Category Archives: Rants/Opinions

Coffee Conquered Sandy


Okay… A little off the current topic, which is reflecting upon Hurricane Sandy and how I can turn this crisis into a learning moment for my immature self.  I want to come back to how a coffee addict survived ten days without power and managed to drink her established amount of amazing coffee each morning  and throughout the day.

I’m currently using Keurig’s Single Serve Platinum brewer, but the best coffee comes from perked coffee from a gas stove.  Back in the old days, like Ed likes to say, coffee was not brewed, but made as a “decoction,” coffee grinds boiled at a low temperature, then strained out of the coffee.  I vividly remember my grandfather making his coffee in this way.  He just dumped the coffee into boiling water.  The cowboys made it this way, didn’t they?  Yeah, sure.  There was more coffee grinds at the bottom of the cup than I’d like to admit, but, if you didn’t move the cup too much, they stayed down.  Retro.  Anyway, I had a much more modern method.  I had my trusty Melitta coffee cone.  Simple, yet genius.  This is what it looks like:

And, this is how I was using it, with Melitta single serve #4 filters.  You can get white ones or the brown ones made out of recycled paper, which is what I use.  Just set it up like this and add just one coffee measure of grinds, which is like 2 tbs., more or less depending on your preference.  More for a stronger cup of coffee, also take into consideration the size cup you are using.  This one is a bit larger, so I use just a little bit more.  I always use more.. hee hee.  So, one coffee measure of coffee is good for a 6 oz. cup of delicious coffee.  Next step is to pour boiling water into the filter, then I stand there and stir the grinds.  As the water is going through the filter, I will continue to add more water, a little at a time.  I’m getting a craving just thinking about it and really wish it was morning, instead of 10:58pm.  Dunkin Dark made really, really good coffee for me.  I also really love good 100% Columbian coffee.  Maxwell House brand is the best choice for me right now, and the best price for my pocket.

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See how the grinds expand and settle on the vertical sides of the cone?  This is why I keep stirring the grinds, so that each grind stays in play all the while the water is passing through so as to get the most out of my grinds.  Sorry I didn’t stop to take a picture of the actual coffee.  I just couldn’t wait to drink it~!  Also, during the power outage we were prepared, we used powdered Coffeemate, plain.  So good… and this was a pointed terrible storm preparation that I made sure was secured before the storm.  We were sitting pretty, baby~!  We had our coffee.

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So, we’d sit there in the dark, sipping our piping hot coffee.

Unfortunately, we did not have cookies…. sigh.

Winding Down the Days Post Sandy


First, let me say that this is my 300th post~!  Yippee… and thanks to all you readers out there who, incredulously are still reading; and I guess thanks to Sandy, too, as it’s because of her that I’ve been cranking out a post a day for a few days now.   I must be doing something, even a tiny little bit right.  You guys are amazing and kept coming back even though I wasn’t posting for a good long while.  Also, it showed me what the important thing are.  My family is a Godsend and if it weren’t for them, each in their own way, I would be in the looney bin right now.  Ed, you are beautiful, inside and out.  You are my rock.  Your wisdom is profound in it’s very simplicity.  I love you forever and with an intensity that would truly scare you if you knew.  So if you want to start from the beginning, click here Day Nine Post Sandy, then click here on Who Turned On That Light, then click here Frankenstorm Sandy Continues, then click here, Halloween and Frankenstorm Sandy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012, 5:52pm… Day Six.  I’m not scared, but I’m pretty pissed, frustrated, and pretty much depressed when at home so I’ve been spending a lot of daylight hours outside the home, we all have been doing that.  The library has become our second home, though, today has been only my second day going there and tomorrow, Sunday, it’s closed, so my 72% of charged ipad will have to do me for two days.  I did manage to get online to check out news and leave an update on facebook to let family and friends know we’re still alive and doing well, relatively speaking.  We had lunch at a fast food place and I got my ice fix, but sadly I didn’t grab a cup of ice before we left because we went back to the library and then I decided to try and get gas, seeing as I was almost running on empty.  2.5 hours in line for gas.  During that time, I got a shitload of knitting done… well, a lot more knitting than I could get done at home.

Now I’m home and had my cup of coffee… Ah another life saver and I’m pretty sure I’m enjoying better tasting coffee than from other places, though McDonald’s has very good coffee and they have it for $1.00 for any size you choose to get… pretty good deal, Dunkin Donuts!  But really, the coffee I’m brewing at home is Dunkin Dark ground coffee.  Got it on sale and so damn glad that I did.  Normally, I wouldn’t purchase ground  coffee because we have the Keurig… I believe this was another intervention from above.  I mean, that was a month ago and I never opened it.  So, this, the coffee, the water, both times it worked out positively after this hurricane…. but still no power.

So good to get out and talk to people.  No matter how bad, how miserable and negative I am feeling, just coming into contact with someone is uplifting to me.  Next week, I’ve got to have blood work done.  Not looking forward to the numbers as I’ve not been taking my medication.  I refuse to say why, but it’s something that can’t be helped.  Still, I went to the drs because of my arm and I’m afraid that I’m going to need testing… which might mean x-rays or something else and worried about the cost as it will be out of pocket.  The PM pain medication I’ve been taking doesn’t work the majority of the time but I’ve found that if I sleep sitting up, the pain is not that bad.  Also just found out that NJ DMV has extended the deadline to 11/30/12 for renewing licenses that expired 10/31/12, which mine did.  I’m wondering if now I can renew online.  That would be great if I could do that… though I’ve heard of the post office losing licenses mailed out to people.

