Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Oh, and by the way... there's one more online literature link you might like checking out:

Online Literature Library.

Well, I had the interview. Things seemed to go OK. I hate to sound unenthused, but I've come home from interviews before thinking, "YEAH! I just NAILED that thing!", only to learn later that there's been a hiring freeze, someone was promoted from within the company, etc. So, no matter how well I might *think* something went, I'll only BELIEVE it went well if I get a call back. I should know within a few days if my name will be submitted for a second interview.

My only issue with this was something that cropped up during the Excel test. For some reason, leading zeroes were not appearing when I entered the ZIP codes of the addresses in the data entry test. For example, the ZIP code "05398" was just showing up as "5398", dropping off the leading zero. I was Not Happy about it, and took a few minutes trying to fix the problem. Well, since the test was only 20 minutes long, it left me with that much less time to actually ENTER data. Grrrrrr....

In any event, I think I entered what I *did* get into the system accurately. It's just that I'd have been able to put more data in during the freaking test if I hadn't stopped to try and oust that vanishing-leading-zero Gremlin.

Now we'll see if my results met their standard well enough to be sent along to the client company. I want to say "I hope so", but I've nearly stricken the phrase "I hope" from my vocabulary, where employment-related issues are concerned. I'm so sick of having my hopes dashed, that my attitude now is "I'll do my best and what happens, happens. If nothing happens, I'm no worse off than I was before."

P.S. I described the leading-zero issue to Mark, and he showed me how to get them to show. He said that entering a single-quote (') prior to the number with the leading zero will result in the leading zero not being truncated. I'll have to try that the next time I'm using a machine with Excel on it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Wish me luck, I heard from yet another temp agency today. I have an interview in the morning for a possible three-month assignment. If that goes well, my name will be submitted (along with names of other candidates) and the company where the assignment is will call the people it wants for a second interview. If THAT works out, I will have what sounds like a pretty interesting assignment for three months, beginning September 1. The company that needs workers is redesigning their website and they need people who can help enter data, including using some light HTML.

This works for me on several levels. One, I can do the job. (That's always a good prerequisite, isn't it? Being qualified? lol). Two, it will enhance some skills that I already have, in particular using Excel and HTML, which would serve to bolster my resume. Three, the location is Center City and that's a plus. So wish me luck, and I'll provide updates as things move along (I hope!).

At the moment, I am enamored of my new toy. I am going through the contents of The Literature Network. Oooo, so many classics that I don't own, but would like to read! Mixed in with works that I *have* already read and would like to read again! Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories... you name it, you'll find it. Check it out and enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Mark and I had a nice visit to Lincoln Financial Field today. It was opened to the public for the first time.

In other news, we saw Seabiscuit las tnight. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even so, I'm glad I read the book first, because there's SO much more background detail in the book. Unfortunately, the movie would've been at least 10 hours long if it contained all the information in the book. However, I can honestly say that the things I know they condensed for brevity's sake were faithful to the SPIRIT of the book, if not to the precise details. If you want to see a movie that contains a STORY, and isn't special-effects-driven, go see Seabiscuit.

Photo albums are now online for the Flyers/Phantoms Phestival, for the Strasburg Railroad/Pennsylvania RR Museum, and for the visit to Lincoln Financial Field. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Yesterday was great. We went to the Strasburg Railroad, in Lancaster County, PA, for a 40-minute ride on the steam-powered train. Since they run trains every half hour, that is the only place in the world where two steam-powered trains pass one another on a regular schedule. :o) We ate in the dining car on the train, and got to see the VERY picturesque farms surrounding the area. One of the farms is the home to the Amazing Maize Maze, which looked like a lot of fun.

We thought we'd hit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania first, then the Maize Maze. But there was SO much to see in the museum, we figured that it'd be better to leave the Maize Maze for another day. In particular, I enjoyed going INTO the several train cars and cabooses :o) that were open to the public. I finally found out what a caboose is for: it's the place where the engineer did his paperwork and could sleep. There was lots of paperwork because the engineer was responsible to keep track of which cars were picked up or dropped off. The cupola on top was where the train's flagmen could watch for problems with the train, be it mechanical issues or hobos trying to hitch a free ride. And, as a handwritten note posted in a yellow caboose said: "NO not all cabooses were red". LOL, I guess someone got tired of answering that question a zillion times a day. :o)

Anyway, trains are cool. Mark and I both have some interest in them: my great-grandfather worked for many years for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In fact, I still have his 25-year service pin. Mark's family also has railroad connections: his grandfather worked for the railroad and followed the job from Chester County to Willow Grove, PA, where Mark's family still lives today.

