Friday, May 29, 2009

One last look at Memorial Day

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This is my husband George and his childhood friend, Rob. They are both Vietnam Veterans. In the second picture, they are by the truck instead of in it like they do every year (except this one) handing out sodas to the band members.
The last picture I thought was kind of neat. This is the shadow of the flag that I was holding and George saluting as they called off the names of the veterans who have died.
The speaker asked if we remembered the first time we got teary eyed when we saw our flag go by in a parade or heard the National Anthem. I don't remember the first time, but I do know that these American symbols are important to me and they do make me emotional and proud and happy to be a part of this wonderful country. It makes me sad that the younger generation appears to be losing these feelings and fast. The respect that our country deserves is dying to the selfish greed of people who only think of themselves and give no thought to the blessings that they have only because of those who have suffered and died before us--they should be saluted and remembered and their legacy respected. This generation doesn't seem to respect the past, but lives in the now not caring how "now" came to be and what will happen should they forget their heritage. I am sad for the future of our country and hope that somehow the original American spirit will be one day revitalized.

Norfolk, CT

These are more pictures taken when we went to the Memorial Day Parade this year in Norfolk, CT. George grew up there and we bought our first house, "Stony Hill" there. That was our home for nearly ten years. Norfolk is a beautiful town. It has so much to offer from Yale Summer School of Music, Haystack Mountain, Dennis Hill and the newly opened Infinity Hall. For residents, Toby Pond is a nice place for kids to spend their hot summer days and we spent many there. Norfolk is also home to a Curling Club.

I wish I had enjoyed our Norfolk days more. They were dampened by the distance that it was from everywhere we needed to go and by our 450 foot long up hill and winding driveway. In the winter it was a nightmare. I remember pulling groceries up it in a sled. I also remember standing there in tears overwhelmed as we shovelled it by hand. (When we bought the house it came with a jeep with a plow which we never got to work).

My favorite memories of living at our Norfolk home was the raspberry patch, which produced hundreds of pints. The Porters who built the house had planted all kinds of beautiful flowers which we also enjoyed. Our family's favorite addition to the grounds was an old boy scout cabin from Colebrook which we had moved to the grounds--that was quite a site to behold having it moved there. The cabin became a great place to have the kids' birthday parties.

My other favorite thing about that house was the real stairway to the attic--not pull down stairs. You could actually walk up there. I miss that luxury.

We had thirteen acres of land but came to realize that for us, it was not necessary to have that much land. We certainly weren't going to do anything with it.

Our greatest lesson we learned from living there is to have a flat driveway and we do. Whenever we have a snowstorm and I hear one of my neighbors spinning his wheels trying to get up his big hill, it always brings back memories and I am so glad that they are just that--memories. I can feel their pain. However, there is actually one fun memory of that driveway. We had an adult Halloween party probably the second year we lived there. People had to park on the main road and walk up. Well, we didn't know he was going to do this, but one of our friends rented a gorilla suit and he hid halfway up the driveway and scared the guests--what a way to start a party!

Norfolk is a wonderful New England town. It's a true Connecticut gem.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Parade, Norfolk, CT

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Memorial Day tradition for us is to go to the Norfolk, CT parade. Norfolk is my husband's home town. Some years he has marched as a veteran. Some years he has just been an observer, but we have missed very few years--maybe one in the last thirty four years.

This parade is a typical small town parade however, there is an interesting twist. If you stand on the green in the center of town you can get a good view of the parade approaching down Maple Street. After it passes by you, you cross to the other side of the green where the parade marchers have stopped so there can be a gun salute, and taps played by the Congregational Church. After the National Anthem, the parade resumes. It's not over yet.

You then can march along side the parade and down to the other little memorial green in front of the Catholic Church. There there is an opening prayer, an introduction to a special speaker, a speech, the reading of all the names of veterans from Norfolk who have died and it ends with a prayer and then taps and again the Star Spangled Banner--this year by a wonderful sounding brass ensemble.