So, went to take pics of the lines and trees that are down that we believe is the reason we lost power.  Yeauh.  Nobody was there working on the problem.  The trees are still in the street, wires down in two separate places on this block and no repairpeople in sight.  Do you see the steam coming out of my head?  Yeah, I know this storm was the “Frankenstorm” and it’s far worse than we’ve ever seen, devastation, etc., but I’m beside myself.  Just got an update from my neighbor… Seems that PSE&G is up by where those trees are down and might be working on it.  Chances are, hubby will want to walk up there to see what is going on after the little one goes to bed.  It might even be that location is not our power problem, but we shall see (BTW, these pics were taken with my new phone, NICE~!) 6:22pm

11/04/12, 5:49pm… Day Seven: Today was a good and a bad day for me.  Mostly good, but that little bad is a whopper.  This is the first time since the power outage that I blasted DH with my anger and frustration. He’s like: a man.  Innocent until proven witless.  (I really feel bad about it, now but at the time, grrrrr!  He’s an angel.) But let me start with some good.  Today is Sunday and we headed out for church.  No power there either, but we were greeted by the soft piano strains of O Holy Night, which is a very beautiful hymn, played by Fr. Jose, the new and young priest who is very musical in his ministry.  It was like a breath of fresh air, and I just stood by and listened until it was time for mass to start.  Very nice. Afterwards, we got to chat with our friends and then hopped in the car to head out.  Now, usually we enter into a conversation about whether we should just go home or go for lunch.  “Are you hungry, I ask? and he replied this day by saying, Yeah, a little.” So I thought we’d at least go to some fast food joint; but instead, my darling hubby drove us home.  OMG, my heart sank down to a new low when I realized where we were going.  I popped.  I blurted out even before we exited the car that I was not staying home.  I slammed the doors all the way inside and while I was changing clothes, DH asked me if I want to go out and I yelled, “NO, You’ve MADE your decision!”  I shut slammed the bedroom door and got into bed.  Oh shit.  I didn’t know what to do with myself and rejoined the family in the kitchen.  I am forever opening my mouth long and loud without taking a couple of breaths to calm myself down.. huh, undoubtedly you know that by now…. ugh.  So, to make a long story short, we ended up leaving the house, but father and son went one way and I went another.  I went over to All About Ewe, an LYS that had power, heat, wifi, coffee, bathroom, and FRIENDS.  See, hubby didn’t see that the last place I wanted to be today was home.  It’s depressing being here without power and without that sense of normalcy.  Thanks so much to Lisa for the warm hospitality she always shows to me whenever I go there… and I’ll probably go back tomorrow with the boy in tow.

While I was there today, I went online to our mayor’s facebook page where he announced today that by tomorrow (and I’ll input myself “by tomorrow’s end) Elizabeth will have 100% power.  Yeah, we shall see and you’ll hear about it here first… or maybe last since I would have no power.  Sigh.  I’d really just rather have the truth than false promises.  (To be fair, and as previously noted, none of the electric companies during this outage gave honest, accurate information to the mayor, or anyone.)  One thing though.  I’ve got to retract my statement that rich neighborhoods get their power restored first.  Well, here yes; but in the neighboring more affluent towns, the power is still out and it seems that none of my friends have theirs back on yet, either.  I heard that Westfield’s mayor told their electric company that their merchants were “suffering”, so their power was restored by this morning and the residents are still without it.  What gall to put their own residents last.  The seniors have been ignored, as well, in many towns.  Holy crap…. well, signing off for now…. 6:21pm.

UPDATE 6:31pm…. My neighbor called to say that our other neighbor went up to that site with the trees and poles down to ask when they were going to work on that.  The reply was that FIRST they have to mark the gas lines before they can even start work and that will take days… UM… REALLY???  I WANT TO SCREAM. !!!!….. 6:33PM

11/06/2012, 8:53am~Day Nine~ELECTION DAY…. Still no power.  Still nobody working on getting the power on.  Heard about car accidents happening at traffic lights that are off.  It’s just a mess.  So, hear tell of majority of the power efforts happening down in South Jersey because they lost their homes…. So if they don’t have homes, what is the use of having power?  Yeah, I’m bad and quite frankly I don’t care what people think…. THAT’S how bad it is here.  Hey, I have a young boy also, and it’s FREEZING here… so we are freezing just as much as those people down there.  Maybe after my power goes back on, I’ll be able to reflect on my shitty perspective, but really, not before. (Reflection currently happening, but slowly)

Sigh.  Election Day 2012.  We voted first thing in the morning and then went to a diner for breakfast.  I know I should be grateful that we can do that, and I didn’t complain to THEM, but they served my grits in the same flat plate as my omelette, which was kind of like a yellow island in a sea of grits… and the grits tasted disgusting and the butter tasted disgusting… So, ate my omelette and that’s it.  Coffee was okay, water also with ice, so I appreciated that.  Tip was our usual, but also forgot to tell the woman who took our money about how to serve grits.  Polling place had power, wow, wonder of wonders… how did THAT happen?  I can’t stand the sound of other peoples’ generators… So loud and reeking of “HA HA We have power and you don’t.”  Still, though, those people have to stand in long lines at the gas station every single day to be maintaining that generator, so I’m not very jealous of them.  One thing though, people, when you send your teenaged girls out to stand in line for your gas, please make them take off their pajamas and put on regular clothes… sheesh.  I can just imagine all those bored men, young and old, sitting in their cars catching an eyeful of chunky, jiggly young girl asses.  Just serve them up on a plate, why don’cha.

Our little guy has been doing pretty well and I think that’s because big guy has been taking him out here and there for walks and the library.  Yesterday they picked up the garbage, as promised.  Thank you for some kept promises.  Good thing, too, because this week everyone had to empty their refrigerators and freezers of spoiled food.  We have a problem with skunks, opossums, and believe it or not, raccoons and feral cats.  Only thing left in my fridge are around 8-10 various sized glass jars of olives, “cooking” for the holidays, grated cheese, pancake syrup (not sure if that’s good), and just made hubby throw out a large jar of commercial jelly.  I’m a pretty irate personality right now, so hubby just went out for a paper (even though we just drove in)… I’m just done. 9:15am

Halloween & Frankenstorm Sandy


This post will take up a couple of days’ time.  If you want to start reading from the beginning, click here first, and then here second, and then here third.  At this point I was feeling pretty low and could not bring myself to touch the keys.  Essentially, Halloween was postponed until Monday, but Monday nobody was out because it was still dangerous outside and now it gets darker an hour earlier.   Gabe was sad…. sigh.  Be forewarned that my language gets a bit colorful right about now and I start sounding like a spoiled child.  Um….

We wanted to keep things status quo and pulled out the ice cream (seeing as it was melting in our freezer and all) with all the extras, caramel topping, Reddi Whip and whatever else, like sprinkles.

