It's a Boy!

It's a Boy!
Jarred Scott Due May 14, 2011

Bella

Bella
The Sweet, Sweet Big Sister

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Update

My friend, Kelly (aka, "The Church Lady") is helping another church friend (Craig) start his own blog. He is our youth leader at church and he is genuinely committed in his efforts to help young people develop faith and grow spiritually. His blog is entitled "Live It Out" and can be found at http://liveitoutpa.blogspot.com. Check it out.

Unfortunately, I believe that my computer is on it's last leg or byte or something. If it were to get any slower it would be quicker to just mail a letter. I've had this guy since 2004 and although he has frequently been a pain, I'm kind of attached to him. I think that this is the longest that I've had any of my computers. Duck acknowledges the fact that I'm probably going to need a new computer soon and we are talking about options. This computer has become so unstable thatI believe we are on the verge of a crash and needless to say that would spell disaster.

I am thinking about switching to a Mac PC but have not looked at them yet. We have looked at some HP computers, and plan to visit a local computer shop where they build generic PCs. Feel free to share your computer stories: the good, the bad and the ugly. Tell me what you're using, what do you like about it, what do you dislike about it, what you recommend.

Duck said tonight that I should get what I want because it might be my last computer. I wonder if my doctor told him something that they don't want me to know. I've outlived a half-dozen computers and I intend to outlive a few more despite what he says.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Home Videos

This week I am working on copying our family VHS videos to DVDs. It is fun going back in time while working with these videos. We have lots of family photos and pictures of Hattie and Brion growing up, but to look back and see them move and hear their voices is sheer joy. At the same time it makes me feel a little melancholy. It seems that there is so little that I remember when I look back over the years. I feel like I went through a good portion of my life in a coma. So, although we didn't take a lot of videos, the ones we have will forever be cherished.

We purchased our first video camera in 1989. I think it was a Panasonic and it was a big camera. Later they started making smaller cameras and we bought a Sony Digital 8 camera. The first camera recorded right onto a VHS tape that could be played in your VHS box. The second camera recorded on smaller tapes. After recording on the small tape you would plug video cables into the back of your VHS and upload the video to a VHS tape. We didn't do any editing to our tapes, so I am trying to edit them a little now.

video

Brion and Teddy




After looking at some of the videos it is obvious that we weren't the best videographers. Quite a few times one of us would be recording at one location and we'd decide to move to another location. Sometimes we forgot to turn off the camera when we moved. We have some great videos of our feet. Once Duck put the video camera into the case and left it turned on. Although the video is entirely black, the audio is quite interesting. Then there are the times that the kids wanted to help record video. It is highly recommended that one take anti-nausea medicine before viewing those videos.

This project is going to take a little while to complete, not to mention the emotional turmoil it is creating, but forge ahead I will. The end result will be worth more than words can express.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Blue Star Mothers

While Brion was deployed I was actively involved in the local chapter of Blue Star Mothers. The Blue Star Mothers are mothers who have, or have had, a son or daughter serving in the military. The organization is dedicated to supporting each other and our children while promoting patriotism. I am still involved, although I am not an active member. Fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles—anyone can join the organization as an associate member and may participate in the organization’s activities.

The Blue Star Mothers of America began in 1942. On January 22, 1942 the Flint News Advertiser printed a coupon asking Mothers of serviceman to return the coupon after filling it out. The following February 1st, 300 mothers met in the Durant Hotel, in Flint Michigan. Captain George H. Maines, who had conceived the idea for this group, acted as the chair of this first meeting. It was decided that after receiving 1000 responses from the ad to form a permanent organization. On February 6th the organization was reported on Congressional record. Chapters then formed in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, California, Iowa and Washington. In June of 1960 the organization was chartered by congress.(http://www.bluestarmothers.org)

Blue Star Mothers at Hanover National Guard Homecoming, September 2009. (Click on Photo to Enlarge)

The group I belonged to meet at the VFW in Hanover the second Tuesday of every month, except December. Each month members bring donations and packages are sent to deployed soldiers (about 10 per month). You do not have to be a member to submit the name of a deployed soldier. The organization recently changed their name from Blue Star Mothers of Hanover, PA to Blue Star Mothers of South Central PA because the membership is spread out over a much larger area than Hanover. You can learn more about the Blue Star Mothers at www.bluestarmothers.org or if interested in the South Central PA Chapter, call Laurie at 717-451-3934 or Vanessa at 717-624-4528.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Don't Try This at Home

On Monday I was making Crab and Corn Bake for our supper.  I wanted to have it ready for Duck when he got home from work, but Monday was not a stellar day for me as far as getting things done. I had a sinus headache when I woke up in the morning and so I didn't accomplish much before noon.  I can't say I actually accomplished much after noon either, but I made an attempt.

