Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mummers Mass

The annual Mummers Mass is nearly upon us! Owing to my being under-the-weather, I'm leery of standing out in the cold with crowds at the Parade itself this year, so I'll have to get my in-person Mummers fix at Mass this season.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The other GP in my doc's office, by whom I've been treated in the past, saw my results and called me at home to discuss them. He wanted to be sure that I'm on iron pills, which I am, and have a followup appointment with a specialist, which I do. The blood I had drawn last week got similar results to the test that concerned the first GP. But both tests were taken prior to my getting the iron pill prescription. So we'll see what kinds of numbers I get after I've been medicated for a while.

I've had a Tired Day today. At least I know I don't have to feel guilty if I take a nap. I have good reason to go into need-a-nap mode, and it's got nothing to do with insomnia (which hasn't been much of an issue in the past few weeks).

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Do please send thoughts and prayers to my in-laws' in-laws. Mark's sister's brother-in-law passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Eve. :( He was supposed to sing for a service on Christmas Eve night, but never arrived. His brother (not my brother-in-law, but another sibling) went to investigate and found him. I don't know any more details than that. We'll be going to the funeral on Wednesday morning. It's such a shame.

And to think I was aggravated over breaking a glass this afternoon. I never break things, and I happened to really like the pair of drinking glasses we used every day. I break things so rarely that I really got miffed when I cracked the glass. Needless to say, I've gotten my reminder that there are far more significant things to worry about than a drinking glass. Sigh.

Speaking of significant things, I have my specialist's appointment set for January 5. My doc had wanted me to go between Christmas and New Year, but the specialist he wants me to see is away during that week. Note to self: don't get sick during the freaking holiday season. I'm still a bit rattled to think that I came this-close to a hospital admission. Normally, problems show up in "mild" and "moderate" forms before we reach "severe", but the former two levels came and went undetected. The only reason I'm sitting in my living room right now, and not in a medical facility, is that the doc didn't want to see me spend Christmas as an inpatient, and in all honesty I didn't want to spend my holiday hospitalized, either. I do have my list of symptoms that, should any of them show up, I'm to head to the ER. So far, so good, knock on wood.

It's very enlightening to look back over the past few months and understand WHY I've been battling severe fatigue. I'd interpret a Mass and then come home and sleep for an entire afternoon. Or after a busy weekend, I'd be totally wiped on Monday and sleep a lot of the day. I blamed it on the bouts with insomnia, about which I've griped on my blog more than once, but apparently that wasn't the entire picture.

So I'm taking iron pills now and focusing on bolstering the meds with dietary changes like eating red meat, leafy greens, etc. Fortunately, I like the iron-rich healthy-food choices that are out there.

But the specialist appointment is to help figure out WHY things got so out-of-hand in the first place. That's what I'm not happy about... the underlying causes could be any of a wide range of reasons, some of which are easily fixed and some of which are extremely serious. Here's hoping it falls into the category of "easily fixed".

Oh, well. On a lighter note, the Nook that Mark got me for Christmas did, in fact, arrive in time for the holiday. So I loaded about 30 books onto it that I got several months ago from, a B&N subsidiary whose books are compatible with the Nook. Then I used the Nook itself to order about 9 more books that I wanted from Barnes and Noble. So yeah, I'm having a grand time with this. :)

Hey, I don't want to land in a hospital any time soon, but if I do, at least I have reading material to spare. ;)

That's pretty much all the news that's fit to print. I hope everyone reading this had a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Waah! The National Kidney Foundation's flatbed truck came and picked up Skate, aka The Wee Red Car. Part of me feels like crying because it was such a terrific little car for me for so many years. 18 years, in fact, but who's counting?

I do hope they sell Skate as a car, rather than for parts. I'd hate to see that happen. It's one of the reasons I opted for donation instead of selling to a service that I was almost positive would junk any car they got. At least with the donation, there's at least a slim chance they'll let the car live.

Bye, Skate, and thanks for a ton of great memories, many of which wouldn't exist if I hadn't had a car to take myself and friends to and from the event. I'll miss you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


They're showing "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on the Arenavision prior to pregame warmup. The weather outside, to coin a phrase, is frightful. It's a total snowfest. I suspect that people from farther-flung suburbs will give the game a miss. Driving the one mile we travel to games, all on plowed roads was challenge enough.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thanks to JFM for sending me this Youtube link. I haven't watched it without laughing out loud. Enjoy this VERY clever rendition of Silent Monks "singing" Hallelujah. :D

On a more serious note, it's December 17 once again... I can't see this day's date without remembering that it's the anniversary of our dear friend Joan's passing. I can't believe it's been 14 years. We still love and miss you, Joan -- pray for us. I know you're Up There where we all want to be someday. We'll see you when we get there.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

3-D Glasses

The "Holiday Show" at the Comcast Tower is in 3-D. They distributed amber-and-blue 3-D glasses.

Finale: Christmas Light Show

Finale: Christmas Light Show at Macy's.

Waiting for the Christmas Light Show

Waiting for the Macy's Christmas Light Show to begin. It's nice to see the Magic Tree has been restored to the display. It was MIA for a few years.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vehicle fun

We went to the notary public today to get a bit more of the car-donation paperwork done. Fun Facts: my 1989 car, whose name is Skate, currently has 41767 miles on its odometer. When I bought it in 1991, it had 14082 miles on it.

This is what comes of commuting via SEPTA for all but about 2 years' worth of owning the car. I drove to the Norristown temp assignment for 3 months and to the Cherry Hill temp assignment for 18 months. (Well, I drove to the Park-n-Ride at Pattison Avenue for 6 months, but since that was a 2-mile round trip, it doesn't really count for much mileage.) That's IT. Every other job or temp assignment I've ever had, I've used public transportation to commute to. That's a LOT of wear-and-tear that my car was spared over the years. Heck, it's probably a big reason why the car survived this long.

So if you want to save yourself money and preserve your car, take public transit to commute whenever possible. Your wallet will thank you, your car will thank you, and the environment will thank you.

I have a whole lot more miles on the current car, whose name is Grape. But the same care-and-feeding regimen that kept Skate working for all these years will surely benefit Grape, as well.

I sure will miss the Wee Red Car, though. We have a lot of years and day trips behind us. Good times, for sure. :-)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I just had a MAJOR Blast From The Past!

It started when Joe sent me a text message asking if I remember the surname of our late friend Joan's niece.

I drew a complete blank. I've never been good with names, and this is a person whom I haven't seen since Joan's funeral in 1995.

However, Gabey Queen of Search Engines took over. I knew the name of a song she wrote, and of the artist who recorded said song. One internet search later, I came up with THIS PAGE, which included a photograph so I was absolutely positive that I had found the right person. However, it still only listed her last initial, not her full surname. Not to worry... a link on that page leads to a filmography and there, down at the bottom of the page, were her first and LAST name. I called Joe back with the info and emailed him the link to the page.

I send a virtual tip of the cap to her for having been involved in the films and albums she's been a part of. I still miss her Aunt Joan terribly, as does all our group of friends.

In other news, the new (to us) car is back from repair. OY, that was a sock to the wallet when all was said and done. We're not telling my father-in-law about the repair bill. He'd hit the ceiling, since as far as he knew the car was in good repair when he sold it to us. We're arranging to donate my old car to charity. We've sent out the preliminary email to the National Kidney Foundation and gotten the automated response. So we will be able to take care of doing that as promptly as possible. The goal here is not to pay insurance on THREE vehicles; we have until December 30 to sell or donate my old car in order to avoid the insuring-three-cars situation.

So that's all the news that's fit to print these days. And I'm still reeling in amazement that I was able to find Joan's niece online within two minutes of embarking on a search for her surname. What in heck did we do before the internet?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

On Saturday night, Karla and I went to see Joe in the second, and final, night of his concert with the Chorus. He sang during the first half, and was the narrator, "Bernard", during the second half. He did a fantastic job, as well I should know since I was his first "script girl" when he started rehearsing the part. Hey, by the end of that rehearsal session, I had that part of Beaker doing 9 Ladies Dancing down cold. ("Mee mee mee mee mee!") :D

In any event. Joe had a lot more than that down cold by the time the concert rolled around, and we all really enjoyed it.