10/31/2012, 12:08pm… I’m so pissed right now.  There are no teams out there working on anything. There is power right around the corner from us, but not us and that is SO freaking frustrating.  I concede that there is a senior citizen building around there, so I’m glad that they do have power.  Did I say that I am pissed?  We live on a dead end street and we are always the last block to get anything done, as evidenced every year when we need our street, filled with snow, plowed and sometimes we NEVER get plowed and have to wait for the sun to melt the snow that’s been iced over at night when the temps plummet.  Just had our last meal from our fridge, and not sure what we’ll do tomorrow.  Getting ready for the hour wait out the door at the local Burger King!  Even then, they might not have power.  Good coffee there, at least.  It’s freezing right now and no heat forthcoming any time soon.  So grateful for my CPH and the Noro fingerless arm warmers gifted to me by my friend, Dee…. Thanks, Dee~!

With no power comes anarchy in the streets.  Every driver out there is driving like a maniac let loose from the mental institution.   No traffic lights and these cars do not stop for anything, LEAST of all pedestrians.  (Let it be known that there have been two car accidents and two pedestrians that were hit by cars at intersections without traffic lights.)  Tried to check on some friends in the neighborhood, but failed on both counts.  One didn’t answer her door, but last I heard she was ok; and the other lives in an apartment building and I did  not foresee that I would not be able to ring the bell or get inside without electric.  (Both women fared pretty well.  Both got their power back quickly, but then one woman lost it again and just got it back last night.)… 12:29pm, ipad 32%.

This is a tree around the corner from us I snapped when I went out to check on friends.

11/02/2012, 10:36am… It’s been a while and it’s been very frustrating.  Still have no power, but our Mayor B. has announced that Elizabeth should have power back on by the end of today… or so I’ve heard that his facebook page has announced.  I am now at our library, charging up my ipad and writing this.  Oh so much to write about yet so overwhelming to think about.  I did take a really long hot shower yesterday and it was my only comfort.  The hotness of it relaxed me and eased my arm up a bit, albeit temporary.  I’ve been listening to radio station NJ101.5.  I listen because it’s a Jersey station.  Why would I want to know about NY?  I’ve not heard Elizabeth mentioned anywhere on the radio and it makes me feel like an orphan.  I’m not going to shout out that we got hit hard, too.  I think it’s a given, at least in this state, that we ALL got hit hard.  What I can’t stand about this station, however, is how every other word out of the DJ’s mouth are the name and call letters of the station… Very freaking annoying.  They’ve been asking what is the first thing you’ll reach for when the power goes back on.  As soon as I get power back, I am reaching for the internet, if only to listen to Gov. Christie’s speech from last night.  I caught only some of it on the radio yesterday and I really want to hear the whole thing.  I really never liked how he treated the teachers, but I have always thought he is exactly what we need in this state.  Now, more than ever, I think he is who this country needs to be president.  We might not like his tactics, but he has done an amazing, amazing job so far getting us through this crisis.  Thank you, Gov. Christie.

Shout out to NJ101.5:  First, I want to say that you guys were my lifeline.  Peeps, click on their link for pics of the storms.  I listened to you the whole time, from the beginning of this ordeal…. however… I am in the camp of those who are REALLY frustrated because we’ve not seen anyone out there working in our neighborhoods on the power.  Nada.  Yeah, yeah, we should feel blessed that we are ok and have a roof over our heads (and I do) but I’m sick and tired of getting snowed by PSE&G.  My neighbor called them and they told her that “she HAS power.” Really?  WTF?  Do you think your customers are lying? (For the record, the management over there has lied about their progress all throughout this thing.  I am feeling sorry for their workers, out in the field giving it their all to get the power back on in this state.  Also, tree-workers and linemen have been coming in from out of state, thousands of them, to help out.)  Got me so mad to hear the management give us the biggest snow job since last year’s total snowfall.  NJ101.5, I don’t want to hear you trying to smooth things over for your listeners because your station got back it’s power, like 3 days ago.  Like Christie said, the numbers, the progress, while good to know is happening, means little to those still without power, freezing in their homes.

It was actually a little comforting to know that our landlord also has no power.  I’m bad, I know.  No, I do not wish him ill, but I can’t stop thinking about the division of class in this city.  I believe that for the poorer sections of Elizabeth, it’s way more critical for them to get their power back, and get their lives back together.  The rich have options.  The poor do not.  Those more well off, have the option of going to a hotel, leave the area altogether, go to a summer house, or just plain go for a ride to kill time.  The poor have to remain where they are and once the food gets thrown out, which would have been done yesterday, they need to walk to God knows where to get enough food for just one day.  Thank God it’s not the middle of summer.  I sat vigil last night, waiting for the lights to go on.  I was literally, looking at the ceiling, “willing” them to go on.  Well, that goes to show you the condition of my willpower.  Yes, I felt sort of safe, but there was a bit of insecurity and uncertainty, as well.  (I heard men at our local Dunkin Donuts, a place I don’t go to regularly because of the kind of people that hang out there, not to mention spotting gang bandanas.  I was seriously afraid to whip out my iPad in the free wifi there because I heard cynical, cussing-every-other-word men talking about the rich “whites” and the poor “blacks” of this city, and that they knew “exactly” who had their power back with the insinuation that it was the whites; and they, the blacks, did not have theirs.  Little did these guys know, that I, a white, is essentially one of them, being without power for just as long as they were.  The night before the power got back on, I was terrified that looters were in my alleyway.  The neighbors were not home and there were flashlights being waved back and forth.  Just got me scared.)

Yeah, so yesterday we had to get rid of all the spoiled food.  That was sad, but at least now we have a reason to do one big shop to replace everything we lost.. AND a great opportunity to really clean the fridge without having to juggle around the food. All schools have been closed the whole week and Saturday, we will learn whether they will open on Monday.  The little guy has been doing okay… and CCD is still on for tomorrow as the church’s school has some power back.  I did get out to a different town to get some stew meat.  I’ve been really craving stew lately and the chilly temps pushed me over the edge.  Made a great stew and slurped up every bit of it’s hot, soupy goodness.  Ed enjoyed it, as well, which is probably showing that he’s becoming desperate because he never has seconds.  The boy refused the stew and had one bowl of vegetable alphabet soup and one stalk of celery.  He certainly does NOT know what he’s missed!

Yesterday, I stopped by my friend Kims’ house.  I’ve been trying to check on people in the area.  So, she had just gotten her power back (for good) at 8:00am.  I had a cup of coffee by her and some much needed conversation and sense of normalcy.  That meant so much and really helped me forget.  Thanks, Kim~!  We are definitely coming by your house on Belated Halloween Day.  It was great to see all your decorations! (which, btw, we missed because still being without power sort of clouded my sense of time.)