The first thing I attempted was to clean-up the kitchen sink and empty the dishwasher.  While I was putting the dishes away I knocked over a glass as I was putting one into the cupboard.  It was only a small juice glass, but it fell off the shelf, hitting another glass that I had in my other hand and then fell into the open dishwasher, wounding 2 fingers in the process.  There was glass everywhere.  There actually seemed to be more pieces than there should have been.  While I was cleaning up the broken juice glass, I knocked a jar of hot peppers off the counter and that jar broke.

Eventually I got the pepper juice and the broken glass cleaned up, and applied band-aids to the injured fingers.  I ran the sweeper to make sure that I got the bi-zillion tiny shreds of glass that had flown everywhere, and had my kitchen counter straightened out.  I was ready to prepare the crab and corn bake.

Looking over my recipe I discovered that I needed two hard-boiled eggs. Now I've already wasted an hour-and-a-half cleaning up the mess I had made and I wanted to have dinner ready when Duck got home. In my mind I weighed my options: 1) I could hardboil the eggs in a small pot on the stove, which is the normal way to hardboil eggs; however, my only small pot already has white sauce in it and I am pressed for time.  Hardboiling two eggs the normal way would take too long; 2) I could just skip the eggs.  Really, how much difference are two lousy hardboiled eggs going to make anyway.  This is probably the choice that a normal, rational, sane person would have made; or, 3) I could try to hardboil my two eggs in the microwave. I've never done this before, and I didn't know if it could be done, but in my debilitated state of my this seemed like the most logical choice.

I put water into my expensive Pampered Chef measuring bowl, added the two eggs and set the microwave for 3 minutes.  I used 3 minutes because I knew that the water would not yet be boiling at 3 minutes and I could look in and check on things before continuing.  At 3 minutes the water was getting tiny bubbles and my eggs were sitting quietly on the bottom of the measuring bowl. All seemed to be going well. I was elated and I felt like a scientific genius.  I added another 2 minutes cooking time and restarted the microwave.

Suddenly there was a loud rattling sound coming from inside the microwave and water came streaming out from under the door and all over the stovetop.  I was sure that my expensive Pampered Chef measuring bowl had probably exploded, and why not.  I had already broken two other glass objects and things happen in threes.  I trepidly opened the microwave and to my surprise the measuring bowl appeared to be just fine, except for the fact that there was very little water in it and only one egg.  The other egg had apparently exploded and bits and pieces of it were plastered all over the inside of the microwave.

I cracked open the "good" egg and it looked like a hardboiled egg is supposed to look, so I chopped it up and added it to the crab and corn and then I cleaned up the exploded egg.  We've had a microwave for many years and Duck still sometimes asks me what he can put in it.  We only had this microwave a couple of days and he microwaved a metal cup and blew out some of the elements. I get on his case about not knowing how to use the microwave.  He thoroughly enjoyed his crab and corn bake and so I didn't feel it was necessary to mention the exploded egg fiasco.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fastnacht Day

Tuesday, February 16, is Fastnacht Day, also called Shrove Tuesday or Donut Day. Fastnacht in PA Dutch means “Fast Night.” The Shrove Tuesday tradition began as a folk tradition in the Middle Ages and was a time to use up the fat and sugar on hand before the Lenten Fast began. Although the Pennsylvania Dutch always observed the Shrove Tuesday tradition, I don’t believe that the Lenten Fasting tradition was much observed. I know this, because based on the dozens and dozens of Fastnachts our Mother made, we were using up fat and sugar in the form of Fastnachts well into the Lenten season.
The “fat” used by the PA Dutch would have been the lard rendered from the butchering process which was stored in tins and used throughout the year for baking and cooking.

When we were kids Mother made Fastnachts every year. She would start early in the morning and by the time she called us to get ready for school there would be pans of dough covered with a cloth sitting all around the kitchen. We lived in an old brick farmhouse which was heated with a large, belching, hand-fed coal furnace in the basement. The heat came up into the living area through registers in the floor and there would be bowls of dough sitting on chairs or tables near the registers waiting to rise.

Mother would spend the whole day preparing and frying Fastnachts and when we returned home from school in the afternoon there would be warm Fastnachts waiting for us. The Fastnachts were plain, without sugar or glaze. You placed your Fastnacht in a brown lunch bag with powdered sugar and shook vigorously to coat it with sugar. It was impossible to eat just one. uhhh, two, three, . . .

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow, Snow and More Snow

Congratulations to the weathermen.  They got one right.  The big snowstorm started Friday afternoon just as the weather watchers had predicted, and it quit when they predicted, too.  It was beautiful and still is.  The sun is shining bright today, but it is brrrr cold outside, so I think this snow is going to hang around for a little while.