But MAN. If you want to talk about "down cold", you could take a look at our local weather. The temperature has plummeted over the past few days, and Karla and I got sleeted on while we waited for the church to start admitting concert-goers. BRRRRR. Freaking weather. Someone needs to tell Mother Nature that it's still only autumn.

I had a pleasant surprise on Thursday, when I heard from the reporter who covers the Phantoms in Glens Falls. He was interested in writing a story about Philly fans who have continued to follow the team even after it left for Adirondack. We arranged a time for a phone interview, and you can read the resulting article HERE.

The article was written for the Post-Star to coincide with the Phantoms' homecoming game in Philly on Friday night. We had a huge crowd at the Wach Center (13,127, to be exact) and it was great to see a lot of fans I got to know over the years. The only thing missing was a win, as Our Heroes lost in OT.

Anyway, I just realized that it's pushing 1 AM. No wonder I'm ready to doze off as I sit here. Good night (well, morning).

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Phil E. Phan

Phil E. Phan has a new jersey, as befits his status as the ultimate Philly Sports Fan. :-)

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


My dad saw our new (to us) car at the shop, which is near my parents' house. He gave it the thumbs-up. :-)

My cousin Tony is in the ER even as I type. He was supposed to have his gall bladder out in early January 2010, but it looks like the surgery might have to be sooner than that. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise, as he's been feeling horrid for weeks. With luck, if he has to have the surgery now, it will translate into feeling better when the holidays come around. As it was, the original schedule would have left him to deal with dreadful gall bladder symptoms through Christmas and New Year's Day. Phooey on THAT.

On a side note, I'm typing this post with my new cell phone. My old one was on its last legs, with buttons that barely functioned and a memory leak that made the phone freeze up several times daily. I have a lot to get used to with this phone, as it's very different in design from its predecessor. Practice will, I'm sure, make perfect.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

This is just too cool for words. Zero-gravity experiments on the International Space Station with a free-floating sphere of water. My favorite is the third one, where we see what happens when an effervescent antacid tablet is inserted into the sphere.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to all! We've got a day ahead of us that will be full of family and friends, so that's reason enough right there to give thanks.

Also, since I really do prefer to take my holidays IN ORDER, it will be a relief not to have to deal with the time paradox of hearing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Every year, they start earlier on the radio and in the stores with the Christmas music and decorations. It drives me nuts to see Jack O'Lanterns and scarecrows side by side with Santas and snowmen on the store shelves, particularly in the days prior to Halloween.

At least one radio station that I listen to online was playing "Secularmas" music prior to Thanksgiving. Last Sunday afternoon, they focused on winter music that doesn't mention Christmas and on SECULAR Christmas music (Blue Christmas, White Christmas, I'll Be Home for Christmas, and so on.) Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, I hope they'll find it in their hearts to add to their repertoire the religious Christmas music that unabashedly mentions the Reason for the Season: the birth of Jesus. For without that blessed event, there wouldn't BE a Christmas season to sing about.

Anyway, before I discuss Christmas any further, it's time to enjoy TODAY'S holiday! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Captain just figured out how to play "Throw"!

That's where he brings the milk carton ring so I can Throw it for him to chase!

GOOD KITTY! :-) :-) :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Mark and I bought my mother-in-law's car from my in-laws today. It hadn't been run in so long that its battery was dead, so we replaced that. It also needs some other work done; for example, the speedometer, odometer, and gas gauge are unresponsive. And I'm not entirely sure if the temperature gauge is working... if it is, the car is runnng a bit hot and that will need looking into.

My dad told me to ask the mechanic to check the hoses and fan belt, since if those need replacing, we might as well do it ASAP.

We got it to replace my car, which is 20 years old and getting senile. The new (to us) car is 12 years old and was taken care of well by my in-laws. But it hasn't been used much in the past couple of years since my mother-in-law stopped driving.

Technically, it's not entirely "ours" yet, even though we paid for it, as we couldn't find an available notary to do the title transfer by the time we got the battery replaced. So we'll have to make a separate trip to get the title changed over. But we did drive the car home and we'll have the mechanic give the car a going-over in the meantime.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oh, how cool is THIS? The video has to be viewed to do the gown its full justice (or as close to full justice as one can get without seeing the gown in person).

It looks like something out of the Disney Electric Lights Parade.

In fact, if Disney Imagineers see this video and DON'T design LED-imbued gowns for their princesses to wear, I'll be surprised and disappointed.

Doggone, that's neat. I wish it wasn't on display so far away. But it IS in Chicago, so if it's on public display, I have some relatives who'll have the opportunity to view it. (Don't let me down -- do go see it and send me pics! :) )

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Anyone who knows me online OR offline is aware that I'm all about technology. If there is a device of any sort that will make life easier, I'm all for it. I'm also in favor of service industries and small businesses', particularly in this economy that has hammered both of the above (and pretty much everyone/everything else).

Yet, I read an article not long ago about a service/tech combo that puzzles me. It's "How to email Grandma if she doesn't have a computer". It discusses a service called that will, for $9.95 per month, print the emails you write to Grandma and snail-mail them to her. Ditto for photographs you email them. They also send out reminders for things like Mother's Day, birthdays, etc.

I commented on the article a few months ago, but I was reminded of it today because I get email notices when new comments arrive. I hold the same opinion today that I did when I originally posted the following comment on the article:
Why not just:

a. Pick up the phone and call. Gotta be less expensive than $9.95/month.
b. Print the letter out, or even handwrite it(!) and mail it yourself, for the cost of a stamp.
c. Print the digital photos, either at home or via a paid photo lab, and mail them along with the letter? (Or, if you're using an online service to print them, you can have them mailed to your relative instead of to yourself.) Again, the cost is sure to be less than this service's monthly fee.

To each their own, of course, but I think the direct contact of a phone call or a letter that YOU wrote, addressed, and sent, is a more meaningful way to communicate.

To tell the truth, if it was a service that charged a modest fee for sending a one-off letter or cobbling together a fancy newsletter, there might be something to that. But anyone who can afford to pay nearly $10 per month for this service should invest that money in a printer, paper, ink cartridges, envelopes, and stamps, then print the letters and photos themselves. I don't see the added value in paying a monthly fee to someone else to perform a task that's simple and inexpensive to do for oneself.

Of course, if you feel compelled to have someone else do the printing and mailing, by all means email me at the address on the top left of this page. You can Paypal me some funds and I'll happily perform said task for you. :D

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Installing WinXP

I'm sitting here installing Windows XP on my laptop's newly-replaced hard drive.

Again. The second time since August. Which is not counting the time in May when the Geek Squad did it for me.

Here's hoping the drive behaves this time. This starting over from scratch is getting freakin' OLD.

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OMG, a UFO! A big round shiny thing floating in the air!

Oh, wait. It's just the Sun. That unusual glowing orb in the sky hasn't been sighted in these parts for at least a week. Darn well about time we got a break from seeing clouds, rain, rain, clouds, and rain.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

WHERE did this throng come from? I'm taking a break in a hotel lobby close to where I plan to see a concert within the hour (and taking advantage of their wifi, obviously :D). It was nice and empty and quiet in here when I arrived. Then suddenly a good 200 Twenty-somethings, both male and female, came pouring into the lobby from somewhere in the hotel. They're all in suits and carrying folders and business-y accessories, so they must be here for some seminar or whatever.

All I know is that I liked it better when it was peaceful and quiet. I hope their next session of whatever they're attending begins soon.

Subway car

Good thing I didn't ride this subway car *yesterday* (Friday the 13th). :D

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I have a slightly insane schedule for the next 3 days. So much for replacing the still-dead hard drive on my laptop. That will have to wait until the weekend.