Yesterday was also the first day that I could make phone calls from my cell phone.  I had service all throughout, but could only send text messages to people to let them know we were okay.  So, everyone is okay.  My brother has power, my sister will not get power back for 28 days, they told her, and my dad has no power but is running a generator.  Also, my nephew in Philadelphia has offered us to come for the weekend if we still don’t have power.  I love my nephew and his new wife.  They are just made for each other and it’s wonderfully heartening to see them together or hear them talk of one another (kissy, kissy!)…. 1:11pm

2:53pm… Was only able to charge the ipad to 56% and somehow when I opened this up, it was down into the forties…. sheesh, what made that happen?  Well, I hear that Kenilworth has gotten most of their power back, but we are STILL without it.  After leaving the library, we went to get something to eat.  For a brief moment, we enjoyed feeling a little bit normal.  When we got to the intersection around the block from us and saw that the traffic light was still out, I knew we didn’t have any juice either.  When we walked in the house and saw that the clock light was still out on the oven, my heart sank lower than I’ve ever felt it go.  The feeling of being abandoned is unshakable.  I’m on the brink of tears.  Bollawage sucks big time!  His only redemption is that he opposes the Board of Education in this city (That group is beyond corrupted.  I’m happy with our mayor now that our power is back on… Sorry, guy.  This is what I was feeling at the time and I remain faithful to that to maintain the integrity of the story.)  At least the kids have CCD instruction tomorrow.  It will be good for them.  There is a special Mass being said for the sick, but the planned reception afterwards, however, has been cancelled.  I need to attend on account of my arm and spirit.

Save the Olives~!

One thing that is positive is that my olives are okay.  Good thing, too, as there is more than $50.00 worth of  homemade Italian olives cooking in my fridge.  The preservation of them is not dependent upon low temps.  The only reason they’re in the fridge is so that the olive oil solidifies, keeping out bacteria and what not.  I didn’t spend $50.00 all at once… It took me three weeks to buy up almost all of what the neighborhood store had and then more for my sister and her efforts; and not to mention the pickles I made with the brine of the delicious garlic dill ones I polished off by McClure’s Pickles, purchased at Kings.  Those pickles are AMAZING and well worth the wait as they make them fresh for you, each time.  Well, taking a break to entertain the boy.  Hopefully when I get back here, I can make a happy paragraph or two or three, and you know what would make that happen…. 3:11pm

6:55pm… Elizabeth, NJ… Still no power.  Very frustrating since the mayor promised that the power would go on today.  Yeah, still early evening, but I don’t have much faith that anything will happen soon.  We have a quarter of a tank of gas in our car, and lines for gas are crazy every single day.  Being able to write here, at this time, is a life saver.

I’ve got to note an observation I’ve made this past week, yes, this was day 5.  I’ve been listening to NJ radio and listening to people’s stories.  Gotta give South Jersey a lot of credit.  They are getting out there and helping people in whatever ways they can.  Nothing like that going on up here, except for a house we passed in Westfield today with a sign that read “Charge your cell phone FREE” and that was really nice to see.  But in South Jersey, people are opening up their homes to families, feeding the linemen working in their area, donating food, clothing to people who are dispensing them, etc.  A woman who works a concession stand at some sports field down there is opening it up to feed people from breakfast for as long as she can keep it going.  She stocked up from Costco from her own resources and also asked for food donations and clothing.  Nothing on the radio going on in mid to northern NJ.  I can’t even volunteer anywhere unless it’s in my immediate area because I don’t have enough gas to get myself around.  Sigh.  I’m still staring at the ceiling, hoping the lights will surprise me and come back on.

Let’s get frivolous.  Throughout the whole week, I did not have the urge to redo my nails.  Last week’s polish held up really, well.  Today that changed and I got the urge when it started getting dark out.  Needless to say, it’s not a neat job at all.

You know, I would have been able to handle this better psychologically, if we had more sunny days.  You know, bright, warm sunlight to make you feel better, but NO.  It’s been dark, dreary and cold with only a few hours of sun peeking through the dense clouds, teasing this end of the country.  (at this point, I realize that I lost more notes as I have been ending a session with the time and here the content was cut off in mid sentence, so I will end this here, but not sure of the time.)

My lovely family trying to play with a Leapfrog “laptop” in the dark. Gotta give them an “A” for effort.

Who Turned on That LIGHT?


We got our power back last night at approximately 7:36pm, or thereabouts.  It was like Christmas morning and everything just lit UP.  I’m thinking of all the things that need to be done in the house.  Laundry, changing bed sheets, restocking the fridge, cleaning the bathroom again because apparently you can’t aim accurately in the dark or low light.  A brief recap of yesterday’s events…..

A couple of neighbors and I decided to start calling the mayor.  Our landlord also called and our mayor actually called back two but not me.  He must’ve seen what I was writing on his facebook page.  I am certainly not a resident of Whoville.  I’ll call myself a “Venter” and it makes me feel better, or like I’m actually doing something constructive.  Our mayor says that he doesn’t have power, but I can guess that he’s got a generator and plenty of employees to stand in the gas line for him.  I’m not trying to diss the mayor because I really don’t know him.  One thing I don’t like is that he’s not really acknowledging that we have a gang problem in this city and that scares me… a LOT.  He’s been in office for twenty years and recently, he’s not had any competition on election day and that doesn’t feel right to me in a democratic society.  I did attend an opening for a walkway that was just completed in the downtown area and he spoke, but then left for a funeral.  Afterwards, I wanted to get information about the walkway, where it led, etc., but nobody there was approachable by the general public.  I’ve not been walking there yet, but maybe this weekend since it’s supposed to be in the sixties, right after this brutal nor’easter that barreled through here last night.

Anyway, coming back to last night.  After we got home from school, around 4:00pm, we heard that there were workers going to the site we thought was our power problem.  Ooh, good news.  Then, in the early evening our 3 hardwired-t0-the-house smoke alarms started going off and we had to pull the circuit breaker to make them stop.  That was right around the time I started to notice that the houses in back of us looked like they had power.  My heart quickened, but I was thinking that I wanted MY power.  Then I got a call later on from my neighbor who said that another neighbor saw lights way up the street, around the corner, coming on.  Still more good news.  About 7:30pm or so, DH and I were tried to get warm in bed and all of a sudden he said, “Is that the refrigerator?”  I looked up, and praise God, it was on because I left it open while the power was out.  You never seen two middle aged people jump out of bed so fast!  Called my neighbor and woo hoo!, she had power, too.  I turned the thermostat up into the seventies to just try to get it on to warm up the place.  Next thing that came on was the TV as it was on when the power cut out over TEN days before.  DH turned on his computer right away.  So the answer to that most asked question this past two weeks, “What is the first thing you’ll reach for when the power comes on,” is for me, the ceiling light pull string, and for DH it was the computer.

