Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Problem Isn't the Debates, It's the Media Coverage of the Debates

I don't have cable so I have missed most of the Presidential Debates. I have tuned in to the network news following each debate only to see coverage of the most inconsequential sound bites. There is never any mention of any candidate's stand on any issue.

It isn't just one network either. It is all of them. They can't even cover different meaningless comments. They all cover the same one. As far as I'm concerned all of the major news networks can stop wasting their time and mine with any coverage of any debates

Buried in the Snow

I used to have a samoyed and a husky. They were beautiful animals and it just so happened that the husky was probably the smartest dog I ever had while the samoyed was the absolute, without a doubt dumbest. He was sweet and loveable and beautiful though.

They used to go nuts when I would pull up in the wintertime with a fresh bale of straw. They would jump and do backflips and all the crazy things dogs do when they are ecstatic about the world around them. They couldn't wait for me to stuff it into their dog houses and I would have a hard time doing it because I couldn't keep them out while I was stuffing it as full of straw as I could. Once I did finish they would burrow inside and peek through the curtain on their door every so often just to make sure they weren't missing out on any goings on around them.

I would be pleased as punch that my dogs were happy and warm on a cold winters day and so were they. Then I would go inside and wait on the snow. It never failed. Not one time would I look outside the next morning and both the husky and the samoyed in their nice warm houses. Instead they would have dragged every bit of the straw outside and they would be asleep in the snow on top the straw with the snow piled on top them. They were never happier than they were when they had a layer of snow on top of them

I also had an otterhound once. Emily was the clumsiest of the clumsy. But she would break ice in the wintertime to go swimming. When she hit the water she was one of the most graceful animals I had ever seen. She actually looked like a giant sized otter swimming in the water. When she was finished she would come bounding over to me covered in ice cycles. I would have to take her into the house and warm her up and dry her off. Although she loved to break the ice to go swimming, once she was out of the water it was a whole another ballgame. She was ready to come in and warm up by the stove and maybe get some warm milk to drink.

Emily, the otterhound, and my greyhounds made a great team. Otterhounds hunt by scent and greyhounds hunt by sight. Emily would catch the scent of wild game in the air and lumber off in their direction with her nose in the air to catch whatever scent was wafting by. My greyhounds learned to run her down and they would tear off into the woods looking for whatever she had scented. I don't know if they ever caught anything but I do know they had one hell of a good time trying.

I got Queenie when I lived at Frogs Creek. People would stop me and say, "you know, I clocked that dog doing 40 mph!" I would laugh and tell them,"well, when she hits 45 let me know and we'll put her back on the track again."

They would also stop and ask me how she had beat them home when they had seen her on the other side of the mountain. I pointed out that they had to drive around the mountain on a curvy, winding road. All she had to do was come over it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blizzard of '77 (my greatest school year ever)

When I was in the 9th. grade we had a massive snowstorm that kept us out of school for most of January and February. It started off as a typical school year, just going to school day after day. It had been years since we had a snow day off from school. When it came time to go back to school after Christmas break the skies opened up and the most we went to school for the next 2 months was 2 days a week. Usually it was only one day a week. This was back in the days when they didn't make you make up the days at the end of the year or have 2 hour delays or any of that pain in the ass stuff.

Then in early March I was waiting for the bus and no one else was there. This was unusual. A passing car stopped and told me that the wall had fallen at Central and school was cancelled. I went home to listen to the radio and sure enough the retaining wall had fallen at our junior high school. Central Junior High School was perched up on the side of the mountain overlooking Logan, West Virginia. It was built behind a massive retaining wall that was easily 50 or 60 feet high. We were out of school for a week while they decided what to do with us. There was no way the wall could be repaired before the school year was over.

They decided to send us to East Junior High School - our arch rivals. To minimize the possibilities of fights we started school an hour after the East kids and we went home an hour earlier than they did. We also had staggered lunch hours so that we didn't take lunch at the same time. I think some of the teachers were more traumatized by the move than we were and we learned quickly how to take advantage of the situation. We were particularly thrilled when Mrs. Triolo and Mrs. Mendez got into a fist fight because Mrs. Triolo called Mrs. Mendez a dike! Boy, was that a story!

