Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chief Logan State Park

I just posted a video that somebody posted on youtube from Chief Logan State Park. I grew up a couple of miles from the park and I spent a substantial portion of my time there so I thought I would do a blog or two or three...

It was always a great treat to go to the park of course. We had all of our family reunions there and still do to this day. We always had a ball, whether it was just me and Billy and Rhonda or we added in assorted friends and cousins. The big lure was the creek. Every visit would start out with our mothers telling us to stay out of the creek. Our job was to spend the day wearing them down until they finally relented and allowed us to play in the creek or if worse came to worse we would play far enough away that we would just get in the creek anyway.

If we had to sneak into the creek we always had the best intentions of staying dry. Invariably we would slip on one of the mossy rocks that we had to overturn to find the salamanders or crawdads or just get wet doing what kids do in general while wading around. If we had to sneak then we would have to stay gone until we actually dried off because the whippin' for being late was not as bad as the whippin' for being wet. I also learned that there was a time that our clothes looked dry and we could go back as long as we avoided hugs for aunts and grandparents who would exclaim, "why child, you're soaking wet. How did that happen?" Sometimes the excuse, "I accidentally fell in the creek," would work - sometimes it wouldn't.

The other kids were braver than I was when it came to the squirmy creatures that we tried to catch. They would just pick them up and put them in the cup. I always had to have 2 cups so I could trap them. We hardly ever saw a snake which of course was our mom's perennial warning everytime we went anywhere, "Watch for snakes!" One time I saw a world record sized crawdad. It was the size of a small lobster! It was at least 8 inches long and it was surrounded by at least 100 babies. It was truely one of natures marvels. It kept me out of the creek for the rest of the day.

Building dams was our favorite pasttime. Usually they didn't amount to much. But every now and then (usually with the help of our teenage uncles) we would build an engineering marvel that didn't allow as much water to seep through all the cracks as it held back. Then we could lie back in our cool pools of bliss and take it easy. Usually it would take hours to build those dams and we would have to go home shortly after they were done.

One of the greatest days ever was the day my mom took my cousins and us and dropped us off for the day. We followed every inch of every mile of every creek in that park. This was somewhere between 3 to five miles of creek. By the time she picked us up we were so dirty that she wouldn't allow us to ride in the car. We rode home in the trunk! Before you guys start screaming, "child abuse", please realize this was in the 70's when people did things like that. The trunk was open and we laughed and played all the way back to the house. It was great.

First Do Gooder Announcement for 2010

Ever since Thanksgiving Fruth Pharmacy has been giving me food to give out in our building almost everytime I go to work. The stuff is newly outdated or damaged in shipping and could not be sold and they would just throw it away anyway. I always check for signs of food poisoning because some of the people I give it to are not able to look for such things. (for example I had them throw away about 10 jars of mayonaise they were going to give me).

It is nice that my bosses care enough to make a difference and it is not costing anyone a penny.

Thanks to Maggie for giving me the crochet footies. I gave them to a woman with cerebral palsy who is confined to a wheelchair. Even though the footies were sized for children they fit Dianna perfectly and her apartment is always cold.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thank You Kay for my Swahili Lessons

You can say:
ndio, nime maliza - yes I have finished

baado, kidogo ime bakiya - not yet, some is still left

Asante sana...squashed banana lol
just a line from the Lion King animation

ume maliza ku nunua vitu va krismasi?
Have you finished ur Christmas shopping?
Asante sana ;)

karibu - welcome

tafadali - please


how's ur book coming along?
Jambo jambo.
(you say marahaba)

My Sugar Curl

My mom is still proud of my sugar curl. That is my curl on top of my head. She made it out of real sugar.

I think I offended her one time when I asked her if bugs would swarm my head.

On the back of the picture it says, "please send this one back".

She didn't have a lot of money so she would send the family my picture so they could see it and when they sent it back , she would send it to somebody else.

She got this particular picture back about 6 months ago. I am 46 years old. It took my aunt 45 years to return it.

said 9 months ago EditDeletePermalink1 Comments

A Shock to the System

When I was little my mom says I stuck a barette in the electric outlet.

The electric shock was so fierce that I was thrown across the room.

After that I wouldn't even go into the room. We had one of those houses that had the 4 doorways in the center and you could step into any room or walk around. She said that I would always walk around after that. no matter what room I started in.

If I saw an electric outlet anywhere I would say, "BITES!"

Awful Knawful!

Awful Knawful was my brother, Billy's, nickname. It was a play on Evel Knievel. Billy was as awesome on a bicycle as Evel Kneivel was on a motorcycle. He did stunts that others have just started doing in the last 5 to 10 years or so and they are using modern day bicycles that are built much better than the old "banana seat specials" that we used to have in the 70's.