I'm still bowled over by the thought that Marie is no longer with us. As anyone who has met her or who knows of the many(!!!) stories about her, she was a person who was truly a larger-than-life character. There'll never be another one like her, for sure.

The stories, fortunately for us, will live forever. But I'll miss the one who was the source of that long list of anecdotes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Joe M. called me a while ago. We are very fortunate that we went to see Marie yesterday. He got a call from her former nurse's aide that she passed away this morning.

I'm sure her SPIRIT knew we were there yesterday, even if her body had no way of responding to our presence, so I am glad for that visit, however brief it was. We got to tell her we care about her and were praying for her, and let's face it, what else is there that we can do for one another beyond that? Faith, hope, and love really *are* the only things that last.

The world without Marie in it... unfathomable. :( The only way I can describe my feelings is to say that there was only one Marie, believe me when I tell you, and the world just became a smaller place today.

So many of our friends from the old prayer meeting are gone now. Hopefully they're remembering the ones of us who are left down here, while they're up there at THE Prayer Meeting.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Joe M. and I saw Marie from our former prayer meeting today.

But the sad thing is, there was no real indication that she was aware of our presence in the slightest. :(

She is in the same hospice that we were just visiting on Saturday night, due to the death of Joe's brother, and in fact she is in the room adjacent to his. And we had no idea. She's been there for some weeks, it seems, but her daughter only contacted Joe M. this morning.

I wish we had known she was there before now, particularly if she was lucid enough to recognize people when she was first admitted.

What a shame. Do please include her in your prayers. If she can rally and still have quality of life, then fine, but if not, then it's terrible for her to linger in a body that appears incapable of interacting with the outside world. :(

What a week this has been. Sigh.


Marie D. is in the room adjacent to where JFM's brother was. We were only yards away late Saturday night and didn't even realize it.

JFM and I will be seeing her this afternoon. I hope she knows us. Sigh... this world is a tough place.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

JFM's brother, whom I've posted about before and who'd been battling brain cancer for over 3 years, passed away earlier this evening. Please keep his family in your prayers. Thanks.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Wow. Oh, my.

One of the online discussion forums I frequent has a thread where someone asked for feedback on the website he's setting up to represent his business.

It was so peppered with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors that one of the other forum members offered advice designed for someone for whom English was a second language.

The implications of this advice clearly went straight over the head of the site author, who responded jovially that he only knows one language, English.

I'm not sure he realizes that his writing made someone presume he's neither a native nor fluent user of English.

And I must admit... that was my own presumption on viewing the website, as well. I would offer to proofread the site, but there would be such a wholesale rewrite of the text involved that I fear it would cause offense to the site owner when he saw the sheer number of changes being made. Maybe someone who knows him a bit better than I do will be able to take on that task without causing hurt feeolings.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mannaggia la miseria. Farging Yankees. :(

I'm proud of the Phillies, no matter what. We have a team full of talented, class guys who are extremely easy to root for.

This is when I'm glad that I like both hockey AND baseball. The two sports' seasons overlap at the beginning and the end, so I always have someone to root for.

Thanks, Phillies, for an exciting year. Never a dull moment, to be sure! ;-) GO PHILLIES!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rejoice and be glad!

I've known JFM's nephew since he was born; now he is a grown, married man. He and his wife have just welcomed their first child, a son, into the world. I couldn't be happier for them all.

May God bless all three of them.
I have the 80s music station on TV, and I'm hearing We Are The World for the first time in forever. I would love to see a "Where are they now?" list for all the stars who took part in that recording. Some of them are still headliners today, while others have gone on to do things other than music.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I don't BELIEVE this! My freaking laptop hard drive has died AGAIN!

[insert long list of colorful, multilingual expletives here]

OF COURSE it died when JFM asked me to fill in and send a mass emailing to the civic association he co-chairs.

Fortunately, said laptop went on the fritz just as I was chatting online with a fellow techie friend, RD. He set up a GoToMeeting session on one of his computers so I could log on THERE and send the mass email.

The email is being sent out even as I type.
Thanks, R! I appreciate the help!

Technology... when it works, it's grand, but when it acts up, ARRRRGH!

I probably will be minus a laptop until Sunday at the least. Thank God I bought this netbook in March. It's been a life-saver.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yesterday they had The Last Stroll at the Spectrum, including tours of the Phantoms' locker room (which the Flyers once used), the press box, autographs from Broad-Street-Bullies-era Flyers alumni, and the ability to visit our Season Ticket seats one final time. I took as many photos as I could OF our seats and FROM our seats, as well as getting pics during the above-mentioned tour.

I didn't have anything for the Flyers alumni to sign, so instead I took photos with Joe Watson, Orest Kindrachuk, Bob Kelly, and the deity of goaltending Bernie Parent.

I wish I could get in a time machine and go back and tell the 10-year-old me, who was going through those tough times but was also an avid Flyers fan, that I was able to thank members of that Flyers team for making me a hockey fan, and make them smile. :) And that on encountering Orest "O" Kindrachuk, I cheered, "O!!!!!!" and he got a huge kick out of that. And, most of all, that I got a smile from Bernie Parent when I told him that he had made me a fan of goaltending.

Knowing that such great things were in my future, even 30+ years in the future, would have made life easier on 10-year-old me. Or at least it would have made me more interested in sticking around long enough for those great things to happen.

Maybe that's God's way of reminding me that I should ALWAYS keep on wanting to stick around, no matter how tough times are, if only because some future me will then be able to do something that would make the current me do handsprings for joy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

WHEW. After calls to our Flyers ticket rep, ComcastTix, Flyers Box Office (who then called ComcastTix's Box Office), we got our old Phantoms season ticket seats for the Phantoms game in December.

I've only been making calls/playing telephone tag since 11 AM.

I need a nap now.
Skype is my new toy. :) Yeah, I know, it's been available for years, so I'm a little late to the party. Well, better late than never. I didn't expect the call quality to be anywhere near this good. I'm very impressed.

In other news, the GOOD news is that the Phantoms will play a game in Philly in December. The BAD news is, I can't specify my Season Ticket seats during the freaking presale. I have to wait until tomorrow to do that, when the tix go on sale to the general public, to specify seats.

So I called the person in the Flyers box office who helped Mark and me straighten out our season-ticket seating issue. She, in turn, put a call out to someone in Comcast's box office, who was going to look into the situation and reserve the two seats "if they're still available". (Arrrrrrrgh!!!!!)

I want my freaking seats to see my freaking team! I don't think that's asking too much of anybody.

Stay tuned. If a PayPal button appears on this blog with a request for bail money donations, you'll know that someone else got my seats. If that's the case, please give generously to the bail fund. ;-)
Aw, man. Soupy Sales passed away.

Another fixture from my childhood gone. :(

Thanks for the memories!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I can't recall if I mentioned that at my recent doctor's appointment, I had a couple of tweaks made to my prescriptions. One of the new meds lists "drowsiness" as a possible side effect.

Boy, they weren't kidding! Geesh. I'm sleeping 12 hours at a shot with this stuff, plus or minus a brief wakeup here and there in the midst of all that. I usually end the sleep pattern when I decide, "Good grief, look at the clock! I have to get up!" and then I do just that.

But I haven't even had the med a week yet, so I'll wait a bit more to let myself get acclimated to taking it. If the drowsiness doesn't die down, back to the doc I go. Alleviating symptoms by hibernating through them wasn't the sort of relief I had in mind. ;)

Monday, October 19, 2009

There will be a Last Stroll at the Spectrum, open to the public and free of charge, on October 24 from 10 AM to 1 PM.

They'll be selling memorabilia there. No suprise.

They'll also be taking orders for Spectrum chairs. I have to see how to go about getting my season ticket seat. I sat there for over 10 years, so IMO they owe me and other former STHs first crack at our seats.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oh, well. It would have been a nice idea, if it had been meant to be.

