Monthly Archives: May 2016

Memorial Day

Memorial-DaySome Gave All

Trying To Find a Balance

With the arrival of warmer weather comes the need for my husband and myself to compromise when it comes to deciding what to do on our time off. He is someone who enjoys being outside and can usually be found puttering around in the yard, washing and vacuuming out the vehicles and doing every little thing he can find to do outside. I am the opposite. I enjoy being outside when it is cool, but once the heat and humidity arrives, I prefer the air conditioning. One of the reasons is that I take a medication that has a side effect that makes me sensitive to heat. If I get too warm, I turn red and a rash develops. It can also happen if the lights in the office are too bright or if it is too warm inside. So I enjoy spring, fall and winter, but summer, not so much.

As we approached the Memorial Day weekend, I took two days off of work, which meant that I had a 5 day weekend. My husband had 4 days off. We were looking at things to do over the weekend, but then the weather went from the 60’s to the upper 80’s literally overnight. That usually means that we need to find things to do that are a combination of inside and outside. The outside being that I can stay in the cool air conditioning of the car, while my husband explores close by. Sometimes he will drop me off as close to the entrance as possible and go to park the car. I will go inside to wait for him and then we will explore inside, such as an art exhibit or museum. If there are things to see outside, I may go for a few minutes, but will return to wait inside for him to finish exploring. I always tell him to take his time, but I know that he often hurries through and doesn’t get to enjoy things as much as he might if things were different.

So the question of what to do this past weekend came up and I threw out several ideas of places that I want to go visit, but with it being a holiday weekend, the crowds will be bigger than usual and in the end, how much do you really get to see when people are pushing and shoving you out of their way as if they are the only ones who are there playing tourist? Not much. So we decided to stay close to home. My husband is continuing his quest to reorganize the basement and trying to grow grass in the one or two bare spots in the yard. We will be grilling out and I have a new potato salad recipe to try. We’ll find another weekend to explore. I found a boat tour on the Bay that sounds fun and my husband would like to go to Medieval Times, so that is something that I need to look into. After all, Father’s Day is coming.

Hmmm Things

Some Random Things That Make Me Go Hmmm…

When you get a new cell phone, it is normal to keep playing your ringtone over and over until you think you can recognize it when someone calls you?

Why do we have days in the 70’s and 80’s during the winter, but when spring arrives and the flowers bloom, the temperature drops into the 30’s and we have to worry about frost killing off our flowers?

Why are people surprised when the strong winds blow the loose siding off their house?

Why don’t the people with the loose siding get it fixed correctly so it doesn’t keep blowing off when it’s windy?

Why is it that whatever we decide to wear for the day will be the one thing that needs to be ironed and there isn’t time to iron it?

Why can’t you find the flower planter that you want for your yard when you want it, but when you don’t need one, you see them everywhere?

Why is it when you take the time to pack your lunch, you really don’t want to eat it when you get to work and buy from the cafeteria instead?

Why do people expect their bosses to buy them special gifts on their special day, such as Secretary’s Day or Nurses Week, but they don’t want to contribute to a gift when it is Bosses Day?

Why do people who are late for their appointment think that it is wrong that the person behind them was taken because they showed up on time?

Are you really going to vote for a President because a celebrity endorses them?

Why do people say they aren’t going to vote if their candidate doesn’t get the nomination? If you don’t vote, then shut up. You have no say in anything for the next 4 years.

Why is a rainy day the perfect time for a midday nap?

Why do we find comfort in the sound of our pets snoring?

Rainy and Not Much to Do

It is still rainy here and has been for the last several weeks. Oh, we do get a day here and there where the rain stops for a little while, but really not long enough to get outside and cut the grass or weed the flowers. The grass is definitely growing, which would normally be a good thing. My husband made sure to weed and feed the lawn earlier in the spring and he hoped the grass would fill in and look healthy this year. Well, with all the rain, the grass has definitely filled in and is looking rather bushy right now. He keeps looking out the window and will mutter that the grass is growing too tall and it will “have to be baled like hay.” Of course, my smart mouth wants to reply that maybe he shouldn’t have fed it all the stuff he did to make it grow. The neighbors didn’t and their grass isn’t growing as much as ours despite getting the same amount of rain,  but I keep the comments to myself.