So first, I want to thank Mayor Chris Bollwage for whatever he did to get our power back on.  After all that time, I seriously doubt that it just came on by itself.  What I have to say is that this is, as least, one positive thing I can say that I know about you.  A few people related to me that you had no power, as well.  Please know that I am not a particularly political person and try to avoid politics as much as possible.  I’m just a regular person and have no illusions that the average Joe has a say in government.  If anything, its a very small slight suggestion…. but thank you, for whatever you did, from the bottom of my heart.

Secondly, I have been really impressed by our Governor Chris Christie with how he handled this crisis and is still handling it after Sandy and after this freak nor’easter.  We really needed him this time and he got the job done.  He was the calm in the face of the storm.  Not a lot of people like his no nonsense approach, and nobody likes to have our services cut, but in this time of dire need, he was EXACTLY what we needed.  The gas rationing is working like a dream in my area.  Thank you so much, Gov. Christie~!

Okay.  So, I’ve been trying to write down my thoughts every day of this power outage, and I did actually take some pictures.  I’m going to post what I can in multiple posts.  I lost the second major one and was so upset that I just had to let it go and not even try to remember and rewrite it.  After that there is a lot of anger and venting.  While I’ll let the flavor of that stand, I have to really clean up the curse words.  So, the excerpt below is from the first hour or so after the storm started:

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Frankenstorm Sandy 10/29/2012… 4:37pm

We are basically cut off right now. The power went out early, 10/29/2012, at approximately 3:05pm. It is now 4:37pm and I’m going crazy with my little guy’s urgency that he’s already bored. Sigh. Anyway, we have all the window blinds open to maximize on light. I’m watching and listening to the turbulence outside. I’m watching the trees sway back and forth like two old friends hanging onto each other in a hurricane. Um… yuh. Yes, they are old trees and I’m wondering if they will survive the night and tomorrow. I’m wondering if they fall, whether it will be on my car which is parked right underneath of, and to the side of. Our tree (the other is our neighbors’), is a maple, always the last to show it’s colors in the fall. Right now her colors are still a dark green and she’s fighting to hold onto each and every leaf on her head. Her lowest of arms reaches out in a straight horizontal line, almost all the way to the fence. That arm has within it, the swing that our neighbor’s little girl has used almost since her birth and still uses, almost nine years later. There seems to be a sanctity there, very special memories are held there. I remember watching her on that swing, all throughout, from my window just opposite. It brings a warmth to my heart. I hate to think of losing that tree, but despite all the theatrics, she seems safe at present. HA… I’m envisioning the tree limb right in front of me to come smacking through my window, but there’s really no danger of that right now.

My arm is killing me. I cannot go without talking about it and God knows DH is tired of hearing about it. Beginning of October I got a flu shot at the pharmacy and wouldn’t you know it, he clipped my nerve and now, almost a month later, I’m still in a lot of pain but some days it’s almost fine, like yesterday and the day before. I was thinking that finally when I was ready to go to the doctors about it, it was getting better. I was doing stuff yesterday that I haven’t been able to do in a month and that just refers to range of motion. If I hold my arm into my body, I am fine and there is strength there to do stuff, but if I go to raise it, PAIN. I mean, I can’t bring it around to the back, or even to pull the covers up at night or put on my bra, or pick up my pants, or secure my seat belt. I am going braless, which is pretty cool and you know I don’t need an excuse, really; and when I do need one, DH is happy to help with that. Ugh… I’m trying really hard to not screw up a decent post with my ailments, but as long as I started just want to say that I have been to the doctors, and he is letting it go another week or so and if it doesn’t get better, I will need “testing” to be done.

Just now spent a little time learning more about Open Office. I love this program, but for the longest time I was wondering how or IF I could work in overwrite mode and I just discovered it by accident. Thanks Frankenstorm! Getting darker now and the drake just broke down and gave the boy his nook after said boy skulked about the house in his boredom… a few minutes seems like forever. I simply refuse to hand over my ipad which was only 50% or so charged…. AFTER he played all the charge out of it the first time. As a matter of fact, my laptop is currently at 76% and fading even after I set all the energy saving settings. So instead of sitting here trying to convey my BOREDOM in a witty way tonight, I’ll just come back later or tomorrow. I’m off to each some cheddar cheese and crackers…. yumo!….. 5:31pm

Big gap here. Lost a file in the WordPress app.  Apparently, this app doesn’t automatically save posts on the ipad like Pages does.

Tomorrow:  When I went outside for the first time….

At Little Rant:


Okay, so I had to take this excerpt out a post I’m working about gratitude.  My thoughts turned into a rant touching upon the employment situation that is going on right now in the United States, and totally off my top. So, instead of deleting my thoughts, which I’m incapable of doing, I post here for your reading pleasure and/or amusement:

When I was working I missed out on everything the day had to offer, from the luxury of sleeping later than 5:00am to just going for a leisurely walk and taking in the cool crisp air that marks the joys of autumn.  I hate the rushing around getting to and from a place of business, at which my time is not my own.  I value my time and if I am going to give it away, it needs to be to something I enjoy and believe in.  This is a tall order in the current landscape we call “Land of the Free”, “Land of Opportunity”, “Land of Milk and Honey”.  For the average person these phrases either do not apply or remain unobtainable and unrealistic.  I hardly can imagine the days gone by when people really just walked off the ship from Europe and wrote the classic rags to riches story.  Really.  Wow.  Yes, there are exceptions out there, but most of us are not the exception.  For one, I was born here and I think that’s more of a disadvantage than an advantage.  I have an old fashioned work ethic.  My father drilled it into me that once I worked for a company, I should be loyal, on time, and give 150% of myself to that company.  I’ve done this and still believe in this ideal, but it seems that times have changed.  It used to be that this was a two way street and that giving this much of yourself was justified because companies appreciated loyalty and good performance in their employees.  You felt safe because if you did this, you knew that your job was safe; unless of course, if you couldn’t perform your duties sufficiently.  Now, this is not so.  The more valuable you are, the more experience you have, the more expensive you are to keep and maintain. Experience, efficiency and loyalty have turned into liabilities. My brain hurts by just thinking about the truth of that. It used to be that if you were a long time employee somewhere, it said a lot about you and it was all good. Companies were impressed by that.  Doesn’t seem so any longer because companies are getting rid of their long-time, loyal employees in order to hire new blood at a cheaper rate.  That’s not even bringing up the out sourcing of our jobs to other countries.  This kills me and tells me something very sinister about where this country is going.