I got an ad in the mail for pet medical insurance. Knowing what we've spent on Captain and Stanley in the past two years, I looked the program up online.

There are four levels of coverage, and only the most expensive of the four covers dental care. But then I read the "what's not covered" list, and gingivitis is specifically excluded. So forget THAT plan. The cats both have chronic issues with that, to the tune of both cats needing three separate dental procedures involving extractions in the past four years. If I can't get gingivitis treatment covered, it's not worth having the plan.

I wish there were pet medical insurance plans that didn't restrict away the main things that I would actually WANT them for, like geriatric care or, for the reasons stated above, gingivitis. It would actually be worth the investment to me if I could find REAL coverage for veterinary expenses, instead of just a bare-minimum amount of coverage. I do realize that these companies are in business to make money, but on the other hand, I want to actually get something for what I'm paying for. Why would I subscribe to a veterinary insurance that refuses to pay toward anything I actually need to have coverage for?
Joe and I saw these Muppets on display at the Michener Museum in Doylestown yesterday. They have a Jim Henson/Muppet exhibit that's running until November 29.

Then I had this song as my earworm for the rest of the day.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Muppet exhibit at Michener Museum

The Jim Henson/Muppet exhibit at the James A. Michener Museum in Doylestown, PA is GREAT! See it if you get the chance!

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Ads on the Ceiling

I've joked about the potential of boosting revenue by plastering ads on the ceiling. SEPTA is actually doing it! LOL! :)

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

I have been reading articles about the immense data outage that's taken place for users of T-Mobile's Sidekick device. Having worked in IT for over 16 years, I still can't wrap my mind around the idea that NO usable backups existed from which the corrupted file could be restored.

When I worked for the bank, we had backups of our backups. Literally. There were two parallel files containing the data, always updated simultaneously, and both files had backups both onsite and offsite. We had things set up so that, IF the main data file got corrupted, the only record that would have to be recreated would be the ONE record that was in the process of being written to the file at the moment the crash occurred. If the system didn't fail at a time when a record was being written to the file, we wouldn't lose anything at all, because everything else was backed up in multiple places.

Now, granted, I'm talking about a BANK and there are about a bazillion Federal regulations governing everything banks do, including maintaining data integrity. So that instills a particular "Safety First. And Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth" mindset in the people in the bank's IT department, as well it should.

But IMO, it shouldn't take the looming threat of Federal Regulators Getting In Your Face for a company to take the stance that preserving data integrity is more important than life itself. That is an attitude that SHOULD be a given.

I am just flabbergasted that any company anywhere could suffer a significant, possibly permanent data outage. Whatever money they may have saved by cutting corners, and downsizing away the people who knew the system best (which happened as part of a recent MSFT takeover of Danger) is now going to be spent paying damages on class action suits. So not only did they not save money by restructuring, they lost a lot of consumer trust into the bargain. To me, this looks like a worst-case-scenario for what can happen when a corporation thinks solely with its wallet.

This morning, I saw an article proclaiming that they think they can restore "most" of customers' data. Color me unimpressed until I see a percentage to quantify this nebulous "most". After all, 50.0001% would qualify as "most", as would 99.9999%.

There's one part of me, as a person who was downsized out of a longtime IT position, that wants to say, "NYA NYA NYA, corporate bigwigs, that's what happens when you cut your staff to a skeleton crew." But I can't, because the people this REALLY hurts are the consumers whose data was lost. The freaking bigwigs who gutted the department, even if their heads roll as a result of this, will get their golden parachute severance package and land with some other big corporation. The consumers are the ones who'll be up a creek if that data can't be restored.

Argh. I probably shouldn't read the news before my morning coffee. As you can see, it makes me think too much.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I get such a smile out of seeing where some of the hits on my Phantoms blog come from. In particular, the hits that come from the hometowns of our players, and from the cities where some of our guys previously played, make me glad. I feel like I'm doing something constructive both for myself and for other long-distance fans when I see that. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Phillies Phillies Phillies! We eliminated the Rockies and are advancing to the NLCS! WTG! :)

First Regular Season Game: Phantoms Vs Sharks :: Photo Gallery ::

First Regular Season Game: Phantoms Vs Sharks :: Photo Gallery ::

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I just realized that it's MY orange hat that's visible in the lower left quadrant of this pic. :) This is from the Post-Star's coverage of the Phantoms home opener.
For once, being a chronic insomniac is working in my favor. The freaking Phillies game is STILL ON at 1:41 AM Eastern Time. Thanks, you morons at MLB and TBS for starting a PLAYOFF game at 10 PM. @*#&$!*&$#

Friday, October 09, 2009

Fed Up With Nasty-grams

Boy, a couple of my preferred hockey message boards have turned into nastygram-fests lately. Everything people post seems to be a complaint about something, even when the Flyers win, or else insulting comments made to other posters.

Strange that the bout with Nasty-itis would happen simultaneously in multiple locations, no?

But wait... what were those lyrics from Clouds again? "But now, my friends are acting strange. They shake their heads, they say I've changed..."

Hmm. Maybe the message boards are the same as always, and my tolerance for the snarkiness is what's dropped in recent days.

Either way, for the time being, I'll be spending less time on the sites that have gotten on my reserve nerve recently. (I can't entirely leave either site, as I'm a moderator at one, and the other has non-nasty people on it whom I've known online since the 1990s.) So I'll merely curtail visits to those places for a bit. When either the atmosphere on those sites or my tolerance for the goings-on there show some improvement, I'll go back to spending more time there.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


At the AT&T Pavilion (at the Wach Center) watching the Phillies game prior to the Flyers game. Who let a Penguins fan in here? ;)

LOL, I'm Keeping This


A few times a year, I do a Google search on my own name. Every now and then, a piece of info like an address or phone number will show up online. Goodness knows where they get it, as I make a point of NEVER posting either of those details online, ever. But if they do show up, I either remove them myself or inform the site in question that I want them removed. Problem solved, at least for a while.

I just did another "Let's make sure nothing unwanted is showing up online" search.

To my surprise, there's an online phone directory which has an address and phone number listed for me, as well as an employer. I have never provided any such information to any online directory, as I prefer my info to remain unlisted. However, the info on the site isn't really mine anyway. The address that they have listed is that of my favorite, but soon-to-be-demised arena. The phone number is the former Philly number of my favorite, recently-departed AHL team. And the directory site also thinks that I am an employee of said AHL team.

What the...?

And then I realized that somehow, some data mining program must have connected my name to my duties on the board of the team's BOOSTER CLUB, and extrapolated somehow so that the team's contact information ended up in my directory entry. Because I've certainly never provided team-related information and claimed it to be my own in any way.

Anyway, I'm laughing my head off about the "information" on that site. I think I'll leave it alone. The team in question is no longer in this city, the phone number for its former office is most likely gone, and it's only a matter of time until the building at the address itself is no more. So in the highly unlikely event that someone actually would look my name up, even if they call or write to that address, they won't disrupt anyone's workday. There's no one at that address/phone number to be disrupted.

And anyone who REALLY wants to get hold of me online should have no difficulty doing so. This blog page offers some workable options for anyone who actually is interested in saying hello.

LOLOL! Seeing my name connected to that address is the best laugh I've had in a while.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I can see Sign Man behind the Flyers bench for the pregame skate. The season is finally upon us!

'Bout time!

Monday, October 05, 2009

I've compared losing the Phantoms to feeling like I've experienced the death of a loved one before, both aloud and in print.

Over the weekend, I was surprised by one particular psychosomatic symptom that I've only experienced in the past after a bereavement. I'll spare my readers the details, though people who know me offline may already have an inkling of what I'm referring to.

In any event, let's just say that my subconscious mind is grieving, even to the point where my conscious mind needs a few moments to register where some symptoms are coming from.

