UNCONVENTIONAL (NO. 2)

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A Saturday outing found us at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) in Presque Isle State Park. Science exhibits aren’t generally my thing, but I was interested in seeing this place because I’d been told by one of our neighbours that they had some great photographs of the area.

Upon entering this clean, modern building, I was immediately intrigued by the narrow, glass-enclosed towers that went to the ceiling and which had many shelves holding small, handmade, moving models each showing a different Presque Isle pastime (ice fishing, fishing, bike riding, swimming, kayaking, boating, etc.) Such charming offerings were not what I was expecting!

We spent about an hour (it is a very small place) viewing photographs and other works of local artists along with the exhibits highlighting the history, flora, and fauna of Presque Isle State Park. I was intrigued to note that they had only a small plaque on the ICE DUNES OF DEATH with a bit of information that said nothing about the dangers of them at all.

I enjoyed seeing that their view of history didn’t just include the usual dry facts spouted by most places, but also included a section on the many shipwrecks that could be found on the floor of Lake Erie right off Presque Isle and, even more, consider walking down the hallway and seeing this above….

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I was amazed that a center built to educate included a section acknowledging the local lore of Presque Isle State Park. I had to turn and read the posters on the wall….presenting, in unique fashion, some of the stories/mysteries that surround Presque Isle that we actually hadn’t heard before now.

This one is all over the place online.  Occurring in 1966, it’s not the only reported sighting of UFOs here, but it seems to be the biggest and most well-known.   This poster rather downplays it, but I read online the authorities conducted many tests for radioactivity in the area, etc. after so many reports came in.1 (4)

South Bay Bessie is, I suppose, this area’s own Loch Ness Monster.    Apparently, she’s all over Lake Erie from Pennsylvania to Michigan with multiple sightings.   This poster talks about a 1993 incident involving Bessie and a boat.1 (3)

And this giant wave supposedly took place in 1984 coming right across the sand on Beach 8.  Sounds terrifying, yes?1 (2)

All in all, this was a most enlightening outing……definitely not the trip to a science center I was expecting.  Could be some day I’ll get a picture of something even better than a beach landscape or magnificent sunset, eh?  

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MEETING MR. AND MRS. O

A few weeks ago, we decided to pop downtown and make the acquaintance of another family, Mr. and Mrs. O and their son, Ollie. To me, it’s always quite interesting meeting new families with their own customs, traditions, rules, and little ways of doing things.  Safe to say, you can learn a lot about others visiting them in their own home.   I do have to admit this family was not the most mannerly family I’ve ever met….at least, they didn’t follow what I consider the “normal” protocols of entertaining.

First impressions were pretty normal….albeit a bit hairy.  The mother, Dasa, met us as we arrived.

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Bad hair day?

Things went downhill from there.   After satisfying her initial curiosity, she didn’t invite us in but instead just sat down and kept a close eye on us.101015 (2)

I would’ve been a bit nonplussed by the suspicion, but her husband, Joe, was even worse! He wouldn’t acknowledge us at all…..He never even looked at us the whole time we were there.1 (4)

Their 6-year-old, Ollie, was still wrapped up in his bedsheet. Dad must’ve finished the paper already because Ollie was making quite a mess of it! I think he was probably looking for the comics.

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Finally, though, a flurry of activity ensued when a ‘neighbour’ of Mr. and Mrs. O stopped by to drop off some banana treats. 1 (5)Dasa didn’t let any grass grow under her feet (or the treats!) 

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But did she offer one to any of us? I think not….. ‘the winner takes it all’ seemed to be her motto! And she certainly wasn’t shy about eating in front of us either! 1 (6)She did, however, make sure Ollie got his fair share. He sat on the step by his father and looked up at Mummy eating while he enjoyed his own snack. 1 (7)

It was a bemusing experience to be sure. Certainly, they were the highlight of our trip. As interesting as it was meeting them, I don’t think I’m going to be inviting them over anytime soon. However, if they do decide to come see us at least I’ll know what to serve for dinner……

UNCONVENTIONAL (NO. 1)

Having quite a few strange sightings up here lately…sitting in traffic one day and Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine buzzes past us.    Another day, we’re sitting at a red light and we see the Jurassic Park jeep go by.     Today, we came out of a restaurant and I saw what I guess is the latest in emergency services vehicles……..

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Any of you members of this organisation? 

 

SEGUEING INTO SPRING!

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I know there are a lot of people excited about spring finally starting to arrive this year.   It’s been a long winter and I know many of you have felt like this…..