We wrapped it up with dinner at Miller's Smorgasbord, which was great. I've never met an Amish smorgasbord that I didn't love, lol. Speaking of which, if you ever have the opportunity to try dried sweet corn, DO IT. I absolutely love the stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire day, and I think that Mark and Hat Trick did, too. ;o) I have a bunch of photos to upload, and I think it's time I invested in a second camera battery. For the first time since I got the camera, I actually exhausted the battery completely. Thank goodness this issue didn't crop up until LITERALLY the end of the day, when I was trying to get a shot of something interesting from the vantage point of the parking lot as we were leaving. I think it's the indoor flash pics that did it -- when I am at a hockey game, I don't use the flash and the battery lasts a lot longer. However, two camera batteries should be enough for even me. I hope. ;o)

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Well, this was an interesting day. Mark and I headed up to the Skate Zone in Northeast Philadelphia for a Flyers/Phantoms Phestival. It was actually geared toward kids from various day camp programs, and they were expecting 450 to 500 kids to attend. However, I called and made sure that it was open to the public, too, and when I found it was, Mark and I went. (Mark is on vacation this week, since there's a possibility of a Verizon strike August 2; if there is, he will be working six-day weeks and not be allowed to take vacation during that time.)

So we headed up there early, since it was slated to run from 10 AM to 1 PM. Three Flyers prospects were slated to be on hand: Wade Skolney and Jeff Smith from the Phantoms, and Jeff Woywitka who is coming out of juniors this season, and we're not sure which team he'll land on yet.

There were various hockey-skills things for the kids to try, and of course the one that caught my eye was the LeGolie inflatable goaltender. :o) No one was in line yet, so I parked Hat Trick on the inflatable Flyers goalie's shoulder and took a picture. One of the proprietors of the device -- which shifts left and right in front of a net, as kids take shots on goal -- wanted me to send them a copy of the picture, so Hat Trick just might end up on the internet! Well, somewhere other than on my photo albums, anyway, lol! BTW, I'm laughing my head off... DO check out that LeGolie link! The Golie is telling his life's story on the "The Golie Corner" section of the site. Hmm... he's got more in common with Hat Trick than I originally thought. :o)

Anyway, between the time that I was introducing Hat Trick to LeGolie and the time the players arrived, Mark noticed a bunch of police vehicles heading up the street adjacent to the Skate Zone, one after another. He went to see what was going on. About two minutes later (and the cop cars were still passing all this time) he yelled, "DONNA! Come over here!" I didn't know what in heck was happening over there, but it sure must have been something with all those police cars passing. Now there were a bunch of police motorcycles into the bargain... and when I was about a quarter of a block from the curb (I was walking across a parking lot to get to the curb in question), a dark blue limo with two flags on the hood whizzed past.

Still more cop cars and motorbikes followed, along with press buses, a tow truck(!) and an ambulance. A police helicopter was suddenly, loudly flying overhead. What in the HECK was all this?! It turns out that what the heck it was, was a presidential motorcade. They zoomed by so fast, there was no way to get the camera ready in time. Drat.

We checked out the other displays, which by this time were mobbed with dozens of kids' groups, and chatted with the people manning the Phantoms booth. We're known by sight to the Phantoms ticket agents, because we're season ticket holders, and we've chatted with them in the past during games.

Anyway, while we were discussing who was returning to the team this year, and who's gone, we started noticing police motorcycles making their way back up that same street, one by one. This was a bit more than an hour after the motorcade had gone by, and we thought, "Could he be coming back the same way he went out?" I thought that would be a bad idea, security-wise; I would have expected the motorcade to use a different route for their return.