Never discount the mind-body connection. The state of the one *will* make itself be reflected in the other, especially at times when a person is trying to gloss over or ignore the fact that some situation is truly hurtful to them.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Phantoms Home Opener: the writeup will be posted on Sunday

There's a bit of an issue with the hotel wifi, so I will post the game writeup for the Phantoms Home Opener on Sunday.

I am extremely pleased with the number of Philly fans I saw at the game. My only disappointment on that score is that Glens Falls is too far away for us to make this kind of showing at every game.

We came oh-so-close to getting at least a point out of this contest, but it wasn't meant to be. With 11 seconds and change left, Worcester scored a tie-breaking PP goal and won, 3-2.

I'm now going to go keel over. It's been a long day. Good night!

Phantoms Block Party

Adirondack Youth Hockey is having a shootout at the Phantoms inflatable.

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We arrived a while ago. I have since checked in, called Mark, had issues with the hotel wifi, and logged in with my cell phone connection so I could post this.

It's really hitting me, since seeing all the Phantoms stuff outside the arena, that my team is gone. REALLY gone. Not Coming Back gone.


I did subscribe to the AHL cybercast, so I could watch games online, but that's not the same thing. It is, however, far better than not being able to watch at all.

Pics will be forthcoming tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


We clinched the Division! NL East Champions 2009!

Outstanding! WTG, guys! :-)
I have discovered that the cats are afraid of the Orange Horn. They both hid, and wouldn't come out until I brought out Cat Treats as a peace offering.

Monday, September 28, 2009

OK, I understand that anybody who's eating frozen snack foods is not expecting to have a five-star-chef-level culinary experience. But even so, there are some things that just plain defy logic.

Take, for example, the box of frozen chimichangas we have. On the box, it gives instructions for heating one serving via microwave or via oven. One serving is comprised of five (5) chimichangas.

So why does the box come with 8 chicken and 8 beef chimichangas in it? They couldn't spring for two more of each kind, and give us an even 10 of both flavors, since one serving consists of 5 chimichangas?

Or is this a multi-ethnic version of the eternal question, "Why do hot dogs come 10 to a pack, while hot dog buns are sold in packs of 8?"

Things that make you go, "HMMM."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Finally, I'm starting to feel better after a day's worth of digestive rebellion yesterday. Still not sure where that bout with Unwanted Symptoms came from.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Good news

Good news: Mr. "Draped All Over His Girlfriend" is nowhere to be seen for tonight's Flyers game. I have a clear line of sight to the ice, without having to court back spasms by craning over and around his big noggin.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Even though my knees didn't sound like Rice Krispies when I navigated on stairs today, it's now clear to me that I'm not a citizen of the Land of the Symptom-Free yet.

On my way back upstairs, I just had such a painful crick in the knee, I had to crawl up the remaining steps. Living in a rowhouse has its downside... I hope the neighbors on either side of us didn't wake when I exclaimed in pain. Farging symptoms that show up at this wretched hour of the night morning...!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

LMHO!!! This video literally made me LOL. Enjoy!

Fan Follies

The guy sitting in front of me is so focused on keeping his arm around his girlfriend, he keeps blocking my line of sight with his head.

It is only with difficulty that I have refrained from telling them to "Leave some room for the Holy Spirit".

I hope he's not a season ticket holder. I don't feel like sitting behind this all season long.

UPDATE: Seems he was a Red Wings fan, as the only time he cheered was for a Red Wings goal. I hope that means he's not a STH. He and the g/f he was hanging all over left the seats in front of us during the second intermission. I don't know whether they left the building entirely or whether they just found a pair of seats closer to the ice. Either way, I watched the third period without having to crane my neck over and around obstacles. Hooray.

Flyers Preseason

Welcome to the Flyers' first preseason home game! The teams have just come out for the pregame skate. :)

Oh. My. Gosh.

I've been taking the glucosamine-chondroitin OTC product that my mom recommended to me for the past 3-4 weeks.

I just walked down the stairs from our second floor to the first floor.

Remarkably, I did so without having any of the pain or funky noises (aka crepitus) emanating from the knee.

I'm gong to say that one more time: for the first time since well before the second injury 14 months ago, I walked down a flight of steps without one unwanted symptom.

I can honestly say that I'd forgotten what it felt like to walk down a flight of stairs without having at least one pang of discomfort and/or hearing damaged-joint noises.

I know it's not the result of NSAIDs. We ran out of those a couple weeks ago, and since then I've steeled myself to do without them so I could pay better attention to what the glucosamine-chondroitin was doing. Therefore, I know that this symptom-free moment was not the result of naproxen.

I know better than to think I'll be symptom-free forevermore, considering I saw what the knee looks like inside thanks to the pics the doc took during the surgery. But a walk down an entire flight of steps without one problem -- I wouldn't have banked on ever having that again. So that's some real progress.

So you can count me as the latest passenger on the "try glucosamine chondroitin" bandwagon. The particular brand my Mom recommended is Osteo Bi-Flex, but I've had one or two other suggestions from online friends as well, of similar products that have worked well for them.

My original motto, "Don't fall, and if you MUST fall, don't LAND", still holds true. But if you already fell and landed, or have some other reason why the osteoarthritis fairy has visited you, by all means hit up the local pharmacy for the OTC glucosamine-chondroitin products.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We had a nice weekend seeing The Other Donna and meeting her beau. Plus, I now have a new restaurant to be in love with. Chiarella's on 11th Street is out of this freaking world.

I hope the weather stays as nice as it's been for the past two days. I want to use the bike this week.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Today's installment of Stupid Criminal Tricks: a burglar pauses to update his Facebook status while in the act of robbing someone's home. He left himself logged in on the victim's computer, which allowed the police to track him down and arrest him.

CLICK HERE to read "Facebook break leads to burglary suspect"

BWAHAHA! Knucklehead!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oh, no! :(

Oh, no!

RIP Mary Travers, and thanks for some of my favorite childhood musical memories.

On second thought, let's just call it "some of my favorite musical memories", period.

Mary Travers of Peter, Paul, and Mary dies


Friday, September 11, 2009

I wrote out my memories of "Where was I, and what was I doing" on 9/11/01 not long after they happened. Eventually, I used that text as the basis of a blog post. Here's the link to that post.

RIP to the victims. Never forget!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I've started a new Phantoms blog: welcome to the Flyers Farm Team Chronicles. Unlike The Final Countdown, which was intended to follow the Phantoms' final year in the Spectrum, this new blog will be one long-distance Phantoms Phan's diary of the team's progress from here on out.

If you're so inclined, feel free to come along for the ride. Let the season begin!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Easy come, easy go. I saw an ad on an animal rescue site that I frequent: "Become a Dog Trainer".

Hmmm. I've always been a bit of a pet whisperer, so I thought I'd click the link and see what I found. Long story short: I got to the training program's home page, then did a search on Google for reviews on the training program.

I found a bunch of complaints about said training program's quality of material and their externships. Apparently, the home-study part of the course is remedial at best, with "practice tests" that are identical to the real tests. The complaints about the externships appear to have come from students whose "mentors" were independent dog trainers accepting students from the training program for a fee, but who didn't actually want to TRAIN the students to do anything, lest they become competitors.

OK, so forget that particular correspondence course as an option. But I wonder what else is out there. Maybe there's something that's locally based, rather than being a correspondence course that will mysteriously not return phone calls when the student has complaints.
We had a really nice weekend, with a trip to Marsh Creek on Sunday and a visit to John R's on Monday. Both times, we got Betty to go with us. It's good that we were able to get her out of the house for a while. It has been a few years since we have been able to convince her to leave the house for more than a few hours at a time. All-day outings were hard for her to commit to, as it was hard for her to find someone to fill in taking care of her dad.

The only bummer, to me, was that on Sunday it was too chilly to swim. But just sitting at Marsh Creek was nice. It's so pretty there; I wish it was a bit closer to home. But I'm glad we found it at all, as it's the only wheelchair-accessible pool I've ever seen.