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Google Image Search

However, as excited as you might be……there are a few trying things about this transition from winter to spring.

First off, this is the time of year when you remember that a winter-coat body and a swimsuit body are NOT the same thing.  It’s time to change this sort of thinking…..

Google Image Search

Google Image Search

Another thing about this time between seasons is your dog. He’s going to take longer to find that “ultimate place” to GO because the areas of snow are less and less. He has to re-learn that GOING on the grass is the norm.  Allow extra time for this.

No more hiding inside because it’s warm….you’ll now be out and be social!

Being out and being social in the warming spring sun means that instead of hiding under layers of clothes, we have to start caring about what we wear again.

But….you never know what to wear because the weather keeps sending mixed signals.  Be positive and dress for spring, but take along a light jacket, gloves, and maybe even a blanket just in case!

And of course Daylight Savings Time steals an hour of sleep just to set the stage for longer days.  Here’s another place that blanket you brought along just might come in handy in case you have a chance for a short nap somewhere along your way….

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The bikers in their Lycra will show up on the roads again. Riding bikes is good. I ride a bike myself.  But why, oh why must they all wear Lycra?  I do not wear Lycra.  I especially do not wear white Lycra.

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Google Image Search

My personal worst thing about this time of year…….the insects return.  Bugs really bug me.     Time to restock the repellent!

And of course there’s also Spring break…stock up the food!

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Be sure and schedule a week for yourself after their spring break because then it really isn’t long till they’re out for the summer.  

Spring means the arrival of allergies for some….

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Google Image Search

Coupled with rain, rain, and more rain for all.   Great for those newly-growing plants, but not so much fun for us.

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Google Image Search

And unfortunately, there are harvests in the spring perhaps better not mentioned…….

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But of course, there is a whole lot to look forward to as we move into spring……I’m sure you all have your own list.  Mine includes:

Actually seeing our mailbox again! It’s no longer buried in snow!

Rediscovering the shoe collection and putting away the boots!  And for those of you into flip flops….this is your moment!

If you’re anything like my husband, you’ll be thrilled to see ice cream is back on the menu.

Breaking out the grill, it’s time to barbeque!

Farmers’ markets start to reappear slowly but surely.

And it’s time to collect the Maple syrup!

But most importantly……..Nature is in its glory during spring! Prepare to be dazzled!

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Google Image Search

 What are you most looking forward to with the arrival of spring?   

The Arrival of GODZILLA

The boy that I married only had eyes for me-
I really don’t know how this now could come to be.

I just never thought that this could happen –
I always thought I was his passion.

But now he is a man with a man’s cravings –
And perhaps he was sick of all my ravings.

After looking high and low, he began to conspire-
A young and attractive model did he desire.

To make you his own, there was no stone left unturned-
Eventually, it took us to a point of no return.

He took the time to learn all about you, each of your talents and prides-
And now recites them grandly to all – those near and far and wide.

Whereas I’ve gradually declined and let him take on more-
You’re there each day helping him wage war.

Filled with purrs and with hums that enticed him right away-
You’re so smart to show such zest for his tasks of the day.

Sleek curves and sharp looks-
Those quickly had him hooked.

Your insatiable appetite and never-changing waistline-
They beat me by far.

I’m afraid, looking back-
That I’ve gotten much too slack.

Each day I can see his affection has grown-
He even rented a truck just to bring you home.

He eagerly asked for pictures beside you-
A most willing partner in this new pas de deux.

And though I’m not so sure I’d relish it myself-
He calls you Godzilla, a name he chose himself.

I know you’re counting on winter to propel this affair-
And so far, I admit, it has done so with flair.

Not a complaint can I make when in mornings he runs to you first thing-
And of course loyally you greet him making his heart sing.

Home from work he comes and again to you he goes-
This happens each and every single time it snows.

A long winter this is supposed to be –
I sit here and wonder if he’ll ever come back to me.

However, I know in the thaw of spring-
To the shed you will go and new hope this will bring.

Perhaps then he’ll remember-
This whole marriage thing!

I was only going to post a picture, but in this case, I think this little video clip from his first night with “her” gives the full effect of the romance going on……wait for the enamoured smile toward the end.