But no -- the road was closed, and I could see now WHY the police motorcycles were going through one by one. They were each taking a position, maybe every quarter of a block or so, and remaining in place. Or maybe it was wherever there was some kind of intersection with the street (in our case, the driveway where cars exit the parking lot), I'm not sure. In any case, once the motorcycles were set up, along came the cop cars again. Then a whole phalanx of police motorcycles came through. Taking the still pic of those was my mistake; I should have used the movie feature instead. Everything was moving so fast, the camera wasn't done recording the pic of the motorcycles when the TWO IDENTICAL dark blue limos with flags on their hoods went zooming past. I hadn't noticed that there were two of them, the first time around... I must have paid such attention to the first one that the presence of the other one never registered. Anyway, after the limosines came more police vehicles, three press buses, and the ambulance again, followed by the loud police helicopter passing overhead. (The tow truck appeared to have dropped out of the parade, lol.)

Mark expressed the same opinion that I had -- he thought it was a security risk to have the motorcade using the same street to arrive as it did to depart. But about a half-hour later, I realized one reason why they probably did so. A small private plane came in for a landing, and as it did so, I realized it was extremely low. We must have been MUCH closer to Northeast Philadelphia Airport than I'd first realized. I suppose the President came in by helicopter, since if my understanding is correct, Northeast Airport is too small to permit a plane like Air Force One to land.

In any event, we had now seen the Presidential motorcade TWICE, but there was no sign of the baby Flyers that we'd originally gone to see. They were delayed by the many road closures surrounding the motorcade, not to mention some construction on Woodhaven Road, and they wound up arriving at about 12:10. By then, a good number of the kids appeared to have left, but at least half the school buses that had been on hand earlier were still parked in the lot. Only Jeff Smith and Wade Skolney came; Jeff Woywitka wasn't there. I got to chat with them briefly as they were signing pucks for all the kids... can you say "carpal tunnel syndrome"? That's a lot of pucks!

I told them, "This is good practice for you guys when it comes time for you to buy a house. You wouldn't believe the number of documents you have to sign then".

Jeff said, "I don't know, I've signed an awful lot of things in my life". I had to admit, he DID have a point. :o)

I asked them if they had any idea when upcoming charity softball games are, but they don't know. Drat. I was hoping to have some advance notice so I could plan ahead to be there. I need to cheer my hockey boys on, doggone it! Even if they're playing something other than hockey!

The only disappointing thing is that none of the pics I tried to take of Jeff or Wade came out even half-decent. Kids ran in front of me, the guys turned around or moved half out of the frame at the last moment... you name it, it went wrong.

But at least I got some shots of Hat Trick, so the day wasn't a total loss in the photo department.

Tomorrow, Mark and I are taking a day trip to Lancaster. We missed out on the Strasburg Railroad the last time we were up there, so we're making up for it on the last day of Mark's vacation week. I hope the issue I was having with the power button on my camera rectifies itself; otherwise, there's gonna be a trip to Best Buy in our immediate future. The camera's still under warranty so there shouldn't be trouble getting it fixed or exchanged.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Aye yi yi, lol, I have to do two things. First of all, I have to bring extra tapes to meetings: my 90-minute tape ran out tonight with a few minutes left. Second of all, I will have to make sure of who makes a motion and who seconds it. Well, at least I have all that info from tonight's meeting. Now all I have to do is type all the minutes up, from both the board meeting and tonight's meeting.

YAY, Randy Wolf just got a four-hit shutout as I was typing the previous paragraph. WTG, Randy, we have desperately needed a starting pitcher to go deep into a game. Our previous two games on Monday (I got pics!) and Tuesday saw our starting pitchers get knocked out early. Not good.

One thing that IS good is that I have got a large amount of my AADB blog written up and posted. I just have about two and a half days left to write up and it's DONE, yay! When it's ready, I will add the link to the new blog to the sidebar on this one. In the meantime, you can get a sneak preview by reviewing my Club Photo albums. ;o)
I'm still working on making the time-zone adjustment. Last night -- or should I say, this morning -- I didn't fall asleep until after 5 AM. Tomorrow, I'm getting up early no matter WHAT the heck time I fall asleep! Maybe what I need is a few days of early rising to reset my internal clock.