At this point the parade marchers re-assemble to march back up the hill and you can yet again watch it for a fourth time! That is the way to get the full advantage of the parade. After that there are donuts and balloons at the firehouse and at the town hall the band members are served canned soda. For most years my husband and his best childhood buddy have handed out the sodas from the back of a pick up truck. This year a couple of girls jumped in and did the serving--wouldn't you know--I was going to take a picture this year.

Stay tuned for more pictures from Memorial day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Going through a stranger's things

This is a sad posting. In the last few weeks we had a tenant that died. The police found her and said she had died of natural causes. It just doesn't seem right to call the death of someone in their 50's natural causes.

Her family did not clean out her apartment as well as we would have had it been one of our family. We were saddled with the responsibility of going through the remaining items of hers that they chose not to take or that the person that paid them for what he wanted did not take.

There were tubs and tubs of blankets, sheets and clothes. Being frugal people we were not going to just throw these away, however, to donate them, we knew that some items may not be donatable. I went through all the clothes and did remove all stained or damaged clothing or bedding. The apartment was on the second floor and we had to move a couch and several other items of furniture to ground level. We put a free sign on them out front. We knew the stuff was not great but wanted to avoid dump fees. It took a couple of days, but everything went! We were pleased at that.

Today we were removing probably fifty nails and screws in the walls and scraping and filling the holes. I don't know what she had hanging there, but it sure was a lot. One heartache was that she also put nails and screws in the pine wood paneling. I wish tenants would think about what they are doing to the apartment when they do things like that.

It is kind of hard being there knowing that someone recently died there. I was thankful that I was there when most of the furniture was gone. I am glad I don't know the details of where they found her in the apartment. My mind would wander too much.

As I went through her clothing, I saw a woman, who we knew, loved cats and dogs but above all cats. Although we heard that her life was sad and troubled recently, there were shirts of either trips she went on or someone who loved her, had given her. They were evidence of happier times.

I also noted something that many are probably guilty of...her nicest and prettiest or cutest shirts were stained or just not hand-me-down worthy any more. I feel pretty sure that these were favorites that although stained or whatever, that she did not want to part with them. You could tell. Well, we all have things that make us happy or comfort us. Once we are gone, what is left stays and what was a comfort to us either becomes a comfort to someone else or a burden. For a stranger, going through a stranger's personal belongings, it was certainly not a comfort. Yes, it was a burden, but my satisfaction came from the thought that we will be able to donate these and that someone somewhere will perhaps get some good use out of these things--some via a thrift shop, some of the bedding will go towards animal rehab. I would feel good when I am gone if my family were able to find good homes for my earthly belongings. I know it is my duty now to reduce the number of my earthly "treasures". I will be having a tag sale this summer to try and recoup some money in these tight times. My only hope is that I won't have a stranger deciding the fate of my things when I am gone. I am sorry for the families who have to do this. It is a burden, but it is the one last burden of love that you do for someone.

Friday, May 22, 2009

American Idol Bandwagon

Well, I might as well join the million other bloggers who had to blog about American Idol. Yes, I was rooting for Adam. Now, that being said, Chris is SO cute and he can sing, but I liked Adam for his diversification. You were always surprised by whatever he did.

I believe the voting system needs work. I saw a local TV station that spoke with a girl who had bought six cell phones and text messaged votes to be sent over and over. They said she voted 50,000 times! If she figured this out, then I'm sure others have found other ways. It takes away from the show. Instead of being able to brag that they got over 100 million votes, I'd rather they let each phone vote once. It seems like the winner is the one who has the cleverest fans who find the fastest waya to vote the most.

There is some publicity now that Clay Aiken is putting Adam down, but according to Clay's blog, he only saw Adam do "Ring of Fire" on country night. That was unfair to judge him by that one performance. It was truly hard rock and not everyone would like that--I didn't. How does Clay ever think he can judge by one performance? I didn't watch Idol back then but I bet that Clay had a performance that he would have not wanted to be solely judged upon.

Well, the consolation is often the runners-up do better than the winners. I have no doubt that Adam has a lucrative career ahead of him. I hope he doesn't do just hard rock.