Next up on the major events list: Donna H and Dave should be coming in for a weekend later this month. That will be nice.

Friday, September 04, 2009

It's been a tough couple of days. we were at Betty and Billy's father's funeral yesterday. Betty worked so hard to take care of her dad over the past few years. For that matter, there was a time when she took care not only of her dad, but her mom and aunt as well.

We have a few things going on over this weekend which we hope to have Betty do with us. The two siblings who live far outside the area are going home over the weekend, and I think it will be good if Betty gets out of the empty house to relax with friends.

At least now she can actually come out and spend a whole day, instead of being out for an hour or two, max, then going home because there was no one to cover for her taking care of her dad while she was out. It's been years since she has been able to do that.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

It was a nice memorial service yesterday for an ASL teacher and interpreter who I met while I was still an interpreting student. What a loss to the Deaf community her passing is! :(

But she had a deep faith and had time to make her peace with God before passing. So here's to us all seeing one another again when we all get up there. But in the meantime, we sure will miss her down here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In our latest installment of "Life Imitates Farce", we have this:

Comedian sued for mother-in-law humor

No joke, comedian sued over mother-in-law humor

LOS ANGELES - "Take my mother-in-law , please," isn't a joke you're likely to hear often these days from Sunda Croonquist. The veteran comic is being sued by her mother-in-law after making her the punchline of too many jokes.

The mother-in-law is accusing Croonquist of spreading false, defamatory and racist lies with in-law jokes that have become a staple of her routine in nightclubs and on television channels like Comedy Central.

To Croonquist, the in-law jokes seemed like a natural routine after living through one comical culture-clash moment after another: She is half-black, half-Swedish, grew up Roman Catholic and married into a Jewish family.

And she's not shy about making the in-laws the butt of her jokes.

Take the one about her mother-in-law's reaction to news she was pregnant with her first child: "OK, now that we know you're having a little girl I want to know what you're naming that little tchotchke. Now we don't want a name that's difficult to pronounce like Shaniqua. We're thinking a name short but delicious. Like Hadassah or Goldie."

Or her first visit to her mother-in-law's house: "I walk in, I say, 'Thank you so much for having me here, Ruthie.' She says, 'The pleasure's all mine, have a seat.'" Then, in a loud aside, 'Harriet, put my pocketbook away.'"

Croonquist said there was a time when her in-laws would laugh with everyone else at the black-member-of-a-Jewish-family jokes. "They played my tape at Passover one year, and they loved it!" she said.

But things changed after Croonquist, promoting upcoming gigs in New Jersey, posted information on her Web site that, according to her in-laws, allowed pretty much anyone to figure out the identities of her in-laws.

They sued in April in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, where they live. The action seeks unspecified damages and demands that Croonquist remove any offensive statements from her Web site, routines and recordings.

Croonquist says she would drop any language her family finds offensive, but refuses to pay any settlement. Her lawyer has filed a motion to have the suit dismissed, and a judge is scheduled to hear it on Sept. 8.

In the meantime, Croonquist, who lives in Beverly Hills and is a regular on the Hollywood comedy circuit, was at the Laugh Factory on open-mic night recently, eager to test some new non-mother-in-law material. This time the butt of her jokes would be herself, her lawyer husband (his firm is representing her in the lawsuit) and entertainer Jennifer Lopez.

"My father is Swedish, my mother is African-American. You know what that made me growing up?" she asks the audience. "A Puerto Rican! That works for me, honey. ... After having two babies in two years, I look like J-Lo."

Still, she couldn't resist getting a few yucks out of her in-laws, although this time she left their first names out of the act.

Doing her sister-in-law during their first meeting (and in a New Jersey accent the lawsuit notes Croonquist has said sounds "like a cat in heat"): "Oh my Gawd, look at her, she's got light eyes and light hair. What kind of black person is she?"

Then herself (in a black urban street voice): "I said, 'A black person who can hear, that's who.'"

Then (as Haley Joel Osment might sound in "The Sixth Sense," if he spoke in a black urban accent): "I hear white people!"

"They're nice jokes. There's nothing bad, nothing defamatory," says Croonquist, whose own voice carries traces of her upbringing in Paterson, N.J., where she says she was always the cut-up in Catholic school.

It should be obvious to her in-laws, she says, that she's not anti-Jewish. She converted to Judaism before she met her husband and keeps a kosher house.

The lawsuit was filed by mother-in-law Ruth Zafrin, her daughter, Shelley Edelman, and Shelley's husband, Neil. Neither Zafrin, the Edelmans nor their attorney, Lawrence H. Wertheim, returned calls for comment.

Attorney Gary L. Bostwick, an expert in First Amendment law who isn't involved in the case, said suing a comedian is often difficult because courts tend to rule that it should be obvious they are joking.

In one of the most prominent such cases, the Rev. Jerry Falwell lost when he sued Hustler magazine in the 1980s for stating in an ad parody that the preacher had lost his virginity to his mother in an outhouse.

"Most people who sue under these kinds of circumstances are way too sensitive," Bostwick said. "If they contact a lawyer like me I would tell them that, without seeing the script and the blog I have no idea who is right and who is wrong, but I do know there is a very strong defense: It's very difficult to prove that it was not just a joke."

Since the lawsuit was filed, Croonquist has bounced back and forth between anger and humor. She's angry the action has estranged her husband and their two daughters from his family, noting bitterly, "This could have broken up my marriage."

Then, moments later, she's back to laughing about that first mother-in-law meeting, the one that helped launch 15 years of jokes. If she knew then she was going to be sued, she said, she might have tried to make a worse first impression, perhaps impersonating a gangsta rapper.

"I should have went in with a gold tooth. I should have had like one pant's leg rolled up. I should have been like, 'Yo, yo, yo. Shalom, y'all. 'Sup?,'" she says, chuckling.

Um... wow. Every time I think I've heard everything, something like this comes along and I realize that the human race is even wackier than I'd realized.

I'm kind of thinking that in-laws who SUE their standup-comedian daughter-/sister-in-law for her in-law jokes are probably doing more than a few things worthy of lampooning.

Oh, and for people who didn't want others to "figure out who they were" via listening to their daughter-/sister-in-law's routine, well, I can't figure out a better way to maintain their complete anonymity than FILING A RIDICULOUS LAWSUIT OVER IN-LAW HUMOR AND GETTING THEIR NAMES IN COUNTLESS NEWS ARTICLES. Yeah, nobody will be able to figure out who her in-laws are NOW. No one will have the remotest idea.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Oh, look! The Foxwoods Casino can't figure out where they're going to build! CLICK HERE for the article.

It's the guessing game of the summer: What is happening with Foxwoods Casino?

Is it headed for the old Strawbridge & Clothier department store in Center City, or back to the South Philadelphia waterfront? Is it going anywhere at all?

In other words, we have a casino that we THOUGHT had its location all settled, only now its potential location is up in the air again.

Oh, and here is a fascinating detail which I hadn't realized until I saw this article:

Rendell said one of the Foxwoods investors - entrepreneur Lewis Katz, whose family charitable trust is a partner - indicated to him that a relocation petition would be submitted "in a month or so." Other investors include family trusts for developer Ron Rubin and Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider.

OK, we have a proposed South Philly waterfront location that has a good 50 civic and religious associations opposed to the idea and combating it tooth and nail. We have a proposed location in a former department store building, which is on hold because a tenant in that building is opposed to having a casino move in. Neighborhood civic associations nearby are also in opposition to having a casino in the old Strawbridge and Clothier flagship building.

Aaaaaand we have a major investor in this Foxwoods venture who JUST so happens to be involved with a big development project, which will allegedly include a luxury hotel, down at Broad and Pattison... a project which has been rumored to be having trouble lining up things like tenants, investors, and/or financing.

How many times have I predicted, aloud and in print, that I expect someone to make a play to put a casino in that Limb-of-Satan Cordish development? If Foxwoods can't get its act together for either of its previously proposed locations, I expect Broad and Pattison to magically emerge as a proposed Plan C.