The dogs always get awake early in the morning and I take them out and then give them a treat and they are good to go for a couple of hours.  I got up early Saturday morning to take them out but they couldn't navigate in the snow.  I grabbed the shovel and made a little path into the yard and then widened it a little bit so that they would have a little space to take care of business.  While I did that I hung onto their leashes so that they wouldn't run off, which they like to do, mostly I think just to torment me.  I don't know why I did that though because they weren't going anywhere in the deep snow.  They really had to go so while I shoveled they were dancing around behind me and getting themselves all tangled up in their leashes.  Finally, they realized that the path was a dead-end and got the job done.

Late Saturday afternoon Duck and I went out to dig ourselves out.  He took his snowblower across the street to help a neighbor and I started shoveling the sidewalk.  Although the snow was deep, it was not terribly heavy and I didn't mind.  I love being outside right after a snowstorm and I don't really mind shoveling; however, I love using the snowblower.  Duck knows I like to use the snowblower so when he came back across the street he took over with the shovel and I got to use the snowblower.  I love the way it cuts a path and the edges are clean and smooth, and the way the snow sprays all nice and neat off to the side of the driveway.

There is a purity about snow and nothing more beautiful than to look across the landscape and everything is soft and white and smooth and clean.  For just a little while the world seems different, more peaceful, more perfect.  But then the snowplow comes roaring up the street and pushes the snow off to the side, along with dirt, stones and debris and that perfect moment in time is already ruined.  The serene world is gone and we are plowed back to reality.

It makes me wonder why they couldn't make trucks with giant highway-sized snowblowers instead of using plows.  I can see them coming up the street blowing snow halfway across the yard.  People would definitely have to move their cars ahead of time, but they should probably be doing that anyway.  I think it would be great!

On another note, I don't wear shoes around the house and I keep a pair of rubber garden shoes by the door so that when the dogs have to go out or if I go to the mailbox, I just slip on my rubber shoes to go outside and slip them back off when I come in.  This morning when the dogs got up, I put on my coat, slipped on my rubber shoes (no socks, of course) and took the dogs down the little path to take care of their morning duty.  In the path was a piece of frozen rawhide that one of them must have dropped the night before.  They were distracted by the frozen rawhide, so I felt I should get it out of the way.  I wanted to kick it out into the deeper snow where they wouldn't see it and be distracted by it.  I kicked, but the rawhide didn't move; however, my rubber shoe flew off my foot and disappeared into the deep snow about 12 feet from where I was standing.  Now I'm standing outside with one shoe, it's about 10 degrees and the dogs are still scratching around at the frozen rawhide.  I picked up the rawhide and threw it, which is what I should have done in the first place.  I don't know if they had finished their business or not, and I debated whether I should try to walk out into the snow to try to retrieve my shoe, but I wans't sure how fast frostbite might set in, so we marched back to the house.  They're calling for more snow on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, so I'm not sure when I'll see my other shoe again.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lucky Strikes or Missing Duck

Our Church Bowling League is a lot of fun.  We started out 7 years ago with about ten teams of 4 bowlers each.  This year we have 14 teams and most teams have 5 bowlers.  Teams with only have 4 bowlers get a "dummy" score of 120 to make up for the fifth bowler.  Our team included Duck and myself and our good friends, Doug and Sharon, and we called ourselves the "Lucky Strikes," which is self-explanatory.  We always had a "dummy" bowler--that would be in addition to Duck.  Just kiddin', Duck.

Duck injured a ligament a few weeks back, and because he can't bowl without sliding, the doctor told him that in order to avoid further injury, he should not bowl this year.  That left us with only 3 bowlers.  Hattie and Scott joined our team and now we are a team of five. After the first night of bowling this season, we decided to temporarily change the name of our team from the "Lucky Strikes" to "Missing Duck."  Some teams have t-shirts and we thought that since we are "Missing Duck," we are like Duck hunters, and we opted for camouflage shirts.  Accessorizing will be a blast.

Now the "Tipcos," were last year's champions and last night we bowled against the Tipcos. They are consistently good bowlers. We are more of what you could describe as "sporadic" bowlers.  We all have our moments, but rarely on the same night and even less often during the same game.  I don't know what strange phenomen were at work last night, but we did really well.  The Tipcos seemed a little off, and we won all three games and total points in a stunning upset.

As the evening wore on the name of our team went from "Missing Duck," to "Who Needs Duck," and then, finally, "Duck, Who?"  It is all in good fun, though, and the next time we bowl, things will be back to normal and we'll all be "Missing Duck" again.

I was telling Sharon that for Halloween this past year Hattie and Scott went as "Octomom" and her doctor.  She said she'd like to see a picture, so it is the Picture of the Day.

Sassy