Some teachers padded our grades, saying we were traumatized and upping them a whole letter. (Not that it mattered to me. I was an "A,B" student anyway so that didn't help me much.) We got every concession that a teacher could possibly give a student. Some didn't even give tests for a whole month so that we could adjust to the situation.

Then in May there was a massive flood. There was about 6 feet of water in East Junior High School. It took a week for the river to subside and then another week for them to get the school cleaned up so that we could go back again.

By then there was about 2 weeks to go and school was out. I started High School the next year so I am not sure but I think that it took several years to fix the wall and the kids at Central continued to go to East well into the next school year.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One Time We Built the World's Biggest Snowball

When I was a kid we made the world's biggest snowball. This monumental effort started out with just a couple of us, but by the time we were finished every kid in the neighborhood was helping. Now keep in mind that this was in the 70's before kids had their own cellphones. Back then kids had an inborn radar and we just knew when something big was going on and everybody seemed to show up at the right time.

We started out with me and Rhonda rolling a snowball to make a snowman. Pretty soon the snowball was so big that we couldn't roll it anymore but Mark McCoy just happened to be walking by and he joined us in the big push. That snowball was getting pretty big by this time and Rusty and Sissy and Billy joined in. We used 3 yards (I mean yards that we played in, not yards as a unit of measurement) full of snow to make that snowball. Somewhere along the way Ricky, Arville and Jamie began pushing with us and then low and behold if the two Jeffs didn't show up.

This massive snow boulder ended up in the middle of the basketball court. It was taller even than the biggest boys! It ended up staying in the middle of the basketball court because we couldn't move it another inch. With every kid in the neighborhood pushing, that snowball still wouldn't budge. It was so tall that we couldn't even climb on top of it.

The snow boulder stayed where it was until the middle of May. We hated it by that time because like I said it was in the middle of the basketball court. It also was in the way of our "endless circle" where we rode our bikes for hour after hour. We beat it with basketballs and wiffleball bats trying to make it disappear. It did for awhile make a most excellent bike ramp for those who had enough nerve to make the jump. Anyway it was a monumental effort that I have yet to see be duplicated to this day.

The Things Little Old Ladies Get Away With

I took Eddie to the doctor today so he took me to lunch at Captain D's. We were sitting there eating when all of a sudden I felt 2 hands grab my hair. I was just on the verge of whipping around and walloping some crazed offender. (a reflex from too much hair pulling when I was a kid) But the hands were gentle and they were actually cradling my long, blonde hair when I heard a woman exclaim, "beautiful. just beautiful."

I had maintained control of my reflexes as I looked at Eddie with a "what in the world?" look in my eyes.

I had caught a glimpse of two little, old ladies out of the corner of my eye as I settled into my chair, meanwhile they never knew anything was amiss. The one lady asked the other if she had ever seen anything so beautiful and her friend answered, "why no, I don't believe I have."

It was really a harmless situation to be in and they meant it all to be a compliment but I had no idea that someone was going to grab me from behind and to say they startled me would be to put it mildly. I kept my composure and thanked them for the compliment as they made their way to the door.

It reminds me of the stories my mom used to tell us about her mom. Granny loved her visits to the local 10 cent store. They had a really good snack bar there and I still crave their club sandwiches to this day. Granny and my Aunt Mary Ann would go to the 10 cent store every third of the month when they got their checks with all the other old people in our hometown. It was a ritual that everybody would get together and pay their bills and shop when they got their check. They would also go there anytime they had a doctor's appointment or any other business in town.

Mom said that several times she received a call from the management of the 10 cent store asking her to come collect her mother. It seems that granny felt that one certain booth was hers and she wasn't shy about claiming it. If someone was having lunch there, she would just go sit in the booth with them and tell them "not to mind me, I'll just wait here until you're finished." She would also clean away their dirty dishes to hasten their departure. Sometimes before they were finished eating.

