Monday, April 27, 2009

Note to self: look out the kitchen window more often. There was just a mourning dove perched outside, beautifying the neighborhood, a mere ten feet from where I'm sitting. :)
My Italian-class weekend recap, pre translation:

On Friday morning, I attended a funeral. In the afternoon, my laptop's hard drive crashed.

On Saturday morning, my husband's car broke down. Both my favorite hockey teams were eliminated from the playoffs.

On Sunday, I interpreted a Mass.

Sunday was a nice day. But I wish I had slept through Friday and Saturday.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oh, dear.

I just realized that part of my Italian homework for tomorrow night is to recap this weekend.

There's only one slight problem with that. Not a lot happened. I spend most of my time either watching my two hockey teams exit the playoffs, sleeping because I wasn't feeling well, or reading. Too bad I didn't have this assignment LAST weekend, when interesting things actually happened (a b-day party, a visit with Jean, Joe J, and KC, to name two events).

Hmm. Maybe I can do something worth writing about tomorrow during the day. :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

What a freaking two days.

Hard drive crash.
Phantoms lose, meaning elimination from playoffs and the departure of the franchise from Philly.

Mark's car breaks down.
Flyers lose and are eliminated from playoffs.

CRUD. I'd ask what else could go wrong, but I honestly don't WANT to know the answer.


The Revolt of the Inanimate Objects continues. Yesterday, my laptop's hard drive took a hit. Today, Mark's car broke down at the car wash.

:headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk:

AAA is en route. They'll tow the car to our mechanic's location.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Over the years, I've built up a reputation among family and friends of being upbeat, silly, and having an active sense of humor.

There have been times when I have felt terribly out-of-sorts, to put it mildly, when I have deliberately coasted on that reputation... as in, even when I wasn't really being silly, humorous, or upbeat, family and friends interacted with me as if I was because that's what they expected me to be. It has allowed me to kind of slide through some spells of feeling-awful and let the bad spell fly under everyone's radar.

The next round of coasting-on-my-reputation has been howling at the door for a while. Tonight, it may well have arrived in conjunction with the end of my one failsafe, NEVER-too-downcast-to-enjoy-it diversion for the past 13 years.

My team is gone. There goes the sole activity that, no matter how out-of-sorts (and coasting on my reputation) I was, I never lost enthusiasm for. Ever.

This is not good. That's as level as I know how to be. And without the best tool I've had in over a decade to help my mood bounce back, there's a risk that my reputation for good humor WON'T be enough to camoflage that I'm feeling down in the mouth.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

I've run into an unexpected issue while using my U810, the same device I use to live-blog hockey games, to take notes in Italian class.

It's not cooperating with me when I try to type accented characters. There's a way to use the ALT key, in conjunction with the numeric keypad, to type special characters. However, this is a compact-sized device that does not have a separate numeric keypad. The ALT key is not working as I'd expected it to when I try to use it with the regular numeric keys.

I posted a request for advice on a forum that's dedicated to this device and its successor, the U820. I hope that someone answers my question soon. I'm sure it's not THAT hard to get this to work. There's just some trick to it that I haven't ever had to seek out before.

In the meantime, the stopgap measure of copying and pasting from the Windows Character Map is better than nothing... but BOY, is that tedious. I would far rather type the characters in.

It's funny, how there are a bunch of vocabulary items that I didn't even remember that I'd learned at some point, not until they get used in class and I realize I'm already familiar with the word. Case in point: had you asked me two weeks ago what the Italian word for "earthquake" was, I would honestly have told you I didn't know. Had you asked me, "Did you ever learn that word during your HS or college Italian classes?", I wouldn't have been able to tell you one way or the other. But in class, our instructor used the word terramoto in an Italian sentence -- something to the effect of 'Reed Street is not next to Packer Avenue, unless there's an earthquake", and as soon as I heard the word terramoto, I remembered what it meant. The way the human mind works is fascinating. I probably haven't thought about that word in 20 years or more, and yet there it was in my memory, complete with definition, as soon as I heard it.

That kind of thing has been a big help during these first few classes. And I don't have to feel self-conscious or like I'm showing off, as it seems most people in the class have at least a little bit of knowledge of the language, either via having taken classes years ago or via growing up with Italian-speaking relatives. That's helpful, too. (The not having to feel self-conscious about having already learned something that we're currently covering, I mean.) Not everyone has the same knowledge base, however, so what's familiar to one student will be new to another. So everyone has a chance to be the one who already knows some info, as well as the opportunity to be the one learning other info for the first time.

I like these classes. I have to track down some looseleaf paper, though, as we have some writing homework to do over the weekend and I think our instructor means HANDwritten, not typed.