CardinalsThe rain has been good for all the bushes and plants that we put in after our deck was finished. They are starting to fill out and they are all looking healthy. The Japanese Red Maple trees in the backyard are exceptionally red and bright this year compared to last year. It seems they have also blossomed out more due to the rain. We have been seeing several cardinals popping in and out of the trees, so I think they have made a home there since it provides such good camouflage for them. The yard is finally getting to the point where all that has to be done is pruning them back in the fall and freshening up the mulch in the spring.

And speaking of the deck, with all of the rain, we really haven’t been able to spend much time out there yet. Occasionally the wind will be strong enough to cause the gliders to move back and forth. At night it seems rather eerie. This week the temperatures are supposed to warm up into the low 80’s so our cool spring may be coming to an end. Regardless of the weather, I am looking forward to a nice, extra long weekend. I have 5 days off starting Thursday and my husband will be off Friday. We will go back to work after the Memorial Day holiday. We are trying to figure out where we should day trip next.

Who Do I Think I Am?

There is a television program titled, “Who Do You Think You Are,” that searches celebrities family trees and tells the story of their ancestors. It is produced by Ancestry.Com and the celebrity travels around the world tracing their family tree. Several years ago for Christmas, I decided that I wanted to join Ancestry.com and search out my family tree. I have limited information from my family, so I thought this would be something that could tell me more than what I already know. I know that I am Italian on my father’s side and my mother’s side was supposed to be Irish and Lithuanian.

TreeIt is rather addicting at first, especially when you keep getting the hints on the branches. I started with my father’s side and quickly hit a wall. I found the ship’s passenger list for my great-grandfather (maternal side). He came to the United States from Italy when he was 12 years old and he came by himself, landing in California. He left behind his entire family. My great-grandmother (paternal side) also came from Italy and was processed through Ellis Island in New York. And that is a far back as I can find. I have not been able to find anything else for my father’s family.

I was able to go farther with my mother’s side of the family. I learned that my great-grandparents (paternal side), who were Lithuanian, came to the US in the late 1880’s from the Kingdom of Prussia which is Lithuania today. But as with my father’s family, I couldn’t find anything else on them. But it was my mother’s side of the family that I was able to trace all the way back to the year 750. Some of the ancestors were historical in nature, and while I didn’t see a link to Ireland, there were definitely ancestors from England, France and Belgium, which we did not know.

So here are some of the things I learned about my family tree:

My first ancestor landed in the Colonies in 1650 and came from England.

One ancestor was involved in the Salem Witch Trials.

My five times great-grandfather came to the Colonies in 1772 from Midlothian, Scotland. His name was Andrew Balfour and I was surprised to learn that he was a Revolutionary War Hero for the Patriots. He was actually murdered at his home in North Carolina by David Fanning and his Band of Tory’s in 1782. As a history major, this was rather exiting to learn. I am also about 400 miles from where he died, so if we get to North Carolina, I will make plans to stop and visit the area.

One of my great (several times) grandmothers was married to the King of England. He died and she married my great (several times) grandfather. Her parents were the King and Queen of France. Her grandparents were the King and Queen of France.

And my two times great-grandmother, who was supposed to be a full-blooded Cherokee, may actually have been a free black woman from Virginia that passed herself off as Indian to be accepted.

With all of this information, I learned that I am 50% Italian and the rest is made up of English (apparently we have a family crest), French and Belgian. I have decided that I am going to start researching each person on the tree and see if what my family tree tells me is actually true. It is been fun so far. First up will be Colonel Andrew Balfour. I’ll let you know what interesting things I find.

Work Again…Trying to Find the Positives

Neg PosI originally wrote a post about changes that are coming to work, but I took it down after reading it again and realizing that it was mostly negative. I didn’t like that because I had made it a goal to try to find something positive from each day, but it was becoming harder and harder to find something positive. Negativity was becoming more prevalent and I wanted to figure out why.

Really, I knew why. The reason is that my workplace has become negative over the past few months. To briefly explain, my manager, who told me I should consider taking a job elsewhere, has taken a job elsewhere herself. The decision came after she had confronted a nurse about something that had happened in the clinic and the nurse not only defended herself, but a doctor and another nurse basically told the manager that she was wrong and to back off. The manager ended the conversation by telling all of them to get out of her office. Shortly after we began to hear that she was interviewing for another position, which she got, and she will be transitioning out of the department. Unfortunately, things are not going smoothly and the atmosphere of the office has become negative.