Billy was always building ramps both big and small. There was NEVER a neighborhood contest that he didn't win. He could outdo anybody on a bike. Probably his greatest stunt was he would sail out over the riverbank. It was easily over 50 feet horizontally from the top of the bank out to the river and there was about a 50 foot vertical drop as well! There was about a 25 or 30 foot drop to the first bank that was about 10 foot wide and then there was a dropoff again to the river. He would consistently sail out over the bank and slide his bike sideways down the second bank stopping right beside the river without ever getting his tires wet!

Others tried. All failed. Most would just kind of flip over the side of the first bank which resulted in a nasty head over bike roll to the first bank. Even more painful would be the flying out and landing solid on the first bank. (a true ballbuster move which brought chortles of glee from all who watched). The few who did manage to land exactly on the bank like Billy (he was the gold standard after all) would invariably careen into the river and then we had the tedious task of digging their bikes out of the sucking river mud. (these rescues had to be conducted in secrecy because we weren't allowed over the river bank afterall).

Anyway Long Live Awful Knawful!

I was a Centipede Wizard!

When I was a teenager, I was a Centipede Wizard! Centipede was a video game like PacMan only much more fast paced.

People use to pay me to play. Sometimes the game room owners would unplug the machine. I could play for up to 45 minutes on one quarter.

If I saw a new machine , I would play 3 times. The top 3 scores were permanent. Someone had to beat you to take off your name. The only person in the state who could beat me lived in Charleston.

I found a machine after not playing for 20 years.

I still set the high score!

Laddie - oh--oh-oh--oh-oh!

Before some of ya'll start lecturing me about this story, please remember it happenned in the 70's.

Laddie O was an adorable little cocker spaniel mix that showed up on our doorstep one day. He was sooo cute. He was a solid blond color with the same color eyes. He enjoyed tromping through the river mud and he kept getting us in trouble because he would get it all over us and the patio and porches. This was NOT his biggest flaw.

Laddie was hit by a car seven times (actually 6 - I will explain).

After he was hit by a car the fifth time (making a total of four broken hind legs and one broken shoulder) my mom decreed that if he ever got hit again, she would not pay the vet bills. We were instructed to keep him in his pen or tied up. As usual we felt sorry for him and let him out to play.

Laddie was lying in the back yard eating a bone. Rusty was in the front yard mowing grass. Rusty hit a piece of iron pipe and it went flying through the air (I witnessed all this taking place). The iron pipe hit Laddie O in the in the shoulder and broke his leg in the exact same place. The cast had only been off for a week.

As poor Laddie lay screaming on the ground beside his beloved bone, my mom comes out and looks at him with dismay. All of us kids are crowded around him begging her for another chance. After all, what happenned wasn't his fault. It was just plain, old, bad luck! So once again mommy loads Laddie up and takes him to the vet. That was trip number six.

One day she had just left the house and a neighbor comes over and tells me Laddie had been hit by a car again. He was lying in the middle of the road. I rushed out with Billy and Rhonda and we scrape him off the road - but he is alive. I go to the payphone and I call my dad crying and begging to take Laddie to the vet again. He tells me it is ok to take him. (I had just passed my driver's test)

We hurriedly loaded Laddie up (partly because his condition was so serious and partly because we knew that as soon as my mom found out that she would be furious). We rushed to the vet's office and they start to administer emergency care. My mom comes in about five minutes after we get there and tells them to stop everything. She would not pay for anymore treatment.

My brother points out to her that she might as well let them finish because she was going to have to pay for what they had already done. She agreed - under one condition. The vet had to keep Laddie and find a home for him when he was well. He did.

I heard once that Laddie had been running through our junior high school and they had to chase him on all three floors before they ran him out of the building. About 3 years later, I was working at Burger Chef. I looked outside to see Laddie bumming food in the parking lot. By the time I called my mom and received permission to bring him home he was gone - never to be seen again.

Helping an Abuse Child

Years ago I was Coordinator of the Child Care Food Program for my county. This program feeds low income children. One day one of my caregivers called me and told me that one of the little boys that she was watching was being abused by his mother. She proceeded to give me evidence. She was scared to turn the woman in. I told her that I absolutely was not scared to do it and I hung up, called Human Services, and reported it immediately!

That night I received a phone call from the child's mother. She proceeded to threaten me for turning her in. I stopped her and I told her my address. I told her that I would be outside waiting for her. I told here that when she got to my house that she wouldn't be dealing with a 12 year old boy and that I couldn't wait for her to get there. She hung up in tears.