That is all.

Cruising Uphill


I’m writing from my heart today and when I do that, I’m not always rational or logical. I speak from a place of great emotion, and emotions almost never make any sense. I will most likely be judged as being out of line by posting but it is what it is and I write to sort of work through this myself.

Less than a year ago I had a passing conversation with a friend and her position and words are still with me today. If I remember correctly, I had initiated the topic, and at the time, accepted her opinion as just that, her opinion and she is definitely entitled to that. But her words rubbed my personal hide so much the wrong way then, but I brushed it aside because I had asked for her opinion.

My son had recently been diagnosed with autism and I was taking every opportunity to get input from anyone I could, whenever I could. We were driving together one day and the subject of education came up. My husband and I had just attended our first IEP meeting after the diagnosis and the team suggested something called a “50-50 Program”, which allows the child to stay in an inclusive classroom along side the general educated kids. This is preferable, if possible, because the children actually, for a lack of better words, they learn better. They need to have that socialization with the mainstream kids. Social behavior has a major effect on learning. More of that at another time because I feel a tangent building and we got to nip that in the bud….

So, we were pretty happy with the solution, but made a mental note to assess whether Gabe was actually benefitting from it. This program is structured to have a classroom, consisting of no more than 10 special needs kids and 10 general ed kids, with 1 special ed teacher and 1 general ed teacher.  Among other things, I was wondering, however, who those general ed kids were going to be, how they would be selected and finally, if their parents needed to approve the set up. Which leads us up the to that friendly conversation with my friend. I was telling her about this whole set up and we both wondered the same things. I don’t remember if I asked her or if she just said, which I realize doesn’t matter; but she said point blank that she wouldn’t want her kids in the same classroom as a special needs kid. At the time, I felt the sting of that comment because she knows us and knows Gabe.  I took it personally, though I told myself that I could not because it was just a discussion we were having and she was being honest.

Her position for not wanting her kids to share the same classroom with a special needs child is that she was concerned that time would be taken away from her own kids’ education if the teachers had to take time away from teaching the whole class to deal with a potential meltdown or whatever disturbance that would originate from the special needs kids. At the time, I agreed with her; and I do find myself concerned about that, as well. People tell me that I must only be concerned about my own kids’ education, and I am; but I am also concerned with the rest of the class and the teachers and the effort that it will be required to keep the classroom running smoothly.

In this year’s time, I have learned so much. I’ve learned that it’s absolutely necessary, if at all possible, to keep all the kids integrated in the classroom. Let me take a moment to explain that I’m talking about the higher functioning children who do have communication skills. What makes arranging appropriate education, socialization, extracurricular activities, etc., is that the children should be grouped together with those of equal levels of abilities.  I sometimes think that it’s no wonder schools fail at socializing the kids.  Well, not fail, but they seem disinterested and practically ignore the argument.

I’ve seen so much, first hand, too. The fear that ignorance can spawn can be avoided. I’ve just decided to begin advocating for a Social Behavior group conducted at the school. That is going to be a tall order, I think, despite the fact that there are enough kids there to get it done.  Autistic kids can learn social skills from the regular kids. I’ve seen Gabe reach out to his classmates just to be pushed away and snickered at because they do not understand that he is different and that he is just trying to make a friend.  I saw this specifically on a class trip last year that I had helped to chaperon. I had Gabe and two other boys. One, I recognized as Gabe’s “best friend”, I’ll call him Charlie, and another boy Gabe had spoken about, and I’ll call him Brian.  It turned out that Gabe’s “best friend” was not really his friend.  Charlie beamed up and informed me that Brian was his “best friend”.   This stung a little, though I do realize that kids this young are still learning how to form relationships.  I had to keep myself objective and I do believe I did a pretty good job of it.  However, going through the day, watching the two new best friends sticking together, with Gabe on the outside of this privileged little circle broke my heart as a mother.  Even more when Brian pushed Gabe away multiple times when he tried to take his hand, as we were all required to hold hands.  On the bus, Gabe tried to get their attention by making sing-song sounds that grew quite annoying to them and they kept staring at me, like “he’s weird”.  Hence a vicious cycle (mom’s heart talking) perpetuated itself. I recognize that Gabe’s behavior was odd and seemed very strange to these other two boys. That’s not their fault.  

ALL the kids need to learn, understand and hopefully accept the autistic child. Are kids this age even old enough to comprehend?  I’m thinking they can be instructed in an age appropriate way.  What a tall order and I have not the slightest idea on how to accomplish this, especially with the school’s policy of keeping privacy intact and not wanting to draw attention, potentially negative attention onto the autistic child.  I get that, I really do; but then how to get past this issue and create a learning opportunity? What I do know is that all through history how we’ve ever managed to affect social change was done through the young, the next generation.

Sigh.  So, here I am thinking back to my struggle at the beginning of this post.  I don’t hold any ill will.  Indeed, do you think it arrogant of me to even say that. Well, these are my thoughts and I need to bring it all around to complete the circle.  To bring all this to a close and there it is.

What is H.O.T.


FORGET about what’s “hot”. If you can look at your partner and feel drawn to them, no matter what the circumstances or wherever you are, OR how ridiculous they look at the time, then THAT’S love… I don’t NEED to see hot… I HAVE love…. and ladies there is nothing more sexy than seeing Ed interacting with our son…. Just a thought taking me over, there… carry on.

I wrote this on my facebook wall (complete with excessive dots which is my trademark) and got virtually no comments.  I am wondering why.  So, I am asking for opinions/comments from anyone.  Do you agree?  disagree?