Now that everyone knows that the manager is leaving, some have become passive aggressive with everything they say or do. I know that it is a power play, but it creates tension, which morphs into anger and before long everything seems to have a negative feel to it. Where I used to enjoy going in to work, I find myself dreading it. I have started going into work earlier than usual so that I can get things done without having to deal with others and their issues. Staff has started talking about looking for jobs elsewhere and that means that a department that has run so smoothly in the past, is now at risk of breaking apart.

I want to be positive that things will get better once a new manager is hired, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. The first candidate interviewed last week. They currently work in our department. The staff took part in interviewing her and when asked how she would handle the communication issue within the department, she replied that she would tell the staff that the gossiping needed to stop. She works in the department and to her, the communication issue is gossip. How she doesn’t think that information not being disseminated to the proper people isn’t a communication problem is something I just can’t understand. She works in the department, yet she has no idea what issues are affecting the rest of the department.

I have gone back and forth about starting to look for another job. My husband wants me to try to get out of the medical field and look for a position with the government. Candidate number two will be interviewed next week. He is a project manager, so maybe someone with no ties to the department will be a better fit. There are supposed to be two more after that. Things will get better. I just need to say that every day to and from work. Maybe saying it enough will make it happen. Fingers crossed.

History and Cheesesteak in Philly

My husband and I took a trip to Philadelphia over the weekend. It has been rainy for what seems like weeks and last Saturday was the one day that the forecasters said would be rain free although cloudy. With the temperatures in the low 60’s we decided that it would be perfect weather to play tourist. Of course my husband booked us on the Big Bus tour where you can hop on and off and various locations around the city so that meant it would be windy and chilly.

I was surprised by how easy it was to get around the city on the weekend. Parking was no problem and once again, Pennsylvania is really clean. We arrived at the Independence Hall visitor’s center, which is a good starting off point if you are visiting the city. We wanted to do the tour of Independence Hall, so we purchased our tickets and made sure that we arrived 30 minutes prior so that we can go through the security checkpoint. Once on the grounds, the tours were scheduled for every 15 minutes and if there were seats available on the tour before yours, the park rangers would allow people waiting in line for the next tour to go in until all the seats were filled, which was nice. The rangers conducting the tour give little back stories which make the tour interesting. For me, a history major, it was cool to see where our Founding Fathers met to put together the plans for our country. And seeing a chair that George Washington actually sat in was pretty neat.

After touring the actual hall, there are other buildings on the property that you can tour independently. One of them has photographs of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. There are signs clearly asking that flash photography not be used, but of course, there is always the one person that thinks that rule doesn’t apply to them. The park ranger continually asked one kid that had his parent’s expensive camera to stop taking pictures with the flash and he continued to ignore him. After about the fifth time, one elderly gentleman asked him where his parents were and he pointed to the people behind him. The elderly man looked at them and said, “Thank you for letting your kid ruin the documents so that future visitors won’t be able to enjoy them.” The parents thought the gentleman was rude. He replied, “What’s rude is you and your kid thinking that the park ranger asking 5 times for him to stop taking pictures with the flash didn’t really mean you couldn’t do it. What’s rude is you thinking it is okay to harm a National Treasure because your precious son fancies himself a photographer.” People around him cheered and of course the parents were oblivious.

We then decided to get lunch before taking the bus tour and we wanted a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, which every tourist needs to try. While there are two legendary eatery’s that tourists flock to, those people from Philly will tell you about the little place off the beaten track that serves a great cheesesteak, and there are many, so we chose one of those to go to and were not disappointed. It was delicious and I wish I could make them as good at home.

Ben Franklin Made From Pennies

Ben Franklin made from Pennies

Next was the bus tour. Of course my husband had to sit on top and in the back in order to see everything. Our tour guide was wonderful and filled the tour with little known facts that you don’t find out from the history books. One was the fact the sculpture of Ben Franklin’s head was made from pennies that the school children of Philadelphia collected. Another was that tourists leave pennies on Mr. Franklin’s grave and those pennies total over $3,000 annually. The tour lasted about 2 hours, included a detour and trees that weren’t groomed for the tour buses, so we had to duck to avoid being hit by a rogue branch.  But it gave us a great view of the city’s attractions and ideas of places that we want to visit the next time we go back.