Let me say too, as is no secret now, the finale was a wonderful entertaining show. There were so many great acts but I wanted to mention that I was pleasantly surprised by Steve Martin playing the banjo while they sang a song that he had written. The song was quite good. I have read a novel by Steve Martin and I knew he was a good writer, although I did not like the story itself. I was glad to see this good use of his talents--talk about another diversified talented person.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pet Peeve

We really should stop making pets of peeves--it just encourages them. Anyway...

I can't stand what TV has done to the movie credits. After spending two hours watching a movie and commercials, they now shrink the size of the credits so that you would need the Hubble telescope to read them. Well, maybe just binoculars. If that isn't bad enough, they speed them up too. TV wants to get every little extra second of time and in the mean time, credit is not being given to where credit it due.

I think it's great that credits (when you can actually read them) often mention everyone from the grips to hairdressers to caterers to clean up crew to stunt men to anyone you can think of--including the author. Everyone should get the credit. I would be disheartened if my name ever appeared on one of those lists and my friends and family would have to take my word for it because they could never read it.

I hate it when we are watching a movie and my husband asks if that actor is "so and so" and I don't agree. We wait for the credits to see who is right and if they are not too small, they go by like the speed of light. Why bother?

I am grateful for the computer age and the wonderful website, Independent Movie Data Base (IMDB). It will solve any argument about any movie. Not only the credits, but trivia, goofs and pretty much anything you want to know about a movie. Sometimes I look up a movie before I watch it to be able to watch for the goofs or to share the inside info about trivia. You can even write your own review on the website.

So, that website is my only consolation to my pet peeve of untamed credits...credits that are unruly--fast and small. I'm sure there is no chance that TV will go back to the slow scroll, normal print credits, if there were, I'd lead a protest. But alas, I've found my way to tolerate it.

Credits for this article:

Music.....none (unless you were humming)
Guess it's all about me

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's been a long week--seems like Forever, I haven't been sleeping. Don't know why I haven't been blogging and now I'm back with a vengeance....

It's been a rough week for postal workers who sell stamps. For those of you who don't know, stamps increased on Monday by two cents. Being a postal employee, my ears perk up when I hear the post office mentioned on TV and as usual, they started announcing this increase in January. That gives people five months to complain to us before it actually goes up--that is those who are awake. The other half haven't a clue that the rates are going up and then it's our fault for not telling them (let's see I know it's been on the news, in the papers, a sign on our counter for a month). Okay, not everyone is going to get the word. It happens.

The week before the rates go up, if someone wanted to buy a coil of 100 stamps, I would inform them that the rates would be going up the next week. Sometimes a person has a big mailing and is getting it out before the increase, but other times they'd rather wait. If they were just buying a book of stamps, I may not go into the spiel. I am not required to. I am not about to ask them, "are you paying bills, or sending out cards or invitations" or whatever. If they buy 20 stamps and only use five is it the end of the world to have to buy two cent stamps to go with them? For some, evidently, yes.

Today we returned several cards we saw that a woman was sending out with the old postage. Since there were several, we thought we'd better return them so that she realizes the rates went up. Well, when she came into the office, we were reprimanded because we should have told her the rates were going up when she bought the stamps. Now it turns out she bought stamps to send out invitations to a party and that was done before the rates went up--I don't know when but it had to be before last week because these cards being returned were thank you notes after the party. She actually said that we should have known that she would be sending thank you notes too and we should have sold her ones with the new rates when she sent out the invitations at the old rates. It was Friday afternoon and I was tired and I had a hard time dealing with her.

We have been also explaining over and over to each customer about the Forever stamp. For those of you who don't know, the Forever stamp sells for whatever the current rate is. When rates go up, it sells for the new rate, however, any old ones you have that you bought at a different rate automatically become good for the new rate--they are forever good for the current rate.

Although we've tried to explain that when we've sold them, I've had people wanting to buy two cent stamps to go with them this week. More explaining...

Then there are the few people who think that the post office has issued a forever stamp that we will forever charge only forty-two cents for. Why can't we do that, I've been asked. Well, please think about it, people. Just think. That's all I ask.

It's been a long week.