So, let me go back a bit.  I am prone to spontaneous urges to document my thoughts, feelings and urges… as I’m sure we all are.  Last week I had one such feeling, desire, urge, whatever you want to call it, at the most inopportune time you can imagine – while attending a Day of Reflection for the ministers at our church.  It’s not that I wasn’t paying attention, because I was; but there came a point when I looked over at my hubby and was overcome with emotions.  There was a deep love, there was respect, there was affection…. and yes, there was frisky.  I thank God for him in my life and the family we have created.

Fast forward just a little bit, and I am reminded by the young people in my life how much they admire and are attracted to whatever they consider “hot”.  I thought to myself, well, the first thing I thought was how young they are and how much of their lives must pass away before they realize that “hot” usually brings with it disappointment, betrayal (maybe) and too much expectation.

Why are people attracted to “hot”?  Well, I’m not going to insert here what I think.  I really want to know what YOU think.  All I will say of both my Drake and myself is that we are definitely not main stream hotties, though my Drake is a sizzling hot in my eyes.  I wrote this post because I see too much out there of people prejudging others on their looks and while there is nothing wrong is sowing wild oats, too often we get hurt or we get into trouble…. real trouble.

QUIT IT~!

Peeking my head in…..


Well, this dragon is rearing her massive head again.  I’ve not had anything pressing to talk about… anything Positive anyway.  This blog started to become a complaint center and I wanted to veer off from that.  I also had/have a massive case of writer’s block ever.  Maybe it’s my life just overwhelming me again, but here I am…. AND I do have something I must talk about.  I must work something out for myself and I need to write it down.

It all started with an article in our local paper about how it’s mandated that the BMI (Body Mass Index) number be included in our EHRs (Electronic Health Records).  Now, I’m well aware that ANYONE who bothers to do  the calculation will have access to it; but I’m very disturbed that it’s now a law.  I can see this being used for other than strictly health reasons.  I see the government allowing it to be used by insurance companies to refuse me life insurance, raise my health insurance premium, and whatever other use they come up with.  High Tech Discrimination.  Freedom at a minimum.  I definitely don’t see a positive for the individual to whom this BMI number belongs to.   For one thing the number is not fully accurate as being representative of your health.  The current way they calculate this number comes from your height and weight and not your natural body type.  (Of course I forgot the actual term for that)   According to “the” calculation, my spouse is considered to be overweight…. laughable!   Unfortunately, he just happens to be tall, sorry skinny, but tall Drake.

I went over to Wikipedia.  Check out what the Body Mass Index number was originally intended for and what it’s being used for now.  It shows how individuals who are taller have a reported BMI that is uncharacteristically high compared to their actual body fat levels. I urge you to read this Wiki article and pay close attention to “Usage” and “Limitations and Shortcomings”.

  1. It was originally meant to be used as a simple means of classifying sedentary (physically inactive) individuals with an average body composition.
  2. It allowed health professionals to discuss over- and under-weight problems more objectively with their patients.

The BMI cannot be used the same way across the board for everyone.  It’s used differently for children.  Athletes have a higher muscle mass so they need a different calculation altogether to access their fatness.  Another complication is the loss of height through aging.  There are all sorts of physical characteristics not taken into consideration and have a definite affect on this god-awful number which will become the thunderbolt of Zeus.  Again, I do urge you to do a little reading on the subject.  Don’t feel like it?  Don’t think it’s a big deal?  I can understand that because even I didn’t feel like it was necessary. We come to accept what’s handed down to us.  I’m sure that people who are healthy, fit and thin have come to understand what this number is supposed to mean to them and have accepted it, without question.   It’s a known, a given factor, something that we use as a guide post to let us know when our bodies reach “acceptability”.  “Do my pants look good on me now, dear?”   Look, seriously, there’s nothing wrong with an individual setting their own standards.  It’s their choice; but when that standard is forced upon all of us, I think we should be asking some questions… and getting some answers.

So, this prefaces some other stuff I’ll be writing about…. Have you guessed it?  Yes, I’m overweight and according to the BMI, I am obese, class I.  Ah, so NOW we know why she is talking out of her head!  Well, aside from my opposition to this whole BMI thing, another dragon has reared it’s head and it’s not going to shut up until I make a decision.  This is where ya’ll come in.  I’ll be discussing this issue here.  Writing has always been a good outlet for my thoughts and I’m hoping it will allow me to sort everything out to a satisfying result.

UP~DATE:

I’ve been asked to provide the link to the articles connecting the BMI to the law.   I apologize for not including it.  My original intention was to include it, but in my haste to publish, I neglected to link.  Thanks, Karen….

This article gives links to actual text of the law.  Hmmm 906 pages of something that is supposed to make our lives simpler.  That reporter could not find anything more than a vague reference to the BMI in the actual Bill, but found it elsewhere.  Below is a quoted paragraph from his article (and the link)

At this point, I was ready to declare the mandatory BMI screening a hoax. Just before I published this article however, someone pointed me in the direction of a document called HIT (Health Information Technology) Standards 170.302. This document purports to show Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ new certification standards for electronic health records (EHRs).

Link to article in the Examiner. com Atlanta

Here is another article I read in the Wall Street Journal that draws a correlation between this new federal mandate and what they did to healthcare with the Massachusetts universal coverage plan.

The Massachusetts Health-Care ‘Train Wreck’

“Because You’re Worth It”~NOT


This is a bit of a vent and not sure who will see this, but here I go.  The Drake has worked for this company, played by the rules, THEIR RULES, and they might still screw him over. He’s been there for 30+ years, a real company man, working in their factory, amidst safety violations, ignorant, arrogant management, but he plodded along using his experience and being safety minded.  Everyone knows that when the Fire Department inspects the place, it’s a set up.  How do I know?  Because before the F.D. gets there, everyone is made to clean up the place…. yes, I know I’m not getting to the meat of it. I need to give background.  Think of management asking you to NOT following the rules, to NOT follow procedure just to get product made faster.  Like any other time you are cooking a good brew, you need to follow a recipe.  It’s no different for making shampoos, conditioner, and hair dye.  I don’t even want to tell you want goes into this stuff.

