Author Archives: arjeha

Staying Warm

Day 4

I am glad that the days are starting to get warmer. Sunshine and highs in the upper 40’s or low 50’s give me hope that Spring is on its way. I have noticed that there is one problem in the house with these warmer temperatures. It seems that when it is warmer outside the heat inside the house doesn’t kick in as often. During the day I don’t mind it because I am usually doing things. In the evening when I am sitting reading or watching TV, though, it gets cool.

I could turn up the heat but choose not to. Instead I reach for something warm to throw over my legs. I usually have two choices: blanket or cat.

The blanket is gray.

The cat is mink (white and tans).

The blanket is quiet.

The cat has been known to purr.

The blanket doesn’t mind being pushed aside.

The cat lets its displeasure show if you want to get up.

The blanket does nothing.

The cat has been known to knead the leg.

So, when the house gets cool the blanket and/or the cat comes out.


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The Joy of Giving

Day 3

As co-president of our local chapter of retired school employees and as chair of the education Grant committee, one of the things I get to do is present a grant to a deserving teacher. One of the missions of our organization is to continue to promote and support excellence in teaching so each year we make a grant available to one school district in our region.

Because there are 9 districts within our region we rotate so there is a 9 year gap between when a district is eligible and its name comes up again. I contacted the assistant superintendent of this year’s eligible district Susquehanna Township, to explain the grant and to seek her help in getting the information out to her teachers and staff. The nice thing about this grant is that anyone who works for the district can apply, not just teachers.

Because of remote learning and the added stress and workload placed on teachers because of the teaching situation I wasn’t sure if anyone would take the time to fill out the application. I am glad to say someone did.

On Monday, Kathy and I went to the Susquehanna Township school board meeting in Harrisburg to present a $400.00 check to Mrs. Katrina Fry. Mrs. Fry teaches a third grade class in the district and she is going to use the grant to purchase flexible seating for her students.

This will include adjustable tables, stools, floor mats, and clipboards. I am sure her students will benefit greatly from her purchases and her room arrangement. Congratulations Mrs. Fry.


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One Shot Down

Day 2

On Saturday Kathy and I got our first COVID vaccine shot. No problem with the shot, but getting the appointment is another story.

Several weeks ago a friend called and told me she and her husband signed up for their first shot through a hospital that is an hour’s drive north of us, She gave me the number to call. I was hesitant because you never know what the weather will be like in mid February and I didn’t want to be stuck with an appointment I couldn’t keep. I also didn’t feel like driving an hour to get a shot. I didn’t call.

Instead, I saw that they were were going to give shots at the grocery store pharmacy that is two miles away from our house. This would be ideal. I called and got us on the waiting list. Then I waited…and waited…and waited. Never got a call back about scheduling a time.

Last Tuesday our local paper ran a story about vaccinations being given at the mall 20 minutes away. They listed a number to call. I could do this. We drive into Pottsville often so it would not be a problem to get there. Kathy had a hair appointment at Boscov’s that day. So, while she went in for her haircut I stood out across from the service desk, phone held to ear, on hold. I kept being told to hang on because my call was very important to them. I did. I held on and held on and held on. 20 minutes later, which really wasn’t long compared to what I heard from others, I got an actual person.

I told her that I would like to make an appointment for shots. “I’m sorry,” she said. “All slots at that location were filled by Sunday.” How? The article was just in today’s paper. How did all these people know shots were going to be given and I didn’t hear a thing about them?

She then told me that she did have openings in Center county and Fayette county if I didn’t mind a drive. I did something I never thought I would do. I went into the hair salon to ask Kathy if she wanted to travel for a shot. She was in the middle of getting her hair combed out. She said fine. Glad her stylist was understanding about me barging in.

I told the lady I would take the Center county slot and she took all of the information. So, that is how Kathy and I wound up not taking a 2 min ute ride to our grocery store, or a 20 minute ride to the mall for shots, or even a 1 hour drive north on a February day to get our first shot of the vaccine. No, instead I took a two hour drive out west in February so we could get our first shot. What’s more, I get to do it again in 3 weeks for the second shot. Hooray!