I also think I have a pinched nerve. I suspect I did this to myself on Friday, the travel-home day from AADB, because of all the acrobatics we have to go through while transporting heavy luggage. (The lack of an elevator in my dorm, and the need to bring a very large suitcase down a flight-and-a-half of stairs, probably didn't help matters.) SOMEthing is sure affecting my right arm, to the point where numbness travels from my shoulder all the way down to my hand, and into the thumb and first two fingers. (For whatever reason, the OTHER two fingers feel normal.) Sometimes if I massage the right side of my neck or the top of my shoulder, the numb feeling dissipates almost immediately. I'm taking anti-inflammatories daily until the symptoms abate, and completely avoiding sleeping on my right side (which is almost guaranteed to trigger symptoms). I think it's time I head for a chiropractor while I'm at it. I just want this to go away on its own, and not become a chronic condition.

Tonight is the first PPPC regular meeting that I'll be taking minutes for. I'll definitely be bringing the tape recorder to supplement whatever written notes I take.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

I would just like to note, for the heck of it, that it's 3:23 AM and I am still WIDE freaking AWAKE. I can't believe it's been three days and my internal clock is still set on San Diego time. I've never taken this long to make the time zone adjustment before. This is aggravating, and I hope I can reset my clock back to the Eastern time zone soon.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Just a brief update... I'm still creating the AADB online photo albums, as well as wrapping up the text recaps. Within a day or so, there'll be blog entries.

This is the big thing, though: rather than put those posts in here, where they might be hard to find amidst the day-to-day stuff, I'm setting up a separate "special events" blog. When it's ready, I will post the hyperlink here, as well as add it to the links on the left-hand side of the page.

BTW, for the heck of it, I put "National Deafblind League" through a search engine myself just now. Surprise! I got several listings that included the text "Deafblind UK (formerly National Deafblind League"). So anyway, here is the hyperlink for the group I posted about on July 14: Deafblind UK. Do check them out when you get a chance. :o)

In the meantime, I am having one HECK of a rough time re-adjusting to Eastern Standard Time. For the last few days, I've been wiiiiide awake at all hours of the night, and in the morning I have to pry myself off the pillow with a crowbar. Ugh. I hope to heck this time-zone issue goes away soon.

Tonight, Mark and I are going to the Phillies game. They're having a special Verizon Night, and Mark was able to get tickets via work for it. Not only are they giving out visors to all fans (yay, gotta love those promos, hee hee) but my pet pitcher Brandon Duckworth is slated to pitch. :o) I think Mark and I should bring those Wacky Quackers from the Ride the Ducks tour. :o)

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Hello, all! I'm home. I got in late on Friday night and MAN, am I tired! I woke about 9 AM when I heard Mark moving around, and I even heard the mail arrive so I went and retrieved that... then I lay down on the sofa and didn't wake up again until 2 PM. Now THAT'S tired!

I have got a ton of photos to upload -- I filled four 128MB memory sticks with photographs and am most of the way through a fifth one. I am also about halfway through the writing of the blog -- every day I made brief notes of significant events, and I am in the process of taking those notes and rendering them into complete English sentences. I have decided that I won't post the full summary until I have everything uploaded, so look for the AADB recap within the next few days.

I hope everyone had a great week. I certainly did, although I'm gonna need another week to recover from it. ;o) Later!

Monday, July 14, 2003

Hello from San Diego State University (SDSU). Bless them for having internet access in their library. I've just gone through my e-mail, and I thought I'd send a teensy update while I'm here.

There haven't been any tours or workshops yet at this convention: those begin tomorrow. Yesterday, we had opening ceremonies, including some great keynote speakers. The finale was two Chinese dragons that danced around the room, to the tune of HUGE drums that everyone who's here could either hear or feel. My delegate, KC, needed to get something to drink in order to take medicine, so we missed most of the finale, but I did snap a couple of hasty pictures on our way out the door. :o)

Oh, and Hat Trick met the Shamu mascot from Sea World, who was also visiting our convention. He even got to pose for a picture with him, hee hee!