Remember when you conducted your own chemistry experiments?  Mine was bleach and ammonia.  Remember what happens?  Toxic, burning fumes, smoke, and the inevitable running out of the bathroom because your lungs were burning…. yeah, that was me… every time.   Fast forward and think that the factory workers know of this wonderful cause and effect magic.  Think of management who doesn’t have a clue.  Further, they want you to mix bleach and ammonia because it will cut out a few steps and the product will get made faster.  Forget about the fact that it will burn off the consumer’s hair and burn off skin from her scalp.  I can hear the little man giving sound warning and describing just what will happen if they do that; and I can also hear cartoonish management scoffing at those warnings and coming down hard on the person who will not follow their instructions.  Imagine the gestapo cutting down anyone who gets in the way….. LOL… yes, a bit colorful, and just a little bit dramatic, but this kind of stuff happens all the time.  You have young upstarts, just out of college who want to make their mark.  They will do anything to get noticed so that they can climb a little further up the corporate ladder.  I’ve heard of someone who was well liked by all, advanced, then people heard that he changed production numbers to make himself look good.  He was no longer a supervisor by that time, and was in higher management.  What were they going to do?  Nothing.  The guy who took over his position got canned because his numbers, the real numbers were significantly lower than the ones that were, shall we say, tweaked.  WTF?

So, getting back to the reason for my post.  The Drake’s employer announced that they were going to lay off about 20 FACTORY people, UNION people, BTW, the union sucks.  They decided to offer a buy out package to anyone within retirement range.  The Drake was also offered the package. We thought about it, and he decided to take it.  They just announced that 19 people took the package and so now they were not going to lay off anyone.  Yesterday, he comes home to say that the company made another announcement.  They are going to “temporarily” lay off everyone in the factory for a week.  According to the union contract they are supposed to give a good notice for “shutting down” the factory for whatever time. In fact, they used to annually shut down the factory in July for years. Now, all of a sudden they will “Lay off” people, except, of course, when people are laid off, they lose their benefits, um, what’s wrong with this picture?  ALSO, they could very well decide that when they bring back people, they will NOT rehire those who took the package. This has gotten me very scared. The Drake should at least call the union to see what they will say about it. At this point, personally, I don’t trust the company OR the union… but it’s his job, not mine.  I can’t go in there like a storm trooper!  I’ve blogged about various things that have been going on over there, but this one really hits home…. OUR home!

More venting might be necessary.

Update: I’m Just a Lamb….


No, not really!  I just wanted to take the time to write a little update on one of my recent posts, “I’m on the Lam”.    First part:

Well, today I’m officially a woman who is basking in the sweet sunshine of freedom….. this week I paid my bail of $40.00.  The Drake came in with some overtime and gave me a bunch of money, with part of it to go to pay the man.  I was still a little annoyed that day and thought that I would file a complaint about the meter-maid who would not come over to the meter to check out my claim of it being disabled.  I was there early, which btw, they only give a window of 1/2 hour, 9:00am-9:30am for people to come in if they just want to pay the bail.  You have to make an appointment for them to see you if you want to make another court date.  At the last minute when I got to the window, I felt a calm… but I still wanted to complain, just this time, formally.  Oddly, I didn’t feel any animosity towards the clerk who was reading a book well after 9am.  She asked me if I wanted another court date and I said no, just want to pay the bail because I felt that I would go in there predisposed for a failure since I had already missed a court date.  In that case, I might have to pay more, and well, $40.00, while pretty cheap as things go, is still a liability for us.  She gave me a form to sign that basically said that I waive my right to a court appearance…. AND admission of guilt.  That really got me.  I told her that I wanted to lodge a complaint against the meter-maid, but was told that signing the form was an admission of guilt… duh!   So, I had to just let that one go…. but growled all through the signing of my name.

So, there you have it.  I left there with my freedom…… and a receipt.

Number Two.  The famous CLASH OF THE CHRISTMAS PARTIES.   Okay, so I missed two fun parties this year and there might still be a faint twinge lurking inside… but that’s okay.   On Tuesday I got up ready to be into the Rosarian party and I was.  A little suspense for the day included that I could not get into the parish hall to set up everything the day before because the custodian was in the hospital with an ear infection.  Sound familiar?   Because I could not get into our closet to check out our supplies, I had to go and buy coffee and table cloths.  As it turned out, we had plenty.  To be honest, I never saw them there before and so, I come up short on the necessity of knowing my inventory.  I had seen one or two, but didn’t know if we had for all six round tables and other tables for the sides… so I guess I donated them.  So, Tuesday morning, the day of the event, I could not even get into the parish hall at the time the receptionist said that I could get in there.  Finally got in a good 2.5 hours after… wasted time… The good side is that I had plenty of help and took the prerogative of leaving early (presidents can do that) so that I could cook a big thing of sausage and peppers before having to pick up Gabe at school at three, then come home and get ready, myself.  Please understand, as an Italian, I never made this dish… or not in recent memory.  I remember that my mom used to boil the links of sweet sausage first, then brown them after all the water evaporated.  That took a long time, so I am thinking I’ve got plenty of hours by the stove for 4 pounds of the stuff!  Well, a lightning bolt hit me and I got the idea to cut up the links, raw, then saute/brown them in a deep stock pot I have (to keep the splatters inside).  While I value that doing it this way knocked off a lot of time, cutting up raw meat in an intestinal casing was not fun… lots of ground up meat being forced out of the casings and I ended up making little meat balls of the stuff that totally came out…. but not bad.  Everyone loved it and I got to take about one fourth of what I made home… not bad.  Lots of great recipes that night.  Got a break on clean up, too. We ended later than scheduled and the pastor was practically chasing us out.  I did have to hand over my key to the closet to the former president… but that’s not a problem.

Oh, what was a problem is the fact that I did feel like a puppet that night.  I am slowly getting the feeling that I’m just another figure head for this organization.  That’s not a good feeling… though strangely, I don’t mind it.  I guess I’m not really a leader.  I’m more of a team player and more likes to be told what to do, than me telling others what to do.  Maybe that will change as I get more familiar and comfortable in this role, but for now, I’m good.  Well, twice that night the former president told me to do some things that had no purpose and probably showed me to be just a puppet.  That’s what I don’t like.  First, she wanted me to just follow two other people who were selling tickets, a mother and son team (in everything) and all I was doing was following them around.  I was not told even for what purpose.  Then, when they handed out the bonus checks to the pastor and office staff, I was told to stand there and I did, while the treasurer handed out the checks with little comments.  I felt like a jerk.  Sigh… oh well, at least I don’t have to worry about this group again until March.

Oh, forgot that soon I’ll be visiting three of our housebound members to gift them with shawls and cards that were signed by everyone.  See, this is the part that I like and excel in.

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