a few weeks before for the same car.

We returned to our car and started organizing all our belongings that we couldn't leave in the car. My husband got an envelope out of the self-service box at the repair shop at the dealership. They were already closed and wouldn't open until Monday. He wrote down the symptoms of the car failure, dropped in the keys and dropped it into the slot on the side of the building. So there the car would stay and I was quickly losing fondness for it.

Just then my father-in-law pulls in and he even has a smile on his face. He is a very special person, most always happy and always willing to lend a hand. We filled the trunk with our stuff and loaded ourselves in and headed home. I wondered how long, this time, we would be without our be continued

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

No Service, part 3

For part 1 click here, for part 2 click here.

The little store with the pay phone, minnows, worms and lures, and a variety of diet-busting snacks was quaint and woodsy as could be. It reminded me of my youth where I spent summers at Milacs Lake in the upper central part of Minnesota. My great uncle has a cabin there. That is where the movie, Grumpy Old Men was staged. This place was that kind of bait shop. We bought some water and Pepsi and I chug-a-lugged that Pepsi down. Ahhh, ice cold.

The guy that ran the place knew it was going to be a while before the tow truck came and told us we were welcome to get out of the sun and go next door and relax under their large shade trees in front of one of the cabins and kick back in their chairs. We told him thanks and mosied over to a big tree. I really didn't want to intrude on their personal territory so I sat down on the grass under another tree and played with a caterpillar that was making its way across the grass.

A few minutes later we were joined by the family that ran the place. There was a break in business and they spent their breaks out under the biggest tree. There was a fresh, cool spring that ran just past where the chairs were that made a soothing trickling and bubbling sound and there was a thick canopy of old growth trees over head. Again he asked us to take up a chair and join them and this time we did. My leg had gone to sleep sitting under the tree and I gimped over to the picnic table. It must have been 10 degrees cooler there next to the stream. I thought what a dream come true to be able to have such a nice place in the woods like that. Boat rentals, canoes, cabins.

Sometimes there is an awkward silence when you are suddenly among people you don't know. I don't remember who started talking first but it was if we knew these folks. Conversations flowed and the benefits and drawbacks of running such a place brought laughter and smiles. The conversation only paused when their land line portable phone would ring with affirmative replies that they had this and that and yes, you can rent boats there. We were having such a nice time and I was truly enjoying the relaxation when the quiet sounds of nature were abruptly interrupted by the sound of a large engine, the squealing sounds of brakes and rattling of large chains.

You need towing? be continued

Monday, June 19, 2006

No Service, part 2

To read part 1 click here.

Two girls stopped in a car that looked a lot like the one the man was driving earlier. They asked if we were the one's that needed help for a broken-down car. Yep, that's us! They told us they would take us to the nearest phone so we could call for help.

Apparently, when the man got back to the campsite he told the family about us and they decided to find a park ranger to see if they would help. The girls said they were concerned that the ranger may not do anything. They thought of us out there turning down rides thinking a car was coming back to help. So they took the car to go find us.

They introduced themselves as Vanesa Venezia and her friend, Sandy. They were from Hawaii and camping with the family at the Dewdrop campsites. Vanessa said she was from the Warren area originally. I can't stress how much we appreciated that they went so far out of their way for us. They drove us to the nearest payphone which was somewhere on highway 321 at a little store and bait shop. They said if there wasn't a phone there they would take us into Kane, another 8 miles. Vanessa and Sandy said they wanted to stay until we had made the arrangements with the tow truck driver and to make sure everything worked out. They even said we were welcome to join the family at the campsite if we couldn't get home or find a place to stay that day which was beginning to look like a possibility as it was now past the open hours of the Subaru dealership or the car rental place.

After all the arrangements were made with a tow truck that was coming all the way from Mt. Jewett to tow us to Warren, we said our goodbyes. The two wouldn't accept any money for gas and helping us.

Wow, there are still nice people out there. Our day was getting better already. I thought about that movie "Pay it Forward".

The bait be continued

Sunday, June 18, 2006

No Service, part 1


No service is what our cell phones said. That's when it hit me that we could be robbed, kidnapped or worse. Of course my husband wasn't thinking along those lines but he was concerned as we were miles and miles from a phone signal or land line.

Our day trip to the Kinzua Reservoir was wonderful until we drove several miles past the Dewdrop campgrounds and decided to turn around. A couple of jerks when the brakes were applied. an"at oil" light came on as well as a flashing ABS light. The engine was speeding up and slowing down erratically and then it happened, it died. Dead, doornail dead. Subaru dead.

Ok, luckily we got AAA a couple of months ago when we were stranded when our transmission gave out in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately we didn't get the upgrade for the 100 mile tow. And even more unfortunately, when we tried to call for a tow truck we realized we were screwed, No Service.