Posting from the laptop!

Hooray and Hallelujah! I've got the laptop pretty much up and running the way it should be!

Mind you, there'll still be some tweaks here and there over the next few days; I'm sure I'll encounter a few more items that need to be reinstalled. But for the most part, the software and drivers are installed!

What a freaking RELIEF. Next up: get the Norton 360 CD from Mark, install THAT, and SET UP THE FREAKING BACKUP. I am *not* going through all this nonsense again if the new drive suddenly dies, as the previous new drive did. Once was once too many times.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Yay, hooray! See this post? It's coming from my LAPTOP. The Recovery CD that I ordered online, that has the necessary drivers and whatnot, appears to have done the trick. I can now get online.

Now all I have to do is install, AGAIN, all the freebie software I used to have on the laptop before the hard drive went kaput.

Oh, and I'm SETTING UP THE BACKUP PROCESS for the machine this time. I am NOT going through all this freaking "start from scratch" agita again.

Great Weekend!

Well, I had such a great weekend, it's taken me until now to find the time to write about it. :)''On Saturday, we had my niece's wedding. I am always happy when nice people find one another, as I know what a long and hard search that can be to find a good person. I'm happy to say that on Saturday, we witnessed the marriage of two such good people who've found one another. :)

My 6-year-old great-niece was the flower girl. Her dress was designed to match the bride's gown. So of course she announced that her aunt (the bride) was dressed like HER. :-)

I was struck, once again, at what a cute flock of kids we have on that side of the family. My great-niece has a bunch of cousins on her dad's side of the family, ranging in age from 9 to 3 (plus a few tiny babies that are too small just yet to hang out with the set of cousins in question), and I swear they all ought to model for a kid's catalog. Someone ought to just bring the lot of them in a group to a department store, where they can be given the latest fashions to wear and the latest toys to play with, and let some photographers go to town taking catalog photos. Doggone but my brother-in-law's family has a nice set of cuteness genes that they're passing along to the next generation. :-)

OK, so I'm far from unbiased here, but even a neutral third party would surely agree that these kids are cute.

BTW... we had an Italian/German and Iranian wedding, with a mariachi band providing dinner music. THAT was fun. If the rest of the world would follow that example, of varying nationalities and cultures getting together and enjoying themselves, there'd be a lot more peace on earth.

The mariachi band made me feel like we were back in San Diego. They had guitars and trumpets, but two of the guitars were instruments I hadn't seen before. One was a smaller-than-average-sized guitar. The other was an ENORMOUS guitar, easily the largest such instrument I've ever seen. After the band finished, I asked the player what his guitar is called. It's a bass guitar for mariachi music, called a guitarrĂ²n. Now I regret not asking the guy with the small guitar what HIS instrument is. It shouldn't be too hard to track that info down online, though.

I play violin, so I'm certainly familiar with the fact that there can be a family of instruments of similar appearance and different sizes. The viol family has the violin, viola, cello (its full name is violoncello), and bass violin, plus there are a few other uncommon viol-type instruments out there that I've read about over the years. But I never knew, until this weekend, that the GUITAR belongs to a family of similar-looking instruments of varying sizes. Live and learn.

On Sunday, Mark and I went to the Cote Carnival. It was a pleasure to see fellow fans, Flyers and Phantoms (and my favorite Goalie Coach and his g/f :-) ) during the summer. The Carnival raised over $25,000 to fight MS, which I think is absolutely OUTSTANDING!

So I'm finally recovered from all the activity of the weekend. Time to start getting ready for NEXT weekend. ;-)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Post from

Cutting the Cake

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The Newlyweds posing for pics, post-ceremony :)

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I'm looking forward to my niece's wedding today! :)

Even if it does age the daylights out of me that my nieces and nephews are all grownups now, and are old enough to be college grads, buying houses, getting married, etc. ;)
It's 2 AM, and this seemingly neverending thunderstorm that rolled in at midnight is still rumbling away. Between the thunder and the repeated weather radio alarms, I am having trouble falling asleep.

Just what I need. My niece gets married today, and I would LIKE to be something resembling awake and functional. So rain, rain, GO AWAY, and take the thunder with you, if you don't mind. Thanks.

Friday, August 21, 2009

BTW, enough with the 145% humidity and T-Storms. I wanna go back to San Diego! :-P
Update on my parents' friends, a couple who both got cancer diagnoses within a few days of each other.

Mr. and Mrs. B both have had their surgeries. In both cases, the docs believe they got everything. Mrs. B still needs chemo, and Mr. B. still needs chemo and radiation. Mr. B's surgery was also extremely complicated, involving using a graft of bone taken from his leg to replace the removed part of his jawbone, so there is a lot of medical recovery to be done from all that.

Besides prayers for the couple's continued recovery, please spare some prayers for their daughters (who are adults) and their dog, who is completely bewildered by the hospitalizations of first Mrs. and then Mr. B. This is a little shaggy ball of fuzz that the Bs adopted when they found him as a stray, and he's such a sweet little thing that even my dog-phobic mother likes him.

The dog is not eating with Mr. B absent from the household. So along with the prayers for all the humans in the B family, please also send a few that the dog suffers no ill effects before Mr. B comes home from the hospital. Aside from my being a softie toward fur-kids, I make the request because IMO the last thing the Bs need now is to have something happen to their dog on top of all the other trauma they are battling through.

Thanks, all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stanley's not too sure what to make of the latest Term of Endearment that's come his way. I told him that he's a Stripey Little Endorphin, which is a good thing, because endorphins make you feel good. But biology was never his favorite subject, so all he got out of it was "Mom's doting on me with some syllables I don't recognize."

So in other words, he understood the most important part of the messge. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Out of Order

I thought I'd have to pay for parking when I met Joe & Betty for dinner, but I didn't. The parking meter is out of order.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Mark picked up some Osteo Bi-Flex while at BJ's, on the recommendation of my mom that I should try it for my knee.

So here's hoping it knocks out, or at least reduces, the unwanted knee symptoms.

Friday, August 14, 2009

We'll be bringing my laptop to Geek Squad tomorrow. I JUST got the hard drive replaced at the end of May. Now the machine won't go past the Toshiba splash screen when I power it on. Not to mention, the disk access indicator doesn't flash at all during the boot. I think the new disk is DOA.

Farging Gremlins.
WTH were the Eagles thinking?

I hope PETA protests every Eagles game, home and away, that dog-killer Vick is on the roster.

:headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ig-fray. I think the recently-replaced hard drive in my laptop is kaput. I power on and get the TOSHIBA splash screen, and then.... nada. Just a blinking cursor.

This would be substantially less annoying if our desktop PC's motherboard hadn't died a few days ago.

Gremlins, Gremlins, GO AWAY. Come again NO other day!

:headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk:

Monday, August 10, 2009

I finally found a combo of canned food plus chopped up kibble that the Royal Felines seem to like. I fed it to them in the kitchen, rather than in their usual eating place in the basement, and they appear to be OK with it. For now. At least they both sat down and ate enough from their respective bowls for me to notice that food had been consumed.

Pampered furballs. Good thing they're cute. ;)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Uh oh. I got a good look at the shaved areas on Captain's side and foreleg last night. Both cats have an area on one flank that was shaved for the post-surgical pain patch, and an area on a foreleg where an IV must have been put in.

Stanley's shaved areas have the fur growing back in, no problem. Captain has had some slightly irritated areas from the word "go" on both sites.

Well, last night, I noticed that the irritated areas are getting WORSE instead of better. Uh oh. I think they itch, and he's gnawing at them and causing additional problems.

Fortunately, I know what to do for this. Melody had "hot spots" all her life where she would chew at the fur and sometimes cause irritation and bleeding on the skin. Or at least, she had hot spots until I found out about an anti-inflammatory spray with a bitter taste called Lido-Med. I sprayed THAT on the hot spots and she would leave them alone and let them heal.