I never witnessed my granny doing this stuff but I'm sure that those people felt much the same way I felt today as that little, old lady cradled my hair in her hands.

The Greatest Sandwich I Ever Ate

...was at Denney's Restaurant believe it or not. I don't know if they still have them because there are no Denney's in WV that I know of.

The sandwich was called a Megamelt Grandslam. It was a wonderous confection on toasted sourdough bread. It had roast beef, turkey and ham with provolone cheese. What set it apart is the perfect slab of banana pepper on the sandwich with a slice of tomato and mayo.

mmm mmmm good!

It was the inspiration for my world famous pamburger. I cook my burgers on my George Foreman Grill and I grill my buns as well. Then I top it with cheese, banana pepper, tomato and mayo. They are positively addicting. Ask Eddie!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"So, what's my punishment anyway?"

We had been married around 2 years when Bobby and I were at the Laundromat. We were folding clothes when all of a sudden he irritatedly blurted out, "If you don't start turning your clothes right side out when you take them off, I'm just going to start folding them that way!"

My eyebrows shot up as I realized that this was a brilliant idea! I told him, "Go ahead, that's the best idea I ever heard." He just shook his head in disgust and resigned himself to the fact that I am a hopeless slob.

I've been folding my clothes inside out ever since.

Although it is occasionally embarrassing to go outside because I failed to notice that I put them on that way.

I Shop for Clothes Twice a Year...

...for the most part. I go the third week of January when the discounts seem to be their deepest and I go in August when the back to school sales are happening. Even though I don't wear kid's clothes it doesn't matter because they put all the clothes on sale in August.

I went to K mart this week and they had clearance on their clearance. Also if you spend $50 this week then they give you a $5 gift card. In effect giving me a 10% discount on the clearanced clearance items.

Here is what I bought:

A wonderful, warm coat/cape. Originally $80 and I got it for $33.

2 long, bohemian style skirts for $7.79 each. Keep in mind I have to buy plus sizes that usually cost $2 more per item.

2 long sleeved, lace trimmed t-shirts for $7.19 each

4 tank tops for $4.79 each. (these are my uniforms at home)

Lace cami for $4.79

Playtex bra for $15.99 in my hard to find size of 44B

Gold Tree Skirt for $3.74

7 silver ornaments for $3.78

50 multicolored lights for $2.49

20 green lights for .74

I went home with 2 $5 gift cards because I broke the purchases into 2 purchases. I don't understand people who know they get a card for every $50 and they spend tons of money on one purchase and only get one card.

Ever Eat Snow Ice Cream?

We used to make snow ice cream when we were kids. We would go out on the balconey and get some of the snow that was piled high on the bannisters. Then we would go back in the house and add a little cream and sugar and Viola! Snow Ice Cream!

Every kids dream.

Remember the old sleds? The wooden ones with the metal runners? They have gone the way of the dinosaur now. Lost like so many of our old toys that were apparently too dangerous to play with. Back in those days our parents actually taught us to be careful so that we could have fun and not get hurt. Sleds are gone. Even Jacks are gone. You can buy plastic versions but it is just not the same.

I think there was something to be said for having to use a little care when you played with something. We knew there was a possibility of getting hurt so we WATCHED WHAT WE WERE DOING!

I know we were supposed to be able to steer these things but I don't remember the steering EVER working. It was part of the fun.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Everybody Knows It's Not a Real Holiday Anyway


When I was taking care of my dad I bought him one of those Siamese Fighting Fish. He loved it. I bought it at Walmart in a vase with a Peace Lilly in it to provide oxygen for the fish. The fish spent his time swimming through the roots and my dad had a lovely time feeding it and would sit mesmerized for hours just watching the fish.

One morning I walked into the bathroom and I saw a blue blob in the floor. I didn't know what in the world it could be so I looked closer. It was daddy's fish. Apparently the cat had managed to swipe the thing out of the vase. I still don't know how she did it because the vase and the plant were completely undisturbed.

