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Celebrating

Usually we associate fireworks with the Fourth of July. Here in the valley we don’t. Fireworks are for the middle of June. Let me explain.

Each June we hold a fireman’s carnival in the park, which just so happens to be across the street from our house. It is a four day event starting on Wednesday. Thursday is parade day where firetrucks from all surrounding communities parade through the community ending up at the park for good food, good drinks, and live entertainment.

The carnival ends on Saturday with a half hour fireworks display. Living across the street from the park we are lucky. We can open the front door and hear the music coming from the park without having to go over there. On Saturday we can sit in front of the picture window and watch the fireworks without leaving the house. That is exactly what we did on Saturday.

The display started around 10:00 P.M. and was finished aby 10:30. Because the carnival and fireworks were canceled last year due to COVID, this year’s display brought huge excitement to the community.

Although it is hard to get good pictures of fireworks, especially through a window where part of the inside of the house is reflected in the picture as well, here are just a couple of what lit up our sky on Saturday night.

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Bits and Pieces

It was a quiet week around here. Nothing earth shattering happened, thank goodness. I like quiet weeks where I just go about doing things day-by-day. Some things need to be done. Some things I just feel like doing.

One thing that needs to be done most weeks during the summer month is mowing the lawn. I usually like to listen to the weekly forecast on Sunday and plan my grass cutting day accordingly. I don’t mind a hot day, but stay away form a day that is too humid.

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We had our first heat wave of the season, three consecutive days with temps above 90 degrees. Up until then we had been using a fan to keep cool. At night the ceiling fans kept us comfortable as we slept. With the heat wave and rise in humidity I broke down and turned on the central air. I admit that having central air installed several years ago was one of the best moves we made.

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Over the weekend I got hungry for a piece of cake – not just any cake but a coconut cake. I could easily have gone to the store and bought a slice or even a whole cake if I wanted to, but I didn’t. I decided to make one instead. This is not something I would have done if I hadn’t turned on the central air first. Hot oven in a hot house doesn’t sit too well with one of us. Anyway, I had a recipe I hadn’t tried before so I thought I would give it a whirl. Turned out pretty good.

Of course, no day would be complete without some reading time. Right now I am reading Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag. She usually has a good story to tell, if you like stories about solving horrific murders, which I do. Since there is nothing worthwhile on tv, my opinion, evenings are the perfect time for coffee, a piece of cake, and a good book.

I do enjoy quiet weeks.

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Losing a Limb

I enjoy puzzles. I guess my favorite is the daily word jumble followed by the sudoku, both of which are printed in our daily paper. Another kind of puzzle I like it to spot the differences in two pictures. This help me see how sharp my eyesight is.

Here are two pictures for you to look at. Other than the fact they were taken in different seasons and one one tree is bare while the other has leaves, can you spot the difference?

Last Wednesday we had some heavy rains and strong winds. I admit that I slept through them and didn’t hear a thing.

I went to put the garbage out Thursday morning and saw sour neighbor walking toward me. He had told me that our tree lost two limbs during the night. Since they fell across the road he had his chain saw out and cut them up to move them. I didn’t hear the storm. I didn’t hear the limbs come down.

This tree was on our property when we bought the house over 30 years ago. I have have it trimmed several times over the years. We have lost some small branches during the winters and during some storms, but nothing like this.

In case you can’t immediately see where the branches were, here is another shot:

As you can see, these were not small thin branches that came down. Thankfully the tree is at the back of our property and not close to any buildings. Thankfully we also have a good and helpful neighbor.

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PCTELA 2021 is On

After much conversation and zoom meetings the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (PCTELA) Board decided to go ahead with the planned 2021 conference. This year it will be held in Harrisburg, a 40 minute drive for me, on October 22 – 23. It promises to be an exciting and informative conference.

I know our conference chairs have worked hard gathering speakers and planning breakout sessions. The conference title is:

Because some people may not yet feel comfortable gathering in a group attendance can be in person or virtual. This can also help for those who wish to attend but their district may be cutting back on sending teachers to conferences. For those registering for the online conference, the content will be available through the end of 2021.

Our conference chairs have gathered up some great speakers for the conference, some who will speak in person while others will speak virtually:

Breakout sessions haven’t been announced yet, but I have seen the list of those who have applied. All I can say is that I can’t wait. It will be difficult to choose which sessions to attend.