Of course, if she sees my handwriting, she might prefer me to type next time. ;) We shall see. For now, it'll be pen-and-looseleaf time.
Still more from the "Proofreading is your FRIEND" files. The posting of the misspelled Nationals jerseys prompted someone else to post some vintage misspelled baseball jerseys.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And now for the latest installment of "Proofreading is your FRIEND":

Majestic apologizes for 'Nationals' error

Washington Natinals?

Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman (left) and Adam Dunn are shown wearing the 'Natinals' jersey during Friday's game against the Florida Marlins in Washington. (AP photos / April 21, 2009)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Majestic Athletic spelled things out quite clearly Tuesday: It was the Palmer Township uniform company's fault that Washington Nationals Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman wore jerseys reading "Natinals" during a game last week.

Dunn and Zimmerman donned the shirts that were missing an "O" for the first three innings of Washington's 3-2 loss to the Florida Marlins on Friday night. They eventually changed into jerseys with the team nickname spelled correctly.

"All of us at Majestic Athletic want to apologize to both the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for accidentally omitting the 'O' in two Nationals jerseys," Majestic Athletic president Jim Pisani said in a statement distributed at Nationals Park on Tuesday.

"We take 100 percent responsibility for this event and we regret any embarrassment for the Nationals organization, players and fans," the statement continued.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


We're leaving Baltimore after a productive day! Lots of pics to post once I get home.

braille display

Braille display is part of keyboard.

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NFB tech center


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Maryland House, 2 miles out of Baltimore.

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We just had to avoid a huge orange tractor trailer that cut across 3 lanes to get to the EZ Pass toll booth. In the back, it had a sign: "We Hire Safe Drivers".

KC with phone

KC has 2 cochlear implants. She can use a neck loop to hear a cell phone. Without the CIs, she is totally deaf.

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Today, Jean J, Joe J, and KC are heading down to the National Federation of the Blind in Baltimore.

Specifically, we're heading for their Independence Market. From this site, it looksl ike they've got every assistive device under the sun in there. I can't wait to see both the high- and low-tech items they've got to offer.

First of all, my mom has poor vision, and my uncle and one friend now have macular generation, so I stay alert for things that will help people whose vision has begun to deteriorate. Second of all, as I discovered years ago when I had to work with MINISCULE-font computer printouts on a daily basis, you don't have to have vision loss to benefit from some of these assistive devices, like full-page magnifiers. One of the best crafting tools I ever bought is a gooseneck magnifying glass; it's perfect for making seed-bead jewelry.

And third of all, I have an infinite interest in anything that helps Level the Playing Field for anyone who's got any sort of physical disability. If it's out there, I want to learn about it.

Joe J and KC have a specific set of needs even among people with vision loss, as they're both deaf and blind. Some things that are useful for a hearing blind person, or a sighted deaf person, won't be usable for either of them. But there are items that have either been adapted for dual-sensory impairment, or designed with deaf-blind users' needs in mind from the outset. I look forward to seeing what things this store offers that fit that description.

I'll be sure to take good notes and/or pics so I can blog this day properly.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Italian class tonight, Nat'l Federation of the Blind visit on Tuesday, Italian class on Wednesday night. It's shaping up to be an interesting week.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I have the memorial service of Harry Kalas, the late Phillies broadcaster, on TV right now.

RIP, Harry, and thanks for the many, many memories throughout the years.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't look now, but there's a humongous bright round thing up in the air. Some strange blue patches are visible up there, too, in place of the layer of grey clouds that we've seen for freakin' DAYS ON END. I notice a distinct shortage of water falling out of the sky, and a lack of puddles all over the ground as well. Very odd. It's all very unfamiliar.

UFO reports are going out to the Department of Homeland Security even as I type, I'm sure. Someone will have to figure out what that big bright thing is.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm glad to report that I enjoyed the Italian class last night.

I'm saddened to report that the mutual friend of Joe M. and I, with whom I went to the class, had to leave early due to an emergency. Just prior to the class, the mutual friend's husband called to tell her that a couple with whom they are friends and neighbors had suffered an unexpected tragedy: the husband unexpectedly passed away. My friend went home to show support to the newly-bereaved widow.

So do please remember that couple in your prayers and thoughts. I've never met them, but knowing that my friend is a good person, I'd say that anyone whom she holds in high regard must be good people, also.

Boy, there's been a lot of tough-to-accept news coming this way recently. :( I sure hope we start getting a raft of GOOD news items coming in soon, to counterbalance the sad things that have been going on lately.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The good news: I went to see "The Reader" with Joe M. and John R. this afternoon. It was an excellent movie, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone.

More good news: Joe talked me into taking a 6-week conversational Italian course, starting tonight, at a parish near here.

Horrid news: While I was in the movie, I missed a cell phone call from/got a text message from Karla, telling me that Phillies Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas has passed away. I'm in shock. There goes another staple of my childhood. Watching and listening to Phillies games will never be the same.