But the most amazing thing yesterday was the Mass. I've seen deaf priests before, and blind priests before. I've seen priests who sign before. Considering that at AADB, a very large percentage of the delegates communicate with tactile sign (signing into the hands), it was no surprise to me at first to see that the priest who was about to celebrate our Mass was using tactile sign with someone. That is... it was no surprise until I realized that he was RECEIVING the tactile sign IN his hands, not signing it into someone else's hands...! None of us had ever met a deaf-blind priest before. His name is Fr. Cyril Axelrod, and he's from England. He even has the kind of guide cane that deaf-blind use over there in England. In the US, deaf-blind people use the same kind of cane as blind people. But in England, blind people use a cane that's solid white, while deaf-blind people use canes that have alternating bands of red and white. I haven't got time to track down hyperlinks for all this now, but when I get home, I will. However, I seem to recall that the group in England that's the equivalent of our AADB is called the National Deaf-Blind League (which they might have tweaked the spelling to "National Deafblind League", I'm not sure). If you're curious about these things, run either or both of those phrases through the search engine of your choice and you're sure to get results. :o)

OK, it's time for me to run out of here and meet KC and Kathy (KC's other SSP) for dinner. Do have a great day and if I don't get the chance to get online from here again, I'm certain to log on with my AADB recap when I get back. Take care.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

OK, all, this is the big day! We leave for AADB and San Diego today! At 7:15 this morning, I hasten to add... aack! Oh, and did I mention we have to be there 90 minutes in advance? OOOO, I'm gonna be a zombie.

We come back late on Friday the 18th. If there's any way for me to track down online access while I'm there, I'll be sure to post a brief update on how the convention is going. Otherwise, I'm gonna have LOTS of posting to do when I get home. :o)

Take care, stay safe, visit the blogs that are listed on the left-hand side of the page. Later, all!

Friday, July 11, 2003

Yesterday was a real upload-o-thon, and the end result is three new photo albums on Club Photo. While Mark and I were waiting for our Ride the Ducks tour to begin, we briefly checked out the new Constitution Center. Yes, this is the place that made the headlines on July 4, when the opening ceremony went awry and a large plywood door frame fell to the stage. Fortunately, only minor injuries resulted; it could have been far worse. The company that installed everything for the grand opening admitted that they messed up -- the frame should have been secured to the stage, and it wasn't. The ribbons were supposed to be attached to the frame in a breakaway fashion, but instead they were solidly attached. These errors are the reason that, when all the dignitaries on the stage hauled on the ribbons, instead of creating whatever effect they were SUPPOSED to create, the frame was hauled off-balance and fell.

In any event, we had to pass through metal detectors to get into the Constitution Center. :o( It still gets to me when I see security measures in contexts where I never used to see them before. Part of me hopes I never get used to it. Things in the post-9/11 USA might never be entirely as they were before, but I want to at least remember what it used to be like.

Once we got in, we learned that in order to see the main exhibits in the building, one has to pay admission. We didn't have time for that, since we had tickets for the Ride the Ducks tour, but there were some interesting displays in the lobby area that I thought were worth sharing. Hat Trick, in particular, had a brush with greatness in the gift shop. :o)

The other two new photo albums were created from pictures taken on July 8, which was Mark's actual birthday. In the morning, we headed over to Voorhees for the Flyers Prospects dry-land training. If you're among my fellow hockey-fan friends who are suffering Hockey Withdrawal Syndrome, then by all means check that album out to get a dose of baby hockey players. ;o) The black bands the guys are wearing are heart monitors. With the heat and humidity we have here in the summer, even that early in the morning, it's much better to be safe than sorry. In fact, the Flyers/Phantoms strength and conditioning trainer Jim McCrossin, who was conducting the workout, offered water and gatorade to the couple of dozen fans in the BLEACHERS. He was concerned about our overheating, and we were just sitting in the sun. God bless those boys for actually exercising in this heat.

One kid got leg cramps toward the end of the workout, and the other trainer helped him out. By the time the session was over, he was OK. After the workout, I wanted to ask him how he was doing, but I got a vibe that he'd prefer to forget the whole thing happened. I figured it was best to pretend I didn't notice that the heat had gotten to him.

After the training session, Mark and I headed over to Camden, NJ, across the river from Philadelphia, to visit the Battleship New Jersey. It was a fascinating tour and I'd be glad to recommend it. Hat Trick had a great time, as usual. ;o) If you have a choice of what time of year to do the tour, though, you might want to hold off until the weather is a bit more temperate. Some parts of the battleship do have air conditioning, some have strong fans that do the job pretty well, and some parts of the ship were pretty darn warm when we were there. (The presence of a lot of other tourists, and the resulting addition of body heat, didn't help.)