The Dailies

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This post was prompted by Little Miss Menopause over at Once Upon Your Prime who enjoyed my piece using TV titles (The Days of our Lives) and challenged me to do the same with some movie titles. It’s been a long time coming, but in the midst of all that’s going on, I feel lucky to have come up with anything at all! We really did have an incredible series of disasters (lightning strike, a period of no heat in middle of winter, a 3-week period of not being able to use our kitchen, hitting a deer, a 10-minute daily commute turning into a 2-hour daily commute, being hit by a teen driver, pipe breaks in two houses in two states, workers that wouldn’t show up, no brakes on a car, etc.) following our move to MD last year but there was a lot of good for us there too. For the purposes of this writing, I focused more on the disaster part of things.

Now DON’T SAY A WORD this is FOR YOUR EYES ONLY…. but just so you know…..

IT was only a SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE that made us into the OUT OF TOWNERS the first time.  I had serious misgivings about this BIG move and knew even the BEST LAID PLANS often went awry. Plus, at that point, I didn’t even know THE AWFUL TRUTH.  I was definitely CLUELESS.   These misgivings turned out to be an OMEN.   We were basically heading into a TEMPLE OF DOOM.   But I also knew you have to go WHERE THE MONEY IS and  was actually quite BEWITCHED by the idea of moving to such a lovely area.  In the end, I figured, well, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE so off we went across THE GREAT DIVIDE and onto the Eastern Shore. As it turned out, that move was just A BRIDGE TOO FAR.

After about SIX DAYS AND SEVEN NIGHTS, I had a pretty good inkling that I wasn’t going to do too well with this move. CATASTROPHEs began to strike.  After about 9 MONTHS and many catastrophic events in a row, it began to feel like a YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY. Oh I met some BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE and even some ORDINARY PEOPLE and sometimes even felt I was ON THE RIGHT TRACK.   We also got caught up in THE PARENT TRAP when thinking ABOUT A BOY (our son) who was thriving in this place.   But the two of us were living in MISERY. It was a CATCH 22. By the end of our year there it had gotten so bad we were WAITING TO EXHALE and were only interested in STAYING ALIVE. Finally, our common SENSE AND SENSIBILITY dictated that when on the TITANIC, there is a POINT OF NO RETURN and you realize SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE with great SPEED.

Once I found out that where we were at was AS GOOD AS IT GETS in that area, I told my husband then WHAT A GIRL WANTS and left him BREATHLESS as I threw down THE GAUNTLET.  Nothing was LOST IN TRANSLATION. Now, I’m no DIVA that will regularly STAND AND DELIVER ultimatums and I didn’t do that this time.   But he already knows it’s a RISKY BUSINESS at THE BEST OF TIMES and that when I’m upset there are no TERMS OF ENDEARMENT that can calm me down. I’m sure he thinks OH GOD and gets THAT SINKING FEELING in the pit of his stomach whenever I start going off the DEEP END. He knows that he doesn’t get TWO WEEKS NOTICE and actually doesn’t even get 48 HOURS to make it all better.  He needs to think fast and take EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES to come up with an act of UNCOMMON VALOR or risk being caught in the CROSSFIRE. Generally, he’s one of only A FEW GOOD MEN and does quite well, but I’m sure it’s SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL for his nerves when he manages head me off and not hear TAPS playing in the background of his mind. This man earns his marital STRIPES on days like this.

My son and I made the move BACK TO THE FUTURE at the beginning of August while my husband set up in Virginia to train his replacement for a month. For me, COMING HOME was a big CELEBRATION.  We (well, two of us anyway) are back in our home state, but now two hours north of where our old home is. THE SHINING sun has been out most every day and yet we’ve escaped the dreaded HEAT of Maryland. Actually, we’re anxiously awaiting the BIG CHILL of the winter months when we’re sure to have an ICE AGE and perhaps be FROZEN since we are now in one of the snowiest areas of the United States and right on a Great Lake. I guess we’re going to find out how much I really do like snow and if retiring to Canada is realistic or pure fantasy from watching ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. It should be a good practice run anyway.

Setting up HOUSE here without my husband feels like being a HOUSESITTER. I can set up things, but it can’t be totally done until he gets here and completes our family picture with his slippers and personal effects. It’s like constantly being HOME ALONE and I’m not a real fan of that. THE AWFUL TRUTH is I really hate being alone and especially in these, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. But tomorrow he’s HOMEWARD BOUND and we’ll be together again all in one place. HOPE SPRINGS eternal and I would imagine that in about 9 1/2 WEEKS or so, we’ll be looking at BRICK MANSIONS with GREAT EXPECTATIONS of a place to make our new HOUSE OF MIRTH.