The kicker…the day after I made the appointment our local pharmacy, the one two minutes away, called and said they have an appointment for us. Did we still want it. AAGH!!!


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Here We Go Again

Day 1

It is hard to believe that it is March 1st and another Slice of Life Challenge has begun. This is my 8th year of participating, something I can’t believe.

As with every year thoughts run through my brain. Will I be able to complete the challenge? Looking at my calendar for the month there are some days when I wonder if there will be enough hours in the day to write and respond. I guess I could just pull an all-nighter. After all, sleep is highly overrated.

Do I have 31 ideas that are new and different so that I have something to write about? Honestly, no. I know I should make a list of possible topics and update this list throughout year, especially in the weeks leading up to the challenge. I don’t. I wing each day.

Will I have any earth shattering or profound posts? I haven’t for 8 years so why should I start now?

Will anyone read and comment on my posts? With the number of people participating and that number growing each year, which I think is really a testament to writing and this site, why should anyone pick my posts to read? Yes, I know the goal of this challenge is to grow as a writer over 31 days and maybe try new forms of writing.

So, as this new challenge begins I look forward to reading posts from old friends, making new friends, and becoming a better writer in the process.

Good luck to all!


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A Patch of Green

We seem to be in a weather pattern where it snows every other day. I no sooner get the driveway cleared and the cars cleaned off when another storm hits and I need to do it all over again. Living in eastern PA this is something to be expected.

The last couple of years, however, were pretty mild. We maybe had two major storms all season. I think that spoiled me. Now I feel like winter will never end.

I look out the bathroom window at our back yard and all I see is a blanket of white covering the ground. I do admit that it is pretty.

The snow is unblemished unlike the snow out front where it has been dirtied by plows going by and pushing muck onto it.

However, there is something unusual about the snow in the back yard and that is what led to this poem.

The world is blanketed in snow
All around there is white to be seen.
But wait.  I look.  What’s that I see?
Could it be?  Yes. A small patch of green.

How can this be in a field of white?
What I’ve heard them all say is true, I think.
No matter what and no matter where
It’s always green over the septic tank.


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Valentine Sweets

With Valentine’s Day falling on Sunday this year I thought I would make us a special dinner and dessert, During the week I went to the store and bought all the ingredients I would need for the meal and for something sweet to top off the meal.

Dinner was going to be some baked pork chops in a mushroom sauce. Dessert was going to include strawberries. However, as plans usually do, things did not happen the way I had hoped.

Friday morning Kathy was not feeling well. She had no appetite and didn’t feel much like moving. She spent most of the day in bed. Valentine’s Day was still two days away so I hoped this would pass by the,.

Saturday morning came and I thought I would make Sunday’s dessert before she got up. Got all my ingredients together: cream cheese, sour cream, Cool Whip, lemon pudding, milk, graham crackers, and strawberry pie filling. I was going for a strawberry trifle.

I had some latitude with the recipe which offered some variations. I chose lemon pudding instead of vanilla or cream cheese. I chose gram crackers over pound cake or vanilla wafers.

I mixed things and layered things and I must say I was impressed with the result.

I thought I would take the beaters in to Kathy so she could have a little taste. She had some and then decided to bring the beaters out. She was totally unsteady on her feet and her focusing was way off. We put her back to bed for the day. As the day wore on she began to feel better. She was able to come out and watch a virtual Mass for Sunday. She was also able to have some dinner – chicken noodle soup which is our go to meal when either of us is feeling under the weather.

Sunday came and she was feeling much better. Whatever she had had passed. She didn’t want to press her luck so our pork chop meal was our replaced by more chicken noodle soup.

However, she was feeling fine after dinner so we did have some dessert – not a lot but just a taste. It was good!

She is totally over whatever hit her over the weekend. We are glad for that.


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A Path in the Snow

There is something about looking out on newly fallen snow.. It is calming. It is peaceful. The ground covered in white is disturbed only by some bird and animal tracks. Wires cast their shadows on this pristine canvas.

As I gaze, the peaceful view is unchanged,

But suddenly in the distance something catches my eye.

What breaks up this mantel of white? I need to investigate. I walk to this curiosity and notice someone has made a path in the snow. It starts at the road and goes up a bank.