When the tour was over, Mark and I headed up to his parents' house for a birthday dinner. Both our nieces and two of our nephews were there, and so was our great-niece Angela (Juliet's daughter). Pardon my doting-great-aunt moment, but how sweet is this baby? Not surprisingly, the whole family is head-over-heels in love with Angela. :o)

Well, now that all the news that's fit to print has been written. It's time for me to continue packing and getting last-minute things together for San Diego. We leave for AADB tomorrow morning. I can't believe the trip is finally almost here!

Thursday, July 10, 2003

OK, first things first: Hooray, I now have a guestbook!I've added the link to the left-hand side of the page. Do please sign it when you get a chance. :o)

Next on the list: the photo album for our Ride the Ducks tour has been set up. It's a tour that takes place both on land and in the water, because the Duck vehicle is able to drive from the land right into the river, and operate as a boat on the water. It was a lot of fun and I'd recommend it to anybody.

OH! That company from Blue Bell called me yesterday, when I didn't show up for the interview. That would have been kind of hard when I had no company name, address, phone number, contact name, nor contact e-mail address. The way we closed our phone conversation last week, I was expecting all that information to come in the e-mail, which promptly never arrived.

Well, I found out what the problem was. This company's e-mail addresses look like Not ".com", not ".org", not ".anything-I've-ever-heard-of". I think that my hotmail address took one look at that "" e-mail address and filtered it out as potential spam. They've had their e-mail filtered out by spam controls in the past, so they know I wasn't kidding when I said that their original note never arrived.

Unfortunately, they really want to fill those positions during the week that I'll be at AADB. There is no way I can get out there between now and the time I leave for the convention, so I suppose I'm out of the running. I think I'll call them after I get home to see if they're still interviewing, and take it from there. THIS time I made sure to get contact information before I hung up.

Incidentally, I asked them to send me the directions again to my job-search-related hotmail address, with a cc: to my AOL address. Unfortunately, AOL also appears to filter out their oddly-formatted e-mail address. As of this writing, I've received no e-mail at EITHER address from this company.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

OK, the ICDA Mass photo album has been created. The Mass took place at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul on July 3, 2003. Some of the pics might need a bit of explanation. Because this Mass was for a Deaf congregation, and the ability to follow the proceedings visually is a requirement for the congregation to participate fully, there were video cameras hooked up to several large-screen televisions set up at various points in the Cathedral. That way, no matter where you were standing or how tall the people in front of you were, you would still be able to have a view of what was happening at the altar and in the sanctuary.

My friend Joe J is deaf-blind, and because he uses tactile sign language (where the other person signs into his hands) or tactile fingerspelling (if you've seen the movie The Miracle Worker, you've seen an example of tactile fingerspelling) to communicate, it means he needs his own interpreter who can sign directly to him. There will be plenty of pictures showing these sorts of interpreting by the time I come back from AADB. However, I'm including these shots now to give a preview, for anyone who hasn't seen these things before, of what AADB will look like.

Now I have to upload the pictures from the tours that Mark, Hat Trick :o), and I went on, on Monday 7/7 and Tuesday7/8.
This is just a really brief post to mention that we did, in fact, tour the Battleship New Jersey yesterday. Mark, Hat Trick and I had a great time. Details and pics are forthcoming: watch this space. :o)

Monday, July 07, 2003

Mark's birthday is tomorrow, so he took both today AND tomorrow off from work. We started celebrating today, with a neat new tour of Philly called Ride The Ducks. Yes, pics are forthcoming, both from over the weekend and from today. And tomorrow, too -- we're going to see something tomorrow morning involving the Flyers' newest draft picks and dry-land training. Good. I could use an encounter with a few baby hockey players at this point in the offseason, lol. From there, we're going to tour the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey.

However, I can't get the pics online at the moment because Mark is using the main computer upstairs, the one with the much faster connection. It takes eons to upload pictures online, so I'll wait until that one's available before I post photos.

In the meantime, I'm STILL awaiting those directions from the company in Blue Bell. If I don't hear from them, there's no way I can go to the interview. Oh, well. Hopefully a Philadelphia-based company will respond to one of my resumes.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Well, the ICDA Mass was great! It was nice to see Father Russo again -- he was among the priests and deacons who were concelebrating Mass with a bishop from NJ, but I got to chat with him before Mass began.