The boys teacher corroborated the abuse evidence. Before Human Services could act (apparently they needed a court order or something that delayed taking the boy and his brother away from their mother.) the woman left town taking the children with her.

They found her a month and a half later in Michigan (I live in West Virginia). Her husband had taken the boy to the emergency room because his mother had broken his arm! I hope things have changed and they remove children immediately now so that this kind of thing doesn't happen.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kiss Off the Boss!

I took a nighttime job once because I have insomnia and I figured I might as well make some money while I was awake, also it paid $1.00 an hour more for night stock. It turns out I like night stock because you don't have to deal with any people which is a definite plus in the retail world.

Anyway I came in to work one day and looked at the next weeks schedule and I saw that I had been switched to days which meant I would be making a dollar an hour less - effectively a pay cut the way I saw it. I went to my boss to discuss this with her and she informed me that she had hired a new girl who didn't know how to run a register so she had put me on days. When I pointed out to her that she was paying someone who didn't know as much as I did more money than I was getting she told me, "I needed to remember how things were and you will be staying on days!"

I looked her square in the eye and told her "I fully intend to remember how things are and I want you to remember that statment." As I walked out of the office to finish my shift I heard the loud crash of her fist hitting her desk and a loud expletive that I will lead to your imagination.

I went to Fruth the next morning (I had left there on good terms) and they hired me back making more money than I was making at the night stock job. I gave the other manager notice later that night because I couldn't start working at Fruth until the next schedule came out.

There are 2 lessons from this experience:

1. Always leave a jo ood terms whenever possible so that you can go back if you need to

2. Don't take shit from your boss!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My $100,000 video

On my 32nd. birthday my husband gave me a parasailing trip in Jupiter Beach, Florida. It was a memorable day and here is why. First we went out on the boat but there was no wind, so we took a quick dip in the ocean. The water was beautiful and clear and about 20 feet deep and I was proud of myself for jumping in because it was something that I was always too afraid to do before. We swam around a little until the breeze kicked in and then got back in the boat.

Now this is all on video from here on, but it is not too much fun to watch because Bobby was trying to film me from the boat while it was bobbing on the water. You really can't see anything other than me on camera for a second here and there before his hand is jerked away by the action of the waves. If I would have had the camera though it would have been a $100,000 video because what I saw scared me to death and the people on the boat had no idea what was going on!

The boat took off and I flew upwards harnassed to the parachute. I went up several hundred feet (I think so anyway). I cruised at that height for several minutes. It was so high that it was completely silent and peaceful and the view was astounding. Before I took off they asked me how deep I wanted to be dipped into the water. I told them to dip me to my knees. I thought it would be a hoot to be flying along behind the boat trolling the water with my feet.

Anyway when they started to take me down for my big dip, I looked down to see that they were setting me down directly on top of the biggest fish that I have ever seen! It was shaped like a shark (and not a small one either) but of course I don't have the knowledge to confirm this. It was definitely big and I was going to land right smack dab on top of it! I started to kick and scream and the guys on the boat ignored me. Then I started trying to shake the support ropes and kicking and screaming even more and they just laughed at me! I was pointing straight down at the fish too but that wasn't helping either. Finally I started to make a cutoff motion across my neck and they got the message. They pulled me up. I was so relieved that I almost cried.

They took me about 100 yards and this time they lowered me into the water to my knees. I was positive that the giant fish was going to come after me and chew my legs off. I was being trolled perfectly like the worlds biggest piece of bait on a hook! They probably dragged me 100 yards or so in the water and then they pulled me up.

I went up high again and I kept pointing at the fish, but they never seemed to get the message. When they finally reeled me in I was telling them about that fish way before my feet hit the boat and of course they were all greatly amused by my story. They told me everybody kicks and screams when they go down for the dip so they really didn't think anything about it. If I would have had that video camera then I would have had proof of the greatest fish story ever!

Temper! Temper!

I used to play softball in both junior and high school. I was a horrible fielder but that didn't matter because I could hit any pitch - good or bad - anywhere that I wanted it to go. I struck out 3 times in 6 years (twice in one game! I thought the world was going to end that day.)

In my senior year I was up against a pitcher that deliberately tried to hit me with a pitch. I couldn't let this pass. It was time to teach her a lesson. The very next pitch I hit a line drive that I aimed directly at her face! She ate the dirt. I am actually glad that she hit the dirt because if that ball would have hit her, it would have killed her. I hit it so hard that it probably would have exited out the back of her skull. After the umpire warned me to never do that again or I would be ejected, I was walked. She was too afraid to pitch anything but an outside ball to me after that.