Dare I follow it? Where could it lead? I decide I must know where this path with no apparent reason for being here leads. I climb the bank. The path continues.

I notice as I walk that this is no random path. It must have a purpise, but what is it? I continue.

My deductive reasoning skills kick in. The snow removed from the path is all to the left of the cleared space. That leads me to believe that whoever cleared this threw the snow to the left only. No snow banks to the right. Am I good good or what?

Continuing with my deductions I also notice the the path is just the with of a snow shovel. With these skills I could have been a detective. There must be a reason for this, But I can’t imagine what it is.

I continue. Up ahead I see the end. I now know where this path leads and why it is here. Of course. It makes perfect sense.

Have you figured out where this leads. OK. I am the one who shoveled this path. It is only the width of a shovel because it really doesn’t need to be wider. In case you didn’t guess where this path ends here is the last picture.

A blanket of white
With a path running through it
Bring on the propane.


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Thoughts About Snow

Yes, I am taking the easy way out today and writing about the 3 day snow event we had. First of all, when the forecasters predict 8 to14 inches I naturally assume they are giving me a choice as to how much snow I want. I don’t like to be greedy so I will always choose the lesser amount. Why then do I get the high end number?

We were blanketed with a good 14 inches since this storm began Sunday morning. It really was pretty seeing the freshly fallen white blanket of snow.

A blanket of white

Promising a brand new start

Hope to the future.

Snow covers the roof.

Waiting inside there is food.

Birds will be happy.

Living in northeast PA snow is expected during the winter months. However, must we get all of winter’s snow in one storm?

I did finally get my car shoveled out. I will clean around Kathy’s car tomorrow. I hate to admit, but I can’t shovel for as long as I was once able to. Seems an hour is my max time then I need to go in and rest before going out again. Luckily there is no place we need to be this week so if it takes a few days to clear both cars so be.

I just know I need to have everything cleaned by Sunday because another nor’easter is predicted to hit us then. Ya gotta love winter in northeast PA.


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Just Looking

Is it just me or do others do this as well. I took my car down to the dealership where I bought it for its yearly inspection. I takes 45 minutes to an hour for things to be done. Of course I had a book to read while I waited, but before I sat down to read I just had to look at the new cars. Just curious, you understand.

After all, my car is only 4 years old. It only has 48,000 miles on it. It is just about paid for. But I had to look anyway. I have done this other times when I take my car down for servicing and usually the sales staff don.t bother me because they know I am there to have my car worked on and not to but a new one.

Apparently a relatively new salesperson didn.t know this so he came over. The car I was looking at was a 2021 RAV IV. The color was lunar rock – a color I have never seen before.

This salesman opened the door for me and told me to have a seat. Not wanting to be rude of course I sat in a new car. I wasn’t really interested in its features. So what if it had heated seats. Who cares that the steering wheel was also heated. Oh, did I mention that the side view mirrors and windshield wipers were also heated?

Should I be impressed by the fact that that the rear hatch can be adjusted to stop at different heights. Kathy liked this since she has a hard time closing the hatch on the car we now have.

Is it noteworthy that the engine is designed to drop out of the car in case of an accident? This would stop it from being pushed into the car.

The car has fog lights. With the push of a button you can let the car know if you are driving on a normal road, on sand, on gravel or on snow covered roads. Huh?

With apple CarPlay you can even turn on the heating elements from your phone before you even get into your car. My head was swimming.

Of course, as I said, I am not in the market for a new car. Don’t know why this salesperson talked to us when he knew I wasn’t buying. Did he waste his time or was he planting a seed?


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Delighted to hear about your

Retirement; you definitely have earned it.

Sad you will no longer be there when we

Arrive with Molly, Ned, or Dustin.

Ready to examine and calm

An already excited and nervous cat.

Thank you for your years of service

Having been there for all of our “fur babies”

Over the past 30 plus years.

Respectful of our feelings when

Needing to deliver sad news, and crying with us when

That last shot had to be delivered.

One special person who will be missed

Not only by us but by all of your clients.

Happy Retirement, Dr. Sara Thornton!





And our first “fur baby”, Priscilla.


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