I was with my deaf-blind friend Joe J and his mom, their friend Diana. We found a place where we could unobtrusively interpret for Joe J, since he uses tactile sign language (you sign into his hands) and needs his own interpreter. (I say "unobtrusively" because there's just no way around the fact that our goings-on can avoid being somewhat of a visual distraction, if you're not used to seeing this sort of interpreting done.) We found an empty aisle, a gap between a row of pews and a very large pillar, and positioned his wheelchair to face sideways. We got a folding chair set up face-to-face with his chair, so that whoever was interpreting could look up to the signing that was happening on the altar, if need be. Then when Mass started, Joe J's mom and I took turns interpreting. We both have a lot of experience interpreting Masses. Jean's interpreted them for Joe J for years, and I interpret once a month at the church where I grew up. In fact, I thought that it'd just be the two of us for the whole Mass, but surprise! A deaf lady who's a friend of Jean and Joe J, who attends the Mass for the Deaf in Delaware County, saw us and SHE came over and took a turn interpreting for Joe J, too. That was nice.

BTW, it's normally against the Interpreter's Code of Ethics to reveal who you interpreted for, or who else was the interpreter at a particular event. (To be honest, it's going a little bit against my grain to render the details in print.) However, since I *did* take some pictures during Mass during my "down time", and since I fully intend to POST said pics to my site, well... it's hardly going to be a big secret if I go plastering photos all over the Internet. Besides, this was a public event that anyone could attend, so it's nothing that ANYONE couldn't have seen for themselves if they'd attended the Mass. I sure as heck won't be posting online pics or naming names for any interpreting I do that's of a personal nature, such as during a doctor's appointment or whatever.

After Mass, we met up with more people. Mark works within a few blocks of the Cathedral, so he came over at around 5 PM, arriving near the end of Mass. One of my former interpreting instructors spotted me and came over, too. It was nice to talk to her again. :o) I told her the same thing I said to someone else at the Deaf Expo: that I want to get back into interpreting, and that I would like to work with a mentor interpreter to get the rust off my ASL. She gave me her business card, and it turns out that we're on each other's AOL buddy list already :o), so we'll see what happens after I get back from AADB. (Shoot, I can't think of a better way to de-rust my ASL than spending a week at the deaf-blind convention, but I'd probably still benefit from working with a mentor for a bit.)

After that, we met the sort of person that pretty much renews my faith in the human race. There was a monsignor who approached our group. He's from out-of-state and he has a deaf-blind friend back home, so he wanted to introduce himself to Joe J. The two of them started chatting. I did notice one part of the conversation where Joe J was describing the chronic pain in his back and ankle, but mostly I was chatting with other people and letting Monsignor and Joe J talk on their own.

Next thing I saw was Monsignor reaching into his pocket and saying to Joe J, "I have something for you". He took out a crucifix that's about 3" long. "This was blessed by the Pope. I got it in Rome. I want you to have it. Remember every time you're suffering that the Pope is praying for you because he blessed this cross". I was amazed at how generous Monsignor was being to a person that he'd only met a few minutes before. It just goes to prove that no matter how many nightmarish headlines we read in the news, there are ALSO people in the world who are kind and giving. We met one of them today, so I promise, the good people ARE out there.

Later during this holiday weekend, I'll post the Mass photos. By then, I expect to have photos from several different events to post.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

28.5 hours and counting... still not a peep from the company in Blue Bell, PA. They were supposed to send me directions yesterday morning, but so far, they've sent niente (which is Italian for nada, lol).

I'll be posting later this evening, hopefully with some pics, after I attend this afternoon's Mass for the Deaf at the Cathedral. The ICDA convention is in Philadelphia this week, and I'll be going to Mass with some friends of mine who aren't attending the entire convention, but who live in this area and want to attend the Mass. (P.S. ICDA= International Catholic Deaf Association... hmm, that's another link that needs to be added to the template.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Argh... did I mention that the company in Blue Bell was supposed to e-mail me directions? Well, have they e-mailed YOU directions yet? Because they sure as blazes haven't sent ME anything. I spoke to them six hours ago; they could have sent me directions long ago.