It was hot, very hot. Boy, I was glad I bought some chocolate strawberries and some pecan turtles from Romolos before we left. We had two diet cokes and one ice pack in the lunch-pail size cooler.

We got out a map and my husband was trying to see how far we might be from a phone. Just then a car happened by and I gave that distressed look and it worked. The man stopped and asked if we needed directions. I told him the car died. He somewhat begrudgingly said he'd come back to help after he dropped his carload of kids off. We waited and waited and waited. It was getting so hot. We decided to start walking even though we knew there was no way we'd be able to walk our way out of that place.

I was trying to make the best of it and took out the chocolate and said we'd better eat it before it melts when the ice pak gives out. So with chocolate faces we headed up the hill.

When the taste of chocolate finally left my mouth my thoughts started turning to the fact that we already drank most of the coke and we didn't have anything to drink after they were gone. Then the thoughts turned to bathrooms. Now what will happen then? I'm not a "go in the woods" type of person. I barely will use an outhouse and that is only after hours of agony before accepting the lesser of two evils.

Then the car comes around the corner but it isn't the man we saw earlier.

to be continued.................

Friday, June 16, 2006

Two-Way Mirrors

I went to that was referred to me by Emma in her comment below and that website kind of dispells the email that is circulating below. But then again, how do we know that snopes is right? I believe they are legitimate but the internet is so full of misinformation it is hard to tell who is telling the truth!

I was emailed this as one of those FW:FW: etc etc. but I found it interesting. I entered the phrases in Google and found several sights that are posting this. I wouldn't know how to know it was true unless you happen to have access to a two-way mirror to test it.


I thought it was quite interesting! And I know in about 30 seconds

you're going do what I did and find the nearest mirror...

Do you know how to determine if a mirror is 2-way or not? This is

not to scare you... but to make you aware. A policewoman who travels all

over the US and gives seminars and techniques for business-women

passed this on.

When we visit restrooms, hotel rooms, changing rooms, etc., how many

of you know for sure that the seemingly ordinary mirror hanging on the

wall is a real mirror, or actually a 2-way mirror ( I.e., they can see you,

but you can't see them)?

There have been many cases of people installing 2-way mirrors in

female changing rooms. It is very difficult to positively identify the

surface by just looking at it. So, how do we determine with any

amount of certainty what type of mirror we are looking at? Just

conduct this simple test:

Place the tip of your fingernail against the reflective surface and if there is a GAP between your fingernail and the image of the nail, then it is a GENUINE mirror.

However, if your fingernail DIRECTLY TOUCHES the image of your nail,


"No Space, Leave the Place!" So remember, every time you see a

Mirror, do the "fingernail test." It doesn't cost you anything. Remember:

"No Space, Leave the Place!"

Ladies: Share this with your girlfriends, sisters, daughters, etc.

Men: Share this with your wives, daughters, in-laws, mothers,

girlfriends and/or friends.

And to my friends... please pass this email on to all your online


Remember: "No Space, Leave the Place" --- Better safe than sorry.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tear-Jerker Horse Abuse

I came across a story from the Sacramento Bee about some abused horses that were being sent to the Grace Foundation. I followed the link to this video. Because I am formerly an owner of many horses and am still a horse lover, I teared up through a lot of the video. It's pretty sad. Link to video below.

Monday, June 12, 2006

It Was One of Those Great Weekends

  • My husband took Friday off of work and we got to enjoy a 3-day weekend. We went to Pittsburgh on Friday to visit the Science Center that we didn't have time for the last time we went to Pittsburgh.
  • If I had school-age kids this would be the place to bring them. But you never outgrow having fun with science. This was the first time I saw live seahorses swimming around.
  • I let myself be a bit silly and went in the blue-screen booth and did the weather forecast. I was doing an imitation of Groundhog Day. I figured no one knows me there so I could act silly. Later, at the scale-model train room the assistant said there were several people from Erie there that day.... Oh.
  • My favorite part was the real (cold war) submarine. I loved the old brass and how well everything was made. It is amazing how small a space those guys had to live in.
  • We saw the Everest Imax film which was great. We rented it a few years ago and saw it on our TV but it is nothing like the IMAX theater screen. My favorite part of that was the introduction that showed Pittsburgh. The flyovers etc. You really feel like you are flying.
  • After the Science Center we visited some of the "for sale" Mexican War Street historic homes and took pictures for my sister. My sister (from California) is interested in buying one for a vacation home. Who would want to vacation in Pittsburgh? That was my first question but I guess if you are used to living at the beach in southern California it is nice to get away to something different. Pittsburgh does have some interesting things to do.
  • Saturday was spent working on my little backyard. We bought some landscape fabric and covered the rest of the yard with that and added the red mulch. The Scott's mulch came in 2 cu ft bags. We figured about 5 would cover the little area. We had to go back 2 more times to get enough to cover the grassy area of the yard. My back yard is something like 16 by 20 ft and half is garden not being mulched. The grand total to cover the area that was grass was 24 bags of that stuff. Boy were we off! But it really looks nice and neat now and no more weed whipping. Maybe a little roundup along the edges. When I finish with the front lawn next year, about 10 ft x 16 ft, we can sell our lawnmower!
  • Yesterday we drove to Findley Lake (I love it there), then on to Cambridge Springs and then visited Campbell pottery again. I love going there and there is always new stuff to see. I didn't buy anything this time but I'm sure I'll make up for it in the future.
  • So this week is going to be filled with working on the bathroom. I'm adding 4 GFI outlets and new lighting fixtures. I'll have to plan it all out and get my permits. In the mean time, I have the door stripped and primered. It took just about a week of tedious work and huge mess on that one and I have decided to just do the bad spots on the rest of the woodwork in the bathrooms. The rest of the house has natural oak and heart pine. Now I know why very few people strip the paint off. Just sand and paint over it even it it looks a bit bumpy. It is an antique house, after all, gives is character :-)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Linda's Retreat (pic)