The moment I realized that Captain was starting to get a hot-spot problem, I got online and ordered Lido-Med. This is one behavior that I will bend over backward to prevent from becoming a habit. The spray in question has lidocaine in it to knock out the itching, and bitter apple flavor to discourage chewing at the inflamed region. It's the only thing I ever used for Melody that actually made her stop worrying at the hot spots and making them worse.

Poor kitty. I wouldn't have thought he even had enough teeth left to chew an itchy area into a worse state of irritation, but apparently I was mistaken.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

We were in Target this evening, and I found a mini food chopper (1.5 cups) for $9.99. Or so I thought. It was actually on sale for $7. :)

So I grabbed one and used it to pulverize some of the cats' food.

I poured one serving of ground/broken-kibble Oral Care into each cat's dish. They looked at me. It SMELLS like their regular food, but it doesn't LOOK like their regular food.

Well, it IS their regular food, just crushed/broken into smaller pieces. So here's hoping that I go downstairs tomorrow morning and find that they've made a good dent in it. I'm at my wits' flipping end over here in getting the Pair of Cats to actually EAT something other than their regular food.
The good news: I have a netbook to hook up to our printer so we can at least print stuff while we shop for a new desktop PC. The bad news: Someone (either Mark or the cats) put the CD-ROM driver for our printer someplace that I can't locate it.

Since the cats aren't usually the ones who install software around here, I'm waiting for the other possessor of opposible thumbs in the house to tell me where the CD-ROM with the print drivers is. He's the one who bought the printer and installed the drivers originally, so I'm thinking he's the one who'll be able to locate the disc.


News of the Deaf-Blind Communicator device is being coverered by the BBC now! :)


Gotta love it! And even more, at least I've gotta love that I know people mentioned in the article. I met (and exchanged Braille snail-mails with) Graham H. back in 1989/1990. That's when AADB sent a delegation to a deaf-blind convention in York, England, and when a group of British deaf-blind came to the AADB convention in Williamsburg, VA.

You'll see the phrase "Deaf small world" a lot in the Deaf community, as there are so many instances where everyone seems to know everyone else (or know someone who does). Well, the small world is even smaller, and there's even more of a chance for people to know one another, in the deaf-blind community.
Well, DRAT and DOUBLE drat. Now I know what the VCORE VOLTAGE error is on the hardware monitor, which is what we were getting when we tried to boot our desktop PC.

The motherboard is toast. As the PC in question is from 2001, motherboards compatible with it stopped being made years ago. The fellow at the Geek Squad said that even if it were possible to locate a replacement motherboard, it'd cost so much that it would be more cost-effective to just replace the entire machine.

So we'll be looking through ads for a bit, to find out what's out there in desktop PCs these days.

On the one hand, DOGGONE IT, we really don't need to be hit with another expense after this year of Car Repair Bills from Hell and a jaw-droppingly high veterinary bill. On the other hand, we got eight good years out of this computer, so I really can't gripe tooooo loudly.

Still... phooey. What crummy timing for something else to break. Oh, well. Life goes on.
Yet again, the Royal Felines ate the bare minimum of the canned food they got.

I never in my life saw cats who preferred kibble to canned food. This is a new one on me.

Meanwhile, this morning, to make sure they'd at least eat SOMEthing, I put a few handfuls of their regular Oral Care food into the dishes. As before, they're having to swallow the kibble whole -- there's no crunching noise whatsoever when they eat it.

They both ate some food, as I watched, and then looked up at me with a "Something's wrong here" expression. Yes, it's called "the teeth you used to use to chew the food up are no longer in place, so I wish you'd eat the darn soft food when I put it out."

Sigh. At least they ate a little. I'll try giving them soft food again later today.

Why Mark can't surf

Mr. Captain has decided he wants some doting. He has unsubtly made this fact known to Mark. :)

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Need an airplane

This is how low planes come in over San Diego. I took this shot from a tour bus. That actually is an airplane, not part of the weather vane.

Royal Felines Update

Tonight, I got a better look at just how much food IS in half-a-can of this cat food. Looks like they DID eat at least some of yesterday's fare. Not enough to suit me, but some.

This time around, since the food in question was little chicken cubes in gravy, I mixed the kibble in from the outset. I figured that the gravy would soften it up, and the kibble would impart the familiar scent of the food that Captain and Stanley are looking for. If they consume more of everything that way, win/win.

I put the bowls down and told the cats, "EAT. I want to see these dishes empty tomorrow."

So now we'll see what happens.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Oh, these felines and this cat food!

I need to find out from the vet just which canned cat food they were eating while they were there. They're giving me grief trying to get them to eat canned food here.

They keep wanting to eat the Oral Care kibble that they can't chew anymore because they haven't got enough teeth matched up on the top and bottom of their jaws. I drop a few kibbles in onto the canned food, and they swallow the darn things whole, which makes me nervous because the kibble is so large. (It's large because it's MEANT to be chewed, so that it can clean the cats' teeth while they eat it.)

The vet said they liked canned food, but I'm astonished at my lack of luck in getting them to eat it here. Apparently when they're HOME they want the food they're familiar with.

Oy. We're having one of those "Cats, you're lucky you're cute!" moments over here.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Please send some prayers and good thoughts along for a couple who have been close friends of my parents for many years.

Mr. JB was just diagnosed with cancer of the jaw. He will have to have teeth and his jawbone removed, and a piece of bone excised from his leg and put in place of his jaw. At the same time, his wife went to the doctor to find out why her voice was hoarse, and they wound up finding something suspicious and doing a biopsy.

Understandably, my parents are beside themselves over this. It would have been bad enough if they had gotten this kind of bad news about ONE close friend, never mind two at once. :(

So anyway, like I said, all prayers and good thoughts for my parents' friends will be welcome.


The kitties are home, and thanks to their recent dental procedure, I crushed their oral care cat kibble (which is made with large bits so the cats will have to chew it), and added some water so it will soften.

Then, instead of two bowls of water, I gave them one bowl of water and one bowl of shaved ice (from the sno-cone maker). We discovered last summer that the cats like ice anyway, so it's only natural to give them lots of it while we wait for the stitches in their mouths to dissolve.

Maybe I should look into Cool Claws. It's ice cream made for cats. That should be nice for them to eat right about now, too.

Not that the cats are, you know, SPOILED or anything like that. These are medical necessities. Yeah, that's it. Necessities. That's the ticket. :)

P.S. Did I mention that the shaved ice was made with distilled water?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Vcore voltage?

What the Sam Hill is "vcore voltage"? And why won't our main computer boot when said vcore voltage is not to the Hardware Monitor's liking?

Freakin' thunderstorm. I have a feeling we need to replace the power supply on our desktop PC. :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk:

Sunday, August 02, 2009

After another long nap this afternoon, I'm now feeling completely functional.

Which, of course, should make life interesting when it's time to go to bed. But we'll see how that goes in a few hours.

We pick the Kitty Committee up from being boarded at the vet's tomorrow. They still might need to eat soft food for a few more days, given that they had teeth extracted during the week we were away. I had a chat with the vet's office on Friday, for an update on how the cats were doing, and I reminded them that the kitties like to have ice cubes either added to their water bowl or in a separate dish.

There's actually a logical reason why the Royal Felines have gotten to like ice cubes. It started last summer when our air conditioner was going senile and the house was constantly hot. We had to wait several days for the repairman to come (and replace the unit, as it turned out). During that time, we added ice cubes to the cats' water, and they liked it. Now, all a person has to do is touch the freezer door and one or two furballs will teleport into the kitchen, mewing for ice.

Spoiled? My cats? Whatever do you mean? ;)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Post from

Just landed @ PHL, 30 mins early. What time we'll get a GATE, so we can deplane, is anyone's guess. ;)

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Next flight

Chicago-to-Philly is wrapping up boarding now. See you in a couple of hours!

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