Meanwhile, what I DO receive is inane e-mails like "Seek of spam?" Yeah, as a matter of fact, I am "seek" of spam, and sick of it, too. Oh, and this classic: "Its a medicall miricle". Boy, talk about being proofreading-challenged! They managed to misspell three of the four words they used, and if misspelling a one-letter word was possible, I suspect these people would have found a way to do it.

So I park on the sofa in a cranky mood (can you tell? lol) and start ranting all these things into a Word file... and as soon as I sit down, Harmony gets up from her nap spot across the room, comes over and curls up next to my leg, and starts purring. Awww! :o) I guess some things in life still ARE good, after all.
Well, it's official. Jeff Hackett is the Flyers' new goaltender for the next two years. There's some uproar on the Flyers message board on AOL (where I'm a regular poster). Some of the people who are griping that we should have gotten someone else weren't paying attention to Hackett's season last year. I was, because he was on my fantasy hockey team, and darned if he wasn't one of my better goalies during most weeks. I think Hackett will be a bit of all right in Orange and Black, especially if the team keeps buying into Hitch's defense-first system. Shoot, I think he'll be all kinds of happy to backstop a team that actually gives him some HELP.

Speaking of the Flyers, I am still waiting QUITE impatiently for them to schedule some of those charity softball games like they had during the past two summers. By this time last year, we'd already had two or three games. It's been our first look at some of the incoming kids who are headed for the Phantoms (some of whom also take part in the games). OK, they're playing softball and not hockey, but still it's nice to see them and welcome them to Philly before the season begins. But we can't actually DO that until someone schedules some softball games, so let's get cracking, for cryin' out loud! ::sigh:: I hate the offseason.
Blue Bell, PA? Where in the heck is that? And how in the heck do I get there?

I just got a call back from one of the umpteen places I've sent a resume to. They said they got my resume back in April (!). They want to interview me, which is good. The positions they have open are for Executive Assistant and Administrative Assistant, which is also good. (More than one opening is always good, lol.)

So, what's the catch? The catch is the location. Blue Bell is, according to the person I spoke to this morning, outside Plymouth Meeting, PA. Yikes. If my memory serves, that means taking the Schuylkill Excessway all the way to the end, and then the PA Turnpike.

I'm afraid that the pay scale might not make up for the amount of money I'd spend on gas/tolls during the weekly commute.

But I'll be going on this interview on July 9 anyway. They said they'll email me driving directions and a more in-depth description of both of the job openings, but as of this moment I haven't received the information (I just checked).

I'll find out firsthand when I drive to the place how far it is and how long it takes (during non-rush-hour traffic, anyway). And I'll see how much gas it appears to use, too.

Maybe gas is cheaper in Blue Bell than it is in Philly. And I definitely will invest in an EZ-Pass if I have to deal with turnpike tolls on a regular basis, so that should save a tad of money, too. And I hope to goodness that Executive Assistants and Administrative Assistants have a higher pay rate than receptionists. (Note to self: try to look up what the salary ranges for those jobs are.)

It could all work out. I'm not presuming anything, because I've had one disappointment after another in the past two years. I quit getting my hopes waaay up a long time ago, because having things fall through repeatedly is enough to make a person lose their mind. These days, my attitude is not to get my hopes up, and if something comes through, great! If not, I'm no worse off than I was before. But even so, I acknowledge that things COULD work out.

This crummy economy... I wish I was getting interviews from companies IN Philly, instead of on the outskirts. This is the second time in a month that I've had an appointment that involves a long commute.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

There's a wee update on the Photo Log. Too bad Frank V. said he can't come to AADB this year. If he were going, I'd be able to get an even clearer photo of him to compare with the one of Bernie Parent.

For those who haven't met him, Jay's friend Frank V. is one of the deaf SSPs (Support Service Providers, or interpeter/guides) who has volunteered at AADB for at least the past two conventions. Actually, I'm pretty sure that he wasn't at prior conventions that I've attended; given his striking resemblance to my all-time favorite Flyer, I'd SURELY have noticed his presence from the moment I set eyes on him.

Those here who aren't familiar with Jay will be reading his name again before long, as he's one of the deaf-blind delegates from this area who's travelling with our group to the AADB convention.