Yes, I have already registered for the conference and made my hotel reservation through the pctela.org website. It will be great to see friends I haven’t seen in over a year, have some meals with them, and learn some new things along side them. Hope many others will be able to attend.

If it sounds like I am excited, I am.

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It’s Time

Today was one of those days when I overslept.  Got up just in time to eat, shower, vote, and get to my doctor's appointment.  No time to comment or post before we left the house.  

Got home around six.  Fed the beasts. Scooped their boxes. Watched the world and local news.  Didn't take time to read or post.

After that I decided to read the newspaper - needed to get the daily sudoku and word jumble (which I solved).  Then it was time for our evening cup of coffee and of course the beasties wanted a snack as well.  I don't know how they got so spoiled.  Still didn't take the time to comment or write.

With the coffee cooling it was time to check the emails for the day and see what is happening on FB.  Still didn't get to commenting or writing.  Can you sense a pattern here?

Finally decided I would read some posts and write some comments.  If I didn't get around to writing I would at least have read and left some thoughts on others' posts.

It is still early so maybe I'll get something written and posted.  I haven't taken the time during the day to write anything so now I guess: 

                                                                      It's Time. 

                                                        I haven't notice a problem,
                                                        But before one develops 
                                                        Best to get things checked out so
                                                                    It's time.

                                                        I'm sure all is well.
                                                        There's nothing amiss.
                                                        But best to be safe so
                                                                   It's time.

                                                        I've done this before,
                                                        But it's been two years.
                                                        So in all honesty
                                                                   It's time.

                                                        Didn't want it done in winter.
                                                        Summer's too hot.
                                                        Perfect weather right now so
                                                                  It's time.

                                                        So, things are all set,
                                                        They'll be here soon.
                                                        Honey Dippers are on their way.
                                                                  It's time.





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Just Passing Through

Whenever we travel, whether it is a few miles or a couple hundred miles, a meal out is guaranteed. At places we visit often we have our favorite places to eat. If we are traveling a distance I like to look for someplace that looks interesting. Hopefully the food will be good there and it usually is. Since we are just passing through chances are good that we will not be back for another meal. The memory of the meal, however, will linger.

We have a bird feeder right outside the window in our dining area so we can watch the birds eat while we are eating. We have our regulars who are with us year round, wrens, cardinal, blue jay, red bellied woodpecker, etc. They seem to like the food we provide and I am glad that they do.

In the spring, though, we seem to get some birds stat stay for about a week and move on. We must be on their flight path to wherever their destination is. Like us when we travel they are looking for a place that will serve up a good meal.

I guess word gets out that we provide good food and keep the feeder filled because we get these transients and I am so glad we do. They add a jolt of color to our regular clientele and they all seem to get along.

A few weeks age some goldfinches decided to stop by and visit for about a week. Their bright yellow was like added sunshine to our dining crowd.

Day may be cloudy.

But sunshine is always there.

Brightening the day.

The finches are now gone, but they have been replaced by another bird. Yesterday we had a new visitor at our feeder. I have not seen this one before so I am not sure how long it will visit. Hopefully for longer than one day.

Perching on the hook
You patiently wait your turn.
To fill your belly.
Diner is open.
Eat until your heart's content.
Everyone welcome!

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White, Purple, and Pink

Side by side they stand
Each vying for your attention.
One as white as freshly fallen snow
One as purple as an amethyst
Both filling the air with their fragrance.
White bells
Softly swaying in the breeze
Filling the air
Not with sound,
but with a sweet delicate smell.
Little hearts
Strong but fragile
On display to the world
Treat them gently.

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Extending an Extension

If you have been following my blog you know that 2019 Kathy and I took over as co-presidents of the Dauphin County Chapter of Pennsylvania School Retirees (DCPASR). It was a two year term ending January 1 of 2021 when our president elect would take over. Then came COVID.

As a result, the state organization. Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR) made the recommendation that all officers stay in place for the first half of 2021. The thinking was that since we were in office when COVED hit and had been navigating our chapters through what was going on it would make sense for all to stay in place instead of having a new president president deal with what we had set up

Of course it was up to the sitting presidents (Kathy and me), our president-elect, and our Board if we wanted to follow suit. Kathy and I discussed it and decided we would stay on if our president-elect and the Board agreed to it. There were no complaints so Kathy and I found ourselves going from a two year term to a two and a half year term.