RIP Harry. I'd say "You'll be missed", but in truth, you're already missed. Say hello to Tugger, Vuk, and Whitey for us. :( Give our regards to Jeff Lamana, too.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pregame comments

Warmups just ended. I've already had to dry salt water off my glasses once. Sigh.

Sbisa is wearing #47.

Detailed posting will follow postgame, as my netboook's connectivity is spotty.


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Block Party

Saluting the Spectrum prior to the game. The block party is getting underway.

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Today is the day :(

Today is the day I have dreaded for months. It's the final Phantoms regular season home game at the Spectrum.

And I do mean DREAD. As in, the Paul Simon song whose lyrics begin with, "April, come she will" saddened me when I heard it, because I knew the end of the season was in April.

Regardless of whether we clinch a playoff berth in the next two days, I am extremely depressed to witness the end of an era in my life. For 13 years I have derived a tremendous amount of enjoyment from attending Phantoms games. There have been times during those years when I was feeling so down, nothing much else could lift my spirits or get me going, and yet even through THAT I would look forward to Phantoms games.

So, playoffs or not, I know that this season is the last season, this game is the final regular season home game, and something I've set great store by for over a decade is coming to an abrupt and unwanted end in my life. And I feel a stupendous amount of grief for that loss.

So if I'm not quite myself in the immediate future, I apologize in advance and I will do my best not to take it out on the rest of the universe. But I feel as awful right now as I've ever felt after a bereavement. No exaggeration.

This post is going to both my regular blog and the Phantoms blog, as IMO it's relevant to both.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Piano lessons update: the site where I had planned to embark on music lessons is still closed due to fire. However, they hope to reopen in three weeks. I am to call them back in 3 weeks, and then I can make arrangements to register for lessons.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It doesn't appear that anyone got hurt in this little mishap. In which case... LOL, there's actually someone else on Earth who's as big of a klutz as I am! Who'd-a thunk it? ;-)

The Birthday Boys

Happy Birthday to Captain and Stanley: 5 years old today!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

HA HA HA... Here's the latest entry to Stupid Criminal Tricks, courtesy of Technically Incorrect:

April 6, 2009 11:04 PM PDT

Kid's cell calls police while he allegedly boasts of burglaries

There are those who believe machines have minds of their own.

In which case, the cell phone belonging to a 16-year-old from Peoria, Ariz., is of a mind to uphold truth, justice and to make 16-year-old thieves look really, really stupid.

The unnamed teen was allegedly hanging with his buds and regaling them with what seems to be the story of how he had ripped a stereo from a car and stolen a Cricket phone.

While his friends were apparently unimpressed with the Cricket (they're rather more moved by BlackBerries), I am stunned to discover that people these days bother to rip stereos out of cars. Somehow that seems so 1987.

Still, in the pulsating moments that the kid was boasting of his crimes, his cell phone decided to call 911.

I know that sentence sounds a little like a scene from the CW's quite rivet-free "Supernatural." And no one is quite sure how the phone suddenly spurted into action.

"Dear Kid, You steal that Corolla and I'm calling the cops."

(Credit: CC Wandering One/Flickr)

Perhaps the vibrations from the nether regions of the teen, engendered by his excited pride at pulling off the Peoria Job, activated a one-touch button to 911 on the cell phone in his pocket.

But imagine the amusement of the guardians of the law as they enjoyed the feast of felony being described.

You can listen to the call here, courtesy of the Phoenix New Times.

You may enjoy his words when speaking of lifting the stereo: "It took all my energy to lift it out of the car."

Perhaps it took all his gray matter too.

The police kept listening in for quite a while, performed a little signal triangulation and, according to a police spokesperson, actually caught the stereo-stealer with the machine still in his hands.

He was charged with felony vehicle burglary.

It is rumored that the cell phone has been nominated for a police commendation.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Part I of Mark's anniversary gift just arrived. :) Part II should appear within the next few days.

I just saved a ton of time, aggravation, and gasoline with a few mouse clicks. What did we do before online shopping existed? :)

Sunday, April 05, 2009


We just got home. Talk to you tomor... Er, I mean "later today". ;)=

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

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Scope Arena

The game will be here tonight.

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The Bridge

The "bridge" part of the Bridge Tunnel.

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Chesapeake Channel Tunnel

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Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

Here we go!

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The bus is here

Loading the bus for the Phantoms Phan Club Trip to Norfolk.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

How cool is this?

FREE online language lessons!'

I just got a text from Joe M regarding a word someone had used in conversation with him. "SupposINGly? That's a new one on me!"

I wrote back to tell him that's why I started using the word "allegedly". I used to work with people, including a former manager of mine, who couldn't quite get that the correct word is actually "supposEDly". I was suprised at how many professionals, including people with various titles and initials after their names, used "supposably" in conversation.

Rather than embarrass anyone by correcting them, or letting them mistakenly believe that *I* was the one who didn't know what the correct word was, I started using an alternative vocabulary item to get my point across. Problem solved.