I was completely dismayed by my find because I didn't want daddy to be upset because his health was so delicate. So I rushed off to Walmart to buy a replacement before he woke up. I arrived home just in time to witness daddy wheeling himself up to check out his fish for the first time that morning. He turned to ask me where his fish was and I was standing there with as close a copy as I could manage to pluck from the Walmart aquarium in my hand.

He had caught me red handed and there was nothing I could do but confess. So, I broke the news to him that his beloved fish had met it's demise at the hands of Shirley the Cat. He burst out laughing and started to congratulate the cat for a job well done!

We deposited the fish back in the vase and daddy had a good time every morning going to check and see if the cat had another successful night fishing again.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ooooh, You!!

One day I pulled into work and Gina was on the loading dock dancing and doing a cheer. "Yah, Pam's here! She'll take care of this kitty!" I walked past her and ignored what she was saying completely.

All day long Gina told me how much that cat needed a home and how she was sooo glad that I would take her. I never said a word. Lunchtime rolled around and somebody asked me what I was going to do with the cat and I said, "nothing." Poor Gina's mouth flew open and she said, "How can you say that? You rescue everything."

I told her I was sorry, but I couldn't take the cat home. When it was time for me to go home I left with Gina begging me to take the cat with me - I didn't. The next day Gina went around telling everybody what a wonderful cat she took home. I just smiled.

A week later I was talking on the phone with a friend and I was telling them how I got a home for a cat on the dock the week before. Gina heard me and exclaimed, "YOU DIDN'T FIND A HOME FOR THAT CAT. I TOOK IT HOME!"

I looked at Gina and smiled and I said, "Gina, I KNEW you would take that cat home. If I had taken her home she would still be looking for a home. Now she has the greatest home on earth because you thought I didn't have a heart and wouldn't save her."

Gina looked at me and smiled and said, "Ohhh, Youuu!"

She knew she had fallen into my trap.

Visual Personality Test

You're a Harmonizer

You're a Harmonizer. Altruistic and thoughtful, you're generous with your time and energy and definitely like it best when everyone's getting along. You often put others' needs before your own and find it easy to see different perspectives on the same problem. Reliable and trustworthy, you seek harmony and balance in your life. You forge strong, long-lasting friendships, and your friends value your honesty and frank opinions. You tend to value routine and security. Life may feel a bit boring at the moment. It would be good to find the confidence to make a shift and alter your life routine. When it comes to bringing positive change to your life, don't try to move mountains. Baby steps are definitely the way forward. For example, if you'd like to lose weight, don't set yourself up to fail with unrealistic goals. Be kind to yourself and remember that slow and steady wins the race. Have you ever written a list of your positive features or asked your friends to do the same? It's a great exercise, and it might just surprise you. As a Harmonizer, it's important to learn to trust your intuition and to know that everything will work out for the best. Learn to say yes to new experiences from time to time. Your confidence and self-belief will continue to grow. Sometimes a challenge or a change of scene could be just what you need. You like to have regular quiet time to listen to your inner voice. Being alone in the open air is a great way for you to connect to what really matters. Make sure you don't neglect your spiritual needs and carve out some alone time as often as you can.
For you, the sign of a good relationship is that you don't stress out about the small stuff. You may have your ups and downs, but there's no one you'd rather spend the rest of your life with. As a True Romantic, you've got a whole lot of love to give and you like to lavish your partner with romantic gestures. You have strong instincts and a good understanding of who you are and what you want from life. You like to follow your dreams and believe in happy endings. You are expressive and enjoy coming up with new ways to show your partner how much you love him. Intense experiences appeal to your sensual side. It's all about immersing yourself in the fairy-tale feelings of being in love. For you, it's the little things that make being in love so special: a sunset stroll on a beach, holding hands at the movies and feeling protected and cared for.

Relationship tips:

So you're a True Romantic but what tips can we give for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?