I am sure you can guess where this is going. Last month at out Region meeting a motion was made for all existing leaders to stay in place for the remainder of the year. What! After that the suggestion was made that a new president be elected for a one year term followed by the same person being reelected for a two year term. Because our chapters are divided into even and odd chapters if we elected a president for a two year term starting in 2022 it would through things out of whack. This might seem trivial, but because of some of the activities we do are based on whether we are an odd or even chapter this could really cause confusion.

So, the questions become do Kathy and I want to stay on a presidents for six more months? Will our president-elect agree to a one year term followed by a two year term? Will the Board want us to stay on for six more months? The answer to all questions is “yes”.

So, our two year presidency turned into a two and a half year term which now turned into a three year term. Luckily it is not a taxing position and we enjoy doing it. For better or worse DCPASR is stuck with us as co-presidents until the end of the year.

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A New Sleeping Aid

Are you a restless sleeper? Do you find yourself taking up more than just your half of the bed? Do you have restless legs? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions may I offer you a remedy that I found that really works.

I am all over the bed when I sleep. I can never get up in the morning and just smooth the covers back into place.

All that changed when I got my first sleeping aid. I admit that I was a bit reluctant to try it, but after seeing how it works I wouldn’t be without one. Although to my way of thinking it could use a few modifications.

I am talking about a Calming Appendage Thingamabob (I know, real scientific sounding). This device, commonly called a C.A.T. has several unique features.

First of all it is fully automated. You do not place the C.A.T. where you want it. It finds its own ideal spot. This may take several minutes since the C.A.T. roams around the bed until it finds the spot it desires. Once the C.A.T picks its spot and settles there is no moving it. Mine usually picks a spot at the back of my legs, moves right up to them, and then parks itself for the night. When in this position I know that my legs will not travel beyond that point during the night. The C.A.T. just won’t allow it.

The amazing thing about the C.A.T. is that it seems to know not all nights are going to be bad. On those nights the C.A.T repositions itself at the small of my back. This still is effective in keeping me on my side of the bed.

I did mention that I would like to see a modification made to this device. There is a problem with its heat control. It is not adjustable. It is always turned to high. This is fine during the winter months when a little extra warmth is welcome, but come summer it gets a bit overbearing. As I said, there is no way to adjust the temperature control.

I should mention that the C.A.T. comes in many styles and colors. I opted for a smoky gray. Since I like to name things I call this particular C.A.T. Molly.

Some nights are really bad for me and Molly is not enough to keep me in place. On those nights I need a second C.A.T. so I have another one I call Ned. Ned has been known to position himself next to Molly and the additional weight definitely keeps me from sprawling out. Other times Ned will pick a spot on the other side of my legs. With a C.A.T. on both sides of me I know I am not moving at all during the night.

So, if you have trouble staying on your side of the bed I suggest you look into getting a C.A.T of your own. You would not be sorry. I also hear that the company produces a Detached Overnight Gadget (again, very technical sounding) commonly referred to as a D.O.G. I do not have one of these so I can’t speak to how well they work. If you happen to have one please leave a comment as to its effectiveness.

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Can’t Wait

I have been anxiously waiting for this moment and it looks like it might happen. As many of you know, Kathy and I are avid theatre fans. We like live shows and have misses our trips to NYC to see some musicals.

We have also missed going to the Hershey Theatre where we have season tickets for the Broadway package. Well, last week I had an email from the treater stating that they are reopening in November.

The first show will be Waitress. It was part of last year’s package, but like everything else it was postponed and then canceled. Now it is back on.

We were told that the tickets we had for last year’s performance would be honored in November. There is nothing we need to do except show up on the date of the show.

To make the day even more exciting we heard from our theatre friends. They are from Reading and have had the seats behind us for many years. We have gotten to know them from talking with them before shows and at intermission.

A few years ago we started meeting for lunch before the show. We attend the 2:00 matinee on Saturday. I heard from one of the ladies and they are looking forward to the shows starting and us getting together for lunch once again.

It has been too long and we can’t wait. Maybe things are slowly getting back to some sense of normalcy.

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