But for now, I’m content to just have us all in one place.  I know now some of what can happen and I know how little I can control. I know what it’s like to feel DAZED AND CONFUSED. I know what it’s like to wonder WHICH WAY IS UP and definitely nothing is TAKEN for granted. I’ll NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. But I also know now, we DON’T LOOK BACK. There’s only one way to go and that’s UP!

 

(Still no time to take many pictures yet, so credit again given to Google Image Search)

HELP WANTED – (CLUB PROMPT – MARRIAGE)

It occurs to me that by marrying when I was 18 I really took a shot in the dark. My requirements for a husband at that point were pretty basic: he should be handsome and fun, he should love me, and he should have musical ability so that I could have beautiful musical children. Since my husband is DEFINITELY NOT musical (one of his big threats to our son is that he will show up at his school and sing to his friends), you can see I compromised right out of the gate. However, having been married almost 30 years to this man, I can’t help but think how my luck certainly did hold in that initial gamble I took. Knowing what I know now after all these years together, I’d have to say it’s a very good thing we married at 18 because my “requirements” now would be quite a bit different. If there had been dating classifieds back then, I can just see how my ad should’ve looked…..

HANDSOME INDIVIDUAL WANTED FOR MATRIMONY
ONCE FOR A LIFETIME OFFER
NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

Benefits include:

  • Personal growth (especially in middle age)
  • Oodles of overtime (you’ll never have a moment to yourself for the next 50 years)
  • Probable expansion (in body, mind, and number of mouths to feed)
  • Possible relocation (to wherever anyone else needs you to be at any given time)

The qualified candidate will demonstrate:

  • Agreeable personality (meaning agrees with wife), great sense of humour (you’re going to need it), and tons of patience (with wife)

  • Ability to work full-time and go to school part-time for years while still maintaining worthwhile relationships with wife and children when you get home after 16-hour days

  • Ability to keep spouse under control but still find way for her to feel “in charge” to placate her need for control

  • Ability to perform wife’s desired home improvement tasks with enthusiasm

  • Willingness to patrol areas and kill all insect/reptile species invading family space while all other members of household scream loudly and speedily evacuate said area

  • Ability to be preoccupied with landscaping needs of family residence

  • Willingness to put up with, trip over, pay for, and clean up after variety of small household animals for sake of children’s emotional growth

  • Ability to remain rational and handle emotionally-charged issues with offspring while wife just rants about their ungratefulness

  • Ability to selflessly allow wife to take credit for most of your good ideas

  • Understanding when wife is frequently overwhelmed by obvious and utter hopelessness of offspring and threatens to just give up

  • Interest in being weekend cook for a variety of palates since wife is sick of cooking (grill provided)

  • Ability to shop for hours on end with no complaint (bonus points for finding anything that looks decent on wife’s current body shape)

  • Ability to overlook wife’s disinterest in housekeeping after being worn down by constant demands of small animals and children

  • Ability to lift heavy objects (without hurling them at wife, children, or small animals – even when they deserve it)

  • Ability to provide and maintain financial support and handle all retirement planning (so if we make it that far, we don’t starve)

♦♦♦Additional consideration given for willingness to provide back scratches on demand and adeptness in the art of foot massage

What you will get in return is a wife who:

  • Is your partner for life, grows up with you, and is your best support network (unless I disagree with your decision)

  • Does her very best to see that you have what you need, when you need it, with the least possible amount of hassle to you (as long as I have time)

  • Begins marriage as a strong independent person but gets more and more dependent on you as the years take their toll

  • Is a superior schedule maker that assures everything moves along as it should (until life gets in the way of said plan and I end up in tears)

  • Is a meticulous trip planner that ensures you have very best trips ever at best price possible (unless I’m feeling extravagant)

  • Is a holiday merry maker creating exciting holiday seasons (which also means you will be driven insane with my discussions of minute details)

  • Is on your side every step of the way in the creation of a bigger and better enterprise (unless I need a nap)

  • Is not very good at pregnancy (am convinced first child now scarred into never having children by witnessing my second child’s horrific gestation period), but does manage to produce two healthy offspring in the end

  • Is an independent mother of your children who will take care of most issues concerning them (until they fry my brain and I throw my hands up in defeat)

  • Tries very hard to hold it all together most days with only occasional lapses into unexplained sobbing frenzies

  • Loves you AND put up with your strange little idiosyncrasies (except the ones I just can’t handle)

  • Is hot, young thing when you marry her but after two kids and 28 ½ years isn’t going to look or function half the same

Yep, looking back on things, I am thinking I really got the best of this deal. My husband on the other hand…..we probably need to make sure he never sees this ad that should have been……