  1. Be natural. Remember that your partner loves you for who you are, so don't feel the need to put on an act.
  2. Share the love. You've got the Midas touch when it comes to setting the romantic tone, so do what you do best and let your partner experience the magic.
  3. Open your heart. Don't overthink things or be too much of a perfectionist. The strongest connections are founded on spiritual intimacy.
  4. Take a weekend away. Whether you're still in the first flush of love or entering your second decade together, there's still nothing better than checking into a nice hotel for a night. Take your time over a romantic dinner and make sure to have breakfast in bed.
The way to your heart is through your stomach! While you're happy to get creative in the kitchen, you'd love to be able to eat in amazing restaurants whenever the mood strikes. Your drive and motivation mean you know what you want out of life and you're not afraid to go for it. You have a taste for the finer things, but you know they're not easy to come by. You're focused and determined, with the ambition to achieve your vision. Just make sure you take time to admire the view rather than heading as fast as you can to the destination.
Unappealing as it may seem, it would be good to try to be a bit more active every day. You might be surprised at how much you'd actually enjoy regular exercise. It may sound hard to believe, but endorphins are better than chocolate if you just give them a chance! You may even find that you're in a better mood more often. Start off with something that isn't too intimidating, like climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator. You might even consider signing up for a few personal training sessions in the gym so that you have a program that's tailored just for you. You may need to think about making a few changes what you eat too. Maybe you could try making homemade versions of your favorite restaurant meals to reduce the sodium and fat content and eat healthier without compromising too much on taste.
If you took some time out to visualize your dream life, you could probably see yourself away from the rat race, chilling out on a beach. Nothing puts a smile on your face like waking up to sun, sea and sand without a care in the world. Fresh fruit, seafood and not a cloud in the sky...sounds like paradise!
For you, there's nothing like getting immersed in the magic of the theater and a great show. It's all about the ambience and the experience of the show. It's a great night out - the ultimate in escapism and culture.
You're a bit of a homebody, most comfortable chilling out in relaxed surroundings with people you know well. After all, your friends are there for you in good times and bad, and spending time with them is important. You're also happy spending a bit of quiet time with a good book or movie to really unwind. But don't forget how much fun it can be to get all dressed up with your girlfriends and hit the dance floor. You can sleep it off on the sofa the next day.
You're open-minded and a positive thinker, so when you get the chance to go traveling, you love to head somewhere exotic and off the beaten track. For you, escapism is the ultimate in relaxation. It's the perfect antidote to the stress of everyday life. You love the feel of the sun and sea on your skin, so your perfect vacation would definitely include a beach. Even better if it's secluded and undiscovered by hordes of tourists!

    Playin' in the Creek

    I love this picture. It is a picture of my niece and nephew and cousins playin' in the creek at Chief Logan State Park in Logan, WV. They are playing in the exact same spot where I used to play with my aunt and uncles and cousins when I was a kid.

    We used to spend every family reunion playing in the creek. My mom would always tell us we weren't allowed when the day would start but by the end of the day she would relent and we would spend hours wading with our styrofoam cups and catching crawdads, salamanders and minnows.

    We would also spend hours excavating and dredging the creek to build a dam so we could have a swimming hole. We happily carried rocks and mud and piled them so we could lounge in the cool water on a hot summers day. We used to joke that they actually forced prisoners to break rocks all day but we did it voluntarily for hours upon end. Most of our dams were complete failures that allowed more water through than they held back but occasionally our hard work would pay off and the water would actually be deep enough to float and swim (in tiny circles).

    The best times were when my uncles would join us. They were masteminds at building dams and they ALWAYS got good results. We would be begging to help them but they would make us stay out of the way until the dam was completed. Then we could enjoy the fruits of their labors. They were also in charge of swinging on the grapevines. We weren't allowed to swing on them until they tested them to make sure they were strong enough to hold our weight.

    Probably the best day ever in my childhood was the day my mom took us to the park and left us for the day. We walked every square inch of that creek which is about 2 miles long in one direction and then it forks about a mile in the other direction. We were everywhere. At the end of the day she picked us up and we were so dirty and wet that she made us ride in the trunk (it was open) to go home. We only lived 1.9 miles from the park so it was just another fun way to top off the day.