Once back at the starting point, my husband wanted to see the Liberty Bell up close. I had seen in from the outside, but he wanted to go inside, so while he lined up to go through security, I stayed outside and soaked up the sun that was starting to break through the clouds. Of course, that little bit of sun was enough to give me sun burn, which I was feeling the next day. We had a very nice time visiting Philadelphia and are planning a return trip. I want to visit Constitution Hall and maybe stop in at the Reading Terminal Market. That alone would fill up an entire day.

Happy Mother’s Day

Mothers-Day

Hope your day is filled with Love, Laughter and Wonderful Memories!!!

Boxes of Memories Part Two

On the back of one of the boxes that we needed to sort through were the words, “Biggest Regret,” written on it. Many of the boxes had been reused for several moves, so I had no idea what was in it. Asking my husband, I received the response that it was his biggest regret. Curious, I opened the box and found the china set that had been in my family. I looked to my husband to explain and he said that in all of his life, the one thing he regretted was when he told me that he thought the china pattern was ugly. He said if he had said nothing, we probably would have used the china, but instead it was packed away.

Japanese ChinaThe back story is that the china pattern had been one that was selected by my grandmother (my mom’s mother). The china was designed by a Japanese company. She originally purchased 24 place settings and planned to give a set of 8 to each of her daughter’s when they married. So when my mom and dad married, my mom received a set of 8. I am not sure if my aunt’s ever received theirs. I don’t think so because somehow, my mom ended up with a set that served 18. (That isn’t my china in the picture).

The china was only used on the major holidays, so that was Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can remember being afraid that I would break a piece and suffer the wrath of grandma, which was never a good thing to witness. A gravy boat ended up broken one year and you would have thought that it was the end of the world. I remember wishing that more people would be invited so that she would run out of settings and we could have paper plates. That never really seemed to happen. I remember that holidays at my grandparent’s house meant that my grandfather would sit in the living room, watching the football game on television, usually the Bears and the Packers, and it would take him hours to eat his meal. The rest of us would have finished eating the main course and moved on to dessert and get ready to go home and my grandfather would just be ready for dessert. He would load this tiny little china dessert plate with pie and cookies. It always looked out of place in his hands.

After moving away and starting my own family, we couldn’t afford china and that was okay with me. My mom used to tell me that one day I would get her set and I never really thought much about it. One time, when we went up home, my mom decided to serve dinner on the china, and it wasn’t even a holiday. Once seated, my husband whispered that the china was “ugly.” Of course, he didn’t know that he would be lugging that ugly china back home with us because it was being gifted to us. Ever since that day, the china has sat in a box in the basement of whatever home we lived in.

So that is my husband’s biggest regret. He regrets calling my family’s china ugly and causing it to be stored away. Honestly, I haven’t given it much thought, but now that I know that he has regretted it, I might start using it on special days…or not.

May is Brain, Bladder, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness

The month of May brings awareness to Brain, Bladder and Melanoma and Skin Cancer.

BrainA grey ribbon is used to symbolize Brain cancer. Each year in the United States an estimated 26,000 people are diagnosed with some type of brain cancer, both children and adults and 16,000 people die of the disease each year. Many advances in the treatment of brain cancer have been made in recent years, especially in the area of childhood brain tumors.

 

 

BladderA tri-colored ribbon of yellow, blue and purple is used to symbolize bladder cancer. In 2016, more than 77,000 people will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in the U.S. More than 77% of those will survive more than 5 years. While most people think that smoking causes lung cancer, it can also lead to bladder cancer.

 

 

MelanomaMelanoma and skin cancer awareness is depicted by a black ribbon. In the U.S. alone, more than 5.4 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. The majority of those cases will be the non-melanoma type and the main cause will be from exposure to the sun. While most skin cancers are easily treated, melanoma is more dangerous and can spread to other areas and lead to death. It is important to watch for changes in your skin. It is just as important to do a yearly skin check with a dermatologist as it is to have a yearly physical with your doctor.

 

For more information, please visit the sites below:

Choose Hope

American Cancer Society

National Cancer Institute

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