I'm adding this as my entry. The theme is functional art. I altered the old window frame and inserted my painting that I recently finished....

I finished my garden project today and look forward to taking the morning paper and coffee out and enjoy my little quiet spot in the garden. I finished the painting a couple of weeks ago but just finished adding several coats of poly on it to make it stand up to the weather. I mounted it in the window frame I fixed and painted. Then I took a very old shelf and painted it to match and mounted it on the fence with shelf brackets. I bought 2 of those little, colorful flip flop picture frames and put them on the shelf. I'm going to put pictures of my nephews in them after I waterproof the printouts. At night the landscape lights hit the picture and it looks like the sun is still shining behind the trees. I really like my new area to relax.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Presque Isle -Tom Ridge Center

We visited the Tom Ridge Center yesterday and was really impressed. What a nice place! I love the view of the lake from the top of the tower. The exhibits and art was really nice. The only drawback was a temporary one. The cottonwood trees were putting out their cotton balls in force. It was like a cotton snowstorm! You can see a 360 degree ipix of the center if you go to this link, and click on the headline that says "Peek Inside the $31 Million Building" After it loads, scroll down and click on the link on the right that says....
"Up-close look at the new Tom Ridge Environmental Center with photo gallery, 360-degree look at key rooms, audio clip from its large-format theater."

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Absolute Horror of Paint Stripping

I watch those HGTV, DIY and Discovery Home programs all the time while I'm working. I watch as some elegant lady describes how they restored their home and I watch the hosts of the show shower them with praise and admiration. My, what work it was for them to be inconvenienced by the workers they contracted out to do the work. Give me a break. I don't' want to hear the lady talk about how "inconvenient" it was to have to put up with all the dust. Really? Try doing the work, lady.

They didn't restore their home, someone did it for them. They didn't paint or shampoo the rugs, they didn't strip the woodwork, they didn't even draw up the plans for the addition. Yes, oh my, they had the absolute awful, stressful job of picking out the fixtures. Hmm.

I had an in-law relative once claim to have built a house. It was a few years before I found out he never lifted a hammer. He "oversaw" what the workers were doing, meaning he sat sipping a cold drink and watched some contractor he hired and the contractor's crew work. He helped make some decisions on the fixtures and how many rooms and the size of the rooms . I was so impressed that he was able to build a house until I found out the truth. Anyone can pick out the fixtures and watch the other people work.

Once in a while they will have on those shows, someone that actually took a toothbrush and stripped all the crevices on the stair spindles and stripped all the layers of old wallpaper, that saved the old windows and restored them one by one until they were as good as new, that made the custom gate for the yard, that made the stained-glass windows, that tore out the toilet and fixed the leaks, that repaired parts of the foundation, that made screen doors and windows, that repaired, plastered, and painted the ceilings and walls and even painted the artwork on canvases in the frames hung on the walls, that tore out the old carpets and stripped and sanded the hardwood floors.....and then to have someone ask that person, oh, you don't work? you don't have a job? must be nice! Oh, wait, that person that doesn't work is not on the show, it's me.

Now, why now after all these projects am I complaining? It's not that I still have dozens of major projects hanging over my head and it's not that there is no satisfaction in completing these projects and when I'm done we'll have a real nice house. It's that paint stripping is the worst, the worst! of all possible jobs that I have done. And when the paint goes back up on the wood, no one but us will even notice the difference.

The real reason why I'm writing this is because I don't want to go back in just yet and finish that paint stripping. I'm enjoying sitting here in front of my computer sipping on an ice cold coke. Oh, you work at a computer desk all day? Must be nice!